Chapter One

Disclaimer- I don't own Naruto


Naruto sat slumped on his bed, his azure blue eyes unfocussed and staring at nothing and everything. He blinked as a knock on his door broke him out of his stupor. He stared at it for a long time before moving slowly to answer it. He pulled it open to reveal Iruka standing with his fist raised, about to knock it again.

"Ohayo Naruto." Iruka said softly and Naruto just nodded opening the door wider and walking back to his bed.

"Ohayo Iruka-sensei." Naruto whispered as he sat back down. Iruka moved closer and stood beside the bed staring down at Naruto.

"I brought you some ramen." Iruka said and Naruto nodded looking away from his sensei. Iruka sighed and sat down beside Naruto. "I'm sorry."

"For what?" Naruto asked bitterly. "You weren't the one who sent Ero…Ero-Senin on that mission."

"I know." Iruka said. He wrapped his arm around Naruto's shoulders and pulled him close. Naruto took a deep shuddering breath in his effort to stop his sobs. He had been doing nothing but cry for the past week. He had to stop, he was too weak. "It's okay to cry Naruto."

"No it's not!" Naruto yelled pushing Iruka away from him and climbing to his feet. "It's not okay to cry! Ero-Senin is dead and all I've been doing is crying! I'm weak! I'm too weak! I need to be strong! I'm going to kill the bastard who did this but I need to be strong or I'll just die useless! Ero-Senin is dead! He's dead!"

Iruka just watched with pain-filled eyes as Naruto screamed. Once Naruto had finished and was standing in the centre of the room panting with the effort not to cry, he moved forwards. He pulled Naruto back into his arms ignoring the weak struggle Naruto put up. Naruto was breathing heavily and Iruka held him tightly.

"If you don't cry then the pain has nowhere to go." Iruka whispered. "It just bottles up inside of you until it explodes."

Naruto stood shaking in Iruka's arms but he still wouldn't let the tears fall.

"A powerful shinobi told me that once. It was after the Kyuubi attack. I was alone and I was angry. I lashed out at anyone who came near me. I wouldn't even speak to anyone. Then this shinobi came to me. I lashed out at him and he caught my punch calmly. I tried to kick him and he did the same, then, he picked me up and threw me over his shoulder. I didn't go easily. I was kicking and screaming as he carried me. We went all of the way to the memorial stone like that then he dropped me on the ground. He pointed to a place on it. The place where my parents' names were carved. He told me: 'Now listen here boy, your parents are heroes. It's a cold hard fact. Their names are here on this stone. They died yes…but they died to protect this village to protect you.' He told me that they wouldn't want to see me like this, I was forcing myself not to cry but he just knelt down beside me and placed his hand on my shoulder and said that if you don't cry the pain has nowhere to go." Iruka stopped and looked down at the boy he considered his son. "He hugged me as I cried and I cried all night. Then he took me home and put me into bed."

"Who was he?" Naruto whispered against Iruka's shoulder.

"Jiraiya-sama." Iruka whispered into Naruto's hair feeling Naruto stiffen at the name.

"Really?" Naruto asked quietly and Iruka nodded.

"Yeah, he was truly a grand shinobi. Better than this country has ever seen." Iruka said releasing Naruto gently. He smiled sadly as he noticed that Naruto had tears streaming down his cheeks.

"Stupid Pervert." Naruto chuckled bitterly wiping tears from his eyes. "Why did he have to die?"

"Everyone dies at some point Naruto." Iruka said placing his hand on Naruto's shoulder. "Jiraiya-sama died to protect this village. To protect us all, to protect you. He died in the most honourable way possible and while it would have been nicer for us all to have him around I'll bet anything that he's in his version of heaven…There's probably a communal bath house and everything."

Naruto laughed weakly at that before nodding, his lip quivering as he looked upon his old sensei.

"Thanks Iruka-sensei." He sniffed and Iruka smiled.

"How about that ramen. It's going cold." Iruka said and Naruto nodded picking up the white box from where it had been left on the floor. He took it to the table and got out two chopsticks. Handing one to Iruka, he whispered 'Itamakimasu' before he dug into the still warm ramen.