Whoo! So here we are together again as a big family... I love it. Thank you for reading my stuff. Anywhoo, this is a 3k or so story. I really love it. If you like it too please leave a review or check out my other stories. Visit my profile and take the poll please. Thank you.

Warning: none, but if you're looking for shonen ai you might find it. If you're looking for a friendship fic then you're in the right place. This would most def. be slashable... sorta

I don't own Naruto series/manga, but If I ever do get my hands on it I'll try to put at least a little flashback to Itachi's childhood... cause I love Itachi.

beta: I had a beta for this...and I can't remember their exact penname -.-'' I'm a horrible person!... that and the beta readers and search isn't working right now so I can't even verify it. I'm pretty sure it was LaurelLeaves. thank you and if I'm wrong please do correct me! Also thanks to MysteryLady-TX who is my second beta on this.



Those eyes should have been easier to forget. Those clear sapphire colored eyes that didn't belong on my tough skinned little Indian.



The hot sun heated the rounded stones that glittered like jewels in the summer. The wind seldom blew and the clouds never showed. That was when I first saw him, out on the path near the forest. His small figure was blurred by the heat waves that were coming from the ground, just as mine would have been to him had he seen me.

I had never wandered out of the complex before, not until Brother refused to play with me that last time. Never had I laid eyes on the outskirts of town. I had never seen trees such as those, and I had certainly never seen hair like that boy's. Its golden sparkle was reminicsent of the sun, and his incredible eyes -- the clouds. His golden skin was nothing like my own. It was used to knowing the harsh rays of the sun and the fresh air of freedom.

I approached him cautiously, but he seemed so distracted with his running that he didn't notice me. I tried clearing my throat, in vain, to get his attention. He was hollering random nonsense words, which I was desperately trying to understand. I wanted to say hello, but before I knew it he had run into the forest and disappeared.

I returned home shortly after, in a better mood and eager to return the next day. Big Brother noticed the smile that I tried so hard to hide, as did Mother, but I didn't say a word about my mystery boy.

Later I practiced alone. I practiced and hoped to tire my still developing body enough to fall asleep immediately after dinner. I planned to wake up early so that I could see him again. I had to see him at least one more time.

The next morning Brother waited for me at the entrance and I knew he was expecting me to ask him to practice with me so that he could turn me down once more. Instead, to his surprise, I waved good bye to him and Mother.

Once out of view I ran as fast as my small feet could carry me. I rushed through the grocer's stand and under Misako-san's clothing racks. I traveled expertly through the labyrinth that was our town until I reached the door to my golden cage. I pushed open the heavy iron gates. The gravel under my feet seemed to grind as I pushed with all my might. Eventually it gave and I was able to escape out towards the forest where I was called.

The morning breeze was still disguising the hot sun that was to come, but I didn't mind. No heat was going to stop me even if my pale skin screamed otherwise because I was on a mission. I had to see his pretty yellow hair again. His hair, which reminded me of the corn fiber tassles my mother liked to braid while roasting the small kernles on a flat iron skillet, was just as wild and free as that corn. Soon, the smell and sight of corn filled my senses and I ran faster -- I loved his hair.

I arrived to an empty field. I was early. Now all I had to do was wait so I sat under the cool shade to appease my tingling flesh and kept my hands busy by tying and re-tying the laces on my worn black tennis shoes. I waited alone with only my hazy memories of our brief one-sided encounter.

He finally appeared! He ran fast, as if being chased by demons, out of the forest. His thin legs shone golden in the sunlight as the sweat beaded off his calves and rolled down to his ankles. He stopped to catch his breath and began jumping on the smooth stones and gravel that mixed on the white rock path. I tried again to get his attention. I sat up from the tree stump I'd found and made to introduce myself only to have a squeak escape me. My nerves were far too great. I tried to clear my throat and speak, but by now the boy was running and hollering once more.

I strained myself to catch his words, but my ears came up empty every time. His savage yells and barbaric screams seemed to be a private jargon for him alone. His arms were spread like an eagle's wings as he ran. He soared, dived and maneuvered skillfully through tree trunks and rocks. He flew over branches and debris. He captured me completely.

I stood watching for so long that before I knew it, he was gone once more. Just like that, he ran back into the forest, which I assumed was his home. Maybe he was a spirit or a demon. Whatever he was, he was mine. My own little spirit boy who later turned Indian chief.

Even though the dinner table was never filled with laughter or excited speech, I had never heard it be so absolutely quiet as when I asked about a little boy with hair as yellow and bright as a sunflower's petals. Mother instantly stood up to unnecessarily refill everyone's untouched drinks. Brother looked down, stared at his plate and didn't give me his usual warm smirk nor smile. Father looked angry and for once I was afraid.

