There's a rat behind the wall of the basement. It's clawing through, trying to get at him, with chipped claws and chipped teeth, and he tries to be ready to grab it when it comes out because if he can push it against his handcuffs surely it will eat through them just as well as it would eat through Naruto's flesh. Wouldn't it? It would, and then he would escape. He would put the rat in his pocket so he can repay it with cheese. But the rat eats a hole in his pocket and now it's in his pant legs and chittering insults at him, and its eyes are red with evil and mocking hate. It's going to bleed him to death. Naruto tries to kick but he's all tangled in his blanket, so he rolls to crush the rat with his weight.
He lands on the floor with a thump that rattles his brain. A CD case goes crunch under his knee.
He sits up against his bed, legs stretched over the carpet. He can still hear the scratching sound on the other side of the wall. Thing is, he's heard it all his life. It's the tree in the garden.
He rubs the heels of his hands over his eyes. Fucking dream. Fucking rat. Fucking basement.
Fucking uncle Kyuubi.
He thinks about climbing back into bed. No, not yet. He thinks about turning on the light.
No. Darkness is better. Time doesn't seem to flow the same in the dark, so he can spend ten minutes moping and pretend he only blanked out for a few seconds, pretend it was only a tiny insignificant interruption and he'll go back to sleep without even having entirely woken up at all. And in the morning he won't even remember. Yeah. He can pretend that.
The rats were really the least freaky part of being handcuffed in a dilapidated room at the mercy of a creepy psycho.
Eventually, the cold creeping up his bare legs makes him crawl back up on the mattress. He tugs a blanket across his lap, reclines against the headboard. It doesn't make him feel like sleeping again.
His mom and dad would be ready to sit up with him. He's tempted. Maybe they could even make him something warm to drink in the kitchen. That's exactly why he won't go and wake them. He's been worrying them more than enough. Never again. Or he could turn on his MP3 player, try to see if he could fall asleep to the radio. Tomorrow school is going to be horrible if he can't fall back asleep.
His hand flops on the bedside table. Finds his cell phone instead.
It's so easy to hit redial.
"If you say something like 'sleep is for the weak', I'm going to kick your ass. I'm in bed, Naruto."
Naruto closes his eyes and smiles in the dark, the phone tucked against his ear. "You are? What a coincidence. So am I."
"That's a surprise," Sasuke says, caustic. "It's only -- huh, three AM. So many other places we could be."
Sasuke's voice is all sleepy-rough, still too slurred for real annoyance. Naruto thinks he kind of likes it. It makes him try to imagine the matching Sasuke-just-waking face, and that's so strange to him that he chuckles again. Those piercing, distant eyes gone unfocused, those frowns smoothed into sleepy disgruntlement. He wonders if Sasuke looks very much softer when he's just coming awake.
He wonders what Sasuke dreamed of. If he's angry or glad that Naruto woke him up. If he even remembers, or cares, because being bummed because of a dream is such a pitiful thing.
If Naruto should hang up before the question can slip out, because it says too much, and surely Sasuke doesn't want to know.
"... this better not be a phone sex call."
Naruto's first burst of laughter catches him by surprise, sudden and loud. He grabs a pillow and presses it to his face, eyes open round, trying to listen to the house. Did he wake up his parents?
"Would you be up for it?" he asks in a whisper, trying to make his voice sound suggestive, when he's still swallowing snickers.
There's a pause. Naruto wonders if Sasuke is going to hang up on him. Or say 'whatever' like he's getting on his nerves.
"Naruto. You have the vocabulary of a five year old. You have no real life experience to speak of. You can't act worth shit. You laugh at the word 'penis'. Your phone sex skills are probably in the negative." A pause. "Feel free to go ahead, I need a laugh."
Naruto notices every time when Sasuke says his name, because he never used to. He used to call him Uzumaki, when he didn't call him 'dead-last' or worse. But now it's like Naruto's first name slips out like it's the most natural thing of the world. Naruto wonders if it'll happen in class too -- if anyone would notice. What they would think of it.
Everyone calls him Naruto anyway. But not like that.
"Aw, come on, I have all the experience it needs."
There's a disdainful snort at the other end of the line. Naruto smiles.
"I have, like. Imagination. And fifty Gigs of porn."
There's a muffled groan on the other side of the phone, a rustle of sheets that makes him think Sasuke just buried his face in his pillow. He would be face down on his bed, with the worst case of bed hair in the known universe, an arm curled under the pillow...
"What are you wearing?" Naruto asks, without thinking, and then he groans.
He can feel incredulity positively dripping through the phone. "Did you just ask--"
"Shut up, shut up, I was kidding! I was just -- trying to. You know. Mental picture. You might be in plaid flannel pajamas!"
