Disclaimer: All Naruto characters are the copyright of Masashi Kishimoto. I'm just borrowing them to write up a story with no intention of making any money. This is for fun. That's all. :)

A/N: To all the Naruto fans, this is my first Naruto fanfic ever written. I've only in the past month gotten hook on Naruto, thus I've only seen a few episodes and read few issues of the manga at my local bookstore. Given I'm a newbie to the series, I have very little knowledge about the detail workings of the Naruto Universe, so please be understanding if I have gotten anything wrong in this story and don't go breathing down my neck.

To my fellow Kim Possible fans, rest assures I'm not abandoning writing up my KP fics. I'm still writing them up, just I have this idea for a Naruto fic I like to get out of the way before I return to writing KP.

This story is just a short stand-alone one-shot inspired by the episode "A Failure Stands Tall", which I've seen for the first time last night on TV. The ending of the episode touched me in way that the manga couldn't convey. The background music, Naruto's emotional face, and his promise just rolled together beautifully that I couldn't help but feel moved.

Oh, this story contains spoilers for "A Failure Stands Tall". If you haven't seen the episode or read the manga and don't want to be spoiled, please don't read.

Story rating: Rated T (PG-13)
Written: August 2006

Summary: Naruto's thoughts and feelings as he watched a severely injured Hinata be carried away after her fight with Neji during the Chuunin Exam.

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My Word
By JuPMod (aka JPMod)

"Hinata…" the name was whispered by the young shinobi as his blue eyes watched the girl, whose name he spoke, be carried away by the mednins. He had heard the medics said that she might have only 10 minutes left to live if they didn't hurry. His heart was caught in an emotional grip to think that his sweet, caring, and shy classmate would die.

The past several minutes has brought quite a revelation to the blonde boy, not only about the Hyuuga Clan but also Hinata and Neji as individuals.

He barely knew Hinata. She hardly talked to him at the Academy, and when she ever did, the girl would stutter, tap her index fingers together, and blush. Naruto couldn't understand why she did that and just chalk it up to being quite shy.

His perspective about the blue-tinted haired girl has changed. Despite that she was brought down by Neji during her match with him, Hinata didn't give up. She'd continued to fight, and he was thrilled to see her stand up to that arrogant bigot no matter what. True, his angry words, before the fight started, has coaxed her out of a frighten state caused by Neji's selfish statements, but it has been her own will and skills that stood up to her cousin during the match.

Naruto also have to admit that Hinata struck a cord in Neji regarding him being the one suffering by being caught between the Main and Branch families of the Hyuuga Clan. If it weren't for jounins interfering, Neji would have killed Hinata out right for her statement. It made Naruto wondered why there was bad blood between the two families. What did the Main Hyuuga household done to the Branch household to warrant such hatred that Neji would become such a cold heartless person to kill his kind and gentle cousin?

Whatever the reasons, the young genin knew the Hyuuga Clan must not be entirely a happy family. It made him questioned whether most of the Hyuuga were much like Neji, and if they were, Naruto already knew he wouldn't like them at all.

As for Neji, someone has to bust that guy's balls. He was so full of himself that he thought he was better than anyone else. The boy had no right to tell Hinata whom she could or couldn't beat, talking about fate and such. Further more, Neji had called him a loser and thought that such people would remain losers. Naruto had very much wanted to knock his block off, but Rock Lee reasoned him to fight within the tournament itself.

Indeed, Naruto knew Neji has to be brought down for his arrogant smug superior complex as well as for what he has done to Hinata. The Hyuuga boy didn't feel one bit of remorse for what he done to his cousin, and if Hinata died, Neji would perhaps not even mourn her.

As the mednins walked out of the tournament hall with Hinata on the stretcher, Naruto mentally made a promise, a promise not only to himself but to Hinata also. Her proud failure would not go unnoticed, and he would make certain Neji would not forget being defeated by the dead last if they were ever paired in a match in the future.

Looking down on the floor in front of him, Naruto saw the small pool of Hinata's blood, which she coughed up after that last chakra blow Neji gave her. Inside, his blood was boiling, but he didn't show his anger. Instead, he knelt on one knee and said "Hinata, I give you my word," before scooping some of her blood on his right fingers before clenching it.

Standing up, the blond shinobi turned to face Neji and pointed his clenched fist at him, a drop of Hinata's blood falling to the floor. The action made the Hyuuga narrowed his eyes, for he knew what it meant. Everyone else also knew what it meant, particularly Lee, Sakura, Gai-sensei, and Kakashi-sensei.

Knowing what he was going to say next, Naruto knew he would not back down. He gave his word to Hinata, and he would not ever back down on his word. This was his nindo. This was his way of the ninja. He would keep his word… no matter what.

"I vow to win."

The End

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A/N: This story has not been proofread and such. I didn't felt it required it, given it was short, so if anyone saw any major spelling and grammar mistakes, I'm responsible.

After seeing "A Failure Stands Tall," I certainly can see that Naruto is shaping up to become quite a great leader down the road. To make his vow with Hinata's blood speaks volumes of his good heart and soul. I'm all for it that he would make Hokage one day. :) Just too bad the episode, where Naruto and Neji fight, would not come out for a long time. I just can't wait to see Naruto kicked Neji's butt!