[identity profile] lex-zeppelin.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] remix_redux
Title: Perfectly Simple (Flashback Bridge Mix)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] karotsamused
Summary: This is the way a shinobi loves. Sasuke learns Naruto in the forest. Zabuza arc.
Fandom: Naruto
Pairing: Uchiha Sasuke/Uzumaki Naruto
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto Masashi, not me.
Original story: Perfectly Simple by [livejournal.com profile] ununoriginal
Notes: Thanks to my betas for the support and listening to me whine. This is why Sasuke acts the way he does in the Big Fight with Haku.

After Sakura leaves, the forest thrums. Without her mitigating presence, her quiet skill and control, the murmur of competition strengthens to a roar.

Naruto races up the tree, focusing his chakra in his feet as best he can, fighting to get higher than his last mark. He swipes a deep gash in the tree before he falls again, and looks over as he drops, to see where Sasuke is.

Sasuke is higher, always higher, but Naruto is gaining. Sasuke knows it with frustrating clarity. He can hear Naruto panting, grunting when he hits the ground, growling to himself as he charges again at the tree. He can feel Naruto’s eyes on him, fierce and determined and pushing. Sasuke works harder, fighting through the rising drag of exhaustion. He must be better, faster, stronger than Naruto. He is better than Naruto, and he will prove it.

Sasuke hits the ground, looking up to see where his most recent mark has landed. He’s three-quarters of the way up, or a little higher. He stops, for just a moment, to catch his breath.

Naruto hits the ground harder, landing poorly on his feet and stumbling back, sprawling on his back. His chest heaves with breath, and the mark he’s left is mere centimeters below Sasuke’s.

Sasuke does not look at the tree. He watches Naruto, and can barely contain his disgust.

Naruto is flushed, his breath rough as it rushes through him. His eyes are pressed tightly closed, his hands curled into tense fists at his sides. Sasuke can almost feel the chakra sparking through Naruto, faster and harder than his blood. Naruto lays very, very still, then writhes, arching at the friction of his pants against a very noticeable erection.

Sasuke remembers that same feeling. The rush of a challenge, his own power, making him hard and needy. But that was before he’d learned control, before he could handle himself. When he was a child.

His eyes stay locked on Naruto, watching him fight with his own body, his inability to control himself. The disgraceful display turns his stomach.

He steps closer, and his tone is sharp, and dangerous. "Having trouble there?"

Naruto twitches, curling over himself, refusing to meet Sasuke’s eyes. "Climb your tree," he mutters, rough and hushed.

Sasuke feels his lip curl in a sneer. "Pull yourself together. I don’t need to see your disgusting—"

"I said climb your tree!" Naruto cries. He struggles to get to his feet, keeping his back to Sasuke.

Sasuke snorts, disgusted. And insulted. They put an immature weakling like this on a team with him, obviously expecting him to carry the extra weight. Sakura is at least useful, for all that she prattles on and annoys him with her insipid crush. Naruto is less a teammate and more an obligation, even a responsibility.

Let Kakashi-sensei deal with it.

Sasuke turns away, backing up to get another run at his tree. He can hear Naruto on the ground, his breathing choked and dramatic, as he tries to get his composure. He can almost feel the shame radiating off of him in shuddering waves. To think that this useless, weak thing should be his peer.

Sasuke tries to ignore it, the sound of Naruto panting, the way he moves slowly. The way he charges at his tree, but stumbles when he runs. The way Naruto hardly makes it three feet off the ground before he has to stop.

Sasuke makes a mark just a centimeter higher than his last one, and hits the ground. Naruto curls over himself again with a shudder, growling to himself. It comes out as a half-strangled groan. Naruto clenches his fingers against his arms.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" Sasuke asks sharply.

Naruto visibly flinches, but doesn’t give him an answer. Sasuke watches, revulsion in his gut.

Let Kakashi-sensei deal with it. He’s his student, not Sasuke’s. He’s not a teammate, really. He’s just a burden. Dead last. Worthless. Useless.

Naruto shudders, muttering to himself. Sasuke can make it out, just one word.

