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sne_mod ([personal profile] sne_mod) wrote in [community profile] sn_exchange2010-08-28 06:12 pm

for: [profile] akiru_chan

For: [profile] akiru_chan
Title: Funny Way to Fall
Rating: R
Summary: Naruto's favourite late night customer has a set of wings. Yeah. Big ones.
Warnings: Explicit sexual situations
A/N: Hi [profile] akiru_chan! I don't think this is exactly what you were expecting to be done with the prompts provided ^^; but hopefully you'll still enjoy : ) Also, thank you very much straw to my berry for the beta <3
Mod note: Reminder for the author/artist of this submission, please do not reply to comments signed in, if you want to reply anon commenting is enabled.


Naruto looked up from the customer he was serving, handing over the coffee and bag of freshly baked muffins with a smile most people hated at three thirty in the morning.

The inside of the shop was warm, it helped that it wasn't all that big but it was big enough that they drew in a nice crowd. Jiraiya's place was always open and they had a loyal customer rate which always ensured that it was worth doing that 24/7 route. Naruto's shift always ran between midnight and seven am but he didn't mind. His usual partner in crime was Gaara. That had been a bit awkward for a while. Gaara always had a slightly deranged look to his face—could be the insomnia—and seemed mostly annoyed when Naruto talked at him, but Naruto knew he was okay deep down. He was wiping down the tables right then, and Naruto could see the customer at the next table down watching Gaara with a mixture of fear and fascination.

Either way, it was kind of cool. He always got the clubbers, arriving after a night out on teetering heels and loud laughter, and then towards six he got the builders on their way to work. A little closer to seven he got the little old ladies who always liked to pinch and pat his cheek—the ones on his face, although there had been that one occasion where the hand had definitely been on his ass and after that Naruto had been too traumatised to look the granny in the face, he'd been scarred. Seriously. Scarred.

More recently though, between the rush of the wild crowd and then the arrival of the quieter morning customers, they'd gotten a new regular. He'd been coming for a couple of months now.

"Thank you!"

Naruto smiled, a little distracted now, at the girl whose friend was tugging on her arm. She was trying to get her to look at what Naruto was looking at right then. They were probably looking at him because the guy was as close to beautiful as a guy could get whereas Naruto—well, there was that too, but there was also the fact that Naruto saw two huge black wings sprouting from his back which no one else seemed to see.

Now. Naruto wasn't crazy. But he had hit his head pretty hard on the ground after falling off a second floor window while messing around when he was still in school. After several months he'd woken up and things hadn't been quite right. For instance, he'd see people with red tails or wings every colour of the stupid rainbow. Queue counselling.

Now Naruto didn't see them anymore. In theory.

Well—it wasn't entirely a lie. He could go weeks, months, without seeing a thing. Then the next day the old lady from yesterday would come in, smile at him sweetly and leave with a wicked tail curling like it was self possessed. Like the one who'd grabbed his ass.

Now when the pretty guy had showed up last night, those definitely hadn't been there. But Naruto had seen them before.

Pretty boy didn't seem to know Naruto knew and even if Naruto wanted to make conversation he couldn't exactly go, hey by the way, nice wings you got there, are they by any chance made of real feathers? No. He didn't think so either.

For all he knew, these people didn't even know they had these things. He wasn't about to land himself in trouble and get locked up in a white padded room by pointing it out.

Naruto did try to make conversation anyway though.

He watched as right on cue, the guy got up from his usual table. He was already tugging his wallet out of his jacket. His eyes were on his own hands as he flipped the wallet open and tugged out the same amount he always took out.

"Hi."

Those slim fingers stilled for a second and the guy looked up. He always wore the same expression so the shock should've worn off a long time ago. It hadn't.

Naruto stood there and was grateful for the counter covering him all the way up to his chest because his hands were twisting and untwisting a dish rag. Still, there was a smile on his face and he didn't look away from the black gaze boring into him that made him think the guy was deciding if he should tell Naruto to fuck off or just turn on his heel and leave.

"Er... was the food okay?"

Long lashes swept down, the guy made a noise that was either a snort or a hum—a hybrid of the two maybe—and placed the money on the counter without so much as another look at Naruto. His exit was quick.

He didn't look at the two girls staring after him either.

Naruto flipped the dish rag onto his shoulder and watched with hands on his hips as the guy walked away from the shop through the big windows at the front.

Another failed attempt then.

Before Naruto had time to regret it, the oven timer went off and he made his way to the back of the kitchen.

~


It was a Friday night and the club crowd was testing Naruto's patience. So just after shoving the prepared dough into the oven, Naruto patted Gaara on the back and murmured that he was going out for a quick smoke. Gaara barely moved except for sliding his gaze towards where Naruto was standing. He didn't unfold his arms or nod.

As Naruto slipped out the front he saw one of their regulars shrink back from the counter when he saw Gaara there, and mutter that he would finish his coffee first. Naruto smothered a grin and slipped out into the biting freshness of early morning cold.

The ground was wet from the small shower that had fallen just a half an hour before and Naruto could still smell the scent of rain in the air as he went to the small alley between the bakery and the next shop. Jiraiya always moaned when Naruto smoked near the store front.

He pressed himself to the wall and muttered to himself about grabbing a coat beforehand. Instead of going back in though, he lit a cigarette and hunched his shoulders as the cold air licked at his bare arms. Sliding one hand into the pocket of his jeans, he tipped his head back and pulled on the cigarette. Cancer stick, Sakura would have corrected just before slapping him upside the head. Yeah. He'd given up on his goal to marry her after five years of being smacked on the head. Naruto often shook his head in disgust at the brain cells he must've lost.

