Rain poured overhead; the wind caused the trees to sway, shaking and rattling, scratching against windows. Light, sky blue eyes closed as keen, practiced ears listened to the wind howl its mournful song, singing the lyrics of the lone man's heart. He was sitting out in the rain, back against a thick oak tree, his orange jumpsuit mostly protecting his body from the sky's tears. Blonde hair stuck to his cheeks and the back of his neck, looking out of place; it was normally spiked, as though reaching for the sun. Around one long, tanned finger, the blonde male spun a kunai in a useless attempt to distract himself from his depressing thoughts.

It was no use. A pale face clouded his mind; dark grey, nearly black eyes bore into his soul even when there were no dark grey eyes to be found; he still felt the jet-black hair against his scarred cheeks, his neck, and his shoulders; still heard his name being spoken from those pale lips.

The blonde opened his eyes, looking skyward. When was it that his eyes saw that dark hair? With a small, sad smile, Naruto thought back to when they first met; he believed it was a Tuesday night.

The boy, eight years old, sat on the pier, his short legs hanging over. It was like this all the time, Naruto mused. He was sure they were the same age, but unlike others their age; this boy didn't like interacting with others. Pursing his lips, the blonde made his way down the small hill, not bothering to hide his presence as he plopped next to the dark-haired boy. Turning, he gave his best grin, his blue eyes shut, "Hi!"

"What do you want?" came the grumbled reply.

Caught off guard, Naruto blinked up at him, "Um, to be your friend!" he grinned again, though this time his eyes remained open.

The other boy turned away, "If you're going to be my friend, you have to smile like that all the time, then."

"Okay!" Naruto laughed, "I'm Naruto; what's your name?"

"You don't know?" the raven turned to the blonde, "My name is Sasuke."

Naruto sighed softly. After that, the two of them hung out almost daily. They were both alone, both in so much pain. The two almost fed off of each other, using the other to be happy. Neither of them were truly able to smile unless they were together.

The kunai had fallen to the ground as the blonde thought back to their first meeting, but he hardly noticed as mud began to pull the black knife into its depths.

As he recalled, it had not taken long for him to sink into the dark abyss of Sasuke's eyes. There was something almost magical about them; so much raw emotion held in his eyes, though his face never allowed a single twitch – unless he was with Naruto; like the blonde forcibly drug emotions from him that should have died along with his family. He had that effect on people.

Yet, even though he himself couldn't realize his feelings for his best friend until it was too late, Sasuke, somehow, had come to terms with his long before Naruto.

They sat beneath a tree, watching the rain. The two of them were twelve now, and while Naruto was interested in girls, Sasuke only saw them as a nuisance. "Hey, Sasuke?" Naruto turned to his raven-haired friend.

"What, dobe?" the raven mumbled; he rarely called Naruto by his real name.

"Bastard! It's Naruto! Na-ru-to!" the blonde snorted, glaring.

The corners of Sasuke's lips twitched into a smirk as he turned his dark gaze to the blue-eyed boy beside him, "Do-be," he teased, "What do you want?"

Huffing, Naruto rolled his eyes, dropping the argument, "How come you never respond to those girls? If I had all those girls chasing me, I'd be so freaking happy!" he laughed, "You're really weird, Sasuke-teme."

"I don't care about their love. Their love is superficial and will disappear when they're mature enough to realize that I will never like them."

"Why, though? A lot of them are really pretty!"

Sasuke sighed, "You're superficial, too. Love isn't about physical appearance, usuratonkachi; it's about, well, feeling something," he shrugged, "Besides, I already love someone else."

Naruto's sky blue eyes widened as he leaned closer to Sasuke, "Who?" he practically screeched, completely ignoring the raven's earlier statement on love.

Despite the blonde's idiocy, Sasuke still could not fight off the small smile, "Someone that I spend every day with."

"Huh? You spend your days with someone other than me?" he blinked at Sasuke, his large eyes showing slight hurt, "But I thought we were best friends! I thought that-"

"You really are an idiot," Sasuke rolled his eyes, "I never said we were best friends, and you are the only person I see every day."

Naruto cocked his head to the side, blue eyes clashing with onyx, "But then…" he stared at Sasuke, confusion clear in his face.

"Dobe," Sasuke whispered. Before Naruto could protest, the raven's lips pressed softly against the blonde's. It was a quick kiss, innocent like a child's, yet still full of passion, though it lasted a mere second. Sasuke pulled away and looked into Naruto's eyes, "I love you."

"Idiot," he murmured, his eyes staring unfocused ahead. For a long time after that, Naruto had continued to remain on his little island of denial. He never spoke those words to Sasuke, yet the raven-haired male always stuck by his side. It was still strange how, though Naruto was in denial, he could remember one night were he'd allowed himself to let go. The night before Sasuke left his life.

Naruto lay on his bed, his eyes open, staring at the ceiling. It had been two years since Sasuke's confession, and the blonde commonly thought about it. While he admired Sasuke, looked up to him, and even felt some attraction towards the raven – after all, he was attractive, there was no denying that – Naruto was still left confused. The denial had begun to fade away, but barely; bit by bit, piece by piece. The more time he spent with Sasuke, the less he wanted to be anywhere else.

The sound of his window squeaking open caused Naruto to jolt up. A silhouette was crouched on his window sill, carefully making its way into Naruto's bedroom. The blonde opened his mouth and began yelling, but a hand came from what seemed nowhere, clamping over his lips, "Hush, usuratonkachi! You'll wake up the entire village," the familiar voice hissed.

"Sasuke?" Naruto blinked in disbelief; sure enough, onyx eyes and a pale face, illuminated to a ghostly glow, sat inches from his face. Slowly, the raven removed his hand and backed up slightly. The blonde tilted his head to the side, "What are you doing here?"

"I wanted to see you, dobe," he responded immediately.

Naruto felt his face heat up and he turned away, though he doubted the dark-haired male could see his red cheeks. Sasuke often said things like that; things that embarrassed Naruto. He had a funny way of giving out compliments and 'kind' gestures, though; it was always coupled with an insult. Like Sasuke himself was embarrassed to be saying such things. Naruto shook his head slightly, "You couldn't have waited until tomorrow? I kind of need sleep so I can be in top shape for the chunin exams tomorrow," he rolled his eyes slightly.

"It won't matter," Sasuke shrugged slightly, "No matter how much sleep you get, you're still you," he smirked slightly, "You'll still suck."

"If you came here only to insult me, then go away," Naruto growled.


Naruto narrowed his eyes, "Yes."



"No," Sasuke shifted slightly so he was sitting beside Naruto, leaning his back against the headboard, "I want to be with you," he whispered, "forever and always."

Naruto stared in disbelief at his friend, who stared calmly right back, as though he hadn't just spoken probably the most heart-attack-inducing phrase in the world. The blonde licked his lips, "Sasuke-"

"I should probably go now. If sleep really will help you win, you'll need all the sleep you can get," he smirked as Naruto shoved him, before jumping through the blonde's window and disappearing.

Of course, Naruto hadn't been able to fall asleep, yet he still managed to beat Neji. Then Sasuke had shown up late, the Sand betrayed Konoha – though they were close allies now – and Sasuke's curse seal was trying to take over yet again. It wasn't long after that, Sasuke met Itachi, and then his personality took on a complete one-eighty, and then he left for Orochimaru. He left Naruto behind. With a sad sigh, he hit his head against the tree. "You said forever and always," the blonde whispered. The rain got heavier, pounding against his scarred cheeks. He shut his eyes, salty tears mixing with the rain.