Naruto and the Sunflower

Written for National Girlfriend's day, August 1 (which just happens to be Himawari's birthday too!) and for my Show Me the "Flower" Love Challenge

Disclaimer: Naruto and its characters belong to Masashi Kishimoto

"Hinata-chan! Hinata-chan!" Naruto shouts as he whisks past Ko with a belated 'sorry' and rushes toward the room of his beloved girlfriend within the Hyūga compound.

Normally he would practice better manners, waiting for an invitation into the complex and silently walking behind the Hyūga guard to his destination, but that's the last thing on his mind in this emergency and he needs to reach Hinata before...before...

"Yes, Naruto-kun?" Hinata says as she appears in the hallway holding the potted sunflower plant he had sent to her earlier.

Immediately Naruto's eyes grow wide and for once the orange clad ninja is speechless.

"Naruto-kun?" she asks again, concern slowly leeching into her voice.

"Uh..." he pauses. What can he possibly say now? He was hoping to intervene, but obviously it's too late. Momentarily paralyzed, he can tell she's waiting for him to respond, so he quickly scrambles for the right words.

"Heh...Hey, Hinata-chan, I, ah...I see you got my flower," he says sheepishly, hand scratching the back of his head.

"Oh," she says, surprised. "This was from you?"

Darn it! She didn't know? Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. He should have just kept his big mouth shut. A second ago, he could have denied it but now he just gave himself away!

"Uh...well, ah...I dunno...or... Yeah," he finally admits, defeated. It's against his nindo to outright lie and this is Hinata he is talking to. She deserves the truth.

Hinata opens her mouth to respond but the blond cuts her off.

"Wait!" he says defensively, causing her to be taken aback. "Before you say anything, please, PLEASE let me explain."

Silenced, he takes this as his cue to repair the damage.

"Hinata-chan?" Naruto begins looking into her beautiful, pearlescent eyes. "Geez, this is really awkward," he says aloud but shakes himself to man up. "First off, I wanna let you know I'm really sorry and I feel awful about this whole thing. I know I'm a jerk," he verifies. "Arghhh! I couldn't even get a simple gesture right!" he exclaims to himself, irritation evident in his voice.

Hinata looks back at him, confused. "Naruto-kun. Wh...What are you talking about?"

"Please Hinata-chan, I hope you'll find it in your heart to forgive me. It's just... well, giving you a sunflower for Girlfriend's Day seemed like a good idea at the time. Gads, now when I look back, I don't know what I was thinking. I should have asked for help before I went ahead and made a fool of myself. I hope you believe me. I wasn't trying to make fun of you in the least. I...I really like you," he admits, and she shyly smiles. "It was wrong of me for not looking more into my gift before sending it to you."

Puzzled, Hinata looks back at him.

"You see, I've felt like I've been the luckiest man alive ever since you agreed to my girlfriend," he tells her, and she turns a deeper shade of red. "After our first kiss...well, I not only wanted to shout it to the world but I wanted to do something to show you just how special you really are to me."

"Naruto-kun. I hope you know you're very special to me too," she tells him sincerely. He smiles but quickly hangs his head.

"Thanks," he says. "I'm really lucky that you're so nice, but it's okay to be mad at me if I hurt your feelings."

"Hurt my feelings?" she asks confused.

"Yeah," he deflates. "It's not an excuse but, I'll just say, I didn't quite grow up knowing about stuff like giving flowers and showing love. I mean, I know from watching the movies, giving roses is supposed to be romantic and all, but I wanted to try to do something different for you, something that I thought was better."

Suddenly a frown mars his face and her heart sinks when he looks so downtrodden.

"I learned my lesson though. I should have just gone with the roses. Your love means the world to me, and now I know I should have taken the time to save more money and buy the finest ones I could find, just for you."

That's completely unnecessary, but it showcases just how sweet he really is. Naruto's confession of love really touches her heart, but for the life of her, she still doesn't really catch where all of this is going.

"I know it's stupid, but I originally picked this sunflower because it has special meaning to me," he admits. "Back when I was young, I lived alone in a small apartment all by myself. The Third provided me with money but it wasn't always enough and I had to scrimp by on very little. Rarely would I buy anything other than food, but when I'd have a growth spurt, I was forced to dig into my budget to buy new clothes and shoes. This would put a huge stress on my extremely limited budget. I'll admit, times were especially hard in the Winter when there was scarce little food around, but whenever a growth spurt happened in the Summer, I was able to skate by nicely thanks to the new blooms of the season. You see, the field behind my little place was barren in the Winter, but in the Summer, dozens of beautiful sunflowers would color the field with their bright yellow flowers and supply me with countless meals with their bountiful supply of sunflower seeds. Dandelion leaves made for a slightly bitter salad, but the sunflower seeds I roasted really helped to fill me up. I never went hungry during the time they were in bloom, and I would nearly salivate every year when they came out. They brightened my life, and many a time, they were my lifeline. Their beauty long surpassed any rose or carnation, and to this day I think my love of bright colors really stems from my early exposure to them."

