Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ The Amorous Adventures of Ayame the Ramen Girl ❯ The Noodles Are Good But Something Is Still Missing ( Chapter 3 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

CHAPTER 3: The Noodles Are Good But Something Is Still Missing
Another beautiful clear night in Konoha, the moon and the stars were out, not obscured by any annoying clouds. It was a perfect lovers' night. But unfortunately for the ramen girl, her love life was nil.
It was near closing time with Ayame manning the ramen stand by herself. She mindlessly wiped down the counters and tied the garbage, while her father was in the back straightening up and preparing for the next day. Ayame found it was better to tune out the world and not think at all rather than think of Kakashi and be depressed. She was just about to take off her work robes when she saw Kakashi heading her way. He was reading his little red book by the light of the moon.
“Good evening Kakashi-sensei!” Ayame said with her most pleasant smile. She could feel her heart pounding. This was what she had been waiting for.
“I think I'll have the House Special ramen for take-out please,” Kakashi requested while still trying to read his book by the lights over the counter.
Ayame was completely flustered since they had run out of the official House Special ingredients, the soup was now cold, and the noodles had been sitting out for hours. How could she prepare her perfect ramen for her perfect man? But she was determined!
“Yes, please have a seat Kakashi-sensei,” she said while running to the back. Ayame saw her father just about to sit down, finally, for his late dinner. She grabbed the bowl from under his chopsticks without explanation and quickly threw in whatever toppings remained. (House Special usually means leftovers anyway.)
“What the hell? Where's my …” Her father came out front, saw Kakashi, and immediately deduced why his daughter was behaving so erratically.
“Here you go Kakashi-sensei. I hope you like it. I've greatly improved my cooking this past week.”
“Umm, I ordered it to take-out.” He lazily looked up from his book.
“Oh, well it's such a beautiful night, why don't you eat here.”
“Aren't you about to close up?”
“Oh, no, it's fine.” She was dying to see his face again!
“Well, it's late, I really should be going. Please wrap it up for me to go.”
Ayame tried to think of another argument, but couldn't, so she poured his bowl into a take-out container and threw in some extra condiments and utensils into the bag. `Is this all he's here for? Just ramen? Not to ask me out?' she wondered.
“Here you go Kakashi-sensei,” she said while smiling and trying to make eye contact.
Kakashi hardly looked at her as he took the bag, gave her the exact payment and continued to read his book.
As the lovesick girl watched her obsession walk away, a sudden desperate madness overtook her and she started to follow him.
“Where are you going?” her father called out.
“I'm going to find out where he lives.”
“You're really losing it. Maybe you should just go for Iruka-sensei. He's not Kakashi, but…sigh…guys that cool are usually trouble.”
“I don't care. I have to have him!” Ayame hurried to catch up to the retreating figure.
Ayame did not return home till well past midnight. She could not sleep at all and lay awake with relentless thoughts spinning in her mind. `Why? Why hasn't Kakashi asked me out? Sakura said he's free. Unless…unless he doesn't like women…but that's impossible!' But after hours of analysis, Ayame realized she had been handling it all wrong. `He likes assertive, aggressive women, that's what Sakura said. That means I have to ask him out!'
It was finally beginning to dawn. The sun rose into the sky like a poached egg rising to the soup's surface. The obsessed young woman had developed another plan. `I don't know much about being a shinobi, but I'm determined toask him out!'
Ayame had the day off so she made her way to Kakashi's abode as soon as it was light. Last night she had followed him home at a distance, but was too shy to say anything. She just watched as he entered the building, stood staring up at his apartment for some time and then returned home.
His light was still off. It was possible that he had left already. After all, many shinobi worked very early schedules. But Ayame was determined and she had nothing better to do. She waited for a couple of hours before she saw him exit the building. `I'm not ready yet. I need to get up my courage first. I'll just follow him for a while.' She decided she couldn't just go up to him and declare her love. Instead, she stalked him.
Kakashi walked slowly while reading another one of his little red books. Somehow he managed to avoid bumping into anything. Ayame followed him but kept out of sight as best she could. Soon she found herself by the shinobi memorial. She watched patiently, waiting behind a tree as Kakashi just stood there, apparently thinking, for over an hour. `He must be thinking about all the friends and comrades he's lost over the years. How honorable…and sentimental,' she thought as her love for him deepened further.
