The Long Run

BY : Sasunarufan13
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male > Naruto/Sasuke
Dragon prints: 1260
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto nor make profit of it. Kishimoto owns it.

Author's note: This turned out a bit longer than initially planned, hope you won't mind!

Warnings: Some drama; zombie violence; also, there's only one bed!

I hope you'll like this chapter!

Chapter 5

"There's only one bed, so we're going to have to share," Sasuke announced, stripping off his jacket and his shoes. "The blankets look decent at least. Should keep us warm enough throughout the night."

There was no heating to keep them warm and the wind was picking up outside. They would have to make do with their shared body warmth tonight. Maybe the next night as well if the zombies hadn't left by then.

"I'm a kicker," Naruto stated, almost plaintively from where he leant against the doorjamb; keeping his injured foot off the floor.

"As long as you're not a biter, I don't care."

A silent guffaw had him turning around with one eyebrow raised. "What?"

Naruto grinned. "Is that both a sex and a zombie joke in one that I just heard you make?"

"Get your mind out of the gutter." Sasuke rolled his eyes and drew the blankets back.

"What? Don't want to admit that I might be," Naruto paused for dramatic effect, "rubbing off on you?"

"Get fucked."

Clearly not done with the theatrics yet, Naruto waved at the window dramatically. "Don't think I haven't been trying, but the current global circumstances make it really hard to get myself fucked!"

"You ever think about anything other than sex?" Sasuke sighed exasperatedly, resting his hands on his hips.

"I thought you said you would listen to whatever I had to say?" Naruto pouted. "Was that all a lie, Sasuke?"

"You want to talk about sex?" Sasuke looked at him unimpressed.

"Hey, what do you expect me to think about when I'm about to climb into bed with one of the hottest guys I've ever seen?" Naruto grinned. "I'm exercising a lot of restraint here, you know!"

"If you can run your mouth like that, you're clearly feeling better already," Sasuke snorted and rolled his eyes again. "Now get into the bed, I'm not going to stand around here all night."

"Oh, bossy," Naruto purred, still with that stupid grin on his face. Even his awkward limp/hop to the other side of the bed didn't diminish his fun. "I like that!"

"Keep that up and I'm going to gag you and tie you up," Sasuke threatened, slightly aggravated now. It had been a long fucked up day and he wanted to get some hours of sleep at least before he would try to figure out how to deal with the shitfest currently gurgling up a storm outside.

"You know, that's not much of a threat as you think it is," Naruto informed him.

"Naruto. Sleep."

The blond man threw up his hands in exasperation. "Fine, fine. You sure we don't need to keep watch?" He basically fell down in the bed, wincing when his injured ankle hit the mattress.

"We're on the third floor. The group of zombies out there will keep any human from trying to enter and if the undead manage to get in here, keeping watch won't really do anything," Sasuke said dryly. "We'd be screwed either way. Might as well make the best of it and get some sleep."

Naruto hummed, turning his head to watch Sasuke get into the bed as well, drawing the blankets over the both of them. It didn't escape Sasuke's notice that Naruto was deliberately keeping some distance between them.

The position of the bedroom didn't allow much natural light to enter it and when clouds drifted across the moon, the small bit of light they had was gone, blanketing them in complete darkness. Sasuke was hyper aware of the young man lying next to him; even with the small distance between their bodies, the way he seemed to positively exude warmth was hard to ignore and Sasuke had the ridiculous thought that at least he wouldn't freeze to death. Might get eaten if the zombies broke through, but not freeze.

Clothes rustled quietly when Naruto turned to lie down on his side. "Thanks, by the way," he murmured; his warm breath hitting Sasuke in the vicinity of his cheek. He must be facing him then. "For killing that zombie before it could eat me."

Sasuke wondered how long ago it had been for the other one that he was able to thank someone for helping him with the undead. Probably for a long time and something in him twisted at that realisation.

