Smile (Story For missmalfoy2's Oneshot Contest)

This is a oneshot for missmalfoy2's contest. Enjoy the story, and don't hesitate to give me helpful (A.K.A. grammatical error, etc.) feedback! :}

-Friee

Chapter 1

Survivor

by: Friee
(E/C: Eye color, H/C: Hair color.)

"Let's cherish this moment with a photograph!"

"Hey, Naruto! Come over here, look!"

The pinkette flew toward Naruto, a brown leather book wrinkled against Sakura's strong grasp.

"It's [Name]'s photo album, come and have a peek!"

At the mention of her name, Naruto's insides seemed to convulse.

"Yeah, Sakura-chan, but I'm busy, you know?"

"With what? Being a pervert?" Sakura snorted.

Naruto tried to hide his smile. "I...uh, gave up on that...a long time ago..."

"Just shut up and look, idiot," snarled Sakura, opening the album.

"Oh..."

The first picture was the group photo of Team Seven.

"Aw, that's not fair...how come Sakura-chan's the only one who looks okay?" Naruto whined, staring at the photo.

"Hey, but where's [Name]?"

"I bet she doesn't put in pictures of herself in many of them..." said Naruto slowly.

"Why not?" wondered Sakura.

"Well, if you went on a mission, you wouldn't want to open the album and only see your face, right?"

"Sure I would," said Sakura. "I'd love to look at my face. That's why there's something called a mirror."

Naruto sighed. Sometimes Sakura was completely brain-dead.

He chuckled at the thought of what [Name] would say. [Name]'s exasperated voice echoed through his mind:

"Look who's talking, moron."

Naruto knew he had killed [Name].The explosion had occured by a bomb of his own creation. All of those months storing chakra inside that tiny paper explosive, only to have it kill his own friend. He remembered the blinding light, the deafening noise, the stinging blast of fire that chased him out of the building...

He also remembered the time when Kakashi-sensei took the next photo.

"Sakura-chan, look at this," Naruto grinned, automatically taking out a pencil and scribbling a moustache on Sasuke's scowling face.

Sakura nodded. "That day when we were at the beach," she said, slapping Naruto's hand when he continued to sketch a rather long beard on Sakura's chin.

"And then Kakashi-sensei took the picture," Naruto said, drifting back into his memories.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[Name] strolled along the seashore, sometimes dipping a toe in, then scowling and stepping back. Her [H/C] hair gleamed in the sun. [E/C] orbs shining with michief, she scooped up a handful of wet sand and threw it at Sasuke.

He cursed and jumped back as the brown goop hit his shirt, then proceeded to leap onto [Name] and try to suffocate her.

Naruto grinned and threw handful after handful of wet sand onto the confused tangle of bodies.

Finally, Sasuke grasped [Name] around the ankles and threw her into the ocean.

[Name] splashed around in the water, spluttering and trying to paddle her way back to shore. Before she could even move, Sasuke leaped onto [Name] and slugged her in the gut.

Fuming and dripping with seawater, Sasuke stumbled back onto shore. Meanwhile, [Name] was almost drowning, trying to recover from Sasuke's punch while swimming back to the beach.

It was Sakura who saved her, muttering, "Idiots," and dragged [Name] onto the sand.

Coughing and spitting out saltwater, [Name] glared at Sasuke with bloodshot eyes. He stared back in distaste, then let out a "tsk" and looked away.

Kakashi-sensei leaped into action. "So what are the two lovebirds doing now?" he asked cheerfully.

Naruto laughed while the two furious ninjas tried to beat Kakashi unconscious, while at the same time wondering what it would be like if [Name] and Sasuke really were 'together'. The thought just made him laugh harder.

It was one of those moments when [Name] just made Naruto love her even more.

She was playful, a prankster--she didn't care about grades or popularity. She did things her own way. Never before did Naruto see [Name] ever frown before.

Just then, [Name] burst into tears and clung on to Kakashi, sobbing so hard that she gasped for breath.

[Name] was terrified. It was her last day before her solo mission. The chances of living were slim to nil. She didn't want to leave the beach, she said, for fear of never coming back.

Kakashi took out a camera that was hidden behind his back. "That's why I brought this," he said cheerfully.

[Name] shook her head. "It won't be the same."

"Who said? Whenever you look at the picture, you'll see us and remember us. And don't," said Kakashi, slapping [Name] on the back, "even think about dying."

Naruto grinned and grabbed [Name]'s arm. "Come on!"

He relished the feeling of having those [E/C] eyes glowing up at him.

Sasuke snorted. "I am not going anywhere near her," he growled.

Naruto swatted Sasuke on the head. "Come on, teme."

"Smile," Kakashi said as the picture was taken.

And the day slowly drew to a close.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Uh, Sakura-chan? Where did you get this album anyways?" Naruto asked, a strong wave of nostalgia washing over him.

"I found it near the forest. She probably dropped it on the way to her destination," said Sakura.

Naruto, feeling uneasy about the mission, had set off by himself to follow [Name] to where she was going. On the way, he was sabotaged by multiple enemy ninjas. When he finally reached the abandoned temple where [Name] had entered, he was almost too tired to move.

When he got there, it was already too late.

[Name] was bound up in ropes, struggling, while a sword was slowly being raised to her neck.

Naruto fingered the paper bomb while the enemy paused and stared at the new intruder.

"Throw it, Naruto! Throw it!" sceamed [Name].

To destroy a life, particularly one of his friends', repulsed Naruto so much that he recoiled and stepped back.

"Please!" begged [Name], [H/C] hair hanging in lank strands over her face.

He pulled the bomb out and bounced it once in his hands.

He thought of all the happy times spent with [Name], laughing, training together, pushing the other to aspire...

The paper bomb quivered in his hand.

And finally, he threw it.

The immediate explosion sent Naruto flying down the narrow hallway that he had just recently entered. A wave of fire had coursed down like water, incinerating the walls and floor.

He didn't hold back his tears when he ran.

"Ah, [Name]," sighed Naruto, staring at the photo and stroking the beaming face lovingly.

Sakura snorted and slapped him. "Don't be a fool. You know she can't come back."

Naruto grinned mischievously. "So, you're saying I should live in the present and forget the past?"

"Exactly."

"Yeah, well, I've been asking you for weeks to go on a date with me..."

Sakura hit Naruto with a punch that sent him flying back several yards. "Not with me, you idiot! Go ask Hinata or somebody!"

Naruto smiled. Sakura didn't know that his heart only belonged to [Name]. With any other girl, it just seemed like a fake, a mockery of the bright, laughing girl that had been the one he had truly loved...

While Naruto scrambled back to his feet and continued to flip through the album alongside of Sakura, a girl high up in the treetops giggled.

She was tiny; dainty, with [E/C] orbs shining brightly. She gazed down at Naruto happily.

He didn't know that the real [Name] had been hidden in the forest. She planted a clone inside the temple as a decoy. The paper bomb had only destroyed the enemy. For years, she had survived, by herself, traveling around the Hidden Villages, training, and keeping her identity a secret.

She would show herself to Naruto a little later, after he had looked at every picture in the album.

After the initial shock, [Name] was sure Naruto would at least smile.

Naruto's shout of indignition when he turned to a picture of [Name] planting a whoopie cushion under himself echoed throughout the vicinity.

[Name] giggled.

Love you too, Naruto.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I cut it a little late, didn't I? And it's rather long...oh well, it's not like I was going to win a prize anyway. :P
Hope you enjoyed it!
.~*Friee*~.

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