Here is chapter five! Enjoy and thanks for everyone who's reviewed this story!

I'm also going to take down my fic challenge either before or sometime in September. I've received a lot of acceptances but haven't seen any actual work, so I'm going to take it down soon.

Exploding Stars

Chapter 5 The Honeymooners' Hideaway

Standing as proud and straight as a green arrow in the distance was the unmistakable Maito Gai, arms folded and grinning toothily. His pearly teeth gave off a shine and he made a show of winking at Sasuke, whose hands were suddenly cold and clammy. Beside Gai's lean figure was his ever present and faithful protégé, Rock Lee, who also winked and flashed a thumb-up. Sasuke was suddenly thankful of having Naruto in between him and the eccentric, green-clad duo. At least, if Gai and Lee came after him, he could always sacrifice the blonde and buy himself a head start in the opposite direction.

There was an abrupt green and black blur, and the next thing Sasuke knew, Lee had his arms tightly secured around his waist and was sobbing uncontrollably. Gai, his arm swung around Sasuke's neck, also had thick rivulets of tears running down his cheeks.

"Ahh, young love! Such a sweet thing should be cherished forever. So pure and beautiful—it makes my heart ache!" Gai declared passionately, his hold unconsciously tightening around Sasuke's throat, causing the Uchiha to almost gag as his windpipe was squeezed painfully.

"Yes, t-teacher! I-It's j-just so… so touching," agreed Lee, who buried his wet face into Sasuke's shoulder.

"Sasuke, promise me that you'll treasure and protect her forever! For she must be the rarest of jewels to have caught the eye of an Uchiha! Not to mention, she'll soon be the unlucky target of many broken hearts in Konoha. Promise me!"

"I p-promise," Sasuke choked out.

"It is the perfect season for mating. Love is in the very air we breathe in. Even the animals are mating, you know!"

Especially that stupid, perverted fox over there, Sasuke wanted to say, but only managed, "L-Let me g-go…" He struggled, trying to free his arm, but his attempts were futile against Lee's relentless grip. He glanced at Naruto and was even more irritated at the happy smirk Naruto was sporting at his misfortune. He should've fed Naruto to the duo and made a break for it when he had the chance.

"S-Sasuke, I-I'd j-just like to c-congratulate you. I never t-thought…" Lee's voice faltered as he succumbed to another bout of tears.

"Me too! It moves me deeply how you married her in secret out of love and consideration for her safety." Gai finally removed his arm—only to deliver a hard clap to Sasuke's back. "You have no idea how much I'm dying to see the beautiful children!"

"Oh, S-Sasuke, you know h-how much I care," Lee sniffed, "about S-Sakura. I g-guess I just w-want to…" another sniff and a gulp, "thank you for taking care of her…"

Naruto snorted. Sasuke immediately felt guilty for all the times he'd mistreated his teammate. Then remembered how much of an annoyance—she just doesn't get that he doesn't care about her like that—Sakura had been and his guilt readily ceased.

"…and to w-wish you g-good l-luck with your… your wife." The last word was uttered awkwardly as if the concept of Sasuke actually having a wife had just sunk in.

"Yes, of course. That is why we—"

"SASUKEEEE!" A shrill shriek pierced the air.

Sasuke cringed. Naruto plugged his ears. Both Lee and Gai were frozen in shock.

Rapidly approaching them down the street was a stampede of determined girls ranging from furious to vengeful to heartbroken. The ground beneath them rumbled and shook with their thunderous footsteps. Sasuke felt his face drain of colour and his knees go jelly-like. Thankfully, Lee was still clutching him in that impossible vice-like grip of his.

Oh Hokage, anything but fangirls! Of all the evildoers and criminal masterminds Sasuke had ever had the fortune of coming across, fangirls were the absolute worst. They were merciless and obsessive and civilians. You couldn't simply fight back—the only thing you could do when pursued by besotted fangirls was to run away and pray your stamina lasted. And as Sasuke knew from many past experiences, fangirls were uncannily clever and deadly persistent. They could sniff you out if you remain in a place too long and their stalking skills were almost on par with a high-classed ninja's. And once they got you, there was no escape.

