: “Deep Core”Author
: PG-13 Timeline
: There is a cure from the nightmares; all Sasuke has to do is reach out for it and accept the truth that he will never be alone anymore. [Sasuke/Naruto] Please R&R!Disclaimer
belongs to Kishimoto Masashi. Lyrics from Miss You Love
: This is some weird angst-o/fluff-o mix that explores the idea of both Naruto and Sasuke leaving Konoha for a while.Dedication
: to my most awesome SED industrialgirl1
. No words can express how happy I am to have found you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEETHEART! DEEP COREI love the way you love
But I hate the way I’m supposed to love you back.
“I’m here, I’m right here. It’s okay. Just a dream.”
“Naruto,” Sasuke croaks, panting and trying to catch his breath. “What are you–? Get out!”
A soft smile crosses Naruto’s lips. He ignores Sasuke who keeps looking daggers at him, waiting for him to leave the room, and lowers himself on the bed. He sleeps in the next room – a stuffy dusty lodging smaller than his own bedroom – but he likes it there. The walls are thin, and at night he can hear every breath Sasuke takes, every small sound that he makes while trying to fall asleep. And after a while he begins to hear Sasuke’s stifled sobs and then – Uchiha screams. Always an hour or so after he’s fallen asleep.
Naruto reaches out and gently pushes Sasuke back into the warm safety of tangled bedsheets and blankets. He sits still, watching the rise and fall of his chest as his breathing becomes level and calm, and grins when Sasuke opens his eyes in a few minutes and fixes a stern gaze upon him.
“I don’t need you to babysit me.”
Naruto shrugs, indicating how little he cares what Sasuke needs
. Or rather, what he says he needs
“Yeah? Maybe I’m the one who needs it.”
Sasuke somehow manages to shrug without shifting his upper body.
They are four months into their one and only year of solitary traveling. Naruto still can’t get over the fact that Granny Tsunade has let them go. Let Sasuke go, to be more precise; Naruto just followed because – oh no! – no way was he letting that damn Uchiha out of his sight for more than five minutes again!
“I’m giving you a year,” Tsunade said sharply. “If you don’t come back, things will get really nasty.”
Naruto honestly didn’t think there could be anything worse than Konoha Correctional Facility, D-rank missions and constant ANBU supervision, but it was all to be expected. Jiraiya once said that a hidden village was like a very jealous woman: you cheat on it and pay more than it’s worth for the rest of your life.
“Blockhead,” Sasuke whispers softly. Naruto’s head snaps up. His friend is lying on his stomach, face half-buried in the folds of the pillow, one dark eye scrutinizing him with a piercing, yet at the same time slightly unfocused gaze. “Why did you go with me?”
Naruto shrugs. He already asked him this the day they left Konoha; not much has changed since then.
“I wanted to, I suppose.”
“Oh, you tell me then, genius!”
Sasuke rolls over, pulls the blanket up and attempts to pretend once again he is asleep. Naruto pokes him on the shoulder and snorts when Sasuke doesn’t react.
“Come on, tell me!”
Sasuke growls quietly through clenched teeth. “You never give up, do you? Go to sleep, Naruto. We still have to track down those Rock ninja tomorrow.”
Naruto grins. It’s been fun really, chasing random enemies around the world, getting paid for nothing (it was
nothing by Naruto’s standards compared to going up against Orochimaru or the Akatsuki). The kind of life normal rogue shinobi lead. Something new for a change. He isn’t sure Sasuke appreciates it as much, but Naruto has always been enthusiastic about trying new things. And this is a chance to begin anew with
The bed sags deeper as Naruto climbs further and positions himself next to Sasuke. Uchiha moves, putting more distance between them. His body tenses; Naruto can feel it as if the vibrations are resonating into the mattress. Sasuke wills himself to relax and turns his head away to fix his blank gaze upon the farthest corner of the ceiling. Naruto understands. He doesn’t like to be touched. Never did. He doesn’t push Naruto away if Naruto attempts to hug him or pat him on the shoulder. He just goes rigid as though he prepares himself to undergo interrogation and torture. He has it to be beaten out of him yet, and Naruto is willing to wait.
