Hello faithful readers. I realize that every time I update I promise to release the new chapters faster, and every time I say that I honestly mean it at the time. However, things keep getting in the way. Trying to help a business start up and even getting caught up in trying to write and publish my own novel have taken my attention these last few months. But I have finally found time to write, and I am going to try my best to get the rest of the story written and completed.

I thank all of you who have been so patient with me.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. If I did, there wouldn't be quite as many flashbacks.

Chapter 5: Grand Tour

"What is it?" Asked Naruto.

Mizuki smiled sweetly. "Could you show me around the village?" She asked.

Hinata exhaled the breath she didn't know she was holding. Her heart raced a mile a minute, and all she could hear in her mind was a voice cheering "You still have a chance!" over and aover.

"Nani? What for?" Asked Naruto. He didn't mean to be rude, but he had plans. He still had to find the girl that was interested in him.

Mizuki twiddled her fingers together. "I'm new here, just got in today actually. And I've been feeling so totally lost. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind helping me learn more about this village."

Naruto thought for a moment about whether he would do it. His gaze shifted from Mizuki to Hinata. Her eyes were focused on Naruto, and she looked a little worried. Well, he reasoned, Mizuki is Hinata's friend. And if Hinata was friends with her, then she had to be a really good person. It would be mean to turn her down. Plus, for some reason, he didn't want Hinata to think he was a jerk. That thought didn't sit well with him.

He gave her a thumb up and smiled. "Sure. Just leave it to me, Uzumaki Naruto, future hokage."

Mizuki's eyes lit with excitement. "Thank you so much Naruto-kun, you have no idea what this means to me."

"And I'll help as well!" Chimed in Lee, giving his own thumbs up while swinging his arm around Naruto's shoulders. "The more the merrier!"

Hinata bowed. "Thank you, Naruto-kun."

"Don't worry about it." He replied, smiling. "Let's go guys. I'll start with the greatest place on Earth."

"And this is Ichiraku ramen. The greatest food establishment in the world!" Explained Naruto, holding the flaps up for his companions to slip in easily.

Teuchi chuckled from behind his counter as he polished a glass cup. "If it isn't Naruto. I figured you would show up sooner or later." He paused and grinned. "Don't think I'll give you a free meal for flattering me."

Naruto smiled. "Nah, I'll pay." He ushered his friends through the threshold and they each took a seat.

Mizuki looked around the small establishment with a surprising amount of enthusiasm. She was like a small child soaking up her environment, as if every nook and cranny was new and exciting. "I take it you're a regular here, Naruto?" She asked.

Naruto nodded. "You bet. I practically live off of this stuff." He replied, sitting himself in the open seat between Hinata and Mizuki. Rock Lee was seated to Mizuki's left, and it appeared he liked his spot.

"He's the reason I'm still in business." Joked the older man. "So what can I get you guys?"

"Miso pork." Said the chorus of Naruto and Hinata simultaneously.

The two shinobi blinked turned and blinked at each other. Hinata's cheeks flushed and she turned away awkwardly, choosing to stare down at the table before her. "Sorry." She murmured.

"What for?" Asked Naruto.

Teuchi just laughed. "No need to be shy here, missy." He said. He took Mizuki's and Lee's orders and turned to make them.

"What's wrong Hinata?" Repeated Naruto. He genuinely worried that he had done something to upset her.

Hinata muttered and apology again, unsure of what to say. Thankfully, Mizuki leaned forward to speak.

"She's probably embarrassed that she ordered the same thing you did at the same time." She offered.

Naruto blinked at her. "Is that a big deal?"

Mizuki nodded, folding her arms. "To a girl, it is."

Naruto glanced over to Lee to seek his opinion. The green shinobi simply shrugged. He had no idea either.

Naruto returned his attention to Hinata. "Hey, sorry if I offended you or something. I didn't mean to."

Hinata shyly shook her head. "You could never offend me, Naruto-kun." She replied softly. So softly, Naruto almost didn't catch it. She blushed again, "I mean, it was just a l-little startling, and it s-scared me a bit."

"Really?" He asked, clearly confused how that could have scared her. When she nodded, Naruto simply smiled and said, "Sorry for scaring you."

Hinata was about to reply, but Mizuki grabbed Naruto's arm and pulled his attention away, and began telling him about her hometown and her favorite foods. Whether she did it for Hinata or for herself, Hinata wasn't sure.