Kakashi finally moved. Quickly this time since he was apparently late for something. Ayame couldn't keep up, but she followed him in the general direction of the training grounds. Suddenly a stray shuriken whizzed by her ear! She ducked behind a tree then peeked around. Kakashi's genin team was in the middle of training while Kakashi sat in the branches right above her - reading his book.
It was now well past her lunchtime, which was brunch for most people, and Ayame was starving, but she waited until the team finally broke for their lunch. They all went in separate directions (actually, Sakura doubled back and followed Sasuke), Kakashi left the training area and headed towards town. Ayame followed discreetly, albeit with a rumbling stomach.
She followed him to a small sushi restaurant, currently empty since it was also well past lunchtime for most people, where he ordered a bento box. He carried it over to a table in the back corner and sat facing the back so no one could see him eat, plus he held his book in front of him. Though tempted to go in, Ayame waited outside the restaurant, trying to gather her courage to ask him out. `I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…'
Meanwhile, Kakashi ate his lunch and thought, `She's pretty good for an inexperienced civilian. At least she's dressed in plain brown robes. The idiots on my team tried to follow me in their regular clothes, bright orange, red, blue - what a bunch of bozos. Maybe they can take lessons from her.'
Ayame summoned all her courage, took a deep breath and entered the restaurant. She ordered the extra large lunch special bento box then looked around casually. “Oh, hello Kakashi-sensei,” she said as if she were surprised to see him there. But Kakashi had already finished eating and stood up to leave.
“Hmm? Oh, hello,” Kakashi said pleasantly and turned to the door.
“Are you here alone?” `I think I can…I think I can…I think I can…'
“Yes, I'm about to leave.”
`Do it! Do it now! Or regret it forever!' Ayame took another deep breath and without looking at him said, “Umm, if you're not doing anything tonight, would you like to accompany me to a movie?”
Kakashi said nothing but just scratched his head as though seriously thinking about it.
“My treat,” Ayame offered.
That seemed to spark a response and Kakashi finally nodded.
“Can you meet me at the theater around six?”
He nodded again.
“Is there any particular movie you want to see?”
His response was immediately, “Make-Out Violence!” even though he had seen it ten times already, but hey, she was paying!
Ayame arrived early at the theater. She waited patiently while trying hard to ignore the itching all over her body from her kunoichi outfit, which felt as if it shrank after washing. Kakashi was late. The movie had already started when he finally arrived.
“Sorry I'm late, but don't worry, we just missed the opening credits.” Kakashi was in a hurry now and quickly entered the theater without holding the door for Ayame - she nearly walked into it as it closed.
The movie had been for few weeks now, but it was still crowded. Luckily, they found some seats near the rear. During the movie, Kakashi appeared to be transfixed. Ayame paid little attention to what was happening on the screen. (Something about a sadomasochistic relationship between this easygoing guy and a rather crazy, violent woman. They broke up and got back together repeated throughout the movie.) Instead, Ayame glanced at Kakashi every few seconds. She saw his mouth moving in rhythm with the characters' lines. `How many times has he seen this trash? Is this what he likes in bed?' she wondered.
Ayame waited for Kakashi to make a move like placing his arm around her shoulders or holding her hand, but he didn't seem to remember she was there at all. He just stared at the screen, rarely blinking. After the movie, and all the credits, Kakashi abruptly got up to leave. Ayame hurried to follow him.
“So that was a…an interesting movie,” Ayame said, trying to start a conversation.
“One of my favorites,” Kakashi said, almost to himself.
“So, uh, you've read the whole series of books?”
Kakashi nodded. He kept his hands in his pockets and walked quickly in front of her.
“So, uh, you want to get a bite to eat or some drinks? I could use something besides ramen.”
“Actually,” Kakashi started to say, while scratching his forehead protector, “I have an early day tomorrow so I really should get going.”
“Oh, well, okay, um, I'll see you later then…”
Kakashi gave her a wave and ran off, without offering to walk her home.
Poor clueless Ayame sighed, `He's so shy, what a sweetie.'
News in Konoha always traveled fast. And nothing was more interesting than the love life of Konoha's number one bachelor Hatake Kakashi, except of course a real invasion by Orochimaru and his Sound ninja.
