The air was crisp. Snow had started to fall about a half hour ago. Naruto was standing around with the guys at the tree farm. It was a couple of weeks before Christmas, and he'd taken on a part-time job since his Dad's business wasn't all that busy during the winter season. It was about quarter past 5, so they'd be closing in about 15 minutes. His truck was still at the repair shop (and had been for almost two weeks now). Usually he hitched a ride home with Kiba since he was working there, too.

He still had a brace on his wrist from the accident a few weeks ago, but he mostly felt fine. At least fine enough to use a handsaw. He'd gotten his stitches out and most of the bruises had healed. The driver of the car, Mrs. Walker, had been so extremely apologetic about the situation that she'd asked him out for coffee one night to see how he was doing. When he'd mentioned that his partner (as he'd phrased it to her about Sasuke) had been more traumatized by the experience than him, she'd later sent him a gift card for a local (very expensive) restaurant so that they could go out and have a nice dinner sometime. Needless to say, Sasuke had been unwilling to redeem it so far. He'd been pretty grouchy lately, but Naruto couldn't tell if it was related to the accident or the fact that he had insisted on inviting Itachi to their home for Christmas. In fact, it was most definitely the latter as they'd fought about it just this morning. Sasuke was somewhat insistent that they spend their first Christmas alone together. Eventually, he'd guilted Sasuke into inviting his brother over since Itachi really didn't have anywhere to go for the holiday.

At the moment, Naruto was assisting an attractive older woman and her teenage daughter with finding the perfect balsam tree for their house. The woman was extremely nice. The daughter was polite, too, but she seemed rather shy, and every time Naruto spoke to her, she blushed and lowered her head. She had long dark hair and pale eyes. He was reminded of Hinata. Well, and Neji for that matter. In fact, they had gone out with Neji and TenTen the other night to see the new Lincoln movie and then went for drinks afterward.

The two ladies finally decided on a tree that was about 8.5 feet tall and would work well in their great room. He was sad to learn the woman had lost her husband in the past year, so they talked for a while about that. A couple of the younger guys went ahead and had the tree netted and then managed to fit it in the back of her SUV as Naruto accompanied her inside the small building where customers could pay and enjoy some free hot chocolate. Naruto poured her and the daughter some. When he took off his glove, she noticed the brace on his wrist and asked about that. He simply smiled and explained he'd been in a small car accident. By the time they'd finished chatting and she'd paid for her tree, she'd hugged him goodbye as if they were old friends, and then it was time for the farm to shut down for the night since it was getting dark out.

Naruto was putting his gloves on as he walked out of the building. The snow was starting to fall more heavily. Tiny flakes danced around each other as they fluttered to the ground, already starting to pile up under his boots. He'd been watching the sky as he walked over to where the other guys were cleaning when suddenly hearing Kiba's loud voice snapped him out of his thoughts. Standing beside Kiba was Sasuke, looking out of place in his dapper Burberry coat, black leather gloves, cashmere scarf, and work clothes. The rest of them were dressed in sweatshirts, overalls, gloves, and skull caps.

He couldn't help but smile as he approached the group, ignoring the various catcalls of some of the younger boys. He'd known most of them for a long time, and it was no secret that he and Sasuke were together. No one really gave him any crap for it, and even if they did, between he and Kiba, it would've been taken care of. The odd thing was that (or maybe it wasn't that odd actually) most people seemed to understand just why Naruto was with Sasuke when they met him. In fact, usually they would ask: Wait, so... why Naruto? He could understand, though. Sasuke was... well. Sasuke was Sasuke. He was brilliant, funny, successful, incredibly good looking, and ridiculously stylish. Compared to him, Naruto came across more like Mr. Potato Head maybe. So, he could understand their doubts. The fact they were both men in a relationship (and Naruto supposedly straight) was somehow secondary when it came to their differences in taste.

The look on Sasuke's face was slightly hesitant, as if recalling their "fight" earlier this morning. Naruto tried to squash his smile. Sasuke had been a bit of an ass so he wanted to make him squirm. He made his expression as grave as possible as he went over to him.

"Kiba, would you mind giving us some privacy?"

Kiba chuckled. Naruto had already relayed to him the whole story. He escorted the other guys away, too, telling them they needed to "give the lovers some space."

Sasuke's brow furrowed. Naruto shoved his hands into the pockets of his overalls.

"Hey," said Sasuke, sounding unsure.

"Hey," Naruto said back, finding it difficult to keep a straight face. "What are you doin' here?"

"I thought I'd get off early and come to pick you up for once. Maybe take you to dinner."

"Really?" Naruto couldn't stand it anymore and broke into a grin.

"I'm sorry about this morning," Sasuke said sincerely. "You're right. I think it'd be a good idea to invite Itachi here for Christmas."

Naruto took a step closer to him. "I knew you'd come around." He leaned in, and Sasuke closed his eyes.

"You smell like pine...," Sasuke whispered.

Naruto kissed him on the cheek, gingerly pressing his lips to Sasuke's cool skin. "Could be worse, huh?"

"Yes, in your case it certainly could be." He put his arms around Naruto and drew him into a hug. "I don't like when you're mad at me."

"I wasn't mad," Naruto said into his ear. "Not really anyway."

"No. You were disappointed I didn't want to spend the holiday with my brother. It's even worse when you're disappointed in me."

Naruto squeezed him again and twisted them both back and forth, nearly picking Sasuke up off his feet. "I'm happy you came to pick me up. It's snowin'. Did you see?"

"I did see. So, where would you like me to take you for dinner? Should we use that gift card?"

"Oh." Naruto let him go, cocking his head to the side. He smiled. "Maybe we should save that for New Year's? You can take me out on a fancy date then. Wherever's fine. What are you in the mood for?"

Sasuke shrugged and reached for the cap Naruto was wearing to adjust it over his ear. "Don't mind. Maybe that new pizza place?"

"Sounds good. I just have to help the guys put some of the equipment away and then I'll meet you at the car? Or you can wait inside and talk to those old ladies in there. They'll give you some hot chocolate. Y'know how much they love you. They always ask me about you." He changed his voice to sound like theirs, "Oh that Sasuke, he's so handsome! How is he today? Are you sure he doesn't like women because I have this granddaughter - "

Sasuke covered his mouth with a gloved hand. "I'm not interested in anyone's granddaughter no matter how good their hot cocoa is."

"But there are mini marshmallows," said Naruto once Sasuke moved his hand.

"Well, when you put it that way." Sasuke smiled at him, and Naruto smiled, too. "Before I forget to tell you, those overalls suit you quite well."

"Yeah?" Naruto snapped one of the straps to his snow bibs. "I look pretty rugged in this, right? You like that?"

