Trailblazers (2017-10-10)

On the sixth evening, Naruto is the one who brings her meal.

“It’s almost a week, you know?” he says, confrontational but kind in his strange way.

“Are you bored already?” she shoots back, drawing her eyes up from the papers spread across her desk. She hastily clears a space for the tray Naruto has brought her, no doubt mixing up the order, but better that than food stains making things illegible.

She’s writing down her memoirs.

He shrugs, broth sloshing dangerously at the lip of the bowl. Ramen, unsurprising. She smiles.

“Not really,” he answers, “it’s nice being able to meet your precious people. They care about you a lot.”

For a moment, he lets the statement rest in the silence, stretch long and full across the room.

“Are you going to bring Kakashi-sensei?”

She glances at him, thrown off guard–that’s not what she had been expecting at all.

Her first, instinctual reaction is denial–defensive and sneering–why would she ever do that? If she hasn’t already, clearly she’s not planning to.

But Naruto wouldn’t have said it if it didn’t mean something, and for all his deference to her in battle he always was, in his own way, much wiser than her. She had always thought he’d be a great Sky.

Like the summoning of her friends, the papers beneath her hands are memoirs as she thinks would be best–not a journal transcribing every little thing she did, a mission report across reincarnations–but a way for her to attain closure.

They may not have been close–or, at least, in the ways that mattered, in the ways they could have been, her feelings of him conflicted and twisted and tangled up, respect and betrayal and feeble hope, blood and grudges and mistakes versus trust–but he was important to her, to the life she had and the person she had once been.

“Tomorrow,” she says, finally, staring down at the pages beneath her hand, “It’ll be finished tomorrow.”

///

The stranger that eels out of Tetsuki’s room on the seventh morning is like a plastic potted plant, really. Taking up space quietly and awkwardly in each room he visits, out of place but not so much as to require attention. A vague, monochrome blur in everyone’s peripheral vision.

Unlike the others that Tetsuki had sent out in her stead–even the surly pale-eyed man who has been making Kyoko’s army of minions all the more hyper competent and frightening–he doesn’t seem to want to interact with anyone at all. He drifts; not as if searching for something, but the way a tumbleweed drifts, aimless and useless and never belonging. Never catching on something to do or someone to talk to…

… until he meets Reborn.

Family does not mean friendship.

~

A/N: A poor offering on Naruto’s birthday, but the only thing that would come to mind :/

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