Title:No Matter What
Summary: For her, she'd be willing to do anything... even give up her femininity. She'd be willing to be a guy... no matter what. All for her... Too bad Sasuke won't leave her be.
Warnings: FemNaru, possible (and likely) OOC, mild profanity, not betaed
AN: right... so... I should be doing my other fic... but this wouldn't leave me... so I just decided that this would do. Sorry?
minor editing: 6.15.09
minor editing II: 7.23.10
No Matter What
Naru stared up at the sky, her blank eyes glazing over in thought. Once again, no one would play with her. It wasn't all too surprising, to be honest. It had always been that way, after all. Her very presence garnered hate filled glares from the villagers. She never understood why. Their cries of "monster" were as unexplainable as why anyone would hate ramen. She just couldn't understand. Weren't monsters supposed to be ugly and green and disgusting? As far as she was aware, she wasn't that ugly and she certainly wasn't green... She why did everyone hate her? She sighed.
Suddenly, she heard a giggle. Huh? Where did it... she blinked at the pink haired girl staring down at her. 'Kirei...'
"Ne... why are you here all by yourself? Do you wanna play with me?" the girl chirped happily, offering her hand. It took a while for Naru to comprehend, having been amazed by the fact that someone was actually talking to her. But when she did, a wide smile adorned her face. Grabbing hold of the hand in front of her, Naru replied with an "Un!" and pushed herself up.
"I'm Sakura! Ha-ru-no Sakura!" she enunciated, humming cheerfully.
Naruto blushed and stammered out, "I-I'm Naru. Uzumaki Naru."
Sakura giggled. "Naru? Huh. Uzumaki Naru! You'll be my friend, won't you!" She exclaimed delightedly, taking the blond's hands into her own. Naruto flushed with happiness.
"Un!" She nodded rapidly. Friend? Friend...? Her first friend!
The twenty minutes they played together were one of Naru's happiest, just below receiving that frog wallet from Ji-san. Possibly even better! ...maybe. Sadly, all happy times had to come to an end eventually. Their's ended with a "SAKURAAA! Where are you!" coming from the other side of the park.
Sakura stopped digging in the sand. "Ah! That's my mom! I have to go! Let's play again okay!" She smiled when Naru nodded. "Okay! Bye bye!"
Unfortunately, that play date never came. No matter how long Naru waited at the park, day after day, Naru never saw Sakura again. But one day, she heard crying. Following the sound into the woods nearby, Naru was shocked to see a familiar pink haired girl clutching her legs as tears poured from green eyes. '... Sakura-chan?'
Naru watched as she cried, but no matter how hard she tried to move and comfort the girl, she found herself rooted to the spot. 'Come on! Come on! MOVE! Sakura-chan is crying! Move! MOVEMOVEMOVEMOVE! MOVE you pathetic girl! MOVE!' It didn't matter how many times she yelled at herself to move. She didn't.
'Sakura-chan needs you! Your first and only friend needs you! And all your doing is just standing there watching? Comfort her!' Naru watched on helplessly. Why couldn't she help her...? 'She's your only friend!'
But was she really? They had only played that one time. Sakura had never come to play with her again even though she had said she would.
She shook her head furiously. What did that matter? 'Sakura-chan is crying! Even though she hadn't come to play with her, she said they were friends so they were! Now move! She's waiting there for you!'
Long after Sakura stopped crying and a blond haired girl - Yamanaka Ino if she remembered correctly - comforted her, Naru stood rooted to the spot, staring. Even after they left, Naru stared at the last place she'd seen Sakura and her hands clenched periodically. 'Pathetic... I'm so weak...'
Naru decided then and there, she'd help that girl in any way she could. She wouldn't fail her again. She would never doubt her. No. Matter. What.
Throughout the next week, Naru used all her subtlety and stealth in observing the girl. By using all her patience, Naru found she came from a civilian family and was the only kunoichi – really, the only ninja – in her family. That meant that she had probably been warned away from her by her family. The civilians always told children stories about her and how she'd go and eat them if they didn't do their homework... Ninjas... well... it depended on which family you came from. The major clans were usually better... though they still told their children to stay away. The lesser clans were no better than the civilians, telling their children that she'd gut them in their sleep and eat their intestines if they didn't study hard. Like she was some demented s-class missing nin. Honestly, it sickened her a bit and it didn't even make sense! How was someone her age supposed to do all of that? But she was getting side-tracked... back to Sakura-chan...
Due to the teasing from her peers, Sakura-chan was self conscious of her forehead and lacked confidence in herself. She didn't have many friends though Yamanaka-san was slowly fixing that and introducing her to more girls. Despite her lack of confidence, she was smart and was able to answer all the questions asked by the teachers, much to Naru's pride.
Naru took this all home, pondering over it. 'Sakura-chan. Civilian turned ninja. Self-conscious. Lacks confidence.' How could she help her? 'Sakura-chan. Civilian turned ninja. Self-conscious. Lacks confidence.' What could she do? 'Sakura-chan. Civilian turned ninja. Self-conscious. Lacks confidence.' What does she need? 'Sakura-chan. Civilian turned ninja. Self-conscious. Lacks confidence.' What can I do for someone who has someone like Yamanaka-san?
Far off into the distance, Naru could hear some voices giggling over this boy or another and how they boosted their confidence so much when being fawned over. She scowled. Did they have to talk so loud? Not everyone wanted to hear about what this cute boy did and how he made her want to do this. What was so great about boys any way? They had cooties! What, did their "fawning" make girls feel special? She just couldn't - That was it! It hit Naru like a sledgehammer. 'Yes... that could work... That is... if those girls are to be believed. Eh, we'll see. But first, I'll need to tell Oji-san...' A smile lit up, satisfied that she'd finally thought up a plan.
