|mom, from now on
Author: Deathberry Love PM
What a son promises his mother; episode 249. NaruSaku ish.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Naruto U. & Sakura H. - Words: 2,667 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 3 - Published: 03-09-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7910578
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"mom, from now on..."
"Seconds please!" Naruto grinned as he handed his bowl over the counter to Ayame.
"Eh? What's this?" he peered into the new bowl and used his chopsticks to swirl around the leafy greens that adorned the top half of the bowl. "Where's the cha siu?"
Ayame gave him a bashful smile. "Sakura-san said if you're going to have seconds, we have to put in vegetables before anything else."
"Sakura-chan did?" Naruto sized up the bowl a second time, trying to make it look appealing. He stuck out his tongue in disgust. "But I hate vegetables. Ne Ojii-chan, can I have another bowl? Please?"
Teuchi shook his head and crossed his arms. "The komatsuna and green beans are good for your health. Sakura-san chose them especially because she knows you don't like spinach."
Sai peered over interestedly at his bowl. "It's not that much."
"I'll feed them to you if that helps make it better." Sai suggested.
Naruto recoiled slightly. "No…no thanks."
I promise I'll eat vegetables and not just ramen.
"Aaaaah, this feels good." Naruto placed the wet towel on his forehead as he leaned back against the warm smooth stone of the bath, the gentle, hot water lapping against his chest.
"Naruto-kun you're right! Public baths are indeed a place to enjoy the springtime of youth!"
"Kiba, what are you doing?"
Kiba was standing at the wooden partition that separated the male and female baths, hands on hips, deep in thought. Turning around, looking immensely pleased with himself, he barked at the Hyuuga next to Lee. "Neji! Could you use your Byakugan to see if there are any hotties over there?"
"Guess there's no helping it then." Kiba smirked before jumping to reach the top of the partition.
"He made it!" Lee exclaimed as Kiba began hoisting himself up to the top.
Neji muttered something that sounded like "I'm out of here."
A loud splintering crack could be heard as the partition began to fall under Kiba's weight. Naruto watched in awe as a portion of the wall smacked down onto the stone floor, bringing a shocked Kiba with it. He could hear screams and splashing as girls on the other side fled to escape being seen by a peeping tom. Lee, who was sitting right in front of the new gap in the wall, began to nosebleed silently.
"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING!" came a familiar voice and Naruto groaned as he saw Kiba flying through the air in nothing but a towel.
I like taking baths so don't worry about that. I go to the Hot Springs a lot too.
His eyes were groggy, his limbs felt stiff and all he could see above him was a patch of white.
"Where…where am I?"
Naruto slowly sat up on the mattress, the white blanket falling from his chest.
"It's good you're up, Naruto." Kakashi said, closing Icha Icha Tactics.
"How long have I been asleep?"
"Two days. Sakura knew you'd try and get up as soon as possible so she sedated you with a drug to keep you in bed until you fully healed."
Kakashi sighed. "I think she said it was supposed to be in effect for three days. Well, knowing you, it would wear off quicker."
Naruto held a bandaged hand to his abdomen where he had been hit during his previous mission. He felt a small dull pain at the contact but it was nothing compared to when he was fighting.
"Sakura's on duty on the ground floor now so if you're going to escape, I'd do it now." Sai's voice floated from the patient's bed next to him.
Naruto grinned as he recalled the past experiences of trying to escape the hospital before being discharged. He and Sai had practically memorized Sakura's schedule to find the best times to sneak out.
"Sai, are you going to?"
His pale teammate looked discomfited. "Not this time I think. My wounds still hurt a little, I can't afford one of Sakura's punches."
Naruto saw the vase of flowers and cup noodles placed on the bedside table. He smiled as he looked down at his bandages. "You know what? I think I'll stay this time. I don't want her to worry."
And I get lots of sleep. In fact, I sleep too much, ya' know?
"Cheers"! Everybody chorused as they knocked their glasses together.
"Itadakimasu!" Chouji was the first to declare as he dug into the slices of barbecued beef before him.
"Chouji!" Ino reprimanded.
Everybody laughed as they picked up their chopsticks and began the meal. They were a large party and created a loud buzz of chatter as the Rookie 9 bantered and ate. It had been a long time since everyone had the free time to get together and meet up for social purposes instead of missions.
