It was common this time of year for everyone in the village to pair off with a mate while they were in heat. It was only natural, everyone did it. Unfortunately, Naruto was the only one without a mate; everyone said he was unlucky, cursed, and avoided him like the plague.

Nineteen years old and he had never had a mate. His heat was spent alone, isolated in his hut for three weeks with only his hand and fingers to fuck himself with. It wasn't fair! The only people he liked had all picked lifelong mates, and he would never interfere with that just because he was horny.

It hurt and he was so lonely and so tired of it. Everyone else had a mate, a partner; Itachi had Sai, Shikamaru had Chouji, Kiba had Shino. And Sasuke had her, the girl Naruto had wanted as his life mate, but now all he could do was smile and congratulate them while pretending to be happy. On the inside, he was crying.

It was awful to pretend. He hated it, he hated the feelings, the loneliness, the regret, and the sorrow to the point that he couldn't even stand to be in the village right now. Naruto passed the last of the huts as he ventured into the forest, his chest tight and his eyes blurry. He hated this, hated it so much it hurt.

Naruto sat on the shore of the small lake, his legs in the water and his tail in hand. Ears were pressed flat against blond hair as pale fingers combed through the reddish orange fur.

For as long as he could remember he had been mocked for never having a mate; taunts were spat at him, even friends would joke about it, never realizing his smiles and laughs were lies and how deep the words cut him.

It was a deep, everlasting pain, embedded in his soul. He would always be alone, no one wanted him.

Naruto's ear perked up when he heard footsteps. He stood quickly, walking towards the noise, but ducked behind a tree when he saw that it was the group of hunters returning. carrying their loads. Everyone in the village was stocking up on supplies that they would need during winter, not wanting to hunt and search for foodstuffs in deep snow unless it was absolutely necessary.

The best, and most successful, hunters were the strongest men in the village, and the only defense against other clans. The head of their group was a man with a lion's ears and tail. He was covered in metal piercings that a blacksmith from another clan had made for him. His reddish-orange hair and off-white, spiraling eyes. They said it was a birth defect but to Naruto, it only made him look cooler. Naruto stayed pressed up against the tree as the hunters passed, his body tensing slightly when the very eyes he had been thinking about caught his own. He looked away. A lot of the villagers often told him that he didn't deserve to be in the same area as Pein, maybe because they noticed how Naruto stared at him with a bit of want in his eyes. The male was amazing; he wished he could have a mate like that.

Naruto shook his head as the hunters disappeared from sight, and he found himself following their path back to the village.

Naruto skirted the crowd at the main entrance where they all swooned over the group, missing the eyes that trailed over his slim back. He used to be bigger, but each year he found himself eating less and caring less.

"Hey, loser fox, how many years does this make?"

Naruto stopped, staring at the woman who taunted him. "What?" he whispered, not having the energy to deal with this at the moment.

"How many years have you been stuck the virgin loser of the village?" The woman smirked as Naruto turned away. "And its one more year without anyone willing to touch your body."

He couldn't retort, but he also couldn't ignore it like he used to, so he just shrugged. His blue eyes widened and he heard villagers gasp as arms wrapped around his bare stomach. "He has a mate. You have a problem with that?" a cold voice spoke as whispers and murmurs broke out. Naruto, however, couldn't move, his body frozen in place as he heard the slight growl coming from the male holding him close.

He watched the villagers scatter, cursing his name, which earned another growl. "Hey Naruto, it's about time," a boy with dog ears yelled as he ran off.

Naruto tried to pull away, only to be yanked back against the other's chest. "P-pein?" Naruto's brows knitted as the skin contact made his body heat up. As no one had held him before, he couldn't handle the effects easily. "Please let go, don't mess with me… please…" Naruto's eyes clenched shut. He couldn't handle it, his body was too hot, and it hurt his heart too much.

Naruto's eyes snapped open and he struggled slightly, trying to see the man's face, as he was lifted and carried away. He wasn't okay with being carried for one, and two, the silence worried him.

Naruto tensed as they moved toward his hut. He couldn't accept for a moment that Pein was serious. "If I did something wrong please tell me," Naruto nearly pleaded. Whatever the male was going to do, he couldn't handle it, he couldn't handle any more hateful words, he just couldn't…

Naruto found himself being tossed down on his bedding. He looked up, pained, into the other's eyes. "I want you as my mate."

Naruto's eyes widened at the tone that refused argument. "Why? There are so many who would die to have you, why would you want me?" Naruto reasoned with the logic he was raised with, that he wasn't good enough for anyone, even if this person was the one he desired.

"I want you, Naruto. Isn't that obvious? I've been nice, waiting for you to come to me for years, but you seem to be blind to my intentions, so I'm taking what I want and that's all of you." Pein dropped in front of Naruto, crawling between his legs and making him fall back completely.

"B-but..." Naruto gripped naked shoulders, feeling the older man's cloth brushing against his inner thighs. He didn't understand.

"I thought for sure that when Sasuke and Sakura got together I could get you for myself. Seeing you so sad hurts, but I'll take that away. Naruto, you won't be alone this year or next year nor any after that." Pein's body covered Naruto's as pierced lips pressed against Naruto's, demanding.

Naruto buried his head in the nape of Pein's neck, his hands squeezing pale biceps. Breathing heavily, he pleaded, "Please don't ever leave me. It hurts to be alone."

"Promise." Pein smirked kissing along Naruto's neck, slowly making his way down the male's body, his hand running up Naruto's thigh making it's way to the male's flaccid member.

Naruto moaned, his eyes opening slightly. "The heat doesn't even start until next week," he whispered, his fingers digging into Pein's spiked hair.

Pein smirked, biting at the smooth flesh. "I don't have any intention of waiting that long to make you my mate."