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~FIX YOU~ Uchiha Itachi X Uzumaki Naruto [NARUTO]

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Naruto knew the inevitable end; Sasuke and him were never meant to be.. A story of moving on, struggling to live again when the life you planned out came crashing down, all in one night.





This story contains MPREG.


In this AU, male pregnancy is risky, hence not common. Please keep an open mind. Slow-burn, mutual pining, mentions of abortion, attempted rape, mental health issues, suicide, depression, unresolved sexual tension, unresolved romantic tension, controversial issues, family problems, angst, hurt and comfort, swearing [a lot of it], gay sex, casual sex, characters basically licking each others wound, polyamory, OOC[ish], long chapters, not beta read - please forgive the mistakes! every chapter was inspired with song/s.




THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NO CHARACTER BASHING HERE! they all have issues and problems to bear.


Chapter 1: Fall out





~I know you're fine but what do I do?


I'm awake, and trying


While you're sleeping like a babe


Beside him


I'm on the ledge while you're so


God damn polite and composed


And I know you see me,


And you're making it look so easy


What comes and goes,


I'd go without


I know you're fine but what about


(Fallout), Fallout (fallout), fallout (fallout), fallout


Through the Fallout


(Fallout), Fallout (fallout), fallout (fallout)


You're the fallout~





Naruto got out of the bed one morning, feeling the cold on his feet. Just a few minutes ago, his lover was still beside him. That guy always wakes up earlier before him and must've forgotten to cover the blond's feet like he used to. Then again, his lover rarely do the things he used to do for and to Naruto anymore.


They both know they were headed to an inevitable end.


With heavy body, Naruto dragged himself out of slumber and stretched a bit. The clock said it was 8:05 am. He snorted. That was a record today, Sasuke got up and left earlier than the other days. Nothing new, Naruto said to himself.


As he was headed to take a shower, he tried his best not to look at his reflection. He felt so ugly, dirty even. He guessed that this was the depression acting up. Pills these days doesn't work for the blond like they used to. Then again, his doctor also said it's important for him to pick up a hobby or have someone to talk to. He doesn't have those. His life revolved around Sasuke, it made him smile and sad at the same time after he realized that.


Turning the knobs of the shower, he tested the water a few times, trying to get the right temperature. After a few minutes of rinsing himself, he grabbed the shampoo bottle and quickly worked his way and do punishing scrubs over his scalp. The stress these past months that'd itching through him, somehow manifested on his hair. The shiny blond locks now lack its luster, underneath also had patches of bald spots. "Damn, I need to buy new conditioner. The old one doesn't work anymore!" Naruto cried out.


After he was done with what seemed like a blur of moment, he got out of the shower, still refusing to look at the mirror. Getting dressed was swift too. It was not like there was anything new to his ensemble. Just a pair of pants, a shirt he grabbed in haste and a cream colored tailored jacket. He matched it with the same sneakers he wore everyday.


Same old thing.


He went back to the bedroom, checking if he needed to charge his phone. He didn't.


He grabbed his toothbrush, he cleaned his teeth using the kitchen sink. 'Gross, I know. It's easier this way'. He thought.


After he felt like he was already clean enough, he grabbed the things he needed. He doesn't have a class today, thankfully. He asked himself what to do? Where to go?


He felt his phone vibrated, looking at the screen, a frown crept his face.


"What do you want?" he asked as he called Sasuke liked the man asked.

"I was thinking of asking you if you want to have dinner together. I think I can come home tonight," he said, sounding apologetic. He often sound apologetic these days, Naruto thought.


The man sighed, "Sure. Usual place?"


"Yeah! What're you going to do today? I'll come pick you up if you want.."


The bastard sounded cheerful now. Somehow it made Naruto a bit happier as well, "Well, I think I'll go head over to Gaara. See if he wants to hang out."


At the mention of the red haired male's name, Sasuke always expresses his anger, irritation, and open hate for the man. Lately, he doesn't anymore. Naruto felt Sasuke restrained himself for doing so, because he felt he has no right. That saddened Naruto even more.


"Okay. Send me a message then... See you..." was the standard reply Naruto had just as he expected.


Naruto heaved a long suffering sigh before he moved on to start his day.


He grabbed his keys and went straight to Gaara's place, reaching it by foot under 45 minutes. It was not really that far, Naruto just felt like walking leisurely. He spent whole 15 minutes at a convenience store too, picking up random snacks for the redhead. Gaara would expect Naruto to bring some if the blond planned on staying at his place.


Naruto often finds himself running towards the place, lounging at his said best friend's living room while Gaara snores peacefully till late afternoon. Lucky, Gaara was nice enough to give him the spare key. Naruto knew Gaara most likely just didn't want to be disturbed during his precious rest. After all, he was a bit of nocturnal, sleeping when the sun rises. Though Naruto don't mind. Gaara's place, though messy, offered some kind of sanctuary for the blond. This place has been his 'go to' whenever the situation with his Sasuke got so suffocating.


He paused for a while as he dropped the bags of snacks on top of Gaara's kitchen counter, seeing Gaara's place was dirty, he deduced Gaara's boyfriend - Neji, didn't come last night. He sighed, he wondered how in the hell could Neji put up with such mess.


"Guess that's love for 'yah.." he said and a frowned once again found its way on his face. He wondered if he can call Sasuke his boyfriend out loud without feeling the bile rising from his throat. Naruto shook his head and smiled bitterly. He doubt he still could.


He swatted a few wrappers of potato chips to the floor and invaded Gaara's living room, flipping through the channels mindlessly and stared at the flickering TV screen without having the image register. He admitted, he slowly withered away.

'If a love can't move forward and grow, isn't it about time to let things go?'

'No. No, no. I can't. I admit that I can't! I love Sasuke too much, I mean I've been with the bastard since I learned how to walk? How can I leave him?'


Naruto started his inner monologue again.


'Am I being selfish? I don't think I am. Even Sasuke continues to cling to our relationship. He loves me, despite everything. Sure, things this time 'round were tense, and probably wouldn't be settled until Sakura gives birth.'


'How long do I have to wait? Three months? Two? I lost count.'


"Heh..." a dry laughed caught his throat. 'Who am I kidding? I know exactly how far long is she.'

A little over 29 weeks.


"Oh, hey. How long have you been here?" a voice stopped Naruto's stupor. Gaara's hair was wet, having a small towel wrap over his shoulders. He wore khaki colored shorts and blue T-shirt that says 'Hug me'. Naruto smiled remembering he was the one who gave it to the redhead as Christmas gift last year.


"I didn't hear anything.. How long have you been in the showers?" Naruto asked and Gaara answered him, though he wasn't listening and absentmindedly gave Gaara a noncommittal hum as answer. He felt so drained to even let his brain process basic language.


"..you brought too many snacks," Gaara said as he checked the contents of the plastic bags littered on top of his kitchen counter.


"Gaara.. what do I do? I'm not happy about this anymore.."


The look from Gaara's face said he was shocked with Naruto's question. Naruto too, was shocked about what he just blurted out. He didn't mean to, it was just things like this slipped his mind and mouth. He guessed his cup was full.


"This is the first time you're willing to talk about it. I'll listen, go on." the redhead opened up and bag of chips and popped up a few in his mouth, looking at the blond seated at his sofa.

'What's this? He's willing to listen calmly? Alright, that's new. Maybe the new potato chip flavor is working. Though I doubt it's a good thing to eat for breakfast, or meal replacement for that matter.'


The offer was tempting for Naruto. Oh, so tempting. He shook his head for a second. He was ready to tell this for a while but didn't know how and when to start. He was ashamed, to be honest. No one wants to exposed your dirty laundry to other people, no matter how much you trust them. Little part of yourself still wanted to hold on to your pride. Since this is Gaara, he decided to cave. He yearned for someone to talk to anyways. Very few of their friends knew about Sasuke's and Naruto's situation, and Naruto's sure Gaara would want the whole details.


"I guess I'm ready to talk.. Sit with me? Grab some drinks." he said which Gaara agreed and brought the plastic with the canned iced tea and sat beside Naruto. The freshly showered man smelled like the shampoo Naruto recommended last week. Somehow that made Naruto happy.




"Ah, yes. Well, you know Sasuke is married to Haruno Sakura now, right?"


He saw Gaara's lips twitched. The redhead really wasn't happy with Sasuke ever since, especially with the recent happenings.


"We all do," he answered with a taste of disgust in his tone. He was right, all of their friends⁠?Sasuke's included⁠?knew that.


"Well.. few months ago, Sasuke and I fought at that drinking party Ino hosted? I went home before him because I was pissed. I heard he continued drinking and stayed there that night..."


Gaara saw that this was hard for Naruto, so being the sweetheart that he is, he opened up the drink for his friend and let Naruto compose himself, waiting patiently for man to continue.


"The next day, Sasuke and Sakura found themselves naked and sleeping in Ino's spare bedroom. They already deduced what happened from the condition they were in. That afternoon, Sasuke came home with Sakura and came to grovel at my feet. Apologizing nonstop. Fucks sakes!" Naruto groaned and continued.


"They told me what happened was an accident! A drunken haze? They weren't even aware of what they did? Hah! Though.. that part was a lie and I know it was.. I mean," Naruto could not even finish that and skipped the part where he punched Sasuke and slapped Sakura silly.


"I went to our room, ready to leave the house and packed my bags and all. I don't wanna even look at his face! I mean, this is Sakura! She's our friend! Damn! You know what? I was ready and packed my things, yeah?" Naruto looked at Gaara's face, the blond used his hand with his animated story telling⁠?and Gaara thought he was kinda cute. He wouldn't say it to Naruto's face though, so he kept his usual stoic expression. Naruto continued after Gaara nodded.


"I'm moving the fuck away from there! Then teme hugged me with all his might, he was ready to trap me there! We had a screaming match, he let me beat him black and blue, we cried and broke down."


'Geez, this is fucking hard to do.' Naruto said to himself and he wiped a rouge tear he tried so hard suppress.


"Are you sure you can continue?" Gaara asked, stroking Naruto's scarred cheeks. Naruto smiled at Gaara for a second, he was glad Gaara's a sweetheart..


"Yeah," he nodded. Continuing, "The weakling that I am, I decided to forgive them, though after that, things got a little weird. Sasuke, the bastard, became cold after three weeks. He looked like he was hiding something from me and whenever we're alone, He looked and acted like he was guilty from something.."


"That's when you guys knew Sakura was pregnant?" Gaara asked. Naruto nodded and gripped the iced tea now going warm.


"We three talked and decided that Sakura will give birth to the baby and asked us to be involve with the child's life. She knew we both love each other and she wasn't going to be in the middle of that. Who would?! Sakura has been our friend since forever! She knew how long Sasuke and I been dating!"


The fake smile Naruto wore crumbled. He felt his chest tightened, but guessed he needed to let this out of his system. It was slowly eating away his soul for months and it wouldn't be good to let this go on.


"That sounded like a good plan, right? Since I don't want to carry Sasuke's kids. You know very well how dangerous it is for males to carry babies. Only 1 out 10 survives. Sasuke doesn't want that too. Sakura's baby was the only chance we have to have a child in our lives.."


Naruto coughed a bit and felt the burn inside. Gaara wrapped his arm around his friend's shoulder, and with his free hand, wiped the tears that trickled down those scarred cheeks Naruto has.




"Then Sasuke's parents heard the news. Though they knew our relationship, guess they were blinded by the fact that Sasuke can have a chance of a regular family. Sakura? She? She's from a family with businesses and all that shit.. What about me? Who am I? A fucking orphan.. poor grades and shit..." Naruto let out a choked sob, "What about me?!" Gaara rocked him back and forth, while he let Naruto say what he needed to let out.


"We three talked again, Sasuke decided to marry her and he will come home to our place. He'll only to come to Sakura's when the in-laws visits on weekends, or whenever he needed appearances."


"Huh?" Gaara let go of the blond for a second to look at him, "You allowed that to happened? Why didn't you just let him go? Isn't that the easiest?"


"What you say made sense! I know it does!" Naruto cried out. "But Sasuke is mine! As long as he too, doesn't want to let go, then I won't! His marriage is just an appearance! He still comes home to me..." he moaned the last part out of his quivering mouth. That sounded desperate, as if he was convincing himself, seeking comfort from the truth he deluded himself to have.


There was silence between the two. After a few minutes, Naruto let out the thing that has been hurting him.


"Lately, Sasuke looks tired. He looks guilty. Whenever he kiss and made loved to me, he has this sad eyes. Whenever his phone rings and Sakura's name pops up, he grovel? Yes! Fucking kneels and all, asking for forgiveness because his wife needs him!" he almost spit those words up. That was the hardest thing he had to admit that it took all of him. He knew Gaara would not judge, but it still hurt his ego.


Another uncomfortable silence, then Gaara decided to puncture that, "Naruto, you already know what you have to do, right?"


"Yeah.. That's the sad part." he smiled while he pursed his lips. 'Raising a kid with all three of us? How idealistic!" A sob still escaped despite his efforts to control himself.




It was seven in the evening and the lovers were currently enjoying the appetizer that was served to them. Naruto admitted this was a pleasant ambiance. How long has it been since they were out like this? He already forgot. Weekends were spent with Sakura and those were only the days Naruto was free. He's still in school finishing up college, unlike Sasuke who already had his Bachelors degree. He belongs to the Uchiha Corp. a big shot company. Studying the ways of the company was the only thing he needed to learn. The degree was basically a formality; Sasuke has always been set from the day he was born.


The Uchiha were kind people, Naruto couldn't complain. Sasuke's parents and older brother adored him. They were equally broken and saddened by the news that Sasuke cheated on him. The Uchiha parents' gave Sasuke a stern scolding and Mikoto was kind enough to visit their home and cooked for Naruto his favorite Ramen. Winds changed, however, when news of their grandchild landed their ears. Though they pity Naruto, Sakura holds their vote. She, after all, was carrying an Uchiha heir.


Sure, there's Itachi⁠?Sasuke's older brother⁠?who can produce kids as well. Though they weren't expecting much from him. He was broken and gave up on love years ago after he lost his lover. Naruto didn't asked much details, but he got an idea that it was Shisui: their cousin and closest person to Itachi.


There was also the fact that the Uchiha never dishonor their family that was why Fugaku asked their youngest to marry Sakura. Sasuke knocking-up someone and doesn't take responsibility? It was inexcusable, unheard off, and just damn looked down upon.


"Yeah.. I guess that's how it should be.." Naruto muttered, resting his soup spoon.


"Excuse me?" Sasuke asked, raising an elegant, ebony eyebrow. His eyes always on Naruto, gauging the blond's expression. He knew Naruto went to the doctor for his anxiety and panic attacks. He also saw some new pills on their medicine cabinet. He asked his brother to check what was that for and found out it was an anti-depressant pill. Sasuke didn't like how this situation was straining his ever sunny beloved. He couldn't be more sorry for causing the man grief.


"hmm.." Naruto shook his head, eyes darted towards the waiter approaching them, ready to serve the main course.


The raven haired had no choice but to let Naruto be. He doesn't want to pressure him more than he should. Whenever he pressed the wrong button, Naruto ends up having his attacks and Sasuke's soul was ripped in pieces every time. It was3 as if he was afraid to even touch the blond without fearing the man would explode on him.


Sasuke's physically, emotional, and mentally tired as well.




Naruto looked at raven haired man in front of him, the usual flawless skin Sasuke has was now blemished by eye bags, ruining his face. His complexion was paler than the usual. Naruto was sure Sasuke wasn't sleeping well, especially when he was forced to share Sakura's bed. Naruto knew at some degree that Sakura loves Sasuke, but Sasuke loves him, not her. Above all the crazy things that has happened between them, Naruto was sure that Sasuke's heart belongs to him and no one else.


'Not for long though.' Naruto thought when his mind wandered to the unborn child, soon making Sasuke happy. He can't helped but laugh... He was this man's lover since middle school. Now he was reduced to be the paramour.


"What is it, dobe?" Sasuke asked, his tone has a color of annoyance in it.


"Sasuke, I'm tired.." he said in a raspy voice. True to what Naruto said, Sasuke saw Naruto's eyes detached and half-lidded.


"Okay, I'll bill out..." Naruto only gazed at the wall behind Sasuke, chin rested on his wrist. Even though Sasuke wanted to ask what was the Naruto's problem, he knew he shouldn't. It was obvious this was all too much for his beloved.


After they settled their bill, Sasuke silently escorted Naruto to their car, he opened the door for him like he usually do whenever Naruto is in the mood to be treated as a princess. Though, the Naruto now just wanted to get home and rest. He cried so much earlier that his energy was drained.


When they reached their home, Sasuke took a quick shower. After he was done, he saw Naruto already covered himself under the duvet, resting on their bed. He sat besides the blond and ran his hand through those silky locks. "Naruto, why don't you take a shower?"


"I'm tired." was all the reply he received. Sasuke can't helped but sigh. He let Naruto do as he pleased, hoping his lover would adjust to the situation soon.


"It's weekend, aren't you going to sleep at Sakura's place?" Naruto asked surprising Sasuke.


"Well.. there were complications.. You don't want me to sleep here?" Sasuke leaned down and kissed Naruto's shoulder that was exposed from the covers.


Naruto sat straight and frowned, "Stop that!" he raised his voice that scared Sasuke for a moment.


"Stop what?" he hissed back. Sasuke didn't like how this looked like it was going to be another fight.


"Stop hiding things from me! Didn't we already agreed we three are going to raise the kid?! So tell me, why the fuck are you hiding things? Tell me! Tell me how her check-up goes, how's the kid? What's happening now?! I don't have a fucking clue!"


By the time Naruto was done with his outburst, he was panting heavier and he was rubbing his chest vigorously. Sasuke panicked for a second before he decided to turn on the lights, temporary blinding Naruto. He ran to the kitchen to fetch water and let Naruto took few big gulps.


"I understand.. I'm sorry.." Sasuke said.


After Naruto calmed down, with a little help of Sasuke massaging the man's chest and letting him lie down, Sasuke started.


"Sakura, she.. she said she changed her mind about allowing you to be part of us. She said she loves and me and tried to convince me that it would be best for us to start a real family. I don't want to stay there, so I asked her to calm a bit. It was probably the hormones talking.."


"Haha!" Naruto laughed and covered his eyes with his right forearm while his left hand clenched the sheets. Sasuke saw the tears streaming down the sides of Naruto's temples. It was wetting the pillow covers as well. Grabbing the blond's arm, he yanked it out of the man's face. Wanting to see the Naruto's face.


What he saw broke his heart. The blue orbs that were warmly greeting him with shine whenever he comes home all tired from the days' weary, were now broken and hurt.


"Naruto, what do I do, baby? Tell me," Sasuke buried his face on the blond's neck.


"I don't fucking know, Sasuke!" Naruto hissed back. He tried to pushed Sasuke off the bed, he was not in the mood for him, but the raven was relentless. Amidst Naruto's muffled sobs, Sasuke showered him with apologies, and promising that everything would be alright soon. The kisses Sasuke gave him felt desperate and hungry that Naruto couldn't helped but give in.


It was far too long since he felt that hungry kiss.


"Mhm," a moaned escaped Naruto's throat as Sasuke pushed his tongue inside the blond's mouth while he pressed the blond's chin to force the man in opening his mouth. Naruto welcomed it after a few seconds, making Sasuke release his hold⁠?battling tongues inside. The kiss was not sweet, romantic or anything like they used to do. It was lonely, impatiently; trying to fix the gap that has wormed its way between them.


Sasuke's slowly made his way on top of the blond, separating his lover's legs and situating himself between them. He caressed Naruto's thigh while the man under him writhe. The moans became louder when he started to assault Naruto's nipples, palming one while he nibbled on the other.


Naruto's tanned hand ran through Sasuke's midnight locks, bucking his hips, needing the friction between them. He was not disappointed when Sasuke started dry humping him, slowly rubbing their growing erections pressed together.


"Naruto.. I love you so much.." was whispered to Naruto and the latter can't helped but shiver. Damn he missed this so much, he needed Sasuke so much.


Sasuke littered his neck with kisses, sucking and biting in between. They continued to rub each other, feeling the friction and hot breaths in each others' skin.


Naruto's hands worked its way under Sasuke's shirt, already ready to remove the offending clothes between them, when he was stopped and startled by a knocked on their door.


"Open up, Sasuke!"


They recognized the voice, it was from Itachi.


The lovers stopped what they were doing and hastily tidied themselves, before Sasuke answered the door nervously. Naruto lingered behind.


Knowing Itachi, this must be serious, for the said older Uchiha never visits without purpose. He's a busy man after all.


"Wh-what is it, nii-san?"


"It's Sakura, she's in labor.. We've been calling you, but you turned off you phone and I don't have Naruto-kun's number as well." Itachi said with his cold, seemingly uncaring voice. His ebony eyes darted a glance towards Naruto and nodded once. Even his greetings were short and cold that Naruto was used to it. He knew Itachi is a good man, and always placed his brother's happiness over his. His attitude doesn't bother Naruto.. he was used to the Uchiha brothers answering with nods or 'Hn,' after all.


"I...I'm..." Sasuke stuttered and Naruto slapped his lover's shoulder a bit harder than he intended to, causing his palm to stung.


"Calm down, teme! Go and change clothes, now! Bring your IDs with you!" Naruto yelled and Sasuke blinked once before he left in a hurry to get changed.


"Naruto-kun, our parents' aren't here, so you can come if you want to. I know your arrangement with Haruno-san. I'm sure Sasuke would like you to come as well," Itachi said that caught Naruto by surprised.


"Thank you," Naruto really wanted to come, and he was glad Itachi understood their situation. He also appreciates the fact that Itachi addresses Sakura as 'Haruno-san' even if this was only done whenever they were alone. This still means so much to Naruto. It made him feel Itachi was his supporter, and not on Sakura's side. Though there wasn't a competition to begin with.


Not a moment too soon, Naruto and Sasuke was dressed and ready to go to the hospital.


Itachi gave them a ride; the two passenger were nervous and fidgety all throughout their short journey. When they reached the hospital, Sasuke and Naruto stormed inside, leaving Itachi to look for parking.


"Uchiha Sakura, where is she?" Sasuke asked the receptionist, still trying to catch his breath.


"And you are?" the nurse asked while she looked for the information asked.


"Uchiha Sasuke, she's my wi..wife.." Sasuke stumbled over the words, and Naruto behind him turned his gaze away. He bled every time he heard that word.


"She's still in delivery, she had preeclampsia. The doctors had no choice but to do a Caesarian operation on her. Please go to left and wait outside Delivery Operating room: A." She handed Sasuke some information slip he needed to sign - and soon Itachi was behind them, making calls. It seemed like Sakura's condition was worse than they thought it would be.


They were silent for a while, Sasuke tapping his foot while Naruto bit his finger nails. Naruto was genuinely worried for Sakura and her daughter. Despite everything, he also loves the pink-haired woman.


Sakura was somewhat a part of Naruto's life before this whole thing with Sasuke. She was one of his close friends, taught him many things at school, protect him from bullies, ate lunch at school together. They laughed and cried over silly things. They fought and made up; they were friends. What hurts Naruto too, was the fact that he really can't hate Sakura. Even though she seemed brash, she is a sweet and caring girl. Often misunderstood because she has a bit of temper.


Naruto knew Sakura loves Sasuke.


Then again, he really can't blame Sakura for loving Sasuke. He's a bastard, but an easy to love one once you get to know him. That, and there's also the fact that being a mother to a child while you have to see your husband goes home to someone else must hurt like hell, too. Naruto sighed. All four of them, the kid included, were really unfortunate. No matter what they do, they would end up hurting everyone else.


They were quiet for a while, waiting on the news when Itachi tapped his shoulder and gave him a cup of coffee, the same one Sasuke has. Naruto thanked him and they seated together, while Sasuke paced the floor.


Sakura's parents together with the Uchiha elders were out for a short vacation when she called Itachi. She was throwing up that afternoon, and was emotional when Sasuke said he needed to spend time with Naruto, for the said man was having a hard time. Little did they know that she was suffering from high blood pressure that'd caused her status now. She was losing proteins by the minute from throwing it up and peeing it. Lucky, she was well enough to call Itachi and he immediately went to her place to rushed her to the ER.


It was understandable that Sasuke feels guilty.


After a few hours, the doctors stepped outside the ER carting a very tiny, pale, baby girl being pumped with ambu bag. She can't breathe on her own, for her lungs was still weak.


"Oh, God." Sasuke gasped. In pain as they followed the cart in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit.


They were asked to wait outside, for they carried germs. Hurting as they did, for they can see⁠?from the glass window⁠?the doctors attached tubes on the baby's feet. She was really small, and scary tiny; being under-develop. She needed to stay in the incubators to mature herself, immediate concerns for her lungs.


Sasuke broke down. He felt the pain, saying his 'if only's' like a prayer, while he stared at his daughter. His tiny, weak looking baby girl.


All the while, Naruto stood back and cried behind. Itachi rubbing the said blond's shoulder for comfort.




Few hours later, they were allowed to see Sakura. They were broken too, when they saw her.


She was pale, her eyes had dark circles over it. She has oxygen tubes wrapped around her ears and stuck on her nose. She's thin, scary thin. Naruto had no idea she looked like this.


All this time he thought he was the only one suffering. He couldn't be so wrong.


"Sa.." Sakura opened her eyes and saw Sasuke and Naruto together, she gasped and started crying as well.


"I'm so sorry. I'm sorry, Sakura-chan.." Naruto grabbed her hand and kissed it as he wailed.


"Naru.." she was overwhelmed. It has been a while since she was called 'Sakura-chan' by Naruto, she admitted it was rather lonely to be called 'Sakura' by his blond friend.


There were tears of joy, and sadness in that room. All three knew where they were headed now, but can't put it in words. Sasuke was the one being affected the most. He knew the moment Naruto kissed Sakura's hand was the moment he lost his beloved.


Naruto had given him his unwanted freedom.


"Nii-san..." he called to his brother while the two Uchihas' left Sakura and Naruto to talk.


"Yes?" Itachi said, looking over his exhausted little brother with eyes that were, surprisingly, softer. Uncharacteristic of the older brother.


"Please, look after Naruto while I look after my family. He needs someone to be with him.." Sasuke said with a sob. It was killing him too, but his girls needed him. Sadly, he can't really juggle two lives together, now he knew. He needed to do what was right for the sake of their sanity.


"Alright," Itachi said as he let Sasuke used his shoulder to release his anguish.


