Chapter 2: An Unexpected Feeling
At Senju high, two weeks after the confrontation between Naruto and Hinata,
"And this here, Hinata-san, is where you'll be staying once you filled out the proper applications for the boarding accomodities that Senju high has to offer," said a slightly short sixteen year old with short, spiky auburn hair. "I trust that you'll find the school to your liking. It is an honor to meet the successor of the Hyuuga coorporation."
"Thank you Ga-gaara-san," Hinata replied shyly.
Today marked the day of her orientation into Senju high. While Hinata had applied for the boarding accommodation afforded by the school, there were still a few things that her father needed to sorted out before she was actually allowed to enroll there as a full time boarder.
While that was being sorted out she would attend said school as a day student. Because the process took only a few days, maybe a week at most, and the fact that Hiashi was going to be in Konoha for at least six month confronting legal matters in opening up a new prospective chain in the village, she didn't seem to mind, in the least. After all, she got to spent more time with a certain blonde and that was always invigorating for her.
"That's the end of the tour, Hinata-san. We're be going round to meet the teachers now," Gaara explained. "Your registration has already been processed and your classes start this coming Monday. Is there any questions that you'll like to ask?"
"No, th-thank you, Gaara-san," Hinata smiled back. "It was a-an excellent tour. Thank y-you for your time."
"Think nothing of it. It's my job as the student council's head," Gaara replied, as he waved a hand dismissively and started making his way towards the door. "So, I gather Hiashi-sama will be the one to pick you up later?"
"Um, actually...a friend of m-mine will be pi-picking me up later," Hinata explained. "He's from K-konoha high."
Gaara frowned at that.
Truth be told,while both schools got along pretty well, students from Senju high, like any other prestigious schools, held themselves in higher regard than their local counterparts. A trait that Gaara had been trying his utmost to stamp out ever since he had became president of the student council.
However, with that being said, he held a personal vendetta against Konoha high for what he felt as 'stealing' a certain friend of his who should have belong in Senju high.
A friend that could have helped me stamp out this bias attitude, he thought bitterly. I'll never understand his decisions.
"That wouldn't be wise," Gaara told Hinata. "I don't like to admit it but our student's hold a bit of...contempt for Konoha high. You're friend might be ridiculed if he came over.
Well, isn't he cherry? Hinata thought.
Then again, she realized, this must have been the reason why he became head student in the first place. No everyone could handle the responsibilities as council head and if Gaara's personality was anything to go by; he was brutally honest, blunt and was not afraid to speak his mind out.
All in all, a leader in the making.
"It's f-fine," she answered. 'Naruto-kun wouldn't be af-afraid of a f-few hard words."
"Naruto?!" Gaara snapped back, focusing his gaze at the now shocked Hinata. "You're not talking about the son of the village are you?"
'Hai?" Hinata murmured, stunned at Gaara's sudden outburst. "Do you kn-know Naruto-kun, Gaara-san?
"Not just me," Gaara answered back. "The whole school knows him. He's rather infamous around here..."
With that, Gaara left the dormitory, with a slightly bewildered Hinata following after him. What have you gotten yourself into, Naruto-kun, Hinata thought.
Lunch time, at Konoha high,
"Yo Naruto! Wanna join us for Karaoke later?!" a wild looking teen with messy brown hair and black eyes yelled as he slammed his hands at the bewildered blonde's back.
"Huh?!" Naruto answered back. "Who? What? Where?"
"You really shouldn't do that..." a fair-skin boy stated, as he moved towards his two friends.
"Ah, lighten up Shino! C'mon Naruto, its been forever since you last joined us for some guy time!"
"Dude, you have no idea how gay that sounds..."
"I agree with Naruto."
"I'll show you gay!" With that Kiba socked a punched at the blonde who, still in his daydreaming daze, didn't manage to avoid the punch that the Inuzuka threw at him.
"Ouch! What in the world was that for, Kiba?!" Naruto growled as he massaged his slightly bruised face. His glare disappeared however, when he saw the concerned looks on both of his friends face.
"Why didn't you dodge that?" Kiba asked. "Actually, better yet, why do you always look like you've got this stupid smug look on your face for the past two weeks?! It looked like you've just won the lottery or something! Did Sasuke die and made you the council president or something?"
"Actually, what Kiba-san is trying to say," Shino explained, casting a glare at the Inuzuka, "Is that you've seemed to be a bit off lately."
