Author's Notice:

I appreciate the concern.

But, I feel it appropriate to address Naruto as a male, since this is third person, and his gender(at least for now) is technically a male. Naruto in his thoughts, to his brother, and to the friends he ends up making at Konoha High will all refer to him as female, because that is how he presents himself, and that is how they know him. But, for third person and story purposes, he will be addressed as a male.

That doesn't mean he IS male, not in his heart, but definitely gender-wise, he technically is.

OKAY! Thanks for all the reviews though, I'm hoping to make this all play out naturally. Hard to believe no one decided to try something like this before, I mean, I see a lot of gender-swapped Naruto, and a lot of cross-dressing Naruto, but I suppose a Naruto who wants to be a woman has never actually been done? Hm.

I'm sorry this is so long. However, just wanted to give a heads up. Chapters will sort of be played out just like this one. One/two full classes written out, Lunch, while the rest of the classes are summarized. Not always following Naruto, but usually following him.

"Cuts and Bruises"

'Chapter Two'

The walk to school had been rather uneventful, the sun was barely rising over the manicured trees, just a hint of orange in the distant sky, not a cloud to be seen. It looked like it would be a rather beautiful day, not too hot, not too cold, just a light fall breeze.

Naruto had walked through the school's front gates, the high school wasn't really private, but it definitely was high end. A white stone wall surrounded the school grounds; the front gate had been open during school hours, but Naruto betted that they definitely looked imposing when closed.

The school itself was indoors, a giant castle of a place surrounded by a flat lush lawn, broken only by the clumps of trees dotted here and there. The walkway to the school was paved with blocks, kind of like cobblestones.

Now, his parents hadn't been exactly poor, but this felt even too ritzy for him.

He felt his shoulders tense, nerves start to bundle as he finally made it inside the giant school(having only noticed a few other students dotted around the front grounds, looking like ghosts in the distance, their uniforms glowing a dusty sort of blue in the twilight of the sunrise).

Naruto clutched his school bag close, holding it in front of him like a shield as he stepped through the slightly empty halls to the main office. It took him a whole ten minutes to find, and began to get nervous he may be late to his first class—

But then, there it was, a plain looking door at the end of the hall, 'main office' standing out in silver ornate letters.

His pace increased and he burst inside, stumbling almost, he hadn't thought the door would be so light; covering up his folly, standing ram-rod straight with a healthy blush on his cheeks.

The room was quiet, just the distant sound of clacking keys, and there was only a single woman in the office right now, situated at her desk, staring at Naruto with flat black eyes. The tension grew for just a moment before the woman's eyes softened and she smiled, "Is there something you need?" Her voice was kind, but Naruto was skittish all the same and didn't yet approach.

"Uh, yeah, I—" He quipped, his voice a little high, breaking, before he shook off his jitters. This was his chance, his first real appearance, his first step into this unknown world. Embolden, he let his school bag hit against his knee and he stepped forward with sure steps. "Sorry, I'm Naruko Uzumaki." He held out his hand, the nails clipped with care that morning, polished and shining in the lowlight of the office.

Shizune stared a moment, recognition—not of Naruko per se, but the memory of that name, of the briefing they had went through the previous week, anticipating this event. It was funny, if she didn't know this was a boy, she would have thought this had been any other girl student to stumble into the office.

Catching herself staring she smiled, a bit more forced this time and took Naruto's hand, shaking it briefly before she reached for a file on her desk, "Yes, you were just enrolled here, right, last week?" She asked, trying to subtly tell this boy that she knew he was a boy, but she'd be willing to try this social experiment.

Because that was all it was, at least to her, a social experiment, and it smelled wrong; especially at this school. What was Tsunade thinking accepting something like this?

'Times are changing, and Konoha High should definitely be the first school to recognize that. Like hell we're going to be the last.'

Which was why they had a gay straight alliance, and a variety of other groups that started because of all the extra issues that teens seemed to be going through these days.

"Yes." Naruto said happily, feeling like he was making progress for the first time, not catching the edge in her smile or the sharpness of her eyes. "I just moved in with my brother."

"Yes." Shizune said, cutting the conversation short, this façade could only go on so long. "Here is a copy of your class schedule. We sent one in the mail, but just in case you don't have one, and here's your emergency contact card you'll need your brother to fill out for you." She said with professional grace, "Now, was there anything else?"

Naruto stood there numbly a moment, holding the sheets of paper in his hand before tucking the contact card in his bag, and keeping the other for reference. They may have sent the card in the mail, but they hadn't received it, which was why Kurama had told him the night before he needed to go to the office first. Naruto couldn't help but smile, on the top of the card it had his name, 'Naruko Uzumaki' in big bold letters, and it made his heart skip.

