Divergent (5)


Inside of the light, I saw my youthful memories
They're still too far off for me, filthy as I am now
Inside of the darkness, I called your name over and over again
Inside of the endless time, there's no one there but you

-       Gackt (Birdcage)



Of all the places he could have chosen, it had to be in a public restroom in the middle of nowhere. It didn’t quite seem like Sasuke’s thing, but who was Naruto to complain?


Determined and restless, his surprised gasp was stifled at the rude thrust of Sasuke’s leg between his thighs; spreading them apart as he was shoved against the dingy graffiti-infested wall, and as his parted lips were captured by firm ones that claimed and took command with no apologies. He moaned and ground his hips against the salesman’s; moist, warm tongues clashing in a near vicious dance for dominance. His arms weaved around Sasuke’s neck, clinging on for dear life as his mind, body (and heart) thrummed with an euphoric buzz he had never experienced before.


Strong hands captured his hips and hoisted him a little higher; rough denim against fine cotton pants; rubbing, straining – such a hindrance – but not enough to distract them from the obvious. They were horny as fuck.


“Gl…glad you finally came around,” Naruto rasped shakily when they finally broke apart for much-needed air. He licked his lips and moaned. “I knew it was only a matter of time before you gave in to me.”


“You talk too much,” came the breathless retort; handsome features lightly sheened with sweat and flushed with desire, dark eyes dilated with a fever that scorched the blond. He leaned closer, but only to tease Naruto’s ear lobe, nipping gently – a subtle lick – before whispering thickly. “Turn around.”


Naruto shivered with anticipation, though unable to stop the smirk that came to his visage. “Hmm. Are you sure? Do you know what to do? It’s your first time after all andurgh! Sasuke wha-!”


Impatience was definitely not a virtue, and as Naruto found himself being spun around and shoved hard against the wall (the rather revolting stench of their surroundings was now more flagrant even as the scribbled letters “Call Kaito-chan for a good time” seemed to mock his blurred vision), he felt the low stirrings of fear begin to fill the pit of his stomach.


(oh God no)


This wasn’t like Sasuke. In fact –


(this isn’t Sasuke at all. I remember…this…this was…)


“Don’t…” he begged as he felt the restless hands begin to unbuckle his belt. Panic rising. Steadily. Surely. Anxiety level at its peak. “Sasuke…please…not like this -”


But he knew it was no longer Sasuke with him. He knew that the gradual darkening of the restroom was a cruel reminder of the time when he had almost been punished for being such a desperate little newbie in the ‘family’. So eager to please, he had blindly believed the grinning faces of the men who promised to show him the ropes; of how things were really done in the real world. They would be more than glad to initiate him into the gay community. All he had to do was follow…


(please God no)


He tried to struggle away from the tightening grasp, the oniony breath of that huge bastard wafting into his face. His hips were yanked up to meet the thick cock that teased his unprepared anus. He knew the routine, even as he felt the sweaty, meaty hand about to slap itself over his mouth. Naruto knew he would bite hard on that flesh until it drew blood. He knew his adrenaline would kick in and he’d whirl around like a wounded lion seeking revenge. He would punch and howl and fight and fight and fight and fight and –


“Naruto? Naruto!”


A hard shove against his shoulder had him sitting up with a loud gasp. For a moment, panicked blue eyes darting around his surroundings; trying to reconcile the nightmare from what reality presented.


(I’m…I’m still in the car…thank God)


“What the hell were you dreaming about?” came the quiet question forcing Naruto to finally acknowledge his companion’s presence. Sasuke threw him another glance and there was no mistaking the hint of concern on his features. “You were mumbling and writhing about. You okay?”


I was…like for the first few minutes of the dream, Naruto thought bitterly, though unable to stop the light blush to dust his cheeks at the recollection of just how heated said dream had been for a while. He cleared his throat and sat up a little straighter; a quick glance at the clock on the dashboard showing it was just past ten in the evening.


“I’m all right,” he eventually replied while rubbing his eyes with the heels of his hands. “Ready to switch now? I thought you would have woken me up earlier.”


Sasuke shrugged and began to pull over to the side of the road. Truth be told, he was tired; but felt he ought to let Naruto have a few more winks (considering he was still recovering from a fever even if he seemed completely fine). At least he was glad the awkward tension was no longer between them and they had managed to travel without bringing up that topic again. Of course this didn’t mean that his curiosity had been sated, but as long as Naruto didn’t think of him as being too nosey, he could deal with it.


“Getting chillier,” Naruto muttered as he rubbed his hands together and jogged around the car to dart into the driver’s seat. “Gotta love this side of the country, eh?”


Sasuke chuckled and shut the door beside him. He reached for his overcoat in the backseat and shrugged into it while Naruto took them back onto the highway; heater on full blast. Yes, the nights were definitely going to be colder, but at least by this time tomorrow, his hope was that he’d be in a warm hotel bed holding onto a six-figure check with his name written all over it. He smiled to himself; taking comfort in that fantasy.


(and where would Naruto be by then?)


Beneath hooded lashes, he studied the driver in silence. There was a loud and wide yawn the blond didn’t bother trying to be polite about, several blinks of the eyes to clear out the remnants of sleep, and a slight adjustment of body position to get himself more comfortable. In the darkness, only illuminated by the dashboard lights, Naruto’s eyes seemed to absorb them; creating an almost mesmerizing play of purples and violets. Those mysterious scars, on his cheeks, would stretch and contract with every facial expression as if having a life of their own. He had a face that could draw attention if used in a good way, and it was almost a shame he’d have to spend the rest of his life stuck in a small fishing village trying to make his father happy.


(and what about your happiness, Naruto? Are you really willing to give it all up just to please someone else?)


Funny how ironic the situation was when compared to his own life. For as long as he could remember, he had lived wanting to make his father notice him; wanting to do all he could to receive a smile or praise from Uchiha Fugaku. However, nothing he did was ever really good enough. For his father, all that mattered was making Itachi the perfect son, the perfect heir, and the perfect successor to a conglomerate worth billions. Perhaps Sasuke had resented being treated like an extra baggage, as an unnecessary piece of the puzzle that simply had to be tolerated. Itachi should have been the one in charge, but now that he was gone -


“I don’t get it,” came the sudden low comment, which forced Sasuke’s drooping eyelids to lift wearily. He slid a weary look at his companion. What the hell was he going on about now?


“Don’t get what?” he finally asked when it seemed like Naruto had no intention of continuing with his cryptic statement.


“How come no one recognizes who you are in public,” Naruto continued; his brows creased as if this was such a thought-provoking issue it warranted discussion. “I mean your family’s so famous and all -”


“You didn’t recognize me until I told you my name,” Sasuke replied with a sigh. “What’s the big deal?”


“I don’t read the papers or watch T.V. much,” Naruto admitted. “So I can be excused, but for everyone else…I mean the whole ‘Madara’ thing seems kinda obvious to anyone who wants to research into your past.”


Sasuke rolled his eyes, though Naruto had hit the nail on the head. For the most part, his business partners hadn’t pried that much into his history. All they cared about was someone to get them the sales they needed. However, the more astute ones had taken note and dug a little more into his past; most pleased beyond their wildest dreams that an ‘Uchiha’ was willing to work for them. Sasuke had done his best to reassure them that he wasn’t here as a ‘spy’ on behalf of his father (since Fugaku was well known for buying out smaller businesses), and was willing to work under the cloak of anonymity with no special treatment.


“It really shouldn’t be that surprising if people don’t notice me or realize who I am,” he said in a low drawl; though his eyes were now closed as he drifted between consciousness and sleep. “I grew up in a freakin’ bubble, Naruto. We were so sheltered from the rest of the world, it’s a damn miracle I didn’t spontaneously combust when I was finally allowed to do ‘normal’ things.”




Sasuke lifted his lashes. He might as well forget about sleep when Naruto was in this mood. Besides, their time was running short, so he might as well milk their last few hours together until they said their farewells.


“From the moment I was born, we were exclusive,” Sasuke began quietly. He closed his eyes again; not sure why he was subjecting himself to digging up childhood memories. However, he had vowed to reveal more of himself to Naruto, hadn’t he? Guess it couldn’t hurt.


“I had nurses and nannies and special play friends come to our mansion. I couldn’t go to the public parks or any of that stuff normal children could do at that age. Our idea of playtime was an orchestrated afternoon tea party with other rich children; being chaperoned from one house to the other in air-conditioned limousines or private jets. We could not go out in public or walk the streets because of who we are. My father has his share of enemies, so besides it being our privilege to have exclusive access to various places; it was also a matter of life and death as we had bodyguards protecting us most of the time.”