"Yeah well, thank you for saving my arse when I was trying to kick down the door," he muttered, rubbing his shoulder in a reflex. It was still aching somewhat; it would probably leave a nasty bruise behind, but as long as he didn't think about it, he would be able to ignore the pain. Naruto's ankle was more fucked up than his shoulder at any rate.

"It is a nice arse," Naruto said solemnly before snickering quietly. "But you need to gain more strength in your legs, dude."

Sasuke rolled his eyes and reached out to slap Naruto. Judging by the 'oomph' and the flat sound he'd managed to hit his stomach. Good. "Next time why don't you try to kick in the door, let's see how successful you are."

"You know, normally I'm all for taking on bets, but in this case I'd rather we won't be in that particular situation again," Naruto mused aloud. "I kind of am attached to being alive and not being surrounded by dead bastards, you know."

"Duly noted," Sasuke snorted. "Now shut up and go to sleep. We're going to need all the rest we can get."

"Ay, ay, boss," Naruto mocked and going off the short, quick breeze, he might have raised his hand in the air in a salute, because he could be an idiot like that.

Sasuke thought about pinching him for good measure, but he was starting to feel comfortably warm and the groaning outside was growing mute, devolving into a buzzing noise almost.

And even though it had been months since he last had to sleep in close quarters with someone, sleep didn't take long to find him.

"Any change?" Naruto asked with a sigh. He was back on the couch, the towel rewetted and rewrapped around his ankle. It was still viciously swollen, but he claimed he was feeling a bit better already. Fast healer, he'd claimed.

Sasuke pressed his lips together, scowling at the wriggling mass below in the street. "Nothing. The herd has thinned out a bit, I guess, but not enough to risk trying to get to our van."

"I wonder if they can smell that we're still here," Naruto muttered, frowning up at the ceiling.

"All the way up to the third floor?" Sasuke said sceptically. "If they can, we'll have even bigger problems I imagine. No, I guess it's because nothing else has piqued their interest yet."

With no other living human in the city making noise, he supposed he shouldn't have been surprised to find the street still practically overflowing with the undead. If nobody else came around, they might be stuck here for days on end. He chanced a glance at his bag. If they rationed the supplies as much as they could, they could stretch it to a week he guessed, but … He glanced at Naruto, who was still frowning up at the ceiling; his arms crossed over his stomach.

He'd woken up this morning with Naruto practically clinging onto him like an octopus, radiating enough heat that for one disoriented moment Sasuke had believed he'd somehow snuggled up against a heater. With how closely Naruto had been pressed against him, it had been difficult to ignore just how lean he was, verging on the edge of too thin. Considering he had been at the compound for nearly five weeks now with regular meals even when they were rationed slightly, he should have been putting on more weight. Unless his stomach had become incapable of eating decently sized meals again?

It was a thought that made him frown, because it was yet another reminder of how long Naruto had been on his own out there, left to fend for himself. For some reason, it was a fact that disturbed him. He didn't know why. Naruto wasn't the first one who'd been on the road for a long time before coming across the compound and he would most likely not be the last. Yet there was something about him that kept drawing Sasuke in and it frustrated him to not know why.

"I wonder if we could find something that would draw them away," Naruto mumbled, sucking his lower lip between his teeth before letting it pop. "I don't think we should hope for other people to show up and draw their attention. That'd be a bit too lucky, I suppose."

"And I'm not so certain whether you should hope for something like that to begin with, considering what might happen," Sasuke pointed out. "Fighting the dead and the living would be a bit too much."

Naruto squinted at him before smiling roguishly. "My bet's on the dead then in that case."

Sasuke snorted and walked away from the window. Yeah, in that scenario he'd be betting on the zombies too. "I'm going to take a look around, see if we missed something."

"Yeah, me too." Naruto swung his legs off the couch, looking contemplatively down at his left foot.

