A/N: Wow, yeah its taken way too long to update this story. While I won't get into my personal issues I'll just say the epic delay of this chapter was a mix of getting lost on the road of life and then having it kick me while I was down. I can't predict when the update after this one will be up. I've also gone back and edited the old chapters so hopefully the punctuation is all better now. I love all of you guys and the reviews and favorites/followers have been largely what kept me hacking away at this chapter, so thank you and enjoy. Also, please review and let me know what you think. I've just posted the Prologue to a new story so please check it out and maybe leave a review there to?
Disclaimer: I in no way, shape, or form own anything from Naruto. The only things that are, mine are the plot and OC's I've made.
(Also, some of you remarked about Sakura having kun used for her sometimes in this story. If you go over it again you'll notice that Iruka is the only one to use that honorific. This is because kun when not used just towards men, is used in companies when a male of a senior status addresses a young woman of junior status. It is also used by male teachers addressing female students. Now you don't have to believe me, but take the time to research this yourself.)
Ch.9 The Adults Side
I spent my days looking after a shy little girl. Honestly, half the time I thought she looked like a broken doll with messy hair, mostly in her face and wide green eyes. Little Sakura was so cute, but I was never sure how to keep her happy. I knew she was used to traveling the land of fire with her father, but now she only left the house for classes and nothing else. Baking treats and trying to play with the girl only went so far simply because what she wanted were friends her own age.
Now I'm use to being a maid, I like the satisfaction of a job well done. Cooking, cleaning, mending and half a dozen other household tasks are actions that I sometimes think I could do in my sleep. Never have I been in charge of a child before, responsible for their health, safety, and happiness. I felt like a failure for the first time in a very, very long time. I could keep the house clean and Sakura fed, but she never wanted help with homework or well she never really asked for help with anything and I wasn't sure it was my place to just offer it.
Then one day my little charge didn't come home, at least not when she was supposed to. I have to admit that I started pacing around as the time ticked on the clock. I tried keeping calm, but I'd go back to pacing again soon after. I stopped and made my way to the front door after hearing someone say Sakura's name. My door opened and right there Sakura was and I quickly took in the fact that she was covered in dust and dirt, hair even messier than usual, along with scraps and bruises on her. I didn't get the chance to say anything just then as she rushed past me and up to her room. Confused and worried I went along to the kitchen and set out dinner. Finally, getting a chance to ask what happened, I listened as Sakura mentioned finally making friends, but to me the words weren't as important as the large smile now gracing my favorite green eyed child.
Every day after that the girl seemed so happy she had a friend. I wasn't expecting just who that friend would be though. I did find Kiba to be a little rough, but he was a good boy and Akamaru was well behaved. I will always be thankful to that boy, though because Sakura started opening up more after meeting him. The two ended up spending more time in the kitchen with me when they were over after I helped with their math homework. Sakura had been having a hard time trying to explain what Kiba needed to do. She was now acting more like a child and even when her friend went home, she and I would still interact no longer did she stay holed up in her room.
After Kiba, my pink charge quickly made other friends as well. Shikamaru and Choji were hilarious one was lazy and the other very calm and kind. I honestly thought Shikamaru was just bored with his work like it was too easy so why bother. Getting him to teach Akamaru though, was genius. One side of the table had Choji, Kiba, and Sakura were working while Shikamaru was sitting on the floor explaining and trying to teach math to Akamaru. He even went so far as to break down and buy different dog treats to use in counting. Secretly, I think Akamaru was messing with him, but well at least Shikamaru isn't complaining, much.
I really could have lived without the door incident with Shikamaru's mother though. I just about panicked thinking about covering the cost of a new door. Sakura just seemed to like that someone else adored her hair. Actually getting to know the door, breaking woman was interesting though. I didn't know any shinobi before and well, besides possibly knowing how to kill me with a sewing needle, Yoshino was a very funny and outgoing woman. Comparing stories about the children on days when we got together for tea was always fun since the whole group of them always seemed to be doing something.
My days during the Academy break passed by slowly. I spent time doing some missions, but ever since that night at the Hokage's office, I became more interested in learning just who Uzumaki Naruto was. I went out of my way to see just how a day in his life went. The empty apartment, the pranks, the half whispered insults, and outright glares. I think the worst for Naruto though, were the one who just completely ignored him, like he wasn't even there. Really seeing all this and acknowledging it made me feel like a rat bastard. Here was a boy, no glowing evil chakra, no real hatred, just blonde hair and blue eyes, eyes that showed every bit of loneliness when his guard was down. Why then did just seeing him bring back the nightmares. I know Naruto and the damn fox are two different beings.
So, yes, I felt like a rat bastard. The only ones that really helped Naruto were those his own age. He had a small group that saw him and not only acknowledged his existence, but also counted him as a friend. He needed that so desperately and I know from my own experience growing up how much he needed this group of friends.
