Disclaimer: This is a fanfiction based on the novel Daddy-Long-Legs using characters from the series Naruto. I own not the novel nor the series so, if you please, do not sue me for I own nothing but my computer. Thank you.
The first Wednesday in every month was a Perfectly Awful Day—a day to be awaited with dread, endured with courage, and forgotten with haste. Every floor must be spotless, every chair dustless, and every bed without a wrinkle. Ninety-seven squirming little orphans must be scrubbed and combed and buttoned into freshly starched ginghams; and all ninety-seven reminded of their manners, and told to say, "Yes, sir," "No, sir," whenever a Trustee spoke.
It was a distressing time; and young Naruto took every opportunity to escape the mayhem by pretending to be sick and then going to the back garden, up to the highest bough of the old maple tree, and staying there until sunset. He would, afterwards, get a great beating and scolding from Ebisu-sensei, the manager of the orphanage, but he didn't care. This particular first Wednesday, like its predecessors, slowly wound itself to a close. The sun looked ready to roost. Most of the Trustees were having their afternoon tea, waited on most attentively by the orphans and the manager.
A young man of about twenty with a dark mop of fly-away hair, a loose shirt tucked into tight pants wandered about in the back garden, black mood emanating from him like a billowing cloak. His feet took him underneath the old maple tree where he stopped for a moment to take several deep breaths. On his third inhale his breath was literally knocked out of him when a hard object fell on his head. His dark mood returned with a vengeance as he glared at his feet beholding a notebook sprawled on the ground. He snatched the offending thing ready to rip it to bits when his eyes fell on the words written. His eyes widened as he turned the page and saw a half-drawn picture.
"Hey! What the heck are you doing with my notebook?" a sleepy but pissed off voice called from above.
The dark-haired young man looked up in time to see a blur of blue and yellow plunging down towards him. He hurriedly took a step back avoiding a collision with what appeared to be a blonde teenager younger than him wearing the orphanage's uniform with a curious three pairs of whisker-like lines running across both cheeks. The blonde boy snatched the notebook and clutched it to his chest, scowling all the while.
The older boy raised an eyebrow and smirked. "Nice work."
The blonde didn't know if he was being complimented or insulted but, taking in the other boy's stylish clothes and haughty demeanor, he was ready to believe the latter was true. His scowl deepened.
"You must be a son of one of the Trustees. Aren't you supposed to be eating right now and staring down your nose at the other orphans while your dad pats their heads and pretends to care? Go on back to those sniveling idiots. You've had your day of fun, now leave us alone! It's bad enough that you make the little ones hope that you'll be taking them but you just have to insult me also! And I've never even seen you before too!"
A matching scowl appeared on the dark haired one's face and he uttered the one word that would start a great destiny. "Moron."
The blonde boy growled. "You bastard! How dare you insult me! Are you asking for a fight?"
"Hn! As if you can even scratch me."
The older one turned around, dismissing the smaller boy entirely. The blonde's eyes widened then narrowed as he processed the insult. He carefully dropped his notebook underneath some protective roots of the tree then, with a war cry that startled the birds above them, he launched a fist straight for the older one's head. His foot snagged a root, however, so he completely missed his target. He heard a dry chuckle, which boiled his blood even more. He quickly stood up and tried for a second punch but received a kick in his stomach instead. Down he went once more. The older teen towered over the fallen blonde and smirked once again.
"See? Stupid, you couldn't even reach me."
The blonde howled and tackled his opponent. A visible sign of shock quickly passed through the older boy's face. A dizzying few minutes of rolling, punching, kicking, biting, and cursing followed afterwards. Everything ended when the older teen managed to pin the blonde down.
"Give up!" he growled—or tried to.
Both of them were panting hard and covered in dust. The older boy clearly had the upper hand. He still didn't show any visible damage although he was favoring his right leg a bit. The younger boy's lower lip was split and there was a gash on his forehead from the misdirected lunge, which resulted in him hitting his head on a rock. However, despite the injuries he sustained, the blonde didn't want to show any sign of giving up.
"No! You cheated! Gerrof!"
The two boys tensed. The older teen hurriedly let go and, after giving one last glance at the prone blonde, dashed into the building. Not long after a small boy dressed in the orphanage's gingham came running in. Seeing the blonde on the ground he poked the boy a few times to see if the he was dead.
"Konohamaru if you don't stop that right now I'm gonna smash your head so quick you'll be seeing stars," the blonde growled.
