A/N: I know, I know, I suck. Christmas vacation didn't work out as planned. I'm trying! Please give me props for trying :( Anyway, here's the next one, hope it's enjoyed!

Disclaimer: I tried getting Kishimoto Masashi drunk and sign a Letter of Direction waiving any and all rights to Kiba, but apparently he was just pretending to be drunk and had me arrested. Again.

Also, Ice Station, Area Seven, and Scarecrow all still belong to Matthew Reilly who is the best author of all time forever and always.


September 27th, 09:04

Sasuke let out a slow breath, his mind still drifting blissfully in dreamland despite knowing that soon, wakefulness was going to conquer and most probably win, but he didn't let that bother him. He was much too immersed in his dreams to worry about what waking up would entail.

Which was why it was quite rude of his brother to kick him in the shin as a wakeup call. Jerking up and blinking tiredly, he looked around in confusion before looking up at his brother, who was scowling down at him.

"Essyu. Upstairs. Now."

What the fuck was he calling him Essyu for?

The answer came when he heard someone else inhale, and a groggy voice ask what was going on. Rolling over, he saw Naruto lying behind him, pressed up against the wall.

Shit, Sasuke had fallen asleep downstairs. He hadn't meant to, of course, but even as he'd started drifting, he'd been confident he would wake up before morning and head upstairs. Apparently, he'd been wrong. This wasn't good, Itachi was going to murder him.

"Get up," Itachi snapped, clearly losing his patience.

"All right, I'm coming," he grunted, getting to his feet and stumbling sleepily after his brother, rubbing at his eyes.

He and Naruto had ended up talking for a while after they'd made out. It hadn't been anything intimate, mostly just discussions on movies and sports, but just the act of having made out and then lying next to one another talking had been kind of nice. Sasuke had never had that before, and he knew for a fact Naruto hadn't, either.

Reaching the top of the stairs, he let out a sigh when he exited the basement and the door was slammed behind him. It wasn't exactly a secret that Itachi wasn't pleased.

"I was reading to him and fell asleep," Sasuke said before his brother could ask, taking a seat at the kitchen table and yawning loudly.

"On his futon?"

"My back hurt from sitting in the chair." He hadn't meant it as a slam, but he could tell by the way Itachi's face darkened that he'd perceived it as one. "I was lying on my stomach, reading to him for a while. Then we talked about movies we liked, and I must have dozed off."

"Do you realize he could have strangled you in your sleep?"

"Do you really think he's that stupid?" Sasuke asked dryly. "He knows if he kills me you'll kill him. And how would he have escaped after having killed me before you got down there?"

"Where are your keys?"

Sasuke tried his best not to react but he'd honestly forgotten about the keys being in his pockets. He reached down subtly to pat them and was pleased to still find them there. Considering how things were developing between himself and the blond, he really wasn't too surprised to find them still present, but he couldn't tell Itachi that.

He knew his brother probably had his suspicions, but he also knew Itachi probably thought he was smarter than that. Sasuke wished he was smarter than that, but shit happens and it wasn't like he could control who he liked.

Sadly, that was something he'd yet to master.

"How was the drop?" he asked after Itachi had turned away from him, clearly feeling he'd made his point.

He was now pouring himself a bowl of cereal, which Sasuke found was getting a little unnerving. He couldn't recall seeing his brother eat anything else for a while.

"Successful. He added double again."

Sasuke tensed, wondering if that would mean Naruto going home earlier.

"I told him in the last video that wasn't going to get his son released any earlier, but apparently he's going to keep trying."

Letting out a slow breath, Sasuke raked one hand through his hair, and glanced at Itachi when his brother turned to stare at him. And he stared hard.

"What?" the younger Uchiha demanded, feeling uncomfortable with the intensity of his brother's gaze.

"You didn't argue."

"So?"

"You always argue." Itachi's eyes narrowed and he moved closer. "Something I should know, Sasuke?"

"No," he said defiantly, holding the other's gaze, despite how much his brain screamed at him to look away.

The two of them had a staring match for what felt like hours before Itachi finally turned to head into his room, Sasuke letting out a slow breath.

"Don't piss me off, little brother," Itachi said from down the corridor. "I don't think your back could handle one-hundred and five hits."

Wincing, the raven stood and moved towards the fridge to find something to make Naruto for breakfast.


September 28th, 12:43

"Oh come on, tell me!"

"No."

"Tell me!"

"No!"

"Tell me, tell me, tell me! Tell, tell, tell!"

"You're obnoxious," Sasuke sighed, resisting the urge to smack the blond moron while he took another bite of his ramen. "Do you have any idea what I was like as a child?"

"Um, now that you mention it, no. No I don't." Naruto grinned at him. "Feel free to fill me in."

Sasuke snorted, having somewhat almost forgotten the other hadn't known him back then. Didn't even technically know him right now.

"Well, I was less... this."

"What's 'this'?"

