Warnings: mentions of non-consensual sex and assault.

I know it feels like it could be part of a wider fic, but it isn't going to be written. This is a slice of life, that I wrote because I couldn't get the scene out of my head. As for the unresolved plot threads, it's more about finding the determination to resolve them than actually resolving them. I'm not interested in coming up with potential fallout.

Locker Room Therapy

Naruto doesn't know what the hell is going on with Uchiha Sasuke.

Strike that : he doesn't know what's going on between him and Uchiha Sasuke. As for Sasuke himself, everyone knows what's up. It was a bit hard to avoid the storm of shocked gossip his "I wouldn't date you even if you sprouted a ten-inch dick" comeback had on the school.

Yeah, so it turns out the little darling of the school is a fag. Naruto was surprised it was so surprising, actually. Guy's always been kinda prissy.

He's a little more surprised by the fact that they keep swapping spit. Especially since he hates the guy, and hated him a long time before he heard what Mister Uchiha Sasuke jerks off to.

It's just, one moment they're shoving each other into the walls hard enough to bruise for days, and the next moment they're lip-locked. Or one moment Naruto's smoking, and Sasuke's sneering at him, with his nice prefect armband in clear view, and the next moment the cigarette is under Sasuke's heel and Sasuke's tongue replacing it. And then the asshole sneers and bitches about the taste.

It always ends in a punch, or a violent shove -- it's more like another aspect of the permanent violence that crackles between them, more of a transition than anything truly separate, truly different. Sasuke always kisses him like it's another attack; for all Naruto knows, maybe it is.

Right now, Naruto would welcome any kind of kiss. Even his. Sure, he'd like Sakura's better, or maybe Ino's or Hinata's; a tender "there, it's going to be okay, I care for you." It's never gonna happen in a million year, though, so he'd settle for Sasuke's "I hate you, here is my tongue down your throat." It would be a nice distraction.

It's been a rotten week, and it's barely Thursday. Naruto refused to stay at the hospital, but maybe he should have; then the gossip would have had time to die down a bit. The lacerations on his ribs have mostly healed over, but he has bruises all over and his wrist is still bandaged up; the PE teacher didn't want him to do anything more strenuous than some jogging around the field. The rest of his classes have been similar losses -- don't overdo it, you poor kid. He might as well have stayed home. It's not like he does a great job of getting an education the rest of the time. He could see his little posse -- Shika, Chouji, Kiba -- just fine outside of school. And on the dating front, that homo bastard Sasuke is the extent of the action he's seen all year, which is all kinds of pitiful. The actual pity from most girls, though -- that's worse. Naruto wanted to come back anyway -- just wanted things to return to normal, you know?

But like things can be normal when everyone knows that this time he's got the best excuse ever to skip school -- he tried, he promises, he just got kind of kidnapped.

Like things can be normal when it's in the newspapers that his father's twin brother is a serial killer. Oh, and a rapist.

Naruto closes his eyes and presses the back of his head against the cold tiles of the shower room. To his left, the locker room is empty; his classmates have gone. Kiba tried to stay with him, offer some support as Naruto waited for the showers to be a little less crowded -- but when Naruto undressed there were finger-shaped bruises on his arms and hips, and then Kiba remembered he had to be elsewhere.

Naruto will tell him later that he misunderstood. That the article is misleading and the gossip even more so. That it's not him Kyuubi raped. It's his mother, a long time ago. Naruto would have liked it better the other way around. He figures taking it up the ass has to hurt less and for a shorter time than knowing it happened to his mother, knowing she was touched, hurt, violated that way. Knowing she raised Naruto with that doubt in her mind. Who fathered her son?

He's never going to know the truth. Minato and Kyuubi are identical twins. There's absolutely no way to prove which one of the two actually fathered him.

(Apart from taking Kyuubi at his word, but Kyuubi lies. Naruto knows that Kyuubi lies.)

It's sordid, is what it is. And that's why he'd rather think about Sasuke punching him, kissing him. It's weird, but at least it's normal-weird. His-life-weird. It's not waking up handcuffed to a lead pipe and being held down as a psycho with his father's face calls him "my son" and carves into his cheeks.

