Disclaimer: I most definitely do not own Naruto.

As the key turned in the lock, Uzumaki Naruto leaned heavily against the doorjamb. Sighing, the young blonde pushed to door open to reveal a dark apartment. "I'm home," he called out quietly, knowing that there would be no one to respond. Dropping his bag next to the sofa, Naruto sank onto the plush cushions and laid his head back. Gently massaging his temples, the tired blonde reflected on his current situation.

His parents had passed away years ago, his mother, Kushina, had passed during his birth, and his father, Minato, followed shortly after due to illness. He had spent the first few years of his life in the care of his father's old boss, Sarutobi Hiruzen. The elderly gentleman had taken good care of Naruto during his childhood, enrolling him in a prestigious private school, even personally tutoring him when he needed the help. When Naruto turned seven, Grampa Sarutobi's health took a turn for the worse. More concerned about Naruto's well-being than his own health, Hiruzen called upon his former students for help. Little Naruto was excited to meet the pair that Grampa Sarutobi had told so many stories about.

He had quickly hit it off with Senju Tsunade, an accomplished doctor at the local hospital. They two blondes spent hours chatting together about Grampa Sarutobi and all of his little quirks. However, upon meeting Tsunade's ex-husband, Jiraiya, Naruto's good mood turned dark. He quickly learned that his father had named Jiraiya his godfather. Realizing that Jiraiya had neglected the duties left to him, Naruto quickly distanced himself from the perverted old man. When Hiruzen called his two students together, they began discussing who would become responsible for Naruto. Before Jiraiya could even open his mouth, Tsunade declared that she would adopt the little blonde boy. Not wait for a response from the two men, Tsunade immediately went to tell Naruto her intentions. Conceding the decision to his ex-wife, Jiraiya left, promising to be there if Naruto ever needed him.

Naruto's momentary happiness did not last, as he quickly discovered that his new mother, as well his new sister Shizune, were always working at the hospital. The blonde boy accepted his new lot, and learned to fend for himself. The absence of any family did nothing to dampen the blonde's ever present smile. In fact, the only thing that had ever dampened that smile, was Sasuke. Raising himself up from the plush couch, Naruto stalked into the kitchen, scowl marring his usually cheerful face. Reaching into the cabinet for a cup of instant ramen, Naruto considered his arrogant rival. Uchiha Sasuke was the son of the late Police Commissioner Uchiha Fugaku. The Commissioner and his wife, Mikoto, had died in a car accident a few years ago. After the accident, the once cheerful Sasuke turned quiet and bitter. Naruto had heard that Sasuke lived alone, despite having an older sibling.

Naruto could care less about Sasuke's predicament, the young Uchiha had always made the blonde's life hell. The two boys had competed against each other since they were children, but no matter what the situation was, Sasuke had come out on top. In the third grade, Sasuke had outscored Naruto on every test and assignment they had that year. In the eighth grade, the boys had tried out for the baseball team, but once again Sasuke had emerged victorious. Embarrassed by his failure, Naruto had avoided any other school sports from that point on. The worst, however, came in the tenth grade, when Sasuke had won the affections of Naruto's crush, Haruno Sakura. Devastated by his rejection, Naruto sunk back into the shadows of high school, not even emerging when Sasuke dumped Sakura two weeks later.

It had been at least a year since Naruto had last seen his rival. The pair had parted ways after graduation, but not before Sasuke had beaten Naruto again. Naruto had been accepted to an art and design school, hoping to do something creative in the future. His mother had assured him that his tuition would be taken care of, so he wouldn't have to worry about scholarships. After telling this to his friends, Sasuke had trumped him completely. Sasuke had been accepted to the most prestigious college in the area, and if that wasn't enough, the school had awarded Sasuke a full scholarship. Enraged by Sasuke's need to show him up, the blonde disappeared from the graduation ceremony, never showing up at the party his friends had set up. The time after graduation passed quickly, and soon it was time for college classes to start. After signing up for his classes, Naruto threw himself into his work, isolating himself from his old friends.

Naruto finished up his instant ramen and discarded the cup into the garbage next to the sink. Dropping back down onto the couch, the blonde thought about the friends he had distanced himself from. It had been a few months since he had heard from any of them, and even longer since he had seen them at all. Reaching into his pocket, Naruto pulled out his cell phone and began scrolling through his contacts. About halfway through the list, the phone rang. Looking at the caller ID, the blonde noted that his sister was calling. Answering the call, he held the phone to his ear and spoke. "Hey Shizune, what's up?"

Though fifteen years his senior, Shizune had always been close to Naruto. She truly considered him her brother, and it saddened her that she and Tsunade were never really there for him. Taking a deep breath, Shizune spoke. "Tsunade and I are stuck at work again, so we won't be home for dinner."

Used to his family's absence, Naruto took the news in stride. "It's okay Shizune, I was actually going to try and get together with some of my friends anyway. How's Mom doing? She's not pushing herself to hard is she?"

Smiling at the concern her younger brother showed to their adoptive mother. "She's doing fine, just a little tired. Well, have fun with your friends, and how about tomorrow I make breakfast. Think of it as my way of saying sorry for not being there."

"Thanks Shizune, that sounds great. Tell Mom that she needs to take it easy, since she can't take care of herself," Naruto said jokingly. Shizune laughed at Naruto's comment. Saying good-bye to her little brother, Shizune hung up. Ending the call on his end, Naruto went back to his contact list and started looking through his contacts again. He quickly found the number he was looking for. Pressing send, Naruto waited for the phone to be picked up. Hearing the tell-tale click, Naruto started speaking. "Hey Kiba, it's Naruto. Do you think we can get the old gang together, it's been a while since I've seen you guys."

A sharp sound akin to a bark sounded from the other end of the line. "Nice timing man, I've got most of the guys here already, and the girls are on their way. We're at the barbecue place that Chouji loves, so hurry up and get down here man, I'll save you a seat."

"Thanks Kiba, I'll see you in a few. Later, Kiba." Hanging up the phone up, Naruto pushed himself up off the couch and went to meet his friends. Making sure to lock the door behind him, Naruto hurried out of the apartment and hurried to the restaurant.

AN: Hi there, this is the first fanfic I've posted, but I hope to get a few more up here before long. I hope to get some reviews soon, I also accept flames. Thanks.