A New Start

Disclaimer: not mine! :p

AN: I hope you will enjoy this update, and review! : )

Hinata's Assignment

Hinata watched through the door crack of Sakura's bedroom with saddened eyes. She had wanted to ask Sakura a question, but as she approached her bedroom she heard crying. The hallway was dark, and Hinata stopped dead. Her question wasn't all that important and she wasn't sure if she should go in there or go away. She stood glued in spot conflicted on what to do. Her eyes were glued to the crying girl before her.

The light from the moon lit the room. Sakura sat on her bed with her back against the head board looking out the window at the moon. Hinata even thought she heard Sakura whisper something and strained to listen more closely. Hinata looked down at the ground when Sakura spoke a little more loudly than before.

"Sasuke-kun…why?" she sobbed quietly. "Why…won't you come home?" when she spoke the last part her eyes spilled over and her face scrunched in an attempt to stop the overflow of tears.

Hinata didn't know the pain Sakura felt losing the one she loved this way. It wasn't as though Sasuke had died, it was far worse he left, and even betrayed everyone. Hinata knew she couldn't even begin to understand Sakura's feelings, but she tried. But even so, after all the Uchiha put her and this village through she couldn't understand why Sakura felt the way she did.

Hinata accidently leaned on the door causing it to creek loudly disturbing Sakura from her crying. She attempted to quickly dry her face from her crying.

"Hinata-chan? Is everything alright?" Sakura asked.

"I-I- *sighs* s-sorry sempai. I heard you crying, and I came to make sure you were alright." Hinata answered through slight stutters.

"Oh, you heard me then?"

Hinata nodded embarrassedly. Sakura motioned for Hinata to enter the room. It was obvious to Sakura that Hinata was trying to make her feel better, and the truth was she needed it.

"Are you okay?" Hinata asked Sakura worriedly.

"Yea. I guess this mission was much harder on me than I thought. I really thought we were going to bring him home, and start over fresh." Sakura admitted.

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be. We'll bring him home next time." Sakura said with a sad smile.

Hinata didn't know what to say to Sakura's reply. It was one of the few times Hinata had actually grown angry. She was a peaceful person for the most part, but this made her angry. Why would Sakura put herself through all this for Sasuke? It didn't make any sense to her and she was burning to know why Sakura was hanging on to this shattered hope that Sasuke would return and then they'd actually be happy. Maybe it was the training with Sakura, or even being around Ino too much, but before she knew it her mouth was open and she was asking.

"Sakura-sempai, why do you love someone like him?"

Sakura was shocked Hinata had asked such a bold question. Her face seemed to be shocked and confused all together. She took a deep breath before answering.

"It's not as simple as you may think. The way he is now…he wasn't always like this. Orochimaru used Sasuke's painful past to manipulate him, and he changed. His heart is in the darkness, but Naruto and I made a vow to bring him back…" her voice trailed sadly.

"Do you really think things will go back to the way they were before Sasuke left?" Hinata asked boldly.

Sakura's fantasy life was shattered there. She knew deep down even if they managed to bring Sasuke back chances were he wasn't going to come willingly, nor would he be part of their team again. He'd most likely be incarcerated. Sakura's eye welled up with tears again. Things could never work, but she still loved him with all her heart.

"At least I'm not in love with a clueless dobe." Sakura spat out bitterly.

Hinata's eyes widened at the jab, and she felt a sting of tears prickling her eyes. Sakura realized immediately that she shouldn't have said those words, even in anger especially to Hinata. Hinata was frozen there between hurt and anger unwilling to speak further but wanting to at the same time.

"Hinata-chan! I'm sorry. I didn't mean anything by it. Please, I was just upset…"

"No I suppose you're right. Naruto-kun will never notice me…"

Sakura put her hand on Hinata's shoulder to comfort the girl. She had known that Naruto was a touchy subject with her, and she knew she'd been way out of line in her last statement.

"You could just tell him how you feel already, I mean he's not a jackass he's just utterly clueless and not the observant type is all."

"N-no I couldn't…" Hinata replied shyly.

Sakura thought for a second with a smirk ever growing on her face. Hinata observed the smirk and felt her face flush.

"Sempai?"

"Hnm…I think I have a new training assignment for you." Sakura spoke vaguely, but Hinata didn't like the smile on her face, it reminded her of one of Ino's devious smiles.

Hinata gulped hoping beyond hope it had nothing to do with Naruto, but the feeling of dread was growing and Hinata came to realize just what Sakura's assignment might be. Hinata's heart pounded in her throat, and her palms began to sweat in her nervous state.

"Sempai you wouldn't…would you?" Hinata asked timidly.

"Oh, but I would." Sakura replied with a devious gleam in her eyes.

"N-No p-please." Hinata stuttered anxiously.

"Nope I'm afraid it's for your own good." Sakura smiled maliciously. "The next step to your training is to ask Naruto out on a date." She finished with a smile.

"Training? A date?" Hinata whispered aloud while her mind spun with the thought of asking her beloved Naruto out on a date.

