Disclaimer: Yes, I'm still writing a disclaimer…
I guess this is the time when I'll apologize profusely and thank my readers.
Amethyst Blossom – thank you for the compliment :) here it is
funkyboots – glad you likes, I dunno what else to say but I'm happy you reviewed.
MicrosoftWord – ur welcome, I'm glad you think so. btw, (even if its completely off topic)I like your penname
wolf-enzeru – I finally updated (though it was a late one), I hope the length makes up for it, though I still don't think its long enough to do so -.-
Genjy0-Sanz0 – I'm glad to hear that you're rooting for sasuke
RemyLuver – I don't like sakura myself, must be her guts or something, or pink
YumYum-Chan – omg I cant believe you found it that cute, and I thought I couldn't write anything cute, thank you :)
xxMizukixx – actually, I've learnt how to make particularly evil cliffhangers from a friend…mwahahaha
Nioma Maxwell – sorry it took some, scratch that, a lot of time to update, homework is getting too hectic, it's driving me nuts. Btw, I think my imagination was at its peak when I wrote that line.
Shanice Miharu – I'm pleased you liked how I planned the events so far, even though I get author's block frequently. and I kinda like writing freaky sasuke with freaked hinata
insanely-normal – you'll love me more once I update right? ;)
Xoni Newcomer – I've been finding means to improve my writing so I'm insanely happy that you took the time to criticize my work :) I left what made Hinata suspicious of Sasuke to the reader's imagination coz I felt that adding in all that would drag the chapter too much.
Fractured wings 01 – I'm glad you reviewed:) I'm still waiting loyally for the next chapter of your fic, wonder when you'll update
queenocupcakes – I'm thrilled that so many people like this pairing ,
shikaruTo – its alright :) this chap wouldn't have enough sasuhina moments but I'm sure it will increase in the next following chapters.
Hokai Amplifier – you're right on the kiba part :), I'm glad you liked the last chapter since I had a little difficultly on writing how it would turn out
I'm sorry if I couldn't upload the next chapter soon, school just began 2 weeks ago and the teachers/slavedrivers are piling us w/ homework again. -.- Uuh, I've decided to write the next chapters out only when I'm inspired/ feeling up to it, so it won't some out forced and I'll be able to edit it completely. Which would also mean that updates will be made on random times (the longest would be umm, about 2 months) I'm sorry for that, but I'll try my best to write it out as fast as I can. Thanks :)
The sun chose this time to show off its bright and magnificent splendor, blinding everything that could breath, suffocating them with heat and stretching its rays to all that it could reach. But sadly, not all appreciate this wonder of nature. Days like these were not uncommon to the townspeople; nevertheless, many had stopped from working because of the unbearable heat. A few chose to sleep it away, while some were lounging outside, seated lazily as they fanned their exhaustion with paper fans. The elder ones in the community blamed it on an upcoming storm, but preferably most chose to stay indoors.
There were a few stately homes that needn't worry on the weather. A prime example being the Hyuuga's domain; wherein heavy curtains shielded most of the harsh rays from its pale occupants.
There was one room in particular who had taken advantage of these drapes. Still, a beam of gentle light streamed through a corner, giving a soft glow to the otherwise dim surroundings.
The metal shone brilliantly under that crack of sunlight.
She shifted her wrist and watched the bangle tinkle, studying its delicate impressions glimmer with an absentminded smile.
Hinata rolled over to her side with a sigh. She was lying sprawled in her futon, lunch had just ended, and so had her daily training. So she lay there, just thinking.
Hinata immediately flushed hotly as the word unconsciously escaped from her lips. She paused for a while, hearing her heart throb erratically in her eardrums. The girl could feel a giddy, bursting sensation in her lungs, sensing rising warmth on her cheeks at the same time. Despite the sudden urge to do so, Hinata didn't squeal, she never did, choosing instead to relish the brimming sensation. Smiling dreamily, she looked back once more at the piece of jewelry and then buried her face on her pillow.
What could be worse than crushing on the town's heartthrob?
Hinata never expected she would end up outside, like some, who chose to torture themselves in the heat. But she was searching for something, or rather someone, and she hadn't had any luck since she went out. Hinata was about to give up, reasoning that he must be somewhere indoors himself, when she heard a bellow. She strained her ears temporarily, half thinking that it was the heat getting to her when she heard it once more; it was unmistakable.
"HINATA! WAIT! HINATAAAA!"
The Hyuuga halted to look back, seeing in her wake, a large cloud of dust steadily making its way towards her. One should be staring at the cloud for an extended period of time to be able to discern a bright orange blob at its center, one that Hinata didn't fail to see.
Her eyes widened as she realized that she had completely forgotten about him for the past few days. "…N-naruto-kun!" She breathed.
Naruto skidded to an end just as he was about to pass right through her.
