AN: See the bottom of the Chapter.

Chapter 3: A Hero is Revealed

The young girl was watching the young boy with fascination. Here he was, failing over and over, and yet he refused to give up. Although his teacher didn't seem to offer any help, he also didn't seem mad at him. 'I wish Otou-san was like that...' She was so caught up in her thoughts that she almost didn't here the last thing the old man said.

"Hey Naruto! Would you mind running over there and getting some berries? I thought I saw some on a bush right behind that tree..."

'Oh no... He's pointing right at my tree!' Though she thought she should move she was too afraid too.

"Ok..." Naruto moved out from the water and started over to where Jiraiya had motioned. Naruto, being oblivious to the world, walked right by the young girl without noticing at first. It wasn't until he heard a soft "Eep!" from behind him by the tree that he noticed her.

Spinning around Naruto looked for the source of the sound. Standing there was a young girl, about his age he guessed, pressed up with her back against the tree. The thing he noticed first about her was her eyes. They had the softest color of lavender to them he had ever seen. Next he noticed her short, beautiful, dark blue hair. 'Wow, she's pretty just like Kaa-san!' "My names Uzumaki Naruto. What's yours?"

"Umm..." She felt like she was about ready to pass out or faint. "My n-name is H-Hyuuga H-Hinata... I-its ni-nice to m-meet you."

Naruto noticed that her face was starting to redden slightly and she had started pushing her index fingers together. "Hey, you ok? Your face looks kinda red." Naruto was worried. This one of the few people he had ever meant around his age. He hoped she wasn't sick.

Hinata gulped a little. 'Did he just ask me if I'm ok? Why isn't he mad I was spying on him?' Hinata was now very confused. Everyone she had ever meant since her mom died seemed to either hate her, dislike her, or be overly respectful just because she was a Hyuuga. This boy though was being very... Nice. "I-I'm ok... Aren't y-you m-mad at m-me?"

Naruto cocked his head slightly with the last comment. "Why would I be mad at you?"

"Well... I-I w-was watching y-you earlier... I-I thought you mi-might be mad..." Hinata was very nervous. She really hoped the boy wouldn't get mad.

Naruto just shrugged as he walked over to Hinata. "Nah. I'm not mad. Why would it bother me that you were watching me." He stepped up in front of Hinata. "Come on, I'll introduce you to my sensei!" Taking Hinata's hand (which caused another eep from the girl) he pulled her out from behind the tree and over towards Jiraiya.

Jiraiya watched as he dragged the girl over. The girl seemed really nervous and was growing very red. Then he noticed her eye's. 'A Hyuuga? Here? Crap... I hope this person isn't one of Hiashi's daughters. Did he know what they were going to name him?' "Why hi there young miss. What are you doing way out here in the woods?"

Hinata didn't know what to do. She wasn't supposed to wonder off the road but had thought she heard something. Her father would not be happy with her. Then again, when was he ever. With that thought Hinata started to feel sad. She felt that way a lot since her father had started to change. "I j-just wondered off t-the r-r-road. I t-think I should p-probably b-be getting back now..." She wanted to turn to leave but Naruto still had her hand in his and didn't seem to want to let go.

"Hey, I'll walk with you back to the road! I don't meet new people often and think you're kinda nice." Naruto was happy. He had just met someone new and they seemed very nice, if a bit odd. 'I wonder why her face turned red like that?'

Jiraiya on the other hand wasn't sure what to do. He knew he wouldn't be able to stop Naruto from walking with her, but maybe he could go with them and at least make sure he wasn't recognized. It didn't take long for the three of them to make there way back to the road and the inn that the Hyuuga's where staying at. 'Good, at this rate maybe we won't run into any more Hyuuga's... Crap, never mind.' Just then an older Hyuuga male exited the inn. He had a very stern looking face. 'He doesn't have a seal on his head...'

"Hinata. What are you doing? Where did you go?" asked the man.

"Sorry O-Otou-san... I w-wondered o-off into the w-woods... I found t-these t-two training in a small c-clearing by a stream." stuttered out the young girl.

