"Visualise Sakura always used her forehead protector, like a forehead protector. Now visualise it gone. NaruSaku – oneshot. "

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, but if I did I can confirm they would all be stickmen and stickwomen, other than Icha Icha which would be in full graphic detail. :D


He ran off far into the distance, his outline etching itself deep into the noon sun as his laughter echoed throughout the training grounds.

"Catch me if you can, Sakura-chan!"

Gritting her beautiful whites together, she could imagine him grinning lopsidedly to himself while his ecstatic azure-blue eyes gleamed at her forehead protector.

She was livid, how did he – probably the least observant and dumbest human to ever exist –manage to notice he had a chance, and take it?

It was impossible! "Stupid, baka, idiot, pervert, baka, idiot, stupid, pervert, stupid, baka, pervert, Naru – argh!"

Sakura's shoulders slumped as she let out an exasperated sigh, she really needed to calm down and think this through.

'Okay, so I was fastening on my forehead protector after it had fallen off during training, then that idiot had said I looked better without it.' Sakura rolled her eyes. 'Then I told him how it was similar to the ribbon Ino-pig gave me back in kindergarten in what it was used for; hiding my wide, spacious and fat forehead... to which he laughed at.' All she remembered from after that was his all-fox, endangering and boyish grin as he predatorily stood on all fours, launching off the hot-maroon and grassy ground, retrieving the forehead protector and running off with it.

This left her with a major problem; she'd have to do something she hadn't done since 5 years ago when she was a Genin. She'd have go through Konoha with her forehead exposed.

Her soft-pink eyebrows twitched. "Naruto will die". However she first had to blow off some steam, and unfortunately for the surrounding training ground, this was Haruno Sakura's steam.


Naruto ran in tune with his inner fox, his lithe body spread out on all fours and etching fingerprints and footprints everywhere the wind took him. His unfocused cerulean eyes gleamed in the sunlight as he ran without a thought on where he was heading. Thud!

Naruto roughly tumbled back and quickly began apologising, "I'm so so so sorry, please forgive me, I wasn't looking where I was going and I won't –"

"Dobe," mumbled the standing Sasuke as he eyed the grounded Naruto with narrow eyes. "What were you doing anyways?" he casually asked as he offered his best friend a hand.

Naruto scoffed the offer, instead deciding to get up on his own. "Shut up teme, I take back that apology, and what I am doing is none of your business." There was then a twinkle in both eyes so they both surveyed the ground they were standing on until both rested on the sparkling steel with the Konoha insignia engrained into it, with a cherry-pink headband going through it. Naruto speedily snatched it up off the ground and folded it into his pocket, but Sasuke had already seen enough to know who it belonged to.

"Why have you got Sakura's headband?" he asked as his onyx-black eyes narrowed into their natural position.

Naruto's irritation was etched onto his face. "None of your business, teme." How did Sasuke always find out everything?

Sasuke's eyes bizarrely widened as he noticed the irritiation in Naruto's face and that something serious could've happened. "Is she alright?" he hesitantly asked as his breathing became deeper.

Naruto realising his mistake quickly reassured his best friend. "Don't worry, she's fine, we were just having a spar and I kind of... stole her forehead protector," he finished with his trademark grin-and-head-scratch.

Since they, yes they, managed to get Sasuke back last year and stop the council from slaughtering him for the death of Danzou or his other bad deeds – although among them they hadn't really considered that that bad of a deed – he had been very grateful towards them and they had gone back to being the good Team 7 of old. It was mostly the 3 of them doing missions together, yet sometimes they were accompanied by the trio of Yamato, Sai and Kakashi. They had all grown to love each other as family in their own little ways and were now becoming one of the most formidable 3-man (or 2 boys + 1 girl) teams in all of Konoha. The original 3 were all now 16, with Sakura being the closest to becoming 17 and in terms of ranks Naruto was a Tokubetsu Jounin (A/N: Specialised Jounin), while Sakura was a fully accomplished Chuunin and Sasuke being unable to take any exams was still a Genin. In truth though, Naruto and Sasuke were already near the level of top Jounin while Sakura was on the lower levels of a Jounin, and the only reason they did not have those statuses yet was because then they would be required to have a Genin squad, and that was something they were a bit too young for.

