Naru/Sasu Word Count:
Set in Monoshizukanohi AU, D/s relationships, nudity, language, angst. Spoilers:
It's a whirlwind after Jiraiya's death, and Naruto barely makes it home in time to help Sasuke through one of the hardest days of the Uchiha's year: his birthday.Note: Story takes place three years prior to current Monoshizukanohi canon. Written for Corsetcase's kiriban fic over on Y!Gal.
Naruto eased the old Mercedes into the garage, hit the button for the door to close, and killed the engine. For a blissful moment, he leaned his head back against the seat and shut his eyes. Pain that he had successfully ignored during the day of endless meetings, paperwork, and making nice with executives finally flooded him, and Naruto grimaced.
It was two months since Jiraiya passed away from liver cancer, and Naruto struggled under the weight of grief each and every day. The little things were the worst. Jiraiya discovered the art of text messaging late in life, and once he did, Naruto wished he'd never shown the man how to do it. Jiraiya pushed the boundaries of "unlimited texting," and the one-hundred-sixty character missives were always crazy: riddles, bad jokes, snippets from his books, or just a "Hey wuts up" that was insane in its text-speak. For a man so impassioned by words to use bastard shorthand still made Naruto tilt his head in appreciation of irony.
Naruto missed the texts. He missed his godfather's dirty laundry piles all over the master suite, the tiny glass on the kitchen sink side that Jiraiya used to drink a shot of warm milk right before he went to bed, and the way the man would slap Naruto on the back to tell him job well done. The manor where Jiraiya and Naruto had lived all of their lives and where Sasuke spent almost all his time from boyhood on seemed to echo like a canyon. Naruto's shoes were too loud on the tile, and it reminded him of how big the ones he needed and wanted to fill truly were.
Jiraiya and Naruto's father started The Uzumaki Corporation back in the seventies. Minato wanted to create a chain of retail stores that focused on a family environment, on making a fantastic place of employment for the working class, and on selling things people needed to live at reasonable prices. Simple goals that built an empire, and Jiraiya was there the entire time: a partner, a coach, a mediator, and a shareholder.
When Naruto's parents died in a fire when Naruto was only an infant, there was no question who would raise him. Jiraiya took him in, fed and clothed him, and there was never a moment growing up that Naruto doubted his destiny. He was going to take over the company, expand it in his father's name and vision, and be the best damned CEO he could possibly be. When most kids dreamed of going to the moon or shooting hoops for the NBA, Naruto wanted big desks, flights around the globe in a private plane, and the responsibility of trying to make sure every single soul employed by Uzumaki Corp was provided for and looked after.
After high school, most of Naruto's friends from The Academy went off to join the ranks of Ivy League. Naruto's version of a college class was a boardroom, and he sat right by Jiraiya, who taught Naruto everything about Minato's dreams and how the company and the world worked. Day by day, month by month, Naruto grew into the man he wanted to be, and he did it with his godfather's guiding hand.
Naruto never dreamed that he would have to finish his training with a ghost at his back. The doctors discovered the cancer late, and it finished Jiraiya quickly; no long duels to the death, just a short, vicious fight. Jiraiya asked Naruto to manage his fiction library and interests after he was gone, and Naruto agreed. It was the least he could do.
And every day since Jiraiya closed his eyes for the last time, Naruto woke up with two goals: be someone of whom his family could be proud and be the man Sasuke, his lover and best friend, trusted.
The light in the garage went out, leaving Naruto in darkness. It was later than he thought he'd be home, and on this day of all days, he wished time would bend to his will. But it was hard to transition a company into new hands, and even more difficult to cope with all the needs and demands of businessmen and faceless employees when all Naruto wanted to do was curl in bed for a while and grieve.
Naruto could easily envision his godfather's stern glare of disapproval. Self pity need not apply around the man, and Naruto rallied himself to get keys out of the ignition and self out of car. He opened the rear door, grabbed a plain black box, and used a flashlight on his key ring to navigate through the six-car garage. With every pace he put work behind him, conjured images of Sasuke, thought about what came next instead of what came before, and by the time he got inside, he felt ready to face the next challenge of the day.
