A/N: Hey guys, I'm sorry I haven't been updating frequently. I used to be a responsible author, then I took an arrow in the knee...lie. Actually I spent most of my free time playing Skyrim. Anyway, good news everyone! I finished Skyrim a couple of times already so I feel pretty much satisfied with it, and also I broke my foot meaning: Less things to do = More time to write! =D
OK, this chapter is actually pretty short, but hopefully it will help me to get back into the mood I need to continue updating.
As always, Thank you readers and reviewers!
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction, I do not own Naruto or any of its character.
Chapter 6: How to Mend a Friendship. Part 1
'I can't believe I'm doing this…' One Sakura Haruno thought.
She was standing in the middle of a street of Konoha's commercial district with her eyes fixed on the very well-known flower shop, and building that housed the local mind-walkers, the Yamanaka clan.
Pots and baskets full of flowers posed near the open door and windows of the large building painted in a light yellow, inviting with their charms any passerby to enter and become another costumer of the renowned shop.
She turned around and sent a glance to the grinning boy poking out of the corner of a building who was sending her a thumps-up.
The girl sighed.
'I guess it's now or never. This better works, Naruto, or else…'
She left the threat hanging in her mind as she began to approach the entrance of the shop. 'How did I let myself be convinced into doing this…?' She wondered.
It had been another eventful day for team 7. A day filled with dangerous and exciting ninja missions such as cleaning the halls of the academy, painting fences with the skill only a dedicated shinobi could achieve and, of course, the weekly chase of their stronger foe, the legendary escapist cat himself, Tora.
They had just finished their last mission of the day and the Genin where exhausted.
A tall silver haired man huffed. "Nothing beats walking dogs at breaking a sweat. Isn't that right, guys?" Kakashi asked as he dried nonexistent sweat from his brow.
The three Genin glared at their sensei.
"If I had to spend time with a fleabag I'd rather spend it with Kiba, at least he knows better that stopping at every corner to take a pee… I think." Naruto said from his position next to the Uchiha, who was currently leaning against the side of a sturdy tree.
Sasuke actually smirked in amusement at the jab at the Inuzuka.
"Naruto, that wasn't nice!" Scolded Sakura. The bubblegum haired gal was sitting on her knees under the shade of the same tree that Sasuke was leaning against; her dress drenched in sweat proved as the evidence of the rigorous assignments they had gone through.
Kakashi noted that the blond of the team was unusually quiet; he turned to him and saw that the young boy had a scowl marring his facial traits. "Is something the matter, Naruto? You seem kind of irritated."
A deep sigh flew out the Uzumaki's lips. "I apologize, taichou. It's just that… when are we going to start doing missions?"
"We are already doing missions." Kakashi replied.
"I mean real missions, not chores for the neighbors like we have been doing so far." Naruto clarified.
The Uchiha and the Haruno looked at the silver haired man, both waiting for the answer to the question that had been in the minds of the Genin for a while now.
The Jōnin's answer was: "You will do higher ranking missions when you're ready. D-rank missions are important to allow us to know each other so we can perform properly as a team."
The kids visually deflated at the typical protocol answer that their Sensei gave them.
"Now, now, pouting will do no good. Tell you what, you three continue doing the missions as you have been doing so far, and I'll make sure to talk to the Hokage about a giving us a C-rank one of these days."
The possibility of doing a higher ranking mission and not those tedious D-ranks excited the Genin, Sasuke and Naruto especially so.
"Hmm, I think that's all for today. Remember that tomorrow we have our day off, so use it to relax. See you later, guys." As soon as Kakashi finished speaking he disappeared in a swirl of leaves, gone to do whatever he did in his free time.
Now with Kakashi gone, it didn't take long for Sasuke to separate from the tree and go on his way.
Sakura wanted to go after her crush and try to convince him to go on a date with her, but her legs didn't seem to be working properly, so she decided to wait a couple of minutes to recover from her fatigue.
While she was resting she heard footsteps coming her way. She raised her head and saw that Naruto was in front of her, his arms crossed around his chest.
Sakura was too tired to deal with Naruto, so she just ignored his continuous stare.
One minute later, the girl became unnerved by the way the blond was looking at her.
"What?" She asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Well what?" She questioned, slightly irritated.
Naruto sighed. "When are you planning to go repair your friendship with Ino?"
