A/N: Ugh, my browser flipped on me while I was going around reformatting chapters of my remaining fics, making them look pretty and what not, so it accidentally deleted this chapter…
Please don't kill me.
Disclaimer: Naruto, I own not
"Hinata-san!" came Yuuhi Kurenai's sharp voice as the Hyuuga entered the room. "Care you explain why you are so late tonight?" The rest of the ketsuki students that were seated in the large room turned around to face the Hyuuga Princess.
"Ano… Sensei… I really don't have an explanation." Hinata could see Kurenai's grip on the textbook tighten and she knew that her sensei was not pleased. She glanced around hoping that she could come up with something to say, but nothing came to her.
The pale-eyed girl stood there nervously, pressing out some wrinkles in her school uniform, which she had slipped into quite hurriedly earlier before. Unlike with the dhampirs, the Academy required that all ketsukis to wear a standard school uniform, which included a button-up blouse with a knee-length skirt for the girls, and a blazer, dress shirt, and slacks for the guys; all in the school's signature maroon and black colors with the insignia.
"That's quite alright, Hinata-san." Kurenai suddenly said, her grip on the textbook relaxing. "Just don't let it happen again." The Hyuuga Princess nodded silently before settling down in her usual seat next to Gaara Sabaku, another royal ketsuki in the back of the classroom.
With a fairly antisocial attitude, other students just naturally kept away from Gaara. With Hinata, her tragic history had kept people away from her as well, so it was only naturally that to they would become friends. Hinata had been shocked to find that she was able to talk to him so easily. With fire-red hair and piercing aquamarine eyes, she had found him to be attractive, and had even developed a slight crush on the Sarutobi royal.
"What took you so long this morning?" was the first thing that flew out of his mouth the moment that she took her seat next to him and Kurenai-sensei was a good distance away.
"Well, Gaara-san…" Hinata started, the aforementioned red head's eyes became a fraction of an inch wider at the formal way Hinata addressed him, but she hadn't noticed this. She was unsure about how to tell Gaara about the fact that she hadn't been drinking any blood lately. "I had… ano… forgotten to draw any blood from the feeders…."
Gaara looked at her skeptically. His aqua eyes were giving her such an intense gaze that she started feeling very nervous and looked away with a blush. There was a small silence between the two as Hinata pulled out her notebook and pencil to begin taking notes. Just as he hand was poised and ready to write, a pale, thin and larger hand enveloped hers.
"Please don't do that again," Hinata felt warm breath tease her ears that made hairs stand on her neck and sent a chill down her spine. "You had really worried me." A full-bloom blush emerged on the Hyuuga Princess's face and she turned away to hide her blush from Gaara. For once she was thankful that they sat in the back of the room.
"Get off me!" Sasuke growled as two girls tackled him as soon as he had entered the gymnasium. His best friend, Uzumaki Naruto, laughed as the black-haired Dhampir attempted to peel the red and pink blobs off him.
"I really don't understand why Karin and Sakura do this every single day," Tenten, a brown-haired girl that wore her hair into two buns, whispered to Naruto from her seat on the mats next to him. "All it does is get sensei really pissed at-"
"What the hell are you all goofing off for?" came the booming voice from the other side of the room. All heads turned towards the direction of the door that lead to their instructor's office as the door slammed closed. The two girls detached themselves from their beloved.
Mitarashi Anko glared at the group of dhampirs that were gathered before her. "This is a very serious class! I know it might seem like fun and games to you, but only through physical conditioning would you be able to protect your ketsuki." Anko growled out. She promptly turned around, her coat billowing behind her, and retrieved a box that was on the floor.
"I know you probably are expecting to be training with magic stakes," The to-be-guardians all suddenly became very excited, whispering to one-another, "but, seeing as all of you are only 15 or 16 years of age, the Academy has decided that you all will used these metal kunai instead. They don't believe that you are ready to handle the real deal yet."
"But Anko-sensei!" One voice wailed. Everyone in the room turned to give their attention to the one who was speaking, Naruto.
"Baka, think about what you are going to say before you say it." Sasuke whispered to Naruto just as the blonde opened his mouth to speak again.
"We have been training to be Guardians for over five years already!" The dhampir spoke. Off to the side, Sasuke audibly groaned. This is not going to go well… he thought to himself. "We have handled with swords, longbows, and even, well some of us, guns. Now you're telling me that the Academy wants us to train with knifes? This is bullshit!"