"What do you mean?"
"Oh, come of it!" Kiba exclaimed. Then, seeing the dumb look on the blonde's face, he eyes widened. "Wait a minute...you mean you didn't realize it?"
"Realize what?" an annoyed Naruto asked. "Are you guys going to talk some sense or are you guys just going to keep speaking in riddles?!"
"I think...you should take this Shino..." Kiba said. The Aburame nodded in return.
"Naruto...you haven't been yourself lately," Shino explained. "Remember that day when Kakashi-sensei got so angry at your day dreaming that he threw a chalk at you?"
"So," Kiba continued. "A normal person would have been snapped out of his reverie by then! You just sighed and continued looking out of the window like nothing happened?!"
"I did?" Naruto answered. "I mean...I did?!"
Now it was both Kiba and Shino's turn to looked bewildered.
"What about that time when Sasuke insulted you outright about losing your position in the student council?" Shino asked. "You just shrugged it off like it was nothing."
"But I always do that!" the blonde protested. "Or...I try to at least.'
"You do realize that Sasuke was insulting your father that time as well, right?" Kiba growled under his breath. While he acted rather civil towards the raven-haired boy, there were certain things that he felt Sasuke had done which crossed the line. Insulting Minato was definitely one of them.
"He what?! I gonna kill him!" Saying so, the blonde started getting up from his desk, only to be restrained by his two friends. "Hey! What are you doing?! Let me go!"
"This is what we're talking about Naruto..." Shino said. "You...seemed to be too out of it to be out of it"
"Ow, you just killed half of my brain cells, Shino," Kiba complained. "What he means is that you're so...distracted these days. Just what in the world is going on?!"
"Nothing's going on!" Naruto argued back angrily. "Why are you so worried about me?!"
"Because you're our friend," Shino answered back.
"And friends don't abandon friends when they're in deep trouble," Kiba continued. "We've got your back, Naruto. Just like you've got ours."
A small glow of pride appeared in his heart as Naruto heard both of their comments. Shino and Kiba had always been there for him when he needed them to be, just as he was for them in their darkest hour of need. Maybe, just maybe, it was fine to indulged in them his little problem over the past two weeks? Trouble was, up until now, he had always been the support for the two of them and never the one needing the support.
Well, there's always a first, he thought.
"Okay, okay," he sighed in defeat. "Can you two keep a secret?"
Both boys gave him a annoyed look in response.
"Fine, that was a stupid question, since I know the two of you can't ever seem to hold your tongues." Before the two of them could protest, he pressed on, "But I'll tell you anyway since the two of you are my...friends."
"It's like...how do you...you see...arg! What's wrong with me?!" Naruto yelled in exasperation.
"Well this must be big, seeing as you're never tongue-tied about anything before..."
"Why don't you start from the top?"
"I don't know how," Naruto replied miserably. "But maybe this will help; have you ever felt so much for someone that your chest hurts every time you look at them? As if, you can't ever seem to get them out of your mind and every time you close your eyes, the only thing you ever see is their face? Or how, whenever you're around them, you heart aches to be acknowledge. This...feeling of emptiness in my chest whenever you're not around them? I keep thinking of that person, no matter how hard I don't want to. This feeling...it's killing me. Just what is it?!"
"Dude look, we're really sorry about Sakura but you've got to let her go, man. That...she is with Sasuke now," Kiba said.
It was no great secret about the breakup between Naruto and Sakura, ever since the night of the prom, two weeks ago. Sakura had made it public that she was now going out with the prince of the school and that she was no longer dating Naruto. That little bit of news had spread over the weekend and was the most talked gossip of the school for the past two weeks.
Unfortunately for a certain raven-haired boy, Naruto didn't seemed to be too fazed by it. If anything, he seemed uninterested in the way the students were whispering behind his back or unconcerned over the way that Sakura continuously flirted around the black-haired teen every single second whenever they were around the school.
This caused quite a bit of backlash that neither Sakura and Sasuke expected; Naruto had quite become the enigma. Because of the way he was acting, rumours were now circulating that it was actually Naruto who broke up with Sakura instead of the other way around. It certainly didn't help Sasuke's ego about the fact they people were considering him as Sakura's rebound but this was something Naruto didn't know nor did he cared about.
"Saku-who?" Naruto asked. "Oh, you mean Sakura. I'm not talking about Sakura."
