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How Naruto and Sasuke Became Friends

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"Tch, you're annoying," Sasuke said, turning away.

Sakura's face fell. Her shoulders slumped. Her lip trembled.

Suddenly, someone tapped Sasuke's shoulder. He turned just in time to meet a fist flying toward his jaw.

"What did you say to her?" Naruto snarled.

Sasuke staggered, nearly losing his balance. He would not kill dead last. He would not kill dead last. The words became a mantra.

"N-no, Naruto, it's--" Sakura protested. She averted her eyes, suddenly finding her feet very interesting. "I'm sorry."

"Whaaat?" Naruto asked, turning his back on Sasuke. "Why are you apologizing? Didn't this bastard just make you cry?"

"Are you fucking serious, dead last?" Sasuke snapped. "You missed the entire conversation."

"Oh, yeah? Well, it wasn't hard to put together, asshole. Sakura-chan looked like she was going to cry and you were just walking away," Naruto replied, crossing his arms and nodding.

Sasuke resisted the urge to roll his eyes.

"Naruto, it's alright," Sakura interrupted.

"Tch." Sasuke walked away.

Naruto's eyes darted from one to the other and back several times, confused.

"Hey, hey, bastard!" Naruto called. Sasuke could hear his footsteps thudding on the pavement. He kept walking, which was, as expected, completely ineffectual. For the second time that day, Naruto grabbed his shoulder, spinning him to face the moron. Sasuke brought up a hand to block this time, catching...

Nothing. Naruto wasn't trying to hit him again.

Sasuke lowered his hand.

"Sorry about earlier," Naruto said, fidgeting with the hem of his uniform shirt with his free hand. His cheeks were slightly pink, and he refused to meet Sasuke's eyes. Sasuke was acutely aware of how warm Naruto's hand on his shoulder felt. "Sakura-chan told me what happened." His eyes flickered to the sky, the ground, then finally settled on Sasuke. "Thanks."

"Hn," Sasuke replied. He began to walk away before the moment developed any more blatant homosexual undertones. As if Naruto molesting him in class a few days previous hadn't provided them with enough of that to last a lifetime.

"What, that's it?" Naruto demanded, walking faster to catch up.

"Did you have something else to say?" Sasuke replied, taking a right at the school gates.

"No," Naruto snapped. He kept walking beside Sasuke for a minute. "Wait. Um. How's your jaw?"

Sasuke rolled his eyes. "What are you, my girlfriend?" That's right, Uchiha, he told himself. Bring the blatant homosexual undertones to the surface. That will make everything better.

"Fine," Naruto growled, looking away, cheeks pink again. "See if I care."

Sasuke barely suppressed his sudden urge to sigh loudly. He stopped Naruto, facing him head-on, then turning his head a bit farther to the right so that Naruto could see his face.

Naruto looked like Sasuke had punched him. "Shit," he hissed, raising his hand, then remembering himself and pulling back. "Does it hurt?"

"Yes it fucking hurts," Sasuke snarled. "No," he amended upon seeing Naruto's wounded look. "Only if I touch it. It looks worse than it is."

"Sorry," Naruto repeated.

Sakura was a fucking idiot, Sasuke decided. "Hn," Sasuke replied, continuing his trek to his house. Naruto walked in companionable silence beside him for a few minutes. It was strange seeing the class clown so quiet for more than a few seconds at a time. Even when he slept in class, he still snored like a buzz-saw.

"Don't you..." Sasuke began, acutely aware that if he managed to phrase the question wrong, he could completely destroy any credibility he had built with Naruto at lunch.

"What?" Naruto prompted.

"Don't you have something to do besides stalk me?" Sasuke asked, fairly sure that was one of those totally wrong ways to phrase the question.

Naruto shrugged. "It's not like anyone is waiting for me at the house."

"Stop that," Sasuke told him.

"What?" Naruto's face reverted to his Sasuke-only scowl.

"That... kicked-puppy look," Sasuke babbled. "Stop making that face." His cheeks began to feel strange. Warm. Oh, fuck, he thought.

Naruto raised an eyebrow. "What kicked-puppy look?"

"The face you make that makes you look like you are a puppy I just kicked," Sasuke replied through clenched teeth. This was officially the stupidest conversation he had ever led himself into, he decided.