It was then that the Hyuuga male took a good look at the young boy and older man before him. The boy had on black ninja sandals, a pair of plain black pants with an orange strip down the sides, and an orange shirt and coat. The eyes and hair though caught his eye. 'That boy... He looks so much like... And that is Jiraiya, I'm sure. It might have been a few years but I would know him anywhere.' "Hello Jiraiya-san, it has been a long time." He gave a slight bow with his head then continued, "I didn't know that you had taken a new student. He seems young to."

"Yes, I've been very busy and all, especially with my books and all..." Jiraiya suddenly had a look on his face that Naruto's kaa-san had warned him about. "Am I right to presume you are Hiashi-san then? Head of the Hyuuga clan and this is your eldest daughter?"

"You would be right Jiraiya-san. And who pray tell is your new student." It hurt him to see the kid. He looked like Minato... Minato, then his brother, and lastly his wife a few years ago, all gone. Hiashi had no one left that he called a friend.

Jiraiya was starting to sweet on the inside now. 'What do I say? If I lie he will know... Damn Hyuuga's and being able to read people. I guess I can only hope he doesn't recognize the name.' "His name is Uzumaki Naruto."

Hiashi eyed the student slowly. "Such an interesting name... Please Jiraiya-san, may I inquire as to who the boys parents are?" Hiashi had a sneaking suspicion as to who they might be but he had to be sure.

'Not good... He's figured it out... At least, he thinks he has... Maybe hearing that he's Tsunade's will throw him off.' So, in a loud blusterous voice fitting a Toad Sage he replied, "Of course! He is the son of the great and might Tsunade-hime!" Jiraiya grinned very largely. He hoped his little show had thrown him off the trail.

Hiashi however was not so easily fooled. He knew Tsunade, if only from reputation, and he doubted very much that she would have a kid. He had also seen the reports of a kid running around with the Sannin. But seeing the kid before him now, he knew that his parentage was just a cover story. 'Just look at Jiraiya, he's practically shaking just standing here he's so nervous.' Inside Hiashi smirked. 'So, they mean to hide not only the son of our hero but a hero himself from the village. Very well, I shall have to look into this further...'

"Well, my student and I should be returning to the village now!" Jiraiya desperately kept the act going, but he doubted how effective it really was. "Perhaps we will see each other later!" He waved as he took Naruto and suddenly went to depart.

'What the hell?! I thought I was supposed to stay out here a month. Oh well, anything to get away from the perv.' Naruto then realized that he hadn't said bye to the young girl. He might be hyperactive and even rude sometimes, but his kaa-san had pounded into his mind that he should always be respectful of ladies and women, no matter what the age. That was especially true if they had treated him kindly like Hinata had. Turning back around he ran the few feet back to Hinata.

Hiashi stood there looking at the boy as impassive as always. Internally though, he was both seething and happy. Seething because here possibly stood a hero in his eyes that he had been searching for and lied to about. Happy though for the same reason, he had found the hero. More importantly, he had found his god-child and the child of his best, and maybe only, true friend.

"Hinata-san, I hope that we can see each other again." Naruto bowed his head slightly.

Hinata just stood there. She couldn't figure out what was happening. Was this boy treating her, Hinata, the weakest of the Hyuuga's with true respect? No, he couldn't be... could he? "T-thank y-you N-Naruto..."

Hiashi hated Hinata's stuttering, and it only seemed to get worse as she had gotten older. Especially since the death of her mother and the beginning of her training. 'Dear, I wish you were still here. You would be happy to see Minato's child. He looks so much like him...' "Naruto, I am sure that you will see her again, possibly sooner than you think." Hiashi then, for the first time in almost a year, smiled. Sure, to anyone else it looked like little more than a twitch, but to Hinata it was a glaringly large smile. Hiashi never did that... yet here he was with a smile.

Naruto smiled his largest possible smile at Hiashi. "I look forward to meeting your daughter again Hyuuga-sama." Naruto normally wasn't one for showing much respect to people that where as uptight as this guy, but this man had control on whether or not he could see Hinata again. Better to respect him so that he could get to see new friend again.

