He would fight for it. He would kill for it. He would drag himself through hell- up and down the rocky clifface, through the rain while bleeding his heart out through his mouth. He would drench his hands in blood, sell his soul, snap bones, break his own body, keep chasing, keep moving no matter how it destroyed him in the end- for all that was good in the world, damn it, he would die for it.
These are the things Naruto will do for love, and he realizes that they are also the things he will do for Sasuke Uchiha.
* * *
Ino watches them dance around each other at the flower shop.
He says: "Sakura-chan became a Chuunin today! I must buy her a boquet befitting of her marvelous beauty!" he pauses and a blush rises in his face, "Only..." he whispers, "I, uh, don't want her to think that I... even though I do..."
She says: "Lee-san has been so good to me. I want to give him something nice, since he finally made Chuunin. Only I don't want him to get the wrong idea. You understand, don't you?"
He's afraid of the inevitable rejection; she's afraid of accidently making the commitment.
* * *
He doesn't come to see her when he returns.
She should have expected it- had expected it, in fact- so it shouldn't have hurt as much as it did. She watches him from the shadows- a living, breathing incarnation of light moving through the streets like he owns them. When Naruto says that he will be Hokage someday, Hinata believes him. She will be the first to bow her head in respect as he passes.
Lately she begins to wonder whether it's Naruto she loves, or rather if it's the things he stands for (victory against all odds) that she truly admires.
* * *
"You will have an arranged marriage of course."
Her father's begun to talk in those terms again. More than ever Hinata feels the Hyuga name weigh her down like a chain. She can't possibly miss the way her father's taken a liking to Neji. He trains the boy personally and has made it quite explicitly clear that Neji is what he's always wanted in a son.
Hinata supposes that she could love her cousin. Maybe, if she tries. Not in the way she loves Naruto, of course, but love nontheless. She fears, however, that Neji will never be able to love her.
* * *
Naruto squints his eyes and chuckles, "You always get that look when we work together."
Neji's face is blank, "What look?"
"Like you're constipated or something. Don't tell me you're still holding that grudge?"
Neji thinks: 'What grudge?' and Naruto leans in too close and raises one eyebrow. Suddenly, Naruto is like a dizzying kaladiescope of color and noise. Neji's sharp and focused world is flooded with senses, wants and desires so intense it gives him a headache.
"Cause' that would be a little vindictive, even for you."
Neji presses his eyes shuts, bites his lip and tries desperately to think of nothing at all.
* * *
She might as well be a boy. In the village of the sand they don't give kunoichi seperate training, but rather teach them how to kill without discrimination- a ninja is still a ninja whether they have breasts or not.
Temari is like the desert that bore her- all rough edges and sharp wit, with wide expanses of uninterrupted peace. They argue often, but unlike most women he's known, she has mastered the art of a tactful retreat.
Temari is not the kind of girl he would ever think of marrying. Shikamaru realizes this is probably why he wants her so much.
* * *
Love is intangible. Gaara has trouble with intangible concepts, and thus has trouble grasping what love means. He runs his fingers across the word emblazened on his head and curses the irony.
The day he comes home from his second trip to the leaf, Gaara takes a deep, solid breath of the dusty, sand-saturated air. He takes a long look at the gourd shaped buildings and narrow streets. He looks into the eyes of the people of the Sand, staring back at him full of curiosity and maybe a little bit of admiration.
And Gaara realizes that he is in love.
* * *
It takes Sakura years to fall out of love with Sasuke. It takes years for her to kill the denial and admit that, in many ways, he has become a monster. It takes longer for her to admit that he never would have loved her anyways.
It takes ever longer for her to realize that Sasuke and Naruto are in love with each other- like twisted, storybook soulmates- and Sakura wonders what Naruto will do if he ever does drag Sasuke home.
Although she knows they can't live without each other, she doubts they'll be able to live with each other either.
* * *
Jiraiya's passes at Tsunade never seem to be anything but halfhearted. She turns red, gives him a black eye and the entire matter is chalked up to Jiraiya being a pervert. It doesn't take a genius to see the truth.
Tsunade claims that she's okay. She holds her breath and raises her eyes skyward- the very image of strong and quiet repose. You don't have to look very far to realize that she can still see her lover's blood on her hands.
Orochimaru thinks that his teammates get too caught up in their emotions and is proud to be the only one never to have his heart broken. This holds true until the day Sarutobi passes him over for the title of Hokage.
* * *
They stand at the point of no return, but it's not like they haven't been there before. Sasuke doesn't want to kill Naruto anymore than he did three years ago. He doesn't even want to fight Naruto. Whether he can beat Naruto or Naruto can defeat him is completely irrelevant now- they would kill each other. They've been killing each other for years.
The sight of Naruto makes his heart ache. Naruto isn't supposed to hurt people. He's supposed to save them.
He isn't sure how he's supposed to say: "I'm the one, Naruto. I'm the one who needs you the most."
Word Count: 1021
(All of them are exactly 100 words except for the Ledgendary Sannin one)
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