Disclaimer- I do not own Naruto, if I did I would not degrade myself by doing whatever my mum feels like making me do for extra money T-T (I hate chores)

Opening note- Okay, the inspiration for this story actually came from a review for my Twilight story "What She Didn't See" in which my reviewer (Scrapmypieces) said she couldn't believe how blind the characters were for not seeing what Bella was going through and I answered "You'd be surprised by how much people don't see because they don't WANT to see it" And that's just me speaking from experience. So, my mind just started writing this story! : D

Beta-ed: September 22, 2009 by peaceandserenity94 (Love the b-day present mi amiga chica :P)!

Chapter 1: Transformations


Hey Boys, Hey Girls,

Hey Anybody who will listen to me

In case you haven't noticed

It's just me against the world today

~ Me vs the World by Halo Friendlies


The alarm clock of the 16 year old blonde rang shrilly from beside his bed. The noise was loud enough to wake anyone within a five mile radius, but it was useless considering the boy was already awake. He'd been awake since 4 am, when nightmares had ripped him from his peaceful state of unconsciousness. Changing into the monster everyone feared you were and killing your precious ones is enough to wake anyone up. It also didn't help that memories of late night beatings had somehow been thrown into the mix. Naruto groaned, dragging his sleep cap down to cover his eyes from the now blinding rays of sun coming through his window, hoping to block out the images now swirling in his mind. The alarm next to his ear was getting anxious, the beep's pitch slightly altered due to prolonged use.

Finally, the angered blonde slapped the machine, causing the alarm to give a small squeak before becoming silent. He had two choices. One, he could stay in bed, skip practice, and stare at the ceiling all day; or two, get his sorry butt out of bed, into the shower (if he still had running water), and go to practice with a fake smile on his face just like he had done the day before, and every day before that.

Choice number one wasn't really an option. Sakura or Sasuke-teme would hunt him down and ask annoying questions. His mask would be in jeopardy, meaning what little stability in the relationships he shared with the two would be at risk too.

He'd already lost the teme once, pushing him to dig his own grave that much faster with every step he took further into the darkness of despair. After spending three years training to be strong enough to drag his only true friend back, it turned out to be all for naught. Sasuke had almost succeeded in killing Itachi, only to find from a previously unknown member of Akatsuki named Tobi, also known as Mandara, that Itachi had been given a mission to kill their family by the elders. Hearing this, the teen was ready to join Akatsuki so that he may get his revenge on Konoha, only to be stopped by his brother. The older Uchiha took Sasuke as far away from this other Akatsuki member and convinced him it was for the best. After much persuasion, Sasuke finally came to agree, and returned to Konoha. Itachi too returned and was welcome with open arms, though less openly so as he was placed under suspension whereas his little brother was now on active duty as a part of team 7.

That being said, there was no way that Naruto could skip practice, leaving only the inevitable: choice number two. With another groan, the spiky headed teen propped himself up on his elbow while simultaneously swinging his feet off the edge of the bed and onto the cool wood floor below. Standing to his feet, the blonde was struck with a wave of dizziness and a pounding headache, both of which he shook off. Getting less than 3 hours of sleep did that to a person. Not eating since lunch the day before didn't help either. Groggily, the boy dragged himself through the small, run-down apartment that he had called home for as long as he could live on his own to the bathroom. The door was already open, revealing a simple nondescript bathroom…or at least it had started that way. Now, the cream tiled floor was partly stained red from times when he'd staggered in after a particularly bad beating when he was young, the small bathtub had a layer of lime he'd never gotten around to cleaning, the marble sink had a large crack running through the center where he'd pounded his fist angrily the night he'd been released from the hospital after Sasuke abandoned the village, the small toilet's cover had been ripped clean off. Somehow, the mirror remained intact, though it happened to be the only object not broken in some way. With a sigh, Naruto dragged himself the last few step to the bath, where he turned the faucet with mentally crossed fingers.

"Joy! I actually have water." The boy muttered under his breath. "No heat, I see. I needed to wake up anyway."

Ever the optimistic, Naruto didn't let himself think about the elevated utilities bill he paid, even though he still didn't receive warm water, and instead stripped himself of the boxers he'd slept in and stepped into the shower. With tense shoulders, the teen flipped the small tab redirecting the water up to the shower head and prepared himself for the onslaught of cold water.

