Hi everybody! Sorry for the unannounced hiatus. What can I say? Life happened. I swear I'm going to update Criminal Intent one of these days. I just need to find the time to sit down and actually do it.

You know what? I actually wrote down the rough draft to this story in a Naruto journal I got like five years ago. Hey, I moved, and didn't feel like digging out a notebook.

Anyways, enjoy! As usual, I own nothing but my ideas.

They were brothers. Not the literal, flesh-and-blood brothers, but the kind that were truest to the meaning of the word. They were the closest to family that the other had. He had a family, once… but they ignored, criticized, or murdered. No… he was family. They loved each other, even at the expense of their life.

To each other, each boy represented the meaning of the word "brother."

The blonde had always insisted they'd be friends forever. The raven maintained that all relationships, no matter how strong, were merely temporary. But Naruto would hear nothing of it. He once said with his silly grin, "I don't care if I have to drag you to see me when we're ninety years old. I'll always be you friend."

Sasuke let out a sarcastic laugh and rolled his eyes.

But no matter what, they were brothers. They laughed, trained, fought together. They put their lives on the line together numerous times. They would die and kill for each other, even if stupid, ice princess Sasuke wouldn't acknowledge it.

But then he left. He made his promise of a fleeting friendship a reality. Naruto was alone and as far as he knew, his brother wanted nothing to do with him.

He loved to sleep. He loved his dreams. In his dreams, everything was back to the way it was, when everything was good. When everything involved Sasuke.

He swore to bring Sasuke back. He promised they wouldn't forget each other.

He'd try to keep in touch. He'd write. He'd describe how his days were and remind him of their funny stories and resist the urge to write, "I miss you Sasuke. Goddammit, please come home." But he'd always say, "you're still the best friend I ever had."

When he was lucky, he'd get a reply. He never shared any of this with anyone; it was their (treasured) little secret. He'd say, "I miss you so much. I want to come home." He'd be there; he'd hug him tight, both boys on the verge of tears. Sasuke would softly say, "I missed you so much."

And then Naruto would wake up. These were the dreams that were so sweet, the return to reality only to find none of it had actually happened would make him cry.

But he did get a reply occasionally. He never said, "I miss you." But Sasuke had affirmed he was the best friend he'd had.

Naruto figured he was moving on. Sometimes he'd wonder if Sasuke was right about their friendship being transient, like everything else in life. The blonde himself wasn't moving past this. Their letters were few and far between, but every day, he'd find something he'd want to tell Sasuke about, dying to talk to him every single day.

He wanted to tell him how he thought Hinata may have a crush on him, with that big stupid grin of his.

He wanted to cry with him over the pain of Sakura's rejections.

He wanted to tell him about a moment he had that reminded him of the time they almost got kicked out of Ichiraku for being too rowdy (mostly Naruto) and oh how hard did they laugh after that.

He wanted to ask Sasuke if he was okay. If he was getting stronger, what jutsus he's learned, how his path to his goal of revenge is coming along and if he hasn't found it to be too lonely.

He wanted to tell him, "Please come home. Goddammit, I miss you!"

Yet he was unusually patient. He'd eagerly await those letters, few and far between, and cram as much as he could in them.

He got the letter. He had proof in writing. "I miss you, dobe."

He reread it every night to remind himself it was real.

"Hehe, looks like I was right about us being friends forever!" the blonde couldn't help but think with a grin.

He may not be bringing Sasuke home yet, but he'd see him again, and soon.