Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto! If I did, there would be a whole lot of NaruSasu, oh yes, and Sakura wouldn't be so shallow and useless :3 Enjoy~!


Chapter One: It's a Rainy Day


"When this began

I had nothing to say

And I get lost in the nothingness inside of me

I was confused

And I let it all out to find

That I'm not the only person with these things in mind

Inside of me

But all that they can see the words revealed

Is the only real thing that I've got left to feel

Nothing to lose

Just stuck, hollow and alone

And the fault is my own, and the fault is my own

I wanna heal, I wanna feel

What I thought was never real

I wanna let go of the pain

I felt so long

Erase all the pain till it's gone

I wanna heal, I wanna feel

Like I'm close to something real

I wanna find something I've wanted all along

Somewhere I belong"

-Somewhere I Belong, Linkin Park

_~.~*~.~_

All he wanted to do was take a bath. A nice, warm and soothing bath after a long day of vigorous, muscle wrenching training. But, of course, Sasuke could never have it that simple. He sighed, a blue rubber duck floating across the bubble riddled water and closing in on his personal space. Giggles filled the foggy, tiled room as a blonde head bobbed over the water and a tan hand squeezed the little duck, causing squeaks to echo over the bubbles. "Quack, quack like the wind!"

"Idiot," The squeals of laughter subsided and Naruto hummed questioningly at Sasuke's inquiry. Sinking into the water, only a smallish, rosy nose peeked over the suds, and blue jewels beamed innocently up at the last Uchiha in question who merely wrinkled his nose. "Why are you here?"

Naruto's eyes curved up and he looked about the bathroom, plucking the rubber duck under water. A tune of childish rhymes raised from the bubbles, and Sasuke scowled at the prolonged response. Naruto snorted at the Uchiha, and with a sneeze, he began to giggle again. "Why else would I take a bath, Sasuke? I was dirty!" Naruto brought the duck back out of the water and set it atop the raven's head. "Quack."

A slender, black brow twitched with annoyance, and a vein throbbed in Sasuke's forehead with vibrant frustration. He swatted the duck off of his head viciously, a small splash cupping its landing. Naruto snickered, and dropped below the surface, leaving the duck behind to sway in the ripples. Sasuke was having a slight issue with the blonde at the moment, who seemed to the littlest Uchiha to be a bit too perky lately. Frankly, you could say Sasuke was a little concerned... "Why me? Why is it always me? First it's all week with your idiotic games and stupid excuses! Now you're in my bathtub! Hell, when did you even get in here?" …for his sanity.

Sasuke growled, swiping at the bubbles, trying to find the missing blonde. Sasuke reached around the depths of the water, and with a blank face, he mapped out the bottom of the tub. Empty? Where did he go? Sasuke was with but a twinge of curiousness at Naruto's strange behavior. He was more angry than he was curious of the blonde however, for he had pulled such drastic pranks on him all week long. His eyes darted about the tub water, searching for rising bubbles. He fought hard not to jump when warm breath blew over his neck. He suppressed a very unmanly yelp and scooted away from the blonde's close proximity. Naruto grinned, and raised the duck into the air with the whirring sounds of a flying kunai. Sasuke growled. "Why are you here in my bathtub, you idiot?"

The blonde squinted at him for a moment. "Well, considering this particular bathtub, I'm only in your bathtub, because it is your bathtub." Naruto shrugged nonchalantly. "If it wasn't yours, I'd be in a non-Sasuke-related-bath tub, right? So, I'd still be taking a bath, but not with you, right? I am taking a bath, but it is merely your bathtub." Sasuke looked at the blonde incredulously as he continued, "And, I got here when you put that funky shampoo in your hair." Naruto blinked curiously, and set the duck down. He leaned in closer to Sasuke, whom in reaction leaned away from the blonde. "For using such a funky shampoo, you always smell good," Naruto murmured thoughtfully. "Neh, Sasuke, do you use girly shampoo?" Naruto tilted his head to the side. "Is that why your hair sticks up in the back? Because you have a freakish, girl shampoo fetish? Did you steal that shampoo from Sakura? It smells a lot like hers."

