BY : EroPrincess
Category: Naruto AU/AR > Het - Male/Female
Dragon prints: 4701
Disclaimer: I donít own Naruto nor am I affiliated with the series. The series belongs to Masashi Kishimoto, Studio Pierrot and VIZ Media. I donít work for those companies; I write for fun and for free.

Here I am presenting you with Differences. I don't have a general direction where this fic's headed; I'm just going with the flow. I've never written anything like this before. So please bear with me if you're going to read it.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto nor am I affiliated with the series. The series belongs to Masashi Kishimoto, Studio Pierrot and VIZ Media. I don't work for those companies; I write for fun and for free.

Warnings: This chapter will contain violence, coarse language and mild sexual themes. You've been forewarned. I don't have a beta-reader, so I'm doing all the editing, plot and character development on my own. If anyone's proficient in English, grammar, editing and critique and would like to beta-read, shot me a holler dog!

Chapter Rating – M

Music Inspiration: I'm born and raised in Atlanta, so I've been listening to a lot of Jeezy and T.I. to write this chapter! (lol)

Writing Inspiration: This story is inspired by Carl Weber's The Family Business series. I'm in love with the series and I thought it would be interesting to see the Naruto characters in a similar situation. The title is inspired by Ginuwine's song "Differences". It's a beautiful song and the lyrics (at least in my opinion) fit Naruto and Hinata's relationship in this story.

Differences – Chapter 1: Best Friends

Dark eyes narrowed into mere slits, swelled from intense bruising and filled with blood. His lungs were heavy; sore from trying to inhale as much of the dusty, freezing air as he could to sustain his life a little longer. But it hurt just to breathe. His body withstood many thrashings over a period of time. There was no telling how long he's been suffering, but he knew his end was near. Unfortunately his captor (if he could only remember who it was that held him prisoner) had a knack for torturing and prolonging death just for his amusement. All he wanted was his demise expedited to finally end his suffering. The battered man looked at his surroundings, trying his best to memorize the layout and the people in the windowless room he resided.

He could barely make out the overhead light swaying from the ceiling, dimming the room and casting an eerie glow on the wood paneled walls and concrete floor. His body shivered involuntarily from the chilling air cooling the room and he coughed loudly, choking on his own blood with droplets of red spittle speckling the hard, gray floor.

His knees, along with the rest of his body, ached terribly from his continued kneeling position on the hard floor and the many beatings he suffered. Minutes ticked by and they felt like years of concentrated torture. It's possible he's been in this room receiving many poundings for hours. He lost track of time, along with his consciousness, long ago. The moment he came to, he only yearned his abductors would hurry and kill him.

"Stand Daichi up."

Daichi felt two of his captor's servile workers lifting him, holding his arms around their necks to support his weight. He blinked, his eyes trying their best to follow the path of the raspy, male voice that spoke to him. But opening his eyes fully was tasking and the attempt only made the ringing and the pain in his head throb more.

Choking on more of his blood, Daichi profusely coughed until he spit more blood from his mouth onto the floor. It took him a moment to realize the raspy male's voice was coming in front of him. Taking deep breaths, Daichi's narrowed eyes desperately tried to focus on the blurry vision of a man leaning against a large oak desk.

Blinking leisurely, Daichi's inflated eyes began to deliberately concentrate on the male's dark, expensive sneakers as he trailed his eyes upwards.

Black sneakers with orange trimming and laces adorned the male's feet and as Daichi's eyes traveled north, he noticed a pair of creased black slacks over casually crossed legs. Eyeing his waist, a black leather belt held the slacks in place and a gold fastener gleamed underneath the overhead light and a swirled logo engraved the metal. Daichi's eyes continued their journey and he saw the man wearing an unzipped black blazer, a black silk dress shirt with the top two buttons unfastened, gold cuff links and an orange tie hung loosely around the collar of his shirt. His arms were folded, displaying an expensive designer gold watch and Daichi scowled responsively.

