The Dream Girl

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto characters. They belong to Masashi Kishimoto. I do, however, own the plot.

Water droplets flew around the feminine figure as she twirled on the river. Her hands flew around her body, keeping her in a spinning motion. He stared at her from his hiding place, not yet daring to go closer. With each of her turns he grew bolder until it was too much to take. He had to find out if she was a dream.

Naruto slowly stepped forward onto the water. Quietly he came closer to the girl. Her back was toward him, but even in the darkness he could tell she wore nothing. Her short hair whipped around her face as she noticed him behind her. Naruto recognized her features from somewhere, but he couldn't recall her beauty in anyone he was close to. He reached out a hand to see if she was real. His fingers were almost touching her when she melted into the water, her figure sinking beneath the stream.

Naruto awoke. He had dreamt of the girl for many years now, ever since he saw her on that mission. Every time he dreamt, he came close to discovering who it was and if she were real. And every ending to the dream was different. She had vanished, run away, and disappeared in a puff of smoke, but never before had she melted. Until now. It unnerved him to think about it, a girl simply melting into the water. No, not a girl. If she were real, by now she would be a young woman. A beautiful young woman, no doubt.

He sighed and held his head in his hands. Waking up at two every night was taking a toll on his body. The kyuubi was growing restless without as much sleep and Naruto was becoming snappish at the most idiotic things. For example, just the other day he had yelled at Sakura for no reason at all. She had only asked if he was alright because he had bags under his eyes and he had replied in an angry voice, "Of course I'm all right! Never better!" and then had stomped off, leaving Sakura confused and with tears in her eyes.

Naruto lied awake in bed until the sun rose from the trees. Then, he slowly got up and began his day, feeling grumpy and anxious. He pulled on his new, blacker, outfit and tied up his head protector. He looked at his face in the mirror, something he normally didn't bother doing. The skin around his eyes was becoming so dark that he was beginning to look like Gaara. He rubbed his eyes tiredly and left his apartment.

Naruto reached the training grounds as the last of the pink sunrise left the sky. He once again rubbed his tired eyes and began training. Unfortunately for him, something happened to him that had never happened in his life- he was out of energy.

Naruto was perplexed. All of a sudden, his arms refused to move any longer and his legs gave out from under him. He slumped, confused and tired, to the ground, unable to move any inch of his body. His eyes stared up into the heavens, begging someone to tell him why his body was doing this to him. Then, he passed out.

The girl tainted even his deepest sleep, now. She danced through his unconsciousness, taunting him ever nearer but forever out of reach. He lunged, flipped, fell, and even flew in his dreams to try to see her face but every move he made, she anticipated. She danced, dodged, jumped, and sank into the water to avoid him until his mind was as exhausted as his body. His dream self lied, panting on the water, as his body lied unceremoniously crumpled on the earth.

Naruto didn't know how long he was passed out, but he woke, feeling completely un-rested, to the bright sun of midday. He looked quickly around him and, sensing no immediate danger, rose from the ground and dusted himself off. He then looked around once more. He recognized this place, but it definitely wasn't the training grounds in which he fainted.

Naruto walked through the clearing, trying everything to remember when he had seen here. He gave up after ten minutes of pacing and walked through the surrounding trees. He didn't go far from the clearing, knowing that if he was going to find his way home he'd have to start there.

Naruto walked quietly through the trees, finding a small path that was also familiar to him. He walked along it, his feet carrying him while his mind took in the surrounding area. He was definitely in some bug-infested forest. Beetles and roaches clung to the trees while butterflies and mosquitoes flew overhead. It was majestic, like something from a dream. Everything reminded him of something so familiar. He stepped past a last tree and had to climb over a boulder. That was when he remembered.

Past the rocks below was a small strip of sand and past that was a river. There was a large, beautiful waterfall feeding the rushing water to his right and rocks on the other side. This was the place he visited every night in his dreams, the place where she danced and taunted. The area had plagued even his waking moments lately and now he was standing on the bank of his nightmare.

Naruto sat on a rock that was near him. He couldn't believe it. He was back in the spot where he had watched his mystery girl dance in the moonlight. The exact spot in which he started all of his dreams.

Naruto wracked his brain for any possible reason for why he was here, of all places. Perhaps his mind wanted to put a stop to the dreams, show him that he was dreaming in the first place. He must have sleep-walked all the way here in his unconscious state. More like sleep-ran because it felt like the same day to him.

