Chapter One - Chibi Guide
Naruto sighed, looking down at his feet as he kicked them back and forth through the air, not sure what to think about what his beloved Iruka had just told him.
"Naruto?" The young man looked down at his friend, smiling at the sight of the pouting chibi. "I know, you hate having to visit the Hokage, but he requested your help. He needs you there, okay?" The boy nodded, then looked up at his only friend.
"Hah! The Hokage needs my help! Plus I'll meet someone new!" A bright smile lit the chubby, childish face, and the blonde began to wonder what the youngest son of the Kazekage would be like...
The Sandaime nodded as he finished off his letter to the Kazekage living in the Village of Sand. The man had to come visit for a small meeting over a trivial matter, and had insisted upon bringing his youngest child with him, making it sound like the boy was somehow unable to stay in his own village alone. And so, the Hokage had sent his best jounin to find out about the boy, Gaara. What he had learned had shocked him. The boy was also a carrier of a demon, and as unwilling as Naruto had been. He had also suffered at the hands of his fellow villagers, just as the blonde had. It was upon getting this information that the elder man had written to the younger, assuring him that he knew the perfect person to help his son around the village during the meeting.
A small smile formed on his lips as he leaned back in his seat, looking out the window towards the monument carved in the mountain nearby. Naruto and Gaara would no doubt benefit from meeting someone just like themselves.
A couple of weeks later, a red-haired boy clutched at his beloved teddy bear as he looked around the room. His uncle had promised that he would be safe, and that a member of Konohagakure had sworn to show him around and protect him. The little boy was nervous, but also a little excited. None of these people knew him. They didn't know what he was! They might actually be nice to him! Gaara watched the door, now anxious to see who his guide for the nexttwo days would be. As he waited and watched, his ears straining for any hint of sound, he heard a very familiar statement that chilled him to the bone.
"What's that monster doing here! Hokage-sama didn't send for him!" Gaara's eyes widened even more when he realized that they weren't talking about HIM. Which meant...
The door slammed open, shocking him from his thoughts, and he focused on a small boy, about his own age, with blonde hair and a bright smile aimed at him. HIM, Sabaku no Gaara. The monster of his village! The boy blinked, revealing bright blue eyes, and stepped forward, waving a hand in his new friend's face.
"Hello?" Gaara tore his eyes from the strange markings on the boy's face and focused on speaking to him.
"H-Hello. Who are you?" The boy's grin returned full-force.
"Naruto Uzumaki! Don't let what those ladies said scare you! I'm not a monster, really!" With that, the blonde reached out and snatched up his new friend's hand, leading him out to the bustling village that began to look far too familiar to the young Sand child. And he knew why, too. Even though Naruto had dismissed it, or perhaps didn't notice, the people here were acting the same as Gaara had always seen them. They backed away, pulled their children closer, and whispered behind their hands to each other. Gaara's ever-present sand began to swirl around his feet, and he unconsciously moved closer to the one who had been assigned as his guide. The blonde noticed this, and turned to look at the gossipers, sticking out his tongue at them before grabbing the red-head's hand and pulling him away from them and towards a restaurant stand whose sign said "Ichiraku".
"Iruka-sensei!" The boy waved excitedly at a young brunette who was striding toward them, a long scar crossing over the bridge of his nose. Gaara noticed the warm, friendly smile being sent in their direction, and smiled back shyly. Already he liked this place. A boy his age who wasn't afraid or disgusted by him, and an obviously nice young man that seemed to be a friend to the boy. His smile faded as he remembered why they weren't running from him in fear, though. They didn't know what he was. Once they knew, they would never go near him again. It was always like that. And he hated it. He wished, more than anything else, to have friends like these people, like Naruto, and the man he called Iruka.
"You mean it! You're going to treat us both to Ramen!" The blonde bounced happily and grabbed Gaara's hands, doing a funny dance before pulling him towards the Ramen stand. As they sat down, Gaara noticed the other customers seemed to move away, but the owner didn't seem to mind.
"My favorite customers! And you've brought a guest!" He grinned and nodded to them. "So, the normal 5 bowls for Naruto, one for you, Iruka-sensei, and how many for your guest?" The man smiled kindly at the desert child as he shyly requested one bowl. The man sighed, as though disappointed, and Gaara began to worry. "And here I hoped you'd have had as big an appetite as our infamous Naruto here!" With that, he turned and began to prepare the food, oddly adding in a few extra pieces of what appeared to be a white loaf with pink swirls in it, into his guide's bowls.
When Naruto saw this, he blinked and laughed, and Iruka lifted a piece from his own bowl and waved it at Naruto before eating it. When they noticed the confused look on the other boy's face, Iruka sent him another warm smile.
"This," he said, lifting another piece of the food, "Is a slice of fish cake. It's called a 'naruto'. So sometimes we like to pick on Naruto for being named after a fish cake." Said boy began to pout, and stuck his tongue out at the back of his friend.
"At least I'm not named 'Dolphin'!" A blush covered the skin around the scar, and Iruka laughed softly, accepting the joke. Gaara relaxed and began to eat, smiling a little to himself. He couldn't help but wonder... What did his name mean?
After they finished eating, and the youngest of the group got done staring in shock at the sheer amount of soup his new friend was able to eat, Iruka continued the tour of the village with them, and Gaara noticed that less people glared their way, and the whispers were better hidden.
He really wished he lived here, with Naruto and Iruka.
He wished they would still be his friends when they learned the truth.
Well! Um.. Yeah! There's my first chapter! And trust me, I'm doing all the research I can so that I can bring in their teenage lives in later chapters! Tell me what you think, ok? And flames will be used to toast my marshmallows, so don't bother with them, k? I don't like toasted marshmallows much...