The Art of Dancing In the Rain

It had been pouring rain for nearly six days now, but of course that hadn't stopped Uzumaki Naruto from training. Three o'clock in the afternoon was drawing closer, but the wet mass of dark clouds that had congregated above Konohagakure nearly a week ago made it impossible to tell that it was so early. The blond was soaked to the bone, his hair was matted, and his clothes were covered in mud, but he ignored the discomfort and kept his guard up, eyes narrowed against the torrent and ears strained to listen around him. Through the pelting sound of the rain hitting the ground, he heard the telltale chink of metal.

A kunai whizzed past the jinchuuriki's head, whistling by as it narrowly avoided his left ear. He grunted and, hearing a quiet splash from behind him, spun on his heel to meet the source of the sound. Two misty silhouettes appeared in an instant, obscured by the silver curtain of water that hung all around him. The figures were joined at the hands by a blue ball of rapidly spinning, condensed chakra that was so powerful it could rip through almost anything.

"Rasengan," Naruto's shadow clones cried as they sprang forward, thrusting the glowing sphere towards his chest. The real Naruto leapt up and over the two doppelgangers and, landing safely on the ground, whipped around once more before boring his foot into the side of one of the clone's heads. He swept his leg across through the puff of smoke that appeared when he made contact with the first Naruto and caught the other in the ribs. It poofed away with a satisfying pop. Before any other copies of himself could attack him, Naruto formed the simple hand seal required to dismiss shadow clones and a dozen more popping sounds resonated throughout the training ground. With a weary sigh of relief, he picked his right foot up off of the ground and turned it up, examining the bottom of his sandal where the Rasengan had grazed it; part of the bottom had been melted off, leaving it uneven and causing Naruto to stand a bit lopsided. Little thin spirals were cut into the surface of the rubber (which was slightly smoking and giving off a foul odor) where the attack had hit the navy shoe.

Wiping his forehead (a pointless action, because he was sopping wet and it made no difference), he sighed again and trudged off to the main road, his mutilated sandal causing him to limp awkwardly. Naruto shoved his hands in his pockets as he walked back to his apartment, bending his head down against the storm. His golden hair hung limply down over his eyes, beads of water running off of the drenched, flattened locks. The streets were void of people; Ichiraku's was even closed. Nearly everyone's lights were on, and the soft yellow squares of light that lined the roads gave the gloomy-looking village a sort of creepy look. As he slopped by the Yamanaka's flower shop, he could make out Ino sitting at the cash register with her feet propped up on the counter, absentmindedly flipping through a magazine.

When at last he was within range of his apartment, something caught his eye. Squinting through the rain, he turned to face the giant stone monument that overlooked Konoha. Someone was perched on top of the stone head of Tsunade; someone wearing a red tank top and a tan skirt, someone with pink hair, someone who went by the name of…

"Sakura-chan…?" Naruto cupped his hands around his eyes to keep the rain from obstructing his view. Said girl was sitting on the Hokage Monument, clearly unfazed by the downpour that was taking place around her. Without hesitation he bounded towards the faces etched in the mountains, sprinting across the rooftops to where his friend was settled. He took the stone steps three at a time, occasionally slipping because of his sandal, which left him panting by the time he reached the top of the Slug Princess' head, and he doubled over to catch his breath.

"What took you so long?" Naruto jumped, not expecting her to speak; he didn't think Sakura had noticed him, but then again, he hadn't exactly made a point to be stealthy when he came up to meet her here. He could hear the smile in her voice and he straightened up, grinning. She was sitting with her hands in her lap and her legs crossed and dangling over the edge of the sculpture. She was just as soaked as he was; her clothes were clinging to her body and her bubblegum hair hung wet and dark over her shoulders, some frizzy tendrils clinging to the back of her neck. Naruto walked over and took a seat beside her. She beamed at him.

"What are you doing out here, Sakura-chan?" He asked, unzipping his jacket, which had become saturated with rainwater and very heavy, and sliding it off. It landed on the rock with a muffled thud.

