Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, and this story is a perfect example of why.
AN: Well, the original plot of this story wasn't going anywhere so it's been modified. Now it's up to you how it ends. Will it be sweet? Will it be cruel? Well, we'll just have to see. But don't you worry, it's not too different.
Clouds blanketed the sky in a thick grey haze, the air brisk and cool. A young adult ran tan fingers over sleeveless arms, shivering slightly as a breeze whipped by. "Naruto?" Uchiha Sasuke asked, watching his friend shiver again. "Do you want my coat?"
"N-no…" The boy protested, taking a long sip of his coffee and leaning back in his chair. The two were seated at the outside tables of the local café, drinking and holding a rather pleasant conversation. Alas, the weather was far from kind.
"Now, as I had been saying, I know a girl you might be interested in." Sasuke took a small bite of his cupcake, chocolate frosting smeared across his chin.
Naruto gagged. When Sasuke had told him he had something to talk about, he had no idea that this is what he wanted to talk about. He wasn't sure if he wanted to tell Sasuke that he didn't think he liked women anymore. "No, Sasuke, I'm fine single."
"Well, I already told her you'd go out with her, so you're kind of screwed."
"So much for friendship." Naruto mumbled, polishing off the rest of his coffee. No more had the final drops of the caffeinated liquid run down his throat did the sky darken and thunder crack.
Sasuke looked to the sky and frowned. "Naruto, I have to go. I'll see you tomorrow and Haruno-chan'll be with me."
Naruto stuck his tongue out at his best friend, missing the dark eyed stared directed at him from a few tables over. He placed the wrapper from his bagel inside his empty cup and set it on the edge of the table, pulling out a pencil and paper. He then began to draw.
His picture was of a landscape, a line of trees, dead and decaying ran along the left of the paper, shrouding a fountain with a statue of a deformed Pegasus, one wing completely broken. The water was shaded dark, and ran from a crack at the base of the fountain in little veins to a rose bush on the other side of the paper. There was a figure standing by a cobblestone road, cloaked as though death would be, a mangled staff clutched with bony fingers. Old English letters scrawled themselves across the page reading, "Nightscene".
He smiled, putting the pencil away and staring at the picture for a moment more. The same stare from the distant table moved down to the notebook the beholder was writing in, adding a few lines before closing it and putting it away. The figure stood, leaving silently. A lone cup of cocoa sat where he had once been.
Naruto stretched, placing the picture in his folder and backpacking it, standing on his own two feet and leaving. He had one more errand to run before he could happily return home and confine himself in his bedroom, coloring his black and white pictures until sleep overcame him.
The bell rang when he opened the door to the shop and he was greeted with a loud shout. "Naruto!" Yamanaka Ino cried, running to hug her friend tightly. "It's been weeks!"
Naruto smiled softly. "Nnn, hello to you too Ino." He chuckled, prying her off of him and moving away. "I simply came to pick up the bread I ordered this morning."
"That was you?" Ino blinked prettily, causing Naruto to roll his eyes.
"Hai." He tapped his foot momentarily. "And I don't have much time. It looks like rain." Ino nodded, bounding to the other side of the counter to fetch Naruto's favorite sweet rye bread.
"Here you are!" She handed him the paper bag and he stared at her.
"Why the hell are you so chipper today?" Naruto asked her, and her eyes darted around.
"Can you keep a secret?" She whispered over the counter.
Naruto knew he'd never tell a soul, as he simply wasn't the gossiping type. "You know I can."
"I have a date!" She chimed under her breath, and Naruto shook his head.
"Who is it this time?" He asked.
Ino, who was about to answer, was interrupted by another crash of thunder and the soft pitter-patter of rain on the sidewalk. "I'll tell you later, you should probably head home now."
Naruto nodded, not really liking the rain. He paid for his bread, bid his friend a quick goodbye, and stepped outside. There was a soft crack of thunder, and it then began to hail, pelting Naruto's shoulders with small balls of ice.
He stepped back into the store. "On second thought, I'll wait here."
He took a seat on one of the plush cushions, taking out another piece of paper and drawing the café he and Sasuke had been at earlier. He drew each person, including the haunting sea foam eyes of a redhead a few tables back. Naruto was an observant man, and noticed things about strangers that most didn't. But he also wasn't very good at figuring out the blatantly obvious.
Minutes later, Ino took a seat with him, now on her break. She watched him draw, marveling at his ability to get the anatomy of a person correct. She watched as Naruto defined the lines of his and Sasuke's shirts, watched him gently shade the steam rising from his coffee, the sharp contours of the strangers faces, especially the one who's eyes were visible. She watched him draw the clouds in the sky, puffy and filled to the brim with water. She watched the sign above the café look as though it was swaying with the same breeze that ruffled their hair. The thing that Ino liked most was the small necklace that the stranger with red hair wore. It was a thin chain with a pendant of a kanji, reading 'ai', or 'love'.
"That's really good Naruto…" she breathed, watching as he finished it and placed it in his folder.
"Thanks Ino." Naruto smiled, glancing out the window and sighing at the hail still falling from the sky. "So, who is it that you're dating?" He asked her, and her smile grew.
"Um… Shikamaru?" He tried.
"No! I hate that lazy asshole!" She cried, cringing at the cold stare her boss gave her.
"Umm, Lee?" He guessed this time.
"Lee? No, no, I would never date Lee." She told him.
"Then who?" Naruto was tired of guessing.
"I'm going to go on a date with Chouji. I'd been ignoring him because he's pretty overweight, but he's a kind guy."
Naruto blinked. "You've gotten kinder and less shallow, Ino… What brought that about?"
Ino laughed softly. "I finally realized that it's not just about the looks."
"What a turn-around!" Naruto cheered jokingly, earning himself a smack on the arm.
"So Naruto, who are you dating these days?" Ino asked him.
He sighed. "Sasuke set me up on a blind date."
"Oh?" Ino grinned, ready to laugh if she knew her. "Who?"
"Some girl named Haruno Sakura." He told her, and her expression darkened.
"Oh… have fun, I suppose…"
Naruto was confused, but he ignored it anyways. The hail had stopped for a few minutes now, so he stood up. "I'll see you later, kay?"
Ino nodded blankly, going back to work without a word.
He headed home, humming softly to himself. Once in the door, he rudely kicked off his shoes and snickered when he heard one bounce off the TV.
He meandered into the kitchen and fixed himself a cup of coca, and plopped down on his bed and turned on his music, digging a box of colored pencils out from under his bed. He began to color both the pictures he had drawn today, still humming the same song softly to himself, even as his radio played in the background.
Review, and I mean it.