Title: A Push in the Right Direction
Author: Shawny Wong
Summary: Kiba and Shino are ticked off. Hinata's many suitors have become a real nuisance. No matter how often she turns them down, they keep coming back! If only she had a steady boyfriend… NaruHina.
Disclaimer: The characters of Naruto belong to Kishimoto Masashi. This story is written without permission, for fan purposes only. Do not reproduce without permission.
A Push in the Right Direction
"I'm sorry. I can't accept these gifts. Please stop offering them to me!"
Kiba's enhanced hearing picked up her soft-spoken voice before his eyes could see her. This was bad. She sounded desperate. He picked up his pace. He paused for a moment at the edge of Team 8's normal training grounds. (Kurenai-sensei had finally trained the rush-head-first-into-any-situation-think-about-it-later reflex out of him.) It was exactly as he expected. Hinata was being harassed by a bunch of her wannabe boyfriends. Again.
Ever since she defeated Hanabi in a formal challenge, two things happened. First, her father and her clan acknowledged her strength and officially named her the future clan head – if her father ever died or stepped down. Second, suitors started popping up out of the woodwork! Kiba grimaced. Apparently, now that she was the official heiress (instead of the de facto heiress), every single noble family wanted their son to marry her!
Hinata was the kindest person that Kiba knew. She wouldn't hurt a fly – it would upset Shino if she did. She was always considerate – putting other people's wants and desires before own – and loathed hurting people. (Enemy ninja threatening the safety of her precious people was another story entirely.) Really. Hinata's sweet, gentle nature was one of the best things about her.
But at this particular moment in time, Kiba wished she would forget about being so nice and just punch the daylights out of those morons who were constantly sniffing her out in hopes of scoring a date. Maybe then they would leave her alone for good.
"Please go out with me, Hinata-san. I hope you will accept these chocolates as a sign of my appreciation."
He was rudely elbowed aside by one of his rivals.
"Not him! Please go out with me, Hinata-san. Look! I brought your favorite flowers."
Hinata had to take a step back as the lilies were almost shoved in her face.
"Ah… I'm very flattered. But… but…" she grasped for polite ways of turning them down. Why wouldn't they take no for an answer? "I'm meeting my team for training soon and… I'm… I already like someone else!"
"But you're still single, Hinata-san!"
"Please give us a chance, Hinata-san!"
"Ano… " Hinata backed up uncomfortably. They were invading her personal space.
One of her suitors was shrewder than the rest. Kiba vaguely recognized him as the son of a minor diplomat in the Fire Lord's court. His lip curled in disgust at what little he could remember: typical spoiled, rich kid who had never worked a day in his life.
"This person that you like… He's never asked you out, has he?" he asked slyly.
"No… but…" Naruto-kun…
"Then he must not like you in return." (Hinata's face fell) "Go out with me. I can make you forget him."
Kiba fumed at the sheer arrogance of that fop! He could see how much that last statement hurt Hinata and he wasn't going to stand for it. Hinata was pack! Beside him, Akamaru growled. It was time to step in.
"Get lost! She doesn't want to go out with losers like you!"
A few of them looked like they wanted to protest. But one look at the angry jounin and the menacing, growling, horse-sized, white nin-dog next to him had them scattering like the cowards they were.
"Kiba-kun!" Hinata looked at her teammate in relief. "Thank you."
"You're too nice to them, Hinata." Kiba said gruffly. "If you don't like them and they keep pestering you, you should just beat them up a little bit. Maybe then they'll leave you alone."
"I can't do that! Most of them are civilians, Kiba-kun! It would be unfair."
"They fight dirty, too, Hinata," Kiba reminded her. "Only they use words and subtle actions instead of fists, fangs, and Jyuken."
"They'll give up eventually… I hope… Now, wasn't there a new jutsu you wanted to work on?"
Kiba let her change the subject.
