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Asuma doesn’t detail the job. Says that it’s a high-profile client, and Naruto’s going to be paid double than what he normally earns, and it’d be a fool’s decision to turn down the offer. Of course, it’s a no-brainer he takes the assignment.

The gritty strums of Sea Glass filter through the speakers, Naruto’s fingers drumming to the beat on the steering wheel. The underground parking lot is expectedly quiet as he waits. The song crescendos into the magnanimous bridge, the vocals cutting the song in that brisk, emotive chords, when he notices the exit doors opening.

Naruto cranes his neck over the steering to see if it’s someone he knows, a tiny redhead clicks through the lot towards the Land Rover he’s seated in, clutching tightly to a file. She taps on the glass, Naruto rolls down the window, “Are you the guy Sarutobi sent?”

“Yep, Uzumaki Naruto at your service,” Naruto grins exceedingly, “Are you the client?”

She snorts, contemplative for a brief second, “Funny, they sent a funny guy.”

Naruto frowns, “What’s wrong with that?”

“Listen to me,” she sighs, “Don’t talk too much, no jokes, and mind your business. You do those two things, and this will all go swimmingly.”

“Those are three things,” Naruto scratches his chin, “What am I working with here?”

“Did the company not tell you who’s handler you’ll be?”

“Of course, they did,” Naruto is terribly aware of the client profile packet sitting in the left drawer of his desk in his shoebox apartment that he most definitely forgot to read. “It’s a high-profile guy, pretty popular right now.”

“Uh-huh,” the lady nods, “The shoe-in for Hokage.”

“Exactly—” Naruto stutters, “Wait, what the hell—”

“So, you didn’t read up on the client,” she sets him with a ‘don’t-try-to-lie-to-me-or-I’d-chop-you-into-tiny-pieces’ glare, and sighs, “This is going to be a disaster.”

“Sheesh, what’s the big deal,” Naruto rubs his forehead, “I’m good at my job. I’ll keep your guy safe.”

“Oh, it’s not my guy I’m worried about,” she introduces herself then, there is a thudding sound of the exit door opening again, but Naruto doesn’t get a chance to look that way, “I’m Karin, his manager. Here he comes. Don’t try one of your jokes, okay?”

Naruto crosses his heart, a man walks towards the SUV with an entourage of people tailing him, one kid is holding a clipboard flipping through pages as he talks to the man. The guy himself, though, has his head ducked under the baseball cap and white face mask obscuring the sight of his face. Naruto couldn’t tell who he was even if he wanted to.

“Here!” Karin calls out, the boy with the clipboard steps back, and says, “Should I let Kakashi know then?”

“I’ll figure it out,” Karin says in his stead, “Just tell Kakashi I’m handling it, Kanazawa.”

“Okay,” he nods before backing away.

Mr. Big Shot quietly opens the back door before sliding into the seat in an adjacent view of the rearview mirror. Naruto peeks through it to see the guy, and kids, “Quite the farewell party, you’ve got there, huh, man?”

The guy lifts his head, very, very, dark eyes stare back at him. Naruto blinks, and Karin swats his elbow, still standing outside the driver’s side window, “What did I say about stupid jokes?”

“Relax,” Naruto whispers, “What’s got a stick up his ass anyway?”

“Alright, I warned you,” she hisses before stepping to the side, peeks through the open windows, and assures, “Hey, did you want me to reschedule the shoot for tomorrow? Considering the circumstances, I doubt the producer—”

“No,” the man speaks up, Naruto’s ears perking up at the deep baritone, “Forward me the schedule I’ll pencil it in.”

Karin laughs, and it gives a brief glimpse of the relationship between the manager and this guy, “Of course, but I insist on google calendar.”

The guy waves his hand, “Text me.”

“Will do.”

With that Naruto’s given the go to drive out of the parking lot. He’s halfway to the designated address, the evening traffic rolling out on the carpet of asphalt. The condominium isn’t far from their original destination, a short 30-minute route even with ample traffic. At one of the traffic lights, cars stacked bumper to bumper, he chances to revive the failed conversation from earlier, “I’m Naruto, by the way.”

It seems he catches the man pushing down his mask, he glances up at Naruto’s voice and they make eye-contact.

Naruto does his best not to let the shock slip to the surface, he really should have read that stupid file that Asuma sent.

“Ok?” the man says, “I don’t recall asking.”

Naruto twitches in his seat, “I’m the bodyguard hired by your company. The least I can do is introduce myself.”

“Go,” is what is said instead.

He furls his brows and keeps his head turned in confusion, the man juts out his neck towards the windshield, “The light is green, dumbass.”

Naruto is spurred into action at the first sound of a particularly shrill honk, the mini cooper behind the car insisting on him moving. He does in fact put the car in drive and hits on accelerate, following the flow of the moving traffic.

Grumbles under his breath, “Asshole.”

 

--

 

Uchiha Sasuke is the trend. As far as trends go, Naruto discovers. After dropping the stupendously famous actor at his high-rise, overtly glamorous condo, he races home to sift through the file handed to him.

At the young age of twenty-four, he’s already shaken up the industry. Natural good looks that are diamond in the rough when it comes to the overpopulated industry of either average, glossed up celebs or fits the poster-type of a certain look. He stands out because his background is unique, he carries a thick set of values attached to his favorably political last name—the Uchiha family a bit renowned in building the City of Konoha ground up some three hundred years ago. They’re old and hold influence.

The kind of people who are respected throughout the Fire Country.

No one had expected their youngest to crop up in media, but Sasuke did a drama sometime after graduating High School. That year he won the famously prestigious Myōboku Screen Awards for New Actor.

Proof of his talents came later when he worked alongside a renowned screenwriter in a Psychological Thriller. Naruto remembers seeing that in the theater because how it goes for the rest of the man’s fanbase, his best friend came to be a huge fan, gushing about this upcoming, rising star.

That’s how he remembered his face in the car. Not to mention Sakura’s dragged him to every fucking film since then.

But where Sasuke’s growing catalog of film, dramas—he tended to trade off from time to time—there was an additional phenomenon attached to the man.

His rabid fanbase. Which brings them to the present day, Naruto scouring on the internet, Google open, articles upon articles, concerning fans who have crossed the lines of adoration into straight obsession. The recent one dates a week ago, there is an inexpertly cropped image of Sasuke being harassed by a young blonde man, a swiss knife in hand as he corners the actor.

Henceforth, Naruto’s current appointment makes sense.

Sasuke’s had a string of mishaps that have led to his representative company hiring security—in this case, a personal bodyguard—for him.

There is another thing, though. Despite the generous compliments in regard to Sasuke’s worth ethic, acting performances, perfect co-star etiquette, and astounding professionalism there are equally disappointing comments regarding his excessive anti-social behavior. The man’s a bit of a recluse.

“That’s because he’s an asshole,” Naruto chews the inside of his thumb, scrolling through a gossip blog. “If they knew that I bet they’d sing a different tune.”

Some fans, the casual ones who seem to be greatly appreciative of his work, go as far as saying he’s cold to them. They don’t feel as connected to him despite his very convincing performances on big and small screens.

Naruto watches a streetside survey, a media site interviewing a high school student, “We all support him! But he doesn’t really make much effort to connect with his fanbase. It’s okay, though, some people are private.”

 

Her friend, however, quickly disagrees, “Or ungrateful. Hotshot celebs let the fame get to their heads.”

“Amen,” Naruto salutes before minimizing the tab. Types in Sasuke’s name to see he’s securely keeping his top five spots in the K-Buzz trends.

Nearing two-a.m. he concludes his research and decides he hates the rich prick, but one glance around his decrepit apartment, and he successfully convinces himself that he’ll ride out the yearlong contract. After all, it guarantees him enough coins to move out of this dump into a decent place.

Besides how hard can it be guarding one mingy celeb?

 

 

--

Kiba says Naruto’s got foot in mouth syndrome.

He’s always rejected the notion, truthfully.

Today he’s starting to question his own notion of rejection because he expected a lot of things coming with a job protecting a famous actor but being swarmed by a gaggle of teenage girls wasn’t on his checklist—wasn’t this shit limited to Pop Idols exclusively?

 

Apparently not because currently he’s being attacked in small pinches everywhere over his puffy jacket as he tries to guide Sasuke into the recording studio. There is a team to escort the man alongside Naruto and one would think the fucking Hokage is making an appearance, but no it’s some actor dude who yanks a great deal of influence over the youth—and adults Naruto realized at an earlier schedule when the production assistant flustered explaining the shooting setup to Sasuke.

Sasuke, himself, resolutely keeps his head down, not baring an inch to the crowd of admirers, his face is masked and he’s wearing another baseball cap—white this time to match the color of his sweats. After a few minutes of wrestling the mob, they manage to enter the studio. Unlike the interview, they had earlier, this time they’re doing a live stream to promote his upcoming drama release.

Naruto follows him into the elevator, the other person with them being a support member of the production team, and pushes the third-floor button. He pulls off his jacket, it’s wicked hot, and sees Sasuke stand there in a plain grey t-shirt.

“Is it always like this?”

Sasuke doesn’t bother him with a response. It ticks Naruto off. The support member steps out ahead of them and Naruto infuriated at being ignored again, stops the actor by grabbing his elbow, “What’s your issue?”

“Excuse me?” Sasuke does stop at the threshold of the studio. There is a blue-bird emblem kerned onto the glass door.

“I was talking to you. The least you can do is say thank you!”

“For doing your job?” Sasuke’s voice remains leveled which Naruto quickly realizes adds to his rising distaste of the man. Talented or not, this dude was a right prick. “I didn’t realize you needed a pat on the back every time you succeeded in completing simple tasks.”

“We were mauled!” Naruto squeaks, “Are those fans or crabs? Why do they pinch so much?”

After a moment, Sasuke speaks.

“The last guy was ticklish.”

Naruto blinks, confused, “What?”

“The last bodyguard,” Sasuke shrugs, indolent. Uncaring. “He was ticklish, that’s how they got him to lose focus on me.”

“Oh, that’s smart,” Naruto mumbles to himself.

“Teenagers,” Sasuke nods, “They’re the future spearheads of revolutions.”

“What?” Naruto is losing track.

“Nothing are we done?” he wiggles his elbow, and Naruto immediately drops the limb. He wasn’t aware he was still holding onto him.

“Yes,” then pauses, “Wait no,” grabs Sasuke by the arm again, “Can you at least say hi when I greet you? That’s the least you can do, y’know!”

Sasuke’s face retains that impenetrable passive expression, “Okay, hi.”

 

Naruto hates this guy.

 

--

 

Ninety percent of the job is following Sasuke around from one venue to another. Sometimes Naruto does the driving, other times the company arranges for it. Regardless, all in all, the job proves to be entirely too uneventful most days. Enough so he gets bored and carouses through the area while Sasuke does his thing.

A few weeks into the new job, right around the time Sasuke’s getting ready to film his upcoming, greatly anticipated drama, Naruto catches up with Sakura.

“What?” She slaps his arm in shock. Naruto rubs his bruised appendage, it’s the fifth jovial slap of the night, the drunker Sakura gets the more handsy she is—and by that he strictly means using Naruto as a punching bag. “You’re working with who?”

“Don’t make me repeat it,” Naruto grunts, “Also, he’s not that great. He’s mean and hardly talks and thinks he’s better than everyone else.”

“But he is,” Sakura hums.

Naruto chokes in indignation, “You don’t even know him!”

Sakura giggles, “Calm down, is the pretty boy giving you a hard time?”

“He’s not that pretty up close, Sakura.”

“He’s not?” She blinks.

Naruto can honestly say in all his time with Sasuke he’s scarcely seen the man’s face. The major portion of his job starts at the door of whatever vehicle they’re transporting into the entrance of whatever building they’re entering. After that, he abandons the man to his work and does his own thing. So, every time he does see Sasuke he’s got a mask on, and a new color out of his gravely dull selection of baseball hats.

That’s fine though, what he has seen he isn’t impressed by. Besides all those pictures and ad campaigns, and shows he has seen him in buff his features with makeup and effects so the man is doubtfully going to live up to the carefully curated standard he’s built around himself, no matter how much of natural beauty he’s heralded as in newspaper tag lines.

“Nope, just your average joe.”

Sakura snorts into her Takayoshi Imperial stout, tips the snout at Naruto after the sip, “Whatever, get me an autograph when your contract is up.”

“You’re a terrible friend,” Naruto embellishes.

 

--

Two months pass like that. Month three, though, is the punchline to the impending storm.

 

Naruto is walking back from a quick stroll to the local coffeehouse—Sasuke’s day was fully packed and the blonde didn’t get the chance to eat breakfast before he had to leave his humble, and deeply comforting, abode—when he stumbles into a rush of foot traffic. At first, he doesn’t pay mind, but at the first siren of an ambulance and a few staff members of the drama production team clearing the shooting area, Naruto’s inner alarm bells start ringing.

He runs towards the siphoned area of filming, squeezing through the growing crowd only coming to face Sasuke sitting on top of a stool, a jacket around his shoulders, Karin’s tense voice, and the director next to them. He sees the security hustling a man off the set. Sasuke’s co-star is shaking near the cameraman.

“What happened?” Naruto walks up to the redhead.

She grinds him with a pointed look, “Where the fuck were you?”

“Karin,” Sasuke can be heard faintly.

Naruto blanches, “I went to get coffee! I’ve been up since arse o’clock, you know?”

