Title: The Boys of summer

Rating: PG-13

Pairings: GaaNaru, NejiSasu

Author Note: I've heard that Japanese school year starts around springtime, but I don't know for sure, please tell me if that was correct or not.

Also, this is Neji's last year at high school, so he is around 18 years of age, which makes Naruto, Sasuke and Gaara around 17.

They were out of school. Actually, they cut in the middle of the school day and probably few of the teacher to teach them later on were gonna get their heads on a plait for it, but it didn't seem to bother them one bit. Autumn was coming now rapidly, and there was no way they could ignore their chance to enjoy the last month of summer.

Getting out wasn't much of a problem; wait for a break in-between classes, sneak, watch for no one to see you and you're out. Simple as that.

Neji was already at the school parking lot, waiting for the other three. One of a very wealthy family, he had a car. One of them fancy convertible machines, with a quite engine and leather seats.

He smiled a bright smile of recognition at the three that were just getting out of the school grounds, and with no words exchanged tossed a chain-key to one of them, a blond, who caught it with ease, puzzled expression etching on his tan complexion. Neji said nothing, only slung one of his hands the around another member of the group's shoulders, a black-blue haird boy.

"You drive", he said simply, casually, from around his shoulder, filling into the silver colored car.

Naruto flashed a cheeky smile at the redhead that stood beside him, and seated himself in the driver's seat.

"You hear that? I get to drive Neji's car!" he yelled in excitement. The red-head, who seated himself in the passenger seat leaned over, his palm holding the stirring-wheel for support as he gave a chaste kiss on one whisker-mark like scarred cheek, and drawled lazily in his deep voice "yes".

Naruto leaned back in his seat, opened the radio in super-high volume, and started the engine with a grin.

"But I can see you your brown skin shinin' in the sun

You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby

And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong

After the boys of summer have gone..."

And, Naruto knew he was more screaming to the music than actually singing, but he didn't really care. He was trying to concentrate on the road before him, but it was tough, what with all the commotion that was going on the backseat and all.

He glanced to his right side; Gaara was in such position that his knees were sitting on Neji's leather seats, but his head and arms were actually on the back part of the vehicle.

Naruto took a deep breath, just as Gaara turned over in his seat, looking smug and rather red in the face.

During the instrumental intermission between the first chorus and the second verse, he yelled at Gaara (to overcome the load noise of the song-in-play) to tell the other two to quit fooling around (as soon as he let those words out he felt disgustingly like someone's parent).

"They'll make me drive into a tree or something!" he added as an explanation. Gaara smiled at him sadly; he new Naruto wanted to be back there as well. So that his yellow-haired counterpart won't feel neglected, he decided to keep him some company.

The second verse started, and Naruto began his, what he called, singing. Gaara relaxed into his own seat. Those two back there will just have to do without him.

"I never will forget those nights I wonder if it was a dream

Remember how you made me crazy? Remember how I made you scream (Naruto looked at the side while singing this to give a meaningful glance to Gaara, and winked)

Now I don't understand what happened to our love

But baby, I'm gonna get you back

I'm gonna show you what I'm made of-"

He was going to sing the second chorus, but just then a pale hand reached his school uniform's pants, slowly stroking his inner thigh. With a surprised gasp, he looked down to find Gaara with slightly misty turquoise eyes, red hair shining on his head and a rather stiff bulge in his own dark-blue uniform pants. He gulped.

"G-G-Gaara...!", he whined, panting. Licking his now dry lips, the gulped down fresh air into his lungs, and swallowed his own spit again, sweat trickling down the side of his face. Gaara, on his part, took that as an agreement and continued with his ministrations, firming the stroke all the more as he went, and opening Naruto's zipper, leaning in even closer.

Naruto had to cut him off unless he wanted to get them into a tree, and that was out of question.

"Gaaraaaa-", he drawled above the music, throat dry with lust, his face burning a bright hew of red, "You-you have to q-quit it c-cause I don't think Neji w-will be thrilled if I h-happened to wreck his c-car, you know?" He gulped again.

Gaara knew Naruto didn't want him to stop, he'd seen his face, the longing, and those two back there were only making Naruto feel even more uncomfortable. He stopped all of a sudden, with a sigh. He knew Naruto was right about the car, too, and the likelihood of them getting to a hospital rather then where they intended to reach was extremely high in Naruto's current condition.

