Naruto had two goals by the end of his first week in the Academy – to be Hokage and to go out with Haruno Sakura.
Liking Sakura was easy – and safe. The smartest and prettiest girl in their year, she was unattainable: a Sasuke groupie, and someone who was none too fond of him (not that many were). It was easy to like the most talented and noticeable kunoichi in their year, and it was safe to say he liked and go after her, because nobody would begrudge him if he failed in his attempts.
It was similar to the office of the Hokage in that way. Really, who would expect the demon brat to become the most powerful ninja in Konoha? Likewise, who would expect the loudest, most annoying dead-last ever to nab Haruno Sakura?
But now one of his goals was a lot closer; the other was much father away, seeming more pointless and sopre-pubescent as the weeks, months, and years wore on.
As soon as he felt his feelings for Sakura begin to wane, Naruto had been seized by a sort of freeness he had never felt in all his days - or at least none he could remember. So getting Sakura was a bust. So what? There were other fish in the sea. What had started out as an innocent crush had slowly morphed into a burden he found he increasingly did not want to bear; now that he had let her go, there was a huge weight off his shoulders.
This semi-euphoric state hadn't lasted for long however. His first problem had come in the form of a question: Who?
Since he'd been stuck on Sakura, no one else had been able to grab his attention. Besides, he was pretty sure most of the girls he knew viewed him as an acquaintance, brother, or annoyance. In fact, he had been at Ichiraku pondering the answer to this very pressing question and was getting quite frustrated when Hinata had come along. They'd talked for an hour or so before she had to leave, and after it had taken him a few minutes to remember what he had been thinking about...
His second problem was this: any girl that didn't know him very well was likely to loathe him anyway, what with the prejudices passed down from their parents and other relatives. Naruto frowned. Stupid fox. He barely made out an amused snigger in the recesses of his mind.
He vaguely recalled a memory from a couple years back; Hinata had confessed her knowledge of Kyuubi to him, and told him that it didn't change the way she looked at him.
"Naruto-kun is Naruto-kun. I've always admired the way you persevere, despite the odds. The fact that I know this only means you've turned out the way you are with such a heavy burden, and you still don't break. I... I-I...respect you."
Back to more important matters. He just knew there was something connecting all this, a binding force that made sense of all his thoughts and feelings. The answer was probably right under his nose. Just my luck, he thought with a groan. The doorbell interrupted his thoughts. Rolling off the couch and onto the floor with a thud, Naruto quickly sprang to his feet, strode to the door, and swung it open. His face broke into a cheery grin.
"Hinata-chan! What brings you to my humble abode?"
...and I'll let the readers imagine the rest. Lawlz.