Chapter One: Uzumaki Naruto's Dilemma
It was an ordinary summer day in the village named Konohagakure no Sato, sun shining high and bright in the sky while white puffy clouds provided some shade for those outside in the intense heat. Children, who had been let out of school and were taking advantage of the good weather, ran excitedly to the Park and Training Grounds while most adults reluctantly went indoors to continue with work.
One such reluctant worker, holed up in her tiny office, was a tired, hungry, and painfully bored kunoichi medic by the name of Haruno Sakura. At 18 years of age, the woman was already successful, powerful, and a feared Jounin as well as top medic next to Shizune and Godaime Hokage, Tsunade. And, unfortunately for her and her high position, Sakura was stuck at her desk, filling out paperwork, on a beautiful Friday afternoon.
'The Life of a Ninja…How Fun!' Inner Sakura thought sarcastically.
Outer Sakura only sighed as she looked at her finished stack of paper work, relieved it was all done, before she turned in her chair to look out her large office window, noting the time on her wall clock read close to noon.
It was a beautiful day in the Village Hidden in the Leaves indeed and she frowned when she knew she had to miss out on it again. But if she had to miss it for saving lives, it was worth it. Looking out at the courtyard 8 floors down, Sakura's frown disappeared as a soft smile lifted at the corners of her lips, emerald eyes watching as a talking, and seemingly happy, couple was returning to the Hospital after getting a bite to eat.
"It seems Ino-pig and Shikamaru are back from their lunch…" Sakura whispered to herself, now absentmindedly starting to play with her waist-long pink hair, "I guess the saying is true that 'Opposites Attract'."
'And they are quite the opposite…' Inner Sakura commented with a laugh.
Yamanaka Ino, a basic medic and worker of the Yamanaka Flower Shop, and Nara Shikamaru, the high IQ genius and best Tactical Ninja of Konoha, had known each other since birth and had been placed on the same Genin and Chuunin Teams. They had, surprisingly, started going out as a couple a year ago, surprising because they clearly hadn't shown much interest in each other before. But supposedly, behind the scenes, they had been given that chance to really get to know each other and like each other. The loud, obnoxious, gossiping blonde and the lazy, cloud-gazing, careless genius were…perfect for each other, to say the least.
Another sigh escaped the kunoichi's pouted lips. She would be lying if she said she wasn't envious, but after hearing her best friend chatter about how lazy but loving her boyfriend was, Sakura couldn't help but be jealous of their relationship. Hell, she hadn't really been in a relationship let alone have her first kiss! One reason why was because she was too busy as a medic and a kunoichi, and another reason being that she was saving herself for someone special…
'Bad thoughts, bad thoughts,' Inner Sakura chanted.
Shaking her head to rid those said thoughts from her mind, Sakura turned in her chair to face her desk and retrieve her medical bag. The woman reasoned that perhaps some lunch would do her brain some good, because Kami knew Tsunade would dump her with more paperwork when she returned.
"Come in!" Sakura called as she rummaged through her bag for a mirror.
The door creaked open softly and one of the nurses poked her head in, smiling timidly, "Sakura-san?"
The kunoichi looked up, recognizing both voice and face, "Takeshi-san? What can I help you with?"
The nurse stepped into the office fully, a clipboard in her left hand, "Hokage-sama wished for me to inform you that the Diplomat of the Lightning Country and his family have already arrived in the Village…Hokage-sama also wanted me to remind you of the high possibility that you may escort them back, seeing as they only trust the Hokage so far and the Hokage's apprentice is the next best thing…Safety issues and all…"
Sakura looked at the nurse with mild confusion before realization dawned on her, remembering the meeting she had with Tsunade the week prior about her newest mission, and nodded her head, "Oh right…The Lightning Country…I'll probably meet them after my lunch break and their meeting with Tsunade-shishou…Thank you for reminding me Takeshi-san…"
"No problem at all," The nurse smiled as she bowed before leaving the office, "I will inform Hokage-sama of your plans."
"Thanks again!" Sakura shouted, hoping the nurse heard before the door 'clicked' closed behind her.
With a small smile and a deep breath to calm her mind, Sakura stood from her chair, lifted her medical bag to her shoulder, and started walking to the door, intent on filling her empty and growling stomach. Heck, she hadn't even had breakfast that morning.
