(EDITED 8/11/2021) Cleared up some grammar and tried to make it less cringe. New chapter soon if anyone still cares.

Thinking/Flashback Text

Disclaimer I don't own Naruto or any of the characters in this story.

They watched her as she strolled through the streets of Konoha, each person gazing at her with eyes full of pity and fake concern. Pretending they understood the hell she lived through. To have the person you admired the most in the world turn around, and take everything from you. Then have to relive it every waking moment. Unable to go minutes without seeing images of your parents struck down. The betrayal in their eyes at seeing the one responsible. The tears falling from your mother's face. The wooden floor they lay dead on was stained dark red from the blood spilling from their wounds. No ounce of emotion showing, his eyes glazed over. Only for him to offer three words of some sick kind of comfort.

'Hate me Sasuke'

Quickly shaking free from her thoughts, not willing to allow the villagers satisfaction in seeing the 'broken' Uchiha in any sign of distress. She hurried with her head down to her place of destination. She would never show weakness, she is the last of the Uchiha clan and she would not allow her or anyone else to bring them any more shame. She would avenge her family... now if only she had the power to do it.

She was late, late enough that she had to see the other students arriving with their families. She had been trying to avoid the exact scene in front of her since coming back. It made her nauseous watching them interact. Hugging and laughing as if they were taunting her knowing she'd never have that feeling again. Making her thoughts turn to him and how he would walk with her, listening to her ramble on about nothing and everything. Scooping her up piggyback style if she were walking too slow, making sure to emphasize the importance of not wasting people's time. Making sure she made it all the way inside the academy doors before disappearing in shunshin.

She tore away her gaze from the happy families, hating them and hating herself more for feeling jealousy and anger to these people who've done nothing more than dare show affection for their loved ones while in her vicinity. Sighing, she continued into the class to take her usual seat by the window. Where she would stare out it for the next 6 hours or so, tortured in a prison of her mind, imagining all the ways she could eventually kill him. Rinse and repeat that's been her life since returning to the academy a little over a month ago.

"Please settle down everyone."

Iruka sat with an exasperated look at his desk, trying to quiet the class this early Monday morning. Mentally preparing himself for the day. He moved out from behind the wooden table to step in front of the class. Ready to get the day started, but a knock at the door prevented him from beginning. Someone wearing an animal-styled porcelain mask stepped inside. Anbu. "Hokage-sama would like to discuss something, please come with me."

He nodded towards the newcomer. Turning to the class, giving them his sternest look. "I'll be right back, behave yourselves. I can hear everything through the door." Praying his students wouldn't embarrass him in front of the Hokage. He turned to follow the Anbu member out the door.

Closing the door behind him, he stepped into the hallway. His eyes immediately turning to meet the Hokage, giving a quick bow of respect. He failed to notice the boy standing a few feet away from him.

"Iruka, I hope I'm not bothering you."

"Of course not Hokage-sama, we hadn't even fully begun our studies for the day." The nervous teacher tried assuring what was essentially his boss. The aged Kage gave him a playful smile before nodding. "I'm here to bring you a new student." Looking at the boy beside him. "Naruto, this here is Iruka-Sensei. He'll be one of your teachers here at the academy.

The boy had golden blonde hair with wild spikes that stood defiantly atop his head. Though two spikes seemed to hang low, almost appearing like bangs framing each side of his face. Bright azure eyes looked up at his teacher-to-be.

Iruka glanced down towards the boy, who seemed quite small. As well as not being very talkative it seemed, making it easy to miss him at first glance. Though the three unique whisker marks on each side of the boy's cheeks proved hard to forget him when you did.

The boy held the Kyuubi, he knew that much. While never interacting with him personally he had overheard the occasional rumors from the villagers while out and bout. Some going as far as to believe the Kyuubi had taken the form of the boy in front of him, waiting for them to drop their guards before attempting to destroy the village once again. Having been full of grief, he hated to admit he once thought like that. Thankfully, he had come to terms with the death of his parents, realizing how misguided it was to place any blame on a child whose only crime was having the unfortunate timing of being born on the day of the Kyuubi attack. Putting on what he hoped was a comforting smile. He waved back to the boy.

"Nice to meet you Naruto."

