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Language barrier? What language barrier?

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(I don't own any characters etc etc)

 

Sasuke scrolled through his phone as he walked down the hallway to the elevator.

He pushed the button to call for it as the sound of another door on the floor was heard to slam shut and footsteps approached.

Naturally, however, he paid it no mind. He tried to avoid interacting with his neighbors as much as possible, even if Itachi gave him hell for it.

The elevator doors slid open and Sasuke got on, pushing the "doors closed" button before pushing the ground floor one.

"Wait for me!" someone shouted, in English, which surprised Sasuke.

He glanced up from his phone and saw bright blue eyes staring back at him in surprise, and possibly with disbelief, before the doors closed.

Sasuke was left staring at his own reflection, and blinked several times, before shrugging it off and continuing with his day.

_____

"I know you!" someone said to him the next day, as he was again scrolling through his phone at the elevator.

Maybe he should start taking the steps, he thought, not really paying the intruder any attention. For that was what he considered them to be, an intruder. Intruding on his precious morning time before work.

And in English, no less! Who did that? What was wrong with well-spoken, perfectly pronounced Japanese?

After all, where did this person think they were? Los Angeles? New York? Texas?

"I mean, I saw you yesterday," the voice said to him, still in English. "Heh, when the elevator closed on this floor, I was running to get it, but you were there first, and you probably didn't hear me. Maybe you had headphones in, I don't know, but I came this close, and look, here I am now!"

Sasuke inwardly rolled his eyes and looked up, into the same blue eyes as yesterday.

Up close, in this lighting, they were quite friendly looking, and damn near sparkled.

Sasuke stared at him.

"I'm Naruto Uzumaki," the man said, holding out his hand.

Sasuke glanced down at it briefly. "Uchiha Sasuke," he said, ignoring the handshake.

Naruto frowned as the elevator arrived and they got on, clearly not miffed by the snub. "Uchiha? That's an interesting first name!"

Sasuke sighed as he ticked off boxes in his head. Loud? Obnoxious? Only speaking English? No idea of cultural norms?

Outrageously blond and handsome, and a new face?

Yeah, an out of town visitor, clearly.

"Blond has nothing to do with it," Sasuke's brain offered, in a voice that was eerily similar to Itachi's.

"Oh, wait!" Naruto said, slapping his own forehead. "I keep doing that! Last name first, right? Lemme try this again," he said, holding his hand out again. "Uzumaki Naruto."

Sasuke stoically looked at Naruto, whose grin widened, if that was even possible.

"Yeah, you're right," Naruto said, agreeing with the silence as he put his hand down, 0-2 for handshakes. "Who shakes hands twice like that? It is weird."

"You're weird," Sasuke said, in Japanese.

"What?" Naruto asked.

Sasuke pursed his lips. Sure, he spoke English well, of course he did. But was he going to let on to this Naruto person that he was able to?

No!

Fortunately for him, Naruto seemed to take his silence in stride as the elevator continued its journey down.

"I just got here like a week ago, so it's going to take me some time to really improve my Japanese," the blond said. "I mean, sure, I spent time trying to learn it, but it's not an easy language. Fortunately, I'm here all summer and for another semester, at least, so I should be a pro when I leave! I'm working on my master's degree, believe it!"

Oh joy, Sasuke thought to himself. Looks like there's a new neighbor...

He frowned as he thought about it. Granted, he didn't get involved in the floor's politics or gossip, but he didn't think he'd heard of anyone leaving?

"Hey, you look around my age," Naruto said as the doors opened on the ground floor. "I'm 25, maybe we can hang out?"

Sasuke shrugged as they got off. Yes, they were the same age, but the other man didn't need to know it. "I doubt it, usuratonkachi," he said, in Japanese.

Naruto gave him a half-smile. "I hope that means yes! But wait, I have an app to help me translate," he said, pulling out his phone.

"Usuratonkachi," Sasuke heard Naruto say into the phone, as he exited the building, quietly laughing to himself.

_________

"That wasn't a nice word," Naruto said to Sasuke the next morning, still in English.

Sasuke raised an eyebrow. He was both pleasantly surprised by the vaguely sour note to the ball of sunshine's usual tone, and displeased that he was apparently waiting for him, arms crossed, at the elevator this morning.

"There goes my morning quiet time," Sasuke sighed to himself.

"I translated it," Naruto informed him as he called for the elevator.

Sasuke remained silent.