"Sasuke?" Naruto bellowed, loosening his tie and dropping his briefcase. He kicked off his shoes and started wandering through the rooms leading from garage toward the main living portion of the old manor. It had more leaks, holes, and problems than it had redeeming features, but Naruto would sooner stab himself than sell a piece of his godfather.
"Sas?" Naruto tried again when he got no answer. He swiveled his head to check the dining room, the formal front room, and finally heard a noise indicating life.
"That you, baby?" Naruto said, turning into the kitchen. He scowled when he found Sasuke with both ears apparently working but without consideration enough to answer. So typical of the brat. But he checked himself on a sarcastic remark. "There you are," Naruto said instead.
"Hn," Sasuke grunted, and Naruto watched him pick up a brightly colored foil card in a ripped envelope, flick a Bic lighter, and set the thing on fire. Sasuke's expression subtly switched from angry to satisfied, though Naruto knew he would be the only person on the planet who could actually tell the difference.
"What, they didn't send Hallmark or something?" Naruto quipped, coming around the island to get closer, but he paused when he saw a tendon in Sasuke's neck tighten. He was in one of his anti-touching moods, then. Peachy.
"It's from Uncle Madara."
"Okay," Naruto agreed, observing Sasuke's baggy t-shirt, pajama pants, and bare feet. His hair was mussed, his eyes were tired, and Naruto hurt at the sight of a Sasuke who didn't find enough energy to feed vanity.
"His secretary," Sasuke mumbled, and Naruto translated.
"I'm sure he
Sasuke scowled, dropped flaming paper into the sink, and turned on the water and garbage disposal. The roar filled the kitchen, Sasuke didn't blink as the evidence of the card was thoroughly destroyed, and Naruto reached over to shut off the grinding when Sasuke didn't.
"Feel better?" Naruto asked, studying stubble and profile, and working fast to figure out how to convince Sasuke to let Naruto hold him.
Sasuke snorted and crossed his arms. "You're late," he accused without looking at Naruto.
"Yeah… I texted…" Naruto winced on memory of his godfather, but pushed it aside. He was with Sasuke, now, and even with the bad mood, focusing everything on his lover made Naruto feel… balanced. Crazy as that was.
Sasuke shrugged, as communicative as ever. Naruto inched closer, saw the tendon flex again, and sighed. "I got you something."
Dark eyes darted to glare at Naruto: accusing, angry, and sad. "Why?"
"Because I wanted to."
"I asked you not
"And I ignored it."
Sasuke shoved by Naruto. "Asshole," he muttered, and Naruto let the comment go. He nearly bit off his tongue to keep quiet, but again, he managed.
"Forgive me if I think birthdays are something gift-worthy."
Sasuke stalked down a hallway and into one of the sitting rooms, and Naruto followed him. Sasuke flopped onto an old leather couch, tucked his legs to his chest, and turned to rest his cheek on his knees. Naruto sat down next to him, one arm behind Sasuke on the back of the sofa, and channeled understanding. Sasuke hated birthdays because they reminded him of what he didn't think he had -- a family. He and Itachi never spoke anymore, Madara was distant and cold, and everyone else was either unknown or scattered to the winds. Sasuke's family was Naruto and Jiraiya, and in many ways the man's death was just as hard on Sasuke as it was on Naruto.
Naruto knew all that, found his compassion, and held out the black box to Sasuke. "Here."
Slowly Sasuke lifted his head and chewed on his lip.
"It's not gonna bite you, baby," Naruto said, quiet and gentle in his teasing.
Sasuke's eyes narrowed in menace and malice, and Naruto waited until Sasuke's curiosity and materialism finally won over the petulance and self-pity. Sasuke took the box in long, thin fingers, rubbing his thumb over the seam where the top and bottom met.
"Sorry it's not wrapped," Naruto said. "I've had it for a while, and…" He trailed off, crushing excuses and spoilers between his teeth.
"It's okay," Sasuke said, so softly that Naruto barely heard him, and Naruto's hand crept onto a narrow shoulder. He didn't tense or tic the touch away, and tension eased in Naruto's body.