He pushed a button on the radio, lowering the volume, and sat comfortably in his seat, watching with deep interest crystalline blue fixed on the road ahead. He took in warm and fresh air that beat his rusty-red hair back, closing his eyes and focusing on bringing under control his own lust-filled urges.

From the back seat they heard a muffled sound of laughter and giggles.

They were entering a grove of trees now; Naruto driving on a narrow dust path that led to their destination. Blossoms of purple and pink and vibrant reds and oranges adorned the branches of the trees and the flowers on the ground. In some places, the tree's leaves turned golden and slightly brown. The shadows of the trees provided a blessed relief after the sunbathed outside, where was too hot for the beginning of October.

Gaara jumped on his seat and reached up; a small branch of some kind of tree held in one hand. He took one purple flower from it and tossed the twig into the forest floor, twirling the large flower between his long ivory fingers, and smiled.

"Here, it's for you", he told Naruto, and before the blond boy could respond, put the flower between Naruto's ear and a soft yellow strand of hair. "There", he said critically, like an artist examining his masterpiece. Naruto turned his head toward Gaara, sapphire blue gazing into aquamarine ones, and flashed him a huge smile, then quickly turned his head back to the road ahead, still smiling softly to himself.

"Okay, we're here!" The blond yelled, parking the car on the dirt-road-made-parking lot. The giggles and soft laughter from the backseat died suddenly, and Naruto turned in his seat for the first time to look back there, only to find the blushing face of Sasuke looking up at him, laying on top of a rather flushed Neji, panting. Neji's dark blue uniform jacket was tossed on the car's floor, the buttons of his white shirt opened, revealing milky-pale smooth flesh of an eighteen year old young man in his prime, light traces of teeth-marks and sucking-marks adorning the skin of his chest and stomach.

Sasuke stuttered words of apology to the two who looked at them with horrified expressions on their faces, buttoning up his own opened white shirt, seating himself on his heels, Neji's legs still between his. Naruto turned away from the sight and stalked out of the car, keys in hand, mumbling something like so, that's why Neji wanted him to drive, Gaara close in tow.

Sasuke and Neji looked at each other mid-buttoning and exchanged a knowing smirk. "Come on, lets get out of here", Sasuke said, leaning in for one last kiss on Neji's forehead.

"Yeah", was all he got for a reply. Seconds later they both got out of the car.

Naruto and Gaara were waiting for them outside, taking in the overwhelming beauty and serenity of nature. The grove was actually a national park. Comfortably placed outside of Konoha-City, just 20 minutes out of town, the park was perfect for travelers and for people that wanted to relax. But luckily for the four, they were visiting only in working days on hours most people were in school or work, so no one, except of them, was here now.

The group found out of this place by chance, one day, in the beginning of school year, when one of Naruto and Sasuke's classmates, Shikamaru, answered Naruto's inquiry on what he did during school break. Shikamaru said, in that lazy fashion he always talked, that he found "the best place to watch clouds". Naruto, curious by nature, asked where it was, and Shikamaru gave him the directions.

After many pleads with his friends, Naruto and the other three set to find the place.

Shikamaru talked about a huge, grassy field, but the four found only a grove. Apparently they took the wrong road out of town, being there few roads south of Konoha-City (neither rarely ever got out of town), and thus found this place. Naruto insisted to go in and look, and found heaven on earth.

This is well known to his friends that Uzumaki Naruto is fond of nature, to say the least. He adores every tree and flower, every rock and river and animal, even the big and dangerous ones (one time Gaara commented that Naruto was a forest animal in previous life. Naruto took it with a wide grin and nodded his head), so when he looked up at the high treetops he was out of breath, literally. All of them were.

That was few months ago. Since then, every few weeks they came here to relax, in the confines of nature's wide arms where everything was peaceful and silent, except birds chirping over-head and the quite sound of water falling from a tiny waterfall.

Naruto threw the key-chain to its owner and Neji caught it with ease, pressing a button on the tiny black plastic box. With a high-pitched sound, the car was locked.

With an arm around Gaara's slim waist, Naruto led the others down the path.

A few minutes of walking and chatting, telling jokes and laughing and they reached their destination. Located in the northern part of the grove was a small pool of a cold water natural spring. So small was the pool, in fact, that its size was only about no more then 20 square feet. The water came from a tiny waterfall which height was only a few feet drop to the pool's surface, and fell into the pool, gathering there, then continuing its way to a small stream, few feet wide. The pool itself was as deep as a standard swimming pool.