Lingering rain drops fell from the roof of the bakery; hitting his shoulders and making him wince and glare up at them. A car went by, headlights sliding past and making Naruto squint as they hit him right in the eyes.

Another rain drop, this time right on his head.

Naruto reached up to rub at it, still seeing yellow spots dancing in front of him from the headlights.

He was putting the cigarette back to his lips when he heard the scrape of steps and closed his eyes, lips already turning down into a pout and a groan leaving him. Gaara coming to get him after having scared off another customer.

With a sigh Naruto straightened against the wall, opened his eyes and felt regret at knowing he was about to drop his cigarette into one of those puddles and watch it die away only half smoked.

Except, standing there and watching him with his normally blank face, was the guy with the wings and not Gaara. And also, Naruto couldn't see any wings this time.

The street light was plastered to the right side of him, outlining the black jacket and his jeans in a thick slab of yellow. It gave his skin some colour too although it just made the other side of his face seem even more pale in contrast.

Naruto stood there for a few seconds, surprised although he wasn't sure why. It wasn't like this was any different from how it usually went. But, there was something different about seeing him outside, without the warm and comforting scents of baking bread and coffee brew. Outside, it was like the feel of him was completely different with residues of rain glimmering in the light as they fell to the ground—landing in a puddle and sending it into a ripple.

Another car drove by, its lights overlapping with the streetlight already shining down on the other guy. It didn't hit Naruto this time.

Despite the fact that his attempts at conversation never worked, Naruto gave him a small wave and weak smile. "Hi... er, you can go in if you like?" He gestured at the front of the bakery with his cigarette and saw his glance skim down to the diminishing stick and then back up at Naruto's face with a frown. "My friend is inside the shop so he can serve you..." he trailed off and swallowed, glancing away and scratching at the side of his neck.

Yup. Didn't look like he'd be speaking to Naruto today either.

"You shouldn't stay out here too long. It's cold."

Naruto stared. The guy stared back. His mouth wasn't moving anymore and it kind of looked like he hadn't spoken at all but Naruto knew he had. His voice had sounded as cool as the temperature around them, except smoother.

"Well, yeah," he held up his cigarette, "I'm just going to finish this and then I'll go in too..."

The guy nodded and then went into the bakery before Naruto could think to say anything else.

By the time Naruto went back in, goose bumps coating his arms as the warmth of the bakery coated them, the guy was already sitting at his usual seat, his coffee and his muffin were in front of him and he was glaring at Gaara. Who was glaring back.

Right. Note to self, leaving deranged friend with pretty I-don't-like-to-speak wings boy, not such a great idea.

There wasn't much time for Naruto to try getting him to talk again because the club crowd were lingering, and even though they'd settled, it really just meant that they'd found a place to sit, not that they were calming down.

So twenty minutes later Naruto looked up from the muffins he was placing in a bag to see his favourite customer—and he had kind of become his favourite customer despite his speaking difficulties—standing in front of him.

"Hi." Yeah. He didn't really seem capable of saying anything else to him. So he let go of the paper bag and smiled at him. "Was everything okay?"

The guy blinked at him, as if unsure of what exactly was going on.

Then when Naruto started looking around in search of a freebie he could shove at him just so he'd say something else, the guy spoke again.

"Yes."

Naruto looked up at him. And shut his mouth because it was hanging open.

"Thank you."

His mouth fell open again. Flopped uselessly a few times. "S-sure!"

The guy reached into his wallet again, same amount as always, and set it in the counter. Then he turned away and made his way to the door.

"Excuse me could I have some more coffee—"

Naruto waved a quick hand their way, mainly to tell them he'd be right with them, but it seemed Gaara was in the mood to serve today because at Naruto's gesture he rounded the counter and went to the customer, who looked a little horrified, with a fresh pot of coffee.

Well that was good.

Naruto jogged to the door because yeah, the guy walked like he was on speed, and poked his head out the door, looking one way and then the other—there he was!

"Hey!"

He saw the guy stop, back jerking as he halted. But Naruto was still surprised when he actually looked over his shoulder at him.

From where Naruto was, he saw the guy lift an eyebrow at him.

With a quick look back at the customer shrinking back in her chair while Gaara stood over her—wow, all he was doing was holding the coffee pot, how the hell did that come off as scary?—Naruto stepped out onto the street, not feeling the cold as much this time for the odd twisting feeling in his stomach. His trainers splashed a little in the puddles as he jogged his way over to where the guy had stopped.

"Are you going to have another cigarette?" The guy asked when Naruto stopped in front of him.

Definitely some disapproval in that tone.

Naruto shook his head and shoved his hands into his pockets, looking down at his stained apron. "No... I was just wondering, if you'd mind telling me your name?"

The streets at this time of night were too quiet when cars weren't passing by. Naruto could still hear the rainwater falling from roof to wet ground, not too much, but sometimes the sound was closer, sometimes it was further away. From a bit further down the road he heard the sound of another car, the engine a smooth rumble far away.

After a few seconds of no response, Naruto started rocking back on his heels and glancing at the other wise of the street. "Well I guess you don't have to... er. Either way I'm Na—"

"Sasuke."

"—ruto."

Naruto looked back at him and saw that the guy's—Sasuke's, mouth was actually tipping up at the corners.

"Is that all?"
Still feeling a little stumped, Naruto nodded. "Yeah, er, goodnight, see you tomorrow."

Sasuke nodded at him, still with that small smirk playing around his lips and then left.

~


It was Sunday night—morning now actually—and there had been no Sasuke to ease the lull of a Sunday shift. Well, there hadn't been Sasuke for a week now, since the last time when he'd actually told Naruto his name.

