Rural Mentality [1/4]

Pairing: Narusasu

Rating: T (will be changed to M next chapter, beware children!)

Disclaimer: I do not own the series Naruto, or claim any rights to the characters. The plot of this, however, is my own.

I first met Uzumaki Naruto when I was a mere seven years of age. He was sitting on one of those posts that supported the barbwire fence (the one that separated my family's property from whoever owned the chunk of land on the other side, not the one stopping the coyotes from scaring the dogs at night) when I was taking a leisurely stroll down my driveway. With those big, cerulean eyes of his, he had studied me intently while I passed, ignoring his presence completely. Him being there, it had admittedly peaked my interest as not a soul had lived in the old house on the other side of the fence since I could remember, but it was best I ignored him. It would save me a lot of trouble and a festering heart, at least, according to my past experiences.

Fugaku and Mikoto- my parents- had both come from difficult backgrounds. My fathers' parents had been raging alcoholics who enjoyed beating him and his sibling over stupid things. He acted up in school, but they quit calling home after the first time grandfather had shown up and whipped off his belt on the spot. He supposedly had a half-brother who was mentally ill. He is never spoken about (he was born to grandfather and his first wife who he left a little before or during the time grandmother was pregnant with my uncle). According to what I've heard, he looks just like my father though.

Mikoto was in a similar situation, but her parents were divorced. She and her four other siblings were all left with their mother, who went through several terrible boyfriends. One in particular enjoyed stabbing knifes through the basement ceiling in an attempt to stab their feet. When they found their father, he was less-than-thrilled to have them about. Their step-mother was absolutely horrid to my mum in particular.

Both wished to escape from the madness of their households. Father decided to start his own company, first by digging up worms and selling them to the local bait shop. At fifteen, he purchased his first chainsaw and began to chop down trees for cash. It was not long after that he hired men many years his senior to help him bid on jobs of the land clearing sort. Mother moved out of her home with her oldest sister and never looked back after graduating high school. She picked up a job as a waitress to support herself.

As the story goes, my parents met while working in a bar for a second job. My mother dumped her tips into the garbage by accident, and my father dug it out for her. It wasn't romantic, per se, but it was enough to get them to hook up. Mother ended up pregnant with Itachi, and Fugaku and she got married two years later out of convenience. He worked everyday, from dawn til' dusk, while she stayed at home raising my elder sibling and doing payroll and other paperwork for fathers' company.

Through several good investments and many years of saving, my parents accumulated enough to build their dream home. It was to be located out in the middle of nowhere, dozens of miles away from the nearest town. The house (the abandoned one on the property Naruto happened to be at) closest to our own was half-a-mile away. The yard was enormous, and the building itself was three levels. It was constructed of wood Fugaku had cut and hundreds upon thousands of bricks purchased through a company in another state. Friends popped out of nowhere to aid in the construction process that took over a year. By the end, it had turned out much larger and more elaborate than originally planned. The expenses piled up, and they ended up owing quite a bit more money than originally planned.

I was born a year after the house was built, and we apparently- I was too young to truly remember anything- were living without much furniture. I had a crib, mattress, and a few blankets. My parents and brother lived with items from their old home, leaving many rooms in the house empty. The walls were left unpainted.

Although my father worked most of the time, I enjoyed spending time with him before I began grade school. He would often let me tag along him and his buddies while they went duck or deer hunting, as well as fishing. He even allowed me to train my own dog, a German Shorthair Pointer, which we took with on our endeavors.

Any and all people we came upon seemed charmed by me. They took a single glance at my pudgy cheeks and chocolate brown eyes and melted on the spot. My humor at the time attracted adults like Itachi did weasels (he has always had a strange obsession with the sly little creatures) and I found myself overconfident of my charisma.

I was beginning school soon; something most individuals my age would be nervous about. I, however, found myself at ease when the topic came up. My peers would be drawn to me, who could resist my never-ending charm and sweet temperament? Creating the bonds of friendship would obviously not be a challenge.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

You see, young children are easily influenced by their parents' views. If they complain about someone being rude, the child thinks that person is rude. If they say they are corrupted, the child thinks that person is corrupted and et cetera. Because of the vastness of my parents' home and property, I was subjected to bullying that was not even about me.

The first time I clambered on the bus was a rather cool autumn day. My mother had kissed my right cheek before shooing me from her SUV (she had given me a ride to the end of our monstrous driveway of having me leave half an hour early to walk it) and towards the large yellow thing. It smelled strongly of burning rubber as I approached. A gush of warm air pushed against my features as he door swung open, revealing a decrepit woman to be the driver. She gave me a smile as I climbed on board, and the bangs of my well-groomed onyx locks fell into my eyes due to the fan near the front. I returned my contortion of facial muscles shakily, and took the closest empty seat to the front.