"Oh…" Now the girl seemed hesitant in answering. "I'll go when I'm ready, Naruto."
"It's been two weeks since the first time you said that." Replied the blond. "How much longer are you going to postpone it?"
"It isn't easy, Baka!" Sakura lashed out. "I can't just march up to her and say that I'm sorry!"
Naruto tilted his head in confusion. "Why not?"
"It's…girls stuff. You wouldn't understand…" The dejected Sakura muttered.
'Damn right I don't.' Naruto let out a sigh. The blond often thought that being straightforward in that kind of stuff was the best course of action, but Obviously, Sakura wasn't going to act on her own, and if left alone, the matter would soon be forgotten.
"I'll help you." Stated Naruto out of the blue, causing Sakura's eyes to fly wide open.
"How?" She questioned. The grinning face of her teammate told her everything she needed to know…Naruto had a plan.
-End of Flashback-
Now, as Naruto observed Sakura disappear into the threshold of the yellow building, he couldn't help but feel anxious and curious about the outcome of the meeting between the two former best friends. He could only hope that everything goes just fine.
"Welcome to the Yamanaka flower shop!" Ino greeted without even glancing at whoever had entered, or even raising her eyes off the fashion magazine she was currently reading.
"You really know how to treat customers, Ino-pig."
A frown made its way into Ino's visage. She closed her magazine and said. "What do you want, Sakura? I'm working; I don't have time to hear you talk about how great you think Sasuke is."
Sakura snickered. "Well, I'm sure you're very busy," Said Sakura turning her head side to side around the obviously empty store. "But I'm not here to talk about Sasuke-kun."
"Then get out if you're not here to buy anything. Your monstrous forehead may scare the customers away."
'Calm down, Sakura. Don't let her rile you up. Stick to the plan…just stick to the plan.' The pinkette took a deep breath to calm down. The last thing she needed was start an insult match with Ino while trying to be friends with her again.
"Har har har, very funny, pig," Sakura laughed sarcastically. "Believe me when I say that I'm tempted to use one of the many comebacks I already have planned, but unfortunately, I'm not here for you. I'm here for Naruto."
"Naruto?" Ino pushed her magazine away. "What do you need Naruto-kun for?" Ino's green, almost blue eyes were narrowed in obvious distrust towards the pink haired Kunoichi.
"I just want to pass him a message."
'A message?' Ino's inner gossiper perked up at hearing that.
"Well, Sakura, Naruto-kun isn't at home right now, but you can leave the message and I'll make sure that he gets it." The Yamanaka attempted to make Sakura spill the beans, but she didn't fall for it.
"Nice try, Ino, but this is a secret message only for the ears of members of Team 7."
"Tch…" Ino wasn't happy with her failed attempt at getting the info, but let it be. 'Whatever. If it's something related to her squad then it must be about something boring like training or missions…' She reasoned.
"But still," Sakura began. "Naruto told me his shift started at 2 o'clock but I don't see him around here…any ideas where I could find him?"
The platinum blond turned her gaze at the small, circular clock hanging from the wall…2 o'clock. Sakura was right; it was time for Ino's shift to end and for Naruto's to start.
"Who knows?" Ino shrugged. "He should already be here."
"Hmm…" Sakura hummed as she looked around the shop. "Do you mind if I wait for him here? It's really hot outside"
Ino seriously thought about saying no, but she could get in trouble if Sakura got a heatstroke just outside of the store…might be bad advertisement. "You can stay if that's what you want, but don't break anything!"
A scoff coming from Sakura let Ino know that she had heard her. So without more interruptions, Ino returned to her literature.
The shop was silent. Sakura was strolling around the store admiring pots of different size and shape, but all of them brimming with colorful flowers and plants.
She turned back to Ino to see her still deeply engrossed into her magazine. 'Now's my chance!'
"Is that Konoha's Vogue latest edition?" Sakura asked trying to sound surprised.
"Oh, no reason, I just wanted to let you know that Sasuke will soon be my boyfriend when he sees me wearing the new Kunoichi Laundry Nika boots…"
Ino just ignored her the way she always did whenever Sakura started talking about Sasuke.
"In pink color…"
Now that got her attention.
Any fashionable kunoichi that respected herself knew that the Nika boots of Kunoichi laundry didn't come in pink.
"Sakura, what are you talking about? There aren't any Nika in pink." Replied Ino, her full attention now centered in Sakura.
