Old fanfiction Stub-- You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby (taken from the Smiths)

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Old fanfiction Stub-- You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby (taken from the Smiths) Empty Old fanfiction Stub-- You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby (taken from the Smiths)

Post  adverseaffects on Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:11 am

I'm not interested in fanfiction and was barely interested in the canon universe anymore-- it merely took away the burden of developing cheesy character names and apperances. This one is from Naruto. It has weird sexual themes and abuse, but while it had the names naruto and the like, it really should just be divorced from the series entirely. I'd like to take the concept and re-work it into something entirely removed from fanfiction, I could easily do it with more exposition and changing the names.

The plot was going to be this kid grows up in a boarding school but is there as an orphan. The headmaster of the school is repressing his weird sexual urges and due to some weird dynamic takes them out on "Naruto". Everyone's evil "group" mentality kind of picks up on his different-ness and punishes him. ANyways, so he developes a coping mechanism of searching for a rescuer and going inwards into his own head to find satisfaction. The idea was he'd kind of be adopted by another creepy figure, one he ran too willingly, seeing him as his "savior", before realizing the sexual relatonship with this older person IS wrong, and he is not really loved as an equal but used... he was never given a chance to develope himself as a person so the journey of the story would be trying to find out who he is and to stop depending on others to define him. Thoughtout the story he was gonna fall in with a gang, ect., basically different attempts to "find" an idenity. All these people are shift, selfish, untrustworthy, basically using eachother the way lonely people do, clinging to eachother. He becmoes disillusioned and disgusted with them. Eventually he has to accept that he is alone and everyone is alone, in a way that's hard to admit, and be strong on his own... but then also deal with loneliness and how to be close with others while still knowing who you are, and also his constant search for someone to love him, desperately... anyways, it never got that far, here's what I gots.
It's kinda fucked up.

Chapter One

Naruto was eleven, and he had just been delivered from the depths of Hell. He had finally found somebody who cared, and at the time he had silently promised himself to follow that person anywhere. His full name Naruto never knew, despite the two years he lived with him, but to Naruto he was always Mr. Mizuki

After Naruto had been run away and seen more of the world, he realized Mr. Mizuki was, by the standards of society (and Naruto knew enough to not to argue in this case), a very bad man. Still, he could never think back on Mr. Mizuki, or the time he spent with him, with distaste.

Naruto had been pulled in by his fly-catcher smile, his easy posture, the clean lines of his officer's uniform. Like all lonely children, Naruto needed someone to hold onto, and with the malleability of a beaten dog, he was willing to eat from any hand that would feed him, as long as the pet was soothing enough. After all, Naruto had willingly participated in his captivity.

But most of all, Naruto was pulled in by the way Mizuki treated him like he was special. It was the words Mizuki had said to him outside the orphanage, crouching down by Naruto's side, his voice full of the buried hatred at the world and everyone in it that Naruto understood so well. "Nobody else understands, do they?"

And nobody did.


And nowhere— it was Sunday, and he had nowhere to go. Scuffed shoes, little boy shorts becoming too small for a growing body.

He didn't even know he was unhappy- his life had always been this way. He just felt very, very bored.

He lived in the town boarding school, which had agreed at the request of the government to also function as an orphanage in his case. The town was small, and no one had wanted to foster him, so he had no where else to go. The government paid the school well enough for his keep, but the school still had no idea what to do with him. The staff was nuns and a cold headmaster who hated children but had taken the job to prove how much he had achieved in life. They were not taught to act as parents, with love or support, but to be strict.

It was run for wealthy kids with special talents, and Naruto had no place there. He was lost in the classes which were structured for well-to-do book-smart children. Instead, Naruto spent most of class, from an early age, making structures out of construction paper and gum. For the first couple grades, the nuns who ran the classes put up with him and stuck him the back corner, giving him some paper to keep him occupied or a puzzle.

Even as he rose in grades with everyone else, he was never taught to or required to turn in assignments, and he never had to take the test to go to the next grade, but just bumped up to go with his peers. He never learned a thing, and was never expected to.

At the age of ten though, he couldn't be occupied with paper and pencils anymore, and turned to other ways of entertaining himself.

He started playing pranks. The nuns stopped looking at him as a charity case, but as a nuisance. For the first time, they started to yell at him, and then to hit him, which happened to all the children to some degree, but to Naruto it was a shock and a betrayal. The other children had grades to bring home to their families, but all Naruto had was a bed in a line of rows and the nuns he'd known all his life.

And he started to hate them. Eventually, he was being brought into to the headmaster's office every week.

The headmaster hated Naruto as much as Naruto hated them. Naruto never thought to tell Ebisu, but he almost looked forward to his visits to the office- as much as they hated each other, Ebisu was at the same time the closest friend he had. At least he remembered Naruto, and expected his visits.

Things got worse when puberty hit. He was ten, young for a boy, and his voice was always cracking. Never before had Naruto noticed how high his voice was, but now it was obvious even to him. He wasn't growing either, except for hair in embarrassing place, and was quickly the shortest boy in his class.