“Oh, coffee, of course, how silly of me. While you were busy caffeinating yourself some fan jumped onto the set and tried to stab Sasuke!”

“What?” Naruto’s voice flutters in horror, he quickly assesses the damage by inspecting the actor. Sasuke’s cradling a bloody hand in his unharmed one, “Are you okay?”

Sasuke ignores him, addresses Karin in that reserved tone. If Sasuke is cold while talking to most people, he carries a lilting bend to his words when speaking to his manager, “Can we get a doctor?”

She steadies him with an assured look. Turns to Naruto one more time, “If you can’t do your job, I can get your company to send us someone else.”

Naruto’s never had someone question his work ethic, “I can do my job, this kind of stuff is unprecedented.” Then because he’s becoming irate with Sasuke’s more than obvious dismissal of his show of concern and Karin’s haranguing, he says, spitefully, “Maybe, if he wasn’t such an ass to his stans they wouldn’t act like this!”

“Right, of course, he should abandon his private life to fuel outrageous fanatic fantasies,” Karin fights back, takes Naruto’s coffee, and dumps it on his shoes. Naruto yells, “What the hell!”

“Sorry, maybe if you weren’t so big-headed, I wouldn’t act out,” she huffs.

They’re all insane! Naruto mentally notes. Then proceeds to open his mouth, but Sasuke beats him to it, “What’s a stan?” Karin and Naruto give him equally exasperating looks, he processes their reaction and asks again, “A stalker fan?”

Well, technically.

Naruto tries, “Actually—sort of the meaning spiraled—”

Karin interrupts, “Jesus, Sas, can you participate in the present world from time to time?”

Sasuke frowns, and Naruto only then realizes he’s not wearing a mask, or his stupid hats and his skin is a deep, summer brown, “I don’t have time for the interwebs.”

Naruto can’t contain the laugh; it comes out choked. Sasuke levels him with a nasty glare, raises his still bleeding hand, “What exactly is funny?”

Right, a wash of embarrassment fuels Naruto to signal the paramedics, “Should I come along?”

“Doctors generally help a patient,” Karin sneers, “I’m sure he’ll be safe in a damn hospital.”

“Fine, fine, enough with the third-degree,” Naruto concedes, shakes the wetness off his shoes. Thankfully there was barely any latte left and it only got the toes, and offers, “I’ll ride along.”

“Look at that,” Karin hurrahs, “He knows his job!”

Naruto ignores the jabs from thereon.

 

--

Thereafter, Naruto is extremely vigilant. Instead of strolling off the set and minding his business, he starts sticking around and watching Sasuke. He’s seen the one or two movies the man has starred in, but not being much of a TV person he wasn’t fazed much. After all, how hard can acting be? All you have to do is stand up there and read some scripted lines.

The drama is an ordinary town story. Naruto doesn’t get why anyone would want to sit in front of cable to watch a story about mundane people doing mundane things. He sits on a stool behind stacks of revolving cameras, crew fluttering one end to the other, and the director watching the film being recorded through the lens.

Sasuke’s, of course, the lead. Sakura told him as such last weekend, and it’s really dumb because he’s playing a college kid on scholarship when he is far from it, but that’s how the industry works. With enough face powder and fast trends, even rich pricks can be transformed into hardworking, college students. Though, rightfully, Naruto can agree Sasuke’s got a young face which makes it easier to buy into the illusion. Still. The man is boring and stern, and his expression doesn’t vary to sport a hopeful, fresh-faced college student.

Naruto is doing those map puzzles on the magazine he had found in the dressing room, the eraser of the pencil in his mouth, the studio is quiet as they film the scene. He hears Sasuke speak to his co-star, a beautiful new face in the drama industry, “I think this is yours.”

The girl has blonde hair falling past her shoulders, Naruto watches them now intently, Sasuke’s dressed in jeans and a flannel, backpack on his shoulder, the girl takes the phone, shy, “Thank you.”

Childhood friends reunited in college or something, if Naruto remembers the plot correctly. He’s a bit shocked how easily Sasuke lavishes the role, convinces Naruto he’s this super family-oriented man and after school, he does in fact helps his mother’s onigiri store—the small local eatery everyone frequents from the postman to the professors at the university.

The director yells, “Cut!”

They stop filming after that scene. The gradually budding love story of childhood friends blooming one scene at a time. Naruto dashes next to Sasuke towards the dressing room, the makeup artist following along, “So, what happens next? Is there a plot twist? Does she have another man?”

Sasuke looks at him, passive and fixed. A stark contrast to the soft hues on his face previously, when he was on set, acting.

“Sorry, that’s a spoiler,” Sasuke pushes the door open. Tenten guides him to the seat and pulls out micellar water wipes. They’re those high-end brand types that Sakura is constantly vying for.

“What the hell man the drama won’t be out for another month or so, just tell me!”

 

Tenten glares at him when he tries to distract Sasuke, and Sasuke valiantly tries to move his head but the brunet has got it in a tight hold.

“Stay still, Uchiha.”

Sasuke listens, Naruto festers.

“Ok, how about this, I guess, and you bat your eyes if I’m getting warmer?”

Tenten chuckles at Sasuke’s tired sigh. Naruto counts off, “Her mom’s gonna die and you’re going to swoop in like a knight in shining armor and console her through the grief?”

Both Tenten and Sasuke look at him. The space-buns on ten’s head are perfectly still while she says, “You have a very active imagination.”

“My godfather is a writer,” Naruto waves off, “Not that. Then do you find out your third best friend from childhood was also in love with her and he shows up a few episodes in and ruins the budding romance?”

“I don’t know,” Sasuke says, eyes closed as Tenten takes off the gunk off his face. Naruto notices despite the foundation coming off, Sasuke’s skin matches the same smooth finish as it had with the base applied. “That sounds far too personal.”

Naruto nonchalantly admits, “Yeah, it happened to me. It’s fine. She’s a bro now.”

“What?” Tenten and Sasuke say in tune.

“Ok, you both have finals coming up and she falls sick and you nurse her back to health, and she falls irrevocably in love with you and you get married once you graduate.”

“No, I’ll die before then,” Sasuke casually answers.

“What!” Naruto shouts sprinting forward, his knee hits Sasuke’s chair and jostles him while Tenten carefully removes the mascara, “You’re lying, right? What the hell!”

“Naruto!” Tenten reprimands when he shakes Sasuke’s shoulder, “What did I say?”

“This is important!”

He gets kicked out. Later when he’s driving Sasuke back to the apartment building, the man admits, “I was lying. My character isn’t dying.”

Naruto really, really hates this guy.

 

--

 

Naruto is dreaming about a warm broth of ramen when his phone rings. He ignores the first two times before the third ring clangs around his tiny apartment walls. Finally he picks it up.

“What?” he squawks into the receiver.

Karin’s worried tone pitches back, “Naruto, hey. Sorry, I know this is late, but can you stop by Konoha-Senju hospital?”

Immediately he’s filled with dread, sitting up straight, “Are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine, but there has been an accident with Sasuke—” Naruto finds his sneakers under the bed. Pulls on the shirt from the chair, the phone on speaker, “I ran it by Asuma before contacting you. If it’s okay can you stop by?”

“On my way!” Naruto says.

He arrives at the waiting room quarter past two, Karin is near the receptionist desk standing alongside a man Naruto faintly recognizes.

“Karin!”

Both individuals turn to him, the redhead steps forward, “This way.”

“What happened?”

It’s the white-haired man, the tips of his fashionably cut hair dipped in purple, says, “Cyanoacrylate poisoning.”

His expression states confusion. Karin clarifies, “He accidentally drank a beverage laced with super glue.”

“What the fuck?” Naruto pronounces with a pick in his steps, “Is he alright? How did he even—”

“He received a package addressed from his parent’s home so naturally he didn’t question it. Everything in it was too normal, a few snacks from his hometown, letters, and this banana milk that’s only found in his town—but.”

Naruto is horrified, “Someone broke into his mail? And laced the drink?”

“That’s what we suspect,” another man imposes right outside a closed hospital room door. He’s taller than all of them and Naruto’s grown considerably since his embarrassing 4’9 days of middle school but this guy is well-above 6ft.

“Uh, hi, I’m Naruto—” he extends a hand, but addresses the white-haired guy and the burly rust-haired man. The shorter of the two replies, “Suigetsu and this here is Jūgo, we’re close friends of Sasuke.”

Karin pushes the door open to Sasuke eating jello, “He’s fine for now.”

“Yo,” he throws up a peace sign.

“Are you okay?”

Sasuke shrugs, lacks the natural radiance and Naruto feels a pit of guilt in his throat, he turns to Karin, “I’m sorry I wasn’t—”

Karin bristles, “Wait, this wasn’t your fault.”

Naruto halts, “But I wasn’t—”

“Naruto, none of us expected this to happen,” she explains, “The thing that happened last month was certainly avoidable.” Naruto winces at the memory, “But this is completely out of our normal sphere of an obsessive fan.”

“Because it was,” Kakashi steps inside the door, he’s holding hospital papers full of information, he greets Naruto who has met the man on a few occasions. He’s basically the man who scouted Sasuke and is in charge of running his contracts for different work opportunities. “The police believe it was an ex-boyfriend of a fan of Sasuke.”

“Why an ex? I don’t get it,” Naruto feels way out of depth with this celebrity culture.

Sasuke inputs, sleepily, “It’s always an ex.”

Suigetsu is settled on a seat beside Sasuke, he explains, “Sometimes fans dump their significant others for their idols or celeb crushes. And, well, you know the rest.”

“This is insane,” Naruto says, “How do you live like this?”

Sasuke gives him a tired look.

“It’ll wash over once Sasuke’s buzz dies down, but with the upcoming drama and the constant phase of promotion cycle we need to take extraordinary measures.”

“Ok, but how can we anticipate all this? I need to be with him 24/7 by the looks of it.”

Karin nods, “That’s what we wanted to talk about.”

Naruto blinks at what is offered to him next. He bounces the info in his head and retorts, “Isn’t that…weird? Do you even have space at your place for me?”

“Don’t worry about that, we’ll arrange everything,” Kakashi assures, “But if it’s uncomfortable for you we can hire—”

“No,” Naruto stands his ground. “I’m here to do a job. It’s fine. When do you want me to move?”

 

 

 

--

Sasuke has a speedy recovery. He bounces back like the whole incident didn’t take place. The police do apprehend the culprit and the news gives the whole shebang enough highlight to get the worst wave of fans to back off. Most of them become doubly sympathetic, but the company worries regardless, and Naruto does in fact move into Sasuke’s opulent, high-rise, fancy as fuck condo.

There are four rooms in the whole place, and they all are the size of Naruto’s entire damn apartment.

He isn’t envious. Not in the slightest and you know why?

Sakura yawns in the facetime, “What do you mean the place is weird?”

“Either that or Sasuke’s a robot,” Naruto is hiding under the thick blanket that costs more than every asset to his name, “This whole place is so sterile!” He gets off the bed to slide into the expansive living room, pristine as ever, “Look!”

“Oh my god, how big is that LCD?”

“Sak! That’s not the point,” he faces the camera to the couch and the stainless coffee table, then directs them to the spotless kitchen, “You see? It looks like no one lives here.” Opens the fridge and shows her the billion bottles of Gatorade and sparkling water, “This shit is always here. No one drinks it. It just sits here in the fucking fridge.”

“What about the rest of the fridge?”

Naruto opens the freezer, “Empty! There isn’t even any midnight snack ice cream to spoon. It’s like no one lives here. I have never even seen him eat! We get home and he goes to his room. There is a bathroom in there or I’d be convinced he really is a robot who never has to relieve himself.”

Sakura laughs, “Well, you live there now, right? Spruce up the place a bit. You’re right it’s too sterile. Give it the Uzumaki Naruto touch, why dontcha?”

“But this isn’t my apartment?”

“When has that ever stopped you?”

She effectively convinces him. Naruto spends the following day, a miraculous reprieve from Sasuke’s grueling filming schedule—which again the man spends inside his room—to do some shopping. He hauls about eight different bags from his shitty Suzuki in two trips.

The extra money he’s accumulated since this job allows him to spend so frivolously and truly, he thinks this is a service he’s providing. The way it looks like no one lives here is unnatural. His grandmother used to say that empty houses attract bad ki.

A little less than an hour later, the living room transforms entirely. A splash of color here, a throw blanket there, he even packs out his DVDs because Sasuke’s the type of person who still owns a DVD player, two planters on the windowsill, one on the table under the analog clock. It’s fiddleleaf and it’s gorgeous.

Naruto places mittens, and placemats, colorful bowls and dish towels that aren’t navy blue in the kitchen. A calendar tapped on the fridge and an assortment of magnets he got from home. He pins the postcard his mom sent a few months ago.

He’s sitting in front of the tv, plate of katsudon in his lap, and catching up on a crime series when Sasuke steps out.

The man starts to speak but pauses. Looks around his apartment and asks, “What is all this stuff?”

Naruto swallows a bite of rice, “I livened up the place!”

“Why?” Sasuke approaches the plant warily.

Briefly the blonde worries he’s stepped out of line, but then he remembers he lives here now too, and just because Sasuke chooses to live like the absolute dud he is doesn’t mean Naruto has to come home to a place that resembles the morgue, “Because it looked like shit.”

Sasuke scowls, a natural reaction to Naruto’s antics, “I liked it.”

