Part Three:

Konohamaru grows up. Shikamaru and Chouji Make Waves:


Konohamaru eyed his big ‘brother’ with a wary frown. There was something definitely wrong with the usually vivacious blond teen. It wasn’t everyday that Naruto came to meet him with such absentmindedness about him. Why Konohamaru had actually beaten Naruto at a game of Poker, which besides spying on girls in the bathhouses, was the older shinobi’s second favorite game.


“Oy…nii-chan,” he began again as he noticed Naruto with yet another faraway expression on his handsome features. “It’s your turn to shuffle the cards.”




The kyubi picked up the deck and dutifully arranged them neatly, the frown still on his face as he gave an inward sigh. Okay, things were definitely getting a little complicated around here. He had originally set out to figure out Sasuke’s crush but now having to deal with the knowledge that Neji just might have such feelings for him was enough to give him a headache…and even more sinful dreams at night.


Yesterday’s had been particularly interesting – it had involved he, Neji, Sasuke and a bottle of syrup…enough said - and just thinking about it was enough to make Naruto shift restlessly in his hunched position. He wondered if Konohamaru was beginning to get a sense of what was going on with him, but he doubted that. The last Hokage’s grandson might be a hyperactive kid, but he was still smart….sometimes.


Speaking of which…


Naruto began to deal out the cards while eyeing Konohamaru carefully. The younger teen had grown up to become quite handsome and he had his fair share of admirers in the village. His trademark gap tooth had become a part of his make-up and was quite attractive whenever he gave a winning smile. Konohamaru was only thirteen, but who said that crushes couldn’t begin at that age?


It was best to tread carefully in situations like these.


“Hey, Konohamaru,” he began flippantly as if what he was about to say meant nothing important.


“What is it, nii-chan?”


“Do you…eh…do you have a girlfriend?”


Konohamaru had the grace to blush as he lowered his lashes and began to doodle something on the sand beneath his feet. “Why…why are you asking me that, nii-chan?”


Naruto shrugged and grinned mischievously even though he tried hard to ignore the hard pounding within his chest. “Well, confess! Who’s the lucky girl, huh? Huh?”


If it were any more possible, the younger boy’s face flushed even darker as he lowered his entire head now. “You’ll laugh at me,” he finally mumbled.


Naruto shook his head with a pained expression on his face. “Why would I laugh at you? Aren’t we best friends? Come on, tell me, pleeease.” Or I just might go crazy over here, he thought ruefully.


Konohamaru mumbled something.




“I said I like Hanabi Hyuga! There! I’ve confessed!”


Hanabi…Hyuga?? Hinata’s scary looking kid sister? Naruto gawked at the lowered head for a minute longer, trying very hard not to burst out laughing at the notion of Konohamaru ever having a shot in hell with the independent young woman. Whereas Hinata was quiet and shy, Hanabi was the complete opposite. She was much stronger than Hinata and had a temper that could match her cousin’s. Even Naruto wouldn’t want to annoy the teen on any ordinary day.


Hey, at least Konohamaru hadn’t said Sasuke.


“That’s….that’s good…” he began but was stumped into silence by the vehement reply.


“No, it’s not good!” Konohamaru had lifted his head and even though it was still flushed a bright red; there was a look of hopelessness and desperation in his eyes. A look that Naruto had a feeling he was about to know all too well.


“She doesn’t even look at me, nii-chan!” he continued in broken sentences. It was as if he was doing his best to hold back his tears. “I thought if I was lucky enough to be paired up in the same team, she might like me a little bit, but all she does is look down on me. It’s like I don’t even exist to her!”


Naruto was stunned to really see tears slide down the younger boy’s cheeks now. He shifted uncomfortably and stole a quick glance around to make sure no one was watching them before wrapping his arms tightly around the trembling teen.


“It hurts, nii-chan,” came the muffled voice against Naruto’s chest as Konohamaru continued to sob softly. “It really, really hurts. To know that you like someone and they don’t even feel the same way for you...”


Trust me, Konohamaru, Naruto thought with a sad smile as he whispered soothing words of reassurance. I know exactly how you mean.


