Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Colors of Life and Death ❯ Squeak ( Chapter 16 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
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Sakura and Ino walked together on their way home since Sakura's house was on the way. "Neh, Ino?"
Ino turned her eyes up to her friend. "Yeah?"

Sakura frowned in thought. "What do you think" she asked with her eyes facing skyward.

Ino's expression became sharp, then her eyes widened when she realized what Sakura's question indicated. "You're giving up on Sasuke-kun?" she said with disbelief.

Sakura coughed. "No...never. I just...It's just that...Ino, can you keep a secret?"

"On occasion," Ino answered truthfully.

Sakura decided that would have to be good enough. "Lee-kun...At Naruto's birthday party. He...he told me he's," she gulped. This was a hard thing to say, "in love with me...."

If Ino's eyes opened any wider they would've rolled out of their sockets. "Are you kidding?" she asked when she managed to remember to breath. Sakura shook her head. "Wow...." Ino replied in an 'I can't believe it' tone of voice.

Sakura sat down with her back against the tree. "What should I do?"

Ino let out a puff of air. " you like him that all?"

"See, that's what driving me nuts. I don't know. He just keeps popping into my head when I don't want him to."

Ino cocked an eyebrow. "That's usually a sign of a crush," she said with as much tact as she could muster.

Sakura bit her lower lip. "No," she insisted. "I love Sasuke-kun."

Ino sighed. "You know Sakura, I realized something lately."

Sakura turned her head sideways in a curious glance.

"I think it was after everyone got back from going after Sasuke-kun. I went to visit them in the hospital. Naruto, Chouji...Shikamaru. They, especially Chouji, were hurt so bad. Chouji and Neji almost died. All...for Sasuke."

Sakura looked a bit stung. "It wasn't Sasuke-kun's fault. Naruto told me the seal made him crazy."

"I don't know. Maybe I'm starting to grow up, but...Sakura," a bit of pain entered her voice, "He's a dead man walking...."

Sakura's eyes widened. "What do you mean?"

"I heard it all from Shikamaru. You've been Sasuke-kun's teammate for three have to know about his clan."

"Of course I do," Sakura replied.

"There's no place for us in Sasuke's heart, Sakura. There never will be."

Sakura felt like she'd been punched in the stomach. She'd known it for a long time, of course, but she wouldn't admit it. "But..."

Ino placed a hand on Sakura's shoulder. "His heart is ice. If there's a girl out there that can melt's not us."

Sakura angrily shoved Ino's hand off her shoulder. "I'm not going to give up on him!"

"I did...." Ino said.


"A few months ago. I just realized that even if we got together I'd wind up getting hurt," she said softly. A small smile lit up her face. "Besides, it's kinda fun checking out the other boys," she admitted as her smile widened into a wolfish grin.

Sakura's eyes widened a bit. "Not Shikamaru?!" she said with an 'Oh please, not him' tone of voice.

Ino laughed. "He's kinda cute, but I have a feeling he's got a thing for that girl from the sand."

"Temari? Really?"

"Yeah. Seriously though. I'd give Lee a chance. At least he's interested," Ino said with a reassuring smile.

Sakura sighed. "I don't know...." She paused for a moment before speaking. "I need to change the who are you interested in?"

Ino thought for a bit. "Naruto's kinda cute," she said with an unbelievably straight face,

Sakura made a very funny sound. "R...really?"

"Yeah. Not that I could stand dating him though. He's way too damn loud for me."

Sakura's eye twitched. "You're just as loud as he is."

"I wish Neji-kun wasn't such a stick in the mud. He's gorgeous," Ino continued with a small sigh.

"There really is a shortage of nice, mature boys in our village, isn't there?" Sakura mused.

"Yeah...." Ino stood up. "Well, we should get to your training."

"Yeah, let's go," Sakura replied as she began walking toward Ino's house. Ino followed behind. An image of Lee entered Sakura's mind. She shook it away in frustration. "What am I gonna do?" she thought with a sigh.

Naruto sighed in irritation for the fifth time in two minutes. He wandered over to his window and leaned on it with his right arm cushioning his forehead. "Dammit. If I get a nosebleed from that," he began, referring to Hinata's outfit, "Does that mean Sexy No Jutsu is gonna make me....?" his stomach got sick at the thought.

A knock sounded on his bedroom door. "Naruto-kun," came Nabiki's cheerful voice, "Supper's ready!"

"I'll be right there," Naruto replied. However, he was now more horrified than ever, for the last word of his sentence had sounded terribly high. "Oh no...It can't be...." he said with mild fear.

Tsunade couldn't stop chuckling.

Naruto was getting irritated. "It's not funny, Granny."

Tsunade managed to catch her breath long enough to blurt out, "Yes it is!"

Naruto glared at her, keeping silent so as not to embarrass himself further.

Finally Tsunade sniffed and wiped the tears of laughter from her eyes. "I'm surprised your voice didn't start cracking sooner. You are fourteen after all," she said with a slight 'after' chuckle.

Naruto sighed. "So how long will this last?" he asked, gritting his teeth at cracking again.

