Disclaimer: Naruto is not mine

Claimer: All the Songs/Poems you will find in the chapters ARE MINE! NO TOUCHIES!!! NO! bah…

Pairings: SasuNaru… do you really expect something different from me? Come on…

Summary: Uzumaki Naruto is a poet. Uchiha Sasuke is an artist. When both of them are forced to work on an English project together, they realize something about themselves and the misgivings of others.

I Bleed Black
Chapter One

Thirteen year old Uzumaki Naruto just one amongst the hundreds gathered at Konohagakure, yet for some reason (of which he had no knowledge) people spat upon him, scorned him and tried to make him feel down.

Naruto did his best to ignore such things. He walked with his head held high and his smile still on his face.

And why shouldn't he? There were hundreds of people here, why should he be singled out amongst the throng and hated above the rest? Sure there must be others that shared his predicament. Unfortunately, if there were others, Naruto did not meet them.

He was a rather short boy, with sunshine golden hair and bright sea-blue eyes. He skin was tanned from many days he spent outside, usually reading some book or another beneath a tree. If there was one thing that Naruto loved above all else – it was Nature. He wasn't all that fond of humans, but the rest of Nature was a Godsend for him. Beneath an old oak, comfortably resting upon its roots, with a good book in hand, Naruto could forget about the hatred of others and instead tune into the predicaments that had come across fictional characters that he sometimes found himself relating to.

It was on one such day, when he was beneath an oak and reading a book called The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain when he first met the one person that would acknowledge his existence. Of course, such acknowledgement did not come right away.

That person was the polar opposite of our hero, with raven-black hair and dark coal-eyes; with pale skin and an emotionless expression. This boy was Uchiha Sasuke. Naruto had only seen him a few times, as they shared most of their classes together, but had never really talked to said boy before.

Sasuke was the one that approached him first; enticed with curiosity about what the blonde was reading. Usually, in order to escape the girls that swooned whenever he breathed, Sasuke would spend his time in the library for the peace and quiet that he needed. Unfortunately, the library was currently under reconstruction and no students were allowed inside, so Sasuke was looking for another spot in which he could spend some time in peace (besides his stuffy dorm room) when he spotted Naruto.

"What are you reading?" he asked, getting straight to the point. Sasuke wasn't one to dodge around the bush.

"The Prince and the Pauper, if you have to know," Naruto grumbled, not even knowing who was speaking to him. He hated being disturbed in his reading, much like Sasuke did, but neither knew that they were alike in any way at the current moment.

Sasuke smiled. "The Prince and the Pauper, eh?" he asked softly, unaware that he was speaking aloud.

"Yes, if you must know!" Naruto snapped, looking up for the first time. He glared at the other boy, who merely stared back expressionlessly.

"What part are you up to?" Sasuke inquired, taking a seat next to the blonde.

"I'm just at the part where Edward Tudor is meeting Sir Myles," Naruto replied, turning the page.

"Sir Myles is one of my favorite characters!" Sasuke told him. He was surprised at himself, actually. Normally it took more than a few answers for him to "open up" to anyone, but around the blonde, his guard was dropped. He just felt calmer, more at ease, around him. It was unexplainable.

"Really?" Naruto asked. "I've always liked Tom Canty best, but Sir Myles was a close second."

"Why do you like Tom, because he's the victim?"

"No… it's more because he's a lot like me."

"Don't tell me you have an abusive father…" Sasuke warned.

Naruto laughed. I actually don't have any parents, he thought to himself, but when he answered aloud, he said, "No, nothing like that. It's because no matter what life throws his way – Tom never loses sight of himself. He doesn't want to be King; he just wants to be acknowledged by someone. Yeah… something like that."

Sasuke nodded. He leaned back against the tree and pulled out his own book, which was none other than Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Naruto ogled at the book for a moment. "I've always wanted to read that," he muttered to himself. He was unaware that Sasuke was listening to him.

"This was the first Mark Twain book I ever read," Sasuke confessed.

"Really? The first one I read was A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and I never had a chance to read about Tom."

"Why not? It's a common book."

"Just never had the time."

All of the sudden, the two boys looked up as they heard a slight rumbling in the ground. The rumbling grew louder and louder and it was heading straight towards them.

