It was January...
Hyuuga Hinata stifled a yawn as she stepped out of the door and shut it behind her. Despite the cold breeze, it was a nice, sunny day as it frequently was in Konoha Village. Zipping the light jacket up to her neck, she locked the door behind her and started down the street. The land of fire has always maintained a bright and fairly warm weather pattern, however Hinata longed for a bit of snow once in a while. When they were younger, Naruto journeyed to the Snow Country during a mission and returned with magnificent stories to tell, which she was more than happy to listen to. Since then, Hinata wished to travel to the Snow Country and partake in the making of snowmen herself. Naruto had presented the idea to her and the mere thought of it brought a pink tinge to her face as she fantasized about making snowmen with the blond haired boy.
"Hina," Yamanaka Ino called out to her, snapping back down to reality.
"Good morning, Ino," Hinata greeted softly with a smile and a slight nod. "I'm sorry, were you waiting long?"
"Not at all," She grinned and fell into step beside the blue haired girl. "It's been a long time since we've all met up together like this, isn't this exciting?"
Hinata nodded in agreement. "I'm glad everyone had the time to come out for Shino's Birthday. I'm sure he'll be pleased to see all of his old comrades."
The two immersed themselves in an elaborate conversation as they made their way to the yaki-niku restaraunt, the designated meeting spot for 'Shino's Grand 21st Birthday Bash,' as Kiba had described it. They were both greeted with gusto upon entering.
"Ino, Hinata," Sakura was the first to jump up and pull them into a hug. "It's been a long time!"
Hinata smiled, returning the hug and greeting everyone at the large table. Shino sat at the head of the table, his sunglasses still ever present. "Shino, Happy Birthday," She held out a small wrapped box to him. "It's not much, but please have it."
"Thank you, Hinata," Shino nodded and took it from her hands so that he may gesture to the empty seat on his left. "Please sit down, we're still waiting for some people to arrive."
Sitting down, Hinata waved at Kiba who sat across from her and looked at the rest of the group. Shikamaru sat beside him, Temari was speaking to him, but he seemed to shut her out. She could see she was getting quite frustrated.
"Hello Temari," She said. "Are your brothers not joining us today?"
"Ah," Temari shook her head. "They had business to take care of. Those two are always so busy these days, being Kazekage and all..."
It wasn't long until Neji, Tenten and Lee arrived, followed by Chouji. Hinata looked around hopefully and sighed. Just when she began to ponder the whereabouts of her favorite blond, he burst in as loud as ever. A bright smile blossomed on her face and soon everyone was settling down to eat. She barely even noted the arrival of the Uchiha as well.
"Hina, come sit here on the girls side of the table," Sakura beckoned.
Hinata happily obliged and sat herself down next to Ino and Sasuke. They were all caught up in a vigorous conversation about their men, yet Hinata sat silent, chancing glances over to the other side of the table once in a while.
"Hinata," Temari said, leaning across from the table. "You still like Naruto, don't you?"
Hinata's face flushed a bright red and looked down. "Just a... little..." She admitted softly.
"Eh? Are you kidding me, he hasn't even noticed yet?" Tenten raised a brow, casting a glance at the oblivious boy on the far end.
"Naruto is so blind when his comes to love," Sakura sighed deeply. "You'll have to take action if you want to get his attention, Hina."
"That's right!" Ino clapped her hands together and her eyes lit up with joy. "And I have the perfect idea!"
"R-really?" Hinata looked up, unable to supress her eager ears. "What is it?"
"Naruto loves ramen, but being ANBU he's usually busy. However, he always goes to the Ichiraku Ramen Bar whenever he can, right?" She explained to the girls. "So why don't you get a job at the Ramen bar, Hina? You'll be sure to see him everytime he's in town."
Realization dawned upon the girls faces and they bustled in complimenting Ino on a plan well thought. Hinata thought about it herself and began to wonder why she never thought of it before. It was a perfect idea!
"Oi, Sasuke," Sakura pointed an accusing finger at him. "You'd better not go off and tell Naruto about anything you've just heard here!"
Hinata blushed and turned to look at Sasuke, whom she forgot was sitting right beside her. He stared at her from the corner of his eye for what seemed like forever. She began to fidget. He was Naruto's best friend, what if he-
"What are you talking about?" He finally sighed, bringing the cup of tea to his lips as he turned away to face the guys side. "Do what you want, I could care less about what that idiot is missing."
Hinata let out a breath of relief and slowly began to regain her composure. She would ask Teuchi, the owner, to give her a job. Smiling to herself, she began to eat, not noticing the Uchiha's gaze lingering on her again.