Sakura shook her head. "Ha, I guess the great Ino isn't that knowledgeable in the latest fashion trend."
Ino frowned. Was her fashion knowledge being looked down upon, by Sakura nonetheless?
"I'm not wrong. I'm pretty sure there aren't any Nika boots in that color." Ino replied still frowning.
Sakura crossed her arms. "Well then, let me be the first one to tell you that you are wrong, dear Ino. I saw a pair of pink Nika in the commercial district just the other day." Sakura replied with so much confidence that Ino started to doubt herself.
"Nika in pink? No, it can't be…' The platinum blonde couldn't fathom that such a thing could exist. 'No, I refuse to believe in that!'
"You're lying." She finally said.
Sakura smirked. "You sound awfully confident in that. Want to bet on it?"
"What do you have in mind?" The Yamanaka refused to back down.
Sakura's smirk grew even wider. 'Hook, line and sinker. I got you know, piggy!'
"How about we go to the commercial district so we can see who is in the wrong here?"
Ino nodded. "Sounds good to me… What are the stakes?"
"The loser, in this case you, has to pay for a full lunch in no less than in the Green Leaf!" Answered Sakura and in turn made Ino frown at the loser comment.
"Fine, I accept, Billboard Brow!" Ino accepted, hell-bent in showing Sakura who the best was.
"Good, as soon as I give Naruto the message we'll go."
"Wait! You mean like today?"
"Of course I did! Did you seriously think I would let you cheat your way out of this one?" Asked Sakura. "You're not afraid, are you?"
Ino let out a short laugh. "Afraid? Me? Ha, don't make me laugh. You're on, Forehead!"
The two glared at each other. The competitiveness between the two girls made sparks fly out of the two gal's eyes.
It was then that the door's bell chimed, indicating that someone had entered the store. The girl broke their glaring contest to see who it was.
…It was Naruto.
"Sorry I'm late, Ino-chan!" Naruto apologized as he quickly made his way to the counter.
It was then that he noticed Sakura. "Hey Sakura, what are you doing here?"
The pink haired Genin huffed. "I was waiting for you, idiot! Seriously, what took you so long?"
Naruto tilted his head. "You were waiting for me? What for?"
Sakura quickly approached Naruto. Once she was close enough, she raised her head a little bit so her mouth would be directly next this ear and then began whispering something to him.
…Ino unconsciously broke a pencil that she had in her gasp in half.
When Sakura finished with telling him the message, she separated from the blond and said. "That's it. Do you understand?"
"Yeah, I got it, Sakura."
"Good," She then turned to the still fuming Ino. "With that done, shall we get going?"
Ino nodded and began to untie the apron that she wore over her clothes.
Naruto looked between the two girls. He seemed honestly confused. "Huh? Are you two going somewhere?"
Ino walked to the front of the counter, passed the apron to Naruto and said. "Yeah, we're going to the commercial district. Can you believe this girl? She said that there are Nika in pink. In pink I say!"
The Uzumaki didn't have a clue about what the hell was a Nika, but nodded nonetheless. "Ugh. Sure, Ino-chan."
The Yamanaka had always been irked at the lack of importance that Naruto gave to fashion, but she didn't have time to educate him. She had a bet to win.
"Let's go, Sakura." After saying that, Ino made her way towards the door, with Sakura following close behind.
"Wait! Aren't you forgetting something, Ino-chan?"
The girls turned to Naruto to see what he wanted only to see him already wearing the apron and with his right hand up in the air.
Realization hit the girl with the golden ponytail. "Oh, right!" and approached Naruto while also raising her right hand. "Tag switch!" She called out when her hand met Naruto's.
Sakura scoffed at their antics. 'Dorks…'
Once that was over with, Ino returned to her position near Sakura while Naruto moved to the back of the counter. His shift had officially started.
Sakura raised her eyebrows at Ino as if asking if she was ready.
Ino nodded and went outside.
The pink haired girl lagged behind only for a moment to nod at Naruto and then went after the young Yamanaka.
With the girls now gone, Naruto had the whole store for himself. He grinned mischievously. 'There's no way I'm missing this…dattebayo.' And made an all too familiar cross-shaped hand seal.
E/N: Yeah... short, I know.
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Gracias y buenas noches, gente!
Taco & Sombrero