Summary: The mission will go on throughout his whole life, given by the age of six. Stepping down into the Academy, his journey begins by learning the meaning of only being a child yet already ANBU and protecting the village with his own hands.
Categories: Shonen-ai/Yaoi Romance > Top Pairings > Itachi and Naruto Characters: All
Chapters: 2 Completed: No
Word count: 11800 Read: 3068
Published: 30/01/09 Updated: 04/02/09
1. Reasons by sakura1289
2. Mistakes by sakura1289
Hope you like it.
Naruto bit his lower lip nervously while pinching himself in his sweaty palm as two ANBU stood in front of him, one behind and Oji-san- the Hokage- stood in front of him with a proud smile pressed on his wrinkled face.
The ANBU on the right side of the Hokage was holding a set of neatly folded clothes in his- or her arms while the other one on the left held his sword, which was especially made for him and on top, tied to the jade sword handle was his new porcelain mask. There were no flecks of dirt covering his shiny, white mask, yet, it still had no designs of an animals face dancing across the hard material. Two small slits ran through the area where his eyes should be, so he could be able to actually see something through the shiny, white mask and nose holes which were just large enough to inhale the right amount of oxygen.
He stared at the Hokage- through not directly into the eyes-but at the age spot resting on his cheek.
“Uzumaki Naruto.” Naruto closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, waiting patiently for the announcement to be made. “Do you wish to enter the ANBU as an active member of the organization?” the Sandaime questioned, his eyes never once leaving the 5 year old figure of a nervous blond hair boy.
Why was he even asking this question?
He kneeled onto the floor following the instructions he had been given before the meeting. “I wish to enter,” he replied.
“Do you wish to sacrifice your life for the protection and safety of Konohagakure?”
Naruto let out a breath that he hadn’t noticed he had been holding and stared boldly at the wooden floor beneath him. Was this some kind of trick question with a hidden meaning or just a no or yes answer? Why was he even so nervous?
“May I ask why?”
“It would be my honor.” He bit his inner cheek and closed his eyes for a second, trying to calm himself down. He had never been so still and patient in his life before and he also guessed this wasn’t going to be the last time he would have to be.
“If Konoha were ever fall to any other village because the people within could have cared less about anything around them, then why should I, or anyone else, help them if they were in need? They didn’t listen to the pleas of help around them but then they beg for help form those they wouldn’t help. It is their loss for acting selfish.”
There was a moment of silence when Sarutobi finally spoke again. “Would you hold a grudge against these people?”
This time Naruto did not hesitate to answer truthfully. “No but they still wouldn’t be receiving any help from me.” He looked up into the face of the Hokage and was greeted by a large, toothy smile full of pride. He turned towards the ANBU only seeing an expressionless mask staring at him, or maybe not. Both of the masks had a different yet similar design painted on carefully. On the right indicated a Dog, the lines were either straight or zigzagged painted in a bold maroon colour while the ANBU on the left, wore a mask that indicated a Cat. The lines were this time either swirls or wavy, never straight and was painted in a more calming colour: lilac.
The two ANBU suddenly nodded, their head turning towards the Hokage, widening the old man’s smile.
His head turned towards the Sandaime, this time he stared directly into the man’s eyes. He inhale sharply and quickly stood up, feeling nervous again.
“You are an official member of the ANBU,” Sarutobi announced.
Naruto’s eyes widened in glee and turned around to look at the ANBU behind him, wearing a Parrot mask with colourful designs.
The ANBU nodded and muttered something under his breath, his mask holding his word back, correction, any lower classed shinobi wouldn’t be able to hear the genderless ANBU, but he understood the ANBU perfectly.
His smile brightened even more, this wasn’t happening, this had to be a super awesome dream that felt so realistic. He turned back towards to the front again, blissfully. The two ANBU at the front were now standing in front of him with their arms stretched out with the equipment laying on them motionless. If it weren’t for the heart beats or the need for air the two could have easily been mistake as statues.
Naruto gratefully took his new uniform of the ANBU and then silently took the sword with the mask attached to it from the other. He stared at the blank mask for a while before looking up at the Sandaime. “Why is my mask white?”
The Sandaime chuckled. “Let Cat explain it to you on the way to the Headquarters. Why don’ you change?”
The blond 5 year old nodded and was about to take off his small vest, Cat coughed awkwardly. “Kid, how about you change in there,” Cat pointed towards a door next to the large brown cupboard, pretty well hidden. It was the same colour as the cream coloured wall in the office, only the white knob was seen if you looked closely enough from the distance; it was easy to over look.
Naruto flushed in embarrassment while Parrot and Dog snickered quietly, he probably wasn’t the first one who had done this mistake. He mumbled an apology only it to be waved of by the three adults and hastily went into the small changing room. He unfolded the clothes one by one, examining each in interest and in care. They were all just the basic clothing that he would need: shirt, trousers, shoes, socks, hooded cloak which swayed just above the floor and etc. nothing special, no gloves or breast-plates; he would need to buy some on his own.
Stripping himself firstly before pulling on a black, long sleeved, turtle neck shirt over his head. The Uzumaki Swirl was sewed onto the back with golden thread. At least there was still a little bit of orange.
Next, he put on a pair of dark brown trousers with pockets of any size attached to it; from finger-length thin to flat hand-sized thick. They reached his ankles comfortably and were topped by medium length hazel combat shoes that had interesting sole designs, like bird prints.
Thirdly, a khaki vest very similar to the jounin one except with far more pockets, mostly hidden and not as thick, which he wore over his new black shirt; it also had the Uzumaki Swirl but smaller and closer to his neck, trying to make it as unattractive as possible. Nobody was allowed to know who was behind the porcelain mask, at least not the lower classed shinobi and civilians.
On top of everything else, Naruto pulled the black cloak around him, leaving the large hood off.
He walked self-consciously out of the small room waiting for everyone’s reactions.
A wolf whistle went through the room. “Geez Naruto, I didn’t know a five year old were able to look hot,” complimented Parrot teasingly, making Naruto blush once again.
“Leave the kid alone Parrot, your only making him even more self-conscious than he already is,” barked Dog at Parrot, annoyed, before turning towards him. “Better if you put on your mask, we don’t want everyone to sneak a peek of your face.”
Naruto smiled and nodded before looking down at him mask; his shiny, white porcelain mask before untying it and tying it to his head, covering his face. He glimpsed uncomfortably through the small slits up at Cat, who had been silent through the little argument. He thought Cat had smiled down at him from behind the mask.
“What now?” he spoke for the first time in awhile.
“Best if we run down to the Headquarters and show you to your new room, you aren’t going to live in your apartment anymore, far too dangerous,” answered Cat.
Naruto pouted and crossed his arms. “I can take care of myself.”
Cat laughed heartily. “I know and I do not doubt it but it is far too dangerous for your new identity. What do you think if you were out in your child identity and a few villagers rob your apartment without your knowing and find the mask? What would you do?”
Naruto mouthed an ‘oh’ before realizing Cat couldn’t see him and said it quickly out loud. He turned to the Hokage and waved. “Bye Oji-san, see ya soon.”
