Ready for something new? This is a story about identity. About Love. About Acceptance. About Forgiveness and pushing past your demons. So put your paws up, 'cause you were born this way, baby, and there's nothing wrong with loving who you are.

Full Story Summary: Naruto (born Naruko) is a female-to-male transgender teen. Kushina and Minato's marriage has suffered as a result of clashing ideas on how to deal with their transgender child. Kiba has known Naruto since they were six years old. He's secretly in love with him, knowing full well that Naruto will never view himself as a woman. Sasuke is the school's prince. Popular, intelligent, stupidly handsome. A total high school cliche. After a very nasty break-up with his continuous on and off girlfriend, Sakura, he discovers Naruto's secret.

Read the WARNINGS dammit: VERY AU, OOC. Mature themes. Trans!Naruto, LotsofIssues!Sakura. Slash and Het pairings, sex, mentions of violence, descriptions of past hate crime, mentions of past self mutilation, teen pregnancy, past abortion, coarse language, drama, angst, stupid eighteen year olds. Want pairings? Read and find out, mwahaha.

Intolerant Flames given simply for subject matter will be immediately removed. Thank you for your concern.

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto. I own nothing D: nor do I gain any sort of profit off of this. The cover image I found off Naruto We Heart It and just edited it to squish together for a cover image. If you drew it and don't like that I slapped a title on it, please let me know and I'll take it down.

Born This Way

In many ways, Kushina felt like the cooling cup of tea in front of her: neglected, cold, wistful. Alone. She pulled her blue robe around her tighter, wriggling in her chair, eyes locked on the amber liquid. By the time she drank it, it would be cold. But she couldn't bring herself to take a sip. So she stared at it, as if it might start suddenly bubbling with answers for her problems. The faint buzzing of an alarm sounded through the quiet house, and Kushina shivered, glancing up at the digital clock on her stove.

Seven o'clock. She bit her lip, fingers clutching at her robe. It was a gray morning, complete with a freezing autumn rain, dark skies, and clouds that growled as thunder reverberated through the air. She hadn't turned on the lights. She sat in the gray-blue shadows of the dark morning, directing her attention to the glass sliding door ahead of her, leading into the backyard.

How symbolic. She thought with an ironic smile. How typical that the weather should take an ugly turn on Naruto's first day of school. The sound of bathroom door snapping closed made her slip out of her melancholy musings and attempt to drink her tea. She grimaced.

It was cold.

Sighing, she heated it in the microwave, waiting for her son to appear, her bare feet whispering across the cool linoleum.

Naruto suddenly burst into the kitchen, slinging his messenger bag over his shoulder in a rush. His tousled blond hair, bright as sunlight on such a dark, depressing day was still damp. He had dressed in an orange Hollister hoodie, and the faded ripped jeans that Kushina hated so much.

"You could rip them yourself for the half the price!" She had scolded when he bought them. He had only laughed. Why looking old was the newin she didn't know. To think that old had once been known as simply "ugly". Now it was vintage.


"Slow down, tiger. I'll make you some eggs." The microwave beeped loudly and she busied herself with a plate, but Naruto shook his head, a poptart between his teeth.

"Mom, don't stall! I gotta run. It's already seven-fifteen!"

Kushina blinked, frowning. "No, it…" She stopped, glancing at the clock, and wondered where the last fifteen minutes had gone. Naruto took a bite out of his poptart and kissed his mother on temple.


"Wait! Naruto, wait!" she called after him, suddenly frantic. Her son halted, blinking light cornflower blue eyes. His face fell.

"Mom, please. Let me go."

Kushina bit her lip, blinking against sudden tears. No, she wasn't going to cry. She attempted a smile, and Naruto's brow furrowed as he waited for her to speak. "Baby, just think about this for a minute. You don't have to go there. We can do home school-" Naruto's eyes hardened, cold as ice, and he cut her off.

"I'm not going to hide from people, Mom. I'm going to school, and I'm going to graduate like everybody else. With friends."

Kushina quickly swiped at her eyes. Naruto sighed. "I'll call you at lunch. I promise." Kushina sighed and nodded. Maybe it was time she admitted defeat on this matter.