"You're not?!" Both boys answered somewhat shocked at this turn of events.
"No, I'm not," he said simply. "We had a great time together but its over now...anyway, stop beating around the bush, do you or do you not know what this feeling actually is?"
"How can you chase after the pink haired without knowing what that feeling is?!" Kiba answered. "You idiot, its-"
Whatever he was going to say was cut off, as Shino quickly clamped his hand over Kiba's mouth.
"I think it's best if you find out what that feeling is on your own Naruto-kun," Shino replied. "Certain things will work out better if you take the time and effort to go through them. Who knows...you might become all the more wiser going about it."
"Fat chance that'll happen," Kiba muttered, once he had free himself from Kiba's grip. "But good luck with your new girl. I hope you'll be happy with her."
"It's not like that!" Naruto said quickly. "We're just friends...wait-how did you know it was about a girl?!"
"Sure it isn't Naruto..." Kiba mocked. "Anyway, best we get back to our desks, class is about to start again and Kurenai-sensei won't like it if we're not back at our seats by the time the bell rings..."
"Hmm," Kiba replied now, as both boys made their way back to their seats. "Since when do you ever listen to Kurenai-sensei?"
"And since when did ever you become such a love expert?"
And so, the discussion of going to Karaoke between the three boys were dropped off almost immediately.
Man, just what is happening to me? Naruto thought, as he packed up his things and started heading towards the school gates.
For some reason, he couldn't help but feel some sort of uncomfortable feeling about her starting school at Senju high. Sure, it was only a few minutes walk away from Konoha high and he'll be able to see her almost everyday but somehow, he just couldn't shake the feeling that she'll be spending less time with him once she started school as a full-time boarder. That plus the fact that there were a lot of guys there from rich, influential families that-
WHAT AM I THINKING?! He thought. Hina-chan is not some item. Besides we are nothing more than FRIENDS. Maybe Hina-chan will be able to help me sort out some of this mess in my head. She was definitely a huge help in helping me get over my heartache with Sakura.
The past two weeks had been, almost like a dream to Naruto. Hinata had always dropped by the Namikaze residence at the precise time when his school finished and he was always delighted to see have her around. While they never traveled more than a few feet from their area of residence, they always managed to find newer and more interesting topics to discuss between them; Naruto was curious as to how Hina's life had been over the past decade while Hinata wanted to know how much her place of birth had changed over the ten years since she left.
That said, she was also a huge relief for helping him with his struggle over his recent heartbreak and he was the pillar of support that she could never replaced. Between the pair of them, they were just happy at being able to hang out in each other's company.
While Kushina found it rather endearing that her beloved little Soichi was finally able to move on with his heartbreak, she couldn't help teasing him about the way that he was going to have to take responsibility if anything ever happened whenever the two of them were hanging out alone in Naruto's room alone, doing God knows what. This always earned a slight groan from her son as well as an intense blush from the bluenette. However, little of what Naruto said or did was able to deter his mother from having her fun.
Minato, on the other hand, was slightly worried that his son wasn't spending as much time on his studies as before now that Hinata was around. However, he couldn't find a foothold to grasp onto his argument since Naruto had not only managed to keep up his current grades but had also managed to improved them somewhat.
Unknown to him, Hinata had been using all that time when she was in Naruto's room to help him with his studies as well as re-building their relationship to what it had formerly been. Unfortunately, she was too good at what she was doing and their relationship had skyrocketed to a level where Naruto had to devote his entire attention and being just not to make sure that she didn't caught him staring at her.
As for Hiashi, he took the matter rather gracefully with a pinch of salt. Though this shouldn't be surprising considering the fact that he had already considered Naruto a potential future son-in-law, especially when he approached Kushina and Minato on the night of his visit with a marriage proposal in his mind.
Flashback, two weeks ago at the Namikaze residence, Minato's office,
"Minato. Kushina," Hiashi addressed. "What do you think of my daughter?"
The couple turned to one another briefly, contemplating the reason behind the question.
"She's grown up to be a very fine lady, Hiashi," Minato answered back carefully. "But...why are you asking us about this?"
"Indeed she has," Hiashi had answered. "Unfortunately, my dear Hinata has never managed to find someone a proper...'candidate', shall we say, to walk with her down this road called life."
"Always the poet, aren't you?" Minato muttered coldly. "You didn't just come back to set up a business transaction with the village now, did you?"
