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The Four Horsemen

Chapter Text

Summary: Sometimes, desire can last for millennia. (Naruto x Sasuke)

Sasuke = Death, Naruto = War/chaos, Sakura = Famine, Sai = Pestilence

Warnings for this chapter: deaths of unnamed characters, implied HyuugaCest, implied NaruNejiHina

Disclaimer: Naruto and all associated characters are owned by Masashi Kishimoto.  Not me.  And so he makes all the money off them.  Not me.  Which I suppose is fair enough LOL.

Author's note: I updated this chapter from the version I had posted on ff a month or so ago, changing the tone of the language to have more of the heavy imagery feel that I want for this story, but everything else is really pretty much the same so if you've already read it there, no need to re-read this now.  I just wanted to post it here since I am finally ready to start writing on this one with Ramen wrapping up!


Naruto stepped into the club. The moist, hot air from all the sweat-soaked bodies writhing on the dance floor swirled around him. The lighting was low, focused only dimly on the dance floor, leaving the corners conveniently dark. He glanced over towards the bar on his left, his electric blue eyes easily penetrating the smoky haze that hung over it.

The heavy base of the music pulsed through him, and he could feel the reverberations of the beat echoed in the motions of the dancers crowded together on the packed dance floor. He took a slow breath, feeling the heat, lust and adrenaline of the dancing crowd seep into his blood. It was amazing how similar the feel of lust for battle and lust for sex were. Though it had been many years since he'd drawn in the scent of a battle. But he didn't miss it. Especially not when he could just go to a club and feel the same heady rush.

Of course, there were others who enjoyed the club scene as well. Some for similar reasons, others different. He let his senses flare briefly over the crowd. He wasn't concerned about what he might find. Just curious. Clubs like these attracted all kinds. It was always good to know who was here with him.

He pulled his senses back almost instantly, closing himself off before anyone would be able to detect that he was anything other than the young, mortal human that he appeared to be.

Of course, he was none of those things: young, mortal, or human. There had been so many changes in the calendars of humans and the way they counted time that Naruto honestly had no idea how old he was, but he knew he was amongst the oldest living creatures in existence. His life predated even the oldest vampire, succubus or lycanthrope. Which didn't mean they couldn't hang, but they had to learn his ground rules.

There was only one other being he had met who was older than himself. But Naruto wouldn't think about Him. He hadn't seen that man for over a thousand years. And the last time he had seen him…

An arrow of pain and longing shot through Naruto, never dulling even through so many centuries. He wondered why the memories had been plaguing him so much, recently. He'd gotten pretty good at repressing them as the centuries had passed. But somehow, over the past two weeks the memories that should have been buried in dust had resurfaced. Emotions he had long hoped dead were once again haunting his dreams, causing him to wake gasping, sheened with sweat in his bed.

Naruto walked over to the bar, ordering a Jack Daniels, neat. He had to be careful how much he drank. His powers required control. But he could drink enough to take the edge of memories that oceans of time had evidently done nothing to wash away. His gaze caught the light of the nearly full moon through one of the gritty club windows. The sight made him grimace, as it had for millennia. No, his memories had not been washed away.

After all, how can the ocean wash away the moon? Eons of push and pull between them, yet they never even touched. He smiled bitterly at the analogy.

For the first few centuries after Naruto had left, he had been careful, never spending too much time in a village. The years had been black, and desolate. Loneliness had almost consumed him. He roamed the continents, keeping his presence concealed as much as possible. He didn't have the control then that he had now, however, and occasionally chaos would erupt. But in those days, it would take years for news of a war in one part of the world to reach another. And by the time his three erstwhile companions would have heard about it, Naruto would be long gone. Not that he really thought they had been looking for him. The days of the Four Horsemen had been drawing to an end when he had left their group anyway. They might be called again someday, but for now, they had stepped back into the annals of history, falling into the legends that various civilizations had for them.

He didn't know if his companions were searching for him. If He was searching for him. Probably not. But if they were, Naruto didn't want to be found. They always said that people couldn't hide from Death forever. Naruto figured that a thousand years probably counted as close enough to 'forever' that he could claim victory there.

Naruto had answered to many names in his past. He had been called Ares, Indra, Onuris… countless names in countless legends throughout the course of history. Chaos. War. Just as his three original companions had had many names as well. Some called him a god, but he knew he wasn't. The legend of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse suited him best. They hadn't been gods. But they hadn't been mortals. He didn't really know what he was. Only that there were three other beings that were similar to him, but with different powers. And they had ridden under the direction of the one known as Death.

But that was long ago, from ages past. He finished his drink, setting it down with a sharp click on the smooth bar surface.

He would not think of them again tonight. Would not think about him.

He had spent the last millennium building new bonds, trying to find a place that felt like home. It was hard, though since the only place that had ever been home was… Naruto didn't let himself complete the useless, self-indulgent thought.

He was here to have a good time and relax. He turned toward his two companions, sensing their slight concern over his unusual mood. He gave a half-hearted smile to the beautiful woman with pale, silvery eyes as she slid her hand gently, sensually over his arm to rest on his shoulder, and signaled the bartender for another drink. He never discussed what it was that haunted him, and Hinata never asked.

"There are a couple of vampires," Naruto said casually to them.

Neji smirked. An incubus of over a thousand years, he had no fear of vampires. He and his sister were two of the oldest of their kind, though their bodies remained as perfect, young, and flawless as they day they were spawned. Neji's eyes rested appreciatively over the sight of Hinata and Naruto leaning together at the bar.

Like his sister, Neji fed off the lust and sexual arousal of others. But he also enjoyed the act itself, with certain partners. He and Hinata had brought Naruto to their bed centuries ago. What had begun as a simple one-night stand with what they had mistakenly identified as a helpless, though very attractive, mortal had turned into nearly three days of sex so intense that neither Neji nor Hinata had needed to feed again for a month. Of course, they had known by that time that Naruto was not mortal. It had been many years before he disclosed any of his past, but even then, there were large portions that Naruto never discussed.

Naruto's relationship with the Hyuugas had begun as purely physical. Naruto had inhuman stamina, as well as being more than pleasing of form with his tightly sculpted body, smooth, tan skin and golden hair. After their initial encounter, Naruto had left, assuming that the affair was over. When the siblings had found him next, it was at a festival in the village they had been staying in. It was then they realized that the blond had powers beyond what they had observed when they had met with him in private. He brought out an aggressive, almost animalistic lust in humans. Often directed at him, but many times just creating a general sense of lust and aggressiveness that was undirected. Fights would often break out, but the siblings paid less attention to that.

When Naruto controlled his powers completely, the fights didn't occur. But the lust seemed to be innate to his being, his wild, earthy nature somehow drawing on that element within humans. Centuries of human contact had only seemed to grow and deepen his pull on those around him. He had little interest in it, however. The lifespan of a human was so short, and he had quickly learned that to invest emotionally in one so fragile was to suffer heartbreak when they died so easily.

Neji's eyes met Hinata's. It was nights like this when they most feared that Naruto would leave them. The restless, unhappy look that dulled the usually bright, blue eyes. They knew it wouldn't be forever, as much as they would like it to be. Naruto had become more than just a casual lover to them. They both held deep affection for the being. He was the only one they had ever allowed to stay with them for more than a few nights.

They had an open relationship, though. There had been times when Naruto went home with others, and many more times where the Hyuugas brought back a different plaything, though Naruto never participated in those couplings. Neji had once as Naruto if he wanted a more exclusive relationship with them, something that was nearly unheard of for one of their kind, but Naruto had just smiled and declined. His soul, ancient and damaged as it was, already belonged to another. As he waded through oceans of time, that was one fact he had realized would never change. It was held by a man with a face like an angel, and eyes black as nightmares.

Hinata waited for Naruto to finish his third drink before pulling him out on the dance floor. The club was packed with young, attractive people looking to cut loose late on a Friday night. Neji watched as his sister led Naruto out into the sea of writhing bodies, her tight, black dress drawing eyes almost as much as her partner in his black jeans and black tank top. Neji ordered a drink himself, enjoying the sight as much as he enjoyed feeding from the admirers that the pair had already drawn. Eyes followed them hungrily as they moved sensually together, their perfect bodies pressed close, moving fluidly and powerfully in a way mere mortals could not.

Naruto smiled at Hinata. He enjoyed her company, as well as her brother's. They had kept him sane through the years, keeping him from crumbling in the aching abyss of loneliness that he had suffered when he had first set off on his own. He had never been a solitary creature. In a way, that had been his problem. He wanted bonds. He wanted...

Naruto felt a brush of consciousness against his mind... a slight pull, a soft calling.

He smirked. Stupid vampires. They never bothered to fully check before trying to compel someone they were attracted to. It was foolish and risky. Naruto sighed, feeling Neji step up behind him. He turned, allowing Hinata to move off and seek her prey for the evening. He ignored the vampire's call, hoping the creature would take the hint and re-evaluate its choice of food for the evening.

The next attempt was much more forceful, images of himself writhing in bed with a beautiful, redheaded vampire were pushed into his mind. He had to admit that the clarity and specificity of the images were very well done, indicating that the vampire was probably quite powerful. However, he wasn't interested. The coldness of vampires reminded him too much of the one he was trying to forget. He severed the connection, closing his mind completely. The vampire would feel the severance of the connection. That should send the signal that Naruto wasn't the helpless human prey she obviously had mistaken him for. If she had any sense of self-preservation, she would accept his rejection and move on.

Neji smirked, reading the slight flicker in Naruto's concentration. "Someone bothering you?"

It wasn't the first time that a vampire had tried to compel him into being their victim. Vampires might feed off blood, but they liked sex more than your average mortal. Of course, compared to an incubus, they were still sexual innocents. Naruto snorted. "Yeah. She isn't taking the hint."

"Let's give her a clear signal then, shall we?" Neji asked, grabbing Naruto's ass and grinding their pelvises together. Naruto laughed huskily as he saw Neji draw in a deep breath, feeding on the lustful gazes that were latched onto them.

"If you want her, you can take her," Naruto said, knowing that Neji did enjoy the flavor of vampire lust occasionally.

Neji opened his eyes, raising an eyebrow at Naruto. "You know I don't take your cast-offs," he said, his beautiful, silver eyes wide in mock-offense.

Naruto opened his mouth to make some sort of comment on that when a voice slammed into his mind. "Come."

Now Naruto was annoyed. He had let the vampire know in clear terms that he was not interested, and he was not human. And she still tried to use compulsion on him? He closed his eyes, opening his mind and briefly sending the sights, sounds, and scents of over a thousand years' worth of war streaming back to the being that was trying to force herself on him.

He heard a choked scream, and the sound of a body hitting the floor. Regardless of how old she was, no vampire could withstand the sheer volume of terror and violence that was contained in the depths of his mind. Neji raised an eyebrow at the look of annoyance on Naruto's face, and looked up to the mezzanine where the shriek had come from. Naruto didn't bother looking, but Neji saw a man with lavender hair staring at them with wide eyes. He could immediately tell that the man was also a vampire. The pale-haired man turned and seemed to be talking to someone else before looking down at the floor by his feet and laughing, presumably at the female vampire who had foolishly tried to compel Naruto.

Naruto closed off his mind again and walked over to the bar to order another drink. The evening was quickly becoming more trouble than it was worth. A fight broke out in the back of the club, and Naruto knew he had to tamp down on his anger or the club would erupt into total chaos. He grimaced at the thought, but he had more control now than he did in his younger years. He wouldn't let it escalate.

Neji was about to turn away when the vampire's companion appeared. The vampire was still laughing, pointing down at the floor where the female vampire presumably was still unconscious. Neji stilled as he looked at the second man. His skin was pale enough to be a vampire's but Neji could tell that he wasn't. He wasn't human either, though. Neji watched as the two men spoke briefly, one laughing, the other still and serious. The vampire pointed over to where Naruto was standing at the bar. A man had evidently decided to try his luck on the annoyed-looking blond, leaning in to Naruto and running his hand suggestively over the small of Naruto's back. Normally, this would have drawn Neji's interest, but there was something about the companion of the vampire that made Neji nervous, a feeling he didn't often get.

The man's eyes locked on Naruto, and for the first time emotion appeared on the pale, perfect face. The lights in the club flickered. All over the club, people started to collapse onto the floor. Neji turned, looking to find Hinata and was relieved to see that she was already making her way towards him, her eyes also fixed on the two men on the mezzanine.

The man who had been standing next to Naruto with his hand resting on the small of the blond man's back hit the ground hard and didn't move a muscle. Not even his heart. Naruto stared at the man for a moment before slowly turning and looking up.

To a face he hadn't seen in over a thousand years. A face like an angel. With eyes black as nightmares.

Death had found him.




to be continued...


Chapter Text

Author's note: So… these chapters take me FOREVER to write. The story will be short and simple plot-wise, but the writing style is so different from my usual (and I am obsessing over it a bit, I admit) that it takes much longer to get a chapter 'ready'. Hopefully it will get easier as I get into it. This fic should be less than 10 chapters, for those of you wondering.

Sasuke leaned back casually on the bar stool with his drink held negligently in his strong, elegant fingers. He sat in a dark corner of the club, up on the mezzanine where his two companions watched the activities on the dance floor below. It seemed as though he created the darkness surrounding him somehow... the air around him heavy and unsettled. Though the man himself appeared completely at ease encased within it.

The club had a reputation for attracting both predators and prey, and dangerous things lurked in the shadows. Sasuke let his legs shift slightly wider apart as he took a sip of his drink. He had no concern about that. Of all the things that the shadows held, he was by far the most dangerous.

Though few could tell that at first glance.

He stretched his long legs out in front of him. He was dressed in black jeans with a black silk shirt draped across his toned torso. Eyes watched him from the surrounding tables, drinking in the way his midnight black hair contrasted against his pale, flawless skin. His body was lean with a fluid, inhuman grace. But it was his face that held most people captivated. The perfect bone structure shaped beautiful yet masculine features, with endlessly black eyes and sensual, perfect lips that could never belong to a mere mortal. Both men and women watched him from afar with a fascination that bordered on hypnotized, but Sasuke barely noticed it.

It was nothing new.

He was restless tonight. Though it had been countless years since he had truly felt at peace, tonight somehow… the feeling was stronger, the edge keener. Something was teasing his senses, just out of his reach.

The sensation was unfamiliar. Few things could stay out of Death's reach. His senses had been honed through thousands of years of existence, sharpened by endless battles, famines and plagues throughout the course of history.

He closed his eyes briefly, sorting through the fragile threads of the human souls in the club, whispering through his mind like delicate spider webs. And just as easily ripped away if he so chose. They were not significant. Humans held no interest for him. Their narrow views on life and existence and death amused him occasionally, but not enough for him to spend unnecessary time in their presence. Though he had met a few whose thoughts intrigued him... their minds running deeper than most of their kind. But even then, they drew no spark from him beyond an interesting conversation or two.

He felt two other presences in the club whose life forces were stronger, thicker than a mortal's. He focused on them briefly, recognizing them almost instantly as that of an incubus and a succubus. Creatures of lust. It was unsurprising to find them here. They would be drawn for the same reason his own companions were.

Sasuke was about to dismiss their presence from his mind when something about them brushed against an ancient memory. A mere flicker of a shadow of something he recognized, but could not quite place. There was something familiar somehow in their presence. He stilled his mind, trying to draw more of that other presence in, but it remained frustratingly elusive.

He was distracted from his thoughts by two giggling, drunken girls in very short skirts and very low tops who had been eyeing him from across the room and were now weaving their way towards him. His suppressed a flash of annoyance. Mortals were often drawn to danger and darkness. To death, as it were.

So foolish.

Sasuke looked directly at the two girls, trapping their hazy eyes with his gaze. They froze, their bodies tensing, then shuddering. The intense desire and fascination they had been feeling seconds ago morphing into some unnamable fear as the tiniest inkling of what Sasuke truly was seeped into their subconscious. One of the girls stumbled against the other, and they turned and headed quickly back to the dance floor. The slightly more sober of the two casting a last glance over her shoulder as they left, as though still wishing she had continued forward towards him.

Sasuke smirked. Even the creatures with the lowliest of intelligence could feel the danger when they looked into the eyes of death. He rarely had to do more than make eye contact to dissuade them.

But humans seemed to have a strange fascination with death these days. Not so long ago, stories of Death were used to scare little children to go to bed on time at night. The mere hint of someone being a vampire or a witch could cause their village (or their church) to torture them to death.

Now, kids could go online and buy fake vampire teeth and use them to get laid. He looked over to the other side of the mezzanine where two men were making out. The hand of the taller one slipped down to undo the zipper on the other. No one paid them much mind.

Things came in ebbs and flows. Back in the time of ancient Greece, homosexuality was completely accepted. In the Roman empire brides sometimes dressed as male soldiers on their wedding nights to be 'more familiar' to their new spouses. After centuries of persecution against homosexuality, now it was gaining acceptance again.

Though none of that really mattered. Beings that only lived a handful decades had no concept of the meaning of love, anyway. Sasuke had lived for millennia. He knew better.

He had no interest in simple lust. No matter how physically perfect or alluring a potential companion might be, it never stimulated any response within him in that way.

In all his years of existence, there had only been one. A being who had been able look fully into Sasuke's eyes, facing him without fear from the very beginning. Someone who had seen past his power to the person he was underneath.

Bitter anger speared through Sasuke at the thought. It was an old, familiar feeling, one that had not dulled through the passage of time. A double-edged anger, born both from the fact the man had left, and frustration from Sasuke's own inability to find him.

The only time he had ever failed at anything.

He pushed the frustrating thought aside, focusing instead on trying to understand what had drawn him out to this club in the first place. He took a sip of his gin and tonic. Alcohol did nothing for him, really, but he liked the slight pine taste of gin. He wondered again why he'd come here. Even Juugo had had the sense to stay home. Suigetsu and Karin liked these sorts of places… the heat and sweat and willing bodies all packed in one convenient location, with dark enough corners and alcoves to have a taste.

Sasuke had met his first vampire ages ago. Orochimaru… perhaps the first of his kind. The man had been fixated on Sasuke, courting him with endless, foolish offers of everything from riches to sex to power. The man had been delusional enough to try to force the issue with Sasuke, unable to step away from his obsession. And it had ended as expected, with very little effort on Sasuke's part.

Karin, Suigetsu, and Juugo had been amongst Orochimaru's most powerful creations. Fortunately, they hadn't shared their master's same level of obsession with Sasuke, nor had they been sufficiently loyal to their previous master to avenge him. Though, of course, they were still drawn to Sasuke. Creatures of death always were.

Sasuke had long ago stopped trying to get them to quit following him. They were harmless. To him at least. And they broke the monotony. In some ways, they understood him… at least part of him. Certainly better than the humans. Though much younger than Sasuke, they had lived long enough to know something of the world. And after so many centuries in their presence, they had become familiar. Comfortable.

But there had only ever been one person he had felt a true bond with. And that person had left him. Vanished with no explanation.

Sasuke's hand tightened around his glass. At first he had been so confident that he would be able to find him. He was Death. No one was beyond his reach. He would hunt him down, and make him explain why he'd done what he'd done. Why he'd left them. Left him.

Even if the days of the Horsemen had been ending, he would never have expected Naruto would go off on his own. They were bonded together. Naruto had always been by his side, almost from the very beginning. Sasuke had known about Naruto's dalliances with mortals, but he'd never thought Naruto would choose them over him.

He took another drink of the alcohol wishing, not for the first time, that it would have some effect on him. It never did. He smiled bitterly at the thought that whatever being had created him had ensured that his judgement couldn't be impaired by such external forces.

Sasuke put his empty drink down.

Karin, Suigetsu, and Juugo had been more than willing to help him with his search. Sasuke suspected it was more because they wanted to meet the person he sought more than actually wanting to help, but it didn't matter. In the end, they had still failed, just as Sasuke had. Always arriving too late. Sometimes only by a week. Sometimes by a year.

But even those failures had kept some sort of tie between Naruto and him. There was always something of Naruto that lingered behind in the places he had stayed. And the people he'd been with. Though most of those… Sasuke's hands tensed as memories passed through him. He had always been able to sense the humans that Naruto had taken as his lovers.

They seemed to absorb some of his chaos… the ability to drive wars and shape the course of history.

So Sasuke had... dealt with them. It had been necessary. And if he felt an inordinate amount of satisfaction in doing so, he didn't examine it much.

But it had been over two centuries since he'd felt the pull of the hint of the presence that always guided him to where Naruto had been. Clearly, Naruto had been working on his control through the years. Sasuke could no longer sense him anywhere. The wars that happened now were driven solely by the greed and petty politics of mortals. There was no sign of any other higher sort of intervention. No matter where he searched, there was simply no trace of Naruto.

But tonight, somehow he'd had that restless pull again that - even after thousands of years - only Naruto could make him feel. But it was faint, and distant, giving him no clue or direction as to where to go.

When Karin had mentioned where she and Suigetsu were going to hunt this evening, asking as always if he would accompany them, he had shocked her by simply pulling on a black leather jacket over his black shirt and pants and following them out. He watched as Karin and Suigetsu observed the writhing mass of bodies on the dancefloor below, discussing the aesthetics as well as the scent and blood type of their prospects for the evening.

Sasuke tuned their conversation out. He was feeling annoyed at himself for indulging in what was turning out to be a pointless whim.

"Oh, my God, that one is mine!" Karin said, gripping Suigetsu's arm.

The pale haired vampire rolled his eyes. "You're never going to get him. Haven't you heard? He's the human pet the Hyuugas have been keeping. They say that they've taken a lover from the same family for centuries. Must be something about genetic sexual prowess or something."

Sasuke noticed with amusement that - despite the male vampire's statement that the man was off-limits - he could see Suigetsu's fangs elongating as he watched whomever it was below. Sasuke felt a mild curiosity as to what sort of human could draw that kind of fixation from both an incubus and a vampire.

Karin's face took on the concentrated look that Sasuke had long ago learned was a sign of her using her compulsion on a human. She was powerful… one of the strongest of her kind. She was able to read a human's psyche, and tailor what she found there to easily bend them to her will.


This time however, her eyes widened in shock.

"He pushed me out!" Karin's voice was a blend of surprise and annoyance.

Suigetsu snickered. "You must be seriously losing your touch if a mere mortal is able to shut you down."

Karin huffed slightly. "It must be something the Hyuuga's taught him. Their kind was always immune to our compulsion."

Suigetsu licked his lips at the scene below. "They look good together, though, I'll give you that much. But I still think you shouldn't go poaching on someone else's property."

Karin bit her lip, then shook her head. "I just want to borrow him. Just for one night. He has such an incredible scent. I won't even damage him for them."

She focused her eyes in concentration, her body stilling as she called her powers more forcefully to compel the mortal she'd set her sights on.

Sasuke and Suigetsu exchanged a look of bemusement. It was unusual for Karin to be so fixated on a mortal. Suigetsu shrugged, then grinned at Sasuke. "I haven't seen her this worked up over anyone since she first met you and thought she could get you into her bed."

Karin shot Suigetsu a look of annoyance. "Yeah, well… Sasuke is impossible to get. This one is mine. There's just... there's something about him. I can't explain it. I just… I have to…."

The words slowly turned themselves around in Sasuke's mind. Could it be possible? No. Naruto's control had always been tenuous at best. Even if he'd improved somewhat, there was no way he could be in the same building as Sasuke and conceal his presence at such close range.

It was impossible.

His mind had just dismissed the thought when a pulse of a presence so familiar it was like his own scent flooded through the club, the intensity such that Sasuke was amazed everyone else didn't sense it.

Karin's body suddenly went rigid, and a scream escaped her lips as her eyes widened in desperation before she collapsed to the ground.

"I told you!" Suigetsu crowed as he watched her hit the ground with a thump. His preternatural senses assured him that she was still alive. As much as any vampire was really 'alive'.

Suigetsu burst out laughing. "You didn't take no for an answer with Sasuke, either. And see? It ended you up in the same place!"

Sasuke slowly stood, disbelief rolling over him. There was no mistaking it. While the spike of presence he'd felt in the instant before Karin had collapsed had dwindled, it hadn't completely faded. It was as though - once unleashed - the owner hadn't been able to re-establish full control, and some of that presence was leaking out. Like a fine mist, it permeated the room.

He would know that presence anywhere, no matter how much time had passed since he'd last felt it. But Sasuke needed to confirm it with his own eyes. He walked over to the railing of the mezzanine, his feet making no sound as he went. The air in the club seemed to thicken and shift at his movements. His gaze immediately latched onto the figure of a blond man leaning against the bar. The being that Sasuke had searched the earth for over a thousand years looking for. He hadn't forgotten a single detail of the man. His eyes drunk in the sight of him, noticing every aspect of Naruto's form. The blond hair and golden skin were still exactly the same hue. The body still toned and strong. Ageless and powerful. Uncontrollable.

Here, in a nameless bar, Sasuke had finally found him.

His eyes narrowed as he saw a man approach Naruto, his hand sliding suggestively over the blond's back. Sasuke felt an anger he couldn't explain or understand flood through him. He was a being who never lost control. But somehow, without his conscious thought, the lights in the club flickered, the energy drawn into him without his notice. On the dance floor below, bodies crumpled to the ground, but Sasuke didn't register it. His pale hands gripped the metal railing, his eyes locked on the blond man below him, willing Naruto to turn around and look at him.

Naruto looked down at the man now lying dead at his feet, his eyes widening. Then, slowly, he turned. His gaze was drawn unerringly up to where Sasuke stood. There was no fear in his expression as their eyes met and locked.

For a frozen instant, time completely stopped.

A flood of emotion poured between them, these two ancient beings who had been bound together so tightly, then separated so completely.

Loneliness, anger, longing, desperation, desire, possessiveness, and bitterness.

It was impossible to tell which thought belonged to whom, as the air crackled between them.

"It's been a long time, Sasuke," Naruto said finally. The voice so familiar. The words neither welcoming nor hostile. Simply… wary.

"You ensured it would be, Naruto," Sasuke replied, the bitter anger easily detectable.

Naruto's eyebrows raised, surprised at the tone. "I didn't think you'd waste your time looking for me. We were no longer called to ride."

"You left with no explanation. We waited for months for you to come back. Before we realized that you weren't going to." Sasuke had regained control over his voice again, and it betrayed no emotion at the statement.

But the memory of that moment when Sasuke had realized Naruto had left ripped through him. The temperature in the room plummeted, and the light bulbs over the mezzanine shattered.

Naruto glanced at the shattered light, his expression reflecting surprise and uncertainty at the lapse of control. He had never seen Sasuke's control break before. Not once. "I left you a letter. I explained -"

"You explained nothing," Sasuke's voice cracked like a whip. "Just a few words about needing to learn more control over your powers. Nothing about leaving us for good. Or explaining why you couldn't learn those things while staying with us."

Naruto's eyes widened at the level of anger contained in that voice. But his own bitterness was working its way to the surface at the reminder of what had caused his control to break so often in the first place… and exactly why he couldn't have stayed. "And why would I have owed you more of an explanation than that? You still had Sakura," Naruto fought to keep the envy out of his voice as he said her name. The one who had laid claim to Sasuke, shutting Naruto out. "Sai had also been talking about leaving as well, and you had accepted that without comment. The Horsemen were over, Sasuke. Even you knew it."

A crack snaked along the large window at the back of the club. The tiles on the dance floor trembled. Suigetsu, Hinata, and Neji looked on, unsure what to do as the level of power in the room emanating from the two men continued to rise, no longer contained by the walls of the building that housed them.

The sound of glass smashing and car alarms going off seeped in through the walls.

Naruto and Sasuke didn't notice any of it, the world not existing beyond the two of them in that moment.

"So there was no reason for you to stay with us anymore? Nothing binding you to our group once our orders stopped? You were free to pursue all your tawdry little affairs with those frail mortals you somehow found so appealing. I wouldn't have stopped you. But I never thought they'd mean more to you than we did."

The windows of the building blew outward in an explosion of a million shards of glass, raining down on the sidewalk below.

Naruto's temper had snapped "What?"

Outside, the moon darkened and bled red. The sound of wind whipped wildly past the broken windows

"I followed you once. To see where you always disappeared to after a battle. I saw you. Fucking that… mortal." Sasuke spat the words as though they were poison.

There was an explosion from a nearby electrical pole as the transistor erupted into a shower of sparks, plunging the room into complete darkness except for the light of the moon streaming in through the shattered windows. The distant sounds of shouts and screams echoed from the streets outside.

"It was just sex, Sasuke. What, did you enjoy watching?" Naruto's voice shook with emotion. "All you had to do was ask. But then, you had no interest in such… tawdry things, did you?"

Hinata left out a gasp and fell to her knees, her breath coming in sharp pants. Neji staggered, stumbling to lean heavily on the bar next to Naruto.

"Hinata!" Naruto broke his gaze with Sasuke, moving towards Hinata before she lifted her hand, letting him know she was ok.

Sasuke's face hardened and his eyes swirled red. Naruto turned to face him once more, his hand resting lightly on Hinata's shoulder as she knelt at his feet, unable to stand.

"You might not have emotions or desires, Sasuke, but that doesn't mean the rest of us don't. It never interfered in anything. And if I find emotional attachments in this existence, then it is no business of yours. You have no claim on me, just as I had none on you. After all, you found your own attachments, didn't you?"

The memory of Sakura leading Sasuke to her tent seared through Naruto's mind, but he bit back the urge to throw it in Sasuke's face. Naruto had spoken at least half the truth. He had no claim on Sasuke. He only wished the converse were true as well.

The entire building seemed to be vibrating with the power that poured off the two beings facing off against each other. The very air in the room thrummed with it, and the walls pulsed. Bits of the ceiling began to break off, crumbling down to the floor in a dusty haze.

"No claim?" Sasuke's voice was deceptively soft, but sliced through the room like a blade.

Hinata and Neji fell to the ground, unmoving. The building shook on its foundation.

Naruto looked down at the collapsed figures of the two people who had been his lovers for over three hundred years. Anguish, grief and rage flooded through him, blowing away all the controls he had put in place over the centuries. A red haze rose from the ground and a swirling wind began to grow centered around the blond-haired man. Behind him, bottles of alcohol exploded, showering the floor with glass and liquid. The wind intensified, swirling shards of glass and other debris as it spiraled out from him. Blue eyes bled red as he looked first to his fallen friends, then to the man he held responsible.

"No," the word emerged as an animalistic growl of pain and rage from Naruto's lips.

Sasuke's eyes widened slightly. Though it had been over a thousand years since he'd seen the sight, he still recalled with perfect clarity what it looked like when Naruto unleashed his true power. Though in all their years together, it had never been wielded against Sasuke.

Sasuke looked to the two beings lying by Naruto's feet, lying motionless.

"Naruto, stop. They aren't -" Sasuke had slipped into the ancient Sumerian tongue, the language he had been speaking when he'd met Naruto for the first time.

His words were cut off as Naruto's eyes locked with his and Sasuke found himself slammed back against the back wall of the club. Images filled his mind so forcefully that he could hardly breathe. But they weren't the images of war and destruction that Naruto usually employed. What good would those be against a creature who had seen it all firsthand with him?

Naruto had instead pushed all his emotions into the blast. Aching loneliness, pounding lust and hopeless desire… the intensity of them swirled with images, completely overwhelming Sasuke. His mind - so unfamiliar with dealing with emotions - was unable to process the strength and depth of Naruto's thoughts.

Sasuke staggered back when the assault was released, struggling to clear his mind. But in the moment of distraction, Naruto and his two companions had vanished.

Sasuke turned to see Suigetsu crumpled to the floor, looking up at him with wide, panicked eyes as the building around them groaned and trembled.

"Who the fuck was that?" Suigetsu gasped. "What the fuck was that?"

Sasuke looked over to where Naruto had stood. "Chaos."

The sounds of shouts and sirens and something being smashed drifted in through the window, as though to provide a definition for the word.

Suigetsu let out a shaky half bark of laughter. "Damn. No wonder you've been looking for him for a thousand years. He's fucking hot."

Sasuke leveled a glare that would have killed a mere mortal. It only rendered the vampire unconscious.

He laid a hand on each of his unconscious companions. The three of them vanished from sight seconds before the entire building collapsed.

to be continued…

A/N - I snicker every time the song "Centuries" comes on. And I know some people thought I was joking on FF when I said I was hesitating on this fic until I figured out how Naruto and Sasuke could have sex without destroying the universe. I kind of wasn't joking LOL.

Chapter Text

Warnings: Graphic depictions of ancient violence (human history is pretty fucking dark…)

Author's note: Special thanks to my lovely Anon beta! This chapter would have come out much later without her help.

Naruto stumbled slightly as he appeared in the main hallway of the Hyuuga estate, his two lovers held in his arms. He gently lowered them to the floor, laying them atop the thick, silk Persian rug that covered the cold marble tiles.

A swirling red mist instantly filled the large room, sending a vase full of peonies shattering to the floor. Naruto neither saw nor heard it, his attention locked on the two figures lying before him. Emotions surged through him, blocking out any ability for coherent thought. Grief, anger, confusion.

And guilt. Endless guilt.

How many times had he felt this? How much suffering would he have to endure? Why was he never able to control it? Even after all this time...

He clenched his fists in useless anger as he knelt between their bodies, his head falling forward as he shut his eyes against the pain of it, swallowing harshly against his grief.

He had thought that by finding companions who were near immortal, he would avoid the grief of loss he had suffered in the past. Now, it just felt so much worse, because he hadn't been prepared for it. He opened his eyes, leaning forward to stroke his hand gently across Neji's smooth brow in a silent apology for what he'd brought. The normally smooth skeins of the incubus's beautiful hair were disheveled, splayed across the luxurious rug. He had promised himself it would never happen again. So many years of forced isolation. Centuries of training, meditating, closing himself off to everything he knew, everything he needed until it felt as though he'd severed his very soul.

He turned to Hinata's still form, her eyes closed and unseeing. He threw his head back and screamed, unable to contain his emotions. Why? Even though he had left the Horsemen, he still brought death wherever he went.

"I'm sorry… I'm so sorry…" he choked out, falling forward, his forehead resting on her shoulder. His eyes drifted to the small cuts in her dress where the shards of glass from the club had sliced through the fabric. Her body somehow still felt warm to his touch, soothing him despite everything. "This wasn't supposed to… I didn't mean for…"

"Shhhhhh…." gentle fingers stroked through his hair, a soft, feminine voice passed over him.

Naruto lifted his head, his eyes widening in hopeful disbelief as he met the pale eyes looking up at him.

"Hinata?" he whispered, wondering if his mind had finally fractured. Her eyes drifted closed in exhaustion, but a small smile curved her lips.

"Just tired. Don't worry," she murmured, her fingers stroking his cheek before sliding down his arm to rest once more against the soft carpet.

Naruto grabbed her hand, not wanting to let go. He turned to Neji as the incubus's eyes fluttered open and slowly focused on Naruto.

Naruto's hands shook and he squeezed them tighter to stop their trembling. He drew a shaky breath.

He hadn't killed them.

They were alright.

He hadn't destroyed them.

He didn't know if he would have been able to survive if they had been dead. Not that he would have had a choice—it had been made clear long ago that death would never be an escape open to him. Not until his purpose had been fulfilled, whenever that might be.

But he didn't know how he would have borne it if he had caused their deaths, either through loss of control or by drawing down Sasuke's wrath upon them.