It wasn't the lavish clothes, shoes and accessories that caused Daichi to look at his kidnapper with pure disdain and repulsiveness, but the telltale adornments of the color orange triggered his memory of the man's identity that held him prisoner: Naruto Uzumaki.

Finally resting his eyes on his captor's face, there were the unmistakable whisker birthmarks extending along his cheeks, bright, sunshine blond hair and hard, penetrating blue eyes gazing down at him with malevolence and hatred. A smirk stretched Naruto's lips and Daichi briefly wondered what was funny. What levity could Naruto possibly find in this situation? Not unless Naruto sneered because he was about to kill his captive. To which Daichi, against the excruciating pain engulfing his body, began to smile at the thought of his torment finally ceasing.

The smile was immediately replaced with a raucous groan as Daichi felt a reverberating stinging overpowering his cheek. His head snapped to the left from the impact of Naruto's slap. The lackeys released Daichi's body, causing it to fall to the floor in a weighty heap and a deep moan of agony filled the air.

"This is what happens when people steal from me, y'know?" Naruto berated his captive. "You know you're gonna die, asshole," Naruto spat at Daichi as he looked down at the groaning man with disdain. "Any last words?"

Daichi shut his eyes and gritted his teeth as he clutched his head in hopes to ebb the throbbing. No words were spoken; instead his body frenziedly shook as more coughs erupted from his sore lungs, causing more blood to fill his mouth as he tasted the coppery, warm fluid on his tongue.

"Tch. Stand aside," Naruto ordered his henchmen and they both did as instructed to allow him to hover over a crumpled Daichi. Kneeling down to his prisoner's level, Naruto reached for the collar of his t-shirt and lifted his head from the ground. Repeating his question with a growl, he asked, "Any last words?"

Pursing his lips together, Daichi opened his swollen eyes as best as he could and spat blood on Naruto's cheek in an act of disrespect. "Fuck you," he wheezed and looked at Naruto's partner in crime standing behind the blond and added, "And fuck that…" another wheeze, "pretty boy motherfucker… too…"

The pretty boy in question was Naruto's longtime best friend and literal partner in crime, Sasuke Uchiha who didn't take too kindly to being insulted. Reaching behind him in the waistband of his pants, Sasuke retrieved a silver dagger with intricate designs of fire dragons carved on the hilt. With hand movements quicker than the naked eye could trace, Sasuke threw the dagger and lodged it into Daichi's forehead.

Dropping Daichi's head callously to the ground, Naruto looked over his shoulder at the enigmatic brunet with fire in his eyes and barked at him. "What the fuck, Sasuke? Couldn't you see I was about to kill him, you bastard?"

"Tch." Sasuke casually strolled over to where Daichi's lifeless body lay, kneeled down and yanked his dagger from the corpse's forehead, watching without interest as blood seeped from the wound like a waterfall of scarlet pouring from his forehead and pooling around his head. Wiping the crimson blood from the blade on Daichi's t-shirt, Sasuke stood and looked down at Naruto saying, "Dumbass you were taking too long to finish the job. You talk too much."

"Humph!" Naruto stood to his full height and kicked Daichi's body, making it roll a few feet away from him, leaving a trail of red in its path. "Whatever." Looking at his henchmen as he yanked an orange handkerchief from his breast pocket to wipe his face, he authoritatively called out to them, "Utakata? Han? Clean this mess up. I need to talk to Sasuke."

"Yes, sir," both men nodded monotony as they picked up the lifeless body and carried it out of the door before shutting it behind them.

Naruto walked to his desk and leaned against it again before retrieving a cigar from the inside pocket of his blazer and lighting it. Inhaling the heavy smoke from the thick tobacco stick, he turned towards Sasuke, who sat behind the desk, and asked him, "So what now?" he exhaled a circular cloud of smoke into the air. "He was one of our upstarts and now the fucker's dead."

"We replace him. That's what." Sasuke simply answered.

Naruto merely rolled his eyes.

"Give me a moment to text Shikamaru to have him investigate how long Daichi was stealing from us." Sasuke retrieved his BlackBerry to send the information via text message.