“What can I do, nii-chan?” the younger shinobi finally asked as he pulled back to wipe his tears away quickly. He now looked a bit embarrassed at his breakdown and a shared look between the two boys sealed the fact that neither was going to talk about what had just happened between them. “How can I get her to notice me?”


Naruto blushed a little before shaking his head lightly. “You are asking the wrong person, Konohamaru…”


“But you are doing well with Hinata-san!” came the persistent cry. “How did you get her to like you?”


What the hell was that supposed to mean? Was Konohamaru trying to say that nobody could possibly like him? The little…


“She’s nice and we are friends, Konohamaru and that’s that.”


“So…you haven’t done…you know…”


Naruto raised a brow. “…I know…what?”


The younger boy smirked and leaned closer. “You know what.”


Naruto scowled. “No, I don’t.”


“Yes, you do!”


“No, I don’t!”


Konohamaru sat back on his heels and ogled at his big ‘brother’ in complete surprise. “You mean you really haven’t…kissed a girl before?”


“Shssssssssssh!” Naruto slapped a hand over the younger boy’s mouth and stole another furtive glance around. “What business is it of yours?”




“What?” Naruto took his hand away.


“I said even Sasuke has kissed a girl before.”


Naruto felt his chest constrict tightly again at the statement. Of course, he knew that Sasuke had kissed a girl before. He didn’t need Konohamaru to remind him of that. Damn it!


“And how would you know that?” Naruto asked with a slight pout. He didn’t care. He didn’t care. He didn’t…


“It was on the night of the festival. He and Sakura-san,” Konohamaru continued relentlessly. “It wasn’t really long, but it was long enough to teach me a few things. Hehe…”


Naruto’s fingers itched to throttle the boy’s neck. “Oh? So, what’s the big deal?”


“Sasuke-kun’s a good kisser.”


Naruto choked and began to pound his chest to get some air back into it. Had Konohamaru just said…??


“Well, I wouldn’t know,” the boy continued. “I just overhead Sakura telling that to Ino later on that night. And you wouldn’t believe what else I saw!”


Naruto wasn’t sure he even wanted to know. He was still smarting over that line about Sasuke being a good kisser. He had almost kissed Sasuke…or was that the other way around? He would have loved for the dark-haired boy to have gone all the way on that day, but nooooo Sasuke just had to chicken out. Well, not next time!


“…Chouji kissing.”


The kyubi blinked. “What did you say?”


Konohamaru, with a mischievous glint in his eye, leaned even closer to whisper into Naruto’s ear. “I said, I could have sworn I saw Shikamaru and Chouji kissing each other beneath the trees in the forest the other day. Hehe…it was so…weird.”


What was even weirder was the fact that he was learning all of this from Konohamaru. Kami! The boy was like a never-ending well of gossip.


“Seriously?” Naruto asked, now more than intrigued at this latest news. Of course, he didn’t believe it, but it was nice to know that the competition was narrowing down by the second. If Shikamaru and Chouji were really together then there was no way that they could have feelings for Sasuke.


“Yeah!” Konohamaru enthused in almost giddy pleasure. “I couldn’t be sure though, I mean it was night and all, but there were awfully close…why are you smiling?”


“I’m not smiling.”


“Yes, you are,” Konohamaru insisted. “You have that goofy grin on your face…”


“Goofy? What do you mean by goofy…?”




Both boys spun around quickly at the deep and all too familiar voice, which immediately sent the blond’s cheeks flooding with color at the figure standing before them.


“Sas…Sasuke. What are you doing here?” And why in Kami’s name was his voice suddenly sounding so breathless? Konohamaru must have noticed it as he cocked his head to the side to stare at his blushing playmate with curiosity.


Sasuke didn’t seem to care that Naruto was with anyone else. His gaze was pinned directly on the flustered teen as he patted the black bag that was slung over his shoulder.


“I’m going down to the waterfall for a while. Do you want to come with me?”


It had been so casual, so careless. As if this was something they did every damn day. There was a small smile – well, it wasn’t really a smile – more like a smirk and yet again Naruto found himself staring helplessly at Sasuke’s lips.


