Title: Stuck On You
Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't even own highly unlikely, completely made up childhood memories. Instead, I have an imagination and a bittersweet love for impossible romances.
Rating: G ( K ) – For sticky, sugary sweetness.
Spoilers: Maybe your appetite. You really shouldn't read so much sugary-sweetness so close to dinner time.

Summary: Hinata hated school! Implied SasuHinaNaru.

Thanks, Jules. This one's for you.

With her luminescent eyes dripping with shiny tears, Hinata looked imploringly up to her stone-faced father. "B-but I don't w-want to g-go to school. Wh-what if n-no one l-likes me?"

Hiashi, apparently unmoved by his daughter's tearful pleading, answered sharply "You're a Hyuuga, Hinata. You don't need people to 'like' you. All you need is their inherent respect for your clan, your blood and your abilities."

Hinata buried her face against her father's leg and clutched the thick material of his kimono tightly in her tiny, shivering fists. "B-but I'm scared!" she whined, sniffling. "P-please don't m-make me g-go!"

With an unexpectedly gentle touch, Hiashi guided his daughter's head back so that she would look at him again. "Hinata," he began, sighing. "You are now five-years-old; it's time for you to begin learning things outside of this compound. You will never fully appreciate this village and it's people if you remain secluded from them. You must also set a good example for Hanabi, who will leave this house long after you. Show her that there is nothing to fear from the outside world."

The tiny heiress thought about her father's words as he lovingly stroked her long, indigo hair behind her ears and over her back. She knew he was right; Hiashi always was, after all, as the head of the Hyuuga Clan.

Sniffling piteously one last time, Hinata nodded solemnly. "Y-Yes, father."

"Good," Hiashi commended his eldest, the corners of his mouth twitching into what was almost a smile. "You make the Hyuuga proud, Hinata."

Hinata was all smiles again at her father's kind words. He had never told her before that she made the family proud, only that she failed to remember the Clan's nobility in how she acted whenever she was bad. Hinata swore to herself – upon pain of disappointing her family – that she wouldn't let Hiashi down!

"I hear that the youngest Uchiha boy – Sasuke, I believe his name was – is also starting the Academy this year," Hiashi commented, giving Hinata's hair one last ruffle before disentangling her from his leg and continuing on his way down the hall. "So you'll have at least one acquaintance amongst your schoolmates, Hinata. Now be off with you; I need to get back to my study."

Hinata remained exactly where she was, muscles frozen in utter terror, as she realized that the promise she'd made to herself wouldn't be as easy to fulfil as she had originally anticipated. Uchiha Sasuke – the meanest, nastiest, most horrible boy ever – was going to be thrust into her daily life without so much as a proper warning.

With no idea what to do next, Hinata's knees buckled beneath her and she fell, crying.

— — —

The next morning, Hinata felt awful. The nanny – Yoko-san, the nicest lady in the whole world and some sort of distant cousin – who came in to help her dress even asked if she were feeling sick. With a dreadful feeling in the pit of her stomach, Hinata reluctantly shook her head no.

As she walked to school, hand-in-hand with the worried Yoko-san, the feeling of foreboding increased to the point that she almost changed her mind and claimed to be sick after all. But, just as she was about to open her mouth to complain that she was feeling ready to throw up, Yoko-san proclaimed "We're here!"

They stood in front of a large, single-storied building with lots and lots of windows, a huge yard in front, and thick, rough walls that looked as if they had been made out of papier mache. Children were milling about in the front, apparently reluctant to actually enter the building, talking and running and playing with one another. Some of them – mostly the younger ones – were accompanied by parents, others by bigger kids who had to be brothers and sisters, while the rest gathered in groups of three to five without familial supervision at all.

Hinata looked around the yard, anxious about all the unfamiliar faces swarming around the grass, and did her best to disappear behind Yoko-san. Everyone at school appeared to already have friends, which meant that there would be no room for the lone Hyuuga heiress, who had very few playmates anywhere close to her age at home. The only person she'd ever met that was exactly her age was Uchiha Sasuke, and she didn't like him very much, the mean bully.

Yoko-san gently dragged her through the school gates and toward the building and, despite her initial impulse to remain outside and away from the bustling crowd of kids and adults, Hinata did her best to keep pace with her, fearful of being left behind and alone.

As Hinata had been preoccupied with keeping as completely out of the way of her peers as possible, she didn't notice when Yoko-san stopped abruptly and began to speak courteously to a young girl several years older than Hinata.

"Excuse me, could you direct me to the first year classroom, perchance?"

