Disclaimer – I don't own Naruto.
Summary – After a 2nd failed attempt to rescue Sasuke, Naruto returns home, once again empty handed. But all is not lost. The mission has taught Naruto where his true power lies. As it awakens, so does Naruto, and he wakes up to more than he expected…
Pairings – NaruHina (Main), SasuSaku, ShikaTema, NejiTen, ChoIno, LeeOC, IruShizu, KonoHana
Author's Note (A/N) – This is my first fan fic. Please R&R. I hope you enjoy it!
Oh, boy, my first fan fic. I feel all nervous. Ah, well, no use worrying. Hope you all enjoy!
This story takes place after chapter 310 or so.
Chapter I – Evening Encounter
"Yaw--n…" Naruto yawned as he walked down the street.
It was nearly midnight in Konoha Village. The moon was full and it was a little chilly out, the month being October. Naruto was heading home after a day of training with Kakashi and Sakura. He still could not believe Sakura's monstrous strength. He was a little afraid to talk to her, fearing that he might say the wrong thing and end up flying into the nearest tree.
'If Sakura-chan thought that if she became strong she could keep me in line, she sure had the right idea. I'm afraid to joke with her about even the smallest thing...' Naruto thought with a shudder. He still hurt from the last time she punched him, which was last week (he was becoming better at behaving around Sakura).
Kakashi-sensei hadn't changed too much. He looked the same and acted the same, and still read those perverted books of his. Why did all of his teachers have to be perverts? During the three years of training with Jiraiya, he disapproved of the Ero-Sennin's perverted activities, and try as he might, Jiraiya still had managed to rub off on him a little. Naruto was a little ashamed, but thought that it would happen to anybody who hung around with the Ero-Sennin too long. At least he, Uzumaki Naruto, had a sense of honor. He never peeped, outside of his pranks, but they were just pranks. He wasn't some pervert.
Naruto turned the corner and begun to ponder about his friends, and how much they had changed. He had already spent enough time with Kakashi and Sakura to think about them much. As he pondered, he realized that he hadn't really caught up with his friends much, if at all. He would have to talk to them at some point. His thoughts wondered to his other comrades.
His mind landed at Shikamaru's team first. He had seen Shikamaru twice, but very briefly. Choji and Ino, he had only seen once, also very briefly. None of them had changed much (except for they're looks, but even then, they still hadn't changed too much); Shikamaru was still lazy (and extremely intelligent), Choji was still large and always stuffing his face (but he understood why, now), and Ino was still self-centered and bossy (and much more attractive). He had yet to see Asuma, but if Kakashi was any hint of things to come, he didn't expect too much.
Next, Naruto's mind wandered to Lee's team. Like Shikamaru's team, they hadn't changed much, but changed so much at the same time. Lee looked almost exactly the same, with the exception of his newly acquired Chunin vest, which he wore in the same style as Gai. Neji had let his hair down, in both senses of the word. His hair was longer and untied, and he had also become a bit less serious and tense, and had lightened up a bit. Tenten... Well, Naruto didn't know her well enough to know of she had changed much. Gai was more or less the same, though.
Then, Naruto remembered Kiba's team. He had to say, they changed more than anybody else, at least as far as appearances were concerned. He had only seen them once since his return, and their encounter had been brief, so, as with Shikamaru's team, he didn't know how much they're abilities improved. Shino was still shady, to say the least. He hadn't said much and didn't show much, if any, emotion. As always. Kiba had changed, too, but not nearly as much as Akamaru. His comrades had changed a lot, yes, but Akamaru took the cake. He had become huge compared to three years ago. Now, Kiba rode on him, rather than the other way around, as had been the case before Naruto left.
'I wonder if all dogs grow that fast...' Naruto wondered to himself. He would have to consult Kiba on the matter. After wondering a bit about dogs and their growth habits, his mind had wandered back to his comrades. He hadn't seen Kurenai yet, either. She probably hadn't changed much though.
As he continued thinking, he felt as if he had forgotten something...or someone. He then suddenly remembered the shy kunoichi on Kiba's team. Naruto slapped himself. How could he forget about one of his friends? Especially her? She had always been shy around him and always fainted, but she had also always been very kind to him, even though most people hated him and even though he had beaten both her teammate and her cousin. Plus, she had those creepy eyes that all Hyuga's did, like Neji; white and empty. She wasn't exactly easy to forget.
