Hey people, sorry this took so long. I've had plenty of technical failures, but those aren't the main reason this has taken so long. This may shock you, since none of you know me, but I ended up attempting suicide no less than three times. Thankfully, I failed every time, and I'm better now. Anyway, that's why I haven't written anything. Oh, and this chapter takes place about 3 months after Chapter 8.


Chapter 9:

Lovers In a Dangerous Time

Yawning and stretching, Sakura slowly slid out of her bed. Quietly tip-toeing over to the door that separated her room from Naruto's and Ino's, or rather doorway, since they had removed the door a couple days after moving in after Ino had slipped and accidentally fallen through it, Sakura giggled as she saw the two entangled in the blankets and each other. How they could sleep like that, she had no idea. Naruto could probably sleep anywhere in any position. Come to think of it, he had managed to fall asleep balanced on the top of a fence during one exercise. Of course, he had woken rather abruptly as he fell off, but that was something different.

After a moment, Sakura sighed and pulled on her clothes before heading to the kitchen. It wasn't that she minded cooking breakfast for all of them, since Ino did lunch and they shared doing dinner. Neither of them would let Naruto cook, since he couldn't do much besides ramen. It was more that she wished that Ino and Naruto would wake up sooner. Or that she could sleep later. She had tried going back to sleep once or twice in the past, but she had never managed it.

Just as she finished making breakfast, Ino entered the room, looking tired. Sakura saw this and frowned. "Ino-chan, didn't you sleep well?" Ino sighed as she took her seat and shook her head. "Nope. Naruto was crying in his sleep again." "Again? Why didn't you come get me?" Ino shook her head again and took a bite of her food before speaking. "Because, I didn't want to wake Naruto since he doesn't sleep well anyway, and he was hugging me rather tightly. I wonder what it was this time, though." Sakura thought for a moment before sitting down as well and speaking. "If I were a gambler, I'd probably put money on another dream about Sasuke." Ino sighed and nodded. "That's probably it."

Ever since he killed Sasuke, Naruto had been plagued with almost nightly nightmares about it. Originally they were almost comforting, with him being forced to kill Sasuke after Sasuke had attacked the village, killing many and hurting many more. But recently they involved him watching himself, as though an observer in his own body, brutally attack and kill Sasuke without any provocation whatsoever.

Several minutes later, a very pale looking Naruto entered the kitchen and sneezed as he sat down. Ino and Sakura both said "Bless you" at the same time to this. Naruto smiled weakly and started eating. "Thanks. I think I'm coming down with something." Ino thought he was probably right. He hadn't been getting much sleep at all for almost 2 months now, and he did look terrible. "I'm not surprised, dear." Said Sakura in a soothing tone, gently hugging him before slipping back into her seat. Ino nodded and gently squeezed his hand, then said what she had to quickly. "You had one of those dreams again last night, didn't you?" Naruto stiffened, then nodded. "Yeah. No different than every night for the last week." Ino bit her lip at this and didn't say any more. Thankfully, Sakura spoke up then. "Naruto-kun, why don't you go see Tsunade-shisou about this? Surely she could help." Naruto shook his head like he had done at this suggestion the last 40 or so times it had been brought up. "No. I'm surviving, and I don't want anyone else to know that I've been having these dreams. You know how I don't like lots people fussing over me."

Ino shrugged and stood up, kissing Naruto's cheek as she did so. "Well, I have to go. I have a mission today, and I can't be late. See you tonight, you two." Naruto smiled and slowly stood up, his food mostly untouched. "See you tonight, Ino-chan." Sakura then slapped her forehead and made to follow Ino. "I just remembered, I'm supposed to be meeting the Hokage for another private lesson today. Bye, Naruto-kun! Don't get into too much trouble!" Naruto put on a joking grin before replying. "Since when have I ever gotten into trouble?" This comment earned him sideways glances from both girls, who then quickly left.

Sighing, Naruto began to clean up the remains of breakfast. Several minutes after he began to wash the dishes, he heard the front door swing open. "Did you forget something?" He spoke as he turned around, thinking it was one of the girls. It wasn't. Stepping into the house were about a dozen men who all looked as though they had recently hit rock bottom. Their clothes were of rather recent fashions, but they were dirty, slightly torn, and the colors were rather faded. Naruto frowned and slowly inched his hand towards the knife he had been washing. "What do you want?"

The leader, or at least he appeared to be the leader, since he had the smuggest expression, slightly cleaner clothes and spoke with a commanding tone, chuckled and stepped forwards before speaking. "Your head, demon brat." In one quick motion the man unsheathed a rather shabby looking short sword and lunged at Naruto, who quickly moved out of the way, the knife in his hand. Grinning as he realized that the confines of the house would limit the fighting to two at a time, possibly three at most, Naruto knocked aside the man's next blow and cut rather deeply into his wrist.

As the first man dropped his sword, but still came forwards at Naruto, Naruto hit him hard over the head with the handle of his knife, knocking him out. Naruto was about to wipe his hands on his pant leg to rid it of the sweat, when he had to leap to one side as the next two men came at him, one of them throwing the odd poison dart. Cursing under his breath as he realized that he couldn't come out of this alive without taking at least one life, Naruto ducked under the dart thrower's guard, sent the man's knife flying, and cut up the man's torso along a diagonal. Judging by the amount of blood that flowed from the wound as the man collapsed, Naruto had managed to cut his jugular vein. He definitely wasn't going to get up again.

Naruto paid for his lapse in attention as the second man hit him across the back with a large club. He went flying and crashed into the wall, blacking out. His last sight was three men advancing on him with knives.

Hours later Naruto was found by Sakura, returning from her lesson with the Hokage. Gasping as she saw him, she dropped the scrolls she was carrying and rushed to his side. Naruto was lying in a pool of blood, along with the man he had killed. His body was a mess of blood, every part of him seemed to have been slashed. Amazingly his chest still rose and fell with breath. Shallow and ragged breaths, but he was breathing nonetheless.

Quickly, Sakura gathered chakra into her palms and began to heal Naruto's wounds. Once she was satisfied that she had done all she could, she carefully lifted him onto her shoulders, using chakra to increase her strength so she could. Sakura then headed off, taking Naruto to the Hokage.


There you go people! And thanks for all the reviews .

Coming Up in Chapter 10: Upside-down

While Naruto recovers in the hospital, Ino and Sakura hunt down the men who attacked Naruto. No mean feat, especially when the Hokage doesn't want them involved in the investigation.