This story is dedicated to all the people out on fanfiction that ever bothered to waste their time and read my worthless stories. And also to all the people who haven't quite yet found their place in the world with best friends.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Guess what? If I did, I wouldn't be writing this. I'm currently formulating a plan to kidnap Naruto and make him give me permission to own his awesome show though.
Hi everybody…it's me again…you know, that annoying writer that keeps popping up in all these really different categories. You see the story and you really don't want to read it, but now you're here anyways.
I don't really care why you're here, as long as you read and review.
I know, I sound like a git. Sorry. This is my first Naruto fanfiction, so give me a break with the criticism and show a little support, please. Let me boost my self confidence before you tear all back down, is what I'm saying.
In any case, if you're here to read the actual story, then I hope you're not disappointed. Without further ado, I give you my fanfiction.
The Perfect Place
It was the average spring morning in Konoha. Team 7 was hanging out at the bridge, and Kakashi was late. Missing. However, it was nearing lunchtime, and Sakura was getting pretty pissed. She had thrown a pebble and hit Naruto in the back of the head with success.
The blond shinobi fell forward flat on his face. "Nani?"
Sakura puffed steam and leaned forward over the railing of the bridge, watching the river below coursing over rocks. "Kaka-sensei, where are you?" she grumbled, shielding her eyes from the sun. Hatake Kakashi the Copy Nin was always late. But not this late.
No normal human being was ever this late.
Sakura considered. This was Kaka-sensei. He wasn't a normal human being. Still, he was going to get beaten into a bloody pulp once he did turn up.
The pink-haired kunoichi whirled around to discover a silver-haired ninja standing behind her. It wasn't Kakashi, however…
Naruto perked up, looking around wildly. "Ero-sennin? Nani? You owe me money for that ramen last week!" he pointed an accusing finger at the frog sannin. Jiraiya turned purple and promptly ignored the kyuubi vessel.
"Kakashi's not going to make it today," he addressed Sakura. "The jounins are working on a special project up at the Hokage headquarters." Sakura's eyes turned wide and white. "WHY DIDN'T HE TELL US?"
Jiraiya trembled with fear. How Kakashi dealt with kunoichis like Sakura, he would never know. It just made the prospect of showing her the new project more frightening.
"Ah…nevermind about that. You'll understand later. For now, come with me."
Sakura, Naruto, and Sasuke, who muttered "hn", leapt into the treetops quickly after Jiraiya, who's silver hair they followed through the shrubbery until the bright red dome of the Hokage headquarters was clearly visible against the horizon. Birds flew low overhead, cawing. "It's at the top of the roof," Jiraiya called loudly over his shoulder, the sound of his clothes rustling evident in the morning silence.
The four ninja hopped from foothold to foothold easily to the domed ceiling with ease. The glaring sun reflected off of the ceiling tiles and created blinding white light, so that the Chuunin were temporarily blinded.
When their eyes adjusted to the light, what they saw amazed them so much that they had to rub their eyes again.
"Masaka," Sasuke muttered.
Lined up in stiff rows, nobody even slightly out of place, were Konoha kunoichi. There were not many of them-only ten or so that were currently Chuunin. Their hair blew up in gusts with the wind, but their faces were frozen, their eyes glossed over.
Naruto gaped, open-mouthed. Sasuke stepped forward slightly. "How…how is this possible?" Naruto hopped up and down. Sasuke rolled his eyes. "Dobe. It's a simple freezing jutsu."
Sakura had turned very pale and was rocking on her feet. "They look like a collection," she murmured softly. Jounin were walking among the rows calmly, inspecting their subjects. The pink-haired girl's wide emerald green eyes widened as there was a hit on a pressure point in her back. Blackness clouded in.
Jiraiya caught her just as Sasuke and Naruto realized what had happened. "Oi! Ero-sennin!" Naruto protested, following the wordless sannin as he deposited Sakura on a table in the middle of the roof. Medic specialists instantly swarmed in.
"Ero-sennin, you can't do this!" Naruto wailed, panicking. Sasuke looked slightly perturbed by the action also. "The dobe has a point there, Jiraiya-sama." The silver-haired sannin only made his lips curl slightly at the corners. "You'll understand everything later, boys."