"If you feel uncomfortable in any way, or someone is awful to you, or if you change your mind-"

"Mom." Naruto stopped her, grabbing both her hands in his. "I'll call. I promise," he assured her. Kushina took a deep breath, nodding.

"Don't cry, Mom. I'm a senior, not a kindergartner. I'm not six!" He laughed, cracking a crooked grin.

"Are you sure I can't drive you-?"

"I want to take the bus. Okay? I gotta go, I'm supposed to meet Kiba. You know Kiba, he's got my back. Everything's going to be fine. I'm going to like it here, I know it," he said, optimistic as ever.

"Alright, get going. Call me at lunch!" she cried as Naruto bolted out the door.

I'm not six!

She wished he was. She missed the little person that would accept her snuggles without shame or adamant cries of I'm not a baby, Mom, geeesshh! She smirked at the thought. Seventeen.

Where had her baby gone?

Her cell phone began to vibrate, buzzing against the glass surface of the coffee table in the living room. She hesitated upon picking it up.

Incoming call: Minato Namikaze.

She accepted the call, but Minato spoke first.

"Did he get on the bus okay?"

Her laugh was brittle. "I'm sure me walking him to the bus stop would have earned me a lifetime of 'I-hate-you-Mom' type of glares."

"It's called spying, Kushina. I thought you were good at that."

She rolled her eyes. "It's called an angry teenager, Minato, and I'm not good with that one," she shot back, though she grinned. There was a pause, a crackle of white noise on the other line.

"You're right. We don't need to hold his hand," Minato agreed. Kushina swallowed.

"You should have seen him when I said he could be home schooled if he wanted." There was another pause.

"We owe him this. We do. As his parents, we owe him this. He's still a minor, still looks to us for guidance. We'll support him, protect him, but we can't protect him from life, Kushina. He needs this. He needs to be a regular kid. Have friends. Go out. We owe him that much. We can't coddle him and hide him away forever."

Kushina closed her eyes. Tried to breathe. "I can't…I can't stop thinking about what happened…" she admitted in a choked voice.

"Then stop thinking." Minato's voice was quiet, strong, reassuring. She hiccupped softly, trying to reign in her sobs.

"What they did to him…"

"That was there. This is here. We're all moving past it, and if Naruto is doing his best to have a better outlook, so should we. It's better back here, Kushina. Not like in New Hampshire. It was for the best coming back…I'm glad you came back." Her breath hitched. She allowed herself the smallest of smiles.

"Maybe you're right. Maybe it is for the best we came back here." She said softly. "But you know, I'll miss the peace and quiet, and with you around, I'll get very little of that!" she teased. Minato laughed.

"Little sacrifices, Kushina. Little sacrifices."

She smiled, curling up on the couch, eyes locked on a vase of lilies. "Minato?"


"Don't let anything happen to our baby on your watch." She hung up her phone then, combing her fingers through long, red hair that plunged to the small of her back. It fanned, still not having been brushed, around her shoulders. She caught her lower lip between her teeth again, a nervous habit, worrying it as she picked up a picture frame, aiming a watery smile at it.

A beautiful two year baby girl beamed back at her, a glittering plastic tiara on top of her sun-bright pigtails.

But that was then.

This is now.

"Yo, Naruto!"

Naruto grinned as he walked up the damp sidewalk, getting an eyeful of his childhood friend, Kiba Inuzuka. The boy waved frantically, looking excited, and charming in a disheveled sort of way. His shaggy mop of brown hair had achieved utter bed-head perfection. Naruto chuckled.

It was good to see Kiba again. Really good. The familiar and friendly sight sent a warmth trickling through him, slicing through the nerves and brittle fear.

He hadn't lived in this town since he was six years old, which also happened to be the age he'd met Kiba in kindergarten. The town consisted of two different elementary schools, and Naruto and Kiba had both met at Liberty Elementary, after Naruto had given the little twerp a black eye for calling him….


There was neither here nor there. Either way, the insult had resulted in a strong, solid friendship. Kiba clapped Naruto on the shoulder, brown eyes glittering.

"Man, this is going to be awesome. I get to see you all year now instead of just for the summer! Poor school isn't gonna know what hit it."

Naruto grinned, going in for a fist bump. "It'll be turned upside down, my friend. Upside down."

