Written by: [忍] Miki
WARNING: ITACHI IS OOC. (Out of character).
Diep really hated the fact that she liked him.
A loyal member of Konoha, however blunt, rude, crude, and a damn flirt. A young man enamoured with his childhood friend and who is ironically the person she was told not to like. Yet god knows why, she fell in love with him anyways. Even after countless confessions from her, he still hasn’t accepted one.
That very young man, friend for 6 years and crush for 5, has left her to live in mizu no kuni.
Not only that, but he has the nerve to think it’s okay to–
“–oi, if you’re like this I’ll never get anything done-ttebayo.” Naruto frowns at Diep. She’s standing absentmindedly at the corner of his desk, both hands tightly gripping an unusually large stack of paperwork today.
“Oh. Sorry,” she hands him the load of hand-written papers, taking a step closer to oversee his work. “So you’re doing fine, I assume?”
“More or less. I think I’ve done great by myself, ya know, considering my advisor is off in Mount Myoboku.” He crookedly grins, carefully reading and examining each document. “So how’s life been to ya?”
She shrugs and folds her arms together. “It’s been the same.”
“I heard Itachi left to mizu no kuni.”
“…have you been okay?”
Her reply is cold and almost automatic. Naruto nods, but Diep senses his doubt. She didn’t really want to talk about Itachi, and Naruto probably knew that. Perhaps she had made her mood a bit too obvious. She sighs.
“How are things with Hinata?”
“Huh? Hinata?” He scratches his head. “Well, uh… we’re the same. Is there something that should have happened?”
Diep exhales another sigh and shakes her head. “No, nothing really.” but in reality, she wonders why the seventh is so damn perceptive when it came to others and so dense when it came to himself.
“Okay then…” Naruto frowns, “could you check these documents?” he passes it over, his bandaged hands brushing over hers. She reaches across the table to grab the approval stamps and takes a seat in a chair next to him. It’s quiet but for the ruffle of papers and scratching of Naruto’s pen.
It reminds Diep of when her and Itachi would go to the riverbank.
“Why won’t you tell me what your work is?” It was their eleventh, no, twelfth meeting? Somehow after meeting, coming to the riverbank every night became a common routine for them. And just like every night since they had first met, Diep and Itachi sit side by side, always close enough to feel each other’s touch.
“It’s a secret.” He grins, twirling a kunai in his hand. “Why don’t you try guessing?”
“Is this like some kind of hint?” Diep stares at his kunai and sees that it’s a bit different from others. There’s a red ribbon tied to the bottom. She realizes he often took this kunai out when they talked, and whether it was to entertain himself or hint towards her, she didn’t know.
“Seeing how you’re still not telling me…” Diep tilts her head to the side, “then you must be apart of the ANBU?” Itachi’s silent and rather stoic face has Diep beam. “Oh! I knew I–”
“…Pffftt… hahaha!” He bursts out laughing, “you know, Diep. The more you want to know, the more I don’t want to tell you.” Itachi points towards his kunai. “Hint 1: I travel a lot. Hint 2: a kunai.”
“It’s obvious you’re a ninja.” She pouts. “I think you’re in the ANBU, then.”
“Think whatever you want,” he smiles.
And so, they both sit quietly in thought.
There are no longer any words to be shared, and neither make the effort to. They instead, watch the stars, watch the flowing river, or busy themselves with work. It’s a comfortable silence.
Both feel just the others presence is enough.
A couple of months after he had left on another mission, Itachi had sent a familiar kunai to her mailbox. It had a red ribbon tied to the handle, however peeking out of the ribbon was a piece of paper. Diep remembers taking it out and reading: You are a sharp crayon. A kunai bro. Trust yourself more.
He always unknowingly comforted her at the times she needed someone most.
And at that time, well… we won’t get into detail.
“So, what do you say?”
Diep snaps to attention, her lingering reverie forgotten. “What was that, Naruto– I mean, Nanadaime?”
“How about we go for a drink?” He’s leaning back in his chair, his desk is cleared of all paper and it seems someone has already come to mail it. Only now does Diep realize her hands are empty.
