crazy_toffee (crazy_toffee) wrote,

Naruto fan-fanfic: 'Tangled up in Lace' 1/5 (Sasu/Naru)

Title: Tangled Up in Lace 1/5
Series: Naruto (also: Sakific)
Pairing: Sasuke/Naruto
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: Yes, for all things Sasuke – and Orochimaru.

IMPORTANT NOTES: This is a fan-fanfic :) Based on askerian’s Lace and Strawberries, the concept of Saki is sole property of Asuka, I just took the idea out for a ride ^^U If you don’t know who or what Saki is… I’ll make it simple: it’s Sasuke dressed up a la gothic lolita. Why and how this came to pass is askerian’s own genious because – normally – I hate crossdressing in fics. The lady made it believable and interesting, so before you attack this monster I suggest you read her three chapters, or at the very least the 3rd one, In the Rain, which is the one this story is mainly hinged upon.
I guess it can be read on its own though… but who’d want to? Shoo!
Asuka’s original concept can be found in the link above, along with everyone else’s contributions to the ‘write a Sakific’ society XD

Summary: Years after going over to Orochimaru, and years after that fatal mission where he first became ‘Saki’, Sasuke has returned to Konoha and finds himself confronting Naruto – and his past- once more. Two men try to come to terms with what they chose and what they really wanted.

Warnings: For the fic as a whole: angst, plot, unromantic romance, fights, cursing, sex and lots of crossdressing.

Chapter One: Deferred

Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.
--- Dorothy Thompson

Sasuke said it, in a voice that barely disguised a pout, with a blush so furious it might have been funny; he said --- he said:

"... This is just a disguise. It's not real. Your... Your girlfriend is not real."

Naruto understood. He filed away the obvious statement and took what he could, because Naruto was all for compromise. He’d learned long ago that he might never have what he wanted, so he might as well take what he was freely given.

It was ridiculous to fall in love with something that wasn’t real, but Naruto was not as foolish as he might have wanted to be right there and then; he knew it wasn’t exactly Saki he was in love with. So, it was okay for Sasuke to be there, and tell him Saki wasn’t real.

The problem was… that there were many more things about Sasuke that weren’t real as well.

* * *

A part of him began to fear they would never meet again. Another part of him hoped they didn’t, because he truly wouldn’t know what to do if they did. The more Naruto thought about it, the more he feared the time he came face to face with Sasuke again. The more he tried to imagine it, the more he realised he had no idea what he would say if that ever happened.

Come back? I missed you. Sakura loves you.

You punched a hole through my chest bastard.

I love you.

I loved you.

Neji and Chouji almost died, you know?

* * *

When they did meet again, it was probably not how either of them had imagined it would be. Naruto had secretly pictured their next meeting would lead to a gigantic fight, something to end their impasse once and for all; an epic battle under a huge dying sun.

They met during one of Naruto’s – admittedly few – undercover missions. The pub wasn’t as sleazy as most Rice Country pubs were, but it was degrading by Fire Country’s standards. Naruto strode in, viciously female and on the prowl for his drunken target, and he saw…

Black hair. So long and so flat in its fall that for a moment Naruto feared it was Orochimaru’s. The platform boots and candycane stockings hugged distressingly longer legs, swathes of silk and rich lace forced an impression of wispy loveliness, of curves that were completely unreal. The name crawled around Naruto’s tongue and got stuck there.

Sasuke stared back at him out of Saki’s body, with Saki’s clothes and all of her, casually leaning against another man’s hip. But the eyes were Sasuke’s, hot and strange and… seeing him as well, recognising him. Naruto might have laughed had they both not been undercover. There was something pathetically comical in their meeting, having their terrible agape and rivalry be caught in girl’s clothes, in silk and lip gloss and all that unspoken weight.

They were both wearing garters, and the thought might have made Naruto scream had he not been on a mission.

Naruto stared back, wanting to laugh and cry, because it was Sasuke – and Saki – and the very idea of Sasuke doing this – being her – in Orochimaru’s land, in his hands, in his power, made Naruto want to throw up. He wanted to walk over there and throttle her - him - and tell him how Neji had almost died, how Sakura had cried, how Kakashi never took on another genin team. Naruto wanted to kiss him and ask if those ridiculous red silk panties still fit, if he still used strawberry lip gloss and vanilla powders.

He wanted to kill her – him – her… Sasuke. Whatever.

Saki shivered when the stranger’s arm crept up her own, her eyes still on Naruto, her body arched in dissolute beauty. Salacious didn’t suit Saki, that wasn’t the Saki Naruto remembered either. She had his eyes though: Sasuke’s dark orbits, with an expression Naruto couldn’t even interpret, but he knew it was painful, because that much he could see. And even though it was Sasuke who stared at him – and Naruto thought they’d break into a fight right there and then – it was Saki who fled, probably ruining both their missions in the process.

Naruto turned back, returning to Konoha in record time.