"Honey, what are you talking about?" Kushina asked, worried at the way her husband was behaving.
"Hiashi-san...wants to set up Soichi together with Hinata-chan," Minato explained carefully. At that, Kushina's face turned into a slight frown.
"Minato, I find that hard to believe," Kushina said. "After all, it was Hiashi-san who chose to separate those two when there were kids."
Minato merely gave his wife a cold look before turning back to their guest. "Don't take my words for it. Ask him"
Hiashi had then held up his hands in a gesture defeat. "I admit, it was my mistake for tearing those two apart. I did what I thought was right for my company's well being and I sorry to say that I'm ashamed about what I did back then..."
"What has that got to do with Soichi?" Kushina demanded. If Hiashi wasn't worried before, he was now, at the aura radiating from the couple standing before him.
"Hinata has always been rather fond of young Naruto," Hiashi explained. 'You have no idea how hard she cried for weeks on end just for what I put her through. I want to make...amendments for my mistake."
"And that amendment is playing matchmaker for our children?" Minato thundered. "You should have listened to my proposal back then! What makes you think that I'll just play long with this little plan of yours?"
"We," Kushina corrected her husband. "What makes you think WE will be playing along with this plan of yours?"
"I'm not asking for your permission to marry off my daughter to your son," Hiashi sighed. "I'm asking for your permission to allow my daughter to have the chance of being together with your son."
"Ten years is a long time, old-friend," Minato threatened. "What makes you think Naruto hasn't found someone else by now?"
"Besides, even if we do consider your plan, there's no guarantee that Soichi will develop feelings for Hina-chan," Kushina argued back.
"I know," Hiashi replied. "And I wouldn't have considered this proposal...until my daughter threatened me otherwise. Believe me when I say I'm doing this for Hinata."
"Really?" Minato asked. "And did you tell her that her father was going to be arranging a marriage proposal without her consent?"
At that, Hiashi turned away slightly from the angry blonde. "No, I didn't. But that's besides the point."
"Then, what is it that you want, Hiashi-san?" Kushina asked exasperated. "Soichi has just been through a very trying situation and now you just want to lump him together with someone else because he's in a vulnerable state?!"
"I know everything about that situation, Minato," Hiashi explained as he saw that Minato was about to protest at Kushina's outburst. "Neji has informed me of Naruto's little fiasco a few days ago."
"You've just reached a new low haven't you, Hiashi?" snarled Minato. "To think that you would used your own nephew as a spy."
"Look, if you both are going to be too upset-"
"UPSET?!" Give me one good reason why I shouldn't be throwing you out of our house right now!" Kushina growled.
Realizing the situation he was in, Hiashi began to draw upon his diplomatic skills that he had acquired over the past few decades as a businessman.
"Because you're going to disregard your son's feelings if you choose do so," he replied. When they didn't argue back, he pressed on, "While I do have a marriage proposal in mind...I'm not going to enforce it without the consent of our children. What I'm suggesting is that we give them some time to be with each other and if things between the two of them work out, then we can consider the next stage..."
"I must be an idiot to even be considering this but please humor me..." Minato replied. "Why would Hinata, esteemed heiress to the Hyuuga corporation and one of the most promising child the Hyuuga line has ever produced, pursue the son of the leader of a humble little village located in the middle of nowhere?"
"I hate to agree with you, Minato but you're right," Kushina said. "Please humor us, Hyuuga-san"
"Because it's what she wants," Hiashi replied. "I've tried setting her up with dozens of suitors from numerous corporation ever since she was fifteen and she has managed to turned each and every one of them away with their tails behind their backs. If anything, Hinata is more stubborn than me when it comes to the affairs of her personal life."
"Good thing then that she takes after her mother in that regards," Minato answered. "I still don't see how Naruto fits in to all of this."
"Neither do I," Hiashi sighed. "Hinata has said that she won't consider another potential suitor until she gets the chance to be reunited with her first love. But I will say this about your son; he was the only one to have ever impressed me for what he did at such a young age. Maybe, just maybe, that is what Hinata is looking for in a potential suitor. Not talent, or prestige or background. She has all of that already. But rather selflessness, determination and loyalty. I hate to admit this but remember all those numerous suitors I set her up with? Not one of them had a single shred of integrity in them..."
"Dear...what do you think we should do?" Kushina asked.
