"What will we do with Naruto Uzumaki?"
I look around and sigh. Before I can speak, Bekko spouts his hateful nonsense.
"Expel him! Throw him in jail! Kick him out of the village! Finally hold him accountable!"
Of course, most of the adults agree to this. Many people are still bitter, even if Uzumaki had nothing to do with it. Iruka steps forward to protest. He's a little beat up.
"He saved my life and kept the scroll away from that rat Mizuki. He performed the best shadow clone jutsu I've ever seen from someone of his level. Please."
Kakashi comes in and stands next to me.
"Late again Hatake."
He pats my back pocket.
"I got lost on the path of life. Headband Mizuno. Put it on."
I take my headband out of my pocket and put it on before walking out in front of everyone.
"Seriously, I'm disappointed in everyone. The situation was avoided. Just let the boy be."
"He was manipulated by someone he trusted. That's not his fault."
"Are you actually suggesting we let Uzumaki participate in the exams?!"
"Why not Bekko?"
"Erity! He's a monster! Your father died during the attack. You, of all people, should understand!"
My jaw drops but Kakashi responds coolly.
"Does it not matter that Naruto's parents died as well? Iruka's parents died. Still, they both defend him."
I pat Kakashi on the back to calm him down.
"He's a child. He doesn't even know about the seal. It's not like he attacked the village and killed people. Our village is still here because of Minato's sacrifice. Yet everyone alienates Naruto."
"He's a nuisance in the village and a trouble maker in class!"
"And I would know! He's in my class! Acting out is the only way he gets attention! He's alone. The kids treat him like garbage because they see how the adults treat him!"
I lay my hand on Iruka's shoulder.
"Hokage, please. He could be the best ninja we've ever seen. Let him graduate and take part in the exams."
"Best ninja my a-"
The Hokage clears his throat.
"That's enough Bekko. I do not see Naruto Uzumaki as a danger. I trust Iruka's judgment to let him graduate. Naruto will participate in the exams. He dreams of being Hokage one day. I'm curious to see how he improves."
Bekko storms out of the room. Probably to go get drunk.
"That's all. Thank you, Iruka, Erity. Kakashi, a word please."
Once the Hokage dismisses us, everyone disperses. Iruka stops me once we're outside.
"Thanks for backing me up Mizuno."
"Please call me Erity. No need to thank me Iruka. I hate seeing the way the village treats Naruto. With a role model like you, I'm sure he'll become a fine ninja."
I smile as Iruka hugs me.
"See you tomorrow Iruka."
As I'm walking home I notice someone following me. I quickly turn a corner and use my jutsu to disappear.
"What do you want Kakashi?"
He barely flinches as I appear next to him.
"Not a thing. Just going for a walk."
"Right. Just following me on this walk?"
"The Hokage wanted to make sure you returned home safe."
"Don't bullshit me Hatake. I'm not one of your students. I'm capable of handling myself."
He remains silent. I sigh and pull out a kunai knife.
"Don't make me fight you."
"It might be fun."
He chuckles as I hold the knife to his neck.
"Spill it copy ninja."
In one swift motion, my arm is awkwardly twisted behind my back. Kakashi presses my face into the side of a building as he presses against my back.
"I thought you could handle yourself? I'm disappointed, Mizuno. That was very easy."
"Let me go Hatake."
He lets go and steps back.
"Bekko upset you. I was checking to see if you were okay."
We begin walking together towards my house.
"I was only a little annoyed over how much blame he puts on the kid."
"You know that's not what I meant Erity."
We reach my house and Kakashi points up to the destroyed Mizuno clan symbol above my door.
"I told the Anbu that I don't know how that happened."
"That's not what I heard."
I open my door and turn back to him.
"And what did you hear Kakashi?"
The look he gives me says a lot of things. It tells me that he somehow knows too much but still barely anything at the same time. It makes me angry.
"Erity, you're not alone."
"With all due respect, Kakashi, fuck off and mind your own business."
I go inside and slam the door. Tears begin to fall as I slide down the wall to the floor.