Naruto Fanfic – "Bittersweet Sixteen"

Written December 2006 by Astra M.

Disclaimer: Naruto copyright Masashi Kishimoto/SHUEISHA Inc. This is a derivative work based on the Naruto series created purely for entertainment value; no profit is being made from its dissemination.

Author's Note: This story isn't firmly based on either anime/manga setting, but would theoretically take place during the Naruto II arc. Also, while I don't normally like giving away details at the outset, there is a pairing in this fic that will be featured prominently only as a plot point. If you've read my other Naruto fics, you should know exactly who my 'one true couple' always is. That being said, this story is still primarily Ino-centric and more of a leisurely stroll for me than anything else; I considered binning it but... it's hard to dump a half-written story. Hope you enjoy!


On a typical day the main shopping district of Konoha was a living snapshot of its inhabitants caught up in the everyday tasks of life. Here was a group of shoppers haggling with the merchants, over there stood a circle of gossiping friends, children were running around playing Ninja, old men sat watching quietly. All in all, it was a pleasantly interesting frame to stroll through – especially for a certain young couple out on their first date together. They walked side by side down the center of the street enjoying the bustling activity and each other's company, neither noticing the two upset-looking teenaged chuunin hovering just out of sight behind a nearby stonework partition.

"Whose brilliant idea was this?" snarled Sakura, unmindfully crushing to rubble the railing she hid behind.

"I warned you not to get involved," muttered Shikamaru, glowering darkly at the courting pair. Had Sakura not been so wrapped up in her own worries, she might have noticed and wondered at the tone of his voice.

"I didn't think it would turn out like this!" she exclaimed, resisting the urge to punch a crater in the ground. "Why is this happening? They're not supposed to even like each other!"

Shikamaru said nothing: he was too focused on the familiar long, blonde ponytail now walking away from him, and the way she had casually looped her arm through her companion's.

What a troublesome pain this is turning out to be…