"Gomen! Gomen ne Hinata," He didn't even pause to catch his breath after what seemed like running a marathon. "I completely forgot about our date the other day and then I realized I didn't even know where your house was so I'msorryI'msorryI'msorry—"
He was greeted with silence, one that he translated as a profoundly hurt one.
"I-it's okay Naruto-kun…" Hinata finally said softly, shame hindering her from making eye contact. Naruto evidently looked relieved, though not entirely. He still suspected some sort of disappointment from Hinata, but he exhaled loudly to cover it up, after which an uneasy silence overlapped his previous ramblings.
Both didn't dare meet the other's eyes; ironically, guilt was the instigator on both parties.
After a few moments of hesitation, Hinata felt compelled to make the first move in order to steer the uncomfortable silence off to a lighter topic. "Um…ano, d-do you know where S-s-sasuke-kun is?"
Her face automatically turned beet red. She just hoped he didn't notice as she twiddled her fingers.
He didn't, instead giving her a confused look, rolling "Sasuke-kun?" in his tongue like a foreign word.
"I-I meant S-sasuke." She said a bit too quickly. It was just her luck that Naruto let the subject slide off easily.
"I think he's training somewhere near the park."-he mumbled something that sounded like 'bastard'- "OH, you're delivering a message to him?"
"…Y-yes…" Hinata lied, albeit a bit badly.
There was a thoughtful pause, then, Naruto punched the air, his vigor returning. "YOSH! Then I'll show you the way!"
Hegrabbed her wrist energetically and Hinata was quick to follow, to avoid getting dragged on the ground.
Sheneedn't worry about extensive lengths of silence along the way, Naruto filled the gap with random chattering once they started walking,talking about anything that came to mind.She was starting to relax as she listened to his voice, but nervousness was creeping in at the same time.
What would she say after she'd thanked him for the night before? Surely, it would be quite awkward, and she was sure she'd flush and stutter so terribly if ever she should set her eyes on him again.
The Hyuuga was so deep in thought that her frame crashed carelessly with Naruto's when he stopped.
"S-sorry." She flushed.
"S'alright." Naruto answered quickly and avoided her eyes, looking as scarlet as she did.
She could already see a dark silhouette in the distance; it was Sasuke without doubt, training as vigorously as ever. It was hard to imagine anyone training at this temperature, but then she wondered vaguely if he hardly did anything else.
"Ah, Hinata," Naruto said, cutting heroff her thoughts. He rubbed his head, his sign of nervousness. "About last time, sorry again about what happened and uh, if you want...wecanhaveanotheronetomakeupforit.-a pregnant pause-I promise I won't screw it up! I'll memorize your address this time and um, uh yeah…" He trailed off.
She had been expecting herself to be insanely happy at this moment, but was surprised when nothing of that sort of emotion came.Hinata couldn't understand why she wasn't feeling as giddy as she would've been, when she'd been fantasizing about this for the past few years. She was actually even having second thoughts. Maybe it was—
"I-I'm sorry," She started, surprised at herself. Hinata didn't know what possessed her to reject his offer. "b-but um I, I-I…"
The Hyuuga instantly felt regret as Naruto's expression crumbled in dejection, but he covered it up easily with his fox grin; a sure sign that he had been practicing it for years.
"It's okay." Hinata looked up, not entirely surprised at Naruto's overly cheerful tone. "There's always next time right?" He forced a laugh. "Well, I'm off; I still have some business with old hag Tsunade. I'll just see you around some other time! JA!" And he took off running before Hinata could say a word.
Lips quirked from the distance. They were out of earshot, but with his skills, he could hear them quite well. Hehad witnessed Naruto's façade drop as soon as his back was turned from Hinata,and Sasuke gloated at how the scene turned out, somehow a smug feeling that he had beaten his rival.
"Dobe." He murmured in satisfaction, ignoring at the same time, the heavy feeling rising steadily from taking some sort of sick pleasure from his best friend's misery.
Still, his eyes continued to follow him, just as Hinata's did, until he was nearly out of sight. It was then when their eyes had met, and Hinata naturally flushed a shade of red.
He couldn't explain why his mood had risen somewhat when he realized that she had come to see him.
But he shook it off, almost rolling his eyes when he saw Hinata timidly approaching him, wringing her fingers nervously. She was worthless, just another annoying girl now that she had outlived her usefulness; when he had finally gotten even with Naruto for the last time the idiot had beaten him.
He didn't bother to greet her once she had arrived a comfortable distance from him, something that Hinata was used to. She continued wringing her hands, subconsciously feeling like some sort of fangirl.
There was silence.
"Sasuke—" She started, and was cut short once she dared to look him in the eye. He wasn't glaring at her, but his eyes were blank and cold, gazing at her as if they were complete strangers. Hinata suddenly felt like she had swallowed a melon and it was stuck in her throat.
His aura emanated certain hostility as he stared somewhere else jadedly, waiting impatiently for her to continue. Hinata struggled with her words, losing most of the ease she felt when she was around him.