Sasuke shoved the ranting boy away and crossed his arms over his naked chest. He hunched over, trying to conceal himself a little more. Naruto plucked the duck in and out of the water, making it appear as if it were bouncing–over the surface of Sasuke's lap. Sasuke was growing more and more agitated and more than a little uncomfortable. "S-stop ch-changing the subject, and avoiding my questions, moron!"

Naruto blinked, and picked up the duck once again. "I answered your questions, so I thought it was my turn to ask something. Quack, quack…"

The blonde once again set the duck atop Sasuke's head, and Sasuke hurriedly knocked it away. "No, you don't have a right to ask questions! Why are you in my bathtub?"

Naruto leaned over the side of the tub and picked up the blue duck from the pink shag carpet. "I already answered that question Sasuke. I'm in your bathtub because this tub is yours. If it wasn't yours, I wouldn't be in your bathtub. I would be in a non-Sasuke-related-"

"I get that! But why are you in mine and not your own?" Sasuke cupped his hands and drew mountainous bubble clumps over his lap while also trying to make it as unnoticeable about covering himself as possible. His eye was beginning to develop a tic with his obvious irritation at the growing awkwardness.

Naruto frowned, scrunching up his nose at the Uchiha. "Because, Sasuke, if this was my bathtub, I would be, but since it's yours it's quite impossible to be in mine, don't you think? Quack, quack."

Sasuke was just about ready to pull his hair out. The duck floated around the Uchiha gently, bobbing and weaving with the small waves. "Hey, Sasuke? Why do you have a pink carpet? You know, Sasuke, you're getting kind of red in the face. Maybe you've been in the tub too long."

Sasuke's head began to pound with a migraine. Naruto giggled at the duck swaying over Sasuke's lap, seemingly completely oblivious to the situation, and what questions he was asking. Something seemed to finally snap within Sasuke's inner rationality and his jaw locked tightly with anger. "Naruto." Naruto froze in surprise at the unfamiliar, dark irritation Sasuke's voice harbored as it hissed between his teeth. Naruto bowed his head as his eyes grew wide much like a kicked puppy. "Get out of my freaking house!"

Naruto flinched and his shining eyes adverted themselves to the water. Sasuke blinked at the blonde's boxer clad hips as the he stood and waddled his way over the tub side. He plopped down onto the carpet with a soft squish, and padded slowly over to the door. Naruto's tan hand rested on the handle quietly as he hesitated.

Sasuke's anger diminished considerably when his frustration was finally released. The raven began to sense an odd aura in the air and dropped his stiff shoulders at the soft blue eyes that suddenly appeared over the blonde's tan shoulder. "Hey… I'm… sorry, that I was such a bother to you recently… I didn't realize I was such a hassle. I won't bother you anymore. Promise." Naruto turned then, and opened the door, stepping into the hallway. He didn't look back as he shut the door behind him.

Sasuke watched the door steadily, the sudden silence bearing in on him. Surely the door would pop back open and Naruto would bound in obnoxiously with that stupid grin and a declaration that he would stay as the raven protested it all. Yet, the door remained deathly still, and it was so quiet, Sasuke heard the father clock ticking down below in his living room. Surprise grasped his good sense as an abrupt guilt began to press in on him. What's this all about? He was the one annoying me, not the other way around!

He stood silently and wrapped a towel around his waist. Entering the hall, he looked down both ways in case the blonde may still be inside the house. The hallways were barren. Sasuke strained his ears, but only the resonant ticking came his way. He made to the staircase and the first step creaked under his foot noisily. Sasuke winced, and flew down the steps to keep them from protesting beneath his weight. Easing around the corner, the clock's repetitive ticking pursued Sasuke as he tracked the drips and puddles of water to his front door. Hesitantly, he opened it, and the cold air hit him dreadfully as it rained.

He called out weakly from his doorway, "Naruto?"

The rain was pouring, pelting his roof and the grounds with no mercy. Sasuke could hardly see the road, or what was across from it for that matter. With a frown, Sasuke closed the door, and jogged up the stair case, the steps crying louder than the old clock. He stepped into his bathroom, the humid air wrapping around him and surrounding him in the smell of musk. Sasuke stepped up to the tub and peered down at the abandoned rubber duck; unnaturally still on the docile water as it looked up at the Uchiha with a false smile.

