Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
He stood there by the buffet table, munching away at the chicken leg in his hand with a plate full of food in his spare. Despite what was going on around him he found himself eating...alone. Chouji was currently at a party, Ino's fourteenth birthday bash to be precise. Among the number of guests were all of the civilians and ninja that had been at the academy with them, despite the fact that half of them now worked as normal people instead of shinobi. Ino had always been one of the popular girls, and the number of guests proved just that.
Chouji looked up from his food to see all of the people dancing with one another, having a great time enjoying one another's company. Even though he was one of Ino's closest friend and teammates, he felt like he didn't belong. If Shikamaru were here he would probably be talking with him but the young Nara had gone home early, saying the whole thing was too troublesome. With a sigh, Chouji held his plate of food in front of him before placing it on the buffet table. He was startled however when Rock Lee burst out of the crowd to indulge in some of the food available.
"Yosh! The fires of youth burn brightly at this gathering," shouted Lee, still wearing his green spandex despite being at a birthday party. "There are only two things which could cause the flames of youth to burn brighter: Sakura dancing with me or Naruto being here."
Chouji caught the brief look of sadness upon Lee's face at the mentioning of Sakura, it was a well known fact that Lee fancied the pink haired kunoichi turned medic. Chouji then thought of the second half of Lee's ramble, the talk about Naruto. The Uzumaki boy had been gone for a little under a year now and had left with one of the Sannin, one of the strongest ninjas to ever come out of Konoha. No doubt that when he returned he would be one of the strongest people his age.
"Yosh, Chouji why are you not dancing?" asked Lee looking at his big boned friend.
"I don't know how to," said Chouji looking awkwardly at the ground.
"Yosh, then I shall teach you like Guy sensei taught me," shouted Lee but Chouji put up his hand to stop the boy from continuing.
"That's not the real reason," he admitted causing Lee to look mildly confused.
"Then what is it that prevents your fires of youth from burning?" asked Lee.
"Because if I go out onto the dance floor, everyone will make fun of me because of my weight," he said depressed.
"That's not true, like you have said many times before you are simply 'big boned,'" said Lee trying to cheer up his friend. "Anyway, you may be big on the outside but you have the biggest heart out of all of us, that is something you should be proud of."
"Thanks for saying that Lee, but still..." he said looking at his figure.
"Your weight is nothing to be ashamed of, it makes you who you are," said Lee.
"But it's that part of me which stops me from having a girlfriend," he said. Chouji quickly continued before Lee interrupted. "Our generation is still young, we see things by face value alone and don't take the time to look beyond the cover. The only female friend who I can have a genuine conversation with is Ino, and that is because we have been childhood friends. My weight is what prevents women from talking to me just like the green spandex and your eyebrows are what prevents Sakura from accepting your advances."
"Are you saying the training gear that Guy sensei gave me is preventing me from getting a date with Sakura-chan?" asked Lee, the fact about the eyebrows passing right over him.
"Honestly Lee, the clothes might be good for training but as a fashion statement they are not that great," admitted Chouji causing Lee to sadden slightly. "Like me, you have a big heart as well, always willing to help those in need. My dad told me however that getting a girl requires subtlety, meaning that you don't continuously push after them, you show genuine affection by listening to what they have to say. Little things make all the difference."
"So I shouldn't be so loud?" said Lee unsure of what was going on.
"That's part of it," said Chouji before an idea popped into his head. "Lee, will you step outside with me for a moment? I have a proposition for you."
"A proposition you say, my ears are all yours my youthful adversary," said Lee as he followed Chouji outside.
Two weeks later, Sakura found herself walking around the hospital. She had finished her basic training many months earlier and was now doing field research, helping analyse and diagnose possible injuries and how to best go about it. It was fairly hard at times but she was following Lady Tsunade's instructions, she was expected to be able to treat small cuts and burns within a month. She was about to go check on her old sensei Kakashi, since he no longer had a genin team to worry about he had been going on high ranked missions a lot lately. It just so happened that his last mission had broken his right arm somewhere along the line.
"Excuse me, Sakura-chan," said someone behind her. Sakura sighed, recognising the voice as Lee's. She turned around about to berate him when she saw him, standing there in something other than his green spandex outfit. He wore loose fitting jeans to accompany the fact he probably still wore the weights near his ankles and a light red branded shirt, the top two buttons undone to reveal a part of his chest. The thing, however, which frightened her most of all was that his eyebrows had been trimmed or waxed, thinning them out slightly.
"L...Lee is that you," she stuttered.
"Yes Sakura, it's me," he said with an indoor voice that still held his usual passion. "I was in the area and decided to pop by to see how you were going."
"Thanks I guess, but this probably isn't the best time," she said knowing that she shouldn't be slacking off in case either Shizune were to come past and see her not working.
"In that case, when you finish work would you like to go for a walk down the park?" asked Lee.
"As in a date?" asked Sakura.
"No, think of it as two friends having a talk," explained Lee.
A smile spread across Sakura's lips. "You know what, I'd like that. I finish at four, meet me outside."
"Yosh...I mean, I'll see you then," said Lee waving lightly as Sakura rushed off to continue her work. Lee pumped his fist and turned around to find Might Guy standing there, tears streaming down his eyes. "Guy sensei, what's wrong?" Lee asked worried.
"I came here to visit my eternal rival but I find such youthful displays, my student is becoming a man," he said through small sobs. He raised his fist towards Lee and gave him the thumbs up while smiling at him, despite the fact he was still crying. "Lee, you have my blessing."
"Thank you Guy sensei," said Lee with a smile. "I must take my leave, I must prepare myself for my time later with Sakura."
"Of course Lee, of course!"
"This is our first time together in two weeks and he's late," shouted Ino in frustration. Asuma had been spending a rather lot of time around Kurenai lately in between individual missions. They had received a 'C' rank mission which Shikamaru had picked due to his Chūnin status and thought it would be good to get the old group back together for the mission.
"I'm sure he's on his way," said Shikamaru staring at the clouds.
"I think you're going to be rather surprised," said Asuma looking down the road.
"What do you mean?" asked Ino turning around before her jaw dropped slightly. Shikamaru looked from his area and had to blink a couple of times to ensure that he wasn't seeing things. Chouji was walking towards them but he was different than before. He would later tell Ino that the reason he had been late was because some girls had stopped him on the street to say how cute he looked. Through an intense two week training regime with Lee had thinned him out dramatically, his figure now looking the same as he did once he ate the specialized red medicine pill. Not only that, but the muscles which were visible were well defined, his biceps showing improved muscle development.
He stopped his walking as he stood in front of his teammates. "Hey, what'd I miss?" he asked casually with a smirk.
Short one shot, I hope you enjoyed. Please review.