The boy only gave a small nod causing the Hokage to sighed at Naruto's reaction or lack thereof. Turning back to look at Iruka, feeling the discomfort that he even had to say these words. "I hope you will treat young Naruto here with the same care you do the rest of your students Iruka-San."

"Of course Hokage-sama, you have nothing to worry about from me."

The Hokage nodded glancing back to the boy next to him. He hoped he was doing the right thing. He wanted the boy to have a semblance of a normal childhood and he was hoping the academy would do that. He needed to be around other children, who'd treat the boy as anybody else and not the unfortunate burden he carried. He could only pray the students' ignorant parents hadn't already poisoned their minds. This is why he had chosen this year to enroll Naruto at the academy, there were a lot of clan kids in the class. Who've parents were much more knowledgeable and less proned to spread any kind of misinformation down to their children.

He had tried to do all he could for the boy the past 8 years. He, unfortunately, didn't have the same power and control over the council he had during his first term, most seeing him as a stop-gap between Hokages. Which didn't leave him much help in trying to give the boy a somewhat stable life. Between most of them wanting to lock the boy away, and the others wanting to turn the boy into the weapon they believed him to be. He had barely been able to muster all the sway he had left in getting the boy into his own apartment and providing him a monthly stipend. It wasn't much but the boy was safe for now. The anbu he assigned to watch the boy providing him some relief, Kakashi being a regular volunteer whenever he wasn't signing up for suicide missions. The man never has been able to get over the death of his team. Watching over his sensei's son, supplying him with books and other small gifts has been his way of trying to atone for his made-up sins. He's tried to push him into having some sort of relationship with Naruto but he's preferred staying a silent ward.

Even with all that he knew it wasn't enough that if Minato and Kushina saw how their son was living, they'd be heartbroken. They'd never forgive him and the village they had given their lives to protect. He was fully aware of his shortcomings but he truly did want the best for the boy. Hopefully, this will be the start of things turning around for him.

Putting his hand on the boy's shoulder. "Be good and listen to Iruka please."

Naruto looked up at the old man and nodded, before making his way towards his new teacher.

"He's quite smart hopefully, he'll be able to show that here." The aged Kage said to Iruka, a somber look on his face. "I'll see you around Naruto boy." Softly saying over his shoulder as he walked out the academy with his anbu in tow.

Iruka opened the door and motioned the boy into the classroom. "Come on Naruto let's introduce you to everybody."

"Wanna say a little something bout yourself Naruto?"

The boy looked at his new sensei and then at the crowd of children in front of him. Cursing the old man for forcing him to come here. He was perfectly fine being left alone in his apartment to read the books that kept turning up on his windowsill. He didn't know how they got there but he wasn't complaining, reading he found was a fun way to escape. Books about adventuring, ninjas, even talking dogs. He hoped he would be able to thank whoever was leaving them someday.

The Hokage disagreed though which is why he was here now, being forced to talk to a room full of strangers. Who most likely hated him if his past interactions with people were anything to go by. He didn't have much to say, ever since the old man took him out of the orphanage and gave him his apartment he's hardly left it. Quickly coming to enjoy the comfort the walls brought from all the cold glares and silent whispers he got from the rest of the world. Other than the occasional visit to Ichiraku's, a little ramen stand in the middle of town. Coming across it one day while walking home after picking up his monthly stipend from the Hokage tower. The smell attracting him like a moth to a flame. He stepped into the stand expecting to get thrown out like most of the other stores and restaurants he had been to. For some reason they allowed him to eat, the pretty waitress even talked with him a bit while waiting for his order. Telling him her name was Ayame and her dad was the owner. When he was finished they both told him he was welcome back anytime. Since then it's been the only place he'd willingly leave his apartment for. He sighed his hand nervously moving towards the back of his neck. He looked up to his teacher hoping he just let him go sit down somewhere.

"Naruto, you don't have to say anything if you don't want to, ok?"

Quickly nodding to Iruka hoping he understood without talking that he definitely didn't want to say anything, thankfully it looked like his new sensei understood nod-no-jutsu.

Iruka smiled down at the boy. "Go ahead and take a seat next to that girl over by the window"

Pointing to a desk on the far right of the room two rows back. Next to a window where a girl with long black hair was looking out of. He walked over to the empty seat. Unsure if the girl knew he was standing by the seat next to her. The way she was glaring out the window was intense. He wondered what the window had done to receive such ire from her. Not wanting to be yelled at, he decided it'd be better to ask before he just took a seat. "May I sit here?"

