Neji sees Stars; Kakashi-sensei is… what?
It was Sasuke who found his voice first and it was anything but friendly in tone. “The question is, what are you doing here?”
“I hardly think that is necessary,” came the icy remark. “This is a public place after all.”
“Yes, but as you can obviously see,” Sasuke waved a hand about. “There is no one else here but you…and us of course.”
Naruto wished he was dead.
Apparently, their visitor thought that a certain dark-haired sharingan-wielding shinobi ought to be the one in that position. “There is no name written on a sign anywhere that says I cannot wander…”
“Ah, so you were wandering. Do you have nothing to do with yourself?”
The boy bristled at the taunt and took a deep breath. He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself. There really was no need to get angry over anything, right? After all, it’s wasn’t everyday you just stumbled across two boys who were obviously doing things that would have been considered illegal in some parts of the country…
Damn it! Why wasn’t it him kissing Naruto’s stomach?!
He opened up his eyes and smiled coldly. “You talk too much, Uchiha. Perhaps you should use that mouth of yours for other things of importance.”
Sasuke smirked and leaned back, his hand reaching to caress the blond’s exposed stomach gently. He was unaware of the panicked look that was beginning to fill Naruto’s eyes.
“Ah, but I was using my mouth for something very important, Hyuuga. In fact, if you had come here about five minutes later, you would have seen just how important it was bound to become.”
Both Naruto and Neji flushed darkly at the image the words conjured up, but it was the kyuubi that was the first to recover. Still reeling from Sasuke’s actions, he bound to his feet – albeit shakily – and staggered backwards in disbelief, embarrassment and growing humiliation.
“It’s a lie, Neji,” he sputtered out quickly. “We weren’t going to do anything…”
Sasuke snickered and closed his eyes. He leaned back on his elbows and allowed the sun to caress his bare chest. “I didn’t hear you complaining, Naruto. If anything you seemed to enjoy it.”
“You idiot!” Naruto shouted in frustration. “Why do you keep acting so cool, huh? It’s not like I like you in that way or anything!”
“You don’t?” Neji asked a bit too eagerly, but Naruto was too flustered to notice and he shook his head rapidly.
“I hate Sasuke! Everyone knows that!”
The younger genius chuunin’s jaw tightened at the comment, but he refused to open up his eyes or acknowledge Naruto’s rather hurtful words. He shrugged instead and replied calmly. “So what? I hate your guts too, Naruto but we’ve worked well over the years and that’s all we are, right? Just teammates and nothing else.”
Naruto felt his heart sink at the calm words, but he had to keep up the act. He couldn’t afford to show just how much those words had made him feel so…hollow and defeated.
“Yeah, that’s right!” he continued in that same angry tone. “Just teammates and that’s it!”
Neji smiled a bit smugly and nodded in dawning understanding. So it looked like the situation was clear for him. He would have to take it slow though. There was no need to rush Naruto into a relationship.
“So, he was taking advantage of you, is that it?” he asked coldly as he glared at his new rival in the battle for Naruto’s love. “I always knew you were an annoying and insensitive person, but to stoop that low, Uchiha? I cannot believe it.”
He ignored the fisted hands that Sasuke made at his words as he walked up to Naruto. The blond was unable to stop the light flush that filled his cheeks at the concerned look in the older boy’s eyes and he suddenly wished he had his clothes around here somewhere. Being half-naked in front of two boys who were so much alike was beginning to do a number on his psyche.
“Are you alright, Naruto?” Neji asked softly as he took off his chuunin jacket to drape it over the blond’s shoulders gently. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”
Naruto shook his head slowly, stealing a quick glance over the other boy’s shoulder to see what Sasuke was doing. To his growing irritation, the shinobi was already beginning to make his way towards the cliff again.
Damn him! Couldn’t he even show that he was upset or jealous or both?! Damn you, Sasuke!
He lifted his gaze to stare into the handsome face above him. “Ah…eh…did you say something to me, Neji?”
And was it just him or was the older boy blushing? And come to think of it, Neji’s jacket was warm and quite cozy. He had been so busy worrying over Sasuke, he had not noticed how well the cloth fit him. It even smelled like the genius. A wild, tangy and exotic scent that reminded the kyuubi of cinnamon and wild pine.