The father clock's ominous chime bounded throughout the secluded home.

_~.~*~.~_

"Oh, man! I'm going to be late!" Sakura threw her hair back out of her eyes, and yanked open the academy door. The chatter of loud voices met her ears as she galloped down the hall. Her inner-self cheered. Yes! Another day to charm the love of my life! As she skidded to a stop in the doorway, Sakura's emerald eyes darted across the crowded room, seeking out the youngest Uchiha.

As her eyes settled on the familiar fan on Sasuke's back, she smiled in satisfaction and made her way to his desk. Taking a deep breath, she tried to make her chest stick out a little farther. Sakura leaned onto the desk and was about to speak when Sasuke sighed lightly, and bowed his head, his bangs falling forward and hiding his face from view. Sakura instantly deflated, a pout on her thin lips. He's having a bad day? Sakura's cheeks puffed up. It's probably all that stupid, Naruto's fault! He's been annoying him all week! Sakura took her seat and glared at the empty one between her and Sasuke.

Sasuke, too preoccupied in his thoughts to notice Sakura, curled his hands into little fists, and set them in his lap. His eyes darted to the empty seat beside him, then to the floor, before he looked up as Iruka's soft voice sifted through the room. "Good morning! Today we -"

The door chose at that time to swing open and clatter against the back wall. "A-a-achoo! Gah!" Sasuke shivered as the introduction of that familiar voice reawakened the uneasiness that had failed to leave him since the night before. He leaned heavily over his desk, again hiding his eyes from view.

"Naruto! You're late, again!" Iruka's raised voice bellowed across the classroom.

Sakura scowled, and stood in a haste as the sniveling blonde came trotting to his seat. Naruto wiped his nose, and sneezed again. With an exhausted sigh, he dropped into his seat and held his aching head. "Ah… ouch…"

"Naruto," Sakura growled, and sat more calmly into her seat though her eyes burned with rage. Her eyes turned to Iruka briefly as he started the lesson, then turned her face down to direct her voice away from their sensei. "What did you do to Sasuke-kun?" Her voice was like the hiss of a hackle raised snake.

Naruto clamped his small hands over his temples, hoping to settle his swimming thoughts and come up with an answer. Sakura stomped her foot, and growled. "Don't you ignore me!"

Naruto sighed, reluctantly looking up, and winced as the sun from the windows hit his sensitive eyes. "Neh, Sakura-chan?" His own voice was a hoarse rasp through his sore throat.

Said girl glared at the blond from under her eyelashes. "I hope you have a good excuse this time."

Naruto blinked owlishly. "Well…" Sakura observed the boy suspiciously. "I really didn't do anything to Sasuke…" Sakura's foot was now tapping demandingly. Naruto finally sighed with a lopsided, half-hearted apologetic grin. "Okay, maybe I did," he offered vaguely, hoping the girl would leave him alone.

Sakura rolled her eyes, giving up, and went back to listening to the lesson. Naruto sighed in relief, slapping his temples and muttering to himself about girls with their "Sasuke this" and "Sasuke that". Finding his muttering wasn't helping his headache go away, Naruto finally settled with folding his arms and setting his heated cheek down on them. He clenched his eyes shut tightly, trying to block out the light and maybe get some sleep.

When he was sure the exhausted blonde wasn't looking, Sasuke studied his otherwise familiar face. Naruto had been a bit abnormally sluggish all week, trying to act awake, but he came off really perky–giggling and stuttering. Which was partly why Naruto was annoying Sasuke. The blonde's eyes had a dark tinge about them, and his cheeks were flushed deeply. Sasuke frowned, and without thinking, he touched the blonde's forehead. The feverish skin made him flinch and he pulled his hand back, cradling it to his chest. Surprisingly to Sasuke, the blond hadn't noticed, and was breathing deeply. Sasuke rubbed his hand thoughtfully. He must be sick… Sasuke turned to the front, and watched as Iruka demonstrated something on the board. It looked like he was explaining projectiles and directing them. I've never really asked a question before… Sasuke pursed his lips momentarily and tentatively raised his hand.

"Um, Iruka-sensei," he called out. All his classmates turned to gaze at him simultaneously. Sasuke withdrew slightly.

