Author's note:

This is my first time publishing a fanfic. I usually just write for my own enjoyment, but I finally decided to just... go for it and put one up. I would love your comments and ideas. But please don't tell me things like "Sasuke has to be the Uke" or "Naruto has to be a 5-yearl-old girl". Those things really make me crazy. I love them both as strong, hot guys. For me, that is what it's about... that's what makes this couple so freaking sexy. And I also like the epicness of their story and characters in the manga/anime, so there will be more plot than lemon in this, but am hoping for a good mix of both. The first two are just setting the background of their childhood and how they know each other, but future onese will take place with them being around 20 and that is where the steaminess will start.

Disclaimer - I don't own Naruto - Masashi Kishimoto does, unfortunately

Some additional warnings... there will be some dark stuff. Not crazy dark, but Naruto has a seriously fucked up childhood (maybe a little worse than in the manga), and really bad stuff happens to Sasuke as well. Not for children. Violence, abuse, murder, rough sex... you get the idea. Oh, and I swear a lot. I mean. A LOT. Sorry. It is what it is. Anyway! Bracing myself to hit submit. Here I go!

...

Uchiha Sasuke looked over at the sleeping form of his blond, bronzed lover, tangled in twisted sheets on the king-sized bed in the hotel room. The man lay unmoving, seemingly dead to the world. Sasuke smirked. He had never felt better in his life, despite that his head hurt and his whole body ached from the previous night's exertions and excesses. He tried to name the emotion that he felt swirling through him, but his brain was still not back to being fully functional, passion and alcohol having basically shut that organ down for the past 12 hours. Though to be honest, processing emotions wasn't his strong suit under the best of circumstances.

Images from the prior night flashed through his head, slamming one after another. He felt his skin heating again just at the memories. He smirked again when he thought about what Naruto's reaction would be if he went and woke him.

An intense satisfaction and sense of accomplishment swirled through it all. He tried again to put into words in his own mind how he felt. About all he could come up with, until his brain started actually working again, was:

Finally! Fucking finally! Why did this have to take so long to happen? Why had we been such idiots and not gotten here sooner?

He thought back to the incident 10 years ago that had first brought them together, and formed the first unbreakable bond of their friendship. Back when he still had a family. Back when they both still had homes.

...

"Hey, guys. What's up?"

Uzumaki Naruto? Sasuke could barely connect the distant, casual sounding voice to his back-row classmate. He would have been probably the last person in the school that he would have thought would come to his rescue.

"Get lost, loser. Can't you see we're busy here?" Sasuke didn't need to open his eyes to identify the speaker as the biggest of the 8 boys surrounding him.

"Yeah, I see what you're busy with. What – you asked pretty boy here on a date and he turned you down?" Naruto seemed oblivious to his imminent death.

"Fuck you. Last warning. Get lost now or you're next," the leader of the group of middle-schoolers that were currently beating the crap out of Uchiha Sasuke said.

"What did he do to you guys anyway? Usually he just minds his own business and heads back to his kingdom to study ruling the world. Doesn't bother with us lesser beings," Naruto continued, seemingly unperturbed by the threat. Sasuke tried to move his arms, to see if either of them would start working again anytime soon. The pain was going to make him throw up, but he had to get up. 2 on 8 was certainly better odds than 1 on 8. Though both odds kind of sucked.

"That's exactly it. We're going to make him see that he can't ignore us. That he's not better than us. Now get the fuck lost!" The biggest of the eight landed another kick to Sasuke's stomach as he had begun pulling himself to his knees, causing him to almost pass out with agony.

"Nah. You're showing him you're just a scaredy-cat pussy who needs seven of his little girlfriends to talk to the boy you have a crush on," Naruto continued, voice sounding completely calm and even a little dismissive.

Is he trying to commit suicide? Sasuke thought in foggy bewilderment. No one sane would seriously take these guys on all at once. Naruto was only ten; three months younger than Sasuke. And Sasuke had at least an inch and a few pounds on him as well. These guys were all at least twelve or thirteen, and over-sized for their age.