As the evening progressed, the door to the restaurant slid open and a group of foreign shinobi entered. Instead of usual shinobi attire, they were armed with swords and had their village symbol etched onto a metal breastplate. As they caught sight of Naruto and Sakura one of them spat. "Enjoying their time here while their own teammate has betrayed them and is attacking other villages. Is this how Konoha shinobi do their duty?"
The chatter at the table died down immediately and everybody tensed.
"You hear that you brats? We're from the Land of Iron and your Uchiha brat rained an ambush on us. We got nothing to do with you Konohagakure but now you've dragged us into the upcoming war too."
Naruto stiffened and curled his hands into fists in his lap. He wanted to act out – to stand up and challenge their words and yell they had no idea what they were talking about. But it was undeniably Sasuke's actions and Naruto didn't know what pained him more. There was silence and he was just about to -
"Oi, what are you talking about, huh? Nobody controls what a rogue-nin does! How do you know Konoha's not trying to hunt him down huh?"
Naruto and Sakura looked up in shock.
Ino had stood up with clenched fists and stomped her way up to the group of men. Sai had slowly followed her. "Please don't talk about Dickless and Ugly as if you know them personally. Assumptions may hurt the feelings of others."
"That's right!" Naruto could hear Lee announce with an agreeing chorus of "Yeah!"s backing him up. Before he knew it, uproar began.
"How troublesome." Shikamaru rubbed the back of his head as he reluctantly got up with Neji, Tenten and Shino to restrain the other more hotheaded members of the group. Naruto remained rooted to his knee pillow. Gratitude overwhelmed him and he could feel the heat come off his face.
He felt a cool hand cover his knuckles and he glanced up at Sakura; albeit watery green eyes, her lips were turned up in a grateful smile. He slowly unclenched his fists and let her fingers slide into his palm before gripping hers in return.
As for friends, I have lots of good ones. I wish you could have met them. There's one I'm not getting along with though.
"Argh, I don't get this Sakura-chan!"
"Not my problem. I told you to study." Sakura replied without looking up, scribbling rapidly on her own paper.
"Shikamaru! Why are we doing this? Was it one of Granny's stupid ideas?"
Shikamaru, the exam proctor standing at the door sighed. "It's required for you to take a written test every three years to keep up the standards. And this is an exam, at least try and make the talking subtle."
Naruto squinted at him. "What? It's not like you're bothered enough to report us anyway."
Shikamaru crossed his arms. "I'm not reporting you now. You'll get marks docked off when I hand your paper in."
"Whaaaat? Yeah right you - ,"
"Naruto shut up. " Sakura snapped and whacked him on the head, all the while, writing on her own paper intently.
Naruto stared at the glaring red zero scrawled across his half empty paper. He looked over at Sakura who was scanning her own with a look of satisfaction.
He sighed and wished that he didn't have to ask her the following: "Ne Sakura-chan, could you tutor me?"
Sakura threw him a look of disdain. "I warned you two weeks ahead to study."
Sakura raised her eyebrows, unimpressed. But she relented. "Fine. Remember you owe me big time."
Naruto grinned mischievously as an idea popped into his mind. "Okay. Konoha library. We'll go for ramen afterwards. It's a date!"
As for studying…well you feared right mom, but I don't get depressed over that, ya' know!
"Kakashi-sensei, I'm here for community service hours…but why are you here?" Naruto asked as they walked towards the academy.
"Because you failing your exam was seen as my responsibility too. I'm still your teacher after all."
Naruto chuckled. "So you got dragged into this too?"
Kakashi shrugged. "It'll be interesting to see what new aspiring genin brats made it into the academy this year."
"Heh, I wonder how many want to be Hokage. But not before I do!"
Naruto continued to laugh and was a few feet ahead of Kakashi before realizing his teacher had stopped walking.
Kakashi assessed the teenager in front of him for the first time in a long, long time. The boy was brimming with potential, optimism and bearing a heart bigger than most. Kakashi was almost caught off guard at the stark difference between the twelve year old brat who had declared ignorantly, he would be Hokage. He remembered the stilted whispers of rumours in the jounin lounge back when Naruto had been assigned to a team who was to be lead by Kakashi himself. Then he remembered that just last week he had passed by an instructor who was retelling his students the story of how Naruto had saved the village. He moved forward a few paces and placed a hand on Naruto's head.