Debriefing felt strange, Shikamaru’s eyes were heavy as he took note of the matter. Being taken out to eat ramen by Tsunade that night, Kakashi the next, and Shikamaru the following, was also strange. He kept remembering how Sasuke looked about to break, in Saki’s dress and boots. He couldn’t help imagining Orochimaru’s reptilian leer, with his arms around Sasuke, or Saki, or both.

He saw more of his friends that week, than he had in a few months.

It hurt to think about it too hard.

* * *

In the end, Sasuke came back on his own.

Naruto secretly liked to think that the bastard had been coming back in his mind for years now, and that actually doing it was only natural. He didn’t really know for sure, of course, but he liked to think…

… it was a gruesome battle, all in all. Naruto remembered mostly the pain, but there were other things that stayed in his mind during his long recovery. Itachi’s jutsu, the fire in his own belly, Sasuke’s screams of rage – who knew he could look like that?

When he finally woke up back in the Konoha hospital, Lee told Naruto that Sasuke might have killed Itachi, he’d had a clean shot, but he’d chosen to save Naruto instead.

What might have been his best change to tear his older brother in half was wasted to pry Naruto’s body from the seals and the wards, away from Itachi. Naruto remembered that. He remembered Sasuke’s roar of outrage and anguish as it was Kakashi – absurdly fitting – that ripped a hole through Uchiha Itachi and put an end to the matter at last.

Naruto had been barely conscious, but he also remembered Sasuke’s trembling grip, the harsh breathing, the vulnerable wetness in his eyes that made him think of Saki, and almost made him call her – him? - that, before everything went black.

* * *

They put Sasuke under house arrest at first, only because his return was willing. The Hokage argued with the Council and they postponed the execution only because… well, because he saved Naruto, though the official reason was worded more obscurely and formally.

In the days after Naruto left the hospital, he found himself flooded with visitors: in his house, on the training grounds, by the ramen stand. Even Sakura’s parents asked him over to dinner twice, and Kiba’s mom asked him to help babysit a litter of puppies, nin-dogs to be. Naruto knew what they were trying to do, and it made the knot in his chest get tighter still, an unresolved hurt he could not deal with.

Of course they knew.

They would have found out eventually, they had simply been deemed too young to know the full extent of it at the time. But Sakura trained as a medical-nin with access to all medical records, and Shikamaru worked as ANBU-strategist, with full clearance to all files.

Thirteen-year-old Sasuke had punched a hole the size of his fist through thirteen-year-old Naruto’s chest.

Chouji had almost died, Neji had been turned into a pincushion, Akamaru almost lost a leg and Kiba couldn’t breathe right for months… they had all almost died trying to get Sasuke back. They had risked everything to get Naruto to where Sasuke was…

… and Sasuke had almost killed Naruto himself.

They found this out when they were around sixteen, and in the years since then it was never discussed around Naruto, or Kakashi… or Sakura. It wasn’t intentional – that they should all eventually find out when Naruto never spoke of it – but it happened. Naruto knew they knew, even though he had hoped they might never find out.

In the light of that knowledge, by some unspoken – or was it organised, in fact? – agreement, Naruto was never left alone, never given a second to consider going down that street and that other street, into that apartment building. It was strange to feel so loved all at once, seeing his friends tire themselves out to keep him company even though he mostly wished to be left alone. It was heart-warming to see them try and fill up his time and his heart, so that he wouldn’t want to meet with Sasuke.

It was terrible to realise that… well, he loved them all, but it still wasn’t enough.

He slunk out of a sleepover party, left a snoring kage-bunshin, and crept over the building tops like a fox over stepping-stones. The window was open so he slipped in quietly and stared around the place in cold dread. A hurricane seemed to have gone through Sasuke’s apartment, tearing everything to pieces and littering the floor with the shreds of…


The voice was cold, but Naruto remembered how it had been close to tears when Itachi was taken down. Was it because Naruto was dying, or because it wasn’t by his hand that Itachi was…?

“Bastard, long time no see.” It occurred to Naruto that Sasuke might be angry at him for taking so long to come. Naruto took another step and accidentally kicked something that rolled over the floor with a glassy dissonance. Moonlight filtered into the darkened room, it shone off the white of Sasuke’s eyes and struck the flask of purple nail polish on the floor. It was old, from the time before Sasuke left.

Sasuke also stared down and Naruto could see the way his jaw tightened. He wondered how Sasuke had managed to look feminine in that sleazy Rice Country pub now that he no longer was an androgynous boy.

Though he was a fairly androgynous man, Naruto conceded to himself.

There was a twisted, rusting shuriken lying beside a silk garter on the floor. It was, to Naruto’s tired eyes, too true a reflection of their owner.

* * *

“You never gave up, did you?” Sasuke’s even tones were spoken facing a wall, leaving his back distressingly exposed to Naruto. It felt like a challenge: one he did not want to take.


“Never.” It wasn’t really a question.


“That’s idiotic… You’re an idiot, dead-last. You’ve always been an idiot.” Naruto thought there was a hidden hitch in each repetition of the word idiot. It might have been only wishful thinking.

