Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto nor any characters thereof nor do I make any money from this fic.
Well I'm starting a het multi-chapter and it's Naruto/Temari to boot. I hope my watchers don't kill me.
Chapter 1 Moving On
Naruto smiled at the librarian and went to the medical jutsu section where he knew Sakura would be. He sat next to her and spoke softly, "Hey Sakura-chan. What are you working on?"
The pinkette frowned at her teammate, "I was trying to study seal removal before someone interrupted me."
"Oh," he was quiet for a moment, "Well I just came by to t-"
"Look Naruto I'm absolutely sick of this!"
"You're always following me around like a love sick puppy, it's pathetic. The way you refuse to leave me alone disgusts me, even Lee knows better. Get this through your thick skull, I. Do. Not. Like. You. I never will, you're too loud and have the fashion sense of a rock not to mention the fact that you give new meaning to the term idiot. Now leave me alone so I can figure out how to remove Sasuke's curse seal."
The kunoichi's harsh words struck all the more deeply due to the quiet tone of her voice and Naruto clenched his fists against the pain they caused in order to get the message he'd come to deliver out, "Baa-chan sent me to ask you to go see her."
The young medic blinked, "Oh. Well thanks," and she left the section.
Naruto watched her back retreat and grabbed a scroll from the shelf in front of him to give the pain and fury building in him time to settle before he slammed a fist into the library wall. By coincidence the scroll he'd grabbed was on wind jutsu. He scanned what he could read of the scroll and the defensive jutsus caught his attention. His arsenal of defensive jutsu was pathetically limited so studying these wouldn't hurt but he knew that he'd never be able to concentrate on deciphering the kanji right now so he put the scroll back and dashed out of the library to pound on a few training stumps.
After beating himself to exhaustion, Naruto climbed up the Hokage Monument to sit on the Shodaime's head. He looked out over the village and pondered the earlier episode with Sakura. Now that he'd gained control of his emotions he could think about it without the hurt clouding any logic. He closed his eyes and let the years of trying to get his crush's attention wash over him in a cascade of hopeful requests followed by physically painful rejections. The rejections had always hurt in one way or another but this time it had driven deep and destroyed a small part of Naruto's naive trust. The blond frowned and opened his eyes, a single tear falling as he made a decision. He would move on and use the hurt as fuel to get stronger. He knew it wouldn't be easy since he couldn't avoid his teammate and she was sure to assume that the change he was about to initiate was to get her attention but he was determined to make the rest of Konoha see him as something other than a loud idiot, Sakura could take a flying leap though.
The first thing he did was go to the one man he trusted more than anyone else in this world. The scarred chunin opened his door, smiled at Naruto, and invited him in kindly. The blond entered, toed off his sandals, and sat on the couch.
Iruka settled next to his foster son, "So what brings you here Naruto?"
"I need your help Iruka-sensei."
The chunin blinked and nodded to indicate that he was listening.
"You know how I won't bother to read anything written in kanji?"
"Yes, I never could figure out why you hated reading kanji."
"It's because I can't really read it. When I was learning the basics no one helped me grasp the subtleties so I have trouble with the more advanced kanji used in scrolls and reports."
Iruka growled softly at the thought of Naruto being neglected by his earlier teachers and the blond smiled, "It's okay Iruka-sensei. It's in the past and I'm leaving it there but I need to know how to read well so could you help me relearn what I need to?"
"Of course I will Naruto."
The blond smiled, "Thanks sensei. Every day starting tomorrow after my training?"
The chunin nodded and Naruto left the apartment oblivious to Iruka's plots to track down the blond's previous teachers and give them a piece of his mind.
Naruto's next stop was a ninja outfitter shop owned by TenTen's family. He snickered when he saw that TenTen was being made to help out today by modeling a special formal kimono for kunoichi that could hide enough weaponry to stock an armory. The girl scowled at the blond, "Laugh it up Uzumaki. I'd like to see you wear this evil thing."
Naruto chuckled, "And if I did what would you do TenTen?"
Her eyes widened at the prospect of getting out of the kimono, "You wear this thing for two hours while the special for it is going on and I'll pay for whatever you're getting today."
He grinned, "That's too good to pass up TenTen, you've got yourself a deal."