He started to have thoughts- about the girls and their growing breasts, their pretty hair, but also the boys playing sports outside. They used to play sports with him; he was really good and a fair player and was popular on the playground, if not accepted into people's circles once school began again. But during rugby, one of the boys had tackled him, and wrestling on the ground, Naruto had gotten his first erection. He didn't even think to hide it, but obviously he should have, because among the throng of shrieking children, a sister grabbed him and took him to the headmaster, who blushed and sputtered when told of the problem, and then promptly whipped Naruto for the first time. Naruto had been shocked and had cried, but the headmaster had shooed him out of the office as though he couldn't stand to be near Naruto.

After that, the nuns could not tolerate Naruto. The boys were getting meaner, girls were getting breasts and whispering in secret circles, and no one wanted to be near him.

If the whipping was supposed to make him stop thinking about sex, it did the exact opposite. Obviously, Ebisu had gotten so flustered for a reason, and Naruto wanted to know what was going on behind those glazed eyes. His curiosity was uncontrollable—and while he dared not ask the other nuns, he could eavesdrop on the other kids. He learned an confusing mix of information, always of it very dirty but none of it connecting to make a very clear picture.

He resorted to watching the other boys in the showers. He'd tried to kiss his semi-friend once, which had gotten him hit in the gut. The other boys avoided him permanently after that, and around this time he realized that girls were supposed to like boys only, and vice versa. Troubled, Naruto sometimes imagined being a girl when he masturbated in the shower. He did this by waiting till the other kids were away on the weekends, and then he had the facilities all to himself, free to do as he pleased. He liked to go through the other kid's letters from home and eat their candy while they were away too.

By the time he was eleven, Naruto was sneaking out of the orphanage and about town. Once, trying to hitch-hike away, he'd gotten into a stranger's car, who turned out to be the town sheriff, and was promptly returned to the orphanage. He had expected to be whipped, but one of the nuns instead ushered him to the kitchen where she fed him soup and told him in a wavery voice never, ever to do that again, he could get kidnapped or raped. Naruto didn't know what raped meant, but he wanted to be kidnapped, and he told her so. She burst into tears, and Naruto being of a big heart, felt guilty and offered her the rest of his soup. She declined and wiped the tears from her eyes, and Naruto sat uncomfortably until she'd offered him some ice cream and sent him off to bed.

The orphanage was really part boarding school for families who had some extra money. The town was too small for any industry, but it did have lots of wilderness, so the boarding school boasted of a wholesome outdoors environment, and children from well-to-do families in nearby cities poured in.

Saturdays were the worst. Sundays were the best, because he had the entire school to himself. Even the nuns retreated to their quarters, to pray and to clean, and the headmaster went home for the week.

Saturdays, the parents came to pick up their kids for the weekend. Before they left, they mingled about the park benches across from shady elms and the swing-set, siblings and distnant relations and parents, all making up for lost time. Naruto watched them from the swing-set, always, every week. He didn't know what do with himself at this time, and watching the happiness had become routine for him. He idly pushed himself with one foot and bit his lip. Sometimes he drew in the dirt by himself.

The few friends he had instinctively avoided him during this time. Kiba spent the weekend in town with his mom and their fleet of dogs- Kiba was kind of weird, the only reason he hung out with Naruto, and he'd tell Naruto long stories about his family of pedigreed dog breeders. Shikamaru was from a well-off middle class family that chided him on his work ethic constantly. He was probably the only person who resented being in class as much as Naruto, thus their friendship based on mutual sleeping in class. During this time, they were the same as everyone else- they were loved. Naruto did not begrudge them their one superiority.

By Saturday afternoon, people began to filter out as parents took children home for the weekend, and Naruto would make himself scare and wander about the grounds. He did not cry, aware that Ebisu beat them for crying, and Naruto was his favorite target. Never had anyone rewarded Naruto for betraying his emotions by giving him any sympathy, and he'd come to distrust sharing his feelings in general.

But this Sunday was a little harder. He had turned eleven that morning, a little chilly, October now, and it was not any different. No card, no cake sent from home. He wasn't surprised, since the only reason he knew it was his birthday at all was because of a slim manilla envelope slipped into his beside drawer by a nun many years ago, listing his information:

Naruto Uzumaki


Parental status- married

Father: Minato Namikaze- deceased

AOD- 31

Occupation- unknown

Mother- Kushina Uzumaki- unknown- widowed

Occupation- unknown

Extended Family- none listed

DOB- 10/10/00- Note: not sure if accurate or Mother just gave a round number twice.

File: Parents unable to support for unknown reasons. Dropped off at one year of age by mother to police station. Long red hair, thin face, medium height, light tan. Green eyes. Appeared at least partly of ethnic descent. Father deceased. Had little information to give but upon being questioned gave information included in file. Appeared to be intoxicated at time of drop-off. When told she could not abandon child but police would send someone to assess her ability to care for a child she appeared to assent but left the baby on the bench outside. Upon further inspection the address she gave was no longer inhabited though it had indeed been in her name. Evidence of drugs—marijuana, LSD- found in home.

