This Story Is Dedicated To One Of My Best Friends In Real Life, Chaser Luminai.

Chapter 1- Umbrella

God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.

Unknown


Hinata's POV

I wouldn't stop looking at the clock, stealing glances at it every now and then, wishing for the second-hand to hit the twelve. Class didn't end for another seven minutes, but I already began to grow impatient. I wanted to go home, away from this place–

"Hyuuga-san!" A wooden ruler suddenly slapped my desk. Startled from the sharp noise, I faced forward only to see Mr. Mizuki towering over me and giving me his signature scowl. The corner of his mouth twisted at an odd angle - betraying irritation toward my inattentive behavior. It wasn't a pretty sight.

"How many times have I told you to pay attention? I won't tolerate any day-dreaming in my class." I feebly muttered an apology as Mr. Mizuki stalked back to the front of the classroom, continuing on with his lesson. Lowering my head, I picked up my pencil and started tracing some random doodles on my piece of paper, which was supposed to be full of notes.

The teacher didn't seem to like me, I miserably thought. For a girl who couldn't speak clearly, stuttering on every voiced syllable known to man, and stressing from the mere thought of social participation - I lacked in motivation.

"And you, Uchiha-san!" Another rap of the ruler and I as well as everyone else turned to witness this peculiar scene. A dark-haired student glared at the teacher in pure boredom, an open book present in his hands. Peering at the cover, I soon discovered it had nothing to do with this language class. "Even though this is Japanese class doesn't mean I will permit you to read a novel - specifically for your enjoyment, no less. I expect not only you, but the whole class to take notes while I give lectures."

The boy scoffed and closed his book. "Whatever."

"Address me properly!"

"Hai, sensei," he drawled, his Japanese fluent and clear, which earned Mr. Mizuki to smile smugly.

"Good..." The white locks of his semi-long hair swished around his face when he turned around, scrawling bits of his lecture on the chalk board for us students to copy. "'It is raining. There is no sun. Without sun, there is no light. When the sky rains, it is crying.' Can anyone translate this piece in Japanese?"

I checked to make sure the teacher was fully preoccupied on the lesson before I snuck a peek at my classmate, the dark-haired male who sat a few seats away from me. Currently, he had his chin propped on the palm of his hand, watching Mr. Mizuki's every movement with disinterest.

Hmm... Maybe I should busy myself studying him. This boy, Sasuke, who's a wonder to me.

His unique long bangs draped over his slender cheeks, framing his half-asleep expression rather elegantly. Half-lidded dark eyes, a faint frown, and then he hid a yawn behind the back of his hand.

I inaudibly giggled at the lazy posture he seemed to portray.

Sasuke raised a hand, brushing it through his jet black spiky hair, before letting it drop back down. He leaned his whole body sloppily over the desk, on the verge of falling asleep.

I mused that Sasuke's skinny compared to most guys who had muscle. Come to think of it, I almost confused him for a short-haired girl once. However, I quickly erased the thought when observing him next to the everyday girl. Females were usually chatty, preppy, with their faces looking lively. When he preferred to act silent and emotionless, which was most of the time, his masculinity tended to show.

His clothes were a dead give-away, too. Many of his attires consisted of baggy clothing (not too baggy to the point of ridiculousness), with cool and mature colors, and black-white vans. Never over-the-top with his looks, that guy. Honestly, I thought he looked handsome enough - the casual style suited him.

Sasuke's also fairly tall, being around five-foot ten or eleven while I came short as five four.

I didn't see what's so attractive about him from what most girls have said. There had to be something more to him than just looks. From what I could see, he's an aloof individual. Not completely a rarity, but still different...

I sighed inwardly. There had been moments when I wondered what type of person he really was all around. Sasuke didn't do much at school. Only studied, walked around the campus, and... I saw him nap a lot.

He wasted his time being by himself and so many wanted to be his friend, several girls wanting him to be more. But me? Not many people found me interesting or special. So who would want to be my friend?

Nobody wanted to be my friend, and he didn't want to be friends with anybody. It's one of those things...

Ah, yes - irony. That's the word.

Sasuke glanced at me as if sensing my gaze.