But it was ok. They were ok.

"Naruto," Neji's voice was calm, drawing Naruto's focus and helping his mind to stabilize. Naruto could tell he was using his incubus abilities to try to calm him. It didn't work as well on him as it did on humans, but he could feel the sharp edge of his panic slowly dulling. "This house is strong, but I don't know how much more it can take. Can you pull it back?"

Naruto blinked, wiping his eyes as he looked around and noticed the angry red swirl of his energy that still beat against the inner walls of the house, scattering the shards of the shattered porcelain vase and the soft petals of the flowers it had held wildly about the room. He drew in a breath, fighting for control. He could feel Neji's influence lulling him, and tried to open his mind further to allow his friend to help. It had been many years since he had lost it so completely. Gradually, the pulsing energy swirling in the room subsided, the fringe of the carpet falling still. Luckily, he had only taken them as far as the entryway where there was minimal furniture to be destroyed. Hopefully the rest of the house was unscathed. Given that his power had been undirected, it wouldn't have been as strong as when it was intentionally loosed.

His mind began to clear, memories from the evening's events coming into focus. In particular, one critical fact seared through him:

Sasuke had found him.

After so many years of successfully evading him, Naruto had really begun to believe it would never happen—at least not until they were called again for the final time.

"Are you ok?" Neji asked, keeping his gaze focused on Naruto, ignoring the chaos around him.

Naruto blinked at the question, then slowly began to chuckle. "Five minutes ago, I thought you were dead. And you're asking me if I'm ok?"

Neji smirked, locking his hands behind his head as he looked at Naruto, drawing attention to the defined muscles in his arms. Naruto could tell the man was still weak, but he was clearly trying to distract Naruto and calm him down.

Naruto felt an answering smirk appear on his lips, remembering why he had stayed with the Hyuugas for so long in the first place.

"You still think of yourself as my protector after what happened today?" It had always amused him that Neji and Hinata had initially viewed themselves as his caretakers. Naruto didn't use his abilities casually, so they had never really had any true sense of what he was capable of.

What he truly was.

The Hyuugas were legendary in the realms of the incubi and succubi. They were older than most of their kind, and their ability to draw others to them, shroud their minds with lust and insatiable desire was without equal.

But Naruto… had destroyed entire civilizations. He was not of their ken.

"You saw what I am, Neji. I'm not… like others you've met," Naruto said softly, waiting to see how Hinata and Neji would react now that they had some idea of what he was capable of.

Hinata smiled gently and Neji simply arched a brow, no sign of intimidation coming from either of them.

"It doesn't matter what you are, Naruto. We know who you are. We know you're hurt. We know you're lonely. I won't pretend to understand what happened tonight, but we won't sit back and leave you to face it on your own." Neji met Naruto's gaze calmly.

Hinata spoke, the girlish stammer she sometimes adapted to lure her prey was absent. Naruto wasn't prey. He was someone she loved nearly as much as she loved her brother. "Whoever he is, we will not let him hurt you if it's within our powers."

Neji looked over at Hinata, and they gently tugged Naruto down to lay between them on the plush carpet. The pile on the carpet was thick and lush… softer than many beds. Which was unsurprising, given that most every surface in their estate was created with the potential for sex to be had upon them.

"We've known you had secrets for a long time, Naruto," Hinata murmured. "We won't force you to tell us, but we want to help you."

Their hands slid comfortingly over his arms and chest. The touch was one of familiar lovers, but it wasn't specifically sexual this time. It was simply a touch meant to soothe, not to arouse. The touch of two who knew his body intimately, as well as the pieces of his mind Naruto had shared with them.

He relaxed into the warmth of it, feeling his lovers' gentle caresses.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Neji asked. "Do you need protection from him?"

Naruto chuckled darkly. They had never discussed Naruto's past... their relationship wasn't built on their history. They had focused only on the present, on the enjoyment that they took in each other, sharing pleasure and companionship.

But now, Sasuke had found him. Naruto didn't know how it had happened after all this time, nor why Sasuke had killed everyone in the club. Even though it had been over a thousand years, Naruto still knew the feeling when they were called to ride. Even if Sasuke was the only one who could see the specific location, there was always a tension… a presence that would come, a heaviness to the air. There had been no call this time. Sasuke had evidently just… lost control. Something Naruto could never have imagined happening in the past. But it had happened. The intensity of the anger he had felt coming from Sasuke made no sense to him. Sasuke had never displayed emotion like that in the past. What had happened in the years since he'd left?

He didn't know. But Hinata and Neji had collapsed in the attack, and he still wasn't sure if they had any lasting injuries from it. He also didn't know if Sasuke had found a way to track him or if he would be coming after them. Naruto didn't know how to stop him, but he could at least warn the people he cared about. They deserved to know the truth. But in the end, he knew he would have to confront Sasuke directly—alone. This fight, whatever it was, was between only them. Neji and Hinata were innocent.

"You can't protect someone from Death," Naruto spoke at last, closing his eyes as he turned his head to the side, the plush silk of the carpet soft against his cheek.

He felt the hands touching him still.

"You never asked me what I was," he began. "Honestly, I'm not even sure how I would have answered that question if you had asked me. For a long time, I thought I was the only one who wasn't mortal… the only one who didn't seem to age. I never had a family. I just remember… always being on my own. I moved from village to village—once people realized I never aged, they would turn on me, thinking me a demon."

Naruto paused, his mind drifting back to memories that he had allowed to rest for aeons. "And then one day… I found someone else who was like me." Naruto smiled slightly, the memory of that day seared into his soul like a brand. Appropriate, since his soul belonged to the man he'd met that day. "Or I suppose, to be totally accurate, I guess you'd say he was the one who found me."

3725 B.C.E.

The hot Mesopotamian sun beat down on his golden skin as he sat bare-chested on the grass mat outside the thatch hut that he currently called home. A small child with dark hair and hazel eyes climbed on his lap, her little fingers reaching out to touch his golden hair that was so different from her own. He smiled at her, grabbing her by the waist and tossing her in the air, grinning as she squealed in delight.

His body held the lean tautness of youth, though he was not young by human standards. The lustful eyes of many villagers often watched him, but he was used to it. Humans were drawn to him—at least, at first—until his differences became too noticeable. He'd been forced to leave many villages in the past when he didn't age like everyone else and the villagers became alarmed. He liked to be around them, though, to feel their emotions and passions. Especially the children, who were more accepting of him and whose emotions were simple and less corruptible.

It soothed him somehow.

There was a shadow of darkness within him that he felt wary of, though he didn't fully understand it, but being with children gave him peace. So he was willing to stay in the villages, helping with the day-to-day struggle for existence that mortals faced, even if he didn't really belong. He didn't like to be alone.

He had the sense that he was… waiting. He wasn't exactly sure what he was waiting for, but he knew somehow that he was. For now, he had found companionship. The family that had taken him in needed another strong back to help hunt and tend the fields.

Naruto looked up at the sky. The sun was at its zenith. It was time for him to make his way to the hunting grounds to check the traps. He smiled, putting the child down despite her pouting protest at the end of their game.

The little girl handed him a small crown she'd woven of daisies. He grinned, leaning forward to let her place it on his head before he stood, grabbing his pack and hunting knife. He slung them over his bare shoulder, the sunlight highlighting the play of smooth, tan skin over his torso, creating a golden halo as it shone through the locks of his hair as he walked away. The coarsely woven pants rode low on his hips, held up by a simple rope belt. He didn't need fancy clothes to draw the eyes of the maidens in the village. He smiled at them, but kept walking.

The traps he had set had yielded enough food for the next few days. He set back towards the village where the eldest daughter would clean and prepare the meat. Naruto saw the plumes of smoke before he was even halfway to the village. The rope he'd used to carry the game fell from his slack hands. In the back of his mind, he already knew what he would find. It would not be the first village to suffer such a fate.

He could feel the residual impression of the bloodlust, terror, and hatred that hung heavily in the air, thicker than the rising smoke. His feet carried him forward, his body tensing more and more as he approached what had marked the edge of the village.

There was nothing left.

The huts were still burning, the smell of blood and charred flesh was heavy in the summer heat. He walked slowly towards the hut of the family that had taken him in when he'd first arrived in the village.

All that was left was a smoldering pile of ash. And bones.

They had been burned alive as they hid in their hut, hoping for safety. He searched through the remains, finding the mother, father and three older children. He felt his chest twist as he dug through the hot ash, searching for one more. The little girl's body was not amongst the rubble. A sliver of hope flared inside him. Could she have escaped? Maybe he could find her, take her with him to the next village, find a new family to take her…

He called to her, but there was no response. He walked slowly through the ruins, searching, but there was no sign of life. Had she run away? Maybe she had hidden in the woods-

Naruto stopped in his tracks, frozen in horror.

Slowly, his fingers curled in, one by one, until they formed a tight fist. A strange energy filled his body, unlike anything he'd felt before. As though the small shadow of darkness within him had suddenly broken free. It grew, twisting and amplifying. He closed his eyes, letting his head fall back. Anguish and rage flooded through him. A need for battle. A need for destruction unlike anything he'd felt before.

A spear. Thrust deep in the ground.

He felt a change in his blood. A heat and power he'd never felt before seemed to awaken. His mind tried to close off, shutting out the horror of what was before him.

The point, sticking up. Aiming at the sky.

A cutting wind began to blow. A swirling, red-tinged blast that kicked up the dust and ash, blowing it wildly.

The tiny body, pierced through, hanging limply from the point of the spear.

He let out a growl which slowly built into an anguished roar.

The sound of hoofbeats reached his ears and he turned slowly, watching in controlled stillness as the approaching horde returned. He noticed another plume of smoke coming from the distance behind the riders. Another village they'd razed. Now they were headed home… to receive payment for their services.

Naruto spread his feet wider apart, bracing them into the blood-soaked earth. Unbeknownst to him, his eyes once crystal blue now glowed red. The riders had caught sight of him. The band of fifty horses turned, bearing down to wipe out the sole survivor of the village they'd raided only hours before. He could see the blood lust in their eyes.

No. Not see.

He could FEEL it. It pulsed within him, starting off slow, then gradually building, weaving with the strange, dark energy within him. It beat stronger than his heart, seeming to draw strength from the very air around him. Naruto unclenched his fists, throwing his hands open, pushing the anger and horror from his mind into theirs, feeling a coil of something dark and destructive spread through his body.

He opened his mind and unleashed hell.

The screams of the men and their beasts became lost in the swirl of the ravaging wind, but Naruto felt them anyway. Horses reared and trampled their masters in their frenzy to get away. In the midst of it all, Naruto noticed a darker force that seemed to join with his, almost opposite in nature. It was still, where his was wild. Cold, where his was burning. But somehow, they twined together.

And together, they were unstoppable.

When the dust had settled, there was nothing left but the tattered remains of the bandits.

Naruto had fallen to his knees, his breath coming in gasps. All the bandits were dead, but... there was… something… SOMEONE… with him.

Slowly, he stood, trying to understand what he was sensing.

He turned to look behind him.

There, a dark-haired boy rode upon a pale horse. His skin was almost luminescent in its paleness, with high cheekbones and perfectly arched brows creating a face with a depth of beauty that was not quite human. But more than his looks, it was the overwhelming presence the man had that signaled he was not like the frail mortals that Naruto had spent his life with up until this point. There was no doubt that the darker power that he had felt blending with his own came from this man. Naruto could still feel the tendrils of it whispering through him, brushing against his own… amplifying it.

While a wild wind still blew over the bodies of the dead, the air around the figure on the horse was still almost frozen thick with some unseen force.

Naruto felt his eyes drawn to the endless blackness of the other's. Their gazes locked. Naruto took a step closer, drawn to what he could see in those depths. Their powers were different. In some ways, even opposite. But he knew, somehow, that this boy was like him.

They were the same.

The dark eyes widened slightly, a flicker of surprise appearing before being suppressed. Naruto looked at him, tilting his head to one side.

"You're like me," Naruto said at last, the words carrying a tone of wonderment. He'd thought there were no others like him… that he'd always be alone as the humans around him aged or were killed, leaving him behind. Something about this boy… pulled at him. Naruto looked directly into the dark eyes, feeling their power. It resonated with his own.

He belonged here, with this being. Naruto knew it with a certainty that was buried deep in his bones. It was as though Naruto had been waiting all this time for him to show up.

The dark-haired boy smirked. "Hn. So it would seem. I was told to find you here."

"Told?" Naruto asked, feeling slightly dazed as he looked around as though expecting to find someone else with them.

Rather than answering the implied question, the boy pulled on a set of reins that Naruto hadn't seen him holding and a red-brown horse stepped forward. "Mount up. We're riding to a larger village to the north where these bandits came from."

Naruto turned, looking over the village he had called home for the past three years. The hut he had lived in. The body of the little girl he had watched grow. "First I'm going to bury them."

The boy followed his gaze, his face showing no emotions. After a moment, he dismounted, tethering their horses to the remains of a building. "Fine. We'll bury your humans. Then we ride."

There was no sympathy in the voice, but there was no mockery, either. Naruto smiled at the boy. "I'm Naruto. Who are you?"

The boy looked at him for a moment, then replied. "Sasuke."

"That was the first time I met Sasuke." Naruto's voice softened as he spoke, a depth of emotion wrapped around that name. He sat up, his sudden movement breaking the touch of the slender fingers that caressed him. The memories of the ancient past made him restless, and suddenly the touches that had brought him comfort were unsettling.

Attuned to the moods of their lover, Hinata and Neji exchanged a glance.

"You loved him," Hinata murmured, sitting up and sliding her hand along his arm, resting her head on his shoulder.

Naruto turned his head towards her, brushing his lips over her hair. In all their years together, he had spoken words of friendship and deep affection to the Hyuugas, but he had never spoken words of love.

"Yes," he said after a moment, his voice tight. "He was…" he shook his head, unable even after all this time to come up with words that could really express what Sasuke had been to him. What he still was.

Neji's arm drew tight around his waist, pulling their bodies together, letting the familiarity of the warm contact sooth him. They sat together for a few moments, knowing that their relationship was changing. Hinata stood, running her fingers one last time through Naruto's golden hair.

"Come. Let's have some tea. You can tell us about this Sasuke."

Naruto rose with Neji, then followed her to the study where Neji lit a fire in the hearth. None of them were susceptible to the cold, but it brought comfort nonetheless. Hinata made tea, and they sat on the soft sofa together. Neji and Hinata waited patiently for Naruto to continue with his story, knowing it was far from over, but that he would need time to allow the words to come.

"I asked him a few times who had sent him to find me… how he'd known what I was. He just told me a messenger had sent him. Sometimes I'd see him looking intently at something. But when I'd try to follow his gaze, I could never see anything there. He'd just shrug and tell me the new direction we needed to ride."

"Did he ever tell you what you were?" Neji asked, his voice showing only curiosity, no fear or judgement.

"No. We talked about it sometimes but neither of us really knew. We knew we weren't humans, but beyond that... we just knew that, together, we were much more powerful than we were apart. We brought down entire armies. Entire nations," Naruto spoke the final word on almost a whisper. There was no bragging in his tone. If anything, there was agony.

Neji and Hinata understood. Human history was dark and bloody. They had not lived as long as Naruto, but they had lived to see the dark ages, the World Wars, and just the everyday horrors that 'humanity' often bestowed upon itself.

"Sasuke was curious about it," Naruto shrugged. "At the time, I was just happy to be together. I didn't really care one way or another what we were, since there was no changing it. But Sasuke would go to the temples sometimes, and later the libraries to read the scripts there. To see what they said about us… anything about our origins or our purpose. Some called us Messengers of God. Others called us demons, or gods ourselves. But it didn't matter. We rode together. We followed our calling. We were War and Death and brought down civilizations and raised others up." Naruto looked down into his tea cup, watching the way the steam rose, dissipating into the room. He remembered the feeling he'd had back in those early days, so sure he'd never leave Sasuke's side. That he'd finally found his place and his purpose.

"Destiny," Neji murmured, as though reading Naruto's thoughts. And perhaps he was.

"Was it always just the two of you?" Hinata asked.

Naruto smiled softly. "No. In the end, we were Four."

Hinata's eyebrows rose, while Neji's expression suddenly stilled, as though he had realized something but wasn't quite sure.

"There are two more like you?" she asked.

"We all are slightly different in terms of our abilities. But, yeah. Sasuke and I eventually encountered two more who were like us. It had been just the two of us for many years, but then one day Sasuke said we needed to go meet someone. We were riding in the Tigris River Valley when we felt the earth tremble. The horses reared up and we watched as the ground split and heaved. The entire river changed its course, flooding over the ground and leaving an empty riverbed behind. There was a woman standing in the middle of the river. Her right arm was covered with mud up past her elbow."

Naruto paused remembering the sight of the pink-haired, green-eyed girl as she stood, watching them approach. Few mortals were able to stand without fear before them, and Naruto immediately sensed there was something different about the girl. He had opened his mind, trying to read her. Instead of the usual human emotions, shallow and fleeting, he had felt a resonance that reminded him of what he'd felt when he'd first met Sasuke. Not as strong, but definitely not human. She told them her name was Sakura.

"She had split the earth with her strike, diverting the water from the fields of the city below that had gone to war against her home and destroyed it. Sakura joined us that day. And it was only a few years later that we met Sai in the Indus valley. After that, we always rode as four. There were never any others."

"The Four Horsemen of legend," Neji stated, his voice not reflecting any of the surprise and slight awe that Naruto could feel emanating from him.

"Yeah," Naruto looked off into the corner of the room, memories of that time overtaking him. "We were the Four. We were… unstoppable."

2950 BC

The Four stood at the end of the peninsula, looking across the narrow sea that stood between them and their target. The warships were all currently docked in their bays. The army at the ready, guarding the Citadel and ready to be deployed for invasion.

Sai unfurled his scroll and a dark, writhing cloud was unleashed. It spiraled up to the sky, blocking out the sun in its scope before descending on the crops and stores of food. The plague of locusts was voracious, devouring everything in sight. His mice he didn't bother with, knowing the island wouldn't last long enough for them to spread their disease.

Sakura crouched down, her shoulders squared, power emanating from her frame. Her green eyes focused on the small island nation before her. The blue diamond marking between her eyes began to glow as she brushed her fingers lightly over the rough surface of the hard basalt rock beneath their feet, then her fingers tightened into a fist. Not taking her eyes from the island in front of her, Sakura plunged her fist down. The rock exploded, shards of rock flying like spears in every direction.

But the true destruction came from the response of the sea. The waters heaved and the waves surged. A wall of water nearly five hundred feet high grew from the depths, rolling inexorably forward and destroying everything in its path. The crops laying in their fields were washed away, the salt water penetrating the earth, making it barren. Even if there were survivors of this day, there would be no food for them to return to. Smaller houses outside the city walls were crushed under the force of the tsunami.

The wall of water grew, pulling back from the rocky shore where the Four Horsemen stood as they watched the destruction of the once great city.

Naruto turned, meeting Sasuke's gaze as he felt Sasuke's power rise. He felt his own surge in response. They stood side-by-side, close enough that Naruto could detect the smallest hint of Sasuke's cold, almost electric scent as the tendrils of dark energy blended with his own. Naruto held back a shudder at the intimacy of it. The sensation had been growing stronger each time they did this. And Naruto's powers were becoming stronger, wilder because of it. There were times when he had difficulty pulling back. The surge being so large, the pleasure too keen. But the results were catastrophic when that happened, and Naruto became eaten with guilt. But today, their target was isolated… an island unto itself. He could let himself go without restraint.

The walls of the main city had withstood the flood. The army had taken their positions on the battlements and towers.

But it would not matter.

A red haze began to swirl, growing larger and larger, spreading out over the ocean. The water whipped as the wind picked up, swirling higher and higher. A shadow passed over the sun, and the land grew dark. The black cloak that Sasuke wore billowed out behind him as he turned his dark gaze on the city walls and the souls that were held inside.

Naruto felt the coalescing of their powers. He closed his eyes, letting his head fall back as the black swirled with red within him. An intimate merging of the two beings. The only real intimacy Naruto had ever experienced.

It was… dangerously addictive. And it made him yearn for things he had never considered before.

It built higher and higher each time. Sasuke's power linked more fully with his as time passed, as though reaching deep inside him and pulling more out from within him. And the more it pulled, the larger Naruto's power became. But it wasn't that which Naruto had begun to crave. While the feel of impossible strength flooding through him was seductive, irresistible, it was the connection the bond that he felt with Sasuke that Naruto was becoming obsessed with. There was no one else he would ever feel this with. His body thrummed with it, his blood heated. He breathed it in and felt it spread within him. It was the only intimacy that Sasuke would allow, making Naruto crave it even more.

The sounds of soldiers shrieking, fighting each other and trying to flee was swept away by the terrible wind. Lightning struck from the cloudless sky.

The walls began to crack and the towers crumbled.

Sakura drew back her fist and struck again, the earth ringing like a bell as her power pulsed through it into the ocean, calling up another mighty wave. Though this time, there were no walls to hold it back.

The country that had been poised to subjugate the surrounding lands was swept out to sea, lost in the mists of time. All that would be left of the mighty island nation would be the tales told through time of a civilization that had vanished beneath the waves.

Even its name would be one of legends, its very existence debated as it faded from the memories of men.

Hinata and Neji looked at Naruto as he finished his tale, hardly able to believe that before them sat a being who had caused such legendary destruction. As old as they were, even the Hyuuga siblings had thought the tales of Atlantis were just myths. But the part that was even more difficult for them to comprehend was Naruto's role in it all. To them, Naruto had only ever been gentle, caring, and passionate. Not a creature of war and destruction of such epic proportions.

"Naruto," Hinata's eyes reflected sadness as she reached out and laced her fingers through his. She sensed within him the incongruity of his gentle nature and violent powers… and how it must have torn him apart in the past.

Naruto smiled slightly. "In those times, it was… a different world. There was death and war everywhere, regardless of our presence. We didn't create it. We simply directed it as we were called to do."

"But you didn't like it," Hinata said intuitively.

Naruto thought about it. "The world was brutal at that time. It felt more like we were… shaping it, not destroying it. But when I couldn't control it…" Naruto looked off to the side, his body full of tension.

"Sasuke helped you control it?" Neji asked.

"At first. He was the one who focused me. He told us where we were sent. But later…" Naruto scrubbed his hands through his hair, shaking his head, not wanting to say more.

"Is that why you left him? Even though he was your lover?" Hinata asked gently. She didn't know the fully story of how the Horsemen had ended, but she understood that Naruto would have sought a way to gain control if he found himself losing it. There were creatures who reveled in the death and suffering of others. Naruto was not one of them.

Naruto stared down into his now empty tea cup. Neji's hand tightened on his knee, but Naruto wasn't able to respond to it.

His expression bleak and filled with a resigned, bitter hopelessness. "I loved him. But we were never lovers."

to be continued…

Next chapter will be Sasuke's POV. Any guesses on who the 'messenger' is? Someone only Sasuke's eyes can see.


Chapter Text

Warnings: Mild het sexual flashback Naruto x Helen of Troy, voyeur!Sasuke 17+ this chapter.

Author's note: Special thanks again to my lovely Beta - Anon!

Sasuke appeared on the front steps of his estate. The black silk of his shirt was slightly torn, and pressed against his skin in the night breeze. His face was expressionless as he dropped Suigetsu and Karin on the large stonework slab before heading inside. He had no time nor inclination to take them back to their lair. It was still hours before dawn; they'd wake before then.

At least… Suigetsu would.

Karin might not, depending on how full-out Naruto had gone with his attack, but Suigetsu would see to her in any case. And if he didn't, then maybe she'd finally learn her lesson about taking 'no' for an answer the first time. The thought of her trying to compel Naruto to her bed sent a familiar, dark emotion surging through him. She'd had no idea who Naruto was, of course. But she had trespassed in a way that Sasuke was not, at the moment, inclined to forgive.

He wasn't feeling particularly charitable. But then again, Death usually wasn't.

He forced his thoughts to calm, not wanting to cause any more of a disturbance than he already had this evening. Fortunately, his lands were isolated and vast, sprawling across a heavily wooded area on a small island north of Hokkaido. There were no roads that led to the house, and no other residences nearby. It was his refuge, its existence unknown to humans. It had been Sasuke's home for centuries. His largest archive of books and scrolls was stored in the library of his island estate - knowledge amassed over countless human lifespans.

He had learned to stop relying on mortals to protect important things when the fools burned the library at Constantinople. His lips twisted into a slight sneer at the memory. Humans. So short-sighted, always wrapped up in their petty wars and genocides, all supposedly done in the name of gods that they could not even begin to comprehend.

But it was not the collected wisdom of the recorded history stored in his library that he was seeking this night. After what happened this evening, he needed the isolation of his home.

The house was silent... sterile with cold, black stone floors and stark white walls. There were no carpets to soften or warm. No flowers to bring life to the mansion. Death had no need for such things. The lack of clutter and smooth lines were familiar, and normally brought Sasuke a measure of peace.

Tonight, however, he was still reeling from the images that Naruto had pressed into his mind. The intensity, the heat... the emotions that were swirling through him made his house somehow feel simply empty rather than peaceful by contrast. He had almost forgotten what it was like to be faced with such an overwhelming presence.

There was no other being like Naruto in all of Sasuke's nearly endless existence.

He closed his eyes, letting the images and sensations flood through him, making it impossible for him to think clearly about the night's events.

After so many years, he had finally found Naruto. He had always assumed that—when he found him—he would get the answers to the questions that had been plaguing him since the day he realized Naruto had left and wasn't coming back. What had made Naruto leave? Why didn't he talk to Sasuke about it first? Where had he been all this time?

But instead of getting answers, they had fought and Naruto had left. Again. Frustration burned through him. The blue eyes that had haunted his dreams for centuries had looked at him for the first time in over a thousand years, and shown only wariness. In that instant, they had shown no happiness to see him… no guilt for the hell he'd put Sasuke through.

When Naruto had said that he didn't think Sasuke would have bothered looking for him, Sasuke had felt fury and disbelief rip through him.

Had all their time together meant so little to Naruto? Was it so easily tossed aside without a second thought? Sasuke's stomach tightened at the notion. Naruto had always claimed Sasuke was his first real bond, the person he was closest to. Had that all just been words?

Sasuke knew he needed to process what had happened and get himself back under control before he went after Naruto. But he would not let him escape again. Not now that he knew where Naruto had been all these centuries. His fists clenched as he recalled Suigetsu's words at the club:

" Haven't you heard? He's the human pet the Hyuugas have been keeping. They say that they've taken a lover from the same family for centuries. Must be something about genetic sexual prowess or something."

All these years when he'd been searching for him, Naruto had been their lover. Sasuke had been annoyed in the past by Naruto's experimentation with sex and his trysts with mortals. It was something Sasuke never fully understood. Why did immortals need to go through the motions of procreating when they could neither sire nor bear children? But Sasuke had been able to overlook Naruto's side activities. After all, mortals' lives were fleeting. In the end, they had little to offer Naruto in the long term.

The Hyuugas were different.

His teeth clenched at the memory of how the incubus had looked at Naruto in the club, the male Hyuuga's eyes reflecting concern and… a sense of ownership that had Sasuke's eyes spinning red. And Naruto turned away from Sasuke and gone to the woman when she'd fallen. Touched her.

He flung open the door of his private study and stalked inside. The slight prickling in the air the only warning he had that he was not alone in the room.

He bit back a curse. Of course, his lapse in control would not go unremarked. It had only ever happened once before, and it had not been overlooked then either.

He turned to his desk, not surprised to see the figure that was seated on the dark, mahogany surface, an original Book of Kells held in the visitor's long, elegant fingers. His long, dark hair was pulled into a low ponytail over his right shoulder. It irritated Sasuke that, for the second time that evening, a being had caught him relatively unawares. It was not something he was used to. Though, in the case of his current visitor, he should be used to it. His powers could only affect creatures of this world. The being before him was not of this earth, thus outside of Sasuke's powers over life and death.

The only connection they had was in their eyes. He did not know if they had been created at the same time, or if he had merely been given eyes that could see what some mortals called the Angel of Death. But there had only ever been one messenger, directing them where to ride.

Sasuke eyed the man, wondering how long he would make Sasuke wait before speaking. The black feathers of the man's neatly folded wings brushed against the rich mahogany of Sasuke's desk before they extended out from the bare, pale shoulder blades as the man stretched, closing the book. The smooth skin covering the perfectly sculpted torso glowed softly in the low light of the room. A simple white fabric, wrapped low about his waist, covered his lower half and allowed his bare feet to show beneath.

"Sasuke," the voice was rich and low, though the man's lips had not moved at all. They communicated as they always had, through their eyes.

"Itachi," Sasuke returned the greeting, the tension he felt not reflected in his cold voice.

Itachi's dark wings shifted slightly before folding back into place as he stood, walking over to the bookshelf to return the book to its spot.

"I don't recall asking you to interfere with any taking of human lives this evening," Itachi spoke as he crossed the room over to Sasuke. The dark red eyes of the creature never leaving Sasuke's.

"You didn't," Sasuke replied calmly.

Itachi arched a brow. "In all the millennia you've existed, you've never taken a life without reason. It is a control that you are expected to have. A job requirement, if you will."

Sasuke didn't flinch under the intense, unearthly gaze. "I know."

"So what is your explanation for this evening's events? There were over two hundred humans prematurely collected. The entire city was overcome with riots."

Sasuke said nothing. He knew that his and Naruto's powers had spiraled out of control along with his own. The damage done was miniscule compared to the damage they were capable of when they intentionally loosed their powers. But still, he knew that even this relatively minor infraction would not be allowed.

"Of course, you were not the one responsible for the riots. You will not be held accountable for those deaths," Itachi clarified.

Sasuke stiffened. "You are going to seal Naruto?"

Itachi smiled slightly, as though amused at Sasuke's concern. "Given the extent of the chaos he is capable of creating, this event hardly registers. One does not create such a being and expect it to remain contained. He was close to the line in the past, but…"

Sasuke felt a twisting coldness settle in his stomach at the words. He was not familiar with the emotion, but if he had to give it a name, it would have been 'fear'.

"... it has been centuries since even he allowed this type of mistake," Itachi's voice held no judgment, though ultimately, Sasuke knew Itachi would be their judge. "His conscience is keener than yours. He will make the necessary corrections himself, as he always does."

Sasuke's eyes flickered at the implication that Itachi had been watching Naruto. It was not something that Itachi had ever been willing to discuss with him before, even though he was sure the being knew Sasuke was searching for Naruto. Whenever he would ask Itachi, the man would simply say that it was not his to disclose. It irritated him that Itachi had known all along where Naruto was. Even if he understood why Itachi had kept track of him, he resented not being told where Naruto was for all those years.

It also didn't escape him that Naruto had found more control in the arms of the Hyuugas than when he was with Sasuke. How could any other creature be a better partner for him than Sasuke? What could they possibly understand of him, of his powers?

Itachi waited for Sasuke to respond. When it became clear he wasn't going to, Itachi continued. "You knew what would happen if you began to lose control of your powers. You were warned long ago. While there are still minor interventions that you have been asked to make, the need is not so great that you will be exempt from being sealed if such a lapse happens again."

Sasuke looked at this being of death. The tie between them had always been there. A remote connection, both of them existing on opposite sides of the edge of death. Sasuke to separate the souls from their mortal bodies, and Itachi to take the souls to their final destination—wherever that might be. Sasuke was a being of both Life and Death, Itachi of both Heaven and Hell.

Sasuke knew nothing about Itachi except that when Sasuke was called to intervene, when the balance was shifted too far one way or the other, Itachi was the one who delivered the message. Whether the message had come from heaven or hell was irrelevant. It was delivered and the action was taken.

But regardless of Itachi's origins or alignment, he had the power to seal them all.

And Sasuke had been warned once before.

2100 BCE

Sasuke watched as Naruto laughed at something Sakura had said, the sunlight glistening off his golden body as he bathed in the river. There was a strange possessiveness he felt whenever he looked at his companion.

The way their powers blended together, the way Naruto's steady blue gaze would always find him. Sasuke knew that as long as Naruto belonged by his side. Regardless of the chaos and darkness of the world around them, Sasuke felt content when Naruto was with him.

They fit together… a single, combined force to achieving their purpose. Death and War… the shapers of human history. Sakura and Sai completed their group, each playing their own role, but Sasuke didn't feel the same level of bond with them, somehow. He assumed it was simply because Naruto had come first and that they had been together the longest… that that was the reason for his feeling of ownership over the blond immortal.

Before finding Naruto, Sasuke's only interactions with other beings had been the brief meetings with Itachi. But he'd had no real companion. Sasuke didn't keep company with mortals. He could constantly feel the fragility of their existence, constantly reminding him of how fleeting they were. And their innate fear of Death would surface before they got too close to him, anyway. And at that time, there had been no other immortal beings. Their creation would come later.

He wouldn't say he was lonely before meeting Naruto, but he knew now that he never wanted to be without his golden counterpart again. He still focused on their purpose, keeping his thoughts and emotions in check, as was his calling. But Naruto's constant presence made him feel… complete.

Naruto looked up, sensing Sasuke's gaze on him. Lately, Sasuke had been noticing that Naruto had been looking at him slightly differently than he had in the past. There was a possessiveness and a need in the depths of the immortal blue eyes when they locked on him that Sasuke didn't fully understand. But somehow, it made him more aware of Naruto's presence in a way that went beyond the simple feel of the low thrum of their combined power that was always present. Always dangerous.

It was more of an overall awareness of Naruto himself. Sasuke found it… unsettling. A constant thrum of something just below the surface, slowly building to some unknown culmination.

Their gazes locked for several moments before a motion near Naruto drew Sasuke's attention. He felt a frown forming as he noticed that Sai had taken the cloth that Naruto had been scrubbing the dirt and dust from and was now washing the blond's back with it. It was far from the first time they had bathed together. Definitely not the first time they had helped each other wash the dirt and blood of their work from their bodies.

But somehow… it bothered Sasuke this time.

There was an expression on Sai's face that he had seen on mortals before. Sasuke was aware of mortal emotions like lust and possessiveness. In their drive to procreate, humans required a sexual partner who would bear or sire their children. In order to ensure their chosen mate was always available to do that and to protect their offspring, possessiveness arose. Lust was simply the biological drive to reproduce asserting itself.

But immortal beings such as they had no need to reproduce to carry on their legacy. And, in fact, had no ability to create offspring. There was no need for sex. No need for lust.

But the way Sai's eyes lingered on Naruto's tan skin while he moved the cloth over his torso…

Sasuke's fists clenched, though he didn't understand the anger he felt.

Naruto, Sai and Sakura looked over to him with surprise. It took him a moment to realize he was drawing on his powers. Not much… just a low pull. But usually that was a signal that battle was upon them. They looked around, trying to see what Sasuke's target was, but they were alone in the river bend.

Sasuke forced himself to calm down, unsure of what had just happened.

A movement on the bluff above the river caught his eyes. A familiar set of black wings and red eyes looked back at him.

" There might be news. I'll be back," Sasuke spoke tersely, walking out of the cool, swirling waters of the river to go and talk with Itachi. He could feel the eyes of the others on him as he quickly dressed in his loose, linen pants and cloak, but he ignored them.

He walked up the hill to the precipice, wondering why Itachi had chosen such an inconvenient spot if he had a message to convey. None of the others could see him like he did, only sense his presence. And there was never any secrecy, anyway. Sasuke always relayed every detail of the message that was given him. There was no need to hold things back from his companions.