The heat of the late afternoon sun was soothed away by a cool breeze. Team 8 had finished their training for the day. Hinata had clan obligations to attend to, so she'd left in a hurry. Kiba and Shino opted for a leisurely stroll back into the village. On the way, Kiba told his teammate about the scene from that morning and explained how he'd had to "rescue" Hinata.
"This is getting ridiculous, Shino! They're even stalking her at the training grounds now! We have to do something about Hinata's boy problem. How many times have we chased those guys off? A hundred? Hinata keeps telling them she's not interested, but they keep coming back!"
"79. We have facilitated the removal of Hinata's unwanted suitors a total of 79 times within the last two months."
"Exactly! They keep harassing her! And she's too nice to beat them up and tell them to fuck off!" Kiba angrily kicked at some loose stones on the ground. "Too bad we'd get in trouble with the Hokage if we tried to beat them up for her!"
"I doubt a simple beating will suffice. Her suitors are… annoyingly persistent."
"We're her friends. We've got to help her, Shino."
"The solution is simple," Shino adjusted his sunglasses. "Hinata must get a steady boyfriend."
"What?! You want her to date one of those losers? That's even worse than the current situation! She hates them!"
"Think, Kiba. If she has a steady boyfriend, then she is no longer single. If she is no longer single, then she is no longer available for them to date. And if any of them continue to persist, then it will be her boyfriend's job to chase them away. Not ours."
"Still… I don't see how that will make Hinata happy. That's just exchanging many jerks for one jerk."
"What I have in mind will make Hinata happy. All we have to do is exchange many unwanted suitors with one wanted suitor – one who is also a trusted friend." Shino paused as bug landed on his finger. He smiled and looked into the distance.
Kiba followed Shino's gaze and smirked when he caught sight of a familiar blonde.
"Shino, you're a genius!"
Several minutes later…
"You want me to what?!" Naruto blushed.
He had just returned from a short mission and handed in his report at the Hokage tower. With nothing better to do, the 18 year-old jounin decided to head over to Ichiraku for a bowl of his favorite food. But half way to his destination, Kiba and Shino had intercepted him.
"It is simple," said Shino. "We want you to ask Hinata out on a date."
"Why not?" Kiba asked. "You like her, don't you?"
"Of course, I do! She's one of my precious friends!"
Kiba and Shino exchanged disbelieving looks.
Kiba coughed, "Bullshit."
Shino simply shook his head. "So you think of Hinata as just a friend?"
"Please." Kiba crossed his arms and tapped his foot impatiently. "You forget who you're talking to. We're the best tracking and information gathering team in our generation. Remember?"
"You are lying. My insects can smell the pheromones you release in her presence. You find her attractive."
"And I can hear your heart rate increase every time you talk to her. She's more than just a friend to you."
Now, Naruto was beet red.
"What I do not understand is why you have not acted. Based on my observations of your normal operating procedures, I would have expected you to ask her out long before now."
Naruto sighed as he fought to get his blushing back under control. He thought he'd been successful in hiding his feelings for Hinata. Apparently not. Sometimes having intelligent, observant friends really sucked! Kiba and Shino were his friends. And they already knew about his not-so-secret infatuation with their teammate. He might as well tell them the rest.
"I started to notice her a few months back. Remember that mission we were on? The one to Water country? It started there. Hinata and I shared the night watch together for almost two weeks."
Kiba and Shino remembered. In fact, unbeknownst to Naruto, they had deliberately arranged the night watch schedule so that Hinata would get to spend time more with Naruto. Alone. After all, what were friends and teammates for?
"It was the first time I ever got a chance to really talk to her without interruptions. And I realized… she's amazing… She's smart and funny and sweet. I don't know why I never noticed her that way before. But we were on a mission, so I waited.
"I was going to ask her out when we got back from Water country. But when we got back… and before I got a chance to ask her. All those other guys showed up to ask her out. Remember?"
(Shino remembered. Her suitors had heard of her return and descended upon the Hokage tower, en masse. That had been facilitating-the-removal-of-unwanted-suitors, number 35.)
