"Hey old man!"
"Hey Naruto, what will it be?"
"The beef ramen for me and Hinata will probably want the miso."
Teuchi gazed up from the newly diced vegetables to look at the brightly smiling teenager before him.
"You know Naruto it is customary to wait for your girlfriend to arrive before ordering."
The young shinobi had the decency to blush at the callout.
"I know, but Hinata-chan kept telling me that she would be here on time."
The ramen chef nodded. He began to make his famous creation of noodles and vegetables while questioning his favorite customer.
"Is she training?"
Naruto rested his left elbow on the counter. He got comfortable by supporting his head with his one hand.
"No, some family meeting."
The old man gave an amused chuckle before replying in a teasing manner.
"You weren't invited this time Naruto?"
Said boy immediately straightened up on the stool his was sitting on, then shouted out blushing head to toe.
The other just laughed louder in response.
The love declaration between Hinata and Naruto in front of the Hyugas was famous in Konoha. There wasn't a person on the streets that didn't know about the personal exchange in that meeting. Everywhere Naruto went, people would joke to him about announcing his feelings in front of the most stoic clan in history. It was really beginning to tick him off.
It's been two months people!
"I must admit Naruto with all kidding aside, that it was a very brave thing for you to do."
The ramen-lover gave an inaudible grumble as sunk down on his stool.
He hadn't really felt brave at the time. In fact the majority of it was a blur. He just remembered being scared out of his wits end of what Hiashi's reaction would be, then when the man demanded that his daughter tell her feelings…he couldn't even describe how terrified he was. He just kept thinking, please don't reject me, please don't reject me. Which he now thinks had been a pretty pathetic thought process.
There had been a moment where he had wanted to shout out against what Hiashi was making her do, but his throat had closed up. Then the knowledge of hearing what Hinata felt for him rushed over him and made him a statue. He snapped out of it, stared into those gorgeous eyes and had wanted to jump for joy when he heard her father's okay. Of course that didn't stop him from giving Naruto a stern talk to about what he can and can't do with his daughter after the meeting.
But despite an over-bearing father, Naruto had never been happier. The council wasn't going to begin to talk about marriage with Hinata until she became heiress but when they did, he was going to make sure he was the suitable husband they would be discussing.
"So you really love her kid?"
Naruto came back down to earth and saw that Teuchi was finishing up his order.
"Of course I do."
A smile came to the stand owner's face when he heard the honesty in Naruto's voice.
"I still can't believe that Yamanaka girl's plan worked."
Naruto gratefully took the offered bowl and set it on the counter before looking at Teuchi in question.
"Yamanaka girl? You mean Ino? What plan did she come up with?"
The older man's eyes shone with shock.
"You don't know?"
The blonde shinobi began to feel uncomfortable when he heard the alarmed tone. It was like the other man knew something he didn't, but really should know. It was unsettling.
Teuchi wasn't sure if he should frown at laugh at this news. Naruto had fallen in love and he had no idea that it all had been intentional. Those girls sure were cunning.
"Well Naruto, it's going to be quite the shocker."
The roads of Konoha were rather bare compared to most sunny afternoons. It made travel for the indigo-haired beauty much easier and faster as she walked towards the destination of her date with her boyfriend.
Hinata just got out of a yet another meeting with the council. Two months ago they presented the Cloud Villagers with evidence of a conspiracy against the Hyuga Clan. Their leader had been appalled with the actions of one of his officials and immediately took away his position of power. He even went so far as to let the Hyuga Clan decide what the man's punishment would be. They had come to the conclusion one week ago to sentence the former official with life in prison. It was done more of an assurance that the man would not make any more attempts.
The meeting that the future heiress just got out of dealt with her decision to make Neji her advisor when she becomes the leader. Council members had made the argument that because the Cloud was no longer a great risk there was no valuable reason for the added help. When the elders made that case, she would retort with the uncertainty of the clan's safety. Stating that there was nothing to stop another official or village to gather and attack.
In the end the elders reluctantly agreed to let Neji lead beside her.
It was a triumph that she was tremendously proud of and she couldn't wait to share her success with her beloved.
She had wanted to say that Naruto was hers for years. It still astounded her, even after two months that she had the privilege to.
It was amazing.
Picking up her pace, Hinata grew excited about seeing her boyfriend. Perhaps, she would surprise him with a kiss. When she caught sight of his orange jacket, she ran to him. Tapping on his shoulder she expected to be greeted with one of his dazzling smiles, but saw instead a mixture of confusion and calculation. All thoughts of kissing escaped her.
"Naruto-kun, what's wrong?"
Her love was quiet and she began to worry that he didn't hear her concern, but then he spoke.
"Is it true?"
Hinata blinked at the question, more surprised at the accusation rather than the randomness.
"Is what true?"
The blonde turned so his whole body faced the girl, arms were crossed and his eyes narrowed. Hinata was once again alarmed by the suspicion in those eyes.
"I just heard that Ino had come up with a plan to make me your boyfriend. Is it true?"
Hinata's knees began to feel like Jell-O.
Oh no. He was never supposed to find out like this! She was the one that was supposed to tell him, that way he wouldn't get as mad. Something she feared that he might do in few seconds.
"I was going to tell you Naruto-kun, really I was I just haven't found the right time."
The words rushed out of her mouth and she wouldn't be too surprised if her boyfriend didn't catch the sentence.
"So it's true?"
Hinata was momentarily taken aback by the honest revelation in Naruto's voice. He must not have fully believed the allegation if he was that shocked. It just made her bow her head in shame. Slowly she nodded her head as a yes because she was too embarrassed by her actions to actually voice them.