Naruto stopped walking, staring at the sky with a pensive look on his face. He jogged to catch up a few seconds later. "Are you admitting to kicking a lot of puppies?"

Sasuke did not stop walking and pound his head against the nearest solid surface, though it took a great effort. "No," he managed. "that is not what I meant."

"Good. 'Cause befriending you only to find out you kick puppies in your free time would suck. But, it wouldn't be all that surprising," he added after a beat.

"Since when are we friends?" Sasuke replied. He couldn't help himself. His Uchiha barrier of silence broke sometime ago, the shrapnel taking out his brain-to-mouth filter on the way down.

"Look, I'm sorry I punched you in the face," Naruto began, obviously ready to continue into a speech about the power of friendship overcoming stupid little things like greeting a new friend with a fist to the face.

"Stop apologizing, I told you, I'm fine." Sasuke stopped walking in front of an ordinary house with a waist-high fence around the yard. "This is my house."

Naruto hesitated for a second. "Oh. Well, thanks, and I'm sor--I mean. Uh."

"Come on," Sasuke opened the gate, waiting for Naruto to go in.

"Are you sure?" Naruto's eyes darted around, as if expecting someone to attack, or push him back, or slam the gate in his face. Sasuke tried not to think about the implications of what could cause that kind of paranoia in an otherwise friendly individual.

"Whatever," Sasuke said, walking through the gate. "It's not like I have to ask for anyone's approval to let you in." He chanced a brief look back to find Naruto still hovering at the gate.

"Shut the gate on your way by," Sasuke called, reaching into his bag for his keys.

Sasuke heard the gate swing shut, followed by the sound of feet hitting earth as Naruto jogged to catch up.

Naruto was quiet again, which was weird, but at least he was still smiling. "Are you hungry?" Sasuke asked, remembering his manners as he turned the key, pushing the door open.

"A bit," Naruto admitted. He followed Sasuke inside, slipping his shoes off by Sasuke's. "Got any ramen?"

Sasuke made his way to the tiny kitchen, pulling an apple out of his fruit bowl. "I have fruits and vegetables."

"How can you live on fruits and vegetables?" Naruto demanded, tossing his school bag to the side.

"Healthily," Sasuke replied. He tossed a second apple to Naruto, who caught it with ease.

Naruto stared at it in his hand for a second before biting into the fruit. "Hey," he exclaimed, mouth still full of half-chewed apple. "This doesn't suck."

"Don't look so surprised, moron."

Sasuke finished his work from Kakashi's and Orochimaru's classes while Naruto took advantage of the satellite TV. Sasuke could only assume that Naruto did not have quite the selection Sasuke did--most of them were news channels, anyway, in case something popped up about Itachi--but there were enough of the regular ones, as well.

Naruto settled on a movie marathon, largely consisting of the kind of old movies made with a projector and a few tricks with smoke and mirrors to make the ghosts. Sasuke remembered he was supposed to be working on an essay for Orochimaru when Naruto glanced his way, meeting his eyes. He had been staring. "I don't know how you can stand that, dead-last," Sasuke said, jabbing the end of his pencil toward the TV.

"You're doing homework on a Friday afternoon, bastard," Naruto replied, managing to make 'homework' and 'Friday afternoon' sound like serious insults to Sasuke's sanity and possibly that of his parents, as well. 'Bastard' sounded suspiciously affectionate. Sasuke chalked that up to wishful thinking and went back to his essay.

Somewhere about halfway through the second movie, Naruto stood, stretching and casting uncertain looks at the door. "So--" he began.

Sasuke set his essay and textbook to the side. The first draft was done--that would be enough. He had two more days to work on it, after all. "Do you want to stay for dinner?" he offered. The house suddenly didn't feel as empty or imposing as usual with Naruto around.

Naruto grinned. "Sure," he said. "You want me to help you cook?"

"Are you as much of an idiot in the kitchen as in class?" Sasuke challenged. He was already running through recipes in his head, searching for something bigger, more complicated. Naruto liked ramen, but not vegetables--that much everyone knew, so maybe a soup?

"Hey! I am awesome in the kitchen I can--Uh, I can make ramen?" he finished lamely.

Naruto was not, in fact, as bad as Sasuke had expected. He was good enough with a knife, and seemed to be a good cook as long as the recipe was within sight.