By the next morning, Kakashi's genin already knew of his date with Ayame, but they said nothing to him about it, knowing how Kakashi was an expert at ignoring their questions. After the day's mission of fixing broken fences and digging ditches while their sensei took a nap, Sakura and Naruto lingered together to discuss Ayame's romantic predicament while Sasuke, finding the whole situation incredibly inane, went off on his own. Normally, Sakura would have hurried after him, but this situation with the ramen girl was getting serious.
“So the ramen girl likes Kakashi-sensei and not Iruka-sensei?!” Naruto was horrified! “Argh! What have I done? Iruka-sensei's gonna kill me!” Despite Naruto's lower than normal number of brain cells, he astutely decided to avoid Iruka for a long while until he calmed down. “What's the matter with that ramen girl? She should go for Iruka-sensei. It's obvious he's the better choice!”
“Well, the heart wants what the heart wants, there's no rationale for it,” Sakura said wisely.
Naruto, in a low voice, but not low enough, muttered “Yeah, like you and Sasuke.”
Sakura hit hard him on the head. “What was that?!”
“Nothing! I just said Iruka-sensei is such a great guy.”
“Yeah, but look at it this way, she promised to get me a look at Kakashi-sensei's face.”
“Really?” That thought was enough to make Naruto seriously contemplate switching sides. “Maybe we should both help her. Like you said Sakura-chan, the heart wants… whatever.”
The two duplicitous teammates then made their way over to the ramen stand to see how Ayame was (not) progressing. They hoped that if things worked out with Kakashi, the ramen girl would arrange it so that they could finally see what was truly under Kakashi's mask.
So have you gone out with Kakashi-sensei yet?” Sakura asked Ayame, even though everyone already knew that they had.
Oh yes, we went to a movie yesterday,” Ayame answered.
Naruto had to have his input. “Let me guess, Make-Out Violence?”
Ayame turned red and nodded.
“We've decided to join forces to help you, said Sakura encouragingly.
“With Kakashi-sensei or Iruka-sensei?” Ayame asked hesitantly.
“Whom do you want?”
“Kakashi of course!”
“Are you sure? He's incredibly weird and Iruka-sensei is such a great guy!” said Naruto, who despite his desire to see Kakashi's face, refused to give up all hope on his favorite teacher.
“I'm determined to have Kakashi-sensei, no matter what! So do you guys have any plans?”
“Well, you already went to a movie. What's next?” asked Sakura.
“I'm waiting for him to ask me out. If not, I'll ask him out again.”
`What? She asked him out? How shameful for a woman to ask a guy out! How desperate!') Sakura nodded and said, “I have an idea that should work out for all of us…”
After their mission the next day, which involved recovering a stolen set of family heirloom antique katana (It turned out that the feudal lord's six year old grandson had taken it to use in his play therapy sessions.), the Kakashi and his team went to Ichiraku for a late dinner. Ayame had given Sakura and Naruto free ramen coupons good for dine-in only without her father's permission:
Ayame, this is going too far - handing out free coupons!”
Sakura-chan has a plan. This will work! At least we'll get to see Kakashi-sensei's face again.”
Well, that's something…yeah, that's worthfour bowls of ramen.
Ayame meticulously prepared four steaming bowls of ramen: beef ramen for Sasuke, vegetarian ramen for Sakura, seafood ramen for Naruto and a plain miso ramen for Kakashi. The three genin were sitting together to Kakashi's right. They waited with bated breath as they did nearly three weeks ago when they almost saw Kakashi's face.
Kakashi, apparently oblivious that everyone was staring at him, casually picked up his chopsticks. “The ramen I had the other day was quite excellent. I hope this is just as good. Thanks for the coupon.”
“Oh, no problem. It's a special we're running for our best customers,” Ayame explained.
Everyone fell silent as Kakashi took the paper wrapper off his disposable chopsticks. The snapping apart of the chopsticks could be heard by all. He didn't seem to notice that no one else was eating. The tension in the air built up. Ayame and her father had the best, direct, view while the genin were craning their necks. Kakashi's hand moved to pull down his mask…
Suddenly there was a loud crash! The genin turned their heads in the direction of the noise. Ayame's stock pot had boiled over and the lid crashed onto the floor! She had adjusted the heat to achieve the perfect serving temperature, but in her excitement forgot to turn it down and the lid was placed precariously. The genin turned their heads back to Kakashi, but it was already too late. They missed seeing his face again! Ayame and her father were completely oblivious to the soup accident. They both had that silly love-struck look in their eyes again.
