The sun was hot. Too hot for Naruto. The blonde boy ran just a little further, until he finally reached the big tree. His special place. Here, he could hide from all the stares, all the whispering. Today had been particularly bad. After he'd finished at the academy, he'd been left out of a game all the other children were playing. Instead of sulking, he decided to go eat instead. Off he trotted to the nearest ramen stand, only to be ingored by the owner, and even pushed from the queue by a boy a little older than him. Dirty, hungry and too warm, Naruto had decided to make his way to the tree, situated just down the lane from a training ground. If his parents had been around, he was sure they would have warned him not to play there, as it could be dangerous. But of course, even if they had been around, he only would have ignored them.
A noise to his left made him turn suddenly. Someone else was here, in his territory. He jumped to his feet, ready to attack whoever dared set foot here...
The leaves of a nearby buch rustled, parted, and out stepped a small boy with dark hair. His face was set in a nonplussed expression, although his eyes spoke to Naruto of something he could relate to. Loneliness.
Naruto let his arms fall to his sides as the boy took a small step nearer. He sat, without uttering a word, a little way from Naruto, at the trunk of the tree. His face had dirt smeared on it, and he seemed to be breathing as if he had run a great distance. Naruto sat too, wondering if he should speak.
"My name's Uzumaki Naruto!" he said, grinning.
The boy turned his head faintly, "I know who you are. I am Uchiha Sasuke." He said, quietly.
Naruto knew he recognised the boy. He was in his class at the academy. One of the best students.
A shadow fallng across Naruto's face made him leave his thoughts.
"Do you want some rice ball?"
Sasuke stood above him, holding out the food to the blonde boy.
Naruto took it with a murmured thanks, quickly eating it.
Afterwards, the dark haired boy left without a word, just as he had come.
A few days later, Naruto sat at the bottom of his tree when he heard the sound of someone approaching. Sasuke appeared theough the bushes, just as he had last time. Smiling, Naruto waved. Unspeaking, Sasuke broke his rice ball in half and gave a piece to Naruto. The two boys sat in silence, eating as the sun slowly died in the skies.
Some days, Sasuke might speak. He would comment on a bird flying low, or say something about what they had learnt at the academy that day. Other days, the boy was silent, his eyes red with crying, his hands and face dirty. It was obvious he had been training. Naruto learnt not to say anything on these occasions. If he did, usually Sasuke would leave. As the weeks went on, these meetings became less and less frequent. On a chilly afternoon in early autumn (fall =P), Naruto sat alone under the tree. The leaves were slowly turning a deep orangey-brown colour, and some already lay on the ground where thay had fallen. Sasuke arrived in his usual manner, and sat next to his companion.
"I won't be coming here anymore. My father says I have to concentrate on my learning. My brother even promised he might train me some nights."
Naruto nodded slowly, a lump rising in his throat. This boy had been the closest he had to a friend.
"Can we still play sometimes?" Naruto asked, blinking widely.
"Come and find me some time." The dark haired boy said.
The two ate their rice ball slowly, as the dark gathered quickly around them. After a while, Sasuke left, but not before planting a small, sweet kiss on his friend's forehead.
"Yeah. Bye!" Naruto gulped, as his friend left the tree.
Naruto didn't see Sasuke again for a few weeks. He didn't come to the academy, and he wasn't anywhere to be seen. It was then the blonde boy began to hear whispers that weren't full of malice towards him.
The Uchiha clan...All Dead!
All except one. The youngest son...The last Uchiha.
Sasuke. Uchiha Sasuke.
Naruto ran all the way to the Uchiha compound. He knew where it was, as he'd often stood looking at it from the end of the street, trying to pluck up the courage to go to see of Sasuke wanted to play.
The place was deserted.
All the rumours were true.
They were all dead.
Sasuke eventually returned to lessons. He barely spoke to anyone, least of all Naruto.
As the two grew older, they soon forgot of their fleeting friendship, the shared rice balls under the tree.
Uzumaki Naruto lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling. Sleep was pulling at his conciousness, and he did little to resist it. Soon, he was standing in a familiar place, a huge tree in front of him. Two little boys sat, sharing a rice ball. One was blonde and loud, the other dark and quiet. But both were smiling. The ninja murmured in his sleep, turning as he did so.
Far away, Uchiha Sasuke awoke from a dream, that had seemed so much like a memory. Lying in this hard bed, in this dingy room, it seemed so distant, and like it could never have been real. But he had the strangest feeling it had been real, and the strangest craving for rice balls.
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Chapter notes: I got writer's block again! So I wrote this. Its just a sort of fluffy, sweet story about sasuke and naruto when they were little, and a bit about when they're older...
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.