Author's Note: Hello! This is just something small that popped into my head after reading some comments pertaining to the last chapter and final pairings. Hope you enjoy :-)
Plain, Dark, Weirdo
It's true that at first, Naruto had thought Hinata was plain. Developing his Sexy Jutsu as a young boy had given him a somewhat skewed view on what was attractive. And unlike Sakura who demanded attention, he never really looked at Hinata. Sakura was smart, and she made sure that everyone knew she was smart. She was also pretty, and made sure to flaunt it as much as possible in front of Sasuke in hopes of gaining his affection.
Even for those who actually bothered to look past Sakura and Ino's ostentatious looks and actions, all you could really see of Hinata was a dark head of hair tucked into a large, baggy, beige coat. And what kind of color was beige, anyway? It was like the opposite of orange. While orange was loud, and possibly a little garish, beige was practically not even a color at all. Even white could be overwhelming in large quantities, but a lot of beige was just… beige. It was boring and it was certainly plain.
He had also thought she was dark. Her hair was a deep midnight color, something that reminded him more of his emo teammate Sasuke than anyone else. Her eyes were the color of pearls, which were not dark at all, but her expression was always gloomy, like she never had anything to be happy about. And perhaps she didn't, and neither did he, but there wasn't much opportunity to focus on that when he had the bright, happy Sakura-chan on his team. Even if she never smiled for him, he could sometimes pretend.
Naruto could also admit that as a young boy, he was not the most focused individual. Few things caught his interest, and fewer still could hold it. Therefore, a loud girl who shone in pink and red was the obvious choice for a boyhood crush. Compared to her, there was not much chance for a quiet, petite girl who blended into the background.
It was actually in the Chunin Exam preliminaries that he began seeing her in a slightly different light. Despite not having paid too much attention to her before, watching her cousin tear her apart with his words and fists was painful. That's not how family should act and the domineering bastard's ideas on destiny and an unchangeable fate were certainly unacceptable.
Then, when it looked as if Neji had her beaten, she stood proudly with blood dripping from her mouth, and claimed his nindo for her own.
Naruto was both stunned and impressed. He hadn't realized before that she was actually that incredible. When Neji finally beat her within an inch of her life, Naruto didn't even second guess dipping his hand into the blood that proved her determination. He willed that determination to join with his own and vowed to defeat the bully called a prodigy.
Only a month later, Naruto was on his way to the stadium, preparing to make good on his blood oath to defeat Neji and avenge Hinata. He was actually feeling pretty low that day, none of his usual confidence and 'fake it til you make it' seemed to be working. When he caught sight of Hinata at the training grounds, he recalled Lee's statement that she was actually pretty similar to him. It made him think that perhaps he could open up to her.
She was definitely weird, she stuttered and turned red, but her words of encouragement were exactly what he needed to hear. He thought that maybe Lee was right and she understood something about him better than anyone else had before. So maybe she was a little plain and dark, and she was certainly strange, but he really liked people like her.
As he lay on the ground, pinned by Pein's chakra rods, he didn't expect the quietest of their academy class to be the one to ignore his command that everyone stay out of his fight.
He didn't expect the plain, dark one to fly into the crater, palms roaring with chakra and Byakugan blazing with determination.
He didn't expect to see her looking not plain and dark, but fierce with arms surrounded by glowing lions.
He certainly didn't expect her declaration of love.
When he stopped later to use his Sage mode to check on everyone, he found himself needing to know if she had survived the blast from his transformation. Sensing that she and everyone else was alright literally brought tears to his eyes. Because above all, more than being alone and more than losing his friends to an enemy, Naruto feared the loss of his friends by his own hand.
That day, as the villagers celebrated him as a hero and he finally got the recognition he had always craved, he sought out one face in particular. The plain, dark girl who had bravely and stupidly jumped into his fight and essentially saved his life.
Naruto noticed that she looked much less dark when she smiled. Her pearly eyes sparkled, and he instinctively knew that the joy he saw in them was because of him finally getting the acknowledgment she always knew he deserved.
But before he could think too much on her confession, or the strange new sensation he felt when he saw her beaming so proudly at him, he was blindsided by the knowledge Sasuke was now a part of the Akatsuki. His best friend had officially kidnapped a fellow jinchuuriki and was being hunted by Cloud. So he sped off to the Kage Summit, determined to save his friend.
War broke out, the land overflowing with blood, sweat, and tears, and when all was said and done he found himself on the ground, less an arm, lying next to an equally injured and exhausted Sasuke.
As Naruto watched his rival and best friend apologize to Sakura, he couldn't help but notice the atmosphere between the two. It honestly surprised him how little it hurt. He had had feelings for the pinkette for years so although he was genuinely happy for them, he had expected to feel much stronger about the loss of any possibility of a romance between them.
Instead of wistful thoughts about his teammate, he found himself thinking about someone much different. Someone quiet, but strong. Subtle, but constant.
When everyone began to pick their lives back up after returning, many were surprised to see the Uzumaki spending more time with the Hyuga heiress. "He must be heartbroken about his teammates," some said. "How could he give up on Sakura like that?" others questioned.
He just shook his head at their ignorance. It wasn't in his nature to give up, but he had grown up enough to realize that maybe what he had thought was romantic love was something more familial. His team was the closest thing he had to a family, after all.
And so he found himself happy, and truly and earnestly loved by a girl who was not actually plain and dark as he had initially thought.
Sure, she still allowed Kiba and Akamaru to snuggle up to her when they were covered in mud and smelled horrible. And sure, she would occasionally hug Shino inside of his jacket when he was discouraged about ever finding someone willing to be with a guy who had bugs living inside him.
There were other odd things he learned about her. She had hobbies you would usually associate with old women, like knitting and pressing flowers. Despite making that wonderful medicinal cream, the idea of learning medical jutsu had never even crossed her mind. And it turned out, if you made her laugh too hard, sometimes she would let out a small snort.
So perhaps she was still weird, but she was his and he was hers. And that was really all that mattered.
There you have it! A little fluff for the new year.
By the way, for those who are interested I promise I am doing my darnedest to finish the next chapter for my Hinata Sweetheart story. It'll come!