I have to raise my arm instead of lowering it. How you've grown, Naruto.
He ruffled the blonde hair uncertainly. "I'm proud of you."
Naruto was taken aback and Kakashi coughed before removing his hand.
"But, I guess you're too old for this kind of treatment, right?"
Naruto turned away from his teacher and continued to the Academy, a warm feeling spreading through his chest, smile adorning his features. "Don't talk about me like I'm as old as you Kakashi-sensei."
A lot happened with my teachers and upperclassmen during my academy days, but we respect each other now.
"Ero-sennin, it's been a while." Naruto said as he sat cross-legged in front of the gravestone. "I've been away on a long mission but it was a success!"
It was a warm spring day and a light breeze tousled his blond hair as he sat, soaking in the sun and chatting to his mentor.
"Yamato-sensei let me drink sake on the trip. It's no use, I'm a total lightweight. Sakura-chan was so unimpressed. And Sai – Sai that scary bastard, he downed so much alcohol but nothing happened to him. He was still pale and saying the same stuff as usual." Naruto threw up his hands in disbelief as he relayed his story. "And Kakashi-sensei, I think he started quoting parts of your book when he got tipsy. He kept giggling and covering his mouth in embarrassment, it was so disturbing. But we finished the mission well, all of us worked together and yeah! There was this one point …" Naruto trailed off as he basked in the recent memories.
"You're watching me right, Ero-sennin? You're gonna see how those three years were the most important three years on my path to becoming Hokage. I'll get stronger. So I can protect Konoha. So I can bring him back. I've inherited the Fire of Will – I won't disappoint you."
Master Jiraiya taught me about the three shinobi prohibitions, you were right about him mom! But he's the one who taught me how a shinobi should live. He was a great shinobi.
"Ahh, I'm so tired." Sakura yawned, stretching her arms above her head. "That was an intense mission."
The sun was setting as the two teammates stepped out of the Hokage building.
"Heh." Naruto shot her a toothy grin. "Wanna' get some Ichiraku before heading home?"
Sakura who was walking ahead of him spun around. Naruto was fully expecting another punch to his gut that seemed to accompany every "No" she had ever said to him when he asked her out, but she was just looking at him.
"Well I guess - "
"'Naruto-kun?'" Sakura echoed. "Who's that? Guh!"
Sakura was promptly trampled over as a group of Ninja Academy girls flocked to Naruto's side, clutching papers and cameras.
"You're Uzumaki Naruto-kun! Papa says you're a brave shinobi!"
"You protected the village from the Akatsuki right?"
"That's soooooooooooooo cool!"
"Ne, ne will you sign this for me?"
After twenty minutes of retelling his fight with Pein with different voices and animated hand gestures, posing cheekily for photos and patting the girls heads before telling them to work hard at the Academy, Naruto was surprised to see Sakura still standing a little away from where he was, cradling her arms. She had been waiting.
"Whaaaaaaaat is it, Mr. Popular?"
Naruto would have thought himself to be in big trouble if not for her teasing voice and smile on her face.
"Sorry about that - ,"
"That's alright, Mr. Popular. I understand Mr. Popular." She threw him an amused glance and was disappointed to see him looking down at his feet. "What is it?"
"It's just…more people are putting their trust in me…" he looked up, his blue eyes serious before hesitantly smiling. "I don't know what to - I'm happy. But at the same time, I feel a heavier weight on my shoulders."
"Naruto." Sakura said. She crossed the distance between the two and put her hands on his shoulders before gently steering him to face the Hokage office that stood before them. They admired the tower, doused in the reds and orange of the sunset. "This is your dream, right? I'll help you make it happen. And even when you've made it, being Hokage doesn't mean being alone. I'll be there to share the burden."
Sakura, noticing his eyes on her, felt her cheeks flame and dropped her hands from his shoulders and bonked him on the head. "Don't stare, idiot!"
"Whatever, can we go eat already?"
"Eh? We're going to Ichiraku's?"
Naruto's eyes lit up as Sakura whirled away from him and began walking down the street. As he turned his head to catch a glimpse of the tower, he thought to himself:
I'll surpass all the hokage that came before me. And I'm going to become cooler than dad, and I'm going to be a stronger shinobi than you, mom!
note: kushina's flashback episodes made me bawl like a baby. it amazes me how Naruto grew up with such strong values even without the intense and physical presence of his parents.