Sasuke turned to her right, a boy with blue eyes looking at her. Black eyes blinking back, she had obviously missed something. She didn't recognize him from anybody in the class, but to be fair she never really put much effort into socializing with her peers. She was always observant though and the boy in front of her would've been easy to remember. With his orange hoodie and blonde hair, he'd be hard to miss. "Who are you?"

The boy looked at her with a sad smile. She hated that sad smile. It reminded her of someone. Her eyebrow now raised waiting for an answer. "Naruto"

"Do what you want." she said shrugging before going back to staring out the window, seconds later she felt him move the chair beside her and sit down.

Seeing the boy take a seat, Iruka turned to the board to begin his lesson for the day. The class returning to its normal routine. Iruka teaching, kids not listening, Iruka yelling at the kids not listening. Glancing at the boy next to her. His arms folded on the desk, head resting on them, eyes closed. He's definitely one of the kids not listening. Wondering if he had fallen asleep. Surprised Iruka hadn't yelled at him, she poked him on his shoulder. He turned his head in her direction eyes still closed. "Yes?"

Annoyed that he didn't even open his eyes to look at her. "Iruka-sensei is gonna yell at you soon if you don't at least pretend to pay attention and since you're sitting next to me I'll be wrapped up his in wrath as well."

"He won't bother us." He said eyes still closed. She should've just turned away after that but her curiosity getting the better of her. "How do you know that?" A small scowl on her face.

Finally opening his eyes to look at her, blue staring into black. "I'm new, and the Hokage told him to be nice to me. I figure I got today and maybe tomorrow before he'd say anything to me." Not waiting for a reply his eyes closed presumably to drift off to sleep.

Her eyes blinking, not what she was expecting him to say but agreeing with the logic. When she had first came back from the incident, Iruka didn't bother her at all. Not calling on her to answer any questions, just letting her stare out the window. So yeah, he'd most likely do the same for this sleepy new kid at least for today anyway.

Letting the problem go she turned back to her window. Half listening to Iruka teach, half letting her hate fester with thoughts of him. The rest of the morning flying by. Before she knew it Iruka was dismissing the class.

"I'll see you guys after lunch" she looked up to see most of the kids already out the door. The boy next to her is in the same position she last left him. Rolling her eyes she poked him on the shoulder, a little harden the last time. Unable to understand why she had decided for some reason to be the boys caretaker for the day.

"Wake up, it's lunchtime. You wouldn't want to be caught eating lunch with the teacher on your first day. That'd be pretty embarrassing." A small smirk on her face.

Removing his head from the desk and sitting up. "I was never asleep and I kind of didn't know I was attending the academy today so I didn't bring any lunch."

What a weird boy.

"Hn," she said walking past him to the door.

She sat under a tree, far away from anyone. Enjoying her self-prepared lunch, something she took surprise pride in. It would never live up to her mother's cooking but she enjoyed keep a piece of that happiness alive. When she had started at the academy, her mother would always pack her the best lunches. Leaving small notes inside.

Have a great day Sasu-chan

I love you, see u after school

Study hard so you can grow strong like onii-San

She missed her so much. Forcing herself to think about anything else. Her thoughts drifted to her new desk mate.

I wonder why he enrolled so late, and what did he mean by the Hokage telling Iruka-sensei to be nice to him? He didn't look like he was from any important clan, except for maybe an Inzuka with those whisker-like marks on his cheeks. Only I've never seen an Inzuka with his hair color. Maybe he's related to the Hokage somehow. No, they look nothing alike and his last name wasn't even Sarutobi it was... I don't actually know what it is.

Taking another bite of her lunch, reminding herself to ask him his last name later. Her thoughts shifting to his sad smile, dread spreading across her face. She knew exactly who that sad smile reminded her of. Itachi used to smile like that. Whenever she asked him to teach her something he'd look at her with that sad smile, poke her forehead with his middle and index fingers. Saying 'Sorry Sasuke maybe some other time' only for that other time to never come.

Forcing herself to swallow the food in her mouth. Hands balling into a fist, appetite officially ruined. Getting up, she straightened out her blue Uchiha encrusted shirt before wiping off the back of her white shorts of any dirt or grass. She grabbed the bag with the rest of her lunch. Heading inside the school, back to the classroom.

