Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto and its characters.

A/N: Alright! Next chapter is up! Whoot!

Jin: Sorry it took so long! No point in giving out an excuse…She was just lazy.



Out in the Open

"Why did you kill him?"

"He deserved it."

"Who are you to decide whether a person should live or die?"

"Who are you to think that you have the right to cage me?"

"…Did you know it would hurt her?"

"He didn't deserve her."

"Did you know that she loved him like a brother?"

"He didn't deserve her."

"She was in pain."

"He didn't deserve her!"

"She loved him."


"She loved him!"

"Let me tell you something: she's mine."

"Hinata is not some sort of property. You don't 'own' her."

"Does it look like I care what you think?"

"Kiba, what you did was wrong."

"According to you."


"According to you, what I did was wrong."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Stop comparing me to your standards. You think that killing him was bad, but I honestly think that I did the world a favor."

"You took away his life."

"Think of it this way: now he's in Heaven where he won't suffer."

"You can't just go around killing people you don't like! It's not ethical!"

"So first I'm crazy, now I'm not ethical. See, that's what I hate about you people; you think you know everything."

"I never said that."

"You didn't have to; it shows on your face, and the fact that I'm in here proves it."

"You're not in here because we think you're dumb, Kiba."

"No, I'm in here because stupid, stuck-up people like you think I'm insane because I like animals. So I don't have human friends; so I prefer animal company; is that a crime? Did I do something illegal?"

"Of course not, it's just that…"

"Just what?—I'm not normal?"

"You're unstable."

"Unstable? Well, let me tell you something, Doctor Haruno; not everyone is the same. People are different, and I just happen to like animals better than humans."

"It's not just that; you're in need of anger management; and you seem to be unhealthily fixated on Hinata."

"I get angry just like everyone else, and Hinata has nothing to do with this."

"It's not good to be so possessive of her to the point of murdering someone else."

"Don't talk like you know me."

"You're mentally ill, but I can help you, only if you l—"

"I'm not crazy!"

"Kabuki; favorite pastime?"

"Going to school,"

"Tch. Nerd."

"I-I thought it wasn't half bad!"

The insult was repeated. "Nerd."

"M-moving along, what did you eat f-for dessert back home?"

"Crackers," He didn't like sweets. "What do you eat for desert?"

"I've a-always been fond of ice c-cream. What c-color do you hate the most?"

"Gray; what's your favorite color?"

"Pink; what's y-your favorite childhood show?"


Then, "…The Power Rangers…"

Hinata couldn't hold in her laughter; she found it too funny. Sasuke? Watching Power Rangers? That mental image just made her day!

Sasuke rolled his eyes, grunting, "You're not one to laugh; yours is the Teletubbies."

Hinata smiled, feeling much better than before. They had been asking each other questions for a good hour; she had learned so much about Sasuke. There were so many things that she didn't know about him, and everything he told her was so unexpected; she was also grateful that he was being so truthful. The purple-haired woman was quite glad that she had tried to be his friend—and succeeded—otherwise she wouldn't have broken through his first layer of ice.

"I always w-watched it with H-Hanabi; she's studying in A-America, though, so w-we don't see each other m-much."

"What type of music do you like?" Sasuke continued. He knew that the topic about her sister was a tough one; he had found out when he asked her if she had any siblings. Of course, both were sharing information with each other, but they weren't so close that Hinata or Sasuke would share personal information. They still had a few things they wanted to keep to themselves; the only way to find out what was untouchable was to keep playing the Thousand Questions Game.

"I-I listen to western music," she answered. "M-mostly alternative rock; you?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "I don't listen to much music."

"I see." She nodded thoughtfully. "When you were a k-kid, what did you d-dream of becoming?"

He didn't answer; instead, Sasuke asked, "Who's your best friend?"

A light bulb in Hinata clicked; it was one of those questions—a delicate topic. Instead of apologizing like she normally would, Hinata just continued the conversation by answering his inquiry. "I love all of my f-friends, but if I h-had to pick, I'd c-choose Shino."

Sasuke became tense at her reply; he remembered how she had cried so much that her tear ducts were probably dried up. To him, it was very awkward when someone sobbed; he couldn't do anything because he wasn't one to be touchy-feely, so all he could do was just sit there and hope for the bawls to end. If Hinata started crying, she'd probably be taken out of his good book and placed into the book labeled, "People to Avoid and Ignore At All Costs,"—like that smelly doctor.

But Hinata did not cry; she only beamed sadly, quietly laughing at something she thought was funny. Noticing his gaze, she quickly erased the memory, explaining, "It's o-okay; I-I think I'm starting to let him go, s-slowly but s-surely."

