It's been five years since the end of the war. The villages managed to recover and rebuild. Konoha was quick to get back on its own feet, but some scars would forever run deep. So deep things would never return to the way they were.
As it happened, when Sakura left to find Sasuke after her farce of a confession, she wound up captured and seemed to be brainwashed by the Uchiha survivor. He no longer needed Karin, and he quickly threw her away like rubbish.
Karin like a jilted lover decided to align herself with Naruto, wanting to get even, at the climax of the war, Sasuke turned on Madara. But it turned out Sakura still had feelings for Sasuke. Five years having come and passed, things would never be the same.
Sasuke had managed to redeem himself, with his betrayal of Madara, and was able to come back to Konoha. After serving some time in a prison, compound within Konoha, he was allowed a release. This would be what changed everything, because after his release he and Sakura would become engaged.
Naruto had grown well and managed to look strikingly like his father, even adopting a coat of similar style, only a red orange shade with black flames. He even lost the track suit, opting for a black t-shirt and black cargo pants. He could have any kunoichi he wanted, yet he only had eyes for one girl. He couldn't find it in himself to let her go, to let go of the feelings he had. He watched as the 'hot' couple walked down the street, and sighed with a heavy heart and said, "She's too good for him…"
"…Get over her already Naruto." commented a crimson haired Kunoichi who was standing next to him. Karin had changed up her wardrobe since her time in Konoha, wearing a pleated skirt, silken sleeves, and a Chinese style top, while maintaining her signature thigh high boots. She kept her arms covered due to all the scars, she was ashamed of them in all honesty, in fact, it was a source of low self esteem for her. The red head shook her head as she looked at the blond and said, "If anything, you're too good for her, let's go get the groceries and get back home."
No, they weren't dating, they were simply roommates. Naruto being of a compassionate nature he offered to let the red head stay with him.
The two walked down the street in the opposite direction that Sasuke and Sakura were walking. As soon as they walked in they encountered Ino who was also grocery shopping, Naruto grabbed the grocery cart and said, "I'll go on ahead, Karin, you and Ino can catch up."
As soon as he was out of earshot Ino shook her head in sympathy of the hero of Konoha and said, "Still upset over Sakura huh? He's too good for her, he could have any girl he wanted, and he pines over her."
"Guys can be stubborn and they don't realize what is in front of them all along. Someone who could be perfect for them, and they don't realize it." the bespectacled kunoichi responded.
"Like you." the two said at the same time in a jinx manner.
"Wait…you think me and Naruto? No…I just live with him. I don't think it would work." Karin quickly said in a defensive manner.
"Please! I'm just his friend who helped him out through that hard time after Billboard Bitch crushed his heart. I like Naruto and all but I don't know if I could like him like that. But I've seen the way you look at him." the platinum blond said as she held her hands up as if she were hiding something.
When Ino brought up the fact Karin had been known to look at Naruto affectionately she blushed some. Subconsciously she fidgeted with her sleeves, she thought about it for a moment, had she fallen in love with Naruto without knowing it? She quickly snapped out of it and said, "Sorry I better go catch up with him before he gets nothing but Ramen. I have to make sure he eats properly", she turned and quickly walked off in the direction the blond had left.
'…Do I love Naruto without knowing it?'Ino thought to herself, in truth it was possible since Naruto had been volunteering at the flower shop to help her since she helped him through the period after his heart was broken. She pushed the thought to the back of her head and started her grocery shopping.
Hours later Naruto and Karin made it back to the apartment with their groceries, she managed to convince the blond that if he was going to eat Ramen it would be home made. After they put away the groceries, Karin found herself looking to the blond, she saw grow from a boy to an attractive young man. She shook her head and began looking through the cook book looking for something to fix for supper.
She knew if she confessed to him, it wouldn't go well, after the farce of a confession Sakura had given Naruto. He thought everything to be just a joke to play with his feelings, so if she wanted to confess, she would have to make it perfectly clear.
Naruto looked back to the kitchen swearing he was being watched, but returned reading his manga. 'Karin has been acting weird since the grocery store.' he thought to himself, as he was becoming aware that something was out of the ordinary.