Quick as a flash the weapon's mistress dragged him to the changing rooms, shoved him into one stall, and ducked into the neighboring stall. She grinned when she heard the telltale poof that signaled Naruto activating the Sexy Jutsu and she slithered out of the kimono, throwing it over the stall divider and getting her own clothes on.
She stepped out of the stall and waited for Naruto to exit. When he did TenTen's jaw dropped, "Damn Naruto that looks better on you than it ever has on me."
The blond grinned, "Why thank you TenTen-chan, that's what I call a compliment since you're quite a beauty."
TenTen shook her head, smiling, "Okay turn off the charm blondie. You know Naruto, it's too bad you weren't born a girl cause you'd have guys falling down at your feet to worship if you were."
"Nah I'd just have to kick them out of my way, too much effort."
TenTen laughed, "That sounded like something Shikamaru would say."
"Sometimes he's got the right idea about not extending too much effort."
"Speaking of effort, I hope you know how to fight in that thing since that's part of the demonstration."
"Actually I do. Baa-chan wanted me to learn kunoichi stuff since I use the Sexy Jutsu on missions sometimes."
TenTen chuckled, pushed Naruto out into the shop, and sat back to enjoy the show.
After the two hours, TenTen gaped in amazement at the sales of the battle kimono while Naruto changed back into his male form and clothes. Not only had Naruto modeled the use of the kimono effectively, the blond was a hell of a salesman; he'd managed to talk even the most reluctant of kunoichi into buying one of the battle kimonos. From what TenTen had seen the blond could probably sell sand to a Suna nin.
Naruto walked back into the shop's main room and TenTen leaned against the counter, "So what am I paying for Naruto?"
"I need a different outfit."
The weapon's mistress blinked, "Huh? Why, I thought you loved the orange jumpsuit?"
"I do but I need something different for missions since stealth is a high priority for a ninja."
TenTen raised an eyebrow, "Uh-huh, what brought this about?"
"Sakura if you really wanna know."
"So you're changing yourself for her?"
He shook his head, "No, I'm tired of being rejected by her so I'm moving on. This is part of me moving on, not trying so hard to get people to look at me. If I'm looked at it'll be because of my abilities not my outfit's color."
She nodded, "Okay I get that. You want something with at least a little orange in it?"
He smiled, "That'd be great, and it needs to conceal my build."
"Why the hell would you want that? You've got a killer body, definitely in my list of top five."
He scratched the back of his head, "Well I've just always covered myself up. I'm used to it, plus it's great for concealing weapons."
TenTen grinned, "Why don't you let me pick out something that'll show off that body of yours and wear more weapon pouches instead?"
"I don't know."
"Satisfaction guaranteed or I'll pay for your weapons for a year."
Naruto raised an eyebrow, "Are you picking up on Baa-chan's betting habit or something?"
"Nah, I just want to see your full potential displayed well."
Naruto shook his head and let TenTen pick out his new outfit. Snug dark blue pants with orange stripes running down each leg, a dark blue sleeveless top that clung like a second skin, and a black jacket that had scroll pouches across the front like his jonin vest. She brought two leg holsters and two black pouches as well as a pair of sleek black combat boots that held hidden blades in the soles.
TenTen put the jumpsuit and four changes of his new outfit into a bag for him to carry home and practically pushed him out of the shop with instructions to tell her how many girls asked him out.
Now Naruto was entering Team Kurenai's training grounds to speak to the genjutsu mistress. Unfortunately as soon as he entered the clearing Hinata spotted him and pulled her famous faint, leaving Kiba to catch her. Kurenai looked Naruto up and down as Kiba shouted for him to take off before Hinata woke up or she'd pass out again. The blond winced and turned to do as the dog lover asked. Kurenai turned to Shino with instructions to keep working on the combo then followed the Uzumaki.
"Naruto, did you need something?"
He paused and faced the kunoichi, "I wanted to ask you if you could help me learn genjutsu."
She blinked, "You know your not-"
"Not naturally a genjutsu type? Yeah but just cause it doesn't come naturally doesn't mean I can't learn does it?"
