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A Lifetime With You

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The first time I met him, he was six and I was seven years old.

It was a boring school day, everyone was still struggling with reading the sad story of ''The Nightingale and the Rose''. It was a stupid story where a bird sacrificed himself to make a white rose become red for his human friend. Who desperately wanted a red rose to give to his crush.

Quite a brutal story for first graders, but it was interesting.

''Are you done reading the story, Sasuke-kun?'' Sakura smiled sweetly at him. Of all people, he had to be sitting next to her.  

He only nodded in response.

‘’Then can you help me read it? There is this part-’’ She trailed off as the classroom door swung open, hitting the wall with a loud bang.

Just like that, Sasuke's peaceful, calm world shattered within seconds as a young boy stepped into the classroom. Bright sunshine hair, shocking orange shirt, and a wide grin was spread on his glowing face as he introduced himself loudly.

''I'm Uzumaki Naruto! I'm smarter than all of you!'' He declared. 

Everyone was stunned at the sudden thunder that broke the peace. 

Ugh , was my first thought. He's going to be annoying. Really annoying. And loud.

''Well, Naruto, what a very...interesting introduction. yYou can sit there.'' Kakashi, their teacher, motioned to the empty chair in front of Sasuke's.

Oh great, I will have this bright ball of energy in front of me for the whole year.

He really felt like punching him. He didn’t know why.

He just really, really hoped this Norato or something did not turn around and try to talk to him-

''Hey! I'm Naruto, what's yours?'' Naruto grinned, big enough to show all his wobbly and missing teeth.

Curse you, mother nature. 

Sasuke barely stopped himself from gagging. He decided the best course of action is to pretend to not have heard him.

''Hello??'' Naruto waved a hand in front of his face.

Sasuke exhaled and finally decided to meet the boy’s eyes for the first time.

Black met stunning blue.

For a moment, he couldn't conjure a smart sentence and sat there like an idiot. Then Sakura's voice broke him of his trance and he mentally slapped himself.

''Sasuke-kun?'' She said worriedly.

What was that?

Composing himself for a second, he stated coldly, ''I don't care who you are, nor do I wish to be friends.'' Maybe a little too coldly. He looked at the boy and watched as his grin slowly vanished.

A very tiny part of him regretted that. But he pushed it away. He didn’t need friends. All he needed were his studies, that’s it.

''Is that a challenge?''

''Huh?'' Sasuke narrowed his eyes when he saw that Naruto was smiling again, determined.

Is he an idiot?

''Then I'll become your friend no matter what!'' Naruto declared, throwing his finger up in the air.

Did I just...dig my own grave?

And that’s how Naruto and Sasuke met.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

For the next couple of weeks, he watched as Naruto quickly gained more friends. Despite being the youngest and somehow getting into first grade earlier than should, everyone absolutely loved him. 

Sasuke didn’t. He found him unbearably annoying. He wanted to throw up whenever he saw him. 

‘’Oi Kiba! Give back my pokemon cards!’’ A flash of orange and yellow ran past him. Naruto screeched as he chased after Kiba who laughed and threatened to tear them apart. 

‘’Don’t you dare, asshole!’’ 

‘’Language! Where on earth did you learn such a word!?’’ Kakashi appeared out of thin air and smacked Naruto on the head.

‘’Ouch! Sorry…’’ Naruto pouted. Then he caught sight of Sasuke and waved cheerfully.’’Yo, Sasuke!’’

Sasuke glared at him and turned around. What an annoying, rude guy.

As he walked away, he heard Kiba talk to Naruto. ‘’What’s up with him?’’

‘’Maybe he’s tired.’’ Naruto shrugged.

Yeah, tired.

 

No matter how many times Sasuke ignored him, Naruto was still persistent to be his friend.

‘’Why are you so fixated on me!?’’ He one day burst out. He was tired, Naruto was so determined.

Naruto blinked. ‘’Because you’re lonely.’’

It felt like he got slapped in the face. ‘’Wha- Who are you to decide that, usuratonkachi!’’

‘’Huh!? You dare call me that, teme!?’’ 

‘’Baka!’’

‘’Aho!’’

Kiba giggled as he watched them banter and call each other rude names. Sakura was raging at Naruto while Ino held her back, clearly enjoying the show.

‘’Konoyaro!!!’’ Naruto leaped at Sasuke. He also leaped up at him, both of them about to throw a punch- when they were lifted into the air.

‘’DETENTION.’’ 

Both boys stopped their thrashing and looked at the source of the voice. 

‘’K-Kakashi-sensei!’’ Naruto paled.

‘’Both of you, now.’’ 

‘’But sensei-’’ Sasuke began.

‘’Nope, you both need to learn how to control yourselves.’’ Their teacher dragged them to the detention place as they both protested.

‘’How can I, the top student of the class, get detention!?’’ Sasuke gritted his teeth. ‘’It’s all your fault!’’ He glared at Naruto once they were in the detention room.

‘’Huh? You started it first!’’

‘’No!’’

‘’Yes!’’

‘’No!’’

‘’Yes!’’

Sasuke groaned and threw his bag to the floor. ‘’I really want to punch you right now.’’

‘’Likewise. Seems like we both finally agree on something.’’ Naruto crossed his arms across his bright orange shirt.

‘’Orange is such a punchable color.’’ Sasuke rubbed his eyes.

‘’Black is such a boring color.’’ Naruto grinned as he flashed his orange shirt right in front of Sasuke’s eyes.

 

Days continued to pass by, Naruto never gave up. He tried to include Sasuke in his group, which was now consisted of Kiba, Ino, Sakura, Hinata, and Neji.

''Sasuke, come with us to the park!''

''No.''

''Come with us to the ice cream shop!''

''No.''

''Come with us to the slides!''

''No.''

''Stop bothering Sasuke-kun, Naruto!'' Sakura frowned.

''Sakura-chan!'' Naruto blinked. 

''Nee, Sasuke-kun, don't you want to go with us?'' She batted her eyes.

Sasuke stared at her and smiled. She grinned only for him to say-

''No.''

Laughter erupted from behind her and she screamed at Ino. ''You deserve that-!''

He simply walked away from the noise.

 

But one day, one day that was supposed to be peaceful...he started to see Naruto in a new light.

''Oi, nerd.'' An older kid pushed Sasuke harshly. Harsh enough to make him fall onto the ground.

''What do you want, you losers?''

''Losers? We're your senpai. Hand over your notes and we won't hurt you.'' Another one said with a shit grin.

Sasuke got up and dusted himself. ''I'm not scared of you.''

That was probably not the correct thing to say. His eyes widened as one of them launched a punch at him. It collided with his face and made him stumble back.

Wincing, he rubbed his cheek that was definitely going to bruise. ''Weak!'' He grinned.

''Oh yeah? Then try this!'' Two hands reached out for him and he didn't know how to dodge it. A flash of bright golden hair and orange appeared in front of him.

''Ouch! You bastards!'' Naruto shouted. He lunged at them as they beat him up. Sasuke could only watch as they beat up Naruto. Suddenly Iruka, another teacher, showed up and stopped the fight. As he led the older boys away, Sasuke gathered himself up and stared at Naruto who was bruised all over. 3 fingernail scratches ran along his cheeks, making it look like he had whiskers. Except they were really bleeding.

''You-'' Sasuke reached out but Naruto slapped his hand away.

With the bleeding whisker-like scars, glimmering blue eyes and messy sunshine hair, he looked so dangerous. And he was only 6.

''I'm... I'm sorry. You didn't have to-'' Sasuke bit his lip.

''We're friends, that is what friends do. We protect each other.'' Naruto whispered.

Guilt hit Sasuke's heart and he looked away, ashamed.

He was just genuinely trying to be friends with me.

''Naruto, I-'' He reached out before voices interrupted him.

''Naruto-kun!'' Hinata called out as she ran over.

''Naruto, heard ya got in a fight! Where!?'' Kiba grinned as he waved.

The blond boy closed his eyes for a second and then grinned back. ''Yo! You guys completely missed the fun, you should've seen how I beat them to a pulp!''

''That's obviously a lie, you're so beaten up. Are those wounds!?'' Ino gasped.

''They look like whiskers.''

''Makes me look cool huh?'' Naruto chuckled but winced as he touched them.

Sasuke watched them surround him and felt a weird feeling. Feeling of envy.

He almost wanted to be apart of that circle of friends. Naruto was the sun of their group, he brought life to them all.

Yet he was willing to take a beating just for him, Sasuke, who ignored him all this time.

He slowly found himself grabbing Naruto's shirt, as everyone went silent and Naruto looked at him in shock.

''Thank you, Naruto.'' 

