"Just shut up and follow already." Ino growled. She grabbed Naruto by the collar and dragged him to a large tree by the river. "Look."
Ino pointed a finger out to the center of the river where Sakura was standing, three kunai in each hand. "What she doing?"
"I don't know but watch after a while… Look." Sakura dropped the kunai in the river and dropped to her knees. "Everyday after training with Tsunade she comes and acts like she's going to train and collapses."
"I'll go talk to her. Thanks for letting me know Ino." Naruto said and walked out on the river. As he moved closer Sakura looked over at him. "Um Sakura?"
"Nar…" She fell into the river. Naruto ran after her and caught the back of her shirt and pulled her out onto the surface.
"Oh my god! Sakura!" Ino ran out and sat down next to Sakura, carefully checking the pulse in her wrist. "She's fine, breathing alright to."
"Ino, why's she exhausting herself?" Naruto asked as he picked her up in his arms.
"I don't know. Let's take her home, she needs rest. Can't have her passing out whenever I try and fight her?" Ino laughed nervously. Naruto nodded and they jumped into the trees on the way to Konoha.
"Why do you and Sakura fight constantly." Ino's face changed and she began thinking. "I mean…" Naruto pushed himself of the branch hard to keep up with her, the weight of an unconscious Sakura affecting his speed. "Sasuke and I fought because we wanted to prove that we were strong, but after Sasuke left what are you arguing for?"
"I never thought of it that way. I guess it keeps us busy." Ino smiled and they landed in front of the cage in Training Ground 4. "And I guess it's a way to remember Sasuke. Anyway, we'll find something new to fight over soon enough, Naruto. We always do."
"Okay! So what's the plan!"
"Um… I jump out and I um…"
"This isn't going to work. It's going to embarrass her like it normally does." Shino said looking over at them.
"Aburame! Close your big fat mouth! It will work! Now Hinata!" Kiba shouted.
"Jump out and fall into him! It'll work!"
"Hinata needs to work on talking to him before…"
"SHUT UP! I know what I'm doing Shino."
"You obviously don't, Kiba."
"Quiet Hinata, I'm busy yelling at Shino!"
"Kiba I think…."
"Listen you… creepy ass bug guy! Hinata is ready enough!"
"Kiba, he's coming." Hinata whimpered.
"And I…. oh, really?" Kiba rushed to the end of the fence and saw the top of the yellow hair. "That's him, on the count of four jump."
"Kiba!" Shino said sternly.
"Three!" Kiba shoved Hinata into the street. Hinata closed her eyes and hit something soft. She opened her eyes to purple and back away to see she hit Ino.
"Hey, Hinata? What's the big deal?" Ino said. Hinata backed away quickly and tried to apologize.
"I'm sorry… I thought… I thought…"
"We thought you were Naruto." Shino said walking out. "Kiba had an idea to try and physically injure both of them to spark romance."
"Well if that's not the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Wait, Hinata. You like Naruto?" Ino said looking at her. She stood back up and started shaking her hand. "You deserve way better then him. Naruto's annoying, selfish and can only think about getting Sasuke back."
"Then again, who am I to judge? I'm in!"
"In?" Kiba said rounding the corner. "What do you mean in?"
"I'm going to get Naruto in love with Hinata!" She said happily. "Oh this is going to be awesome! Think about it, me a matchmaker! You know I've got the looks and the charm of some with great expertise!"
"Hey Shino," Kiba whispered. "What do we do?"
"Grab Hinata and run on three." Shino responded. "Three!" Shino grabbed Hinata's right arm and Kiba grabbed her left and they ran away leaving Ino talking to herself.
"This is going to be great huh? HEY!" Ino sighed, "I have to start keeping my eyes open when I rant."
"Oh, thank you for bringing her home. She's been working so hard with the Hokage-sama, comes home tired every day. Um, do you think you could carry her up to her room, I lack that ninja strength?" Mrs. Haruno said smiling and making a strong man pose.
"Sure." Naruto said trying not to laugh.
"Okay! Follow me." Mrs. Haruno lead him upstairs and into a small hallway. "Here we are. Just set her on the bed." She opened the door and moved out of the way. Naruto walked in to the tiny room and carefully set Saukra on the bed. "So your on her team?"
