AN: HOLY CRAPPITY CRAP! I am SO sorry for leaving you for so long. I'm going to use the usual excuses of life in the way, lack of inspiration and lack of internet for a short while (which was TORTURE), but there's no excuse in the end, and I apologize. I logged in after ages and found loads of review from you! Thank you so much! And those made me think, "Forget life, forget lack of inspiration, I gotta get this freaking thing finished!" So, I finally worked out the entire rest of the story. I had been having writer's block with the details which made it hard to proceed, but you guys have been so patient, and now that I've worked things out I'm setting myself a goal to get this done by November if possible. I'm already at work on the next chapter which I'll get up soon, and I'll be writing every day from now on. My lovelies, you've waited long enough for this. Please read on. Meanwhile, I'll get to work on replying to your messages. :) I'll write little answers to the guests here since I can't reply to you through messaging.

To Guests/Dodo/Esike/apple/Destiny MeLynn/Everyone! - I really appreciate your reviews and lovely comments (yes, the constructive criticism too I love to bits). You have no idea. Even all of you asking me to update really has made me update. I'm sorry for neglecting you, and I'll be working much harder to get these up.

To Rei - You're still on Cloud Cover at the moment, but I can only reply to you here to say thank you for all the reviews! It's interesting for me to see your reactions to each chapter! (^_^)

To mE1989 - Orochimaru did indeed do that although I didn't go into detail (Chapter 20 of Cloud Cover). I see him as a character who takes a delight in emotionally and psychologically torturing people. And yeah, Naruto has been very closed off about stuff that has happened, which isn't healthy, so I hope they'll get through things well. I'm looking forward to that too! (^_^)

Now ignore this, let's read the chapter! (^_^)

Red Storm

Chapter 14: Finally

"Developing the muscles of the soul demands no competitive spirit, no killer instinct, although it may erect pain barriers that the spiritual athlete must crash through."

~Germain Greer

The following few days were the most awkward of Naruto's life. He tried to pretend nothing had happened when he returned to school. He met his friends at the lockers in the mornings. He ignored the sniggers of other students sent in his direction in the school hallways and classes. He even talked to Sasuke normally as before, but it was like a huge invisible wall had sprung up between them and it felt completely impassable. Whenever Naruto tried to make conversation he was met with a simple grunt or the shortest answer possible.

Naruto had counted. Sasuke somehow managed never to speak beyond three words if Naruto addressed him. It frustrated him more and more as a growing desperation mounted in his stomach to just get rid of this blockade and have Sasuke speaking normally again (even if normal was usually only 10 syllables). It was driving him crazy.

"So, am I still coming over to your house to study tomorrow?" he asked the silent teen next to him as they pulled their bags out of their lockers. It was Wednesday - another awkward school day mercifully at an end.

Sasuke shrugged, not looking at him. "If you want."

Naruto gritted his teeth. "Well, why not? We always study together on Thursday for the Friday history test, right?"

"Up to you." replied Sasuke. He closed his locker and shouldered his black and white striped backpack.

"Well then, I guess, yeah if you don't mind and stuff."

"Sure." said Sasuke. A moment later he was down the hallway and around the corner without a backward glance.

Naruto slammed his locker door shut hard as he glared after the other teen. Ok, so he knew it was his fault, but come on, hadn't Sasuke said it would be ok if things went back to normal?


He froze when he heard his name. It was her voice - the one person he had been dreading to meet the most. He turned slowly, his heart beating a stampede in his chest. Sakura stood in front of him, her pink brows hovering over haunted green eyes, and she held her right arm across her stomach, touching the left arm as if protecting herself from some unknown enemy. The soft, white chiffon top she was wearing made her look like an angel, but the hurt in her gentle, green eyes made his blood run cold. He hadn't seen her since…since the evening in the park. Had she been avoiding him? He wanted to speak, to say something, but his mouth was dry.

"I already talked to Sasuke. So, it's true – what they're saying." Her voice trembled slightly as she spoke.

