Blind Dates and Secret Crushes:
Sasuke gave a final look over of his weapon inventory with a light frown of concentration on his handsome features. He had enough shuriken and kunai in his possession and he wouldn’t really need anymore. Besides, this was just going to be a routine patrol around the village…except for the fact that he was going to be saddled with the one person who was incapable of making anything just routine.
Sighing softly, he straightened up from his hunched position only to find himself having to duck quickly as something whizzed over his head at an alarmingly fast rate. His hand had already reached for his kunai as he spun around with a slightly panicked look in his eyes. He gaped at the water balloon that hit the wooden fence with a resounding ‘splat’ behind him. A low ‘Damn, I missed him!’ reached his ears and turning back slowly, he glared at the rustling clump of bushes a few feet away. He raised a brow as a familiar but muffled voice spoke up soon after.
“I told you to do it when he was still down, Konohamaru. That’s the only you could have gotten him.”
Naruto-niichan. I tried to, but he was too fast.”
“Don’t worry. Next time we’ll definitely get him.”
“Get who, Naruto?” came the dry question as Sasuke moved closer to stand above them with arms folded before his chest and a thunderous expression on his visage.
The two culprits froze at the voice before the blond one rose to his feet with a sheepish grin on his face.
“Sasuke!” he cried out in an act of over exaggerated surprise. “What are you doing here?”
“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?”
“The patrol?” Sasuke looked incredulous although he really shouldn’t have been. Naruto had a knack for forgetting the most mundane things sometimes.
“Oh! The patrol. I knew that,” the blond added a bit indignant before turning around to face his silent and ogling companion. “Looks like playtime is over, Konohamaru. We will finish this some other day.”
“When?” came the eager question from the bright-eyed teen.
“On the day I am not on patrol,” Naruto replied surreptitiously.
“And when will that day be?”
“Soon.” The blond was beginning to get irritated with the other’s persistence.
“Is that tomorrow?” Konohamaru continued relentlessly.
“I am on patrol for the week, Konohamaru.”
A heartbeat of silence and then,
“So next week then?”
Naruto took a deep breath and fought down the angry retort he had been ready to lash out. Instead, he settled for a tight smile and a ruffle of the teen’s dark locks.
“Next week sounds fine.”
“Awesome! I’m holding you to that promise, nii-chan!” Konohamaru replied with a bright smile. “And we are definitely going to get you Sasuke!” He reiterated his statement with a loud raspberry towards the now amused dark-haired shinobi before running down the street and out of sight.
An uneasy silence fell between the two boys as they watched the disappearing figure. Sasuke was the first to break it as he adjusted the rather heavy green jacket of his chuunin uniform.
“Ready, Naruto?” he asked curtly. He would deal with their incessant need to tease him later on. Right now, they had a job to do.
“What about Sakura?” Naruto asked with a puzzled frown on his features as he followed his companion’s lead. “Isn’t she coming?”
“She’s sick,” came the simple reply.
Naruto blinked in surprise. “Sick? She was fine yesterday afternoon. Why did she become sick?”
Sasuke shrugged but there was a tight expression on his face that was not lost on the blond. It looked like Sasuke was hiding something.
“What did you do to her now?” he asked with barely concealed irritation.
He was well aware of the unstable relationship that Sakura and Sasuke had. Naruto had long given up hope of ever trying to win Sakura’s heart since it seemed as if her infatuation for Sasuke had no plans of dying anytime soon. He had settled for becoming as good a friend as he could possibly be and that included looking out for her best interests. It was unfortunate that one of such roles was to always comfort her after each argument between she and Sasuke. Naruto had always known or at least gotten the inkling over the years that Sasuke was not interested in Sakura in that way. He had practically begged Sasuke to give Sakura a try at a relationship even though that conversation – to this day – still left a bitter taste in his mouth as he recalled it. Sasuke had agreed, more to shut Naruto up than anything and for a while things had gone just fine. Sakura had been happy and Naruto could have sworn that they were days when he had caught the dark-haired shinobi smiling in her company.
However, that didn’t stop the arguments both of them had, seemingly, every other day. Naruto would sometimes find Sakura crying and after much prodding, would finally get her to open up to what had happened. It was either she wanting to do something and Sasuke not being interested or it was Sasuke – and his inherent lack of tact – insulting her again.
“What do you care?” Sasuke suddenly blurt out coldly. They had now reached the main hub of the village and for a moment, the noise from the citizens had drowned out the boy’s question causing Naruto to ask quickly.
“What did you say?”
