Your Love On My Skin

by operadeglace

When Naruto Uzumaki was twelve, he got his first tattoo.

Being an orphan, he lived on the streets, learning at a very young age that life alone, shunned by society, was a life that wasn't all too enjoyable.

He could still remember as the thugs beat him under the rubbish laden bridge, his blood everywhere around him, in his sight, on his tongue, in his breath.

"You're trash! You're nothing, fox boy!"

They were a bunch of bullies who enjoyed picking on him at school. He couldn't understand what he did to deserve such cruelty from them.

One of them suddenly received an entertaining revelation.

"Dude… I have a needle. Let's put whiskers on his face..!"

"Yeah! Then he'll be a real fox boy!"

The bloodied blonde began to struggle even harder as the older kids used the weight of their bodies and restraining hands to hold him still as the boy with the needle he dipped in ink began to draw three horizontal lines on each side of his face.

His pained cries reached the ears of a man passing by.

"HEY! What the h*ll are you kids doing!?"

He immediately ran towards the hoodlums, waving his hands and pointing, effectively scaring them away from the body he saw on the ground as he sprinted forward.

"Naruto… is that you?"

That day, Naruto was saved by his teacher, and current mentor, Mr. Iruka Umino.

It wasn't until after he was taken to the hospital, his swollen face cleaned and stitched up, was he able to see the three lines on either side of his face, a permanent reminder of how much the world hated him.

"Dear, Lord… Naruto. Your face…" Iruka's voice was ripe with compassion. "What did they do to you?"

"They're whiskers." The injured boy replies in a low, honest voice. "They drew them on my face because I draw foxes in class instead of work…"

Iruka noted how defeated he sounded, covered in bandages with no tears to cry out. He had received a disfigurement that would literally scar him for life, and there was really nothing he could do about it. The pony tailed man knew that there were no parents, relatives, or even friends.

That was when he decided to be that first bond in the poor lad's sad, lonely existence.

Being a very underpaid teacher, Iruka lived in a tiny apartment on the top floor of a brick building in the heart of the city. With permission of the kind landlady, he was able to rent the small shed on the roof for Naruto to live in. The tiny shack was usually used for extra storage to any boarders who were able to pay for it. Since no one in the slums could afford extra items to use in the extra space, it was mostly empty.

Naruto opened the door gingerly, the flimsy metal bending as he moved it.

"You can stay here for free and as long as you like, if you continue to go to school. Just, try to draw a little less foxes and pay more attention."

Iruka couldn't tell if Naruto was silent because he was dismayed with the cramped, spider webbed living space, or if he was just going to reject his kind offer to quickly disappear onto the streets.

"I have a lifetime supply of instant ramen because my uncle is the manufacturer of 'Ichi's Instant Ramen', so you can eat at my place every night, if you like." He continues, cautiously, saddened that he couldn't offer the boy anymore than a closet and junk food. "Does that sound okay..?"

Naruto turns around suddenly, surprising the well-meaning adult with a brilliant, whiskered grin that his teacher had never seen before.

"Yeah! I love ramen more than anything!"

With Iruka's support, Naruto the journeyed next years of his adolescence less alone and with more love than he had ever been shown in his life, to the best of his memory.

Of course, his scars affected much of the decisions he made, so when he was sixteen, his guardian allowed him to "fix" his face.

"Excuse me… I need to cover my scars with something cool." He went to a legitimate tattoo parlor and talked to a skinny, tattooed teenage boy in the front of the shop.

"Ah, yeah! I think they're so light, we can lead the eye away from the whisker-things distracting them with a quote, or your favorite saying in light letters, right here on your jawline." The older boy points to his face like he was planning out a painting on a canvas.

"Kabuto, I got this one." A deep voice rumbles behind them.

A burly, inked man with long, shaggy white hair walks into the front room and ushers Naruto in a nearby chair.

"W-what are you going to put on my face?" The slightly intimidated boy stutters, as the man ignores him and quickly pulls on some gloves.

"Iruka is my good buddy… he called and told me everything." Naruto could feel his voice soften as large fingers roughly cleaned his tri-lined cheeks. "This one is on the house."

The needles pressed painfully into the scar tissue of his face, but it wasn't the most painful thing he had physically felt, so he closed his eyes and sat very still. Once the pain passed, he opened his eyes and looked straight ahead to the mirrors to see what the man had done.

What he found, startled him.

His crude whiskers, which once looked like thin, bluish scratches, were transformed into what seemed to be powerful, bold looking war paint.

"Jiraiya… why did you cover the whiskers with bigger whiskers?"

Naruto heard his tattoo artist's assistant gripe. According to the annoyance in the older boy's voice, the artist, known simply as Jiraiya, was famous for making unorthodox decisions. The white-haired man grins at Naruto as he pats his back.

"You should never be ashamed of your battle scars."

The whiskered boy agreed with Jiraiya, walking onto his school campus finally feeling like he was in control of his destiny.

-The End of Chapter One.

–Story by ODG

– Comment and review if you like it! Tell me what you think! This is based off of my NaruSaku Tattoo Art on my tumblr! Check it out!

NEXT CHAPTER PREVIEW:

"Did you see her pink hair?"

"Yeah, what a hipster. I bet she likes all of the attention that she gets with those crazy tattoos."

Naruto Uzumaki hated riding the bus, but if he didn't, he wouldn't have seen the woman who would become his everything.