Naruto took a step forward and spread out his hands in a pleading gesture.

"Sakura, I can explain." he started, but she pulled away, cutting him off.

"Is he the real reason we broke up?" she asked.

Naruto held up his hands. "No! I mean, the reason I told you was real. I didn't want to be with Sasuke, I mean, he kissed me. I didn't want it. I pushed him away. I wasn't-" he stopped, searching for some words that would ease the pain she must be feeling right now.

He looked into her eyes with as much sincerity as he could. "You have to believe me, Sakura. I would never try to hurt you like this."

Sakura's eyes began to water and she blinked, sending a single tear dripping down her cheek. "I know you wouldn't, Naruto."

She dropped her arms at her sides and clenched her fists tightly, hiding her face as she looked down at the ground, but Naruto could see the tiny droplets splashing on the concrete leaving tiny dark circles.

"You've only ever been kind to me." she said in a voice barely above a whisper. "That's why, that's why I can't hate you even though I want to."

"I'm sorry, Sakura." he murmured.

There was silence between them for a few moments and then the girl wiped her eyes with her sleeve and looked up at him.

"He kissed you?"

Naruto could only nod, waiting for the onslaught, but nothing came, no shouting, no anger. Then his breath caught in his throat when Sakura's lips quirked upwards, an odd smile on her face. She shook her head and gave a bitter laugh.

"I should have realized it, you know." she said, the tears still pouring down her cheeks. Her sleeve had done nothing to stem the flow. "You were the only one he ever noticed. The only one he ever acknowledged."

Naruto felt his chest tighten. Was that true? Now that he thought about it, it was kind of true. Sasuke had never willingly spent time with anyone else before him. He stared at Sakura in surprise. That had never occurred to him.

"I tried to get close to him for so long, but he always shut me out." continued Sakura with a sniff. "But you, you were just there, and you became the biggest part of his world without even trying."

Naruto didn't know what to say, so he did the only thing he could think of. He dropped his bag pack on the floor and dug a bashed-looking pack of tissues out of it before handing one to the girl. Sakura accepted it with a low 'thanks' and wiped her eyes.

"I'm really jealous of you, Naruto." she said at last, staring at the tissue in her hands.

"Y-you shouldn't be, Sakura. I mean, it's not like anything is going to happen. H-he's a bastard…and he's a guy." Naruto wasn't quite sure why he stuttered saying this. His voice should be full of conviction. It was freaking annoying. Now he realized how Hinata must always feel.

Sakura wiped her nose and gave him a small smile. "You really are an idiot, aren't you?" She sighed. "Well, I guess this makes us rivals from now on."

If Naruto could have blushed every color of the rainbow right then, he would have. Him? A love rival for Sasuke freaking Uchiha?

"No." he all but shouted throwing up his hands, "Don't get the wrong idea. Sakura, you can have him. Besides he's ignoring me now."

Sakura's smile dropped. "Naruto Uzumaki, you have a chance to be with Sasuke and you're going to throw it away? You're more of an idiot than I thought."

"B-but," started Naruto. "I thought you wanted to-"

Sakura clicked her tongue in frustration. "Tche, you idiot. I know that with or without you in the picture, it's not going to happen, ok? I just…" She bit her lip and met Naruto's gaze. "If he's going to be with someone, at least I wouldn't hate it so much if it was you. You're one of the best people I know. Besides," She scratched her head. "I kind of feel a little bit better knowing that he's gay. Now I know I never had a chance."

It was as if the world had slowed down and stopped. He didn't even know what he could say to that. He knew Sakura was an amazing person, but to be this selfless, this kind. "Sakura, you-"

Sakura frowned and punched him hard in the stomach, her fist as hard as a sledgehammer.

Naruto cried out, holding his torso and doubling over. He looked up at her through pain-filled eyes. "Ow! Sakura, what was that for?"

She folded her arms and looked away. "Don't you dare hold back just because of me." She met his gaze again, her expression softening. "Or I'll never forgive you…ok, Naruto?"

Naruto straightened up painfully. "What're you saying?"

