Naruto found himself atop the Hokage Monument after yet another failed mission to “rescue” Sasuke. If he was being honest, he was tired. He was tired of justifying what Sasuke did, tired of lying to himself, and tired of being okay with his life.
Sure, he and Sakura were closer than ever, but he couldn’t find that fondness for her he’d remembered; it irks him to no end that she’s finally making advances on him and he feels like he might be kissing his sister, if he knew what that was like, that is. Instead of Sakura, his mind had often wandered onto another girl, one that he barely knew; a girl whose hopes and dreams were a mirror image of his own he’d realized. When his mind grabbed onto something it wouldn’t let go until Naruto made an effort to placate it, so he started talking to the girl more often in a mostly vain effort to appease his mind.
He heard Sakura talk about her inner-personality; did he have an Inner Naruto he wondered? Nah. It’s probably just that bastard fox bothering him, again.
Snapping out of his reverie long enough to notice his shadow had somehow increased, he cast his gaze upward. His mind froze. The girl!
“Took you long enough,” the girl smirked at his bewildered expression.
“Uh. Hey, TenTen.”
The girl, TenTen, who had matured into a picturesque young woman over the years Naruto was away, made a move to sit beside Naruto. Apparently, she moved a little too close; Naruto started fidgeting as though he’d been caught parading around in Tsunade’s Hokage garb, again.
“Naruto, do you mind? I mean, do you mind if I set here?”
“No. Do you come here often,” Naruto tried desperately to contain his frazzled nerves, five years of shinobi training apparently lost to a temporary bout of amnesia, “I’ve never seen you up here before.”
“I come here from time to time, I just came here today for some inspiration before training. I started when they added Tsunade-sama’s face. Look, Naruto, I’ve been meaning to say this for awhile, but-,” TenTen froze, unable to finish her thoughts.
TenTen wanted to thank Naruto, but how do you thank someone who has practically given you everything you’ve ever wanted; even if the things he’s done weren’t for her specifically, simply saying “Thank You” didn’t seem right.
Naruto helped her teammate and friend Rock Lee keep his dreams from shattering and in doing so dragged Tsunade-sama along for the ride; sure enough Tsunade’s skills were enough to save Lee, but Naruto saved his other dream by proving to Lee that dropouts can indeed defeat the genius shinobis, if they want it bad enough. When orange-clad youth beat Neji, Naruto reaffirmed her dreams too. When he beat Neji, she thought that maybe, Naruto really could make it as Hokage and if they could believe in their dreams, then it wouldn’t hurt if she too believed.
Naruto laid his hand onto the pretty kunoichi’s shoulder and gave her a gentle nudge. “Are you alright?”
TenTen quickly tried to hide her expression of shock and perhaps the small blush she wasn’t aware of. Quickly recomposing herself, six years of shinobi training paying off, she turned to face the would-be Hokage and answered in kind, “Uh, sorry I just sort of spaced out there for a sec.”
“Anyways, I just wanted to say, thank you.”
“For what? I don’t think I’ve actually done anything to deserve thanks, but okay?”
“Don’t worry about it Naruto, you’ve done something to deserve my grattitude. Uh. I gotta get going though or I’ll be late for practice, bye.”
TenTen stood up and start walking toward the trail that led back to the village. She stopped about half-way to the trail, when she turned to face the fox-faced youth she couldn’t help but grin at the thought of what she planned to do just now.
“Hey Naruto, just one more thing. I lied.”
“Huh, what about?”
“When I said that I came up here today because I needed some inspiration from Tsunade-sama. I wasn’t lying about the inspiration part, just who I planned to get it from.”
She winked and then ran down the trail as fast as her legs could carry her. Had she bothered to look at Naruto before she ran, she might have re-considered the running part; it wasn’t necessary.
Naruto stood stock still with his arm outstretched in TenTen’s direction for several seconds before coming to, when he finally did manage to regain some form cognizance, he blushed from head to toe. He also couldn’t manage to remove the grin that would be plastered on his face for the rest of the day; somehow he doubted, with TenTen, it’d be like kissing his sister.