Today, life has not been kind to four lives that revolved around Itachi. At least, he can offer a little bit of help.











song is Fall out by Marianas Trench.


note of interest: Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman whose blood pressure had been normal. Even a slight rise in blood pressure may be a sign of preeclampsia.


signs and symptoms of preeclampsia may include:


-Excess protein in your urine (proteinuria) or additional signs of kidney problem, Severe headached, Changes in vision, including temporary loss of vision, blurred vision or light sensitivity, Upper abdominal pain, usually under your ribs on the right side, Nausea or vomiting, Decreased urine output, Decreased levels of platelets in your blood (thrombocytopenia), impaired liver function, Shortness of breath, caused by fluid in your lungs


source: mayoclinic.org

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Chapter 2: With or Without you






~Through the storm we reach the shore


You gave it all but I want more


And I'm waiting for you


With or without you


With or without you


I can't live


With or without you


And you give yourself away


And you give yourself away


And you give


And you give


And you give yourself away~





The problem in being together with someone for so long is that you don't know how to function without them. That certainly was the problem with Naruto.


He stopped moving forward the day he decided to end it with Sasuke.


It has been exactly two weeks since that night at the hospital. For the sake of everybody, Naruto decided to gave his love up. He knew Sasuke would choose him if ever he ask for it, which was why he never did. The minute Naruto saw how torn Sasuke was?seeing his daughter struggling to live, Sakura deadly pale, thin, stressed out and suffering too?forcing to continue with their relationship would break them all down. He wasn't that heartless.


Naruto knew he would be unhappy for the rest of his life while he ask for whatever morsel of time he can have with the man. He won't be satisfied with that either.


There's also the little girl; how the hell was he supposed to compete with Sasuke's wife when he has nothing, while Sakura offers him a family? Naruto dreaded the day that Sasuke would leave him on his own. Call it pettiness, Naruto would rather be the one who leaves, rather than the other way around.



"Done with thesis?" a cold hand patted his back while his mind wandered again with the 'what went wrong?' lamenting.


"Hey.." Naruto gave a weak smile to his Professor, Iruka. "Yeah, done. I was about to have you check it out.. Have the time?" he asked the brunette and the said man pulled a chair beside him while he studied Naruto's face. Worry evident on the man's eyes which somehow comforted Naruto.


"Give it here, I'll check it out this afternoon," which Naruto did and gave the data to his godfather and Professor.


Throughout the University, the gossips never died down around the blond. They were confused as to why Sasuke married someone and that someone was not Naruto. Some of the jealous ones stated their relief; they were not pleased with Sasuke having Naruto as his lover. The couple, in which Naruto admitted himself, were hated because Sasuke would not shut up and chill, showing how possessive he was over the blond. That ruffled some feathers in the past.


News spread like wild fire when Sasuke stopped picking up Naruto, and the said blond was pedaling his bike to the University instead of being ferried by Sasuke's expensive car. Of course Naruto's closest friends already graduated last year, so he had no choice but to tough it out and let the people talk behind his back as they pleased.


It didn't mean their words did not affect him, though. It surely did.


"Naruto, why don't we have lunch toge-


"Iruka-sensei," Naruto interjected. "I'm going home for today, my classes already ended. Please let me know if I needed to revise my thesis.. you know where to call," he gave the older male a smile and gathered his things.


"O-Okay. See you Naruto. Make sure you rest, your face is so pale." the blond nodded to him as a reply.


As Naruto stalked out of the library, Iruka saw some of the girls pointed and whispered to each other. He wanted to go over and ask them what was their problem, but he was caught by the arm by his Colleague and lover, Kakashi.


"Let them, it'll cause Naruto more problems if we interfere. Just look out for the kid, 'kay?" the eye that wasn't covered with mask or hair showed indication that Kakashi was not happy with the situation as well. Sasuke and Naruto were practically their sons, for they'd lived near them. They grew knowing the two and were so sure they would spend their lives together.


Needless to say, the couple were equally torn and disappointed as well.




Days like today dragged as usual; Naruto moping around their house, him going back and forth ? wondering if he should call Sasuke and ask how's everything.


He knew he ended it himself, but if he was being honest, he was definitely regretting it. He clearly loves Sasuke. Losing him was equal to him losing half of himself ? half of his sanity.


What should he have done? Ask Sasuke to stay? He doesn't want that, yet he does. The contradictions inside him were too much to bear, especially at night. The time when his lover usually gives his nape soft kisses as they spoon and cuddle together. Now all he has were nothing but sheets, pillows and ceiling that seemed to be coming closer the longer he stared at it.


What's been tormenting him as well was his phone. Why wasn't it ringing? And when it does, the name didn't flash the person he wanted to talk to.


"Goddamn it!" Naruto threw his phone to the wall of their, now his, house. Realizing what he has done, he dove and picked up the scattered pieces of the broken gadget.


"Shit, no!" his eyes watered instantly, trying to place the battery back, trying to smoothly fit the casing back. He pushed the on and off button, sadly, the phone wasn't working.


"No!" Naruto wailed, nursing the piece of electronic closer to his chest.


"Naruto? Er, your door is open.." Iruka and Kakashi decided to drop by that evening to ask the blond if he's interested in having dinner with them. It looked like they came at the right time, for the said man was crying ? gasping in agonizing sobs, hugging his phone while he laid down on the cold floor.


"Oh, Naruto.." Iruka went to his side, pulled the man to sit and hugged him with all his might.


"What's wrong?" he asked the blond while Kakashi set the food they brought on top of the counter. He took a bottle of water in the fridge and sat behind Naruto while he patted the young man's back. He gave Iruka the water and latter offered it to Naruto, which was refused with a hard pushed.


"Okay..." Iruka gave the water back to his lover, and shook his head. It looked like Naruto broke down.


"My..ph-" Naruto whispered.


"What about your phone, Naruto?" Iruka asked in soothing tone.


"Sa-Sasuke's pictures! I'm so-sorry! I didn't me-mean to throw.. it! Ugh..Waah!" Naruto cried some more, now having difficulty breathing. Choking on his words, and probably his snot.


Iruka couldn't helped but cry as well. Kakashi was sad too, though they were no tears like Iruka.


They could practically hear, see and feel Naruto's pain. He looked like he was ready to collapse anytime soon.


"It'll pass.. Don't give up.." Iruka said as they tried to comfort Naruto.





-Ding Dong-


The doorbell rang, which made Naruto's heart leaped faster. He knew this was the day Sasuke scheduled to get his things, and he doubt the man would come himself knowing Naruto would be here. Still, there was the tiny hope that he would.


"Damn, traitorous heart," he muttered as he hurried towards the door from his bedroom. He smoothed out his shirt and tugged it a few times before he opened the door.


"Itachi?" he said in a strained voice. He didn't expect the older Uchiha to pick up the things instead of Sasuke, or his secretary.


"How are you Naruto-kun?" Itachi invited himself in, leaving his shoes neatly tucked on the shoe rack. He was followed by a fidgety blond while his eyes scanned the place.


He looked at the boxes stacked near the entrance way, "Looks like you're ready," Itachi's voice was softer than usual, somehow irritating Naruto. There was no need for the pity. Naruto was a man of his words.


"I packed so that Sasuke can pick it anytime whenever he's free. I was informed by his secretary that he was going to pick up his papers that he left in his study. Che! I should've known he's not going to show up..." Naruto pouted and showed his obvious displeasure about the situation.


Itachi raised one eyebrow towards the blond, "I thought you said you didn't want to see him?" reminding Naruto of his very colorful way of breaking up with the younger Uchiha.


"Okay! Fine! I slugged his face, he kinda annoyed me. He was clingy and out of character, I'd rather him spar the fuck with me, rather than that," Naruto chuckled remembering their last exchanged of punches, "Sasuke is such a bastard, I just hope he'll change..." he exhaled loudly and looked at Itachi.


"Anyway," he guided Itachi to sit at the bare looking living room, "I'll make some tea, surely you have time for one, ne?"


"Can I have coffee instead?" He was in the mood for it, though he doesn't usually drink one.


"No. I don't have coffee. And.. the coffee maker's inside one of those," Naruto turned around without even pointing what he meant by 'those'. Itachi isn't stupid though, of course he got the meaning. Naruto already packed the coffee maker, along with Sasuke's things.


The tea came swiftly, which Itachi admitted was nice. Naruto sat on a bean bag, relaxed on the floor. They didn't need to have small chats, they never do. It was one of those things he does with Naruto over the years of seeing the blond together with Sasuke. He was somehow comforted by the fact that even though Naruto can't and won't shut up, he never really invaded Itachi's need to be left alone. Unlike Sakura who tried her best?well meant or not?to talk to the older Uchiha. He prefers people like Naruto, someone who can sense the mood, if you will.


When he was done with the tea, he rested the cup on top of the coffee table and looked at Naruto for a brief second. The blond looked...lost. He decided to get on with it and spoke.. "A company would come pick up the boxes, I'm just sent here to fetch some of the things Sasuke needed for his work. Would you mind pointing me where are those?" Itachi asked and Naruto thinned his lips for a second, looking like he was thinking where he placed what Itachi'd asked.


"Come with me then..."


They both walked through the narrow corridor, which Itachi admitted to be too big for the two. He knew Sasuke purchased the house for Naruto and him, but he didn't think Sasuke would be willing to give the ownership to Naruto. Somehow he nodded to himself. He knew Naruto is still a student, not having to rent a place would mean lesser burden on the man.


"I placed Sasuke's things in these boxes, but his library still needed to be sorted out. I was hoping to talk to him about it. Kinda wanna have some of the books here, quite frankly," Naruto stated matter of fact. Itachi knew Naruto doesn't have an underline intention there. He nodded, somehow admiring Naruto's attitude towards everything, which was why he likes him more than Sakura.


She is a nice and smart girl, and Itachi was sure that some people would find her beautiful, but Itachi would always be a Naruto supporter. Naruto knew Sasuke deep down that handsome and perfect son facade.


Naruto openly calls Sasuke a bastard, a whiny brat, an indecisive fool. Itachi likes how Naruto never hides his attitude just to please the crowd.


"I'll leave this to you then, cause.. I can't be here," Naruto smiled, showing a hint of sadness in his tone. Though he was smiling towards the older Uchiha, Itachi knew Naruto was suffering.


"I understand. Would you be here, or?"


"I'll be at my room if you need something from me, just knock," Naruto pointed at the room at the end of the hall which Itachi remembered to be a guest room. The room he usually sleeps in whenever he stayed over.


Itachi understood, Naruto doesn't want to stay in their former room. That'd be too much to handle.


"Hn," he nodded and Naruto was gone.


Itachi looked around the study cum library and noticed a few things. There were two desk: one tidy, one messy. One can see whom those belongs to. He went to the tidy one, deducing it was Sasuke's. On top of the mahogany wood lies a few things commonly found on someone's study. Some papers for taking notes, a clock, pens and holder, folder organizers. Itachi decided to take a seat, while he grabbed an empty box to take the things asked of him by his younger brother.


However, his gaze was caught by a small photo frame. Naruto and Sasuke, sat side by side. Naruto was flashing a wide smile while Sasuke, at first glance remained expressionless. Itachi knew otherwise. His brother's eyes showed a color of happiness, lips curled a little smile. It seemed like the photo was taken during their high school graduation. Both boys holding diploma. Naruto's hair was longer then, reaching the back of his nape, while Sasuke has the same duck butt hairstyle.


Naruto looked like he was so happy in the picture, they both do. Now his brother was an empty husk, functioning routinely. Which saddened the older Uchiha.


Itachi debated if he'll take the photo. Looking at Naruto, it seemed the man is the sentimental type. It would be bad for him if this memento was kept here. Sighing, Itachi took the photo frame, deciding what to do with it later.


He opened the drawer and saw the same usual things: a pair of scissors, paper clips, adhesive tape. He knew those were just excess to carry, it was best to leave those for Naruto to use. Opening another drawer, he saw something unusual. A bottle of lubricant, two sachets of condoms and a fur covered handcuff. A smile crept to his face. 'It's not a big deal, really. Those two were probably having sex in here.' He decided to pile those in the trash.


"Well then," he said as he was done with the desk. The files he was asked to retrieved were carefully place inside a brief case he brought over. The rest would have to be segregated, though reluctantly, he did so.


He decided to place a call, leaning back to the chair he was in. His eyes caught something again and snorted. Sasuke's ceiling was filled with badly drawn doodles. One with Sasuke with an oddly drawn penis. A speech bubble next to it, saying 'Hi, I'm Sasuke.. My penis is smaller than Naruto's.'

Another doodle has Naruto kicking Sasuke with a speech bubble, 'You teme! Don't forget your meals!' among other random things.


Itachi wondered how Naruto got up and drew it there. This was probably the small thing the blond did when he was pissed with Sasuke, or just his playful manner.


"Nii-san?" the man from the other line answered.


"Yeah. I've already collected what you asked of me, though there's something I'd like to ask," Itachi said, his eyes never tearing away at the lovely scribbles on the ceiling.



"Naruto placed your things inside boxes and was wondering when will you get it. I lied and said a moving company is coming. Ah, when I say things, I meant all of it. Even spoons, ladles, coffee maker.."


There was a brief silence between them then Sasuke's breathy voice caught Itachi by surprised, "He's being unreasonable! There was no need to go that far!"


"Is he? I don't think so. This was his way of coping, at least give him that." Itachi answered sternly which was returned with momentary silence.


"Hn, fine! I don't need it Nii-san. Please arrange it to be donated."


Itachi thought about it for a few seconds before he answered, "I'll keep it inside my home for two weeks so you can go through it. You might be surprise with what you find," Itachi paused and decided to tease Sasuke, "By the way, otouto, I didn't know your dick's small and bend to the side."


"You! Are you still in my study?"


He only answered Sasuke with a chuckle. Itachi can hear his younger brother sighing heavily before he spoke again, "Nii-san, can you.. please take a picture of those doodles?"


Itachi frowned, he sat up straight slowly and hummed, "I won't do that. I'll contact the moving company and ask them to rush now to take your things. Let's not prolong Naruto-kun's suffering, shall we?"


With that, Itachi cut the line. He stood up and resolved to check up on the blond. Last time he saw the man, he had a little weight on. He was always been healthy, not thin and buff. But now he saw the man had cheeks hollower, protuberant eye bags, messy clothing, and unkempt hair.


Just like Sasuke, Naruto was not handling their separation well.


"The poor kids," Itachi shook his head as he went to the common bathroom. If Naruto wasn't staying at the master's bedroom, then there was no doubt he's using the common one. Itachi went inside to check on things.


The inside were clean enough, actually smelling a strong hint of lemon and lavender cleansers he remembered as Naruto's favorite. Though there was no mirror which was odd. He opened the medicine cabinets and checked the inside.


There were razors, shaving cream, kits for enema (which made the older Uchiha cringed for some reason), a bottle of aspirin and lotions.


The medicine below deck made him sullen though. There was a bottle of sleeping pills, already down to half, though it looked like it has been a while since Naruto had it refilled. There was also Prozac bottle which was down to one pill. The prescription note said it needed to be refilled tomorrow, which was relief to Itachi. At least Naruto wasn't skipping or overdosing in antidepressants.


He decided to close the medicine cabinet and check the kitchen. Like the rest of the room, it was bare, nothing but water and protein bars. He felt angry for some reason but understood that it was probably a big hurdle for Naruto to go out and buy food.


Itachi contacted his secretary with specific instruction to rush the movers ? to be precise, it has to be done today. If Kisame has anything else to say, he did not let Itachi hear it. Risking a glance at his schedule, Itachi decided to move all of his appointment for tomorrow.








Naruto felt the kitchen was kinda noisy for his taste. He was staring at the ceiling, listening to some music that afternoon when something came crashing. He knew it was the movers or maybe Itachi roaming around. He has no intentions to stop them, he just simple didn't care.


Minutes after, he felt the noise was unbearable and decided to check what the heck was happening now. The moment he stepped out his bedroom, his nostrils were greeted by the scent of a familiar dish his sense of smell and taste was missing.


He ran towards the source and called out, "Sasuke?!"


To his surprised, it was not the Uchiha he was expecting but the older, colder one. He scowled for even thinking Sasuke would come home and cook Ramen for him. The teme never even gave him a call.


"Sit," Itachi commanded, pointing towards the breakfast counter. The blond was about to say something to object, when he realized they weren't alone in the house. Few people emerges from the outside, heavily sweating and chatting with each other.


"Oh, hey. You're up..." Naruto saw Gaara looking at him, using the sleeves of his shirt to wipe the sweat of his brows.


"Itachi-san, we're going to go, I have night shift." Kiba, also one of Naruto's friend smiled at Naruto and walked to him fast, "Look at you!" he exclaimed and cupped Naruto's chin. "You're so fucking thin, dude. Seriously, take care, 'kay?"


Naruto swatted his friend's hands, his gazed wandered to the people standing near them. "Why are you guys here?"


It was Shikamaru who decided to answer, "Troublesome. Itachi-san asked us to help moving some stuff and packing things. Anyway, eat. We have to go," he also walked towards Naruto and gave his friend a squeeze on the man's shoulder. Naruto knew Shika for a long time, and this gesture was enough to let him know that he really did made his friends worried about him.


"I'll stay here," Gaara said, pulling up a chair next to him. Itachi, who remained silent took another bowl, it seemed like there will be more who'll be joining them for dinner.


"Thank you," Itachi said as Kiba gave Itachi a key and turned around to collect their things. Kiba and Shikamaru shares one apartment, and both were working for Uchiha Corp. Specifically, under Sasuke's command.


They're the friends Naruto and Sasuke gained during high school, hanging out with them from time to time. Both have girlfriends, Shika with Temari - Gaara's sister. Kiba with Hinata - Naruto's friend as well.


"Thanks guys, I'll see you soon, yeah?" Naruto called out before the guys were out of his sight.


They were silent for a few minutes, hearing only the slow boiling of the broth, while Itachi chopped up some onion leeks. Naruto knew Itachi knows how to cook, and does it well, unlike his brother who only knows how to reheat things from take-out boxes. What made the blond confused and equally touched was Itachi went out cooked for him. Itachi never cooks for anyone but for himself, as he heard from Sasuke.


"We came," Gaara said, deciding the quiet was unbearable for the blond, "..cause Itachi-san said he wouldn't know which ones of the thing inside that library were yours, or.." Gaara trailed off.


"Oh," muttered Naruto.


Right then, Itachi served the bowls of Ramen. It looked okay, simple with two cuts of meat on top of it, egg and onion. There were also different kinds of toppings Naruto usually see on a Ramen he frequently ate. Itachi must've researched on how to do it, or ask Mikoto for the recipe.


He took the chopstick and clasped his hand together, "Itadakimasu," he said, slowing mixing the noodle bowl before he took one large slurp.


He was silent for a while, Gaara eating his own food, Itachi seated opposite of the men, quietly sipping his tea. His white button-down shirt's sleeves were rolled up, his hair was tied higher than he usually wears it. Somehow, if it was possible, Itachi looked more handsome.


"This is horrible," Naruto sniffled and continued to eat.


"Hn," Itachi hummed.


"The egg needs to be boiled longer,"




"The meat is not tender," Naruto continued to sniffle, Gaara offered him a handkerchief, his eyes were soft, looking at the quivering shoulders of his blond friend.


"Hn," Itachi reached out to Naruto's hair and ruffled it. Naruto froze for a bit as he stared at Itachi. The older Uchiha didn't liked how Naruto's eyes were bloodshot, but didn't say anything else. Instead, he brought two fingers and poked Naruto's forehead, enough to left a little reddish mark. With what appeared to be a smile he was wearing, Itachi said,


"You did good, Naruto-kun,"


With that, Naruto cried quietly and ate.


"You 'hn'ing' bastards," he muttered and Gaara snickered.











song is with or without you by U2


notes of interest: Prozac or fluoxetine is a synthetic compound that inhibits the uptake of serotonin in the brain and is taken to treat depression.

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chapter warnings: LONG CHAPTER! [this is mammoth, lol] OOC, swearing, Cheating, physical attacks, gay relationships, talks of abortion, depression, drama, jealousy, ATTEMPTED SUICIDE, mentions of character deaths (past), mentions of mpreg (past), made up medical practices, un-betaed chapter! please, forgive the mistakes. [English is my third language, not counting the dialect/s i use.] no character bashing! everyone has their burdens to carry..


Again, please read the warnings. if anything triggers you, then please don't read. be responsible for your mental health. this is not a safe space to say the least.




~Lost and all alone


I always thought that I could make it on my own


But since you left I hardly make it through the day


My tears get in the way


And I need you back to stay


I wander through the night


And search the world to find the words to make it right


All I want is just the way it used to be


With you here close to me


I've got to make you see


That I'm lost without your love


Life without you isn't worth the trouble of


And I'm as helpless as a ship without a wheel


A touch without a feel


I can't believe it's real..~




Another two months went by on a blur and things have slowly settled in. After the excruciating break-up they had, surprisingly, Naruto and Sasuke settled down with their own lives.


On Sasuke's part, his baby girl coming home from the hospital took most of his attention. Helping Sakura cope with her Postpartum Syndrome also made the raven busy. If he had time to think of Naruto, that was when the quiet starts. At night after everyone went to bed.


It was so unlike him, as Itachi'd pointed out, to drink himself to sleep. But he did. Even if he already accepted that Naruto's already a part of his past, he still can't help but love the dobe.


Sakura is great. She showed everyone just how much she'd be willing to put out with Sasuke's difficult attitude, that much the raven can concede. But being with her, though acceptable, wasn't enough.


He guessed that it'll take time to fall out of love with his former lover.


That night, same as always, he drank himself to silly, not bothering if he had to wake up nursing a headache. He let him burn from the scotch going down his throat.


The maid that hasn't come to sleep saw Sasuke seated by the bar counter. "Eh, good evening, sir. I was about to rest for the night, is there anything else you need?" the old lady asked the Master of the house.


Sasuke looked at his now empty bottle and to the maid, "Hn, can you... cook Ramen for me? Instant is okay," he asked and she obliged, though confused.


After she gave Sasuke's ramen, she went to her quarters, ready to rest.


Slowly, Sasuke sipped the broth. He really wasn't fond of the noodle, it was just tasted too salty for his taste. Still, he finished the bowl almost too fast before he set the bowl in the sink.


Naruto has that habit of leaving unwashed dishes in the sink so he can clean them all the next morning, which Sasuke always had problems with. Their house was cleaned by the dobe and him sometimes, so seeing the dishes compelled Sasuke to wash it himself.


"Damn.." he said out loud as he rinsed the dish bowl. It has been a long time since he cleaned it himself. Their house?Sakura's and his?had two help: one nanny and one maid. Those were requested by Sakura, since she can't handle everything herself. She, however, made sure to cook for Sasuke and fix his things for work. If she can, she also cooked Sasuke's lunch. Though, being an Uchiha with lots of appointments for the day, it was not advisable to bring bento for he always went out to eat.


Really, there was nothing he can complain about Sakura. Except for a few things ? she wasn't a blond, her eyes were not blue, she has no whiskered scars across her cheeks, she wasn't tanned, her voice wasn't raspy and loud enough. She's not Naruto.


Sasuke sighed and relaxed himself in the living room. He turned the TV on, volumes on mute. Remembering about Naruto exhausted him too much lately.


Thinking about it, people often asked him how come he loved the blond, especially during his college days, where girls and guys flocked by his side. Naruto isn't from a known family, and he was somewhat embarrassing to be a company whenever they went to a social gathering. Of course people would be curious. If he was being honest with himself, he doesn't know the answer either.


Naruto was part of the orphanage Uchihas founded and supported for a long time. Sasuke was two the first time he came to the house where he saw Naruto, from what his brother told him. He has no clear memory of that early, of course. Regardless, ever since then, they were playmates.


During their kindergarten years, Sasuke's feelings towards the blond became obsessive and over-protective. He doesn't want Naruto playing with other kids and only wants the male for himself.


Grade school was no different. Sasuke saw how Naruto spent his time with his friends from public school and didn't liked it. Especially how Naruto spent the afternoon with Sasuke telling how he spent his day with his 'other best friend' aside from Sasuke. He remembered how his hate for Gaara started. Since then, Sasuke asked his parents to enroll himself to public school, too.


Middle school, when teens were starting to experiment with their sexuality, Sasuke and Naruto got into making out. Naruto was his first kiss, and one afternoon, his first sexual partner as well.


He was vaguely aware that he liked the blond and the feelings were mutual. As to why they never went out or verbally talked about their feelings before ? that was because of Itachi and his male cousin Shisui.


The two were dating at that time, and though they weren't heavily accepted, no one dared to say anything. Itachi has always been the best at everything. A genius. Giving him the freedom to choose whom his heart belongs to shouldn't be a problem.


Except it does.


Years ago when the birthrate became dangerously low, Governments around the world decided to let males carry pregnancy as well. They genetically altered human DNA, experimenting for a few years before producing a male body perfectly capable of carrying human inside his stomach.


It gathered a lot of praises and some raised eyebrows as well. But years passed and the gene has continued to their parents and on to the younger generation.


Everything sounded so perfect until it was proven that its mostly fatal for the male carrier. Often one out of ten males who carried full term died in labor, despite the advancement in technology. It wasn't only that. Males who got pregnant, suffered twice as much pain and symptoms experienced by women during their term.


For this reason, Itachi refused Shihui to carry their child.


The older Uchiha that time was barely out of his teen years himself, however, was matured enough to voice out his reasoning. He wasn't going to sire an Uchiha heir and that was final.


Their parents somewhat accepted that fact. And they did, for a few years.


Later they found Shisui carrying a child. The only contraceptive males can effectively use that time was condoms and those fails a few sometimes. That time, Itachi just boarded a plane for Germany. He was just a fresh graduate and needed to handle some business there under the tutelage of their Uncle, Madara. Everyone consciously decided that Shisui should carry the child without letting Itachi know, for the said Uchiha would definitely ask for an abortion. They can all see that Itachi would pretty much do anything to keep the man by his side.


Shisui, pressured and emotional, kept the pregnancy from Itachi until he came back. And so three months after, Itachi went home to a pregnant lover, past abortion period. Needless to say, Itachi went crazy and hated everyone, including his unborn child.


Shisui became depressed, but said nothing else. Somehow, their lives continued with Itachi slowly accepting that they would have a child soon.


Sasuke saw with his two eyes how in one night, the expected good news broke his family apart.


Itachi was frantic from their bedroom, calling all of them to help him for his said mate was in labor. Shisui looked pale and Sasuke blurted out that he looked dying. Because of that, he received a good slap from his brother, the first and hopefully the last one.


It wasn't a full term pregnancy. Shisui only carried the child for six months, until his body couldn't handle it anymore and died, taking the unborn with him.


Itachi blamed everyone. Blamed himself, blamed the government of old, blamed Shisui and blamed the child.


He stopped living.


From then on, the image of Shisui dying in his brother's arms was etched in Sasuke's memory. Every time he held Naruto, he was crazy and careful. They always wore condom and if that was not enough, he also pulled out before ejaculation. He kept reminding himself that he wasn't going to lose Naruto like how his brother lost his beloved.


That didn't stop the man to have dreams of family someday though. Unlike Itachi, Sasuke wanted kids. Not because of the pressure from the family, but he truly felt... empty. He was sure that a family without kids was just as important to those with. However, he can't help but wished for more. His partner nursing their child in his arms, while he wrapped his arms over them. His child with his name going to school. Calling him daddy, them playing in the park. Him sharing his car with his grown up son, teaching him how to drive. That kind of future.


