Author's Note: My first NaruHina. I've never actually tried to write one before – in my other fics, they've been mentioned just once, so I suppose it's time I focused on them for the very first time.
So what happens if you put Yuu-chan in front of the TV on a weekday morning when she's supposed to be making a display board with her sister, and have her watch reruns of Tonight with Jay Leno? Well… this.
Other pairings: SasuSaku, NejiTen, InoShikaTema
Warning: Some adult themes, but nothing explicit.
Swirls For Eyes
By: Yummei-sama no Hayashi
Disclaimer: Yes, I own it. That's why I'm disclaiming it.
Naruto knew it was a bad idea to let Sakura organize Hinata's surprise birthday party. He let her anyway.
It was a big mistake.
He had specifically asked for a quiet, comfortable dinner with a few close friends. But there were two things about Naruto and Sakura that were in common: they both tended to deviate from instructions, and they both had the penchant for going over the top.
That was why they were such good friends.
Maybe I should've let Sasuke organize it instead? He grimaced. Ugh. Bad train of thought.
"Naruto-kun? Is there something wrong?"
Naruto lifted his throbbing head to look at Hinata's concerned face. Rubbing the bridge of his nose, he mumbled, "It's… ah, nothing, Hinata. I just… well…" He grinned apologetically at her. "I didn't expect your surprise party to turn out like this." He waved his hand across their line of vision.
Hinata's eyes crinkled into a smile. "Oh, Naruto-kun… we mustn't blame our friends for being… erm… I suppose 'lively' would be the term to use."
Naruto frowned. "Crazy is more like it."
"Yes, but you have a strange gift of drawing the oddest people towards you."
Naruto rolled his eyes. "It's not a gift. It's a curse." His girlfriend only laughed mildly and took a sip of her drink.
As Naruto found out that night, a quiet comfortable dinner, in Sakura's dictionary, meant renting a private karaoke suite and having dinner served there. For another thing, a few close friends meant inviting friends of friends of friends. He had been all right with Sakura being there, since she organized the whole thing, and he didn't mind her bringing Sasuke with her – he did decide on calling himself Sasuke's best friend when he felt like it, after all.
He was a little averted to the idea of letting Kiba and Shino come, but they were her teammates, and they deserved to be there. Kurenai, being her teacher, had to be there as well. He didn't have a problem with that either.
However, he didn't like the idea of Neji watching them like a hawk – he was overly protective of his cousin. They had become close since the Chuunin Exam disaster, and Naruto couldn't afford to make Hinata unhappy by not inviting her favorite cousin. He didn't want Hinata's bratty sister, Hanabi, to be there at all. But what was a birthday party without your closest relatives? Her father, Hiashi, was out of the question – it was a young people's party, after all, but Naruto was sure Hanabi was sent there as a delegate of Hiashi's to spy on them. But Hanabi had to be there, anyway.
Another person he didn't want there was Kakashi. The silver-haired man tended to embarrass him and Hinata with little comments about a certain blond Hokage wanna-be getting ideas from a certain orange book to try with a certain heiress.
What Naruto couldn't fathom was why Lee and Gai had to be there. As Sakura explained, when they heard the words "party" and "Neji" in the same sentence, they wouldn't quit pestering her with all their "youthful awesomeness" until she handed them an invite. And Tenten… they weren't close at all, but Sakura said she had to be there to keep Neji in check in case Hinata and Naruto got too lovey-dovey in front of him.
To his utter disbelief, Ino had also heard about the plans for Hinata's party, and invited herself in. She insisted she was Hinata's friend too. This reason Naruto accepted, but why the hell did she have to drag Shikamaru along too?
"If I leave him alone for a second," she exclaimed, "that Sand wench is going to keep him all to herself!"
Unfortunately, Shikamaru believed in the philosophy "misery loves company," so he dragged Chouji with him. It was easy, as soon as Chouji heard about the party, and the food that would come with it.
But Temari, who was visiting along with her brothers, had gotten wind that Ino had decided to keep Shikamaru to herself, and therefore squeezed into the cramped karaoke suite to wait for Hinata to arrive with Naruto, who was picking her up. To make matters worse, she had brought Gaara and Kankuro with her, telling them that "oneechan wants both of you to be more socially active!" and promptly left them alone to "mingle" while she wrestled with Ino for Shikamaru's ownership.