He really wishes Sasuke would stop acting so unresponsive. Because that’s what friends do when they want to show affection. Of course Sasuke has never been that kind of a friend for him. He is all sharp angles and harsh words and broken promises and deathly glares – and they ever really touch each other only in combat. That way Sasuke will not shy away. But Naruto is too tired of fighting.
He slips into the dent in the mattress, made by Sasuke’s weight, and cocks his head slightly to have a better view of Sasuke’s face. His gaze glides up the youth’s cheekbone, past the bleared stroke of black bangs, over the smooth pallid cheek…
“You know,” Naruto murmurs thoughtfully, “maybe we should go somewhere South for the next mission. Nights here are too damn cold.”
He presses himself against Sasuke and rubs his nose against the youth’s shoulder, grinning at the small stern grunt he makes at that.
“And why is it that whatever inn we pick, you always get a bigger room?”
“Never heard you complaining,” Sasuke responds wearily.
“There are spiders
in my closet!”
At first there is nothing but silence. Then Uchiha lets out a dry chuckle. “You scared of spiders, blockhead?”
Naruto smacks him lightly and can’t help but laugh. It is dark in the room; long shadows extend over the ceiling that is skewed slightly above their heads. Naruto’s eyelashes flutter against the bare skin of Sasuke’s shoulder.
He curls his fingers around the edge of the blanket and peels it down gently. Sasuke’s skin feels warm and smooth under his cold, calloused fingers.
“Where would you like to go?” he whispers in a barely audible voice, his lips brushing Sasuke’s skin tentatively. “Me, I was thinking to see the ocean. Could be beautiful, y’know…”
Sasuke says nothing for a while, as though considering the idea. Then he turns his back on Naruto and replies gruffly, “I don’t care as long as we get a job to do.”
They lie so quietly that Naruto begins to think his friend has finally fallen asleep. But his breathing pattern clearly speaks against it. The blanket slides lower, exposing the pale smoothness of Sasuke’s back. Captivated, Naruto sweeps the pads of his fingers over Sasuke’s spine. So warm.
He begins to talk to keep himself distracted from those funny thoughts.
“You know, in my time with Ero-sennin he often made me take additional work as part of training. Simple like those little missions we used to do as genins. Weed some old lady’s garden, fix a fence, find a lost pet… Boring, almost lethally sometimes, but I still got paid. Now I kinda miss it. He was a really smart guy, Ero-sennin was…”
“What are you doing?” Sasuke asks, a little breathless.
Naruto’s hand glides lower, hovers over his loins, and he answers with painstaking honesty and wide-open eyes, “I don’t know.”
That one word comes out weak and husky.
“No,” Naruto defies him.
The mattress creaks as Sasuke turns round, props up on his elbow and leans into Naruto. His eyes look really frightening, black and empty as they are. Naruto starts saying something, but Sasuke suddenly loses his balance, and their lips smash against each other’s. The kiss is clumsy, insatiable and seems to last forever.
Sasuke pulls back, but not too far; their lips are still brushing, and their breath mixes. Naruto chuckles nervously.
“Funny how such things always happen by accident between us–.”
“This was no accident,” Sasuke replies flatly.
Naruto flicks his tongue between the youth’s parted lips, caressing him gently, too dazed to pause and think. Sasuke draws closer again, almost in a swing, and drags his teeth along Naruto’s lower lip. Naruto inhales, sucking the taste and the scent of the kiss in, trying to savour it in case later they both change their minds and pretend nothing has happened. His mouth suddenly feels dry.
“Tell me,” he asks hoarsely, “what do you dream of? What is it that makes you scream?”
Sasuke’s studious gaze is fixed upon him.
“I’ll only answer one question. Take your pick.”
Naruto frowns. That was one question, just now. Sasuke’s lips curve into a small smile.
“You asked me to tell you why you’d come after me,” he reminds.
“Ah… Dreams then. I do believe I know myself better.”
“Itachi,” Sasuke whispers in his ears abruptly. “He makes me scream.” And somehow that comes out really wrong
Naruto smiles sleepily. He moves, and their noses collide. Both of them snigger in surprise.
“We’ve still got eight months,” Naruto says thoughtfully. “Gotta go somewhere. Do something.”
Sasuke makes a small sound, a shade of his habitual ‘hn’, and his eyes shut. “Ocean then.”
Naruto knows exactly why he has followed him. It doesn’t need saying.