Kiba barked out a laugh. "The thought of senior pranks never had so much allure until you showed up." Naruto chuckled, grinning ear to ear. He had a good feeling about this.

This was right. He just knew it.

The bus ride was uneventful. He and Kiba blabbed the whole way about a new movie coming out, and a new shoujo manga series Naruto had discovered. When the bus finally lurched to a stop, Naruto hesitated as Kiba rose off the ugly brown seats.

The school was much, much larger than where he had previously gone. He sighed, gripping the strap of his messenger bag, which was covered in signatures from friends, doodles, and some song lyrics here and there.

Kiba had insisted on signing it when he saw it last night, and demanded a spot on the bag. Naruto could only laugh. In very large block letters, Kiba's name literally sprawled over the flap of Naruto's bag.

The rain had turned into a light drizzle, and Naruto pulled up his hood. Under the dark clouds, the three story building and its orange lights blinking in the shadows gave him a feeling of trepidation.

New school, new faces. His gut churned, and for the briefest moment, he thought about calling his mother.

I changed my mind. Come get me.

What if someone remembered who he was? He shook his head. If anyone from his kindergarten class was in the high school, he doubted they would remember him upon first glance…

Seeing as how he wasn't exactly who he used to be.

Pushing past the glass doors, the boys were greeted by white tile and cream walls splashed with green and black stripes (the school's colors). The principal's office to the left, doors that led into the gym and locker rooms, vending machines lining the hall, and past that, and a large cafeteria at the very center that led to other hallways, stairs to upper level classes, and more.

It was a very large school.

"Gimme your schedule, we'll go to your locker together." Kiba offered. Naruto shook his head.

"Gotta go meet with the counselor."

Kiba shrugged. "Oh," he said quietly. He scratched at his unruly brown hair. "Um…I can wait for you?"

Naruto smirked, a little uncomfortable. "Sure, whatever." They walked a little further down the hall. Next to the principal's office was the school counselor's room. Naruto knocked on the door a little timidly. He could hear someone talking as they approached the door.

"Yeah, okay. Whatever. No, Iruka, I'm not mad….I told you, I'm not mad! Someone needs to loosen up a little. Luckily for you, I know the perfect way to accomplish that-Ah! Alright, alright! You're making my eardrums bleed! Mercy, mercy!" The door swung open, and Naruto looked right into the handsome face of the school counselor. The man blinked, looking down at Naruto and Kiba.

"Iruka, I gotta call you back. No. No. I got a kid. 'Kay, see you tonight, babe, and remember what I said about that bubble bath-hello? Hello? Ruka?" The man frowned, looking at his phone. He heaved a sigh, leaning lazily against the doorframe.

"Sometimes I fear I'm too much for his gentle heart," he said lightly as he stuffed his cell in the back pocket of his slacks.

"Something tells me I wasn't supposed to hear any of that," Kiba said with a groan. The man smiled, thin lips stretching to reveal a straight row of pearly teeth. He ran a hand over his chiseled jaw, peppered with gray stubble. He had a shock of spiked silver hair on his head. He was still looking at the boys, as if trying to figure them out.

"And you are…?" he asked, obviously giving up.

"Naruto? Naruto Uzumaki?" Naruto supplied. Kakashi nodded slowly.

"Ah yes…" His voice trailed as if he was uncertain, smoky eyes locked on nothing in particular as his brows furrowed.

"You have no idea who I am, do you? We had an appointment?" Naruto said flatly, not fooled. The man blinked.

"Oh don't be silly, I know, come in, come in!" The counselor said with an odd little chuckle, ushering the boys inside. The counseling room was lined with blue carpet, its inner walls decorated with a mural of diverse people holding hands. Potted plants were positioned beside bookcases. The counselor led them to his desk, indicating the plastic chairs that stood in front of it. Naruto shifted from one foot to another, looking at Kiba.

"You don't have to be here, you know." Naruto muttered at Kiba, but his friend merely shrugged, picking a plastic chair in front of the counselor's desk and lounging in it languidly. Naruto peered at the name on the desk: Kakashi Hatake.

Mr. Hatake mumbled to himself as he dug through his files. He paused when he came upon Naruto's. His eyes widened a little.

"Of course! Mr. Uzumaki. I-" He paused, looking at Kiba, and pointed at him with Naruto's folder.