" You enjoy the view from up here?" Sasuke asked, giving Itachi a slightly annoyed look. He hadn't finished washing the dirt from his hair and now he would have to bathe again to finish the job.

" I thought that you might need a slight break from your companions," Itachi's words came to him directly through his mind, but it didn't strike Sasuke unusual, since that was how it had always been.

" Why?"

Itachi's eyes swirled, forcing Sasuke's to do the same. Sasuke could feel the other being entering his mind. It was the first time something like this had happened and Sasuke tried to pull back, to close the connection, but he couldn't.

" What are you doing?" None of Sasuke's anxiety showed in his tone, but he was sure Itachi could sense it anyway.

The probing gaze stopped, their eyes returning to normal. "You used your powers without control today."

Sasuke's eyes widened. Surely that small surge was not significant. "There were no beings nearby who were affected. It was just a momentary distraction."

Itachi looked at him, his eyes showing an emotion for the first time since Sasuke had met the creature. Empathy. "It is hard, to be alone. Existing endlessly. You have a purpose, but it is not sufficient to fulfill you."

Sasuke stiffened. There might be empathy in the eyes, but he knew there was a reprimand in the words.

" But for creatures of death, we cannot ever lose control. It is why our emotions are less than other beings'. It is why we do not form attachments. If we cannot keep control, we cannot continue to exist. Your power is too great, too absolute, Sasuke. Whatever it was that caused your control to slip today, you must avoid it."

Sasuke paled. He wasn't exactly sure what had caused his mistake, but it had occurred while watching his companions bathe. Would he have to avoid them? Avoid Naruto? Was that even… possible?

As though reading his mind, Itachi continued. "You don't need to avoid your companions entirely. You just need to avoid whatever situation caused you to lose focus."

Sasuke calmed slightly. It would be hard, but it would be possible. He just needed to understand what had happened, then he could control it. "And if I fail to do so?"

Itachi had looked at him, only sadness and understanding in his eyes. But there could be no mercy. With great power comes great responsibility. Even the humans had been able to understand that.

" Then you will be sealed."

Sasuke kept his gaze locked on Itachi. In the scale of the endless number of deaths he had wrought, the two hundred did not weigh on him. Not seeing Naruto again, though, would not be as easily brushed aside. "Are you here to seal me?"

Itachi gave a slight smirk. "One mistake in six thousand years of existence could be overlooked. But there cannot be a second one. Whatever your differences with Naruto, they will not be played out over the fate of human souls."

Sasuke felt relief flood through him. "So… you are not forbidding me from finding him."

Itachi's eyes flashed with impatience. "I have never forbidden you from finding him. As long as it didn't interfere with your purpose, you are free to pursue him as you see fit."

"But you refused to help me find him in the past."

"Naruto had his reasons for leaving. Who am I to question his decision?"

Sasuke narrowed his eyes. "Given that you have the power to seal us if we step out of line, I would say your role as 'innocent bystander' is not credible."

Itachi turned, stretching his wings as he faced the moonlit window. His eyes glowed with the fires of hell, while his skin shone with the light of heaven. "I have never claimed to be innocent in any sense of the word, Sasuke."

With that, the being vanished from the room.

Sasuke looked after him, the moonlight pooling onto the dark, stone floor like liquid.

It was odd for Sasuke to ponder his own mortality. Death was obviously something he didn't fear. It was simply a bridge between planes of existence, with himself and Itachi as the ferrymen. But it wasn't exactly death that he would face if he was unable to maintain control around Naruto. It was being sealed… indefinitely.

Could he risk another confrontation? Could he control himself enough to talk with Naruto?

He supposed the question was moot, since there was no way he was going to let Naruto slip away again. Regardless of the consequences.

Sasuke felt Suigetsu's presence as the vampire regained consciousness. It wasn't long before the pale-haired man joined him in the library.

He was slightly surprised when he felt Juugo's presence as well. He hadn't expected him to come to the house. Sasuke was still standing by the window, looking out at the full moon when the two vampires entered his sanctuary.

"I saw on the news about the club," Juugo stated softly. "Are you alright?"

Sasuke scoffed slightly, his pride pricking at the implication that he could be otherwise.

Suigetsu chuckled. "Sasuke's not hurt. He's just butthurt."

Sasuke's eyes narrowed, and he let the temperature in the room drop in warning.

As usual, Suigetsu ignored him. "You know that guy that Sasuke's had us chasing around all over hell and back for the past few hundred years? Turns out that guy's his ex or something. Smokin' hot. Karin tried to get a taste of that."

Sasuke couldn't help the low, warning sound that escaped his throat at the words.

Juugo nodded. "I thought I recognized her condition. Sasuke put her in a coma again?"

Suigetsu snickered. "No. Blondie did. I didn't think anyone could be a match for Death Boy here, but damn. That kid blew that shit up. Took down the whole club… made all the humans go crazy. They were rioting, breaking shit, screaming… it was fuckin' awesome."

"Shut up, Suigetsu." Sasuke leveled a look at his friend.

Juugo listened thoughtfully. "If you found him, then why isn't he here?"

"Because evidently, Naruto's been fucking the Hyuugas for a few hundred years, and Sasuke found out and dropped them to the ground."

Juugo's eyes widened. "You killed them?"

"Tch," Sasuke couldn't help the small twist inside of him that had wanted to kill the Hyuugas. Especially when he thought about Naruto living as their lover for so long…

"What the fuck, you guys!" Karin stormed into the library. "You left me on the front steps? Seriously? You couldn't even bother to bring me inside? It's almost dawn!"

Sasuke narrowed his eyes at the female vampire, still annoyed with her. Sunlight wouldn't kill her. She was too old for that. But it would certainly weaken her. Not to mention the skin irritation, which was probably the part that would annoy Karin the most.

Suigetsu snickered. "Oh, man! Juugo, you totally missed it! It was CLASSIC! Karin sees Sasuke's boy, but she doesn't know it's him, yeah? So she's getting all wet for him-"

"Your fangs were showing too, you asshole," Karin muttered. Then his words sunk in. "What do you mean 'Sasuke's boy'?"

Suigetsu ignored her question. "Yeah, but I didn't try to compel Sasuke's ex-boyfriend into my bed and get knocked out by him in two seconds flat." Suigetsu was grinning in obvious enjoyment at Karin's embarrassment.

"Ex-boyfriend! What? Sasuke has never taken a lover! Plus, why would he take the Hyuuga's sloppy seconds!" Karin crossed her arms, glaring at Suigetsu, failing to notice the way the room darkened at her words.

Suigetsu looked nervously at Sasuke. "Uh, Karin-"

"I mean… yeah, the kid was hot, but seriously! Sasuke doesn't drink blood, so he wouldn't even care that the guy had the best fucking smell, I mean, GOD! I wanted to just lick-"

The lightbulb in the library flickered, but Sasuke was able to pull back before he shattered them all.

"Karin!" Juugo's voice was soft, but cracked through the room.

Karin turned to him, surprised at his uncharacteristic interruption.

"You're upsetting Sasuke," Juugo stated quietly.

Karin scoffed, rolling her eyes at the possibility of Sasuke being anything so ridiculous as 'upset'. She turned to look at Sasuke, then went still as she took in his aura and the expression on his face.

"Sasuke?" she asked, concern showing in her voice.

Sasuke said nothing, glaring at her, trying to keep his temper from breaking free.

Her eyes widened, then softened. "It's true then. That human was your lover?"

"Wrong. On both counts," Sasuke bit out.

There was stillness in the room as Sasuke's words considered.

"So then… who is he?" Karin asked.

Suigetsu and Juugo looked at Sasuke with keen interest. Sasuke had never discussed his past with them. He was Death. They had recognized and acknowledged him as such. They knew he had been seeking someone from his past, someone powerful, but Sasuke had never discussed more than Naruto's physical appearance, name, and the things to look for to recognize his presence.

"He is War. Chaos. The Second of the Four Horsemen," Sasuke said finally.

Juugo shifted, his face contemplative. "But you were the First."


"So… there are two more like you and that blond?" Karin asked hopefully.

Sasuke's eyes narrowed. "Yes. But one is a woman."

Karin shrugged. Gender didn't matter much when you were immortal.

Suigetsu's eyes lit up at the idea of a female like Naruto. "So where are the other two now?"

Sasuke looked out his window over the sloping, wooded hills that surrounded them. The moonlight gilded the trees in a pale, yellow glow. "Sakura would crush you with one hand."

Karin snickered, clearly not averse to the idea of some payback for Suigetsu's amusement at her expense earlier.

Juugo watched Sasuke's face, surprised to see real emotion on the man where there never had been any before. Sasuke's control was legendary, in all things. He never expressed anything more than mild annoyance or curiosity, not even when Orochimaru had tried to bind him to himself in any way possible. Who was this person who had been able to affect him so deeply? Someone who had pull with not only Sasuke, but instantly drew Karin, Suigetsu and the Hyuugas' interest as well.

"So… Naruto was just a companion, then?" Juugo frowned as he spoke, clearly knowing that it couldn't be the whole story. Sasuke had immediately set out to any area whenever he heard of war breaking out, or large uprisings. They would go and search the area, looking for any signs of the one called Naruto. Juugo knew with certainty that Sasuke would never go to such lengths for any of them.

Sasuke looked at him but didn't respond.

"He didn't seem very happy to see you tonight, friend or not," Suigetsu said. "You pissed him off when you attacked the Hyuugas. Why even bother? They weren't interfering or anything."

Sasuke shifted, a rare sign of tension or possibly… uncertainly from the usually emotionless man.

"I didn't attack them," he stated sharply.

"Well, you got mad when some stupid human laid hands on your… friend… then dropped everyone in the club to the ground. The Hyuugas just seemed to last a bit longer than the rest. I thought for a minute you'd killed them, too, but I could still hear their hearts beating."

Sasuke stilled. Naruto had many abilities, but he didn't have the keen hearing that vampires did. Nor did he have Sasuke's ability to feel the threads of the souls of the living. It was possible that Naruto had thought he had killed them. He honestly didn't know why the lust creatures had collapsed, but he was fairly certain it wasn't his doing. 'Immortal' creatures could be killed. He had done so himself in the past. But it took more effort on his part. More concentration. There was no way he could have incapacitated them with the small tendrils of his power that had escaped when he lost control.

"I don't know what happened to them," Sasuke said honestly. He didn't really care what happened to them, but he didn't want to become the target for Naruto's wrath for something he didn't do.

"Ticked your blondie off, though. I thought he was going to kill us for real for a minute there. Hey, is that even possible? Can someone kill you?" Suigetsu asked, distracted by the concept of Death's death.

"Don't be an idiot, Sui," Karin scoffed. "You can't kill Death. God, you're such a moron."

"I can be sealed, though," Sasuke replied calmly, as though it was of no importance.

"Sealed? Like… trapped-in-a-stone-cave kind of seal?" Suigetsu asked.

Sasuke rolled his eyes. "I could just transport out of a stone cave. No. I mean more… the sealing of power. Put into stasis, in a way. Until the End of Days."

"End of Days?" Suigetsu snickered. "That sounds so… biblical. You've been reading too many of your old books."

Karin picked up a wooden pencil that was in a holder on Sasuke's desk and launched it at Suigetsu. It missed his heart by an inch.

"Ow! Bitch! You almost fucking staked me!" Suigetsu pulled it out, watching as the wound closed on its own, only the residual blood marking that it had ever happened.

"Then don't be annoying," she snapped, walking over to one of the large, leather chairs and sitting down. "Fuck, I still have a headache from your ex. What the hell did he do to me?"

Sasuke ignored the 'ex' comment, though the term left him feeling unsettled... somehow both pleased and angry.

"He kicked your ass, is what he did," Suigetsu grinned.

Karin glared at him. "Do I need to get a bigger stake?"

"Enough," Sasuke's voice cut across the room. He turned to look at Suigetsu. "You said that the two he was with were Hyuugas. If you recognized them, you must know about them. Where is their lair?"

Unlike vampires or lycanthropes who were vulnerable at rest, succubi and incubi had no need to conceal their dwellings. Their strength did not ebb and flow with the cycle of the sun or moon.

Suigetsu and Karin exchanged a glance. "Yeah. They own a mansion just north of the city we were in last night. Are you… what are you going to do?" Suigetsu asked. "Do you need us to go and fetch your boy for you?"

Sasuke scoffed, half tempted to let them try just so they could see what they were really up against and erase all thoughts either might have of taking Naruto for their own. "You wouldn't last a minute against him. No. I'll be handling this myself."

Karin bit her lip, clearly not sure that it was a good idea. She had sensed another presence in the library, and even though it was gone now, it was exceptionally powerful. She had a feeling that Sasuke's talk about sealing wasn't strictly theoretical. The residual presence she felt was unlike anything she had encountered before.

"He really didn't seem to want to talk to you tonight," Suigetsu eyed Sasuke, trying to gauge what his plans were.

"He'll calm down when he finds out his little toys aren't dead," there was an edge of bitterness in Sasuke's voice that was not missed by his companions.

"What will you do once you find him?" Juugo asked.

"What do you think, Juugo?" Suigetsu snickered. "He's going to fuck him into the next century."

Sasuke glared, but before he could say anything, Karin was already piling on.

"No way. Naruto's been using the two Hyuugas as sex toys for how many centuries?" Karin ran the tip of her tongue over her lip at the thought. "Sasuke hasn't even kissed anyone. He wouldn't know what to do with someone like Naruto in his bed. Though…" she winked at Sasuke. "I'd be happy to give you a few pointers and let you… practice on me, if you'd like."

Only the wicked amusement in her grin that said she was clearly joking saved her from an untimely death.

"You're that eager to be put into a coma again?" Suigetsu asked.

Sasuke ignored them and looked out the window. He hadn't fully thought about exactly what he would do with Naruto when he found him. It had been unacceptable that Naruto had left, and Sasuke was going to correct that. It was true that Sasuke had never allowed anyone to touch him intimately. Mortals were too fragile, and a brush with Death would be fatal. Other immortal beings were strong enough that they could survive his touch, but he had honestly never felt any desire to touch anyone.

He recognized the lie as soon as the thought was completed.

1200 B.C.E.

Sasuke's footsteps were completely silent as he walked with lethal grace through the wooded area. Naruto had disappeared the past three nights, and Sasuke's curiosity had not been satisfied with Naruto's vague answers about where he had been going every evening. Sasuke had been spending more of his time alone, meditating and working on his control. He had noticed Naruto had withdrawn somewhat, and he no longer answered all of Sasuke's questions with the same openness that he used to.

It irritated him.

Sasuke had waited about twenty minutes after Naruto had slipped away from their camp after the others had gone to bed. He followed the sound of the river, easily able to detect Naruto's presence. The wild aura always seemed to electrify the very air Naruto passed through, sometimes lingering for days. Sasuke smirked. It was never hard to find where the blond had gone to.

The smug amusement faded from his face as he heard a familiar voice give a low, throaty groan. It was unmistakably Naruto's, but the tone of it was something Sasuke had never heard from him before. The husky laugh of a woman followed, and some nameless emotion began to twist in Sasuke's gut. Dark and dangerous.

He reached a small grotto, where the river plunged over a small, rocky hill forming a cascading waterfall. And there, bathed in moonlight and the glistening water, was Naruto.

But he was not alone.

A female human lay beneath him on the rocks, her legs wrapped tightly around Naruto's waist as his hips thrust against her, into her, over and over. Her neck was arched back in ecstasy, beautiful, golden hair cascading over the rock following the flow of the water. By human standards, she was exquisite. There was a dark pull around her that spoke of power and death that Sasuke instantly detected. Rare humans existed who altered the course of history far beyond the reach of what they should, and he could feel instantly that this woman was one.

But what captured Sasuke's attention the most was Naruto. He had seen his companion naked many times throughout their travels together. But it had never been like this. The muscles in Naruto's shoulders and back stood out in stark relief as he levered his body over the woman. The moonlight cast shadows that highlighted the perfect dips just above his taut ass, illuminating the way the muscles moved with powerful fluidity beneath the surface of the tan skin.

There was a wildness in Naruto's movements, both violent and gentle at the same time, that held Sasuke's gaze in rapt fascination. He saw Naruto's strong fingers twist themselves in the woman's long hair, pulling her head back as he continued to drive into her. Her face was twisted in an expression of delirious pleasure so intense, it was palpable on the night's breeze that caressed their heated, intertwined bodies.

If it hadn't been for the past years of meditation and strengthening his control, the woman would have instantly been dead.

Sasuke stood frozen for a moment, watching from the shadows, his fists clenched, his chest tight. He sensed a slight pulse of Naruto's power, a low ripple of a hot, hazy sensation that sent an odd awareness shooting down Sasuke's spine. It was similar to the heat of battle, but somehow different, more intimate. The woman writhed and undulated in pleasure, gasping as Naruto's power stimulated her even more than his fingers and mouth were doing.

Sasuke had never given his physical body much thought. It was merely a vessel to contain his power. Watching Naruto's body made Sasuke aware of his own, causing a strange sort of anticipation within him as his physical senses heightened. He could feel his muscles tense and his skin heat.

He forced himself to step back, about to turn away from the pair when Naruto abruptly rolled onto his back, pulling the woman above him as she arched back and screamed incoherently in her climax. He could see the way Naruto's fingers dug into the flesh of her hips as he thrust up harshly before he gave a low groan, the woman collapsing bonelessly on top of him, a dazed look on her face.

Sasuke was somehow pleased that Naruto seemed only slightly affected by the tryst, looking somewhat satisfied and mildly affectionately at the woman draped across him. The blue eyes looked at the woman with satiation, but it was nowhere near the intensity that they had when they had looked at Sasuke.

" Helen," Naruto's voice was soft as he ran a hand down her finely arched backbone.

Despite the simplicity of the touch, Sasuke felt a low heat of anger at the gentleness of the scene, so unlike the way Naruto was in battle. Sasuke's fingers twitched, wanting to pull the human creature off Naruto, but he held himself still. In the end, her life would be fleeting, as all mortals were. She was no real threat.

The woman gave Naruto an infatuated smile as she pulled his mouth to hers, kissing him fully and languidly. "I must leave before my family discovers I am missing. Meet me here again tomorrow night?"

Naruto nodded with a lopsided smile, helping her to rinse off before she quickly dressed and disappeared into the night. Sasuke hesitated, watching Naruto as he submerged himself in the pool beneath the waterfall, washing his body. Naruto did not watch her leave.

Sasuke slipped away silently, following the woman. There was a shift in her essence, as though somehow Naruto's seed, incapable of producing offspring of the flesh, instead had sewed the roots of chaos and war within the womb of the young woman. Her aura—which had already been dark with war and power —seemed even more so.

He followed her into the walls of Sparta, to the central palace.

" Helen. Where have you been?" A male voice spoke harshly to her.

" Father. I was out walking in the forest. The moon is full this evening."

The man glared at her. "You are betrothed already. Every time you show your face, more suitors try to fight for your hand. You know you are expected to remain sheltered. Are you trying to drive us to war?"

The woman drew herself up. "I have already given myself to another, Father. Do not make me go through with this farce of an arranged marriage in your thirst for more power."

" Go to your quarters. You are not allowed to come down until you are safely wed to King Menelaus. The soldiers of Troy will be visiting for the next week, and I expect you to remain hidden. The last thing we need is more trouble over you. And if I find this… peasant boy you have given yourself to, I will take his head and gift it to Menelaus as my wedding present."

The woman laughed mockingly. "You can send your armies to find him, father, but you will never take his head. You can wed me to whomever you choose by law, but I will not be faithful to some pig of a husband just to please you."

" You will do as I say, wench!" her father gripped her harshly by the shoulders, shaking her roughly before backhanding her, sending her to the ground, but the young woman only looked at him with scorn.

Sasuke left as she was escorted to her room, slipping a note to her maid, who would likely go to warn Naruto of the situation. He was not worried about what the man might do to Naruto. But he did know that this woman was one human whose death would be his to claim personally, when the time came. He could already feel the seeds of war spreading through the land.

For once, Sasuke was looking forward to it.

"You're annoying him," Juugo spoke calmly to Suigetsu and Karin, but his voice carried a weight that snapped the other two out of their bickering, taking Sasuke's silence for disapproval rather than the distracted state that it was.

The sky was beginning to change from deep black to a midnight blue. Dawn was coming. Sasuke wondered if Naruto had spent the remainder of his night in bed with the Hyuugas. Anger swirled through him again, but it blended with a feeling of loneliness… and one of betrayal.

"So… what are you going to do when you find him?" Suigetsu repeated.

He didn't care if he ran the risk of getting sealed. He would not let Naruto go again. He wouldn't face another thousand years of searching for him. There had never been anyone else who drew him the way Naruto did. He would not accept that Naruto had found his place elsewhere until Naruto told him so face-to-face.

"I will make sure he doesn't disappear again."

Because in the end, no one escapes Death forever.

to be continued….

Next chapter will be from Naruto's POV

Chapter Text

Author's note: This chapter took me for-freaking-EVER to get right. No seriously. And I know readership has been dropping but I just really want to finish this story because it is good for me to challenge myself. I promise to write something… less weird with my next fic. Deal? Also thank you again to my beta - Anon for reading this over!


"Is that why you left him? Even though he was your lover?" Hinata asked gently. She didn't know the full story of how the Horsemen had ended, but she understood that Naruto would have sought a way to gain control if he found himself losing it. There were creatures who reveled in the death and suffering of others. Naruto was not one of them.

Naruto stared down into his now empty tea cup. Neji's hand tightened on his knee, but Naruto wasn't able to respond to it.

His expression was bleak and filled with a resigned, bitter hopelessness. "I loved him. But we were never lovers."

Hinata's pale eyes shimmered with sadness at the tone of Naruto's voice.

"Why?" she asked him gently. "If you loved each other, why were you never together?"

Naruto's lips twisted into a grimace. "I said I loved him. I never said he loved me back. Death… Death can't love. Or at least, Sasuke didn't let himself. Not me, anyway." Naruto's voice had faded to almost nothing by the end.

Neji and Hinata exchanged confused glances. "But, Naruto…" Hinata began, her face showing confusion.

Naruto shook his head. "No, Hinata. We'd been teammates for a long, long time. I knew Sasuke better than any other being in existence. We shared a tent, even if it was only for shelter and rest. We were friends. And for a long time, that was all I wanted. All I knew. But over time… I started wanting… more. From him. More than just the way our powers fit together or the fact that he was the first being I'd met who was like me—not mortal. Sasuke was…" Naruto's voice softened to almost a reverential tone. "... beautiful. So powerful. So cold. So… perfect."

Hinata bit her lip, trying not to let her own petty jealousy interfere. Naruto was clearly hurting and needed their support. But it pained her to know that Naruto would never look upon them in the way he was looking now at the memory of Sasuke. Neji brushed his hand along the back of her neck and she arched slightly into the touch, drawing comfort from it. Even if Naruto loved another, she and Neji would always be together.

"I didn't really know what I wanted from him, at first. We weren't like you. Sex was something… only mortals did. It really held no interest or meaning for me in the beginning," Naruto looked back at that time. He had thought of himself for a long while as simply a force of destruction. A tool to be wielded to hone the arc of history. He had companionship. Purpose. The addictive rush of battle that overflowed his senses.

"Humans fascinated me. Sasuke always thought watching them was a complete waste of time, given how short their lives were, but sometimes I would stay behind after the war had ended, watching villages rebuild… the people starting their lives again. The way they formed relationships with each other. Needed each other."

Neji nodded. "So you learned about sex from humans."

Naruto chuckled. "I'd learned about the act of sex long ago, before I'd even met Sasuke. With the way people lived back before I'd met Sasuke, everyone being crammed into a single thatch hut, there really wasn't anything like privacy. I knew what sex was. But it never really… appealed to me. I mean… it was just a way for humans to make more of themselves. What did that have to do with me?"

Hinata giggled slightly at the simplistic characterization of sex, not able to relate to that philosophy at all.

"So what made you change your mind?" Neji asked, both amused and curious.

"I guess… it was being with Sasuke," Naruto said slowly. "Our powers were already blending together. More than the other two, Sasuke and I always stood together in battle. There was a sort of violent intimacy in it. Over time, I felt… I wanted… even more of that feeling. We were all teammates. And friends, in a way. But Sasuke was a part of me on a different level than the others. When we fought, I could feel his power inside me, and mine inside him. When the battle was over, I hated the loss of him—the distance that returned between us. I didn't want that connection to end. Slowly, I realized that there were other ways of joining beyond just our abilities. I didn't want just his power. I wanted… all of him." Naruto's voice had lowered, full of a dark, possessive tone that made Hinata and Neji shiver, their breath coming faster and a thin sheen of sweat broke out on their pale skin.

Naruto arched a brow at them.

"It's just… your desire for him is… a bit overwhelming," Hinata explained, leaning back on the sofa to try to catch her breath. "The nature and strength of desire varies by creature. Human desire is different than immortal desire. And you are amongst the oldest of immortals. Your desire for Sasuke is… very potent."

Naruto chuckled a bit, but then his eyes widened as he took in her words. "So, when you collapsed back at the club, that wasn't Sasuke attacking you?"

Neji's voice showed surprise. "No. Sasuke didn't attack us. At least, not specifically. His initial draining of the human life in the room barely affected us. But our bodies automatically draw in energy from the lust and desire around us. We can't control how much or shut it off. When you and Sasuke saw each other, it basically just… overwhelmed our system."

Naruto looked down, not sure if he felt more guilt or relief that he had been the cause of his friends' collapse, but that it hadn't been dangerous to them. "I guess that explains why you recovered so quickly," he mumbled.

Hinata giggled. "Let's just say we won't need to feed again for a very long time."

Naruto's cheeks pinkened slightly, and he gave a soft laugh. "Well, at least there's some upside to all this."

Neji tilted his head to the side. "It is hard to believe that you really were never lovers, given how strongly you feel. You're not usually one to hold back. Didn't you ever try to do something about it?"

Naruto drew a slow breath, struggling against the tide of memories and emotions that coursed through him. "I did. I didn't really know how to ask, back then. Or what to do. Especially with Sasuke. He was extremely skeptical about anything relating to humans, and the first incubus hadn't been spawned yet. So to him, sex was a strictly mortal thing."

Naruto looked out at the night, where the wind was picking up. The branches of the ghost maple outside swayed and shook under its force. A storm was coming. A force loosed upon the earth.

Just like it had so many years ago.

1500 BCE

The battle that day had been their largest ever. It had seemed as though Mother Nature herself had decided to participate in the battle, the storm had boiled above them, raining down hail and lightning just as the men had rained spears and arrows on each other. Naruto and Sasuke had both drawn more power than they ever had before. The armies around them had surged, seas of humans rising in waves and breaking against each other like waves on rocks. Sasuke's power had infused through his being, the intimacy and depth of it making his body feel so incredibly... alive.

The irony of that wasn't lost on him.

Naruto had opened his mouth wide and roared with the lust of battle. The very air had vibrated with their presence. They had been unstoppable. And the last remnants of the order that Hammurabi had instilled fell in Babylon, plunging the land into centuries of chaos.

Naruto and Sasuke stood together as the battle drew to a close. The surviving humans had fled, and the lands over which the battle had raged were now still. Even the rains had stopped, though thunder still rumbled overhead.

They had both been extending the time they remained linked bit by bit, battle by battle. Naruto turned to face Sasuke, still feeling the full-body surge of Sasuke's energy pounding through him. His eyes drifted to the bead of sweat that rolled down Sasuke's throat, catching in the hollow just above his collar bone. The track of dust left behind was visible against the pale flesh.

The air around them grew still as their eyes locked.

Naruto felt a pull, stronger than anything he'd ever felt before, as he began to walk slowly and deliberately towards Sasuke. Sasuke's eyes held steadily with his as he approached. They were both sweat-soaked and short of breath, their bodies flooded with the adrenaline rush of battle. Sasuke looked powerful and deadly, and darkly perfect.

Naruto wanted to touch him more than he'd ever wanted anything in his entire existence.

He slowly reached his hand out, sliding his thumb into the hollow at the base of Sasuke's throat. The instant their skin touched, Naruto felt a bolt of electricity shoot through his core and the very air seemed to crackle between them. Sasuke's entire being was one of power. For a mortal, the touch would have brought instant death. For Naruto, it gave him a moment of dizziness, then drew him in like a maelstrom, surging into his body like a physical caress. His eyes wanted to drift closed at the ecstasy, but he didn't want to lose sight of Sasuke's face as the black, depthless eyes widened fractionally.

He wondered if this was the first time Sasuke had ever been touched by another being. The thought made his blood heat in a strange and volatile way, a low growl forming in his throat. For an instant, Naruto thought he saw an answering need spark in Sasuke's eyes.

The sudden wind whipped wildly around them, the roar of it shutting out everything else. It was only the two of them in that moment. He wanted to feel Sasuke's physical body with the same intimacy as he felt his power, blending with his own… he wanted to consume him and be consumed in turn.

"Sasuke…" Naruto breathed, his fingers still frozen in that single touch on Sasuke's throat. He felt a strange ripple of force between them, though it was unclear if it was his own or Sasuke's.

Sasuke abruptly stepped back, severing both the physical connection between them as well as their power link.

"The battle is over." Sasuke turned, striding back across the battlefield strewn with the dead and dying, smoke rising all around him.

Naruto looked down at his hand, his body still remembering the feel of that one touch… the only time he had ever experienced it. He curled his fingers into a fist, whether in denial of the feelings that still surged through him at the memory or to hold them tighter, he could not say.

He hated that he could still remember it all with such perfect clarity when so many other eons worth of memories had faded from his conscious thought. Why couldn't this one fade, too? Instead, it lingered, making every touch he'd experienced since then fall immeasurably short.

"He didn't want you?" Hinata's voice reflected her disbelief on that point.

Naruto didn't look up from his hand. It was several moments before he answered. "No. Not in the same way. He just… he's not like me, in that sense."

"He didn't seem like a man who had no interest in you, Naruto," Neji arched an eyebrow. "The first man to die in that club was the man touching you."

Naruto shook his head, confusion clear on his face. "I really… I don't understand why Sasuke was so angry tonight. Sasuke never loses control. I suppose I expected him to be surprised at seeing me, given how much time has passed. But when I left, our work was already over. Sai had been talking about going his own way since we had no idea how long it would be until we were needed again. It wasn't like I left when they needed me for anything."

Hinata studied at him astutely. "Sasuke might not have needed you for something. Maybe he just needed you."

She tightened her grip on Neji's fingers. It hurt to let Naruto go, but it was clear that Naruto did not belong to them anymore. He never really had.

"I don't… see how that's possible. As much as I would have wanted it. After the first time I touched him, Sasuke changed. He wasn't comfortable with me after that."

"Maybe he was just surprised. Or he misunderstood," Neji offered. "Did you talk to him about it?"

Naruto smiled faintly. "He made it clear. After that day, Sasuke was more careful to keep his distance from me. We still talked, and fought together, but we stopped sharing a tent and he didn't allow me to touch him again. He would just turn and walk away if I got too close, even in battle." Naruto paused, trying to find words to explain things. "He's just… you have to understand, that for us, sex isn't an automatic thing. For humans, it's a survival instinct. For you, it's your source of food. With Sasuke, to touch a mortal would kill them. His body is infused with his power. He doesn't think of his physical form the way you think of yours. It's just a vessel to him… it's not the same."

"But you're not like us, either. Yet, you've clearly used your body for things other than battle," Neji observed.

Naruto sighed, looking over at a Roberto Ferri painting hanging on the mantle above the fireplace. The two lovers erotically twined together in perfect detail, hung next to the works of Caravaggio and Delacroix that the man's style emulated. Instead of seeing the beauty of the lines, of the joining, Naruto only saw what he could never have. The tightly-leashed control he had cultivated in his centuries away from Sasuke suddenly felt fragile.

Had it all been for nothing? All his suffering to gain control, shattered at their first contact.

He laughed darkly at his own foolishness. Why had he ever thought he would be able to escape this pull? But he forced himself to answer Neji's implied question.

"I tried to be satisfied with our battles, the link of our abilities. I thought that the other feelings I had would fade over time." Naruto trailed off. He looked over to the fireplace, letting his gaze rest on the flames dancing there, casting a warm, flickering glow about the room.

"But they didn't," Hinata finished for him.

"No." The word was hollow, yet filled with emotion all at the same time.

"You don't have to tell us if you don't want to," Neji murmured.

Naruto glanced down at his hands. "I think after tonight, you deserve to know. I… started to lose control of my powers. I struggled with trying to handle my feelings for Sasuke, and respect that he didn't return them. At least, not in the same way. But the nature of my element isn't one of restraint. Every time I was near him, it got harder and harder to control. Sometimes in battle, my power would surge unexpectedly. Battles that were supposed to be localized to a few villages would range over entire regions."

Anguish and guilt colored Naruto's face and voice.

"Did you try other ways of releasing your power? Or finding intimacy with someone else?" Hinata asked.

Feeling the old restless energy fill him, Naruto stood and walked over to the window and looked out at the night. "The only way to release my powers without it affecting anyone would be to go where there are no other beings. I did that after I left, but there wasn't any way to do that while I was still needed with the Horsemen."

"And taking lovers?" Neji's voice was calming. Soothing. Familiar. Making this discussion bearable, to voice the things Naruto had never been able to say.

"At first, I didn't really consider it. Sasuke was the only one I had ever wanted to be close to, physically."

Hinata and Neji exchanged a sad look.

"But then, one day, I met a human who had… an... echo?… of Sasuke's presence," Naruto struggled to find words that could explain what he'd felt when he'd seen the beautiful blonde woman wandering through the forests outside of Sparta. "She looked nothing like him… light, where he was dark. Female where he was male, but she had an aura of death and destruction about her. She turned and looked at me. And I felt… drawn to her. She was different from any human I had met before." Naruto gave a self-effacing smile. "She was my first."

He remembered the way his hand had shaken slightly as he reached for her, hesitating the instant before he touched her skin. But where Sasuke's body had flooded his system with electricity and searing heat, the girl's body had brought only a simple warmth. He had buried his disappointment, focusing instead on pleasing her and learning the language of physical love from her body. But his soul had remained untouched. When her maid had arrived saying she would no longer be able to meet him, Naruto had walked away without regret.

"It was nothing like the connection I had with Sasuke, but it helped. I thought maybe eventually I would find someone who could be what I needed. Over the years, there were other humans who drew me. It didn't matter if they were male or female. They all had a… similar shadow in them. Something that stretched beyond their own mortality. But there was never anyone who…" Naruto trailed off, realizing he was saying things that his current lovers probably didn't want to hear.

He looked at them guiltily, but there was no resentment in their eyes.

"We always knew there was someone in your past," Hinata said gently. "Someone who had a hold on you."

"My past…," Naruto murmured, the tense not sounding quite right. Sasuke would never be just his past.

"If you had found a way to balance things, what made you leave?" Neji asked, insightful as always.

Naruto turned his face back to the window, his eyes unseeing.

"The days of the Four Horsemen were ending. Sasuke had been told that mortals had developed civilizations that would now stand and fall on their own. We would step back, and let them prove their own worth. Or not," he added with a wry smile. "There were no more battles for us. No more need for Sasuke to merge his powers with mine."