Sasuke sighed, and breathed in fresh, cool air.

The four of them were standing on a big bare rock-shelf right above the pool, the stream that formed the waterfall passing by them on the left. The start of the autumn season was near, one could see, by the golden leaves that fell to the water or littered on the ground.

"So, what happened next?" Naruto prodded Neji on continuing his story.

"Not much. I just told her I'm sorry and she forgave me", the boy with the long raven hair and milky white eyes said, opening the buttons of his white shirt. The dark blue tie and jacket of his uniform remained in his car, along with the others'. Those were just a bother to drag along if it wasn't necessary, out of school grounds.

"That's it? Man, I thought Hinata will hate you forever after doing that to her", Naruto sighed. Sometimes, Neji's cousin just wasn't making any sense at all! He removed his dark blue pants and folded them, lying them on the rock's surface by his black shoes.

"I guess you don't know Hinata that well like you thought, Naruto. She'd forgive you if you'd kill her favorite pet, only if you'd say 'I'm sorry'." Neji's sigh seemed to come from his bare pale toes, so deep was it. Hinata was such a good person he feared the day someone would take advantage of her one way or another.

He opened the black leather belt around his narrow waist, and opened the two buttons and fly of his own dark pants.

"I guess not..." Naruto answered. Neji turned his head to look at him.

Standing akimbo with a buttoned-up white shirt that came to his hips and green boxer pair that barely showed beneath, soft breeze playing with his softer, shining yellow hair with a purple flower stuck between a blond strand and a tan ear, Naruto was looking around. Neji's heart almost ached at Naruto's utter beauty, standing in front of him, dressed like that, looking all innocent and happy.

All traces of the conversation about Hinata forgotten. He gulped the spit that suddenly gathered in his mouth and shook his head as if to clear his mind.

He looked to his other side, at where Gaara was sitting on the rock, taking off his shoes and socks.

The dark pants fell from his slim hips and gathered at his ankles. Neji bent over and picked them up of the cool rock.

"You okay?" asked a smooth, deep voice. Neji's head whipped up fast, startled. Sasuke looked down at him, face straight of any emotion. He wore only short navy-blue boxers on, that reached only to his mid-thigh, milky, pale skin that looked good, felt soft and tasted even batter. Sasuke's dark blue-black hair shone in the few stray sunrays that penetrated the shades of the trees.

Neji shivered as a sudden tremor passed along his spine. Sasuke...

He knew he gawked at him, with open mouth and eyes as big as teacups, and that he looked very stupid, so he shut his mouth quickly. Sasuke was waiting for an answer.

"Y-yeah. I'm-- I'm just fine..." He stumbled over the words, not looking in the deep chasms that were Sasuke's eyes, straightening up, the image of Sasuke like he was now burned into his mind. Sasuke smiled softly at him. Neji folded his pants and placed them on the rock by his shirt and shoes.

"What has gone into you?" he almost laughed at him, "you're all zoned out. Are you sick or something?" he asked with a frown. "No," Neji defended, "no, I'm quiet alright. I'm great, in fact" his lips bent in a weak, reassuring smile. But not waiting for any counter answer he led the black-eyed teen to the edge of the rock shelf, prodding Sasuke with his hands on his back, his fingers brushing the small tattoo Sasuke had on his left shoulder. They both looked down.

The shelf's height was only about 6 feet to the water surface, but even though the distance was small, looking down gave them a small rush of adrenaline.

"You ready?" Sasuke asked, looking at Neji straight in the eyes, charcoal-black boring into chalk-white. Neji nodded, and took a breath of sweet, flower-scented air.

And jumped.

They weren't suspended long in the air, though, and gravity took its toll, and forced them down. And down they went, with a big splash, and somewhat of a muffled cry of excitement. Black hair strung in the ripples that massed about their faces like cobwebs, obscuring their sight. Neji's problem was larger, because his hair was much longer then Sasuke's, and was, therefor, in a need to wipe the hair from his eyes to be able to see.

"Oi! Don't drown down there! It'll be hard explaining it to the cops when someone finds two bodies floating downstream!" a voice called from above.

"Naruto! If you're going to stay up there I can't shut that big mouth of yours, can't I?" Sasuke called to the blond boy who sat on the edge of the rock shelf, slim tan legs dangling in midair.