Sakura pushed him lightly. "Psht. Idiot. I'm saying that if you like Sasuke, don't use me as an excuse to run away. You got that?"

Naruto frowned. He wasn't using her as an excuse. It was, he was...he wasn't, was he?

He swallowed.

"Sakura, you…really are amazing."

Sakura smiled, but it was strained. Naruto knew that kind of smile all too well. It had been his mask for so long after all, but he knew how much worse it felt to have it torn off, so he said nothing about it as she turned and waved casually over her shoulder.

"Tell me something I don't know." she said as she walked away. "See you tomorrow, Uzumaki. You'd better watch out though because I won't be giving up on Sasuke."

Naruto couldn't hide the smile that appeared unconsciously on his face.

"Yeah, see you tomorrow, Haruno."

That night Naruto lay in bed wide awake and staring at the ceiling. Sakura's words replayed over and over in his mind.

Don't you dare hold back just because of me, or I'll never forgive you….You're the only one he's ever acknowledged.

Naruto passively watched the static white noise that always appeared in his vision when staring into the dark.

This whole time he'd just been looking to be normal, to not rock the boat. Being with Sasuke was pretty much the antithesis of all that, and yet to his surprise, it was the people closest to him that didn't seem bothered by it at all. Kiba had been weirded out, sure, but even he'd admonished Naruto for his reaction. Even Sakura, who freaking loved Sasuke since elementary school, had just given him her blessing. Come to think of it, had he ever honestly even asked himself if he liked Sasuke? Was it possible that he was using them all as an excuse, when really, it was him who was finding it hard to accept? Did he, could he…like Sasuke?

They'd fought from day one, yet there had always been something about the Uchiha that had drawn Naruto to him. Now, he as the closest friend that he had. No, it was more than that. Sasuke was the only person who got him – truly, fully understood him.

Naruto rolled onto his side with a sigh, thinking back to that kiss in the school bathrooms. He couldn't deny he'd enjoyed it., or at least, before completely freaking out over what people would think. If he thought about it, what was he really afraid of?

The face of Orochimaru flashed into his mind and a jolt of anger shot through him. He clenched the sheet subconsciously in his hands. There was no way Naruto would still let him have an influence in his life. No fucking way.

It was time, time to put that bastard and everything he stood for behind him. It was time for Naruto to sort his feelings out, to finally be honest with himself without thinking about everyone else or anything else. He needed to see Sasuke tomorrow. He needed to know…

"Something on your mind?" said a quiet voice.

"Huh?" Naruto jerked his head around to look at Shikamaru sitting at the desk behind him, watching him from under half-hooded lids, a bored expression on his face. Naruto glanced down at his paper. The guy had barely written anything on his algebra pop quiz which made Naruto feel a little better since he'd barely looked at his paper and the time was already half up.

"It's just you've been staring at Uchiha across the room for the entire class." Shikamaru motioned to the dark-haired teen who sat head down, scribbling away at his sheet. Sasuke hadn't sat next to Naruto today which irked him. His indifference was insulting. How come he could still study so easily? Had he gotten over things that quickly? Did it mean that little? Naruto hadn't been able to concentrate all day, just staring at the Uchiha from afar like a freaky stalker, noting many new things about him. Indeed, Naruto had spent the whole of maths class noting the way his overly long front bangs fell into his eyes every now and again forcing him to swipe them away with long, pale fingers; the way those layers stuck up so stupidly at the back yet still managed to look good on him; the way his jet-black eyes never seemed to waver in concentration…

"He isn't paying attention either you know." interrupted that voice again, breaking Naruto out of his reverie. Shikamaru's eyes flickered almost imperceptibly over towards Sasuke. "He's writing it down, but he's not processing it. His mind is on other things."

The colour in Naruto's cheeks heightened, and he tried to mask it with a frown. "And how would you know?" he murmured under his breath, "Haven't you been asleep for, like, this entire class?"

