Alright, you made it. So, I do not own Naruto series/manga. My only warning is that there might be some shonen ai.

This was betaed by MysteryLady-TX and XxMysticMariexX

I wrote this story for Mari-chan, but I think she knows that now. I picked the pairing for MysteryLady. :) I hope you all enjoy it. If you do, leave me a review. Oh, and please take the poll on my profile!

Enjoy

I lose my courage. I lose my courage when I see you.

Naruto was early for once to their weapon practice. Everyone seemed to notice, at least everyone who mattered. Shikamaru stared over to the previously empty chair. Chouji was just walking into the room and nearly choked on his chips when he saw Naruto with his homework on his desk. Kiba ran in seconds before the bell yelling "At least I'm earlier than Na-ru-to!", then he noticed that no, he in fact was not. Naruto stared at the friends whose desks circled his own before muttering a barely audible "What?"

"What do you mean 'what'?" Kiba pulled the paper from under Naruto's hands and started copying down the scribbled answers.

"Really, Naruto." Chouji managed between bites.

"Really what? What are you all talking about?" Naruto tried to act aloof. It wasn't working.

"Why are you early?" Shikamaru leaned on the back of his chair as he usually did except this time it was a different blue he was staring at.

"Well, I thought it would be better if I started waking up and being responsible?" Naruto fished for the correct answer. "Maybe I could be smarter?" He looked at the group and they weren't buying it. "Perhaps I might-"

"Where did you learn that word?" Kiba handed Naruto back his homework before the teacher walked in.

"I read it in the English assignment." Naruto beamed at them and pointed at his book.

"You're changing the subject." Shikamaru stared at Naruto's homework. He had already calculated a grade. Naruto failed again, but at least this time he'd have a paper to put his grade on.

"I thought that today would be-"

"Oh my! My little Naruto is going to do it!" Kiba placed his hands on his cheeks and batted his eyelashes at Naruto.

"I am!" Naruto smiled at the encouragement he was getting.

"You should." Shikamaru had tired of the conversation. He knew the end to this story.

"It is a good day Naruto." Chouji reached for another bag of chips.

"I'll do it." Naruto gathered his pride and courage and pushed his seat back when he stood. The scraping of the metal chair against the tile floor squeaked and the object of his affections turned to stare. Naruto's breath caught and he sat back down. "I can't do it." He placed his head on his desk and hoped he couldn't be spotted from across the room.

When I'm out drinking with my friends I try to forget, but they know me too well. They know about you. They've noticed the way I stare and practically drool all over my self when you're around and sometimes when you aren't. They've gotten me drunk in hopes of making me gain the brave spirit that I lack, but it doesn't work. You've been known to sober me up as soon as you walk into the room.

"I know what you need." Kiba pushed a stool back with his foot and brought down a glass half filled with melting ice. The collecting water at the bottom was tinted the color of dark honey from the previous drink. "One of these will help you." Kiba filled it to the brim. His vision was already blurring. It was obvious by the way he was blinking.

"At least you-know-who isn't here." Shikamaru picked up his sake and sipped it. He was the responsible one after all.

"Are you sure?" Naruto drank down the bitter liquid and tried not to wince.

"Yeah haven't seen anyone that isn't a regular walk through that door." Shikamaru handed Chouji another dish of sweet chicken. The only reason they came to a restaurant bar was because Chouji refused to go anywhere else.

"Here take another!" Kiba refilled the near empty glass and this time did spill some over the brim. "Oops! There goes some!" Kiba picked up Naruto's hand and liked the wet fingers as if it weren't the most awkward moment in history.

"Thanks, I think." Naruto pulled his fingers back and downed his glass in minutes.

By his fifth glass he was drinking pure rum without any ice. It didn't taste so bitter anymore and his words were slurring. He knew there was a reason he stayed away from alcohol, but at the moment he couldn't really remember what it was.

"We should go." Shikamaru was standing up and pulling Chouji up with him.

"Nah, we should stay Shika-shika-shoo!" Naruto was pointing with both of his hands and his eyes were pulled so small to gain focus it was comical.

"Narutototo is right!" Kiba lifted another glass and downed it.

"Yeah listen to, umm, you know him!" Naruto blinked at Kiba and tried to recognize the red triangles swimming around in his vision.

"Naruto, now is not a good time to be acting like that." Shikamaru pointedly stared at the door and there was the cure.

Naruto straightened up and opened his eyes wide in surprise. "You're right. Let's go." He grabbed Kiba by the arm and led them out before they were seen by that group.

I'm a joke. It is because of you that I am a joke. Whenever my buddies get a new girlfriend they like to bring her around. They laugh at the fact that I am not as brave as them. It is a laughing matter. It is funny because it's true. I don't have the guts. I really don't, and for that I am a joke.

"About time Chouji!" Chouji walked in with Ino's hand in his. "We were getting worried."

Chouji and Ino took a seat around the grill and Kiba continued his barrage. "So you finally got the guts."

"Look, I agreed to a date, but it doesn't mean I like him." Ino brushed her hair behind her with a flick of her head.

Chouji smiled at her. He knew she'd fall for him eventually.

"So, how'd you do it?" Kiba went on as if Ino hadn't spoken.

"I offered her fatty food until she told me to stop. I said I would if she agreed to a date." Chouji pulled out a sizzling piece of meat from the grill.

"That's how a man does it!" Kiba patted Naruto roughly on his back until Naruto was coughing from the hits. "Naruto you should take lessons from Chouji."

"Oooh, does Naruto like somebody?" Ino's gossip gland started acting up as soon as Naruto blushed.

"I don't." Naruto calmly took a drink from his glass and pretended he wasn't the center of the conversation.

"He does." Three male voices answered at once.

