Your first night in Konoha, you do not cry.
Still, you sit up and clutch at your face, desperately trying to stay quiet, so keenly aware of how close your bedroom is to that of the Namikazes’ and how thin the walls.
Despite having had a largely nomadic lifestyle, you are overcome with homesickness.
Iruka normally finds the hour before classes soothing. The warm sunlight streaming through the windows, preparing for the day’s lessons, and appreciating the calm before the storm that is a day of teaching preteens how to be soldiers.
Normally, he’s fond of the time before classes begin. Now the silence is dragging, suspenseful and ominous, and he both dreads and hopes for the clock to move faster.
The Uzumaki princess will be joining his class today.
He’s not starstruck or anything like that–almost half of his class are the clan heirs or seconds–one of his students is the Hokage’s son!
He has long since gotten used to instructing the children of the elite. It’s hard to be intimidated by their family name when you remember them as six year olds with snot running down their noses.
Which might explain why he’s nervous about the Uzumaki princess, though he knows that only contributes part of the reason.
His grandmother had been from Uzushio.
His dad frequently reminisces about childhood visits to Uzushio, family reunions dozens of members strong. Iruka would have grown up the same, had the islands not fallen before he was born. As it is, all he has are the stories that his parents pass down to this day.
Uzumaki Konran is princess of an intangible kingdom–memories and legacies–which makes her all the more intimidating.
On the back of every Konoha flak jacket is a spiral the same bright red of Uzumaki hair, an oath of alliance given form.
This is not a coincidence.
Konran’s first morning in Konoha went as thus:
Following silently, uncertainly, in the trail of the Hokage’s son. Watching the villagers turn to him, like flowers to the sun, smiling and calling out greetings that he easily returns: he grew up surrounded by so many people, loved; the village steeped with his presence, familiar places as much part of him as his very body.
This is his home, and she is a stranger.
At the Academy–and how strange, such formal education; she learned around a campfire, the road was her classroom–Naruto’s friends call him over. At first, he goes toward them, but his steps falter, he hesitates and looks back at her.
Her, the intruder in his life.
She waves him off, perhaps more dismissive than she intends, and steels herself. Umino-sensei has her introduce herself, she struggles to match the stares of thirty different faces. They have known each other for years, have developed friendships and histories all without her. She finds an empty seat close to the window.
An outsider looking in.
Uzumaki Konran meets Nohara Ringo and Yuuhi Zakuro entirely by accident. Hatake Kakashi meets her deliberately.
Her decision after graduation shouldn’t have been a surprise to any party involved.
Dear reader, know this:
There is no fate, there are no soulmates, no guarantees or warrantees; but in this vast, infinite universe there may be something that ties us together.
Something like resonance.
I did not love her at first sight, nor second, nor third. I did not even like her immediately; though that is not to say that I disliked her immediately, either. She was interesting, and fascination became fondness became affection.
Once I loved her, I could not stop.
A/N: Okay, that should be it by now… thanks for being patient and humoring me, everyone 🙂