Author's Note: Happy birthday, Sasuke-kun.
Uh-hm. Let's just say this is after Sasuke gets back from Oro-sama. Yeah.
First try at SasuHina. Hope it turns out alright. I thought it was cute, at least…
Hinata sniffled miserably. Her mind was numb and her thoughts were racing at the same time. The rest of her body, for sure, was numb. Gone. Dead.
Especially her heart.
She wasn't beautiful, or smart, or skilled, or strong enough. She wasn't enough for Naruto-kun. Sakura was; she was beautiful, smartest kunoichi of her year, and she was the apprentice of the Hokage. And the two had finally got together.
Hinata was happy for them, she really was. Naruto was happy, and Sakura seemed happy enough. She had given up on Sasuke, but they maintained their friendship. Team 7 seemed happy and whole and perfect. Not that her team was bad, mind you, it was just that…well, it didn't have Naruto-kun.
She was happy for them both, but she was miserable at the same time. Naruto-kun was Sakura's, now. Kiba offered his condolences, and Shino said that they were both there for her if she needed someone to talk to. She loved her teammates…but they just weren't Naruto-kun. They were both great, truly they were, but she just wasn't the type of girl to go and open up to her friends. Oh no. She was the type to keep things bottled inside.
Hanabi had made her usual mean comment in response to Hinata's predicament. Neji hadn't said anything; he wouldn't wish to be rude, but he never was one to comfort others, and Hinata understood. Still…no one was really comforting, a small, mean voice in her head pointed out.
Hinata was weak, she knew that. She was nearly worthless. And without Naruto-kun to cheer her on (just the sight of him on a bad day brightened it considerably)…it just wasn't worth it anymore.
He jammed his hands in his pockets sullenly. Naruto and Sakura were on a date together. Kakashi-baka-sensei was nowhere to be seen (probably off reading his perverted books somewhere). There weren't any missions he could do, and no one would spar with him.
Sasuke hated being bored.
Shino was off on a mission. Kiba was busy with his family. Shikamaru was on a date with Temari. Lee and TenTen were both off on a mission, too. Chouji was off eating somewhere.
Sasuke didn't fancy hunting down either Kankurou or Gaara; he didn't even know if they were in Konoha. From the original rookies…that left Neji and his cousin, Hinata. They both had their bloodline limit; surely sparring with either of them would get rid of his boredom.
He made it to the Hyuuga compound on auto-pilot. He wasn't even aware that he was there until he was standing on the doorstep. "Hn."
Then he promptly remembered that Neji was on the same mission as Lee and TenTen. Groaning, he turned on his heel to walk away and find something else to do; he would rather spar with either Gaara or his brother than fight with a girl. Not that he thought they were weak or anything, oh no. It was just…so hard.
First off, every girl he knew (Except Hinata, he noted lazily) squealed and blushed whenever he was in their sight. That was bad enough. But then…usually, it was hard to practice taijutsu, since girls were naturally weaker in that department. And if it came down to a ninja fight, he could just see through everything else with his Sharingan. Then, even if you could get into a taijutsu spar, you have to be careful. No hitting extra hard (Girls cry when they get hurt), and you can hit, kick, punch or anything near their chest. Then they cry "PERVERT" and try to slap him or something. Why did girls have to have breasts? Of course, Sasuke knew the answer, but it just made sparring so hard.
Thus, he would not spar with Hinata.
He'd rather take on sand or puppets.
Well, that was his train of thought until he saw Hinata sneaking out of a side door to the compound. Sasuke stopped dead in his tracks, craning his neck to see what she was doing. She was wearing a kimono (why is she in that? Sasuke thought, raising an eyebrow), a beautiful lavender kimono with a dark purple sash. Her shoulders were shaking slightly, and her head was bowed. With a jolt, Sasuke wondered if she was crying.
He wondered why she didn't stop to greet him, then realized that she must not have her Byakugan activated. Sasuke shrugged to no one in particular; tailing her would be at least some practice. Not to mention that it would be something to do.