They cleaned up afterward in companionable silence. Naruto washed the dishes while Sasuke boxed up the leftovers, and then started drying and putting away the dishes.

When they were done and Sasuke's kitchen once more looked immaculate, they took their positions on the couch and resumed the movie marathon. Sasuke did not think about the domesticity of the situation, or how calm Naruto seemed around him. There was nothing about it to read into. It was just a quiet kind of day--that was all.

Sasuke leaned on the arm rest, propping himself up and pulling his legs up on the couch. He began to drift off, and was very near falling asleep when one foot slipped, accidentally nudging Naruto.

Naruto jumped, plastering himself against the opposite corner of the couch.

Sasuke blinked at him, suddenly awake and alert.

"Geez, don't do that!" Naruto sighed loudly.

"You're not actually afraid of this movie," Sasuke said. Maybe if he said it out loud, that would make it true, because he could not seriously be afraid of this movie.

Naruto crossed his arms. "No," he said.

Liar, Sasuke thought. He could see through the ghost. Sasuke was fairly sure he could make a scarier movie in his back yard. The actors weren't even good. Will to sleep entirely lost, Sasuke got up, heading for the linen closet in his bathroom. He picked up a blanket, then one of his spare pillows, coming back to find Naruto huddled in his corner of the couch, terrified of the ghost on the screen. He jumped again when Sasuke tossed the pillow at him.

"What was that for?" Naruto glared at Sasuke.

"It's 8 o' clock," Sasuke replied, gesturing to the clock on the wall. "If you go now you'll just jump at every shadow."

"I will not!" Naruto protested. "But, uh. Thanks. Again." He blushed again, a darker shade than earlier in the day.

These are not the blatant homosexual undertones you are looking for, Sasuke told himself. They were just good friends hanging out. Except, he reminded himself, until just a few hours ago, they hadn't been friends at all. He set the blanket on the middle cushion, reclaiming his seat on the opposite end of the couch.

Sasuke woke up the next morning with sunlight assaulting his face, which was decidedly a new and annoying occurrence. The next thing he noticed was that he was warm, and his blanket was too heavy. His side felt wet, too.

Sasuke noticed an arm around his waist and Naruto's face on his ribs, drool leaking out of his mouth. He took in the blanket over them both and the pillow on the floor at about the same time he noticed the crick in his neck.

It was Saturday, Sasuke remembered. He resolved to work all of this out later. He closed his eyes and assumed a slightly more comfortable position for his neck.

Sasuke woke up again when he felt movement. Naruto was waking up.

Sasuke's entire right side screamed for the absence of heat, particularly the spot on his shirt where Naruto had drooled. He fixed Naruto with a sleepy glare.

Naruto laughed, pausing mid-chuckle to yawn, before resuming his laughter. "You look like an angry cat."

Sasuke tried to come up with a witty retort, like "Are you admitting to pissing off a lot of cats?" but he failed, only managing "Tch," and a yawn.

"Oh~," Naruto moaned. The sound went straight to Sasuke's groin. "Is that coffee?"

"It's on a timer," Sasuke replied.

Naruto fell onto Sasuke's side again, sort-of hugging him. "You are my favorite person ever," he declared. "Where are the coffee mugs?"

Sasuke's eyes fluttered closed at the rumble of Naruto's chest. Fuck, he thought. Fuck. "Above the sink," he replied aloud.

"Thanks, bastard," Naruto chirped, bouncing off the couch and toward the kitchen.

"Hn," Sasuke replied, not trusting himself to say more. He remembered his manners once he was in the safety of his own room. "You can use the shower in the other bathroom," he called. He heard a vague affirmative noise as he stripped in his own bathroom.

Naruto stood in Sasuke's kitchen, wearing nothing but a towel and the kind-of-phallic necklace the principal had given him. He took a sip of coffee before he noticed Sasuke.

Sasuke kept his expression carefully blank. Maybe if he was lucky Naruto would continue to be oblivious and utterly fail to notice that Sasuke had been staring.

He did notice. "Oh, do you have something I could wear? I could put on my uniform again, I guess, but it's a little gross, and I don't really want to wear it on a Saturday."

"I don't have anything in hideous orange," Sasuke warned. He moved next to Naruto to pour himself a cup of coffee, proud that he neither tried to shove Naruto against the counter and grind, nor tried to choke the blond moron for drinking most of the coffee.

"Orange is not hideous!" Naruto protested. His coffee was about half-milk.

Sasuke took great pleasure in the disgusted face Naruto made when he drank his own black. He made a skeptical "mm," and waved Naruto toward his room.

Sasuke reflected that it was fortunate that he preferred loose clothing. He was taller than Naruto, but Naruto had broader shoulders, wider hips. It took a while to find something he could wear.

The result was Naruto in a t-shirt and long pajama bottoms, his toes peeking out from under the edges. It was oddly pleasing to see him out of his school uniform, but even more so that he was wearing Sasuke's clothes.

Sasuke took another sip of his coffee, the bitter taste drawing his attention back to reality and the sheer joy of coffee in the morning.

"So, what now?" Naruto asked, rubbing the back of his head. "I'm, uh, not used to hanging out with people on Saturdays."

Sasuke shrugged. "Neither am I." More coffee. God, Naruto was spending the day with him.

"I could go home if I'm bothering you, or--um..." Naruto scratched the back of his head awkwardly.

Sasuke took another sip of coffee to stop himself from blurting out "No!" embarrassingly. "You know, I bet I could kick your ass."

Naruto snorted. "You're on. I'll be sure not to hit your pretty face again." He patted Sasuke's uninjured cheek, heading for the front yard.

Sasuke scowled until he was gone.

A crowd gathered quickly enough. Neither of them was going all out. The fight was for fun--not a proper brawl for honor or anger. They would still have bruises by the end of the day--sore muscles by tomorrow.

"What's going on?" a voice in the crowd called. Sakura's, Sasuke thought. She sounded concerned. He blocked a kick with his own leg.

Naruto momentarily lost his footing. It was the slightest misstep. Sasuke grabbed his flailing arm, jerking Naruto toward Sasuke's own fist.

Naruto swung to the side, relying on Sasuke for balance. Sasuke fell from the momentum of the movement, but held on, dragging Naruto to the ground on top of him.

It made accidental kiss number two. No tongue darted out to lick his lips this time out of a nervous and stupid reflex. This was going to start looking like an actual relationship any day now, Sasuke realized with horror.

"Hey, asshole!" Naruto called down the hallway.

"Naruto," Iruka said in his motherly you-better-not-be-cursing-in-my-hallway-again tone.

"Ah, sorry Iruka-sensei. Hey, Sasuke, you bastard," Naruto amended.

Sasuke shut his locker with more force than was entirely necessary. "I heard you the first time, idiot."

Naruto waved this off like so many of Sakura's insults to his intelligence and masculinity. "Whatever, can you get your stalker club of stalkers to quit fucking stalking me?" He stood closer than his volume warranted, and his voice was, at best, a stage whisper. Several girls nearby gasped in offense at his words.

Sasuke leaned closer, fully aware of how much subtlety the gesture lacked, and whispered into the shell of Naruto's ear, "Moron, they think you're competition. I am never telling them otherwise." Sasuke smirked, walking away.

Naruto stared into space for a moment, a pensive look on his face, before shouting after Sasuke, "Competition? What the hell's that supposed to mean? Hey, asshole, I'm talking to you!"

Across the hall, Iruka sighed, raising a hand to massage the bridge of his nose.

"Sakura-chan~! I don't know what to do," Naruto wailed. He dragged a chair to Sakura's table, leaving a screeching sound in his wake as the legs of the chair scraped against the floor. He was technically interrupting Sakura's weekly meet with the other girls, which she had explicitly forbade he do. Several times.

But this was a desperate situation!

"Well, spill it, Naruto. Trouble in paradise?" Ino asked.

Naruto frowned. Ino did not talk to him. None of the girls talked to him but Sakura. Hinata stammered at him sometimes, but that didn't really count. "Sasuke won't call off his legion because he says they think I'm competition."

Tenten raised an eyebrow. "You are competition, aren't you?"

"What the hell does that even mean?" Naruto demanded.

"It means that they think you're closer to winning Sasuke's heart than they are," the exchange student from Suna replied. Tem--something. Temali, maybe? Something like that, Naruto decided.

The implications of that sunk in. Naruto gasped in horror. "Sakura-chan, you're one of them aren't you? You've got to tell them I'm not gay! You know I'm not gay, right?"