"Usuratonkachi," Naruto clarified, and Sasuke put on a surprised look. Naruto's eyes widened and he frantically waved his hands. "I didn't mean to call you that!" he shouted, before pointing to himself. "Me, me, usuratonkachi."

"You can say that again," Sasuke said, keeping to Japanese.

"Anyway, you probably didn't mean it like that," Naruto said, slipping his hands into his backpack's straps. "Probably lost in transition."

"Lost in translation," Sasuke corrected him, not that Naruto understood him.

Oh, the irony.

"Anyway," Naruto said. "We're neighbors for a while, and we're about the same age. We should definitely hang out!"

Sasuke raised an eyebrow as he looked at him in silence.

Naruto frowned, taking his silence as the result of a language barrier rather than Sasuke not believing someone could be so brash.

The blond pulled out his phone and seemingly opened his trusty app. He repeated his sentence for, what, at least the third time in two days, and the phone mechanically read it aloud.

Naruto looked at him with eager eyes, and for a moment, Sasuke took pity on him.

"Hn," the Uchiha said, as he stepped off the elevator.

"Wait!" Naruto called out at his retreating back. "What does that mean here?!"

________

Sasuke changed his schedule from that day on, leaving earlier and arriving home later. He went to the gym for longer periods after work, and spent more time at work in general.

And he began to sit at a cafe near work to read his emails and news over a nice americano.

Was it because he was avoiding Naruto? No, he didn't think so. It was mere coincidence that he happened to change his long suffering routine recently.

Coincidences, it turned out, were to become part of Sasuke's life, as he came face to face with Naruto a week later. Sasuke was about to step onto the elevator to head up to his apartment, Naruto was clearly headed out, but smiled widely as he saw Sasuke, and stepped aside so the Uchiha could enter.

Sasuke cursed whichever part of the universe always left them alone for the elevator. Really? In such a large apartment building?

"Hi Sasuke!" Naruto shouted, far too loudly for such a small space.

Sasuke sighed when the blond pushed the button for their floor. Wasn't he seemingly leaving the building before running into Sasuke?

"Naruto," he flatly greeted him, without meaning to.

"Hey! You remembered my name! Great!" That appeared to be an invitation for the blond, who began to speak at length about how his summer was going and what he was learning.

"Have you had ramen? I mean, of course you've had ramen," Naruto was babbling, and Sasuke let out a string of expletives in his head that their floor was not closer to the ground. "I mean, do you want to go hang out and get ramen sometime? I saw this cool place not far from here that I've been wanting to try, you've probably been there a bunch. Ich...Ichi..."

Naruto paused and fished around his backpack, while his tongue stuck out in concentration.

Sasuke barely glanced at the takeout menu Naruto thrust at him, too distracted by the pinkness of his tongue.

"Ichiraku's," Sasuke clarified. If the other man was that interested in the place, he might as well know how to pronounce it, Sasuke told himself.

Because he definitely didn't want to go to one of the best food spots in the city with an attractive new neighbor, no sir!

"Yeah!" Naruto said, snapping his fingers. "Ichiraku's! Have you heard of it? Have you been?"

"It's good," Sasuke said in his native tongue. "You'll probably like it, everyone does."

Naruto watched him, perplexed, before pulling his phone out and likely opening his trusted app. "What did you say?" he asked, holding his phone slightly towards Sasuke.

Sasuke sighed. "It's best for lunch," he said into the phone, and tapped his foot lightly as it mechanically translated for the other man.

"Oh yeah?" Naruto asked. "Want to grab lunch sometime?"

The elevator opened on their floor as the app translated for Sasuke.

"I work," he said in Japanese, as he got off and headed down the hallway without a second look.

From behind him, he heard Naruto mimic him into the app to see what he had said.

"Yeah, I'm busy then too!" Naruto called out from the elevator, making Sasuke flinch. "Maybe another time! Dinner sometime!"

Sasuke quietly let himself into his apartment and leaned his back against his closed door.

He briefly reflected on their interaction, before shaking his head and trying to get Naruto out of his mind.

The Ichiraku's menu on his counter silently mocked him as he passed it, and he made a mental note to take a break from eating there for a little bit...

______

The universe really had it out for him, Sasuke thought, as he went to Ichiraku's one night after a late day at work.

It had been about a week since he last saw Naruto, and work had picked up, as had Itachi's nitpicking, for whatever reason, and in that time Sasuke had forgotten the American wanted to hang out and eat ramen.

