Konoha Gakuen Den ~ Cross Days


Chapter Two ~ When Amazing is Not Enough


In the small and sleepy town of Konoha, there was only one place for the young and fashion conscious to spend their free time, and that was the Golden Leaf Shopping Plaza. When compared to malls in the big cities like Suna, Golden Leaf seemed more like a modern day village square, even going so far as to arrange all the shops in a diamond around the food court. Nevertheless, when the building was first opened three years back, the entire town was at the ribbon cutting ceremony, anxious to see their own little slice of the big city life.

Fast forward to today, and one could see that little had changed. While the elderly preferred to shop at the old local stores, claiming they had a 'personal touch' that fancy chain stores could not replicate, they could always be found seated on the courtesy benches scattered across the two floors on hot summer days to take advantage of the free air conditioning.

Golden Leaf was in fact geared towards the younger patrons, so the reluctance of the older shoppers was not simply based on biased judgement. Most of the store fronts were loud and colourful, with the small niche stores, antique shops and the like hidden away in the corners. Cell phone covers and charms, the latest fashion trends, the stylish technologies of the time, junk food and 'healthy food' for the diet conscious were all on offer, tempting the older teenagers to spend their hard earned money from part time work and blatantly forcing themselves on the spoiled preteens who had full access to their parents money, coupled with very little common sense and a lack of understanding of the value of money.

It was in this place that the students of Konoha Gakuen Den came to spend their afternoons once freed from the daily grind of their school days. Once the kids were dismissed from homeroom, most headed straight down the path that lead to the centre of town, to where Golden Leaf waited ready to take their money. The town library had also been relocated to the second floor of the shopping plaza after it was built, so the few studious children, often labelled 'the nerdy ones', were often mixed in with the throng of students heading into town, though their intentions were completely different.

Of course, the majority of students went to the shopping plaza to shop, which is why one could find Uzumaki Naruto standing awkwardly in front of a changing room curtain in one of the classier female swimsuit shops. Surrounded by sensual swimwear and receiving looks from the other patrons that ranged from curious to disapproving, Naruto was clearly uncomfortable and it showed on his face. He would cross his arms every now and again, then relocate his hands to his pockets, then let them hang limply at his sides before repeating the process, all the while trying to but not really sneak peeks at the various bikinis on display. Was he aware that it was childish of him to do so? Of course he was, but how could he care about that when there were hundreds of pictures of swimsuit models on the walls, just waiting to be ogled? 'If they did not want men to enter their shop, the owners would not have put up such delicious eye candy' was his reasoning. Why else would those posters be up there on the walls? Come to think of it, from the outside he had noticed that lingerie stores did the same thing, so maybe...

As a perverted grin spread across the blonde boy's face, a blonde girl's head poked out of the changing room curtain, jerking him out of his daze. This girl's name was Yamanaka Ino, Naruto's childhood friend and occasional shopping partner. She studied his face intently, frowning as he glanced away from her eyes, choosing to whistle innocently and not look at any particular direction for too long a time. Ino smirked mischievously, and a sweat drop rolled down Naruto's cheek. She wasn't buying it.

"Hey," she said sweetly, tiling her head to one side. "By any chance, were you thinking dirty thoughts about me? Fantasizing about me being naked behind this thin little curtain? You pervy little boy~"

Naruto snorted. "Pfft. In your dreams. I only dream of super models like those." he indicated the posters on the walls, grinning cheekily.

Ino's cheeks puffed up with a feigned pout. Just you wait Uzumaki Naruto! In a few years, I'm gonna put all those girls to shame with my radiant beauty and super curvy body, and then you'll be sorry you laughed at me! It'll be a story like The Ugly Duckling, only a hundred times better!"

The two friends stared at each other for a few moments, and then burst out laughing. It was pretty plain to see that Yamanaka Ino already looked like a super model, so any ugly duckling transformation after that would be approaching angelic perfection.

"I don't know about that," said Naruto. "Ducklings are pretty cute; it would be damn near impossible for you to top them."

"..." Choosing not to reply, Ino's head withdrew behind the curtain. Taking it as an admittance of defeat, Naruto pumped his fist in the air and grinned victoriously.