Naruko Uzumaki.

He couldn't describe how good it felt, to have that name, to be accepted like that, even on this little pink piece of paper.

"That's it." He bowed briefly, knowing he looked like a dork standing there, "Thank you." Naruto stiffly turned to leave the office, unaware of Shizune's disapproving eyes following his back all the way until the thin door closed.

Back into the wide white hallway, Naruto studied his schedule, "Okay." He mumbled to himself, "First class is…" He glanced around, spinning, his skirt a wild arc around his thighs before he caught sight of the clock hanging just above the lockers on the left wall.

Six forty-five.

First class started in fifteen minutes.

He could find his locker later, maybe during lunch, he was a little too excited now, he wanted to get to his first class early and claim a seat. Though, he was noticing not too many students at this hour in the morning. But, he started his schedule with an optional period, technically considered 'period zero' but Naruto just decided it would be easier to refer to it as first period.

Class room A35 was located four stories above, on the top story, and by the time Naruto made it up the four flights of steps he was a little dizzy and winded. "You'd think a place like this would have elevators." He wheezed, though he assumed they did, he was sure there had to be handicapped students, so maybe the elevators were hidden and reserved solely for them. Lucky bastards.

Now he only had five minutes for the bell, and despite the tension in his legs he forced himself to keep up a quick pace as he set his sights on the room at the end of the long hallway. He twisted the handle and stepped inside the brightly lit room, struck by how completely empty the massive room was.

Empty except for one girl sitting in the very top row, all the way to the right. All he could make out from here was her cobalt uniform and the rigid cut of her purple hair that swept along her jaw; her bangs covering her face in a shadow as she hunched desperately over the book she was reading.

"Hello."

Naruto immediately snapped to attention, his gaze falling on the homely man standing behind the redwood desk. "Hello," Naruto greeted, smile back in place as he approached the teacher, "I'm Naruko Uzumaki, it's my first day."

Iruka smiled a genuine smile; unlike some of his colleagues, he thought what this boy—no, girl, was doing was very admirable and brave. "It's a pleasure to meet you." He said in that same, warm, friendly tone, "Take a seat anywhere, they aren't assigned."

"Thank you." Naruto said curtly, smiling a real smile; this—he glanced to the board—Mr. Umino seemed like a real nice guy. Naruto decided to try his luck, climbing up the entire case of stairs, making a bee-line for the purple-haired girl in the far corner. Approaching the seat next to her, he noticed when her shoulders tensed up and the fingers holding the book turned white. He sat his schoolbag next to his hip as he sat, that same rueful smile on his glossy lips, "Hey there."

Hinata glanced between her long bangs, opalescent gaze drinking in the curious, smiling face of this stranger. She had never seen this face before, and she was almost positive she knew every student's name just by glancing at their faces(she didn't know any of them personally). It was sort of a hobby, a freakish hobby, or maybe even a gift, every time roll call happened in class she couldn't help but memorize the names, and a glimpse of their face committed it to memory. "Hello." She murmured, her lips barely moving. There was something captivating about this stranger, it threw her off balance.

"I'm Naruko," Naruto said easily, "This is my first day." Vaguely he wondered how many more times he'd have to say that today.

"Oh." Well, that explained why she couldn't recall the face or the name. At least her memory wasn't failing. The book was still opened on the desk, but her grip relaxed a little, "I'm Hinata."

"Is this seat open?" He asked, thinking he maybe should have opened with this question.

"No," She said meekly, "People don't like sitting in the corners, it's hard to hear." Hinata stopped herself before she mentioned why she liked corners, never normally chatty, but something about those big blue eyes made her want to spill all her secrets.

It was probably just because this girl was new, probably because this girl knew nothing about her.

She didn't know about her weird hobby, or how stupid she was compared to her little sister; who was actually in the same grade.

This Naruko knew nothing; Hinata could be anyone, even maybe her best friend.

But, then the moment passed.

By the end of the day Naruko would learn everything—there were no secrets in high school.

So, Hinata kept her lips drawn into a tight, forced smile as she watched Naruko take out her notebook and pencil. Naruko's attention drew forward as the bell rang, and Hinata watched as the girl wrote her name at the top of the page in perfect blue cursive.

This girl probably got better grades than her too.

The camaraderie she felt earlier began to dissolve as she pulled out her own notebook and tried to appear attentive for the following English lecture.

It was all really about grades, and the best colleges.

Even if Naruko wanted to be her friend, their friendship wouldn't be able to go anywhere; Hinata would always be a class below. Hinata spared one last wistful glance at the pretty blonde girl, at this stranger who could have been everything, been Hinata's best friend in the whole world.