A couple of heartbeats later, blue eyes shined with happiness, a smile reaching them.

''Yup!''

Chapter Text

The wind blew gently into the classroom as kids laughed all around. Sasuke sat at his desk, every once in a while looking up at Naruto, who was up on a desk dancing. His whisker-like wounds had begun to heal, but it was clear that they will remain as scars, possibly his whole life.

‘’That’s dangerous you idiot.'' Sasuke sighed.

''Meh! Break’s short, Sasuke! Come join me!’’ Naruto wiggled his arms as Kiba struggled to get on the desk as well.

‘’Oi, baka! You’re too big, stay down!’’ Neji shouted, holding him back.

Just then, Kakashi opened the classroom door and stared at the scene. ‘’Naruto...You again?’’

‘’Ehehe…’’ Naruto laughed.

‘’Just...sit down. We’ll talk later.’’ Kakashi said. As they went back to their seats, Sasuke suppressed a smile. 

Kakashi looked through some papers as Kiba cut up his erasers in tiny pieces of threw them at Ino and Sakura. One of them hit Sasuke and he glared at him. Kiba swallowed and stopped throwing them.

‘’Alright, I have an assignment for you guys! This will be a very important one!’’

Groans erupted from the class. 

‘’And I will choose your partners!’’ He said sternly, looking Naruto in the eye.

‘’But why, Sensei!’’ Sakura pouted.

Kakashi sighed. ‘’I can’t believe you’re asking such a question.’’

‘’This is all because of you, Naruto!’’ She hissed.

He only chuckled in return.

‘’I will now announce the groups, you will be in groups of 3.’’ As he announced the first couple of groups, Sasuke was worried he’d end up with some idiots.

But then he realized Naruto’s name has not been called. Just as he realized, Kakashi said, ‘’Now group 7! It will be Uchiha Sasuke…’’

He took a deep breath. ‘’Haruno Sakura..’’

‘’Yay!’’ She shot up from her chair.

Oh great, the annoying one.

‘’And...Uzumaki Naruto.’’ Kakashi finished.

Wait.

WHAT?

Sasuke looked up and saw Naruto grinning from ear to ear. ''This must be a mistake!''

''I put people with one another according to their scores.''

''What!?''

''Next group!'' Kakashi waved him off.

That's bs!

''Nice to work with you, teme.'' Naruto extended his hand.

Sakura watched as Sasuke stared at him in the eye. ''Really isn't, usuratonkachi.''

''Don't drag us down, Naruto!'' Sakura hmphed. Then she smiled at Sasuke who ignored her.

This will be a long, long year.

 

They found out their assignment is to draw what the other person's favorite thing is. They weren't given class time, It was an okay assignment, but that meant they'd have to visit each others houses.

So here he was, in front of Naruto's bright orange house. Of course, it would be orange. Of course, it's the only house that cannot be missed.

''Yo, Sasuke!'' Naruto shouted from the door.

Too noisy in the morning.

''Can you shut up? It's like, 7 am on a weekend. I'm sure nobody wants to hear your annoying voice.''

''Teme!''

''Let's get this on with.'' Sasuke ignored him as he walked into the house. It was an average house, very Japanese. But it looked cozy, cozier than his did.

He took off his shoes and placed them on the rack respectively but sighed as Naruto's lay across the floor in a messy manner. ''Why do you have to be so messy?''

''Ain't nobody got time to tidy shoes! Come up to my room.''

As they walked up the stairs, Sasuke caught sight of some markings near the door. They looked like height markings. 

I never measured my height like this..

''And here it is!'' Naruto proudly said as he opened his bedroom door. A sign on the door was hung, saying 'Step in, and you'll DIE!'

A chuckle made it's way to his mouth but he repressed it.

Naruto's room was what you would call a pigsty. It was messy, smelled like stale ramen, and his clothes which were mostly orange or yellow lay everywhere. Sasuke thinks he might have even caught sight of his underwear.

''This is...'' He began.

''My amazing, epic, wonderfully cozy room.'' Naruto finished unhelpfully for him.

''Yeah....no.'' 

''Whatever, you're just jealous of it.'' Naruto huffed, leading him to the only safe spot in the room, which was his bed and chair.

He threw himself on the bed as Sasuke took the chair. ''Ah man, why do I have to be with you on my weekends? Wish Sakura-chan was here...'' Naruto groaned.

''You think I want this? Plus she's sick, she can't come. Anyway, let's start with some questions so I get to know you better.''

''M'kayy.'' Naruto sat up and crossed his legs, blue eyes catching Sasuke off guard.

Why do they have to be so clear, so blue?

He cleared his throat. ''What is your favorite color?''

''What a lame question! Are you blind?''

Sasuke blushed in embarrassment. ''I-I couldn't help it, usuratonkachi! It was the first thing that popped up in my head.''

''Baaaaaka.''

''Whatever! What's your favorite food then?''

Naruto's blue eyes lit up, Sasuke didn't know they could shine even brighter. ''Ramen!''

That explains the stale ramen smell in the house and his room. ''You need to eat healthier. Where are your parents?''

Naruto blinked, and for the first time, he didn't smile.

Oh shit.

Then the smile was back again but it was sort of off. ''They aren't around. Or rather, I've never met them.'' He picked on the hole in his pants near his knee.

''Eh?'' Sasuke put down his pencil and met the other's blue eyes.

''Dad, well, my foster dad says they died in an accident. But the sisters at the orphanage said they abandoned me. Argh! I don't know who to believe!''

Sasuke looked down at his feet and swung them gently. ''I think you should believe you who trust, who has truly cared for you.''

Naruto thought for a moment. ''Then I guess it would be my foster dad. He doesn't beat me.''

Sasuke winced. ''Beat you?''

''Well, yeah. I'm not supposed to say, but we're friends so I guess it's okay.''

Friends..

''What type of ramen do you like?'' Sasuke changed the subject, desperate to make Naruto smile.

It worked. ''Mostly salt, miso or soy sauce! It's so delicious!!!!'' Naruto laughs.

A smile reflects on Sasuke's face, unable to stop it. ''I guess I'll draw that then.''

Naruto nods eagerly. ''I'm excited to see it! Now tell me what you like.''

''Studying?'' He says uncertainly.

''BORINGGGGG. Tell me something cooler!'' Naruto pokes out his tiny tongue.

Sasuke eyes rest on Naruto's whisker-like scars, and without thinking he blurts out, ''cats.''

''Cats? Black cats? Pink cats?''

''You idiot, there are no pink cats!'' Sasuke gasps in horror.

''Oh...then what!?''

''I guess...ginger cats.''

Naruto smiles. ''They're orange. And you said orange is a punchable color.''

Sasuke looks away. ''This idiot... They're ginger, mostly red.''

''Lies! GINGER CATS ARE ORANGE. Admit it, orange is a good color.''

''Orange is ugly!''

''Teme!''

Somehow their fights always end up with them swearing at one another.

''Listen. We will ask Iruka-sensei tomorrow.''

''Fine!''

 

Next day...

''SENSEI!'' Naruto screamed from across the hall.

''Naruto, it's 8 AM, spare me.'' Iruka facepalmed as Naruto ran over to him. Then he looked in shock as Sasuke ran after him.

A small smile graced his lips. ''Well, what's up?''

''Are cats orange!?''

''What?'' Iruka raised an eyebrow. 

''What this idiot means-'' Sasuke pushed Naruto out of the way, ''Are ginger cats orange?''

Iruka burst out laughing. ''Why are you having this conversation?''

''I have to draw an orange cat because he likes orange cats!'' Naruto said.

''They're red!'' Sasuke muttered.

Kakashi walked over. ''Ginger cats are ginger.''

''Huh?'' Both of them looked at their teacher.

Iruka blinked. ''Well yeah, but they don't know what the color of ginger is.''

''Ginger is...'' long pause. ''...yellow.''

''Sensei, please don't mess with me.'' Naruto cried. ''WHAT ON EARTH IS GINGER!?!?!?!''

 

Rumor has it, Naruto still doesn't know what the color of ginger is.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Even after they finished the project, it became a daily occurrence for Sasuke to go to Naruto's house or vice versa. Sasuke's parents found Naruto to be the sweetest kid ever, and fed him so much. Days went by, they slept over at each other's houses, played games, had the best time of their life even though Sasuke would never admit that.

They still fought once in a while, curse words were still thrown around, but they knew deep down they were friends.

That's also another thing Sasuke would never admit.

Jiraya had come home once and found both boys sleeping in the most comfortable, cute position. Sasuke had his arm under Naruto's head, while Naruto's legs were tangled between Sasuke's. Their hands' law between them, interlocked as well.

