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you got me trippin', stumblin'

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First Year of College:

 

 

“Ever gotten the urge to wring someone’s neck?” Naruto slurps on his juicebox. They were on a deal at the convenience store a block from his apartment. Five whole boxes for ¥100 and if Kushina has taught Naruto anything that’s never to give up a good deal. She’s the master of cheap shopping, to be honest with her pocketbook full of coupons and her picture stuck to the wall of their local grocery store—one year she went overboard and bought the store’s supply worth of cucumbers because they were on a deal. They had cucumber soup, sandwiches, and sushi for a whole damn month.

 

Kiba pauses in shoving his feet into his cleats, and peers up from behind his brown hair that falls in his eyes, “Oh, fuck, who’s murder are we plotting?”

 

“Who do you think?” Naruto tips his head towards the field where the raven-haired boy, his arch-nemesis for short, passes the ball to their center midfielder Suigetsu. The coach hasn’t arrived yet so they’re just doing scrimmage between the boys who’re wearing their kits already. Kiba snorts tying the laces and exclaims, “You think Coach will give you center forward next season?”

 

Naruto shakes the juice box hearing to see if anything’s left in it, he sucks on it and when nothing comes up he chews on the straw letting go of the container and letting it dangle from his mouth, “As if, you know he licks Uchihas’ ass because his dad is friends with the dean. Fucking rich pricks.”

 

“He is good though—probably the best,” Kiba straightens and stretches his arms.

 

Naruto throws the empty box at his head. It bounces on to the clean, cut turf, “You’re supposed to be on my side!”

 

Kiba screws up his face, looking between Sasuke and Naruto, “Bro, fuck Nepotism.”

 

“Down with the upper class,” Naruto nods, picking up a light jog, “Run a lap?”

 

“Hell yeah!”

 

They’re circling the perimeter coming to the starting point when the football hits square on Naruto’s shoulder, he stumbles backward glaring at the perpetrator and rubs at his shoulder. Suigetsu winces when Sasuke tilts his head, forever speaking in his haughty tone, “Pass the ball.”

 

“Aren’t you supposed to say something?” Naruto barks, “When you hit someone its customary to say something, you know?”

 

Sasuke purses his lips in thought, and hums, “Nope, nothing comes to mind.”

“Listen, you bean-pole looking fuckwit,” Naruto begins to walk, now the ball in hand.

 

“What colorful language you have there, Uzumaki? Now how about you pass me the ball in your hand?” he puts out his hand and gestures for the ball.

 

“How about I rearrange that pretty face of yours instead? Apologize or else.” Naruto threatens, they’re standing toe to toe now and it’s September, so the summer heat has still yet to let up. He’s been sweating through his Underarmor uniform the second he stepped on the field meanwhile Sasuke looks like he’s barely broke a sweat.

 

Sasuke grins, his perfect white teeth on display that further infuriate Naruto and urge him to deck him in the face, “It’s not my fault your bighead got in the way of my ball.”

 

“You literally saw me and Kiba doing laps around the track!”

“See the rest of the team arrived an hour earlier and did warm-ups then, maybe if you weren’t busy wasting time you’d have been here,” Sasuke explains coolly. By now the rest of the team has started filtering closer to them, to catch bits and pieces of the conversation.

 

Naruto grins smugly, “I had a date. You’d understand what that is if you took out the pole that’s shoved 10ft up your ass.”

 

Completely unfazed Sasuke steps forward, eliminating the minute distance between them, and leans down to whisper into the shell of Naruto’s ear, “We can arrange that.”

 

Naruto flusters stepping back and throwing the ball at Sasuke’s chest which he easily catches, and stupidly mutters, “Fuck you.”

 

Sasuke shrugs, “I mean.” He tosses the ball up a bit, letting it spin on his forefinger, and says smooth as ever, “You can try.” God, he’s such a prick.

 

Naruto will wring his neck. He’ll be sent to jail at eighteen and it’ll be fine because he’d have killed Uchiha Sasuke and freed the world of his evil clutches. Before he’s able to gather himself and refute Kiba tugs at his arm, “Cut it out, the coach is here. You don’t want him to sit you out of practice too.”

 

He’s right, so Naruto scoffs, “This isn’t over.”

 

Sasuke’s already walking away with Suigetsu’s arm stretched across his shoulder and hollers back, “It never is.”

 

//

 

“What do you guys know about Uchiha Sasuke?” Naruto scarfs down a handful of popcorn. They’re gathered in the student dining hall. Their table is one of those circular ones tucked into the corner near the ice cream station and waffle machine.

 

Naruto skipped dinner because he and Sakura went to see the new Mission Impossible—which sucked all offense—and they’d bought the largest size of the popcorn the theater had that he’s still not finished. Kiba texted him to meet at the hall on his way back which is how he finds himself currently sandwiched between Ino and Shikamaru while Sakura talks to Hinata and Kiba is finishing his leftover peas. They’re not even green. Dining hall food tastes like ass. He misses home.

 

Sakura glances at him meanwhile Ino’s eyes flit towards the table where Sasuke’s sitting with a silver-white haired boy, another boy who Naruto knows is a year older than them because he’s the goalie on their school’s team—they haven’t posted the team list yet, it should be up by tomorrow—and his brilliantly annoying cousin, Uzumaki Karin.

 

Ino bubbles into a hiss of laughter, “I’d hit it.”

 

Shikamaru intones, bored, “If you weren’t a raging lesbian.” Ino thwacks him on the head and Kiba snorts.

 

“I heard he got admitted on,” Kiba makes a gesture with his hands and Ino’s absolutely scandalized, “money?

 

“Yeah, and his dad is friends with the dean,” Shikamaru leans in his chair peering over his shoulder at the group, “Another rich kid attending school on Daddy’s money.”

