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“Fuck, that was amazing!” Naruto’s voice came out rougher than usual.


“Like, like, holy shit.”

Sasuke squeezed his eyes against the slashes of early morning sunlight on the ceiling. He cursed quietly, rolled onto his side facing away from his- his- whatever- and ground his teeth against an impending migraine.

I’m never drinking again.

“Ne, Sasuke.”

Damn Karin for dragging me to that stupid party. Of course he’d be there. That still doesn’t excuse-

“Sasuke,” Naruto drawled, growing impatient.

He closed his eyes and sighed.  “What.”

“We should get back together. I mean, why’d we break up in the first place? I can’t remember.”

Because we’re too different. You were supposed to find someone else. I was supposed to get used to being alone again. I need to be in control. You made me- you make me-

Sasuke sighed again and said nothing.

“I miss you.”

Don’t say that.

Warm, rough fingertips drew senseless patterns on Sasuke’s exposed skin. He felt the weight of Naruto’s steady gaze. His cheeks burned. A pair of warm, solid arms snaked around his middle and drew him back against a comfortable, familiar weight.


Sasuke felt a soft exhale of breath on the back of his neck. His once-best friend pressed impossibly closer. “Mmm.”

“It’s been a year.”

You were supposed to find someone else.

“I know,” Naruto murmured against his skin.

You’re not supposed to be alone.

“Why haven’t you-” moved on. Sasuke’s question was cut short by a sudden bark of laughter.

“Why do you think, bastard?”

The Uchiha glared at one of Naruto’s many, many stupid posters. The phrase ‘I want to believe’ was printed in large letters above a UFO. Ridiculous.

“Oh, don’t get it twisted-” a sunny grin (he didn’t have to see it to feel it) followed by an affectionate press of lips that made him cringe “-I tried. With other people, I mean. ‘S not like I didn’t have options. But it didn’t work, not with the first person or the second or even the seventh. Each time shit fell apart, I was like-“ another little kiss that made Sasuke squirm “-Relived. You have no idea- well, maybe some- the point is. Uh. The point… What were we talking about again?”

Hell if he could remember. Sasuke was too drowsy, too comfortable to- oh. Right. “I made a mistake.” He pried himself away and sat up, scanning the room for his missing clothes.

“I’ve been waiting a whole year to hear you say that.”

“Clever, idiot. To clarify: sleeping with you was a mistake. I’m leaving.” As soon as he found his pants.

“Now hold on just one second.” Naruto pulled Sasuke back down, looming above him. That thing around his wrists? Definitely a death grip.

And what’s up with this position?

Nope. He wasn’t doing this. Not again.

“Let go.”


Seconds of heavy silence passed between. Liquid blue locked with stony black. Neither blinked. Sasuke felt his eyes prickle. “I’m waiting.”

Naruto’s eyes shone with moisture.

Blink, you idiot.

The blond head dropped down, pressing their foreheads together. The fingers encircling his wrists loosened fractionally, then tightened. Yellow eyelashes fluttered, fell, and lifted again.

“Just tell me why. Help me understand. Give me a real reason and then I’ll drop it, promise. You won’t-“ deep, shuddering breath “-ever see me or hear from me or… Whatever. I won’t bother you anymore. Just tell me why we can’t be together.”

Sasuke felt like he was choking. A sharp, pulsing pain pricked the center of his chest.

Don’t look at me like that.

“I already gave you a reason.“

“Telling me, ‘this isn’t going to work,’ and ‘I’ve let it go on for too long,’ doesn’t explain jack shit and you know it. What, didya finally realize you were too good for me? If that’s why, just say it. I need- I need to hear you say it.”

“You,” Sasuke tugged feebly at his hands, “look, it’s not that you’re too good for me, or I’m too good for you. Don’t say such ludicrous things. Don’t even think like that, idiot. We’re just- we are fundamentally incompatible people, and it was always a matter of time before-“

The wind abruptly went out of him when Naruto collapsed, shaking.

