Chapter 3: An Unexpected Turnabout
Just outside the Hyuuga residence, that very same afternoon...
"UNHAND MY DAUGHTER AT ONCE!" a very angry Hyuuga thundered at a very scared Naruto, who by the way, was still carrying a very fainted Hinata in his arms.
Can this day get any worse? the blonde thought miserably.
He had hiked all the way back, carrying his beloved childhood friend, along with his own backpack and hers, out in the open sun while having to re-analyze this new development about the bluenette's confession to him and now he was being scolded by her middle-age father? Some thanks he was getting, that was for certain...
"It's not what you think, Hiashi-san!" Naruto began, only for the bluenette to sigh softly before wrapping her arms more tightly around his slender frame with an angelic look on her face. This however, was far too much for the older Hyuuga man to bear.
"Naruto...do you know why this stick that I carry is called the Hyuuga stick of chastity?" he asked in a dangerous tone.
I don't think I want to find out, Naruto shivered. There was a malevolent gleam in the Hyuuga's eyes that he didn't like. Unconsciously, he began tightening his embrace Hinata.
"Uh, to beat adolescent boys who try to pick up Hina-chan?" he asked innocently, hoping to distract the elder as much as possible.
"Close...but not quite. I'll give you another hint; it's also called the manhood-stealer," Hiashi explained, before revealing a hidden blade underneath what was suppose to be a simple walking stick. Naruto paled at the way the blade shone in the sunlight. Yep, there was only one-word to describe this situation; SCREWED.
"Now, I'll be nice and give you five minutes to explain yourself,," Hiashi continued, re-sheathing the blade. "But bear in mind that should your answer be unsatisfactory...well, let's just say the Namikaze line ends with you, shall we?"
"Hina-chan fainted!" Naruto answered back frantically. When there was no response from Hiashi, he hurriedly pressed on his case, hoping to pacify the Hyuuga man. If there was anything that was scarier than that scary looking blade, it was a very upset father holding that very scary looking blade.
"I came to pick her up from school, just like you told me to! And she...fainted when after I met her," he finished lamely.
"Do you honestly expect me to believe that she just miraculously fainted on the spot when you came to pick her up?" Hiashi growled "And, while we're at it, you, for the sake of convenience, decided to carry her back all the way here out of your own good will?!'
"But I'm telling the truth!"
"I'll believe that when pigs fly!"
"He's telling the truth, Uncle," a solemn voice called out from behind, as a seventeen year old boy entered the living room.
"I saw him on my way back from school," Neji pressed on. "If you don't believe me, there were other witnesses as well."
The elder man looked like he was about to argue back when an idea started forming in his mind; so the boy wanted to show how pure his intentions were, huh?
Well, there was always that ONE person who he could always count on to test his worth. Mentally nodding at his little idea, Hiashi almost felt sorry for what he was about to put the blonde through. Almost.
"Very well. I...apologize Naruto-san. Since Neji has given me his approval, I will trust you just this once," the older man replied. "Would you mind taking Hina-chan up to her room? It's upstairs on the right."
"Uh, okay?" Naruto answered back, stunned at this strange turn of events. Having said so, he began walking towards the stairs, with Hinata still in his arms.
In response, Neji raised an eyebrow at his uncle.
"Don't give me that look," he snapped back. "If he really is as sincere as he claims to be, he should have no trouble dealing with Hanabi."
"You're can't be serious, uncle!" Neji protested, as his face paled at the remark. "Did you remember what Hanabi-sama did to the last five guys who insisted on going up to Hinata-sama's room?!"
"Bah! It's just one week of not being able to sit down properly."
"And excruciating pain for that fleeting moment when she decides to punish whomever comes between her and her onee-chan..."
"That's my girl!"
Outside Hinata's room...
Naruto had braced himself, as he entered the room. This was first time he had ever entered a girl's room, discounting the previous times he was here when they were still little.
Sakura, his ex-girlfriend, had never invited him into her room when he came to pick her up for dates, so this was a first for him. And truth be told, he was a little nervous about what laid behind that very door.