However, a loud crash outside her office caused the kunoichi to stop in her tracks, and prevent her from going off to get the food she wanted and needed. She raised an eyebrow in both confusion and curiosity. Hurried footsteps followed the crash mixed with loud reprimands from the Hospital Staff and heavy, labored, breathing.
"What is going on?" Sakura whispered to herself as she moved towards her closed door, foot out and ready to walk, and hand outstretched, ready to reveal to her what exactly was making all the commotion.
But the Jounin stopped in her tracks once more with widened, curious, green eyes as a shadow appeared on the tatami-covered window of her door. The knob then turned, in an almost struggled and hasty manner, before it swung open and closed in a span of three seconds flat.
Now, Haruno Sakura was watching with mild interest as a tall, male figure stood panting against her door, locking the entryway and peering cautiously around the tatami on the window to the hallway beyond. His breathing was still exhausted as he ducked under the window, closing his eyes while his lean, muscular body slid to the ground, the fearful expression that had once been on his face now melting to pure relief.
Sakura could only watch the whole display with amusement, brow still raised, arms crossed, and a smirk on her lips. She had no reason to be alarmed, given there had been no Village or Hospital-wide alarm or constant pounding on her office door to 'open up'. Besides, she could take care of herself. Anyways, the figure was probably just running away or hiding from something. The thought caused the medic to chuckle and the male's gaze immediately snapped up to meet hers.
"What have you done now, Naruto? Sakura inquired.
Her emerald gaze remained glued to the boy, the small smile still on her lips. She watched as the young man laughed nervously in his seated position, one hand scratching through his unkempt, blonde locks and his ocean, blue eyes looking at his teammate apologetically for barging in unannounced. Then, he stood with a grin and dusted his orange and black attire, Sakura's gaze still on him and waiting patiently for his answer.
"I didn't do anything, Sakura-chan," The 17-year old shinobi stated, clearly defending himself, "I needed a place to hide…And you had an office…So you know…I came…"
Sakura chuckled at her friend's logic, "And please, pray tell, what or who exactly are you hiding from to cause such a commotion in a Hospital…Not another prank is it?"
Naruto frowned as he shook his head vigorously, "I didn't do anything Sakura-chan…It was a girl…Kimiko-san…"
Sakura frowned a bit in thought. The name Naruto had mentioned did ring a bell, but it wasn't exactly a loud enough ring to make her remember exactly who. Yet at the same time, the kunoichi wondered why this girl would be chasing Naruto.
Seeing her contemplative expression, Naruto decided to remind her for both their sakes, "Kimiko-san from the Lightning Country! Remember Sakura-chan? You, me, and Kakashi-sensei had to rescue her from Mist and escort her back to Lightning. We were 13 years old when we did the mission. And Kimiko-san…"
"…Wouldn't keep her hands off you!!" Sakura finally remembered with delight, viridian eyes shining as she laughed and pointed at her teammate, "She had such an adorable crush on you…Always hanging around you, listening to every word you said…She even you asked you to marry her!!"
"I remember…" Naruto growled with a pout.
Sakura went into another bout of laughter, clutching tightly to her sides as her medical bag fell to the floor. That mission had actually been one of her favorites due to the entertainment. Naruto scowled and crossed his arms over his chest, not at all pleased with her reaction.
"Stop laughing!" He complained; the pout still on his lips.
"I'm sorry," Sakura sniffed, wiping away her tears of mirth as she tried to hold back another round of laughter, though a few chuckles did escape, much to Naruto's chagrin; but it was so hard to contain them as she thought back to that week 3 years ago.
Uzumaki Naruto, at first, had been very flattered and prideful that someone looked up to him so much. But as the week went by, it became increasingly annoying as Kimiko, the girl of 12 years, had her affections for him grow, even going as far as asking her 'Naruto-kun' to sleep with her in her very cold tent to keep her warm. For Sakura, it had been priceless to see Naruto's red and sputtering face. She couldn't stop laughing back then too.
"I'm sorry," Sakura repeated as she came back to reality, "Those were just…Good times…Haha…Good times…"
Naruto frowned and rolled his eyes to the ceiling before sighing in a tired manner, "Well, those good times seem to be back, Sakura-chan…"
"What do you mean Naruto?" The medic asked, finally controlling herself, although she was flushed and smiling widely.
