Author's Notice:

Welcome to my new story, this will be my new favorite; I have a lot of plot to plot out. Also, I'm thinking the chapters will feature a lot of character leads, so you can get an idea of how everyone feels about Naruto, and the eventual relationship between Naruto and Sasuke.

Bunches of angst, secrets, high school clichés, and comedy. This will definitely be a big drama bomb.

I know there are like, a million high school Naruto stories out there, but I hope this will pull away from the pack a bit, become something entirely its own. Wishful thinking, but still. Please tell me how you feel about it at the bottom, reviews make me happy. Thanks.

"Cuts and Bruises"

'Chapter One'

By: Emo Fox

Naruto stood in front of his bedroom mirror for the hundredth time that morning. He had showered, dressed, and put on his favorite perfume—just to stand in front of his mirror at six in the morning, going over his appearance again and again in his head. What should he take away? What should he add? Maybe he should have gone with a more floral fragrance.

Today was officially the first day of his life.

Well, his new life. The life he should have been stronger to live when his parents were alive, the life he should have been stronger to tell them he wanted before they became dead and buried.

This was the first day at a new high school(re-enrolling in the middle of his junior year would be social suicide for almost everyone, but Naruto was confident he could pull this off, he had to pull this off, he had no other choice).

Boxes were scattered at his feet and all around the small bedroom space; only his bed lay unbothered in the center, even the closet was empty except for a hundred hangers hanging void of clothing. Naruto hadn't got around to unpacking, only ripping off the protective paper from his mirror, and unpacking his box of cosmetics.

Besides, he's only been living there a week.

Naruto tested the platinum blonde curls of his wig, springy, perfect; cascading down in coiling rivers from the dual pigtails he had set with the thick orange ribbon he had bought himself from the craft shop a few blocks down. His face was powdered bronze, a match for his natural skin tone, lips an innocent glossy pink, eyelids dusted with the most subtle of gold dust; his lashes were drawn out to their full potential with a heavy black, framing the iridescent blue of his eyes.

The uniform he wore was the girls' high school uniform—white sailor top, cobalt tie, cobalt pleated skirt(that fell just above the knees), and a matching jacket for colder weather. Knee high white socks hid the rest of Naruto's legs(which he was grateful, his knees were so bony), petite black mary janes completed the homely school look.

He had even padded his bra, giving himself a subtle bust, but it was there, bulged under the tight top, his tie falling in a curve over his chest.

Naruto couldn't help grinning, eyeing his reflection with unveiled excitement.

He looked perfect!

No one would be able to tell!

"Hello," His voice was soft, though it held a husky undertone, his voice itself wasn't very deep, not enough to consider manly, but it was deeper than a normal girls', "I am Naruko Uzumaki." He lifted his chin in that determinedly arrogant way of his, thrusting out his hand to the mirror, his opposite clutched sassily to his hip.

This was definitely the start of something very awesome. The start of a brand new life.

The bedroom door swung open, losing its momentum just before it slammed into the wall opposite. His older brother stood in the wake of it, leaned up against the door frame, wearing nothing except his flannel pajama bottoms. "You know class doesn't start for another hour, right?" Kurama drawled, his orange hair singed red in the overhanging hall light, obscuring his tired gaze.

Naruto didn't have to worry about persecution from his brother.

Actually, the opposite.

When he was living with their parents, Kurama had long since flew the nest, being a whole ten years older than Naruto and all; and as the blonde grew, he began to get those feelings, the ones that crept in late at night, the ones that made him start to hate his reflection in the mirror.

It was all wrong. He shouldn't have been born a boy—

But, when he looked up at his father, and his mother, the words could never come. What if they hated him for this? They were always so proud of their son, but could they be just as proud if their son wanted to be their daughter instead?

Naruto waged a small war with himself before he finally decided to send letters to Kurama. After all, in a letter he could write whatever he wanted, he didn't need to fumble for words over the phone.

But, what if his brother rejected him?

Well, it would have just been rejection in a letter, and it wouldn't be as bad as if Kurama had actually told him he was a freak over the phone.

Though, luckily, Kurama had been open minded and completely accepting of Naruto's closet life-style. So, the letters to his elder brother eventually became phone calls and Naruto felt more confident in himself and his life style choice.

So confident in fact, that he may one day even tell his parents.

Life, deciding to play a cruel joke, because after all, a person could only have so much happiness—took the lives of not one, but both his parents that fateful morning in October, a week after his birthday, the week he was deciding maybe it wouldn't be so bad telling them.

But, it was too late for that now. Telling his secret to their tombstones seemed pointless and cliché, so instead he cried his eyes out while his brother held him.

