Disclaimer: Don't own any characters from Naruto, I only own the characters I create. Like Inari, Miyuki, etc. Oh, and the plot, that's all me.
Note: This takes place before the time skip. Naruto is 14 though so that means I've made many changes to the original story line.
Any changes I made will be revealed in their time. If anyone is confused about something, please ask and I will clarify.
Here it is, the final chapter of Book 1.
I've been working on it every night for the past week so I can only hope it doesn't suck.
This chapter is one of the biggest I've done. I thought about splitting it up into two chapters but I think it's better like this.
Consider this an early Christmas present. You deserve it.
Don't make me say goodbye
"U-um Naruto, a-are you r-really leaving?"
Naruto looked lost in thought. A part of him really wanted to go training with the pervy sage, but then what about the Chuunin exams? They were already one team member short, if he left now then Sakura would be all alone. Not to mention he would miss out on his chance. Plus, he would be gone for a long time. Maybe even for years.
"N-naruto?" Hinata whispered, concern evident in her voice.
And what about his friends? The people important to him?
That thought made him think of his teammate. Would she be upset with him leaving? 'Well, maybe not as much as she had been with Sasuke.' He thought with a hint of sadness. He didn't know why he still let these things get to him, she had made her feelings clear the day she told him the truth about Sasuke.
'He'll come back, he said that he would.' there was only a hint of doubt in her voice, 'So I'll wait for him, for as long as it takes.'
The pink haired teen shook her head and gave him a sad smile, 'You wouldn't understand Naruto; you've never been in love.'
Naruto clutched his heart at the memory. He'd been hated all his life by many, if not all, of the villagers. The things they'd say about him, either to his face or behind his back. Not to mention the hateful looks on their faces whenever he walked by. All those things had caused him pain at one time or another, but nothing had hurt him as much as the words spoken by the girl he most cared for.
Sakura knew he liked her, how could she not? He was always asking her out and doing various things to get her to notice him. But after everything they'd been through, she never saw his feelings as anything more than a simple crush.
It had hurt, so much so that he couldn't see her without reliving the pain. That had been the real reason he had avoided her for a month after finding out the truth about Sasuke.
Naruto was so consumed by his thoughts, that he almost didn't catch the sound of a soft, concerned voice, "Naruto, what's wrong? Are you okay?"
He looked up and saw Hinata next to him, her face held a worried expression. "Huh? Yeah, I'm okay. Sorry about that." he flashed her a grin.
Hinata couldn't help but frown. She had watched her crush for a long time and had become quite good at telling his real smile from a fake. It helped that her family trained in these kinds of things. Reading your opponent was half the battle her father always said.
Still, what could she do? Hinata wasn't confident enough to confront the boy about it. She could only pretend to not notice and worry about it for the rest of the day.
"S-so, y-you're going to be trained by a Legendary Sannin," she stated rather than asked, "C-congratulations Naruto." Hinata gave a weak smile, trying her best not to let the hurt show.
"Yeah, it sounds really cool and all, but I am going to be a bit bummed about leaving before the exams." he said, putting his arms behind his back. "Plus I'm gonna miss training with everyone and hanging out at Ichiraku's," the boy drooled at the thought, "Man, I'm going to really miss eating their ramen."
Despite the sadness she was feeling, Hinata couldn't keep a soft laugh from escaping from her lips.
"Oh, looks like we're finally here." the blond stopped a short distance from the Hyuuga compound.
Hinata bit her lip; there was still so much she wanted to tell the blond boy. He would be leaving soon and he had to know how much she'd miss him.
"Hey Naruto, Hinata," a girl with her hair up in two buns waved to them as she approached. Naruto and Hinata both greeted her back, though Hinata's voice was barely above a whisper. It seemed once more she had missed her chance.
"What's that Tenten?" Naruto asked, pointing to the scroll in her hands.
"Oh this? It's a training exercise that Guy sensei gave us. Neji was called away before he received his so I came to give it to him." the brown haired girl turned to the younger kunoichi, "Do you think you could give it to him for me? It's getting late and I still have to do some errands around town."
"Thanks Hinata," Tenten said as she turned, "See you guys later."
"I better get home too, see you tomorrow Hinata." Naruto waved and left before the shy girl could even open her mouth.