“…that doesn’t sound very…appealing,” Naruto mused with a pout of his lips. “It almost sounds like it was a…eh…”


“Prison?” Sasuke offered with a light smirk. “It was. The most comfortable prison in the world with everything you could possibly want…which would explain why my brother finally decided to give me my first taste of ‘freedom’.”


“How’s that?”


“Hmmm…well, my brother had just returned from boarding school, and I remember how excited I had felt all day waiting for his arrival.” He paused and swallowed tightly; realizing that the dull ache in his chest was beginning to get stronger as the memories came flooding back. He couldn’t tell Naruto of the rising voices he had heard behind solid oak doors as father and oldest son argued over Itachi’s decision not to join one of the more prestigious secret societies in the university where all Uchihas have been members since the dawn of time or whatever. He would later learn about this when he and Itachi spent hours simply talking in his bedroom.


“…he always said he felt more like himself when he was with me,” he whispered more to himself than to his companion. “We would just lie on his bed and talk for hours…about everything and anything. I could listen to him all day, or maybe it was the other way around. He didn’t talk much; just let me yak his ear out while I told him all the boring things I did, and he’d try to tell me just how cool the rest of the world was, but I could never really understand it. I thought the world revolved around the Uchihas, but Itachi…I now realize he was actually trying to tell me otherwise.”


The lump in his throat got harder. It was becoming difficult to swallow. He took a deep breath and forced himself to continue.


“An…anyway, one night…when my parents went out for some fancy dinner event and we were left to our devices, Itachi came up with a plan for us to make our ‘escape’. You see, our home was protected by state of the art security and cameras and of course the guards, so what we did was sneak into the kitchen and we jumped into the back of the delivery truck that brought us fresh fruit every morning -”


“What?!” came the incredulous cry. “You had fresh fruit every morning?!”


“My parents must have fresh orange juice every morning, so they get it from an orchard just a few miles outside the city.”


Naruto’s jaw dropped; his expression so comical, Sasuke couldn’t help chuckling though there was a hint of embarrassment at how this must appear to the blond.


“I told you we were…different.”


“Damn. Just go to the grocery store and buy a carton of orange juice for less than 200 yen!” Naruto huffed. “You rich people make me sick.”


“Not me,” Sasuke argued weakly. “I’m not particularly picky about where I get my fruits from. Wait. Why the fuck are we even making this an issue? Can I go back to my story about the escape?”


“Sure, sure!” Naruto said with a snicker. “Your brother sounds like he was pretty cool anyway.”


Sasuke ignored the faint pang of jealousy at the genuine admiration in Naruto’s statement. He realized it was an emotion he almost always had whenever people got to meet and know Itachi. He was the cooler one; the smarter one, the more personable, the one who got all the girls, in fact, he was simply the best at everything, so why was it any surprise that Naruto was already enamored with someone who wasn’t even alive?


Shaking his head lightly, he forced himself to continue with the story; telling of how the truck had driven them to the orchard, and how they had found themselves trapped in it for a couple of the hours because the driver hadn’t made any attempt to unload the empty crates. When they were finally released, or rather when a worker finally opened the back of the truck the next morning, it was to find two sleeping boys who just happened to be the sons of their boss. Needless to say, there was plenty of panic and fear to go around, and Itachi had to do a lot of convincing to the terrified workers that they had not been kidnapped neither were they going to tattle to their father about their whereabouts.


“We’ll take the bus home,” Itachi had said, and indeed they did, but not before seeing a couple of sights and sounds of Kyoto. To the ten-year-old Sasuke, Kyoto had never looked more vibrant and beautiful. He wasn’t stuck in tinted-window limousines where his view of the outside world was muted and dull. On that day, with his big brother as chaperone, he got to ride on mass transit transportation and learned the value of paying for a ticket instead of simply demanding he get a seat. He got to watch other children play in the public park even if he couldn’t join them despite Itachi’s insistence he try to make friends. What was the point of doing that? It wasn’t as if he was going to make it a habit of coming to the park every single day. He was simply content to sit and observe their behaviors; comparing the rough housing and genuine happy laughter to the more reserved and polite gatherings he had with his brand of friends. He got to eat ice cream not served in fancy glass bowls and had no fear of letting the ice drip down his fingers or to get his shirt dirty. He had his taste of okonomiyaki and takoyaki, washed down with his favorite tomato juice, and to round up what was an exciting day; Itachi had taken him to a fireworks show, where they sat on the edge of the pier to watch the heavens light up in a million kaleidoscope of colors.