The bus pulled away from my home and proceeded on its route. We picked up over a dozen more students, and despite most were my own age, none chose to sit by me. A few of the seats held three children, and although it made me feel a little left out (they were chatting away to each other excitedly) I attributed it to the idea that they had previously known each other. After all, if I were to be given a choice to sit near a stranger or somebody I previously knew, I would pick the individual I had met before. There had to be kids like me who I could befriend at school, the populace of my bus was just the black sheep of the herd.

I was incorrect in my assumption once again.

People avoided me like the plague during the day, and I could not figure out why for the life of me. At lunch I attempted to make conversation, but nobody bothered to respond. One girl in particular spilled soup she had brought all over her clothing, and I offered her my napkin to help clean it up. She had sneered and thrown folded paper product back at me, mumbling how she didn't need my stupid snooty material to rub off on her. At recess several older kids approached me and kept asking me how much money I had, how much my clothes had cost, why I didn't give them some cash. When I told them I didn't know and I had no money to give them, they seemed to become angry and called me a prissy princess and spoiled prick. Their names hurt my feelings, but I didn't have anything to say in response. I didn't understand why they were treating me in such a way and why nobody else seemed to have such a problem.

I was looking to the bus ride home that evening, as it marked the point in which I would be given a reverie from the cruel taunts and looks my peers seemed to enjoy shooting me. The silent treatment was better than being the subject of bullying, at least in my kindergarten mind. This break never came to be, however, as the elder children- some of which were the ones who had spoken to me during recess- stumbled up from the back of the bus and all crowded around me. They informed me that my father really hadn't gotten his money through hard work, but rather through illegal and immoral means. Their supposed leader, a sixth grader who went by the name of Kankurō, spun a horrifying tale in which my father disappeared each day not to cut down trees, but to sell narcotics on the streets. He apparently fucked a different woman every night, and truly my elder brother and I were only half-siblings, Mikoto not being either of our mothers. He had assassins who worked for him, and he would have them murder anyone for enough funds (they called this organization 'Root'). The only reason we lived in such a big home behind a large gate was to keep the people who wished death upon my father and his relatives out, while keeping my mother inside so that she would not run away and inform the police of his wrongdoings.

The situation they had sculpted was rather preposterous, but I couldn't think of any evidence to fight what they had proposed. I stayed silent as they jeered at me for the next twenty minuets. After mumbling for the elder driving to have a nice day, I felt warm tears that had been burning behind my eyes slip down the smooth features contours of my face. The tedious walk home down my drive was spent crying silently.

My mother was cooking tomato soup when I entered, and Itachi sat at the counter reading over some booklet he seemed to have received at school. She seemed rather cheerful at first, but her eyes seemed to fill with concern when my red and puffy eyes came into her line of vision. With a soft voice and cool hands, she brushed my thick hair back and questioned my as to how my day had been, why I had been crying. I had shaken my head and insisted my allergies had just been acting up once again (I wouldn't let her know that I was questioning our families morals and the foundation on which it had been constructed) and I was just in need of some medication.

My mother fussed over me for a few moments before moving to fetch some of my medication from the oak cabinet and a small bottle of water from the refrigerator. I could see Itachis' staring pointedly at me, wariness lacing his gaze. I chose to ignore it though and instead focused on swallowing the small capsule that had been placed in my small palm. Sent off to bed for a nap was I once I had taken a few swallows of the liquid in the clear container.

That night at dinner, father asked me how my first day of school had gone (after asking Itachi of course, who had responded with a curt 'fine'). I took a long drink of milk and quickly crafted a fake story about how I had made so many [fake] friends. I talked about our enthralling game of [fake] tag and how I was immediately accepted on the bus. Father seemed satisfied with this answer, as had mother, but Itachi gave me that unbelieving look from before. I avoided eye contact and instead slurped at my soup.

Later that night my older brother had cornered me in my room and gazed at me long and hard. He had this peculiar gleam in this eye, one that he knew would get me to cave and tell me the truth about what had occurred at school. I had bit my lip, but eventually explained after forcing him to promise not to tell father and mother. Apparently I had begun to cry because he had pulled me into a tight embrace and muttered 'foolish little brother.' I fell asleep in his arms and woke up tucked in my bed snugly.

Life at school didn't improve much during that horrid year of kindergarten. Kankurō and his friends backed off- I think Itachi may have spoken to them, as they seemed to cower like a kicked puppy whenever he came around the bus stop- luckily. Kids began to become interested with me, but only because they believed they could get some kind of expensive gift at their birthday party if I considered them my friend. Once in a while a new kid joined the class, and I would befriend them, but soon they would catch on to why everyone seemed rather distant towards me. It usually took less than a week for them to join the trend.

Sometimes I invited them over to stop my parents from asking questions, but all they ever wanted to do was play with things that I had and they didn't. If I asked if they wanted to toss around a football or play around my dog instead of screwing around on the newest gaming platform, they would just ignore me. Usually I ended up reading a book or taking a walk to stay out of their hair. If I was unwanted, then I wasn't going to stick around.