"What's that?" Naruto asked. Fear was evident in his blue eyes.

Sasuke was about to answer when the shout of "SASUKE-KUN!" roared towards them. He groaned instead, his face becoming unreadable once more. Before he could turn to Naruto to ask him his name, the blonde had disappeared. Looking around for the boy, Sasuke jumped up… and was tackled to the ground before he could take a step by his overbearing fan club. He didn't even know any of the girls' names… why him?

The next day, Naruto stepped into his Lit Class – which meant he had a full two hours with Iruka-sensei, his teacher. He was the first one to arrive. Walking to the back of the class, he sat down in his usual corner seat. Even though he loved the Lit Class, he found that, if he sat anywhere else, people would forcibly make him move. It was better just to sit back here and save the time. Sitting down, he opened his notebook and began to write.

Naruto loved to write poetry, that and song lyrics. In fact, if there was something that he had to say he was good at – it would be poetry. Slowly uncapping a pen, he put the tip to the paper, allowing the words to just flow out from wherever they came from.

Are you here to save me?
Or throw me out the door?
The rain, it patters gently
Compared to the insults you pour

I was born under this lamppost
Then set out to make a name
I grew up on the road, always going far
How did we end up here again?

I have nowhere to turn (nowhere to turn)
Its all about the crash and burn
I see my death, I see my fall
I'll crash, I'll burn, fearing tomorrow's dawn

I'm worthless, fallen, turned into Shadow
I'm dizzy and in pain, can't think, can't breath
My heart is stone, iced in solitude
My hair is soaking wet, my tears disappear

Are you here to save me?
Or is your love something I dreamed?

I don't care if you don't think I exist
I'll just sit here and slit my wrists
The pain, its blinding me –
Maybe I wasn't supposed to fall

It's not too late to save me
It's not too late to care
It's not too late to grab my hand
Before I fall into despair

I have nowhere to turn (nowhere to turn)
It's all about the crash and burn (crash and burn)
I see my death, I see my fall
I'll crash, I'll burn, fearing tomorrow's dawn

Looking at his poetry, Naruto felt a sudden rage fill him. He capped the pen, slamming it onto his desk. Grabbing the paper, he balled it up and threw it before hiding his face in his arms.

It hurt.

The stares.

The hate.

The pain of silence and solitude.

The pain of knowing that nobody needs you.

That no one would care if you didn't exist.

It hurt.

When Naruto had thrown the paper, Sasuke was just walking into class. It hit his shoulder and he looked down at the balled up thing before looking up at where it came from. Seeing Naruto made him pick it up, for unknown reasons - maybe it was because the projectile didn't seem to be aimed for him, it was just aimed to get rid of. He slowly unfolded it as he took his seat, which was the corner seat opposite of Naruto's.

Dropping his bookbag to the floor, he began to read what was scrawled messily down. And he realized something. Something that maybe not even Naruto knew about.

Sasuke realized that Naruto had talent.

He was contemplating what to do – whether he should approach Naruto or not – when the rest of the class filed in. Iruka-sensei was the last one in, as he held the door for their Art Teacher, Kakashi. Many of the students wondered about this. Iruka noticed their expressions. He called for quiet. Looking around, he smiled to himself.

"All right, class," he called out. The class, even Naruto and Sasuke, paid attention to the man. "Your Art and Literature Classes will be joining in order to form an all-term project. I will hand out the first part of it in just a moment. Kakashi-sensei and I have been working on this for a while, and we have partnered you up. Yes, this is a partner project." He paused, holding a stack of papers in his hand. "And before you ask… there will be no changes in our decision."

A lot of moans could be heard throughout the classroom. Iruka calmly handed out the papers. When Sasuke got his, he looked down and read.

Lit/Art Project

This project is for you to find out abut your partner. Through the works of art, poetry, storytelling, journalism and drama, you will learn all there is to know about your partner.

I.Before You Get to Know Them

-Draw a portrait of your partner without having asked them anything about themselves. Relate them to what you think of them.

-Write a short summary about your partner, how you and the world views them.

-Find a character from a story or a play that you think acts like your partner

Remember, this is an all term project. The first part will be due a week after the assignment is given. The day this part is due is the day that you will receive your next assignment.