Hinata was silently (well, nearly silently, Sasuke noted disdainfully) making her way through the forest that separated the Hyuuga compound from one of the many rivers that ran throughout Konoha. Sasuke couldn't have named the river if someone held a kunai to his neck, but he remembered it was deep and fairly large. All the mothers in the village told their kids to stay away from it. Sasuke vaguely remembered his own mother saying something like that as well…
With a jolt and a sudden blush, Sasuke wondered if she was going to go swimming. That was the last thing he needed right now; to be accused of peeping on a girl he barely knew. Sasuke was about to turn around, right then and there, when Hinata jumped over a large rock in her way. She seemed much more sluggish than usual, and the bottom hem of her kimono seemed either heavier or wanting to stick to the ground for some reason. His heart stopped beating for a second when he saw her stop along the path, sniffling, and pick up a few rocks. She stored them in her sash and continued on her way toward the river.
She's going to…she wouldn't. She's not that stupid…but then, why, Sasuke's mind was racing. Why, why would she be going to the deepest river in Konoha with rocks sewn into her kimono…? The raven-haired boy could only think of one reason. He just prayed he was wrong.
Unfortunately, when the realization hit him, he froze. So Hinata had pulled ahead of him, still stumbling, sniffling, and gathering more rocks. She was on the shore of the river, staring out at the dark, greenish water when he finally caught up. Jumping down from the tree branch, he landed just as she began walking into the water.
All of the brief times they interacted flashed through Sasuke's head. The first time they met, back at the academy. Both were staying after to study more and practice their shuriken aim. She hadn't said a single thing, neither had he. She had worked herself nearly until she fainted, sweat making her hair stick to her face and get in her pale eyes. Sasuke remembered he had paused to stare at her as she collapsed, laying on her back and panting as she stared at the sky.
At the first chuunin exams. She was practically hiding behind Kiba and Shino, staring at Naruto and blushing. Sasuke remembered looking at her, feeling slightly put out that he knew a girl that wasn't madly in love with him like Sakura or Ino.
"Wait!" Sasuke held out a hand pathetically, as if able to drag her back. Her head snapped back toward him, dark locks flying about her face. Her ashen eyes were red, and there were still tears flowing down her pale cheeks. Her mouth was open in a silent exclamation of 'oh!', and one fist instinctively went to cover it.
When she was fighting Neji. He won, of course, everyone knew he would. But no one expected Hinata to actually fight him--or to give him such a good run for his money. Sasuke couldn't help but think that she was better than most other kunoichi--she didn't care about showing off very much, she didn't care much about her looks, and she just went into that fight with her all.
"…Sasuke…" She breathed, her eyes wide as she stared at him. It would've been awkward, meeting him randomly like this, if it weren't for the circumstances. One of his hands was reaching out to her and he actually looked--worried? Hinata was standing waist-deep in cold river water, in her favorite kimono, weighted down with at least ten pounds of rocks. Already her bare feet were numb, but she didn't care.
"Hinata, wait." Sasuke repeated, taking a step forward. He seemed to look for words, then continued, "…W-why are you doing this?"
"A-ah, gomen, Sasuke…" Hinata whispered, turning away from him with another sniffle. "P-please…go away…"
"No." Hinata flinched at his harsh voice, and sniffed weakly. He was going to be 'nice' and 'save' her. For one of the few times in her life, she decided to do what she wanted and went ahead with her own choice.
Using chakra to push all of the air out of her lungs, she merely dove into the water, gulping in as much as the cold liquid as she could; Sasuke would be there in no time. Indeed, the Uchiha swore loudly and bounded over to the water, kicking off his shoes, and dove in. It was already fading to black for Hinata, and she was lying on the bottom of the calm river. Her kimono was heavy enough without the rocks; perhaps all of the weight would deter her 'savior'. She murmured 'gomen…' into the freezing water, closing her pale eyes one last time.
And then, she felt that she was no more.
Sasuke swore mentally; he was currently swimming toward the dark, pale, unmoving body of Hinata on the river bed. His own lungs were screaming for air; the water was cold and sapped his strength quickly. The girl looked so fragile, so pale…so dead. Sasuke nearly froze then and there, but he didn't.
He put his arm around Hinata's shoulders, the other under her legs, and was trying to pick her up bridal-style. But damn, she was heavy, with all of her rocks and the wet kimono. Sasuke pushed off from the river bed, pumping chakra into his legs to propel them both to the surface.
But he was slowing down now.