Focus. Focus. Focus…

Roughly, Sasuke mutters, "Just get up, idiot."

"Leave me alone," Naruto growls. It’s growing stronger now, less of a moan. It’s goading, and insulting, and God, it actually sounds like Naruto again.

Sasuke startles himself and covers it with a growl. "Then get up."

"Fuck off!" And again. Deeper. Rougher. But there. Not desperate, not panicked. Naruto.

Sasuke goads him further, fueled by his own anger. At Naruto. At himself. The frustration draws his lips back from his teeth as he snarls, "If you had even half the control – no, forget that, you wouldn’t-"

Naruto turns, and… and Sasuke loses him. The eye contact brings the shame back full-force, like a blow, and it makes Naruto shake. His eyes are wet with tears, clouding the sweet blue. "Shut up! You haven’t gotten up the tree either!"

The tears should not shock him. Naruto cries over everything. But still. He forces himself colder, fighting down the need to apologize, as if that would make up for lost ground. He can hear Naruto retreating beneath the panic and the shame.

He stalks closer, his teeth bared. "And you’re never going to. Not with control as weak as that."

He can see the blow land, pushing Naruto further back, further down. He is not fighting as hard, losing his focus and his control. "Shut up!" he cries. Naruto backs up, toward the tree he’s been climbing.

"Make me."

That almost does it. Naruto stops then, stops backing up. This ground is safer, better worn. It brings him back. "I’ll kick your ass any day."

Sasuke steps closer, getting inside Naruto’s personal space. Fighting space. He almost spits. "Ha. You couldn’t-"

Naruto shrinks back. "Don’t touch me."

No. No. Naruto should grab his collar, should growl at him, should call him names and fight him. Not back down, not shrink away like this. Shrinking back gets you killed. Being weak gets you killed.

Furious, Sasuke sneers, "Or what?"

Naruto shudders, backing up and reaching out to push Sasuke away.

Sasuke grabs his arm and pushes him back against the tree, hard enough to knock his breath away. This close, he can feel Naruto shake, can feel how low his reserves are, can feel how fast his heart is beating.

Naruto flushes and struggles, rearing back to punch him, snarling inarticulately.

Sasuke knocks his hand away too easily. Naruto has lost his focus, has lost any shred of control he’d ever gained. Sasuke shoves Naruto harder against the tree.

And there, oh God, there his hip brushes against Naruto’s cock, still hard.

Naruto gasps. Sasuke jerks away. Naruto, flushed with shame, fights him, swinging wildly. Sasuke shoves him hard, getting an elbow to his jaw for his effort, and spits. He presses Naruto against the tree with one arm under Naruto’s chin. As Naruto growls and struggles, he gets up in his face, eyes narrowed.

When he finally manages to form words, they are raw with fury, and he has to fight to keep his voice from cracking.

"Quit being so weak! Quit being so pathetic! Do you think you’ll ever survive?"

Naruto swings again, and Sasuke catches his hands. "You can’t even fight me."

Naruto glares at him, and his eyes are raw and red and unseeing, torn between rage and listening. Sasuke can see it, the way Naruto hears him, and the way Sasuke’s words cut him deep.

It is a long moment before either of them speaks, where Naruto catches his breath, and Sasuke holds tightly to his anger.

"I’m trying," Naruto says, almost a whisper.

Sasuke wants to throw up. He can feel himself gagging. He pushes away and turns his back to Naruto. "Try harder."

Naruto doesn’t respond, even his breathing hushed. In the silence, Sasuke mutters, "I’m going to get a drink of water."

Sasuke leaves. He does not go to the bridge-builder’s house. He does not go to the nearby stream. He just runs, flying through the treetops until his face is pink and his breath comes harsh and he can almost forget the way Naruto’s cock felt through his pants.

When he returns, Naruto is sitting on one of the highest branches of his tree. When he sees Sasuke, he sticks out his tongue.

Sasuke snorts, hearing the silent plea for that to not have happened. And he charges at his own tree, chasing Naruto’s progress.
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