Naruto's shirt was gone, so he was now only in his forest-green boxers. Beside the blond, silent as usual, Gaara stood, arms crossed over his thin, boyish chest, clad only in short black boxers that were, if possible, darker than the rings around his eyes. The black color of the shorts only made his pale skin turn out even more, making him somewhat ghostly.

Sasuke continued his teasing at the blond. "Why don't you come down here so we can talk face to face, huh?" he smiled a lopsided smile, splashing water in the blonde's direction for a good measure.

Naruto flashed a smile of his own towards Sasuke, and climbed back to standing position on the rock once more. "Alright, scoot!" he made a shooing gesture with his hand to the two in the water, wanting them to get out of his way, "the great Uzumaki Naruto is going to jump!" He whipped he head to the side, throwing Gaara a smirk "Be amazed". Gaara felt like rolling his eyes at him.

"Alright! Make way, make way! I'm going for the gold medal, so be ready down there!" Sasuke couldn't comment on that as the blond jumped.

Not much jumped as dive-bombed to the water, splashing the area in a 12 feet radius, including the two in the pool, who had to cover their faces from the oncoming water.

From high above Gaara smirked, and jumped in as well.

The water was cold, but it didn't bother those that were in it, except one. Gaara always hated the cold, and now he just shivered in the water. Golden leaves and colorful flower petals fell to the small stream, washed by the current to the waterfall and from there to the pool.

At some point the four of them were playing "water splashing" on one another (it started when Naruto saw Sasuke and Neji making out in the water. So he splashed them. The two splashed back and Gaara was somehow stuck in the middle, until he decided he had enough and returned all the water he got in his face back), or playfully trying to drown each other (that was Gaara to Sasuke after the black eyed teen commented on Naruto and Gaara's sexual habits).

At one point Naruto accidentally swallowed a mouthful of water and had a coughing fit that lasted few good minutes of Gaara worrying and Sasuke snickering hard and muttering "idiot", only to get a vicious glare from Gaara and a middle finger raised out of the water from the still-coughing Naruto.

Neji smirked beside Sasuke. "You should get out of his case sometimes". Sasuke turned in the water to face him, smiling. "Why should I? It's fun laughing at the stupid idiot. Isn't that right, Usura-tonkachi ga?" He called to Naruto, who didn't even bothered answering, recovering from the fit.

This was common, though, the insults Sasuke and Naruto exchanged all the time. They knew each other for too long to let that pesky thing to come between their friendship. It took some time and lots of efforts for Naruto to explain to Gaara the odd relationship the two shared, after the first time Sasuke insulted Naruto in front him. At that moment Gaara felt like breaking Sasuke's nose to a bloody pulp, but Naruto convinced him otherwise.

"That's how we communicate", he said, but that didn't help change Gaara's mind. After long weeks of hearing that, Gaara sort of... readjusted to the weird friendship the two had, but still had problems with it when Sasuke was extra-cocky for his taste.

That, of course, was about a year ago, when Naruto and Gaara only started dating. Sort of dating, more like 'spending quality time with the other', to be exact. Only this kind of "quality time" also involved night (and sometimes days too) 'activities', in which they always found themselves sweating in bad, panting heavily.

It took long time for Naruto to figure out that he was in love with another boy, and it very much confused the lights out of him when he talked to Neji about it one day.

"So, you're gay, so what?" Neji said that day. Neji had a way of not caring about things as insignificant as one's sexual preferences. He himself was going out with Naruto's classmate, Sasuke. "It was your fate", he said with a shrug.

"What to you mean, 'gay'?! I've never thought of guys that way, never! Fate, shmate, I don't care. Men aren't supposed to love other men like that. That's just wrong!" he huffed, crossing his arms.

"Then, what do you feel about that Gaara?" Neji asked, and Naruto blushed.

" I-I don't know.... " he mumbled weakly.

"You feel something for him, right?" Neji prodded on.

"Yeah...", he sort of said to himself than to Neji. "A lot actually...", but then he shook his head. "But he's a guy--"

"So what if he is? You like him, you said so yourself." Neji raised an eyebrow. He then sighed. "Look, sort things out in your head first, then talk to him. I'm sure you'll find it surprising that he looks at you with that same look in his eyes you have."

