Author's note: This is a birthday fic for our sunshine and resident fox, Naruto! I came up with the idea two days ago and figured, why not write it for his birthday? LOL This was originally supposed to be a oneshot, but I doubt I would have been able to post it on time, so a two-shot it will be! *coughs*

Warnings: Alternate universe, so no shinobi in this one; Naruto's pov; implied bullying; angst; time skips; that's it for this chapter I think

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Kishimoto owns it.

I hope you'll like this first part!

Part 1

Naruto was five years old when he fully comprehended that his parents would never come back to him. It had been one of the older boys at the orphanage who had told him.

"They're not coming back, stupid," Hiro scoffed, stuffing his hands into his pockets. There were two holes in his trousers, his scuffed knees poking through them. His muddy brown eyes squinted down at the small, blond boy.

Naruto puffed up his cheeks, staring at the older boy angrily. "You don't know that!" he yelled, clenching his fists. "They'll come - "

"They're dead," Hiro stated bluntly, rolling his eyes. "I heard Mother talking about it. You know what 'dead' means, right?"

"You- you're lying!" Naruto snapped and ran away before Hiro could spot the tears brimming in his eyes. Panting, he rushed towards the main building, desperate to find Mother to get real answers. Hiro was lying, right? His parents were still alive and they would come back for him. He was sure of that! He just needed to be patient for a bit longer and then –

He caught sight of shoulder-length, light brown hair which was mostly covered by a while coif near the kitchen. He made a beeline for the woman dressed in her regular outfit of a black, loose gown and a white apron. Emerald green eyes peered down at him in surprise through a pair of circular glasses when he stumbled to a stop next to her.

"Something you need, Naruto-kun?" Mother asked curiously. She grew alarmed when she noticed the sheen of tears in his deep blue eyes. "What happened, sweetheart? Was someone mean to you?"

"My mummy and daddy are coming back, right?" Naruto asked in a rush, clenching the folds of her gown in his small fists. "They're not dead, right? I can go back to them?" He gazed up at her in desperation, needing her to laugh and reassure him that of course, his mummy and daddy were coming soon to get him. Hiro was just being mean; he didn't know what he was talking about. Soon, very soon, his parents would come back for him and then he would get to laugh right in stupid Hiro's face before leaving with them.

Her face changed, growing sad, and she knelt down next to him, resting her hands on his shoulders. "Naruto-kun, I'm sorry, but your parents can't come get you," she said softly. "They went to heaven a couple of years ago."

"They-they're not coming back?" he stammered, his sight becoming incredibly blurry before hot tears started making a trail down his cheeks; his lower lip quivering. His belly and chest started to hurt as sobs tore through him; his shoulders shaking.

She shook her head, regarding him with soft eyes. "No, sweetheart, they're not. I'm sorry." She tugged him into one of her warm hugs, letting him cry and gasp against her shoulder as she rubbed soothingly over his back and made shushing sounds.

Naruto was five years old when he realised he was alone in this world.

He started attending the big boy school a couple of months after he turned six years old.

He still lived in the orphanage as so far no new daddy or mummy had wanted to bring him home with them. Sometimes Mother dressed him up in beautiful, pristine clothes and then he got to talk and play with the couple in the Test Room, as the orphans had taken to calling it. The Test Room was the place where you went to for a few hours when a mummy and daddy were interested in you. There you played with them and talked with them and then at the end of the visit, they would decide whether to take you home with them or not.

Several girls and boys of all ages had already gone to their new home with their new mummy and daddy, but Naruto wasn't one of them. Every time a new daddy and mummy came to visit the orphanage and asked to meet him, he did his best to make them like him, and while they played with him and always seemed nice, they never took him home with them. He didn't understand why; wasn't he good enough? Wasn't he sweet or smart enough?

"Don't worry about it, Naruto-kun," Mother would reassure him each time he watched the couple leave the orphanage without him. "One day, you'll have a nice family of your own. They're waiting for you out there, I'm sure, and one day you'll meet them."

It hurt, though. He just wanted a family, people he could call his mummy and daddy. They would never replace his real parents, no, never, but was it that bad of him that he just wanted to have a home?

When he started attending school, he resolved to himself that even if he didn't have parents – yet – he would make great friends, best friends who could be his family. They would play together every day, tell each other their secrets, and have many adventures! They would be the best friends in the entire world and nobody would come between them!

