Just a little ficlet (redundancy is in abundance, I say). The earlier parts will have SasuNaru and then the later parts will move on to NaruSasu... or NaruSasuNaru (which means that there really isn't a dominant person). This is a one-shot.

Naruto was eight-years-old when he claimed to have fallen in love with someone.

Naruto hiccuped and sobbed and sniffed as he sat on the swing all alone. He really didn't understand it. Now, he knew that he was a naturally clumsy person, but he couldn't explain why he always tripped today. Always. He would trip almost every single second of the day. His classmates had laughed at him and nobody even dared to help him! They were all so mean. And they also kept pointing at his feet. Iruka had told him that it was rude to point at someone.

After a few more minutes of sobbing (he had an unlimited supply of tears... believe it!), he heard someone occupy the swing seat beside him. With tear-filled eyes, he looked at his companion. Nobody had ever sat beside him before or even wanted to play with him before. This boy, on the other hand, had approached him willingly. For Naruto, that meant a lot. This cheered him up a bit.

The other person made the swing move. Up and down. Up and down. Naruto sniffed now and then as he looked at the person.

"Stop looking at me," the person said, not looking at Naruto, "it's odd."

This, of course, made Naruto somewhat dismayed, but not completely sad. He just turned away so that he wouldn't make this person, who'd decided to come sit beside him, go away. It was rare to find someone around his age (even those older than him stayed away from him) who would go near him. He had to make this person stay. He had never felt as determined as he did right now. He was going to make his first friend and nothing or nobody would stop him from doing it.

"Why are you sitting all alone anyway?" the other boy said before Naruto could open his mouth to say a greeting or an introduction or something. "And crying, too."

"I..." Naruto hesitantly started.

The boy stopped swinging and looked at Naruto expectantly.

"It's... It's because..." Naruto continued.

"C'mon," the boy said, a hint of impatience in his voice, "I don't have all day, you know."

Naruto bit the insides of his cheeks and forced himself to be braver. He didn't want to loose this opportunity to have a friend, did he? Of course not! Even a child knew how painful it was to be alone.

But then, what should he say?

This was quite the odd situation. Nobody had asked him to talk except for Iruka. And usually, he'd be blabbering even if nobody told him to talk. But now that someone other than Iruka asked or told him to talk... what should he say? He was stumped. This had never happened to him before. He didn't know what to do.

"I just asked you what was wrong with you, not recite the multiplication table or something," the other boy said.

Naruto blinked. What in the world was that supposed to mean? The boy merely sighed and told Naruto to just say whatever it was that he was going to say.

"Everyone hates me," Narut mumbled. "They kept laughing at me when I tripped and they pointed at me, too. They didn't help me."

The boy snorted at that. Naruto glared at him.

"You're such a crybaby," the boy said. "And what if they laugh at you and point at you and don't help you? They're all insignificant people."

Naruto blinked yet again. What did insignificant mean? The boy, sensing his confusion, explained that insignificant meant worthless. And when Naruto didn't know what worthless was, he just said that it didn't mean anything. Which really was the meaning, but Naruto thought that the word didn't mean anything, not that the word's meaning was didn't mean anything.

Oh, well, the boy meant it either way anyway.

"You don't need idiots that will laugh at you," he continued. "You step on people like that."

Such an assertive little boy. He was just the cutest, wasn't he?

"B-But--" Naruto started to say.

Those idiots... they were his classmates. They could become his friends some day. It surely wasn't going to happen any time soon, but it would happen for his name was Uzumaki Naruto!

"Don't but me!" the boy said, a fierce glare on his face. "There are no buts in here. If they don't like you, fine, you don't like them either. Haven't you even heard of fighting back?"

"If I fought back then they wouldn't like me even more," Naruto said.

The boy then looked at him and quirked an eyebrow. He took this as the hint to start talking yet again.

"They've always hated me," he said. "I don't have any friends and I didn't even know what I did."

"Have you ever thought that maybe you've never done anything? That maybe it's just them and not you?" the boy asked. "The same thing happens to me."

Yes, but in a much different way. People fawned over him far too much. They loved and adored and cherished him for no reason at all. At least they didn't love him for the things that he did. They loved him because of who were in his family. He knew that he should like the attention, but he didn't. Why waste their time on someone who didn't care when they could go gush over someone that did need their attention... like the blond.

Naruto visibly brightened at the words of his soon-to-be-friend. So someone in the world was like him! He wasn't alone at all!

"And I also think I know why they were pointing at your feet," the boy continued.

He got up from his seat. Naruto panicked, but went back to his previous state when he saw that the boy was only going closer to him.

"Your shoes are untied," the boy said.

Naruto merely blinked as the boy knelt in front of him and grabbed his shoes, then proceeded to tie his shoelaces. Iruka was the one who tied his shoelaces. He didn't know how to tie them. He really wouldn't have been able to do anything even if he did know that they were untied.

It was a good thing, then, that his new friend – because if this boy wasn't his friend, then what was this boy? – knew how to tie shoelaces.

"I'm Sasuke," the boy said as soon as he finished tying Naruto's shoes.

Naruto brightened even more.

"I'm Naruto! It's nice to meet you!" he cheerfully said.

Sasuke really didn't know why he'd done those things. Normally he would've never done anything for anyone that wasn't in his family, much less a stranger, and he also wouldn't tell his name to a stranger, despite the aforementioned stranger being a kid.

He knew that something was wrong with him today.