All thoughts of beating up the Uchiha faded into a haze of red as the pack leader launched himself at Naruto with an incoherent bellow of rage that only a teenage bully can truly manage. But Naruto was ready for him and dropped him to the ground with a short, sharp punch to his crotch. As the boy lay on the ground in a silent scream of agony, all hell broke loose as the rest of the pack attacked. Fists, grunts, and feet were flying everywhere. It was not a pretty fight. There was little grace in any of their movements, but in the end, only Naruto was standing. Sasuke looked in amazement through his one eye that was not swollen shut.

"See… here's the lesson in all of this," Naruto said panting. "No matter how much life has been kicking the crap out of you guys, you shouldn't go picking random fights with people. Because you never know when you are going to run into someone who has had the crap kicked out of him even more, and learned how to fight back."

The older boys were starting to pick themselves up slowly from the dirt, but they didn't look enraged anymore. If anything, they seemed… wary… about what Naruto was going to do. He had clearly earned their respect, at whatever level 13-year-old delinquents could respect anything.

"I don't know about you, but I plan on pulling myself out of this shithole someday," Naruto continued conversationally, as though they were not mortal enemies. "Academics ain't gonna be my path, I'm guessing, since half the time I can't even afford the stupid text book. But maybe fighting could be, as long as I don't get arrested and totally fuck everything up by getting a record." Naruto was hoping some of what he was saying would sink in on these guys… they seriously need to course correct. "You had some good moves. I'm gonna be pissing blood for at least a week with those kidney shots you landed. If you are serious about fighting, maybe we could… start a sparring club or something. Get the anger out and build up skills without doing stupid shit to innocent bystanders who have families that could seriously fuck with our futures." It was the first time Sasuke had ever heard himself referred to as innocent. He was in too much pain right now to process how he felt about that, though.

"You mean… like a dojo?" one of the kids asked, sounding hesitantly intrigued.

"Well, I don't have a building to use, so it wouldn't be a proper dojo. But yeah. We could practice and work out and maybe when we are 16 get actual jobs in security, like bouncers. Or a bodyguard," Naruto said. Sasuke wondered if he was seriously trying to engage these guys, or just trying to diffuse the situation and give them a way to save face so they didn't just come back with more friends.

"Or a spy!" One of the former bullies said a little dreamily.

"Look. I come this way pretty much every day after school," Naruto said. "Think about it, and let me know."

They looked at him, then glanced at their leader. He nodded, and they turned and headed off. Naruto stood casually until they were out of sight. Then he groaned, clutching his stomach as he fell over next to Sasuke and dry heaved.

"What the hell? I thought you were alright!" Sasuke looked frantically down the now empty alley where the pack of boys had disappeared. Thankfully it remained empty.

"Are you kidding me? I just got the crap kicked out of me by eight guys that outweighed me by at least 30 pounds each! Fuuuuuck!"

"Man, you swear a lot. But, if you were that hurt, then… why…"

"It's all about respect. If they saw me go down hurt, we'd be right back where we started from. Law of the jungle, dude. You don't mess with it." Naruto lay there for a while, feeling along his own ribs and abdomen to assess the damage.

Sasuke thought about what Naruto had just said. His father had told him something similar, though using very different language, in describing how he ran his business empire. The similarity in philosophy struck him as odd, and he smirked a bit thinking of what his father would say to that comparison. But the core approach was the same. Never show weakness.

"What were you doing out here anyway? I thought your family usually sent a limo or something to pick you up after school. And your 'side of the railroad tracks' is definitely in the other direction," Naruto was still flat on his back, talking without actually looking over at Sasuke.

"Why would you notice what I usually do after school?" Sasuke sounded annoyed. Embarrassed? Naruto couldn't imagine Mr. Perfect ever being embarrassed. There was nothing embarrassing about losing a fight to 8 older kids. That was just reality, but maybe he couldn't accept that anyone could do something better than him. Even if it was something low class like brawling in the street.

"Geez. I just totally saved your ass from being pounded into the ground. The least you could do is thank me. Everyone notices what you do. You're like school royalty. All the girls fantasize about you asking them out, and most of the guys fantasize about just being you."

