A/N: Just finished chapter 285 of the manga. Sigh… what Naruto says when comparing Sasuke and Sai… oh Kishimoto, you tease us so…
This would have to be a crack fic, there's nothing else it could be. The title makes me laugh. The idea came to me about 1:00 last night, but I had to go to bed because I had work in the morning.
Disclaimer: I don't own it.
Rating: PG-13 Why? Because I'm pretty sure there's a swear word or five in here somewhere.
Warnings: Crack, pure, sweet crack. Fluff? This fic may waste your time, it's kind of dumb. Yet I make my return debut with it.
Pairings: Itachi and Naruto FRIENDSHIP
Naruto sat at his desk, pen tapping against his lip thoughtfully. He had to word this just right. Unfortunately, he was never much good with words, so he was basically screwed.
He briefly considered asking Sakura for help, but she would probably try to have him committed. She would eventually get the reason out of him for what this was for. Then she'd have him put in a straight jacket.
It wouldn't be completely unjustified.
He thought about asking Sasuke for help, but aside from the fact that the Uchiha was not a very vocal person (Naruto suspected this was because the boy's vocabulary was stunted), the trip to Sound Village was a long one. Besides, he had heard that they weren't very receptive of visitors, especially from Konoha.
Tsunade was busy, Jiraiya was too preoccupied being a pervert, Iruka would pry, Kakashi was mildly insane… which might work to his advantage in this.
He ran through his list of people that could help.
Shikamaru was too lazy, Ino too girly. Chouji… didn't seem like the type, to be honest. Neji… too Neji, besides, the Hyuuga would probably deem it a waste of time anyway, and would adamantly refuse if he was given enough information otherwise. Lee was far too weird. Then again, this was extraordinarily weird. Tenten was probably too forceful. Kiba was just plain unhelpful. Shino never talked, so he doubted he'd really get much feedback. Hinata was too shy to ever say anything to him, anyway. Which left no one.
Well, he did have an awful lot of roguish charm, maybe he could pull something off.
Leaning back in his chair, he thought some more.
Thinking made him hungry.
Half an hour later, he was back at his desk. Time to wrack his brain for something useful. Think, think, think. Too much thinking on a full stomach made him sleepy.
The next morning when he woke up at his desk, refreshed and soon to be clear-headed enough to get to work on his dilemma, he realized he had to go. Go down the hall and to the bathroom. He was also hungry again.
An hour later at the training grounds, because a rigorous work-out helped his mind work better, he thought of the first line.
Since that was enough work for one day, Naruto made his way to his favored ramen stand to celebrate the small victory against writer's block.
Six weeks later he finished the note and mailed it.
"Itachi-san, you have mail."
The Uchiha in question would have raised an eyebrow in surprise, if there wasn't anyone around to see. This was an unprecedented occurrence, seeing as he had killed everyone who was likely to send him anything, and alienated the one he had left alive.
Instead, he looked blankly at Deidara, who was holding a small, brown package. He took it without comment, and the blonde left him alone.
Senses on full alert, as he had many people who wished for his untimely demise, he looked over the parcel in his hands as he sought out his quarters. Candles lit the way enough to see, but not enough to read comfortably by, since the leader of Akatsuki thought it would be quite quaint to live in a cave.
After all, with their notorious dampness, cold, fungi, and blind mutant animals, who could resist? Not to mention the atmosphere. It was pure genius, obviously.
At least the living quarters tended to be more comfortable, or at least were equipped with dehumidifiers and more adequate lighting. He was extremely pleased that they had generators to support the florescent lighting. And fire pits. That was probably the most important, because it got really cold in caves.
Once in his room, the large, oddly shaped wooden door that was made to fit the opening of the small chamber shut, he made a closer inspection of the package.
Postmarked Konoha, Fire Country. No return address.
He detected nothing threatening about it, and if he was the one inspecting it, then there was nothing threatening about it. He was, after all, Uchiha Itachi, the greatest thing to come out of the clan since the sharingan itself, which, coincidentally, was causing him to go blind. Irony.
Fitting though, since he had caused the Uchiha clan to go extinct.
Unfortunately, the words weren't adequately illuminated for him to read them. The only way he had been able to read the postmark was that he recognized the leaf insignia on it, so it turns out, he really didn't read it.