“Well, I didn’t,” Naruto deadpans. “If you’re that bothered—actually, quite frankly, I don’t care.”

“You’re annoying,” Sasuke bristles at the sight of the garish rug in the center of his living room. “Where did you find this crap?”

“Five and under.”

Sasuke squints, “What’s that?”

Naruto lifts the tempura coated chicken piece and snorts, “Sorry, it’s not for the bourgeoisie.”

“Funny,” Sasuke says drily. “Whatever, I’m going out.”

Naruto’s good mood immediately deflates, “But you don’t have a schedule?” He really was looking forward to binging his favorite series, finishing the case of beer, and sleeping when the time came.

“I’m going with friends.”

Naruto is shocked beyond measures. He abandons the food for this deeply interesting development, crawls to the foot of the table where Sasuke’s standing and sits back.

“You go out? Like hanging out with people that isn’t your manager and production crew?”

“I’m not socially inept,” Sasuke’s temple twitches. Naruto notices it’s a sign of him getting increasingly irritated with the blonde’s behavior. To be fair, he considers it a feat considering prior to this small development the most reaction he got from the man was blank stares. “I prefer to keep my private circle small.”

The beer bottle dangles between Naruto’s fingers, he jokes, “More like non-existent.”

Then remembers, “Wait, you’re friends with that popular idol?” Snaps his fingers trying to put together his name, “He recently released a song. Shit, I heard it on the radio, even met him when you were hospitalized.”

“Suigetsu,” Sasuke offers. “Yeah, he’s my best friend.”

Naruto feels funnily warm at Sasuke using the word best friend such a commonplace expression sounding infinitely important when the man says it. “Aw, that’s cute, dude!”

“You don’t have to worry; the event is private and Suigetsu’s team will be there. In fact, he should be here soon.”

Naruto mildly relaxes at the reassurance. Despite his constant goading and almost vocal dislike of the man, he doesn’t want him hurt, especially after the last scare.

“I wasn’t worried,” he brushes it off, takes a quick swig, noticing Sasuke buttoning the cuffs of his shirt. It’s chiffon. You can see everything.

Naruto licks his lips, “Where are you guys heading?”

“Suigetsu got a #1 on the charts, he wanted to celebrate it,” Sasuke looks up, shaking his hair by running a hand through it. Naruto catches the rings, and the way they glint in the dim lighting of the room. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen everyone especially after the incident.”

Naruto frowns, a thought at the tip of his tongue, “Hey, by any chance, do you stay at home so much because—”

The doorbell rings. Naruto blinks out his pensive thoughts and Sasuke steps to the door, opens it with an easy shake of the handle, and lets Suigetsu in.

He’s wearing white eyeliner and a silky plum crop-top, “Ready, baby?”

Sasuke smiles.

Naruto is stumped. It’s the very first he’s ever seen that’s not on set with the camera rolling. No, this one feels different.

“Yeah,” he reaches for his keys on the small table near the entrance and nods at Naruto, “Have a good night.”

“Right,” there is a trace of smile still present when Sasuke cursorily looks his way, “You too!”

Suigetsu wiggles his fingers before casually stretching an arm over Sasuke’s shoulder, the last effects of his words clank past the slip of the closing door, “It’s gonna be a rager tonight, man!”

Naruto blinks at his bottle. Falling on his back, resting the glass on his stomach, and keeps a staring match with the ceiling.

There is a promising inkling that if he were to close his eyes, he’d see Sasuke’s smile.

 

 

--

 

Naruto wakes up at the sound of a crash. He turns over in bed to squint at the digital clock at his side table.

3:33 AM.

“What the hell?” He grumbles before he realizes some dickwad might very well be breaking into the apartment. He quickly discards the comforter and stumbles out of the room, bare fists and all, only to find Sasuke standing dumbly in front of the broken pot of the fiddleleaf.

Naruto’s gorgeous, gorgeous, fiddleleaf.

“What—”

Sasuke looks up, guilty as they come. “It broke.”

“I can see,” Naruto grates, hands on his hips, “Man, if you hated the change up so much you should’ve said so. I’d have put the shit in my room. No need to harm innocent plant life.”

Sasuke pouts, or perhaps that’s the natural shape of his mouth.

“It wasn’t on purpose—” it’s interrupted by a soft hiccup, he covers his mouth because he’s a posh actor who covers his mouth before belching and stuff, at least that’s what Naruto wagers to believe. “It was pretty I wanted to touch it, but I don’t know—”

“So you killed it?”

“I didn’t want to,” pinches his earlobes with his hands, he looks like a monkey pulling on his ears.

“What are you doing?”

Sasuke’s brows furrow together, Naruto steps into the living room light to notice the decanting flush surfacing to the man’s cheeks, “Saying sorry.”

Naruto can’t help but bubble into a laugh, “Are you drunk?”

“A little,” Sasuke admits a bit too honest. “Ok, a lot.”

“I can tell,” comes close enough to pull down Sasuke’s hands from his strained ears, they’re so red now too, “Don’t apologize much, do you?”

“Normally, I don’t have to.”

Naruto irascibly remembers, “Ah, yes, big shot celebrity why would—”

“No, it’s because people are too intimidated by me to give me a chance.”

“Horseshit,” Naruto calls, “You’re not scary.”

“Naruto,” this is the first time he’s said his first name. Normally he refers to him as Mr. Uzumaki, keeping their relationship strictly impersonal, “Did you not hear the scandal I was in two years ago?”

“The fan that tried to jump you during the fanmeet?”

“No, the pap I punched during a fanmeet,” Sasuke bites his lip. Naruto blinks twice before doubling in laughter, “What!?”

 

“Yea,” Sasuke frowns, “That’s why everyone is scared.”

 

“Well, I’m not.”

Sasuke looks at the orange carpet in the center of his living room, frowns deeply, “I know.”

 

Naruto laughs again, “Alright, Mr. Hero, let’s get you to bed.”

Sasuke pauses to crouch down, the fiddleleaf scattered in dirt clamps and pats the stalk, “I’m sorry.”

Naruto teases, “He’s dead.”

Sasuke looks up, depressed by the pull of his face, “I’m sorry.”

“Come on,” Naruto hauls him up by the arm, “Bedtime.”

“Okaaay,” Sasuke wobbles into his side. He smells faintly of cologne and a little else. Naruto could question why he’s suddenly aware of this man’s body scent but it’s nearing four am and he doesn’t have the brainpower to untangle the complexities his very direct feelings are quickly developing.

Naruto opens the door to Sasuke’s room and helps him to the bed. Sits him down to find his closet for sleeping clothes. Comes to the realization that this is a first seeing the man’s room and despite his very valid assumption that it would resemble the rest of the barren house, he’s pleasantly surprised to find it doesn’t.

In fact, Sasuke’s room is a memento dedicated to who he is. And effectually barrels another realization into Naruto.

He knows nothing about this man.

Sasuke points at the double doors opposite to them, “There.”

“Okay,” he opens them to find neatly pressed clothes and a shelf with sleepwear assorted. He picks out a raggedy Super Smash Bros t-shirt and cotton pajamas and brings them over to the actor.

Sasuke stands up struggling with the buttons of his shirt, frowning with his chin tipped into his chest, “These are a lot easier when I’m sober.”

“Let me help,” Naruto really has a terrible habit of doing before thinking. It’s landed him in immensely tricky situations. One of which is occurring right now, one button undone he absorbs the closeness they’re standing in. How Sasuke’s clothes barely conceal anything and how the room is wickedly warm. He clears his throat glancing up to lighten the tense mood. But.

“What?” Sasuke’s looking down at him. They’ve got a meager two centimeters and Naruto wishes he was the one who had to tip down instead of lift up his eyes.

Sasuke softly says, “You’re so pretty.”

Naruto barks in embarrassment, hands still wound in the lapels of Sasuke’s sickeningly soft shirt, “What are you saying—you’re the actor—”

Sasuke wholly ignores the incoherent ramble to cup both his cheeks in his palms. He pushes them together, and tips Naruto’s chin, “You’ve got huge cheeks.”

“It’s genetic! My mother has a round face too!” Naruto scrambles frantically.

“Cute,” Sasuke admonishes the sentences with a smooth, “You blush a lot. Did you know?”

“I tend to have outward reactions it’s hard to—”

“I know,” Sasuke’s breath smells like alcohol, Naruto realizes this only because he’s inched closer to his face and the room is getting warmer than before. “You tell me you hate me all the time.”
“I’m,” Naruto stutters, this isn’t a predicament he expected himself to be in. He tries to expedite the previous efforts, “It’s late! We should sleep!”

Sasuke frowns, “You do hate me then?”

Naruto recognizes a tinge of seriousness in this one, stupidly counters it with his brambling honesty, “Of course not.”

Sasuke smiles, all teeth. Naruto’s knocked right out with that one. Damn, what the hell he thought he woke up to a stalker breaking in and now he’s almost wishing that would’ve been better. Then his heart wouldn’t feel this wound up at this specific sight.

“Good,” he touches his forehead with Naruto’s, “That makes me happy.”

“It does?” Naruto’s voice is small. He has no fucking idea what he’s doing.

“Mhm,” Sasuke’s thumb strokes his bottom lip and Naruto’s stomach is about to cave in. “I’m very drunk.”

“Yeah,” he breathes onto Sasuke’s thumb.

“Okay,” Sasuke pulls back. Retracts his hands to curl around the fist Naruto remarkably clenched around his shirt, and taps, “I got this, I think.”

“Alright,” Naruto can feel a snail inside his throat. Crawling slow, and sticky. “Good, ok, yes. Good night.”

Sasuke waves blearily.

Naruto quickly escapes to his room and closes the door with a resounding thud. Slides against the door to the ground and reevaluates every life decision of his that led up to this moment.

He comes up short except for the racing in his chest.

 

This can’t be happening.

 

 

--

Naruto is twitchy. He knows he’s acting twitchy because Karin keeps giving him side glances that say stop moving, but he can’t help it. He’s twitchy, ok?

Unfortunately, he can’t keep the promise because as soon as Sasuke walks off the set to watch the reel of the previously shot scene Naruto jerks back towards Karin. The redhead hisses pinching his arm, he yowls in pain well-aware a few of the crew catches his pained whines, “What’d you do that for?”

“What’s wrong with you? Did you drink too much coffee?”

Naruto rubs his arm, the poor mass of muscle has it hard enough with Sakura and now he has to deal with Karin too?

“Nothing,” traitorously his eyes shift sideways, Sasuke’s getting his face touched up and he’s focusing on the pointers the director is giving. “How long have you and Sasuke been friends?”

Karin narrows her eyes suspiciously, a lot of her features are distantly familiar to his mother—Naruto has this underlying inkling they might be very, very, distant, twice removed, relatives or something—, as she asks, “Why?”

“Just,” Naruto faces her now, scratching his cheek. “Is he a forgetful drunk?”

Karin doesn’t say anything for a moment which makes Naruto even more jittery. Finally she turns back to her phone, rapidly punching on the keyboard, he can see it’s an email between some magazine representative, “Yeah, if he goes overboard.”

“Oh,” Naruto deflates. That means Sasuke really doesn’t remember the embarrassing incident from the weekend which should wash a sense of relief over Naruto, but all it does is carve a tiny pit in his stomach.

The rest of the day is uneventful. Karin tells them Sasuke has a magazine shoot scheduled a week from then and with that they’re excused. Naruto frets for a few more hours over the confusing thoughts in his head, but when they’re leaving the building, they run into a crowd of fans who knew the actor would be there today.

A girl with bouncy curls tumbles forward, Naruto instinctively jerks out his hand to keep her at bay. She doesn’t cross the distance, simply pushes out a diary and pen, “Hi Sasuke-kun! Can I get an autograph?”

She seems nice and harmless, so Naruto does in fact stop moving. But Sasuke steps out of his circle of protection and pauses, looks at Naruto, “Is there a problem?”

Naruto blinks, stupidly glances at the fan, and then back at Sasuke, he’s got the same blank eyes peeking from under his hat.

 

The girl tries again, retaining her distance, “Please.”

Sasuke doesn’t even look at her, Naruto feels irritated but steps next to him helping him through the small crowd to their waiting vehicle. Inside the car, once they’ve driven a good few kilometers from the filming set, he speaks up, “That fan was nice.”

The actor remains silent. Naruto grinds his teeth, turning back from the passenger seat, “All she asked for was an autograph.”

Sasuke does address him at that, “I don’t care.”

“God, you’re such a prick,” he turns back in his seat and realizes the nerves from earlier have been effectively crushed.

 

--

Karin holds up three fingers.

 

“There are three types of fans at a fanmeet,” she explains wagging her index, “The crier.”

 

“They’re a pain,” Anko, Sasuke’s personal stylist, inputs, bubblegum popping with her words.

 

“You think they’re harmless, but they cling, and when I say teenage stans have iron-grip you should believe me.”

Naruto laughs, “What about the other two?”

“Number two, the casual fan. They’re the most harmless one. They didn’t even expect to win the fanmeet tickets, but they did and now they’re here. They are chill. They’ll ask him about his day, tell him his latest drama was great and he should try dying his hair and peace out with the complementary merch.”

“Understood,” Naruto reads the pamphlet of the event taking place in a few hours. Sasuke was excused to the dressing rooms which is a makeshift event hall that’s been booked at the mall for his entourage. “Number three?”

“The obsessive stan,” Karin’s face takes a grim look, “Usually fanmeets this big doesn’t allow for them to unleash the fanatic, but it can and has happened before.”