Sarutobi laughed. “Okay, see you soon Naruto.”
The four of them left the office in silence. Dog looked down at him. “We will start explaining everything to you while we have lunch; it is best if we keep silent so no one can identify us from our voices.” Naruto nodded and then frowned. Being ANBU gave him the responsibility to complete missions perfectly without failure and the responsibility of keeping his identity secret and many more he didn’t even bother naming.
But then again, being ANBU meant that people will respect him even though they will hate him while being just the five year old demon child and he would be able to know who was behind all those masks, their gender too. It bothered him not knowing the gender of his past sensei’s which had been Cat, Blue Jay and Ferret.
He suspected that Cat was a female, once he was about to ask but kept quiet after the scene he had seen of Cat beating up the poor jounin who had asked just a simple, yet he noticed, stupid question.
All of them were walking down the corridor with their masks and oversized hoods hiding their heads making them look like intruders, frightening the passers-by slightly. Not taking another look at anyone or anything that the four passed, they all made their way to the second floor swiftly and silently before walking to the unpopular part of the Hokage’s Building where mostly ANBU, Council or the Hokage themselves only went to. This was where many scrolls, files or other important objects were held.
Cat abruptly stopped in the middle of her quick pace and turned towards the wall that had photograph of Konoha from the Fourth’s Head point of view. “White,” Cat muttered.
There was awhile of silence before Naruto notice she was talking to him.
“Call me Cat or taicho, your choice. Remember this photograph; this is a secret passage way to the Headquarters that can be used during an emergency drill or just casually. There are more around Konoha which you will find out soon enough.”
Naruto shook his head and answered with a simple ‘hn’ earning a snort from Parrot and a snicker from Dog. Cat sighed and patted Naruto’s head.
Naruto blinked in confusion. “Did I do something wrong?”
Parrot snickered and simply waved him off, ignoring him again like the ANBU did previously. He faced Dog who also waved him off, mumbling something about Uchiha corrupting the village, whatever that meant. Cat frowned again and shook its head, he seriously hated not knowing their gender, appearance or even name while they knew everything about him. It annoyed him like hell.
Well… it would soon change.
“Watch,” Cat demanded, nodding towards the door. Click Clack Click Clack Clock Click.
Naruto raised one of his golden eyebrows as the Commander started clicking her tongue repeatedly in different tones.
The picture on the wall started shaking, frightening slightly but the others acted calmly and were walking hastily nearer towards the wall. Dog had pulled Naruto along with him.
Only when the shaking started to get worse, did he start to become jumpy, playing with the hem of his sleeves.
All of a sudden, he felt himself turning. Naruto wobbled slightly and looked down at his feet, checking if he was walking sideways without him noticing it but the answer was negative and if that would ever happen he would probably need an appointment with a doctor. Then he started to examine the floor.
Naruto blinked… then he blinked again and an eyebrow rose again. The floor was moving in a circle. He looked up to be greeted by an unfamiliar surrounding; they weren’t in the deserted corridor any more.
“Where are we?” he questioned whilst studying the new surroundings.
The walls were made out of yellow sandstone but the large candle standing on the side of the passageway always opposite to each other, gave the walls a nice maroon colour.
He sniffed, what was this smell? Mint? Either way, it smelled nice.
“This is one of the passageways that will lead to the main room in the ANBU Headquarters, there are other scattered around Konoha unknown to those who have never been an ANBU member but those who have been aren’t aloud to use them,” explained Dog, its voice deep and relaxed. “The passageways are also used in an evacuation or an urgent call from the Hokage.”
“Do all of them meet up at a point?” Naruto pried curiously.
“Yeah, best if you don’t use any of the others yet,” said Dog and started walking.
“Kid, as soon as you see the Hall of Doom, you’ll get what Pup means,” claimed Parrot.
Cat and Dog laughed at Parrot.
“Nice name. Hall of Doom, why didn’t I think of this?” muttered Dog to itself but then stopped. “Parrot!”
“Yes?” Parrot asked innocently, he could almost see the halo appearing above the ANBU’s hooded head.
“What did you just call me?” Dog tapped his foot and crossed his arms; Naruto could imagine how his face looked like right now.
“Pup, why? What’s wrong honey?” The two started bickering the whole way while Cat and Naruto walked down the passageway chatting about random things that popped into their heads.
“Do they always act like this?” Naruto asked, glancing back at the two ANBU arguing about something completely different than what the subject has been a few minutes ago.
“Always, their relationship is highly competitive but they never leave each others side when one of them is in need, if Parrot is depressed Dog is always there to cheer her up and the other way around,” Cat explained. “Sadly that they don’t notice their true feelings towards each other or maybe they do but don’t dare to make a move,” this time Cat sighed and brought its hands together just in front of the chest, as if telling a prayer. “This really is a dramatic love story.”
Naruto sweatdropped at Cat’s remark and quickly made a note mentally:
• Parrot = female
• Dog = male
• Cat = either a very romantic male or a romantic female.
“Parrot and Dog are in love?” he asked but checked if the two were still arguing so the wouldn’t over hear him.
Cat nodded and looked at him, probably grinning down at him. “They told me both personally and both begged for me to keep it a secret but they both know how much I struggle keeping things secret, it pains me, so now the entire ANBU organization knows and we all try to play match maker but, sadly, it never works.”
Naruto sweatdropped again, Cat was a woman, he was positive now. He quickly made another note:
• Telling Cat secrets, unless you want the whole world to know about it.
Naruto didn’t know if she followed the crowd but she was a gossip, still very calm and organized, and far too easily trusted. That was all he had found out in the past few minutes.
In the past, when she was still training him, he had always thought Cat was a very calm, organized person who never followed the crowd, a person who was easy to trust and be sure that anything he told her would stay secret but he would have to drop the last part.
He frowned, ANBU’s were so deceiving but then again, he too will have to become like anyone else who had stepped into the organization.
“Cat, when do I find out everyone’s name?”
She looked around at him, her lilac design swirling around on her ANBU mask. Now he had only noticed how feminine the mask really looked like. “Do you want to know my name?” Naruto hesitated and nodded, preparing himself for an attack but luckily it never came, “Yamanaka Awashima.”
“You are a Yamanaka?” gasped Naruto in surprise, he hadn’t seen that coming.
Cat slowly raised her hand and slowly slipped her fingers behind the mask, and then pulled it of and pulled of the black hood belonging to the long black cloak, similar to his own.
He studied Cat’s face, something that had been hidden from him for a year and a half.
Now, Naruto was sure Cat was a female. She was very beautiful.
Her blond hair, not as bright as his own, was almost white and was tied into a bun on the back of her head so it wouldn’t irritate her during missions. Only a few stands of hair were sticking out on the sides. Her eyes were the famous pale blue as any other Yamanaka had and above them, her eyebrows were flying away.
But that wasn’t what had gotten Naruto’s attention. It was the enormous scar crossing from the top half of the right side of her forehead straight to the bottom of the left side of her chin; just missing her eyes- must have been very painful.
“My clan abandoned me,” she whispered, throwing him out of his trance.
Naruto bit his lip uncomfortably. “Yo- you don’t have to talk about it Awashi- Cat, can I call you by your name in the Headquarters?”
Awashima sighed in relief. “Thank you. There is one thing you must know when to call us by our code names or our true names. Our masks are supposed to hide our identities, every time someone has a mask on, call them by the code name. It doesn’t matter what the surroundings are, it means that we have to keep this person’s identity hidden.”
“So I can call you Awashima right now?” Naruto questioned, making sure if what he had understood was correct.
“Correct but then again, I am forbidden to call you by your name at this moment,” she explained.
He muttered out an ‘oh’ then also pulled of his hood and mask. “Better?”
Awashima nodded. “This is the first rule every ANBU member is taught. No one who is or was in ANBU is ever allowed to mention anyone’s statues as an ANBU. If someone finds out, the nearest ANBU member will have to erase their memory about this knowledge.”
Naruto whistled. “Heck of a lot of rules to remember on my first day.”
After this, the two walked on soundlessly, although Parrot and Dog were still bickering, throwing swear words to each in a faint murmur.
He narrowed his eyes, trying to make out the strange shape at the end of the tunnel but suddenly his eyes widened, they were soon reaching the end of the tunnel and the black figures were ANBU walking around.
“Are we nearly there?”
He heard a chuckled from his left side and frowned, did he say something wrong? Hanging out with adults was slowly corrupting his mind.
“No, no. We are defiantly not there yet. The people standing around there at the end are the secretaries who show you the way if you ever get lost,” Parrot explained. “Better put on your mask, they ain’t all that trustworthy I tell ya.”
Dog nodded in agreement. Awashima uttered a ‘yes’ and slipped on her mask again and hid her hair with the large, black hood. He followed their advice and copied Cat.
“When do I get to know my code name?” Naruto asked.
“As soon as your mask adapts to your style and personality,” said Dog boldly.
Parrot snorted. “As if Kiddy Winky will understand what ya are talkin’ ‘bout Pup, seriously!” she retorted, Naruto guessed she was rolling her eyes behind her colourful mask.
Naruto crossed his arms angrily, his eyebrow twitching lightly at Parrot’s remark. Kiddy Winky… who dared to call him that…
“Kiddy Winky?” he asked, watching Dog and Parrot starting to hassle again.
Parrot turned to stared at him. “It’s just a statement of fact,” she commented and turned back around again, catching Dog fist which was directed to her face.
“Ignore them,” ordered Cat, turned around t face the front again and then started walking again; swift and elegant, like all ANBU walked.
He wondered if he walked this elegant or did he still walk as loud as an elephant? Like a new born foal. Naruto hoped not.
The four of them arrived at the hall.
One, two, three… how many entrances are there?! Naruto panicked as he stared at each of the hundreds of tunnels. “Parrot.”
“Yes brat?” Parrot replied.
Naruto sweatdropped, what was she going to call him next? “I think you’re correct. This really is the Hall of Doom.”
The passers-by who overheard him snickered but soon carried on with their work. The Hall was large; it needed to be kept up by a gigantic boulder in the middle which was made out of… some kind of crimson stone. In the middle there was a large circular desk with many secretaries sitting there; chatting, sorting out files or helping out the other ANBU that were lost in this hall.
At every entrance stood a wooden desk and a cupboard standing behind it, probably containing documents. Each tunnel had a name and number, for whichever you can remember the easiest.
Cat walked straight towards the centre of the hall, making her way to the large, circular desk. “Could we have an I.D done for White-san over here please,” she said, stepping aside so the lady could have a good look at Naruto.
“Absolutely Cat-san, please wait over there in the waiting area. It will be finished in a minute,” she pointed at a group of large, auburn Armchairs. Naruto plumbed into the chair exhausted and sighed. The day has only started and he was already drained of his energy. He dropped his eye lids.
He woke up with Parrot shaking him wildly. “Wakey, wakey White-san, I.D’s finished.”
Naruto groaned and stood up, then walked over to the tunnel entrance Dog and Cat were waiting at.
“You must be tired,” said Dog. “I remember my first day being the same.”
“But you weren’t five years old, were you?”
“True, I wasn’t.”
The secretary nodded politely in acknowledgement. “I.D, please.”
Naruto eyed the woman puzzled. Why would you need an I.D to be able to pass through a tunnel within Konoha? He watched as Dog handed the lady a glossy card and nodded at him sideways and then started searching for his own.
The secretary had long chocolate hair, neatly tied into a French Braid. Under her barely visible eyebrows, hazel eyes stared down at him curiously.
Parrot was the first one who found it and pulled it out, his- or her gloved hand holding a piece a laminated glossy paper.
He narrowed his eyes to see clearer. There was a picture of a woman, about twenty years old. He couldn’t really say because her face was covered with a white mask, the same porcelain mask he was wearing now, the white, shiny mask. Sangria coloured hair was sticking out from behind the mask, giving the new person a wild and friendly appearance, tied into cornrows and was held up by a khaki ribbon.
Naruto gasped, this was Parrot. This had been Parrot when she had first arrived at ANBU.
The secretary coughed, trying to get his attention. “Honey, why are you already an ANBU member, aren’t you a little too young to be one already?”
Cat shook her head. “It’s best for White-san; the life outside the ANBU is hard for felen.” Naruto’s eyebrow rose. Felen? What kind of word was that? Did it even exist?
The secretary frowned. “Still, fele is a little too young to be doing assassination missions. How old is fele? Five?” she protested.
“We cannot answer your questions but believe us, this is the best for him. We too, would want him to have a real childhood but the villagers don’t give felen a chance,” explained Dog. “But I will personally make sure on what missions fele will be sent on, we will not corrupt him and alter fele into a perfect weapon like Uchiha-san had done with his own son, Uchiha Itachi.”
The secretary nodded in agreement but the frown was still pressed bitterly on her face. “Please do so,” she looked down at Naruto and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Take care of yourself honey; please refuse any assassination missions if possible.”
He nodded. “I will Secretary-san.”
“Call me Niji,” she insisted.
He nodded dumbly before she let him go from her hard grip. He mouthed ‘ouch’ to himself silently and nodded again along with following the three adults but not before snatching his newly made I.D from the hardwood desk.
As soon as they were far enough, Parrot and Dog started teasing him about attracting far too many females who were already decades older than him. Naruto ignored them. “Cat.”
“What does fele and felen mean?”
“Fele means he or she used for those who are in ANBU wanting to hide their sexuality, you must have noticed it feels awkward calling an ANBU ‘it’,” she said.
“Yes, very,” he confirmed.
“So we use fele. Felen represents him or her and felens means hers or his. It is as easy as that.”
“Ahh, this makes life easier,” he whispered to himself.
Awhile later, they reached the end of the tunnel. They stepped out into a sunny field, a large mansion standing at the side.
Naruto gasped, it was huge. The mansion was build out of Connemara marble, giving it the appearance of an elegant and fine look. Many ANBU members were hanging around outside; taking walks, picking flowers, sitting on the benches, just lying on the grass watching the clouds pass (if there even were clouds) and ex cetera.
Half of the building was overgrown with ivy but left the windows free, letting them reflect the bright sunshine.
