AN: This wasn't originally going to be called Bandage. I named the file that for a little joke but now it's kind of stuck. Darn it.
But anyway actual:IMPORTANT FACTS: AU/OU (our universe). Naruto is at university. I'm English so my language is ENGLISH not American English. Some words I know are different but get over it I'm not changing them. The university system is also British but I'm sure it's not all that different. Doesn't make a difference to the story anyway. This will be SasuNaru/NaruSasu shounen ai, which I wasn't too fond of before I started writing this but now LOVE it. So that's boy love, people. It doesn't kick in majorly (meaning explicitly) for a while so if you just wanted some mindless SasuNaru fluff you're reading the wrong fic. There is a mild amount of fluff because fluff is fluffy but it also has a story. Sort of…
Chapter One: A World of Similar Consequence
Naruto woke to the incessant bleeping of the alarm in the bedroom adjoining his own. He groaned and pulled the duvet tightly around his head causing his toes to sneak out of the bottom and give him a taster of the freezing cold air that lay outside his cocoon. This appetizer did not make him want his breakfast. He curled his toes to try to bring them further into his warmth. The door to his room opened swiftly, no thought to its occupant concerned; a cold draft reaching Naruto's hiding toes.
"Get up, slacker, you'll miss your seminar." A voice colder than his feet said to him. The door was closed again and Naruto moaned and threw the covers off himself, retaining the theory that ripping off the plaster faster causes less pain. He instantly regretted the rash action as a biting chill washed over him.
"Holy-!" Naruto grabbed his dressing gown and stumbled out into the hallway flinging it on. He rammed into the locked shower-room door painfully before acknowledging that it was occupied.
"Busy!" An apologetic female shriek answered his banging, "Just a minute!"
"Sakura! Hurry up!"
The apologetic tone turned sour, "Push off, idiot! A girl needs her privacy!"
Naruto sighed and ran a hand through his messy blonde bed-head. He stepped backwards and almost went flying over the banisters as he tripped over a pile of dirty washing dumped on the floor that he could swear wasn't there when he first came out of his room. He cussed and made his way down the stairs, keeping an eye out for mysterious piles of laundry appearing in puffs of smoke. With his vision limited to the immediate ground he forgot that the floor above jutted out ahead of the stairs and caused those taller than five foot, four with any sense to duck out of the way as they made their way down. Naruto, being all of five foot, seven, not including his fuzzy mop, and not having much sense, at that time of the morning or any other time, crashed into the wall painfully, yelped and slid down the remaining steps. He lay dazed at the bottom of the staircase for a few moments groaning. A blurry face entered his sight with obvious scorn on its features.
"Move out of the way." It said bluntly.
His vision clearing, Naruto sat up, "Don't ask how I am then!" He grumbled but shifted to one side of the staircase anyway. Sasuke was already making his way upstairs but turned his head back to shoot him a blank look that Naruto interpreted as contempt.
"You're bleeding." He said and walked back up the stairs broodingly.
Naruto pressed his fingers to his forehead and looked at the blood on his fingertips. The shower-room door clicked open upstairs and he heard Sakura's cheerful voice exclaim Sasuke's name, wish him a good morning and offer him the bathroom.
"Devil-woman." Naruto muttered and licked his fingers.
"What are you doing, freak?" She said sneeringly as she trailed past him, wafting feminine scents in her wake.
"'Morning, Sakura!" Naruto grinned and got up to follow her to the kitchen.
"Yes it is morning! Well done! Would you like a gold star?" She cried, not turning to him as she spoke.
"No, I'm good, thanks." He said happily.
Sakura shot him a despairing look and then backtracked, "You're bleeding."
"Yeah, I know."
There was a moment of silence.
"You're such a freak!" She wailed casting up her hands and entered the small kitchen, "Kiba, do you think you might keep your dog off the table? It's extremely unhygienic."
"Would you let a cat on the table?" The boy at the kitchen tabletop replied indignantly, petting his small white dog as it ate it's own bowl of cereal on the surface.
"A cat's different. A cat cleans itself!" She replied, pulling things out of the cupboard.
"Akamaru's clean!" Kiba retorted, "Besides, you let Naruto eat at the table."
"That's a good point!"
Naruto knew this conversation would have taken place whether he had been in the room or not so he decided to ignore it and search the fridge for his own grocery supply, which was seriously depleted. There was no point in asking one of the others if he might share their supplies, he would be plainly refused. He made do with a slab of skeezy cheese and a piece of slightly stale bread and stuck it on the grill.
"Ugh, Naruto, you know I hate the smell of cheese! You're so inconsiderate!"
Naruto winced, "Sorry, Sakura."
Sasuke chose that moment to reappear and grab his coat.
"There's no way you're getting in the shower now, slacker. Ino's in there. Get ready now, I'm not being late again." He grunted and went into the hall to fix his hair in the mirror. Naruto fought the temptation to kick him as he rushed past and up the stairs, remembering to duck. In his room he flung on some faded baggy jeans, a faded black Asian Kung Fu Generation t-shirt and his favourite orange hoody. He stuffed a notebook, his wallet, and a CD player between study books in his already heavy bag and slid halfway downstairs before realising that he didn't have any socks on and had to rush back to his room to grab an odd pair and put them on at the bottom of the stairs. He fled to the kitchen then to pick up his burnt breakfast and burn his mouth as he shoved it in and pulled his comfortable crumbly trainers on. Sasuke was still inspecting his reflection like a modern day Narcissus when Naruto opened the front door to their rented house. Ino emerged from the bathroom.