Relaxing his eyes and breathing, Sasuke smirked at the idiocy of his teammate. "You do realise you're in for a world of hell when she catches you."

Naruto grinned knowingly, "Yeah, but there's a chance she'll realise she looks so much better without it, and that's a chance worth taking!" he finished with a grin as exotic and recognisable as his orange jumpsuit.

Chuckling to himself over his friend's stupidity, Sasuke smiled, and it was times like these he treasured most. "I've actually never seen her without it on, and hiding that large forehead of hers, so I guess I'll have to check out your assumption."

"Hey! Don't go getting a crush on her now when you realise how good she looks without it! Remember, I was here first." Naruto said jokingly, getting a light chuckle out of Sasuke yet both knew that the topic of love was still a very sensitive one between them. It was only a couple of months since Sakura realised that she didn't love Sasuke like she thought she did, but instead as a brother. Sasuke and Naruto were both greatly glad at this – Sasuke because he knew how much pain Sakura's love was causing Naruto, and Naruto because this meant that the pain would now lessen and he finally might now have a chance at gaining her heart.

Getting the topic of his mind first, Sasuke announced his departure, "Anyways good luck, Kami knows you'll need it, and don't forget to come to the Rookie 9 gathering tonight at my house. See you, dobe."

Shaking himself out of his thoughts, Naruto managed to catch Sasuke's goodbye and watched as his best friend disappeared off into the colourful masses of the crowd. "See ya too, teme! By the way, if you see her, don't tell her you saw me!"

"You're shouting as if he could actually hear you in that crowd."

Naruto revolved his body 360' degrees while cursing the fact that he let his guard down, only to come face-to-face with a pineapple-shaped head, fully equipped with pineapple-like hair. Quickly nodding at his friend, he muttered a brief "He's an Uchiha. He probably can."

"Hmm, you're probably right."

A brief silence followed where both tended to their own thoughts before Naruto decided to enquire on his friend's sudden arrival. "So Shikamaru, what brings you here today?"

Bringing his calculating yet soft gaze down from the white clouds to cobalt-blue eyes, Shikamaru answered "I was just thinking of going cloud-watching on the Hokage mountaintops and was wondering if you wanted to come?"

Hearing of his favourite place in all of Konoha to just relax and think made Naruto smile in content, knowing he had such a place of tranquillity. "I'd gladly come Shika," he satisfyingly replied.

Both shinobi took off side-by-side towards the jagged yet fine rock-made staircases that climbed up the Hokage Mountain, lulling in their own thoughts. They soon reached the top and were greeted by an abundance of beauty; exotic flowerbeds and a small, clean-cerulean pool surrounded by mother nature's own skin; the warm earth and all the little animals it held home to. Settling themselves comfortably down upon the First's head, Naruto broke the silence.

"I know you wouldn't come all the way here just to watch the clouds, so what's on your mind?" asked Naruto. He had since long known that his pineapple-haired friend enjoyed to watch clouds on lower altitude terrain and preferred to think when on higher altitude.

Taking out a cigarette and lighter from his Jounin vest, Shikamaru responded, "Ino and Temari, troublesome women." He lit it up before inserting the cigarette into his mouth, inhaling an exercise puff before breathing out.

Naruto softly chuckled, "Shikamaru with girl problems? Is the world coming to an end? That would definitely be troublesome." He snickered at his own joke as Shikamaru narrowed his eyes glaringly at him.

Getting over his joke, Naruto spoke again, "But seriously, what's wrong with them?"

"Nothing, other than the fact that I like them both and now I have to choose which one I want to be with, or as my dad said 'the world would become a very troublesome place'."

"Oh, so you gotta choose which one you want as your girlfriend."

"Something like that." Shikamaru answered as he took in another puff from his lighted cigarette.

Naruto watched vigilantly as the ash-encrusted bud of the cigarette briefly burned with hints of lava. It was somewhat like a mini-volcano he concluded as the smoke left Shikamaru's chapped lips and soared up into the clear, sunny skies like a bird.

"Well, which one do you like more?" Naruto curiously asked.

"That's exactly the problem; I don't know." The annoyance in Shikamaru's voice was clear, and Naruto could tell the cigarette, although now used more often, was there to help lessen the frustration.

Naruto however saw a similarity in Shikamaru's problem with a major one he faced nearly a year ago when Hinata had confessed to him about her feelings, during the fight with Pein, and Naruto was left to answer her after the fight. He had thought long and hard about what to tell Hinata, and he came to a simple conclusion: he loved her as a sister, nothing less or more.

'Kakashi-sensei had helped me come to that conclusion, when he asked me why I like Hinata and why I like Sakura. In short, Sakura had around a million more reasons than Hinata.'

Grinning as an idea popped into his head, Naruto enquired, "You know what? How about you tell me why you like Temari, then why you like Ino?"

Shikamaru hesistated at first, but soon began to talk confidently, "Erm... well... Temari, she... she has a feisty personality, and although quite troublesome, she kind of offers a challenge that can be very enjoyable – like Shogi! She's also sexy and tries to be a powerhouse and keep me on a leash, but like that'll ever happen. Although reckless at times, underneath she can be quite smart and I like that a lot. All in all, she's spells trouble."

Carrying on, he again hesitated but never really began to talk confidently, "Moving onto Ino... well, I guess she's pretty in her own way, erm, she can also be sexy I guess... she doesn't really try keep me on a leash... kinda boring... erm... she likes to gossip a lot, so kind of annoying... er-"

"Alright! You can now shut up lover-boy, because Temari is clearly the winner of your pineapple-heart!" cheerfully shouted Naruto while pumping his chests like a testosterone junkie.

Shikamaru's eyebrows twitched in annoyance at the phrase 'pineapple-heart' before coming to the realisation that Naruto was right, he clearly listed more reasons for Temari and spoke more confidently about her. 'Damn this boy's a genius.' His lips twisted up in a smirk as the smoke efficiently slipped out between the crevices of his lips.

Taking a look at his cigarette and seeing it wasn't required anymore, he let his fingertips let go of it and allowed gravity to take control, bringing the still-lighted cigarette down to the earth before he kicked some soil over it. He looked back at his friend and smiled, "Thanks, man." Naruto slapped his back and beamed back at him, "No prob."

This was one of the things he admired about his friend; he could always solve a problem if he tried, and he always tried his best to be there for his loved ones.

"How're you doing with your girl problems?" Shikamaru asked softly with his issue now resolved.

"You mean my love for Sakura?" responded Naruto casually to which Shikamaru had a moment of head-to-palm.

"Nah, I mean your love for Lee – of course I mean Sakura!" he irritatingly replied.

Naruto beamed at the thought of how often he made Shikamaru frustrated. "Well, I'm still hiding my attraction pretty well... and I don't think many people know that I still am interested in her."

Shikamaru sighed, he knew his friend was going nowhere if he carried on acting like this. "Stop grinning, we both know this isn't funny, and we both know you're going to have to do something soon if you're going to have any chance with her."

Cerulean eyes darkened to sapphire and Naruto grinned soberly, "What's the point? We both already know she doesn't like me, and probably never will. Plus... if I do take a chance and end up losing her... I don't think I'd be able to live with myself, knowing I drove her away."

Shikamaru's soft onyx eyes gradually become solemn as he looked down at his close friend knowing that what he said was true. He whispered, "I overheard Ino gossiping the other day about some of the teenage males in the hospital giving her and Sakura a lot of attention, and that one of them was about to ask Sakura out."

Shikamaru carefully watched as Naruto's eyes darkened to a dreary sapphire, becoming totally unreadable. The bright orange sun in the skies and its rays of sunshine were pressed thinly against Naruto's eyelids as he closed his eyes, providing a stark contrast between the two.

Seeing that his blonde friend wasn't about to make a comment, he carried on. "You and I both know what is likely to happen from that, so if I was you I'd take a chance and show her that I like her right now, because we never know till we try."

Naruto's eyelids flew back open, presenting the world the fury of a brewing storm. "What about if she tells me that she doesn't like me like that, things won't ever be the same – her knowing that I like her and she's rejected me, and me knowing that I can't ever be with her? What happens then?"

A pair of firm 'Jonin' Shinobi boots rose to leave soft footsteps imprinted onto Konoha's earth and grass. Shikamaru's shadow stood tall amongst the ground Naruto was sitting on and Naruto glared up at the pineapple silhouette.