Sasuke opened the box without ceremony, and Naruto watched his lover's face, intent on mapping and memorizing every detail all over again. Eyes widened to show the whites, pink lips parted, and dainty nostrils flared. Naruto counted the tells and matched the emotions: surprise, hurt, and anger. Naruto waited as Sasuke traced the contours of the pocket watch with the pad of an index finger. He started to count to ten, watching old hurt well in Sasuke's eyes.
Naruto knew Sasuke missed Itachi something terrible. Knew that no matter what the man did or what the elder Uchiha's reasons, Sasuke loved Itachi as only a little brother can love an older, and every day that passed widened the gap in Sasuke's heart that only Itachi could fill. The estrangement from Itachi was intrinsically connected to the hatred of birthdays and to the cold memory of a father who never showed enough love to anyone, much less the two sons who needed it the most.
To this day, Naruto didn't know if Sasuke hated Itachi more for getting the perverse honor of ending their father's life or for the fact that Sasuke felt duty-bound to hate Itachi for destroying a piece of what little family they had left. Even if it was a shitty one.
When Naruto reached nine in his head, Sasuke sucked in a watery gasp, and Naruto got to ten as Sasuke turned and flung himself around Naruto's neck.
"You're welcome," Naruto whispered against hair that smelled like their sheets. "I know he used to carry one like it everywhere, and it's--"
"Exactly like Papa's," Sasuke finished. "Exactly… just…" He squeezed tighter, and Naruto pulled Sasuke flush, swaying in a slow rock.
"Yeah," Naruto said, happy for the first time in a long time with Sasuke pliant and willing in his arms. It lasted for a few seconds, and Sasuke tugged out of Naruto's hold. Sasuke looked at Naruto, calculating, and Naruto inwardly sighed. He knew what was coming even before Sasuke's lips met his in a deliberate kiss; even before Sasuke started to push insistently on Naruto's shoulders, trying to shove him flat.
"No," Naruto said, calm and quiet.
"Why not?" Sasuke breathed, pouting already, and for a fast flutter of a heartbeat Naruto wanted to shake Sasuke until his teeth rattled. One would think after years and years that Sasuke would finally learn a way to show appreciation that didn't involve fucking. Or learn a way to show anger that didn't involve violence or vanishing.
But Sasuke sucked at expressing emotion. Really
sucked. He had a narrow range to start with, and the other parts were buried under a bad childhood and lost in old baggage best left under the bed. Still, even guys with Issues that required the capital letter could at least get something important out over a good oil change, football game, Street Fighter match, or drunken confession. Sasuke, however, didn't care about cars, hated most sports, didn't "do" video games, and disdained alcohol.
It sort of limited the damned options, and back in the old days it took a good sparring session that involved Naruto half-killing Sasuke to get him to start talking. That was how they ended up embarking on the road to Scene in the first place. It meant they could create a time and place for release that didn't involve permanent damage or trips to the emergency room. If they did it right, that is, and Naruto made damned sure he did, as much as humanly possible, do everything involving Sasuke with precision correctness.
Sasuke meant the world to Naruto and had since the day Naruto laid eyes on the scrawny, quiet, smart kid on the far side of the playground back in elementary. And it was the image of the sad-eyed boy leaning against brick like he punished himself for breathing by staying apart and not having fun that allowed Naruto to show Sasuke over and over ad nauseum
that Naruto cared, loved, and cherished. With abandon and without a hint of self preservation.
"Because that's not what we're doing tonight, boy," Naruto husked over Sasuke's lips in The Voice. It always made Naruto want to roll eyes at himself when he adopted the growling tone; like at any moment Sasuke would wise up, cock his head, and burst into laughter at Naruto's idiotic game, and Naruto would have to agree and chuckle with him.
Instead, though, Naruto heard the tiniest shake in Sasuke's next exhale; saw and felt the way Sasuke tensed and relaxed at the same damned time. It never ceased to amaze Naruto; made him feel powerful and so full of tenderness that he could barely breathe.