“It was the greatest day of my life,” Sasuke said quietly; his voice barely audible as the lump gave way to a burning sting in his eyes he struggled hard to control. “And as you might have guessed, it didn’t end well. It would be the last time Itachi and I ever did anything like that. My Dad made sure it never happened again.”


Naruto could hear the ache in those words, and he felt his heart stir at the loss of innocence for that little boy and what might have been.


(maybe…if we had met back then…would we have been friends, Sasuke?)


“What did he do?” he finally asked softly.


“He sent Itachi overseas and just about forbade me to leave the house without supervision. My brother was only allowed to come home during the holidays, and even then Father would make him focus on the family business; hardly giving him time to be around me. He did all he could to alienate us,” he finished with a bitter smile. “I knew it wasn’t Itachi’s fault, but by the time I was in high school – and got into my whole Goth mode – I began to blame him for us drifting apart. I ignored his phone calls and emails and went into this self-pity zone where I felt it was me against the world.” He laughed a little; running fingers through his hair as if frustrated. “When I think of all the time wasted…”


His voice trailed off, but he needn’t have said anymore. Naruto understood the guilt that must be eating at Sasuke, knowing precious moments he could have spent with his brother would never be recovered again.


“When was the last time you saw him?” Naruto asked quietly, but then kicked himself mentally when he recalled how Sasuke had caught Itachi and Sakura together. “Eh…I meant after…you know…” he stuttered quickly.


Sasuke gave a small nod of understanding. “Believe it or not, I wasn’t too bitter about it when we all talked about it eventually. Sure it was just a part of what triggered my decision to leave that household and family for good, but at the end of the day, I realized those two really did care for each other. Perhaps a part of me was envious that – once again – Itachi had to end up with someone I thought was meant for me.”


There was a momentary pause that needed to be filled, and just when Naruto felt he would be the one to break the silence, Sasuke added softly.


“Remember my nightmare the other day?”




“...it’s because I dreamed about them. It’s a constant recurring thing where I’m made to feel guilty about it. In a way…I think a part of me does feel responsible for their death,” came the low admission. Sasuke seemed to hunch within himself; wrapping the overcoat a bit tighter around his body. “I might have forgiven them in person, but deep within my heart…I still resented them for the betrayal, and somewhere in my subconscious I might have wanted something terrible to happen.”


“You can’t blame yourself for the accident,” Naruto said kindly. “I mean it’s not as if you rigged the plane or anything, right? How could you have known it was going to crash?”


“If you wish for something hard enough, it can eventually happen, can’t it?”


“Who told you that pile of crap?” Naruto asked with a bark of laughter. “I’ve been wishing I was the next Hyde since God knows when and guess what? It hasn’t happened yet.”


Their gazes met for a moment; wry smiles on their faces. Sasuke shook his head and looked away first. “You are impossible. If you want to become the next Hyde, you can make it happen. I still don’t know why you have to resort to living like a fisherman until the day you die.”


“Until the day my Pops dies,” Naruto corrected grimly.


“And if he doesn’t die anytime soon?”


“…we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”


“Naruto -”


“Look,” came the impatient response with a fist slammed against the steering wheel for emphasis. “You don’t understand my family and what kind of pressure I’m under, Sasuke. I know you’ve been through some shit yourself, but it’s not the same, all right?”


Sasuke raised a brow in disbelief. “How is it not the same? You left your home for a reason, didn’t you? You left because you believed there was something bigger and better waiting for you out there, right? Why go back now?”


“I told you my mother’s dying! I don’t want to miss the opportunity to make amends before she passes on. You blew your chance with your brother, and I’m not about to make the same mistake with my mom!”


As soon as the words left his mouth, he immediately wished he could take them all back. He felt sick to his stomach at how insensitive he might have sounded, and even without looking at Sasuke; he could feel the icy wall being built between them.


(again. Damn)


“I’m-I’m sorry,” he muttered with a heavy sigh. “I didn’t mean it to sound that way.”