After all, it held a certain piece of Hinata that he had never seen before. A teenager's room wasn't just some place they slept in or do their homework. It was the only sanctuary they had from the hectic day-to-day lives. The one place where they could be themselves and express who they really were behind close doors through their posters, diaries, drawings and so-on.
It was a sacred place and he felt that he was violating it, even though Hinata had once asked him if he wanted to discuss things in her room since they were always doing it in his. Naruto, however, had always declined, partly out of fear. He didn't know what lay behind that door and he never actually wanted to know. Then again, he knew that this was going to happen sooner or later...
"Forgive me Hina-chan..." he muttered, as he broke that very barrier that he had kept himself out of up till this very moment.
It was a simple room, despite the Hyuuga's luxurious spending as high-class elites. There was a comfy little bed located on the far side of the room, with a purple blanket tucked at all corners of the bed and a little bedside table, equipped with a night time lamp, next to it.
On the centre floor was a small circular rug, also purple in color. On the right side of the room, held a tiny dressing table with a few accessories and grooming items. Opposite to that was a rather large closet next to the dressing table.
Finally, there was a large study table with a neatly stacked pile of folders, books, stationary and other studying equipment, that Hinata would be using once she started school at Senju High. Beside the school equipment were also picture frames containing photos of Hinata throughout the years; from when she first joined her dance lessons at the age of six to when she won her first national martial arts competition as a slightly exhausted looking nine year old. The largest of these photos however, was a picture that showed a slightly bewildered four year old Hinata as she was pulled along by an enthusiastic looking Naruto.
All in all, a normal room, typical of a girl Hinata's age. The only things that were out of the ordinary were an elegant violin case, placed a few feet away from the study table, a cute little orange fox plus-hie with nine tails, located next to her pillow on her bed and a small girl of about ten years old who was fiddling with said plus-hie, as she laid sprawled over the bed. The young girl turned to look up as she heard the door click open.
"Onee-chan!" she called out happily, only to stopped in surprise as she took in the view in front of her. Almost immediately, her happy expression soured as she got up slowly from the bed, her knuckles cracking as she did so.
"What did you do to my sister?!" she yelled.
For perhaps the hundredth time that day, Naruto sighed; Hinata had once told him about her little sister and how that sometimes she felt concerned that her little sister would overreact at even the most littlest of things. While she did adore her younger sister, Hinata had tried, rather unsuccessfully, over the years to 'curb' her of her distasteful attitude towards men.
Hanabi had once spotted a potential pervert stalking up on her sister before and that image had forever ingrained itself into the young ten year old that men were nothing more than perverted pigs that needed to be kept an eye on.
"Look, I'll take whatever it is that you'll throw at me, insults or otherwise but can you please let me put Hina-chan on the bed first? My arms are killing me!" Naruto complained.
"You just called my sister fat!" Hanabi screamed.
I've had just about enough of today! Naruto thought. With that, he strolled over to the bed, all the while ignoring the glares and the insults that the young Hyuuga was throwing at him before depositing Hinata onto her bed. Having done so, he turned to leave, onto to realize that his beloved childhood friend still held a firm grip on his uniform.
"Naruto-kun..." Hinata cried in her trance-like state.
So this is Naruto-kun, Hanabi thought. What does Onee-chan see in him? He looks just like the rest of them!
"A little help here, Hanabi-chan?" Naruto asked.
"Why should I?" the younger Hyuuga answered back smugly. "You deserve every moment of torture than Onee-chan is dealing you with!"
"In case you haven't notice, I wouldn't call clinging onto my school uniform as a potential torture technique!" Naruto answered back exasperatedly, shocking Hanabi.
A moment of silence stretched between the three of them as Hanabi took this in slowly. For the first time in her life, the young ten year old was being scolded by a member of the opposite gender who was not also a Hyuuga member. But Naruto didn't know about this and little did he care; he was hot, tired and confused. All he wanted to do right now was to go back, take a shower, and flung himself onto his bed.
So, he thinks he can act all high and mighty to me just because Onee-chan's a little friendly with him, huh? Hanabi thought. Well, methinks, I'll toy with him a bit. Nobody makes a fool out of Hyuuga Hanabi!
Little did she know how wrong she was going to be...