“It wasn’t nothing,” the kyuubi replied angrily. “What did you do to Sakura?!”
Sasuke glanced at the angry blond and into those flashing blue eyes of his that always seemed to darken to deep cobalt when upset. It was almost hypnotic…if you stared long enough. He was spared an answer as a sudden piercing scream reached their ears. All thoughts of Sakura flew out of their minds as they ran towards the building it had come from. A small crowd had already begun to gather and both shinobi had to push their way through the throng to get to the forefront. For a moment, they weren’t sure of what they were seeing as all their brain could register was the spilled basket of fruits on the ground and the two people engaged in a wrestling match on the beside it.
“Somebody stop them!” came the shriek from the hideous, heavily made-up fat lady. “They are destroying my shop!”
Naruto, ever willing to the first to achieve anything before his rival, made a dash towards the fighting men. He opened up his mouth to blurt out a loud ‘Stop’, only to find himself flying across the room as one of the men had punched him in the stomach. Naruto barely heard the concerned cry from Sasuke as the pain seemed to wrack through his entire body. He wrapped his arms around his injured torso, feeling the warm, metallic taste of blood fill his mouth. The sounds of another scuffle and the undeniable mutterings of several seals being chanted finally permeated his dulled senses. The blond shinobi opened up his eyes weakly to the sight of Sasuke now standing above two still figures on the ground, while giving instructions to the gushing woman before him. Naruto could feel the familiar bile of bitterness, jealousy, disappointment and embarrassment fill his mouth.
As usual, Sasuke had taken the limelight and he was in the shadows dealing with his humiliation. He staggered to his feet, already feeling the pain from the blow ebbing away, thanks to the power of the demon within him. He wiped his bleeding mouth with the back of his hand and tried to gather some sort of dignity, only to gasp softly as something was placed within his hand.
“Are you okay?” came the soft question of concern that had Naruto clutching the offered napkin tightly. He didn’t bother to lift his gaze to meet the, no doubt, mocking ones of his companion as he replied smoothly.
“I am fine but shouldn’t you be with your adoring fans?” he added bitterly as he began to make his way out of the store, failing to notice that the woman was beginning to thank him as well. He was too blinded by his emotions to think rationally and all he wanted to do was…
“If you are done wallowing in your self-pity,” Sasuke interrupted coldly. “We need to make a stop at Tenmari-san’s house to drop these off.” He held up the bag of fruits. “Kuriko-sama asked us to…”
“Asked you, Sasuke,” Naruto muttered angrily. “I’ll continue patrolling while you do your chores.”
“What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Nothing is wrong with me!”
“Kami,” Sasuke muttered in irritation. “I thought you would have outgrown this whole rival thing by now, Naruto. We are supposed to be working together for crying out loud! Why the hell do you feel you have to best me at everything?”
Naruto refused to say anything even though the question had begun to make him think. Just why did he have to continue acting this way? It had already been established that he was much stronger than Sasuke but still…
The sudden realization had him frozen in his tracks. That was what it boiled down to really. All he wanted was for the genius chuunin to finally acknowledge him as an equal.
Sasuke sighed and placed a hand on Naruto’s shoulder, noticing that the blond flinched at the touch. He withdrew quickly and muttered. “I should be done in less than five minutes. Wait for me here.” And hardly waiting for the blond’s reply, he leapt up to the rooftops to deliver his package.
Naruto could still feel the light tingle and warmth on his shoulder from Sasuke’s touch and he felt his cheeks burn with color. It was rare that Sasuke would touch him on any occasion…well besides in the heat of battle. Friendly – if that had been considered friendly – pats or touches had never happened between them in their five years of being teammates. Odd, really.
He spun around at the call, grinning as he came face-to-face with the newly appointed jounin Shikamaru.
“Shikamaru! What are you doing here?”
The lazy – at least, seemingly lazy- shinobi gave a light shrug and pointed towards Ino, who was currently buying herself some bracelets, with a resigned look on his features.
“She says I have to walk with her.” He made a low sound of exasperation. “Geez, I was supposed to meet Chouji somewhere.” He eyed the flushed blond with a raised brow. “You’re supposed to be on patrol, right?”
“So where’s your partner?”
The kyuubi shrugged. “He had to deliver something.”
They fell silent as each thought of people they would rather have been with. Shikamaru with Chouji, who would probably be disappointed at this time and Naruto with…
His eyes widened as he stared at the smiling blonde girl before him. “Huh?” he asked rather dumbly.
