A/N: Happy birthday, Naruto! I hope it was great :smiles:
Disclaimer: Because it's Naruto's birthday, I won't try to steal Kiba, otherwise he wouldn't be present for said birthday. So, K. Masashi, you win. But just this once!
Happy Birthday, Naruto.
Happy Birthday, Naruto.
"I know, Tsunade-baba. I know what day it is."
"Then you know that—"
"I know, Tsunade-baba. Don't worry."
"Naruto, I just don't want to see you get hurt."
"Then you're one of the only ones." Naruto muttered before turning on his heel and exiting the room, his hands shoved deep in his pockets.
He hated that his birthday was the day he couldn't enjoy, or celebrate. He hated having to lie to his friends who didn't know about the Kyuubi and tell them he already had plans. But what he hated the most was the look Iruka gave him. The one where Naruto could tell he'd spend the day with him if he could, but he had to teach and keep watch over the village.
The celebration of the Kyuubi's demise was always a vulnerable time for the village, which was why all shinobi were to attend the festival and keep an eye out for trouble.
Naruto was used to this by now. Spending his birthday alone. He'd never been able to celebrate it, so at least he never missed the feeling of it. He'd never experienced it.
As he'd grown older, the villagers grew more vicious on his birthday, almost as if they resented him for still being alive. Two years ago, when he'd been sixteen, he'd run out of ramen, so he'd snuck to the store to buy some. He never made it to the store. He almost hadn't made it home, either, in his bloodied and beat up state. Had he not had the strength to drag himself back to his apartment, he probably would have died on that day. Naruto never made the same mistake again.
As the blond entered his decently tidy apartment—age changed people so much it was frightening—he kicked off his shoes and closed the door, zipping down his Chuunin vest and letting it slide off his shoulders. He caught it in his hand before draping it across the back of one of his kitchen chairs. He opened his fridge, then his cupboards, then his fridge again. Nodding, satisfied he'd be all right for the next day, he closed his fridge and headed for his room.
The blond fell onto his stomach on his bed with a sigh, closing his eyes. The sooner tomorrow came, the sooner it went away.
Naruto was jolted violently awake by the sound of something slamming against his front door. He ignored it, grabbing his pillow and covering his head with it. This was always how the day started. First, people would throw tomatoes and kunai at his door. Then, they'd scream outside his window and carve obscene words on his door. Then, they would get bored and leave for a while until they felt the need to remind him they hated his existence and wanted him to die.
The villagers had been forbidden from entering Naruto's apartment, the punishment for which was death. No one dared disobey the Hokage, but when Naruto left his apartment on this day, it was fair game, despite what the Hokage said.
"I admire you, you know." Naruto's eyes snapped open and he jerked up in bed, his pillow held tightly in his hands as he regarded the man sitting on the edge of his bed, looking towards his bedroom door. Naruto's hands clenched around his pillow, his breath catching in his throat. Were the villagers finally going to go through with their threats and kill him?.!
"Don't look so scared, Naruto, I'm not going to hurt you." The man smiled at him, but Naruto was still wary. The man would wait for him to let his guard down, and then, he would attack. Naruto wasn't stupid, despite what people thought.
"Who are you?" Naruto asked. His voice didn't shake. Point for him. Now if only he could loosen his grip on his pillow so his knuckles weren't white, then he'd be on the ball.
"Oh, just a friend." The man grinned, showing almost all his teeth as he did so. "For convenience's sake, call me Arashi."
"Arashi?" Naruto cocked an eyebrow. Where had he heard that name before? "Um, what are you doing in my apartment? You know Tsunade will have you killed if she finds out."
"Oh, I'm not worried." He smiled again, cocking his head to one side so his blond locks obscured his eyes slightly. "My God, you've grown."
Naruto cocked an eyebrow. This man was weird, and possibly even insane. Naruto thought back to the first thing he'd said, cocking his head in a similar fashion as the other man.
"What do you mean you admire me?" he asked.
"Well," Arashi stood, stretching. "No matter what happens, you never give up. I would've killed myself long ago if I had your life." He suddenly looked sad, no longer looking at Naruto, but rather, staring at the floor. "I never meant for it to be this way."
"Are you, like—a crazy person?" Naruto shifted uncomfortably in bed.
Arashi laughed. It was a deep, velvety laugh that made Naruto's heart clench, it was so beautiful. He wished his laugh could sound so wonderful.