“I think I’ll take my nap now…if I’m at least allowed to do that?” came the cold words of dismissal. Naruto winced inwardly.


“Sasuke -”


“It’s okay, Naruto. It was my mistake to assume that you and I could ever be on the same wavelength. We’re too different, and in a few hours, we will be out of each other’s hair.” He snuggled against the door and closed his eyes. “Wake me up when it’s dawn.”


Naruto gripped the steering wheel until his knuckles ached with the effort. He captured his lower lip between his teeth, wishing he was eloquent enough to express just how he felt right about now. He hadn’t meant to sound so blasé about Sasuke’s situation, and he hated to admit that Sasuke’s observations about his decision to remain in Yokohama was right on the money. He didn’t want to remain a fisherman for the rest of his life, and he knew he really was doing this just to receive that ‘blessing’ of acceptance from his old man. The funny thing? There was no guarantee his father would even accept him anyway. Once Mom passed away – and that saddening thought was inevitable – Dad was going to be left to pick up the pieces. Naruto felt he ought to be there at least.


“You know…” he began, not sure if Sasuke was awake or not, and perhaps not caring. He had to say this anyway. “I went snooping around to know who my real parents were – a couple of years back. I know I didn’t have to do it, after all, I already had two folks who gave a shit about me, but I went digging for the truth anyway.” He took a deep breath. “Turns out they both passed away the night I was returning home from the hospital. Car crash. I survived. They didn’t. Still doesn’t explain the weird scarring on my face, but maybe it’s a medical condition. Anyway, lucky for me, the hospital tends to take photos of new parents and their babies, and the doctor who delivered me still had it in his possession.” His eyes burned with unshed tears. “They were pretty young and they looked happy and all that. They would have been cool parents. I’m sure of it, but Fate had other plans for me. Instead of the smiling blond man and red head woman in the photo, I got two people – going on in years – who vowed to protect me for as long as they lived. They are the only family I know, Sasuke. Even if they acted like bastards and abandoned me when I needed their support and understanding the most…at the end of the day, I realize that they still love me in their own way. Sometimes you have to make some sacrifices for the ones you love, and if it means giving up my dream of being in a band…then so be it.”


He sniffled; cursing inwardly at his weakness, and wiped his wet cheeks with the sleeve of his jacket. When the hell did the tears break free?


“Anyway…what I guess I’m trying to say is…maybe you’re right. We might be the same in a way. You left to follow your dreams just like I did, but I’m going back because I don’t want to have any regrets. I think…I think you should do the same too. I know you feel as if your Pops and Mom don’t give a damn about you, but you might be wrong. I don’t think any parent ever completely hates their own flesh and blood, and you should go back and try to make amends before you have even more regrets.”


He took another deep breath and then laughed in embarrassment.


“Sorry,” he apologized with a light shake of his head. “I talk too much after all. Don’t mind me. Just late night rambling. It doesn’t matter what I say anyway. As long as you are happy, that’s all that matters.”


At Sasuke’s silence punctuated by steady even breathing, he sighed softly and leaned forward to increase the volume of the radio, allowing the soothing sounds of some jazz mix to keep him company. He stole a worried glance at his sleeping companion, feeling his heart grow heavy with an unnamed dread. It would suck if they had to go their separate ways on such poor terms, but at least he had said his piece and gotten it out of his system. It really was now all up to Sasuke to decide how he wanted their relationship to end and how to begin anew the broken ones left at home.





Dawn broke with a smattering of cold rain and murky skies. The weather forecast did call for sunny skies later in the day, and considering Yokohama was now merely thirty miles away, Naruto prided himself on making good time throughout the lonesome night drive.  


He pulled up to the gas station and gave a loud yawn of weariness. Limbs were stretched out as best they could in the cramped space, before he sank back against the seat to relax a little. He observed the somewhat busy Rest Stop, noticing that the drivers were mostly truckers re-filling for the long journeys ahead.


(while mine is almost coming to an end)


He looked over to his sleeping companion with a pang in his chest. Sasuke – besides a few tosses and turns to get comfortable – had not stirred since their argument last night. With that whole speech he had given about leaving without regrets – though he doubted the salesman had heard a thing – he still hoped the other man would awaken with a pleasant enough disposition for them to make amends.


“Sasuke,” he called out softly. “Sasuke, wake up.”