Shifting the girl in his arms so he had a free arm now, Sasuke was dismayed that the surface of the water still seemed so far away. His own movements were starting to grow sluggish, and his lungs seemed to shrivel up and die inside of him. And he had a sickening feeling that this was just a body now, not Hinata…
Finally, air! Sasuke and Hinata broke the surface of the water, and the former began heading back towards shore. Repositioning the kunoichi again so that her arms were limply around his neck and she was basically laying on his back, Sasuke found that it was much easier swimming this way. Of course, his mind was just repeating the same thing over and over: shit.
The swim back to shore took an eternity. But Sasuke was at least thankful that he had oxygen this time. Hinata's body was still painfully heavy, especially when he hauled them both out of the cold water and onto dry land. As much as he would've loved to just lie there and breathe deeply, he knew he couldn't.
He took one more deep breath, then rolled over to the kimono-clad kunoichi. He placed his finger against her neck for a pulse, wondering why she had attempted suicide in the first place. He sourly thought that she had nothing to complain about compared to himself. Still, the dark-haired shinobi was overjoyed when he found a pulse, no matter how faint.
With a faint blush, however, he realized he'd have to perform CPR. Sasuke didn't care how this would look, he was saving her life. He closed his mouth over hers, forcing air into her lungs as he pressed on her chest gently. All shinobi in the Academy were trained in basic things such as CPR, but Sasuke couldn't help but feel nervous. Hinata's life was in his hands. How's that for pressure.
Finally, she coughed weakly, and Sasuke jumped back as though burned. He stared at her intently as she coughed up a bit of water and opened her pale eyes. "…S-Sasuke…"
"Hai, it's me." He replied softly, feeling a great sense of pride at successfully saving her life.
"Wh-why did you do that, Sasuke?" The Hyuuga girl sat up, giving him a very weak glare.
"I'll answer that after you answer why you wanted to do that in the first place." He replied coolly.
Hinata drew her knees up to her chest, wiping a dripping lock out of her eyes. "…I-I'm worthless…I'm no good for anyone, not good at anything…I-I'm…no one really understands me…I'm all alone." She whispered, setting her forehead on her knee. Her shoulders started shaking silently, and Sasuke was sure that she was crying again. He reached over tentatively, awkwardly, and placed a hand on her shoulder. She jumped up, looking at him with her wide, lavender eyes, tears trickling down her cheeks. The Hyuuga kunoichi hiccupped quietly, biting her bottom lip.
"I know how you feel." Sasuke said reassuringly; and it wasn't a complete lie. He may have never felt really worthless (except for when Itachi killed his parents), but he knew what it felt like to be alone. "But Hinata…Um, well, suicide isn't the answer. Trust me on that."
"No buts, Hinata. You just need an understanding friend." He patted her awkwardly on the shoulder, and withdrew his hand rather hastily. Girls may be comfortable with emotional subjects, but no way in hell Uchiha Sasuke was.
She swallowed audibly and sniffled again. "I have gr-great friends…or at least, I hope I may call them my friends…but none of them understand…I kn-know that s-s-sounds selfish, Sasuke…"
"But it's true." He finished for her. Yes, he knew the same feeling. "Hinata, I know you have at least one understanding friend. …Me."
Now, in his lifetime, Sasuke had been attacked, glomped, hugged, kissed, cuddled, fought over, and molested by girls. But that didn't stop him from blushing and freezing with Hinata threw her arms around his neck and sobbed into his shoulder. "G-gomen, gomen!" She cried, her whole body racked with sobs. The Uchiha boy finally regained control of his mind and body, and slowly put his arms around her in what he hoped to be a reassuring hug.
"No need for apologies…" With a note of irony, Sasuke realized that every girl his age had now officially hugged him at some point in his life. "Shh, it'll be alright. Um…just let it all out, Hinata."
"Ah, gomen, Sasuke, gomen…!" She sniffled, squeezing her eyes shut in a vain attempt to stop the tears. Her life was just screwed up…She had gone from happy, to sad, to depressed, to suicidal, and back in time just to make a new friend--the cold-hearted boy who she usually ignored because of his cold attitude. And yet he was the only one who had really helped her…
Sasuke was silent, letting her cry herself calmer (A saying of his mother's, incidentally), before he noticed that they were both shivering. "Come on. My house isn't as far from here as yours, so you can change out of your wet clothes there." Hinata nodded silently, although she didn't seem to be moving. She just clung to him, sniffling and hiccupping every so often. Sasuke really hated being the 'man' in such situations; shifting, he managed to pick her up bridal-style once more, and was walking in the direction of his home before she could start squeaking her protests.
