I've rewritten the second chapter to this collection of one-shots because honestly, I wasn't happy with it. Sorry if you got the alert and when you got here it was gone. Well I hope those that came back enjoy this. I think it turned out okay.
Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any part of Naruto.
She screamed as she threw another one of her small, pointed metal objects off into the forest. Her hair fell over her eyes momentarily before she pushed it out of the way, angered by the small strands. If she had no common sense at the moment she would have cut the irritating pieces off, ensuring that they would never get in her eyes again. However, Mitarashi Anko was a woman who always had some idea of what she was doing. For that reason, she continued to blame herself for all the mistakes made by her and around her, especially the one that had ruined her life.
When she left with him.
Despite what she continued to tell herself, what she believed in her heart, she knew. He was her sensei. Her mentor; the person she wanted to be like when she grew up. The man was her idol, even after she found out of his experiments. That day he asked her to leave with him, she knew he was up to no good. Somehow, she truly knew. It was no secret to her that he was in fact betraying Konoha and had no intention of coming back. Yet she followed him, and for that she could never forgive herself. The stares she received every day, the distrust she could feel coming from other people, it was all her fault. Sure she could blame him. She could curse him to the depths of hell, but that wouldn't ease her guilt.
Anko let off another growl before chucking what had to be the thirtieth kunia into the forest. This was her way of venting. Kunai, shuriken, and even three or four windmill shuriken were stuck in many trees not too far from her. She always scouted the surrounding area before starting her anger relieving exercise. The purple haired woman wouldn't want to make any more mistakes, such as accidentally killing a fellow nin or a villager of Konoha. Mistakes weren't permissible, not for her. Some would call her a perfectionist, but that was hardly the right term. Anko was just someone who didn't allow accidents to happen in her life because the biggest one she ever made still haunted her.
Though sometimes during her throwing, she would hit other things aside from the surrounding shrubbery.
A rabbit? Dinner was free tonight.
A deer? She would be visiting the local butcher with a smile once again.
Another bee hive? Ointment and cover up to be used when she returned home.
It was a routine that never bored her, except with the bee hives. Those were painful as hell. So, she was surprised when she heard a rather loud yell come from the direction the kunai was hurled in. Anko's blood went cold and her brain went through several possibilities. It could be a ninja, but would most likely be someone under chuunin level. Or, in the worst case scenario, could be a child of the village that she had just impaled with a very sharp metal object. The woman was about to walk toward the sound the voice came from when the shrubbery nearest to her moved. Anko took up a defensive stance as blond hair came into view, and then an orange jumpsuit.
"What the hell lady!? Watch where your throwing those things!" He tossed the kunai back to her.
Anko caught the thing and gave the boy a once over. He was the loud one from the chuunin exams. A large gash was present on his right cheek in between two of the things she assumed were whisker birthmarks.
"I thought you were a jounin. Can't even aim where you're throwing your-"
Naruto's voice was cut off as he felt cold steel press against his neck. Anko was behind him with a face that lacked the humor and playfulness that had been there the first time. Her face was neutral, no emotion showing whatsoever. He merely grunted and finished his sentence.
"-kunai. That's getting old," he said.
Anko scowled and removed the metal tool, then gave him a boot to the rear, sending toward a tree. Naruto regained his balance before impact and turned back toward the purple haired woman with a scowl of his own.
"Go home." Anko shifted her body to the left and started walking in that direction.
She paid him no mind as she continued walking back to her apartment, even though he was following her. When Anko arrived she merely walked inside and shut the door, ignoring the boy directly behind her. She was on her way to the kitchen when a knock resonated throughout her apartment. She sighed and sat down on the couch, turning on the radio to drown out the obnoxious sound. The knocking became louder for ten minutes but then stopped all together, allowing her to get some peace of mind. That lasted for a few minutes until the sound of multiple loud knocks and bangs started coming from the opposite side of the door. Anko looked at it in confusion, her curiosity beginning to get the best of her, and her annoyance. She stood up to look through the peephole but all she could see was orange everywhere. With an irritated groan she opened the door and nearly screamed as twenty blond haired kids fell through her doorway on top of her.
