Self-Sacrifice is Overrated
“Dude! Put the baked goods down and back away from the oven!”
Startled, the brunet by the stove dropped the still-warm cookie back onto the pile and stepped away. The shock was momentary though as the thief immediately began to negotiate. “There’s plenty there! Just one? Please?”
Naruto snarled and hustled over to the tray of cookies, bodily blocking Kiba from the chocolatey-gooey-goodness that was Iruka’s famed recipe. “No!” he snapped as he pulled the oven door open and heat blasted his face, bringing with it more delicious smells.
Behind him, his friend whined as the blond pulled out another tray of treats, this time citrus squares whole and uncut. “Are you serious? Really? This is torture! That is heaven! And you’re preventing me from reaching paradise!”
“Oh, shut up,” Naruto replied, carefully sliding the large confection onto a chopping board.
“Since when do you bake for Uchiha anyway?” Kiba grumbled.
The confectionery chef looked up from cutting squares out of the thick sheet of pastry, lemon, and sugar. “Since he got his chest caved in because of me.” His voice came out a little less forceful than he wanted, the end trailing off guiltily.
Silence rang in the air for a moment, and then the other man frowned. “Hey… It’s not your fault. And Uchiha already accepted apologies from both Lee and Kisame.” The frown deepened into a scowl. “Who told you it was your fault?”
Naruto shook his head and went back to cutting. “Doesn’t matter. I should have warned Kisame when I saw the cake. I should have known the rum would affect Lee. I shouldn’t have let Lee—”
“Fuck that.” A hand came down on Naruto’s shoulder and the blond shut his mouth with a hard click. “You were drunk, Kisame showed up late, and Lee was supposed to be training.” Kiba pulled Naruto around with a firm tug. “Does Uchiha blame you?” His tone was incredulous.
Gaze dropping to the floor, he muttered, “One of them does.” And temeknew Itachi better than Naruto did.
The young zoology major breathed in deep, then growled. “Really?”
That wasn’t really a question, but he nodded anyway, miserable. His best friend was righteously furious with him for getting Itachi injured.
Sasuke hadn’t been there for the roommates’ party and had charged Naruto with organizing the surprise event. The Uchihas had already celebrated on the older brother’s birthday and the friendly get together had been a few days later on the weekend. Everything had been fine until Lee had dropped in after his track meet. Kisame had seen the athlete announcing his presence at the door and had shouted back that there was cake. After that was a blurry recollection of broken plates, skittering bottles, and the smell of spilled raspberry vodka. There had been a lot of booze. It was entirely possible Lee had gotten intoxicated just on the fumes.
And then Itachi was down, Naruto was panicking, and Lee was passed out… And then the hospital. And then the call to the Uchiha household, which led to telling Sasuke.
Oooooh, that was not a happy memory. Naruto shook his head and looked around. Wait—where was Kiba?
Casting his eyes over the oven and the counter tops, it didn’t look like the dog lover had made off with any goodies while he was distracted, but he could hear voices down the hall. Voices?
The only person over there was his roommate, why would he… Oh no!
“Kiba?” the blond hurriedly put the knife down and sprinted for the bedrooms. He better not be confronting Itachi. The man was already broken! “Wait! It’s not him!”
Skidding around the bend, Naruto could hear his friend’s voice rise, “—and because of him, the idiot is blaming himself!”
“Goddamnit Kiba! If I want to blame myself, that’s my choice!”
Two sets of eyes: one pair deep brown, the other coal black, swung around to regard him for a moment as he stood panting in the doorway. He glared at his friend, not daring to look at Itachi.
Kiba scowled right back at him before rounding back on the older resident, ignoring the spluttering blond. “You know it’s bullshit, he should know it’s bullshit, that quivering blob of self-hate should know it’s bullshit. Fix it,” a finger stabbed in Naruto’s direction, “because he doesn’t deserve this.”
“Dude…” He couldn’t decide whether to hug Kiba or slug him.
But when the injured Itachi inclined his head and said, “I agree,” all without taking his eyes off his conflicted roommate, Naruto pledged a dozen cookies to the victorious brunet right then and there.
“I will call my brother right now.”
Prompt #9: So Much for Anarchy