Always there

Prologue

Uzumaki Naruto: 10 Years Old

Status: Ninja Academy Student

Time: June 7, 2001 Thursday 3:45pm


Hinata fiddled with her thumbs as she waited next to the entrance of the academy nervously. Today was the day. Hinata finally decided that she would do her best to become friends with Naruto. She planned to meet him at the gates of the academy at the end of class and start with a simple 'See you tomorrow!' or even a 'Hello!'

"See ya, Hinata!" a girl called out and Hinata just sent her friend a small smile and waved.

'I wonder what's taking him so long,' she thought as she stared outside.

"Shut up!" a voice yelled and Hinata turned to find Naruto surrounded by three boys. "I will become Hokage! I'll show you!"

"Hmph, some idiot like you, yeah right," one of them said as he crossed his arms. Hinata stared worriedly between them.

"Someone like you could never be the Hoka-" the other started but was cut off as Naruto punched him in the gut. "You freak!" the boy said as the other two grabbed Naruto's arms.

'Why isn't anyone doing anything?!' Hinata thought as she glanced at the adults and parents around who were ignoring the situation. The boy who was punched clenched his fist.

"W-wait!" Hinata said suddenly before she stood in front of the blonde haired boy. Naruto looked at her in shock as the fist continued to fly straight for her.

"What do you think you're doing there?!" an adult yelled as the boy froze, his hand inches from Hinata's face. "Don't go hitting little girls just cause you feel like it!" she continued. The boys were then pulled away to be lectured and Hinata pouted.

'Why didn't they say anything when it was Naruto?' she thought as she kept her eyes on them.

"U-uhm," Naruto said nervously, "You didn't have to do that," he muttered as he looked towards the ground. "It's not like I couldn't handle it or anything."

"Sorry," she replied with a soft smile. Naruto's cheeks flushed pink as he scratched the back of his head.

"Hinata-sama!" a familiar voice said. Hinata turned to find her caretaker walking towards her. As he glanced at Naruto, he grabbed her hand and dragged her away. "Hinata-sama, what did I tell you about staying away from that boy?" he said angrily. Hinata tried to respond but was cut off. She looked back at the boy to find his expression hidden from view. She took a deep breath.

"And he's just a brat who-" her caretaker froze as Hinata pulled her hand away.

"See you tomorrow, Naruto-kun!" she yelled as she waved her hand in the air. Naruto looked up, his eyes wide and shock evident on his face. The surrounding parents scowled as they turned away but Naruto was just frozen in that moment.

"Y-yeah," he said weakly before Hinata smiled at him and took hold of her caretaker's hand again.

Nobody noticed the strange figure on the side who watched the entire scene with a smirk on his face.


The next morning, Hinata walked into the classroom, a smile on her face. 'I finally did it. I had the courage to talk to him,' she thought to herself before she glanced around the room to find Naruto, sitting in a corner by himself.

"Morning, Naruto-kun," Hinata said casually as she sat next to him. Naruto continued to stare at her like she was crazy.

"H-Hinata, you know you don't have to sit here," he said as he looked away, resting his head on his hand.

"I know," was all she said with a smile.

"But-"

"Everyone, now's the time to assign partners for the training exercise!" Iruka said as he walked in. Everyone chattered to each other excitedly as the majority had already decided on their partners. "I'll be deciding who you're with," he added and everyone groaned.

"Alright," he began as everyone's names were called out. As Iruka said another's student name, he called out another, "Uzumaki Naruto," he said and Naruto's so called partner stood up in protest. "You'll be with who I assign you with," Iruka said as the boy began to complain.

"But my parents say I'm not allowed to acknowledge someone like him!" he yelled.

"That's enough!" Iruka said loudly and the student scoffed before he took a seat. The teacher let his eyes shift to Naruto, who hid his expression.

"I can do it alone, sensei," Naruto said and Iruka furrowed his brows, "Besides, I don't want to do it with someone like him, either," he muttered.

"But Naruto, this is specifically in pairs. No partner, no grade," he replied. Naruto's face dropped.

"I can be his partner," Hinata said quietly. Iruka looked at the little girl. "I don't mind," she added and Naruto couldn't take his eyes off her, as if she would disappear at any second.

"Alright then," Iruka said happily as he changed names on his sheet of paper. "Now, the training exercise..."

As the days passed, Hinata and Naruto began to speak animatedly about a variety of topics. She would ask him about favourite colour, what he liked to do and he responded eagerly before asking her the same questions. Some children stared at them in annoyance but they were far too engrossed in conversation to even notice.

"And my favourite food is-"

"Ramen," she finished for him and he looked at her in awe.

"You really do know everything, Hinata!" he said excitedly and she laughed before she shook her head.

"Every time I pass by Ichiraku's Ramen, you always seem to be there," she said in an as-a-matter-of-fact tone. Hinata laughed as he placed a hand at the back of his head.

"Yeah, I guess so." Both children stood as the teacher called everyone in for class. They walked side by side, smiles on their faces as they continued to talk.


The pair grew much closer over the months, never leaving the other's side. They were best friends. They did everything together; they were inseparable. That is until-

"Stay away from that freak," a boy said angrily as he grabbed Hinata's hand. Hinata's eyes widened as she tried to step back. "He's just a loser who deserves to be alone!"