Quickly getting up and stalking towards his door, he locked it. Once that task was completed, he walked over to his bed and crouched down (which was rather undignified, so he made it a point of never doing it when anyone could see, even if that did tend to make things more difficult, especially since he was going blind and certain things were difficult to see such as tracks on the ground and whatnot). Reaching underneath his bed, his hand fumbled sightlessly for a moment before coming into contact with the object he sought.
A handheld spotlight.
Seating himself on the edge of his bed, he turned the spotlight on to the package and carefully began to open it.
It revealed itself to be a wrapped present wrapped in brown shipping paper.
Some part of that seemed ironic.
It was a colorfully wrapped present, however. Which made it easier to see. He had recently begun to gain a liking for bright colors.
As meticulously as he had removed the brown paper, he removed the wrapping paper to reveal a box. A cardboard box, which was taped shut with packing tape. He could use the cardboard to start a fire in his insanely cold room.
Deftly grabbing a kunai, he opened the container.
Inside was a note.
It was scrawled messily, but looked as if someone had been doing a half-assed attempt at writing neat. The paper itself was plain white and unlined, as such, the script was crooked as it spilled on the page.
I thought you might like these, so I bought them for you.
Please don't use them to kill me.
Underneath the folded note was a pair of shiny new kunai.
Only one thought ran through Itachi's mind. 'What the hell?'
Followed belatedly by another, somewhat unrelated one. 'How the fuck did he get my address?'
It was a couple weeks later when Itachi received a similar package.
It was wrapped in the same manner so he used one of his gift kunais to open the box. They were nice kunais. Even Kisame had commented on them.
This time however, there was bubble wrap inside. Atop it lay a folded note.
Dear Close Friend,
I made this mix cd for you. I hope you smile when you listen to it.
Bizarre. The last gift was useful.
The next day another package arrived.
In case you don't have one, here's a cd player so you can listen to the mix cd.
I've included batteries.
That was just plain weird.
"Lord Orochimaru, Lord Sasuke," the nin acknowledged both before delivering his information, "It has recently come to our attention that Uchiha Itachi has been receiving packages from someone in Konoha."
Sasuke in particular perked up at this news, it was more interesting than the scroll he had been reading.
"Upon further investigation, we have determined that they are originating from an Uzumaki Naruto. We don't know why."
"Are Konoha and Akatsuki allying?" Orochimaru demanded, a sinking feeling beginning to grow in his chest.
"Why do you say that?" the snake sannin asked, eyes narrowing suspiciously.
"The packages have so far contained a pair of kunai, nice ones, with good balance, and a handwritten note stating that they are kunais and that they are intended for Uchiha Itachi."
"To kill him with?" Sasuke asked. After all, if he was going to send his brother some kunais, in the included note, he would say: These are so you can kill yourself.
"No, for general purpose use. The note was reportedly 'friendly'."
At the confused looks on Sound's finest, the messenger went on.
"The next package contained another handwritten note in the same manner and a mix cd. The cd is said to be well thought out and touching, according to an Umino Iruka who had listened to it so that he might give his opinion on it. He did not know who it was intended for."
"A… mix cd?" Orochimaru tried to grasp an understanding of why anyone would give something like that to Itachi.
"Yes. The next day it was followed with a cd player and a supply of batteries."
"Do you have a course of action for us to take?"
Orochimaru stumbled over his thoughts for a moment before answering.
"No. I think it would be better for us not to get involved."
Sasuke remained silent, a bewildered look on his face as he realized that he maybe should have killed the blonde when he had the chance and saved everyone a headache.
Apparently Naruto had gone stark-raving mad in his absence.
Naruto walked aimlessly through Konoha with his hands in his pockets. It was his day off. In recognition of that, he had decided to invite Kakashi to lunch so he could not bother showing up to get back at the copynin for always being late. He knew it was Kakashi's day off too, and it wasn't like the man had anywhere to be.
In fact he had checked.
The man had absolutely nowhere else to be.
He wondered if Kakashi had ever realized that he had specifically asked Tsunade not to give him any assignments today, or that he had gone through the trouble of checking his appointment book.
Oh… wait… he had used that against Kakashi when he had got the jounin to agree to go to lunch.
He'd probably end up at the Hatake residence around suppertime with take-out because he'd end up feeling the barest hint of guilt, but mostly because he'd be hungry and neither one of them ever had supper with other people often.
That, and he liked exploiting the fact that he knew where the man lived.
Although he had to ask Gai for the information, which led to a long speech that he tuned out and the rest of the day wasted on 'actively' realizing the wonders of youth. It was probably worse that Lee was there and the two spent an unreasonable amount of the time bursting out into tears.