Sakura's eye twitched. "One of them?" she asked in a carefully even tone. "You're so--" she stopped. Not annoying. Something didn't hurt to repeat, "--stupid." She punched him in the arm. Hard. Naruto didn't refuse to fight Sakura because she was a girl and he liked her. He refused to fight Sakura because she was vicious.

"I-I don't think you're gay, Naruto-kun," Hinata stammered.

"Really? Thanks, Hinata-chan!" Naruto replied, rubbing his arm.

"Coulda fooled me," Ino said.

"What was that?" Naruto spun to scowl at Ino again.

"You stole Sasuke-kun's first and second kisses," Ino pointed out. "It's a lost cause. We need a new target."

"I propose the Hyuuga," Temari interjected. Naruto was officially no longer a point of interest.

Hinata opened her mouth to protest. "It's alright, Hinata. You can still pursue your own goals," Tenten assured her.

"That freak bit you on the neck," Naruto hissed, frantically trying to lean over Sasuke's shoulder to check the wound.

"It wasn't a bite," Sasuke replied. "I think it was a tattoo. And 'that freak' is one of those three, like the principal and your Pervy Professor."

"He's a pedophile."

"I'm seventeen. The word you're looking for is 'ephebophile'--and would you stop that. You're acting like a jealous girlfriend."

Naruto huffed. "Just making sure you're not rabid or anything," he muttered.

Sasuke moved his hand, pulling down the collar of his shirt. "There."

"Wow," Naruto traced the mark with his thumb. It was apparently round. "It looks pretty cool," he admitted.

A member of Sasuke's fan club stopped them on the way to lunch. The rumors of Sasuke being gay for Naruto had not deterred the entire group, it seemed. Naruto recognized her only as the girl with hair pinker than Sakura's. He was pretty sure Ino despised her with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns, but he had definitely seen Sasuke work with her in class before, so she had to have some redeeming quality. Probably, anyway. Sasuke did not make a whole lot of sense to Naruto most days.

Sasuke turned to Naruto as soon as the girl was gone. "We're eating on the roof," he said, taking the next left into a stairwell.

"Why?" Naruto replied, but he was already following Sasuke into the stairwell.

Sasuke stopped to lodge a stray mop behind the door at an angle that would be near impossible, or at least really not worth the effort to jar even the slightest bit loose. "They watch me eat when they send lunch," he replied, a definite blush lighting his cheeks.

"Are you actually going to eat it?" Naruto asked. "What if it's drugged? I wouldn't put it past your stalkers to try that. It would look like it was all my fault."

Sasuke rolled his eyes, leading Naruto up the stairs. "It's from Karin, dumbass. It'll be fine."

He invited Naruto over on Friday again, though at this point it was practically habit, right in front of--were those friends? Sasuke scowled. If this was another trend he had started, and those guys were going to be gone in two weeks like the Sharpie swirls on girls' necks, heads would fucking roll, he assured himself.

"Sure, Sasuke-bastard," Naruto agreed, beaming.

"Man, I thought that was just a rumor," Inuzuka muttered. His dog yipped. How the hell had he sneaked a dog into school?

"What was?" Naruto asked.

"That Uchiha had a soul," dog-boy replied. Naruto punched him. Sasuke wondered for a moment if this was how the idiot made friends. Then, he decided he didn't care.

"See you after school, loser," Sasuke called as he walked away.

There was an answering grunt from where he was brawling on the floor with Kiba.

Naruto punched the foreign exchange student from Suna. He had challenged Sasuke the week before, which had ended inconclusively since his siblings had dragged him off.

Two days later, Gaara of the Suna trio with the scar on his forehead carved out to say "love" (which was pretty much the most twisted thing Sasuke had ever heard of, next to his brother killing his family, and Naruto catching hell for being too much of an idiot to have parents), was officially declared Naruto's other best friend.

Sasuke wasn't even special anymore. He grabbed Naruto's fist later, checking for damage. After the incident with Orochimaru and his experimental... whatever the hell he had used on Sasuke, neither of them had wanted to ever visit the nurse's office. Orochimaru's TA worked in there, and the bastard was at least as creepy as Orochimaru himself.

"What are you doing, asshole?" Naruto demanded with no real heat. He winced when Sasuke pressed a knuckle.