"Uh… Yes. I'm…"
"Wait, let me guess." She started hitting her chin with her finger. "Oh you Naruto right?"
"Sakura says you saved the Kazekage. What an accomplishment that is! You know my little Sakura just goes on and on about your missions, like I have no housework to do at all. Well, I have to keep cleaning, if you want you can stay up here till she wakes up, she'll probably want to thank you. Anyway, It's nice to meet you." Mrs. Haruno walked away humming and Naruto heard footsteps on the stairs.
"Sakura, how are you related to that woman?" Naruto said amazed. He took off his sandals and sat on the side of the bed looking out the window. He slid back, laid his head on the wall and fell asleep.
"Chouji! Close your mouth when you eat!" Shikamaru yelled.
Kurenai laughed, "It's okay, I'm used to bad manners. You don't have to protect me form those."
"But still, he's embarrassing." Shikamaru groaned.
"You're just jealous because you can't fit three whole kebabs in your mouth." Chouji said grabbing three and shoving them in his mouth. He ate them and pulled out the stick. "You know if you don't like the way I eat you shouldn't invite me to lunch with you."
"What do you know… I didn't. Oh well, at least Ino's not here."
"SHIKA! CHOUJI!" Ino said crashing in. Shikamaru looked up and saw her take a quick seat next to Chouji. "We have to help Hinata!"
"Is she in danger!" Kurenai said standing up slamming her fists on the table.
"Well… no…. But Kiba and Shino are going to ruin her chances with Naruto! They have no idea what they're doing. They tried to throw her at him, literally!" Kurenai sat down slowly and laughed. "It's not funny."
"It is, declares the sexy big sister."
"Kurenai, don't call yourself that anymore."
"Oh, you're such a spoil sport, Shika. I say let them try, one of these days Hinata's going to get fed up with their tricks and just go tell him." She smiled.
"But, we should help her." Ino said.
"Ino, you've known for long enough that Naruto doesn't see her that way, it's more of a friend thing." Shikamaru said seriously. "What if we all help and he says no. It'd be better to let Hinata express herself the way she wants to be seen."
"So true." Chouji added. "I mean, ten to one Naruto's going to end up lonely because he's head over heels for Sakura."
"What?" Ino looked at him, "You're serious?"
"What do you mean what? He's asked her out like fifty billion times."
"Even I knew that." Kurenai said. "Oh, well. You guys all have plenty of time, your only fifteen and sixteen. Spend you childhood in sunny days, friends and killing enemies."
"You didn't." Shikamaru smiled, sticking a kebab in his mouth.
"Team Guy! It's time to learn a new formation!" Guy said as he gave one of his best thumbs up and smile combination.
"Yes Sensai!" Lee said happily.
"It doesn't have a stupid name like the others does it?" Tenten asked.
"NO! IT DOESN'T HAVE A STUPID NAME! IT'S NAME THE ULTRA FUN-TASTIC TEAM GUY SPECIAL COUNTER ATTACK!"Guy screamed.
"That's the worst one yet!"
"Actually, I thought the Fuzzy Eyebrows are Sexy Attack was." Neji said.
"You're probably right."
"How dare you! The Ultra Fun-tastic Team Guy Special Counter Attack will be amazing!" Lee said.
"This is how it goes! Okay everyone! Counter attack at once using the Might Guy Special Kick Attack!"
"Amazing!" Lee shouted. Tenten and Neji looked at each other.
"Sensai, how are we supposed to counter attack when no one's attacking?" Tenten pointed out.
Guy frowned, "okay, training is dismissed for today but don't be disappointed! Tomorrow at FIVE A.M. WE'LL BEGIN TO PRACTICE THE ULTRA FUN-TASTIC TEAM GUY SPECIAL COUNTER ATTACK! I'M OFF TO FIND SOME WORTHY OPPONETS!"
"Yes Sensai!" Lee saluted.
"Temari." Gaara said walking into her room. She had her bag out on her bed with several piles of clothes. Gaara held out a closed envelope. "Take this to the Hokage after you discuss that we can't make the date for the Chunin exam. It's a new date two weeks later. Ask her to please give us some leeway."