He closed his eyes and moaned softly in appreciation, hardly noticing the sharp intake of breath from Neji as he savored the warmth.
“We…I mean…would you like to go…uum…”
What was Naruto’s favorite place again? He had asked Hinata about this earlier too. Oh yeah, that was it! Noodles! “Would you like to go get some ramen? I am getting a bit hungry.”
Ah, the one magic word that could get Naruto becoming anyone’s best friend in a heart beat. “Really?!” he asked with widened eyes that were gradually filling with pleasure and delight.
Neji smiled warmly in response. This was a first step. Things were slowly but surely looking up.
“Yes, really and it’s my treat.”
“Alright! Let’s go! Today is soba day!” Naruto began to gush in excitement as he reached for Neji’s hand to lead him towards said shop. He would eat first and then think of what to do with Sasuke later.
After all, a full stomach was the key to all great decisions.
Neither teen paid any more attention to the still figure that watched them from the top of the cliff. There was a look of pure jealousy and anger on his handsome features.
Hinata walked slowly behind her younger sister as they made their way down the market street of Konoha. Hanabi seemed excessively hyper today and poor bewildered Hinata could not understand the reason for it. Hanabi was usually reserved but more outgoing, however today was quite different. Hinata just couldn’t put a finger on it.
What was even more puzzling was the weird conversation she had had with her cousin the other day. It wasn’t as if she and Neji didn’t talk to each other on a fairly regular basis. It was just the nature of the discussion that had the quiet teen a bit…bemused.
She had been sitting beneath a tree reading one of the many scrolls that she enjoyed to indulge in when a shadow fell over her. Looking up, she was surprised to notice her handsome cousin standing before her with a look of wariness and an almost shy air around him.
“Am I disturbing you, Hinata?” he asked softly.
She shook her head and motioned for him to sit down next to her. He did so and neither said a word for a long time. Hinata had come to understand her cousin’s silent pauses better than anyone else. She knew that at this time, his mind was usually churning with thoughts that he would reveal to her sooner or later. And so she waited patiently until his quiet question started her to attention.
“What does Naruto like?”
She stared at him blankly, wondering how in the world such a question had come to be. She was sure she detected the boy blushing, but she couldn’t be sure. “How do you mean?” she asked softly.
“You know…what kinds of things please him?”
Hinata smiled warmly and then burst into shy giggles. “I don’t really know him that well, Neji. But if there is one thing that Naruto absolutely adores to death, it is ramen.”
The Hyuuga genius gawked at her. “Ramen? That’s it…ramen?”
She nodded. “Uh huh. He loves it to death. Give him ramen and you are his friend for life.”
She watched him tuck that little bit of information away and her curiosity grew tenfold. “Why do you ask?”
He lowered his head and debated on whether or not to tell her and deciding not to, he shook his head and gave her a small smile instead. “Oh, it’s nothing,” he replied as he rose to his feet. “I think we might be switching teams next week, so I just want to keep up with everyone.”
Hinata looked blank but gave a small nod anyway. “Ah…okay, if you say so.”
But she didn’t buy that for one minute and if Neji knew about it, he made no attempt to show it. Let Hinata think what she liked. No one’s opinions mattered more to genius than that of a certain blond shinobi.
Well, that had been in the past and now was the present. Hinata sighed softly and was just about to call out to Hanabi when the boy who always played with Naruto came around the corner and almost bumped into them.
“Konohamaru,” she greeted with a warm smile. “How are you today?”
The teenager was about to open up his mouth to respond, when the words died in his throat as he noticed the scowling girl standing beside Hinata. His face darkened with color and instead of the vivacious reply he would have given, he mumbled something and shuffled away from them.
Hinata stared after the disappearing boy in confusion. “I wonder what that was all about. Hanabi, he is on your team, right?”
But her sister was looking at something else with seeming interest and refused to answer. If Hinata had looked carefully, she would have noticed that the young girl’s cheeks were just as flushed as the boy that had run away.
“Sugoi!” came the satisfied cry and an accompanying belch as Naruto placed the bowl back on the table with a loud thump. Ichiraku’s ramen was always the best. Nothing else could beat the sweet, savory taste of the spicy noodles that he always loved. What was even better was that he had managed to convince Neji to enjoy the delicious meal as well. He had noticed that the older shinobi had seemed wary of the food presented to him, but after much teasing and a dare for Neji to finish his, the older boy had given in.