Sure, Sasuke really did love Naruto. But somehow, he wished for something more.


Every now and then, without the blond's knowledge, Sasuke? cheated.


Call it testing the water or foolishness on his part.


He loves Naruto, and was sure that he would spend his entire life with the man. However, everything became mundane with their life and sex life.


There were a few times that his brother caught Sasuke and harshly scolded him over that fact. At the back of his mind, he knew that was true. He knew that when Itachi said that Naruto would be broken if he knew, was true, yet he didn't stop.


From the time he started cheating to various occasions, it took two years for him to quit. That was the time when Naruto almost died from dengue.


He realized his foolishness. What was he doing? Why was he testing fate like that? His blond safe in his arms, that was his only joy. He realized life would be so empty without his dobe. He promised he wouldn't hurt Naruto ever again.


Yet, five years later, Sasuke found himself into the arms of another temptation.


Sakura- their friend, a brave and honest girl, brazenly admitted at one point that she liked Sasuke but knew Naruto was his mate. She wasn't going to go in between them and just wanted to let her feelings known.


Then months later, Naruto and Sasuke fought one night, him really hating on the blond. What were they fighting about? Sasuke already forgot.


He drank the night away and things got out of hand resulting to this day. Maybe his promise was the only reason why he admitted his mistake the following day. He couldn't accept the fact that he broke his oath. He learned firsthand the idiom 'What you don't know won't hurt you' for he really hurt the blond. He saw how Naruto, from that day on, crumbled around him.


To say he really regretted everything he has done towards Naruto would be an understatement. If he can go back in time, he wished he didn't hurt the blond, with or without his knowledge. If he could take back all those times he held someone else and came home to a smiling Naruto, he would. He would trade anything.


In all honesty, Sasuke loves Sarada, his daughter. But sometimes?a tiny while?he wished she wasn't born. Or she was born with Naruto, and not Sakura.


"Too late.." he muttered as he let sleep take over his body.




Sasuke started his day late, he woke up after Sakura scolded him that he drank himself again. His head throbbed painfully as he tried to drown her nagging so early in the morning. It was not like he thought she was wrong, he was just not a fan of 'tough love'.


His day at work resumed as usual. His brother heard the news that he came late again and the said Uchiha dropped by his office to check up on him. He asked how everything was which he answered truthfully. "Everything sucks,"


Itachi chuckled and shrugged. His perfectly tied long hair swayed as he went out Sasuke's office.


Since Sasuke was busy that day, the time went by so fast that he was reminded to go home when his stomach started to protest. He saw the clock on the wall, "7:00 pm, huh?"


He gave the okay for his secretary to go home and gathered his things to go home as well. As he was walking towards the hallway, he saw Itachi coming out too.


"Just finished with your work?" he casually asked as they both walked towards the parking lot.


"Yes," Itachi's short reply.


"Why don't you come with me, let's have dinner together..." Sasuke offered but was refused instantly. His brother wore a light ambiance, his hair was let down and he looked relaxed, neck tie already removed. "You have a date," he teased his brother while he leaned his hand on the hood of Itachi's car.


"Well, a friendly date..." Itachi corrected his brother and started the engine, though he still hasn't close the door, allowing a few minutes to chat with Sasuke.


"Eh? Friendly date? Like hanging out, without the prospect of romance and sex?" Sasuke raised an eyebrow.


"Hn, why are you so surprise? When have I dated someone?" Itachi asked, raising an eyebrow as well.


"You never dated anyone, but you took your lovers on a date. There wasn't friendly with those,"


Itachi looked at Sasuke, trying his expression. "If you really must know, otouto, I am hanging out with Naruto." Itachi looked as impassive as always that caught Sasuke off guard.


"Why?" asked the younger Uchiha which Itachi answered seriously.


"I like Naruto, not romantic, not sexual. He's? charming. While you call him 'dobe', he's really smart. Plus, we have something in common." Itachi trailed off. He closed his car door while he left the window open, indicating he can still chat, but not for long.


Sasuke stood frozen for a few seconds, his mind wandering. Itachi and Naruto. Itachi with his Naruto. Naruto with his brother!


"In common?" his voice sounded more desperate than usual. He hasn't realized it, but he was shaking as Itachi can see. The older Uchiha sighed audibly, he thought his brother was really foolish.


"We're both broken.." with that, Itachi nodded and bid him good night.


The black Nissan 370z rolled out as the machine purred softly. Itachi stuck and arm out and waved one last time before he was out of sight.


Something inside Sasuke screamed and begged for mercy, wanting to die then and there. He hadn't thought about it - the idea never crossed his mind. His Naruto moving on, finding another to give him comfort. Naruto smiling for someone, him saying 'welcome home' to, or kissing someone good night. Why'd he think Naruto wouldn't move on?


He panicked. He stepped inside his car in haste and floored the gas. He was desperate to catch up with his brother. He wanted to know what was going on. The pounding of his head that he thought ended by the time he drank his third cup of coffee started punishing him again.


After a few minutes of struggling through traffic and nearly causing accident, Sasuke found his brother's car outside their former home. The home Naruto and him shared for years.


His hands that gripped the steering wheel held tighter. He gritted his teeth in annoyance. He was ready to go down, punch his brother in the face and accuse Naruto of things he was sure Naruto wouldn't do in a million years. Though irrationality was winning, and his chest was hurting as a result. When Naruto got out of their home, he had a huge grin on his face. Sasuke can make out what he said, either 'Did you wait long?' or 'Sorry for making you wait'. Doesn't matter, Sasuke said.


He watched as Naruto got inside the car and they drove off. He carefully followed them, sure that his brother would recognize his car, but didn't care. He wanted to see what the heck were they doing.


It was not that he doesn't trust Itachi, he knew very well what kind of a guy his brother is. What bothered him was Naruto. Was he really moving on and forgetting Sasuke?


The car he was tailing stopped at a restaurant, Naruto's favorite. The two went inside, side by side. He scoffed and thought Itachi was such a show off. He never ate a restaurant such as this, what was he doing with Naruto eating there then? Sasuke asked himself.


He saw them seated near the window, he waited for them to come out. From the distance, he saw Naruto speaking freely to his brother. He observed his beloved, somehow his anger grew more. Why was Naruto laughing so heartily? Itachi has never been the kind to make someone laugh. Heck, he doesn't even hold a proper conversation.


He waited and waited. He saw them finished their meals, it has gotten late and it seemed like Naruto ordered a bag of takeout like the usual. Itachi paid for them and opened the door for Naruto. For a mere 'hanging out' like his brother claimed, it sure looked like he was properly dating Naruto.


Sasuke can't breathe. Since their break-up, he wasn't able to properly cry himself. He had no luxury for that kind of grief. His wife was in the hospital and it took her a few days to actually move. His daughter had a very difficult situation, and though his in-laws and parents were there to help him, Sarada needed constant care. Sasuke was often besides her, soothing her very tiny hands with his gloved fingers. His feelings towards his lost loved was often pushed to the sides.


Now this. Naruto looked so damn happy with someone new, date or not. Have he moved on already?


Itachi and Naruto got in the car once again and Sasuke started his, tailing them as before. He sure was glad that it was night time, and it would be hard for Itachi to make out his car, for he would definitely won't live this down for the rest of their lives.


They didn't stop at Naruto's house this time. Instead the two went inside a supermarket nearby their housing district. Said market closes at midnight, which gave the two pretty decent time to shop. Sasuke debated if he should go in, but decided not to in the end. So like earlier, he waited for them to come out.


This kind of hanging out was so domestic, and looked so? Sasuke couldn't really swallow what he was thinking, but it really looked like Itachi and Naruto was dating. Somewhat in a steady pace. No one wants to shop with their friend, right? Especially if it's Itachi. Such stoic and uncaring attitude the man has.


"Who am I kidding?" Sasuke muttered. He knew no man better than Itachi which was why he was so torn. There was no doubt that Itachi would love Naruto, for Naruto is perfect. And there was no doubt that Naruto would love Itachi, for Itachi is perfect.


His phone rang, startling him a bit, which made him pressed the car horn for a second.


"Yes?" he asked a little annoyed.


"Sasuke-kun? Are you still at work?" Sakura asked.


Sasuke clucked his tongue and ran a hand through his hair, "No. I'm out. I'll come home late, don't wait up.."


"Oh, okay. Please take care."


Sasuke felt a pang of guilt for some reason. He knew he was being unkind towards Sakura which she didn't deserve, so he changed his tone and asked how their daughter was.


"She's fine. Though she didn't nursed much. I'll go ask mother tomorrow what should I do."


"Alright.. sleep early and don't forget your meds," he didn't wait for her to answer and cut the line when he saw Naruto and his brother going out the establishment. It seemed like Itachi carried the shopping bags and Naruto was eating ice cream. It looked like they didn't shop for much, probably a few things Naruto needed.


They got in the car and drove slower than earlier. Somehow Sasuke's jealousy burned more. Slowing down in going home was definitely because of Naruto. The blond has a habit of asking Sasuke to slow down because he doesn't want to go home yet, he was still enjoying their time and would want to prolong it even for a few minutes.


Sasuke was surprised that his eyes were spilling. He can't believe he wasn't with the blond. What was he doing with his life? What has he done?


He was dying inside.



Naruto enjoyed a long bath that evening when he heard something crashing inside his home. He was scared and was ready to take a call when he heard someone calling his name in an angry manner.


"Sasuke?" He asked, confused that he was probably hearing things... again.


Naruto wore his bathrobe and went to the living room and there he saw Sasuke looking straight at him. He pinched his cheek for a second, making sure he was not dreaming.


"Sasuke? What are you doing here, teme?" he asked now that he was sure he wasn't dreaming. Now that he remembered it, he still hasn't changed the locks of the entire house.


"Naruto, are you dating Itachi now? Is he my replacement? Another Uchiha you snagged, huh?" Sasuke spew accusing poison towards the blond which made Naruto instantly pissed.


"Hah! Real fucking mature, Sasuke. You march in here and you say that? That's the first thing you say to me in months!" Naruto was hurt. For a second, he thought Sasuke wanted to be with him again. He doesn't know what he'll do if it does, but it was still a nice feeling.


"What do you want? Isn't it you who wanted to separate from me? So why would I talk to you?" Sasuke moved closer to Naruto and the latter backed up.


"No, I didn't do this to us. You did!" Naruto yelled.


"I told you! I fucking told you that I wanted to raise Sarada with you! Why did you gave up on me?"


Naruto's eye twitched in annoyance, he was doing great moving on, with the help of therapies that Itachi helped him to and now the source of all his pains was in front of him, seemingly blaming him for things he was not guilty of.


"I'm so done with this shit.." Naruto muttered and went to the phone to call Itachi. He wanted Sasuke out of the house and soon.


"Answer me, you fucker! Are you dating Itachi?" Sasuke grabbed Naruto's hand and the other struggled to get out of his hold.


"Who I date is none of your business, Uchiha-san."


Sasuke saw red, he was furious. He grabbed Naruto's neck and tried to choke him for a second but Naruto has always been strong, so moments later, he received a good blow to the stomach.


"You!" Naruto rasped out while Sasuke struggle to breath as well, "You have no right, Sasuke! No right to barge in here and mess me up all over again! You said you wanted to raise Sarada with me? Ha! Don't fucking make me laugh!" Naruto yelled out, his eyes were already spilling out. It seemed like all he does was cry because of Sasuke.


"Yes. That's right! We agreed it was-


"I had no say in that matter?" Naruto interjected. "You came in here and told me Sakura was pregnant. You didn't gave me enough time to think things through! You came in here..." Naruto paused to slam a palm on his chest. Sasuke winced for it sounded like it hurt, which probably did. "You came in here and told me you're getting married for appearance and would like to continue our relationship! Did you have any idea how much that fucking hurt me? It literally felt like a knife went through my chest!"


"You're being so dramatic! Nothing will change if you gave me a chance!" Sasuke was annoyed. What else he could do when he was being pressured to marry her? At least he wanted Naruto to know that he was the one he loves.


"I have given you chances, Sasuke! How long have we been together? Did you really fucking think I didn't know about your sexcapades? The time you slept with your secretary, Karin? The time you had a fling with Sai from your University?" Naruto looked at him with a face full of anguished. Sasuke was surprised and stood frozen looking at those detached blue-eyes. Naruto knew all that?


"That wasn't all, right? Those nights when you said you had to work and went out of town? I saw the receipts of hotel accommodations, your spa trips. The gifts you purchased? Sasuke, I handle our credit card payments?what are you trying to do to me?" Naruto slammed another fist on his chest and Sasuke moved closer so he can comfort Naruto. It seemed like the blond was having difficulty breathing.


Naruto moved away and literally spat on the floor.


"Was it Itachi who told you? Did he tell you so he can look like the good guy here?" Sasuke asked which made Naruto laughed like a mad man.


"That's so like you, Sasuke. Blaming someone else for your mistakes..." Naruto chuckled and continued, "No. No one told me anything. I just knew. You weren't really secretive about it, you know. It's as if you're asking to be caught, so egotistical of you by the way." he paused some more and finger combed his blond hair.


"But I forgave you. I continued to show the same smile I always did. I smiled and loved you like I've always been, since you know.. I have nothing to offer you but that.." Naruto looked at Sasuke and cried while smiling. "I guess I'm the forgiving type, Sasuke. The kind of husband who'll overlook things his partner would do because of love.. And somehow I understood you as well. There are those people like you, that no matter how much you love your partners, you still couldn't keep it in your pants.. I just tried to close my eyes. As long as you come home to me, I thought it's going to be alright.."


"Then.." Sasuke gulped hard, he moved closer to Naruto closer "Please forgive one last time and let's start over." Sasuke's voice was softer. It has been a long time since he saw Naruto. He admitted that he did not liked what he saw. Naruto was so thin. His cheeks were hollower. His complexion was paler. Did he do this to his Naruto? Sasuke can't help but despair.


"I did. I already forgave you and Sakura. But I don't want to do this anymore, Sasuke. Don't you think I deserve more? More than a cheating bastard like you? I'm so tired of crying Sasuke, you have no idea how hard these past months have been for me.." Naruto said.


"A family. If you and I get together, them somehow-


"You married her..." Naruto interjected. "You married Sakura and gave her your name. You married her, and not me. That was supposed to be me." the blond said very softly. His eyes were so... tired.


"No, no. Baby, my Dad asked me to marry her, remember? Please believe me that you're the only one I love. I'm sorry for my past mistakes, I really am. Please, you gotta believe me!" Sasuke couldn't contain it anymore and hugged Naruto. "Dobe, you're so thin. Are you eating well? Look at you!" Sasuke cried and kissed Naruto's impassive and unresponsive lips. He tried too hard to push his tongue inside the blond's mouth, but Naruto closed his shut. Sasuke was so tempted to push Naruto to the sofa and start disrobing the said man, but he held himself. He doesn't want to hurt Naruto more than he already did. The blond's shoulder sagged and he dropped to the floor.


"I don't want this anymore, Sasuke. You need to leave."


"But I love you..." Sasuke knelt and cupped Naruto's face, forcing the blond to face him.


"You should've fought for me then. Uchiha money and name or not, you should've chosen me," Naruto hissed back.


"I know.. I'm really sorry!"


"Leave, I'll call the cops if you don't. Thanks to you, I own this house and you're not welcome here anymore.." Naruto stood up shakily and pointed Sasuke to the door. "Leave, Sasuke.. I don't want to see you for a while..."


Sasuke had no choice but to do what Naruto had asked. He needed to collect his thoughts as well. He was so sure that his secrets remained secrets, oh boy was he so wrong. So it seemed Naruto always knew but kept it inside. How many years did Naruto cried over this? He really was a jerk back then. How come he didn't notice it sooner? Now that everything was dragged into the light, Sasuke remembered seeing Naruto awake at night, crying on the sofa or their bedside. The blond often said it was the book he was reading, but now that he thought about it, it often happened when he came home from his affairs.


"I'll come back once we're both calm, please eat... I don't deserve it, so stop harming yourself," Sasuke gathered his coat that he removed earlier and went out the door.



Itachi woke up in the middle of the night by a call. At first he stirred in his bed and tried to ignore it. He knew Sasuke was following them earlier and it was probably his brother being drunk again. But the call continued for a while that he had no choice but to check who it was.


"Naruto?" he immediately picked up when he saw the caller ID.


"'Tachi, can you please take care of my fishes for me..." Naruto said, sounding really different than his usual self.


"Why? Where are you going?" Itachi asked, his phone nestled between his shoulder, neck and chin. He knew something was definitely wrong with the blond, so he hurried himself to get dressed.


"Somewhere far.. Can you take care of them?" Naruto asked.




Itachi heard Naruto chuckled and said his goodbye. By then, Itachi already was dressed and the man grabbed his keys to go to the blond's place.


It didn't take time, he was there in under ten minutes, breaking many traffic laws as he goes. When he came inside using the spare key he had, he searched the house frantically. There was no sign of any struggle and he sighed a breath of relief. He knew at some degree that Sasuke would probably come, he was glad that it looked like there was no fight.


"Naruto?" he called but there was no answer.


He swiftly checked every room he could, seeing it only empty. Then it occurred to him that he haven't checked the master's bedroom. Maybe because Naruto refused to use it that it didn't occur to him that the blond might use it.


He opened it swiftly and saw Naruto lying on the bed, his wrist bleeding profusely.


"Fuck!" Itachi went to his side and used his hair tie as a tourniquet. Naruto has a pulsed but his breathing was shallow. Itachi called his secretary to arrange the hospital and everything. Calling for an ambulance would take a few precious minutes off the blond's life. When he was sure that the tourniquet was tight enough, he took towels in the bathroom and wrapped it over the arm as well, before he picked Naruto up and took him to his car.


He drove the hospital, calling Naruto to wake him up. The blond fluttered his eyes a few times and seemed like he wanted to say something, but can't. Itachi shushed him, gave him soothing words. A few minutes more and they were outside the hospital, with a few staffs and doctors outside. The hospital was partly owned by him and Itachi was known there. Kisame did a good job giving the doctors the details of the emergency and they were quick to take Naruto to the operating room.


Kisame gave Itachi an ice bag for his arm and shoulder. No matter how strong you are, carrying a full grown man would strain your muscles and make it sore. Itachi accepted the gesture and waited outside.


"Should I call your family?" Kisame asked and Itachi scowled. His family was pretty gung-ho over Sakura and Sarada that they sometimes badmouthed Naruto, intentional or not. Stuff like it was good that they have her now, for they now have a child to give joy to their house.


Itachi can't help but relived the nightmarish past he had. All because they thought it was their sons obligation to sire children.


"No. I'll tell them when I know Naruto's condition,"


Kisame said no more.






It was Sunday, the day the Uchiha family gather around their mansion to spend one day together. There was Sasuke and his family along with Mikoto and Fugaku, enjoying their lunch as they gushed over their baby.


"Sir, Itachi-sama has arrived." the maid announced and Fugaku sighed.


"Ah, dear son. It was about time you showed up. You were missing a few days, where have you been?" Mikoto asked as Itachi pulled a chair to sit. He was offered food but he refused to eat so his plate remained empty. He even refused to remove his jacket.


"I'm with Naruto for a few days," he answered which startled everyone. Sasuke most of all, for his utensils clattered on his plate.


"What? So that boy was after you now? Tch! And here I thought he was so much more than that! I should have known he was after the money..." Mikoto wiped her mouth with disgust and Fugaku shook his head, as if agreeing with his wife.


"Sasuke, aren't you going to defend your beloved?" Itachi asked, eyebrow raised towards his brother, which took Sasuke by surprise.


"Itachi! What are you saying?!" Mikoto looked at Sakura nervously and back to Sasuke who kept opening and closing his mouth like a fish.


Itachi sighed, "I guess I can't expect anything from a coward like you.." he said as he pulled a piece of paper from his coat.


"This is the title to your house, Sasuke. The one you two lived together, he gave it back to you. So much for a gold digger, no?" Itachi placed the paper on top of his empty plate. "I will also make sure that Naruto would file a Temporary Restraining Order against you, in claims that you are a harm for his health."


"What are you saying, son?" Fugaku asked, looking really confused about why Itachi looked so angry at them.


"Naruto.. he's suffering from depression for almost a year now, receiving treatments for it and taking medications. He got worse when he broke up with Sasuke the day he had Sarada,"


Sakura's eyes widen and stared at Itachi and the said man continued.


"Yes, Haruno-san. Sasuke didn't choose to stay with you, Naruto broke up with him so that he can get his shit together,"


"Language, Itachi!" Mikoto gasped.


"I don't have time to play nice, Mother," he said to her and drank a few sips of water.


"Then when he was finally doing fine, my foolish little brother decided to pay the man a visit. Needless to say, Naruto's wounds reopened. He? was pushed over the edge and slit his wrist a few days ago." Itachi really wasn't comfortable saying that. He was angry with Sasuke and his family.


Sasuke stood up and asked if Naruto was alright and where was he. But he got nothing from the older sibling. Itachi just painfully stared at him, at his mother and father and Sakura.


"You.." Itachi said with a low voice, his teeth gnashing in anger, "You all threw Naruto's feelings aside for such a selfish reason. Because you wanted grandchildren and false promise of a happy family. You even bypassed Sasuke's feelings and forced marriage down his throat," Itachi said and while Fugaku tried to say something, he continued, "Don't tell me it was for his best, that it was for his happiness. Just look at him for a second, will you? Look at Haruno-san. Look at Sasuke.. Where's the happiness?"


They remained quiet for a while until Sakura started crying. Itachi sighed when his Mother patted her back and stared daggers at him. "Naruto is your friend, Sakura. Did you really think everything would be alright after that? And you Sasuke, what the heck are you doing with your life?"


Sasuke didn't answer, he doesn't have anything to say. Naruto tried to kill himself because of him, what else could he say.


"I won't be coming here for a while. To be honest, you all disgust me. Naruto has been nothing but good to that cheating bastard, and all he received from you guys, after all these years, was you badmouthing him." Itachi wanted to say more, oh so much more. But he said too much already and it'd be futile to say more.


"Expect me to file TRO for Naruto against all of you too, he doesn't need this kind of superficial familial love."


Itachi stood up and turned around. He heard his Father yelling threats at him, Sasuke calling his name and asking where Naruto was, but he did not looked back.


It seemed that his family has, yet again, failed him.




That afternoon, Itachi was done moving Naruto's things to his house. The blond had agreed to live with him temporarily. He did what he asked and transferred the deed back to Sasuke and now the blond was homeless.


After he let the interior designer and movers in, he let Kisame handle the rest and drove back to the hospital.


He specifically told the doctors not to tell his family about Naruto. After all, Uchiha Itachi was the only Uchiha with stock invested in the hospital. His family was not interested in small profits.


Naruto was given a room for himself, the best Psychologist and best care they could provide. Though Naruto was weak, he kept looking better. The Doctors already suggested that he can come home tomorrow if he was up for it.


The reason why Itachi was willing to help the blond, if he's being honest with himself, was because he saw himself and Shishui in Naruto. He was broken by the Uchihas which left such sour a taste in his mouth. He has no problem with Sarada. In fact, he did find her cute, and admitted he loves her as well. But marrying Sakura was such a bad move for Sasuke. Now Sarada would grow up with parents in loveless relationship. That was not something she should live with.


With such situation, the best Itachi could think of was Sasuke marrying the one he truly loved ? Naruto.


Letting Sarada grow up with his single mother who loves her with a father and his father's husband who equally loves her would be the best. There was also a possibility that Sakura would move on and finds someone who cares for her and child as well. Isn't that a good thing?


Yet his foolish brother and parents failed to see the bigger picture.


"Good afternoon, Itachi-sama." a nurse greeted him which he answered with a nod. He opened the door to Naruto's room and saw it was empty with the IVs pulled. It seemed like Naruto took it out himself.


He ran outside and asked the nurse in station where the patient. She said he was there last time they checked, which was fifteen minutes ago.


He asked the hospital staff to search for the man, only to be startled by screams outside. Naruto was on top of the hospital building, standing on the ledge.


Itachi ran towards the rooftop, despite the warnings from the Doctors. He was not licensed negotiator after all.


After he opened the door, his ears were rewarded with such sweet melody. Naruto was singing something while he balanced himself over the ledge. Even at such tense situation, Itachi found the scene momentarily peaceful.


Itachi slowly walked towards him, he knew Naruto already knew Itachi was there.


"I can't anymore 'Tachi. I want it to stop. Why am I so weak?" Naruto asked.


Itachi hummed as a reply. The truth was, he was scared of the situation. He already asked the doctors to call for help, but still.. - "Are you really weak?" Itachi asked which took Naruto's attention.


"I wanted to kill myself to not hurt anymore, isn't that weakness?" Naruto asked without looking at the man.


"From the perspective of others, then yes, you are weak. For me, you aren't... I was like you before... I wanted to die as well..." Itachi said. There was something in his tone that made Naruto believed him, so the blond turned his head towards Itachi.


"What did you do, then?" he asked.


Itachi squinted his eyes, for Naruto was reflected by rays of the setting sky. He walked closer, not wanting to startle Naruto.


"I was scared to take my own life.. I tried, but it really takes a lot from you to take your life. That's what they don't know. It was scary to hold that knife to your throat, to pull the trigger, to drink those pills, to hang that noose around your neck."


It seemed that Naruto was having an inner battle and Itachi decided to continue, "So Naruto, I won't call you a coward if you jump. I really won't.. This is your life, and you decide how you want to live it, or to end it for that matter."


Naruto's eyes widen. He let Itachi come closer.


"If you decided to jump, I promise you I will take care of your funeral. You have my word that from the day we let you rest, I would visit your grave every day before I go to work until I am able and until the day I die." Itachi said which made Naruto cried. The blond said thank you to the kind Uchiha. The only Uchiha he trusts now.


"But.." Itachi added, "If you jump towards me, I promise I will catch you. You don't have to be alone anymore, Naruto."


Itachi opened his arms and moved closer again, he was now directly below the wall ledge Naruto was standing on. Itachi could hear the firemen and policemen below, the clamor created by this mess. He could see the restlessness in Naruto's eyes. He could hear Naruto's anguished through his sobs.


He stretched his hands more. The only thing he can do was hope that Naruto would jump towards him. One would think that he would grab Naruto the moment he tried to kill himself, but Itachi won't. Naruto tried to kill himself once. He wasn't going to let the man torment himself anymore if he really can't live this life. He knew very well how hard it was.


"You'll really visit me?" Naruto asked which made Itachi's heart leaped inside his chest. So that's how it's going to be? He said to himself feeling the bile rise to his throat. Nevertheless, he smiled to Naruto and nodded.


Naruto was silent for a while and asked, "You really won't let me alone anymore?"


Itachi again nodded.