Naruto stopped outside his apartment, gripping a small brown bag between his teeth, the warm smell of freshly baked buns dancing just under his nose as he dug around his pockets for the keys. He unlocked the door, and almost groaned at the wave of cold air that passed over him as he stepped inside. It would take ages to heat up his apartment.

He closed and locked the door behind him. He'd been in the kitchen for the majority of his shift, to give Gaara more 'people' practice. That hadn't gone too well. A girl had started crying after she’d spilled the coffee all over the table and Gaara had just stood there staring at her. Not good. It made Naruto wonder if he'd ever turn around and see a tail swinging around Gaara's legs. So far it hadn't happened.

Still, Naruto was glad he'd gotten some time alone with the dough, it always felt good to knead the crap out of it and it left him with a pleasant ache in his upper arms.

Naruto slipped out of his shoes and padded over quietly to the kitchen—his downstairs neighbour didn't like 'noise'—and flipped it on.

Some milk, a warm bun and bed.

He poured some milk into a mug, slipped it into the microwave and flicked a glance at the light filtering in through the window, more a pale light that anything too blaring. With the window cracked just a little, he could hear birdsong though—bright and sharp and making him long for his bed. He turned the microwave on without bothering to look at it and let its heavy hum fill the kitchen; he went into his room and surveyed the mess that was his unmade bed and last night's takeaway all over the small table.

With a sigh he settled down between his bed and the table and turned on the TV. He watched the infomercials with glazed eyes. The microwave kept on going in the background. After a few moments of watching a woman spray a bald man's head into a sudden garden of fine black locks, Naruto rubbed at his eyes.

He was on the verge of dropping off, head already sliding sideways against the edge of the mattress, when the ding of the microwave sounded, a sharp jerk to his senses.

He drank the milk leaning against the sink, the bun on his other hand as he took it in turns between it and the milk. His eyes drifted back to the window as the light began to fade and rain began to pepper against the window pane.

He wondered if Sasuke would come back. Night shifts weren't that interesting without him there. Even if all Naruto had done up until this point was stare.

He finished the milk and his bun, placed the glass in the sink and then went to close the curtains on the windows in his room. By the time he slipped into bed, the hint of sunlight that had been peeking around huge clouds on his way home from work had completely disappeared and the light rain began to come down in earnest.

~


Sasuke did come back a few days later.

Naruto was squatting outside in his little smoking alley way and almost at the end of his cigarette when Sasuke stopped just outside the shop and looked down at him.

His lip curled a bit when he saw the cigarette in Naruto's hand but other than that he remained silent.

"Erm..." Naruto reached over and ground the cigarette on the ground, "hey, it's been a while since you stopped by." Naruto couldn't help the quick glance at the wings which were definitely there today. They were really tall and tucked behind Sasuke's shoulders. The feathers rippled as a breeze pushed past them, shiny and black.

It wasn't raining today and it wasn't that cold either. The sky was clear and Naruto had been counting stars for lack of a better thing to do while he smoked his cigarette. The murmur of excited voices spilled out through the bakery's doorway and Naruto wondered how it was that Gaara hadn't stared them into shutting up yet.

Naruto dusted his hands off on the knees of his trousers and then stood up. Sasuke looked a little tired to him. Naruto wasn't sure what made him think so. Were his shoulders hanging just a little lower? Or was it that his eyes didn't seem as sharp as usual?

"I've been busy."

"Oh."

"I would just like something to take with me today." Sasuke said, and stepped back, as if trying to get Naruto to get his ass up and go into the shop to serve him.

"You know," Naruto tilted his head to one side, feeling curious, "I'm not sure what Gaara's done to piss you off but he can serve you too."

And for the first time, he was treated to a full blown expression on Sasuke's face. A scowl.

A grin slashed across Naruto's face and he almost chuckled. He scratched the back of his head and stepped closer to Sasuke. He looked at the wings again, caught himself, and looked back at Sasuke.

"I don’t have a problem with your colleague." The words came out clipped, making Naruto's smile fade a little. But he was nothing if not determined.

"Well... I... I've some holiday coming up," it took a lot for his gaze not to drop down to Sasuke's feet; as it was Naruto could feel the heat climbing up his cheeks but hey, it was dark, so what the hell, "so I'll be away for a bit."

Sasuke didn't move but Naruto could swear, he could swear he saw one of his wings twitch.

So he pushed on.

"Well—my sleep pattern is pretty much moulded to, you know, my shift hours so... it's not like I'll be sleeping and erm. I was wondering, if you know, if maybe you'd like to..." he wet his lips, and god when had asking someone out been this nerve-racking, with Sakura he had just come out and said it. "I can bake really well, like those buns you always eat, I'm the one that makes them so I could—make you some. For free. The coffee too..."

"Is that so?"

Naruto nodded, finally glanced down at the floor like every instinct in his body was begging him to and scuffed the toe of his trainer against the wall. The red was spreading down over his neck now and he wondered if the dark would still be enough to cover it.

"Where do you live?"

Naruto's head jerked up. He blinked.

Then he grinned.

~


Four days into his holiday and no Sasuke.

This was how Naruto ended up at the bakery on his day off and blowing raspberries at Sakura as she worked the night shift with Gaara. He'd thought that Gaara was scary. There was no messing with a Sakura whose sleeping schedule had been thrown off. He particularly enjoyed it when one of the idiots who'd stumbled in drunk on dancing and alcohol had tried to hit on her by telling her he could see his own reflection on her forehead. He wondered how angry Jiraiya was going to be at the coffee she'd spilled all over his lap.

"What are you doing here anyway?" Sakura asked, slamming the coffee pot down on the counter.

