A Song of Susanoo
He walked down the rainy streets, watching for any sign of danger in the lightning filled skies. Hoping desperately for no one to notice, he moved slowly, and afraid. There was shame and regret in his eyes. To be seen doing this would be utter torture in his mind.
What choice did he have when he was this hungry?
"It hurts so much," the blond told himself, "didn't know hunger could feel like this."
The boy could barely walk with the little energy he had, but he pulled through. He looked around him, left, right, up, and down, seeing if there was any danger approaching. There wasn't of course, but the boy had sensed anger nearby in all times of his life. It felt like the people of the village were always ready to let loose murderous intent on him at any moment; they were only held in check by forces that he could not explain.
"So hungry," he told himself. "I hope there's something to eat in here." He grimaced in distaste. "Probably not."
He made his way into the alley, shivering as the water seeped through his dirty orange shirt, and past his blue shorts. His grimy hands pulled up his wet blond bangs out of his eyes, so that he could get a better look at his surroundings. "It smells awful." The rotting scent of a week's worth of food lay in the dumpster in front of him, waiting for his taking. "Please, Kami, if you care about me at all, let me find something."
He slowly walked to the large green container, looking around for any rats nearby. He didn't want any of them to bite his tiny 8 year old toes; that wouldn't do at all. Rats terrified him; in them he saw vermin that carried an unexpected amount of danger in each bite. They screeched and attacked when they were afraid and only ran when they knew that the enemy would fight back. As a boy looking for food through these filthy streets, he learned to fight back—learned to win against even the bigger animals such as the foxes and even larger dogs that roamed the area.
In the distance he could hear the angry shouts of a husband and wife having an argument; this was very common in this neighborhood. The economical disaster that came after the Nine Tails attack left many families destitute, creating more slums in the village of Konoha. He should know—Uzumaki Naruto lived in the worst neighborhood of them all.
However he had no one else to blame but himself, it was him who left the orphanage after all, it was him who continued to run away from the housings the Third awarded him. Naruto, no matter where he was placed, never felt safe, never felt secure, and never felt loved.
What a word, a four letter word, a single syllable that meant so much. It contained feelings that he wasn't fully able to understand—not yet at the very least—but how he wished to feel them, to know them, to embrace that emotion that was love.
"But love won't feed me, yo," he mumbled. "Rotten fruits will."
He jumped into the trash heap, and searched for something to eat. The rain made the food wet and greasy, giving it a salty ting. Naruto slipped halfway on a loaf of mushy bread as the rain continued to fall harder, but got his balance back when his hands reached the edges of the dumpster, feeling the cold metal under his small fingers.
A bolt of lightning hit the sky, making him cover his ears trying to block out the terrible noise that sent birds flying into the heavens. The winds picked up and Naruto held his arms around his body, trying to keep from freezing. "So cold," he chattered. "I shouldn't have come out today." But he knew in his heart that if he wanted to remain out of everyone's sight, days like these were often the best.
He pulled out a white plastic bag from his tiny pocket and blew into it to see if it had any holes. Noticing that it was fine, he put it down into the dumpster's floor and gathered anything he could find that might be edible. "This doesn't look too bad."
Trial and error taught him that wheat often lasted longer than other foods and they only made him marginally sick after consumption. Things such as diary products and rotten meat were the things he should stay away from as flies tended to lay their maggots inside of them.
"Why do I go through this? I should just say sorry to the old man," he told himself, dropping some steak with festering larvae dripping out from the centre. "I should apologize; tell him that I do need him. He'll forgive me. Won't he?"
A year ago the boy's temper got the better of him. He told the Hokage that he was fine on his own—that he was a man who could take care of himself. The Third answered that he was only a child and that he would give him proper housing, that the boy was becoming harder to deal with, and was starting to develop an attitude that he did not like. Naruto was rude to everyone he knew; he cussed, he swore, and irritated everyone in his sight.
He pranked and schemed against the villagers, vandalizing anything he could reach. It was amusing at first, but it quickly escalated to damaging public property. That could not be tolerated; it was one thing to throw eggs at someone who was mean to him but to destroy pieces of public playgrounds was another.
"Like I care about a bunch of brats," he grumbled to himself, jumping off from the dumpster, only to slip and fall into the muddy floor. His small hands dug into the earth and he pushed himself up again. The water fell across his wet shirt, mixing with the mud clinging to it. "Grr, this was my only good shirt too."
He wiped off the dirt as best he could and put the bag over his shoulder. He looked ahead of the open alley to see if anyone would spot him. He didn't want that. If rumors got out that he was looking through trash for food, he would never live it down. "Or my classmates won't ever let me forget."
He hated them so much. The anger he felt for each and every one of them had bounds of course but more and more he wanted them dead, to disappear and never look at him again. Everyone disgusted him, from little Hinata to the loud Kiba. It didn't matter if they were nice to him, or mean to him, just the fact that they exist made him realize what he didn't have.
Kind and loving parents.
"It's not fair," he grumbled, walking down the street and watching the rainy skies. "Shouldn't I also have parents? Why couldn't they tell me about mine?" No one would ever mention them, the parents of Uzumaki Naruto; they had no graves, no stories, no traces.
"It's like I just suddenly appeared," he told himself, looking to see if there was someone in the shady corner he passed. He let go of the breath he was holding—there wasn't anyone there. Well, anyone he could see that is.
"Let's see now." He put his hands into the bag that was quickly filling up with water and pulled out a piece of soggy bread. He turned it to see how badly infected it was. "Not bad, only one maggot."
He pulled out the long bug from inside the bread and threw it into the streets, and crushed it under his bare feet. "I'll have to find some shoes later." His cold toes fell into a small puddle, to wipe off the innards of the insect, and came back to the cold pavement. Naruto walked down the street, across a place called Ichiraku's, hoping that the chef didn't see him. "That guy's always worried about me; he should mind his own business." He didn't like nosey people, nosey people tended to tell the Third things about him, and that would lead to the old man worrying about him.
"But I guess he loves me," he sighed. That was true, the Third Hokage did like Naruto, though love might have been pushing it. "The wind better not have blown down my house."
He finally got to his destination. In the corner of an alley, he found a box. This was his home. It was made from a tough, brown material that blends in with its environment. It had pieces of wood inside of it as well to give it structure. Around the box and over it was a tarp. It kept the rain out, though if the pressure got too heavy, it wouldn't do much for support and would topple onto Naruto while he slept inside of it. "One of these days, I'll buy a big house."
Dreams were always nice.
Naruto liked to dream. When he went to sleep and closed his eyes, he could see a world of endless possibilities; in them he saw himself bigger, taller, stronger, more handsome, and clean. Especially clean. The boy always smelled bad, terrible actually. It lead to a stream of dirty Naruto jokes from his classmates, especially Ino and Sakura.
Naruto always reacted violently when they made fun of him; he recalled one day picking up his chair and violently battering Ino with it before Iruka realized what he was going to do and stop him. Ino always knew how to push it, and her friend Sakura was just as bad.