The heiress hung her head in defeat as she made her way inside the Hyuuga compound.
The early morning sun was the first thing to greet the teen heiress from her not so peaceful slumber. It looked like today would be another beautiful day for the Konoha villagers. The early risers were cheerfully making their way to work as a cool breeze brushed passed them. But for all the beauty that could be awaiting her outside, it was hard for her to feel anything but sadness. Not with the news she had received the day before.
'He's leaving for who knows how long. I won't get to see him for a long time.' she thought as she sat up on her bed, 'W-what if he forgets about me? M-maybe the next time we see each other it'll be like it was before.' Hinata shook her head. She didn't want to go back to those days. Where she'd watch him from afar, too afraid to even speak to him. She had gotten so much better around him. Sure she'd still blush and feel lightheaded, but at least she could actually hold a conversation with him at times.
Hinata brought her knees to her chest and laid her head on them. It had been a few weeks since she last felt so helpless.
A knock at the door interrupted her thoughts.
"Hinata, are you awake yet?"
"Yes," Hinata's reply came out muffled, her face still resting on her knees.
Hanabi took this as permission to enter, "Father had a last minute meeting so our morning training is cancelled." she said as she plopped herself on the side of Hinata's bed. Since their talk months ago, Hanabi had started to open up to her older sister. The two now talked almost every night. And so, they had an unspoken agreement that Hyuuga etiquette didn't apply when it was just the two of them. Something Hanabi was quite happy with.
"What's wrong? Don't tell me you're upset about father cancelling our training?"
Hinata shook her head, which was still resting on her knees.
"Well whatever it is, get over it." Manabí said with a stern voice, "Being all depressed about it isn't going to help. If you're not happy about something then do something about it."
Hinata slowly lifted her head and gave her little sister a small smile. In her own way Hanabi was trying to help. Her motto was to face things head on. It was something Hinata has always wished she could do. "Thanks Hanabi, I'll give it a try."
"Good," she said with a smile. With a yawn and a stretch she headed to the door, "Well, since there's no early morning training I'm going back to bed. What about you Hinata?"
The heiress was still feeling tired; she had barely gotten any sleep. But she knew if she stayed in bed she'd just keep thinking the same thing. "I think I'll do some training by myself. Father says there's a lot I still have to work on."
"Suit yourself," Hanabi said with a shrug of her shoulders, leaving Hinata alone with her thoughts.
Inari fidgeted nervously in front of the Hokage's desk. Seated next to her was Ms. Bell, a caretaker from the orphanage. The four year old had been woken up by her friends, who had told her to hurry up and get ready. With a groan she had gotten up and made her way downstairs for breakfast. Afterwards she was told by the headmaster that she had been summoned to the Hokage's office. It seemed the blond woman had some important news for her.
Tsunade calmly sat across from the small girl, a manila folder in her hands.
"Good morning Inari. How are you feeling today?" the blonde haired woman said with a smile.
"I-I'm fine," Inari said nervously.
Tsunade frowned, seeing her attempt to calm the child had failed. "Relax Inari, today I have some very good news to tell you."
Inari's eyes widened in surprise. "R-really?"
"Yes," Tsunade paused, trying to find the best way to explain the news to a four year old. "To put it simply, we found the bad guys and took them down. You don't have to worry about them anymore."
Ms. Bell couldn't keep the tears from flowing out of her eyes, "T-that's wonderful. I'm so happy for you Inari."
Both adults turned towards the four year old. She seemed to be frozen in her seat. "Inari?"
"A-" the child finally chocked out, "Are you serious?" a lone tear made it's way down her left cheek, "You mean, it's all over?" The brown haired child spoke with a tone of disbelief, "I-I don't have to be a-afraid anymore?"
The dark haired caretaker enveloped the child in a comforting hug. "Yes Inari, you're safe now."
Tsunade and Ms. Bell silently watched as Inari slowly let the news sink in.
Only a minute or so passed before the small child looked up at the blonde woman with a hesitant look. "Yes?" Tsunade asked.
"Um well, I sort of have a favor to ask."
The shy heiress walked slowly down the street, her mind on an all too familiar subject.
She was trying her best not to let it get her down. After training with her team, Kurenai, her sensei, had pulled her aside and talked to her. The older woman could tell something was bothering the young Hyuuga and had urged the girl to confide in her.