She opened the door, Iruka was behind his desk doing whatever teachers do, she didn't care to investigate further. She looked towards her window he was still there, head down, one eye open looking at her. She walked to their table, placing the bag with the rest of her lunch in front of him.

Naruto looked at the bag and then at the girl. Tilting his head to the side. "What's this?"

"Food, I packed too much" she lied "and you didn't bring any, made sense to give it to you instead of just tossing it." She lazily said not thinking much of it. He could count on one hand the number of people who have done something nice for him and sharing your food with someone definitely counts as nice in his opinion. Lost for words and not wanting her to think he didn't want the food. Tearing his eyes away from her, quickly digging into the bag.

Thoughts swirling, stealing glances at the girl next to him between each bite. Realizing he forgot to say thank you. Swallowing the food in his mouth he turned to call out to her then stopped when he realized something pretty important. He didn't know her name, deciding to do what she did, he poked her arm.

She turned to him, word already forming on her mouth. "if you dont want it just toss it I dont really care."

"No, no I'm eating it, its just I kinda don't know your name." Hand creeping up behind his neck itching to rub it, cheeks turning red.

A small smirk forming across her lips. "Sasuke"

"Thank you Sasuke" he said with a quick bow of his head, before going back to eating.

She was taken back by the sincerity in his voice. It was just food. Chalking it up to his weirdness, she watched him eat for a few seconds before putting letting her head rest in her hand. "Your welcome."

He stopped eating to look at her and smiled. Not that pathetically sad smile that he gave her earlier. No this was a real smile.

She decided she liked that smile.

The next two hours passed by like usual for her. The only thing of note was Iruka saying they'd be starting their Taijustsu sparring by the end of the week. She was very much looking forward to that. She needed to get stronger and improving her Taijustsu was definitely a start. Surprisingly the boy next to her wasn't asleep when Iruka told them, he was sitting up actually listening. Giving him a look he just shrugged back.

"See you tomorrow, be safe getting home everyone."

The class noise rose exponentially as the kids talked amongst themselves, excited to go home for the day. Naruto didn't move though, still seated just silently watching everyone leave.

"Your new so maybe you didn't know but see everyone leaving? That means we are done for the day." She said sarcastically, Naruto giving her a small scowl. "I know that, I just don't like being in crowds." He said watching the final kids step out into the hall, leaving just them and their teacher.

"Well everybody's gone so come on before Iruka-sensei thinks you want to talk or something unless you do want to talk to him? In which case I'll leave you be." She said maneuvering around him, walking towards the exit.

Naruto definitely not wanting that, quickly followed after. She couldn't help but let out a small snort hearing him practically run out of the room before catching up to her. She stepped out of the academy doors, hurrying to get past the gates away from everyone. Noticing her desk mate was not behind her, she turned to see him at the foot of the stairs. She watched his eyes darting around the courtyard, observing all the different forms of greetings. An expression she sees far too often on his face. His eyes met hers quickly walking towards her before stopping next at the gates. He glanced at the dirt road in front of him then back to her. Hands in his pocket he started walking.

Figuring she had to go that way anyways she followed a few feet behind, eventually making up enough ground to be side by side him. Neither said a word, they eventually made their way into a busier part of the village.

She quickly felt the stares, annoyed knowing he must've noticed. Imagine her surprise when she looked up to scowl back did she find them looking past her and right to Naruto. She could feel the hate and fear radiating off almost every person in the vicinity, all of it condensely focused on the boy next to her. Confused she glanced to her right, if they bothered him he didn't show it. Still shuffling beside her, hands shoved in the pockets of his black cargo pants. The only difference was the hoodie part of his orange jacket was now covering his golden spikes.

Not used to being on the other side in this situation she wasn't sure what to say or do. If she was alone she would've already ducked into an alleyway taking the backstreets home. Noticing he had closed the space between them, on purpose or not she didn't know. Figuring it must be bothering him more than he showed she slightly bumped shoulders with him. He looked up from the spot of dirt he'd been staring at, focusing his eyes on hers. The look on his face telling her all she needed to know.

Naruto had never hated the villagers more than this moment. He should've known his good luck wouldn't continue. He had actually met someone his age who didn't immediately tell him to get lost. Now here they were assuming their usual role in fucking up his life. He felt her look his way immediately after crossing into the busy street. He had come to ignore the glares over time but what he was feeling now was different than anything he could remember. The embarrassment and shame he felt welling up inside him for putting her in this situation was making him sick. He couldn't help imagining what she was thinking, no doubt coming to the realization everyone else did about him. He hadn't even noticed himself moving closer to her, trying to hold onto whatever this was for just a bit longer. Pathetic. He threw his hoodie over his head. He stared at the ground in front of him waiting for the inevitable. Soon enough he felt her bump his shoulder. Dreading the look he would see, he slowly turned to meet her face. He almost let himself feel hope when he didn't see the usual look of hate staring back. He tried to smile at her, it looked more like a grimace. She looked at him before running off. He could never remember a time in his 8 years of life where he'd felt worse.

"Come on," she said standing in the middle of the dirt road a few feet in from of him.

He blinked at her. He blinked again. She was still standing there, with a stoic expression.

He felt the dread wash away before running after her, not a clue where they'd end up. Just happy she still wanted him around.

They ran through the village, cutting through alleyways. Ignoring everything in their peripheral, the cool breeze shooting past them. Finally coming to a stop in front of a small hill both taking deep breaths, providing their burning lungs with some comfort. He put his on hands his knees, he was not used to much physical activity. She was fairing much better, breaths already steadying. He looked around taking in the clear blue lake in front of him, surrounded by the large trees Konoha was known for. Finally standing up straight, his breath somewhat resembling a normal person. She nodded ahead before walking down the hill towards the lake, he followed. She's obviously been here before cause she headed straight for a small dock overlooking the lake, walking to the end before taking a seat. Him plopping down right after.

Staring peacefully across the clear water, only the occasional bird flying above making a sound. Both enjoying the silent company. He leaned back resting his arms behind him. Wondering if this was what having a friend was like.

Sasuke meanwhile was contemplating how she ended up here. Today had been completely different for the first time in months. Her thoughts were still filled with thoughts of that day and how she would eventually kill him but for some reason, she had kept injecting herself into the weird kid's problems. She didn't have time for any of this so why did keep helping him?

I shouldn't have cared that he didn't bring a lunch but I did, purposefully not throwing the rest of mine away to give it to him. I should've gone a different way instead of walking with him but I didn't. I shouldn't have cared about the lonely broken expression he had on his face in the middle of the village but I did. Going as far as to bring him here, the place I've been coming to since I was 5 years old. The one spot where I come to escape from reality.

She sighed glancing at him, thankful he had the lazy look back on his face.

Those hateful glares flashing in her mind, she turned to ask him what they were all about.

"Why were they looking at you like that?"

He flinched at the question, eyes gazing across the water. "I don't know, but it's been like that for as long as I can remember. I've asked the old man to tell me but he always just says I'll win them over eventually. Whatever the hell that means."

Pushing away thoughts of who this old man was, slightly miffed she wasn't going to get an answer but believing he was telling her all he knew. Continuing to look across the lake. She could feel him fidgeting next to her.

"I'm sorry" waiting till he had her attention "I'm used to the treatment by the rest of the village but you shouldn't have had to deal with them because of me."

She stared at him, wondering how the hell he could think he owed her an apology.

"The villagers suck and I can deal with a few stares. You have nothing to be sorry about, so don't worry bout it ok?"

He looked at her and nodded before turning away to wipe his eyes. Trying to get his emotions in check, he abruptly stood up. She stared at him her eyebrow raised in that familiar manner he was quickly getting used to.

"I don't know why you have been so nice to me all day but thank you. I promise to repay your kindness somehow. See you tomorrow Sasuke." Awkwardly giving a small bow before running off.

She watched him until his golden spikes crossed over the small hill. Alone again, gazing across the calm water of the lake.

I guess I can spare a few hours a day if it makes him happy. I don't care either way.

She smirked.

Maybe these next four years won't be so bad after all.

A/N: hi this is my first attempt at a story so sorry if it's not the best. It'll be AU eventually and Sasuke's a girl. It'll mostly focus on Naruto and Sasuke's closer relationship than in cannon and how that affects the universe at large. My Naruto will be different but still hold the core values of the character but expect a few differences. Anyways if you read all this and enjoyed the fic you have my utmost gratitude. If you didn't like it well I'm sorry but any constructive criticism is much appreciated.