And skipped pages...
And skipped even more pages...
And even more pages still...
As it turns out that specific chapter was actually quite a bit larger than the previous ones -possibly because it contained its own mini-sections comprised mostly of techniques and detailed hand-drawn images (which really was to be expected, when considering who wrote it).
Then Naruto finally arrived at a segment that didn't involve events after dates.
Final Word ... ii
If you're reading this, then it's likely that I must congratulate you, the formerly-Single Ninja on your success! You've learned from the three unsaid laws and I, Jiraiya, successful author of love, will wish you all the best in your love-life!
However, there's still that chance that you've followed the guide to the letter, but have not reached her. Do not fret! She is likely not the one for you! Keep in mind, that there will be a kunoichi out there for you! You just have to keep searching!
And so, whether you have been successful or not, remember this:
Live to Learn. Learn to Love. Love to Live.
Hold close to these three ideals, for this does not only apply to male shinobi, but also kunoichi. All ninja have the same wants, hopes, realities and dreams and will need these three rules to catch a kunoichi to never let go.
And that's all the Final Word had to say.
Naruto closed the book and a little smile crept onto his face as he turned the faucet on. It was at this point, that the whiskered boy took notice of the young man infront of him. White socks and sneakers, unmarred blue jeans and an untucked, orange buttoned-up summer-shirt. Naruto had to admit that the bloke looked pretty cool -especially when his soaked hands gave his defiant hair a vague comb backwards.
So when Naruto put his headband into his shirt pocket, he grinned at the male infront of him and his reflection afforded him the same luxury.
Today, he and Sakura will be out on the town!
DISCLAIMER: In Soviet Russia, you own Naruto. Over here, Naruto owns you.
Single Ninja on the Town
Final Word ii
The orange-and-blue ninja-turned-civilian had just turned the corner to meet with his date, hoping that his current image would surprise her. Instead the tables had turned at the sight that unfolded before him.
"Sakura-chan..." Naruto's jaw nearly unhinged. For that gaping male, things appeared to him in slow-motion and for a brief moment, something as simple as a girl he liked waiting for him at a street corner had become his world.
Chestnut brown sandals turned in step, as did a lime green dress twirl and waver with the graceful twist of her movement. Her soft, rosy-pink hair positively flowed with the playful touch of a summer breeze. Her emerald irises caught the light just right, twinkling like stars when they met his sky blue.
Haruno Sakura was dressed in a simple sundress, to which Naruto agreed that it complemented her greatly.
"Thank you, Naruto." Her cheeks tinged pink at his flattering musing, but the young woman was quick to return some praise herself. "You don't look bad yourself." The statement held true as her eyes lingered a little longer than it should have.
The blond bashfully scratched the back of his head and gave a shy 'thanks' before calming himself enough to take charge. Shifting into a friendly smile, Naruto held out an open hand for his partner to take.
"You ready?" He beamed.
"You bet!" And Sakura willingly grasped his extended palm, allowing their fingers to comfortably entwine.From one stand-point, this could be start of the rest of his life...
At the exact same moment elsewhere, a young woman daintily strolled down a street and the people she passed briefly paused to admire her.
Adding to the effect of the pale suppleness of her skin, her pearl eyes and her rich, violet hair, Hyuuga Hinata wore a traditional Fire Country-style kimono. The formal article of clothing was snow-white with pain-stakingly hand-embroidered golden stitching that faintly danced in intricate patterns. The bamboo umbrella also followed the style of the kimono; what with being an unblemished white with golden patterns of its own. To top it off, she wore a serene smile on her proud countenance; giving off a regal air and an aura of tranquility.
The Hyuuga heiress' breeding was obvious when she gave polite bows to everyone she met on her self-appointed path.
The reason for her going out in full-battle dress today was due to last evening, when the Main House member poured over her family's scrolls. She was doing so in an effort to search for a clause to allow her marriage outside the clan. Needless to say, her search proved fruitful. With her newfound knowledge in mind, the timid Hyuuga heiress had a new lease on her future.
Should her beloved chosen not prove to be the person she searched for, she still has plenty of chances of finding that special person. However, the person in mind was her only current choice and she wanted to search out the feelings between them and see where it could go.
And so, with the thought of a bright future casting out her doubts, the breath-taking, pale-eyed young woman broke into the day; going so far as to dress formally, so as to capture his attention and then have him accept her proposition to an immediate date.Hyuuga Hinata stepped out, activated her blood limit and went off in search for a certain whiskered-boy.
Aburame Shino, Inuzuka Kiba and the latter's animal counter-part, Akamaru, had been taking a brisk walk by many of the stores and stalls that littered the food and beverage district they were passing through. It was on this rare occasion, that not one, but both human male teammates of Team 8 were sharing an honest conversation -as opposed to Kiba's usual one-sided boasting.
"I'm telling you, Optimus Primal would kick Prime's ass!"
"No. He wouldn't."
"Oh yes, he would!"
Though it wasn't an entirely intelligent conversation, it was a conversation nonetheless.
"If Primal could transform into a dog, he'd definitely be unbeatable, but a monkey is still-gwahuh?-!"
Both boys (and one canine) could only stop and blink, as the difficulty at comprehending what was happening had them freeze in their tracks and halt all thought.
"Hello Kiba-kun. Hello Shino-kun. Hello Akamaru-kun." When reaching appropriate speaking distance, Hinata bowed to each teammate she'd addressed and politely turned off her bloodlimit in pausing to briefly converse with them.
Her teammates returned the respectful bow with their own in staggering awe. It should be pointed out now, that one person (unsurprisingly) lost his voice, another fell over himself with trying to speak and someone had his tongue hanging out (that last one was surprisingly not Akamaru!). Each had only entertained the notion that their female teammate could be as awe-inspiring as she was currently so, but never had they have ever expected such a day to come so soon, nor were they really expecting to bear witness to it.
Seeing as her teammates didn't appear to be in the mood for conversation, Hinata went on to excuse herself. "I apologise that I cannot stay much longer. I have a date with Naruto-kun and must be on my way." And sounding sincerely sorry as she did, Hinata bowed again and stepped between her teammates and onwards before they could even bid her a farewell (or atleast if they had access to their proper motor-functions that would allow them to have bade her a farewell).
Once she'd disappeared around a corner, Shino remembered to breathe and Kiba successfully returned his tongue back into his mouth. The latter shook his head to clear it, as he recalled Hinata's shining visage (as well as her more than pleasant looks) from memory."Whoa..." Kiba exhaled with a lopsided smile. "Hinata sure was something, huh?"
"Hnn." Shino answered pragmatically.
"Hey! Don't act as if you're all joe-cool!" Kiba accused. "You're blushing as hard as I am!"
The Bug-using ninja frowned, pushed his glasses further along his nose and then tilted his head further back under his collar. The red hue along his cheeks was still evident.
"'Whoa', right?" The Inuzuka elbowed his Aburame friend none-too-softly.
"Whoa." The Aburame scion stoically agreed after a moment.
-Woof!- Akamaru decided on voicing his piece with a wry smile (atleast for a dog).
"HOW DARE YOU AKAMARU!" Kiba immediately turned on his canine, a scandalised look etched on his face. "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'D SAY SUCH A THING! I'LL KILL YOU!"
While the Inuzuka quarreled with his canine bretheren, the Aburame desperately wanted to wipe away the fog from his glasses but ultimately decided against it; he'd reasoned that he would have to take off said opticals in the first place and valued not doing so.
"Wait a minute..." A sudden realisation hit Kiba with the force of a sledge hammer, easily disengaging his line of thought. "Hinata's going out with Naruto!-?"
Naruto licked his bottom lip anxiously, suddenly feeling a little self-conscious. True, he was now on his date, but how was he supposed to act?
Supposedly chib... chiv... chibi... That word that means really nice, right?
Atleast, that's the impression he got of it, considering he never did get around to finding out exactly what its definition was.
The blond ninja grinned awkwardly and put a hand to the back of his neck.
"Sooo..." The Uzumaki drew out before inhaling sharply. "You got a place in mind or...?"
Sakura smiled knowingly at his antics and simply nodded. She didn't speed up her pace, but she'd given his hand a squeeze to which he returned thankfully. The male shinobi felt like he was walking on sunshine.Things were finally going his way!
A special flower girl had placed a measured foot out of her shop and confidently headed out. And with each progressive step she made in her tread, she turned heads. Someone poured hot coffee into someone elses lap, another had walked into a pole and the last was being forcefuly dragged away by his irate girlfriend.
A purple velvet, sleeveless turtle-neck miniskirt was a most glorious (and scandalous!) piece of clothing was what one Yamanaka Ino wore (for the lack of a better word). What with its choice cuts of having a very low back and a largely missing mid-riff, it had displayed a sheer amount of skin -and though it still left quite a bit to the imagination, the suggestive aspect had it bordering on the obscene. With amethyst earrings, light mascara, an overtly large belt that hung loosely from one side of her waist and knee-high, rubber boots had matched her ensemble to create a look.
And what a look.
Ino had chosen this wardrobe specifically for the shock factor (rather an understatement in her now-unconscious-father's opinion). She'd figured that either Naruto would accept on the drop of a kunai or -an outcome she was betting on- he'd turn boneless at the sight of her and she'd have to drag him around -which were better options than an outright 'no' in her book.
Besides, with what she had planned; namely taking such a hyper-active date
to the Hidden Leaf's night-life was a win-win date. There was no way it could
And in the likelihood that things don't work out, they could both mutually walk away! She'd have returned him his favour and all's good!
Yamanako Ino smiled spectacularly at the attention, as each step was punctuated with a swing of her hips in a sensual gait; oozing a tempting combination of charm and beauty. The only thing left to complete her nightly plans would be a certain party animal and she was on her way to pick him up now...
Akimichi Chouji was glumly sitting outside of a restaurant. The obvious discrepancy had been picked up by Kiba and Shino as their curiousity had them wander over to the (self-proclaimed) big-boned ninja, momentarily putting on hold their tracking of either Hyuuga-heiress or demon-vessel.
"Chouji? I half-expected you to be in this place..." Kiba said none too delicately.
"Me too..." Chouji admitted with a sigh.
"So, why're you out here then?" Kiba took a seat next to his big-boned chum, whilst Shino chose to remain standing. "And, you know, atleast not having a packet of chips in hand?"
"Well, Ino insisted I needed to lose weight..." The Akimichi began uncertainly and halted. The silence spoke volumes.
The dog-affiliated ninja and the insect-using ninja shared a knowing glance out of Chouji's view. In the span of 3 seconds, they had a mental argument spanning 5 minutes. Before Kiba could open his trap and insult the Akimichi boy, Shino interrupted. "Clans are respected communities and you are a part of one. You should be proud of your upbringing and their traditions."
"I suppose." Chouji acknowledged, his mood already brightening. "What would Ino know anyway? It's not like Naruto's in my clan."
The two males of Team 8 gave pause to blink, both wondering exactly how Naruto was brought up into this and not liking where this was potentially leading to.
"Hold up!" Kiba jumped up and grabbed the larger boy by his shoulders. "What's this about what Ino said?"
"Before she kicked me and Shikamaru out to get ready for tonight, she told me that if I lost some weight, I could be more appealing to the girls like Naruto is."
"'Like Naruto!-?'" Kiba and Shino exclaimed (though Shino lacked an exclamation mark in his declaration).
"Y-yes! I t-think s-she w-was g-going o-out o-on a d-date w-with h-him today." Chouji struggled to say.
"That bastard!" Kiba seethed through a red haze, as rage started to build up within him.
"C-can y-you p-please s-stop s-shaking m-me?" The currently present member of Team 10 managed to sputter in between being roughed up.
"Whoa... Sorry there, big guy." Kiba immediately let go of the Akimichi's shirt collar once he realised what he was doing.
"Why? What happened?" Chouji inquired, after the world stopped shaking.
Kiba started on his explanation of when he and Shino met Hinata earlier. Shino didn't bother correcting his teammate about the exaggerations, though he would agree that Hinata was as entrancing as an untouched field of fresh snow (a term not so elegantly expressed by the Inuzuka). Once explanations were over, Chouji frowned. Hard.
"He can't treat Ino like that!" The Akimichi boy shook with barely suppressed anger in defense to his long time teammate.
"And he can't treat Hinata like that either!" Kiba held up a shaking fist.
"He shouldn't treat anyone like that." Shino corrected them both.
"I say we should find Shikamaru. " Chouji pointed in a direction he knew his male teammate to be at. "He'll know what to do."
"C'mon then! Let's go!" Kiba took the lead and the other two boys followed suit.
Naruto's eyes washed over Sakura's choice of eatery. It wasn't a stand like he was used to, but an actual dine-in restaurant catering various traditional and rather elaborate food-stuff.
The blond off-the-job ninja gave a quick inspection of the establishment through the window. From what he noticed, he could feel his blood freezing over.
There were multiple casual-formal waiters and waitresses...
A fold open menu in a leather frame...
Solid utensils with a consistent theme...
Oh god... Table cloth...
Naruto's hand instinctively reached to pat his poor defenseless frog-purse, already feeling the sting that would decimate a good portion of its contents. If he was a betting man, he'd bet this place charged for water too.
Patience was never quite the strawberry-haired kunoichi's strong suit and her partner's wide-eyed staring would be no exception. "Stop gawking and let's go in already!" She gave his hand a tug and dragged him in with her.
Though Naruto would undoubtedly enjoy the company, he still couldn't help but feel there might be something to regret later.
A young woman stepped out in a slow but purposeful gait. The people she passed had bid her courteous salutations, as she walked the walk of one with professional elegance.
The walk was for good reason really, considering Tenten was currently dressed in a formal -with a touch of casual- suit! What with her tight, curve-hugging pants, a long-sleeved collared-shirt and a suede vest (with coat tails!) on top making for the formal portion. The weapon mistress had went on to add a pair of boots, twin gauntlets and a thigh holster presenting the more casual side. In an unrelated note, it was due to Tenten's frisky and venturous mood that nearly all she currently wore was in black leather.
People would remark that she appeared to have an air of casual-formality. Or that she had some sort of 'leather-thing' going on -though they didn't express that to her face.
Hearing about the other girls dressing up from Naruto yesterday, Tenten had decided on also a little dressing up to attract the attention of a certain blond shinobi. It had taken her countless of hours trying to find the right balance of casual and formality without sacrificing elegance and it had paid off!Tenten suppressed a sigh and turned it into a resolved grin. She could practically feel her muscles straining and aching from the spar that would be sure to follow their lunch-date.
Both Rock Lee and Hyuuga Neji had been walking down the street. Or rather, Neji was striding down the street, Lee happened to spot him and was now unwantedly hanging on his easily irritable teammate.
"Ah! My dear comrade, Neji!" The bowl-cut boy declared eagerly. "I require the utmost assistance!"
"Not now, Lee. I'm busy." Neji concisely replied. He was a man on a mission and he wasn't about to stop now.
"Please! Your eyesight greatly surpasses mine!" The spandex-clad ninja openly wailed. "I require aid in finding one Uzumaki Naruto!"
"The Main House requested I search for Hinata right now." Was the statement that was stoicly returned.
"Ohhh..." Lee wilted on hearing that it was family business. He would stand down to more important causes. "That's too bad. It seems I must venture fourth and seek Uzumaki Naruto on my own -as per Tenten's personal request!"
"Yes, you go and seek Uzu--" The Hyuuga branch-house member froze, finally processing what he just heard. "Wait... What's this about Tenten's personal request?"
"Ooooooohhh! During your absence, Tenten had become enamored with our blond colleague! She had thrown accusation upon accusation until I finally agreed to be more like him!" The taijutsu-specialist declared with manly tears threatening to spill fourth.
"So now I seek, Uzumaki Naruto! So that I may learn his way to appease Tenten!" He concluded, posing dramatically.
"Enamored?" Neji could feel an eye twitching.
"YES!" Lee pulled Neji close until they were cheek-to-cheek and the Gai-imitator pointed to the horizon. "Apparently, Tenten seeks companionship with him and wishes I was more charismatic like him!" Lee held up a fist, the flames of determination burned in his... irises(?) as he suddenly made a connection. "YES! Now that Naruto is Tenten's consort, it leaves Sakura free for me to court!"
Neji's eyes narrowed and harshly pulled himself away from his over-enthusiastic teammate. He rationalised that likely Tenten wanted Lee to be less annoying like Naruto, and it was just like Lee to misinterprete that. However, now there were too many coincidences concerning the orange-clad idiot and it had the Hyuuga bring his hands to his forehead, kneading the growing headache that was threatening to take hold.
"My... 'absence' from our team's assemblies," The Hyuuga prodigy growled through gritted teeth, "was due to the Main House assigning me to watch over Hinata, as her current behaviour had her family worried. I have been following my cousin for the past week and she'd led me on a pointless goose-chase."
"But now I understand..." The serious member of Team Gai looked over to his enthusiastic teammate square in the... seeing orbs.
"I'd observed Hinata as chasing Naruto, as was a few of her other females acquaintances, including Tenten. I thought nothing of it at the time, but now..." The Branch-house member broke off solemnly.
This had Lee gasp in exaggerated surprise as he caught on to Neji's vague recount.
"That cad! To play with a girl's innocent heart! I must teach Naruto a lesson!" Lee swore.
"You guys looking for Naruto too...?" A question with an underlying growl was loudly directed at the duo.
Neji and Lee turned to find Kiba, Shino and Chouji standing nearby.
"They don't serve ramen...?" Naruto miserably mumbled. The world was a dark and lonely place.
"For the last time, Naruto, no, they don't!" Sakura held up a fist threateningly. "Stop asking or I'll hit you!"
"They don't ser--"
"Owie!" The devastated blond was socked out of his recursive loop by the knock to his noggin.
Shrinking under his date's edgy glare, Naruto scoured over his choices for something else to eat.
"So... Uhhh..." A solitary bead of sweat made it's way down Naruto's bandana-less forehead. Not only were all the dishes more pricier than his ramen, but he didn't know what in the world half the stuff was!
Feeling himself glazing over, he turned to his female companion and asked, "What are you getting, Sakura-chan?" The question was really more for his benefit than not.
"Just something light." She leaned over to indicate her ordered dish on his menu.
The number-one surprising ninja of the Hidden Leaf was ironically taken by surprise himself.
"Tofu?" He whined not bothering to hide his disgust. "Why are you getting tofu?"
"Err..." Sakura briefly gave pause to consider what she would say. "I'm trying to watch what I'm eating..." The fact that it was the cheapest thing on the menu had a bigger influence than her excuse -not that she'd admit it.
"But it's tofu!" Naruto gagged, unable to grasp the subtleties. His knowledge of tofu extended mostly towards some slices being in his ramen -otherwise it wasn't something he could associate as being a sole meal. Thus he scrolled through the list and made his next decision on pure instinct (like he always does with most broad decisions).
In a sudden brust of bravado, the Uzumaki took charge. "Cancel her order." He ordered the waiter.
Sakura sputtered in indignant surprise, but Naruto spoke over her before she could voice her concerns. She could only gape as he (randomly) ordered their meal. There was green tea for drinks, an entree of a couple of skewered barbequed pork, followed by some Fire Country-style curry with rice and finishing it with Dango and Anmitsu jelly for desserts. All of it would be shared between them both.
"Now go! GO!" Naruto forcefully ushered the waiter to start on their orders, for the reason that should Sakura try to halt the preceedings, he would easily fold under her decision (although another reason was so he wouldn't have second thoughts into co-ercing his own sabotage to canceling his brash order as well).
"There's no way I could possibly afford all that!" Sakura suppressed a shout for a panicked whisper. "That's all far too expensive! Especially the curry! That's a Fire Country specialty!"
"We're on a date, Sakura-chan." Naruto waved her off calmly, though the butterflies in his stomach did loops and barrel rolls. "I'll cover it!"
"But..." She bit her bottom lip to rebuke but didn't get far.
"No 'buts'! Seriously! I'll take care of it! You just go ahead and enjoy yourself!" He deftly shrugged off her worries and raised her hopes with the same sentence.
"But there's no possible way I could help you finish all of that..." Was Sakura's weak excuse. She'd felt a touch of guilt at the thought of being a burden to her teammate, just because he'd finally gotten the date he'd been begging her for and now was trying to impress her by acting this way.
"Hah! If you can't finish it, I'll take care of that too!" Naruto grinned "Believe it!"
Sakura could only smile at the confidence he radiated.
The mild pit of worry in the whiskered ninja's stomach said otherwise.
One Temari of the Sand was seated at a table of a cafe, currently clad in one of her purchases from the days prior.
Simply put, she was wearing a simple summer red kimono -being one of her more expensive purchases during her stay (incidentally covered by Naruto a few days prior, though on a technical note, it was really covered by her brothers). However, unwilling to just wear the kimono on its own, Temari of the Sand also added in additional mixes of ninja-wear, so not only did she have a kimono draped on her frame, but also some fish-net clothing, consisting of a full-body mesh that only covered her entire left arm and down to the right leg. The other appendages covering cut off at the elbow and knee. Instead of taking her regular battle fan, Temari had instead brought one of her more smaller fans (at least in comparison to the battle counter-parts) -to which she was using to cover her face.
To put it simply, Temari was a mix of different extremes.
Simple archaic clothing with a hint of battle armour.
Obvious youth with the mannerisms of a mature woman.
Citizen of the Hidden Sand, currently staying in the Hidden Leaf.
The last was the most tale-telling, considering that she was naturally exotic and her choice of the region's clothing had made her all the more appealing to the general consensus.
Currently, Temari of the Sand was watching the scenery over the wide brim of her hand-held fan. Or to be specific, the departing of a certain person. Once he was out of sight, she slapped her fan on the table and it fluidly closed with a loud snap.
A few more days left before she and her brothers were to return and she'd wanted to spend this particular one with a certain blond and make it memorable. Now, all she had to do, was locate him.
The two brothers of the Sand; Gaara and Kankuro were standing at an intersection, both mutually not even considering heading in any direction. Kankuro was grimacing, and though Gaara's face was carefully neutral, he appeared as menacing, if not more so, than his older brother.
"I can't believe that asshole didn't show up." Kankuro growled for the umpteenth time that day.
Gaara didn't voice his displeasure, but he didn't have to be obvious about it. With Gaara, it was just so.
Both brothers were recently sudden fans of the Icha Icha series. They'd heard of the author having a book signing in the Hidden Leaf, so they thought it would have been a great idea to come down (though Temari did play a large role in getting them moving for her own personal reasons).
Of course, once they'd manage to distract Temari, their luck only turned sour; in that their favourite author had not made his promised appearance. Already disgusted with the taxing travel to the Leaf, the long and disappointed wait at the bookstore, the amount of money spent to distract their sister and certainly not looking forward to the travel back, it was completely understandable how irate both brothers of the sand were.
"Hey guys." Came a lazy drawl.
Nara Shikamaru wasn't having a good day. Or rather, wasn't having a good past week. Since several days ago, Ino really started getting on his nerves of 'Naruto this' and 'Naruto that'. Even Chouji's normally polite and forgiving nature had taken a blow, when Ino had compared him to Naruto. This dragged on for days up until this morning, when Ino told them of her plans for a date. Disgruntled enough, Shikamaru had taken his business to his regular cloud-watching route, only to meet a certain Sand kunoichi on the way. Not only was he also berated by said kunoichi, but he was also compared to Naruto as well!
Thus when it was by complete chance that he happened on the other Sand Siblings, the Nara was quick to mind to play the hand that was dealt to him. Namely, he was going to wash his hands off the whole torrid affair and send trouble down Naruto's way!
On the receiving end of two glares, Shikamaru was quick to get to his thought-out opening line. "You guys do know that Naruto's dating your sister?" In one swiftly planned gesture, the genius chuunin had pulled himself out of the line of fire.
"HE'S WHAT!-?" Exclaimed Kankuro.
"What...?" Gaara's quiet voice struck far harder than Kankuro's, as it promised something... terrible.
"Yeah." The shadow-user affirmed with a nod, barely stopping the urge to swallow loudly at Gaara's leak of killing intent.
"What about you?" The puppet-user sneers suspiciously. "Weren't you seeing our sister?"
"I don't know." Shikamaru kept with his nonchalant act. "What I do know, is that I just ran into her and she was bragging about Naruto's prospects as boyfriend material."
"That bastard!" Kankuro seethed and the package on his back appeared to visibly shake. "We trust them together once and he turns on us!"
Gaara said nothing, though his eyes widened and his pupils dilated. The vessel of Shukaku was only missing his manic grin to complete his 'blood-lusting face'.
Gaara, Kankuro and Shikamaru turned to whomever addressed them and found it to be Kiba, Shino, Chouji, Lee and Neji.
"Got something to take up with Naruto?" Kiba smirked evilly.
"We have a lead on his whereabouts." Added Shino.
"Naruto's been seeing more than just Ino apparently." Chouji nodded with a fierce look to his best friend.
"We cannot have the defiler go around unpunished!" Lee nearly exploded into passionate flames.
"Are you coming or not?" Neji offered.
It was only then that Gaara grinned sinisterly and his 'killing face' ensemble was complete. Blood was going to spill today.
"How's the curry?" Sakura gave her date a knowing smirk, while she carefully gathered another helping to her plate.
"...It's a little hot." Naruto admitted, faltered past the napkin he held in front of his face.
"So it wasn't good idea to add curry powder on top of your the curry without tasting it?" Sakura only spoke after she took measured bites into her meal and savoured the flavour with an appreciating smile.
"...yeah. Feels like I'm gonna die." Naruto put the napkin down, allowing Sakura a clear view of his inflamed lips.
She giggled and he could only put half an effort into the glare he was giving her.
Naruto wiped the perspiration and downed another glass of water. He didn't feel like he was going to die, but he surely felt he was on his way there!
A certain person had arrived at Naruto's regular ramen stand. Finding nothing, the girl then decided that her best course of action, would be to use her bloodlimit to aid in locating the loud-mouth blond ninja.
The pearl-eyed Hyuuga heiress looked over to the person who called her and came face to face with Ino in a scantily-clad choice of clothing, easily contrasting her own. Luckily, Hinata fell back on manners instead of openly gawking in shocked social ethic wonder.
"G-good afternoon, I-Ino." Hinata bowed deeply to which Ino awkwardly returned.
"Well, we're pretty dolled up, aren't we?" The blond flower-girl tried to joke, though the awkward moment ascended further, as each deduced the intentions of the other.
This exclamation came from a very surprised weapon mistress. A third pair of eyes lined with the first two and appraising looks were exchanged between all three.
"Well, well, well. What do we have here?"
Atleast that was until a sultry voice, who hailed from a particular dessert region, had also arrived on the scene.
"So... Anyone care to explain where the party's at?" Temari quirked an eyebrow in mild curiousity.
"I don't believe this!" Kiba shouted distressingly. "What the hell does that prick think he's doing?-!"
A group of young shinobi males were taking their sweet time and all were seething in their own personal dislike for Naruto treating their teammates/possible love-interest/sister in such a fashion.
"What do they see in him anyway?-!" Kiba added as an after-thought.
Of course, this was more-so jealousy when the dog-boy brought about the subject.
"HooooOOOOO!-!" Lee finally had tears running down his cheeks. "To think that hard work and perseverance had finally have him noticed, only to discard manners with quick abandon!"
Neji would've rolled his eyes at Lee's over-the-top antics, but even he had to agree with that assessment.
"Though his qualities have finally earned him the attention he seeks, he has abused that privilege." Shino inputted.
"Damn straight!" Kankuro punctuated with a clenched fist. "That bastard deserves the beating of a lifetime for getting involved with our sister."
"Aren't you going to say how troublesome this is, Shikamaru?" Suggested Chouji to his lazier counter-part.
"No." Shikamaru had his hands in his pockets. "It will be more troublesome if we are to do nothing. Once the eventual fall-out occurs, the girls will turn on us, especially now that we know what we know." He was careful to stroke the fire so that he wouldn't have to do anything when the inevitable arrives, though everyone seemed to be doing a marvelous job of rallying each other themselves. "It is better to nip this in the bud than be drawn in a bigger mess later for simply being associated by proxy."
"YOSH! His passion of youth flares with tainted tension and must be halted!" Lee suddenly bellowed.
"Tch." A new voice piped up. "You guys are loud."
"This might interest you." Neji stated towards the newest arrival: Uchiha Sasuke.