"I don't know what to think about this whole situation," Minato exclaimed. "You just waltz in here one evening demanding for my son to be a potential suitor for your daughter just because it's what your beloved daughter wants and you think we should just play along with it?"
"It's not Hina-chan's fault that she wants to meet Naruto-kun, Minato" Kushina explained. "If anything, I agree with this plan."
"You're taking his side?!" Minato growled. "What about Soichi's feelings? Doesn't he have a say in this?"
"It's just as Hiashi-san said, Minato," Kushina said patiently. "We're not marrying them off just yet. We're giving them the chance to get to know each other once more. If things get heated...I'm sure we'll think of something else."
"Are...are you sure about this?"
"It's what Soichi would have wanted..." Kushina trailed off. Sighing in defeat, Minato rubbed this temples before straightening up.
"Fine, we're played it your way for now, Hiashi-san but if Naruto doesn't like this planned marriage idea, we are not going to enforce it...AM I CLEAR?!"
"Crystal. I believe were just about done here and I won't intrude anymore on your time," Hiashi replied smoothly, before getting up from his seat and moving towards the door. "Don't worry, I won't tell them about this whole marriage thing and, neither should you, that is...until I deem them ready to know."
"And when, pray tell, will that be?" Minato asked.
"When they fall in love with one another," Hiashi answered, before leaving the study with a sharp click of the door.
"Why do I feel like we've just been played, Kushina?" Minato asked. At that, Kushina merely held her husband's arm as they walked towards the door.
"Because what Hiashi said could be right. They is definitely be something between Hina-chan and Naruto-kun," Kushina explained. "Although, whatever it is, it's far too early to tell..."
Back with Naruto at Konoha high,
As per usual, the school grounds were bristling with activity as our young blonde made his way towards the school gates. Students were rushing about getting ready to go home while the teachers were busy bringing their stack of paperwork to mark and organise to their cars.
Once more, it seemed to be just another everyday occurence at Konoha high. The only thing that seemed out of place was the rather large group of girls hanging by the school gates as Naruto passed by them.
"There's Sasuke-kun!" one of the screeched, causing Naruto to hold his ear up in annoyance.
Damn fan girls, Naruto thought angrily. What the heck is Sasuke thinking when he's already got Sakura-chan? Won't he know that it'll just break her heart if he keeps messing about with his little fan club?!
As if on cue, the raven-haired teen appeared on the scene. The crowd of girls immediately began circling about him, asking him about his day and wondering whether he had any free time to join them for a slot of Karaoke sometime this week or next.
Sasuke, for his part, would have ignored the entire lot of them and continued on his merry little way, if not for the fact that he caught the blonde boy glaring at him from a distance. Smirking, his mind slowly began to think up of a plan to make use of this opportunity to egg the blonde on.
"Well girls...when are you free?" he asked.
There was an instant squeal of delight from the crowd as they heard his answer. Almost immediately, the chattering about the girls rose to an inaudible mess of jeer, argument and cries of who should be taking Sasuke where and when. Naruto couldn't bear to take the sight of this anymore. Steeling himself, he made his way towards the raven-haired teen.
"Sasuke, what in the world do you think you're doing?!" he asked slowly in a deathly voice. The cries around the girls were soon drowned out to form a series of muttering as they took note of the scenario about them.
"What's the matter, idiot? Jealous?" Sasuke smirked. "Come on girls, let's leave this loser to his own wanderings..."
Saying so, he turned and began walking away with the girls following closely behind him...only for Naruto to grab his shoulder and threw an uppercut right to his jaw, bruising said teen and knocking him right to the floor. There was now a deathly silence that wasn't there before as the two boys faced off against each other.
"What do you think you'll doing?!" an annoyed Sasuke called out.
"You want to ridicule me, fine. You want to steal my girlfriend, fine," Naruto retorted. "But don't you even dare think of hurting her heart when she's not around!"
Before, Sasuke could reply, there was a sharp scream from just around the corner, "Sasuke-kun!"
"Sakura," both boys muttered at the same time. Although, one of them said it in a miserable tone while the other one said it in a taunt-like manner.
"Naruto! What do you think you're doing to Sasuke-kun!" the pink-haired girl complained, as she helped her boyfriend up. "You're going to beat Sasuke up now just because I broke up with you?!"