"SASUKEEE!" They chorused again. If Sasuke wasn't so used to it, he might have even trembled at their battle cry.

Oh no! The distance was swiftly closing in. Sasuke would have to act fast if he didn't want to fall prey to the savage fangirls. And Sasuke had a hunch that this time would be the worst of all past pursuits.

Beside the Uchiha, Naruto was snickering quietly. Sasuke was certainly in for it. Serves the damn bastard right! And Sasuke always thought he was such a good ninja and better than Naruto. Well, for all the skills and talent and utter luck Sasuke possessed, he couldn't even deal with girls. The blonde glanced at his mate. Sasuke certainly didn't look too good—his wide eyes were threatening to pop out of their sockets and his face was too pale even with his milky complexion.

Hee hee, what a poor bastard, having all these crazy fangirls wanting to kill him, Naruto thought gleefully. …Wait a minute. These girls don't want to kill him—they want to kill who the bastard married. Which is me! …SHIT!

His mind blank except for the oncoming danger, Naruto acted strictly out of reflex. He tore away a petrified Lee from Sasuke and, in one smooth move, hoisted Sasuke onto a strong shoulder. Knocking aside a too-stunned-to-move Gai easily, the blonde dashed down the dusty street as fast as he could with the Uchiha balanced precariously on his shoulder.

Naruto didn't know how long he had been running and dodging flying objects (mostly kunai, though there was the odd shoe and tomato). It must have been nearly twenty minutes, he supposed. He wasn't tired—his stamina and endurance were legendary, after all—though his annoyance was multiplying exponentially. Why was he doing this again? He should've just tossed Sasuke to the girls when he had the chance.

…Why not? It's not like Sasuke was grateful for his heroic actions if the incessant pounding on his back and demands of "Let me down, idiot!" meant anything. Saving his own skin—

"Don't you dare even think about that!" Sasuke suddenly snarled.

Naruto scowled though the Uchiha couldn't see. "First you want me to put you down and now you don't? Make up your mind, you jerk!"

"Just keep on going! They're getting closer."

Naruto suddenly stopped in his tracks.

"What are you doing! GO!" Sasuke screamed, punching the blonde's muscled back. He better not do what I think he's going to do!

It was embarrassing asking for the moron's help, but it was the only way if Sasuke wanted to survive this chase alive and unscathed. His butt hurt too much for him to even walk so running was completely out of the question.

The stampede of fangirls was quickly approaching them, a large cloud of dust trailing in their wake. Naruto was still not moving. Sasuke heard Naruto swear a string of colourful curses and started struggling on the blonde's shoulder, punching and kicking as best as he could.

Then Naruto suddenly turned around, nearly causing the Uchiha to fall off. Sasuke's jaw dropped. Coming at them in the opposite direction was another herd of fangirls. They were completely trapped on both sides.

"SASUKE!" They echoed. "Don't run!"

Some girl chucked a kunai at the couple with startling accuracy. Sasuke moved his head just in time, and the kunai brushed his cheek, shearing off a thin lock of black hair.

"Hold on," Naruto cautioned. Without further warning, the blonde leapt unto the side of a building and started sprinting up to the roof. Below them, Sasuke could see some girls pounce on his lock of hair. He hoped they weren't going to use his hair for voodoo purposes or strange rituals.

"No, Sasuke! Don't run away!" It was frightening how they all spoke as one.

A few of the mob—the kunoichis, Sasuke guessed—started scaling the side of the building with ease. Others sent flurries of kunai at the duo in hopes of stopping or at least slowing them down.

"Faster! Run faster, you dimwit!" Sasuke dodged a kunai and knocked one away from Naruto's head.

"Hey, I'm doing my best, okay? To the Hokage Tower?"

The confirmation wasn't necessary. Naruto already knew the answer.


