Chapter Title: Special Day Finale
Author's Note: An open-ended ending. Or so I hope, anyway.
Ah, some of you guys made me feel guilty about the last chapter...I promise that this ending's (hopefully) more happy and less depressing. As for the last chapter, I'm really sorry if the way I wrote Hinata came across as mean...but it is, after all, Sasuke we're talking about, and Hinata's not really the kind of girl who has romance naturally on the mind...the last part was meant to be a you're-my-friend-so-I'll-share-my-secret thing, not a blow-you-off-because-I-like-Naruto-better speech. Sasuke was just...overtly jealous. At least, that's what I meant to write. Sorry about that.
For those of you who wanted the story to go on a little while longer…well, I'm not planning on it, but hey, this story was also originally intended to be a one-shot too, and look at how that turned out. - That author's speech over, let's get on with the story.
It was important to understand the importance of clans in the ninja world. There were clans, and then there were clans. There was a huge difference, if you knew how to read the lines.
Clans were ninja families that passed on jutsu developed gradually over decades, who had alliances and treaties that could affect the outcome of missions and battles.
Clans were ninja families that shared century-old jutsu, century-old fighting styles, century-old scrolls. Clans were formed through centuries of power struggles, ideals, or betrayal, and the alliances and treaties of a clan affected not only the outcome of missions and battles, but the welfare of the entire hidden village for years to come. Clan members were strong, no doubt about it.
Clan members were expected to be stronger.
Clan members had naturally stronger muscles, naturally better chakra control. Naturally better overall immune systems.
One of the most humiliating things to happen to a clan member was to have their immune system be beaten by something as petty as the common cold.
Then again, this particular lonely clan member was no stranger to humiliation.
With a tiny sigh, Hyuuga Hinata admitted the inevitable. Two days after having gotten rid of her cold, she'd caught it again.
Hyuuga Hinata had a stuffy nose.
And on the day of the picnic too.
Uchiha Sasuke was a lot of things: genius, prodigy, member of the Uchiha clan, dark brooding Avenger. All of which, of course, meant different things: an almost perfect health record, a mysterious aura, mastering the Uchiha glare…in short, being multi-talented. Uchiha Sasuke never balked from the huge amount of rules and expectations that were demanded from him for being the genius, prodigy, and Uchiha Avenger he was.
There was one rule-one expectation-that came from being all of them. No matter what, a genius (and a prodigy) (and an Avenger) never ever ever fell for anybody, much less a girl.
Girls were weird creatures. They smiled at you and made you feel like smiling back, and brought up their childhood memories just when you thought nothing in the world could make you feel rotten again, and blushed in a way that made your insides feel all funny (and by funny, he meant sent-into-a-green-rage-and-wanting-to-beat-up-the-dumb-dobe-that-made-them-blush-in-the-first-place.)
Okay, so maybe girls weren't really like that. But Hinata was. So while genius/prodigy/avengers weren't allowed to like girls, Sasuke thought, gripping the picnic basket in self-contained fury as he walked to the class picnic, they weren't allowed to like Hyuuga Hinata either.
"C-could you hand out de food?' Hinata asked a little bit nasally.
"W-we need someone to hand it out wh-who won't make a-any unusual facial expressions w-when dey give someone de p-poison," Hinata explained.
"A-and y-you're de best," Hinata added softly.
Well, that made sense, after all, Sasuke admitted reluctantly.
"Hey, Hinata-chan! Sorry I'm late, but my microwave got busted so I had to eat my ramen cold, only I couldn't find any, so-"
"T-that's alright, Naruto-k-kun. I-I'm just g-glad to see you're h-here. S-so, um...Sasuke. C-could you please hand out the food?"
"No. And quit bothering me," Sasuke said angrily.
"You're the one that's bothering us, you jerk!" Naruto growled.
Sasuke only blinked and walked away.
Yeah, he thought bitterly. I've noticed.
"Hey, Hinata-chan," Naruto asked.
"Why don't you serve the food yourself?"
"I-I'm sick. I d-don't w-want to get anybody else s-sick."
"Okay. I'll serve it then! You just rest, okay, Hinata?"
Hinata smiled and, for no particular reason, wondered where Sasuke'd gone off to.
They had used his compound to cook. And he had given her an honest critique to make food that really hid the poison well. He'd walked her home only to ensure her safety, and he'd talked to her then, even if it wasn't in his nature to. He had visited her when she was sick, and he'd liked her saffron…
Hinata had to admit it. Uchiha Sasuke was a very nice boy. So even if she would have liked to have a little time alone with Naruto...
"U-um, Sasuke, please come down from dere."
Sasuke blinked. Nobody had ever looked for him in this tree before. How had she-oh.
"You didn't have to use your byakugan, you know," he said off-handedly. Especially, he mentally added, since it drains the living heck out of you.
"I-it's your project too," Hinata stuttered. "Don't you want to see how it turns out?"
Uchiha non-talent #13: Saying no to a 'please' uttered by Hinata.
"Here. Don't worry about the food, Sakura-chan. I guarantee there's no poison in this one! I made sure of it!" Naruto said with a grin.
