It’s mid-afternoon and Naruto couldn’t be more bored.
He wasn’t even supposed to be in work today, yet had begrudgingly done so because Asuma had all but guilt-tripped him into doing so. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, of all people, he’d been called in to cover Sai’s shift.
There isn’t any particularly annoying about Sai, Naruto didn’t think. He was pleasant enough, but after working together for almost two years now, Naruto couldn’t pin-point a time when he actually considered Sai a friend. Mostly, Naruto conversed with the raven head just because he was friends with Neji. And as Naruto had accidentally discovered when he had happened to walk in on the two locking lips in the storage cupboard, Neji and Sai were a little more than friends.
Sai was a little odd, mostly quiet and withdrawn. Neji, although similar, was a little more willing to actually converse with other people. Naruto didn’t quite understand how the pair had gotten past the stage of awkward conversation passed whenever the post-office was empty. But if Neji liked Sai, Naruto would continue to do his best to befriend him.
So naturally, when Asuma’s phone call had rudely awoken Naruto from a well earned nap after a long night out with his friends, Naruto had groggily agreed to cover Sai’s shift.
And so there he stands behind the counter, eyeing the clock, groaning when he realises that he still has another three hours before he can go home and crawl back into bed.
‘Watching the time won’t make it go any faster, you know.’
Naruto huffs, leaning to rest his head on the countertop. ‘Are Saturday’s usually this borin’?’ He asks, voice muffled.
Neji is carrying a box to the back of the shop, heaving a heavy sigh when he lets it drop from his fingers. It lands on the floor, heavy, and there’s a rattling noise that echoes from within the cardboard.
‘What have I told you!?’ Asuma yells from his office. ‘Be careful with the boxes! They belong to paying customers!’
Neji waves a hand, dismissive, although he knows Asuma cannot see him.
Naruto stifles a laugh, straightening up.
‘No,’ Neji finally answers his question, shuffling his way back to the front door again to pick up another parcel. This one is much smaller and out of curiosity, Neji noses at the addressee. An eyebrow raises. He looks up at Naruto. ‘The fair is on this weekend, remember? Everywhere is pretty much closed up, but we have deliveries today.’
‘Ah,’ Naruto pretends to remember. ‘Makes sense.’
‘Talking of,’ Asuma is suddenly standing in the doorway, toothpick resting between his lips. ‘I need you to go out today, ‘Ruto.’
Naruto groans. ‘C’mon, Asuma!’ He throws his hands up in protest. ‘It’s bad enough that I’m here on a fuckin’ Saturday. And my head is killin’ me too. Please don’t make me go out.’
Asuma shrugs. ‘Sorry, kid. You agreed to cover Sai’s shift,’ he reminds Naruto, looking anything but apologetic. ‘‘Sides, it’s not anything different to what you do in the week.’
‘That’s different!’ Naruto disagrees.
‘Everyone’s in town today,’ Neji adds in. ‘The roads are clearer today.’
Naruto glares at him, ‘whose side are you on!?’
Neji grins, carrying more parcels to the back of the shop.
‘I don’t do deliveries on Saturdays,’ Naruto grumbles. Asuma looks bemused. ‘In fact, I don’t even work on Saturdays at all! I’m only here to cover Shithead’s shift. Go make his boyfriend do it.’
Neji flips up his middle finger.
‘Well today, you do,’ Asuma stands his ground. He points to the door. ‘Neji will get your bag ready. There’s not a lot to do, I promise.’
Naruto knows he’s lying.
But he also knows that arguing is pointless. Maybe the ride out would be less boring than standing behind the counter all afternoon. But that doesn’t make delivering on a Saturday, when he could be nursing his hangover at home, any more desirable. Still, he shoves his phone into his back pocket, fishing for his keys in the other. He hears - and ignores - Asuma’s bemused thanks and marches over to the door to unlock the chain on his bike as he waits for Neji.
Two hours later, Naruto is only just down to his last four packages.
Luckily, the last two are addressed to the same location, and he sighs heavily as he pushes the pedals faster, hoping to get this over and done with.
He delivers the first package with no issue. However, the second addressee proceeded to make Naruto stand and watch as he opened his package to check whether it was the correct parcel. Naruto had tried to explain that it wasn’t his job to check, only to be silenced when the man had then demanded that Naruto take it back, evidently unhappy with his purchase.
Even Naruto had turned his nose up at the box of colouring books.
It had taken another fifteen minutes for Naruto to explain - as calmly and as simply as he possibly could - that he was not allowed to return the package as it was something the customer would have to do himself. Not happy with the blonde’s answer, the man started a heated rant about how useless the delivery service was and how he’d be putting in a complaint first thing in the morning. Naruto had left, resisting the urge to hit the man square in the face.
But now - finally - he is on his way to the last house.
He follows the map on his phone, unfamiliar with the final location. This area seems to be on the nicer side of town, the houses bigger, standing further apart the more he bikes down the long road. It’s quiet out, Naruto realises that Neji was right, the roads practically empty. There’s a breeze as he sets the wheels to glide easily, barely pedalling as he welcomes the air that cools him. He uses one hand to steer, his free hand pressing to his forehead. He grimaces, wiping the sweat onto his shorts.
He follows the map all the way to the end of the road. Braking, he pauses, looking at the house before him, squinting to see the number to ensure that he has the correct address.
