Disclaimer: I don't won Naruto.
A/N: Well, i finally gathered the courage for a Sasunaru fic! I suppose i should give you a full list of warnings though, ne? It's going to be a wild ride after all, and know that it is M for a reason, though these won't come until later (in the violent and more importantly, in the smexy Yaoi kind too). So, read, enjoy and hopefully review me too!
Warnings: This story shall include, Yaoi, blood, violence, myths, mystery, alcohol, sex, demons, AU and very possesive lovers. Oh and some highschool too, though it's different from anything before it, I gaurantee it. Watch out, and have fun.
The Village Hidden in the Leaves
The spring mists lay heavy on the forests that year, enshrouding the cedar and maple trees in a thick white blanket from the river valley right up to the mountain tip.
The sun rose slowly, shafts of soft golden light piercing through the haze, only to be caught in the sparkling clear water of the series of waterfalls, which ran all along down the cliff side.
Rabbits darted in and out of the mist, pausing every now and then, with ears perked and ready to hop at the first sign of trouble, while a couple of twittering swallows twirled overhead, beginning their first morning flight.
The clear mountain water gushed downwards, rushing over large smooth stones and tumbling over small ledges to fall into the pools below. The water continued to twist and turn it's way down the hillside, until it spilled over a final overhang and into a slow paced stream, which in turn became a small river as it also twisted it's way down the valley, running it's path through the small rural village of Konohagakure no Sato.
It was amply named, hidden away among the leaves of the surrounding forests and tucked up in the mountains. The only road was made of compacted and dried earth, not uncommon for the many small villages that were dotted around the few large cities of Japan.
Contact with the outside world was limited to the old battered jeep and the presence of the sensei, Umino Iruka, who had travelled to the village some year's prior.
The buildings were old fashioned, typical of old, yet wealthy traditional style. All were centred on one side or the other of the Nakano River, with an ornate wooden bridge connecting both.
There were many trees growing within the village boundaries as well, most providing overhangs of leaf-filled boughs. Due to the time of year, new buds were shooting, providing the entire little village with bright new greenery and small dainty white flowers.
At the Eastern most point, the ground began to rise, as it travelled further up onto the mountain side, here, where earth began to give way to dark grey rock, steps were carved among the maples, leading up to a shrine, ornate and well kept, with two serving priests that kept watch over the most sacred place. It was their duty to protect the powers of the Konoha Shrine, and those who lived about it.
With fresh mountain air, and such clean and pure water, along with the most beautiful surroundings, it was no wonder that Umino Iruka, when he had first come here over six years ago, simply found that when the time came, he just couldn't bring himself to leave.
Or, at least, that's what he told the priests.
It must be said, that there may have been another reason for the young teacher to remain in the secluded countryside; there are many other villages like Konoha after all, all around Japan, yet he had mysteriously chosen to stay.
Iruka smiled faintly to himself as he finished making his morning tea, mysterious reasons indeed.
He glanced around his home as he gently blew into his hot teacup; his house was by far the most…technological, one in the village. In one corner, perched on the beech wardrobe, was his radio, hung on the wall was the clock, and a multitude of bits of city paraphernalia lay on his waxed maple tabletop. He even had curtains hanging in his windows, covering them with coarse waterproof material he had found in the bottom of his supply kit, dug out from the depths of his jeep.
As Iruka sipped on his finally cooled tea, he glanced over to the ticking clock, frowning a little when he saw the time.
He sighed lightly to himself; he was late, but it was only a matter of time until he arrived.
On the other side of the village, in one of the smaller homes, resided the certain someone that Iruka was waiting so patiently for. It was not quite so elaborate as others surrounding it, and even had a few scratches on the door, but it was substantial nonetheless, especially for just a single person.
Inside, the entire single room was a mess; crumpled discarded clothing lay scattered about on the dark wooden flooring, and the shelves were cluttered haphazardly with far too many items, leaving an assortment of various books, pens, pencils, old workbooks, little tied batches of herbs and the odd roll of bandages, to litter the ground underneath them.
Tucked in one corner of the room, under a large window, was the bed, made of dark wood that matched the rest. A pile of blankets that lay on top couldn't quite entirely cover the person residing within it, due to said person's odd sleeping arrangement; limbs were spread widely, hanging limply over the edges as the boy lay flat on his back, head lolling to the side, with a small trickle of drool seeping from an open mouth.
The boy shifted slightly, turning so his head was in direct contact with the morning light streaming through his open window, yet he did not stir any further. It wasn't until he shifted once more, this time too far, and was sent tumbling out of his bed that Uzumaki Naruto woke up, with a particularly painful thump as he crashed to the rather hard floor.
Blue eyes snapped open as Naruto awoke with a yelp. For a moment he was disorientated, vaguely wondering why he was seeing his ceiling from upside down.
He gave a groan as realisation dawned and he stiffly rolled over onto his hands and knees, before stumbling to a stand, trying to remove himself from his tangle of blankets.
Once free of the restraints, Naruto yawned widely, slumping his shoulders and peering blearily around for the kettle, all the while still half asleep.
It wasn't until he started to slowly sift through the garments on the floor did he notice the date on the makeshift calendar on the wall, full of little, crude, but coloured illustrations.
Eyes snapping almost comically wide, Naruto began to search through his clothes with a much more frantic intensity.
"I'm late, I'm late, I'm really really la-aaate!"
In a sort of clumsy panic, the sunshine blonde quickly grabbed the closest, hopefully clean, yukata and slipped into it hastily.
While still wrestling with his clothes, he started to hop towards his door, pausing briefly only to roughly pull on his wooden sandals.
Uncaring that he was only perhaps half way into his yukata, Naruto burst through his front door, squeaking the hinges terribly in the process and sending it flying into the outside wall, and ingraining a dent even more.
Ignoring the slightly startled expressions from the couple of villagers out and about, Naruto finally shrugged the yukata over his shoulders with a final tug and quickly ran off down past the houses, dodging people he met and sidestepping the occasional small child, all the while maintaining his near constant mantra of "I'm late, I'm late!"
Naruto's sandals made a 'clack-clack-clack-clack-clack-clack-clack-clack' as he made his way over the short bridge crossing the Nakano river, before he sped off to the right, making his way past an old, but beautiful Sakura tree and down a small earthy hill to the most Western part of the village, and the one lowest on the mountain.
It was very lucky for Naruto that the entire village couldn't be more than three hundred metres across, or he would have been even more late than he already was.
Iruka didn't even look up from his tea as Naruto burst through his front door, frantically skidding to a halt and almost collapsing onto his table, panting for breath and clutching a stitch in his side.
Iruka ignored the young blonde sprawled over the top of his maple counter for a few moments, before glancing at the clock on the wall. He turned back to Naruto.
At this, Naruto simply looked up at his teacher in disbelief, before letting out a pained groan and letting his head fall down onto the table with a heavy thud.
This was so not going to be his day, he could tell already.
It had taken about five minutes, but once Naruto had got his breath back and had sheepishly accepted some morning tea from an exasperated Iruka, Naruto decided to ask the question that he had been itching to ask all week, but had been artfully misdirected by his teacher at every attempt.
"Mmmm?" said Iruka absentmindedly, sorting through several papers on the table.
"Why did you want to see me today, especially so early?" asked Naruto, just a little nervously as he fiddled with the edge of his yukata. Iruka didn't seem angry, but usually whenever Iruka purposefully called him over, it was to talk about something that was wrong.
And Iruka could be scary when he was angry about something.
Iruka laughed a little, "No need to look so worried Naruto, it's nothing bad or anything, just something I feel we should discuss."
"Oh. Okay then." Said Naruto, a grin starting to split his features.
Iruka smiled a little in return before turning his attention back to his stack of papers, fruitlessly searching through the myriad of homework, applications, sick notes and lesson plans.
Growing bored as Iruka continued to shuffle through his papers, Naruto felt his gaze being drawn to one of the sheets still left on the table, laying merely a few inches from his hand.
Frowning curiously when he saw the formal crest printed upon it, and that the letter was written in type, Naruto span it a little to the side and cocked his head so he could read through it.
By the time he got to the end, his normally tan face had paled quite substantially.
"Iruka-sensei," he questioned in a quite voice, "what is this letter about?"
A little worried that his normally rather loud student was being so quiet, Iruka looked up to see which letter he was talking about. Upon spying the paper lying on the table near Naruto, Iruka gave a tired sigh.
"Ah, yes… I'm afraid that's what I wanted to talk about."
Naruto quickly looked up to his teacher, feeling as if all his fears had been confirmed.
"Then its true then?" he blurted out, feeling his anger begin to rise.
Iruka gave an oddly fond smile towards him, accompanied by that little laugh again.
"Don't tell me you've forgotten the reasons why I came here in the first place, Naruto?" he asked, a little amused, "I was really only supposed to stay here for a year, I was extremely lucky that I managed to convince the school to fund me for such a long extended visit. If they want me to come back, then there is not much that I can really do about it."
Naruto listened in silence, staring fixedly at the maple tabletop. How could Iruka-sensei be leaving? Leaving the village, leaving him?! Didn't he-…didn't he promise that he would never leave him? Never leave him alone again?
This wasn't fair, damn it!
"This isn't fair, damn it!" shouted Naruto, standing abruptly from his chair and slamming his fists onto the table.
"How can you just leave, just like that!? I mean…what about the school here, what will they do if you're gone, and-and-"
Slightly horrified to see tears beginning to prick the edges of Naruto's sky blue eyes, Iruka hastily decided to interrupt.
"Naruto, Naruto, calm down! The village managed just fine before I came here, the priests are just going to have to go back to teaching, like they did before."
"I don't want it to go back to what it was like before," growled Naruto lowly, still standing stiffly straight, hair shadowing his face.
Iruka smiled softly at that admission, still slightly amazed that the boy could hold so much affection for him.
"I know Naruto, that's why I was wondering…"
Naruto glanced up, curios at his teachers questioning tone, though a rebellious tear still managed to escape and roll slowly down his cheek.
"If perhaps you'd like to come with me?" finished Iruka evenly, congratulating himself for getting out the question he had been planning to ask for days, before mentally counting down in his head.
Naruto's eyes, meanwhile, had gone impossibly wide, while he also went slack jawed at the question. He merely stared at Iruka for a full minute, completely stunned. Never… never had he thought that anyone would ever want to take him in, let alone give him the opportunities that Iruka was offering to him.
"Iruka-sensei…"whispered Naruto, tears falling gently down his face before-
"OF COUSRE I WILL!!!"
-he forcibly tackled his sensei, forcing him off his chair and to the ground, hugging him tightly for all he was worth, eyes closed in happiness and grinning madly into the man's green jacket.
Iruka just chuckled at his pupil's exuberance, despite the slight pain from where the back of his head had impacted heavily with the floor.
After a few moments, Naruto seemed to collect himself, drawing back and laughing nervously, rubbing the back of his head with a free hand.
"Hehehehehe…sorry; didn't mean to push so hard."
"It's perfectly alright Naruto," said Iruka, heaving himself off the floor and watching with fond annoyance as he saw that Naruto was practically bouncing in his seat with restrained excitement. Not that he could really blame him; if he were Naruto he would be pretty eager to get out of this village too.
Seeing that Iruka was perfectly fine, Naruto let loose with his barrage of questions.
"Ne, ne, Iruka-sensei, when are we going, where are we going, I mean I know where, but where exactly, how are we getting there, what am I going to do, what sort of people-?"
Feeling more than a little frightened at Naruto's stream of talk, Iruka was quick to try to restrain it, for fear of his own sanity; it would be bad enough on the hours long journey there.
"Naruto! That's enough. We are going back to my school, which, as you should know, is in Tokyo, and as for when we are leaving, it should be in only a couple of days. But-" he said as Naruto was just about to interrupt, doubtless with even more questions, "I've got many things to clear up first before we can leave, especially talking to the priests." He finished with a rather tired sigh at the thought.
At that, Naruto seemed to deflate, his lips beginning to form an infamous pout, normally accompanied with a huff of irritation.
And while Iruka appeared on the outside to be very calm and sure about the whole matter, inside he was far more worried than he let on. He hadn't talked with the priests (who acted as both the priests, and elders of the village) about taking Naruto out of Konoha and back with him to Tokyo. He'd been too afraid to even mention it so far. It wasn't exactly a secret that Iruka favoured Naruto, and it had gotten him into trouble at times in the past.
Iruka sighed internally; he would just have to hope to persuade them with the lure of getting Naruto out of sight and, by default, out of mind as well.
It had been decided that the both of them would go to see the priests that afternoon, so as to give Iruka more time to find the right words, and the courage, to face them. He supposed if the worst came to it, he could just steal Naruto away regardless, but, as that would throw up another whole host of problems, Iruka firmly decided that it was best to go about this properly and obtain the correct permission.
At that particular moment, Iruka was preparing the beginnings of lunch, while Naruto had gone bouncing off to 'find some fish'.
Iruka could only hope that this time, the fish that Naruto came back with were actually edible.
Iruka shook his head slightly, Naruto may have grown up a bit over the years, but he was still very recognisable as that nine-year-old little boy that Iruka had first met- the one that had almost driven him to madness with his incessant pranks and skiving off classes.
Though, after the first six months, Iruka had been forced to think that there was more than just the usual, simple problem of an unruly child.
He could still vividly remember when he saw the first glimpses of the situation Naruto was in. How, though not picked on outright, Naruto was never involved in any of the children's games, which, when the class only had about ten kids, was difficult to ignore.
It was in other small things as well, when Iruka had first gone over to the blonde's house, and seen insulting scribbles carved into his front door, or how when the local mother's would bring sweets for the class, it always ended up with Naruto never receiving any, while also being steadfastly ignored- as if he wasn't even there.
Things all came to a head in the first October he was in Konohagakure no Sato, when on the 10th there seemed to be some local festival at the shrine. Iruka hadn't paid much attention to it at first, dismissing it as not too important.
It became obvious, however, when all the streamers and lights went up that it was a big deal for the small village. After asking some of the parents after class, he had learned that it was a small, but significant celebration about the sealing of a fox demon, which had occurred on that date some years ago. While happy to divulge information about the festival, all of them had become suspiciously tight lipped when Iruka had required further about the 'Kyuubi no Youko'.
The entire class that day had been restless, and Iruka had quickly discarded his original lesson plan for something more fun, making paper lanterns and decorating streamers instead, all the children bubbling with excitement.
Except for one.
Seated in the corner, ignoring everybody else and remaining uncharacteristically silent, Naruto had simply sat there, staring emotionlessly at the ground, his normally bright blue eyes dull.
He didn't even move when Iruka told them to pack up for the day. Feeling concerned, he had approached the boy sat slumped over in the corner, and after asking why he was acting so unlike himself, Iruka had been shocked when Naruto appeared to have just…snapped.
He had abruptly stood up from his chair and just started shouting at him. Iruka couldn't remember exactly what Naruto had said, but he knew it was along the lines of "Shut up and leave me alone, why do you care? Nobody cares!"
And with that, he had just upped and left the room. The other children, who had been silent throughout Naruto's outburst, had promptly burst out into small pockets of sniggers, speaking of how it was just Naruto making a fuss again.
Worried, he had quickly dismissed his class for the day and hurried off to find the missing Naruto. Luckily, he had quite a good idea of where he had gone off to, after having to hunt after him all those months before when he had not shown up for his lessons.
He had found him well after nightfall, sitting morosely on the simple and old swing that hung from the mature Sakura tree by the river. Naruto was gently swinging himself back and forth, head bent. Iruka felt his heart break when he heard the boy sniff, obviously trying to stop the tears from flowing.
Iruka recalled approaching the boy, who had his arms twisted around the fraying ropes of the swing, while everyone else his age was off enjoying the celebration up at the shrine.
"Naruto, what are you doing down here? Surely you want to be up at the festival, rather than sitting here all by yourself," he had asked.
"They don't want me there…"mumbled Naruto, "and besides, I don't want to be there anyways either…"
Naruto gave another sniff, rubbing at his nose with the sleeve of his dirty yukata.
"Did you know sensei-" asked Naruto hesitantly, "that-that it's my birthday today?"
Iruka had looked at the little blonde boy startled, why hadn't he said anything, if being ignored on his birthday had been what was upsetting him so much?
Naruto seemed to have read the teacher's mind, "I'm not gonna cry just because people forgot it's my birthday or anything stupid like that, I'm not that pathetic! It's just" he nibbled on his lip hesitantly, "…for once, it would be nice, maybe, if well, they'd just care, even if it was just a little bit."
Iruka was silent; Naruto's voice was so soft, that the sound would have surely been blown away by the smallest of breezes.
"It happens well, a lot, and really I don't care! But…well, on my birthday, it all just seems to be…I just wish they'd care, just a little…" Naruto trailed off in a whisper, wet tear tracks clearly visible on his face.
"I care Naruto…" Iruka said softly. It was obvious that, despite what he said otherwise, Naruto did indeed care about how the villager's treated him.
Naruto had seemed to flinch at that, before tightening his grip on the ropes and glaring in his sensei's direction.
"Don't lie! Of course you don't, no one does, so why should you be any different! And besides," added Naruto when he saw that Iruka wished to interrupt, "if you actually…liked me or anything, then you wouldn't shout and get angry at me all of the time!"
Naruto was shouting by the end, and Iruka had been once again reminded of just how loud the little boy could be.
Iruka had sighed to himself, while walking over and leaning against the trunk of the Sakura tree.
"Do you know why I get so mad when you skip class and do stupid, pointless things, Naruto?"
Naruto had merely shaken his head, bright blonde hair moving in accordance.
"It's because I know that you could do so much better Naruto, and knowing how determined you can be, I know you are destined for better things than what this village seems to think about you."
Naruto had just stared, shocked completely mute by his teacher's words. It was obvious that Iruka was the first to ever say such things because he actually knew Naruto as a person, rather than some sort of absent comment from afar.
Eventually, Naruto had managed to summon his voice.
"Do you-do you really think so…Iruka-sensei?"
Iruka had rewarded the boy with a smile and an "of course, I wouldn't say it if it wasn't true."
That had been the first time that Iruka had been subjected to one of Naruto's forceful 'hugs'.
"Oh, and Naruto? Happy birthday."
Which had promptly been followed by his second.
From that day on, Naruto would frequently visit Iruka at his house, at various times of the day. He had also stopped bailing out on classes, though it seemed that not even Iruka could remove the boy's mischievous streak, perhaps only time would do it.
Iruka, mostly to give the dangerously bored child something to do, had started to give him extra lessons, which, admittedly, at first Iruka thought even to himself was probably a bad idea, doomed from the start.
Yet, quite astonishingly, Naruto had not only not complained about it, but also had worked hard in all of the subjects (sort of- handing homework on time was always a bit of a struggle when it came to Naruto), which had continued right up until today.
Which, Iruka thought to himself, as he started to make the onigiri, also brought him to the problem with the priests.
Naruto, to this day, didn't know why the entire village seemed to resent him so, even though Iruka was sure that he harboured quite a few, perhaps rather accurate guesses as to the fact.
What Naruto didn't know though, was that on that very evening that Iruka had found Naruto on the swing by the Sakura tree, Iruka had gone to speak with the priests of the shrine, demanding to know what the whole big problem with Naruto was.
The answers he had left with had been slightly unsettling, in more ways than one, but to Iruka at least, Naruto was Naruto, and being the vessel for a nine-tailed fox wasn't going to change that anytime soon.
He had decided, for the best he had told himself often, that withholding the information from Naruto was the best idea; surely being told he contained a demon of all things wouldn't exactly help his own value of himself.
Iruka was brought out of his musings as Naruto bounded back through the door, with two fish slung on a line over his back, blue eyes sparkling.
As Naruto promptly set to work gutting his prizes on the beech counter top, Iruka couldn't help but drift back to his previous thoughts.
The keepers of the shrine were unlikely to be willing to let Naruto just go, they did think of it as their duty to ensure the youkai remained sealed.
After all, during his life, Naruto had been included just enough to be dependant on the village, without being ostracised enough to run away, or as many thought, escape.
As a result, it would be tricky to convince the priests to give Naruto permission to leave (as they were, technically, his guardians).
Iruka shook off his worrisome thoughts as he sat down with Naruto for lunch. Naruto was practically a son (well, perhaps more of a hyperactive nephew) to him by now, he would do anything it took to take him with him when he had to leave this place, the village hidden in the leaves.
A/N:Well, there was a lot of backstory in this, but you need it to move on. Next chapter, we have our first intro of Sasuke, and we see whether Iruka gets permission or not. Until next time, read and review!