The girl was very pretty, Hinata realized, peeking at her from behind Yoko-san's leg. She looked about the age of one of Hinata's cousins, making her maybe ten or eleven, and had the tall, slender frame of someone who was both very strong and very flexible. Her hair was incredibly wavy – almost choppy and erratic – and just barely brushed the tops of her shoulders. It was untrimmed and wild, making it seem almost as if it were growing longer as Hinata stood there and watched.

It was the girl's eyes that were particularly fascinating, though; particularly to a girl of Hyuuga decent that fraternized with Uchihas. They were two shades of brown all at once with one darker circle entrapped in a larger, lighter ring. They were very different from her family's standard eye color of bleached lavender and the Uchiha clan's solid, black-as-pitch eyes, which were almost evil-looking. Hinata was envious of the girl's pretty eyes, thinking hers quite plain in comparison.

"Sure," the girl replied, pointing to the building behind her. "When you go inside, take a left down the main corridor and take your third right. When you get to the end of that hall, there's a door that you need to go through that will take you to a smaller building out back. That's where they keep all the first years."

Hinata jumped and ducked further behind Yoko-san as she realized that the pretty girl was looking at her. Afraid that she'd been caught staring, Hinata squeezed her eyes shut and hoped that the older girl would think her invisible.

Yoko-san bowed to the girl gratefully. "Thank you very much. Come, Hinata-sama."

Hinata obediently followed, clinging to Yoko-san's hand as she allowed herself to blindly be led forward.

Once Hinata heard a door open in front of her, she peeled her eyelids away from one another and allowed herself vision again. Looking back over her shoulder, she saw the girl with the pretty eyes watching them leave with a curious expression on her features.

Hinata turned away quickly and was glad when the door closed behind her, putting a barrier between herself and the girl.

They followed their given instructions and, after a few minutes of quick-paced walking, they reached the aforementioned door that was supposed to lead to the first year building. Yoko-san pressed the metal bar and the painted white door swung forward, thrusting them back into the bright morning sunlight.

Hinata blinked the flickering spots away from her eyes, mildly surprised that the five minute bask in florescent lighting could have such an effect on her vision. Her home, owing to the sensitivity that inherently plagued the Hyuuga family's enhanced eyesight, was illuminated only by candles and oil lamps, making the transition between indoor and outdoor light far more seamless. More often than not, the rooms at the Hyuuga compound were lit with natural sunlight during the day anyway, thanks to the large windows opened on every wall. Their wrap-around porch kept out the harsher light that stung Hinata's eyes at the beginning and end of every day, creating the perfect balance between light and shade.

At school, however, the shift between natural and artificial light was sure to cause the young Hyuuga heiress headaches in the years to come. Hinata released Yoko-san's hand momentarily to try rubbing the spots away – because blinking didn't really help at all – and vigorously ground her fists into her tingling eye sockets to relieve the strange, uncomfortable itch.

When she opened her eyes again, the spots were back with more ferocity, but quickly dissipated in a few seconds. By this time, however, Yoko-san had disappeared herself.

Panicked, Hinata looked around the yard, hoping to spot her Branch Family caretaker. The scene around her was equally as chaotic as the one she had come upon immediately after arriving at school, but all of the children she saw now were her size and – even though there were still a few hovering about – there weren't many adults hanging about any longer. The same cliques of children – playing in sandboxes, chasing each other and shouting "Tag!," and dressing dolls quietly under a tall tree near the corner of the yard – could be found strewn about, reminding Hinata of her first worry about there not being any room for new friends amongst the already tightly-knit groups.

With a rushing flood of relief, Hinata spotted Yoko-san over by the small building, talking to one of the only adults in the vicinity animatedly. The other adult – another pretty lady wearing a bunch of nice colors – looked a little uneasy as she spoke to Yoko-san, but kept a friendly smile spread across her face that made her rounded cheeks bulge in a really cute way.

As Hinata was about to sprint across the yard – braving the possibility of being accosted by her new classmates – she spotted one boy who was all alone to the far side of the playground. He sat with his legs dangling out of an old tire swing that was firmly knotted to a heavy oak and stared at the ground miserably.

Taking another glance around the playground, Hinata couldn't understand why this one boy was sitting all by his lonesome. Everybody else – except for herself, of course – had friends to play with already and, since she didn't recognize him as the son of one of her father's friends, she naturally assumed that he was one of those "less fortunate" children that an old Auntie had described to her once. She had mentioned that most people outside of the Hyuuga and Uchiha clans were "less fortunate" and didn't live in big houses like she and Sasuke did. Hinata hadn't quite understood what her Auntie had been talking about, but the old woman had continued to explain that most people had a lot less money than the Hyuuga. Though Hinata didn't see why that mattered at all, she had accepted the explanation without much question.