Making friends turned out to be a lot more difficult than he had expected.

Starting from the first day, he tried talking to everyone in his class, trying to find that one special person – it didn't matter whether it was a boy or a girl! – who would like him back and who would want to be friends with him.

None of the children, however, wanted to talk to him. They didn't want to play with him either, no matter which toy he had or which game he suggested they could play and he knew a lot of games! Mother had always said he had a great imagination and was good at coming up with fun games to play. But they didn't want to listen to him. They turned away from him whenever he approached them or simply walked away when he was in the middle of a sentence. They refused to let him join a game and when the teacher told them to form groups in order to work on an assignment, he was always left alone.

Naruto tried and tried and tried, but no matter what he did, no matter what he said, they just didn't like him.

He refused to give up, though. Maybe if he just tried hard enough, showed them how much fun he could be, maybe then they would want to be his friend.

"Look, we don't want to play with you, okay?" Tobi snapped annoyed, snatching the ball off the ground.

It was recess with only two hours of school left before they were finished for the day.

Naruto's grin faltered and his eyes shot between the group, not understanding the foul looks on their faces. "What? Why not?"

"You're way too loud and annoying," Tobi complained, clutching the ball to his stomach. "It's like you always have to talk!"

"Yeah," Ino chimed in, flicking her long, blonde ponytail over her shoulder. She wrinkled her small nose and pointed at his cheeks. "Plus your face looks weird with those lines. Do you draw them on you every morning?"

Naruto's hands shot up to cover the whisker like scars on his cheeks, feeling the thin, smooth lines etched into his skin. "They're scars," he muttered embarrassed, pressing his hands harder to his cheeks. For as long as he could remember he had had those scars; apparently he had got them in the same accident that had sent mummy and daddy to heaven. He hadn't minded the scars, because Mother always said they made him look like a fox and foxes were cool.

"You're always moving around as well," Shikamaru grimaced from his spot underneath the large, thick tree, where he usually lounged during recess. The spiky haired boy never seemed interested in moving around much, preferring to sleep. He still had the best marks of the class, though, which Naruto didn't understand. If Shikamaru always slept, how come he was so smart then?

"You're so slow to learn things – sensei always has to explain things three times to you!"

"And why do you always wear orange? Don't you have any other clothes?"

Sakura, the pink haired girl he thought was quite pretty, giggled, hiding her mouth behind her hands. "My mum says you don't have a mum or a dad, is that true?"

Naruto opened his mouth, but nothing came out; his throat constricting and his chest felt weird.

"No wonder you're so weird!"

"You're so annoying, why don't you stop bothering us?"

"Who'd want to play with a weird kid like you?"

Honing laughter rang through the playground before they walked away, separating themselves into smaller groups, talking animatedly with each other.

Leaving Naruto standing there alone.

He squatted down behind the corner; the open door of Mother's office allowing him to hear their voices ringing loud and clearly through the corridor.

"Any particular reason?" Mother asked. "You seemed to have fun playing with him."

The lady, who had coloured pictures with Naruto, replied wearily, "Look, I'm sure he's a lovely boy, it's just … I don't think we can be the parents he needs."

"He was constantly fidgeting, couldn't sit still the entire meeting," the man added with a sigh and there was the creaking sound of a chair. "He seems to have more energy than other children his age and we're afraid we won't be able to muster up the patience to deal with that."

"We also looked at his report cards and well," the lady hesitated before continuing, "it appears that he has a lot of trouble with learning. His marks are on the low side and the sensei keeps adding remarks that he can't sit still nor does he seem to understand the subject material on the same level as the other children. We would have to hire a tutor to get him up to speed and we simply don't have that money now. I'm sorry, but we can't give him the attention and care he requires."

They continued talking, but Naruto stopped listening and sneaked upstairs to his room. There he crawled in his bed and hid himself underneath the covers, listening to some of the other children playing outside and others walking through the corridor outside his room.

He had tried so hard to be good for the lady and her husband! If he couldn't have friends, he could at least have a family of his own. He had tried to not be so loud, remembering his classmates' comments, but he had just been so excited to meet the couple, especially because the lady had had blonde hair like him. He hadn't been able to sit still, though, no matter how hard he had tried; he always felt restless, no matter what he did. He couldn't help it! If he didn't move, he felt like he would go crazy. Like there were bees buzzing underneath his skin.