"Sasuke!" he heard as soon as he entered. He raised an eyebrow and looked around, to find Naruto grinning widely at him and waving his arm wildly. "Over here!"

"Is he for real?" Sasuke asked Ayame in Japanese as she passed by.

She laughed and shook her head. "He's nice," she replied in the same language. "He's turning into a great customer. Dad loves him!"

"Your dad loves everybody," Sasuke pointed out.

"Sasuke! I got a seat open for ya!" Naruto continued.

"He's rude," Sasuke sighed.

"Don't be so moody," Ayame chastised him, nudging him towards the blond.

"Boy, what are the odds of seeing you here?" Naruto laughed as Sasuke sat at the counter next to him.

"The universe hates me," Sasuke sighed, in Japanese.

"Something...is mean?" Naruto asked, brow wrinkled as he tried to focus on the new language.

Sasuke raised an eyebrow as he turned to study Naruto. The blond must have come from whatever he was doing for the summer, as he was dressed casually.

And in a tight t-shirt, his brain commented, as Sasuke's eyes glanced over the other man's orange-clothed toned upper body before he focused on the menu again, or at least tried to.

Ayame came over and greeted them.

Naruto greeted her back formally, making her giggle.

Sasuke's eyes narrowed at the menu as something new stirred in him...

"What would you like?" she asked them both in Japanese. Sasuke turned his attention to her, surprised, and she smiled. "He's practicing Japanese, and wants only Japanese," she said, nodding at Naruto. "Japanese only," she said to the blond in English, and he nodded vigorously.

"Believe it!" he said in English.

The men ordered, and Sasuke added a drink order for them both.

"Uh...I didn't follow that last part," Naruto admitted in English, but smiled when she brought two cold beers over. "Hey, thanks, this is perfect!" he said, in English again.

"What happened to Japanese only?" Sasuke asked in that language.

Naruto twisted his mouth slightly to one side as he and Sasuke looked at each other for a long moment.

The world started to fade away...

"I don't know exactly what you said, but I'm pretty sure you're ragging on me for not talking in Japanese!" Naruto suddenly laughed, clapping Sasuke on the shoulder.

The Uchiha scowled, but Naruto didn't seem to care.

"You have a point, but I've got so much to tell you, I don't care!" Naruto said.

"Great," Sasuke sighed to himself, as the blond began to talk all about not just that day, but his summer and his work.

It was a bit much for Sasuke, who couldn't quite keep up with it all. Hadn't the two of them just met two or three weeks ago? And from the sounds of it, the other man had only been in town for about a week before that.

How could one person do so much in such a short amount of time, Sasuke wondered?

Still, he was even more surprised to find that he enjoyed hearing all of the wild stories, Naruto barely pausing to order another bowl of ramen.

Taking classes, doing research for a paper, tracking frogs in the forest, cleaning frog tanks in a lab, trying to track down a lost orange frog? Sasuke's head was spinning.

Before Sasuke knew it, Naruto had finished his third (third!) bowl and it had grown quite late.

"Ah, sorry!" Naruto said in English, scratching the back of his own head. "I guess I really went off on a tangent there, huh?"

"I didn't mind," Sasuke said in Japanese, shrugging a shoulder.

Naruto stared at him for a moment. "I need to work on my Japanese," he sighed. "How will we ever actually talk? And you're my only real friend here!"

"We're not friends," Sasuke said in Japanese, snorting.

"You could be," Ayame laughed at him in Japanese as she passed them the bill and cleared their last dishes.

"I got this," Naruto said in English as he grabbed his bag and pulled out a frog wallet.

Sasuke looked at him wordlessly, an eyebrow raised.

"What?" Naruto asked in English. "Oh, this? It's Gama-chan. Do you like it? It's totally me, right?"

He took out money and tucked it into the bill wallet, passing it to Ayame as he rattled on in English about how good the food was.

"We can't wait to see you again," she said in English to Naruto. "Dad will make a special ramen for you!"

"Really? Aw man, you guys spoil me!" he said, excitedly. "Whaddya think about that, Sasuke? Are they great or what!"

"Don't encourage him," Sasuke grunted in Japanese to Ayame as the two men stood and grabbed their bags. "Have a good night, tell your father I say hello."

"Of course," she agreed in Japanese. "You know he didn't take his eyes off you all night," she said, winking at Sasuke. "Except for his food, of course."