"Naruto, come on! We had better get going or your kaa-san will not be happy!" Jiraiya was not happy with what he had just heard. He had no problem with him seeing Hinata, but Hiashi would figure it out very quickly if he hadn't already. Then again, maybe it was for the best. After all, Naruto didn't seem to have many 'friends' and Jiraiya thought, personally, that the boy needed some.

Naruto turned and as he went back over to Jiraiya, who was again walking away, he waved back at Hinata. He couldn't wait to tell his kaa-san all about the new person he had meant.

Village Hotel

"Naruto, could you be a dear and go get me some ice down in the lobby?"

Naruto nodded nervously... He could tell his kaa-san was mad about something, and he didn't want to find out what. As soon as he left the room he could have sworn he heard a loud crashing sound.

Jiraiya guessed he deserved that. After all their hard work he might have ruined it. If Hiashi had seen thru him it would all be ruined. Tsunade now stood where he had been standing seconds before fuming. 'I'm just lucky that she didn't hit me with her full strength.'

"How could you do that!?" Tsunade was just barely keeping her voice down. If Shizune had been there the apprentice would have been impressed at her rare display of control. "Do you know what you've done!? All that work. The times we avoided someone from a clan in Konoha. Especially ones that the old man had warned us about! I will not let them take my little Naruto-kun away from me!"

"I don't think that Hiashi wants to take him away. Remember, he was a close friend of Minato's too. He was there at his wedding, remember? One of only a few." Jiraiya sighed a little. Because of that Hiashi might remember what Kushina's family name was; he could only hope he didn't.

"We have to leave tonight. We can't risk him coming to look for Naruto-kun here." Tsunade finally started moving again and began to pack. She couldn't believe her luck. Not long after getting Naruto she had given up gambling and almost never drank sake anymore. Since then the 'Legendary Sucker' seemed to be having better luck and was happier. 'Why now? After all these years. We've always been lucky and avoided anyone from Konoha that might recognize Naruto. Heck, most people wouldn't. But of all the rotten luck... Kami, is this your way of paying me back for the recent years of good luck?' Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. She paused... contemplating whether or not to actually get the door.

"Tsunade-san, please get the door. I can see you and Jiraiya-san are in there." Tsunade now froze, her blood turning to ice. They had found them. "Please get the door. Naruto is safe outside with my daughter. They are playing right now and are being supervised by a member of the branch family." Hiashi was starting to get a little upset.

Tsunade, finally coming back to her senses, walked calmly up to the door. If they tried to take her Naruto then they would have a fight on their hands. And she would make sure to win.

Opening the door up Hiashi slide into the room, gesturing that she close it behind him. As soon as they had he put a paper seal on the door which once activated would act as a sound barrier in the room. He didn't want anyone to hear them.

Tsunade was surprised by this action. She just couldn't figure this man out. Was he going to try to take them out quietly, or did he simple not want anyone to hear the arguing as they talked about him taking her Naruto away from her. Either way, it didn't matter, she wouldn't lose. Not to him, even if he was a mighty Hyuuga. She, after all, was a Sannin and had another Sannin in the room with her.

"May we help you?" Tsunade let a little killer intent flow into the room. She wasn't going to underestimate him. "You will not be taking my son if that's what your here for."

Hiashi was surprised at first. He of course didn't show it, but the fact that she seemed so hostile towards him seemed out of place. Then her last words sunk in. She didn't want him to take Naruto. Well, he hadn't planned on taking him... yet. First he had wanted to find out what was going on.

"I assume then that I am correct. Uzumaki Naruto is in all reality, Namikaze Naruto, son of Minato-san." Seeing the look of anger and the amount of killer intent rise, Hiashi decided to continue. "Why? Why did you hide him from us?" Hiashi let his mask down then. He had a look of sadness on his face at that point.

