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Tomato, To-mah-to

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“Hey!”

Just ignore it.

“Hey, you!”

Pretend you’re busy. Eyes down. Keep folding.

“Hair-gel dude!”

Sasuke’s eye twitched. He took a deep breath and went back to work.

“Oy, hot guy in the tight jeans!”

Well, that was loud.

“My jeans,” Sasuke muttered, “are well-fitted. Not tight.”

“That’s the part you pick up on? Geez.” The voice came from behind him. 

Sasuke rolled his eyes. He plastered on a fake smile and turned to face the customer. “How,” he forced through clenched teeth, “may I help you.”

“Does this come in my size?” The blond asked, holding up an atrocious orange blazer adorned with red flames and zippers galore. 

Black eyes flicked up to a grinning face, down to the offensive clothing, then at the ceiling. “What’s your size?”

“Uh,” Blondie scratched his nose and squinted, “Large.”

“… Sorry,” Sasuke shrugged after pretending to think, “We don’t have it.” 

“Liar!”

Okay, fine. So what if he didn’t feel like rifling through the back. Really, Sasuke was doing the loser a favor. No one should be caught dead wearing that- that.

“Maybe you’d like to speak to the manager,” the Uchiha smirked, moving to adjust another stack of misfolded shirts.

“What? Why?” The idiot flung the blazer aside and followed him. 

“To report me,” Sasuke tossed over his shoulder.

“What for?”

“Being rude-” shit, why was it so hard to get everything to line up? Stupid, flimsy ‘designer’ fabric “-unhelpful, and insulting.”

“You mostly just insulted yourself, there.”

“Oh. Did I not call you a dumbass with a stupid-looking face out loud?”

“No, ‘course not,” the blond laughed, then abruptly stopped. “Hey! You just-”

“Yes, yes. I’m sure you must hear it all the time,” he reached into his pocket, “Here’s the manager’s card. Be sure to fill out a full report.”

“Uchiha… Itachi? And you’re-” the moron leaned forward, squinting at Sasuke’s nametag, “Uchiha Sasuke. That’s weird.”

“It’s a common surname. Now, be on your way, usuratonkachi.”

“I’m a… thin hammer?”

Sasuke remembered that he hated this job, that he was forced to be here against his will, and was under no obligation to fold shirts perfectly. He gave up on straightening the pile of tees, turned around, crossed his arms, and smirked at the ‘valued customer.’

“It’s a roundabout way to say that you’re useless.”

“Hm? Oh!” The idiot’s idiotic face lit up. “Because a hammer has to be thick to drive the- hey! You! B-bastard!”

“Take it up with Itachi. Make sure to fill out a report.”

Please get me fired. Please.

“You know what?” Blondie jabbed a finger into the middle of Sasuke’s chest with enough force to bruise, “Maybe I will. Guess it’s true, what they say.”

Awkward silence.

They glared at each other. In addition to a room-temperature IQ, or maybe because of it, Blondie seemed to have no concept of personal space. Sasuke could count every freckle on that guy’s cheeks, and got a nose-full… Miso. Figures.

Clearly, the idiot wouldn’t talk until Sasuke took the bait. Well, whatever.

“Fine,” Sasuke signed, “What do ‘they’ say?”

“Beauty’s only skin deep.”

So. The guy somehow insulted and hit on him in the same breath. That’s new.

“Tch. Clever, dobe.”

“What? Who told you I took last place in- shit, fuck, you’re good. Name’s Uzumaki Naruto! You’re not seeing the last of me, believe it!”

Without missing a beat, Uzumaki flashed a shit-eating grin along with a cheesy, stupid wink. Then, he slapped Sasuke’s ass hard and sprinted away, cackling.

Twenty minutes later, Sasuke got a call.

“Foolish little brother,” a voice drawled from the other side.

“Let me guess, I’m fired.” 

Itachi chuckled darkly. “Actually, you have an appointment.”

“What? Why? With whom?”

“Ichiraku’s, 8 P.M. Dress well and don’t be late.”

“And if I-”

“If you refuse,” Itachi cut in, “Well, what you think will happen, Otōto?”

Sasuke blushed furiously. Not that. Anything but that.

“I’ll get my revenge someday, Itachi,” Sasuke snapped before hanging up. 