'She would be hurt if she knew I forgot about her. She had always been so nice. Idiot! How could you forget about her! You didn't forget anyone else!' Naruto burned himself. 'I let my mind wander, and then I forget about one of my friends. Stupid, stupid me!'
Naruto continued beating himself up, feeling guilty that he had forgotten about her, until he noticed something that caught his attention. Someone was sitting on the roof of one of the taller buildings, facing the full moon. They were too far away to make out from his position, so Naruto started making his way up the concrete jungle. When he finally arrived at the top of the building, he lost his footing out of shock.
As if fate had been reading his mind, Naruto had found that she was the one sitting up there. He was so shocked that the person he had been thinking about had been the person he found up here that he had stopped paying attention to where his feet had been going, and he tripped as he landed on the rooftop. As he fell, he heard a sharp gasp of surprise that could have only been Hinata.
Hinata was sitting on the rooftop of a building she didn't know, but had a very good view of the village. It was very tall. She had been sitting there, staring at the moon, thinking her thoughts since sundown. She had had a busy day, and after dinner she decided to go somewhere secluded to reflect and wonder. She had found that this building had a very good view, and decided to rest here.
She had been thinking about several things about her life, such as her training, her missions, her family duties, and the like, but the one thing that she had been thinking about almost constantly of late was Naruto's return.
A couple of weeks ago she had been on her way to a meeting with her team about a mission they had that day. She was turning the corner to the meeting place when she saw the back of someone unfamiliar. She stopped, confused as to who this person could be, but then it hit her. The orange jacket (though now it had black instead of blue and was slightly darker, giving it more of a mature look) and spiky, blonde hair...no, it couldn't be...but...but it is!
'N-N-Naruto-kun?' Hinata thought, shocked. She gasped as she ran behind the fence she had just turned around. She stood with her back to the fence as her heart sped up and her breaths came in short gasps. 'It is Naruto-kun! But...but...I mean, I had heard that he had returned, but...I haven't seen him in three years! I'm not ready! What do I do? What do I say?' She thought frantically to herself. She continued to hide and panic about how she should approach Naruto when the object of her affections poked his head around the corner. His eyes met hers and she froze, all thought gone as her mind went completely blank.
"Hinata! Hey, why are you hidin' behind here? Is something wrong?" Naruto asked in surprise. "Hinata? Umm...Hina--ta!"
"N-Naruto...kun..." Hinata managed to squeeze out before her face turned a dark shade of crimson and her world went blank as she fainted.
She cringed as she remembered how weak she had been. She had promised that she would become stronger for Naruto, and she never went back on her word. That was her nindo - her ninja way! She had trained vigorously for three years, awaiting Naruto's return, so she could show him how much stronger she had become, but the first time she saw him, she had panicked. She had been weak. She hated herself for her weakness.
'Naruto-kun probably thinks I'm just a weakling. He would never want to waste his time with me. I would just get in his way.' Hinata thought to herself, depressed. "He would never like me..." She whispered to herself as tears started to form in her eyes.
'Hang in there, Hinata!' Hinata gasped as she heard her Naruto-kun's voice yell in her head. 'Show him, Hinata! Kick that bastard's ass!' She remembered Naruto's words during her fight with Neji during the Chunin Selection Exams. 'Hinata!' He had yelled in concern when the young kunoichi had fallen after fight with Neji. 'I promise you... You're goin' down!' She smiled. 'You know, Hinata...I used to think you were just a dark weirdo, but...a person like you, I could really like!' He had said before the finals of the Chunin Selection Exam.
The tears began to fall, but not tears of sadness - tears of happiness, as she remembered what Naruto had said that day. It had made her so happy that Naruto had said that he liked a person like her. She smiled and cried as she thought those thoughts. Naruto had done so much for her, even if he didn't know it nor did it purposefully. She owed him so much.
"Naruto-kun..." Hinata whispered silently to herself as her mind wandered to the loudmouthed ninja who had stolen her heart.
Hinata was dreaming of Naruto when none other than the blonde shinobi himself jumped onto the rooftop she was sitting on with a mixed look of confusion and surprise. Hinata didn't notice; she was too busy dreaming of the boy himself to notice him arrive, but that didn't last long; Naruto lost his footing and tripped. This snapped Hinata out if her dreams and back into the real world with a start, and when she noticed who had appeared before her, she gasped. Naruto was lying facedown on the other side of the rooftop.