"That's right!" a girl's voice yelled. "My mom and dad told me so!"

"Mine too!" another pair of students agreed.

"B-but Naruto-kun's my friend," she said as she looked between the four children.

"If you don't stay away from him, we'll beat you up!" the boy said with a grin. Hinata's heart raced as she looked around for help. "If you so much as acknowledge him, we'll pull all your hair out!"

"Please don't!" Hinata said as she shut her eyes.

"What do you think you're doing?" a voice said angrily. The raven haired girl looked up to find a very pissed off Naruto.

"Speak of the loser," one of the students said as they crossed their arms. The boy smirked as he pulled Hinata closer towards him and took a fistful of her hair.

"We're just hanging out with our new best friend," he said before he pulled on it.

"Stop it," Hinata said as tears formed in her eyes, "It hurts!" The children laughed and Naruto clenched his fist.

"Let her go," he said in a deep tone. The students stopped and looked at him in question. "I said let her go," he repeated and as he stared at them, his eyes turned red. Hinata looked at him with worry before the other kids yelled and ran away. Naruto's eyes narrowed after them and he looked like he was about to go after them.

"Naruto-kun, it's okay!" Hinata said suddenly as she placed her hands on Naruto's shoulders, "I'm okay now see?" she said with a smile. Naruto's expression softened, the red gone from his eyes. "Thank you, Naruto," she said before she grabbed his hand and squeezed it for a brief moment.

"I'm sorry," he said as he turned around and ran.

"Naruto-kun, wait!"


It's been two weeks and Hinata was desperate. Naruto refused to speak to her and continued to keep a distance from her. She frowned when she sat next to him and he shifted to another row. After class, a look of determination was evident in her eyes when she managed to stop him. She was about to confront him but was cut off.

"I'm sorry," was the only response she received before he ran away. Hinata stared after him, tears in her eyes. Naruto 's eyes began to water as he ran through the village. He was almost at the training grounds when-

"Idiot!" a man yelled as he smacked Naruto's head. Naruto fell to the ground as a man in a strange outfit stood before him.

"What the-"

"Go back to her!" the man said angrily as he placed his hands on his hips.

"Who the hell are you?"

"Someone who's stopping you from making a stupid mistake!"

"What the hell are you talking about, old ma-"

"Shut up!" the man yelled as he smacked his head again," Just go back to Hinata!"

"I can't," Naruto said sadly as he hid his expression. "S-she saw and now she's too scared to-"

"Have you been paying attention?!" the man said as he lifted Naruto by the collar. "She's been trying to talk to you all day!"

"What?"

"You really are an idiot," the man sighed as he released him, "Go back and talk to her. Trust me, you won't regret it," he said as Naruto opened his mouth in protest. "Naruto, she's crying," he said as he crossed his arms. Naruto widened his eyes and looked up at the man.

"What?"

"Didn't you hear me, you idiot? You made her cry! Now go back and fix this! You don't want to be the reason Hinata cries, do you?" he said and Naruto looked down before he took a deep breath and wiped his eyes.

"But how did-" he began but as he looked up, the strange man was gone. Naruto's gaze shifted around the area but no one was to be found. "That was weird," he said as he shook his head. He tried to remember the what the man was wearing but his thoughts quickly shifted to something the stranger said. 'Hinata's crying?'


Hinata pulled her knees close to her chest as she leaned against the wall of the Academy. The tears still in her eyes, she buried her face in her arms.

"H-Hinata," a voice called and Hinata widened her eyes. She lifted her head in surprise. "Hinata, please stop crying!" Naruto said before he knelt down in front of her. "Please, Hinata, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to make you cry! I just thought you didn't want to be friends with me anymore and you hated me like everyone else because you saw and I just..I don't really," he said in one breath and all Hinata could do was stare in shock. "So please just stop crying," he said as he took hold of Hinata's hands, a crazy desperate look in his eyes. Hinata's gaze shifted toward the ground before she let out a sigh.

"Naruto-kun-"

"I understand if you don't want to be friends anymore! Just please stop cry-"

"Naruto-kun!" she repeated and Naruto was taken aback. In the entire time they've been friends, Hinata never raised her voice. "Thank you for worrying b-but I don't want to stop being your friend," she said with a small smile, "I really like being your friend Naruto-kun, so please don't do something like that again," she continued and Naruto's grip on her hand loosened as he tried to hold back his own tears. He nodded before-

"I promise that I'll make sure you never cry again! Especially not because of me!" he said as he stood up and held out his hand. Hinata rubbed her eyes as she took hold of it and the blonde pulled her up. 'I really don't like seeing Hinata cry,' he thought to himself as Hinata continued to dry her eyes."Now, let's go to Ichiraku's! I'll buy you some ramen as part of my apology!"

"Naruto-kun, you really don't have..."

The two young students had no idea their entire scenario had an audience. Iruka looked at them with a smile on his face, Uchiha Sasuke was hidden behind a few trees but was able to witness the entire scene and the strange man from earlier watched from the top of the Academy.

"Man, this takes me back," the man muttered before he pulled out what seemed to be a charm. He pulled it close to his lips and muttered a few lines before he disappeared.