Chapter 1: A Life-Changing Experience?

Naruto Uzumaki sat at his desk at Kohana High between his friends Sakura Haruno and Shikamaru Nara. Their teacher, Iruka Umino, was writing on the board while the class quietly took notes. Naruto had stopped actually writing long ago because he preferred to just read the information off the board. He just seemed to retain it better that way.

Sakura noticed this and turned to her blond friend. "Naruto, you're going to get yelled at by Iruka-sensei again."

Naruto merely glanced at the pink-haired girl next to him. "Aw, Sakura, Iruka-sensei doesn't care. I'm passing this class with a B anyway."

Shikamaru turned his dark-eyed stare on the two next to him. "Naruto's got a point, Sakura. This class is such a drag. Iruka-sensei could bore an anbu to death."

"Or the Hokage!" Naruto chimed in. The two burst out into loud laughter, causing Iruka to turn around.

"Hey! Pay attention! Naruto, Shikamaru, that means shut up and copy the notes!"

Naruto sighed and laid his head down on the desk. "I give up," he muttered apathetically. Shikamaru nodded and laid his head down as well and they both drifted off into a light slumber.

***

Naruto was suddenly awakened by the sound of the bell and Sakura standing up next to him. He groaned sleepily as he opened his eyes and was blinded by the sunlight that flooded through the window. Shikamaru was still sleeping soundly on the other side of Sakura's chair.

'Better leave him alone,' Naruto thought to himself as he picked up his backpack and left the room.

Naruto Uzumaki was a lean, blond-haired boy of sixteen with clear, bright blue eyes. His parents had died when he was a child (for a reason that is unknown only to him), so now he lived with Iruka and one of the legendary Sannin, Jiraiya. Not at the same time, of course. He lived with Iruka on the weekdays when he had to go to school, but on weekends, Iruka and another one of Naruto's teachers, Kakashi Hatake, left to go on trips to Kami-knows-where for the whole weekend. Then Iruka would come back, take Naruto home, and the cycle would start again.

It was a Friday afternoon and Naruto was heading home to Iruka's house. He knew it would be the same as any other Friday. Naruto would get home and eat a bowl or two of ramen, Iruka would get home, rush to get ready, Kakashi would come to pick Iruka up, Naruto would head to Jiraiya's, then at night, Jiraiya would go out to the local nightclub. It was the same story from week to week. Naruto didn't mind that much. There were times when he enjoyed the quiet, but today, for some reason, the feeling wasn't the same.

Naruto sighed as he arrived home, opened the door, walked inside, threw his backpack on the ground, and walked to the kitchen. His sadness soon became frustration as he fumbled through the cabinet in search of a cooking pot.

"AH!" he screamed, running his fingers though his hair. "I can't find a pot!"

"Need help, Naruto?" a familiar voice asked from behind him.

Naruto turned around to see Iruka smiling down at him. His eyes held a gleam of somewhat of a fatherly figure as Naruto stared up at him. "Iruka," Naruto said quietly. Then he shook his head roughly and looked back at Iruka in frustration. "I can't find a pot!" he wailed. "I need ramen!"

Iruka chuckled softly before opening a drawer under the oven. "They're right where they've always been, Naruto," the older man said gently.

"Hmph," Naruto pouted. His eyes suddenly lit up hopefully. "Hey, Iruka, are you staying here tonight? Huh? Are ya?"

Iruka shook his head. "No, I'm afraid not, Naruto. Kakashi told me we're going somewhere extra special this weekend so--"

"Where do you and Kakashi-sensei have to go every weekend anyway?" Naruto interrupted.

A blush immediately formed across Iruka's face. "Uh….well…" he stammered nervously. He was saved by the ringing of the doorbell. "That's Kakashi! I'll see you Sunday night, Naruto! Be good and say hi to Jiraiya for me!" And with that he was out of the door in less than a heartbeat. Outside, Kakashi stared quizzically as Iruka shut the door behind him.

"What's wrong?" Kakashi asked curiously. Iruka couldn't help but blush again as he looked up at Kakashi's face hidden beneath a mask and his Leaf Village headband. As far as he knew, he was the only one who had the pleasure of seeing Kakashi's revealed face every weekend…and this one would be no different. Iruka shook his head, forcing the blush away, then looked back at the silver-haired man.

"Naruto's asking silly questions," Iruka answered simply.

"You didn't tell him anything, did you?"

"No!" Iruka burst out. "Why would I?"

"Good." Kakashi clearly relaxed and his one dark blue eye glittered mischievously as he continued. "Then we can have our fun after all."

***

Back inside, Naruto sat alone at the table, listening to the ramen noodles boil on the stove. That was the first time Naruto asked Iruka what he and Kakashi did every weekend and it would certainly be the last. That blush and nervous manner explained it all. Naruto shivered at the thought of his guardian and favorite teacher in bed together and suddenly he had lost his appetite. Naruto put the uneaten ramen in the refrigerator and went upstairs.

When Iruka had taken Naruto into his home, he had set aside a room for his adoptive child. Naruto had done whatever he wanted to the room so that he felt at least a little bit at home. He walked over to his dresser and pulled out a pair of pajamas and a couple days' worth of underwear and clothing. Sure, Naruto had his own room at Jiraiya's, but the pervy sage was always up to something and Kami knows what he did to Naruto's clothes when the teen wasn't around.

After he finished, Naruto started on his way through Konoha to Jiraiya's house. The city was just beginning to awaken with the night. Somehow, Naruto knew this night would be a life-changing experience. He didn't know why or how, but somehow he just knew. He was suddenly drawn out of his thoughts when he ran into someone stopped in front of him.

"Ow…sorry about…that," Naruto had looked up and got caught in the most beautiful onyx eyes he had ever seen. The owner of the eyes was another teen, about Naruto's age with black hair that spiked in the back but trailed down to his chin on both sides of his face. His face was getting to be in the shape of a man's but was still round enough that a person could see he was still young. His body was lean and muscular but hidden underneath a dark blue shirt and white shorts. Naruto couldn't help but stare at the captivating form in front of him…that is until he spoke.

"Yeah, way to go, loser. Why don't you do us both a favor and watch where you're going?" And with that the boy turned and walked away.

Naruto stood stunned. What the heck just happened? Yeah, he hadn't been watching where he was going, but did that give that stranger the right to insult him? So much for a life-changing experience. Naruto sighed and continued on his way.

***

In a nearby alley, a black-haired boy watched Naruto walk away. He hadn't meant to sound so…arrogant, but it was the best he could do after what happened.

He had been standing, casually staring at the stars like he used to do in his old home when someone ran into him. He had turned, thinking it was just some kid who had eaten a little too much candy and became mesmerized in crystal blue eyes. He had no idea who that blond kid was, but for some reason, just being in his presence had calmed him.

The teen's brooding was suddenly interrupted by a man walking up to him. The newcomer looked almost exactly like the teen except his hair was longer in the back and was pulled into a tight ponytail. "There you are, Sasuke," the man scolded the teen. "Do you have any idea how worried I've been?"

Sasuke rolled his eyes. "Cut the act, Itachi," he said coolly. "You wouldn't care if I fell into a ditch and got eaten alive by rats. In fact, you'd probably laugh your ass off all the way to hell." Itachi enjoyed playing the role of "big brother" just to get on Sasuke's nerves. Itachi was twenty-three, seven years older than Sasuke and, even though they really were brothers, they hated each other's guts. When Sasuke was younger, Itachi had taken the pleasure of doing countless things to embarrass him; one of which happened when Sasuke was seven. Itachi had spread it around that Sasuke would go around to the back of the school and jack off to a bunch of guys between classes. Of course, Sasuke was only seven and didn't even know what the term meant; not to mention he only had one class at the time. Nevertheless, even though most people quickly reasoned that it was all a rumor spread by big brother, a certain group believed every word: Itachi's band of lackeys. In fact, they were probably the only real friends Itachi had…and everyone knew that Itachi was the gay one anyway.

Itachi laughed amused. "You're probably right. But if I go to hell, I'm dragging you down with me."

"You're such a bastard," replied Sasuke. "What d'you want anyway?"

Sasuke's brother didn't even try to hide the devilish smirk on his face. "Mom said to bring you home."

Sasuke felt the heat rise in his body. The nerve of this guy! He knew as well as Sasuke their parents had died a long time ago by "forces unseen" as the elders had called it. The "forces" were said to have been deep inside the two brothers, so they were driven from the Uchiha Clan residence; nearly a day's train ride away. Itachi's little band of followers, the Akatsuki as they called themselves, had been the only ones to follow, afraid of what might happen to them if it was found out they were buds with the Uchihas. So now, their whole family despised them and they were forced to live here in Konoha. So why bring their dead mother into something so pointless? Realization hit him like a kunai to the head. "You brought them…didn't you?"

Itachi's smirk broadened and Sasuke groaned in annoyance. Almost simultaneously, a group of guys walked up behind Sasuke. The closest one, a guy with long, blond hair pulled into a ponytail, pulled Sasuke into a tight bear hug and mimicked a woman's voice.

"Oh, Sasuke, honey! I've missed you so much! How could you worry your mother so?"

All of the Akatsuki laughed as Sasuke squirmed out of the guy's grip. "Let go, Deidara! Kami knows you probably are gay."

Deidara narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. "Actually I consider myself a friend with benefits, if you get my drift, yeah."

Sasuke ignored the perverted comment and turned back to Itachi. "You'd think you'd have at least some respect for our mother," he stated as he walked away, leaving the group laughing.

As Sasuke walked, he shivered as he thought about his brother's friends. First there was Kisame. Sasuke swore he must've been a fish in another life or something. He sure looked like it with his pale blue skin and small, piercing black eyes. Then there was Tobi…Sasuke assumed the guy must've had some kind of mental problem the way he was always randomly yelling about how much of a good boy he was. Sasori was okay, but the guy had some weird feddish with puppets so Sasuke usually steered clear. Kakuzu and Zetsu weren't so bad either. Kakuzu wore a head cover and a mask and barely said anything unless it was an insult, while Zetsu had a weird feddish of his own with plants. But, hey, at least they were tolerable. Konan was the only girl member and a royal pain, but thankfully, she stayed near a guy called Pein who had piercings all over his body for reasons Sasuke didn't even want to know. He hadn't seen Konan tonight so Sasuke guessed that she had decided to do some shopping or something instead of bothering her best friend's little brother. Then there was Deidara. Sasuke swore the guy was really a girl, but didn't say anything in case he was to get mauled. 'If anyone saw him in a dress,' Sasuke thought, ' they'd probably agree.' The guy had to be the drag king of the century. Finally, there was Hidan. Now Hidan was crazy…end of story. He always complained about his religion, but at the same time insisted that he had to go by it's standards, no matter how much he hated it. It made no sense at all and pissed them all off at times…especially Kakuzu. And he had this weird thing about not wearing shirts. But hey, the guy was a pretty damn good guitar player so Sasuke didn't have that big of a complaint against him.

Sasuke's feet had led him home much to his confusion. He hadn't even remembered walking that way. Heaving a heavy sigh, he unlocked the door and went inside and straight to his room. It was Friday night, which meant Itachi and the Akatsuki would be out till dawn then sleep the day away. 'That's where we got our name,' Itachi had told him. 'From the dawn of day.'

"Whatever," Sasuke scoffed. He could care less if his brother got laid and knocked up all in one night. Hell, it might even do the bastard some good. Sasuke rolled over on his bed so he was lying on his stomach. No matter how much he hated his brother though, Sasuke had to admit that Itachi was easier to approach than he was himself…on a good day anyway. Either way, though, it was another lonely night for Sasuke. He closed his eyes sleepily, then jerked them open as an image of the blond-haired kid popped into his head.

"What the hell?" Sasuke muttered to himself. He had to admit he'd thought of people before, but it was usually of his parents being alive or the joyous murder of the Akatsuki, but never of a guy he had run into that same day. But there was something about those crystalline blue eyes; something he couldn't ignore. Something like pain, remorse…loneliness. No! Sasuke shook his head violently. Why was he thinking about a guy? But he couldn't help it. He had to find out who the blond-haired kid was…and he'd start Monday: his first day at Kohana High.