Naruto screamed a long suffering howl, cursing Sasuke and Sakura. Cursing Sarada, cursing the Uchihas. His feet wobbled and almost lost balance. The people down below screamed from the scare.


Naruto closed his eyes, a genuine relieved smile spread across his face...


..and he jumped.



~But someday soon I'll wake


And find my heart won't have to break~










a/n: the song is Lost without your love by The Bread

anyway, sorry for this such sad chapter. things will get better... [ i hope


let me rant about depression for a sec- it isn't all sad episodes, sometimes its you losing your sense of time, being bored with everything, you don't care about everyone even yourself, always angry.. sometimes its even you being inappropriately happy, negative thoughts, you have no interest with your friends and activities that made you happy before.. they all said depression are for those who are weak, but is that really the case? people kept forgetting that the brain has its own way of shutting down when struck by grief or shock. or, simply by i dunno.. depression is a sneaky son of a bitch, i tell you.. it's not a pleasant prison. you even scare yourself. scare your love ones.. it isn't something that can be cured by 'you can do it! i believe in you!'.. its a serious disease that killed far too many.. so if you feel like you have the symptoms, then have yourself check. you're not alone..

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Chapter 4: Landslide




a/n; thank you very much for the subscriptions,kudos, comment--everything! you guys are awesome and i treasure each and everyone of you! sorry if i can't reply to each one if ever there's new comment for this chapter.. i have limited net access D: but reviews fuels me to continue.. thanks so much!


chapter warnings: Slight OCC, un-betaed~ please forgive the mistakes!, Death mentions, cheating mentions, Itachi's musings/broodings basically, this chapter is slow...[slow burn gives me life! -manic laughter-] some character backgrounds, poignant, etc. i decided this chapter before some major shit storms in succeeding ones. /le shrugs/



~I took my love and took it down


I climbed a mountain and I turned around


And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills


Till the landslide brought me down


Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?


Can the child within my heart rise above?


Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?


Can I handle the seasons of my life?


Well, I've been afraid of changing


'Cause I've built my life around you


But time makes you bolder


Even children get older


And I'm getting older too~





It was Monday and Itachi woke up a minute before his alarm went off. After he took a quick shower, Itachi got dressed in pants, leaving out his shirt for later and dried his hair. There was no real reason why he kept it long through the years. He just got used to the look and he wasn't Itachi if he's not a creature of habit.


For years, he was afraid of changes. It felt like he was leaving a part of his life, which he admitted to be a hassle for some time. Not being able to change means stagnation, and that wasn't a good trait to keep. However, he has no problems with that for now.


Clinging to the past helped him cope with the losses he experienced at the end. And he has lost a lot.


After he was done with his hair, he went to check his personal emails like he usually does before he got out his bedroom, only stopping when he felt the hunger. By then, Itachi sauntered his way to the kitchen to check if there was anything he can eat. He only has one maid to clean and manage his house and that person only comes at lunch time, which was good for him. Itachi doesn't like company that much. Aside from keeping everything clean, Itachi doesn't require his maid to cook for him. He felt that was too personal.


Settling for a fruity cereal, Itachi took one bowl and quietly ate. He left the dish in the sink and went to chug the milk from the carton not caring his manners?it was near empty anyway.


A few more minutes and he was dressed.


By the time he got out of his house, Kisame and his driver already waited outside. He has three cars: one two-seater, one luxury SUV and one limo. The limo was insisted by his mother, and though it wasn't really his style, he agreed to purchase one so he wouldn't have to argue with her anymore.


It proved to be useful too. Like this day when he wanted to relax, he opted to use that one. A little extravagant for a day in the office, but he liked it.


So much for relaxation, though. His peace was disrupted when his phone vibrated, only to show his Mother's name. He has no time to talk to her, especially today. It seemed like she already forgot how important this day was for Itachi. He turned off his phone for the meantime, and frowned when he glanced at his Secretary who seemed to be evaluating his mood.


"What?" he asked and Kisame took a gulped before he answered.


"Sasuke-sama was caught last night coming outside the Hotel room. He seemed to be with someone."


Itachi raised his eyebrow urging his trusted employee to go on.


"It's a man. A model this time."


He said no more, Itachi's expression was sufficient. The elder Uchiha was irritated.


Itachi didn't want to deal with this so early, but having no choice, he ordered Kisame to buy everyone's silence, including the model himself. He sighed. His brother was constantly giving him headaches. He cared for the boy, but Sasuke was a foolish man. And it seemed like he wasn't planning to stop soon.


Itachi went in his office and his employees that saw him as he was passing, knew from his glares that they weren't allowed to disturb the man. Just outside Itachi's office, Kisame was busy firing calls while the others assisted him with whatever he needed. The boss on the other hand was typing furiously on his computer, taking small sips of the coffee that was served to him. Tea was too mild for his mood.


Itachi's eyes were caught on something when he leaned back and rested a bit. It was a picture of him and Shisui with Sasuke when they were younger. It rested on a platinum picture frame near the bookshelves he had in his office. He paused what he was doing for a moment and his mind wandered with what he was going to do with Sasuke.


While Itachi kept everyone at a safe distance so he can judge people and interacted with them accordingly, Sasuke has this constant need to be loved and fawned over.


Itachi didn't take this all on Sasuke, and of course the man wasn't faultless either. But Itachi knew exactly the roots of the problem.


To understand Sasuke, Itachi looked further down their lives. The Uchihas of the olden times were respectable and known to their influence in the Police Force. This continued generations after generations. Then their grandfather deemed it wasn't a worthy and noble life to live. To serve and protect sounded very ideal, but it's not exactly a comfortable life to live in.


They started to use their influence to sway some of the officials of Government to help them with businesses. At first they were all profitable, though the means were questionable. As they amassed money and power, they started venturing big. Owning properties, buying small companies, competing on bidding for government projects, though they weren't qualified. See, connections took them far.


Needless to say, by the time Itachi was born, the Uchiha clan became powerful enough, though corrupted.


He is a genius, and it was obvious that Itachi would go far. At such a small age, he already understood that he would not like to live in the shadows of his clan. It made him feel vile that his cousins older than him were bred to act accordingly, as if they were robbed of their childhood. And when Itachi?the star child and genius?showed miraculous talent, everyone was all over him, ignoring the kids they 'nurtured'. It made him sick even more.


At the age of 7, Itachi already voiced out his concerns on how his family dealt with small companies they were ruining as they go, on a day when he was brought to work for him to observe the company he'd be running one day.


Itachi has a heart, and his heart longed for peace. Heart and peace doesn't go hand in hand with business. Not their kind of business anyway.


By then, Itachi was brainwashed to move and do as they wanted. His imagination and intelligence that they should be nourishing were cut. Uchiha was bred to be cold and uncaring, and in his family, the elder's words were absolute. This made the little him developed the cold and calculating personality that he has. Observing people from a distance...


One day, Itachi told his Father that he find the man... pitiful. Living a life with only money and power in mind. Fugaku didn't like it. He didn't like how in the eyes of his son, he saw the things he didn't wish to discover about himself. Everything that Itachi said to him was true. He and the rest of the Uchihas knew from that day on that Itachi was someone they can't use.


Itachi doesn't blame his family for loving wealth. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it'll only be bad if you're using it for the misdoings, forcing your beliefs to your offspring killing them in the process. That, among other shameful things. He just thought Fugaku was such a weak person for being swayed by his elders and his equally power-hungry brother, Madara. Maybe his father himself thought there was nothing wrong with the way they do things, and that itself was a scary thought.


By then Itachi made his world by category. The good, the bad, the redeemable.


His immediate family were labeled and categorized 'Bad'. And those with 'bad' were shoved out of his life, one way or another.


A year after, Sasuke was welcomed to the family and Fugaku's world revolved around the young one.


But Itachi knew.


He knew that Fugaku opted to have another son, though his wife was very weak to carry another baby, was because he wanted someone he can actually control. He watched his father with eyes that can strip the man's soul. Since then he protected Sasuke from their hold. Sheltered him the harsh truth about their family.


As a result, Fugaku was furious and left Sasuke alone as well. He left his sons alone, hoping for the next generations. Itachi could never understand the need to be on top for a long time. Everyone has to die at some point, he himself wouldn't want to work until he's old and wrinkly. The money his parents have enough to even fund their grandchildren until they were old and have kids of their own. But he guessed the greed was ingrained in the man?and greed is evil. It makes you love material things among others.


What a sad family, Itachi thought.


Years passed and Itachi noticed Sasuke's attitude. The boy was in high school when he first caught Sasuke cheating. He was just months away from graduation and saw Sasuke leaving his room with another person which was not Naruto. He asked Sasuke and his answers were vague. He knew he'd be hurting Naruto, but can't stop.


It didn't end there as Itachi observed his foolish brother. Sasuke was starved for love, and while Itachi tried to accompany him everywhere and gave his brother everything he could, he himself was still young and green-horned. He knew that he could probably provide for Sasuke if he started working for another company, but Sasuke's bound by familial love. And while Itachi knew the horrible truth, he kept it from Sasuke. At least he wanted to keep the boy away from hurting.


Sasuke's constant need to be reminded that there were people who would want and love him was caused by broken and loveless home. Fugaku has no need for a son that doesn't do as he wished, and Sasuke worships his older brother, therefore, Fugaku has no use for him as well. Mikoto on the other hand was oblivious to her surroundings. It's as if she was blinded by the gifts showered to her. She has a 'one-track mind'. She doesn't have the capacity to handle many things at once and while Itachi loves her nonetheless, he knew his mother wouldn't be any help with Sasuke. Itachi saw how his brother was truly happy with Naruto, and though he often hurt the man to prove himself a point, Naruto was Sasuke's home?his safety net.


He truly wished for them to be happy. Though, that, too, was taken away from his poor brother.


In the end, his category for Sasuke was 'Redeemable'. He keeps the redeemable by his side only at a safe distance. That is until they turned into different categories. Though Sasuke is special to him, he wouldn't mind losing Sasuke if he doesn't change his ways. He needed to upgrade. He's not a little kid like anymore. Itachi'd seen enough bad parents around the Uchiha estate.


Itachi stared at his screen and the work that glared at him. He wished nothing more than to leave this company and take it under his family's nose. He wished for it to end.


All in good time, he said to himself.




Itachi frowned when he saw the name on his caller ID that afternoon. Why would his mother call him over and over? He sighed, resigning himself to answer the phone else she'll call his office number, or worse, she might actually barge inside his office. That'd be embarrassing.


"Hello, Mother. What brought this-

"You should talk to your brother!" she shrieked, which made Itachi moved the phone farther away from his ear.


He had an idea what's this about, but nevertheless asked her why.


"He was caught by Sakura, coming home with a lot of lo-love bites! She also saw Sasuke with dirty underwe... ugh! Anyway, please talk to your brother! There's a limit to doing such things! If your father hears about this, then he'll definitely be in trouble!" she shouted at the top of her lungs. That wasn't a good sign.


Itachi pressed his aching temples and massaged it. He sighed for the umpteenth time and promised her he'd do anything to convince Sasuke of changing his ways. She dropped the call unceremoniously and left Itachi in a foul mood.


What makes her think Itachi can convince Sasuke to stop sleeping around and cheat on his wife?


A scowl found its way to his face. All this talk about Sasuke started to bother him. It'd be bad if this goes on..


Which reminds him.. He'd been meaning to give Sasuke something for a while now.


"Uchiha-san? The car's already in front, Sir." Kisame called through the intercom, which startled Itachi in all honesty. He'll never got to get used to Kisame's voice over the speaker, it sounded funny for him. He paused for a minute before he gave instructions as he stalked out of his office unhurriedly. Kisame waited outside his office and immediately went to his side to help Itachi with his things.


Unlike the other days when Itachi wore dark, sharply tailored suits - today he wore a light colored ensemble. A white shirt with a navy blue bow. The lining around the edge of his white tailored jacket matched the color of the bow and the pockets as well. The pants, however, was a tad shade darker than the bow. His pants were straight skinny cut, length stylishly around his ankles to reveal a Ted Baker London Braythe Textured Derby shoes in dark. His hair was tied into a tight ponytail accompanied by his glasses with dark, large frames that Itachi wore lately to rest his eyes.


Overall, he had a casual vibe than his usual looks which made the ladies and the gentlemen to double-take and looked at him. There was no denying he's a handsome man that commands people to look his way.


"By tomorrow, everything would be sent to the Hyugas, along with the copy of the merger materials." Kisame reported while they walked.


"Nii-san," Sasuke called. From the looks of it, he was waiting for Itachi to walk by.


"Yes?" Itachi stopped for a second to eye his brother. He looked good despite the stress that'd probably plagued him for a few months.


"Are you coming to the cemetery?" the younger Uchiha asked as he looked at Itachi from top to toe. Sasuke admitted that his brother has a different style than he had. While Sasuke stick to the chic and comfortable style, Itachi has the modern feel to him, from time to time that is. Lord knows his older brother wore too much black even at home.


Itachi nodded as a reply and was on his way when Sasuke stopped him.


"Can I come with you? I finished my work for today," he looked hopeful. It has been a few months since they'd talked and while he tried to reach out to his brother, Itachi somehow got busy. The older Uchiha even went abroad for a few times without telling his family his purpose.


Well to be fair, Itachi did say he wasn't going to see them for a while. Especially after what happened, Sasuke told himself and felt his chest tightened.


"Sure. I'm sure he'll be happy that you came." he wriggled his finger to beckon his younger brother.


While they waited for the elevator, Itachi heard Sasuke fired a few instructions to Karin?his secretary?who wore too provocatively for an office environment. But that was just Itachi's opinion. As long as Sasuke was okay with that, then he has no problem with it. It certainly didn't affect him in the least.


The Uchiha brothers worked on the same floor and while Itachi's work station was bigger than Sasuke's, he doesn't have much staff, unlike his brother who have at least ten personnel in his department.


They were silent going down, even in the car park. Sasuke opted to join Itachi in his limo, since he was not in the mood to drive. As they entered the car, Itachi opened a bottle of Macallan 18 and raised an eyebrow at Sasuke, making the younger Uchiha sigh. Itachi poured a glass for the both of them, the younger one was apprehensive, but accepted it in the end.


"Gah!" he cried out as the heat of the Scotch Whisky burned his throat. Itachi chuckled and offered another glass, but he refused. Sasuke was desperately sucking on the fruits that was served by Kisame, seated opposite of them. Itachi asked the driver to play a music on, and they were silent all the way to their destination.


The weather that afternoon was windy - somehow dark and cloudy. As the driver parked and the three of them went out. Kisame carried the flowers and sweets?specifically Japanese tea cakes?they were to offer. Itachi on the other hand proceeded to borrow a wooden tub and ladle near the gates of the cemetery* and filled it with water. They were greeted by a few Priests, which they nodded and gave short greetings to.


As they walked towards the grave, Sasuke eyed Itachi and his silent form. If he wanted to say something, he held himself back.


When they reached the grave, Itachi commended how Kisame already managed to get it cleaned that morning without being asked to; the latter just said it was nothing much. Itachi then placed the incenses that Sasuke lit up, while the flowers were placed at the middle of the grave. The sweets they brought were near it as well.


After they were satisfied with their offerings, Itachi scooped the water from the bucket and carefully poured it over the grave stone.


Then there was a moment of silence. Kisame tactfully disappeared by then, leaving the brothers to offer their prayers as the incenses burned out. The ambiance was solemn; only the howling of the winds grazing the branches and leaves of the trees nearby can be heard.


After a moment, Sasuke was the first one to speak as he looked at his brother's back.


"Does the pain disappear, Nii-san?" Sasuke sounded confused and a tad hurt. Probably drained from his lost as well. That surprised Itachi for a while, then a smile then crept his face. The emotion was a bittersweet one..


Itachi took a few moments to pause before he shook his head, "You just get numb to it, but it's always there. It took a piece of me, I'm never going to get it back."


Sasuke clenched his fist. He understood the feeling, somewhat.


They stared at the grave for a few more minutes as the incenses finally died out. Etiquette dictates they should collect the sweets back for the birds can and will eat, which were harmful for them, not to mention the mess they can cause in the place. Kisame offered to do the cleaning and Itachi let him. Sasuke by this time was a few feet away from Itachi, staring at his older brother. After Kisame was done, he took the bucket with him and let the Uchihas alone for a few minutes.


Sasuke saw his brother placed a hand on top of the grave, with a face that showed forlorn. Sasuke's eyesight was good, and he somehow read Itachi's lips as he whispered.


"Are you resting well where you are?" the older Uchiha said to the owner of the well loved grave.


The sad form Sasuke saw somehow broke him as well.


Few minutes and they were back to the car. Itachi man remained impassive throughout the ride, though Sasuke could see that the man was sad since his brother kept on drinking and not saying anything.


It has been a while since he has seen Itachi since that day, and he looked the same, which was good. A lot has happened between them the last time, and frankly, a part of Sasuke was hoping not to see him as well. He doesn't have the right to, that's what he felt during those times.


"Sasuke," Itachi called, his voice void of emotions like the usual. Sasuke's heart leaped in his chest.




Itachi pulled something out from his pockets after a few seconds of fumbling. It was a little box that looked a container of jewelry. Sasuke took it and saw the familiar famous jewelers logo. He raised one eyebrow, questioning his brother. Itachi urged him to open which he did, the light inside the car was a little dim as they were passing under a bridge.


When they were finally out of it, Sasuke saw that it was a platinum hair pin with tomatoes design in it. He gave Itachi a questioning look, and before Itachi answered, he gave Sasuke another glass that looked like the younger one has no option but to take.


"Sasuke," Itachi started, his deep voice rang, "...be good to your daughter. In a few years, she'll also be dating someone.. You know what I'm talking about, don't you?" the older Uchiha spoke, somehow a gentler tone with him. The long haired Uchiha quaffed his own drink and hissed after. Kisame gave the man some grapes, which he took quickly.


Uchiha Itachi is a man of few words. He didn't need to explain further what he meant.


Sasuke looked down on the hairpin. It was cute?Sarada would look good in it. It seemed like Itachi went out his way to request it be made just for her. A small smile found Sasuke's face. Sarada's the only one who's keeping him from slipping away and it would break him if Sarada got hurt in any way. She was his pride and joy. His happiness with a seemingly monotonous life.


"Yeah," Sasuke closed the jewelry box and tuck it inside his suit pocket. "Thanks Nii-san."


He handed his glass to his brother and asked for a refill. Itachi then grunted their famous 'Hn' before he poured the man another one.


When Sasuke was in the middle of his drink, Itachi spoke - "You'll be getting back to the office though. I need you to finish the merger contract details." Itachi chuckled and Sasuke choked on his drink. He heard his otouto said 'this bastard' under his breath.




Itachi went home earlier than usual. He had nothing to do for the day and there was nowhere to go. Kisame and his other employees were stressed during the planning they'd had a few days ago and it was high time he gave them a well deserved rest.


He has been drinking from afternoon till dinner time, and though the buzz already went down, his stomach started grumbling. After a quick shower, he scavenged his pantry and fridge for something to eat. There was nothing that appealed to him, making him surrender to takeouts like the usual.


As he was towel drying his hair and looking at the menus, something caught his eyes. There it was, a plate of dangos neatly wrapped by a plastic sheet.


A note beside it said his housemate went shopping and would be back soon.


Itachi tore the plastic wrap and took one stick of the sweets. He sniffed it a few times before he ate. It was still warm, which means it'll take time before the blond goes home.


Naruto doesn't usually leave food for Itachi. They were living together, but they didn't mind each other much. Just saying their greetings in the mornings and at night time. Sometimes Naruto would watch TV beside Itachi until he falls asleep. Itachi by then covers the man with a blanket and by the time he wakes up in the morning, Naruto was already out. Either he was running, was going for an interview, or meeting with his friends.


That incident that happened four months ago, Naruto jumped towards Itachi and the man was more than relieved to have the blond by his arms. That doesn't mean everything was okay from there on.


No. Naruto needed help and he admitted to himself that Naruto has a long way to go before full recovery. He convinced Naruto slowly to go through rehabilitation in the US which the blond agreed, surprisingly, too easy.


Naruto said to Itachi that he knew deep inside that he needed help and with Itachi sponsoring everything, even showing emotional and mental support, Naruto got sent to a state of the art facility. Itachi from time to time, visited him?though it wasn't frequent. Still, Naruto got the privilege to chat with the man over email and found comfort with their exchanges.


During this time, Itachi was surprised by Naruto's range. Their topic was never boring; from music, to art, politics, and science. There was also an almost an unhealthy knowledge and obsession towards ninjas which Itachi found very cute. He really wondered why Sasuke called Naruto 'dobe'. There was nothing 'dead last' about the man. Everything around the man was interesting.


It didn't take long before Naruto was out of the 'Self-Harm' category in no time. Showing tremendous progress, Itachi decided to visit Naruto a month ago and asked the Doctors in-charge if it was possible to continue his therapies and recovery back home. They all agreed instantly with the condition that Itachi should arrange a living situation for the man so that he'll never be alone.


Itachi already moved Naruto's things to his place and would be hassle if he went out and find another apartment for the said blond. His own house was ridiculously big for his taste. Two stories, 5 bedrooms and a large backyard with garden.


The estate was sold to him by his friend when they were migrating to Canada and he was in love with the place. Particularly, the beauty of the Music Room. Not that Itachi can play anything other than Piano, which was ingrained through Uchihas (probably from the time it was invented).


He doesn't have any qualms living with the said blond and Naruto was up for it as well.


Truthfully speaking, they both know that they were.. lonely.


Why not brood, mope, and sulk together?


Itachi laughed at the thought.


Not long after, Itachi found himself in the said music room. It was facing the small garden he tended for some time now, whenever he was in the mood to work up a sweat without having to go the gym. The lights that illuminated it made it look beautiful. Itachi didn't want to be corny and melancholic over it, but he what can he say? He was a lover of beautiful things. The garden is not that big, but there were varieties of flowers perfectly manicured through the earth. He was pretty proud of that particular patch of land.


On regular days when he can't keep it, it was tended by one of his employees who handled his matter on his other business, Zetsu. The man likes plants and was pretty gung-ho about it. He didn't mind. Zetsu's an interesting character and Itachi don't find him bad, at least not yet.


He was mindlessly hitting the keys of the piano through muscle memory, when he heard someone opened the door.


Naruto wore his lounge wear already, an apron wrapped around his waste. The man looked like he had his hair-cut, which made him looked younger.


The blond didn't said anything and just listened to Itachi. Him too, just continued playing the piece.


Naruto removed his apron and placed it on top of a chair nearby. He then walked closer to Itachi and sat beside the man, his back faced the piano while he rested his elbow on his thigh, wrists under his chin.


Itachi continued playing, comforted by the silence. Naruto smelled like food which was inviting. He chuckled and that seemed to stop Naruto's stupor.


"What song is that?" The blond asked. His eyes were still not looking at Itachi.


"It's '?tude Op. 10, No. 3 or Tristesse by Chopin," Itachi answered as he softly turned the page of the music sheet.


"Hmm, it sounded? sad. But it's beautiful," the blond shifted in his seat and faced the piano as well.


Itachi's eyes widen a bit. If there was something he learned during Naruto's stay with him was that, the man is highly observant. Sometimes it's unnerving him.


"Funny enough, Tristesse was not named by Chopin. It was given by others because the melody translated a feeling of, well, parting lovers. Tristesse means 'Sadness' in French," Itachi explained. "So you nailed the feel to it." he followed that one with an amused chuckle.


Naruto remained silent again, watching Itachi's long fingers create music. Itachi admitted he was rusty and apologized whenever he struck a wrong key and fumbled to get the right one. Naruto didn't mind, though he humored Itachi, fake gasping as he does.


There was a weird mood between them?Itachi felt it. Somehow, it was the blond who was comforting him and offering some kind of help rather than the other way around.


After the song ended, Naruto asked Itachi if he wanted to have dinner with him. Itachi was about to say no, but his traitorous stomach decided it was the right time to grumble and protest.


They were silent?nothing special about their dinner. Just pork with ginger and rice among the side dishes. It was delicious though, and Itachi was again, unnerved by how much he was getting used to Naruto's presence.


What bothered him too, was that Naruto was too good at reading the mood. He was silent when he needed him to, he was engaging in conversation when Itachi needed him to. There was something scary about that. Maybe for someone like Sasuke who sees the world black and white, Naruto was dumb and selfless, but Naruto was far from that. He has keen sense, in a way, Naruto reminded Itachi of a hunter. Eyeing his prey in slow, meticulous dance.


Itachi's life was slowly changing and he doesn't like it. He was even surprised one day when Naruto called him 'Tachi' prompting him to call Naruto without honorific. Somehow the blond has a way to creep under his skin and make his way without Itachi knowing. Not good.


"'Tachi, I went and enrolled this semester." Naruto just served their desserts and caught Itachi's interest.


"I thought you already finished college? Graduate school?" He asked. It was odd because Naruto took Business and he wasn't the type to further such studies.


"No. New course." Naruto said nonchalantly and Itachi raised an eyebrow.


"I never knew what to take during College that's why I stopped for a year. Sasu?" Naruto caught himself and shook his head.


"Anyway, I was pressured to study so I took Business Management without really placing much thought to it. Now that I had some time to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life, I decided it was time for a change." Naruto grinned and sprinkled some crushed nuts to his own ice cream sundae. He placed the rest in the middle of the dinner table, somehow saying Itachi should try some as well but didn't voice it out.


Again, that word. Itachi remained impassive, though. Enjoying his plain vanilla ice cream.


"Which one?" Itachi asked, implying which course did Naruto took.


"Oh? Uhm, Psychology.." Naruto smiled and pushed the plate of nuts towards Itachi. Now he wasn't so subtle. Itachi sighed and took a pinch and sprinkled it on top of his as well. He took a taste and liked how the salt and sweet melded so well. Naruto has a triumphant looked on his face, which somehow pissed the raven off.


"Why that?" Itachi asked, he sounded tactless, but Naruto was used to him.


"Well.. people looked at those who needed psychological help like their a leper. And I'm tired of those irresponsible people who advised people with depression and anxiety to 'feel better'. Since I received and is continually receiving help from professionals, then I think that kind of job isn't so bad. Somehow, I wanted to be part of those who helps," Naruto shrugged and added. "Plus, watching and observing people is like my gift."


Taken aback, Itachi stared at Naruto. "That sounded great, but are you ready?" he asked.


"Not really, no. I can only take a few classes. I'm also trying to apply work, but there's not much luck in that department," Naruto took a spoonful of his sundae and made happy noises.


Itachi pictured it already and a small smirk colored his lips. "I think it suits you. Good luck." he said.


"Thanks Tachi!" Naruto smiled and pinched a few crushed nuts before he sprinkled it more on Itachi's ice cream.


The Uchiha glared at him.


After dinner, Itachi and Naruto parted ways and continued the rest of their evening on their own. Naruto was thirsty and craved for some snacks so he decided to stalk the kitchen when he heard the living room had several people talking.


