Sasuke was stumbling through the thick roots and bushes that adorned the forest floor, trying to reach the cave that he saw just before the sky clouded over and it started pouring.
He had wandered out into the forest to escape his fangirls. Ever since he had beaten Naruto in a spar earlier at the Academy today, they had been following him around like baby chicks.
Sasuke didn't know what was wrong with Naruto. Most of the parents told their children to stay away from the "demon spawn" and the "monster". The villagers avoided him like the plague and spat at him when he passed in the streets. Sasuke clearly remembered his father telling him to stay away from Naruto, but Naruto didn't seem all that bad to Sasuke.
Sure, he was stupid and annoying, but he never gave up, no matter how many times he made a fool of himself. He was always smiling even when everyone in the class laughed at him for failing yet another chakra test. Sasuke wondered how the blonde could still be that cheerful and optimistic about becoming Hokage when he is always being made fun of.
Sasuke always had things handed to him now, and he hated it. He wanted to be treated like every other kid in the class. He wanted to know how Naruto was so brave to face the world everyday. He was alone; yet, he could smile and act like nothing was wrong.
A tear slipped down Sasuke's face. He could never do that. Hopefully the blonde figured out why Sasuke called him 'dobe', but knowing him, he probably just thought Sasuke was being insulting. That was fine by Sasuke since Naruto was the only one in the entire village that didn't treat him any different since the massacre. He couldn't leave the blonde feeling like he had no one.
Sasuke pushed the last tree branch out of the way and slipped into the cave. The rain was still hitting him in the mouth of the cave, so he walked deeper into the cave away from the rain. As he walked, he shook off the water that he could, but there was really no point: he was soaked to the bone.
When Sasuke got far enough away from the path of the storm he sat down to wait out the rest. He sat in silence staring out into the forest.
A flash of lightening lit up the trees followed by a roll of thunder. There was a moment of silence where he swore that he heard a whimper of fear from further back in the cave.
Sasuke stood up and walked a little further into the cave. Lightening flashed behind him and lit up the cavern in front of him. He saw a small person burrow deeper into their knees; they were shaking.
Sasuke continued walking towards them. A second flash of lightening followed by two thunderclaps revealed the person to have a rain-soaked mop of yellow hair. Sasuke knew immediately who he was sharing the cave with. He wouldn't-couldn't be cruel to the blonde, no matter how many villagers said he was evil.
Sasuke kneeled next to the cute blonde. "Hey, Naruto, are you okay?" Sasuke asked and touched Naruto gently on the shoulder.
Naruto leapt back and screamed, holding his arms up in defense.
Sasuke held up his hands in surrender. "Sorry."
Sasuke got a good look at Naruto. There were tears streaming down his whiskered face. His clothes were ripped in numerous places and he was covered in dirt.
Naruto glared down at Sasuke who was still kneeling on the ground.
"What are you doing here, teme?" Naruto asked, wiping away the stray tears on his cheeks.
Sasuke sighed and sat back on his feet. Trust the dobe to immediately think that Sasuke was out to get him. "I was walking in the forest avoiding my fangirls and it started raining."
Naruto pouted and sat back down on the ground next to Sasuke.
"What are you doing out here?" Sasuke asked.
Naruto wrapped his arms back around his knees and laid his head on top of them. "It's nothing for you to be concerned about, teme."
"Is it the villagers again?"
"What would you know? You have all your fangirls fawning all over you, why do you care about what happens to me?
"Haven't you figured it out yet, dobe, that I don't like my fangirls? Why do you think I run from them?"
Lightening flashed and some thunder boomed again and Naruto whimpered, burying his head back into his knees.
Sasuke scooted closer to Naruto so that their shoulders were touching. He wrapped his arms around his own knees. "You know, my mom once told me something that helped me get over my fear of thunder storms. Do you want to hear it?"
Naruto nodded into his knees.
"She told me that the thunder and lightening can't hurt me because its outside and I was inside."
"But we're in a cave," Naruto sniffed.
"There's still a roof over our heads and we're dry."
Naruto nodded and lifted his head from his knees and looked at Sasuke. He had tears on his cheeks and Sasuke wanted nothing more than to reach over and wipe them away.
"Why are you being so nice to me?"
Sasuke looked away, embarrassed. "I was never mean to you, dobe."
Naruto blinked. "But you always call me a 'dobe'," Naruto said, stunned.
"Because you are a dobe, dobe." Naruto was about to open his mouth and protest, but Sasuke beat him to it. "But that's what I admire about you." That's why I love you, he said in his mind, but not out loud.
"What?" Shocked, Naruto asked.
"You don't care about rank or family, you treat everyone the same, regardless of the fact that most people hate you."
Naruto curled back into a ball and Sasuke cursed his big mouth. He didn't normally talk about his feelings with other people; especially since his mom was killed.
"You know about that?" Naruto asked sheepishly.
"It's hard to miss, dobe, but you are the bravest person that I know."
Naruto looked up at Sasuke. "How?"
Sasuke took a deep breath; he hadn't told anyone this before. "Right after my parents were killed
I just wanted it to end. I-I had nightmares every night, every time I closed my eyes, I see them." Sasuke had clenched his eyes closed in fear of Naruto running away, but when no such sound occurred, he opened his eyes to see Naruto staring wide-eyed at him. "Do you want to know the only reason why I didn't just kill myself?"
Naruto nodded his head hesitantly.
"You," Sasuke said.
Naruto looked taken aback. "Me?"
"Hn. When I saw how the villagers treated you, I knew that you had it much worse than me. We were both orphans, but you were treated like shit while I could get anything I wanted. That's when I realized that you never stopped smiling no matter what happened and I knew I couldn't go through with suicide when you kept smiling even when you have nothing."
Naruto nodded. "I'm glad you didn't kill yourself either, Sasuke."
Sasuke bit his lip, it was now or never.
Right as Sasuke opened his mouth there was a flash of lightening and he watched Naruto curl back into a ball, counting to himself.
"Three one-thousand, four one-thousand, five-" Thunder exploded outside in the storm and Sasuke immediately wrapped his arms around the younger blonde who was shaking.
"Shh, it's okay, Naru," Sasuke said and rubbed the blonde's back. "It can't get you."
Naruto wrapped his own arms around the young Uchiha and buried his head into Sasuke's shoulder. "I know," Naruto mumbled, "but I'm still scared."
Sasuke had to say it now. He would never get another chance. He took a deep breath. "Naruto?"
"I need to tell you something
Naruto leaned back slightly from Sasuke and tilted his head to the side in confusion.
Sasuke reached forward the few inches and wiped the tears off of Naruto's soft, whiskered cheeks.
"What?" Naruto asked, shocked. His eyes were the size of dinner plates while he stared at the Uchiha.
"I love you,'' Sasuke said. There, he had said what had been going through his head for a while. He didn't want rejection from the blonde, but he needed to know and this was the only time he would probably ever get the chance.
a brother?" Naruto asked slowly.
Sasuke sighed. Of course, the dobe wouldn't understand.
"No, dobe," Sasuke said and kissed his blonde crush on the lips. He didn't remain for long, however. "I love you much more than a brother," Sasuke whispered onto the other's ear. His cheeks were burning from embarrassment. He pulled back further from the blonde and a flash of lightening revealed a soft pink blush on Naruto's face. He must be in too much shock to have registered the flash, Sasuke thought.
Sasuke didn't get his hopes up. The chance of the dobe being gay as well was very unlikely.
Sasuke was shocked out of his revere when Naruto started crying. He stubbornly wiped away all the tears that flowed from his eyes.
"Naruto, what's wrong?" Sasuke asked.
"This is all a dream," he mumbled. "I'll wake up in my crappy bed, in my shitty apartment, and you'll be at your house and at the Academy, you'll just make fun of me and call me names. It happens every time." He paused. "I fucking hate it!" he shouted.
"You think this is a dream?" Sasuke asked dangerously. How dare he think that this was a dream? This was more real then anything else that happened recently.
"It's always a dream," Naruto mumbled.
Sasuke stood up so fast and punched Naruto in the face that he surprised himself.
"Sasuke?" Naruto asked weakly from the other side of the cave. He sat up and rubbed his cheek. "That hurt," he said quietly.
Sasuke stalked over to Naruto and pulled him up by his shirt; he kissed the blonde forcefully on the lips, hoping for some response.
After a few seconds of Sasuke kissing an unresponsive blonde, Naruto responded and kissed Sasuke right back. Sasuke let go of Naruto's shirt and wrapped his arms around the blonde after Naruto had already wrapped his arms around Sasuke's neck.
Sasuke felt Naruto's legs grow weak, so he helped Naruto sit down, but still held him close. "Do you believe that this is real now, dobe?" Sasuke asked.
The thunder from the last flash of lightening echoed in the cave and Naruto clung tighter to Sasuke and buried his head into Sasuke's shoulder again.
"I love you too, Sasuke," Naruto said into Sasuke's shirt. "I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry I punched you," Sasuke said.
Naruto's response was just to hold on tighter to Sasuke.
They lay in each other's arms on the cave floor waiting for the storm to let up long enough for them to get back to the village. Sometime in the night, they fell asleep the same way.
The sound of birds chirping was what woke Sasuke up. He blinked at the early morning light streaming into the cave.
He rubbed his eyes and tried to sit up, but was held down by an arm coming from the blonde boy beside him.
Naruto unconsciously held onto Sasuke tighter when he tried to get up, so Sasuke just relaxed into the blonde's hold.
"Don't leave me, please," Naruto whispered.
"You're up?" Sasuke asked and sat up, pulling the blonde with him. He could have sworn that Naruto was asleep.
"Don't leave," Naruto insisted and curled into Sasuke, holding onto his waist.
Sasuke hugged Naruto back and stroked his hair gently. "Never, dobe, never."