Title: Disadvantaged Children (formerly UnWanted)
Rating: T, R for later chapters
Summary: Uchiha Mansion is the last place for criminally and emotionally unstable orphans to prove their worth. Naruto finds himself caught in entangling situations with the owner of the Mansion, Uchiha Sasuke, and with his fellow teammates and friends. In the process of healing from his horrific past, Uzumaki Naruto discovers that he may not be the only disadvantaged child to deserve a second chance. AU Sasu/Naru
First off, I want to say that this story isn't wholly my own. There's Kishimoto, whose manga has really inspired me. Also, some elements of the foster system have been taken from Last Chance Texaco, which is a great book. Please go read it.
"Naruto Uzumaki... Uchiha Mansion."
The whispers erupt around me, bringing a lazy smile to my lips.
"Uchiha Mansion? Man, that kid is screwed."
"Look at him. He doesn't even care. Serves him right. I heard he'd bang anyone on two le-"
"Shut the fuck up, bro. No telling what that psycho will do if he hears us."
I ignore the disgusted eyes, even though all I want to do is rip everyone into shreds. It hurt that I had shared my story with some of these people and all of them had muttered reassuring words of comfort. In the end, they had betrayed me, leaving me dirtier than before.
The old hag behind the counter hands me a file folder, and her lips quiver from the effort of sneering. Sweat trickles down my back as the heat in the room burns my blood. My straight stare unsettles the old lady and her eyes trail to the guards at the back of the room.
When I finally speak, my voice is polite. "How are you, ma'am?"
Her sneer morphs into a cold glare. "You think you can fool me, young man? Don't you smirk at me!"
The whispers behind me disappear and all that's left are the words that sink into my skin.
"Since day one, Uzumaki Naruto, I've watched you slink in the shadows. Oh, you didn't cause any problems, but I knew. I knew who you really were. You may have come to the States to escape, but it doesn't make you any less of an abomination! "
I roll my eyes, but it doesn't stop her shrieking tirade.
"You're a despicable, filthy orphan. You think I'm lying, do you? Well, you take a good look at yourself, young man. You've got the blood of millions on your hands, Uzumaki Naruto!"
And then she spits on me.
Like a trigger that's gone off in my head, I snarl and wrench my hand out to grab her shirt. Shrieking fills the air, while the guards scramble to rid the situation.
The fear in her eyes is surpassed only by the hatred. "Do you know how long I've waited for this day? Oh, I can see it in your eyes. The bloodlust. Do it, Naruto. The day I die is the day you suffer for the rest of your life in the Island."
The rage simmers, but the mention of the Island grounds me. This isn't who I am. Without thinking, I roughly let go of the old lady, watching as she stumbles to the ground. The guards instantly surround me, prepared to use force, but I turn my back and walk out of my final orphanage. The bright sunlight causes me to wince and I heave a sigh. Letting the old lady live was like giving her a second chance. The irony has never escaped me. Here was the great Uzumaki, flawlessly evil in every aspect, possessing a trait called hope.
Was it possible to die laughing?
I can imagine the orphanage behind me boring holes into my back and I turn around to gaze one last time at the hellhole. It hadn't been the worst one, but there had been too many shoddy nights and hostile social workers for the orphanage to be considered a home. And, of course, there were those who had read my file and spread the flaming rumors... Thoughts pass behind my eyes like shadows, but the sun continues shining. I close my eyes and allow myself to indulge in the sun's presence for one last time. Somehow, I doubted that the Uchiha Mansion would permit its criminals to wander outside.
My brief taste of the sun is halted when some bold kid runs outside of the orphanage and pegs me with a carton of milk. The cold milk is almost refreshing on a hot summer day like this, but I can't brush off the humiliation. Was this the price for making enemies, for hating a system that had hated me for so long?
I couldn't take this anymore.
The laughter of the whole orphanage rings in my head as I pluck the offensive material from my hair. A streak of milk drips down my cheek, a symbol of all the frustrated tears that I'll never shed.
"Naruto? Are you all right?"
I blankly stare as the adult in front of me offer a towel. His concerned face is out place in a crowd full of security guards and orphans, so I shake my head with a sneer. "Don't fuck with me, all right. You saw what happened with the old lady. I'm not in the mood."
He raises an eyebrow then points to his nametag. "My name is Iruka and I have no idea what you're talking about. So, please, take the towel."
I growl, softly, under my breath. I was sick of foster workers and their pathetic attempts to temper my actions. Would this one take advantage of my file? Or would he pretend to care before giving up?
Iruka's ponytail bobs as he shakes his head. "I see you've left me no choice, then."
I frown from the grim words, tensing my shoulders. I'm prepared to deal with Iruka's harsh insults or pinches that'll leave subtle bruises, but I'm definitely not prepared for the towel thrown over my head.
"..Ow, what the hell! Stop.. cleaning my.. pffhtt.. hair!"
Iruka ignores my squirming body and continues happily rubbing my hair against the towel. He even has the nerve to start whistling. "Now, now, Naruto, don't be such a baby. We don't want you smelling terribly before you even step foot in the Mansion, now, do we?"
I snarl, but he only presses me closer to his body. Bit by bit, the stench of rotten milk fades away as Iruka continues cleaning me. Even though it goes against my character, I eventually get used to the strangely intimate position and even feel a bit drowsy after minutes have gone by. Damn paternal actions and their ability to calm people. Damn them. Iruka finally finishes and plucks the towel off my head with a quiet 'Voila.' I gulp fresh air through my mouth, while glaring at Iruka's grin.
Stupid. Only a stupid person would have done that.
His grin matches his simple appearance, while the corner of his mouth twitches. Everything about him is relaxed, from the way he's waving his arms all the way to the casual clothes that he has on. His eyes, though, are the most interesting features. They're honest, much too honest for someone who works for the system. I turn my head, unable to cope with this unfamiliar trait in an unfamiliar man. The bitter taste of milk forces me to spit into the ground.
Just because Iruka wasn't scared of me didn't mean he was different. He could still want me dead, wasting on the Island. Before I can go further with my thoughts, Iruka intervenes, with a laidback smile.
"As one of your group counselors, I'll be your escort to the Uchiha Mansion. This means-"
He gently shoves me into the car that will take me to my next destination. "-that I'm responsible for your actions before we even step foot in the Mansion. So, no trouble, all right?"
He climbs into the car with me and slams the door. I cross my arms and glare at him, uncomfortable with the proximity between our two bodies. The windows trickle sweat, as if to mock the fact that I would be plastered to another human for a good three hours. The driver and Iruka take a moment to chat about the weather and it takes all of my willpower not to hit them both in the face. The weather wasn't going anywhere, goddammit. They seem to notice my flushed face, because the driver finally grins.
"Where to, Iruka-san?"
Iruka glances at me briefly then replies. "Konoha Village."
Even though the heat is suffocating, I still shudder from the mention of my birthplace. My escape to the States had temporarily solved my problems, but now that I was going back to the place where it had all started... I half-close my eyes, lost in drenching memories and the sticky sweat in my hair.
The driver turns towards us and his ruddy cheeks and huge grin remind me of Santa Claus. A sweating Santa Claus. How fucking ironic.
"All right, then! To the airport!"
A puzzled look crosses Santy's face and he sniffs twice. "Hey-uh.. What's that smell?"
Red spots flare over my cheeks and I growl, ignoring Iruka's laughter. "Just start the damn car."
"Naruto, would you kindly look at my face when I'm talking to you?"
I grunt and continue looking out the window in the airport to take a closer look at the airplane that will transport me to my birthplace, my hometown, my past.
"You have a terrible temperament. I hope Uchiha Mansion will shape you up, make you see that everyone isn't out to get you. Hey! For the thousandth time, I am TALKING to you."
I abruptly turn away from the window to scoff at the red-faced Iruka. "And I'm fucking listening. Get over yourself, old man."
I'm about to continue, but I'm stopped by a cuff on the side of my head. I wince as I rub the sore spot on my head and frown at the bull-like Iruka in front of my face.
"Oooh, Uzumaki Naruto, I am NOT an old man! If this is the way you treat Uchiha Sasuke or any of the other faculty in Uchiha Mansion, I will personally buy your boat ticket to the Island!"
My eyes widen. None of the counselors were allowed to mention the Island. The Island was supposed to be one of the best-kept secrets of Konoha, but here Iruka was, blatantly disregarding the golden rule. Didn't he know that the government had banned all talks of the Island, the same Island that I was destined to?
"Yes, I said the ISLAND! Don't look at me like I don't know what I'm talking about. Everyone knows that all you orphans give up and practically drag yourselves to an Island that no one should go through. And goddammit, I AM NOT OLD."
I dodge the spittle from Iruka's mouth and casually inspect my nails. "You wouldn't know anything about the Island. And only an old person would be so embarrassed about their age."
"One more nasty comment on my exuberant youth and I will throttle you."
"Exubera- what kind of social worker are you? I'll file a complaint for abuse if you keep making these threats." I make a face at the ridiculous behavior of my new group counselor.
Iruka frowns at me and finally sits back in his seat next to me. I tense and wait for another shouting lecture in my ear. After all, complaints against a counselor were a huge deal. Orphanages couldn't afford to lose their perfect exterior. Of course, it wasn't like Iruka had to worry. He didn't know that all of my complaints were never answered nor looked at, because of who I was. Why fix a problem for an orphan who was destined for extermination?
