Red Roses2: Disclaimer: I don▓t own Naruto. And I▓m back in a Naruto mood! Woohoo! Let the Iruka-ness commence! Pairing: Iru . . . well, you▓ll see. I▓m tempted to just jump to pairing Iruka with adults, but I want to prove something.

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Hinata peeked around a tree, watching Naruto train. A blush rested upon her face as he worked himself into exhaustion. She gasped at the sound of someone behind her and turned around. Iruka-sensei leaned on the building, hands in his pockets.

⌠How long have you been here, Hinata-chan?■ Iruka-sensei asked, his voice strangely serious.

Hinata▓s blush intensified.

⌠A √ a bit, Iruka-sensei,■ she admitted.

Iruka sighed, but a stern aura still hung around him.

⌠I▓d prefer it if you didn▓t spy on Naruto-kun like that for hours on end, Hinata-chan.■

Hinata▓s eyes widened.

⌠I √ I▓m not spying on Naruto-kun. I √ I was j √ just keeping an eye on h-him.■

She lowered her head as Iruka-sensei straightened up and crossed his arms.

⌠Yes, sensei,■ Hinata whispered and ran off. She overheard Iruka-sensei calling out to Naruto-kun, asking him if he wanted to go get ramen. Frowning, she went home.

-

Hinata arranged her pictures of Naruto-kun on her dresser for the umpteenth time. She couldn▓t get the boy▓s cute determinedness out of her mind, wishing to be just like him, to have courage like him. She wished that some of the boy▓s traits would rub off on her and she would then become a good heir to the Hyuuga clan. She wished she could make her family happy, have Neji not hate her so much. She shook her head and headed to the Academy.

-

Running through the halls might not have been the best idea. She turned a corner and immediately ran into Iruka-sensei. Scrolls fell to the floor, and both of them knelt down to pick them up.

⌠I-Iruka-sensei?■ Hinata said suddenly, ⌠W-why do you have so many scrolls?■

⌠I have other business to attend to. Mizuki-sensei will be your substitute today. Hurry along, they▓ll start in a minute or two,■ Iruka muttered distractedly.

Hinata noticed that one of the scrolls wasn▓t rolled up all the way and caught sight of T&I forms. Something about a refusal of resignation . . . . . . . Iruka-sensei snatched it up and continued down the hall, faster than he had been earlier. Hinata wondered why he had to take those scrolls to the Torture & Interrogation Office. She decided she▓d wonder about it later and hurried along.

-

Hinata activated her Byakkugan and focused on the T&I building. Iruka-sensei hadn▓t returned from it for two days. What on Earth could be going on in there? The entire class asked Hinata to use her Byakkugan to find out. Kiba was straining his ears to hear even a cough that could▓ve been from Iruka-sensei. Sasuke, Shino, Sakura, Ino, Shikamaru, Chouji, and Naruto stood around them, waiting for the news. The rest of the class were positioned around the area, acting as lookouts; they were supposed to be at the playground and children weren▓t allowed near the T&I building no matter what the hour.

⌠Hear or see anything?■ Chouji asked.

Kiba replied, ⌠I▓m not having any luck.■

Hinata gasped as she finally found him. Iruka looked to be talking animatedly with two interrogation ninja, one with purple hair in a ponytail, the other a very scarred face. Whatever they were discussing, it seemed to anger Iruka-sensei.

Kiba suddenly said, ⌠Hey, I can hear him now! Something about not being able to teach and interrogate at the same time . . . . Did anyone else know he used to interrogate people?■

Hinata watched as the one with purple hair stood up and started yelling at Iruka-sensei (or at least that was what it looked like). The scarred one stayed seated and his mouth moved as though he was saying something. Whatever he said seemed to upset Iruka-sensei further and he looked like he was trying to give a convincing argument but the purple-haired one kept interrupting.

Kiba continued, ⌠There▓s a whole lot of muffled yelling. I can▓t make out many of the words. Something along the lines of ⌠hard work■, ⌠for nothing■, ⌠team■, and ⌠bunch of brats.■ Hey! We▓re not brats!■

Hinata gasped.

⌠What?!■ Naruto demanded. ⌠What▓s happening, Hinata!■

⌠IRUKA-SENSEI!■ Hinata screamed.

Sasuke covered her mouth.

⌠They▓ll find us!■ Sasuke hissed; he yelped in pain. ⌠She bit me!■

Kiba▓s face contorted into an expression of panic.

⌠Hide!■ Kiba ordered, quickly jumping into a bush, Akamaru following. Hinata, on the other hand, ran toward the door. She turned a corner and came face-to-face with a couple of T&I ninja.

⌠You▓re not supposed to be - ,■ started one, but Hinata interrupted him.

⌠Let Iruka-sensei out!■ Hinata demanded. ⌠P-please.■

The two ninja gave each other knowing looks, and she could▓ve sworn they looked as though they didn▓t want to deal with this. One took off back into the building and the other one kept an eye on Hinata. Soon, Iruka-sensei returned with the one who left and the scarred one she had seen with her Byakkugan.

⌠This kid apparently thinks we▓re keeping Iruka-san hostage,■ said the ninja who had stayed with her.

Hinata turned to the scarred ninja.

⌠P-please give Iruka-sensei back. W-whatever he did wrong, I-I▓m sure he didn▓t mean t-to. We▓d r-really like him b-back. W-we▓d rather have him instead of M-Mizuki-sensei.■ Hinata said, bowing to the scarred ninja.