Naruto's pout returned as he looked back at her, big, blue eyes slightly fearful, "That's who I was running away from…She's here…In Konoha!!"
Sakura's green eyes widened in surprise, "R-really?"
"Yeah…" Naruto stated solemnly as he ran his hand through his blonde spikes.
And Sakura promptly burst into another fit of laughter, much to the dismay of Naruto, who began glaring half-heartedly at his best friend, "Good luck with that…Haha…Naruto…"
"You're not helping Sakura-chan…"
"I'm sorry…" Sakura wheezed and coughed through chuckles, "I promise I'll stop now…"
But the Jounin kunoichi couldn't help the mental picture of an older Kimiko, with bouncy red hair, freckles, and big, blue eyes chasing an older Naruto all over Konoha. Kami, she and Sasuke would be having a field day just watching that. The medic couldn't help but let a snorted giggle escape her lips.
"Laugh it up Sakura-chan," Naruto stated mischievously, "But Kiyoshi's here too."
Sakura's laughing stopped abruptly and she cocked her head to the side in confusion. She remembered Kiyoshi. When she, Naruto, and Kakashi-sensei arrived in the Lightning Country and returned Kimiko to her family, she had the experience of being 'hit on' by Kimiko's older, 14 year old, brother, Kiyoshi. Being 13 years of age, Sakura had been truly flattered, especially with him being 'older', but at the same time she was being realistic, feeling that he was just being nice and charming. Something boys weren't for her often. But, to the point, Sakura knew that Kiyoshi wouldn't remember and wouldn't bother with her, and she had no interest in him, so there was nothing to worry about.
Rolling her eyes, Sakura waved her hand in a dismissive manner, "We were 13 and 14 years old Naruto, Kiyoshi has no interest in me."
Naruto smirked, "Then why did he ask me about you when I saw him?"
"He probably remembers me as one of the shinobi that saved his sister…" Sakura answered calmly, eyeing her friend skeptically.
"He asked if you were single…" Naruto continued, smirk growing to a grin.
"…Curiosity maybe…" Sakura asked, now a bit uneasy, "What did you answer?"
"Couldn't answer," Naruto shrugged, "Kimiko-san found me."
Sakura gave a snort of laughter, to which Naruto glared, and she apologized once more, "Last time, I promise."
"Well, she won't leave me alone," Naruto sighed, "They came this morning and she followed me everywhere I went…I don't want to be mean, but in the words of Sasuke-teme, she is 'annoying'…When her father called her, I managed to slip away…"
Sakura, however, frowned at the 'annoying' comment, knowing quite well that Sasuke had directed it at her most times.
"Kimiko-san wants to hang out with me her entire stay here in Konoha," Naruto stated with another pout, "A whole week…And she knows were I live now since she saw me come out of my apartment when she got here…What timing! Honestly, I don't know if I can deal with her…And I usually like people…"
"You're human Naruto, you can't help it," Sakura shrugged, "Just avoid her…You're a Ninja for crying out loud."
"I don't want to spend a whole week avoiding someone," Naruto complained as he walked to the door and peeked out the window, "Besides, I like going to Ichiraku's everyday and she's bound to find me there…I want to walk around free, with no worries…"
Sakura chuckled as she grabbed her bag, lifting it to her shoulder before she linked her left arm with Naruto's right, a smile on her face.
"Why not we discuss this problem over some lunch," Sakura suggested as she reached for the door handle, "Ramen sound good to you?"
Naruto tugged on her arm, causing her to let go of the door knob and stumble back slightly from his strength, so she turned her confused gaze in his direction, surprised to see the fear back on his expression, "Naruto…?"
"…Are you sure it's safe out there?" Naruto asked.
Sakura laughed softly before squeezing his arm with reassurance, "Don't worry Naruto, I'll protect you."
Naruto was quiet for a few seconds, starting intently at the entryway before he slowly nodded his head, as if giving the kunoichi permission to open the door and put his life in very grave danger.
"Wow…It's a good thing Sasuke-kun isn't here," Sakura giggled as they exited her office, Naruto cautious as he looked around the white hallways warily, "Else he would be laughing too."