Naruto jerked back and gave Gaara a wary look. "Well... you're working the shift. Kiba's gone back home for a few months and Lee's gone hiking with that crazy spandex guy." He glanced down at his hot chocolate and shrugged his shoulders. "So... I can't sleep and I'm bored." Well I did have a date but he didn't show up. Well he didn't know he wasn't my date either...

"Huh." Sakura poured herself a cup of coffee and grabbed one of the paper plates, folded it in half and started fanning herself with it even as she gulped down the coffee. "Well, you should try a little harder Naruto. When was the last time I saw you with a girl?"

Naruto straightened up and leaned across the counter. "Sakura-chan, are you trying to hit on me?"

Sakura snorted into her coffee and then turned her back on him when the oven went off.

Naruto's eyes flicked down to her ass. For once, he wasn't checking it out.

Figures Sakura would have a tail.

He left them just as the nicer customers started arriving—that included the old lady who enjoyed pinching his ass. Naruto beat it out of there with a bag of cinnamon buns and a quick wave at Sakura, and Gaara who was staring a little old lady down.

It was kind of nice walking around when it was so quiet with the sky turning lighter bit by bit. He tucked his hands into his pockets as he went along. Taking his time, he stopped to pet the dog that liked hanging around his neighbourhood, a skinny thing that Naruto always saw with wings.

"Hey..." he stooped low and rubbed the mutt's head, pleased when the dog started prancing around his feet as Naruto headed for the stairs leading up to his place. "You can't come up with me though; landlord would have a fit if the other neighbours ratted me out." He resisted the urge to brush against the small black wings that protruded from the dog's back. He wanted to feel them, and for some reason he'd wanted to touch Sasuke’s too—but the compulsion had been of a different kind. He didn't though, mostly for the same reason he never brought up the tails and wings with the people he saw them on. Because in reality they weren't there and Naruto was just crazy.

A strong possibility.

Naruto patted the dog one more time, smiling as it nipped and licked at his fingers before he turned and jogged back up the stairs. Maybe he'd watch a film, eat some of the treats he'd brought with him and just enjoy his night that way. He only had about three days left and he really shouldn't spend them waiting for someone he barely knew to show up.

The building was quiet and his steps echoed in the empty stairwell as he followed the turn in the staircase and started going up the last flight. The buns bounced inside the bag, the noise a loud crackle of the stiff paper. He fished his keys out of his pocket as he turned into his corridor, key ring swinging on his index finger as he went.

Except there was someone leaning against his door.

"Sasuke?"

The person against his door shifted, straightening away from the door and turning to face him. Naruto sped up a little until the shadows became less dense and he could see Sasuke's face properly.

Naruto came close to just stopping in his tracks but it just turned into a stutter and he was standing in front of Sasuke just a few seconds later.

Those shadows were still there under his eyes and his wings were there this time too. He looked like he should be in bed sleeping off a really bad hangover. But he was here instead. The smile that burst out onto Naruto's face could've rivalled Lee's every time he caught sight of that weird mentor of his.

"You're here!"

That was definitely a sardonic lift of an eyebrow right there. "Well—yes."

Naruto leaned closer, still smiling from ear to ear. "Missed me?"

Sasuke snorted and then stepped aside so he wasn't blocking the door anymore. Naruto saw his wings twitch again, a slight movement that made Naruto think they were going to spread for a second but they didn't. It was weird though. He'd noticed something after meeting Sasuke. The other wings he'd seen on people before were never this big. They were a lot smaller, like the length of his arm and usually a lighter shade in colour, a granite colour as opposed to the pitch black of Sasuke's.

"So, erm I know this is around the time you head back but do you still want to come inside for a bit?"

Sasuke tilted his head to the side, observing Naruto quietly for a second. The glow of the lights were just a tiny point of yellow in the gaze steadied on him. "I don't think I would've come here just to wait outside freezing my ass off. Do you?"

Naruto was a bit taken aback by that. Well alright. Sasuke-with-wings had a bit of a mouth on him. Naruto hadn't thought that would be the case. But that was okay, he was still pretty to look at. So Naruto just gave him a sheepish look and moved closer so that he could unlock the door. "Well, er—I didn't think you were coming so, don't mind the mess too much."

Another snort and then Sasuke was following Naruto in.

On second thought, Naruto looked back and watched Sasuke slip in through the door, trying not to be obvious about watching how exactly he was going to come inside without the wings hindering but as he watched, he tilted his body forward just a bit as he braced a hand on the wall to slip off his shoes, and it was enough for the wings to pass through the door. Not one awkward move. If Naruto hadn't seen that they were there then he wouldn't have had any idea that something might be odd.

As Sasuke straightened again, he caught Naruto staring at him. "What?"

"Nothing." Naruto lifted the bag and shook it at him. "So you want some? I can make us some coffee." Then without waiting for a reply, Naruto made his way over to his kitchen.

He heard Sasuke's quiet steps on his floor as he followed.

Naruto couldn't quite keep the corners of his mouth down as he reached for mugs and got ready to feed his guest.

~


Sasuke came to his place for the last three days of his holiday and when Naruto started work again, it became a ritual for Sasuke to go back with him. He'd take small leftovers from the night shift and Sasuke would lean against Naruto's counter as Naruto brewed coffee—there was the time Naruto forced hot chocolate down his throat. Despite the killer looks Sasuke had thrown his way, he'd drunk the entire thing.

It was a pretty smooth transition and Naruto was happy with the way things were going.

Oh. Well. There was one small snag.

"Hey," Naruto said, talking over the loud gun shots coming from his TV. They were both crammed into the space between Naruto's bed and the small table where their coffee was set along with their pastries for that night.