Sasuke said nothing, nor did he nod; he could only think about the late doctor whom she was so fond of. He wondered why this "Shino" person was so special to her; was Shino her savior, or someone like a big brother to her? He only pondered on it; however, he did not voice his thoughts aloud. Just like him, she probably didn't like to dwell on the death of loved ones, though she seemed to be coping quite well with Shino's death. Sasuke, on the other hand, could not let his mother go; his hands clenched into fists, and his jaw tightened.

Hinata noticed the sudden change in his demeanor, but she said nothing about it; instead, she glanced down at her watch and suddenly realized the time.

"Oh, lunch is s-starting," she announced, standing up and heading for the door; she glanced back at him, wondering why he wasn't following. The hard edge to his eyes never left, but he managed to give her an "isn't-it-obvious" look; she didn't respond, not knowing why it was so obvious.

"I can't go out."

She simply smiled at him; Sasuke felt a tad uncomfortable at her beam. No one had given him a genuine smile in so long; whenever his grandparents grinned, it was only to butter him up and get him to do greater things so that he would bring even more fame to the Uchiha name.

"Well, after o-our talk," Hinata started, unlocking the door and pulling it open. "I'd say you're p-pretty stable. A-anyways, it's hot in here isn't it, and you haven't e-even met the other p-patients." She waited by the door, watching him carefully as he thought of the possible options; he could stay and rot, or he could he go out and stretch his limbs. Obviously, the latter option sounded much better to Sasuke.

Slowly, he stood up and cautiously exited the room, as if he was afraid that it was some sort of trick and he would end up being tackled to the ground and deeply sedated. But he couldn't help his suspicions; the people he had grown up around were not very trustful; either they were jealous of him or they though he was absolutely crazy.

As Hinata closed and locked the door, Sasuke looked around the nearly empty halls; there were a few nurses here and there, but besides them, the corridors were very quiet and vacant. No one jumped at him, and he did not feel a needle being forcibly shoved into his body; Sasuke allowed himself to relax.

"This way," Hinata whispered, though there was no real need to. It was strange for everything to be so quiet, so she felt as though it'd be strange to talk so loud.

Sasuke followed the short doctor as she rounded a few corners. He inwardly scowled; it was so hushed in the corridors. There was no laughter, no screaming, no yells, no creaks or the sounds of a television; it was too peaceful. Purposely, he started walking very loudly, stomping his feet down on the tiled floor in an effort to create some sort of noise to calm his uneasy nerves.

Hinata glanced at the patient behind her, stamping against the ground as if he was Godzilla; he looked very idiotic doing it; his legs were murdering the poor tiles, and he had on a stoic face. She couldn't help but smile at his antics, though she said nor did nothing to stop him; he did mention something about not liking quiet places in their talk.

Finally, the two arrived at the cafeteria; she pushed through the large double doors, and immediately, thunderous conversations exploded right in front of them, enveloping Sasuke and Hinata in a boisterous bubble. Sasuke had to bite down on his lip to keep from sighing in relief out loud. At long last, there was noise, loud, obnoxious noise; he couldn't even hear his heart rate slow down, and that was exactly how he liked it.

The commons was very big, bigger than the one in the last institution at least. There were a few guards and doctors, but not many; he could've sworn that there would've been at least twenty total to keep the patients in place.

The Hyuuga turned back and motioned him to tag along; she took him to a long table—like the ones in school cafeterias to seat students for lunch—that had every seat filled. Near the middle was a raucous blonde, standing on the table and wearing what seemed to be a doctor's coat; it was two sizes too big for him, and he was dancing and making faces and saying disturbing yet amusing comments to his audience, resulting in eruptions of laughter. For some strange reason, his chest was bulging outwards, though Sasuke was sure that the blonde was a male…

Once they reached the table, an orange fell out from under his shirt, causing more bursts of chortles as people yelled obscene phrases at him. So, he wasn't a woman; he was just a male who liked to stuff his shirt to make it look like he had a couple of things he wasn't supposed to have…

Someone picked up the fruit and threw it at him; he caught it with ease and stuck it back up his shirt.

"Does this coat make my butt look big?" The blonde girl/boy—hermaphrodite?—patient stuck out their butt and slapped it, using a very high voice that did not seem normal. The action made more people cackle in entertainment; some faces turned red and blue from not enough air, and a few people actually fell off their chair and choked on their food. Wolf whistles echoed throughout the room.

The blonde jumped down from the table when he realized the presence of the two new arrivals; grinning, he placed one hand against his head in a salute, and the other one he kept underneath the two bumps on his chest to keep them from falling.

"Good afternoon, Naruto," Hinata smiled at him, stifling a giggle that threatened to squirm its way out of her throat.

"Is this him I figured he'd be taller and less pale." the male-woman—Naruto—turned his bright blue eyes onto Sasuke; he had spoken so fast that Sasuke had barely caught his words. It was amazing that Hinata understood!