"Okay. So, how many Genin are going out for Chunin this year?" She asked taking the scroll and putting it in her side bag on her belt.
"That's way more than last year."
"We've trained them better. Temari, could you do me a favor?"
She looked over at her little brother. "Could you take this to Naruto Uzumaki?" He pulled out a letter four times thicker then the one to Tsunade.
"Sure thing." She said smiling.
Sakura woke up because she felt hot. She opened her eyes to see the few flickers of light streaming in her from the window. She shifted slightly and felt something on her leg. She looked down to see Naruto laying on her, happily sleeping. She sat up and shook him. "Naruto. Naruto."
"Uh… Sakura…" He bolted up and looked at her. "Are you alright?"
"You passed out at the river and nearly drowned." Naruto said sitting up. "Don't you remember?"
She shook her head. "I remember going to the river, I was going to practice throwing Kunai but then I just woke up here. Hey, why are you waking up here?"
"You're mom said I could stay until you woke up, but I passed out." He said scratching his head. He slowed his scratching down then patted his forehead. "Where's my forehead protector? I had it on before I fell asleep."
Naruto started patting the bed around him and the jumped up to reveal nothing. Sakura shrugged, "it's got to be around here somewhere."
"Oh well. Just give it to me if you find it. I better get home before I pass out again. Bye Sakura-chan." Naruto said opening her window.
"Bye." Naruto jumped from the window out onto the street.
Temari waved goodbye to Gaara and walked out into the setting desert sun with Matsuri. "Bye, I'll keep Matsuri safe, Gaara."
"Bye Gaara-Sensai!" Matsuri said turning around quickly to wave. Gaara waved back quickly and Matsuri turned around. "So, Temari, are you excited about this year's Chunin exam?"
"What, why not?"
"Because its two days travel there then two back, plus, it's a lot of damage to you skin being out in the sun."
"I thought it took three."
"Not at my speed, you'll get exhausted. In five minutes the sun will set and it will be twenty degrees cooler so we can run longer."
"I have a feeling I'm going to be half dead when we get there."
"Oh my god." Ino said and ducked behind a tree. She couldn't believe her eyes when she saw Naruto jump from Sakura's window that late at night. She watched as he jumped rooftop to roof top away and as Sakura walked over to her window and shut it, letting the blinds down.
Ino turned around and ran back to the dinner where they were having dinner. She ran in to find Shikamaru, Chouji and Lee talking while Neji and Tenten were reviewing a scroll with Kurenai. "SHIKA! CHOUJI! Oh my god! You won't believe what I just saw."
"What did you look in a mirror and see no reflection?" Shikamaru joked.
"I can see my reflection just fine just like I can see Naruto sneaking out of Sakura's bedroom!" The shinobi went quiet. "It was less then a minute ago."
Kurenai shook her head, "Ino, did you say that Sakura collapsed this afternoon?"
"Isn't it possible he was there taking care of her?"
"Well, I guess. I never thought of it that way."
"Either way, don't let this get to you know who. Got that everyone!?" She said staring back at the rest of them, one by one they all nodded.
"Wait, you all know about Hinata's crush."
"Hasn't it been obvious?" Neji asked.
"He's right. We've all know for years." Lee added.
Ino sat down, "I feel so left out."
Naruto fumbled for his keys and found them in his pocket. He unlocked the door and walked inside to the peace and quiet. Stripping of his jacket and shirt he fell over and landed on the bed. "Finally my own bed."
"Yes it must be more comforting."
"Yep, it is." Naruto said. He paused and grabbed his flash light and turned it on. Lying in bed next to him was Sai. "SAI! WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING!"
"My apartment was flooded, something about toilets and some Genin. I've decided to stay with you until they fix it on Wednesday." He smiled and rolled over. "Well, good night Naruto-kun."
Naruto felt his eye twitching. "Sai… this is my bed!"
"I felt this matter would arise." Sai jumped on to the floor and unraveled his bed roll. "Now, good night Naruto-kun."
"Alright, good night." Naruto pulled the covers over his head and hit his head hard on his pillow, he fell asleep. Naruto dreamed not of his normal Sakura beating the living daylight or losing to Sasuke, but of sleeping and waking up in a warm place.