Slumping on the cold ceramic bench in the middle of the shower room, Naruto touches the bandage on his cheek. It doesn't hurt anymore, but his fingers shy away. At the hospital they told him it would scar. He hasn't wanted to look at it yet, but it's there on his face and that means everyone else will. He wants to run out and steal Shino's shades, yank on Neji's hair, kick Sasuke in the goddamn ass, and maybe Sasuke'll punch him in the jaw right back and Naruto won't feel anything on his cheeks but the bruises left by the bastard's knuckles.

Sasuke didn't even insult him once today. Looked at him, yes. Everyone did. Looked at him with those cold eyes that dissect and don't care, and what now? Is Naruto not good enough to fight with anymore, not good enough to steal kisses from, is he dirty or something, fuck, fuck, fuck, why aren't things normal again already?

Shit. Isn't that pathetic. Number one loudmouth delinquent student, moping half-dressed in a darkened shower room because he took a little beating. Naruto pulls himself to his feet, yanks on the knot holding his sweatpants up. Fuck that stupid string and too bad if it breaks, fuck it, fuck everything.

That's when someone barges in the locker room and stalks through the rows of metal boxes. The door bangs hard enough to make the wall tremble.

Black hair, not blond and tipped red from an old dye job. Black eyes, not crazy-blue. So he only knees Sasuke in the hip, not in the balls, when Sasuke grabs his shoulder to slam him against the wall. Sasuke's lower body twists to soften the impact; his hand deflects the punch Naruto aims at his face. Naruto is off his game today, predictable; that's why. He doesn't like it. He pushes off the wall and their bodies collide. The shock breaks them apart -- they surge back together, and then -- Sasuke's lips and Sasuke's teeth -- and he growls in Naruto's mouth when Naruto punches his shoulder, but he doesn't let go.

He traps Naruto between his body and the cold tiles, and he sneaks one of his jeans-clad legs between Naruto's thighs and hooks one of his ankles to keep him off-balance, and he kisses Naruto like he's trying to devour him instead.

He doesn't even pretend to try to grab Naruto's wrists to keep him from swinging, so Naruto only hits him twice before he wraps his arms around his neck and clings, because he's off-balance and he's falling and there's nothing else.

When they break apart, Sasuke is panting too, and that's good, because then he won't notice Naruto pants because there's a fist-sized lump in his throat that's doing its best to choke him.

"You're late for Math, moron."

Naruto half-laughs, half-growls. Maybe there's something of a whine in there too.

"Shut up, princess."

His arms are around Sasuke's neck, fingers digging into his back until he's sure Sasuke will have his own collection of oddly-shaped bruises.

"What are you, some fucking cop--" This time he's the one who surges forward, who pushes his tongue deep. He's not trying for finesse. He's not even trying to make it feel good or nice. He doesn't want nice, he wants -- shit, he just wants, he's hard with it, need and pain, and it aches.

Sasuke's hips press against his, roll and push. His fly rubs on Naruto's dick; it's uncomfortable, buttons dig into Naruto's skin and his sweatpants protect jack shit. Naruto rubs back, groin to groin. It hurts and he wants more. Sasuke's tongue pushes in and out of his lips like he's thinking of fucking his mouth instead; the thought makes Naruto groan. Yes, shit, yes, that's what he wants. Hold me, steal my breath away, fuck me, fuck me.

It's only when Sasuke groans in turn -- yes, yes -- that Naruto realizes he's mumbling, moaning it in his mouth, his litany of need. He jerks, pushes off the wall in shock -- shouldn't say that, shouldn't think that, shouldn't give anything of himself away because it's Sasuke and Sasuke could use it against him; he uses everything else.

For a second they're unbalanced, stumbling; Sasuke's leg is coiled around his and he can't keep his footing. He can't make himself unclench the fingers that dig like hooks in Sasuke's back; they've been locked in position too long. The cold air between their bodies stings, makes his nipples tighten with painful swiftness. What's going on, he doesn't want it to stop -- does he? Should he?

Two hands force their way down the back of his sweatpants, cup his ass, yank him back forward -- hip to hip once again, cock to cock, and a mouth on his neck, biting and sucking, he's going to have bruises there too, maybe they'll think Kyuubi strangled him. Oh shit -- no, no -- yes. Feelsgood don'tcare yes please yes, don't stop don't stop (don't leave) -- oh.

His back hits the wall again; his elbow knocks into something that makes pins and needles run up his arm, and then a spray of hot water hits them both. He doesn't care, it feels so good, so much. It can't stop now. He rocks with Sasuke, links his hands behind Sasuke's neck again, almost cracks his head open on the tiles when he offers more neck, yes, kiss me, devour me, fuck me.