Social Security #-: 545-33445-3453

Conditions: None known

Naruto couldn't read much, so he didn't know what the actual contents of the file read, but he could read the numbers and understood the acronym DOB for date of birth. A couple of this photos were included in the file- a newspaper clipping, yellowing, containing a grainy photo of a man and woman smiling in front of a crowd of people. Naruto couldn't make out their features but they seemed to have good smiles. He assume they were his parents and that they were good looking. He couldn't read the text. The second photo was of a family tree, something his mother had left in his clothing, he'd been told. He couldn't make sense of it. The last was a map of the western half of the United States. Some points on it had been circled, thought it appeared randomly.

Still, every birthday was a little harder than all the other days, and every birthday a little harder than the one before it. And it fell on a Saturday this time.

Lost in his thoughts, he wandered down a corridor until he entered the mass hall. Would he ever be adopted? Surely not. This wasn't even a real orphanage. At this rate he wouldn't graduate high school. He knew he wasn't really passing his classes, his teachers were just passing him along to the next grade for the next teacher to deal with. He hadn't learned anything since first grade. What would he do once he was eighteen? He wouldn't be able so stay here. Anxiety shook Naruto to the core- he had no one, and nothing-

Turning, he found himself face to face with the figure of Jesus, crucified. A limp cloth carved of stone covered the man, his ribs concave, his arms and face both graceful and in pain. It had always frightened Naruto. Overtaken with boiling fear and rage, he grabbed the face of Christ and shook it violently, a choked cry coming from his face. A crack sounded and Naruto gasped and jumped back.

The crown of thorns had fallen off at his feet, jagged edges where the stone had broken. How had it come off so perfectly? Naruto looked at his hand, suddenly aware of red blood dripping onto the ground in little splats. He had stabbed himself on one of the thorns. Slowly, Naruto picked up the crown and placed it back on Jesus's head tenderly, and saw blood was smeared on his face. Wiping it off with the edge of his sleeve, Naruto felt inexplicably calmed.

He sidled down to the steps of the altar, marble and cold, and talked randomly to Jesus and to himself, mumbling and sometimes singing softly. He drew pictures on the cloak of Mary and the angels with the blood from his palm. He had quite the expanse of pictures going, which felt quite epic to him- he had paradise and hellfire, man and woman naked and lost, beautiful and cruel angels—

Suddenly he heard the door open. Naruto stopped abruptly. "Naruto!" came a shrill cry of one of the more vindictive nuns. Naruto jumped where he sat, realized he'd spread blood all over the alter in messy scrawls, over the white face of Mother of Jesus Chirst. Horror filled Naruto. Before he could defend himself at all, the sister strode over and to where Naruto kneeled frozen, grabbed him by the ear, and proceeded to march him across the school. The walk must have been very long, but Naruto didn't register any of it, and when the sister halted and rapped on the headmaster's door he was surprised. Dread filled him as Ebisu's voice called from the other end, "Come in."

They entered and Naruto felt his guard go up immediately as the headmaster sat behind his desk condescendingly. He had company, a young man with a polite, bemused expression and long, pale hair and eyes. Naruto chose to ignore him in favor of glaring at Ebisu in the eyes.

"What's the matter, now?"

"The brat covered the alter with dirty drawings!" Naruto realizes with disgust the sister was crying. He wished she'd let go of his ear and stop shaking like that, like a crazy person, so he could apologize. "Of men!"

Ebisu unmistakably turned bright red, but the headmaster mastered his emotions so quickly Naruto was not sure if had occurred at all. Naruto wanted to protest, there had been drawings of nearly everything mentioned in the bible, hardly just men, and hardly dirty but the panicking nurse was clenching his ear so hard he thought it would be twisted off. The headmaster turned to look at Naruto. "Is this true?" he said coldly.

Naruto could not bear to nod and could not bear to look away, torn between hopeless anger and guilt. His stare met with Ebisu's beady eyes. It appeared to have been the wrong action; his silence was mistaken as a show of defiance and only enraged the headmaster.

"I see. Sister, please leave," Ebisu rose, as the sister released Naruto's ear and pushed her way out the door. "I am terribly sorry, Mizuki, that you had to be present at this little scene. As it is, I think it's best we punish him immediately, or else he'll think he's gotten away with it and won't learn the lesson."

"Oh, it's no problem, such things can't be helped," the blonde man replied diplomatically, "Kids will be kids."

Ebisu shook his head, "You are far too kind, Mizuki. If the given the choice, I'm sure you'd spare the boy any punishment at all. Well, let me tell you, this boy is out of control- his behavior has been ignored far too long on our part. If only we had nipped it in the bud. This really is an embarrassment…" and Ebisu grabbed Naruto by the elbow, pulling a wooden switch out of his desk drawer with the other hand. Naruto sent a frantic glance around the room—and found Mizuki starting directly at him. Was a stranger going to have to witness this?

