She had never been so happy, as she had been these past few weeks, even though she was still relearning to walk. A fluffy NaruTayu as he helps her walk again. One-shot.

This fic was written in response to a request by SaiyanWarrior200.

Tayuya did not know how he had found her, or why he had helped her, but she wish the idiot would have let her be.

Carrying her back toward Konoha using a clone henged into a stretcher, with another clone holding up one end of the makeshift litter, the blonde talked incessantly about how she would be just fine and how amazing a place Konoha was and on and on and on…

"Would you just shut the fuck up for one second?! God damn, you're noisy, kid."

Naruto just laughed and ignored her, choosing instead to continue his story about 'old man Hokage' and the village leader's weakness to the Sexy no Jutsu.

Tayuya sighed, and tried to ignore the idiot, but his childish, grating voice could not be blocked out. Tayuya tensed her muscles in anger, immediately flinching in pain when he legs screamed in pain.

Naruto noticed, and paused his story momentarily. "You alright, Tayuya? Something I can do for you?"

Tayuya just ignored the blonde and waited out the pain, which slowly died down as she let her muscles relax. Her legs didn't really hurt that much, as long as she didn't try to move or flex them. Thank Kami-sama that the idiot had at least thought to make a stretcher. Riding to Konoha on his back would have been agony.

Seeing that she had nothing to say, Naruto livened back up and dove into another story about the Hokage's grandson.

The red-head listened half-heartedly, trying to ignore the kid because he was an annoying brat, but half-listening because it was the only distraction she had from the soreness in her legs and the otherwise boring nature of their hike back.

The sun was setting when Konoha came into view. Naruto and his clone stopped, gently setting Tayuya down.

The red-head knew better than to struggle, since that would only cause her great pain, but she could still use her voice.

"What the fuck blondie?! I thought we were going to Konoha! Are you seriously going to just drop me off here?! You fucking bastard!"

Naruto shook his head, strangely serious. "No. Tayuya, you don't think that a hidden village would allow a former enemy free reign in the city, do you? I'll take you in after dark."

Tayuya growled. "So I'm supposed to hide out the whole time I'm in Konoha? That would be a shitty way to live, why don't you just kill me now, instead?"

Naruto chuckled. "I just need to hide you on the way in, Tayuya. Then I can get you some civilian-looking clothes, and you can pass for an injured villager. Of course, you don't have any money, so you'll be staying at my place until you can get a job and work somewhere else. I'm sorry in advance for how my apartment looks…"

Tayuya paused, taking it all in. This dipshit wasn't going to turn her in? The whole way here, Tayuya had thought that the idiot was taking her back for questioning of some sort, however friendly. But he was going to let her off the hook, just like that?

Maybe this wouldn't be so bad. Even if he was a total moron.

Once the sun had sunken a ways below the horizon, Naruto and his clone carefully picked the stretcher back up, and stealthily made their way back into Konoha.

It amused Tayuya that the genin had no trouble avoiding the ANBU patrolling the perimeter, and that he managed to avoid any people the whole way to his apartment.

When they first carried her through the front door, Tayuya could see why he had apologized for the apartment.

It was a disaster. Ramen cups and bowls everywhere. Bits of trash were scattered all over the floor. By one boarded-up window there was a pile of shattered glass, pushed over by the wall, but never picked up.

Tayuya was so busy mentally criticizing the room that she didn't notice when Naruto laid her onto the couch. Only a slight twinge of pain as she sunk into the cushions, moving her leg, told her that she'd been set down.

As she was pondering this, Tayuya suddenly had another thought. She had to stay here until she got enough cash to afford a different place. Her legs were broken, so she probably couldn't get a job until she could walk. At the very least, even if she got a job in her condition, she would still need too much help to live by herself.

Knowing that the bones in her legs were shattered, Tayuya calculated the length of time it would take for them to heal with proper medical attention. Something like 8 months. And without the right care, it would be even longer.

That was way too long to be living with this idiot. She turned, intending to have him take her to hospital with some story, any story, that would get her treated, even if it got her discovered, when she gasped in shock.

The guy had seemed so cheerful the whole way here. How could he be a cutter?