"There is one way..." Hanabi answered slowly. "Someone's got to kiss Onee-chan on her forehead to get her to let you go of you."
Now, doing this to Hinata might seemed to be a harmless little prank but Hiashi and Hanabi have learnt otherwise. Call it woman's intuition but doing something like this to a sleeping Hinata was NOT a good idea.
Due to the years of continuous martial arts training, Hinata had developed a somewhat reflexive reaction whenever something or someone got too close to her personal space. That, coupled with the fact, that many of her suitors have always tried to 'press' themselves too strongly towards Hinata left her with a rather nasty habit of grabbing the person who decides to get a little too close to her, into a locking position before flinging them across the street twenty metres away from her.
It was astounding what her frail looking body could do when she was in a rather uncomfortable situation. Unfortunately, the same thing happened to anyone who tried waking her up by direct physical contact. This was why she now had an alarm clock instead of having the usual Hyuuga servant shake her from her slumber.
This was also the reason why Hanabi wanted Naruto to kiss her Onee-chan. If anything the past ten years had thought her, all those numerous suitors were always pressing for an opportunity such as this. It was almost too good to be true; especially when you had the green-light from Hinata's own sister. Unfortunately for the younger Hyuuga, Naruto was not one of these many suitors and he wasn't about to take advantage of Hinata in such a distasteful manner.
"Okay, you come and do it," he answered the dumbstruck younger sister.
When she just stood there with her mouth wide open, Naruto continued sarcastically. "Sometime today would be great, if you don't mind, Hanabi-chan."
"Why do I have to do it?!"
"What are you talking about?" the blonde shot back. "Wouldn't it be better to have her younger sister kiss her awake instead of some guy she hasn't met in ten years?"
"Well, yes but..." she trailed off, unable to find a counter to Naruto's logic. Another moment of silence passed between the three of them before Naruto sighed out in exasperation.
"Look, you're dad is still waiting downstairs and he's going to murder me if you don't do something about it!"
"I rather have him murder you for what you did to Onee-chan," Hanabi muttered darkly. "You want to free yourself, you do it!"
"Fine!" Having said so, Naruto turned his attention back to the bluenette.
"Hina-chan," he began softly. This earned a soft whine from the semi-conscious Hinata. "Please let go..."
When she didn't relent, he braced himself and leaned forward before placing a very soft tender kiss on her forehead.
"Naruto-kun..." Hinata whispered, before releasing her hold on him. A few seconds later, soft snores could be heard from the bluenette as she drifted off to real sleep this time. Naruto merely sighed before standing up...only to find himself face to face with a very angry looking Hanabi.
"YOU. ME. HALLWAY. NOW." she growled.
In the hallway...
"Look, Hanabi-chan," Naruto began.
"DON'T YOU DARE ADDRESS ME SO FAMILIARLY!" Hanabi shouted angrily. "I'M NOT SURRENDERING ONEE-CHAN TO YOU!"
"Nor should you," Naruto replied casually.
"IF YOU THINK-wait, what?!"
"You heard me, I'm not after your sister..."
This is a first, Hanabi thought warily. He' the first guy to actually gets close to Onee-can, not get beaten up and he doesn't even want her?! He must be more cunning than I thought...
"Don't you...don't you like my sister?" she asked cautiously. A small grimace of pain flashed before Naruto's face before he concealed it behind a flat mask.
"No," he answered neutrally. "I don't see Hina-chan in that light."
"You're lying, Naruto-kun," Hanabi accused. " You might be able to fool yourself but you can't fool me or Onee-chan!"
Hina-chan knows?! Naruto thought, before discarding the thought. That's impossible, I've never told her anything or even shown a single moment of interest at her. Well until today that is... But if Hanabi knows...this is bad. I've got to play dumb!
"I have no idea what you're talking about, Hanabi-chan," Naruto bluffed. "There's absolutely nothing going on between your sister and me. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've kept Hiashi-san and Neji-san waiting long enough."
"You're not going anyway until I get to the bottom of this," Hanabi retorted, blocking the only path of exit between the two of them. "I'll ask you again...do you or do you not like my sister?"