Even as Ebisu thrust Naruto's waist against the desk and slammed his head down with the palm of his hand, buckling the boy's body over the desk, Naruto did not tear his eyes away, trying to express his misery, pleading for a friend in this situation—Mizuki's wide gray eyes were the only thing he could bear to focus on, pleading, as the headmaster pulled down his school pants and briefs and slapped his butt with the switch.

With the first smack the spell was broken, and Naruto realized no help was coming, from the stranger across him or from anyone, and he could not stand to look anymore. He hid his face in his hands instead, mouth open from the force of the continuous blows, spit leaking down his knuckles onto the desk. Ebisu was panting behind him from exertion like a man possessed, putting such mad force into the blows Naruto thunked back and forth across the wooden surface. He could feel his shirt riding up, but worst of all he could still feel the stranger's eyes on him as an object of punishment. With this knowledge of his humiliation, and the final blows, he could not hold back the tears that began to fall.

Ebisu pulled away. A red flush had colored his face. He hiked up his pants and adjusted his collar with a nervous exhale. Something about it seemed very out of context to Naruto; even Mizuki was staring at the headmaster curiously. The stranger's mouth pulled into a strange, knowing smile, but Naruto didn't stop to dwell on it as with blinded eyes he pulled up his own pants. The stranger flicked his eyes over to Naruto and smiled in—what, greeting? Surely it was mocking? Naruto, feeling this was not the context to pretend to smile back, ignored it, and hastily made for the door, not waiting to be excused. As he did, Ebisu noticed and smacked his butt one last time, with the flat of his hand this time. Naruto jumped and hastened out the door.

The sister was behind the door. She smiled with grim satisfaction as Naruto exited. "About time," she said, "I'll escort you to your room."

She wanted to gloat, and Naruto wouldn't of let her, but he saw no use in further talking. He just wanted to forget this ever happened. He began to walk silently, and she followed hastily.

At the doorway to the boy's dorms, they stopped, but instead of pulling out a ket the sister paused and stared at him. "Did it hurt?" she asked eagerly. Naruto nodded. "How much did it hurt?" Naruto paused, and her voice grew harsh, eager to taste the results of revenge, "Let me see," and she made to grab for his pants.

Naruto pulled away and jerked his head up with such a vicious anger that it surprised even him. The sister recoiled and seemed to think the better of her plan.

After a moment's pause she bit out, "That's right, wouldn't want anyone to see, would you?" and she unlocked the door. She held it open for him, smiling grandly, with one hand and laid the other on his shoulder. Naruto felt a sudden thick rage that it could have been for despair, and for the first time in his life, he only wanted to get back at her and all the adults by proving he could not be controlled.

He walked through silently, as though beaten, but once she began to close the door, he turned around and yanked down his pants entirely, staring her straight in the face. Her jaw dropped and a stricken blush filled her face, before turning on her heel and marching away, perhaps as much to hide her burning face as anything. It occurred to Naruto his chosen insult might have been more potent than he'd thought—as a nun, she'd never seen a man naked before, and he'd made her react in a way she was ashamed to a child.

Naruto watched her go, victorious, before remembering to pull up his pants, and, entering the dorm, closed the door behind him on his own.

That night Naruto had a lot to mull over—but now he was aware of a new weapon. Thinking of the Sister's and Ebisu's flushed faces made him laugh into his pillow.

He drifted off to sleep, and just before he hit the bottom of darkness remembered the crystalline moment when Mizuki's face had held his, had not looked away or blushed, but only stared with unhidden fascination. While everyone else was a hypocrite, making rules and punishments to hide their own guilty faces, liars and weak, he stared, disdaining and daring. Satisfied, the image of the man stayed in his dreams and gave them color.


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Old fanfiction Stub-- You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby (taken from the Smiths) Empty Re: Old fanfiction Stub-- You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby (taken from the Smiths)

Post  adverseaffects on Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:13 am

Chapter Two

The next day, Naruto went right back to testing boundaries. He started a fight in the cafeteria. A sister came from behind him and grabbed him round the middle to stop him as the children jeered around hijm. When taken to be punished, he kicked and fought and screamed. A throng of children would surround the spectacle, half admiring and half horrified.

He was brought to Ebisu's office. As the man administered punishment, Naruto decided to test his newfound power.

Slap, slap. "Do you enjoy making me do this?" Ebisu had shouted, blue in the face. Slap. To which Naruto had turned his head from where he sat in the kneeling position and gave a slow little smile. The hits ceased instantly. Ebisu's anger fell right off his face, straight into horror. Recoiling with his hands over his eyes, the man cried like a cornered animal, "Get out!"

Naruto obeyed. Ebisu did not meet his eyes, a grown man, as Naruto walked out the door. Naruto felt almost sorry for him, if he wasn't so disgusted.

Naruto was not punished again.