"He doesn't need to be here, you know. You want privacy, I'll give you privacy."

Kiba puffed up. "Isn't anyone familiar with the term emotional support?" he squawked, not pleased. Naruto laughed.

"It's fine. He's my best friend. He…He knows all about me." He looked down at his hands folded in his lap. Mr. Hatake cleared his throat.

"I want you to know that this is an open-minded school, Naruto. We believe in the growth of a student as whole shouldn't be inhibited in any way. Of course, there are limits to this rule, but in your case, I want you to understand that you're welcome, and we're doing our best to make you feel comfortable here-"

"What about the bathrooms?" Naruto interjected. It was the only question he wanted to ask. Kakashi paused.


"The bathrooms." Naruto clarified, now looking uncomfortable. "My, uh, my last school made me use the girl's bathroom." He mumbled and flushed, not meeting Kakashi's eyes. Kakashi looked at him sympathetically.

"As I've said, there are limitations. We're giving you a key to the handicapped bathrooms, which can be found throughout the school. They are to use at your disposal." He handed Naruto a card. The boy took it without meeting the counselor's eyes. He stared at the card.

Nice way of saying I don't belong in either. He thought bitterly.

"Naruto…I don't want you to feel as though you don't belong." Mr. Hatake's words took him by surprise. He blinked, blushing slightly in his embarrassment.

"I…I know the school can't risk problems with other students and their parents just because of one student," he muttered.

Kakashi sighed. "If it were up to me, believe me, something as trivial as this wouldn't be such a big deal." Naruto nodded, tucking the card into his pocket.

"If you ever need me…I'm here to listen. I, uh, I know what it's like to feel…disconnected, lost in the backlash. Maybe not in the same exact way, but I swear I'm not useless," Kakashi said sincerely. Naruto smiled a little.

"Now get going. The halls are going to fill up, and you need to find your locker. I suggest also looking for your classes before the bell rings."

Kakashi watched the two boys leave, and he leaned back in his chair, sighing.

It's going to be a hell of a year. He thought with a yawn.

Kiba stole glances at Naruto as they walked through the halls. Hands stuffed in his pockets, conflower blue eyes slightly narrowed in thought, and blond locks falling a little into his eyes, Kiba couldn't help but drink Naruto in.

He couldn't help it.

Naruto had been his very first real friend. His very first confidant. His very first partner in crime. His very first crush.

Back when…

Well, since back when Naruto had pigtails and went by Naruko. Kiba chuckled a little. They had met at the jungle gym on the playground. Kiba had ridiculed and teased (Naruto was quite the tomboy, obviously, and as a little boy who was shy about a pretty girl trying to play with the boys, Kiba couldn't help but tease). His teasing had earned him a black eye, a newfound respect, and opened the gateway to life's first thoughts of innocent romance. As in holding hands, pushing each other on the swings, plucking dandelions together.

Ah, innocent love as seen by a six year old.

He had tried to overcome it. Especially when Naruto's situation became apparent to him as they grew, but he couldn't stop it. He dated other girls, tried to convince himself that as a boy, Naruto was no longer attractive or enticing. It didn't work.

Not even Hinata, his latest ex, could completely befuddle his secret longings into tricking himself to want someone else.

He was in love with his transgender male best friend. Yeah, it was messy, but so what? Naruto didn't have to know. At first, Kiba had been ignorant enough to believe that gender identity coincided with sexual identity. Apparently, it didn't work that way. (Well duh.) but he would never forget the day Naruto had carefully explained it to him, especially since Kiba had, bluntly, asked if this now made Naruto a lesbian.

That had earned him another black eye for lack of understanding.

So…you're a guy, who likes guys? What? I don't get it. Why not just stay a girl, then?

Because…that's not who I am.

Kiba had come to accept this. He accepted it with a little hope. Naruto and his mother had moved away to New Hampshire when Naruto was twelve and beginning the phases of transitioning. Kiba had been crushed. He was only able to communicate with his friend through e-mail, phone, and even the occasional letter. He would have to wait for the warm summer months to see Naruto again, when his friend would return to visit with his father for five weeks at a time.

That had all changed, however, a few months ago, when Naruto…

He stopped the thought as anger licked his insides. He clenched his fists.