After hesitating for a minute, Hinata finally told the red-eyed woman everything.
'Well Hinata, as sad as it may be for you, there's nothing you can do about it. So instead of letting it get you down, why don't you make the most of the time you still have left with him. Maybe those memories will help you get through the months that he won't be here.'
Hinata was broken from her sensei's words as she reached the orphanage. To her surprise, her crush was standing just outside the building's doors.
As if sensing a presence he quickly turned in her direction. His look of surprise quickly turned into a huge grin as he greeted her with a wave.
And just like that her previous thoughts were thrown out of her mind.
The heiress could help but smile back, 'No matter how bad I'm feeling; Naruto always seems to help me feel better.'
Her sensei was right, Hinata decided, she was going to make the most of the time they had left together.
With a slight bounce in her step, Hinata made her way into the orphanage with Naruto.
As soon as they entered they were greeted by a cheerful woman with dark hair. "Hey you two, you're just in time for the celebration."
With a wave of her arm she led them to the dining room where a small crowd was gathered. Inari quickly spots them and makes her way through the group.
"Did you hear? Did you hear the good news?" she asks, bouncing in front of them, "The bad guys are gone. All of them. I don't have to worry about being found anymore. I-isn't that great?" Inari's voice starts to break; she looks down only to notice her hands are shaking. Soon she feels a shortness of breath. Both teens quickly kneel down to her level, worry evident on their faces. The tears roll down her cheeks before she even realizes.
Hinata is the first to act as she scoops the child up in her arms. Inari clings tightly to the teen, sobbing uncontrollably. Emotions she didn't even realize she was holding in finally make their way out. Right then and there she lets it all out. She cries for everyone she has lost and for everything she had to go through. But most of all she cries tears of relief. Because, after five months, she was finally free. Free to rebuild her life, to live like a normal kid. She was finally free to be happy once again.
Everyone around them stood quietly, not knowing what to say or do. Hinata gently rubbed the crying girl's back, whispering calming words into her ear. It reminded her of how her mother used to comfort her after her lessons with her father.
After a few minutes Inari's tears finally subside. With a few shaky breaths she assures everyone she is fine.
Her friends quickly circled her and give her comforting words. Inari wiped the last of her tears and thanked them for their support.
"Alright guys, enough of this emotional stuff. This is suppose to be a celebration." Kent said with a grin, ignoring Ally's glare.
Inari grinned, suddenly remembering something very important, "Well how about I tell you guys something really cool."
This quickly got everyone's attention.
"You see, when I went to meet with the Hokage, I was able to ask her something important. It's something I've wanted to ask since I first got here."
"Well what is it? Enough with the suspense." Kent said eagerly. Ally resisted the urge to elbow him since she was also anxious to know.
Inari turned to look as Hinata and Naruto, who were also interested in what she had to say.
"I'm going on a mission," Inari said simply, watching as one by one her friends gave a surprised, "Huh?"
"Hold on shrimp, there's no way you're going to go on a mission. You're not even in the academy." Naruto said accusingly.
"I am going on a mission, I requested it myself." the brown haired girl said proudly.
"What?!" the room echoed in surprise.
"Yup, I asked the Hokage to let me go visit my hometown," Inari turned her head to the side, "I want to see what it looks like now. Maybe there's even some people still living there. Maybe the fire didn't get everyone like I had thought."
"I'm sure you'll find someone Inari, I just wish I could go with you." Naruto said with a sad smile.
Inari pouted at this, "Don't tell me you already have a mission?"
The blond nervously scratched the back of his head, "Well not exactly. I'm going to go do some intense training. I'll probably be gone for a long time."
Hinata looked down, hearing him say 'for a long time,' made it hurt even more.
Inari also looked down sadly, "Oh, so when are you leaving?"
"Well I talked with granny earlier and she said we could leave tomorrow. I wanted to wait a few more days but pervy sage wants to leave as soon as possible."
"Pervy sage?" most of the younger kids said in a questioning tone. Ally and Kent took up thinking pose, certain they had heard that word before.
Ms. Kayla laughed while Ms. Bell shot the boy a fierce glare. "Naruto, I'm sure you meant to say the Legendary Toad Sage Jiraiya. He's widely known to be one of the strongest ninja in Konoha."
