The air in Konoha was fresh and warm; spring was fully-fledged and the love bug had bitten quite a few of those ninja who swarmed the Hidden Leaf village. There was laughter in the air, accompanied by the smells of flowers, chocolates, and other sweet things. Except in the heart of one Leaf Genin.
In the heart of Konohamaru, there was only a dull ache.
The dark haired boy wandered the streets, hands thrust into his pockets, scarf warm and itchy against his neck, brow furrowed as he stared at the cobblestone street as it passed beneath him. His heart throbbed dully within the crevice of his chest.
He longed for what all these couples had…the civilians and ninja alike who wandered about, hand in hand, goofy grins plastered to their faces. And he knew who he wanted it with…but he just didn't know how.
She was beautiful. Too beautiful to ever be interested in him. And too talented. She'd become a Chuunin already, for Pete's sake, and she was easily two years younger than him! Thirteen to his fifteen. And he was still a Genin. He was still a fucking Genin!
Konohamaru scowled, clutching at the back of his head and staring up at the sky. It was depressing. The woman of his dreams would never be his.
Hyuuga Hanabi was small and thin, weak looking with pitch black hair falling almost to her waist and restrained back in a low horsetail. She always dressed simply; black training clothes, sometimes accompanied by her vest. She wasn't into frill. And that was what he loved about her; she was strong, and she didn't need flair to show it off.
She would never be interested in him.
Konohamaru sighed, turning to head towards Ichiraku's. Maybe he could talk to Naruto.
"Hey boss." The Genin greeted, sliding into the stool next to Naruto, who was inhaling Ramen as though it were air. Slurping and gulping; generally making a huge racket. It took the blonde a moment or two to swallow, but then turned a famous, toothy smile onto Konohamaru.
"Hey Konohamaru! What's up?"
"Nothing much boss. Hey, what do you know about girls?"
"Girls?" Naruto paused, tapping his chopsticks against his chin and grinning crookedly. He knew next to nothing about girls. Except that you never wanted to get one angry. Ever. But he wouldn't let Konohamaru know that! Oh no. Naruto had to give Konohamaru something, "I know plenty! What do you want to know?"
"How do you make a girl like you?" The brunette asked, sniffing heavily and wiping his nose against his sleeve. Damn allergies.
"Well Konohamaru, all you have to do is…" And the rest was left to whispers as Naruto cupped his hand around the younger boy's ear. Konohamaru turned bright red at what Naruto said, and gave the man a doubtful glance, only to be returned a wide smile.
"You're sure boss?"
And so Konohamaru set off, muttering what he planned on saying beneath his breath, beginning his search for Hanabi. Luckily enough he found her quickly; she was training with her cousin just outside the village. Konohamaru gulped, and approached the two. Neji always made him nervous.
"Erm…hi…Hanabi-chan." He greeted meekly, nervously tugging on his scarf and smiling. The two Hyuuga turned to stare at him with their white eyes, curiously void of emotion that he could decipher, "Uh…could I…erm…talk to you?" He asked, glancing nervously at Neji, who touched his sister lightly on the shoulder. She nodded, and Neji left the two, walking back towards Leaf with his hands folded over his chest.
"Yes Konohamaru?" Hanabi asked lightly, all but ignoring him as she stretched out her arms muscles.
"Erm…If your right hand was…no….wait…" He paused, scratching the back of his head, taking a deep breath, and beginning again, "If your left leg was winter, and your right leg was spring. I'd like to…visit between the seasons."
"What?" Hanabi turned to face him, cheeks tinted red, anger painted across her visage, "What did you just say?"
"If I flip a coin, what are the chances of me getting head?" He tried the nest one, hastily taking a step backwards as the kunoichi took a step towards him, her fists clenched by her sides.
"What did you just say?"
"I'll be the ice-burg, you be the titanic. You go down on me."
"Why you little…"
He was fighting a losing battle. Konohamaru made a mental note to kick Naruto in the family jewels later on.
"If I asked you for sex, would the answer be the same as the answer to this question?"
A low growl emitted from the heiress' throat, and she sprang onto him. The only pleasure he got out of the severe beating he then received was the fact that she had straddled his waist.
Of course, that didn't really make up for the broken nose and black eye.
Later on, after a very stern talking to from Tsunade, who had quickly patched him his nose, but left him the eye as a reminder, Konohamaru stalked through the streets, keeping an eye out for Hanabi. She was scary. He continually glanced back over his shoulder. And on one such instance, he bumped into someone.
"You should watch where you're going Kono-kun." Kiba grinned down at the younger boy, gripping his shoulder lightly. Akamaru trailed at Kiba's heels, grinning doggishly.
"Oh, hey Kiba-san." Konohamaru smiled at the Inuzuka, scratching the back of his head, sparked by inspiration, "Hey, do you know how to get a girl to like you?" Recently, Kiba always seemed to have some sort of girl hanging off of him. He should know.
"Heh. You got your eyes on some sweet little bird then, huh Kono-kun?" Kiba grinned, winking heavily. Konohamaru smiled, nodding a few times rather rapidly, causing the older man to laugh, "Well then, I've got something for you that will get you any girl. I guarantee it!"
"What? What is it?!" Konohamaru asked excitedly, bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet.
"Chicks love dogs Kono-kun. I'll let you take Akamaru on a walk, walk by this girl…strike up a conversation with her…and things will progress from there!"
Needless to say, Konohamaru trusted Kiba. He'd never seen Naruto with girls before…but Kiba was a regular pimp! At least…among the civilian women…he'd never actually seen a kunoichi take the dog ninja too seriously. But no matter.