Naruto decided to stay at his spot until the next day, just in case his dream girl came by. Maybe, if he didn't see her again, his mind would accept that she wasn't real. If he did happen to see her he would probably be dreaming. If he did see her, he would definitely find out.

Nightfall came slowly for the shinobi. He didn't eat a thing the whole day, something that was very foreign to the boy. His stomach stayed quiet, though. It seemed as though it, too, was awaiting finality.

The moon rose full and orange into the sky. Hours passed until it was straight over head. Nothing happened for the first few seconds. Then a young girl, seemingly timid, stepped onto the river. Naruto's eyes grew wide. This was her, it had to be. Her figure was considerably changed since he saw her last, but there was no mistaking her grace, her beauty, while dancing.

Water flew around her form as she raised her hands into the air, sweeping and turning to her own rhythm. Naruto's heart beat in time to the steps she took as he stared, dumbstruck by this girl for the second time in his life.

He came to his senses and stepped lightly on to the water as he did in all of his dreams. He came closer and closer to the girl until he could tell she had her eyes closed. Her long, blue-tinted hair whipped around her slight frame, making it hard to see her features. He stepped closer to her, so close that if she swung her arm out completely it would hit him. He peered at her face but her hair was still hiding her from view. This was just like his dreams. He knew that if he wanted to see who she was, he would have to uncover her features himself.

He reached out his arm toward her face, but she turned quickly and his hand recoiled. Tired of waiting for her to turn again, he grabbed one of her wrists and pulled gently, causing her to gasp and spin back towards him. With his other hand, he brushed away the strands of hair that hid her from him. He blinked, staring at the least likely girl he would have ever thought of being her.

Large, frightened, white eyes stared up at him. The young, timid girl had a look of terror on her face. She seemed as frozen as Naruto was at the moment. Then she did something no one would have ever thought of her doing.

Perhaps it was the fact that it was night, maybe it was because of the full moon, it might have even been because she had finally grown up enough to face her fears, but Hinata didn't faint. Her cheeks didn't grow a bright red and she didn't fall into Naruto's arms. Instead she did something that was so very unlike Hinata. She stood on her toes and lightly kissed Naruto.

They stood on the water, lips barely touching, for what seemed like an eternity. Neither wanted to move in fear that the spell would be broken and the peace would fall apart. Sadly, all good things must come to an end.

Hinata broke the soft touch of her lips from Naruto's and stepped back. She seemed to have realized what she had just done, but she willed herself to not faint. Naruto still held onto her wrist, his other hand still touching her face, holding back her hair.

Naruto's lips felt cold without her light touch against them. He was surprised she had done it. He had no idea that she had feelings for him at all. She had always just been that shy girl who fainted whenever he got too near. He wanted to hit himself as that clicked into place in his brain, but he didn't move. He continued to stare at Hinata, who was looking shy and very embarrassed standing in front of him in only her underwear.

Hinata broke the silence that was growing heavy around them. "I… ano…. I should probably go… ano… go home now…" Naruto stared dumbly at her for a few seconds until realizing what she said and releasing her wrist.

"Ano… yeah, go ahead… ano, I'll come with you, walk you home," Naruto stuttered out.

"Arrigato, Naruto-kun. I would like that." Hinata's blush deepened as she walked over to where her clothes were folded and quickly covered herself up. Naruto seemed to snap out of his trance when she moved away from him. He looked away when she put her clothes back on, not wanting to embarrass the poor girl further. "Ano… Naruto-kun, are you coming?" Naruto turned around quickly to see that she was fully clothed.

"Yeah, coming." He was a little saddened by the fact that he couldn't see her undergarments anymore. He supposed he had an attraction for her for awhile, but he never realized how beautiful she was until then.

They jumped into the trees, quickly running back to Konoha in the dead of the night.

Naruto and Hinata could see the gates to the village as dawn crept upon the sky. Naruto suddenly stopped, about 100 meters away. Hinata almost ran into him but quickly avoided it. Naruto looked intensely at her. His eyes bore down into hers, causing her breath to catch in her throat.

"Hinata," he started to say, but trailed off.

"Hai, Naruto-kun?" Hinata asked quietly, her words coming out breathy. Naruto stared at her for a minute more. Hinata started to become anxious under his gaze.

"Hinata… I never realized how beautiful you are," he said, and then disappeared toward the gate, leaving Hinata scarlet but pleased.