YAY! The last chapter! WOOT! Well...not much to say here...it gets a little sad for like a paragraph, but then it's better! WEE! That'sabout it...have fun! And thanks for the reviews!
Chapter 3: Yet Another Two Years...
Iruka sat idly on a stool at the Ichiraku stand, twirling a chopstick around with his fingers. Now that Naruto was four years old, he didn't get to spend as much time with him. Iruka chucked the chopstick into the empty bowl next to him and sighed heavily. He had gotten so used to having to take care of Naruto, or go on a mission, that having a day off was extremely boring. He didn't find much of it relaxing at all.
Iruka stood up and left the amount due on the counter and stepped out into the sunlight. The warmth of the rays felt comforting on his tan skin, and helped lighten up his restless muscles. He needed something to do. He wanted something to do.
"I guess I can just walk around…" he mumbled to himself, allowing his feet to carry him off to where ever they wanted.
Before long, he realized he had walked out towards a large grassy field. The lush green grass moved back and forth in the wind; creating a wavy look. At one of the field, a group of children played, tossing a bright red ball back forth to one another. The other end was empty. Iruka glanced at the children and smiled, but decided he wanted to just sit under the shade a rather large tree that occupied the empty end.
Iruka plopped down on the ground, placing his hands behind his head and leaning against the tree. "I will enjoy my day off!" he told himself. While he didn't know if he actually would, he knew he was going to try. Iruka closed his eyes, and let the warm summer breeze sweep past him and carry him into a slumber.
The sound of children laughing, seemingly directed at something this time, woke him. They had moved a little closer and stood around something. Iruka's face turned to a puzzled expression as the children pointed at something in the center of them all. He stood and brushed himself and decided to see what was going on. As he got a little closer, he could see the shape of something; from what he could tell, it was another child. The only difference was that the child was huddled over, knees drawn up and crying. When Iruka was only a few feet away, he could see spiky blond hair sticking up above the tiny hunched over shoulders.
"Hey!" Iruka yelled. All of the children jumped and looked up at him. He shoved past them and saw his fear was confirmed. The child was Naruto. Iruka bent down on his knees; placing a hand on Naruto's back. Naruto just let out another sob. Iruka snapped his head up and looked fiercely at all the children around him. "All of you! Get out of here now!" The children squealed and dispersed.
"Naruto, are you all right?" Iruka asked, turning his head to the side, trying to see Naruto's face, which was buried in his arms. "Did they hurt you?" Naruto's shoulders quivered and he shook his head slowly. Iruka stared closely just to make sure the four year old was telling the truth. The only sign was a little scuff on Naruto's knee.
"…Ruka…" Naruto's muffled voice began. "Why are the other kids so mean to me?"
Iruka felt his heart sink. He couldn't tell the boy about Kyuubi, not that he wanted to anyway. He thought hard, trying to come up with something to say to comfort the little blond boy who was now staring at him with watery blue eyes.
"They…just don't understand," he began. "They'll understand one day, Naruto. And they won't be mean to you anymore," Iruka smiled, hoping he made Naruto feel better.
"Really?" Naruto sniffed. Iruka gave him a reassuring nod. Naruto used the back of his hand and wiped away the tears that had still clung to his face. Iruka could see that even with what he said, the four year old was still upset. An idea flashed into his mind and he smiled even bigger.
"Hey Naruto, have you ever had ramen?" he asked.
"…" Naruto gave him a confused look. "What's that?"
"Come on, I'll get you some," he helped the boy up to his feet and held his hand as they walked back towards the Ichiraku stand.
Naruto's short legs swung back and forth from the stool, occasionally kicking the side of the counter making little thumps. He fidgeted around some more, becoming a little impatient on this so called fantastic ramen Iruka had told him about.
"Here ya go," Ayane, the ramen shop's daughter sat two bowls down in front of them, one larger than the other. Iruka didn't think Naruto could handle a giant bowl, seeing as how he was only four. (Note: I'm not sure if that's how you spell her name…it's either Ayane or Ayame…)
"Do you need some help?" Iruka asked, as he saw Naruto viciously biting his chopsticks trying to break them apart. "Here," he reached over and plucked the bite marked chopsticks out of Naruto's little hands and broke them apart. "Now, just twirl them around until you have enough noodles of them and enjoy!"
Naruto stabbed at the noodles and violently twirled them around, gathered a large clump of noodles and shoved them all in his mouth. Iruka gaped at him, but only ended up laughing when his eyes lit up and he quickly began to inhale the rest of his ramen.
"Ruka! Dis iff ureal guuu!" Naruto said with mouth full noodles, and a few stray ones hanging from his mouth. Iruka laughed, some how knowing that Naruto was trying to say it was good.
"I'm glad you like it," he said, as he ate some of his own ramen. Iruka was glad that he helped Naruto in some way; it was much better than his day off. Though a worry began to grow in the back of his mind. A worry and fear of how the children really might continue to treat Naruto. But the least he could do for the boy was help take care of him and pray, that one day, people would understand and respect Naruto; just like he had.
Iruka finally realized that he really did respect the boy, and that disdain he had against him when he was just a baby was gone.