Take Me Higher by Gaki

Second attempt at writing for Naruto. This was done as a request by Kira. I hope the characters aren't too OOC and... I have no clue as to who made the swing so in this story, Iruka-sensei did.

She would stare at the swing whenever she walked pass it. Not because it stood out or that it was unusual, but because it seemed almost lonely there. Perhaps it was strange to think so but in her eyes, the swing looked lonely. Barely swaying in the gentle breeze, it seemed as if it were beckoning to her to sit on it, to swing back and forth and giggle for it. She couldn't resist stupid as it was to think something like a swing was trying to lure her towards it, she couldn't look away from it.

Unable to stay away from it any longer, Hinata slowly made her way towards it. Looking from side to side every once awhile as if to see if anyone else was around, she took hold of the ropes of the swing and sat herself down.

It was stupid, but this swing reminded her of Naruto.

Lowering her eyes to the ground, she pushed herself slightly with the tip of her toes as the wind brushed her short hair against her cheeks.

However, she had reasons for why it reminded her of Naruto. Many times she would see him sitting on this same swing, gazing at the other children. His eyes were always sad, it seemed, whenever he watched the other children and he would always be pushing himself. She had often wanted to come over and play with him back then, yet she had never had the courage. Naruto, it seemed, always looked as if he was too bright. His spirit was too much for others to handle many times. Nothing seemed to stay heavily on his shoulders, as if with his loud voice and his bright smiles, Naruto could chase his own demons away.

She admired that about him.

Yet, she knew, that even if he were able to do that, those same demons would come back to haunt him every time.

She saw him. She saw him alone and sitting in this same swing as he watched with a wistful expression as the other children played. She saw him when no one was around and he was alone near the swing. She saw him when he climbed the same tree and sat above the swing to watch the birds fly by overhead.

She saw him and wondered if he could feel her watching him.

Letting out a soft sigh, Hinata raised her head once again only to come face to face with Naruto himself. Eyes widening as her cheeks flushed with embarrassment, Hinata quickly slid off of the slide and stood behind it as if to protect herself from him.

"Na-Naruto-kun!" She managed.

Naruto continued to look at her, leaning forward with his hands on his hips as his eyes were narrowed until they were nearly closed.

"Hmmmmm." He said.

Taking another step back, her brows drawn together as she once again lowered her head, Hinata couldn't find anything else to utter as Naruto continued to stare at her.

"Anou sa, anou sa!" Naruto finally said, standing back up with his finger pointing at her. "What are you doing here?"

Pressing her hands against her chest as she looked up at him, Hinata tried to find her voice. "I... I-I..."

Lowering his hand to instead scratch his head, Naruto squatted down before the swing and muttered. "This is my swing. Why were you on it?"

Because Naruto-kun is always here. Because this is Naruto-kun's swing. Because it seemed lonely. Because Naruto-kun likes this swing. If she had been anyone else but Hinata, she would have said those things. However, tried as she might, she could not find the courage to say such things. Who was she to say them? Who was she to Naruto to stand before him and say that she sat on his swing because she didn't want to see it lonely without him on it?

With her face still slightly pink, Hinata replied softly, "Because... Because I wanted to know what it felt like."

Naruto blinked up at her, raising an eyebrow. "Eh?"

"Um..." she began again. "Naruto-kun is always on the swing. So... so I wanted to play on it."

Standing back with a wide eyed look on his face, Naruto leaned forward once again, holding onto the ropes of the swing as he looked at her. "You... you want to play on it?"

Leaning back slightly, looking down at the ground, Hinata nodded. "Un."

Naruto blinked rapidly and grinned from ear to ear as he stood back, an eager look on his face. "R-really?!"

Grinning still, he looked down at the swing and said proudly, "Iruka-sensei made this swing for me! It's the best there is because he made it! I fell off of it a couple of times because the ropes weren't tight enough but it's still the best!"

Smiling softly, Hinata only nodded at him as he beamed at her. As she watched his expression, she couldn't help but think he looked like a small boy who had finally found a playmate to show his toys off to.

Naruto suddenly reached out and took hold of her wrist, pulling her forward and then pushing her onto the swing as he quickly stood behind her. "Here! Get on!"

"Na-Naruto-kun, what--!!" She managed to say as he suddenly began to push her forward.

"Heh heh! Isn't it great? It hasn't break or fallen apart at all!" Naruto grinned as he looked over her shoulder. "Oi, oi, Hinata. Want to go even higher?"

Looking into his shining blue eyes and his smiling face, Hinata felt lighter as she nodded. He'd remembered her name. Even though she had never once spoken to him for more than a few words, Naruto had remembered her name and some how, that warmed her. It made her wonder if Naruto knew the names of all the children who had played around him. The children who had never once took any notice of him. And it made her wonder just how long he'd been playing by himself on this swing.

Yet, as he began to push her higher and higher on the swing, she couldn't help but let those thoughts slip from her mind as she concentrated instead on Naruto's laughter.

"Do you want to go higher, Hinata?" Naruto shouted out as she was pushed once more towards the sky.

Closing her eyes in a happy smile, she couldn't help but giggle a bit herself.

"Un! Take me higher, Naruto-kun!"