"Less stoic. Less guarded."

"Did you wanna be a superhero?" Naruto teased, nudging him in the side. "Because if so, that's totally cool. I wanted to be a dog when I was three so, you know." The blond shrugged and continued to eat.

Sasuke let out a chuckle, shifting slightly so he had less weight resting on his legs and was more comfortably seated, hating that it still hurt to lean back. He was beside the other on the futon, Itachi having been holed up in his room all day. He was confident if the other came downstairs, he would hear him fast enough to be able to move before he was caught, again.

Considering the fact that Sasuke had woken up four times during the night with Itachi checking in on him after yesterday, he knew his brother wouldn't take too kindly to him sitting beside the kidnapped teenager.

"I wanted to be a firefighter," Sasuke said before letting out a snort. "Which, I guess, is kind of like a superhero."

"Not in your future now?" Naruto asked, licking broth off his lips.

Sasuke's eyes had strayed to them briefly at the action but he forced himself to look elsewhere, since while he enjoyed making out with the blond, he enjoyed talking to him even more.

"I think I've outgrown the naivety that I wouldn't ever get hurt. When I was little, it was easy to just watch the men and women running in and out of the burning buildings going 'cool, I wanna do that!' but once you grow up and you learn the statistics and how often they get killed by being roasted alive..." He sighed. "Not really my thing."

"Fair enough." Naruto reached out to his other side, finding the floor and then set his bowl down before turning back to Sasuke. "So, what's the more realistic ideal?"

"I wanna run something." Sasuke frowned. "I don't care what, I just wanna be someone important. Someone people will notice." He snorted. "I get tired of always being outdone."

"I notice you," Naruto said with a smile. "Well, you know, kind of. I would, you know... If I... could since, well... You know what I mean!" The blond puffed his cheeks out, annoyed, and Sasuke just smirked at him.

"What about you, rich boy?" The raven bumped his knee against Naruto's, the blond shifting against the wall again. "What do you wanna be?"

"Honetly, I've never really given it much thought." Naruto sounded a little monotonous when he answered, and Sasuke frowned.

"Why?"

"I already knew what I was going to be, no matter what I wanted."

"Oh. I guess... that makes sense. You being Minato Namikaze's son and all. It makes sense you'd be the heir."

"Yeah," Naruto said with a snort.

"Can't you refuse?"

"Tried that. Didn't work out so well."

Sasuke decided not to press, since it was obvious Naruto didn't want to talk about it. He could only assume the other had gotten threatened, but then had to wonder what kind of threat would have worked on him. If his father had said he would disown him, Sasuke was pretty sure Naruto would've packed his own bags eagerly, based on how he acted with relation to his father.

Maybe the man had threatened his best friend. Who knew, other than Naruto. Maybe he hadn't even threatened him at all. Maybe he'd just lectured him on the importance of responsibility or something. Sasuke didn't know, and he didn't think he'd ever find out.

"You know what you should do when you've got all that money?" Naruto suddenly asked, making Sasuke grunt in inquiry. "You should open a restaurant." He grinned at the other. "That way, you'll own it, so you'll be in charge of it, and people will be able to eat all your great food."

Sasuke snorted. "My food's not that great."

"Who's the kidnapee here?" Naruto demanded. "Shut up, I'm right and you know it."

A smirk teased the corners of the raven's lips, and he was about to say he'd think about it when he heard footsteps overhead. He looked up, trying to establish where Itachi was, then lurched to his feet when he heard the steps moving towards the basement door.

Luckily, Naruto wasn't a moron and kept his mouth shut about the raven's sudden disappearance from his side so that Itachi didn't hear anything when the door opened.

"Essyu, come upstairs."

"Be right back," Sasuke said to Naruto in a low voice, picking up his empty bowl and checking the level of his water in the bottle beside the futon. It was still mostly full so he just headed upstairs with the bowl, shutting the basement door behind himself.

"What?"

"I have to go to the office for a little while," Itachi informed him, setting a glass down in the sink.

"Okay."

"Watch him."

Sasuke didn't deem that worthy of a response, so he just watched his brother gather up a few things and leave the house. He waited until he heard the car start and retreat down the driveway, then headed back for the stairs.

It had been a while since the blond's last shower. He supposed with his brother out of the house, now was a good time for him to get cleaned up.

Not to mention they could test how he was feeling in terms of exposure.


September 28th, 13:22

Naruto scowled angrily at the wall in front of him, both hands gripping the towel around his waist tightly. It was soaked through, and the water continued to beat down on him, but he was still trying to get himself to drop the towel.

He was doing well going to the bathroom, now. Hell, the last time he'd gone, he'd actually pulled his pants down to his knees and had taken a leak with his dick completely exposed. But still, that was only for a few seconds. That only lasted as long as it took for him to piss.