"Kiba?" The boy snapped out of his musing, throwing an easy smile towards the blond.


"Did you even notice we'd stopped and I was fiddling with my locker?" Naruto teased, tossing some notebooks and folders onto the inner shelves of the open locker. Kiba watched Naruto's profile. The words came to his mouth unbidden.

"You're amazing, you know that?" He said, softly. Naruto turned, blinking. He flushed, scratched at his nose and the back of his head.

"Why are you being so weird?" Naruto asked with a dry chuckle. Kiba ignored this.


"Inuzuka!" Kiba stopped, scowling. The morning alone with Naruto had just been robbed from him. A small group of three boys and a girl stepped over across the hallway, smiling in greeting at the newcomer.

"Sup?" Kiba asked, clearly not too excited to see them. A boy with a ponytail and hooded eyes leaned back against the lockers.

"Nothing, as usual." Was his bored reply. The girl stood next to him, imitating his nonchalance, her moss green eyes sneaking peeks. A tall, lanky boy adjusted black sunglasses on his nose.

"Who's the new guy?" A tall, rather large boy asked, jutting his finger in Naruto's direction.

"Uh, this is-"

"Naruto. Uzumaki, Naruto. So you guys friends of Kiba's?"

"Not by my standards." The bored boy replied. Kiba growled, punching him in the arm. The boy started, scowling and rubbing his arm.

"Mutt," the boy muttered, before straightening with a sigh. "Yep, friends since the eighth grade. And they say high school breaks friends apart." He crossed his arms, closing his coffee brown eyes.

"You know you love me, Shika. This is Shikamaru Nara, Chouji Akimichi, Shino Abarame, and Temari Sobaku,"

"Yo," Shikamaru drawled, though he smirked.

"Welcome to Greene. Nice, isn't it?" Chouji remarked. Naruto nodded.

"McKinley was a lot smaller," he admitted. The girl, Temari, eyed him with obvious interest before speaking.

"Where's McKinely?" she wanted to know. Naruto flushed, shutting his locker.

"New Hampshire," Naruto answered.

"Long way from home, blondie," Shikamaru observed. Naruto laughed.

"I'm back home."

"Fucking jerk dumped me over the weekend…again." Sakura Haruno took another drag on her cigarette, the long pale fingers of her other hand pushing back loose strands of her bubblegum pink hair behind her ears.

"That pixie cut is sexy, by the way." Her friend, Ino Yamanaka, observed, clearly ignoring what had just been broadcasted.

"I'm trying to complain here," Sakura said with a roll of her emerald green eyes. Ino lounged against the brick wall behind her. They were outside the school by the pool entrance, catching a break after the first day of classes. Ino tugged on the hem of her purple zebra-striped miniskirt.

"I'm thinking of going short. What do you think?" Ino ran a hand through pale blond hair, before gathering it in a ponytail. Sakura scowled, glowering.

"I think you're being insensitive," Sakura snapped, dropping her cigarette in the wet grass and stepping on it. Ino snorted at this.

"You and Sasuke break up every other week. It's not exactly news."

"Yeah, well, this time he fucked me then dumped me right after."

Ino paused at this. "That's cold," she said finally. Sakura made an odd little noise in her throat.

"My period's late."

"Your period's always late, Sakura," Ino said dryly. Sakura harrumphed, crossing her arms over her chest.


"Use a fucking condom once in a blue moon. God!"

"He doesn't like them," Sakura pouted. Ino huffed.

"Then get on the damn pill. Jesus!"

Sakura smirked at her friend's choice of curses. "I get emotional," she whined. Ino stared at her incredulously.

"Then I don't know what to fucking tell you. Good luck, I guess, and kiss your skinny ass goodbye. In case you didn't know, there's no cure for stretchmarks." Sakura rolled her eyes again at that, saying nothing. Ino stared at her.

"Oh my God. You're secretly hoping you're pregnant," Ino guessed. Sakura flushed, not meeting her friend's accusatory gaze.

"Lay off the cancer sticks, then, sweetheart." Ino stamped out her own cigarette, smearing it across the pavement. "You're an idiot if you think a baby's gonna keep that cold motherfucker around long enough to finally know what your favorite color is. When are you going to learn?"

