This story, "The Dreams We Shared," takes place right after Chapter 238, and before Chapter 250, so you could see some NASTY SPOILERS! For those who haven't read the manga up to this point, I suggest you turn back, read 'em, then come back! Haha!
Anyways, happy reading!
"How long has it been…Naruto-kun?"
Hyuuga Hinata was in her room, a well-furnished place with the floor laden with tatami mats, and simple furnishings to suit her modest tastes. Aside from the light fixtures, the moon, in the middle of a dark velvety sky, illuminated the place through a window with a gentle light, and a mild breeze wafted quietly into the room.
She looked outside, and memories began to slowly, yet surely resurface. She smiled, remembering how the moon was exactly like this back then, how the breeze was exactly like this back then, how special today was.
Sitting on her bed, Hinata looked at a small picture encased in an ordinary picture frame. It was one of the pictures the class had taken back in her early days at the academy, back when they were still learning the basics of being a Konoha shinobi, back before they all became Genin, the lowest-ranking shinobi. It was a rather messed up picture, with most of her classmates going all out to just to immortalize their goofy faces and crazy antics. It was quite amusing. However, she wasn't included amongst these classmates, since she could see herself at the far back of the picture, just doing a simple wave.
Still, these weren't the reasons why she kept the photograph, or why she was looking at it so gingerly, so caringly. Her fingers gently caressed one part of the picture, and she would smile and her heart would ache a little. He had been gone for so long…
It was the best picture she had of Uzumaki Naruto, rather, this was the only one. However, she was happy with it, and in this picture, he looked just as cheerful and as happy and as appealing as he had always been.
To her, anyway.
"I wonder what you're doing now, Naruto-kun…" she mumbled softly, lovingly looking at the picture, "I wonder if you're doing okay, if you're eating well…I can't help it, it has been two years…"
She wiped a small tear from her right eye. She could not help it.
It was on this day, two years ago, that, through factors that were out of her control, she went to Naruto and talked with him for the longest time. It was on this day that she had almost confessed her feelings to him, and it was on this day that Naruto promised her that he would wait for her until she was ready to say what she had to say.
Today was a very, very special day for her.
"Look, Naruto-kun," she said, holding up a scroll case to the picture. It was a nondescript box with simple markings, yet on the lid, it had a message printed on it. It said, "Chuunin Qualification Papers."
"Yes, Naruto-kun, I finally did it…I'm a Chuunin!" Hinata said, happily, wiping another errant tear from her cheek, "I trained so hard with Kurenai-sensei, Kiba-kun and Shino-kun, studied so hard, and even got a little lesson from Father and Neji-niisan. I'm finally on my way, Naruto-kun…I'm finally on my way!"
She placed the scroll on her desk and embraced the picture frame near her heart, whispering, "Come home soon, Naruto-kun…please?"
Hinata almost flew through the ceiling when she heard a tiny voice suddenly come forth from behind her. She shrieked in utter shock and quickly backed away into a corner, hiding the picture frame behind her.
"Whoa, Onee-san, if Father saw you getting snuck upon like this, he might wonder how you were able to graduate!" the owner of the voice said, smiling.
"H-Hanabi!" Hinata said aloud, recognizing her. It was her little sister, Hyuuga Hanabi, the youngest daughter of the family.
"What are you hiding there?" she asked, curious.
"N-nothing important!" Hinata immediately retorted.
"It's true!" Hinata said aloud. She desperately wanted her to leave.
"Okay…" Hanabi turned around and headed for the door. Hinata breathed a very long, very deep sigh of relief, relaxing, putting her arms to the side.
There was a small glitter in Hinata's little sister's eyes.
"Gotcha!" Hanabi quickly turned around, and in a burst of speed, leapt from the door and onto Hinata, her hand stretched out, aiming for the picture frame.
"I thought so…" Hinata mumbled, then tossed the picture frame up into the air
"Wah!" Hanabi blurted, seeing the picture frame fly up.
Her attention elsewhere, Hinata took the chance to take a step forward, swerving around Hanabi and standing beside her, in the classic Jyuuken stance. It only took a very small moment for Hinata to be beside her, while Hanabi was still in mid-air.
Raising her right palm, she quickly brought it down on Hanabi's back, between her shoulders, however slowing down as it came into contact. While the physical impact was not strong enough, a quick, yet forceful flow of Hinata's Chakra poured out of her palm and slammed Hanabi down on the mat.
Stretching her left hand, Hinata caught the picture frame.
"O-o-ow…" Hanabi moaned, "You're getting good!"
"W-well, I was practicing," Hinata explained, helping her sister up. She offered her right hand, and Hanabi took it with her left.
But as soon as she grabbed it, Hanabi's other hand flung out so quickly it seemed like a blur, as her open right hand attempted to grab the picture frame.