Turning back around and eyeing the pool of blood on the floor, Naruto's mind wandered, reflected on the day he became a distributor of contraband.

5 Years Ago…

It was junior year during high school and Naruto, 17-years-old, needed fast money to help pay the medical bills for his adoptive father, Iruka Umino's cancer treatments. The money received from his part-time job working at Ichiraku Ramen wasn't enough to cover the cost of the medicine, but it was all Naruto had. Nevertheless the medical invoices were coming fast and frequent, persistent. No matter how many times Iruka told him not to worry, Naruto's unrelenting personality wouldn't allow him to sit and watch his only family deteriorate before his eyes.

Iruka was a natural-born fighter just like Naruto. His cancer was at stage-2 and at the moment he was stable and resting at home. Naruto discerned Iruka's determination to live is what kept him alive for so long, but treatments, round-the-clock home nurses and medications were becoming a financial nuisance. And there was only such much Iruka's health insurance would cover; the rest they had to pay out-of-pocket.

Naruto stood next to Iruka's bed and looked down at his father's once youthful face and saw a man aging fast. His dark brown hair used to be thick and lush was now thinning due to constant medications he took daily. His black eyes were beady and dull, nothing like the eyes Naruto remembered filled with delight and exuberance. Naruto knew Iruka was enduring immense pain and even still, his father kept a smile on his face, no matter how weak it was.

"Naruto…" Iruka outstretched his hand and Naruto eagerly clasped it, gripping it tightly. "Don't…" a series of coughs followed and Naruto waited patiently for his father to regain control so he could continue speaking. "Don't worry yourself about me. You just…" another round of coughs followed and Naruto blinked away the unshed tears that nearly poured from his eyes as he watched helplessly as his father's health diminish. "You just focus on your studies. I'll be fine. This is nothing."

"Dad…? You want… you want me to stand here and just watch you dieI can't do thaty'know!" Naruto's body violently shook as an influx of emotions overwhelmed him at the thought of his only family no longer existing. Without Iruka, what would he do? Where would that leave him?

Iruka understood his adoptive son's concerns; nevertheless he wanted to placate them as best as he could. "Naruto? Don't yell. Please? It's oka—"

"It's not okay!" Naruto interjected with anger and vigor, his voice rising every second he spoke. "No! I'm not gonna stand here and keep looking at you waste away, pretending everything's alright when it's not!" Yanking his hands free from Iruka's grasp, Naruto turned his back on his father to leave the bedroom. Before parting, he gave Iruka his final words. "I'm gonna do everything I can to help you, Dad. I swear." And then he was gone.

The 'help' arrived one week later when Naruto, despite his popularity ineptness, was invited to a house party of his junior class schoolmates.

Naruto's first time selling drugs was completely accidental.

Opting not to indulge in drinking, smoking and socializing with his schoolmates, Naruto wandered around the house until he entered the den where an unfinished video game was paused. Sitting on the couch in front of the television, Naruto picked up the game controller to finish the game. Laying the controller on the carpet, he noticed a black schoolbag resting near the side of the couch.

Curiosity or just plain foolishness piqued within Naruto and he unzipped the bag and gasped in horror as he discovered many large, plastic zip bags full of marijuana. Before he could quickly zip the schoolbag again and leave, several students entered the den and saw Naruto kneeling down next to the schoolbag full of weed.

"Hey! The goofy-lookin' kid over there got weed! C'mon!"

Within a blink of an eye Naruto was surrounded by high school kids waving cash and eager to get high. Despite his many attempts to convince them the weed wasn't his, students left and right stuffed his hands with cash and reached for the bags of weed until the schoolbag was empty and his arms loaded with bills.

In another blink of an eye, all the students disappeared from the den and left Naruto sitting on the carpet alone, holding more money than he's ever seen in his entire life. It would take a lifetime just to save his paychecks from Ichiraku Ramen to see the amount he was cradling.

