A/N: So I guess I should explain my sudden lack of updates. Unfortunately, something called real life decided to rear its ugly head, and I was seriously debating dropping this fic when one review made me decide otherwise. She wrote a rather lengthy, thought-out review that actually really encouraged me, so I'd like to thank her here for her kind words. Hun, you know who you are, and thanks . And now that I have my butt back into gear, I'm ready to update more regularly (though not quite as frequently as before) and hopefully Viv (my beta) will remind me to write too.

Now that we're done with that, on with the story! Chapter 5 to be exact, in which Naruto and Hinata's bonding session goes horribly wrong...(coughSEXYNOJUTSUcough)

Disclaimer: I've got jacked-up muscles from swimming, a rattled brain from Chinese, but no little deed saying I own either Naruto or Inuyasha. Sadness.

Chapter 5: Of Painful Pasts and Formidible Futures...

Hinata twiddled her thumbs idly as she sat in the corner, contemplating the sleeping boy on the mat in front of her. He'd been unconcious for a couple hours now, ever since Kakashi had made a rather well-aimed blow to the pressure point on the back of his neck. Suspiciously well aimed, she mused now, remembering his eerily familar stance. It was similar to her own jyuuken-style, but Kakashi couldn't possibly know the martial arts style handed down to the Hyuuga clan members. But then again, she remembered, he was technically her ancester, and the founder of the clan for heaven's sake.

Said ancestor had gone off to help repair the damage done by the centipede demon after bandaging her wounds of course and warning her to stay in the hut so as not to reopen them. This did nothing to stop her thoughts and her heart panged with guilt as she remembered the monster's reason for coming to the village in the first place. Lifting the round jewel from her pocket to eye-level, she blinked at the warped reflection staring back at her from the pearly depths of the shikon.

It was now more important than ever that she find her way back home-she wouldn't risk putting the innocent villagers in danger again. The jewel had come from her body, and was therefore her responsibility, that much she accepted when Kakashi had handed it back to her after thorough inspection. Now if only she knew what it was...

An idea struck her as her reflection blinked at her again, and she held the jewel further at arm's length from her face, ready to test her hypothesis. The jewel looked harmless to the normal eye, but Hinata's byakugan were hardly considered normal. Plus, the jewel's ability to increase the centipede demon's abilities had sharpened her curiousity, and she was confident her eyes might uncover some of the mystery.

"Byakugan!" The chakra pathways near her eyes filled to their maximum capacity this time as she activated her bloodlimit, her white eyes focusing on the unremarkable jewel in her palm.

Dropping the jewel in shock and withdrawing her hand as if it had been burned, she stared at the bauble with something akin to fear. The jewel practically radiated eerie, incredible chakra, comparable to the amounts the boy had emitted before. But this chakra was slightly different-while the boy's had seemed wild and out-of-control, this chakra was so pure it was blinding, but so highly concentrated into its small shape it seemed ready to explode.

Unable to handle the intesity of its light any longer, she released her byakugan and stared warily at the jewel before carefully placing it in her pocket again for safekeeping. Now she definitely had to be more cautious with it, it would have been a disaster had a more powerful demon found the jewel first...

Naruto emitted a particularly loud snore then, interrupting her thoughts as he flung off his blankets and assumed a new position on his back. Ever caring, she moved to fix his blanket, bending down next to him and reaching over his slumbering form to thoroughly tuck him in.

WHACK!

"Aaah!" she cried in surprise and pain, as he spastically rolled over again and smacked her in the face with a careless hand. She fell forward onto him and he in turn sat up, throwing her off into his lap. He blinked at her blearily for a few moments before the situation sunk in, and he immediately proceeded to do what he did best: yell.

"AHHH! YOU PERVERT!" He shouted, throwing her off and letting her sprawl in a dazed heap on the ground. "Trying to molest me in my sleep, huh! Well, guess what mister-I'm on to you!"

Hinata blushed furiously at his accusations. Her-a-a...a pervert! "I-I'm so sorry, I!"

BAM!

She yelped as he fell face first into the ground at the sound of her apology and slapped her hands over her mouth as she realized her mistake. "Oh no, I!"

"DON'T SAY IT!" He screamed at her, painfully dragging himself upright again, waving his arms frantically in surrender. "You fool! You Neji-wannabe! You don't even have half the brains he had and here you are claiming to be him and slamming me into the floor like you're all that!"

"B-but," Hinata protested weakly, "I never claimed to be Neji. It was you who assumed that...!"

"SHUT-UP! Who asked you little miss know-it-all!" He snorted and glared at her through his narrowed eye lids, giving her a good one-over before resuming his rant. "Heh, well, with a body like that, you can't blame me for thinkin' you were a guy! You're all puny and skinny with no curves," he mimed an hourglass shape in the air in front of him, "girls should be like this!"