"I heard her tell them that she already likes someone." Naruto shrugged and tried to smile. He wanted to pretend that it didn't matter to him, but the burning jealousy in his chest made it difficult. "Hinata already has a hard time with all those other guys bothering her. I don't want to add to her problems. That's why I never asked her out."
Kiba wanted to bang his head against the nearest brick wall. He couldn't believe it! How could Naruto be so blind? Akamaru whined and put his paws over his eyes.
"You really are an idiot!"
While he was growing up, Naruto had plenty of experience ignoring the hate and insults hurtled at him on a daily basis. Over time, he had developed very thick skin. Usually, insults and harsh words didn't even register, but Kiba's insensitive comment stung. Naruto was quickly finding out that on the subject of Hinata, his feelings were raw, unprotected, and bled too easily. He used his anger as a defense and clenched his fists. He didn't have to stand around and take Kiba's insults!
Shino held up a hand to forestall the pending fight.
"What Kiba means is that you should not jump to conclusions. Hinata would not reject you out of hand."
"Yeah, I know. She's too nice for that. But I don't want a pity date from her, either."
"Argh! You are impossible!"
Naruto ignored him.
"Why do you want me to ask her out so badly, anyways?" he asked, puzzled.
"Hinata's suitors have become more persistent. They have taken to ambushing her all over the village. At best, they are an annoyance. At worst, they are a hindrance to her daily activities and a source of undue stress. And now, they have started harassing her at our training grounds, interrupting her training. We could kill them – but that would distress Hinata unduly. The alternative solution is simple: remove Hinata's eligibility in the courting game. If she has a boyfriend, or better yet, a fiancé, then they cannot court her."
"So why don't you get the guy that she likes to ask her out?" Naruto tried to squash his jealousy. Hinata deserved to be happy – even if it wasn't with him. "I'm sure she'd be thrilled if you got him."
"We did," Shino said blandly. "He refused. I believe his exact words were, 'No way!'"
"What? Why?" Naruto exclaimed, "Hinata's great! Doesn't he like her back?"
"Oh. There's no doubt that he likes her. He likes her very much. He told us so just now," Kiba said casually. "In fact, I believe his exact words were, 'She's amazing.'"
Naruto froze. Those were his words… But, no… It was just coincidence, wasn't it? Hinata couldn't possibly like him.
"I really do think he's an idiot, you know. He seems to think he'll 'add to her problems.'" Kiba used his hands to make quotation marks in the air as he said those words.
Naruto's words. Just coincidence. Right?
"Of course, Hinata would never reject the person that she loves. When we told him this, do you know what he said?" asked Shino.
Naruto swallowed hard. "No. What did he say?"
"He said, 'I don't want a pity date from her, either.'"
His words. Again.
Kiba and Shino looked at Naruto expectantly. Even Naruto couldn't miss the Gamabunta-sized clues they were dropping on him!
It wasn't a coincidence!
"The guy that Hinata likes… is me," Naruto breathed. That revelation threatened to make his heart burst with joy. Naruto smiled – a true smile. His eyes seemed brighter than before. "Thanks, guys! I have to go!"
Naruto vanished in a flash of yellow light.
Kiba grinned and scratched Akamaru behind his ear – making Akamaru "Wuff" happily.
Shino smirked behind his sunglasses and high collar.
Yes. I'm still working on One Small Step. (See my profile for current status of that fic.) But I wanted to take a short break. So I thought I'd write something fun and short.
Did you notice? This fic was mostly dialogue. I did that on purpose, because I wrote this for Pia-sama's writing contest on DeviantArt. (http : / / pia-sama (dot) deviantart (dot) com / journal / 19686495)
It was supposed to be a one page, short story, because the prize for this contest is that Pia-sama will turn your story into a comic - and she can't do that if you write a novel! She's an amazing artist! And it would have been an honor for to have her make a comic out of one of my stories. Alas! I think I am incapable of writing a one page story! Hahaha. I aimed for one page and ended up writing over six pages. Oops? Too bad, it's too long. I disqualified myself from Pia-sama's contest!