Naruto slid his fingertips over the cool surface of dark mahogany window sill. "We still travelled together as a group. But it was without purpose. And it was clear it wouldn't last."

"What do you mean?" Hinata asked.

"We were all different. None of us wanted to just sit idly by. But there were different things that drew each of us. Different paths that we would explore as we waded through time until we were called again."

Naruto's fingers pressed against the wood, his fingertips turning white. "I had finally made my peace with the fact that Sasuke wasn't comfortable with physical contact, but he was still my first and closest friend. I didn't want to lose him. But I… I didn't know how to keep him, either. It turned out… I wasn't the only one who felt that way."

1015 A.D.

Naruto crossed his arms under his head as he lay on his back on the pallet in his tent. The evening was warm, but the heat was not the source of his restlessness. He had bathed in the river earlier, but it had done little to cool his blood.

He needed Sasuke. He could hear his voice outside by the campfire, talking with Sakura. The low timbre of it seemed to vibrate deep within Naruto's body. It had been too long since they'd been linked, and it was making Naruto crazy. He didn't know how much longer he could take the loss of their connection, to be so close to the man but still unable to touch him in any way. But there was nothing he could do about it.

He let his mind drift back to the times he had battled with Sasuke. It had been over five centuries since they had overseen the fall of Rome, fueled the rage of the Goths and the Visigoths. He closed his eyes, remembering the very personal satisfaction he'd felt seeing the colosseum in ruins. Sasuke's eyes had met his as the city had burned, and Naruto had almost wondered if the man knew what had happened to him in that same building centuries earlier, but that was unlikely. Sasuke had never shown any interest in where Naruto went when he sought diversions outside their camp.

After all, they all had their hobbies that they pursued between battles.

Sakura had taken an interest in learning more about humans and how their bodies worked. The Greeks, Indians, and Chinese had already begun exploring herbs and remedies that could extend life and reduce suffering. And other herbs that could end life and bring pain. Both sides were of equal interest to her… two sides to the coin of mortality.

Sai often went out to visit civilizations where new art forms were beginning to develop, finally moving beyond the cave paintings and coarse scratches to something that actually captured and held events and emotions… preserving them far beyond the life of the painter who created them.

Sasuke had always been curious about the philosophy and religions of the humans. He'd already begun collecting tomes and scrolls of some of the more interesting ideas he'd come across.

Naruto… didn't really know what he was searching for, but his excursions from their camp went unremarked, just as the others' did. He was interested in humans, but not in the way Sakura was, studying their anatomy. He could appreciate art but it didn't compel him like it did Sai. And he was curious as to who the beings were that created them and where human existence was headed, but he didn't want to study it the way Sasuke did.

Naruto wanted to FEEL things. He didn't want to just observe the human emotions, he wanted to experience them. Love, loss, despair and triumph. They all pulled at him. He'd had his fill of despair and loss through centuries of war and death. He'd only taken a handful of lovers over the course of time, but all it had made him do was long for Sasuke more. The time he had with his lovers was always too short, and he was never able to share what he really was with them. He hungered for Sasuke. He wanted to be to Sasuke what he saw the humans were to each other. Only with him and Sasuke, they would last forever.

Over time, he had made his peace that it was never going to happen the way he wanted it to.

But now, they had been told that the Horsemen would no longer drive the winds of war to shape the realm of humans. The wars of men were slowly becoming more structured, driven by politics and greed for power as civilizations matured and advanced. His only tie to Sasuke was being severed.

Naruto couldn't tell if it was simply the fact that he had no release for his energy and it was building up, or if it was the fact that he no longer had any reason to link with Sasuke that was causing the unbearable frustration he felt.

After all that they'd been through together, Naruto no longer knew what his purpose was, what his tie to Sasuke would be aside from their shared history.

He groaned and rolled to his feet, unable to stay cooped up in his tent. He walked out, feeling Sasuke's gaze lock on him. Sakura was sitting beside him. Closer than usual. Naruto frowned. He knew that he wasn't the only one to feel an attraction to Sasuke, but Naruto had never given it much thought. Sakura's eyes followed Sasuke almost as much as Naruto's did, but he knew how Sasuke felt about any sort of physical closeness. And as friends, Naruto and Sasuke had always had the stronger bond.

Still, it bothered him to see Sakura closer than Sasuke had allowed him recently. Naruto felt an odd anger bubbling in him, and decided to take a walk. He had no right to be angry that two of his companions were spending the evening together, talking.

Sai had gone to a nearby village to purchase some ink for his scrolls and would be gone for a day or two. It was only a matter of time before the man left for good. He was just searching for a place he liked enough to settle.

Naruto walked away from the road toward the forest, feeling Sasuke's gaze follow him. But he didn't want to stay and watch them together. He needed to get away.

Naruto always drew comfort from nature… the wildness and unpredictability of it. He walked to a clearing where there was a small hill overlooking the valley below. He sat on the hill, closing his eyes and letting the technicolor rays of the sunset gild over his skin.

He wondered where Sasuke would settle now that their days of roaming were over. Naruto didn't really know what he should do. Every day he could feel his control slipping more and more. It was only a matter of time before it snapped, and he caused a war that was never supposed to be. While the others seemed to care less about the human lives that they took, Naruto had been spending more and more time amongst the humans and their deaths weighed heavily on him.

He didn't know how to talk to Sasuke about it without explaining what it was that was driving him to lose control. He didn't want it to seem as though he was giving Sasuke an ultimatum: 'Spend more time with me or I'll leave or snap'. It wouldn't be fair to put that on him. It was Naruto's responsibility to control his abilities. Not Sasuke's. Naruto decided that the best thing would probably be for him to isolate himself for a while until he had gained better control. In all their years of making war, it wasn't something he'd really had to learn.

But now, it was.

After he'd mastered control, he could return to be with Sasuke without running the risk of destroying whatever city they happened to be living in at the time. He valued their friendship, even if that was all Sasuke could ever offer anyone.

The moon had just started to rise when Naruto made his way back. The voices from the camp drifted to him before he was close enough to hear them.

"Sasuke…," Sakura's voice was soft but full of emotion. "I want you to stay with me. Sai will be leaving soon, and Naruto already spends as much time gone as he does here. We could build a life together. You can pursue your studies, and I can follow mine. We've talked about it before, but you never gave me an answer."

Naruto's steps slowed. He'd been having such difficulty controlling his powers that he had been actively suppressing them of late. It was unlikely that Sakura and Sasuke realized he had returned. Somehow, he needed to know what Sasuke would say. Did Sasuke also assume Naruto would leave them? Did Sasuke… prefer that? He couldn't hear Sasuke's reply.

Naruto continued to approach until he could make out the two figures sitting on the log near the fire. Slowly, Sakura's hand reached out towards Sasuke's. Naruto stilled waiting for the moment when Sasuke would pull his hand away and avoid her touch, just as he always avoided Naruto's after that first touch.

But Sasuke didn't move.

Sakura gasped softly, her green eyes flaring wide as their skin connected. Sasuke's expression was unchanged as he watched at her. "Come. There's something I want to show you," she bit her lip as she spoke.

Sasuke arched a brow, but didn't withdraw his hand as Sakura stood gracefully, gently tugging him to follow.

"What are you doing?" Sasuke looked at her, then down to where their hands touched. A slight frown marred his face.

She laughed softly, with a seductive tilt to her head. "Taking you back to my tent."

Naruto blinked as Sasuke hesitated before allowing himself to be led by Sakura. The two disappeared behind the canvas door of Sakura's tent. Naruto could hear a slightly nervous giggle from Sakura as the flap of the tent swung closed.

Naruto stood there, frozen, unable to breathe.

He stumbled back, running through the woods back to the clearing. But he didn't stop. He just kept running. His power surged wildly through him.

What had he even been thinking? He fought down a wild, desperate laugh before it could erupt into the night. What had he been hoping for? Outside of war, what bond did he and Sasuke actually share? He honestly didn't know anymore.

But he knew that Sasuke had never talked with him about settling down. He no longer shared Naruto's tent, and didn't let Naruto touch him.

Naruto felt his control breaking. He couldn't stop it. For so many centuries he had borne Sasuke's rejection and forced himself to seek companionship elsewhere. He had told himself that it was just that Sasuke didn't like to be touched—didn't want companionship the same way Naruto did.

But apparently, that wasn't true. Sasuke didn't avoid all touching. He just didn't want NARUTO's touch.

And Naruto knew that he would never be able to bear it, to see Sasuke bond with another, whether it would be Sakura or some other immortal being. He could not force Sasuke to feel the same way about him, but he would not be able to stay and watch him love another. He stumbled to a halt, feeling the world tilt on its axis as he tried to make sense of what he needed to do.

When he came to himself, he could see smoke rising from a nearby village. He didn't need to enter it to know that his loss of control had caused it, setting the humans against each other without even trying.

He was no longer needed for war. All his continued presence would bring was destruction. It was time Naruto stopped torturing himself. He had done his duty. Maybe he would be able to finally find peace if he left Sasuke and started over. He would focus on gaining control of his own emotions and powers.

A strange, hollow calm spread through him once he'd made the decision.

It was many hours later when Naruto returned to their camp. There was no sign of Sakura or Sasuke, and Naruto felt no need to search the tents to see if Sasuke had returned to his own bed or slept in Sakura's. It didn't matter. He had known that this moment would come. He had been losing control long before Sakura had taken Sasuke's hand. Tonight's events had only caused him to leave sooner than expected.

Naruto packed the few belongings he had collected through the years that had any meaning to him, then wrote a note, explaining that it was time for him to find a place to settle and learn to control his abilities more. His hand shook as he pinned it to Sasuke's tent. He stood there for several moments, wondering if there was any way he could find a way to stay.

But he remembered the village that his lack of control had ravaged. This wasn't just about him, and it wasn't about his own needs. Just because he wanted something didn't mean he'd ever get it. Or even deserve it.

He knew what had to be done. Resolved, he turned away from the tent where Sasuke slept.

Well before the first rays of dawn streaked the sky, Naruto was gone.

Neji and Hinata were quiet as Naruto finished his story.

"Did Sasuke take her as his lover?" Hinata asked when the silence had begun to stretch.

Naruto shrugged, his face closed. "I don't know. I never saw him again. Until tonight."

And now another city, another village, had been torn by his loss of control. Naruto had heard the sounds of rioting before he'd transported them back to the Hyuuga estate. He didn't know what the death toll would be, but he knew there would be one.

Only this time, it wasn't only his own. But still, he had played a part. He didn't understand what had happened.

"I need to find Sasuke. I don't know what happened tonight. If he's angry with me, then I'm not afraid to face him." Naruto turned to look at them. "But first, I need to find him. Did you recognize the vampires he was with?"

Hinata shook her head, and Neji replied. "No. They aren't from here. And it will be difficult to find them, given the care vampires take with concealing the location of their lairs."

Naruto thought back to when the female vampire had tried to compel him. Whenever he entered another's mind, or they entered his, images from their thoughts and memories are exchanged.

"The female vampire has been in Venice recently," Naruto said.

"There is a large vampire community there. I don't know where, but Carnevale is starting and Venice always attracts vampires and other immortals during that time for the masquerades," Hinata offered.

Naruto nodded slowly. He'd attended a few at various points in history.

"Then that's where I'll start."

He paused, looking at his companions. "I'm sorry you got dragged into this. I don't know what's happening, but I've got to settle things with Sasuke. I owe him that much."

Neji stepped up, kissing him fully. Naruto accepted the kiss for the goodbye that it was. Hinata followed suit.

"Go. We'll keep your things for you here as long as you need," Neji said.

"You're always welcome to return to us. Whatever happens," Hinata added, though she was quite sure he would never be theirs again, she hoped they could at least be friends. Naruto gave a small, grateful smile, then went to pack a bag.

Hinata and Neji sat down on the loveseat by the fire. They could feel the moment Naruto left their house. Hinata leaned her head on Neji's shoulder, her eyes wet.

"I miss him," she said softly.

Neji brushed a kiss over the crown of her head. "His destiny was never with us. Now he must go and face it."

"He looked so sad and guilty when he left," Hinata said, then a thought seemed to strike her. "Do you think he realized that… it wasn't just his desire that overwhelmed us?"

Neji frowned, drawing a breath to answer but suddenly a heavy presence filled the room, one both ominous and instantly familiar. The air became almost crystalline, the walls pulsing with power.

"Where. Is. Naruto." A low voice cut through the room as Sasuke stepped through the doorway.

to be continued…

A/N - I have always wanted to write a masquerade scene in a story, but I never really had a plot where it would work out. Until now! I am super excited!

Roberto Ferri reference dedicated to Eye Fatigue, for reminding me of his wonderful works.

Chapter Text

Author's note: Thank you for all the lovely reviews! I am so glad so many of you are sticking with this weird little story. Not too many chapters left. Thank you to Tandy Hard for the idea about the glass! And thanks to my Anon Beta for reading this through.

Chapter 6 - Mementos of the Past

Sasuke walked up to the door of the large estate, using his senses to detect the life forces within the house. Frustration surged when he realized Naruto was not anywhere nearby. Even if Naruto had learned to control his powers, he wouldn't have been able to shut them off so completely after what had just happened enough that he would be undetectable at this close of range - not when Sasuke was actively searching for him. He could sense the two other immortals inside. They would be able to tell him where Naruto was. And he would ensure that they do so.

Sasuke didn't bother knocking; a slow articulation of his fingers had the doors slamming open. He calmly walked inside, the lethal grace of his movements identifying him as the ancient predator that he was.

The state of chaos in the entryway was a clear sign that Naruto had been there recently. And in a temper. The thought of Naruto's anger left Sasuke with a low heat in his belly. He could still feel the residual traces of Naruto's power, like a fragrance lingering in the room. He felt his own power stir in response, lunging against the leash of his restraint. The echo of their bond, the feeling of invincibility when they blended together reminded his body of what it had been denied for so many years. Even when they had not been engaged in battle, Sasuke had been able to feel the dormant energy within Naruto in the past, teasing the edges of his own. It hadn't been as much as he wanted, but he had at least had that.

Until Naruto had left him, taking it all away.

Sasuke wasn't going to let him go this time without a fight. He strode through the hall, his senses telling him exactly where the other two residents of the estate were within the massive dwelling. He walked directly to the private sitting room, the door already open, the warmth and soft light of the hearth fire spilling into the hallway.

Sasuke stood briefly in the shadows of the doorway, taking in the scene of the room and noting the three empty tea cups. But only the Hyuugas remained. Anger blossomed in his stomach when he realized he must have just missed Naruto.

"Where. Is. Naruto." His voice cut through the room as he stepped through the doorway. The air in pulsed with his power, and he did nothing to disguise it. The two immortals could withstand it temporarily, and he wanted them to know he wasn't playing.

Neji slowly stood and turned to face him, while Hinata eyed Sasuke warily from the loveseat.

"He left. To find you," Neji replied, moving to stand between Sasuke and Hinata.

Sasuke snorted at the protective gesture. As though the incubus's body could protect the female from him if he wanted to kill her. But the creature's words had captured Sasuke's attention.

"Naruto is looking for me?" Sasuke narrowed his eyes, not sure if he believed the Hyuuga. After hiding for a thousand years, why would Naruto suddenly seek him out now? If anything, Sasuke had only given him more reason to run after the night's events. But Sasuke wouldn't let Naruto's lovers hide Naruto from him.

"Yes," Hinata stood, walking to slip her arms around Neji's waist, whether for comfort or protection, Sasuke couldn't be sure. "We didn't know where the lair was of the vampires you were with. So Naruto left to find you."

Sasuke hesitated. Did Naruto want to find him because he was angry, or because he wanted to talk?

Sasuke's gaze scanned the two beings standing before him. "You seem to be undamaged."

He was still unsure what had caused Naruto's companions to collapse, but the fact that they appeared unharmed made it more likely that Naruto would be willing to speak with him. It hadn't been until the two lust creatures had fallen to the floor that Naruto had truly lost his temper.

Hinata and Neji exchanged a glance, the silent communication that passed between them annoyed Sasuke.

"We're fine. We sometimes find the emotions of immortals… more powerful than those of mortals. It simply overwhelmed our systems," Hinata said.

Sasuke was aware that her explanation was only a partial one, but he had no interest in their abilities or health, as long as Naruto wasn't going to hold him accountable for their earlier collapse. "Naruto knows this?"

An amused smirk appeared on Neji's lips. "He no longer believes you attacked us, if that is what you're asking."

"Hn," Sasuke narrowed his eyes at them, annoyed at the smug, knowing air the incubus held. Sasuke was thousands of years older than them. In the scheme of existence, they knew nothing.

"If he didn't know where to find me, then where did he go?" Sasuke's voice left no room for them to hedge, but the two seemed to have no issues with telling him what he needed to know.

"Venice. For Carnevale."

There was no trace of deception from either of them, but their answer made no sense. "Why would he go to Venice?"

Hinata tilted her head, her eyes showing a flash of disdain. "The female vampire you were with had been there recently."

"Karin?" Sasuke asked, feeling like he no longer had control over the situation. How the fuck did Karin tell Naruto anything when she'd been unconscious most of the night?

"When she tried to compel Naruto, he was able to see some of her recent memories. He recognized Venice, and thought he'd start his search for you there." Neji's tone held more than a hint of anger. It was clear from his possessive tone exactly what he thought about Karin trying to compel Naruto. And while Sasuke might agree with the man, he didn't appreciate the incubus acting as though Naruto was his to be protective of.

Sasuke felt a coil of his power snake through his fingers, poised to be unleashed. The temptation to kill the incubus where he stood and put him in his place was strong. He looked at the man for a moment, the slight widening in the silver eyes enough to assure Sasuke that Neji could read his intent. But at the last minute, Sasuke held back. He figured he'd already annoyed Naruto enough with his loss of control earlier that evening. Killing one of Naruto's companions, however satisfying that might be - was not likely to be worth the fuss Naruto would make over it.

If Naruto was in Venice, then that's where Sasuke would go next. He turned to leave when the succubus's voice stopped him.

"Would you… would you like to see his rooms?"

Both men turned to look at Hinata in surprise. Neji's gaze held more than a little anger. "Why would you let him into Naruto's private quarters?" Neji hissed at her.

She faced him calmly. "Because if I had been searching for someone I cared about for a thousand years, I would want to see how they'd lived," she said simply. Her eyes met Neji's, a mixture of defiance and resignation in her expression. Neji's mouth tightened, but he didn't refute her statement.

Sasuke looked at Hinata, sensing the emotional toll this was taking on her. She seemed to be relinquishing her claim on Naruto—at least to a certain extent. Sasuke wasn't going to get in her way, if that was the case.

"Yes," he responded simply to her earlier question, ignoring the other's objection.

Hinata nodded, then turned, indicating Sasuke should follow her. He allowed her to guide him to the eastern wing of the estate. The walls were brightly colored, the very air so saturated with Naruto's presence that Sasuke didn't need anyone to tell him that Naruto had lived there for centuries.

Hinata seemed to understand that as she stepped back. "I'll leave you, then."

"Hn," Sasuke said, stepping into the large central room. Hinata left silently, leaving Sasuke alone to explore. The room was probably originally designed as a drawing room, but Naruto had converted it to something much more personal. The large windows facing east drew the morning light, filling the room with warmth. Silk rugs covered the floors, likely gifts from the Hyuugas based on their resemblance to the rest of the house. But the rest of the decor was overall relatively simple: soft sofas with clean lines, a day bed, a large stack of cushions in the corner for sitting or sleeping.

Sasuke had the feeling that this was the room that Naruto shared with guests. He didn't dwell on exactly what Naruto did with those 'guests', but the room had an overall impersonal feel. It had Naruto's general warmth and sensual air to it, but it only scratched the surface of who he was. There was nothing here that held Sasuke's interest.

There were two rooms that adjoined to this one. Sasuke approached the first, as the door to this room was already ajar. Inside, Sasuke could definitely feel more of Naruto here. This was the sanctum of the one known as War.

On the wall were mounted weapons from different eras in the past. All beautiful in their lethal design ranging from a common sword or flail to the truly exotic. Sasuke moved to admire a gilded haladie. The double-bladed knife was dangerous to an unskilled wielder, but in the hands of a trained Rajput, it had been nearly unequaled at the time. A symbol of the warrior lifestyle of ancient India.

Most of the weapons were kept on racks and appeared to be in at least occasional use. There was one, however, that was kept in a glass display case. Sasuke's eyes widened as he saw the ancient curved sword, as large as a battle axe. Beneath it was a scroll, yellowed with age that showed Ramses II carrying a similar weapon. The small, neatly printed label simply read:

Khopesh, 1213 B.C.

Sasuke wondered if the weapon had originally belonged to the Egyptian pharaoh who died that same year. He let his fingers brush lightly over the case.

Evidently, he wasn't the only one who had kept mementos of their passage through time.

There was a workbench in one corner of the room with what looked to be a katana resting on it. The cracked handle had been removed and signs of a skilled weaponsmith repairing it were evident. A log book resting on the edge of the table showed how Naruto had made his living in recent times: selling, repairing, and authenticating ancient weapons.

Sasuke smiled slightly, glad that Naruto had found a hobby to pass the endless time. One that he would be both skilled at and enjoy.

He spent a few more minutes perusing the room before exiting, careful to leave everything as he had found it.

He passed through the main room to come to the final door that was attached to it. Unlike the other chambers, the door to this room was firmly closed. Sasuke hesitated. He could sense that this was a room that Naruto did not share with others. In the past, they had always respected each other's space and privacy.

Perhaps too much. The thought seemed to come from nowhere, but it was enough to urge Sasuke forward, turning the handle of the door and slowly pushing forward.

Stepping through the final door, Sasuke drew in a slow breath. Yes. This was Naruto's lair. There was no mistaking. There were no echoes of the presence of others in this space.

Here, there were no silken carpets, no opulent bed. Surprisingly, there were also no weapons or instruments of war. A simple pallet rested on the wooden floor. The ceiling draped with a canvas that reminded Sasuke forcibly of the tents they had lived in ages ago.

A strange feeling coiled in Sasuke's chest as he looked down at the pallet. Just like the one they had slept on when they had first joined together. Back when Sasuke had been able to bear sharing a tent with Naruto, his powers still fully in-check. Without considering his actions, Sasuke bent down, picking up the blanket that was folded neatly on the bed, bringing it to his face and drawing a deep breath. The familiar scent of Naruto's body filled him, both soothing and tormenting him that the owner was not with him. Memories of those early days flooded through him, when everything had been simple. He had been confident then that Naruto would always be with him, that he had found his counterpart.

Sasuke abruptly set the blanket down and stood. The rest of the room consisted of a small desk with a single lamp, a comfortable reading chair, and… bookshelves. Two smaller shelves, then a central bookcase, with glass doors protecting them from dust.

Sasuke had to admit more than a little surprise at the number of tomes that lined the walls. Naruto had never been much of a scholar. Of the Four, he had been the last to bother to learn to read. Though, to be fair, given the number of different languages they encountered and the fact that only the kings and their scribes had been literate, it had not been an issue.

Still, it was odd to see so many books kept in the private room of a man who had not exactly been an avid reader.

Somehow, the fact that there was something so core to Naruto that he hadn't expected, angered Sasuke. The Naruto of the past had been someone Sasuke had known every facet of. The current Naruto… was not.

Wanting to see what subject matter Naruto had found so fascinating that he had taken up collecting books, Sasuke walked over to the nearest bookshelf and scanned through the tomes.

There were several that didn't surprise Sasuke. There was what appeared to be one of the original copies of Sun Tsu's Art of War, the two thousand-year-old bamboo scrolls in what appeared to be a climate-controlled case. There was a more modern translation housed on the shelf.

Many of the books focused on wars throughout time, modern assessments of the pivotal moments in history where civilizations fell and the course of humanity changed. A few were copies that Sasuke himself hadn't read. In other circumstances, he would have paused to flip through them, but he wasn't wanting to linger overly long before finding Naruto.

Sasuke's eyes widened as he got close enough to really observe the contents of the central bookcase. He reached out, slowly running his hand along the symbols that were carved by hand along the wood.

Symbols of death, from ancient to modern times, in more languages than Sasuke could count.

Inside the case were books ranging from delicate-looking papyrus scrolls to modern, machine-printed volumes, all dealing with the mythology of the one known as Death. Many were titles that he was already familiar with, having been a scholar of religion and philosophy since before most of the ideas had been put to parchment. He was surprised, though, to see Naruto had taken an interest as well. The books focused less on the origins of Death, and more as almost a recording of Death's feats. There were stories of Hades, the Egyptian god Anubis, the Hindu god Yama, all centered on tales of major wars or plagues where Death had walked amongst men. While some of these Sasuke knew to be simply the imagination of the author, others were quite accurate in recording events that he and Naruto had lived through together. Sasuke found it interesting that Naruto would have chosen these particular books. Did he read them and think back on their time together? Why would he do so, when it had been his decision to leave?

Sasuke frowned, running his fingertips along the spines of the books. The collection seemed almost… intimate. Kept away from the sight of others, focused solely on Sasuke. To what purpose? If Naruto had missed him, Sasuke had never made himself hard to find. The inconsistency made no sense. For so many years, Sasuke had assumed Naruto had walked away, forgetting him, leaving all their ties behind. This bookcase… indicated something quite different.

A book caught Sasuke's eye, one that he hadn't read before. Its spine was creased from numerous openings, its cover showing wear from being frequently handled. Curious as to what it could contain, Sasuke pulled it from its case. It was more recent than many of the other volumes on the shelves, a translation from a book written during the Renaissance period. There was a small red ribbon about two-thirds of the way through the book. Sasuke opened the book to the marked page, his breath stilling as he saw what the page contained. It showed a drawing, done by an unnamed artist of the time. The skill was moderate, certainly not one of the great masters that the Renaissance had produced. But the artist's skill had been sufficient enough to capture the face of the being it depicted.

It was quite unmistakably his own. The caption was simple:

Visitation by Death

During this time period, there was only one person that Sasuke had personally collected. Catherine the Great. He recognized the opulent corridor that the artist had depicted him walking down, unmistakably in the Empress' St. Petersburg palace.

The page was well-worn, and Sasuke wondered if Naruto had recognized the location where the drawing took place, or if his interest in the drawing had been that it was the only likeness of Sasuke's face that had been recorded. An edge of bitterness washed through Sasuke at the knowledge that Naruto would have been intimately familiar with the Empress' private chambers.

It was the reason Sasuke had personally come for her, after all.

Sasuke replaced the book, his attention turned to a small wooden box that rested in the center of the case. The box looked extremely old. It was crudely carved, its construction consistent with the early days of human craftsmanship, where only simple tools were available. The battered exterior spoke of countless years of use and exposure to the elements. There were markings along the top and sides likely where some sort of leather tie or belt had held it closed, the leather likely long-since rotted away.

Sasuke carefully pulled the ancient box out from its space on the shelf and lifted off the lid. Inside, gently packed in sand, was an object that Sasuke instantly recognized. And odd constriction appeared in his chest at the sight.

At first glance, many would think it was some sort of small glass plant root, with tiny, tube-line fingers of glass spreading in all directions from a central, hollow core.

But Sasuke knew exactly what it was. It was the remains of an ancient lightning strike on sand, the heat of the lightning instantly melting the sand into glass at the moment of impact. Sasuke opened the case, taking the small object out and placing it in the palm of his hand.

There were small pieces that had been broken off, cracks that showed the object's age but also indicated the care with which it had been kept all this time, despite its fragile nature. Sasuke remembered exactly when the small piece of glass was formed.

1288 B. C.

The armies of the Great Pharaoh Ramesses II were advancing on the city of Kadesh. The Hittite force defending it readied themselves for the army of twenty thousand slaves and soldiers that was coming for them.

The hot desert wind blew, swirling Sasuke's black cloak about his ankles. He could feel Naruto's power building, filling the air with the red haze of battle lust.

"I see the first of the Pharaoh's armies," Sakura said, bracing her feet slightly wider in the sands as the very earth seemed to tremble with impending battle. Sai unfurled his scroll, looking over to where Naruto had moved forward to the very edge of the ledge they were standing on.

Sasuke watched the way the wind tousled Naruto's hair, felt the surge of Naruto's power penetrate into his own body, coiling within him… calling to his darker power. Today, chaos and death would rule. Two great armies would clash, but none would win. The death toll would be staggering. It would be one that history would not soon forget.

Sasuke drew a deep breath, gradually unleashing his own power, feeling it snake and twine together with Naruto's, surging out across the desert. There was nothing that could defeat them when they stood together, shoulder to shoulder—not even a self-proclaimed god like the Pharaoh. Sasuke's lips curved into a dark smile.

The arrogance of mortals.

Naruto looked over at him, their eyes meeting. And the fate of the humans below was sealed. Lightning flashed. Wind whipped. The sands turn red with the blood of the fallen.

When it was over, the city still stood, but both armies had been decimated.

Naruto paused as they made their way across the battlefield, an odd reflection of the fading sun catching his eye. He bent down, freeing something from the sand. It looked like a small crystal tube, with smaller filaments branching out from it.

Naruto held it gently in the palm of his hand, feeling the heat of battle still locked within it. The light of the setting sun scattered across the rounded edges.

"It's from the lightning strike," Naruto said, turning the piece of glass in his hand to watch the play of light through it before handing it to Sasuke.

"It's just a chunk of melted sand," Sasuke said, not bothering to take it.

Naruto laughed. "You're such a cold bastard."

"Hn," Sasuke replied, his tone dismissive, but his eyes following every nuance of Naruto's expression as he ran the calloused pad of a tan finger over the roughened edges of the glass in fascination.

"It's like a tiny piece of our power… frozen in time." Naruto murmured, his voice carrying a slightly wistful inflection that Sasuke hadn't heard from the man before. Sasuke's chest tightened oddly at the sound. Naruto seemed strangely pleased to have a physical representation of their blended powers… 'frozen in time'. But there was something about the statement that bothered Sasuke... as though the words carried a portent of a day when their powers would no longer be combined.

"Tch," Sasuke snorted, looking back to where Sai and Sakura were already moving ahead. It struck Sasuke in that moment the discrepancy between the violence of Naruto's abilities and the warmth of his person. He wondered whether their existence would always be full of war and death, or if there would ever come a time for them to be something else. Something more.

He brushed the thought off, turning and following after Sakura and Sai. "Just leave it. It will only break."

Sasuke had always assumed that Naruto had left the fragile piece of glass in the desert that day. He had no idea how the blond had managed to preserve something so fragile for so long. Their travels had been continuous. Their battles harsh.

Sasuke's fingers traced the edges of the glass, following the same path Naruto's had more than three thousand years ago. The light from Naruto's bedroom window danced over its surface, reminiscent of that long ago day.

Carefully, he replaced it back into the humble wooden box that had protected it through the ages.

Why would Naruto have kept this? He had seemed to walk away from Sasuke so easily. So casually. Why would he have gone through the trouble of keeping a memento of something that seemed to hold so little meaning?

Sasuke's jaw firmed. It was time for him to go to Venice and find some answers.

He had wasted enough time.

Sasuke stepped out of the old church deep in the heart of Venice. He smirked as an old woman wrapped in her paisley shawl had looked at him with wide eyes as he stepped out from the alcove where he had appeared from nowhere. He enjoyed using religious buildings for his comings and goings, letting the worshippers construct his presence into their own mythologies as they saw fit.

He wondered if she was able to recognize who he truly was. The elderly were often better able to sense him than the young… their proximity to their own death so much greater.

He watched the small gondolas ferrying masked passengers up and down the canals. Everyone he passed on the street was dressed in costume, some of them costing more than many would earn in several months. The opulent feel of Venice during Carnevale always amused him somewhat. He could remember when it was just a rag-tag collection of fishermen and refugees fleeing the Germanic tribes after Rome had fallen, using the lagoon and marshy islands to hide and try to eke out an existence. Time changed so many things around him.

He drew a deep breath.  The night air of the city was laced with a subtle, dangerous edge that he recognized immediately. Something that time hadn't been able to change. A slow smile spread across his lips.

Naruto was here. And making no effort to disguise his presence. His wild, dangerous energy soaked into the atmosphere like a calling card set adrift on the evening wind.

He smirked as he saw a costume of the Grim Reaper in the storefront of one of the many shops selling costumes for Carnevale. He stepped inside to make his purchase. If he was going to play the game, he might as well be in character.

Death had entered Venice.

to be continued…

A/N: Next chapter, Naruto and Sasuke will meet!

Chapter Text

Author's note: I will fully admit that the costumes in gladiator heavily influenced this chapter LOL. And The 300. Very sexy men in those films. Thanks to my lovely beta Anon for proofing this for me! I have always wanted to write a masquerade scene. This was so much fun.

Chapter 7 - Masquerade

Naruto walked through the crowd of masked tourists and party-goers in San Marco Square in the heart of Venice. Knowing that there would be many parties and events he'd be turned away from if not in proper garb, he had worn a gladiator costume he'd had made years ago for a costume party the Hyuugas had hosted. His youthful body, unchanged for so many thousands of years, was showcased just as perfectly in the leather-studded attire as it had been the day it had been made for him. His golden skin smoothly stretched over a lean powerful frame, drawing numerous admiring glances though most costumes were significantly more opulent than his.

Despite being in costume like all the others in the dimly lit streets that evening, Naruto stood out. Most of the costumes of Carnevale fully covered both the body and the face due to the cool evening air of the season. The red cloak that Naruto wore was pushed back from his shoulders, revealing the historically accurate bare-chested gladiator costume. The Romans had viewed the bared chest as a symbol of virility, allowing the combatants to wear an armored leather belt, but no breastplate, despite the deadliness of the 'game' they were players in. His attire was traditional: leather sandals below leather greaves that covered his legs to mid-thigh, and leather arm guards with bands of iron across the forearms to block a blade. A thick leather belt covered his stomach, the linen cloth hanging down to just above the greaves. The bronze, winged half-mask covered his eyes and most of his hair, though tufts of blond were visible at his temples and the base of his neck beneath the helmet.

The costume was purchased. But the iron slave shackle on his neck… that was authentic. A reminder he'd kept from a grave error in judgement Naruto had made long ago. He smiled darkly at the memory.

60 B.C.

Naruto stood with his head held high as he allowed the Praetorian guards to rip the finely made tunic from his body, then place the iron shackles around his neck and wrists. He didn't break eye contact from the man who had ordered it. Naruto knew that he could simply kill them all and walk away freely any time he wanted.

But he didn't.

He wanted to see if his lover… ex-lover… would really go through with it. All because Naruto had refused to be his 'consort' officially. Of course, Julius had no idea that Naruto couldn't become a public figure. The fact that Naruto never aged wouldn't be handled well by mortals. He had learned early to never stay in one particular place too long. But even if he could have stayed, Naruto never would have. There was only one person who he belonged to, and it was not this arrogant Roman general.

His affair with Julius Caesar had only been going on for a few weeks, but the man was supremely possessive and had rapidly become obsessed with Naruto. The man's jealousy had spiked when he had been unable to find Naruto the night before, and demanded to know where he had gone. Naruto often returned to the camp of the Four Horsemen, and when he had refused to tell Caesar where he had been or whom he had been with, the man had exploded. He had told Naruto that he would have him declared a slave and made his own personal property. Naruto had no papers proving himself a citizen of Rome, so the claim would be easy to make, especially coming from one so powerful.