Somehow when her two most troublemaking ninjas crashed into her office via one of her large windows that afternoon, Tsunade wasn't the least bit surprised. She had been in the middle of an insane amount of paperwork—half of which was overdue—and secretly half-welcomed, half-dreaded the distraction. Shizune would not be happy to see Tsunade's current progress—not that she ever was—the next time she came in to check. Tsunade was exceptionally talented at shirking her duties as Hokage, but her excuses only worked so long with Shizune.

They sure know how to make an entrance, she thought wryly, not even looking up from the documents regarding a trade treaty with Mist as the window behind her desk shattered onto her carpeted floor. Landing in an entangled heap on the shards of broken glass were Naruto and Sasuke. Trust them not to use the door like ordinary people.

"You're paying for that. I don't care who," Tsunade declared in her Hokage voice, the one that left no room for argument, her eyes still fixated on the lines of fine print in front of her.

"Aw, but Tsunaaddeeeee!" Naruto whined, standing up and carefully brushing off pieces of glass on his body. Tsunade resisted the urge to knock him non-too-gently upside the head. Even after all these years, Naruto had remained Naruto—he still hasn't lost that particularly annoying, childish whine of his. "It's not our fault! We were chased by bloodthirsty fangirls! They were throwing kunai and trying to kill us!"

The female Hokage scoffed, finally setting aside her paperwork and raising her brown eyes to meet her two intruders. Er, visitors.

So the rumours are true, Tsunade thought, amused.

It was at that moment when her large wooden doors swung open, admitting the two ninja officers positioned outside her office door. Tsunade never knew whether they were there for her protection (which she definitely didn't need) or to prevent unwanted visitors from coming in. Should the latter be the case, then they certainly weren't doing that well of a job.

"Are you all right, Hokage? What has happened?"

"I'm fine. You may go," she dismissed them while rubbing her temples. "Send someone to clean up this mess too." Tsunade gestured to the mess of broken glass.

The Chuunins nodded and quickly bowed out of habit and respect before taking their leave. The trade treaty now completely forgotten, Tsunade focused her undivided attention on the room's remaining occupants.

"State your business," she addressed formally, lacing her fingers under her chin. "And it had better be something important!" Actually, she didn't really mind if the matter was irrelevant as long as it kept her from paperwork.

"Well, um… You're never gonna believe this, but…" Naruto proceeded to explain the entire story to her, including what happened that morning and their suspicions, with Sasuke interrupting once every while to add details. Of course, they conveniently left out the part where they were kissing in the bathtub. It wasn't Tsunade's business who they choose to kiss, after all.

Much to her surprise and the newlyweds' relief, Tsunade managed to keep her face schooled throughout the account. It took all her willpower to keep from trembling with laughter and she had to bite the inside of her cheek to prevent grinning.

By the time Naruto and Sasuke were finished retelling, both were sporting identical blushes.

"And you have come to seek my help for…?" Tsunade finally prompted even though she had a vague idea what they wanted.

"We want you to annul it," the couple spoke at the same time, confirming Tsunade's hunch.

"You've consummated your marriage, have you not?" The female Hokage leaned back into her chair. Her fingers idly fiddled while she smugly trained her eyes on a flustered Sasuke and an equally embarrassed Naruto. It was about time she tortured them a little. They shattered her window, after all.

"No! I mean, yes! No! I mean, sort of… Well, you see…"

Tsunade raised an eyebrow.

"What he means to say is that we've made a grave mistake," Sasuke interfered smoothly.

"So you did have sex."

"Like we said, we were drunk and out of our minds. We weren't thinking straight." Naruto had a pleading look in his eyes.

"Don't worry. I understand."

"You do?" Surprise and hope were evident in their voices.

"Of course. Sexual frustration is common among boys like yourselves. Did Kakashi not give you the talk?" Tsunade pretended to raise her hand to shoo them out of her office, signalling the end of their absurd discussion.

"NO! That's not what we mean!"