Shikamaru shrugged. "Just dozing. Doesn't mean I'm completely unaware of what's going on around me. For example, that girl over there," He pointed at a fair-haired girl with purple barettes in her hair, "She's currently passing notes to two people. They're having a three-way conversation. Mr. Kakashi has noticed, but he doesn't care."

Naruto tapped his pencil on his desk, watching the girl. She suppressed a grin as she surreptitiously opened a small piece of paper under her desk and caught the eye of her friend at the desk next to her.

Shikamaru leaned his head on his arm and fixed Naruto with a dull gaze. "Do you like him?"

Naruto's pencil flew out of his hand, hitting the student on his left smack bang in the face.

"Ow!" he glared at Naruto, holding his cheek.

"Ah, uh, sorry, man. My bad." said Naruto quickly retrieving the pencil which had clattered onto the ground. Kakashi raised his eyes from the book he was reading, and raised a brow, briefly appraising the boys before going back to reading without a word.

Naruto leaned back in his chair and turned his neck slightly to talk to Shikamaru. "What, um, I mean, why would you ask me that?" he asked in a hushed whisper, trying desperately to look nonchalant.

Shikamaru's expression didn't change. "Seems to me like you've been asking yourself that same question all day."

Naruto could feel his cheeks blooming in embarrassment now and he stared at his pop quiz.

"What if I was?" He glanced back nervously to meet Shikamaru's unwavering gaze.

"Then I'd say you're an idiot."

Naruto's head dropped in defeat. Yeah, that's what he'd expected.

Shikamaru continued, "It's been clear to me from the first time I saw you argue over a year ago that you liked each other. I'm honestly astounded it's taken you both this long to figure it out."

Naruto's mouth dropped open. "You…you knew?"

Shikamaru raised a brow. "So you admit you like him then?"

Naruto stared over at Sasuke – a warm, nervous feeling churning in the bottom of his stomach. He did. He did like him. He liked that he was a stupid self-righteous bastard. He liked that he never took any bullshit. He liked the way Sasuke always had his back and vice versa. He liked that they could just sit together without having to worry about filling the silence. He'd liked…he'd liked kissing him. He wanted more. Hell, he even liked arguing with the guy. Naruto wasn't quite sure when or how it had happened, but he did. He liked Sasuke Uchiha.

Naruto turned back to Shikamaru with the expression of a rabbit in headlights. He gave one slow nod.

Shikamaru smirked. "Congratulations, Uzumaki. Admittance is the first step." He absentmindedly began filling in a few equations. "Next question is, what are you going to do about it?"

Naruto shot a glance at Kakashi. The teacher was still ignoring them.

"What do you mean?" he asked quietly.

Shikamaru sighed and put down his pencil. "Sasuke's done his bit and you rejected him pretty hard. You do realize you're the one who's going to have to fix this, right?"

Naruto swallowed. "He couldn't deny it. He frowned at his paper. He wasn't sure what was more confusing. The pop quiz or this messed-up situation.

"How do I fix it?" he murmured. "He hates me now."

Shikamaru yawned and stood up, picking up his paper.

"Tell him the truth." he said in a low voice as he passed. "Trust me. The rest will follow."

He shook his head as he began to make his way down the aisles of desks, and Naruto was sure he heard a muttered "Troublesome." as he handed in his paper to an amused-looking Kakashi.

When Naruto arrived at Sasuke's house the following afternoon books in hand, his heart was beating fast and an inexplicable fear was sending electric jolts through his gut. He took a deep breath.

"It's just Sasuke." he said quietly before pressing the white button of the doorbell with his good arm.

There was the sound of slow footsteps and then the door swung open. Sasuke stood there in skinny, black, stonewashed jeans and a gray-and-white t-shirt. A silver charm on a black leather thong hung round his throat. Naruto groaned inwardly. Was he purposely trying to look a sex god rock star just to tempt him? Then again, when Naruto thought about it, didn't Sasuke always look like this? He felt heat begin to rise in his cheeks at the thought. Sasuke Uchiha…was sexy.

