Hanabi didn't like him.

Now, as a rule, Hanabi did not like most people. They tended to talk too much or not at all because of her status as Hyuuga.

And this boy talked far too much.

But it wasn't his loquacious nature that caused her dislike.

It was Hinata. Or rather, his being with Hinata that raised Hanabi's ire.

He wasn't what Hinata needed. He wasn't respectable enough for the Hyuuga elders which would make Hinata's standing in the clan go down, was rude and loud to the point of being obnoxious which was counter to her sister's meek and quiet nature, and while he was incredibly powerful he lacked anything that might contribute to the Clan's prestige which was what Hinata was born to do.

But more than that...

He didn't seem to love her.

He was sweet enough to her, that was true, bringing her flowers and candies and taking her out on dates but never being too forward or keeping her up late. But there was no intimacy in the way they spoke or touched, no exchange of warm, silent smiles.

Hanabi would never have seen this lack of intimacy except one day, by chance, she overheard a conversation he had with her sister.



"M-m-my father's b-b-birthday is tomorrow, and I was w-w-wondering..."

"Oh, sorry Hinata. I promised to train and then spend the day with Sasuke and Sakura tomorrow. It's the first time in awhile we've all been free, so..."

"O-o-oh... that's okay. Maybe next time..."


Hanabi was outraged. Her father's birthday, the celebration of the birth of a Clan Head, was not an invitation given to many, nor was it something that could be so lightly discarded.

And for what? To spend the day with his old teammates?

It was blatantly obvious where Naruto's loyalties laid, and they were not with the girl he was in a relationship with.

So no, Hanabi didn't like him at all.


Hiashi didn't trust him.

It had nothing to do with the Kyuubi no Yoko living in his gut, for Hiashi was not a man to indulge in petty grudges nor one to blame a child for the problems facing the village.

No, it had nothing to do with the Kyuubi and everything to do with his daughter's relationship with the boy.

Hinata was fragile. Much of this was his fault, Hiashi knew bitterly, having kept her at a distance and putting her down and then finally abandoning her to her sensei. It didn't help that her mother had been the same way- delicate and quiet, to the point that the stresses of being the wife of the Clan Head and childbirth had finally destroyed her.

So yes, he knew that his daughter was beautiful as a winter rose and just as fragile.

And the boy was not deft enough to handle her without destroying her. He had her heart in his hands but he held it in the air, and with each time he grasped it he risked squeezing it out of existence or just dropping it and discarding it.

Hiashi could see it, as clear as sunlight. Their time was always cut short when either the former traitor Uchiha or the Godaime's apprentice showed, taking the boy's eyes off Hinata, making him forget that he held the girl's heart in his hands.

And nothing scares a father more than thinking his little girl's heart is about to break.

So no, Hiashi didn't trust him, not even a little.


Neji didn't believe he'd hurt her.

Naruto was flawed as any other human, Neji knew, and he made mistakes and failed and messed up just as badly as anyone else.

But Neji believed in him nonetheless.

Naruto saved him. Naruto brought him out of the darkness, pulled him away from a road that only had one end (and Hyuuga Neji did not want to be the next Uchiha Itachi), and gave life meaning again.

Naruto was bright and good and everything that the world needed to make things right.

So when Naruto first grasped Hinata's hand at the gates of the Hyuuga compound, Neji smiled because he knew that Naruto was a man who would take care of Hinata, who, even when he made her cry, could make her laugh again.

And even when Hinata's face would fall as Naruto left her at the gates to meet his old teammates, Neji believed that Naruto would inevitably set things right again.

Even if he didn't, Neji would still believe in Naruto.

Because Naruto was too good a person to hurt Hinata in any way that he could never fix. So even when Hinata bit back tears and her whole body revealed her pain in a way that anyone without Byakugan could see, Neji still held his convictions, unwavering.

So no, Neji didn't believe he'd hurt her, with all his heart.


Sasuke didn't approve of her.