Of course, in order to maintain political alliances, Julius himself had every intention of finding a third wife to replace the one he had just divorced, but he had not wanted to give up his newfound lover to do so.

Naruto laughed, "I will never be a slave to any master."

Fury lit Caesar's face. When Naruto turned to go, he found the door blocked by Caesar's personal guards.

" You should have yielded to me, Naruto," Julius watched, his face impassive as the final shackle was placed around Naruto's ankles. "My alliance with Crassus and Pompey will see me eventually seated as Emperor of Rome. You could have been my consort. Now you will be lucky if I allow you to be my slave."

Naruto said nothing, his eyes blazing with scorn as he looked at the man.

" You will beg for me to take you back, Naruto. In front of all of Rome, I will have you on your knees begging for my mercy."

Naruto's smile was mocking, filled with a dark confidence that tempted Julius to order his guards from the room so they could be alone. But something told him that Naruto was not ready yet to bend to his will. The idea both enraged and aroused him like nothing else.

" I will never beg you, Julius. We were lovers, but I will never belong to you."

Fury snapped in the Roman's eyes, a hint of madness in their depths. "You WILL yield to me. You will be mine."

He turned and strode from the chamber, instructing the guards to bring Naruto down to the pits to await his fate in the colosseum.

The days of using slaves as gladiators had faded, with many free Romans, even some from the upper echelons of society, signing up to be trained as gladiators to fight for pay. While the job was still a risky one—with one in five fights resulting in death—it was worth it to many for the money and fame. They were the celebrities and sex symbols of Rome, almost on par with the aristocracy. Fights were usually no longer 'to the death', with the crowd determining which combatant would win the prize money. Matches were scheduled to pit opponents of similar experience and skill against each other, all for the amusement of the citizens of Rome.

Today was different, though, and the energy of the crowd reflected it. The top ten gladiators were called to participate in a match pitting them against a single slave. The objective was simple: whoever killed the slave first would be declared the winner of the match unless the slave was spared by his powerful master, who sat by the side of the Emperor. No one had ever heard of the slave before, but hungry eyes of the crowd ran over the beautiful, golden man shackled in the middle of the arena.

A guard approached Naruto to undo his shackles, but a call from the Emperor's box stopped him.

" Let him fight as he is."

The crowd gasped, the perfectly architected acoustics of the Colosseum allowing them to hear the order. Naruto had been given only a net to fight with. To win, he would need to use it to entangle his opponent's legs, then use their own weapon to kill them. Even the most seasoned of gladiators hesitated before going into battle equipped as such. Shackled, he had no chance at all.

But the crowed was looking forward to a guaranteed death in the arena, and the blood lust was already heavy in the air. The doors to the other pits opened, revealing the ten powerful opponents that would surely slay the boy in minutes if he did not submit. Caesar looked down at the man he had claimed as his slave, expecting to see fear and submission in the blue eyes.

He was met instead with a look of dark, unyielding power that had Caesar's blood heating frantically, his hand clenching into a fist. He MUST possess the boy. He would break him to his will. No one had ever challenged him like this. And Julius Caesar never walked away from a challenge.

A wind seemed to rise from nowhere, a slow swirl that started around the tan, shackled ankles then slowly intensified. The taunting of the crowd faded from Caesar's ears as he saw the eyes that had so captivated him slowly bleed to red. He had faced countless battles, killed legions of enemies. But this was the first time that Julius Caesar ever felt truly afraid.

As the ten gladiators advanced on Naruto, Caesar's eyes only saw Naruto.

Naruto kept his eyes locked on Caesar's for a moment before speaking, his voice heavy with a dark edge that had the bloodthirsty spectators momentarily falling silent.

" You made a bad choice Julius. Next time I come to Rome, I will burn it to the ground."

The crowd erupted into screams and jeers, egging on their favorite gladiators to put the strange blond slave in his place and show him the power of Rome. Naruto's net flashed out, wrapping around the ankles of the nearest gladiator in a move that looked so simple it seemed odd that the man had not been able to avoid it, except for the speed at which it had been executed. Before the man could even draw a breath, Naruto had pulled the net, sending man to his knees and seizing his sword and running him through with it.

The remaining gladiators didn't hesitate more than a moment before attacking, seasoned to the chaos of the arena. But it didn't matter. In a matter of moments, they were all on the ground. Naruto looked slowly around the packed colosseum, his eyes glowing red.

Chaos erupted at the colosseum that afternoon. The jeers and chants turned to screams as the audience turned on each other, lost in a frenzied lust for battle. The emperor, frantic to maintain order, called the guards to try to subdue the crowd. The riots that ensued spilled out into the city streets before they were suppressed by the soldiers stationed nearby.

In the confusion, the blond slave had vanished without a trace. Caesar searched the entire city, but never saw him again. Nor did he notice the dark-eyed man who had watched him from the Senator's box, the promise of Death in his eyes.

It was only the second time Naruto had ever released his power out of anger. He had returned to the camp of the Horsemen unusually subdued, his faith in mortals shaken. Sasuke had looked at the shackle Naruto wore around his neck, but had said nothing, perhaps not knowing its significance.

Of course, Naruto thought ruefully. Why would Sasuke have cared either way? It wasn't like there was any reason to keep tabs on each other, as long as we were always available to answer the call to ride. And by that point, that was all Sasuke really allowed their interactions to be about, anyway.

Naruto momentarily felt a wave of loneliness wash through him at the thought. It was an old, familiar feeling, well-worn and grooved into his mind. He often wondered whether he had felt lonelier when he was with Sasuke or after he had left the Horsemen. It had been hard to be faced with something he wanted but could never have day after day. But being without Sasuke altogether had been worse, being without even the smallest brush against the presence that had meshed completely with his own.

He pushed the useless thoughts aside. Tonight, he was here not to try to reclaim a place in Sasuke's life. He just needed to understand—as a friend—what had happened to cause Sasuke to have such a reaction to seeing him again. Whatever Naruto might have wished he could be to Sasuke, he was his friend and companion first. He owed it to the man to find out why he was so angry about things that he had never seemed to care about before.

Naruto remembered the words Sasuke had hurled at him back at the club.

" I followed you once. To see where you always disappeared to after a battle. I saw you. Fucking that… mortal."

At the time, Naruto had just been too shocked by Sasuke's presence to really process what the man was saying. But now, he found himself wondering. Why had Sasuke watched him have sex? And more importantly, why had it made Sasuke angry? He wondered which of his lovers Sasuke had seen him with. He knew he should feel embarrassed that he had been observed in such a private moment, but he had to admit that the thought of Sasuke following him, watching him, made his blood stir. It made him think of things he knew were dangerous to think about.

Dangerous to want.

But nothing he could come up with explained why Sasuke had waited a thousand years to be angry about it. If it had bothered Sasuke in the past, then why didn't he simply confront Naruto when he returned to camp after visiting his lovers?

Nothing made sense. But he was going to track Sasuke down and make him explain it to him. It had never been his intention to make Sasuke angry, which he clearly somehow had done. This time, he would make sure they were alone. If it came to battle, then he would fight. But he wasn't leaving until he found out what was going on.

Re-centered on his mission, Naruto slowly made his way through the crowd of party-goers in the public square. Eyes followed him as he walked, but it didn't bother him. He needed to be noticed. He had no idea where to look for Sasuke or the vampires he had been with at the club, so he had to make them come to him. Which meant he had to stand out enough to draw their attention.

He kept his power in-check, but made no effort to conceal its presence. Any immortal being in the area would be able to sense him. He'd already had two vampires approach him, but they knew nothing about the ones he sought. Naruto considered going into one of the large parties that were being held in ballrooms across the city, but he wanted to be as accessible as possible to whomever might want to find him. He'd spend some time out in the open first before seeking his quarry in more exclusive locations if this didn't pan out.

A woman dressed in an elaborately jeweled Regency costume approached him, her face fully concealed beneath an exquisitely crafted, full-face Venetian mask. The only thing visible were her eyes, a deep chocolate brown that looked appreciatively at Naruto's bare chest.

"You do not find the evening cold?" she asked him in Italian, her voice warm and slightly husky.

Naruto smiled easily at her, friendly but not overly encouraging. It was a balance he had perfected through the years. "Not as cold as some nights I've spent in the past," he replied in her native tongue. Endless time spent in many places had made languages come easily to him.

She moved closer, tracing a finger along one of his tan pectorals. "Are you sure? I would be more than happy to take you someplace much warmer."

Naruto shifted back just enough to break her touch, his eyes still friendly and a feigned regret in his tone. "Grazie, bella. But I have a prior appointment this evening."

The woman slowly pulled her hand back, nodding in acceptance of his polite rejection as she continued making her way through the crowd.

Naruto turned, his eyes going back to scanning the crowd. He let his senses flare, allowing them to range. It felt strange, after so many years of completely suppressing his presence, to not do so in such a crowded location. His latent energy, forced into dormancy for so long, was bubbling beneath the surface. He closed his eyes for a minute, letting his head fall back as he basked in the odd freedom he felt at not having to fully suppress his essence His body felt warm despite the cool air. It had been a long time since he had felt so alive.

He recognized that not all of the headiness he was feeling was from his power. Anticipation coursed through him. Would Sasuke come for him? Was he looking for him already? Or would Naruto have to hunt for him, going through the vampires?

He couldn't deny that both options sent a rush of adrenaline through his body. He had denied himself Sasuke's presence for so long, not allowing himself to even consider the possibility of seeking him out. The meeting with Sasuke in the club had brought back everything… everything he'd tried so hard to forget and move past over the countless centuries. The feel of being in that overwhelming presence again. Even though they'd battled against each other instead of with each other… the exhilaration had still been there. And like an addict falling back into his addiction, Naruto could think of nothing else since then.

Naruto didn't want to think too hard about how easily he had convinced himself that this was the best course of action despite all the risks associated with it. He pretended that it was because he owed it to Sasuke to find out why the man had been so upset upon seeing him.

But in truth, after a thousand years without him, Naruto had not been able to keep himself from giving chase. He had missed Sasuke. Any idea he'd had that his feelings would fade with time had been proven wrong. And he was tired of fighting it.

Despite what had happened the other night when he'd seen Sasuke in the club, Naruto knew that he'd learned considerable control over the years. He had been able to maintain control until he had thought Sasuke had attacked Hinata and Neji. This time, he would be facing Sasuke alone. As long as he held his temper in check, he should be able to keep it together.

And if he was able to maintain control this time, then maybe… maybe he could finally end his self-imposed exile. The seductive thought wrapped around his mind and didn't let go. But then he reminded himself that he might find out that Sasuke had been together with Sakura all this time. Or someone else.

The old pain he had felt from eons ago flooded through him, but he forced it back. He would deal with that when the time came.

He owed it to Sasuke to find out what had happened. They had both been taken by surprise the last time they met. Hopefully this time, Sasuke would be willing to talk rather than attack. Naruto tried not to think about Neji's observation that the first human Sasuke had killed had been the one touching him. Surely that was accidental. Though Sasuke's own words had seemed to show anger at Naruto's relations with mortals, something Naruto had never even been aware that Sasuke knew about… much less something Naruto would have imagined him caring about. Why such anger after all this time?

It didn't make sense.

Naruto's eyes continued to rove over the figures in the square, but he already knew Sasuke was not amongst them. Not that he expected Sasuke to be here in person. Given how little regard Sasuke had for humans, he knew better than to hope to meet the man in person at a human celebration. He tried to maintain his patience, though that was never one of his strengths.

Another reveler, this time a man in a Domino costume, approached Naruto, his eyes moving suggestively over Naruto's form.

Just as he had with the woman, Naruto turned the man away.

He was only interested in one person tonight. He kept his frustration in check as he made his way to one of the stazio to take a gondola to another area. He would return to San Marco Square later in the evening if he didn't find any leads elsewhere.

He had assumed that the vampires would go for the crowded, public places where victims were plentiful and not likely to be noticed as missing immediately. Since that had yielded only limited results, he decided to go to some of the larger parties that were being held throughout the city. Most required an entrance fee to get in the door, often very significant and definitely purchased in advance.

Fortunately, Naruto had no need to use doors.

Naruto found himself in yet another opulent ballroom. His frustration was mounting, though he kept it concealed from his current dance partner as he moved her gracefully around the room in a waltz. He had already found the vampire he had felt inside this building, and it wasn't one of Sasuke's companions. He wondered if he should return to the square. Now that it was later in the evening, maybe there would be a better chance of finding someone who could lead him to Sasuke.

He didn't have any other leads other than the images of Venice that he'd gotten from the female vampire's mind. But what if Venice was simply a city she'd passed through, and had no other association with? How would he track Sasuke? He felt the muscles in his jaw clench at the thought of how long it would take to find Sasuke if Venice didn't pan out.

He was just about to leave when an odd resonance pulsed through his system. Naruto's head snapped up and he looked around the crowded ballroom, but all he could see was an endless sea of masked faces dancing and talking around him. The hairs on his arms stood up as though electrified. A presence so heavy that it seemed to freeze the air invaded his senses. There was no mistaking it.

Sasuke was here.

Naruto couldn't see him. But he could feel him.

The air seemed to spark dangerously, thickening and seeming to spin, disorienting the mortals. The chamber musicians fumbled in their notes and Naruto's dance partner stumbled slightly. She looked around, her hazel eyes nervous behind her mask, clearly sensing the danger but not aware of what it was.

Naruto felt his pulse race at the knowledge that Sasuke had come himself. Naruto wouldn't have to go through some lackey to find him.

"Would you like something to drink?" Naruto asked her, finding an easy way to bring their dancing to a close so he could seek out Sasuke. His eyes continued searching the crowded room to find the source of the power he felt.

"Sì, grazie," she replied gratefully, allowing Naruto to lead her over to the bar, where one of her friends fortunately was waiting and latched onto her. Naruto immediately excused himself, disappearing into the crowd.

Sasuke would have to keep his power more suppressed than Naruto did to avoid killing the humans unintentionally. The fact that Naruto could feel him so clearly meant that Sasuke was not just in Venice… he was in this ballroom.

Masked dancers swirled past Naruto, but he kept moving. Sasuke wouldn't be amongst the dancers. Naruto was quite sure Sasuke had never bothered learning such human trivialities as the waltz or the minuet.

He could feel eyes on him as he slowly made his way through the crowd. The ballroom was huge, easily holding three hundred people, all masked and heavily costumed, disguising almost every element of the individual's identity.

But it wouldn't matter.

There could be a thousand people. A million. But Naruto would recognize the way Sasuke moved, the feel of his presence. Naruto closed his eyes, focusing on the pull of Sasuke's presence. Ahead? No, to the left.

A dancer bumped into him, breaking his concentration. Naruto opened his eyes, suppressing the flash of annoyance at the interruption. He'd denied himself Sasuke's presence for a thousand years. Now that he'd decided to find him again, it was as though he had been holding his breath the whole time, and was now desperate to finally be able to draw a breath.

The music played as the dancers revolved around the room, but Naruto paid no attention to them. The heavy feeling of being watched increased, the sensation almost a physical touch. He knew without a doubt that Sasuke had seen him.

Was watching him.

Naruto turned slowly in a circle, seeking dark eyes in the crowd… eyes that no mask could hide from him. Naruto's body was completely tuned to Sasuke's presence. His eyes dilated and his pulse raced.


Sasuke was closer now. Naruto could feel it… the resonance between them slowly building. It was like a humming in his blood, and his whole body pulsed with it. Sasuke was circling him, staying just out of his line of sight, hidden by the crowd.

Naruto couldn't help the smirk that formed on his lips. Sasuke was toying with him.

"Where are you, bastard?" Naruto whispered in his native tongue… one that had not been spoken since ancient times.

Naruto froze as a voice spoke in the same language from right behind him, warm breath ghosting against the back of his neck.

"Looking for me?"

Naruto's breath stilled. He had to steady himself for an instant, clamping down as his power stirred at the sound of Sasuke's voice only inches from him. It was a closeness that Sasuke had only allowed in battle in the past. Naruto hoped that was not his purpose this time.

He turned deliberately slowly, not wanting to give Sasuke a reason to back away. Naruto's eyes took in the black cloak and beautifully grotesque grim reaper mask that Sasuke was wearing. Neither man chose to step back as they faced each other. Their eyes met warily, locked on each other as the dancers moved around them, the humans blithely unaware of the danger in their midst.

Naruto was annoyed that Sasuke's costume concealed so much from his hungry eyes. He wanted to see Sasuke. Frustration bubbled through him, but he knew better than to rush things. Sasuke's eyes gave nothing away. The out-of-control anger that exploded from Sasuke the other night was gone, but Naruto didn't know if that was only because they were not alone.

Naruto and Sasuke slowly circled each other, neither moving closer nor backing away.

"I see you came dressed for the occasion," Naruto smirked despite the heavy tension between them.

Sasuke's eyes drifted over Naruto's attire, settling for a moment on the metal encircling his throat. "Interesting choice."

Naruto felt an odd shifting sensation as Sasuke's eyes slid over his body, the expression in the black depths far from casual. Naruto felt his power surge against his restraint, so close to the familiar energy it had been denied for so long. Only centuries of training kept him from letting loose and allowing his energy to twine with the darkness in Sasuke.

He saw the flash of red in Sasuke's eyes, and knew he felt the same irresistible pull. But there was also anger in Sasuke's eyes, and Naruto didn't want it to escalate into another full-out fight like it had the other night. Naruto drew in a breath, disappointed when he found he was not quite close enough to catch Sasuke's scent. He focused instead on drawing in the traces of power that emanated from the being in front of him.

It was nowhere near enough to satisfy him. His body was almost shaking with the need to be closer. Naruto pulled himself back, ruthlessly suppressing all of his power, forcing it back into dormancy as he had been doing for centuries. The temptation was just too strong, otherwise.

"I didn't expect to find you here," Naruto said, forcing his voice to remain calm.

Sasuke's eyes narrowed slightly, and Naruto wished he could remove the mask and see his face fully. While Sasuke had never been terribly expressive, anything was better than staring at the piece of glass that separated Sasuke's face from him.

"You told your… pets… you were looking for me in Venice." The slight mocking of the word 'pets' made Naruto freeze.

"What did you do to them?" Naruto's voice carried an edge of panic. Sasuke hadn't harmed the Hyuugas back at the club. Would he have done so now?

Sasuke's eyes turned cold, and the dancers circling near them stumbled before looking around fearfully for the source of danger they instinctively felt but could not see.

"You would protect them from me?" Sasuke's words were low, and rang with a tone of betrayal.

"Sasuke -"

"No. I didn't kill your newest lovers." There was more than a little bite to Sasuke's tone, and Naruto could feel the air in the room begin to grow cold.

Relief washed through Naruto, though he wasn't sure why he considered Sasuke a threat to Hinata and Neji… Sasuke had never seemed to have any interest in his affairs in the past. But something about the intensity in Sasuke's eyes made him think there was more going on than he knew.

It was clear that there were things that needed to be discussed. But not in a room full of people.

"Let's go someplace we can talk," Naruto said, glancing around the room, relieved to see that the small flicker of Sasuke's power was not enough to kill anyone. Yet.

"Protecting your mortals again, Naruto?" Sasuke asked. Naruto didn't need to be able to see the sneer to hear it. "But you're right. We have things that need to be discussed."

Sasuke looked at him challengingly, as though expecting Naruto to try to escape at the last second. When Naruto only nodded tersely in agreement, Sasuke reached out a gloved hand and grabbed Naruto's shoulder.

Together, they vanished from the room.

to be continued…

Next chapter will be mostly in Sasuke's POV and will start with him watching Naruto in the masquerade ball (it will be a short scene, not a total rehash so don't worry!!) :-)

Chapter Text

Author's note: Thanks to my lovely beta Anon for proofing this for me! Have I ever mentioned that I also have a thing for libraries? ;-)

Chapter 8 - Death's Library

Sasuke moved slowly through the crowded Venetian ballroom. The humans instinctively cleared a path for him, their eyes following his graceful, predatory movements with a mixture of fear and desire.

They held no interest to him.

Sasuke was focused on only one thing: Naruto was here. He had not had any difficulty tracking the missing Horseman through the city. Naruto's unconcealed power was like a magnet, pulling him unerringly to the source.

Sasuke closed his eyes briefly, soaking in the feel of the wild, familiar presence that filled the room. He was so close. After so many years and so many failures to find him, Naruto was here, in this room. Waiting for him.

Looking for him.

Sasuke smiled darkly at the irony of the thought as he caught a flash of tan skin and golden hair.

He would let Naruto look for him a bit more. After all, it was only fair. He watched as Naruto danced with a woman, Sasuke's dark eyes turning cold as he saw the way she leaned in towards the immortal, her dress cut revealingly low, making the movement risky for her continued 'modesty'.

His anger was eased when he noticed that Naruto's eyes did not drop to look at what the woman was offering him. Instead, they continued to scan the room—searching for Sasuke.

Sasuke turned his head just as Naruto turned towards him. He knew that Naruto would have sensed his presence by now. Sasuke could already feel the small resonance of their energy pulsing within him, and knew that Naruto would feel it, too.

He watched as Naruto guided the woman over to a refreshment stand and immediately left her with her friend who had evidently been waiting for her. Both women's eyes followed Naruto hungrily as he walked away, but Naruto didn't so much as look back.

Sasuke's eyes also slid along the lean, powerful lines of Naruto's body that the gladiator costume did nothing to conceal. It was no wonder the humans were falling all over themselves for the being. Sasuke felt his annoyance surge again. What did Naruto see in them? Why did he bother with all these… entanglements?

Deciding he'd done enough watching, Sasuke slowly began to close the distance between them, circling around Naruto from behind. He could feel the awareness building between them, and it made his pulse race. Naruto stopped, slowly turning in a circle, clearly feeling the same intensifying pull. Sasuke smoothly stepped to the side where a woman with an elaborate headdress cut off Naruto's line of sight to him.

After a moment, Sasuke continued moving, perfectly able to read Naruto's body language as he approached and stay out of sight. The familiarity of countless years in battle with the being had given him endless practice in anticipating Naruto's actions. As much as one could ever predict the actions of Chaos. Sasuke slid the tip of his tongue over his lower lip, the odd, disconcerting feeling he always felt when he had been close to Naruto in the past humming within him again. It was always the same. Always the same, uncontrollable feeling of anger and possessiveness and things that made no sense to him.

He was close enough now to hear when Naruto murmured to himself: "Where are you, bastard?"

Sasuke breathed in as the familiar voice spoke the ancient Sumerian tongue… the language of their origins. It only intensified the strange feeling swirling through him. He was done playing. He needed Naruto to see him now. He moved closer, coming up to stand directly behind Naruto.

"Looking for me?" Sasuke replied in the same language. He saw the way Naruto's body tensed, felt the power within the blond surge before being quickly suppressed. It pleased Sasuke to know that he was not the only one feeling the almost overwhelming call between them.

Naruto turned to face him slowly and Sasuke felt almost seared by the intensity and… hunger in Naruto's blue gaze. But there was also wariness and anger in the look, and Sasuke wasn't sure what to expect from the one known as Chaos. So Sasuke simply waited. Watchful. He didn't know why Naruto had run from him all those years ago, but he would not let him do it again. Not without a fight.

"I see you came dressed for the occasion," Naruto smirked and it made Sasuke's blood stir. Without conscious thought, he found his eyes running again over the very authentic-looking gladiator costume Naruto wore. His gaze caught on the shackle that Naruto wore around his neck and the anger at the long-dead mortal who had dared place it there flared back.

"Interesting choice." Sasuke didn't trust himself to say more on the matter. Especially not in a room full of humans, not after he'd been warned about the consequences of another slip like what happened at the club.

"I didn't expect to find you here," Naruto's voice sounded almost casual, but Sasuke could feel the way Naruto's power shook and seemed to almost vibrate within him. There was nothing casual about this confrontation, and they both knew it.

Sasuke felt the urge to rattle Naruto's composure.

"You told your… pets… you were looking for me in Venice." He wondered just how possessive Naruto was over his most recent lovers, though the thought of it made him sneer. Sasuke saw Naruto's body tense at his words.

"What did you do to them?"

Naruto's voice was filled with worry and concern, and it made Sasuke's temper flare. Mortal lovers were temporary, but with the two immortals... Had Naruto truly replaced him for good? The idea ate at Sasuke. There was a permanence here that there never had been with any of Naruto's lovers in the past.

"You would protect them from me?" Sasuke growled.

"Sasuke -" Naruto began.

"No. I didn't kill your newest lovers," Sasuke spat out the words, unsure why he felt such a bitter anger at saying them.

He saw the relief reflected in Naruto's expression, and it did nothing to soothe his temper. They needed to get out of this place and go somewhere private before Sasuke did something that Itachi would make him regret. As though reading his mind, Naruto spoke.

"Let's go someplace we can talk."

While Sasuke fully agreed, he knew that Naruto was merely doing it to avoid a repeat of what had happened the other night.

"Protecting your mortals again, Naruto?" Sasuke asked, still feeling the old, strange anger at Naruto's concern for these utterly unworthy beings. "But you're right. We have things that need to be discussed."

Sasuke was surprised yet again when Naruto simply agreed. After chasing the blond for a thousand years, he didn't understand this sudden capitulation, but he wasn't going to question it. He would bring Naruto back to his estate where there were no humans within miles. He reached out a gloved hand and grabbed Naruto's shoulder, watching intently in case Naruto tried to resist.

Together, they vanished from the room.

Sasuke watched as Naruto slowly looked around the room. He kept his body tense, ready to give chase if Naruto tried to leave again. But the blond made no move to do so, despite spending the last thousand years avoiding him.

"Where are we?" Naruto asked, his voice tense but otherwise showing no emotion

"My home. There are no humans nearby. We won't be interrupted."

Naruto's head snapped up and blue eyes locked on his, searching for something.

"Goddammit, Sasuke. Take off your fucking mask." Naruto growled, ripping off his own half-mask and tossing it into a nearby armchair.

Sasuke smirked, somehow pleased that Naruto wanted to see his face. He supposed it was only fair, since he felt the same way. With much more deliberate control than Naruto had exhibited, he removed his mask.

Naruto's eyes held an almost brittle desperation that Sasuke didn't understand as he set his Venetian mask on the desk. The two immortals stood facing each other, each waiting for the other to speak and offer some sort of explanation for the events of the past two days. The past thousand years.

Silence stretched.

"Is this where you've been living?" Naruto asked finally, strong tan fingers gesturing slightly to the room.

Sasuke looked at him for a moment, annoyance at the banal question flashing across his face, but he replied. "Here. And other places. I haven't been hiding."

The implied accusation hung heavily in the room.

Naruto's eyes were filled with a turmoil and loneliness that didn't make sense to Sasuke Naruto was the one who left. There had been endless opportunities for him to have returned, to have sought Sasuke out, but he hadn't. Why did mentioning that fact make him upset?

"I… I know." Naruto said after a pause.

Sasuke arched a brow, his anger surfacing. "That's it? I've spent the last thousand years searching for you and all you have to say is 'I know'?"

Naruto flinched at the sharp anger in the words, guilt wrapping around him. "How was I supposed to know that you were gonna do that, Sasuke? You weren't exactly wanting to spend any time with me before I left."

"What?" Sasuke's anger surged through him. What was Naruto even talking about? "We'd shared the same camp for centuries, Naruto. You really thought I wouldn't notice when you left?"

Naruto felt his own irritation rear up. "I never said I thought you wouldn't notice. I left you a note pinned to your fucking tent and you're making it like I left without a word!"

"A note. You left me a fucking note. You never said one word about wanting to leave, then I wake up one day and just find you gone."

An image of Sasuke walking back to Sakura's tent flashed unbidden through Naruto's mind, and he fought the urge to ask if Sasuke had woken up alone or in Sakura's bed.

"Yeah, I left a note. When else was I supposed to talk with you? You'd been avoiding me for years. We didn't talk anymore outside of battle. The only one you spent any time with was Sakura, so I don't understand why you're so pissed off about it. The days of us being called to fight were over. Everyone was going their separate ways. Sai was planning on leaving, and Sakura wanted to play house with you. So I left. So fucking what!"

Sasuke blinked at the level of anger in Naruto's tone. He could see the man's hands clench as he clearly was trying to keep from leveling Sasuke's house. Something that Sasuke would appreciate more at another time.

"What does Sakura have to do with anything? Your note said you were leaving to learn control of your powers. Where Sai and Sakura went has nothing to do with that."

"I was! I needed to be able to control my powers. That is the reason I left," Naruto's tone was defensive, and Sasuke stiffened.

"Don't lie to me, Naruto," Sasuke reverted to Sumerian as anger surged through him. "After everything else, you at least owe me that much."

"I'm not lying! You knew I was losing control towards the end. The last few battles… you must have felt it."

Both their tempers were up, and the energy in the room was spiking. The door to the library flew open, and Suigetsu appeared. His eyes widened at the sight of Naruto in Sasuke's home and took a step back, the tension in the room driving him out like a physical force.

Sasuke glared at the vampire. "Get. Out."

"Ok, fine! I just…" Suigetsu glanced nervously over to where Naruto was standing. "Are you sure you're… ok? We felt this insane energy spike and they sent me to..."

Naruto glanced over to the nearest bookshelf, giving the pair a small bit of privacy, though he couldn't help but be somewhat curious as to what the vampire's role was in Sasuke's life. He reminded himself that—since he was the one who left—he had no reason to be jealous of whatever the vampire was to Sasuke.

"Take Karin and Juugo with you and leave. Now." Sasuke's tone made it clear the matter wasn't up for discussion, and Suigetsu cast one last look at Naruto.

Evidently, Suigetsu hadn't been discreet enough about the way his eyes slid over Naruto's form in the gladiator costume, because the temperature in the room dipped ominously.

"Out." Sasuke's soft voice cracked like a whip, and Suigetsu didn't hesitate a second time before leaving. Sasuke closed the door firmly behind him.

He turned to find Naruto studying a particular shelf of books in his library. Sasuke froze as he realized which one it was.

Naruto ran his finger along the spines of each of the books, listing out the names of the main characters that were contained within.

"Interesting collection, Sasuke. Helen of Troy, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Tamerlane, Catherine the Great…" Naruto turned to face him, his usually expressive eyes unreadable. "Should I guess what they all have in common?"

Sasuke walked cautiously toward Naruto, readying himself for Naruto's temper. The air in the room seeming to momentarily still between the two powerful beings, as though holding its breath.

"How did you know about them?" Naruto's voice was low and penetrating when Sasuke remained silent on his previous question.

"They disturbed the balance. After being with you, it only became worse."

Naruto's eyes slowly widened as comprehension sunk in. "You killed them? All of them?"

"They were mortal. Mortals die." Sasuke stood directly before Naruto, his face as unreadable as it had been when he had worn the mask.

"Yes. But not by your hand," Naruto accused.

"They disturbed the balance," Sasuke repeated. "We were always called to restore balance that had been broken. Just because you stopped doesn't mean I did."

"Bullshit. Bullshit!" Naruto's temper flared. A red haze seemed to slowly drape the room. "Why did you kill them, Sasuke? I knew when I had to leave them. I never stayed too long or interfered with their destinies. I had learned how to be careful."

"Did you? Is that what you learned while lying between those worthless mortals' legs?"

Naruto blinked at the anger that pulsed from Sasuke at the words. "What?"

Sasuke stepped closer, stopping just within arm's length of Naruto. "What could they possibly offer you? They didn't deserve you."

"So you killed them?"

"Not without instruction to do so, Naruto. The same thing that drew you to them was the same reason they were destined to die by my hand in the end. They weren't the only ones."

Naruto tried to make sense of what Sasuke was saying, wondering how much of their deaths were on his shoulders or had simply been fated to be from the start. "They weren't the only ones?" Naruto asked, looking back over to the shelf as though hoping to find other tomes of mortals he had not claimed as his lovers. There were none.

"They were not the only lives I took," Sasuke watched Naruto intently before a cold smirk traced across his lips. "But they were the ones I took pleasure in collecting."

Naruto's eyes looked over the list of names, remembering each of them. There was only one name on that shelf that he was truly glad Sasuke had killed. "Why would you take pleasure in killing them? Just because you thought they were… beneath me?"

Sasuke's finger ran along the edge of the shackle around Naruto's neck. "You can't honestly tell me that you mourned all of them."

Naruto's eyes widened at the knowledge he read in Sasuke's black gaze. "You… you were there? You knew what happened?"

Sasuke's fingers flicked open the latch of the shackle and it clattered to the stone floor.

"I knew. And I took great pleasure in sticking the knife in his back on the Senate steps when the time came." Sasuke's voice held a cold anger that Naruto somehow found… comforting. Sasuke had been angry for him. He had… cared for him?

"Caesar was an arrogant asshole," Naruto heard the soft snort come from Sasuke's lips and smiled slightly. But then his smile faded. "But not all of the others were."

Sasuke simply looked at him. "Neither were many of the thousands of other people we have killed together, Naruto. You've been living amongst the humans for too long. You've forgotten what you really are."

The words put to voice thoughts Naruto had often had through the ages. Of all the Horsemen, he had never been able to brush off the effects of their actions as well as the others could.

"And what am I then, Sasuke? What are any of us now, when it has been so long since we've been called?"

Sasuke drew a small amount of his power, feeling Naruto's instantly coil around it in response. "I am Death. And you are War."

Naruto pulled back, not accepting that simplistic of a definition of who or what he was.

"That's who we were, Sasuke. That was over a thousand years ago. I'm more than that now."

Sasuke's lips curved into a cruelly mocking smirk. "What, after years of fucking these mortals, now you've changed? We are what we were made to be, Naruto. We don't change."

"I changed! Or if it wasn't a change, then maybe we've always been more," Naruto didn't know why he felt such a desperation for Sasuke to acknowledge that there could be more to them than simply War and Death. He knew it was a lost cause. Sasuke had always been completely focused on their task… their role in shaping history. He'd always made it perfectly clear that everything else was secondary, if it even existed in his mind at all.

He was surprised when he saw hesitation in Sasuke's eyes, rather than the mocking coldness he had expected.

"I just… I want more than that, Sasuke. I am more than that. And so are you." Naruto gestured to the expanse of books Sasuke had amassed in his library. "There's more to you than Death. There always has been. You just never acknowledged it!"

Sasuke looked at Naruto for a moment. "Death is who I am."

Naruto blew out an exasperated breath, his tone turning mocking. "Yes! Yes, you're Death and powerful and the whole world fears you and blah fucking blah! You have killed how many hundreds of thousands, and there were only six that you truly enjoyed? That's… that's pathetic."

Anger flared in Sasuke's eyes. "Not all of us can run around thinking about pleasure. Sometimes there are consequences to having this kind of power, Naruto. Control has to come first. There's always a price to be paid."

Naruto laughed bitterly. "Oh, I know all about paying prices, Sasuke. That's why I had to leave, to find control. Do you think I wanted to be alone? Do you think it was fun for me? I didn't have a choice. With no way to release my energy in battle, it was just building up more and more. The night I left, I lost my temper and an entire village was destroyed. It took me centuries before I trusted myself to be in the company of others again, Sasuke. Don't act like you're the only one who took it seriously." Naruto's tone had been growing angrier throughout. He shot Sasuke a taunting look. "And by the way, I wasn't the one who killed a whole building full of people just because I got pissed off last night. So don't act all high and mighty."