Both the Sannin in the room were shocked. Was the powerful Hyuuga Hiashi letting down his mask? Was he really letting them see his true face and emotions? No, Tsunade figured it was a trick. Trying to get them to let their guard down. Jiraiya, for him part, thought it was the truth. He could see the pain in the man's eyes.

xxxxx

"I'm happy that we could see each other again Hinata!" Naruto was running around like a chicken with its head cut off before finally coming to a stop in front of her. He, of course, was just happy to see her again. "So, what would you like to do?"

Hinata stood there meekly in front of the boy. He seemed so happy and full of energy. It was almost enough to make her break down. Since her mom had died she only seemed to know sadness and the emotion of happiness seemed to avoid her. "I d-don't care N-Naruto..."

Naruto opened his eyes and started to look at her very closely. Her other family member had left them so that they could be alone but said he wasn't far way. Naruto was beginning to wonder if he should go get the man. Hinata for some reason seemed sad. Her soft eyes seemed to have dulled and didn't shine like they had after first meeting her. She had very pretty eyes that should be full of life and happiness, never to be dulled by the sadness he now realized was there. It reminded him of how is kaa-san's eyes had looked at times.

Naruto walked over to Hinata and put an arm around her shoulder. "What's wrong Hinata-chan?"

Hinata froze. First, she had blushed a bit at his arm being put around her. Second, did he just call her chan? No, she had to be mistaken. There was no way someone would call her that. After all, she was Hyuuga Hinata, heir to the Hyuuga clan. She figured her eventual husband, whoever he may be, wouldn't even call her that since it would probably be a loveless, arranged marriage. Yet, here was a boy who not only seemed worried about her, but used the chan honorific.

"N-n-nothings th-the m-m-matter N-n-Naruto... kun." She blushed an even deeper shade of red. She had said it... she had called him kun...

Naruto smiled at her. It was one of his most sincere smiles. "Please talk to me. You're the first friend I've had my age... We are friends right?" Seeing the young girl nod meekly he continued. "Your eyes looked sad though, like Tsunade-kaa-san used to sometimes. She once said it was because she lost someone... I offered to help her find them but she said that was ok... Have you lost someone Hinata-chan?"

Hinata was trying to hold back the sobs. Here was this boy being very nice to her and trying to comfort her in his own way. Not only that, but he had said that she was his friend. As a Hyuuga she was expected to never show emotion, especially to an outsider. Looking into Naruto's face though she couldn't help it. He looked concerned for her and that was a look she couldn't remember seeing since her kaa-san died. Hinata couldn't hold them back anymore as she latched onto Naruto and for the first time in years cried. She had never cried after her mom's passing. Now though, she let it out.

Thru the sobs she spoke into his chest. "I-I... M-my kaa-san... I l-lost my ka-kaa-san... S-she d-died..."

Naruto tensed a little at the last statement. He couldn't even begin to image losing his kaa-san. Naruto put his arms around Hinata and held her gently while rubbing her back. He didn't know what else to do except be there for her to cry into. "I'm sorry Hinata-chan."

Hinata just stood there, gripping his shirt and coat tightly. She had finally stopped crying after a few minutes. She allowed him to lead them over to a small bench where they sat. Hinata though refused to leave his side, hanging on like he was a life preserver and she would drown without him. Soon, with her head on his shoulder, Hinata had fallen asleep exhausted from the events of the day.

Naruto didn't mind. Sure, it would have been nice to have been able to play, but this felt right. He just knew that this was for the best...

xxxxx

After explaining that he wasn't there to take Naruto away from them, Tsunade, Jiraiya, and Hiashi had all taken a seat around a small table in the room.

Hiashi looked at both the Sannin sitting across from him. "That is the entire story then?"

"Yes. Now, I think the real question is what are you here for?" Tsunade still wasn't buying into the whole sad and upset scene she had seen moments before.

