tale of galant jiraiya
Join Date: Oct 2008
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The Truth of the Matter
It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense. --Mark Twain
“Naruto! Where the hell do you think you’re going?! Get down here you damn brat!”
Naruto Uzumaki grinned down at the store manager, flush with his recent accomplishments and the effort of climbing up a rainspout to reach the roof. The overweight man was breathing pretty heavily after having chased the blond kid for a good five minutes, which was probably more exercise than he had gotten in the last week. Naruto laughed cheerfully as the thought crossed his mind, thinking it would do the man some good.
The academy had only let out a few hours earlier, but the young boy had quickly found himself in the familiar predicament of being bored. He had stopped trying to include himself in other kid’s games years ago and there was only so much you could do by yourself and stay out of trouble. Usually, the seven-year old did a little extra training after school to keep up with his classmates—or at least not get farther behind them, although he would never admit it if asked—but an accident involving his normal antics and a badly aimed shuriken a few days before had left a deep cut on his arm.
It was healing quickly—the medics were always amazed at how fast Naruto healed for some reason—but even this injury would take time to really get better. The doctor had forbidden any heavy training for the young blond after he had ripped his stitches out for the second time, and knowing who he was talking to, it had been firmly impressed upon Naruto that if he did manage to injure himself again he would be tied down to a hospital bed. The troublemaker listened to the warning—reluctantly—but left to his own devices Naruto had soon found himself trying to attract attention to relieve the boredom, resulting in the current situation.
“I mean it Uzumaki! You think you can get away with this? I’m not going to put up with your crap like the others!” Blue eyes rolled at the comment. No one ever put up with his pranks. Empty threats like that had ceased to worry him a long time ago. “You’re going to clean this mess up or the Hokage will hear from me!”
“Whatever, old man! Ya have to catch me first! Nyah ha!” the mischievous boy pulled down his eyelid in the manager’s direction and then raced across the rooftops. To tell the truth, things had gotten a little out of hand while he was being chased around, but he had switched to using water based paint for things like this after the first time the old geezer had made him clean things up.
The bandage around his arm had come loose again and was flapping around as Naruto ran so he stopped to tuck it back in and take a break. Despite a nice breeze, he was feeling warm as the sun beat down on his head and his breathing was a little heavy. He frowned in annoyance and wondered if maybe the doctor’s insistence that he not do much was getting him out of shape, but when he was worn out like this the direct sunlight made him feel a little lazy and he was more inclined to find a shady tree to curl up under than run laps around the school track.
He sighed and turned his gaze to the cloudless blue sky, rubbing the back of his neck. It was hot to the touch and the blond remembered the last time he had played outside too long, the strange look on Iruka-sensei’s face as he peeled the dead skin off his shoulders almost in one clean sheet a day later, healthy skin right underneath. His teacher had tried to insist that he wear sun block if he ever played outside that long again, but it wasn’t like Naruto ever planned on it and anyway it took up too much time to put the slimy stuff on for a burn that wouldn’t even last a day. Besides, it couldn’t have been that bad. Ino had once gotten a sunburn from purposely laying out in the sun (because girls did weird things like that) and hers had lasted a week.
“Naaaaaaarutoooooooo! Oooooi! Naaaruuutoooooo!”
The troublemaker started at the sound of his name, looking down in the streets for any sign of the old manager but what he saw instead was even worse. He grumbled to himself and started walking along the rooftops again, trying to ignore the call.
“Naruto! Oi, I know you can hear me! We need another person to play soccer! Get your ass down here!” That commanding voice belonged to one Kiba Inuzuka, and it pissed Naruto off to no end.
“Like hell! What makes you think I’d do anything that might team me up with your sorry face, dog-boy!”
While most days hanging out with Kiba wasn’t a bad thing—Naruto might even go so far as to call it enjoyable—the two had gotten into a rowdy fight involving plenty of punches and kicks and a lot of rolling around in the dirt. The blond boy couldn’t really remember what they had been fighting about, but he did remember the tongue-lashing he had gotten this morning when Iruka-sensei had noticed the mud-streaked, torn bandages on his arm. The stitches had held, the only reason Naruto was a free man at the moment, but he hated being scolded by Iruka-sensei and Kiba had gotten away scott-free which resulted in the blonde’s current grudge against his partner-in-crime.
Kiba pointed at the bandaged left arm and grinned, “If you don’t come, I’ll tell Iruka-sensei you’ve been climbing with that thing.” Akamaru barked, seemingly in agreement with his master.
“What?! Kiba you bastard! I’ll beat your face in if you do!” More than the possibility of being tied up in a hospital bed until the cut healed, the idea of Iruka-sensei’s disappointed face when he learned Naruto wasn’t following orders made the blue-eyed boy squirm. Iruka-sensei was one of the few people who treated him fairly and he was always hesitant to do anything that would ruin that. A wave of hot embarrassment (and possibly guilt) flooded through the blue-eyed boy as he contemplated the instructor’s reaction, but Kiba didn’t seem to notice.
“Just come on! It’s not like you have to play with me. Stop being a stuck up moron and get down here.”
Naruto was about to shoot something else off at Kiba, telling him to get lost, but he remembered his initial boredom and started to reconsider. If they really needed one more person, the other kids might actually let him join and he wouldn’t be stuck entertaining himself all afternoon.
“Fine. But only if I’m not on your team! I’m gonna kick your ass for yesterday.” He scrambled down the side of the building, unusually mindful of his arm, and raced after the brown-haired boy.
“Hah! You wish! There’s no way such a sorry excuse for a ninja could beat me! Me ‘n Akamaru’ll take you guys out by ourselves!”
Naruto traded insults with Kiba the rest of the way, secretly glad for something to do.