"How DARE you show up like this after all this time," the energetic blond pointed his finger at me.

Author simply shrugs. "I guess I'm sorry?"

Naruto scrunched up his face into his famous fox expression. "I'll forgive ya if you make me into Hokage," the blond winked as he gave a huge thumbs up.

Author blinked. Then began hesitatingly, "Naru-chan…I don't know if that will EVER happen in this fic…"

The blond pouted and jumped up and down in protest. He shouted, "How can you!! I have to be Hokage! I WILL become hokage damn-"

The short boy's screams were muffled by the author's silent treatment and wave of his magic pen. Hehe, I can muffle your voice.

Naruto looked in annoyance at said author.

Author coughs and scratches his head. "Umm so here we go, and please forgive me if I take another year to update."

Though Naruto cannot be heard, his red face and shouting lips and obscene gestures, indicate his intense anger. He concludes by sticking up both of his middle fingers.

Off in the distance the few leftover fans gather their pitchforks and start a fire. They chant, "You mean jerk, you mean jerk, you mean jerk."

Author has big sweat drop. "Without further ado…"

Naruto & Sakura: A Second Chance
By: jho
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-San. I just read chapter 370 last week, it's heating up! Flames of youth, yosh!!
Chapter 4: The Drunken Client

Italics indicates a person's thoughts, flashback, or action/s
Bold Italics refers to Kyuubi/Inner Sakura talking

Kakashi glanced around carefully. Seeing that he had his team's attention, with all seriousness he said, "We will prepare before it's too late. That's a shinobi rule."
With the quickness, the small figure jumped and darted as quickly as it could. Taking a glance behind – Oh no! Running as fast as possible, it still got caught from behind.

Sasuke smirked as he held the cat up. "Too slow dead last," he remarked as the cat was struggling to get free.

Naruto grinned as the cat started to scratch up Sasuke's face. 'Better you than me!' The blond thought as he cheered inside. Sakura frowned at Naruto's happy reaction to Sasuke's troubles as she gave him a light bop on the head. The blond pouted in return, but he was definitely relieved not to relive that unpleasant experience.

Team 7 returned to the Hokage's office to report their success. The wife of the Fire country's daimyo was pleased to see her cat returned safely and proceeded to squeeze the cat's body for all it was worth with a giant hug. Meoowwwww (this hurts!!)

Sasuke hn'ed and made a delightfully evil smirk in his mind as he enjoyed the cat's misery. You wretched feline, you deserve it!

The Sandaime coughed to get the shinobis' attention. "Now then," he began. "The next duty of Kakashi's Team 7 will be…Babysitting an elder's grandson, shopping in the neighboring village, and help with the potato digging…

Sakura glanced at Naruto, getting a slight nod from him understanding the plan.

"NO!" The blond shouted and gave a serious frown to make his displeasure known. "We can handle tougher missions than this, believe us!"

Kakashi sweat dropped at his shortest genin's rudeness. Please forgive me Hokage-sama. Even though his face was stoic and indifferent, Sasuke couldn't help but agree with the dead last's comments. Anything but these boring errands. How the hell am I going to get stronger with this crap?

Iruka was not as patient. He immediately got up from his chair beside the Hokage and lectured Naruto harshly. "You idiot, you are just a rookie! Everyone starts off with the simple duties and works their way up!" To Iruka's surprise Naruto was uncharacteristically quiet for a few moments. He was unprepared for the blonde's softly spoken and serious response.

"We may look like kids, but we are shinobi. We can handle the tougher missions," Naruto concluded with a confident stare.

Ohh, the Hokage thought as he looked carefully into the blond's eyes. When did he mature like this? Giving it a moment's thought, the Hokage announced loudly, "Okay. If you want it that much, I'll give you a C-rank mission. It's a protection mission of a certain individual."

Underneath his ninja mask, Kakashi's mouth was opened wide in surprise that the Hokage was changing his mind.

The Sandaime motioned for the man to come in. As the client came in drunkenly, he looked over each of the ninjas. Tazuna was surprised to see how young his protectors would be. He couldn't help but comment, "They're all a bunch of super brats. Especially the short one there with the super stupid looking face."

Naruto grimaced and was pained to hear a friend call him that. He took a glance at Sakura and was encouraged at her smile, the blond knew he should just grin and bear it for now.

Together Sakura and Naruto thought, this is when things really begin. This is our chance to bring new change.

"One more miso ramen please," Naruto asked with as much coherence as he could as he was inhaling his 4th serving. Sakura could only shake her head at her teammate, even after all this time the blond's love of ramen was as strong as ever.

"Naruto," the kunoichi began as she looked at Teuchi cooking another batch of ramen. "You know tomorrow is going to be our first meeting with Tazuna, and our first real action."

The blond stopped gulping down his food and fixed his eyes on his teammate. "Don't worry Sakura-chan, everything is going to be fine. This time we're stronger and I'll never let anything happen to you," Naruto promised assuredly while giving his trademark smile.

The pink haired girl smiled inwardly, knowing that he meant that with all his heart. But the kunoichi did raise an eyebrow at Inner Sakura's blush. Mentally storing that reaction for a talk with her inner self later, Sakura continued, "Don't do anything crazy baka. Listen carefully, this is the plan…"

End Chapter 4

Author Notes: I know that was one crazy long wait, but please forgive me. I got busy and once a few weeks turned into months I didn't have any desire to get back into the story. But I promised that I would do my best to finish this story and I still desire to finish and work on it. It's just that I don't know when updates will come, so I'm sorry if I can't answer when the next chapter will be out. I'll at least put an hour into this story a week (I'll really try!) and hopefully you won't have to wait as long next time for the next chapter. I do have a vision and a direction in which I want the story to go, so it won't be confused babble. I'm really amazed at how much the Naruto fanfiction community has grown and it's from many of these old and new writers that have encouraged me to continue. Thank you.

Started: 2-7-07 ---LOL
Finished: 9-19-07

Next: Chapter 5: The Missing-Nin & His Tool