“… maybe I am. So?”

Why?” He knew what it was that Sasuke asked about, but he didn’t know how to answer without making things worse.

“I couldn’t give up on you, bastard. That’s all.”

“I tried to kill you.”

Naruto’s eyes pierced the back of Sasuke’s head. The nape of his neck reminded Naruto of Saki, of small stolen kisses and warm pliancy. It was Sasuke’s voice, however, and Sasuke himself that moved to sit on the bed with his back still turned to Naruto, a sign of trust or pure suicidal intent. Naruto swallowed the thickness in his throat and shrugged, even though Sasuke couldn’t see it.

“You were the closest thing to a brother I’d ever had.”

“Brother’s don’t screw each other in drag, idiot.”

Naruto smiled thinly, looking away. The bottle of nail polish still lay there, glinting in the moonlight. “You were the first friend I ever had, bastard. Isn’t that enough?”

“No, that’s even stupider, even by your standards. Why did you keep it up after all these years? Sound had great spies, you know? I heard all about you and your comings and goings. Why keep the search up when you had new friends to pester? It looks like everyone in our class plain fucking adores you now, or they certainly act like it.” There was a raspy edge of jealousy there that startled Naruto even more than the pain. He hadn’t thought Sasuke would be jealous of… of what? Of Naruto? Of them?

“We’ve been through a lot together.”

“Why did you keep pining for me then? None of them would dress in drag and let you fuck them?”

Naruto wished he hadn’t come after all.

“Lots of things happened, it took me some time… but I began to understand many things I didn’t get before. Things about you, bastard. Mostly.” Sasuke half-turned, the chill in his obsidian gaze made Naruto think of Orochimaru. Of Saki and Orochimaru. Of Sasuke and Orochimaru, and silk sheets, in a place made loud by the silence. “No one ever talked about you, you know? It reminded me of how no one talked about your family, even though everyone knew what had happened. This town is good at gossiping, but even more so when it comes to keeping quiet. Though I think no one talked about your family because… well, no one knew how to deal with it, or how to help you.”

Sasuke snorted derisively, but he didn’t stop looking at Naruto. There was a raw quality to his gaze that made Naruto’s skin crawl and rooted him to the spot. Strangely, he couldn’t stop talking now that he’d started.

“I got paired up with all the teams, you know? I think the Hokage was trying to get me to not think about you, trying to give me a reason to move onwards, to get over you. I barely saw Kakashi sensei after you left… to this day we don’t talk much. He always liked you best.”


“But even though everyone was there, and even after I came back from training with that frog-pervert and everyone was even more there…” Because they’d found out the truth of what happened in the Valley of Ends, Naruto knew. “… it wasn’t enough. I love everyone here, so much it’s fucking idiotic – I’ll give you that much – but everyone has their own team and their own lives built up already. No matter how hard they tried… I couldn’t be a part of it.”

“Fuck this,” Sasuke ground out, he got up and then lapsed into an almost inhuman stillness. “Just go away, will you?”

“No, bastard. Fuck this, fuck you. I get you, okay? I finally understood it: You were the first person I trusted, the first person I really cared about, you were my family, you and team seven. So I get it now, I really get you.” Naruto took a deep, steadying breath. “All I ever wanted was for you to acknowledge me, to see me as part of your life, as… fuck, worthy. And how stupid is that? No, let me finish bastard!” Sasuke froze where he had been about to move. “… I understand why you had to find Itachi. I understand why you had to try and kill him. After you left, I couldn’t trust anyone in the same way, I couldn’t care about anyone as much… because I thought that if you –- my best friend, my brother, fuck it all, my lover, could try to kill me, then there was no one worth putting my trust in anymore.”

Sasuke’s shoulders shook, his back was turned to Naruto once more.

“It finally got it. I could never care about anyone the same way I cared about you. And you could never care about us, not like you cared about Itachi. You hated him because you loved him… and it would never be okay after what he did. It will never be okay, again.”

Sasuke turned around slowly. Naruto stared deep into his eyes. He’d though Sasuke was incapable of that kind of expression, it didn’t seem real on his face.


I shouldn’t hurt so much, Naruto thought. Not after all that had happened. It made him wonder what Sasuke might have done if Itachi had come back for him and apologised. If Itachi had stayed and tried to be a brother again.

Still, Sasuke had chosen to save him. Sasuke had chosen Naruto over his vengeance.

“That’s all I wanted to say, bastard. Have a nice night.”

It was Sasuke’s eyes, but Saki’s vulnerability.

This time, Naruto fled.

* * *

Sasuke was allowed to leave his apartment. He was given missions, but always within Konoha’s premises, and never alone. His rank as jounin of Sound village was acknowledged, he was taken in as a jounin of Konoha. He was allowed to go anywhere he wished, but one step out of the village grounds would mean death.

Naruto heard all of this and realised that Tsunade really must love him, to make all these allowances for a missing nin on his behalf.