She didn't see her love's reaction, but she did feel his large, warm hand engulf hers and begin dragging her down the street.
The pale-eye girl looked at Naruto both in question and alarm. But all she could see was the back of his head.
"She said she was having lunch with Sakura at Café Lorrance."
She decided not to question him on what they were doing or why he wanted to see Ino.
Instead, she gazed at their intertwined hands and wondered what was going through his mind. He must not be too mad if he would still touch her in public, but then again whenever something truly upset him he would became quiet and withdrawn.
She tightened her grip on his calloused hand and prayed that it was not the former.
"You have got to be kidding me!"
The pinkette could not contain her laughter as she answered her friend.
Ino shook her head in disapproval as Sakura continued to snort and snicker. At least the medic-nin found her boyfriend's actions humorous.
"I can't believe he actually tried to trim his eyebrows. How bad did they turn out?"
Sakura tried to calm down her laughter as she responded to Ino about Lee's antics.
"Horrible! The left one has some weird zigzag pattern and the other one is half gone!"
The blonde beauty had to break down in hysterics when she saw the mental image her friend provided. The two girl's laughter filled the tiny restaurant, making other customers look over at their table strangely. It took a good five minutes for the loud expressed amusement to begin to shimmer down. Sakura looked at her comrade, cheeks rosy and emerald eyes watery from the laughter.
"It was sweet really how he wanted to impress my parents, but he should have just stuck to the jacket I picked out for him."
The blue-eye girl took a quick sip of her water, let out a few lingering chuckles and divulged something to her friend that she had learned over the years.
"Men. They think that they have to do everything."
The medic-nin gave a small smile and was about to agree to her friend's statement when the cafe's doors where violently thrown open. A tall blonde man marched into the restaurant, dragging a petite dark-haired woman. Both Sakura and Ino were shocked to see Hinata with a worried look on her face being pulled by Naruto who took determined steps towards the blonde woman.
Ino stiffened in alarm when the shinobi stopped to hover over her form. She heard from both Hinata and Sakura that his eyes could shine with such intensity that it would make you feel small, but never did she see them before today.
"Did you come up with some crazy plan to get me to be Hinata's boyfriend?"
Immediately sensing the bad situation, Sakura decided to get out of the hell-hole before it got heated.
"Oh darn! I was supposed to meet Lee five minutes ago. I'll have to catch up with you some other time Ino."
The blonde glared at her friend's retreating form, promising revenge for leaving her alone in the lion's den.
Ino snapped out of her thoughts of vengeance to see Naruto staring at her with impatience. She decided to take a quick analysis of the situation. Hinata's fleeting eyes and lip biting revealed shame and nervousness. Knowing her friend she knew that these honest actions were a result from Naruto already knowing the truth. Naruto had probably asked to get a confirmation from the source, his actions though…
His eyes though intense did not look particularly enraged and his stance though tense was not set for attack. But the biggest tipoff to her that showed that he wasn't as angry as he might act was that his hand was still holding Hinata's. He never once let go.
Crossing her arms and putting on a defensive look, she decided to answer him in truth.
"So what if I did? You going do something about it?"
A second after the words left her mouth, Naruto dropped Hinata's hand. A single tremor of fear ran down in her spine, thinking that she had been wrong in her assumption. But the feeling didn't last for long because she was subsequently lifted out of her seat and…
Her lungs felt like they were being crushed as Naruto squeezed her in his embrace. The initial astonishment she felt from his affectionate act dimmed when she heard the chorused 'thank you' from the blonde. The girl's pink lips formed a tiny smile before she croaked out a sentence.
"You can thank me by letting go."
The boy let go as if he had been burned, he gave the girl a sheepish smile as she tried to catch her breath.
"Sorry, I forget my strength sometimes."
"N-Naruto-kun, you're not mad?"
Both blondes turned their attention to the soft-spoken question. Hinata stared at the two teens, those pale eyes widening in disbelief with an underline of hope. That hope grew when her boyfriend took her in a one arm embrace and gave her a stunning smile.
"Mad? Why would I be mad? If none of this happened then I wouldn't be with you."
Ino barely caught the joyful watery eyes of Hinata before she bowed her head. The kunoichi couldn't help but smile at the couple in front of her. They were perfect for each other. They understood each other, understood why they did the things that they did. She felt honored to help bring them together.
"Hey you two."
Naruto turned from gazing at Hinata and Hinata stopped looking at the floor to regard her friend.
"Seen as how fore-head bailed on me, you want to have lunch with me?"
Each part of the lovely couple gave their own heartfelt smile and agreed to the appointment. Naruto casually took the seat out for Hinata before taking his own while Ino took her previous chair. She regarded the two before looking at Naruto.
A devious grin broke onto her face.
"So Naruto, want to hear something interesting? It involves your girlfriend, ramen, bandits, the perfect dress, a book and Big Mama."
From the corner of her eye she saw Hinata stiffen.
Notice: It's done! And it only took a year and a half. By god, am I happy that I was able to finish this but...sad too. My first fic has came to an end. :(
I want to give a special thanks to darktank, Kiba Inubake, Silver Wurm, Guyver Zero, Hektols, Saharet, Link Fangirl01, Kingkakashi, Shawny Wong, Long-Live-The-Jessenator, msjezzi-bella, Rena the pirate jedi wizard, Me Want Mochi, kally-kal and EtoileEyes for all their wonderful reviews (sorry if I didn't include your name if your a frequent reviewer). You guys really brighten my day and helped me to become a better writer. Thanks! :)
Also a thank you to everyone else that reviewed or had favorited, alerted or had read more story.