"A-ano, Sasuke, I-I can walk, I'm sure…" She said weakly, although the death grip she had on his neck didn't seem to be lessening.
Sasuke realized that she was the only girl his age that wasn't in his 'fan club'. It was a both cheerful and slightly disturbing revelation. Cheerful that she was unique, and wasn't focused completely on boys and make-up and such like all the other kunoichi he seemed to know. She was focused on actually training, to make herself stronger. In his book, that was worth quite a few points.
But it was also disconcerting, because it meant that she didn't like him as much. He nearly missed the '-kun' suffix that most girls latched onto his name. Plus…she had a crush on Naruto, didn't she? Was he the cause of all this…? If he was, Sasuke mentally noted to kick his ass extra hard next time they fought.
"Ano…Sasuke…you really c-can put me down now…" She tugged on his shirt collar absently. Sasuke looked down at the girl in his arms, surprised that she was blushing quite heavily. That, in turn, made him blush, although he wasn't quite sure why. They stopped on their journey to get detached from each other, and walked along, side-by-side in silence.
Sasuke was still contemplating the fact that she was one of the only worthwhile girls he knew (worthwhile for what, he had no idea) and she sadly wasn't in his 'fan club'. He might've actually dated her if she was…Onyx eyes widening as he realized what he just thought, Sasuke flushed and glanced nervously at the girl beside him.
She was pretty, yes, in an exotic-looking way. Her hair had grown out, which pleased him (He always did have a thing for girls with longer hair…), and was still as dark as ever. Her eyes were their normal ashen color, although her pale face was still streaked with drying tears.
And, as far as he knew, she was fairly intelligent. Not Shikamaru-intelligent, or even Sakura-intelligent, but she was clever and could think on her feet. Kudos for her. Sasuke realized that he had, indeed, made a new friend, and she really was quite the girl.
"Ano, Sasuke…arigato." Hinata said suddenly, looking at him. "Arigato…for everything."
"Hn, no problem…" He replied indifferently, blinking as she smiled at him. Is this a crush, he thought blandly. Or is it just an actual friendship? In his 'friendship' with Naruto, they usually just swore at each other and tried to beat the crap out of each other. Sakura he valued as a friend, yes, but he merely tolerated her in that aspect. For the most part, the rest of the rookies…were merely 'acquaintances' or sparring partners. True, he had a grudging respect for a few of them, but he wondered just how many people he could really call a 'friend'.
Presently, they arrived. "This is…your house?" Hinata gasped in awe. True, it was the Uchiha compound, but it wasn't like he lived in every single room. "It-it's the whole compound…it's all your--oops! Gomen, gomen!"
"It's alright. …Hai, it's all mine." Sasuke glanced around boredly, then led Hinata to his own room. "Ah, it's alright if you borrow some of my clothes, right? You really just need to get out of that kimono."
"A-ah, hai!" She bobbed her head hastily, all the while looking around at the many rooms they passed. "Arigato…again, Sasuke." Once again, he half-heartedly missed the '-kun'. It was just…odd to hear a female say his name without that tacked on the end.
"Hn, no problem." They reached his room, and he showed her in. It was sparsely furnished, of course; it wasn't like he spent a whole lot of time here. Especially with his brother's room next door…He dug through the closet for a shirt, gritting his teeth in an effort to forget about his brother for now. He finally picked out a black, short-sleeved shirt, looking it over. It didn't have the wide collar like most of his shirts; he didn't want her thinking of him as some sort of weirdo or anything for giving her a shirt that could potentially be revealing. It did, however, (like all of his shirts) have the Uchiha clan symbol on the back. "Here, hope you don't mind. You can be an honorary Uchiha." He tossed her the shirt, as well as some navy pants, and pointed toward the bathroom. "You can change in there."
"Arigato." She mumbled, bobbing her head in thanks as she shuffled off to the bathroom. Once she closed the door, Sasuke reflected for a moment. Why, why the hell had he said that? All Uchihas died or would die--being an honorary one wouldn't be too great. He dismissed it and yanked his own, cold, wet shirt over his head and swapped out for a dry one. Noticing his own hair was wet, he realized that hers would be soaked as well.