"I've already told you, I don't see her in that light," Naruto answered before pushing himself through Hanabi.
The younger girl merely smirked as she let the blonde passed her by.
"Fine, deny it all you want...but let's see what'll happen when Onee-chan finds out about this."
This stop the blonde in his tracks as turned to look at the ten year old behind him, a wary look on his face.
Are all the Hyuugas damn geniuses or something? the blonde thought. I didn't want to do this but it looks like I have no choice...
"Congratulations on finding that out Hanabi-chan," he mocked. "So, what are you going to do now?"
"You shouldn't be referring to me like that Naruto-kun," Hanabi threatened back. "I could make very good use of this information..."
"It would be in our best interests if you kept that little bit of information to yourself...less you want to lose your beloved sister to me."
'What are you talking about?" Hanabi asked, before the links started forming in her mind. A small laugh escaped her mouth, before erupting into a full blown giggle as she considered the absurdity of the blonde's wasn't an amused giggle however. It was one full of disbelief.
"You can't be serious! You actually think Onee-chan sees you that way?" she taunted. "Onee-sama is the head of the Hyuuga corporation. She's perfect in every possible way! Why would she want someone like you?"
"Then by all means...go ahead and see what happens."
It was then that Hanabi knew that Naruto was right. There was no reason for him to bluff himself out of this situation. If anything, he was trying not to be in a relationship with Hinata. If she didn't like him and she knew of his feelings, she would turned him down. But if she did like him and she found out about his feelings, she would only pursue him all the more if he didn't give chase first. Especially if she found out that her beloved was trying his best not to chase after her despite his obvious affections.
"I do-don't think th-that's necessary, Naruto-kun," a soft voice called out from behind them.
Both Naruto and Hanabi frozed when they heard that voice, before seeing a slightly dazed but fully awake Hinata now walking towards the both of them.
"H-hina-chan...h-how much did you hear?" Naruto asked, dreading the answer.
"E-enough to k-know about how you r-really feel, Naruto-kun..." she trailed off. She began towards the blonde but he took a step back, fear reflecting widely in his eyes. "N-naruto-kun..."
"I'm s-sorry, Hinata-chan," he whispered hoarsely. "I can't...I just can't..."
Saying, so, the blonde took off down the stairs before rushing out of the Hyuuga's residence, his backpack forgotten amongst the chaos.
"N-naruto-kun," Hinata whispered, as she clutched her chest, her heart aching as she saw the blonde disappearing. Now, it was her turn to fell that unfamiliar emptiness in her chest.
"I'm so sorry Onee-sama..." Hanabi said, whimpering slightly as her sister turned around to give her an angry glare. "I didn't know you care that way for Naruto-kun."
"Y-you should b-be," she scolded. "B-but you're not t-the only ones...Come out...t-tou-san, Neji-san."
At that, a somewhat shocked Neji and Hiashi walked up the stair to face the two sisters.
"I'm a-ashamed at all o-of you! E-everything was al-already going so w-well with Na-naruto-kun and you th-three decided to i-interfere. E-especially you h-hanabi."
The two Hyuuga males hung their head in shame at the bluenette's words but not her younger sister.
"What do you see in that boy!" her sister retorted angrily. "He didn't even have the courage to admit his feelings for you! Besides, you've heard him! He doesn't want to pursue-"
Whatever she was going to say next was cut off as a sharp slap from her older sister silenced her. As she caressed her stinging cheek, Hanabi looked up in shock at her older sister.
"L-listen well Hanabi...I m-may not have kn-known Naruto-kun's f-feelings towards me un-until today but c-certain things a-aren't supposed to be revealed u-until they're ready! The on-only thing you've ma-managed to su-suceed is to toke a-away his courage. N-now, if a-all th-three of you w-will excuse me, I h-have to a-apologize to m-my boyfriend."
Saying so, she walked down the stairs, picking up the blonde's backpack as she made her way to the Namikaze residence. All the while, her mind thinking of a way to explain the situation to the blonde.
"Tou-san...Neji-san...what are we supposed to do?" Hanabi asked miserably. Unfortunately for all three of them, there was nothing they could do.