Naruto stopped, clearly bracing for a backlash from Sasuke, but the dark eyes that were fixed on him seemed to be considering, trying to work through what Naruto had said.

And what he hadn't said. Naruto had forgotten just how well Sasuke really knew him.

"We could have found a place to release your energy. If that was the problem, you would have come to me about it."

Naruto realized he had unintentionally revealed more than he had meant to. Sasuke's mind had always been razor-sharp. Clearly, that had not faded with time.

"What does it matter now? There's no point in rehashing this a thousand years later."

But Sasuke was relentless. "I know our powers are different, but the control of them isn't. I could have helped you if you hadn't left."

"No, Sasuke. You wouldn't understand. I had to leave."

"Then explain it to me, Naruto. Why did you have to leave in order to learn control? It wasn't like there was some other being you could go to for guidance. There were only ever the Four of us."

Naruto clenched his jaw. He'd had Sasuke reject him once before. He wasn't looking to relive the moment for old time's sake.

"Leave it be, Sasuke," Naruto warned, his voice dropping to almost a growl.

"I don't think so. What you say doesn't make sense. I know you better than to believe you would run away with some half-assed idea of 'learning control' when the only ones who could possibly have anything to teach you were right there." Sasuke's voice was unyielding. Naruto saw the man's eyes narrow, and knew Sasuke was going in for the kill. "Or were you really just that stupid?"

Naruto knew what Sasuke was doing, but he couldn't help responding to the taunt. "No, Sasuke. I wasn't stupid. I just had to be away from you."

Sasuke's eyes trapped his, not letting Naruto look away. "Why me? Because our powers were linked?"

Naruto briefly considered allowing the lie. It was a reasonable one. It would be much easier than admitting the truth. But Naruto had never been a liar.

"No, Sasuke. That was only part of it." Naruto sighed, feeling resigned for what was about to happen.

"Then what? What made you leave?" Sasuke repeated his earlier question. The one that had haunted him for a thousand years.

Naruto drew a steadying breath.

"I wanted things from you that you had no interest in, Sasuke. Don't pretend that you didn't know." Naruto enjoyed the look of shock that appeared in Sasuke's eyes. "Like you told me long ago, I seem to have some sort of unhealthy affinity to mortal attachments. And I knew you didn't feel the same. Hell, you didn't even let me near you after the one time I touched you."

Sasuke seemed to almost flinch at the words, and Naruto smiled grimly. "You don't even like to think about it, do you?" Naruto asked.

"Naruto, you don't -" Sasuke began, but Naruto didn't wait for an answer.

"I tried to make my peace with it. I knew we weren't like humans. We didn't have the same needs and urges. You didn't like to be touched, and I made myself accept that. But then…" Naruto's face closed off. "I saw you with Sakura that day. You let her touch you. You followed her back to her tent. And I realized that… I didn't know what I was trying so hard for anymore. The Horsemen were over, and we had no need to stay together anymore. The things I wanted from you, you would never be able to give me. You hardly spent any time with me. And I wasn't going to just sit by and watch you play house with Sakura, even if it was just as friends."

"I…" Sasuke paused, clearly trying to marshal his thoughts. Whatever he had expected Naruto to say, this hadn't been it. "But you had lovers. I saw you with them."

"Yes! I wasn't going to try to push anything on you. After… after the one time you let me touch you, I knew that you didn't feel the same. I respected your choice. But I still wanted to find someone that… I wanted…" Naruto sighed, not really sure how to express the desire for companionship and intimacy to someone who clearly didn't feel the need for either. "After you made it clear where your boundaries were, I fulfilled my needs elsewhere."

Sasuke's eyes were angry again, and if Naruto didn't know better, he would have said they looked jealous.

"Don't give me that look, Sasuke. You were my first choice. But you pulled away. Hell, you totally closed yourself off from me after that day. And instead, you went to Sakura. So don't look at me like that."

"I didn't go to Sakura!"

Naruto scoffed. "Oh, really? Then what were you doing holding hands and going into her tent!"

1015 A.D

Sasuke could feel Naruto in the tent next to his. He was always on edge until he knew that Naruto was staying. He didn't know why, but it bothered him when Naruto would disappear for a few days or weeks. It didn't matter when Sai or Sakura did the same.

Over the years, Sasuke had found a way to manage his strange reaction to Naruto by avoiding being alone with him. Avoiding physical contact. He missed the conversations that they used to have when they'd lie in their tent together at night. But he was able to stay in control.

The night was hot, and he relaxed back on the log bench by the fire, letting his senses drink in the feel of Naruto's presence from within his tent. It soothed him.

"Can I join you?" Sakura asked, walking over to where he sat.

Sasuke shrugged. Sakura and Sai's presence didn't seem to affect him. He wondered why it was only Naruto. Why did it have to be him?

They sat together in companionable silence for a bit. Recently, Sakura had begun talking with him about her research—the things she had learned. Some of it was interesting. The way mortals tried to cheat Death, either by avoiding it or taking his role by the mixing of their poisons and their medicines. So amusing.

"Are you planning to visit any new temples for your research?" Sakura asked.

Sasuke glanced over at her. They discussed different locations nearby that they each were considering visiting. The soft sound of Naruto's tent opening caused Sasuke's attention to abruptly shift focus.

Naruto glanced over at him, but didn't say anything as he walked away from their camp. Sasuke's hand clenched into a fist as he wondered if Naruto was going to meet a lover.

He watched Naruto until he disappeared from sight.

"Sasuke, were you even listening to what I was saying?" Sakura's voice cut through his thoughts.

"What?" He glanced back over to her, then continued to look back along the empty path Naruto had just walked down.

Naruto had been gone for almost an hour. Sasuke stared out into the darkness, waiting for Naruto to return. Wondering if he would be gone all night.

"Sasuke…I want you to stay with me. Sai will be leaving soon, and Naruto already spends as much time gone as he does here. We could build a life together. You can pursue your studies, and I can follow mine. We've talked about it before, but you never gave me an answer."

"We don't need to live together. The Horsemen won't be called to ride any time soon." Sasuke said dismissively.

Slowly, Sakura's hand reached out towards Sasuke's. Sasuke frowned, wondering what she was doing. No one touched him. Ever. Except Naruto, just that once.

The thought made Sasuke curious. Was that flood of sensation, of connection, something unique to Naruto? Would it happen if anyone else touched him? He watched her hand approach. When her hand touched his, he felt only a small spark of their innate powers coming into contact. It was nothing like when he and Naruto had touched.

"Come. There's something I want to show you," Sakura bit her lip as she spoke.

Sasuke arched a brow, wondering if it was going to be a new book she had collected. He looked down to where her hand was tugging his. It was odd, to have someone touch him. At least, to have someone touch him and not die instantly. Somehow, Sakura's hand on his annoyed him.

"What are you doing?" Sasuke asked. A slight frown marred his face as he wondered why she didn't let go.

She laughed softly, tilting her head to the side. "Taking you back to my tent."

Sasuke sighed as he followed her. He supposed looking at whatever book or scroll she wanted to show him was better than sitting outside waiting for Naruto to come back.

When they got inside her tent, Sakura looked up at him, her eyes searching his face.

"Sasuke…" she reached her hand up to touch his cheek, but he stepped back. He'd had enough. She let her hand fall to the side with a nervous laugh.

"Did you… ever wonder what it would be like?" she asked, looking up at him.

He frowned. Usually Sakura was much more articulate when she was asking him something. "Wonder about what?"

She blushed slightly. "About… us? Being… lovers?"

Images of Naruto entwined with his lovers flashed through Sasuke's mind. The thought of him and Sakura doing those things had him taking another step back. She was his teammate. His companion.

But that was all.

"No," he said firmly, looking her directly in the eye.

She dropped her gaze, a small, sad smile on her lips. She nodded slightly. "I… I had to at least try. It was getting old just wondering and wondering." She gave a small laugh, but it didn't reach her wistful eyes.

"I'm going to go see if Naruto is back yet." Sasuke said before turning and leaving. Sakura didn't follow him out. He waited for an hour, but there was no sign of Naruto returning. Sasuke closed his eyes, trying to sense if Naruto was in the area. But there was nothing.

He went to his tent, laying down on the pallet, and tried not to think about where Naruto was or who he was with.

In the morning, he awoke to find Naruto's note pinned to his door.

"So you didn't end up living together?" Naruto asked.

Sasuke shot him an annoyed look. "We see each other from time to time, but the last time was about a hundred years ago."

Naruto nodded, his earlier anger seeming to have drained away, leaving him feeling tired. "So you just… hang out with vamps and killing random people in clubs, then?"

Sasuke glared at him and Naruto snickered.

"You know your death glare doesn't work on me. Or have you forgotten?" Naruto cocked his head to the side, amusement lighting his bright blue eyes.

Sasuke's lips twitched, and his glare lessened somewhat. The sight sent a pang of homesickness through Naruto. He had always been the only one who could get Sasuke to smile. He wondered if that were still true. He doubted it, given how much time had passed. The thought hurt more than he had expected.

"I missed you," Naruto said softly, the admission out before he could prevent it. He stiffened, turning abruptly to look at the books so he wouldn't have to see the expression on Sasuke's face and rushed on speaking before the words had time to really have the weight he knew they did. "I honestly didn't think that you would be upset when I left. Things between us… well, you know how they were." Naruto glanced over at Sasuke, his curiosity winning over his discomfort of his own admission. "Why did you care so much?"

Sasuke's brows drew together, "What do you mean, why did I care?"

Naruto shrugged, turning to face Sasuke fully. "Well, I mean… you don't seem to be with Sai or Sakura anymore. Did you kill a bunch of people when they left, too?"

"Tch," Sasuke looked away, the faintest color tracing across his cheekbones at the reminder of his loss of control. "When they left, they told me where they were going."

Naruto raised his eyebrows in disbelief. "So… you chased me around for a thousand years killing my exes because I didn't leave a fucking forwarding address? Damn, Sasuke, if I'd have known it was going to bug you that much, I would have sent you a card every once in a while."

"Don't be stupid, Naruto. It was never the same with the other two. We were the first. Our powers were always the strongest."

"Yeah. So we're back to the whole 'War and Death' thing now. Those days were over, Sasuke, so I still don't see what you're so pissy about."

An expression of irritation crossed Sasuke's face, but Naruto didn't miss the flash of confusion hidden behind it.

"Do you even know why you were so mad?" Naruto asked with slight incredulity. "You seem to have spent a lot of effort following me around, Sasuke." Naruto gestured to the books showcasing his past lovers. "You must have had some reason for doing it."

Sasuke narrowed his eyes. "Maybe I missed you, too. I was… used to you being there."

Naruto laughed. "You were used to me? Well… that's great, I guess. I was… used to you, too. I'm also used to putting butter on my toast, but I don't go around offing everyone else who eats butter. Couldn't you have just… gotten used to someone else? Sakura was offering. Your little cult of vampires seems willing enough, too."

"I don't… I don't know. I just didn't like it that you'd left without talking to me." Sasuke's brow furrowed slightly, whether in uncertainty or annoyance at being called out on it, Naruto wasn't sure.

"So if I'd talked to you, would you have let me go?"

Sasuke's lips tightened into a thin line.

"Look, Sasuke. I came to find you because I owed it to you as a friend to try to understand why you were so angry. I really hadn't meant to piss you off. But… I don't know what you want from me. You said control was important. I agree. You said you missed me, and I missed you, too, but… the days of the Horsemen are over now. If it bugs you to not know where I am, I'll stay in touch, but -"

Sasuke's eyes widened, in what Naruto would have said looked like panic if it had been anyone else. "But now that you have learned some control, you don't need to leave. You could stay here."

Naruto looked around the cold, sterile room and chuckled to cover the way his stomach clenched at the invitation. One he knew he couldn't accept. "Uh… this place is a little bit dead for my tastes," he said lightly.

"What, you're anxious to get back to your Hyuuga pets?" Sasuke's temper flared, laced with a darker, bubbling emotion that made him wish he'd risked Naruto's wrath and finished off the Hyuugas earlier. "I spent the last thousand years searching for you, Naruto. I'm not letting you walk away again."

"Sasuke… I won't hide anymore." Naruto shoved his hand through his hair in frustration. "But I just... we don't want the same things, Sasuke. I can't give you what you want, and you can't give me what I want."

"I don't know what you want, Naruto." Sasuke said, his voice low. "And you don't know what I want."

Sasuke's gaze locked on Naruto. There was a possessiveness in Sasuke's eyes that made Naruto wonder if maybe… he didn't let himself finish the seductive thought. He wouldn't set himself up emotionally on just a look.

"What do you want, Sasuke?" Naruto's asked after a pause.

"I don't want you to leave." The words were simple, but there was more weight to them than a casual statement.

"Sasuke… I told you before that I…"

"Tell me what you want, then, Naruto?" Sasuke's voice held a challenge, one that Naruto could not back away from.

"I told you before what I wanted, Sasuke. And you already made it clear that you don't want the same thing. Let's not keep drawing this out."

Sasuke didn't look away, the possessive look in his black eyes only increasing, becoming darker and more forceful. "I won't let you leave this time."

The words seemed to echo in the room. Naruto felt his pulse pick up. That sounded almost like… an invitation. Or a challenge. Either way, Naruto was going to do something about it.

He stepped forward and slowly slid his hand behind Sasuke's head, noticing the surprisingly soft texture of the inky black hair as he twined his fingers through the dark strands. He paused giving Sasuke plenty of opportunity to say something… to stop this. Sasuke looked back at him steadily, seeming to almost dare him to go through with it. Naruto decided that if this cost him his immortal existence, he would be perfectly fine with that.

Naruto tightened his grip in Sasuke's hair and inexorably drew their mouths together.

When their lips finally brushed against each other Naruto felt like he'd been struck by lightning. His lungs seized, and his heart felt like it was about to beat out of his chest. Energy poured between them, flooding his senses, making his body shake.

He had never experienced a kiss like this.

He angled his head, deepening the kiss as he pressed his overly warm lips against Sasuke's cool ones, guiding their mouths open before slipping just the tip of his tongue inside to run along the inside of Sasuke's lip.

Naruto shuddered.

Sasuke tasted like nothing Naruto had ever even imagined. He tasted like power. Like darkness. Like light. Naruto knew he was never letting go after this. He felt Sasuke draw in a sharp breath, and wondered for an agonizing instant if Sasuke was going to pull back. Just like he had all those years ago.

Instead, Sasuke leaned in, gripping the leather strap on the back of Naruto's arm guard as he opened his mouth wider, sliding his tongue along Naruto's.

The room pulsed and the very walls seemed to hum. The windows in the library shook, then exploded out, sending millions of shards of glass to the grass below.

Neither man in the room noticed.

to be continued….

A/N: Hooray for first kisses! Yeah, my first kiss was definitely not like that but… hey, Sasuke's just a lucky bastard. So… given this was the effect of just a kiss… what do you think will happen next? LOLOL

Chapter Text

Author's note: Happy holidays! I got this chapter out before New Year's as promised. :-) Un-beta'd. Almost to the end of the story now!

Chapter 9 - Chaos' bedroom

"I won't let you leave this time." Sasuke put just a brush of his power into his voice, letting the words resonate in the room. He was throwing down a challenge to Naruto, and knew in his bones that the immortal would not be able to ignore it - not after what Naruto had just admitted.

Sasuke watched steadily as Naruto's eyes widened slightly, then narrowed as they locked on his. He stood his ground as Naruto slowly stalked towards him, a low coil of anticipation building in his stomach. Of all the creatures Sasuke had ever met, only Naruto came close to his level in power.

Though Sasuke knew Naruto didn't have the ability to kill him, he also wasn't entirely sure he could kill Naruto, either, making Naruto the only being alive who could truly match him. The dangerous light in Naruto's hooded eyes as he approached made Sasuke's body hum in anticipation of what would happen. Whether Naruto chose to attack or… do something else.

Naruto took the final step, stopping only inches from him. Sasuke could feel the barely suppressed energy pulsing just beneath Naruto's skin… and the shaking restraint Naruto was exerting to keep it in check.

Sasuke arched a mocking brow, wondering why Naruto was holding back. There were no humans to get caught in the crossfire here, and he knew Naruto would never let things get so out-of-hand that humans beyond the island would be affected. Naruto's eyes darkened as he slowly reached his hand up to tangle into the back of Sasuke's hair.

Just that simple touch had Sasuke's jaw clenching in shock against the rush of power that surged between them. He expected Naruto to taunt him for his visible reaction to the touch but instead, Naruto's face was almost grimly serious as he tightened his fingers in Sasuke's hair and drew him steadily forward, watching Sasuke's face intently the entire time.

The air between them seemed to grow heavy and Sasuke felt Naruto's lips brush against his. He inhaled sharply at the even larger spike of energy that speared through his entire body at the touch, so foreign to him. His eyes flared wide at the sheer intensity of the sensation, and for the first time, realized what Itachi had been warning him about. His own power was responding, flooding out into Naruto just as Naruto's poured into him. Even with thousands of years of practicing his control, there was no stopping it.

Naruto tilted his head more to the side and leaned in, moving his lips more forcefully against Sasuke's. Sasuke felt Naruto's tongue run along the inside of his lip, and his mind seized with sensory overload.

He had never felt anything like this.

Sasuke had spent thousands of years fighting beside Naruto, feeling the blending of their natures, the push and pull that was always between them. The dark exhilaration had been something he had missed acutely. But this… this was so much more. The energy that usually was directed outward was instead swirling between them, within them, electrifying every cell in Sasuke's body and causing it to stir with a totally different kind of heat. Urges that he had never expected to feel pulsed within him where their bodies connected.

It was not enough.

Instinctively seeking more, Sasuke slid his hand around the back of Naruto's neck, pulling him closer and forcing their mouths open wider. Naruto shuddered against his body, and Sasuke felt a dark thrill at being able to elicit such a reaction. The possessiveness he'd felt when he'd watched Naruto leave their camp in nights long past was morphing into a different kind of hunger, a need to possess Naruto entirely.

"Sasuke," Naruto's lips moved against his own, Sasuke's name drawn out with almost reverence.

Sasuke breathed in, drawing in the scent of Naruto that he'd missed so much. No matter how much time had passed, it was etched into Sasuke's memory. He smelled of sun and wind and something that Sasuke had never been able to place.

He needed more of it.

He heard a sound come from low in Naruto's throat, and felt it resonate in his own chest then echo with his own lips. Naruto pressed harder against him, pushing him back against the edges of the bookshelves, bringing their bodies flush together.

The already searing intensity of the feel of Naruto's mouth on his was now spreading through the rest of Sasuke's body, a tightly coiling tension growing rapidly between his legs that had him arching his neck back at the urgency of it. All the disdain he'd felt at mortals' baser desires flickered across his mind before being wiped clean.

Naruto's experienced mouth didn't miss a beat, moving down along the pale column of Sasuke's throat while his hands settled down on his hip bones. Sasuke could feel the temperature of Naruto's body spiking, filling the room with a swirling heat. Sasuke's fingers slid down, digging into the muscles of Naruto's shoulders as he tried to process all the sensations and cravings slamming through his body at once.

Then Naruto rolled his hips, applying pressure with unerring accuracy to the center of the tight heat gathering between Sasuke's thighs. Sasuke knew his eyes had gone red and he could feel his power swelling higher, coiling tighter between them like a fist.

Sasuke let out a sharp hiss at the sensation, the sound drowned out by a much larger crash in the room. He felt Naruto begin pull away, and he tightened his fingers in the fabric of Naruto's gladiator cloak to keep him in place.

"Sasuke… we have to stop," Naruto's voice was unsteady, panting as though they'd just done battle.

The words had Sasuke's eyes narrowing dangerously, until he followed the blue-eyed gaze to survey the current state of his library. Two of the floor-to-ceiling bookcases were lying broken on the floor, books strewn about in wild disarray. A cool breeze blew in from the openings in his walls that used to hold windows, random shards of glass still dangling from the frames.

The chandelier in the ceiling swung precariously, an ominous creaking indicating the chain that held it was at its limit. Only the fact that their energy was directed inward towards each other instead of externally kept the range of the effect temporarily contained.

His anger at Naruto's sudden inaction subsided slightly, especially as he noticed that the man was making no further attempt to move away from him. Sasuke could hear Naruto's pulse beating wildly, and the ragged sound of the breaths coming fast within the tan chest. It appeased him only slightly, though, as his own level of frustration was still high.

Naruto raised an eyebrow at the annoyed look on Sasuke's face.

"It took you how many thousand years before you got over the Christians burning the library at Constantinople over one scroll you wanted to read? I don't want to be in the dog house that long for fucking up your books," Naruto gave a lopsided smile before placing a small bite along Sasuke's jaw.

The bulbs in the chandelier exploded, raining glass down on them.

"Fuck," Naruto breathed out, stepping back but not pulling out of the death grip that Sasuke still had on his cloak.

Sasuke was still reeling from the kiss, particularly his own reaction to it. He had not expected a simple touching of lips to evoke that much of a reaction from him. This was different from the simple touch that Naruto had placed on his throat all those years ago. Sasuke knew all about sex and the mechanisms of it. It just wasn't something he ever expected to be interested in himself. It was something he had thought Naruto only chose to do with mortals in part of his quest to 'understand them better' or whatever it was that always seemed to fascinate the blond about them.

Judging by the glazed look in Naruto's eyes, that was clearly not the case.

But the thought was quickly followed by the memories of all the lovers Naruto had taken in the past. A possessive anger flared through Sasuke.

"What's that pissed off expression about?" Naruto glanced down at Sasuke's mouth. Naruto ran his tongue unconsciously over his lower lip, but he didn't try to close the distance and reinitiate the kiss. "You know you wouldn't have liked it if we broke your library any more than it already is. I'll bet you've got a bunch of stuff in here that's not replaceable. And I know how you get about your books."

Sasuke held his gaze for a moment longer, then released his grip on Naruto's cloak. He stepped back, then walked past Naruto, looking down at the mess that covered his usually pristine floor. His thoughts felt just as scattered. It was a singularly unfamiliar sensation for him and one he didn't care for.

He drew a slow breath, clearing his head, his face returning to its usual emotionless mask. He quickly assessed the damage they'd wrought. None of the rare manuscript cases were damaged. But he really wasn't all that concerned. He had read all the books in his library countless times through the ages. Their contents would never be lost to him.

Sasuke wondered if Naruto thought that he placed more value on the contents of his library than the man standing within it. If he did, he was dead wrong. Sasuke wasn't quite sure how he felt about Naruto stopping things to save his books. Part of him acknowledged the fact that Naruto was trying to be considerate.

The other part of him was pissed off that Naruto had pulled back.

Naruto looked at him for a moment, his expression cautious as though waiting to see what Sasuke's reaction was going to be. "Sorry... about the mess…" Naruto gestured to the wreckage of the library.

"Hn," Sasuke almost smirked. 'Sheepish' wasn't a word he usually used to describe Naruto, and it was rather amusing to see him so now.

Naruto frowned, looking slightly puzzled. "I... sort of expected you to make me stop. Like last time." Naruto's eyes watched Sasuke intently, the question he was asking quite clear.

Sasuke wasn't really sure what answer to give him. He'd spent his entire existence believing himself to be immune to desires of the flesh. He wasn't sure he was ready to change paths so completely without thinking the consequences through. But he also wasn't going to hide from what had happened. That was not his nature.

"This time I didn't," Sasuke stated simply.

A flash of annoyance appeared on Naruto's face at the non-answer. "I noticed that, but… why?"

Sasuke paused, then countered with his own question. "If you thought I would stop you, why did you do it?"

A trace of embarrassment flashed across Naruto's features.

"You hadn't let me close to you for centuries before I left." Naruto shrugged casually, but his watchful eyes belied the relaxed posture. "You threw down a challenge. I figured if I only had one shot, I might as well take it. Even if you totally tried to kick my ass for it after."

"Tch. You say that like there would be some question about the outcome of a battle between us." Sasuke's midnight eyes glinted with amusement, and Naruto's lips twitched in response. There wasn't a hint of fear or deference in the blue eyes. There never had been. Sasuke realized it had been centuries since he'd last had someone meet his gaze without either. Ten centuries, if he were counting.

"There isn't. I'd wipe the floor with you," Naruto grinned, leaning back on one of the still-standing bookshelves in a way that drew attention to the toned musculature of his body. The physique of a warrior, hardened by countless battles.

Sasuke had forgotten what it was like to stand in the presence of someone who truly did not fear him. He felt the muscles in his shoulders relax slightly. The old familiarity of companionship with a true equal seeping into his being.

He had missed it... this bond that he'd never found with another. It was at the core of their beings... a bond of their very natures.

Neither really knew who would win in a match between them. It was something they'd talked about long ago, but they knew that the collateral damage of a true battle between them would be too vast for them to ever put it to the test. The little spat they'd had in the club the other night was nothing compared to what they were both capable of if they went all out.

But the thrill of the possibility of a situation where Sasuke's full potential would be tested had always appealed to him. Such a battle would never be permitted, of course, but that was irrelevant. Now, after what had just happened between them, it occurred to Sasuke that battle might not be the only way to experience that feeling. He had heard mortals claim that there were similarities between sex and battle, but he had never believed it before. The perceptions of mortals were generally so clouded and limited. He saw some merit in the comparison after his current experience.

"So… you aren't going to answer me about why you didn't throw me across the room earlier?" Naruto tilted his head to the side, his lips still curved into a smirk, but his eyes showing that the question was not one he was willing to let drop.

"What is it that you seek when you lay with mortals?" Sasuke asked instead. "Why mate with them when you know you could never sire a child?"

Naruto blinked for a moment, then burst out laughing. "Shit, Sasuke. I've been living with the Hyuuga's for so long that I just can't even…" he forced himself to stop laughing when he saw Sasuke's eyes narrow dangerously at the mention of the immortals.

Naruto cleared his throat, trying to take Sasuke's question seriously. "Ok, fine. I guess it's… another form of companionship. Though more personal. And intimate. It involves a lot of trust for mortals, since there are possible consequences, but even for immortals, it changes the way you see a person. And, obviously, there's the physical pleasure."

Sasuke arched an eyebrow. "And the power rush."

Naruto chuckled, rubbing the back of his head. "Actually, I don't use my power with mortals. They… um… aren't exactly built to handle that sort of thing."

Sasuke didn't know why, but he was extremely pleased with that statement. But he frowned slightly as he recalled that Naruto had taken immortal lovers as well. "Just the Hyuugas, then."

Naruto hesitated, clearly uncomfortable speaking about this, but he answered Sasuke's indirect question. "No… they aren't… uh… no." Naruto glanced over to the bookshelf, a thought suddenly occurring to him. "You aren't going to do anything to them, are you?"

Sasuke snorted, not bothering to hide his irritation at Naruto's continued show of concern for his current lovers. "I don't think they are the kind that interfere much with the mortal world outside of their bedroom. They don't merit my personal involvement." Sasuke's voice was dismissive, and Naruto looked relieved.

"No. Their kind know not to draw too much attention to themselves. They play on the sidelines," Naruto said, smiling slightly, and the real affection Sasuke read there caused him to stiffen.

"You want to return to them," Sasuke stated, keeping his voice carefully neutral.

Naruto's gaze snapped to Sasuke's face. "Do you want me to leave?"

"I already answered that."


"I'm asking what you want, Naruto," Sasuke repeated the question he had asked earlier in the evening, but avoided answering himself.

Naruto's face abruptly closed off. "Fuck you, Sasuke." Naruto turned and walked over to where the ancient shackle was still laying on the floor.

"You're angry."

"Yeah, no shit! You chase me all over supposedly for a thousand years, then when you finally find me, you've got nothing to say. You ask me over and over what I want and why I left and all this other shit, but you don't tell me anything in return. I'm tired of playing whatever this one-sided head game is of yours, Sasuke. If you want me to keep in touch so you know where I am, then fine. But I'm not going to stand here while you make me talk about all the things I wanted but couldn't have. So fuck you."

Sasuke had forgotten how short-tempered Naruto could be. Though he had to admit that Naruto's control had clearly improved over the years, since there was not a breath of wind in the room despite the anger being visible in every line of Naruto's body.

Sasuke pinned Naruto with his gaze. "What part of the last twenty minutes made you think that I'm saying no?"

Naruto froze. For several seconds, he stood completely still. Sasuke wasn't even sure the man was breathing. "So you're saying… yes?"

"Show me what you want from me. Show me what it is that you wanted so much that you had to run away for a thousand years because you couldn't have it," Sasuke replied steadily.

Naruto's eyes flickered briefly to the mess they'd made in Sasuke's library. When they turned back to Sasuke, there was a predatory light that reminded Sasuke of the feel he'd get watching a massive army approaching. Knowing he would take them down before the day was done. He felt the familiar buzz of anticipation lace through him.

"Then come with me...," Naruto's voice was low and intense, further amplifying the tension between them as Naruto slowly walked closer to Sasuke. "...and I will show you."

Naruto's words hung in the room. This time, it was the blond who had thrown down the challenge.

Naruto didn't rush as he placed his hand on Sasuke's shoulder, waiting to see if Sasuke would rescind his agreement at the last second. Sasuke didn't draw back.

Together, they vanished from Death's library.

It was pitch dark in the room that they arrived in, so Sasuke couldn't see much of anything about where Naruto had taken him. All he could really tell was that there appeared to be no windows. And it was cold as fuck.

There wasn't much oxygen. Not that it would affect them, but it was… unexpected.

And… it was really cold as fuck.

"I'll get one of the fireplaces going," Naruto said as their eyes adjusted to the darkness, allowing Sasuke to see that there was in fact a single, small wooden window up high on one end of the room, letting a sliver of light in.

Naruto crouched in front of one of the hearths at the side of the room. The sound of a flint being struck was heard and light flared, filling the space with a warm glow. They were in what appeared to be some sort of temple, carved completely of stone.

The room was empty, save for a few urns and a chest in one corner. But it was what was carved on the stone walls, pillars, and ceilings that drew Sasuke's attention. He frowned, looking at the ancient markings that surrounded the room in a very old form of the Tibetan language.

"These are passages from the Book of the Dead," he said, running his fingers along the ornately carved lettering.

Naruto crossed over to the other side of the room, lighting a fire there as well and placing one of the golden urns close to the blaze. The heat reflected from the stone hearths, starting to reduce the chill in the frigid room.

"I found this place shortly after I left," Naruto said as he stood, his gaze fixed on the fire. The light cast shadows from their bodies, flickering wildly against the ancient walls. "It is… quiet here."

Sasuke stood still, letting the emptiness of the their surroundings soak in. There were no living creatures for miles. He realized that the temple must be at an extremely high altitude and the mountain very remote for it to be so isolated. But the quiet of the place went deeper than that. There was an odd stillness in the walls that Sasuke had never experienced before.

"Try projecting your powers," Naruto looked over to Sasuke, his expression cast in shadows in the dimly lit room.

Death arched a brow, but did as requested. His eyes widened as he felt the building hum slightly, an odd counter-resonance that attenuated the reach of his powers.

"It's the walls," Naruto explained. "When I first came, the last of the monks that had followed the teachings of Padmasambhava were still tending the place. They would sit in the temple, chanting the words that were etched in the surrounding stone. I don't know if it's the effects of centuries of chanting, or the engraving on the walls themselves, but this temple helped contain my powers. I could unleash them and they didn't escape the walls."

Sasuke looked more closely at the style and dialect of the writing. "But this is much older than the twelfth century. Padmasambhava's text wasn't discovered until…" Sasuke trailed off as he remembered the legend of the discovery. The monk had supposedly written the Tibetan Book of the Dead in the eighth century, then hidden it away, feeling it was too soon for humans to have it. It had remained hidden at the top of a mountain for six hundred years until another monk had discovered it.

"This mountain is where it was hidden," Sasuke murmured to himself.

Naruto shrugged. He was never one for theology. This place had been a refuge to him when he had needed it most. It still was.

"I come here when I need the calm. The monks told me I was always welcome."

"Did they know what you were?" The Horsemen never disclosed their true nature to mortals. Whether it was a law or simply a rule that they all instinctively abided by, they had always held to it.

Naruto cocked his head to the side, considering. "They knew I wasn't human when they saw me, even though I was suppressing my nature. They said I was tied to Death… a link to immortality. They welcomed me. But they didn't ask any questions."

Sasuke looked over at the urn, which was now giving off the soothing scent of sandalwood as it warmed.

Naruto opened the chest, pulling out a thick bedroll and blankets, laying them before the fire. The blankets didn't appear very old. Catching Sasuke's gaze, Naruto smiled.

"The temple has been abandoned for centuries. An earthquake wiped out the village below the temple and destroyed the only path that led to it. It's completely inaccessible to humans. But I still come every once in awhile when my energy builds up too much, so I keep a few things here. Stone floors are not very comfortable for sleeping, especially when they're at forty below zero, believe me," he chuckled.

Sasuke nodded slightly. He'd done his share of sleeping on stone floors as well.

He took in the feel of the space. Sometimes mortals were able to build things that transcended their own plane of existence, like Stonehenge or the pyramids or Easter Island. This was one of those places.

This was a place for immortals.

Sasuke looked over to find Naruto's gaze fixed on him.

"You're the first person I've ever brought here," Naruto said steadily.

"Hn," Sasuke acknowledging the bond that the statement implied. This was a temple built for Death. Embodied of his essence. It pleased him that Naruto had not defiled it by bringing random visitors within its walls.

He walked slowly around the room, noticing minor differences between the version of the text he had in his library and what he could only assume to be the original verse on these walls, the similarities and differences between the Egyptian Book of the Dead that had come over a thousand years before.

"How did you find this place?" Sasuke asked.

Naruto sat on the stone hearth, leaning back against the slowly warming wall. "After I left, I needed to be alone. I traveled, looking for a place that I could learn control without… without hurting anyone else. I was walking in the mountains, and I felt their chanting. It was too far away for me to hear it, but I followed it. I ended up here."

Sasuke didn't need to ask to know how desperate Naruto must have been to run this far. While they could not be killed by the elements, it didn't mean their bodies didn't suffer from them. The journey would have been harsh and grueling.

Sasuke felt some of the anger that he had carried for so long slide away. There had been nothing casual about the way Naruto had left. He had been desperate, and chosen the only path he had been able to find. And it had been a brutal one.

"And did they teach you control?" Sasuke asked, honestly curious. The Tibetan mystics had been some of the few mortals that really focused on transcending their own mortality in a way that went beyond simply 'living longer to hoard more shit'.

"Not really. It was more… that I could experiment, without worrying about hurting anyone. They had control over their own minds and bodies. I learned from watching them," Naruto grimaced good-naturedly. "Though it took me a lot longer than it did any of them."

Sasuke shrugged. "Your powers are greater, making control harder. Mortals have no powers. What is there for them to control?"

Naruto laughed at Sasuke's constant disdain of the very humans their existence was meant to shape. "But you always had control," Naruto said, his amusement fading. "And your powers are at least equal to mine." It was a hard admission for Naruto to make. Over the years, he had come to envy Sasuke's seemingly flawless control. Something it seemed he could never achieve.

Sasuke arched a brow. "Naruto, the very nature of your power is chaos. It is, by design, uncontrollable. The fact that you are able to do so to such an extent should be… nearly impossible. It was never expected of you." Sasuke stressed the final word perhaps more than he meant to, bitterness seeping in at the edges of his voice.

