Chapter 1

Acceptance and Confidence

Fate's a funny thing. It can change by just one little instance. Sometimes it's for the best, maybe it's not. Though, it may seem inevitable, we have more control than you think.

I blinked my eyes open to see a butterfly fly out of my window. I smiled, realizing that it had landed on me, waking me up.

Even a simple butterfly can change destiny.

It was the two days before the graduation exam. I woke up a little nervous, I walked into the kitchen that morning expecting things to be the same as always. Though, something was different. No one was there. I wondered if something was wrong or if Hanabi had gone out training before me. I shuffled over to the table and found a note waiting for me.

'Gone out training


I set it back down and went to pantry and was about to grab the cereal, then I saw the pancake mix. I pondered it over in my mind and decided I could at least have a few.

I smiled as I walked toward the academy the day had started off very nicely.

"Oi! Hinata-chan!" I turned around to see Naruto grinning as he caught up to me.

"N-Naruto-kun! Ano, do you live nearby?" I asked, trying not to fidget.

"Yeah, I guess we're both a little late," he scratched the back of his head as we walked.

'I guess the pancakes did set me back a bit'

"So, you think you're gonna' pass the exams?" Naruto asked simply. I swallowed before I spoke the truth.

"N-No, I don't think I'll be good enough…" I mumbled. Naruto looked at me oddly.

"What're you talking about Hinata-chan? You're so smart I'm sure that you'll pass, easy!"

"Ah!" I squeak as I blush wildly at this compliment. "Eh…arigatou Naruto-kun!" I bow, using all my strength not to faint.

"Heh heh, you better do your best!" he grins. A few moments later we realize we have arrived. "Oh! See you later Hinata-chan!" he laughs as he runs to class.

"Naruto…kun," I close my eyes and smile, letting the bell break me out of my reverie.

When I reached the classroom I saw that most seats were taken, that is, except for the seat next to Sasuke.

This surprised me, usually there was a 'first come first serve' thing going on.

I looked and saw that most of the girls had ditched or something. I never did understand this. But now I am grateful that this occurrence happened.

It also happened that Ino and Sakura were late that day, so I took my chances and sat next to the cold Sasuke.

At first he didn't take notice of me at all. He glanced at me a few times, probably wondering about the absence of bombarding girls. I just fumbled my fingers and kept to myself.

That was me, staying in my comfort zone.

"Do you ever say something?"

His first words to me.

"Ano…I-I…" was my answer.

"Che…" he shook his head and looked forward again. I hung my head a bit. I hated myself when I couldn't stand on my own.

"Sakura!" I jumped when the Iruka-sensei shouted. I could have sworn Sasuke smirked a little. "Why are you so late young lady?"

"Um…Sorry sensei, I suppose I just overslept…" she mumbled. Iruka-sensei just sighed and began the days lesson.

Sakura passed me and gave me a death glare.

I had displeased another person.

Today we went outside and practiced in bouts. Luck was not with me as I got paired with Sakura.


She charged at me with a kunai. Though, her footing was off. Apparently she hadn't had a great morning.

"Ah!" I squealed as I tripped her. She fell on her face. The class erupted in giggles. She got up and growled. Charging at me again.

I could see behind her shoulders, I saw many faces staring at us.

One of them was Sasuke's. He was looking at me with interest. Almost like acceptance as an equal.

Something rose in my chest then, confidence perhaps? I wouldn't know, I rarely felt such things. Whatever it was I was able to punch Sakura in the chest and send her flying a foot or so.

Cheers and giggles erupted. I became frightened.

"Oh! Ano, I-I didn't…I mean I…Gomen!" I mumbled, panicking. Sakura just glared as our turn rang up. Iruka-sensei smiled at me, writing something down.

I didn't know it then, but he was placing us for teams.

The graduation exams came sooner than I expected. I stared down the whole way there, reminding myself to remain calm. Repeating Naruto-kun's kind words to myself. It relieved me a little.

It all fell away when I stepped into class.