Guilt felt like a heavy brick settled deep in his stomach for not being able to tell anyone the truth about the bags of weed. But in an odd twist of fate—or was it just luck from being at the right place at the right time?—Naruto saw this as a sign to help his father. And he used the money he made that night to do just that.

As far as the schoolbag of weed, students found out another boy from a contiguous, rival school was present at the party and inappropriately touched another girl in attendance. A fight ensued, cops were called and the boy apprehended.

Talk about lucky indeed.

And Naruto sold contraband ever since.

"I got Shikamaru's reply," Sasuke spoke, breaking Naruto's thoughts.

"Alright." Naruto smashed the butt of his cigar in a crystal ashtray lying on his desk and turned fully to face his best friend. "Lay it on me."

"According to Shikamaru's intelligence after viewing the security tapes of our warehouse, this was Daichi's first time stealing from us. No other video footage shows Daichi pilfering our merchandise. His motives are unknown because he wouldn't talk during the interrogation. However Shikamaru had Moegi and Udon to infiltrate his home and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. They didn't find any more of our products.

"Daichi lives in a wasteland of a neighborhood in a studio apartment. No job. No money. Poorer than dirt. And the little bit Daichi stole, we'll make that back before the end of the afternoon."

"Isn't why we hired him?" asked Naruto while he retrieved a small gold flask from his pants pocket and opened it to sip the bourbon inside. "Because he was broke and needed work?"

Sasuke rolled his eyes and exhaled heavily before saying, "If you would've allowed me the chance to finish, dumbass, I would've told you that's probably why he robbed us in the first place."

"Whatever, asshole." Naruto pocketed the flask and grinned before erupting into bouts of chuckles.

Naruto Uzumaki's personality coordinated with his loud, favorite color unquestionably.

Always brash and never taciturn, Naruto enjoyed showcasing his egotism in taunting his enemies right before causing their demise. And if that didn't work, he usually shoots first, then asked questions later.

How Naruto managed to survive such a dangerous trade with his loud, boisterous character will always remain a mystery to those closest to him. The hyperactive blond wouldn't know how to define inconspicuous if one were to throw a dictionary at him and point the definition out to him. And yet, many years as a distributor, many battles and brushes with death, he always managed to stay alive.

As far as his love life, Naruto always approached women with the same vigor as he provided drugs for his loyal customers. As a teenager enduring those awkward years of puberty, acne and ostracizing because he was a stroppy social outcast in middle and high school, he never bothered with the rigors of dating or relationships. No girl would come within his proximity. After those uncooperative years passed and he became an adult, Naruto simply 'rented' women to whet his loins whenever the urge to mate overwhelmed him or on days such as this—when he was tremendously stressed.

Naruto held on to the ideal that courting a woman cost as much as renting one, so why bother spending hard-earned money on someone if high chances are the relationship isn't going to last? A night or two was all he needed and it wasn't an abstruse business relationship, but a simple liaison based on mutual understanding. The whores wanted money. He wanted to nut. Everybody wins.

Although a few harlots tried to induce him into a permanent union, Naruto swiftly put their hopes to a cease.

Unlike his lonely teenage years Naruto, now 22 years of age, was no stranger to his effect on the opposite sex. Women took an immediate liking to him because of his boyishly handsome features and unique whiskered birthmarks. His eyes are blue as sapphires and bright as the light that reflected from the precious gemstones. His arrogant, confident grin could rival the rays of the sun and his tanned skin is as smooth as butter spread on warm bread.

Naruto never particularly cared for fashion, allowing his best friend to dress him upon occasion. His style of dress was unpolished and casual, opting to wear sneakers instead of dress shoes and he loathed neckties. Whenever he donned one, it usually hung loosely around his neck, believing neckties were uncomfortable and unnecessary. However Naruto's fondness for the color orange never dissipated and he made sure if he couldn't wear the color outright (Sasuke forbade him to after telling him he looked foolish, ridiculous and was a walking target for enemies), Naruto would at least incorporate the color into his attire by using the color as an accent to his outfits.