This was actually what I was doing when I first came upon Naruto. Three of my peers had shown up at my house the day after summer vacation had started, asking to swim in the large pool in my backyard. I had followed, excited to have somebody to play with as Itachi was with his friends at some amusement park, but the massive cold shoulder I was given by them caused me to back off. I didn't want to stay inside the house all day because it was a gorgeous day, so I opted for meandering down my drive.

As I said before, it was somewhat surprising to see that boy there. Choosing to ignore him, although I know I was curious and he seemed to be feeling the same, I continued on my path down the gravel road. There was a rather strong breeze, causing the weeds and grasses on either side of my path to brush against each other and rustle. The corn in the field, short green stalks shooting out of the earth and reaching towards the heavens, swayed gently, capturing my attention. Perhaps these factors were the reasons I did not hear the boy approach me.

He popped up in front of me, with hands clutched behind his back and dark eyes blazing brighter than the sun. I stumbled back a little at his sudden appearance, but quickly schooled my posture.

"My name is Uzumaki Naruto," he had stated in a voice that was very strong and loud for someone of his stature, "and you are me are going ta' be best friends!"

I had stared blandly at him for a few moments. Who was this child, why had I never seen him before? Was this some kind of joke? "Hn, I doubt you would want to be friends with someone like me."

"Why wouldn't I? Is there somethin' wrong with you?" he questioned, wrinkles appearing at the corners of his eyes as he squinted (something I would learn to know meant he was in deep thought).

I shrugged, sticking my hands in the pockets of my beige shorts and turning my head to gaze out at the lake that lay past the field. "I don't think so, but apparently everyone else thinks there is."

"Really, I don't think there's anythin' wrong with ya," he responded, "your real pretty with those big eyes of yours, you don't seem dirty, and your personality seems decent enough. The only things I could think of to change would be that sadness that seems to come from every part of your body. Nobody deserves ta' be sad, everyone should be happy!"

I had stared at him long and hard, a light blush appearing on my cheek bones. Nobody my age had ever complimented me on such things, only friends of my parents and relatives. I couldn't comprehend the feeling that built in my stomach at his words, it was almost a…. fluttering.

"I dunno why, but seeing you sad makes me feel sad," the little menace had continued on "but I think I can make you happy if you give me the chance!"

From behind his back, Naruto pulled out a jumble of wildflowers. He obviously had retrieved them from his side of the driveway, as their roots were still attached, tangling around each other like a kitten would become ensnarled in yarn. Dirt dropped off in large clumps (it was almost impossible to snap the flowers off with bare hands; you needed to either cut them or yank the whole plant out) and I found myself speechless. The blond boy- I never mentioned, but his hair is like the most vibrate sunflower the world has ever known- stood determinedly, seeming to almost embarrassed by my lack of response. I couldn't tell if I felt like screaming at him for murdering the plants or hugging him to death. I had never met a more amazing and considerate person, and I honestly didn't know how to respond.

The awkward moments ticked by before I clutched the bouquet, bowing my head and mumbling a small 'thank you.' The bright oranges, dark blues, and ruby reds of the flowers seemed to burn my retinas as I gazed upon their natural beauty. The dirt caked on my hands that would usually bother me didn't even register in my head.

Naruto seemed pleased with my reaction as he folded his arms behind his head and gave me a wide grin. "I'm glad ya' like them. See, I picked those colors specifically. The blues match my eyes and your shirt, the oranges are my favorite color, and red is the color of your shoes. I mixed em' all together because I know you and me are going to be together forever! I can already tell!"

I smirked lightly, grabbing a hold of his hand with my own (the one that was not holding the flowers),

"Hun, idiot, come on. Prove to me you're worthy of the title of my best friend."

He seemed a little dumbstruck at my words, but quickly went along with what I was saying.

"Hey, by the way," he said as we walked down my driveway and towards my house, "what's your name?"

Naruto and I spent that day doing multiple activities, including him telling my supposed 'friends' just where they deserved to go for being such a jerk to me for so long. I was quite amused by his antics, and even more thrilled when he said he would be attending the same school as me the following year. His parents had inherited the abandoned house and the property around it when his grandfather had died a few months prior. As his mother had always wanted to have a horse and his father enjoyed the peace of the countryside, they all packed up and moved into the ancient home. It needed some work, but Naruto said it was all in good fun.

During that summer, Uzumaki Naruto tried his hardest to fill the position of being my best friend. We had our differences of course, as we were practically polar opposites, but in the end we always ended up making up. He never judged me for what I had, and I never judged him for being a ramen-obsessed imbecile. Naruto tried so hard to become my best friend, but his valiant effort was not needed. He had been awarded the spot, filled in the empty hole in my heart, that first time we met on that gravel road.


A/N: I know I should me working on MoA or Mel. S or NI, but this idea wouldn't exit my mind! This will be a four shot with a possibly epilogue if anyone wants one.

I love chibi NaruSasu fluff! They are so cute! I also love protective!Itachi, although he didn't have a big part in this.

Reviews make the authoress happy~ If you enjoyed this I would LOVE you to drop me one! It may even sway me to update a little faster (no promises). Flames are accepted as is the usual policy!