This was different. This was him standing in the middle of the shower for close to half an hour while he cleaned off. That meant half an hour of exposure, and while he'd certainly improved over the past few days, there was no way it would be enough to erase years of trauma.

"Stop being a wuss," he muttered to himself, taking a deep breath.

He let go of the towel, and managed to stand there for less than a second before he bent down and grabbed it again, pulling it back up around his waist.

"No! No, no, I can't. I can't do this," he insisted, tying it tightly so it wouldn't fall.

"Yes you can." Essyu's voice floated through the shower curtain and Naruto scowled down at the ground.

He hated that he couldn't man up in front of the other, but again, he felt he'd come a long way, and was proud of himself for it, but this? This he couldn't do.

"I can't," he insisted. "Not yet. Maybe... maybe a few more days. Just... next time."

Essyu was silent for a few minutes, Naruto getting to work on washing his hair. He let out a content sigh at the feel of the water on him, forgetting how badly he missed bathing regularly until he was under the spray. It felt so nice to be clean, and he was going to soak in the tub at home for hours once he got back.

"What would you do," Essyu's voice suddenly said, right beside the curtain, "if I reached in and took the towel?"

Naruto froze, hands still in his hair and water cascading down his torso. He could already feel his heart picking up its pace with panic, and forced himself to calm down. Clearly, Essyu wasn't going to do it until he confirmed it wouldn't kill him, or else he would have just done it.

"Probably hyperventilate and pass out," he admitted.

"I assumed so," Essyu said, his tone thoughtful. "Is it because I'm here?"

"No," Naruto said with a snort. "You're the one who's helped, remember?"

"What if you shower until you're clean, and then take it off and stand there for as long as you can stand and then I'll hand you the dry one?"

The blond thought about it for a few seconds, licking his lips and debating what to do. That might actually work out for him. As long as it wasn't the entirety of the shower, it would probably be all right. Right?

"Okay," he whispered.

"What?"

"Okay," he said more loudly. "Yes, all right, we can do that."

"I'll be here when you're done."

Naruto let out a loud exhale and then continued to wash himself off. He got as clean as he could, since he didn't know when he'd get to shower next, and then washed his hair a second time. He knew he was procrastinating. He knew Essyu knew he was procrastinating. But dammit, this was hard!

Once he'd washed his hair three times, and his entire body twice, he let out another slow breath and reached for the towel, letting it drop to the ground loudly. Then, he stood there. He shifted his weight and brought his hands forward to cover himself up before forcing them back to his sides.

He could feel his heart slowly picking up speed, and his breathing steadily started becoming more erratic. Wrenching the water off, he stuck his hand out of the shower.

"Towel. Now. Now please!"

He felt it in his hand and hurriedly pulled it into the shower, wrapping it around his waist and struggling to calm himself down.

Once he was covered again, he stood there unmovingly for a few minutes, letting his heart slow itself back down. When it had, he sighed and pulled back the curtain, avoiding Essyu's gaze.

"You must think I'm a total retard."

"Why would I think that?" Essyu snorted, sitting on the counter, his mask still on, as per usual. Naruto assumed that was why it had taken a few seconds for him to get the towel. The other had had to jump off and hand it to him. "Your fear is rational and has foundation. It's not like you're scared of something stupid, like styrofoam."

Naruto snorted. "Who the fuck is scared of styrofoam?"

"People. Don't you watch television? There are actually a lot of people scared of styrofoam."

The blond snorted again and shook his head, grabbing the second towel and beginning to dry himself off. "Still, I'm sure you're thinking I'm a little bit of a wuss."

"People are scared of things for irrational reasons. Again, yours is warranted. Stop thinking you know what I'm thinking." He heard the smirk in the other's voice. "I guarantee that you're wrong."

Naruto smiled at him and held his hand out for the boxers sitting on the counter beside the other. Essyu handed them to him and he pulled them on under the towel, then let it drop to the ground, using the second one to dry his hair.

Essyu handed him a new pair of sweats and a shirt, and he put them on happily, letting out a content sigh. "Ah, being clean. It feels so good."

"You should shower again tomorrow," Essyu said, jumping off the counter and leading the way back to the futon once he'd opened the bathroom door. "The more I make you shower, the faster you'll be cured."

"And why is my being cured so important to you?" Naruto asked, snorting slightly and falling down on the futon, beginning to do up his wrists while Essyu worked on his ankles.

"I'd like for you to leave here having gained something," Essyu admitted. "Even if I'm sure you'd have preferred never to have come here."

"I wouldn't say that." Naruto grinned, holding his wrists out for Essyu to double-check, then leaning back against the wall. The other shifted so he was beside him. "Sure, the first few days were a little awkward and Ayuu destroyed my back and all, but like I keep telling you, if I hated it so bad, I'd be a little shit." He nudged the other, still grinning. "Besides, Stockholm Syndrome, remember? When it's time to send me home, I'm gonna be clinging to this futon like my life depends on it."