"Wow. So then you're going to learn a bunch of cool stuff and come back super strong huh?"
"Of course, the future Hokage has to be the best after all." Naruto proudly stated.
"Cool," the children said in unison.
"Wait, then who's going to take Inari back home?" Ally asked, remembering the original topic.
"Well the Hokage said Hinata's team was going with me. Although I was hoping to ask Naruto to come with us."
"Sorry Inari." Naruto looked down apologetically.
"It's okay, at least I'm going with someone I know." Inari said with a smile, looking up at the heiress. Hinata returned the smile.
"Lucky," Naruto said dejectedly.
"Well, now we have a lot to celebrate," Kayla said cheerfully, "So let's get this party started!"
"Yeah!" they all cheered, celebrating well into the night. At least, that's how it felt. In reality they ended the party a little after seven. That left the children enough time to get ready for bed before their curfew.
Naruto and Hinata left shortly after, giving Inari one last goodbye.
Hinata looked at the boy beside her. This was her chance to tell him everything she wasn't able to say the day before. However, she knew she had to inform her team of their new mission. Inari was very excited about it and wanted to leave as soon as possible. Now was not the time to be selfish. She would have all of tomorrow to say goodbye. She hoped.
With a sigh she says goodbye to her crush and makes her way to Kiba's.
Naruto, deciding it's still too early to go home, makes his was to Ichiraku's. "I think I still have room for at least three bowls," he says as he pats his stomach.
The next day Naruto was up and on his way to the Hokage's. Today was the last day he'd be in Konoha and he had a few things left to take care of.
When he got there he saw no sign of Shizune, so he decided to just barge into the Hokage's office. "Hey Granny, you up yet?" he yelled cheerfully.
The blonde haired woman jerked her head at the noise. Groggily she lifted her face completely off of the desk, the stacks of papers below her completely covered in drool. "Naruto you brat, what are you doing here so early? Didn't anyone ever teach you to knock."
"Ah lighten up Granny," the boy said with a grin, "Now wake up, there's something important I want to talk to you about."
"Oh yeah?" Tsunade was still drowsy as she slowly rubbed her eyes.
"It's about the Chuunin exams, now that's I'm leaving I want to know what's going to happen to Sakura."
The Hokage was now almost completely wide awake. She stretched her back a bit before answering, "Oh that, don't worry I've taken care of it. I've already put her in a team that was missing a member. I even sent Shizune over to the hospital to tell Sakura the good news."
Naruto sighed in relief, 'Good, now Sakura won't get mad at me.'
"And they'll even have time to train together and build their teamwork, considering the exams have been pushed back."
"Huh? What are you talking about Granny? Weren't they suppose to take place in a few months?" Naruto asked questioningly
'Damn, I wasn't suppose to tell anyone.' Tsunade thought with a grimace, 'Oh well, he won't be around to tell anyone so who cares.'
"Well there's a few disputes among some of the other villages. I won't go into detail but I don't think it'll be settled anytime soon. Not to mention that Suna has asked for a delay to the exams for reasons I won't disclose. Not to mention we still don't have a location picked out. So all in all I'd say it'll be at least another six months before the next Chuunin exams." Tsunade sighed; it was things like this that made her want to reach for her sake.
"Six months huh?" Naruto brought his hand to his chin, "I wonder if I can finish my training by then."
The blonde woman laughed, "I wouldn't hold my breath brat. You two aren't only heading out to do some training; Jiraiya has some information gathering to do. So just enjoy the trip, you never know what you'll find."
"Yeah I guess," Naruto sighed. Even if he couldn't be in the exams he had been hoping to at least get back in time to cheer for his friends.
A few minutes later Shizune knocked on the door, just as Naruto was leaving. "Good morning Naruto. All set for your trip?"
"Almost, I just have to finish saying goodbye."
"Well good luck and have a save trip."
Shizune smiled and waved back to the boy as he headed down the hall. She sure was going to miss him.
The short haired woman entered the office only to catch Tsunade asleep at her desk. The Hokage's assistant could only sigh, 'This is going to be a looong day.'
Sakura was making her way down the street when she spotted a familiar blond blur. 'There he is!' she yelled to herself, running towards the blur.
In a matter of seconds she was at his side, "Naruto, I have a bone to pick with you!"