He comes with a strangled little gasp. It's like an explosion inside, a rush of heat, an invisible strength that pushes everything else away. Hot water sluices off his upturned face, fills his open mouth, makes him gulp and pant harder. Sasuke's hair sticks to Naruto's face, over the bandages Naruto almost forgot were there. Sasuke's lips are still on his neck, mouthing away, his hands kneading Naruto's ass.

Naruto clings, legs weak, aftershocks tingling and bursting up his spine. One of his hands trails down Sasuke's arm, wet from the shower spray; Sasuke grabs it, shoves it down the front of his jeans, and then Naruto has a handful of someone else's cock.

Sasuke's teeth worry away at his ear. Maybe he'll mark him enough to cover Kyuubi's marks. Naruto tightens his hold, awkward as it is, and he presses his face against Sasuke's neck as Sasuke thrusts in the tunnel of his hand.

Wet warmth on his palm, thicker than the water running down their bodies, splashing Naruto's bare chest, Sasuke's white button-up shirt, their pants. They bury their faces against each other's neck, legs trembling, entangled. They're both drenched. Neither of them moves.

The ceiling lamp goes out. Naruto forgot it was on a timer. He doesn't mind; the darkness is nice. It's like as long as he can't see the outside world, the outside world isn't really relevant.

So when Sasuke rubs his cheek against Naruto's jaw, just a little, stiff and wary -- kind of like a half-wild cat -- it's okay. It's strange and unexpected, but okay. It reminds Naruto more of a 'mine' than a gesture of comfort, but that's fine too -- he can't imagine Sasuke offering anyone comfort. And if the bastard ever did offer it to him, Naruto might have to punch him in the face on principle, for assuming Naruto needs it. Because he doesn't.

"...Take off those bandages," Sasuke grumbles against his neck.

Naruto stiffens; his post-coital lethargy evaporates. Suddenly it's not dark enough.


Sasuke grunts and nips his jaw, where the square of sticky gauze curls over. "It scratches."

Naruto tries to speak; his first try only produces a strangled gurgle. "It scratches?" Indignation rises inside him, and he pulls his hand out of the front of Sasuke's pants. It's a little awkward to feel the sudden cold, to be reminded that all this time his hand was nice and warm because he was cupping another guy's privates. "I've got a better idea -- how about you get off me? Then you won't have to feel it!"

He glares at Sasuke in the darkness, indignant. Sasuke snorts. His hand doesn't move out of the back of Naruto's sweatpants.

"It looks stupid, too, and I do have to look at it."

Naruto tries to shove Sasuke off, but Sasuke sweeps his leg and they hit the wall again. Something digs into his back. Another spray of hot water splashes them. Shit, like they weren't wet enough.

"Did you even think," Naruto says, and tries not to choke, "that I've got bandages on because I'm, you know, injured?"

"You still run off at the mouth. I doubt it's that bad."

Sasuke's voice isn't dismissive half as much as it's tightly focused, determined. He's not going to take no for an answer. Naruto trembles with indignation, but Sasuke's body is heavy against his chest, his arms possessive. Naruto realizes that he's still clinging to Sasuke's shoulders, and he starts to disengage, but there's nowhere else to go and he doesn't want to fall. He thinks he might.

"Don't the wounds need to breathe?"

Naruto shakes his head, clipping Sasuke's nose with his jaw. He doesn't care if it hurts him. "No they don't."


Naruto knows that noise. It's the 'I can't believe you're scared, how pitiful' one. He can't breathe. He wonders if Sasuke will be disgusted and leave now. Yeah, see your big bad best enemy? He's got a little self-image issue.

Naruto's eyes prickle and burn, and he opens his mouth to snarl back, something cruel, something enormous, that will never let Sasuke get so close ever again.

"I can't," he says instead, and he wonders if he sounds as broken as he feels.

He waits for a sneer, a disgusted put-down. It's got to come, any second now. The room is too dark for Naruto to read Sasuke's expression, obscured even more by the wet hair plastered against his face in dark clumps.

Sasuke just waits. He waits for a real answer and Naruto doesn't know how to get it through him.

"You don't get it, I fucking can't! He -- it's done, it's healed, it's fucking scarred -- it's like a big huge glaring 'property of Kyuubi' sign and it's never going away--"

He gulps for air and it's not enough. He's drowning.

