"Do you think they get along or they hate each other?" Naruto mused as he plopped down on the couch next to Sasuke. "I can't tell."
At the other end of the room, Sai and Suigetsu were grinning at each other -- Sai too-polite and too-empty, Suigetsu with too many teeth. They reminded Sasuke of two dogs baring fangs. Well, mostly Suigetsu.
Sasuke shrugged, letting his gaze slip away from them to survey the rest of the room, checking on the rest of his hawks. Juugo was sitting in a corner, watching bemusedly as Lee chatted merrily at him and at a quiet but smiling Hinata. Sometimes Shikamaru or Chouji interjected something. Juugo didn't look too uncomfortable, so Sasuke didn't move to extract him. Karin could stand up for herself, though if she got in a bitchfight with Ino, Sakura wouldn't need Sasuke's help to end it. And if she got into another bitchfight with Sakura herself, well, she would be asking for it.
Kiba and Tenten were talking kunai; as for Shino and Neji... who knew, maybe that wall really would crumble without them to hold it up.
That meet-and-greet was so boring. And he doubted it would work. As if Team Hawk could get integrated into the village and their peer group so easily. Juugo, maybe, at least until he lost control again, but the rest...
"Hey, I'm talking to you, asshole."
Naruto elbowed him in the ribs, and Sasuke couldn't help turning his head to glare at him, despite how he'd told himself he wouldn't let Naruto engage him again, would be cold and remote until the blond got the clue. Just because he'd refused -- violently -- to let Naruto get killed by Madara and accepted to come back to Konoha for good didn't mean he wanted them to be best friends again or anything.
"Your piranha ain't gonna start biting Sai anytime soon, I hope."
"Only if he wants to be bitten," Sasuke replied, just a little cynical.
"--Huh?" Naruto blinked at him owlishly. "You're kidding. He's hitting on Sai? It looks like he's trying his best to piss him off!"
"... Same thing."
Naruto glared at him in outraged disbelief. "He always tries his best to piss you off!"
How did Naruto think Sasuke had learned how Suigetsu flirted? "What's the matter, are you afraid he'll like Suigetsu's penis better?"
Sasuke scowled the second it left his mouth, more out of self-displeasure than at Naruto's blatant stupidity. He'd told and told himself he wouldn't let his ex-teammate goad him anymore. Now they would have a retarded argument over unimportant crap, like the fact that it was kind of insulting Naruto and Sakura had thought a weirdo who wore belly-shirts was adequate replacement for Sasuke. And then Naruto would think Sasuke cared.
Surprisingly, Naruto failed to rise to the bait. "Man, I hope he will. It's not that I don't like Sai, but -- wait, no, I don't like him."
Sasuke's annoyed frown turned vaguely quizzical. The way Naruto defended him, you'd never guess. "... Let me guess. Your newest rehabilitation pet project?"
Naruto kicked his ankle, but he looked more amused than angry. "Hey. Don't badmouth him. I'm the only one who can."
Sasuke's eyelid twitched and he looked away with a little snort.
"Okay, no, it's not that I dislike him," Naruto mused, failing to take Sasuke's attitude as the dismissal it had been. "Well, I like the idea of him just fine. And he's got good sides -- he's smart in the field and he fights well, and he's really trying to be a good guy. He just can't keep his mouth shut, and half the time I think he's really not as clueless as he pretends; he wouldn't hit the bull's eye so often otherwise."
Gnnh. Sasuke sucked in a hissing breath between his teeth. "I don't give a damn about your latest boyslut, you realize."
Naruto drew back and scowled. "Jealous that yours abandoned you for mine?"
They glared at each other, tension almost crackling between them.
It could have escalated into a real fight, and right now Sasuke didn't mind the thought -- but Ino laughed loud and clear, and that distracted them into glancing her way. Karin was whispering something in her ear. "... I never want to know what they're talking about," Sasuke muttered as Ino whispered back to Karin, a devious grin on her lips.
"Me neither. It's gotta be brain-scarring." Naruto took a deep breath and relaxed against the back of the couch. "... Did you really sleep with piranha-boy?"
"Did you really sleep with penis-boy?"
Naruto made a disgusted grimace. "Nrgh -- I asked first!"
"Don't ask if you don't want an answer."
All around them, people kept socializing. In their corner of the room, there was silence, and a lot of staring, blue eyes into black, utterly serious. Sasuke wasn't too sure when the mood had turned from a pissing contest to... this.