Naruto hadn’t expected this; he had always thought that the Headquarters were cold and bitter, not bright, sunny, friendly and absolutely not this welcoming.
Guess he had been proven wrong.
He turned to Cat, Dog and Parrot to find them without their masks. Cat without a mask wasn’t a surprise anymore but the other two looked as interesting as Awashima had.
Dog had copper hair that was knotted into dreadlocks which reached about his mid-chest if they were left untied by the brown hair band that held them back in a low ponytail. He had dark olive skin tone and two dark observant eyes were hidden under bushy eyebrows.
Dog gave him a toothy smile. “Weren’t expecting dreadlocks, were you?”
“No,” he turned towards Parrot and examined her. She looked cheeky.
Her sangria coloured hair was tied into cornrows and held up by a khaki ribbon; the same as he had seen on the picture. And her face wasn’t exactly what he had expected either.
Her skin was exactly the opposite from Dog, very pale, almost as white as the porcelain from her mask. Her face was sprinkled with thousands of tiny freckles and two baby blue eyes were staring at him. She grinned down at him, blinding him with her glittering teeth in the sunlight. “Ya weren’t expecting something like this either brat, were ya?”
Naruto shook his head once more before pulling off his own mask from his face and pushed his hood off. It was nice to be uncovered again; it was humid under the thick clothing. He whipped of some sweat from his forehead.
“Ya’ll get use to this Tiny, some time and it’ll be your secon’ skin before ya know it!” Parrot exclaimed and put an arm around him, squeezing him tightly and started walking towards the mansion, dragging him along.
Many stared at the two of them in curiosity while others came up to them, greeting them with handshakes or for Parrot kisses on each side of her cheek, though only the females did so.
As they stepped inside the mansion, the door had been styled by the finest carpenter there was in Konoha, as Parrot had told him; Dog and Awashima followed the two silently, occasionally adding a few words of correction to Parrot’s blabbing.
“Oh, brat forgot to tell ya, my name is Cynthia Paint, don’t bother askin’ where I came from ‘cause I dunno and this over there,” she pointed at Dog with her thumb. “Is Sato Ichiro. Call me Cynthia or if ya can’t spell it then just Candle, everyone calls me that.”
“Candle?” Naruto inquired.
“It’s because of her beautiful, dark red hair but she sadly ties her glossy hair into cornrows making it look worthless and ugly,” Awashima sighed and flipped an imagined tear of her cheek. “It is so dramatic.”
Ichiro and Naruto sweatdropped at the woman’s- rather strange- behavior.
Naruto then ignored the three and studied his surroundings, a filled corridor with many ANBU, with and without masks.
The ceilings were average height and held large lamps, very plain yet elegant. The walls were rowed with wooden doors, many of them had signs on them e.g. Dinning Hall.
Fewer of them didn’t.
“As you may have noticed,” Ichiro started. “Not all of the doors have signs hanging on them; it means that it is a dorm room for those who don’t have a family down at the village, it would be unreasonable for them to come here for most of the day and then just go back down to be greeted by an empty apartment.”
“True,” Naruto agreed.
“Or for those who don’t have a reason to stay down at the village.”
They walked on until they reached the end of the hall. Naruto stared at the enormous double door blocking their way. Awashima knocked politely then entered.
“I thought Awashima was the ANBU Commander?” questioned Naruto, surprised.
Ichiro looked down at him surprised. “No. How did you come to this conclusion?”
“I thought the Commander had to be at the promotion, I guessed Awashima was; you looked a little… less leader-like.”
He accepted his answer peacefully, at least he thought so, who knew what went on in that man’s head?
Naruto faced the front and gasped. How could someone look so…
I have to thank Imperial Mint for betaing this story, again. She is not on this website so don't bother trying to search for her on this site but I really recomend you the story 'Cursed Salvation, Descending Redemption.'
It's really good...
Naruto tried his best not to gawk at the luxurious lady leaning against the massive, leather office chair. She smirked at him, her ebony eyes hidden underneath a fringe, studying him carefully, taking in every piece of his small and young body. Then, she flipped her straight raven hair back, glowing in the sunlight. Another smirk formed as she rested her elbows on the hardwood desk and her head on her silvery skin.
It glittered in the sunlight; her silver skin was actually glittering like a lone star hanging brightly on the midnight sky. There were no bumps on her skin; it was straight as a ruler.
Awashima, who stood beside him now, bowed alongside Candle, while Ichiro kneeled deeply and hastily pulled him down with him.
“Don’t stare at her too long,” he warned, his dreadlocks hiding his warm eyes. “Irritates her, and you don’t want to get on her bad side.”
“Thank you Itch,” he whispered back, just missing the annoyed twitch of the man’s brow and swallowed down the lump that hung in his throat.
He could imagine the headline of the next local newspaper which would be coming out soon, maybe in half a week’s time; ‘Child killed by the ANBU Commander because he forgot to add ma’am to the end of his sentence.’
Or maybe something like this; ‘Imprisonment for life: Uzumaki Naruto didn’t manage to polish ANBU Commanders shoes in time for an important meeting.’
Yes, he was definitely going to die like this, definitely.
He rose again and stared at the woman before facing the wall on his right, remembering what Ichiro- newly name Itch had just said to him a second ago.
“Look at me.”
Naruto shivered as the lady spoke with a frosty and metallic voice- she sounded more like a robot.
Yep, now he was definitely, definitely sure he was going to die this way. He glanced at her hesitantly and stared at her motionless before glaring at her full force.
Why was he so damn afraid of one, just one, woman who might be the second-most powerful person in the entire village? A little fact he was desperately trying to dismiss from his miniature brain. Who did she think she was!?
And anyway, four year olds weren’t supposed to be attracted or afraid of women, were they?
She glared back fiercely. A normal person would have backed down immediately, but who had said anything about him being normal, if anything he was abnormal. No one could be normal when they had already achieved the rank of ANBU at the age of four, no one.
The other three in the room took a step back, desperately wanting to stay out of the glare-war that was going on in front of them.
Candle whistled quietly, “Brat’s got guts, I gotta say.”
The other two agreed, both nodding their heads observing the battle in interest and in slight worry, the foul mood the ANBU Commander was in at this second wasn’t something to feast over.
“Which one do you reckon will be the victor?” Awashima asked, turning her eyes away from Naruto and onto the lady.
“Kuroko, definitely; Uchihas never lose, even if it’s for something stupid like this,” Ichiro stated. Candle agreed.
“I’m betting on Naruto then, how much?”
“No, I say a hundred. You get two hundred yen if Naruto wins; if he loses then you have to give us both a hundred. Fair game.”
“You’re on Ichiro, hundred it is.”
All three of them smiled evilly at each other and then turned their attention back to the fight.
Ichiro’s and Candle’s jaws had soon dropped to the floor; they had lost, impossible!
Naruto was smirking cheekily at the woman while she was facing the window with her eyes closed, a flush crossing her cheeks in humiliation and arms crossed. She opened an eye and glared at them. “Not a word about this, understood?” she hissed.
Ichiro and the two women straightened their back immediately; frightened by her glare and inhaled sharply.
She faced Naruto, “You too, am I understood?”
He watched her in amusement for a moment, much to her annoyance, and then flashed her a perfect grin, his white teeth glowing. “Why?”
Awashima resisted the urge to punch some sense into Naruto. Was this boy trying to pick a fight or was he just insane? Maybe he was… she too had been one of the people who had burst out laughing when Kuroko-sama told the organization that their new member would be a four year old boy, an age where someone shouldn’t be able to even count properly up to one hundred but when she met him…
What could she say? That she had underestimated the kid? The reality was, she had been astonished.
Not only that, but Naruto could count properly up to a hundred and over, proving he was a very skilled mathematician upon further revelations and he was immensely talented in other areas. His fighting skills had been a little wonky at the beginning but hell, for a barely-turned four year old boy, the status of being mid-jounin was impressive.
She fully agreed with Candle now; the kid had guts but also determination.
A scowl was plastered across the lady’s face as she stared intensely at the boy. If that brat annoyed her anymore she would shoot him across to the other side of the earth, hoping that she would never have to see, meet or even hear of him again.
This was a huge ego destroyer. A four year old kid that was not only short – even for his age – but he was also blond; weren’t blonde’s supposed to be dumb? How could a dumb blond win against her in a glaring contest? She was an Uchiha for god’s sake, and Uchiha’s never lost! And all of this had happened in front of the most talkative people in the whole ANBU department.
(I am blond myself, don’t take it as an insult)
“Ever heard of Uchiha temper?”
Naruto was about to shake his head but caught Candle shaking her head furiously at his left, then quickly nodded, “Sorry, I forgot… ma’am. What’s your name… ohm… ma’am?”
This time Awashima slapped herself flat on the face, joined by Ichiro and Candle.
The woman frowned, “Uchiha Kuroko and you must be our new member of the division, Uzumaki Naruto,” she replied grimly.
“Nice to meet you Kuro-chan,” Naruto replied cheerfully, as if he hadn’t heard the tone she had used.
The hands that had just landed on the remainder of the team’s faces slipped down, their heads shaking repeatedly. This boy was obviously trying to get himself killed.
Kuroko’s brows twitched in irritation as her hands pinched into her skin, skin that was coated by black spandex. Her collar was ‘V’ cut and reached just below her breasts exposing many secrets for perverted men, with no back, except if you counted the four laces- each pair opposite to each other- tied together in a bow.
Her skirt reached her mid thighs and the skin up to her knees was also masked by black, high heeled, glossy, and rather feminine, combat boots and, if one inspected them closely, you would see that they could easily be taken off without much problem- for whatever unknown reason.
The skirt she wore was of a dark blue and glossy leather, and had a long cut on both sides, so that the skirt was only held in place by the white leather belt entwined into the heavy material. The Uchiha Fan was embroidered onto the front with metallic red and white thread whilst a small white sack, approximately the size of a grown man’s foot, hung onto the white belt.
A silver charm, shaped into a heart, was hanging from a light blue choker around her slender neck. Small yet beautiful carvings decorated the front and there was also a tiny sapphire dancing in the middle, doing its job; hypnotizing anyone.
“Beautiful charm you have there Kuro-chan, was it a gift?” Naruto said, trying to ease up the tense and uncomfortable mood.
Kuroko bend her head down to eye the charm. It had been a gift indeed, from a very good friend of hers. “Yes, it was.”
Naruto grinned. “They must respect you a lot.”
She shrugged, “Who cares about what he does right now, let’s get down to business.” She frowned, “And there is something I must tell you.”
“What?” he yelped in excitement, clapping his hands together happily like a little child he was.
“During business, call me Kuroko-sama, Kuroko-taicho or anything with a little more respect than Kuro-chan. Also, no calling me that name in public or in private, understood?”
Naruto nodded understandingly; slightly upset but the smile still graced his lips, “Understood ma’am.”
The three released breaths they hadn’t even noticed that they were holding. Naruto was going to get fried alive one day… one day.
Awashima shuddered of the remains of the frightening glare and then straightened herself in glee and faced Ichiro and Candle, “I’ll be expecting that two hundred yen in my hands by this evening. That’s one hundred from each of you, no excuses,” she smiled at them smugly.
“And I here thought that I was lucky today because I was on Candle’s side, why is bad luck always waiting for it’s chance to get me?” grumbled Ichiro. “Better get it over with,” he muttered, fiddling in his pocket for the one hundred yen not that would soon be out of his possession, pressing it into Awashima’s outstretched palm. “Here’s your money.”
Candle scowled at Ichiro, “Next time, don’t come on my side; I don’t wanna get ‘ya bad-luck disease, yeah?” She too handed Awashima a hundred yen note. “What ‘ya gonna buy with that, millionaire?”
Awashima shrugged, “Maybe something nice to wear.”
“I’m going to escort Naruto-kun to his dorm; you are free for the rest of the day. I expect you there if there’s an emergency drill though,” commanded Kuroko.
The three suppressed a gape; she, Uchiha Kuroko, had just called Uzumaki Naruto, a four year old boy who won against her in a glaring contest, a kid who lacked respect towards her, Naruto-kun.
The suffix, kun, was something no Uchiha used. Never would be too much of an understatement and Kuroko had just broken the unwritten law.
“Naruto is good, does he even notice?” muttered Awashima muttered under her breath and stared at the door as it slammed shut behind the two.
The others shook their head, grinning cheekily.
“I bet ya that da brat doesn’t even know it’s a compliment,” answered Candle and snickered.
“But I’m still going to die of a heart attack soon if this carries on,” whispered Ichiro to the two females, who nodded in agreement whilst hastily departing into the corridor. No one would ever believe them when they heard of this, not that they would try.
No one would want to be in the same building if Kuroko was at her Top Temper- as the ANBU department had dubbed it.
“I’m gonna get sake, ‘ya guys wanna join?”
“Thank you, I would love to join you.”
The three of them left, already dressed in their civilian attire.
Doors. It was one of those doors you could find in those ancient castles with thin metal plates running across to one end to another horizontally, always standing opposite to another door and painted in different colours.
For example, one was multi-coloured, each colour swirling around in unique patterns. Green was painted into a branch shape, with many leaves growing out along the way, while blue represented waves at the bottom. Another one was covered with posters of famous actors and actresses.
All of them had a wooden sign nailed onto the door; each had it own individual shape and carved letters.
Though, only one was different.
It was like any old door, except maybe that it was a door similar to those in Elizabethan castles, but there were no colours. Not even the name sign had its own unique little something; just a dull rectangular shaped and perfectly carved in letters.
Naruto narrowed his eyes, staring at the sign.
He blinked. Then blinked again. Uchiha Itachi was one of Kuroko’s relatives - he was positive of that - but didn’t they have a compound down in the village?
Naruto shook his head. If something wasn’t his business, he shouldn’t try to find information about it, well, except if it was on a mission. That was something Blue Jay- the Book Memorizer- had taught him.
