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Chapter 4: Iruka’s Bad Day
Naruto was wearing his best shit-eating grin and looking at Iruka smugly. Iruka, however looked like a blood vessel was about to pop in his forehead as he glared at the ‘demon brat’ while they stood in front of the Hokage.
“Naruto-kun, would you care to explain?” Hiruzen looked like he was barely restraining his laughter.
“I finally convinced Sasuke to join me in setting off a prank, and he suggested this.” he snickered. Said Uchiha was standing on the other side of him, hands in in his pockets, trying his absolute best to not die laughing whenever he looked at Iruka.
Umino Iruka was covered head to toe in many different colors of paint, baking powder, tar and feathers, and even some cow manure.
“Sasuke suggested this?” the Third Hokage looked a little skeptical.
“Well, jiji… he suggested the paint, but that’s small thinking. I might have tweaked his plan a bit.” at this Hiruzen chuckled heartily as Sasuke snickered quietly. In the three months since Naruto had approached Sasuke at lunch, the two had become very good friends. Sasuke had even started hanging out with Naruto’s other friends, much to his Fangirls’ dismay.
“And how exactly did two Academy students pull off this sort of thing on a Chuunin?”
Iruka grumbled under his breath.
Flashback- earlier that day
Iruka walked into the classroom slowly, looking at a note on his clipboard and talking to Mizuki. He glanced up momentarily to see Naruto, Sasuke, and their friends sitting quietly. Alarm bells immediately went off in Iruka’s head at this. He broke out in a cold sweat.
“Iruka what’s wrong?”
“Naruto is sitting quietly.” Mizuki went pale and snapped his gaze to the blond, who suddenly smiled and did a half-ram seal.
Before they could react, Iruka and Mizuki were confined in a small barrier that glowed green.
“Well, Iruka -sensei, it seems you’re a little caught up this morning,” Naruto quipped, causing his friends to laugh.
“Naruto-san, it is illogical to confine our teachers, because they have to teach us,” called out Aburame Shino from the back of the class. Naruto flapped his hand dismissively.
“Class is canceled today Shino.” small ‘hmms’ echoed around the room. “Instead, we have art class,” Naruto added with a devilish smirk.
Moments later anguished cries echoed throughout the village. More than a few people said prayers for whomever had been taken.
“So you used a level three seal to confine your teachers, then had the class help you cover them in various substances… I have to ask, Naruto-kun. Where did you learn a level three barrier seal?” Hiruzen questioned. Naruto shrugged non-chalantly.
“Tou-chan started teaching me seals last week. He jumped right through levels one and two when I basically blew through them. He said he can only teach me up to level three though.”
“That’s because he himself only knows up to level three. As it is with any Shinobi who learns seals but doesn’t become a seal master.”
“Damn… I was starting to like fuinjutsu too…”
A loud whap followed by a whine and Naruto holding his head brought attention back to Iruka.
“Can we get back to the topic on hand?”
“Iruka-kun, I would appreciate it if you didn’t hit my grandson.” Iruka grimaced but bowed slightly. “Now then, obviously I cannot let this go unpunished, Naruto-kun. And since Sasuke was a major player in this prank, he too must be punished.”
“Hai, Hokage-sama. I accept the consequences of my actions, though I don’t regret doing it,” Sasuke said. Naruto chuckled and it occurred to him, had this not happened, Sasuke might have a mentality of ‘I am an Uchiha, you can’t do anything to me.’ evidently this also occurred to Sasuke, as he shuddered slightly and leaned towards his friend.
“Why do I get the feeling I almost became a pompous ass with a superiority complex?” he whispered.
“Maybe because you would have,” came the snarky reply. Both boys shuddered slightly.
“Now then, as punishment, you two must spend the remainder of the day with Iruka-kun, and help him in whatever way he needs, within reason,” he said pointedly to Iruka, who had almost immediately begun formulating ways to get Naruto injured. He then sighed dejectedly. Three small salutes and cries of “Yes, Hokage-sama/ jiji!” followed before they all turned to leave.
“Naruto-kun, please stay a moment longer.” Naruto stopped and turned as Sasuke and Iruka stepped out, both curious.
Once the door closed and the Privacy seals were activated, Hiruzen sighed and pinched his nose.
“Naruto-kun, I thought I asked you to ensure Sasuke Uchiha remains loyal to Konoha, not turn him into a delinquent.”
“Jiji, by being his friend, and by having him develop more friendships, I’m ensuring he remains loyal. You’re the one who taught me kindness and understanding are the path to peace. Plus, he even admitted that while he still wants to avenge his clan, he’s more focused on not betraying his new friends to do it.” Hiruzen jerked back in slight surprise before he smiled.
“Then I must commend you. Although I have noticed his grades dipping slightly lately.”
“He doesn’t spend so much time studying anymore. He’s spending more and more time with Kiba, Choji, Shika and me.” a small ‘ah’ ensued.
“Alright then. You may go,” the Sandaime said as he waved his hand and turned back to the paperwork he and his shadow clones were working on. Naruto smiled, waved, and left. He found Sasuke and Iruka waiting outside the tower.
“Let’s go you brats. I need to go home and shower, then I have errands to run,” Iruka said irritably, with a glare at Naruto, but only mild annoyance toward Sasuke. Both boys noted this, but only Sasuke was confused by it.
They walked in silence through thee village, until they reached an apartment complex very close to Naruto’s old one. Once they got inside, Iruka harshly telling them to sit on the couch and not touch anything, he went to take a shower. Naruto, being who he was, got up and looked around the room. He saw several pictures of a younger looking Iruka with a civilian man and a Kunoichi. He bore a strong resemblance to the Kunoichi, but had the civilian’s hair color.
“Are these Iruka-sensei’s parents?”
“They must be. He doesn’t have any siblings as far as I know, and he never mentions anything about any friends, like Mizuki-sensei does. I wonder what happened to them?” Sasuke said after joining Naruto at a picture of Iruka riding on the man’s shoulders while the Kunoichi smiled gently.
“They died in the Kyuubi attack,” came a sad voice behind them. They turned to see Iruka toweling his hair wearing only pants. “My mother was in the same graduating class as the Yondaime, she was Kunoichi of the Year. My father… well he was a stand-up comedian. They met at one of his shows.”
“Oh… I’m sorry about your parents sensei. If it makes you feel any better at all, I was told my parents were killed during the Kyuubi attack too… but I never knew them,” Naruto looked at the picture again sadly. “I guess it hurts more to lose the ones you love than to have never known them in the first place…”
Iruka looked at Naruto for a moment, confusion written on his face, before his features softened slightly.
“No… if you knew your parents and lost them, you can at least remember the good times you’ve had with them. If you never knew them at all, and have only known misery, then you have nothing to look back on… Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what others have lost when you’re so focused on your own pain.” Naruto looked at him sideways, then nodded imperceptibly, letting Iruka know his apology was accepted.
“You know what, boys? My errands aren’t that important anyway. Have you two eaten?” both Sasuke and Naruto shook their heads.
“Not since breakfast,” Sasuke said. Iruka smiled.
“Why don’t I buy you two lunch? Where do you want to go?” Sasuke’s eyes widened and he cast a fearful glance at his friend, before trying to subtly let his sensei know that was a bad idea. Naruto was to fast though.
“TO ICHIRAKU RAMEN!” and suddenly, both Sasuke and Iruka were fluttering along behind the blond, who had a death-grip on their wrists, like paper flags as the boy ran straight through the streets, plowing through anyone in his way, to the Ichiraku Ramen stand about three streets away from the Hokage tower.
In the Hokage’s Office a few minutes prior
The Sandaime Hokage, for no discernible reason to anyone, including himself, suddenly began laughing hysterically, with a feeling as though many thousands of Ryo had stopped screaming in terror in his wallet. When his secretary peeked into the room fearfully, he began laughing harder.