"What did you just say?" Anko crisply replied.
"What I just said was that we are ready enough to handle Akuma; we have been training years and years for this and you say that we aren't ready to handle using the magic stakes? What good are these kunai anyway?" As if on cue, a kunai whizzed by and landed itself right next to Naruto, just missing his ear by a few millimeters.
"Fine then." Anko replied lowering her hand from it's throwing position, though the blonde dhampir was still in shock from the sudden flying projectile and was only partially listening to what his instructor was telling him, "if you truly think that you are ready enough, then handling knifes should be easy enough, no? And what better way then a spar."
"A what?" Naruto replied dumbly, finally catching on to what Anko had been saying.
"A spar, Uzumaki. You've had those before, no?" The blonde nodded silently in reply. "Okay, now who wants to be this young man's sparing partner?" An eerie silence enveloped the entire gymnasium as none of the students responded. No one wanted to be the center of Anko's attention when it was fairly obvious that she was in a bad mood. (Naruto is idiot enough to never notice or learn from his past mistakes.)
"No one?" Anko looked around at her students. "Honestly?" She tried to stifle a chuckle. "You dhampirs are training to become guardians. If you can't handle a single spar than it's obvious that you wouldn't be able to handle the Akumas."
Their sensei tried to incite a response from the group, but once again, there was silence. "Fine then. Uchiha," Sasuke looked up at the mention of his name. "You spar with Uzumaki." Immediately, the students started whispering amongst each other. Though Sasuke and Naruto were really good friend, it was common knowledge that they were also rivals, though Naruto was never as good as Sasuke when it came to fighting… or anything else for that matter.
Anko threw one of the kunai at Sasuke, who swiftly caught it. Their sensei started clearing people out of the center of the gym, to make sure that there was enough room.
"This is an anything-goes spar. However, I don't want to see anything too bloody, beside that, have fun." Anko stepped out of the area as Naruto and Sasuke stepped in. At the sound of her whistle the fight began.
Naruto made the first move. In a very hectic and predictable manner, he swung his fist at Sasuke when he had the chance. Sasuke caught his hand and delivered a swift blow to Naruto's stomach. With a grunt, Naruto slid a good five feet away from Sasuke.
The blonde grabbed Sasuke's arm and, with a burst of strength, he threw his best friend back onto the mats. Several gasps were emitted from the audience as Sasuke's back hit the ground with a loud impact. Naruto scoffed at the Uchiha and turned is back to face him, as if to taunt Sasuke. A low growl rung from deep inside his throat as Sasuke balanced his body weight on this hands and swung his left foot at the back of Naruto's calves.
As he fell backwards, Naruto tried to spin his body around, as to cushion the blow, but instead, he ended up badly bruising his right arm. He hadn't really taken into consideration how much he would have to turn, and ended up landing on his arm.
Naruto froze just as he got to his feet; he suddenly felt as if it was hard to breathe. Turning his head a little, he could see Sasuke at the edge of his vision. The Uchiha smirked triumphantly. The blonde dhampir felt the cold metal of a kunai pressed at the base of his neck, threatening to cut his throat. There was a long silence, pierced occasionally only by Naruto's loud attempts to bring oxygen into his lungs.
"If I were an akuma, you would've long been dead." Sasuke roughly let go of his best friend, the blonde falling to the ground, gasping for much needed oxygen. Naruto's hand automatically went to feel at his throat, and his fingers touched a warm, wet surface.
"Sasuke, you bastard!" Naruto lunged at his best friend, but was pulled back by their very displeased instructor.
"That's enough out of you today, Uzumaki. Had you really been ready enough to face an akuma, that one spar would've lasted a lot longer than a mere five minutes." She pulled him away and he fell backwards, landing on his back. A few of the other students were stifling their laughter.
"I know how you're like!" Naruto called after Sasuke, though the latter just ignored him. "You want power Sasuke!" Naruto growled out, the anger from losing a match was laced in his words but his words went up against deaf ears. "You're just going to want power and want to get stronger. You're going to end up like that traitor brother of yours!"
Sasuke froze in mid-step, his hands balling into fists by his side. He turned around in one swift movement and glared at Naruto; many that were present could've sworn that the temperature in the room had dropped drastically.