And so, Konohamaru walked through the training grounds, eyes searching for Hanabi, one hand tangled in the fur of the lumbering dog beside him. His eye ached dully, a reminder of his last encounter with the girl. It had only been about an hour ago after all.
And then he saw her. She was sitting cross legged in a patch of grass, sipping water from her canteen, looking as though she were lost in thought. He gulped, and approached, trying to ease confidence into his walk.
"Hey Hanabi-chan." He said as smoothly as he could, wincing as his voice squeaked on her name. She glanced at him, and scowled, her cheeks tinted red.
"Get away from me pervert."
"Aww…I was just kidding about that! I even brought Akamaru here to make it up to you!"
She stared at him blankly for a moment. Finally, she sighed, "I'm allergic to dogs."
"No you're not!"
"Yes Konohamaru," She glanced at him again, slightly amused, "I am. Get away from me."
Dejected, Konohamaru stared at the ground the entire way to the Inuzuka compound to return Akamaru.
Time to ask someone who might actually know what the fuck they were talking about!
Determination in his eyes, the young shinobi set off towards the Nara complex, frowning heavily.
"Konohamaru?" Shikamaru answered the door, quirking a brow as he stared down at the frustrated little boy. "What do you want?"
"You're dating Temari-san, right?" Konohamaru demanded, placing his fists on his hips.
"How'd you get her to like you?"
"I beat her in the Chuunin ex…wait, where are you going?"
Konohamaru had grunted in frustration and stormed away, waving his hands in the air and muttering about how the whole world hated him. He could never beat Hanabi at anything! He wouldn't even try to fight her.
That happened to be strike three.
The rest of the day, Konohamaru wandered the streets, wallowing in his misery. He'd never get the girl of his dreams…it was impossible. It always had been, he realized with a painful throb of the heart. She would always be too good for him. Too pretty. Too talented. Too absolutely amazing.
"Konohamaru, what are you doing here?"
With a start the boy realized he had wandered to the Academy. Iruka stood a couple of paces off, seemingly in the middle of sending his students home, as they were all scampering from him like rats. Konohamaru glanced around, and then shrugged, kicking at the dirt.
"Konohamaru...what's the matter?" Damn Iruka and his stupid ability to tell when someone was wrong with one of his students. "Does it have to do with a girl?"
Konohamaru stared. He simply stared at the scarred Chuunin. How could he tell? It was uncanny! And it embarrassed him. His cheeks flared red and he looked away, twisting his fingers together behind his back and shrugging. When he looked back at the man, he couldn't help but scowl at Iruka's understanding smile.
"Come here Konohamaru, I have some advice for you…"
"No!" He yelled rather loudly, eyes widening as he tugged at his scarf, "I don't want any more advice! All people's 'advice' has gotten me today is a black eye! And I get it now! She doesn't like me. She never will! Stop trying to give me advice!"
As the Genin breathed heavily, exhausted from his rant, Iruka merely continued to smile, approaching the boy and taking something from his pocket.
"I get it Konohamaru. But you might like my advice, look at this." He handed what was now recognizable as a strip of photo's, the kind you get in booths at movie theaters…the kind you get on dates…to the boy, who inspected it carefully. It was Iruka…and the scary purple haired Jounin from the Chuunin Exams! Brown eyes widened. The first picture was just the two grinning; Iruka looking rather nervous. The next was Anko making a face, Iruka still nervous. And then Anko kissing Iruka's cheek, Iruka looking surprised. And nervous. And finally, a bright red Iruka, with a grinning Anko.
"No way." He whispered, and looked up at the teacher, who, flushed lightly, took the picture back.
"Would you like some advice?"
A half an hour (and a very long talk) later, Konohamaru crouched low in the bushes. Had Hanabi been training all day? Well, she certainly had been every time he'd seen her. And judging from what he knew about her…Time to spring into action. He checked himself…he had everything he needed. And with Iruka's words in mind, Konohamaru took a deep breath, and stepped out from the bushes to approach her.
"Ohayo Hanabi-chan." He greeted voice barely above a whisper, due to nerves. She turned slightly to face him. He grinned nervously, "No dogs. I swear." He laughed nervously, and she quirked a brow, folding her arms over her chest and scowling. He grit his teeth and reached into his back pocket, praying he hadn't squished it.
"I brought you this." He clutched the small purple flower in his hands. It's petals drooped pathetically, and even the large smile stretching his cheeks couldn't make up for it's obvious lack of life.
"It's dying." She observed dryly, though he noted a slight flush to her cheeks as she reached out to take the flower. She twirled the thin stem between her fingers for a few moments, and Konohamaru held his breath. And finally, she smiled. It was a small one; just the corners of her mouth, but it was enough for him to decide that Iruka was god on earth.
Hyuuga Hanabi was smiling!
"Thank Konohamaru. Would you like to…uh…" His heart leapt into his throat as she struggled to complete her sentence. Have patience…Iruka whispered to him inside his head. Konohamaru breath.
"Go get something to eat?" She finally finished, and then quickly continued, "With me, I mean. Like a…a…a…"
"Date?" He offered hopefully. She scowled, and he shrunk.
"No!" She insisted, brow furrowing as she grew redder. He stared at her, partially frightened, a partially hopeful. She seemed to grow redder and redder, and then…
She sighed, averting her gaze. "Yes. Like a date."
The next morning, Iruka found lying innocently across his desk a strip of photos, a note hastily scribbled on the back.