iv. Unexpected

I stand in front of Iruka-sensei's genin class here at the grounds of Konoha Gakuen – I'm substituting for him. I just hope he comes back tomorrow. The spirit of youth is great and all but I don't think I'm ready to handle thirty kids yet.

The students look up from whatever they're doing to the space at my back.

She's here.

Classes start now.

"We have a special guest for our taijutsu class today. Everyone, this is Hyuuga Hinata-san."

A chorus of "Good morning, Hyuuga-san" was heard.

"Hyuuga-san here is the –" I began, but an anxious boy cut off my introduction. His name's Ise as from what I can remember.

"The next Hyuuga clan leader, master of genjutsu, and one great medic nin!"

She smiled playfully. "Why thank you for the introduction, Ise-kun. That was very impressive-sounding. How's training been going?"

I could see that Ise was beaming with happiness by being addressed by Hinata personally. "I've been doing well, Hyuuga-sensei!"

"Yeah. I did notice that he's been... inspired these past few days," I said. Then I whispered a question to Hinata. "Hyuuga-sensei? Where did that come from?"

"He was one of my patients the other week. I thought him a thing or two. Hyuuga-sama was a little too much for him to be calling me so I settled for Hyuuga-sensei instead," she said to me in a hushed tone so that the students can't hear it.

"So, anyway," I told the genins, "we'll be dealing with defense today."

A sound of collective groans escaped from the students.

"Aww, Lee-sensei! Iruka-sensei been training us on defending for an eternity already! Let's just do genjutsus today! Hyuuga-san can teach us!" a female genin in pigtails moaned.

"And I heard you guys haven't shown any progress at all," I retorted.

I wasn't even aware that I've launched a mini-speech about how taijutsus are as important as the other ninjutsus.

"Yeah, yeah, we get it! Taijutsu is so swell!" a student beside me yelled. She effectively cut off my train of thoughts. Her name's Misa, I think.

"Well, that isn't polite now, is it, Lee-sensei?" With one quick motion, Hinata hit a point in Misa's spine.

A look of panic was across Misa's face. "Lee-sensei! I- I can't- mo- move! I can't move! Help me, Lee-sensei!"

Hinata certainly got the class's attention.

She then began her own lecture entirely different from the lesson plan Iruka-sensei prepared for today. (And I have to say that she's doing a better job at this than me!)

"You, (she then turned to me to ask the paralyzed girl's name) Misa-chan, wasn't even aware that I was going to attack." She then turned to the rest of the class. "Defense is important. Always stay on guard. Also guard your rear and know which parts you have to defend to keep your body functioning. We all need to attack to defeat our opponents, (here she changed her stance) but we also have to defend to survive."

She then ran towards the pigtailed girl who complained earlier. Completely startled, the girl just stood there rooted on the spot. Hinata landed a soft blow to the girl's right shoulder. The pigtailed girl fell unconscious. Hinata then caught her in her arms to prevent the girl from hitting the ground.

Hinata had one eyebrow up in disbelief. "I thought she had enough time to react given she that she saw ready to attack her from a distance."

All the students were in awe – Hinata didn't look like the offensive type. Even I didn't expect her to launch attacks. But it's good this way – now, everybody's actually listening.

"Uh, Hinata-san, don't you think we need them to be participating in the class too?" I lightly suggested, pointing my head to the paralyzed Misa and the unconscious Kaname (I heard the students beside me say that it was her name) whom she had lain on the ground.

"Just a few more demos, Lee-san. Let's see how much they've gotten far in defense lessons." Hinata said smiling an innocent-looking smile, changing her stance into an attacking position.

I think that was a sweatdrop that fell at the side of my face.

Hinata's making me a little worried... I don't have any idea what she's like when she's... uh, agitated. Neji didn't say much about her. Well... Neji never says much to anybody.

"Everybody, get ready to defend yourselves!" I yell to the students. The least I can do is give them a warning of what's gonna happen to them.

She moved so fast that all I could see was blurs. Three more fell unconscious, four can't move and two can't move their arms.

"Cool," I heard a student say.

"Wicked," said another.

Awesome, I thought.

Time to get back to your senses, Lee. "I think that's enough warm-up now, Hyuuga-san. Can you revive them now?"

"I'm sorry. I must be carried away for a minute there…" she says while unblocking one student's tenkitsu.

And so the rookie genins had the best defense lessons they ever had since they joined the Academy. The students are all gone now and only the two of us are left sitting on the grass.

"You were great, Hinata-chan! You'd be a great Academy teacher! I couldn't even get those rookies to take me seriously!"

She plops onto the grass, releasing a big sigh of fatigue. "I don't think I'm up for it though. It's too tiring. How did you manage to handle those kids? You've been substituting Iruka-sensei for a week now, haven't you?

"You should have shown them your moves, Lee-kun."

I can feel my cheeks go hot. I thought I was the one complimenting her, now she's turned the conversation back to me. Hinata, oh humble Hinata. "I thought about it but decided that showing them my style was too early for them.

"Thanks for helping me out on this one. Iruka-sensei's taking a bit longer to return and these kids are getting harder to handle."

She closes her eyes.

"Anytime, Lee-kun."

She looks so peaceful. Her hair is splayed on the grass. She looked like… an angel that fell from the clouds.

This angel has surprised me. When I asked for another shinobi to take over Iruka-sensei's task, I was, of course, denied by Tsunade-sama. But she said she'll send reinforcement.

I was expecting Naruto to come – he was great with kids. Or Kiba – he was always up for challenges. In my desperation, I even hoped that Shino would come to help me.

But it was her who came. I heard she even volunteered for it. "I want to escape hospital duties for a short while," she said in a cheery tone.

Heh. Hyuuga Hinata knows how to play hooky. I never knew. I smirk.

And I notice that I have been staring at her. Whew. Good thing she can't see me looking at her.

or can she? She's a Hyuuga and she has the Byakugan… I heard she can use it now without the opponent noticing. (As in the veins on her face won't show anymore when she uses it…) I can feel myself panicking at this awkward thought…

Her eyes fly open. Panic. I felt as if my heart skipped a beat.

"I- I'm sorr-" I try to apologise, but I think she didn't hear my feeble stutters.

"He's here," Hinata says, standing up, brushing the stray grass off her clothes.

"Hinata-hime! So this is where you are. I thought you had hospital duty today." He walks toward her.

She smiles at him. "I changed my mind, Neji-niisan."

"Just tell me beforehand, okay? You are becoming harder and harder to find these days. We still have a meeting to go to, hime," Neji says while taking some blades of grass off her hair. (I feel as though they couldn't see me there sitting on the grass. Hmph.)

"You coming along, Lee-kun?" Finally. She remembered I still exist.

"Nah. I didn't get summoned. You guys go ahead."

"Ja ne." She walks alongside her cousin.

But before she disappears from my sight, she looks back at me and yells, "It's rude to stare, Lee-kuuun!"

And I fell back to the grass, hoping that I would just blend in with it and never be seen again. I could hear myself groan.

I certainly didn't expect that.

Those Who Behold Her
Ch4: Unexpected
published 09-08-07
edited 07-22-11