No response. No surprise. He hadn’t exactly called his name out loud enough, and why not? He selfishly wanted to savor this moment for a little longer. He knew he might never see the salesman again, so why not embed this image (among many others) in his mind forever?


Before he could stop himself, his fingers reached out to shyly caress the tendrils of dark hair upon Sasuke’s cheek and forehead. Just as he had imagined, they really were soft and almost silky to the touch. His fingers grew bolder, brushing the hair aside to see more of the face hidden beneath. Slightly parted lips expelled warm air against his fingertips with every breath taken. Those lashes – which might be a tad too long for a guy – prevented him from seeing those now familiar dark eyes that could bore right into his soul effortlessly.


“Sasuke…” he called out as if in pain; a low moan of a name that he knew would probably never mean more to him than just a distant memory as the years went by. He wasn’t aware of when he moved closer; of his body leaning a little more toward the other as if drawn by an invisible string. A part of him screamed for him to see reason; that he was only pouring more oil to an existing fire and not of the good kind. If Sasuke was to awaken and realize just what he was about to do, there was no doubt their already crumbling relationship would take a turn for the worse.


I’m sorry, he begged feverishly; now mere inches separating their lips. He squeezed his eyes shut; his heartbeat now so loud, he was sure he was going to wake the other man up. I’m so, so, sorry, Sasuke. Please forgive me! I promise you won’t even feel a thin-


“Just what the fuck do you think you’re doing?”


(oh shit!)


Naruto’s lashes flew open, and he pulled back so fast, he almost hit his head against the door. The heat of humiliation burned from the tip of his toes, until his face became a damn good imitation of a tomato. Those dark eyes he had just fantasized about were now wide open – though still groggy from sleep – and lips that had once been parted, warm and inviting were now tightly shut and downturned in a frown of displeasure.


“I…I…I was just going to wake you up,” Naruto stammered and shrank back; trembling fingers seeking the door handle to make his escape. He couldn’t fucking breathe. Every nerve ending in his body was taut with tension and he dreaded Sasuke’s wrath at his blunder. So much for keeping himself in control. How stupid could he possibly be?


“I stopped at a gas station,” Naruto found himself blubbering. “We need to fill up and take a break. You said to get you up at dawn and…and…I’ll be right back!”


He fled before Sasuke could retort, almost colliding into a couple of truckers heading back to their vehicle. He didn’t stop moving until he was in the safety of a restroom stall, where he finally slapped his hands over his burning face and prayed for a hole in the ground to swallow him whole.


Meanwhile, Sasuke – who was still trying to figure out why Naruto’s face had been mere inches from his


(did I have something on my face?)


– sat up and flexed his aching limbs. In between Naruto’s incoherent babble, he was able to decipher that they had come to a stop at a gas station and according to the GPS, Naruto had just about delivered them to their final destination. They could be in Yokohama by noon at this rate; plenty of time for him to check into a hotel and freshen up before his meeting with Aburame-san.


(at least you’re good for one thing if not stubborn for everything else, Naruto.)


He let himself out of the car and filled up the tank; hardly paying attention to those around him as he watched the numbers roll higher and higher on the pumps before him. He could barely control his bladder, by the time he was through, and ignoring the drizzle to pelt him, he darted into the building to seek the restroom. If he noticed Naruto browsing through the snack aisle, he gave no sign of acknowledgment.


He did, however, take note of the appalling state of the men’s room, and he cringed inwardly at not just the smell of raw sewage and other waste, but the floor appeared not to have been washed in years, the walls must have once been a sublime cream, but was now nothing more than a colorful canvas for perverts of all sorts. There were six urinals in all, the last one at the end in bad need of repair. Apparently the wooden sign “DO NOT USE” – hanging above it - was not paid attention to as folks still seemed eager to make use of its non-services.


With a heavy sigh, he decided to make use of a stall, but one look at the peeling paint on the doors and the stomach-churning scents emanating from them, had him turning back to the urinals. He unzipped quickly, just as the door opened to let in two rather hefty-looking men who were clearly foreigners. From their accents, they were Russians – not a strange sight considering they were neighbors and both countries did a lot of international trading.


Sasuke was prepared to ignore them and get done with his business, when he sensed both men take up position on either side of him. He stiffened at the proximity and positively bristled when one of them had the audacity to look over and down at him before whistling in appreciation.