Hastily, I broke eye contact and lowered my face to the desk. It was so rude of me to stare! I shouldn't stray from my father's words: You should never to stare at people because they might start to feel uncomfortable.

Rigidly, I waited for the harmonious sound of the bell to ring.

BBBBBBRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNGGGGGGG—

Everyone immediately shot out of their seats.

"When you return to school on Monday, be prepared to turn your homework in–." Nobody paid attention to the sound of their teacher's voice as they all grabbed their umbrellas off the rack on their way out.

I waited for most of the class to leave until I decided to get out of my seat, carrying my backpack along with me. When I reached the rack my eyes scanned among the umbrellas that were left, but I couldn't find my own. Suddenly, my ears picked up the sound of giggling not too far away.

Gulping hard, I mustered up any little courage I had remaining in my heart to acknowledge the bully of my life: Sakura.

With her strawberry blonde hair splayed over her shoulders and her lengthy bangs framing her flamboyant face, Sakura's emerald eyes stared me down with arrogant pride. And I fidgeted under her overpowering look.

She and her two girls sneered at me, the three of them leaning against the wall with poised haughtiness. Glancing at them, I noticed my purple umbrella poorly hidden behind the red-head's back - her name being Tayuya.

I frowned, feeling hapless.

This had been happening often as of late. For the third time this month, I zipped my lips shut from snitching on Sakura and her girls. Because if I did tell any of the teachers that they stole my umbrella, they would only lie and deny it, then would no doubt come back to pick on me.

I felt pathetic.

"What are you looking at, Hyuuga?" Sakura noticed my staring, and as such her glossy lips curved into a smirk, knowing exactly why I didn't speak up to take my umbrella back. Because I was too afraid.

Frowning deeply, I hurriedly walked passed them. They chortled from my cowardly retreat. "She's such a dumbo."

Failing to notice who stood outside the doorway, I collided into him/her.

"Watch it." The person I bumped into had grasped my arm, preventing me from losing my balance.

"...s-sorry..." Standing upright, I meekly raised my eyes to find Sasuke Uchiha regarding me with a hard stare. Well... at least it wasn't hostile.

He merely scoffed and surprisingly, released my arm. "It was nothing."

I dearly hoped I haven't offended him. Nervously clearing my throat, I locked my lavender eyes with his own deep colored ones, a little intimidated of the intensity. Sasuke opened his mouth, about to say something, but I beaten him to the punch.

"...t-thank you–."

"Oooh, Sasuke!" Sakura's loud voice ripped through the air and pierced my eardrums, causing me to flinch from the volume. "Found you." She suddenly appeared by Sasuke's side, beaming at him and shimmering in adoration at his presence. However, when she noticed me, they dimmed in detest.

"Oh, it's you. What are you still doing here? The day is already over."

"I-I w-was al–."

"What do you want now, Sakura?" Sasuke asked brusquely, cutting me off. Then, Sakura smiled brilliantly, pleased of his diverted attention set on her and she proceeded to ignore my presence entirely.

"You don't have to hang around this twit. Why don't you come to my house today?"

Attempting to impress him, she flicked her hair attractively and eyed Sasuke with keen interest. An obvious hint, which said she harbored a serious attraction toward him.

"No," he spat.

"Are you busy?"

"None of your business." Sasuke attempted to speak to me again, but Sakura pinched his cheek flirtatiously to grab his attention. All it succeeded in was frusterating him.

"C'mon. There must be something you like to do." His eyebrow twitched visibly and he slapped her hand away. It's Sasuke's daily hindrance, trying to get rid of this particular girl. Emphasis on trying.

"Doesn't matter. I usually stay at home."

"So, what do you do at home without me and Kiba nowadays? It's pretty lonely, huh."

His scowl deepened sourly, obviously exasperated from her constant pestering. But, I received the impression there's something very personal about her question and it affected Sasuke more than it should've. "Are you asking to get hurt? Because if you aren't, then shut it."

His deep voice, so threatening - I would hate to cross Sasuke on his worst day. It wouldn't surprise me if he liked to hurt people on a day-to-day basis. But, I shouldn't pair him with Sakura as one and same just because she does it.

Unfazed of Sasuke's hostile remark, her grin widened, seemingly pleased of the reaction she evoked from him. "I know you like to act rough and everything, but you're overdoing yourself this time, Sasuke." The girlish giggles, which followed afterwards came off a little high-pitched.