She let reality sink back in, heavy and cold as she wrote her own name at the top of the paper, trying her best to match Naruko's lovely penmanship.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\***/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

First period English had went well, Mr. Umino was informative without being boring; and Naruto liked to think he found someone to sit by in class(even though afterward Hinata had kind of ignored him, and rushed out of the room right when the bell went off).

Second period science had been with a woman named Anko. She preferred first names, and since Naruto had dropped in so late in the year there was actually a lot to catch up on; a lot of the material he hadn't even been studying at his previous school yet. But, reading a few previous chapters of the text book and some internet research and he'd probably be good to go. They were actually going to be starting a lab project tomorrow, but his lab partner(the empty seat at his dual desk) had been absent that day so he had yet to meet this Sakura Haruno that Anko had mentioned on the roll call. The class wasn't bad overall, Anko seemed a little insane, or maybe she was just genuinely passionate about science.

Third period was health education with a pervert named Jiraiya. God, he made Naruto stand at the front of the class forever, claiming it as an introduction, but it went on for far too long; and Naruto could have sworn the bastard had been trying to hike up his skirt with that pen he was holding. His suspicion all but confirmed when Naruto threw a glare at him and Jiraiya tried to hide the pen behind his back and ended up stabbing himself in his own fat side.

Jerk.

Pervert.

Bastard.

The worst of it, was that Jiraiya knew his secret, all the teachers did, so it made the gesture even more humiliating.

Naruto was stewing all the way into fourth period, which had been history with Mr. Hatake; who preferred Kakashi, and whom hadn't humiliated him. Naruto chose a seat in the middle, next to two boys whom he didn't learn their names before Kakashi started his lecture. There was also a gap in Naruto's history, making science and history something he needed to brief himself up on.

Now it was lunch, homework was stashed away in his binder, and he decided maybe he'd find his locker before hitting the cafeteria. It was on the first floor of the school, which was a pain because most of his classes were on the middle and top floor. Well, he probably wouldn't use it, but he may as well find it just in case.

So, two flights of steps later, migrating narrowly in the now crowded halls, he made it to his locker 217, or, sort of, a girl was leaning up against it, striking that 'too cool for school' pose, probably waiting for someone.

Naruto approached, school bag against his knees, his arms forward and his body slightly bowed in an apologetic way, "Excuse me." He started, gaining her attention.

Ino eyed this girl up and down before meeting the azure gaze framed by too-long lashes. She didn't move away from the locker, her arms still folded over her generous bosom, "Yeah, what is it?" She snapped, flicking the tail of her white blonde hair off her shoulder.

Naruto's smiled faltered slightly, "You're leaning on my locker."

"Your locker? This hasn't belonged to anyone all year." Ino knew, this was the spot she waited for her boyfriend.

"Well," Naruto cleared his throat, "I'm new, this is mine."

"Yeah?" The blonde frowned, grabbing at Naruto's schedule that was peeking out of the breast pocket, "Naruko Uzumaki, huh?" Ino had never heard of the name before, this chick was definitely new. Ino stuffed the paper back into Naruto's coat, standing to her full height(a good three inches above Naruto) as she pushed off the locker, "This is my spot, always has been. So, I'll catch you around, hm?" She said with mock cheer, having already caught sight of her boyfriend down the hall.

Naruto had witnessed the entire display but was too outraged to react—once the anger flared high enough for him to yell, the girl was gone, his locker free. "What the hell was that?" He fumed, twisting the combination and slamming the locker open.

Yup, an empty locker.

Naruto's knuckles were white on the door frame. That girl. So disrespectful. He debated with ever even using this locker, he definitely would see her again if he did. But, was it cowardly if he avoided her? Who was she anyway?

Naruto slammed his locker shut with finality—just high school drama and a high school bitch.

Same old story.

Still unsure about the locker, Naruto moved on, making his way to the cafeteria. Not really hungry, but he needed to find it just in case he decided to eat there in the future.

What he found was just like his old school, a huge room dotted with round tables and cliques of every type banded together.

Naruto began to think about joining a club, a club was the easiest way to make friends.

The food smelled great, but he was still too nervous to eat, besides, where would he sit?

He decided to continue out of the cafeteria(located also on the ground floor, same as his locker) and out into the courtyard. There were just a few tables, some benches, even fewer students.

This must be where the outcasts eat.

A quick sweep of the area revealed a few pairs of students, but it was mostly loners. The Goths, and artsy crowd, if the make-up and the sketch books were any indication. Not that interesting, no one seemed to care he was standing in the middle of the courtyard. They all seemed so untouchable, in their separate worlds; maybe Naruto wouldn't belong out here either.