Sasuke took hold of the other strap and pulled him close, stealing a kiss from his lips. "Yeah, I like that. Hurry up so that I can take you out and get you back home."

Naruto cocked his head to the side, the corner of his mouth twitching. "Why, what are we gonna do once you get me home?"

Sasuke poked at the dimple in Naruto's cheek. "Use your imagination."

Naruto chuckled. "Alright, I'll be right back. Don't leave without me."

A couple of days before Christmas and Naruto and Sasuke were in a waiting area outside the Southwest baggage claim at Midway airport. Sasuke had taken some time off, so he wouldn't be going back to work until a few days after the New Year. Naruto was done working at the tree farm, so they'd spent the last couple of nights at a hotel in Chicago, where they did some last-minute Christmas shopping on Michigan Avenue before driving to the airport to pick up Itachi.

"At least the weather's not so bad. Flight won't be delayed," Naruto murmured while staring up at the screen showing all of the arrival times.

"I wouldn't mind if it was delayed," Sasuke replied, reflexively checking his watch.

"Shut up. I know deep down you're actually excited to be spendin' time with your brother. You haven't seen him for, what, eight months? You don't know how lucky you are to even have a brother. Look at me, I'm an only child. See what you coulda become?"

Sasuke smirked, giving him a sidelong look. "That's a scary thought."

"It's a scary thought that you'd end up dating yourself."

Sasuke leaned into him, bumping their shoulders. "Are we really so different? I don't think we are."

Naruto shook his head, briefly resting it on Sasuke's shoulder. "No, I don't think so. Not when it comes to the important stuff. The surface differences are what keep things interesting."

"Surface differences?"

"Sure, the superficial differences between you and I - "

"You and me," Sasuke corrected.

"See. Like that. You love to correct people when they're wrong because of your superiority complex, and I don't give a shit."

"Wonderful. You should put that on a bumper sticker. So how are you going to entertain Itachi so that he doesn't annoy me? Will you two play Rock Band for the entirety of his visit, or will you team up and try to humiliate me again by going through our old family albums?"

Naruto chuckled. "I thought that was fun. You sounded good when you were singin' Phil Collin's 'In the Air Tonight'. I also liked when you did Paramore, too. Even if you were a little drunk and off pitch."

Sasuke's phone went off, and he reached inside his pocket to check it. "I wasn't off pitch. It's Itachi. He says the plane's landed." He showed the text to Naruto.

"Cool. I think this will be fun. It feels like our tiny family keeps expanding."

Sasuke gave him a look that included a raised eyebrow.

"What?" Naruto asked.

"Do you ever listen to what you say sometimes?" Sasuke put his phone back into his pocket.

"Did I say somethin' bad?"

"No, idiot. Are we a family?"

"Aren't we? I may not be your blood ties, but I still think of you as part of my family, only without the incest."

Sasuke, very gently, kissed the side of Naruto's head. "You should've been a poet."

"I know. Maybe in another life. Maybe that's what Itachi and me - "

Sasuke cleared his throat.

"Maybe that's what Itachi and me can do," Naruto said, ignoring him. "We can write rock ballads and then perform them and then you can try and market us and we'll sell millions of records."

"I'm good, but I'm not that good." Sasuke was smirking, at least until Naruto elbowed him hard in the ribs.

"You're such an ass. What would Baby Jesus say if he knew you were mockin' your boyfriend during Christmas time?"

"He'd probably turn me into a pillar of salt."

"Don't say that." Naruto frowned. "Jesus loves homosexuals, just not the crabby ones."

"What do you mean by 'crabby'?"

"Well, if you've got crabs, you didn't get them from me, so I'd say you've got some explainin' to do."

"Hn. Please tell me that on our drive home you'll refrain from speaking like this to my brother. It may be funny for you, but then I'll have to listen to him for the next two years. You give him too much ammunition."

"But that's what brothers are for," Naruto argued. "To make fun of you and put you in your place."

"Well, if that's all they're good for, then I already have you for that."

"Mah. I have Kiba for that. With you, there's also all that sex and stuff. By the way, I don't wanna have any sex while your brother is stayin' with us. At least not in the apartment. It's weird. And I was also thinkin' that the three of us could stay at Dad's on Christmas Eve. Y'know. So he doesn't have to wake up to an empty house on Christmas Day? Unless you wanna stay at the apartment with your brother, and we can meet up later."

Sasuke's scowl looked a lot like a pout. "I want to wake up next to you in the morning."

"Okay, so let's see if Itachi minds stayin' at Dad's. We'll bring Ollie, too. Dad'll like that."

"Okay." Sasuke grabbed for his hand and squeezed it. "I think that's acceptable."

It wasn't more than a few minutes before Itachi - dressed in a coat similar to Sasuke's and long hair let loose about his shoulders - came walking through the doors, his luggage in tow. Glancing around, Naruto could swear to God that every woman in a 5-mile radius started to swoon at just the sight of him. Despite what Sasuke said, as the two brothers hugged, the younger Uchiha was smiling. Both were equally happy to see each other, and even with his arm around Sasuke, Itachi reached for the sleeve of Naruto's coat and dragged him over for a threeway hug.

"Merry Christmas, Itachi," said Naruto, laughing as he felt Sasuke struggle to get out of his brother's hold.

"Naruto. Always a pleasure to see you. I'm amazed you're still slumming it with my little brother."

"Shut up," Sasuke growled, finally able to pull away but not before Itachi made a swat for his hair, messing it up. He hooked an arm around Naruto's shoulders, grinning at Sasuke.

Sasuke eyed the both of them warily. "Is this how it's going to be while you're here?"

"Probably," Itachi answered with a smirk.

Naruto grinned, too. "C'mon. You love it, Sasuke. We're your family."

Sasuke made an attempt to fix his hair. "Lucky me."

Traffic had been sort of awful coming out of the parking garage at the airport, but when they'd made it into Joliet, they'd opted for a pretty low-key family restaurant in one of the historical buildings downtown. Naruto, again, was greatly amused to see this side of Sasuke. Just like when they'd gone to Seattle, Sasuke seemed to revert to a kid again. They picked fights with each other. Itachi teased and provoked until Sasuke would snap back and threaten his older brother's life if he didn't shut up, which ultimately led to Itachi turning to Naruto for conversation. They talked about Itachi's new job and some traveling he'd done lately, which somehow evolved into a conversation about motorcycles.

"Not too long ago," Sasuke cut into their conversation, "We met a guy at one of the bars, and he offered to give Naruto a ride."

"Did he now?" Itachi looked at Naruto, brow raised in curiosity. "Well, Naruto? Did you allow this gentleman to give you a ride?"

"Uhh." Naruto fidgeted in his seat next to Sasuke. "Can I just say in my defense that he had a red Ducati Monster?"

