I'm so sorry to anyone who might have been reading this before my long absence from Fanfiction! My computer crashed shortly after finishing chapter 6, and all my outlined thoughts for future chapters went with it. Since then I've had trouble continuing to write.
But, I feel like I'm ready to end this story now, and I think there's only a few more chapters until the end. Thanks to anyone who has read this, and anyone who reviews in the future! I would be happy to hear some critisism as well, to know of anything I should change or work on. I've already seen people point out spelling mistakes. I've tried to fix a bunch already, but I know I've still missed some.
Anyway, enough from me. Here's chapter 7.
Naruto woke up in the early morning hours to the feeling of an empty stomach. He stretched inside his sleeping bag and rubbed his eyes, not wanting to get up. A painfully loud growl from his stomach gave him the motivation to sit up.
The sun was just beginning to peak out above the distant mountains, casting a vibrant red and purple light obove it. Birds all around were just beginning to sing, and there was still a wet dew sparkling in the tall grass.
Naruto shivered as he climbed out of his sleeping bad. "It's too early to be awake," he grumbled to himself, fighting to stifle a yawn.
He knew he needed to find something to eat. It seemed he was able to find less and less food lately.
Two hours later, Naruto decided to return to his little campsite with low spirits and a still empty stomach. Living out here alone was becoming harder and harder by the day. He wasn't sure how much longer he could continue. When he was almost back, and ready to collapse back in his sleeping bag he froze. There was a definite smell of fish. The strong smoky scent made his mouth water and stomach clench in pain.
But that meant someone was nearby. He could hear footsteps and even humming as the fire crackled in the background. People were not to be trusted.
Quietly, Naruto climbed up to a branch of the nearest tree. Then he stealthily leaped from branch to branch as he had been taught so he could see. Through several leaves and branches the sight or a roaring fire caught his eye. He saw over a dozen fish cooking around it and a large jug of water. Naruto winced as an especially strong wave of hunger spread over him. He couldn't stop his mouth from watering.
Then he spotted the humming man carrying a large bowl of cooked rice towards the fire. He had long white untamed hair, and looked fairly old. It wasn't one of the mean visitors that Naruto had ever seen before, but somehow he seemed a little familiar. Naruto had a strange feeling he could trust this person.
The man sat quickly by the fire and took one of the cooked fish. He tore a huge bite of and sighed in satisfaction. Naruto was wondering who this guy could possibly be. He seemed to just appear out of nowhere.
Suddenly the man looked up at the brach where Naruto was hiding. "Hey, Kid. Aren't you coming down already? I can't eat all of this myself."
Naruto held his breath, wondering what to do. He told himself to never trust anybody, and fend for himself. But on the other hand he was very hungry, and he still had the feeling this person was different from the others in the village.
Slowly he climbed down and sat opposite the man. His eyes never left the man's face as he took one of the fish and bit into it. It was wonderful, and he hadn't had food other than an occasional nut or berry in a very long time.
"So what are you doing out here kid? Don't you have someplace to live?" the man asked in between bites of his second fish.
"This is where I live," Naruto mumbled, finally looking away, and staring at his feet instead as he ate.
"Here? Surely you have someplace else to go. Now tell me, where do you really live?" The man leaned a little closer to Naruto, a look of true concern visible on his face.
Naruto didn't know how it happened, but within the next minute he told this complete stranger everything. He told him how his caretaker had never returned from her last mission. He told him how he had then lived in her abandoned apartment. Finally, he explained how a group of angry villagers had chased him out of his own house, and how he needed to steal to live, and was chased out of the village because of it.
"That apartment?" the man asked after Naruto's story finally ended. "I saw that apartment just earlier. There's definitely nobody living in it now. You should check it out."
Naruto gaped. "Are you sure?"
"Do you think I'd lie?" the man grinned.
Naruto didn't answer. It all seemed so strange and sudden to him. So the two simply continued to eat the fish in silence.
"Well, Naruto. I have to be going, I have research to continue," the man said with a grin as he stood. "It was nice talking to you."
"Wait! Naruto gasped standing as well. "How do you know my name. What's your name?"
The man only grinned wider. "Make sure you check up on the apartment of yours sometime soon," he said cheerfully. Then he had held his hand up in a farewell gesture and was gone.
Naruto stared at the spot the strange man had just vacated. He wasn't sure what to think. But at least his stomach was full for the first time in a while, and the extra rice had been left. Naruto planned to eat it for dinner, and check out his apartment late at night when others were asleep, so he wouldn't be in trouble if the man was wrong.
Late in the night, after a nap, and a large helping of rice, Naruto cautiously crept through the village toward his old home. Once he was there, he peaked in each window, and saw the man was right. There were no other people living there, and even the possessions they had brought with them when they took over the place didn't seem to be anywhere in site.
Naruto put his hand on the door, and found it was open. He quickly stepped inside and turned on the light. It was just as he remembered it.
With a cry of excitement he opened his cupboard to find it filled with ramen and various other easy meals. The fridge was stocked with fresh milk and produce. But even more exciting was when he got to his bed.
Sitting on top was a fat little frog wallet, stuffed full with money. With a smile, he set the little wallet on his night stand and got into bed. It had turned out to be a pretty good day after all.