Hiashi was quiet for a moment before speaking again. It had been too much for him. After his wife had died he had become driven to find Naruto. Truth though was he never expected to find him after so long, but his wife's dying wish was for Hiashi to find Naruto and take him in. When Hiashi spoke it was in nothing but a whisper. "On the night of the Kyuubi attack I was ready to do anything to protect Naruto and Kushina. My wife and I would visit Kushina every day after the attack. Kushina though, is, to me, already dead being in that state." He stopped for a moment. Tears were starting to form in Hiashi's eyes. "When my beloved was taken from me I felt a part of me die too. Her last wish was that I find Naruto and take him in. I thought it impossible because we hadn't found any traces of him since the attack. I promised her anyway because I could not refuse my wife. The day after I started searching for him anew..." Hiashi, who had been looking down at the table looked back up at the Sannin present. "Then, not but a few hours ago, my wife's last wish came to pass and I found him..." Hiashi now had full blown tears streaming down his face.

Tsunade couldn't believe it. Here was the ever stoic Hyuuga Hiashi breaking down in front of them. Could he really feel like this for her Naruto? He had never even seen Naruto before today. What was said next surprised everyone there. "We'll come back..."

Jiraiya spun around in his seat. "What?! Tsunade-hime, we can't do that. You know what would happen. The council will either demand his death or want to use him as a weapon! Neither of which Sensei or I would be very pleased with and what about you! Are you really ready to go back and stay in the village? Once you return, you know that you will never be able to leave again."

"It's ok... I think I can handle going back to the village now. I also believe that Hiashi-san here will protect Naruto." With a slight nod from the still teary eyed Hyuuga she continued. "Anyway... This way Naruto will also be able to attend the academy and possibly finish growing up with a more normal life. If nothing else, he will be able to finally make some friends."

Jiraiya wasn't happy. After all the time and energy spent to keep Naruto secret, to keep him safe, here she was ready to just throw it all away. More surprising was the fact that she was ready move back to Konoha herself. Jiraiya was snapped from his thoughts when Hiashi spoke up.

"Naruto should not return immediately." Hiashi had his stoic face back on and his eyes were only slightly red. Shortly no one would be able to tell that he had wept. "I hold no illusions as to the village or the risk that is faced by bringing back Naruto. I believe it wise to first talk to Hokage-sama and gain some support from the other clans. I know that now they support the idea of Naruto returning and being alive, but I am unsure how many would actually welcome his return should it become a reality." Looking directly into Jiraiya's eye's Hiashi finished. "Naruto will have the protection of the Hyuuga clan as long as he wishes to stay in Konoha. Furthermore, any friend of Naruto's will be welcome at the Hyuuga complex."

Jiraiya studied the man sitting across from him for a moment. 'He looks serious enough... But if push came to shove, what would he do? Will he keep his word even if it meant defying the Hyuuga council?' "Excuse me Hiashi-san, but what of your council? I know that you speak for the clan, but couldn't they simple force you to stop protecting Naruto?"

Hiashi's eyebrow twitched just a minuscule amount. To anyone that didn't know a Hyuuga it would seem like nothing. Jiraiya and Tsunade though knew it meant that Hiashi was agitated. "For far to long the Hyuuga council of elders have meddled in the affairs of the clan." Hiashi could barely control his anger. "They have for to long over-stepped their bounds and dictated what should and should not be. I have already lost my brother and wife due to their meddling and I will not lose anyone else." Hiashi stood up from the table. "Know this; if the council tries to interfere with my running of the clan they will be punished." Hiashi bowed his head slightly and moved to leave.

"Wait." Tsunade walked over to Hiashi as he turned around. "How will we know to come back? More precisely, how will you know where to find us?"

Hiashi looked calmly at her. "Simple, you will stay in this town for one month. If you have not heard from me before the time is up leave. Know that it is still not safe to return. If, after that, it should become possible for you to safely return, I will send someone for you." Turning again, Hiashi released the seal on the down and left.

Upon reaching the exit he noticed the Branch family member standing off to the side of the playground entrance. Moving silently Hiashi moved into the area to seek his daughter. It took only a moment to spot her sitting by Naruto on a bench. She was gripping his arm tightly and was asleep. As Hiashi approached he could see that she had been crying. Hinata's cheeks were still moist from the tears.