Proceeding that afternoon, Naruto enjoyed complete uninhibited freedom. He was not required to go to classes or recesses, or even morning and evening prayers. No one spoke to him, and no one came to fetch him. It was as though he had ceased to exist. Even the other children avoided him with a frightened silence, and he knew stories were being circulated about him. Even when the other kids were back in the dorms for the night, he had no company; the beds around him had been cleared.

Instead of worrying about it, he stayed in bed all day, reading comics and eating from the other kid's boxes from home. He had a feeling if he went down to the mess hall to eat he would not be served, and he didn't want to test it out.

It was fun at first, but two days in bed and eating only pastries and candy lost their novelty soon. His mouth felt gunky, his muscles ached, and he was bored out of his mind. His head ached. He wouldn't admit he was lonely, there in the dorm all by himself with no company except for the notes from parents to their children to read.

He would have gone crazy from boredom, if not for the next surprise occurrence. Mizuki got into contact with him on the next Saturday visit. Naruto hadn't been expecting it. The nuns had ignored him entirely since the incident, even when he skipped class. He was not brought to the headmaster's office once. Children's whispers followed him wherever he walked, and he knew stories were being circulated about him. How much they knew, he did not know- maybe the rumors stopped at him de-facing the altar but he suspected they knew about him flashing the Sister as well.

He had always been aware of being different, but now he felt like an alien. He knew so much more then they did.

Naruto sat by himself on the swing-set again, pushing himself half-heartedly with his foot. Same routine, more listless than usual. He wasn't even interested in the procession of happy families. Suddenly he became aware of a shadow- the shape a man, cast over his head. Turning abruptly in the swing-seat, he stared up at Mizuki. He was dressed in an informal suit. In his hands were two dripping ice cream cones.

Naruto opened his mouth but no words came out. Mizuki raised an eyebrow and smiled. At first Naruto thought the man had merely stumbled into Naruto in an embarrassing twist of fate, but Mizuki lost no time in taking the swing next to him.

"Here," he offered a cone. Naruto looked Mizuki in the eyes. Mizuki nodded. Naruto took the cone gingerly.

At first he wasn't sure if he could eat in front of Mizuki- his stomach was flipping- but then Mizuki began eating his, silently. He looked almost ridiculous, a grown man bending to sit in the low-hanging swing-seat, all to eat at Naruto's level. Naruto took a bite, watching Mizuki reassuringly as he did so.

"Where's your family?" Mizuki asked, suddenly.

Naruto was going to answer, but the words, 'I don't have one', even though he'd said them before, lodged in his throat and hurt. He furrowed his brows angrily instead. "I figured as much," Mizuki answered his own question. He stared out at the benches across from them, licked his ice cream cone. A mom picked her daughter up in her arms. The family loaded up into a car. "It must be hard."

The tears sprung into Naruto eyes without permission. He looked down. He felt water run down the sides of his cheeks to land in the dirt.

"Nobody understands, do they?" Mizuki said softly. His face tightened, as though remembering something bitter. It was these words that made Naruto's sobs break free, noisy and unchecked after being in held in so long. Mizuki put a hand on his back, and it was comforting.

"I'm Mr. Mizuki. Nice to meet you, Naruto." Naruto considered telling him he already knew him, remembered him from before, but he didn't want to bring up the embarrassing incident. Instead he opted to sit there, letting the tears dry on his face with Mizuki's arm around him, his ice cream cone melting.

He'd never felt understanding before.

He came as many Saturdays as he could, which was most of them. Naruto waited for on the swing-set everyday, heart ticking like a clock, so hard he could feel it in his wrists, until Mr. Mizuki pulled up in his white car with the top down. It was fancy, and sometimes people would look over. Naruto filled with glee.

Mizuki always looked good. He had buttons on his sleeves, a clean-pressed collar against his neck, a white tie. His presence sent Naruto's stomach into a flurry of butterflies, half attraction, half hero worship.

Being Eleven, Naruto did not know he was in love, but he did know he went to bed inexplicably giddy, that he smiled when he ate dinner and when he took showers, that thoughts of Mizuki cycled through his brain so crazy he couldn't catch a hold of them.

He imagined Mr. Mizuki showing up with presents for him in front of everyone in the dinner hall- everyone would stare in shock- of being taken out of class by Mr. Mizuki, of Mr. Mizuki taking down Ebisu and charming the nuns.

Actually, Mr. Mizuki never came into the orphanage, and never took him into the presence of anyone else. His visits were always just the two of them. At first he'd just come and talk to Naruto, sometimes bringing gifts.

Once, Mizuki pulled up in the white car, music playing from the speaker's with a crazy beat. "What kind of music is that?" Naruto asked when Mizuki got out. Mizuki looked horrified.

"That's rock music," Mizuki said. "Have you never heard it before?"

Naruto shook his head, a little affronted.

Mizuki marched right back into his car. "Come in with me," he said, reaching across to open the passenger seat.

The seat's were smooth leather. Naruto's feet tripped forward, he wanted to go so bad. He stilled for only a second, lipsed pursed. "I don't think that's allowed." He knew it wasn't.

Mizuki wasn't related to him, and even relatives had to fill out permission slips- it was sketchy and dangerous.

"Come on," Mizuki urged, "You know you can trust me." The door hung open, an invitation to an adventure. Mizuki lowered his voice, "You do trust me, don't you?"

Naruto stilled only a second, before climbing in. He didn't want to say good-bye to this yet.

They went to a record store and spent a couple of perfect hours picking some out for Naruto. When they went to pay, Mizuki wrapped his arm around Naruto's shoulders. The cashier, a woman with a nose-ring, paused but then continued bagging the CDs. "Can I have your credit card? I don't have enough cash to give change," she said.

"Sure," Mizuki replied assuredly. Naruto clenched his hands. Mizuki handed over his card.

The woman swiped it, printed out a receipt. She handed them the bag and smiled. "Have a good day!" Naruto felt the knot in his stomach dissolve with relief. Mizuki steered him out of the stoor.

When they pulled up at the orphanage it was getting late. The sky was starting to turn a darker blue. Mizuki pulled the car into park and smiled across the seat to Naruto. "Here you go." He handed Naruto the bag of CDs. "I look forward to hearing your opinion."

Naruto realized something. "I don't have a CD player!" he burst out, embarrassed.

Mizuki laughed. "Well, I guess I'll have to take you to my place to listen to them sometime."

Naruto blushed, pleased. "Ok… well, thanks." He smiled, making shy eye contact before getting out the car.

"See ya," Mizuki said, before driving off. Naruto waved good-bye. Once he was out of sight, Naruto clutched the bag to his chest nervously before rushing inside. Was everyone already asleep? His heart hammered. No- it was after dinner, and people still wandered the halls. It was the usual Saturday chaos, people packing to go home for the weekend and people returning from short day trips.

Palms sweating, Naruto made his way to the dorm. No one gave him or his bag any notice. He started to relax, until the Sister who had made him soup long ago met his eyes in the hallway. He smiled hastily. She smiled back, but her eyes were furrowed. He rushed past her, feeling her gaze follow him down the hall.

When he made it to his dorm, he dumped the CDs into his dresser drawer and jumped into bed, pulling the blankets over his head. He smiled into the sheets, safe.

He was told the next day to come see the headmaster. He did so reluctantly, still smarting from the first whipping.

"Come in, come in. Now, shut the door." Ebisu hastened him, shuffling papers on his desk, "Sit down." Naruto obeyed. His jaw was clenching. He stiffly sat down in the chair across from the headmaster, in front of the hated desk he'd been bent over. He couldn't make eye contact, though Ebisu was done with his papers and was staring at him.

"Now- Naruto- don't look so angry. You're punishment was deserved." Naruto nodded, though did not change his expression. Ebisu must not have seen the point in pressing the issue, because he did not comment. "The issue at hand here is- it appears Mr. Mizuki had taken quite the interest in you. You've been spending quite a lot of time together."

He looked at Naruto, expectantly. He hadn't asked a question, so Naruto just nodded.

"Ah- well, Naruto- this isn't exactly kosher. He shouldn't have taken you off-grounds, which could pose quite a problem-" he abruptly caught himself and looked at Naruto, changing his tone from nervous to professional, "Though I am glad a good role model has taken an interest in you." Naruto's chest was spasming. Would the make him quit seeing Mizuki? Ebisu continued, "Though that's not the point. We can have him fill out some paperwork. But only if you'd like to continue the acquaintance."

He stared at Naruto again. Naruto stared back.

"Would you? Like to continue the acquaintance?" Ebisu pressed nervously. He was sweating.

Naruto jumped, saying quickly, "Yes!"

"Ah- well, that's alright then!" He sounded relieved, and took off his glasses to wipe them on the lapel of his suit. He straightened and passed Naruto a packet of papers, turned to the last page. "Just- sign here, then. This signature gives Mr. Mizuki full access to you as any parent at the orphanage to a child, including Saturday visits, permission to take you off campus, and termination rights."

"Termination rights?" Naruto asked, heart jumping at the word, 'parent'. He could scarcely believe it.

"Rights to take you out of the orphanage if he would wish it."

It was the simple? All along, all he would have needed was a stupid signature to get out of here?

Naruto grabbed the pen and signed on the dotted line hastily. Ebsu watched him with beady eyes. The headmaster pulled the sheet away when Naruto was done, looking at Naruto's signature seriously for a moment before carefully putting the packet away in his desk drawer.

"Is that all?" Naruto asked, eager to leave.

"Yes… yes," Ebisu said after a moment, his beady eyes dropping down to shuffle with some papers. Naruto left, unaware of the conflict going on in the headmaster at all.

The next Saturday, Mr. Mizuki pulled up in his car.

"Ready to listen to those CDs?" he asked, a charming grin on his face. "Hop in."

Naruto jumped in, his reluctance from last time gone.