"--Never going away, and they say later I can try surgery, maybe it will hide them, but what does it matter? I'll know they were here. I'll always know, I'll always --"

Sasuke kisses him. He seals their mouths together, and his tongue traces the inside of Naruto's lips, and he breathes in his mouth. It's not hard or passionate or feral, but it demands his attention anyway, stops him in his tracks and jerks him to heel. Stop babbling, idiot. I'm kissing you.

They breathe together, mouth to mouth, long and slow.

When eventually they break apart, Sasuke's eyes are glinting in the dark, only a few inches away from his own. Naruto tenses; whatever it is Sasuke is going to say, he's not going to like it.

It's a challenge, as soft-voiced as it is. "Are you his, Naruto?"

Naruto snarls, teeth bared in offense. "No!"

It's not dark enough not to see Sasuke's eyebrow arched in patent disbelief. "So why do you give a shit what he thinks they mean?"

Naruto slams his fist down on Sasuke's shoulder, knowing it will hurt and bruise deep, but Sasuke doesn't react to the impact beyond a quiet grunt.

"You're a fucking asshole."

"And that's new?"

The dry comeback startles a strangled laugh out of Naruto. No, no it isn't new. He was always surprised how everyone seemed to love Sasuke and want nothing more than his attention, when from the first moment it was clear as day that he wanted nothing more than for people to back the hell out of his personal space.

Now that the asshole is out of the closet, he's got that, along with a good dose of shunning, but then he doesn't care if people don't like him, as long as they give him the respect his sharp mind and his fists command. The rest of the time they're not worth his attention.

But Sasuke can pretend to snub him as much as he wants; when Naruto insults him, there's always some kind of reaction. It would be a little humbling, but like fuck if he's going to get humble about anything related to Uchiha Asswipe Sasuke.

Deflating, Naruto bows his head; his forehead presses against Sasuke's shoulder.

"... I don't... belong to him. Even if he really is my..."

"Your?" Sasuke prods, not giving an inch.

"Why the hell are you asking anyway? Why do you have to know?"

"Because you missed Math," Sasuke replies with implacable non-logic. "Your what?"

Naruto is startled enough to laughs. "You're fucking crazy." He closes his eyes, giving in. "My fa -- my sperm donor."

"And if he is?"

Naruto growls and turns his head away, though his jaw still rests on Sasuke's shoulder. "Don't fucking tell me it doesn't make a difference who actually knocked up my mom --"

"Of course it matters," Sasuke says impatiently.

"--Because everyone's all 'but your daddy is who actually raised you' and 'you could have gotten the exact same genes blahblah identical twins anyway' and -- ah?"

Naruto blinks at Sasuke. Sasuke watches him back, cryptic as always. "Of course it matters whether you owe your birth to a fucking sociopath. But you can't do jack shit about it and you owe him nothing else, so show me those scars."

Naruto's hands fly up to cover his cheeks defensively. "No!"

"Why the fuck not?" Sasuke sounds personally offended. He grabs one of Naruto's hands, tries to peel it away. Naruto twists in his hold, pushes with his hip. Shit shit shit no --

"Because I told you no, and get off me, already -- don't touch me!"

Sasuke snarls and grabs his ass, hard, yanking him face first against his body. "Just stop me."

Sasuke tosses his head in annoyance, and a waterlogged bang splatters a trail of lukewarm drops across Naruto's face. It's almost enough to make Naruto lose it. He breathes shallowly, trying to keep it in the bottle. Because if he loses it now --

Sasuke doesn't try to get at the bandages again. "What the hell do you think you were doing, with bandages on your face and that fake smile all day? Do you think if you pretend hard enough, it will be like nothing ever happened?"


This time he does manage to push Sasuke off him; maybe it's because Sasuke let him go but if he hadn't, Naruto would have elbowed him in the fucking face anyway. He wants to pounce and beat him up, but Sasuke's hands hang by his side and he's wide open, defenseless, so it's not right to hurt him anyway, just not right, even though he would completely deserve it. Naruto paces around the shower room, and paces and paces, bare feet kicking up water in the puddles, hands raking through half-dry bangs.

"Yes. Yes. Shut up."

Sasuke is shutting up. Naruto paces, enraged, and feels ridiculous.