Sasuke had stretched his legs out underneath the table and the wings—they were there that day—were tucked so close to Sasuke's back that Naruto had to wonder if it was uncomfortable. He wanted to ask but that was something he hadn't quite managed to get the courage up for just yet. He had the feeling Sasuke could be pretty good at avoiding him if he pissed him off.

Sasuke looked away from where his eyes had been glued to the film and fixed his attention on Naruto.

Whoa. Naruto had to take a few deep breaths there. Their faces were so close and without the lights on, Sasuke's mouth looked a lot softer than it did when the room was brighter, the seam between his lips darker.

"Well? What is it?"

God, was that a hint of tongue?

Naruto looked away and reached for another pastry, fingers clumsy and sending a small shower of crisp flakes onto the table. "Nah I was just going to ask... I mean you've been coming for a while you know? I don't even know what you do."

"What I do?"

Naruto broke off a bit and popped the sweet pastry into his mouth before turning to Sasuke again. "Yeah like, where do you work? I never asked."

Then Sasuke's eyelashes were sweeping down. The soft lips stopped looking so soft when Sasuke pressed them together and turned to face the TV again. Sasuke lifted the mug he was holding and Naruto watched as the steam rose up from it to curl up in wisps of gray against Sasuke's mouth. "Why do you need to know?"

Naruto stared at him. What kind of question was that? They'd been spending the majority of Naruto's free time together and really all that was left was for Naruto to just jump him—he was working his way up to that—and he was asking why he needed to know?

Well, he wasn't going to beg for the information.

He couldn't really help the flattening of his mouth as he turned back to the screen. He broke off another piece of the pastry and ate that too.

"No reason."

He didn't really like the squeeze in his chest just then.

They finished watching the movie in silence and then Sasuke left.

~


One day Naruto came back from the kitchen, new DVD's tucked under his arm and balancing something other than bread-related foods—Chinese takeaway actually—and found Sasuke slumped forward on the kotatsu. No wings that day.

Naruto stood for a second just looking down at him.

The morning light was trying to seep in through the closed curtains. They'd stayed true to their weird schedule. It was Naruto's day off too so Sasuke had come straight to his place. Naruto wondered where he lived but when he'd tried asking he'd gotten the same response forthat question as he had for the job one.

Sasuke was looking more and more tired though and Naruto hadn't been seeing his wings lately. He wondered why that was but if Sasuke wouldn't answer questions about his job and about his home, then Naruto doubted he'd be answering questions about the wings Naruto wasn't meant to know were there. Besides, Naruto saw these things on and off and maybe that was all it was.

Naruto set the Chinese on the table and reached out a careful hand, fingers curving around Sasuke's shoulder. Just such a small contact, the hard curve of Sasuke's bones beneath his fingers combined with the warmth from his body was enough to make Naruto scoot under the kotatsu a lot faster, his cheeks warming almost instantly.

Sasuke came awake with a jerk, sitting upright and forcing Naruto to let go of him. His eyes were open and clear, no vestiges of sleep anywhere in sight, apart from the tell-tale red spot on his cheek which had been pressed to the table. His eyes were wary and again, Naruto felt that jerk in his chest. He'd learned that it came just before the sinking feeling in his stomach. Disappointment. Sasuke didn't seem to like Naruto touching him much.

Naruto let his hand fall back to his side and jerked his chin at the food he'd set on the table.

"Dinner... or breakfast is ready."

Sasuke's eyes slid away from him, shoulders easing as he took in the food. He did reach up a hand to rub at his eyes though. "Normal people would never call this breakfast..."

"Well with the sleep schedule we keep, I think we're allowed."

Naruto licked his lips, nerves feeling like they were going to affect his vocal chords when Sasuke reached for one of the containers. He forced himself to say it though. "You know if you're that tired... you could just stay over." He knew the moment Sasuke looked over at him, but Naruto didn't look back. Instead he kept his eyes locked on Sasuke's fingers, poised to peel off the card top on the container. They were so still. "I have a spare futon." He reached for one of the containers himself, the scent of Singapore rice noodles wafting up, heavy and mouth-watering as it hovered.

He waited for a refusal as he cracked his chopsticks into two.

He heard the crack from Sasuke's.

"Hmm."

That was all Sasuke said.

That morning, Sasuke stayed over.

~


Then Sasuke disappeared for two weeks.

Naruto didn't know where he lived and he didn't know where he worked.

Naruto's hands were tied behind his back and there was nothing he could do about it.

~


"Naruto."

Naruto almost jumped at the sound of Gaara's voice right behind him. He barely managed to save himself from being burned on the tray he was dragging out of the huge oven. Pulling it out he turned his face away from the heat of the oven and went to place the tray on the heatproof counter before looking over at where Gaara stood.

"Er is something wrong with one of the customers?" He asked, tugging off the oven mitts as he walked towards him.

Gaara barely blinked, his pale eyes looking freakier than usual under the harsher light of the kitchen. "Your friend looks sick."

"My friend... what?" Frowning, Naruto walked over to the arch leading from the kitchen to the bakery and poked his head out.

There, sitting practically slumped over on one of the tables was Sasuke. His skin had a ghostly pallor to it and a sheen which made Naruto think he had some kind of fever. But the worst part wasn't that. It was the way his wings looked frayed, as if someone had grabbed handfuls of those gorgeous feathers and yanked them out. It made Naruto feel sick just to look at them.

As if sensing he was being watched Sasuke looked up at him then. Always the same clear look, as if nothing startled him or bothered him, even when he looked that bad.

Just then a group of builders stepped into the bakery, a little more rowdy then their older clientele in the morning, calling to Naruto and Gaara with warm greetings. A quick look at the clock set above the arch leading out into the customer area told Naruto that it was already quarter to seven. Smiling a quick greeting he poured a quick cup of coffee and rounded the counter—avoiding a swinging red tail from one of the builders now asking Gaara if those were really bags under his eyes or some type of girly pencil. Naruto didn't hear Gaara's reply as he headed straight for Sasuke's table and dropped down to his haunches.

Sasuke leaned back in his chair, wings parting so as not to be crushed against the chair. He saw Sasuke wince at the same time as they moved.

Naruto set the cup on the table. "Give me fifteen minutes." His hand was actually shaking as he pulled it away from the coffee. "Does it hurt?"

Sasuke stared at him. "Does what hurt?"

Naruto swallowed, his eyes flicked over at Sasuke's back, touched on the wings again then turned back to Sasuke. He found black eyes narrowed on his face.

"So you can see them."

Naruto swallowed again, adam's apple working and he nodded. "Look, just—don't go anywhere okay? Wait for me."

He went back behind the counter, he still had to put the next batch in the oven and take stock of what they had left before Sakura and Moegi arrived. He half expected Sasuke to just get up and leave but every time he glanced out at the tables Sasuke was still there. He kept the coffee cupped in his hands the entire time but Naruto didn't see him drink from it even once.

Sakura had barely stepped inside the place and started taking her jacket off that Naruto was already at the table, hoisting Sasuke up and steering him towards the door.

"Naruto?"

"Later! I'll talk to you later Sakura-chan." He called over his shoulder. He pulled Sasuke's arm over his shoulder despite Sasuke's scowl and attempt at shoving him off. He felt a rush of air push at his hair and realised with a quick look that it was one of Sasuke's wings beating at the air as they stepped outside. "Look just calm down—we're going to my place okay?"

Sasuke glanced at him once as they paused outside the door. Naruto wasn't sure what it was he was looking for but he wished he would hurry up. Sasuke wasn't exactly a lightweight and he'd just finished a fairly busy shift.

Then after a few seconds, Sasuke gave him an almost imperceptible nod of his head.

~


Sasuke woke up just as it was turning six in the evening and Naruto was settling down beside the bed with a mug of hot milk. Naruto felt tired as hell from having been panicked when Sasuke had just slumped down on his bed and passed right out. All Naruto had been able to do was somehow work Sasuke's clothes off, wipe the sweat off his skin and let him sleep before slipping under the kotatsu and dozing off with his face on the table for stretches at a time.

Naruto had just been up to scrub his face when he'd come to and gotten yelled at through the phone by Jiraiya when he'd called in 'sick'.

Now he just watched as Sasuke blinked his eyes open and did that freaky thing where he focused on Naruto right away.

Naruto lifted his mug in greeting and sipped the smooth mix of honey and warm milk.

Sasuke pushed himself up and the sheet that had been covering him up to mid back slithered lower to land on his thighs. It didn't cover all that much really and Naruto averted his eyes for a second. Not that he hadn't seen all there was to see already. Yes. It had been necessary to take underwear off too but he hadn't touched anything, and he hadn't stared either so it was okay. Still, the heat was there, warming his cheeks.

"How are you feeling?" He mumbled.

Sasuke pulled the sheets tighter around his hips, looking down at himself as he set his feet down on the floor and set his hands either side of himself on the mattress. "How come you can see them?" Sasuke asked, as if Naruto hadn't even spoken.

Naruto looked back at him as he took another sip. His eyes strayed down the pale chest, taking in pale nipples and washboard stomach. He gulped down a little more than he'd meant to and almost choked on it. He settled for glaring at Sasuke and blaming the near-choking on him. "I asked you first."

Sasuke just fixed him with a cool stare.

He looked much better, really. And his attitude now confirmed Naruto's suspicions that there was an asshole hidden not all that deep underneath the pretty exterior. Which was cheating in Naruto's opinion. It drew people in under false pretences. Not that it put Naruto off—well. That wasn't the point anyway, was it?

For a few moments they tried staring each other down and Naruto tried really hard not to blink—because blinking was a sign of weakness damn it!—but eventually it felt like the air was stinging his eyes and he had to. So he looked away completely, muttered about Sasuke being a stubborn bastard and drank some more.

"I help..."

Naruto stopped his mug halfway to his mouth. He didn't move. Would Sasuke stop if he moved?

"Take souls to where they need to go after death."

Naruto looked at him. Sasuke's face was perfectly dead pan. He looked at the wings again. "Is—is that why your wings are bigger than normal?"

Sasuke's eyes narrowed on him. "You see others?"

Naruto set his mug down but kept it in his hand. He stared at the pale cream of the milk and rubbed his thumb over the smooth handle. "Well. Sometimes. It comes and goes. I've never..." he rubbed at his mouth and shifted, glancing at the night blue beyond the window, at the table, back at Sasuke, "I've never really spoken to anyone about it. I thought sometimes it was just in my head."

Sasuke was quiet for a bit. Then he readjusted the sheet across his lap and leaned forward, resting his arms on his knees and linking his hands together. "What do you see exactly?"

"Well." A small quick smile lit Naruto's face and he took another gulp of his drink. "There's Sakura—the girl with the pink hair who works where I work? She has a tail. A red one, all pointy at the end."

Sasuke's eyebrows lifted at that.

"What?" Naruto asked, he pulled his mug towards him and cupping it with both hands. "She does! So does this grandma who comes by in the mornings. Oh! And there's a stray dog that has tiny little wings on his back—I feed him sometimes."

"You see this all the time?"

Naruto shook his head. "I don't even see yours all the time." He shrugged a shoulder. "It comes and goes. I fell off a second floor window about six years ago, it started when I woke up."