"He's not cold. Just misunderstood," Sakura mumbled, chewing on her thumbnail.

"Right. Who cares? He's fucking hot, who cares if you're more of a booty-call instead of a real girlfriend?" Ino said, sarcastic. Sakura laughed at this.

"Yeah, okay…"

"Whoa. Eye candy at three o'clock." Ino piped up, straightening and discarding her cigarette. She licked her glossed lips, automatically sucking in her nonexistent stomach, puffing out her chest so that her push up bra did her cleavage more justice in the fitting black Henley tank top she wore. Sakura combed through her pixie cut with her fingers, smoothing down her red and gray tank dress just as quickly.

A boy was walking down the sidewalk, flanked by fellow seniors that Sakura didn't much care for. He was a piece of eye candy. Bright, sunflower yellow hair, lovely face, ice blue eyes, lean body. He could be a little taller, but…

He was gorgeous, in a word. Mystery boy didn't even look their way. Ino pouted.

"I didn't see him in class!"

"Neither did I."

"Bastard didn't even look. I mean, come on! We're fucking babes!" Ino piped up shrilly. Sakura laughed.

"I guess."

"You guess?" A velvety dark voice startled them by saying. Sakura blushed furiously, but pretended to be haughty.

"What do you want?" She eyed the raven haired boy sidling up to her with as much venom as she could pull off. Which, sadly, wasn't much. He chuckled. His arm wrapped around her thin waist, pulling her close and lowering his head so he could plant soft kisses on her neck.

"Sasuke!" Sakura scolded, swatting him away, but her face betrayed her words-her eyes closed in utter bliss, rosebud mouth smirking, her lips parting slightly.

"Missed you last night," he muttered against her pink hair.

"Fuck off," Sakura growled, but she smiled a little.

"You're still wearing my band." Sasuke snapped the blue rubber band on Sakura's wrist. Ino laughed, and Sakura's gaze swivled over to her friend, suddenly remembering she and Sasuke weren't alone.

"Pssh. Girl hasn't taken it off since she earned it with you in Sophomore year. Of course she's still wearing it." Ino pointed out. Sakura glared at her. Sasuke straightened, and Ino dared to let her eyes roam unabashedly.

Sasuke was, admittedly, devilishly handsome. The epitome of every girl's "naughty rich boy" fantasy. He wore designer jeans, a striped button up with the first few buttons undone to reveal a little creamy skin, and a chain dangled around his neck, supporting a metal gothic cross. His left eyebrow was pierced, and he sported a tattoo on the nape of his neck. His black hair was always tousled just perfectly. Of course, he smelled divine. God, what was that? Sakura still didn't know.

The handsome, popular rich boy. What a cliché.

"Holy shit, Sakura, you gotta see this! Mystery Boy's dad is even hotter!" Ino squealed, pointing towards the parking lot. Sakura pried her eyes away from Sasuke for a moment. A tall man with the same shade of shockingly gold hair was greeting Mystery Boy at the end of the sidewalk, seemingly introducing himself to his son's friends.

"He's gotta be, like, forty!" Sakura huffed, peeling her eyes away a little reluctantly. Ino chuckled.

"He's hot." She sighed dreamily. Sasuke scowled, wrapping both his arms around Sakura and tugging her to his chest so that the top of her head fit perfectly under his chin. She didn't complain.

"The first party of the year is at Gaara's place this weekend. You going?" Sasuke asked, ignoring Ino's 'Mystery Boy' talk. Ino made a face.

"At his place? Like, as in, we might have to hang around his loser of a sister?"

"Who cares if Temari's there?" Sakura asked, but she thought she had a clue. Ino glared.

"Bitch stole my boyfriend, and I'm not about to forget it."

"That lazy fuck, Nara?" Sasuke asked with a snort. Ino colored. Sakura laughed.

"Our Ino's in love!" She teased with a giggle. Ino looked away.

"I can't stand that bitch." Ino said darkly. Sakura frowned.

"Who cares? He doesn't even hang out with our group , Ino. It wouldn't have worked, and no one likes him anyway," she pointed out. Ino sighed sulkily.

"I'm outtie." she said suddenly, not sparing her friends a second glance. Sasuke watched her leave.