In the eyes of authority, I was always the problem.
An awkward silence follows and I keep my eye on the airplane slowly backing up into our direction. According to Iruka, our private jet airplane had been covered by Uchiha Sasuke, the owner of the Uchiha Mansion. Uchiha Sasuke's name repeatedly popped up whenever Iruka spoke to me about my new destination, but I had no interest for a balding egomaniac with selfish intentions. Every owner of a group home was corrupt; they all either tried to assuage their guilty and rich consciences by doing a selfless thing or wanted to show off the 'orphan kids' to their colleagues.
Iruka coughs and I catch a glimpse of yellow in his hands.
Everything from my first massacre to my schizophrenia diagnosis was in that little folder. Of course, my personal favorites were all the reports from various counselors and orphans who gave reasons for my immediate extermination. Even after seventeen years of this, I still can't shove away the hurt that can only result from watching countless of people, some of whom I had trusted, betray me for bribes and attention.
I shift into a defensive posture with my arms crossed when Iruka finally slams the file shut and gives me a hard stare. He knew the truth now, or what he thought was the truth, but I had already given him the benefit of the doubt. Second chances were over. Now I would give him the satisfaction of black and white, of good and evil.
I don't care anymore, because I couldn't afford to.
I raise an eyebrow and grin defiantly to counter Iruka's serious face. "So what's it going to be, old man? You read my file. Are you disgusted? You could shove me off the airplane. No one would know. Well actually I'm pretty sure the pilot will, so you'll have to take care of that."
"Oh, I'm sorry, was that too blunt? You must be one of those sneakier counselors, so I'll help you out. A subtler method would be to write a letter to the Committee, talking about how I tried to dope you with heroin, which according to that slip of paper besides you, is my favorite drug. Add in a sprinkle of rape and you'll have the perfect-"
I stop, mid-speech. Iruka looks unfazed and I realize that he hasn't been affected by anything I've said. In fact, he's been utterly unfazed even while reading my file.
"Don't do this to yourself." His voice is soft and I can't remember the last time someone's talked to me like this. Like I'm fragile, easily broken.
"It's disgusting to hear you fake notoriety and dismiss pain with jokes. But the worst part is knowing that you've said this to everyone and that, so far, it's worked."
Kindness is a stranger. I clench my hands and bite back the urge to show Iruka the things I can't fake, like the anger from hearing him talk as if he knew who I was. No one knew what my past consisted of and I wouldn't waste life trying to find someone who would. My past was over and I never wanted to revisit it again.
I sneer at Iruka and laugh. "You're fucking sick, you know that? You think you can fool me with your goody-goody act? You want me there, in the Island, and anything else you say is a fucking lie."
Without looking to see his reaction, I get up and march out of the airport building. The sun is still in the sky, causing any sort of cool air to wither and dry up. I sink both hands into my hair and pace, growling under my breath. I didn't want help. I was determined to survive by myself because it was my life that I had control of.
I hadn't trusted anyone in years, not since my years in Konoha. My stay in the U.S. had been one of empty nights and spiteful glares from complete strangers, but at least I had been safe from betrayal. And I'd be damned if I let anyone interfere into that sort of control again.
The door behind me opens and I inwardly curse my bad luck. I didn't think I could handle Iruka's prodding eyes and the sweltering temperature without going insane. Iruka walks towards my side, following my eyes to the small airplane that will carry me to a place of threat and misery.
It's weird but I think I can almost see Iruka's hand waver as he reaches to lightly touch my shoulder. His words are soft, hesitant. "I-I want to help, Naruto. You can't push everyone away."
I feel tired and the years pass through my fingers. "But I don't want to go."
He sighs, before saying what's unnecessary. "I know."
The thick air nods its assent and we both walk towards the airplane, taking care not to tread on the immeasurable and unspoken gap between us.
His report is one of the worst I've seen. Bad family background, prostitution, a warrant from the government, and countless numbers of uncharged murders. I don't care, though, what a sheet of paper tells me. It's the streak of loneliness that gives the truth. I can see myself in him.
His heart is closed off for now and I suspect that this has something to do with the Gaara character in his file. Is it a bad sign that Uchiha Mansion is located in the very place where Naruto lost his soul?
He's been in twelve group homes and eleven foster homes. Let's just hope Uchiha Mansion will be the final destination.
AN: Thank you so much for reading! For those of you who liked the original version, I'm sorry for chopping off UnWanted. Please take my humble apologies.
I went back to DA and discovered that everything was much too wordy. So I cut out a bunch of paragraphs and revised the revision, so to speak. :)