Tsunade, having heard Sakura mention a party and the little possibility that there would be sake, decided to impose her presence upon all of them. Konohamaru and his friends, learning of their beloved "Leader's" party, wondered why they weren't invited and snuck into the party anyway.
The cherry on top of this fantastically topsy-turvy cake was that Jiraiya had heard from Tsunade that Naruto was throwing a party, and instantly assumed himself to be on the guest list, being a teacher of his. He was the one person Naruto didn't want in the party most of all. He tended to chug down all the sake with Tsunade, try to feel up the women, and worst of all, hog the karaoke's microphone.
The result of this extended guest list, plus the astounding amount of sake Sakura had ordered, Naruto thought, all added up to one word.
Jiraiya belted out an incredibly loud Kabuki theatre song on the karaoke set with Gai and Lee, while Konohamaru and Kiba wolf-whistled, cheering them on. Neji was sulking in one corner of the room, having drunk more than enough sake, and Tenten, drunk herself, was whacking him repeatedly on the head for trying to kill Naruto for the third time that night. Hanabi and Moegi had gotten into a loud argument about assassination – Moegi thought it better to subtly seduce then go for the kill, while Hanabi believed it was better to just kill and get it over with.
Kurenai was slurring nonsense at Kakashi, who was absorbed with his book, while Gaara curiously poked the tira misu that had been Hinata's birthday cake. Kankuro and Shino had started a drinking contest between themselves, and Chouji was playing race track commentator for them. Tsunade was losing her wages as Hokage to Udon, who was amazingly good at poker (or maybe just lucky to be playing with the Legendary Sucker).
Ino and Temari were playing a game of "who can lap dance better on Shikamaru," which had now earned them scratches and cuts from the resulting catfight, while Shikamaru drowned out his sorrow at being fought over by two equally sexy and bothersome women, with sake and a cigarette. Sasuke and Sakura, as usual, had gotten into another drunken squabble about Sakura's all-too-long shifts at the hospital and Sasuke's obsessive-compulsive behavior, which, as Naruto knew from his friends' unrivaled sex drive, was foreplay. Soon enough, they would be making out in full view of the room, and everyone would be too drunk to care.
"I'm glad that you have so many friends, Naruto-kun," Hinata said happily, a little pink because of her own share of sake.
"Hey!" Naruto said, prying the sake bottle from her hand. "Don't tell me you're going to become a drunken fool too!"
"Why not?" Hinata argued. (She is a bit drunk, Naruto thought miserably.) "Everyone's drunk too."
"Well, I don't wanna be left alone!" the cerulean-eyed young man protested. For everyone's sake, he resolved not to get drunk this time. (It had nothing to do with the fact that the last time he had drunk too much, he was half-naked in bed with Lee and Ino.)
Besides, even with all the pandemonium in the room, he had a plan that would knock Hinata's socks off. (Or at least, he hoped.)
He and Hinata had visited a fortune teller one day, and the creepy little granny had told her, "My dear! Your love life seems to be a bit in the dumps lately." (Naruto screamed Fake in his mind.) "But when you turn 23, it will all turn around!"
The orange-clad ninja decided to pick his plan up from there. He had saved all his earnings from his ANBU missions and went all the nine yards in buying the most beautiful ring he could ever find in his travels as a ninja.
It was a thing to behold. The ring was made of gold, and the stud was a pink diamond in the middle of a circle of golden leaves. He planned to ask Hinata to marry him, and not even the chaos in the little karaoke suite in which they had all been unceremoniously stuffed in by Sakura could stop him. He had even come up with a little line he could use to pop the question: "Hey, remember that creepy little granny who told you that your love life sucked this year but would be better on your 23rd birthday? Well, it is going to get better, because I want to ask you if it's okay to marry me."
It was perfect. So he began.