His pants stick to his legs uncomfortably, and he realizes with a grimace that he's got semen all over himself. Turning his back on Sasuke, gritting his teeth, he peels off his sweatpants and briefs, and turns on another shower, as far from that asshole as possible. He rinses off quickly, and drops his dirty clothes in a sodden lump under the shower.

Suddenly he's not furious anymore, just awkward and frustrated and so damn exhausted.

He's not sure how much detail Sasuke can see at this distance, perhaps just a whitish blob-like shape, but it still feels strange to be naked in front of him. It's not really like he can push away their kisses with 'it's just his weird gay way of destabilizing me' and 'it doesn't really matter cause it's not like I want it,' not when Sasuke just gave him an orgasm and held -- and nothing.

He can feel him, standing by the exit like a guard. If Naruto tried to storm out, he has a feeling Sasuke would slam him against the wall again. Without his pants, it's not something he wants to try. Fighting naked in the dark on wet tiles is pretty stupid. He doesn't want to leave anyway -- Sasuke's words hurt, but he can't stand knowing that Sasuke would think he's running away.

"... Take off the bandages, Naruto."

"Will you fucking shut up?!" Naruto snaps, but his hand rises to touch one of his cheeks anyway. Saturated with hot water, the adhesive gauze is starting to detach on its own.

He starts to pace again, around the bench in the middle and back. He doesn't want to let Sasuke see his scars. It's dark, but he'll see them when Naruto comes out -- everyone will see them when Naruto comes out, he realizes with dread, because he didn't bring spare bandages.

If making him stand under hot water until they come off was part of Sasuke's plan to make Naruto accept it, he's going to murder him, but he doesn't think Iceberg-man can fake the molesting mood that well. Kissing a guy to psych him out is one thing, but kissing him while he's humping your leg is another. Isn't it? Naruto's head is full of too many thoughts to muddle this one out.

But Sasuke held him and now he wants to know, even though he's never been one for gossip, and Naruto isn't sure what it means, but he thinks he might know anyway, somehow.

When Sasuke steps in front of him and slowly reaches for his face, he flinches. He doesn't dodge or run away, though. It would be cowardly.

They don't come off too easily, leaving behind sticky residues. Sasuke licks his thumb and rubs them off, the pad of his finger brushing over the ridged lines in Naruto's face. Three scars on each side, and they're not even really straight. Naruto moved around. Like he could just stay still while a maniac dug into his flesh.

"Does it still hurt?" Sasuke asks.

Naruto blushes a little, because the tone is snappish and irritated and full of 'you goddamn crybaby', but in Bastard-Sasuke-ese it almost sounds as if maybe he's a little worried.

"...Not really."

"So stop squirming already." Sasuke attacks his face, rubbing and rubbing to get the glue off, making little clucking noises of disapproval. Naruto can't help but huff in offended disbelief, utterly incredulous. Sasuke's washing his face!

"You'd make someone an awesome mommy, Uchiha."

"Stop squirming."

"You're getting spit all over my face!"

Then of course Sasuke has to kiss him again, a short press of lips on his lips, and the swipe of a wet tongue -- and ending in a quick punishing bite. Ow.

"... Asshole."

Sasuke keeps cleaning him. "You know," he said eventually, "I have no idea how it looks, but it doesn't feel like they're all that huge." He smirks, a flash of white teeth in the dark. "Ask Sakura for makeup. A little powder..."

"Yeah, you'd know all about that, you fag," Naruto grouches, and turns his face away sulkily. "Don't try to tell me it's small enough that no one will notice. When you've got a zit, it's what everyone sees first, even when it's tiny. Something like that..."

"At the last festival, you went around with bunny face paint, remember. So since when do you mind being stared at?"

Naruto shoves Sasuke away. Willfully misunderstanding is patronizing and belittling and he hates it. "Since it's not me they'll stare at, but that crazy asshole's ownership notice!"

Sasuke snarls back, with anger to match his. "Is that what it means to you? Because I can guarantee most people will see nothing but proof that you survived."

Naruto stops breathing.

"Sure. They'll stare. They'll drive you crazy with questions they have no business asking. Some of them will pity you -- poor kitten, it must have hurt. But as long as you stand straight and stop whining, most of them will go and tack on 'whoa, and he's still alive'." Sasuke pauses briefly to regain his breath, and the anger underlying his words dies away. "...Hell, Inuzuka might even find it cool."