"Contemplating the art of dancing in the rain," she stated matter-of-factly. He shot her a skeptical look.

"The art of," he paused, mulling over what she had just said before continuing, "what?"

"Dancing in the rain, of course." Sakura rolled her eyes, obviously annoyed that he was unaware of such an art.

"Oh…," the blond mumbled. "So, what is it? The art of prancing around in pain or whatever."

"Dancing in the rain, you idiot," she snapped. Naruto raised his eyebrows at her and she heaved a sigh before getting to her feet. "I guess I'll just have to show you. Don't give me that look, stupid- get up." Frowning, he complied.

"There are a few steps to mastering the art. First of all, you've got to enjoy what you're doing." She leaned forward and gripped his cheeks in her small hands, pushing them upwards and pulling his lips into a strained c-shape. The scrunching up of his face made him look like a sad basset hound. She studied him for a moment with her emerald eyes before removing her hands from him and breaking out into giggles, causing him to smile genuinely on his own.

"Okay, that's much better. Stay like that." She grinned at him, satisfied. He laughed.

"So what's next?" Naruto asked, and Sakura shot him a cold look.

"Would you just wait a second? I'm getting to it. Always rushing into things. Really…" She shook her head and he frowned again, feigning offense. "No, you've got to enjoy it!" She yelled, exasperated, and he laughed once more.

"Okay, okay, I'm enjoying it." He raised his hands in defense, still grinning.

"Alright, now you've got to embrace the rain. Hold your arms out, close your eyes, and turn your head up to the sky." She scowled at the incredulous look he was giving her. "Do I have to show you how to do everything? Seriously, Naruto," she flared. And, as if she hadn't just been angry with him, she smiled, lifted her arms so they formed ninety degree angles with her sides, and slowly pulled her head back, eyes closed, so that her face was turned towards the dark clouds. Suddenly, she let out a small squeal and twirled around, giggling happily. Naruto chuckled softly to himself, watching as his friend gracefully spun on the balls of her feet a few more times.

She's so beautiful…

"Your turn." She was by his side in a heartbeat, jabbing a slender finger into his chest. "Go on, embrace it."

"Er…," he hesitated, not really sure if he wanted to swirl around like Sakura had just done.

"You just lift your arms… And turn your head up…" The rosy-haired girl displayed for him what had to be done one more time.

"Uh… Okay then…" Feeling rather stupid and girlish, he lifted his arms up a bit so they hung a few inches from his side and tilted his head up stiffly. He heard Sakura click her tongue impatiently and the scuffing of her boots as she walked over to him. Naruto felt her soft hands gently raise his arms up a bit higher, and he blushed when she placed two fingers under his chin and gingerly lifted his head back more.

"Yeah, now close your eyes. See? It's relaxing isn't it? Why don't you spin a little now?" He could hear the humor in her voice (though she attempted to hide it) as she instructed him to spin and his head and arms snapped back down to where they belonged.

"There's no way in Hell that I'm going to twirl around like that, Sakura-chan." His voice was dark and he put on his best stern-looking face, but Sakura just laughed at him.

"Well, fine. But you can't really master the art of dancing in the rain if you don't dance." She folded her arms smugly and raised her thin pink eyebrows.

"Well, I mean, can't I just-," Naruto babbled and she let out another laugh.

"Hm…" She placed one hand on her chin and kneaded her eyebrows together in a look of mock concentration. "I guess we can make an exception for you, since you're too stubborn to embrace your inner woman..." Naruto spluttered again at this. "You'll have to dance with me then." She waved him over, an amused smile tugging at her lips, and he stumbled over to her, still muttering incoherencies ("I mean, I've never… Dancing just isn't… I don't know how… With a girl… Sakura-chan… I, erm… I mean, I'm all muddy…"). Sakura waited for him to place his hands on her waist, but when he didn't move, she rolled her eyes playfully, leaving him fidgeting embarrassingly on the spot.