He couldn't help smiling the entire trip, even though he couldn't remember what they talked about as they drove. He kept glacnign over at Mizuki's hands on the steering wheel, long, adult hands and thinking dizzily, This man could take me out of the orphanage forever. He could be my guardian.

They'd pulled up in front of an apartment complex. White, flat, with rows or windows. Some charming plants graced the lawn, but otherwise it was plainer than Naruto had expected. Mr. Mizuki dressed so nice in expensive clothes and rode around in an expensive car, but his apartment was… normal. He was taking it in with a crtical eyes, unconsciously thnking this might be his future home, when Mizuki leaned over and kissed him. Naruto's seat sank with the weight of Mizuki's steadying hand.

Naruto didn't resist, but he didn't respond. He was surprised. A soft, warm press of lips. Naruto's heart for the first time ever was still around Mizuki. As Mizuki leaned into him, he thought, He wants me. He was flattered.

So, when Mizuki disengaged and suggested they go inside, Naruto agreed, that thought flipping through his heart. He already half-way believed this was the new house he'd be living in. His new home, with a parent like everyone else.

They went in. Mizuki gave a tour in which they giggled a lot for no reason. They giggled at Mizuki dropping his keys nervously, at tripping over their feet, and Mizuki pointing out, "This is the fridge," which Naruto found hilariously funny for some reason to the point he was still laughing like an idiot when Mizuki stopped in front of the couch and slid his hands under Naruto's clothes. He was being pushed, Mizuki pushing him down, pushing his clothes off, pushing above. The couch was green and had round, green buttons sewn over the cushions that pressed into his back. He was dizzy. He didn't realize when the laughter stopped, but at some it must have. It was fast and confused, and by the time it was over Naruto was still trying to get a hold on what exactly happened.

Afterwards, Mizuki offered him a drink. Naruto agreed, so he sat on the couch wrapped in a blanket, drinking orange juice while Mizuki fidgeted about the house awkwardly. Mizuki seemed just as quiet. Naruto felt inexplicably lonely. When Mizuki offered to drive him home, Naruto agreed gladly, not sure where the happiness of thirty minutes ago had gone. He hadn't finished the orange juice yet, so Mizuki poured it in a plastic bottle to go on the drive. Naruto didn't know how to tell him he didn't want it.

On the car drive back, Naruto suddenly got the shakes, and gripped the orange juice bottle with both hands to hide it. He was scared Mizuki hated him now, and he didn't want to look at the older man, but didn't want to seem rude and stare out the window either. Instead, he poured out as many random observations as he could, the signs, the cars, the people in the cars. He had been so happy to have someone take him out of the boarding home, to have a trip on Saturdays like the others kids. Naruto talked on, determined not to cry. Mizuki didn't reply much but let Naruto ramble without interjection.

The car pulled up to the curb with a halt. Naruto sat silent in his seat, words run dry, He dared a look at Mizuki, hoping for all at once for a good-bye, a promise to see each other later, and an explanation. Mizuki smiled.

"Here we are," and he nodded his head at the orphanage. A dismissal. His hand was still on the stick shift, as though ready to leave already.

"Ah- good-bye," Naruto murmured, stunned but clamoring to grab the door handle as fast as he could. He had just been humiliated. He was determined not to turn around and look at Mizuki, not to let the man see his shame. He would forget this embarrassing incident ever happened.

But then Mizuki called out to him.


"Yeah?" Naruto turned around. Was he going to say? 'I'm sorry'? 'Come live with me', 'I didn't mean to', even 'Did you like it?'

"I had fun," Mizuki said casually, showing off his upper row of teeth beneath that charming, good-guy smile. Naruto froze, and didn't have time to think of a reply before Mizuki started the car and drove off without a backwards glance.

That night, Naruto lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. Around him the other boys snored or talked quietly in bed. No one bothered him, so his mind was free to reflect, something Naruto was not ordinarily prone to do.

It had been awkward. He didn't know if Mizuki liked him anymore. He had started the day on a high and had fallen a long way in the past couple hours. Still, he didn't feel so bad. Today had been different than any other day so far in his eleven years of life.

The time he had spent with Mizuki almost felt like a dream now that he was back in familiar surroundings, the long wooden dinner table, the chatter of children everywhere, and the stern, ugly superiors watching his every step. He had basked in the temporary attention of the other children as he regaled them with the tale. He made the kiss and the couch thing as exaggerated as need be, and when Shikamaru and Kiba made disgusted faces he pretended with bravado to mock them and point out how mature he was.

"What, can't you handle it? Everyone does it," he bragged, and once he had he felt better about it. One of the other boys had shared some cake sent by his parents in exchange for giving some details, which Naruto made up or exaggerated as need be.

The special treatment was enough to soothe his wounds. He could feel the ache in his lower body, but it wasn't so annoying if he thought that none of the other children had ever done that. He felt special and more mature than any of them.

Naruto didn't really remember much of it anyways. It had happened pretty fast. The only thing that bothered was they'd forgotten to listen to the CDs.

The following morning, he awoke to a nun pressing him on the shoulder.