Sasuke cleared his throat and Naruto quickly looked away realizing he'd been caught staring.

"You coming in?"

Well, with a warm invitation like that, how can I resist? thought Naruto to himself sarcastically.

He pasted a tight smile on his face and entered the foreboding dark hallway. The great mahogany stairs stretched up towards an even darker landing. Had it always been this unwelcoming?

Naruto fidgeted a bit with his bag as he hung about awkwardly at the bottom of the stairs.

"Where are we studying?"

Sasuke shrugged. "My room as usual."

He made his way up the stairs, not looking back to see if Naruto was following.

As of 3 minutes ago, Naruto was seriously regretting ever suggesting this study session. He followed Sasuke up the stairs and into his room where he automatically sat down in his usual spot on the bed. He felt Sasuke's eyes on him and turned slightly pink before shifting onto the floor and spreading his books around him.

"So…I've revised chapters 1 through 10. I got up to the part about the holy wars. How about you?"

Sasuke sat down at his desk. "I finished the book. He indicated to a few books on his shelf. I got some other sources on the library to get some more background on the crusades from other points of view."

Naruto groaned inwardly. Of course Sasuke went to the library to read more than they'd been assigned. He opened his mouth to make fun of him, but Sasuke turned to look at him at that moment just waiting for the insult, the insult they both knew would come in a completely normal situation and start of one of their usual banter-style arguments. Naruto lost his nerve. He shut his mouth and looked away.

"Ok, cool. I'll have a look if I need anything."

Sasuke grunted his reply and spread his own homework out on the desk before burying his head in his books.

And that was that. The most silent, awkward study session commenced. Every now and again, Naruto would look at Sasuke, or rather his back from this position. He studied the smooth dark locks that fell forward and the muscles on his back that moved under his t-shirt as he wrote.

Sakura's words kept repeating themselves in his head. "You have a chance to be with Sasuke and you're going to throw it away? You're more of an idiot than I thought."

Naruto sighed and leaned his head against the side of the bed. How could he study with all this crap going on in his mind?

The minutes and seconds crawled past, and Naruto felt an enormous sense of relief as 6 o' clock finally came around. That was Naruto's usual time to leave and eat dinner at Iruka's. He grabbed his books and shoved them hastily into his bag. Sasuke looked up and turned round for the first time in the two hours since Naruto had arrived.

The blond teen forced a smile.

"So, thanks for the books and all. You wanna study again tomorrow?" asked Naruto, He didn't know why he suggested that. Why did he suggest that?

Sasuke shrugged. "If you want."

Frustration flashed through Naruto as the whole polite reserve finally got broken by sheer Uzumaki temper. "Ok, what's with you?"

Sasuke began to put away his books. "What do you mean?"

Naruto frowned, grabbing Sasuke's arm before quickly letting him go when Sasuke met his gaze. "You've been so weird this week. All polite and shit. You barely talk. It's weirding me out."

Sasuke quirked a dark brow. "I've been trying to keep my distance. Isn't that what you wanted? To stay friends?"

"No." said Naruto immediately, then backtracked. Did he? "I mean, yes, but…"

He hesitated and his heart rate sped up as Sasuke shut his book and took a step towards the blond, closing the gap between them and fixing him with a dark stare.


Naruto could take in every feature of his friend now, the strong, aqualine nose, full, pale mouth and those jet-black eyes that seemed to suck him in yet see right through him at the same time.

He flustered and blurted out, "But I just want things to go back to the way they were. You know, before."

Crap crap crap! Why had he said that? Disappointment shone clearly in Sasuke's face before he looked away and stepped back.

"I see."

He put the book on the desk and stared at it dully.

Naruto felt a moment of panic as the closeness was suddenly lost, that glimmer of the real Sasuke hidden beneath a cold exterior once again. He almost reached out, but then Sasuke spoke..

"Things can't go back to the way they were before."

Naruto frowned. "Why not?"

Sasuke said the words seriously and without hesitation, fixing Naruto with a firm stare. "Because I have feelings for you."