Eventually, Naruto nodded, unsmiling. "Yeah. I want an answer."
Sasuke frowned, and looked away; after all, the information wasn't that important. "... No. With the group tensions between them, either I slept with none of them or I slept with them all. I'm not that desperate."
Naruto's face brightened. "You were just afraid you'd catch girl cooties."
Sasuke kicked Naruto's ankle without thinking twice. "I'm not that gay. Karin's just clingy enough as it is, I'm not going to make it worse. I don't like her enough to make her an exception." He sneaked a sidelong glance at the blond. "With all the fuss you make, I'm pretty sure you're in denial, though."
"Denial? Denial of what?" Naruto retorted, more offended than surprised.
Sasuke let himself smirk. "And that over-the-top obsession for big-breasted girls... Denial. Totally denial."
"Go to hell, I'm not in denial."
"Someone who's comfortable about his sexuality wouldn't be so fixated on the sexuality of the people he knows."
"I'm not gay!"
Naruto pouted. "I'm really not. And I'm not irrational about banging guys."
Sasuke rolled his eyes, and smirked some more. His cold detachment was a thing of the past, alas, but he'd forgotten how entertaining it was to bicker with the idiot, especially when he was winning. "You can't even think about it without grimacing."
"That's because it was Sai. I can think about doing it with you just fine."
Naruto was almost pouting, very offended now; it almost prompted Sasuke to call him a liar, just to be contrary.
And then the content registered.
"And, well, okay, most guys are eww and I never want to see them naked, ever. Like. Ever. But that's not because I'm a homophobe!"
Sasuke remembered not to let his jaw dangle. "... Of course."
Naruto managed to gather enough annoyance to glare at him, but it didn't last more than a few seconds, and then he started pretending to pay attention to the room. His cheeks were turning a fetching shade of pink. Ahh, so he did know what he'd just said.
"... I just. You know. They're eww."
Sasuke nodded, as if it made sense, and, okay, it kind of did. In a Naruto way, where he twisted what 'sense' was until it fit him instead of the other way around. Damn it, that was why Sasuke hadn't wanted to come back. Well, too late now.
"And I'm... not eww."
"Ehh, you're okay, I guess." Naruto grinned at him hopefully. "So, you wanna have sex?"
Sasuke thought of a few retorts. 'I'm not that desperate.' 'Since when do you like anything without breasts?' 'Do I look like Sakura to you?' 'Only if I can gag you first.' Shit, the last one was practically a yes. Sasuke groaned. "... Oh, whatever."
The way Naruto beamed, you would have thought Sasuke had stripped down naked on the spot and said 'oh please yes ravish me Hokage-sama' instead.
"Haha. I knew you were gay for me."
"I'm gay for everyone with a dick, you retard. You're the one who's gay for me."
"... Sasuke, you slut."
Sasuke hadn't meant it like that, of course -- he had standards, thank you -- but Naruto knew that too. And if Sasuke pointed it out then Naruto would think he actually met them.
Well, okay, he did meet Sasuke's standards, but that was no reason to tell him. "Shut up and get moving or I'll go hit on Kakashi."
Now he was glad their discussion had sounded relatively calm and casual, for Naruto-Sasuke standards. He was sure anyone who was interested enough to glance twice as they left the room would just assume they'd gone off to have a smoke or a spar or something.
"No, I'm pretty sure you're wrong. Naruto is very stubborn."
"Sasuke's just as stubborn. Hell, probably more. Also he always has to be in control of every single little thing."
"Yes, but he threw away his plans just to rescue Naruto. That was very illogical. It seems to suggest an emotional weakness."
Suigetsu frowned thoughtfully. "Well, yeah, maybe, but in that case Naruto is doomed, because then Sasuke's pride is gonna kick in and he's never ever gonna want to admit it and so he'll fight twice as hard to come out on top."
Sai thought about it for a few seconds. "Hm. There might be other criteria to be seme. How big is Sasuke's penis?"
"Whoa." Ino and Sakura leaned closer to the miniature TV. "... I can't believe such tiny video cameras have functional mikes."
Karin preened. "Hey, we weren't called Sound for nothing. And there's even a VCR."
Sakura watched the redhead with narrowed eyes, pensive, and then nodded slowly. "I don't hate you that much after all."