Sasuke was a fragile broken bird, and he allowed only Naruto to calm him down, make him whole, and set him free.
"Then… what?" Sasuke asked, swallowing.
Naruto locked gazes with Sasuke, petted a hand over and into Sasuke's hair, and slowly twisted a fistful of thick silk: a quest for permission, a suggestion, an answer, all fueled by pure desire.
"Master?" Sasuke tried again, a gasp of a question that trembled between them, and just like that, Naruto knew how badly Sasuke wanted this tonight and how much Naruto needed it. It was a way to be close, not to think, to only do.
Planning fast, Naruto tipped Sasuke's chin up to bear his throat. Sasuke's hands clenched and unclenched on Naruto's body, and he breathed faster through his nose. Naruto felt drunk as his lips pressed barely-there kisses along Sasuke's jaw, down his neck, and then caught the cotton of Sasuke's shirt in his teeth. He held still, impulsivity solidifying, and then let go of the other man.
"Strip here. Then meet me in the ballroom." Naruto didn't wait for a reply. He got off the couch, walked quickly around a corner, and when he was out of Sasuke's sight, he paused with a palm on the wall. He collected himself, closed his eyes on arousal thudding in his veins that mixed with melancholy and hope. Too much emotion for one night or one man, and Naruto blithely shoved it all aside to find his way down the hall.
Shaped like a long rectangle, the grand ballroom was mostly empty of furniture save a piano, harp, two chairs, a thick fur rug, and a fireplace. A pile of boxes stood in one corner -- old returned manuscripts and novels that Jiraiya randomly stored there -- and a tiny, portable radio sat on the hearth. Jiraiya liked the stonework chimney in this room the best, and he would sometimes use the room to think, to stretch out on the rug and watch flames dance, or to pace.
Naruto dimmed the electric chandelier, crossed the room on silent feet, and tore off his tie and shirt. He threw the clothing into a pile next to one chair and smirked at the bottles next to the portable radio, evidence of the last time Naruto and Sasuke used this room. It was right after Jiraiya went into the hospital, and they'd come home for a break, and the sex was rough and--
Movement caught Naruto's attention, he shifted to look, and Sasuke stood in the doorway, one arm crossed over his body to grip the opposite elbow. Sasuke looked like an elf in the dim light, all pale, lithe, and fragile. Naruto knew Sasuke could kick his ass, though Naruto would put up a good fight along the way, but the impression of spare sinew over bone, of long, sleek lines and graceful motion didn't make Naruto think of power plays, fighting, masculine or feminine. It just made him think, Beautiful.
"Come here and lie face down on the rug, any way that’s comfortable." Naruto gave the order and resolutely turned to the fireplace. He stooped down, turned a knob, and an instant later, gas-powered flames roared to life.
"It's July," Sasuke murmured, settling himself on the rug.
"So what?" Naruto retorted. "You're shivering."
"No I'm--" Sasuke began, cut himself off, and dark eyes darted to meet Naruto's watchful gaze.
"What do we say?" Naruto prompted, purposefully filling his voice with irked sarcasm.
"I'm sorry to contradict you." Sasuke eyed Naruto, challenging and pushing at the rules. Naruto forced his face into a hard mask, and his heel met the hardwood once before Sasuke finished: "Master."
Naruto stopped his aggressive advance and grunted, externally unimpressed and internally relieved. Maybe Sasuke's game of resistance would be short tonight. One could always hope.
Grabbing a bottle of oil off the mantel, Naruto went down on all fours and crawled over to Sasuke's feet. His toes were small, even, and sort of adorably plump. It was thing number five million that Naruto loved about Sasuke and would never say. "Spread your legs," Naruto directed, setting aside the oil.
Sasuke readjusted on the rug, and Naruto grasped Sasuke's ankles when they were far enough apart. The gas hissed, Sasuke breathed, and Naruto pursed his lips while his fingers absently kneaded Achilles tendons. He waited until Sasuke shifted, getting nervous in the down time and not wanting to ask else said nerves show. Naruto smiled, bent, and kissed Sasuke's heel. When that didn't get a response, Naruto blew over the ball of Sasuke's foot and licked a line over the arch."Mmn.”