Naruto looked up at the man now approaching them. He recognized him from earlier as Hinata's otou-san. "Hello Hyuuga-san. Hinata-san was tired and just kinda fell asleep here." Naruto shrugged with the shoulder Hinata's head wasn't on.

Hiashi knew that Naruto wasn't saying everything, but that was ok. He would find out more later from Hinata. "Naruto-san, thank you for keeping Hinata company while I talked with Tsunade-san and Jiraiya-san." Hiashi then motioned the Branch family member to retrieve Hinata which he did without disturbing her much. Turning back to Naruto it wasn't hard to see that something was bothering him. "Naruto-san, may I ask what is bothering you?"

"Did Hinata-chan really lose her mother?"

Hiashi was stunned. He was not expecting that question from Naruto. Also, had he just used the chan suffix? Eying Naruto closely Hiashi stood for a second in thought. 'He looks like he cares. Even now he has a look of sadness and sympathy on his face.' "Yes, Hinata's mother died a little over a one year ago."

Naruto was even sadder now. "I couldn't stand the thought of losing my Kaa-san." He looked at Hinata and smiled. "Hinata-chan is very strong. Hiashi-san, did Hinata-chan never cry about her kaa-san dieing?"

Hiashi knew the truth. His daughter, in order to keep up the look of being strong, had never shed a tear for her mom after the funeral. It tore him up...

Flashback

"What is the name of this? My wife is in labor and I have been told she might not make it." Hiashi was barely holding in the rage he felt for being called away by the Hyuuga council.

The center elder and head of the council spoke. "We know of your wifes labor troubles. Perhaps it is a sign that this child will be stronger than the last."

Hiashi was stunned. 'What is this? They knew she was having troubles yet they call me away? And what do they mean, stronger than the last? Hinata might not be as strong as Neji, but she has her own strengths.'

"This council has decided to review whether or not Hinata is worthy of being the clan heir." spoke the elder on the far left.

"What do you mean? Hinata is my first born daughter and as such the title of heir is her birthright." Hiashi's anger was starting to increase. "And you shall show her the proper respect when referring to her."

Standing, the center elder spoke again. "Hiashi, this council has decided that on Hinata-san's fifteenth birthday she will be tested. At that time we will decided if she is to be put into the Branch family."

End Flashback

Hiashi still loved his daughter, but had, since that day, started to act colder towards Hinata. He was trying to make her stronger so that she would pass the test. However, if the council decided to interfere this time then maybe he wouldn't have to worry about Hinata after all. Turning to leave again he answered Naruto's question. "Naruto-san, Hinata-san never cried about her mothers death till now I believe. You are the first person she has opened up to. I look forward to seeing you again Naruto-san."

With that Naruto was alone again, left to his thoughts...

xxxxx

Author Notes:

Yes, it was Hinata and it was obvious. Well, I am a new writer and I am currently just trying to move this story along and improve my style. As to reason's why Hiashi was traveling, you'll just have to wait and find out (it will be explained fully).

It has been noted that nobody is very far from being 'out of character' yet (if they are at all). Well, just as a warning, it will happen eventually. Note, it won't just happen, there will be reason's. I try, in both my stories, to either explain things as they happen, as flashbacks, or as a continuation of a series of events. As such, by chapter 10 Tsunade/Jiraiya/Hiashi/Hinata/and so on might not be what they are/where in the show. However, my goal is that it will either not be noticeable (to those just reading it thru) and/or will just feel natural/right as a progression.

There will be other pairings later in the story, note though that this is a primary Naruto/Hinata and not a harem. Thus, there will be no Naru/Hina/Saku/kami knows who else and the other pairings, whoever they may be, will only be featured as a side with just a little screen time.

I hope that you enjoyed the story and I really am trying to update this one and my other one more, it is just surprisingly difficult.. I give a shout out to my Beta (who will remain unnamed for now) and no, the errors in the Notes are my own, he doesn't get to beta this part.