"Hmp! See if I care next time!" the little boy said, sitting down on the dirt before remembering that he was supposed to stay clean the whole day for the Trustees. He quickly stood up and brushed his clothes. "What happened to you anyway Naruto-bro?"
Naruto sat up with a wince and a sigh.
"Some rich jerk just decided to ruin my day," he answered. "I gave him something back he deserved."
He crawled over to the tree and retrieved his work. His eyes scanned the half-finished story that he had been writing that day.
"You mean you fought a trustee?" Kanohamaru's voice reached a new pitch with each word.
Naruto winced again, but this time not from his wounds.
"No. I didn't fight with a Trustee. I fought a Trustee's son."
"That's worse isn't? Wait a minute, but I didn't see—"
"What're you doing here anyway Konohamaru?"
"Oh! Hinata got scared again and hid in a cupboard. She doesn't want to get out and Ebisu-sensei said to get you because you're the only one whom she listens to."
Naruto sighed. Even though he tried to maintain a tough image in front of the other orphans, he would always be the one the little ones would confide or run to whenever there was trouble. He didn't know why but all small children seemed to trust him even though older folks always saw him as nothing more than a troublemaker.
He stood up and dusted his clothes off.
"Okay. Which cupboard did she hide in this time?"
Konohamaru told him then skipped off towards the building to do another errand. Naruto picked up his notebook and tucked it inside his jacket. He then ambled off towards the back door, which would take him to a shortcut to where little Hinata would be. It would be dangerous route since his path would take him near Ebisu-sensei's office but—he squinted at the setting sun—the Trustees would have left by then and Ebisu-sensei would either be showing them off by the front door or taking a breather in his office.
When he entered the building, Naruto stalked quietly through. As he passed by a side window in the dimly lit hall near the front door, a lone Trustee waiting for his ride caught Naruto's attention. The blonde only caught a fleeting impression of the man—and the impression consisted mainly of undulating stoutness. The headlights of a car threw the man's shadow sharply along the pavement. The man was talking to someone and, as he nodded, his shadow looked, for all the world, like a fat bantam pecking the ground.
Naruto's anxious frown gave place to quick laughter. He was by nature a cheerful lad and had always snatched the tiniest excuse to be amused. He would play pranks on the older orphans, tease the little ones, drive Ebisu-sensei half insane with his practical jokes and, once even managed to put a toad underneath one Trustee's seat one Blue Wednesday. He had been beaten black and blue that night but it had been worth it to see the surprised look of the Trustee as he sat on something cold and croaky.
Still chuckling, Naruto continued on down the hall forgetting his reason for stealth.
"Ah! Naruto just the boy I was looking for."
Naruto eeped as Ebisu-sensei materialized at the end of the hall near his office.
"Please step into my office for a moment. There is something important that I would like to speak with you about."
"Naruto! Inside my office! Now!"
Naruto clamped his mouth shut and followed the manager. Inside the office, Ebisu-sensei quietly sat behind his desk and waited for Naruto to close the door. He adjusted his glasses before speaking.
"Sit down Naruto, I have something to say to you."
Naruto fidgeted as he sat down. He hadn't done anything remotely wrong the whole day had he? Well, except for that fight with the bastard jerk—Naruto winced inwardly. Had the coward run to his daddy and revealed how Naruto had beat him up? But if that's the case, then why was Ebisu-sensei looking—happy?
"I was just talking to one of our most distinguished Trustees. His family has given large sums of money toward the orphanage's support. I am not at liberty to mention his name; he expressly stipulated that he was to remain anonymous."
Naruto's eyes widened. He had never been summoned to the office to discuss the Trustees in this manner.
"This gentleman's family is the reason why some of our girls and boys have managed to go through school. They have since repaid, through hard work and success, the money that had been so generously expended towards them. The distinguished family has not asked any other payment except for those two—hard work and success. For a while now, the gentleman has not shown any sign of taking interest in any of our current charges."
"No, sir," Naruto murmured, since he felt that the Trustees never gave any interest at all to his fellow orphans.
"It seems that the past recipients of this family's money have all been exceptionally good and I'm afraid that this batch has shown so little potential."
Naruto's hands tightened their hold on his chair's arms. He bared his teeth at Ebisu-sensei who was patronizingly shaking of his head before arranging his glasses once again.
"Today at the regular meeting, your name came up quite often, especially regarding your behavior and your influence on the younger children."