Now, after two bowls each, they were both grinning like idiots at one another. Naruto was a bit surprised that Neji looked so much more different when he smiled. Without the scary byakugan and the usual cold or passive stare on his face, the Hyuuga genius looked even more handsome when he was genuinely happy. Naruto found himself liking this side of the older shinobi a whole lot better and was quite glad that things hadn’t turned out to be so awkward between them.
He still wished Sasuke would have come after him or something, but then again, who needed that moron anyway.
“We should do this more often, don’t you think?” Neji asked quietly as they stepped out of the shop.
Naruto, who had thankfully, found his pants due to Shikamaru and Chouji keeping it safely for him and was now dressed decently. He gave a curt nod and placed his hands behind his head as they began to walk towards the other side of town. Evening was fast approaching and couples had begun to cozy up to one another as they waited for the cloak of nightfall to come.
Naruto grinned and nodded, hardly thinking much as the taste of ramen was still predominant in his mouth and mind at this time. “Sure!” he replied flippantly. He did not see the surprised but pleased look that Neji gave him at the answer or the light flush that had filled his cheeks now.
As for Neji, he couldn’t really believe things were turning out this easily. From Sasuke’s blunder to their ‘date’, he felt as if he couldn’t have asked for anything better. He would take his time, he kept telling himself. There really was no need to rush things…
“Do you want to see something cool?” Naruto asked suddenly, startling him from his reverie.
The blond gave a wink and another wide grin as he began a light jog towards…somewhere. Not one to question…at least anything Naruto had planned…Neji picked up his pace and began to run after the excited chuunin.
They made their way towards the outskirts of the village. Naruto spied Konohamaru and a few of his friends. He waved towards the teen, completely ignoring the surprised look he got in return. Let anyone think what they like, Naruto thought wildly, as he began to climb up the building that was bound to take Neji’s breath away. No body ought to tell him who he could make friends with especially not that thick-headed, stubborn and annoying Sasuke!
“Did you say something?” Neji asked a bit breathlessly as they finally got to the top of the building. It was clearly the highest this side of the village and directly before them were the four looming mountainside statues of the Hokages.
“I asked if you said something?” Neji stood beside him, idly wondering just why they were up here. He didn’t make it a habit of climbing rooftops, but there was something different about tonight. He was with Naruto and that was all that mattered. “I thought I heard you mumbling something.”
Naruto shook his head and sat down heavily on the roof. “Nope! I didn’t say anything.” Or maybe he had mistakenly said Sasuke’s name out loud.
/He talks like he has a crush on you…although he wasn’t that obvious./
A sudden wave of self-consciousness washed over the blond as he heard Neji sit down beside him. Naruto bit his lower lip and tried to maintain his cool and non-chalant air. The effects of the ramen was slowly beginning to wear off, thanks to their run to the rooftop and so his mind was now clear to think. But what could he think about?! Neji Hyuuga was sitting beside him and who knew what the older boy had in mind to do to him? What if Neji went crazy and decided to do those things that he had only heard about from those old geezers?!
Naruto had heard weird tales of mysterious people, who went crazy once the moon came out and went about ripping innocent boys and girls of their clothes and taking them against their will. The kyubi could remember just how scared he had been at the tales. Was it possible that Neji could have the sudden urge to rip his clothes off and take him without his consent?! Wait a second…was it going to be a full moon tonight?!
“Are you okay? You look a bit pale,” Neji said in slight concern as he noticed Naruto’s terrified visage. “Do you want to go back to solid ground? Maybe the air isn’t good enough for you up here. Here let me…”
“I’m fine!” Naruto yelled out in slight panic as he shifted away a little from the outstretched hand. He saw the pained look that filled the pale eyes and he suddenly felt like a heel for thinking so badly of the older boy. Neji, however, was quick to hide his disappointment as he withdrew his hand to wrap it tightly around his upturned knees. Hadn’t he told himself he wasn’t going to rush, Naruto? And here he was already scaring the younger boy away.
Nice job, Neji. At this rate, things will slip out of your hands quicker than you think.
“I’m…I’m sorry,” Naruto mumbled softly as he too wrapped his arms around his legs and stared morosely at the stony face of the Forth. “I…I guess I am just jumpy…”
Neji laughed softly. “It’s okay, Naruto. You don’t have to be afraid of me.” He lowered his voice and tried to catch the other boy’s eyes. “I won’t hurt you. You know that, don’t you?”