Yes, she was the heir to one of the most powerful Clans in Konoha (as a point of pride Sasuke refused to say "the most"), and yes, she was not the same girl who was utterly crushed in that first Chuunin exam, but nonetheless Sasuke did not think her very strong.

She was weak in his eyes, subservient to others, too meek and too eager to please. She fretted endlessly, her anxious nature clear to eyes as sharp as his. The subtle tenseness in her wrists, the twitching fingers, the fiddling of her hair, all of it revealed her weakness.

Naruto was strong, his presence could often overwhelm to the point of suffocation. His loudness was just a side effect of the sheer force he held in his body. He could be struck, slashed, or beaten down and he would never stop, never believe he would be defeated, and in this Sasuke would always acknowledge Naruto's strength.

Maybe that was why she believed their relationship would work. She had never seen the side of Naruto Sasuke had, that an enemy had.

The side that put fear in your heart because you wondered why he wouldn't just stay down, wouldn't just admit defeat and go away and finally stop fighting. The side that grinned even while bloody, with bright cerulean eyes that glimmered with fierce defiance.

That was the Naruto that Sasuke had seen, because only Sasuke was Naruto's true rival, the strongest opponent the blonde could have.

She would wither around him because of that strength, Sasuke believed. Her affections for him would only make her weaker around him, and Naruto's strength would not so much support her as it would engulf her utterly.

If their relationship advanced, the girl would only learn to depend on Naruto's strength, leaning on it always, never learning to stand on her own, never.

And Sasuke despised those who could not help themselves.

So no, Sasuke didn't approve of her, not in the least.


Sakura didn't mind her at all.

This didn't mean she was overly fond of Hinata, that the girl was among her favorite people or that she even really liked the girl. But it also didn't mean she hated Hinata, nor even disliked her a bit.

It meant simply that Sakura didn't feel the least bit threatened at the other girl's presence in Naruto's life. That Sakura knew her place in Naruto's heart was forever secured, and nothing Hinata could do would ever erase that fact.

Of course, that could be taken in a romantic context, but Sakura understood it to be different.

Hinata might hold hands with him, go on dates with him, and maybe even have his children someday, but it would be Sakura he told his problems to, Sakura who he fought beside, and Sakura who would always hold a piece of his heart that Hinata would never know.

Their bond ran deeper than physical affection, was older and stronger and infinitely more binding than dating or marriage could ever be. It was something that Hinata couldn't understand, because it was something that was beyond words.

She could never know the same Naruto that Sakura knew so well, understood so well, and loved so much.

How could she?

What did Hinata know of the Naruto who promised her he'd save Sasuke, the Naruto who failed but vowed never to stop and made her love him for that, the Naruto who became her pillar of support when everything else was falling apart?

That was the Naruto Hinata would never truly see.

The Naruto that belonged only to Sakura.

So no, Sakura didn't mind her one bit.


Hinata knew all of this, and wished she didn't care as much as she did.

She saw Hanabi's sidelong glares, her father's mistrustful looks, Neji's silent trust, Sasuke's disapproval, and Sakura's apathy.

There were lines drawn all around her relationship with Naruto, made up of all these feelings about two people being with each other.

And Hinata knew, deep down, that they were all correct.

Because there was a deep, impassable gap there, a big glaring line in the sand between her and Naruto, and there was a part of him she could not see or reach because it was a Naruto that belonged to Team Seven, to Sasuke, to Sakura, and even to Kakashi to a certain extent.

And sometimes that made her cry, made her fight back tears at the gates of the Hyuuga compound as Naruto left without glancing backwards to join his teammates, who scowled and smiled and joked and jeered and were something more than friends.

But there were other times when Hinata smiled, where there was a warmth in her heart and no tears in her eyes. Because sometimes she thought she saw something else, a different Naruto than anyone else had ever seen.

Sometimes his eyes would soften for her and her alone.

Sometimes he laughed with her and it was about something only they knew.

Sometimes he smiled a smile just for her.

And on those days, Hinata believes that she's drawing her own line in the sand, between the rest of the world and the two of them.