Accustomed to being the shortest boy in his classes, Naruto's growth spurt within the past years surprised everyone around him—including him. However he wasn't complaining about his newfound height. His towering stature only made him that much more desirable to women. And what man didn't enjoy attention from women? Naruto didn't have time for games; he was strict and upfront about what he wanted. And it was the reason why he enjoyed the pleasures of renting. His life was difficult enough without the added burden of a steady girlfriend weighing him down. He wasn't a womanizer because again, he never bothered with the hassles of relationships—he's never been in one, having lost his virginity at 19 to a college freshman at a frat party he attended to sell his products. Naruto grinned at the memory of the awkward and clumsy night of sex.

Obviously dealing with the business of illegal drug trading, Naruto needed a job that'll match the income he brings in from selling drugs to lure away any suspecting federal agents trying to ruin him.

Rising quickly from his old, part-time job at Ichiraku Ramen as a dishwasher and busboy, Naruto became the manager and soon the owner of the small-time, lucrative restaurant in 3 years. As a young owner, he managed to turn the quaint eatery into a fast-booming business. Demands for Ichiraku Ramen became so high, Naruto had to open another restaurant on the opposite side of town and was currently in talks of opening a third.

Money flowed like water freely running from a faucet. And it was more than enough to sustain the life of his father… for a little longer. Plus no one would ever suspect Naruto of what he truly did as a trade.

"Well," standing from the desk and shaking off his thoughts, Naruto stretched his sore limbs and stifled a yawn before telling Sasuke, "I'm gonna go see Granny Tsunade to take a stress reliever."

"Renting more whores again, you mean?" Sasuke smirked at his quip towards his best friend.

"Like I said, 'whatever, asshole'. Not everyone can have a stable marriage like you."

Sasuke Uchiha was the complete polar opposite of Naruto in every way imaginable. While Naruto's looks were cheerful, friendly and amicable, Sasuke's handsome countenance was aloof, indifferent and reserved. And Sasuke's looks mirrored his personality impeccably.

Sasuke's height rivaled Naruto's, yet unlike Naruto's short, cropped blond hair, Sasuke possessed inky strands that touched the base of his neck and framed his face. A dark bang covered his left eye and Naruto often inquired to his best friend why he chose to wear his hair "so girly". "Because I want to" was Sasuke's simple, quick answer.

His eyes were as dark as an early 3AM morning and held just as much danger. A man of few words, all Sasuke had to do was give his enemy a certain look and it would be enough for them to cower in fear. Unfortunately Sasuke never gave his foes enough time to indulge in terror before their deaths. An adept marksman and proficient with knives, Sasuke eliminated his opponents quickly, efficiently and cleanly. Never one to boast, brag or make a scene about killing, he nonchalantly adopted the belief murder was simply part of the game. Kill or be killed. Only the strongest survived.

And even with his cold personality and cruel ways of dismissing female suitors, Sasuke managed to settle for a simple life of marriage and a boring, predictable career as a police chief. Perhaps his career as a police chief isn't as predictable as one would imagine. He distributes drugs after all. Yet being the chief of the city's police force had its advantages—for obvious reasons.

His wife of a year Sakura Haruno—now Uchiha—was 5 months pregnant with their first child and his assignments and duty to serve and protect the city often kept him away from home. Sakura was also fully aware of his second life as a dealer and she knew of this before marrying him. (She gave him the silver, fire dragon carved dagger as a present.) But her unconditional love for him kept her from walking away from their relationship. And the constant worry of wondering if her husband was ever going to return home from either of his jobs left her in such distress she would habitually faint. Her biggest fear was Sasuke dying before they had a chance to raise their future daughter together as a family.

Sasuke never cajoled nor derided his wife's ideals of them being a happy, traditional family because they weren't. He would always tell Sakura the simple hard truth: everyday he would leave out the door and it's uncertain if he would return. But to soothe her understandable woes, they would often text each other and briefly talk on the phone whenever they could just so Sakura knew her husband was alive and well.