But tacit permission was not acceptance. Konoha’s once-golden-boy was openly stared at now, either in fear or disgust. Their former classmates avoided him, though Naruto knew some of them at least half-understood what drove Sasuke and why he did what he did. But they couldn’t forgive the scar on Naruto’s chest, which they had all seen at one point or another by that time.

In return, Sasuke rarely frequented the ninja hangouts, or any hangout whatsoever. Naruto knew what it felt like to be hated by everyone, to be stared at from every shadow, to hear the whispers at one’s back; he knew that Sasuke wasn’t impervious, not as much as he pretended to be. He knew why Sasuke rarely went out.

And then…

* * *

‘Ninja are a bit funny in the head’, that was what non-ninja always said. If the Copy-nin liked to carry porn in his kunai satchel, and Maito Gai still hollered about youth, and Ibiki liked to make bonfires in his garden… well, ninja were a bit funny in the head. That was that.

Naruto walked into the tea house because Sakura wanted him to buy some dango for her and her mother; Naruto and Kakashi had been asked over to have tea in yet another attempt to keep Naruto occupied. That was all. He hadn’t known what – who – he’d find. He didn’t even know who it was he’d found.

The rim of the tea-cup was smeared with the oily shine of lip gloss. The candycane stockings that peeked above tall boots and under a multi-layered lace skirt were shockingly familiar, as were the bell-shaped cuffs and the velvet ribbon that hugged a pale neck. Black eyes met his across the room, surprised. Long gloved fingers tightened their demure grip on the tea-cup. Naruto stared, mouth open and moving like a fish.

Of course he’d heard about this. Even Konohamaru knew about it, as he’d told Moegi that ‘Uchiha Sasuke crossdresses and goes to have tea in the civilian areas, how fucked up is that?’. The older ninja didn’t view it was quite so deviant. Naruto was rather certain that their disapproval came from it being Sasuke, rather than the actual crossdressing.

Kakashi came in behind him and stopped short as well, though he recovered faster. “Saki-chan, long time no see!” Saki blushed and nodded, looking away. Naruto saw the gestures, saw her wan smile… saw the pleading weakness in her eyes, staring – beseechingly – at him. Because Saki could be what Sasuke couldn’t be, and she could do what Sasuke needed and couldn’t.

Kakashi sat down to have tea with her.

Naruto turned away and paid for the dango, all the while staring at them. Saki stared back at him, biting her lip. Naruto wondered if perhaps Saki hadn’t been frequenting this area for a while, trying to run into him of all people. Kakashi gave Naruto a look and went back to sipping tea in the cup. His eyes smiled at Saki and… it was something, not forgiveness, but something at least. He always did like Sasuke best.

“I’ll tell Sakura you can’t have tea with us, Kakashi-sensei.” It was hard to talk. He didn’t think he could talk to Saki, not like this.

“Tell Mrs. Haruno that I’m really sorry, but something came up.”

Saki’s lips parted and Naruto was afraid that she’d cry, because she certainly looked as if she would. It was too hard to look at, so he turned away, and left.

* * *

There wasn’t a single ninja that didn’t know who Saki was, but it wasn’t discussed openly. For Sasuke, it was a reprieve. He took to dressing as Saki more often than not, because the civilians in Konoha loved the shy beauty of that girl, and their ignorance was his bliss.

Naruto took to avoiding the civilian areas, and shivered at the sound of silk moving, or the click of booted heels. More than ever he began to remember the oddest things: touching Sasuke’s body through layers and layers of – lies and – silk, Saki’s soft panting breaths, her laughter. Sasuke’s eyes and Saki’s weakness, bundled up under the rain that one time. He remembered holding Saki and calling her ‘baby’ and petting her hair, then nibbling her thighs. He remembered the odd sensation of lace between his legs, of velvet gloves stroking him into oblivion. He remembered the glow of the moonlight on a bottle of nail polish, lying on the floor.

He remembered Sasuke’s sobbing breaths, holding Naruto so tightly it hurt even after Itachi had stopped breathing.

He remembered hoping for a day Saki could be strong enough to be Sasuke, so that Sasuke could be weak with him, at least.

He remembered a time when Sasuke was everything.

* * *

The apartment was tidier now. Completely tidy, in fact. It was a Sasuke-like place, clean and clinical to a fault. Naruto strode in and dropped his backpack under the windowsill. He didn’t bother to hide his presence or his footsteps. Sasuke came in from the kitchen and something flickered in his eyes before he frowned and glared.

“Dead-last, what are you doing here?”

Saki’s eyes had pleaded to him, with uncanny desperation, to reach out. Sasuke’s eyes were cold and flat like glass, bearing the brunt of Naruto’s rejection, or his own inner demons, whatever they were.

Naruto looked at him, long and hard. “Let’s go eat ramen.”

“Fuck off.”

“My treat.”

Fuck off.”

Naruto shrugged. “Whatever, Uchiha. Have it your way. I’ll be at Ichiraku’s around seven.”