The blonde swore in a carefully controlled yell as an onslaught of ice cold droplets struck his perfectly toned back. Without skipping a beat, Naruto grabbed at the shampoo bottle, pouring a small amount of the expensive liquid in his hand, before placing it back where it previously stood at the edge of his tub. He'd hardly begun to lather his hair when he knocked the bottle over sending it and the other bath materials over the edge. Again he swore. Bending over to pick up the dropped supplies, he stopped. Among the things that he had dropped was his razor blade. Ever so slowly, the teen picked the sharp blades up with gentle fingers, as if he felt the blades would break between his fingers. Subconsciously, his other hand twitched and the old scar on his wrist became more pronounced. Looking down toward his thigh, he stared at the long line of self-inflicted cuts. Making a decision, the teen put the razor back in its place and continued to pick up the other things he'd dropped.

"The cut wouldn't stop bleeding in time." The boy muttered to himself as if trying to convince him of his choice. "And the fox wouldn't stop it."

Like hell I would!

I wasn't talking to you!

I am aware of that; I was just reminding you that I won't heal you if you hurt yourself.

Naruto growled aloud, but otherwise didn't reply. He remembered that fact all too well after cutting his wrist the very first time. He had been forced to wear his long sleeved jacket the following two weeks diligently and carefully make sure his wrist was never exposed to anyone's view. In Shikamaru's words, it was very troublesome. Since then, the boy had taken to cutting his legs. After all, far fewer people would see his upper thigh, and those who did would just assume they were battle scars. However, he still had to play the game carefully, since even if everyone assumed they were battle scars all would still remain curious as to why the fox hadn't healed them. Naruto sighed. It seemed that annoying questions followed him wherever he turned.

After finishing up, Naruto was glad to finally get out of the direct line of freezing water. Wrapping a towel around his waist, the boy exited the bathroom in search of clothes. When he came to his closet, he let out another sigh. Bright orange clothing burned his eyes, giving him little choice of variety. He didn't remember the exact day the villagers would only allow him to buy orange, but he did remember how happy he'd been to be able to buy any new clothes at all. Now however, he'd grown to despise his wardrobe. It came to be the living proof of the hate he suffered every day, the very outfit was a target on his back not only to enemy ninja, but for the cold gazes of the people he'd sworn to protect. What is more, he hated himself for not seizing the chance for a brand new set of clothes when he'd been traveling with Jiraiya. Instead, he'd acted like a coward, too afraid that the change would alert those he cared for that he hated the color orange. He had lied to them for so long, even the smartest shinobi were starting to believe the neon color was his favorite. A person couldn't tear down a charade that long in the making and not expect some consequences. No, Naruto hadn't wanted to deal with that, instead sticking to his dreaded orange but at with slightly less bright. Dragging on his orange pants and black t-shirt, he draped his jacket over his shoulder, not bothering to put it on, and added the finishing touch: his headband. Once again he sighed, staring at the leaf symbol on his head in the mirror. The head band Iruka had given him when he had graduated had the fabric worn through, forcing him to replace it. This newer head band seemed less symbolic of his struggle to get where he was now.

With nothing left to do, Naruto grabbed his weapons case and walked out the door without bothering to lock it behind him. What did he have to steal, anyway?

T-T;_; T-T;_; T-T;_; T-T;_; T-T;_; T-T;_; T-T;_; T-T;_; T-T;_; T-T;_; T-T;_; T-T;_;: D

Sasuke Uchiha stood leaned against the bridge he and his teammates had been meeting at to train since they'd become genin. As usual, the raven haired teen had arrived first meaning he had a good half hour to an hour's wait before his teammates showed up, let alone Kakashi. Sasuke had been in an extra rush to get out of his house this morning, seeing as his brother had taken to questioning him about every detail of Sasuke's life that he had missed. Having never been talkative in the first place, the younger Uchiha was defiantly uneasy about the whole situation making mornings at the Uchiha complex…awkward to say the least. This morning had been no exception, but rather had been even more awkward as Itachi had made Sasuke a bento box, making him feel required to reveal something about himself. So on his way out, the boy had mentioned liking cats, and then proceeded to get as far away as possible. Now, the teen was regretting his decision to say anything at all, since he had a very bad feeling that there was going to be a cat on his bed when he got home.

