The town’s library was always crowded on evenings. On the weekdays, students from both secondary schools and universities flocked there in mass to hangout, hook up, sleep or just goof around. However, that Friday, there was a certain student who intended to actually use the library’s resources.
“I really shouldn't wait for the last minute,” Uzumaki Naruto, a senior from a nearby secondary school complained, scratching his head in frustration.
“These books aren’t making any damn sense!” He cried out loud, drawing dirty looks from a teenaged couple who he had just ruined the mood for.
Simply put, Naruto was under stress! He had been constantly putting off his book report for his literature class to the day after next, until the seemingly endless string of tomorrows, left him with a mere three days before the due date, without so much as a single written word.
Furthermore, the English adaptations of the book he had found thus far, were overly complicated and made a seemingly fascinating story painful to read.
Even so, changing the book that he had chosen, so he was stuck with the impossible that was worth fifty percent of his grade. How he wished that he spent his September more productively, instead of slacking off at the arcade. It was not his fault the ninja games were so addictive!
Taking a deep breath, Naruto stood up, with the intention of hopefully finding a simpler book, he vowed he would not leave the library until having done so. A blue cover that he had not seen before caught his eye and he attempted to pull it out hoping the fourth time was the charm.
However, excitement and natural clumsiness proved an unfortunate combination, for all of the books on that particular shelf plummeted to the floor, some of them bouncing off his feet before doing so.
“Just perfect,” one Uzumaki Naruto grumbled to himself, now faced with another task.
Meanwhile, Uchiha Itachi, a young professor was on his way to the counter to return a guide to clay sculpting, for one of his colleagues when he heard the loud thuds.
Upon investigation, the long-haired man discovered several books strewn across the dusty carpet, and the culprit, a young blonde, hunched over the floor, scrambling to stack as many books as possible into his hands before anyone noticed.
Without an afterthought, Itachi set the guide down, taking half of the unsteady pile of books off the boy’s hand, lest they fall a second time.
“Th-thanks,” Naruto said with a surprised look on his face, clearly not expecting the assistance, especially not from such a handsome person. Had they seen him, the majority of the library’s occupants would have simply laughed at him instead; nevertheless, being on the receiving end of laughter was the norm.
While repacking the shelves, Itachi noticed that all of the books pertained to a literary piece from his childhood and he was momentarily overcome with nostalgia. Once more, he was reminded of just why he had chosen his current field.
Suddenly, the young professor was intrigued as to whether it was mere coincidence, or that the blonde was genuinely interested in the title. After all, this was not the typical book.
“The Great Shinobi War huh?” Itachi said quietly, looking over the blonde with curiosity. The messy-haired boy was around average height with light blue eyes, clad in an orange jacket and black jeans. There was a friendly aura about him and the older man figured, he could be no older than sixteen (16).
“It’s for my book report!” Naruto piped up, spurred on by the taller man’s apparent interest in the book.
“Is that so?” The Uchiha remarked, quickly checking his mobile phone for the time.
Nodding almost instantaneously, Naruto pointed to the table in the far corner corner of the room where he had been sitting for the better part of the evening.
“Let’s see what you have so far then,” the older man remarked, deciding there was enough time to look over the boy’s work. Owing to the fact that The Great Shinobi War was one of his favourites, the professor was interested in how the boy would interpret it, perhaps he could gain a new insight.
Oh shoot! Don't! Naruto dashed frantically behind the man, in attempt to reach the table before the man; nonetheless, the blonde’s efforts were in vain for Itachi had all ready beat him to it and was reading the scribbles on his notebook.
Instantly Naruto became red-faced as he flushed in embarrassment, knowing the only thing written down was the date and the guidelines for the assignment in question.
More than ever, he wished the ground would just swallow him up right there to save him from the shame of facing the stranger. It was truly not his intention to put on airs; he had been merely swept away in the moment, since no one noticed he existed.
“All the adaptations are kinda hard,” Naruto suddenly declared in defence of himself, slapping the table in exclamation, he did not want the man to think any less of him; he simply did not understand the textbooks sometimes.
“Although, I just started reading it today and it's due on Monday,” the pitch of the blonde’s voice descended with every word, as he finished lamely.
Blinking in surprise at the sudden outburst, the tiniest of smiles soon graced Itachi’s handsome features; this boy was honest, the older man noted to himself.
Despite being a law professor, Uchiha Itachi shared the blonde’s sentiments, as he also thought the language of academia prevented others from accessing and enjoying the rich content which that world had to offer.
“What? Where are you go-?” An alarmed Naruto could barely formulate any coherent questions as he looked up, only to see Itachi turn his back, before disappearing behind the shelves, without so much as a goodbye.
Did he anger the man somehow? Granted, he was used to being misunderstood, Naruto could not figure out where he might had gone wrong. I must have just wasted his time, the boy lamented, frowning as realisation dawned on him.
“This adaptation should help,” Uchiha Itachi said ten (10) minutes later, as he reappeared and placed a blue covered book on top of the boy’s notebook.
Huh? This is the book I had pulled out earlier, how did it find its way out here? Naruto questioned himself, looking around in suspicion, before he finally noticed the dark-haired man regarding him with raised eyebrows.
“Ooooh... thank you!”
Round cheeks flooded crimson once more, signalling the awkwardness the blonde felt inside as he fully grasped what had just happened. Nevertheless, he actually felt relieved as well, for his fears had been all for naught.
Turning the first couple of pages of the paperback, the younger man was soon immersed in the Shinobi world, leaving no doubt in Itachi’s mind that the boy would have no difficulty understanding the adaptation, he just needed a little guidance.
“What is yo-?” The unexpected vibration of Itachi’s mobile phone interrupted the man mid-sentence, prompting him to reach into his left pocket to retrieve it. This is going to take awhile, he thought, glancing over at the blonde.
“Call me if you need any help,” The Uchiha said, writing his name and number on the boy’s notebook.
Quickly looking down at the writing below the number, Naruto proceeded to thank him by name. “Un, thanks for everything... I-Itachi!” The blonde shouted excitedly, before cupping his mouth, having momentarily forgotten he was in a library.
The next two (2) days flew by too quickly for Naruto who had completely delved into the book, and re-read the master piece at least twice before he started the actual work.
“I'm off, Naruto, there’s some left over pasta in the fridge if you get hungry,” Iruka called out to his son, before turning the knob to the front door.
He must not have heard me, still busy with the book I see, the man smiled to himself when silence was the response. Whatever the case, he was actually pleased to see the boy working diligently on his book report, maybe his teacher should give assignments more often, as Naruto hated to read with a passion, and only did it unless he needed to.
Contrary to what his father thought, said boy was instead, tapping furiously at the keyboard, trying to get rid of the annoying blue screen on the monitor.
“No, no, no, not now,” he panicked as he realised turning on and off the CPU made little difference. “If I don't get this typed up and printed by tonight, my teacher is going to fail me tomorrow!”
Uzumaki Naruto, thus faced a tough predicament, if he had any friends, they would prove useful in this dire time of need. Had all the effort he had placed into getting the book report finished for the past three (3) days been in vain?