As I promised -- the third chapter is out a lot earlier.

I spend a whole two class periods on it -- so about 3 hours. Hope it's all right!

Mask

Chapter 3

Hinata shifted a bit nervously in her seat when she could feel the eyes of the raven-haired boy just staring at her. After a few minutes she could feel a weight lift off her shoulders when he directed his attention to the world outside the bus. Sighing in relief, she took a few moments to regain her composure. That wall came crumbling down when he turned his gaze back to her and asked, "Who are you?" Now , for him this was very unusual, but he felt the need to ask.

Hinata jumped by the sudden disrupt of silence and cautiously looked over at him.

"M-my n-n-name is H-h-hinata," she said beginning to grow more uneasy. The boy cringe when he heard her stutter. This would be on thing he doubted he could get used to. It showed a total lack of confidence and would prove to be a major weakness. He would never be weak -- he had promised himself that a long time ago.

To be considerate, Hinata figured she should ask him the say thing. "W-what is y-y-your name?" she asked him and quickly averted her lilac eyes when they met his charcoal black ones. He sighed in annoyance when the boy sitting next to him acted intimidated by his presence. "Sasuke Uchiha," he said shortly. "O-oh," she said, recognizing his clan name. "I-I'm H-Hinata H-h-hyuuga."

Sasuke's eyes widened a bit in surprise when he turned his attention back to her. 'A Hyuuga?' he asked himself as he took in her appearance for the first time. 'Those pale eyes are unmistakable… He really is a Hyuuga." He couldn't help but be a bit taken aback. He had expected someone like the leader of the clan. He had heard stories about Hiashi. Tales about acts of bravery and might. Sasuke expected the same from his children.

A silence was soon brought back upon the two. Sasuke remained staring out the window and Hinata was twiddling her thumbs out of boredom. After what seemed like hours the bus came to a complete stop outside a large building. Teenagers evacuated the bus with their bags as they headed towards the school. Once they entered the front doors, the students were directed to a board so they could see which dorm they were staying in. Hinata drug her suitcase over as she examined the list.

Room 22 - Naruto and Kiba

Room 23 - Gaara and Lee

Room 24 - Hinata and Sasuke

She stared at the list bewildered. Out of all the people she was to room with, she got stuck with someone she thought was terrifying. There was just something about the raven-haired boy she found intimidating. Sasuke, on the other hand, was quite content with this arrangement. Sure, he would have rather roomed with Gaara, but at least the Hyuuga wasn't as annoying as Naruto or Lee.

Hinata decided to head towards the room she could set up her stuff and try to stay out of Sasuke's way as much as possible. Much to her dismay, Sasuke was right behind her -- hot on her trail. She figured there was no point in trying to avoid him, so she kept the room her destination. Once she finally found Room Number 24, she opened the door and they bother went inside.

The two weren't too impressed by the dorm rooms. There were two beds -- one on each side of the room -- and desks to accompany them. A small fan hung on the ceiling, and an odd statue of a gargoyle stood against the wall near the door. One dresser with a total of eight shelves rested against an empty wall. There was a small door that led them to a less impressive bathroom. The only fixtures that stood in their were a single shower, sink, toilet, and small mirror.

"Ugh, this place is a dump," Sasuke said in disgust, How did the administrators of the school expect them to live and function in such an environment? This was one of the best art schools in Japan, but it didn't appear like they spent any of the budget refurnishing the rooms. He imagined they pocketed the rest of the change. He did know for a fact that the principal, Tsunade, had a tendency to get drunk while at work. She probably spent all the extra money on Sake.

Hinata didn't stand around brooding over the room. She began to put her stuff away, deciding to use only four out of the eight drawers so Sasuke would have some room. He noticed this, but didn't bother to thank the Hyuuga. Instead, he dropped his bag on the floor and lay down on one of the two beds. He decided to make one thing clear to his new roommate. "Hyuuga," he said nonchalantly. "N-nani?" she asked a bit worried. "If we are going to get along you need to get rid of that stutter," he added.

True, it did annoy him to no end. Once the Hyuuga ceased stuttering maybe he would feel the need to converse with her once in a while. Until then, he decided it best for his sanity to keep his distance.

Hinata frowned a bit from Sasuke's statement. She didn't think her stuttering voice was that bad. Maybe … maybe it would be best for everyone if she tried to stop the old habit. She didn't know how much effort it would take, but now she was determined to change this about herself. As a guy, she figured shyness didn't go over well with the other people.

"I-I will g-give it a t-try," she said, trying not to stumble with her words. It had taken a great amount of effort, but she had managed to minimize some of the stuttering. Sasuke looked at her and raised one of his eyebrows. "Hn," he said, acting as if he didn't care, but a part of him wanted to be friends with the Hyuuga. He didn't know where this sudden urge was coming from because he preferred to be a loner. He never sought the company of others. He had promised himself a long time ago that he didn't need anyone -- only himself. Why was he suddenly on the verge of breaking that pact? Especially for this pale-eyed boy.

Hinata noticed he was daydreaming so she took this chance to exit the room and take a look around the rest of the school. Compared to the rooms,, the remainder of the building was much more extravagant. The halls were wide and lit up with stained glass chandeliers that hung overhead. The windows themselves were also made of stained glass. When it was day time, the corridors would illuminate with different varieties of captivating hues.

Out of nowhere, someone latched on to her arm, causing her to stumble backwards. Hinata looked over at the person next to her and saw bright cerulean eyes staring back at her. "Hello!" said the blonde boy with a toothy grin. "What's your name? I haven't talked to you yet!" Forgetting her resolution, she said, "H-h-h-hinata." She figured the stuttering was caused by the boy scaring the living daylights out of her.

"I'm Naruto," he said pointing towards himself with his thumb. Suddenly, a sympathetic look crossed his face. Hinata looked at him curiously and he said, "You have to share a room with Sasuke. He's such a jerk. I really feel for you." She shook her head and let the corner of her lips pull up to form a small smile. "He's not that bad," she said. "He's been very nice to me." Naruto looked at her like she was something foreign. "Has he brainwashed you too!?!?!?" he asked as his hand flew up to clutch his hair, as if he would pull it out any second. "Your just too kind to notice the evilness that lurks inside!!"

Unknown to both of them, Sasuke was standing write around the corner. He had overheard the conversation between the two. He was shocked to hear Hinata stand up for him. The fact that she didn't stutter made it that much better.

For some reason, he couldn't help but feel a small sense of happiness as his lips curled into their own smile.