"What happens then is that you follow your nindo and never give up. If you seriously think you and Sakura's best-friend relationship is that shallow to be broken by such a thing, then Sasuke's right; you are a dobe."

Shikamaru left grainy imprints on the patches of soil as he strolled towards the staircases leading down the Hokage Mountain, thinking his job here was done and that he had something else to do. As he walked down the stairs thinking of what he was going to tell Ino, he heard the wind whisper a familiar "Thanks Shika," to him. He smiled, 'That Naruto... always uses his wind affinity in the smartest ways, just like Sensei.'

The large clock on the Konoha tower struck 15:00 P.M, leaving a resounding chime to echo throughout the Konoha suburbs as the sun fell from the top of the skies towards the west. Birds chirped as usual and flew into the blue sky, without the intention of ever coming back down.

Sakura stomped furiously through the village streets, her soft pink hair resting softly on her silky shoulders providing an amusing comparison to her hot, frustrated and bothered face and the way her gastrocnemius (calf) tensed in her sweaty and smooth legs as she pounded her feet down onto the innocent ground. She only had one thing on her mind: finding Naruto.

She didn't care that she lay waste to about a good ¾ of one of the training grounds, or that she was walking through Konoha all sweaty and bothered, or that her clothing was rugged and in some areas in tatters. All she cared about was that she was walking through Konoha without anything hiding her forehead, and Naruto was to blame. 'He is definitely going to die today.'

"Hello hag."

Sai had spotted her recognisable back, with all the pink hair on her shoulder, as she stomped throughout Konoha and fully intended to enlighten her with his arrival, sadly not knowing anything about her current state of mind.

She swung her arms around and ferociously whacked him into a nearby building faster than he could draw a triangle. As he got out of the awkwardly-shaped dent left in the wall, he noticed something very different about her; she had no forehead protector on her forehead.

"Wow, this kind of makes you not look like a hag – even though I still know you are one."

Sai however was too encompassed by her freshly new look to notice one very similar thing about her: that dangerous expression that promised a lot of pain. "Sai darling... come over here..." she said a bit too sweetly. Pow!

Sakura watched the idiot take flight, not really caring where he landed as her priority was still to find Naruto. However, that would have to wait because she was about to be delayed again.

"Hey Sakura!"

She turned her head to see Ryu, a 17 year old boy that worked with her at the hospital, and one of the few that she actually was friends with walking with a group of boys, some she also recognised from the hospital. "Hey, Ryu," she replied, trying to force a smile through her current anger. His jade eyes sparkled at her and she felt a brief flurry of butterflies as his matted dark brown hair flew against the wind, leaving his defined cream-beige face for the world to see.

One of his friends had pointed out to him that his 'friend from the hospital is there' and luckily it turned out to be his new crush, Sakura. Seeing her without a forehead protector left him to think a bit and he decided to indulge her with his thoughts, "I like your new look, you look much more like a confident and strong woman."

A couple of his friends decided it was a good idea to indulge her with their thoughts too, with a few "I agree with Ryu" and "He's right Sakura-san" emerging from the group.

Sakura felt a faint burning in her throat and cheeks and was certain she currently had a faint blush on those areas. "Thanks Ryu, but I can't really talk right now because I'm busy so I'll see you at the hospital tomorrow." He smiled and nodded back at her as she began her search again.

'I'll have to ask Ino later if Ryu is one of the boys that is actually interested in me, because if he is I might just take up his offer, seeing as he's quite handsome and kind and all.'

She closed off her thoughts as she reached the Ichiraku Ramen bar fully expecting to find Naruto here, as he usually was at this time of the day for his 'midday-ramen-snack', as he liked to call it.

Opening the curtains that shielded the Ramen bar, her anger rose as she came face to face with a Kakashi that had ramen drooping out of his mouth onto a page of his Icha Icha book and a Sasuke that, judging by the smile on his face, was enjoying having rice balls in his mouth while watching her anger rise. 'Idiots,' she concluded.

"The one time I'm looking for Naruto in the place he is likely to be, I instead find you two idiots in a place that you are usually unlikely to be! This is a joke, isn't it?" she barked unbelievingly as her eyebrows twitched with frustration.