Naruto rolled his eyes, arm still tightened around hers, "Sasuke-teme doesn't laugh…That's a bit creepy…And he doesn't know about the story between Kimiko-san and I…" Naruto grinned, "Or you and Kiyoshi for that matter…"
Sakura snorted, "Sasuke-kun wouldn't react to Kiyoshi and me…But, let's just both be glad he's gone on that B-Rank Mission for the week."
The two friends reached the elevators, arms still linked and Naruto still tense as he looked around, body on alert, ready to run if he had to.
Naruto tensed even more at the sound of the loud, screeching, feminine voice, immediately thinking Kimiko, but Sakura knew better as she turned to the origin of the voice, linked arm turning Naruto as well, as she gave the newcomer a small, tired smile.
"What do you want Ino-pig?"
A tall, young woman dressed in a purple attire stopped in front of the medic, blonde hair swaying and grey-blue eyes alight as she stared at Naruto's and Sakura's arms with a grin.
"Oh Sakura, I just wanted to drop by and share with you what happened this morning! Shikamaru was just so sweet!" Ino gushed and smirked, once again eyeing their locked arms, "But it looks like you have your own date to think about Billboard Brow…And with Naruto no less, how cute!"
Sakura narrowed her eyes with confusion before she shook her head, "Look Ino, it's nothing like that-"
But the pink-haired kunoichi was interrupted by the 'ding' of the elevator and Ino happily pushing the couple in.
"Don't let little me keep you," Ino teased with a wink, yet Sakura could clearly tell the blonde was joking, "Have fun you two!"
And the elevator doors closed, Sakura shaking her head with an amused chuckle before pressing the button for their wanted destination. She and Ino both knew Sakura and Naruto would never pursue a relationship. One reason showing that there was nothing between them was that Naruto stopped loving her just recently; another reason being that she herself had no interest in him in that way; and finally, they viewed each other as the best of friends, and quite possibly brother and sister.
Looking to Naruto with a smile, Sakura was quite curious to find Naruto's eyes narrowed with thought, and it was a very deep and contemplative look on his usual grinning face. The kunoichi had to admit it felt strange to see such a look on him.
The elevator doors opened revealing the Hospital exit just yards away. With a gentle tug on his arm, Naruto was snapped out of his stupor and on full alert for Kimiko, Sakura giggling softly as she led him out of the building to the warm, sunny day.
"Let's cheer you up with some Ichiraku's Ramen, Naruto."
Two steaming hot bowls of Miso Ramen were placed in front of two hungry customers, one smiling with delight as the other didn't waste time to start inhaling the substance, Sakura rolling her eyes heavenward at her friend's much needed manners.
Fortunately for the two Jounin, they had not run into either Kimiko or Kiyoshi. Naruto had been very wary, looking this way and that and almost fearfully jumped behind Sakura when Tenten called out to them and waved, the self-proclaimed Hokage immediately assuming again that the feminine voice was his 'stalker'. Tenten had been quite confused by his reaction to her greeting, but Sakura only laughed and made a gesture to ignore his behavior. When they had finally reached the Ramen Stand, Naruto was almost back to his normal self, eager to have his daily serving of Ramen since her had to skip out on it early to 'entertain' Kimiko. Plus, if the woman knew where his favorite eating place was, Naruto would have to avoid it for her entire stay and he did not like that prospect at all.
For Sakura, it had been a little strange to be eating with just Naruto. Usually, it was she, Naruto, and Sasuke ever since he had returned from Orcochimaru's grasp two years ago. No matter how reluctant the Uchiha seemed about going to lunch, the three of them always ate it together once a week, with the occasional Kakashi-sensei and possible Sai.
But, Uchiha Sasuke was out on his B-Rank Mission in Earth Country with Kakashi-sensei, Hyuuga Hinata, and Aburame Shino. The avenger was still doing his best to become stronger, having not yet killed his murderous, older brother Uchiha Itachi, the man that had massacred the entire Uchiha Clan. But, even if he was getting stronger, in his own way and little by little, Uchiha Sasuke was opening up, restoring his bonds, and gaining a family he probably always wanted.
Naruto's loud slurping noises interrupted Sakura's train of thought as she looked at her best friend, who was now on his third bowl of Miso Ramen, awkwardly looking around the Stand while he ate, for a particular girl named Kimiko, so he could bolt out of there as fast as he possibly could. Sakura couldn't help but chuckle as she looked down at her own half-finished bowl of Ramen. Boy was she having a day full of laughter.