“Wait, what’s the difference between them and the crier?”

Anko gesticulates as she explains, “The crier is just overtly grateful and affectionate. The obsessive one wants to have our Sasu’s babies. And potentially keep him in their underground dungeon that’s a shrine made in his name.”

Naruto is terrified if he’s being honest. Karin rolls her eyes, “Not really, but you get the gist.”

“All this for a guy like Sasuke,” Naruto says under his breath still flipping through the pamphlet.

Karin flicks his forehead, “He’s talented, he’s hot and he’s one of the decent dudes in the industry, it’s not that unbelievable.”

“Are you sure?” Naruto says, “Because that attitude—”

“What about my attitude?” Sasuke interrupts them. Naruto releases a sigh and turns around to give the man a piece of his mind, Sasuke’s been primed to that A-list celebrity status.

Naruto’s lips stretch corner to corner, “It stinks.”

“You’re a child.”

“Maybe so,” Naruto sticks out his tongue, “But you’re a jerkface!”

“Proving my point,” Sasuke frowns, ignores him to go to Karin’s side, “Are the fans being let in?”

“Yep,” she points over the railing where security is scanning tickets and the foyer is filling. “We should be ready in an hour.”

Sasuke glances down at his watch and nods, “Okay, I’ll be in the back. Come get me when everything is ready.”

There is a small shift in his expression as if he’s excited about something which catches Naruto’s full attention, he watches him retreat to the room given to them and sidles up to Karin.

“He seems excited.”

Karin exclaims, “Uh-huh, now you’re curious.”

“Well!” Naruto explains, “He is hardly excited about anything.”

“Not true he always looks forward to work,” Anko points out.

Naruto throws his hands up, “Whatever.”

The fanmeet starts right on the dot. Naruto sticks behind Sasuke who is seated on a table that’s been placed on the stage, fans climbing up one by one. At first Naruto considers the whole thing will be a snoozefest, but then something peculiar happens.

Sasuke is actually fucking delightful.

A young boy climbs up alongside his mother, he’s holding a CD copy of one of Sasuke’s older movies, one that barely splashed on the critic’s radar, about a teenage superhero juggling high school and kicking criminal ass.

“I’ve seen it ten times,” the boy holds up both his hands, fingers spread out. Sasuke high-fives him and says, “You must be my biggest fan then.”

The boy excitedly shakes his hand, his voice squeaky, “I am! You’re so cool, Sasuke!”

Naruto has to cover his mouth, pivot to the side behind the curtains to hide his laugh. The kid dropping the honorifics and all. His mother quietly squeezes his shoulder, “Haru, he’s older than you. We can’t call him by his first name.”

“Sasuke doesn’t care!”

Naruto is coughing into his fist. Sasuke bumps fists with the kid and says, secretively so only the kid can hear, “You can me whatever you want. Super-secret biggest fan perks.”

The boy giggles, accepting his newly autographed CD back and winds back down the staircase.

So, Sasuke is biased to kids. Naruto finds that oddly endearing and not in line with the man’s behavior. It’s like finding a soft spot—his personal super-secret vault of information. Naruto tucks the evidence away. But as the day goes on, he realizes the more genuine the fan is the more responsive Sasuke is. They do run into a few rude ones and the crier’s he’s mostly okay with just insanely awkward which Naruto can’t exactly blame the guy.

Towards the near end, the girl from a few days ago climbs up to the stage, clutching a drama DVD and smiles, “Hiiii, how are you today?”

Sasuke nods, “Good.”

Naruto recognizes her instantly, it makes him happy she’ll finally get the autograph she was vying for, except when she bends down to pass the DVD to Sasuke she ends up saying something that he misses. What he doesn’t though is the way Sasuke’s shoulders stiffen, his hand moves in a less than fluid motion and pushes away the case.

The girl smiles sweetly, stepping back, “Love you.”

Sasuke pinches his brows in her wake, and Naruto’s confused at the entire scene. He doesn’t get to dwell on it because another girl steps up, she’s shy but she’s got a magazine Sasuke was photographed for and says politely, “Thank you for all your hard work.”

Sasuke’s shoulders relax, Naruto notices the edge of a smile making its way back to his face. He gestures at magazine and asks the girl if she’s in uni and what she’s studying. The girl who was terribly nervous before saying hello leaves with a huge smile on his face.

At the end he thanks the fans, “I’d like to thank everyone for coming out and constantly supporting me.”

Karin comes to stand next to Naruto, “So, still think he’s an ass?”

Naruto rolls his eyes, “Whatever, he likes kids and is nice to the nice ones. It’s public image tricks.”

“Get your head out of your ass, Uzumaki.” Karin snickers, “He’s great, and it’s okay to admit it. It’ll make that little crush easier.”

“What!?” Naruto shrieks, mortified. Karin puckers her lips and grins impishly. Some fan, a super tall in the back, yells, “Oi Sasuke!”

Sasuke exasperates into a soft laugh, it’s an uncanny gesture for someone who retains this unreachable, cool persona, and says, “Hi, Harada.”

She whistles.  

 

All in all, the event goes smoothly.

 

--

 

Naruto gets fried chicken and draft beer with Sakura. They eat in front of Sasuke’s massive television. He’s not home—at Suigetsu’s—so Naruto thought why not.

A few drinks in they’re both riding off the buzz, Sakura was a pitch drunk before arriving, a work get-together she had, and asks, ”So, is he still an ass to you?”

Naruto recalls the past few weeks. Sasuke has started spending time outside of his room especially because Naruto’s taken to cooking most meals. The actor hadn’t realized the blonde was a decent cook, and sure Naruto didn’t intend on having his culinary skills be exploited but when a hungry man shows up at your doorstep it’s rude of you to turn them down.

A tiny, supremely annoying, voice in the back of his head—oddly reminiscent of the redhead—tells him he’s gone soft.

“Sorta, we hang out.” Naruto points at the collection of drama now organized in perfect alphabetical order under the TV console, “Your guy is a huge period drama nerd. That’s literally all he watches. You should see his face.”

“Wait, you watch it with him? You hate that shit.”

Naruto scratches his ear, “Waah, Sakura, it’s weird if I’d just walk out you know! He sits there on the couch with that stupid face of his and I feel bad.”

“Are you pitying a famous actor?”

“He has like three friends. I’m doing him a favor.”

“Sure, you are.”

Naruto topples onto Sakura’s side, nuzzles into her shoulder, “I miss you guys. How’s Kiba doing?”

“He thinks you’ve swapped him for the pretty actor,” she coos, “You do complain about him less.”

“He’s decent,” Naruto smacks his lips. He can’t tell what’s playing on the TV, but he squints to pay attention anyway. The front door clinks, he’s draped over his friend, and Sasuke finds them canoodling on the brilliant orange carpet Naruto had proudly purchased.

“You have company,” he stays standing in the doorway. Naruto blinks up at him, hazily responding, “You’re early, sorry, this is Sakura.”

His friend blushes, straightening her skirt and uncharacteristically shy, waves, “Hi.”

Sasuke nods, looks between them for a contemplative moment, and then says, “I’ll be in my room.”

“Sure,” Naruto grabs another chicken leg. He’s about to bite into the piece when Sakura smacks him. “Ow! What the hell?”

“Did you do something?”

“What do you mean?” he dumbly asks.
Sakura pulls a face, “He seemed shocked seeing us together. Christ, he better not think we’re a thing.”

“With you drooling over him like that? I doubt it,” Naruto snorts.

Sakura pulls his ear.

Turns out Sasuke did think he and Sakura are a thing. During breakfast the following day, over a glass of a suspiciously green smoothie, the man says, “Will your girlfriend be around a lot?”

“Who?” Naruto wrinkles his nose at the green goop the man is drinking. This versus the bullet coffee the man frequently drinks really is another reason why Naruto will never understand the celebrity lifestyle.

“Sakura?” Sasuke quickly chugs down the smoothie. Naruto snickers over his non-stick pan of scrambled eggs, guess he doesn’t like that shit either.

"She isn’t my girlfriend what the hell,” Naruto plates his bacon, and eggs, and toast and grabs the butter from the fridge. Sasuke longingly stares at his breakfast. “We hooked up in college and that was a huge disaster. We’re friends now.”

“I see,” Sasuke’s still eyeing the cheesy eggs. Naruto scoops up a bite-full and extends it to the man over the island, “Open up.”

Sasuke’s face pinches awkwardly, “It’s fine. I shouldn’t eat that.”

 

“You’ll be fine, if you ate real people food.”

He counters, “That’s hardly healthy.”

“Alright more for me then.” Mid-bite, he does decide to ask, “Why the sudden interest in me and Sakura?” Then harrows into shock, “Ha! You think she was cute!”

“She’s not my type.”

“Sexy, accomplished, smart, isn’t your type?” Naruto lists.

Sasuke balances his chin on his palm, “No, but it certainly seems to be yours.”

Naruto waves him off, “I’m on a sabbatical.”

“From dating?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

Naruto deadpans, “I’m assigned to protect the Nation’s First Love. Anyone I date will dump me for your prickly ass.”

Sasuke bubbles into a soft laugh, tilts his head, his eyes have a gentle twinge to them, the early morning cocoon still wrapped around him, “That sucks.”

“Yeah,” Naruto rolls his eyes, he feels warm behind his ears, “You should be sorry.”

“I’m really not,” Sasuke’s lips pull upwards. Naruto stabs a piece of bacon.

--

“What’s this?”

Karin flips through her own copy, “Sasuke’s new training schedule. A few months ago, he auditioned for an action movie and he got the part.”

“Cool,” Naruto rifles through the pages, “Wait, this is pretty rigorous.”

“Yep, he’s got to buff up,” Karin says. “Filming doesn’t start until February, but the sooner he starts the better.”

Naruto looks at the extensive regime outlined by the instructor and frowns, “Damn, I don’t get why. Isn't he good enough as is?”

"Good enough to eat?" Karin impishly says.

Naruto furiously stamps down images popping in his head, "All I'm saying he's pretty fit to me."

“Oh yeah?” Karin prods. "Wanna keep going, Uzumaki?"

He instantly backtracks, frenetically coming up with an excuse, “I mean, he’s no slacker—like he works out—he’s pretty good at taking care—like I’ve got eyes—”

“Yeah I know you’ve got eyes,” Karin teases, clicks her teeth together, “Clearly which you’ve been using.”

“That’s not what I mean!”

“Yeah, yeah, just accompany him to Gai’s gym. That’s all.”

Naruto grumbles and says ok.

 

They start early on a Monday. Sasuke sighs, “Let's get this over with.”

“Are you afraid of lifting a few weights?” Naruto jokes, “I didn’t take you for such a wuss.”

Sasuke flatly states, “Don’t get ahead of yourself. I don’t care about the physical requirement, but more so, what Gai has in store.”

“Why? What’s this dude’s deal?”

Sasuke smiles sickly, “Why don’t you join me and find out? Or you afraid, scaredy-cat?”

Naruto scoffs, “My parents own a dojo, I’m a trained bodyguard, you’re insane if you think I can’t take some celebrity trainer’s workout regime.”

“Cute,” Sasuke mutters, “Then why don’t we find out?”

 

Sasuke is the fucking reincarnation of the devil if there was one. Bitchass, lying bastard deserves to be run over by a truck and then fed by a thousand vultures, in Naruto’s books.

Gai jovially slaps Naruto’s back while he lifts no less than a 100lbs, “Doing great, Uzumaki, great form.” Admittedly Naruto wobbles due to the smack, glares at Sasuke who is to his left, “You bastard, you did this on purpose.”

Sasuke huffs tiredly, sweat lining his forehead, neck and creating dark spots on his athletic wear, he still manages to look smug and a right prick though, “What happened? Too hard for you Mr. Black Belt?”

“Wait till we get out of here and I’m going to—”

“Naruto!” Gai calls to him again, “Sasuke’s so lucky to have you here. There is nothing better than bonding in blood and sweat to deepen the bonds of friendship!”

Both Sasuke and Naruto hiss, scared, “Blood!?”

“Of course!” Gai cheers them on, “After I’m done with both of you, you’ll be red-blooded men!”

“What does that even mean?” Naruto cries when he’s made to try another mechanical contraption that stretches his muscles beyond repair, “I will get you back for this, Sasuke.”

Sasuke actually grumbles under his breath, “If I survive this.”

Naruto sees him struggle as much as he is, they both end up looking at each other and bursting into full smiles, “This fucking sucks.”

Sasuke agrees.

 

 

Naruto drops on the couch, cheeks pressed and every muscle in his body aching, “I think I am dead. This is what death feels like.”

Sasuke walks out of the kitchen and passes him an ice pack and bottle of Gatorade, “Here.”

“Thanks,” he accepts the proffered items, “You’re really supposed to do this for the next six months?”

“Yep,” he sits on the floor, legs stretched out, and shows him a sheet of paper, “And follow this diet schedule.”

Naruto reads kale smoothie and instantaneously feels homicidal, “I don’t know how to say this, but dude it’s time to rethink career options.”

Sasuke laughs, shaking his head, “It’s fine, I think it’ll be all worth it.”

“Nothing is worth drinking chard shots.”

“Alright, you might be right,” he winces when he tries to move, Naruto touches his shoulder lightly, “Stay put. What do you need?”

“Food,” Sasuke throws back his head on the couch cushion.