Fele had beaten all of felens precious lectures and quotes into Naruto’s miserably tiny brain, making him memorize three fables, sometimes more, in only fifteen minutes. Word for word, and the fables usually lasted for two or more pages and if he said even a word wrong he would have to repeat everything again from the beginning.
Imagine that if you were at your final fable and you pronounce the last word wrong, you would have to start all over again.
Those were horrible times. Naruto shook his head. They had been horrible times indeed but he thanked them greatly for making him more conscious about his surrounding.
Blue Jay also taught him about body postures; it was amazing that even the smallest flinch could tell you immediately that they were lying.
Usually after his lessons he would spend his time observing other people interacting with one another, from a distance. To them, he was just a curious little kid - or rather, should he say demon brat, or was it demon in disguise..? He forgot.
Kuroko grabbed his shoulder and held onto it as tight as tourniquets, throwing him out of his endlessly long thoughts. “Brat, your room,” she pointed at an orange door, “Write your name on the sign yourself; the handwriting represents your nature.”
She freed his shoulder. He could feel the blood surging through his thirsty veins, longing to feed the cells with some oxygen and glucose.
He bobbed his head excitedly. This was the best day of his life. First, he was admitted into the ANBU and secondly, they remembered that his favorite colour was orange. He glanced back quickly at the empty door but soon forgot as Kuroko dragged him into his new room.
Naruto nodded to himself, taking a good look at the new surroundings that were to be his dorm room, or even better still, his new home.
A single bed stood next to the window; still without curtains - a fact which would soon change - with a small nightstand and an antique lamp resting on the stand. An L-shaped, cherry-oak desk stood in the corner of the room adjacent to the door. Two levels of extra shelves attached to a quarter of the desk, so that drawers could be inserted, and served well as a bookstand.
“The door over there,” she pointed at the wooden door just down the right wall, “Leads to the bathroom, it has a closet inserted into the wall too. Anything else you need to know?”
“My mask, when will it change colour?”
She shrugged, “When it has finished scanning your personality.”
“So it will probably turn into a fox then, I guess,” Naruto groaned, touching the wall carefully as if there was some kind of trap hidden within them.
“Your personality isn’t even close to that of a fox,” Kuroko stared at him with her ebony eyes, not hinting any emotions towards him. “Though you may contain the Kyuubi, it does’t mean you’ll receive his face. Receive and contain are complete opposites; your personality is the only point which matters to archive the animal on your mask and your clothing is also not achieved by what you contain, but your own combat style.”
The expression she received made her sigh. “The uniform you’re wearing is the fledgling uniform; it too will alter after it has scanned your combat style.
Take Awashima as an example; her animal is a Neko. Cats are animals which are independent, loves drama, affectionate, wild yet gentle and the also hate to get dirty.
Awashima has been one of your taijutsu senseis so you must know what her combat style is like; wild, rough, and dirty and is in love with ninjutsu. It is unlike a cat, who usually uses genjutsu in battle because of their great dislike in getting the paws dirty.”
Naruto creased his eyebrows in confusion. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Kuroko scowled, teaching a four year old kid was her newfound weakness. “My mask is a Panther but my affinity is water, now convert it to what I have just said.”
“But if your affinity is water then your mask could be a Shark or maybe a Stingray, why Panther?”
“That is what I have been talking about for the past ten minutes!” she snapped, her scowl deepening.
He mumbled an apology and analyzed the things she had just said. A light bulb switched on in his brain a second later.
“The animal design on your mask reflects your personality and your clothing your fighting style! Why couldn’t you say it a little simpler Kuro-chan?”
The Uchiha’s ebony brow twitched and crossed her arms. “Don’t call me Kuro-chan in public or even in private,” she hissed furiously. “Haven’t I said that before?”
Naruto stared up at the ceiling. Panthers… they really do suit her personality. Egoistical and very hot tempered. He snickered quietly to himself, earning a glare from the woman beside him.
“You may decorate your dormitory with whatever you wish but posters of naked women, or men whichever way you are inclined, are literally banned from this household, the books are best to be hidden from any female’s sight but are allowed - much to my dislike.”
“I am four years old; do you really think that I would read the Icha Icha Series?” Naruto questioned with a raised brow.
“Four year olds also don’t usually converse with thirty year old men in the centre of the ANBU Headquarters either and they usually don’t even know the name of the series, how do you know about that book?” she snapped at him.
“Oji-san reads that crap,” Naruto retorted before snorting and rolling his azure eyes. “Anyway the porno section of the book store is banned for people under eighteen.”
“And it is a rule which I am rather pleased of. Thank you and I shall leave now to give Hokage-sama a good lecture which he deserves.”
Naruto ignored her last sentence completely but mentally cheered at her unpervertness. “You wrote the law?”
She nodded and her crimson lips arose into a smirk - were they naturally red in colour or did she use this stick… what was it called… ahh, lipstick - another mysterious question which he was soon going to find an answer for. “You sounded disappointed. Want me to lower the law especially for you?” she teased him, her metallic voice making it sound more like threat.
“Nah, only I heard a few fifteen year olds complaining to the book seller about the law and I have no interest in the female body, I’ll find out eventually what it looks like.”
Kuroko growled but then shook her head, a smirk formed on her lips, and ruffled Naruto’s blond hair awkwardly. Immediately after her hand left his head, she disappeared, replaced by a metal chest.
Naruto’s curiosity rose and then lowered down, suddenly feeling sleepy, pushing the box into his room, slamming the door shut with his foot and making the heavy metal key, which was inserted into the keyhole, land noisily onto the floor.
He stared at it drowsily for a few seconds before stuffing it into one of his many trouser pockets, immediately forgetting which one and then started pushing the heavy box into the centre of the room.
A loud yawn erupted in small room and some bone cracking was heard too.
“So darn tired,” mumbled Naruto to himself, shaking his head making the blond bundle sway about.
He plopped onto his new bed, which was far more comfortable than the one in his old apartment. “Better get some Zs now, who knows what might happen…”
And then he was gone.
Naruto groaned, azure eyes peeking out of droopy eyelids, before rising slowly and painfully. The loud banging on his door was what awoke him.
“Uzumaki-san,” a mysterious ANBU said, pestering him with rhythmic- and way too noisy- knocks. Was it even possible to knock this hard? “Uzumaki-san, Uchiha-sama wishes to see you at the Dining Hall!”
He groaned once more and leaned against the wall. “But I’m tired!”
“I apologize but Uchiha-sama is very dangerous if one doesn’t follow her commands exactly,” what a poor retort, next time she should use a better one. Her voice sounded awfully much like a male’s voice but was way too high-pitched to be one of a male. Her voice was as emotionless as Kuro-chan’s had been but not as metallic. “It is for your best health for you to listen to me and come with me to the Hall.”
“Is that so Banger-san?” He could imagine the woman’s eyebrows twitching from pure irritation.
“Yes Uzumaki-san, very dangerous.”
Naruto inhaled sharply – shoot - it hadn’t been the same deep, emotionless voice, actually it was exactly the voice he had been thinking about just now, metallic and frosty. A shiver raced down his back, “Kuro-chan?” he questioned shakily. “Is that you?”