"So what are we going to do about your problem Naruto?" Sakura asked as the fox-demon-vessel ordered another bowl of noodles for himself, "Ideas?"
Naruto shrugged as he accepted his new bowl of Chicken-Flavored Ramen, although that contemplative look appeared on his face once again, "I don't really know Sakura-chan…"
The medic smiled, "Come on Naruto…We're Jounin, we can think of something……Hmm, let's see…You don't want to avoid…And avoiding isn't a very…fun idea…"
"Yeah," Naruto agreed, blue eyes downcast.
"Besides, you're stealth isn't perfect, and knowing Kimiko…She can probably sniff you out from a mile away…" Sakura reasoned as she picked at her food.
"Exactly…" Naruto hypnotically answered, until her statement dawned on him and he frowned, "Hey!"
"And now she knows where you live…" Sakura continued, "So there may be a chance where she'll just wait hours on you on your front doorstep…"
Naruto's frown deepened as his eating slowed down, before his thoughtful expression returned, "So what do I do?"
"Hey," Sakura snapped her fingers as she turned to him, grinning, "Ask Tsunade-shishou for a mission…A week long mission. So, by the time you get back, she'll be long gone!"
Naruto shook his head, "That was the first thing I tried…But Shizune-san said I might be needed for something this week, so I should just hang on until then…They don't want to risk me getting hurt…" Naruto scoffed with a grin, "Like I can!"
Sakura snorted, "Right…Anyways, I don't really know what else we can do for you…Except tolerate her…"
Naruto sighed, before he went into silence, his brows furrowing as Sakura watched him with curiosity, wondering what idea Naruto himself would come up with. His eating had slowed down again and his blue eyes became clouded. Then, a small smirk lifted at the corner of his lips before he turned his calculating gaze in Sakura's direction, the kunoichi surprised by the sudden change of demeanor.
The blonde shinobi started to grin as he placed his chopsticks down and looked around, as if making sure no one was eavesdropping, before he leaned in closer to his best friend, making Sakura's brows furrow in deeper confusion.
"I have an idea Sakura-chan," He whispered and Sakura nodded her head for him to continue, "It may sound crazy, but it could be the only way…It'll benefit the both of us…"
"What's your idea Naruto?" Sakura asked, turning emerald eyes on him expectantly, "And...What do you mean by 'benefit the both of us'?"
"…Just don't get mad at me," Naruto continued, his façade turning anxious, "We'll only do this for the week, only until Kimiko and Kiyoshi are gone…But so many things could go wrong…"
"Just tell me," Sakura stated impatiently.
"…But we just need to look believable enough to fool them," Naruto rambled as he wrung his hands together, "And then, both Kimiko and Kiyoshi would back off!"
"Naruto!" Sakura whispered harshly as she took his collar and glared her green eyes into his electric, yet startled, blue ones, "Just tell me already!"
"Alright," Naruto quivered, fearful of Sakura's wrath yet relieved when she loosened her hold on his jacket, "I thought…Maybe…maybe…"
Sakura tightened her hold once more, urging him to continue, "Naruto…"
The shinobi gulped before he pulled back slightly, glad Sakura let go of him, and took a deep breath, "Maybe…We can pretend……To be…a……couple…"
Sakura stared; Naruto looked away and started to pick at his cold Ramen bowl again. The medic's eyes had widened in shock and her mouth was agape, trying to speak, but her voice was lost. Naruto remained quiet, stealing quick glances between his bowl of food and his stupefied, best friend.
"W-what?" Sakura managed to ask…until she burst out laughing, much to Naruto's utter surprise.
"Why are you laughing Sakura-chan?" Naruto asked as he looked around, hoping they weren't gaining any attention.
"Y-you're joking right?" Sakura wheezed as she clutched at her sides, "We…Us…Going out? That just seems so…strange…"
Naruto pouted as he crossed his arms, "What's so strange about us being a couple?"
Sakura bit her lip, doing her best to hold in her chuckles, "You and I both know, Naruto, that we don't like each other, not in that way…Everyone knows that, so it won't be that 'believable'."
Naruto sighed, "But Kimiko-san and Kiyoshi don't know that…Come on, we're just going to pretend, and only for a week."
