Chapter 6

Naruko stood there, her mouth hanging open, eyes wide. She looked like a fish. She felt her blood boil. Then, losing her ladylike act in one quick moment, she grabbed Sasuke by the front of his shirt, and dragged him forward.

"Teme!" Naruko repeated, although this time not as a question. "You sure as hell better have a good explanation for this."

Sasuke only stared back, his expression unreadable.

"What the hell are you doing here, teme?" Naruko demanded, face flushing. "Honestly, it's like I can never escape you." Looking around the packed dance floor, she gritted her teeth. "You're coming with me. Let's go."

And before Sasuke had any time to protest, she pulled him along behind her, ignoring his attempts to free himself from her iron grip.

"Naruto, what's wrong with you?" Sasuke asked as soon as the two of them were in a hallway, where they could actually hear. "Why do you look like this?"

Naruko rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. "Because of your dumb ass, that's why." She sighed. "This is all because of you, Sasuke. I had to change my whole goddamn life style because you're such a headstrong bastard who wouldn't know friendship if it butt-raped you in a secluded alleyway."

Sasuke looked at her a long moment before saying slowly, "dobe, did you just say butt-raped?"

Naruko wrinkled her nose. "So what if I did? I can say whatever the hell I want."

Sasuke shook his head. "I can't take you serious in that henge. Change back, now."

Naruko's eyes flashed dangerously. "Don't you think that if I could, I would? I can't, teme, because, like I've said, of you."

"What have I done that made you end up getting stuck like that?" Sasuke asked, eyeing Naruko's feminine figure up and down.

Naruko stomped her foot angrily before poking Sasuke in the chest. "I swear, if I had my chakra back right now, I'd kick your ass into the brothel across town, teme."

Sasuke frowned. "You can't use your chakra." Inwardly, a light bulb went off in his head; no wonder he wasn't able to sense any of Naruto's chakra.

"Nope," Naruko said, hanging her head. "And this henge is what has been keeping me alive, really." She shook her head. "I've gotten into modeling, teme. Can you believe it? I went from being a kick ass ninja to prancing around in my underwear in front of a camera. How wrong is that?"

"You've pranced around in your underwear?" Sasuke asked, raising his eyebrows.

"Do you have to take everything so literally?" Naruko snapped. "Honestly, I don't need you being a smartass right now. I've already got enough to deal with."

Sasuke looked at Naruko curiously. "Like what?"

"For example," Naruko cleared her throat. "Do you know how fucking hard it is to not say half the shit I want to say? And ramen – holy shit on an alter do I miss it. I have wet dreams about it. Do you know how wrong that is?"

Sasuke smirked. "Yes, dobe, I have a vague idea."

"Yeah, well, it blows," Naruko tugged angrily on the dress she was wearing. "I'm beginning to think like a girl, teme." Naruko widened her eyes, looking genuinely frightened. "Do you know how sickening it is to think that clothes are 'cute' and have to act interested around all those old perverts who want me to act in their creepy Icha Icha movies?"

"Icha Icha – as in the novels Kakashi-sensei was always reading?" Sasuke cocked an eyebrow.

"Exactly," Naruko shuddered. "Honestly, you can't even fathom how wonderful it feels to talk to a boy, teme. Not that Hideaki isn't a boy, it's just that if I were to say some of the things I want to, he'd probably shit his designer pants, and then he'd cry, which would be way awkward."

"Dobe," Sasuke interrupted. "Hideaki – is he that flamboyant boy who was looking for you?"

"He was?" Naruko sighed. "Of course he was. I kind of ditched him a bit ago. But really, I can only listen about his boyfriend and the wonderful sex they have for so long. Now he's probably having a panic attack. I think he's convinced I'm going to get butt-raped or something…"

"In an alley," Sasuke agreed seriously.

Naruko snorted and flashed Sasuke a lazy grin. "You're a real bastard, you know. And although I really want to beat the shit out of you, I'm kind of happy to see you. Does that make any sense?"

"I suppose," Sasuke shrugged. "But I don't understand what you're talking about, turning into a girl. You seem kind of… normal. Well, for you, at least."