"Um," Tsunade began, trying to think of a way to break the news to him, "Anywhere from a month or a year," she said with a wince.

"A YEAR!?" Naruto squeaked in total terror.

"Yeah," Tsunade answered. Suddenly she squinted and rubbed her fingertips on Naruto's chin. "Hmm. And you might want to start shaving soon too."

Naruto's hand went to his chin. "Sh...shaving?" He said with the voice of someone who'd just been handed a death sentence.

Tsunade smiled. "Don't worry. I'm sure Sasuke will be going through the same thing soon."

Naruto snorted in contempt. "Heh. His voice probably cracked when he was six," he grumbled.

Izumi poked her head into the room. "Naruto-sama. Hinata-chan is here to see you."

Naruto made a choking sound. "Not now!" he thought in dismay. "Tell her I'm not here!" he croaked.

Izumi cocked an eyebrow at Naruto's voice change. "Hai, Naruto-sama," she said as she turned to leave.


Izumi turned back to Tsunade. "Hai?"

"Show Miss Hyuuga into the living room," Tsunade requested.

"Hai, Tsunade-sama," Izumi answered.

"Tsunade no baa-chan!" Naruto yelled with an incredulous expression on his face.

"You can't just hide here until your voice stops cracking, kid," Tsunade answered.

"Oh yes I can!"

"Naruto, go see your friend," Tsunade commanded as she sharply pointed a finger at the doorway.

Naruto sighed in anger and stalked off towards the living room.

Hinata looked up when she heard footsteps in the room. She stood up to greet Naruto. "Hello, Naruto-kun," she said with a smile.

Naruto waved and smiled cheerfully. "If I don't say anything, I'll be fine."

"Would you like to get some ramen with me?" Hinata asked.

Naruto nodded.

Hinata raised her eyebrows. "What kind would you like?" she asked.

Naruto remained quiet, desperately trying to figure out a way to answer with body language.

Hinata's face creased in concern. "Naruto-kun, a...are you alright?"

Naruto smiled and nodded, glad to have avoided the ramen flavor question.

"Then why won't you talk?" Hinata prodded.

Naruto was quiet again. "Dammit! Can't she just ask 'yes' or 'no' questions?!"

"Is it me? Did I do something wrong?" Hinata asked, then bit her lower lip.

"No!" Naruto answered without meaning to. At seeing Hinata's confused and surprised expression his stomach sank. He clapped his right hand over his forehead and eyes. "Oh no...." he groaned.

"Naruto-kun...Y...your voice...."

Naruto took his hand from his eyes and sank onto the couch. His teeth were gritted in anger at his stupidity.
"Are you sick?"

Naruto sighed. It would be a great alibi. Until it went on for a few months and she decided he was dying that is. "No."

"Then what....?" Hinata began as she sat on the couch next to him.

"My voice is cracking," Naruto answered in disgust.

Hinata straightened out of surprise. "Oh...." After some uncomfortable silence Hinata spoke. "It...It’s not that bad."

Naruto sighed. "I'm glad you think so," he grumbled.

Hinata frowned. "I still like you. matter what your voice sounds like," she said with a slight blush on her cheeks.

Naruto made a small smile. 'Thanks," he answered and he turned his head toward hers. His heart skipped a beat. Hinata was wearing denim shorts and a v-necked t-shirt. He gulped and suddenly found himself staring at her lips. His eyes widened and he turned his head away taking in a sharp breath.

Hinata was confused at Naruto's strange behavior, but shrugged it off. " you still want to go to the ramen stand?"

Naruto forced himself to look back at the pretty girl next to him. "Yeah," he said with a smile.

Hinata smiled. She took his hand and the two teens walked out into the golden light of the setting sun....

Sakura frowned as she walked around, using inner Sakura, in Shikamaru's mind. "Okay...Shikamaru's mind is very very dull." both bodies complained in unison.

"At least you can finally open the doors," Ino said in a tired voice. They had been up since four in the morning practicing. Ino had a mission slated to start not long after sunrise so if they wanted to work on Sakura's training, it would have to be early.

"Can I go back to bed now?" Ino's mother asked with a yawn.

"Hai, Kaa-san," Ino confirmed with a sleepy smile.

Ino's mother stood and stretched. "Good night girls," she said with a wave and another yawn.

Ino turned to Sakura. "Well, you're as ready as you can be. When are you gonna do it?"

"Kai!" Sakura said, releasing the jutsu.

Shikamaru stood up and worked the kinks out of his neck.

"Right now. We don't have any missions, so he's probably still in bed," Sakura explained.

Ino nodded. "Good luck, then."

Sakura nodded. "Nm."

"I'm going to take a shower before our mission. Have fun, Sakura," Shikamaru said with very little emotion.

Once Shikamaru was out the door Ino turned to Sakura. "I'm gonna get a few more minutes sleep."

Sakura nodded. "Night, Ino," she said with a wave. As she walked out of Ino's house she noticed the sky had begun to brighten. "Better hurry. I don't have much time." With that thought in mind she broke into a run...headed for the Hokage estate.


Boy oh boy. That chapter was fun. ::Evil grin:: Please review. :)