/Sasuke’s a good kisser…/




“Sure! Why not?” Naruto rose to his feet and gave a light wave to his still silent companion. “See you tomorrow, Konohamaru. Be good, okay?”


The younger boy smirked and nodded. “Hehe…I’ll be good. You had better be good yourself. Don’t be another…Shikamaru and Chouji.” He cackled and ran off in glee, leaving Naruto sputtering and blushing even harder at the comment.


He and Sasuke….kissing beneath a tree…fat chance.


“What was he talking about?” Sasuke asked casually as he began to lead the way towards the edge of the cliff.


Naruto shook his head and picked up a small fallen tree branch to play with. “Nothing. Konohamaru talks funny sometimes.”


“I still don’t know why you hang out with him,” came the flat reply that had the kyubi stealing a quick glance at his slightly taller companion. Had he detected a tone of…jealousy in that sentence?


Nah, it was probably just his imagination.


“He’s fun to hang out with,” Naruto argued with a light frown as he tossed the stick a bit higher. “Why?”


Sasuke raised a brow. “Why what?”


“Why did you ask me that?”


The genius eyed the blushing teen for a moment longer before turning his gaze back to the road ahead of them. “Don’t you know yet, Naruto?” he mumbled more to himself. “Kami, you can be such a blockhead sometimes.”


He pushed his way through a clump of bushes and soon they were faced with the beautiful and quite breathtaking sight of the famous Konoha waterfalls. Memories of training with Jiraiya in this very spot five years ago came flooding back in a rush, causing him to smile softly in remembrance. He was unaware of the soft intake of breath from his companion or the way the dark-haired boy had slowly lifted a hand towards his golden locks and taken it down just as quickly.


“Let’s go,” Sasuke cut in a bit too harshly as he leapt down the tricky slope and begun a light jog towards the riverbank.


“Oi…wait up!” Naruto cried out as he began to run after his disappearing teammate. He was just about to make it to the final jump off, when he lost his footing and slid the rest of the way down on his stomach. He was unable to stop the cry of pain that spilled from his lips as he felt the rocks rip holes through his t-shirt and scrap across his skin. The fall seemed to last forever, but strong hands grasped his wrists to pull him up quickly. He found himself pulled flush against someone’s solid strength and imagining it to be Sasuke rescuing him yet again, he was more than stunned to hear the lazy drawl from a familiar friend.


“Geez, Naruto, you idiot. Trust you to fall down so easily.”


“Is he alright?”


Chouji’s voice. Great.


Where the hell was Sasuke?

“I think he is,” Shikamaru pulled back a little to evaluate the damage done. Naruto’s shirt was ripped to shreds and there were rough scratches on his skin that was beginning to ooze quite a fair amount of blood. The jounin made a sound of exasperation as Chouji tried hard not to retch over the bag of chips he had been feasting on earlier.


“You might have to go to the hospital, Naruto,” Shikamaru decided firmly. “You look like…hell.”


Naruto shook his head rapidly as he tried to pull away from the other boy’s hold. “No, I’m fine…” he gasped out weakly. He would heal quickly. He almost always did. It took him only a second later to realize that the two boys standing before him were practically…naked – well, besides the swim shorts they had on. Shikamaru’s hair, which was usually in a ponytail high above his head, now hung in, wet tendrils across his face and shoulders. Chouji’s bright red hair was in pretty much the same state. And trying hard to ignore Konohamaru’s observations of both boys kissing each other before, Naruto raised a questioning brow.


Chouji was more than happy to reply. “We were just swimming,” he tossed the finished pack of chips and reached for another one in a nearby basket filled with food. “Shika and I were camping out here for the day. We didn’t expect you to drop by.”


Naruto would hardly have called it dropping by, but he was bleeding and needed…


“Have you seen, Sasuke?” he asked curtly. He eyed the environs with growing irritation and concern. It wasn’t like his teammate to ignore him like this when he was in trouble. Naruto knew he ought to feel a bit ashamed at always expecting Sasuke to rescue him, but this time was different. He had really hurt himself and the dark-haired boy was now nowhere to be seen.


Hmph! Who needs him anyway?