Tsunade hid a smile. Judging by the boys' flaming faces, Kakashi had indeed given them the talk. And knowing Kakashi's rather unique and eccentric character, the boys must have received a highly graphic and equally perverted version of the birds and the bees. (Truthfully, the boys had been so disturbed after the talk that they couldn't speak for a week and had recurring nightmares of bondage chains. They also grew nervous in Sakura's company and made it a point of avoiding her for days. As for Sakura, she had already been tutored by her parents and had luckily been spared that little session in sex education with Kakashi. To this day, she still had no clue what she had missed or why her companions had been so shy around her.)

"Then what do you mean?"

"The point, Old Hag is that we made a huge, huge mistake. We somehow got hitched and did it, okay? We're sorry, you're sorry, everybody's sorry. Now can you please help us?"

"What will you have me do?"

"What we said before! Annul us or something. Or at least destroy the marriage files. That way we can go on with our happy lives and forget this ever happened."

The room fell into a tense silence. Tsunade pretended for their sake to contemplate the idea. She could feel two sets of eyes glued to her every slight movement.

"No," she finally answered.

"Whaddya mean 'no'!"

"I can't do that."

"Why not!" Both spoke at the same time.

Her expression changed to serious. "It's simple. It's out of my power."

"But-but you're the Hokage! You're the leader of Konoha. You can do anything you want."

Tsunade frowned. "No, I can't do anything I want, Naruto. Power is given to serve. That is something you must understand if you want to become Hokage." She sighed tiredly. "I may be Hokage, but first and foremost, I must honour and uphold the law and tradition. I imagine you two oppose a divorce." She darted a sidelong look at Sasuke who remained quiet.

Naruto looked ready to protest, so she quickly continued. "I can't just pronounce your marriage nonexistent. In the eyes of Konoha's law, your marriage is legal and official. You've consummated the marriage, so now any annulment is strictly out of the question. I can't disregard the law and tradition just because you two," she levelled her gaze sternly, "got drunk and decided to play husband and wife."

"So… you're saying you can't do anything?" Sasuke softly inquired.

Tsunade's eyes softened. "No. The only thing that can be done is a divorce," she said gently.

"However, I strongly advise not making any quick, rash decisions. I also suggest lying low for a week or two until all this excitement has died down. Think about your options for a while. Don't do anything you might regret."

The boys remained mute as they slowly digested what she said.

"Now if there is nothing else, get out of here. I have work to do. And find someone to clean up the glass," Tsunade ordered.

They meekly nodded and were almost at the door when she called out teasingly. "By the way, is it Uzumaki Sasuke now?" Her only reply was the slamming of the door. Tsunade snickered and hoped they would actually take her (or anyone's, on that note) advice and stay out of trouble.

Once their footsteps resided out of earshot, Tsunade's gaze flickered to the open window. "You can come out now."

There was a deep chuckle before a stocky, white-haired man easily climbed through the sharp, jagged edges of the broken window. "How did you know it was me?" Jiraiya asked, not really expecting an answer.

"I suppose you heard everything?"

"Of course. I can't believe that brat bought that speech."

"I can't believe it either. Maybe he will prove to be a decent candidate for the Hokage after all."

"You know, I would've done the same."

"The same?"

"Refuse to end their little union," Jiraiya sing-songed with a wink.

The blonde woman knew what the frog hermit was implying. It wasn't difficult to erase the marriage records and destroy any proof the wedding occurred. She nodded in agreement. "Certainly. It's a pity to break up the fun just when it's begun. Besides, it'll be good for them. Who knows? Maybe they'll fall in love."

The two legendary Sannin paused, exchanged glances, and promptly burst out laughing at the purely ridiculous idea. Jiraiya proceeded to pull out a bottle of sake from a hidden pocket, and Tsunade mysteriously produced two cups. And together they drank to certain foolish newlyweds and their chaotic nuptial.