"He was obviously hitting on Naruto," Sasuke complained.

"And I turned him down!" defended Naruto.

"He's such a possessive little thing, isn't he?" Itachi mused, picking up his cup of coffee. "How do you stand it?" There was a thud that came from underneath the table. "And please don't kick me under the table, Sasuke. How old are you? Eight?"

Naruto chuckled and put his hand on Sasuke's thigh. "Can you at least try to behave?"

Sasuke's head quickly swung toward him, eyes narrowed as he spoke in a very low tone of voice. "You want me to behave?"

"I didn't say it like that," Naruto muttered, feeling a flush of heat to his cheeks.

There was a challenge in the way Sasuke looked at him. "Say it again."

"That'll be enough of that," said Itachi. "Can't you two wait until you're at your own apartment to start flirting with each other? We're in the Midwest. Have some discretion. People are staring."

Of course, there was no one else in the restaurant but them and an older couple on the other side of the restaurant. Naruto rubbed the back of his head.

"He started it," Naruto mumbled, pointing a finger at Sasuke.

"Sell out." Sasuke leaned a little into his side. Naruto got a whiff of his cologne. He realized he said no sex while Itachi was staying with them, but maybe that would be more difficult than he imagined.

"Maybe I should sleep with headphones on tonight?" Itachi asked.

Sasuke's fingers wrapped around his cup of hot tea. "No. Naruto's already declared there's no sex so long as you're around."

"I see. Thank you for being so considerate, Naruto. I take it you understand just how much the last time hearing you and my brother going at it has scarred me for life."

"Are we really havin' this conversation?" Naruto asked, getting flustered. He folded his arms on the edge of the tabletop and rested his head on them. "This is so embarrassing."

"Itachi doesn't mind," Sasuke reassured, putting his hand on Naruto's back.

"Please tell me it's not 'cause he's used to it." Naruto peeked up at his boyfriend, who looked very thoughtful when considering the question.

When Sasuke didn't answer right away, Itachi cleared his throat and announced he'd take care of the check.

"Oh that's great," said Naruto. "That's what I wanna hear."

"Maybe when we get to your apartment," said Itachi, "I can tell you about the time our father walked in on Sasuke and one of his... friends."

"Yeah, maybe if you want me to throw up everywhere," Naruto grumbled, glancing away.

"I see now why you two are so perfect for each other." Itachi appeared rather amused. "Certainly anyone who tried to get in between you two would be torn to pieces."

"Probably," he and Sasuke said at the same time and then shared a look.

"Jerk," Naruto said, smiling.

"I believe you're supposed to say 'jinx'."

"That, too."

"Now I'm the one who's going to be ill," said Itachi. "Are we ready?"

"As long as we can stop at the store on the way," said Sasuke.

"Why?" asked Naruto, perking up.

"To get my brother a pair of headphones. Obviously."

They were at the apartment. Naruto was playing on the laptop, instant messaging Itachi, who was only in the guest room (accompanied by Ollie), but he'd said he had some work to do. Naruto couldn't help but pester him online since Sasuke had fallen asleep on the bed. A few seconds later, he heard Sasuke gasp and when he glanced over, he was sitting up with a dazed expression.

"You okay?" Naruto asked.

Sasuke looked at him and blinked. "...Bad dream. I think."

Naruto got up from the chair and went to go sit on the bed beside him. "Did you fall off a cliff? I hate those dreams."

"No..." Sasuke breathed in deeply as if collecting himself. "I'm fine. What were you doing?"

"Messaging Itachi on the laptop while he does some work in the other room."

Sasuke put a hand on Naruto's knee. "Are you sure I shouldn't be worried about the two of you?"

"I would've bugged you instead if you'd been awake." He pressed the back of his hand to Sasuke's forehead. "Hm. No fever. You look kinda pale." He smirked. "At least more pale than usual. Skin's clammy, too. Do y'want me to get you somethin'? Tea? Water?"

Sasuke shook his head and grabbed for Naruto's hand, holding it. "I'm fine," he said. "Thanks for worrying."

They both watched as Sasuke took Naruto's hand and started tracing the lines on his palm with a finger.

"When I was little, and I wasn't feeling well, Mother used to do this to me. She'd take my hand like this and trace these patterns over my palm until I relaxed."

Naruto smiled at the image, but then it led to other thoughts that were a bit melancholy. "Is that what your dream was about?"

Sasuke sighed. "It doesn't matter."

Naruto leaned into him, resting his head on his boyfriend's shoulder. " 'Course it matters. Plus I like when you tell me about those sorta things. I like when you talk about your memories of your parents. I think your mom and my mom would've gotten along pretty well."

Sasuke kissed the top of his head and then moved him gently so that Naruto looked up at him. He cupped Naruto's cheek, stroking it with his thumb before moving in to kiss him. Sasuke nipped at his bottom lip between their kisses, which were tender and slow. Putting a hand on Naruto's chest, he pushed him to lie flat on the bed. Naruto kept his eyes closed, fingers twining through Sasuke's hair as a hand slipped underneath his shirt to press to his stomach.

Naruto's eyes fluttered open when the kisses ceased. Sasuke was gazing at him, his hair partially covering his eyes. Naruto pushed it out of the way and behind an ear.

"You sad?" Naruto asked.

"A little," Sasuke answered.

"The holidays can be a bummer."

"That they can," said Sasuke. "I'm glad you're here."

"And your brother's here, too."


"You like your brother."

Sasuke touched the side of his face. "I do, but not when it means you and I can't have sex."

Naruto snorted out a laugh. "Seriously? We have sex all the time. Like, all the time, Sasuke. It might be good for you to hold back some. Think of all the protein you lose every time you blow a load."

"Right. Like you won't be affected? You were ready to jump me at the restaurant just from the way I said behave."

"I don't remember this," Naruto argued, averting his eyes.

"Uh huh. You have a selective memory then." He leaned down and started to suck at the juncture between Naruto's shoulder and neck. Gradually, he moved up the side of Naruto's throat, taking his time as he sucked hard enough that there would likely be marks there tomorrow. "We'll just have to be," he found that spot behind Naruto's ear, "... quiet."

Naruto groaned. "I dunno if that's even possible..."

"I'll gag you then. Although that would be a shame. I like when you're noisy."

"How do you go from sad to horny in the span of a few seconds?"

"Fucking you would keep my mind off those sorts of things."

"Sasuke," he whined.

"Hmm...?" Sasuke's fingers trailed further up, from his stomach to his chest, where the tips grazed across a nipple. "See. It'll make me feel good, and you'll feel good, so why don't we...?"

Naruto was starting to forget why he'd set up such a stupid rule, especially since now his mind was becoming full of images of Sasuke's mouth on his cock.

