Chapter 17: Naruto Tries Hanging Out
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The broody youth named Sasuke Uchiha had never been the social type. If one was to look past his handsome exterior, he'd be considered quite the sociopathic individual with two keen eyes.

What would he have become if the Uchiha Tragedy didn't happen? One thing for certain is that, adding his appropriate mentality and talent, there's no way he wouldn't at least reach the level of Jhonin.

However, there was no 'ifs' and 'buts' in life. The only thing this broody youth could do was hold onto the hatred he had for older brother until it rapidly turned into a seething flame of obsession.

'How can I live happily without killing my parent's killer first?' Was what was always on his mind.

He is willing to do anything as long as it could help him become strong. It is his own Will of Fire.

He knew how to compromise, that's why when the opportunity to learn more about his family's situation presented itself, he did his best to adapt and not be too stubborn for his own good.

In a not-so-popular place to eat that always had dwindling customers, Sasuke met up with the Heiress of the Hyuga Clan. He had recently been upfront with his intentions and didn't hesitate.

"I don't know about that time..." Hinata spoke out as the youth before her started at her intently.

"Aren't you the Heiress?"

"My grandfather and cousin say I don't have the makings of a Shinobi. That's why my sister is being trained as the new head." Normally, she wouldn't be a girl of many words, but after being dragged here, Hinata could tell he would hate vague replies.

"What right does your cousin have in this?"

"..." She didn't answer but fiddled with her hands nervously. Sasuke found he had put her under too much pressure and backed down. He wasn't the type to bully someone just to get information.

"He's like a brother to me." She finally gave him an answer. This reply made him remember back memories... So even the only brotherly figure in her life has the gall to look down on her? Nonsense!

"You should prove them wrong."

"But... they aren't wrong."

"Then why did attend the Academy?"

"..." She silently shifted her gaze. Sasuke looked through his memories and thought of an answer:

"Naruto." Her shoulders trembled a little.

"..." She started to blush.

"You are always looking at him." He might not be interested in people but his memory was good.

"Misunderstanding...!" She quickly tried to explain herself but could only squeeze out this one word.

"Sure. Anyway, you losing your Heiress status would be pretty annoying for me. That's why I'll help you out." Even though he said that, he was actually pissed that her 'brother' was bullying her.

"You can help me...?"

"I may not know the Gentle Fist, but I can give you combat experience. I also know that knucklehead and can call him over if you like." Sasuke spoke to decide her future without asking her consent.

"...I'm fine the way things are."

"From what I can tell, you're family looks down on your ability. How can you be fine with that?"

"I don't have talent."

"Stop whining and train harder then."

"...Why are you trying to help me?" She couldn't help but ask after seeing him already getting up.

"It wouldn't benefit me if you lost your status. So just come over to train with me." Hinata could tell there was something hidden in his heart but couldn't bring herself to refuse his will to help her.

"I will do my best." She spoke up before following along. Her heart remembered Naruto's efforts as she reaffirmed her resolve. Even if everything was happening too fast for her to give a proper opinion.

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After returning to the Hidden Leaf, Sakura had a lot more time on her hands as she decided to stay away from her friends until her wounds healed, but life wasn't catering to her as she found by someone she wanted to meet the least right now.

"Sakura, what happened to you?!" A wild Naruto appeared out of nowhere after sensing her.

Seeing how bruised and bandaged she was, his heart leaped out of his chest in fright!

"Who dare hit you?! Give me a name and rip him to shred! No, I'm carpet-bombing the life out of em'!"

"I tripped over and fell."

"And bruised your entire body...?!"

"It was off a tree."

"Just tell me where to throw a Beast Bomb."

"Anyway, how have you been doing lately?" She changed the subject as she didn't want to explain.

"...Fine. I-" Just as he was about to continue, he remembered some tips his Teacher gave him.

'The first impression is always important. Then there is disposition. All girls like guys who can take care of them.' To translate these archaic words, he whipped up a brain story until he got a solution:

"Let me treat your injuries."

"It's fine. It will only take some t-"

"Let me treat your injuries." He repeated himself with eyes that would never take 'no' for an answer.

"Alright." She gave in with curious eyes. From what she knew, Naruto didn't have healing abilities.

After sitting her down, his hands covered above her back and released an Orange Chakra that was moulded in a way similar to the Healing Power Alternation Technique. Next thing she knew, her body became rejuvenated and free of injuries.

This astounded as she was practically a 'Medical Goddess' in the future who was clear about her condition. If she couldn't heal herself, then no one else should be able to dream of doing the same. It was to the point that the injuries Naruto saw was only a fraction of the ones she sustained from her fight with Orochimaru, as she was hurt internally.

'So he is a better medic than me now...' She had very complicated feelings about this, it was almost like being beaten in the subject you were most proud of by a guy who guessed all the answers.

"What's wrong?" Naruto sensed her moodiness.

'Do not be too clingy. Sometimes, giving a cold shoulder can also work out.' After remembering another advice from his Teacher, he didn't continue pestering her and was about to leave right away.

"Why are you leaving so suddenly? Didn't you ask what's wrong?" Not knowing why, Sakura felt even more dejected when Naruto suddenly brushed her off out of nowhere. She wasn't used to this...