Iruka-sensei gave the scarred ninja a slightly triumphant look, with a dash of ▒I told you so▓ in it. The scarred ninja scowled, closed his eyes and said, ⌠Why the hell not. Off with you and don▓t come back.■ Iruka-sensei nodded and, taking Hinata by the arm, walked off. When they were out of earshot, Iruka-sensei asked, ⌠Is the entire class out here wondering if I▓ve been dismembered?■

Hinata blushed and nodded.

⌠Iruka-sensei! You▓re okay!■ yelled Naruto▓s voice. Hinata▓s blush deepened as the orange-clad ninja ran up and hugged Iruka-sensei.

Naruto-kun, Hinata thought, you▓re so exuberant and unashamed. I wish I could be like you.

She barely noticed Iruka-sensei calling for the entire class to get back to the playground before Mizuki-sensei pitched a fit trying to find them.

-

Iruka-sensei frowned at Hinata. Hinata kept her eyes on the ground. Iruka-sensei waited for some sort of alibi, but none came.

⌠Hinata-chan, is there any particular reason why you are stalking Naruto-kun?■ Iruka-sensei asked.

Hinata blushed a deep red.

⌠I √ I▓m not s-stalking him, Iruka-sensei,■ Hinata whispered. Iruka-sensei put his hands on his hips.

⌠Oh really? Then what do you call staring at Naruto and me throughout the entire day, following us everywhere we go, on a Sunday?■

⌠I-Iruka-sensei . . . . .■ Hinata▓s words caught in her throat and she couldn▓t bring herself to say it.

Iruka-sensei didn▓t relax or soften his gaze as he often did with all of his students. Hinata▓s blush deepened and she gulped.

⌠I √ I l-love Naruto-kun. And I √ I can▓t help it. I j-just want to see him.■ Hinata said.

Iruka-sensei seemed to ponder upon this for a minute, then sighed.

⌠Promise me this, Hinata-chan,■ Iruka-sensei said. ⌠Promise me you will never hurt Naruto, never do anything to take away his right to privacy, and never . . . and never make him feel any worse.■

Hinata looked up at Iruka-sensei. He looked genuinely worried about this. Hinata nodded.

⌠I √ I promise, Iruka-sensei.■

He smiled, but Hinata could almost taste the sadness and worry it hid.

-

While working with her team, Hinata didn▓t run into Iruka-sensei or Naruto-kun a lot. She learned a lot about Shino-kun and Kiba-kun. She discovered Kiba-kun could draw very well, and that Shino-kun had a talent in cooking √ something she had never thought the Aburame would have liked to do. Kurenai-sensei was a strict but nice teacher, and she reminded her of Iruka-sensei sometimes.

One day, Hinata, Kiba, and Shino walked down the street, returning from a mission. Kiba recounted their adventures with exaggerations. Neither Hinata nor Shino corrected him in any way, knowing that he was still on an adrenaline high. Kurenai-sensei managed to get them the exciting D-ranks. Yes, those existed. The only reason the other teams didn▓t get them was because Kurenai-sensei kept taking them.

Then, Kiba stopped in mid-sentence.

⌠What▓s wrong, Kiba-kun?■ Hinata asked.

⌠I hear something. Something that . . . shouldn▓t be happening outdoors,■ Kiba said, his face contorting into a pained expression.

⌠What shouldn▓t be happening outdoors?■ Shino questioned, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

Sighing, Hinata opted to use her Byakkugan to find out, thinking that it couldn▓t possibly be as bad as Kiba was saying.

⌠No! Hinata!■ Kiba cried, but too late.

Hinata received a glimpse of what Kiba had heard and squeaked. Kiba sighed, looked at Shino▓s questioning look, and decided to answer.

⌠It▓s the sound of a couple doing it, okay?■ Kiba said. ⌠This is the only time when I hate my bloodline.■

⌠N-not just anyone.■ Hinata squeaked; Kiba and Shino looked at her, both with expressions that said ▒Do we really want to know?▓. ⌠I-it▓s . . . Iruka-sensei . . . a-and . . . N-Naruto-kun . . . . . .■

⌠WHAT!?■ Kiba screamed. Shino▓s eyebrows flew into his headband. Hinata▓s Byakkugan faded away and she promptly fainted from shock.

-

⌠Are you sure you saw what you thought you saw?■ Kiba asked for the thousandth time once Hinata regained consciousness.

Hinata nodded, stunned. That just didn▓t seem to be like Iruka-sensei . . . . Naruto was twelve!

Shino sat next to Kiba, his eyebrows still not returning from his headband.

⌠What do we do then?■ Kiba replied.

⌠Nothing,■ Shino suddenly said. Both looked at him. ⌠It is Naruto▓s and Iruka-sensei▓s business. It is not something we should intrude upon. We do not tell anyone. We do not speak of this again. We do not ask questions. Understood?■

Hinata half-expected Kiba to argue, but the Inuzuka nodded.

⌠Okay. I mean, why not? Iruka-sensei is the most responsible person we know. He must have a good reason, right? I▓m just worried he▓s going to get into trouble. Really big trouble.■ Kiba said.

Hinata didn▓t know what to say to that. She found herself nodding.

-

Hinata stared at her Naruto pictures and put them all face-down. A small smile crept its way onto her face. The more she thought about it, the more Iruka-sensei sounded better for Naruto. He would never hurt Naruto and would always look after him. It sounded like a perfect match now that the shock was over. Her smile widened and she left the house for training.

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Red Roses2: Please review. Tell me how Hinata was portrayed. Tell me your suspicions, conspiracies, etcetera.