"I think it'd be better if you let your ankle rest a bit longer," Sasuke said, frowning. He might not be a medical expert, but he doubted putting pressure on a twisted ankle was a good idea.

"I'm telling you, I'm fine," Naruto said calmly. "Might look like shit still somewhat, but the pain's decreased. I usually don't take long bouncing back. Might be my genes, I don't know."

"Don't complain to me if your ankle is fucked up even worse," Sasuke said darkly and returned to the bedroom, leaving Naruto to hobble around in the living room.

He had already emptied all the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen and had checked all the corners of the tight space just in case, so he knew there was nothing to be found anymore there. But maybe the bedroom might yield something? He hadn't thought to check here yesterday, save for grabbing the nightstands – which had been disappointingly empty – and making sure there was a bed they could sleep in.

The wardrobe crammed into the right corner contained only a couple of empty wire hangers; the previous occupant had left with everything, leaving nothing behind. Kneeling down on the floor, he stuck his hand underneath the bed and felt around the springs. In some houses they had got lucky that way; the past owners having stuck weapons to the springs, but no dice here. He lifted up the carpet next, but aside from several large dust bunnies, there was nothing to be found underneath it either, not even loose planks he could try to pry open.

He let the carpet drop back, straightening up to look around the room. There was an air vent right next to the door and he stared at it dubiously. Should he try it out? Well, they had nothing but time at the moment.

Going back into the living room, he saw Naruto riffling through a closet, throwing papers – bills perhaps? – to the floor. He went to his bag and retrieved a screwdriver from it. It was mainly used as a weapon in case he ran out of bullets or the space was too small to use his katana, but now he could use it for its actual purpose: removing the screws from the air vent.

"Bingo," he whispered when he carefully felt around in the small space. His fingers bumped against something small and roundish and he pulled it towards him, curious what it might be.

It turned out to be fireworks.

He stared at the small bundle for a long time, unsure whether he was really holding fireworks. It seemed like such an odd thing to hide in an air vent. What had the owner been planning on doing with it? Had he wanted to celebrate something before the end of the world had happened? Why hide it in the air vent then?

Shaking his head, he returned the fireworks to the vent for the moment. Maybe he could grab them with him as a surprise for Deidara or so. The guy would get a kick out of this for sure.

"You found anything?" he asked, leaving the bedroom. He couldn't help but frown at the way Naruto was leaning against the back of the couch.

"No, nothing except for some paperwork and some pens. Doubt we can do much with those," Naruto replied, somewhat listlessly. He winced when he hobbled around the couch, sinking down on it with his lips tightly pressed together; his hand grabbing his left knee.

"You overworked your ankle?" Sasuke questioned neutrally. He didn't want to fight, had no desire to start an argument, but he had warned him about it. Lesser painful it might feel, but that ankle looked nowhere near ready enough to carry Naruto's full weight – slim as he was.

Instead of becoming irritated, Naruto merely sighed wearily, ranking his fingers through his hair. "Hm, seems a bit like it. I must have twisted it more than I thought at first."

One night of rest wouldn't undo running on a sprained ankle and dragging himself up three flights of stairs.

"We don't have to leave immediately," Sasuke said and walked over to the window, checking the street. He grimaced, turning back to the other man. Still no improvement in the street. "I've still got food and water in my bag and we've got some of those soup packages left over. We can stretch it out to a week if need be. That should give you enough time to - "

But Naruto was shaking his head and a spark of annoyance ignited within Sasuke. "What?"

"Staying here for a week could be suicide," Naruto said flatly. "There's no saying how large that group will remain and what happens when the food is gone, hm?"

"You've got a better plan then?" Sasuke asked, harsher than he'd intended.

"Sure," Naruto said easily to his surprise. "Was thinking I could distract them and you get the hell out of here with the van. Should work. Those fuckers get mightily fixated if they think they can bite something."

"And what would you do after I get in the van?" Sasuke narrowed his eyes suspiciously.

The dry look blue eyes favoured him with had him clenching his hands into fists. "I ain't going to do shit after that, 'cept for holing up here. You get your arse back to the compound with the supplies like promised."

"Leaving you here would be signing your death sentence!" Sasuke bit out, taking a step forwards. "Are you out of your fucking mind? There's no way you can defend yourself with just one good leg!"

"Look," Naruto said and Sasuke wanted to punch the fucker for using a goddamn reasonable tone of voice, like they weren't discussing leaving him behind, like he wasn't telling Sasuke to leave him behind to die. "There's no point in both of us staying here. It's like you said, my ankle is fucked at the moment, I honestly doubt I could run all the way down and to the van. You can, though. I can distract them, you wait for the right moment and then you'll - "

"No. Forget it," Sasuke said harshly, slashing his hand through the air as if he could demolish that fucked up proposition like that. "We both arrived here and we're both going to leave here. I'm not leaving you behind."

When Naruto opened his mouth, presumably to protest, Sasuke practically snarled, "This is not up for fucking debate, Naruto! I'm not going to leave you behind, end of story! You're not bit, you're not dying, you've got a fucking sprained ankle, for fuck's sake! We'll stay here until your ankle heals a bit more and we'll figure something out!"

He stalked into the bedroom before the other man could react, fury wildly coursing through him, begging him to be unleashed. Throwing the remaining pillows against the floor did absolutely nothing but piss him off even further and he remained standing next to the bed, his nails digging sharply into his skin; his breathing laboured.

Dimly he was aware of an uneven footfall approaching him slowly.

"I didn't mean to piss you off," Naruto said softly, lingering in the doorway.

Sasuke didn't turn around, staring blindly at the wall where the pink and green striped wall paper was slowly peeling off around the edge of the ceiling.

"I was just thinking about getting you a way out of here."

"Yeah? Why not think about a way for the both of us to get out of here?" Sasuke snorted, rubbing his forehead. Pressure was pulsing at his temples; a headache steadily creeping up on him.

"Sprained ankle. You're still in good shape."

He could easily envision the blond shrugging now, even though he still hadn't turned around to face him. When had he become so attuned to the other man that he could guess his reactions without even looking at him?

"Makes sense for me to be the distraction then. Besides," Naruto continued lightly, too lightly, "you've got people to go back to."

"What?" Sasuke swallowed, concentrating on his breathing. "And you don't?"

"Didn't make any friends, remember. Don't plan on it either, so no, I've got nothing to return to."

"You're wrong," Sasuke decided, something within him settling.

"Excuse me?"

Now he turned around to face him, took in the way Naruto was awkwardly leaning against the doorframe, trying to keep his weight off his injured ankle. Looked at his wide, blue eyes, full with incomprehension and wariness, that constant wariness that hadn't left his gaze since the second he'd shown up at the gates. He looked at the air vent then, at the secret holding it, and instantly a plan unfurled itself in his mind; the steps unfolding in front of him like a flower blooming open in the sun.

"Your plan is stupid," he said and Naruto frowned heavily. "We're not doing it. We're going to stay here for two more days and you're going to spend that time either on the couch or in the bed, I don't care, but you're going to rest. Two more days should give your ankle a bit more time to start healing."

"And what then? What's your grand escape plan, hm?" Naruto drawled; his eyes narrowed with scepticism.

"I'm going out there." Sasuke jerked his thumb backwards at the wall behind him. "The roof is close by. I'll go to the apartment at the end of the hallway, climb through one of the windows there and set up the distraction further in the street. Meanwhile you drag your arse and our bags to the first floor and you're going to wait until I back up the van right against the window and then you'll jump on top of the roof. We'll get the hell out of here then."

"You know, while it does sound very adventurous and very cool, I do have one small question," Naruto said, a bit condescending. "How are you going to distract them yet be able to go into the van in one piece, hm?"

Sasuke smirked, the action surprising Naruto clearly by the way he looked taken aback, and walked past him, sticking his hand into the air vent.

"With these." He brandished the fireworks smugly. "Think this'll be a nice distraction, don't you?"

Naruto stared in disbelief at the small bundle before he started laughing, throwing his head back. Sasuke's smirk softened into a grin.

"Well, hell," Naruto grinned and locked eyes with him. "I guess that's one way of setting up a distraction."

The next two days Naruto was practically a model patient. He either remained on the couch or in the bed, not protesting anymore whenever Sasuke checked his ankle. If their situation wasn't so precarious, Sasuke would have laughed at how almost demure Naruto had become. Well, if demure could be said about a man who had his machete resting on his lap and his gaze sharpening whenever the zombies outside became a bit too rowdy.

During what would hopefully be their last afternoon in this apartment, Sasuke removed the two nightstands and the table from their position in front of the door. Naruto's ankle was finally starting to look somewhat normal again and he could now walk around the room without limping too badly. He still wasn't fully recovered, but there was finally some improvement. Sasuke decided this was the perfect moment to check out the apartment he was intending to use for his plan. If any undead managed to wander inside, then Naruto would be bodily able enough to defend himself long enough for Sasuke to return.

He needed to get a feeling of the other place, anyways. He didn't want to lose any time tomorrow by trying to figure out which window would be best and how far he had to go for the distraction to work.

Leaving Naruto with his machete and his dagger, Sasuke held his katana as he carefully checked the hallway first. It looked the same as when they'd first arrived here, no signs of undead bastards wandering about. The thumping against the main entrance had stopped finally; now the zombies were just wandering around in the street. Still too many for them to risk getting out the front door, but they had stopped trying to smash the door to pieces.

Keeping his back to the wall, he quickly but silently crossed the hallway to the other end, where the door of the apartment stood ajar. Faded blood stains covered the wood, smudged all the way from the middle to the bottom, as if someone had leant against the door before falling down. He rapped against the doorframe: loud enough for anything in the apartment to hear him, silent enough that it wouldn't rouse the undead outside. Nothing came to greet him.

The layout of this apartment was nearly the same as the one they were using now with the difference that the window in the bedroom looked out at a row of roofs. He managed to push the window open with some effort, grimacing when that was accompanied with quite a bit of noise, but he was too high for any of the zombies to try to grab him. The drop to the first roof was doable and he ducked, studying the street. Yes, still filled with too many undead people.

There was barely any wind today, but it was still ice cold and he clenched his jaw; the cold biting his cheeks. The first roof ended in another drop, bringing him a little bit closer to the grappling hands in the street. He looked at the gutters and then the ground, biting his lip. Judging by the height of the other roofs, this one would be his best bet to get down without breaking a leg or worse his neck. That meant, however, that he would need to set off the fireworks at a serious distance from here if he wanted to have a chance at reaching the van unscathed.

Frowning, he backed away and jumped onto the next roof. He managed to get all the way to the end of the street before he had to stop, the roof of the house on his right too high for him to attempt to reach. He looked back, counting the houses. Seven. That had to be enough. Especially if, he quickly threw a look in the street, spotting the small collection of garbage bins he had had to dodge a couple of days ago, he threw the fireworks near that vicinity. That should make enough noise to attract most, if not all of these dead bastards.

"You can make it work?" Naruto asked when he slipped back into their apartment. His eyes were almost luminous in the dying sunset.

Sasuke smirked, sticking a chair underneath the doorknob. "Yeah, I can make it work. Tomorrow we're getting the hell out of here."

"Now that's music to my ears!" Naruto whooped quietly.

"And here I thought you were starting to like it here," Sasuke mocked. "Couldn't get you out of bed this morning."

"Now why would I get out of bed when I got to enjoy the nice vision of you with bed hair?" Naruto winked, grinning. He snickered when Sasuke snatched the pillow from the couch and smacked him with it.