Sasuke seemed to consider what he was saying. "That makes sense... things like the sight can occur after accidents like that."

Naruto finished his milk and set that down. Then he let out a long breath and brushed his hair back from his face. His stomach felt kind of light. "What about you? What happened to your wings?"

Sasuke glanced at them and reached up to rub his hand over a shoulder blade. "I've been carrying souls which don't want to go to their assigned place the last few weeks. They're more... aggressive than the others."

"Is that why you weren't around for a while?" Naruto asked.

"Yes."

"Okay."

"Sasuke...?"

"What?"

Naruto let go of the mug he was still holding onto for some reason and dropped his hands down to his lap. Then working up his courage—because damn it he wasn't a wimp—he looked up at Sasuke and asked what he'd been wanting to ask for a while. "Can I touch them?"

Sasuke didn't even bat an eyelash. No flinch. No nothing.

"Your wings I mean?" Naruto shifted again, scooting closer to the table and tucking his hands under the kotatsu. "Look, I know you don't... like me touching you much but I just wanted to try feeling them a little. I've always wondered..." his voice trailed off.

Well. That had gone down well.

Naruto braced a hand on the table and pushed to his feet, reaching for his empty mug as he stood. "Forget it—"

"You can."

Naruto paused where he was still stooped over the table and looked up at him. Sasuke was still sitting towards the edge of the bed. His fingers were gripping the edges of the mattress a little harder from what Naruto could see but other than that he seemed pretty sure of what he was saying.

"A-are you sure?"

"If I saY you can, then you can." The words came out a little impatient and the look Sasuke levelled at him told Naruto that if he didn't hurry up then the offer would expire pretty soon.

"Er, okay. Cool..." Naruto placed the mug back on the table and with the roof of his mouth as dry as a desert and stomach clenching with anticipation, Naruto made his way over to the bed.

Sasuke didn't move when the bed dipped under Naruto's weight, he kept staring straight ahead as Naruto crawled behind him until he was sitting directly behind Sasuke, his legs crossed and his hands rubbing themselves across his jeans as if that would be enough to get rid of the anticipation practically making his palms tingle.

Wow. They were really cool.

He kind of stared at them open mouthed for a bit. This close up, they seemed even bigger than Naruto had first thought. And the feathers really were pitch black. He lifted his hand tentatively, leaning forward without even realising. His eyes were glued to his own hand as it got closer to one of the wings. He was surprised his fingers were even steady. They got close—so much closer and he sucked in his breath without realising it as his hand—

"Hey—" The wings jerked and spread out and the suddenness of it startled Naruto enough that he jerked back and almost hit his head on the wall. His heart was suddenly going a lot faster and Naruto wondered if it was attempting to beat a hole into his chest.

Then Sasuke was looking over his shoulder, a smirk on his face. "I thought you said you wanted to touch them?"

Naruto resisted the urge to slap him upside the head Sakura-style when he realised that it probably wouldn't get him very far so he settled for a low growl, folding his arms and looking away. "You're an asshole."

"Well?" Sasuke asked.

Then, before Naruto could call him some more names, the wings shifted again and the left one brushed against Naruto's cheek.

His eyes widened as he felt the softness of the feathers, the brush was like a ghost of a touch, the kind that left your skin over sensitized and hoping for a firmer touch.

Naruto let his eyes close as it brushed against his cheek again. "Soft..." he murmured.

"I don't have a problem with you touching me."

Naruto breathed in deep. That was good. That was good.

Without opening his eyes he slid his hands forward until they were tracing the line of Sasuke's waist. He felt Sasuke tense underneath them but since he'd already said he didn't have a problem with it Naruto left his hands there, enjoying the warmth of Sasuke's skin against the palms of his hands. He could feel the way his roughened skin scraped over Sasuke's as he slid them a little lower until his hands were settled on Sasuke's hips. Other than a small shiver, Sasuke didn't really react.

Naruto felt another soft brush and smiled, just a small smile. Then he leaned forward, stopping only when his forehead was pressed against Sasuke's back, right on the line of his spine. He could feel the knobs of the bone against him. "They're really soft Sasuke."

Naruto felt rather than heard Sasuke clearing his throat. "I know."

"You really don't mind?" He murmured the words against Sasuke's skin, lips brushing against one of the small bumps. He was surprised when he felt Sasuke lean a little into the contact.

"No."

Naruto turned his face, pressing his cheek to Sasuke's back and opening his eyes. He stared at the place where the smoothness of Sasuke's back was interrupted by the protrusion that led to one of Sasuke's wings. It rose from Sasuke's back, at first the same skin but then along the way it became feathers, loads and loads of feathers.

Naruto let his had slip away, sliding it along the flat plane of Sasuke's stomach, the other remaining where it was, fingers gripping hard as if he was scared Sasuke would flap his wings in his face and run off somewhere. Because even though he now knew what Sasuke did, he didn't really know where Sasuke stayed. He made a mental note to ask him that after.

After.

Curiosity flickering in him, Naruto leaned toward that different bit of anatomy that he'd just been studying and felt like a whole war was taking place in his belly. As his breath left him and brushed over it, Sasuke's back went rigid under him. But he didn't tell Naruto not to go there —so when Naruto pressed his lips to it, feeling the firmness of bone under skin, he wasn't expecting the smothered sound that left Sasuke. Or the way Sasuke curled in on himself. His hand slipped down and locked around the one Naruto had on his stomach.

Naruto froze. "Does that... hurt?"

"No." Sasuke's voice came out hoarse and a little out of breath.

Naruto felt the near-uncomfortable sensations in his stomach settle, then sink lower. The pleasant slow heat that came with arousal was there, nothing less than what he'd expected when he thought of doing something like this with Sasuke.

