Uzumaki Naruto's smile is a shield, a mask. No one who has gone through what he's gone through could be that happy.

But it fools them every time.

Why does he always smile? Why doesn't he let his sadness through?

Because that would mean that the villagers had won.

And worst of all, that meant he might be pitied.

Naruto Hates pity. The looks on the faces of travelers he met once who didn't know about the Kyuubi had almost been worse than the glares he got from the villagers.

Almost.

So why didn't give into them? It would be easier. Why didn't he just stop?

The faces of Iruka and the Sandaime crossed his thoughts.

Because it would make them sad. Because as long as he had people precious to him, he had the strength could keep it up.

Naruto smiled. And this time, it was real.