Crystal Inferno: Throw the tomatoes now. Just do it! I'm sorry for the cough-six-month-wait-cough, but I don't have anything to say. I really lost inspiration, but slowly came back then died down again. But with luck, I should be back on track. I really do promise sooner updates. I'm going to try really hard!!! I'll respond to everyone next chapter, because I'm just really trying to type really fast so I can get this posted! Okay start chapter!
Tenten: Crystal Inferno does not own Naruto! He's mine down, you hoes!!!
"So…where are we going Neji-kun?" Hinata asked, her voice slightly withdrawn. Until yesterday, she hadn't been on a date ever in her life. She had always imagined that her first date would be with Naruto…but unexpectedly, she had been on three, with three different men. Well, she wasn't sure about Kiba's…but still, she couldn't shake off that there was something Kiba wanted to tell her…something that was buried in his heart.
Maybe I'm just looking into it too much…Hinata thought, hoping that only two men were interested in her, instead of three. She didn't want to hurt anyone…at least anymore than necessary.
"Hinata-chan?" Neji stated, worried about the silent treatment she was giving him. Hinata snapped back into reality and looked into Neji's antique white eyes. "I'm sorry Neji, I didn't hear you. Where are we going?"
"I was thinking about that tea shop you love so much. You know, with your favorite?" he informed her.
"Oh, you mean The Jasmine Rose?" Hinata smiled brilliantly, "I love that restaurant! It's perfect, Neji!"
Neji couldn't help himself as his heart skipped a couple of beats. Her smile was perfect, the way her lavender eyes gleamed, how her nose curled up…it was the image of an angel.
"Alright then, let's go, shall we?" And with a quick swift motion, he took hold of Hinata's hand, and guided her through the village, and smiled as he saw a light blush form on Hinata's cheeks. Yes, this would be a good day.
"May I ask what you're doing here?" Kiba narrowed his eyes at his teammate, the bouquet of flowers for Hinata still in his arms, cradling them like a child. They were her gift after all, and he wouldn't have bad manners taint them.
"I was about to ask you the same question," Shino said, pressing his sunglasses to his face.
"Well, I'm looking for Hinata," Kiba smugly replied, not wanting to show weakness at the moment. But, he didn't want to get in a fight with his best friend either…
"As well as I," Shino smoothly uttered, fiddling with something in his right palm.
"May I ask why?" Kiba questioned, wanting to get to the bottom of this. Both Shino and Kiba understood Hinata. They knew her fears, her aspirations, her desires…what they both didn't know who she loved more.
"Because…" Shino paused, unsure if he should tell Kiba the truth. He knew full well that Kiba also had feelings for Hinata, but he didn't know deep they were. However, he had to be honest with his best friend, for if he lied to him, how inhuman would he be?
"Because…I love her…and I need to make things right between us."
Kiba's eyes widened at Shino's bold words. He…he loved Hinata? No! He was supposed to care for Hinata! He was supposed to love and protect her. He had always been second best in her eyes, in the battle between himself and Naruto…that had proven it. Not this time though. He would beat Neji. He would beat Naruto and he would certainly beat Shino.
"Well I love her too! I've loved her for so long it hurts," Kiba clutched his heart; it was burning. All of his raw emotions were trying to squeeze out of him. It took all of his self-control not to scream at the pain. "You've always surpassed me in everything Shino, but not this time. You will not surpass me in her heart. I won't let you. From now on, we're rivals. As well as Neji. I won't let up."
"Neither will I," Shino coolly replied. Odd, this sounded familiar…
"Sasuke-kun's mine, Ino-pig!"
"Just know we're rivals from now on!"
"Fine by me!"
Sakura and Ino had once been great friends, but their lust for a particular traitor had driven them apart. Ino had tried so many times to rebuild their friendship, but Sakura's blind love only saw her calls for friendship 'tricks' that would let her win over Sasuke. Ino had been heartbroken…and eventually gave up on their friendship entirely, letting hatred grow where there was once affection. If she couldn't have her friendship, she would take her rivalry, and beat her…to prove she was stronger, and somehow in a twisted demented way, regain the trust and friendship of Sakura.
This was his current predicament. Kiba was Sakura, and he was Ino. Kiba was blinded by his love for Hinata. Shino loved Hinata as well, but did he…did he love her enough to give up his best friend?