The only thing that Hinata had really noticed was different about her and "less fortunate" children was that the "less fortunate" children all seemed to have a lot of friends. This, of course, confused Hinata even more.

Of course, the main question of the moment was, if this boy was "less fortunate," then why was he sitting all alone with no one to even talk to? He was certainly brightly colored in his orange jumpsuit and strangely askew blonde hair, which was what had attracted Hinata's attention in the first place. She had always loved colors, especially since the Hyuuga compound was notably lacking in them, so she figured that such a vibrant person should be surrounded by people begging to play with him all the time. She certainly wanted to play with him, whoever he was.

Though she was only a few yards away from Yoko-san, Hinata stopped as she reconsidered her path. She darted her eyes between Yoko-san – who was still talking to the other adult about something called "respectable supervision" – and the lone boy, who was still staring mournfully at the ground as he swung himself back and forth by the toe of his sandal against the ground.

After one final look at Yoko-san, Hinata breathed deeply, steadied her nerves and changed directions to head straight for the brightly-colored boy.

He didn't pay much attention to her as she approached, but Hinata still had hope that she could make a friend of the lonely boy. She stopped a few feet away from him, fidgeting, and forced herself to speak, though she couldn't bring herself to look at him at the same time. "H-Hello..."

The voice that responded was hesitant and surprised. "Uh...Hi."

Hinata looked up at the boy to find him staring at her instead of the ground, bewildered. She realized that his eyes were the prettiest color that she'd seen yet; a lively, brilliant blue.

"M-My name is H-Hinata," she said, forming a shy smile. "W-what's y-yours?"

"Naruto," the boy replied, a grin spreading across his face. "Uzumaki Naruto."

"I l-like your j-jacket," Hinata stammered, indicating the violently orange windbreaker that he wore. "It's a p-pretty c-color."

Naruto laughed, causing pleasant tingles to erupt in Hinata's stomach. "Well, yeah! Orange is the best color there is, dummy," Naruto proclaimed, leaning toward her eagerly. "Do you like any other colors, Hinata-chan?"

Hinata felt her face grow warm at the endearment and, glancing up to look him in his electric-azure eyes for a split second, muttered "B-blue."

Naruto nodded as if her answer were satisfactory. "Yeah, blue is an awesome color, too. Most girls would say pink or something lame like that. You're really cool, Hinata-chan."

Hinata's face felt so hot that she thought she might have a sunburn. Why was such a nice boy sitting alone in the schoolyard without any friends?

Hinata was about ready to open her mouth and ask when an uninvited voice interrupted her. "Why are you over here talking to the dobe, Hyuuga?"

Hinata stiffened immediately; she recognized that voice. Feared its owner.

Turning slowly, Hinata addressed the slouching, dark-eyed boy that was glaring at her and sneering accusingly. "S-Sasuke-san..."

"You do know that you're talking to Naru-tard, the dumbest kid ever born?" Sasuke asked, his tone implying that she should have realized all along.

"Y-you know N-Naruto...kun?" Hinata replied, trying on the familiar honorific for size. She glanced at Naruto to see if he had any objection to the title, but he was too busy scowling at Sasuke to give her any notice.

Sasuke snorted disdainfully. "Of course not. My parents told me to stay away from him. He's trouble."

"I never did anything to anyone!" Naruto retorted, stumbling out of the tire swing to properly confront Sasuke. He pushed Hinata to the side and placed himself between her and Sasuke, baring his unusually sharp canines at the Uchiha and clenching his fists. He seemed to have forgotten all about Hinata, focused as he was on Sasuke and defending himself. "Unlike you who has never been nice to anyone ever!"

"I don't have to be nice," Sasuke replied, folding his arms. Hinata thought he looked at her for a second, but her eyes must have deceived her. "I have family who loves me already!"

Naruto bunched his shoulders up around his ears, fists raised and turning white at the knuckles, and he uttered a fierce growl. "Why you...you...!"

"What? Too slow to think of something to call me, stupid?" Sasuke jeered. "Or do you just not know anymore words period?"

"Bastard!" Naruto finally shouted, launching himself forward and tackling Sasuke to the ground. To Hinata's utter horror, Naruto started punching Sasuke immediately, shouting obscenities at him. "You damn bastard! I'll show you that you're not any better than me!"

Naruto only had the upper hand for a few seconds, however, as Sasuke rolled him over onto his back and took a turn at hitting. "Don't make me laugh, dobe! You're so pathetic that you'll never beat me at anything!"

Again, Hinata could have sworn that Sasuke looked her way, but Naruto flipped him over again and took his turn at offense. "Who's pathetic now, bastard?"

"S-Stop!" Hinata cried, covering her ears against the onslaught of bad words and painful insults. "Stop fighting!"

"Saotome-senpai! Saotome-senpai!" another new voice squealed in a high pitch. The voice was one of Hinata's female classmates and she sounded perilously close to tears. "Naruto is trying to beat up Sasuke-kun!"

A more adult voice tried to call a halt to the fight. "Stop that! Naruto, get off of Sasuke-kun!"

Hinata opened her eyes to witness the adult that Yoko-san had been speaking to earlier dash over to the pair of wrestling boys, reprimanding Naruto, in particular, strongly. It didn't seem to matter much that Sasuke was, again, on top and Naruto was the one with the bloody face.

Hinata covered her eyes again, bringing her hands up to block out anything that she might accidentally see through a crack in her eyelids. She felt the familiar hands of Yoko-san descend upon her shoulders and found herself cushioned firmly against her caretaker's front.

The sounds of chanting children, broken bits of cursing from Naruto and the muffled scuffling against the dry, grassy ground were drowned out as Hinata began to cry, wailing loudly above the din.

So far, Hinata didn't like school at all.

— — —

After school was over for the afternoon, the children of Hinata's class diligently went outside to play in the yard until their parents came to collect them and take them home. The number of students dwindled steadily until there were only about ten left, including Hinata, Sasuke and Naruto, who was forbidden to leave the time out chair that the teacher had planted him in that morning. He hadn't left once – not even to go to the bathroom when he had politely requested – and squirmed uncomfortably in his assigned spot. Hinata could tell that he wasn't the type of person who liked to hold still much, especially when other children were running and playing and having fun around him. Hinata felt bad for him; it wasn't fair that he was being treated so badly, not when it was Sasuke who had provoked their fight in the first place.

Hinata tore her attention away from Naruto to frown reproachfully at Sasuke, who was across the yard accepting a piece of gum nonchalantly from a blushing girl with short blonde hair. He unwrapped the green-ish stick and folded it into his mouth as another girl – this one surrounded by a group of others – started insulting the blonde viciously.

"Ino, you pig! Who said that you could give Sasuke-kun gum?"

"Who said I needed permission?"

"We do, ugly!"

"I'm not ugly! Daddy says I'm as pretty as a cosmos, so there!"

Hinata watched Sasuke walk calmly away from the bickering girls, chewing on his gum, to go find something else to do.

It just wasn't fair! Hinata decided, clenching a fist at the unjustness of Naruto's punishment and Sasuke's freedom. How could the teacher be so mean to someone who was so nice and so nice to someone who was so mean? It didn't make any sense!

Hinata sat down on the ground, glumly drawing circles in the dirt with her finger and staring off at Naruto in his time out spot. She dearly wished she could invite him over to play, but even if he weren't being punished she had been warned by Yoko-san not to approach him. He was a "bad influence," she said. Hinata didn't quite know what that was, but she was sure that Naruto wasn't one of them; he was so friendly and cheerful that Hinata just knew he was being misunderstood by everyone.

Sasuke, on the other hand, seemed to have everyone fooled into believing he was a nice boy. This was also something that Hinata had trouble understanding; Sasuke had been nothing but mean to her since the first time they'd met. They had been three years old and Hiashi had invited Sasuke's family to her birthday party, apparently feeling that he was doing well to invite at least a few children to his young daughter's event.

Hinata had shyly approached him and asked him if he was interested in playing something together. He had agreed, sullenly, and the two children were permitted to depart the primarily adult party and run around in the garden (provided that they didn't get their kimonos dirty, of course).

They had played well together at first, but then, when Hinata had suggested that they invite her Neji-nii-san over to play as well, Sasuke had gotten angry and pushed her! Hinata had fallen down, hard, on her bottom and, when she began to cry, Sasuke had shouted at her to be quiet and pulled on her hair! He'd even called her ugly!

Ever since then, whenever Sasuke had been invited over for "play dates" arranged by Yoko-san and Sasuke's nanny, he had taken to pulling on her hair whenever she did anything to annoy him. "Anything" ranged from waving at the boy who delivered her father messages to smiling at Neji-nii-san when he passed to wanting to help their gardener plant flowers (Genji-san was such a nice man, too! He always let her put the flowers in the holes if she promised to be careful with their roots).