This house is different to the others. It looks almost as identical on the outside, but it stands much further away from the rest, even gated up to prevent outsiders from trespassing. Naruto sees the intercom on the gate and wonders if the owner can see him.
He looks around him, feeling out of place.
He swallows hard.
Tugging his delivery bag further up his shoulder, he figures the area is safe enough to leave his bike leaning against the fence. He eyes the intercom once more. He hesitates but reaches to push the big green button, listening to it ring before it crackles, a low voice slithering out of the speaker.
‘H-Hi,’ he stutters. ‘I’m here to deliver a package..?’
There isn’t a reply. The intercom sizzles to a silence and just when Naruto thinks he’s been left outside, the right gate begins to open.
He easily slips through the gap, tightly clutching at his bag. The driveway is a small walk and Naruto takes his time as he gawks at the meticulously well-kept lawn, even the three very expensive looking cars parked up, perfectly spaced apart.
Naruto raises an eyebrow.
Soon, he’s stepping up onto the decking, hand reaching to push the doorbell.
But the door is swung wide open and Naruto bites back a yelp of surprise.
He’s met with a dark haired guy sporting a well-practiced scowl.
‘Huh?’ Naruto answers dumbly, cheeks flushing. He ignores the snide comment, unzipping his bag to retrieve the last two parcels. ‘Uh,’ he squints his eyes to read the tiny lettering before widening as he recognises the name on the label. ‘Uchiha Sas-?’
The parcels are all but snatched from his hands.
‘’Kay, there’s no need to be so fuc-’ Naruto starts before remembering that the young man before him is his customer. He clears his throat, huffing down his annoyance as he shoves the log book under the dark haired man’s nose.
He receives another scowl.
‘Sign,’ Naruto forces a smile as he adds, ‘please.’
He watches the boy mutter under his breath, placing the parcels onto the windowsill before roughly taking the log book from Naruto’s hands. He looks at Naruto expectantly.
Naruto peers back, bewildered.
‘Are you going to give me a pen or are you going to stand there and stare at me all day?’
‘Oh,’ Naruto breathes, scrambling inside his bag to search for a pen, handing to the boy, watching him search for his parcel name before scribbling his signature. ‘So, uh,’ Naruto starts as he takes the book back. ‘What you been doin’ since school?’
The boy, hand on the door frame, looks at Naruto. ‘Didn’t think you recognised me,’ he says after a moment.
Naruto is flashing him a big smile now. He scratches the back of his head, sheepish. ‘I didn’t at first.’
Sasuke’s expression is less than impressed.
‘I mean, you look different from when we were kids,’ Naruto is quick to find an excuse. He looks Sasuke up at down. ‘A lot different.’
‘We only left school last year,’ Sasuke reminds him, still scowling. ‘And I was in your English class for three years straight.’
Naruto is stumped, eyebrows furrowing, ‘really? I coulda sworn-’
‘Anyway,’ Sasuke cuts him off, tight lipped. ‘I have to go.’
Naruto nods, smiling again, ‘nice to see you again.’
Sasuke eyes him dubiously. ‘Thanks for the package, Uzumaki.’
The door is slammed shut in Naruto’s face before he can reply. He stares at it for a few seconds before he turns and slowly makes his way back down the driveway. He wonders if Sasuke is watching him, his thought confirmed when the gate immediately shuts behind him as soon as he slips back through. He looks over his shoulder, pensive.
He isn’t sure who he was expecting to be living behind the big gated house, but Uchiha Sasuke definitely wasn’t it. And much like when they were children, as much as Naruto can remember anyway, Sasuke is as cold as ever. But definitely much more attractive, Naruto grins to himself.
Only to curse very loudly when the intercom buzzes back to life.
‘Go home, Uzumaki.’
Naruto sticks his middle finger up at the speaker.
He hoists his bike from the gating, swinging a leg over the other side. He looks at the house one more time before kicking his bike into gear. He begins to pedal back down the long road, empty bag flapping in the air.
As he makes his way back to the shop, Naruto thinks of the dark haired male.
Despite knowing the Uchiha since childhood, he and Sasuke had never become friends at school. In fact, Naruto doesn’t recall Sasuke ever having friends. He doesn’t even remember being in the same classes with him. The last time he remembers seeing Sasuke was just after they joined high-school, Naruto helping Sasuke fight a kid that’d had it in for Sasuke from the moment he’d stepped onto the school premises.
After that, Naruto doesn’t remember seeing Sasuke again.
But the raven head had said they were in class together, and as his memory has never served him well, Naruto decides that he’ll take Sasuke’s word for it. He definitely hadn’t expected to see Sasuke today - if ever - but maybe, just maybe this is Naruto’s chance to start over.
He bikes the rest of the journey back to the shop in a thoughtful silence.
But as soon as he bursts through the door, ignoring Asuma’s ‘I thought you’d gotten lost along the way’ and heading straight for Neji. Naruto grabs Neji by the shoulders, widened grey eyes gawking back at him.
‘What-?’ Neji starts. But as soon as he sees Naruto’s flushed cheeks, a knowing smirk tugs at the corner of his mouth. He remembers seeing the familiar name on the small parcel before he’d packed it into Naruto’s delivery bag. So when Naruto speaks, Neji isn’t at all surprised by what he says.
‘I need you to get Sai to switch shifts with me.’