"Nope, it isn't a joke, merely coincidence," coolly replied Sasuke.

She watched as Kakashi and Sasuke's eyes moved off her eyes to her forehead and then the rest of her face. Kakashi didn't stop there however as he gave her a full-over check-up, to which Sakura bashed him in the head branding him a pervert.

"Naruto was right, you look nice," Sasuke commented with a nod, showing his approval. Kakashi approval was also visible, although he was still in the hole Sakura slammed him into, as he took one of his thumbs off his Icha Icha book to raise in approval.

"You know where Naruto is?" she exhaled apprehensively as her eyes narrowed down at the Uchiha.

Realising his mistake, Sasuke had to think quick. "Shit, got to go – later you two!" he swiftly replied before shunshining off to somewhere nearby.

Kakashi could only look on in horror as Sakura obliterated the stool Sasuke was previously sitting on with a simple 'pull back your leg, and kick'. All that was left of it now was wooden splinters on the floor.

"Tell Ayame or Teuchi-san that I'll be back to pay for that later," was all she managed to say before she heatedly treaded off in a new direction.

Shikamaru was on his way to the Yamanaka family's flower shop in order to break the news to Ino; the problem however was that he had no idea on how to do that.

'Maybe some divine intervention will save me from this troublesome and treacherous world and its constant barrage of problems,' he thought but as he got ever-so-closer that hope became an 'Or maybe not.'

He stopped outside the glass window as he recognised a supple bush of pink and blonde hair at the counter, which was a bit far-off from the door due to all the plants and greenery in the way. Thinking of what to do, he decided his best option would be to wait it out for Sakura and Ino to finish conversing before going in and breaking the news, because going in now while they were in mid-convo, breaking them up and telling them the bad news was just too much to ask of him in one day.

His sole interest took to watching the cherry-coloured clouds glide over the currently crimson-yellow sun and the creamy-orange sky, until he heard something that sounded much like a "Naruto" arising from the two women's conversation. His natural reaction was to ignore it and carry on watching the clouds with no other care in the world, but his interest piqued as he thought about why they were talking about Naruto and also because he was 100% sure Naruto would want to know what they were talking about. He carefully laid his ears upon the double-layered glass windows and strained his chakra flow towards his eardrums to increase his hearing ability.

"– yeah I get it, so basically the story is that Naruto stole your forehead protector, telling you that you look much better without it before running off with it and leaving you to destroy ¾ of the training grounds before going through Konoha in search for him only to be complimented by Tenten, Sai – which I personally think is a miracle – Kakashi, Sasuke, Hinata and finally Ryu and his friends. That doesn't sound like a bad day at all to me." Ino finished, slapping a price tag on one of the new Suna flowers they recently had delivered.

"No! Your forgetting that he ran off with my forehead protector without my permission and I searched for him at Ichiraku Ramen, his house, the Hokage building, Choji's favourite BBQ place and the Academy! I spent half of my day looking for the idiot and I still haven't found him!" Sakura shouted furiously, as if Ino did not understand any of her anger towards the knucklehead.

Ino shook her head, Sakura clearly did not understand how Naruto's actions had helped her. Finding her most innocent and sweet voice possible, she engrained some sarcasm into it and began speaking, "I don't see why you're angry, he got you to look better as a woman and as a result many people to compliment you, not to mention the fact Ryu will probably now like you even more than before. If I was you I'd go give him a big kiss and thank him."

"Aargh! Shut up, you're delusional like the rest of them!"

Cling Cling

The pair of ice-cobalt and sea emerald eyes turned towards the sound of the door opening, only to meet a pair of sharp onyx eyes that belonged to their pineapple-haired friend.

"Hey," Shikamaru murmured smoothly, nodding at both females.

Ino sensing an opportunity quickly ushered Shikamaru over and grabbed him, facing his body towards Sakura's. "Now Shikamaru, don't you think Sakura here looks better than she ever has?"

Studying her baffled and horrified face, Shikamaru realised that Ino, Naruto and everybody else was right, Sakura did look much better. "Wow, she actually does."

Ino turned her attention towards Sakura, grabbing her by the shoulders and forcing her to face her. "Isn't that enough proof for you, billboard-brow? The mighty Shikamaru even admitted that you look much better."