Thus, it was hard for her to believe that everyone – especially the girls, even though he was nearly as mean to them as he was to Hinata – was so taken by Uchiha Sasuke despite his mean temper and snippy words. It was like the world suddenly stopped making sense!

Meanwhile, poor Naruto suffered abuse at the hands of children and adults alike, all because of mean Sasuke. Hinata strongly felt that it should be the other way around.

Suddenly, Hinata felt a sharp yank on her hair, causing her head to snap back. A cruel voice started speaking loudly in her ear, causing her pain there, too. "You're going to get in trouble if you keep looking at the dobe like that."

Hinata rolled her eyes upward to find Sasuke looking down at her, an expression of extreme displeasure twisted on his face. "L-Let go!" Hinata begged, tugging her head forward.

Sasuke held her hair tight and continued speaking. His breath smelled like peppermint, but he wasn't chewing the gum any longer. "Stop looking at that dummy. Yoko-san told you to stay away from him."

"I'm just l-looking!" Hinata whimpered, reaching behind her head to grasp at the hands that were holding her hair prisoner.

"Well, stop it!" Sasuke commanded, jerking hard so that Hinata felt like her hair was about to be ripped out by the roots.

Hinata frowned at him rebelliously. "I d-don't have t-to!"

Sasuke's eyes narrowed. "What's so great about that dobe, anyway? He's a pathetic loser – everyone thinks so!"

"He is n-not a pathetic loser!" Hinata cried, almost without stuttering. She had never managed that in front of Sasuke before. "He's r-really nice and s-sweet! He said I was c-cool!"

With a sudden burst of ferocious anger, Sasuke thrust Hinata forward so that she fell face-first into the dirt. He spat angrily at her as his shadow grew longer and disappeared. "Fine! Look at the dobe for all I care! You'll regret it anyway!"

He was gone! Hinata, sore but triumphant that she'd managed to stick up to Sasuke on hers and Naruto's behalf, pushed herself up from the ground tenderly. She was smiling, pleased that she'd managed to uphold her Hyuuga pride against Sasuke's meanness.

Other than being a little scratched on the palms and sore on her scalp, Hinata felt pretty good. She looked at her hands and, feeling so good about her self that she didn't even want to cry about the tiny amount of blood oozing from her wounds, wiped them semi-clean on the front of her Academy-issued shirt.

She reached back to feel the tender skin on the back of her head, touching the place where Sasuke had pulled gingerly with her fingertips. She felt around for any indication of blood and – surprisingly – felt something wet right beneath the natural bump in her skull. It was thick and sticky, not at all like the blood on her palms.

She grabbed a piece of it and pulled, feeling it come away from the bulk in thin, spidery strings of goo. Hinata brought the substance up to her face and, feeling suddenly cold and numb, realized that Sasuke had put his used gum in her hair!

At a similar loss to what she had felt the day before, Hinata collapsed in tears at the ruined hair that her father had fondly stroked in reassurance.

Hinata hated school!

Authors Notes: Nobody get their hopes up and put it on their story alert list; it's JUST A ONESHOT! (I swear this time.)

Wow, it took me almost four straight hours to write this...Maybe just because it's so long? This is the length I usually prefer to write my chapters/OneShots, btw; if I felt confident about being able to post on a regular basis, all of the installments for "Speak Up" would probably be at least this long, too. Not that I leave anything out of "Speak Up," mind you, I just confine myself to one POV per chapter and allow each event to stretch out through multiple postings is all.

Anyway...I was talking to juliagulia1017 yesterday about fic ideas and this one kind of worked itself out in my head. I even added the little detail about Sasuke liking to pull Hinata's hair that my co-conspirator suggested (aren't you proud of me, Jules?). Though I originally set out to dispel the unfounded rumor amongst the girls of Naruto that Sasuke likes long hair, I at least got to give my version of why Hinata had short hair all throughout school. It just doesn't make sense to me that she'd go from such a short style to long during the timeskip...I think this story gives a good theory about it, though. She could've let it grow long to show that she became a stronger person, or simply because there was no more Sasuke around to pull on it any longer...

Oh, and someone pat me on the back for leaving the pairing up in the air for once. I've never done that before, so I'm fairly pleased with myself n.n

I'll wrap this AN up here and let you tell me what you think of it. Read and Review, please!

Un-beta'd. What else?

. ( . Ms Videl Son . ) .

Love can be black and white. SasuHina.