"It's easy," she spoke in a soft, reassuring tone. Reaching down, she took his larger, tanner hands into her own and placed them on her hips, giving them a little pat. Naruto's eyes grew wide when she dropped her arms onto his shoulders and wrapped them around his neck, pulling them closer together so that their fronts were centimeters apart.

"And you just sort of… Sway." Sakura led them in a slow dance, teetering slowly back and forth as they spun around in their spot. She inched forward every so often until their bodies were pressed close together, and Naruto blushed madly, his cheeks turning scarlet and warm. He gulped loudly when she rested her head on his shoulder with a soft sigh.

"Would you just relax? You big spaz…" Her fingers were now trailing in slow, small circles on the sensitive skin of his neck. He closed his eyes and let out a small grunt, to which Sakura responded to with another giggle. Naruto lifted his chin up and rested it on the top of her head. Without thinking, he let his hands drop to her backside and pulled her in closer to him.

"Getting a little risqué, Uzumaki?" Sakura chortled. He "mmm"-ed and she smiled against the fabric of his black t-shirt. He hardly noticed the rain anymore, he was so comfortable…

She really is… So beautiful…

He buried her nose in her hair, nuzzling her head, and she tightened her hold on his neck. Inhaling deeply, he was assaulted with the scent of lavender and rain and he let out a soft moan. Her fingers were now roaming up and down his back, nails scraping against his skin through the fabric of his shirt…

But then she pulled back from him, some of the mud that had been on his clothes now clinging to her, though she didn't pay it any attention. Her hands stopped their ministrations, though they were still pressed very close together. He let out a little whine of protest and she smiled coyly up at him. Her lips looked so soft. They were so pretty. They were so thin. They were- They were on his?

His eyes went wide as he realized that she was kissing him. It took him a while to comprehend what was happening, and he could tell that she was growing impatient by the way she bucked her hips against his sharply, letting out a grunt against his mouth.

And then it was over. She had pulled away from him altogether and took a few steps back, looking hurt. Her cheeks were tinged with pink and there were tears threatening to fall from her green eyes.

"Sakura-chan, I-"

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have… I thought that you… I have to go," she said abruptly, her voice oddly high-pitched. She pivoted on her heel and made to leave, but Naruto grabbed her wrist firmly.

"Hey, c'mon, turn around." His voice was soft, comforting, and she slowly turned back to face him. Three or four tears had escaped and were now sliding down her cheeks. He stepped forward and raised his hand to her pretty face to wipe the tears away with the pad of his thumb. She was still averting her eyes, looking sideways toward the ground. He pressed on. "You just took me by surprise is all." Though he tried, he couldn't keep the happiness and excitement from his voice and she looked up at him timidly. "We could try again, you know."

Naruto barely had time to finish the last sentence. Sakura threw herself at his soaking body, wrapping her legs around his waist and planting an open-mouthed kiss on him. He smiled against her mouth and returned the kiss with an equal amount of pressure, supporting her with his hands under her butt.

Once again, it was over to soon, but Naruto couldn't help the grin from spreading across his face. Smiling widely back up at the blond, she unfurled her legs from around him and he dropped her softly to the ground.

"I think," she whispered quietly before placing another kiss on his cheek, "you've mastered the art of dancing in the rain."

HOT DAMN, I finally posted something. I know I'm lame, not continuing with that other story. But I kinda... Lost interest in it. I decided that it turned out to sound dumb anyway, haha. ANYWAY! I hope I can redeem myself with this story! :D

ALSO: I'm looking for a Beta Reader. I started writing a new story that I actually plan on... Trying to continue. Heheh. =_=; But, really. It'd be flippin' sweet if I could get someone's opinion on the 2 chapters I've got done. I was planning on finishing it BEFORE publishing it, and then just uploading the chapters in, like, weekly installments or something like that so I don't leave you guys hangin'. So if you're interested, send a PM my way! :)

PS: Send a review my way, too? Pretty please? :P