An appointment at Ichirakus with an unknown person. Sasuke wasn’t an idiot (unlike that guy) and he was no stranger to Itachi’s sadistic meddling.

He was going on a blind date.

 


 

 

It wasn’t a difficult or complicated sentiment: Sasuke hates everyone. He tolerates some people better than others, but the underlying disdain remains constant.

He hated college, so he dropped out.

He hated his friends, so he moved to a different town and changed his number.

He hated being alive, so he- well. The scars on his wrists still itched sometimes. Sweat made the cotton of his long-sleeved shirt stick to his skin. Konoha was in the middle of another heat wave (global warming, go figure) and holy fuck, it’s that guy.

Sasuke stood, dumbstruck, in front of Ichiraku’s glass double doors. He was about to turn away-

You’re not seeing the last of me.

-when the stupid blond grinned his stupid obnoxious grin and waved with both arms like an orangutan.

“Yo bastard, over here!”

Even though Sasuke stood outside the building, he heard every word. A few customers shot the idiot dirty looks. Sasuke ground his teeth against an impending migraine, steeled himself, and opened the door.

Naruto leaned back in his chair, which was balanced on its two back legs. Still grinning, wearing a loose, neon-orange tank top that screamed douchebag. Sasuke scoffed. How typical.

“I don’t believe this,” the Uchiha muttered. He took the seat across from Uzumaki, crossed his arms, and glared at a stain on the tabletop.

“Heh,” Naruto chuckled, “If you remember, I specifically told you to believe it.”

Sasuke wanted to die.

Okay, that’s nothing new, but. You get the point.

“What do you want from me, idiot?”

“Uh. A date. Like, duh. That’s why we’re both here.”

Sasuke rolled his eyes.

“Fine. And after this?”

“Is that a trick question?”

“Just tell me.”

“… Another date.”

“Sure, because this one is going so well.”

Naruto shrugged. “I got no complaints.”

The Uchiha was in no position to comment on another person’s sanity- what with his… Attempted ‘self-murder,’ depression, and potpuri of various Psychological Issues that stumped five separate therapists.

He knew this, but decided to make an exception. Naruto was clearly-

“Insane. You’re out of your mind.”

“You know what they say.”

“What.”

“Takes one to know one.”

Well.

Shit.

Sasuke sighed. “Touche.”

They ate ramen. Naruto tried to play footsie under the table and ended up with a cracked shinbone. Uchihas kick hard. The ‘date’ passed quickly. They got a little tipsy. Naruto admitted that he-

“-was coming to the store, like, all the time. For six months, bastard, and you didn’t even see me until today.”

“That’s impressive.”

Naruto took it as a compliment, though Sasuke was impressed by his own willful ignorance. Tomato, to-mah-to. Let the idiot think what he wants to. None of it makes a difference in the end.

Ah yes, the end: it came all too soon.

Sasuke didn’t know how or when it happened, but suddenly, they were the last two customers at the restaurant. Waiters were clearing dishes, stacking chairs, and dimming the lights. Naruto paid for dinner and walked Sasuke to his car.

“So,” the blond said, staring at his feet with interest.

“So.” Sasuke raised a brow.

“When can we- uh, are you gonna-“ he cleared his throat. Opened his mouth to try again. Sasuke cut him off.

“Fine, I’ll go out with you again.”

“Really!?”

Overexcited puppy? Kids on Christmas morning? Itachi after torturing his ‘foolish brother’? None of those things could compare to the joy on Naruto’s (still stupid-looking, but also kind of cute) face.

“…On one condition.”

“Yeah, yeah, tell me.”

“Why?”

Why do you like me? What do you see in me? What are you getting out of this? What do you want from me? It was an ambiguous question with no right answer- and plenty of wrong ones. Oddly, Sasuke knew that Naruto knew exactly how to answer it.

“Because I have a feeling…” Naruto poked Sasuke’s cheek playfully.

Sasuke scoffed and swatted at him. “Real original, dobe.”

“Let me finish, will ya? I just have a feeling that with you, I won’t ever be bored.”

“Hn.”

Sasuke decided he could live with that.

(As much as he hated being alive- well, sometimes, it’s not so bad.)