Author's Note: I am absolutely stunned at the reviews I have received, not only for this story, but also for "Old Enough" and "The Most Innocent Kiss".Thankyou everyone and thankyou to lauraswood for pointing out about the anonymous reviews thing; I've changed my setting.
Unfortunately, I hadn't really clearly planned any sequels, but with this kind of response, I think I will put into print the vague sequels that were brewing in my mind. I am also hoping to write more KakaSaku, NaruTsu (I am really grateful for the kind responses, I was trying to be sensitive about Tsunade's feelings), and maybe more off-beat pairings...if I have the courage...
Anyway, this is the alternate ending to "Hyuuga-sama, this must be your lucky day". It fits better with the title I think. Please let me know which one you like better, because it will totally change the kind of sequel I might write...(sorry for the blatant bribery to review )
"What are you doing, Nara?" he chuckled, "You're not even gonna wear your bandana? It might be a good idea, with hair as distinctive as yours." He gave a cough that sounded suspiciously like "Pineapple head, pineapple head!"
Shikamaru smirked. "Right back at ya, Blondie."
There was a pause before Hinata, summoning up her courage, spoke.
"Shikamaru-san, did you see Temari-san and Ino-san today? They were looking for you earlier."
Naruto began to chuckle as Shikamaru grimaced darkly.
"Lucky for me, they didn't. I had a hell of a time avoiding them though. Those chicks are super hard to fool. I had to use henge and kage bunshin a few times, but still I only just got away. Women are so troublesome..." he sighed, scratching his head.
"Naruto, we better be going. Gaara said he'd kill us if we were late, and you know that guy doesn't mess around." Naruto laughed outright at that.
"Yeah right Nara, Temari would kill him if he so much as touched you! His future brother-in-law..."
Shikamaru rolled his eyes and turned away, leaving the protective shadow of the North Gate, leaving Naruto and Hinata standing by the wall.
"Well, I guess this is goodbye for a few months then," said Naruto, giving her a lop-sided smile. She nodded numbly, feeling cold and helpless. The moment had come and gone, slipping through her fingers like water.
He would smile now, wave, and leave, going bravely into unknown peril, at the risk of death. It was his duty. He was a jounin of Konoha, pure and simple. There was no time in his life for a shy, useless kunoichi. Tears stung her eyes.
He tilted her chin up before she could stop him. I don't want him to see me cry! Too late...Hyuuga Hinata, dark, shy, weird and a crybaby...that's what he probably thinks anyway...
"Don't cry, Hinata-chan," he said gently, "At least not now. Save it for when I get back."
Completely forgetting to cry at this absurd statement, she stared into his twinkling blue eyes, her forehead creased in puzzlement.
"What-what do you mean, save it for when you get back?" she asked in a trembling voice.
"Well, you're going to be really happy when I get back, aren't you? So then, when you're happy, it's ok to cry!" he said triumphantly.
Hinata boggled at this novel idea, then, before she could stop it, a giggle burst from her lips.
"See?" he smiled. "That's much better! You should really laugh more often, Hinata-chan, while you're still young and beautiful. It suits you."
Brain overload point rapidly approaching, due to physical contact with long-time crush and being called beautiful by same. Once again, IS THIS A DREAM!?
"And you know what else, Hinata-chan?"
He leaned towards her and grinned; a foxy, devilish, eyes-gleaming grin that not only made her heart thump madly but also weakened her knees, blurred her vision and tied her stomach in knots. It was a devastating grin peculiar to Naruto, which no female could resist.
"You look... really good... without... your coat."
Her mouth fell open, as, grinning cheekily, he straightened up, replacing his mask, then turned and followed after Shikamaru.
He paused and looked back over his shoulder.
"And Hinata-chan, when I get back, I'll buy you some seafood ramen with extra prawns, ok? Miso ramen's good, but seafood fills you up better!"
She stood, dumbfounded and blushing, her eyes glued to his figure as it walked beside Shikamaru's, until both disappeared, merging with the tall, waving grass. Looking down at herself, she clutched at the translucent black mesh singlet that clung to her skin and her face grew even redder, as a small smile broke out on her lips.
And as she turned and slowly walked back through the North Gate, the Ichiraku waitress' words echoed gaily in her head:
"Hyuuga-sama, this must be your lucky day."
AN: How was that?? BTW, I am leaving in two days to go to Japan for 5 weeks. It should be flat out, so maybe no time to write...but after that I will be in Korea for 2 months - should be a bit more relaxed, easy access to a computer. haha-I think I'm drunk on the exhiliration of having people actually LIKE something I've written, still can't believe it....