Naruto turned to leave as fast as he could, because he could see the way Sasuke’s eyes glimmered, and he really needed to get cleaned up after his mission. Let Sasuke work that one out on his own.

Besides, Sasuke’s hands were shaking so hard it was difficult to not look at them, and Sasuke would have hated that.

* * *

Saki was already there when Naruto arrived, half an hour early.

Her lips glistened under the electric lights of the small stand, her long lashes had been curled slightly, adding to the coy shades cast on her face by the pale lilac eye shadow. She wore dark stockings under her boots and a dark purple dress with creamy-white, frilled edges and belled cuffs. Her hair had been brushed into submission, a solitary pearl hair-clip adorned the dark head; she had tied a lace ribbon to the clip and the edges of it touched her pale, powdered cheek.

Naruto swallowed, realising he hadn’t really thought he’d – she’d – come and he had no idea what to say. Everything he might have said seemed to get stuck in his throat, uselessly. He took a quick steadying breath and moved aside the upper drapes to step into the stand.

“Saki, babe… it’s been a while.” His tone came out strangely conciliatory and Saki nodded minutely, eyes fixed on the table in front of her with uncanny intensity. Naruto clenched his fingers and then forced himself to let go, lifting the hand to lay it against her warm back. “You look beautiful tonight, honey. Pretty Saki-chan, you haven’t changed one bit.”

He thought he saw her chin quiver but it might have been a trick of the light. “Naruto-kun,” she whispered. “You look taller.”

Naruto preened helplessly and sat down beside her. “Old man, two servings of pork-ramen for us!”

The elderly man gaped at the girl and then at Naruto, and gave him a bemused wink. “Coming right up! Oi, kid. How come you hadn’t told us you were dating Saki?”

Saki? Ah… naturally, she was pretty enough to be well-known by now. “She and I go waaaaay back, don’t we baby?”

Saki nodded, ever as demure, blushing strangely.

“Pretty Saki-chan…” Naruto leaned in to nuzzle her hair, feeling oddly as if his body were moving on its own. Saki leaned against the caress and shivered, Naruto heard her breath hitch strangely.

Naruto closed his eyes and breathed for a moment, taking in the flowery hint of shampoo and beneath… the scent of Sasuke’s hair, which he could recognise anywhere. If only he knew what to do, if only…

“Naruto! I’ve been looking for you all over! I was hoping we could eat ramen so finding you here is quite auspicious and I---“ Iruka’s happy chatter was cut off the moment he stepped into the light and saw who it was that Naruto nuzzled. Normal people might be fooled, but no ninja could be so blind so as to miss who it was.

Naruto spoke up before Iruka could utter a word. “Iruka-sensei! I wasn’t expecting you today! “ He put his arm around Saki. Her shoulders were so tense Naruto thought they’d come unhinged if she clamped up any further. “I was just going to treat Saki-chan to a meal. Saki-chan, I’m sure you know Iruka-sensei…?”

“Y-yes,” she answered in a faltering voice. Naruto thought there was an edge of Sasuke in that voice as well. He looked up at Iruka and paled at the other man’s expression. There was a storm of emotions rolling over his face as he stared at Saki, then at Naruto, and then at Naruto’s arm on Saki’s back. Iruka’s face twisted into a scowl that was almost brutal and Naruto didn’t know if what angered him was seeing Sasuke like that, or the fact that he remembered correcting Sasuke’s tests at the Academy or… “It’s… I… it’s a pleasure to meet you again, Iruka-sensei.”

Iruka’s teeth audibly clicked shut. The old man behind the counter stared at the three of them with something akin to fear. “Saki?” Iruka ground out at last.

“Yes.” Naruto responded firmly, even though he could feel Saki’s muscles harden impossibly under his hand, masculine shoulder blades pushed at the silk. He could see she was biting her lip so hard it would soon bleed, and her clasped fingers were digging into each other.

“Naruto,” Iruka’s eyes were cold… “Shouldn’t Saki be going home about now?”

“No, Iruka-sensei. I asked her out.”

Saki took a sharp breath under his hand and Iruka closed his eyes. His shoulders drooped visibly and he shrugged after a moment. “Ah… well, I’ll leave you to it, then.” Iruka’s disappointed expression hurt Naruto inexplicably. He had the distinct impression that he had not heard the last of this, as Iruka turned around and stiffly retreated.

“Well, that was a bit uncomfy, wasn’t it babe? Maybe we should get that ramen to go…?”

Saki nodded curtly, avoiding his eyes.

“Er…?” He gave the old man a helpless smile and saw him smile back and place their order in two plastic bowls with lids.

Naruto grabbed the bags with their meal in one hand and Saki’s hand in the other, guiding her towards his apartment. She followed him quietly, face hidden beneath the layers of her long dark hair. Naruto watched the heavy fall of those dark strands, saw the glimpse of a pale throat as they moved. “It’s okay Saki-chan, I live right around the corner.”

She nodded and pressed against him.