Being scared was his initial reaction, he was about to run towards Itachi's room when he heard Sasuke's voice along with Itachi's and an unknown man.


His heart leaped in place. He walked slowly and shakily towards the source of the sound and he saw that it was just Itachi watching on the big screen. It was a home movie, Itachi was probably the one holding the camera while Sasuke was there digging in the sand. Naruto saw his own mop of hair and remembered that this was the time when they went to the beach. All four of them.


It was Shisui's birthday and coincidentally, their first day of summer break during middle school. He can't help but chuckle at Sasuke's skinny figure while his ridiculously baggy shorts flapped as he ran. They were so young.


Itachi saw Naruto and waved a hand at him to join him. Naruto took some drinks before he sat beside the man, who very much was a sitting temptation. He was shirtless, his own pants hung dangerously low against his hips. He was also drunk, which gave his eyes a half lidded look.


Though it did not do much damage to Naruto since his libido was pretty much low, still, it was a nice eye candy.


They watched the movie, sometimes chuckling sometimes going on all out laughing. Those days were their happy days.


Naruto was the first one to spoke, "Shisui-nii is such a handsome man. I miss him."


Itachi looked at Naruto's face and knew very well that he was telling the truth, there was no lip-service in his tone. He poured himself another glass of his drink and hummed Naruto an agreement.


"I miss him too."


Naruto looked at Itachi's way and asked a drink as well. Itachi gave his own glass to Naruto and the man swigged it and hissed.


The movie continued; they both enjoyed reminiscing. It was Naruto who decided to speak again when Itachi paused the movie to get more drinks and snacks.


"Tachi.. I know I've said this a lot of times since then, but I really am sorry for your lost. For Shisui-nii and your son as well." He glanced down, and took a quick gulp of the very strong drink. It has been a while since he drank himself silly and it was not a bad idea to refresh himself on the feeling. Seeing his teme was also hard as well. Those were the days when they were young and so in love.


Watching the movie has brought a poignant feeling.


"You're 'Good', Naruto.." Itachi let out an amused smirk and shook his head. As if he was resigning to something. The blond didn't ask further.


They didn't know what happened or how long were they drinking, but morning came and Itachi found himself in the living room, his head rested on the sofa headrest while Naruto used his lap as a pillow.


He looked around and studied the situation first. There were two bottles of hard liquor and on the floor lay scattered, discarded chip bags and uneaten cakes. It looked like they'd drunk themselves to sleep.


He groaned as he felt the nausea. How the hell Sasuke keep up with hangovers was beyond Itachi. He for one, was reminded once again why he hated drinking. The head and body ache he was sporting was overwhelming.




Itachi stiffened when he felt Naruto moved from his lap. The said man was curled in a fetal position which made him looked goofy. Naruto wasn't small nor petite, so him curling like that made Itachi laughed a bit. It was funny.




His lips cast downwards. His frown deepened.


He doesn't laugh. He smirks, but it has been years since he laughed. His chest ached magnificently.


"I really don't like changes..." he muttered as he tried to push Naruto off him with no luck. The blond latched himself to Itachi and clung to his pants.


Nevertheless, Itachi decided to continue napping while he let the man use his lap. The warmth wasn't so bad, he said to himself.










a/n; the song is titled Landslide by Fleetwood Mac


* is a Japanese Grave Visiting Etiquette

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Chapter 5: Somewhere only we know



chapter warnings: long chapter [i'm not effing kidding. look at the word count. I got too fired up!], OOC[ish], polyamory couple, regrets, drama, unbetaed! please forgive the mistakes!,








~I came across a fallen tree


I felt the branches of it looking at me


Is this the place we used to love?


Is this the place that I've been dreaming of?


Oh simple thing where have you gone?


I'm getting old and I need something to rely on


So tell me when you're gonna let me in


I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin


And if you have a minute why don't we go


Talk about it somewhere only we know?


This could be the end of everything


So why don't we go


Somewhere only we know?


Somewhere only we know?~





October 9


Sasuke has been cold for a few days now and Sakura knew exactly what was the reason. A few days ago, they'd received a wedding invitation from Shikamaru and what do you know? Naruto was asked to be one of the groomsman.


Sakura has no problems with Naruto seeing Sasuke there. She knew sooner than later, they'd have to face the tune and the consequences of their actions. After she had birth, she somehow declined a lot of invitations from her best friend Ino to hangout. Even if they didn't voice it out loud, Sakura knew their friends actually sided with Sasuke and Naruto's rather than hers. The day that news broke out that Naruto attempted to commit suicide, Sakura has the sudden urged to search for the man and apologize with all her heart. She tried, but there was no luck finding him.


And what would she say if she ever find him? Sorry for stealing your love? Sakura doesn't know. She was somehow stunted emotionally and mentally since she learned she was pregnant. All she wanted by then was Sasuke. But what she wanted was never hers to keep. In a way she knew what she had to do, but doesn't have the maturity to do so.


Love makes you irrational and she loves Sasuke. She loves Sarada and their little family. She knew it would take a few years for Sasuke would love her. Though the process to get there was ripping her apart. What if Sasuke never came to love her? That would literally end her. Times like this made her wished she didn't fall in love with someone taken. As Shikamaru always says, 'It's troublesome'.


Sakura was done with her bath, ready for a good night's sleep when she caught a glance at Sasuke and his sad, disturbed form. Really, she knew why her husband was cold?colder than he usually was. Sasuke wanted to be with Naruto but they don't know where was he. What has he been doing and where can they see him.


In a month, they'd be able to. She wondered how will she face the friend she betrayed for her little happiness. Will he ever forgive her fully? Somehow she dreaded the thought of that; Naruto ignoring her and managed to get all of their friends' sympathy were her worst nightmare.


Sakura looked at her husband who was currently drinking alone, again. She shook her head?she doesn't like to think like that. She doesn't have the right to even make Naruto the villain. That was her role here.


"Good Night, Sasuke-kun. Please don't stay up too late." She called and Sasuke stood up and walked towards her swiftly. He leaned down and gave her a kiss on the cheek.


"Sorry, Sakura." he said. She smiled and nodded.


Yeah, all they need is time. And she's going to give it to him.

October 10


Morning came and Sasuke found himself in a pool of paper works. He often wondered how Itachi does his so fast. He had more staff than him and the older Uchiha has more responsibilities. Is he superhuman?


"Itachi-sama wish to have a word with you, Sir." Karin called through the intercom and Sasuke grunted. He stood up abruptly and walked towards his brother's office. Kisame let him through.


Itachi sat behind his desk, busy checking his also mountainous load of paper works. Itachi is the type of person to read and scrutinized the fine prints, so of course he has a lot to do as well.


"You called?"


Sasuke sat down and Itachi said without looking at him, "The temporary restraining order was not extended. Though I suggest you keep it together,"


Sasuke was pissed. He knew that Itachi sided with Naruto, but going as far as making sure he filed the order against him was too much.


One thing has been bothering him as well?Where the hell is Naruto?


"Do you know where he is?" he asked, his tone was a little harsher than he intended it to be. Itachi nodded and didn't say no more. It seemed like Sasuke was dismissed as well. The younger Uchiha stood up but before he went outside the door, he spoke.


"Is he at least doing well? It's his birthday today. If you can, please treat him to something nice, Nii-san."


Itachi paused what he was doing and studied Sasuke's face.


"He's doing fine," Itachi said coolly after a few seconds. "He's back to school, studying something new. He's also working, he's fine. When you see him, wish him well."


Sasuke nodded as calmly as he could. At least he knew Itachi knows where he was and the dobe was doing fine. That was a start.


Itachi watched Sasuke's form as he walked out. What his younger brother said caught his attention. He didn't know it was Naruto's birthday. And If he did, he might've forgotten about it since their interaction the last few days were pretty much nonexistent. Both Naruto and Itachi were busy with their lives and just a passing hi and eating together was their routine.


Not to mention, Sasuke sounded sad yet he made sure Itachi knew. Maybe he was having troubles with this. Not being able to celebrate it together with his ex must be hard for Sasuke as well. The older Uchiha felt guilty?he focused his attention on helping Naruto and while Sasuke was indubitably at fault, he forgot that man was hurting as well.


"Something nice, huh? Hmm," Itachi checked his phone and called Naruto.






Work day ended with Sasuke being impossible as he could. There was no pleasing the man that afternoon. He was hell to work with. Even Karin?his devout follower and stalker in every sense of the word?somehow went out his way, whimpering whenever he shouted and barked orders at her.


Sasuke knew he was being unreasonably mad. But he can't really help what he was feeling. He misses Naruto and that was the fact. Him moving on to an unknown place was hard. Studying something new? What was it? Job? What kind of job? Doing fine? How fine?


He was mad at Itachi. He felt the jealousy running through his veins. Itachi knew these things with Naruto and refused to tell him.


Deciding to swallow his pride, for he can't take it anymore, Sasuke went out and sought Kiba. He found the man on the floor below, flirting with one of the receptionists.


"Kiba." he said, immediately taking attention.


"Wow. What an honor. What can I do for ya'? It's rare for you to come down 'ere." Kiba grinned, somehow he knew Sasuke was in a bad mood and whenever the pale skinned bastard was in a bad mood, Kiba made sure to annoy him more.


"Do you have a minute?" Sasuke fought back the urge to punch the smug face of Kiba.


Kiba waved the woman he was talking to and followed Sasuke. The man led him to the smoking area near the break room and vending machines.


"Spill it." he said. He knew Sasuke was going to ask about Naruto. It was the blond's birthday and though his friends wanted to celebrate with him, Naruto said he was tired, and basically broke so he won't go out. They all knew Naruto just wanted to be left alone for a while and they were happy Itachi was nice enough to update Gaara, which the redhead happily shares with Temari and the rest of Naruto's closest friends.


"Do you know where Naruto lives?" Sasuke asked. He wanted to buy at least a can of cola for Kiba, but it seemed the man didn't want to waste more time. Kiba is his friend, but he can be insufferable if he wanted to.


"What's in it for you, Sasuke? We all know what happened a few months ago. Are you going to mess with his head again?" Kiba asked without looking at him. He wanted to smoke so he asked his companion the permission to. Sasuke didn't care if he did.


"I just.. I need to know. I love Naruto. I just want to see him. See if he's doing fine."


Kiba snorted, "Geez. That was.. I didn't know ya' had it in you to be so, romantic? Any-who, yes, I know." Kiba sighed. He wanted to make fun of Sasuke further, but he's not that much of an asshole. He can see Sasuke's desperation.


"If you hired someone to do the job for you, 's not really that difficult to discover."


"The TRO was not in my favor." Sasuke answered dryly.


"Ah," Kiba nodded. "'Kay. Well, Naruto went to the US for his therapy. He was clinically depressed. Heard he went to the rooftop to jump few days after ya' know." Kiba motioned his hand like slicing his wrist and Sasuke cringed. He was quaking softly, fists in a tight clenched. Kiba continued?


"Your brother saved him that day, and from what I heard, he funded Naruto's stay there. Now he's also living with him." Kiba got a nasty idea, he peeked to Sasuke's frozen form and snickered. "Maybe they're shacking up. Lovers? Ho!"


Upon hearing it, Sasuke ran towards his brother's office in haste, leaving an amused Kiba behind.


He was a little too late, for the said man was already out. He asked one of his employees and they all said he was out for a meeting. Tomorrow was Sunday and even today, they were supposed to rest. Yet they required their employee to come in preparation for their biggest partnership coming next week.


Sasuke decided to come by Itachi's place tomorrow.




Everything was going smoothly; Naruto slowly got the hang of things. His University life somehow got back on track. He got immune to the gossips surrounding him and decided to ignore them. In turn, they too, stopped talking about it. Of course it was not easy, but Iruka and Kakashi were there all the way to help him. Slow, baby steps.


"Hey, mind if I join you for lunch?" a familiar voice asked behind Naruto when he was busy wolfing down his lunch. He looked behind and a small smile over his otherwise busy mouth showed.


He waved his hand and pointed to the seat in front of him. Sai sat, a tray on his hand containing his curry lunch set. "How are you, dickless?" the man asked with an obvious fake smile on his face that'd compelled Naruto to roll his eyes.


He has no animosity over Sai and Sasuke's past. For some reason, Naruto knew that Sai was a bastard, but he's a bastard who didn't cling to Sasuke. He wasn't even friends with Sai when that happened and he knew Sai wasn't serious with Sasuke either. For what it's worth, Sai apologized to Naruto when he confronted the man. Now, Naruto was not stupid. He just didn't see the reason why hold a grudge on someone when he himself forgave Sasuke. The two were equally at fault. Dragging his feelings would only stunt his growth.


"Good. How's everything?" asked Naruto, he eyed Sai as the man elegantly ate his meal. He was pale, dark haired with lean body built. Naruto admitted Sai has the same beauty as Sasuke. Of course the bastard was a notch atop.


"It sucks that I had to stop for a year. Now I'm readjusting to everythin'. What about you? Heard from Ino, you graduated, what's this then?" Sai casually pointed at Naruto and the blond shrugged his shoulders.


"Shifted Course.."


Sai didn't ask the reason why?he just understood from all the gossips he heard at school. Normally, he would have said insensitive remarks here and there, but that would reopen up past he doesn't want to. So he just took a jab at how Naruto looked lame with his new baggy clothes. Something about looking sloppy.


"I gotta go, are ya' coming to Shika's wedding?" Naruto asked as he gathered his things and tidied his lunch box.


Sai nodded, "Yeah, but you already knew that, right? 'mean you and I are groomsmen after all."


"Oh, yeah," Naruto scratched the back of his head. "I forgot." he said sheepishly.


"Of course you didn't. Sasuke's a groomsman too. Will you be okay?" Sai raised an eyebrow. Deciding to tease after all.


Naruto frowned and squirted the remains of his juice box at Sai's which the man dodge effortlessly. "I'll be fine, you bastard."


He waved at the man and went to continue the rest of his day.




"Naruto, get a move on will ya? We have lots of things to do, Un."


"Coming, here!" Naruto panted hard, he wiped the sweat off his brows using his sleeve. It was such a long time since he went to work that demanded physical strength, lifting the boxes of deliveries to sort them in the storage room. He loves it.


"Deidara-nii, I'm done. Can I take a break?" Naruto asked the man in front whose busy gnawing his pen while he looked and checked the boxes Naruto stacked in front of him.


"Huh?" Deidara looked at the younger man in front of him. Said man was holding his knees and wheezing that Deidara found pretty funny. "Sure. I'll take it with you..." he patted Naruto's head and walked in front towards the break room, Naruto followed behind.


Deidara, a handsome blond, is Naruto's boss and Itachi's business associate. Now, Naruto had no idea of this when he saw the Classified Ads in the newspaper. He just applied for the position of assistant; the working hours were pretty flexible. Deidara works as a fashion stylist and importer of high-end textile and manage their business along with his life partner- Sasori; an equally handsome man with fiery redhead.


What was more shocking was that Sasori's related to Gaara.


Normally, Naruto wouldn't want to work for someone who has close relations with his friends, but he was immediately drawn to Deidara's commanding yet gentle personality. The man also has a healthy amount of love for himself and his work that Naruto envy. And even though Naruto knew the conflict it'll bring later on, he accepted their offer and Deidara was happy. They needed the help badly and knowing Naruto was close to family, they were happy to have him.


That and the fact that Itachi was living with the man.


They were College friends with the particular Uchiha and they knew the man before he became colder than he was now. They'd seen the abrupt changed Itachi had after that day and was shocked?equally intrigued?to see Naruto's address. Who was this blond who lives with him?


From Deidara's memory, Naruto was the loudmouthed brat that hangs out with Itachi's younger brother. So why was he living with Itachi then?


"How's everything, Naruto-kun?" Deidara unwrapped his store bought meal and looked at Sasori, who was busy talking to someone on the phone. He gave the man a questioning look, but his husband just shook his head and leaned down to place a lingering kiss on the older blond's forehead. Sasori walked out of the break room to check their other employees. Seeing their affection, Naruto's face had a tinge of blush. Even though he was used to the two being open with each other the week he was there, he still felt embarrassed.


"It's great, I guess. I needed a car though, so I'm going over second hand ones, but see nothing that fits my needs and budget, yet." Naruto settled for tea and slumped his body on the seat. Their break room had one couch and two seats with a coffee table in the middle; a small TV and a vending machine, and a coffee maker that seemed to be unused for a while. No one drinks coffee in their office.


The color of the walls was the main attraction of the room. It was painted with Trompe-l'?il arts that Deidara himself made. For Naruto, the older blond could make more money selling these type of art rather than running his business, and who knew if Deidara was already doing that aside from styling famous people.


"Car? Hm, Why don't you ask Itachi, Un. He has a lot of connections outside Uchiha businesses."


Deidara's eyes caught the scar on Naruto's wrist, which Naruto noticed, prompting him to tug his sleeve and hid it. Deidara felt he was rude and faked a cough.


"About that, how did you know Itachi?" Naruto was curious. Since Deidara and Sasori insisted he should treat them as a friend rather than an employer, he did what they asked. That instant, Sasori entered the room again, holding a box of pizza and three cans of cola. He sat beside Deidara and the said blond shoved his convenience store food to the side, making happy noises as he pulled a slice of pizza, strings of melted cheese oozing out of it. Naruto took one as well after it was offered to him.


"We dated Itachi?or more like?we fucked."


Naruto's tea came spurting out his mouth, luckily not hitting any of his two bosses.




Sasori chuckled as well as Deidara, "Polyamory." the redhead pointed at his chest and to Deidara which the man smiled as a reply.


By then Naruto's head was short-circuiting. Itachi dated the two?


"Ah, I know what you're thinkin' Naruto-kun. Itachi never loved us, it was more a physical and consensus sexual relationship for him. For us, though, we loved him, Un." Deidara said matter-of-fact.


"But.." Naruto opened his mouth, but no words form.


"Do you think it's disgusting?" Sasori leaned his elbow to his crossed legs and rested his chin on his wrist. There was an amused smirk on his lips that Naruto admitted to be, alluring. What can say? He found the two hauntingly beautiful.


Naruto took a minute to think, he wanted to be honest and say he doesn't understand how two people who were dating can love others, but he honestly has no answer.


"I dunno'. I never thought about it till this day. I never met anyone like you guys. Maybe someone who cheats on their partner and equally love their lovers, but not both." Naruto shook his head. "And with the same person, no less."


"Well.." Deidara took a few gulps of his drink and continued, "Itachi's so very easy to love. One, he's good looking. Two, he knows what he wants. Three, he doesn't let money go over his head. He also have a weird sense of humor, borderline sadistic." Sasori let out a playful chuckle and Naruto cringed at the thought. He knew somehow Itachi has hidden kink?the man was stoic but his eyes said he wasn't the all-too-serious type. Many times Naruto has been a victim of Itachi's 'gentle teasing'.


"The list can go on, Un. Sasori and I knew each other for a long time and found ourselves to be polygamous. Nobody understood us, Naruto-kun. They all thought, 'ah, this lovers were just looking for someone to have threesome with.'"


Naruto was taken aback for he thought that too for a brief second.


"But it's not really like that. It's not always about sex, and our sex life doesn't always have to be an orgy. We just wanted Itachi to be happy and loved him regardless of what he wanted out of our relationship. You could say, our hearts are just different from everyone else." Sasori added.


"Is it hard? I mean to love someone other than your husband?" Naruto asked Sasori and the latter looked at Deidara and back at the curious blond.


"No. I love Dei and it won't change. If he ever came to love someone else and wanted that person in our life, I would love them too. Platonic or otherwise."


"Same thing as Sasori-danna said." Deidara commented. Sasori chuckled and fixed Deidara's hair-tie for him. They looked so happy with each other.


Naruto was having mixed emotions about this, but said no more. Maybe he was biased because he was repeatedly cheated on, but to know that there were couple like them made him see that his life has yet to mature. He still needed to see a lot of things. A small smile found its way on his face.


It's as if it was timed, Itachi decided to call Naruto. The blond had a shocked look on his face that Deidara and Sasori found funny. "Why are you so startled?" the older blond asked and Naruto apologized, somewhat sheepishly.


"Hello, Tachi?"


The lovers, hearing the conversation were surprised by the familiarity. Deidara smirked and thought it was cute that Itachi was allowing the creature in front of them to address him like that.


"Uhm," Naruto looked at the two and excused himself for a second. He stood at the corner of the room and took the call while the two continued eating. It was four in the afternoon and they already skipped their lunch. Sasori in particular was having double vision from hunger already. Though, their ears were attentive with Naruto's phone call. They both knew the blond couldn't take it outside because they have deliveries ongoing.


"No. After this I'm free. Yeah? Okay. Uh, what should I wear? Oh? Okay, see you."


Naruto sighed audibly and sat back. Deidara had his eyebrow raised as if asking 'Well? What's the call about? It sounded like he asked you on a date!'


"Itachi wanted to have dinner with me."


Bingo! The redhead and the long haired blond thought.


"Are you two dating perchance?" Sasori leered and Deidara elbowed his side.


"What? No! It's..." Naruto gazed down and fidgeted in his seat, "It's my birthday today.. He wanted to treat me for dinner is all."


"Eh?! What are you doing here then? Go get ready! Geez, why didn't you say it's your birthday? Why haven't we seen his birthday on the resume, Un?" Deidara asked his husband and said man shrugged. They were so busy that they hardly had time to notice other things.


"Do you have something to wear? I overheard you asked him." Sasori stood up and cleared the rest of the leftovers. From the looks of it, his Dei was already in his styling mood. Eyeing Naruto carefully. Nodding and mumbling to himself.


"Actually, I was thinking of wearing just the shirt I bought last week for interviews and maybe dress slacks."


"We can't let you do that!" Deidara slapped his own thigh and stood up. "Come with me, un."


"Eh? But I can-


"Stop the bullshit. Come!" Deidara carted the younger blond and Sasori waved at them.


"Have fun, dear. Leave me all the work for the deliveries. I don't have problems with that." the redhead deadpanned.


Deidara just laughed at him.




It was seven in the evening, Naruto was already dressed and waited by the door. Kisame was asked to pick up the blond while Itachi remained in the office. The raven said he'll come to the restaurant immediately after his last meeting and would like Naruto to wait there.


A few minutes and Kisame picked Naruto up. His initial reaction when he saw Naruto was to whistle in appreciation.


Naruto was dressed sharply, with the form fitting casual suit. Tailored jacket with black straight-cut slacks, accentuating his thighs and ass, (as much as Kisame tried to ignore). The blond's shirt was beige or off-white, playfully printed with with a sleeping fox near its collar. It seemed like Naruto got a haircut; his sides were slightly cropped?most of it was combed slicked back. Shoes and watch were nice as the rest of his look.


Kisame gave the man a grin and high five, which Naruto took happily. "Looks good! Happy Birthday, kid."




He was nervous because it was his first time to wear something like this. When he agreed to Deidara to dress him up?more like forced to?he was surprised that it wouldn't end with his boss lending him clothes. He summoned his whole squad to do Naruto a make-over. They'd let him use the shower and would have come inside with him if Naruto wasn't firmer with saying 'fuck no, let me clean my filth in peace!'


After they were done debating what would look good on the tanned and gorgeous blond, they proceeded to apply a lot of cream on his already smooth face. Deidara said he looked stressed, and would not tolerate him walking in a Roberto Cavalli suit looking like a hobo. Naruto had no idea what that was, but nodded anyway. Deidara shrieked like a banshee when he wasn't pleased with the look. Naruto was sure he was going to be murdered if he refused so he let them plucked, waxed and shaved him.


Kisame was silent during the ride. It seemed like Itachi used the limo and let Kisame fetch the blond by his two-seater. They arrived in the said hotel, Naruto was escorted by Kisame inside. They reached the 45th floor with Naruto going paler by the minute. When they were escorted to the somehow private dinning Itachi booked, he was left alone. Kisame said he has to come back to the office.


Naruto has no idea what to do. What if Itachi decided not to come? He had no means to pay even the glass of water there!

'Okay, maybe I can pay that. I need to calm down.'


"Wine, Sir?" the waiter smiled at Naruto. His nerves in full force right now, he had no choice but to nod.


The man gave him a menu for the selection and he has no idea what to get. "Uhm.."


"Would you like to talk to the sommelier? He can suggest you wine according to your taste. I can also suggest a few," the man said smoothly while he refilled Naruto's water glass. The blond was about to agree when a careful hand was placed on his shoulder, gently tracing it.


"We'll have something red and fruity, your sommelier's choice." a velvety smooth voice answered.


The waiter was surprised at first, then nodded and prepared the wine while he gave the two the menu for the meal.


"Did you wait long?" Itachi asked, his eyes never left Naruto as he pulled himself a chair closer to the blond. Itachi almost did not recognize the man.


Naruto shook his head, "No. Just a few minutes.. Meeting's done?"


Itachi nodded and brushed a rogue hair, tucking it behind his ear. Naruto didn't know why, but he felt relieved first, then nervous again. Sasuke celebrated Naruto's birthday by eating out, but never in this fancy place. For one, Sasuke was never showy with their relationship. Two, maybe because he got used to Naruto not wanting to spend too much money?and probably because Sasuke didn't put much thought to it. He was just there, and yearly, they'd be spending their birthdays together anyway.


"By the way, Naruto. You look good this evening. It suits you." Itachi's eyes soften as he studied Naruto. He had a glimpse of the man afar. Somehow his steps was halted because he was shocked Naruto could look like that. He liked how Naruto put up an effort. His long, thin fingers tapped the table. A mannerism Itachi does when he was in deep thought.


"Tha-thank you." Naruto felt his throat went dry and gulped the water. Minutes after, the wine bottle was delivered and Itachi checked the cork before it was popped open.


"Are we ready to order?" the waiter asked the two, eyes almost focused on Naruto. It wasn't everyday they get to see someone like him. Somehow, his whiskers like scars demanded attention. Naruto's face was smoother than any other day. Itachi would bet his entire fortune that it was Deidara who dolled up the man.


"Tachi?" Naruto asked him, somehow he got lost in his own thoughts. Not good again, Itachi said to himself.


"I'll have whatever the Chef's recommend. Tell him it's Uchiha Itachi. He knew my taste."


"Uhm, I'll just have whatever he's having, thanks." Naruto said meekly.


They waited for their meal in silence, Naruto taking occasional sips of the wine. Itachi stared at him, which unnerved the blond, making him squirm in his seat.


"Naruto, how's work? - Thank you," the last one was said to the waiter as he served the first course of their meal.


"It's okay. They're cool people actually. I think I have a crush on Deidara. Haha." Naruto chuckled as well as Itachi.


"Don't tell them that. They'll jump on you." the raven said, slowly eating as he does.


Naruto grinned and leaned near Itachi. "Are ya' jealous?" He jested.


Itachi paused for a while and continued eating. "And if I am?" he added without looking at the blond. He was about to asked 'jealous of who' but decided not to tease the man further. It was his day after all.