There was a loud "pop!" as he disappeared in a cloud of smoke and reappeared before her as a pretty, scantily-clad female, with a rather well-endowed bit of cleavage. Hinata stared on in pure shock, fearful of a potential nosebleed as he continued his lecture.

"You're supposed to have boobs like this, see?" he said, pointing at his hefty amount of cleavage. "That's what guys really look for!" Finally noticing her slack-jaw, he released the jutsu and scratched the back of his head boredly, as if her lack of response so far had disappointed him. "Ah, you're no fun," he muttered, scuffing a foot on the ground. "I guess that only works well on guys after all...Neji used to get nosebleeds all over the place..."

Hinata finally managed to close her mouth as another angry blush stained her cheeks, and she focused solely on the ground in front of her, too embarrassed to look him in the eye. "Yeah," Naruto continued, "Neji was way cooler than you, even if he was a dirty cheating bastard in the end." He snorted and spared her another passing glance. "Heh. No need to worry about you attacking me though, you're way too weak to do me any harm," he stated arrogantly, ignoring the fact that a simple apology from her lips would have him flat on the ground.

Hinata seemed to forget this too as her head and posture fell lower, sagging with shame and self-disappointment. "Y-yes, I suppose you're right..."

"Of course I'm right. I always am! Not like that stupid-" Naruto blinked as he seemed to remember something very important. "Oh yeah, hey, where is Neji anyway?"

Hinata's head shot up in confusion, as the blonde scratched his chin in deep thought. "Come to think of it, I don't remember seeing him since I got attacked...hey, he didn't skip town on me did he? Probably figured I'd get offa that tree eventually and come and kick his ass so he hightailed it outta here..."

"Ano..." Hinata started, only to be shushed by Naruto.

"Quiet! I'm trying to think!" He resumed his thinking position. "He couldn't have gotten too far, I mean, I was probably only out for a couple of days or so, maybe weeks, some months max..."

Hinata's heart fell as she realized the implications of what he was saying-he had no idea what had happened...no idea that his entire life, his entire world was gone. Well, doesn't that sound familiar, Hinata...?

"Ano...N-Naruto-kun..."

"What! You don't know where Neji is, do you?" he snapped, finally facing her.

"A-Actually, Naruto-kun, Neji-sama is...ah...no longer with us," she said ominously, awaiting the reaction that might follow.

Needless to say, Naruto's reaction was not what she was expecting.

"That bastard! Coward! How dare he run away!" he shouted angrily as Hinata sweatdropped. "Stupid no-good traitor! It doesn't matter, I'll still hunt him down, and when I catch up I'm really gonna pound him!" He flexed his fist before pointing an accusing finger in her direction. "Hey, weirdo! Do you know where he went!"

Hinata face-vaulted. She'd gone from Neji, to pervert, to weirdo in only a couple of short hours. "T-that's Hinata..."

"Yeah, yeah, Hi-neji or whatever. Where'd he go!"

Hinata bit her lip nervously. She didn't like being the bearer of bad news, but she couldn't just keep the truth from him like that-it was his frie-er...rival so he needed to know... "N-Naruto-kun, you misunderstood. I meant that N-Neji-sama has already passed on. He's dead. It has been more than 20 years since you were pinned to the tree, and Neji-sama died the day you first fell under the spell."

There was a moment of awkward silence as neither of them could find the words to say anything meaningful, and Naruto stared at her in shock. "N-no...!" He murmered. "NO!" He turned on her, leaping forward as he held the front of her shirt in his fists, her face mere inches from his. Unable to support the sudden weight, Hinata fell backwards and he pinned her to the ground, hands still clutching her shirt like some sort of life-line. "You're lying!" He shook her fiercely, eyes blazing with some un-named emotion. "You're lying, aren't you! Think this is funny, huh! Gonna get a good laugh out of this later!"

Hinata let out a small yelp as he shook her again and the back of her head painfully connected with the floor. "N-no, I!" she tearfully protested, automatically bringing an arm to guard her face as he removed one hand from her shirt. She opened her eyes again only when she felt him getting off of her, backing away slowly while staring at her with large, horrified eyes.

She immediately took the opportunity to shuffle back into the corner, returning his gaze with a terrified one of her own. He flinched at seeing her fear, and hastened his retreat towards the door. "D-DON'T LOOK AT ME! STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT!" He shouted desperately, feet tripping over themselves as he clumsily tried to escape her stare. Finally, he turned and ran for it, heading in some unknown direction if only to avoid the truth and pity in her eyes.

Later, Hinata was unable to tell if the tears rolling down her face were for her or for him.


REVIEW bizzotches. 'Nuff said.

Yes, yes, I know, a lot of drama...TT No worries, things will be happier in time...