Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Sorry. :shrug:
Author's Note: This is for Raz, Aznara, and BlaiseCorrupt, for trying hard to motivate me when it seemed impossible.
Also if someone can tell me why my y!messenger doesn't work anymore, I'd be delighted.
Summary: Uzumaki Naruto is a terrible student in school who has a special talent--he can seduce just about any male. When his newest male teacher demands perfection from everyone, what is he to do? Put that talent to use, of course! NaruSasuNaru, AU.
Naruto had barely been in the school for two minutes when he first heard a familiar voice call his name. He looked up from removing his street shoes to find Kiba standing in the direction of the hallway, face pleasantly shocked. A grin spread across Naruto's face as he worked his laces.
"Fuck, it is you man!" Kiba made his way over to Naruto and patted his shoulder roughly, a sharp grin on his face. "It's been too long!"
"Yeah," Naruto agreed, sliding into his school shoes and pretending to pluck something from Kiba's face. "Years almost. Is this facial hair growing on you now?"
"Shut up," Kiba replied, pushing Naruto's shoulder, but the smiling face was still steadfast.
"Where's everyone else?" Naruto asked casually, and Kiba shrugged.
"Shikamaru is in the classroom sleeping, obviously, Chouji's in the classroom trying to get breakfast in before class starts, and Shino is…ah, who the hell knows, probably summoning great beetles of death or something. Sakura and Ino are down at the Teacher's Room trying to get Sasuke to pay attention to them while Hinata stands in the background. Not much has changed."
Naruto laughed at Kiba's response, the familiarity of the school setting settling back in easily. "I should've figured as much. Especially with Sakura and Ino, considering I haven't been here to easily overshadow them."
Kiba groaned. "Speaking of Uchiha-sensei, it seems like someone took the stick out of his ass and shoved a fucking tree trunk up there instead. It's been hell."
Naruto grinned, putting his street shoes into his locker and standing with his school bag. "It's because he's missed this beautiful face. No wonder he came to visit me."
"Right," Kiba drawled, rolling his eyes. He adjusted his bag on his shoulder as the two of them began to walk to their classroom. "I'm sure he was just grieving at the loss of your fa—wait, did you say he came to visit you?"
"Yup!" Naruto beamed proudly. "He came on a home visit because I hadn't been in school after Iruka had…after he'd had his accident."
A damper immediately fell on the two teens' spirits as they continued down the long hallway in silence, students bustling around them. Naruto stared at the ground with his hand scratching at the back of his neck, feeling the melancholy he was desperately trying to suppress drip into his mood. Kiba stared intently out of the window, having always been bad at things like this and yet still wanting to help.
"So, uh…" Kiba finally forced out, his voice sounding awkward to his own ears. He cleared his throat before continuing. "How is Iruka doing now?"
"He's…getting better, slowly. He woke up from his coma yesterday afternoon and I got to talk to him for a few minutes." Naruto laughed bitterly, his face portraying a sad amusement. "He was upset with me for not going to school."
"Well, that's good. He's awake."
"Yeah. The doctor said he should be out in a few days, so…things are looking up."
Kiba clamped a hand down on Naruto's shoulder, smiling at him. "Optimistic as always, blondie. Glad to see you're doing okay."
Naruto and Kiba both turned to find Sasuke walking towards them with a folder in his hand, Sakura, Ino, and Hinata trailing 'inconspicuously' (yeah, right) behind him. Although sour Kiba immediately bowed, greeting his teacher properly. Naruto stood expectantly.
"This," Sasuke began once he reached him, holding out a folder as thick as a brick to Naruto, "is the work you missed while you were gone. All of these assignments are due two weeks from today, which is more than generous. You missed three exams while you were gone as well; you have three days to make up the first one and a week to make up the other two."
"What the hell?" Naruto took the folder from Sasuke's hand with a disgustedly shocked expression on his face. Peeking out of the side of the folder were color-coded tabs for each class, each holding at least fifteen pages of work. "Are you kidding me?"
"No, and before you go off on your whiny tirade of how you don't know how to do any of the things in there, I will briefly go over each section for each class during your detentions this week."
"Wait, I still have detention today? I just got back!"
Sasuke gave Naruto a look as if to say, 'your problem, not mine.' "I'll see you in class. Inuzuka-kun."
"Ass kisser," Naruto grumbled under his breath, and Kiba flinched.
"Your job, not mine."
Sasuke walked passed the two of them toward, Sakura and Ino immediately rushing up to Naruto and smashing him in a hug. Hinata lingered in the background, blushing and stammering quietly to herself as Kiba stared intently.
"Naruto! You're back!" Sakura wrapped her arms tightly around his neck, nearly choking Naruto but causing him to smile anyways.
"Not for long, seeing as you're currently killing me."