"He is nobody. He is neither friend nor foe, but do not associate yourself with his kind. An Uchiha is better off alone than with the likes of him." Father's tone was final. There was no room for questions. There was no room for my imagination to soar as it wanted to at the mention of 'his kind' and the 'likes of him'. He was a nobody! A real spirit! Father had said so himself. I had a special boy and he was just for me, even if Father said no.

Big Brother must have noticed my sudden waning interest in his company because that next morning he was waiting for me with practice kunai ready in his hand. I told him I was busy and declined just as he had done so many times before. He simply smiled like he knew, like he knew about my eagle spirit in the forest.

The intense burning heat made it near impossible to breath and the warmth of the sun was only amplified by the rocks on the path. It was the beginning of summer and already I missed the spring showers. I could feel every rock I stepped on in the new shoes that Mother insisted I start wearing. The soles must have been thin for I also felt the heat radiating off of the street. My walk turned into a brisk run after the gate and then into a full sprint once the forest clearing came into view. He was early too.

From the path I could see his smile, which was obviously missing a baby tooth or two just like my own. He was talking again. He was chanting and still running, this time in circles around a single large boulder.

It wasn't until he ran over what must have been a sharp rock that I realized he wasn't wearing shoes and he realized I was watching.

His eyes widened and, if possible, those gems captured my attention more than his hair already had. I imagine it would have done the same to any other child who, like me, had only ever seen dark and endless shadows, which were ocassionally splattered with red, in the eyes of others. The lash rimmed windows sparkled with tears from the obvious pain from his bleeding foot. I smiled experimentally and gathered my Uchiha courage to approach him when he grinned back.

He raised his hand and solemnly recited in an obviously practiced scowl. "How."

I neared him and dared to speak. "How what?"

He giggled and brushed his tears away. "I'm saying hello!"

"How?" I mimicked.

"Yeah! Like that." He pressed one thumb onto the small cut and with practiced ease he stopped the bleeding.

"Why don't you have shoes?" I eyed his coal black soles and white calloused toes.

"Because I need tough skin!" He stood up and without even wincing returned to the red hot stones.

"Why do you need tough skin?" I didn't understand him, but I wanted to. I was so entranced by his jumping and dirty brown bare feet I forgot to ask if he was a spirit.

"That's what Sandaime tells me. He says I need to have tough skin to survive!" His curious eyes traveled up and down my thin frame while his busy hands ran through his hair.

"Tough skin?"

"Yup!" He smiled again and I was lost. I was lost to the joy of my first friend. I smiled back, but wasn't able to say good bye when he waved and retreated back into the dark forest.

A hiss seemed to echo in our empty kitchen as Mother tried to be as gentle as her worn hands could be while she rubbed sunburn ointment on my pulsing red flesh.

"I don't need it." I pressed on.

"Sasuke, I won't have you returning every afternoon like a lobster. Where have you been?" It seemed like an innocent question, but I knew Father would make Mother tell, so I said nothing.

"Out practicing."

She smiled warmly as she bandaged my arms and I felt a distinct pang of guilt for lying.

"Fine, but if you aren't going to practice under the trees in the Uchiha forest, you have to wear this." She had another tube in her medical box the one Brother and I had gotten to know so well while growing up. She placed the cool metallic object in my open palm and closed my fingers around it before patting my hand.

I nodded and wondered if his spirit mother also made him wear something to protect him from the sun.

The morning came with clouds and hints of a forgotten rain. I took a toasted round bun of fresh baked bread and headed towards the cover of the forest. I had talked to him. The sounds were still fresh in my mind. His loud voice echoed in my head as did the sudden whistles and lisped words. I arrived and he was already there.

I approached him with ease and held up my hand just as he had done before. "How!" I greeted awkwardly.

He grinned, returned my greeting and yelled. "You came back!" He ran towards me and I had never felt better. His hair flopped up and down over his forehead with each bound and his feet raised dust off of the rock path.

"Yeah." I smiled and suddenly all the questions I had for him evaporated in favor of new games and fun I had never known.

"Lets run." He whispered, as if afraid that the other spirits might hear us and ruin our day. We spread our arms and raced the wind. The cooling air around us moved the leaves and they too joined in our game. We ran so far I hardly recognized the terrain. The grass was so green and unkempt that we must have been far from training grounds that I knew so well. His laugh was addictive. His voice was heavenly and that smile -- perfection.

We ran side by side until, quite suddenly, he threw himself down on the tall grass that came up to our knees and began to make a grass angel. Happily I indulged in the sweet pleasure and made another next to his. We sat up to admire our work and our eyes caught briefly.

