Title: These People I Can't Stand
Series: Naruto
Rating: T
Warnings: Bucketloads of Sasuke, GaaNaru fluff, drugs including but not limited to fanfiction crack, some language, and references to canonverse events up to very recent chapters (so possible spoilers)
Pairings: Naruto/Gaara, Lee/Sakura, Nagato/Konan, Jiraiya/Tsunade (the last two characters aren't mentioned by name, but it's meant to be them)
Setting: School AU (present day Japan), starts from when they're the same age as at the beginning of the manga. Some ages and family ties have been changed, but nothing too radical.


Chapter One: Team

Had anyone told Sasuke even a month before it started, he would not have believed them.

He was a loner, and he liked things that way. He didn't need anybody else, they just got in the way. Nobody would ever understand him anyway.

Then his career plans as a Tragic Lone Wolf got ripped out of his hands and into tiny pieces, all objections smothered by rolling laughter and soft giggles –occasionally yelling and punches, and teary eyes staring at his and arms clinging to any part of him they could reach. By the time he was informed of the gravity of the situation by one of these two intruding creatures, it was too late to wriggle out of it. Sasuke, he was told, had friends.

His teachers were to blame, and he was convinced it was a conspiracy against him. A logical conclusion from a twelve-year-old.

Their old homeroom teacher had to have told the new one that these two drove him particularly high up the wall, and so he regularly got grouped together with them right from the start of the year. Worse yet, their new teacher was so adamant about the groups getting along he made that be half of their grading on every assignment.

This made him learn stupid details about, and give out personal information to these two losers the rest of the universe had decided his youth would be wasted hanging out with. Naruto liked ramen and wanted to become the prime minister of Japan, and preferably the whole world if that was possible. He had a dumb crush on Sakura, who had a dumb crush on Sasuke, who was neither dumb nor about to let himself get crushed by being thrown into an elementary school love triangle.

It made him notice things about, and before he knew it, let his guard down around these two children of his age who each had their poor prognoses for their lives and were discovering the will to fight them.

Sakura was very self-conscious and took out her insecurities on obsessively worrying about her looks to meet others' expectations. She had a kind if a little overdramatic heart, knowledge like a walking encyclopedia and the smarts to find out what she didn't know, and could throw a mean punch for a girl if you annoyed her enough.

Naruto was screaming for attention with all his being, the more over-the-top the method the better. He had been in and out of foster homes and temporary shelters all his life, being just a number and a burden to the system. When you acknowledged him as something more you never got rid of him –for better or for worse.

Sasuke himself had his standards to meet. He was an Uchiha, heir to everything you could possibly imagine inheriting, and not considered worthy of any of it. Before his parents had died, his father had made clear his brother could do everything better with half the effort, and Itachi wasn't even interested in the fortune and power he would get when he grew up and didn't need a distant uncle he hardly knew as his legal guardian anymore. Only his father had ever told him he wasn't good enough, but the war was already declared.

And when at war, having allies doesn't (usually) hurt.

And so, wasting his youth hanging out with Naruto and Sakura made Sasuke grudgingly admit –first to himself, and much later and even more grudgingly to the other two– that he didn't mind having friends.

That was, of course, when the cosmic conspiracy decided to mess with him a little more, as if accepting the company and companionship of two people wasn't shocking enough. People moved in and out of their hometown of Konoha, and occasionally new classmates came along as well as old ones transferred away. The particular family with three children that moved in during their last year at their old school, however, deserved more than a passing mention for the hurricane it managed to raise, even with just the youngest sibling attending.

Really, to turn things upside down, one week of time and just his own crazy self as backup was all Gaara needed.