"Oh, sorry!" Sakura released him and stepped back, a face-splitting grin on her face and her eyes slightly wet. "I'm just really happy to see you here and see you're feeling yourself again!"
Naruto slung an arm around Sakura's shoulders, laughing. "Of course! What can hold the great Uzumaki Naruto down with depression?"
"Nothing!" Ino replied, pumping her fist in the air. Naruto grinned wider.
"That's right!" He released Sakura's shoulders as she began to try and surreptitiously wipe her eyes, failing miserably, but Naruto chose not to call her out on it. He instead leaned to the side slightly, making eye contact with Hinata and grinning.
Hinata jumped, her face immediately going red as she began to try and stammer out a greeting again.
"Hey, Hinata! Good to see you again too!"
"Y-yes, Naruto-kun, I'm g-glad you're—you're back."
Sakura glanced at the watch on her wrist briefly before sighing. "Okay, guys, we've got to go. Lunch?"
"Hell yeah!" Kiba exclaimed. "On the roof, in commemoration of not being there for a while!"
"Ugh, it's like five degrees Celsius outside, Kiba," Ino complained, and Kiba shrugged.
"Suck it up. Rooftop lunchtime!"
"This should be a democracy, asshole!"
"We're not in America!"
Oh, how Naruto loved his friends.
The wind blew across the roof in violent waves, nearly throwing all of the students on the roof off of their careful perches. The sun hung brightly in the sky, deceiving people into thinking the weather was pleasant. The air was cool and breath was nearly visible, feeling more like late October rather than early May. Naruto buttoned his blazer with trembling fingers, grumbling in irritation.
"So whose idea was it for us to eat outside in five degree weather?"
Immediately fingers pointed at Kiba, the faces of the owners all disgruntled. Kiba looked around in astonishment, upset with being pointed out so quickly and grumpily.
"Well fuck you then! I was just trying to be nice!"
Ino rolled her eyes, rubbing her hands up and down her arms and huddling close to Sakura and Hinata. "Trying to be nice? I told you this morning it would be too cold, dimwit! But no, you didn't care because you weren't going to be the one stuck in this weather with a fucking mini-skirt on!"
Kiba shrugged and made a face at her, ticking points off of his fingers as he replied. "First off, Ino, you really should control your language and learn to act like more of a lady. Corporate Japan is never going to accept you the way you are now."
"Secondly, you are more than welcome to leave if you're that cold. No one is forcing you to stay here. Hell, I'm encouraging your departure."
"I'm forcing her to stay here," Sakura interjected through chattering teeth, pulling Ino and Hinata closer for warmth. Hinata blushed.
"A-as am I, Kiba-kun." Hinata smiled at him, causing Kiba to immediately become flustered. He scratched the back of his head sheepishly and laughed.
"Well, I guess if it's Hinata-chan who wants—"
"Besides, Naruto is my friend too," Ino interrupted, a smug smirk spreading across her face like gasoline lit afire. "I can't leave you all alone with him, anyways. You'll try to inconspicuously weasel your way into Naruto's pants, and I can't have that."
"Wait, who wants into my pants?" Naruto perked up, grinning and feigning hope. But even with the typical grin and nonchalance he was putting forward Sakura still kept shooting him curious looks, signifying she knew something was up. Oh joy.
Naruto was trying—harder than usual, even—to keep a level head and not dwell pessimistically on Iruka's condition. It wasn't even like he wanted to dwell on Iruka's condition; all he wanted to do was thoroughly enjoy his friends after a week of pretty much going between his house, the hospital, and occasionally the store Gaara worked at. He wanted to sit with them and stare at the clouds, talk to them about the strangest of things, and play 'Marry, Shag, Throw off a Cliff' until he was blue in the face, but no matter how hard he tried to, he just couldn't.
It was as if all he could see was Iruka—his pallid skin and the eyes that rarely opened when Naruto got the opportunity to be there. It plagued him like nothing else; the spark of a thought that maybe, just maybe Iruka would never look at him again. And yeah, he knew he wasn't supposed to dwell on the 'what if's or whatever, but with the thought gnawing at him like this it were near impossible to do so.
He didn't know how to live without Iruka in more ways than one, but currently the physical reality of it was smacking him in the face—how the hell was Naruto going to be able to support them? It wasn't as if Iruka's job was going to support them forever, and who knew when Iruka was going to be okay again. Naruto had no way to pick up the slack and to return the favor and he hated it.
If there was one thing Uzumaki Naruto did not like, it was being helpless.
Naruto jerked backward slightly as Kiba called him, finding the other boy's face uncomfortably close to his own. Laughing off his momentary lapse he grinned, making kissy faces. "Ooh, Kiba, I never knew you were so forward."
Kiba recoiled quickly as the girls laughed, making a face and shaking his head.
"Every time I try to be fucking nice and caring," He grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest grumpily, and Ino laughed.
