He lowered his head a split second, then grabbed my wrist tightly, and raised his shirt with his other hand. My lips parted with surprise, and I watched as he pressed my hand against the bare skin of his chest.
“What are you - ”
“Do you feel that? I’m so nervous. So unwound.” His heart was beating so fast, I had to wonder if he was close to having a heart attack. I opened my mouth to order him to take a deep breath, but he continued, “It gets like this every time you’re around.” His eyes were so earnest when they caught mine. Desperate. Uneasy. Intense. “You always seem so put together, and I feel as if I’m falling apart every time I’m with you.”
In response to his words, to the feel of his heart beating a rapid race beneath my fingertips, I felt my own heart accelerate. My palms began to sweat, and I suddenly had the urge to sit down to keep my knees from giving out on me. They felt like jelly.
And, suddenly, I knew that this wasn’t something that I could run or hide from even if I wanted to, which I knew I didn’t. Far from it. I wanted to let the feelings currently surfacing to envelope me with their foreign, yet familiar brilliance. I knew I’d never be the same after this. Naruto had captured my very being, not just my heart. Though I hadn’t realized it, I had lost to him long ago. So long ago.
I wanted this. I wanted this so badly.
I clenched my free hand to keep from reaching out and threading my fingers through his messy blond hair.
He looked thoroughly bemused at the moment, his eyebrows pinched, his mouth straight, his eyes slightly clouded. I knew he wanted me to respond. He wanted some kind of reassurance, something that would broaden the slim slip of hope curling in his eyes. This new connection between the two of us so fragile, and could be broken so easily.
I pulled my hand out from beneath his and away from the hopeful pounding in his chest. With my fingertips, I gripped the top of his pant pockets, and I lowered my face to his shoulder. His scent was warm, earthy, and achingly familiar. I turned my head and pressed my nose to his neck, my breath hot on his skin.
“My heart’s beating just a fast,” I whispered softly.
His hands trailed up my sides to my upper shoulders. With a gentle, yet firm grip, he pushed me away from him. His eyes snared mine, and my breath caught at dark navy they had deepened to. They were rich with emotion – threaded through with a tangle affection, pleasure, and longing. I could have drowned in them.
He trailed the fingers of one hand along my cheekbone, and then down the side of my neck. My chest felt so tight, so full. All those childhood dreams of finding the one, and those expectations, hopes, and wishes paled in comparison to the reality.
I had the sudden urge to hunt down Fai, and childishly stick out my tongue. My lips curled at the thought, and Naruto quirked an questioning eyebrow. I merely shook my head in response.
With a slow smile, I leaned forward, stood on my tip-toes, and pressed a quick kiss to the corner his mouth.
“If weather permits, meet me out here tonight. You still haven’t gotten the chance to show me The Mighty Frog.”
His hands grabbed my upper arms to keep me from moving too far away from him. “I won’t be free until late.”
“I don’t get off from the hospital until late,” I countered.
“Could you bring some food?”
“I get hungry at night,” he said almost defensively.
“You’re always hungry. Admit it.”
He remained stubbornly mute. And then his stomach growled.
My lips curved sardonically and against his lips, I laughed.
We did meet there that night. Ate. Argued. Let ourselves become acquainted with the new avenue of our confusing relationship. I’d be remiss to say it’s been all kisses and roses, smiles and tickles since then – but, really, what would I do if I couldn’t argue or bate him. Punch him or tease him mercilessly. He’s the only person who can piss me off so thoroughly that I can’t speak in coherent sentences. And conversely, he’s the only one who can thaw the heat of my anger and melt me into a breathless puddle of nerves. Perfection is overrated anyways. I’d much rather pick my way uncertainly through this overwhelming bond with him than fall into a boring routine of monotony and predictability.
I’ve fallen into the habit of sitting beside the bed and watching him as he sleeps. I smiled into my steaming coffee and took a cautious sip, my eyes never leaving his tousled frame. He snored loudly. Drool pooled on the sheet below his head – he had knocked the pillow onto the floor in the middle of the night. With my foot, I reached up and stabbed him in the side with my toes. He cut off mid-snore and slowly cracked open one bleary eye to glare in my direction.
“Meghn,” he groaned into the mattress.
I grinned. “Pardon? I don’t speak mumble.”
Naruto grunted and lifted his torso off the bed slightly. With sleepy eyes and disheveled hair, he repeated, “Mean.”
I remained stubbornly silent in response and merely quirked an eyebrow. I set my coffee mug down on the nightstand and watched as he twisted lazily onto his back, his breath whooshing out with a heavy sigh. I barely had enough time to admire his bare chest before I decided that I want to be closer – I wanted the feel his warmth. Quickly, I snuck onto the edge of the bed, and wedged myself against his prone form. He watched me with half a smile, and silently curled an arm around me to hold me tightly against him. I lowered my head down slightly to catch the lazy mutter of words he whispered. “Stay with me.”
I knew he was merely expressing his want for me to remain nestled against him for the time being – before he had to wake up fully and go back to the tedious work of the Hokage. But now, in this moment, I take it to mean forever. To stay with him until I can no longer physically. I smiled to myself and wondered how I got to be such a cheesy sap, and I almost rolled my eyes.
But, instead, I leaned down and against his lips I told him, “In anger and affection – I’ll stay.”