He had some idea of what Neji and Tenten had to put up with, at least.
Seeing a stone in his path, he kicked it ahead of him.
When he came to it a few feet later, he kicked it again.
He could probably go on all day in this manner, but that seemed pointless.
Sighing, he stretched his arms above his head before shoving them in his pockets again. He had already trained. He had just finished eating… sans Kakashi. He smiled deviantly at that.
His apartment was only moderately messy.
"I'm not bored enough to clean it anyway," he mumbled to himself.
It was a nice day for a stroll at any rate.
That was when his eye caught on the window of a particular shop. His eyes widened and a bright smile spread across his face.
Kakashi waited at the restaurant for twenty minutes before ordering. He had yakitori and it was very delicious. His only regret was that he could not pass the check on to Naruto. An hour later, he left, unable to get very annoyed at the blonde for never showing.
He was the last person who could really point fingers.
Dear Best Friend,
I was walking around Konoha today and saw this. I've been calling him 'Friendship Duck', but you can call him whatever you want.
Sincerely Your Friend,
Itachi looked at the wooden box with holes drilled in it. From inside a ruffling of feathers and a loud quack sounded.
He went to the end of his bed where a large oak chest was. Releasing a jutsu that kept it locked, he opened it and briefly rifled through its contents until he grabbed a crowbar.
Putting the tool to good use, he liberated the animal from its confinement.
It was a white duck with a red ribbon around its neck like a collar. It didn't even thrash, as if it were used to the whole setup, and after realizing it was free, waddled over to Itachi and looked up at him.
Itachi looked down at it with red eyes.
The animal in question, apparently satisfied, turned its attention away and began to nip lightly at the spot where its wing joined its body.
The Akatsuki member put the crowbar back and took out a scroll to read.
Dear Best Friend Forever,
I found this book on spelunking. Since you live in a cavernous area, I thought you might find it interesting.
Sincerely Your Best Friend,
Was it presumptuous for the boy to assume he was the Uchiha's best friend?
The book in his hands showed a picture of the inside of a cave on the cover, underneath the title, Spelunking: A History of Cave Exploration.
Staring at the book for a moment, he reached over and turned on his cd player, putting the headphones on as Lean on Me started playing, the first track on the cd Naruto had made. Idly, he skimmed through the book, using his new kunai to flip through the pages while the duck hunkered at his feet.
Kisame wondered if he should really say anything about whatever was going on between his partner and the kyuubi brat. Of course, by now, everyone in the Akatsuki organization had more or less heard the gist of it. They were all, however, completely mystified.
As for Itachi, he wasn't saying anything about it, but then, he never said much to begin with. No one was about to ask him, either.
It could definitely lead to a conflict of interest, if this were anyone but Uchiha Itachi. Especially since they were supposed to kidnap the kid and drag him back one of these days.
Except that Itachi had been repeatedly seen listening to a cd player while a duck trailed him around. Not to mention he had recently taken an interest in spelunking, which was all well and good, since they lived in a cave and it was prudent to be aware of one's surroundings. However, it was very strange, and Kisame had never known Itachi to be the type to really get into exploring. Or take interest in things.
Well, he was already aware of his partner's less than stable mindset, so he didn't particularly feel like raising concerns. Also, this was more of a small, slightly concerning issue, in that he really couldn't bring himself to care that much.
Besides, it was something entertaining for once.
"A book on spelunking?" Orochimaru repeated, in question format.
There was a slight pause.
"What's spelunking again?" the snake sannin asked. For some reason, it didn't come to mind. This might be because he had never known to begin with.
"Oh, right, right. I remember now." He didn't remember because he was just now learning it.
In the background, Sasuke parried a blow against Kabuto. The boy was concentrating very hard on not looking like he was eavesdropping. Kabuto had more practice at it, so he was doing a better job.
"A book and a chicken?" Sound's leader frowned, trying to figure out if the kyuubi brat had completely lost it or just had a very warped sense of humor. Or did a warped sense of humor come with going completely insane? He didn't know for certain, because to his credit, he was only mildly crazy.
"Why a duck?"
"We don't know, sir. We were trying to analyze any meaning behind it and found none."
"Perhaps there is no meaning," Kabuto said, loud enough for them to hear. It wasn't as if they weren't aware he had been listening in, after all. He did it all the time.
"Are you saying there's no point to any of this?" Orochimaru questioned, a new scenario forming in his mind.
