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Konoha's Duracell Bunnies

Chapter 2

Naru's First Cozy Night

Nightfall arrived by the time Naru and I reached home, casting a full moon that felt more ominous than pleasant at current. This, in large part, was because I was bringing Naru to my normal civilian family, civilians that typically did not see eye-to-eye with my new friend at this point in the story. I was reminded of this on the walk over here, having to glare with full hostility at everyone who dared to look at my Naru wrong.

I even had to threaten a ballsy fool who didn't get the picture initially, flash-stepping to him and wedging my fist into the concrete wall beside him. Needless to say, the dickhead got the message loud and clear. Fortunately, though, most people weren't stupid enough to try testing a kid with Sonic-levels of sheer speed, so they diverted their gaze as soon as they saw me.

"Um, Ichi-chan." I peeked over my shoulder, spotting Naru looking unsure of herself, " Y-You don't have to invite me over if you don't want to." My eyes softened in remorse. Was that what all this deliberating looked like to her? Naru. "I'll be fine on my own!" She shut her eyes; a brave face if there ever was one.

I faced her fully, delicately caressing a whiskered cheek of hers. She peered up at my kind smile with hopeful eyes, "It's okay," I said with a shake of the head, "I was just wondering if there would be any supper leftover!" I tucked my free arm behind my head, laughing sheepishly, "Dad's kinda a big eater." Half-truths. Pops could put an Akimichi to shame, no word a lie.

Naru's childlike curiosity flared, sparkling her bright eyes like the stars above us, "How big?"

"Reallyyyyyy big!" I outstretched an arm wide to emphasize, "He puts all-you-can-eat restaurants out of business for the day!"

Sparkly ocean blue eyes widened, "No way!"

"Yes way!"

"Then," She nodded, strengthening her already blossoming resolve that would pull her through so many situations in the near future, "We better hurry before your papa eats it all." She started dragging me through the gate of my family home, passing a red-letter box with our family name Ito inscribed across it.

"Yes, madam."

We lived in a humble two-story house painted a heavenly white, complemented by the chocolate brown roof hanging over it like a shield. Its shape was rectangular, giving it the impression of a wide cube from afar. The building was angled at 2 o'clock for one reason or another. Either side of our curvy, stone-patterned pathway was our lawn, beautifully maintained by my parents. And with the window glowing brightly through the living room's curtain, it really lent the whole place a homey feel.

I took a spare key I had been given and unlocked the front door, uttering the customary "I'm home" and leading Naru inside. Despite her previous vigour, her nerves quickly got the better of her and I couldn't say I blamed her. This would be the first time in her tender life that she had interacted with civilian adults, since I doubt she had found Ichiraku yet.

The inside was as you would expect of a standard Japanese home. An elevated step right in front of us let visitors know shoes were to come off before reaching that point. We stood beneath concrete flooring currently and on the walls of our left and right was a black shoe rack and dark brown shelf with slippers tucked into their departments. A green plant of some sort likely bought from Ino's family shop lingering on top of the slipper shelf in a beautifully crafted creamy white vase with intricate patterns further imbued the homey feel of the house. Lit incenses by the vase enveloped the porch with the aroma of cherry blossoms.

The slipper shelf paired well with the floorboards over the upraised step of the same colour and our white painted walls. The stairs leading up to the second floor were facing the front door on the left side. On the other was the hallway pointing to the kitchen all the way down the other side. Off the right of the hallway was a door that led to the living room.

"Welcome home!" Mom replied, emerging from the kitchen's door down the hallway, a hand flying to her mouth, "Oh!"

Mom was a beautiful woman in her mid-20s. One could tell she had been using sun cream lotion everyday with such a fair-skinned, spotless complexion in a sunny region like the Land of Fire. She kinda resembled Mafuyu from the series Judgement; though her hair was as brown as the floorboards around us and shoulder-length in height. She also had a cornrowed fringe hanging off of the left side of her face. Her lips were painted red with lipstick like Mafuyu, though.

Attire wise, she wore a long ankle high black-coloured skirt and a long-sleeved milky tinted jumper, a frilly pink apron covering her. Naturally, she had white slippers cladding her feet.