But not to worry, time for phase two of Sakura's plan.
“Umm, Kakashi-sensei. Your team told me you're off tomorrow…so you have time tonight to go for a drink?” Ayame asked tentatively.
Kakashi said nothing but just scratched his head as though seriously thinking about it.
“My treat.”
That seemed to spark a response and Kakashi finally nodded.
Ayame quickly took off her ramen robes to reveal a red dress with a too-low-cut neckline (in her father's opinion). Ayame and Kakashi left the kids behind with her father. They went to the sake bar where Iruka had taken Ayame on their first date. They found seats by the window where Ayame ordered a drink, but Kakashi declined, saying he wasn't thirsty yet. Instead he took out his little red book and started reading.
Nonplussed, Ayame tried hard to start a conversation. “So, are those books really that good? Can I borrow one?”
Kakashi stopped reading and looked at her, hard, with his one exposed eye. `Lend my precious book to someone else? Is she nuts?'
Meanwhile, the three genin followed through on their plans.
Naruto: “Ok, time for phase 2. We need to transform to adults so we can enter the bar.”
Sakura: “Right, I can look like Kurenai-sensei.”
Sasuke: “There's no one cool I want to look like.” `I can't believe I'm going along with this inane plan, but I have to see Kakashi's face!'
Naruto: “How about Gai-sensei?”
Sasuke: “You have got to be kidding.”
Naruto: “Hey, he's a good guy. He gave me a nifty green jumpsuit. I'll show it to you sometime. It's…aerodynamic!”
Sasuke: “Fine, you be pageboy. I'll be…hmm…”
Sakura: “What about Asuma-sensei?”
Sasuke: “No, he smokes. Filthy habit.”
Naruto: “What about Ebisu-sensei?”
Sasuke: “I don't want to cover my eyes with sunglasses.” `Another weirdo.'
Naruto: “What about one of the examiner guys?”
Sasuke: “No, one's dead, one's got an oral fixation, and the other's got too many scars to duplicate easily.”
Naruto (in jest): “What about the other examiner…Anko-sensei?”
Sakura: “Look, we'd better hurry up. We're wasting time. Who knows, Kakashi-sensei may have finished his drink already.”
Sasuke: “Fine, I'll go as Anko. At least she knows some cool techniques.” `Plus I look good in fishnet.'
On their way to the sake bar, Sakura wondered, “You know, Kurenai-sensei and Anko-sensei are friends, but I don't know if Gai-sensei would hang out with them. Do you think it's suspicious?”
“A guy hanging out with two girls. What's wrong with that?” asked Naruto.
Sasuke answered, “Don't worry. In Gai-sensei's case, it'll appear perfectly normal.”
Sasuke was right as the bouncer barely looked at them when they enter the bar. A waitress quickly came up to them to show them to a table.
Naruto-Gai remarked, “Hey, this is working out pretty well. We have a clear view of Kakashi-sensei over there.”
“Looks like he hasn't ordered a drink yet. Guess we'll have to wait,” said Sakura-Kurenai.
After a minute, the waitress came back for their drink orders. “Your usual Gai-sensei?” she asked with a coquettish smile and a flip of her short red hair.
Naruto-Gai replied, “Oh, uh, of course.”
Sakura-Kurenai said, “Just tea for me please.”
“Your usual Anko-sensei?” asked the waitress, looking at the woman in fishnet.
Sasuke-Anko just nodded.
The three said nothing as they concentrated on looking at Kakashi, willing him to order a drink and pull down his mask.
The waitress soon returned with their drinks. She placed their drink orders down in front of the appropriate patron, but before she left she stopped and stared at Sakura-Kurenai. “Kurenai-sensei, that's a good color on you. I thought you were more conservative, but the pink highlights suit you.” The waitress smiled at them conspiratorially before leaving.
Naruto-Gai whispered, “Hey Sakura-chan, your hair is turning from black to pink!”
"What? My hair? What's going on?”
Sasuke-Anko explained, “You just don't have enough chakra to hold your transformation for very long. You better get out of here before you completely transform back. No minors you know.”
`No way in hell! I'm not going to miss this!'