Jiraya felt really bad but he needed to wake them up and take Sasuke home, or at least give his parents a call. As he picked up the older boy, he gently moved Naruto's head from his arm and their hands slipped from eachothers. Naruto groaned quietly at the loss of heat but continued to sleep. Sasuke opened his eyes for a faint moment and grasped nothing. However, he was tired and fell back to sleep.

A faint smile fell on Jiraya's lips as he carried the boy away back to his own house. It was rare for Naruto to be in such deep sleep, and it seems like he only had Sasuke to thank.

 

A couple of years later..

''Aaah! Finally the last day of elementary school!'' Neji stretched in his seat, his long black hair falling just above his shoulders.

''Only to move onto a more troublesome part of our life.'' Shikamaru, who transferred a couple of years ago, said.

Ino's top half lay across her desk and she mumbled, ''I heard MS is so bad.''

''It won't be that bad, guys. More pranks to play!'' Naruto grinned.

''And more times to watch you get beaten up.'' Sasuke smiled as he rested his head in his hand.

''What! That was like, one time. And it was for you.''

''Actually-'' Kiba laughed. ''There was one time you got beaten up for peeping in the girls changing room.''

Naruto flushed. ''I was framed! That was Shino!''

Shino made a what the fuck dude face and everyone laughed. 

''Naruto, you also forgot the one time Sasuke beat you up after you boldly stated he couldn't beat you.'' Sakura giggled.

''Not you too, Sakura-chan!'' 

Then it was time for the graduation ceremony. Kakashi went up to the stage to personally say a speech to his 6th-grade class.

''Hold your heads up high, don't be scared of the future. There will be many scary moments but with friends, with willpower, anything can be possible. Trust yourselves and your emotions.'' At the last sentence, Sasuke thought Kakashi looked at him only. But he dismissed it.

Naruto was next to him, so happy and bubbly. ''I'm so excited! I'll make so many friends, and we'll go to the park, to the ice cream shop-''

''What about me?'' Sasuke found himself asking. Naruto's shining blue eyes met his dark ones. A clear, sure smile reflected on Sasuke's face.

''I'll make lots of friends, but you'll always be the closest friend to me.'' Naruto wrapped his arm over Sasuke's shoulders but had to stand on his toes.

''Say that when you get taller- chibi.''

''Teme.''

''Dobe.'' They both smiled and looked forward.

With that, they were both ready to move on to the next stage of their lives.

Chapter Text

Sasuke stopped breathing as his mother tied his tie around his neck. 

She noticed and laughed. ''You can breathe you know.''

He let out the breath he was holding and looked away bashfully. ''Why do I have to wear a tie?''

''Look here, you need to learn how to tie it yourself!'' 

He watched as she did some sort of magic and wow, it was on his neck perfectly.

''It itches.''

''That's how it is, you'll get used to it.'' She said kindly. ''Now then, come to have breakfast.''

Sasuke stared at his tie and suddenly Naruto's face flashed in his mind. It's been three months since he last saw him. He wondered if he got taller if only a little.

''Naruto isn't going to be able to wear this the whole day.'' Sasuke found himself smiling as he said that.

His mother carried over some plates. ''Yep, I hope Jiraiya-san will be able to put it on for him. I have never seen him wear a tie.''

As they had breakfast, his older brother, Itachi, appeared from his room. ''Mornin'...'' He mumbled on his way to the bathroom.

''Itachi! Good morning.'' Sasuke grinned.

''It looks like Naruto's positivity has rubbed onto you.'' His dad said without looking up from the newspaper.

A light blush graced Sasuke's cheeks. ''Hn...''

His mother only chuckled.

 

''I'm so proud of you, Sasuke! Look at my boy, 12 years old and looking already so handsome in his uniform...'' His mothers pretended to wipe away fake tears with a laugh.

''Mom! Please don't embarrass me.'' He groaned. ''I'm only in 7th grade, it's not that big of a deal.''

As she fussed over him and made sure he has his lunch, a very familiar shout made his heart jump in a weird way.

''Sasuke!''

He slowly turned around as a gust of wind made him close his eyes. When he opened them, he was overwhelmed to see these blue eyes once again.

''Naruto..'' His eyes flickered to his shirt and he sighed. ''What on earth are you wearing?''

Naruto was dressed in the school uniform but his blazer was open, revealing a very bright orange shirt, while his pants were unironed and his tie- well, as he suspected, it cant be called a tie anymore.

''It's good to see you too, teme.'' Naruto pouts, checking Sasuke out.

For some reason, Sasuke feels self-conscious. ''Stop it!''

''What?'' He tilts his head to the side. His scars were clearer than ever.

Sasuke feels hot and tears his eyes away from the blue ones. ''J-Just come here, let me fix you up.''

Naruto grumbles but steps over anyway. Sasuke's eyes widened. ''You're still shorter than me!''

''Shut up! Wait till I hit my growth spurt and I'll be leaning on your shoulder.''

Sasuke chuckled and as he fixed his blazer and attempted to tie Naruto's tie, his mother snapped a picture.

''Mom!'' Sasuke blushed. ''Why did you take a picture?''

''Well, you guys looked so cute, like brothers.'' She smiled happily. ''Naruto, thank you for being Sasuke's friend. I never thought I'd see the day where my son cares for someone else more than himself.''

''Mom!'' Sasuke blushed even more than before. 

Naruto thumbs up and pats Sasuke on the back. ''He's a great friend to me too. Thanks for giving birth to your son, ma'am!''

Sasuke spluttered and slapped the back of his head. ''Dobe, what are you saying!?''

''Eh?'' Naruto looked completely clueless as Sasuke's mother laughed and handed Naruto lunch too. ''For me?''

''Yes. Eat healthily, grow up to be a kind and strong boy.'' 

Naruto stared at the lunch box in his hands, then a big bright smile lit up his whole face. ''Thank you! Nobody has ever done this for me before.''

Sasuke felt a pang in his heart. Unlike me, he has never had a mother or father.

Only Jiraiya-san who is away most of the time, which explains his messy attire..

''Mom, can you take a picture of us two, wearing the uniforms and everything?''

''Sure!''

They struggled to find a good pose but agreed on Sasuke leaning on Naruto, proving that he is short, and Naruto making the peace sign with his fingers.

''Not a bad photo.'' Sasuke hummed in happiness.

''The only reason it's good is that I'm in it, Sasuke.'' Naruto teased. Sasuke began chasing him around with his bag as they laughed together.

''You're going to be late for school!'' Itachi shouted from the second floor.

''Shit'' Both of them looked at each other in realization and ran towards their new school.

 

Naruto stepped into the main hall with a huge smile on his face as Sasuke followed him. ''Sasuke, this is where we will be studying for the next 3 years!''

''Yeah, yeah. It's the place where we will witness you have so many awkward moments too.'' 

''Shut up. Oh! Sakura-chan!'' Naruto gleamed and ran up to the pink-haired girl. Her hair was longer than before, she was wearing the school uniform but had a skirt instead.

''Whoa! it's been such a long time, you two! Sasuke-kun! You look so good!'' She walked past Naruto after high-fiving him and started gushing about Sasuke. 

Naruto's face fell for a second before going to say hi to Ino. She had even longer hair and a wayyyy shorter skirt. 

''Ino, I think you just broke the regulations of the skirt shortness.'' Kiba chuckled. 

''Actually, it's exactly 20 cm above the knees. That's what the maximum is.'' Ino shook her hips and with them, her skirt swayed. Kiba looked away with a blush. ''Idiot! Don't flash it like that.''

''Why, like what you see?'' She winked.

''Stop!'' He screeched and ''covered'' his eyes with his hands.

Sasuke sighed internally and rolled his eyes.

''Naruto-kun!'' Hinata smiled and waved at him. 

''Yo, Hinata! Looking cute as ever!'' He eyed her up and down, noticing she had a skirt right at the knees.

She exploded into a red blush and hid behind her cousin Neji. ''Take it easy.'' He muttered.

Kiba had recovered from his ordeal with Ino. ''Look at her! She has the perfect skirt length. Why can't you be like this Ino!?''

''Whatever!'' She flipped her hair and went up to Sakura to show off to Sasuke.

Sasuke was done with life as both girls talked non-stop to him.

''Naruto!'' He called out.

The blond boy who was talking to Neji turned around with a smile. ''Yeah?''

His blue eyes caught him off guard again and he stuttered. ''U-Uh-''

I really need to stop being so...weird...

Thank goodness he was saved from the embarrassment as a loud ring echoed in the hall, indicating the beginning of the entrance ceremony. They got in line and the chattering had mostly stopped.