Kurenai closed her eyes and made a considering noise. 'He makes a good point. Many great shinobi became great because they pushed past their natural limits.' She looked back at the young man, "Very well I'll help you train in genjutsu under one condition."
"What is it?"
She smiled, "You let me teach you proper etiquette as well."
He goggled, "Huh?"
Her smile widened and she reached up to ruffle his hair, "You have good manners for someone who was never taught them but if you're going to be Hokage one day you'll need more refined manners."
He processed that and grinned, "Deal. Thanks Kurenai-sensei."
"You're welcome. You can start coming to me for training every Saturday after lunch when you don't have a mission."
He nodded, "I will. Thank you again."
She smiled at his retreating back then turned to go back to her team.
Naruto's final stop was Ebisu to ask for help in refining his basic skills. The bespectacled jonin agreed and they set up training for Sundays from dawn to noon. Naruto entered his apartment and put his new clothes up before stripping and stepping into the shower to clean up.
He finished his shower, turned the water off, and hitched a towel around his hips before going to his kitchen for some ramen. He stopped short at the sight of his former teacher and now team captain rifling through his cupboards, "What are you doing snooping through my kitchen Kakashi?"
The masked man turned to the blond, "I've heard a couple of interesting rumors about you today and wanted to see if they were true."
Naruto sighed and brushed past the copy ninja to fish out a ramen cup, "If it's about me changing my clothes and asking for help in my training then yes they're true."
Naruto recognized the tone of Kakashi's hmm and turned to face the older jonin, "What?"
Kakashi looked up at the blond, "Perhaps you'd like help in taijutsu?"
"I was already planning to ask either Lee or Gai-san for help there."
"Perfect then, Gai and I train together every Saturday morning. Why don't you join us?"
"Four am to eleven am."
"Hmph, where at?"
"We meet at Konoha's gates."
"And you actually show up on time?"
"Since Gai would start a lecture on 'unyouthfulness' if I didn't, yes."
"Then I think I will join you."
Kakashi smiled behind his mask, "Good. Another thing I came by for was to give you these," he handed Naruto a set of orange wrist and ankle bands and a choker with seal marks around them, "They're gravity seals. They affect your entire body instead of a few localized areas like Gai's leg weights. The more chakra you put into the seals the more gravity is exerted on your body."
"Sweet. Thanks Kakashi-taichou."
"You're welcome Naruto. See you next Saturday."
Naruto shook his head as Kakashi exited via the window. 'Why he doesn't use the door I'll never know.' Just then a knock sounded at his door and Naruto, completely forgetting that all he was wearing was a small towel around his waist, went to answer it. He opened the door and was greeted by Ino's slack jawed expression as she saw his nearly naked form filling the doorway.
"Ino-chan are you okay?"
Ino jumped at the sound of his voice and blinked, blushing as she realized that what she was seeing wasn't an illusion, "Um Naruto could you put some pants on or something?"
"Hm," he looked down on himself and blushed, "Oh. I'm sorry I forgot that I hadn't changed into my sweats yet. Come in and make yourself comfortable. I'll be back out in a few."
Ino watched his backside as he walked to his bedroom and found herself hoping that the towel would fall. 'Ah bad Ino! You're dating Lee remember. Still I'm only human and Naruto's body could give Lee a run for his money if I'm any judge.' Ino shook her head to clear it of her less than pure thoughts and went to Naruto's kitchen to brew some tea. As the tea was steeping, Naruto entered the kitchen wearing a pair of orange sweatpants that rode low on his hips and had Ino's inner pervert sitting up and begging for something to catch the pants just enough to tug them down. Ino bobbled the teapot and Naruto reached out to catch the handle before tea splattered all over the place, "Whoa careful there Ino-chan. Don't want you burning those lovely hands of yours now do we? Lee would pound me senseless for allowing harm to befall his gorgeous girlfriend."
Ino blushed lightly, "Since when are you charming?"
"Who me? I can be charming when I put my mind to it."
"Not according to Sakura."
He frowned and bit off, "Sakura doesn't know everything about me you know."
Ino stared at him, noting the way his jaw was tight and his movements stiff as he poured the tea and set a cup in front of her before putting the pot and his own cup on the table and sitting. 'Uh-oh what did you do forehead-girl?' Naruto took a sip of his tea to calm himself, "So to what do I owe the pleasure of your company Ino-chan?"