“Yest' khoroshiy paket,” the man said with a wink at his companion. “I on dovol'no takzhe!”


“Sdelat' eto bystro , Mikhail. YA dumayu, chto kabina pusta,” the older of the two said as he nodded toward the stall behind him.


Sasuke was not that fluent in Russian, but it didn’t take a genius to know that these bastards were up to no good. His theories were confirmed when the younger – who looked like a cross between a body builder and a drill sergeant – stepped behind him to trap him against the urinal.


(what the-?!)


“It’s okay,” he breathed into Sasuke’s hair in thickly-accented Japanese. “I’ll show you a good time, eh?”


Sasuke took a step back to flee, but the immediate sound of a switchblade being opened and the sudden cool sensation of the weapon against his neck, had him frozen in place.


(fuck! Why now?!)


The last time some idiot had made such a pass at him, Sasuke’s glare alone had been enough to have him scurrying away. However, that guy hadn’t been over six feet tall with blond crew-cut hair and a body built like a Mack truck. If Sasuke hoped to fight his way through this, it would have to be with everything he’s got.


“Let’s not make this too difficult,” Mikhail was saying as he suddenly reached out to grab Sasuke; squeezing his sensitive region so  hard, it was all he could do not to sag to the floor in defeat. The world swam before his eyes, and to his chagrin, the one name and person he could think about in this moment was that stubborn blond blabbermouth waiting outside for him.


(I could use you right about now, Naruto)


He gritted his teeth and with all the strength he could muster, he swung back an elbow and made contact. His victory came in the low grunt Mikhail gave, but it was short-lived for a flash of blinding pain to his jaw had him stumbling back against the urinal and nearly sliding to the dirt-infested floor.


(damn that hurt!)


“Nablyudat' za dver'!” Mikhail snarled at his companion, who quickly obeyed by making his way toward the door to stand guard.


He reached out for Sasuke again, but was foiled as the salesman ducked and rammed into his torso; sending Mikhail stumbling back before falling to the ground with a loud cry of surprise. Sasuke could feel his jaw throbbing and with the coppery taste within his mouth (he ran his tongue over his teeth to make sure none was loose), he was sure he was bleeding.


“You stupid Japanese!” Mikhail roared and tried to rise to his feet, but Sasuke swung out a leg to knock him down again; his adrenaline now at a fever pitch where nothing seemed to matter but inflicting pain on this insufferable son-of-a-bitch. He, however, wasn’t prepared for something hard to be wrapped around his neck, effectively cutting off circulation. It was Mikhail’s partner who had long given up watching the door and was coming to his buddy’s rescue. Sasuke tried to pry off the muscled arm, but the man wouldn’t budge and Mikhail was slowly rising to his feet (though nursing his ribs where Sasuke’s kick had landed) with a death glare trained on him.


“Oh now, I will teach you a lesson.”


He would have made a move for Sasuke’s legs, when something (or someone) ‘flew’ into the restroom to deliver a sickening hard blow to the back of Mikhail’s head with what appeared to be a baseball bat. Sasuke – who was desperately trying to gulp in much-needed air – was immediately released as an unearthly howl was soon heard from his captor. Someone had pried the second Russian off him and was now currently using him as a punching bag. Well, actually it appeared to be two other truckers…and now three…streaming into the room to observe the situation.


Sasuke, gasping and coughing for breath, would have sunk to the floor, when a hand reached out to tug him back to his feet.


“You okay?” came the breathless question, and not waiting for Sasuke’s answer, Naruto led the salesman out of the chaotic restroom and back into the car, where he was shoved into the passenger’s seat and studied from head to foot with concern.


“Hmm…your clothes are dirty, but I guess we can’t change here; not with all the confusion and curious people milling about,” Naruto mused. “When we get to the next stop, you can get into something that doesn’t smell like pee. Bleh.”


Sasuke, who would have loved to remind Naruto that it was his turn to drive (and not to compare him to walking ammonia), could not speak even if he wanted to. His throat still felt like it was on fire, his tongue swollen and then there was of course the swelling bruise on his jaw and the ugly shade of purple it was becoming.


“Here…rinse your mouth with this,” Naruto was saying as he offered Sasuke a bottle of merciful cold water and a small plastic beach bucket he must have purchased (or stolen) from the store. Sasuke did as told, grimacing as even the very act of swishing the water within his mouth was a lesson in tolerance. He didn’t protest when Naruto placed gentle fingers beneath his chin to tip his head upwards; worried blue eyes examining the bruise before releasing him to dive into the backseat for his backpack.