 

Hinata’s the only one who tries to defend him, “Are you guys sure? I think his dad’s just a regular office worker.”

 

Kiba nods, confident. “No, I heard from Ebisu he’s definitely got connections.”

 

Sakura rolls her eyes, “Don’t know about him but the red-head is a bitch.”

 

Naruto frowns, “That’s my cousin, Sakura.”

 

“Your cousin’s a bitch then, Naruto.”

 

The entire table erupts in laughter and Naruto’s first question remains unanswered for the most part. Sasuke’s leaning on the heel of his palm watching the white-haired boy gesticulate something and Naruto wonders if the rumors are true. The only thing he does know for a fact is he saw the boy at the football field the other day when he went to talk to Coach Asuma and Sasuke’s form was perfect. Naruto’s never been so enthralled watching someone else skid a football across the turf.

 

A week later he’s running late to his very first practice. By the time he catches up to Shikamaru and Kiba the guys have already gotten their jersey numbers.

 

“Motherfucker,” Naruto mumbles, pushing past the other boys towards where the coach is handing numbers to the remaining team. Sasuke folds the jersey over his forearm and Naruto’s eyes double in size at the number in his hand. He’d specifically requested that number on his form months ago.

 

Kiba joins him upfront where Asuma’s talking to Sasuke and Naruto interrupts, “Why does he have the number ten?”

 

“Uzumaki, you’re late,” Asuma starts and it’s Sasuke who’s turning to toss number 7 to him, “Too slow deadlast.”

 

That’s when Naruto decides: He fucking hates Uchiha Sasuke.

 

//

 

Shion has long dyed blonde hair that falls in rivulets past her shoulder, down to her waist, and has honey brown eyes. She has a traditional Kyoto dialect which means her vernacular is a lot softer than Naruto’s harsher tongue. She’s elegance and grace. She’s everything he’s not.

 

He falls hard and fast.

 

Quite literally when he runs into her first semester freshman year while walking to his public speaking lecture. It’s one of those 3 credits elective courses that are held once a week for three hours and he forgot which building the class was in because he woke up late and couldn’t log into his school account to check his schedule—he’s still unfamiliar with some parts of the campus.

 

The feeble squeak she lets out when her books drop alert him, he hurriedly crouches down and picks up the thick novel and when their hands touch—in that very romantic movie type of way—his heart picks up. She’s beautiful and Naruto’s a goner.

 

So, they date all semester and three weeks before finals they take their relationship to the next step.

 

Kiba swats him with the magazine that’s lying on Shika’s coffee table, wiggling his eyebrows salaciously, “How was it?”

 

Neji’s jostling with the joystick of the Xbox One controller, “No details, please. Still recovering from Kiba’s traumatic spring break expedition.”

 

Kiba chucks a cushion at him that the Hyūga dodges, “Oh, fuck off, Neji just cause you’re not getting your dick wet.”

 

"Let’s make one thing clear it’s not that I’m not getting any it’s that unlike your escapades I prefer to keep my personal life personal,” Neji jumps over the staircase ledge and glides down to a spot where a throng of zombies have congregated.

 

Naruto interrupts before the other two continue their bickering, Shikamaru coming to sit on the empty beanbag beside him, “It was okay.”

 

Everyone pauses. Now he’s got three pairs of eyes staring at him and Sai hollering from the kitchen, “oh shit.”

 

“Wait, what do you mean okay? Like you’re going to give it another go okay or that shitty Tsukemen place we tried instead of Teuchi’s ramen okay?”

 

“Nothing special,” Naruto shrugs twisting a stray thread on his flannel until it snaps. Suddenly he feels uncomfortable with everyone staring at him, Sai walking out of the kitchen and saying nonsense doesn’t help.

 

“Performance anxiety Naruto?”

 

Kiba throws another pillow this time aiming at the art major.

 

Shikamaru squeezes his shoulder, “To be fair before Temari everyone else was just okay too.”

 

Neji snorts, “If Kiba isn’t allowed details so aren’t you Nara.”

“Not you diving into sentiments, Shikamaru shut up, Naruto we’re going to fix this,” Kiba assures. But they never get the opportunity because Shion dumps him a week and a half later. Right before practice too so he’s a bit zoned out during the entire play.

 

She says things like he’s sweet and charming, but something is missing, and she doesn’t want to lead him on. For someone who was severely disappointed in their sexual romp and had expected this, he unexpectedly takes the news to heart. It doesn’t help that Kiba and Hinata recently started talking and Neji won’t shut up about that Lee guy from a shared course and Sakura and Ino are going to try and Shikamaru already has Temari. Nothing major he’s just going to be alone for the rest of his life. No worries.

 

He’s pulling up his socks ruminating over everything Shion said when Sasuke says something. He’s putting away his bag in the locker and already has his uniform on. Naruto stares up at him in a daze, “Sorry, I kinda missed what you said.”

 

The other blinks, taken aback, “Not taking offense to my goading? That’s new.”

 

Before he can retort a snippy reply, Kiba is shoving past the center-forward, “Back off, Uchiha, Naruto’s had a shit day.” The brunette grimaces sullenly at Naruto, “Sorry, bro, Sakura told me about Shion. How about we get your favorite convenience store ice cream after this and marathon Marvel movies?”

 

Naruto nods being dragged along to the field. It’s when they’re gathering their things after practice that he notices a brown bag sitting next to his locker. Curiously he peeks in to find two pints of his favorite ice cream, some packets of instant ramen and three chocolate bars. There is a pastel yellow sticky note stuck on the bag with a neat scrawl of writing feel better.

 

Kiba asks him who gave it to him but even Naruto doesn’t know. Regardless his shitty days gets a tad bit better.