tale of galant jiraiya
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Re: The Truth of the Matter
Yesterday…yesterday something bad had happened, but he didn’t want to think about it. Something…something…
Had he fallen behind in school again? Was there something else that he hadn’t quite understood, didn’t quite have the coordination to pull off yet? Had he practiced it at all? Had he forced himself to learn the concept, to remember what it was they were even supposed to be doing? Fear rose up in his throat, the old fear from back when he started the academy and he realized that the others were so far ahead from the start, that if he didn’t hurry, didn’t catch up, then he would only drop farther and farther behind and if he failed at this, at this one thing that the others said even he could do, at the one thing they might actually acknowledge him for, then he really was worthless useless goodfornothing.
In a panic, Naruto rushed to his kitchen table, which doubled for a desk to put his homework on since it was the only flat surface he could afford. The papers were there, they were all there, but they were only part way done. At least, from what he could tell they were, because everything was blurring together. They couldn’t have been finished, though, not with half the page without any pencil markings, any eraser markings, any wrinkles or tears from having to redo it over and over until it was almost impossibly illegible, but it would still be done so Iruka-sensei could give him credit for that at least.
He had to get to school. It was bad enough that he was this unprepared. It didn’t matter if he got the credit for the homework anymore; the seven year old just needed to be there so he could find out what to learn later, on his own. Iruka-sensei wasn’t the only teacher he had, and not all of them would be willing to inform him of what he missed, instead berating him and dismissing him for skipping when he hadn’t. (He wouldn’t, not today, not when he had somehow missed this much, forgotten this much, why couldn’t he concentrate, why couldn’t he remember?)
He ran around the room gathering some clothes together to get changed out of his outfit from yesterday that he had been too tired to strip out of. Peeling it off his skin and off his body, the blond dumped them on the floor and changed into a new one, shaking and panting and sweating from the effort it took to push his arms through his sleeves, to stand on one foot as his pants came on. He took a break to catch his breath, but only a short one.
At least he hoped it was short.
(Had he passed out? Could he recall every second that had just passed by?)
Snatching up his backpack, he rushed out the door. There was no time for breakfast, no time for other routine morning duties. He didn’t bother to grab the half-finished homework, or even turn off the alarm that was still ringing, had been ringing this whole time. He’d deal with it later (deal with the complaints later.)
Oddly enough it followed him, the ringing. He could hear it even as he walked down the stairs of the building, hear it as he stumbled down the street. It still felt like it was inside his brain, and maybe it was, he thought, maybe it was inside his brain because something really, really weird was happening. As the blue-eyed boy made his way towards the school his vision gradually went from double to blurring and back again and he gasped and coughed as he ran along.
Maybe running wasn’t such a good idea but he shouldn’t be this out of shape, he wasn’t that far behind, except that maybe he was because he couldn’t remember things and his brain was ringing, so he pushed himself to run a little faster, to get in back in shape a little quicker.
Nobody was in the streets when he started out because nobody went near the orphan dorms, it was to depressing, too harsh a reminder (and maybe, just maybe, they didn’t want to get near him, but he wasn’t sure that was it at all, because why would he matter that much when they all said he didn’t?) but as the blond got closer to the heart of the village, as it got harder to breathe, harder to put one foot in front of the other, harder to push himself to just keep going, the roads and paths became more crowded.
The blond didn’t notice it at first, there were too few people, but as he got deeper into the crowd he could feel their gaze on him, feel their eyes piercing and harsh on his skin, and when he had enough energy to look up what he saw terrified him, terrified him more than when they looked at him normally with eyes that didn’t care, eyes that were usually hard and cold, because these eyes glowed. These eyes glowed hot and bright and orange with hate and rage and malice, malice so overwhelming that Naruto nearly froze to the core, a cold that reached all through his body so that if he weren’t so afraid he would have been glad for the slight relief it provided from the burning waves of heat he had been feeling before.
He was so out of it by now, trembling so badly and stumbling all over the place to the point where he could hardly be considered standing. The only thought in his mind was to make it to the school, to just reach the academy. Focusing only on that goal pushed him past the fear, the terror that steadily increased as an orange haze drifted across his sight, twisting everything he saw to give the people mouths outlined in black, grinning humorlessly with teeth razor sharp. The haze began to twist what he heard too, the ringing from before and the chatter of the villagers becoming deeper and deeper until it all meshed into a chest-rattling bass laugh, a mocking laugh that was so horrible the seven year old gagged, an action made even more painful by the fact that his throat was dry and incredibly sore.
It took a while to force the panic down, to realize that he wasn’t dying, his insides weren’t going to push their way out through his mouth as he knelt there in the street. Even when he got over that he still couldn’t look up and face the monsters surrounding him without the threat of dry heaving. He stood up again, the chill that was still sweeping through him an odd contrast to the sun shining warmly on his back. Naruto to took off in the direction of the academy, swiping at the sweat dripping down the side of his face with his head tucked down so that the only thing he could see was the ground and the unnerving feeling that no matter how fast or how far he ran the mocking laughter would always be right behind him, whispering horrors into his ear.