She watched in fascinated wonder as the boy drew a kunai along one arm, making deeper and deeper cuts. His face was set in a serious look of concentration. She was so amazed that she couldn't move her eyes off the knife, making her miss the way that each cut healed within seconds.

So Tayuya was greatly surprised when Naruto suddenly put down the kunai, and, gripping his arm firmly, crushed his own bones. To his credit, the boy only let out a small gasp of pain at the self-inflicted violence.

This time, Tayuya saw the healing in action. The crushed arm, hanging limply at a horrifying angle, slowly rose back to its normal position. She could hear the bones snap back into place, and then the arm was whole again.

Naruto broke it again, and again, and again, each time watching the arm in careful concentration.

Tayuya was frightened. How could anyone heal so quickly? And even if he could, why was he injuring himself repeatedly?

Naruto turned to face her. "Hey, Tayuya. I wanted to ask you, before I tried it. Would you mind if I tried healing your legs, here in my apartment? I know it probably won't be the best care. I might mess up your legs, or something. But it would let you avoid the hospital, where you would definitely be found out."

Tayuya grunted. "They might not notice. I mean, they're just hospital workers, right?"

"The Hokage works in the hospital. Many ninja work there, who also go on missions outside the village. The girl who wanted Sasuke back very badly works there. Several of the ninja who went on the mission with me are staying the hospital, including Shikamaru, the guy you fought."

Tayuya's eyes widened. Holy shit. Walking in there would be just as effective as turning herself in.

"I guess I don't have much of a choice, do I? Give it a whirl, midget."

She turned her face away so she wouldn't have to watch the procedure, and so that Naruto couldn't see her blush as he knelt down and laid his hands on her legs.

She waited, feeling the feather-light touch of the boy's chakra feeling around here thighs and lower legs. Naruto hemmed and hawed, making various thoughtful noises as he examined her damage.

Suddenly, her legs were in agony. The movement of the broken pieces of bone could not help but tear at her muscles, causing Tayuya incredible pain. But the sound-nin just clenched her teeth and took it.

In a slower version with his own chakra, Naruto imitated the Kyuubi's healing inside her legs, moving bones back into place, and reattaching torn muscles tissue. Unfortunately, he could not regenerate cells like the Kyuubi could, but at least this was better than nothing.

After almost an hour, Naruto finished, standing up and stretching his stiff, sore legs. "That's as much as I can do, Tayuya. I don't think you can walk yet, but it shouldn't hurt too much, I hope.

Tayuya slowly relaxed out of the tense pose she had held during the entire procedure. Her legs felt faintly sore, like she had run a long ways, and was now tired. She tried to move them, but they felt so heavy, like they were made of lead.

Naruto saw her leg muscles twitch, and spoke up. "I couldn't fix your muscles much, so they're really weak right now. You'll have to build them back up to be able to stand, and walk, and run and all that."

Tayuya almost screamed in frustration. She couldn't even stand up. She was a goddamn ninja and she couldn't even hold herself up.

She wasn't even aware she was crying until Naruto wiped away a tear. "Hey, don't cry. You'll be back to normal within a few months."

Blushing heavily, Tayuya jerked her face away, looking into the back of the couch rather than face this stupid blonde, making her feel strange.

Naruto yawned. "Hey, do you want to sleep out here on the couch, or you want the bed?"

He heard a faint, mumbled response. "Fuck off."

Grinning, he walked away. "I guess that means you want the couch. See you in the morning, Tayuya."

They both were soon asleep.

Tayuya awoke to the sound of slurping. Using her arm to pull herself uptight, she looked into the nearby kitchen and saw Naruto eating ramen. For breakfast.

He looked up, having noticed a rather violent red suddenly appear by the couch. "Hey, you're awake! Want some breakfast?"

Tayuya groaned. "Not ramen. Why the fuck would you have ramen for breakfast? You some kind of freak?" Despite her harsh words, her tone remained casual.

Naruto didn't seem to notice her profanities. "Ramen's the best! But I have some other stuff lyin' around, if you want."

He got up and walked over to the couch. "Come on, let's get you something to eat."

Tayuya glared at him. "Why don't you just bring it over here?"