"Aw, Kiba. We're just curious as to how nice and caring you want to be to our Naruto-chan."
"Hey, I'm not the gay one here!"
"Geez, Kiba, you sure are defensive," Naruto inserted, raising a curious eyebrow at Kiba. Kiba threw his arms up in exasperation.
"I give up."
"U-um…it's time for us to get back to class," Hinata remarked, Sakura and Ino still clinging tightly to her.
"Well, that's my cue," Ino remarked, tugging Hinata with her towards the door to the roof before waiting for any response for anyone else. Kiba stood as well, wiping any dirt from his pants before stretching his back.
"Mine also. I don't actually have Naruto's stupidity; therefore I'm not going to get on hardass's bad side."
"He's not so bad," Naruto replied with a smile. Kiba stared incredulously.
"You're joking, right?"
Kiba punched Naruto's shoulder playfully, rolling his eyes with a smile. "You're an ass."
"No, I'm just higher than your level of genius. Outsmarting Kiba since 1941!"
"You can barely write genius!"
"Okay!" Sakura intervened, glaring at the two of them. "Kiba, you go catch up with Hinata and Ino and head back to class. I need to talk to Naruto."
"Yeah, well, maybe I need to talk to Naruto too," Kiba replied defiantly, eyeing Sakura suspiciously and crossing his arms over his chest. Sakura frowned.
"You'll be late."
"You'll get on Uchiha-sensei's bad side."
"I'll get off of it quickly enough."
"Uchiha-sensei will kill you before you have the chance."
"Dogs have nine lives too, you know."
"Kiba," Sakura said, drawing his name out in exasperation. Kiba shook his head.
"Look," Kiba interrupted, glaring at Sakura, "I can tell by the look on your face and the one that's been on Naruto's all day that something his bothering him and you intend to find out what it is. And maybe I also want to find out what it is and do my best to help, even if that isn't my specialty. You're not the only one who can care about blondie, Sakura. We're all friends."
"Guys!" Naruto interjected, looking between he two of them with a sheepish smile on his face. "I'm okay. No need to worry and definitely no need to argue."
"Sorry," Kiba grumbled, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly. "It's just, you're not really yourself. I mean, I thought you were because I was flipping shit about it this morning, but now I realize you're not and…it's strange."
"How eloquent," Sakura remarked dryly, rolling her eyes. "Besides, Iruka is in the hospital. Of course he isn't himself."
"Sakura," Naruto warned, and Sakura sat herself on the ground next to him huffily.
"I know, I know. Sorry."
Naruto sighed heavily as well, a silence falling over the three teens. Naruto played with the hem of his slacks and slowly Kiba sat on the other side of him, exhaling loudly and pointedly staring at the skyline.
"So what's up, blondie?" Kiba's voice was soft albeit extremely awkward and spoken as a statement rather than a question, catching Naruto off-guard. A smile cracked on Naruto's face as he shook his head.
"You guys are too much. I'm fine, really."
"Okay, so you're emotionally 'fine' as far as Iruka goes," Sakura replied dismissively, her eyebrows drawing together, "but it's obvious that something is bothering you. What is it?"
Naruto remained silent for a moment before sighing heavily, running a hand through his hair. "Do you…okay, so I'll give you guys a fake situation."
"Hypothetical?" Sakura supplied, and Naruto nodded.
"Yeah, that. Okay, so say there's this guy—"
"This better not be gay," Kiba groaned, and Naruto rolled his eyes with a smile.
"No, it isn't. Anyways, there's this guy who lives with his…aunt. Yeah, and his name's…Donnie. So the aunt always supports him financially and in life and whatever because Donnie's a minor. Okay, so then one day his aunt gets injured, right? And she's in the hospital for over a week and obviously not working and barely even conscious most of the time. And then Donnie realizes now that he and he and his aunt won't be able to live on her job forever—because that's what is currently funding them, the job—and his aunt is still bedridden. So what should he do?"
Sakura and Kiba stared blankly at him and Naruto looked between the two of them, his eyebrows furrowing testily.
The two teens burst into laughter, causing Naruto to shrink away in confused embarrassment and anger. What the hell had he said wrong?
"That was the worst 'hypothetical' situation I've ever heard in my life," Sakura gasped out between fits of giggles, causing Naruto's face to scrounge up further.
"Shut up! I did my best!"
"But normally hypothetical situations are so people don't know you're talking about yourself."
"Assholes," Naruto grumbled. Sakura laughed and Kiba pushed him lightly.
"Now, as for this 'Donnie' you were speaking of," Sakura paused to giggle a bit, her laughter dying down as Naruto glared, "he really shouldn't worry. I'm sure that his aunt has life savings that can support them until she's well again—"
"But it's not just about the money, Sakura," Naruto interrupted. "Iruk—Donnie's aunt—"
"Just say your own name, Christ," Kiba interjected with exasperation. "We know it's you."
Naruto made a face at Kiba before continuing. "It's not just the money though. I mean, Iruka has been everything for me and has helped me anytime I needed it. Now that Iruka needs help I want to help him. I want to…I don't know. I just don't want him to have to carry me anymore, especially when now he can't even carry himself."
Sakura and Kiba remained in a thoughtful silence and Naruto sighed, playing with the hem of his slacks again. He knew it was a lost cause.
"Well…why not get a job, then?"
Both Naruto's and Kiba's heads snapped towards Sakura as she made the suggestion, their eyebrows high into their hairlines. Sakura shrugged with a look as if to say, 'hey, it's all I've got here.' Kiba desperately tried to hold back the intense urge to laugh himself dead.
"Naruto get a job? You really think the school would ever allow that?"
"Well…no," Sakura said, sighing lightly. "Or maybe, if Naruto can prove that he's working hard."
"Sure, the vice going to give Naruto permission to get a job if he proves he's 'working hard'," Kiba replied dryly, his face amused. "That'd be simple, oh yeah."
"Look, I was just throwing something out there," Sakura retorted, throwing Kiba a dirty look. "I don't see you exactly vomiting suggestions."
"Oh, I have a suggestion," Kiba said, smiling proudly. He put an arm around Naruto's shoulder and held his hand out, using it to emphasize every word. "Sleep with the vice."
"You're an ass," Naruto said while laughing, pushing the other boy off of him. Kiba grinned and shrugged his shoulders.
"Hey, it'd work. You do have that talent."
"Are you calling me a talented prostitute?"
"Well, you could be one, you know," Sakura interjected, nudging him playfully. Naruto ducked his head down, grinning bashfully before peaking up at his friends.
"You think I could really seduce any guy easy?"
"Oh, don't act so coy; you can and you know it. You got through to Gaara, didn't you?"
"Well…what if I, well…what about Sasuke? I mean, since he's a fucking Uchiha—whatever the hell that's supposed to mean, I forgot to google his name—his recommendation must mean something to the vice."
Sakura and Kiba exchanged glances over Naruto's ducked head, mouthing things furiously before Naruto sat up, saccharine smiles taking over both of their faces. Sakura patted the top of Naruto's hair condescendingly, smiling with barely restrained laughter as Kiba unashamedly fell over laughing.
"I said you could seduce a guy, not a fucking stone wall," Kiba gasped out, clutching his sides desperately. "I'd say give up if that's your only option."
Naruto's face scrounged up in irritation. "Who the hell gives up?! Definitely not me!"
"What Kiba is trying to say, Naruto, is that maybe you shouldn't hope for something so…improbable when you have so much weighing on it." Sakura looped her arm in his, letting a giggle escape before subduing any further laughter. "Sasuke is too professional, too personal, and too wrapped up in things you'll never know about. There's not much of a way to get through to him."
"You don't know that," Naruto argued, pulling his arm from her, "and it's not entirely true. He's not all professional bastard, you know."
"Whoa, whoa." Kiba leaned back with his hands up in mock defense, staring at Naruto as if he'd just gone and grown another head. "Guys, seriously, I think there's something wrong with my ears now, because I could've sworn I just heard Naruto argue that Uchiha-sensei wasn't all bastard."
"He came to see me on a home visit, guys, and he actually tried in this awkward way to make me feel better. I'd say he's only eighty-percent."
Sakura stared at Naruto, causing the boy to squirm uncomfortably.
Sakura raised an eyebrow at him, crossing her arms over her chest, and Naruto threw up his arms in exasperation.
"Okay, ninety-six! But seriously, it's not any high than that!"
Sakura sighed and took Naruto's arm again. "Can I ask why you're so insistent about this?"
Naruto made a face. "I don't know; why not? I mean, it's not like he's all bad and you're saying I couldn't get through to him because he is all bad and I'm saying he's not and I totally could get through to him because he's not? I don't know. Agh, why does it matter?"
"I'm wondering the same thing."
Naruto sighed as Sakura laid her head on his shoulder, his eyebrows furrowing as he tried to answer her question mentally. It wasn't like it really mattered whether or not his friends saw Sasuke as anything more than a bastard; after all, their opinion wasn't affecting anything. How they saw their teacher wouldn't change how Naruto saw Sasuke, and it sure as hell wouldn't change his chances with Sasuke. But how exactly Naruto himself saw his teacher, he wasn't entirely sure, and that he did feel was important. If he didn't know Sasuke he wouldn't know where to start—or at least, where to start over with this whole seduction thing. He didn't think he was a complete prick, that much was true, but he sure as hell didn't see him as an amiable friend, either. Then again…
"Agh, why the hell does it matter?" Naruto repeated suddenly, gripping his hair in one hand. Sakura and Kiba both pulled back slightly, exchanging worried glances. "It doesn't matter! I thought we were talking about Iruka and my getting a job, not about stupid Sasuke!"
"Hey, you changed the subject, man," Kiba replied, putting his hands up in surrender. "Don't go all apeshit crazy on us because you don't like the subject you chose."
"Look, Naruto," Sakura began, patting his arm encouragingly, "why don't you just talk to the vice for now? I know it's a long shot, but…it's something, right?"
"Yeah, I guess." Sulkily Naruto stood, brushing himself off as Kiba and Sakura slowly followed. "We might as well get back to class."
"Oh, don't be so goddamn pissy," Kiba snapped, whacking Naruto in the back of the head violently. "Whether or not Sasuke is a bastard is not the fucking meaning of life. Just chill."
"Fuck you, dog breath." Naruto rubbed the back of his head, ducking his head to avoid letting Kiba see the inevitable smile blooming on his face. Kiba slung an arm over Naruto's shoulders and laughed, already knowing its presence.
"Yeah, yeah. Let's go."
Light streamed through the window blinds strongly, casting stripes across each of the neatly aligned desks in the room. A breeze gently blew in from a slightly cracked window, ruffling everything in the room. The sound of a pencil tapping a desk rhythmically echoed throughout, slowly irritating Sasuke as he sat at his desk grading papers.
Tip tip tap. Tip, tap. Tip tip tap. Tip, tap. Tip ti—
"Would you stop that?"
Sleepy blue eyes slid over to him languidly, a mouth hanging open stupidly as the hand paused.
"Stop. Tapping. Your pencil."
"God, I am so bored," Naruto drawled out, collapsing onto his desk. Sasuke watched as the pencil rolled off the desk and hit the floor, stopping next to his foot. He looked up to find Naruto staring at him expectantly.
"Just bend over and grab the damn thing," Naruto groaned, rolling his eyes, before a mischievous grin spread across his face. "And while we're on the subject of you bending over—"
"We're not." Sasuke shifted his foot slightly, successfully pushing the pencil to the midpoint between him and Naruto. Naruto's jaw dropped as Sasuke smirked in satisfaction.
"Oh, come on! You couldn't even have kicked it a little closer?"
"A little exercise never hurt anyone."
Naruto narrowed his eyes. "You trying to call me fat?"
"No, Uzumaki," Sasuke sighed, shaking his head, "I am not."
"'Cause I'll have you know this is all muscle, baby," Naruto plowed on, ignoring Sasuke's answer. He sat back and patted his stomach with a cocky grin. "All muscle."
"What, you don't believe me?" Naruto immediately stood and began to untuck his shirt. Sasuke's eyes narrowed, instantly knowing where the boy was going with this.
"Don't you dare."
"What? Don't you want to see?" Sasuke rolled his eyes at the devilish smirk on Naruto's face.
"I could easily live without."
"Like I'd grace you with such a glorious sight this early in our relationship," Naruto scoffed. He sighed lightly and picked up his pencil, sitting back down glaring down at his worksheet.
Satisfied with the silence, Sasuke went back to glaring at the stack of papers in front of him. Sometimes he wondered if his desire to keep his students from having the mental capacity of a rock made him a little…irrational. Sure, he didn't want people to think that hecouldn't teach his students anything or that he was a lousy teacher—because as an Uchiha he was to excel at everything he did, even if it was fucking knitting sweaters and goddamn it he hated the stupid expectations of this family—but grading six different pages for thirty students almost every other day was really just a huge pain in the ass. He had betters things to do, like…other stuff. Yeah, other stuff which did not include grading papers.
"You know, if looks could really kill, your profession should be staring. You'd make a killing. Ah!"
Sasuke looked up at a hysterically laughing Naruto, hitting the desk with the proudest grin on his face. "Did you catch that!? Oh wow, I didn't even do that on purpose! Did you catch that?"
"I said, I said," Naruto gasped, still laughing, "I said, 'you know, if looks—if looks could really kill, your profession should be staring. You'd make a killing.' You get it? Y'know, looks, kill, make a killing—"
"I get it." Sasuke shook his head, the smallest hints of a smile around his mouth as he looked back to his papers. "You're an idiot."
"Idiot? That was clever and you know it!"
"How was it clever on your part if you said it wasn't on purpose?"
"Oh, how eloquent."
"You're so negative, you know that?" Naruto began waving his hands around in an awkward manner, trying to convey something with his hands. Sasuke squinted and turned his head slightly, still not seeing it. "You're like—like a big, giant cloud of negative…negativity."
"Those hand gestures were supposed to be a cloud?"
"My god, you're an asshole. In fact, you probably win the title of 'asshole of the year' every year, don't you?"
"No, I don't think I've ever entered that one," Sasuke replied smugly, and Naruto made a face.
"Yeah, well, you've just been nominated, and oh—oh, what's this? You've won hands down!"
Sasuke just shook his head again, picking up his pen with the intention to get back to his work. The next moments passed with the sound of Naruto squirming around uncomfortably, breaking any small bit of concentration he had possessed. He looked up and Naruto met his eyes bashfully, shifting in his seat again.
"H-hey, I have a question." Naruto stammered awkwardly, making a complete one-eighty from his previous demeanor. He twirled his pencil in his hand nervously. "Or more of a favor, actually. Well, two favors."
Slowly Sasuke raised a curious eyebrow. "This will likely end in me saying no, but go on."
"Well," Naruto began after making a face, "uh…okay, in a nutshell, I need to get a job. Badly. And obviously I need the vice's permission for that, so do you think that you could…you know, chat him up?"
"What?" Sasuke repeated incredulously, and Naruto's eyes widened before he began flailing his arms about.
"No! Oh god no, not like that." Sasuke's shoulders visibly relaxed as Naruto elaborated. "I meant tell him about me. Or, tell him good things about me and my work ethic."
"There are no good things about your work ethic."
"That's where stretching the truth comes in, see?"
"Truth doesn't stretch that far, Uzumaki."
"What about bending it?"
"Still doesn't work."
"…bending and stretching?"
"No," Sasuke interrupted, glaring at the pleading Naruto, "I'm not going to flat-out lie for you either. Why do you want a job, anyways?"
"That's none of your business," Naruto grumbled after a lengthy pause, crossing his arms over his chest and sinking down into his seat. Sasuke stared thoughtfully for a moment before sighing in exasperation. Why the hell did Sasuke have to play guidance counselor now, too? He should've read the job description more thoroughly before he decided to go and be a teacher.
"Since you're asking me to help you, I'd say it's a bit of my business now. And don't even say it's for something stupid like a game console."
"It's not for a game console, and just forget it, okay?" Naruto sighed heavily and began closing all of his notebooks. Sasuke watched in confusion as Naruto continued packing up his stuff, obviously planning to leave in a rather sudden sour mood.
"What's suddenly the problem?"
"There is no problem," Naruto snapped, avoiding eye contact. Sasuke scoffed.
"If this is because I can't help you—"
"You can help me, you just won't." Naruto stared angrily, frustration painted on his face. "There's a difference."
"That is what you're mad about?" Sasuke sat back in his seat, completely unapologetic. And why the hell should he be, anyways? "Unsurprisingly, you're being a moron. I'm not obligated to lie for you, Uzumaki, and as of now I am not compelled to do so in the least."
"Look, I know that. It's just…" Naruto sighed heavily and ran a hand through his hair, clutching the ends tightly and forcing out the words he evidently did not want to say. "I'm desperate, okay? I don't know what to do here. I'm just—I don't know."
Sasuke watched Naruto intently, his fingers itching for his top drawer in a move he didn't want to make. He didn't need to make it. It wasn't any of his business and it sure as hell wasn't his job—he'd memorized that description word for word, lest someone uses it against him again—but as of now the two things that should've stopped him were doing nothing. For fuck's sake.
"Finish packing up your things," Sasuke commanded, standing and grabbing his own things. He placed them neatly inside of his bag, controlling the overwhelming irritation to the fact that he was even doing this—why the hell was he doing this again?
Naruto was obviously confused as he slowly stood, picking his school bag from the floor. "Uh…what?"
"Just do it."
"Why the fuck should I—"
"Just do it."
They continued packing up in silence, Naruto shooting Sasuke curious and rather irritated glances every so often. Sasuke purposely avoided his desk drawer, carefully packing each notebook, folder, binder, pencil, pen, highlighter, and led refill he could find until his desk was nearly empty. He sighed lightly and, cursing under his breath, slid the drawer open.
"What the hell is taking you so long?"
Sasuke's head snapped up as he glared, his car keys glinting mischievously. He snatched them up violently and grabbed his bag before stalking tetchily through the doorway, flipping the light off as Naruto followed.
Naruto slid the door closed and jogged to catch up to Sasuke, who was walking quickly in his aggravation. "So where exactly are we going? Another 'comforting' date?"
"That was not a date," Sasuke replied immediately, wanting to once again punch the stupid smug look off of Naruto's face. "It was a home visit, and one recommended by the school."
"The school sent you to make sure I was all right?" Naruto repeated incredulously, shoving his hands in his pockets. He forced a smile and nonchalance in his tone. "That's only half-surprising. I knew they loved me all along."
Sasuke stopped suddenly, causing Naruto to nearly run into him. His face scrounged up in preparation to begin yelling, stopping just as he opened his mouth. "Hey, you called me Naruto…"
With that Sasuke continued walking silently, leaving a confused but compliant Naruto to follow. Naruto opened his mouth as if to speak again at several intervals, staring at Sasuke with eyebrows furrowed. Sasuke did nothing, and finally when they got in the car Naruto relaxed, leaning his head against the cool window and closing his eyes with a soft sigh.
They drove and Sasuke felt a bit like he did when he visited Naruto's house; the silence was something akin to pleasant—but not actually so, since the words 'Naruto' and 'pleasant' did not belong in the same sentence. Even through the mental berating he was giving himself—really, this was the second time he'd let his student in his car, and if he was found he'd probably be called unethical and unprofessional—he felt relatively…calm. It was just his hands on the steering wheel, the soft sound of the road passing beneath his car, and the scent of rain floating in his slightly opened windows.
"Hey Sasuke," Naruto said softly, his eyes still closed. Sasuke made no move to respond, feeling it unnecessary. "I think I know where we're going."
"Maybe you're not so much of a moron, then," Sasuke replied, and Naruto laughed lightly.
The hospital room was as small and suffocating as Naruto remembered it, the stark walls and morose greys as depressing as ever. Naruto took small steps into the room, for some reason feeling nervous, clutching his schoolbag to his chest. He watched the rise and fall of Iruka's chest intently, counting each one as if to reassure himself that his guardian was, in fact, still alive.
Naruto watched as tired eyes slowly opened, a strained smile forcing its way onto the man's face. Joy rose quickly in Naruto's chest as he grinned, taking quicker steps towards the man. He pulled over the closest chair, plastic scraping against the floor, and sat down in it quickly, throwing his bag beside him. He clenched his hands tightly on his knees as he barely kept himself from hugging the man back into unconsciousness.
"Hey, Naruto." The cracked and tired tone of voice caused Naruto's smile to falter momentarily. He hated this so much, and everything in him wanted to make Iruka better somehow. "Did you go to school today?"
"First thing you ask, really!" Naruto laughed loudly, the relief he was feeling making him elated. "I can't believe you'd think so little of the value I place on my education!"
"Wow, you must be going to school. I've never heard you use a word as big as 'education'." Iruka smiled teasingly and Naruto stuck his tongue out childishly.
"I'll have you know I'm often told I'm very, very smart. Light years beyond all of my classmates."
"Oh, is that what your teacher says?"
Naruto winced slightly. "Of course! Well…sort of."
"'Sort of'? Naruto…" Iruka said warningly, and Naruto was amazed that Iruka managed to be so threatening from a hospital bed.
He weighed whether or not to tell Iruka the truth—that he was struggling in his almost all of his classes because of his nonchalance in the beginning of the year, and the week he missed hadn't helped in the least—but quickly decided against it. He didn't want Iruka worrying any more than he inevitably was now; all Iruka needed to focus on was getting better and nothing else.
"Well, he says I have promise. Also says that if I apply myself, I could get grades that would shoot me towards schools preparing me for life as the prime minister of Japan."
"Wow!" Iruka's face was genuinely excited even through the fatigue, and Naruto forced himself to smile as well. "I think that's the nicest thing any of your teachers have said about you. In fact, I think it's one of the only nice things your teachers have said about you. He must be a great teacher."
Naruto bit the tip of his tongue to keep from laughing. "Oh, he's…he's something else."
"I assume things are okay with your friends?"
"Yeah, definitely. Sakura was actually here with me when you were first admitted." Naruto sheepishly scratched the back of his head with a slight chuckle. "I couldn't manage being here alone, so I called her."
"Understandable." Iruka let out a soft sigh, bringing his hand up to his face. Naruto immediately jumped up, hands outstretched and prepared to do whatever necessary.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, just…slight headache." Iruka smiled a bit and Naruto hesitantly sat back down on the edge of his seat. "Falling down a flight of stairs will do that to you."
"You're something else, you know that?" Naruto laughed in astonishment, shaking his head. Iruka shrugged with a smile.
"Your constant optimism and ability to make light of any situation has affected me."
Naruto smiled sadly before looking at the ground, suddenly feeling ashamed. He slowly slid back in his chair and began moving his foot back and forth between the tiles nervously, wanting to speak but finding himself unable. His closed his eyes tightly and took in a deep breath, the words leaving him in a jumbled, embarrassed rush.
Iruka laughed from his bed and Naruto ducked his head further down, his face heating up instantly. He was such a kid and especially when it mattered; 'magically' make him better? What the fuck was that shit?
"Naruto, I appreciate your wanting to—"
"I don't like feeling this helpless!" Naruto jumped to his feet, tensely pacing around the room and biting his fingernails. "It's not good. This entire situation isn't good. And even though I know it shouldn't, it eats at me. This is supposed to be where I step up and do something for you, Iruka, and I'm not doing anything! It's not right!"
Slowly Iruka sat up, staring seriously at Naruto. Naruto sighed heavily and shuffled back to his seat, collapsing heavily into the cheap chair. He folded his hands and stared at the ground before mumbling, "I just want to be able to do something for you, Iruka. I want to help make things better."
They remained silent, Naruto staring at the ground and Iruka watching him contemplatively. The sound of the television from the room next door floated through the thin walls. Naruto could hear the heels of someone clicking down the hallway, the soft murmurs of someone speaking comfortingly, and faint, distant sobs. Everything about hospitals was terrible; it seemed like no one here could ever be happy until they were leaving. Hospitals had always been the physical form of death to Naruto, and perhaps that was why this was tearing him up so much—he couldn't stop believing that because Iruka was here, Iruka was dying, even though he wasn't.
"Listen, Naruto," Iruka began softly, and Naruto shook his head.
"I know, I know. It's not my fault."
Iruka slid back down in his bed, closing his eyes and letting out a heavy breath. "I'm sorry. I'm just really exhausted."
"I'm probably not helping, huh?"
"That's not the case," Iruka chided, and Naruto laughed bitterly and attempted to regain his humor.
"Liar. I happen to be quite exhausting."
"Naruto, there are some things about your sex life I really don't want to know."
"Oh wow, Iruka, that was a good one!" Naruto rubbed his chin in mock contemplation, looking off into the distance. "I think I should try that one on Sasu—er…"
"Who?" Iruka asked, and Naruto forced out a laugh.
"Uh, Sasu…kura! Sakura, that's whose name I was saying." Rubbing the back of his head sheepishly, Naruto quickly continued speaking before the conversation could progress any further. "You're obviously tired, Iruka-sensei, so I'll go now. I'll visit you again soon, promise."
Patting the armrests Naruto grabbed his bag quickly, standing and beginning to make his way out of the room before Iruka called his name out again.
"You want to do something for me?" Iruka's voice was slow and tired, causing Naruto to smile affectionately as the man fought to stay awake.
"I'll do anything."
"I want you to get an A for this grading period."
"What?!" Naruto whirled around quickly and stared at his chuckling guardian as if he'd just gone and grown another head. "You're joking. You must be. Is it the painkillers? Are you on painkillers?"
"Naruto, I know you can do this," Iruka argued, opening his eyes halfway and struggling to keep them there. "You're intelligent. Even your teacher said you showed promise."
Fuck. "Y-yeah, but he said promise, not actual intelligence! He's a tough grader, anyways, and—and it'll be hard enough for me to even pass, let alone get an A!"
"He seems nice enough, from what you say. Ask him for extra help; I know you can sacrifice the time."
Naruto wanted to plant his face in his hands and let the earth swallow him whole at that moment. Seeing firsthand how your words can come back to bite you in the ass is never fun. "He's…busy, Iruka-sensei. It's not me, it's him. He won't have time."
"Nonsense." Iruka waved a limp hand in the air as if to dispel the thought. "He's a teacher; it's his job to help you."
"I have been saying that for months, but does that bastard listen? No," Naruto grumbled under his breath, all the while racking his mind for some excuse that would change Iruka's mind. He was nowhere near passing at the moment, and getting an A average?
Absolute sparkling, shiny bullshit.
"I-Iruka-sensei, it's just that—"
"All right, Naruto, I understand." Iruka let his eyes fall closed, exhaling softly and preparing to fall asleep. "Just make sure you pass."
Naruto watched him as guilt rose in his chest, creating a foul taste in his mouth. He came here moaning and griping about how he wanted to do something, and then when given something he just complains? Uzumaki Naruto, unable to rise to the challenge and do what his sick guardian asked of him. Was that really who he was now?
"All right, fine." Naruto sighed heavily and planted his face in his hands, knowing that he was going to desperately regret this in a day's time. "I'll do it. I'll get an A this grading period."
Iruka chuckled tiredly from his bed, slowly turning over to make himself comfortable. "Thanks, Naruto. I know you can do this."
"I hope I can," He replied uncertainly, and Iruka laughed again.
"Where in the world has the loud-mouthed, over-confident Naruto gone? Where's the speech you used to give me about how you were going to be prime minister and make Japan the world's greatest country? What happened, you lose a backbone?"
No, I'm just scared I'm losing you. "You're right, Iruka-sensei!" Naruto brought up a determined fist and launched into a trademark speech of being something great, if only to put Iruka at ease. He didn't want the older man to worry or to make himself even sicker. All he wanted was Iruka to sit without a care in the world, heal without a care in the world, and come back home without a care in the world.
And so help him god, Naruto was going to do anything to make that happen.
A special prize to the person who recognizes out the song lyric I snuck in there.
Next chapter will be…different. Or at least I'm envisioning it to be. Some things will be clarified, shit will happen, it's all life. I have started to write bits and pieces of chapter nine, which is a huge improvement for me. I hope you guys can believe in me and such, and thanks to everyone who's stuck around!