A/N: Just a quick oneshot because I was fed up with revision and felt like writing a bit of fluff. Blame everything on all the coffee in my system, kay?

Warnings: Disgusting amounts of fluff, and Sasuke's a bit… OOC? Yeah, let's call it that.


The last rays of the dying sun stained the horizon pink, then bled into navy. Soon, the sky had emptied of birds, the streets cleared of most passers-by, and the spring air grown nippy. Evening had fallen in Konoha.

A lone figure leapt easily from rooftop to rooftop, silhouetted against the rising moon. Pausing briefly to wrap his robes tighter around him, he glanced up at the clear, starry sky, took a deep breath and went on his way.

Winking and flashing a wide, toothy grin at a small girl waving frantically at him from her windowsill, he picked up his pace. He took a turn right, then left, and raced down the stretch of buildings to the very last one nestled against the side of the mountain rising behind it. There, the Sixth Hokage of Konoha skidded to a halt and dropped noiselessly to the ground.

The house wasn't large; a two-storey affair with orange curtains at the windows and a meshwork of creepers framing the vibrant green door. Standing before it now, Naruto waited a moment to collect himself. Unable to hold back a smile, he fumbled in his pockets for his keys, fingers shaking in barely controlled excitement.

Managing somehow to fit the key in the lock, he flung it wide open.


It took him a few seconds to realise that no one had answered his gleeful shout, and that the whole house was shrouded in darkness.

As quickly as his spirits had risen earlier in the day, when the leader of a certain ANBU squad had reported the successful completion of their fortnight-long mission, they plummeted to the ground.

Muttering darkly under his breath, Naruto dragged his feet down the hallway. He turned at the door to the living room, and reached for the light.

"Marry me, dobe."

Arm stretched out in mid-air, Naruto froze. The keys dropped from his hand like a dead weight.

Fists clenched at his sides, the tall shadowy form of his lover, still in full uniform, stepped out from behind the couch. When had he come in?

"Marry me," said Sasuke again. His voice was low, and perfectly steady. "We'll move in together. I don't really mind where, as long as it's quiet, and the neighbours aren't nosy. You wouldn't have minded mingling with them, but you like noisy sex better, so we'll find some place that's just right."

Naruto swallowed, hands scrambling futilely to hold onto something, but Sasuke kept going.

"We'll argue about everything else, of course – you'll want the walls painted orange and I'll want them blue, and every week you'll take off the pieces of actual, legitimate art I put up on the walls and replace them with paintings of frogs and ramen I don't know where you get hold of.

"But on our bedside table I'll keep our old photo of Team 7, and next to it you'll put the new one, with the addition of Yamato and that smiling creep, and neither of us will say a word.

"I don't trust you in the kitchen – you'd blow up the house making anything that isn't ramen, probably, and I haven't been surviving near-death situations from the age of twelve to die of a lack of essential nutrients.

"I wouldn't trust you with anything else around the house, either, so I'll take up the cleaning too, when I can. All I trust you with is to keep your own ass safe on your job and to be there when I come home, when I say, 'Tadaima,' to call back to me, 'Okaeri.'

"… I suppose I could trust you with the laundry, too. You'd only get fat and lazy from sitting around in your office all day, and not even you could turn that into a potentially life-threatening activity.

"Some nights, we'll head out to the farthest training field. We'll train together there under the stars, just the two of us, sparring like the old times. Only this time, instead of random idiotic claims of how you want to kick my ass, you'll be screaming my name with your pants around your ankles, biting on your Hokage robes to muffle the sound.

"You're going to need a new set of those robes pretty frequently, I'll make sure of it.

"A really good alarm clock is another thing we'll need, or we'll never get a thing done. We've never been morning persons, and getting up from a bed warm with you will only be that much harder. We'll bitch and grunt our way to the bathroom, but you recover fast, and it won't take you long to start a spit war with the toothpaste.

"I never thought I'd take part in something as ridiculous as that, but you've always been the number one unpredictable ninja, and I guess you rub off on me too.

"We'll grow older together, you and I. When I retire from ANBU, Sakura will pressure me into taking on a team of my own. You'll stop by on a break when I'm training them, sometimes, and every time they'll clamour to see us spar.

"You told me once that if we died, you wanted us to die together. I have to admit, that's not a bad idea. When we meet in the next life, you'll have your work cut out trying to catch up to me again if I leave you behind, so I suppose it's only fair.

"I could give you a head start, letting you leave me first… But thing is, I'm a little selfish, and I don't want to miss you. I tried it once, and it didn't work too well.

"So lets do this, dobe. Whenever. Right now would work too. Just… Marry me."