No one should go through this…Yamanaka Ino, I feel your pain, Shino realized. He could either accept his rivalry, or reject it.
"Kiba…I don't want our friendship ruined. Hinata is a great woman in both of our lives. She has woven her charm and beauty into our hearts without even realizing what she has done," he calmly stated. He didn't want to rile Kiba, not this time. "But, Kiba… I won't give up on Hinata, but I don't want to lose your friendship as well. Don't you see what rivalry will make of us?"
Kiba gazed upon his best friend. Was this a trick? No, Shino would never stoop to such trickery. He was an honest man; he was not like Neji who would take away Hinata's freedom. Shino is my friend, he is my teammate…I can't let our friendship be ruined. He's right…He walked towards Shino until they were an arm's length apart.
"Alright, will call a truce. May the best man win," Kiba extended his hand in which Shino met with his own. It was a pact, a truce, a promise to retain their friendship.
"The prize?" Shino questioned, a small smile forming on his hidden lips. He already knew the answer, but he was happy that his friend remained just that…a friend.
"Hinata, of course!" Kiba flashed him a toothy grin, letting his canines gleam in the sunlight. "I'll take you over Neji any day!"
"Well, since Hinata isn't here…I guess we should search for her…" Shino suggested, his calm demeanor sinking into place once more.
"I agree…the first one to find her, get's her first kiss!" Kiba exclaimed and he sped off towards the village.
Shino quietly arched an eyebrow as he watched his comrade disappear from his vision. He had never told him he had already claimed her lips. Well, he was already a few steps ahead of his canine comrade. Thinking no more of it, he followed in Kiba's direction, knowing if anywhere, Hinata would be in the village.
Naruto couldn't be any happier. Someone had finally accepted his proposal of a date.
He couldn't believe it was with the gorgeous Tenten either.
He had already completed his 'test' with Sakura and Kakashi-sensei. He had noticed that Sakura had become curvier and prettier…but she didn't affect him the same way as she had once had. Maybe it was because he found it another obstacle. He wanted his heart and love to be just as good as Sasuke's. But now that she no longer liked him, he found no competition. Sure, he still had some feelings for the pink-haired kunoichi, but something was burying these emotions, and it just happened to be the girl to the right of him.
"How do you like your ramen, Tenten-chan?" Naruto asked, hoping the answer would be one of approval.
"It's magnificent, Naruto! I can't believe I haven't been here this often. It's been awhile since I've had such gourmet food…" Tenten paused, knowing she was doing it again. She always rambled when she was with someone she liked. Sure, her feelings for Naruto were new, but she still liked him nonetheless. He was a refreshing break from the stoic and cool-headed Hyugga. Maybe…maybe she never really liked Neji…
"Tenten-chan? Is something wrong?" Naruto frowned, expressing worry in his face. Tenten smiled at the unusual expression. Naruto should never be worried; he should always be happy, joyful, and prepared to take on any great adventure.
"I'm fine, Naruto. You mind if I get another bowl?"
"Of course not! I love a girl who can eat her fair share of ramen!" Naruto exclaimed, his eyes shining at her request. "Ayame-neechan! Another bowl for the lovely Tenten-chan, the greatest weapon master of Konoha!"
Tenten couldn't help but blush. He was so much like Lee…saying foolish things like that…
"Hinata-chan, do we turn here?" an all-too familiar voice asked behind her. She instinctively turned around and saw the tall and powerful Neji walking the petite and fragile Hinata somewhere just to the left of the ramen shop.
Are they…are they on a date? She asked herself. No…no, she didn't care; she had…she had…
"Hinata?" Naruto said to himself. Suddenly Tenten saw him get out of his seat and say "Hinata, is that you?" All she could do was follow…
She couldn't believe it.
He was finally here.
"N-N-Naruto-kun…" her voice barely whispered his name, her cheeks becoming slightly red. She had forgotten about him these last two days…
"Hinata! Wow, look at you. You've grown quite a bit since I last saw you. Kiba told me you've become a chunnin. That's terrific!" Naruto praised her, his foxy grin showing he meant every word he said.
Naruto-kun…thinks I'm terrific…Hinata repeated in her head. She couldn't believe-
"Naruto-san, how are you this day?" the voice from behind her asked. Hinata turned around to see Neji's dark figure hovering over her. His eyes…they were annoyed. Very annoyed.