As the principal spoke about some rules, Sasuke had zoned out, a familiar person stepped onto the stage and they all gasped. ''Kakashi-sensei!?''

''Hatake Kakashi will be transferring here to work as a literature teacher.'' Someone introduced him.

He waved and said some things about himself as Naruto excitedly talked to Sasuke how cool it was to see him again.

''I'm so glad there is a teacher we know!''

''Yeah.''

The day passed by, mostly uneventful. Until they got to Kakashi's class.

''Well then, I see some very familiar faces.'' He said sternly. Then his features softened. ''I'm happy to see you guys again.''

''Kakashi-sensei! Do you have a girlfriend yet?'' Naruto's hand shot up as he asked.

''Why raise your hand if you won't wait to get called on, dobe.'' Sasuke facepalmed from next to him. The good thing was, they got to pick their seats.

''Well, do you?'' Ino joined in.

Kakashi rolled his eyes. ''You guys are still nosy as ever.''

''C'mon sensei!'' Someone, he didn't know, joined in too.

''It's none of your business!'' He shook his head. ''Because of you, Naruto, I'll introduce the assignment a MONTH earlier. It will last the whole year.''

Naruto literally screamed and apologized to everyone as they facepalmed and groaned. ''I take it back, I take it back!'' He hopelessly said.

''I think we forgot how scary Kakashi-sensei is...'' Sakura put her head on the table.

''Alright, so the assignment is the following.''

Everyone took a deep breath.

''Remember the story, 'The Nightingale and the Rose'?''

Some nodded, some had no clue. Of course, Sasuke remembered it clearly.

''Well, the assignment will be based on that. You will be in groups of 3, and you will have to either re-enact it or retell the story in a creative way. No presentations!''

Groans erupted and then he continued.

''But! You can choose your groups.''

''YES!'' Naruto jumped up from his seat. ''Sasuke, Sakura! It's time to bring back team 7!''

Sasuke grinned and Sakura nodded determinedly. 

Others chattered and looked around, clearly not knowing anyone yet.

''You won't have to decide your groups yet, but think about it at least.'' Kakashi looked at the clock and smiled.

''Let's have a good year everyone. Dismissed!''

Sasuke was happy. I'll get to be with Naruto, working on a project that will last the whole year!

His stomach felt weird, tickly. But it felt nice.

Chapter Text

''Man! How are we supposed to re-enact a story!?'' Naruto groaned, throwing himself onto Sasuke's bed.

Sasuke sighed and glared at him. ''Don't mess up my bedsheets! I tidied them up this morning perfectly.''

Naruto sat up cross-legged and poked his tongue out. ''Who cares! Tidy them up again!''

Sasuke rolled his eyes, exasperated. Then he sat down on the carpet and flipped through the story they were supposed to act out. ''I hope you've read the story at least.''

A pause.

''Wait...don't tell me...'' Sasuke turned around and found Naruto giggling. ''Nope.''

''Of course.'' He sighed. ''What did I expect?''

''Aww, c'mon, don't be like that! You can just retell the story to me.'' He grinned.

Sasuke pressed his lips together to suppress a smile and then instead sighed for the umpteenth time. ''You're so cruel, you know I would.''

''Yep! 'Cause we're friends!''

Friends.

A word that fills me with such joy, yet a feeling of pain. Why...?

''Yeah. Now come here let me tell you the basic idea of it.'' Sasuke patted the ground next to him.

Naruto groaned and complained. ''Can't we do that laterrrr, let's play video games, 'Suke.''

''Userotonkachi! We're reading this whether you like it or not. I promise it's a good story!''

''I hate reading!''

''Jiraiya-san is literally an author!''

''Yeah but his books are-'' Naruto cut himself off and exploded into a shade of red. ''...not normal...''

''Eh!?'' Sasuke covered his ears and blushed himself, sort of knowing what Naruto meant. ''A-Anyway! Just come here!''

Naruto pouted and as he sat down, he thought of a great idea. ''Read it to me when we go to bed today!''

''You're gonna sleepover?'' Sasuke asked, casually flipping through the story.

''Yup, do you mind?''

''No but...the spare matress is sorta fucked up at the moment.'' Sasuke chuckled nervously.

Naruto's eyes gleamed with curiosity. ''Whoa, I'd like to know how that happened.''

''It's a terrible story.'' Sasuke facepalmed, remembering the events that took place a couple of days ago.

''Tell me, pleaseeeee!'' Naruto begged, bringing out his cute puppy eyes. ''No secrets between us, right?''

Sasuke threw up his hands in the air. ''Fine!''

I can't resist these goddamn puppy eyes!

''So a couple of days ago, Itachi and I were playing the floor is lava.'' Sasuke began. ''We put up a bunch of things that we can jump on, including that mattress. You know, avoid the floor sort of thing.''

Naruto nodded.

''So the mattress was the safe spot, whoever reached it would win.''

''I already like where this is going.'' Naruto giggled.

''As we raced over the things, we both got to it at the same time but neither of us wanted that so we decided we'd settle it with a wrestling match.'' Sasuke groaned, rubbing his arm. 

''And that's how we ended up breaking the TV, spilling oil on the mattress and almost broke an arm.'' He finished.

Naruto burst out laughing and said how he would've loved to witness that. ''That's amazing, dude! I wish I could have such fights with siblings...''

''Technically me n you do already, dobe. I'll gladly beat you up any time.'' Sasuke smiled.

''Hah! Dream on, teme!''

''Yeah so the mattress is out of commission at the moment. We took it to the cleaners, but man the oil smell is so strong!'' 

''Oh man...Jiraiya is out of town today and um, I don't like being at home without him.'' Naruto said, rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment. 

Sasuke blinked and tilted his head to the side. ''You're scared?''

''What? No!'' 

''You are!'' Sasuke laughed and poked Naruto.

''I'm not, baka!'' Naruto jabbed him in the stomach and Sasuke screeched. ''It's on!''

They were soon engaged in a tickle war until Sasuke's mom came and stopped them. ''Boys! I don't want a repeat of the mattress fiasco, please. Naruto, honey, won't Jiraiya worry if you stay any longer?''

Naruto shook his head. ''He's out of town doing research or whatever. Can I sleep here ma'am?'' He quickly said before Sasuke disagreed.

She thought for a moment and then nodded. ''Yeah, you can sleep on Sasuke's bed.''

''Hey! Where do I sleep then?'' Sasuke protested.

''On that mattress you destroyed!'' She left the room.

''Thank god it's at the cleaners or she really would've made me sleep on it.'' He shivered.

Naruto patted his back. ''It's alright, we'll sleep on the same bed.''

''What? You're too fat!'' Sasuke teased.

Despite that, a fluttering feeling settled in his stomach. 

''Am not!'' 

 

 

''You asleep?'' Naruto muttered into the darkness. He was laying on the left side of the bed, facing the wall whereas Sasuke lay on the right, facing the darkness of the room.

For a moment, Sasuke wondered if he should reply or not.

''No.''

''I can't sleep.'' Naruto moved and accidentally hit Sasuke's leg. ''Oops, sorry.''

''Let me read you the story.''

''If you turn on the light, your mom will notice,'' Naruto said.

Sasuke turned around and faced Naruto's back. Then he turned as well and they faced each other. The soft gleam of the moon fell on Naruto's blue eyes, making them stand out in the dark.

''It's alright, I have the story memorized.'' Sasuke whispered.

Naruto's eyes widened then he smiled. ''you're amazing.''

He huffed and smiled back. ''I simply like the story.''

''Then tell me it.'' Naruto made himself a little more comfortable and then listened.

Sasuke took a deep breath and started the story.

''A long time ago, there was a tiny bird. He had a single human friend.'' 

''That human friend was in love with a girl. She was the prettiest out of all. He would often tell the little bird all about her, how much he loved her.''

Sasuke smiled. ''The bird would listen and listen, because he cared for his human friend.''

''But one day, the boy told him that he had tried to ask her out. But she refused to go out with him.'' 

Naruto's breathing got heavier but Sasuke shook him awake gently. ''Listen for a little longer.''

''Mm'kay..'' He mumbled cutely. 

''She said she would only go out with him if he got her the reddest rose. So he agreed. But he couldn't find any red roses.''

''Red roses don't grow just anywhere, right?'' Naruto asked, a little more awake.

''No. Especially since it was winter. The boy went to the bird and complained that he wanted a red rose. So the bird took off to find one for him.''

''Days passed, the little bird did not find a red rose. He only found white roses, so many of them.''

''He realized how desperate his friend was, and decided to sacrifice himself to get a red rose.''

Naruto sniffed. ''Don't tell me he...''

