when they try to impress him by competing with each other and in the end he will cradle them both

Penthesilea [Part 3]

Title Page & Disclaimer

Sasuke is constantly exhausted, and yet sleep eludes him every night.

For months, he tries to occupy himself with battle strategy in the moments before sleep – running number in his head and trying to outthink the plans of his rival. Uzumaki is a bit of an idiot, but he has Nara Shikamaru at his side, and the shadow manipulator is known to be a genius.

Itachi was able to keep up with his ploys with ease, but Sasuke struggles. He is not a logical or anticipatory thinker, preferring to react to problems as they present themselves. That kind of strategy is fine when it’s only himself, but with so many lives dependant on his own, he can’t rely on such personal approaches.

As time goes on, however, Sasuke’s ruminations change in a bothersome way. Defensive strategies and possible promotions give way to imagining the clear brilliance of green eyes and a mouth curved into an impish smile.

This, more than battle strategy, keeps him awake at night, and he hates himself for being so weak and fallible as to be distracted by a woman of all things.

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