Hinata gave a sigh, Iruka-sensei slapped himself on the forehead, and Sasuke rolled his eyes. So much for not giving away the food's condition.
"Here, Narutard, I'll serve the food," Sasuke said, shoving Naruto out of the way.
"I was doing a perfectly good job of-!"
"You want to go eat with Sakura, don't you?"
"Ergh! Fine! Hinata-chan, make sure Sasuke doesn't screw things up!"
"O-okay. U-um, see you later, Naruto-kun," Hinata said, obviously upset.
"Yeah, see ya. Hey, Sakura-chan, wait up!"
Sasuke had to wonder how big of an idiot the idiot really was.
"Hey, Hinata," Sasuke said stiffly as he served.
"What I said before. About the food. ..It's good." Really good, Sasuke thought, the kind of food you'd never see in a restaurant…because it tastes like home. Home meant a lot, to him.
"A-ah...thanks," Hinata nodded, face pink.
Apparently, the rest of his classmates agreed with Sasuke about the food.
Team 7 won the contest by a landslide, having poisoned a total of four boys, five girls, and Iruka-sensei himself.
By the end of it, Sasuke was ready to call it a day. It had been a normal day-Sakura and Ino had chased after him, Sakura had insulted a doting Naruto, Hinata had smiled at him and smiled wider at Naruto. Not special in the least.
"H-here," Hinata said, holding out the picnic basket.
"I-I thought you might like the l-leftovers."
"What, Naruto doesn't want them?" Sasuke asked, face expressionless.
"I already gave him the r-ramen," Hinata confessed with a smile.
"…keep it yourself."
"B-but…I wanted to give it to you."
Sasuke scowled. "There's no need to give it to me because I helped out. I did it for the grade, after all."
"Then why are you giving it to me?"
Hinata blushed for the millionth time that day: not a Naruto-induced red, but the pale pink she always gave Sasuke-the kind he realized, he didn't mind getting.
"Y-you've been very n-nice to m-me. You're kind a-and don't mind it t-too much when I mess up. Y-you're…y-you're my f-friend."
Sasuke blinked at her. Idiot. No matter what, a genius (and a prodigy) (and an Avenger) would never ever ever like a girl.
He did NOT like Hyuuga Hinata.
Without saying a word, Sasuke took the basket.
"T-tanks," Hinata thanked him.
T-tanks, huh? Sasuke blinked.
Just as quickly, he shoved the basket back into Hinata's arms.
Hinata blinked back tears as she felt her friendship gift returned with a violent shove.
To her surprise, Sasuke stayed where he was, face concentrated in thought.
Fumbling around in his pockets, Sasuke pulled out a familiar medicine container.
Hinata blushed. "I-is that the o-ointment I gave-"
"It clears up stuffy noses," Sasuke explained patiently, as if she was a child and completely unexperienced with medicine, and had not just given him said container four days earlier. He opened the container and held it out.
"T-thanks. I'll put it on r-right no…" Hinata trailed off as she saw Sasuke lean forward.
"U-um, I can put it on m-m-myself, if y-you just g-grab the basket f-for a second-" Hinata insisted, heat rising to her face.
"Quit fidgeting," Sasuke said calmly.
Hinata honestly tried to stop trembling. She really did.
With an impatient sigh, Sasuke's hand reached out to steady Hinata's face as he quickly and efficiently applied the ointment.
"There," he said, putting the ointment away and grabbing the basket.
"…y-you were right. I-it does t-tingle…an awful lot." Hinata babbled out. More, in fact, than Hinata's brain remembered it was supposed to.
Sasuke's face looked slightly surprised before he turned and walked away.
No matter what, Sasuke reminded himself forcedly as he walked home, geniuses (and prodigies) (and Avengers) never ever ever fell for Hinata.
He looked down at the picnic basket and realized that, according to the amount of food that the group had prepared for the picnic, there was no way there could be this much left. Hinata had cooked more, by herself after all. For him. Butterflies exploded in his chakra system and Sasuke gave his first involuntary truly red blush in ages.
No way. He, Uchiha Sasuke, did NOT like Hyuuga Hinata.
But, looking down at his picnic basket, he thought in a very tiny voice, it might be…okay…
Uchiha Sasuke smiled.
Today had been a special day, after all.
Author's Note: I feel kinda awkward putting an author's note at the end. Then again, this is my first completed story that isn't a one-shot. I guess I'll just have to get used to it? -shrugs-
In case anybody noticed, yes, this chapter was considerably longer. Just because it was the ending. You understand.
And yes, Hinata felt the same tingle Sasuke did in chapter 1 with the ointment. Feel free to interpret that any way you like. Besides, a "Hinata thinking of Sasuke as possibly more than a friend" moment was long overdue. :D
Um, seriously, though. I appreciate everyone who read this from beginning to end as well as those who just skipped through a chapter or two.
Even if the story's ended, please tell me what you think of the story and the ending (as always, I think it's terrible.) Everyone's reviews have helped me decide how to write the story, and I enjoyed all of them. So. What I really want to say is , um…
Thanks for reading. (: