Naruto gulped down the last dregs of his ramen broth, letting out a content sigh.
"Thanks, old man Teuchi, that really hit the spot!" Naruto fished out his frog wallet and paid for the food.
The ramen owner smiled warmly at the boy "Anytime Naruto, good luck on your test tomorrow."
Naruto grinned and readjusted his forehead protector "Thanks old man, but I don't need luck. This is just going to be a small stepping stone on my path to Hokage!" With that declaration, Naruto hopped off the ramen bar stool and waved to the owner and his daughter as he parted from Ichiraku Ramen.
Naruto walked leisurely, enjoying the slight chill in the night air. He turned on the corner of the street, passing the entrance to one of the many training grounds strewn about Konoha. Coincidentally a kunoichi just exited the training ground. Her hair was pitch black and short, almost boyish in style. She wore a blue turtleneck and khaki shorts. Naruto could not help but notice the stench of sweat permeating from her. The smell of hard work and effort. She seemed to have noticed Naruto staring at her, but other than a half second glance, did not acknowledge him and began to walk away. Naruto kissed his teeth in annoyance and considered ignoring her.
But that really wasn't his nature.
"Yo Sayuri, you ready for tomorrow?" Naruto took a quick sprint to catch up to the Uchiha. The kunoichi grunted unbecomingly. While she did not make any motion to encourage Naruto's interactions, she did slow her gait to match the shorter legged blond. "I'm not worried, Kakashi sensei doesn't seem that tough ya know? I mean I got him with my eraser heh."
"He's a jounin, don't be fooled, Naruto."
Naruto hummed in response.
There was a pregnant pause, the only sound in the night the shuffling of Naruto's sandals against the ground and the buzzing of mosquitos near the lamp lights.
"So, uh, it's not me, right?" Naruto had been meaning to ask this after their team meeting. He was a curious cat by nature.
"What?" Sayuri looked at the shinobi quizzically.
"About the killing thing you said this morning'?" Sayuri bristled in response to the question, but it went unnoticed by Naruto. "Like I know I hate you and you hate me and whatever, but dontcha think that'd be a bit extreme?"
"I wasn't talking about you, you idiot." Sayuri hissed between clenched teeth. "Why? Were you scared?"
"B-bastard! I was just making sure!" Naruto narrowed his eyes at Sayuri's smirk. This time he did not beat around the bush. "Then who were ya talking about?"
"None of your business." Sayuri realised that mentioning the issue of her brother earlier did open her up to questions like this, however, the blunt nature of the questions alongside the fact the questions were coming from Naruto of all people irked her for some reason.
"Ahhh whatever!" Naruto turned his head away from the raven haired kunoichi and let out an exaggerated grunt of displeasure.
"Why are you following me anyway, doofus?"
"I ain't following ya! This is the way to my house. Who would follow you anyway!"
Sayuri raised an eyebrow "Uh my loser fans, like you."
"Ehhhh!" Naruto swung his head so hard towards the kunoichi he was lucky he did not injure his neck. "I'm not your fan!"
Sayuri stopped, somewhat perplexed. "You are always bothering me though, like Sakura or Kiba…"
Naruto started shaking in anger, "That's because I'm your rival!"
Sayuri stared at Naruto in silence for a minute, the orange clad ninja seething silently, his face nearly tomato-red.
Sayuri began to laugh. First just a few giggles, then a couple of large guffaws, and then full-blown laughter. The kunoichi covered her mouth to try and mute the unseemly sounds while the blond nearly erupted.
"What the hell's so funny you bastard!" Naruto began to stomp his feet, furious at Sayuri's response to his claim. The kunoichi started to wind down, and wiped away some tears caused by the sudden laughing fit.
"I'm sorry Naruto, but in what world are the dead last and the best student rivals?" The normally stoic kunoichi could not hide her grin. "But thanks for that Uzumaki, I haven't laughed that hard in a long time." The Sayuri began walking again leaving her fellow ninja to deal with his anger alone.