"Well Sakura asked me to-"
He held up a hand, "Hold it. If there's something Sakura wants to tell or ask me she can do it herself, not use you as a middleman or middle-woman as the case is."
'Oh yeah Sakura blew it big this time, he's not using chan at the end of her name. No wonder she asked me to apologize for her.' Ino sipped at her tea, "Okay sunshine-boy, what did forehead girl do?"
He shrugged, "Just the usual."
"The usual doesn't make you drop the honorific nor does it make you tense at her name."
He raised his eyes to hers and she flinched at the banked pain in those ocean blue depths, "I really don't want to talk about it Ino-chan."
Ino nodded, "Okay but since I don't want to explain to Sakura that I couldn't deliver her message can I please be the middle-woman this once?"
"Alright Ino-chan. Hit me with it."
"She said to tell you that she was quote 'unnecessarily harsh in her words earlier today' unquote."
"Hmm, any sorry or I apologize from her?"
"Uh no, so I guess her message is a really half-assed apology huh?"
"Oh yeah. Look when she asks you what I said, and she will, just tell her that if she wants a reply she'll have to talk to me, not you."
Ino finished her tea and stood, "Okay then," she started past him, paused and put a hand on his shoulder, "If you need to talk to someone, Lee and I will listen."
He raised his hand to hers and squeezed lightly, "Thanks Ino-chan, I'll keep that in mind."
"Well then, see you around blondie."
She left the apartment and he scowled as he cleaned up the tea service. 'Sakura needs to learn that half-assed apologies issued through her friends just won't cut it in some situations.' He shook himself out of his irritation, got a white tank top from his closet, and left to visit his best friend.
Naruto nodded to the guards outside the cell and entered it, "Hey teme. The seal act up a lot today?"
"Hn, no more than usual. Any luck finding a way to get rid of the damned thing?"
Naruto plopped down on the bed next to his seated best friend, "Nah but Sakura's working on it too. It'd go a lot quicker if we could find Ero-sennin but even the toads can't locate him right now. Stupid pervert's probably hiding out from female ANBU knowing him."
Sasuke eyed his friend curiously noting the lack of honorific for Sakura, "What did that pink monstrosity do now?"
"Huh? What do you mean?"
The Uchiha felt irritation flaring behind the wall of calm that was necessary for his sanity and growled, "That's what I mean Naruto. You didn't use chan for her name and you didn't bother to defend her just now. What did she do?"
"Calm down Sasuke, now."
The raven bit the inside of his cheek, knowing that if he didn't listen to Naruto he'd lose his temper and spend the next few days in a murderous, seal induced, fury. Sasuke closed his eyes and regulated his breathing, forcing his anger back far enough that he wouldn't have to worry about it affecting the seal no matter how enraged he became.
"Okay I'm calm now. Tell me what she did."
"Would it kill you to ask once in a while?"
"Naruto," the fond exasperation in Sasuke's voice reassured the blond that his friend was indeed calm. Naruto leaned back against the prison wall and began relating the days happenings. After he finished he looked at Sasuke, oblivious to the tears sliding down his whiskered cheeks, "Can you believe it? She really thought that Ino-chan coming by and relaying her half-assed apology would work."
Sasuke dearly wanted to release his rage and leave Sakura's ego and heart bleeding the same way she had done to Naruto but he stifled it and leaned over to wipe Naruto's tears away with a pale hand, "She doesn't deserve your tears Naruto, she never did. You're doing the right thing by moving on and you'll find someone worthy of your love one day."
Naruto smiled, "Thanks teme."
A knock sounded on the cell door, the signal that visiting hours were over. Naruto got up and clapped Sasuke on the back, "I'll see you tomorrow Sasuke."
"Don't get yourself killed on a D-ranked mission usuratonkachi."
"Shut up teme!"
Sasuke's laughter echoed down the prison walls and gave made Naruto smile as the cell door was locked again.
What'd you think? Good? Bad? Sucked big time? Please review it warms my heart and flames warm my dinner so if you hated it you can let me have it with both barrels. See ya next time, Ja ne!