Title:Bittersweet Hot Chocolate
Disclaimer: If Masashi Kinomoto has enough time to sue me (and every other fanart/fiction artist/writer) for copyright infringement, then he isn't spending enough time on Naruto Shippuden. We can't have that, now can we?
Theme: Chocolate Kisses
Rating: G ( K ) – Nothing in this fic requires adult supervision, so feel free to let your parents read over your shoulder. You can even use it as cover when they catch you looking at all that porn I know you have minimized at the bottom of your screen.
Spoilers: How can I spoil AU?

Summary: TwoShot. Crossing his arms in front of his chest, Gaara called Hinata's attention to him. "Are you playing hard to get?" GaaHina.

Contest Entry Two. To enter yourself, please visit "DateMe" at the link provided in my profile.

Btw, we're now on ff. net under the same name.


Part One: First Impressions

The silence between them was more than awkward; it was positivelypainful. As the heiress of the Hyuuga Group, Hinata knew it was her duty to entertain her father's business friend's offspring, but few of them were as intimidating as the first and only son of the Sabaku Company. Every attempt at conversational balm stung, prompting Hinata to simply keep her mouth shut and suffer quietly.

He sat across from his host, brooding over his hot chocolate as if he were contemplating murder. Considering the look that Hinata was on the receiving end of, she hoped it wasn't her.

"Um...," Hinata began, taking another stab at conversation. With any luck, her fire-haired companion would decline to literally puncture her in response. "H-How was your trip?"

Sabaku Gaara kept his consistent glare fixated on her face from his side of the small coffeehouse table, but didn't answer.

Ouch.

The latest attempt braved, Hinata sunk back into the disturbing silence and diverted her gaze to the contents of her ceramic mug.

The Hyuuga Group heiress wasn't even sure why Gaara had agreed to an outing with her in the first place. Their fathers happened to be "friendly" in an economic sense, but there was hardly any pressure for him to pretend to like her. If anything, the distance between their homes promoted an acquaintance relationship only; when two people weren't forced to socialize often, Hinata was taught, it was simpler to exchange formalities only. Besides, it wasn't as if he seemed to particularly enjoy her company or conversation, so what was the point of it all?

Once the suggestion for a teenager-only excursion had been made by her father, however, Gaara had taken him up on the offer in a short, brash fashion. Hiashi, perhaps half-hoping for a special sort of business merger in the near future, had almost smiled at this and immediately called for the car to come and collect the mismatched pair.

The opportunity for polite refusal in the form of not wishing to take up "Sabaku-san's" time had come and gone faster than Hinata could blink. Less than thirty minutes later, she and Gaara were standing in line at a cafe that she had timidly suggested and ordering identical cups of hot chocolate with whipped cream and drizzled chocolate syrup on top.

Since sitting down at a two-person table next to the front window, the only words proffered to her by her stoic company had been, "Don't call me Sabaku-san." At the suggestion that she call him "Gaara-kun" instead, he made no protest so she was left to assume that this was his preferred title.

Other than that, a few topics had been broached by her, but he had neglected (or perhaps simply refused) to respond to any of them.

Men claimed that womenwere difficult to understand, but Hinata found Gaara more than a little confusing. How was she supposed to understand any of his intentions if he never said anything? Most girls, at least, held enough conversation to allow some insight into their psyches.

Hinata held her mug betwixt her sleeve-insulated palms, watching the chocolate-striped whipped cream melt into her steaming drink. As the last floes of sweet fluff were absorbed into the ocean of hot chocolate, she felt her inclination to even try stimulating conversation likewise dissolving. Gaara obviously didn't want to talk and Hinata didn't have the nerve to force him.

Raising the mug to her lips with both hands, Hinata blew the steam away with her breath before taking a tentative sip.

"Are you seeing anyone?"

The Hyuuga heiress sputtered into her hot chocolate, startled by the sudden interjection into her thoughts by the deep, soft timbre of Gaara's voice. In doing so, she accidentally inhaled a few droplets of her drink which lodged themselves in her windpipe.

Hinata set down her mug to better cough into her fist. Between gasps for air, she offered a consolidated answer; "Wh-What?"

Gaara, expression unchanged, repeated himself. "Are you seeing anyone?"

"N – ," cough, cough. "N-No."

"I'm not either," Gaara informed her, folding his arms across his chest.

He turned his head and began watching the light snowfall outside, ending the brief conversation as bafflingly as he had begun it. Fascinated as he seemed to be by the frozen flakes of lace, he didn't look her way again.

Staring at Gaara over the arm she held against her mouth, Hinata declared to herself that she simply didn't understand him.

— — —

Author's Notes: Part One of Two; continue on to the next chapter for Gaara's POV.

Btw, as far as I know, Gaara doesn't actually have a surname in the series, so I simply went with "Sabaku." ("Sabaku no Gaara" Gaara of the Dessert/Sand Waterfall)

Un-beta'd.

. ( . Ms Videl Son . ) .