Iruka turned away from the board and to the Uchiha, surprise lighting his features when his eyes settled on him. "Ah, yes, Sasuke?"

Sasuke blinked at his sensei's questioning face and quickly dropped his hand. "Um, Naruto isn't… I mean… can I…?" He stuttered over his words, pointing at the blonde.

Iruka lowered his chalk and frowned distressfully. "Is he bothering you again?"

Sasuke's eyes widened. He thinks I'm tattling! "Um, no, it's just, ah… He's sick, I think."

Iruka blinked twice, and then he smiled. "Oh. You wouldn't mind missing a lesson would you Sasuke? Could you maybe watch him today? He tends to overexert himself."

Sasuke paused and scrutinized Naruto's face carefully. He trains even when he's sick?

The class erupted into murmurs and giggles.

"Over exert?"

"That loser?"

"Yeah right."

Sasuke lowered his chin as Naruto's eye lids fluttered, his brow creasing subconsciously. Sasuke's glare swept over the class. "Yes, I can sensei." The room quieted.

Iruka chuckled at Sasuke's determination. "Thank you, Sasuke. Now, as I was saying…"

Iruka called everyone's semi-attention back to the board as Sasuke pushed his chair out. He shook Naruto's shoulder softly. "Hey, get up."

Naruto grumbled and sat up. He squinted his eyes as he surveyed the classroom with blurry vision. "Eh? Is class over?"

Sasuke smirked. "No, you fell asleep."

"Mm…" Naruto yawned, stretching his arms across the desk like some sort of cat. He wet his lips, then promptly fell back asleep, his head falling to the desk with a mute bang.

The class erupted into laughter, and Naruto sat up stock straight at the sudden jar to his head. Iruka turned from his board once more to observe the turmoil. Naruto rubbed his spinning head warily, and Sasuke pulled him up by the arm. "Come on, idiot."

Naruto stood on slow legs, and rubbed his eyes. Sasuke frowned, and gave him a nudge. Naruto started to the walkway and wobbled. Sasuke grabbed hurriedly onto his shoulders before the blonde could fall to a probable concussion. The class slowly went silent, and their eyes watched them carefully. Sasuke could feel the curious apprehension, and his own uneasiness matched the tension in the room. "Naruto, walk."

Naruto remained limp, Sasuke's hold the only thing keeping him off the ground. "…mm."

Sasuke gritted his teeth in annoyance, and slowly maneuvered around the blonde. He held more steadily onto Naruto's shoulders and stared at his half-lidded uncomprehending eyes. Sasuke was definitely sure he was developing a permanent tic in his eye. Great. He's sleep walking. I'm going to have to carry him. Sasuke grunted and turned, pulling Naruto's arms over his shoulders. He leaned over and bucked once, setting Naruto securely on his back. Naruto's feverish cheek pressed into Sasuke's neck through the raven's high collared shirt. Whispers erupted among the desks making Sasuke self-conscious. He hurriedly slid his arms under Naruto's knees and started up the steps. He kept his eyes glued on the door, ignoring the awkward glances he was getting. Just as he was about to make a dart for the exit, his sensei spoke.

"Um, Sasuke?" Sasuke turned mock inquisitively to his sensei, and he saw that everyone's eyes were on him. Iruka gestured to Naruto's limp form with a flick of his hand. "You don't have to carry him home, that's too troubling."

Sasuke frowned. Troubling? "That's okay sensei, he really needs to lay down anyway."

Sasuke found his sensei's standpoint confusing. Naruto wasn't all that heavy, just really warm, and he could carry him just fine. Sasuke felt Naruto shift, their heads brushing as the blond faced the class. As Naruto's arms folded more securely around Sasuke's neck, Sasuke confidently stood more straight.

Sakura's heart drummed heatedly as Naruto for, ahem, lack of better terms, snuggled into Sasuke. To make matters worse, those girls at the top row were blushing and giggling. She glared at Naruto. That should be me. I should be the one–Sakura paused, seeing Naruto's face scrunch up in discomfort as he started to wiggle around. Sasuke turned his head, and started to talk to the other, though it was so quietly Sakura couldn't hear. It seemed to be an argument until Naruto relaxed and Sasuke's face flushed with embarrassment. Sakura wished torment upon the squealing girls.