The teen boy turned to his right, completely off guard. "Huh? Sakura?"
The kunoichi growled, "Naruto you jerk, did you think I wouldn't find out!"
Naruto's eyes widened in fear, "W-what are you talking about Sakura? I-I didn't do anything."
"You call leaving the village nothing?" Sakura shouted, not much anger left in her voice. If anything, it almost sounded like she was upset.
"Oh that," Naruto let out a sigh of relief before giving his teammate and apologetic look, "I'm sorry Sakura, it all just happened so fast. But I was going to say goodbye before I left."
The pink haired kunoichi sighed, taking a moment to gather her thoughts. "First Sasuke and now you…" Sakura shook the thought away, "Just make sure to come back okay. And if you see Sasuke in your travels then make sure to knock some sense into him." she said with a laugh, "Or just send word and I'll come running. I'd like to give him a piece of my mind for making us worry all this time." Sakura laughed one more, trying to put up a brave front. It took every ounce of strength she had to hold back the tears.
Naruto wasn't fooled, but pretended not to notice, "Don't worry Sakura, just leave it to me," he said with a smile. Before he could say anything else he was pulled into a hug. "S-sakura?" he questioned nervously.
The two stood there for a minute, neither saying anything.
Finally the pink haired girl pulled away and looked up with a real smile on her face. "That's just a going away present." her smile fell slightly as she looked away, "I know I haven't treated you right in the past. But I hope you know that I do care about you. And hopefully when you get back we can become better friends."
Naruto smiled, "Thanks Sakura. And don't worry about it; you'll always be an important person to me. Besides, you've actually changed a lot. I can't remember the last time you've punched me."
Sakura laughed, "Well you've been surprisingly well behaved lately."
"You say that like I'm a pet or something." he said with a pout.
The medic nin could barely contain her laughter. Naruto couldn't be upset after that. He was just happy to hear his teammate laugh. It had been so long since he had last seen her this cheerful.
"Well Naruto, make sure you eat properly and don't get into too much trouble." Sakura scolded; a smile still present on her face. "I have to get to the tower. Shizune said my team for the exams is going to meet me there."
"Good luck Sakura," Naruto said with a wave, his teammate already a short distance away.
"You too!" she shouted from across the road, waving one last goodbye before turning around.
"Alright," the blond said with newfound energy, "To Ichiraku's!"
On his way to the ramen stand the blond ran into his academy teacher Iruka. The brown haired man had heard his favorite student was leaving and rushed to make sure he would be able to say goodbye.
The two talked while they were served and of course Iruka announced it was his treat.
It had been a while since he had seen Naruto and was glad for the opportunity to catch up with him. So much had happened that Iruka had trouble taking it all in. Their talk went on for a good hour before they decided it was time to go.
After Iruka paid he said goodbye to the hyperactive blond who stayed behind.
"Well, I guess this is goodbye Naruto," Ayame said with a frown.
"Business sure will be slow without our best customer around." Teuchi said with a laugh.
"Don't worry, I'll be back before you now it." Naruto said with a huge grin. "I can't let my favorite place go out of business."
"So Hinata, when is he suppose to be here again?" Kiba asked for the third time. He and Shino had decided to accompany their teammate to the front gate to say goodbye to their friend. But the Inuzuka male was getting impatient after already waiting half an hour.
"Um, I-I'm not sure." Hinata looked down at the four year old beside her, "Inari and I just wanted to get her early so we wouldn't miss him."
"I don't think we have to wait much longer," Shino stated, looking towards their left, "Why? Because I see Master Jiraiya heading towards us."
His three companions all turned their heads and sure enough Jiraiya was on his way towards the gate.
"Well what do we have here?" the toad sage said with a grin, "Are you all here to see Naruto off?"
"Yup," Inari said cheerfully, "do you think he'll be here soon?"
Akamaru didn't give the white haired man time to reply as he barked at a figure walking towards them. Miyuki barked along with him, wagging her tail happily.
The blond teen was making his way down the street when he noticed them waiting by the gate. With a grin he picked up the pace and reached their side in less than a second.
"Hey guys, what are you doing here?"
"Dummy, what do you think we're doing here? We're here to see you off." Kiba jabbed the blond playfully. "Training's going to be pretty boring without our punching bag around." the Inuzuka teen laughed at his friends frown.