"There're a lot of things you don't know about me, Sakura." Sasuke strained a smirk, no doubt wanting to terminate the girl right on the spot.

Seeing as I was no longer needed, I slipped away unnoticed. Sighing dejectedly, I started making my way out of this corridor. How should I explain to my father about my stolen umbrella this time? I never exactly told him about my bullying problems at school, afraid that he might come here to complain. If Sakura got wind of it, she would be the instigator of trouble and I didn't want that at all.

Sakura's very popular with her strong beauty and demanding authority. Someone I could possibly never be.

I was a loner, someone who preferred spending time alone, eating lunch at a secluded place, not wanting to hang around anyone.

Sasuke Uchiha was the same, except forthright in manner and an arrogance undaunted by many insults imaginable.

It's like the two of us came from entirely different planets. I should stop thinking about it, to spare my poor self-esteem from falling any lower.

Soon arriving outside, I stood below the roof, which blocked out the force of the pelting rain.

Now came the dilemma of my day. The harsh weather combined with my missing (stolen) umbrella... Did I forget to mention my house was a long ways away? Like a fifty minute walk...

Indecisively, I twiddled with a strand of my hair. It's clearly not wise to walk out in this pouring weather by myself, having done it few times before, which rewarded me with terrible fevers that lasted a couple weeks. But there really wasn't any other way, since I couldn't drive, yet.

While I stood immobile at my spot in serious thought, many students walked pass me with umbrellas open, which shielded them from the pouring rain.

"Have you seen that latest episode...?"

"No, but I hear they'll repeat it later–."

"Hey, wait up!"

"Hurry up, before we'll leave ya!" Kids walked with friends and others... talking and laughing...

My heart heavily thumped in sorrow, but I mentally shook my head to clear my thoughts. Need to focus on what's in front of me.

There's no other way to go back home, but through the pouring, freezing, falling rain...

I breathed in deep and just, let it out. C'mon, Hinata. You could do this. It's just an hour walk.

Then, I cried mentally. It sounded so much easier when said.

"Are you gonna move or what?"

I literally jumped, swerving around to find Sasuke behind me. The black umbrella he held in his hand seemed like it was mocking me.

"Y-yeah," I muttered, nervously clenching the strap of my backback, "B-but, I... um..." Should I tell him about my situation with my missing umbrella? But, I really didn't feel like putting up with pity for the day. "I-I've got t-to go." Before I could turn around and bolt into the rain, the steely grip on my shoulder stopped me.

"You'd be stupid to walk out in this rain." My body froze from his stern statement. "You want to commit suicide?" No, I didn't, but you're scaring me more than the rain itself. "...I'll walk you home." His offer sounded more like a demand than anything else. And it sounded so tempting... but I disliked inconveniencing people to help me. Turning around to face him, I shook my head in decline.

"I-I don't w-want to bother y-you. I-I-I can g-go h-home on my own!" I squeaked that long decline. From the look on his face, it didn't appear he'd take no for an answer. And also, Sasuke seemed kind of vexed from my discomfort.

"Look. It bothers me to watch someone like you walk home in the drenching rain. Do you take me as a heartless guy?" I vigorously shook my head, so as not to anger him. Because honestly, Sasuke did look the part to be heartless, but...

Hidden beneath the stern and callous words streaming out of his mouth, what took me by surprise was the kindness he gave. You wouldn't be able to tell, because it was very subtle. I thought of him as a person who particularly didn't care about anything.

Not that I was unconfident to push him away, but...

He sounded as if he cared.

"B-but–!"

He twitched. "No buts. Just know, I'm only walking you home, because I felt like it." Sasuke shrugged, and then he glanced away. "It didn't sound like a boring idea either." I nervously twiddled with my hands, staring downcast at the wet cement all the while inquiring why he would want to walk me home in the first place.

I felt unworthy.

"Let's go." Before I could respond, his hand touched my back, encouraging me to walk forward.

As I did so, he fell into step beside me, his umbrella not only raised to protect one, but two individuals from the chilly rain. I couldn't really argue with him, anyway. I might as well just get this over with.

Once we exited the school gates, I pointed down the street left of our school.