"So I can... do it again?"

"Yes." This time, Sasuke had taken more control of his voice and the word was bitten out.

Naruto nodded absently and this time scraped his teeth over it. Sasuke shuddered. A violent shudder, and he felt the vibration of a smothered moan against his cheek. He didn't pause this time though. He unfolded his legs and fitted himself closer to Sasuke's back until he was as close as Sasuke's wings allowed without making him uncomfortable.

"Still okay?" Naruto asked, licking at the skin there and then scraping his teeth over it again—feeling Sasuke practically writhe at his actions. The way Sasuke was shifting back against him also felt really good and Naruto's breath was coming out faster, puffing out against Sasuke's skin.

The hand Sasuke had on top of his felt like it was going to crush the bones of Naruto's hand but Naruto didn't think he'd mind too much at the moment. But then his mind was going strangely blank, his lungs seeming to shrink and become completely useless as Sasuke led his hand under the sheet. Naruto felt his hand brush over short coarse hairs. He groaned into Sasuke's back, screwing his eyes shut because he knew where all of this was going and then Sasuke was curling Naruto's fingers around himself.

Sasuke's wings were quivering on either side of Naruto and Naruto himself had a pretty impressive erection by then, pushing against Sasuke's ass and when Sasuke shifted, lifting his hips into Naruto's hands and practically stroking himself with Naruto's hand all he could do was plaster himself to Sasuke, rocking his hips against him and pressing his mouth to the back of Sasuke's neck, lips parting to suck on the warm skin there even though the hair poking into his eyes was irritating as hell.

"Sasuke..."

But Sasuke was gasping, hips lifting off the bed. Naruto could feel his own hand slick now, his thumb brushing over the head of Sasuke's cock with every other stroke. He couldn't really control the pace with the grip Sasuke had on his hand but he wasn't really in a position where he minded. He wrapped his free arm around Sasuke's middle and rocked against him. The jeans were chafing but it was too late to take them off. His cheeks were so hot and the left one was sticking to Sasuke's back.
Then everything came to a standstill as a groan was dragged out of Sasuke, his hand clenched Naruto's tightly as his hips jerked and his body shuddered, uncontrolled—

It triggered Naruto's own release and he came, eyes shut tight and breathing in the salty scent of sweat and sex, his hand twitching on Sasuke's length even as he pulled Sasuke tighter into him with his other, rocking against him with sporadic jerks of his hips until they both slowed down and grew still.

Their gasps were loud in the otherwise silent room.

"Next time it's my turn."

Naruto fought the lethargic pull that came on the heels of a really great orgasm. "Hmmm?" He managed to open his eyes, eyelashes brushing against Sasuke's back.

"To touch you. My turn next."

Curled around Sasuke, Naruto began to laugh. "Okay."

~


When Naruto woke up with Sasuke sprawled over him, he stared at Sasuke's face knowing something was wrong.

He realised after a minute or so of watching Sasuke snore a little too loudly, that he'd forgotten to kiss him.

So he did it.

Sasuke didn't seem to mind.

~


Naruto grimaced and as gently as he could, removed the granny's hand from his ass. He even gave it a pat when she smiled up at him from her seat and placed it back on the table.

"What have I said about touching?" He said, then beat a hasty retreat when the tail began curling around his ankle, barely resisting the urge to give into a small shudder.

Behind the counter Gaara stood, eyes narrowed slightly on the woman as if she were a rabid dog he should keep his eyes on. Naruto's eyes flicked down to the small pale red wings on his back and shook his head as he went into the kitchen. He'd never figured Gaara would have wings. Something was seriously screwed up with the universe.

He went to fetch the next batch ready to go into the oven, wiping his hands on his apron and humming a little under his breath.

His shift would end in another ten minutes. Sakura and Moegi would be there soon to take over again. Moegi had wings too. So did Jiraiya, Naruto had found out later, despite all his womanising ways. Being around Sasuke had made Naruto's weird little quirk intensify and now there was rarely a day when he didn't see a single person without either one or the other. He'd even seen one with both last week!

Sasuke had said that the reason why he had seen them all on and off before was because some souls hid it really well. Now Naruto just saw better.

Naruto finished putting the new batch in the oven and prepping the next ones.

"Narutoooo."

He laughed to himself as Sakura's voice rang out from the front of the store. "You and Gaara can get your asses out now!"

Naruto quickly set the timer on the oven.

"Aaaand Sasuke's heeere already!!!"

"Cool! I’m on my way out." He took off his apron, hung it up. He grabbed up the bag of treats he'd already set aside and patted Gaara's shoulder as he came into the kitchen. "See you tomorrow!"

Gaara just nodded his head.

Naruto called goodbye to the others as his eyes locked on the familiar wings taking up so much space outside the bakery.

He tugged out a cigarette as he went.

"Hey!"

Sasuke turned to look at him as Naruto stopped at his side, zipping his jacket right up to his chin as the biting cold hit him. "Hey!" He gave the cigarette a disgusted look and then started walking, not waiting for Naruto to follow him. Naruto fell into step with him anyway. "What did we get today?" Sasuke asked, looking at the bag in Naruto's hand.

Naruto tossed the bag at him. Sasuke caught it and gave him a small shove. "Cinnamon buns. They'll taste great with weather like this."

"Hmm." Sasuke tucked them under his arm and sped up his step. "Hurry up then."

Naruto looked up, cigarette between his lips and threw his arms back as if pillowing his head as he walked. "Yeah yeah. Don't rush, we'll get there."

In the end they took their time and ended up eating their buns on the stairs, with the stray dog and his small wings.


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