What Sasuke kept secret from Sakura is that he too, felt the same fear about the safety of his pregnant wife. If any of his enemies were to find out about her and where they lived, Sakura's life, and the life of their unborn child, would undoubtedly be in danger. So to pacify his deep-rooted worries, Sasuke hired round-the-clock security to protect her at all times. Even though most times he felt 24-hour surveillance wasn't enough, it would have to suffice for now.

"Married life isn't all what it's cracked up to be," was all Sasuke said, replaying the thoughts rampant in his mind.

"Oh?" Naruto's brow lifted questioningly and he asked, "How is Sakura doing these days? She still fainting worrying about your sorry ass?"

Ignoring the insult, Sasuke answered, "She's fine. The baby's fine, too."

"That's good." Naruto nodded and turned to walk toward the only door in the dimmed interrogation room. "Well I'm gonna see Granny Tsunade now. Give Sakura my best. I trust you and Shikamaru's gonna take care of this. See you, asshole."

"Yeah whatever, dumbass," Sasuke parroted his best friend. "And yeah we're on it."

"Bring me your best doll, now Granny!" Naruto's body leaned over the desk and his fists pounded the hard, cherry wood as he yelled at Lady Tsunade; his voice bombastic and demanding of the Madame. "I'm stressed out and I wanna fuck!"

Accustomed to dealing with her favorite customer's energetic outbursts, Tsunade sighed heavily as she reclined in her desk chair and told Naruto simply, "I'll send someone over to your apartment tonight. I hope that's satisfactory for you. And I told you not to call me that."

"Fine." Righting himself, Naruto's voice lowered to its normal tone as he gave Tsunade a hard stare.

Matching his unbreakable gaze with her own, Tsunade asked, "Do you have any requests for her appearance, you insolent brat? Hair color? Body type? Anything?"

Reaching into the breast pocket of his blazer, Naruto pulled out a stack of crisp bills secured with a rubber band, tossed the stack on Tsunade's desk and answered, "Just make sure she's good-looking, y'know? That's all. Here's the advance." He pushed the stack of money towards Tsunade, who reached for it and pocketed it in the cleavage of her large, silicone-pumped breasts, which Naruto's eyes lingered admiringly momentarily.

"As usual your business is appreciated Naruto." Tsunade rested her elbows on her desk and folded her hands, resting her chin on them. Giving her loyal customer a wicked, sexy grin, she told him with her voice laced with saccharine , "You may leave my office now."

"Bye, Granny." Naruto ignored Tsunade's demand to not refer to her as 'Granny' and exited her office, his gait full of vitality and excitement.

Walking with a swift, lanky stride, Naruto's effervescent thoughts for the upcoming events tonight caused him to crash into another person as he was leaving the building. He looked down in curiosity when he heard a soft, feminine voice tell him, "sorry" and briefly saw her back speedily hurrying away from him. His eyes caught a glimpse of shimmering jet-black hair before one of the thick, metal doors of The Dollhouse closed.

Shrugging the encounter off casually, Naruto unlocked his vehicle and entered it, driving away as he prepared for the night ahead.

I'm not a drug dealer (lol). I simply read a few Google articles about the subject. They were extremely interesting. Here's a link if you want to read them, too. Again I'm writing this story as I go and chapter 1 wasn't supposed to start this way. Sasuke wasn't supposed to be in this story at all. I'm not totally satisfied with this chapter. I've said it before: opening chapters are the most difficult. I'm pretty sure people are anticipating on Hinata's appearance in chapter 2 and I'll try to have it published as soon as I can. Leave comments and let me know what you think.

P.S.: If any of you read Confessions there's a scene where Naruto becomes the owner of Ichiraku's Ramen & Pizza. And it's kind of similar to his job as the owner of Ichiraku Ramen in this story. The stories aren't related. I only made Naruto the owner of Ichiraku's here because my imagination's being a doo-doo-head.

P.P.S.: I'm not even remotely close to being a SasuSaku fan, but I hope I did them justice in this opening. I wanted to incorporate some SS parallels from Gaiden into this chapter.

Chapter 2: Cinnamon

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