Sakura's cheeks were clearly flustered as she finally accepted the notion that she actually did look better without her forehead protector on, but nonetheless this still didn't lessen her need to make Naruto suffer. "Naruto still needs to learn his lesson, you can't steal stuff without permission and run away."

Ino sighed, she knew that her friend's pride was too large to let this go. "Go find him then," she said resignedly.

Sakura huffed animatedly again, "Did you not hear anything? I can't find him at all!" The irritation was clearly etched into her voice.

"I was with him around an hour and a half ago," Shikamaru offered gratefully, as long as this female bickering would come to a halt.

"Well why didn't you say so!" paused Sakura, deeply breathing out with relief. "Someone other than that scumbag of an Uchiha has seen him, now tell me, where was he?"

"I left him on the Hokage mountaintops," replied Shikamaru.

Sakura felt to slap herself, how did she not think to check there! "Well, I got to go find him, see you two later!"

Cling Cling

After exiting the shop, she ran with a flurry of determination towards the staircases of the Hokage Mountain, focused on only one thing: finding Naruto. The sunset-pink sun continued falling down the creamy-orange sky, while the cherry-pink clouds continued flying without a care in the world.

'We never know till we try.'

The birds chirped their evening songs in harmony as they flew on and around the falling cherry in the sky. They skipped through the clouds to leave freedom-shaped silhouettes in the sky and to disappear from the eyes of the Konoha residents.

'Probably to go annoy Gaara,' Naruto smiled as he currently lay on his father's head, after having moved from his earlier position on the First's head. It had been around an hour and 45 minutes since Shikamaru's departure and he had been thinking about what Shikamaru had said about Sakura and what he should do about it.

After the first hour of thinking whether or not Shikamaru was right in the assumption that he was a 'dobe' if he believed that Sakura's rejection of him as a love prospect would mean the end of their close friendship, he decided that Shikamaru was right. Sakura would never want to avoid him and if their friendship ended it would be entirely up to him and how he reacts to a rejection.

The other 45 minutes consisted simply of whether he believed he had a chance with Sakura, to which he answered 'No,' in a couple of minutes after going through his attributes: 'Annoying, lazy, irritating, dumb, idiotic, immature – although I gotta say that I have sweet abs and on the whole a very nice body.'

His final answer though was very different; Sakura's love was worth more than the whole world to him, so he would take the chance. Nevertheless, he thought he really needed a nap right now after all the thinking he had supposedly done in the last couple of hours, so he closed himself off from the breathing world around him and fell into one of his renowned deep slumbers.

A couple minutes later,


Sakura had her hands on her knees, bending over to regain her breath as she panted from the hectic run up the staircases to the Hokage mountaintops. After not hearing any sort of reply she looked up believing she had lost him again only to see his prone body lying on top of the Fourth's head, directly a few metres in front of the shallow yet fairly wide pool.

As she got closer her anger and frustration was etching out of her face, and seemingly out of her feet too as they grinded against the grainy rocks of the Sandaime's head, leaving shallow cracks in the spikes of his hair.

All the anger had instantly disappeared though as soon as she laid her eyes on his face;

The final embers of the falling cherry-sun managed to light up Naruto's tanned complexion into a fair orange glow while the normally grazed and chapped texture of his skin fell into a soft scratch. His normally-faded whiskers came out a bit more, the light allowing it to become defined and the soft prickles of hair to be seen. The edges of his face became stronger as his mandible (his jaw) etched out a distinct outline of his face. The best two things however, were his mouth and his hair; the mouth was laid out in a tired grin much to the delight of his teeth as they edged out of their shell and the saliva that was slowly climbing up over his lips. The hair itself had rested itself upon the Fourth's hair, relaxing the flaxen (golden) and currently dark spikes against the gravelly surface.

Her breath wilted, 'Since when did the baka get so handsome?'

She charily (carefully) bent down intent on faintly tracing his whiskers but the sudden glint of an object drifting out of his pocket caught her eye; it was her forehead protector. Her anger returned tenfold as she remembered why she was here and she quickly attacked his pocket in an attempt to retrieve the forehead protector. She grabbed a hold of it, fully intending to drag it out of his pocket – Thud!

"Not today, Sakura-chan." His smile was all-fox once again.