"There are towels in there you can use to dry your hair." He called. He heard her reply and finished dressing, deciding he can deal with wet hair. Not like he cared.
Presently, Hinata came back out. Her cobalt hair was still in damp locks, but for the most part, she appeared dry and much warmer. She smiled shyly, twirling slowly so he could see the Uchiha shirt on her. He merely nodded, then stood up from his seat on his bed. "I can walk you home."
"Alright." She nodded, again murmuring her thanks. And again, he shrugged it off. Saving her life, in retrospect, wasn't too hard, and he got a friend out of the deal. "U-um…Sasuke…D-do you want to, I mean, erm, y-you don't have to if you don't want to…but…do you want to t-t-take a walk w-with me?"
"Sure." He answered automatically. As they exited the compound, Sasuke turned to glare at his brother's room with a smirk. See, he told it mentally, I'm rebuilding the clan…just not in the way either of us imagined.
The walk was nice, long, and for the most part, quiet. Sasuke liked it. They both got to know a bit more about each other, and the Uchiha boy found out why she was considered worthless by her father and why she deemed herself alone and worthless as well. Of course, he vehemently protested that she wasn't worthless, and assured her that he was her friend now, so she wasn't alone. (And, a little voice in his mind told him, he wasn't, either.)
They both talked about trying to live up to their fathers' expectations, and the trouble of bloodline limits, and Kiba and Sakura and Naruto and a lot of mutual acquaintances they shared. Sasuke never realized how much he had in common with the girl…save for the fact that she didn't have a bastard-brother who killed off the clan. Although, by the way she talked, it sounded as if before their chuunin exams fight, Neji might've tried killing the Main house…
"Well, don't worry. Neji sounds like he's shaped up a lot after Naruto kicked his ass for you." Sasuke said lightly, still painfully aware of his honorary (cousin? Sister?) Uchiha friend's crush on the blonde baka. If he did, indeed, have a crush on Hinata, Naruto would only serve to complicate that. So, Sasuke vowed to do what he always did--keep his emotions locked away in his heart.
Hinata chuckled good-naturedly. "Neji-niisan is nicer, now. He's like one of my friends as well…" She said softly.
"Hn." If all else fails, use the catchphrase. Or so Naruto told him once.
The rest of the afternoon passed by contentedly. They ran into Sakura and Naruto once, and, although it was very awkward indeed, Sasuke was slightly pleased to see that Hinata wasn't blushing and glancing at Naruto like she usually did. Perhaps she had gotten over her crush…but he had a nagging feeling that he had to know.
The pair were sitting in a tree near the training grounds, watching the sun set. Hinata apparently always loved to watch them, but Sasuke never gave much thought to them. "Hinata…?"
"Hai, Sasuke?" (-kun)
"…You never did answer me…why did you…attempt that?" He asked quietly, turning to gaze at her. Seeing her troubled expression, he quickly added, "If you don't want, you don't have to tell me."
"Ah, no, I'll tell you…because clan members need to understand each other." She replied with a soft smile, jerking her thumb back at the Uchiha crest on her borrowed shirt. His eyebrows both raised, and he actually smiled in return.
"I…just felt worthless and alone. My father, he has always reminded me of my worthlessness, and Hanabi just picks at my weaknesses and needles me…Neji-niisan is kind to me, of course, but he's almost always away on missions…I guess that it all just got to me. That…and Naruto-kun…" Sasuke nearly winced at the '-kun' on Naruto's name, "I'm happy for him, I really am, but…Oh, I'm rambling. Gomen, gomen, Sasuke."
"No, it's alright. And I think I understand. You're a bit…sad that Naruto chose Sakura over you?" Sasuke asked gently, raising an eyebrow.
She nodded sadly. "Hai…Is that selfish of me? Is it wrong? Because I--"
"No, Hinata." He interrupted firmly, "It's human. There is nothing wrong with those little feelings, as long as they stay little and don't control you." He couldn't help but note bitterly that he was a hypocrite in that department.
"Hai…arigato, Sasuke." She returned her gaze to the crimson sky and setting sun. The dying light gave her skin a warm tone, and highlighted her hair beautifully. Sasuke stared at her for a moment longer, then turned back to the sunset as well.