"That's not what this is about!" he protested. "He-"
A sharp slap to his face sent him reeling to the floor as he lay somewhat dazed on the floor. Small tears of pain started forming in his eyes at Sakura's action. The crowd was now long gone although, they were a few strays who stayed behind to watch the tension folding out before the three of them.
"You know what?' Naruto asked, slowly as he got up, his hair casting a shadow on his face. "Forget about it. I hope you enjoy every damn moment you get with him."
He was about to walk away when he felt a firm hand on his shoulder.
"Unfortunately, none of you are going to go anyway until I get to the bottom of this," a grey-colored hair man called out, from behind Naruto.
"Kakashi-sensei!" Sakura exclaimed. "It was Naruto's fault! I saw him punched Sasuke-kun. It must be because-"
"Quiet," he interrupted. Slowly, he sighed before rubbing his jaw, to look down at the three troublemakers. "Alright, Sasuke, you first."
"Naruto started picking a fight with me for no good reason."
"Is this true, Naruto?" Kakashi asked.
"Whatever, it's not like any of you care at all," he replied sharply, before jerking himself free from the older man's grip. "Give me detention or whatever, make it a spot on my permanent record. Do whatever you want. I don't care anymore."
Saying so, he snatched up his backpack that had fell to the floor and began his trudge towards the school gates.
"Naruto!" Kakashi called out. Never before in all his years of teaching had he ever seen a student dare to do something as drastic as this. "I'll give you one more chance to prove your innocence, or you'll be suspended for hurting a fellow student AND disrespecting a teacher!"
That stop the blonde in his track, if only temporarily. He turned around briefly, to give all three of them a look of disgust before continuing on his way. The next words that came out of his mouth stunned the three of them together.
"See if I care. I knew I should have taken up Senju high on their offer but what did I know?"
A few moments later at Senju High,
"I guess, we'll see you next week then, Hinata-chan," an elderly man in his sixties called out to the young girl in his office as he looked through all the various form of paperwork on his tables. "It gives a principal a pleasure to always welcome new students to his school, especially one as talented as yourself."
"Thank you, Hiruzen-sensei," Hinata exclaimed.
Her first day of school had turned out relatively well. She had met a few of her future boarding mates, although she wasn't to start boarding until a week or two later. Similarly, everyone in the school was rather nice and pleasant to her, although she could tell that more than a few students held a somewhat snobbish outlook or attitude about the way they went about their lives.
Naruto-kun would have been able to change their view on things, Hinata thought sadly. If only he didn't attent Konoha-High.
"If that's all, Hinata-chan, I will have Gaara escort you to the school gates," Hiruzen called out, snapping her out of her reverie.
Chuckling at the bluenette's antics, he pressed a button on his desk and a minute later, Gaara entered the principal's office.
"Gaara-san, please escort Hinata-chan to the school gates. I expect that the young miss must be tired after her little tour round the school today and we wouldn't want to tire her out more than we already have now, would we?"
In response, the teen merely gave a sharp nod at his principal before escorting Hinata out of the office. Soon, Sarutobi was left alone in his office.
"I'll never get that kid," he sighed. "Why did I make him president in the first place?"
At the Senju high's gates, a moment later,
"Check it out," Naruto heard a sneer from his right. "It's one of those students from Konoha high."
"Huh...what's he doing here? Doesn't he know that only the best are allowed in here?"
Great, he thought. First I have to deal with Sasuke and my ex-girlfriend, now I'll have to deal with socialites treating me like the common beggar.
"Hey you, punk. What do you think you're doing here? You're trespassing on private property" a spiky brown haired boy of seventeen called out, as he approached the blonde from behind.
Naruto smirked as he heard that voice.
"Careful, Kankuro, I don't think your little brother would take too kindly if he were to find out how you were treating his friend," he said, turning around to face the young man. Kankuro face paled upon realising who he had just addressed.
"Na-naruto-kun. What a surprise seeing you," he laughed tensely. "What are you-"
"That's enough out of you, Kankuro!" A voice snapped from behind him.
Grimacing, he turned to face his younger brother, who was now walking towards then with a rather gorgeous girl next to him. The fact that Gaara was frowning however meant, that everyone's eyes, including Naruto and Kankuro were now on the student council's president.
"What have I said about bothering passer-bys?" Gaara snapped. Having said so, he turned to address the rest of the students assemble around the school gates."And don't the rest of you have things to be done? Or do you want some given to you?"