"No, I'm not a crazy person." He grinned at Naruto before winking one of his blue eyes. "Come on, Naruto. I brought you breakfast." The man walked out of the blond teen's room. Naruto just sat in bed, still stunned, for a few more seconds before slowly standing and glancing out his bedroom door. He was still wary, but he had the feeling this man wasn't looking to hurt him.
He slowly walked into the kitchen, still wearing the same clothes he'd worn the previous day. "Kyah! Ichiraku ramen!" Naruto recognized the take-out boxes, and he was thrilled.
"I heard you liked their miso ramen, so I went to get you some. You shouldn't be deprived of your favorite food on your birthday, it's like an unwritten law!" He smiled gently as he put two bowls down on the table, one on either side.
"Thanks!" Naruto sat down and clapped his hands together. "Itadakimasu!" He snapped his chopsticks and was about to take a bite, when he paused. Something clenched in his stomach and he put the chopsticks down.
"What's wrong?" Arashi asked around a mouthful of noodles.
"I'm—not really hungry." Naruto whispered. He didn't want to admit he was scared his ramen had been poisoned.
Before he could say anything else, Arashi reached over and dipped his chopsticks into Naruto's ramen, grabbing some noodles. Naruto watched, shocked, as the other man ate them with a smile before swallowing. He clutched his throat and made a choking sound a second later, making Naruto jump, before he chuckled.
"I'm not trying to kill you, Naruto, relax." He smiled kindly before returning to his ramen.
Naruto looked down into his on bowl hesitantly before sighing and taking a bite. It he was to die, it might as well be because of Ichiraku ramen. It was the only way to go.
As they ate, a tomato suddenly slammed into Naruto's living room window, making Arashi jump. Naruto didn't. He'd been expecting it.
"Monster!" he heard someone yell. It was a boy, probably no older than ten, by the sounds of it. "Go off and die!"
"I thought children didn't know about you." Arashi growled, glaring at the window.
"Only a select few know." Naruto whispered. "Others don't, but they hear their parents complain about me, so they know I'm bad news."
Arashi growled as he stood, the kid still screaming outside, a few other voices joining in. He was obviously with friends. When the older man got to the window, he glared down at the small group of kids. They stared up at him wide-eyed before one spoke to another and they both screamed. The whole group ended up screaming after that, running away with their arms flailing.
"A ghost!" they screamed in fright.
Naruto appeared beside a smug Arashi, wondering why the kids had run away.
"What did you do?" Naruto asked, confused.
"Oh, nothing." Arashi turned to smile at him. "I must just have a scary face."
"Really?" Naruto was confusd. "You seem pretty nice to me."
Arashi laughed, wrapping one arm around the blond and pulling him close. "I'm glad you think so."
Naruto laughed nervously before extracting himself from the other man's awkward embrace, the two of them returning to their ramen. They ate in silence, Naruto enjoying the company, even though he wouldn't admit it out loud. The other man might have another Gai moment and hug him.
Once they were done their ramen, Arashi told Naruto to stay seated before going to the blond's fridge. He opened it and pulled something out, hiding it from Naruto's sight. The blond teen cocked an eyebrow as he waited, Arashi finally turning around with a smile. He held a small cake in his hands, two candles lit.
"I know you're eighteen, but I didn't think I could fit that many candles on such a small cake, so we'll pretend it's eighteen." He put the cake down in front of Naruto and smiled, proud of himself. "Go ahead. Blow them out."
Naruto cocked an eyebrow.
"Why are you being so nice to me?"
"Let's just say..." Arashi thought about it for a bit. "I'm making up for lost time." He smiled.
Naruto didn't get it, but he grinned back before blowing out the candles, not knowing he was supposed to make a wish.
Naruto and the mysterious man, Arashi, spent the whole day together in Naruto's apartment, doing various things. They played a few board games, and trained, and Arashi even helped Naruto control his chakra at a higher level people didn't learn until they were Jounin. Arashi had been proud when he found out Naruto could do Rasengan, crushing the blond to is chest in a bone-crunching hug.
Once night fell, it got really loud outside, and fireworks were being set off down in the square. The sounds reminded Naruto of the fact that there was a huge festival going on, and instead of feeling sad that he couldn't go, he felt guilty for keeping Arashi away from it.
"You can go to the festival, if you want." he whispered, letting his cards fall, knowing there was no point in continuing the game, since his partner would be leaving.