“Sakura-chan you'd better go. Don't worry, we'll tell you all about it, Naruto-Gai offered.
`That's not the same! No, not when we're so close!DAMMIT!' She did not want to leave, but then Sakura felt the transformation unravel as her fake ample breasts started to deflate. She quickly ran out of the bar with her arms folded over her chest.
A while later, the waitress came over to their table again. “Is there something wrong with your drinks?” she asked when she saw that they were untouched.
“Oh, no, nothing wrong at all,” Naruto-Gai said as he gulped down his large cup of sake. What Naruto didn't realize was that Gai, a master of the drunken fist technique, liked his drinks 150 proof! The bar kept a special bottle just for him. The alcohol burned Naruto's epiglottis, esophagus, and abdomen immediately! He coughed and sputtered sake all over Sasuke-Anko. The alcohol was quickly absorbed into his blood stream and he started to feel sleepy...
Sasuke-Anko carefully took a sip of his drink and frowned. He didn't know what it was, and something told him he didn't want to know. It had alcohol in it, but also weird floating pieces of something. He looked over at Naruto-Gai and realized that in his drunken state, Naruto could no longer hold his transformation. `Crap, why am I stuck with two useless idiots!'
Naruto-Gai's hair started to lighten and his eyebrows thinned out. Sasuke-Anko quickly dumped some money on the table, grabbed Naruto-Gai and carried him out the door. `Damn, another failed mission…'
Kakashi actually lent Ayame his book! After Ayame plagued him with questions on the differences between the movie and its original source, Kakashi decided it was easier to let her read the book herself. He finished reading it at the bar in between (not) answering any of the personal questions Ayame posed to him: Do you live alone? Do you have any family? How do you get along with your genin team? How long have you been a jounin? Do you like being a shinobi? What would you rather do? Kakashi's answers: Yes, No, Okay, Awhile, Yes, Don't know.
After a few drinks, Ayame started to feel a bit tipsy. Being rather nervous, she drank more than her usual. Kakashi meanwhile finally ordered a drink, but it sat in front of him untouched. Ayame yawned loudly. Her conscious thoughts and fantasy dreams began to intertwine. Her inhibitions began to fade. “Kakashi-kun,” she said dreamily while leaning forward boldly, “I really…like…your…hair…” She crashed against his chest - fast asleep.
Kakashi eased the young woman off him and gently settled her on the table with her arms folded under her head like a makeshift pillow. Then he finally, and quickly, pulled down his mask and knocked back his drink. Before he could decide what to do with the girl passed out on the table, the waitress came by with the bill. He frowned deeply as he looked at the total. `Geez, she drinks like a fish. This costs more than the movie and ramen!'
Hours later, Ayame felt someone roughly shaking her shoulder. Fighting her drunken stupor, she managed to half open her eyes. She heard the waitress say, “We're closing now.
Ayame blinked and stood up slowly. She looked at the clock on the wall. It was already the next day and Kakashi had already left. She stretched her arms and legs and was about to go, but the waitress stopped her. “You forgot this,” she said as she handed Ayame the bill.
Ayame managed to make her way home by herself, albeit not in a straight line. (It was more of a super zigzag.) Her father had already gone to bed. Although she was tired, she stayed up the rest of the night to read “Make-Out Violence.” `We'll havesomething to talk about now,' the obsessed young woman thought. `It's actually quite well written. The characters are well defined. The sex parts are rather…interesting and detailed. No wonder he likes them. The movie adaptation is watered down and the characters are shallow…'she evaluated seriously, knowing how serious Kakashi was about his books.
In the morning, her father asked her suspiciously, “You were out very late Ayame. Anything I should know about?”
Ayame shrugged, “Not really. Except don't drink five bottles of sake on an empty stomach. Nothing happened. I just fell asleep at the sake bar.”
“Kakashi-sensei didn't bring you home?” His brow furrowed. “He doesn't seem very reliable.”
“Oh, that doesn't matter. I mean, I don't expect him to carry me home. Oh crap, I hope I didn't embarrass myself.” Terrible thoughts crossed Ayame's mind. What if she told him she wanted to jump his bones? What is she tried to jump his bones? What if she spilled her drink or threw up or… No, her dress was fine when she woke up. Nothing bad happened, nothing. Except she did pass out.
