A/N: Here is my interesting little one-shot I wrote with the idea that there are just too few real feeling fictions out there, and I desperately wanted a more serious one. So I wrote this. It has a sequal, so go read that too.

Warnings: Meh. Nothing too bad really. It's sad and touching.

Disclaimer: ….Yeah. I disclaim ownership.

Beta'd by my sister, who has a deviantART account. So if you like photography, check it out. I'm her model a lot, too. http(:)//crazykitten2006(dot)deviantart(dot)com

oOoOo

Over time wounds heal, memories fade, distant hopes are forgotten. For most, this is their way of growing, their way of surviving on this planet. In Naruto's case, it was much the opposite. Despite the kyuubi buried deep within him, lurking, healing all external wounds, the creature did nothing to heal the painful gashes of his mind that had been collecting since he was young. His memories were vivid. His memories were the things that kept him going, the flashes of old faces, of times where he actually felt that spark of happiness. And hopes. Uzumaki Naruto had no hopes to begin with to go off of.

Ever since he could remember Naruto had to fight everything and anything. He had to fight his anger and hopelessness, try to hold it down and keep it from escaping. He'd had to constantly fight the people of Konoha who were still old fashioned, with their rumors and utterly deranged thoughts. And most of all he had to fight Sasuke. In many shapes and forms it was the purpose of his life. He had to defeat this cocky son of a bitch who had no one to teach him he wasn't the only one who had issues. He'd like to leave it at that. He'd like to say that was his only problem with the Uchiha, hatred. But he knew that deep within his soul there lay a desperate part of him that wanted to befriend the ninja, to hold onto him and to see if really, he knew what it felt like to be empty. In all of his searching and all of his attempts, Naruto had yet to find a soul that resembled his or knew anything of what it was like to be the dirty filthy kyuubi. Except Sasuke of course.

It was times like these, inbetween missions, that Naruto felt the most discontent. In the idle times, all he had were his thoughts to occupy him, instead of treacherous missing-nins and whatever else Konoha came up with. He'd already done sit ups, made himself lunch, took a shower, done more sit ups, and now he was slumped on his couch, idly flipping through the pages of a book he really had no interest in. Naruto was never good at sitting still, and even at the age of seventeen, he was known for his energy. Over the years it had been toned down and shaped more into his personality, but he was very passionate about most things. He slung the book off to the side and ruffled up his hair, sighing. Maybe he would go and see if anyone had any sort of mission for him to do. It would be better then sitting here and making himself crazy.

After going into his bedroom and slipping on a black shirt, he grabbed some choice weapons and shoved them in his pockets, making his way out of his apartment and locking the door behind him. Hands in his pockets and face set in his more common apathetic look, Naruto made his way down to Tsunade's place, meeting up with a guard and getting permission to visit her.

"You want a mission today?"

She seemed bored, in affect not really taking him seriously. He hated it when she did this, and didn't move from his spot, his arms crossed in front of him.

"…Oh, alright. If it will make you leave me alone. There's going to be a celebration in Konoha to celebrate our peacefulness and good health and whatever else they've come up with. We have tons of people out there setting up for it, and figuring out security. Why don't you go down there to see if they need you?"

Naruto scrunched his face up in distaste; planning a party? Some mission, really. He gave a shrug and didn't fight her, knowing she would give him nothing else. It was something to do, at least.

Upon arriving at the town square, he saw the extent of the celebration. Apparently, this was going to be a huge thing- funny how he hadn't heard about it before. He looked at the decorations, and the tents being set up, and the people discussing exactly how to handle things, when a thought struck him. This was probably something to celebrate the defeat of the nine-tails.

Naruto had been having an easier time through the years when it came to the taunting and hatred of the village people, but most likely because he preferred to spend most of his time away from the village entirely. No one would want his help, unless it was to relieve some of their stress by cursing his being to hell for being the holder of the wretched kyuubi who had years before killed so many. He clenched his fists slightly and sat down by a tree, keeping himself content with watching everyone's progress and trying not to be seen. He was just going to go home, when he spotted Sakura arranging some flowers by a particularly beautiful tent.

She spotted him within moments, giving him a bright smile and waving for him to come over. He sighed, getting up from his spot beside the tree and making his way through the people to her.