Essyu snorted. "We'll see. I think it'd be more likely I'd not so accidentally lose the key to your cuffs."

Naruto didn't think he'd mind that.


September 29th, 02:12

Letting out a slow exhale, Kiba rolled over onto his side, licking his lips in his sleep when his body informed him they were too dry, and then promptly parted them so he could continue to breathe loudly through his mouth. He was drooling slightly on Naruto's pillow, but being buried deep in his slumber, he didn't even notice.

His subconscious informed him that something wasn't right, and at first, he fought to ignore it until it became far too insistent to just brush off. Forcing his mind back to wakefulness, he let out a small groan, silently complaining about being awoken for no reason and wondering what the big fucking emergency was when he froze.

At first, he wasn't sure he was right. He thought maybe he'd gone insane and that what he'd thought had happened hadn't actually happened. But then another second went by and he felt it again.

Someone was running their fingers through his hair.

"Whoa!" Jerking away from the hand, Kiba all but propelled himself off the other side of the bed. Or, he would have, were the bed not fucking ginormous. Instead, he just lurched towards the opposite end, hands up and closed into fists, ready to fight, when he found Minato standing on the opposite side.

Blinking a few times in confusion, Kiba lowered his fists before he understood what was going on and rubbed at his face.

"Dude," he whined. "Creepy, okay? Creepy. I'm not your replacement son, we talked about this." He shook his head. "Tsunade already wants to send me home, if I tell her I woke up in the middle of the night to you touching me, she'll tell my mom to get a restraining order."

"I'm not trying to use you as a replacement, Kiba," Minato said in a low voice, taking a seat on the edge of the bed. He had his back to him, now, and the brunet could tell he was upset.

Which was easy to tell, considering what he was going through. But still, coming into his son's room to stroke his best friend's hair?

Not cool.

"You can't just come in here and start practising on me, then," Kiba insisted, raking one hand through his hair. "Naruto and I, while we sometimes speak the same way, are not similar at all. I mean, sometimes I wonder how we're even friends, since the only thing we have in common is video gaming."

"I know," Minato whispered.

"Stop that!" Kiba insisted, resisting the urge to flail, but it was tough. "Stop making me feel sorry for you! This isn't easy on anybody! Least of all Tsunade and I." He clicked his teeth together, not having meant to say that aloud, but it was out there, now.

"I know," the other said again. "I know that in your eyes, I have no right to be this upset, but he's my son, and I love him."

"Yeah, and it took you losing him to realize it." Kiba sighed and raked a hand through his hair. He'd had this fight with the older man at least ten times since his arrival and, honestly, it was getting boring and repetitive. "Look, I get that you regret everything, but you need to realize that we all only live once, and if when he's back you revert to your old asshole self, if you lose him again, nobody will show you any sympathy." He shrugged. "Just saying."

"I don't plan on reverting to my previous self," Minato said, turning to look at Kiba.

"Wow, you look like shit."

Again, he hadn't meant to say it aloud. He could only assume being groggy was messing with his brain-to-mouth filter.

The older man laughed and shook his head, slowly getting to his feet. "This is why I like you, Kiba. You blurt out whatever comes to mind, no matter what. It's very much like both Naruto and Tsunade and, clearly, I need more people like that in my life."

"Are you saying you want me to keep you in line?" Kiba cocked an eyebrow. "Can my first rule be: don't come into the room while I'm sleeping and touch me? Because seriously." He shook his head. "Not cool."

"I'm sorry." Minato smiled, raking one hand through his hair. "I'll try to refrain from it in the future."

"Okay." Kiba watched the other walk towards the door. "Hey, Mr. Namikaze?"

"Yes?"

The brunet pressed his lips together. "You're not as bad of a dad as I keep saying you are, you know. I'm just biased because I know how much your neglect has hurt Naruto."

"I know. And I appreciate your honesty." Minato smiled again. "Get some sleep."

"Right. Night."

The door closed and Kiba lay back down, but truthfully, he was too uncomfortable to go back to sleep. Waking up to your best friend's dad stroking your hair isn't exactly the kind of wake-up he'd had in mind.


September 29th, 04:57

"Get up."

Naruto groaned loudly, resisting the urge to swat at Ayuu when the other shook him roughly awake. He could tell based on how groggy he was that it was early, though he wasn't sure how early, exactly.

"Again?" the blond whined, which turned out to be a bad idea, because a cry left his throat when Ayuu grabbed a fistful of hair and wrenched him to his feet. He stumbled slightly, but caught himself before falling over. "What the hell! I was sleeping, how about giving me a second to at least wake up before making demands?!"

That just earned him another smack to the side of the face with the butt of the other's gun. He felt he was going to leave this place having gotten intimately acquainted with it, considering how often it touched his face and was forced into his mouth.