"Checking to see if you keep drugs in your fist," Sasuke replied. He pulled out the gauze he had snatched from Kabuto's desk while the man was out, beginning to wrap Naruto's hand.

"Drugs?" Naruto asked.

"Everyone you punch joins your fan club. You're keeping them all drugged, right?" Sasuke smirked.

"Obviously didn't work with you," Naruto grumbled. "Maybe I should punch you again."

Sasuke tied off the end. "Well, try to do it when the idea doesn't make you want to cry like a little girl."

Naruto scowled. "Whatever. Asshole."

The third accidental kiss was probably more questionable in the circumstances surrounding its occurrence, and made Sasuke want to bang his head against a wall, because at that point his life was just a running gag to any higher powers. The saving grace was that, at least this time, there wasn't an audience.

They had fallen asleep on Sasuke's couch again, shoulder to shoulder and sharing a blanket on the middle cushion.

Naruto wiped the drool off his cheek, the movement waking Sasuke.

"Morning," he mumbled with the kind of sleepy smile Sasuke associated with his dreams. Then, Naruto turned just a bit further and kissed Sasuke. "Ugh, morning breath!" Naruto shouted, recoiling in horror. "Sasuke?" Naruto blinked, suddenly aware of what had just happened. He looked scared shitless.

"Naruto?" Sasuke replied in a considerably more even tone.

"Er--uh, I was still mostly asleep," he said, staring at the floor, his cheeks a flaming red.

"Hn," Sasuke agreed, heading for the bathroom, as usual. He was grateful that Naruto had not seen him lean a little closer, as well, and got into the shower before Naruto could think too much about what had just happened.

"You have a lot of friends, lately," Sasuke pointed out. He stole a floating carrot from Naruto's bowl of ramen. It wasn't like Naruto was going to eat it, anyway.

"Yeah," Naruto agreed, spraying chinks of noodles everywhere. "It's all 'cause of you." He swallowed. "Sakura-chan talked to Ino, who talked to everybody, and now I'm not a deadly contagious disease anymore."

"No," Sasuke replied. "You're still contagious, but people aren't bothered by that anymore." He took another bite of his riceball, stealing a piece of celery next.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Naruto demanded, moving his bowl out of Sasuke's reach.

"Moron," Sasuke told him. "You're friends with half the school, now."

Naruto stared at the sky, his furious hold on his bowl relaxing until it was resting in his lap again. He stared at the sky for a moment, smiling. "I kind of am, huh?"

Sasuke stole another carrot while he was distracted.

The fourth kiss was entirely Sasuke's fault, and at this point, he was beginning to run out of excuses to make the whole thing seem less gay.

Gaara dragged Naruto off to lunch with him something like twice a week, and Sasuke couldn't take another day of Suigetsu and Karin bitching (mostly at each other) while Juugo stared off into the distance, watching the squirrels play on school grounds.

He would never admit that any of that had anything to do with his motivation.

Two of Sasuke's fanclub appeared on the way to the roof, one with a suspicious and very pink envelope in her hand. Rather than deal with it, Sasuke shoved Naruto against the nearest wall and pressed his lips against Naruto's. It was a shitty kiss, but it looked good. A stage kiss. One girl fled down the hallway. Sasuke faced the other one, his eyes cold. "You didn't see anything," he told her. She nodded, following her friend. Her lower lip was trembling.

"What the hell?" Naruto sputtered.

"We won't hear from them for a while," Sasuke replied, immediately feeling stupid for trying such a paper-thin excuse.

"...Some warning next time, geez," Naruto grumbled. At this point, Sasuke realized, kissing him barely registered as offensive anymore. Sasuke didn't know whether to be annoyed or pleased.

Naruto still tasted like miso.

"I hear interesting things about you and Naruto-kun," Kakashi commented.

Sasuke grunted. He was the last one in the classroom--just a few more problems. "I hear interesting things about you and Iruka-sensei."

"All of them lies, I'm sure," Kakashi agreed.

Sasuke nodded. "Pretty much." He looked up, meeting Kakashi's eyes as he slid the worksheet into his bag. "You are actually in a relationship with Yamato-sensei, right?"

Kakashi's eye widened. "Touché," he replied.

"Hey, I'm going to hang out with Gaara and Kankuro tonight, are we still good for tomorrow morning?" Naruto leaned over Sasuke's desk, bracing himself on the sides.