Naruto walked with Sasuke in silence to the lecture hall. It was at least a mile and a half from their house, which was still more convenient than the campus that Naruto had lived on the year before, had been. He was only three weeks into his second year and he was already finding it unbearable. Although he thought he had been lonely last year, nothing could compare to the complete seclusion he faced in the rented house. He dreaded these mornings walking with Mr-Brooding-in-Black Sasuke where he couldn't even listen to his music on the way there for fear of pushing a housemate even further away. He had seemed to get off at a bad start with each and every person he lived with; walking in on Sakura in the shower in the middle of the first week, stepping on Akamaru the first day, accidentally spilling coffee on Ino's laptop. Sasuke just seemed to intensely dislike him despite having done nothing obvious to upset him. He had given up trying to make conversation on these walks at the end of the first week. The only response he ever got was either a "yes" or a "no" but mostly a disgruntled "hmph". Did the boy have no likes or dislikes or any hobbies at all? In any case Naruto couldn't find any out.
As the building came into sight Sasuke drew a slow breath, "You might want to clean off your forehead before you go in."
Naruto felt the crusty dribble of blood down his brow and licked his sleeve but Sasuke grimaced and caught his arm before he cleaned himself.
"Here." He handed him a clean handkerchief from his coat pocket.
Who carries handkerchiefs these days? Naruto asked himself as he took it from him. He wiped off the blood and wondered awkwardly if he should offer it back, "I'll wash it."
"Keep it." Sasuke growled.
"Um, ok…" Naruto replied, stuffing it into the pocket of his jeans.
They reached the large glass doors of the University lecture halls moments later. The big corkboards along one wall covered in notices had been the place where Naruto had first properly met Sasuke. He was signing his name up on the notice to be interviewed for the house that they now lived in. Naruto had taken his time over looking for somewhere to stay, he hadn't given much thought to accommodation. It was only after visiting his personal tutor and was warned that most students had found places to live and that places near campus were rapidly running out that he went to look. As he had looked over the remaining notices on the corkboards he recognised the familiar face from his seminar and caught Sasuke by the shoulder as he was signing his name down.
"You're in my study group aren't you?"
Sasuke had looked vague and a little bemused at being addressed by one whom he considered to be a total stranger.
"Yeah, you are! Is this the best place left?" Naruto peered at the details of the house.
"I…" Sasuke now looked faintly worried as Naruto took the pen out of his hand and wrote his name under his own.
"Naruto Uzumaki." Naruto beamed at him offering his pen back.
Sasuke glared silently back at him. Naruto's smile drooped slightly and he turned and read off the notice, "Sasuke Uchiha?"
"Uchiha Sasuke." He corrected and took his pen off the overly amiable blonde boy.
"You're Asian?" Naruto's smile grew again.
"Japanese. You're name isn't exactly English either." Sasuke murmured.
"My Grandparents were also Japanese. I guess we have something in common!"
A stony stare was his reply.
"Well, Sasuke, we could end up being housemates!"
"God, I hope so." Sasuke muttered, giving Naruto an icy sideways glance as he turned and left down the hall.
From then it had been a gradual spiral downwards on the relationship side of the two. Naruto was certain that Sasuke loathed him, just like everyone else did, if not more.
At least everyone else has reason, Naruto thought as he came back from memory lane.
As he hurried past the boards to his lecture hall a florescent yellow flier caught his attention and called to him like a beacon. Sasuke, however, was already storming ahead. Naruto wavered but caught up to him reassuring himself that, it'll still be there when I come out.
They entered the hall two minutes early. Most of their group hadn't yet arrived. Naruto wondered why Sasuke always bothered to be on time, their professor was constantly late anyway. They took their places in the tiered seats and waited for what they knew would be at least a quarter of the hour they were due.
Naruto waited outside the lecture hall for Sasuke and struggled with a jammed zip on his bag. His silent companion always stayed behind to talk to the professor. Naruto often bit back a comment or two when Sasuke remerged, often along the lines of, "I hope you shined that apple up nicely?"
Sasuke appeared bringing that resolute black cloud with him and walked past Naruto still struggling with his bag.
"Hey, where are you going?" Naruto called, hopping after him, wrestling with his unruly rucksack.
"We weren't assigned any reading were we?"
"No." Sasuke said simply and stalked off.
Naruto chewed his lip for a moment and then remembered his yellow flier. He dragged his bag to the boards again and searched for the notice. He thought he would spot it immediately and if it had been there he probably would have done. He scanned the boards desperately.
"What the hell? Where-?" He started to mutter to himself but his bag chose that moment to fully unzip itself and pour its contents onto the lino floor. It was seriously not his day.
As he gathered up his things strewn across the floor a hand came into view and picked up one of his books.
"A Brief History of the Edo Period." An unfamiliar male voice read, "Sounds fascinating." The hand was offering the book back now. Naruto squinted up at the owner. He made out tied back hair and a sharp face wearing a mildly amused expression against the bright light above.
"Thanks." Naruto mumbled and took his book back.
"Looks like you'll need a new bag."
"You think?" Naruto said sarcastically, shoving the last of his things in his ripped bag that would no longer do up and standing up, clutching it together in front of him. He got a clearer view of the person before him now. A tall, lean boy with thin, tired eyes looking at him thoughtfully and black hair scraped hurriedly back, a few loose strands sticking out. He paused, seemingly measuring him up and then offered his hand.
"Shikamaru Nara. Music and Psychology."
Naruto shuffled, "Naruto Uzumaki. Asian History and Society. I would offer my hand but it's a little full."
Shikamaru smiled, "I'll see you around then?"
Naruto nodded and smiled in return, "Sure."
As Shikamaru turned and walked off Naruto caught a flash of florescent yellow paper sneaking out of his coat pocket, to which his hands were firmly thrust.
AN: I have used my amazing artistic license to make a point about the japanese names. No one else's ever gets pointed out. For the sake of the story lets say only these two have them. Good. Hope you liked the first chap! Many more to come. Please R&R!