Anko's shouts of frustration were muffled by the numerous shadow clones until they dispersed, leaving one boy sitting on her stomach. His hands were folded in a superior fashion that only made her angrier that he broke into her apartment.
"Get off of me," she stated in a calm yet angry voice.
Naruto complied, standing up and shutting the door. He walked over the the previously occupied couch and sat on it, leaving no room for Anko.
"Leave." Anko's voice was laced with malice. Anyone else would have scurried out of the small apartment, but Naruto stayed put.
"Not until you take care of this." He pointed to his cheek which now only had a small scratch on it.
"I don't do medical ninjutsu gaki. Get out of my apartment."
Anko growled and began debating with herself. Killing the kid was not an option. The villagers would notice his absence immediately. She could just pick him up and throw him out, but then the landlord would probably kick her out if he came back with his shadow clones. Then Anko would have to find another apartment, again. There was no way in hell she was taking orders from a kid though, not to mention a genin. She huffed and sat on the kitchen counter, legs crossed. Waiting him out was the only option.
"Go take care of it yourself."
Naruto shrugged. He stood up and began walking to the back of the small apartment; Anko followed him. She wasn't letting him go around her home alone. The blond stopped when he came to a small bathroom. Anko watched as he dug inside the medicine cabinet and pulled out a bottle of alcohol, along with a cotton swab. She continued following him until he sat back down on the couch, and then she retook her position on the counter.
"So?" She asked.
Naruto did nothing but hold the bottle of alcohol out to her, along with the cotton swab. Anko looked at him as if he was crazy, but his expression didn't waver. She merely shook her head and laid back, waiting for him to leave.
Anko didn't know how long it was, or how late it had become, but she was beginning to get tired. Naruto was still sitting on the couch, the scratch on his face now completely gone. He remained adamant about not moving though. She could just go to her bedroom to get some sleep, but she didn't trust the kid. Not that he could do anything to her, but he could absolutely destroy her apartment with the number of shadow clones he could produce. With a loud sigh that gathered his attention, she motioned for him to come over. Naruto obeyed and handed her the bottle along with the cotton swab.
"There's not even anything there gaki. You healed already."
"You still hurt me earlier."
"So what the hell am I supposed to do!?"
"Wipe where it was. It still tingles a bit."
"Why do I have to do this again?"
"Because it's your fault," he answered.
'It's your fault'
The words echoed in her ears. It was her fault. She had made a mistake and hadn't even realized it. It wasn't too big a problem, but what if it had been worse? What if she had murdered this kid earlier? What if he was someone different that didn't heal like he did and then the cut got infected? A hundred possibilities ran through her head of what could have happened from her earlier endeavor, had this not been Naruto.
Naruto was surprised when she nodded slowly but he didn't show it. Though he did not miss the far off look in her eyes as she opened the bottle and put the cotton tip at the top. The care she used when she tipped the bottle to make sure none of it would spill. The tenderness as she grasped his chin with one strangely soft hand and slowly wiped over the previously cut area with the small piece of moist cotton with the other. Lastly, he did not miss the small bit of unconcealed sadness as she pulled back and put everything on the counter, still using great care.
He turned somewhat hesitantly and headed for the door. Anko sat still from her position on the counter, watching him go. As he reached the door he opened his mouth to say something, but it never escaped. Thanks didn't seem necessary because she was the one who injured him in the first place, so why should he thank her? Before he could think more about it, her words permeated his thoughts.
"Thank you," Anko said.
Naruto was lost. He had no idea how to answer that. Neither one of them should be giving the other thanks after what had happened. He didn't even have a chance to ask why as she walked over to him and gently pushed him out the door. Naruto remained confused as he started to walk home. He wanted to just get to his apartment and get on with his life but he felt there was something he left undone. Something he should have said before he left her home.