"Ha-ha! What, no clever retort? Then I won this one! Yeah! I wo-wo-WHOA!" Naruto's winner's rant was cut short when the changing room curtain suddenly opened, revealing Ino in a low cut light blue one piece. "Wo-wo-wo..." Naruto continued dumbly, openly staring at his friend.

Ino blushed and waved her hand coyly. "Hey, hey. If you stare too much I'll feel self-conscious..."

Naruto's cheeks reddened and he averted his gaze, trying his best not to stare at her too obviously. The blonde girl chuckled, dropping the shy act. "Well? What do you think?" she gave him a little twirl, further flustering poor Naruto.

Uzumaki-kun was still a little stunned. "I... Uh... It...wo-wo-wo-"

"Wow? Wonderful? Wamazing?" Ino suggested, enjoying her best friend's reaction. The last word snapped Naruto out of his daze, and he shot her a reproachful look.

"Really? 'Wamazing'? You had to make up a word...?"

Ino waggled her finger in front of his face. "Uh-uh! Give it a chance! I bet you it'll catch on. Everyone will be saying it!"

Naruto slapped his face with the palm of his hand. "You idiot..."

Ino reached over and punched him on the arm. "Hey! It will! People might wake up in the morning one day and say "I feel wamazing!". Believe it!"

Naruto scowled. "Hey! That's my line... No, no. Wait, that's not the issue here. Don't say that corny stuff out loud! Someone might hear!"

Nudging him on the arm with her elbow, Ino glanced up at him, her blue eyes twinkling. "Oh, don't you remember? When we were young, you always said that! Believe this, believe that... If you'd been preaching some obscure religion, the sheer repetition would have brainwashed me completely!"

Unable to think of a retort, Naruto settled for a disgruntled "Shut up."

"Aww, is little Naru-chan upset? Wait one moment and I'll show you something that will cheer. You. Up!" she poked his nose with her index finger and withdrew into the curtains. Naruto rolled his eyes and waited.

After a few moments, the curtain opened again with a flourish. Now Ino was clad in an orange bikini with black trimmings. "Tada! How's this? Did you fall in love with me at first sight?"

Naruto was once again left speechless. He was far from falling in love with Ino, but he could not deny that she looked phenomenal in that swimsuit. Still, it was not like he could tell her that...

"I-I... have seen... b-better..." he replied unconvincingly. He scowled and looked away when his cheeks reddened upon surreptitiously glancing at Yamanaka-chan out of the corner of his eye.

Ino looked at his face closely, examining the intensity of the blush coating his cheeks. "Hmm, still not good enough eh? Which one of these will bring out that reaction?" she gave him a wink and disappeared behind the curtains once more. Before Naruto could even begin to work on getting the blush to fade from his face, the curtain opened again.

"Yes, despite my goddess-like appearance, I am but a mere mortal. An extremely beautiful mere mortal, mind you." Ino said as she unveiled her final bikini. This one was dark red with white lines, and it clung to her body in an extremely appealing manner. Naruto took one look at his friend and it felt as if all the body in his body rushed to his face.

"Wo-wo-wo-wamazing!" he said, just before a stream of blood trickled from his left nostril, curved around his mouth, slid down his chin and dripped onto his white sneaker.

"Ah-ha! I told you it would catch on!" Ino grinned triumphantly. "And that was the reaction I was looking for!" a few minutes passed where neither person said or did anything, both watching Naruto's blood trickle all over his left shoe. Then the two of them remembered that they were not in a gag manga or anime and that nosebleeds were certainly not a normal reaction upon seeing a gorgeous woman.

Naruto placed his hand over his nose to staunch the bleeding while Ino panicked. "Oh no! I'm sorry for being so beautiful! I didn't think I looked that good..." Ino saw the deadpan look Naruto was giving her and dropped the act. "Alright, alright. Here, use this. You big baby."

She reached up and into her handbag that was hanging from one of the clothing hooks and pulled out a clean white handkerchief. She presented it to Naruto, who moved his hand away from his face just enough to talk. "Hey, I can't use that! It'll get ruined. Don't you have any tissues?"

The blonde girl forced the handkerchief into the boy's hand, saying "Don't worry about that! Just go and find a bathroom and clean yourself up!"

"Yes ma'am!" Naruto said, placing the handkerchief over his nose and saluting with his free hand. As he turned to leave, Ino closed the curtain and stripped off the bikini.