He nodded, and silence engulfed us for the next fifteen minutes. I already began to feel uncomfortable, because I thought it rude of me not to say anything. How about mentioning something we both knew - like school?

"...what d-did you think o-of Japanese class t-today?"

"Annoying." Confused of his blunt one-worded reply, I asked why.

"The teacher talks too much. Reading a book is way more preferable than his voice of a thousand mosquitoes." What he said was indeed true, and I admittedly found Mr. Mizuki intolerable sometimes too, but...

Stealing a glance at my umbrella partner, Sasuke had his attention fixated on the sidewalk in front of us - his sharp eyes narrowed and forming a glare to clearly express his irritation.

"Wish I could squash him like a pest..." Sasuke trailed off when he heard my laughter, which I tried to stifle behind one of my hands. "You find that funny?" I hastily hushed my string of laughter, afraid that I might have offended him, but when I looked up his mouth had quirked into a smirk.

I gulped silently, nodding. "...y-yes."

The way he said it, scowling from the mere thought of the teacher... was just too funny. I slightly giggled from remembering his expression. That's so like Sasuke, to react like that after the way Mr. Mizuki treated him earlier.

"What do you think then?"

All giggling ceased. "M-me?"

"Yeah, tell me what you don't like about him." Strange. The usual quiet Sasuke keeping up the flow of conversation, let alone joke along with me...?

"...um... uh... h-he's a... pathetic ex-excuse for a te-teacher?" He lifted an eybrow, quite unimpressed.

"Is that all?" I hastily searched my brain for another comment. Though I had to admit insulting people wasn't my forte.

"...he d-doesn't d-do corporal punishment r-right."

"Hn. That's better." I blushed from befuddlement. He... complimented me? Nobody at school had done that for me.

"Your skin is so pale. You look sick."

"You're weak, Hyuuga.

"You suck at any sport you play."

People decided to pick on me, because of the weird way I looked and how I acted like a doormat to all of their insults. Only two people ever gave me words of kindness and... No. They're too far away now.

"...we take the third turn, right?"

"Oh..." Sasuke snapped me out of my depressing thoughts. "Yes... a-and then we wa-walk straight pass th-three turns."

Once the silence returned to us, the awkwardness did, too. The 'pitt patt' noises of the rain beating against this umbrella uneased me.

Just by the thought of starting another conversation made me feel terribly nervous, and I hated the sound of my voice when it stuttered. Constantly reminded me how much of a strange person I portrayed.

"Someone stole your umbrella." Sasuke stated out of the blue, yet it succeeded to burn a hole in my mind. He glanced at me, studying my mental, self-inflicted torment. "You know who did it." Because I knew who did it and I wasn't doing anything about it.

I let Sakura do whatever she wanted, bullying me and hindering me of my self-esteem. She's taking advantage of my submissive nature, and that's why my problems stayed the way they were. I did nothing to change them.

If only I had the dignity...

Sasuke eyed me without my notice, waiting for my response.

"I think... i-it's too much tr-trouble, getting i-it back..."

"Have you ever asked them?"

"She w-would pick on m-me more if I-I did."

I bet Sasuke's disappointed from the lack of desire in me to take things back with a fight. Who would actually like a pushover? A doormat? A loser?

"Yeah." I was unsurprised that he agreed. "I've seen Sakura at that nature with other people." My eyes widened in realization, a finger raised to my lip in shock. I wasn't the only one she bullied? "I can tell what you are thinking."

"W-what?" The whole time, I had mainly avoided eye contact. I thought it would be best if I did, for I would lose composure so easily under pressure. The moment I inquired him, though, it was a mistake.

I lifted my eyes only to be caught in his own. Sasuke's onyx eyes were so intense, and intimidating; I would've immediately turned my eyes away from a gaze like his. However, I found myself incapable of doing that.

"You put yourself below all others because you think that's what you deserve and since nobody has helped you up on your feet before, you feel inferior towards friendly interaction."

What he said stabbed my heart, because they were all true.

"And the sad thing is, you're used to it."

In spite of all this, his eyes expressed firm intention, strangely reassuring me to know he hadn't meant to bring down me down in the first place. I convinced myself the reason why most people would turn away from the truth was because they were scared of honesty and personally, I thought of Sasuke as a person who was brutally honest.