A drink?” She raises her brow. “That’s unusual of you.”
“I need a change of pace sometimes,” Naruto snickers. “Besides, who says I can’t drink and eat ramen? Heheh, after becoming an adult I found that sake and ramen is a great combination.”
Diep rolls her eyes. “Only you, Nanadaime. Only you.”
“So?” He says, referring to his last question.
“I would love to get a drink.”
“Yoshi!” Naruto fist pumps. “It’ll be on me, dattebayo!” As he rushes to change into casual clothing, Diep can’t help but smile at the silly grin, the trademark whiskers, and overall the sparkling blue eyes that adorns Naruto’s face.
It isn’t long until they’re outside and walking down the streets of Konoha to go to Ichiraku Ramen. “So, Naruto, is there a special occasion or something that happened today that you, of all people, would want to get drunk like Tsunade-sama?”
“Me… being like baa-chan? No way!” He shakes his head. “I was thinking we could go and cheer… actually, that’s a secret.” Naruto laughs to himself, skipping happily ahead.
Diep holds back a chuckle. He was really easy to read.
When they arrive, they end up with a bottle of sake and two large bowls of ramen. Naruto decides he feels more like drinking than ramen, but Diep is certain it’s a way to drown her terrible mood, because he ends up ordering twelve more large bowls of ramen.
“Y’know, Diep… even though I have a lot of friends now, I’ll admit there are times I can’t relate to them.” Naruto’s face is a scarlet red, his head is slightly bobbing side to side. “I don’t like admitting this to anyone… but you, I can trust you.” He says as he begins walking out of the booth.
“W-wait, you didn’t pay–”
“It’s free for our hokage!” Teuchi grins, and Diep nods and says a polite thank you as she follows her rather irresponsible Hokage. He only drank two shots of sake, yet he was already this drunk. At the same time, his low tolerance for alcohol doesn’t surprise her. Simply because it’s so… Naruto. “Wait, Naruto, where are you going?”
Diep asks, trailing closely behind him. As the world spins around her, she makes sure to keep her sight on Naruto, because god knows where he would go and what he would do. She couldn’t deny the fact that she was tipsy and in major need of a bed, or water, but she just couldn’t leave the seventh as he was now.
It was a first, seeing him drunk.
“Where? Obviously I’m going home. Oh, no… I should probably walk you back.” he says, turning towards the direction of her house. They’re passing by the park now, which, unlike daytime where it’s bustling with kids playing ninja, it’s completely dead.
“Hey, Naruto… I’m curious.” Diep asks when she is by his side, making a continuing effort to stand straight. “Do you… trust me more than anyone else?”
“What are you saying, Diep? I trust a lot of people.” he laughs. “But yeah, I trust you. I trust you a lot.”
“Why?” she’s curious. And somehow these words are comforting to her. It makes her happy.
Maybe it’s because she’s drunk?
But… it’s not the first time she’s felt happy. She always gets a giddy feeling whenever Naruto said nice things about her, or did something as trivial as walk her home. To be honest, when there fingers had brushed earlier, she felt her face get a bit hot.
It’s kind of like how Itachi made her feel…
Diep shakes her head.
Naruto’s just a nice person in general. It would be stupid to think of his actions as something special for her. Even if she was closer to him than other girls, and maybe knew more about him than other girls, and.. and…
No, Hinata likes him… she can’t betray one of her closest friends.
She can’t like him.
“Hm… even if you ask me why, I just do.” he shrugs. “Maybe because you’re my advisor… or maybe because of your personality. You know, we haven’t even known each other that long, but I always feel really thankful towards you. That’s why today, I wanted to cheer you… oh yeah, that’s a secret.” Naruto laughs to himself. “S-E-C-R-E-T.”
But the feeling Diep’s feeling right now, it’s overflowing. Like a cup filled to the brim, if you moved even just a little bit, the liquid would spill.
Just. a. Little. bit.
That’s how her emotions felt, bursting and ready to spill.
And when he looks at her and smiles, oh my god, she really…
“You know, I liked you, Naruto.”