Chapter One- The Meeting

Tailor Narubi

Naruto fiddled with his wooden toy sadly. He was lonely. He stood slowly and turned to the window. He stood on his tip-toes and peeked out. All he saw was another building. He was on the top floor of this apartment. He sighed sadly and looked back to his own apartment.

The mean lady at the orphanage had said he wasn't allowed to come back. He'd been afraid that he would have to sleep in an alley or the park, like he'd done at least twice a week for most of his life. But Jiji had come and gotten him. Naruto had been excited at first. A place that was just his. He had played out images of painting it bright colors and making forts inside.

But when he'd gotten there he'd found it was different. Everything was a pale tan color or white. His kitchen, living room, and dining room were one and small, holding only a table with two wooden chairs and a small couch. The bedroom was even smaller with only a bed and a dresser. The bathroom only had a plain sink, toilet, and shower/bath.

When he'd asked about paint and stuff Jiji had said later. Later must have meant much, much later because it had already been …

Naruto paused and moved to the calendar on the wall. He took about five minutes to count the days.

It had already been three months.

Naruto sighed again and looked to the wooden blocks and animals lying in the middle of his floor. They were boring. He heard his stomach rumbles and decided maybe he could eat now. He moved to the kitchen, pulling the fridge open. Nothing. He turned to the cupboards and used a stool to reach the top cupboards. Most were bare. He looked in one and scowled seeing only ramen. He liked ramen, but not every day. Besides it was better at Ichiraku's, not instant packages.

He hopped from the stool and pushed it over to the window. He hopped up again and with a few struggles opened the window. Sticking his head out and looking around he frowned.

"Masks?"

In the blink of an eye a masked figure stood beside his window on the wall.

"Yes Naruto?" the person asked.

Naruto brightened seeing it was Tora.

"Can you get me something to eat? I don't have anything but ramen."

"I will be back soon then Naruto."

And he was gone. Naruto hopped down from the stool, quickly closing the window, and pushed the stool back to the cupboards. Leaving it there he waited patiently on the couch for Tora to return. As he did he glanced around again, looking for something to do once more.

His eyes crossed the few books lying on his small table but he pouted. Jiji had brought them and the Masks had been teaching him how to read and write, but Naruto was bored of that.

He glanced to the window to see if perhaps Tora was back. He was not. Naruto sighed. He hoped Tora hurried. He knew he would though. The Masks were fast ninja. One was always around to. They taught him and brought him his groceries when he asked. Neko had taught him how to cook a few things and Tora had taught him how to keep his house tidy. Inu had taught him how to tell time and taught him reading the most.

Naruto sighed and glanced at the window again. Tora was not yet back. He wished Tora was. He also wished he could go out and get food himself. But he couldn't. Well he could, but he was scared. When he did people always stared at him like they didn't like him. They whispered behind his back and didn't talk to him. The kids made fun of him and he'd even had a man throw rocks at him before. Even if it was boring inside all the time, Naruto didn't like going outside.

A knock at the window tore him from his thoughts and he hurried for the window as fast as his five year old legs could carry him. Tora was crouched on the window sill holding a bag of food.

"Thank you Tora." He beamed.

He got the feeling that Mask was smiling before he vanished leaving Naruto to happily make something to eat.

.-.

"Hello?" Naruto knocked softly.

He'd been exploring the whole apartment building. No one lived there. When he'd asked the Masks they'd said one person did live there. When he'd asked why no one else did they said the rest just hadn't wanted to. Naruto had the funny feeling it was because of him.

The door he'd knocked on creaked under his small fist.

"Come in."

He jumped at the voice but slowly opened the door. He stepped into the small hall and toed his shoes off politely as he wandered in farther. As he entered the small living room/kitchen/dining room he found his breath taken away.

Shelves took up one wall, full of books and knickknacks. A pretty green couch sat under a window. A small table sat near the kitchen counters which were polished. But that wasn't what stole his breath away. Every spare inch of wall had some type of quilt or sewn wall-hanging plastered on it. The couch was a mess of hand stitched pillows and blankets. The floor had a large braided rug and the table was covered in an intricate lace tablecloth.

An old woman, with a white bun and stern eyes glanced at him from on the couch under a blanket, knitting silently while an old radio played form on the window sill behind lace curtains. The woman didn't say anything just turned back to her knitting. Naruto crept closer until he was sitting at the woman's feet watching keenly as she knitted. He'd never seen someone knit before. It looked hard. But the longer he watched, the more of a pattern he saw.

"How old are you?" The old lady asked softly, her voice neither kind nor cruel, just neutral.

"I'm five." He whispered softly in the still air. "How old are you?"

"I'm seventy." She replied easily.

"Are you a clothes maker?" He asked.

She chuckled.

"I was a tailor." She responded. "But I sew anything. Quilts, clothes, hats. I can also make lace and embroider. I knit too. You give me material or thread and I can make something with it." She smiled.

He just watched her continue the blanket she was making.

"What's your name?" She asked.

"Uzumaki Naruto." He said shyly.

"I'm Kagura Yuki." She smiled.

He smiled back and flopped on his stomach to watch her knit.

"Do you want to try?" She asked after a few minutes.

He brightened and agreed. He spent the next hour trying to learn. He was slow and unrefined but he was learning.

"How about we make a deal Naruto." She smiled.

"What deal?" He asked, tilting his head to the side curiously.

"I'll teach you how to knit and sew and stuff if you bring me my groceries and get me material."

"Will I have to pay for the groceries and material myself?" he asked cautiously knowing he didn't get much money.

"No, I'll give you that. I just can't leave my rooms much these days. I'm too weak." She smiled sadly. "A volunteer group brings me stuff once a week but they don't listen to my opinions. They buy what is 'good for me' and what I should have. And they don't know material well. But if I teach you, you can get me the right stuff."

"Okay." He said eagerly.

And the deal was sealed with smiles and a friendship was born.