"Bastard," he growled.

Sasuke smirked and tweaked his nipple in reply. Removing his hand from under Naruto's shirt, he shifted positions and straddled Naruto's waist. Naruto took hold of Sasuke's hips as he leaned down, over him, and returned to lavishing attention to Naruto's neck. Letting out a sigh, he skimmed his fingers up and down Sasuke's sides and then around to his lower back, slowly pushing up his shirt. When Sasuke hit another particularly sensitive spot, Naruto couldn't take any more. Wrapping his arms around Sasuke, he rolled them until he was on top. He grabbed Sasuke's legs, forcing them around his waist. Naruto kissed Sasuke fervently, rocking his hips against him and then grinding in slow circles. Teasingly, Sasuke began to bite at his lips, legs squeezing tighter around him, drawing him down so that they rubbed more roughly against one another.

"Why do I get the feelin' that I was coerced into this?" Naruto asked as he yanked at the collar of Sasuke's shirt to kiss and suck at his exposed skin.

"Please," said Sasuke. "If you could just learn to control yourself around me, Naruto."

Naruto stopped to look up at him, expecting a smirk, but Sasuke's eyes were glazed - intense pools of black, reflecting passion and desire. Honestly, it was enough to incite him into ripping Sasuke's clothes off and not giving two flying fucks who heard them. In fact, the louder he could get Sasuke to be, the better chance he'd have of everyone knowing how good he was at satisfying his boyfriend's needs, right? That seemed like perfectly good logic - at least until there was a knock on the door right as he was pulling Sasuke's shirt off over his head and going for his belt buckle.

"I just thought I'd remind you two that the walls in this apartment are incrediblythin," Itachi spoke through the door and then without waiting for a response, he simply opened it. "Ah. I just wanted to see which of the two of you would be on top in this situation. Sasuke, you disappoint me. Didn't I teach you better than that?"

"Jesus, Itachi," Sasuke grumbled, but he didn't try to move out from under Naruto.

"You're not a teenager anymore. Can't you show some restraint?"

"I'm showing restraint right now in not strangling you." He pushed Naruto off of him and, with a scowl, grabbed for his shirt and pulled it back on.

Naruto was simply staring at the comforter, half-listening to the both of them as his head started to clear. Wait. How had he gone from saying 'no we won't have sex' to nearly ravaging Sasuke?

"Have you always had these powers?" Naruto mumbled.

"What did you say?" asked Sasuke.

"Nothin'." He glanced at him and smiled brightly. "Just that I'm sleepin' on the couch tonight as you obviously can't be trusted. You," he searched for the right word, "Seductress!"

Sasuke snorted, and Itachi chuckled from the doorway.

"Poor Naruto," said Itachi. "He really hasn't learned what an Uchiha is capable of yet, has he?"

"Hn." Sasuke looked smug. "I don't know about that. So far, he's been pretty trainable."

Naruto scowled. "I don't like this. It's way more fun when it's me gangin' up on you with someone else." He glared at Itachi. "Traitor."

"That'll teach you to keep IMing me while I'm trying to work. Plus I didn't want to wait until you were done having sex with each other to be able to use the shower."

"Oh yeah, sure." Naruto gestured to the bathroom. "Go right ahead."

"Thank you," said Itachi, and he left the room.

Naruto glanced at Sasuke and sighed. He raked a hand through his hair, feeling frustrated. "You suck."

"I would've." Sasuke grinned. "While he's in the shower - "

At that point, Naruto picked up one of the pillows and proceeded to smother Sasuke with it just as Itachi walked back into the bedroom, eyed Naruto suffocating his younger brother, and then walked directly into the bathroom, shut the door behind him, and started the shower.

Naruto removed the pillow from Sasuke's face. "See, even your own brother wouldn't save you."

"I guess I can always count on you for that."

"To save you?" Naruto asked. "Hm. It's weird to imagine you in a situation where you'd need saving."

"I feel like it's happened already," Sasuke mumbled.

"Wait... what did you just say?"

Sasuke shook his head, tilted his head to the side, and smiled lop-sidedly at him. "Nothing," he said. "Nevermind."

On Christmas Eve morning, they'd taken Itachi around town to see some of the decorated houses and to grab some breakfast. After a brief trip to the mall, they'd come home to do some gift wrapping. Or, well, Sasuke did most of the wrapping since he hated the way Naruto wrapped, which was fair, because Naruto wrapped like a 5 year old. So, he spent the afternoon playing Left for Dead with Itachi. He and Sasuke had agreed not to spend too much on each other since they wanted to save for a trip. Even so, he bought Sasuke a few things because spoiling him was fun to do, even if some of the presents would also benefit Naruto (such as video games). And socks. Because Naruto always stole Sasuke's since he could never find his own.

Now, they were on their way to Naruto's Dad's, where they'd spend the night. Ollie looked unhappy inside his cage in the back seat.

"Did we really need to bring the cat?" Itachi asked.

"Yes," Naruto replied immediately. "Ollie's part of the family."

"I don't know. Isn't it a bit depressing to tow around our late mother's former pet?" Sasuke asked, smirking in the rearview mirror.

"It is a bit morbid," Itachi agreed, also smirking.

Naruto rolled his eyes. "Are you two gonna keep gangin' up on me? You're not the only ones who can play the dead mother card. If my Mom had left me a cat, I'd take the damn thing everywhere."

"What about when it died?" Sasuke asked, holding back his laughter. "Would you stuff it and mount it and insist we keep it in the living room?"

"Why not?" Naruto glared at him. "It's what I plan on doin' with you."

Itachi laughed. "Sasuke would make a fine coat rack."

"Yeah, if he dies with a boner, I guess. I can just hang it from his dick."

"Charming." Sasuke reached across and pulled at his ear. "I hope you're not going to talk that way around your Dad."

"He's used to it."

When they arrived at the house, they got out of the car and started carrying in all the presents (Sasuke carried Ollie). Naruto had helped his Dad string the lights up on the outside of the house. They were the tiny white lights that flashed and blinked. On the front door was a wreath Naruto had received from the ladies at the tree farm since he was a favorite of theirs.

It had snowed a little earlier on, so there was a slight dusting of it on the walkway and porch. Minato was already there to greet them, holding the door open. He hugged Naruto first, and while he still had an arm around his son, Sasuke introduced his brother.

"I've heard so much about you," Minato said. "It's been quite the year for you, I'm sure. I'm happy to hear it all turned out as it should have."

"Thanks," said Itachi, taking Minato's hand when he held it out to shake. "Naruto did a good job of relieving some of my stress when he came to Seattle. It was honestly a pleasure to have had him as a guest before the trial."

"It sounds sordid when you say it like that," said Naruto. "But yeah, we had some good times, and now he's a free man!"

