It was an ordinary day.
There was no fog. The sun was shining brightly.
Nevertheless, Hyuuga Hinata walked straight into the large street lamp pole. Falling hard to her rump, she got up, brushed herself off, smiled, and went along her way, humming happily.
Walking out of the florist shop, Ino witnessed the whole thing. She rushed over to see if Hinata was alright. "Hinata… wait up… are you OK?"
"I'm wonderful…" Hinata couldn't contain her smile. That had Ino even more concerned. She had never seen the smaller girl smile like that, at least not when people were watching.
"Hey… look out!" Ino grabbed hold of her friend and pulled her out of the way of a speeding cart. As it was, they were both sprayed with mud, thanks to the large puddles left over from the prior day's rain.
Someone else hurried over. "What's going on you guys?" Sakura had been returning from the new apothecary, carrying a large bag full of prescriptions. "Hinata, are you OK? Was Ino distracting you there?"
"It's a beautiful day," Hinata said. "Nothing could ever go wrong on a day like today." Oblivious to the looks that Ino and Sakura exchanged, she walked past a number of large vividly-colored cones placed on the sidewalk by a work crew.
"Hey… watch where…" There was no time to finish her warning. Sakura grabbed hold of Hinata's chuunin vest just as she had stepped out into the void, about to plummet down through an open manhole cover. When she used her tremendous strength to lift the girl out of harm's way, her mouth fell open when she realized that Hinata's legs were still moving as if nothing happened. "You're not making her move, are you?" She gave Ino a cross look.
"Of course not!" Ino took offense. "Why would I do that?" She frowned. "Maybe you put something in her food earlier, so that you could have another patient!"
"What!" Sakura put her hands on your hips. "That's Ludicrous. That's like saying you might be doing all this, so your family can sell a lot of flowers at her funeral! Weird-eyed dreamer."
"Big forehead freak!" Ino clenched her fists. Like Sakura, she had forgotten all about Hinata and her strange behavior.
"Food is so wonderful," Hinata said. "So much better than flowers." She waved to the men throwing large shovelfuls of manure off of a wagon and into the large gardens of the Village Park. The men never saw her as she headed right to where they were flinging their malodorous material.
"Hey, wake up you guys!" That was Ten Ten's voice, directed to the busy men. A large numbers of kunei, sickles, and spinning shuriken appeared as if out of nowhere. They thunked and thwocked into the wooden handles of the shovels the city crew was using, causing the men to drop their tools just in time. "Hinata…" She dashed over to see what was wrong with Neji's cousin. "Did you get in the middle of a fight between Ino and Sakura? Did someone strike you on the head by accident?"
"I don't feel as if I'm awake," Hinata said, looking over at the magnificent floral beds. "A day like this could only take place in a dream." She continued on her way, closing her eyes and reliving earlier events in the day.
"Hinata!" That was Ino.
"Look out!" Sakura shouted too.
"The sprinklers!" Ten Ten closed her eyes. She didn't have enough weapons to throw to cut all of the hoses feeding the massive watering devices.
Hinata was instantly drenched by pulsating waves of airborne water. Her hair was plastered against her head. A stream of water poured out of one pants leg. She didn't notice. She also was unaware that the old rickety building she was walking towards was scheduled for demotion in less than a minute. The large skull-and-crossbones warning signs stuck all over the structure, nearby lamp poles, and a long stretch of fence never registered on her conscious mind.
"Hinata! Stop! Right this instant!" A loud authoritarian voice called out. Kurenai flashed from roof top to roof to, picking Hinata up by the waist and hauling her back before the foreman on the wrecking crew raised an orange flag. A tremendous low-level rumbling sound could be heard, as the old building collapsed in on itself as if it were built from playing cards.
After shaking Hinata hard, trying to get an intelligent response, the jounin marched over to the three other women and shook a fist at each of them. "Just what were you girls doing?" She stood toe to toe with Ten Ten, first. "You're Neji's girlfriend. How would you have liked to explain Hinata's injuries to him or his uncle?" She turned to Sakura. "You're a medical ninja, for crying out loud. It's your job to heal people and keep them whole." She rounded on Ino next. "You could probably do Shintenshin no Jutsu in your sleep!"