"Lets make it rain." His comand required no lead up nor did his dance. He skipped around in a circle and I joined in once I caught the rhythm of his movements. He chanted and I yearned to learn the words!

"What do I say?" We continued to circle each other in our large rain dance ring. The wind picked up and my skin was soon covered in goosebumps. The trees around us danced and the birds joined in our chant.

"Ooh-ahh cha-bri cala-loh!" He chanted slower enunciating each word until I repeated and learned our mantra. "Ooh-ahh cha-bri cala-loh!" It echoed in the fields and the clouds drew closer together. He began striping the ground of some grass and throwing it in the air above his head as we skipped and played. I joined in with the ceremonial sprinkling and soon the rain did come.

There were no single drops that turned into a constant rain. There wasn't a single hint as to when the release button had been pressed. The downpour came suddenly and with all its might. We stopped our dance and stared at each other with wide smiles. We'd made rain! I spread my arms and palms to catch the rain. I inclined my head until my throat was soaked and my mouth was quickly filling with refreshing water. He grabbed my hand and pulled me out of my rain induced trance. We ran together to the cover of the trees, where we rested.

"Are you a rain spirit from the forest?" I finally asked when my heart had slowed down and my head had cleared.

"No, I'm an Indian." He said proudly while pointing at his t-shirt covered chest.

I wondered if should have told him that he didn't look like the Indians I'd seen in my picture books.

"Who said?"

"I found out myself." He gripped onto his toes and rocked back and forth to the sound of the drumming rain. "Everyone is always whispering about demons and spirits around me. I think that is because they live in the forest like Indians! That means I look like an Indian because I remind them of them. Then Sandaime said tough skin was my salivation from crittercism. Indians have tough skin and fight animals all the time.1" He smiled and waited eagerly for my response.

He was an Indian then. Surely it all added up. That is what he was. It explained his sun burned skin, rough feet and what I then realized must have been an Indian language.

"Of course! That's how you knew how to make it rain." I laughed at my own stupidity for not realizing it sooner. He was an Indian! My own Indian chief! "What is your Indian name?"

"I haven't picked one yet." His eyebrows threw close in concentration.

"Indian, Little Chief. That should be your name." I smiled and he nodded quickly.

"We can have tough skin together," His quick hands undid the laces on my shoes and pulled them off without much difficulty. "Indian, Little Cloud." I had my own Indian name, given to me by my Little Chief.

I tied my shoes to each other by the laces and threw them over my shoulder. After the worst of the rain had passed, we ran together through the refreshing mist while splashing in thick puddles of murky brown water on the way. I squished the mud through my toes at every stop while he smeared my unblemished skin with the dark earth so that I too could be a dark skinned little Indian.

That summer soon passed as all summers do; by then my leathery soles knew the feel of the earth and my tanning skin had learned not to burn. On that last day before the great festival we said goodbye at the forest's edge. I didn't know that would be the last time, the last time we would laugh, run and play before Father finally figured it out, before Father realized my sunburned skin and aching feet came from him. It was the last day with my Indian, Little Chief.

With time Little Chief died, as did Little Cloud. They became no more than a mere wisp of cloud in the sky that was my memory. Years after, while in the ninja academy, when our class clown made a show of getting everyone's attention I notice that he had the same blonde hair. It couldn't be him though. My little Indian lived in the forest and wasn't a ninja. It wasn't possible.

It startled me, but what scared me more were his eyes. The same sparkling pools of water stared back at me. His lips were dry. His hands were thick just as the hands of my little Indian had been. I dissmissed it. It couldn't be.2

"Next, seventh group, Uzumaki Naruto, Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Sasuke."

Naruto was loud, naive and innocent, just the way I remembered. He hated me -- he tried to hate me. I never got to ask him. I never really verified if he was Little Chief.


"You need thick skin, Naruto." Kakashi continued walking from the market stall where a man had just insulted my only friend -- my best friend.

"I have tough skin." He muttered to himself from his position on the dirt covered ground.

I offered him my hand, but he didn't take it. "We can have tough skin together, Little Chief." I left my hand outstretched until the grin on his lips reached his eyes. I soon found out that those sincere blue eyes, which I never once forgot, had always remembered me.

"Tough skin, Little Cloud."


The End


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1 Obviously this story is mostly based off of the fact that Naruto has confused the words "Thick Skin" and "Tough Skin". He has also misheard Sandaime and thinks Crittercism Criticism and Salivation Salvation are the words Sandaime meant to use. Naruto is just as cute and dense as he is growing up so, no surprises there. I just thought I'd let ya'll know I meant to use those words on purpose so that you'd know Naruto isn't the sharpest little kunai in the pouch.

2 In case I didn't make it obvious enough, he finally notices Naruto's eyes when they kiss after Naruto is pushed.