The lone Uchiha had been enjoying his day. Things appeared to be getting better and better, as not only did little instances of luck occured his way -what with him perfecting that darn fire-technique that's been bugging him for a while, but he hadn't been harassed by a female member of the population all day! At first he'd been marginally surprised when his fellow ninja males found him and explained things to him, but he still readily agreed to join them.
Naruto was going to recieve a beating of a lifetime today...
Sasuke smirked and thrust his hands in his pockets.
Today was officially the best day EVER.
Currently, a small congregation were making their way down some busy streets. Anyone in the immediate area had to stop and pause.
It wasn't everyday that had a crowd of kunoichi's, lead by the Fifth Hokage, parade down the main street of the Leaf.
The reason for this was that during the meeting earlier today, all kunoichi had voted not to conduct their business in the Administration building; as the atmosphere was unbecoming for serious debate. That and Naruto might be interrupting them again and that definitely was no place to get away from the boy. Oh, and just because the people who did escort the Hokage drinking yesterday thought they had a great time, didn't mean that it had influenced everyone's decision to conduct their meeting in the best Karaoke bar in town.
"Yeah! It's great to get out of that tower!" Mitarashi Anko stretched her arms over her head, jutting her chest forward. "I just hope I won't get too bored. Meeting's a meeting after all."
And with all things conspiratory, the group were making their way down their way to a very particular street at a very particular time...
Hatake Kakashi had been relaxing in a very comfortable chair in an outdoor cafe. Newspaper wide open in his lap, Kakashi double-tasked with reading and reaching for his latte. He had just brought the delectable drink to his mouth, when fabric stopped the glass from touching his lips, effectively preventing him from downing the liquid. This caused the one-eyed jounin to blink in surprise and look up to find a small crowd of male shinobi watching him with interest.
"MY ETERNAL RIVAL, KAKASHI!" Maito Gai hailed with open arms.
"I told you." Sarutobi Asuma jostled Umino Iruka. "No one knows how he does it. When no one's looking, it all happens normally. But when someone one is..."
"Wow..." Iruka mumbled to himself in awe, but brought his voice out louder to congratulate Kakashi. "That's an interesting technique you've got there!"
"Huh?" Was Kakashi's intelligent reply.
"He means you're impressive technique, where you can eat or drink things past your mask, whenever people aren't looking!" Gai gave the silver-haired jounin a thumbs up.
"What?" Kakashi reached for his face and his visible eye blinked in surprise. "Oh that's right... I'm wearing a mask."
He turned back to the dumbfounded expressions of the other jounins and shrugged casually at their gaping.
"I usually forget that I keep it on."
And the levels of confusion escalated from there.
"HoooOOOOOOO-OOO-OOOOO!" Gai howled in open envy. "You truly are hip and cool like that, Kakashi!"
Once everyone got their bearings, they joined Kakashi at his table and began ordering their own light meals and/or beverages as well.
"What's the news?" Kakashi asked politely.
"The jounin lounge was closed today!" Gai sputtered crumbs everywhere, as he spoke while trying to consume his man-wich in a (sad) attempt to multitask in a subtle contest with his self-proclaimed rival.
"Yeah, not too many places around that lets you smoke, you know?" Asuma lit up a cigarette to further emphasize his point. "You'd be surprised at how many places are taking up the no-smoking policy."
"I've got my day off today and I saw the guys." Iruka freely admitted. "Thought it'd be nice to catch up."
"And the rest of them?" Kakashi gave a curt indication to the other male shinobi of jounin and chuunin rank, who were seemingly appearing off the street.
Gekkou Hayate, Shiranui Genma, Kamizuki Izumo and Hagane Kotetsu all gave polite greetings before moving to a table on their own.
"No idea. Same reason as us, I'd think." Asuma shrugged it off without a care.
Kakashi flicked a passing glance at all the jounins seating out in the open before making his evaluation.
"It would seem that because of the appearance of ninja as customers, it attracts other shinobi because it appears as a friendly and safe haven for people with our kind of occupation to stop at." Kakashi observed with a nod of his head.
"A SOLID THEORY!" Gai shouted. "TRULY, YOUR OBSERVATIONAL SKILLS PROVES YOUR GENIUS INTELLECT, MAKING YOU WORTHY TO BE MY RIVAL!" Both Asuma and Iruka couldn't help but covertly snicker at the green spandex-clad jounin's antics at Kakashi's expense.
There was an enjoyable silence with the backdrop of small-talk, before Kakashi risked speaking again.
"Is it just me, or have all the female jounins gone missing?"
Naruto released a breath he didn't know he was holding. Sure, his frog purse took quite a hit, but atleast he'd managed to pay for both his and Sakura's meal.
"It was pretty nice." Sakura commented in regard to the food Naruto had ordered for them to share.
"Hehe, yeah, I'm feeling pretty good myself." Naruto stretched his arms overhead before letting them drift back to cradle the back of his head.
Sakura took this as an opening to poke the blond boy in the stomach. "Geeze. You're just about due any time now, huh?" She chuckled to which he joined in.
He thought was just about due too.
"What's that, cyclops?" A voice laughed, crossing between being melodic and sneering. "You miss us already?"
All the male ninja looked over their side, mostly surprised at the appearance of all the jounin kunoichi just peering over the divider next to their table.
"You happened to be late attending yesterday's meeting, Kakashi." Iruka politely remarked, taking a sip from his coffee. "Otherwise, you'd know what they were up to."
"Official kunoichi business, broomhead!" Anko stuck out her tongue.
Kakashi sighed and he rolled his visible eye, trying not to pay Anko any attention to mind. Not that the tactic ever worked against Anko anyway.
But it sort of did as Shizune suddenly started. "Isn't that a group of Naruto's friends?" Everyone turned to look at where the medic ninja was facing. And indeed, there were the whole male portions of the rookie nine, Gai's team and the sand brothers.
"Hehe! They look mighty pissed!" Anko commented colourfully.
"You thought they looked pissed..." Asuma indicated to the other end of the street, where another group was approaching from. "Those girls look even angrier."
"Aaawww... And they're all dressed up..." Anko smirked sharply, before her eyes caught on a couple exiting a restaurant across the street.
Easily figuring where all of this was heading and already enjoying the distress that would come of it, she gave everyone else a heads up.
"Looks like today's gonna be interestin' after all!"
Naruto was the first to reach the restaurant exit, and he approached the situation like he saw in the movies. He opened the door for Sakura and held it for her to exit. Sakura smiled at this and thanked him. Feeling a little braver, she took hold of his hand as she stepped out and pulled him out with her.
"I had a good time." Sakura blushingly admitted. She couldn't quite meet his eyes, but settled on watching her hand intertwine with his.
"So did I." A goofy grin wouldn't leave Naruto's face as he too was mesmerised by their joined hands.
So enthralled with the other, that they didn't quite notice the large throng of male and female assorted jounin and chuunin watching their every move. They also happened to miss two large groups of their peers approaching from the opposite ends of the street. Approaching with killing intent, actually.
"You know... I'd like it if we did this agai-" Sakura started but was interrupted.
"Naruto!" A booming voice interrupted.
It was rather unfortunate that a particular openly perverted author just happened to step out of the shop right next to theirs.
"I had to stay up ALL NIGHT but I finished the updated second edition of the guide book! Now it covers more things on how to woo that precious person! GWAHAHAHA! This is my best work yet!" Jiraiya excitedly bellowed, whilst pulling a thick leather-bound manual and attempting to shove it into Naruto's hands.
"Hey? What's the matter with you?" Jiraiya worriedly asked, finally noticing Naruto's quickly annoyed demeanor had made a complete 180 and now was starting to look pale, scared and fearful.
Then it was the first time the older man noticed a certain pink-haired female standing right next to Naruto and was turning all shades of red. She wasn't blushing anymore. If anything, she was downright fuming.
Then Jiraiya's pervert-preservation senses kicked in.
Years of peeking on the baths of the many countries had bestowed upon him a worldly collection of perverted wisdom and senses outside of the original five. One new sense of which, had him more tuned in with sensing an angry woman's intent in his direction. At the moment, not only was this sense going off like crazy, the super pervert's hair on his neck was rising on end. Even his long pony-tailed mane was becoming prickly with retribution-fearing anticipation.
And boy did he fear retribution.
He'd isolated the feeling from a large concentrated source behind him as well as a smaller but finer concentrated source just a short distance away. So Jiraiya did the best he could do in this situation.
He decided to escape.
However, in a burst of genius that he'd thought he lost all those years ago when he was in his prime, the aging pervert surprisingly adapts. Quickly taking back the book he'd just put in Naruto's hands, the Toad Sage opens it, places a pen to the inner cover and begins scribbling feverously.
"To my biggest fan, Naruto!" He loudly narrates with desperation as he writes the dedication. "Thanks for helping me write such a great piece of literature for all shinobi men out there! Best of luck to your women troubles, Jiraiya-sensei!"
He practically yelps and thrusts the book back into Naruto's hands. With the action completed, the Super-Pervert bolts like the wind, taking to the rooftops.
Naruto only had time to look up to the crowd closing in, looking to the world like a deer caught in headlights.
To one side, was a very angry-looking crowd of his closest male friends. All looked just about ready to throttle him.
The opposite side had a smaller group of his closest female friends. Each had varying shades of emotion from heart-breaking disappointment to jilted, angry-psycho. The combination of all of them appeared to promise far more pain then the male group could ever hope to dish out.
The blond boy turned helplessly to another direction. This one had a huge group of jounin and chuunin ninja. Every last one of them gave him both looks of pure pity and righteous turn about.
Except for three people.
Kakashi gave him a good-luck wink (atleast, the blond boy hoped so, it was hard to tell with the other eye covered).
Tsunade looked like everyone else, but a growing fear was starting to take over her face, as she realised the paperwork that would be involved.
The last person was Anko. She had the biggest grin on her face, her eyes though unfocused, flickered between all the parties in the area. Actually, she looked like she was just about to cre--
Dropping that line of thought, Naruto turned around. One completely red-faced Sakura-chan was blocking his last avenue of escape. With the way she was still clutching tightly at his hand -which incidentally was growing tighter- Naruto was pretty convinced that she wasn't going to aid him in escaping either.
"NARUTOOOOOOOOO!" Came the united exclamation of many a vengeful voices.
And for once in his life, Naruto wished he wasn't in the centre of attention.
End of Single Ninja!
Watch out for the sequel; Single Kunoichi on the Prowl, coming soon!
Constructive Criticism, Feedback, Flames and all major credit cards accepted! XD
Also, the Single Ninja Forum is now up and about! Feel free drop by with any corrections or suggestions!
And that's that. Whoa... Single Ninja on the Town is finally complete! DONE! WHOOOOO!
Okay... Gimme a sec. Let me get myself together...
Did anyone notice what was up with the meal Naruto ordered? Hehe.
Bet some of you are also wondering if this fic had a pairing. In all honesty... No, not really. If you want to get technical, it's Naru/Saku -solely on the fact that he'd got into this mess because of Jiraiya's meddling with his attempted love-life. But ultimately, no pairing.
Let's see... Anything left to say...? Hmmm... The original idea was conceived on the 8th of August of 2005 and it took... what? around seven months!-? Fwar. Even I'm amazed by this. Never expected it to take this long.
The thing was, I never really expected this story to become this large. Infact, it was my supposed retreat from Fox Identity and the seriousness and amount of professionality and effort that required.
But lookie, lookie and see what came and bit me in the ass. XD
Anyway, drop by my Single Ninja forum sometime. I'll be adding a 'Making of Single
Ninja' as well as teasers and notes for the upcoming sequel: 'Single
Kunoichi on the Prowl!'