He stopped, and a ringing silence fell.

He began to look around him then, dark eyes growing just a tiny bit wider as though seeing everything for the first time.

The coffee table, with his Uchiha-engraved mug sitting on Naruto's frog-patterned coaster.

One of his socks stuffed into Naruto's slipper, kicked under the couch in a moment of passion.

The fridge, with post-it notes all over, his own neat handwriting mingling with Naruto's untidy scrawl and childish doodles.

Following his gaze, Naruto felt his face grow hot. When had their lives gotten so tangled up in each other? They weren't living together, not officially, even though Sasuke slept over at his house more often than not these days. He claimed it was because it was closer from the Hokage building than his own home, so it was more convenient when he was tired from a mission, and would be returning with Naruto anyway.

That didn't explain the long hours of energetic sex they'd invariably end up having for most of the night, though.

He remembered how confidently he'd been expecting Sasuke to be here already, waiting for him, and how used to this he'd become.

Almost… almost like they were already

"Sasuke…" he whispered, raising a hand to touch him, as his lover's words – the most he'd ever heard him in speak in one go, in all the years they'd known each other – rang in his ears. Could he really have meant all that? His fingertips brushed the sides of his uniform, felt the bandages underneath, and froze.

"Shit, Sasuke!" he cried, lifting up the hem of his shirt, scanning the heavy bandaging down his side. "What happened?"

But Sasuke seemed to have had fulfilled his quote of verbosity for the night, and didn't answer.

"Sasuke!" Naruto shouted urgently, grabbing his shoulders. "Did you show this to Sakura-chan?"

Sasuke nodded almost imperceptibly, but Naruto knew what he had to do. Sasuke may be standing right here, but a part of him was still far away, still staring into the eyes if the man he'd been designated to kill, watching the life bleed out of them.

His grip on Sasuke's shoulders loosened, and he pulled him into his arms, pressing as close to him as he could possibly get. Sasuke would never admit it, but this was what he needed sometimes after missions like this, just the reassurance of his lover's warm, solid body against his own.

"I'm here," Naruto mumbled into his neck, "You're here, with me."

He knew he had to be Sasuke's anchor at times like these, thankful he was here, safe, alive and breathing, and remind him of the same. So what was with the twinge of disappointment, that made him want to pout and sulk like a child denied his favourite toy? He tightened his arms around Sasuke, trying to let go of the utterly selfish thought.

"No," said Sasuke suddenly, and shoved him away.

Naruto straightened up to stare at him in shock, arms suddenly far too cold.

Sasuke licked his lips briefly; Naruto couldn't help flickering his gaze to his mouth at the movement. "I…" Naruto's eyes snapped back up, but Sasuke was looking stonily at a point over his shoulder. He cleared his throat, fiddled with the hem of his shirt, and said at last, firmly, "You're wrong. It…isn't how you think."

"Eh?" Naruto tilted his head, confusion written plainly in his scrunched up blue eyes.

Sasuke tightened his fists a few times, and grunted, "What I said… I had meant to. For a long… Not the weird stuff, but just. I mean, I meant that too, but I didn't plan on…" He trailed off, and glared down at his own hand as if it had personally offended him. "I don't have a… anything with me." He sighed, and looked up at Naruto awkwardly, "But… che, dobe, I do want to marry you, alright?" He shifted his eyes away to that fascinating spot over Naruto's shoulder again, a definite pink flush spreading over his cheekbones.

Mouth suddenly too dry, Naruto could only gape open-mouthed at him.

A few seconds passed. Sasuke stole a few shifty glances at him as the moments ticked by, then snapped. "Just say something already, will you?"

Heart soaring, feeling enveloped in the warmest of glows, Naruto squinted at him through watery blue eyes. "You bastard!" he cried, and punched him on the chest. "You… you… Who said you were allowed to be this romantic!"

"Huh?" Sasuke frowned as Naruto pulled him into his arms and promptly started sniffling a little into his shoulder. Romantic? "Oi, idiot, that wasn't meant to be romantic! I was just… a bit tired out. And – and injured!"

But Naruto only ignored him with a half-laugh, half-sob and clung tighter to him. "Yes," he murmured softly, and Sasuke felt sure he would have to see Sakura again first thing tomorrow, because it couldn't possibly be healthy for his heart to race like this.

For now though, he just pressed closer, knotted his fingers tighter at the nape of Naruto's neck. "Tadaima," he murmured in his ear.

Naruto smiled, squeezing his eyes shut before the wetness leaked out. "Okaeri, bastard," he whispered, "Okaeri."



tadaima - i'm home; okaeri - welcome back

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