Sasuke hid his own smile as he went to get their early dinner set up.

"Ready?" Sasuke inquired quietly, watching Naruto slip his gun behind his waistband.

"Yep, ready to go. Got everything," the blond man confirmed, settling Sasuke's bag more comfortably over his shoulder. "You got a lighter?"

"Yeah, once you're down the first set of stairs, I'm going outside. Get ready to jump on time."

"Try not to break your neck or you know, die in general," Naruto told him, almost casually, but his eyes were shadowed.

Sasuke smiled faintly. "Same to you."

He eyed the way Naruto was still limping somewhat with concern, but shook it off when the other man managed to reach the landing without stumbling once. He might not be fully healed yet, but he was able to walk around and that would have to do for now.

Once he was relatively certain that Naruto had reached the second floor, he hastened to the other apartment. Naruto still had to go to the first floor and get one of the windows open, but Sasuke couldn't dawdle too long. The window opening at the street side would no doubt gain the zombies' attention, so he had to get as many away from the building as possible.

"Sorry, Deidara," he muttered as he climbed through the window for the third and last time. "But no gift for you this time."

He could practically feel those soulless eyes burning into the side of his skull as he hurried across the roofs, this time making as much noise as he possibly could, hoping to start drawing them away already. It seemed to work somewhat; more and more undead started to follow him, their moans and groans rising, their arms outstretched as if they hoped to grab him. Even three years later, the sound of their guttural moaning was unnerving, especially with so many of them following his journey across the roofs, but he blocked them out, only focusing on the weight of the fireworks in his hand and Naruto back in the building waiting for him.

This many grouped together, the rotting stench, the smell of death, couldn't possibly be ignored and he switched from breathing through his nose to his mouth. Even then he swore he could practically taste the vile stench. He took one more moment to check the street and then he flipped the cover of the lighter back. One brush of the small flame and the fuse lit up. He'd already left the roof by the time the fireworks landed between the bins and at once screeching filled the air, followed by several loud booms and the clattering of bins being pushed around by the force of the explosions.

This was their only chance.

Grasping the gutters, he swung himself down, quicker than he probably should have, but time really was of the essence now and he couldn't afford being careful. On his way to the van, he stabbed four zombies in their head and kicked away a fifth one before he practically launched himself at the vehicle.

"Please fucking start," he muttered, slamming the door shut and turning the key immediately. "Oh thank fuck!"

He never thought the sound of a motor would sound like music to his ears.

One zombie – barely a teenager – got squished between the van and the car behind him when he shifted the gearstick in reverse. He could see an arm dangling uselessly in his side mirror. He didn't care about it. He drove a bit further down the street before he could put the van in reverse enough to be able to reach the window where Naruto was leaning out of, steadying all four limbs against the window frame. The back of the van bumped into the wall, quickly followed by a heavy thump on the roof.

"All right, let's go!" Naruto's voice was somewhat muffled, but it was enough for Sasuke to slam on the gas, leaving the street with screeching tires.

A quick glance in the mirror showed smoke coming out of the apartment building and zombies trying to amble as quickly as they could after them. But even a herd wasn't a match to a van at top speed. He smiled when he heard Naruto cackling.

They left the town behind less than ten minutes later, but Sasuke didn't slow down until they were several miles down the road, when he could no longer hear that god awful moaning nor could see the smoke trails like tendrils escaping from the apartment building.

Lowering the window, he called out, "How do you want to get down from there?"

Admittedly he hadn't exactly thought of how Naruto would eventually get down from the van's roof, but his main priority had been to get the both of them out of that town alive. Naruto couldn't stay on top of the van, though; the weather was too cold for that and his ankle was still fucked up.

"Drive up to that tree there, I'll climb down," Naruto answered.

Sasuke checked the road and spotted the tree in question. He frowned. "You sure?" Climbing down a tree with a busted ankle?