“I asked if you were with Sasuke,” she repeated as she held up her hand to Shikamaru’s face. “Do you like it?” she asked of the ring she had gotten for herself. The jounin gave a non-committal grunt as a familiar dark-haired boy soon appeared next to Naruto with a light frown on his features.
“Sasuke!” Ino squealed in delight as she moved closer to show him the ring. “What do you think?”
The shinobi shrunk back a little. “It’s nice,” he replied quickly, while giving a responding nod to the small one that Shikamaru had greeted him with. There was clearly no love lost between the two of them and neither boy had made an attempt to hide their obvious dislike for each other.
“Ready to go, Naruto? We don’t have time to waste here.”
“Hey, you made me wait here for you,” Naruto corrected with an angry scowl. But he was ignored as Sasuke had already begun to walk away again. Giving a frowning Shikamaru and a disappointed Ino, a quick wave goodbye, Naruto found himself having to run up to catch his striding partner.
For the next hour, they combed the streets, stopping minor fights or arguments along the way. These were peaceful times for Konoha and there really was no reason for patrolling. But Tsunade – the Fifth Hokage - was not taking any chances and so she had assigned a different set of chuunin or jounin to do daily patrols in and around the village at all times.
“Can’t we stop for a break now?” Naruto asked in a low whine as they passed a corner that they had come across just a few minutes earlier. They were practically going around in circles. “I am hungry.”
The genius seemed to be tired as well as he made no effort to protest the blond’s suggestion. “We can eat there,” he said as he pointed towards one of the higher rooftops in the village.
Naruto blinked in surprise and glanced at his companion, wondering why there was a dull blush on Sasuke’s cheeks.
“You…you want me to eat with you?” he finally asked incredulously.
If anything, Sasuke’s blush deepened, but his voice was a bit snappy. “Are you hungry or not?”
Not one to question food-related matters, Naruto nodded quickly and followed his puzzling teammate. As they landed lithely on the rooftop, Naruto couldn’t help gasping softly at how breathtaking the view was from their vantage point.
“Great, isn’t it?” Sasuke agreed with a small smile gracing his lips. “I usually eat here…”
The words trailed off as the enormity of the situation sunk in. This was Sasuke’s secret place. Sasuke was actually sharing his private haven with him! The kyuubi found himself hopelessly gaping at the dark-haired boy, not sure of what to say in response. Sasuke, on the other hand, seemed to have recovered from his silence as he sat down and opened up the small lunch pack he had made for himself.
Rice cakes, Naruto noticed with a light chuckle. The genius shinobi had always had a soft spot for the snacks. Ignoring the bemused frown he was given, Naruto sat down beside Sasuke and opened up his simple meal of sandwiches and a small carton of milk. Sasuke took a bite of his food while shaking his head softly.
“You and milk,” he muttered.
Naruto tried to look upset but failed miserably as a smile lit up his features.
“You and rice cakes,” he teased in return.
They stole almost shy glances at each other before the blond burst out laughing. Sasuke allowed himself a light chuckle before settling in for the long and companionable silence that fell between them.
Naruto was the first to finish and with a satisfied burp, he lay on his back and closed his eyes with a soft sigh of content escaping his lips. How he wished that things could be like this forever. Just he and the bright blue sky above him with the one person he cared for by his side.
His lashes flew open at the last thought. Had he actually just considered being with Sasuke a perfect day for him? What the hell was he thinking?!
He could hear the other teen give a low burp and then the undeniable sound of someone lying right next to him. Naruto’s cheeks flared…no, his entire body flared with heat again and he could feel a growing sense of panic fill his being. This wasn’t right. This entire scene was definitely not right! He wasn’t supposed to be on a rooftop with a boy who annoyed the hell out of him. He wasn’t supposed to be enjoying himself with Sasuke! He had to get up and leave…now! He had to break this oh-so-wonderful illusion of…
“Sakura,” Sasuke began softly, causing Naruto to perk up with curiosity. “Sakura and I had an argument.”
The kyuubi fought down the urge to make a smart-assed comment to that, but he guessed that this was going to be one of the rarer occasions when Uchiha Sasuke was ever going to open up to him.
For a long minute, Sasuke said nothing and just when Naruto thought he would have to kick him to continue, the boy continued in that same quiet voice that now had a slight hint of resignation in it.
“It won’t work, Naruto. It just won’t. So, please do me a favor and try not to get us ‘together’ again, okay?”
“But why?” Naruto blurted out as he sat upright in genuine confusion. “I don’t understand, Sasuke. Sakura is beautiful and smart and just…just perfect for you. Why don’t you like her?”