Grunting when he felt his hands grabbed, the cuffs were linked together behind his back and Ayuu pushed him against the wall, the blond's back smacking it hard, sending a spark of pain down his spine from the still-healing wounds. He let out a growl, but didn't say anything, hearing the other walking away. He heard the beep of a camera, and knew this was video number six for his father.

"So, what today?" Naruto demanded with a snort. "Belting? Talking? Stripping? Really, it's always a surprise with you. You should be a director, you'd make billions. Oh wait, my dad's already giving you that for free. Silly me."

He reckoned he deserved the next smack he got to the face, but it didn't mean he liked it. Spitting out blood, he ran his tongue along his teeth to make sure he hadn't lost any, and heard rustling.

Freezing, and wondering what was coming, he felt the gun press against his temple, and then lips brushed his own.

"Oh, fuck no!" Naruto snapped, wrenching his head to the side, but Ayuu's free hand came up and gripped his chin, forcing his face forward. And just when he was about to knee the guy in the groin, he shifted so that he could block Naruto's legs with his own.

"You're sick! Fuck you! No!" Naruto pulled at his cuffs, trying to turn his head, but he didn't make much progress, and the more he fought, the more amused Ayuu seemed to become.

"I'm going to enjoy this."

Naruto felt the other's lips against his own again, this time, more forceful. He clamped his teeth together when he felt the other's tongue probing for entrance, and was forced to relinquish it when he was punched in the stomach with the other's gun hand. The air rushed out of his lungs, and he opened his mouth to the other's advances.

Breathing in loudly through his nose, he waited until he had enough oxygen before snapping his teeth shut, hard. He was kind enough to give Ayuu the chance to retreat his tongue instead of biting clean through it.

Hissing, he felt the other pull away, and relished in his victory.

For all of five seconds.

Because that was how long it had taken Ayuu to pick something up and crack it loudly against his right shin.

Naruto screamed, almost falling to his knees, hands clenched behind his back and head bowed, eyes wide at the agony coursing up his body. "Jesus fuck! Fuck!"

His legs buckled and only Ayuu's presence in front of him stopped him from falling, the other pressing against him.

"Fucking Christ! Jesus! Fuck! Fuck!"

Based on the sound of what Ayuu had just dropped, he felt inclined to believe he'd just gotten hit in the leg with a metal pipe. And fuck did it ever burn. He felt like his leg was broken. He knew it wasn't, but it felt like it.

"Next time, I won't go easy," Ayuu informed him.

That was easy?! Naruto didn't think the other knew how to not go full out on anything, though he supposed, to the kidnapper's credit, he hadn't broken his leg.

"Let's try this again."

Naruto felt the other's tongue in his mouth for a second time, and was actually debating biting down again, but never got the chance. All of a sudden, Ayuu was gone, and Naruto heard the sound of something hard colliding with flesh.


September 29th, 05:09

Sasuke jerked up in bed, head lifting off his pillow sleepily before letting it fall back down onto it with a groan. He didn't know what had woken him up, but whatever it was, he hoped it was dead and had suffered a great deal.

He frowned when he heard a shout, and opened bleary eyes. It sounded like Naruto, and he wondered if maybe the other had to use the bathroom or something. Then again, he had the walkie-talkie, didn't he? Why wasn't he using that?

Maybe it's out of batteries, he mused while standing with a grunt. He didn't want to have to go downstairs to bring the other to the bathroom, but he wasn't about to let Naruto piss his pants, either. That was just cruel.

Yawning loudly, his jaw cracking, he opened the basement door and noticed the light was on. Frowning, he started down the steps, and looked over at Naruto. Instantly, his defences rose and he tore down the stairs and across the basement at rapid speed.

Grabbing the back of Itachi's shirt, he yanked him away from Naruto and promptly punched him across the face. Pain burned its way up his hand from the force of the blow, but it didn't stop him from attempting to deliver another one.

Itachi caught his hand, though, before it could connect with his face, and glared so hatefully that Sasuke felt he would have burst into flames at the other's sight were he superhuman.

Unable to help himself, he tore his hand back from his brother, and shoved him, hard.

"What the fuck are you doing?!"

"I was making a point," Itachi said, his voice positively arctic. "What are you doing?"

"A point? A fucking point?!" Sasuke shouted in his face. "You're insane! You're going in-fucking-sane!"

He saw Naruto sink to his knees out of the corner of his eye, but he didn't look at him. He was far too livid with his brother to spare the blond any attention at the moment.

Itachi shifted his gaze to the side, and Sasuke followed it, realizing the camera was set up and aimed at the blond. His brother had been recording this? That was just fantastic! Now Sasuke's face was all over the video, which meant he'd have to edit it. Which would make him grumpy. Great.

Not that the punch to the face was gonna make him happy, but that was beside the point.

"Why are you continuously doing these videos when I'm sleeping?" Sasuke demanded.

"Because, little brother, just as you've done now, you always stop them."

"This wasn't what we agreed," Sasuke hissed. "You can't do these things to him."