Minato smiled. "That's great. We're happy to have you here for Christmas. Sasuke's like a son, too, so that makes you family, as well."

Naruto scrunched his nose, grinning widely as he shared a look with Sasuke. "That's what I said, Dad!" He beamed at his father. "But now let's go inside, it's friggin' cold out here, and these presents are heavy!"

Making their way inside, they took off their boots. Minato pointed out the mistletoe hanging above their heads in the entranceway. Naruto and Sasuke looked up at it and then at each other.

"You know," Sasuke said slyly, "Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it."

Naruto chuckled, put a hand to the back of Sasuke's head and dragged him in for a kiss. "Merry Christmas, Sasuke."

Sasuke smiled at him affectionately and ruffled his hair. "Merry Christmas, Naruto."

After a ridiculously large dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, and some other sidedishes, the four of them (plus Ollie), went to the basement to play some pool. After pool, they played a couple of board games (all of which Itachi won and Clue he won especially fast). Sasuke and Itachi started to play some Call of Duty. Naruto was tired and full from all of the food, so he opted to sit behind Sasuke on the couch, his chin resting on his boyfriend's shoulder. He had his arms around Sasuke's waist. Minato was busy entertaining Ollie with one of his new cat toys he'd been allowed to open early.

"Am I distracting you?" Naruto murmured near Sasuke's ear.

"You're fine," he said.

"How fine?"

Sasuke turned his head a little to regard him. "Very fine."

Naruto kissed him on the cheek and settled his chin back on Sasuke's shoulder. "S'what I thought you said. Kiba texted me. They might stop by for a little bit to exchange presents."

"Oh good," Sasuke said sarcastically. "I'm glad Itachi will get a chance to meet Kiba."

"I'm looking forward to it," Itachi remarked. "I've heard so much about him, it's like I practically know him already. I assume he's a lot like Naruto. If that's the case, it should be amusing."

"They aren't that much alike," said Sasuke.

"Sasuke," said Naruto as he watched them both playing on the screen. "I always thought you were the best CoD player I'd ever known until I saw your brother play. He plays like a trained killer."

"He very well might be," said Sasuke. "I'm not entirely sure of all the things he did during those summers in Japan. Maybe he went to a ninja training camp."

"That would be fuckin' cool as hell."

"Ninjas don't use guns," said Itachi. "It's possible, though, that I worked with the yakuza."

"Awesome! Does that mean you have some tattoos you wanna show me?"

Sasuke put his hand to Naruto's face and pushed him away. "Don't give him an excuse to take his clothes off in front of you."

Itachi chuckled quietly at the comment.

Naruto smirked. "Just like you, huh, Sasuke? Except you don't need an excuse to take your clothes off in front of me."

"I'd do it right now except I wouldn't want to scar your father."

"And I very much appreciate that," said Minato who had moved on to teasing Ollie with a small, squeaking mouse toy. "Although, it's not like I don't know what you kids get up to."

"Gross." Naruto buried his face in Sasuke's sweater. "I don't want my Dad thinkin' about me havin' sex."

"Then maybe you should stop being so loud when you have it," said Itachi.

"Why does everyone keep insisting that we have loud sex?" Sasuke asked, sounding annoyed, but it could've been because some noob got in the way of his killshot.

"I've heard it," said Itachi. "And it's loud."

"I've heard it, too," said Minato. "And I agree."

"Jesus, can we not talk about this?" Naruto flushed beat red. "Mom wouldn't tease me about my sex life!"

"Yes, she would," said Minato. "And she'd be relentless about it. Your mother had a great sense of humor. In fact, yours is almost identical to Kushina's, Naruto. Even the way you both laugh at your own jokes."

"Naruto does think everything he says is funny," agreed Sasuke.

"That's because everything I say is funny."

"Don't pout," said Sasuke. "I find that part of you endearing."

"Yeah, well. Let's see how endearing you find it when I've made you into a coat rack."

After Kiba and Ino left - they didn't stay very long since they had family in town - everyone retired to their respective bedrooms. Itachi was given the guest suite in the basement, Dad had his room, and Sasuke and Naruto were sharing his bedroom. Naruto had already taken a shower and was lying in bed, reading a book, when Sasuke came out of the bathroom wearing only a towel. Naruto's gaze lifted from the line he was reading to watch Sasuke walk across the room half-naked.

"Hey," he called. "Come here."

Sasuke was just about to pick up a pair of pajama pants. "Who? Me?"

"Yeah you. Get over here."

"Only if you hold your palm out and something shoots out of it to grab me."

"Or I could wait for something to shoot out of you?" Naruto grinned as he sat up and set his book to the side.

Slowly, almost suspiciously, Sasuke walked around the side of the bed and stood next to him. "Yes? You beckoned?"

Naruto moved closer to the bed's edge. He ran his fingers over Sasuke's stomach first, tracing the line of the defined ab muscles. He held onto the towel where it wrapped low at Sasuke's hip.

"You said no sex," Sasuke reminded him, his voice gruffer than even seconds before.

"Can't I just... look? No touching? Pretend we're at a strip club."

"I think you and I have different conceptions of what a strip club should be like."

"Maybe not..." He tugged at the towel and let it fall to the floor.

Placing both hands on Sasuke's hips, he pulled him over until he stood between his legs. With his eyes on Sasuke's face, Naruto leaned in and kissed his stomach. The kisses were affectionate and chaste at first, but then they turned into open, wet, and hungry kisses as his hand drifted to Sasuke's thigh, stroking it.

"What are you doing?" Sasuke asked hoarsely.

"Get on the bed," said Naruto, but when Sasuke didn't immediately move, Naruto grabbed his boyfriend's cock. "On the bed."

Sasuke's eyelids lowered in response. He put one knee on the bed, ready to get up, but Naruto still had his fingers wrapped around him. Naruto moved his hand up the shaft, squeezed it, and, closing his eyes halfway, he licked right along the slit at the tip.

"Shit," Sasuke exclaimed, wobbling on his leg.

Naruto grabbed hold of his hip again, supporting him. He took Sasuke into his mouth, allowing him to thrust shallowly. Eventually, he eased Sasuke up onto the bed so that he was on all fours above him. Naruto's hands massaged the backs of Sasuke's thighs, squeezing. Then they moved to his ass, where he used the tip of his finger to trace the crack. He pulled Sasuke down even more on top of him.

Sasuke started to pant, collapsing on to his elbows. When his hips started to move faster, more erratically, Naruto went back to tracing his crack. Using his middle finger, he teased Sasuke's hole and pushed the finger partially inside. Sasuke let out a groan. It wasn't all that loud, but Naruto stopped what he was doing to push him up off of his face.

"Gotta be quiet, babe," he said huskily.