Naruto snorts weakly, not as mocking as he aimed to be. It's hard, when he's still reeling. Sasuke is standing there, barely a step away, and there's a little quiet note in his voice Naruto has never heard before, something almost -- not soft, but -- not exactly intimate, but --

"You know what he wants it to mean, but it only means that if you let him." Sasuke's voice is harsh again, uncompromising, awkward gentleness gone as if it never was.

"Damn it, I know that!" The counselor told Naruto the exact same thing, he heard the spiel...

He didn't really know it with his guts, though.

Now maybe he does a little. He thinks. Because Sasuke doesn't sound like he's rehearsing something from a manual. He believes it.

"... I know that," Naruto repeats. He should believe it too. ... But he doesn't know if he can.

There's silence. They stand so close together, it reminds Naruto he's cold. It would be the easiest thing to lean into Sasuke's warmth. It's strange to remember all those times he and Kiba and Shika joked that Sasuke must be some kind of reptile, that he probably bleeds ice. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sasuke is a volcano.

"So." Sasuke's voice goes strange again, a little quieter -- it's a voice like they're in a bubble and his words are never going to leave it, because it's private, it's just for him and Naruto. "What do they mean to you?"

And when Sasuke asks it like that, of course Naruto knows why the scars freak him out so much. He feels dizzy and cold, frozen -- there's water drying on his skin, and a draft somewhere that tickles his back, but that's not half as frozen as he feels inside his guts.

"He's going to come back," Naruto whispers. "Because he's not done with me. He's going to come back and come back, until he's in jail or I'm dead."

Sasuke's fists clench, knuckles creaking under the strain. Naruto thinks for a moment he's going to say something -- 'he'll go to jail' maybe, or 'not if he dies first'; but he might punch Sasuke if he tries that bullshit on him. Naruto doesn't want that kind of grand, well-meaning lie. No one can protect Naruto. He knows Kyuubi would take pleasure in showing him exactly how to butcher someone who thought they could get between the two of them.

"What..." Sasuke's voice breaks, strangled, a little like a growl. He's angry -- not at him, but for him. It makes Naruto feel weird, and he thinks that if Sasuke said 'I'll kill him first' now, maybe he really would mean it. And it feels -- it feels --

Naruto would still punch him though. He doesn't need stupid people to risk their stupid lives for him.

"What will you do then? When he comes back."

Naruto turns away, wrapping his arms around himself. He should get dressed. Not sure that would really make him feel any warmer, but still. "...I don't know. I can brawl alright, but it's not the same. Not the same at all. And it's not like I can buy a gun and carry it around in school."

He rakes a hand through his hair, chafes his arms, not that it changes much. He wonders if Sasuke can see well enough to look at his ass. He doesn't even care if the homo bastard gets an eyeful right now.

Truth is, he's defenseless.

He wants someone to touch him again, but there's only Sasuke. He opens his mouth, but the words won't come. He just can't make himself say it. Still got his pride, thanks. 'Hey, Sasuke, I need a hug,' yeah right, he'd rather choke.

He's choking now.



"--You're a nosy asshole."

"You're a retard."

Naruto throws himself at that excuse to whirl around and -- punch him, he thinks the goal was, but really he just grabs his collar and snarls and shoves him against the wall. Except Sasuke was standing in front of the exit, so Naruto ends up slamming his spine against the edge of the doorjamb and it probably hurts more than a honest punch. Differently at least. So he freezes, eyes a little wide, breathing a little fast, and can't apologize.

Sasuke blinks. "...Ow."

Naruto exhales slowly, relieved. Sasuke is glaring at him, but it's the 'you're such a retard' glare, not the 'I will strangle you with your little intestine'. He can tell; there's a little more light, this close to the locker room window, and the vibes from the two glares are nothing alike anyway.

They stand in silence, with Naruto's hands fisted in Sasuke's collar, his forearms pressed against Sasuke's chest, breathing against each other's face, and it's not a hug, but it's alright.

He wants his mom. His dad, maybe -- but no. The thought of his father -- his -- dad, his Minato -- hugging him, he wants it but it makes things crawl and skitter under his skin. Objectively he's fine; Minato is not Kyuubi, they're nothing alike, nothing, nothing (except when his father does get angry); but there's always the second when Naruto catches his first glimpse and forgets to breathe.

"... I should make my dad dye his hair black," he mutters. Sasuke blinks slowly at him, like he's gone a little more crazy than he was and it's not surprising, but still kinda pitiful. Naruto grins, though it trembles a bit. Heh. Problem? Solution. It's a kinda sucky one, but whatever. And he didn't even need help to solve it.