Thankfully Sasuke didn't have to think about his new cat for long, seeing as his teammate and only true friend, Naruto had walked up.

"Morning, teme!" The blonde grinned cheerily, giving a small greeting wave.

"Dobe." The other grunted in reply.

"Teme! Why are you here so early anyway? You know Kakashi won't be here for another hour." Again the other teen grunted, then answered,

"Itachi acting like a mother hen again." Sasuke never mentioned his home life, he especially didn't mention how his used-to-be S-classed criminal brother almost literally fawned over him…at least as much as an Uchiha could fawn over someone. Naruto was the exception, however, and thus the raven haired had taken to venting his frustrations to the other. After all, Sasuke was very frustrated at the sudden closeness of his brother. He'd only recently come to terms with the fact that he'd wasted his whole life trying to kill the only family he had left, and the fact that his brother was so caring annoyed him. Had it been the other way around, Sasuke would've been angry at the village, angry that he couldn't have spent any time with his only family, but instead here Itachi was trying to make up for lost time. Naruto snickered.

"That explains the bento box!" Sasuke looked down to his feet where he'd half hidden the homemade bento box with his legs and sighed.


"Teme! Did Itachi pack you a little love letter too?" Naruto added still snickering.

"Jealous because no one would ever make you a bento box?" The second the words left Sasuke's mouth, he regretted them. The blonde's face, which had previously been alive with laughter, changed in a matter of seconds. A single final laugh died on his lips as his mouth fell into a frown. At once bright blue eyes dimmed, and they too fell to look at the floor. Sasuke opened his mouth to apologize when he was interrupted.

"GOOD MORNING SASUKE-KUN! HEY NARUTO!" Sakura called as she walked over to where they stood. Instantly, the blonde changed again. His head snapped upwards, a giant grin on his face, but it wasn't the same. Naruto's pure blue eyes were still slightly dimmed and the smile didn't reach them. Sakura was sure not to notice, but Sasuke did.

"GOOD MORNING, SAKURA-CHAN!" He greeted back waving similarly to her as he had done to Sasuke earlier. The pink haired girl smiled back, but then turned her attention to Sasuke. Their other teammate had grown warmer towards Naruto since Sasuke's disappearance, and since his return she'd been nothing but friendly to the blonde. That didn't change the fact, however, that now that Sasuke was back she paid a lot less attention to the other teen than she had previously. Not that Sasuke blamed her per se, she did admit she still had feelings for him; it just got on the Uchiha's nerves to see their other member feeling like the third wheel.

"Morning, Dickless." Of course, there was Sai.

"TEME! I told you to stop calling me that!" Sasuke glared at their fourth team member. The ex-root member had been his replacement after all, and now that he had returned his presence robbed the team of any peace they may have had being a team like they used to be. Tsunade-sama was very clear though that Sai was to remain part of team 7 until new arrangements could be made. Besides, apparently Sai liked team 7 and was trying to learn the meaning of friendship bonds. Sasuke's other two teammates informed him that the other raven haired teen was much better than he once was, causing Sasuke to believe that the teen had been utterly hopeless with emotions before now. As if sensing his train of though, Sai sent Sasuke what he perceived to be a fake smile, though it could've been true for all the latter knew.

"Good morning, Sasuke-kun." Sasuke twitched at the added suffix. He had no idea where the jerk got the idea that he could call him that, and it was annoying enough that Sakura called him that, let alone this friend-wannabe. "Nice bento box, who's it from?"

Sasuke's eyes flickered to Naruto waiting for the blonde's outburst. Normally Naruto would take any chance to embarrass his teammate in front of team 7, as long as he felt it wasn't personal enough to have crossed a line. Today, however, Naruto stayed silent, his eyes focused on the water below instead of meeting Sasuke's eye contact. With one raised eyebrow at Naruto's reaction, he turned back to Sai and shrugged.

"I had extra time this morning, so I made one." Sai obviously knew that wasn't true, but his book had said if a friend lies to you about something trivial it's best not to insist on the truth, said friend will come to you if it's important. After that, the team commenced in some small talk. Of course, Sasuke, who had already said more than he would usually say in an entire day, took no part in the small talk other than to nod or grunt in the appropriate places, and instead studied his blonde friend. Naruto too did not take part in the small talk, which for him was a very rare occurrence indeed. Said teen had sat down on the bridge, his legs dangling above the river below, with his head leaned against the cool metal of the bridge with shut eyes. By the time Sakura had noticed Naruto was not in the little group the other team members had formed, let alone adding to the conversation, Naruto looked as if he had fallen asleep. She therefore decided not to question him, assuming he just hadn't got much sleep the night before. It had happened more than once before, especially when Sasuke had still been at Orochimaru's.