"Well, I have to go home now," he said. "It was nice meeting you, too, Naruto."

Naruto bit his lower lip. His new friend was going home now.

"Will we meet again?" he hopefully asked before Sasuke could walk away.

"Maybe," Sasuke said.

With that, he turned around and began to walk where his house was.

It took Naruto two weeks of waiting in the park at the same time to find out that Sasuke wouldn't be coming back. It took him less than that to proclaim to Iruka that he'd fallen in love with the boy. Iruka, of course, had been surprised that it was a boy that Naruto fell in love with. He had been more surprised when he found out that Naruto decided that he was in love with the boy because the boy tied his shoelaces.

Iruka thought that Naruto really was far too young to be in love.

It was some eight years later when Naruto saw Sasuke again. But both of them didn't know that it was the other... yet. Well, Sasuke had never quite remembered the name of that blond boy that had been crying on the swings.

They were classmates and Sasuke was the class representative. Naruto was troublemaker. It just so happened that Sasuke was a perfectionist and would not stand the thought that his class was anything less than perfect. He made sure that everyone looked prim and proper.

Perhaps one could say that Naruto was the bane of his existence. He had asked Naruto to... prep himself up countless of times but it seemed as if the blond was adamant in being his disheveled self.

Sasuke didn't see the reason in that logic -- if one could even call it logic. Why would anyone want to be dirty or look dirty? It wasn't at all healthy and it was, frankly, quite disgusting.

Naruto had been waiting for that black-haired boy to come and fix him up again. He was such a lovesick fool. Iruka had commented on it once, but he just brushed it off. Love was love. He just didn't know that his love was right in front of his face. But, oh, well. Naruto would also always be Naruto.

One day, around three days after the second month of school, Sasuke got fed up and decided to meet the problem head on and actually do something about it. He tackled Naruto to the floor with a comb in his hand and began combing those tousled blond locks Naruto proudly displayed on top of his head. It was a hard, hard ordeal for both parties, but it seemed as if it had all payed off in the end. Sasuke somewhat got his perfect class and Naruto started to look more like a decent human rather than some Tarzan-wannabe.

Naruto felt the same thing he'd felt when that boy tied his shoelaces back then. And then he noticed... d'oh. Sasuke. This was the same Sasuke that had tied his shoelaces. Sasuke had done something for him again. Sasuke had helped him twice and both were done willingly and with not a lot of hesitancy. Sasuke had wanted to help him.

Naruto felt his heart beating again.

He didn't care if he might've looked like some sort of silly little schoolgirl in love. He didn't care at all. Because Sasuke hadn't cared about what the people would think of him after he'd helped out Naruto. He didn't care at all. So just to be fair, Naruto decided that he wouldn't care about them at all, too.

Sasuke was still Sasuke. Still the same blunt, assertive Sasuke that had tied his shoelaces.

He was old enough that he was a fool to fall in love so easily like that. There was just something about Sasuke that made it so easy to love the bastard. He couldn't properly explain it. What was important was that he felt it and that was that.

Sasuke was wondering if he really had been desperate to get his perfect class that he would actually do things in a brutal way. Or perhaps there really was just something about that blond that made him want to fix him up and make him look presentable to the world, make him look not like an idiot.

"I love you," Naruto said after Sasuke finished taming his hair.

Needless to say, Sasuke was shocked.

What ensued after that were love notes, little glances, and little gifts. Naruto had fought his way into Sasuke's heart and Sasuke himself didn't even know if that was a good thing or not. Maybe it was, but he wasn't so sure. Nobody had felt this strongly for him and he'd never felt something like this for anyone before. This was new and he'd welcomed it into his life without so much as a thought. Consequences? Damn them.

What the hell was this blond idiot doing to him? Naruto was making him unreasonable, irrational. He had never been anything less than practical and rational since time immemorial.

Maybe he had been, but that had been so long ago. And the odd thing was that he seemed to recall a boy with blond hair and blue eyes whenever he thought somewhere along the lines of irrational and unreasonable.

Sasuke didn't know if he should think of Naruto as someone good or not.

Later on, he'd be thinking whether he should love Naruto or hate him. Then be promptly horrified at the prospect that he'd actually thought of the possibility of him loving Naruto. Sure, he had nothing against homosexuals, but this was Naruto. Naruto.

It took him one month to slightly alter his opinions of Naruto and reconsider his options.

It was lunchtime when Sasuke sat beside Naruto who was eating his instant ramen (most likely with hot water that was pilfered from the teacher's lounge).

"You're messy again," Sasuke commented as he fixed Naruto's necktie.

He didn't need to see Naruto's face to know that the other was grinning like mad.

Sasuke sighed. Love, as Shikamaru would've put it, was so damn troublesome. But why was it that he just couldn't stop loving this idiot sitting between his legs? This ill-groomed, ill-bred, ill-cultured, and some-other-redundant-things-with-ill-as-the-prefix idiot. This boy he called his boyfriend.

"Naruto, how many times in a week do you comb your hair?"

Naruto merely grinned. Sasuke didn't know that he purposely didn't groom himself nowadays. Oh, no, it wasn't because he forgot to do his hair, it was because he liked Sasuke fixing him. Made him feel more loved than he already was.

He had no intention of letting Sasuke know it, too... unless he wanted a passport to pain and misery.

Thank you to everyone who might've stumbled on this. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to read this.

I'd be much obliged if you left some comments and pointed out mistakes.