I've always felt rather ordinary. Nothing was special about me at all. Okay, I take that back. I have my advanced bloodline. I act shyer in one minute than most people in their entire life. That alone could set me apart from every other person in the world. However, I still just don't stand out. No one notices me. Really, its been like this all my life so I wouldn't really know what to do if all of a sudden I became the center of everyone's attention. It wouldn't suit me.

At the academy, I was only slightly above average. I excelled in techniques that were opposite of my family. My Taijutsu was far below average and my ninjutsu was just barely making the grade. Genjustu weren't my strongest suit either. My best areas were flower arrangements and cooking and making healing salves. I was told that I would be a better housewife than a ninja. Something, someone, made me continue on and keep trying.

I like hiding in the shadows, even if I'm not very good at it as a ninja. I'll probably never be able to beat my cousin. However, after the most recent mission, my father demanded that I face against my little sister again. I beat her. The surprise in everyone's eyes almost made me die of embarrassment. I tried my hardest not to smile. I tried my hardest not to come off as arrogant. I failed that. I just laughed at her prone body as everyone stared. She had always rubbed it in my face that she was better than me. I just walked away laughing without a scratch on my body.

Neji came up to me later and congratulated me. It truly meant a lot that he said those words to me. The only other people to praise me were Kurenai-sensei and the rest of my team. And him. He encouraged me to go on when I needed it the most.

I can't remember the exact point that it happened, but I started living my life for him. Looking back, I know we were still in the academy. The academy where everyone fawned over Uchiha-kun and the girls always questioned why I didn't try to go after him, too. Soon, they just began to accept that I was just too shy and I really did like him like all of them. Truth was, I knew that they would tease me to no end if they knew who I really had a crush on. I would be become the center of bad attention.

He has inspired me so much these past years. I wanted to be just like him for the longest time. That changed when he told me that he liked strange people like me before the finals of the first chuunin exam we took. At that point, I stopped trying to be like him and stopped pushing myself to be more open and aggressive like him. Instead, I just wanted to be me. By doing that, I somehow began changing. It was ironic. I started laughing out loud and was no longer afraid to laugh out loud around people. I was a lot more confident in myself after I ceased comparing myself to other people.

I became a whole new Hinata.

Somehow, no one seemed to notice it at all.

I had changed in so many ways. I was starting to fit into a crowd and yet I wasn't acknowledged even then. Was it that I was still just blending into the background? I wasn't sure of anything. All I knew was that I could no longer stand being ignored.

Then, it happened. Sakura had a sleepover at her house and invited most of the girls from out graduating class. I'm sure she invited me just to be polite. Sakura and Ino were fighting over Sasuke, who wasn't even in the village anymore. Somehow, Konami turned the topic into how peaceful the village had gotten since Naruto had left. My ears perked right up, but no one noticed. They continued saying mean things about Naruto and I just couldn't handle it.

I yelled, "Naruto is sweet and kind and determined and ambitious and would do anything to protect every single person in this village. He is the perfect person to be the next Hokage."

All the girls turned to me who was sitting in the corner holding a pillow to my chest and just stared at me for a good minute while I blushed. I hid my face from them and tried to shut out the world. Even the changed me would never do something as brash as that. I felt my pillow being pulled away and soon found myself staring into the blue eyes of Ino.

"How long have you been in love with him?"

And the girls giggled.

I blushed and whispered, "Since I first laid eyes on him."

The room filled with the squeals of just recently teenaged girls. They all decided to crowd around me and talk to me about Naruto. I felt like I could die. I knew that if anyone found out I like him, I would be the center of attention. I was right on the second count, too. I didn't like it at all.

For the next year, people casually asked me when I thought that Naruto was going to return. They randomly brought up his name whenever I entered a room. Had it not been for Naruto actually returning to Konoha within the next few months, I may have lost it completely.

I remember seeing Naruto when he first got back. Thinking about how much had changed. He was so much taller now. His clothes were tighter and his hair looked much more distraught than normal. When he came into view, I very nearly ran into his arms to welcome him home. That wouldn't have been me. I instead stood there against a wall and promptly fainted when he spoke to me. I don't think I had ever been more embarrassed in my entire life. I woke up later in Kurenai-sensei's arms not knowing what had happened.

However, it wasn't long after that that I found out he would be going away almost as soon as he got back to Konoha. It was all so sudden and I hadn't even accomplished what I had set out to do the moment I heard he was back. So, with the help of Kurenai-sensei, I finally sucked up all the courage I could find and marched to his house early the next morning.

And there I stood at his door, my hand held up as though I were about to knock. I couldn't bring my hand to just hit the wood even the tiniest bit. Instead, the door flew open in my face and Naruto was right there as close as he could possibly be… until he knocked me over and fell on top me.

"Hinata! What are you doing here," he asked with no apology for being on all fours on top of me.

"N-Naruto-kun!" I blushed. "I came here because…"

"Yes," he asked impatiently while standing up.

"I came here to tell you…"

Then he offered me a hand, "Go on."

And he pulled me up and into his chest. He put a hand on the back of his head and smiled. I was resting on his chest, too scared and shy to even move.

"Guess I don't know my own strength," he laughed. "Now what were you saying?"

"IcameheretotellyouthatI'vebeeninlovewithyousinceIfirstlaideyesonyou," I shouted.

Naruto stared at me with a blank face. He probably hated me now. I was sure of it. He could never love me! He had always been fawning over Sakura-chan. How could I even think that he would like me? I wasn't anything special. I wasn't pretty. I wasn't strong. My personality is probably the worst for a girl to have if she's trying to get the attention of someone like Naruto.

I pushed off of his chest and spun on my heels. Crying as I ran, I tried to get as far away from there as possible. Even with my eyes open, and with the teary eyes, I managed to run into another person. Said person promptly wrapped their warm arms around me and pulled me close. I couldn't tell who it was until he began to speak.

"I'm glad you said something… I'm such an idiot, I wouldn't have caught on even 50 years down the road," Naruto whispered.

"You don't have to pity me. I'm nothing special. Don't force yourself to say things you don't mean for my sake," I whispered.

"You're right, Hinata. You're nothing special. You're ordinary. You're also really weird."

I sobbed, hearing the truth hurt. He lifted my face from his chest by my chin and forced me to look up into his eyes.

"But… I told you before. I like girls like you. Because you weren't born a genius, you actually have to try hard to succeed. You were born with the fault of being shy, and you overcame that just to tell me that you liked me. That's what is truly great about you."

Then he leaned down and kissed me. I think I got lost, I may have fainted again, or maybe I just blacked out from shock.

Naruto made me realize something… I liked being me, no matter who me was. Even if I wasn't extraordinary, or a genius, or a prodigy of some sort, Naruto liked me. I like being nothing special.