Immediately, every student in the vicinity vanished off from the spot where the confrontation was taking place. However, the students were now viewing Naruto with a new found respect ever since his name had been called out by Kankuro. It was no great secret that Senju High had turned down many a great student before in the school's prestigious history. However, there had only ever been one student in the entire school's history who had turned them down, not one time but thrice.
That student had been Naruto. It wasn't his mental or physical performance that wowed the school but rather his character. During his oral interview, Naruto had managed to stunned all the interviewers with his rather ingenious and rather unorthodox, answers to the questions they had posed.
They had seen the qualities of a world renown leader as well as a kindred spirit within him. A trait that the board of directors wanted to grow and nurture within the young blonde. Minato had proven that before and his son had been no exception to the Namikaze line. It would have been a tremendous honour for the school, and no doubt, a huge bragging right, if they could claim Naruto's success in the future were due to them. However, they didn't count on the fact that the blonde had actually rejected them, even with a fully prepaid scholarship scheme offered by the school.
The reason why he rejected their offer? He didn't like the way the school set up perimeters between students of different classes. Although, right now he wasn't feeling particularly happy about how he turned them down before, with the way things were working out for him in Konoha high but that would be a tale for another day...
"Gaara," Naruto addressed as he nodded towards the red haired teen. "A pleasure to always be meeting you."
"Likewise friend," he answered. "I wouldn't be able to convince you to re-apply for Senju High, could I?"
"Nice try, Gaara," he laughed. "But maybe next time. I'm here to pick up Hina-chan. Do you know where she is?"
"I'm h-here, Naruto-kun," Hinata called out from Gaara as she shyly folded her hands behind her back, before straightening up to give him a small smile.
Whoa! is that Hina-chan?! Naruto thought.
If he had thought Hinata looked good before in her conservative clothes whenever she hung out with him, she looked much better now, dressed in the standard Senju High uniform.
She now wore a tighter fitting white school t-shirt, accompanied by the Senju High emblem on her right breast pocket, along with a blue skirt that stretched from her waist up to her knees. For her legs, she wore knee high black socks followed by a pair of matching black shoes. In her hands, she held a rather old-fashioned looking briefcase.
Finally, there was a simple white orchid flower, which Naruto had given to her the night before, attached to the top of Hinata's left temple, which held her long blue hair in place. All in all, a perfect picture of pristine allurement.
"Naruto-kun, is s-something the ma-matter with my uniform," Hinata asked innocently, as she saw the way Naruto eyed her intently.
Hinata might be a smart girl and had seen her own fair share of perverts over the years but she couldn't see her beloved in that way and hence mistaken him admiring her for something amiss with her.
"NO! You look beautiful, Hina-chan. I mean you'll look good in whatever it is you're wearing. I mean, your uniform looks good," he stuttered. "What I'm trying to say is that...there's nothing wrong with your uniform."
Only one thought had raced through Hinata's mind ever since Naruto's outburst; Naruto-kun thinks I'm beautiful! Oh my...
Throughout this entire ordeal, Gaara couldn't help but smirked at both of their antics. Thinking of helping out his friend just this one time, he reached out an arm and pushed Hinata rather roughly towards the blonde.
"Ah!" Hinata called out as Naruto caught her in his arms. However, this simple action caused both of them to fall over to one another onto the ground, with Naruto's arm forming a rather protective cage over Hinata's body.
"Itei...are you alright Hina-chan?" the blonde asked, as he slowly helped the bluenette up to his feet.
His upper body was slightly aching from the impact of the fall but his lower body was thinking other things. That brief moment of impact had alerted the young teen to how 'dangerous' Hinata's body really was. It took every restraint he had to just get up almost immediately and act like it was nothing when he wanted nothing more than to hold her close in that protective embrace.
"H-hai, Naruto-kun,' Hinata answered back, her face a deep red blush.
If Naruto didn't want to let go of Hinata, then the same could be said of Hinata as she was trying her best not to re-embrace the young blonde. His school uniform had always looked so simple, not revealing any of his features but that crash had shown just how deceptive a simple t-shirt really was; Naruto may not worked out much but he definitely had a muscular built.
"I hate to interrupt the two of you lovebirds but school's over," Gaara coughed. This earn a scowl from the blonde and a deeper shade of blush from the bluenette. "You can thank me later, Naruto."