“We’re ordering burgers,” Naruto pulls out his cellphone opening the nearest burger shack search on the search engine. Sasuke reminds, “I can’t eat anything but these things, remember?”

“Yeah, do that tomorrow. You’re killing yourself for some abs, and taking me down with you we are eating burgers I don’t give a fuck.”

Sasuke idly comments, “My diet has been horribly influenced since you came into my life.”

“But are you happier?”

Naruto says it as a joke, but Sasuke gives him a fond, exasperated look, and admits, a bit too honest for the playful atmosphere, “Yeah, very.”

He blushes, “Then we’re eating burgers.”

 

 

--

The photoshoot concept is The Picture of Immortal Youth.

It’s a bit dramatic. Naruto bites into his apple, flipping through an old issue of the MEN’S NON-NO. Sasuke steps out of the corridor that winds down to the dressing room, he’s dressed in a pinstripe shirt that’s topped off with a dark blazer, the button of the shirt undone to his middle, his hair pinched and teased in a messy look. Naruto takes a bigger bite of his apple.

“Okay we need you to sit in the center, we’re mainly focusing on your face—expression, and body language.”

Sasuke sits down, pushing his knees up, and leaning back on his palm. Head lolling onto his shoulder.

The makeup is very dull, almost giving him a lazy effect matching the mess of his hair.

 

“Naruto.”

“Huh?” he’s got his eyes fixed on the way Sasuke angle his head back, he has a very nice long neck.

“Naruto.”

“Wha…?”

Sasuke gets up and pushes his hands into the loose pockets of the jacket, stops for a profile shot.

“Naruto!”

“What?” he looks to his left.

Karin seems amused.

“If you’re done ogling. I need you to run an errand.”

He doesn’t even bother refuting because he very much was ogling. Grumbles to himself and takes the clipboard she gives him, “This isn’t part of my job description.”

“If you’re a good boy maybe Sasuke will treat you.”

Naruto blushes, “You’re sick. Hope you know.”


“Alright, puppy. Run!”

He exits the studio towards the lobby, it’s when he’s waiting for the elevator, he notices a girl standing near the potted plant. She’s texting. Naruto squints trying to remember why she seems overtly familiar but before he can put two and two together the elevator dings. He gets on. The papers were supposed to be handed to some executives.

By the time he makes it back to the studio, Sasuke’s standing next to the director except there is peculiar tiredness clinging to him. Karin snaps at a junior stylist which gets Naruto to rush to her.

“Everything okay?”

Karin is pissed. She hands him a phone and walks over to the crew member asking for her, “See for yourself.”

Naruto sees that the phone isn’t the manager’s but Sasuke’s, it’s got that tiny Uchiha insignia pressed into the cover. The screen lights up to a LINE message.

His eyes widen.

 

On the drive back home Sasuke falls asleep. Naruto feels bad waking him up since the man had back to back schedules since 5 AM and comes to the terrible understanding he hasn’t had a bite to eat all day. Naruto forgot to get groceries and the only thing they’ve got is instant ramen which Sasuke categorically refuses to touch.

Either way, his current dilemma is waking up the actor.

“Sasuke, we’re home.”

Sasuke startles awake, clutches to the seat, and blinks out of a daze. Naruto touches his shoulder, “Morning.”

The raven smiles warmly, speaks deeply, “Morning.”

Naruto feels a flute of flutter in his windpipe.

“Let’s go,” they get out in the parking lot, “We have to eat something too.”

Naruto cooks enough ramen for two people but still searches the fridge for decent ingredients to put together a real meal. Sasuke walks into the kitchen in pajamas. He’s wearing his hair up in an apple hairstyle.

“What are you cooking? It smells good.”

Naruto winces closing the fridge door, “Ramen.”

Sasuke bites the inside of his cheek, crosses the space to the stove and says, “I’ve never had instant ramen.”

There is a rich person joke at the tip of Naruto’s tongue. Actually, there are about ten.

“My parents were strict about what we ate. We weren’t allowed junk food at our house,” he glances at Naruto, bites on his gums, and asks, “Did you make enough for two?”

“Oh, we’re slumming it?” Naruto elbows him and lifts the pot once it’s done to place on the coaster. Hands Sasuke a pair of chopsticks, “It’s most fun eating it straight out of the pot.”

Sasuke stands next to him, breaks his chopsticks apart, and matches Naruto’s growing grin, “Like this?”

Naruto watches him eat, spill a few drops on his chin, expression widening at the taste, “This is…not bad.”

“It’s great,” Naruto sees Sasuke matching his grin. They huddle over the steaming broth, end up using the same spoon to scoop the golden soup.

Sasuke ends up concurring, “I might be a changed man.”

 

Naruto feels warm.

 

--

“This is Instagram.”

 

Naruto shows Sasuke how to work the app. Now, Sasuke’s a smart guy, Naruto even is willing to begrudgingly admit he’s a talented guy, but when it comes to technology, he is on par with a grandpa retired twice. Due to the release of the first episode of his drama there has been a surge in his popularity once again, after all, it’s unheard of a drama in first cycle of promotions to break cable records.

But that’s Sasuke and the Fire Country eats up him as a college student juggling studies and helping his TV mother run a onigiri shop. Of course, his whirlwind romance with the newcomer Yamanaka Ino is the main highlight of the media buzz. The point is Sasuke is getting a lot of hype and this calls for using that popularity wave to reinforce his viewership.

“Give me a username,” Naruto types in Sasuke’s work email, and expectantly glances at him.

Suigetsu who is stretched in out on the couch, head in Sasuke’s lap, suggests, “Sexy, studmuffin Uchiha.”

Sasuke pinches his ear, “No.”

Suigetsu blows him a kiss.

Naruto clears his throat, he’s perched on the arm of the couch, “Most celebs do their name or a number along with it especially if their name is super common.”

“Okay, then just do suchia.”

The username is miraculously available, Naruto punches it in and starts explaining all the features. He explains the function of stories and lives and DM’s.

“Oh,” Sasuke’s gapes at the messaging system, “This is what people mean can I slide into your DM’s.”

Naruto releases an exasperated laugh, “God, you have so much to learn.”

“Whatever,” Sasuke scrolls through his pictures and picks one that Naruto recognizes from the hike a few of them went on a month ago. The mountains a hazy blue behind the grainy filter. Sasuke isn’t even looking at the camera. “There, good?”

Naruto nods, “Yeah, that’ll do.”

Later he’s scrolling through his own account feed when he stumbles upon Sasuke’s latest post. It’s racked up nearly a million likes, and he should scroll past it, but.

It’s a nice picture, it’s even nicer to know Sasuke laughed pretty hard after this when Suigetsu dropped his ice cream.

 

That night Naruto counts down every reason why Uchiha Sasuke is the textbook definition of a bad idea.

 

He spectacularly fails.

 

 

--

On a rare day off, Naruto opens the door to a woman with familiar features. She bristles at the sight of him and says, “Oh, hello. You are—”

“Uzumaki Naruto,” he introduces, “You’re?”


“Sasuke’s mother, Mikoto,” she steps in, and fits into the surroundings perfectly. She’s dressed in a long dress, casual but it compliments her. “I didn’t know he was seeing someone. That boy doesn’t tell me anything.”

“Excuse me?” Naruto squeaks. Sasuke steps out of his room, “Hey did you want to watch 100 Days Husband. I really like that actor—mother.”

“There’s you. My baby,” she instantly reaches for his face, “Have you not been eating well again?”

“I’m fine,” Sasuke replies, albeit alarmed at being caught off-guard.

Naruto slams the internal crisis to segue into the kitchen, “I’ll get some tea.”

“No need, Naruto,” she waves him to come closer, “Why don’t you come here and tell me about yourself?”

“Uh,” he struggles to come up with anything useful, “Like?”

“Like how did you two meet?”

“Mother,” Sasuke has a warning tone to his voice laced in something else. Mikoto rolls her eyes, it’s so familiar to the same gesture Sasuke pulls that Naruto can’t help but smile. She decides to say then, “Well, then, let me look at you.”

“Okay,” Naruto awkwardly does as he’s told, nervous for no goddamn reason, “Is something wrong?”

“Very handsome,” she pinches his cheeks and then addresses Sasuke, “You did well.”
Naruto flushes, “Wait, I think there is a misunderstanding—”

Sasuke steps on his foot, and Naruto yips, “He just means he wasn’t expecting you. Nor was I. When did you get back from Suna?”

“Just this morning. What’s this hullabaloo about you getting a new wave of stalker fans, Sasuke? I’ve been saying you should move back home.”

Naruto has the resounding revelation that Sasuke’s parents have no idea how fucked up the past few months have been. Which is a miracle because the man is the talk of every social buzz online and print.

Wait, are his parents as technologically inept as he is? The thought makes him giddy.

“I’m doing fine here,” Sasuke smiles, pulls Naruto into him. The blonde’s nose touches Sasuke’s cheek, and his chest goes into a rabid frenzy, “Been busy with work and this one.”

Mikoto looks between the two of them. If Naruto has learned anything from his mother is, you can’t lie to her and he does feel bad for Sasuke or at least that’s the rationale his brain uses to try to be more convincing before he stumbles forward to kiss the raven’s cheek. Sasuke’s arm around him tightens and Naruto immediately regrets what he’s done. He jumps back, face red, “I—should at least get you water!”

Sasuke blinks, surprised too. Mikoto laughs, it’s fond, “Very well, I wouldn’t mind a glass.”

“What the fuck is wrong with me?” Naruto pats his cheek, hisses as he reaches for a clean glass. Fills it to the brim and balances it on a small saucer, “Why in god’s name would I do that?”

When he steps out, Sasuke’s rubbing his forehead, and Mikoto sighs, “Do you really think we wouldn’t have found out?”

Naruto sets down the glass and sits on the chair. Sasuke says, “I was hoping, yes.”

“You’re the bodyguard, right, Naruto?”

Naruto’s eyes widen, Sasuke makes a face and admits, “Yes, sorry, I wasn’t trying to lie—”

Mikoto chuckles, “Sasuke’s boyfriend not knowing his mother sounds very unbelievable.”

He feels like a dumbass and honestly? A bit hurt that he knows very little about Sasuke’s family from his own mouth and not the long-winded internet search he did when he first started the job. Eventually, he retires to his room, only surfaces when Sasuke knocks at the door, “I’m going to drive her to our family home. Might stay a day or two.”

“Do you think that’ll be okay--?” Naruto worries needlessly because Sasuke is fully capable of taking care of himself, “Yeah, it’ll be good. I just wanted to give you a heads up. Apparently, they’ve been worried for a while so going back should relieve some of those concerns.”

“They’re you’re parents, of course, that’s only natural.”

Sasuke stands there for the first time looking unsure. Naruto’s never seen him portray indecision. He’s so straightforward all the time.

He looks past Naruto in an effort to find the answer, apparently, he does because he meets his eyes and says, “When I come back, how about we get dinner?”

Naruto startles, pleasantly surprised.

“Uh, sure, yes, why not.”

There’s a badger sized ball in his throat. He feels weightless all the same.

“I’d like to tell you about my family,” Sasuke says, “Hopefully you can tell me about yours too?”

Naruto beams.

 

--

 

Sasuke stays with his folks for a whole week. Naruto’s bored as fuck. But he doesn’t make the effort to call up any friend either.

He binges 100 Days Husband.

And cooks and eats and (misses Sasuke.)

 

--

Sasuke comes back.

They get dinner.

--

 

“Grad school?

“It sounds dumb, right?” Naruto scratches his nose, “I don’t know. I think I’d like to teach. Can’t do this bodyguard gig forever can I? Besides I love kids.”

They’re walking home from the dinner, the streets are quiet, it’s late at night and Sasuke’s got his full incognito gear. It’s doubtful one of his fans will find him.

Sasuke hums, “No, it sounds great. College student, Naruto. Can I expect a portion of your time when you’re off being studious?”

“Nah, I don’t have time for jerkface celebs,” Naruto sticks out his tongue.

“I thought I was special,” Sasuke places a hand on his heart, “Especially after tonight.”

Naruto can feel the burn of his cheeks, “What makes tonight different?”

Sasuke tilts forward in his line of vision, pinches the front of his mask to pulls it down, and says, “Naruto.”

There is it again. The way he says his name, it sounds—“You’re so pretty.”

Naruto jerks up, eyes catching the grey’s swirling in Sasuke’s, “What?”

Sasuke’s lips twitch up, self-assured in the way his expression gleams and pulls up his mask, “Because wasn’t tonight a date?”

“Fuck off,” Naruto pushes him by the shoulder, Sasuke sways and laughs at him getting flustered. “You’re an ass! And not funny!”

“I know,” Sasuke’s fingers gingerly catch his, loosely twine them together, “You’re the funny guy.” Drags Naruto back to him, and says, “But what about now?”

Naruto grumbles all the way to their building.

He keeps holding Sasuke’s hand though. It’s warm, and November’s around the corner.

 

--

 

Sasuke pads into the living room, thick woolen socks on his feet, soft grey sweater over his joggers.

“Guess what I figured out?”

Naruto glances away from the TV, he’s watching an episode of Sanada Maru. Sasuke pauses in whatever he was trying to say, distracted by the scene on the television, and Naruto realizes the man wasn’t even the one who put it on in fact he did. In the past few months, he’s watched so many historical dramas with the actor that he’s developed an uncanny likeness to them.

“What?”

He’s cracking peanut shells; the floor is heated, and soft flecks of snow are caressing the window of their 20th story apartment. Naruto had never imagined he’d experience this sort of luxury in this life. Sasuke comes to sit next to him, hardly any space in between them, and it’s this what makes all the fancy things sweeter, the man tilts the screen so Naruto can see the calendar that’s filled with tiny dots of different colors.

He says, proudly if he’s ever sounded, “I synced it.” Pulls out his phone from his sweats and brandishes the newly inputted schedule, “It’s all here. No more planner.”

Naruto thinks about the thick planner in Sasuke’s room, sitting on the desk he frequently uses, “But you like using one. Why the sudden change?”

“Physical ones don’t tell me about last-minute events nor give me alerts,” he uses the trackpad to hover over a date week from today, a tiny orange star on it, “See, we are going to go to that manga/comic store you were talking about.”

It’s a hole-in-the-wall shop selling outdated comics that were either discontinued due to lack of popularity or the author passed away, a vintage collection. Naruto sets aside a Sunday every few months to venture out there, usually making the trip alone, but recently he’s been sharing his hobbies and likings with Sasuke and oddly enough the raven has taken proper interest in it.

“Congratulation you’re finally up to speed with the rest of the world,” Sasuke reaches into his peanut bowl, but Naruto smacks his hand, “I spent an hour peeling those!”

Sasuke drops a handful into his mouth, chews, and speaks altogether, “Well, peel some more.”

They both settle into companionable silence, Naruto watches the fighting scene play out on TV, “Since you like them so much would you want to work in a historical drama?”

“Yes,” Sasuke shares, “I’m willing to do any genre. A story is a story, you know?”

“Why these types though? What’s so special about watching a warrior from Edo period?”

Sasuke cracks another peanut shell, the flakey woody chips stand out against the material of his sweater, “That time, and this time, there are very few differences. People are still people, so I suppose it’s fascinating seeing the same problems in a different era?”

“Then why not show the same interest in those future-based dramas?”

“Because those are just projections, history, however, is written,” Sasuke points out, “Besides, I think sword-fighting is cool.”

Naruto notices the splint of embarrassment hiding beneath the surface of Sasuke’s skin, the expression he wears is exceedingly endearing, “You’re seriously an Oji-san.” Sasuke glares at him, nose furling in irritation, “Grandpa!”

He puts Naruto into a headlock.

 

 

 

 --

 

Kakashi calls Naruto into a meeting while Sasuke’s wrapping up his shoot. Naruto enters his office and says, “You asked for me?”

“Hey,” he seems distressed which is a feat for the aloof man, “Can you close the door?”

Naruto suddenly feels like he’s in hot water. But he can’t remember what he did to get in trouble.

Kakashi undoes a yellow envelope and pulls out a stack of pictures, “Is this you?”

It’s him and Sasuke from the other night. Naruto’s whispering something in Sasuke’s ear and although you can’t tell it’s the actor you can clearly tell it is in fact Naruto.

“Uh, yeah, I don’t understand—”

“Naruto, are you and Sasuke a thing?”

He drops the picture he’s holding, furiously blushing, “What? No!”

“These pictures say otherwise.”

“No, it’s nothing like that!” that’s entirely untrue but entirely true too. They were tipsy and Sasuke said somethings but he’s an actor and he’s used to being charming and that’s natural. They’re friends Naruto can ascertain that and it’s all they’ll probably ever be. He can’t stomach that because bile rises in his throat realizing Sasuke might’ve been joking, but Naruto’s screwed six ways to Sunday, “We’re just friends. And were drunk. Nothing happened.”

Kakashi levels him with an impressive and pant-shitting glare before sighing, “Okay, that’s what I thought. Normally Sasuke isn’t this careless. But we received these this morning and this could be a huge scandal if it were to get out.”

Naruto furrows his brows, “Because I’m a guy?”

Kakashi blinks, “Oh, no. Wait, do you—never mind, the point is, this is bad publicity he doesn’t need. Not to mention he is extremely private and would hate this. But this means he’s being stalked by a pretty resilient and smart fan.”

“I see,” Naruto sees a picture of him smiling and feels a gut-wrenching ache. “I’ll keep lookout.”

“Thank you.”

Right as he’s about to leave Kakashi says, “Naruto.”

“Yeah?”

“Developing a personal relationship with your client is a breach of contract and conflict of interest.”

“I know that,” Naruto replies. “I just said—”

Kakashi sadly says the rest, “Falling for him is just plain reckless though. Dating a celebrity isn’t exactly easy.”

Naruto smiles, it pinches his face wrongly, “Pssh, who’d fall for that asshole?”

 

--

Naruto would.

He’s in the kitchen waiting for the water to boil. Head in the clouds. Ever since his visit to Kakashi’s office, he’s been maintaining distance from Sasuke. At least he’s being discreet about it in case the man thinks he’s being avoided, it’s more so Naruto is carefully siphoning his time between his job and his friends who he meets under the pretense of missing them.

Not to say he doesn’t miss them, but the frequency of his visits definitely doesn’t modulate those feelings.

Sasuke drops bounded pages on the counter, leans against the granite, “Help me run lines.”

“Huh?” He lifts the script; they’re nearing the end of filming. A few more episodes before the drama is concluded, “Don’t you get Suigetsu or Karin to usually do it with you.”

“They’re both busy,” he sniffs the broth that Naruto’s letting simmer, “C’mon, it won’t take long.”

Naruto lifts the script, that isn’t even what he’s worried about, but he starts the scene. They go back and forth, and halfway through the scene he’s strained the cooked noodles into a bowl, he turns to the next page. Lifts the scrip to read the next part.

“Do you think it’s possible to go back to that?” he knows he isn’t paying attention because Sasuke’s chided him twice already, but right now all he wants is his warm bowl of packet ramen and binge some Netflix and go to sleep. Putting the circling thoughts behind him. “Back to the comfortable relationship we once had when we were kids.”

Sasuke steps forward, Naruto stops minding the food to finally give the other man an ounce of attention, becoming aware of the meager distance between them. The atmosphere shifts, Naruto’s drawn into the scene one word at a time, Sasuke says, “No, that’s not possible for me.”

He continues, forehead creasing, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that. Can you?”

“Yeah, I can,” it’s getting increasingly harder to be clear, the faint warble traveling to his voice with Sasuke’s decisive steps, “I can do it.”

“It’s that easy?” Sasuke looks at him, there is warmth enveloped in his gaze, a matchstick to the fire lighting inside of him, “Would you tell me it’s still the same as then? As before.”

Naruto knows it’s what the script says, but he can’t help but think of all those months ago, meeting Sasuke, instantly declaring his distaste for the man, he remembers with clarity how he had felt. There shouldn’t be any reason for him to think of then and compare it to now, to how thinking of Sasuke as anything but the soft billow in his chest, of thinking about how what he feels snowballed and this is where it came to.

“I can—” he stutters, fingers clutching the script tightly. “I can go back to then.”

Sasuke smiles, reticent. “That’s not part of the script, Naruto.”

Naruto’s eyes widen, he swallows the swab of saliva stuck in his throat. Sasuke asks, “Go back to what?”

“I…” he looks down, their toes are almost touching. “The next scene—it’s—what happens next—”

It’s terribly quiet for a moment. There is a suspension of disbelief that his voice wasn’t heard, that he said everything in his head, that this second hasn’t lived quite yet. Except Sasuke irreversibly collapses the silence, “This.”

His hand grazes past Naruto’s jaw, cups the side of his face, and lifts his head. Naruto’s breath catches in his throat, Sasuke leans in but in an act of defiance, trying to save the vestiges of his already crumbling sanity, to weave over the threadbare vessels once again, so they hold their place, do their job. The blond, eyes pinched closed, covers his mouth with the back of his hand.

Sasuke stops near his palm, Naruto opens his eyes, chest aching in loud vibrations, and breathes.

What he doesn’t expect is, Sasuke closing his own eyes and diminishing the distance, pressing pillowy lips to the inside of Naruto’s palm. A petal soft press. Naruto’s breath hitches.

Sasuke pulls back, eyes fluttering open, voice gravitating Naruto’s axis, “Is it really that easy?”

 

Naruto feels the world’s weight.

 

--

 

They don’t talk about the practice scene. Sasuke takes to staying in his room from there on, and Naruto’s left feeling miserable.

The only thing he keeps repeating to himself is the feel of Sasuke’s mouth, the light touch, how if his hand hadn’t been there it would have been against his mouth. Sasuke would have kissed him.

Naruto would have kissed back.

 

--

 

They’re at Suigetsu’s apartment playing an FPS game. Well, it’s just Naruto and Suigetsu playing. Sasuke is reading; sitting crossed legged on the beanbag. Unlike Sasuke’s previously abysmal apartment, Suigetsu’s place properly reflects a guy in his mid-twenties. Kitchen cupboards full of junk food, fridge full of alcohol and take out. There is a whole gaming system set up in the living room.

The man’s even got a fish-tank the size of the entire wall adjacent to the balcony. Alright, that’s not normal for a guy in his twenties, but Naruto’s not about to ask. Besides, he’s got his thing with toads and plants, so he gets it.

“Are you sure you don’t want to play?” Naruto asks, one more time. He’s been keeping a distance from Sasuke since the almost-not-kiss-that-should-have-been-a-kiss and it’s wearing him down. They hardly talk when they’re at home and being outside in the company of one of Sasuke’s friends he considers it an even turf. An olive branch to mend what he wishes happened.

Clearing his headspace of all thoughts Sasuke, his mouth, his enticing scent that lingers in every nook and cranny of their shared apartment, Naruto addresses the actual man again, “It’s a lot of fun.”

“You really have no self-preservation skills,” Suigetsu comments.

Naruto rolls his eyes, “It’s a video game. How bad can he be?”

Suigetsu squawks, getting up from the floor to pass Sasuke the controller, “Alright, consider this a warning, Uzumaki.”

“You’re up, Sas.” Sasuke frowns at the controller dropped in his lap, “I’m getting more drinks.”

“What’s the button to aim again?” Sasuke settles next to him, his knee bumping Naruto’s in the process. He scratches the side of his nose, discreetly tries to place distance between them, but Sasuke leans over to show the controller, “X?”

“Uh, yeah,” Naruto shows him the toggle sticks and the buttons in the back. “Got it?”

“Yeah, I think I’ve played this once before.” He waits for the map to load up, “But it was pretty long ago.”

Suigetsu drops another can of beer next to Naruto, and dives into the bag of chips, “This should be interesting.”

Apparently, when Suigetsu said it was a warning he wasn’t exactly preluding to Sasuke’s terrible gaming skills because as unfair life is turns out that Sasuke’s a fucking beast when it comes to video games.

“How—” Naruto yells at the screen, “You said you’ve only played once! You’ve gotten ten straight all-kills!”

Sasuke says, passively, “I’m good at everything.”

Naruto’s eye twitches, “Oh, fuck off.”

Suigetsu laughs next to him, shoulder rolling into Naruto’s, “See! I told you. It’s just unfair. This is why he’s not allowed to play anything but Minecraft.”

“Why Minecraft?” Naruto takes a swig of his beer, actively avoiding Sasuke because the shithead is really crookedly good at everything.

Suigetsu lifts a shoulder, “He doesn’t have any patience to actual mine for materials.”

“It’s true,” Sasuke’s words whisper against the shell of his ear, he’s basically plastered to Naruto’s back, chin lightly brushing his shoulder, “Can I get some chips?”

Naruto bitterly, and very, very consciously, says, “Nope, didn’t you say junk food is like poison to our bodies?”

He can tell Sasuke is frowning behind him. He inwardly celebrates this victory, but it’s short-lived. Sasuke tilts his head a smidge, peering up at him, cheek now touching Naruto’s shoulder, “Please?”

Naruto goes cross-eyed glancing down at him, notices the faint peachy glow of Sasuke’s cheeks—he’s a tad drunk. They’ve been progressively working through Suigetsu’s abundant supply of liquor after all. Naruto’s chest tightens, and he spurs forward towards the snacks, “Fine whatever!”

“Too easy,” Sasuke snickers, Suigetsu laughing at his expense too.

Naruto’s heartbeat has found a permanent home in his ears. And the ache of what can’t be has carved a river in his chest.

His mood only dampens when Suigetsu gets them to play another round and Sasuke’s smile is hard to get rid of. He desperately wishes he wasn’t here, but he also wishes this is where life exists for the rest of time.

He closes the door to his wants and steps up when Suigetsu asks, “Who’s playing me next?”

 

 

--

 

 

The scene is being filmed outside the university campus that’s been sanctioned off for shooting, it’s snowing, and the streetlights are floating like fireflies.

Sasuke stops on the sidewalk, the camera pans out to capture his profile. Naruto can see from his spot next to the van, Karin standing alongside him passing a warm cup of hot chocolate.

“No, it’s not possible for me. I’m sorry I can’t do that.”

Ino flits around, giving him his back, “I can. I can do it.”

“You can honestly say that?” Sasuke says.

Naruto startles, reaching for Karin who is literally right by him, “Wait, that’s not the dialogue.”

Karin glances up from her phone, completely uninterested in the plot, and comments, “Sometimes he improvises. Don’t worry. The rest of the scene should stay the same.”

“If we go forward with this, I’m afraid it won’t be the same,” Ino replies, “I don’t want that.”

Sasuke folds his hand into hers, tugs it the slightest, “It won’t. It can be better. Don’t you believe me?”

