Naruto has always thought that in many ways, Sasuke was a broken man. After all, it is usually broken men who have the drive and motive to do the crimes such as the last Uchiha had committed. He hadn’t splintered into innumerable pieces right away, like glass dropped upon the ground. No, it had happened over years and built into a short life fraught with tragedies. Like a crack that starts off small and barely noticeable, it grew and blossomed with each blow until all that was left behind were the pieces of something formerly useful.
The facts were dreadfully obvious: as a young and tender child, he’d witnessed the murder of his entire family at the hands of his own brother. The crimson blood staining the walls and floors had in turn left their own mark on Sasuke, sweeping away his innocence and cracking his unhardened heart. When he grew older, the boy vowed vengeance, giving chase to his only remaining kin. All the while, that weakness unseen and unprotected within him bloomed like a terrible darkness, fracturing whatever goodness remained within his heart.
And when Itachi died, that sorrowful heart could stand to be broken no more.
Naruto knew and understood all these things. And it wasn’t because Sasuke told him right away; he knew better than to force what could not and should not be hurried.
He also understood that broken men like Sasuke did not cling to love easily or readily. Sasuke instinctively did not trust affection: he regarded it with suspicion and deep-rooted fear. Naruto knew better than to push too hard and never asked for too much.
Naruto always thought that broken men could never truly be fixed. After all, what could possibly glue together the shattered remnants of a person or make fade the awful scars they bore? These were wounds that could be healed, but would never fully disappear. But that was all right, because all Naruto wanted was for Sasuke to heal.
Every time he looked into those dark eyes, Naruto plainly saw the echoes of violence tinging his lover both physically and emotionally. But it was a madness restrained, for Sasuke endeavored to be master over his inner demons.
When he kissed Sasuke, Naruto sometimes felt the hesitance, the quiet fear that flared in a man who’d spent most of his life reeling from the injuries love had dealt him. But Naruto was patient, always letting their embraces enfold them both without haste. He was content to relish in the taste of Sasuke’s mouth slowly, grateful for each press of lips and each shared breath. Lately though, Sasuke had relaxed enough to venture forth with light touches, no longer satisfied to simply remain still.
Naruto understood that broken men had weaknesses, but that didn’t mean they were not strong. Sasuke had used that strength to wage war, forever changing a generation of men and women. He’d also used that strength to save Naruto, and Naruto in turn did his best to save Sasuke.
So he offered his love, freely and without expectations. There were times Sasuke preferred to pull away and withdraw, but Naruto understood and had learned to not take it personally.
And then there were times when they kissed and when they touched that Naruto felt the emotional barrier that Sasuke had built over the years lift for a while. These were times that his heart rejoiced in their tender and private exchanges. It was blissful to feel his affection reciprocated, a joy to hear Sasuke’s low chuckle as the dark-haired shinobi pushed him down onto the sheets with desire glowing bright in his eyes. His heart pounded loudly each time those pale fingers caressed him, stroked him so intimately as no one else had.
“What’s with that look,” Sasuke whispered in his ear, voice husky and breath warm against his skin. It sent shivers down Naruto’s back. His hands deftly drew down the zipper on the blond’s pants.
“Nothing,” Naruto answered quickly. “I just…” He inhaled sharply as a warm hand slid beneath his boxers. Groaning, he arched into Sasuke’s slow touch urgently. “Don’t tease, bastard.”
The Uchiha chuckled again, dipping his head to nip at his boyfriend’s neck. “Always impatient, usuratonkachi.”
The jinchūriki bit back another groan, pushing himself up on his elbows. The rare, unguarded look on Sasuke’s face almost distracted him from their current preoccupation. The back-and-forth teasing, the confident hands touching him…Naruto felt a genuinely happy smile stretch his lips. It was almost as if everything were normal, almost as if their jobs didn’t constantly wound their souls. Perhaps if they’d been regular civilians, perhaps if he wasn’t an Uzumaki and if Sasuke wasn’t an Uchiha…it could always be like this.
He held onto that thought for a little while longer, even as their bodies moved fluidly together with searing urgency. He clutched Sasuke’s shoulders desperately, the hot pleasure coursing through every fiber of his being winding him up tight. Throwing his head back, Naruto forced his eyes open, to watch the expressions flitting across Sasuke’s face. He couldn’t help it. Sasuke was a reserved man at best, and Naruto had learned that his emotions were most unchecked when they were intimate.
He gasped, the air harsh in his throat and barely sufficient for words. “Sasuke,” he breathed, struggling to speak even as he felt his release rise uncontrollably. “I love you.”
For the span of three heartbeat, Naruto saw those dark eyes soften, felt two fingers trail tenderly down his cheek. And then he was lost in a maelstrom of sensation, all other thoughts eclipsed by the roiling passion engulfing the two of them.
It was only a little while later, as they lay together with limbs intertwined, that Naruto had time to contemplate. In many ways- the jinchūriki mused as he watched Sasuke slumber- he too was a broken man. But perhaps together…they could keep each other whole.
A/N: I originally had the idea for this several months back as I was trying to work through some writer’s block. It can be read as a companion to my SasuNaru fic “Inheritance of Hatred” but it also works as a standalone piece. Totally un-beta’d, so please forgive any mistakes.