After the lunch at Ichiraku's, Naruto, Lee, and Hinata took turns showing Mizuki different parts of the village they each found interesting. Lee led her to several training grounds that provided the best workout areas. Hinata showed her the library and the civilian park where children played, while Naruto shared with her several places to catch a nap, and the academy of course.

Mizuki took an interest in where Naruto went to school to become a ninja, so she pleaded for him to take her there. Not wanting to tell her no, Naruto obliged. She cheered and wrapped her arms around his and let him lead her.

Hinata's chest tightened as she felt a shiver rush down her spine. She couldn't help feel a little uncomfortable with Mizuki's fascination with Naruto. They both liked the same boy, and it was nerve wracking to a person like Hinata.

There was a miniature war inside of Hinata's mind. One side wanted her to gather up her courage and ask Naruto to the dance, regardless of what Mizuki may think of that. However, the other voice told her repeatedly that that would not be the nice thing to do. Mizuki was her friend, and it would be mean if not hateful to do that in front of her. On the other hand, what if Hinata waited too long and missed her opportunity? She couldn't bear to think of what that would mean.

She was so lost in thought, she nearly stumbled into Naruto's back. The other's had stopped, and were staring ahead. Now that she was among the others, she could hear loud voices from in front of them. She came around Naruto and followed their gazes forward.

Hinata was surprised to see her sister arguing with another girl with brown hair pulled up into two bun ponytails. In between the two girls stood the Third Hokage's grandson, Konohamaru. He seemed terrified down to his core.

"It's going to be me, girl. I'm the only one suited for the role." Snapped Hanabi. Hinata had never seen her so flustered.

"What role? Why do you get to decide that? I asked him first!" Retorted the other girl.

Hanabi rolled her eyes. "You asked him just a few seconds before I had planned to ask him in some vain attempt to sabotage me."

Konohamaru tried to step forward. "Hanabi. Moegi. Do you think that-"

Both girls turned on him. "You stay out of this!" They roared.

Konohamaru stumbled backwards and nearly fell onto his bottom.

"Poor kid." Said Mizuki softly. Lee agreed with her quickly.

It was at that time Konohamaru finally noticed his audience. His eyes lit up in hope, and he rushed over towards them. "Naruto-nii!" He exclaimed.

"What's up, Konohamaru?" Asked Naruto, arms folded and a grin on his face. "Girl trouble?"

Konohamaru grabbed Naruto's sleeve desperately. "Please, you gotta help me! They're going to kill me!"

Mizuki tilted her head. "Do you two know each other?"

Naruto nodded, but it was Lee that spoke up. "They are friends. Konohamaru is the grandson of the late Third Hokage, and looks up to Naruto-kun greatly."

Mizuki's eyes lit up. "I didn't know you were good with kids." She said.

Hinata's heart skipped a beat, but Naruto apparently ignored that comment. "Looks like you have company." He commented.

Hanabi and Moegi came storming after they young boy. When they arrived, Konohamaru hid himself behind Naruto's leg.

Hanabi noticed Hinata standing there, and nearly fell over in embarrassment. She quickly corrected herself. "Sister, what are you doing here?" She asked.

Before Hinata could reply, Mizuki stepped forward, her curiosity mirroring a cat. "Sister?" She asked, looking from Hanabi to Hinata.

Hinata nodded. "Yes. Mizuki, this is my younger sister, Hyuuga Hanabi. Hanabi, this is Mizuki."

They both greeted each other, and Mizuki leaned over to Hinata and whispered, "You're sister is so adorable."

Hinata smiled.

Moegi introduced herself as well before both she and Hanabi were back to squabbling.

"What's going on?" Asked Naruto.

Hanabi's eyes flickered from Naruto to Hinata and back to the blond. "If you must know, this harlot is trying to steal my date for the dance."

"What?" Exclaimed Moegi. "I asked Konohamaru-kun to the dance first! That means I have the right to go with him if he says yes."

"What makes you think he'll say yes to you?" Demanded Hanabi. "I mean, he could go with a pure young lady such as me, why should he settle? And besides, I was just about to ask him when you did."

"Hanabi…." Began Hinata, but she was silenced by her sister's glare.

"Don't even try to lecture me, Sister." She snapped. "When you can't even muster up the courage to ask the boy you want to ask."

Hinata's cheeks flushed again, and Naruto and the others turned to look at her. Did Naruto look genuinely interested, or was that wishful thinking? Regardless, she turned her gaze to the ground.

"Then why don't you prove it!" Demanded Moegi.