Sasuke nodded in the darkness. ''He stabbed himself with a thorn and bled out onto the rose, turning it the reddest of the red.''

''No... That's so sad...'' Naruto's breath hitched.

''A while later, the boy found the bird dead, but a red rose lay next to him. He mourned for his little friend but went to give it to the girl. However, it was too late, she was only lying to him and she said a red rose because she knew he wouldn't be able to find one- therefore giving up.''

The blond boy shook his head. ''What kind of girl!''

''The boy went back to the bird and cried for the little thing. For love, he lost his friend, now had a simple rose to remember him by that was bound to wilt.''

Sasuke sighed. ''The end.''

Naruto stared into his black eyes for a little longer then punched him gently. ''You jerk! Why did you tell me such a sad story!''

''It's sad but it's good.'' He shrugged.

''Yeah...the poor little bird...'' Naruto whispered sadly. Then after a few seconds, he fell into deep sleep.

Sasuke stared into the darkness and closed his eyes.

The poor bird, indeed.

 

Chapter Text

Sasuke looked around, looking for a tuff of blond hair somewhere. Their bus was waiting till their teacher came back from the ticket store. He grabbed Kiba who was attracting every dog on the planet and asked him, ''Where is Naruto?''

The boy merely shrugged. ''Wouldn't you know that best?''

Sasuke bit his lip. 

That idiot...he didn't forget about the field trip, did he?

Sakura walked by him, giggling with Ino.

No, he definitely did.

''Sakura!'' He called out to the pink-haired girl.

She turned around in shock and smiled. ''Yeah, Sasuke-kun?'' Ino gave her death glares from behind by Sasuke paid no attention to their actions.

''Can you call Naruto?''

Her face fell on the mention of Naruto. ''Yeah...Wait, you don't have a phone?''

''Doesn't matter. Ask him where he is.'' He waved off the question as she searched for Naruto's contact. After a couple of dials, Naruto's loud and clear voice was heard.

''Sakura-chan! Good morning!'' 

It almost hurt how blatantly different he spoke to Sakura than Sasuke.

''Where are you, baka?''

''Eh? What do you mean?'' Naruto was completely clueless.

Everyone facepalmed and sighed. ''Who forgot to tell this idiot..'' Ino groaned.

Sasuke pressed his lips together and suppressed a smile. Of course, he would forget.

''The field trip, museum!'' Sakura literally screamed.

''OH NO! I'LL BE THERE IN LIKE-''

''5 minutes till we get a move on!'' The teacher said in the distance.

Sasuke grabbed the phone from her hand with a quick apology. ''Be here in 7 minutes, I'll cover for you till then.''

''Thanks Sasuke! I owe ya!'' Naruto hurridly said, hanging up. ''Userotonkachi...'' He muttered with a smile. He turned to give the phone to Sakura and she was in a completely different place. He handed it to her and walked away, faintly hear her say 'she'll never wipe her phone ever again.'

Exactly seven minutes later and two dramatic complaints from none other than Sasuke, Naruto was a panting mess as he got onto the bus. Everyone was shocked for one reason, he was dressed in a black shirt that had a fan sort of thing, red on the top and white on the bottom.

''What a change.'' Sasuke snorted, recognizing the shirt. ''It's nice to not see that punchable color for once.''

''Shut up! Everything was in the laundry and this was the only thing I could find.'' Naruto scratched his scar as he took the seat next to him.

Sasuke grinned. ''It's my shirt.''

''No wonder it's hella uncomfortable.'' He poked out his tiny tongue.

''Oooh~ Sasuke's shirt, hmm?'' Kiba said from behind them. Ino cackled from the seats next to them as Sakura looked in envy at Naruto. 

''Idiots, I just forgot it at his house.''

''Wait! You guys have sleepovers!?'' Neji popped his head from the back. The boy did not only have exceptional eyesight, but hearing as well it seemed.

''That's right!'' Naruto puffed his chest. ''We even slept in the same bed a couple of nights ago.''

Neji spluttered and Kiba ooh'ed while Sakura was seconds away from beating up Naruto.

Sasuke ignored them and stared out the window, a slight smile gracing his lips.

 

After almost an hour of listening to Naruto argue with Kiba about whether cereal is soup or not, they got to the museum.

''Done?'' Sasuke rolled his eyes as Naruto who was walking angrily. 

''No! He isn't accepting that cereal is soup!''

Chuckling, Sasuke remembered the debate about ginger cats. He decided it wouldn't be good to bring that up. ''I hope this will be fun.''

''It's a museum, I'm 50 percent sure it will be boring.''

''What about the other 50 percent?'' Sasuke hardly believed Naruto would find anything interesting here, so half of it to be interesting...?

Naruto grinned. ''That's you, 'cause you aren't boring and make everything fun.''

Sasuke's heart skipped a beat and he felt his face become hot. He fanned it away as Naruto skipped over to Shikamaru. 

The hell...I'm gonna die. My heart is gonna die.

 

''This is a piece from the 18th century- it was painted by Alleriezmonda Alaeksina. It is very expensive, and for our wonderful musuem to attain it is simply...very wonderful!'' Their tour guide repeated the same sentence, 60, 70 times? Sasuke lost count. Others looked like they were sleepwalking at this point, some were actually somehow on their phones. 

As they moved on to the next piece, Naruto groaned under his breath and couldn't stop moving.

''This piece-'' The tour guide began again.

''Is made in the fucking 18th century, painted by some asshole who wanted to torture us. It's very expensive but wonderful.'' Sasuke muttered so only Naruto would hear.

A little smile made its way on his face and he high-fived Sasuke. ''Do you have some sort of plan to get us out of here?'' Naruto pleaded, showing his puppy eyes.

Again, those adorable puppy eyes.

''Not for sure...'' He actually had none but didn't want to let Naruto down.

As they walked over to the next piece, Sasuke felt uncomfortable and looked down-

Holy shit.

Fuck.

FUCK.

He panicked as he got a random boner and it was really clear because of all days he wore freaking sweatpants-

''Sasuke?'' His blood ran cold and looked at Shikamaru who was staring at him. The look in Sasuke's eyes told him enough. Naruto was focused on something else for once.

''How troublesome.'' He mumbled. Then he waved for Kiba who somehow understood, who waved to Neji who nodded and grabbed jackets one by one.

Sasuke only realized what they were doing when a jacket almost stabbed his eye.

Jacket after jacket were thrown on top of him as he was buried under the whole pile. He found himself laughing, while others laughed around him, the boredom totally broken.

''Think other thoughts!'' He heard Shikamaru shout from beneath.

The teacher and tour guide tried to stop them but everyone joined in on the action and Sasuke lay in the darkness of the jackets, thinking of happy times. Suddenly, a hand burst through the pile and grabbed his own, sparks flying through his body. Slowly he was pulled up to his feet, meeting those blue eyes he liked so much.

''That was amazing,'' Naruto whispered as jackets practically rained down.

Sasuke grinned. It wasn't planned, but he'll take the praise. ''Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.''

By then, it was gone and he was ever so grateful it was.

Also a little grateful that he got to break everyone's boredom.

Naruto's hands slipped away from his own and he longed to hold it just a little longer.

What a strange feeling..

Chapter Text

''Still though, why did you guys suddenly start throwing jackets at Sasuke?'' Naruto said, truly clueless.

Sasuke exploded into red. Before he could say anything, Kiba practically screamed out ''HE HAD A BO-''

''WAAAA'' Sasuke yelled, throwing himself onto Naruto who was hella confused. ''It was to break the boredom!''

Shikamaru laughed and patted Kiba on the back. ''Nice try.''

Naruto swore at Sasuke as he pushed him off.

''Unexpectedly, it worked. '' Neji laughed nervously. ''Hope we aren't in trouble.''

Sasuke smiled at them. ''Thanks for having my back, bros.''

''We expect you to do the same or better.'' Shikamaru grinned back as Naruto looked lost. ''What are you guys talking about??''

''Ohh innocent baby Naruto...'' Kiba teased. 

''EHH what does that mean!?'' 

A couple of weeks later, Naruto would also face an equally embarrassing situation, luckily for him, Sasuke's always got his back.

 

Sasuke flipped through the pages of the story, 'The nightingale and the rose.'

''You really love that story, huh.'' Naruto said gently. He was sitting on Sasuke's bed, taking most of the space and forcing him to sit on the carpet.

Sasuke smiled. ''Itachi used to read it to me when I was younger.'' 

''Oh, that's why you were ahead of everyone when we read it around first grade.'' Naruto's blue eyes had a faraway look in them. Then they looked normal again. ''Thanks for reading it to me, I realized I never told you what I thought about it.''

Sasuke put down the book and gave his full attention to Naruto. ''Yeah?''

''It's honestly a good story. Apart from the tragic ending, it really shows you that the person you like may not be the one for you, sometimes it's someone who is so close to you and willing to support you in everything.'' Naruto shrugged.

''W-Wait, did you think of that yourself?'' Sasuke gaped. 

Naruto nodded with a big wide grin. ''I'm not a total idiot you know.''

''Th- Well.'' He had to take a moment. ''Are you saying the bird was the one he should end up with?'' 

''Not like that! Look who's the idiot now.'' Naruto teased. ''I mean, in a literal sense, the moral of the story is basically telling you not to look too far.''

His blue eyes met Sasuke's dark ones, intense. ''Sometimes the person you need is right there, in front of you.''

Sasuke's heart skipped a beat and he felt his stomach tickle. A small blush made its way and he looked away from his intense blue eyes. ''Yeah..'' He managed to say.

''So umm..'' Naruto rubbed the back of his neck, something he would do when he is nervous or embarrassed. ''I need to tell you something.''

For some reason, Sasuke's heart started to beat so fast and he wanted to open the windows to let in some fresh air. 

Naruto closed his eyes tightly and covered his face with his hands as a huge blush appeared on his scarred cheeks. 

''Well...I think...''

Sasuke listened attentively.

''I like Sakura.'' Naruto finally said. Then he squealed and rolled on the bed. ''Finally said it!''

 

What?

Sa...kura?

''W-Wow, I totally did not expect that!'' Sasuke found himself saying. ''That's grea-'' His voice broke.

Why...?

Why am I feeling like someone just-

His heart ached.

''I know! I've been looking at her since like, first grade, she's so cute, wonderful...'' He continued on but Sasuke couldn't hear anything than his own raging heart.

Stop.

''She has such nice hair-'' Naruto said happily.

Stop...

''And I really really-''

Sasuke stood up abruptly. ''Sorry, I need to-'' He ran away and threw a series of ''bathroom, kitchen'' He didn't know

He didn't care.

All he knew right now was that his heart hurt so much.

As he ran away from his room, from Naruto, he slammed into someone around the corner.

''Sasuke what-'' Itachi rubbed his chest and looked at his younger brother. ''Sasuke!'' He grabbed hold of him as tears dripped down the younger's cheeks.

''What happened? Did you get hurt somewhere?'' Itachi fretted and looked around on his body for any wounds or bruises.

Sasuke shook his head and grabbed his brother's hand tightly. 

''Then what-'' Itachi whispered and then stopped. He saw Naruto in the room and sighed. ''Sasuke...''

''I don't understand why it hurts so much..Itachi, my heart-'' His breath hitched and more tears rolled down. ''Why?''

''It's love, Sasuke.'' Itachi pulled him into a hug. ''It's the worst thing, it feels lovely but it tears you apart at the same time.''

''Why do we have to love others?'' Sasuke tightened his hold on his brother. ''Why do I have to love him?''

Itachi smiled sadly. ''That's just how the human heart works, my little sweet brother. Love is part of us, whether we like it or not.''

The only reply he got was Sasuke's heartbroken sniffs.

''Everything will get better...'' Itachi whispered.

Chapter Text

''That's not what you are supposed to say, idiot!'' Sakura screams at Naruto whos holding the book completely clueless.

''Sakura-channn, let's take a break.'' He complains.

She sighs, exasperated. ''We took a break two minutes ago!''

''It's not enough!'' He says.

Then she looks at Sasuke, who looked so down today, huddled almost in the corner. ''Hey, Naruto.'' She whispers. ''What's up with Sasuke?''

Naruto blinks. ''He's been like that since I was at his house two days ago. He just ran out and disappeared for an hour.''

''Shh! Whisper!'' Sakura hit him on the head.

Naruto rubbed his head and attempted to whisper. ''Yeah, then Itachi came and told me Sasuke wasn't feeling well so I left. Every time I ask him what is wrong, he ignores me.''

Sasuke closed his eyes as he heard them talk together.

It hurts.

But..

I think I know what to do now.

He looked at how happy Naruto was as he talked to Sakura, even if it wasn't that good of a conversation. Naruto truly..

Loved her.

He sniffed softly and got up. ''Sakura...'' He looked at the girl. ''Naruto..'' He managed to say, refusing to meet those blue eyes. ''Let's do this and get it over with.''

''Yes, Sasuke-kun!'' She said happily. 

''Who's gonna be who?'' Naruto asked.

Sasuke smiled sadly. ''Sakura will be the girl obviously.'' In which she nodded gladly.

''Naruto you will be the human.'' He said without looking at him.

''And I will be...the bird.''

Because that is how it should be.

I will kill myself in order to make him happy.

I will gladly spill my blood to see him smile, to see him content.

Sasuke gathered up the courage and looked at Naruto who was discussing something with Sakura. His blue eyes were shining so brightly, full of love, full of happiness.

Seeing him like that, Sasuke felt so hurt.

But he will support them.

He will try his best to make Naruto happy.

Because I love you.

 

''S-Sakura?'' Sasuke tapped the girl on her shoulder as Ino gaped.

She turned around wildly and smiled sweetly. ''Sasuke-kun! Hey! What's up?''

He took a deep breath. All for Naruto...

''Want to go out with me-'' He began and was interrupted by her squealing ''YES YES!''

''And Naruto!'' He hurriedly said. ''To a...park!'' 

She stopped and stared at him. ''N-Naruto too?''

''Yeah, we're a team..'' Sasuke managed to say, cringing.

Ino cackled in the back as Sakura glared at her then smiled at Sasuke. ''Sure, I'm free this weekend.''

He nodded and left, glad to be out of there.

Time to ask Naruto.

''Naruto-'' The boy who was preparing a prank for Kakashi, looked at him abruptly, those blue eyes getting him. 

''Yo Sasuke!'' He grinned mischievously. ''I'm so gonna get Kakashi-sensei this time!'' It was vinegar. He was pouring vinegar on his chair.

Sasuke groaned. ''Dobe, what the hell?''

''He made fun of my orange sunglasses!'' Splash- a big pool of vinegar was now on his chair. ''There!''

''That's...you know what, do that. Anyway, wanna go out with me and Sakura this weekend?''

Naruto stood up, eyes gleaming. ''Really? Of course!''

Sasuke smiled gently. ''Okay. By the way, if you get in trouble, I'm not standing up for you.'' He teased.

Naruto shrugged. ''I'll blame it on Kiba.''

''WHAT?'' Kiba screamed from across the room.

 

''Where are you going, Sasuke?'' Itachi asked, seeing Sasuke wear his outdoor things.

He wrapped a scarf around him and looked up at his older brother. ''Oh you know, with Naruto and Sakura.''

Itachi narrowed his eyes. ''Okay...''

Sasuke looked away.

''Hmm...'' Itachi simply hummed and walked away. ''Stay safe.''

''Thanks.'' Sasuke called back. Then he walked over to their family home and dialed Naruto's number. After a couple of rings, he picked up.

''Sasuke, WHAT SHOULD I WEAR!'' He screamed.

''Why is that a dilemma when all you have is your uniform and that orange tracksuit thingy?''

''I have your black shirt as well-''

''Don't even.'' Sasuke sighed. ''I can't go today.''

''Eh? Why?'' Naruto asked, genuinely worried.

''I need to help mom with something.''

''Aww...I guess I won't either then.''

Sasuke was taken aback then hurriedly said. ''No! Don't stand up Sakura!'' You need to..go..

''Oh! I'll go then!'' Naruto said excitedly. ''See you at school, Sasuke!''

''...Bye, usuratonkachi.''

Beep.

Sasuke sighed and put down the phone. Then he wore his shoes and headed to the park.

 

''Sakura-chan, let's go there!'' Naruto said excitedly.

She looked like she was going to quit life. ''No.''

''Then how about there?''

''No.''

''Sakura-chan?''

''No.'' She said, not even looking at him.

He walked beside her dejectedly. 

''Aaah, wish Sasuke-kun was here...'' She mumbled. 

Sasuke stood from far away, unable to really hear them. He watched as Naruto fussed around her and grinned whenever she talked to him.

Stay happy, Naruto.

He looked up at the clear blue sky, as blue as his eyes and smiled. He wished that one day those blue eyes would gleam for him and only him.

Alas, it was only a dream. 

Suddenly a hand grabbed his own and he turned around, scared, only to be met with a familiar face. ''Itachi!''

His older brother stared at him as if he was searching within the depths of his soul. ''Sasuke.'' He finally said.

''W-What are you doing here?''

