Standard disclaimers apply.

Chapter Eight

Hinata was quietly reading in her study when all of a sudden, her sister Hanabi barged in. Some strands of her hair were out of place – probably caused by the wind – and she was slightly out of breath. She stood there in her sister's door for a little while then broke into a large grin.

"Onee-chan, guess what? I just heard that there will be a festival next week!"

Hinata stared questioningly at her little sister.

"A festival?"

Hanabi nodded enthusiastically. "Don't you remember? Tanabata!"

"Oh!" How could she forget? Next Monday would be the seventh. "I guess it just sort of slipped from my mind, Hanabi-chan. After all, it's been a while since the last one right?"

"Yeah. Though Iruka-sensei told us that Tsunade-sama wants a real big traditional festival to make up for it."

It was due to the preparations for the chunnin exams and the death of the Third Hokage that Konoha has failed to celebrate the Tanabata for the past two years. Now that things have been going well, it was quite understandable that the village would want to continue celebrating such a joyous and wonderful tradition again.

Hinata smiled. "I can't wait to see you dressed up for it, Hanabi-chan. I'll bet you'll look very pretty."

"W-what?!" she spluttered. When it came to her looks, Hanabi wasn't used to compliments. She always thought that her sister was very pretty and that she would never come close to her. In her mind, she will always be the scruffy and tomboyish one. She shook her head.

"Quit changing the subject! Anyway, they said that watching the stars on the night of the festival is supposed to be romantic."

Hinata saw the mischievious glint in her sister's eyes. She knew where she was getting at so she made a smart move and beat her to it.

"Are they really?" she said. "Well, in that case, I do hope Konohamaru-kun picks up the courage to ask you to come with him. I know how much you'd HATE to be stuck with me and Neji-niisan."

"I heard he already did."

Hanabi jumped a bit upon seeing her older cousin behind her. She stumbled a bit further into the room, all the while trying her best not to look at either of them. On her face was a blush that could rival her sister's. Hinata couldn't help but stifle her laughter; she had never seen her sister look so out of character. Neji, meanwhile, smirked teasingly at the girl in front of him.

"A little bird told me that the pipsqueak asked you on a date… and you accepted. Am I right Hanabi?"

"As if! I can't even stand him!"

"Oh? Then why are you blushing?"

"None of your business!"

She swirled her chopsticks lazily on the bowl full of warm broth. It's been a month since her last encounter with the Uchiha. Things have gone back to normal and she had, once again, surrendered into her previous daily routine.

But it seems the monotony would be disrupted YET AGAIN.

All because she saw him. And at Ichiraku's, of all places.

Or was it he who saw her? She was there first, after all.

He took the chair beside her – the one found in the very corner. He gave her a curt nod before placing his order and proceeded to stare at the spot of dirt found on the kitchen wall opposite him.

"Have you heard about the celebration next week?" she politely asked, in hopes of making a conversation; though she was pretty sure that he wasn't the type to indulge.



"Will you be going?"

If not for the lack of people around them, she would have mistaken his voice for somebody else's.

She offered a shy smile. "Uh, I guess so. How about you? I suppose you'll go with Naruto-kun and Sakura-san?"


"Oh, I see..."

A few silent moments passed as she finished her meal. She mumbled a final word of thanks and placed a few coins at the countertop.

"Well, I must be going. I do hope to see you at the festival, Sasuke-san. Ja."

"Where are you going?"

She felt a bit of surprise from his sudden question. Did he want her to stay? Though the answer seemed a bit obvious, she decided to answer for his sake.

"I'm heading home. It's been a tiring day. And one more thing," She nodded at the wall right next to Sasuke. "I think Kakashi-sensei wants to talk to you."

True enough, the silver-haired jounin shed his 'disguise' and stepped out of his 'hiding place'. He scratched the back of his head sheepishly as he fell on the empty chair on Hinata's other side.

"You caught me there. But really Hinata, you don't really have to leave."

"It's ok sensei, I'm done eating anyway. Besides, I wouldn't want to intrude on your discussion."

"Nonsense. I am actually grateful that Sasuke is talking to somebody apart from his teammates and me for a change."

Hinata chuckled lightly. "No worries, sensei. The pleasure is all mine. Now if you'll please excuse me, I really have to go."

"Oh, okay then. Take care Hinata." Kakashi smiled wholeheartedly as he waved at her retreating form.

They both looked on as she walked away. Only after she disappeared at the corner did one of them speak out.

"You talk as if I avoid people on purpose." Sasuke suddenly said.

Kakashi patted his student's head, which was greatly unappreciated by the latter. "That's because you DO Sasuke. May I point out that you didn't even bother to acknowledge my presence despite the fact that I was standing on the wall RIGHT NEXT TO YOU this whole time? Or you didn't notice?"

Sasuke snorted. "I just figured if I ignored you long enough, you'd leave."

"What, so you could spend more time with Hinata?"


They could see the village slowly liven up as the festival approaches. Before they knew it, the night of the festival had come.

"Wow," Konohamaru stared in awe as he stood outside the Hyuga manor's front door. "you look like a real gir-- OW! What was that for?!" He exclaimed, rubbing the now sore spot where Hanabi had punched him.

She was wearing a pink yukata with goldfish patterns all over. Her long raven hair, which was usually unkept, was now gathered at one side in a simple ponytail. Her face was contorted into a frown as she glared daggers at her 'date' -- although, there were traces of pink on her cheeks. Hinata giggled. The scene before her was just too cute.

"Shut up! You should be thankful that I agreed to go with you in the first place!"

"Yeah, yeah. I'm thankful, geez."

Neji chuckled as they watched the young 'couple' walk out the gate, still in the middle of a silly argument. He then turned to his other cousin and offered his arm to her. "Shall we, hime?"

Hinata laughed as she looped her arm around his. "Why certainly."

Tonight was certainly going to be interesting.

Yuri-chan's note: An update! As for the KonoHana bit, I just simply had to put it. I think they're a cute couple.

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