“Hokage-sama… what’s so funny?”
“I… don’t… know!” he gasped out. After a few moments, he calmed down enough to talk normally. “Oh… I get the feeling Iruka-kun is going to hate Naruto-kun for another reason altogether after today.”
“TO ICHIRAKU RAMEN!” came a loud cry from the open window. Hiruzen froze momentarily, before breaking down laughing again, clutching his stomach and falling out of his chair. Now he knew why Iruka would hate Naruto.
Inside Ichiraku Ramen
“Old man! Thirty Miso with Extra Pork!”
Iruka and Sasuke were suddenly not flapping in the wind, but were instead seated at the bar of a ramen stand.
“Coming right up, Naruto! The usual, Sasuke?”
“Please,” came the sighed reply.
“And for you, sir?”
It took Iruka a moment to realize the question was directed at him. “Oh… uh, one shrimp please.” a nod from the elderly man behind the counter was all the confirmation he got. He never noticed the devilish smirk on Teuchi Ichiraku’s face. Obviously he was missing something.
A loud squeal was heard, before a white and brown blur shot over the bar and glomped Naruto. The blur resolved itself into a pretty girl with light brown hair and a white ramen cook outfit on, including a white bandanna in her hair.
“Ayame- nee, get off! I was here yesterday!”
“Oh, I can’t help it, Naruto-kun! You’re just too adorable!” the girl replied as she squished the young blond in a hug, his face pressed into her growing cleavage. She only finally let him go when Naruto’s order was placed on the bar. Iruka paled at the sight and felt his wallet cry out in terror and grow considerably lighter.
He was even more horrified when Naruto began tearing into the ramen at a pace that made the Hiraishin seem slow, as though he had not just been nearly suffocated. Sasuke, by comparison was calmly eating his one pork ramen. Iruka barely registered beginning his own food as he watched Naruto finish the final bowl and order thirty Beef Ramen with extra chicken.
“How the HELL can you eat so much Ramen?!” Iruka asked fearfully. Naruto was too busy scarfing down his food to answer.
“Naruto is a Ramen addict. Much like Mitarashi Anko is a Dango addict,” Sasuke said calmly, finishing his bowl. Iruka, who had been teamed up with Anko when she was a Chuunin, nearly fainted. He’d had to pitch in for a team meal after that mission, and Anko had eaten so much Dango, the store had run out.
“Naruto, slow down. You know what happened last time. And I’m pretty sure you don’t want a repeat of the ‘great ramen shortage’ as your tou-san called it,” sasuke said to Naruto, who had just finished his last bowl.
“Meh, I’ll be fine. I’m stopping for today anyway. Oba-chan would strangle me if I ruined my appetite before dinner tonight. I might love Ramen more than life itself, but I do know moderation, Sasuke.” a small snerk of laughter came from the Raven-haired boy. Iruka sighed and turned to the bar, about to ask for some sort of discount or something, only to be presented with the bill by a smiling Ayame. He took one glance at it, before going white and falling over, clutching his chest. Naruto and Sasuke looked on in mild amusement.
“Just wait until when you don’t stop yourself,” Sasuke said with a straight face.
“I’ll bring the popcorn,” Naruto responded. Ayame and Teuchi laughed heartily as Iruka slowly, never leaving the ground, reached into his wallet and pulled out the money to pay the bill. It was gone before he got it above the counter, being counted by Ayame. His hand flopped back down to his stomach. His eyes were swirls, his skin was whiter than a sheet, and it looked as though his heart had stopped beating. Naruto leaned over him with a foxy grin plastered on his face.
“See you tomorrow in class, Iruka-sensei!” then, he and Sasuke bolted from the stand, running full out, laughing hysterically.
Iruka shot up, rage on his face, and he blasted after them.
“GET BACK HERE YOU BRATS!”