It didn't help that no one would ever stand up for him. It wasn't his fault he didn't have access to showers; he was an independent boy and would be damned if he had to get back to the Third. "Still, it would be nice to take warm baths again." Indeed it would, but the boy was resolute.
He pulled off his shirt and rung it in his arms, his skinny body feeling the faint pressure of water fall down his back; tracing on his tanned rib cage, onto his pants, and down his legs. A small puddle formed on the ground, making Naruto back away, hoping not to get any wetter. "Didn't realize there was so much water here," he mumbled. "Thought, it was only a little soaked."
Naruto fell to the ground on his hands and knees and crawled into the opening of his box. He pulled apart the entrance as he got in. once inside he snuggled onto the protective warmth of the box and closed the lid, hoping the weather wouldn't get any worse.
The box itself wasn't that large, but it was large enough that the small boy could sleep inside without having to curl his hands and feet. That wasn't saying much, considering he was the shortest person in his class at least by half a head. "Wonder what it's like to be tall," he said to his ceiling. "Bet you feel powerful."
He put his hands underneath his head and listened to the gentle taps of rain and wind. Thunder and lightning ignited the skies, but he felt relaxed for that reason alone. It blinded him to the problems of his life, that were piling up like dirt laundry. Course he wouldn't know much about clothes, considering he only had one pair.
Naruto felt a fierce gust of wind hit the side of his box and heard the tarp that covered the box gently slide. He sighed and decided to go out and see what was wrong with it. His tiny feet took him to the battering storm and he groaned seeing the spike he attached to the tarp missing. The wind must have blown it aside.
Naruto left the alley, intent on finding the missing spike. It didn't take him long to find it, since someone was holding it.
"Mom, what's that," said a voice Naruto was more than familiar with. His eyes narrowed in anger and resentment. He walked closer to the sound and saw a tall woman carrying an umbrella, but it wasn't her that made him angry. It was the boy standing beside her. "Is that a tent pike? It looks rusty."
The woman, a very matronly woman at that, wearing what looked like an apron and maternal wear, did not reply at first to her son's question. "Sasuke, hush," she said. The black haired boy stopped talking. Naruto walked up to them at that time, glancing up at the person holding his spike. "Is this yours?" she asked, holding it up to the boy, who nodded, quickly taking it out of her hand and holding it to himself possessively.
Pulling up the umbrella slightly, the woman looked down to see the boy. He wore clothes one would find in a trash bin, there were deep blue rings around both of his eyes, indicating a lack of sleep, and, even with the rain pounding down on her umbrella, she could smell the scent of death that clung to him like impaled spikes. "What's your name, dear?"
"Naruto…Uzumaki Naruto." He turned around and walked back to the alley. The woman's gaze never left him, she looked ahead of the boy, seeing what looked like a make shift tent made from a damaged tarp and box. "Is that your home?" she asked, raising her voice so he could hear her through the rain.
Naruto didn't reply—he refused to dignify that with a response. Instead, he turned around when he got to his small house and nodded, trying not to look at the face Sasuke made.
"Mom, let's go," he said, pulling on the edges of her skirt. Sasuke wasn't used to seeing people sleep in boxes; the sight of poor people disturbed him. His sheltered life didn't allow for seeing other people's misery and, being an elite from an extraordinary rich family, kept him well nurtured. Anything that clashed with his picture of a perfect world hurt him. "I don't like this."
"Wait just a moment, dear," the mother said, bending down on knee level to stare the Uchiha boy in the eyes. She saw the discomfort all this caused her son. Sasuke had a good heart, to see other people in pain must have shaken him. Especially since that person was near his own age. Mikoto gently smiled at her son. "Let me just give him something; I think he can make better use for it than us."
Sasuke nodded, holding out his hand as his mother gave him the umbrella. He watched her leave the comfort of the umbrella, into the cold rain, walking towards the boy in the box. She carried with her the bag of groceries she bought with her son. The Uchiha female hesitated when she finally got next to the crude shelter.
It wasn't like there was a doorbell she could ring, or any place she could knock. She also didn't want to touch the top of the tarp, as she could see how fragile it was. If she accidentally tore it, that would be the end of some semblance of protection the boy managed to create.
Still, it impressed her how far the boy had come at such a young age, to build a small shelter for himself. It wasn't half bad, given a few more materials it might even last the winter that was approaching. She didn't want to think how that would be on the boy, especially the long cold nights.
"Hello," she said and waited for a reply. "Can you hear me?" she asked after a minute of waiting.
Still, no one said anything. She knelt down and tapped her knuckles on the edge of the box, underneath the wet tarp. "You don't have to say anything; I just thought you should know I have left something for you."
The pale mother waited again for the boy to say something, feeling like she deserved an answer for her troubles. The matriarch sighed, and got up, running her hands down her wet hair. It was probably better, she supposed. Getting back to her umbrella was the higher priority.
The mother skipped across the many puddles, in the pouring rain, back to her son who was diligently holding the umbrella. "Thank you Sasuke-chan." Sasuke blushed at this bit of praise. "You did a wonderful job."
The two of them walked past the alley, but Mikoto looked back one last time to the broken looking shelter, and saw that the bag she placed outside the box was missing. She turned back, facing the road ahead of her and smiled.
Naruto ate his meal in silence, trying not to make too much noise as the echo inside his box made it very difficult to concentrate on his thoughts. "Grapes…sure taste good," he said. He cleaned up the clear juices on his lips and swallowed the food he was chewing. He waited a moment for his stomach to cringe in terrible pain from the sugar rush and then lay on the box floor.
His mind raced through the reasons Sasuke's mother would offer him food. "Must be pity," he said. He rolled over to face the side of the box, since there was a leak at the top, dripping water down on his face. "I should have just returned it to her."
His stomach grumbled. "Then again, maybe not," he admitted. Uzumaki Naruto took any chance he could get to receive free food. On a rare occasion he would be asked to do some terrible chore for food, like clean a few gutters, or do some stupid stunt for someone's cruel whims. In the end, the reward of a fresh apple of orange was worth it.
"Sasuke, che, teme is gonna tell everyone," he grumbled, closing his eyes when another bolt of lightning shook the earth. "I shouldn't go to school tomorrow."
But he knew he had to, tomorrow was the first chance they would have at passing the Genin exam. This was a day he couldn't just skip, not like all the other days. "Plus Iruka would probably come searching for me, and find me here - idiot always knows where I am."
Naruto's eyes darkened, for an instant rage lit his pupils, anger like fires of a thousand suns. "If he tells anyone...I am gonna hurt him."
Then he sighed. "Who am I kidding." He felt up the box to find a pillow. Grasping it, he brought it to his face. "While I am at it I might as well beat up Kiba, Ino, Sakura and pretty much everyone in the class." All of them would spread the word that Uzumaki Naruto was homeless. He clutched the pillow in his small hands, almost tearing the dirty cover, his breath hitched. "I hate this!"
He hated living in squalor, he hated living like this, hated his pride that allowed him to not accept help when he clearly needed it. "But what choice do I have? I can't go back, not after I promised I would never ask him for help." He told the Third that more than anything the old man's help only caused more problems than it solved.