"But…" All three girls answered at once. "Hey…" They pointed at Hinata. The white-eyed girl was singing a childhood melody now, as she headed towards the open Great Gate.
"What is with that girl?" Kurenai ran off to grab Hinata before she could wander off who knows where. When she lead her back to her friends, she showed why she was a jounin and the others were but chuunin. She snapped her fingers. "Naruto."
"Naruto-kun…" Hinata smiled. Then, her eyes regained focus, and she blushed, looking at the way her friends were staring at her. "I… ummm… is there something wring?"
"That's what we all want to know!" Kurenai put her hands on her hips.
"No. It's a wonderful day," Hinata said. "Truly a beautiful afternoon." She folded her hands over her chest. "I'll never forget it."
The other women looked at one another. Each mouthed 'Naruto'. He was obviously at fault somehow. Well, fault may not be the right word, but it fit well with the village's noisiest ninja, no matter what the situation.
"Did Naruto compliment you again today, Hinata?" Ten Ten thought about her own experience. Just the other day, Neji had been very complimentary to her. It had her feeling as if she was walking on clouds.
"No… not really…" Hinata smiled.
"Well, were you able to get him to hold your hand or something?" Sakura sighed. Sasuke had returned to the village. She would give anything if he would hold her hands some day.
"No… we didn't hold hands…" Hinata twisted some strands of her hair one way, and then another.
"Wait… you can't mean… did he kiss you?" Ino swallowed hard. She pictured Shikamaru. In her brief daydream, he was standing like the hero on the cover of a romance novel, his lips inches away from her own.
"Oh-h-h-h-h-h…" Sakura, Ten Ten, and Kurenai all leaned closer to Hinata.
"No… no kissing…" Hinata closed her eyes. She held her hands out from her body and turned in a slow pirouette.
"Then what?" Kurenai suddenly put her hand to her forehead. "There's no way that you two could have been secretly dating, is there?" She blinked rapidly. Hinata couldn't keep that kind of secret, could she? "He wouldn't… he couldn't… he didn't offer you a ring, did he?"
"Omigod!" Sakura brought her hand to her mouth. She dropped the bag she was carrying.
"Unbelievable!" Ino found herself frozen in place, as if Shikamaru had used his most notable technique on her.
Ten Ten opened her mouth but couldn't speak.
"No… nothing like a ring…" Hinata said.
"You… you didn't… the two of you haven't… there was no way that…" Kurenai was afraid to even ask. "Sex?" That had the other girl's going pale.
"No… no…ummm…you know…" Hinata looked up at the cloudless sky, amazed at the piercing shade of blue.
"THEN… WHAT… HAPPENED!"
All four shinobi shouted that at once, clenching their fists.
"I invited Naruto to lunch," Hinata said. It had been a bold act on her part; but, if she waited for Naruto, she might wait until one of them died of old age. "He took me to his favorite Ramen shop." She ignored the 'it figures' mumbled by her friends. "I asked him to walk me through the gardens, so we got there a little late."
"So?" Ten Ten looked incredulous.
"You walked in a garden with him?" Sakura frowned. "That was it?
"The two of you just had lunch together? And a walk? Nothing more?" Ino sighed.
"Let her finish," Kurenei said.
"We were the last customers in the shop," Hinata said. "There was only enough Ramen for one bowl." Her heart began pounding in her chest. "I told him that he could have it, but he just shook his head." Her breathing sped up and blood was loud in her ears. "I asked if we could have two bowls, so that we could split things." She felt as if she were about to pass out. "He said 'No, you have it Hinata'." She was filled with an almost transcendental feeling of joy. "He didn't try to steal even a single noodle."
The girls all stood stunned for a moment. And then, a few moments more. Humming again, Hinata was oblivious to them all.
"Amazing…" Ten Ten was trembling.
"Frightening…" Ino held her breath. She was superstitious. This was like a heavy snowfall on a sunny summer day.
"No way…" Sakura sat down hard in the middle of the sidewalk.
"True love…" Kurenei whispered, not feeling worthy to say those words.