He swallowed it all, still moving his fingers until Sasuke pulled them out himself. He slid to the side, collapsing on his back, beside Naruto. He was breathing heavily. Naruto got onto his knees, staring down at him as he wiped the corner of his mouth.

"Happy now?" he asked.

Sasuke opened his eyes. "I think," he cleared his throat when it came out rough, "I think that'll last me until morning."

"Only until morning?" Naruto leaned over and kissed him. Sasuke's tongue traced the line of his mouth, searching for the taste of himself on Naruto's lips.

They shifted around on the sheets as Naruto pulled him up for a second and then pushed him down on the one side of the bed. He lay on top of him, kissing him thoroughly while Sasuke snuck his hands under the back of his black t-shirt.

After a while, Naruto simply rested his head on Sasuke's chest, pressing his face into his neck, breathing in his scent. Sasuke played with his hair, humming softly.

"Do you think we were quiet enough?" Naruto asked.

Sasuke continued running his fingers through Naruto's hair. "Do you think I care?"

Naruto was deep asleep, dreaming nonsensical things about lizard people, when he was forced awake by the notification sound on his phone. Protoman whistle! He'd forgotten to put it on silent mode before they'd gone to sleep, but who - he rolled to his side to snatch his phone off the bedside table - would text him so early in the morning?

Oh, that's right. Kiba.

It was about 7.15 a.m., and, according to the scene outside his window, it was snowing.

merry christmas, punk. how about some sledding?

He typed back: isn't it a little early for that?

Kiba's reply: no, it's perfect. let's do it before anyone notices we're up and gone

At that point, Sasuke roused a little. "Who are you texting so early in the morning?"

"Hm, no one. Go back to sleep." But then he rolled over and kissed him on the forehead. "Merry Christmas. Wanna go sledding?"

Sasuke, who had a serious case of bedhead from falling asleep with his hair wet, scowled at him. "Do I look like I want to go sledding?"

Naruto finished typing his response to Kiba (which was a YES) and set his phone back on the table. He snuggled close to Sasuke's side and threw an arm across his waist. "Do you want a Christmas blowjob instead? I have time before he gets here."

"Isn't that what happened last night?"

"I couldn't help it. I think there's somethin' about you bein' in my old bed that does weird things to my brain."

"Probably because you've had so much sex on it that it's become second nature."

Naruto rested his head on Sasuke's shoulder. "I dunno what to say to that."

"Can I go back to sleep now? Don't be gone too long. It's warmer here with you."

"I'll be back before you get up, I'm sure. It's sort of a tradition that Kiba and I do stuff like this, so... do you think your brother's up?" He grinned. "Maybe he wants to go?"

"He probably is, and, sure, go ahead and ask him. I don't care. So long as I can go back to sleep," he said grouchily.

So, because Sasuke was so terribly crabby early in the morning, it wasn't worth pestering him. Naruto left him alone as he scrambled to put on some heavier clothes, including his snow bibs. He'd already texted Itachi to see if he was awake (which apparently he was), and he, much to Naruto's amusement, had actually agreed to go. He had to bring him the extra pair of bibs he had and his Dad's boots, a hat and some gloves. Then he had to go out into the garage to find a couple of sleds while Itachi finished getting dressed.

His Dad was up already, too, (he was always an early riser) and was making them a pot of coffee. It wasn't very long before Kiba (and Ino) arrived all ready to go. There was a large hill not so very far from the house that would be perfect. It sloped right onto the lake, which was frozen enough that they'd be able to walk on it.

The four of them walked across the back yard and through the woods, Naruto dragging one sled and Kiba, the other. Out of tradition, Naruto set down the round orange sled he had. Kiba sat on it first, and then Naruto got on it with him. He wrapped his arms around Kiba, and Ino was all too happy to shove them violently down the hill. Naruto managed to steer it most of the way, but apparently there was a tree root hidden under a patch of snow so once they hit it, the both of them went flying off of the sled. Naruto rolled across the ground, ending up on his back. He was laughing and so was Kiba. He got up onto his side, raising himself on his elbow.


"Fuck yeah, but I steer next time. Your steering sucks."

Naruto threw a handful of snow at him. "How the hell was I s'posed to know there was a tree root there?" He got to his feet and went to grab the sled.

They started the long haul up, but by then, Ino was already headed down the slope in the longer sled. Itachi was at the top of the hill, using the video camera on his phone.

"I want to send this to Sasuke. Let him see what he's missing," said Itachi as they finished trudging their way to the top.

"Yeah, why didn't he wanna come?" Kiba nudged him with his elbow.

"You know, Sasuke. He's not much of a mornin' person. Although, who knows. He may show up."

"He texted back," said Itachi. "He wants me to tell you to come back alive so he can open his presents."

"Ha, fair enough. You see where his priorities are," said Naruto as he adjusted his snow cap.

Ino was dragging the sled behind her as she joined them. "It's a little bumpy at the bottom. I think I already broke my tailbone."

"Well, it's not really sledding until someone's broken somethin' or gotten a bloody nose," Naruto told her, and then he turned to Itachi. "So wuddaya say? Wanna go down with me?"

Itachi smirked. "Do I get to steer?"

"Sure." Naruto smiled and offered him the sled.

Itachi handed Kiba his phone for safekeeping. "Make sure you get this."

"You're not gonna 'cause trouble, are ya?" Kiba asked.

"Of course. That's what he gets for being so spoiled and lazy," said Itachi.

"Yeah." Naruto folded his arms behind his head. "He woulda had fun. Maybe I wore him out."

"Ooh, I want details," said Ino. "Although I thought Kiba said you swore there'd be no sex so long as Itachi was here?"

Naruto shrugged. "I'm a man, what do you want from me?"

"Yes, and just like all men, you didn't last very long," teased Ino.

"Oh that's wonderful," remarked Kiba. "You weren't complainin' the other night."

"It doesn't count when I'm half-asleep," she retorted.

"Alright," said Naruto. "On that note, Itachi and I are gonna go down t he hill now... you two can stay up here and discuss your... sex lives. Yeah."

Naruto kneeled down on the sled, and Itachi sat down behind him. Kiba gave them a hard push and they went down fast, but, not so surprisingly, they both made it to the bottom without being thrown off.

"You really are some sorta trained assassin, aren't you?" Naruto asked as he stood up, holding out his hand for Itachi to take. "I'm gonna start callin' you Ezio."

"How does that saying go?" Itachi smiled. " 'If I told you, I'd have to kill you' ?"

Once they returned to the house, they had some hot chocolate, and Kiba and Ino were off again to open presents with their families. By then, Sasuke was up and dressed. Ollie was prowling around through the wrapping paper on the floor. Minato had begun to make pancakes while Naruto helped by frying up some bacon and sausage. Naruto and Sasuke were going to open their presents to each other when they returned to the apartment (those presents were still under the tiny plastic tree Naruto had insisted be set up in the living room).