Her reaction to Naru had the girl cowering adorably behind me.

Mom's gaze softened in remorse, "My, who's this, Ichi-chan?" She asked with pleasant warmth, wandering closer to us.

I breathed a little in relief, 'Good. Least she isn't being outright hostile to Naru.' Fanfiction would have you believing all civilians would be blatantly nasty to Naru, shooting her scathing remarks like "demon child" or all that crap, and while granted there were some cold glares launched her way, no civilian would openly insult her. This may have been a fantasy world, but these were still Japanese people and Japanese people, at heart, were far too polite to verbally attack someone, even a person they didn't like. (There was a Chinese community in Konoha, though that was obvious considering TenTen's and Lee's obvious background.)

Mom's initial reaction to Naru did worry me, though. She definitely knew who she was, I was certain of that.

I inhaled, feeling like I was standing in court getting ready to give a character witness for the defendant, "This is Naru-chan," I said, looking down and away from my mother's comforting aura. "She's my friend." I gazed up at her, blasting her full force with the puppy dog eyed look, leaving her bewildered, "She has nowhere else to go, so," I kicked at an imaginary pile of dust that wasn't there, "Can she spend the night with us?"

"Oh, Ichi-chan." She murmured.

She slipped off her slippers and stepped off the higher ground, approaching us. I instinctively held out my arm to shield Naru, but Mama's gentle smile relaxed my barriers.

She kneeled down to our level; her tender-hearted gaze locking onto Naru's, "Naru-chan." There was an unmistakeable cordiality to her tone that I felt helped soothe Naru's nerves, even just a little.

A meek stutter, "Y-Yes?"

Mama's smile softened ever more, voice so gentle and warm as though she was rocking a baby to sleep, "Would you like to have dinner with us?" I felt Naru's lowered head nodding against my head and Mama's eyes closed in quiet contentment, "Wonderful." Hands flew to her giggling lips just then, "Ichi's Papa has been so absorbed in his game he hasn't eaten yet, so there's still plenty left."

"Christmas miracles are real!" I cracked wise, lightening the mood. Both Mom and Naru laughed a little. "So," I stayed on topic, kicking my sandals off while Mama took out two pairs of slippers for Naru and I, "What's on today's menu?" I asked, casually helping Naru out of her own sandals, cupping the girl's hands she whilst slid out of her footwear.

Mama's ultra-pleased expression heavily indicated she had cooked something to my favourable liking, because as any good loving mother, satisfying her baby's needs was her pleasure, "My, it's one of your favourites!" She remarked, hardly containing her excitement.

I stared at her, eyes wide with bated anticipation and Mama fortunately didn't make me wait too long, announcing with glee, "Chicken Katsu Curry!"

"Yayyyyyyyy~!~" I sung, drawing a flinch from Naru, "Let's go!" I clutched tightly onto Mama's waist, burying my face into her tummy, "Mama coming in with the clutch!"

"Oh, you and your silly sayings!" She cooed, warmly embracing my head.

I giggled, soon releasing her and turning excitably to Naru, who was looking on perplexed, a hint of resentment in her wide eyes. Don't you worry, girl. You're about to experience the tastiest chicken you've ever had. You'll forget all about your envy once you do, "C'mon Naru-chan!~" I beamed, taking a hold of her hand, "You haven't lived until you've tasted Mom's Chicken Katsu Curry! It's the best!"

"Oh, okay!"

We stepped into our slippers where they waited for us on the elevated step and made our way inside the living room. Dad acknowledged us with nothing more than a smile, being too absorbed into Tekken 3 to really take anything else in. At first, It surprised me to see TVs and video games existing in the Naruto world, but then I remembered telephone poles and CCTV cameras being depicted in the series.

The Chunin exams were explicitly monitored by cameras, if memory served, as shown when Gaara's team reached the tower first in the second round by a landslide and the Jonin instructors monitoring the event being astonished that it only took an hour or so for the team from Sand to finish the round; even further so when they realized Gaara didn't have even an ounce of blood on him.