The sound was grunt and squeak and so quiet that if Naruto didn't know what he strained to hear, he would have missed it.
"Good, baby," Naruto said, voice oozing with praise. He kissed up Sasuke's leg, murmuring as he went. "No games, tonight. No pain." He licked the back of Sasuke's knee. "Just me doing what I want to you, and you accepting it without questions. Got it?"
"Yes, Master," Sasuke murmured. Naruto grimaced at the title, still in a love and hate relationship with it. Love because it marked lines for Sasuke; reminded him of what they did and what he was supposed to do. Or not do, as was often the case. But hate because Naruto really loved three things coming from Sasuke's lips: begging, moans, and his actual name.
"And Sasuke?" Naruto breathed over Sasuke's ass, kissed inward to the dividing line and tasted the top of the cleft.
"Y-yes?" Sasuke stammered, and Naruto knew he had Sasuke. There was no fight left, no pride to combat. Just Sasuke letting Naruto into the driver's seat.
"I'm not going to fuck you." The pain the words caused his own cock was echoed by Sasuke's complaining noise and long sigh.
Naruto chuckled as he sat up, grabbed the bottle, and poured a pool of it in the dip at the base of Sasuke's spine. Sasuke tensed, shivered, and then let go of a slow exhale when Naruto's hands spread oil in smooth slicks: up Sasuke's back, across shoulders, and all the way down to the swell of perfect ass.
"I am gonna touch you," Naruto explained, voice low and flowing from the place in Naruto's brain that reassured him that it wasn't stupid or silly to talk and tease. He caressed and massaged Sasuke's hips, worked his way to lower back, where Sasuke always had knots the size of continents. "Touch you… all over…"
Sasuke got a grip of the rug in both hands, and Naruto saw dark lashes flutter closed. Naruto set to work, concentrating. When he rubbed along Sasuke's spine, Naruto earned a groan; Sasuke rolled against the floor. Naruto whispered nonsensical soothing things, kissed the wake of unwinding musculature left by his hands. Soon Naruto's lips and face were as slick with oil as Sasuke's body, and the viscous liquid made his tongue thick, mouth dry.
When Naruto's thumbs pressed into the sensitive spots over rippling muscles in Sasuke's lower back, Sasuke turned his face into the rug to muffle sounds.
"Put your hands above your head, baby," Naruto softly ordered, and the sinuous slip of arms, wrists, fingers along the rug to clench together and elongate Sauske's form made Naruto choke on a groan. He ignored his cock, and fixated on the task of leaving no muscle or tendon untouched.
"Relax for me, baby," Naruto cooed in Sasuke's ear. He kissed behind it, saw Sasuke bite a lip. "Wanna feel you unwind under me."
"Master…?" Sasuke whispered.
"Right here. I'm right here."
One pass of Sasuke's body precipitated another, and Sasuke shuddered, melted, cried out, and Naruto rewarded each sound with a kiss and bit of verbal affection. By the time Naruto straddled Sasuke to work over shoulders and neck for the third time, Sasuke caught air in slow, shaking breaths. His eyes were closed, cheeks damp, and he trapped whimpers in his throat that made Naruto's heart ache and body burn.
"That's better," Naruto said, carefully neutral. He braced on the floor, stretched out over Sasuke and rested atop of the other man. His bare chest slid over Sasuke's slick back, and he gently stroked up Sasuke's arms until Naruto's fingers interlaced with Sasuke's. Naruto squeezed and brought their hands down to tuck against Sasuke's sides.
Beneath him, Sasuke shifted, made a muffled, curious sound, and pushed against Naruto, who knew Sasuke felt him hard against Sasuke's ass. Naruto shook his head, kissed Sasuke's neck in unhurried presses of lips, and Sasuke's eyes shut tighter on frustration and confusion. Naruto took a moment to get himself together and not give in. He loved sex with Sasuke, but if he took him now, the whole point of this exercise would be lost.