He detected a sharp, furious inhalation coming from Kuroko but heard nothing from the mysterious Banger-san. “Is it?” Of course it was but he wasn’t taking any chances.
“Uzumaki Naruto,” Kuroko’s body trembled violently as she slammed the door open with her booted foot and stormed in into the room glaring at the little boy, frightening him slightly. “If I don’t see you in the Dining Hall in fifteen minutes, you shall receive the worst punishment that was ever made for an ANBU, now get moving!”
“Yes Kuroko-san!” he jumped out of the bed and tripped over the metal chest. “Damn.”
He looked up and deadpanned at Banger-san. How the hell could a… boy have such a high-pitched voice? What was he doing in ANBU anyway, wasn’t he far too young to be here.
He snorted at himself. Look who is talking. He stood up and brushed of the dirt from his ANBU retire.
Kuroko left him and Banger-san alone, striding down the corridor creating rhythmic clacking noises.
“Banger-san, do you know what the punishment will be?” he questioned hesitantly, a bright flush covering his cheeks.
“D-ranked missions and residing for a week at either Ibiki-san’s apartment,” he replied, seemingly not caring as he saw the cold shiver run down Naruto’s back.
Naruto exhaled a breath he hadn’t known to be holding when the clanking disappeared. “My name is Uzumaki Naruto,” he held out his hand, smiling up at the boy. “It is nice to meet you.”
The boy was about eleven years old and very girly in his opinion. Two symmetrically opposite long ridge-like scars, starting near his eyes till his mid-cheekbone graced his face and his glossy hair - much like Kuroko’s - was tied into a low ponytail, except the two raven bangs framing his face. His ebony eyes - also very familiar - stared down at him remotely. Luckily his skin wasn’t silver.
Why do Uchiha’s seem to belittle me so much?
He accepted hand without hesitation and took it into his gloved ones, and then smiled at him through the warmth only reached half of his ebony eyes, mostly all fake. “Nice to meet you too, my name is Uchiha Itachi.”
Uchiha Itachi, this was the owner of the plain looking door. “You’re the owner of the plain looking door!” he exclaimed in bewilderment. “I didn’t expect someone like you not having their door painted! Why don’t you paint it? The paint - whatever colour it is - tends to hide the moth-eaten wood.”
Itachi’s eyes narrowed noticeably. “Moth-eaten exceeds the hideous orange you have your door is ornamented with,” he scoffed.
Naruto gritted his teeth together. “Orange isn’t hideous vocab-freak! Sorry for being so rude I was just trying to give a little advice but I guess you didn’t deserve it!”
“But if I did decorate my door, what colour should I apply?”
This poor excuse of a boy had to be kidding him. Why ask someone who they had just insulted because of their colour likings and ask them in what colour they should paint their door?
“Paint it in your favorite colour you idiot!” Naruto blustered bitterly.
“May I inform you that I am not allowed to attend such process as decorating a door with my favorite colour, my father ordered for me to train more not to fool around like you’re doing now.”
Both of Naruto’s eyebrows twitched. “Why would your father ban you from painting your door, there is nothing wrong in doing so.”
“You will never understand, you are just a dobe.”
Their argument continued as they raced towards the Dining Hall, receiving glares from sleepy ANBU and furious shouts coming from several rooms.
Kuroko raised an eyebrow as she saw Naruto and her second youngest cousin racing towards her table, shouting at each other meaningless word she couldn’t make out.
No one was able to provoke her second youngest cousin like that, not even Fugaku or one of those harsh Uchiha Elders but somehow, this brat had achieved such an impossible task without even noticing it.
She should tell him this soon.
Her smirk widened as she heard those irritating insults coming from the both of them. “Seems like you have already become acquaintances with my young cousin,” Kuroko said smugly, making the bickering come to an end.
The few people that were residing in the Dining Hall stared at the two in disbelieve before carrying on with what they were doing.
Naruto crossed his arms and hmp-ed, scowling at the opposite wall which Itachi- or the newly named Teme - was glaring at.
Then he blinked. Did she just say that the teme was her young cousin or had he been dreaming? Of course not, he was always right!
You’re getting too cocky, a voice whispered into his ear but he brushed it off.
Naruto turned to her his mouth wide open, staring at her dubiously.
“If you are going to catch flies with your mouth wide open, you’re doing a great job,” said Kuroko flatly and right that second a fly flew in.
Naruto shut his mouth immediately and choked as he swallow the little, alive creature. Eww! He shuddered and tried ignored the abnormal feeling of something bumping against his stomach walls.
“You,” he pointed at Kuroko, who was staring at him with a raised brow. “Are,” he slowly pointed his finger at the emotionless freak Itachi. “Related. To. Teme!? Oh god, I feel so sorry for you, it must be hard to live with him!”
Kuroko’s smirk widened tenfold from satisfaction, terrifying Naruto. “Actually it is very comforting to know that there is someone in this entire building you’re related to, isn’t it Itachi-kun?”
He nodded, piercing glares at Naruto who returned them as eagerly.
“By the way, I won’t allow you precede any missions outside the village walls until you’re of age, which is six.”
Naruto gaped at the woman. “Then why did you even allow me to enter ANBU if I am just going to hop around the Headquarters bored. I’m probably going to get executed in the first week for playing too many pranks!”
Kuroko’s eyebrow rose. Pranker… that was something new… they desperately needed one in ANBU.
If anybody would ever ask her about her opinion about the ANBU Headquarters she would reply that it was so boring, a wonderful building but boring. No action, though more than enough paperwork- a fact that she loathed. Wasn’t it the Hokage’s work to complete them? She was a woman who was desperate for even the tiniest amount of action. Without it she was just another selfish and grumpy Uchiha.
“I only forbid you joining missions that proceed outside of the village, I never mentioned anything about not doing any mission at all,” she replied impassively.
He growled. “Then why is Teme allowed to attend mission outside the village?!” he yelled in rage.
Naruto didn’t know what reason was behind her amusement- through something told him it was he himself- but one thing he did know.
She was scaring him.
“He’s eleven years old; old enough to cope with death,” she turned to Itachi. “You may leave, I will inform Naruto about our rules and customs, and I want you to be his guide for the next few weeks.”
“Yes Uchiha-sama,” he muttered, not a hint of anger left, even with what had just happened a few moments ago, and bowed, leaving the room swiftly afterwards, earning a narrowed stare from Naruto.
If teme was Kuro-chan’s younger cousin, why was he treating her like Kami-sama?
“Fetch yourself some dinner, I’ll be waiting here,” she ordered, her harsh tone softening only slightly. “And then we shall talk.”
“Where do I find food?”
Kuroko nodded to her left side. A large circular table was standing in the centre of the Dining Hall, covered with a red, silk cloth. There was an opening so one could go around on the inside to reach the cold buffet. Somewhere offside stood large, translucent basins, probably filled with different kinds of juices and alcohol.
The few ANBU that were still present were those who had just come back from a mission and their stomachs were grumbling fiercely. Hey, even ANBU can starve.
He snatched some of the chicken salad which had caught his eye and a little of the carrot rice, which looked delicious. He filled the glass he had taken from next to the pile of porcelain plates, with a little orange juice and then walked towards the table Kuroko was sitting at patiently.