Naruto, however, was not asleep and Sasuke was very aware of that fact. Never had he seen Naruto remove himself from a conversation. After all, he was practically screaming for attention with every move he made. Seeing the blonde so reserved put the Uchiha on edge and alert for any sighs that may signify why his friend was so out of it this morning. Sasuke didn't get to study as long as he wished. The group hadn't been talking for but half an hour when a puff of smoke signified Kakashi's arrival.

"Yo!" Their sensei greeted from where he balanced on the bridge's edge.

"YOU'RE LATE!" Both Sakura and Naruto accused, though Naruto's accusation was a lot weaker and lacked the feeling that he truly cared whether Kakashi was late or not.

"Yes, well you see I actually have an excuse! Now if I can just find where I wrote it down…" The silver haired jounin muttered as he patted the many pockets on his jounin vest.

"LIAR!" Sakura yelled again, a nerve visible on her forehead. Naruto, who would usually be yelling along with her said nothing, but did pull himself up from where he sat.

"Ah ha!" The male exclaimed, retrieving a piece of parchment from his pocket. "Well today is a very special day! It seems that Sasuke has been promoted to jounin!"

"NO WAY!" Sakura squealed. "OH! I KNEW Sasuke-kun would be the first one of us to be jounin! I can't believe they let you skip the chunin exam all together!" Sasuke, who was too surprised and still studying Naruto, didn't even resist as his female teammate glomped him. What the male did care about was Naruto's reaction to the news. Instead of congratulating his best friend, the blonde had frowned and clenched his hands into fists. As Sasuke stared at his friend, Naruto did the third transformation of the day. Suddenly, Naruto too was on Sasuke.

"CONGRATS TEME! What are you going to wear with your new jounin vest?" The blonde grinned and joked happily, and had Sasuke not just seen the blonde's previous reaction he never would have doubted that the other teen was truly happy for him. But he had seen Naruto, and now the raven haired individual couldn't shake the image from his mind.

"Congratulations indeed Sasuke-kun, it is no easy feat to be allowed to skip the chunin level." Unable to really reply because he was so fixated Naruto and slightly suffocating because of Sakura's hug, Sasuke just grunted.

"Okay, okay! I know we're all happy for Sasuke, so to celebrate, let's skip practice today and meet up for some barbeque for dinner." Kakashi-sensei interrupted, sending the happy group an eye smile.

"Great! That gives me enough time to get Sasuke-kun a present!" Sakura all but squealed again.

"Then it's settled, everyone's dismissed." With that, Kakashi disappeared in another puff of smoke, leaving the teens to continue celebrating. Their sensei had barely left, however, when Naruto waved good bye to the group.

"Well, I gotta go find something for the teme!" The blonde waved without turning as he walked away.

"So long, Dickless. I guess I'll be leaving too." The pale teen said walking the opposite direction Naruto had just gone. As much as Sasuke wanted to follow Naruto, he couldn't, as Sakura refused to let go.

"What kind of present do you want Sasuke-kun?" Sakura gushed, completely unaware that the male wished to leave. In reply, Sasuke grunted, finally breaking out of the pinky's grasp. "Ne, Sasuke, where are you going?" Without replying, the raven haired picked up his bento box, which had almost been forgotten, and walked as quickly as possible, without actually breaking into a run, in the direction the blonde had gone.

AND THERE'S CHAPTER 1! : D Pretty long for me! (At least as a first chapter) I hope there are not too many grammar mistakes (I spell checked it and read over it, but I'm only human………or so we believe)

Okay, so I need to have a vote:

Do you like the story? Yes or No

Who do you think Naruto should be paired with? NaruHina or NaruSasu? (Yaoi or Straight?)

Either way with the pairing, Sasuke will play a major role in the story (as much as I despise him -_-) but I need to know if it's just friendship or love or whatever.

WE NEED YOU TO VOTE!!! (Don't ask who we are, I'm not quite sure myself) Think of it as your reader duty XD

So review with your answers!!!