"Gonna pick you up, take you to our room, and get you clean, Sas." Naruto waited until Sasuke sighed, but frowned when his breathing hitched. Worry flared, but Naruto snuffed it out. This was what he wanted, what he thought Sasuke needed, and if he was wrong… well. He would fix it between them. It wouldn't be the first time, nor the last. So much of what Naruto did with Sasuke was instinct and prayers, but Naruto didn't really mind that so much. So long as he got to keep trying.
Naruto climbed off Sasuke and scooped up his boyfriend, pleased when Sasuke wrapped arms around Naruto's neck and held on. The walk back to their bedroom was a long one. Naruto couldn't make himself clean out the ground-floor master suite, yet, and Sasuke didn't push it. For that, Naruto was grateful, and he kissed Sasuke's hair until he heard Sasuke's hiccoughing breath. Naruto held him tighter, reminding himself that Sasuke feeling anything enough to show it was a good thing. Even if it killed Naruto every time Sasuke shed a tear, and he had to remake himself from whole cloth with Sasuke's help the day after breakthroughs.
The bathroom Naruto and Sasuke shared wasn't large, and the tub drain liked to clog, but it felt and smelled like home. Naruto set Sasuke down on the rug next to the shower, holding him up while Naruto turned on the water and waited for it to get warm. That always took an eternity, and Naruto occupied himself by stroking along Sasuke's back. Sasuke said nothing, and Naruto thought that tonight they both struck out against loneliness and struggled against sorrow. Pretty words, really, that meant they both felt like shit and needed each other.
"Thank God I have you," Naruto whispered, unintentionally, and Sasuke kissed Naruto's throat.
Once they were in the hot spray, Naruto grabbed a sponge and gel. "Stay still," Naruto instructed, and Sasuke stared down at the tiled floor, mute. Naruto let him keep his counsel, worked up lather, and began scrubbing oil off Sasuke's skin. Sasuke hated the feel of it when it started to dry to tack, and Naruto knew personal peace lay in keeping Sasuke at least content.
Naruto had just finished with Sasuke's legs and was standing up to rinse the sponge when Sasuke grabbed him. Startled, Naruto stared into wide set eyes full of tears. "Tell me why you're doing this," Sasuke managed. The demand or petulance of the tone was completely negated by the way his voice broke.
"Because," Naruto began, trying to work out too much at once. Sasuke needed reassurance, needed to hear the words, could only ask for this kind of thing when Sasuke got to this point, and pressure weighed heavy on Naruto's shoulders until he remembered something Jiraiya used to tell him as a boy: a new way to say something Naruto had told Sasuke nearly every day since they were seven years old.
"Because I love you more today than I did yesterday, and I will love you more tomorrow than I do today."
A stunned looked blanketed Sasuke's face, and Naruto stepped fast to catch Sasuke from crumbling to the floor. "And this is one of the ways I show I care, baby," Naruto murmured.
"Say it again," Sasuke rasped, shaking as the tears started to flow.
"I love you."
Sasuke shook harder. "Again…"
Naruto embraced Sasuke in a hard hug, held him warm beneath the rainfall of the shower, and told Sasuke as many times as he asked how Naruto felt. It was easy. It was right. And Naruto wept silent tears of gratitude for the man who helped him find the words and for the man in his arms who helped him find new reasons every day to live.
When the water turned lukewarm, Naruto shut off the faucets. "Okay?" Naruto asked.
"Yeah," Sasuke croaked.
"Look at me."
Sasuke did, eyes swollen, and he sniffed. Naruto caressed his cheek, kissed his lips, and sighed. "Bed, baby."
Dumbly, Sasuke nodded, and together they got dried off and into the adjoining room. Naruto yanked down the covers, let Sasuke go first, and Naruto switched off the lamp before sliding across the sheets to spoon Sasuke.
"Love you," Naruto said.
"…love you, too," Sasuke whispered.
"Happy birthday, baby." The hard day caught up and the night encroached, but before he went under the tide, Naruto felt fingers squeeze his; felt Sasuke relax against him and into the mattress.
"Best one… in a long time." A pause. "Naruto…"
Naruto smiled, pretended he didn't hear, and Sasuke's love rocked him to sleep./fine