Pairing: Chibi Naruto + Chibi Sasuke
Rating: PG
Warnings: Fluff/Sap/Minor Angst

It's not so hard to live alone. You learn to adjust to certain things and to see the world in a different light. I guess it forces you to become more adult than you really are because you've got so much responsibility despite being a child to the others eyes.

It's unfortunate that many people do not even consider me a child at all. And that is something I'll never understand.

And so I wake up to another new day and stare out of my window with trepidation in my heart. There are days when I wish I could just stay in bed and never leave, for nothing really waits out there but bitterness and anger and a sense of disgust from the others. I wonder what I've done to them and no matter how much I try to find out the answer, I am ignored or given some vague answer.

"Naruto! Are you awake yet? You don't want to be late for school, do you?"

It's Iruka-sensei! My one and only friend!

I bound out of bed and stand at attention before him with a wide grin. He's the only one who smiles and talks to me like a human being (well besides the Hokage) and now standing within my doorway silhouetted against the morning sun, the gleam of his headband reminds me of what I'm aiming to achieve when I get older. I want to be just like him. I want to make Iruka-sensei proud of me.

"G'morning Iruka-sensei!"

"Eh?" My teacher and friend tries to scowl at me. "What are you still doing in your pjs? You're definitely going to be late this morning! I don't know why I keep coming here when you..."

He goes on and on but I'm used to this. Iruka-sensei means well and I know he'll never hurt me like the others. I dress up quickly in my familiar blue shorts and white t-shirt but Iruka places a hand on my shoulder and I can see that he's blushing a little.

"What's the matter, sensei?"

"Well, you keep wearing that shirt every other day and so I got you a new one."

He holds up a light green shirt with Konoha's symbol upon it. It's a rather ugly looking thing and I begin to wonder why Iruka-sensei would think I'd look good in it. But I can't get myself to be too disgusted with it. I'm happy. Really happy inside. It's a warm feeling that seems to start from somewhere deep within the pit of my stomach – like a strange but pleasant sensation that I never want to let go of.

I think the happiness seeps into my eyes and Iruka-sensei looks a little blurry to my gaze. He looks embarrassed and scratches that scar upon his nose.

"You don't have to cry, Naruto," he says quietly but with a warm smile. "Here. Let me help you put it on."

I lift up my hands willingly enough and allow him to dress me up for the day. And for some reason, that ugly green shirt feels warm and comfortable against my skin. I scrub my eyes furiously and grin at him but it seems as if this day of surprises isn't over yet.

"Do you even know what today is, Naruto?"

I shake my head and keep staring at my new shirt in pleasure. But Iruka's laughter jerks me out of my trance as he waves for me to follow him.

"Now open your hand," he says as he stops beside the door. I do so and then blink in shock at the small box he places in my hand. The design on the box is undeniable and I give a happy cry of delight.


"Happy Birthday, Naruto," he says and ruffles my hair gently. "Make sure you don't eat it all alone now. You might want to share it with some friends. Now hurry up and come to school. I'm already late as it is."

He smiles again and leaps out of sight, leaving me standing there with my small box of Old Lady Shizuna's famous cakes. I open it up carefully and count them. I only have six pieces in there. So I'd have to find five or at least four people to share it with.

Suddenly, a day that I had thought would be fun, at least in my world, was going to be one of the longest days of my life. Who could I possibly share this with?

My first thought is to give one to Sakura-chan. She's the prettiest and smartest girl in my class and I'm hopelessly in love with her. Of course she doesn't know that yet, but maybe someday she'll stop ignoring me long enough to notice.

Thinking of her and imagining that smile of hers trained towards me and only me, helps me to pay no heed to all the usual looks of disdain and bitterness that is trained towards me each morning. On any other day, I would have been running down to school, hoping to get rid of those stares with each step I take. It's painful to know that you are already hated for something you do not know. Was it wrong for me to be born into this world? I suppose the answer would be a yes at this point.

However, I am so engrossed with my thoughts on Sakura that bumping into Shikamaru comes as a surprise – and a painful one at that.

"Ouch! Watch where you're going, Naruto!"

I wouldn't consider the dark-haired lazy boy as a true friend. He talks to me every once in a while, but only when he's bored and has nothing else to do. I think I'm his last resort and that's not a very esteem boosting thought.

"Well, you should watch where you're going," I reply as I try to sit up as quickly as I can.

He notices the box and gives me a smile. "Isn't that Shizuna-sama's famous cakes? Can I have one?"

I scowl and eye the box and then at the boy before me. As I said, Shikamaru isn't really a friend, but since he's spoken to me before...

"Here you go." I give him one and he accepts it with a pat on my shoulder and a wide grin.

"Can I get one for Chouji too? I'm sure he'll like it."

"Like what?" I groan as I notice Kiba strolling towards me with his dog Akamaru perched on his head. Kiba's also one of those people who only speaks to me when absolutely necessary. We aren't real friends by any means but he's cool in his own way.

"Oooh! Shizuna-sama's famous cakes!" He literally drools over my box and with a heavy sigh, I hand out two more. One for Chouji and one for Kiba. I have only three left and I have no intention of sharing out anymore until Sakura-chan gets one.

"Mmmm! Delicious!" Kiba gushes as he gobbles it up in one bite. I'm salivating for a taste as well, but I've got to save this for Sakura...


My box slips from my hands as I fall down to the ground in a painful heap. I hear the familiar tinkling laughter from the very girl I had been thinking about and I can feel my cheeks flushing in embarrassment.