"Later" turned out to be very much later indeed. Sasuke, Naruto, Shikamaru, and Neji shared a messy and extremely crowded flat near the edge of town. They opened the door and stepped in, greeted by the old musty odor that camped out in the corners.
Shika was sprawled across the couch, holding a book upside down. He glanced up lazily as the two entered, sitting up. "Yo." Sasuke bristled slightly. "Have you seen their new project?" he barked.
The genius looked surprised. "Yes. Troublesome." Naruto jumped up and down in exasperation. "What are they doing to the kunoichi? Doesn't it bother you? What about Sakura-chan?"
Shika only smoothed back his ponytail slightly and lay back down on the couch. "It has nothing to do with us. If the jounin and Jiraiya are dealing with it, the kunoichis cannot be harmed or in danger of injury, and more importantly, their lives. It's not our job to meddle with older ninjas' affairs. We keep out of it."
Neji entered the room, his pale eyes scanning the room loosely. "Hai. I agree with Shikamaru-kun. What business do we have, meddling in their affairs?"
"Just because you're an ice cube doesn't mean I have to be," Naruto sulked, sitting down in a corner with his arms crossed. "I want to find out what they're doing up there, and soon. I want to get Sakura-chan back." Sasuke smirked and leaned against the unkempt fireplace. "Alright, dobe, we'll sit back and watch you create trouble. And get caught, again."
Naruto scowled at the Uchiha prodigy. "It's not like you could do any better." "Let's not get cocky!" Sasuke retorted angrily. "Erusai, both of you," Neji muttered. "Like a bunch of children fighting over the shiny red car in a sandbox."
He flipped on the TV casually, and bit into a piece of naruto lying on the table, (A/N: the fishcakes, not the character!). His face contorted in disgust. "Leftovers."
Back on the Roof
"Are you sure that this is going to work?" Kakashi casually slipped in the question.
Jiraiya sighed. "Kakashi, I have already told you. It's the only way." They tucked into their parceled lunches, watching the next shift of jounin making sure that all was in order with the "project". The silver-haired sensei did nothing to reply to Jiraiya's comforting answer.
He watched the short, pink hair of his student flying up in the wind, smacking against the pale heart of her face. Next to her, ironically, was the form of Yamanaka Ino; her long platinum blond hair had gotten loose of its pony and was rising up in the wind as if it were alive. Both of their eyes glimmered like dusty jewels in the midnoon sun, dull as frosted glass.
It didn't feel right, looking at the neat rows of kunoichi and thinking of the ridiculous reason that all of this fuss was being made. It didn't seem right that the nins were using so much chakra over such a trivial event. And yet it was all happening, and Hatake Kakashi could do nothing about it.
"Why are we doing this again, Jiraiya?" he muttered.
Jiraiya's reply was muffled through his lunch. "Last time we organized the End-of-Year Shinobi Dance, it didn't work out so well, did it? This way, I think that the nins will have a way to bond with each other." Kakashi raised his eyebrow, evident even through his eyepatch. "Bond with each other? If that's your goal, they'll be chucking knives at their partner before the night is over."
The frog sage sighed. "Kakashi, always the difficult one. If you have a better idea, then be sure to notify me." The sharingan-user fell silent. It was true that he didn't exactly have better plans in mind…but this?
"You're desperate, aren't you?"
"Yeah, and your hair looks like you were just electrocuted."
"Look who's talking, the guy with the exact same haircut."
Jiraiya huffed. "It is not exactly the same."
Kakashi huffed right back. "If we both took off our hitae ate, people would probably mistake us for each other. Jiraiya looked taken aback.
"The ladies…worship someone such as yourself over me? I think your senses are quite muddled, Kakashi." Kakashi only smiled to himself under the black mask he was wearing. "Whatever you say, Jiraiya…whatever you say…"
The Next Day
Naruto bolted up from the couch. Sasuke looked at him, feeling impatient. "I said, we're to report to the roof again." Naruto struggled to pull on his orange jacket. Hopping on one foot, he attempted to pull on a mismatched sock with the free hand.
