He wakes up, now, to the sound of Naruto fumbling for the snooze on the alarm clock.
Every day it's the same thing. At seven in the morning, the shrill beeping jolts through him and abruptly yanks him from sleep; his useless eyes snap open and search futilely for the source as his fingers slip underneath the futon where he has always kept a spare kunai. For a fraction of a terrifying second he doesn't know where he is or why he cannot see—then he feels Naruto shift next to him and hears him grumble, "Five more minutes."
The paranoid tension fades from Sasuke's shoulders as he forces himself to settle back into the sheets, willing his heart to slow and his breathing to even out. His irrational fear falls away as he passes a hand over his sightless eyes. Naruto rolls over and throws a warm leg over Sasuke's middle, pulling him into the tender cradle of his body that tells him, it's okay. There is peace and he lies next to the man who had brought it about almost single-handedly, next to the man who is the strongest person alive, next to the man who once desperately swore to him that everything would be okay.
And, he is okay, because Naruto never went back on his word.
The traditional house they live in is large and spacious and one level; it's easy for Sasuke to navigate. Naruto has never said anything about the house, nor has Sakura or Kakashi or the others who bother to converse with him, but Sasuke is certain that Naruto had it specifically designed for his handicap. In the aftermath of Pein's destruction and the disbandment of the Akatsuki, around Sasuke's seventeenth birthday when his eyesight began to degrade, Naruto had led him to where the Uchiha complex once stood and showed him the secluded home. Sasuke broke Naruto's jaw in thanks.
It has been difficult, the blindness. Years ago when he greedily activated his Sharingan and his Mangekyou without second thought—there was nothing but vengeance, then—he never believed that he would one day succumb to the consequences. The idea that he would never live long enough to see a future without Madara or Danzou or war hung like a heavy weight in the back of his mind, but he bore it like he now bears his blindness, like a price he had to pay. Now, he has nothing to blame save his own selfishness and stupidity.
"What would you like for breakfast, Sasuke?" Naruto asks once they've showered, dressed, and quickly sparred together outside in the cool spring air. "We still have those rice balls Sakura made us."
"That's fine," Sasuke replies, maneuvering around the kitchen. He keeps his fingers on the countertop to orient himself; he opens the refrigerator door and feels for the box of onigiri Sakura had given them. Next to him, he hears Naruto take out a couple plates and set them on the table.
When it had begun, Sasuke had taken his failing eyesight as a challenge. He was one of the most formidable ninja of his time and he refused to let the loss of his vision turn him into an invalid. With determination (and a stubborn Naruto, who had refused to leave him alone for even a second) Sasuke learned to function without sight and the kekkai genkai he had been born with. He learned to trust his ears and his nose and his gut instinct—all sharper and clearer than before—and sense living things through an extension of his chakra. He would never be as strong as he once was, but he's still good enough to pummel Naruto into the dirt when he deserves it.
Once again using the countertop as a guide, Sasuke feels his way to the table and opens the box, setting it on the table. The ones on the right of the divider are filled with pickled plums and the ones on the left plain but wrapped with seaweed and coated with sesame seeds. He puts one of each on his plate and then Naruto's. He listens to the sounds of Naruto making the green tea Sasuke likes to drink in the morning, and tries not to scowl, absently rubbing the center of his chest.
Sasuke's vision had completely vanished one late summer day. He had been hospitalized for almost a week by then because of intense, crippling headaches; then they had suddenly ended, taking with them the gradients of light and dark that had been the last of his sight. With a prescription for painkillers—just in case, Sakura said—and a wrap of gauze around his still bleeding eyes, Sasuke was released from the hospital. He was readmitted hours later when he burnt himself trying to boil water, his chest and stomach red and blistering. Naruto yelled at Sasuke until his throat was raw and didn't let Sasuke say no when he announced that he was moving in with him.
Naruto came to stay, and never left.