"Thanks a lot guys. So much for secrecy."

"It's not like it matters. You'll never do it anyways." Kiba went on eating while Ino tried to figure out who it could be.

"Hey, Shikamaru tell Naruto about how you got Temari! Maybe it'll inspire him."

My friends all tease me when you appear. I could be sitting huddled in a corner, but as soon as you show up everyone's attention is on me. They tease and make me walk towards you; sometimes you notice and walk by. Other times you continue marching down the catwalk without regards to the foot your heel just stepped on. I love it. I love returning to the table and to have everyone rub in the fact that I could never have you and on top of that that I chickened out once more. Oh, wait I don't.

"We really should spend more time practicing or studying." Shikamaru lifted his milkshake and took a long drink.

"Nah, I like it here best!" Kiba was scooping large amounts of ice cream into his mouth.

"Kiba is right." Chouji was on his third burger and second shake.

Naruto sat at the corner of their booth and tried his best to fall asleep. He was succeeding, that is until the group went quiet and everyone looked over at Naruto.

"Oi, big boy look who's coming towards the door." Naruto shook awake and a smile was instantly on his face.

"Man, you're so whipped and you don't even have a girlfriend." Chouji forfeited his chance to tease Naruto in favor of another drink.

"Shut up. I do fine."

"Naruto, you should really go up to him. I'm sure he'll notice you." Shikamaru pushed Naruto to stand by pulling and sliding his body out of the vinyl booth.

"Yeah, just do your sexy walk and you'll do fine!" Kiba and everyone around had a look in their eyes that encouraged Naruto to walk towards the door where he was walking in.

"Okay here goes."

Naruto casually walked towards the door and the group that surrounded the object of his affections. Naruto stopped, smiled, and waved awkwardly while his group just walked by him without noticing his now aching toe. Naruto dropped his face and turned on his heel. He made his way back to the corner booth.

"Aw, Naruto you'll never get a date!" Kiba handed him a new milkshake and ruffled his hair.

"Yeah, he might be a bit out of your league." Shikamaru rubbed his back and encouraged him to drink the sweet, thick shake.

"You could have at least spoken to him. He might have not walked past you had you talked." Chouji shoveled down another order of fries and so the day went on.

The catcalls start as soon as someone catches wind of our assignments together. I won't have two minutes of peace before someone is already wondering if I'll finally do it.

"Naruto!" As soon as he stepped into the mission room he heard his name being yelled across the room. It wasn't surprising to hear such a strong voice coming from a very strong lady. He dragged his feet until he was in front of Shikamaru and Tsunade. He was so tired from his previous mission he hadn't noticed who was standing next to him.

"What?"

"What do you mean 'what'?" Tsunade stood up and attempted to climb over the table. Naruto remembered the last time she did that. His eye twitched.

"I mean, I'm ready for whatever, oh mighty Hokage." Naruto's tone was even more bored and monotone than earlier.

"Fine. I have a mission for you." Tsunade took her seat and reached for the mission request that Shikamaru was holding.

"I gathered." Naruto crossed his arms and tapped his foot.

"You are to go and pick up a scroll from Sand." Tsunade handed him a necklace. "Give that to your partner to wear. The person should be waiting for you at the entrance disguised as a ninja."

"Fine." Naruto was about to reach for the necklace, but another hand got to it first.

"I'll wear it." Kakashi slipped it over his head and Naruto's face burst into flame or maybe it was just the blood rushing to his face.

"Kakashi will be your partner." Tsunade smiled knowingly at Naruto.

Kakashi smiled at Naruto then turned to walk out. "I'll see you tomorrow at five. Don't be late."

"S-shouldn't I be t-the one saying that?" Naruto zipped up his jacket and waited for what he knew was going to happen after Kakashi left.

Whistling and meowing was heard all around the room. Shikamaru's usually serious face turned into a sexy suggestive smile. Tsunade stood up and imitated Naruto's stuttering at Kakashi.

"Naruto now is the time! You have seven whole days alone with Kakashi on a D rank mission." Tsunade's smile gleamed with mischief as did everyone else's eyes.

"You all set me up!" Naruto turned and glared at everyone, but the smiles and catcalls wouldn't stop.

Every time they push me more and more, until I want to do it! They encourage me until I think they're right and that you will look at me this time. You will see beyond my blonde hair and short frame and you will see me.

"You are a very cute guy, Naruto. I'm sure he'd pay attention to you." Ino was playing with her hair while everyone else was lying on the ground staring at the star speckled sky.

"Yeah, I'm no gay, but you're a looker." Kiba punched him in the ribs and took his breath away, literally.

"You aren't the same kid anymore, Naruto. You're strong and you've grown. I'm sure he's realized that by now." Sakura reached for a marshmallow and impaled it on a stick.

"Thank you guys." Naruto sat up and wondered if maybe they were right. Had Kakashi been able to see past his childish aura?

They've pushed me until I'm at your door with a hand in the air just waiting to fall and wake you. You answer, but then I see you and I lose my courage.

Naruto was practically dragged to Kakashi's doorstep. There was giggling and whispering that awoke Kakashi easily. Naruto was left alone after he raised his hand to knock. His moral support had retreated back to the hill where they had been eating.

Kakashi smiled. Naruto was there. By the look on his face he must have finally made up his mind. He was going to tell Kakashi and Kakashi was ready with an answer. He pulled up his facemask and slipped into his nin pants. Kakashi opened the door and smiled before speaking.

"Hello Naruto."

I lose my courage because - because I lose my courage when I see you.

"H-hey Kakashi." A nervous glance around the area and the best Naruto can come up with is, "I think I have the wrong door." Then Kakashi knows he was right because he lives alone in the only house near the woods.