Naruto turned bright red and suddenly became interested in the wood grain on the beechwood door.

"Oh well, you know, that's…" he stammered.

Sasuke sighed and turned away.

"You should probably go. I'll see you on Monday, ok?"

Naruto watched him as he began to walk out of the room obviously expecting Naruto to follow, but the blond's mind was in uproar and a million emotions jostled through his head, clouding his thoughts. Doubt and fear and excitement all mingled in a rush. The questions tumbling in his mind turned into a hurricane of thoughts before settling into one single roaring realization. He looked at the back of his best friend who was walking away from him, and he knew. He knew he didn't want to lose him, he knew what was that he was feeling, and he knew that he couldn't – no – wouldn't mess this up again. And his mind made the decision before he could even worry about the consequences. Oh hell, he was going to regret this.

Naruto gritted his teeth and called after the stupid, spiky-haired raven, "Yeah, well, maybe I sort of have feelings for you too, asshole."

He clapped a hand to his mouth, somehow not expecting the words to sound so jarring. It had sounded much cooler in his head. Sasuke froze in the middle of the hallway and turned to look back at Naruto, shock written all over his face.

"What did you just say?"

Naruto folded his arms and lifted his chin up. "I said you're an asshole."

A flash of annoyance passed over Sasuke's face and he strode up to his stubborn friend who back-stepped hurriedly until he hit the wall behind him. Sasuke put his hands on the wall next to Naruto's head, trapping him in the small space. His dark eyes had never looked more intense as he searched Naruto's gaze.

"No, the other thing." he said.

Naruto swallowed and looked anywhere but at him. "You mean, the maybe sort of kind of liking you thing?" The last part of his sentence trailed off almost to a whisper, but Sasuke just smirked.

"Yeah, that thing."

He leaned forward then and Naruto closed his eyes automatically waiting for that familiar warmth, the feeling of a soft pair of lips when…nothing came. His eyes opened only to see Sasuke's smirking face a few inches from his own. Sasuke pulled away then taking all his warmth and…Sasukeness with him.

"Come round to my house tomorrow and we'll do homework." he said as he began to turn away.

A hot jolt of anger shot through Naruto and he grabbed Sasuke's arm, yanking him round.

"Oi, bastard, you don't get to do that and then just walk away."

Surprise passed over Sasuke's face once more before changing to a look of determination. The blond gulped, the expression in the dark eyes sending a jolt of nervous electricity through him. The next moment, he found himself pinned against the wall again as Sasuke lowered his face to his. When his soft lips finally met Naruto's own it was like a floodgate opening. The feel and taste of Sasuke filled him and suddenly the rest of the world was lost. There was only the sensation of skin brushing against skin, warm lips moving against warm lips.

Sasuke sought Naruto's mouth like a desperate man. He pressed one hand against the wall next to Naruto and the other went to the back of his head, pushing through his hair and at the same time pulling him closer.

And Naruto? Well, Naruto freaking kissed back. He grabbed at Sasuke's shirt collar and pulled his body closer until they melted together, gripping the other teen's raven locks with his other hand. It wasn't a soft kiss or even particularly skillful. It was fast, sloppy and desperate as each boy tried to get more and more of the other, their bodies pressing against one another, their heat mingling. Naruto's mind was in a whirl as he felt Sasuke's warm wet tongue swipe his lip, seeking entrance, and hell, if he didn't give it. He opened his mouth slightly and the next moment their warm tongues were battling for dominance. A fresh, linen smell mixed with a musky woodiness filled his senses and he breathed it in – the smell and taste of Sasuke Uchiha. It had wafted past him so many times in the past when they'd studied together, talked together – every time the Uchiha was near him. Naruto grabbed Sasuke's shoulders and pushed him away. The teen's dark eyes flashed worry and then utter shock as Naruto smirked and shoved him onto the bed next to them.

"What? You think you're the only one who gets to play cool?"