"Kid must've really got to her. She doesn't even fight with you over me anymore," he drawled with a languid stretch. Sakura watched him, secretly overjoyed. She bit the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling too widely.

"Yeah," she murmured, simply to say something, her eyes drinking in the sight that was Sasuke Uchiha.

One day…

One day Sakura was going to marry him. Ino could laugh at her all she wanted and call her an idiot for it, but... She was sure of it. She thought of her period, overdue by a mere day. Before she could open her mouth, however, Sasuke's mouth was covering hers. She sighed into the kiss, and he devoured her lips hungrily, nipping and sucking. Their teeth grazed. She moaned against him and as he pressed her against the wall. After a few blissful moments, he pulled away, dark gray eyes smoky with lust.

"I gotta go," he breathed against her. She sighed, wrapping her arms around him with a pout, but he disentangled himself.

"See you tomorrow, Sakura."

She wilted against the wall. "Can't we…you know…spend some time together? Talk? Or something?"

Sasuke chuckled. "Or something?" He asked darkly, throwing a suggestive look over his shoulder. Sakura flushed. Sasuke turned away.

"Don't feel like talking." With that, he was gone, striding across the grass towards the parking lot.

A dull cramp ignited in Sakura's belly as she watched him go. Frowning, she turned towards the pool entrance, slipping into the building and finding her way to the girl's locker room and to the bathroom stalls inside. Shaking slightly, she entered a stall, and pulled down her underwear.

She blinked back tears at the red stain that greeted her.

One day…

One day, he wasn't going to leave her behind.

The soft opera music that drifted through the house threw Kakashi off guard as he stepped inside. The curtains were drawn, the lamps were on their lowest settings, bathing the small, tidy home in a soothing golden light. Maria Callas's voice rose beautifully as the song Un bel di vedremo from the opera Madam Butterfly floated through the house.

"Iruka?" He called, throwing his coat over the couch in the living room. Turning towards the hall, where the music was loudest, he paused by the bathroom door. Grinning, he tugged at his tie, pulling it free. The buttons came undone slowly, and he shrugged off his white pressed shirt.

Gently, he pushed at the bathroom door, greeted by a crescendo of sound. Iruka lounged comfortably in the tub, the lights dimmed, his head rested on the lip of the vintage clawed tub. A smirk tugged at the other man's lips. Not opening his eyes, he slipped lower into the water. Kakashi shrugged off his slacks, kneeling by the tub, eyeing his lover.

"Someone took my advice."

Iruka shushed him. "Quiet, I'm trying to listen," he scolded lightl, sinking deeper in the tub. Kakashi smiled, striding over to sit and reach out to gently massage Iruka's temples. His partner sighed contentedly.

"You know, there are times I really want to call you an ass. But at times like this, it's impossible."

Kakashi only chuckled.

"Know this at all?" Iruka murmured over the song.


Iruka hummed, speaking after a moment. "She's singing about a man. How she sees him coming, but she won't go to him. Instead, she waits. It's about waiting for love. Knowing that if you keep faith, the one you seek will find you." Iruka finally opened his dark hazel eyes, locking gazes with Kakashi. Kakashi dipped his hand in the warm bath water. He looked at Iruka.

And splashed at him playfully.

"You're such a sap," he teased lovingly. Iruka spluttered.

"Aand the moment is gone." He tried to look annoyed, but he couldn't hide his smirk. Kakashi laughed.

"My spontaneity is why you love me."

"Oh I love you, do I?" Iruka teased. He allowed Kakashi access to the bathtub, then leaned against the strong chest of his lover.

"It's true. I do love you." Iruka confessed. He enjoyed the way Kakashi's chuckle rumbled in his chest. Kakashi's hands slowly stroked up and down Iruka's arms.

"You only had to wait for me to find you." He whispered into the shorter man's ear, kissing it. Iruka blushed, wriggling.

"Not in the bathtub. Water makes it worse." He grumbled. Kakashi laughed again.

"Funny, you wouldn't think water would make things less slick," Iruka grumbled, blushing fiercely. Kakashi laughed louder, and Iruka elbowed him lightly in the ribs.

"So how was work today?" He asked, settling back down against Kakashi. Kakashi was silent a moment.