"Oh. If that's how you feel, then go right ahead, Sasuke," Iruka conceded quietly, turning hesitantly back to the board.

Sakura watched Sasuke's back as he left the room silently. The girls on the top row turned to each other and whispered frantically, their eyes alight and sparkling.

"Oh my god, that was so cute! He blushed!"

"It was, it was! It's like–I don't even know."

"Who knew they would be so…?"

"Yeah! Like in those mangas at the bookshop!"

The girls squealed again, and Sakura burned with jealousy. What happened?

_~.~*~.~_

Sasuke walked awkwardly through the market, conscious of the looks he was receiving. He had noticed that by the time they were on the street, Naruto had buried his face into the raven's neck. The hot breath had made Sasuke uncomfortable at first, but he soon tolerated it as his attention was focused on the disgusted looks he was being sent.

A heavy inhale caught his attention. "I'm sorry," was breathed into his collar.

Sasuke frowned, and readjusted Naruto on his back. "Why are you apologizing?"

Naruto sniffed, and a new puff of hot air soaked into Sasuke's shirt, collecting on his neck. "…for everything…"

Sasuke closed his eyes for a moment, and then he continued on. "Hm. There's no need to."

Naruto's arms folded more firmly, and Sasuke paused again, feeling Naruto's chin begin to tremble. "…those looks they're giving you… I'm so sorry…"

Sasuke frowned, and stared blankly at the villagers who looked at him funny. Soon enough, Sasuke was walking down a cleared path as the villagers began to avoid him. "I don't care. They're probably just having a bad day. Besides, it doesn't have anything to do with you, so don't worry about it."

Naruto began to shift about, making it difficult to hold him. Sasuke frowned. "Stop moving around or I'll drop you."

Naruto continued to squirm, if not more so. "That's okay… you can put me down now. I can walk-"

"No. Just sit still. I'm taking you home." Naruto stilled at Sasuke's stubbornness, and Sasuke again readjusted him. The tall apartment building came into view, and the crowds continued to lesson, moving away from the duo. Sasuke huffed, his annoyance growing stronger. What is their problem?

"Sasuke just–" Sasuke shushed him and glared back at everyone who glanced his way. Sasuke soon reached the apartment, his eyes wandering over the lonely vicinity as he ascended the steps. Once Sasuke reached the door, he raised his eyebrows when he realized the door was unlocked. He easily moved inside, and turned to lock it behind him. He paused, seeing the lock had been shambolically torn off of the hinge. The unsolicited uneasiness began to swell within him. Looking through every doorway until he found the bedroom, Sasuke got a very clear view of Naruto's stark home. Sasuke sat down on the edge of the bed, where Naruto detached himself, leaving cold air to hit Sasuke's back. Sasuke shivered and stood, when a soft muffled voice came from the bed.

"…don't ever do that again, Sasuke." Then the room was quiet, and Sasuke turned to survey the other. Naruto was already laying down, his back facing him. Sasuke shifted uncomfortably. What should I do now? His eyes ran over the unacquainted room restlessly. "…you can go now if you want to," Naruto's voice came again, followed by several sniffs.

Naruto wiped his nose, wondering if Sasuke was going to say something. Then, slowly, footsteps tapped away from him. They echoed in his mind, followed by a fuzzy silence. Naruto's eyes stung, tears trailing down his round cheeks. Why can't I stop crying? He harshly rubbed his eyes with the heels of his palms to try and slow his tears, but they kept flowing. Naruto began to snivel and he was finding it hard to breathe. How could I do that to Sasuke? I could have walked home myself! Naruto curled into himself, and slapped his temples again and again. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

A hand wrapped around Naruto's wrist, restricting him from hitting himself again. "What are you doing?"

Naruto froze, his eyes searching Sasuke's fuzzy face. "I…"

Sasuke's bleary image tilted its head. "…What's wrong with your faucet? I went to make you a cooling pad but the water wouldn't come out."

Naruto blinked at the blurry white square being suddenly shoved in his face. He touched it, and realized that it was a wash cloth. He lowered his eyes. "I don't kn-"

"No stupid excuses," Sasuke interrupted.