"Are you okay, Naruto?" she asks and that warm feeling inside of me flares up again. She actually notices me! Even though she was the one who had pushed me down.

"Why are you asking him?" The new voice belongs to the blonde and very boisterous Ino. She's not really a friend of Sakura's, but neither is she a friend of any body's besides her snotty friends. I don't like her attitude very much.

I try to reach for my box of cakes only to cry out in disbelief as I notice Akamaru munching on two of them.

"He's so clumsy!"

"And he's picking up food from the dirt too."

"Eeew! So gross. My mom says I shouldn't hang around him too much. She didn't tell me why though. But I guess I see the reason why."

My eyes burn with humiliation as I pick up my crushed box. There's only one more cake in it and I think I ought to give it to Sakura but before I can open my mouth to say anything, she says a quick sorry for pushing me down before making her way into class.

"Come on, Naruto," someone says but I can hear nothing. Today's already been a disaster. Nothing has gone right for me and yet it's supposed to be my birthday, huh?

I wish I'd never been born.

I cradle the box to my chest as I walk down the river bank. I've skipped classes today and I know that Iruka-sensei isn't going to like that very much. But I don't feel like seeing anyone today or talking to anyone else for that matter. I'm so tired of being laughed at and being hurt over something I haven't done.

Sinking into the cool grass, I open the crushed blue box and lift up the small round cake. It's fluffy and white and it melts in your mouth once you chew on it. I inhale it's freshly baked smell and feel another ridiculous sting of tears in my eyes.

"Happy birthday to me," I whisper softly as I open my mouth to take a bite. I taste something salty and I scrub my eyes again quickly. It's no use crying over something that I can't control. I have to smile and enjoy today no matter what anyone says.

But the hairs at the back of my neck suddenly prickle in awareness and I lift my head quickly, wondering which kid is hiding in the bushes ready to throw something at me. I've had that happen to me before and trust me; it's no fun being ambushed.

But it's only that creepy silent boy – the one they said had survived his clan's massacre. His name is Sasuke and he's the most popular guy in the school. He's smart and handsome and all the girls and even some guys think he's so cool.

I hate him.

Ignore him, I tell myself as I open up my mouth to chew on my cake, but then I wonder why he's sitting out here on his own. He's several feet away from me and he's just staring into the river as if he wishes to drown in it.

I hope he does.

But I can't help feeling that there's something rather sad about the way he sits all alone. I don't understand it myself. Everyone likes him, so why doesn't he talk much to anyone? Why is he always acting so ...

What the hell? He just eyed me and then snorted! The bastard!

Hmph! And here I was feeling a bit sorry for him.

I just hope he hadn't caught me crying. Now, that would have been embarrassing.

I open my mouth to take a bite of a cake that's not even been tasted yet and still I can't get myself to eat it. Sasuke's presence is beginning to bug me and I want to tell him to get lost so I can eat in private. But he has every right to sit there just as I have the right to be here too.

I can feel my skin prickling again and I glare at him as if daring him to stare at me one more time. He isn't fast enough but I know he was looking at me and I must have caught him in the act. What? What did I do to him? Does he want to pick a fight with me? I might not be as strong as he is, but I'm still going to kick his ass if he wants to start anything! And so I decide to guard him and my cake. I'll just keep watching and hope he doesn't plan to do anything funny. Maybe he's planning to ambush me and take the cake from me. I wouldn't put it past him.

For how long we sit there, I have no idea. But there we are, far apart but yet I feel something familiar that we share.

We are both alone.

He has no family to go back to just as I have no one to turn to at the end of the day. Yes, I do have Iruka-sensei, but he's got his own issues and problems to deal with and there are times when I think I'm nothing but a burden to him. I wonder how Sasuke must feel going back to a village that has no one to share his day with. I wonder how he must feel walking into an empty home, hoping his mom and dad would be there to welcome him. At least he has memories of them. I don't have any memories of my parents, so at least I have nothing to fall back on. But he ... he must be suffering a whole lot more having to deal with a painful loss like that.

I steal another glance at him and like before, he's still staring blankly at the river before him. His expression is painfully empty and something I can't describe tightens in my chest making it hard to breathe.

We are the same, ne Sasuke? You and I?

I pick up the box and stare at the lonesome cake sitting within. I had planned to give this to Sakura-chan, to show her how much I loved her. I haven't even tasted any yet, but...

I rise to my feet and take a deep breath. With determined steps and a ready scowl on my visage – just so he knows I'm not doing this because I want to – I walk up to him and silently place the box by his side. I notice the way he flinches and tenses at my proximity but I fold my arms across my chest and dare him to say something.

He eyes the box and then glances at me warily. He's frowning as well but still says nothing. I shrug and turn away, telling myself that I don't care if he eats it or not. But as I walk away and steal another glance towards him, I notice that he's opening the box a little to see what's inside. I see the surprise that he tries to mask and as he lifts his head to try to glare at me. I, suddenly find myself grinning at him instead.

He flushes and snorts before turning his face away, but I know deep down inside that he's going to eat it.

Hehe, my stomach is beginning to do that funny flip-flop thing it does whenever I see Sakura-chan or whenever I get something good from Iruka-sensei. Who would have thought that moronic Sasuke would make me feel this way too?

But you know what? Today didn't turn out so bad after all. I did get to share my cake with some people and for a moment I felt important. But what's best of all is sharing my cake with Sasuke. For even though we hadn't said a word to each other, I knew that we had taken one more step in becoming...


-The End-

Naruto Fiction

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