"Hi Naruto! Isn't this such a wonderful idea? A party to celebrate the village's peace and love."

She seemed dreamy, and held a flower in her hands, petting it gently. Naruto knew she was thinking of only one person who she wanted to celebrate love with. This made him grimace. He wondered idly how any person could want to be devoted to the Uchiha, whose soul purpose in life seemed to be hatred. He didn't get very far in his train of thought when he was reminded dryly of the fact that he longed for the Uchiha's attention, if only for the purpose of seeing if he understood. What could Sakura possibly see in him? He was attractive, yes, but that was about it.

"Naruto, why do you look so dreamy?"

He snorted, choosing not to mention that's the way she had looked moments before and shook his head slightly. A small smirk made its way to his face as he looked at her, causing her to look increasingly uncomfortable.

"Well at least I wasn't dreaming about that bastard you seem to adore so much."

Sakura blushed bright pink, swallowing a little and glancing around, as if to see if anyone had heard this terrible secret. Naruto, despite himself, smiled at the girl.

"Aw Sakura, maybe this year will be different."

She looked up into his bright eyes and open face and nodded slightly, her cheeks still tinted pink. He grimaced again, but quickly replaced it with a smile. He told her he was going to check around for security and gave a friendly wave as he left her by the flower tent, still lost within her own thoughts. Naruto spotted a group of ninja who appeared to be planning, and assuming this was security, he warily made his way up to them, bracing himself for the possibility of rejection. He made his way to the outside of the circle, listening as they made the plans for the celebration. And who of course was in charge?

"Now I want you three guarding the area by the fireworks, with a set of two about a hundred yards away from that."

Naruto glared sullenly at Sasuke, who had seemed to place himself in charge, with little argument from the group. He had his arms crossed, and a cool expression on his face, as if he had this whole thing already figured out and that it was the most important mission the world had ever known. Mimicking him, Naruto crossed his arms and left his face apathetic, waiting to see if he would possibly be noticed.

A glance told him he had, along with the orders of guarding the flower tent to ensure Sakura had a good time and that none of her flowers were stolen. He tried to stay calm, gripping his arms and clenching his teeth, as Sasuke smugly gave important orders to everyone else, and left the one small job to him.

"Dismissed."

The ninja made their way to their respective jobs, murmuring to each other about, Naruto assumed, him. He took a few deep breaths and let his arms drop to his sides, giving a sigh before deciding he might as well just go right back to Sakura now.

"You bastard."

Sasuke didn't miss it, acknowledging his statement with a shrug as he walked away indifferently.

oOoOo

As the sun set on Konoha, the usually quiet village only got louder as the night went on. The celebration was just starting to get into full swing, with almost every villager out in the square, eating, dancing, or visiting the many tents that had been set up. Naruto sat with his back to the flower tent, determined to show Sasuke that he would do his duty, no matter how stupid it really was. Sakura had sold many flowers, most likely because she was so beautiful herself. Most of her customers were men, after all. This idea didn't seem to faze her one bit, and she seemed in a very cheerful mood. After awhile, the crowd began to thin out and Naruto started to suspect they were going to start the ceremony.

Sakura placed the flower she had been holding in a vase and closed up the front of the tent. She came around to see Naruto hunched over beside it and cocked her head curiously at him.

"Don't ask."

She shrugged at him, then looked at all of the people heading to the middle of the square, gathering around a podium with the Hokage herself placed on it. She seemed ready to help him up to go with her, but he just shook his head, ushering her to go without him. There was no way he was going to sit in the middle of that crowd as they cheered the submission of the nine-tails. He really did not feel like getting the shit beat out of him tonight. She left, leaving him in the quiet, listening to the distant cheering of all of Konoha; that cheering celebrating the nine-tails' downfall, the expulsion of evil from their sweet, sweet village. He turned his head to watch as the Hokage preached to them all, seeming peaceful and powerful at the same time. He could feel it, his eyes itched slightly, but he refused to move, to acknowledge it at all. He didn't move as he felt one, warm and wet, make its way down his cheek. Fucking Konoha.