Naruko stopped, pondering that thought. Then, opening her eyes and gasping, she grabbed Sasuke's forearm tightly. "Holy shit, teme, I have a wicked idea!"

Sasuke yanked his arm from Naruko's grip. "I'm not interested, dobe."

"Oh come on," Naruko exclaimed angrily. "It's the least you can do for me, after you completely fucked up everything. Come on, teme, I know you're not that heartless."

Sasuke stared at Naruko for a long moment before narrowing his dark eyes. "Let me hear your idea first; I'm not agreeing to anything without first knowing the terms."

Naruko rolled her eyes. "Whatever. So, here's my thought. It seems when I'm around you, I act, like you said, really normal. But, in contrast to that, when I'm around all the weird modeling managers and Hideaki, I'm beginning to act more and more like a girl."

"Dobe," Sasuke groaned. "I don't want to spend anymore time around you than I have to."

"Ehhh?" Naruko frowned in frustration. "Teme, come on. Please, just for a little bit until I can get enough money from the modeling to drop the act. It won't take long; with the way I'm selling it, I'll get rich quick."

Sasuke silently watched Naruko for a long moment before letting out a deep sigh. "And what will I get out of this arrangement?"

Naruko scowled. "Well what do you want?"

Sasuke looked away from Naruko. "Hn."

Naruko looked at Sasuke mockingly. "Yes, because I know what that 'hn' meant. Thanks for being so descriptive, bastard." When Sasuke didn't reply, Naruko groaned. "I don't know, Sasuke. You'll have a hot girlfriend, you'll get into VIP parties, and I can introduce you to big, important people with tons of connections. Take your pick."

Sasuke quietly stared at Naruko before saying, "I don't think you look hot like that, though." He smirked when Naruko gaped at him. "It's my belief that younger men, like me, who, in particular, are ninjas, prefer a girl to not be so made up. I know those old men tell you to wear lots of make up, but that's only because they probably aren't able to see you clearly with their poor eyesight."

Naruko gaped wordlessly at Sasuke. But he wasn't done.

"And your hair," he said slowly. "I don't like it. It's too long. You need to cut it shorter. Shoulder length, perhaps."

"What?!" Naruko exclaimed, her blue eyes ablaze with fury. "My hair makes me more girlish, teme!"

"Exactly," Sasuke said coolly. "You don't want to be 'girly', right? Well I'm helping you. And cutting your hair would be a very wise choice." Looking Naruko up and down, he continued. "And your chest is far too big."

"Excuse me?" Naruko screeched, livid. "Who the hell are you to tell me what size my boobs should be?"

"Your boyfriend," Sasuke said easily. When Naruko hesitated, he gave her a proud smirk.

"God, teme, you're such an asshole." Naruko groaned, putting her face in her hands.

"Do you want my help or not?" Sasuke asked, furrowing his brows. "I'm considering changing my mind, you know, so I'd advise you to take me up on my offer before I decide you're not worth it."

"Yes, alright," Naruko growled. "I'm interested, and you know it. But what are you going to do about your teammates, teme? You can't just vanish without a word."

"I know that, dobe," Sasuke sighed. "I'm going to tell them I have a lead on the nine-tailed vessel, and that I want to take it on as a solo mission. No one will question me."

Naruko felt her blood run cold when Sasuke said this. She had completely forgotten that Sasuke was part of Akatsuki until he had mentioned that; she was far too caught up with her brilliant plan.

"Sasuke," Naruko whispered with downcast eyes. "Can I trust you?" She looked up at him, affectionate blue meeting bitter black for the first time in what seemed like many years.

Sasuke looked at Naruko for a long moment before saying in a low voice, "as of now, yes, you can trust me."

Naruko nodded. That was all she needed to hear from him.

"Now that we've settled that, we've got to go and find Hideaki; he's probably drowning in his tears as we speak," Naruko joked, trying to lighten the mood.

Sasuke nodded, brushing past Naruko and walking out into the crowded room once again. "I'm going to go and inform my team of what they need to know. I'll meet you at the bar soon."

Naruko nodded and watched silently as the raven-haired mystery disappeared amongst the many faces that crowded the dance floor. And reluctantly, to herself, she had to admit: she had really missed him.