I'm reposting this chapter. I didn't realize that the one I had posted before wasn't spellchecked until I had already turned off my computer. When I went back to put this version up my document manager was screwing up and wouldn't let me submit any documents for about a week. Sorry about that! I would once again like to point out that this chapter and the last one are different stories. They are meant to be two separate endings for the first chapter.
Iruka smiled to himself as he stepped out of the Hokage's office. He had spent several hours in a chunin meeting and was anxious to get some fresh air. He was thinking about what he wanted to do when his stomach growled loudly. He decided he wouls get some ramen and began towards the restaurant before thinking that Naruto might like to join him. The blond hadn't had much to enjoy the past three months. After Tsunade's death and Sasuke's promotion to Hokage, Naruto had been understandably upset.
He walked the short distance to Naruto's apartment and knocked on the door. He waited for several minutes before knocking a second time. He began to wonder if Naruto had gone out when he still received no answer. He decided to search the village.
He spent a little over an hour scouring the village for any sign of the hyper shinobi with no luck. He asked any of Naruto's friends that he saw if they knew where he was but they all said no. He began to panic when he realized no one had seen Naruto all day. He rushed back to the apartment and knocked, hoping against all odds that the blond would open the door. When he realized there would be no answer he slammed into the door and sent it flying off its hinges.
He was appalled at the state of the apartment. Naruto's home was in one of the worse parts of Konoha but had always been in good shape when Iruka visited. Now the furniture was in pieces, there was garbage strewn across the floor, and numerous kunai and shurikun were embedded so deep in the walls they would never be removed.
He stood there for what felt like an eternity before he was spurred to action by a foul stench, one that he was all too familiar with. He had smelt it many times on the battlefield and had many memories of trying to rid himself of the unwelcome odor after returning from missions.
It was the smell of blood.
He followed the scent across the room and through the hall before stopping in the bathroom doorway. He almost threw up at the sight of what awaited him. He had seen blood many times but not in such a large amount and not from someone so close to him.
Naruto was sprawled on the floor. His hair was red on one side from the blood he laid in, as were his clothes. Iruka could clearly see the long gashes on each wrist and instantly realized what had happened.
'Why would he kill himself? He was upset about not becoming Hokage, but if he was this depressed he should have come to me. He must have known that I would help him.'
He moved forward on shaky legs and kneeled beside the body. He stroked the sun-colored locks as tears fell from his eyes. They fell to the floor and mixed with the blood, creating small, pink rivers between the tiles. He noticed that Naruto's headband was missing and located it a short distance away from the body.
He picked it up and examined it. His calloused fingers, scarred from years as a ninja, ran over the smooth surface until they stopped on the slash going across the center.
'Why would he do this to his headband? He treasured it more than anything. This was a symbol of everything he had and wanted to achieve.'
Iruka was perhaps the only person who knew the state of depression Naruto must have been in to desecrate his forehead protector. He held it to his chest as he cried; whether he sat there for minutes or hours he did not know. He eventually stood to leave the room. He couldn't stand the sight of Naruto's bloody corpse any longer.
He was going to leave and report Naruto's death to the Hokage, but he decided to look for a note first. He had to find out what would cause the closest thing to a son he had to kill himself. He searched for five minutes before he came across a sealed envelope on Naruto's desk. He opened it with trembling hands. He had to wipe the tears from his eyes before he could see clearly enough to read.
'To whoever finds this letter,
You're probably wondering why I killed myself. The thing is I finally realized the truth. I realized how pathetic my dreams are. All I ever wanted was to be loved and respected, a hero. Because of the Kyuubi I'll never be able to achieve that. I can't gain the respect of one person, let alone an entire village. I can't be remembered the way I always wanted, so I chose to be remembered this way. I'm more likely to be loved if I die this way, for killing the nine-tailed fox along with myself.
Some of you will be shocked, but you really shouldn't be. I've been considering this for a long time. When Sasuke became Hokage I decided it was the right thing to do. I've always felt this way. I just didn't let the mask down until now.
I'm sorry if my decision causes you any trouble, but this was the only option left.
He read the note several times. He stopped only when the letters were smeared to the point of illegibility by his tears. He placed it gently on the desk, along with the headband that had been in his hand the whole time.
'So that's why he did it. He believed his dreams were impossible and that he had no purpose in life. How could I have missed it? I thought I was closer to him than anyone else but I didn't see what was going through his mind. No wonder he wanted to die. He didn't think anyone could or would help him.'
He slowly walked to the front door, not paying any heed to the trash surrounding him. As he opened the door he glanced a final time at the apartment. He jumped onto the rooftop and made his way towards the Hokage building. It was strange to think that only an hour or so ago he was smiling as he exited the building, the biggest worry on his mind what he wanted for lunch. He laughed at the thought, almost hysterically. He was glad no one was around to hear him or they'd probably lock him up in a mental asylum.
He knocked before entering the Hokage's office. Sasuke was sitting in his chair with his back to the door. Iruka couldn't help but think that that was Naruto's rightful place. He had been one of the few people who had wanted Naruto to be chosen as the sixth Hokage. The other ones were the rest of the rookie 9, minus Sakura and Kakashi, and Gai's team. Without Tsunade there to pick her successor the responsibility of electing a new leader had fallen to the elders. They had been completely against Naruto and chose Sasuke, despite his traitorous past.
"What do yo-"Sasuke stopped midsentence when he saw the tear streaks on Iruka's face and the blood staining his clothes.
"Naruto. H-He killed himself."
As soon as he finished the sentence he began crying again. Unlike last time these were loud, body racking sobs. He was distantly aware of Sasuke summoning the rest of the Konoha group and someone-he thought it was Hinata-trying to comfort him. He heard them crying once they had been told about what had happened.
Someone was trying to help him out of the room, but they only got a few feet past the thresh hold before the stress and shock of the day caught up with him and he passed out.
The next thing he was aware of was lying in his bed as he stared at the ceiling. He heard the door open and pretended to be asleep. He didn't feel like talking right now. He heard two people talking and recognized them as Kurenai and Kakashi.
"There's nothing we can do for him. We might as well leave. Besides, I don't think he's going to wake up today." said Kakashi.
"I hate to admit it but you're right. We'll come back tomorrow to check on him." agreed Kurenai.
They left, and once Iruka was sure they were gone he slipped out from under the covers. He walked quietly over to the window. He leaned heavily on the sill and stared out at the millions of stars. He had many memories of stargazing with Naruto. Moat people would laugh at the thought of Naruto being calm and peaceful, but Iruka knew better. They had spent hours in silence, content with each other's presence and the twinkling lights above them. One of the reasons they were so close was the fact that they could be themselves around each other.
'Apparently he wasn't showing his true self." thought Iruka bitterly.
He looked back down to the cold stone beneath his fingers, blocking the painful thoughts and memories from his mind. He walked to his dresser and pulled a kunai from his weapons pouch on it. He stared at the lethal blade, contemplating following in Naruto's footsteps.
He made his decision. Quickly, giving himself no time to reconsider what he was about to do, he dragged the kunai across his throat. Blood sprayed from his neck in an arc. It splashed across the wall and ceiling, contrasting oddly with the stark whiteness of the room. He stared at it as he slowly slipped into oblivion, never to wake again.
I hope you enjoyed it! Someone commented on the fact that Tsunade is dead in this chapter but alive in the last one. That's because they're separate stories. Please don't comment on something because it contradicts what I said in the second chapter! However, if it contradicts something in the first chapter please tell me. Reviews are welcome no matter how long or short!