Naruto tried to erase any sign of emotion on his face.
"I will not keep it a secret from you that I have petitioned time and again that you be transferred to some other institution where your behavior will do the least damage. However, some of the Trustees have voted for you to stay here until you finish high school. After that, the orphanage will no longer be held responsible for you."
Naruto paled. He would start high school this coming school year. That meant he would only have three more years before he would be forcibly evicted from the only place he really knew—not as a home but as a place that was familiar and safe. Not that Naruto Uzumaki couldn't handle living on his own! Of course not! He could take on anything!
"As I said your name came up quite a lot today. Some of the Trustees felt that you had become such a delinquent that letting the orphanage pay for three more years of your schooling would be too generous."
Ebisu-sensei looked like he agreed wholeheartedly with those Trustees. He adjusted his glasses and grimaced.
"However, there are those who seem to like you. Sarutobi-san who is on our visiting committee is also on the local school board; he has read your work and has commended your skills, especially for a piece entitled "Blue Wednesday," a copy of which he read aloud."
Naruto flinched as Ebisu-sensei stared at him like a hawk eyeing its prey.
"It seems to me that you showed little gratitude in ridiculing the institution that has done so much for you—"
"Yeah well it's not like what I wrote wasn't true!" Naruto protested, pouting and turning up his nose.
"Had you not managed to be funny," Ebisu-sensei continued, glaring at Naruto for interrupting him, "I doubt you would have been forgiven. I had thought that you had permanently disgusted U—the gentleman who left the room just as the talks were becoming heated. But, fortunately for you, this gentleman seems to have taken a liking to your sense of humor. When he came back he offered to send you to a private high school."
"Private—high school?" Naruto's eyes grew big.
"He discussed the terms with me just as he was leaving. He believes that you have originality and a great potential to become a writer and an illustrator."
"Writer and illustrator?" Naruto had become numbed that he could only repeat Ebisu-sensei's words although something seemed to click inside his mind with those words.
"That is what he thinks. Whether anything will come of it, the future will show. But he had come up with a detailed plan and it did not seem my place to contradict what he had drafted. You are to remain here until school starts. Since you will be going to a private school all of the materials and clothing that you will need will be provided for through the school. Your board and tuition will be paid directly to the school. The gentleman will also be giving you a very liberal allowance—too liberal, in my opinion. Anyway, this will enable you not to feel left out in your new environment. The money will be sent to you once a month and in return, you will write a monthly letter of acknowledgement. That is—you are not to thank him for the money; he doesn't care to have that mentioned, but you are to write a letter telling of the progress in your studies and the details of your daily life. It would be something like a letter that you would write to your parents if you had one."
"These letters will be addressed to Sharingan-san and will be sent in care of the secretary, Kakashi-san. The gentleman's name is not Sharingan-san but he prefers to remain unknown. To you he will never be anything but Sharingan-san. His reason in requiring the letters is that he thinks this will develop your literary expression all the more. Since you have no family with whom to correspond, he desires you to write in this way; also, he wishes to keep track of your progress. He will never answer your letter nor take any particular notice of them. He detests writing letters and does not wish you to become a burden. If any point becomes important enough to need an answer—like the event of your expulsion, which I trust will not occur—you may correspond with Kakashi-san. These monthly letters are absolutely obligatory; they are the only payment that Sharingan-san requires, so you must dutifully send them. I hope that you will always be respectful. You must remember that you are writing to a Trustee of the Konoha Home."
Naruto looked longingly at the door. His mind was whirling in excitement and he wanted to escape Ebisu-sensei's dullness. He stood up and took a step back. Ebisu-sensei detained him with a flick of his glasses.
"The gentleman also expressed that should he find your progress satisfactory after three years then he would also send you to college. I trust that this immense opportunity will make you properly grateful. Not many boys of your nature would be given the good fortune to—"
"I—yes thank you. I think—I think I better help Hinata down from her cupboard now!"
Naruto fled from the office leaving Ebisu-sensei with his mouth open and his tirade half-spoken.
To be continued
Author's Rant Corner (ARC): Next up "The Letters of Naruto Uzumaki to Sharingan Rooster-Head-sama." Please bear with me while I attempt to fuse a Western novel with an Eastern background. This ain't easy but I will try. And hopefully I will make you laugh and like the hybrid story that will come out in the process. Do drop a line in the review box. Thank you. Bow