"Sure. I have to back as well, ya know. Let's walk and talk." Naruto smiled inwardly as he lead the way back. Seeing how flustered she was confused him a little, but he wasn't about to just leave her.

"Who taught you how to do that?"

"I found a new Teacher!"

"Does he have spiky white hair, red paint on his face, and acts like a perv most the time?"

"You met him already...?"

"...My Master told me about him. You found yourself a good Teacher." She felt it was fate.

"..." Once again, Naruto gave her the cold shoulder as he decided to follow through with his advice.

Him not enthusiastically continuing the conversation made her nervous, she wanted to know why he was giving her the cold shoulder but didn't know how to ask. This was too foreign...!

Even in the future after she married, Naruto had never outright ignored her. Even when they had their own kids and their own family, this knucklehead still kept in contact with her.

Not getting a reply made her overthink things. She wondered if her avoidance of him had made him hate her. This wasn't a illogical assumption considering she hadn't been nice to him lately...

"Do you want to get something to eat?" She offered for the first time towards Naruto.

"Sure~" As someone who was now better at reading the mood, the knucklehead could vaguely guess what she was thinking, and the thought of her trying to 'appease his bad mood' actually made a mischievous smile appear in his expression.

He had become more sly...

Although he spoke in an upbeat tone, he made sure to keep up the act of being annoyed with her.

It was to the point that even when she came over to his house and made food for him personally, he was still giving her the silent treatment. It was only now did he realise something really funny:

'I am acting like Sasuke.' He couldn't believe that turning into a brooding person got her attention.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing. I have training to do." He ate the delicious food she made and was about to get up after remembering how he promised to train the Rasengan everyday. However, what he didn't see coming was Sakura forcing him to stay there.

"Is there something the matter?"

"I didn't say anything was, ya know."

"You've been ignoring me."

"Don't you always do the same?" Her shoulders trembled as she shifted her gaze elsewhere.

"Sorry... I had important things to do."

"Are you done with them today?"

"Mostly."

"Then let's hang out."

"...What do you want to do? Training?"

"Let's leave training out today. Why always bring up serious stuff, ya know? Be casual with me."

"I-"

"Do you think I haven't realised you've been avoiding me recently? Do I make you sick?"

"That's not it. I want to stay friends with you." She spoke up after hearing him say such a thing.

Inwardly, Naruto was actually quite relaxed as he observed her 'Aura'. Every little change couldn't escape his eyes as he was figuring out what she was hiding from him. Why was she always sad?

'I understand your feelings. I think the best way to get to her heart is to just be more attentive.' And that was exactly what he was doing, observing her intently while controlling the conversation.

The more he talked to her, the more he felt like she was a lot simpler to 'handle' than she let on.

As Naruto was a selfish knucklehead who just wanted Sasuke to become less relevant to her, a foxy slyness appeared in his heart as he wasn't about to be a moody kid just to get her attention.

Since he wanted her to notice him, he'll just be himself. Or maybe the version of her she'll like.

"I guess it's time again."

"For what?" She asked in confusion.

He used his superhuman speed to Body Flicker outside and return with flower in his hand.

"For me to confess my feelings again." This time he didn't just act like himself, but also became a more natural smooth talker as went up to her. Rather than just giving her the flower, he hesitated a bit.

"Will you be my girlfriend?" He said whole cutting the stem of the flower with his finger and gracefully putting it in her hair. This sudden change in tactics was a little mesmerising considering Naruto had become a lot taller and muscular through training.

This was ignoring the fact that he allowed his sincerity to be understood by expressing his desire through his Aura. She could literally 'feel' the fiery feelings of warmth radiating out of him like a sun.

Although she had a tough heart, this was a little too romantic for her heart which had never experienced being 'pursued' in such a way. After all, Naruto normal confessions were forthright in nature. It was a lot less moving than this one...!

"Err... I..." She didn't know what to say as her hand touched the perfectly sized flower on her head.

This was a little too sweet even for her.

"Of course. You don't have to answer now." Even more surprising, Naruto didn't press her to answer.

"But you have to answer me first before you go out with someone else. Promise?" He lifted his pinky and spoke while remembering Sasuke. Even though they were both rivals and friends, he wasn't willing to lose when it came to Sakura's affections.

"Promise." Her mind was too empty to realise what she was agreeing to. Even her face was a little hot.

From a good distance away, her two subordinates secretly watched this scene with wide eyes. Even Zabuza had to give the kid credit for being such a smooth guy when it came to the girl he liked.

As for Haku, he seemed a little indignant to see this person he considered a 'big sister' be taken away by this kind of individual... It took Zabuza holding him back from diligently splitting them apart.

"You have to give him a chance."

"He seems like a playboy."

"Wrong. He is merely changing tactics."

"And what if our Boss gets hurt?"

"Then we skin him alive, obviously." Both of them glared at Naruto from afar after agreeing on that point. As for the person in question, due to having most of his focus taken by Sakura, he only felt a cold chill down his back from their hostility.

When he finally looked around to check, they had already left. This caused him no small amount of confusion. Why did he feel something bad will happen in the future? He only shook it off later on.

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