An Introspective on Ramen

Summary: Naruto had always hated the color orange…

Most kids came home each day after school to two smiling parents, and a pair of laughing brothers and sisters that would run to them asking them excitedly how their days was; but not Naruto. Naruto never had a father to follow in the footsteps of. He had never had a mother to hold him tight when he was sad, or to fix him his favorite food each night. And never before had he known what it was like to have a younger sibling that wanted to be just like you. Naruto had never been tucked in and given a kiss at night, and never had he heard the words "I love you" directed towards him. It wasn't how a child was supposed to grow up, but it was how Naruto grew up, and even though it was all he ever knew, he was yet resentful of it.

Each week a town official would drop by his house to give him a weekly allowance that was issued by the government to all orphans. The money that he was given wasn't much; it truly wasn't a sufficient amount to live off of, but Naruto made it work. He always bought things second hand, and as cheap as he could to help cut costs, but he swore to himself that someday he would live a better life then that; and so he made it his dream to become a successful ninja in order to achieve that dream and gain a steady, good income. And so he ate ramen each day because it was cheap, and quick to make, so that he would have plenty of time to train so that he could get out of the life he had been forced into.

One of the biggest problems however for young Naruto, was supplies. Few ninja supply stores were willing to sell anything to him, and even less were willing to sell him anything that was priced remotely reasonably. So Naruto bought blunt kunai for the price of regular kunai, and he got dull shuriken that he would sharpen on his own. His house contained only the bare-necessities of life, and was sparsely decorated and furnished. As for his clothing, everything Naruto owned was baggy and bright, and most of it was orange. Naruto had always hated the color orange, simply because it represented the villager's resentment towards him. The only thing that the clothing stores ever seemed to have whenever he came around were oversized and orange, and Naruto wasn't so stupid as to not realize why; they hoped that the bright color would make him an easy target for the enemies spot, making it easier to kill him. But he'd show them. He'd prove to the entire village that he was strong and worthy of respect!

The first time Naruto discovered what the Hokage was, he knew that that was his dream. He'd become Hokage, and then everyone would have to sit up and notice him, and give him the respect he deserved! He'd show them all, and one day he'd be Uzumaki Naruto: Hokage of the Hidden Leaf Village. And at first, he dreamed of obtaining the position and using it to seek revenge on those who had hurt and ignored him in the past, but that had been the old Naruto, and the old Naruto had gone away the moment Umino Iruka stepped into his life.

Iruka had been an unexpected factor in Naruto's life. After all, Naruto had expected to grow up a vengeful loner, but then the man had stepped unexpectedly into his life with his arms wide open. Iruka had been the first one to do that; the first one to open his arms to Naruto, the first one to smile just for Naruto, and to care about his well-being. And it was with Iruka that for the first time Naruto actually started liking ramen, because before it had been just something cheap to fill his stomach. Now, it was a love that he and Iruka had in common. At that time, Naruto stopped hating orange too, because Iruka had smiled and told him that it suited him. It was then that the old Naruto faded away, and all ideas of vengeance and revenge were erased from the sunny boy's mind. But one thing would never change about his dream to become Hokage: though he wouldn't do so for revenge, he would become Hokage still to make Iruka proud, and to prove all those who had ever doubted him wrong. He'd show them all that we was someone; someone special. He'd make them all believe in him as Iruka now did.

And while the villagers still glared at him, and while he still lived off of just a little money, and had to buy orange suits and instant ramen, there was a picture on his bedside table of him and Iruka-sensei standing beside each other smiling. He wasn't sure what a father was supposed to be, but if he had to guess, he would say that Iruka came pretty darn close to being what a father should be.

Naruto smiled foxily and pulled on his goggles: today was going to be his first day at the Ninja Academy, and he was going to show everyone what he could do. Someday he'd be Hokage, and someday… his walls would be full of smiling faces smiling smiles that were just for him, all silently saying "We believe in you too", because really, that was what Naruto's greatest desire really was: For the family he had never had, the love he had never received, and the recognition that he too was a living, breathing being. And so Naruto took a deep breath, and stepped out his door towards the future, and one step closer to attaining his ultimate dream.

A/N: Just a little Naruto piece I whipped up in honor of Naruto's birthday. (October 10th) Reviews are always appreciated. ;)