Anko slowly walked back to her bedroom, the blond genin still on her mind. She was grateful he had been the one in the forest. The cut wasn't that serious but if it had been anyone else in that position she was sure she would have to give up her anger reliever. Now she would have to take extra care not to hurt anyone else during her exercise. With a small sigh she laid down on her bed and fell into a deep sleep.
Another kunai embedded itself into a tree not too far away. Anko lacked the amount of fury that had been there two days ago, but she still had a decent enough amount to blindly throw weapons into the forest. This time though, she had set up ninja wire around a couple of trees, ensuring that no one would get into her throwing range. After about ten minutes of this pointless task, she felt some of the anger leave her, which was strange. Usually it took thirty minutes into this to feel even a minute amount of anger desert her. With a sigh she started to take a step into the forest with a sealing scroll in hand. She stopped suddenly and whirled around, throwing the only kunai she had left. It landed in the middle two blue ninja shoes.
"What are you here for gaki?"
"I have some questions," he answered.
Anko gave him a curious stare. "What questions?"
Naruto strolled into the forest and picked up a few shuriken. "Let's get these up first."
Anko nodded. A few minutes later almost everything was picked up and sealed once again. Naruto sat under a nearby tree with a kunai in his hand. The purple haired woman strolled over to him and he raised his head.
"Why did you thank me yesterday?"
"If it wasn't you I might had a lot more to deal with." she answered without hesitation.
"Aren't you like...mean? Why were you so nice?"
"Because it was my fault."
Naruto looked as if he understood. He handed her the kunai, handle first, and she pulled on it with a little force. What she had not counted on was Naruto gripping the sharp end too hard which resulted in a thin cut on his hand. He winced but did nothing else. Anko saw the boy's hand start to bleed slowly, but not enough to be considered anything near fatal. They met each others eyes for a brief second before she sighed and motioned for him to follow her.
The two arrived at her apartment once again moments later. Anko made a beeline for the bathroom while Naruto stayed put on the couch, still staring at his cut. The skin was starting to pull back together and the bleeding had stopped on the way. There was no need to clean it, kyuubi would take care of it anyway. He couldn't leave though. Not while he still had a few questions to ask her.
Anko came back a with the same bottle of alcohol as yesterday. She saw the boy on the couch sitting there with what seemed like a lot on his mind. He hadn't even noticed she had returned from the bathroom. The sound of her clearing her throat roused him from his daydream.
"Give me your hand," she said.
Naruto complied, once again caught up in the softness of her hands. She cleaned the cut with the same tenderness as the other day, this time going slower than the last. Naruto kept jolting throughout the entire process because he wasn't used to such stinging sensations whenever he was healed. She remained quiet despite the movement he kept making. When she was done she pulled back and returned the items to the bathroom. Naruto remained on the couch, awaiting her return. When she did come back Anko was surprised to see him still in her living room, staring at her in the hallway.
"Aren't you done?" She put her hands on her hips.
"Hai, but I had one more question."
"What is it then?"
"Why are you in the forest every day throwing weapons?"
"You've been watching me?" Anko said with an amused tone in her voice.
Naruto looked anywhere but at her face. "I-It's just that I was training when I heard you."
"Every day? In the same spot?" Anko inquired.
Naruto sighed. "I guess...I was worried about you."
"Worried about me?"
"Well...you're different from the last time I met you and the way you look when you're throwing things...are you okay?"
Anko saw nothing but sincerity in his eyes. Why the kid was worrying about her she really didn't know. His situation was somewhat similar to hers but she never saw it get the best of him. How he managed to was a mystery.
"I'm fine gaki. You don't need to worry about me. What were you doing in the forest anyway?"
"To get stronger and to keep my mind off things." Naruto was opening up in hopes of her doing the same.