The rain fell faster, and the leaks grew larger. Naruto sighed. "I'll have to fix this." Getting up from his box, Uzumaki Naruto opened the flaps and went out to fix the leak. "Guess I'll worry about Sasuke, tomorrow. Maybe I can trade him something, so he'll keep his mouth shut."
He snorted. "Fat chance."
"Dinner is ready, Sasuke," Mikoto said from the kitchen. She walked slowly to the table, wearing a fresh set of aprons, in the color of green this time. She put down the food on the large mahogany table and waited for her two sons and husband to arrive.
The first one to come was Sasuke, as expected. Mikoto walked behind the little boy and waited for him to sit down. The boy's feet didn't even hit the ground and he smiled seeing his mother. "Ribs! Thanks mom!" Ribs were Sasuke's favorite. The sweet taste, along with the large amount of rib fat seemed to please the boy. It was an expensive cut of meat that not many in Konoha could afford, but the clans had plenty of money to spare. "You're welcome, dear," she said, showing off rows of white teeth. "Wash your hands before you start."
Sasuke grumbled and did as he was told. Mikoto followed him to the sink. "I can clean my hands by myself," Sasuke protested. "Mom?"
Mikoto's kind face looked grim. "Sasuke, you remember what we saw today?" she asked. Sasuke looked uncomfortable, the memory fresh in his head, he nodded.
His mother sighed. "What do you know about Uzumaki Naruto?" she asked. "Do you know how old he is? Whether he has parents, anything important?
Sasuke shook his head, slightly miffed that his mother knew this. "I know he's an orphan and a trouble maker." The boy scowled. "He's always destroying things." He thought about anything else he knew about Naruto. "I don't think he likes me."
Mikoto suspected as much, seeing the brief flash of menace in the blond's eyes when he saw Sasuke, his whole body language told her that, if she hadn't been there, Naruto might have attacked the ebony haired toddler. "I don't think you're wrong about that, Sasuke," she admitted. "But try to see it from his point of view; you just found out something about him that I know he wants to remain a secret."
Sasuke shuffled his feet, embarrassed. "I didn't mean too!" he shouted. "It just happened, an accident, mom!" People's private lives never interested the boy; he was too busy worrying about his father's approval as well as his older brother's safety. Clan members were watching Itachi like guard dogs. That was something Sasuke concluded after seeing the watchful Uchihas tail his brother whenever he left the compound.
"So what will you do with this new found information?" asked his mother. She held the boy's hands, so small and soft. It seemed that, despite his training, the boy managed to keep the girlish qualities about him. He would grow up to be a very delicate looking boy, she suspected; similar to Itachi. No, she corrected, even more handsome than Itachi. "Will you tell others, Sasuke? Would you let them know your classmate doesn't have anywhere to go, that he lives in a box, hungry, scared, and alone."
"No!" Sasuke immediately shouted. He didn't like where his conversation was going, he wasn't going to tell anyone in the first place, and he didn't like how his mom came to the wrong conclusion about his character. How could his own mom think her son was so cruel! "I would never do that!"
Mikoto smiled, relieved at how shaken Sasuke was. She knew his character; Uchiha Sasuke had many flaws, his mercy being one of them. His father would complain that their son needed to be toughened, but Mikoto wouldn't have that. She had already lost one son to the Shinobi wars, Itachi was never the same since that day, and she wouldn't lose another, never again. "Sasuke, honey, thank you." She patted the boy on the head, making Sasuke turn away, embarrassed. "I am proud of you."
She was, she though she did a great job raising her son. The feeling only lasted until Itachi sat down beside his father for dinner, his eyes showing an unexpected level of malevolence that made everyone in the dinner table uncomfortable.
They ate their meal in silence, Sasuke trying to get them to talk, only for no one to answer him. When the last of his ribs were finished, Itachi sat up and excused himself. "I have to go to bed early; I have an important mission tomorrow." He said this without looking at anyone. He got up, still wearing his Anbu uniform. "Thank you for the meal, mother."
Mikoto accepted his thanks and prepared to clear the table, while Sasuke chased after his brother. Her husband didn't say a word. He sat up from the table, excused himself, and followed his eldest son.
"It didn't used to be this way," Mikoto said to herself, washing the dishes. "Things were so much easier, back then." Back when her friends and family were alive. Back when she wasn't afraid to speak her mind, without having to worry about the repercussions it might have on her husband.
Back to the days when they were all kids, playing Ninja. When Clan politics did not dictate every aspect o their lives, and when the most difficult part of their life was the Chunin exam. "Back then, we were happy."
Outside, the thunderstorm got worse.
"What happened to you?" Shikamaru asked the friendly neighborhood blond. Naruto sat on his desk, his hair wet, his shirt wet, and his pants filthier than usual. "Didn't know mud baths were so popular, thought only those rich folks could afford it." Naruto scowled, deciding not to reply to that. "Listen, you should probably get cleaned up before Ino gets here; she'll have a lot to say about this, and I don't want to see you tear her a new one."
Naruto shrugged. "Let her bitch all she wants, I ain't got time to clean myself, and you know it." He really didn't, whatever time he had before class started he had to use to do some extra mental exercises to go over formulas for the written portion of the test, which would be the first part. "I'll get cleaned up later."
"Suit yourself," Shikamaru said. He walked back to his part of the classroom, taking his seat beside his fat best friend. "Lay off Ino, Naruto, for once I have to agree with her if she says you stink."
Naruto gave the boy the finger.
A few minutes later class came into session. Iruka handed out the tests to everyone, including a very irate Ino, who had a bruise on her left cheek. "Naruto hit me," she mumbled when Iruka asked her how she got that, resulting in Naruto standing outside in the hallway for half an hour, while the class wrote their test.
When he came in he only had half an hour to finish it, but he managed to, if barely guessing on the remaining few questions. He was glad the test was multiple choice, allowing for lots of extra time to narrow down the answers.
"Should have picked a on the last question," he grumbled, walking out of the hall to stand behind Sakura, who told the class how difficult the last question was, but she nailed it. "Wish I sat beside her," he mumbled under his breath. He saw Kiba nod when he said this, giving Naruto the distinct idea that he and the Inuzuka were on the same page on this one. "Guh, I feel even dumber for saying that now." He really didn't want to sink down to Kiba's level.
Naruto at least prided himself on being smarter than the dog boy, which wasn't saying a lot considering the kid used to lick himself in his early years in the academy, and was the only one Ino made more fun of than Naruto himself. "Next, Naruto, show your Taijutsu katas!" Iruka called out. He waited for the boy to stand in front of Suzume sensei, who sat near the girls in the class.
The girls watched as the boys went through their Kata, most of them cheering for Sasuke, as his form was the most flawless. When he went toe to toe with Iruka, he showed his potential and Iruka was impressed, if the sweat beading from his forehead was an indication.
"Alright, Naruto, you ready?" he asked.
"Depends," Naruto admitted, "How good of a teacher are ya? Didn't learn much from yer classes, sensei."
"That's not fair, Naruto-kun," Suzume sighed, seeing the tick mark on Iruka's forehead, the boy was testing his limits. "Iruka-sensei is doing the best he can." Her nose crumpled. "What's that smell?"
"Me." He showed the two what he learned. "That's not a lot Naruto, how disappointing," Iruka said. He wrote down another x on the boy's paper.
"Blame the teacher, sensei." Naruto shrugged.
"There is nothing wrong with the way I teach," Iruka defended.
"I still don't know how to make a clone."
"That's your fault! Now walk back to the end of the line."
Ino tried to trip him when he got too close. Naruto gave her a nice boot on her ankles when he saw her feet stick out to make him fall. "Ouch! Why you-" She would have done more had Naruto's glare not made her back away.
Uzumaki Naruto could get very violent; she had seen firsthand what he did to Kiba when the dog boy tried to pull a prank on the blond. For a boy who liked to terrorize other people, he sure did not agree to his own medicine.
Eventually the class was dismissed. No one passed the exam, but that was hardly a surprise. Some people could do the ninja techniques, while failing the written portion. Some would do well in the written but fail the practical. Naruto failed both, but he didn't seem to care.
"Wasn't going to pass today, anyway," he admitted.
Up ahead he saw Sasuke, walking to his brother. "I need to talk to him." He followed the two brothers, from a distance. "Gotta make sure he doesn't squeal on me."
"Hold it," said a voice from behind Naruto. "Don't you know tailing people can get you killed in a Ninja village?"
Naruto didn't even turn around to reply. "Screw you lady, I know my rights."
Instantly the boy felt a slap to the back of the head. He clutched the spot where it hurt and turned to face the person who did that. He was awarded by the sight of a tall woman with a black ponytail. She wore a sundress and held two bags of groceries on each of her hands. Her eyes were dark brown, along with her hair, which was so dark it was almost black.
She looked anything but amused by the boy's reply. "What did you just say to me?"
Naruto wanted to repeat what he said earlier, but decided against it. It wouldn't do to get into a fight with a random woman in the street, he needed to get to Sasuke before him and his brother entered the compounds. "I said it was none of your business who I follow lady, now would you leave me alone? I got shit to do." He made to follow his adversary, when he felt a hand grab the back of dirty collar. He yelped and tried to fight it off.
The hand picked Naruto off the ground. It turned Naruto around in midair and let him hang there, facing the wielder of the hand, whose eyes burned into his own. "Young man, can you tell me why saying that to a lady would make her angry?" she asked, each word sounding like scraps of nails. She had her teeth bared, and veins popping. "Do you think there was a better way for you to talk to your elders?"
Naruto growled, "Let go of me!" He flayed his arms in the air, hoping that would make the lady drop him, but the woman was a lot stronger than she looked. She held him there, hanging from his collar. People were walking past the two, whispering to themselves and some even laughed at the boy. "Drop me, ya old hag!"
The woman did just that, making the boy hit the floor with a fierce impact. Naruto got up and wiped himself off, glaring at the tall woman. "What's your problem?" he asked. "I didn't do anything to you!"
The woman did not relent, her eyes narrowed. "You did do something to me, young man," she stepped up over his small form. Naruto backed away, suddenly realize how small he was in comparison. "You told me to screw off." She took another step and hovered over him menacingly. "No one talks to me that way, especially not some uncouth child who can't give a decent answer to someone who is trying to help him."
Naruto had a response to that, but didn't say anything when the lady's eyes narrowed further. "Choose your words carefully."
Naruto closed his mouth.
"That's better." She picked up her groceries, and handed one to Naruto. "Carry one of these for me, young man." She shoved the heaviest bag of groceries to the boy's hand and walked off. Naruto didn't follow at first, but figured that he had nothing to lose. The lady might even give him a fruit or two for his trouble.
They walked in silence for a few minutes until the tall woman decided to speak. "Your name is Uzumaki Naruto, isn't it?"
Naruto nodded. That was common knowledge. Despite how much the villagers hated him, they all seemed to know who he was. They might not always know where he lived, or what he did, and how old he was, but they always knew his name.
The woman didn't say anything after that, but looked thoughtful. "Do you know my son, Shikamaru?" she asked. "He should be in your year."
Naruto thought about it. This answer would have to be carefully worded because there were a legion of parents who did not want their child associating with him on a principle that he couldn't figure out. He observed the mother carefully and now saw the resemblance between the two. They seemed to have similar hair and eye color. Only the woman had slightly paler skin; that was natural for any parent, he guessed.
More importantly, she wasn't frowning, or acting cold. She just looked curious, and slightly irritated. "Yes," he admitted, "I have ran into him here and there."
She nodded. "How is he doing in class?" she asked. "Working hard?"
Naruto snorted. "You could say that."
The mother didn't like that answer. "What do you mean by that," she asked coldly.
Naruto didn't mean to offend her; he forgot how sensitive parents could be when an insult was directed to their children. He decided to reword the next reply carefully. Naruto was also sure that Shikamaru would not appreciate the blond ratting him to a parent, no one would ever accuse Naruto for being a snitch, not him.
"I mean he's doing great at school," he said, "He can pass a test with his eyes closed."
Oddly enough that fact was true. Naruto just realized how strange that was. Maybe he didn't know his classmate as well as he thought? For a person to get better marks than Kiba on a test, while being unconscious, that was plain odd. He would have to ask more questions the next time he saw the kid.
"Good," the mother said. Her features softened. "I was worried that he would slack off. " Naruto didn't say anything to that. "He has this tendency to sleep at the worst times you see. Perhaps you have seen it, or perhaps you have not, but Shikamaru has a few problems that—well, I would prefer not to mention them."
"Not my business anyway." Naruto shrugged. "I got enough to deal with as it is." Naruto just thought of something. "If you're Shikamaru's mom, does that make you Mrs. Nara?"
The Nara smiled. "It does." She slowed down to let the boy walk beside her. "I prefer to be called my last name, Yoshino. There are many Naras in this village and I would prefer not to be confused with them."
Naruto put that name into his memory. "Yo-sh-ino." He thought he had a good grasp of the name. It sounded like a pretty name. Taking a closer look at the lady's face he realized that she was a pretty woman indeed. Her demeanor was strong, making it hard to notice it the first time. He was too busy focusing on her bad parts to realize just how man good parts she had.
She didn't have that pale beauty Sasuke's mother had, but she had something made of stronger stuff. "Not to be rude, or anything, Yoshino-san, but why are you making me do this?"
Yoshino turned to the small boy, who looked at her quizzically with those large sapphire eyes. "I didn't want to carry both of the bags, and you looked like you had time to kill, boy." She sped up, making the boy walk faster. "Normally I would bring my son, but he was busy."
"Huh? I just saw him in the park," Naruto said. "Didn't look too busy."
Yoshino stopped. Slowly she turned to face the blonde. Naruto could feel anger build in her movements as she slowly became more agitated. She clenched her fist and almost snarled. "That liar!"
"Crap," Naruto mumbled. "I'm a snitch."
The woman grumbled the rest of the way out of the town square. Naruto didn't know what went through her mind to make her so angry. Children always lied to their parents, what was the big deal? It seemed like the natural thing to do. It was either that or do the chores the parents would want them to do.
Naruto walked beside the mother, he didn't want to be left behind, now that the crowds were becoming larger. Yoshino-san stopped in a few different stalls and Naruto carried a few more bags for her. Pretty soon the boy realized that he was holding almost everything, while the woman carried the single bag of bread she had in the first place.
The blond thought about just dropping everything and walking away, he was sure that Sasuke and Itachi were already inside their homes, so the day was a bust, but spending the rest of the day with Shikamaru's mom was probably not a great option either.
The last stop was a clothing store. Yoshino walked into the store, holding the door for Naruto, who nodded to her. He would have said thanks, but he didn't feel thankful at the moment, not when his hands were so numb.
Naruto sat down on a chair to get his energy back, it didn't take long but he would need a good solid minute to relax and let his tension leave him. "Don't sit around, boy," Yoshino grumbled. "Get into the dressing room."
Naruto protested, but was shoved violently into the room. Turning around, he was pelted by a black shirt and black shorts. "Put those one," the woman said.
Uzumaki Naruto did just that, hesitantly of course. He looked at his reflection on the mirror. It seemed to work on him. The high collared black shirt gave him a look of a Jounin with his vest off, although Naruto was sure the black shorts looked ridiculous, they were too long and made him look even shorter than he already felt.
He walked out wearing that dress. "Not bad," the mother muttered to herself. She turned to the cashier. "Put that on my tab."
Naruto didn't know what to say. Why exactly was she doing this, and why buy him a pair of clothing? "I don't get it, what gives?" he asked. "I didn't ask for this you know." Naruto didn't like receiving gifts; they were often followed by a catch.
The only person who ever gave him anything was the Third, and the old man always wanted something from him in return. Whether it was staying at the orphanage surrounded by people who hated him, or living in an apartment where he felt like he was always being watched by everyone, from the landlord to his neighbors.
Gifts always came with the cost of his freedom. Naruto took off the shirt and dropped the pants, letting it fall to floor. Yoshino scowled seeing the boy in his small dirty boxers. "Young man, put those back on."
Naruto didn't do that, instead he walked back to the dressing room and put on his original clothes. The filthy ones. "No can do, lady." He headed out the door, to be stopped frozen." What the hell!"
He tried to turn around but found his body wouldn't move. He heard foot steps came up behind him, and felt the woman's breath touch the back of his neck. "You aren't going anywhere until you let me thank you." She let go of the jutsu that held him, causing Naruto to fall to the ground.
He felt a small pain on his knee, but ignored it. The boy got up and glared at the woman behind him, who looked slightly apologetic. "Are you hurt?" she asked. "My apologies, but you left me with little option."
"There were a lot of options, lady-Yoshino-san, you just took the worst one," he rubbed his knees. They bled a little, but slowly healed. "Could have just said stop, ya know?"
"Would you have stopped?" she asked.
Yoshino walked to the dressing room and carried back the black clothing. She handed it to him. "These belong to you," she said. "Your current clothes are falling apart." She didn't say anything for a moment; she didn't look like she wanted to admit the final part. "Shikamaru told me he had a friend who looked like he dug clothes out a gutter." She frowned. "I didn't know how apt he was in that particular description."
"Yeah, well…" He tried to think of something mean to say to that response, but was touched that a classmate actually cared enough to tell his parents about his situation. He didn't say anything for a second, too stunned, yet words came out almost from his subconscious. "Thank you, I appreciate this." He decided to add a bit more. "Please let Shikamaru know that."
She smiled, genuinely this time. Her full lips widened cheerfully, causing a pair of pink dimples to form in her cheeks. Once again he was amazed that he missed how handsome she was. "You are welcome, Naruto-san."
Naruto carried the lady's groceries back to her home. She talked to him about her children, how they were growing up so fast. She told him lying was wrong and that she was going to punish the boy when he got home, and talked about her daily life, cooking and cleaning
The boy listened to all this with rapt attention. It wasn't often that someone talked to him, and when they did it wasn't a compliment either. He liked Yoshino, she was a bit rough around the edges, but she seemed genuine.
He followed her as far as the edge of her compound, a large traditional Japanese temple, and dropped off her things in the gate, where a few children walked up and took it back to the house. Naruto saw a few deer in the background, running in the fields. When he asked her about that, she said to not ask too many questions, not that she would appreciate it if he didn't mention seeing them.
Naruto promised he wouldn't tell anyone what he saw, and left. He carried with him a bag of food, and another bag with clothes. "Huh, life isn't so bad." He would think these thoughts until another thunderstorm struck the sky again.
Louder than the previous night.
There were people outside of his box. "Should we set it on fire?" said a bleary voice. "No one will know."
"Don't be an idiot, there is always someone watching the kid," another answered. "Still, we can do things if we don't push it." Some of the voices laughed. "Let's shake up this box."
Naruto tumbled helplessly as the box was turned over and he fell over. The men outside rolled his box a second time, and Naruto felt kicks on the side of the box, not strong enough to tear it, but strong to make loud noises. "You like that, brat?" said another voice. "There's more where that came from."
The drunken laughter of these men echoed through the walls, while Naruto tumbled and cried for them to stop. They weren't physically hurting him, emotionally was another matter. It was random occurrences like these that made Naruto wonder why he wanted to be a Ninja.
To be acknowledged by people like these? It didn't make any sense. Why fight for people who hate you? Why protect those who want you dead?
Naruto was certainly not going to put his life on the line for those who would dance on his grave. The kicking became louder and the tumbles faster, he grabbed onto his pillow and held on. He was only eight; a child shouldn't have to go through this.
But he did.
And he would do it again, and as long as it took until he was old enough to defend himself. The sheer helplessness of the boy was pure tragedy. "Please stop," he begged. Despite his angry demeanor Naruto was actually very shy around angry groups of adults, especially strangers.
It's hard to deal with new people, new variables that one is not used to encountering. The boy didn't know what these people might do if provoked, and for all he knew these people could be Ninja. He waited for the men to stop their fun, hoping it would end soon.
He just wanted to sleep, was that too much to ask? If reincarnation existed; what had he done in the past life to be reborn in such a pathetic state? "Stop it!" he shouted, hearing their insults grow faster, with more swears and curses about his character, along with how his mother must have been a whore.
His eyes flashed angrily at this, he burst a hole through the box and tackled his attacker. "Don't say that!" he shoved the man to the ground, straddling his chest. "Take that back! You don't even know my mother!"
No one seemed to know his mother, and word of his father was taboo.
The man grinned, his green teeth showing. "I know your mother, boy." The man didn't bother to push the blond off of him. Around him his men gathered making no move to attack. They knew he was watching. They even stared at the spot they were sure the Anbu kept guard.
Thunder rumbled in the distance and a lightning bolt illuminated the figure standing on the roof, watching, wearing the mask of a weasel, always gazing, yet never moving.
They circled the boy, saying hurtful words to stab at his soul. "The question is, do you know who she is?" the man on the ground laughed, knowing full well the boy had no idea. The Third would have it no other way. How cruel their great leader was with his kindness, how the same rules he made to protect the boy only caused more hatred as it built up in collective conscious of their society.
"Do you know if she abandoned you?" one of them asked. It occurred to Naruto that the men were too ugly to be real. They were absolutely revolting, looked too demonic to be natural.
"Henge," Naruto growled. "Why are you using a disguise?"
"Oi, he's a smart one," one of them said, a bald man with a crooked nose. "Gonna be a smart Ninja will ya?" The green tooth laughed at this joke. "We're hiding our identities, genius."
The three laughed, as the man pushed Naruto off his chest, making the boy fall to the ground onto the wet puddle. Splashes of water hit the side of his box as he impacted. Feeling paranoid, Naruto quickly got up, ready for them to attack, but they did not.
Instead, they continued to circle him. Moving faster, making Naruto dizzy. "Your dad was a piece of work, though," one of them admitted. "A shame you won't ever know who he is."
A bark of laughter met this reply by the green teethed goon. He stood up straight, looking down the blond who backed away into the alley. He was up against the wall as they closed in. "Wouldn't you like to know who they are?" They were drunk, severely so. Naruto was sure they didn't know who his parents were, all information on them had been erased a long time ago, and there must have been a good reason for it.
At least he hoped.
"You don't know what yer talking about!" Naruto shouted. He breathed in another stream of air. "You bastards lie!" They can't be telling the truth Naruto told himself, they just couldn't. "You don't know nothin'!"
"Hoo hoo!" the bald man said, hitting the green teethed man in the ribs. "He thinks we are kidding." He put his fist up to the boy, whom didn't look afraid. "Listen brat, your bitch of a mother had red hair, like the blood oozing off carcass." The man licked his lips. "I could still taste her."
Naruto snarled at this and punched the man in the face, only for him to back away. "Nice," the man said, he didn't look unhappy at this reaction. "Yer a fighter, good one, ya little bastard." He continued to laugh. "Your whore of a momma would be so proud, she could hit hard too"
Naruto growled, letting out a guttural shout, and speared the man's feet. The two fell to the ground, but the man continued to laugh. His friends did the same; they weren't going to attack him. If they did the Anbu would have authorization to attack and they didn't want that.
It was no secret that Weasel followed strict protocol and he wouldn't move. The three of them could handle one orphan, even if the boy hit them, he wouldn't do much if any damage. "What a pussy punch," green said. "You hit like her, you little cunt," he laughed, "though I wouldn't mind her pounding me, if you know what I mean."
Naruto's anger boiled up to the surface. Through the pouring rain he shouted for them stop saying those hurtful words. He turned to face the Anbu standing in the rain, waiting, watching everything, as the rain poured down his mask. "What are you waiting for!" Naruto shouted, "Get rid of them!"
The Anbu didn't budge. The wind blew around the weasel-masked man, heavy droplets pelting him, not reacting to any of it. He was like a statue affected by noting, standing still in the maelstrom of emotions and water. "Your job is to protect people, ain't it!" Naruto continued.
Still, no answer from the Anbu.
"He won't lift a finger to help, baka," the drunken bald man said. "Word's out that the Third alleviated some of your protection." The man snorted. "Seems like the local demon wanted to be alone."The man spat on the floor, next to the boy. "How does independence taste?"
Naruto turned his head away. "I don't need him." Gathering his courage he faced the three, then back at the Anbu. "And I don't need you!"
The Anbu didn't look like he heard, even when the rain calmed down long enough for those sounds to reach his ears.
"Ha, you do need him, brat, you need every Ninja in the forces to keep this village from eating you alive," the man's left eyes twitched violently. "If we were allowed to hurt you, oh you better believe something real nice would happen to you." He made a choking gesture with both his hands, smiling at the blond with grimy teeth. "I would take my time, you better believe that, gaki."
Believe it. Naruto didn't like that phrase. People used that phrase at the end of every death threat he had ever heard. "I am not afraid of you!" Naruto shouted, as a bolt of lightning shot across the sky. A storm of crows decided to fly across Konoha at that time. "None of you scare me, nothing scares me." The boy's eyes narrowed, his fanged teeth were bared. "Get out of here, or else."
The three of them went silent.
Then the baldy stepped up. "You aren't afraid of us, boy?" he asked softly. Naruto didn't make a reply. The man smiled. "You should be, because we are afraid of you."
A bolt so large it shook the Earth struck the box Naruto lived it, setting the brown box on fire, while exploding anything inside of it. Naruto was flung out of the alley by the sheer impact. It literally left a hole in the ground, one so large the ground around the bolt caved in.
The three men disappeared at the sound of the bolt and Naruto wondered if the stray lightning hit any of them. He got off the ground, his body feeling so wet he was sure he must have looked like a drowned puppy. He took a step and slipped to the floor, but stopped himself from completely falling by putting his hands out in front of him, as if he were doing pushups.
He managed to get himself up right and walked to the corner of the alley. There he found the container of clothes Yoshino-san bought him. Beneath those clothes was an extra sheet. Naruto pulled out the sheet and wrapped it around himself.
Unlike the tarp, it wasn't waterproof and he knew it would be a matter of time before he would be soaked through the bone. He shivered. His eyes went up to the Anbu who continued to look at him. Winds howling the distance, like the roar of a wolf. "This is your fault!" Naruto yelled. "You should've been doin' yer job!"
The Anbu tilted his head, as if to question if the boy was serious. "I know what I said! I don't need you or the Third, but I damn well could have used it."His blue eyes became bloodshot. "Look what they did to my home." He pointed to the rubble. "You think that was some normal lightning!"
Naruto was no one's fool. For the bolt to hit like that was beyond anything Nature could pull off. Not to mention the sheer accuracy it hit his box.
The boy held back tears that threatened to burst from his eyes. This was his home; he built it with his own two hands. The parts he needed to make this place took him weeks to assemble and he wasn't sure if he would ever feel safe in this location.
He hated it when he had to change locations. Why did they destroy his comfort zone? A place where he could hide from the world. Why do that to him when he meant no harm? He played the occasional prank, but that was only against people who wronged him.
It was rare that he found a Ninja who openly confronted him, but those times Naruto was sure he barely escaped with his life. The orphan was surrounded by animosity from all sides, and he was being backed into a corner. He wasn't sure how much more he could take before he finally snapped.
On his own these past year, Naruto realized that the Third was hiding more from him that he was lead to believe.
He would hear whispers of demons, and that demon was him, Uzumaki Naruto. The prankster first suspected it was a name created from his pranks, but soon found that it wasn't the case. Even when he stopped his jokes for long period of time, they would still refer to him as the beast.
All the names had a focal point. They would be centered on the idea that he wasn't human; that he was something evil; a creature that was a danger to them, and a menace to their children; a beast.
When Naruto asked the Third about this, the old man tried to change the conversation.
The two of them hadn't met for a long time, and Naruto wasn't about to go back and see him. The boy didn't trust the old man. Children are sensitive, and they have intuition as well. Naruto had to learn to use his instincts from an early age and they were telling him that the Sandaime was lying to him.
Naruto's first suspicion started when he was younger. He asked the old man if he could go outside of the village, explore it on his own. The Third smiled and told him that he didn't need to, that the outside world was a boring place.
At the time Naruto believed him.
Months later Naruto heard of a travelling circus in a neighboring town, and asked the old man if he could go to that. The Third told him that he needn't bother, such tricks could be done by any Ninja, and that Naruto should be focusing on learning to read. This continued for a year, until Naruto decided to climb the walls of the village and leave, just for a little while.
Two second after making it past the walls of the village, he was captured by the Anbu and brought back to an extremely angry Hokage.
The man was furious that Naruto tried to leave without his permission. He banned Naruto from going out of the orphanage unless he had someone to watch him at all times. Naruto's watcher was a grouchy old lady who despised the blond and said anything she could to make the boy miserable
Naruto complained to the Third about his new caretaker and the boy found himself with a new one, this caretaker just as bad as his previous one. This continued for another year, until Naruto became fed up with the idea of someone taking care of him and tried to live on his own.
The Third offered him an apartment, and for a time Naruto was happy. That was until he realized that every night someone was watching him, while he slept. The man had bear mask and occasionally Naruto could see long tree branches twist onto the side of his window.
It terrified the boy to know that someone looked at his sleeping form. When he told the Third this new problem, the old man smiled and told Naruto not to worry about the men, or women who stared at him from hidden places.
Like most lonely people, Naruto took up a hobby of writing a journal; it contained all his emotions and feelings. It helped when he realized that not many liked him. He wasn't popular in his classroom and he certainly couldn't make friends with people who avoided him.
Many times he wrote about how much he hated the children in his age groups and occasionally wrote down the names of people he wanted dead. Grocers, clothes makers, carpenters, anyone that Naruto met tended to rip him off and take his money. Naruto wasn't stupid; the people of the village were trying to make him miserable, and they were doing this as a group.
He told the Hokage his problem, and the man just chuckled and told Naruto that he was just imagining things. This lead to their first fight, and Naruto didn't talk to the man for a month. He was so angry that the Third did not believe him. Or even scarier, perhaps the Third knew.
The thought made Naruto terrified.
One day the Third summoned Naruto to his office, in the middle of lunch. When Naruto arrived, he was greeted by a very serious expression on the man's face. The Third asked Naruto if he had ever considered wanting someone dead.
Naruto replied that he didn't, which was a lie—he wanted many people dead. The Third asked Naruto if he was telling the truth, and Naruto told him he was. The old man pulled out a journal and showed the names of people Naruto put on his death list.
The Uzumaki at the time was too shocked to see the sad expression on the old man's face. He missed the guilty look the old man had, and instead of casually asking for the journal back, Naruto exploded his emotions like a whirlwind of rage. He told the Hokage that he had no right to look through his things, told him that he didn't need people watching him and that he was better off before all of these restrictions.
He told the Hokage that he was going to leave the village, whether the Third liked it or not.
Naruto had never been so afraid of someone in his life as he was that day. The anger coming off the old man felt like the the rays of a blazing sun ready to erupt into a supernova, burning everyone in sight. Naruto shivered just seeing the fire in the man's eyes when he commanded that Naruto to get rid of that thought form his mind, that he wasn't ready to scale these walls.
Naruto didn't know how he found the bravery to talk back to the old man, but he did. His anger made him say things to the old man that he knew weren't true; how he would have been fine living on his own; how he could take care of himself; how he was a man.
How foolish that was.
The Third had chuckled darkly and told Naruto that he would let the boy live on his own, without his help, and warned the boy that he would come crawling back. He told Naruto that he would come back begging for a home, but Naruto glared at the man at the time and told him simply.
"No, I won't."
He never went back.
Currently, Naruto's eyes glimpsed the pieces of brown carton, soaking in the rain. The orphan picked a few burnt pieces and crumbled them in his hands.
"Now where am I going to live?" Naruto moaned in anguish. "I worked hard finding that tarp. Tarps aren't easy to find, especially when they are waterproof, and spikes are even harder." The boy clutched the blanket wrapped around him; the rain fell down his hair and into his eyes, mixing with the freshly shed tears.
He looked up at the Anbu who stood on the rooftops, watching, waiting, yet never saying anything. Naruto chuckled. "You think this is funny, don't you?" Naruto stood up, the blanket still wrapped about his shoulders, eyes still on the boy with the weasel mask. "Poor Naruto, thought he could live on his own, and now stands in the rain like, wet and dirty, like some gutter trash." The last part came out almost as a growl, his eyes turning red, but only for an instant.
"I want out of here!" Naruto shouted. "I want to leave this place and never come back!" The boy's voice became louder with each word. "Tell that to Ji-ji! Tell him I want to leave! I am not a prisoner!" He said the final words to himself, only for him to hear. "Someday, I'll find my way out of here, into the outside world, into freedom."
Freedom, that which all humans strive for to escape from the chains that bind them.
Naruto picked up anything he could salvage and put them into his blanket; he wrapped the blanket around the items and picked up the bundle. He wasn't sure where he was going to go now, but understood that this location wasn't secure.
Uzumaki heard footsteps behind him. The orphan turned his wet head, in the heavy rain, only to see the same Anbu. The tall teenager carried an old fashioned umbrella and held it out so that it would protect Naruto as well. The boy didn't want to accept the Anbu's help, but he was cold.
He walked into the shade of the umbrella and glared at the ground. "Thanks, I guess." The Anbu knelt to the boy's level. He looked at the soaking child's face and tilted his head to observe him, study all of his angles.
"I have a friend," he said, in a voice that sounded heavily modified. "I mean to say that I am familiar with someone who may know of a location, where a certain orphan can rest without worries, and without anyone watching him." The Anbu paused. "However, the orphan may have to keep this a very dire secret, for if my friend were to be discovered that he is harboring a little boy, instead of sending the child to an orphanage, he would be in great trouble." The weasel mask tilted to the side, like a bird observing. "Do you understand, Naruto?"
Naruto nodded, eagerly. His heart raced this kind gesture; his wet eyes shed more tears, mixing with the heavy rain. He hiccupped, feeling such warmth for this man. This teenager barely older than himself was willing to aid him, going against the wishes of the Hokage. Naruto bowed slightly to the teen and whispered his thanks.
The teenage Anbu didn't say anything; he simply gave a quick nod, turning away from the boy.
The two walked out of the alley and into the storm.
Naruto found himself in an attic. He looked around, only to see masses of scrolls, placed in neat piles. Dust covered each of them, and Naruto could smell the scent of decay in the wood that he stepped on. Looking up, spider webs, with large arachnids crawling on them, covered the ceiling. The Uzumaki turned to face the Anbu who brought him here. "Where are we?"
Before the teen could answer, the sounds of footsteps came from the floor below. It was a warning that someone was inside the house. The Anbu, still keeping his mask on his face turned away from the Uzumaki and took a few steps to the staircase that led out of the attic.
He looked back at the blond a final time before he left. "Don't make a sound, please. You may stay here for the time being until I make arrangements for a safer location."
Naruto watched as the attic was closed when the Anbu was at the end of the staircase. The gates of this room closed shut, leaving Naruto in near complete darkness. The only spot of light in this room was one coming from a hole in the floor, and it was not a big hole either. It was about the size of an eyeball.
The hole was located near the edge of the room, where most of the dust lay. Naruto walked towards the hole, simply because complete darkness always gave him the shivers. Back in the alley, the soothing light from the night time lanterns always allowed for a semi dark environment, but he had never slept in complete blackness before.
The attic floor made small creaks as his small toes touched the floor, leaving trails of dust prints. He couldn't see them of course, but he knew they were there, since all the dust simply collected on the bottom of his feet. He almost slipped a few times because of the dust bunnies and vowed to be more careful, lest he gave away that he was hiding in the attic from the outside world.
Naruto waited for the Anbu to come back in the small space that was illuminated by the beam. The Uzumaki didn't look anywhere but at the hole that the light came from, hoping that his fears of the dark didn't come back.
An hour went by without the Anbu returning and Naruto found his eyes closing. He slowly fell asleep, sitting on the floor, his back resting on the dusty wall. He would have fell asleep at that moment had he not heard the spraying of water coming from the hole in the floor.
His eyes widened as he heard a voice humming a song in a familiar tone. Whoever was singing was distinctly female. Naruto's heart pounded in his chest, with fear of being discovered. He held his breath hoping not to give away his location to this new person.
After a moment he realized how foolish that was since the voice started to outright sing, "I am walking on sunshine," in an almost carefree voice, while splashing water here and there. Naruto found himself drawn to the cheery song and looked into the hole to see what exactly was going on.
He saw Sasuke's mother from the previous night. Only it was hard to tell it was Sasuke's mom because half her hair was covered in water, letting it cling to her head, and the other half of her body was drenched in bubbly white foam.
The woman continued to be oblivious that she was being watched, her voice rose a few octaves trying to get the chorus right and she swung her hips when she reached the climax of her song. The Uzumaki's eyes weren't drawn to the sway of her hips, but instead to her cheery face, that had its eyes closed.
It looked absurdly happy, as if this person had everything she had ever wanted. Naruto continued to watch the woman, whose large pale melons bounced from side to side as she danced to her own song, the shower waters running down her body, cleaning up the foam to reveal large pink nipples on the enormous set of breasts.
At some point during his peeking, he realized something. "Holy shit, I am in Sasuke's house!" Which would mean that the teen who brought him here was Uchiha Itachi.
His contemplation was set aside for the moment since a very wet and naked Mikoto lathered her hair with pink shampoo while singing another song that Naruto wasn't familiar with. What interested Naruto about this was how her arms massaged the back of her head, revealing the light amount of hair on her armpits. He wasn't aware that women even had hair in that spot; it was so small that one could hardly notice, but it was there.
This also allowed for a better view of her plumb breasts, which jiggled as she cleaned her scalp. Mikoto's nipples softened in the warm water, and the steam rising from the water hitting her skin gave her a pinkish flush over her pale skin. Over all the sight had Naruto turning redder than a tomato.
After listening to her sing "Never gonna give you up," the Uzumaki concluded the woman was a hopeless romantic. It was hilarious when she acted out the song with so much passion, singing into a bar of soap before lathering it on her bouncy breasts.
"Mom, are you done yet?" said a voice outside of the bathroom.
"Just a minute, Sasuke, I'll be out soon," she replied, opening the curtains and yelling at the door. "Just let me dry off." A light bulb went off in her head. "Sasuke do you want to join me instead?" she asked hopefully.
"Eh? No way!" Sasuke replied. "I am too old for that!"
Mikoto scowled. How could he be too old? He was only eight. "Fine," she pouted.
The woman washed off whatever suds wrapped her body, quickly running her long fingers through her thick black hair. She walked up to the sink and wrapped a towel around her long locks of ebony hair and put on a white set of robes.
She opened the door of the washroom, letting in an embarrassed looking Sasuke. "I have to potty," he admitted. "Can you please go!"
Mikoto sighed, then rolled her eyes. "Yes, Sasuke-chan."
Naruto was more than a bit disappointed to see her go. His eyes followed her as she left the room, her hips gently swaying, while her robes clung to her like a second skin.
"Finally!" Sasuke sighed.
The Uchiha took his time in the toilet. Naruto didn't bother to watch this, since the stink was rising to the ceiling and through the hole. "Urghh, doubt Sakura would be believe me if I told her the teme's shit doesn't smell like flowers."
Eventually the sound of spraying water hit Naruto's ears. An idea popped into his mind, a gruesome, sinister thought. If he did this it would be one of the best pranks in history, though he probably couldn't tell anyone about this. He would have to keep this secret, all the way to his grave.
But if he pulled it off, this one prank might be all he would need to keep away thoughts of jealousy he felt for the Uchiha.
But did Naruto have the guts to go through with this? Was he so heartless?
The answer is Yes.
Uzumaki Naruto pulled down his pants, and found the tool he was looking for. The shower in the Uchiha washroom was running, so Naruto was sure Sasuke wouldn't notice any difference, if the boy looked up all he would see was a leaking ceiling, he might think some pipe was broken.
There would be no way for the Uchiha to know that Naruto was taking a piss through the hole. "It's Itachi's fault that there isn't a washroom here," Naruto concluded. "I'll just say that I needed to go really bad, and didn't know there was someone below."
Naruto wasn't sure if Itachi would buy it, but it was better than nothing.
He waited for the right moment. The Uzumaki was all for it; the little black haired boy had no idea what he was in for, and the fact that he focused all of his attention on a rubber ducky was even better.
"Here goes." Naruto chuckled darkly.
Uzumaki Naruto was a product of his environment. Years of loneliness, neglect, and envy made him into what he is today. It isn't right to judge his actions when one has not realized all that he has been through. He was a violent prankster, a failure as a student, and an all round anti social individual when it came to meeting new people.
That wasn't his fault, of course. The villagers had made him into what he is today, and they would continue to mold him for years to come.
Naruto was about let loose a golden shower to the precious Uchiha Sasuke-teme, when he noticed something.
The Uzumaki's eyes widened at this discovery. He backed away out from the hole of light and rubbed his eye. He shook his head a few times to clear his thoughts, and then looked again. It seemed that he wasn't seeing things.
He took a closer look at the thin, pale boy, really seeing him.
"Impossible," Naruto whispered. "I can't be seeing this, but it would explain so much, and his looks. The way he acts, all this time. Arggh, my head hurts." He clutched his skull trying to sort out his thoughts. He pulled his pants back up and zipped it quickly.
After another moment of contemplation, and hearing Sasuke sing, Naruto sighed.
He looked at Sasuke one last time. The boy frowned at the picture below him. "No, this can't be right." Naruto shook his head.
"Uchiha Sasuke…" Naruto said in careful consideration, "is a she?"
"I am walking on sunshine, oh oh ohh."
Probably, Naruto concluded. He curled up in the corner, ignoring the rising blush that filled his face.