"The headmaster wants to see you," she warned.

Naruto headed down sleepily, apple in hand for breakfast. He knocked on the door, hesitant. Already he felt angry at being called back here.

"Come in," Ebisu called with same tone as always.

Naruto opened the door, feeling tense.

"How was your day, yesterday?"

Jesus Christ. Naruto's thoughts raced. Have to hide it. He didn't know why he felt like he had to, except it was private and personal and he didn't want Ebisu of all people to know. And on the off chance Mizuki wanted to see him again… he couldn't let an adult find out or else Mizuki would be put in jail or something stupid. "Fine," Naruto mumbled sleepily.

"Anything occur of note?"

"No," Naruto said. Why was Ebisu pushing this? Did he know?

Ebisu frowned. "But didn't you go out with Mizuki yesterday?" He's trying to catch me.

Naruto changed his story quickly. "Yeah. We went to McDonalds. It wasn't a big deal."

Ebisu stared at Naruto piercingly. "Anything you want to tell me about that visit?"

Naruto made a thinking face. "…nope." He shrugged.

"Ah." A strange smile formed on Ebisu's face, before he changed topics. "Then I should tell you, the transaction has occurred." Ebisu said shortly. "That's all."

"Transaction?" Naruto murmured, confused.

"The one concerning Mizuki's visitation rights, you little idiot," Ebisu snapped.

Naruto stayed, furious, but still confused. His brain worked furiously, trying to work out something he felt was important. If Ebisu knew that Mizuki had taken him out yesterday… why did he tell him now that it was ok? Shouldn't Ebisu have been upset that Naruto had gone out with Mizuki before the papers were signed?

"When did he sign it?" Naruto asked suddenly.

Ebisu's eyes widened and he stared at Naruto as though looking for an answer. "This morning. Why?" he asked with a tilted head.

"No reason."

Ebisu watched him for a moment as though weighing whether or not he should say something. He appeared to take the plunge and he leaned forward in his armchair, elbows on the desk. "Hm… perhaps… I've been wondering… I can't imagine why Mr. Mizuki has taken such an interest in you," Ebisu said slowly, his words measured like syrup. "Do you?"

Naruto stared. "I don't know," he said slowly. He wished he was bigger, stronger, he'd hit Ebisu across the face so hard...

Ebisu pursed his mouth disbelievingly. "Mmm. No? Think," he urged, leaning forward. "Has he… indicated anything?" Naruto stared. Ebisu smirked, "…Done anything perhaps? Perhaps you could… show me?"

"I want to go," Naruto said, standing up.

Ebisu licked his lips. "You may go," he bit out, and he gestured to the door, but Naruto was already on his way out.

The door closed behind him, and Naruto immediately leaned against it. All his anger had disappeared, replaced with a strange shakiness.

After his visit with Ebisu, Naruto went and sat in a nook in the courtyard, where all the abandoned plants withered away. None of the children played here, and for some unfathomable reason the soil smelled sour, probably from disuse. It was adjacent to an old kitchen garden that the nuns had abandoned once the government started sending them frozen chicken wings in boxes. It was the one place Naruto felt friendly towards, and, he imagined, it felt similarly friendly towards him. He was under the impression, though they were both cast-offs, the garden and him had a lot of potential. He told it so earnestly as he pulled up weeds and saved up nickels to buy seeds. Now it was late Autumn and the cold snap had killed all his hard work- but he still came to the garden as a place of refuge. No one ever bothered him out here, and Naruto could feel his anxiety here, safely.

This morning? Something was off… not only was Ebisu's behavior weird… but why Mizuki had waited to sign the papers until after yesterday? So he wasn't tired of Naruto.

Well, maybe Mizuki hadn't known about the forms yesterday. Maybe Ebisu had called him about the forms last night, after Mizuki had already taken Naruto home. And Mizuki had signed them because he really did like Naruto, he had just felt guilty about what had happened. Maybe scared that he'd broken the law. Now that it was legal for him to take Naruto out of the orphanage, it would be a lot safer.

Naruto sat back, relieved he had cleared Mizuki's conscious.

And what about Ebisu? Well, obviously he was a pervert. Naruto had been suspecting it for a while. Did he know about what Mizuki did to him, and that's why he was suddenly interested in Naruto? Or was an older man taking a young boy out in a car he had no relation to suspicious, regardless? Probably the second.

Naruto thought of that traumatic first whipping and Ebisu's sweaty, nervous face. Maybe Ebisu had been wanting Naruto for quite some time, but had been trying to hold it in. No wonder his rage exploded randomly. And seeing Mizuki with Naruto had made him think maybe Naruto would be willing…?

Disgusted, Naruto lay back and reminded himself that soon he wouldn't be in this orphanage ever again. At least he wouldn't have to deal with Ebisu anymore.

The only thing that worried him was despite trying to remember how happy he'd been to see Mizuki only yesterday, when he conjured up images of his white suit or his smile, Naruto couldn't hide the sick, nagging feeling in the bottom of his stomach.

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