"I can see that you'll be needing a minute," Sasuke smirked, perfectly dressed as usual. He leaned casually against the locked doorway to the outside, and Naruto glared at him. Electricity shot between their eyeballs.
Finally, Naruto had managed to be fully dressed, and the four of the boys filed out of the door. At the top of the roof, the kunoichi looked a little worse for the wear from the long night. A few of them were still sporting goosebumps all up their arms. Ino's hair looked like a tumbleweed.
Milling around the roof were the same jounin as yesterday, as well as some other male Chuunin that they recognized from their year. Among them was Chouji, Kiba, Lee, and Shino, along with Akamaru.
"Order!" boomed a burly masked ANBU member at the far end of the roof through a megaphone. Everybody immediately shut up.
"As you all know, the annual Ninja Ball…" Jiraiya whispered something in the ANBU man's ear. "…ah, Ninja Dance, is coming up. Since it was a total disaster last year…" Shikamaru smirked. "…we are trying a new system this year."
The man gestured casually to the lined up kunoichi. "We have summoned all of the eligible kunoichi who are Chuunin and put them under a freezing jutsu. The boys will pick one girl they would willingly go to the dance with, and stand in front of her."
The four boys looked at each other, feeling a sinking feeling at the pit of their stomachs.
"Nande?" muttered Naruto. "Why me?"
Then he locked eyes with Sasuke. At the same moment, they both knew that they wanted to go with Sakura. Naruto, because of obvious reasons, and Sasuke, because pretty much every other girl was a rabid fan girl.
They raced, and Sasuke won as usual.
Naruto, beaten and sulky, spotted Hinata a few girls down, and promptly stepped in front of her. Patting the frozen Hyuuga on the shoulder, he smiled. "So, Hinata-chan, we're going together, eh?" he said. Hinata continued to stare with her wide, pearl eyes.
Shikamaru stopped in front of Ino and shuddered. "Troublesome." And yet, most of the other girls were taken. She was one of the few he knew left. Shrugging, he quickly stepped in front of her before Chouji could, and smugly crossed his arms.
Neji was having less luck. A total ice-cube by nature, he had no intention of fraternizing with girls of any kind. Nearly all of the girls were taken by the time he remembered Tenten, who was possibly the closest thing he had ever had to a friend, and hurried to see if she was still open. She was, her buns coming undone. Gently, he fixed them for her. She wouldn't have to know that he had done it later, and turned to stand casually in front of her frozen form.
All of the jounin put their hands together in the Seal of the Tiger. "Kai!"
All at once, the kunoichi were murmuring amongst themselves, their eyes still oddly confused and out of focus. "Nani? Demo…" "How did I end up here…" "I was just sleeping an hour ago…"
Neji turned around to see Tenten, also looking puzzled to see him. "Neji?" Neji shrugged. "Hn." "Uh, what I am doing here?" she asked, trying to sound less confused and turning 360 degrees. Neji coughed. "To sum it up, I'm now your date for the Ninja Dance." It took a moment to register for Tenten. She smiled slightly. "Er…why do I get the feeling that you were forced into this?"
The first thing Sakura saw once she was conscious again was the spiky back of Sasuke's familiar raven-black hair. "Sasuke-kun?" she asked shyly. Sasuke flinched. Sakura put her hand on his shoulder and turned him around. Sasuke had the odd urge to brush her hand off. "Uh, hi."
Hinata blushed when she realized that Naruto was less than a foot away from her. "N-Naruto-kun…" she muttered, pressing her fingers together. Naruto smiled, putting his hand behind his hand. "Yo, Hinata-chan!" "Heh heh…" he thought, a sweatdrop appearing. How was this supposed to be explainable?
"Shika…maru?" Ino said. She was surprised to find that her hair was not in tip-top condition…rather the opposite. Shikamaru sighed. "Troublesome." And he was quite right.
How the heck was this supposed to end?
Well, you know the drill. Please review to tell me what you think. I accept flames, because it's probably crud anyways. Might continue it if I get enough "encouraging" reviews.