''That's my line, why aren't you over there?'' Itachi nodded towards Naruto and Sakura.

Sasuke looked away, cheeks burning.

''Dumb little brother...'' Itachi mumbled. ''Is this your way of making him happy?

''I'd rather see him happy.'' Sasuke couldn't bear to stare back at his brother's intense eyes. They almost looked red. He tried to pull away from his grip but Itachi tightened his hold.

''And your pain doesn't matter?''

''I-'' Sasuke began and then stopped. ''It doesn't. I want him to be happy, even if I'm not the one in his life.''

Itachi closed his eyes and relaxed his features. ''You're too kind, too sweet.'' He whispered so quietly Sasuke wasn't sure he heard him.

''Let's go home, watching them will only hurt you more.''

Sasuke allowed himself to be pulled away, looking one last time at the future couple, sadness befalling him.

Chapter Text

''Did you see Sakura-chan yesterday?'' Naruto's eyes shimmered happily. ''She scored a perfect 3 pointer in the basketball game yesterday!'' He boasted to Neji who didn't give a fuck, really. Plus he was braiding his little cousin's hair.

''That's nice.'' He distractedly said, brows furrowed in concentration.

Hinata looked crestfallen and Sasuke actually felt pity for her, because he understood and knew that the girl had a crush on Naruto since what, day one. He felt a strange connection to her, but of course, he would never tell her about his feelings toward his best friend. Scratch that, he'd never tell a soul.

Well, Itachi doesn't count.

''Also she got a 98% on the last test-'' He directed his comment to Shikamaru who was completely passed out. However, the small smile he made once he heard how happy Naruto sounded said otherwise.

Kiba and Ino were engaged in a thumb war. ''Stop talking about her, it hurts my brain.'' Kiba gritted his teeth as Ino held his thumb firmly under her own. ''Gotcha!''

''That's not fair! Naruto's giving me a headache!'' Kiba complained, rubbing his poor finger. ''What a death grip you have, gorilla.'' 

Ino attacked him with a pen at his comment while Naruto gushed on and on about Sakura.

 

This went on for days, Sasuke was definitely the cause of it, but Naruto talked about her every single second he could.

Everyone was realizing it.

Everyone.

Including her.

As Sasuke plugged in his earphones. he heard them talk about it.

''Sakura, I think Naruto loves you.'' Ino giggled.

Sakura looked at her, completely horrified. ''No!!! What the fuck!?''

''The whole school knows! Just go out with him on a date.'' Ino said. ''Then I can have Sasuke-kun alllll to my self~''

Sasuke groaned internally and was about to play some loud music to block out their voices, then he heard what they said.

Sakura gritted her teeth. ''That's precisely why I won't! Plus he eats his boogers, Ino. Boogers. We're in 6th grade, that's like, a 1st-grade thing!'' Sakura practically screeched and wrinkled her nose.

''Cut the boy some slack, he's younger than all of us. Isn't he like, 12 now?'' Kiba laughed. ''Plus he is so chill to hang out with.''

''Cool to hang out with sure, but dating?'' Sakura gagged. ''Also he is younger than me. I don't go for younger guys.'' She flipped her long pink hair behind her back and cast a sideways glance to Sasuke. Kiba and Ino rolled their eyes. 

Sasuke, very annoyed, prepared to explode on them but someone cut him to it.

''Oh shut up, now that you finally have someone who likes you, you're acting so high and mighty?'' Shikamaru, who was supposedly passed out on his desk, exploded. 

Her eyes widened at him as he continued to speak. ''I'm surprised he even likes a bitch like you! He deserves to like someone better!'' 

Sasuke gaped then cleared his throat. Couldn't have said it better. Sasuke thought with a wide grin he quickly tried to make it go away. 

Everyone was silent as Sakura flushed in shame. She looked at Sasuke who failed to stop grinning and flushed ever redder.

''Y-You idiot! I-'' She spluttered at Shikamaru and then bolted out of the classroom. On her way out, she bumped into someone. She looked up as everyone simultaneously gasped at who it was.

Naruto.

Everyone held their breath. Did he hear her? What will happen now?

She took a deep breath and her eyes met his own. Then she glared at him the biggest glare EVER. He only grinned when he saw her and waved. ''Hey Sakura-chan!''

He didn't hear! Sasuke sighed in relief, only for her to scream out in his face, ''This is all because of you, you booger-eating-jerk-cockblocking-stinky asshole!'' and continued to run away.

Sasuke and Shikamaru stood up at the same time, chairs flying back in anger. Dammit! They ran over to Naruto who's smile slowly fell away, replaced with utter shock, completely shocked. Sasuke's heart shattered as Naruto's blue cloudly eyes met his own angry, pitiful eyes. He knew those eyes.

He's known him for 5 years.

He knew how much Naruto hated to cry in public. With a small thanks and nod to Shikamaru, he grabbed Naruto's tiny hand, ignoring the sudden electricity in his body and pulled him away.

They ran to god knows where, but he found the janitor's closet and pushed Naruto inside, closing the door after himself. 

It was completely dark, but he didn't need light to know that Naruto was crying.

The tiny soft sniffs filled the air and Sasuke found himself pulling Naruto into an embrace. The younger boy's body rattled with his silent cries, and Sasuke held him tighter. ''I've got you.'' He whispered to him. He desperately tried to ignore how right it felt to hug Naruto. Their bodies just fit perfectly, he loved it.

Naruto's hand tightened on Sasuke's blazer and he felt his shoulder becoming wet as his head only reached up to his neck. ''I- I heard her- I thought...'' His voice broke, but Sasuke understood and patted his unruly but beautiful sunshine hair.

Sasuke swallowed the lump in his throat and hugged him even tighter. ''I'll always be here for you, Naruto.'' 

The only reply he got was a sad heartbroken sniff, that tore Sasuke's own heart along with it too.

Chapter Text

Everyone clapped as a group finished their recreation of the story 'The Nightingale and the Rose'.

''Well done! That was wonderful!'' Kakashi smiled as they sat down. He looked at his list and grinned. ''Classic Team 7, you're up!'' However, his smile diminished as he saw how everyone was apart, very silent, and not enthusiastic at all.

They stood at the front of the classroom and each of them took a deep breath. 

Naruto raised his head, blue eyes not shimmering with excitement as they would be usually. Kakashi looked around and saw how the others, namely Kiba, Ino, Shikamaru and Neji were very silent.

Something had happened and he didn't know.

''You may begin.'' He said anyway.

Naruto slowly looked at Sakura and got into character. He smiled, not genuinely at all, and then pretended to blush. As he did that, Sasuke sat away from them. Then Naruto walked up to her and tapped her shoulder. She turned around with a gentle smile. ''Hello there.'' She said.

Naruto stuttered. ''H-Hi, we've met each other a few- a few nights ago at a party...'' His voice shook. Kakashi was pretty damn impressed because that's how the main character acted in the story.

''Oh yes! I remember you very well.'' She smiled sweetly. ''Is there something you wanted to tell me?''

He nodded slowly. ''I realized I have fallen-'' He took a deep shaky breath. ''...fallen in love with you.''

A quick flash of disgust appeared on Sakura's face, although everyone missed it, Kakashi did not.

''Oh my!'' She put a hand on her mouth and chuckled. ''I do understand why that would happen.''

''Will you go out with me?'' Naruto looked at her, blue eyes full of determination.

She pretended to think for a second then smiled. ''I will, but only if you find me the reddest rose in the whole world.''

He nodded and grinned. ''I'll find the prettiest red rose to the prettiest girl. Will you promise me that if I find it, you'll go out with me?''

Sakura simply nodded and walked away with a tiny wave, her long pink hair swishing behind her.

Naruto walked over to Sasuke and held his hand, which made Sasuke jump a little. 

''My friend!'' Naruto said happily. ''She has agreed to go out with me, only if I bring her a red rose.''

''A red rose?'' Sasuke exclaimed. ''There are no red roses in winter, my human friend. There are only white ones.''

''I know! But I must. I love her so much, my friend..'' Naruto said sadly. ''She's so perfect, so beautiful, so... kind .''

Sasuke stared at the younger boy and smiled. ''You truly love her, my human friend. I will go search for a red rose!''

''Really!?'' Naruto said happily. ''Thank you!''

Sasuke pretended to fly around a little, Kakashi watching in amusement. He was taking his role so seriously, all of them were. He dare-say this has been the best performance so far.

''There are no white roses...'' He mumbled sadly. ''I cannot bear to watch my friend cry.'' As he said that he looked at Naruto then back at the paper rose in his hand.

