If Looks Could Kill
If looks could kill, Naruto reflected, he'd be dead a million times over he thought as he walked through Konoha. When he was younger he'd thought it was something he'd done. But he had never known what it could be because it had been that way ever since he could remember. Now he knew better. It had never been anything he'd done.
In response Naruto donned his bright smile to hide his hurt, sadness and loneliness. Maybe if they though he was harmless they wouldn't look at him like that anymore. That had been his hope anyway. Now he donned the happy mask out of habit. It was like his safety blanket, his mask. To distance himself from the glares.
Now, though he doubted it would ever change in Konoha. He wasn't as optimistic anymore. His only friend, his brother had left and now everyone hated him for failing to bring the Last Uchiha back. It was depressing but true. It made him consider whether he'd be better off leaving too.
He believed he understood why Sasuke had left. How he felt now after losing Sasuke. How Sasuke must feel having lost his entire family. Naruto was an orphan but even he felt the hole left by the lack of a family, of someone to care about. Sasuke had lost everything. He had known them, loved them and lost them. By his own brother no less, who Sasuke had looked up and practically worshipped. A betrayal of the highest order. If he'd been in Sasuke's place he'd be doing the same thing. Trying to get stronger to beat, no annihilate the person who'd destroyed his life, had taken everything from him.
And Kakashi-sensei hadn't exactly been much of a teacher to any of them. Naruto had only learnt tree walking from him. Sasuke had learnt that and the Chidori. No wonder he had joined Orochimaru who, despite being a traitor, was a genius and everyone knew it. An extremely powerful one.
Naruto decided to ask Jiraiya if he would take him with him when he next left Konoha. Jiraiya had taught him surprisingly a lot during their trip to retrieve Tsunade and during the month in between the Chuunin exams. More than he'd realised at the time. And if Jiraiya wouldn't take him… then he'd cross that bridge when it came to it.
He had nothing to stay for in Konoha.
Sakura hated him; he was under no delusions that would ever change. Especially not now Sasuke had left. He'd begun trying to gain her affections because she'd been popular and clever. He'd hope she could see past the expectations everyone had of him and then maybe others would too. That had been a failure and then he'd started acting up on that for the attention it got him. Even angry attention was attention. He'd been so starved for any form of acknowledge even if momentary.
Kakashi… he was pretty sure Kakashi hated him too. He'd ignored him and mocked him much more than the other two. It was hard to tell with his sensei but he was sure Kakashi blamed him for something. Why else would he have taken Sasuke to train for the Chuunin Exam but handed him off to Ebisu? He could hardly stand to be in Naruto's presence even during training. Kakashi wouldn't train him. Not when he had no obligation to anymore. After all, Team Seven no longer existed.
The only people who cared about him in Konoha were Tsunade and Iruka. He'd barely seen Iruka since he'd become a ninja though. Tsunade had Shizune and was Hokage now. She certainly wouldn't have time to train him either.
He flinched as he received another hate-filled glare.
Why did he stay in Konoha?
Everyone hated him here.
If looks could kill….