A/N: well I've had this little story sitting on my computer for awhile now and I thought I might as well post it! I wanted to try writing younger Sakura and Naruto, and give a reason sorta behind why Naruto might be so infatuated with Sakura from the beginning.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, cuz if I did Sakura and Naruto would be a couple already!



Little Naruto stared wide eyed up into the colorfully decorated display window. There were so many interesting toys and gadgets that, he figured, could keep any kid entertained for ages.

Pressing his nose against the cool glass, he watched a toy train lazily chug around and around in a circle, his eyes following its movements until he made himself dizzy.

The bell attached to the shop door tinkled, and Naruto turned his bright blue eyes to his left to see who was coming out.

A small girl came out clutching a bag in one little hand. She had hair of the brightest pink Naruto had ever seen, and she wore a navy blue dress. Her face held a look of pure glee as she stood just outside the shop, and she peeked in her little bag and couldn't help but giggle.

Naruto guessed the girl had bought some amazing toy, and he was immediately curious as to what it might be.

"Ino-chan will be so jealous!"

The girl giggled again and closed her little bag securely before skipping away. She was so excited about her buy she didn't even notice the blonde haired boy watching her curiously.

Deciding this could be a fun game, Naruto eagerly followed after the girl, hoping to get a glimpse of what she had in her bag. He went from tree to bush to trashcan, to whatever he could hide behind, while the girl merrily skipped along, oblivious to her follower.

Naruto rested safely behind a park bench, peeking between the wooden bars, when his blue eyes widened in horror. The pink haired girl had hit an uneven stretch of road, and with a gasp of surprise she fell flat on her face. The impact of the fall had even jarred her precious bag from her grasp and it landed a few feet away, it contents still safely inside.

Scrambling to his feet, Naruto ran over to the girl.

"Hey, are you ok?" he asked, squatting down beside her but careful not to get too close.

The girl, who seemed more shocked than actually hurt, pushed herself into a sitting position and looked sadly down at her dirty dress.

"Oh no, kaa-san will have to wash this again," she said sadly, trying to brush herself off the best she could.

Naruto was glad to see the girl seemed alright and that she didn't cry. Even if her dress was dirty, he still thought she looked cute, with her cheeks tinted slightly pink in embarrassment.

His happy thoughts were dashed however, for a frantic look made its way across the girls face and she began to search hurriedly for something. Tears welled up in her eyes as she looked, but Naruto caught on quick.

Leaving her side for a moment, he went off a ways and picked her bag up off the ground. The girl, following his movement, brightened immediately and hurried over to him.

"My bag! You found it!" she cried, smiling gratefully at the blonde boy who blushed.

He wasn't used to getting attention like this, but he couldn't help but smile in return as he handed it back to her.

"I just bought it, and I didn't want it to get dirty. Good thing I kept it in the bag!"

"Yeah, that was pretty lucky," Naruto agreed, watching the girl as she looked into the bag, making sure her item was alright.

When she lifted her head, she noticed the boy's curious look and grinned.

"Would you like me to show you what it is?" she asked, tilting her head to the side.

"Could you?" Naruto asked eagerly, his eyes hopeful.

The girl nodded and reached her hand in and pulled out her item and Naruto looked down at it in wonder. It wasn't any kind of fancy toy like he expected. Instead, it was a long orange silk ribbon. The girl seemed immensely proud of it, and Naruto thought it was a very beautiful ribbon, plus he liked the color a lot.

"Whoa…that's a nice ribbon," Naruto complimented, making the girl smile widely.

"Yeah! Look, it's even got my name on it," she said excitedly, turning the ribbon over and showing him the name 'Sakura' embroidered on the back in a blue color.

Naruto was delighted to see the cute girl even had a cute name.

"It'll look really good on you Sakura-chan. Why don't you put it on now?" Naruto suggested, a broad grin spreading over his face.

Sakura's smile faltered at the suggestion and her bright green eyes glanced around worriedly.

"I was going to wait until I got home so no one would see me," she said softly, her eyes downcast.

Naruto tilted his head in confusion. "Why would you do that?"

Lifting her hands to rest against her forehead Sakura looked at Naruto sadly.

"I don't want anyone to see me without a ribbon because then they'll just make fun of my big forehead."

"Big forehead?" Naruto asked, genuinely confused, for he didn't see anything wrong with her forehead.

"Don't you think it's big?" Sakura asked in disbelief, lowering her hands.

Naruto scratched his head for a moment, tilting his head to the side to look in every angle, and then shook his head.

"You have a nice forehead," he said honestly, smiling so that his eyes scrunched up.