I made my way to go speak to the Hokage. There was at least one thing I could do and even knowing how impertinent, my actions were I still felt the need to try. I felt like I needed to do something to make up for the lack of care the boy has had till now.
"Iruka san? The Hokage can meet with you now."
Startled, I glanced at the assistant, feeling a small blush forming on my face. I really should be paying more attention to my surroundings.
"Ah, Thank you." I said before entering the Hokage's office.
The large room was empty except for the desk, piles of paperwork, and the Hokage himself sitting in his chair. The row of windows at his back, letting in sunlight and one of the best views of Konoha to be seen. Hokage sama was leaning back in his chair hat off and smoking his pipe as I came in.
"Iruka san, to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?" the Hokage asked.
Taking a deep breath I spoke. "I have come to selfishly ask for a favor Hokage sama."
"I ask that Uzumaki Naruto, Inuzuka Kiba, Haruno Sakura, Akimichi Choji, and Nara Shikamaru be placed together in one class during the coming Academy semester."
"Under which teacher?" the Hokage asked after a moment's pause.
"Which ever teacher, you would believe fit Hokage sama."
After a sigh the Hokage asked "Iruka just why are you asking this?"
I take a second to organize my thoughts before answering. "I've misjudged Naruto kun Hokage sama. I would have continued ignoring him, as I have done, if I hadn't noticed him that day with the other students. The day where they took and left all that paper work here sir. I've learned more about him since, I've noticed just how alone he has been and it would be worse if it weren't for the few friends he has made. I've seen him sometimes on the tree swing by the Academy and all I can see is myself all alone after my parents died. Naruto needs his friends he needs people who acknowledge him and I know currently he is in a different class, but I'm hoping that you will move around student assignments this semester."
The Hokage stayed silent after listening to my words. The two of us simply staring and where usually I would break eye contact first, for once I felt no need to do so. Naruto needed his friends and if I could get the classes moved around I would.
"Iruka san did you know that no one currently wants to be Naruto's home room teacher. In all honesty the boy may just fail at the Academy because of this. If denied a shinobi career, I fear he would slowly grow to resent this village." The Hokage paused and stood, turning towards the windows. "I agree that Naruto needs his friends, but right now the boy needs guidance if he ever truly hopes to become a shinobi." The Hokage turned back to look me in the eyes before continuing. "Can you give him that Iruka. Can you teach Uzumaki Naruto to be a shinobi, a shinobi of this village with a Will of Fire strong enough to see him through the difficulties that will be part of his life. If so, I will entrust his and his friends' futures to you and believe that you will help them become strong members of the Hidden Leaf."
Shocked, I thought about it. Could I teach Naruto? Could I spend each day in a classroom and get over the nightmares that he reminded me of? Then I thought about seeing the boy cry behind a tree listening to his friends talk that first day I noticed them together. I remembered that anger at the villagers who lashed out, the confusion from hearing himself cursed at by these same people that never once used his name.
"Yes Sandaime. I can and will pass on your Will of Fire. My students will shine as bright examples of Konoha shinobi."
"Good, I look forward to the results Iruka. You're Dismissed."
"Hana. How is Kiba doing? I said
"He, well mom, he is very determined lately. I thought he might give up learning at the clinic and hospital by now since to even do that he has to keep up with clan training. He hasn't though, and honestly, I wonder just how the massacre is effecting the other kids if this is what Kiba's like right now." Hana replied
I sighed. "I'll check in on the stray and I'll be seeing Shikaku later anyway, so I can check up on that gaki to."
"Okay mom, are you going to see if there has been any news for the Uchiha's that were on missions that night?"
"Yes, I have a bad feeling I won't like the answer I get though. I don't know when I'll be back so I'll see you later Hana, come on Kuromaru."
After leaving the house a quick decision had me heading towards Shikaku's office. It was time to get some answers, if any were available. Kuromaru as usual, my silent companion as we quickly moved through Konoha. Images of the bloody massacre of a once proud clan running around in my mind. I can only be thankful that the pups didn't see the full amount of damage done that night, I can't imagine how it would have affected them. As it was Kiba was for once completely focused on studying and training instead of trying to skip out like usual. Not to mention the fact that my brat now is determined to be a field medic the elders had a field day with that one. Tch, the boy could do as he liked as far as I was concerned as long as he didn't neglect the clan techniques.
The stray is another matter now. I made sure to grind the fact that nothing good comes from following cats, nothing. Yes, I know two people were saved that night, but on the other hand three children, two of which I might admit to liking on a good day, were in danger because of a freaking cat. I'm half tempted to set an unbonded ninken as a guard dog for the silly girl. Thankfully though Kobushi mentioned that Hatake has taken an interest in the girl and frankly, its about time he passed along what sealing knowledge he has to someone.