Everyone's presents got put into piles, and from there, they took turns opening. One of his favorite gifts was this framed picture Itachi had given him (and Sasuke). It was of the two of them on the ferry in Seattle, that day after Itachi had been found not guilty and was released from house arrest. He wasn't sure when Itachi had taken it, but they were both leaning on the railing. Naruto's head was tilted slightly down, and he was smiling at whatever Sasuke had been talking about, and Sasuke was looking directly at him with this expression that... anyway. Naruto liked it a lot, and they really didn't have a lot of official photos of them together. He had some on his phone - and he knew Sasuke had a few inappropriate ones on his phone, as well - but this was one that made him think of their first few months together. It was hard to believe they'd been dating for nearly a year.

A little later, he and Sasuke were alone on the leather couch in the living room while Minato and Itachi were in the basement trying to figure out how to put the new sound system for the downstair's entertainment center together. Naruto and Sasuke had bought it for Minato, but apparently Itachi was some sort of genius at wiring speakers.

"Are you really not tired of me yet?" asked Naruto.

Sasuke was sitting at the one end of the sofa, and Naruto was lying down, his head on Sasuke's lap.

"What makes you say something like that?"

He shrugged. "Dunno. It's just, y'know, almost been a year, and I'm... not finding you annoying yet, so I was wondering if you find me annoying?"

"If that was some sort of proposal, you can do a lot better."

"Ha, yeah, no. Isn't it sorta cliché to propose on Christmas? I don't think I'd do that."

"It is cliché, and if you had asked me, I would've said no on principle."

"That's not nice." Naruto frowned. "Maybe I'll just propose to someone else then."

"Who?" Sasuke asked, smiling. "Who would you ask?"

"I dunno. Some... guy."

"A guy? I am beginning to wonder. Considering how much you love to give blowjobs, are you sure you're still straight?"

Naruto reached up and playfully slapped Sasuke's cheek. "Shut up. I was in the mood."

"I could tell." He smirked at Naruto. "I like when you get bossy."

"How was I bossy?"

"You know what I'm referring to." Sasuke leaned over him, dropping his voice to a whisper. "You didn't even ask for anything in return. You're such a gracious lover."

"Why?" He grinned. "'Cause I let you fuck my face?"

"Yes. That was very kind of you."

Naruto laughed. "I like it."

"What do you like?"

"Pleasing you," he answered honestly. "Makin' you feel good."

"And that's why you're such a good lover." Sasuke kissed him on the mouth. "Mylover."

"Your favorite lover?" Naruto asked hopefully. "Ever?"

"Of course. And am I yours?"

"You're alright."


"No, it's... weird, I guess." Naruto rolled to his side, pressing the side of his face to Sasuke's knee. "I dunno what it is about you, but sometimes I just think... why are you with me? Or, I think... he could have anybody he wants, and then when I get the chance to... well, sex you up, I feel... lucky? Grateful? Proud? Does that make sense?" He turned his head to look up at Sasuke, who gazed at him softly as he tenderly fingered Naruto's hair out of his face.

"I think we both feel similarly on that point. I also feel very... lucky. That you've chosen me."

Naruto grinned. "Yeah?"

"Yes." Sasuke kissed the tip of his nose. "Has this been a good Christmas for you?"

"Yep. I like it 'cause it's our first. I like that we still have firsts."

"Some firsts are easier to remember than others," Sasuke replied, a very telling smirk playing at his lips. "We had a first right here on this couch."

Naruto's cheeks flushed. "I remember."

"Hmm...maybe we should talk about something else if you want to keep up that sex embargo. Pretty soon I may want to do things to you."

"Naughty things?" Naruto asked.

"It's a good thing Santa's already come because these types of things would put me on his naughty list."

Naruto laughed especially hard. "Did you really just say that?"

"I did."

"You're such a nerd. Why do people ever think you're cool? If they ever sat down and had a conversation with you that wasn't about all the genius things you do on a daily basis... they'd see that you're... kind of retarded."

"I appreciate your addition of 'kind of'."

Naruto got to his knees, taking hold of Sasuke's face, and after looking into his eyes a good while, he leaned in and kissed him.

"I love you even though you're retarded, Sasuke. Even when you're at your most retardedest, I am gonna love you."

"Thank you," said Sasuke. "That's more like the type of proposal I was looking for."

"Then there you have it. Consider us engaged."

"I hope our sex life won't go downhill from here."

"I'm thinkin' that with my stamina and your sex appeal, that's hardly gonna be a problem."

"My sex appeal?" Sasuke raised an eyebrow, intrigued.

"You know you have sex appeal. Lots of it. It was so strong, it attracted even me."

"I thought you loved me for my personality and wit?"

"That, too. For sure. But yeah... you're a nice piece of ass, too. Okay, next topic."

"Let's keep on this subject," Sasuke teased. "We could go up to your room. I'm sure those two will be preoccupied for a while."

"If I'm gonna go up to my room, it's gonna be to take a nap 'cause someone woke me up at arse o'clock in the mornin'."

"Don't look at me."

"I'm not, but yeah... I'm sorta fadin'. You can come with me if you want? I just wanna sleep for an hour... or two. Before dinner."

"I might join you eventually. I'd like to read one of my new books."

"You like the one Dad got you? He read it, too, and liked it a lot. You guys like all that historical, political stuff."

"Indeed, we do. And, yes, I like it very much. He and I talked about it when he was reading it."

"Mm." Naruto yawned. "Alright, I'm goin' up there." Although it took a bit of effort, Naruto dragged himself off of the couch, stood, and stretched his arms above his head.

Sasuke grabbed the hem of his shirt where it had ridden up and lifted it even further. He put a hand to Naruto's hip and kissed his stomach. Naruto placed his hands on Sasuke's shoulders.

"You wanna blow me don't ya?" Naruto asked.

Sasuke shook his head. "Yes, but you ruined the moment."

"Mm. You can do that after I get my nap. Maybe. We'll see."

"If I behave?" Sasuke asked, speaking against Naruto's stomach. He proceeded to slowly lick his way up with the flat of his tongue.

"I don't think you know how to behave, Sasuke. You're such a bad boy."

"Mm... say that again."

"Can I say it like I'm a sex operator? Oh Sasuke, you're such a bad boy. So dirty!"

"And... now I'm turned off. Did you have to use that high-pitched girly voice?" He pushed Naruto away.

"Oh, have you gone soft? That happens to everyone... or, well, not me, but - "

"I thought you were taking a nap?"

"Fine." Naruto adjusted his shirt. "But you'll miss me when I'm gone."