"Well, well! Seems like this one is the right one~"


~KGD:CD~


Katsura Kokoro quietly walked into the kitchen where her mother was cleaning up after serving lunch, taking a seat on one of the bar stools set against the kitchen counter. She glanced over at the two used plates in the sink waiting to be washed, and the loaded plate sitting on the granite counter top, steam still rising off the simple yet tasty rice and curry dish. She then looked to her mother, who was smiling at her gently as she washed the dishes.

Sensing that the older woman was waiting for her to share what was on her mind, Kokoro took a breath and began to speak. "Okaa-san, what's wrong with Kotonoha onee-chan?"

On the previous day, Saturday, Kotonoha had left home dressed up like a princess, carefully hiding her excitement as she always did, but Kokoro knew how to read her sisters subtle mannerisms. The way she fumbled with the clasps on her shoes, the way her hands were clinging tightly to her purse... It was very clear that she was eagerly anticipating her first date.

And yet, when she came back, she looked so... Sad. Deflated. Maybe even a bit guilty. Avoiding all questions, she ran to her room and locked herself in. If Kokoro had not seen Kotonoha sneak down to the fridge in the middle of the night, she would have been worried that her sister was not even eating properly.

What had happened on that date to cause all this?

It was Sunday afternoon now, and neither mother nor sister had seen the eldest daughter of the Katsura family. Kokoro was understandably worried. Her elder sister never did things like this... But then again, her sister had never had a boyfriend before either.

"I think you should take that plate up to her." her mother snapped Kokoro out of her daze with her response.

"You-You think so...?" Kokoro replied hesitantly.

Her mother smiled again, motioning to the stairwell with a soapy hand. "When you take it to her, you can ask her if she wants to talk. But if she doesn't want to, then don't force her."

"Yes, Okaa-san." Kokoro careful took hold of the plate and headed for the stairs. Walking along the upstairs corridor, she passed by her own room and came to a stop in front of Kotonoha's. Maneuvering the plate to one hand, she raised the other, hesitated, then knocked.

"Onee-chan? I brought your lunch..."

There was no response. Kokoro was about to place the plate down on the floor by the door when she heard the lock click. The young girl froze, watching warily as the door slowly opened.

Kotonoha looked like a mess. Her normally neatly combed hair was tangled and knotted, her pyjamas were haphazardly thrown on and dark circles ringed her eyes. Kokoro also noticed the cell phone in her hand, being held tightly in her slender ink stained fingers.

Evidently she had been writing in her diary, like she always did when she had something on her mind. Whatever had happened on the date had been serious. Kokoro then realized that she had been staring at her sister for quite some time as she mused over her disheveled appearance and quickly held out the plate of food, bowing slightly.

"H-Here Onee-chan. You should eat or you'll become unwell..."

Kotonoha slowly took the plate from her sister's hands and retreated into her room. Kokoro took that as a sign of dismissal and turned to leave. "Koko-chan, would you come in here please?" Kotonoha called out, making her little sister freeze. Moving slowly, Kokoro entered her big sister's room, closing the door behind her as she walked. She came to a stop in front of the bed where Kotonoha was seated, standing awkwardly in front of her elder sister.

"W-What is it Onee-chan?" she asked worriedly.

"You don't need to be so nervous." Kotonoha said with a kind smile, so very like their mother's. "Won't you give your Onee-chan a hug?"

Kokoro quickly sat down beside Kotonoha and leaned into her embrace. As she rested her head against her elder sister's shoulder, she breathed in the faint scent of Kotonoha's shampoo from the strands of hair falling around her face. Feeling strangely emboldened by being invited into her sister's room for a hug, Kokoro tilted her head up to whisper in her ear. "Onee-chan, what happened on the date?"

Kotonoha did not make any obvious indication that she had heard the question, but her grip tightened around her younger sister ever so slightly. A few long moments passed, but just as Kokoro thought she was not going to get an answer, Kotonoha began to whisper back. "Well, it started quite well for a first date... Or so I thought..."


~KGD:CD~


It was around about five thirty when Naruto and Ino left the Golden Leaf Shopping Plaza. The sun was beginning set, casting its dying orange light on the townspeople as they made their ways home. Naruto and Ino lived next door to each other on a street in-between the school and the shopping plaza, which is why they always walked home together. Today was no different, only that for once, Ino had actually gone in to buy one thing and not come out with a dozen more bags she would always make Naruto carry. The single bag from the swim suit store swung in one of her hands, and her small handbag hung from the other.