It took Naruto a few seconds to let the remark sank in. He blinked and felt himself sweat. "Eh? Ehehe, I was just joking. He's not really my crush or anything. Don't worry," he babbled nervously.


"They said something to you, didn't they?" Itachi said, eyes wearing his amusement.


"Uhm, yeah?" Naruto looked left to right and leaned in again, signalling Itachi to come closer which Itachi curiously did. As their proximity got close, Itachi's nostrils were rewarded by Vanilla laced scent. Deidara knew exactly how to rile up Itachi, he mused. He almost let out a cuss.


Whispering, Naruto added, "Dude, that's so.. Wow! I mean, they're both, you know.. Hot!"


Itachi couldn't help but smirk at this. He expected Naruto to act weirdly about it, probably ask a few things?be all poetic about love. But no. The man was being open-minded and smart about it. Itachi thought that was cool?sexy even.


"Hm." They returned to their normal space and Itachi spoke, "I never intended to live a life of celibacy, though dating was out of the window.. Those two were open to anything and I trust them. Don't get me wrong, they're really wonderful people, despite their peculiarity." Itachi said, musing something but didn't say anything to Naruto. After a sip with his wine again, he added, "And yes, they're both good looking. That's the bonus." Itachi playfully winked and Naruto giggled.


That was it. The blond wasn't nervous anymore. He really liked Itachi's company. Everything went smooth, and their conversations were always amusing.


"Ne, Tachi. How do I eat this? It looks small..." Naruto forked the appetizer and Itachi, once again, found himself laughing for a second.


"Naruto.." Itachi called, ignoring Naruto's question.


"Hm?" the blond didn't look at him, busy picking up his food.


"Happy Birthday.."


Naruto spun his head towards the raven, a warm smile flashed across his face. He raised his fist, and Itachi's eyebrow shot up, but raised his nevertheless. Naruto bumped theirs together and grinned, "Thank you very much."


As their fists touched, Itachi had an odd feeling welling up inside him. Oh, if the people who knew him could see him now. They'd think he has gone mental fist bumping someone while smirking like an idiot.


"Damn.." Naruto muttered and scratched his eye, "Something came in my eye, must be an eyelash," he hissed. Deidara has plucked his eyebrows to trim, so it must be the remnants of that, Naruto thought.


Itachi frowned for the ungraceful way Naruto was rubbing his face. His hair that had a semblance of order swayed in the process.


"If I may, Naruto." Itachi leaned closer to the blond, his butt almost at the edge of his seat and tilted Naruto's chin towards him.


His face was close to Naruto's that he can smell the man's breath as the hotness tickled his skin. Naruto had one eye close and the affected one half-lidded with tears. Itachi saw what was hurting him and it was, indeed, an eyelash that got caught on the side of Naruto's eye. He took his napkin and dabbed it, trying to take off the offending dirt.


Gentle fingers worked its way like magic and Naruto was relieved. Before Itachi fell back on his own space, the said raven stared at him for a few second. He was confused as to why Itachi was acting like this. Then very gently, Itachi's thumb grazed his scarred cheek.


"Ah, everything was smooth. The scar, even though noticeable, looks perfect." Itachi commented and got seated back abruptly after he saw Naruto's eyes widen. As if he caught himself doing something he didn't mean to.


For Naruto, that was... a sensual touch. The tip of Itachi's fingers were soft, unlike his. The man's voice was deep and low, somehow inviting him. His breath had a hint of mint, mixed with the scent of their wine. Itachi's hair that fell on his arms were soft and silky.


Yes, that aroused the blond.


He knew Itachi was really his type, appearance wise. But he wasn't going to fall for another Uchiha. And it was true, he doesn't like Itachi that way. He just knew he needed to get laid. Especially right now when he was off his meds. His libido, among other things, were waking up slowly. And like a traitor, they were betraying his every command.


If Itachi noticed something odd with Naruto after the uneventful and uncharacteristic touching, he didn't say anything else. He just pretended that everything's the same. He ignored his urges to touch the man.


He blamed Deidara for this. The artistic-egoist knew how to get under Itachi's skin and he was successful. Naruto looked exactly like he wanted and it was annoying him.


He wouldn't want to start anything with Naruto. Naruto doesn't need superficial relationships. The man needs love?something Itachi could not provide.


He asked another glass of wine as another course was served.


"Excuse me, Sir." an employee walked towards them and Itachi felt annoyed at the disturbance. Naruto too, was caught eating heartily and felt the shame when she glimpsed at her. She blushed for a bit seeing the handsome blond and cleared her throat.


"What is it?" Itachi asked, obviously annoyed.


"There's a gift for Uzumaki Naruto-sama. Here it is." She gave a key card and note to them which Itachi took.


She bowed her head and went her way, sweating heavily as she does for the long-haired man in front of her looked so murderous.


He gave the key card and note for Naruto to inspect and the man took it curiously. He read and gaped his mouth. He looked at Itachi and opened his mouth again only to closed it. Lost on what to say.


Itachi waited for him patiently, and after a few minutes, Naruto gave the note for the raven to read.


"Those bastards.." Itachi muttered after he read it.


It was Deidara and Sasori. They knew where Naruto and Itachi would dine and decided to help them a bit. Or so it appeared. Itachi knew they were just was just having fun teasing him.


"Uhm. I actually want to go. If that's okay with you?" Naruto said sheepishly.


Itachi raised his eyebrow. The idiot couple gave Naruto a suite for him to stay the night, complete with a note saying he can order anything he wanted and the bill's on the couple. There was also an indication that Itachi can accompany him 'if he wanted to'.


How should Itachi take this sudden invitation? And was Naruto inviting him? Or was he just stating he'd be using the room and Itachi can go home?


"You have no work tomorrow, right? We can use the room if you want, you know. Hangout and relax." Naruto said, somehow looking genuinely happy.


Itachi decided to clarify, "Are you saying I should come to the suite with you, spend the night in one room with you and 'hangout'?"


Naruto's face showed the just-dawned-upon realization. "No!" he said out loud and looked around if anyone got startled. He then lowered his voice and drew himself closer to the raven. Itachi didn't know why, but he held his breath.


"I mean, we can drink and watch movies or something! I didn't mean 'that' thing! What are you even implying?! I just..." Naruto paused and got back to his space. "I just haven't had the opportunity to spend the night at a suite. I wouldn't know what to do by myself." he pouted.


Itachi didn't answer. He was contemplating the consequences if he accepts. But Naruto spoke again.


"If you don't want to, I'll just ask if Gaara can come. No big deal. Ehehe." Naruto scratched the back of his head. "Now that I thought about it, it'd be weird to invite you. How rude of me."


Itachi knew Gaara is Naruto's best friend. But at the very mention of the name?and how fondly at that?Itachi somehow felt bothered.


"Fine," he sighed. "I'll come with you. On one condition."


Naruto perked up, "Okay! What is it?"


Itachi let out a dark chuckle and stared at the key card. "We're ordering the most expensive champagne, food and snacks. Let's burn those idiots' money."


Naruto nodded and gulped.



October 11



Sasuke pressed the doorbell on Itachi's gateway and waited for a few minutes for someone to answer. He knew his brother would wake up early to tend his plants or have a jog, so he went over his place a little time before lunch. He knew Itachi would probably invite him to stay as well.


He nodded to himself at the idea and was startled when an old lady answered. "Yes?"


"Ah!" Sasuke jiggled his keys, "I'm Sasuke. Itachi's brother. Is he in?"


"Ah, Sasuke-sama! He's not in yet. He called earlier and said Naruto-sama and him stayed the night out and would come home this evening. Would you like to come in for tea?"


Sasuke stilled. He didn't answer her. He patted his aching, burning chest and felt the bile rose to his throat. It spilled over the pavement near where he parked his car. He can't breathe. He heard the lady calling his name, but it was all a blur.


He didn't know how or when but he found himself in front of his old house. The place Naruto and him shared.


"Welcome home." Sasuke saw Naruto called to him. Of course the dobe was not there really. But he can see him. The goofy grin he has whenever he welcomed Sasuke. How had he noticed that blinding smile?


Sasuke removed his shoes, Naruto doesn't like them in their home. He noticed the now empty shoe rack. He was always mad at Naruto cause there were a lot of slippers stacked there. The blond always said it was because he has a lot of friends coming and going into their house. And while Sasuke doesn't like visitors much, the blond loves it.


Sasuke went in, his socks were sweeping the dust accumulated during the months it was inhabited. He opened the lights and glanced upon the sofa. "Sasuke, watch this show with me!"

Sasuke smiled and slowly walked towards the sofa. How many years has it been since he does this? He never sat besides Naruto and watch something with him. He found the man's taste in programming stupid and shallow. Now that he thought about it, even if he voiced out his hate for the said activity, Naruto never failed to ask invite him every time.


He patted the empty space beside him. All Naruto wanted was to cuddle, and he denied him that.


Feeling tremendously guilty, Sasuke stood up and went to the kitchen. It was empty. He never saw the kitchen empty before, and the lonely place was ripping him apart.


"Teme! Don't insult my Ramen!" Sasuke chuckled and finger-combed his hair.


Wandering around, he opened their room and saw the bed where he used to lay. Remembering the time where Naruto was massaged him?with mild complaining how Sasuke's body was too hard. The blond's hands would roam around the curves of his body, as if he was worshiping every inch of Sasuke's skin.


Sasuke sat on the bed and touched the dusted sheets. "Just lay there, I'll take care of you."


Naruto's mischievous smirk came to his memory. He laid his back on the bed with a flopped. Sasuke frowned; it was always Naruto who does things for him that he neglected the man. It must've been terribly lonely to lay there while he goes to Sakura.


His hand caught something crusted and sat up. He removed two layers of the sheets and saw pools of blood stain already caked and dried up. No doubt Naruto's blood. The blood he lost for Sasuke.


Sasuke was not shedding tears, but his heart was weeping. He traced it with his thumb and clenched it. He was mad and thankful for Itachi for not throwing the bed out. He should see what he'd done with his beloved.


It took Sasuke an hour before he moved from where he was. He roamed around some more, desperate to notice all those things he neglected. Glutton for punishment.


He stumbled upon the mirror-less bathroom in the their en suite. Naruto must've removed it all. Sasuke knew he made the man felt insecure that he didn't even want to see his own face. The raven felt shooting pains in his chest.


He was about to walk out the house and get the hell out of there when he saw the drawer Naruto used in front of their vanity was opened. His curiosity forced him to stay and check what was inside. He never checked Naruto's things. It doesn't interest him before.


"Sasuke, can you look at my drawer real quick?" Naruto asked him this one day and he nodded but never really did. That time, he just learned Sakura was carrying their child and he was out of it. Needless to say, he was guilty and ignoring Naruto.


Sasuke sat in front of the mirror-less vanity and opened the drawer. His breathing hitched as he saw something.


There was a jewelry box resting on top of two airline tickets. He checked the box first, and was surprised when he saw two rings. Plain ones that looked like wedding bands.


If Sasuke wasn't crying earlier, he was sobbing now.


How come he didn't see this? Naruto wanted to marry him?


He inspected the airline tickets and saw it was for the US. Naruto probably wanted to have the honeymoon there. What hurts the most was the date of the flight.


It was the same day Sasuke said he'll marry Sakura.


"I'm so sorry." Sasuke moaned as he wiped his tears and snot, those lonely tickets crumpled in his hand.


He blamed Naruto for a lot of things. He blamed him for leaving him, for not wanting to live with him. He even accused Naruto for not accepting Sarada and somehow resented the man.


When he learned Naruto killed himself, after a few weeks, he blamed the man for being weak. He cursed him?why would Naruto wanted to die? To guilt him? Those were the things that bubbled up.

"That's so you, Sasuke. Blaming others for your mistakes."


Sasuke realized it all too late. He scarred Naruto deeply, left him alone and pushed his beloved to end his suffering. And now Itachi was with Naruto, no doubt making the blond happy.


His Naruto.


What does Sasuke want to do with his life? He was going with the flow, that he knew. He trapped Sakura in a loveless marriage, too. What about Sarada? Would she forgive him if Sasuke divorced her mother?

"I love you Sasuke, but I can't do this anymore."


Sasuke ran out and stepped into his car. He gripped the steering wheel tightly and sped home. The rings safely tucked in his pocket.



~This could be the end of everything


So why don't we go


Somewhere only we know?


Somewhere only we know?


Somewhere only we know?~








a/n; the song is Somewhere only we know by Keane



Trompe-l'?il (French for "deceive the eye", pronounced [tʁɔ̃p l?j]) is an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. Forced perspective is a comparable illusion in architecture.


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Chapter 6: Collide




~The dawn is breaking


A light shining through


You're barely waking


And I'm tangled up in you




But I'm open, you're closed


Where I follow, you'll go


I worry I won't see your face


Light up again


Even the best fall down sometimes


Even the wrong words seem to rhyme


Out of the doubt that fills my mind


I somehow find


You and I collide~






Naruto rubbed his stomach and though with difficulty, he tried to make it to the bathroom. He stuffed himself with cakes and wines that Itachi ordered and now he was definitely regretted what he has done.


"Damn you," he muttered as he saw the mirth from the man's way of saying 'you'll be fine'.


After a few minutes of struggling, Naruto emerged from the bathroom and took a seat beside Itachi. The said Uchiha had a blast ordering this and that while he was not eating most of it himself. Naruto eyed him and took the remote off Itachi's hand.


"You know," - Naruto paused to look at Itachi and the raven tilted his body to face Naruto - "they're my boss, right? Come Monday, I'll see their faces and would have to answer to them. Ordering all these," - he gestured his hands towards the items in front of them - "would have to be explained by me."


"Hn, never you mind. Just tell them it was me."


"Whatever." Naruto changed the tuning to the show he was watching for a few seasons now. It was a re-run of the pilot episode and it has been months since he saw it. "You know this one?" he asked and Itachi just raised an eyebrow.


Of course Itachi wouldn't watch these zombie bandwagon shows, Naruto thought and pouted, "I just wanted to ask. That's all..."


Itachi stood up to loosen his tie. It has been a long day and it stifled him for a while. After Naruto asked that they stay in the luxury suite, Itachi went ahead and bought clothes they can use for the night. He planned on staying late till tomorrow so he could relax himself too; it wouldn't feel comfortable to stay wearing his suit. Naruto, however, protested and whined as he gave the man a new pair of underwear. Itachi just snickered at him and shrugged it off.


"I'm taking a bath," Itachi said as he took the bottle of half-finished wine with him.


Naruto let him be and watched show all seriously. He didn't even notice that the man was already done with his bath when Itachi turned the main lights off, leaving the dim-lights and sat beside him.


"How many episodes has it been?" Itachi asked, towel drying his long hair.


"Huh?" Naruto looked at him and counted in his head. "I guess it's been three episodes. Wow, you sure took your time." Naruto offered Itachi a Pocky stick out of habit and was ready to place it back on top of the coffee table in front, when Itachi surprised him and took the Pocky box, taking one and took a nibble.


Naruto's mouth was agape. "You eat this stuff?" he looked bewildered which amused Itachi.


"What do you think?" Itachi smirked and chewed on the snack. He took another one and watched the show with Naruto.


"Well, your brother doesn't eat this, so I figured you didn't as well."


Itachi looked at Naruto and shrugged, "I had the pleasure of living in dorms and looking out for myself since College—Sasuke wasn't so lucky. He was sheltered from these things."


Naruto knew all too well. When he dated Sasuke, the man had to sneak out for a few times so he can be with him. Naruto remained quiet after that, just watching the horror and suspense unfold on the screen.


"Anyway," Itachi punctured their silence. "Sorry, we couldn't do anything fun. I was pretty busy and couldn't leave work soon."


"Hmm-mn," Naruto shook his head. "This was enough, I honestly had fun. Thank you for your time."


They remained seated, just peacefully watching Naruto's favorite program, while the blond occasionally sips his beer. He had his head on the arm rest with his legs resting across the couch. Itachi on the other hand was relaxed, sitting cross legged on the other end. Their positions had Naruto's feet almost touching Itachi.


"I guess, I want to have a dog. I've always wanted to, but was never allowed to have one." Naruto said when a commercial of Dog food came up.


"Oh?" Itachi was again, amused. "Why didn't you get one before?" he added.


Naruto shrugged. "The orphanage doesn't allow us. And when I was old enough to get out, Sasuke doesn't want one."


Itachi wanted to apologize—and here he thought they were in a relaxed mood.


"Well, see, now that I'm not with Sasuke, maybe I should have one. I mean really. I would give it so much love." Naruto said elated.


"You should. The house is big and there's space for it." Itachi added, but was caught off guard when Naruto pouted.


"See, about the house Tachi. I wanted to talk to you about that."


"Okay, shoot." Itachi gave the go sign and Naruto took a deep breath before he continued.


"I found a studio apartment near my work. It's affordable and I could probably have another part-time job, since I don't have a full load on University. I already have my other subjects credited so my units are manageable. Do you think it's good that I think I should live alone from now on?"


Itachi knew that Naruto values his opinions and was happy about it. A few weeks after Naruto started with University and work, the man was paying him bit by bit with the expenses Itachi had helped him with during his recovery. It wasn't because Itachi wanted to—in fact, he doesn't need the money. But Naruto insisted that friends who borrow money should pay back, regardless if the other one was rich or not. It was rather admirable that Itachi didn't have the heart to refuse.


"Okay. But can I make a suggestion?" he asked. He didn't actually want to go over the blond's head and his decisions, but he was somewhat responsible for him.


"'Kay. Go on."


Itachi took a breath, "You just started earning and I don't think it's wise to move so soon. You could stay with me for a month or so, save up and then move. Clearly, the house is big—too big that we won't see each other unless we purposely seek each other out."


Naruto slumped in his chair and tapped his chin. "Yeah. You're right."


"But if you still insist on living on your own," Naruto suddenly perked up and looked at Itachi. "Then I guess it's not a problem. I can help you."


"But! I already owe you so much!"


"Yes. It doesn't really matter since you'll pay me back, right?" Itachi smirked and tossed the towel hung around his neck near the chair. That surprised Naruto. He chuckled and Itachi asked why he did.


"I never really thought about it; whenever I see you at the Mansion, you're so formal and stiff. You never laugh, nor say anything excessive. Who knew you throw your towels like that, or eat Pocky and cakes? I mean, holy fu-fudge. You ate a lot of cake!" Naruto ended up laughing and that made Itachi happy for some reason.


"So, tell me," Itachi further relaxed at the big couch in front of the equally gigantic flat screen television. "What's this show about?" The glaring obvious was that it's a show about zombies, still he wanted to ask.


"It's about a guy who was in a coma, when he woke up months after, the whole world has gone to shi-chaos. The whole hospital was infested with zombies! It's good! There's also a guy who carries a crossbow and is super badass, like oh my, I want him on my zombie apocalypse team!" Naruto made a few air-punches and Itachi snorted.


"Your 'zombie apocalypse team'? And you can cuss in front of me by the way. No need to censor yourself out." Itachi smirked.


Naruto eyed him and punched his gut softly, after he sat straight up. He opened another can of beer and sipped. "Stop being so condescending, mou. Anyway, you? Who's on your team? Like, we have a zombie apocalypse tomorrow, who would you want in your team to survive? Can be fictional characters or real life persons, doesn't matter."


Itachi wanted to roll his eyes, but Naruto looked so enthusiastic that he didn't want to burst his bubble, so he sighed and thought about it for a second.


"I would want Kisame on my team, he's strong and has a supportive attitude." he ran a hand through his hair.


"Okay, cool! Who else?" Naruto's eyes were practically shinning.


"Let's see," Itachi thought about it hard, which he admitted was fun. "Maybe one doctor, preferably practicing General Medicine. One knowledgeable in food preparation and hunting, one smart and—I don't really know Naruto." Itachi gave up and Naruto chuckled. The raven really looked like his head hurt, for the said man was pressing and massaging his temples. He was just glad that Itachi humored him. No one else does whenever he's in this nonsense mood.


"Naruto," Itachi called, "your phone is ringing nonstop. Maybe you should answer it."


"It's - " he hesitated. "…some of my friends I don't really want to talk to." Naruto said sheepishly and turned off his phone.




"Anyway, Tachi, are you tired?" Naruto had a dubious grin on him that Itachi had to consider his answer, but nodded anyway. He didn't want to burst Naruto's happy mood but he was indeed tired, and had too much to drink.


"Oh? Want to sleep? We only have one ginormous bed, but I guess I can sleep on this couch. I mean look at this," Naruto patted the said item. "It's so wide, two or three people can sleep here. Man, hotel suites are nice."


"You have to sleep on the bed, I can book another room to sleep in, or sleep on the couch. Do you want to rest now?"


Naruto wanted to disagree but he imposed on the man too much and knew Itachi wouldn't let him rest on the couch on his birthday.


"I wanted to watch some more, if that's alright." he just said simply. Hoping Itachi would be so tired and retire for the night first.


To his shock, Itachi just remained where he was. Naruto thought Itachi was just staying because he wanted to humor Naruto. And maybe it was that at first, but after a few minutes, Naruto saw Itachi was seriously watching the show with him. Getting jump scares like he does and asking Naruto a few questions here and there—cause he missed the first few episodes.


"One of my wishes came true tonight." Naruto said after binge watching one full season of the show. Itachi knew the blond had too much to drink and was probably tired—for Naruto was already slouched on the couch—curled in a ball and eyes dropping. Itachi was no different as well. He took a glance at the clock and saw it was five in the morning. They had the window curtains covering the view so they had no idea how much time had passed.


"What wish?" Itachi asked, stretching his arms upward after he cracked his neck.


"Someone sitting in front of the TV with me, talking about what we're watching. Drinking, eating, something like this… It feels oddly satisfying. I don't know." he chuckled.


Itachi frowned. Such a simple wish and no one granted this? What was Sasuke doing with this man?


"You should sleep on the bed, go on." Itachi urged.


"I… Tachi, I don't feel like sleeping alone, to be honest. It makes me sad, especially today."


Itachi understood the feeling and stared at Naruto. He then stood up and turned the TV off. He hovered in front of Naruto that made the blond curious. "What?" Naruto asked and Itachi pulled him up swiftly.




"You should've said so." Itachi dragged Naruto to the bed and pushed him. Naruto on the other hand had his eyes wide. He was surprised at what was happening that he had no time to react.


"Wait, you took a shower earlier?" Itachi asked cause Naruto still wore the shirt he had when they had dinner.


"I did, but I want to shower now, anyway. What is happening, Tachi?" Naruto asked confusedly.


Itachi just looked at him and called the reception, asking for a wake-up call at a certain time Naruto didn't hear. He then flopped himself on the bed, causing Naruto to bounce on it a bit.


"Good night," the raven said and Naruto still looked at him with wide eyes. He doesn't have qualms with Itachi sleeping with him on one bed—and technically he did say he doesn't want to be alone. That doesn't mean he was not surprised.


He took a quick shower and changed into the boxer briefs Itachi bought for him before he slipped on the gray wife-beater tank top. He slowly got under the covers and soon after, sleep found him.


It felt like he hadn't shut his eyes that long when they got the wake-up call. Naruto grunted a few times before Itachi's voice registered in his head. It sounded too close to him, but he didn't mind. Just then, Itachi whispered 'good morning' to his ear which he answered sleepily back.


Apparently, Naruto didn't realized that during his sleep, he tossed and turned and kicked Itachi a few times. The raven was tempted to leave and use the couch, but his body was too heavy and tired to move. Instead, Itachi just pulled Naruto closer and hugged him—mostly him not over thinking it. He was just hugging Naruto, wanting the man to stop moving. In return, Naruto snuggled with him.


It has been a while since he slept with someone—Itachi forgot how comfortable it was. He propped up on his elbow and rested his chin, looking at Naruto's sleeping face. He looked funny, Itachi thought.


"Got plans for today?" Itachi asked when Naruto finally opened his eyes. Naruto too, didn't think anything weird by them snuggling close. He knew himself, and knows he had a habit of moving about. Gaara once hugged him when they slept together, so this was nothing new.


Still, waking up looking at Itachi's face—hair disarrayed, yet sexy—would make anyone flustered. Especially since Naruto has a thing for dark-haired men.


"Can you give me like, five more minutes?" Naruto buried his head on the pillows while he lay prone. Itachi's eyes caught Naruto's butt and almost whistle in appreciation. He wore only an underwear and wife-beater that was pulled up, probably from tossing in his sleep. The tan legs were well toned as his back muscles. Itachi can actually see Naruto was working out.


Appearance wise, Naruto is not the type who cares about how his face or clothing looks. On the other hand, it seemed like Naruto was actually someone who diligently goes on running and jogging, even in bad weather.




Itachi, once again, stole a glance at Naruto who was lying by his side. His eyes following the Adonis line down Naruto's obliques. It was something he has started to like. He wouldn't stop himself from staring; for he loved what he saw and made no effort to hide it. Itachi believed there is a difference in looking at another's body for admiration and for lust. For, right now he feels no lust for Naruto, but a deep appreciation of his well maintained physique. He was also glad that Naruto was able to bounce back; the blond was rather thin months ago.


When he had enough staring—which he admitted was rude—Itachi then started his day, standing up as he checked his phone.


Naruto could hear the shower running and after a few minutes, Itachi talking to someone on the phone and some clatters, but he didn't mind it much. He woke up fully only when Itachi went back and sat bedside. "Get up. Eat, we're going somewhere." the raven said. His deep voice was pleasant and Naruto hummed as an answer.


He was left alone to freshen himself and he decided to take another shower. He had the habit of taking one every morning and it was something he does to wake himself up. When he stepped inside the bathroom, he was greeted by the pleasant smell, which reminded him that Itachi was just there moments ago.


He swiftly turned on the hot water and let it run all over his body. Now that everything sunk in, Naruto realized how inappropriate he was. He slept in one bed with his ex's brother. He felt his stomach flipped in embarrassment.


True, they're friends and that don't matter much, but it's Itachi. The man is the definition of distance. Itachi uses polite language, even with his brother.


Somehow he knew that he had to push himself into getting his own apartment; he's been dependent to Itachi far too long and might overstay his welcome.


Naruto decided to talk to Iruka come Monday morning if the man knows where can find another part-time work. Money would be a problem from now on.




When he was done thinking in the showers, he swiftly got back to the bedroom—thankful that the suite had dividers for its parts and function—only to find two paper bags with ribbon on top of the bed. He curiously approached it and saw his name on the card. It was a gift from Itachi, again. Naruto frowned but opened it regardless.


In it were a pale-blue shirt and a simple dark gray pullover sweater. The texture of the textile suggests its price, if Naruto was dumb enough not to notice the designer brand. There was also a pair of jeans in it with colorful plaid socks. Naruto cringed cause he already knew it was Deidara who coordinated the look. He saw the jeans and the socks yesterday and he was forced to wear one but refused cause he doesn't feel comfortable folding his jeans ankle length.