Sasuke was at a loss for words, but fortunately Naruto grabbed his arm and pulled him out, waving to Ayame.

"Man, what a night! A great dinner, great conversation, a cool friend to hang out with! This is what I'm talking about!" Naruto said excitedly in English.

"It's too hot these days," Sasuke sighed in Japanese. "Too...muggy."

Naruto looked at him, unsure of what to say, so Sasuke mimed feeling hot, and the blond agreed.

"Yeah, that's true! And some of these frogs need to be in such humid temperatures, both outside and in tanks, it's a killer!"

This led to more stories from Naruto, all the way up until they reached their own apartment floor and finally parted ways.

"See you later, Sasuke!" Naruto shouted in English, seemingly not caring of their neighbors. Again, Sasuke sighed. "Hey, can I get your number to hang out?"

Sasuke looked at him wordlessly.

"Uh..." Naruto began, trying to figure out what to say in Japanese, before he pulled out his phone, swiped around, and passed it to Sasuke.

Sasuke looked at it, the "new contact" page open and waiting for him.

Even if he hadn't known how to read English, it was obvious what Naruto was asking, and against Sasuke's better judgement, he entered his number.

"Great!" Naruto said in English. "Wait! Uh...sugoi?" he said in Japanese.

Sasuke nodded, and Naruto grinned.

"Sugoi!" the blond repeated, more confidently. "Bye! Sayonara!"

Sasuke nodded and headed into his own apartment, where a moment later he received a text from an unknown number identifying the sender as Naruto.

The blond had clearly tried to use his translation app as characters appeared stating how much fun he had and that he couldn't wait to hang out again.

"Hn," Sasuke said to himself as he got ready for bed, where he soon fell asleep and dreamed about an orange talking frog...

___________

Without Sasuke really meaning to, they began to actually hang out over the next three weeks, coordinating by text to arrange dinners out. Sasuke took charge in picking places to try to show the American more of their local neighborhood joints, as well as some off the beaten path places that you had to know were there to actually find.

Soon, they fell into a bit of a routine. Naruto would reach out to Sasuke to see when he was free, they would meet in the lobby or within a few blocks, and Sasuke would lead the way while Naruto asked questions he never really got answers to and shared more of his crazy stories.

Naruto tried to speak Japanese more, but still spent much of the time talking in English, and Sasuke? Well, it just kind of worked out to speak in Japanese or not at all.

It didn't really take away from their time together, and Naruto didn't seem to mind, so why bother, Sasuke figured?

Still, things caught up with him, so to speak, when one night they met for dinner at Ichiraku's. For once, Naruto didn't really call out to Sasuke, and he could be seen in conversation with Ayame when Sasuke arrived.

Sasuke nodded in greeting as he sat, listening to the end of their discussion.

"Tell Sasuke about it," she encouraged the blond in English before she left to place their orders with the kitchen.

Sasuke turned to Naruto with a raised eyebrow and nodded.

Naruto coughed awkwardly and ran a hand through his blond hair. "It's stupid, I don't know you want to hear about it," he said, translating some of it with his app.

Sasuke motioned for him to continue, and Naruto sighed.

"My ex-boyfriend emailed me, that's all. Well, I guess it's not all. We were like on and off for a while, and were off when I left, a big off. Like, for good. It was messy, I wasn't happy, I wanted to just call it quits. Start over here, you know? See what Japan and the world would bring me, who I'd meet and where. And then he goes writing to me that he misses me and all those things that should be nice, but I just don't wanna hear it..."

Sasuke nodded. "Sounds like he's an idiot," he said in Japanese.

Naruto frowned, and Sasuke repeated it. "Baka."

Naruto pulled out his trusty app and said it into it, looking at Sasuke in surprise. "Me?" Sasuke shook his head. "Him?" Sasuke nodded. "Heh, yeah, I guess." Naruto slammed a fist onto the counter. "Yeah, he is! Writing to me when I'm across the world, when I said we were done, never getting back together! He's totally a baka! Wait, how did you know what I was talking about?"

Sasuke pursed his lips, cursing his slip up, when Ayame rescued him by bringing an appetizer.

"On the house, to help a wounded heart," she informed Naruto in English.

"Wow, thanks!" he said, smiling for the first time that night.

"Better also tell your dad to start making a second bowl for him, something special," Sasuke suggested to her, in Japanese, and she laughed but nodded.