Naruto laughed, like her question had the most obvious answer in the world. "Because you need to practice walking again. I'll help you, alright?"

In hindsight, Tayuya realized that it was pretty obvious. "Fine, you fucking retard."

Evidently ignoring her insult, Naruto knelt down, putting one of her arms around his shoulders. Then he stood up slowly, bringing Tayuya with him.

The red-head shakily supported herself on her weak legs, putting almost all of her weight on Naruto. "God damn, I can't do this! Fuck it, I can't even stand!" Tayuya blinked rapidly, trying desperately not to cry in disappointment.

Naruto remained cheerful as ever. "It will take a lot of time and effort to build your muscles back up, Tayuya! That's why we're starting now!"

Fuck it all, if the blonde bastard wasn't cheering her up. Ignoring the heat in her cheeks, Tayuya slowly moved her legs in a walking motion, using up far more effort than she could ever recall, just to get them to move on their own. But Naruto seemed rather pleased with her progress, and with his constant encouraging babble, Tayuya managed to 'walk' over to the kitchen table.

After she was seated, Naruto rushed off, returning shortly with toast and a glass of orange juice. Then he sat down himself and finished his ramen.

Once he was done, Naruto announced that he had to go do stuff, but would be back later, hopefully with some stuff to help her walk with.

Tayuya repressed the sudden melancholy when he left. She didn't miss him. She wasn't lonely. Just bored, that's all. Yeah…

When Naruto returned that evening, he wasn't surprised to see Tayuya on the couch. "Hey, you made it over to the couch! Great!"

Tayuya hastily raised herself using her arms, and glared at him. "No thanks to you, you bastard! You left me at the table over there! I could've been stranded there all day! And I had to go the restroom, and that was damned hard since you were gone all day!" Yeah, she was angry because he hadn't helped her. Not because she'd missed him all day.

Naruto laughed. "You still have your arms! And besides, you need to practice moving on your own. I don't want to have to bathe you are take you to the bathroom." Naruto handed her a cane. "That was about all I could find, so I hope it'll help, at least once you can sort of move around on your own a bit more."

Tayuya mumbled something that sounded vague like thanks.

Naruto set the cane and several bags down by the door. "Anyway, we still need to work on walking, right? So let's walk around the apartment for a while!" Not giving her a chance to object, Naruto soon had Tayuya standing with his support.

Try as she might, Tayuya couldn't suppress the blush that stayed up the whole evening, as Naruto, unaware of the tension in their proximity, walked her around the apartment until late.

When she decided that she's had enough, Naruto agreed quickly. At her request, a surprisingly polite one, at that, Naruto filled the tub with hot water, and left her in the bathroom with a towel and the bags he's brought home with him. Tayuya found that the bags had clothing for her, a delightful change from her dirty, smelly ninja uniform.

Once she was finished in the bath, she hauled herself out using mostly her arms, and dried herself of the towel that was spread out on the floor.

Then came the hard part. Getting dressed. While it had not been too hard to take off her clothing before the bath, putting it on was another matter entirely.

She got the shirt on easily, making a mental note to ask for a few bras, which Naruto had neglected to get, probably out of awkwardness. She had somehow managed to put on some panties, though with great difficulty. But the pants were impossible. Tayuya simply didn't have the strength to force herself into the pant legs. After several fruitless attempts, she searched through the bags for something easier to wear, because she was certainly not letting Naruto see her without something to wear down below.

She came across a skirt. Tayuya hated skirts. But before she flung it to the other end of the room, she realized that it would probably be easier to put on, lying down on the floor, than any other clothing she was likely to get.

Swallowing her pride, Tayuya put on the skirt, and then called for Naruto, who assisted her out to the couch, and cleaned up the bathroom himself before taking a shower.

Before he went to bed, Naruto decided to check on Tayuya. "Hey, you need anything before I go to bed, Tayuya?"

He heard some mumbling, but could understand it. Walking over next to the couch, he asked, "What?"

Tayuya grabbed him, pulling him down on top of her. If her legs were weak, her arms were as strong as ever.

Blushing, Tayuya muttered, "Stay with me."

Naruto started to protest, but decided against it. If this was what she needed, then why not?