She hesitates, Naruto notices the way she longingly glances away before deciding his word is worth the chance, “Okay.”

Sasuke smiles, cups her face. Memories from that lost weekend night flash in front of him, his chest thuds again calling to the sight, the sounds, the smells, the taste. His palm tingles and the camera keeps rolling. Sasuke pulls Ino into a hug.

The director yells cut.

“What…” he staggers as the crew starts filing towards the actors, the director announces how they only have one more scene to shoot which they’ll do tomorrow, in daylight. Karin begins to move, but Naruto asks, “What about the kiss?”

Karin’s brows furl, “There is no kiss scene…?”

“Are you sure—in the script—”

“I’m pretty sure,” she nods, “I read the script when we first started filming. It’s a total slow burn. I think the director is still debating adding one in the very ending. But not here.”

She leaves him to his devices, revelations, and looming decisions. If the kiss wasn’t part of the kiss, then it must mean—

Naruto searches out Sasuke past the crowd of the production crew, Tenten fixing his makeup and smiling as she talks his ear off. Sasuke lifts his gaze to look around, settles it into a fond smile when it meets Naruto.

Then he looks away leaving Naruto just as breathless as he had a few nights ago.

 

--

It’s during an award ceremony that the threatening texts, the stalker phone calls come to a headway. Naruto steps out of his room, Tenten’s basically taken over the living room in efforts to style Sasuke for the red carpet so he had excused himself giving the artist space. He fiddles with his tie; he can’t believe he has to wear a fucking suit to this thing and straightens his collar.

“Oh, good timing, we’re done too!” Tenten cheers.

Naruto glances up from his tie to see what she means and the sight that beholds him—well.

“Ready?” Sasuke asks.

Dressed in black with accents of gold, his jacket embroidered a paisley pattern sewn in golden thread, glittering material overall. There is a thin chain hanging from his neck, fashioned into a knot halfway to his chest, where the shirt under his jacket is undone a few buttons. He’s even got makeup on, Tenten’s done a spectacular job at blending shades of black, a light overline of red and tiny specks of glitter gel over his eyelids.

“So, how does he look?” Anko asks, she’s zipping up the hanger, “Pretty hot, hrm?”

Naruto’s face warms up, he wants to say something, but he’s been beating himself over and over to get over these mangled feelings.

“Speechless, Mr. Uzumaki? That’s definitely a first,” Sasuke jokes.

Naruto sours, harrumphs towards the door, “Karin said we can’t leave later than 6:45. We gotta go!”

Tenten gives him an odd look, but nods. Quickly runs a hand through her hair and reaches for the bag of touch up supplies, and says, “Alright, let’s go.”

The driver is pulling the car towards them, Tenten and Anko going in first, when Sasuke catches his elbow.

“You look good,” he whispers for the two of them. “I like it.”

Naruto flushes deeply, feels a coil of guilt for not returning the compliment, but he can’t stop his pacing thoughts for one second to string together a coherent sentence. He settles on, “Says you?”

Sasuke laughs, quiet, and soft. Squeezes his elbow once, “Yep, you’re so pretty.”

Naruto wants to die.

 

The red carpet should go fine, but despite the rumbling in his chest at the very sight of stupid Sasuke, he notices an odd presence in the crowd. It’s a girl. Not just any girl but the same one from the fanmeet, from the studio, that one time, even from the elevator when he couldn’t place her face.

Naruto realizes then.

Sasuke isn’t nominated this season because his drama started airing in the middle of the judging cycle, but he does present one to a colleague. On their way out towards the after-party hosted by a big shot actor, a renowned name in the industry, Naruto notices the girl again.

“Fucking hell,” he curses under his breath as he is guiding Sasuke out of the crowd of fans.

“What?” Sasuke glances back and that’s all it takes for the girl to elbow another fan to reach him and pull on Sasuke’s wrist. Naruto immediately sprints forward, acting as a barrier between the two, and says, “Let go!”

She mutters something garbled, and then in a sharper inflection, “Stop following him! He doesn’t need you!”

“What?” Naruto is confused only to realize she must be the one who sent the pictures. The time he takes to react allows her to pull a small knife. What the fuck.

He’s sitting in the back of the ambulance; the area has been cleared by the police and tapped off. Karin passes him a cold bottle of water, “Here, drink up.”

“Thanks,” he gulps down a few sips, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, “Did they arrest her then?”

“Yep,” she nods, a junior officer calls out to her for further information, Karin raises her head to tide him by, and says, “Good catch today. Sasuke’s fine all thanks to you.”

“Well, it’s my job,” Naruto glumly shrugs, the bottle in his hand sweating. He digs a thumb beneath the label, “It’s the least I can do.”

There is a flicker of sympathy in Karin’s features. She squeezes his shoulder and advises, “Hang in there, alright?”

He confusedly looks at her. Sasuke replaces her, treading next to him, and leans against the open doors.

“You okay?”

“Yep,” Naruto stubbornly refuses to look up, staring at his bottle. There is a bandage wrapped around his hand.

Sasuke awkwardly tries to puncture the tense air, showcases the fading scar on his hand by waving it near Naruto’s wound, “Hey, we’ve got matching scars.”

Naruto dazedly blinks at the small healed gash on Sasuke’s palm and laughs, light and airy, “Yeah.” This time he meets Sasuke’s eyes, “Bet they’re the same size too.”

Sasuke sucks on his teeth, ruffling his own hair, “Sorry about this. She’s been following me around for a while.”

“Why didn’t you guys do anything?” Naruto asks.

“You can’t exactly publish a restraining order for attending every public event I participate in,” Sasuke says, “And any text she sent on LINE wasn’t incriminating enough for us to charge her.”

Naruto cursorily recalls her presence at the studio building, also, her following them around after dinner that one time. Telling Sasuke now would be pointless, the man says, “We needed hard evidence that I was being proper stalked. Otherwise, the media would cause a wildfire blaming it on my shitty attitude.”

Naruto suddenly feels an immense amount of guilt, “I take it back.”

Sasuke’s brows furrow so he explains, “When I said maybe if you had a better attitude bad things won’t happen to you. It doesn’t matter how you act people will always feel entitled. As if they own you.”

“Well,” Sasuke squints one eye close, “I could work on my attitude.”

Naruto shakes his head, a small laugh there, “A little.”

“What happens now?”

Sasuke informs, “Considering everything that went down today including the police getting involved I believe I can get a restraining order. I assumed if I just wait long enough, she’d blow her own cover.”

Naruto gapes at him, “Wow, you really expected this. You’re evil! Have you ever considered playing a villain in a drama because you’d be really good!”

“Maybe, eventually,” he captures Naruto’s bandaged hand in his own, “For now, I’m glad you’re fine.”

"Sucks you couldn't go to the after-party."

"That's fine, I'm not really a party guy."

"Hey, I've always wondered," Naruto decides to ask, "The reason why you're so adamant about not being out and about. It's cause of your friends, right? You don't want the fanatic stans to hurt them in any capacity."

Sasuke's face dissolves into a soft smile, "Yeah, but looks like it doesn't matter whether I do that or not."

"What do you mean?"

"You got hurt anyway," he grazes his thumb over the bandage. It'd be helpful to point that the job comes with this risk, but Sasuke keeps going with the tender touch, "I'll do better next time."

The thought is heart-warming.

Naruto had momentarily forgotten his plight of distancing himself from the man. To bury the blossom of feelings. Perhaps his efforts are futile because no matter what he does he ends up at the same place, chest in a frenzy, thoughts vying after one person.

If he stays around, he’ll never stop wanting Sasuke. And Sasuke’s not going to make it any easier with his special smiles directed at only those who are dear to him.

And he’s afraid, even if it’s what he wishes for more than anything else, that he’s become very dear to the actor.

--

 

In the second week of January, the drama filming comes to a wrap. The staff throws a dinner party to celebrate everyone’s hard work. Naruto slips into the chilly streets of Konoha, cradles the ale he’d been nursing for the better part of the night to his chest, and watches the moon part through the cotton clouds.

“You didn’t want to eat?”

Sasuke steps out.  He’s dressed warmly in a red turtleneck. Hair softly cascading the shape of his face. Naruto thinks about how he never took the time to admire his face. He’s handsome. It’s such a fact that it doesn’t impose to be confirmed. Sasuke’s handsome, it’s how he is, how he carries himself, how he talks, how he acts. Everything about him is striking.

Naruto regards it now in the tiny envelope inside his chest, a pocket of secrets he knows about this man, a list of his oddities that the rest of the world—his sea of admirers—will never know. How he’s a nerd loving historical dramas, has it out for anything touched by technology, cracks Dad jokes, and prefers spending his time with close friends than big, fancy parties.

How he adores his family and is hopeless when it comes to food. Eats what’s healthy, doesn’t think about the taste even if it doesn’t settle with him.

“I had a big lunch,” Naruto lies, it bites the air bitterly. Sasuke’s face does that funny thing, where he doesn’t quite believe him but takes his word either way. Naruto fetches into his back pocket, under his thick parka, and extends his hand, “Here.”

Sasuke dumbly stares at the key, “What’s—”
“My contract ended yesterday,” he says, “I got all my stuff this morning when you were filming the last scene. But I guess I won’t be needing this anymore.”

Sasuke keeps staring at it, “You didn’t want to renew?”

“No,” Naruto releases the air filled in his cheeks. Sasuke finally looks at him, “I can’t.”

“You can’t or you don’t want to?” there is a sweet lace of disappointment curdling through the man’s voice. He takes the key, fingers brushing Naruto’s in the process, “Guess you really do still hate me.”

Naruto winces, “A little.”

“I see,” Sasuke folds the key into his jeans. He’s not even wearing his coat, idiot bastard. “I’ll head back inside.”

 

Naruto tries, he really tries, but it’s the back that gets turned to him feels like something precious slipping. I tried, he thinks, and jerks forward.

“I can’t work for you anymore, Sasuke,” voice loud and clear.

Sasuke’s mouth is set in a firm line, “You said that.”

Naruto fumbles, “I can’t because it’s a conflict of interest.”

“What?” Sasuke says, bewildered. “What are you—”

“Breach of agreement,” Naruto says all the fancy legal jargon Kakashi had used on him. Carries on with his precariously balanced sureness, “Falling for the actor wasn’t part of the job.”

Sasuke’s lips incline upwards, “You fell for him?”

“Yeah,” Naruto nods, nervously toys with the beer bottle, “Pretty stupid, huh?”

“No,” Sasuke ambles across the tuft of snow on the ground, “Absolutely stupid.”

Naruto laughs, it’s caught in between breaths, he scratches his blushing cheek, “I don’t know what to do now.”

“I do,” Sasuke bumps their forehead, touches below his jaw, “No contract meaning no bodyguard then?”

“No, just regular old Uzumaki Naruto.”

 

“Then I can do this?”

 

“What—” Naruto sees Sasuke lean in, slope into the bend of Naruto’s head, and slide their mouths together. It’s fleeting, it’s rushing to its apex, Naruto finds purchase in Sasuke’s shirt, fingers tightly holding the fabric and kisses Sasuke. Lips moving in tandem, his breath falling open to a warm exhale.

Sasuke draws back briefly, Naruto smiles, grins, beams, “Please do that. As much as you want.”

Sasuke laughs into another kiss.

 

--

 

epilogue

 

Naruto waits at the pick-up counter.

“Oji-san, can you turn up the volume?” a girl asks from her booth, she and a few friends are picking into their fried chicken, eyes fixed on the screen. Naruto glances up and sees the current popular drama airing. It’s a journalist's love story.

He quickly looks away not wanting any spoilers, but when the old man at the counter raises the remote and turns up the volume, the actor’s voice kisses inside his chest.

Naruto massively fails at not being drawn to it, sneaks a peek at the TV and sees Sasuke talking to his co-star, if Naruto remembers correctly his name is Raidou, about the plausibility of the scandal they’re investigating.

“Did you order the Set B?” the waitress comes through the plastic curtains, carrying a paper box, and bag. Naruto nods, quickly handing over his receipt and takes the meal, “Enjoy, kid!”

With a parting glance at the TV, he steps out into the warm summer night. Navigating through the bustling city he makes it to his apartment. He moved out of his older one at the start of the year since this one was closer to his university and the money, he saved on commute time he could save for expenses. It definitely is an upgrade, though.

The apartment building is mostly inhabited by grad students like himself returning to university to continue their post-secondary education. Naruto has one more semester before he’s done with the requirements, he needs to take the certification exam.

Ignoring the buttload of assignments that he should be working on, he decides to open the box of fried chicken he’s got, crack open the case of beer and settle in front of his DVR. He scrolls through the recorded shows and stops on the most recent one.

He’s five minutes into the episode—the drama’s been airing for a couple of weeks now, the plots started to pick up and he’s curious who was responsible for the tragedy behind the lead’s life—when the door clicks open. He doesn’t bother looking up, too engrossed in the show.

“Hey,” Sasuke slumps next to him, kisses his cheek, “How was your day?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Naruto waves him off, “I’m watching this. Don’t disturb me.” Then points at the food, “Have some chicken.”

“I can’t I’m supposed to be on a diet,” Sasuke says but helps himself to a few pieces. Naruto inwardly grins but keeps focus on the screen. Another twenty minutes pass, and Sasuke kisses his cheek again, moves to his temple, and—

“Can you stop?” Naruto turns to him. “I’m trying to watch the drama!”

Sasuke says, “Keep watching.”