Turning on his heel, Naruto was prepared to do more exploring when the bell rang. Had it been thirty minutes already?

Which brought Naruto to his fifth class, physical education. No one actually prepared him for this dilemma; boys locker room, or girls? Well, he was enrolled as a girl, so basically girl's locker room would be appropriate, right? But, physically he wasn't a girl, but going into the boy's locker room would expose his secret.

Bathroom, maybe girl's locker room bathroom.

Decided, Naruto marched into the girl's room, past the stalls and the shower, and walked over to the Teacher's office. The door had a placard that said in bold black letters, 'Coach Kurenai Yuhi'. Naruto knocked on the door tentatively; the smell of perfume and female musk was heavy, but he dared not turn around.

After a moment the door opened revealing an athletic brunette, her eyes such a wine-brown they could almost be considered red, "Hello, did you need something?" She asked, her tone husky and masculine like Naruto's.

"Sorry, I'm new; I needed to pick up my gym clothes. My brother already paid, but we were too busy to pick them up."

"Oh." Kurenai rolled the word on her tongue, "You must be Naruko."

Naruto smiled, "Yes."

Kurenai didn't know what she had been expecting—maybe a more blatant boy in a dress, but what she was looking at was a girl. She knew Naruto wasn't, but damn, it wasn't even about the looks, it was how she held herself. So convincing. But, this made Kurenai suddenly concerned; the entire student body would be deceived. What happened when Naruko's potential friends found out? What would happen when she fell in love? But, that wasn't her place to worry(though she did have a bad habit of caring too much for her students). "Okay, here's your uniform." She gave Naruto a medium; the body type looked like a medium, a little on the stockier side, and definitely gave Naruto the illusion of a figure. "Did you—" Should she offer a locker?

Their eyes met and the unasked question floated heavily between them.

"I'll use the bathroom." Naruto interjected, "I'm shy." He blurted out awkwardly to try and dispel the tension.

Kurenai nodded curtly, "That's fine. I'll see you out on the field; we have a soccer game against the boys' team today."

It only took Naruto a few minutes to get dressed; even having the basically bikini bottom, he had done this before and knew exactly what to do. He didn't tuck in his shirt and it reached just the top of his thighs.

The sun was bright; a little low in the sky, there was just a few clouds. The field was perfectly manicured and huge; where the rest of Kurenai's students were placed there was a soccer goal on each far side. Obviously they were going to be playing on the left, and Naruto could see in the distance that the boy's team was trudging up the other side of the field.

Naruto grinned and waved to the purple haired girl from his morning class, she was standing next to the mean blonde girl he confronted at his locker. Hinata immediately hid behind her hair, her hands fisting in the front of her shirt, and Ino looked a little irritated to see the new girl again.

"You again." Ino quipped as Naruto came into focus, grouping with the other girls, "I guess we'll be seeing each other even more than I thought?" She laughed.

Naruto kept a forced smile, "I guess. Are you good at soccer?" He asked, he had played on a team at his old school; he was actually great at it. It would be fun to provoke the girl into having a little competition.

Ino crossed her arms, shrugging, "It's not my thing." She alluded to the fact she may not be that great, but she wasn't that concerned with it, she was great at other things.

Naruto's smile faltered slightly, the girl wouldn't be baited and he shrugged in return, "It's fun."

"You played before?"

"Yeah."

"Well, this game won't be that fun." Ino said, her grin almost sinister, "We've never beaten the boys' team."

Naruto frowned, "Why?" He glanced to the other girls, flocked in different areas of the soccer field, to Hinata who had turned away from them. They looked like a decent bunch, most athletic at least, as far as he could tell it seemed like they could run, so what was the problem?

"Uchiha Sasuke," Ino said his name in such a why Naruto had to wonder if that may have been her boyfriend she had been waiting for, "He's perfect at it, he never loses."

"So?" Naruto stomped his foot in the grass, "No one can win all the damn time, there must be a reason!"

Ino quirked a brow, "He's a prodigy, not to mention most the girls are in love with him."

"So, they let him win?"

Ino laughed, "They don't have to."

But, she didn't really answer. Naruto's gaze swept across the other end of the field, Asuma herded the boys together, a boy with blue-black hair stood at the front, his expression stony and his posture stiff. Naruto narrowed his eyes, glancing to the other boys who looked more casual, watching as a more heavy set boy retreated to the goalie position.

"Which one is he?" Naruto asked.

Ino pointed, "The one in the front, with the spiky hair. Why?"

"Because I won't let him get a shot."

Ino laughed, for real this time, slapping Naruto down on the shoulder, "Good luck, girl, but I really doubt you'll be able to do anything against him."

"We'll see." Finally a real challenge. Naruto's blood pumped hot in his veins, his fists clenched at his sides; maybe his bad day was finally turning back around.

Kurenai blew her whistle, "In position ladies!"

Girls retreated to their usual spaces on the field, fanning out in much the same pattern as the boys. The girls' goalie was a Chinese girl named TenTen, she had a lot of energy, and Naruto hoped she'd be able to do a good job.

This wasn't just a game anymore.

He'd show Sasuke he wasn't so great, just because he beat some girls didn't mean shit. Sasuke wouldn't ever beat him.

Naruto decided to take the lead on the field, matching Sasuke as they approached the center. They were unofficial team captains it seemed, the rest of their team was fanned out behind them, and what Naruto saw in Sasuke's eyes was genuine confusion just for a moment before it was masked behind that emotionless expression.

Naruto took a wide stance, grinning at the brunette, "I'm Naruko." He said haughtily, already pumped for the impending battle Sasuke didn't even know he was fighting in.

"I didn't ask." Sasuke drawled, his attention beyond Naruto now, just as Asuma blew the whistle.

Chouji kicked the ball hard up field, and unfortunately Sasuke intercepted it; it fell onto the grass and was completely controlled by the Uchiha as he darted past Naruto at a speed the blonde had trouble focusing on.

Shit.

It took Naruto a second but he managed to run after the Uchiha a half minute later; flanking him, intention completely focused on the ball and how he'd snatch it away from the smug bastard.

They wove through the field, almost like one person, the rest of the team following but they weren't even close. Sasuke was always a step ahead and as they came to the goal Naruto panicked—

He dived, skidding on his front foot and luckily kicking the ball away and tripping the Uchiha in the process; the brunette tumbled over the blonde's legs, landing in a heap on the grass—the ball skidded sideways and Ino caught it, travelling back towards Chouji as Naruto struggled to his feet, kicking the Uchiha off his legs.

Sasuke stood up, his eyes narrow and piercing as he glared at Naruto, but he didn't say anything, and jogged away.

Naruto bristled to that look; mud on his knees, hands on his hips, he stuck his tongue out at the back of Sasuke's head. "Bastard." He quipped, there was just something about this boy that pissed him off, made him want to compete, made him want to shove him off his impossibly high horse.

He didn't even know him, but he already felt like he hated him.

As the minutes ticked by the game drew on, close to the five minute mark and Asuma finally blew the whistle to end the game and come in to dress down. Naruto was exhausted, though he didn't want to admit it; he was sweaty, dirty, and all around gross by the time the game was over.

But, to his content, Sasuke looked as roughed up as him; since he had focused solely on the Uchiha and made his life on the field relative hell.

Needless to say, neither side got a goal.

Which, had never happened to Sasuke before, even in a practice match like this.

"Good game!" Naruto shouted to the Uchiha's retreating back but the boy never turned around, and it made Naruto laugh.

Ino ran up from behind him, slapping him hard on the back and making him almost fall over, "Well, that's never happened before."

"Next time we'll get a goal."

Ino grinned, "Maybe. It looks like Sasuke hates you. It was funny to see his face like that, he's always s composed."

"Well, someone has to show him he's nothing special."

At first Ino didn't know what to make of Naruko; that almost shy girl in front of the locker. But, now, seeing her on the field, and being around her now—she was infectious. Ino didn't like many people, and she wasn't sure if she could say she liked Naruko, but she respected her, and that was something. "See you later." Ino said, running ahead, waving just before she disappeared into the locker room.

Naruto felt better than before; something about having a rival and playing your favorite game, just breathed something back into him he didn't even know he was missing.

It reminded him of home, with his parents, at his old school, with his old problems—before his life changed, before it became complicated.

He liked this, gym class would probably end up his favorite period.

Math had been his final period, with a man named Ebisu, who was very serious about his subject. But, he somehow was always distracted and taunted by his class; Naruto assumed it's because they could smell fear, the students had a thing for attacking the weak and if anything Ebisu was definitely weak.

But, he knew what he was talking about, when he could actually finish a thought.

No homework, no upcoming test, it went by without a hitch and Naruto had sat at a seat with a vacant desk to either side; some privacy as he cooled down from his run on the field.

As the sun set low in the sky Naruto had made his way back home again, intent on telling his brother all about his first day. It wasn't so bad here, he couldn't believe he had been a little fearful of it, it had gone great and he was looking forward to tomorrow.