Itachi did say they were going somewhere, and him being dressed in the same clothes as last night would most definitely inconvenience the handsome Uchiha. He was not oblivious about the fact that there were stares and whispers thrown their way when they were dining last night. And when they went up to their suite, Naruto could feel the stares from the hotel staff that saw them as well.


"Guess I have to wear this, ugh." he whined.


After he was done—hair styled like last night—Naruto went out to the breakfast table and his mouth immediately fell open. Itachi wore a white shirt underneath a red pullover almost similar to his. His pants; however, were darker along with a pair of red with white soles boat-shoes. As if it wasn't enough, Itachi's hair was lazily tied into a loose bun. Naruto knew he did spend time tying it, but he pulled off the I-just-woke-up-and-look-perfect-like-this look. He somehow hated how beautiful the man was.


Itachi saw Naruto ready and nodded then returned to his newspaper and coffee. The blond on the other hand, ate what was ready on the table. He had a big appetite and was fairly thirsty from his hang-over, not really minding the way Itachi gandered at him from time to time. The food was simple, to Naruto's liking. Even though they didn't sleep much, it seemed like it didn't affect him that bad once the food entered his system.


"You're not going to eat?" Naruto wondered since the Uchiha's plate was fairly clean except for the half-finished soup.


"I don't like to eat that much when I wake up, I'm usually eating ce-"


"Cereals. I know." Naruto shrugged. He was the one who washes Itachi's cereal bowl often so he knew. They didn't speak after that.


When they proceeded to check-out, the valet gave Itachi the keys to his car and Naruto seated in front like always. Itachi wore his large framed sunglasses and drove off.


"Where are we going?" he asked and Itachi just 'hn'ed' at him. It's not like Naruto planned on anything to do today, but he would like to know where this man was going to take him.


"Can I turn on some music?" he asked and Itachi nodded. Naruto's ears were greeted by a pleasant song and decided to listen to it. "What's this? It's good." he asked.


"Guess. It was from the movie with the doctor who eats people. We talked about that last night," the corner of Itachi's mouth curled up. Naruto frowned, then - "Ah! The Silence of the Lambs!" Naruto exclaimed.


Itachi was surprised when they were talking about their interests heartily back at the suite, he discovered that Naruto, similarly, likes the same kind of music and movies that he does. Not only that, they have very similar views on theater plays and arts which was pleasant.


He admitted that in a lot of ways, he undervalued the blond. He just thought Naruto is a happy-go-lucky, mostly airheaded and naturally friendly guy. And true to a fault, he still is. However, Naruto was more than what meets the eye. He knew classic movies and great ones at that. His views were fascinating, and his choices in music were very much to Itachi's taste. Itachi didn't even know Naruto liked romance novels.


That was one of Itachi's secret pleasures. He reads them and absorbs its calm beauty. Itachi was not romantic per se, but reading it somehow was comforting for him. The world of two people bound by love was not foreign to him after all.




When they came to a stop, Itachi eyed Naruto with a hint of smugness. He knew the man was dying to know but he likes to tease him, only cause Naruto gives the best reaction every time. Itachi was glad that Naruto was smiling more and talking like he used to. Indeed, therapy and patience helped him immensely.


"Wait! What's this?!" Naruto was excited going down on the sleek black car. Itachi walked in front of him and was greeted by Kisame in very casual shorts and a T-shirt. Naruto greeted him back and was tempted to ask why wasn't he cold in such little clothing.


"We're going to check some dogs for adoption, see if you find one you like. I also think a pet is good for you. I hope you don't mind the rescued ones. Though, puppies would be okay too if that's what you want. Ah, there's no pressure though. You can decide if you'd like one or not." Itachi stated.


Naruto was too overwhelmed to even know what was happening. He followed the two men in front of him and the experience barely registering in his head.


The caretaker of the animal rescue shelter was surprised when Kisame made an appointment. They don't have much donations so they could only rescue a few, and they're not a popular place when people wanted to adopt pets as well. They even had to send animals to different pounds to have them fostered there. And now well-dressed and handsome men came looking for dogs they don't really have—to say she was nervous was an understatement.


"We only have two dogs today, Uchiha-sama. One dog is already adopted. So yeah, it's basically one dog right now. Sorry, but this one is problematic. He's two, and he's been in three foster homes now. His previous handler said he has too much energy. We're alre-"


"I'll take him!" Naruto interjected. He hasn't seen the dog yet, but the way the lady described him broke the blond's heart. "I'll take him. Where is he?"


"Are you sure?" Itachi asked. He was a little upset that they didn't have many choices, but his request was very short-noticed and Kisame was probably resting with his girlfriend. Naruto looked determined so he was left no choice but agree.


When they were led to the kennel, they were greeted by indeed, a very energetic dog.


"Hi!" Naruto crouched down while the lady unlocked its cage. The minute it was opened, the dog jumped straight to Naruto and planted sloppy, wet-kisses over his face.


Naruto toppled over laughing, while Itachi and the rest laughed at the scene. The dog looked like a white Siberian Husky, but to be sure, Itachi asked. He was not wrong.


"His name is Choi. The old lady who picked him up as a puppy passed away—bless her soul." the lady said.


"Choi. That's a handsome name you got there, buddy." Naruto commented while he scratched the dog's body. He had blue-grayish eyes, and his body had one big, black marking on it. He looked healthy and a little plump as well. Naruto chuckled at this.




"Yes?" Itachi asked as they were filling out necessary forms for adoption. It was more of Itachi signing and Naruto being busy with his new found friend. The dog barked non-stop, trying to sit beside Naruto.


"He's not neutered yet, but all his vaccines were up to date. From our experience, he doesn't go into heat much. We have a Veterinarian we can recommend to you, but it seemed unnecessary, right?" she asked and Itachi nodded. He already had contacted the Vet they'll have to send him to regularly.


"He went to Obedience School. But if anything goes awry, you can always give us a call or you can return him here. We understand. He's a special one and he needs constant supervision."


Itachi looked at the two—Naruto and Choi. They got along fine from the get go.


"An energetic one that no one understands, huh?" Itachi's lips curled upward for a brief moment that surprised Kisame. He knew Naruto brought a different air to his boss, but him smiling? That was a first.


It seemed like Itachi wasn't really talking about the dog either.


After they were done, Naruto said his farewell to Kisame—and Choi wagged his tail one last time to the lady who took care of him. She had tears in her eyes. Sure the dog was a menace, but she loves him all the same. "Take care of yourself, okay? Love your masters." She hugged the dog and let go immediately. Saying goodbye to their foster was really hard.


Naruto was teary as well, "We'll visit from time to time, right Choi?" he said while he took the leash off her hand.


Itachi just looked at them while Kisame carried the cage and other supplies to his car. "Boss, I'll send this over now. Anything else you might need?" he asked.


"Ah! Please, tell granny to feed my fishes!" Naruto reminded Kisame and the man grinned and gave the okay sign.


Itachi, Naruto and curious Choi walked for a few blocks, just mindlessly roaming. When they passed by a coffee shop, Itachi caught a familiar vintage red Mustang with white racer stripes on its hood.


"Itachi! Naruto-kun!"


And just as he suspected, it was Deidara and Sasori, having coffee outside. It seemed like Deidara was smoking which was why they're not inside the air-conditioned store. "I'm glad you wore what we prepared Naruto-kun. It looks good on you, Un."


"What are you doing here, nii-san?" Naruto decided to ignore the remark, he's already embarrassed enough when he thanked Itachi on the car. Choi was sniffing like crazy, trying to recognize the new scents.


"Having a break." Sasori offered them a seat on the outside couch and Itachi took it. He was getting hungry too and it'd be a good time to order at least a sandwich and something sweet to drink.


"What would you like?" Itachi leaned closer to Naruto who was busy asking Choi to stay seated on the ground. He was not successful, though.


Sasori and Deidara shared a look when they saw the two. They seemed rather domestic and Itachi acting like that towards the blond was refreshing. Itachi is no doubt someone who commands respect, but he's also a person to equally give others that. But the way he treats Naruto implied he found the younger man special to him. They were not mistaken to push the two together. It's about time Itachi found someone he could trust to stay beside him as well.


"Say," — Deidara placed his cigarette on the ashtray and sipped his coffee, while Itachi ordered for Naruto like the tanned man asked — "How's your stay last night?" he wanted to add 'looks like you two got closer' but decided not to push his luck.


"Tachi ordered a lot. Expect a big bill coming your way." Naruto grinned. He did enjoyed it as well.


"Tch." Sasori knew about that for he checked their credit card statement online before they went out. It's not like they care, but it still felt like Itachi won for some reason. True enough, the Uchiha—though at first glance looked stoic—wore a smug face.


"What's with the dog?" the redhead asked.


"We adopted it earlier. His name is Choi." at the very mention of his name, Choi's ears wriggled and looked at the strangers. Deidara said 'hi' and Sasori eyed Itachi. Never once did Itachi correct Naruto when the blond said 'We'. It's as if Itachi was okay with them owning the dog together. Are they already dating? He wanted to ask.


"Are you two dating now?" and Deidara, bless his loudmouth, inquired what his husband was dying to know.


Itachi was quiet and Naruto's mouth fell wide opened. They were really suspicious but knowing Itachi, he wouldn't be dating this man, at least not yet.


"Your orders, Sir." the two were saved by the bell and Itachi started eating. While Naruto mumbled and said they were not dating and they should stop whatever it was they were doing.


They remained there for a few minutes before Sasori's phone rang. "Dude, we need to go." he said to his husband casually.


Deidara on the other hand punched his hand on his fist, "Je hebt me een uur geleden nog geneukt. Waag het niet om me 'Dude' te noemen, of ik hak je ballen er af!" he said darkly.


Sasori visibly paled and pinched Deidara's cheek playfully. "Ja, Schat. Sorry."


"We're gonna go. See ya Naruto-kun. Itachi…" Sasori nodded to Itachi.




"Bye!" Naruto called. They saw the two looking like Deidara was having a hissy fit, while Sasori coaxed him. Naruto would have to ask Deidara what he said tomorrow. He knew Deidara is from the Netherlands, but he didn't know Sasori can speak his language as well.


"They're really cute. I mean, their dynamics help each other shine. That must be nice…" Naruto said a little dreamily. His green-tea latte tasted heavenly that he almost finished it all. Itachi asked if he wanted a refill which he did. "I'll pay for this, if you don't mind." Naruto wanted to, but the Uchihas were the typical 'never let their dates pay' kind of men. Naruto learned to assert himself if he wanted to pay for something.


"Can I ask you something rather personal?" Itachi leaned his back on the foam of his seat. Naruto was curious and nervous at the same time.




"Have you slept with anyone other than Sasuke?"


The way Itachi asked him somehow made Naruto at ease. Itachi is not a gossiper, and he's not the type to intrude on other people's lives. Him asking Naruto must have some kind of meaning.


"No. I haven't." Naruto answered truthfully. In fact, he was never been kissed, hugged, held hands with anyone other than Sasuke. Let alone sex.


"I see. Do you think you can date so soon?" Itachi asked again. By then Naruto's face was flaming red. Is he going to ask him out? Naruto wondered.


"You see, I was thinking it'd be best for you to try and go out with a few friends more often. Not that I am pushing you Naruto, that's not it."


"Okay. So please tell me." Naruto absentmindedly petted Choi's head and the dog's tail swished happily.


"When I was like you, I tried seeing some friends that might cheer me up - like Sasori and Deidara. Of course our relationship turned physical at some point, but that was something good. It's time for you to experience things you didn't while you were with Sasuke." Itachi was genuine about this. He thought about that when he was with Naruto last night. The fact that Naruto had not experienced couch cuddling saddened him deeply. He was stoic towards Shisui too, but he gave the man all the love he could. Naruto deserved to have happy memories.


"Yeah." Naruto paused and nodded profusely. "I want someone who sings with me, and is not embarrassed when I eat loudly. I want someone who agrees to spontaneously dance in the rain with me, or play strip poker with me. I want someone who compliments how I look from time to time. I mean, look at me…" Naruto pointed towards his chest and patted his stomach. "I work hard for this!" he exclaimed and Itachi hid his amusement by chewing his sandwich.


Naruto started laughing at himself. He remembered Sasuke every now and then, but somehow things were different with Itachi. When he's with the man, he was allowed to do stupid things and have opinions. In fairness with Sasuke, the man does allow Naruto too. But more often than not, Sasuke felt distant cause of their familiarity with each other.


"I guess..." Naruto had a sad smile once again that commanded Itachi's attention. "I just want someone who makes me feel special, and not make me feel inadequate."


Naruto looked back on the days where he envied how sweet Gaara and Neji were. They often hold hands while walking and Neji shopped with him. How Shikamaru, though lazy, still carried Temari's stuff and kiss her goodbye even in front of their friends. And now Sasori, being crazy in love with his husband that he often see the two making out when they have breaks.


That kind of passion in life was something he was missing.


"I guess it's time to start looking for dates. Or at least a friendly one, ne?"


"Woof!" Choi barked.


Itachi on the other hand, thought it was rather funny that Naruto's likes was something he wanted in a relationship as well. He guessed that was another thing he had in common with Naruto. Though inexplicably, he felt some odd sensation inside his chest. A sensation very foreign to the Uchiha.


Naruto glanced at him worriedly; for the Uchiha had a weird look on his face. He wanted to ask why, but Itachi already asked for the bill. "Let's get Choi some food and other things he need and head home."


"Alright. Are we having dinner at home?"


"Take out is fine. I also want to buy some blu-rays before we go." Itachi answered. After Naruto paid, they walked towards the car and wondered how they will fit Choi. Naruto just opted to tuck Choi between his legs while they drove slowly.


After a few minutes of silence, "You're going to buy The Walking Dead Blu-rays, aren't ya?" Naruto jested.




Naruto could have sworn Itachi had a blush underneath the oversized sunglasses.





Sasuke was forced to go to his parents' home instead of talking to Sakura directly. He received a call that his Uncle Madara went home and would like to meet his family. However, Sasuke was very late, therefore forced Sakura to bring Sarada alone instead. He'd have to talk to Sakura later.


When he came down, they were already done with dinner and were having dessert.


"Where have you been? You look awful." Mikoto commented, for her son looked like a mess.


"I…got caught in a traffic accident." Sasuke lied—his hand in his pocket caressed the jewelry box—and Sakura felt it too. There was something wrong with her husband and she was sure it was because of Naruto. Her friends talked about Naruto's birthday on social media and felt she had no say in the matter. She already accepted the fact that Sasuke would relapse and seek the blond's company. They're always together ever since. It'd be weird if Sasuke suddenly forgets that.


"Oh dear! What happened? Are you alright?"


"If you needed help with, I can call my lawyers." Madara looked at him sternly. He was serious as always that made Sasuke more annoyed. They never talked about anything other than money this and power that. The whole dinner table suffocated him.


"It's already taken care of. Thank you." he said.


After the rest had their desserts, they retired back to the living room so Sasuke's parents' can fawn over Sarada. She wore a cute pink and green onesie, trying to stand on Sakura's lap. They were talking about how pretty she is, and how she looked like Sasuke. How they were sure Sarada would break a lot of hearts in the future. Sasuke frowned at this, "Sarada won't date. I won't allow it." he said which made everyone laugh. Including Sakura.


Sasuke somehow felt relieved. Sarada is his everything now, he was serious when he said he won't allow it. No one will ever be good enough for her.


Sakura saw Sasuke's expression and placed Sarada on his lap. "Hold her. She's missing you," she said softly.


Sasuke happily did, helping her stand up while he cooed at her. She was wobbly but still tried her best, "Good job." Sasuke murmured and kissed her soft cheek.


There was silence followed by murmurs and soon after, Mikoto turned the volume of the Television louder.

"Itachi Uchiha was seen outside the XX department store outside X City. You can see in this picture that he was holding a few grocery bags, walking with a man and a dog with him. They looked so natural with each other!" the lady from the news squealed.


"Do you think the famous Bachelor is dating this beautiful blond? They have a dog together and grocery shopping? I think they're living together, isn't that sweet?" another one commented.

"Whatever this was, it sure made a lot of women and men sad. Uchiha Itachi: Bachelor no more!"


The people gathered together looked perplexed and worried. They glanced back at Sasuke and could see him going paler by the minute.


Sasuke's eyes never left Naruto on screen. Has Naruto ever been this beautiful? He was dressed nicely and his hair was styled modern and fashionable. His face was practically beaming. He looked much happier than he was with him. Is this his Naruto? He asked himself. Naruto was the sloppy guy who wears orange tracksuits and eats ramen all the time. Naruto's eyes were never this blue. His tan was never this golden. Oh how this Naruto looked different yet familiar. Sasuke was so confused.


"Itachi? I mean…" Mikoto couldn't find the words. She knew Itachi was helping Naruto but for him to date the man himself? And what is Naruto doing? Itachi is Sasuke's brother!


"Hn," Madara tapped his chin. "Do you think they were seeing each other for a while? They looked pretty cozy. Don't you think so?"


"Are you..." Sasuke hugged Sarada and gritted his teeth. "Are you saying Naruto and Itachi cheated on me since long ago?"


Sakura was confused and hurt at the same time. She wanted to leave then and there but her legs were far too weak. For Sasuke to have such a reaction towards Naruto was a slap in the face.


"I did not say that, you did." Madara added passively. If he was starting to stir things up, he was successful— for this sparked anger inside Sasuke.


Uchiha Madara caught Sasuke's reaction and shot a glance towards Fugaku. They both have an unspoken wary and envy towards Itachi. If anything, Fugaku knew Madara's plans to oust Itachi. And now it seemed Sasuke is one of the ways he can do that.












what Deidara said is in Dutch. translated as "You fucked me an hour ago, don't you dare call me 'dude' or i'll chop your balls off there" and Sasori replied "yes darling/honey. Sorry" thanks Lien for translating that for me. /kisses/


I was inspired to write this one cause 'Collide' is such a nice song. It made me think of Itachi discovering his similarities with Naruto's taste and with the man himself.

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Chapter 7: What becomes of the broken hearted


chapter warnings: long chapter, talks of businesses, OOC-ish [itachi talks a lot when he's with naruto or if it's about naruto], drama, depression, characters licking each others wounds, being needy etc. also, just to be clear, when I said SLOW-BURN, I meant it. Itachi and Naruto are not in love. they're friends and both needed each other. though in this chapter, they've improve a bit, so yeah.



~The fruits of love grow all around


But for me they come a tumblin' down


Everyday heartaches grow a little stronger


I can't stand this pain much longer


I walk in shadows, searching for light


Cold and alone, no comfort in sight


Hoping and prayin' for someone to care


Always movin' and goin' nowhere


What becomes of the broken-hearted


Who had love that's now departed


I know I've got to find


Some kind of peace of mind


Help me, please~






Itachi had to release a formal statement clearing Naruto's name?and though the gesture was well intended, it gave the opposite effect. People thought Itachi was not the type of person to go to great lengths to clear someone's name?and that was true. This was actually the first time Itachi gave a comment on his personal affairs, officially.


He did tell Naruto he was going to do that, only cause Naruto has been harassed non-stop even when he's just going to the bathroom in his University. He had to use his power and go over to the Board, forcing them to do something about the safety of their student.


It was not a pretty situation.


During the week of the merger with the Hyugas, there were a few times that Sasuke came to his office and wanted to talk regarding Naruto and what was happening. His time doesn't permit him though; they were really swamped with things to do that he somehow couldn't even go home.


The Hyuga Inc. was once a small scale company, investing in Freight Forwarding. After its previous CEO stepped down, Hyuga Neji took over its management and the business bloomed significantly. They invested in all aspects of Freight and Logistics that they'd managed to own shipping lines that cater to high-end commodities such as: imported car parts, medical equipment, chemicals and so on. The type of commodities that requires a huge amount of insurance while traveling on land, sea or by air.


Since then, Itachi has been convincing the board to merge with the company; they do have their Freight forwarders partnership they used for their business especially their advance construction materials. Though, owning or investing in shipping lines themselves would lessen the money they waste on third party logistics.


The merger; however, right before the contract signing took an unexpected turn of events. The one that had the largest stock in their Corporation?next to Itachi's, that is?is opposed to the idea. Madara wanted to compete against the Hyuga, saying they could probably have more profit that way. Itachi on the other hand, said that competing against them would make them lose rather than gain money.


One: they have to do research on how the business would work, that'd be the easiest of the things they have to do. Two: they'd have to produce their own ships and cargo planes which cost a lot of money, not to mention uneconomical. Not knowing if your business would bloom in this day and age of economic crisis is a gamble. And the gamble into buying a multi-million to billions of dollars of ships and planes is something they could not afford.


Where they would get that kind of money was the main question. You cannot be a shipping line with a single ship or plane. Hiring other commercial planes and ships? That defeats the purpose of building their own line.


There's also an unspoken rule in this type of industry. Make a lot of allies before making enemies. If, somehow, they really make their own and compete against them, that would mean they'll lose business that associates with Hyuga Inc. Itachi said that Hyugas' didn't go that far in such a short time because of 'luck' alone?though that was a part of it. The cunning Uchiha Itachi said it was rather logical that Neji had some kind of help behind the scenes. That was the risky part of it?and while they're preparing for their business, Hyuga Inc. would rise to power more and more, making their venture an inevitable loss.


So Madara was outvoted?not surprisingly. Though what shocked everyone else was that Uchiha Sasuke voted in favor of Madara.


Itachi was unfazed.


He perceived Madara would use the latest tragedy of his brother's life to use or sway the man to his advantage. He sensed that his father would be behind this as well. He had a contingency plan and everything was going accordingly.


When the signing was over, the Uchihas left the board meeting with a bone-chilling silence. Uchiha Itachi had the triumphant look over Madara and Sasuke had the scowl on his face.


He went back to his office and resumed his day, thinking of how to execute his next steps. Sasuke is the acting Vice President, and though Sasuke is an Uchiha, he has no stocks of his own. This means, Madara or Fugaku himself would give Sasuke some control to oust him and regain their power.


Itachi scoffed at the thought.


The reason as to why Itachi was the CEO of the Uchiha Corp.?along with its other businesses?was because Madara and Fugaku made a blunder while it was in their hands. A few years back, Fugaku made bad investments and decisions and somehow kept losing money more than its gain. Itachi had researched about the incident and knew that Madara was also the reason why this was happening. Madara was not the trusted child for he had a dark ambition and was brutal in his ways of handling business. For this reason, Fugaku was the trusted one and their grandfather left the Uchiha's wealth to his name.


Fugaku is a foolish person though, for he kept Madara at his side. Unbeknownst to him, Madara was stealing money off of the Company to form his own. That's when Sharingan Corp. was build.


Madara had one fatal mistake; he thought he could use Itachi till the age of twenty or so, and Itachi somehow convinced him that he was indeed agreeing with his way of earning and running business.


When their stocks went down at a rapid rate, Itachi proposed to Fugaku to give him tentative power. The man was reluctant, but his love for money was bigger than everything, so he agreed. Fugaku announced his son replacing his position temporarily, for his health was declining. They already had an idea of how gifted the young Uchiha was, but had no confidence in his ability to lead the Company that has a gross income of billions.


Yet months after he was in-charge, Itachi had fired everyone connected to swindling and stealing money off the Corporation. He filed law suits and criminal charges, and though he earned a lot of enemies, he gained the board members' trust.


If that wasn't enough to spite Fugaku, Itachi had bought every little investment Fugaku lost during his reign. Everything?including a measly MCWonalds franchise.


That was a slap in the face for Fugaku.


After a year, Uchiha Corp. remained at the list of Top Twenty Companies worldwide and with a steady pace, it kept going to the top.


By this time, greed has taken its toll again, and by the two year mark, Fugaku took the power off Itachi and resumed his position by claiming he was already fit to work.


The board was unhappy with this and they could do nothing, that time Fugaku had the most stocks and influence, which was not in their favor.


Itachi was not called a genius without a reason, though. He knew this would happen and prepared for it.


He was exceptional in playing the stock markets and investing his money. He was so good at it that he was jokingly called 'Magician' in the stock exchange floor. He studied the current trends in this field and invests to whichever could give him more money. After two years, he had enough to buy the stocks of the small share holders and had the money to outdo Fugaku's influence by gaining more shares than him. He also swayed the Board of Directors to reinstate him as the CEO again, for he had the twenty year plan for the Company?complete with all its portfolios, targeted market, investments, and everything. Honestly, Fugaku was also in awe.


Itachi reclaimed the position and quietly offered his father to be an adviser, which he declined. He said he was happy that his son was serious into taking care of their family business and every time people asked him about this, Fugaku laughed and patted Itachi's back. He kept saying he was proud of his son.


But the savvy business man knew he was not. He sensed his father's spite for him and he couldn't care less.


The real problem now is Madara. The man wanted what he could not have: The Uchiha Corp.


Though Itachi had stopped his corruption, he knew it was far from over.


If only Sasuke was mature enough to let him know his plan.


The problem with his foolish brother is that the man was easily swayed with emotions. He doesn't know how to curve his needs, and he doesn't know when to retreat and see everything in perspective.


Sasuke was too soft for this world.


"Itachi-sama, Hyuga Neji-sama is here to see you." Kisame stopped Itachi's reverie as his voice rang over the intercom.


"Let him in," Itachi sighed and loosened his tie.


"You look awful." Neji commented as he took a seat. Itachi shrugged and offered him a drink which Neji took. They both enjoy hard liquor and were glad that it was already in the afternoon. Neji doesn't like stiff business meetings. He was more on the technical side of things and he likes it that way. But his 'boss' is a shrewd businessman and a terrifying person in general. He wouldn't want 'this person' pissed off.


"Everything's according to plan." Neji raised his glass to Itachi and offered a toast.







Sasuke was once again unsuccessful to talk to Itachi. He saw how overwhelming Itachi's work was, so didn't press any further. The older Uchiha was inundated with people to talk to as well. It seemed like a week after the merger, Itachi managed to get people to invest in their business.


That was rather fast and amazing, if Sasuke was going to be honest with himself. For sure he was the Vice, but his only source of money was his salary?gift-wrapped by Daddy dearest. At his age, Itachi was running the Uchihas' wealth and the lives of its employees and their families at the palm of his hands.


He was jealous; that was given. Itachi has always been the golden child and that's why he looked up to him. He idolized his brother and wanted to do the things he did.


Yet, Itachi? Itachi never seemed to care for the things Sasuke cared for. Itachi was not interested in being fawned over. He didn't like to be the center of everything unlike Sasuke. This made Sasuke feel childish and immature. He doesn't like the idea that he's being regarded as the social one, while Itachi was the unattainable one.


At some point in his life, the worship he gave to his older brother transformed into something else. He wanted to win over Itachi for once. But what can he do? Planning years ahead was not his strong suit. After years of trying, he finally gave that thought up.


He realized his brother's love for him was something no one?not even his parents?can match. Itachi was there to clean his act, was there to give him advice, the man was there to stop whatever he was doing regardless of how important it was whenever Sasuke asked him to come to his side.