"Are you jealous?"

The younger Uchiha just grit his teeth and continued to glare at Itachi. The other stared back at him, his anger having dissipated to be replaced with amusement.

"If you wanted him so badly, Essyu, all you had to do was ask."

Sasuke suddenly found himself shoved in Naruto's direction. When he turned to look at Itachi, the other was tossing him his mask before moving behind the camera. The raven's heart was slamming against his ribs, but he pulled the mask on anyway and turned back to Naruto, crouching down in front of him.

"Are you okay?"

"I can't feel my leg," the blond bit out. "Correction, I wish I couldn't feel my leg."

He didn't know what that meant, but now wasn't the time to ask. He just glanced over his shoulder at Itachi, then pulled his mask up a little around his mouth.

"Whatever happens, try not to enjoy it," he said as low as possible, hoping Itachi hadn't heard.

Grabbing the other's chin forcefully, he pressed his lips against the blond's. Naruto almost instantly relaxed, but luckily, he caught himself quickly and started trying to twist his face away. Sasuke held him firmly, and the blond kicked his legs out, the Uchiha luckily managing to avoid getting kicked in the nuts.

He let his tongue explore the other's mouth for a few seconds before pulling away. Naruto spat in his face. The raven just smirked at his acting and lowered his mask, standing and turning to look at his brother. Itachi stared back dispassionately before ending the recording, picking up the camera, and heading for the stairs.

"I'm going back to sleep," he informed them.

Sasuke watched him walk away, then pulled his mask off, tossing it onto his chair and letting out a slow breath. He looked back over at Naruto, then returned to his side, bending down to undo the cuffs. The blond instantly brought them to his pant leg, wincing and hissing while pulling it up.

The Uchiha couldn't see anything, but he was positive that come morning, there would be a giant bruise on his leg, if the way Naruto was poking at it was any indication.

"I'll get you some ice," he said in a low voice, turning to go and do so.

"Essyu?"

"Yeah?" He turned back to the blond.

"I know this is asking a lot, and you might get in trouble, but do you think you could maybe stay down here with me from now on?"

He could tell it was hurting the blond's pride to ask, but Naruto just straightened as best he could while nursing his injury, and licked his lips.

"I just... I can't control my mouth sometimes, and I want to leave here with the ability to walk. And, you know, still be breathing."

Pressing his lips together, Sasuke tried to determine how he'd feel about Itachi's wrath. Then again, he'd just punched him across the face and hadn't been punished. His brother was weird like that.

"I'll see." He started for the stairs again. "I'll get you some ice."

"Okay."

Climbing them slowly, he paused when he saw the dejected look on the other's face, and sighed. "Rule Britannia, Scarecrow."

"Fuck Britannia."

"And fuck Itachi," the raven muttered under his breath, continuing up the stairs.


September 29th, 17:45

"Rule Britannia, Scarecrow."

"Fuck Britannia."

Sasuke smirked while making his way down the stairs with some Kraft Dinner, walking over to the blond and falling down beside him on the futon before handing over the bowl and checking his water bottle to ensure he still had a decent amount.

"So," he said to the blond.

"So?" Naruto asked before sniffing the bowl and grinning. "KD, sweet."

The raven snorted at his dog imitation and got more comfortable beside him. "I argued with Ayuu for almost an hour—while still worrying he was going to kill me for punching him—and I'm going to bring my futon down later. His only rule is that it has to be visible from the stairs, so it'll be across the room."

"I can live with that," Naruto replied with a grin, shovelling more food into his mouth. "Means he'll have to walk on you to get at me." He shrugged. "It's not that I'm a pussy or anything, I'm just getting tired of being bullied. I'd love to get the chance to face off with him one on one."

"You wouldn't win," Sasuke insisted, which earned him what he could only assume was a glare from the other.

"You don't know that."

"No, I do." Sasuke scowled. "Ayuu is... Intimidating isn't the right word, but basically you can watch him while you're fighting him and you'll just end up giving up. He's... unsettling." Snorting, the raven shifted back against the wall, winced, and eased himself away from it. "Trust me, I've yet to make it through an entire fight with him. He usually gets me to back off."

"You know, I find based on what you say that Ayuu only punishes you when he feels there's been an injustice or something. If you beat on him, he doesn't care, but if you, say, talk to me about something, he'll flip out."

The Uchiha shrugged. "He's complicated. I stopped trying to understand him a long time ago."

"You say that as if you're not complicated," Naruto teased, which earned him a scowl.

"How am I complicated? In what way am I complicated?"

Mysterious, Sasuke was all right with. Dangerous, even better. But complicated? How in the hell was he complicated? How could Naruto even think he was remotely complicated compared to his brother?

"You're telling me you don't agree?" Naruto cocked an eyebrow and laughed. "Dude, you're like... dude, you're being nice and falling for a kidnap victim. I'd call that pretty complicated."