Entering the Hokage's tower I made my way through the hallways to Shikaku's office. Only giving a short knock before entering, Kuromaru entered after me and closed the door again before heaving a sigh. Hey, if he didn't want me to just walk in the door should have been locked. So, now there was Shikaku and unsurprisingly Choza both near the only desk in the room.
"Troublesome." Shikaku muttered.
"Hello Tsume." Choza greeted with a smile though.
"I can definitely see the family resemblance between you and your brats." I said in response.
"I'm guessing you're here about the Uchiha situation, Tsume." Shikaku stated
"Yeah, that was a freaking cluster fuck wasn't it. I'm wondering about the few that were out on missions. Are there any survivors out there."
Shikaku and Choza share a quick look before Shikaku grabs a few reports of his desk. Handing them to me, I made quick work of reading through them. Finding it hard to believe the words written down.
"You mean they're all dead. How would he even know where each mission was located Itachi didn't have that access even as an ANBU Captain!" All of this said in a restrained shout.
"Honestly, I can't see how it was done by one person. Given the time frame he must have had before the kids sent for help, I can't believe Itachi was working alone." Shikaku said irritated. "Given also that none of the current survivors have even been attacked, but that all shinobi members are now gone means that they didn't necessarily want the power of the Sharingan gone. Just the clans current politics to be completely wiped to a blank slate."
"Shit, this is sounding more and more like Danzo's got his freaking fingers in it. If he's involved you can bet Himura and Koharu probably are too." I said frustrated.
"Knowing that it's possible he's involved, it would have been easy for him to manipulate Itachi into doing it. Say if he threatened Itachi's brother?" Choza added.
"Unfortunately, there isn't any proof to connect any of those three to this. There is also the fact that it looks like that kid Sasuke was the only one meant to survive. Our kids, Tsume, messed up what ever plot was going on, and if Danzo is involved I wouldn't be surprised if he was either keeping an eye on them or if he tried pulling one into his shadow group." Shikaku warned.
"Shikaku and I weren't too worried about Kiba or Shikamaru since as clan heirs they're both already too visible to the public. We are worried for their friend, though." Choza said.
"Sakura." I said with a feeling of dread. "She may be in the academy, but with only a recent friendship started with the boys and being a civilian born student, no one outside a small group actually knows the girl. Damn it, she'd be the one anyone might go after if they thought the kids knew more than they should."
Shikaku nodded. "Add to that, if she disappeared, the fact that her father travels almost year round. It could be said that she dropped out and went off to be with her father."
"What the child needs is a way to be brought to the attention of the whole council. Then, with so many keeping an eye on her progress if she disappeared a lot of questions would be raised." Choza added.
Kuromaru then spoke up at this. "Hatake then, he has offered to teach the stray sealing. That might be useful right now."
Watching Shikaku confirm this and make mention of hearing about the offer from his son. I can't help, but have a feeling of worry for the small kid that lately has become well known to my clan. Anger fills my heart to a greater degree, though because now the idea of the village leaders getting rid of a clan almost completely means that those old farts cannot be trusted at all. Paranoia is definitely going to be a growing part of my life now.
Well, this was not how I expected my day to go. I really just wanted to read my book here in peace. So, what if I'm in a tree in a public place, I enjoy the light breeze while I'm reading. Now for some reason Kuromaru and Pakkun are both on the ground, staring up at me.
"What ever somebody says I didn't do it." I said while turning a page. Oh my, poor Mai chan I'm sure Hideki is only hiding his true feelings, don't give up!
"Kakashi!" Pakkun shouted.
"Hmm, did you say something Pakkun?"
"Grr, get down here will you!"
Looking down at my smallest companion I can't help, but push his buttons. "So, uncute Pakkun, Uncute."
Yup, there is the look. All jaw dropped and wide eyed. Oh, looks like he's not quite speechless.
"I am the cutest pug you have ever and will ever see mister!" Here Pakkun raises up a paw showing the pads on it. "Just look at how pink and soft these are! You don't get cuter than me, no sir, I am the definition of cute!"
"You two are idiots." Kuromaru sighs. "Anyway Hatake we need to get you to Shikaku's office."
"Ah, any reason?" I asked.
"You'll find out now come on." With that Kuromaru took off at a run and soon disappeared.
Well, something interesting must be up. Let see with Kuromaru playing messenger and the meeting being placed at Shikaku's office, that clues me into at least two of the people who are waiting. Though I'm guessing it'll deal with the group of brats they call kids so, maybe Choza will be there also.
"Well, come on Pakkun let's go, and stop pouting." I said before jumping down and making my way to Shikaku's office. Pakkun making another sound of annoyance before falling in step beside me. "Do you know what this is about?" I asked my small friend.