“Oy, dumbass-” shit, is he okay? “-get up. You’re heavy.”

Silence. More shaking. Sasuke tried to pull Naruto’s head up, but the moron was too strong to budge.

“That’s it?”

He’s laughing. Now of all times…

“You’re insane.”

“No,” Naruto propped himself on his forearms, making eye contact again. His lips curved upward, but the look in his eyes didn’t match. “You’re insane. Okay, okay, I get that you worry about stupid crap needlessly. Hell, I thought it was cute-“

“Excuse me?” Sasuke was affronted.

“-and yeah, you obviously have, like, serious abandonment issues-“

“You’re one to talk, loser.”

“-along with a huge thing for control,” Naruto paused, as if waiting for an interruption. Sasuke said nothing. He averted his eyes and picked at a loose thread on the neon-green frog-printed sheets. “So what? You ended a perfectly good- no, great- relationship because you thought something would go wrong someday and I’d leave. After I specifically told you that I’d never leave you.”

“That’s not what I said just now.” Sasuke sounded petulant to his own ears.

Naruto’s brow furrowed. “No, but it’s what you meant. Trust me, I’ve had ten years to get fluent in bastard-speak. Dude, you know I never go back on my word. “

“Don’t call me that.”

“Sorry, babe.” Another kiss. Sasuke’s cheeks were on fire. His stomach did a flip. His expression remained carefully blank.


“What, are you embarrassed that I figured it out?”


He said nothing.

 “Good. You should be. Idiot.”

 “I’m not-“

“Then don’t act like one. That’s my job, remember?” Naruto’s arm shifted. His pressed his palm to Sasuke’s cheek, stroking the smooth skin with his thumb. Rational thought flew out the window.

“Okay?” Naruto whispered.

“Okay,” Sasuke replied without thinking.

“So, we’re good?”

“K-“ kiss me again, he almost said; his senses chose that moment to come rushing back. “No.”

“You’re impossible.”

“I’m not the one pulling baseless ‘explanations’ out of my ass and pretending to know what goes on in other people’s heads.”

“So tell me I’m wrong.”

“You’re wrong.” It was hard not to choke on those words.

“No, asshole. Look me in the eye and tell me I’m wrong.”

“I don’t have to prove anything to you.”

“Guess that settles it," the familiar warmth left him,"Your clothes are in the living room.”

Finally, he’s letting this go. I can move on.

He was cold. Sasuke waited for the relief to come.

And waited.

And watched as Naruto rolled off the bed, rifling through his dresser for clean boxers.

Too much to hope for, I guess. Sasuke tramped down that other feeling, counted to three, and went to get dressed.

“Can’t find your shirt, bastard?”

“Shut up,” Sasuke murmured, crouching to check under the couch.

“Here.” Fabric brushed his bare shoulder. He looked up and saw Naruto offering a roll of black cloth. “It’s yours. I probably have your other stuff laying around if you want fresh pants or...“

“It’s fine,” he put it on in one smooth motion. “Um. Thanks.”

Naruto rolled his eyes. “So, where do want to get breakfast?”

Sasuke tried to check the time on his phone. The screen remained black. Stupid battery. “There’s a new vegan place a few blocks from here.”

“Still on that weird diet, huh?”

“Usuratonkachi,” he pocketed the useless cellphone, “of course I’m- wait, we’re not- you’re not-”

“Giving up? Ha! You should’ve seen your face when you thought I did.”

The Uchiha wondered if he was imagining the sound of sirens, or if it was coming from outside. Maybe a bit of both. He brushed a piece of orange lint from his sleeve, then eyed an empty vodka bottle on the floor.

I’m tired of fighting this.

“You’re must be getting tired, ne,” Naruto remarked in a perfect echo of his thoughts. “Stop fighting this. Come back to me.”

Sasuke’s lips moved on their own for the second time that morning.

“Okay,” he said. (Again.)

Two syllables. Four letters. One of the most mundane words in existence.  

In that moment, it was more than enough.