"What?" Naruto asked through a mouthful of gyoza, looking between the two of them.

"Sasuke ordered something special for you," she said to Naruto in English, smiling as she left.

Naruto turned to Sasuke with wide eyes. "Really?" He continued, without waiting for a response. "Aw man, you're the best, believe it! Who needs a stupid ex to ruin my night when I've got a friend like you!"

"Could be more," Ayame whispered to Sasuke in Japanese as she passed by, carrying another table's order, and he scowled at her.

"Man," Naruto said, dreamily. "Moving here just gets better and better!"

Sasuke rolled his eyes as he reached for a gyoza himself, but inwardly felt his own spirits lift at being able to cheer the other man up.

______

Everything continued to go fairly well between Sasuke and Naruto until Itachi came by for their monthly brotherly dinner about a week later, this time at Sasuke's apartment.

"I ran into Jiraiya the other day near my job," Itachi said as he grabbed plates while Sasuke cooked. "His nephew, or godson, I forget which, is in town."

"Okay," Sasuke said, focusing on the food.

"Yeah, I forget his name...something food-y" Itachi said, drumming his fingers on the counter as he paused to think about it. He snapped his fingers. "Naruto, that's it!"

"What?" Sasuke asked, blinking in surprise.

"Yeah, I feel bad since I had already met him once almost as soon he had arrived here, just in passing," Itachi said, shaking his head. "Nice guy."

"How would you know?" Sasuke asked, as he plated their food and they moved to the table.

"I saw him on my way up here, actually," Itachi said. "I re-introduced myself and we talked for a bit. Have you met him yet? He's about your age I think."

Sasuke shrugged as he began to eat, avoiding looking at Itachi. "No."

"Really?" Itachi asked, though Sasuke kept his gaze on his food. "Even though he's living with Jiraiya, and they're just down the hall, same floor?" Sasuke remained silent. "How...strange," Itachi said, the smirk clearly heard in his voice.

Sasuke continued to eat in silence.

"He said I look just like his new friend," Itachi continued. "Naruto, I mean," he clarified, not that Sasuke had asked. "Who do you think he meant?"

"I have no clue," Sasuke said, flatly.

"He wondered if I was related to his friend, since we look alike, but commented that his friend doesn't speak any English."

Sasuke cleared his throat as he reached for his water.

"Anything you'd like to tell me, Sasuke?" Itachi asked.

"No."

"Sasuke," Itachi sighed. "Please tell me you're being friendly to him."

Sasuke finally looked up at Itachi, stoically. "I am."

Itachi raised an eyebrow. "And yet he doesn't believe you know English. What are you doing, sitting silently and letting him do all the talking?"

Sasuke didn't respond, and Itachi sighed loudly and rolled his eyes as he picked up his chopsticks, finally. "Really, Sasuke?"

"What?" Sasuke asked. "He talks a lot, it's not like it matters."

"That's not the point," Itachi commented. "I can't believe you!"

"There's no real harm done," Sasuke said.

They went back and forth about it for a few minutes before Itachi shook his head.

"Well," he said, "good thing that when he asked if I knew you, I said we were brothers."

"You didn't," Sasuke groaned.

"And then he was really confused, wondering how I could speak English so well, yet my own brother, my own flesh and blood, couldn't?"

"Imagine that," Sasuke grumbled.

"So I told him, 'of course Sasuke does!'"

"You didn't!" Sasuke said, again.

"I did!"

"Itachi!" Sasuke moaned. "Why would you?"

"Because I can't let my little brother go around and not have a friend like that," Itachi commented, eating like he had no cares in the world.

"I have friends," Sasuke retorted.

"A few friends you say you 'tolerate' and some co-workers are hardly enough."

"I have friends I more than tolerate," Sasuke argued.

"One more won't hurt then," Itachi argued back. "Naruto seems friendly and ready to really embrace life, he'll be good for you."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing, but I think there's more than meets the eye," Itachi offered.

"I hate you," Sasuke sighed, before returning to his own food, missing the wide smile on Itachi's face.

____

Sasuke woke the next day feeling a sense of...something...wash over him as he recalled the conversation with Itachi.

Did he feel dread that Naruto now knew he spoke English?

No, he told himself. Uchiha don't feel dread.

Then what was it?

He shrugged it off and soon changed for work, leaving a bit earlier than usual. Purely to be at work early, he told himself, not to try to avoid Naruto.