“Cool,” back to his TV. Sasuke kisses down his neck, lips fluttering near his jawline, and tendons that stretch to his collarbones. Naruto sighs, swooning, “Akito is so hot.”

Sasuke pauses, completely pulls back, “I am right here.”

“I know,” Naruto looks at him like obviously he knows that, “But you’re there too!” He points at the screen with a big smile. Sasuke deadpans, “Right, you’re all hot and bothered because of my character, but not the real thing?”

Naruto twists his lips in contemplation, “Well, Akito dresses so nice meanwhile…” his gaze peters off at the sight of Sasuke’s sweats, “Anyway, he’s sexy.”

“I’m sorry, I have to dress incognito and feel like a criminal sneaking into your building. You live with too many people our age!”

“All I’m saying is when we first started dating you used to try,” Naruto shrugs, “Now you show up in day old sweats and expect me to put out. We’re like an old married couple.”

“Good thing I’m not marrying you,” Sasuke rolls his eyes, settling back against the couch, chin cradled on his palm.

Naruto picks up another piece of chicken and snorts, “Get your head out of your ass, Sasuke, of course you are. God knows, anyone else will.” Turns and sends Sasuke a sloppy flying kiss which he does flick off. Naruto shrugs and goes back to ogling his actor boyfriend.

Sometime after once he’s discarded the trash and cleaned his hands, and cleaned the kitchen, he strolls back into the living room. Sasuke’s still sulking, scrolling through his Instagram which brings a stupid smile to Naruto’s face. They haven’t seen each other in a few weeks given Sasuke’s demanding schedule and Naruto’s midterms. Which therefore explains Sasuke being extra touchy-feely.

It’s not that Naruto doesn’t want to immediately jump his boyfriend right when he walks through the door. It’s just last time the asshole left him hot and heavy because of an impromptu interview and to be honest, Naruto’s still plotting revenge. But then he sees Sasuke disgruntled at the lack of attention, and Naruto’s never been good at this game.

“Are you still pouting?” he teases, ears warm when Sasuke glances up at him, back to the couch, legs stretched across the floor. “You’re a huge baby, you know that.”

 

“Yeah, you’re irritating. Go watch your stupid drama,” he goes back to his phone. Naruto bites his lip, walking over until he’s got a leg on either side of Sasuke’s. Sits down on Sasuke’s thighs, and says, “Let me make it up to you.”

“I’m good,” Sasuke waves him off.

“Sasukeeee,” Naruto whines, gently knocks his fist in his shoulder, “Come on, I’ll ride you, I know you love it when I do that.”

Sasuke peers through his thick eyelashes, Naruto’s breath catches, he’s got to get a hold of himself. But a year and some and Sasuke’s still got him feeling dizzy.

“What else?” he drops his phone next to him, both hands rub down the small of Naruto’s back. One slips to his ass, and Naruto feels the heat rising in his cheeks, all over his skin, “Hrm?”

“Whatever you want,” Naruto tips down and kisses Sasuke. It isn’t the most graceful kiss. The brim of Sasuke’s hat knocks against Naruto’s forehead, but Sasuke is quick to take it off without breaking the kiss, allowing his hands to settle on Naruto’s waist.

Their natural impetuous is worse than usual seeing how both men can’t keep their hands to each other, there is a sharp edge to the way Sasuke kisses him like he’s willing to let Naruto guide them into whatever he wants next. Naruto’s swirling thoughts are confirmed when Sasuke pulls back, tongue swiping across the blonde’s lower lip, “Would you like to—”

Naruto flushes, it’s so insane how things like this make him fall again and again and bumps their foreheads together. His nose presses next to Sasuke’s, “You don’t need to ask every time.”

Sasuke kisses the corner of his mouth, chases the rest of it, “I want to.” Nudges their mouths into a soft fold, Naruto taking Sasuke’s top lip between his, pulling on the skin. “Like you said?”

Naruto drags him closer by the mouth, kisses the top lip and feels his teeth knock into Sasuke, “Yeah. Right here is good too.”

The sight of Sasuke’s mouth spit slick, red, and pupils blown dark is bewitching. Naruto can’t escape it even if he wanted; spellbound in normal amounts at every occasion, and the current atmosphere only intensifying it.

They get lube, and condoms. Sasuke pushes down Naruto’s shorts, and boxers, and says, “Stand on your knees.”

“It’s cold,” Naruto places a hand on Sasuke’s shoulder to keep himself steady, shivers at the first intrusion of a finger, “Maybe because I had it in the bedroom. The ac’s always on.”

Sasuke laughs, “Why are you talking so much?”

“You always tell me I talk too much.”

“Yeah, but you seem nervous—what’s it?”

He feels like he’s been caught, shakes his head, looking off the side, “Nothing, just keep going.”

“Uh-huh,” Sasuke pushes another finger in. Naruto arches forward, thighs shaking, his head drops to Sasuke’s shoulder. Sasuke cards a hand through his hair, “Still with me?”

“Yep,” Naruto sucks on his neck lazily, tongue occasionally coming out to lick the skin after his teeth has bitten into it. Sasuke reminds, “Hey, no marks.”

Naruto giggles, “Whoops.”

“You’re going to have me wearing turtlenecks in the fucking summer,” Sasuke complains.

Naruto pushes his thumb where the skin is pinched pink, and shrugs, “It’s fine, your fans will think it’s sexy.”

“You’re an idiot,” Sasuke preps him until he’s ready. Naruto moves to adjust his position, and slowly sinks down, “Don’t go too fast.”

Naruto looks down, wraps his hand around Sasuke’s erect cock and pushes the tip in. It feels so good.

“Didn’t I—”

In one swift motion, he sinks down, fully seating himself.

Sasuke breathes heavily, and Naruto’s in a mirror position.

“You never listen.”

Naruto pouts, “I’m impatient! It makes up with my unbound enthusiasm.” Circles his arms around Sasuke’s neck, “Move now?”

“Yeah, go,” he rolls his hips. The living room windows are open, the nighttime noise filtering in, the ceiling fan on and Sasuke’s got sweat perspiring between his brows. “Sasuke, you can—”


“Okay,” firm hands hold him around the waist, he feels the way Sasuke’s cock slides in—fuck, he’s at the brink of sanity. This position always feels a bit too—Sasuke thrusts up, and Naruto covers his mouth at the moan bellowing out of him. “Don’t do that, I want to hear you,” Sasuke pulls back his hand.

Naruto’s skin is on fire, “The neighbors.” Sasuke kisses his sweaty collarbones, over the neckline of his t-shirt, “I don’t care.”

“I do, it’s embarrassing!” Naruto complains. To make his point Sasuke thrusts up again, hitting a bundle of nerves that have both of them spilling in groans. Naruto’s wanton moans filling his quaint apartment. He breathes harshly, “You’re a fucking asshole.”

Sasuke laughs, “Kiss me.”

They fuck in slow rolls of their hips, Sasuke rocking up, and Naruto matching the movements. He buries his hands under his boyfriend’s shirt, trails up to his nipples, and it’s a testament to how much patience they lack because they’re still half-dressed.

Without preamble Sasuke cups his ass, rubs his cock in between his cheeks, thrusting when Naruto tries to slip off. He comes down again with a throaty whine, grinding and—“Can you touch me?”

 

“Can I?”

“Don’t be a tease,” Naruto whines, “I want to come.”

“Say please,” Sasuke bites his nipple. A hiss escapes him, the tension in his thighs, the pleasure building in him spiraling down his spine. “I can’t hear you.”

Naruto digs his nails into Sasuke’s shoulder watching the pinch of pain flash across his face, “Hell no.”

Sasuke wetly kisses the nub, sucks until Naruto’s making tiny, husky sounds, “You sure?” At this point he’s stopped moving his hips, he skirts a free hand over the tip of Naruto’s leaking cock, “Say please, Naruto.”

Naruto’s jaw is clenched so tightly it starts to hurt, but he is stubborn as a rock, persists despite the scratching want of relief, “Nope.”

“Very well,” Sasuke easily lifts him by the hips to push him off, Naruto wobbling out of his lap, eyes going wide at how he’s manhandled onto his knees. Elbows digging into the carpet that is bound to leave behind burn marks, he complains, “Oi! What are you doing?”

“You said,” Sasuke pushes his ass up in the air, one hand under his thighs holding them up, Naruto looks over his shoulder to see the cheeky, flushed expression on his boyfriend’s face, “I can do whatever I want.”

Naruto swiftly looks away, “Fucker.”

Sasuke pulls apart his cheeks, thumb dragging down to his hole. Naruto jitters at the first warm press of a tongue, flopping forward, face pressed into the floor. Everything about this is exposing, Sasuke licking the rim, teasing endlessly. Naruto can’t take it anymore, “Ssk, please.”

“As you wish,” he sounds so smug, but then his tongue pushes in and Naruto sees stars. He can’t muster a single complaint because Sasuke’s so good at this. The way his tongue slides in, licks fervently, stripping the last dredges of Naruto’s gossamer-thin persistence.

His whole body quivers in waves of desire, Sasuke finally curls a hand around his cock, milks him to his orgasm. Naruto pushing back into the warm tongue, barely keeping balance on his knees.

He comes with a full-body shudder, his voice bouncing off the thin walls of his apartment, and in the very back of his mind, he knows he can’t leave this stupid place for at least a week in fear that someone heard him. Currently, though, he can’t be assed because of the mind-blowing orgasm he’s just experienced.

He tumbles onto his side, catching his breath, Sasuke is stroking his cock. Face all screwed up. His hair is damp from sweat and cheeks red, and eyes half-mast as he looks at Naruto. The blonde gets up, closes the distance, and says, “Let me suck you off.”

“That’s fine—” Sasuke tries, but Naruto swats his hand away. Naruto wants to make him feel good too. Takes him whole, a string of curses falling from Sasuke’s mouth. His hand curls into Naruto’s hair, encouraging him, and he sucks, hollows out his cheeks, uses a hand to curl his fingers at the base. Licks up and down the shaft, pumps Sasuke’s cock until he’s saying, “I’m going to come.”

Naruto uses a bit of teeth, the slight trace of its drag, keeps a heavy grip pumping him. Sasuke releases a cuffed noise, Naruto pops off the head of the cock, he could move away, he’s got enough reaction time to, but he doesn’t.

Sasuke’s come spurts onto his face.

“Shit,” he laughs, boneless, slumping against the couch. “Your face.”

Naruto, mouth parted, looks up at him, licks his lips and tastes Sasuke. The raven follows the action, tan skin heating up, he clears his throat reaching for the tissue, “let me clean you.” Naruto crawls back into his lap to be cleaned which Sasuke does a meticulous job of, if he were to say himself. Amidst the cleaning, Naruto feels the urge to kiss him, folding his lips on top of Sasuke.

“Is it bad that I’m turned on again?” Sasuke says, in between kisses.

Naruto laughs, loud and unabashed, presses his ass down on the semi-hard cock poking into him, “You like coming on my face that much?”

Sasuke pinches him, and Naruto yips, knocking into his chest. Kisses his cheek, “I don’t mind going again.”

 

Later when they’re spent, Sasuke splayed out on Naruto’s chest he asks, “Are you going to tell me now? What had you so nervous?”

Naruto rubs at his nose, circles an arm over Sasuke’s waist, squeezing them closer, “Ah, I am done with school after this upcoming semester. And the lease of this place should be up soon too.”

Sasuke’s admiring the marks he’s littered over the span of Naruto’s collarbones, peppers kisses on them one by one, “Mhm, what about it?”

“Can we move in together?”

Sasuke pauses.

This could be a bad idea, a terrible idea, but they’ve done this before, and truthfully with how hectic Sasuke’s schedule is Naruto scarcely gets to see him as it is. He just wants to spend more time with him.

“I never see you; I see you more on TV than anything else and it’s just—”

Sasuke replies, pensive, “I haven’t been the best boyfriend, have I?”

“No!” Naruto immediately counters, “You’re great!” Adds afterward, “I really miss you, ‘s all.”

Sasuke beams, it’s so heart-twistingly adorable, “You miss me, hm?”

“Don’t get a big head. I mostly miss your dick.”

Sasuke pouts, “Well I miss you.” Kisses his cheeks, “All of you.”

“Eww,” Naruto chortles, shimmying under Sasuke’s weight, “You’re so cheesy.”

“Uh-huh,” Sasuke rests his head on his chest, Naruto’s fingers automatically going to the soft fluff of dark hair, “Let’s move in together. I don’t want to live apart.”

 

Naruto smiles into his head. After a moment, Sasuke asks, “Do you really wish I dressed better?”

It bubbles a cackle out of him, he shifts to raises Sasuke’s head, cups it between his palms, the man's looking at with all the love he has stored in him, and Naruto's come to learn it's a vast amount, never-ending and freely at his disposal, “You’re so dumb.”

“I’d do it if you really wanted.” Sasuke sounds so earnest even when he's saying non-consequential things like this.


“Nah,” Naruto kisses him, “I like you and your stinky sweats. See? I even put out again!”

He gets knocked in the head which reminds him, “Speaking of your super sexy counterpart, will Akito find the culprit behind the fire?”

Sasuke yawns nuzzling into his neck, “Nah, he dies before that.”

“Dude, what!?” Naruto shrieks slapping Sasuke’s shoulder, “Sasuke, are you serious!?" 

Sasuke laughs into his neck.

 

Naruto really, really, hates Uchiha Sasuke.

 

--