He was convinced that as long as he has his brother's back, then doing things at his pace was good enough. It was not like Sasuke was failing, he's doing a good job himself and was noted by many of how smart and efficient he was. People at his age were still trying to figure out what they wanted to do in life.


He was; however, being pressured by his father and his uncle to go against Itachi. Saying that the man was trying to sabotage the company and everything it stands for. Sasuke has suspicions that Itachi was not telling the whole thing to him, but he was convinced that Itachi was not doing the things they accused him off.


"Itachi, give me a message when you get this." Sasuke left a message in Itachi's voice mail and was ready to go home when Itachi called back immediately.

"Sasuke, are you coming to Shikamaru's wedding this Saturday?" Itachi asked and though Sasuke was surprised, he answered him yes.


"Would it be a problem if I attend as Naruto's date? He asked me but I thought I should let you know first."


"Okay. Why would you be Naruto's date? And second of all, why ask for my permission?" Sasuke was kind of annoyed and he showed it in his tone.

"Oh, my dear brother, you don't have to pretend to me. I know you have feelings for him and wanted to talk to me about what was the truth behind all the rumors." Sasuke could hear the mirth from Itachi's tone and he was pissed. Itachi had this nasty habit Sasuke was not fond off, the one thing he hated about his brother.


"Nii-san, I'll be frank. Are you dating Naruto?" Sasuke ran his hand through his hair and started the engine of his car. He wanted to turn the heater on as well, he felt cold from his question that irritated him up to no end.

"The real question is would it matter if Naruto and I dated?" Itachi countered.



"You don't have to concern yourself about Naruto, Sasuke. Naruto's doing fine, slowly. Whether or not I date him is none of your concern. Even if I didn't, it won't take long before he finds someone new. Wish him well by then."


What Itachi said was true, and he did say Itachi should stay close to Naruto for the blond needed someone to be with. But the fact that Itachi was being vague and answering with a question was insulting.


"Nii-san, are you playing with me?" he asked a little agitatedly.

"Sasuke, when have I played with you? When have I mocked your feelings? I am saying the truth; I like Naruto, and I was open to you about that last time. And though I do not like him romantically, I am not the type of person to close all doors. If I answer you 'no we are not' then I've already closed the possibility of us dating. But if I say we are, then you would've reacted differently and took a violent turn. I know you well Sasuke. Which was why I said what I said." Itachi paused for a while and Sasuke could hear him sigh.


"Naruto has had enough people nosing their way to his life. Allow him to date who he wants to. Including and not limited to me."

Sasuke had difficulty breathing. Itachi likes Naruto to some degree. If, by chance, Itachi decided to pursue Naruto, it would mean that he would have to see Naruto with the one person he can't be. The one person he loves and respects so much, yet the cause of his envy.


His Naruto would be with Itachi on every family occasion, holding his hands while the blond laughed that obnoxious laugh. His Naruto would love Itachi more than he loved Sasuke, no doubt he would. Itachi is better than him; he treats his lovers gently and never did them wrong.


Naruto's memory of Sasuke would be replaced.


"No. I don't want that." Sasuke breathed through the phone and hung up.



"How you holdin' up?" Someone pinched Naruto's cheek so hard he had to throw a punch so the other one would stop.


"I'm fine a few moments ago, what're you doin'? Pervert." Naruto retorted; the silver-haired man just laughed at his response. It has been a week since the news broke out, and though the Television stations stopped showing Itachi's and Naruto's face all over its gossip section, the rumor it created didn't die down.


"I have free time, wanna blaze weed with me?"


Kakashi wore a blue shirt underneath his white lab coat, his hair was a spiky mess as always and he had a dubious smile underneath his mask. Naruto eyed him suspiciously and was sure the sensei was not really on break.


"I don't smoke, remember? Does Iruka-sensei know about this? I'll rat you out for a bowl of ramen, you know?" Naruto had a bored look while he flips pages from the book he was reading. The library was his solitude for a while now and was glad that less and less students go there since the campus had free access to the digital copies for materials they need.


Kakashi gave Naruto a bar of seemingly melted chocolates. "How about I give you these and you shut your mouth?"


"Gross," the blond refused but had a smile on his face. He doesn't really hate the man, rather, he was fond of him. Unlike Iruka, Kakashi was laid back and lazy. Somehow this attitude was refreshing to be with whenever he's not in the mood to be smothered. Iruka has a tendency to mother him to death?not that he wasn't grateful for it.


"Kakashi-sensei, I wanted to ask you about something?" Naruto stated. Kakashi didn't look at him, just busy reading his erotic novel. A novel he seemed to be re-reading for a whole year.


"What is it?" the man answered.


"I'm living with Itachi, you know that right? Do you think it's wise that I postponed my plans on moving out?" Naruto asked while he still read his notes, occasionally jotting down on his tickler; he was the type to write on small pieces of paper so a tickler was best for him.


Kakashi?who was sitting by the window?looked up at Naruto and closed his book. "Why did you stay with him in the first place?" he asked.


Naruto shrugged. "I was desperate and lonely. I don't want to be alone, yet I don't want to be with people who don't give me space either. I can't stay with Gaara; he'll give me advice I don't need. I don't want to stay with my other friends either; they'll tell me how stupid I am and that I should've left Sasuke sooner."


There was a pregnant pause between them before Naruto spoke again. "When I'm with Itachi, everything's easier. I'm with someone, but he doesn't mind my business and leave me be. He doesn't question my choices, he sits there and listens to me, he lets me cry however long I please? I guess I'm using his kindness, huh?" he asked.


Kakashi contemplated what to say. Indeed, Naruto looked like he was using Kakashi as his safety blanket, but what's intriguing was what Itachi wanted with Naruto. He never really trusted the Uchiha. There was something about his eyes that tell Kakashi that he wasn't all that innocent and helping Naruto was his only goal, though this was just a hunch on his part. Uchiha Itachi is a man that's hard to read and looks like he was planning his steps in life years before it happened. That kind of cunning is something you fear if you're not his ally.


"So why did you postpone your move again? I thought the place Iruka told you about was perfect for you and your pet?" he decided to not answer the question laid out.


"The news still didn't die down, and me moving to an unprotected apartment would be bad. At least Itachi's house has CCTV cameras, alarms, gated and all that shit..." Naruto waved his hand dismissively.


"Hmm. Indeed, that's a wise decision. I guess you'll have to tough it out for now, ne?"


"Guess so."


By then Naruto's phone vibrated.


"Thanks Kakashi-sensei, I have class now. Please say hi to Iruka-sensei for me. I'll come visit soon."


Kakashi waved goodbye at the young man, but had a look of concern for him. He'll have to talk to Itachi soon to get to the bottom of that nagging uneasiness in his chest.


"Ah. I'm such a good person." he nodded to himself profusely.






The lecture was both gruesome and tiresome that Naruto, come afternoon, was ready to bury his head under the earth.


Just as he suspected, he was the source of amusement for some and the source of hatred for others.


'First Sasuke and now his older brother? That's really sick.'

'He really has high ambitions, no? I mean forget having a rich boyfriend! That man was gunning after the Uchiha wealth!'


'I'm definitely a better catch than he is! I met Itachi-sama a few times and my Dad is his business associate. But when they arranged us to meet, Itachi-sama immediately refused, saying he was not interested! I guess that bitch didn't want Itachi-sama taken away from him! He's scared cause he has nothing!'

'His face is so ugly, ugh. Look at those scars! I bet the reason Sasuke left him was because he woke up and realize what a scum that Naruto is! Yuck!'


Naruto kept hearing these things and more in the last few days, sending himself into fits of anger. He wanted to hold on and ignore them. But how can you? When you're a victim and you're the one being blamed, it hurts you and even wounds your soul.


What can he do? It is true that he is nothing; he has a few yen under his name, but that was it. He's not bad looking, but it's true that compared to the Uchihas, he looks like dirt. He knew that Sasuke is a good looking guy and dating him was something he was always insecure over. Now that Itachi is linked with him, imagine the negative impact to his self-confidence.


He was bombarded with questions the day after they went out. Apparently, someone took a picture of them and spread it over the news and internet. It wasn't supposed to be a big deal. The problem was Itachi is a bachelor that separated his private life very meticulously, for him to be seen in public with a man, doing domestic stuff was something to gossip over?that's for sure.


Naruto immediately denied the fact after a reporter practically shoved a mic at his face. "We're just friends." he said. People didn't buy it for one second.


He was glad; however, that Kakashi and Iruka fortified security over the campus. Kakashi's family was part of the University board and had no problems providing Naruto the safety he needed.


Though his protection can only go so far. Gossip from students themselves cannot be stopped.


Messages from group boards and University online forums sure had a feast on his private life.

'An orphan.'


'Gold digger.'


'Sure. They're friends -rolls eyes- After all, it's everyday that you get to be friends with billionaires.'


Naruto was and still enduring these hurtful comments?seemingly fine. It's not like people can harm him physically. They could, but they'd be in a world of pain; for Naruto is one hell of a fighter.


Sai is helping Naruto's University life a bit as well. The man was always beside him and bit by bit, he got to know him. The man wasn't as bad as he perceived him to be. In fact, even though he's blunt, Sai's a good person deep, deep down.






Naruto's classes came to an end, after a whole new day of endurance. When he reached his bike, he saw the tires were deliberately slashed. He sighed audibly and heard some giggles from the girls not so far away. He recognized them as Sasuke's fans.


He looked at them and stared without blinking.


"Wha ? what?" one asked.


"It's because you people are so pathetic that the Uchihas wanted nothing to do with you." Naruto said a little loudly, making sure everyone near would hear him. He finished it off with a meaningful smirk and unchained his bike. Tomorrow, he'll make sure to walk and take the bus instead.


"What did you say?!" an angry voice came from them and few girls stood up, as if ready to pounce at the blond.


"You heard me!" he challenged back. "You people have nothing to do in your lives that you had to gossip over others. Feh! Why don't you try flirting with them for once, see if they'll be interested in small minded people like you." Naruto hissed.


They were about to walk over to Naruto when the man's phone rang.


"Hello? Itachi, just in time?" Naruto shot a glance at the girls and smirked again. He was so done being the victim.


He still was talking on the phone while he rolled his bike away, leaving a few angry shouts from the people watching over him. And while he looked so tough on the outside, Naruto was in the verge of tears.


He didn't deserve any of this. And for sure, tomorrow's going to be hell again. He knew those girls would make up stuff like Naruto attacked them or something like that. For now, he was happy that he got to be smug over them.



Deidara shot concerned glances towards Naruto every now and then. When he called the man earlier, Naruto addressed him as 'Itachi'. He knew to some degree that Naruto was bullied at school. What he can't understand was why.


Naruto has always been hated because of his closeness with Uchiha Sasuke. Now that he's 'with' the older, more refined and successful Uchiha, people seemed to have lost it and targeted him more. Somehow, they?Deidara and Sasori?felt responsible for Naruto's unhappiness.


They were the ones who pushed the two to spend time together, without thinking of the consequences it'll bring.


Naruto kept saying he was fine, and was functioning normally like always, but they knew Naruto was suffering.


He kept losing track of time, always needed to be reminded to eat, or drink. He kept losing focus and seemed listless.


His aversion to mirrors and anything that shows his reflection resurfaced. They heard it from Itachi before and they were really glad when Naruto slowly didn't mind seeing his face again. But now that everything was a mess, somehow his clinical depression relapsed.


"I'm done for today, need anything else?" Naruto asked with the fake smile on his face. Sasori saw this and he visibly cringed. He hated this Naruto but had no right to say anything. He understood that he's going through a difficult time, but still trying his best to move on. The man?the couples thought?was so unlucky. If only he was someone with a name to back him up, he wouldn't feel so small right now.


"Let me take you home." Deidara offered and Naruto immediately said no.


He didn't gave his boss time to argue with him and left as fast as he could.


He knew they were looking at him with eyes of pity. He hated that and he hated himself, yet again. But what was he supposed to do but move on and try to numb everything else.


Though he can't help but wonder about Sasuke's life at the moment. Sasuke's child in his arms, cooing her. Falling asleep with his wife in his arms, resting side by side. Eating dinners together, talking about what Sakura did with Sarada.


It pains him. He was left with nothing and everyday he fought hard. He fought against people misunderstanding him and fought against society judging him. What's harder was he's even fighting himself and his inner battles were the worse of his life. He wanted to be with Sasuke again, he wanted to see him, he wanted to fall desperately onto his arms and cry until everything was over.


He really love the man, and at times when the nights grew colder and his feelings seem like endless voids, Naruto wanted to give Sasuke a call. Ask him if he was doing fine without him. Why Naruto seemed to be dying every day. And just when he seemed to have a break, everyone and everything was dragging him down again.


Naruto took the bus, leaving his bike parked at work. He'd have to change the tires for they were slashed violently. He doesn't have the money for it yet and it'll have to wait.


It took him twenty minutes to reach home. Thankful that Itachi had the influence to keep their home safe, Naruto was relieved to see that there were no reporters waiting outside their house. It was a gated community and no one was allowed to enter without special permission.


"On foot today, sir?" the guard asked Naruto and the blond nodded with a grin on his face.


"You look sharp tonight, have a date?" he joked and the old man flustered. It looked like Naruto hit the nail in the head.


"Heh. Good luck then," he called out as he walked the few meters to their house.


By the time he reached their driveway, Choi's face was already stuck between the metal of the gates. He was whining and wagging his tail at the same time that Naruto couldn't help but laugh and feel pity.


"I'm home, Choi. What're you doin' buddy?" Naruto asked and freed the dog. When its nose was finally free, Choi pounced on Naruto, licking wherever he can.


"It's good to see you too, buddy. Why're you out though?" Naruto wondered if granny was still inside. She was supposed to leave before the sun sets and leave Choi in. Why was he out?


"I let him out, he was making a mess inside."


A familiar voice stopped Naruto from breathing a few seconds. He was sure that he's having auditory hallucinations. He refused to look back until, "Hello, Naruto." the voice spoke again.


Naruto turned around, and though the sky was already dark, the driveway had ample lighting, illuminating the pale skin and dark hair he knew and saw many times throughout his life. The lady had her one hand in her skirt pocket while the other ran over her hair. She looked like she was waiting for a while.


"Mikoto?" Naruto still couldn't believe she was there. Naruto's heart was beating so fast, he knew Mikoto could hear it too. Somehow this made Naruto painfully aware of what was between them.


"Can I talk to you for a minute?" she asked and Naruto opened his mouth and said a tiny 'yes'.


Minutes after they were inside, Naruto offered his guest tea but she refused, looking at everywhere but him. She scrutinized every inch of Itachi's home and was wondering what changed when Naruto came.


"Is that dog yours or Itachi's?" She asked after a pregnant silence.


"It's mine, but Itachi signed up for him and gave this address as his home." Naruto said. He was nervous to hell and back. Why was Mikoto sounding so - mean?


"I'll be straight to the point, Naruto. I don't like the fact that you're living here. But my son earns for himself and this is his home, so he can ask anyone to live with him. The fact that I am his mother won't change. And seeing as you're Sasuke's ex-boyfriend, you shouldn't live with Itachi. You shouldn't even be friends with him and bother him, let alone date him." Mikoto spat these words with much hate that Naruto couldn't believe this was the same Mikoto he came to love as his own mother.


"Are you saying I should leave?" Naruto asked. Choi on the other hand knew something was up, for he was growling at Mikoto and the woman stared the dog into submission. Naruto could almost hear her thoughts on how untrained and disappointing his dog was. Naruto patted the dog's head to calm him down.


"Yes. That's exactly what I am saying. You leeched off Sasuke far too long, and now Itachi? I didn't have problems with you dating Sasuke back then, cause my son really liked you. But let's be honest here, you're an orphan and without a career. Sasuke was better off with Sakura. It was like a torn in my throat finally dislodged when you're gone. I felt as though you're an anchor to Sasuke. He needed someone who can support his career, and give him a family. Don't you agree Itachi deserves someone like that too?" Mikoto stated.


Naruto took a minute to calm down, then laughed so hard Choi howled and barked at him. When he was done he faced Mikoto with teary eyes?either from hurt or anger or both.


"Leeched? When I was living with Sasuke, the man did nothing but rinse the dishes he used and pay for the house. I bought the groceries, did the laundry and cleaning, did all the household chores. With my part-time work, I paid for the gas and water bill. Sasuke only paid for the house and electricity. You know where he got his money? Yeah, from his parents. Not something he worked hard for."


"Then what? After years of staying with the man, he cheated repeatedly. Who washed his semen soaked underwear?" Mikoto flinched and Naruto continued. "That's right. Me!"


"Not leaving his side then would prove that you're after the money!" she retorted.


"If I am then I would have married your son a long time ago, then ask for a divorce and have myself paid by millions. The evidences I have would shame the Uchiha name you guys are so proud off. Did you know Sasuke fucked one of your friends? That's right, the mother of our friend. Same age as you are!" Naruto insulted. It was not true, but the woman did flirt with Sasuke. Whether he slept with her was Sasuke's problem, not his.


"Not only that, Mikoto." Naruto's voiced cracked. He loved Mikoto so much but this was how she truly sees him? "I have never leeched anything off Sasuke. If there's one person who was drained here, it was me. Sasuke used me as his outlet for stress, treated me like dirt all because? oh gods why?" Naruto started crying. "All because I love that man... you have no fucking idea how much he hurt me and I remained by his side because I'm willing to take the risk...


"And now you? and everyone else kept popping in my life, saying I'm this bad person when I have done nothing but love you? I love you, Mikoto. I treated you like my Mother!" Naruto stood up and rubbed his chest.


"Please get out, Itachi gave me permission to stay here. I will call the police even if you're the mother of the house owner. Itachi said whoever made me feel like they're trespassing and invading my privacy, I shouldn't hesitate to call for help."


"How dare you!" Mikoto stood up and slapped Naruto's face. Naruto on the other hand slapped her back which shocked the woman. He was angry and hurt but he did not regret what he did.


"I'll sue you for this!" she warned and Naruto pointed at the CCTV.


"You slapped me first." he said apathetically. This drove him insane and the ache inside his chest grew back.


He wondered if there was a possibility that he'll die tonight.


She was about to hit him again when Itachi grabbed her hand and yanked her away. "Stop that, Mother!"


"Itachi! He's taking advantage of you! You have to wake up!" Mikoto hits Itachi's chest over and over while she sobs, Itachi gently dragged her away and Kisame helped Naruto to sit back at the cushion. Naruto was sobbing without tears, as if he was having difficulty breathing. Kisame gave him water and the man drank a few sips before he collapsed and laid his head on the couch.


After twenty minutes or so?when Kisame was gone and everything went silent?Itachi sat beside Naruto and took his legs to place it on top of his lap.


"My mother was concerned for me. Her actions were just in the eyes of a parent. But on her behalf, please let me apologized to you." Itachi caressed Naruto's thigh while he looked at him. Naruto hid his face behind his forearm, "Naruto? Look at me, please."


Itachi was torn. Naruto was doing so well and yet this happened. He heard from Deidara and Gaara regarding all of Naruto's symptoms and forced himself to come home to look out for him. He was glad he did as well.


"Why would they say that I'm taking advantage of Sasuke, or you? Am I not capable of earning my keep? Do I smell and breathe designer clothes and expensive perfumes that I need to be suspected off?"


Naruto cried when he asked Itachi. His nose was clogged and the tissue box was far away. Itachi offered him his handkerchief, seeing as he doesn't want to stand up. He was absentmindedly massaging Naruto's legs.


"My mother's reactions were probably because she was convinced by someone. Either way, people are like that because they didn't take the time to know you personally. You're the most hardworking person I know. And that's not lip-service."




Itachi let Naruto cry for as long as he needed, and though his legs and thighs were starting to go numb as well, he let Naruto rest his body onto him.


He opened the Television to see if the program Naruto loved so much was on, but it wasn't. After a while, Itachi's stomach was growling loudly that Choi?who was busy drooling over the expensive rug?woke up.


"I'm hungry. I have some take-outs but it got cold now, mind if I heat it up?" Itachi asked as he slowly stood up and let Naruto's legs fall back to the soft couch.


"Why are you so nice to me?" Naruto asked, looking at Itachi with void eyes.


The Uchiha sighed and tucked his rouge hair behind his ear, "At first it was just a favor for Sasuke. He asked me to look out for you. Then bit by bit I get to know your sadness and started relating myself. I got to know your strength and how you worm yourself to people's hearts so easily." Itachi searched for words then continued.


"While I said you and I are the same, you are far stronger than I am. I don't know. Even though we don't talk much, I got used to you being here."


"Yeah..." Naruto sat and blew his nose. "I was thinking how I got used to you as well. I guess we comfort each other, huh?"




The two remained quiet while they ate. They had some movie being played and from time to time, they talked about trivial stuff.


Naruto by the middle of the movie leaned his head on Itachi's shoulder and Itachi didn't stop him. Choi was seated beside Naruto, busy gnawing his bone.


There was a peaceful atmosphere between them that Itachi was tempted to tease, "Why don't we stop caring so much and tell them we're dating. I bet they'll go crazy."


Naruto laughed and choked on his spit before he pinched Itachi's cheek without looking at him. "I guess we should do that. I bet we'd look good together. Let's wear matching Tuxedos at Shika's wedding."


"Hn. We should."


"Yep. We should."


Naruto straightened up and glanced over Itachi. The man had his hair tied in a bun. His shirt had its top button unfastened as well, revealing his pale collar bone.


"Why are you so beautiful?" Naruto squinted his eyes and asked.


Itachi smirked. "Hard work." he said. Of course no one was that handsome without working hard for it. He had to work-out, eat right, condition his hair and do all things necessary to maintain it. This he had to explain to Naruto.


"I see. Which is why I'm ugly cause I don't do that."


Itachi frowned. "Who said you're ugly?"


"A lot of people."


"I think you're handsome though."


"HA?!" Naruto blushed.


"Let me rephrase that. You're beautiful." Itachi reached for Naruto's face and the blond felt no sexual intent over it. Itachi was really praising him and this made his stomach flutter.


"Thank you, Itachi. But, please don't do this again. I might take your offer and tell the world you're mine. That'll shut them up." Naruto laughed and focused on the screen. He was nervous for some reason and was glad for the feeling. He'd rather be this than remain angry like he was earlier.


He still has to go through all the bullshit tomorrow. At least let him feel like this tonight.


"I don't mind. Frankly, that would save me some time and energy. The interest between us would die down, people would just stop and think 'ah, another couple' and then move on. Seen the news around celebrities? Once they came out, the public's lost interest."




Itachi shrugged.


"Your choice though. I'm not dating anyone so it won't inconvenience me. But if you started dating someone, then you'll look like a bad person for dumping me." Itachi had an amused expression on his face. He knew Naruto won't accept.


"I don't mean to be mean, but when you suggested that I should date, I felt as though I don't want to. And I just agreed because it's 'you' and you gave that advice. I think I'm that kind of person who doesn't date people easily, ya know? Like, I take my time and get to know them before I jump into a relationship. It took me years to admit I love Sasuke? so no offense, but dating for me is going to be years from now."


"Then..." Itachi raised an eyebrow.


"Yeah, we could do that. We could pretend to date or we don't need to confirm or deny anything. When they ask again we just shrug it off and let them think what they want. That's better than denying. They fucking don't believe us anyway!" Naruto waved his hand exasperatedly.


Itachi didn't understand his feelings though, but kept it to himself as he let Naruto used his shoulder again.


"Naruto?" Itachi broke the silence between them after a while.




"Forgive me for being rather rude, but you smell like the dog?" Itachi noted.


"Gah!" Naruto then gave him a gentle punch, then laughed like crazy and Naruto decided to take a bath in his room. Choi watched him take a shower and was laughing when the dog wanted to come inside the tub as well. Naruto knew the dog was hyperactive but he is cute and a little stupid. He smiled fondly at him.


After he was done, he saw Itachi had taken one as well and was just picking up bottled water back to his room.


Naruto led Choi to his kennel and said his goodnight while Itachi looked at him. They climbed the stairs to their rooms respectively and said their good nights to each other as well, when Naruto decided to jest, "Now that we're quote unquote dating? can I sleep beside you?"


Itachi looked at him and it was his turn to squint his eyes. He opened his bedroom door nevertheless and gestured Naruto to come inside.


The blond was surprised, sure, but entered anyway. He looked around and saw Itachi took one side and patted the other side of the bed.


Unlike popular belief that it was all dark, Itachi's room was a nice color of beige and brown scheme. Naruto excused himself and lay beside the man. He admitted to himself that sleeping with someone is so comfortable, but he did not expect Itachi to allow this.


"Sorry. I think I should go back to my room. I don't know what got in to me." Naruto panicked after a while when Itachi shut the lights allowing only the dim lights not so far away from them.


"Don't worry about it. I also like to sleep with you. Somehow, your midnight rants while you sleep are amusing me." Itachi joked.


It was not true though. Naruto was not ranting random stuff, but was calling his love's name. He was calling out to Sasuke a few times when they slept. Itachi's heart was hurting in a funny way. Either he was pitying Naruto or Sasuke. Or maybe more of Sasuke. His brother had let go of a very fine man. A man who would cry out his name in his sleep. That is indeed something to be envious off.


Naruto surrendered and moved closer to Itachi. If this was improper, then fuck it, he told himself. He faced too much crap during the day and he thought he's allowed to be spoiled at least when it's time to rest his tired bones.


"Good night, Tachi." Naruto sleepily said while he faced the wall, his back to Itachi's.


There was a rustling sound followed by a sweet baritone voice. "Good night, Naruto. May you have peaceful dreams."


If that wasn't enough to let Naruto's heart leap in place, then the next action Itachi took almost knocked the wind out of him.


Naruto felt Itachi's hair dangled, draping over his shoulder. He twisted his head so he can look what was happening and was caught by surprised when the handsome face was inches away from him. Itachi's hot, minty fresh breath, tickled his face and the smell of Itachi's after shave was inviting.


Naruto nervously gulped and closed his eyes, slowly submitting to the feeling.


He was surprised when Itachi kissed his cheek and flopped back to his side. The man seemed to yawn and Naruto hid his face under the covers.


'What was that?' Naruto asked himself. 'Why was I thinking that he'd kiss my lips?! Gah, you're so embarrassing! Get yourself together!' he berated himself.


What Naruto didn't know was that Itachi also berated himself. He really was about to kiss Naruto's lips because he was tempted by the sweet way Naruto greeted him, and how the man smelled like vanilla.


'Get yourself together, me!' Itachi scolded himself inwardly.



~I know I've got to find


Some kind of peace of mind


I'll be searching everywhere


Just to find someone who cares~










the song is 'What becomes of the broken hearted' if you haven't heard Darly Hall with Patrick Stump (the vocals of Fall out Boys) 's version, then you should. it's hella rad. watch the video.


so Story so far: Itachi has a crush on Naruto, but was unsure about it, since he was convinced a long time ago that he won't love anymore. Naruto on the other hand needs Itachi. so yes, that's the development so far. ^^

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