“You know, Ayame, love is like the House Special ramen…”
“Uh huh.” `Oh no here he goes again…'
“You think you're getting something special, something really great, but in reality, it's just whatever assortment of stuff that's left over from the less fancy ramen dishes and it's really not as good in comparison.”
“What's that supposed to mean?”
“It means…maybe Kakashi-sensei isn't that great…he just looks heavenly. Ayame's father sighed at the memory of Kakashi's face.
“Take that back! You take that back right now! Kakashi's the greatest! You'll see…he's…he's just not in touch with his feelings…being a shinobi and all, Ayame heatedly defended her true love.
Ayame's father said nothing in response. There was no point arguing with someone in love or rather just obsessed. “It's getting late. Let's get going. We have to open up soon.”
Team 7 was still sore about being so close to seeing Kakashi's face yet having failed again. They took out their disappointment on the poor lost sheep they had to round up for their mission. They were not commissioned to shear them, but they did it free of charge by throwing their shuriken and kunai with near deadly precision.
After they had the naked sheep penned in for the night, Sakura and Naruto headed toward the ramen stand while Sasuke decided to do more target practice on what little wool remained on the poor little ruminants.
“So what do you think happened after we left,” Naruto asked on the way.
“Well, Kakashi-sensei didn't seem terribly interested did he? He was reading his book all the time she was talking.”
“Yeah, I just don't get why she likes him and not Iruka-sensei. I think he was there just to get a free drink. You know how cheap he is.”
The two teammates nodded in agreement, recalling how Kakashi always disappeared when a bill appeared.
They found Ayame looking red-eyes and tired, almost drooping over the ramen counter. Sakura probably didn't need to ask (she had a feeling just by looking at Ayame) but she asked anyway, "So how did it go last night?"
"I'm not sure. I can't remember. I had a bit too much to drink,” Ayame admitted. “Did you get to see his face?"
Naruto and Sakura both sighed and shook their heads sadly.
"What now? Do either of you have another plan?” asked Naruto.
Sakura and Ayame both sighed and shook their heads sadly.
But Ayame did have another plan, one not fit for the ears of children. After closing, and without discussing it with her father, Ayame decided to go to Kakashi's home to return his book. She was nervous; her plan should work, but he seemed rather unpredictable.
`What if he's not home? Can I get up the courage again?' she thought while on her way. But she was determined.
She climbed the four flights of stairs to the top floor. Her heart pounded harder with each step. `I think I can. I think I can. No, that's not it. I know I can. I know I can…' Ayame rang the doorbell twice.
Kakashi was home, but it took him a while to answer the door. He rarely had guests and disliked having uninvited guests more than anything, but Ayame was persistent. She rang the doorbell again and again until he finally answered the door.
He looked as if he was about to go to bed and wore a dark blue robe cinched at the waist. But the lower part of his face was covered by a towel. (A hot steaming towel makes it easier to shave.) He was not wearing his forehead protector so his white-grey hair gently tousled over his forehead. His left eye was closed as if in a permanent wink.
“I just came by to return your book. It was really good, much better than I expected,” Ayame said as she handed it back to him.
“Hmm, glad you liked it,” Kakashi replied as he took back the book. He carefully inspected it, turning it over and over, for any sign of damage.
`I can't take this anymore! He's not making any moves. Is he shy or lazy or just not interested? I'm going to have to take the initiative and jump his bones!' “If you're interested…I'm willing to…reenact any scene from the book or movie,” Ayame offered while blushing the deepest shade of red possible. Her eyes were lowered as she said this, but with a great force of will, she glanced up at him.
`She's bolder and more persistent than I thought. And it might be interesting. Never had a proposition like that before,' Kakashi thought, greatly amused.
Now what man can resist an offer like that?
It was morning now, though Ayame could hardly sense it through Kakashi's thick dark shades that barely allow in a single ray of light (that way no one could look through his window to see his face). She got up, picked up her clothes (strewn all across the room), washed up and dressed.
Ayame had spent most of the night awake, thinking about her life. She would have preferred cuddling, or doing it again, but Kakashi just rolled over and went to sleep after the act. He snored, too, very annoying! As her father would say, the noodles were long enough, but it was just plain ramen, no toppings or condiments, with a mediocre soup base. Boring, disappointing. She wasn't sure what to expect really, just something more.