As he walked around the back of the couch, he stopped and put his arm around Sasuke's neck, kissing him on the cheek.

"Don't let me sleep too long."

"I won't," said Sasuke. "Enjoy your nap."

Naruto left him alone to head up the stairs to his bedroom. It didn't take very long after crawling under the warm blankets, turning on some music via Pandora before he, almost instantly, fell asleep.

It felt like he'd just fallen asleep when his phone went off. Before he even looked at the thing, he was already cursing Kiba. Didn't anyone want to let him sleep? It felt so good here, wrapped up in these blankets and pillows that smelled like Sasuke. Groggily, he rolled over and grabbed his phone, which took forever to wake up from its sleep mode. He saw that he had a text message, went to press it, and then...

It wasn't Kiba.

Well, shit.

He looked at the number, read the message, looked at the number again, and then... could not figure out why she would text him:

Merry Christmas, Naruto. Just thought I'd let you know I'm in town for the holidays and wanted to see if you'd like to grab lunch or coffee. I'd love to see you if possible. Hope you're doing well.

How long had it been? Nearly two years now since they'd even spoken? Since she'd gone abroad or whatever.

Naruto debated deleting it, but for some reason he couldn't. Call it morbid curiosity.

He tried to fall back asleep, but it just wasn't happening. He clutched the phone in his hand, paranoid he'd get another text from her, but he supposed the question was... did he have to tell Sasuke about it? It's not like it meant anything. He wasn't really considering taking her up on the offer, but yeah. He didn't want to hide it either. But did he have to tell him today?

He supposed he would, but if he could just lay here a bit longer, basking in the moment in time before Sasuke became broody and insecure just because his ex-girlfriend of three years had texted him out of nowhere to meet up for lunch.


He tapped the phone against his forehead, thinking. Surely she had heard about him and Sasuke by now; there was no way she wouldn't have. Not that he had to explain anything to her.

Of course, Sasuke being the prompt, obedient boyfriend he was, it wasn't much longer before he came into the bedroom, his book in hand. He closed the door behind him.

"Can't sleep?" He asked Naruto. "You okay? You look a little pale."

Naruto fidgeted as he sat up in bed and put the phone onto the nightstand. He drew his knees to his chest as Sasuke took a seat on his side of the bed.

"Sasuke," he said. "I have a hypothetical situation for you."

"Alright," Sasuke replied slowly, "Is this where you tell me your friend has some sort of problem, like a weird rash on his testicles?"

"No." Naruto cocked his head to the side, closing one eye and squinting at him with the other. "I sorta wish that was the case, though."

"Hm. You're making me nervous all of a sudden."

"It's nothin', and I wanted to wait 'til after dinner, but then I thought you'd think I was tryin' to hide it from you, so I really don't wanna wait, even though it doesn'tmeananything," and as he continued to ramble, Sasuke leaned toward him and put his palm flat to Naruto's forehead.

"Stop. Start over from the beginning. What's this about?"

Naruto looked at him earnestly. "I got a text."

"From who? Kiba? He didn't propose to Ino, did he? Maybe not." He ran his eyes over Naruto's face. "Because you'd probably look happier if that was the case."

"Yeah, no. It's from, uh... Wait, do you mind lookin' away from me as I say who it's from?"

"Naruto," said Sasuke, starting to sound exasperated. "Who sent you a text?"


Naruto waited for the violent explosions of the belated apocalypse that should've happened days ago but never did. He even flinched a bit. Sasuke's hand fell away from his face. His expression was somewhat hard to read.

"What did she want?" Sasuke asked. "I thought she wasn't even in the country and you two hadn't spoken for a long time."

"Apparently she's home for the holidays? She wanted to know if I'd like to meet her for lunch or coffee."

"...And what did you say?" Sasuke glanced away from him, at the wall where his old dresser was placed (where old pictures of he and Shion used to be taped).

"I didn't respond. I mean, she just texted, like, a few minutes ago."

Sasuke turned to him again, his expression still impassive. "I don't mind."


"I don't mind if you meet her. Maybe not for coffee, though. That's our thing." He smiled at Naruto, but it was... strange.

"No, I don't think that's a good idea..."

"Why not?" Sasuke straightened up, rolling his shoulders. "Maybe she just wants to catch up. If we broke up after three years, would you not want to see me again?"

"Sasuke - " Naruto's eyes narrowed at the mere suggestion. Not to mention that sort of hurt. "... I don't understand."

"What's to understand? You should be happy. I trust you. I know how you feel. About her. About me. If you don't want to go, don't go. If you do, then go."

Naruto frowned. "Is this some sort of reverse psychology? Y'know I'm not smart enough to follow that sorta stuff."

"It's Christmas," Sasuke answered. "This is me being benevolent."

"You're scary when you're benevolent."

"Am I?" Sasuke grinned in a way that made Naruto slightly uncomfortable and self-conscious. "Anyway, I just wanted to impart a message from your father. He says dinner will be ready in about 15 minutes."

"Uh huh..."

Sasuke rose from the bed, his back to Naruto. He didn't quite know what to say to him, and Sasuke didn't say anything either. He did give Naruto one last look before he headed out of the room and back downstairs. Sasuke'd left his book on the bed. Naruto reached over to pick it up, flipping through it. His Dad had inscribed something at the front.

To my second 'son'
Merry Christmas, Sasuke.
December 25, 2012
- Minato

Naruto set it on Sasuke's side of the bed and lay back down again, staring at the ceiling. On the one hand, he was okay with not seeing Shion again, but was that... not the right reaction for him to have? It felt like Sasuke had been guilting him into going. Did he think Naruto was afraid to see her again... and, well, was he afraid?

He searched himself and his feelings for a while.

Why didn't he want to see her...

Well, at first it had been so he didn't upset Sasuke.

But there were other reasons, too. She had hurt him in some ways. Shion wasn't a bad person. They'd had some good times. Maybe she hadn't always let him be himself or maybe there were times where she was... kind of crazy/possessive/controlling, but at the time, he'd... thought that's what love was like.

Being with Sasuke over the past year showed him just how different love could be when you're with someone you trust, someone who trusts you, someone who's honest with you and someone you are always honest with, who forgives you your mistakes and flaws, who needs you and wants you just as you are and doesn't try to figure out how to change you into something else...

Was Sasuke saying he expected more of Naruto?

"Dammit," he mumbled.

His brain was starting to hurt. Sasuke should know thinking wasn't his forte.

And he had looked at least a little upset.

Naruto honestly wasn't sure what the right decision was, and he even wondered if there was a right decision under these circumstances. It's true that maybe the right thing to do was to accept Shion's invitation, especially if Sasuke was... okay with it.

Decision made, Naruto picked up his phone and texted his reply.