Five years later, Sasuke has beaten it into Naruto's thick skull that he is perfectly capable of doing many of the things that he was able to do when his sight was beyond perfect. Naruto has beat it into Sasuke's equally thick skull that he fucking knows that, but he's still going help him do things for him like boil the water for his tea because he wants to. Sasuke knows there's more to Naruto's actions than the blond claims. After all, he feels Naruto's fingers and lips brush over the smooth patch of scarred skin on his breastbone every night when Naruto thinks he's asleep.
It is guilt that eats at Naruto, just as anger eats at Sasuke. If he doesn't let Naruto hold his arm when they go out in public anymore or let him set out clothes on the bed, he lets Naruto do this for him, because he knows that Naruto is more frustrated by his inability to fix Sasuke's eyesight than Sasuke is frustrated by his inability to see.
Besides, Sasuke tells Naruto as the other man sets the steaming cup in front of him, after so long he has at last managed it to make the tea to Sasuke's tastes. Naruto touches the inside of Sasuke's wrist without a word, but Sasuke can still feel Naruto's smile.
They eat their breakfast quietly. In the beginning, Naruto had chattered to fill up the silences; since then, he's learned the value of keeping his mouth shut. Only when Sasuke finishes his second rice ball does Naruto talk. "Hey Sasuke," he says casually. "Do you want to shave today?"
Every time he sits on the edge of the bathtub, Sasuke remembers.
There were certain aspects of his blindness that Sasuke was unprepared for and was uncomfortable sharing with Naruto. Shaving had been one of these things. Sasuke had refused to let Naruto near his face with a razor; he was hollow with a rage his blindness had created and saw Naruto's help as admitting weakness. For weeks he tried doing it himself, and while he had a steady hand and never nicked himself, he always missed patches that eyesight alone could have spotted. He grew a thick coat of patchy stubble several times over before Naruto had all but dragged him into the bathroom.
"Alright, bastard," Naruto had growled as he pushed Sasuke down onto the edge of the bathtub. Sasuke could feel the heat of his breath across his face. "You are going to sit still and I'm going to shave your face because you look fucking ridiculous and I'm sick of your 'I don't need anyone's help' bullshit."
A tension had been growing between them since Naruto had moved in—Sasuke blamed it on Naruto's idiocy and refusal to leave him alone, as well as something unnamable and frightening and inevitable there that Sasuke would not think about. They fought daily, verbal blows often turning physical; it was a wonder they didn't kill each other. Naruto got under his skin and reminded him of an itch that only got worse the more he scratched. Sasuke was as rigid as a stone as he listened to Naruto as the other man turned on the faucet and picked up a can of shaving cream, shaking it. He want to kick the blond, punch him, beat him bloody as Naruto's fingers began to smooth the cool shaving cream over his face, across his jaw, above and below his lips, on his cheeks. It was too intimate and Sasuke jerked back.
"No," Naruto growled, his clean hand fisting painfully in Sasuke's hair at the nape of his neck and forcing him back. "We're fucking doing this."
Sasuke wanted to crack his skull against Naruto's or hurl a fist at Naruto's stomach, but the blond moved away too quickly. Naruto rinsed the excess foam off his fingers and then the razor. Sasuke heard Naruto kneel in front of him and almost reached out to bring Naruto's face down on his knee when he curled his fingers firmly around Sasuke's chin.
The touch was somehow more personal than the previous ones and Sasuke's stomach squirmed. Naruto tilted Sasuke's head to the side with a firm but gentle push and he placed the razor on the swell of Sasuke's cheek, shaving the stubble that had grown there. They were silent as Naruto worked, the only sounds in the room the running water, the rasp of the blade against Sasuke's skin, and their heavy breathing. The resentment in Sasuke gave way to a beast unfurling in the deep pit of his belly; Naruto's proximity made his skin feel electric and the fingers on his chin and throat burned into him like a brand. When Naruto pushed his head back so that his throat was completely exposed, Sasuke felt a rush go through him that was not unlike adrenaline born by fear. He was torn between the need to crawl away or crawl closer, only the indecision keeping him in place.
When he was finished, Naruto cleaned Sasuke's face with a cool, soft cloth. Sasuke's breath hitched as Naruto's fingers accidentally swiped across Sasuke's bottom lip—Naruto froze. A strained moment passed between them until Naruto pulled the cloth away, his fingers lingering above the sliver of Sasuke's mouth.