Standing next to the Hokage was Sasuke, once again looking for all world like he was the most important one on it. That fucking son of a bitch. What gave him the right to be better than everyone else? Why couldn't that be Naruto up there, instead of that bastard? Like Sasuke gave a damn about the village anyways- all he cared about was attention and power. Naruto was finding this to be a very bad night for him, and he could not take his eyes off of Sasuke, clenching his fists tightly on the grass, just staring at that smug look that was permanently placed there. That piece of shit. That utter and complete piece of shit. Before he really even realized what he was doing, Naruto was pushing his way through the crowd, slowly making his way to the center. He got pushed once or twice, but ignored it completely, keeping his eyes glued to Sasuke. The ninja didn't seem to see him as he approached, which was all the better.

Within another few seconds, Naruto was right up by him, and he wasted no time in jumping at the other ninja, getting a few surprised gasps from around him. In seconds, he had Sasuke on the ground, who looked disoriented and was still trying to figure out what happened. The first punch that landed on that goddamned smug face felt so good that Naruto felt himself throwing one after another at the Uchiha. After about five punches had crushed into his face, Sasuke seemed to get with it, snarling and leaping up at Naruto, pinning him to the ground. They rolled, sending crowd goers scrambling in all directions, trying to avoid the two enraged boys.

Naruto could feel the blood running down his forehead, but smirked as he saw a nice amount leaking from Sasuke's nose too. They rolled around like pigs for another minute before two ANBU made themselves known, ripping the two boys apart and holding them back. Sasuke stopped fighting instantly, and the ANBU released him. It took Naruto a couple more seconds to calm himself, and the ANBU only let him go as soon as he stilled completely.

"What the fuck is the matter with you Naruto?"

Sasuke was wiping the blood from his nose, glaring with all the hatred he had at Naruto's panting face. He wiped his hand absently on his pants, shaking his head a little to center himself. He was muttering something to one of the ANBU, who was nodding, looking through his mask at Naruto. The Hokage cleared her throat, as if this was some small problem, and continued on with her speech. It took the crowd a little longer to settle back in, casting wary glances at the two bleeding boys before finally getting back into the spirit of the night. Naruto only had a couple of seconds to witness this however, since two pairs of strong arms grabbed him from behind and hoisted him up, taking him away from the people and towards the edge of town, by the forest. They chucked him, and he landed roughly in the dirt. He stood up, brushing off his pants and looking up at his kidnappers, who were the two ANBU from before. Sasuke came up swiftly from behind them and dismissed them, turning back around to face Naruto.

"What is the matter with you, you filthy little pig?"

He had anger dancing in his eyes, and this excited Naruto. Maybe he could get him into another brawl and land a few more punches on that cocky face of his. When Sasuke got no response, he walked up to Naruto, his fists clenching and unclenching.

"You have no right. No right whatsoever, to ruin this villages night. You must have no feelings."

He said is breezily, barely looking interested. The anger from before was gone, replaced with his superior attitude. Naruto growled deep in his throat and made a lunge for the boy, only to be caught halfway and smashed to the ground. Sasuke's elbow was digging into his neck, and his black eyes glimmered in the moonlight.

"You filthy little scum. That's what you are. You're a wretched excuse for a living thing, even if it is only an empty shell."

Naruto struggled, attempting to get Sasuke off of him, which only made the other ninja smirk at his plight.

"Struggle piggy, struggle."

Sasuke seemed completely mirthful, and Naruto snapped. He started gasping like a trapped animal and attempted to claw at Sasuke, struggling more than anything as if to get away, not to fight him. This seemed to unnerve the other ninja slightly, especially when he saw the tears.

"Naruto? What the fuck?"

He was gasping and he felt the hot tears streaming down his cheeks. He grasped at Sasuke's hair and tugged weakly, trying so much to just get away. He had to get away. He couldn't stand this place anymore, these people, and this hatred. What had he ever done? The shield he had built up over the years was crumbling miserably everywhere, and he didn't even care because he was too far-gone. Sasuke's eyes took on a concerned cast, possibly because he had never seen the other boy like this before. He let up on the pressure on Naruto's neck, and was rewarded with a swift cuff to the side of his head, making him dizzy for a moment. Naruto scrambled out form under him and tried to regain his balance to take off into the woods. Sasuke was on him in an instant, tackling him back to the dirt.

"Sasuke, just leave me alone. Oh my god, leave me alone."

