Disclaimer: I'm not trying to bring down Sasuke and Sakura's relationship in any way, or Naruto and Sakura's relationship with any other of the characters. This is an essay focusing soley on them and their development with eachother, point blank, how it is. If you would like to add your thoughts on the Sasuke and Sakura angle, feel free to. If you'd like to challenge me about anything that is said here, make sure you offer some proof.

I think the most developed relationship out of the Naruto kids romantically would be the one between Naruto and Sakura. At first, Sakura didn't acknowledge the boy, thinking he was annoying like everybody else in the village. She tells Naruto, who is henged into Sasuke, that Naruto always wants to get in the way of her love and that he doesn't know anything about her. Naruto however, adores her, and thinks she is a total babe, hoping to be on the same team as her. She doesn't exactly share his same sentiments. What exactly would being on the same team with the most talentless guy in the whole academy garner her? Naruto, that insensitive, stupid, and rude little prankster? What would he know about anything?

Naruto proves that notion wrong though, because as he is henged into Sasuke, he tells her the exact words that she wants to hear: "You have such a large forehead. It makes me want to kiss it." and it takes her breath away. He also discovers what it is he likes about Sakura so much: her desperate need to be acknowledged by that special someone, just like Naruto tried to get people in the village to acknowledge his existance. When Sakura insulted Naruto, saying he was the way he was because he had no parents, Sasuke set her straight and she then realized at that moment that she should start making an effort to be nicer to him.

He's still annoying, though. But he still likes her even if the idea of being with him grosses her out. As she is the first person to complete the chakra tree-climbing exercise, Naruto cheers her on. "That's the girl I've placed all my faith in!" He believes in her!

Can the real Naruto ever make an impression on her without being under disguise? The first time he displays a tremendous amount of courage and spirit it takes everyone by suprise, including Sakura, when Kakashi is trapped in Zabuza's water prison, and all hope appears to be lost. Kakashi orders them all to retreat, Sakura and Sasuke think that they are no match against the likes of this monster, but Naruto, through sheer determination and his wish to one day become Hokage, picks up his hitai-ate and reveals to Sasuke that he has a plan. Through this, Sakura blushes twice in reaction, baffled by what she's seeing. "His hitai-ate leaf headband?" and "I feel... strange... This is so... Naruto is so..." The team gets inspired to strive on, thanks to his spirit.

As time passes, she is shown to be more sensitive towards his feelings. During the written portion of the Chuunin exam, she knows exactly how terrible Naruto is at tests, so she almost raises her hand because she doesn't want to see Naruto's dream taken away from him... at the price of her and Sasuke's passing!

It is in part due to Naruto that she realizes she needs to start thinking like a ninja, not just about getting into Sasuke's pants, and that's when she truly blossoms. Sakura's always been a shy, insecure girl, and the wake-up call in the Forest of Death really helped her come to terms with herself. She tried to change herself, because she realized that standing in the background and not doing anything besides screaming "Sasuke-kun!" is not acceptable behavior for a ninja.

The short blonde-haired fox continued to inspire her yet. During his fight with Kiba in the Chuunin exams, she is shown cheering him on, and pumping her fist in the air screaming a "Hell yeah! This feels good!" when he wins. The same kind of admirance is shown from her after he wins his fight with Neji. As he blows kisses to the crowd, she states that watching Naruto inspires her. Makes her want to try harder. The effect he has on her is very positive!

Come the arc where Naruto has to save her from Gaara's sand before it crushes her, he lays everything on the line to rescue his Sakura-chan. See the determined look in his eyes. It's showing that Naruto will do anything he can do save one of his precious people, thus proving that she's become much more to him than just "a total babe", as it were.

When Sasuke wakes up in the hospital bed, and Sakura embraces him lovingly, Naruto looks absolutely crushed inside. Yet, he is selfless. He smiles, though behind the eyes, it is one filled with sadness, and as he exits the room, Tsunade notices how truly sensitive Naruto is, no matter how much he tries to play tough.

Finally, we come down to the ultimate sacrifice: The promise of a lifetime. As Sakura bawls her eyes out in front of the rescue team, Naruto promises on his life, confident nice-guy pose and all, that he will bring Sasuke back to Sakura if that will make her happy. Once again, we see how he is able to sacrifice his own happiness to see her smile. "You're in great pain right now. I know how it feels." He does. It hurts to have an unrequited love, and for Naruto, that unrequited love is Sakura. But he has to make that sacrifice. If it's to bring Team 7, his family back together, he will do anything he can. Sakura thanks Naruto. "Naruto... you were always there... you were always watching.", as it flashbacks to the time Naruto henged into Sasuke.

He does not live up to his promise. He comes back to Konoha, but it is without Sasuke. Sakura tries to shrug it off as being okay, but Naruto will have none of it. "Sakura-chan, I'm going to keep my promise!" He may have failed once, but he's intending to try again. For her sake. For their sake.

End of part 1. I'm not sure if there will be a part 2, but give me the go ahead if you want to hear me babble some more!

Yes, I was bored. :wink