Sasuke experienced a brief shock of fear, then hope as the familiarity of the situation dawned on him. It was exactly like the first incident all over again. Then, he registered what Naruto had actually said. He shrugged. "Whatever."

"Cool," Naruto replied, standing up, leaving Sasuke awash in relief. The danger had passed.

Then, as if to remind Sasuke that yes, the universe did hate him, Kankuro appeared behind Naruto and slapped him on the back hard enough to throw him off balance.

Sasuke moved his lips this time when they connected, just to see if Naruto would notice. The look in his eyes as he stood up said that he probably had, but even Naruto knew better than to start that kind of discussion in the middle of a crowded classroom.

"Hey," Naruto called, not bothering to knock. He kicked off his shoes at the door. Sasuke padded out of his bedroom still toweling his hair dry. He had not bothered to put on a shirt yet, though he was wearing his second-favorite pair of pajama bottoms. Naruto's eyes lingered on his bare chest.

"Those are my pants," Sasuke pointed out. They were his favorite pair of pajama bottoms, in a dark blue-bordering-on-black. They looked good with Naruto's blindingly orange t-shirt.

Naruto looked down. "I wondered where they came from."

Sasuke rolled his eyes, heading for the coffee maker. Naruto followed. "God, it smells so good. Why is your coffee always the best?" he moaned.

Sasuke allowed himself an inward smile.

"So, uh," Naruto began, breathing in the scent of fresh coffee. "There's no way to ask this that doesn't sound weird. Um, yesterday, when Kankuro pushed me..."

Sasuke handed him the mug with the little orange fox on it. It was Naruto's favorite to steal from Sasuke's cabinet. "What?" he prompted. This was going to be bad, he could feel it.

"Did--did your lips move when we crashed? And Tuesday with those two girls in the hallway-- There had to be a better way to turn them down. Like, verbally."

"Five times, Naruto," Sasuke replied. "And you have never once tried to dodge."

Naruto sat on Sasuke's couch, a bag of ice on his knuckles. "Damn, " he whined. "That was rougher than usual. Are you pissed I asked earlier?"

"No," Sasuke replied. His lip was split. It had already begun to swell a bit.

Naruto stared at the ceiling for a moment until Sasuke sat on the couch beside him, a pack of ice in his hand, as well. "But you are pissed," he said. It wasn't a question. Then, "Why?"

Sasuke stared at him for a few seconds. "It's nothing," he lied, but something must have shown on his face, because Naruto's eyes widened comically as he blurted, "You're jealous!"

"No, I'm not," Sasuke snapped a little too quickly to be plausible.

"Yes, you are!" Naruto crowed. "You've been touchy all morning, and it's because we didn't wake up together on your couch, isn't it? You're jealous I went with Gaara and Kankuro last night, and all week you've been weird. You're jealous."

"No. I'm not," Sasuke repeated, this time more slowly.

Naruto was grinning--the same ridiculous, triumphant grin he wore when he won something, or pulled off a prank without getting caught. He set his ice pack on the coffee table, ignoring Sasuke's protests about moisture and damage as he took Sasuke's ice pack, too. He straddled Sasuke's hips so he couldn't get away. "You're blushing," he taunted, moving one hand up to cup Sasuke's cheek. Then he hesitated. "If I'm really wrong and you're not just doing your macho denial thing, feel free to knock me across the room before this gets any weirder."

Sasuke finally met his eyes, then reached for the front of Naruto's shirt, pulling him into a searing kiss.

Monday, Sasuke was assaulted at his desk by Naruto again.

"Hey, did you do that assignment for Yamato-sensei over the weekend?" Naruto asked.

"I don't have Yamato-sensei's class," Sasuke reminded him.

Naruto paused, visibly thinking. "Oh," he said after a moment. "Where's Sakura-chan?"

Before he could get away, Sasuke grabbed his wrist. Gaara had walked into the room. "Hm? You want somethin', bastard?"

Sasuke grabbed his tie, yanking Naruto to Sasuke's level and crushing their lips together. Naruto sank into the kiss eagerly, ignoring a feminine yell and two outraged cries.

When they finally separated, most of the classroom was staring at them. "You know," Naruto whispered with all of his usual subtlety, which was none, "that was totally unnecessary. Gaara's going out with Lee."

"Whatever," Sasuke replied. "No more stalking."