He knew he had a crush now, however minor. And it sounded like she had gotten over Naruto well enough…still, he knew he should wait. Otherwise, he'd be just as bad as his fan girls, rushing into 'love' without thinking or waiting. Or even bothering to form a friendship first.
"A-ano, Sasuke…" (-kun)
"Do you think bad of me? For…today?"
Sasuke had to stop and think about that. Yes, he thought her desperate attempt was stupid and that she was rather emotional about the whole thing…but overall? "…No. Not really. Just don't try it again."
Another lapse in the conversation. Hinata shifted on the branch they were both sitting in, and hesitantly leaned over to lean on his shoulder. He froze at first, then slowly relaxed. And, after a few moments of that, he moved his arm to put it around her shoulder.
Maybe he'd give this 'love' business a try.
It was now dusk, and Sasuke was walking Hinata back to her home. It was unspoken between the two, their emotions and all that had happened that day. His hand holding hers said enough.
The pair walked slowly, the Uchiha boy and the honorary Uchiha girl. Hinata was staring at a spot about a foot ahead of her feet, and Sasuke was alternating between glancing at her and staring resolutely ahead. "Sasuke…kun?"
"Just Sasuke. If you want."
"Hai…but, I just wanted to say thanks for everything, again." The pale-eyed girl said softly, looking up at him.
"There's no need."
"Today was…nice." She decided, changing the topic with a shy smile. "The sunset was beautiful, and I made a new…friend."
"Hai." They reached the gate of the Hyuuga compound, and it was time to depart. They both stood around awkwardly, until Hinata spoke up. Which, in itself, was pretty special.
"Being with you was nice, Sasuke. You're nice, too. And being in your clan…was really nice. Maybe I'll leave the Hyuuga and come join you as an Uchiha." She smiled faintly, closing her eyes. Sasuke blinked in slight surprise. "Anyway…good night, Sasuke." She leaned up on her tip-toes to give him a quick peck on the cheek, and quickly departed inside, blushing furiously.
Sasuke stood at the gates for a moment longer, then turned rigidly and headed back in the direction of his own house. As an afterthought, he put his hand up to his cheek, and smiled.
Inside, Hinata padded silently to her room, closing the door as quietly as she could behind her. She was still smiling goofily, and the last traces of a blush still graced her features. Turning around, she was startled to see her cousin, Neji, sitting cross-legged on her bed. He was watching her intently.
"N-Neji-niisan!" She exclaimed. "I didn't know you got back from your mission…when did you?"
"This afternoon. I have been waiting for you, Hinata-sama." He said in a flat tone, watching her as she came over and sat beside him.
"Ah, gomen…but I'm glad you're back." She offered a small smile, and he managed the same in return.
"You had…an interesting day, I take it?"
"Huh?" Inwardly, she was wondering how he could've known. She hastily cast around for an excuse, a comment, a question, anything to save her.
"Your clothes. You are wearing the Uchiha symbol…you should be lucky that your father didn't see that." Hinata squeaked and looked down at herself; she had nearly forgotten that she was wearing Sasuke's borrowed clothes, especially since she was happy at seeing her cousin again. Neji got up to leave, to let her change out of the clothes. "…Did you enjoy your day as an Uchiha?"
Hinata paused in her mild panic, and turned to smile at him again. "Hai. And I think I'm going to be an Uchiha with Sasuke tomorrow, too, Neji-niisan."
"Don't let your father hear you say that. Or else he might just marry you to Uchiha off to make it official. Or someone else…" Neji commented, and exited her room before waiting for a reply.
Hinata stopped, blushing lightly, before continuing to change into her sleeping kimono. With a smile, she lovingly folded the black shirt, and hid it in a box under her bed. For safe keeping until she could return it.
Sasuke stared out his window, sitting on the sill. One knee was drawn up to his chest, and he was resting his arm and chin on it. He was staring out at the moon, which had just risen, stark and pale against the dark night. Hinata may have preferred sunsets, but Sasuke much rather liked the moonrise.
He now had another clan member. He now had another friend. He now had a girlfriend…who had left her favorite kimono in his bathroom. He made a note to return it to her soon, minus as many of the rocks as he could managed to find.
Sasuke stared at the moon, then smirked. Today hadn't been just another boring birthday, after all.
Ending Note: ...Well, I thought it was cute. (I'm totally a SasuHina fangirl now. Squee.)