It went without asking where they would "lie low" for the week. Sasuke's was absolutely out of the question since it would be the first place for fangirls to gather. (Sasuke prayed that the Uchiha residence would still be standing by the time the week was over. It would be a shame to have the place survive a century and house generations of Uchihas only to meet its end at the hands of unpredictable and hormone-driven fangirls.) They weren't about to ask Sakura for apparent reasons, and didn't even bother to consider Kakashi's one-room bachelor apartment. Iruka's was also ruled out because they felt uncomfortable being around their former schoolteacher in their current state of wedded anguish. Shikamaru, Kiba, and Chouji probably wouldn't have minded their staying over, but it meant they'd have to explain everything and submit to a period of merciless teasing. Sasuke would sooner slit this own throat than seek help from the Hyuugas (namely Neji), although kind, sweet Hinata would've welcomed them within a heartbeat. The only obvious choice left was Naruto's apartment.

Despite that they had been close comrades for nearly all their lives, Sasuke had in fact never stepped foot into Naruto's home. He had been over plenty of times indeed, but those visits were short (though not short enough sometimes) and always limited to outside the door. Before today, he had never any desire to enter the blonde's habitat and was anxious and curious as Naruto pushed open the battered front door of his home. The lock appeared to have been broken for a long time, so having keys was pointless.

Naruto caught him looking and explained, "It's been like that forever. I just never bothered changing it. I don't have anything of value to steal anyway."

The blonde's apartment was everything Sasuke had anticipated. It was small, messy, and expressed Naruto with a capital N in every edge and corner. There was a worn table piled with empty instant ramen bowls and an old, scruffy couch next to it. Sasuke was almost surprised to see a bookshelf to one side (Naruto reads!), but upon closer inspection realized it was filled with abandoned ninjutsu scrolls and manga. There were dirty dishes waiting to be washed in the sink, clothes both unclean and freshly laundered lying carelessly on the couch, and random oddities scattered haphazardly everywhere. It was the complete opposite of the spotless walls and gleaming wooden floorboards of the immaculate Uchiha mansion, but Sasuke had endured worser conditions to complain. He had to admit the apartment was cozy. At least it was nowhere near the worst-case scenario, which included a leaky roof and a place infested with rats.

"I guess we'll just have to visit Shika later. I'm not giving up, you know," Naruto declared sharply, casually tossing his bright orange jacket onto his couch. He moved to the kitchen and snatched an apple off the fruit bowl. He polished it on his black tank top before taking a bite.

"Of course not. I'm not staying married to a pinhead like you if it's the last thing I do."

"Hey! You want a fight?"

"No. I don't need a brainless, bloody pulp right now. Even if you are brainless to begin with," Sasuke smirked and went to examine the bedroom.

Naruto's room was plain but neat. It boasted only a tiny single bed, a chest of drawers, and a nightstand. What caught Sasuke's eye immediately were the two framed pictures on the nightstand. The next thing he knew, he had picked up the cheap picture frames and was gingerly stroking the edge, reminiscing.

One was of Team Seven, taken years ago while they were still completing C and D rank missions. Kakashi was standing behind him and Sakura, his hands resting on their shoulders, while Naruto was in the front, posing and grinning widely. Sakura, smiling sweetly, had her arms around his, much to his annoyance, which led to the scowl he was wearing when the camera clicked. The other photo was newer and taken at a festival night a couple years ago. Sasuke originally hadn't wanted to go, but Naruto had somehow blackmailed him. They were attired in traditional kimonos, Naruto in light blue and Sasuke in dark violet. The blonde was clutching bags of candy and smiling at the camera, while Sasuke simply stood next to him, neither scowling nor smiling. Sasuke was amazed at how good they looked together. Almost like a—

The sound of the doorbell abruptly woke him from his thoughts. He dropped the picture frame, but quick reflexes caught it before it landed on the floor.

Who could be visiting Naruto? Surely, no one aside from Tsunade knew of Naruto's role in yesterday's escapade. It must be someone familiar then.

Naruto himself was puzzled as he answered the door.

"Hel—" he started to say; then quickly slammed the door shut upon seeing who the person was. He pressed his back to the door, desperately trying to think of what to do.

Outside, Sakura frowned. She raised her hand to press the doorbell again.

"Naruto?" Sasuke eyed the blonde curiously. "Who is it?"

"Sa. Ku. Ra," Naruto mouthed.