"How did you wake up you bastard!" she shouted back in frustration.

His foxy smile became amused. "Well, sorry for noticing a large bowl of killer intent and aggression being served up my nose, next time I'll try to let myself get killed in my sleep."

"Aargh!" She leaped ferociously with a fist rocketing directly at him only for him to dodge at the last-second, leaving her to skid across the gravel erratically. She turned towards him only to have her heart briefly leap into her throat as she looked at him – his eyes had this amazingly natural and pure wild look to them, like they consisted of nothing else but his emotions in full-view before the look disappeared a second later and left the mature yet innocent look his eyes normally held. 'What was that?'

She had no time to think though as she tumbled across the ground. "Haha, Sakura-chan you need to be more focused when fighting because that was just too easy," he held his stomach with laughter at the view of her prone body getting up-and-close with the pebbles.

"Oh shit." Laughter only lasts so long, Naruto learns, as Sakura stands up to turn around with her eyes closed, taking deliberately slow steps towards him.

'She's going to pummel me, I knew I shouldn't have attacked her!' Naruto knew better than anyone of Sakura's wild streak and this was looking to be another one of those moments where the inner her would come out with an unbelievable amount of fury and leave the victim wishing they were never born.

He watched fearfully as she continued to creep up on him with her eyes closed while he continued backtracking to try avoid an unavoidable battering. 'Kami, I need help and quick!'


He grinned as a bell rung in his head. "So Sakura-chan, did you find out you look better without your forehead protector... because I think you look amazing."

Surprised emerald eyes opened up and squinted at him. "... Yes I did, but the fact is still the same – you stole my forehead protector and you must pay."

'Alright, I got her to open her eyes and that makes me less scared to do this...' he looked back to make sure he was heading in the right direction.

"Aww, but dont'cha think that's kinda harsh," Naruto amusingly replied back.

"If you continue to think this is funny, I'm going to quicken my walking and get you now, and then I'm going to extend the period of your suffering." She warned back with a quick dip of her fine pink eyebrows.

He confidently chuckled. "Heh, you can try, loser."

She launched herself on all-fours with a predatory look in her eyes – strangely similar to him earlier – to land powerfully right on top of him, causing both of them to crash down and stumble right into the shallow, clean-cerulean pool.

Naruto grinned joyously at his 'terrific' plan as he watched Sakura sputter and stammer to get to grips with the sudden intrusion into the cold water. As Sakura regained her footing he remembered the second phase of his plan.

"Ey Sakura, this is your forehead protector, catch!" he alarmed as he purposely chucked the forehead protector above her head and underneath the water. His laughing increased as he saw her eyes widen at the drowning forehead protector.

"YOU BAKA! NOW I HAVE TO GO GET IT!" she angrily yelled before pulling her head in underneath the water into the shallow pool to retrieve her forehead protector. She saw it floating next to her feet as the cerulean blended in with the cherry headband and bent down to catch it, but unfortunately as she bent down she bumped her head on Naruto's knee due to the close proximity.

Feeling the contact Naruto also pulled his head in underneath the freezing water, only to see Sakura struggling to get out so in a second of pure passion he fiercely circled his lean yet firm arms around her waist before gently pulling her up above water level.

He watched her vigilantly and with a loving focus as she roughly coughed out spurts of water and her closed eyelids tensed in pain. He immediately felt awful at what he had caused her and sorrow entered his dark-cerulean eyes, preferring to look up at the dark-cherry sky and the red-orange sun before it was buried beneath a far-off mountain.

Sakura coughed a bit more before she could breathe better and soon opened her eyes, only to come face-to-face with a seemingly sorrowful Naruto that was staring at the skies and nearly-buried sun. Her sea emerald eyes undertook a shade of worry.

"Naruto... you alright?"

She watched as his dark-cerulean eyes fell back onto her own, before moving down onto her face and for a moment she could've sworn she saw that wild and passionate look that was full of raw energy in his eyes again.

"I'm so sorry for that Sakura-chan, I should've never threw your forehead protector in there." His voice was apologetic and strongly remorseful.

'Is that how much he cares? Aw.' That cheered her up a bit. "It's alright Naruto, you did after all get me out of there."

"... but that was the least I could do, and it's not alright because I hurt you."