At the Namikaze residence, Naruto's room...
"Arg!" the sixteen year old boy yelled, as he pounded the wall next to his bed.
Damn! he thought. Damn it all! Another bout of wall-punching began as the blonde savored the painful feeling in his fists; anything to distract him from that God-awful sensation in his chest.
Why?! he screamed silently. Why did this have to happen?! Things were supposed to be simple! Now she knows...what am I going to do?! Damn it all! There was a sharp crack as he exerted more force than he intended to into that last punch. A sharp pain followed after that but he no longer cared.
Hina probably sees me as nothing more than a coward now, he thought miserably. Why did she have to fall for someone like me?!
"Soichi!" a soft voice called out from behind the locked door.
"Go away!" he yelled back, before continuing his relentless assault onto the wall. There was a sharp click in the door as the lock was turned, and a horrified Naruto turned to see the door open to reveal the very person he didn't want to see standing next to his mother.
"I'll leave it to you, Hina-chan," Kushina whispered before making her disappearance.
Now, it was just the two teens as the atmosphere tensed between the two of them. Without so much as a word, Hinata stepped slowly into the room before closing it behind her.
"N-naruto-kun..." Hinata's eyes had caught sight of the way blood ran from his bleeding knuckles and her heart fell at the sight of it.
"What are you doing here?!" he hissed. "Get out!"
Hinata knew that her blonde friend wouldn't accept any form of words or actions from her, so she did the only sensible thing she could; she sat herself down on the cold floor and waited.
More than half an hour passed in this fashion as neither of them moved. Finally, Naruto wavered.
"You must hate me..." he called out, his back turned towards the bluenette.
"I co-could never ha-hate you Naruto-kun," Hinata replied back.
"Why me?" he asked. "What makes me so special?"
"I'm a nobody. I'm not smart, I'm not athletic and I'm not talented. Just...what do you see in me, Hina-chan?" he almost begged.
"For t-the very fact t-that you try, Naruto-kun," Hinata answered back. "You're s-selfless, kind, g-gentle, com-compassionate and so m-much more. If a-anything, it's b-because you're y-you."
"I'm pathetic! Sakura-"
"Sakura doesn't kn-know precious y-you are, Naruto-kun," Hinata interrupted. "B-but I do..."
"You know how I feel about you Hina...but I can't be with you..."
A look of hurt crossed the bluenette's face as she heard the blondes' words. "Am I-I...not g-good enough for you, Naruto-kun?"
"NO! If anything you're too good...but I can't see you that way. I...I don't know if what I feel is really love...or if its just some loneliness asking me to fill in the gap left by Sakura-chan...I can't sacrifice your happiness for my selfishness...no matter how much I want to..."
"Naruto-kun..." Hinata whispered. Even now, the blonde was still thinking of her sake. If anything, his actions only seemed to re-confirm the feelings she held on to dearly about him.
"I'm sorry Hina-chan..."
"Y-you don't need to a-apologize Naruto-kun," Hinata replied, as she walked over to the blonde.
Reaching our an arm, she held both his bleeding hands in hers as she gently massaged the sore region. Then, slowly, she lifted his hand up to her lips and placed a soft kiss upon the broken knuckle.
Naruto shuddered at her touch. It amazed him just how many different ways Hinata managed to de-sensitized his nerves and then reactivate them. Nor of the fact that he felt it impossible to resists her touch every single time.
Wordlessly, she placed her head on his chest once more, as she hummed a soft tune.
"Hi-hina-chan?" Naruto asked.
"Do y-you ha-hate this, Naruto-kun?" she asked, echoing his exact same words from their confrontation earlier on. "Be-because I d-don't..."
"I s-said, I d-don't hate it if you don't, Hina-chan!" he stammered. Another half-an hour passed by as the two of them sat in silence, finding comfort in each other's presence.
"W-where does th-that leave us, Naruto-kun?" Hinata asked suddenly.
"I don't know Hina-chan," Naruto replied. "I want to love you...I truly do but we can't go out just yet. Not until I sort out my feelings. Will you...wait for me?"
"H-hai, Naruto-kun," Hinata answered. "I w-will always w-wait for you."