With that, Gaara shot a small wink at his blonde friend before making his way to his boarding house, humming a little tune as he did so.
"Wh-what did he m-meant by that, Naruto-kun?" Hinata asked suspiciously.
"I don't know!" he replied honestly. "Please, you've got to believe me!"
"I be-believe you Naruto-kun," Hinata answered, hearing the raw honesty in his voice. "You wo-wouldn't do something as p-petty as that."
Subconsciously, Hinata began moving closer towards the blonde before laying her head gently onto his broad chest, humming a soft tune as she did so. The blonde was too dumbstruck to argue otherwise.
"I'm glad y-you came to p-pick me up today, Naruto-kun," Hinata whispered happily. "I missed y-you so much to-today."
"Hmm?" This caused the blunette to looked up at the young blonde.
Immediately she realized something was terribly wrong; his face was merely a few centimeters away from hers.
"Ah! G-gomen n-nasai n-na-naruto-kun," Hinata stammered, before taking a few steps back from the blonde. "I hope...you...you d-didn't mind."
"It's f-fine, Hina-chan," he replied sheepishly.
Truth be told, he did mind...when she step away, that is. Once more, he felt that familiar tightening in his chest as well as that sense of possessiveness whenever he was around her.
Only Hinata was able to instill these confusing feelings in our blonde hero but right at that very moment, he didn't care. He had been through far too much that morning and Gaara had crush any form of personal space between the two of them. Realizing that it was only going to get awkward between the two of them if he didn't do something fast, Naruto reached out an arm and pulled Hinata closed to him, before wrapping his hand around his shoulder.
"N-naruto-kun! Wh-what are you doing?" Hinata asked shocked.
No time like the present, the blonde thought.
"Do you...hate this?" he asked cautiously. When she stopped struggling, he pressed on, "Because I...don't"
Hinata mumbled something inaudible in reply.
"Did you say something, Hina-chan?"
"I sa-said, I do-do-don't m-mind i-if you d-don't" she managed to stuttered out, her face turning an even deeper shade of red.
"Well, that settles things!" he called out happily. Then he frowned, "Are you okay, Hina-chan? Your face is kinda red."
Oh God, Please, no! Hinata thought as Naruto slowly pushed her hair away before placing his forehead against hers.
"Well, your temperature's kinda hot but...Hina? HINA!" Naruto shouted as Hinata collapsed into the floor beneath them, too dazed by the events of the day to continue remaining conscious.
Oh man! Oh man! Hiashi is going to kill me! Naruto thought. What am I supposed to do?!
"Naruto-kun..." Hinata mumbled in her half-conscious state, as she tried to get up before falling miserable onto the floor.
Sighing, Naruto reached down and carried her up bridal-style before making his way towards the Hyuuga residence.
When I wished I wanted to embrace Hina-chan, this was NOT what I had in mind! he thought angrily as he looked up at the sky. Still...she looks so adorable snuggled up like that...so kind...so gentle...she would make a wonderful wife...
All too late, Naruto realized what he had just thought. Reluctantly, he forced those thoughts out of his mind.
Hina-chan does not see me that way! he thought fiercely. Besides, it wouldn't be fair to see her like that after getting dumped by Sakura! I can't keep thinking these thought! How can I be so selfish!
"Na-naruto-kun?" Hinata asked sleepily, as she gazed up at his face. Slowly, she pressed her face against his chest before sobbing softly into his t-shirt.
"Hina?! Why are you crying Hina-chan?!" he asked in a worried tone.
"Don't leave me again," she whispered. "Please don't leave me again..."
"Shhh, I won't...I promised," Naruto replied. Troubled though he was with his conflicted feelings regarding the semi-conscious blunette he was carrying, he couldn't bear to see her sad in any way.
"Pro-promised?" she asked once more.
"Then, I-I'm glad," she answered.
And because she was unrestricted by her conscious emotional barriers in that semi-unconscious state, she did something she would never have done otherwise. Reaching out an arm, she wrapped it around his neck before pushing herself up to place a soft kiss onto his right cheek.
"Hina...chan..." Naruto cried.
Hinata merely sighed in response before flashing him a soft smile as she snuggled back into his arms, welcoming the slumber that was now dragging her under.
However, before she slipped completely, she imparted another sentence that added another confusing feeling to the list of of already conflicting emotions he was feeling for Hinata.
"I love you Naruto-kun..."