The Uchiha's eyes widened. Oh no! If Sakura found out he was here… He shuddered at the mere thought. Stop panicking, Uchiha, and think of a way out, he ordered himself and successfully quelled the bubbling fear. Stealthily, he dashed back into Naruto's bedroom and waited, his ear pressed to the door.

Naruto mentally counted to ten and cleared his throat before opening the front door again just enough to reveal a pensive Sakura.

"Why did you do that?" she demanded.

"Huh? That? Uh, it was nothing. I just didn't expect to see you here," Naruto forced a smile. It must have looked really fake because Sakura raised an eyebrow suspiciously. Naruto swallowed nervously. Was Sakura catching on? He could never lie to her. She always knew it when he was telling anything less than the truth.

"Can I come in?"

"NO!" Naruto kicked himself hard. Smooth move, Uzumaki. Now she definitely knows something is up.

Sakura's eyebrow raised even higher. "What is going on, Naruto?"

"Nothing," he squeaked. Now Sakura definitely knew Naruto was hiding something. And he knew that she knew that he was hiding something. And she knew that he knew that she knew that he was hiding something. Even Sasuke knew that she knew that he knew that she knew that he was hiding something. And Naruto knew that she knew that he wasn't about to give an explanation.

The pink-haired nurse pursed her lips and decided to play along. Naruto was easy to crack anyway—not that she hasn't had enough practice over the years trying to coax out more than five words from Sasuke. "Fine then. Is there someone in there? Do you have guests?"


"Then why can't I come in?" With that said, Sakura pushed the door open and brushed past the tall blonde. Naruto had no choice but to close the door quietly behind her. He darted a nervous glance at his bedroom door.

"If you're worried of a messy place, it's okay. I've been here enough times. I don't mind." Sakura went to the couch and cleared a space from all the clothes for her to sit. She smoothed her skirt (a constant habit of hers whenever she was anxious or distressed) and placed her white purse on her lap.

"Uh, thank you?" How exactly is one supposed to answer that question? Naruto duly plopped down next to her.

It was then with the afternoon sun pouring boldly through the window that Naruto got a really good look at her. Sakura's pink hair wasn't neatly combed and in place like always. Her eyes were swollen and bloodshot and her cheeks were tearstained. Her lips were red and worried as if she had been biting and nibbling them for a while. It didn't take a genius to figure out that she was really upset and had been crying hard for a long time.

Without warning, tears started rapidly welling in her light green eyes and flowing down her cheeks. Sakura shoved her flushed face into his chest and wrapped her arms securely around his waist. Naruto wound his muscular arms in reply and pressed her tightly to himself, trying to whisper reassuring words to calm her. For a good quarter of an hour, Naruto allowed Sakura to sob into him while he held onto her shaking figure.

Hearing nothing for awhile, Sasuke couldn't help but feel curious. As gently and quietly as he could, he inched open the bedroom door just enough so that he had a view of the couch. The hinges creaked but, fortunately, it seemed the duo outside didn't hear. What he saw caused a tint of something unpleasant to spark inside him. Sakura was crying into Naruto's chest and he had his arms around her. Sasuke didn't like the scene but couldn't do anything about it.

…Was he jealous? But, but that was absurd! Why would he be jealous? Naruto didn't like Sakura anymore, did he?

Finally, Sakura began to quieten down. Sniffling and hiccupping, the girl delicately pulled out of Naruto's hug. There was a big, dark spot on the black fabric where her eyes had been.

"P-People are s-saying that Sasuke got married yesterday," she whispered softly. "I d-don't know who though… B-But I believe that it's true…"

"I know."

"Y-You do?" There was a silence as Naruto realized that was absolutely the wrong thing to say. "You… you knew about it, didn't you? I bet you were there when they eloped! Was I the only one who didn't know?" Sakura's voice began building momentum, and before long she was screaming outright at the top of her lungs.

"N-NO! I didn't mean that! I didn't know!" Naruto desperately answered. He noticed the knuckles clenching her purse were white and wondered if Sakura was going to hit him with her purse.

"You do! You do!"

"No, I don't!"

"You do!"

"I don't!"