“I’ve got a salve for that,” he was saying quickly. “Should be able to keep the bruising down a bit and numb the pain.”


Sasuke motioned toward the First Aid kit he kept handy in the car, but Naruto wasn’t paying attention. Sighing in resignation, he obediently tipped his chin  upward again, allowing the blond’s fingers to caress his flesh with the sickly sweet smelling salve. He told himself that the shiver to go through him was simply due to the cold from the weather and not from how tender (almost loving?) Naruto’s fingers felt upon his flesh. It actually felt so good, his lashes seemed to grow heavier; the temptation to simply fall asleep at such ministrations too hard to resist.


“There you go,” Naruto said with a small smile; albeit slightly breathless for it would take wild horses to tell anyone just how sinfully delicious Sasuke had looked with that half-lidded gaze. Wasn’t it just barely half-an-hour ago he had almost lost his mind and tried to kiss the guy with disastrous results? It wouldn’t do to tempt Fate twice in a row.


“Now just sit back and relax,” he insisted and settled back into the driver’s seat. “I’ll get us to Yokohama in no time. Don’t worry about a thing.”


Sasuke opened his mouth to say something, but the words remained obstinately locked in his throat. He could only do as told, but not before noticing the commotion at the door of the store where the Russians were being carried out by disgruntled truckers eager to continue their pummeling of the offenders. Sasuke shivered and wrapped his coat around him tightly. He felt incredibly…tainted even though nothing had happened to him. Well, besides his nether regions still throbbing from Mikhail’s rough treatment earlier. He hated to think of what might have happened if Naruto hadn’t come barging in, because yes…he did know that the ‘flurry’ to barge in and knock out Mikhail was none other than this man humming beside him.


(…what the hell can I say?)


“How…” he croaked and winced at how hoarse his voice sounded. He tried again, forcing himself to speak even if it killed him. “How did you know?”


“How did I know what? That the  guys in there with you were up to no good?”


Sasuke nodded; dark eyes watching the blond’s profile intensely. Droplets of rain glistened upon his skin, which he absently wiped away with the sleeve of his jacket.


“I saw them follow you inside,” Naruto said with a wan smile. “And when they didn’t come out…and  you too…I got kinda…uumm…concerned. It kinda got worse when I noticed only the one dude come out to stand outside the door like a guard or something, and then he ran back inside and I heard the noise and I ran inside to see what was going on.”


While stopping to grab a baseball bat just in case, he would have liked to add.


“Ah…I see…”


“Well the good thing is that those fuckers won’t be trying that shit again. The owner of the store kinda asked for help with the other truckers, so…” He turned to smile at Sasuke in reassurance. “It’s all over now.”




The two words he wanted to say; two words that would mean so much more than just for what he had done in the restroom – just didn’t seem to want to come out of his mouth. His nervous habit of sucking on his lower lip caused him to wince as white hot pain shot up his spine. He settled for staring out the window and into the gloomy, rainy morning; a feeling that seemed to mirror exactly how he felt inside right now.


“We should be there in a couple of hours,” Naruto was saying in a voice that sounded way too excited. “I’ll let myself off at the bus station there, so you don’t have to -”


“It’s okay -”




Sasuke, not looking at Naruto as he said this, continued softly. “I said it’s okay. You can drop off at your house. I’ve still got plenty of time to make my meeting.”


Naruto felt his cheeks burn with heat, for the sudden image of Sasuke meeting his parents…oh dear.


“I’m not sure if that’s such a good idea,” he began to stutter, while willing his damn heart to stop beating so fast. “I mean if it’s out of your way, and I really don’t want you to miss that meeting since it’s so importa -”






“Just shut up and drive, okay?”


“Ah…okay,” came the embarrassed whisper except for the barely audible “asshole” added at the end which brought a reluctant yet small smile to Sasuke’s lips.


I’ll miss you, he’d think as he lowered his lashes and courted sleep again. Hard as it is to believe. I really will miss you, Uzumaki Naruto.








1 – Nice package there, and he’s pretty too!

2 – Make it quick, Mikhail. I think that stall is empty.

3 – Watch the door!




Chapter 06

Naruto Home



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