Goodness! Hinata's tears well up. She is pained from hearing the hardships of Naruto's young life and is grateful for the bounty of nature that kept him alive during that time.

"When Girlfriend's day was coming, I remembered those experiences and that's why I chose to gift one to you," Naruto admits. "I had no idea it was considered a weed though, until Sai mentioned something about that this morning." He cringes at the mistake. "I'm so sorry," he reiterates. "Here I was thinking I was giving you something special but instead it probably seemed like I was making fun of you. I ran all the way over here in hopes of intercepting the delivery, but I was too late. Hinata-chan, you've gotta believe me, I meant no harm by it. Please, you're the best thing to ever happen to me," he says in desperation.

Tears start to form in the Byakugan users eyes and he scurries to redeem himself.

"Please, I'm really really sorry," Naruto voice breaks. "I hope you believe me," he practically begs. "Please..."

"Oh Naruto-kun," Hinata says choking back the tears, and sharing a shy smile. "The flower was beautiful when it arrived, but now with your shared story, I love it all the more!" she beams. "Thank you."

After releasing a breath he didn't know he was holding, she leans in to give him a hug, and Naruto's happiness returns. Whew. "Thank you Hinata-chan. I want you to know, I would never do anything intentionally to hurt you," he says with sincerity, kissing the top of her head and reveling in the fact that the love of his life is still by his side, amazing and beautiful, just like the sunflowers in the fields he knew all too well. "Man, I'm so lucky to have you."

"I'm lucky to have you too, Naruto-kun," she affirms. Then plucking out one of the seeds, she smiles. "We never had wildflowers grow within the Hyūga compound, so this is new to me. Come show me how to make those roasted sunflower seeds you were talking about," she suggests. "It sounds like fun."

A short while later, it turns out it is. Cracking open the seeds and sharing conversation with the one you love makes for the best afternoon. In fact it's so much fun, the next year they establish it as a June tradition and the gifted sunflower continues to bloom many more lovely memories for them.

As time passes, building a life with Hinata is Naruto's dream come true, and a few years down the road, after marrying and beginning the next phase of their lives, a bolt of spunky Uzumaki spirit is followed by the August arrival of a little ray of sunshine in the form of an Uzumaki daughter. Naruto grins when Hinata proposes their daughter's name to him. Himawari is the living incarnation of the love they have for each other and although he can't explain it, Naruto can already feel it when he looks at her. His little girl is embodying the spirit and love of what it means to be a Konoha sunflower: strong, bright, and emanating that something extra for all to admire and enjoy. As he cradles his new bundle of joy in his arms, he basks in the bliss of having a family, ecstatic that both he and Hinata have made it this far, and with his heart full, he beams with pride as he looks forward to all the sunny and happy days of their future that he's sure to be ahead of them.

The end

Author's note:

Fun fact: In Naruto fashion, our orange clad friend took off before hearing Sai's full explanation. It's true, the wild ancestor of the sunflower is considered more of a weed, but the cultivated sunflower isn't. Naruto really did pick the perfect flower for Hinata as sunflowers are supposed to symbolize unwavering faith and unconditional love.

Also, for those who are unaware, Himawari means 'sunflower' in Japanese.

I thought it would be fun to explore Himawari's namesake for her birthday, and I'm curious, how do you think they came to decide on her name?

Working on this story sparked some interest of my own to work to complete a story I started awhile back, regarding Sarada and her reaction to her namesake. I had incorporated reasonings behind Sarada's namesake in my story, "Regret," and now after writing this, it's motivated me to get to work on posting her reaction to it by the time her birthday comes around. Who knows, if there is enough interest perhaps I'll even consider hosting a Show Me the "Family" Love challenge then. To those who are a part of the FRM or interested in joining and participating, feel free to PM and let me know.

Last but not least, I want to thank the following lovely people who have pledged to this Show Me the "Flower" Love challenge and who have supported the spread of the positive constructive review: Lumiere de Venise, Mintblossoms, mississippimudpiecraves, naash, Pixie07, Poodie, SakuraandSasukeLove00, Sandataba, usagi-no-usotsuki, Wildman98, Wintry Leen, and Yengirl. Stories submitted for this challenge are posted to my C2 account so please check them out and be sure to share your review love. Constructive commentary means a great deal and it's the best way to show your appreciation and keep writers improving and sharing on this site. Take care everyone!