"What's so funny?"

Naruto takes a deep breath. "Nothing." Nothing's been really funny in the last days, but he's not some kind of pansy emo kid who likes to whine to get some pity.

Sasuke reaches up, and Naruto freezes, because he moves as if he means to cup his cheek, clasp his shoulder maybe. But there's a second of hesitation, and Sasuke looks away and he shoves him a little instead. Naruto gives a short laugh, incredulous at what he just read in the asshole's actions. Hah. If Sasuke had less pride, maybe he'd pet Naruto's hair, too. From him, that kind of pansy halfhearted shove is close enough.

"...What did you do?"

Naruto blinks. Sasuke's voice has gone clinical and remote again. "What?"

"You don't know what you're going to do when he comes back to get you. So what did you do in that basement, that your wrist is bruised so deep it hurts to use it? Did he do that to you?" He whispers, voice soft with contempt and pity. "Did he hurt you?"

Naruto bristles. "No, he didn't! I did it to myself."

Sasuke looks politely incredulous. "Wasn't he armed?"

Flashback, a cold line of metal against his throat, biting into his cheek, and he remembers visions of flayed skin, exposed teeth, butchered gums. "Yes -- switchblade -- but --"

"So what did you do? You couldn't fight off someone with a knife, not tied up. Did you beg him to let you go? Did you try to crawl away from him? Is that how your wrist got hurt?"

Naruto trembles with a furor so deep he can't breathe. How dare he, how -- "No, it wasn't! I fucking tore that pipe out of the wall and I fucking cracked his jaw with it!"

"... Ah. And then?"

"I -- I -- I -- ran, it was an old factory, all the gates were locked -- I knew he'd lock them -- no fire escape --" So scared, god, heart in his mouth but he couldn't be slow, couldn't hesitate, and there were the stairs and the window and -- "Jumped."

Naruto is vaguely aware that Sasuke's hand is rubbing circles on his back. It's a strange gesture from him, makes Naruto think it comes from his mother. Naruto saw Sasuke's mother once. She's so pretty.

"Two stories tall. Wasn't it scary?"

"Less scary than being dead!" Naruto pauses. "How the fuck do you know that anyway? How --"

"My father's working your case." Sasuke makes a dismissive hand gesture; Naruto snarls and slams him against the corner, suddenly livid.

"What, so he fucking talks about it over dinner?!" He roars, in anger and shame. "Oh, son, by the way, your classmate got -- you -- got fucking kidnapped by a fucking rapist -- what did he tell you that for?! Trying to warn you I was used goods now?!"

It's a shriek at the end, but Sasuke's sudden fury drowns it out, and then Naruto is the one whirled around and slammed against the wall. "I stole your file, you dickhead! Don't talk about my father again!"

Naruto chokes. "You looked? You had no right! Who told you that you could? It's not right, it wasn't right --"

"Does it look like I care? I don't care!"

Naruto punches Sasuke in the jaw; Sasuke's head snaps back. But when he lifts his fist to do it again, Sasuke's hand catches his wrist -- and his other wrist, slams them against the wall. Naruto's bruises from the handcuffs hurt and suddenly it's not Sasuke's narrowed, furious eyes he sees, but Kyuubi's predator smile.

He thinks he stops breathing for a second, body and mind frozen.

"Naruto? Shit, I--"

He lets Naruto's wrists go, doesn't apologize out loud but it's there on the tip of his tongue, Naruto can hear it anyway. Naruto shakes. No, no, no, why is Sasuke not using his family name like always, like they're not friends and not close and not kissing and not worried, why is Sasuke -- Uchiha, his rival -- why is Uchiha worried. How pitiful. Naruto is pitiful. He can't stop shaking.

"Most of it was already in the news," Sasuke says quietly. "About the charges against him and everything. I just needed to know if --"

If you were used goods, Naruto's mind supplies. And he's not, not really, but sometimes he feels like it.

"... If I could still... do that."

Sasuke's lips brush his, awkward, almost shy. It's just too strange. He's never kissed Naruto like that before, and Naruto doesn't know how to respond.

"Do what, ambush me?" Naruto gives a little incredulous laugh.

"Moron." Sasuke mutters under his breath with something Naruto recognizes with surprise as embarrassment. "Needed to know if I should -- you know. Give you some space."

"Give me some space and I'll break your face!" He doesn't want space, he doesn't want a special kid-gloves treatment, he can't accept that Kyuubi took away Sasuke too. Like he took away the rest; his trust that the world was an okay place to be. His trust that his dad is gentle and thoughtful and wise and never gets angry, his trust that his mom is happy and uncomplicated and brave and never gets scared. Whatever is going on between him and Sasuke, he can't stand to see it destroyed.

"... Heh."

Sasuke sounds smug. Naruto catches himself pouting. "I didn't mean it like that."

"Sure you didn't." Sasuke nibbles on his jaw, almost playful. If Naruto were in his place, he'd say 'Aha! You want me' and do a little pelvis-shaking dance, but of course Sasuke is cooler than that, so he only thinks it hard enough for Naruto to know. Naruto laughs, a little.


"I thought we got that covered."

A few chuckles rise in his throat and then die. "... You must think I'm a coward."

"I only think you're a retard, but you're plenty of that."

It sounds almost like a pet name when he says it in that tone. Naruto grumbles and nips his chin. "... Sure?"

"Nnh." Sasuke looks away, put-upon and embarrassed. "I don't like cowards."

But I like you.

It's weird how Naruto has been making out with the guy for weeks and just had his hands on his dick and they're having the most fucked up therapy session ever and yet 'Sasuke likes me' is still a revelation.

They stand in silence, close enough to touch. They're breathing in synch and Naruto isn't sure who started it. It's strange. It's a strange mood, like they have a secret. Just being there like this.

Kyuubi didn't destroy it. Whatever it is, between the two of them, it's out of his reach.

He doesn't know how long it lasts -- a minute, ten, twenty. They just stand together, the darkness like a cocoon that keeps the rest of the world out.


"When he told you that he was your father, were you scared?"

"... I was angry."

Sasuke smirks in the dark, slow and predatory. It makes Naruto feel warmer, makes his belly tighten.

"I was angry," he repeats, like a second revelation.

He was afraid, too, of course. But not only.

"I'm still angry."

He gets another kiss for that, short and hard and -- Naruto has been on the receiving end of many hard kisses from Sasuke, but he thinks this one means 'oh, finally.'

He growls, and grabs Sasuke's hair and yanks him close to kiss him back, and puts all his skill into biting him a clear 'shut up' right back.

He was angry -- he was furious -- and then he counterattacked and escaped. He froze at first, and he was sick with fear, and he got injured, and he'll always have scars, but he's not broken. Kyuubi didn't break him. Kyuubi doesn't own him.

'Fuck you, uncle', he thinks with savage glee, as he kisses Sasuke again.

"So what are you going to do, the next time he comes for you?"

Naruto closes his eyes briefly. Kyuubi will come for him again, he knows that. This time, he might not be as nice. Maybe he'll handcuff Naruto to something that's not rusted half through. Or use duct tape, which is a bitch to get out of. Maybe he'll even break Naruto's legs; he wouldn't even think twice.

It's scary, being so powerless. Naruto never wants it to happen again.

But he was already powerless, and he escaped anyway. Of course, there are degrees of powerlessness, but...

Now he knows Kyuubi could hurt him worse -- will hurt him worse. But curling up and trembling just means he can do it easier. It's not gonna happen like that.

"...I'll be ready."

Nothing can really prepare him to what's coming. He doesn't even know if Kyuubi will come back in one month or ten years. But he doesn't want to do his job for him, by terrorizing himself at every shadow.

"Good. Now hurry up and get dressed. You've got detention next week for skipping Math."

"--Hey! You skipped it too!"

"Yeah." He looks over his shoulder at Naruto, stays silent just a quarter of second too long to come off as casual. "My father has handcuffs. I'll teach you a few ways to get out of them. If you're not too scared to try."

Naruto rubs his bandaged wrist, remembering his powerlessness, hours and hours in a trap.

Sasuke waits; patient, but not for long. That's how he is all the time, really. He pretends to be so cool and controlled, but -- volcano. Yeah. Naruto knows better now. He still doesn't really understand what is going on with Uchiha Sasuke, between Sasuke and him, but he thinks he wants it to keep going anyway.

"... Who do you take me for? I'm Uzumaki Naruto. I'm not scared of anything."

When he follows Sasuke out of the locker room, he knows soon he'll believe it again.