"Yeah, only way down for me, dude. I'm not going to wait until we're back at the compound, I'm freezing my balls off here."

"Don't call me dude," Sasuke sighed, but manoeuvred the van until he was as close to the tree as he could get. He got out of the vehicle and looked up, seeing Naruto peek over the edge of the roof.

"Here, take this," he said, lowering their bags.

Sasuke took them, placing them on the ground for now. "You good?"

"Man, this isn't the first time I'll be climbing down a tree and I doubt it'll be the last," Naruto scoffed and reached out to grab a more sturdy looking branch. He tugged at it, seemingly testing its strength before he nodded and let his body slip off the van.

He hung suspended in the air for a moment before he swung his lower body forwards and made his way to the trunk of the tree, adept at manoeuvring in the tree as if he were a bird or a monkey.

Still Sasuke hovered close by, watching his progress with narrowed eyes – which turned out to be a good thing because half way down, Naruto lost his grip and he yelped.


"Got you," Sasuke sighed, catching the moron around his – way too thin still – waist before he could fuck up his ankle even further. "Thought you said you were good at this?"

Naruto twisted his head around, scowling at him. "Yeah well, the previous times I didn't have to deal with a twisted ankle. Excuse me for not entertaining you completely," he sniffed.

Once he was sure Naruto had his footing back, Sasuke released him, stepping back. "Where did that smoke come from by the way? I don't think any of the fireworks made it into the building."

Naruto grinned, his previous ire completely forgotten. He picked up his bag and made his way around the van to the passenger's seat. "Ah that, well, I figured the phone company didn't have any use for overdue bills anymore and decided to give those creepers something else to focus on as well. They're rather like pyromaniacs in that regard." He halted right before getting in the van and shrugged above the hood; a crooked smile twisting his mouth. "They're stupid enough to get caught in the flames, though. Let's see them try to come back from being barbecued."

Sasuke shook his head; an amused scoff escaping him unwillingly when Naruto winked at him before settling in the seat. Before he joined the blond, Sasuke looked back in the direction of the town. If he stared long enough, he thought he could still see some wispy plumes of smoke rising high in the sky. He blinked and climbed behind the seat again of the van filled to the brim with supplies.

The trip might have taken longer than expected and they had more pitfalls than anticipated, but hell if this wasn't one of the most successful runs so far.

AN2: Still not that great at action scenes, but I hope it wasn't too awful!

Here's a sneakpeek of the next chapter! (And oh boy, it's going to be quite a doozy!)

"You can fuck up your ankle beyond repair if you don't get some decent rest," Tsunade warned and beckoned him closer. "Let me take a look at it, see how bad it is."

"You don't need to take a look at it, I'm fine," Naruto refused and scowled. "Mother Hen over there fussed enough to fill the quota for the goddamn year, I don't need your help."

"I wasn't fussing, I was keeping you from fucking up your ankle even more!" Sasuke bit out. "You couldn't even fucking lean on it for the first few days, you idiot!"

"Don't need to lean on my ankle to shoot you," Naruto hissed.

"We sent you away for just a few days," Itachi sighed, shaking his head.

"Okay, let's halt the threats here before things are said that shouldn't be said," Tsunade stated and approached Naruto. "Just let me take a look at it, see how bad it is."

"It's not bad, you don't need to take a look at it," Naruto insisted stubbornly, limping out of her reach. "I'll be good by tomorrow."

"God, you're so fucking stubborn," Tsunade groaned, resting her hands on her hips. She glowered at him. "You remind me of that damn pervert I had the misfortune of calling my friend. Stubborn as hell too; kept claiming he was fine even after every single one of his paramours beat the crap out of him." She looked away with a frown. "That said, would be nice to talk to Jiraiya again, even if it's just to - "

"You know Jiraiya?"

Please leave your thoughts behind in a review; should you spot any mistakes, please point them out to me.

I hope to see you all back in the next chapter! Please stay safe and take care of yourselves!



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