Naruto's lower lip quivered, and his throat felt sticky. "The old lady landlord turned my water off," he whispered.

It was quiet for a moment, and the wash cloth was taken away from Naruto's limited view. "Why?" Naruto shrugged meekly, but his eyes played torrents streaming down his cheeks. "Why, Naruto?"

Naruto shook his head, his chin trembling. "She said I was troubling and that she didn't know why she even let me live here, and then…" Naruto eyes kept flowing.

Sasuke furrowed his brow. "That's a stupid reason. Here, close your eyes." He moved the soft cloth over the blonde's face, and Naruto moved away from the unsuspected gesture, but Sasuke grabbed his shoulder. He gently wiped away the tears from Naruto's eyes, drying them. "You should tell the Hokage. I don't think the land lord is allowed to do that on a whim like she did." Carefully, the cloth was taken away, and Naruto flinched at Sasuke's sudden close proximity. Sasuke placed his hand on Naruto's forehead, and his eyes narrowed. "You're way warmer than before." Sasuke frowned and turned around, gesturing to his back. "Come on, we're going to my house before this gets any worse."

Naruto frowned, a lump forming in his throat. His hands started to shake and he couldn't get them to stop. Sasuke looked to his side to catch Naruto in his peripheral vision. "Come on, what are you-"

"No!"

Sasuke's eyes widened at the sudden outburst, and his eyes turned so sharply a spark of pain ran through them. "What? Why?"

Naruto shook his head, his eyes tightly shut. "No! I won't give them a reason to look at you like that, again! No!"

Sasuke jumped to his feet, his confusion and frustration riling him. "What the hell are you talking about?"

Naruto bowed his head, absentminded of his uncontrollable trembling. "Me! Me, Sasuke!" Naruto sobbed, tears dribbling down his chin. "They all hate me!" Sasuke's eyes widened, his mouth agape but silent. Naruto shook his head. "I can't… I won't give them a reason to look at you like that ever again…" Sasuke shut his mouth, Naruto's fervent blue eyes meeting his. "…not you."

Sasuke was at a standstill as his mind slowly processed the emotion that danced in Naruto's eyes. Naruto adverted his eyes from Sasuke's strange gaze. He tried to rub the tears from eyes, thinking the raven thought he was being a crybaby. "You know, Naruto…" Naruto looked up at him reluctantly. "you're eyes never lie." Naruto sniffed absently, his mind puzzled as Sasuke smiled at him.

His amused eyes sent Naruto into a turmoil. "Eh? What's that supposed to mean? You're weird, Sasuke!"

Sasuke's smile curled into a smirk, his hand fishing around in his pocket. Just as slow as ever. "Just forget it. Here, catch."

Naruto fumbled to grab hold of the object thrown at him, and it gave a wheezy cry. Naruto looked down at his blue duck, a haphazard hole running right through its neck. "Ah! Squeakers!"

Sasuke's smirk turned evil. "Don't leave your things at my house. I can't guarantee their safety."

Naruto fumed and threw the duck at the raven, to which it merely bounced off his chest harmlessly. "You stabbed him, you jerk! You're the one who screamed at me to get out of your house!"

Sasuke looked at his hand as if he were examining his nails. "I won't tolerate anymore stupid excuses."

Naruto's jaw fell slack. "Eh?"

_~.~*~.~_

"…whatwhat's going on?"

"It's just me. Stop wriggling around."

"Sasuke? Put me down,"

"Tch. Idiot. Just sit still."

"No, I s… Sasuke, you're really… warm,"

"…What? Are you rambling?

"You smell good too,"

Sasuke turned away, not knowing what to say to that, and hid his blushing face.


A/N: This was edited, seeing as my stupid brain couldn't write another fluffy passage. Well, the next chapter is partly fluffy, but it gets a little dark. Please be forewarned! If you wanted another chapter because you wanted it to be fluffy, don't read the next chapter. This was initially planned to be just a one-shot, so when you guys wanted another chapter, I tried to make it fluffy, but my mind doesn't work on candyland setting. It always has to throw something foreboding in every story I write. You have been warned! I also don't like writing a before note and an after note 'cause I'm lazy, so only the disclaimer is goin up there from now on!

Lots of love,

-MM (: