Behind the Mask

Summary : Naruto has fallen into depression because of Itachi's Sharingan. Whats with that book Naruto keeps writing in? It's up to Sakura to get Naruto back on his feet in time for the Jounin exam's. Naruto/Sakura pairing

A/N : Sorry it took me a while to get this chapter out. It's just that freaking Gran Turismo 4 and Tekken 5 have completely taken over my life. Plus, I just switched schools so yea its been tough since I also have work and yea…The first half is a little comedy so enjoy.

Chapter 2 : Loved Ones

Genma was not having a good day. When he woke up this morning, he couldn't find his favorite senbon needle that he usually let hang from his mouth. For breakfast, all he had to eat was crackers…CRACKER for crying out loud! What kind of shinobi wakes up and thinks to themselves, "I want crackers for breakfast!" Oh and that's not all of it, Kakashi promised him that he would let him borrow Icha Icha Tactics when he came in yesterday but was he anywhere in site? Hell no! He's probably Beep Beep Beep gerbils Beep Beep salmon egg's Beep artificial beavers right now! So here he is, standing in front of the Konoha gate's, on guard duty.

A figure was quickly approaching him as he sat there staring off into the forest. He squinted his eye's and recognized the pink haired girl from when he visited the Hokage last week. She was carrying a limp form in her hands, which he identified as Naruto due to the orange outfit.

"Hey, what happened to him?" Genma asked

"Out of the way!" Sakura yelled as she ran towards the gate. "Open the damn doors!"

"Tell me what happened first!"

"Arghhh, I have no time for this…" She jumped up in the air and kicked the 1 ton oak door down. Genma just stared at the disappearing figure as it ran off towards the hospital.

"This is coming out of my salary…"

XXXXXXXXXX

Sakura watched Naruto's sleeping form as she listened to the life support system beep. She knew due to her medical experience that life support was not necessary but the nurse kept telling her it was required. The beeping just made her even more nervous and freighted for Naruto.

"NARUTO!" Sakura turned around at the voice and found her former sensei standing in the door way. She wore her regular white robes with green robes, but her hair was standing up in different directions.

"She fell asleep again…" Sakura thought

"What happened to him Sakura?" Tsunade asked while walking over to Naruto's bed.

"I don't know…" Sakura said, "but I think Itachi used his Sharingan on him." Tsunada breathed a sigh of relief.

"Is that all?" The godaime laughed, "All have him up faster than you can say Yondaime!"

"Yondaime…" Sakura whispered. Tsunade put her right hand above Naruto's forehead. Her hand started to glow blue as she applied chakra to it. She moved her hand to his eye's and let it sit there for a while. The chakra in her hand started to disappear as Naruto's eye's started to open.

"Naruto!" Tsunade flung her arm's around the blond boy as she pulled him into a motherly embrace. Naruto just sat there, a sad look on his face. Sakura just stared at him. Through all the years, she had never seen him with a look of grim on his face. His smile was one of the things she liked about him the most. No matter how bad the situation would be, he would give her that big goofy grin of his and tell her everything was alright. Tsunade then let go of him but kept her hands on his shoulders and looked him over. "Your feeling better right?"

Naruto's usually bright cerulean eye's, looked dead and jagged. Tsunade slowly moved her hands away as she stared into those eye's There was no life in them at all. This was not the Naruto Sakura knew. The Naruto she knew would ask her out on a date or want to get some ramen or something Narutoish. Sakura couldn't take it anymore. She stood up from her seat sat down in front of Naruto and grasped his hand.

"Naruto…" Sakura asked, with worry, "Whats wrong?"

"Can I have my book, please…" He asked without moving an inch.

Sakura nodded as she let go of his hand and walked over to the dresser. She searched his cloths for the small book she saw him writing in last night. Her search ended, when she found the book in the pocket in his orange pants. She closed the dresser, walked over to him and sat down. The pink haired girl handed him the book and watched as he closed his fingers around the spine of it.

"Anything else?" Sakura asked.

"I'd like to be left alone please…"

"Common Sakura lets go," Tsunada said, as she turned foot to leave. Sakura got up from the bed and made her way to the door. She took one more look at him and closed the door. Sakura took a deep breath and turned to her sensei. The godaime crossed her arms and leaned against the wall.

"Explain."