She smiled at his care for her, albeit mostly for an idea in her head. "It is alright, because now I remember why I'm here, and that is to hurt you. See ya in hospital, Naruto."

His eyes brightened and he quickly ducked the punch, pulling his head underneath into the water in the process. In the few seconds that he held his breath in the other world, the pool, he saw his eyes blinded by the beauty of the small sea blue atmosphere as families of toads swam across pearls that slept peacefully and seaweed wriggled and danced on the grainy yet amazingly supple and rich seabed. His head was refreshed as he came up to stare at those fierce yet beautifully vulnerable lime-jade eyes, and something flashed in his memory:

'We never know till we try.'

He grinned for a second, 'I guess it's now or never.'

Sakura grabbed him by the collar to ensure he wouldn't escape again and slowly closed her head in on his, with one fist raised. Naruto's throat burned at the feeling of her hot yet slender fingers coiled up around his clavicle (collar bone) while her water-dripping head closed in on his.

"Any last words, Naruto?" she whispered sweetly, smiling devilishly.

'Damn, I love her,' he thought at what he could currently see: her soft and slender skin as the clear water enveloped it, the way her wet eyebrows stuck to the surface of her skin, the way her lips beamed dangerously upwards as dribbles of water from her eyelids fell from them and especially the way her long and fine eyelashes stuck firmly to her eyelids. The best part however was her now darkened cherry-pink hair as the dampness meant it slid across her skin and stuck securely onto her face.

He started of his last words by moving his head in too, albeit awkwardly due to her holding his collar. "... I just wanted to tell you, I took your forehead protector... because," his rough lips peppered up by smothering themselves with water droplets, "... I've always wanted to do this," he finished by planting a plump kiss on her forehead, his chapped lips leaving a hot mark in the middle.

Shocked, she let go of his collar and he took this chance to jump out of the water – and as a result splashing her with a lot of water – before running away into the last remnants of the falling cherry-sun and forthcoming starry night sky.

Her stomach buzzed with bees and flapped with butterflies as her finger rose up from underneath the weirdly-now-warm water before contently resting on the spot where Naruto had kissed her. She traced the spot as her lips and mouth became dry with heat, 'Naruto...'

Her pupil flew around her lime-emerald eyes unfocused as she tried to come to terms with how Naruto had just made her feel – special, loved, beautiful, sexy, unique... like a woman.

'Does he really like me? I know I just felt something for him, but does he for me?'

'He kissed you! Of course he does!' (Inner Sakura)

'I guess he might... it'd be better if I go ask him, right...?'

'Definitely girl! Go get him! Shannaro!'

As she rose from the pool and onto the now-wet gravelly ground, she felt wonderful as both the sky and ground shined – the night sky by the stars and the rock-strewn ground by the water drops – but the best part was that her heart shined, and she felt amazing.

"Well, I guess it's time to go find him... again."

Naruto was back to running on all-fours again, his lithe and wet body flying through the wind at breakneck speed. What he had just done was suicide, and he knew it, so he made sure to run as fast as he could home so he could survive for tonight.

'I am definitely not going to meet Sasuke and the guys tonight,' he thought momentarily but his heart had more important matters to think through.

'I wonder... what is she thinking right now? I'm probably miles away from her so I wouldn't be able to hear no-'


Looking back at her distant smiling face and wild green eyes – not to mention no forehead protector – he grinned. He definitely had a chance.

The End. = D

Author's Note: Hello ladies and gentlemen. I know it's been a long time, around 2 years for anyone who remembers me, but I think I'm back. I'm very sorry for the absence and I understand if you don't want to forgive me, as I really don't have much of an excuse; I was just living life, school, going out with friends, playing call of duty, fifa, littlebigplanet, graphic design, music, blah blah blah, you get the general idea. I was also here quite regularly but only to read other people's amazing fanfics.

Anyways I'll post an apology on my profile too, I just hope you lot can forgive me – and for whoever wants info on my other story (Golden Legacy):

I really don't know what to do with it right now, but it's up to you lot, I owe all of you so if you lot would like to see it finished then I'll try to finish it, but if not I'll drop it and I think I'll start another fic because I don't think I want to write that one anymore.

Thanks for reading and I hope my writing's gotten better, cya! = D