Umino Iruka
Hatake Kakashi

"All right, I will now be telling you who your partners are," Iruka said. The class paid close attention.

"Sakura and Ino."

"Hinata and Neji."

"Chouji and Shikamaru."

"Kiba and Shino."

"Naruto and Sasuke."

Naruto's head snapped up, as he had been doodling on the assignment paper. Sasuke? The guy with the fanclub? This was definitely going to be a bitch. Iruka went through the rest of the list.

"All right, get together with your partner."

Sasuke and Naruto moved closer to each other, meeting in the middle of the room. Sasuke was wondering what he should say to Naruto. It was obvious that he should say something, but Sasuke wasn't a conversationalist.

Naruto, on the other hand, was wondering about the characters in the new manga he was reading and whether they would be okay. He hated the author for ending where she did and at the same time, loved her for creating the story. He accidentally ran into Sasuke, which didn't help Sasuke's nerves. The dark-haired boy glared down at the blonde.

"Gomen nasai," Naruto said apologetically, grinning and rubbing the back of his head. "That was an accident. Sorry!"


"So… shall we start on this thing?" Naruto asked.


"Can you say something else?"

Sasuke didn't even bother answering as he took a seat and pulled out his sketchpad. He was a good artist. He wondered if Naruto was. It was a school for art and writing, but he wasn't entirely sure about the abilities of everybody here.

His pencil ran over the paper quickly, creating the lines that were to become his partner. He could tell that his partner was doing the same. Sasuke just allowed the pencil to create the drawing, bringing his memories of the boy to still life in the picture. After an hour, Sasuke deemed himself complete.

His picture showed Naruto leaning against a tree, grinning at whoever was looking at it. In his hand was a book, but you couldn't tell what the title was. The tree made even more shadings on his face than Sasuke had originally intended. All in all, it showed the sunshine Naruto that he was used to seeing around campus. Looking closer, he realized that he had brought something to paper as well.


But he didn't know why… or where it had come from. He just knew that the smile in his picture looked forced. His eyes didn't twinkle as much as they should have. Sasuke wondered how the hell he had drawn that when he had never noticed that in real life. Looking at the blonde now, he noticed it – a little bit, for the blonde was obviously a good actor. Instead of scorning Kakashi and Iruka, like he normally would have been, Sasuke found himself thanking them for this opportunity in his head.

Naruto looked down at his drawing. He had finally completed it. It was most definitely a dark sketch. The Uchiha was sitting in his seat, elbows on the desk with his fingers entwined in front of him. He rested his head lightly on his fingers, staring off into space. That, in and of itself, wasn't too dark, but the shading that he had done made it seem much more worrisome. Almost as though it were raining over the pale teenager.

Naruto had the strong desire to lighten the picture, so he drew half a dozen fangirls in the background, who were looking kind of depressed that Sasuke was ignoring them. Naruto couldn't help snickering at this picture. He looked up at Sasuke, to notice that the boy was staring at him.

"Hey, what did you draw of me?" he asked, bouncing closer, looking over the boy's shoulder. Sasuke blushed when Naruto did this. He wasn't the kind of kid that liked to show off his talents in art. Anything else, why not? But art was something more private for him.

However he couldn't hide the picture since Naruto had already saw it. Naruto looked at the sketch of him and a gentle smile graced his features. "I like it," he murmured softly.

Sasuke grabbed Naruto's sketchbook before the boy could do anything to stop him. He looked at the page it was open to – which was his picture (of course) and found himself trying to hold back laughs. The girls' expressions were just too much for him as the classroom rang with a laughter they all hadn't heard before.

Looking around, the students finally saw Sasuke, who was clutching his sides and actually laughing.

Half of them, including Iruka and Kakashi, looked as though they were about to have a heart attack. The other half (which was, of course, his fanclub) looked as though they wanted to slaughter Naruto.

Naruto just blushed and hid himself behind Sasuke's sketchbook.

Hiya, minna-san. What do you think of this chapter? I know that Sasuke was a little OOC, but whatever. This fic is AU… no magick/ninja stuff. Just two thirteen-year-old boys going through life. Yeah… I'm gonna have so much fun with this. That particular poem is called "Crash and Burn". I wrote it one day out of the blue and kept it around because I liked it.

So don't steal it, okay?