He had tried his best, but it seemed like no matter what he did, it was never good enough.

Would he never find someone who could like him?

Naruto had just turned eight years old when the sensei announced that a new student would be joining their class. Instantly the whole class was buzzing with excitement, eager to find out who this mysterious new student was who had enrolled into the school this late into the new year.

The door opened and most students leant forwards over their desks in anticipation. A pale boy, whose black blue hair was spiked up in the back, entered the classroom quietly; his dark eyes roaming across the eager faces of his classmates. He walked to the front of the class, in front of the black board, and bowed slightly.

"Class, this is Uchiha Sasuke. He and his family have just moved into this town; I hope you'll make him feel welcome," Iruka-sensei smiled, throwing them a warning look.

"Nice to meet you," Sasuke murmured and several girls giggled and softly squealed, staring at him with glittering, large eyes and blushing cheeks. The majority of the boys couldn't seem to decide whether to glare at him or welcome him.

Iruka-sensei looked around contemplatively, his fingers tapping on his desk. "Where should we seat you?" he wondered aloud and immediately several hands shot up in the air, waving at the sensei.

"Here, Iruka-sensei! He can sit with me!"

"No! With me!"

The students started bickering, some even going as far as pushing their actual seatmate off their chair in an attempt to free it for the new student. Iruka-sensei closed his eyes, pinched the bridge of his nose, and sighed loudly.

"All of you, be quiet and sit back down!" he yelled and his angry tone was enough to silence them all immediately. They all knew better than to anger the older man further.

Satisfied that his class was silent once more, Iruka-sensei nodded and his gaze went over the classroom, before he smiled and pointed at an empty seat in the last row. "Why don't you go sit next to Naruto-kun, Sasuke-kun?" he suggested and that elicited another uproar as students demanded to know why the new student had to be seated next to the weirdo.

As Iruka-sensei dealt with the class, growing steadily redder and redder in his face when they refused to listen to him, the dark haired boy made his way to the last row. He placed his bag on the floor and took the empty seat next to Naruto, glancing at him quickly.

Naruto refused to look back and kept doodling instead on his mathematics questions, only half paying attention to Iruka-sensei yelling at the others. It had been two years and he still hadn't made any friends in this class or in any of the other ones; one new kid wasn't going to change that. Not once the rest of the class got their claws into him.

Naruto bent his head lower over his paper, pressing down harder with his pen until he nearly ripped a hole into the paper. Iruka-sensei finally got everyone settled down enough to start with the first lesson of the day; some of the students turned their heads to throw foul looks at the blond boy behind them, clearly annoyed that the 'stupid kid' had the new student sitting next to him.

Uchiha only looked away once Iruka-sensei started writing on the black board.

Carefully Naruto tipped the water can and watched how a small stream slipped between the two flowers and wetted the ground, darkening it. Some drops landed on the bright rose petals and he watched as if hypnotised how the drops trembled for a few seconds on top of the silky soft petals before slipping down into the core of the flower.

It was lunch and his packaged bento was waiting for him against the wall. Like he had been doing since the start of the new school year, he was watering his plants and removing any dead leaves. His plants were on the roof of the school. He had been hiding up here ever since he had realised that he would never have a friend in his class. He had discovered the entrance to the roof by accident when he had been wandering around in the empty hallways during lunch. Being alone on the roof was preferable to being forced to watch how everyone in his class had their own group of friends to talk with, but none of them cast him a second glance.

Iruka-sensei had found him here a month into the new school year and had first tried to convince him to go back downstairs, stating that it wasn't safe up here. Naruto had refused, however, and his stubbornness had won with the older man allowing him to keep a small garden up here to keep himself occupied.

He liked taking care of his flowers; they were beautiful and smelt lovely and most importantly: they didn't make fun of him.

The door swinging open startled him and he nearly dropped his water can. Quickly he looked up and froze when dark eyes stared straight into his blue ones.

Uchiha tilted his head to the right and stepped onto the roof, letting the door fall shut behind him. His gaze scanned the blooming flowers before gliding over Naruto and resting on the lonely bento box near the wall.

"You're not eating lunch downstairs?" he inquired blankly. He was holding his own bento box in his right hand.