"So Naruto," she asked as they made their way home.

"So Ino," Naruto replied.

"Don't play with me, I'm being serious now." came the reproachful retort.

Naruto lazily stretched his arms and laced his fingers behind his head. "Well that's new. Take it slow, or you might hurt yourself. You've never been serious before and it's a new experience-"

"Shut up, smart-ass." Ino grumbled, causing Naruto to chuckle. "Tell me, why did your nose randomly bleed today? And don't say it was because you saw me in a bikini." she continued.

"Oh trust me, it wasn't that. Hell no." said Naruto. They walked in silence for a few minutes, Ino staring at him for a proper answer and Naruto studiously ignoring her. As usual, Naruto broke first, unable to take the piercing gaze boring a hole in the side of his head. "Alright, alright." he glanced at Ino's smug face and clicked his tongue irritably. "Keep making that face and it'll get stuck like that."

Not falling for Naruto's usual stalling techniques, Ino simply prompted him with a "Well?"

The blonde boy sighed loudly. "Fine, fine. I may have... Gotten into a fight..." his voice dropped near the end of the sentence. Hoping she had misheard him, Ino asked him to repeat what he said.

"I... Uh, may have gotten into a small fight recently." he winced as Ino slapped the back of his head.

"Idiot!" she yelled, looking furious. "I told you I don't like it when you fight! I get all worried over a big idiot like you and you brush it off like it's nothing!"

"But-"

"When was this fight?!" she continued, cutting off Naruto's response.

"This... This morning..." he replied sheepishly.

"What?! I walked with you to school today; there's no way you got in a fight 'cause I was with you the whole time!" Ino was fuming, so Naruto very wisely decided to choose his words carefully, lest he set her off on one of her rants.

"It happened a little after I woke up today. Three dudes attacked me when I was walking around the backyard." Ino opened her mouth to say something, but Naruto held up a hand to silence her. "I dealt with 'em swiftly as usual but one of them managed to get a few lucky shots to the face in by playing possum. Coward."

Ino's face was dark with fury, making Naruto want to instinctively take a step away from his fellow blonde. "In... In your own home... I can't believe the nerve of..." she reached over and grabbed Naruto's arm tightly, demanding his attention. "Who were they?! Did you recognize them? Why didn't you go to the police? Were they from our school-"

"Look," Naruto said firmly, freeing himself from Ino's grasp. "It was nothing."

"But-"

"But nothing." he said again, frowning at his friend. She reluctantly let go of the issue for the time being, but as he knew from knowing her almost since birth, she was stubborn enough to bring it up again later when he would not expect it. Seeing the indignant pout on her face made him chuckle and, since he was the taller of the two, reach over and pat the top of her head. "Hey, it's really not a big deal. Believe it."

Ino let out a breath and looked him in the eye. "You know what? You're right." a small grin spread across her lips, catching Naruto unawares. "That catchphrase really does sound corny."

"Hey!"


~KGD:CD~


"Makoto, you baka!" Sekai shrieked in the middle of the hallway. Dozens of students walking by turned to stare at the girl and her face flushed with embarrassment. Lowering her voice, she continued on, speaking to the boy leaning casually against the wall, acting like he did not know her. "Look Makoto-kun! You can't just do as you please! You'll scare her off! Katsura-san is a delicate girl; you can't just suddenly expect her to kiss you in public."

Makoto's shoulders slumped dejectedly. "But I thought she had a great time. It seemed like the perfect ending..."

"No! You have to treat things like this with delicacy. Moments like a first kiss are very important to us girls." Sekai placed her hands on her hips, shaking her head disapprovingly.

"Really?" Makoto asked, trying to figure out the logic behind that. A first kiss was not that big of a deal, right?

"Really." Sekai replied firmly. The first bell for homeroom rang out above their heads, and the students around them began marching into their classrooms. Makoto and Sekai joined the queue of people heading into their classroom, taking their seats on the highest tier at the back of the room. Just as Sekai was about advise Makoto on how he should handle the situation, the teacher walked in, and silence rained down on the classroom.