God, I remember how hype that scene was.

Naru and I took our place next to a small round table on the other side of the room. I noted Naru sitting on her knees on a purple pillow, really hammering the point home this was indeed a female version of Kishimoto's iconic character.

Naru looked around her with curious, bright blue eyes. The walls of our living room was awash of bright tangerine, which I was certain put her mind at ease. Cloudy carpeted flooring made for a comfortable sitting experience; particularly important considering we didn't have sofas and chairs, well, at least not ones with legs. Another circular-shaped table sat in Dad's side of the room with two floor chairs tucked into it. The other one was currently camped in front of our bulky TV, since this was the early 90s.

Flatscreens didn't exist yet.

The TV itself, silver in colour, remained seated on a similarly coloured triangular TV set laid in the corner to match the other furniture and the fireplace built into the wall on the left side of the room.

Pictures of me throughout the years growing up decorated the room in frames hung up on the walls. One was just me flexing shirtless, looking like a Saiyan with my towering Vegeta-like hair. That was the day I realized all of my relentless training was quickly bearing fruit. Naruto babies were on another level.

There was also a frame of my folks on their wedding day camped on top of the fireplace; old man pops next to his young ting.

All in all, this would've been a fascinating if not melancholic viewing for Naru, seeing a real family home so full of life and elation and mentally comparing it to her own desolate household, wherever that may be. Kishimoto never really went into great details regarding Naruto's upbringing.

Fanfiction had long since theorized he had been looked after in an orphanage before being harshly thrown out because he was the "demon child". (An orphanage did exist in the Naruto world as we found out in Kabuto's heart wrenching backstory. Kishimoto really did shine the brightest when it came to heart tugging stories) Some stories even go as far to say Naruto's "run-down" apartment was located in the shady red-light district just to exaggerate Naruto's misery.

It was all up to speculation. It was more likely that Hiruzen cared for Naruto until he came of age where he could look after himself. To be fair, maybe this was further expanded on in the light novels, but I wouldn't know. I never read even a single one of them. I never read novels or books, only comics!

I watched Naru taking in the coziness of everything around her like a sponge behind those tender-hearted eyes of dejection, 'Naru.' I mused, chin atop my intertwined fingers, 'Can't imagine girl's loneliness if man's basic home life is enough to wow her.' My heart ached just thinking of the cold nights Naru spent crying herself to sleep in her barren apartment.

A creak whistling through the air accompanied the mouth-watering aroma of Mama's delectable cooking. ChiChi, eat your heart out, because your cooking had nothing on Ito Junko's. Hell, my old Jamaican Grandma might have had a run for her money, and lemme tell ya, that woman could cook a mean soup. It proper banged.

Drool dripped from my lips.

Naru tasted the air herself, "Smells so good."

"Here ya go, sweeties!" Mama cooed with honey-coated sweetness in her tone, placing a tray between us with two plates of her famous Chicken Katsu Curry upon them; featuring a lump of rice shaped like a dome, bathed in dark gravy-coloured curry below, sliced shades of lettuce and the star of the dish itself, a crispy piece of golden oval-shaped chicken fried to perfection. It already had six lines cut into it since we ate with chopsticks and not knives and forks.

Naru exhaled, gaze starry. She looked like she could hardly contain herself as Mama lifted her share off said tray and placed it before her, along with her customary cup of juice, "Don't be shy. Eat up, Naru-chan." Mama giggled, "There's plenty more."

"Just leave some for me!" Dad joked, still smashing his opponents with his main Paul.

"I-I will."

I laughed warmly, though Naru's cheeks ballooned.

I lifted my chopsticks, swerving them through my fingers and putting my hands together. Naru understood my intentions, surprisingly enough. Maybe Hiruzen taught her the obligatory pre-meal ritual, "Ready, Naru-chan?" I smiled.

She brought her hands together, "Ready."

With a deep inhale, we cheerfully chorused as one:


"Ah!" I rubbed my stomach, "Gochisousama." That was the post-meal ritual chant.