"Yes," Kabuto answered, releasing a jutsu that paralyzed the muscles in Sasuke's leg, only to jump back as a volley of shuriken flew at him, grazing his arm, barely missing severe nerve damage.
"What the hell is that brat thinking?" the sannin asked aloud, unconsciously voicing everyone's thoughts.
Jiraiya held his head in his hands, wondering what he had done to deserve such an idiot student. Not that the spying on bathing women, unnecessarily risking the lives of his students, or his many other vices counted for anything.
He had recently become aware of the packages Naruto had been periodically sending out.
A part of him wondered how he had got the address. Another part wondered at the fact that the Akatsuki had mail service.
If he wasn't so drunk, he might actually go find the blonde and beat the crap out of him.
As it was, he wasn't currently sure which direction Konoha was in, and the world was tilting far too sporadically for him to make any decent progress on navigating his way there.
"Hey bartender… which… which way is Konoha?" Damn it! Didn't he just decide he was too trashed to go anywhere?
The man looked at him oddly.
"Sir, you're in Konoha."
Ah. That would explain why the village looked so familiar.
It would also explain why he had a lovely view of the Hokage mountain.
Stupid brat, making him get up to stumble through the streets looking for him so he could beat the crap out of him.
Naruto opened his front door, stepping over the slumbering body of his sensei as he went off to the post office. He had a package to send out.
Briefly, he thought about at least throwing a blanket over the toad sannin, but the old pervert got what he deserved. Though why the old man had chosen his doorstep to sleep off his intoxication was a matter of slight confusion, but of no real interest to him at the moment.
He had a few hours with nothing to do before a short mission that afternoon. Nothing that would take him out of the village, just a punishment type of mission from Tsunade.
It involved paperwork, but he didn't mind too much, since it involved filing reports and every once in a while he would come across one that talked about some new jutsu he had never heard of or creative ways that his fellow ninjas had defeated their enemies.
Those were the things he memorized and later, especially with the jutsus, tried to recreate. Sometimes it didn't result in personal injury.
When he actually got one to work, he usually added his own twist and thus increased his arsenal. It was the kind of studying he didn't mind, mostly because he was sure he wasn't supposed to be doing it.
He took the roundabout way to the post office, skirting along the trees at the edges of the village.
It was the scenic route, but that was fine, because today was another one of those days where he felt he would rather bash himself with a rock than have to deal with the people of the village. Some days he just woke up like that.
A sudden 'quack' made him nearly stumble over himself. Stopping, he looked in the direction that the noise had come from. Inexplicably, that fact that a duck's quack doesn't echo ran through his mind, which was fine, because there had been no echo.
He supposed that meant it was a real duck.
It took only a moment for the blonde to notice the man who was watching him with some interest.
The man had for the moment, abandoned his Akatsuki cloak and was instead dressed in much the same manner as any of Konoha's jounin. Except he was wearing headphones and had a duck with him.
"Naruto," he acknowledged.
There was an awkward pause for a moment.
"Why are you here?"
"You sent me those gifts."
At the slightly less confused look, Itachi did something he rarely did. He explained further. "No one has ever done that for me before."
"Ah. You're welcome."
Naruto quickly remembered the package in his hand, and held it out to Itachi. The man accepted and in a sort of languid eagerness that he had spent some time perfecting, he opened it up.
It was a set of grappling hooks.
"I was going to write a note to go with them and tape it to the box at the post office, but they're grappling hooks, because, well, you just never know," Naruto explained.
Itachi nodded. Then he spoke again.
"I'm here to take you out to ramen."
Naruto's eyes lit up and sparkled. Itachi would have smiled slightly in amusement, if there wasn't anyone around to see.
"Come on, Friendship Duck," Itachi said to his animal accompaniment.
With the duck in tow, they headed off to a ramen stand. As the two ate their meal that day, it was the beginning of a strong and lasting friendship between two best friends.
A/N: To explain my long absence… it's been about seven months… Jeez, that's longer than I thought. I've reviewed rarely and sporadically… Anyway, I was in a military tech school for approximately four months. When that was over in September, I spent a few weeks adjusting to being back and starting work again, only to come down with mono! All right! So that lasted about two months… I've started feeling better this week. I have some energy now and I'm not sleeping a literal sixteen hours a day. Instead it's more like eleven or twelve.
Also this fic should have been done almost a week ago, but I kept writing myself into corners. Especially at the end, for days, there were maybe ten lines for me to write to finish it, but I didn't. Until now.