Yet again, Hinata was prepared, as she flung the picture frame around, trapped between her fingers, behind her hand, and her now open left palm struck Hanabi's right hand. The impact was gentle, as before, but the Chakra flowing out was enough to stop her attack.
"Mou…" Hinata groaned, releasing Hanabi, "Stop it already."
"Urgh," Hanabi moaned, picking herself up, and said aloud, "I want to know."
Hinata raised an eyebrow. "Know what?" she asked.
"I've heard Father and Neji-niisan talking about him, and some of the people too, but I've only seen him once, and I didn't think he was so great, I don't even remember what he looks like…but Father and Neji-niisan, and even you seem to like him a lot, so I'm curious."
Hinata tilted her head to the side. "Who are you talking about?"
"Who is Naruto?" she asked, pouting.
Hinata quickly blushed, a visible tinge of red on her usually white cheeks. "N-Naruto-kun? W-why would you…"
"See? You even refer to him with a '-kun.' Are you guys close?" Hanabi asked again.
"Eh…umm." As usual, Naruto was not a topic Hinata found easy to talk about without blushing or getting embarrassed at herself.
"Come on, tell me!" Hanabi persisted, clenching her tiny fists.
Hinata was surprised at her pushiness. Was she really that curious?
She smiled. She thought, maybe it'll be good for me, too, if I talked about him…
"All right, I'll tell you," Hinata replied, patting her younger sister's head, "since you're my little sister."
"Okay!" Hanabi replied, smiling. She sat herself down on Hinata's bed, Hinata sitting beside her. The older sister finally gave her picture frame.
"Wow…are these people your classmates?" Hanabi asked, examining each and every angle of the photograph.
Hinata replied with a simple nod, and said, "Can you guess which one is Naruto-kun?"
Hanabi looked again into the picture, straining her eyes and trying to remember what he looked like. Giving up, since nothing came to mind, she said, "Well…I'd like to think you've got good taste, so how about this person? He's kinda cute!"
Hinata looked at where she pointed, and sighed, although she expected this. Hanabi was pointing at none other than Uchiha Sasuke, what the other girls had labeled the most handsome boy in class, or even the academy.
"You're incorrect," Hinata replied, "It's actually this one."
Her slender finger pointed at Naruto, and Hanabi couldn't be any more shocked than she was now.
"N-No way? This guy is Naruto!" Hanabi blurted out, visibly aghast, not quite ready to accept what her eyes told her.
"Y-yes, actually," Hinata replied, blushing.
In the picture, he was a boy with blond hair, with his tongue sticking out, his right index finger pulling down on his eyelids. He had a weird, red and white kabuki-like design painted on his face. He was stuck in some weird pose that reminded Hanabi of a mix between an old man with arthritis and a toad. To all people except Hinata, this guy looked certainly stupid.
"You've got to be kidding me," Hanabi said dryly.
"I'm afraid not," Hinata replied, a little sheepishly, "Why is it so hard to believe?"
"See…I was…I was kinda expecting someone a little more…I don't know, better-looking, or…at least someone who didn't have such weird makeup," Hanabi said, obviously disappointed.
"Well, you know what? When I first saw him, back in the academy, I didn't think he was all that either. Before…well, I used to think he was weird!" Hinata replied, giggling.
"R-really?" Hanabi said, curious.
"But you know what, if it weren't for him, if it weren't for Naruto-kun, then I would be so lost…I would be so…empty, so unfulfilled. I'm sure Neji-niisan or even my father can agree with me when I say this," Hinata said, looking at the ceiling, her voice wistful.
"Wow…so, what made you change your opinion about him?" Hanabi asked, turning around to face her sister, "What made you like him so much?"
Hinata looked at her and said, "It's…a long story, are you sure?"
"I've got time, I don't mind," Hanabi replied, holding her sister's hands.
Hinata smiled, and looked at the ceiling once again. It had been a long time since she reminisced like this, of her early days back in the academy. Those were the days when she struggled to fit in, when she felt burdened by her clan's expectations of her, when she felt isolated by her elder cousin's hate towards her, when she felt so alone and weak and tired.
But…these were the days where she had first met him, and how he changed her life forever.
Hinata closed her eyes, paused to gather her thoughts, and then, facing her sister with a smile, she said, "All right, let's begin. A few years ago…"
Yo! I'm back, folks! I never thought I'd be writing a continuation to "A Minute with You" so early, but, the idea just dawned on me while I was out for dinner, and it stuck.
With regards to the story, think of it as a semi-sequel to "A Minute with You," Sort of… an AMWY 1.5, or something, yeah. Anyway, everything in the following chapters is strictly my ideas, but I will try to make it as true to the main storyline as possible.
So, wish me luck, and let's meet again in the first chapter!