"You know, Naruto," Arashi inspected his cards, "I came here today for a reason. A reason that is very special to me. I was only allowed to come here for one day, and there is absolutely nothing I would rather be doing right now than sitting across from you, playing cards." He smiled gently, causing Naruto to smile, as well. "Now, Naruto, please give me your ace, king, four and nine."
"Eh?.! You cheated!" Naruto accused, holding his cards to his chest.
"No, you lowered your cards, I simply took advantage of the opportunity." He held his hand out for the cards, which Naruto reluctantly handed over.
They continued playing cards for a while until Arashi got up to make dinner. He laughed at the fact that Naruto mostly had ramen, but managed to find a few things to make some flavored chicken with rice and a few vegetables. Barely any vegetables, really, because Naruto hated them, and living alone made it easy to not eat them. The only reason he even had any was because Kakashi came by every once in a while with them, insisting Naruto needed to eat something other than ramen.
Naruto tried to learn about Arashi all day, but the man was very evasive, or vague about himself. Naruto took forever to finish his dinner because he'd been trying to find out about the other mans' past.
"Why are you so interested, anyway?" Arashi smirked, folding his hands together and resting his chin on top of them, his elbows propped up on the table.
"Well, you seem to know almost everything about me, so it seems only fair that I know about you." Naruto insisted.
"Oh, I'm not that important." He shrugged. "How about some more cake?" Arashi stood and headed for the fridge, Naruto just sighing.
They each had another piece of cake, leaving only enough for two more tiny pieces. Naruto wanted to save them so he could have some cake with Iruka the next day, provided the Chuunin could make it.
The two practiced a few more jutsus after dinner until about nine, when Arashi sighed deeply. "I have to go, soon." he informed.
"Oh, really?" Naruto was disappointed, but at least he hadn't been alone all day.
"Can you do me a favour before I go?" Arashi inquired. Naruto nodded vigorously.
"Of course. Yes. Anything." After what the other man had done for him, it was the least Naruto could do.
"It's a bit of an odd request, but—can I read you a bedtime story?" Naruto's left eyebrow rose slowly. "You don't have to sleep after it, of course." Arashi chuckled. "I just—I would really like to read one to you. It would mean a lot to me."
"Um, okay." Naruto replied, returning to thinking Arashi was crazy. "I don't have any, though. Iruka-sensei used to bring some over when I was a kid to read to me, but they were all his."
"That's all right, I think I remember one from when I was young." Arashi smiled and stood.
Naruto followed suit, leading the way to his bedroom. It felt weird to be eighteen and have someone ask to tell him a story. If the man tried to sing him a lullaby, Naruto was running.
They entered Naruto's room and the blond lay down in bed, Arashi sitting beside him, and smiling. He began telling Naruto a story, the blond closing his eyes to visualize it. The story was pretty interesting, about some shinobi in a far off country sacrificing his life for his family. It kind of made Naruto think of the Sandaime, and Yondaime, except they'd sacrificed themselves for the village as opposed to for their families.
Once the story was done, Arashi stood with a sigh, Naruto sitting up. "Thank you, Naruto. It meant a lot to me that you allowed me to tell you a story."
"Not a problem." Naruto stared at him as he looked around the room sadly. "Do you have to leave, now?"
Arashi sighed. "Yes, I have to leave. Walk me to the door?"
"Sure." Naruto stood, and the two of them made their way to the door, Naruto opening it so Arashi could leave. "Will I ever see you again?" Naruto asked hopefully.
Arashi turned to him, a smile on his face, but sadness in his eyes. "No, I don't think so. Today was a special case."
"Oh." Naruto was disappointed. He'd liked this man. "Well, it was nice meeting you, Arashi."
"Please—don't forget me." the man whispered.
Naruto smiled reassuringly. "Never."
Satisfied, the man turned and hugged Naruto tightly, the blond hugging him back, sad he would probably never see him again.
Arashi pulled away and smiled at Naruto. "This won't mean anything to you, but I'm very, very proud of you, Naruto."
Arashi turned then, walking away from Naruto. The blond frowned as something occurred to him, and he called out to the older man. "Hey, I never got your last name!"
"Oh, it's not important." Arashi replied evasively, just like he had every other question that night. "I love you, Naruto, and happy birthday." The man disappeared down the stairs.
Naruto frowned, not knowing how he felt about another man saying he loved him, but he shrugged it off and went back into his apartment. He couldn't wait to tell Iruka tomorrow.
Naruto groaned as he rolled over, the sunlight in his eyes making it hard for him to ignore the fact that it was definitely past ten in the morning. The blond opened his eyes to see the time read eleven thirty-nine. If Iruka wasn't there yet, chances were he couldn't make it.
The blond sighed as he rolled onto his back, staring at his ceiling. He almost didn't want to get up, knowing there was nothing to look forward to, but his stomach had a different idea. With a sigh, he pulled the blankets off himself and stretched, scratching his bare chest as he made his way to his bedroom door, wearing nothing put a pair of loose, low-riding sweat-pants. He frowned as he actually focused on his bedroom door. It was shut. Naruto never shut it. Must've blown shut while I was asleep, Naruto shrugged, opening it. He almost slammed it again in fright as people from seemingly everywhere shouted, "Surprise!"
"Damn, Naruto, I was ready to go in there and wake your ass up!" Kiba exclaimed, throwing an arm over Naruto's bare shoulders and rubbing his knuckles against the blond's head. "We've been waiting since seven this morning, and you know how much it sucks having to be quiet."
"Kiba." Naruto and the brunette looked over at an irate Sakura. "Can I get a word in?.!"
"Sorry." The dog lover moved away as Akamaru snickered slightly in the corner, Kiba throwing his dog a glare.
"Happy birthday, Naruto." Sakura hugged him tightly. "I was planning on throwing this party yesterday so we could all go to the festival together, but you said you were busy, so I had to reschedule real quick."
"You did this for me?" Naruto whispered, noting the streamers, balloons and presents. There was even a mountain of food on Naruto's kitchen table, and it looked like every one of his friends was present, including Iruka, Kakashi, and even Tsunade and Jiraiya.
"We realized we'd never celebrated your birthday before." Neji said. "Most of us have only ever said 'happy birthday' and hardly any of us have even given you a card. Sakura decided you deserved better, and organized this. She's been planning it for months."
Naruto didn't want to seem like a wimp, but he couldn't help tears from forming in his eyes. First Arashi the day before, and now this? It almost made all of his bad birthdays worth it.
"Thanks, guys." he whispered.
Naruto spent the first few minutes talking about the day before with Arashi, having to dodge a barrage of questions when he realized he'd basically just told everyone he hadn't had plans the day before. The adults kept jumping in to save him, but it was a very dangerous game, especially with geniuses like Sakura and Neji in the room.
After some food and joking around, Iruka insisted Naruto open his presents. He handed Naruto his, first, saying it was about time Naruto found out who his father was. Naruto was stunned, and eagerly ripped off the wrapping paper. He screamed as he pointed at the picture he held, causing people to jump.
"That's him! That's the guy who came over yesterday!"
"Naruto, you idiot!" Sakura hit him across the back of the head. "That's Yondaime! He couldn' have been here yesterday, he's dead!"
"Wh-what?.!" Naruto demanded. "Wait, you mean Arashi, my dad and Yondaime—were brothers?.!"
Everyone in the room almost fell over, Sakura and Ino both hitting him across the back of the head.
"Baka! He's one person! Yondaime is your dad!"
"Then—who was Arashi?"
"Well," Iruka glanced at Kakashi, "Arashi was your father's name, but—are you sure you weren't dreaming?"
Naruto bolted for the fridge, yanking it open and staring in. The cake Arashi had gotten him was still sitting in his fridge, two small pieces left, just as he'd left it the night before.
That's why he wanted to tell me a story, Naruto realized. Because he wasn't around to do it when I was a kid. For some reason, the thought of his father's ghost visiting him didn't scare him as much as he thought it would. In fact, it made him smile.
The topic was dropped as Naruto returned to open the rest of his presents, joking and laughing with everyone. He thanked them all for everything, and offered to take Sakura out on a date to repay her. She hit him across the back of the head.
When the cake came out, Naruto was finally told about having to make a wish when he blew out the candles. He sat pondering for a minute before smiling. I would wish to meet you, dad, but you've already given me that, so I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to wish for something else that's also important to me. Naruto took a deep breath.
"Hn. Dobe." a voice whispered in his head.
I wish Sasuke would come home.
Naruto blew out the candles.
Someone knocked at the door.
A/N: NO SEQUEL! Use your imaginations XD lol.
Yes, I know that Sakura knows about Naruto because of the Gaara Manga Arc, but I couldn't remember how many of his friends knew and such so I thought it would be safer to just kind of AU it and make it so none of his friends knew.