"You know," Naruto whispered, his voice low and tight and close, the words sliding against the shell of Sasuke's ear. Sensation sizzled down the length of Sasuke's spine. "—your eyes are still black."
Those words hit Sasuke harder than a fist, stealing his breath as his throat dried and his lungs constricted. In the hospital, Sakura had said things like 'functional optical cells' and 'uninhibited neural pathways' and 'occipital lobe damage' that all translated to an inescapable darkness. Appearances hardly mattered to the blind, yet somehow knowing that his eyes were the same inky black that he remembered released a tight knot in his chest he hadn't known was there. His eyes had not changed even though everything else had. He suffocated on the epiphany—dimly, he was aware of a wetness trickling down his face—and he passed a hand over his sightless eyes.
"Oh, Sasuke," Naruto had breathed then, and Sasuke protested as Naruto pulled forward on his elbows. Sasuke aimed a punch at Naruto's head and clipped his left ear; Naruto was heedless of the blow as he continued to pull Sasuke down until he was sitting in the hollow of his lap, legs on either side of Naruto's torso. He wrapped his strong, steady arms around Sasuke in a fierce embrace that left no room for the anger Sasuke wanted to feel.
"It will be okay," Naruto swore. "I will make this okay."
If Naruto had sounded any less desperate, or any less sincere, Sasuke would have hated him for it. Yet enfolded in the tender cradle of Naruto's body, trembling and so damn tired, Sasuke had chosen to believe him.
That hadn't been the day that Sasuke realized he had fallen in love with the idiot—that was much later—but it had awakened an ache within him that was only eased when Naruto was near him, touching him. It wasn't before long that Naruto asked him every other day if he wanted to shave; it took just as little time for Sasuke to stop protesting the treatment, though he still sometimes tells Naruto that it's only because he likes his face to be smooth.
"Sasuke?" Naruto says, cupping Sasuke's rough cheek with a large, warm hand and bringing him back to the present. "You okay?"
Clamping down hard on his emotions, Sasuke nods. "Let's get this over with," he mutters once he's sure he won't choke on the words. He can feel Naruto staring at him to see if he's lying—Naruto has become more annoyingly perceptive since he was seventeen, especially concerning Sasuke's moods.
"Alright," Naruto replies after a beat, and they settle into the motions that they've become accustomed to over the years. Naruto kneels between Sasuke's slender thighs and covers Sasuke's face in cold shaving cream. His fingers position Sasuke's face as he expertly maneuvers the razor; he cleans off the leftover shaving cream when he's finished. Then Naruto smoothes an aftershave in his skin, less spicy than the kind Naruto prefers, and calm like deep water. A pleasant tingle follows in the wake of Naruto's attentions that are not entirely due to the soothing liquid.
And finally, as he always does, Naruto presses a soft kiss to the junction underneath Sasuke's jaw, one hand cradling the base of Sasuke's skull, the other tightening against Sasuke's hip. Sasuke lets Naruto hold him and love him because it's one of those things he knows Naruto needs to do—and not because he needs it too.
He wakes up, as he does every morning, to the sound of Naruto fumbling for the snooze on their alarm clock.
Every day it's the same thing. In the split second between sleep and consciousness, his eyes fling open and he instinctively moves for the spare kunai he has always kept lodged underneath their futon. In that split second, he cannot see; his heart kicks and a brutal headache spikes in the back of his head as he tries to force chakra into his eyes. Then, next to him, Naruto shifts and grumbles and he remembers—all he's seen for the past five years is a deep and endless black.
Releasing an inaudible sigh as he forces himself to settle back into the sheets, Sasuke passes a hand over his sightless eyes. Naruto rolls over and flings a warm arm across his chest, pulling Sasuke closer into the tender cradle of his body. "Just five more minutes," Naruto mumbles sleepily into his ear, his hot breath caressing Sasuke's skin like a promise he once made.
And, even if he is blind and unable to do all the things he could do if he were not, Naruto has not gone back on his word. Life isn't perfect, but it's definitely okay.