"I'd call it stupidity, personally," Sasuke muttered, stealing Naruto's bowl and taking a bite of his food, the blond letting out an indignant squawk.

"Hey! Get your own food! This is mine!" He flapped his arms pitifully in Sasuke's direction to swat at him and steal his bowl back. The raven just handed it over before he spat food out of his mouth with how ridiculous Naruto looked.

The blond huddled around his bowl, pouting and trying to keep it protected from any more thievery. Sasuke couldn't help but smile slightly at the image before forcing it off his face and standing.

"How's your leg feeling?"

"All right," the blond replied, licking his lips. "Aches a little, but the ice helped, and I don't think he hit me as hard as he could have. Can't say the same for my face." He motioned the newest addition to the bruising on his face, and Sasuke scowled.

"I'm glad your leg's feeling all right."

"How's your back?" Naruto asked, shifting to get more comfortable while Sasuke took a seat in his usual chair. "I can't really tell if you're leaning back against it or not, but you're moving faster so I'm assuming it's healing up well. You haven't asked me to replace bandages or anything, either."

"I'm used to it," he said with a one-shoulder shrug. "It stings every now and then if I put too much pressure on it, but nothing I can't handle."

"That's good." Naruto said with a smile.

They sat in silence for a few seconds, Naruto chewing happily while bobbing his head from side to side like a child, and the raven snorted before deciding to move on to another topic.

"We're almost done Area Seven," he began, which earned him a giant gasp of horror from Naruto. A smirk teased the raven's lips when he picked the book up. "Don't worry, after this one, there's still Scarecrow, which you'll like. Especially because of the new character."

"Hm," Naruto said thoughtfully. "I don't know how I feel about a book named after the Scarecrow. That could be dangerous. Could mean he dies at the end of Area Seven."

"Maybe he does," Sasuke said with a smirk.

"Don't say that!" Naruto looked appalled. "How could you say that?!"

"What? People die." Sasuke shrugged. "That's why Matthew Reilly is amazing. Because he makes you love the characters, and then he rips them away from you forever."

The blond looked absolutely horrified, and Sasuke couldn't help but smirk. While what he said was true, he would never admit whether or not Scarecrow got killed at the end of the book. That would spoiler the next one, so it was easier to just poke fun at the blond.

"Ayuu's going to be going to get the drop tonight," he informed the blond, finding the last page he'd been at. "I'm thinking we should get you showered again. See how long you can last without that towel."

Naruto chewed slowly, obviously thinking about it before swallowing and nodding. "Yeah, okay. I guess it's better to do it as often as possible while he's out."

"My thoughts exactly." Sasuke shifted on his chair and looked down at the book, then began to read.


September 30th, 00:13

Naruto was quickly becoming impatient with how proud he always was of himself for stupid reasons. Well, considering his trauma, not exactly that stupid, but he felt stupid. After all, what kind of guy had a problem showing his dick to people? Wasn't that against the male genes or something? It was frustrating, and infuriating, because all he could remember was how easily Essyu had just dropped trou the other day and pretty much forced him to stare at his dick.

Why the fuck couldn't Naruto do that?! Just whip it out, even play with it or something. It was stupid that he couldn't manage that! It pissed him off, to be honest. He wanted to be okay. Which was why he was going to do something stupid.

He knew it was a bad idea, but he didn't care. He was tired of letting some asshole paedophile who was now in jail ruin his life and make him incapable of doing the simplest fucking things! So, after he'd finished cleaning himself off, he forced himself to drop the towel and turned off the water.

"I need a favour."

"Hn."

Naruto took that as a means to continue, even while his heart slowly increased its pace. "I'm going to dry off, and I want you to handcuff me to the wall so that I can't cover myself."

There was a short pause. "Are you sure?"

"Ayuu's not here, and I'm tired of this." His voice was already rising in pitch. "Until Ayuu gets home. Once the door upstairs slams, let me put pants on, but until then, I just..." He grit his teeth and held his hand out. "Give me the dry towel."

"You can't even last five minutes like this, Naruto," Essyu insisted, though the blond felt the towel in his hand and wrenched it behind the curtain, quickly drying himself off and forcing himself not to cover his privates up.

"I'll force myself to. But don't let me go or cover me up until Ayuu comes back, okay?"

"As long as you don't get mad at me for it," the other replied.

Naruto pulled back the curtain, and dropped the towel, struggling to keep his breathing even. Essyu eyed him, obviously concerned.

"I don't think this is a good idea."

"If I can take fifteen hits to the back with a fucking belt, I can stand in a closed-off room naked!" Naruto stormed for the door, Essyu opening it and leading the way back to the futon.

Every step was like panic shooting up his spine. He could feel his hands beginning to sweat and his breathing was already increasing to hyperventilating mode. He hurried after the other and held his wrists out.

"Come on, now. Today. Do it!"