Sakura stopped laughing as she pushed her Ramen bowl away, "Kami…You're serious?"
"Of course I am," Naruto asked with exasperation, "This is the only way I can think of to get Kimiko off my back…And you're my friend, so I trust you with the job…And you're strong and scary enough to keep Kimiko away from me…"
"Thanks Naruto," Sakura drawled because of the last statement.
'We are not scary!' Inner Sakura shouted but grinned, 'But I won't argue that we're strong.'
"She won't pursue me if you're my…girlfriend…And Kiyoshi will leave you alone too…" Naruto whispered, trying to reason with her, "Please Sakura-chan…This is the only way…"
"Are you sure it's the only way Naruto?" Sakura asked with a shake of her head, "This can lead into a whole lot of trouble…We would be lying to people…"
"I know," Naruto responded with a sigh, "But if you had Kimiko on your back all the time, you would do anything Sakura-chan…Please help me!! I trust you…Only you can save me from her!"
Sakura shook her head, immediately thinking that her friend's idea was absolutely absurd. Her and Naruto? Naruto and Sakura? As a couple? It was so…wrong! So many things would go wrong; so many misunderstandings could be made.
'Why can't Naruto ask Hinata-chan to play along?' Outer Sakura thought solemnly as she watched Naruto pout, trying to win her over on his idea.
'Because Mr. Dense doesn't know Hinata-chan likes him,' Inner Sakura stated obviously, 'And Hinata-chan is on a Mission right now…So, Kimiko would be gone by the time she got here……Damn it…'
Sakura sighed as she looked at her watch, noting that it was about time she went back to work. She would have to deal with Naruto and his problem later, when they both had time to clear their heads and think up better, way better ideas. The medic stood, much to Naruto's alarm, and she placed money on the counter for both hers and Naruto's meals.
"We'll talk about this later Naruto," Sakura sighed tiredly as she hoisted her medical bag back onto her shoulder, the white medic's uniform she wore shifting slightly, "I doubt your…couple idea…is going to work…But, meet me at my house after I get off work okay…I'm pretty sure, knowing Kimiko, she'll be waiting by your doorstep tonight…And knowing you, you probably don't want to deal with that, so you can stay the night…"
"Sakura-chan," Naruto pleaded, ocean blue eyes big as he clasped his hands together, "At least…Think about the idea……"
The pink-haired Jounin frowned as she shook her head, believing that the idea was fruitless, but she sighed, "…Fine…I'll think about…But it's not for certain that we'll do it…"
"If you can think of something better," Naruto reasoned, "Then we'll go with that, but my idea is the main choice right now…I just know it's the only way to get those two off our backs…"
"You mean Kimiko off your back," Sakura stated as a matter of fact, "Kiyoshi isn't even bothering me…"
"He will," Naruto responded with a knowing look, "He will."
"Whatever," Sakura sighed as she began to walk out of the stand, "Be careful Naruto…Just stay out of sight if you don't want to confront your…stalker…again."
"I know," Naruto agreed, "But remember to think the plan over!!"
Sakura only waved a hand in his direction to show she heard, before walking off back to the Hospital, sun shining on her back, and her mind battling with possible ideas on how to approach the current situation.
Somehow, the Jounin Medical Kunoichi knew she was going to experience a whole mess of trouble in the coming future.
A/N: Hello everyone!! My name is luvinukag83 and I was originally an Inuyasha Fanfiction Writer...I still write Inuyasha Fanfiction but I have recently been introduced to the Naruto Anime and Manga Series. It's really interesting and it has so many possibilites as a Fanfiction and I already have so many ideas. So I hope you read on and like them, more will hopefully come in the near future. I do like feedback, especially constructive criticism, but no flames please. I look forward to getting to know you readers and reviewers, so don't hesitate to contact me and talk. Heck, we can talk about Naruto, or co-write something, I'm always up for new things...So I hope you like this new Naruto story, humor and romance with a pinch of action and a dash of drama...Stay tuned and love you all!! Next update will probably be next week!! Just to let you know, I am strictly SasuSaku and NaruHina...I just love those couples, along with ShikaIno and NejiTen...You'll see most of those type of stories from me.
Well, hope you liked the first chapter and I look forward to your reviews!! Thanks!!
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto...Masashi Kishimoto does...