Naruto fell flat on his face with a smack! Oww... Naruto began to pick himself up when he heard a surprised and worried voice that was, surprisingly, also very gentle and friendly at the same time. He looked up and saw Hinata rushing over with a surprised and worried look on her face.
"N-Naruto-kun! A-Are you o-okay?" She asked nervously. 'She still stutters...' Naruto thought jokingly. He picked himself up and looked at Hinata with an embarrassed smile.
"Hehe... I'm okay, Hinata. No need to worry!" He said as he put on his trademark smile. Hinata blushed and looked at her feet, twiddling her fingers.
"Umm... O-okay...s-sorry..." She said.
"Why are you apologizing? It's not your fault. I should have been paying attention."
"Oh...okay...s-sorry, N-Naruto-kun..." She stuttered, looking embarrassed.
"I just said to stop apologizing!" Naruto scolded jokingly.
"S-s-sor-- I mean...o-okay..."
"Hinata, don't be so hard on yourself. I was only joking."
"You did it again!"
"Anyway... What are you doing up here by yourself at this hour? It's almost midnight! And it's really cold, too! You could catch a cold!" Naruto said, concerned.
"Oh! Ummm..." Hinata was shocked that Naruto was so concerned about her. Her face began to turn an even darker shade of red. "I-I was j-just thinking about...you know...stuff..."
"Hmm..." Naruto said thoughtfully. "Is something wrong? 'Cause if you need to talk about somethin', I'm all ears!" He said encouragingly.
"N-Naruto-kun..." Hinata was touched. "Umm... N-no, n-nothing's wrong. I was j-just thinking t-to myself, that's all..."
"Oh, okay then!" He said cheerfully. "If you say so."
Hinata was a little disappointed at this. Naruto looked satisfied and would probably head home now. She kicked herself for not being smarter. She should have said yes! Then Naruto would have stayed and they could've sat and talked together! Hinata blushed some more (if it was possible) at the thought of sitting under the full moon with Naruto. Naruto, who noticed Hinata float off to her own world, snapped her back to reality.
"So... I was wondering... If you don't mind, I thought that maybe we could, umm, you know...talk for a little while..." Naruto said nervously, hoping that he didn't sound too stupid. He stood there nervously with a sheepish smile, his hand scratching the back of his head.
Hinata was utterly shocked at the statement. Naruto wanted to sit and talk? Just the two of them? Together? Alone? Here, under the moon? It sounded like a dream; too good to be true. Well, if it was a dream, she hoped she wouldn't wake up. She wanted to pinch herself, to check, but she decided against it, seeing as Naruto was looking at her, awaiting her response.
"U-ummm...s-s-sure...o-okay..." She said barely audibly.
Naruto smiled and said, "Great! Let's sit down. I wanted to catch up and see what's been going on while I was gone." He said energetically "You have to tell me everything! And then I'll tell you about all of my awesome adventures! And I bet you've gotten loads stronger!" If Hinata's blush could've gotten any deeper, it did right then.
'Naruto-kun thinks I've gotten stronger? He thinks I'm strong? N-Naruto-kun thinks I'm strong? He thinks I'm strong!' Hinata smiled at the thought. "U-umm..."
"Hinata, why is your face all red? And why are you stuttering?" Naruto asked. "Are you sure you're okay?"
Hinata cursed the moonlight and her weakness. "Y-y-yes...N-Naruto-kun..."
"Okay, then." He replied simply. "Anyway, tell me about all that's happened while I was gone! I've got to know! I haven't seen much of you guys since I got back. I want to catch up."
"O-okay...ummm...where to begin..." She said thoughtfully. She found a good place to start and began telling of all the events and such that happened in Konoha during Naruto's absence. He listened silently as the minutes passed by...
A/N - Hells yeah! First chapter! Woo-hoo! Hot damn! It feels GOOD! HELLA GOOD! Woo... Yeah... So, that's the first chapter of my first fan fic. Hells yeah. Hells yeah. HELLS YEAH! Okay... Got that outta my system. But anyway, please, please, PLEASE review! Reviewing is good. Good for the soul. It will reveal the essence of life. It will cleanse you of all sins (unless you totally burn me; then I will cry and you will burn in hell). It will reveal your true love. But even if I get bad reviews, I'll just watch Naruto and I'll fell better. I'll continue writing this story anyway, 'cause it's gonna be badass. BAD. ASS. I hope you enjoyed this chapter!