Besides, Naruto thought. It was rather comfortable here. So warm, and soft…

Every day, it was the same routine. Naruto got up and fixed breakfast, helping Tayuya over to the table to eat. Once they were finished, Naruto helped her over to the couch and left for the day. When he returned in the evening, he fixed dinner for them, and then they spent the evening walking around the house. Tayuya required less and less help as the days passed, and she was soon as optimistic as Naruto about her abilities in the future.

Near the end of the third week, Naruto came home to find Tayuya already up, fixing dinner. Recovering quickly, he shut the door behind him and watched as she prepared a rather simple soup. She leaned against the counter, to be sure, and only picked up stuff with one hand, while the other held on the to the table, but it was amazing progress.

Suddenly Tayuya, who had been engrossed in her task, became of aware of his presence. "Oh! When did you get here, Naruto?"

In her surprise, she forgot to keep leaning on the counter, and began to fall. Naruto ran over and caught her, smiling brightly. "I just walked in, and was watching you fix dinner."

Tayuya glanced at the clock. "Damn, you're earlier than usual. It was supposed to be a surprise…"

"But I am surprised! Besides, you didn't have to do this, Tayuya."

"Of course I do! I can't let you do all the work!"

Naruto smiled, and the red-head couldn't help but smile as well, until she remembered dinner. "Oh! The soup!"

Naruto held her from behind so she could concentrate on finished the soup, which she then poured into two bowls. Naruto walked her over to her seat at the table, and then brought over the soup.

They ate in pleasant silence. Naruto, being rather hungry after training most of the day, finished his quickly, and smiled at Tayuya. "That was great, Tayuya!"

The red-head blushed, and looked down at her bowl of soup. Damn him, making her get so attached.

Naruto was practically bouncing off the walls all evening, as he barely had to help her while she walked around the apartment.

When Tayuya decided to call it a night, Naruto laughed out loud. "You were great, Tayuya! Pretty soon you'll be just fine, and you can move out and everything!"

Tayuya's matching grin faltered. She had forgotten that she would have to move out. But she really liked it here. Looking back on her life, she knew that her happiest times had all been here, in the last few weeks, with Naruto.

"What's the matter, Tayuya?"

She grabbed his shirt, pulling him very close. "Naruto," she breathed, looking straight into his sky blue eyes, "can I stay here, with you? Please? I mean, I can get a job, and help pay for stuff, but I just, I mean…"

Please don't make me leave.

Naruto brushed a thumb along her cheek, and it came away wet. "Of course, Tayuya. Don't cry."

Tayuya, with great effort, stretched onto her tip-toes and kissed him sweetly on the lips. "Thank you, Naruto."

Tayuya skipped along behind Naruto, laughing out loud. The blonde grinned at seeing her so happy, which was quite often, anymore. Looking around, he chose a nice shady spot under a tree, and spread out the blanket for their picnic. After almost a year, it was finally safe for Tayuya to go outside, and so she took every opportunity she could to go outside with Naruto.

Shikamaru had moved to Suna to stay with Temari, removing the threat of him recognizing Tayuya. And none of the others on the mission, now quite a while ago, really remembered the strange red-haired kunoichi from sound. And even if they had, they probably wouldn't have recognized her now, in such a girly kimono, with her hair washed and combed, flying free in the breeze.

Tayuya dropped the basket she carried onto the ground nearby. Naruto winced. "Be careful with our food, Tayuya."

She tackled him onto the blanket, still laughing. "You're so silly, Naruto."

Naruto grinned. "Always. So, um, are you gonna get off me?"

Tayuya thought about it for a minute, and then smirked victoriously. "Nope."

Naruto growled through his smile, and suddenly flipped them over, placing Tayuya underneath him on the blanket.

Tayuya blushed when his face came dangerously close to hers, but never lost her joyful grin. "What are you going to do, Naruto?" She asked in a whisper.

Naruto inched his face closer. "What do you think?" Their breath mingled in between them. Their noses almost touched.

Tayuya whispered, "I think you need to stop teasing me," and crushed her lips against his.

Some time much later, they remembered the basket of food.

I couldn't really come up with a great ending, but I tried. Let me know what you think.