"You do!"

"I don't!"

"You do!"

"I don't!"

Sakura's voice faltered. "You do."

"I don't."

"…You don't?"

"I do," Naruto replied unconsciously.

Sakura's eyes widened. "YOU DO!"

"NO! I really don't, Sakura. You have to believe me!" the blonde lied. As if she had lost all energy, the nurse slumped back onto the couch.

"Okay, I believe you, Naruto. But you have to help me." Sakura took one of Naruto's strong, calloused hands in hers and stared into his blue eyes dramatically. "Promise me," she commanded solemnly.

"I promise."

"You must help me find whoever did this. I-I know this sounds selfish, but Sasuke doesn't deserve her! I was the one who looked after him all these years, and I know he wouldn't just marry some girl. She must have seduced or tricked or even blackmailed him into marrying her. You understand, don't you?"

Naruto didn't have a choice but to nod.

"You have to help me find her. I… I have to know who she is. I-I've waited so long… It's just not fair!"

"Um… say if—"

"Not if, Naruto, when," Sakura corrected sternly, her hands tightening around his.

"When you find this… er, girl, um… you'renotgonnakillher,areyou?" The last part spilled out of his lips.

"Of course not. I'm going to torture her first," Sakura's steel gaze hardened even more. "After everything she did to Sasuke, it's the least she deserves!"

The blonde licked his lips. His mouth had suddenly gone as dry as the desert. Now how was he going to weasel his way out of this one? Sakura had just made him promise to capture and hand over to her for torture the one that Sasuke married. Which is himself.

Across the room, Sasuke who was still eavesdropping on their conversation couldn't suppress the urge to sneeze any longer. He didn't even know that it counted when one was eavesdropping on a conversation about oneself. Horrified, he froze in his position, holding his nose and praying that Sakura wouldn't notice.

Sakura's head jerked in the direction of the sound. She was positive she heard something come from that room.

"Did you hear that?" she asked Naruto, who immediately blocked her view.

"No, that was just me," Naruto lied and faked some coughs and sneezes. Sasuke! He screamed in his mind.

"No, no. I distinctively heard something from here," Sakura insisted, getting up and slowing making her way to what she remembered to be Naruto's bedroom.

SHIT! She's coming! Sasuke cursed, madly scrambling backward. He could hear Sakura's steps on the floor approaching as surely and determined as the sun would the following sunrise. His back hit the bed and Sasuke, panicking, did the only thing he could think of when the door swung open.

Sakura hesitantly placed her hand on the doorknob. The door was ajar and she pushed it open slowly. The hinges creaked. Behind her, Naruto didn't dare to breath. He closed his eyes and braced his ears for the scream of "SASUKE!" that was sure to follow.

But it never came.

Sakura could not believe her eyes.

Sitting on the side of Naruto's bed was a girl. A very pretty and very naked girl. Her legs were crossed and her hands were resting on the bed.

The girl looked out of place in Naruto's humble, cozy apartment on his blue and orange bedspread. As a matter of fact, she looked like she belonged on the cover of the glamorous high fashion magazines Sakura's mother used to collect. Sakura remembered pouring over the magazines with Ino when they were children and admiring all the beautiful ladies featured on its pages. They would've idolized this girl for sure.

The girl was gorgeous. She had smooth, flawless milky skin and long black hair. The locks were artfully cut and fell just past her slim shoulders. Her eyes were equally black and framed with long dark eyelashes. She was the kind of traditional beauty—black hair, black eyes, and white skin—that exists in myths and legends. The girl was blushing.

Sakura's cheeks heated up too. Now she understood why Naruto was so reluctant to welcome her in. They must have been doing certain things before she interrupted them.

"Sorry," she murmured before bolting past Naruto and out of the apartment.

Sasuke wanted to kill himself. No, he wanted to kill Naruto for inventing this ludicrous jutsu and himself for actually using it. Why had he chosen this stupid technique? Now there was no telling what Sakura would think.

Naruto, confused, went to investigate. And promptly passed out with a nosebleed.

To Be Continued.