Naruto shrugged and shook his head. "I always come here during lunch," he muttered, placing the empty can on the ground before plucking some dead leaves from between the flower stems. And during recess too, he added mentally, but saw no need to say that aloud.

There was silence for a moment with the blond boy focusing on his flowers. He swallowed and stared down at his hands when footsteps approached him, walking past him. The back of his neck pricked and he turned his head slightly, giving in to the curiosity brimming in him. What was Uchiha doing?

The boy in question walked to the wall – which reached his shoulders – and sank down on the ground, next to Naruto's discarded lunch box. Calmly he placed his own box on his lap and opened it, revealing three perfectly shaped onigiri and for some reason, a bunch of cherry tomatoes. He picked up the first onigiri and started eating it.

Just like that.

Dumbfounded Naruto stared at him; his hands hovering above his flowers. "What are you doing?" he asked in a strangled voice when it became clear that the dark haired boy was not going to get up any time soon.

Uchiha quirked an eyebrow. "I'm eating lunch; what does it look like?" he asked flatly in return.

"But – but don't you want to do that downstairs?" Naruto asked confused, glancing back at the closed door. "Our classmates are excited to talk with you."

The dark haired boy grimaced as if tasting something foul. "They're too pushy," he grunted, picking up his second onigiri. "Especially the girls. I like it up here; it's quiet."

That definitely stumped Naruto, because the word 'quiet' was not something used near him. Dazed he turned his attention back to his flowers, looking for any wayward leaves. He remained hyper aware of the other boy's presence, though, and he barely dared to breathe; feeling stranger the longer Uchiha kept sitting there. None of their other classmates had ever willingly sat near him for this long already without complaining about his talking or his fidgeting.

"Don't you need to eat?" Uchiha broke the silence and when Naruto turned his head, he was subjected to intense scrutiny of dark eyes. Uchiha nodded towards Naruto's lunch. "You haven't eaten yet," he pointed out calmly. He added, "And lunch hour is almost over."

"I – eh, no, I haven't eaten yet," Naruto stammered, wiping his hands over his trousers. "I was just, eh, …"

"Come sit down and eat your lunch with me then," Uchiha ordered; his gaze straying back towards his own lunch.

For a moment Naruto stood there stunned; the words echoing in his mind, bouncing back and forth. Had he heard correctly? He had misheard the other boy, right? Nobody ever wanted to share lunch with him; not willingly at least.

Uchiha looked up and narrowed his eyes a bit. "Well? What are you waiting for? Sit."

Before he realised what he was doing, Naruto hurried towards the wall and practically fell down on his arse, landing right next to his lunch. The flash of pain shooting through his back as his butt connected with the ground hard didn't even register as he gaped at the dark eyed boy next to him.

"Close your mouth or you'll catch flies," Uchiha remarked calmly and Naruto abruptly shut his mouth.

A slight tremble went through his hands as he picked up his box and removed the lid in order to eat his own lunch. Aware of the warm – too warm – presence next to him, Naruto ate slowly in order to avoid spilling anything on his shirt. Mother would be proud once she would see his clean shirt at the end of the day.

The two boys ate in silence, but it was a nice silence, not tensed and charged like Naruto had experienced before with other children. He tried to keep his fidgeting to a minimum, not wanting to annoy the one person who was willingly keeping him company, but he caught himself tapping his nails against his bento box and swaying his foot back and forth, jiggling his leg. He flushed and looked down, forcing himself to stop moving, and prepared himself for yet another scathing comment about his inability to sit still. It wasn't like he hadn't heard it all before.

Uchiha said nothing, however, didn't even look annoyed and when lunch was over and their boxes were empty, he waited at the door for Naruto to go through first. He didn't react to any attempts of the other students to convince him to sit with them and when classes finished for the day, he nodded at Naruto in greeting before departing.

Naruto stared at his retreating back, feeling weird butterflies fluttering around in his stomach, and didn't know what to make of the new boy.

It had been nice, though, sharing lunch with Uchiha. Maybe, just maybe, the other boy would want to share lunch with him again.

A tiny part of him dared to hope.

AN2: So this is the first part; what do you think of it? Please leave your thoughts behind in a review; should you spot any mistakes, please point them out to me!

I'll try to have the next part out as soon as possible :)

See you all hopefully in the second part!



P.S. For more information about my upcoming and posted stories, please visit my profile.