"I'll help you Sakura-chan! In any way I can, I'll help you. I'll protect you. I'll do anything for you." She whispered into the wind, going to sleep. Meanwhile, an old man felt a headache plague him, as though preparing him for the next day.
When she woke up the next morning, Uzumaki Naru grabbed a kunai and chopped off her hair before anyone found out and could stop her. It was uneven but it would do. It's not like boys cared about their looks anyway. Uzumaki Naruto was born.
"For her, I'll do anything. It's all for her."
(From here on out, "Naru" shall now be known as "Naruto")
Today was a great day in Konoha. It was day of progression. It was a day in which many hopes would be realized... or crushed. Today... was the day in which academy students were tested on their ability to become genin. A classroom full of said students waited nervously for their names to be called.
Admist that majority, however, Uzumaki Naruto, formerly known as Uzumaki Naru, stared at Haruno Sakura with what many of her peers would call "lovesick" eyes. It was no secret to them that orange clothed "boy" had a crush on the pink-haired girl. What many didn't see was the calculating glint that never failed to appear whenever Naruto gazed at Sakura. Naruto was always analyzing the girl in order to decide how to act. She didn't really have any romantic affections towards the kunoichi-in-training but used it as an excuse to watch her and find ways to boost her confidence as well as act as her protector. Her priority was Sakura-chan!
No one ever questioned the change in the Kyuubi container's gender – no one really cared. The Sandaime had originally been against such a change but acquitted to Naruto's demands after some thought. Besides, it lowered the chances of her facing the desires of a man of no morals. He easily tossed the possible identity issues this may cause to her to the back of his mind. She'd do whatever she wanted anyway - with or without his approval - stubborn brat that she was. And so, Naruto put all her effort into keeping the pink-haired girl happy.
She'd decided that night so long ago that she'd act as a boy in love with the kunoichi-in-training so that her morale and confidence would be higher. She decided to celebrate this decision by threatening the girls who had teased Sakura for her forehead... behind the scenes of course. Amazing technique, the henge.
Yamanka Ino had done wonders for Sakura in terms of confidence to a point where Naruto wondered if she really needed to to act as a lovesick puppy. Maybe she could just act like a friend again?
But one day, they just stopped talking to each other. Stopped being friends. Wouldn't even look at each other. Through some snooping, Naruto found out that they had a tiff over Uchiha Sasuke. Sakura had been in a dump for weeks and Naruto tried everything she could to mend their friendship. But it never worked and the two girls would always just glare at each other before walking away. This incident had created the first strike against Sasuke. If it wasn't for him, her Sakura-chan wouldn't be sad! She'd given up all hope of restoring their friendship and just decided that she'd have to work on Sakura by herself. That day, Naruto declared "his" love for the whole village to hear. Thoroughly embarrassed, Sakura punched Naruto's lights out... but at least she got her spirit back!
It went like that for years without anyone ever realizing what was going on. Whenever Sakura got depressed, Naruto would be there and through some act of stupidity, she'd revive her spirit.
Today, Naruto stared at the girl in search of a way to clear her nervousness. She knew Sakura would do fine but how to convince her of that? She conveniently pushed aside her own worry over the exam. She just knew that they'd test her on bunshin. She sucked at bunshin. No matter how hard she tried, it never turned out correctly. Not to mention that she might not be on Sakura's team anyway. How could she protect her if she wasn't on the same team?
"Ne, ne! Sakura-chan! You look so pretty today! Did you dress up just for me? I know! Let's go out on a date!"
"Baka! You're disgusting!"
Naruto let the insult roll over her and secretly smiled. Her nervousness had disappeared. "Awww! Sakura-chan! It's just a date!"
"No! Go away! You're so annoying!"
Sakura looked ready to explode and Naruto wisely decided to retreat. Her plan had worked anyway.
One hour later, "Uzumaki Naruto!" was called and Naruto walked into the testing room to see Iruka-sensei and Mizuki sitting behind a desk.
"Naruto. Please make three bunshins," Iruka requested.
She winced. 'It just had to be bunshin didn't it?' Concentrating with all her might, Naruto gathered the chakra needed to make three bunshins. Unfortunately, all that came out was a sickly, pale looking bunshin.
"You FAIL!" Naruto felt a bit faint upon hearing those words. Failed? Again? But what about Sakura-chan...?
"Umino-san. Surely we can pass him. He made a bunshin after all," the silver-haired instructor said.
"No." Iruka shook his head with a sigh. He looked apologetically at his blond student. "He failed to make the required amount and the one he did make is useless. I'm sorry but you fail Naruto."
Naruto felt her heart fall to her stomach. 'Oh god... How am I going to protect Sakura now? She'll be on missions and be a great ninja in no time! But... but... how am I supposed to help her! Not to mention that whole thing involving first kills and the horrors she'd possibly face on mission! How can I help her if I don't even know! There's also that whole classified thing and if I was a civilian it'd be impossible to help her with the big stuff if I had so little knowledge!'
These thoughts plagued her even as she sat on the swing, watching the recent graduates greet their families.
"Look! It's that demon!"
"Shhh! You know you're not supposed to talk about that!"
"I know. But it seems he failed."
"Just as well. Can you imagine him as a shinobi?"
Naruto felt her heart fall lower than ever. Would the whispers ever stop? An old dream of being Hokage and achieving acknowledgment from the village came to mind but was quickly discarded. It was second to Sakura. She had to protect Sakura. She only came after Sakura. And if that meant giving up her dream... so be it. But how to protect her now that she'd failed to do the bunshin again? Maybe she could become a samurai that used ninja techniques? Or maybe she could become a ninja without actually being the ninja part... Like she could have all the techniques and-
Naruto suddenly felt a presence behind her.
"Naruto-kun? Would you come with me for a moment?"