Though, the other man had his number...so Sasuke just chose to place his phone on silent for the day...

Sure enough, when he checked it after being at work late and at the gym even later, there was a text from Naruto in Japanese, asking if he was free for dinner the following night.

Sasuke sighed but replied back, in the same language, that he was, and they made plans to meet at Ichiraku's in the evening.

Nothing out of the ordinary so far, Sasuke told himself, so he shook the day off and reminded himself that he had nothing to fear, nothing to worry about. He had done nothing wrong, right?

_____

The next night he strolled into Ichiraku's at seven on the dot, and as always, Naruto was early and calling out his name to wave him over.

Sighing at the blond's brashness, Sasuke quickly headed over and nodded at him in greeting.

They placed their orders with a very smiley Ayame, and fell into their usual routine of Naruto immediately running off, in English, how his day was, what he did, what misadventure he had gotten himself into that day with a toad or two.

Sasuke sat, nodding with the story, sipping tea, enjoying hearing about the other's antics.

When suddenly...

"But I'm sitting there, right, eating lunch and telling Gamatatsu all about the last few days. He's of course trying to get some of my food, he's always so hungry, and I admit I gave him a snack. Toad food, not mine, not that he cares so long as he can eat it. So we're sitting eating together and I'm telling him about it all, and I realize, it doesn't matter, right? I mean, I got to tell you all about me for a few weeks, so now it's your turn!" Naruto said, slapping Sasuke on the shoulder.

The Uchiha turned to look at him with a raised eyebrow.

"Ah, come on," Naruto said, waving his hand as their food was placed before them. "Itachi told me everything! So now you can too!" He turned to Ayame. "Thanks, Ayame! Hey, did you know Sasuke can speak English?"

She smiled. "I did," she said in English. "He's quite good at it. He helps sometimes if we get tourists or businesspeople who can't."

"Busted!" Naruto yelled, triumphantly.

Sasuke sighed. "Why did you take his side?" he asked Ayame in Japanese.

"Because he's cute and likes you, and I think you like him too," she replied in the same language.

"Huh?" Naruto asked, as she left to help other customers. "What did she say?"

"She said you're loud," Sasuke said in perfect English, for the first time with Naruto.

The blond's eyes opened wide. "What?" he yelled, and Sasuke rolled his eyes. "Okay, maybe she did. But holy cow, everyone's right!" He shoveled ramen into his mouth before speaking again. "Why didn't you tell me you spoke English sooner?"

"You didn't ask," Sasuke replied, eating at a more moderate pace.

"I didn't...hey, that's not fair! That's not how this works!"

Sasuke shrugged again. "Too bad."

"I can't believe it though, you let me sit here for weeks thinking you didn't understand me, and I couldn't understand you! I worked my butt off to improve my Japanese so we could really talk!"

"It's gotten a little better," Sasuke admitted.

"A little? It's gotten a lot better! But now you can help me get even better!"

"Why would I?" Sasuke sighed

"Why?!" Naruto repeated, shocked. "Because! Because I'm trying to not be rude and actually learn the language! Because we talk and hang out and what not! Because..."

"Because?" Sasuke asked.

"Because...then we could...grab dinner or something."

"And what are we doing now?" Sasuke teased.

"Uh...grabbing dinner..." Naruto admitted, weakly. "But it's not, y'know...'dinner'..."

"Isn't it?" Sasuke asked, playing dumb.

"Oh come on," Naruto near whined. "Itachi told me everything! You speak English perfectly, you're single, you have similar dating interests," he said, dropping his voice for the last part.

"Are you asking me out?" Sasuke asked, crisply.

"Uh...maybe?"

Sasuke shrugged. "I think you can do better than that," he said, inwardly laughing at how easy it was to goad the other man.

Naruto grumbled to himself. "Fine! You, me, dinner tomorrow night, as a dinner date, a date-date. What do you say?"

Sasuke glanced at him. "I say I'm busy tomorrow night," he said, as Naruto's face fell. "But I'm free the following night."

Naruto grinned widely. "I'll pick the place! I'll find the best place for a first date here, believe it!"

Sasuke sighed and shook his head as Ayame brought their food over, making a mental note that he'd have to remember to reach out to Itachi and update him, admit that Itachi's plan worked out.

Still, he smiled to himself as Naruto began to list off all the things they could do now that they could "actually" talk to the other.

Maybe he owed Itachi one, after all...