Sakura allowed a smile to once again grace her features and nodded.

"Alright, I'll put it on. Hold it while I take the other one out," she said, handing the ribbon over to him as she reached for the one she had on currently.

Naruto held the ribbon carefully, as if it was the most precious thing in the world. The material was so soft and smooth he couldn't help but rub it gently between his fingers.

When the girl held her previous ribbon in her hand, Naruto readied to hand her the new one but a shout stopped him.

"Look what we have here!" a jeering voice from nearby called.

Naruto and Sakura's heads whipped around to see a group of girls approaching. All of the girls had mean leering looks on their faces.

Sakura hastily put a hand up to her forehead as her cheeks heated up in embarrassment. This only caused the girls to laugh and close in around the two.

"Look, its Big Forehead and the Freak!" one of them called, pointing and the other girls began to laugh harder.

Naruto's face darkened angrily at the girls but when he looked over at Sakura, his heart dropped. She looked absolutely scared to death and she was trembling, her eyes were wide and fearful.

"She probably couldn't find anyone else who'd want to be friends with such a big forehead besides this freak!" another girl jeered, flicking Sakura's hands where she covered her forehead.

Naruto had had just about enough and was opening his mouth to tell the girls off when Sakura spoke.

"I don't know what you are talking about," her voice trembled at first but she went on stonily. "Why would I be friends with a big trouble maker? Just forget about him."

A hurt expression fell upon Naruto's face as he looked at Sakura, hoping it wasn't true what she had said.

Her look was angry and she waved at him with her hands.

"Just get out of here!"

Naruto hung his head, tears forming in his eyes and he quickly bounded away. He didn't stop running until he was safely in his room and had curled up in a corner, holding his knees to his chest tightly.

Even the cute pink haired girl had turned on him. Perhaps he truly was a freak like everyone said.

In his grief, he absentmindedly played with something he held in his hands. His thumb rubbed against a smooth material and looking down, his eyes widened to see he still held Sakura's orange ribbon in his hand.

His first thought was to keep it. Why bother returning it to someone who obviously detested him?

She had been so excited about the ribbon however, and she would certainly be sad if she didn't get it back. Wouldn't she have noticed he still had it in his hand and grabbed it away?

Voices from outside floated to Naruto's ears to perk up. His window was open so he could clearly hear people on the road below.

"Hey! Sakura! Where've you been?"

"Sorry I'm late Ino-chan."

Naruto's heart sped up as he recognized Sakura's voice. Scrambling over to the window, he peeked out at the road below to see Sakura talking to a blonde girl.

"You're all dirty, what happened to you?" the blonde girl asked, pulling at Sakura's muddied dress.

"Oh that... It's nothing; I tripped and fell on the road," Sakura explained, running her hands down her dress, embarrassed.

"Ha! Such a klutz Sakura," the girl laughed, cupping a hand over her mouth.

Sakura's face reddened more. "Hey! That's not funny!"

"Sorry Sakura, I couldn't help it. Anyways, let's see your new ribbon."

Sakura shook her head at that and let her small fingers comb through her bubblegum locks.

"What? You didn't get a ribbon?" the blonde girl asked, surprised.

"Someone else needed it more than me," was the pink haired girl's simple answer.

Naruto's eyes widened at her strange answer as he allowed his body to slide down to a sitting position under his window. The voices of the two girls became fainter as they wandered off until all was quiet again.

What could Sakura-chan have meant by that? Naruto wondered to himself, playing with the silk ribbon in his hands.

As he thought, realization fell upon the boy and he smiled.

Sakura-chan had been driving him away, but for a different reason than he thought. She was trying to save him from the pain of being made fun of, something she knew all too well of.

No one had ever tried to help him out like that before, and Sakura had done it even when she herself was being called names. She had allowed Naruto, a boy she only knew by his trickster antics, to keep her precious ribbon. The ribbon was the only thing that kept the name calling at bay and drew attention from her forehead.

Taking the orange ribbon, Naruto tied it to his upper arm. He would always remember the cute pink haired girl who had allowed him to feel like a person, the girl who had stood up for him and allowed him to get away.

That day, Naruto made a vow. He promised he would do whatever it took to make sure no one had to go through the same pain he had been through. He would stand up for people, like Sakura, who were bullied. He wouldn't run from those people anymore. Most important of all, he would always stand up for the pink haired girl. She had given him a chance, and as her ribbon as his reminder, he would always protect her.

Until the day he died, he would do everything in his power to keep his Sakura-chan happy.

And whenever things grew tough, and he forgot his path, he would take out the delicate orange ribbon and remember all that he lived for.