Wild blue and darkest black stared into the other for several heart-stopping moments before Sasuke frowned and turned his gaze away.
“I don’t…can never like her in that way, Naruto.”
Sasuke shook his head and curled into a fetal position. “Forget it,” he mumbled as he closed his eyes.
“Oi, oi, don’t you go to sleep on me!” came the indignant cry as Naruto reached out to tap the stoic boy’s shoulder. “Explain yourself, damn it!”
“Why should I?”
Naruto opened and shut his mouth for a second before replying heatedly. “You started this, so finish it!”
Sasuke remained still for a moment, before snickering lightly. “Finish it, huh?”
“Ye…yes,” Naruto stuttered weakly, not really sure if he wanted Sasuke to finish anything now. There had been a certain predatory inflection in that reply that was beginning to worry Naruto. He took his hand away from the dark-haired boy’s shoulder, but it was a minute too late as he found it trapped within a much stronger one.
“Sasuke!” he cried out weakly before giving a yelp of surprise as he was spun around quickly, somehow becoming trapped beneath the heated length that was Sasuke’s body. Naruto’s cheeks darkened with color and grew even hotter as he felt something undeniably hard pressed against his stomach.
He gaped helplessly into those eyes that were now so pitch black, Naruto was sure he would die at the sheer intensity of that stare. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to release himself from Sasuke’s grip.
“Let me go, damn it! Let me go!”
He sounded so pathetically helpless and weak and he hated himself for feeling that way. His fears grew tenfold as he felt Sasuke’s heated whisper against his ear.
“Why should I, Naruto? You wanted to see this finished, right?”
Sasuke moved and Naruto whimpered. Why wouldn’t his body cooperate with him and stop responding? Why couldn’t he control his breathing, which was now rapid and harsh. Why was he suddenly thinking of those lips that were now brushing against the skin of his ear in such light feather-like touches?
Those teasing lips were now hovered dangerously close to his and to his chagrin, Naruto found himself parting them, ready and willing to accept whatever happened next. He felt as if he was about to go up in flames or he was sure he would go up in flames if Sasuke decided to kiss him. Never questioning why he was even entertaining the thought, Naruto, unconsciously thrust up to press his heated body against his rival’s. Needing…wanting…
And just like that, the warmth was gone.
Naruto opened up his eyes, unaware of the low sound of dismay that had escaped him as he watched Sasuke dust himself off with his back turned to him. He groaned and closed his aching thighs together, willing his throbbing and aching groin to cease its torture on his body. Damn Sasuke for confusing him like this!
“Now, do you see why I could never like Sakura?” came the quiet question from Sasuke, who was yet to look Naruto in the eye.
The blond could only blink for a few seconds before it slowly dawned on him. Sasuke was…he was…
“No…” he whispered softly, not sure if he ought to feel repulsed or glad at the news.
“Yes, Naruto,” Sasuke replied with a wry grin as he began to walk away. “I think I am going to stop putting up false pretenses and go with my gut instincts from now on. First, I will let Sakura know and then…” He ran fingers through his hair a bit restlessly. “And then maybe I can find the guts to tell someone how I really feel about him.” He coughed and took a deep breath. “Let’s do one more patrol, Naruto and then report to Tsunade, okay?”
And hardly waiting for his companion, Sasuke leapt down the building, leaving a very contemplative and quite shell-shocked Naruto in his wake.
Who was it? Lee? Neji? Gaara? Chouji? Shikamaru? Highly unlikely but…one could never tell. Kiba? Hell, Kakashi-sensei?!
Naruto bit his lower lip, feeling a strange and rather surprising well of jealousy fill the pits of his stomach.
“Naruto?! Are you coming or not?”
The kyuubi shook his head. “No, it couldn’t be. He can’t like me like that….he was just using me as an example…”
But still…it couldn’t hurt to try to find out just who had caught Sasuke’s eye. He leapt down from the rooftop, ignoring the bewildered look he was beginning to receive from the genius shinobi.
Sasuke raised a brow. “What are you smiling about?” he asked as he noticed the small quirk of the blond’s lips.
“Oh, nothing,” came the flippant reply as Naruto did the unthinkable and placed his arm around the surprised boy’s shoulder. “Let’s just continue patrolling, okay?”
Yes, it was all coming together now. Naruto realized that he would have to think up a plan and one fast. It would be a pain to get Gaara, but the others would be easy to deal with. All he had to do was set up Sasuke with each boy…and man on a ‘date’ to find out the truth.
It was the perfect plan, wasn’t it? Nothing could possibly go wrong with that…could it?