"Laugh it up dog boy," Naruto smirked, "Cause I'll be back stronger than ever."
"I'm looking forward to it Naruto. It'll be nice not having to hold back when we spar."
"I also look forward to sparing with you Naruto.," Shino added in, "Why? Because it would be interesting to see what the Legendary Sannin has taught you."
"Alright guys, you're on. Just make sure you both get stronger while I'm gone. I don't want it to be too easy for me."
The three boys went back and forth a few more times before they said their final goodbyes.
Inari comes running towards Naruto once the older boys are finished. With all her strength she manages to jump into the blonds' arms. "I'm going to really miss you Naruto." the small child whispers, fighting back her tears. "I'm really glad I met you."
Naruto smiles, returning the four year olds embrace. "I'll miss you too Inari. You were a lot of fun to have around." She sniffles a bit. He pulls her back slightly to look her in the eye. "Don't worry, I'm coming back. That's a promise, and I never go back on my word."
With a nod she is let down. Her pup, Miyuki barks what Naruto could only assume is a goodbye.
"Well if you're done then it's time to go Inari."
"Ok, bye you two." Inari turned to her puppy, "Ready to do a little training Miyuki?" The black haired pup barked in agreement.
"We'll take Inari home when we're done. See you tomorrow Hinata. Later Naruto."
Shino gave a nod as he followed the other two and their dogs.
Jiraiya grinned as he walked past the two remaining teens. "Well, guess I better give you two some privacy." he gave the boy a sly look, "Don't take too long Naruto, we have to hit the road before the sun sets."
The whiskered teen growled at the white haired man, "Damn pervert," he mumbled.
Hinata stood there, nervously playing with her fingers, 'This is it. This is my chance. I can do this,' she mentally cheered. With a shaky breath she opened her mouth but quickly found she couldn't say anything. She looked down at her feet, feeling like a failure.
Naruto scratched the back of his head, not knowing what to say. "Well," he began, "I guess this is goodbye."
The Hyuuga heiress shot her head back up, "W-wait I," she blushed and played with her fingers once more. "I-I w-wanted to…" Hinata bit her lip, willing herself to keep going.
Naruto gave the girl a confused look, "Hinata? Are you okay? Your face is kind of red."
"I-I," if possible the blue haired girl's face got even redder. She gulped, "N-naruto."
The shy teen brought her gaze up to the boy's warm blue eyes. For a second she forgot her nerves and without realizing it, she smiled. "I wanted to thank you Naruto."
"What?" he responded, clearly not expecting that.
"I-I wanted to thank you." she looked down, her shyness taking over, "If it wasn't for you I don't know what I would have done with Inari. Y-you've done so much for me, I-I really can't thank you enough."
"Aww you don't have to thank me Hinata. I'm always happy to help a friend in need." the blond grinned, feeling slightly embarrassed.
There was more she wanted to thank him for but her nerves got the best of her. With hesitant steps she walked closer to him. Each step felt heavier than the other but still she kept going. She was one step away from him, she looked up and could almost feel the warmth emanating from his body. Their feet were almost touching. Hinata lifted her head slightly, her gaze on his shoulders. Her body freezes before she can do anything more.
'Just a little more. You can do this,' she silently told herself. 'Just tell him you'll miss him and give him a hug goodbye.' She wasn't quite ready to tell him her feelings, but she at least wanted him to know she would miss him.
However, no matter how much she wanted, her body wouldn't listen. Once again she hung her head in disappointment. Scolding herself in her mind.
All the while Naruto was starting to get a little nervous. His friend had started walking towards him all of a sudden and stopped less than a foot away from him. He looks down at her, unable to see her face. What he can see is just how close she is to him. A tingly feeling starts to sweep over him. So many questions start to run through his head.
'What is she doing? Why is she so close? Is she okay? Could it be she fainted? Should I say something? Should I wait until she says something? Huh, she smells kind of nice…'
'No wait, that's-! I-I didn't mean…' a blush covered his cheeks.
With the silence surrounding them the boy could faintly heart his heart beating. 'I don't think I can take this much longer,' he looked down at his friend with pleading eyes, not caring that she couldn't see him. 'Please say something Hinata!'