Naruto gapped his mouth at him in disbelief. "How do you know that?" He asked, frowning, but Neji only smiled, an amused gleam in his clear lily eyes.

"Let's just say I can see all.".

So, after two weeks of constant fighting with himself on what the hell went wrong with him, he figured he couldn't keep running from it forever (even if he was trying very hard on doing just that) - he had to tell Gaara what was on his mind.

That day, after school, Naruto got the stone out of his chest and a first kiss. He walked home smiling from ear to ear.

"So, Neji, what were you in the previous life?"

"I guess I was a bird"

Someone snorted. "Why a bird?" That was Sasuke.

They were lying on the stone shelf above the pool, trying to catch the lost rays of sun that got lost amid the treetops.

Gaara was the first to get out of the pool, claiming he was cold. Lips that wore a faint shade of purple and skin extra pale, shaking spasmodically, Gaara climbed out from the water to the soil edge of the pool, barefoot, soaking wet. He was trying to warm himself by causing friction between his arms and his palms, but to no avail, so he ran to the rock above where was slightly warmer.

He was still cold.

Naruto, after a minute climbed out of the pool too and walked to the rock, only to find Gaara sitting, hugging his legs, slightly rocking back and forth to warm himself. He smiled, and set beside Gaara, his wet boxer shorts staining the smooth rock with water.

"You okay?" he asked, a blond eyebrow raised at Gaara, who wasn't acting like Gaara at all.

"N-no" Gaara drawled out, teeth chattering audibly. Naruto sighed and reached out for his own white shirt, draping it around Gaara's shivering shoulders.


"'S nothing" he said, smiling warmly. Gaara was so kittenish right now it was so adorable, as Naruto rarely if never seen such behavior from the stern-faced Gaara.

Few minutes later, Neji and Sasuke were out as well, dripping water on the rock.

Now, they were just lying on their backs, Gaara snuggling in Naruto's arms for warmth, playing 'If you were an animal in your previous life, what were you?'

"A bird is free, it can fly wherever it wants to fly, to see places so far beyond others can't see".

"So, you wanna be a bird so you can be where no one else was before, is that it?" Naruto's voice sounded intrigued.

"I want to fly, to be free--"

"--What if you were a chicken?"

"Shut up!" Neji huffed, crossing his arms. The others laughed at him.

It was already settled that Naruto was some sort of a forest animal (but not of the cute kind, like rabbits, more like something that could be considered dangerous) like a fox, because he was so fond of nature, so it was kind of an inside joke between them.

"I was a tanuki".

"A raccoon?"

"Raccoons are not tanukis, that's another beast altogether. Tanukis are actually a special species dogs", Gaara explained.

"So, why tanuki?" Naruto asked.

"'Cause they are clever and cunning and they can do tricks on people and--"

"--They have huge balls!"

Gaara blinked. "Well, that too" he smirked.

Naruto snickered. Sasuke (Gaara and Naruto couldn't see him because Neji lay between them and Sasuke, obscuring the black eyed boy completely) shouted at Gaara and the giggling Naruto "Shut up! I don't want to know!"

Gaara wanted to answer him about that comment but Naruto clapped his hand over his mouth, signaling for him to be quiet. There was always tension in the air between those two.

"You know," Neji said, "tanukis and foxes are the masters of transformation in the old myths. They, like, can turn themselves to things or turn inanimate objects to other things."

"Like the thing with the money made out from leaves?"


"Cool." Naruto said, turning his head to look at Sasuke's general direction. "So, what were you in the past life, Sasuke?"

"I dunno", he said in a soft voice, looking into the branches over head. Silence fell on the group for few seconds, then-

"I'll tell you what you were. You were a porcupine!"

"What?!" Sasuke wasn't so calm about that comment. "What do you mea--"

"--Just look at you with that hair of yours. Not to mention your attitude all the time, always trying to shield yourself from things -", Naruto reasoned out. Gaara and Neji were laughing loudly, and he couldn't hold the tone from his voice as he was trying to stay calm and not burst out laughing. It would just ruin the joke!

"Che, whatever!' Sasuke huffed, and laughed as well, just quietly, so Naruto wouldn't hear. That'll give a bust to the blonde's huge ego.

His laughter died down but the soft smile still remained.

Today, Sasuke thought, life is good.

Usura-tonkachi ga- means something along the lines of "utter idiot" or "total stupid". Sasuke calls Naruto in that name all the time in the manga and anime.