Title: Check him out

Author:Chibi

Fandom: Naruto

Rating: PG-13ish

Warnings: Mentions of shonen ai, het, and shojo ai, AU

Pairings: Many random pairings mentioned, but mostly Ino and Sakura appear in the fic

Summary: Ino and Sakura eating lunch together; talking about a handful of the guys (and some of the girls) in their school—the different characters of Naruto

Notes: I haven't written a fic in ages due to the great computer crash of 2005. Finally, I'm getting everything back together again. This fic came to me randomly and was begging to be written. While it's not the birthday fic I was planning for my fiancée, I'd like to kinda dedicate it to her anyway (don't worry love, the birthday fic is still coming!).


"What about Neji?"

"Neji?"

"Yeah, Neji."

A pause, then, "he's single. Definitely single."

Slightly wide eyes, then a laugh, "oh, come on. He's hot."

"Neji is one of those people you look at from a distance, because up close he's an ass." A French fry dangled from Ino's lips as she spoke about the unapproachable upperclassmen. She pulled the crispy treat into her mouth with her teeth and licked the ketchup from her lips, tasting an odd mix of tomato with her strawberry lip gloss. "Hence," Ino grabbed another French fry and pointed it at her friend, "why he's single."

"What about Ten-Ten?" The question was asked around the edge of a straw as Sakura sipped on her caffeine free, zero calorie, brown water that was also known as diet soda, "she's around him enough, he can't be a complete ass."

"Sakura? Why do you drink that tasteless crap?"

"I'm watching my weight," Sakura said after taking another sip of the quote, unquote, tasteless crap.

"That's funny since you're eating my fries," Ino smirked when Sakura quickly pulled her hand away from the basket of fries.

"Yes but, I don't have my own basket. Sharing it only gives me half the calories," Sakura stuck her tongue out at Ino before she snatched away a couple of fries, popping each one into her mouth.

Ino just shook her head, a tiny smile on her face, "So who were we talking about?"

"Neji. And Ten-Ten. And him possibly being an extreme asshole of a heterosexual male."

"You think that boy is straight?" Ino looked across the cafeteria, past the football players, to the left of the chess team, and behind a few members of the school band. There he sat, thick waves of hair bundled up by a single hair band, Hyuuga Neji. He was one of those guys who read about the sciences that went beyond the high school Chemistry and Physics. Who finished the entire Geometry book even if the class only got to chapter twelve, and who only talked to a person when they had a group project to work on, "Actually..." Ino chewed on her French fry and sighed, "... I think that boy is asexual."

Sakura nearly choked on her drink but somehow managed to swallow without spitting it out, "Ino!"

"What? I'm serious," Ino shrugged, "I mean if he's not straight then the only guy he hangs around is Lee and..."

"There's nothing wrong with Lee," Sakura muttered.

"You're only saying that because you two kissed that one time by Gai-sensai's classroom."

"Hey!" Sakura crossed her arms at her chest, trying to get her blush to die down, "Lee is a nice guy and you know it." Lee was one of those guys who would always be picked last in gym class or who would be stuck selling tickets at the school dances instead of actually attending. Yet Lee was one of those guys who, once you got past the weird haircut and almost doll-like eyes, was the sweetest person you would ever meet. He carried all of Sakura's books, no matter how many or how heavy, and made sure to call her beautiful everyday, and if he didn't he went out and punished himself by running laps around the school twenty times.

"True, I'll give you that. He is a sweetheart," Ino looked back over at Neji, "but him and Neji? Neji would want to kill him, hell Neji already wants to kill him."

"Yeah," Sakura smirked, swiped a fry out of Ino's basket, and pointed it accusingly at her friend, "and I may have kissed Lee once but at least I didn't make out with Lazy Ass."

"Wha-? He-hey! I did not…"

"Oh yes you did! I saw you two by the bike racks the day it happened."

"… all right, so we had one little kiss…"

"His tongue was down your throat!"

"Sakura!" Ino hissed out and quickly looked around the cafeteria. The back of her neck was itching with a feeling of being watched. Fortunately, everyone else had their own conversations to worry about.