"Oi Sayuri I'll show you damnit! I'll beat up Kakashi sensei tomorrow and show you I'm better than you already!" The angry blond stomped his foot a few times to punctuate his promise. "Ohhhh when I become Hokage I'm going to make a laugh-at-Sayuri-day, you better believe it!"
Sayuri did not try and stifle her giggle this time. She waved at the blond as she departed.
"Good luck tomorrow dead last!"
When Naruto returned home, he promptly sketched a crude drawing of Sayuri's face to attach onto his training dummy and proceeded to pummel it late into the night.
'Weak, weak, weak, weak! I thought I was so much better than Naruto and Sakura, but none of that compares to a true shinobi like Kakashi' Sayuri cursed herself in her thoughts. She couldn't compete with the jounin in any feat. Bested in taijutsu, bested in ninjutsu, caught in a genjutsu. 'I'm so far from Itachi…how will I kill him if I can't even get a damn bell!'
Her reflection was cut short by the boisterous cackling from the blond to her left.
"Well, well, well, Sa-yu-ri-chan! Looks like I get the last laugh this time." Taunting her, Naruto placed the boxed lunch above his head and danced about. The kunoichi growled in response.
"Stop doing that Naruto, that's so mean!" Sakura yelled causing the shinobi to recoil.
"Ehhh but Sakura-chan, this bastard was making fun of me yesterday!"
"You probably deserved it!"
Naruto sank to the ground with a harrumph and opened his lunchbox. "Whatever, better eat now so I can beat up Kakashi sensei!"
Sayuri snorted. Naruto glared at her, but decided not to interact with her and instead focused on his lunch. Glancing at the two kunoichi, he noticed Sayuri closed her eyes, her brow furrowed. If she was hungry, she did not make it obvious. Sakura on the other picked at her food slowly, alternating between glancing at Sayuri and her own lunchbox.
Naruto polished off half of the lunchbox before he stood up and picked up some rice in his chopsticks, then pressed them aggressively against Sayuri's cheek. Sayuri's eyes snapped open and she recoiled away from the chopsticks. Sakura noticed what Naruto was doing and let out a gasp.
"What, are you scared of cooties you bastard? Eat up." Naruto jabbed at Sayuri's mouth this time.
"Are you trying to fail us all yo-!" Sayuri nearly gagged when Naruto slipped in the rice between her words. She scowled but slowly chewed the food to make sure she did not choke.
"Listen ya bastard, I was talking big yesterday, but to be real we all need to work together to beat sensei, and I ain't gonna go back to the academy cause your stomach was squealing during a fight."
"Wait you guys talked yesterday?"
Sakura's interruption was further interrupted by a thunderclap and the appearance of a fuming scarecrow person.
Naruto and Sakura let out similar shrieks while Sayuri felt the hair on her arms rise.
"You guys dare defy me?! You all…pass!"
"Don't be a child Naruto, you are going to get ramen tomorrow anyway, let's celebrate with sushi!" Sakura crossed her arms, glaring at her new teammate.
"Now, now, you two. This is a celebratory lunch for the three of you so make sure you ask Sayuri what she wants as well." Kakashi interrupted the bickering duo.
The other two genin swiveled to face the raven-haired girl, their eyes filled with anticipation. Sayuri opened her mouth, but hesitated before answering.
"Well, ramen doesn't sound too bad…"
"Yatta!" Naruto pumped his fist in the air, surprised but not questioning Sayuri's decision
"Eh, Sayuri-chan, for real?" Sakura pouted in disbelief, expecting the Uchiha to agree with her, even if just to spite Naruto.
Kakashi raised an eyebrow, a small smile tugging at his lips.
'Good that should cover as an apology for laughing at the dolt.' But if it didn't…then too bad for Naruto, because Sayuri certainly would not bring it up.
"Ramen! Ramen! Yeah!" Naruto whooped, excitedly pumping his fists into the air.
"Oh, shut up!" Sakura yelled before slamming her fist into Naruto's skull.
Sayuri didn't feel bad about laughing this time.
A/N: Wrote this a while back, it was just sitting in my documents. Was about 90% done, I just finished it off and edited it. Wasn't going to post it initially, but here you go.