With a grin, he got on top of a still-shocked Sasuke and continued their battle, pressing his lips to his friends' and running his hand through his smooth, jet black hair. It was surprisingly soft to the touch. Naruto had always imagined it to be slighty stiff with gel.

Sasuke pulled Naruto closer on top of him and the blond could feel him smile smugly into the kiss, taking in every part that was Naruto.

After what seemed an age, Naruto pulled away, breathing heavily.

"You…" he said between breaths. "…are a massive bastard."

Sasuke smirked.

"And you," he said before swiftly switching their positions and making Naruto's mouth drop open in indignant surprise, "…are a total dumbass."

Naruto grinned and the two boys just stared at each other for a few moments. Sasuke reached down and touched Naruto's face, tracing his features. The touch was so soft, so tender, so ….un-Sasuke-like it caught the blond by surprise and he reddened. Sasuke's throat bobbed as he swallowed and lowered his head towards Naruto, capturing his lips once again, and Naruto closed his eyes allowing the sheer sensation of it to fill his mind, trying desperately not to think. He wasn't afraid to admit it. He was terrified from the moment Sasuke had started kissing him. Hell, he was terrified from the moment he'd walked in the door of his house. Even now his heart hammered in his chest and he felt like he was going to devolve into a panicked mess, but his mind took control and calmed him.

It's Sasuke. He's safe. he thought to himself.

The kiss was softer this time, slower as the boys took their time exploring one another. Naruto couldn't get enough of running his hands through Sasuke's surprisingly soft hair. Sasuke pulled away slightly and drifted down to the other teen's throat, kissing and sucking. Naruto let slip a small moan as Sasuke found a particularly sweet spot. He bit his lip, wondering if Sasuke would make fun of him, but there was nothing other than Sasuke repeating the action making Naruto's breathing become labored as he sought to control himself. He'd never experienced this kind of thing before - actual pleasure in these kinds of situations. It was new and foreign…and it felt damn good.

Then Naruto felt vague surprise at a hardness pressing into his leg and his eyes flashed open. Sasuke must have noticed the change in mood because he too opened his eyes before following Naruto's gaze. He pulled away slightly and smirked.

"Don't look so surprised. I'm not the only one."

Naruto felt his face redden as he realized he was completely hard. He bit his lip and looked away.

Sasuke frowned. "It's nothing to be ashamed of."

"Easy for you to say." mumbled Naruto.

Sasuke moved off him, allowing Naruto to sit up. "Not really. I've been through all this awkward part. You're just catching up."

Naruto's eyes widened. "You felt like this before?"

Sasuke shrugged. "When I didn't want to admit my feelings to myself, yeah. It was torture, so I know how you feel."

Naruto swallowed. Somehow he had never imagined Sasuke having real fallible human emotions like embarrassment or fear. He always seemed beyond that, too collected.

Sasuke flopped back on the eiderdown and stared up at the ceiling.

"Don't worry. I'm not going to push you or make you do anything you don't want to do."

Naruto scratched his arm and looked away in embarrassment. "I'm not a girl, you know." he mumbled.

Yet he was probably acting like one now. He pushed the thought away and shrugged before falling back next to Sasuke, joining him in staring at the ceiling.

"Man, this is so weird." he murmured.

Sasuke raised a brow and nudged him lightly with his shoulder. "Only if you make it weird, moron."

"Hey, I'm not a moron." said Naruto indignation lacing his tone, "I can't help it if it's weird falling for a stubborn jackass like you."

He could practically feel the other teen's smirk even though he wasn't looking at his face.

"So, you've fallen for me, huh?"

Heat engulfed Naruto's cheeks. "What!? No! I mean…I mean…shut up. It's your fault. Confusing me with your weirdness and stuff."

Sasuke pushed himself up onto his elbow and fixed Naruto with a strange smile. "Oh, you are definitely coming over to do more homework tomorrow."

Naruto swallowed as he stared into the intense dark eyes. What had he just let himself in for? And why was it that he just couldn't bring himself to regret it?

AN: Freaking hell, was this long enough in coming or what? You know me though. There's always danger on the horizon...