He was begging, squirming, and he knew he must look completely stupid. What did it matter anyways; he just had to get away. Sasuke didn't move but held him in place, so Naruto settled with turning himself sideways and slightly curling up, trying to be invisible as his sobs shook him. He had his face buried in his arm, and he refused to accept that Sasuke was there at all.

Sasuke really did not know what to do. In all of his years in knowing Naruto, he could usually predict what he did and why, but in this moment, he was completely stunned. He debated letting him go, but that probably wasn't wise because he was so unstable. He really didn't know it was this bad, but really, he should have. What did he expect? The stupid kid had grown up under hatred. It was only a matter of time before he snapped.

For the first time in his life, Sasuke Uchiha didn't know what to do in the slightest. He watched Naruto for a few more moments, curled and crying, and felt an unfamiliar pang of something. His eyes squinted a little, and he looked down at the mess of a boy, watching him in his pain. He shouldn't care at all; it was just another sad pathetic little ninja. He'd killed many in this position, watching them grovel and cry and beg. But something felt different, and he couldn't exactly explain why. The bastard had attacked him during the ceremony, degraded him in front of the ANBU, and groveled around in the dirt like some little animal. And yet, he couldn't figure it out exactly, it bothered him too much. This unnerved him.

He fought with himself until finally coming to a decision. If there was one thing Sasuke was good at, it was never backing down from his decisions. He looked down at Naruto's half hidden tear streaked face and sighed.

"Naruto, get up."

He sat back, releasing the pressure, which he had been placing on the smaller boy. Naruto didn't move.

"I said get up Naruto."

He tugged at the boy, who stayed stiff and refused to budge. He gripped the front of his shirt and pulled harshly, jerking Naruto into an awkward sort of sitting position. He pulled him towards him, and this action seemed to awaken the fight in Naruto, because he began to struggle again, even so, weakly. He grasped at Sasuke's shirt and tried to push him away, afraid of what the Uchiha had decided to do. He couldn't find the strength anymore to hit the bastard, so he contented himself with shoving at him.

"Stop it, come here."

They pushed and pulled, Sasuke becoming frustrated as he got nowhere. He shook Naruto roughly and hit him in the side of his head, stopping the other boy's struggles for a few moments. He tugged again at Naruto's shirt and pulled him close to him, holding him firmly in place.

"Sasuke, please let me go.."

He sounded so weak and pathetic, Sasuke could barely stand it.

"Sasuke…Let me-"

"Shut up."

Naruto swallowed and closed his eyes, trying not to lean into Sasuke's shirt that was right in front of him. He didn't know what the Uchiha was doing, but he was probably going to sling him over his shoulder so he could carry him back into the village. He felt Sasuke's arms wrap around his neck, and a hand placed itself firmly against the back of his head, shoving his face into the shirt in front of him.

"Naruto, for once in your life, just shut the fuck up."

Shaking, Naruto closed his mouth and didn't say a word, trying to relax as Sasuke crushed himself against him. It took him a moment to realize that Sasuke was holding him.

His took his shaky hands and weakly brought them around the Uchiha's neck, crushing his face harder into the others chest. He didn't understand, Sasuke hated him, he hated Sasuke. He felt the boy's hands become more relaxed around him, and he swore he felt Sasuke put his cheek against his head.

"You stupid idiot. Why didn't you tell me it was so bad?"

Naruto shook his head slightly; he couldn't make the words come out. Maybe Sasuke did know. As crazy as it seemed, maybe he really did feel what Naruto wondered if he felt. The empty aching hollowness.

"Sasuke, are you empty?"

They both stayed completely still, not holding each other any closer, but not moving away. Sasuke furrowed his eyebrows at Naruto's question and wondered on its meaning. What the hell did he even mean?

"Yeah."

They were both somehow completely vulnerable to each other, and both refused to move from where they were. Naruto quivered slightly, and he arched his face up so that his lips brushed against the line of Sasuke's jaw. The Uchiha shivered slightly, ignoring it. Naruto knew he felt it though, and he hoped he knew what it meant. He felt Sasuke grip him tighter, but that was the only indication he got of a promise.

oOoOo

A/N: Any form of input makes me feel amazing, and I'll gladly check out any authors story who takes the time to comment on mine. Do be sure to read the sequal.