Kurama had an apartment in the city, miles and miles from where he used to live. He had moved in just a week ago, almost missing a few weeks of his previous school due to the funeral and the packing; also, getting all the money and debt in order.

Luckily his brother was old enough to become his legal guardian, and old enough to get all the assets in order. After everything was said and done they'd have enough to scrape by on(though Kurama would still need to keep his day job) and have enough in savings to send Naruto to college.

Naruto frowned, adjusting his tie, "I know." He murmured softly, trying to shake off the flood of memories, trying to focus on the present.

Kurama's dark eyes flicked up Naruto's frame, taking in every detail in that single calculating moment. He snorted, "So, you're really serious about this, huh?" His tone was a little subdued, knowing the million ways this could go wrong, but Naruto just wanted to rush headlong into it.

Naruto was sick of the fear, and he knew if he didn't do this now, how could he hope to take on the world someday? High school, after all, was just a smaller version of the big wide world, and if he couldn't take on High School, he would have no hope to do this for real. "Yes." He said with conviction, though he continued to just stare at his reflection, going over every detail, trying to find anything that would be out of place.

Everything looked fine. He would be fine. He had to believe he would.

"Well," Kurama clucked his tongue, tucking his hands into his pockets as he pushed off the door frame, "I enrolled you as Naruko, or at least, as Naruko being your preferred nickname and what the teachers will call you. The faculty, the principal, they all know you're a boy, for medical purposes and all that; but they agreed to be supportive, call you a 'she' and shit."

Naruto frowned, shooting his brother a pointed look for his profanity, "Thanks." He had hoped he would be able to be enrolled as a girl, a real girl, but the reality of it was what Kurama spelled out for him. Besides, his transfer papers from all his previous schools would have listed him as a male, changing that now, and with it not being physically true, could actually get Kurama in trouble.

His brother shrugged, standing there awkwardly a moment before he cleared his throat, "So, uh, you want a ride or something, or were you going to walk?"

The school was just a block away, maybe fifteen minutes, maybe a half hour(if he was lazy) to walk.

Naruto continued to stare at himself, his heart beating wildly in his chest; he smoothed down the wrinkles of his shirt, then tugged the wrinkles out of his skirt. His socks were pulled up tight and tied at the top with the same orange ribbons that decorated his hair to keep them from falling.

If there was anything on his body to give him away, it was those horrid bony knees.

They just looked so mannish; even his hands, his wrists, his feet for god's sake were all small and girly, but his god damned knees.

Naruto couldn't help the scowl that devoured his face.

"Kid," Kurama snapped, "You walkin'?"

Naruto snapped out of his thoughts, turning his gaze back on his brother and offering him a rueful grin, "I'll walk. Get myself familiar with the neighborhood. I have an hour."

Kurama eyed Naruto a long moment, feeling that strange brotherly need to protect; he had felt it ever since Naruto began to get closer to him, those letters, every spilled out emotion. The way Naruto would cry for hours on the phone, hating himself—then end up laughing the next day about how much he loved himself. How much he loved Kurama.

Kurama ran a hand through his hair, tugging the strands trying to convince himself that this was just the reality of it. Naruto felt this was who he was, and Kurama believed it; but at the same time, the world out there was cruel, and he feared the day when Naruto could no longer smile that sweet innocent smile of his.

He prayed life would be good to Naruto.

"Okay." He said easily, turning on his heel down the hall, "Call me if you need something, I work late tonight though, so you'll have to walk back."

Naruto stood in his room alone for an exaggerated few minutes; listened to the door click shut at the end of the hall, knowing Kurama probably went back to bed.

Now he was alone, just standing in his room, left with the weighty reality of his choice.

Naruto let out the breath he was holding and turned back to the bed. He picking up his dark navy school bag, and tucked his orange cell phone in the breast pocket of his jacket.

Everything would be fine.

It was just first day jitters, that's all.

He didn't regret this, regret who he was—

But.

Naruto nibbled his lip, the taste of his strawberry lip gloss somehow soothing.

What if it went wrong?

He whined in the back of his throat, never normally a nervous person, but this was fraying his nerves.

It wasn't really a simple fact of, would they like me, or hate me? The kind of debate a school kid had in elementary, or even middle school, this was something entirely different.

Because, he was entirely different. He wasn't just an awkward boy, he was an awkward boy who was dressing like a girl, who felt he was a girl, who also was attracted to girls.

He was a different case entirely.

"So," Naruto found himself saying in that hoarse, husky voice of his, he righted his posture in the mirror, his hands fisted(one clutching his school bag), "So what? If they hate me, fuck 'em, and if they love me, fuck 'em." He snapped at his reflection.

The only way to go into this was swinging.

Fists already punching; because then, it wouldn't hurt so bad when he got hit back.