"What things?" Anko questioned even though she already knew. She wanted to see if he would actually tell the truth.
Naruto pointed to his stomach. Anko nodded in understanding before sitting next to him on the couch.
"Getting mad at yourself won't solve anything. It's not your-"
"Yes it is. It was my choice," she interrupted.
"Even if it was, I don't think getting mad at yourself will solve the problem."
Anko chuckled. "So what do you think I should do?"
"Talk to someone."
"Talk?" Anko gave the boy a curious stare.
Naruto nodded. "Before I met Iruka-sensei people always called me a monster. I thought it was my fault, that I was wrong for being alive. Even after we stopped Mizuki together and Iruka-sensei told me I wasn't, I still wasn't sure."
"So what did you do?"
"I went home and thought about it. I thought the Yondaime must have hated me or my family for doing this to me, but then realized that it didn't really help me to think that way. So what if people didn't like me for whatever I did or didn't do? Getting mad at myself wouldn't solve the problem. The only way I could think of to get the villagers to accept me was being a ninja and doing my best for the village. At least then I could redeem myself for whatever I did wrong."
"So you're still doing that?"
Naruto shook his head. "That wasn't right either. If I was wrong why did I still have friends? Why was the third Hokage so nice to me? It took forever but eventually I saw that I wasn't wrong, the people of the village were. They hold a grudge against me for what's inside me and I don't blame them, but that doesn't mean it was my fault. After talking it over with Iruka-sensei some more, and him knocking me in the head a few times, I convinced myself that there was nothing wrong with being alive. If I hadn't talked to him I think I'd be somewhere else right now. Maybe dead."
"So you want me to talk to you?"
He shrugged. "If you want to. Just don't cut me again."
"It was an accident," she said. Anko shifted and looked in a different direction. She didn't know where to start.
"I like ramen," Naruto said.
Anko raised a questioning eyebrow.
"You don't have to talk about your problem first. We can talk about other things. Go on," he urged her.
"Um...dango is good?"
The training ground where so many trees, animals, and bee hives had been butchered hadn't seen the purple haired woman in days. She was elsewhere at the moment.
Anko now spent most of her time with the blond genin she met again a few weeks ago. During the days she would be busy with interrogation but he would always be on her doorstep when she returned home. She had other jounin friends but none she felt as comfortable with as him, which made her feel uneasy. They had started with talking about trivial things such as friends, ninja ranks, and weapons of different sorts. The first time she had mentioned Orochimaru, one week ago, he had tensed up. For a split second Anko thought he was about to leave, to desert her. The idea itself put her in a slight state of melancholy that Naruto had brought out of her immediatlely.
That fact in itself was making her more on edge than usual. Why would she care what he thought about what he did? He could leave and she would go right back to throwing weapons into the forest, and both would be fine by it. Life would simply progress and they would see less of each other; that was alright with her. So why did she feel a little pang in her chest when the thought surfaced? It wasn't because she was growing attached, no. That couldn't be it at all.
Then there was the way he comforted her whenever they talked. When she spoke about a difficult point in her life he had always urged her on with a small hand on top of hers. It wasn't much and was only to help her continue to talk about herself, but it meant so much more. After she had finished talking he would return home, or on rare occasions, stay the night on the couch because it was too late. On one occasion she had fallen asleep with him, accidentally of course, and woke up laying in his side. She had been so comfortable that she didn't move until he woke up, leaving them both embarrassed.
Since then, they had only grown closer. She freely talked about Orochimaru around him since she knew he would not leave her. Naruto was a loyal friend and was now someone she could go to talk to when she had something on her mind. The guilt she had felt on because of her leave had long ago subsided, now replaced by a glimmer of hope that she wasn't in the wrong at all. She didn't know how he did it, but Naruto made it feel as if she had done nothing wrong that day. That it was entirely her old sensei's fault for manipulating her and she was merely being loyal to him, the same way Naruto was to her now.
It worried her.
The small friendly, yet somehow intimate touches he would give her now and then. She feared she was the only one feeling something every time he left with a hug, or encouraged her to talk with his soft hand touches. The smile he sent her way every time they were with each other that warmed her heart and made her mind at ease. Every since she started feeling such things an ominous sensation would come over her telling her it was a mistake. That she was about to destroy this boy inside by trying to pursue anything but a friendship with him.
Anko was far older than him, eleven years to be exact. Didn't that make it wrong already? He was a genin and a teenager, inexperienced in every sense of the word. Most of all, he was innocent. Who was she to taint him by going any further than was necessary? She had decided that it could go no further. There would be no more casual hand touches, no hugs of comforting. The next time they were due to talk she would tell him that they could no longer be friends, or anything else. Anko would do anything to ensure that she would not make another mistake.
This was what had her fidgeting on her sofa next to the boy who had unknowingly attracted her attention. He was talking about himself as usual, and she would go next. He would always go first so it would be easier to talk when her time came. The thought made her smile despite what she was about to do.
"And that's why old man Teuchi won't let me inside Ichiraku for a week."
Anko chuckled. "Because you're trying to pick up on his granddaughter?"
"I'm not! We're just good friends."
"Sure you are."
Naruto stared at her, appalled. "You really think I like her?"
"She's not my type. Sure she's nice but...I like someone else."
"Oh? Who?" Anko leaned forward, elbows on her knees. One of her favorite things to do was to mess with him.
"I'm not telling you Anko. You'll laugh."
"I promise I won't. Now tell me!"
"Well...uh..." Naruto looked outside the small window. The sun had gone down a long time ago, it was getting late. "...I got to go. You know it's dangerous at night sometimes."
Anko pouted but nodded anyway. She knew the villagers liked to prey on him when it got later at times. They got up and headed to the door, Anko looking elsewhere the entire time. She didn't want to do what she was about to, but she couldn't afford to make a mistake again. One that had the potential to change the young boy in front of her.
"I'll be back tomorrow," he stated.
Anko shook her head.
"The day after?" He questioned.
"No. Naruto...you can't come back."
"What? Why can't I-"
"Because you can't! You've spent too much time here."
Naruto stood there for a moment before wrapping her in a tight hug. His head barely made it above her breast line but she was sure every time he hugged her it wasn't for perverted reasons. She sighed and returned the hug before he looked up at her with sad and confused eyes.
"Too much time?"
"You could be doing other things. Meaningful things."
"But I like being here! I like talking..." he trailed off.
"I do too, but it has to stop."
"Give me a good reason why."
"Because it does."
Anko gently pushed him away and moved back to the door. Naruto stared at her with pleading eyes, asking for her to take back what she said. She only started to close the door, but was startled when his foot prevented that action. Naruto stared at her for a moment before capturing his lips in hers, earining a surprised gasp from Anko. Both their eyes were open, his pleading to hers for her to feel the same way. Anko allowed herself a few seconds to close her eyes, and he his, both enjoying the small kiss.
'Kami ramen never tasted so good.' she thought
The woman regained her bearings after the first few seconds and pushed him away. Naruto kept his gaze on her, wanting to know of she felt anything from the kiss they shared. She sighed and shook her head, not meeting his eyes. He was confused. She had felt something from that, he knew. Why was she denying him? He turned away in an attempt to hide the tears beginning to appear in his blue orbs.
"Because...this...is a mistake."
That was all she left him with as she closed the door. It was one of the most difficult things she had ever done. Turning him away, so that he could lead a better life and not be burdened by her. She walked slowly back to her bedroom, the tears still fresh in her eyes from when she left him. It was better this way though. Anything farther with Naruto would only be a mistake and Mitarashi Anko would do anything to make certain that she'd never make another.
Well how'd you guys like the re-done version?