"Not much besides it having to do with that pink haired kid. You remember the nice one."
"Ah, Haruno then. You know last time I talked to her, she had half of the first fuinjutsu book memorized already."
"I'm more interested in the rumor from the Inuzuka kennel about the woman who lives with that girl working on making new dog treats. Shiromaru is gloating about how the attempts are getting better and supposedly are already pretty tasty."
"Please tell me you didn't spread that to the rest of the pack. Bull already tries pulling the puppy eyes for treats as it is." I sighed. I could just picture Bull's face too.
The short trip passed along with some small talk with Pakkun. Along with a reminder to buy more shampoo, I swear Pakkun takes being vain to a new level. Hmm, I also have to stop and grab another vest from supply soon, this is my last one that is completely intact.
Coming up to Shikaku's door, I give a quick knock before entering.
"Hurry up and get in here you idiot." Tsume snarled.
"Did you have to take forever Hatake?" Shikaku added. "Let's just get down to business. Come in, close the door and take a seat."
Okay, this sounded slightly more serious than I had thought it was going to be.
"Getting to the point here Kakashi. We need you to take Haruno Sakura as an official student. Not just a casual one." Tsume said.
Well, now that was interesting. "I'm sure that I can't be ordered to take an apprentice. I don't mind giving the girl some lessons on fuinjutsu, but that doesn't require anything official. I really don't want to be badgered by the council either, for taking on a civilian born student."
Choza then chose to speak up. "Kakashi for the girls own safety she needs to be known. You know about the fact that she was there the night of the Uchiha massacre, along with Kiba and Shikamaru right?"
"Yes, I was one of the first to respond to the howls sent up by the boy's companion. Why..." I said, then raising an eyebrow as my brain connected the dots. Oh well that would do it, I thought. "She needs to be brought to the attention of the other clans in such a way that they would want to keep eyes on her. "
Tsume had a feral kind of smile on her face as she responded. "Yup, and knowing your history and being a mysterious bastard, is enough to have all the heads and elders throwing theories around for ages."
"Do you realize that being taken as my student even before she leaves the academy paints other targets on her. I can't be with her around the clock." I said getting annoyed. "Especially not when I can't even take her with me on my missions like most teachers that take specialized students do. Hell, when Minato sensei took me under his wing I lived with him because of the target being his student made me. I also already started my pack from the Dog Summons at that point, so I wasn't alone even when Sensei left me alone in Konoha."
"Your forgetting Hatake that the girl already has friends from three of Konoha's major clans. While no one would bother with only a few members of said clans raising a fuss about a missing civilian, we can help protect her from outside threats. Especially since she already spends most of her time with three clan heirs and the jinchūriki." Shikaku stated.
Pakkun then interrupted with a cough. Speaking only after seeing that he had everyone's attention.
"I think you should take the girl on Kakashi. Have her sign the summon contract and she'll have a pack to help keep an eye on her also." Here the small pug shared a look with Kuromaru. "There are some pups right now that would like a partner, but since you aren't having a pup anytime soon, quite a few of them are depressed."
"Even if none of the summon pups join with the stray, Tsume and I have already spoken of the possibility of having her go through the kennels and seeing if any of the free pups would feel like bonding with her." Kuromaru added. "Though she would still need your help training any partner the stray gets since she can't be taught clan jutsu."
Narrowing my eyes at the five different stares pointed at me, I can't help, but know that all this was planned out before I even got here. One little girl has three different clan leaders looking out for her, one of which usually doesn't work often with the other two. Sigh, did someone curse me to have an interesting life or something when I was a baby?
"I'll take her on only if the dog summons agree to work with her." Then with my best glare I added. "I'm not giving up my books. You want me to officially teach her none of you give me trouble about when and where I decide to read."
"Done." Shikaku said
"Come on Hatake, I was going to go check on the stray after this anyway. Might as well have you break the news to her at the same time." Tsume spoke as she walked out of the office.
Following in her wake I can't help, but steal a favorite Nara saying.
A/N: Whew, done. I'm going to ask here not only for you all to review, but to give an opinion on what you would like to see next. I had two ideas and wasn't sure what to put up next.
1) Is having a dog filled chapter with Sakura getting introduced to some summons that may or may not decide to partner with her plus meeting more of the Inuzuka clan and their ninken.
2) Was another chapter that brings us back to the academy with Naruto now in the same class as Sakura and company plus Iruka.
Last thing here, I've been reading some interesting OC insert/reincarnation stories lately like Silver Queen's Dreaming of Sunshine and others that sparked an idea in my brain for a reincarnation fic. I already have the prologue up and will have the first chapter of it up soon. So, please check it out if you're interested and tell me what you think.