Hinata nodded in reply; she was finding it very hard to keep a straight face. "Yes, this is S-Sasuke Uchiha; please make him feel at home. He hasn't met a-any of the other patients, so could you introduce everyone f-for me?"

Naruto gave her two thumbs up; both oranges dropped and rolled away. There was a short silence before people, again, dropped to the floor, hooting and guffawing as if they weren't in an asylum, but rather, a party.

Before she left, Hinata placed a hand on Sasuke's shoulder; he turned his head slightly to glance at her as she gave a comforting squeeze, and then left for the exit. Sasuke could feel a small surge of panic rush through his body; if she left him, what was he supposed to do? He didn't know how to make friends, or talk to people his age and chat about their hobbies. What was he supposed to say? She was the expert, and he was still new; you don't put a new recruit onto the battlefield when they don't know the basics! Madness!

Abruptly, Naruto's arm draped around Sasuke's shoulder and the blonde pulled him close, grinning like a maniac. "Welcome to Konoha, brother!" he cheered, and the others in the room followed suit. The blonde dragged him to a table as the loud chats began once more. Sasuke sat down beside Naruto, feeling quite out of place.

"Meet the gang, Sasuke!" Naruto's words whizzed faster than the speed of light. "I'm Naruto Uzumaki," he greeted Sasuke, holding out his hand only to pull it back in slight confusion when Sasuke did not accept it. "You look pretty normal I wonder why you're stuck in here you don't look as crazy as some people in this place have you met Orochimaru yet that guy is the craziest of us all no one really likes him he's a gay pervert boy you're not very talkative are you?"

Naruto had lost him after "You."

"Calm down, Naruto," a male with strange markings on his face rolled his eyes, smirking at Sasuke as if there was something he knew that the newbie didn't. "You'll scare off the new guy; wouldn't want that to happen, now do we?"

"WHAT?!" the blonde shouted, jumping up and down in his seat. "That would never happen we just met and we're best buddies already he's practically my brother now and brothers never leave 'cause family sticks together!"

As the two strange people argued, Sasuke looked around and noticed that the wild laughter had calmed down and there was now just a drone in the air, the sound of too many conversations mashed together into one big sound. Occasionally, there would be a voice that would break it, louder than the rest, but then it would die down and return to the large mass.

He found it very peaceful.

"Oh right Sasuke here are some of your brothers you'll be seeing more often if you're able to get out of that cage you're stuck in."

"Call me Kankurou," the one with the weird facial markings said, holding out a hand for Sasuke to shake, but of course he didn't shake it.

"Hello, I'm Haku," Sasuke's attention turned to someone who sat diagonally from him. He couldn't tell if the person was a girl or a boy because of the person's long, brown hair. Well, it was also the face that threw him off; that dude/dudette…? That thing's face was very delicate, too; it had a boyish look to it, but then when he looked closely it was also very feminine. "By the way, I'm a boy."

There were more people to introduce, but they had been rudely interrupted by a furious voice.

"Hey, you punk."

Sasuke looked up at the unfamiliar and harsh sound among the happier ones surrounding him; the hair on the back of his neck rose and he narrowed his eyes in annoyance. The two had never met before, but there was just something about that one guy that made Sasuke pull up his guard.

"After what you did to me you have the audacity to come out here and eat amongst us?" the brunette snarled angrily, taking a step forward and raising a fist in fury and frustration.

Sasuke said nothing, nor did any emotion but apathy affect his face. He had seen that guy's type before: arrogant, hard-headed, reckless, and easy to annoy—Sasuke's favorite type to mess with.

"Hey, answer me, maggot!"

Kankurou frowned, leaning forward into his seat to get a better look at the angry brown-headed man. "Kiba, calm down; Sasuke's new here. Give him a break."

"Stay out of this, Kankurou!" the one called Kiba yelled, flicking the other man off. Then, he turned back to Sasuke, his face practically turning red with anger.

"You," he began. "I'll frickin murder you."

"Kiba!" Naruto stood up, his hands slamming against the table in rage. "That's no way to speak to your brother apologize right now!"

"No fu—" He couldn't finish his sentence, though, because his eyes flickered back to Sasuke and then stopped on his face. The once impassive eyes turned into a sharp death glare. Nobody seemed to notice though, and while Sasuke didn't say anything, Kiba could've sworn he heard a rough voice growl in his ear.

I'd like to see you try.

Kiba snarled at the challenge. "You better watch your back."

A/N: Yeah…that's it. Lol Hopefully the next chapter should be better. I think it's a little rushed soo yeah….

Oh and I apologize again. My writing mojo comes and goes and comes and goes hehe…yeah…

Jin: Review! NOW! Why? Because it helps.

No, seriously, it does.