-Don't expect it too soon though! It's only in its planning stages and I've yet to sort out the kinks. On other news, I'll be back regularly on Fox Identity now!
And the very end is actually based on a True Story.
Subtitle - Epilogue
"Training's over!" Hatake Kakashi proclaimed, his orange book eliciting a sharp snap as he closed it with one hand. "You are all dismissed!"
The silver-haired jounin then immediately disappeared in a flurry of leaves. His sole intent lay on purchasing the new edition of the Icha Icha series: Come Come Chivalry! A huge volume box set of a young man, whose adventures takes him to meet the woman of his dreams, the shy girl next door, a flower girl of incredible beauty, the bondage mistress and finally the exotic fan dancer! (Little did he know, that further installments also included a personal fantasy instructor, a botanist, the solitary swordswoman, a former pupil of the antagonist and the town's mayor/part-time doctor and her assistant).
And it was claimed to be based on a true story too!
With Kakashi gone, it had left the younger of Team 7's members to their own devices. Haruno Sakura was the quickest to react to Kakashi's dismissal by turning to her dark-haired teammate and procurring a gift-wrapped box from her sachel to present it to Uchiha Sasuke.
"Please take it, Sasuke! It's a completely legitimate piece that all Anbu wear!" The pink-haired girl implored, offering a gift to the dark-haired boy.
"No." He replied crisply. He really wasn't one to accept presents or any sort of thing. His fanclub always gave him trouble, and giving in to anyone would simply be asking for more trouble -simply stealing valuable time he could spend on training.
"It would simply break my heart if you don't accept it!" Sakura resorted to begging.
"I have training to do." Sasuke resolutely stated, ending the conversation.
Sasuke stalked off and Sakura had slumped glumly. At the same instant Naruto had seen the exchange from the distance, but could not discern what had been said between his teammates. He wasn't entirely on speaking terms with Sakura just yet, as she'd usually broadcast a cold aura at him whenever he even got within 5 feet of her.
This was probably due to the mess he was in the middle of 2 weeks ago. The battle (or rather mostly chase, in which the boys were eventually left behind, though his stamina failed in trying to escape from the girls) had caused much property damage, leaving alot of complaints and paperwork for one VERY angry Hokage. She'd soon had everyone's set of events and had sorted it out.
However, much to Naruto's distress, most of his friends had excluded him from their circles. It had taken him the better part of the first week to be accepted by all of the guys again, though the girls were having a harder and longer time in doing so. It had only been up until now that the ladies involved were giving him a little more than the time, though the only exception was being Sakura. His pink-haired teammate was the least forgiving of everyone and though he met her everyday, she had always given him the cold-shoulder, much less the time of day.
And the worst part was, he still didn't understand what he'd done!
"Screw this." Naruto muttered to himself, as he saw Sakura's crest-fallen look. "I don't like seeing her like that, even if she doesn't like me."
"Hey, hey Sakura-chan... Why the sad face?" Naruto concerningly asked, once he'd come over close enough.
Once the pink-haired girl had noticed it was her blond teammate who'd approached her, she had been about to give him her cold-shoulder. However, instead of doing so, she ended up pausing and giving it a think over. She stopped talking to him because she'd been angry that she'd been cheated by a book, rather than Naruto finally doing something right himself. However, a speculative jade eye ran up and down Naruto, taking careful consideration.
Not liking the way she was scrutinising him, the blond ninja went on to ask. "Is something the matter, Sakura-chan?" His voice gave indication to his earnest worries. He really wasn't sure if the way she was looking at him was better or worse than when she was giving him the cold shoulder...
"No... Nothing is wrong, Naruto..." She proceeded to speak slowly, now contemplating a new decision.
The recent memory of a couple of weeks ago had her consider her options. A few talks with the Hokage had forced her to accept the fact that he had been doing it all for her and that his feelings were genuine. Then that whole incident of him accidentally have the other girls notice him, when he'd been trying to date her, had been quite a debacle but she had appreciated the gesture, as much as she'd deny it.
However, though everyone was pissed with the blond boy and after everything was all said and done, the other kunoichi's still hadn't stopped throwing glances down Naruto's way, whenever he wasn't looking. But Sakura noticed and it kind of irked her in a way she couldn't explain...
Then the pink-haired ninja had the most diabolical idea.
"You know, Naruto..." She started.
He nodded enthusiastically, hanging onto her every word.
"I have something I want to give you..."
"Really?" Naruto's eyes widened. His mind briefly flitted to wonder as he couldn't understand how Sakura's attitude had changed so quickly, but he wasn't one to question it now.
"Yep!" Sakura turned around and tore open the box she was holding. "Hold on a second."
Naruto raised an eyebrow at this, but patiently waited. Just out of his view, Sakura had pulled out the contents of the present and she'd furiously went over it with a kunai.
Once satisfied, the Haruno daughter turned back around and carefully offered the object to Naruto.
"Please wear it!" She asked of him.
Naruto accepted it with open arms, and found it to be a simple steel necklace with two military dog-tags -similar to the way the ANBU used to have for ways of identification! He immediately put it on without hesitation.
"Thanks a lot, Sakura-chan!" He beamed. "I think they're great!"
"You're welcome, Naruto!" She grinned back.
By coincidence, the light had refracted off a dent in the tags causing it to draw Naruto's attention. Peering down, he realised that one of the tag's had an inscription, other than the expected Leaf insignia. Lifting it up to his face to have a closer look, he read the recently hastily-put, chicken-scratch out loud.
"PROPERTY OF HARUNO SAKURA!-?"
Life is too short, and even shorter for ninjas! Seek out your beloved and never let them go!
Uploaded: February 7th, 2006.
Updated: October 26th, 2006.
Updated: January 12th, 2007.