"So what do you fantasize about?" The question gave Naruto pause.

"Eating your lunch. Damn, you always have so much food packed in that thing, it is just ridiculous. And you throw most of it out! It's just not fair. You should see the shit I have to eat for lunch."

"Most days you don't even have lunch," Sasuke said quietly, slowly forcing himself into a sitting position, hissing out a breath. "Usually your friends just share parts of theirs."

Naruto looked down, suddenly embarrassed and uncomfortable. Why had Sasuke noticed that? He had never even talked to the boy before. Sasuke sat with the rich kids, with his perfect hair, perfect face, and perfectly pressed uniform, and basically just froze people with his icy glare who tried to suck up to him. Naruto had never even tried to talk to him. What could they possibly have in common? They lived in different worlds. He sat with the jocks, and focused on being the entertainment. He was good at sports, any sport, and used that to gain unquestioned acceptance. He went through a lot of trouble at school to hide the big ball of shit that was his life. He was finally in a new school where people didn't know that he was an orphan with a seriously messed up past, living in a shitty foster home with six other foster boys, a creepy foster mom, and no money. He didn't want pity. He didn't want people interested in his life or past.

"Look, you must have a fancy cell phone or something that you can call your family and have them come get you, right?"

"Yeah." Sasuke pulled out his phone (which was, as expected, a cool and sleek looking piece of technology), and called. There was a brief and formal exchange on the phone. "They'll be here in about 10 minutes. Anyone I should call for you?"

"Are they gonna be pissed because your uniform's ruined?" Naruto ignored the boy's other question, and Sasuke took the hint and didn't ask again.

Sasuke looked down at his clothes for the first time. His white button down shirt was torn and bloody. So were his pants. His tie looked salvageable, though. "Nah… I have others."

He noticed Naruto was not wearing his uniform, instead sporting an orange tee-shirt with black sweatpants and sandals. He didn't even seem to be carrying it, since he didn't have his book bag with him either. Sasuke mentioned it.

"Yeah. I walk this way every day, like I said. And I don't have a spare, so it's better if I change and just leave my uniform at school so it doesn't get trashed."

Sasuke thought about the implications of that. And what Naruto had said about getting the crap kicked out of him frequently.

"It's just an act with you, isn't it?" he said, quietly.

"What do you mean?" Naruto sounded slightly defensive.

"The whole class clown, happy-go-lucky thing you do at school. It's just an act."

"Whatever, Uchiha," Naruto shrugged, looking annoyed and uncomfortable. "Look, I think those guys are done for the day. I'm going to go wash up. You ok here by yourself?"

"Yeah, sure. My ride will be here any minute."

"Kay. See ya in school." Naruto turned and started walking away.

"Oi, Naruto!" Sasuke called out, and the blond boy stopped, but didn't turn around.

"Thanks," Sasuke said it quietly, but clear enough that he knew the word would carry the distance. Naruto just shot his hand in a mock salute and kept walking, still without turning around. Despite the pain in his face, Sasuke grinned.

It took a moment for Sasuke to realize Naruto was heading back in the direction of school, which was five blocks back in the opposite direction from where he had motioned when he talked about his home.

...

It ended up being closer to 15 minutes before the driver found Sasuke, who had managed to finally stand up and brush off the majority of the dirt from his clothes. He could have laughed at the absolutely stricken expression on his driver's face at this sight of him.

"Who… who did this to you?!" The outrage in his voice amused Sasuke further.

"A bunch of middle-school drop-outs. Don't worry… they got theirs handed back as well." Sasuke briefly described what happened.

"Where is this boy, this classmate of yours? I am sure your father would like to thank him appropriately."

Somehow, Sasuke instinctively knew that Naruto would hate that. His father would take one look at Naruto, and treat him like some servant who had performed above expectations, but still a servant. Sasuke rebelled against that at some fundamental level. True, his father felt that all people were below the Uchihas. But he didn't want Naruto categorized and classified in the same way his father did everyone else. Sasuke didn't spend any time thinking on why that was.

"Drive over past the school before we head home," Sasuke told his driver. His driver neither asked for a reason, nor hesitated to follow the directive.

As they pulled onto the street where the side entrance to the school was, Sasuke told the driver to stop. Naruto was just coming out of the side entrance. His clothes and hair were dripping wet, but he was clean. Clearly he must have showered and washed the blood off himself and his clothing in the locker room.

Why didn't he go home to bathe and change?

From his vantage point half a block away inside the car, Sasuke watched as Naruto climbed up a utility ladder that was attached to the side of the building and provide access to the roof for maintenance. The blond boy reached the top, and clambered somewhat stiffly onto the roof then disappeared from sight.

Sasuke waited for 30 minutes. The incessant glances to his watch were the only signs of his driver's impatience that the man dared show. After a while, Sasuke realized that Naruto was not coming down. The weather had been unseasonably warm, so it was doubtful the wet boy would catch a chill. Evidently he had opted for sleeping on the roof, rather than returning to his home. Sasuke wondered why.

Sasuke told the driver to take him home, and thought about that during the ride. Naruto had blithely offered up to the pack of bullies the fact that he walked that way home from school every day, so it was clear that he was not trying to avoid them. What could be so bad at home that he would choose to sleep on a roof rather than face it, if he could face 8 older kids bent on pounding the shit out of him?

His own family was cold, and hard. His father was unyielding, and his brother was a prodigy. His mother was the machine that kept the family going smoothly. There was not an abundance of warmth, but there was some degree of caring and comfort to be had in it all. What would it be like not to have that?

...

His father's reaction to his appearance and the explanation was not all the different from the driver. Uchiha Fugaku blustered and raged, and demanded to know the names of the children who had done this. Sasuke didn't know, fortunately. Somehow he was glad to not have him step in. But his father did insist on knowing the name of the boy who had helped his son, and said he would speak to the child's parents to thank them personally. Sasuke managed to convince his father to speak to the principal instead, without mentioning what he had surmised about Naruto's home situation.

"Naruto is not the best student in school. Getting the principal to look favorably on him with a commendation from you will probably do him more good." Sasuke was tied for top of his class with Nara Shikamaru, a boy from another wealthy family. Naruto wasn't at the bottom, but he wasn't in the top half either. His father agreed, knowing that his son had played on his sense of self-importance, but also trusting his son to have good reasons for choosing this course of action.

...

Sasuke arrived at school early the next morning, his father going in to see the principal. Sasuke had no desire to tag along. Instead, he made his way around to the side of the school, just in time to see a rumpled orange T-shirt heading in the side door on the back of a boy with spiky, golden hair. So he had spent the night sleeping on the roof of the school.

Sasuke turned back and headed in the main entrance, ignoring the gasps and questions when people got a look at his face. The swelling around his eye had gone down, but there was no hiding the deep bruises and cuts.

He walked to class and sat down, pulling out his notebook and handing in his homework. Naruto came in about 5 minutes later, wearing his uniform. He looked at Sasuke. "You ok?"

"Yeah," Sasuke answered, but didn't elaborate. He had two cracked ribs, and stitches in his right hand (he had actually managed to land quite a few blows before Naruto showed up, but 8 on 1 had been just too much). Naruto glanced down at the stitches on Sasuke's hand.

"It was totally worth those to land some on them, yeah? Teeth suck, though. They're hell on your knuckles," Naruto commented.

Sasuke smirked. It had been totally worth it. And somehow he was glad that Naruto knew he hadn't been totally useless in the fight.

Naruto's own bruises and cuts seemed to have healed remarkably faster than his own, despite his father having called their private doctor out to the house and having every medical ointment the man could come up with slathered onto the cuts and bruises. People seemed to hardly notice the faint shadows of the bruises on Naruto's face.

Their exchange had been short and quiet, and gone largely un-remarked by their classmates as everyone assembled for start of class and was digging in their packs for their homework to hand in.

Naruto answered Sasuke's smirk with his own grin and sat down in his desk at the back of the room, digging through his pack.

Sasuke turned to his right and met the level gaze of Shikamaru. Who raised one eyebrow and nodded towards Naruto. "He do that to your face?"