It was strange how atypical guilt suddenly struck Sasuke as he saw a slight tremor in her lower lip.
"…It's n-nothing…" She managed to choke out before ambling hurriedly away.
Something in his gut seemed to deflate; he could have sworn that she was about to cry. Now, more than ever, victory didn't seem as sweet.
He punched the dummy behind him, resuming his battle sequence to keep his thoughts off trivialities. Somewhere in his mind, an image of a lonely girl standing in the rain flashed by.
And he kicked the wooden post harder.
Hinata berated herself for being so stupid for the nth time. She had been too assuming to think that someone had wanted to truly get to know her, and Uchiha Sasuke of all people. She shouldn't have gotten her hopes up too high. And had she known how he would react, she wouldn't have gone and gotten herself hurt.
She had been too lost in thought that she had forgotten to go home, preferring instead to wander aimlessly around Konoha to take her mind off certain things. But even after having eaten a light dinner in Ichiraku, and finally arriving back home, nothing changed.
The muddled colors of dusk reflected her thoughts quite soundly, she thought, as she stared through the clear pane. She stood unmoving as she watched the sun tire from the day's activity, slowly but surely going to sleep over the horizons.
Hinata suddenly lifted her form from leaning by the windowsill, hearing light footsteps approaching.
Unexpectedly, it turned out to be Neji, and by the look he had, it seemed he was ordered to deliver another message. Little did she know that it was for her, until he didn't go any further.
"Hiashi-sama called for you." He told her in his usual toneless sort of way. The worried pause he gave startled her. It was almost like he wanted to tell her something, but Neji seemed to think better of it after a second, choosing to continue past her and heading for the other corridor.
Hinata couldn't help it, but she could feel an awful sense of foreboding.
Already feeling quite jittery, she didn't bother stop by into her room, instead, going directly to what served as her father's office. And soon, large shoji screens stood menacingly before her.
Hinata dropped her hand just as she was about to knock, seemingly contemplating, and then brought it back up with a little more confidence.
A dull hollow sound echoed.
There was silence on the other side, then the shadow behind the thin paper shifted; a sure sign that he was waiting.
Hinata hesitated a while before swallowing whatever anxiety she was feeling and venturing in.
The room was still the same after all the times since she'd last seen it. Décor was sparse, as was the furniture lining the corners; the area gave more emphasis on the large oak wood table and the cushions situated around it, serving the purpose of radiating a professional air quite well.
It reflected her father's character, cold, calm, precise and no-nonsense. Exactly what he was giving off while seated on the middle padding, back ramrod straight. The atmosphere was too bitter and formal, making it hard to insinuate that they were related by blood.
"Hinata." He greeted acidly. She winced.
The Hyuuga head gestured for her to take a seat. But Hinata chose to stay rooted to the ground, showing her father that she wasn't the weak-willed girl he had known years ago. She was proud to say that he had glanced at her with much more respect after that, but it was forgotten with whatever matter they had in hand.
"I'll be frank with you."
Her father paused as he rubbed his temple, and all at once, Hinata could see his old age settling in. Stress marked his eyes.
"You know very well that you're to be the next clan head, but you're…performance for the past decade has proven unsatisfactory for the elders."
Hinata bowed her head in shame. "…H-hai."
"Therefore," He continued impassively "We've come to discuss this crucial matter."
She had a gut feeling of what he was going to say next. Her stomach sank even lower; it was probably the safest way to get rid of her.
"We've engaged you with the heir of the Iwanaga clan in the hidden stone village."
Hinata hid her fists behind her back; she could feel it trembling in her disappointment. His clothes rustled as Hiashi stood from his seating position, seemingly ignorant of his daughter's feelings, and strode to exit the room. He stopped right before he opened the door, standing adjacent to Hinata.
"Your incompetence cannot be tolerated. I hope you realize, that this union is for the betterment of our clan."
His look softened and he wavered, before patting her shoulder crisply as some sort of fatherly gesture, but Hinata wasn't comforted, not one bit.
"You'll take your leave tomorrow, we've already arranged for the ANBU to serve as your escorts."
He muttered a curt "Sleep well." before shutting the door.
Her father knew very well that she was part of ANBU herself, and what hurt the most was that he didn't trust in her abilities, or acknowledged that she had any at all.
The silence was deafening.
Hinata stared into space, looking at nothing in particular; she didn't know why she felt nothing.
She gazed blankly at her surroundings for a little while longer before slowly getting up and trudging towards her room.
For lack of better things to say...I'll take this time to clarify Sasuke's motives. Subconsciously, Sasuke's main reason for pursuing Hinata is because of his rivalry with Naruto, that's why in the 2nd chapter, he only took action after finding out that Hinata liked Naruto. He didn't consider the 'date' in another earlier chapter as anything romantic, but only as something like a friendly dinner; it's only Hinata that sees it that way. But in the process of these events, he's developing unwanted emotions. ;) whew and that's the main gist of it i guess. Soo… review please:) :)