A little later, their sensei for Japanese History walked in, set up and began his lesson after being greeted by the students. Makoto was all set to just stare out the window and daydream when Sekai slid her notebook over to him. He looked down to see a little message scrawled on a free space on the page.

Where did you take her?

Makoto grabbed his own notebook and wrote a reply, sliding it over to Sekai.

I took her to an arcade and a cafe.

Sekai's calm expression turned to shock so quickly that Makoto actually moved away from her, sliding down the bench a few centimetres. She furiously scrawled another message under first, nearly shoving the book into his arm in her haste.

Are you stupid? Who take a girl to an arcade on the first date?!

Makoto sighed and wrote his response much more slowly than she had.

Well the book said the arcade was a good place for a first date...

Sekai had a quizzical look on her face as she read his note and replied.

Book?

Makoto grabbed his notebook and wrote in it once more.

I bought this book called 'The Complete Guide to Love'. It had some good tips.

Sekai grabbed her hair in frustration, accidentally yelling out. "What were you thinking?!" The history teacher turned around from the blackboard and gave Sekai a blank stare.

"I beg your pardon?" he asked, frowning slightly.

"My apologies sensei! It was nothing!" she replied sheepishly, taking her seat amid the laughter of her fellow students, Makoto excluded. She picked up her pencil and began writing once more, unaware of a pair of eyes that had been watching her interactions with Makoto since Sekai had greeted him that morning. The girl who owned that pair of piercing brown eyes had a large red bow in her hair and a rather intimidating face. Her name was Kiyoura Setsuna, Sekai's best friend and the only person who knew Sekai's secret. So it puzzled her then, to see her friend Sekai acting so strangely around Makoto.

After all, Sekai liked Makoto, so why was she helping him date another girl?

In the back row of seats, Sekai had finished reprimanding Makoto over using dating advice books, saying in future he should rely on her for that sort of information. After all, she was a girl, so she would know best, right?

Makoto was quite tired of the conversation by this point in time. It was the most writing he had ever done during a lesson, and none of it was copied from the blackboard. But Sekai was not finished yet. She slid her notebook over to him once more and he looked down half-heartedly to read the message.

So? Where will you take her next?

Brightening up a little bit, he wrote out a response.

I figure once I apologize for the last date, I'll take her to Burger Queen.

"Are you completely stupid?!" Sekai yelled once more, leaping from her seat. The teacher swung around angrily, hurling his piece of chalk at her and hitting her square on the forehead.

"No, but I believe you are Saiyonji! One more outburst like this and you'll be paying a visit to the principal's office!"

"Ah, ah! Sorry sensei! I didn't mean to-OW!" in her haste to apologize, Sekai bowed low and fast, cracking her head against the desktop. She sat down once more, in pain, embarrassed and annoyed that only she was getting in trouble while Makoto sat there calmly like it did not concern him.

The laughter of her fellow students and her burning shame made Sekai determined not to converse with Makoto in any way or form until class was over. For her own safety. But she was going to speak with him during the next break for sure.

She had a plan to help Makoto make up with Kotonoha and set up a much better date at the same time, and it all revolved around the two movie tickets in her skirt pocket.


Author's Note:

There you go readers! The long awaited second chapter of Konoha Gakuen Den ~ Cross Days! I went back and tweaked the first chapter a bit for the release of the second, nothing major, but if you need to re-read the first chapter then it should be a smoother experience. Anyways, after a year I think, the second chapter is here! You get your first glance at the Naruto of this tale; lots of people didn't want cannon Naruto so I just wrote a Naruto I thought would fit the plot. I don't know how much of his personality you can gauge from one chapter, but there will obviously be more so you'll just need to wait to see. I'm a little worried about the tone of the second chapter - I've been writing many different stories since this one so my writing style has changed a bit. If the Naruto scenes seemed a bit lighter than the first chapter, you can put that down to Sakakino High being a dark place for Kotonoha and Konoha Gakuen Den being a much better place I suppose. I tried my best to match the style of Chapter One but there's only so much I can do when returning to a story after more than a year! Anyways, hope you enjoyed it!

And to the new readers, you got to avoid one of the longest development times for one chapter I've ever done! Or maybe that award will go to my very first story... I can't even remember what that one was about...

Kagyuubi