Belly satisfied, Naru yawned and rubbed a sparky blue eye before sliding her way over to me on her knees, "... Gochisousama."

"Tired?" I asked.

She nodded, "… Uh-huh." A sleepy mumble preceded her leaning on me, resting her head on my shoulder. I grinned softly, sweeping the bangs of her golden-blond hair with my palm.

"I'll go run a bath." Mama murmured, collecting our plates and cups.

"Thank you," I replied.

Mom smiled and disappeared behind the door.

"She's really attached to you," Dad remarked, finally giving Tekken a rest and facing me with a soft-hearted smile embellishing his already kind, wrinkled countenance. I could see why Mom would fall for him being in his early 30s at the time of their relationship and her in mid-to-late teens. Brudda had a warm-hearted disposition.

I could see where I got my uniquely sky-blue hair, though he pulled back his into a ponytail; two front fringes extending over his warm gaze. It bared a striking resemblance to Shu's hairdo from Blue Dragon. His cheeks were widowed and he had an angular face. He was decently muscular, too, for a non-shinobi man in his 40s; biceps emphasized by the grey singlet he rocked, matched by his black pants.

He had already taken his bath by the looks of things, then.

"… I know," I said softly, and a smile that didn't reach my eyes slid across my lips. I watched over Naru resting against me like some kind of guardian angel, arm snuggly snaked around her before adding, emotion beginning to overtake me, "I… I wanna protect her." A crack, like in a glass, formed in my voice. Dad's eyes began to dilate. "She's been all alone since day one, bruv." I continued, struggling to contain the volume of my breaking voice, "So desperately lonely, crying herself to sleep at night in a cold apartment!" My shoulders shook, tears freely escaping my eyes.

"Daichi…" Dad gazed at me in awe. To be clear, I wasn't the crybaby type. Even when I fell off a tree when I began the Chakra-control exercises Kakashi and Jiraiya demonstrated in the series, (Also Ebisu, but that was anime-only) I never cried. The only time I had ever truly bawled like this was when my old Jamaican grandmother, whom I had loved dearly, passed away. I remember giving some words of remembrance at her funeral and becoming so overwhelmed with emotion I accidentally dropped an F-bomb in a house of god.

I pinched my watery eyes shut, breathing deeply as though I had just re-emerged from being nearly drowned, "We can't let her be alone, Dad." I sniffed, locking red-rimmed eyes with Dad whose expression was still astonished.

"Yeah…" A lifeless nod, then another with more exuberance and a gulp, "Yeah, we can't." I found resolve steeling his gaze and that was good enough for me. My parents were good people. They wouldn't leave one lonely girl all on her lonesome, this I was certain of. Naru may have been enemy number one in the eyes of most residents, but it wasn't like the Kyuubi's attack affected them personally.

It scared the life out of them, for sure, but in the end, neither one of us nor any of our relatives were hurt in the attack.

"Have your bath and get some rest." Sympathy dimly lit Dad's gaze. "It looks like you need it."

I couldn't disagree really.

"Yeah." I said, cupping Naru's waist with one hand and sliding my other hand under her legs, effortlessly lifting her bridal-style when I stood. Compared to the boulder I picked up, Naru was weightless.

Dad, seeing my arms full, also rose and got the door for us. I thanked him with a nod, stepping through it.

"Don't worry about, Naru-chan. Your mother and I will discuss where to go from here with Hokage-sama tomorrow."

I trusted said discussion would lead to the right and only direction.

I woke Naru up so she could have her bath first. She knew the standard Japanese/Konoha procedure of showering first before bathing, enabling me to use the same bathwater. Washing away the dust and sweat before jumping into the bath was an excellent idea of Japan's.

It meant we were freed of any guilt bathing for long periods in increasingly dirtying waters from our own sweaty bodies. It was a procedure I could get behind for sure.

I tucked us into my one single bed, faint relaxing scent of shampoo and soap drifting between us. We were currently so small that there was more than enough space on a single adult bed for us.

"I don't think your Mom likes me," Naru declared in the quiet nightly air.