* * *

They ate in silence. The clink of chopsticks against the bowls became so loud in Naruto’s mind he thought he’d scream. Saki kept her face hidden behind her hair, head bowed so low the hairclip began to slip and the ribbon almost touched her ramen.

Both of their hands shook as they ate.

Once they were done, Naruto took their plates to the kitchen and left them in a sink. It was almost a relief to get away from Saki’s company and not be looking at her hunched shoulders and bowed head. Her vulnerability made him wonder how much of it was real, how much of it was a direct reflection of how Sasuke felt. He took a few calming breaths and bit his lip as he figured out what he could possibly do.

There was so much he and Sasuke had to talk about, but Sasuke had never wanted to admit Saki existed. It went both ways.

( It's not real. Your... Your girlfriend is not real)

All the things Naruto wanted to say, he had wanted to say them to Sasuke.

“Naruto-kun…?” The soft voice drew him out of the kitchen and back into the living-room-bedroom amalgam that was his flat. Naruto gave her a long stare, frustrated and unable to deal with it. Saki’s eyes burned; Sasuke’s had been about to break when Naruto asked him out.

Eighteen-year-old Saki was a beautiful woman, that much could not be ignored. Naruto smiled widely and shrugged. “I don’t have anything nice to offer you for dessert, baby. I’m sorry.”

Saki smiled prettily, then frowned, then looked down. “I don’t mind, Naruto…-kun. I’m just happy to be here,” the years had made her voice raspier, less girly and more of a throaty whisper.

Naruto remembered, right there and then, just how much of Saki was Sasuke’s own desires and fears, given shape. “You’ve always been welcome here, baby. You know I---“ but he couldn’t say he loved her – him – either, it hurt to breathe as he thought about it, saying it was impossible. His chest ached; Naruto distinctly remembered what it had felt like to have Sasuke’s arm burst out of his back.

Sasuke’s arm, not a stray enemy’s arm. Sasuke’s.

She got up, heels clicking, skirts whispering of silk and velvet as she moved towards him and put her arms around his neck. Her body was warm and her neck moist with perspiration. Naruto buried his face there and hugged her waist, squeezing so hard it must have hurt her. She hugged him back, pressing against the length of his body with little shyness. Naruto shivered when a hot mouth closed over his neck, nipping upwards. Wet lips whispered shivery nonsense into his ear, a hot little tongue traced over it, followed by soft kisses. It was a mixture of girlish restraint and heated abandon and Naruto couldn’t help but wonder, feverishly, if this new facet – this delicious nibbling of his ear – was something Orochimaru liked to have done.

That hurt.

“Saki-chan, baby… stop, I don’t—“ That first night, ages back, Naruto knew he had forced himself on Saki – on Sasuke. There had been nothing Sasuke could do without giving their location away, so he’d had to put up with it. But he’d come back, again and again and again. Naruto had at last believed his initial instinct had been right: Sasuke had refused to accept it, but he’d wanted what Naruto did somewhere deep inside. Somehow. But now… “Saki, honey, please stop. I mean it, don’t---“

She kissed him, the softest, most tender kiss he could have ever imagined, ghosting over his lips. “Naruto-kun,” she whispered. “Naruto…I…”

He didn’t know why, but he was suddenly afraid of what she might say, of what he might say, because he didn’t know who it was he held in his arms. He smothered her words in a hungry kiss, digging his fingers into the muscles of her back, stroking avidly through the silk of her dress. She let out a small muffled sound, tensing as she was brutally silenced and then, abruptly, she sighed against him, melting into his arms in a way he had never been able to fully banish from his memory. But her concession felt unnatural, there was an almost-methodical pliancy to her embrace.

“Unnh, Saki-chan…” he groaned, clawing at her back as his mouth left a wet trail down her heated neck. He could taste Sasuke’s skin beneath Saki’s perfume and powders, his tongue rasped over the collar of the dress and he bit her shoulder gently, pushing his hips against hers with a moan. She shivered and let him push her into a wall where he found purchase enough to rub his pelvis against her own, making her skirts ride up her legs.

Her fingers caressed the back of his neck, moved up into his hair and she let her head fall back, baring her neck. Orochimaru’s bitemarks had left scars on that ivory skin.

Naruto thought, irrationally, that he could kill Sasuke now and no one would blame him for it.

The very thought made him want to cry, or be very, very sick for a while.

“Baby…” he whispered weakly. “You’re so goddamn pretty.” He stroked her thighs – beneath the stockings, hard, muscled and masculine – found the garters and almost smiled. Two sweaty hands slipped inside his pants and Naruto arched with a gasp, fisting his hands in her skirts. She stroked just the way he needed it, from memory or instinct, who knew? It was too perfect for words and Naruto stifled a groan into her neck when she pushed his pants and underwear down his thighs and went back to massaging just like that.

His hips pushed forward until he trapped her hands between both their pelvises. Naruto groaned as he felt the silk creases of her skirts slip over his thighs and belly. He twisted his fingers in the layered skirt, pushing it upwards and out of the way. A knee touched his thigh at a strange angle and parted Naruto’s legs slightly so that, when he leaned in, his groin was pressed against Saki’s thigh and the silky stockings hissed against his sac. Naruto muffled a groan against the corded muscles of her neck and rocked his hips against that leg, into those disturbingly skilled fingers.

“Sa---s---“ He forgot what he was supposed to say when Saki’s fingers – Sasuke’s fingers, really – took on a playful intent and teased the underside of his erection, tracing a pattern over his skin to end below the head, caressing the swollen flesh with little restraint. Naruto closed his eyes as dark strands of hair brushed his forehead. The hot tip of a tongue was attacking his ear again, turning licks into kisses and whispering softly. It was mostly nonsense, if only to tease the wetness on his skin. Naruto panted, fists bunching up the fabric of the dress and twisting it rabidly. Sweat dripped down his back and he licked a salty drop off his upper lip.

Once, long ago, Saki had made him lie back on the couch and promise to be still. That one time, ages back – the only time Naruto could remember that Saki had not been demure – she had spent half of the afternoon memorising his body with her gloves on, touching him until Naruto thought he would die, from being tickled or teased, both were bad enough. Then she’d taken her time with him, unhurriedly stroking his erection into further hardness. Naruto didn’t remember much, he’d been in a daze from the start, but he remembered the way orgasm had hit him, making him cry out as if he’d been wounded. He remembered the black eyes that had stared deep into his own as he came. At that time, Naruto thought, foolishly, that Sasuke had been trying to show that he loved him.

This was a bit like then, Naruto thought. Saki being less herself and more him, touching Naruto, reaching out to him as though through a great distance. Except that there was no fumbling, gentle memorisation of his body, no curiosity over the changes he might have undergone. Saki’s touch was expert, the hot tongue in Naruto’s ear was teasing him with a delicacy honed to perfection, and the gloved fingers that were making his thighs tense in torment were not – under any stretch of the imagination – lacking finesse. Naruto may have not had all the experience he might have wanted, but he could tell the difference between inspiration and practice.

A wet kiss was placed against his neck and Naruto felt Sasuke’s hardness brush against his hip, a heavy warmth that distended his thin panties. Sasuke’s breath hitched and he moved like that again, then again… and Naruto bit down on her neck and pulled her towards himself with a hand on her back. She had to let go of him for balance and Naruto spun them, so that it was his back against the wall and Saki’s – Sasuke’s? – groin was pressing into his hip, pushing him against the cold plaster.

“Naruto…” She hissed, and Naruto smiled, still mouthing her sweaty neck. He placed a hand on her hip and another on the small of her back and – imitating her, perhaps – pushed his knee between hers. She put her hands on the wall on either side of his chest, braced against him and Naruto smiled. He used his position to force her hips into rocking motion he could control, pushing against her back so that Sasuke’s arousal was ground against Naruto’s hips, over and over again, with Saki’s hitching breaths right by his cheek. He watched, dazedly, as a droplet of sweat fell from her forehead, pasting a few hairs to her powdered cheekbones.

This felt better, this was not practiced. It was not something Sasuke might have learned under Orochimaru, under Oro--- but he didn’t want to think about that, because it made him sick to his heart and Sasuke’s – Saki’s? – ragged breaths were taking on a desperate quality, almost pained, and Naruto’s hands weren’t really forcing her to move any longer. It was easy to let go of her hip and slip a hand into her panties, as easy as it was to scratch the small of her back and feel her shudder, breath catching. Naruto remembered what she liked; what Sasuke liked.

With his hands on her back and between her legs, the layered skirts got rumpled around Naruto’s arms and were caught between both their thighs. Saki’s legs shook as Naruto stroked her, fisting Sasuke’s hardness with a decisive intensity that was making her arch her back and hiss as she rocked herself against his caresses. It felt good to pleasure her, it felt too good to know it was Sasuke’s hands that were scrabbling for purchase against his sides. Naruto turned his head and kissed a damp forehead, running his lips over dark, sweat-matted strands. He wondered if they could stay that way, kept safe by the daze of excitement and longing. Reality seemed distant with Sasuke against him again, with Saki, as it had been when they were thirteen, before… Naruto wished it could be done, he wished, fervently, for a way to stop time and remain there, with Sasuke leaning against him, with his coal-black eyes closed and his face drawn into a murderous scowl as he came closer to release. The scowl turned fiercer and Sasuke’s lips parted, chest heaving.

Almost. Almost.

“Nnghn---!” There was no coherency to the sound that was ripped from Sasuke’s throat, and no semblance of femininity either. It was a raw groan, something primal and strange. Naruto opened his eyes wide to take in that face, surprised by the way Sasuke surged against him and pressed against his chest. It was purely reflex that Naruto’s arm reacted and caught Sasuke by the waist to hold him up as orgasm ripped him to shreds right there before Naruto’s eyes, and the shaking of his legs was nothing, nothing to the way Sasuke’s hands were clawing at Naruto’s chest. It couldn’t even be compared to the way his breath sounded, longer, more drawn out sighs that were cut off by the last few sharp thrusts of silk-clad hips. Naruto could feel something wet dribble down his leg and it made him smile; he nibbled on Sasuke’s ear and placed a wet kiss below it, tasting the salt of his sweat.

They stayed unmoving for a few moments, Sasuke’s breath’s slowing gradually and Naruto trying his best not to sound as aroused as he felt. A deeper part of him wanted to remain in that awkward embrace against the wall. By the gods he ached, but it was pure bliss to hold Sasuke in his arms and think that maybe, maybe… this was really Sasuke more than Saki and Sasuke would stay. It would almost be worth putting his faith in. It would almost be worth believing and---

His belly did a strange flip-flop when Sasuke pushed against the arms that held him and slid to his knees. For a moment Naruto didn’t know what to make of it. For a moment he feared Sasuke was ill, or having a breakdown, or--- but nothing was wrong with him; that much became clear when gloved fingers touched the semen on Naruto’s belly and a tongue – the same one that had made him hiss in pleasure as it touched his ear - curled around his member with impossible accuracy, hitting all the right spots as it moved downwards and wet heat closed over him. Naruto’s head snapped back painfully, his neck feeling as if it would break from sheer tension. He clenched his fists against the wall and banged it, making the old plaster crack. He watched Sasuke’s dark head move over his groin, fingers brushing his pubic hair and moving lower to massage his testicles.

Who taught you how to do this? The question, unbidden, corroded Naruto’s defences. It was that damnable skill again, that precision that made his nerves simmer and turned his heart to lead.

He reached down with trembling fingers, touching the dark hair and loosening the hairclip in the process. “S-stop… Saki, babe….” His plea was ignored and Naruto shook his head, disbelieving. He didn’t want this, not like this. He wanted Sasuke, he wanted Saki… but not like this. This wasn’t either of them. This wasn’t…couldn’t be….

… or perhaps it was. Because the Sasuke that Naruto had loved, the Sasuke that had betrayed them all was not this person anymore. Time had wrapped them around its fingers and their lives had gone on while they were separated. Naruto had searched and searched, and Sasuke had learned how to make a man cry out with his tongue only, and spied on Naruto from afar. Sasuke had become Orochimaru’s, while Naruto had nursed a wound that only got bigger and deeper.

And though it helped him understand Sasuke and his reasons for killing Itachi, it made him wonder if Sasuke realised how deeply he had hurt Naruto.

It made him realise that Sasuke had probably never cared about Naruto with the depth of love he had held for Itachi … and never would.

“---sto---- stop!” He pulled Sasuke’s hair and felt hands swat him away.

“Let me do this, Naruto-kun,” a hiss and a breath, Saki’s words in a Saki-like voice and Naruto felt his insides crumble because a part of him had thought that, skill and all, it was Sasuke he’d been with and suddenly he wasn’t sure. Somewhere, somehow, he’d slipped, but Sasuke had not. And, gods, it felt too good, it was nothing he could have imagined. It hurt, it was too intense and it hurt and his spine felt as if it were melting.

“Damnit… don’t… Sasuke….”

It was as if a switch had been flicked. Where there had been a mind-numbing pleasure there was suddenly nothing and, upon looking down, Naruto found himself staring into Sasuke’s – no… Saki’s – angry black eyes. It was both Sasuke and Saki in that anger, and in the pallor of that skin, furious at Naruto for making it real. For making it Sasuke who knelt before him, mouthing his rival’s cock like a trained prostitute. Or at least that was what her eyes said, though Naruto would have made of him - of her – a lover, and never anything less.

Her chest heaved, shoulders shaking, and she stumbled to her feet, livid with anger. “Get out of here,” Saki’s voice shook. It was his voice.

Naruto shivered, unable to pretend he wasn’t still aroused and incapable of truly comprehending how things had turned around on them. “Sas--- Saki, please, I’m sorry, I---“

“I said, get the fuck out of here!”

“Saki, baby,” and why was he reduced to pleading to this person? Should it be the other way around? “… please…”

Get out!” There were tears in her voice, even when Naruto could hear the steel in his. “Do yourself a favour and go wank somewhere.”

That hurt, it was a childish retort, but it still hurt.

Naruto could not help laughing roughly. “This is my apartment you’re in, dickwad, you can’t kick me out.”

Black eyes fixed on his and Naruto saw – or thought he saw - agony there, unlike anything he could define. Then it was gone.

And Sasuke was gone.

And Naruto was left alone, with his pants around his ankles.

It took him a few moments to summon the energy to pull them back up and by then, he didn’t even have the energy to cry, much less the will.

Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

The good news is: I have all 5 parts of this fic already written out (save for the epilogue) XD I'm just making sure they're extra perfect before posting. The next part should come out within the next 4 or 5 days, maybe less. Much love and gratitude to Asuka for letting me play with Saki and for giving me permission to post this fic on the comms. :D

And yes, comments are greatly appreciated.

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