"Alright," Sakura started, "Naruto offered to take the first shift to watch over camp. Maybe a hour or two later, I woke up and he was nowhere to be seen. I heard a scream and started to run towards it. I came across a big sakura tree and shrine in the middle of a small lake. I walked into the shrine and saw Naruto on the ground, trembling. I picked him up and asked what happened but Itachi was there also. All he said was Mangekyo and something about slowing him down. I tried to stop him but when I thought I got him it was just a kage bunshin. So then I rushed him here…"

"Hmmm…"

"Sensei," Sakura said, "What's Mangekyo?"

Tsunade stropped leaning on the wall and straightened herself up. "Mangekyo is a jutsu that works with the sharingan. It makes the victim of it see what they fear the most or something really really bad." (I forgot the real definition lol) Tsunade started to pace back and forth, with her hand on her chin. "Usually it's something the person hated or feared in there past. It basically targets there mind and makes them go crazy. The jutsu I used is supposed to balance them out mentally but considering Naruto's case, it seems that it just wont go away."

"Do you think it has anything to do with kyu-" Sakura paused as she got a glare from Tsunade, "I mean the furball?"

"Probably, but don't jump to conclusions," Tsunade stopped pacing around, "I've got more paperwork to do so I'll see you around. You have the week off." After that sentence, she walked away into the dark hall.

"Oh Sensei!" Sakura said, "What that book that he asked for?"

"You'll have to ask him yourself," She said never turning around. With that said, Sakura turned and walked down her own dark hallways.

XXXXXXXXXX

The long walk home was really troublesome today. Sakura's memory kept kicking her in the head with the image of Naruto's sad face. His eye's were the feature she missed the most. He would only really open his eye's fully on a few occasions but secretly she loved those eye's even more than Sasuke-kun.

"Hell yea!" yelled Inner Sakura.

She realized that she had been thinking a lot about Naruto over the two years away from each other. Often she would wonder if he was alright or what he was doing or what he was thinking about. When she heard of Naruto being the container of Kyuubi, she was devastated. She remembered telling Naruto that he would never understand what Sasuke-kun was going through in his life, but now she mental kicked herself for never trying to understand Naruto. Was she starting to like Naruto-kun?

"Of course you like him! Hell yea!" Sakura just shook off the thought.

Sakura stopped by Ichiraku ramen bar and hoped she would see him there, eating his eleventh bowl of ramen, but her dream was cut short as she only saw the old man who ran the stand and his daughter. She didn't want to be rude so she sat down and ordered a small miso ramen. In a few short minutes, a hot steaming bowl of ramen was set in front of her by Ayame.

"Itadakimasu…" She said as she picked up her chop sticks and began to eat. Halfway through, she just sat there thinking of her blond friend, as she picked at her pieces of Naruto.

"So how'd you mission go with Naruto?" The old man asked.

"Not so good," Sakura kept looking at her naruto pieces but all she saw was her Naruto smiling at him. "Naruto's in the hospital as we speak."

"What happened to him?" Ayame asked

"He's fallen into depression I suppose…"

"I figured this would happen one day," the old man said, as he crossed his arms, "That boys been through a lot for his age, all because of that damn fox."

"Shhhhh…weren't not supposed to talk about that," Ayame whispered

"It's alright, I already know about Kyuubi."

"Oh ok…"

"What I want to know is whats in that book of his," Sakura said as she ate a naruto.

"Do you mean that small leather bound book he carries around with him all the time?" The old man asked.

"Yea that's the one!" Sakura exclaimed, "Do you know what he writes in it?"

"Nope but I remember the third Hokage giving it to him on his seventh birthday," He then turned to his daughter. "Isn't his birthday coming up and a few days?"

"Yeah, its actually in four days."

"I didn't know his birthday was in October," Sakura got up from her stool and pulled a few ryu out of her pocket at set it on the counter, "I'll have to get him something, thanks for the ramen!" She then ran out of the booth towards her house.

XXXXXXXXXX

"I'm home!" Sakura yelled as she took off her slippers. She ran into the kitchen and saw her mother, washing the dish's. "Hi mom!" Sakura said as she hugged her.

"Hi honey, how was the mission?"

"It was ok…"

"Ok? That's it?"

"Yea, I swear," She couldn't bring her mother into this. Last time Naruto got hurt, her mother insisted Sakura make him a bento lunch to make him feel better. It worked, but she thinks Naruto forced himself to eat the lunch. She tried it herself and it tasted awful, but he smiled at her, said it was great, and inhaled the whole thing.

"Alright…" Mrs. Haruno said as Sakura went to her room. "Say hi to you father."

"Ok mom!" Sakura ran into the family room and jumped on the black recliner. "Hi Dad!"

Mr. Haruno just looked at her and switched the T.V. off. "What wrong dad?"

"That Naruto kid didn't do anything to you right?" He asked seriously.

"Dad, I already told you he's a good guy!" Sakura said, "He could be a baka at sometimes but he would never try to hurt me!"

"I just don't like the idea of you hanging around him. That seal could break any second!"

"Tsunade-sensei taught me how to restore the seal so don't worry!"

"Hmffff whatever…" Sakura just rolled her eye's and ran to her room. She changed into her pajama's and laid down under her pink sheet's. Images of Naruto flooded her mind again as she went off into dream world.

XXXXXXXXXX

The white rooms in the hospital got very dark at night. In room nine, a small overhead lamp, shun over the blond haired boy. His book was open as his hand trembled on the last word.

"Demon child!"

"Stay away from me!"

"Don't play with him dear, he's dangerous."

"Get away from my kids!"

"Why did you kill him! Why did you have to take him away from me!"

"Monsters don't have feelings…"

"Burn in hell demon!"

Naruto started to shed tears when his pencil snapped as he wrote the last word…loved…He put the book on the small nightstand next to his bed and cried himself to sleep.

XXXXXXXXXX

"Look Sakura-san…" Iruka started, It was the next morning and Sakura decided that if she needed to get some information she needed to ask the people Naruto cared most for. "Naruto has been through a lot his whole 15 years of life. Me and him are very similar. No parent's, no one to look after us, no one to talk to, we were alone most of are lives. Naruto's case was even worse since he never knew what it was like to be loved by someone. All Naruto needs is someone to look after him and keep on letting him know that there are people in this world that care for him."

Sakura just stood there taking in as much of it as she could. Since she already knew about Kyuubi, she understood more than she would have 3 years ago.

"But Sakura-san," Iruka paused and looked her straight in the eye's, "You need to understand, that when Naruto wants to be alone, he really wants to be alone. He may look like the saddest person alive, but leave him alone if he asks to be, ok?"

"Ok," Sakura slid open the door and stepped outside, "I'll remember that, arigatou sensei," Sakura bowed and closed the door. Iruka sat at his desk a grin creeping up onto his face as he reminisced on the days when he taught his favorite student.

XXXXXXXXXX

"Ohaiyo!" Sakura had found herself in one of the worst place's. She usually only came here when Sasuke-kun was hurt, but during the past two years, she realized it was just a silly crush. This place…this place filled with flowers upon flowers of different shapes and colors…was hell itself. "Hi forehead freak!" Yamanako's Flower Shop…

"Hey Ino-pig" Sakura sighed, as she started looking around the shop.

"So who are you buying flowers for?" Ino still wore her purple outfit with the bandages under it except now she wore a chuunin vest. She had to replace her headband with a blue one because she gave the ribbon back to Sakura since they weren't rivals anymore. "Are they for Naruto?"

"Yeah, who else would they be for?"

"Your starting to fall head over heals for Naruto huh?" Ino said smiling, she put her hands on her chin, grinning like a mad man at her.

"No way I'd like Naruto-kun in a million years!"

"Kun?" Ino said laughing

"I meant baka!" Sakura yelled while blushing.

"Then why of all flowers are you buying a rose for him?" Sakura looked down at her hands and saw the flower she absent mindedly picked up. A red rose with a few thorns still on the stem. "Rose's are very beautiful except that if you handle them wrong, they'll bite you in the ass…" (I'm not good with the flower explanation thing lol) Sakura sighed as she pulled out 10 ryu from her pocket. Ino held up a hand, signaling free of charge.

"Thanks Ino-pig,"

"Don't mention it Forehead freak," Sakura walked outside of the flower shop on her way to the hospital. She needed to find out a way to figure out what Naruto was thinking. That's when the idea hit her like a brick wall. She quickly ran back to the flower shop and slammed the door open. "Ino! I need a favor!"

A/N : Well there go's the second chapter for you all. Till next time folks! Remember Review and the next chapter will come out sooner!