I rolled over, the pearlescent glow of the moon blasting through my curtains and casting my room in a dream lit luminescence, resembling the night sky in Disney's DreamWorks Valley, "Why do you say that?"

Naru hid half her face with the blanket covering us, wearing a pair of old Pikachu pyjamas I had grown out of, "Well, it's just when she first saw me…"

Ah, I see. Referring to Mama's initial stunned reaction. She was more perceptive than I ever gave her male counterpart credit for, "Oh, that." I said like it was no big deal, glancing up at the ceiling with arms tucked behind my head, "She's just conflicted, is all."

"Con… flicited?" Naru uttered, bemused.

"It means she has mixed feelings about you," I explained, mentally kicking myself. My wutless ass almost seemed to forget I was talking to a five-year-old and they tended not to be very smart.

"Cuz everyone hates me, right?" It was more of a remark than a question as she rolled over to peer at me with those bright blue orbs fading slightly in despondency.

To her surprise and curiosity, I shook my head, "I don't think everyone hates you.

"But, but!" She argued, "They're so mean to me!"

"I think that's more to do with the mindset of the Elemental Nations as a whole." I offered a rebuttal.

Naru tipped her head, "What do you mean?"

"We're told from a young age not to stand out; to be "normal," whatever that means," I theorized. This goes back to Japan's culture. I was certain Konoha's almost unanimous hatred of Naru was influenced by Japan's toxic mentality of scorning and bullying those who were seen as "different." It was a well-known fact Kishi let his life dictate his story, even making Naruto a neglectful father (although not by design) in Boruto to parallel his own circumstances with his children.

Being an mangaka in an industry as gruelling as Weekly Shounen Jump meant he had very little time to spend with his kids.

This was ultimately why the ultra-lovable and endearing Rock Lee was singled out and made fun of by the other academy kids, because he couldn't mould Chakra and perform basic Ninjutsu; therefore he was "different." Speaking of Lee, man had to find and protect him. I resolved myself to protect everyone's favourites the second I realized kami-sama was rewarding me the lifetime opportunity of living in Naruto with near infinite stamina and a superior knowledge of jutsu. (Orochimaru would turn green with envy if he ever learnt how much knowledge I had stored away in my brain. He might even try to take over my body. Shivers.)

Even Sakura. She needed protection, too, since she stood out with her slightly larger than normal forehead.

"But why?" Naru asked.

I closed my eyes, "People just think its bad to stand out and show a bit of individuality; that you're a delinquent just for expressing yourself."

"That's so dumb!" She remarked, Naruto's fiery attitude showing in her, "People are just dumb poopy heads."

I chuckled, 'Poopy heads.' That was so adorable.

Naru took my laughter as a sign I was picking on her, lightly slapping me, "Stop that! I'm being serious!"

"I know," I tittered, drawing a pout from her, "It is dumb and people are poopy heads, but not my Mom and Dad. Everything will be fine tomorrow, you'll see for sure."

She sobered, rolling onto her back again, "I hope so."

"Well," I rotated from her, fluffing my pillow, "Get some shuteye. Tomorrow, I'll show you a cool Ninjutsu."

"Cool Ninjutsu?" I clicked my teeth inwardly, quickly regretting ever bringing it up, because now she was excited, "What Ninjutsu?" She nudged me repeatedly, "C'mon, tell me!"

"Sorry, not telling!"

"Aw, c'mon!"

"Nope! That would ruin the surprise after all."

"You're mean, oniichan!"

Gonna take this one slow and steady, particularly with so many characters to explore and bond with I felt it's fitting to show Ichi befriending the characters in real time rather than in a flashback. Hope you're enjoying the slow, cozy pace so far. I tried to make Ichi's family life as colourful and homey as possible, emphasizing Naru's curiosity and envy over not having a house life as warm and safe as Ichi. Also, it's just a lot more touching seeing Ichi bringing Naru into his family rather than opening up the story with her already living with them and that's what Naruto all about, sympathetic stories pulling on your heart strings, imo.


Ito Daichi - 5-years-old

Uzumaki Naru - 5-years-old

Ito Junko - 24-years-old

Ito Kenji - 40-years-old