Or naked. Um. Yeah. That would be interesting too.
"I'm not in pajamas," Sasuke says wearily.
"Naked?" Naruto blurts out, because that's just the next logical suggestion, isn't it? His cheeks start burning.
"Tanktop. And if you ask about my underwear, I'm hanging up."
Naruto swallows. That was, um. Yeah. Tanktop. So his shoulders would be bare and shit what is he thinking about, he never used to really find boys hot -- everyone wonders at some point, it doesn't mean anything, right? Right. A hand on your dick will feel good regardless of who it belongs to anyway... Naruto never used to find other boys attractive, but there's always something to the way Sasuke moves, the arch of his neck, his hands -- something strangely... interesting. Elegant.
Naruto moves on his side under the blankets, curling up, the phone tucked securely between his ear and his shoulder. His stomach is tingling, nerves and interest mingled.
He's pretty sure Sasuke knows damn well it wasn't a booty call. And he has zero clue how to get him in the mood. They haven't even had real sex! Just real violent foreplay and a quick mutual handjob... But, um, now he's got the idea in his head, and... well. In one hand it's way too much, too early, and such a bad idea. In the other hand, he's a teenager.
He's also pretty sure that having quick and dirty sex up against a wall would feel less foreign and make him less nervous than the thought of being in Sasuke's bedroom as he wakes, still all soft with sleep -- to touch him then. He imagines Sasuke's eyes fluttering closed in sleepy pleasure, half-hearted grumbling as Naruto's hand slides down his spine, pushing down the sheets...
"Haha. Ahaha. Er."
"Stop thinking about it. Right now."
"... Yes sir." It's not fair, he thinks, that Sasuke can sound so totally blasé about the fact that someone is thinking about him naked. He could at least gloat a little! Naruto would.
Wait a minute. Actually...
"Are you blushing?"
There's sputtering at the other end of the line and Naruto lets out a delighted laugh. Hah!
"Why the hell would I blush? Was it supposed to be sexy? You're the clumsiest flirt I've ever -- nrgh. Fifty gigs of porn indeed."
Naruto is still laughing.
"And flannel. That was smooth, too. No, really."
"Bwahaha. So cute."
"Shut up already."
Sasuke has already completely given up denying he's blushing, though the way he lost control of his tone Naruto wouldn't believe him if he tried.
He's also not threatening to hang up, or just going and doing it.
Adding a flustered blush to his mental picture of just-woke-up Sasuke isn't helping the weightless tingles in the pit of Naruto's stomach very much.
"Hey," Naruto says quietly. Just because.
There's a short pause. Sasuke makes a little answering noise, something between 'yeah, what?' and 'yeah, I'm here'.
"You didn't have to lie. Flannel can be pretty sexy," he says, but he can't make the tone match the joke.
Sasuke grumbles something vaguely embarrassed. Naruto thinks it's funny how the raunchiest stuff would just make his bastard roll his eyes, but the second you're a little nicer -- a little tender...
A yawn surprises him. He chuckles when Sasuke yawns too.
"Damn it, you're contagious," he complains through a second yawn, which sets off Naruto again.
"Yeah. It's my sneaky technique."
"... Sneaky yawn technique?" Sasuke repeats. Naruto's sure he's rolling his eyes. But fondly. Secretly so. "You'll accomplish much with that one, I'm sure. Go back to sleep, Naruto. You're making even less sense than usual."
His eyes are closed, but it's nice like that, curled up under the blanket with Sasuke's voice in his ear. "Dun wanna," he protests, but he can hear himself speak and he doesn't even convince himself.
"Go back to sleep. When I kick your ass tomorrow I don't want you to bitch that you're not in top form so it doesn't count."
Naruto snorts. "Yeah right. I could beat you sleep deprived with one hand behind my back and balancing a bucket on my head."
"... A bucket."
"... Sounded cooler in my head."
"Yeah, I bet it did." Sasuke lets out a dry huff that's his way of pretending he's appalled, not laughing. "Go to sleep, dead last."
"Alright, alright. 'night, Sasuke."
"And don't call again in two hours."
"Or in one hour, or three hours. It can wait until class."
Naruto grins harder at the thought of talking with Sasuke in class. Well, it's more likely they'll sit a few seats apart and sneak glances at each other while the teacher drones on. Or that Naruto will throw little bits of eraser and paper planes at him while Sasuke pretends to ignore him. But they both know what's really going on, so it's almost like sitting together.
"I guess it can," he says, already formulating his first naughty text message. He'll send it during math. Better than footsie. Guarantee to have them fighting by midmorning.
Maybe he'll steal a kiss.