Naruto didn’t want to look. He didn’t want to stare into those strangely hypnotic unique eyes that had secretly fascinated him all these years, but he was powerless to the stop himself from doing so in the end.
And maybe it was his imagination but Neji seemed to be much closer than before.
And his lips were quite…nice…
“I…know…” Naruto whispered just as thickly, having a feeling that he was being hypnotized somehow, someway. But he didn’t care right now. He liked this hypnotic feeling. It was heavy and made him feel quite good. And Kami, but Neji was hotter and getting better-looking by the second.
In all honesty, Neji hadn’t really moved from his position, instead he was the one quite surprised to see the blond swaying towards him. Naruto had a flushed look and those impossibly blue eyes of his seemed a bit glazed. He watched with a growing ache starting in the lower pits of his stomach as Naruto licked his lips and moved closer and closer to him.
Oh, sweet Kami! He had never kissed anyone before! What if he botched things?! He wanted to stop Naruto but then again this was the best thing that could ever happen to him.
Just one more inch…just a little bit more…
He closed his eyes as their warm breaths mingled.
“AAAAAHHH!!!” came the scream from the blond as both boys sprang apart from the intrusion.
Damn it!! Neji thought in irritation.
“Am I interrupting something?”
Naruto, now wide awake and quite red-faced, sputtered in embarrassment at the casual question from the grinning and quite unapologetic jounin before them.
“KAKASHI-SENSEI NO BAKA!!”
“Nice to see you too, Naruto,” the teacher replied jovially as he rose to his feet. He sunk his hands into the pockets of his uniform and eyed the two teens with interest. Naruto still looked red-faced and embarrassed, while Neji had a look that would have killed Kakashi if he had been a lesser man.
“Can we help you with something?” Neji asked coolly, still extremely angry at being interrupted from a perfectly good chance to steal his first kiss from Naruto. Damn it! He couldn’t stand this jounin at all.
“Actually, you can,” the man replied, not seeming fazed by Neji’s less than welcoming question. “Have any of you seen Sasuke today?”
Naruto’s ears perked up at that and his eyes narrowed warily. “Why?”
Kakashi shrugged carelessly. “We were supposed to meet for something tonight.”
“Something like what?”
“Something that concerns only Sasuke and I, Naruto,” came the enigmatic reply. “Well? Have any of you seen him?”
“No, we haven’t,” Neji replied curtly. “If we do see him, we will let him know.”
Kakashi seemed pleased enough with the reply as he gave a small nod and another knowing grin. “You do that. Oh, and please go back to what you were doing. Sorry for bursting in like that.”
He sounded anything but apologetic.
He ‘vanished’ from sight, leaving two very frustrated teens in his wake. The magic had disappeared now and both boys sat as far apart from each other as possible. Naruto had an angry scowl on his face but it had nothing to do with the missed kiss.
Kakashi-sensei and Sasuke.
/Something that concerns only Sasuke and I. Sasuke and I. Sasuke and I./
Kuso! Every damn time, Kakashi-sensei was always doing something special with Sasuke. What the hell did they do together anyway?!
He sucked in a harsh breath, eyes widened in disbelief. It couldn’t be! Kakashi wouldn’t willingly violate his student like that! But then again, the older man was a perverted coot and Naruto couldn’t really put it past the jounin. And what about Sasuke for his part. The boy was always following Kakashi like…like…
Neji blinked in surprise at the angry growl from the boy next to him. Naruto had a wild look in his eyes that had him wondering if the blond was upset over the near-kiss.
“Look, Naruto, I am sorry about that…”
The kyubi rose to his feet and smiled rather tightly at the bewildered teen below him. “I am sorry about this, Neji, but I have to leave now. Thank you for the treat at Ichiraku. I’ll make it up to you next time.”
And hardly waiting for Neji’s reply, Naruto leapt down from the building and went in search of a certain teacher and his student.
For the first time in a long while, Naruto felt a rage that was almost consuming course through his body. He didn’t know what was bound to happen if he found Sasuke and Kakashi, but one thing was for sure, if that man dared lay a finger on his teammate, he would not be responsible for his actions.