Naruto paused, having caught the tone. "But it was expected of you."

Sasuke hesitated. But he answered. "Yes."

"So… what will happen after our fight at the club?"

Sasuke snorted slightly at the phrasing. "I was… warned. It won't be allowed a third time."

Naruto blinked. "A third time? When was the second? In all our years together, I never saw you lose control once until that night."

"It doesn't matter," Sasuke waved a pale hand in dismissal of the topic. Naruto didn't need to know the possible consequences of his decision. This was the safest place for them to be, and even if it hadn't been, Sasuke wasn't willing to give everything up to avoid being sealed. He studied Naruto for a moment, then walked over to stand in front of him. The light from the fire enhanced the golden hue of Naruto's skin, making it almost seem to glow.

He could feel the weight of Naruto's gaze on him, the presence of the immortal heavy in the room. Naruto was not bothering to disguise or suppress his nature, and it only made Sasuke crave more of it. After so many centuries feeling its absence, he seemed never to be able to get enough.

"You said you were bringing me here to show me what you wanted." Sasuke's deep voice held a hint of the same challenge he had issued back in his library.

Naruto's gaze darkened, and the temperature in the room seemed to suddenly spike. Sasuke held himself still, no hesitation or uncertainty showing in his gaze. He wanted to finally experience fully what it was that was between them. He had acutely felt the loss of the only bond he had ever had over the past thousand years. Sasuke would not turn away from it now that he finally had it in his grasp again. He had felt the emotions that Naruto had pushed into his mind in their battle at the club. The depth and extent of what the blond felt for him, what he had withheld from him, had taken his mind time to process.

Now, he wanted to experience it firsthand.

Slowly, Naruto stood, their bodies only inches apart, eyes level.

"That's true. I did," Naruto murmured, his eyes never leaving Sasuke's. He slid his hands along the collar of Sasuke's black silk Venetian Reaper cape before resting them at the fastening at Sasuke's throat.

to be continued...

A/N: So... there we have it. World annihilation avoided by a few good monks and a really high mountain. You can probably guess where the next chapter is headed. There is a 30% chance that the story will end with chapter 10! Depends on how much you guys want to see the reactions of Sakura/Sai/Sui/Karin/Hinata/Neji to all of this once it happens. tbh I am only moderately excited about the idea of showing more of the side characters in this fic... for me this was mostly just about Sasuke and Naruto and 6k years of unresolved sexual tension. But let me know.

Chapter Text

WARNING: HARD YAOI THIS CHAPTER 18+ ONLY. If you have issues with sex in religious locations or religious themes playing heavily into sex then WHY DID YOU READ THIS STORY? But in any case, you should dismount now.

Author's note: I have decided that the BEST thing about supernatural AUs is NO-RULES SEX SCENES! WOOT!  Thanks to my lovely beta Anon for proofing this for me!

Chapter 10 - Worship in the temple of Death

"You said you were bringing me here to show me what you wanted." Sasuke's deep voice held a hint of the same challenge he had issued back in his library.

Slowly, Naruto stood, their bodies only inches apart, eyes level.

"That's true. I did," Naruto murmured, his eyes never leaving Sasuke's. He slid his hands along the collar of Sasuke's black silk Venetian Reaper cape before resting them at the fastening at Sasuke's throat.

The firelight caught on the black Swarovski crystals on the cloak's clasp, and Naruto's fingers traced along the facets. The oversized black hood hung down Sasuke's back.

Naruto drew a breath, forcing himself to go slowly. He would stop at any point if Sasuke asked him to. He had never felt anxious in the past about his ability to bring his lovers pleasure, but this time was different. Sasuke was not like anyone Naruto had been with in the past. He was infinitely more complicated. Infinitely more important to Naruto.

He knew that this was not going to be automatic for Sasuke, who had eschewed anything physical for millennia. Naruto would only have one chance to convince Sasuke that the physical side of things was worth exploring. He could not screw this up.

Sasuke watched him steadily as Naruto slowly slipped his thumb beneath the latch of Sasuke's cape, releasing the clasp. The cape fell in a soft pool at their feet, revealing a black brocade shirt, black jeans, and black boots.

"A bit cliché, don't you think?" Naruto's lips curved slightly, but the heat that burned from the depths of his blue eyes gave him away.

Sasuke arched a brow, his eyes flickering with humor. "Hn. I could have simply killed every mortal in Venice when I arrived, but the costume seemed a simpler way to play the part."

Naruto would have chuckled, but Sasuke's hands were undoing the tie of Naruto's red gladiator cape, making his lungs cease to function. The red cape crumpled to the ground next to the black. Naruto felt his pulse race as dark eyes roved over his bared skin, the black gaze intent and possessive. He had never thought Sasuke would look at him in this way, and he could feel his power responding to it, swirling inside him, pulsing through his body in its effort to blend with Sasuke's.

His blood stirred in resonance with his power, pooling between his thighs and making a thin sheen of sweat break out on his tan skin as his body heated. Thin linen cloth that covered Naruto's groin brushed against his erection, and he had to take a shuddering breath to calm himself down. He would not rush this, no matter what his own body was clamoring for.

This night, in the Temple of Death, Sasuke's needs would come first.

His mind focused, Naruto leaned forward, his lips ghosting along the pale flesh just below Sasuke's ear. He lowered his fingers to the buttons of Sasuke's shirt and he had to steady himself to still their shaking as Sasuke's body tensed at the sensation.

Naruto felt the pale fingers slide over the bare skin of his lower back, settling just above his hips. Even this simplest of touches from Sasuke had Naruto's cock hardening painfully. Naruto knew better than anyone that Sasuke did not touch casually. It was far too dangerous. The feel of Sasuke's hands on his skin felt like his body was being burned by electricity. Naruto let out a low growl of pure need. Even sharing power from a distance in battle had often left him hard for days, but to actually be able to touch Sasuke… to have Sasuke touching him… Naruto had never been harder in his life. He tried to not let it cloud his judgement and overstep any boundaries Sasuke might have.

"Sasuke," he murmured as his lips trailed down along the smooth column of Sasuke's throat. "Tell me if I need to stop."

In response, Sasuke slid one of his hands up to grip the back of Naruto's hair and dragged his mouth into an open kiss. Death unleashed his power, letting it thrust into Naruto, twisting inside and coiling within him.

Naruto's eyes flared wide at the exquisitely painful pleasure and he arched back, nearly cumming with the intimacy of being fucked by Sasuke's power. Deep, smooth and hard, with no foreplay, the seductive brutality of the pleasure had Naruto's eyes rolling back.

"Holy fuck!" Naruto gasped out, his fingers fisting reflexively into Sasuke's shirt as he felt the energy continuing to spear through him.

Sasuke smiled darkly, reveling in Naruto's reaction. Any other creature would have died instantly at the level of power that he had released. Naruto looked like he was in ecstasy.

"Tell me if you need me to stop," Sasuke replied when Naruto had gained enough breath that he thought the man could hear him.

Naruto growled, a low, feral sound that caused the walls to pulse. Sasuke felt heat coil between his thighs at the sound of it. He didn't have to look to know that the room was filling with a red haze, and he could feel Naruto's essence blending with his own, drawing in more. Sasuke let out a low sound deep in his throat and it was all Naruto could do to keep from cumming when he heard it.

Naruto's hands jerked sharply, sending the remaining buttons of Sasuke's shirt flying in all directions. He tore his mouth from Sasuke's, pushing the fabric of the shirt off Sasuke's shoulders to nuzzle the flesh at the juncture of Sasuke's neck. His skilled hands moved down over the contours of the smooth, pale chest until they reached the peak of his pectorals. Tan thumbs rubbed slowly over the taut nipples, the heat of Naruto's hands contrasting against Sasuke's cool flesh.

Naruto let his own power twine around Sasuke's, pulling it deeper as his mouth trailed lower before finally closing over one of the budded nipples.

Sasuke gasped, his dark eyes flaring wide at the completely unfamiliar sensation of Naruto's mouth on him, the way the hot, wet tongue swirled and laved while the sharp teeth brought an edge of pain. Their power pulsed between them, and the tension between Sasuke's thighs grew. He felt his shaft lengthen and thicken as though reaching out of its own volition for contact with the man before him. Sasuke spread his legs wider, the full, heavy feel of his erection the center of the growing tension winding tightly through his body. Naruto's hand slid up against the front of Sasuke's hip bone, teasingly close to his shaft but not quite touching it.

"Nnnnggggghhhh," Sasuke let his head fall back in frustrated need as Naruto tugged the black silk shirt the rest of the way off, throwing it aside. He gripped Sasuke's hips, tugging gently as he knelt down.

Sasuke looked down at him, his eyes tinged red, his breath coming in short, fast pants. The unfamiliar physical stimulus was overwhelming his senses. But endless years of restraint had him instinctively holding back. Naruto didn't let his gaze waver, locking eyes as he increased the forcefulness of his hold on Sasuke's hips.

"You said I could show you," Naruto said, his voice low and unwavering. Sasuke hesitated only a moment more, then allowed Naruto to pull him down to the soft bedroll that was spread out in front of the fire. The blaze had warmed the thick mattress and blankets, and Sasuke found himself pressed backward into the warm heat of the bed.

Naruto knelt above him, his hands sliding up from Sasuke's hips to cup under his jawline. He lowered his mouth to brush against Sasuke's in an achingly slow kiss. Their energy had subsided slightly but slowly began to build again as the pressure and depth of the kiss grew.

Naruto thrust his tongue deep into Sasuke's mouth, but held his power back, letting it draw Sasuke's inside, coiling around it while his hands moved over the planes of Sasuke's body. Sasuke's head fell back against the soft bedding. He had never let so much of his power go at once. It was exhilarating.


He loved the way he could push more and more into Naruto, and still feel the immortal drawing him in deeper. The dark ecstasy of not holding back had his mind almost shutting down. There was no other creature on earth that he could lose himself to in this way.

Unused to any physical contact, Sasuke's body was sensitized to even the slightest touch. The deadliness of his physical form made him constantly aware of the proximity of any living being to his body. All his senses were screaming in awareness of Naruto's body so close to his… every touch a new jolt to his system that seemed to send his power arcing higher, coiling tighter between his thighs. Naruto's tongue swirled around his own inside his mouth as the tan hands splayed over the flat of Sasuke's stomach, inching lower as his thumbs moving in languid circles that made the pressure in his groin almost unbearable. Sasuke's hips flexed up, meeting nothing but air and the frustrating constraint of the black pants he was wearing.

Naruto's chuckle drifted over him, the warm breath of it brushing across Sasuke's lips. "Let me show you," Naruto put his lips to Sasuke's ear, the breath from his words brushing against the shell with an explicit promise that had Sasuke's skin tightening in anticipation, though the words themselves annoyed him. Just because Sasuke had never felt the urge to engage in sex didn't mean he didn't know exactly how it worked. Death and sex and rebirth were the constant thread in the world they'd ruled. There was no mystery about any of them for Sasuke.

Naruto's hand brushed against the side of his fully clothed erection, and Sasuke's mind went blank.

The walls in the room were humming, tuned to the energy of the beings within as Naruto's hands dropped to the fastenings of Sasuke's pants. They both watched, transfixed, as Naruto slid the button free and slowly pulled the zipper down, tooth by tooth. Naruto's blue eyes were glowing red by the time the zipper reached the end of its journey. The thin trail of jet black hair disappeared beneath the waistband of the black silk boxers that the opened zipper had revealed. The hard ridge of Sasuke's erection was clearly visible beneath the dark fabric of the black jeans, and Naruto felt his own cock swell and start to leak at the sight of it. He hadn't known for sure if Sasuke would even be capable of physical desire. The clear evidence of it nearly sent him over the edge.

This was a moment Naruto hadn't thought he would ever experience in his ancient existence. He felt his breath come faster and faster, feeling almost lightheaded with the anticipation and rush of desire. He tightened his grip on the fabric of Sasuke's jeans, then slowly pulled them down past his hips, taking the black silk boxers with them as Sasuke's erection bobbed free.

Naruto groaned at the sight, and bent down, laying his cheek on the cut of Sasuke's hip bone, his nose brushing against the soft, black curls that surrounded the base of the flushed cock. He breathed in deeply, taking in the subtle musk and electric scent of the man. Naruto knew that if he touched himself, he'd be cumming and no force on earth could hold it back.

Sasuke's fingers twisted into Naruto's hair, tugging slightly in his impatience.

"Give me a second," Naruto said, not moving his head from its resting place. He slid a hand along Sasuke's upper thigh, his thumb stretching over to brush against the dark curls to the side of the engorged flesh that stood proudly from it. Sasuke's dick jerked slightly upward at the proximity of Naruto's hand, a bead of pearly liquid appearing at the reddened tip. Naruto's eyes darkened at the sight. "You have… no idea what you're doing to me right now," Naruto rasped, watching in rapt fascination as a second bead joined the first before dribbling over the smooth head to make a trail down the erect shaft.

"Then stop napping and show me," Sasuke's fingers tightened painfully as he dragged Naruto's mouth back to his. Naruto shifted to the side, not trusting himself to allow full contact with their bodies yet as he allowed Sasuke to pull him down into a fierce kiss. When he saw Sasuke's other hand reaching down to his own shaft, Naruto grabbed the pale wrist harshly.

"No. No one gets to touch you except me," the words came out in a low growl, and Sasuke felt Naruto's skin temperature spike sharply beneath his fingertips. He didn't need the change in temperature to know that Naruto's power was surging again. It made him harden even further at the feel of Naruto's presence filling the room, seeping into his blood.

When the meaning of Naruto's words penetrated his clouded mind, however, Sasuke narrowed his eyes.

Naruto arched a brow at the look. "I've waited thousands of years to touch you, Sasuke. You have no idea what I want to do to you. It's a good thing that mortals couldn't survive touching you. There is no way I would share you now."

An unholy, possessive light flared in Naruto's eyes as he slowly drew Sasuke's jeans down, first one leg then the other. Sasuke watched him, his face slightly amused, though there was a dark edge to it.

"You're the one with the habit of collecting lesser beings as lovers." There was a thrum of anger in Sasuke's words that wasn't lost on Naruto.

Naruto met the dark gaze boldly as he tossed the remainder of Sasuke's clothing aside, shifting so he knelt between his lover's ankles on the soft mattress. His eyes roamed feverishly over Sasuke's perfect form, now fully bared to his view. The light of the fireplace gilded the ivory skin in a golden light, casting shadows over the toned contours of the muscles of Sasuke's body.

"Only because I couldn't have you." Naruto's voice was low and reverential as he placed his hands behind Sasuke's knees, slowly pushing them wider apart before lowering his head to place a kiss at the back of the joint. Sasuke flexed his hips up, unexpected pleasure washing through him as the tip of Naruto's tongue swirled over the sensitive flesh behind his knee. Naruto sucked on the pale skin, then laved it with his tongue, watching the play of pleasure and building lust on Sasuke's usually expressionless face. He pressed his lips more firmly against the smooth skin, humming slightly, smiling darkly when Sasuke hissed at the sensation. Pale fingers fisted into the soft fabric of the blanket beneath them as Naruto slowly began working his mouth from the back of the knee up along the inner length of Sasuke's thigh. Naruto could feel the muscles in Sasuke's leg tense under his ministrations, the hard contours of his flat stomach becoming more pronounced as Sasuke fought to control the mindless need to thrust.

Sasuke felt as though all the blood in his body had gathered between his thighs, his rampant erection straining against his own skin until he thought it would burst. He had never felt physical sensations like this… the desperate, aching heat that needed to be touched with a fierceness that left him gasping.

Naruto moved his head forward, nuzzling the join of Sasuke's hip, the bridge of his nose brushing against the underside of Sasuke's balls while tan hands slid along pale thighs, spreading them further. The absence of any physical contact with his erection had Sasuke clenching his teeth, the tendons in his neck standing out as he arched back.

"Fuck, Naruto!" Sasuke's voice was hoarse, unrecognizable from its usual cold, smooth tone.

"Ssshhhhh," Naruto murmured, his lips moving over the loose skin below Sasuke's rigid shaft. "I'll take care of it. Just let me-"

Sasuke's hand fisted in Naruto's hair, cutting off whatever words Naruto was about to say. "Then do it." The order was bitten out, leaving no misconception about Sasuke's degree of patience with extended foreplay.

Naruto hummed, drawing one testicle into his mouth as he did, ensuring the vibration would be felt all through Sasuke's body. Sasuke's grip tightened and Naruto wondered if he was going to have any hair left at the end. It would be well worth the sacrifice, either way. But he wasn't going to let Sasuke rush him. He shifted his mouth to the matching testicle, giving it equal attention while digging his thumbs forcefully into the hollows where Sasuke's tendons protruded at his hips as a reprimand for his impatience.

Sasuke's heels dug into the mattress, but if anything his cock only leaked faster at the brush of pain. Naruto noticed, and growled with approval. Theirs had always been a dark bond of power and violence. It should be no surprise that their lovemaking was the same.

"Naruto!" Sasuke growled, arousal tracing an etch of red along his pale cheekbones as he propped himself up on his elbows and glared down at Naruto in frustration at the agonizingly slow pace.

"Bastard," Naruto chuckled at the look, but relented. He drew himself up then shifted forward so that his mouth hovered less than an inch above Sasuke's fully engorged erection. Not breaking eye contact, Naruto placed the palm of his hand at the base of Sasuke's cock, closing his grip around it one finger at a time as he wet his lips with his tongue.

"Yesss," Sasuke made a low sound of pleasure at the touch he had been craving, and his eyes drifted partially closed, though it did nothing to diminish the intensity of his gaze as his eyes bore into Naruto's. Slowly, Naruto lowered his head, watching the way Sasuke's pupils dilated, his breath stilling in anticipation. He was not ignorant in the ways of sex and knew what was going to happen next. And wanted it, fiercely.

Naruto kept his lips only slightly parted, letting the head of Sasuke's erection push his lips open as he continued his downward movement, swirling his tongue as he went so his saliva would lubricate the motion. He closed his lips around Sasuke's cock just below the head, sliding his tongue over the tip before giving a slow, hard suck.

"Nnngghhh," Sasuke groaned, bending his knees and letting them fall wider apart to give Naruto full access as encouragement. The feel of Naruto's mouth closing around the center of the heat and tension twisting through him wiped his mind clean. It was exactly what his body was screaming for, but it wasn't enough.

His eyes were unfocused, and he missed the wicked gleam in Naruto's eyes that would have warned him just before Naruto's head plunged down, taking Sasuke's shaft deep into the back of his throat at the same time he pushed all the red, feral power he could into Sasuke's body.

Sasuke's body arched up, his muscles clenching fiercely at the unbelievable pleasure that Naruto's mouth was providing.

Naruto hummed in approval as he bobbed his head slowly, taking Sasuke's full length with each downward motion, keeping up a tight suction. Sasuke's head fell back, his lips parting, but unable to formulate words as his breath was torn from him in harsh gasps.

Naruto sucked harder, fixated on bringing Sasuke to climax… seeing the closed-off immortal lose himself in his first completely. Naruto picked up the pace, using one hand to gently tug on Sasuke's balls as his other slid soothingly over the skin of his inner thigh.

"Fuck, Naruto," Sasuke ground out, his hands tightening again desperately in Naruto's hair, grasping for anything to keep him tied to this plane of existence as the assault of physical pleasure continued relentlessly. Naruto hummed again, then deep throated him, swallowing tightly around his head at the same time his hand stimulated Sasuke's prostate externally.

Sasuke's eyes flared wide and he came, his mouth open in a silent scream, his body stretched taut like a bow. Naruto took in every detail as Sasuke arched off the bed as his first climax ripped through him, every cell in Sasuke's being speared through with pleasure. Power flooded out from Sasuke along with his seed, and Naruto drew both in greedily, wanting every last drop of what Sasuke was giving him.

Sasuke had never imagined that physical pleasure could be this intense. He had no control of his body as his hips thrust up over and over into the impossibly hot, wet heat of Naruto's mouth. He could feel his own dark power plunging into the blond's body with ruthless force, and Naruto's power filling him in return. No thoughts of the world outside the temple walls existed in that moment. The room seemed to ring like a chime as the frequency of the energy pulsing through it reached its crescendo.

Beneath them, the mountain shook, tuned to the stones from which the temple was carved.

Naruto's hands gripped Sasuke's hips as they continued to flex up as he rode out the waves of his orgasm, watching every flash of excruciating pleasure that passed over Sasuke's features, memorizing it. His hands didn't try to inhibit the motion of Sasuke's thrusts, they simply needed to keep touching the pale flesh Naruto had coveted for countless ages.

When the last tremor had finally gone through him, Sasuke collapsed back, waiting for the world to right itself. Drugs and alcohol had no effect on him… his mind was always sharp and unclouded, by design. For the first time in his existence, Sasuke couldn't formulate a coherent thought... All he could do was ride out the aftershocks of what Naruto had just done to his body.

When he was finally able to focus again, it was to find Naruto's eyes riveted on his face with a searing intensity from where he knelt above him. Sasuke could feel the warmth of Naruto's hands resting lightly on his body, the tan fingers trembling slightly as they moved gently against his skin.

"Sasuke," Naruto slowly released the breath he didn't know he had been holding, the air escaping in the shape of Sasuke's name. Naruto's whole body was shaking. In all his thousands of years of existence, he had never seen anything as beautiful or as dangerous as the man lying beneath him, his black eyes glazed in ecstasy. If there was one thing in the world that Naruto's soul was meant to worship, it was this man.

He knew Sasuke would require some time to recover, but he couldn't keep his hands from touching the smooth skin, his lips seeming to move on their own volition to trace along the sharp edge of Sasuke's collar bone, wanting to taste every inch of the perfect body in front of him.

Naruto was surprised when he felt Sasuke's hands close over the buckle of his arm guard, unlatching it and tossing it aside.

"No more costumes," Sasuke stated, his voice regaining its strength as his hand hands moved to unfasten the other arm guard. He was glad that Naruto had left Caesar's collar behind. Even though the mortal was long-dead, Sasuke would not tolerate any mark of ownership from past lovers on Naruto after this. Even looking at the gladiator costume irritated him. He wanted it off.

Naruto breathed out a small laugh. He should have known Sasuke would recover faster than his past lovers. Obeying the implicit command, Naruto sat up and drew one leg forward, untying the leather greave and removing it along with his sandal.

Naruto switched legs, drawing his other leg forward to remove the leather coverings. Sasuke had finished with the armguards, his eyes drifting down over Naruto's bare chest to settle on where the leather belt was fastened. The linen cloth that hung down from the belt did little to disguise the jutting line of Naruto's erection, the fabric tented out, lifting the cloth away from Naruto's thighs as though inviting access.

Propping himself up on one elbow, Death languidly reached forward with his other hand, brushing his pale fingertips lightly along the smooth skin just below the cloth before sliding his hand up along Naruto's inner thigh. Naruto fumbled with the leather ties as Sasuke's hand closed around his shaft beneath the thin linen cloth.

"Hurry up," Sasuke stated calmly, enjoying the way Naruto's fingers tripped over themselves in their haste to shed the unnecessary body armor. Naruto might have more experience, but Sasuke was not going to let him control things entirely. Death was nothing if not a fast learner.

"Fuck, Sasuke," Naruto's eyes drifted closed, his fingers frozen in the middle of their task at the feel of the touch, tan cheeks flushed in arousal.

Sasuke smirked as he rubbed his thumb over the head of Naruto's shaft, feeling the slick evidence of his lover's desire. Naruto shuddered, his body still desperately turned on and a fresh spurt of precum dripped onto Sasuke's hand. Naruto managed to undo the last leather tie with a growl, lunging forward to capture Sasuke's mouth with his own. Their mouths immediately opened, tongues thrusting against each other fiercely.

Sasuke released Naruto's shaft, reaching behind him to unclasp the leather belt that held the linen cloth in place before casting them both aside. He pulled back from the kiss to observe Naruto's fully bared form.

Naruto forced himself to stay still as Sasuke's eyes traced over his tautly muscled frame to where his cock jutted painfully erect from between his thighs. Despite all the battles, all the time that had passed, Naruto's body was still as flawless and strong as it had been when Sasuke had first encountered him in that nameless village nearly six thousand years ago.

Sasuke's eyes glinted as he reached forward, reasserting his hold on Naruto's erection. His own arousal begin to slowly rekindle, fed both by the sight of Naruto's flawless form and the heady rush of power he felt being the absolute focus of Naruto's dark fixation. The dazed, heavy-lidded look on Naruto's face was something much more intense than what he'd observed in the past when Naruto had taken mortal lovers. Sasuke felt a dangerous, possessive satisfaction knowing that no one else could draw a response like that from the immortal naked before him.

"Eager?" Sasuke's deep voice was rich with smug amusement that made Naruto's eyes narrow, though Naruto's cock only leaked faster at the sound.

"You're lucky I'm being patient. You made me wait long enough for you," Naruto said, darkly.

The amusement left Sasuke's face as the words evoked images from the past. "You didn't exactly wait."

Naruto looked at him for a moment, a look of almost regret flickering across his tan features. He reached over and picked up the urn he had placed near the fire. "Maybe not. You gave me no reason to when you pulled back and shut me out."

He tilted the golden urn, allowing some of the warmed sandalwood oil to pool into his palm, filling the room with its rich fragrance.

Sasuke didn't deny the statement, but he also didn't address the unasked question. There would be time later for that discussion... he didn't want to complicate things with it now. But he would make one thing very clear.

"I'm giving you a reason now." Sasuke's eyes flared red in warning. "If you leave again, I will grind your bones to make my bread." Sasuke's voice was low, and rough… the threat unwavering.

Naruto smiled at the unyielding, possessive statement. It echoed perfectly what he felt for the man in return. He poured more oil into his hand so it overflowed, some of the warm liquid drizzling onto Sasuke's sensitized groin. Naruto watched as the scented oil spilled over the semi-hard shaft nestled in the dark curls, some traveling up to pool in the hollow of Sasuke's hard abdomen, and some flowing down over his balls, disappearing into the cleft below. Naruto's eyes burned hotter as he watched the path of the oil as he set the urn aside.

"Me leaving you…" Naruto slid his slickened hands up the top of Sasuke's thighs to rest on his hip bones, his voice low and rough. "... is never going to happen again."

The words filled Sasuke with an urge to consume Naruto… to utterly possess him. He threaded his fingers into Naruto's hair, pulling him down and fusing their mouths together, sealing the promise Naruto had made. He could not face another thousand years without this man.

"Naruto," Sasuke ground out. He could feel the hardness of Naruto's shaft brush against his thigh as he tightened his grip, forcing their mouths wider. He wanted to devour him. To possess him. He would never let Naruto go.

Naruto's experienced hands moved in slow circles, spreading the slick oil over the flat plane of Sasuke's stomach, working steadily upwards. The slick thumbs brushed lightly, then with more force over Sasuke's nipples, already sensitized from their earlier activities.

Sasuke bit Naruto's lower lip, marking him, drawing the slight metallic taste of blood. Naruto hissed and pulled back, his thumb swiping over the abused flesh. The small wound almost instantly healed, but the look of dark content in Sasuke's eyes had Naruto growling as he pushed his thumb into the pale man's mouth. He groaned as he felt Sasuke's lips close around the digit, feeling the warm, wet heat sucking and licking his thumb, dark eyes locked on his.

No one could understand him more than Sasuke… his need for complete possession and complete submission on both sides. It would only ever be Sasuke.

Naruto pulled his hand back, running his tongue over his thumb where Sasuke's lips had just been, Sasuke's eyes following every motion. Then he placed his hands on either side of Sasuke's head, slowly lowering his body to they were flush against each other, the oil making their skin stick together without even a breath of air separating their forms. Naruto shut his eyes at the feel of Sasuke's naked body hard against his, every perfect line of the pale form seared into Naruto's mind—along with the realization that Sasuke was hard again. Naruto grinned wolfishly into Sasuke's neck, though he supposed he should not be surprised at Sasuke's stamina or resilience.

He rocked his hips forward, the liberal amount of oil he'd poured causing a slick suction where their skin touched, intensifying the feel of their bodies moving together. Both immortals groaned at the exquisite sensation. Sasuke's hands wrapped around to grab Naruto's ass, the pale fingers cupping the tan globes, squeezing as he pulled their bodies together with more force.

The feel of their slickened erections sliding against each other had Naruto swallowing harshly as he arched his head back, the muscles in his arms clenching to keep from hitching up Sasuke's legs and driving in. Sasuke could handle pain, but Naruto didn't want their first time to be about that. He wanted to show Sasuke so many things… he only hoped he could keep control enough to actually do so, when the feel of Sasuke was making him go nearly out of his mind with lust.

"Let me," with a shuddering breath, Naruto lowered his head, worshiping Sasuke's body with his mouth. He wanted to learn every inch of Death's body… to show Sasuke every erogenous spot he possessed and exactly what it felt like to have someone pay them homage.

Naruto ruthlessly held the reins of his own desires in check. He slid his body lower, his lips sucking a trail from Sasuke's neck over the arch of his collarbone, his fingers teased just beneath Sasuke's balls. The feel of Sasuke's body drawing taut, shuddering when Naruto found a sensitive spot had Naruto's control nearly breaking, but he was determined. His tongue laved the sculpted hollow beneath it while his hand trailed lower to roll his palm over the head of Sasuke's shaft before sliding down it to grip the base firmly.

Sasuke arched up at the onslaught of sensations, his erection thrusting more fully into Naruto's hard, calloused palm. He closed his eyes, breathing in the scent of the oil and their arousal. The heat and power radiating from the body moving between his thighs made Sasuke's skin tighten and pressure build in his groin again.

He had thought his earlier release would have diminished the intensity of his desire, but instead he found himself only filled more quickly with the need to escalate things now that he had tasted physical pleasure.

Naruto's mouth closed over his nipple and Sasuke growled, his blunted nails digging into the tense muscles in Naruto's lower back. He could feel the wall of Naruto's self-control, and it annoyed him. He might not have had lovers in the past, but he knew that it was not meant to be one-sided.

"Ugh, shit!" Naruto clenched his eyes at the feel of Sasuke's fingers digging into him, threatening to break his control.

Naruto's teeth closed over Sasuke's nipple in response, the sharp pain sending more heat and pressure into Sasuke's cock. His hips thrust faster into Naruto's hand, the head of his erection hitting against the hard, flat plane of Naruto's stomach with each upward thrust. The oil eased the friction to make each slide build with a slick, wet heat that coiled through Sasuke's entire body.

He was submerged in the flood of physical sensation, but his hazed mind recognized the rigid tension in the body above him, telling him that Naruto was still holding back.

That was unacceptable.

Sasuke's jaw clenched as he felt sweat dampen his brow. He knew Naruto was using Sasuke's body's hypersensitivity to physical touches to seize control. But their bodies were not the only parts of them engaged in this game… and Sasuke had always had better control of his power than Naruto did. He closed his eyes, drawing down more power and concentrating it in his right hand.

Then he reached between them and grabbed Naruto's shaft.

The blond immortal's eyes widened in shock and he gave a choked-out gasp as Sasuke's essence flooded through him, coiling around his dick and surging through his body. Naruto's muscles seized, and he arched up at the excruciating pleasure of it.

"Don't treat me like your fucking mortals, Naruto," Sasuke's hand didn't release its grip on Naruto's cock, the focused power still flooding through Naruto's already swollen flesh.

"Oh, god, Sasuke, you… ahh have to st-… Shit! I'm… going to… fuck!" Naruto fingers bit into the bed roll, his arms locking to keep him from collapsing down onto his lover as he came in Sasuke's harsh grasp, shooting streams of cum along Sasuke's arm, dribbling down over the pale chest and beading up as it spattered across the oil-slicked skin of Sasuke's stomach.

Naruto's body was wracked with shuddering aftershocks, his eyes closed and his lips parted as he rode out the most intense orgasm he'd ever had. After a few moments, he managed to open his eyes and found Sasuke's smug gaze on him, the pale hand still holding Naruto's softening dick, though in a gentler grip than before.

"You… asshole. Holy shit, what was that?" Naruto panted out, his body feeling like he had been struck by lightning. Or—perhaps more accurately—fucked by lightning. He had experienced orgasms before, but he had never had one that seemed to rip the soul from his body like this had.

He supposed that's what happened when you took Death as a lover.

Sasuke smirked, finally releasing Naruto's shaft and instead, pulling the blond down to lay beside him.

"A reminder that I'm not like the others."

Naruto sent him a weak glare, his gaze dropping to where Sasuke's erection still stood, fully hard and glistening red between the pale thighs.

"That's not something I'm likely to forget," Naruto said huskily, sliding his hands along Sasuke's jaw and kissing him fully. He wasn't sure he had completely regained control over his body yet, but he could at least manage a kiss.

Fucking bastard, Naruto thought affectionately, his body warming as he felt Sasuke's lips moving against his.

Sasuke opened his mouth more, deepening the kiss, enjoying Naruto's temporarily weakened state to experimentally seize control. He was not used to having a desire to touch another being physically, but was slowly exploring the desire and ability to do so with Naruto. For Sasuke, the desire to be with Naruto went beyond simple contact with flesh. As he slid a hand along Naruto's chest, he let a small bit of his energy flow with the caress. Not a sharp burst like before, but a gentle eddy that slowly stirred Naruto's blood. He lifted his head, dark eyes gleaming with satisfaction as they ran along Naruto's slack form.

The hard possessiveness and jealousy that he had felt earlier was still there, but as Sasuke looked at the glazed blue eyes of the man beside him, he felt… an emotion he wasn't sure how to name. As Death, he was not one to form attachments easily. The earth was filled with creatures who lived and died in the blink of an eye. Naruto had always been different. Sasuke had assumed it was simply because - unlike other beings - Naruto was not mortal, and had been with Sasuke the longest.

As he let his palm rest over Naruto's chest, feeling the steady rhythm of the heart beating within, he knew it was deeper than that. Sasuke had… missed… Naruto's presence. There was a strange comfort in being together in this way, with all barriers removed. A sense of belonging that Sasuke had never found anywhere else through the endless years, even with other immortals.

It was calming and enormously frightening all at the same time.

Naruto watched the pensive expressions play across Sasuke's features. He could feel the gentle swirl of Sasuke's power within him. Death's was always cold, but somehow the effect of it was warming to Naruto. Soothing. Almost… caring.

"You're thinking very hard about something," Naruto murmured, his words sounding slightly groggy in his relaxed state.

"Hn," Sasuke replied, not elaborating.

"Second thoughts?" Naruto asked, fairly sure he knew the answer, but needing to hear it nonetheless.

"Tch," Sasuke murmured, his brows pulling together slightly into a frown. "Evidently you haven't gotten any smarter over the past thousand years."

Naruto immediately felt the tension inside him dissipate at the words. "Yeah, well…" Naruto shifted forward, pushing Sasuke back onto the mattress as he leaned over him, a lopsided smile on his face. "... you were the one who always got off on books."

Naruto traced a finger over Sasuke's erection, which still stood at full mast. Sasuke gripped Naruto's wrist harshly before he could withdraw his hand.

"Speaking of getting off, I don't believe we're finished, yet," Sasuke's gaze was intent.

Naruto felt his latent desire surge fully back at the look. He hadn't been sure how far Sasuke would be wanting to take things this first time. He would have been more than happy with what had already occurred, given the circumstances. But Sasuke had never been one for doing things halfway, and Naruto had never been more grateful than he was in that moment. He wanted to fully consummate things, to possess Sasuke completely.