"Don't think you're the only one who suffers. Trust me, you'll feel a lot better that way." How could he say that? It's like saying you don't care about what happens to other people.

"T-to feel b-better knowing others de-deserve to f-feel pain?"

"No. To feel better you're not alone in it." My face tinted pink from his honest-to-goodness answer that resolved this argument. Sasuke's eyes were no longer intense, but sincere.

Such strong conviction and no hesitation to hold him back–

Sasuke had moved my heart.

"We're almost to your house."

Feeling embarrassed that I had stared, I quickly averted my attention down at the ground, watching my feet take step after step over the other.

I nodded afterwards to indicate I heard him. "After th-this street, i-it's the fifth house on t-the le-left."

"Hn. Thank you for the very specific directions." I could hear the amusement in his deep voice, surprisingly lightening the mood. "A navigator might be a good job for you." At least Sasuke possessed humor. The kind of subtle humor I liked.

When he walked with me up to the door, I dipped my head to express my thanks.

"S-sorry if I-I bothered you a-at all."

"I didn't mind." Sasuke shrugged, lowering his umbrella to shake most of the water off. I had to partially cover my face so as to avoid the flying water droplets. What courtesy... "But one word of advice."

When I looked up from behind my arms, he was smirking at me again. "Say 'thank you' more than 'sorry' and that will make you feel better, too."

I clenched my hands together for warmth, my cheeks red from the cold. "O-okay then. T-thank y-you." Next, Sasuke shifted around to glance at the rain, apparently in thought. The deep, placid expression on his face... it fascinated me for I never seen another person able to pull it off.

"Knowing this rain, it won't likely let up." He then turned back to me, and I noted his face returned to its impassiveness. "Whatever you do, don't get another umbrella. Sakura stole so many of yours that it's pointless to get an extra." He noticed? "It's obvious she won't stop causing you hell until she's satisfied."

Next, he looked away, muttering something under his breath. "The way I know her, Sakura's never satisfied..."

What was I supposed to do then? "B-but–!"

"So I'll just have to come here every morning to walk with you to school."

Wait a minute...

He's going out of his way to help me again? "I'll also walk you in the afternoons until you get it back."

I couldn't bring myself to accept something so charitable, it somehow didn't feel right. Yet... it felt nice to know someone went out of their way to care.

"I'll be seeing you." Without waiting for my response to all of these crazy happenings, Sasuke raised his umbrella and stepped out.

"Wait!" From my call, he paused to turn around.

I called out without thinking, and I immediately covered my mouth after I did. "I-I me-mean..."

Clearing my throat, I prepared myself to release the words itching to break out of my mind. However, it's a very hard thing to do, since I wasn't used to expressing my own opinion. I usually went along to what other people have told me.

"I-I d-don't want y-you to come b-back... if yo-your house i-is too far aw-away from m-m-mine!"

It was silent except for the sound of my heavy breathing and pouring rain. To say all that emotionally and physically... it wasn't easy at all, but now I regret what I said.

I sounded as if I didn't like him.

"Well," Sasuke started, his voice possessing less enthusiasm this time, "I take this same path to my house, which is only fifteen minutes away." I blinked. Oh... "It's not far at all." ...so that's it. Conveniently, we lived in the same neighborhood. Now, I felt ridiculous. "Like I said, I'll be coming Monday morning to walk you to school. That much I promise."

Sasuke finally stepped forward and walked away, his back retreating into the distance. I sighed, scratching my head absent-mindedly, before turning to enter my house. I didn't want him to think I don't like him at all. In fact, I thought Sasuke turned out to be a very interesting person.


Disclaimer: I want to say right now, first and foremost (since repeating in each chapter is tedious), Naruto and its characters are not mine. Nope, nadda.

Note: What gave root to this story in my head - the song Umbrella by Rihanna.

Personally, I prefer friendship over romance, and I thought a platonic relationship between my absolute favorite pairing would be a heart-warming tale all in itself.

Another Note: What inspired me to write this friendship fic – people (males and females alike) are taking love for granted. I want to enlighten you, my good readers, that there's a lot more to life than what we see.

Lol, I sound so wise and old-fashioned. XP