"There's this girl. She's smart, I know she is because I had a peek at her file, but…well, the nurse sent her to me. You know how the school is one of the very few to offer condoms in the infirmary and free pregnancy tests?"


"The nurse became concerned because the girl has come back every month for the last four, asking for a test. So it's been happening throughout the summer school period and now into the actual term." Iruka winced. Kakashi was silent.

"Sometimes, I wish I could feel what they were feeling, just for a second, just to understand them better. I don't want the girl to throw her life away because she can't handle her boyfriend leaving her. I just kept thinking…what if I was her father? What would I do or say? I'm not obligated to tell her parents what's going on unless she's doing something life-threatening or illegal."

"But you can call her parents with your concerns, can't you?"

Kakashi was silent. "I already asked Tsunade about that. She told me not to overstep my boundaries. If the girl wants her parents involved, I can call them."

Iruka frowned. "But she's a minor, and she needs an intervention, obviously."

"I know! The pamphlets I gave her about teenage pregnancy and depression isn't going to do shit. Her parents should send her to a therapist. She needs someone to listen. She obviously isn't talking to me." There was a silence.

"You really care about the kids you see, don't you?" Iruka asked softly.

"I wouldn't be a school counselor if I didn't. When I was in high school…hell, the counselor acted like she didn't give a shit. Or maybe she did, but she just couldn't sympathize. I don't know. " He trailed off a little bitterly.

Iruka shivered against him, and he blinked, smiling a little. "I promised myself that one day, I was going to be that counselor in the school, and I would never turn a blind eye to any student…and I never have."

"Hmm. You really are a good man." Kakashi pressed a kiss to Iruka's temple.

"The school has its first transgender student," he said. Iruka cocked an eyebrow.

"Wow," was all he said at first.

"Of course, it's not advertised or anything, but it worries me. Transgender children have an even harder time. I don't want him to feel alone."

Iruka smiled, peering up at him. "Did you give him my pamphlet?" Kakashi blinked. Of course! Iruka led an LGBTQ support group for kids and parents that met at the community center every Tuesday and Thursday nights.

"I…I don't know why I didn't think about that," Kakashi admitted.

"It'll be a nice way for him to know he isn't alone, and he'll get to meet Emme."


"She's a transgender girl. She goes to a different school in another district, but her mother had a hard time finding a support group. She and her mom are pretty new."

Kakashi rested his head on top of Iruka's. "I think I'll give him the brochure tomorrow then," he decided.

"Good. Do you know if his parents are on board, by the way? That's a huge factor is some children's lives when it comes to finding support."

"They are. Quite supportive, actually. I was surprised. But it was great to see. Tsunade and I met with them before the term started. They had been looking for a school that would readily accept their son's situation. You know, the father's a plastic surgeon. Naruto, their son, actually had his mastectomy performed at his father's practice."

Iruka's eyes widened. "Wow. That's…wow. Talk about support."

"I only know about it because they wanted him to be able to participate in gym or sports if he wanted to and be able to shed his shirt like the other guys. The look on the mother's face, though, I dunno. It was like she was in pain."

Iruka frowned. "Some parents have a hard time," he said at length. "They have to watch their kid go through something they ultimately can't understand, and they can't take the pain away or even understand it," Iruka reasoned. Kakashi paused.

"I'm worried there's going to be a stir. I just want everything to go smoothly and without a hitch. The kids' a senior, transferring from some high school in New Hampshire. He…he was attacked last year."

Iruka stiffened. "What happened to him?"

"He was beaten and tied to the flag pole outside his school…naked," Kakashi explained with a wince. Iruka sucked in a breath.

"God," Iruka cursed sadly. Kakashi sighed, wrapping his arms around his lover. For a while neither moved, only listened to the music.

"Hey, let's get out of the tub," he whispered after a while. Iruka blushed a little.

"Pervert." But Iruka slowly stood, the water rushing down his toned and leaned body. He wrapped a towel around his waist, despite protests.

"Want it off? Do it yourself."

Kakashi grinned. "Don't tempt me Iruka, or you'll have me pulling the towel off with my teeth."

Updated A/N: This first chapter was edited 8/4/13 for the first time since I word-vomited the first nine chapters. There was a lot of phrasing and words I wanted to change. Not much different about it.