"Hey Hinata," Naruto said, sliding a hand into his pocket, feeling the velvety ring box under his calloused fingers, and Hinata watched him with innocently wide white-lavender eyes, "remember that creepy little granny who told you that your love life sucked this year but would be better on your 23rd birthday?" Hinata nodded. He took out the box and began to open it. "Well, it is going to get better, because I want to ask you if it's okay to m-"
There was something terribly wrong.
Because just as he was about to open the box, his line of vision just told him something horrible:
The ring wasn't in there.
Naruto began to sweat, feeling more nervous in his life than ever before. Where was the ring? He remembered putting it in the box when he left home… he remembered taking it out occasionally to polish it when Hinata wasn't looking… he remembered opening and closing the box multiple times when he felt the nerves coming on…
Oh man. I must have dropped it on the floor somewhere.
He gulped. I can't just go, hey, marry me and oh would you look at that the box is empty!
He looked up to see Hinata's pearly eyes brimming with unshed tears. (He crossed his fingers, hoping that they were tears of happiness.) "I… that box… you… me… are you…? Are you going…I mean… are you…?"
"Erm, well," Naruto began sheepishly, tucking away the box. "The ring is…" He cleared his throat and tore his gaze away from Hinata. He found that everyone had stopped what they were doing and had been staring excitedly at the almost-declaration. He grinned embarrassedly. "Um… a little help? I… kinda lost the ring in the room… and…"
The atmosphere changed from pandemonium to absolute hell. To Naruto's horror, everyone had begun, quite noisily, tear the room apart to look for the ring. What was more was that the party poppers from a few hours ago scattered confetti on the floor, making the search harder.
"I'm going to validate my youthfulness and find the ring!" Lee declared.
"I'm proud of you, Lee!" Gai cried, his eyes brimming with proud tears. "Let's run to the gloriously setting sun!"
Neji was growling. "When I find that ring, I'm going to shove it down your throat, Naruto!" Tenten whacked him again.
"Quick, everyone!" Jiraiya said. "Find it quickly so we can watch Naruto and Hinata passionately make-" Tsunade broke a sake bottle on his head.
"Sasuke-kun, stop being such a neat freak arranging the pillows on the couch!" Sakura yelled. "You're not going to find the ring like that!"
"Who says I'm looking for it?" Sasuke argued, looking under the table for anything remotely sparkly and un-confetti-like.
"Temari, get off!" Ino squealed. "I want to find the ring!"
"If you get you hand off Shikamaru's ass, then I'll get off you!"
"Why's the ring so important?" Gaara asked, crawling across the floor. "Does it signify something important?"
"It symbolizes marriage, you idiot," Kankuro growled, also on his knees.
"Oh. Is marriage important?"
"Hey, if I find it, do I get a prize?" Kiba asked.
"There's a prize?" Konohamaru exclaimed. "Outta the way, the ring's mine!"
There was nothing like watching all their drunken friends crawl on the confetti-covered floor, looking for a ring. It was more chaos than Naruto had ever bargained for.
Of course, nothing could ever compare to the lovely calmness that surrounded Hinata all the time. This was exactly the reason why he loved her – he needed her stable calmness to rationalize his chaotic life.
"So, um, Hinata," Naruto began, looking apologetic, "will you still marry me, even without the ring?"
Hinata's eyes widened, then she broke into a soft smile, bringing Naruto into a gentle hug. He sighed into her warm embrace, smelling her jasmine scent (never mind it being laced with a bit of the sake scent). "Of course I will, Naruto-kun," she murmured. "You're the only one I ever imagined marrying."
They broke away, and Naruto's eyes softened at the sight of the midnight-haired kunoichi. It was really worth putting up with their maniacally psycho friends just to see this wonderful sight.
Naruto raised an eyebrow. "But…?"
Hinata smiled sweetly at him.
He knew it was dangerous, without him knowing why.
"I want to see the ring too."
:.: when in doubt, poke it :.:
Author's Note: Well, did anyone like it? I hoped someone did – I enjoyed writing it. The story, by the way, was derived from the story of Jay Leno's guest that time – you know the guy who plays the father of the kid in the show "Two and a Half Men"? Yeah, that guy.
This was a fun attempt at NaruHina. Hmmm… I wonder if I might write more…