"Excuse me?" Replied Hanabi.

"If he rejects me, then you can ask. Let's see who he really wants to go with."

Hanabi stared blankly at Moegi for a moment, and then nodded.

"I concede with your logic. We'll ask him to decide."

Naruto cleared his throat. "I don't think it's going to be that easy." He said.

Both girls spun to glare at him. "And why do you say that?" Asked Hanabi.

Naruto pointed backwards with his thumb. "Because he took off about five minutes ago."

The two girls looked down to find that Konohamaru was nowhere to be seen. It was like he had vanished into thin air.

Both girls stood stock still, annoyance and anger coursing through them. It was at that moment they shared a look, and nodded. A sort of partnership formed silently between them as they nodded. They excused themselves and began running past them.

"I'll find him with my byakkugan, and then he'll give us an answer." Said Hanabi as they vanished down the road.

The four shinobi stood in silence for a few moments as they watched the two girls vanish.

"Well…That was interesting." Said Mizuki.

"Poor Konohamaru." Said Lee, and Naruto agreed.

Lee tried without success to flirt around with Mizuki. It seemed as though she just was not interested in him.

Naruto felt sorry for his friend. He had it bad. It was obvious to everyone but Mizuki.

The tour continued until dusk began to creep in, and soon they came upon the area before the Hokage's office. The decorations were more together than earlier that day. Many large objects and monuments had been moved around. There were a few Suna monuments: A giant gourd, an even bigger hourglass, and others. There were no Amagakure yet, but those would probably show up in the following days.

A few workers were struggling to get a wide, large totem pole up that was stacked with various village symbols steady. It continued to sway, and from Naruto could tell, it wasn't very stable and it seemed very heavy. Hopefully they could get it up properly soon.

His mind kept retreating to earlier, at what Hanabi had said. Was she right, and Hinata was trying to ask someone to the dance? But she was too shy? Well, this is Hinata, he thought.

But for some reason, it irked him that there was some guy out there dense enough to not pick up that a sweet girl like her was interested in him. He should be tied up and hung by his toes.

Their conversation went from excitement to the dance only a few days away (which Hinata blushed again and seemed nervous about something) to what they loved about the village. Naruto proclaimed that he wanted to be Hokage, so he loved everything about the village. Lee loved the training, his friends, and the warm sun in the early morning workout.

When the question came to Hinata, she closed her eyes in thought and smiled.

For some reason, Naruto found himself starving for her answer.

"I love my village because of the people. My precious ones live here. I would do anything for everyone here. Even now, everyone tries their best for a peaceful coexistence with everyone, even though there have been plenty of hardships, we come together and grow stronger. I believe that there isn't anything we can't accomplish. That is why I love it here." She said.

Everyone stared at her, especially Naruto. It was a great answer. He was impressed.

Hinata blushed again, and Naruto was sure her head would explode one day because of all that blushing.

"Awww! Hinata-chan!" Exclaimed Mizuki, embracing Hinata in a hug. "That was beautiful. You really are the best!"

Hinata smiled and when Mizuki released her embrace, she bowed and excused herself to go and use a public restroom. Mizuki offered to go with her, but Hinata said she would just be a moment. She wanted to wash her hands before continuing. Mizuki looked like she wanted to argue, but gave up and smiled.

"Okay, but hurry up, okay?" She said.

Hinata nodded and turned to go.

As Naruto watched Hinata walk away, he wondered why she hadn't let Mizuki go with her. Didn't girls usually go to the bathroom together? Jiraiya had told him that it was only natural.

Naruto heard a snapping sound, followed by shouts from above. He looked up to see the large totem pole beginning to fall. The workers had been struggling to keep it up, and apparently their latest attempt had failed. It had gotten away from them, and was beginning to fall.

A chill running down his spine, Naruto looked forward to see the totem pole coming down, aiming for the exact spot Hinata was at. She had no clue what was happening.

"Hinata!" He yelled as loud as he could, practically frozen with fear.

It was going to squish her flat.

(Author Notes)

Next chapter should be coming in a week. I'll finish it this year. Yes, I know I keep saying that, but I tend to lose motivation when my notebook of ideas goes missing. Thankfully, I know what I want to happen, and I want to get this done before I start posting the Bonds of Time sequel.

What happens next? Stay tuned to find out.

I apologize for any mistakes. I'm very tired right now. I tend to write late at night, and it usually works, but I forgot one very crucial element this time; Caffeine.