''I will make it red, then.'' Sasuke held it for a couple of heartbeats then colored the white rose into red. ''Be happy, my friend.'' He whispered as he fell down. Some girls in the audience aww’ed and sniffed.

Naruto came running over and cradled Sasuke in his arms. ''No! Why would you do this?'' 

Sasuke reached up and placed a hand on Naruto's scarred cheek. ''Because you're my friend...''

Then the most shocking thing happened. 

Tears dripped onto Sasuke's face and his eyes widened. Naruto was silently crying while everyone was shocked to see him, who was known to be the biggest ball of sunshine, crying.

''N-Naruto?'' He whispered. ‘’What’s-’’

Naruto sniffed and gently placed Sasuke on the floor. ''I won't let your death be in vain, my friend.'' He wiped away his tears as Sakura watched in shock as he walk over to her.

Her features told Kakashi everything. She was feeling bad, she felt guilty.

Kakashi realized what was happening at last.

''Here is the red rose...''Naruto whispered. ''I love you.''

She swallowed and closed her eyes tightly then opened them. ''I don't need that, I have found someone better.''

Naruto looked at her outraged. ''You-You promised!''

''I never said a thing. Now, go away!'' She said as she slapped the rose away from his hand, a little too harshly.

Naruto fell to his knees and cradled the rose in his hand. He looked at his friend's dead body and lowered his head.

‘’The only thing I have to remember you by is just this rose, which is bound to wilt…’’

There was a moment of silence.

''The end.'' Sakura and Sasuke said at the same time, standing up with smiles.

Everyone was silent until Kakashi broke the silence with his clapping. ''That was absolutely amazing, you guys!'' Kakashi said proudly.

''Naruto your acting- I mean, wow.'' Kiba blinked as Sasuke extended his hand out to Naruto.

Ino patted Sakura on the back. ''Wow girl! Nice!''

Naruto only smiled as he took Sasuke’s hand and sat down at his seat.

Sasuke slid into his seat and looked at Naruto. He wasn't looking around, despite the praises. But he raised his head and met Sasuke's dark black eyes and briefly smiled, a genuine smile, only for Sasuke.

Sasuke could’ve sworn he saw him mouth ‘Thank you.’

Chapter Text

About 2 years had passed since then, now Naruto was 14 and Sasuke was 15. After the whole thing with Sakura rejecting him so harshly, their friendship had been closer than ever. Naruto had realized Sasuke was his true friend, and he was willing to do anything to keep his friend happy.

In the meantime, the girls had begun to lose interest in Sasuke because he never even batted an eye towards them. He is even friendlier to Kakashi then he is to them.

''I sort of envy them, you know.'' Kiba said one day. 

Naruto and Sasuke were chatting and eating their lunches, a genuine smile reflected on both their faces. Naruto was teasing the other about something and they began fighting with their chopsticks.

Neji smiled at the scene, his lilac eyes shimmering. ''Yeah, I hope they stay as close as they are, forever.''

''Take that!'' Naruto grinned as he shoved broccoli into Sasuke's mouth.

Sasuke spluttered and coughed everywhere, glaring at him. ''You ass! I hate broccoli!'' His nose wrinkled in disgust at the green thing and grabbed a piece of fish from his own lunch, knowing that Naruto despises it.

''Don't you dare!'' Naruto screeched, getting up and running away. Sasuke took after him, holding the piece of fish within his chopsticks. ''Revenge!''

''Kids.'' Shikamaru snorted as the two boys ran down the hallway. ''I'm glad Naruto is happy again.''

Kiba and Neji chuckled. ''Nothing beats that time when you literally destroyed Sakura.''

Shikamaru shrugged. ''She was a bitch.''

''Still is.'' Neji couldn't help but mutter quietly. 

''Cut her some slack, she's a little better now,'' Kiba said.

''Oh? Someone's got the hots for her?'' Neji teased.

Shikamaru rolled his eyes. ''After what she did to Naruto?''

Kiba blushed. ''No you idiots, not her.'' His gaze flickered to the blonde girl in the room, standing next to Sakura.

Shikamaru stood up abruptly, attracting their attention. ''INO?''

Neji cackled as Kiba blushed bright red. ''Fucking hell, sit down!''

''What?'' She asked, walking over as her hand rested on her hips.

Kiba was so embarrassed he couldn't form a coherent sentence. Luckily at that exact moment, Naruto came running in like a madman.

''Save me!'' He shouted, hiding behind Neji. ''Oh, you smell nice.'' He added.

Neji snorted. ''Thanks?''

Sasuke burst in moments after and scanned the room for the bright sunshine hair. ''There you are! Eat the fish!'' He laughed, holding up his chopsticks.

The girls in the room stared in awe and shock, that the Uchiha Sasuke was laughing.

''How the hell did it manage to stay on your chopsticks, dammit!''

In the end, Sasuke got his revenge.

 

Naruto was still disgusted and looking sick, hours after the ordeal. ''Teme, it still tastes so clear.''

''Good, so you brush your teeth, usuratonkachi,'' Sasuke stated.

''Hey! I brush them...just...not every day.''

''You're disgusting.'' Sasuke backed away and made a disgusted face as a joke.

Naruto stepped closer to him and grinned. ''But you still love me.''

Yeah, I do.

I will always.

Sasuke snorted and shook his head, walking faster. ''Wanna stay over?'' He asked the younger boy.

''Nah, Jiraiya's making ramen today.'' Naruto smiled.

''You eat that every day, how do you not get sick of it?''

''Ramen is my life!'' Naruto walked happily. ''Oh we're here.''

''Thanks for walking me home, you didn't have to.'' Sasuke high-fived him.

''What are friends for? Well, text me later.'' Naruto waved and walked away.

With a soft smile, Sasuke opened his door- 

only to find it already unlocked.

''How strange...''' He muttered. His mother nor father ever left the door unlocked. Must have been Itachi.

He went in cautiously and looked at the shoes. They were normal, his father seemed home. Itachi wasn't.

''I'm home...?'' He called out quietly.

The lights were off, the house was unbearably cold. He put away his shoes and walked, the floorboards creaking under his footsteps.

''Mom?'' He peered into the kitchen. Nothing.

Not even a pot on the stove, the dishes were still all messy in the sink.

A sinking feeling settled in his stomach. He felt sick, worried. He sped up his footsteps as he peered into the living room, hearing sounds.

But it was only the TV.

The newspaper his father always reads lay on the floor. Sasuke picked it up and placed it on the coffee table. His heart hammered as he took out his phone and found his dad's contact.

He pressed the dial.

The sudden outburst of sound nearby made Sasuke jump. It was his dad's ringtone. He is inside the house.

Relief washed over him. But then dread settled in. He was not answering.

Sasuke listened for the source of the sound and climbed up the stairs. With every creek, his heartbeat louder and faster.

The tune brought him in front of his parents' bedroom. Memories of him as a young child creeping out of bed at 2 AM to sleep next to them flashed through his mind.

He took a deep breath and stopped the call. Then he placed his trembling hand on the doorknob and slowly opened it, his heart thundering loud in his ears.

A strong metallic smell invaded his nose and his hand shot up to cover his nose- before falling back down to his side.

His eyes widened and his breathing hitched. ''M-Mo-'' He croaked as he walked over to the two bodies on the floor- his parents.

Dried up blood was on the floor, crunching as he stepped on it.

''Mom...? D-Dad..?'' He whispered. There was no reply.

He fell to his knees and with trembling hands, he poked her body and then shook her. ''M-Mom?''

She was cold.

''A-ah..No..No...'' He shook. He breathed faster and faster, he needed air. He needed to breathe.

He needed-

His phone began ringing and Sasuke managed to press accept the call. Naruto's bright voice appeared on the other end.

Sasuke panted and it seems like it was very loud because Naruto asked him what was wrong.

Sasuke breathed in and out but couldn't manage his breathing. ''M-Mom- Da- Naruto..help me.'' Sasuke pleaded, tears rolling out.

''Sasuke!? Sasuke hold on, I'm right here, I'm two minutes away. Hold on.'' Naruto hung up and Sasuke was shaking and he struggled to breathe.

Soon, Naruto's footsteps echoed through the house as he searched for Sasuke. Within a couple of seconds, He found him in front of his dead parents.

''It hurts-'' Sasuke choked out. ''air-'' His tears continued to fall as Naruto recovered from the scene and grabbed a plastic bag. He got onto his knees and placed it over Sasuke's mouth and nose.

''Breathe.'' He commanded, wrapping an arm around Sasuke. ''I've got you.''

Sasuke began inhaling and exhaling, clutching onto Naruto's orange shirt. He stared at those worried, anguished blue eyes before watching them fade away into the darkness.