'What was I thinking, Someone like me can't possibly pass! But I have to…or father-'

"Hey," Sasuke said, breaking me from my panic ride. "Stop panicking so much, it's pitiful." His words hurt me a little. "If you pass you pass, if you don't you don't, whatever happens it all depends on your strength."

Somehow those words calmed me down. All I had to do was depend on my own strength. I sat down in the back row and took deep breaths.

"Hyuuga, Hinata!" Mizuki-sensei called. I stood up and walked down the aisles. Whispers followed my steps. I should have known yesterdays victory wouldn't just go unnoticed. Mizuki and Iruka-sensei sat behind their desk.

"All you have to do is create three doppelgangers," they explained. I nodded and concentrated.


Four of myself stood by me.

"Oh! G-Gomen! Do I get p-p-points off for creating t-too many?" I fretted. Iruka just chuckled.

"Of course not, you pass with flying colors," he beamed. I might have puked from relief. It felt like all the pressure came off my shoulders at once.

"Congratulations son! You've made your father proud!"

"Tonight Ma's gonna' cook up a feast!"

"Great job, man!"

As the congratulations flew I fixed my eyes on Naruto. The boy had been scorned into a lonely swing set. Usually, I would have just felt affection for him from afar, but no, even if it was a little, my confidence had slightly grown. I approached him softly.

"N-Naruto-kun," I started with my usual stuttering, "I'm s-sure you tried your best," I stated. He looked up at me with a lingering hope.

"Sorry Hinata-chan, I just…gotta' be alone for a bit," he said this and left.

When I awoke the next morning with a stone of guilt in my stomach. I had passed, with an extra clone, and Naruto hardly made one. Was that wrong of me? I questioned this to myself on the way to the academy. On the way there, a young boy with dark hair arrived.

"Oh! S-Sasuke-kun!" I was a bit shocked. I hadn't seen him come this way ever. Or maybe he came earlier?

"I overslept a bit," he mumbled. That was odd. I hadn't imagined he could do something so careless.

So human.

"I heard you passed with an extra clone," he brought up abruptly. I took a sharp intake of breath. How had he found out? "You've also improved a little in class."

Was he trying to compliment me?

"If this continues I may have to face you in battle one day," he went on. "I won't ever lose to you, just so you know. You may have become less pathetic, but your still a weak needy girl in my eyes," he sharply pointed out.

Had he just come to cut me to ribbons?

The rest of the way was in silence. A surprise came when Naruto appeared next to an empty seat, my heart rejoiced as I took it, he grinned a bit at me. Sasuke was on the other side of me. Though he hurt me so, he had given me confidence the other day in the bout.

Such contradictions confuse me.

Sakura and Ino came bursting in a few minutes later.

"Hey! What're you doing next to my Sasuke-kun?!" Sakura pointed. I gulped, waiting for the punishment of my selfishness. "Just because you beat me once you think you can go ahead and sit next to Sasuke-kun?" she screeched, now next to my seat.

"Hey Sakura, lay off, what's so great about Sasuke anyway?" Naruto grunted. I looked at him, a bit stunned.

"Shut up Naruto! You couldn't even pass the test!" Sakura yelled. He shrank back and I became a bit disappointed. The rest of the girls shrouded around the area and I began to feel a little claustrophobic. Suddenly, Naruto sprang up in front of Sasuke.

"N-Naruto-kun!" I gasped, he had startled me. They both glared at each other with such passion.

"And so then you have to do it like so-!"


Naruto was accidentally pushed into Sasuke and their lips met.

I was in stunned silence.

"Naruto…" Sakura growled as Naruto sat back down. The fan girls gave him a little piece of their mind, which ended with Naruto in a pulp.

"Alright settle down class! It's time to pick the three-man squad members, each of these squads will have a Jonin leader," Iruka-sensei explained.

'Oh my, three-man squad? I hope I won't be a burden…'

The list went on and I heard no mention of my name.

"…Team 7, Uchiha Sasuke," Sasuke looked nonchalant as always.

"Uzumaki Naruto," Naruto sulked in his chair.

"…And Hyuga Hinata."