He sat down and sighed in frustration. The chair was too big for him.
“Kuro-chan,” he whined, “Are there any higher chairs, I can’t reach my food.”
Kuroko’s mouth formed into a thin line but ignored his nickname for her. Only slightly the edge of her mouth lifted, only slightly but still visible. “There aren’t any but you can use my cushion as a lifter.” A cushion appeared in her hand magically as she handed it to him.
He sat down again, “Much better.”
“Now, I want to talk to you about our rules and customs but first I will answer any questions you have to bombard me with,” she said straight on after he had settled down, he was about to speak when she quickly added, “Though only questions concerning ANBU rank, you may ask me later on about the staff here.”
Shoot, there went his chance to ask her about teme.
“When do we have breakfast, lunch and dinner?”
“Awashima informed me of your rather large appetite, I guess she was correct,” Kuroko looked at him in amusement, a smirk forming on her lips. “You can come to eat anytime you want. The food will always be refilled once it’s empty.”
“So the ANBU have cooks?”
“No, we use special robots made for us which cook, clean and go grocery shopping for us,” she summed up. “They have no body heat whatsoever and their ears are oval-like shells.”
“But wouldn’t it be obvious that it is a robot, not a human buying grocery for the shopkeeper?”
“We cover the ears up with bandanas or bandages.”
Naruto shrugged. It was a plain simple answer for this difficult question, why couldn’t he be so smart?
“What if the bandana or bandage slips off?” he questioned, trying to make her think for a moment.
“The cloth is glued to their ears and it has a magnetic plate inserted in between the two layers of cloth which is attracted to their metal heads.”
Shoot, didn’t work. Oh well, next time.
They sat in silence for a minute, eating their food speedily without taking much care of how it tasted. Each of them was trying to think of a new question they could ask one another.
Azure eyes scanned Kuroko curiously. “Ne, Kuro-chan,” she stiffened and flinched afterwards but for passers-by, the flinch only seemed like an irritated twitch, one which she had had a lot for today. If one had looked closer, however, they could see it had been a flinch. “Kuroko-neechan? Is this alright for you?”
She looked up at him, hinting no emotion whatsoever. “Whatever,” she grumbled and turned back to her food, chili con carne.
Naruto flashed a grin. “Can I call you Kuro-chan or Kuroko-neechan in private but not in public?”
There was a pregnant pause, her hands clenching into a fist.
Naruto smiled brightly. “Thank you so much, I promise I won’t call you disrespectfully in front of others and I don’t ever break promises!”
A short silence before he detected Kuroko exhaling softly, muttering something under her breath. “Alright.”
His grin widened. “Awesome!” he faced his half full plate, hadn’t he eaten more?
“Do you have anything to question me?” she asked with her glacial voice, frostily but her stiff shoulders were slowly lowering themselves and soon they were relaxed again. Her grim expression softened a little but her fierce gaze didn’t budge- her eyes didn’t seem to be able to change expressions.
Naruto shook his head. “Nope, nothing but if I do have something, can I ask you later?”
He chuckled lightly at her dry reply. This word seemed to be famous for Uchiha’s. Itachi used it during their argument once in awhile and he soon found out it actually meant yes and ‘mhh’ had meant no.
Through he couldn’t believe that teme had actually agreed with him from time to time.
She frowned at his amusement. “Firstly, there is to be no physical fighting in the Headquarters, we have training grounds especially made for that but they too, are made for training only; as the name says. Verbal, through, is necessary once in awhile,” she told him, her eyes narrowing as if her sight was becoming blurry.
Naruto nodded understandingly and swallowed a piece of chicken he had been biting on for the past few seconds.
“There is to be no bullying whatsoever. We have cameras everywhere. The special robots, I was talking about just then, also watch over the Headquarters day and night, they don’t need sleep. They will inform me or the Hokage immediately if there is an occurrence like this.”
“Whatsoever’ was another on of her habits, he had noticed, whenever she used this word she meant it final. You had to do it, no buts or ors.
This is why he knew she wasn’t kidding around about this. Who would? Anyone who bullied would most likely be severely punished with something bad. A punishment he wouldn’t want to know, hear or think about.
“No destroying anything, even if it’s the furniture in your room. If you do then you’re going to have to search for some new ones yourself and pay for them. I think this is understandable.”
He dipped his head in agreement once more. Why destroy something because of frustration? It made no sense, except a larger bill with the enormous, hell number written at the bottom.
“If an ANBU member has their masks on, call them by their codename to hinder others from finding out and also accept others for who they are. ANBU’s have unique personalities,” she told him and leaned back into her chair. “This is all for the rules. I can tell you about the customs tomorrow, you seem tired.”
That was all?
“Yeah,” he admitted and a blush flashing across his cheeks in embarrassment, “What time is it anyway?”
“Two thirty in the morning.”
He stared at her, his eyes wide in disbelieve and gritted his teeth together angrily. She had got to be clowning around with him through it was hard to imagine Kuroko cracking a joke. But still, two thirty in the morning! Was she insane?!
“Are you insane, couldn’t we have discussed this during breakfast!” Naruto howled at Kuroko, stood up abruptly. He bit the side of his cheek to resist the angry- and animalistic- snarl directed towards her.
The other ANBU still residing in the Dining Hall worried glances but tried their best not to eye them, through some were mumbling something to their companions.
He could have cared less of what they were jabbing about.
Kuroko gritted her own teeth and glared at him, hissing at him before striding towards the entrance of the Hall, furiously. Her body was stiff again, like a tree whilst her ebony eyes flashed viciously at the people around her, ordering them with her eyes to step back immediately and leave her alone- something which they did quite willingly.
Naruto ignored her unsaid command. “Kuroko-san!” he yelped in surprise. Why didn’t he see this before? Why was he so stupid at times? “Wait!” he snatched her pillow quickly and bolted out after her. “Wait!”
She swung around when they were alone in the corridor- the others had been frightened of like rabbits- her eyes filled with unknown emotions and her lips strung into a thin, red line. “What?” she snapped.
“Don’t bother Uzumaki-san,” she hissed through her teeth, her perfectly white teeth. “You would have gone of to have fun with the staff around here anyway, don’t deny it; you wouldn’t have bothered listening to me for even a minute.”
He clenched his eyes shut, his own lips clamped together into a white line. It hurt, it truly did. To be though so lowly by someone you didn’t even know properly.
He opened them again just in time to see Kuroko disappearing out of existence. His shoulders dropped as he slowly made his way towards his new room with the pillow in his hand. Reddish orange in colour rimmed with a warm yellow. The fabric was made out of cool satin.
Frowning and touching himself everywhere, searching for his key until he remembered that he had left the door open, and then invited himself in.
He hastily changed into his pajamas that were brought up from the village and slumped down onto the bed, his arms wrapped tightly around the pillow- Kuro-chan’s pillow.
Not even a second later, he was counting ramen bowls with stick legs lurch over chopsticks with miserable expressions on their faces, and then as soon as they landed, their legs snapped in half and drowned in a pond of mud.
It was going to be a long night…
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