"No," Sasuke didn't elaborate. Shikamaru was smart. He didn't have to spell things out. It was one of the things Sasuke liked best about him. Shikamaru looked over at Naruto, thoughtfully.

...

As usual, Sasuke sat next to Shikamaru for lunch. The rest of the normal group was at their table as well… Ino, Sakura, Neji, Choji…. each generally following their parents' edict to begin networking with other 'important people' as soon as they were out of diapers to continue their family dynasties. It also helped avoid the ass-kissing that happened in general when they hung out with anyone outside their circle.

Sasuke looked over at the table where Naruto usually sat. His friends were all there - Lee, Kiba, TenTen. No Naruto. Sasuke frowned slightly. He had seemed ok in class. Better than Sasuke had felt, actually. So where was he? Sasuke looked down at his bulging lunch bag.

Shikamaru looked at him with raised eyebrows for the second time that day when Sasuke pulled a second bag out of his lunch bag and stood up.

"Looking for someone?" Shikamaru asked, glancing over to the table Sasuke had just been looking at, confirming Naruto was not there.

"Whatever," Sasuke said, walking away.

Shikamaru didn't say anything further. He watched his friend head out of the lunchroom and turn down the hallway that led to the side entrance of the school.

Sasuke climbed up the utility ladder and pulled himself onto the school roof. He saw Naruto, laying on a small workbench, with his shirt off in the heat.

"Oi, Naruto… you ok?"

He walked over to the boy, and realized he was asleep. Unsure of what to do, Sasuke used the unexpected opportunity to study the tanned blond boy. He saw the purple and black fresh bruises that covered his torso, and felt a twinge of guilt as he knew they were on his behalf. But there were other, older, yellowing bruises. A lot of them. All over.

Naruto's body looked different to Sasuke from those of the other boys in their grade. Naruto always took care to change in the shower stalls in gym class. It wasn't totally unusual. There were several boys who were either shy or physically inadequate in some way and changed in the stalls to avoid taunting. Kids were cruel. It was fucking Lord of the Flies.

But Naruto had no physical inadequacies. On the contrary, his body looked strangely adult to Sasuke, despite being slightly smaller than his own. The muscles in his arms and abs were clearly defined, even at rest. Even his pecs had some definition. Most kids their age still had a fine layer of baby fat that concealed this. But Naruto's body looked more like Sasuke's older brother, Itachi, when Sasuke had seen him working out in his room with his shirt off. Nothing to hide with either of those bodies.

Must be hiding the bruises, Sasuke thought, feeling a little numb at the idea. He felt a slow anger build up in him at this idea. Naruto, laughing and joking around at school. Naruto, coming to help some kid he hardly knew and taking a beating for him. Naruto, going home to god knows what and getting the shit beat out of him by a faceless someone. Frequently enough to have bruises every day to have to hide when he changed to avoid notice. He clenched his fists, feeling impotent rage wash over him.

But Naruto wouldn't like someone seeing him here, vulnerable, bruised and exhausted. He had come up here to hide and lick his wounds in private. Pride was something Uchiha Sasuke understood well. He set down the bag he had brought up with him next to the sleeping boy, then turned and quietly went back down the ladder.

As soon as the dark haired child had disappeared from sight, Naruto opened his eyes. Self-preservation had made his instincts sharp, even when he was sleeping. He had awoken as soon as Sasuke's foot had touched the roof. But he hadn't wanted to deal with a conversation about what had happened. Hadn't wanted to find an expression of pity on the older boy's face when he had seen Naruto's body.

He looked down at the brown paper bag, and slowly picked it up and opened it. Inside were rice balls, sweets, and a juice box. And a note:

Dobe. You need to eat more. - S

Naruto's stomach warred briefly with his pride. But he was a 10-year-old boy with no lunch. Stomach won, and he munched down the offering the other had left. Somehow, the gesture touched him. Despite the fact the words they had exchanged after the fight were the only ones they had ever shared, he felt somehow a sense of friendship with the other boy. One that was more real than what he had with the people he actually spent the most time with in school.

To be continued...