"Naruto, seriously," Essyu insisted, cuffing his wrists, but keeping his gaze locked on the blond's. "You're not ready for this."

"You don't know that!"

The other snorted and Naruto was sure he'd have rolled his eyes if the blond couldn't see them. But he didn't say anything, he just cuffed him to the wall and then walked away.

Naruto watched him head to the bathroom to collect his clothes, and could already feel panic bubbling up from his chest. He could still picture the paedophile's face, inches from his own. Feel the cold of the scissors against his—

It took a conscious effort not to scream for Essyu to untie him, but he could feel his heart slamming so hard against his ribs it was actually painful. His breathing was coming faster and faster and the edges of his vision were blackening.

No! he shouted internally to himself. You will not pass out! You will not freak out! This is nothing! This is fucking nothing!

Essyu was in front of him again, watching him dispassionately. Naruto just kept his gaze locked on the other's, his chest rising and falling rapidly. Essyu reached up and slowly pulled the bottom of his mask up until his lips were exposed.

The blond knew what was coming next, and when the other leaned forward to kiss him, Naruto did, as well, pressing himself insistently against him, fists clenched and tugging at the restraints while he sucked lewdly on the other's tongue.

He could feel Essyu's hands slowly exploring his body, and he knew it was just him trying to distract Naruto. Well, it was working, that was for sure. He pressed forward into the touches, groaning into the kiss and pushing forward harder when Essyu leaned back.

The kidnapper chuckled, breathing hard through his mouth. "Sorry, I can't breathe with the mask like this," he said, and smirked.

Naruto grinned. "Your smirk is so condescending. It's awesome."

Essyu snorted and moved back in to capture his lips again. He'd distracted Naruto so thoroughly that the blond had actually forgotten for a brief moment that he was naked until he felt the other's hand wrap around him.

For a second, he panicked, and wanted to pull away, like he had the last time, but then he just thought about what Essyu had said. Their time was limited, and sadly, their feelings were not. If this was all he was going to get from the other, he may as well take advantage of it.

Rocking his hips forward, Naruto enjoyed Essyu's seemingly endless knowledge of the human anatomy. It made it easy for him to groan into the kiss, forcing his hips forward harder.

Essyu broke the kiss and chuckled against the skin of his neck. "Is this your first handjob from someone else?"

"My second," Naruto grunted. "Unless the first one doesn't count because I didn't cum."

"We'll call this your first. You don't have the option to push me away this time." He felt the other's tongue licking at his ear, and felt his heart rate increasing more, though this time, for another reason.

"You're a strange one, Uzumaki. You couldn't even take a piss standing up when you got here, and now you're letting some random guy jerk you off."

Naruto breathed hard though his mouth, gasping in air almost desperately and struggling to not let the other's words ruin this. He had something to look forward to, now. Hopefully that would mean an improvement in the shower.

Something to look forward to, and a distraction. Essyu was good at providing both, and the blond was so thankful that he'd gotten him as a kidnapper. This was seriously the most exhilarating thing he'd ever experienced in his life.

Tension was coiling in the pit of his stomach, the blond feeling like a spring was being pulled back further and further. A strangled cry escaped his lips, and he heard Essyu chuckle, though he was breathing hard against his skin, rubbing himself against the blond's thigh.

The door upstairs slammed and Naruto felt his heart stutter in his chest. No, this wasn't fair! It wasn't fucking fair!

"Close?" Essyu asked.

"He's back!" the blond hissed, even as another groan forced itself up his throat. Essyu covered his mouth.

"Close?"

Forcing himself to nod, he felt the other quicken his movements. And just a few seconds later, the spring in Naruto's stomach snapped. A loud groan escaped his lips, the sound muffled by Essyu's hand still covering it.

A few seconds passed before Essyu removed his hand from over Naruto's mouth, using it to undo the section of the cuffs holding him to the wall without any slack.

Bending down, Essyu threw his sweats at him and glanced at the basement stairs when the door at the top opened.

"Don't come down," Essyu said in a voice much calmer than Naruto felt. "His mask is off, I just got him out of the shower."

Naruto hurried to pull the pants on, heart still slamming against his ribs, and he saw Essyu pull his mask down the rest of the way before looking around and grabbing up the shirt Naruto was about to reach for, using it to wipe off his hand.

"Come upstairs," the other ordered.

"Let me secure him, and I'll be right up."

The door closed, and the two of them let out relieved sighs. Naruto let out a laugh, shaking his head and falling onto the futon, hands shaking slightly while raking through his wet hair.

"You're insane, Essyu."

"I wasn't going to let anything steal a second chance to make you cum," the other replied, clearly smirking behind his mask. "I'll dispose of this and get you a new one. Then I'll be back down with my futon for the night."

"Cool." Naruto grinned. "See you in a bit then. And um, thanks. For the favour, and the, uh..." He motioned the other. "I guess the handjob."

Essyu was smirking again. "Anytime."