His idea of foreplay was to read his book. His idea of cuddling was to read his book. He did not bother to initiate any conversation. His answers to her questions were monosyllabic, evasive. None of it was what she had imagined in her waking or sleeping hours. She thought they would have these deep philosophical discussions about life and death that had nothing to do with ramen. That he'd be exciting and dangerous. And there was something else…while he was kissing her last night…
She looked over at the well built, but slender, gray-haired, dark-eyed man. He was already dressed in his shinobi uniform and sitting at his desk, checking his calendar. He seemed to be unaware of her existence.
“What's my name?” she suddenly asked.
“Your name? Why? Don't you know?” Kakashi casually responded.
“I know my own name, I was just wondering if you do.”
“Hmmm…” A look of befuddlement came over him.
“You called me Junko last night. That's the girl from the movie…no wait…that was the guy from the movie! What the hell! Do you even know my name after all this time?”
“Umm, guess not. Wait, does it start with a…”
“Forget it! You idiot! It's over! I'm outta here!” Ayame grabbed the rest of her belongings and slammed the door on her way out, but paused outside to put on her sandals.
Kakashi turned his head as the door closed. He shook his head and sighed. He felt about 70 percent guilty and 30% relieved.
`Obsession is like genjutsu, an illusion where you see what you expect to see. The only way to dispel an obsession is to confront it directly, to distinguish reality from fantasy, truth from expectations.'
`It's hard to discourage someone with a crush, but I think I handled it pretty well. It was really the only way to cure her obsession for me. It's best for her to break up with me. Easier for me that way, no “it's not you it's me" speech. Doesn't take much, usually by the third date women get tired of the poor treatment. Hope she doesn't hate me.'
`Ayame is a nice girl, but really not my type. Civilians are just not as exciting in bed. It's not like she can do kage bunshin or henge. Well, at least I got a free movie, some ramen, and a funnightout of all this. It's better for her to find someone more appropriate. Iruka is a really great guy…'
The young woman stared sadly at the roses in their makeshift vases at each end of the counter. Some were still blooming while others had started to wilt. `Sigh, I should just throw them out, but they're so beautiful, and expensive. No one's ever going to send me flowers like that again. I'm such an idiot!'
Ayame had not seen Iruka since their breakup. Her thoughts still hovered on Kakashi, but once in a while they would drift over to Iruka. Dates with both of them were disappointing, but at least Iruka tried to be attentive. Maybe if she had given him a chance…
The sun was now casting its last rays over Konoha. The gold streaked sky was reminiscent of yellow strands of ramen floating in a soup base of clear chicken broth. Most customers had already picked up their take out orders. Pretty soon it would be time to close up and end another day of her boring pathetic life.
Ayame no longer cared about making the perfect ramen. Since yesterday she had been silent and depressed, refusing to answer any of her father's questions. Her father had taken over the cooking duties again while Ayame sadly peeled and cut the vegetables, thoughtfully eyeing the knife in her hands.
Her father was in the back getting things ready for the next day, making sure all ingredients were stocked, and anything running low was on order. Ayame was about to start cleaning up when she heard a hesitant cough. She turned around to see Iruka sitting down at the counter.
“Hello, Iruka-sensei. It's been a while. I'm glad to see you again,” she gave him a genuinely pleased smile.
“Hi, er yes, umm…you're still open, right? A bowl of seafood ramen please.” `Glad to see me, yeah right, she's glad to see my money. But I'll have to leave her an extra tip, or she'll think I'm holding a grudge, which I am, but I needto prove what a great guy I am.'
Ayame prepared an extra big bowl of ramen for Iruka with extra trimmings. (It wasn't as great as her perfect ramen, but her father wouldn't admit it.)
“Thank you, Ayame-san, Iruka said politely.
“Say that again?”
“Thank you. “
“No the last part.”
“You know my name!”
“Of course, why wouldn't I? It's not like I can just call you the ramen girl all the time…”
--------END-of PART 1--------
Author's notes: In case no one noticed, only her father and Iruka called her Ayame. This continues through the series. Poor minor characters - no one remembers their names!
After I finished writing this story, I found out that Ayame is 17 at the start of the series or about 18 in the present timeline, which I think is still underage in Japan, so she should not be drinking at the sake bar. This story does not endorse underage drinking! I thought she was about 22 and I'll keep to that assumption.