Everyday, I watch him pass by my hiding place, either alone or with his friend; Haruno Sakura, the girl he has a crush on.
And everyday, without fail, I can't say anything to him. I just watch him pass by in silence. Uzumaki Naruto is…the most amazing guy I have ever met. Cheerful, determined, and a little bit on the stubborn side, he also is the strongest in the village. And I don't measure his strength by his power.
Long ago, a demon fox with nine tails attacked our village, the Konoha village. Many jonin fell and all hope seemed lost. Finally, the fourth hokage sacrificed his life to save the village. He sealed the fox into an infant. That infant was Naruto.
Since then, many villagers looked at him with fear, anger and hatred. He was a monster in their eyes. I don't know all the details, but I know that his past was a desolate one, full of pain. Yet, he overcame all that, with the help of his friends, and he did not let his past affect him at all. That's why, in my eyes, he is strong.
He's…everything I'm not. Where he's determined and strong, I'm weak and I give up quite easily. I pretty much live in the shadow of my more famous cousin, Hyuuga Neji.
I can see Naruto coming closer. I think he's alone. Maybe I can gather the courage to talk to him. Just maybe…Chapter 1: Shyness
Naruto strolled towards the forest, his mind on other things.
It won't hurt to do a little extra training, he thought, after all, if I want to find Sasuke, I'll have to be stronger.
Suddenly, he slowed to a stop. He was so sure he heard someone calling his name, but it had sounded so distant he wasn't sure if he was imagining things or not.
He turned around and saw Hyuga Hinata peering at him from behind a tree, blushing as red as a cherry tomato.
"Ah, Hinata-san…daijoubu? You look like you have a fever." He said, walking closer. Hinata was practically grasping at the tree.
"I…I'm fine." She said, a small smile on her face. "Thank you for your…concern."
Jeez, why does she act so – I dunno – fragile?
"So," he began, lacing his arms behind his head, "what are you still doing out here. It's already pretty late, you know."
"Well, I could ask you the same question." She said. Then her smile disappeared and she dropped her head. "Gomen. I was sarcastic and it was totally thoughtless of me. After all, I suppose you were just curious after all and it was pretty much a harmless question so…" her voice trailed off. She felt like kicking herself. She was rambling complete nonsense. Naruto-kun must think I'm a fool.
Naruto shook his head. "It's all right. In case you we're wondering, I was just on my way to train. Would you like to join me?" He flashed her a cheery grin.
Hinata blushed again and shook her head. "No, thank you. I really must go home now. I…just wanted to watch the sun set."
"Oh." Naruto turned around and looked at sunset. "Well," he said, grabbing Hinata by the hand, "we're just in time, eh, Hinata-san? C'mon, I know a special place where we can see it closer!"
He dashed off, pulling Hinata along.
Hinata's heart was beating 5 times faster. Naruto-kun's…holding my hand.
"There! I told you it was cool up here." Naruto flashed another grin. "When it comes to finding secluded places, I'm the best there is."
Hinata glanced around her. She was so filled with awe she could hardly speak. It was a small, quiet place at the edge of a cliff. Near them, a small river rushed past. The place provided a clear view of the sunset.
Hinata sat down and Naruto plopped down beside her.
"So, what do you think?"
"Naruto-kun…I-I don't know what to say…"
Naruto smiled at her. "Don't say anything. Just enjoy the sunset." He leaned back on the ground.
"Oh, and, Hinata-san?"
"Don't tell anyone else about this place, okay." Narutp winked at her. "You're the only one I wanted to show this place to."
"So, you saw him?"
He just nodded. Temari sighed. Getting Gaara to talk was about as easy as carrying Chouji with one finger. It could be done, but it required heaps of effort.
"I still don't understand," Gaara looked up at her, his dark, soulful eyes boring into hers. "I thought we had turned straight. Why must we do this…this…this unforgivable action?"
Temari gulped. This was way too delicate to tell him. At least, not yet. As tactfully as possible, she said "I don't think I can tell you yet. I'm not keeping anything from you." She said hurriedly, seeing the way he looked at her. "I'm just not entirely sure."
Gaara looked away. It was hard enough having to accept this mission when he had started to accept them as his…friends. Did Temari have to keep secrets from him as well?
Suddenly, Kankurou dropped beside them. "What's taking you so long?" he asked looking directly at Temari. "Kazekage-sama is waiting for a full report."
Temari felt like kicking him. Or at least whacking him with her fan. She glared at him for now.
He looked completely confused. "What?"
She gestured towards Gaara. His face was completely cloaked in the shadows. Kankurou slapped himself on the forehead. "Oops."
No wonder she didn't want to tell me. Gaara thought, blankly staring into space. Typical. My bloodthirsty, power-hungry father decided to have another shot at taking over Konoha, this time using an innocent pawn to pave the way for him. I doubt he'd accept it if I refused to help in the mission. After all, he thought bitterly, He sees me as the trump card of the village. Oto-sama, I swear, one day you'll pay for mistreating me. Some day…
Naruto entered the room, not bothering to flick on the light. He had trained for two hours straight. He was beat. Normally, he'd head over to the Ramen shop to boost his energy, but he didn't have the strength left to do that.
He took of his jacket and flung it on the floor. He crawled into bed to mull things over. The late afternoon he had spent with Hinata had felt refreshing. Unlike Sakura, she didn't talk so much. And she didn't get suspicious when he tried to do something nice for her. That was a definite bonus.
Maybe tomorrow, I'll ask Hinata to help me gather my chakra into my hand, he thought, rummaging around his tangled bed sheets for his nightcap. Then I can work my way up to mastering the chidori. He felt energized by the idea.
"That'll wipe the smug look from his face." He muttered angrily. "Kakashi-sensei's been playing favorites lately. I'll show him I can be way more powerful then that baka Sasuke. Then maybe he'll accept…" he trailed off. Of course Kakashi-sensei accepted him. Who was he kidding?
Stop living in the past, Naruto, he shook his head slightly. People no longer fear you. He looked at the dark night sky. Not a single star could be seen. And it was new moon so absolutely no light was cast in his bedroom. He was surrounded by complete darkness. People no longer fear you. He repeated, wandering over to his mirror, all weakness forgotten. He glanced at his reflection. They no longer fear you, but, he shook his head sadly, do they acknowledge you? Do they acknowledge your capabilities? He gazed into his own deep, blue eyes, which had darkened over slightly. Or have you just been acting so enthusiastic around them that they no longer take you seriously? The only time they take you seriously is when…is when…he sighed and turned away from his reflection. Is when the kyuubi comes out.
He wandered over to the window. Even in the dark, he could make out Hinata's house just a few streets away. Maybe I ought to tell her what's going on in my head right now. He thought, leaning on the window frame. She always has great advice.
"Ahhh!" Hinata yelled, slamming against a wall. She slumped down, every bone in her body aching. Neji stood a few feet from her, looking down at her with blazing eyes. Behind him, her father shook his head. He looked at her with disappointed eyes. She could only gaze sadly at him.
I know he must be disappointed, she thought sadly, after all, it has always been known for the main to be stronger than the branch. I let him down…again.
Her father tore his eyes away from her and clapped his hand onto Neji's shoulder. "Well done, Neji. Get some rest. It's nearing midnight." Neji nodded and strode out of the dojo without a backward glance. When he was gone, her father sighed and looked at her. Hinata painfully got to her feet.
"Hinata, you do realize that you haven't been able to inflict any damage on Neji since the day both of you started training together, don't you?"
"Then you must also realize that it's…more than a little disappointing to me. Hinata, have I not made myself clear that, for centuries, the main family has always surpassed the branch family in terms of talent? You shame me. More than I can possibly describe."
And, without another word, he strode out of the dojo, extinguishing the lamps, leaving her in the darkness.
Hinata slowly sank to the floor again. The only thing that blocked out the silence we're her quiet sobs. Naruto-kun, if only you were here right now, she thought, trying and failing, to calm herself. I endure things better whenever you're near me.