Stripping out of his torn shirt, he tossed that aside quickly, completely ignoring the surprised looks that came his way. His hands moved to the hem of his pants and he shrugged out of them just as quickly, causing Shikamaru and Chouji to gasp in surprise as Naruto now stood in only his dark green boxer shorts.


“Naru…Naruto?!” Shikamaru finally blurt out a bit shakily. “What are you doing?”


“What does it look like I’m doing?” The kyubi bit back in irritation. “Swimming, ne?”


And hardly looking back at his stumped companions, he dove into the clear waters and began to swim as hard and as fast as he could. Each stroke of his arms caused his stomach muscles to protest the movement, but Naruto didn’t care. That bastard Sasuke, who he had a self-pitying crush on, had not even bothered to find out how he was doing. Sasuke, too-good-for-anyone-else, Sasuke, had ignored him…again.


/It hurts, nii-chan…it hurts…/


Tell me about it, Naruto thought ruefully as he continued to punish himself with each length he completed. Finally feeling as if his lungs were going to burst, he pushed himself out of the water and fell onto the wet sand of the bank with a harsh gasp for air. Just as predicted, his wounds were already beginning to heal and Naruto groaned weakly before laying onto his back to stare miserably at the incredibly blue sky above him.


Stupid…stupid…stupid! Sasuke doesn’t even like…


“Bakayaro,” came the low taunt from someone he knew only too well.


He growled and sat upright, more than ready to give the smug-looking teen a piece of his mind, but like the last time, he soon found himself pushed back to the ground and staring up to the face of the boy he wanted to throttle at this time.


“Let me go, Sasuke,” he muttered angrily, even though his cheeks (and to be honest, his body was betraying him yet again). “And put your clothes on for Kami’s sake!”


The genius chuunin snickered and eyed his bare chest. “What’s wrong with it, Naruto? I was only swimming. You didn’t expect me to go in the water with my clothes on, do you? Or are you just upset that I didn’t come to rescue you this time?”


“Shut up…”


“I thought you didn’t like me rescuing you, Naruto?” Sasuke continued mercilessly, that wicked smirk growing a bit wider.


Was it just him or was Sasuke getting some kind of perverse pleasure from seeing him squirm? Naruto was seriously beginning to think that it was the case and he felt that he was even more at a disadvantage. Sasuke was beginning to make him feel things he so badly didn’t want to...


“Aaah! What are you doing?!” he tried to scream out in anger, but it had ended up as a breathless gasp as he watched the wet black locks below him. Sasuke’s hand had begun a slow and almost feather-like caress across his injured torso. And Naruto could only hiss and bite his lower lip in dull pleasure, his muscles clenching tightly in response to the deliberate teasing on his fevered flesh.


Oh, sweet Kami. He’s going to feel my…my…


He shivered and Sasuke lifted his head to smile softly at him. “Are you cold, Naruto?” he asked quietly, as his hand – that wicked but fantastic hand – continued to move even lower down the blond’s abdomen.




He wasn’t making much sense and he could care less at this point. He gave an even louder gasp as he felt something eerily like warm breathing on his trembling skin. Sasuke’s lips were barely brushing against his tightened torso and unable to control himself, Naruto sunk his hands into the wet damp hair – that was slightly silky to the touch - to tug on it a bit roughly.


“No…” They had to stop this but yet, he didn’t want it to stop. It felt too good. Sasuke felt too damn good. But they were in public. Anyone could see them. Anyone like…


“What in the world is going on here?”


Both boys pulled away from each other as if they had been stung as the surprised and bemused voice permeated their dulled senses. Naruto groaned and closed his eyes in disbelief. Why? Why was this happening to him now? He suddenly wished that the ground would open up and swallow him whole as a flood of embarrassment and humiliation rushed down his half-naked body.


Anyone…anyone but him!




AN: Who? Who could it possibly be? Sakura? Neji? Kakashi? Iruka-sensei? Jiraiya? The Cat in the Hat? Weigh in your thoughts and for every right guess, you can reward yourself with a chocolate-flavored Sasuke or Naruto lollipop. /lol/ ^-^