"Yup, and you've two days to ask him out, or you fail!" Sakura eyed her seriously for good measure.

Hinata gulped and nodded wide eyed, and uncertain if she could bring herself to even speak to Naruto like that, but then if she didn't Sakura said she'd fail…just what does that mean? She wondered. Hinata was about to ask when Sakura spoke again.

"Well, you better go figure out your game plan." She smiled.

Hinata left the room with her heart racing and feelings of the 'butterflies' everyone spoke of plagued her abdomen. She walked back to the dining room which had been converted into her bedroom and plopped down on her futon with a nervous expression casted over her features.

'What have I gotten myself into?' Hinata asked herself.

Deep down of course a part of her was a little excited at the thought of going on a date with Naruto, but the fact that she only had two days and SHE had to ask him out, was really making her anxious. She was definitely a shy girl, but it was more than that. Hinata used to spend much of her free time following Naruto, and watching over him, and she wasn't sure if she could handle being rejected by him. Hinata was certain if he rejected her she'd die on the spot.

Her eyes prickled with tears at the thought, and her heart raced faster. This certainly was a mess, and she hadn't a clue of what she should do either. Her mind raced through different scenarios with different outcomes, mostly bad while sleep lulled her away, and her eyes closed shut for the night.

The Next Day Ichiraku Ramen

Naruto sat staring wide eyed at Sakura who sat on the stool next to him. He'd been so shocked by her statement that he stopped mid-chew and stray noodles hung from his mouth and he nearly choked on the rest. Sakura shook her head irritated by his childish antics, and gave him the look. The look was enough for the blonde to become a little serious for the sake of his head.

"You want me to go out with Hinata?!" Naruto yelled confused by Sakura's sudden request.

Sakura rested her head in her palm and sighed. She knew Naruto was dense, but was it really that hard for the knucklehead to grasp?

"Yes." she replied.

"But why?" Naruto asked clearly confused by Sakura's latest request.

"Look idiot, Hinata really likes you! The girl has ALWAYS liked you. The least you can do is accept her offer when she asks you and get to know her."

"But Sakura-chan you're the only one I want to be with…"

Sakura feeling like she was getting nowhere with the baka slapped him upside his head.

"Well you better just get over it because I'm in love with Sasuke-kun!" she yelled simultaneously slapping him again for protesting further.

"Oooooouch Sakura-chan!"

Sakura watched as Naruto rubbed the bump forming on his head and sighed. If he'd only stop acting like an idiot she wouldn't be so quick tempered with him, but she felt badly and held her hand to him but instead of striking him her chakra glowed green and took the lump from his head.

"Naruto, I'm sorry."

"It's alright Sakura-chan it was just a bump on the he-" he started to say, but was interrupted.

"Not that baka. I'm sorry I can't return your feelings. I've tried several times to forget Sasuke…but I can't. Naruto you're a wonderful guy, but my heart is elsewhere and it's not something I can change so easily." Sakura said in a serious tone.

"I'll wait until you're ready then." The blonde replied cheerily.

"Naruto, you just don't get it do you? I'm telling you don't waste your time on me. I will never be able to return your feelings. Don't get me wrong I care a great deal for you and it might even be 'love' but it's the love that a brother and sister would share. But Hinata's love for you runs deep, much deeper than mine ever could, so I think you should give her a chance."

Naruto's face saddened, 'Sakura-chan thinks of me like a brother?'

"So will you give her a chance?" Sakura asked hopefully as she didn't want Hinata to be rejected.

Naruto dropped his chopsticks and thought about it for several moments before speaking again.

"Are you sure she like me?" Naruto asked as though he may have been a little nervous.

Sakura couldn't believe he really hadn't noticed the way Hinata looked at him all these years.

"You really are clueless aren't you?"

"What's that supposed to mean?!" he yelled confused.

"You're the only who hasn't noticed Hinata's practically in love with you!" Sakura replied.

Naruto's eyes widened. 'Love?'

"So are you going to turn her down?"

"I don't dislike Hinata-chan, I like her, but I'm not sure exactly how I like her."

"Well, you won't know unless you accept her date." Sakura replied smiling.

"Okay."

Naruto went back to his ramen uncertain of things. He never really thought that anyone would have feelings towards him, and he definitely didn't think it was Hinata. Sakura watched him curiously as he quietly ate his ramen, a sure sign the blonde was doing some serious thinking which was a rare occurrence. She smiled as she left the ramen stand, and walked home knowing Hinata was surely trying to find the perfect time to ask Naruto, and didn't want to be in her way.

Konoha Forest

Hinata sat in the forest just wondering what to do. How was she supposed to approach him with this? She looked up at the sunlight flickering through the tree tops and sighed. Today was her last day and it was already late afternoon.

Hinata took a deep breath and activated her byakugan to look for Naruto's chakra, and saw him heading towards his old training grounds, and thankfully was alone. This was probably going to be the best chance she had so she took it.

AN: Yup I'm going to leave it here for now! A little bit of a cliffy but not really, since you know what Naruto's answer will be! : ) Well, I hope you enjoyed and please review!