Instantly, Sasuke appeared in front of Naruto with a speed that had many of the dhampirs jealous. He grabbed the neck of the blonde's shirt and lifted him up. "I'm nothing like him." The Uchiha's voice was barely a whisper; many strained to hear him. "I have never been, nor will I ever be like that bastard!" He threw Naruto onto the ground and left the gym.
For the most of the rest of their ketsuki classes, Hinata had been avoiding Gaara. (Royal ketsuki tend to have similar morning schedules) Just at a mere thought of the stunning red-headed royal, Hinata's face would burst into fireworks. But this had been a lot harder than it seemed. For the Hyuuga princess and the Sabaku normally sat next to each other in every single class that they had together.
Through Ketsuki History, the class she had after the class with Kurenai-sensei, Hinata had managed to snag a seat on the opposite side of the room from where she normally sat; next to Temari, Gaara's older sister who –despite Hinata's tragic history—was a good friend with Hinata. She had not questioned Hinata's sudden change in seating, as her own table-partner was sick that night.
But come the final class before midnight, Ketsuki Magic Lessons, Temari was no longer in Hinata's class, as the Academy separated these classes by age group. So once again, Hinata found herself sitting next to the silent Sabaku. While the first part of the lesson had gone by smoothly, a problem arose when the teacher instructed for the students to get into groups according with the element that they specialize in to practice some minor spells.
The rest of the ketsuki students already had discovered their main element a few a year or two ago, but Hinata still had not. Her teacher said it was possible that she was a "late bloomer" but the Hyuuga princess highly doubted that.
So Hinata sat there quietly as the students got into their groups; Gaara had gotten up to go join the rest of the fire element users. From what Hinata had heard, the Sabaku was not just learning any "petty" magic, but had also been learning some offensive spells. This was probably just one of the many rumors that floated around the school concerning the red-head.
"My, my. Now what is this? Does the Hyuuga Princess have no where to go?" Hinata looked up warily, her pearl eyes meeting another, as if looking into a mirror. It was Hyuuga Neji, Hinata's cousin and a few friends of his.. It had been a while since they had spoken, even though they shared a few classes.
Before the incident, Neji and Hinata had been on some semi-decent terms. They were even close to being friends. This was a large accomplishment, seeing as Neji had hated his younger cousins during their childhood due to the fact that Hinata was of the Main Family, and Neji was of the lesser.
However things had reverted back to their rocky relationship as soon as the incident happen. Hinata buried her head in her hands. Even though Neji would never say anything, she was sure that he blamed her for what had happened.
It was odd that now of all times, Neji had chosen to speak with Hinata. How long had it been? A few years. No, more. Maybe even a decade. The younger Hyuuga couldn't really remember. But… Neji wasn't even in her Magic class… What is he doing here?
"Well, Hinata-sama," Neji sneered. "What are you doing just sitting here; shouldn't you be joining one of the groups?" His friends chuckled behind him. Neji walked closer to her, his form looming over her. He gave a backwards glance to his friends and gave a small nod.
Hinata was roughly pushed backwards, and she started falling as she lost her footing. As she was falling, she instinctively closed her eyes. The princess felt a pair of warm, strong arms surround her as they prevented her from falling. When she opened her eyes again to look at the person who had caught her, she was shocked to say the least.
"G-Gaara-san!" the red-head looked down at her when she called his name. He smirked back in response. Hinata's face flushed; that was the closest to a smile he had ever given her. She gently leaned into him, breathing in his musky scent; he smelled of faint cinnamon and of fire .He seemed to pay no attention to what she was doing. A loud scream pierced the air and the pale-eyed girl turned to look at the direction of the scream. Her heart nearly stopped.
Her cousin, her tormentor, Neji was the one who had screamed. And he had a good reason too. His arm was burning with an unusual blood-red fire. The flames licked and danced about his skin as the smell of burning flesh filled the air around them. Hinata looked back at Gaara and could see the malicious look in his eyes. She gave a shocked gasp and looked at him reprovingly, "Gaara-san!"
With a flick of his wrist, the flames disappeared. But in it's absence, the fire had done great damage to his arm. Neji fell backwards onto the ground, unconscious, as his friends scurried around him, trying to figure out what to do next.
Hinata felt Gaara's arms tighten around her and he hugged her closer to his body. "Please," he whispered huskily into her ear; the tingle from earlier in the day was back, "call me Gaara-kun."
End of Chapter 2