'I'll never be able to tell him how I feel if I can't even tell him I'll miss him,' Hinata sadly thought to herself. 'I want to tell him. Tell him I miss him. Tell him I…'
Naruto could hear his heart beat faster and faster. He was about to break the silence when a soft voice beats him to the punch.
"I wish you weren't going." It comes out in a whisper.
The blond teen steps back, trying to look the girl in front of him in the eyes. Unfortunately her head is still down.
Hinata's eyes widen as she shoots her head up to look at her crush. She quickly brings her hands to her mouth.
Did she say that out loud? The boy's shocked face tells her all she needs to know.
"I-I'm sorry N-naruto. I-I didn't mean to…" the teen looks away, completely embarrassed. "I just think," she hesitates, "T-these past few months I feel like I've really gotten to know you. And now you're leaving to go train," the heiress sighs, "I-I'm sorry for sounding so selfish, b-but I really wish you didn't have to leave."
Suddenly she hears a laugh.
Gathering her courage, the shy girl looks at the boy in front of her.
"Sorry Hinata, " the blond chuckles, "I was just not expecting to hear that."
The Hyuuga looked down with sad eyes, 'This is just great. I've managed to make a fool out of myself in front of the person I admire most.'
"I mean," Naruto continued, "not even Iruka or Sakura said anything like that, and they're the people closest to me."
Hinata felt a pang in her heart at his words.
Naruto doesn't notice. "They did tell me they'd miss me and even told me to be careful." the boy chuckled, "Sakura even hugged me goodbye."
Her heart ached once more. She wasn't sure she really wanted to hear this.
Lavender eyes looked to see piercing cerulean eyes looking straight at her. It doesn't last as the blue eyed boy turns away, suddenly feeling warm.
"What you said Hinata," he smiled, "I dunno, it made me really happy."
The boy could feel her gaze on him, which only made him feel that much more embarrassed and slightly uncomfortable.
"S-so thanks Hinata," he grinned.
Hinata shyly smiled back.
"Hey kid, what's the hold up? Just give your little girlfriend a kiss and let's go!" Jiraiya shouted, a wide grin on face.
The blue haired heiress quickly lit up at the comment. It took every ounce of her will to stay conscious.
Naruto angrily turned to the white haired sannin, his face almost as red as Hinata's, "S-shut up you lousy pervert! It's not like that at all!"
Both teens looked everywhere but at each other. Silence took over for a minute.
"I guess I better get going."
"Make sure you do your best," the boy said with a smile, "I don't want to hear that Neji or Hanabi kicked your butt cause you went easy on them."
Hinata giggled, "O-of course Naruto. I-I'm going to train hard." she shyly looked away, "S-so that the next time we meet I won't be such a failure." 'And so next time, I can tell you how much you mean to me.'
"You're not a failure Hinata." he said in a serious tone.
"Come one Naruto, we're burning daylight here!" Jiraiya shouted, this time he did sound angry.
Naruto shot the man an angry scowl. "Sorry Hinata, I have to go."
Hinata nodded, "Bye Naruto."
Hinata watched as the boy caught up to the older man. She watched their retreating forms until they were out of her sight.
She sighed, feeling foolish. For a moment, she wished he could have at least stayed a few more weeks. At least until her birthday. But that was selfish of her. After all, she didn't have the courage to do anything for his birthday.
"Geez, pervy sage, way to totally embarrass me in front of Hinata. Where'd you get that dumb idea about her being my girlfriend anyway?" Naruto growled as soon as they made it out of Konoha.
Jiraiya laughed, "Just wishful thinking kid."
Naruto gave the sannin a confused look. But shrugged it off and instead turned back to look at the village. His home would soon be out of view.
'I'll come back, I promise. I won't be disappear like Sasuke,' he thought to himself.
'Wait for me.'
Gah, so tired… need to sleep…
So what did you think? Hopefully you liked it.
There's so much I want to say.
But I won't bore you with my rambling. Instead I'll just say thank you for sticking by for all these years.
Book 1 may have ended but there's still two more books to go.
I'm sorry for the lack of Naruhina fluff in this entire story. This book was mostly a set up for the whole story.
Now is when I really have to pull out the fluffy scenes.
Can I do it? You'll just have to wait and see.
If you have any questions then please leave me a comment. I will respond as quickly as I can.