Author Notes: Hello, everyone! This is a tiny AU one shot featuring Iruka Umino and Naruto Uzumaki.
I wrote this a few months ago when I was still halfway through the anime. Iruka is one of my favourite characters. In a world where almost everyone seems to have a hidden agenda, where transformation jutsu allows one to impersonate another, he has remained constant and honest to those around him, a kind and compassionate man who lives by his principles and cares deeply for his students, one who truly embodies the Will of Fire. Enjoy :)
Warnings: AU since I don't think this scene happened in the manga.
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.
- Story Start -
It was a proud moment for Iruka Umino when Naruto Uzumaki was named the seventh Hokage of Konohagakure.
On the day of the swearing in ceremony, Iruka stood in line with the other Konoha jounin and chunin, all awaiting their turn to pledge their loyalty to their new leader.
Iruka couldn't help recalling the hyperactive child Naruto had been, always playing pranks and getting into trouble, and how much he had grown and blossomed since then. Iruka was proud to have once been the boy's teacher (regardless of how outclassed he was now) and to have had a hand, however small, in shaping his upbringing.
When it was his turn, Iruka stepped forward and dropped onto one knee, right hand pressed to his heart, head bowed respectfully.
"Lord Hokage. I, Iruka Umino, hereby pledge-"
"Iruka-sensei, get up!"
A flash of white - the shortened version of the Hokage robe - over black trousers entered Iruka's line of vision before strong hands grasped his shoulders, pulling him to his feet. He raised his head and looked into shocked blue eyes.
"A teacher never bows before his student," Naruto protested.
Iruka shook his head and smiled.
"I have not been your teacher for many years now, Lord Hokage," he said.
Naruto returned the smile before his face grew solemn.
"You were the first person who saw me as me, someone who was more than just a nuisance or a mere beast. You were the first person who said I was a ninja of the Hidden Leaf village and stated my name instead 'That boy'. You were the first person who made me realise I had the potential to realise my dream. You will always be my teacher, Iruka-sensei."
Iruka stared at him, his throat closing up. Once again, he blessed the day the Third Hokage had made him Naruto's teacher. He hadn't wanted the responsibility at first - no one did - but he was eventually grateful for the chance to teach and learn, and grow alongside his most famous student.
Naruto nodded, blue eyes growing shiny as if his mind too, had wandered down the same path into the past.
"Thank you, Lord Hokage," Iruka choked out, fighting back his tears.
Naruto blinked and then he gave his trademark crooked grin.
"And don't call me that, Iruka-sensei. Call me Naruto or even 'knucklehead ninja' if you like. You've earned the right to."
A wave of warm appreciative laughter broke out amongst their audience, but Iruka didn't join in - he was too busy wiping away the tears that had escaped his eyes.
- Story End -
A/N: Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed it, please leave a review :)