"What? It's true," Sakura stole another French fry, "that make out session was locker room gossip for at least a good day."

"Yeah well… it was a hell of a kiss. And you have to admit, the boy looks good."

"Shikamaru? I guess… his laziness is… attractive?"

"Did you know that he's actually pretty smart? When he's motivated to be?"

"Uh huh. Sure. I think you're still hung up on the guy." There was almost, almost, a hint of disappointment in Sakura's voice, but she took a sip of her bland cola to wash it away.

"No reason to be," Ino muttered, "He's totally stuck on what's his name…"

"Who? The only other person I've seen him talk to is… no way!"

"Yeah, that's what I said. But I swear he's in love with that boy."

"Chouji!" The pudgy kid? The one that every high school had to have who couldn't stop eating potato chips? At the same time there was something undeniably cute about the smile he got every time he got a new bag of chips to eat, and those chubby cheeks seemed to he magnets for pinching fingers or for lips with too much lipstick. He was the overweight kid who gave people the urge to hug him like those impossible to win giant bears at amusement parks.

"Yeah, Chouji. Shikamaru goes up to the roof with him and they have lunch together."

"Wow… jeez, I'm sorry Ino."

"Oh, it's o.k. Besides, they're actually… sweet." It was as if they were destined to be old men together, the ones who sat in rocking chairs on the front porch while trying to tell if a certain cloud in the sky was a bunny or a piece of fried chicken.

"Really?"

"Yeah, and besides, I wouldn't be able to put up with Shikamaru's laziness," Ino rolled her eyes; it had taken forever to even get him to meet her by the bike racks that day. Blah blah too troublesome, blah blah women are this and that, "I mean, even Temari tried and failed."

"That's not really a good example. Temari's kind of…" Scary? Mean? Tough?

"Hot?"

Sakura looked up at Ino with wide eyes, "What!"

"She's hot," Ino grabbed the bottle of ketchup and shook it a few times before she tipped it over the French fries. She rolled her eyes when nothing came out of the glass bottle and began to pat the bottom of it with her hand.

"You… you just called a girl hot," Sakura put emphasis on the word girl as if it were part of a foreign language.

"Yeah? So? I mean, come on. It's Temari. Her entire family is hot."

"Well… I guess…" Sakura paused long enough to let the subject of hot girls drop—six and a half ketchup bottom pats from Ino's hand; then she leaned in closer to Ino, "Did you see what Gaara was wearing today?"

"Fishnet, as usual. And with those chains around his waist like that…" They both sighed happily.

"So, what do you think about him?" Sakura asked, taking the bottle from Ino and giving it one hard slap to its bottom. The ketchup finally gave in and slipped down onto the fries. Ino stared at Sakura who just smiled back at her, handing her the ketchup bottle and eating another French fry.

"About Gaara?" Ino set the ketchup bottle down and gave a long, mournful sigh, "he's totally gay. Just like every other hot guy in the universe."

"Whaaaaat! All right, I wanna hear this one."

"He wants Naruto," Ino said knowingly, "his eyes are always all over that boy. If he stared hard enough his clothes would burn off."

"Naruto? Uzumaki Naruto? Are you serious?"

"Yep. You had to have noticed."

"But… why Naruto?"

"Sakura, have you been in a closet all of your life?" Ino munched on another French fry then sighed; their supply of the fried saltiness was running low, "In case you missed it, Naruto has grown up since junior high."

"I didn't miss it…" she just didn't want to admit it. Uzumaki Naruto: the class-clown ever since the days of having recess and naptime, the boy who spray painted the principal's door with the word "LOSER" in sixth grade, who pulled the fire alarm twenty-eight times in seventh grade, and who blew up the chemistry lab in eighth grade. Everyone learned to say his name in annoyance and the detention slips were already filled out before he stepped into the classroom.

But Naruto had left, got kicked out, the rumors were never accurate on the subject. Some said boarding school, others said boot camp, and some mentioned something happening in his family that made him leave for three years.

"I can't believe he actually grew up… and he's not that bad to look at either." Ino turned and watched as Naruto stepped into the cafeteria, looking for a place to sit. He was wearing an orange tank top, because for some reason he always wore orange; and his pants were baggy and covered with zippers.