"Oh! Neji! Didn't see you there!" Naruto greeted his friend. "I'm doing just fine with the wonderful Tenten-chan by my side!" With his words, he pulled Tenten out of the ramen stand with his hands and embraced her playfully. Tenten was slightly embarrassed by his behavior but a small part of her was enjoying this. The look on Neji's face was priceless.
"Oh, hello Neji. Hinata," Tenten welcomed trying to move her arms in Naruto's strong embrace. By the looks of things, Tenten could tell that Hinata was both nervous and excited that Naruto was finally in Konoha. But, she could also tell that Neji knew of her feelings, so he was throwing daggers at Naruto during their little conversation.
But she could also see the disappointment in Hinata's eyes when Naruto embraced her.
"So, are you two on a date, Naruto-san?" Neji asked with a little humor in his voice. How ironic was this situation? Tenten, who he assumed still liked him, was on a date with Naruto, who Hinata still liked, and in turn she was on a date with him. This was just some huge love…rectangle.
"Why of course! Only Tenten-chan is brave enough to say yes!" Naruto exclaimed, his embrace upon Tenten's small body growing stronger. It was great to say those words. Finally, finally he could say that. Someone was finally interested in him, someone wanted to know more about him. It was just magnificent.
Hinata couldn't help but shiver. Her body tensed. Naruto found someone else…in such a short time…why? Why? Why couldn't she be on a date with him? Why couldn't she ever tell him? Maybe if she had…none of these men would have chased after her…or maybe, she would have accepted their proposals.
Then something hit her.
She was being selfish. She had been selfish, for all this time. There were three men who adored her. They would do anything for her. And here she was, pining for a man who never understood her feelings, who always saw her as a friend, a companion who had helped her rise against her cousin when he had hated her. Maybe, maybe, she had only admired him…maybe she had never truly liked him in the way Kiba, Shino, and Neji liked and possibly loved her.
She took her stare off the ground and glanced at the couple. They were playfully embracing one another, while Naruto was talking to Neji about training techniques.
"If you really want to know about my techniques, you should ask the girl you're strangling. She is on my team after all, and she is the girl I train with everyday of my life," Neji responded as Naruto had whined when Neji said his techniques were 'forbidden to discuss'.'
Naruto looked down at Tenten, who was going into oxygen debt. He let go of her reluctantly, but quickly rebounded and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. "Okay I will! Let's go to the park Tenten. We can train there!"
Tenten blushed, wondering what the term 'train' meant in that sentence.
But before they could say goodbye, Hinata spoke.
"Um….Naruto-kun, Tenten-san," she directed to both of them. She did not stutter and her eyes were glued on the couple. They were not pleading, not begging the couple to break apart. Her lavender eyes were determined more then ever, to speak the truth.
"Yes Hinata?" Naruto encouraged, seeing the change in her gaze. He didn't comprehend her stare, but it was different from her usual expression. What would she say now?
"Good luck with your date and I wish the best to both of you. I hope all goes well," Hinata said calmly, but happily. So, she didn't confess that she once had an undying crush for Naruto. It was slowly simmering down to a dull roar; it had been for two years. Still, this proved to herself that she was letting go of the what-could-have-been. She smiled as Tenten blushed but replied back, "Thank you, Hinata. That means a lot." Her words obviously held much deeper meaning, but she wouldn't proceed further.
"Thanks Hinata! You're the best! Hope you two enjoy yourself as well!" Naruto waved goodbye and guiding Tenten, went towards the direction of the park.
"Shall we go now, Hinata-chan?" Neji calmly asked, although he could not help but grin at the conclusion to this outcome. Slowly she was letting go of her beloved Naruto, and slowly, he could fill that void.
"Yes, we should," Hinata replied. But as they walked, she couldn't help but let a tear slide down her pale cheek. It was a reminder of what she lost, of a future that could have been. But unexpectedly she smiled, curious to know of the future that awaited all of them; everyone who was tied into this web of love, lust, and lost.
CI: There are probably a lot of errors and I know it's not my best, but I hope you liked it. A LOT more Kiba next chapter, I assure you, and a little more Hinata and Neji (cut a little short by someone…)