"No. We're far from finished," Naruto agreed, his voice husky as his lips moved against Sasuke's throat.

We'll never be finished.

The thought seemed to resonate through him. He would never leave Sasuke again. They would never have to be apart now. After forcing himself to give up hope so completely for endless ages, the depth of his sudden realization had his throat closing up, his fingers gripping Sasuke's hips so tightly that they bruised.

"Naruto?" Sasuke's voice showed a hint of concern at the sudden anguish in his lover's face and the desperate harshness in Naruto's grasp.

Naruto shook his head, unable to speak, but instead rolled Sasuke beneath him, kissing him fiercely. Sasuke returned the kiss, knowing on some level what drove Naruto's desperation. They had never put much into words. They let their actions speak for them, instead.

Naruto kissed Sasuke, pouring all his overwhelming emotions into it. So much had gone unsaid in the past. It wouldn't have changed things, since Naruto had needed to leave to find control… and find this refuge. But some of the hurt might have been less if they had communicated more.

Not knowing what to say, Naruto simply opened his mind, pushing his thoughts and emotions into Sasuke. Sasuke found himself gasping at the magnitude of the longing, desire, and devotion that flooded through him from Naruto. The human language was insufficient to describe it, the feelings having been built layer upon layer over thousands of years inside Naruto's soul.

In that moment, there was complete understanding between the two beings… their unstoppable power, their destructive past, their lonely existence. Naruto pulled back and looked at Sasuke, his blue eyes widening slightly as though in wonder before he was kissing him again.

Sasuke realized that all his jealousy of Naruto's past lovers were unnecessary. Naruto had always belonged to him completely. There had never been any other bond that had even come close.

Naruto didn't take his lips from Sasuke's, pouring his promise of forever into his kiss, and stealing Sasuke's in return. Their bodies slid against each other, slick with oil and cum and sweat and nothing had ever felt better.

Naruto pulled himself away just long enough to grab the urn, trailing kisses down Sasuke's pale abdomen until he reached his hip bone. Sasuke watched with heated eyes as Naruto poured a small trickle of the warm oil from the urn directly over Sasuke's engorged shaft, the sensation much more intense now that he was fully aroused. They both watched as the oil glistened down along the red, rigid flesh. Naruto slid his fingers into the pool of oil that had formed in the dip of Sasuke's stomach, then coated his own erection with it before pouring more over his fingers.

Sasuke shifted his legs wider, as Naruto's mouth claimed his again, feeling Naruto's hand slowly pumping his erection before slipping back down behind to brush against his entrance. His mortal lovers had always needed to be prepared. The Hyuugas did not, though they often enjoyed the process anyway. He was unsure how Sasuke's body would respond, but he wanted to bring Sasuke as much pleasure as possible.

Naruto increased the pressure and swirled one oil-slicked finger inside Sasuke's entrance, feeling the dark heat and incredible tightness of the body beneath him. Sasuke frowned slightly, the touch feeling more foreign than pleasurable at first.

Sensing Sasuke's hesitation, Naruto closed his free hand around Sasuke's shaft, giving it long, firm strokes as his other hand deftly changed the angle and depth of its penetration. Sasuke's sharply indrawn breath let Naruto know it was working.

The sight of Sasuke spread out beneath him caused his cock to pulse in time with his heartbeat, and it took every ounce of his willpower to not rush things. He added a second finger, his clever digits bending to stretch the ring of muscles while simultaneously stimulating Sasuke's prostate with slow, steady strokes.

The sensation of Naruto's touches was slowly building inside Sasuke, but it was not nearly enough. He gripped Naruto's hips pulling him forward so their bodies pressed together. Sasuke's body might be shaped like a mortal's, but it most definitely was not one, and he decided to remind Naruto of that.

"I don't need you to go slowly," Sasuke growled out, his impatience building, the feel of Naruto's desire for him still filling his mind, making the tension and heat in his body rapidly grow.

Naruto smiled, his lips coming down to brush against the sensitive spot just beneath Sasuke's ear. "Thank god," Naruto said fervently, his body shuddering at the idea that finally, finally he would be able to do what he told himself would never happen.

He drew in a deep breath, inhaling Sasuke's scent, feeling the coiled anticipation building between them. Naruto smoothed more oil over his shaft, praying to whatever deity still watched over the temple that the excess oil would make up for the rushed preparation. He wondered for a fleeting instant if the 'deity' of the temple was in fact the being spread out below him.

He would be lying if he didn't admit that the thought made him even harder.

Naruto positioned himself between Sasuke's thighs, his breath catching at the perfection of Sasuke's body… a sight he was sure he would never be able to get used to. But more than Sasuke's form, it was the way the dark eyes were locked on him, filled with a demanding heat that Naruto, even in his darkest fantasies, could never have conjured.

"Sasuke, I…" Naruto began, his words failing him as Sasuke reached up and pulled him down and kissed him harshly.

"Now," Sasuke bit out. The nearness of Naruto's body, the feel of it pressed against him, was already causing Sasuke's control to slip. The years he had been separated from Naruto seemed to come crashing into him all at once. He wanted to bind Naruto to him now. His energy hungered for Naruto's, and even the slightest separation was unendurable. The air in the room seemed to shiver, as though in anticipation.

Sasuke was done waiting. He reached down, gripping Naruto's shaft and pulled him closer. "Now," he repeated.

Naruto groaned and gratefully obeyed, his hands sliding down to lift Sasuke's hips as he slowly pushed in. Their eyes didn't leave each other as Naruto entered Sasuke, inch-by-inch. The pace was agonizingly slow, but neither could do more than gasp as their physical bodies joined. The room seemed to still as Naruto pushed in fully, both of them shaking with the unbearably tight pleasure of it. Sasuke's eyes widened, and his lips parted at the force of the sensation. Naruto's hands gripped harshly at his hips as the first wave of their joining hit them, then he began to move. Sasuke hadn't thought it was possible for pleasure to be more intense than what he had felt when Naruto had taken him in his mouth, but when Naruto shifted the angle of his thrusts just slightly, Sasuke saw white.

It was as though the floodgate of their powers had been released. Naruto arched back as a seemingly endless tide of Sasuke's energy slammed through him, and he felt his own power surge out of him in turn. It was as though the core essences of their beings were seeking to take possession of each other as surely and completely as their bodies were.

Sasuke's legs viced around Naruto's waist and his stomach muscles clenched at the unbearable pleasure of Naruto moving inside him, fucking him with his body. His power. His mind. Naruto filled Sasuke completely, every aspect of his being was taken over.

"Nnngghhhhaaaa!" The shout was torn from Sasuke's throat. Without thinking, he poured even more of his power into Naruto, more than he'd ever held or wielded. The stones around them sang with the energy that had tumbled nations, destroyed civilizations.

Naruto's body spasmed at the onslaught of overwhelming power that poured from Sasuke as it seemed to core out his very being. His body's endless craving for the man beneath him drew more and more, even as he felt his lungs start to freeze and his heart start to slow, he wanted more. Spots danced before Naruto's eyes, but he couldn't stop. He had never hovered so close to mortality before, but it wouldn't matter. It would be worth it just for this.

Just Sasuke.

Naruto's hips continued to snap forward as dizziness washed through him. He was at his limit, but it didn't matter. He felt Sasuke hot and tight around him, inside him. Naruto's vision blurred, but Sasuke's face was somehow still crystalline in focus.

"Sasuke," Naruto's words were slurred, trapped in his breathless throat.

Sasuke's body arched up at the sound of his name on Naruto's lips, the reverent whisper sending him over the edge as he came, his eyes blazing red, his body so filled with Naruto's power that he couldn't distinguish his form from his lover's.

The only thing Naruto's eyes could see was Sasuke's face as the rest of the world turned black, the perfect ivory face twisted in wracking pleasure. There was nothing that existed outside of this being—who he had coveted for so long. The reality of having finally claimed Sasuke as his overcame Naruto, and he was cumming, his seed filling his lover as he came in wave after wave.

Naruto collapsed alongside Sasuke, their skin so heated that steam rose from their bodies in the cold room. They lay facing each other, their bodies' labored breathing the only sounds they were capable of.

Slowly, they recovered the ability to move, though their limbs still trembled from the sheer force of the power they'd unleashed into each other, their eyes no longer burned red.

Naruto reached over, brushing a black lock away from Sasuke's damp forehead. His thoughts were too scattered to speak, but his blue eyes were filled with awareness of the depth of what had transpired between them.

Sasuke's eyes closed briefly at the gentleness of the touch. So different from the creature of war that history had recorded Naruto as. Sasuke remembered their conversation back in his library. Maybe Naruto was right. There was more to them than War and Death… so much more between them. But his mind was too clouded to be able to articulate it.

His body was exhausted… his energy totally depleted. He was too tired to speak. Instead, he cupped his hand along Naruto's jaw and ran his thumb over Naruto's lower lip, hoping it conveyed at least a piece of what he felt. "Naruto," he breathed out.

Naruto gave a tired smile. "I know," Naruto managed.

And he did. Whenever Naruto used his mind to push his thoughts into another being, pieces of their thoughts came back to him in return. When Naruto had opened his mind to Sasuke, letting him feel what Naruto was feeling, Sasuke's own emotions had filtered back to him.

It had shocked Naruto to discover that the man he had always thought was incapable of emotions had nearly overwhelmed Naruto with the depth of what he felt for him.

It didn't matter if Sasuke never was able to say it, or even name it within his own mind. Naruto had felt it all.

His eyes felt heavy as he watched Sasuke drift into sleep, but he didn't want to close them. He simply wanted to lay in bed with his lover, feeling the warmth of his body next to him on the mat, listening to Sasuke breathe the way he had back before things had pulled them apart.

Naruto pulled the thick blankets over them to protect them from the growing chill in the room. He knew they should go someplace and clean up, but he didn't feel like moving. Possibly wasn't capable of it yet. The air was thick with the scent of sex and sandalwood. The scent of Sasuke.

It was perfect.

He felt a subtle shift in the energy in the room… a presence that hadn't been there a moment ago. He shakily forced himself to sit up, the blanket falling away from his chest. The bitter chill in the room notified him that one of the fireplaces had gone out, but he didn't even glance over to it. His eyes were locked on the being that was standing casually a few feet away from their pallet, watching them.

He was tall, with long black hair pulled into a low ponytail over a pale, perfectly sculpted shoulder. But it wasn't the bare chest that drew Naruto's attention.

It was the black wings that extended from the figure's shoulder blades. Naruto didn't need to use his powers to know that this man was not of the earth.

to be continued...

A/N:  So... many of you caught this, but Itachi was NOT on my list of 'optional' characters to see the reaction to Naruto and Sasuke finally getting together.  He was going to have his say regardless LOL. 

Chapter Text

Author’s note:  This is the final chapter! Thanks to Tandy_Hard for reading this over in advance!! *hugs to her*  I can't seem to log onto FF this morning, so AO3 gets the update first!  FF seems to be having all sorts of issues these days...  :-(

  Chapter 11 - Judgement

 Naruto felt a subtle shift in the energy in the room… a presence that hadn't been there a moment ago. He shakily forced himself to sit up, the blanket falling away from his chest. The bitter chill in the room notified him that one of the fireplaces had gone out, but he didn't even glance over to it. His eyes were locked on the being that was standing casually a few feet away from their pallet, watching them.

He was tall, with long black hair pulled into a low ponytail over a pale, perfectly sculpted shoulder. But it wasn't the bare chest that drew Naruto's attention.

It was the black wings that extended from the figure's shoulder blades. Naruto didn't need to use his powers to know that this man was not of the earth.

Naruto was frozen.  He didn’t sense hostility from the creature, but he wasn’t sure he could really read such a being accurately.  Naruto had never felt uncertainty about a possible enemy.  With the exception of the man sleeping beside him, he had always thought there was not a creature on earth that was a threat to him.

But the winged man before him had a presence that Naruto knew instinctively not to underestimate.

Naruto wished he could conceal Sasuke beneath the blankets, but it was obvious that the man had already seen them both.  And it would have been a futile effort in any case, since Sasuke’s eyes were already opening.

“Itachi,”  Sasuke sat up, looking briefly over to Naruto, then returning his attention to the Angel of Death.  “He can see you?”

Itachi shrugged.  “It would appear so.”

“You… you know him?” Naruto asked, not sure if that made him feel better or more on edge.  

“Yes.  He is the one who gave the Horsemen our orders in the past.  The rest of you were never able to see him,” Sasuke said, calmly reaching over and grabbing his cloak.  He stood, drawing it around his naked body for warmth.  Naruto looked over but his cloak was buried somewhere in the bedding.  He grabbed a blanket and stood as well.

“Then why can I see him now?”  Naruto asked, the feeling of foreboding somehow increasing.

“This is a Temple of Death,” Itachi said, his black wings stretching slightly, seeming to draw the darkness around them.  “Creatures of Death such as Sasuke and I are more fully part of the mortal plane here.”

Naruto shot Sasuke a slightly unsure look.

“He means that the same way the temple is able to contain my powers, it also makes his physical form visible to other beings,” Sasuke said.

There was a tension about Sasuke that Naruto had never observed before.  If he had to name it, it would be… apprehensive.

“We were careful,” Sasuke looked at Itachi, his voice challenging.

“Hm,” Itachi glanced down at the rumpled bed, then looked at Naruto.  “And did you tell your lover the potential consequences of your actions?”

Sasuke did not reply, but merely looked steadily at Itachi.

“Sasuke.  What is he talking about?  What consequences?”  Naruto looked over to Sasuke, but Sasuke didn’t take his gaze from Itachi.  There was a stillness about him that had Naruto on edge—as though Sasuke were waiting for something to occur.  The grim expression on Sasuke’s face made it clear that whatever was about to happen wasn’t good.

Without thinking, Naruto’s power flared and he turned to Itachi, stepping between him and Sasuke.

“You will not hurt him,” Naruto’s voice came out in a growl, his eyes already blazing red.  Ash blew from the fireplace, the glowing embers flaring hotter with the sudden wind.

Itachi turned an amused look to Naruto, arching a perfectly formed black brow.  Wherever the wind touched the dark angel, it died.  The embers were snuffed out as though doused in water.  Itachi’s gaze locked with Naruto’s as he slowly walked towards him, cutting a path through the chaos that swirled in the room.

“You defend him against me?”  Itachi asked, coming to stand directly before Naruto.

“Itachi -” Sasuke began moving forward to stand alongside Naruto, but Naruto cut him off.

“You. Will. Not. Hurt. Him.”  The walls shook, and Naruto mind reached out to connect with the being before him.  If Naruto couldn’t touch him physically, then he would touch him directly with his power.

Itachi’s eyes widened, but Sasuke placed a restraining hand on Naruto’s shoulder, his own power snaking through Naruto’s body, calming him and pulling him back.

“Let’s discuss this first, shall we?” Sasuke’s voice was calm and controlled.

Naruto’s power strained, his fear driving it forward while his tie to Sasuke held it back.

Itachi stood, simply waiting.  

Slowly, the air in the room stilled.

Itachi turned to Sasuke, his expression considering.  “You were able to control his power.  A power that was designed to be uncontrollable.”

“Designed to be… who are you?”  Naruto asked in frustration.  “And will one of you tell me what the fuck the winged guy meant when he talked about consequences?  What consequences?  And of what actions?”

Naruto could feel the tension rolling off Sasuke in waves, but he still didn’t reply.

Finally, Itachi spoke.

“If Sasuke won’t be the one to tell you, I suppose it falls to me.  Starting with your first question, I suppose most mortals would refer to me as the Angel of Death.  Sasuke is the Reaper, who harvests the souls.  I am the Ferryman, who carries them to the other side.   We are, in a sense, brothers in Death.  Two sides of the same coin.”

Naruto glanced at Sasuke, but he only nodded.

“So why are you the one who called us to ride in the past?” Naruto asked.

Itachi shrugged a perfectly sculpted shoulder.  “I ferry souls to both heaven and hell.  I am the… go-between, I suppose you’d say.  And I can deliver messages back from either side as well.”

Naruto shifted.  “Ok, fine.  You’re the Angel of Death.  But why are you here now?”

Itachi looked directly at Sasuke when he spoke.  “Because Death was warned about losing control.  When he first began to covet you, four thousand years ago.”

Naruto’s eyes widened, and he turned to look at Sasuke.  “ What?! ”  His mind raced back.  “That was… that was before the battle in Egypt when I…”

Sasuke didn’t break his gaze from Itachi.  Naruto’s mind reeled with even the possibility that Sasuke had wanted him as long as Naruto had wanted Sasuke.  

“But… you never… you always pulled away,” Naruto said, though as soon as the words were out, he realized the implications of what Itachi had really said.  It was four thousand years ago that Sasuke had stopped sharing a tent with him… that Sasuke had begun shutting him out.

“Sasuke was only aware that he had difficulty controlling his powers in certain situations involving you. He didn’t understand the reasons behind it.”

Naruto could only look at Sasuke, who glanced at him only briefly before turning back to Itachi.

“It is interesting that Sasuke was never supposed to have emotions or lose control, and you have made him do both.  You were never supposed to be controllable, yet Sasuke has been able to do so,” Itachi said, looking at Naruto as though he were a curiosity.  Which, Naruto supposed, he was.

“We balance each other,” Sasuke spoke, his voice quiet but firm in the temple chamber.

Itachi considered for a moment.   “Yes.  I suppose you do.  But that still leaves us the issue of what to do with you both now.”

“I still don’t understand what Sasuke did wrong,” Naruto’s confusion over how long Sasuke had felt something for him was replaced by his anxiety about the purpose for Itachi’s visit.

“You mean aside from killing a building full of people when the two of you bumped into each other the other night at the club?”  Itachi arched an eyebrow.

Naruto scoffed.  “If you were going to make a big deal about that, it would have happened already.”

Sasuke’s lips twitched slightly, though he was equally curious as to Itachi’s answer.

“Sasuke was warned what would happen if he lost control again,” Itachi stated, finally turning his gaze to Death.

“And this temple controlled our powers,” Sasuke returned calmly.  “I don’t see the problem.”

Itachi’s gaze shifted to the words carved in the stone walls.  “Yes.  It is an interesting room.”

“You keep saying that Sasuke was told what would happen.   What would happen?  He’s Death.  I’m pretty sure even you can’t kill him.”

Itachi looked slightly amused at the irreverent tone of voice Naruto was taking with him, but he answered the question.  “If Sasuke lost control of his powers again, he was to be sealed until the End of Days, to be revived only when the Horsemen were required again.”

Naruto looked from Itachi to Sasuke.  “Sealed as in… what?”

“Sealed as in put in stasis.  Frozen.”  Sasuke didn’t appear fazed by the idea at all.

“For all intents and purposes, Sasuke would be dead until he was called again,” Itachi provided.

“What?!” Naruto rounded on Sasuke, grabbing him by the shoulders and ignoring the power that surged between them at the touch.  “You risked being sealed for this without telling me?  What if the temple hadn’t been strong enough? What if the scripts had only worked on my powers and not yours?  Are you out of your fucking mind?”

“And thus my presence here,” Itachi gestured with an elegant hand, though neither man was paying him any attention.

Sasuke simply looked at Naruto, his dark eyes filled with a swirl of things that Naruto would take another thousand years to fully understand.

“It was worth the risk.”  Sasuke’s words, the quiet resolution of them, nearly brought Naruto to his knees.  

Naruto’s grip on Sasuke’s shoulders tightened.  “I love you,” Naruto’s voice was soft, but the words carried to every corner of the temple.  “I can’t lose you again.”

He didn’t let go of Sasuke when he turned to face Itachi.  “It wasn’t specified if Sasuke had to maintain control himself, or if something else could help as long as his powers were not unleashed on mortals, right?”

Itachi tilted his head to the side, considering.  “It wasn’t really discussed.  He was never supposed to lose control in the first place.”

“Losing control implies that our powers were uncontained.  That was not the case,” Sasuke stated, his fingers gesturing to the Temple walls.  

Itachi’s lips curved into a slight smile.  “I suppose… that could be considered to be true.”

“Then…” Naruto looked between Itachi and Sasuke.  “Then we’re ok?  No one needs to get sealed?”

Itachi didn’t answer, and instead walked over to one of the walls, tracing an elegantly tapered finger along the ancient wisdom carved there.  He turned to look directly at Sasuke.

“If this had occurred in any other location, the outcome would have been different.”

Sasuke shrugged.  “But it didn’t.  It happened here.”

Itachi looked at him, his eyes glowing a piercing red that seemed to be able to look through to his very soul.  “And can you guarantee that it will only occur in this location, if it is repeated?”

Sasuke looked at Itachi for a moment, then a slow smile appeared on his lips.  “Are you wanting to know about the details of my sex life, Itachi?  I’m not sure that’s actually the purview of the Angel of Death.  Unless the job description has changed?”

Itachi raised his eyebrows.  “Given what I nearly interrupted, I don’t think you are one to speak about what our roles are these days.”  The voice was flat, but there was an amused light in the angel’s eyes.

“You mean…” Naruto glanced at Sasuke, but directed his question to Itachi.  “... we would have to live here?”

Itachi gave a small shrug.  “You would need to confine any… activities… that could result in the loss of control of your powers to this temple.”

Sasuke looked thoughtful.  “Or really any building that was similarly inscribed.  The Egyptians had many tombs inscribed with versions of the Book of the Dead .”

“We’re going to have sex in a tomb?”  Naruto didn’t find the idea totally unappealing, but it wouldn't have been his first choice.

“It would be warmer than here,” Sasuke replied with a nearly imperceptible grimace.  “We can figure something out until we get the walls in my home inscribed.”

Naruto thought back to the cold, lifeless mansion that Sasuke lived in.  “What about my place?”

Sasuke’s eyes narrowed.  “You are not living in the Hyuuga’s estate anymore.”

Itachi’s wings shifted slightly, drawing their attention to him.  “As interesting as all these… domestic issues are, I have other business this evening.  I will leave you two to your discussion.” He pinned Sasuke with a warning look.  “But don’t forget the restrictions.  I will not be allowed to offer any leniency if you violate them.”

With that, Itachi turned.  And vanished.

 Naruto let out a breath as he felt the powerful presence disappear from the room.  

“Holy shit,” he looked over at Sasuke.  “So… that’s who you were always looking at when the rest of us couldn’t see anything?”

“Hn,” Sasuke slowly felt the tension that had been building in his body leave.  He hadn’t been sure how the meeting with Itachi was going to play out.

He was surprised when he found himself slammed back against the wall, Naruto’s red eyes glaring down at him.

“Don’t you ever take a risk like that without telling me first!  What the hell were you thinking?”

Sasuke’s own power lashed out instinctively, sending Naruto crashing into the wall on the other side of the room.  The two immortals looked at each other from across the temple.

“And what would you have done if you had been aware of the possible consequences?”  Sasuke asked, his gaze unwavering.

Naruto hesitated.  He honestly… didn’t know.  “I wouldn’t have put you at risk,” he said finally.  That much was true.

Sasuke scoffed.  “It’s not your decision what risks I choose to take, Naruto.  I went through a thousand years without you, wondering why you left without a word.  I wasn’t going to lose you again.  It was my risk to take.”

“Sasuke,” Naruto began, but Sasuke’s glare cut him off.

“You don’t think it was worth it?” Sasuke asked him.

Naruto had no idea how to answer that.  Was he glad it had happened? Hell, yes.  Would he have risked his own existence for it?  Absolutely.  

But he wouldn’t have risked Sasuke’s.  

“Idiot,” Sasuke said, clearly reading Naruto’s thoughtseither in his expression or through their linked powers, Naruto wasn’t sure.  He supposed it didn’t matter.

Sasuke was crossing the room, his hand fisting into Naruto’s hair as he dragged their mouths together.

“My turn,” he said low in Naruto’s ear.

Naruto shuddered, feeling the all-consuming heat flaring inside him again.

He was glad they were immortal, because he would never get enough of this man.

 The paintbrush that Sai held in his hand moved smoothly over the white surface of the thick parchment spread out on the easel before him.  The black ink from his brush rapidly formed the contours of the mountains in the distance he was looking at with a skill that spoke of lifetimes’ worth of practice.  

A flock of birds abruptly took flight from a cove of trees nearby, and Sai stilled to see what had startled them.  There was no sound, no sign that could be detected by the physical senses, but Sai could feel a strange fluctuation in the air.  It was unlike anything he’d ever sensed, which—given how long he had lived—was amazing unto itself.  The ‘sound’ was almost like a chime, and it seemed to ring from somewhere far away, a feeling of distant lightning and wind blending together to form a single note.

A small smile slowly appeared on his face.  He set the parchment aside, and pulled out a fresh one.  His brush dipped, then moved again.  The paper soon filled with the image of two bodies twining together.  He filled in the dark hair of one of the figures, then looked at the black ink and sighed, wishing he had brought his paints instead.  He needed yellow.


Sakura walked through her research lab, reading a draft of the latest paper she would be submitting to the New England Journal of Medicine .  She had another five or ten years before she would need to reinvent herself to not draw attention to the fact that she wasn’t aging.  She smirked a bit at the knowledge that most of her colleagues assumed she had simply become addicted to botox and plastic surgery.  A convenient misconception of the modern age that she would not bother to correct.

Her footsteps slowed, then stopped altogether as she felt a strange echo within herself… a whisper of a hum that she couldn’t quite place.  The sensation intensified slightly, the faintest hint of two essences that she hadn’t felt in many years.  One had been absent much longer than the other.  She closed her eyes briefly, feeling the way they blended and twisted together.

A wistful smile touched her lips as she walked over to the large window in the lab and looked out over the bustling city of mortals.  She had found her place and was content.  While she may have harbored dreams of other things… well, she had certainly lived long enough to know that not everything that was wished for came to be.

The handsome young man who was the newest addition to the faculty approached her, his eyes shining with admiration.  Sakura returned his smile, and they went into her office to finalize the paper they were working on together.


Naruto woke up, his body feeling stiff and sore.  And sticky.  But he hardly noticed it compared to the electric feel of the energy running through him, particularly where his skin touched that of the man lying next to him.  It amazed Naruto that they had managed to fall asleep with their bodies in such close proximity, but he supposed that physical exhaustion had played a large role.

A small smile played on his lips at the thought.

“You look happy,” Sasuke’s voice was low and intimate in the quiet stillness of the temple.

Naruto opened his eyes, and turned his head to find black eyes looking back at him.

“I am,” Naruto’s smile grew slightly with the statement.  “Though… I would be even happier if this place came with hot running water.”  He turned to face Sasuke, their bodies tangled together in the blankets.

Sasuke smirked.  “Heat wouldn’t be bad, either.”

Naruto chuckled.  He really didn’t want to get out of their bed.  But they really did need to wash up.  “Do you want to come to my place?  I have a pretty amazing tub.”

Sasuke narrowed his eyes.  “I believe we discussed my feelings on you returning to the Hyuuga estate.”

Naruto rolled his eyes.  “You said you didn’t want to live there.  Not that you’d never set foot in the place again.”

Sasuke just looked at him levelly.

Naruto sighed.  “I will have to go there to at least get my stuff if we’re going to move in together.  And I’m not just going to stop talking to them just because you’ve got your panties in a twist.”

The temperature in the room dropped.

Naruto shoved his hand in Sasuke’s face.  “Stop it.  You know that there’s not a chance in hell I’ll ever sleep with anyone else now.  They are my friends.  I’m not making you give up your horny vampire cult.”

“My… what? ”  Sasuke sat up, the sandalwood oil that had worked its way into his hair made it stick up at odd angles. Naruto snickered.

“Who would have thought that the ‘freshly fucked’ look would work so well on Death.”

Death gave an appropriately-named glare.  “You were the one who got fucked the last time.”

Naruto shrugged, giving Sasuke a lopsided grin.  “Yeah, and I’m definitely not complaining.”  Naruto slid his hand up along Sasuke’s thigh beneath the blankets.  

Sasuke arched a brow.  “Bath first.”

He grabbed Naruto’s wrist and—still holding the blankets—they disappeared from the temple.  

 Naruto glared at Sasuke as they stepped into his bathroom.  Which was completely done in black granite.

“Seriously?  Do you have any color in this place?”

Sasuke turned on the shower, then stalked out.  

“Where are you going?”  Naruto called after him as he stepped gratefully into the steaming stream of water.  Naruto’s tub was definitely better, but Sasuke’s shower was pretty ok.

“Someplace where I won’t accidentally trigger the apocalypse by watching you bathe,”  Sasuke said tersely, slamming the door behind him.

Naruto blinked, but then the implications of Sasuke’s words sank in and he grinned.  “See… you might be the all-powerful Death, but I can jack off in the shower and not get sealed for it.”

“Fuck you,” Sasuke’s muffled voice came from the other side of the door.  Naruto snickered as he began washing himself.  He knew Sasuke must be craving a shower as much as he was, so he didn’t linger in the warm water the way he would usually have done.  Death had always been slightly prissy about his own personal hygiene.

Naruto toweled himself off, then realized he had no clothing to wear.  He might have made fun of Sasuke about the whole sealing thing, but he really didn’t want to be responsible for getting his lover sealed.  Parading around in a towel was probably not a great idea until he knew exactly what Sasuke’s control was.

He stood there looking at the closed door, wondering if he should just go to his place and get some of his own clothes, or if that would piss Sasuke off.

Before he had decided anything, the bathroom door opened and Sasuke walked in, his hair still damp from the shower and wearing fresh clothes, evidently having showered in another bathroom.

“Get dressed.” He handed Naruto a stack of neatly folded clothing, then calmly turned and walked back out.

Naruto had to laugh a little at himself… he didn’t know why he thought Sasuke would be unable to control himself after so many millennia of doing exactly that.  

Naruto dressed quickly, noting that the clothes were all dark, though Sasuke had at least given him dark blue rather than black.

He stepped out of the bathroom and looked around.  Sasuke was not in the room, but Naruto could feel his presence in the mansion.  He looked at the spartan bedroom: bare walls, bare floors, and black sheets on a dark wooden bed.

He rolled his eyes.  If they were really going to share a living space, there would have to be some changes.

He walked down the hall, feeling the pull from Sasuke guiding him down the corridor to the library.

Sasuke stood amongst the wreckage they had wrought the other day, but he was not alone.  And Sasuke was looking rather annoyed at that fact.

“What part of ‘get out of my fucking house’ did you not understand?”

“We were worried, Sasuke,” the vampire that spoke was nearly twice the size of the others, but his voice was calm… almost gentle.  The three vampires turned to look at Naruto as he entered the library.

Two of the vampires Naruto recognized as being with Sasuke at the club.  The female was the one who had tried to forcibly seduce him, but Naruto didn’t hold a grudge.  He was pretty sure she wouldn’t have forgotten the lesson he taught her about pushing too hard when a polite rejection had been offered.

“Your harem miss you?”  Naruto asked, giving an amused look to the annoyed expression on Sasuke’s face.  “I’m not sure I’m up for sharing, but I guess we could discuss ground rules if that’s what you really want.”

“Shut up before I decide to see just how hard it would be to actually kill you,” Sasuke said, though his lips did twitch slightly.

“So… are you gonna introduce us or what?” Naruto asked.

Sasuke sighted.  “Naruto, this is Karin, Suigetsu, and Juugo.”

Naruto felt the three sets of eyes fix on him, and he waited for Sasuke to say something more, but it soon became clear that he wasn’t planning on it.

Naruto turned toward Karin and Suigetsu, both of whom were eyeing him slightly apprehensively.  “Hey.  No hard feelings?”

“Nah, it’s fine,” Suigetsu said, grinning.  “Actually it was funny as hell to see Karin get her ass handed to her like that.”

Karin had stepped forward, offering her hand, which Naruto took, despite it being a human custom.  She stepped closer, drawing in a deep breath. “He smells good in your clothes, Sasuke.”

“Don’t. Touch. Him.”

Karin dropped Naruto’s hand, her eye widening as she stepped back.  She had never seen Sasuke react like that to anything.

“He doesn’t share well,” Naruto smirked, reaching over and threading his fingers through Sasuke’s.  The three vampires eyes latched onto the sight of the two hands joined together, clearly shocked.  “You sure you don’t want us to stay at the Hyuugas?”  Naruto asked jokingly, slightly worried at how much power he sensed building in his volatile lover. Sasuke needed to calm the hell down before Itachi showed up again.  

Sasuke didn’t bother with a reply and instead gave Naruto’s hand a slight squeeze before extracting it.  He walked over to one of the older bookcases, pulling out a leather-bound tome.  

“Karin.  Since you are so interested in our sex lives, you can have the job of inscribing this on the walls of my bedroom.”

Karin looked down at the book Sasuke placed in her hands.  She frowned in confusion.  “This is… the Book of the Dead .  What does that have to do with sex?”

Sasuke didn’t reply to her, and she flipped it open, looking through it, her expression thoughtful.  “You are serious?”

Sasuke shrugged.  “I can hire someone to do it.  But next to Orochimaru, you knew the texts best.”

“Orochimaru?” Naruto asked, the name unfamiliar.

“One of the Elder vampires.  He took a fancy to Sasuke here, and Sasuke didn’t fancy him back,” Suigetsu snickered.

Naruto looked non-plussed.  “So… that’s why he can’t ask Orochimaru to do the engraving?  He’s still hung up on Sasuke?”

“No,” Karin said, looking up and meeting Naruto’s gaze.  “Orochimaru can’t do it because Sasuke beheaded him.  Of course, I’m sure Death could resurrect him if he really wanted to…”

“Tch,” Sasuke scoffed.  “Why would I resurrect him after I went through the trouble of killing him?”

Naruto looked at Sasuke for a moment, then laughed.  “I guess I got off lucky if the last guy who tried to get in your pants lost his head.”

Sasuke gave Naruto a long look, then turned back to Karin.  “The inscription has to be exact.  Start on the eastern wall, then work your way around the room.”

“You can do it?” Naruto asked Karin, sounding slightly impressed.  

Karin tossed her hair.  “Of course.  I know all the ancient writings on Death.”

“How long will it take?” Sasuke asked.

Karin flipped through the pages.  “Maybe a week.”

Naruto tried not to let his disappointment show.  He was definitely not going to be able to wait an entire week.  And the temple was cold as hell.  They would need more blankets next time.

“Hn,” Sasuke looked at Naruto, amusement flashing in his dark eyes as he easily read Naruto’s dismayed expression.  “Let’s go get your things.  You’re staying here.”

Naruto suddenly felt his throat tighten.  After a thousand years of loneliness, closing himself off from the one person he loved and telling himself he would never see Sasuke again, now they would be living together.  As lovers.  He tried to imagine what the next thousand years would be like for them.  A slow smile spread on his lips.  He glanced at Sasuke before turning to Karin.

“I want to see how you do the inscribing.  After you finish the bedroom, we’ll need to do the bathroom.  And the kitchen.  And probably the library.”  

Sasuke gave a soft snort.

But he didn’t disagree.

 The End.

A/N:  We made it to the end!!!  And the world is still standing!!  I know I had a lot of requests for a SasuNaru lemon in this universe, but I just felt like it would be really weird jammed in here as just sort of ‘extra smut’.  idk.  Maybe if I ever write an epilogue, but at the current moment I don’t know what else I want to say about these guys, so I don’t have any specific epilogue thoughts.