"Ino… I dare say you're checking Naruto out."

"I am not!" Ino cried out, "besides, like I said, Gaara wants him."

"Now wait a minute. That can't be true. I saw Gaara and that new student teacher girl making out in Zabuza-san's classroom."

"… what new student teacher girl?"

"You know, that one girl? Um… her name is Haku. She was pretty… aggressive too," Sakura blushed at the thought, "she pushed him back against the chalkboard and just…"

"You know… it's kind of hot when a girl is that aggressive."

"You're talking about girls again, Ino."

"So? There's nothing wrong with that." Sakura took another French fry and chewed on it slowly, the ketchup and salt helping her think over Ino's words. Did she really mean that? Did she- "Oh, and by the way, Haku is a boy."

"No way!"

"I'm serious," Ino's voice gained a hint of dreaminess, "a very, very, pretty boy, but a boy nonetheless. Which further proves my theory—all hot guys are gay."

"Wait, students can't have relationships with student teachers."

"That's true…" Ino smirked and leaned closer to Sakura, whispering, "I bet Gaara gets off on that."

"Ino!"

"Hey, come on now. It's Gaara." The kid who sat in the back of the classroom wearing headphones to listen to his CD player during lecture and wore enough black eyeliner to make it look like permanent market instead of pencil. Rumor had it that, just like his sister, Gaara had no problem with using school bathrooms and empty classrooms for after school make-out sessions with whomever he was interested in at the time.

"… that's a good point, but… still…"

"Hey, it's the same reason why him and Sasuke did it in the bathroom."

"Hey!" Sakura frowned at Ino and crossed her arms at her chest, "that was just a rumor! Sasuke isn't…"

"Yes he is. He looks at Naruto too you know."

"He hates Naruto and Naruto hates him," Sakura said, feeling a small hint of that childhood crush she had when she first saw Uchiha Sasuke on the monkey bars at the neighborhood park. And everyone knew that Sasuke and Naruto hated each other since those monkey bar days, always competing. Who could jump the furthest off the swings? Who could climb up the slide the fastest?

"Uh huh. Hate. That's why they were making out outside Kakashi-sensai's classroom after school."

"But… wait you just said that Sasuke and Gaara…"

"Oh yeah," Ino took one more fry and stuffed it in her mouth, leaving the last one for Sakura, "that was a long time ago. They don't do anything anymore."

"And why is that?"

"Naruto of course. They both want the boy; the boy is just too oblivious to see anything. He can't even see that girl who watches him all the time. Neji's cousin, whatever her name is."

"But what about Haku and Gaara? I told you I saw them in the classroom."

"Temporary release until they get what they want?"

"What!" Sakura quickly slipped the last fry into her mouth in an attempt to stop herself from blushing too much.

"You know Haku wants to be with Zabuza-san," Ino smirked, "but Zabuza-san is taking forever to notice... might as well have some fun, right?" Ino stood up and grabbed the empty basket and glanced at her watch, "There's still time before lunch is over, I think I'm going to get some more fries."

"Do you... really believe that?" Sakura whispered around her straw, finishing her drink.

"Believe what?"

"The... having fun... because someone won't notice..."

"Why do you ask?"

"I... was just curious, that's all," Sakura said, sucking into the now empty cup, "Um... do you mind getting me some more while you're up there?"

"Whaaaat? I guess, but no more of that diet crap," Ino grabbed Sakura's cup and tossed it into the empty basket, "Because you don't need it."

"I... don't?"

"Naw," Ino smiled, "you look just fine to me."

"Really?" Sakura didn't mean for her voice to sound that excited over a compliment from Ino. She didn't even sound that excited when she was able to sit next to Sasuke in third period.

"Yeah, in fact, I'd say that you're pretty hot."

"You... you think that I'm hot?" Again, excited. Almost hopeful.

"Sakura... you sound happy about a girl complimenting you," Ino said with a smirk before she left the table to get more fries and another drink—one with some type of taste to it.

"Yeah..." Sakura whispered, watching Ino step into the lunch line, "... I guess I am."

But there was nothing wrong with that.

Owari