Suddenly a knock came at the door, "I'll get it!", Karin said as closed the cook book and walked to the door opening it to see Ino. "Eh hehe…I'll be right back!" she exclaimed nervously as she stepped outside.
"What are you doing here?!" the red head exclaimed with a hiss as she looked at the Yamanaka heiress.
"What? I can't come to see how Naruto is doing anymore?" coyly she responded, wearing a tank top and a denim skirt, dressed in a more civilian way.
"You just saw him at the grocery store! And what's with the way you are dressed!?" angrily the red eyed kunoichi questioned, she didn't like how this was turning out.
"Maybe I want to take Naruto-kun to dinner? He isn't yours, you even said you're just his roommate." Ino responded demurely as she held her hands up with palms raised to the sky. Her eyes closed as if she was being smug about it.
"What's going on out here? Hi Ino! Why are you here?" Naruto asked as he looked out the doorway to find Karin and Ino discussing something.
"Nothing!!" the two responded as the donned a cheery mask so as to not let him be aware that they were arguing over him.
"Ino just came to tell me something don't worry about it!" Karin responded as she maintained her cheery demeanor so as to not worry Naruto too much.
Naruto raised an eyebrow as he looked at them and said, "Uh huh…?" he was confused more and more by the behavior of the two kunoichi. He shook his head and walked back inside, he didn't understand what was going on with them, and he didn't want to start trying to figure out women this late in the day.
Once he was inside, the two girls resumed their arguing, "You said, you just live with him! That means he's fair game!" Ino said as she glared daggers at Karin.
"You said you only work with him and he is only your friend!" the redhead responded as she pointed at Ino with each word.
"Well obviously I changed my mind!" the two responded at the same time, as they did this they glared with such intensity that sparks should have been going off from the animosity the two girls now held for each other.
"I would rather Naru-kun didn't get hurt again. And I know you don't want that to happen either. Can we just agree to let Naruto be happy? He will move on eventually but we can't force it. " Karin said as she looked at the girl, crossing her arms over her chest.
As Karin said these words, Ino realized that they were both being selfish, Sakura chose her own happiness without thinking about who it would hurt the most. Ino refused to be like that. "You're right. Naruto does deserve to be happy. His feelings are just as important as mine or yours. May the best woman win." she said as she looked at Karin as her rival and no longer as a friend. She turned and walked down the steps leading to the apartment.
Naruto had just finished breakfast, and was getting ready to head out, he was on mandatory vacation. Seemed he was working too hard according to the Rokudaime Hokage, Kakashi. He wasn't one for relaxing, he had to keep busy, its why he worked at Ino's floral shop he needed it to keep sane. Keeping busy helped him forget about Sakura.
"I'll be back later Karin." he said as he walked to the door, pulling his coat on as he got ready to head out.
"Wait…" the redhead said as she rushed over to him, she took a deep breath and looked to him. "Naruto…I…I like you." she said as her face became flush feeling awkward, unlike her obsessive nature with Sasuke, for once she felt genuine emotion for someone else.
"I like you too, you're a good friend Karin" the blond responded oblivious to the meaning the young woman meant.
"No…Naruto I mean…" she closed her eyes trying to find the words to express herself properly, in a way he would understand. She wrapped her arms around his neck and lifted herself up as she kissed him softly on the lips.
As his lips met hers, the blond understood clearly what she meant, and he wrapped his arms around her pulling her into an embrace as he returned the kiss. He closed his eyes, his heart beat faster, he began to realize something, he had moved on long ago. The time he and Karin spent together had made them closer than he and Sakura ever were. He had actually fallen for her with out being aware of it.
'Sorry Ino, I love Naruto, I want him to be happy and to share that happiness with him. Us feuding over him, it would only bring him pain.' the red head thought to herself as she parted the kiss and looked into the gentle blue eyes of the man who been there for her in all her hard times. This is what love was, it was a happy ending for her and a happy ending for him.
Author's note: This is my first normal pairing fic. I think I did well, I intend this to be a one shot for the time being. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Surprisingly I'm the one who founded the NaruKarin fanclub on Narutofan forums and it took me this long to do a fic for the pairing.