Author's Notes: This is a collection of side-stories, cut scenes, and/or omake for my fanfic, One Small Step. These will be stories that take place in the One Small Step universe but (a) don't fit one of the Thirty Kisses themes, (b) don't have kisses in them, (c) focus on other characters instead of on Naruto and/or Hinata, or (d) all of the above. Most will be unconnected oneshots and won't follow any chronological order.

Warning: If you haven't read One Small Step yet, then the stories may or may not make any sense.

Title: Valentine's Day – a One Small Step Omake

Author: Shawny Wong

Pairing: Naruto/Hinata

Theme: #19 red

Disclaimer: The characters of Naruto belong to Kishimoto Masashi. This story is written without permission, for fan purposes only.

Summary: After discovering that his best friend has a secret crush on some boy, Naruto decides that Valentine's Day is the perfect way to find out who it is...

Valentine's Day takes place between chapters 4 and 5 of One Small Step (i.e. between "Healing Kiss" and "Beside Kiss"). Naruto and Hinata are still at the Academy.

One Small Detour: Valentine's Day

Naruto had never seen so much red in his life.

Their classroom was decorated with every single shade of red imaginable, ranging from pale pastel pink to deep ruby red. Bright red streamers hung from the ceiling. Cotton candy pink balloons floated overhead. Red paper hearts embellished with hot pink glitter covered all the walls (hiding the life-sized diagram of the chakra circulatory system and the super-sized map of the Land of Fire). At the front of the class, a glass jar of red foil wrapped chocolates sat on the teacher's desk. From the open windows, a gentle breeze wafted in, carrying the scent of freshly cut red roses. Small gifts tied with red ribbon adorned nearly every desk. And in the back of the classroom, Chouji was munching on his third bag of raspberry jam filled cookies, his fifth cherry flavored liquorice stick, and his ninth box of of strawberry pocky.

Red was everywhere.

Today should be called Red Day, instead of Valentine's Day. Naruto thought.

Due to the significance of the day, Iruka-sensei had generously granted his class a free two hour study period in the morning. Ostensibly, this was so that they could study for their next history exam. In reality, Iruka-sensei knew that getting his students to pay attention today of all days would be futile. His students were so preoccupied with candy, flowers, and puppy love that they wouldn't hear a single word he said! Several "study" groups had formed, as people naturally gravitated towards their friends. However, they exchanged more Valentine cards than index cards – and the questions being asked were more along the lines of "Do you think he likes me?" rather than "Which treaty officially ended the cold war between Konoha and Kumo?"

Naruto rolled his eyes at the gaggle of blushing girls gathered around Sasuke's desk. Predictably, the silly girls were attempting to shower their precious Sasuke-kun with Valentine's cards, gifts, and love letters. And just as predictably, Sasuke was ignoring all of them... right up until the moment one girl, bolder than the rest, tried to kiss him...


… and ended up kissing a log instead.

Naruto snickered at poor girl's confusion... and at the angry red flush on Sasuke's scowling face as he stormed outside.

Valentine's Day was a weird holiday, Naruto concluded. It made the girls in his class extra giggly, extra perky, and extra ditzy. It also made them lose every last bit of their common sense. After all, Valentine's Day was a day just like any other. If Sasuke had never accepted any gifts or requests for dates from any of the girls who constantly chased him... what made them think that he would accept them today? He didn't like any of his fangirls yesterday or the day before yesterday or the day before that. So obviously, he wouldn't like them today, either.

Valentine's Day wasn't magic!

Naruto shook his head in disbelief when several girls, including Sakura and Ino, ran out after Sasuke.

Valentine's Day makes girls extra weird, but at least Hinata-chan is still normal.

Naruto looked over at his study partner – and the only girl in the class who was actually studying, instead of mooning over a boy. He couldn't help the wide smile that crossed his face at the sight of his best friend. She had tucked a strand of blue-black hair behind one ear and was taking notes as she read from their history textbook. She didn't seem to notice that today was Valentine's Day – or if she did, she simply didn't care. She wasn't silly, like those other girls. She was serious about becoming an excellent ninja – which meant training hard... and studying hard.

Naruto sighed. He needed to stop procrastinating. He opened his book to the correct page and started reading, too. Somehow, reading about boring dead people was always more palatable with Hinata around.

"Hey, Hinata-chan. Can I borrow your notes from yesterday?" he asked, a few minutes later.

"Naruto-kun, didn't you take your own notes?" she asked reproachfully. "You promised that you would."

"I did!"

"Then why do you need mine?" she asked curiously.

"The thing is... mine are kind of... messy... and sometimes... I can't figure out what I've written," Naruto said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head. "But I never have trouble reading yours. Please? Pretty please? With lots and lots of cherries on top? I'll be your best friend for ever and ever!"

Hinata's lips twitched in amusement.

"Since you asked so nicely... of course, you may." She reached for her book bag and rummaged through it for her class notes. A moment later, she pulled out a leather bound book with the Hyuuga crest embossed on the cover and handed it to him with a smile. "Here you go, Naruto-kun."

But instead of taking the book from her, he was staring at her... and frowning. Hinata faltered.

"Is... is there something wrong, Naruto-kun?"

"What's that?" he asked abruptly.

"I don't understand. What's what?"

"That, in there," he said, pointing at her bag. "I saw something red and shiny... Is that a Valentine?!"

It was.

Hinata was absolutely mortified. She blushed so hard that her entire face turned maroon.

"No! I m-m-mean y-yes! B-But it doesn't m-m-matter anyways b-b-because... I w-w-wanted to g-give it to... That is... it's f-for... it's f-f-for... It's o-o-only chocolate and it's h-h-homemade and I'm n-n-not like S-S-Sakura-san... So... I c-c-c-"

Naruto frowned. Hinata hadn't stuttered this badly in months. It was so bad, he could barely understand her – and it was only getting worse.

"Calm down, Hinata-chan," he interrupted gently. "It's for that guy you like, isn't it?"

Hinata nodded miserably.

"You made him some homemade chocolate?"

She nodded again, not trusting her voice.

"Then I'm sure he'll like it. You're a great cook!" he said reassuringly. "Don't worry so much. Okay?"


Naruto reached over and gently took the notebook from her trembling hands, before quietly returning to his work.

Hinata bit her lip and wished for the hundredth time that she was more like Naruto. She thought she was getting stronger. So why wasn't she brave enough to tell Naruto that she liked him as more than a friend? She'd had the perfect opportunity to give Naruto his Valentine – and she'd blown it.

I guess... It doesn't really matter anyways. She sighed sadly. It's just a silly holiday.

Naruto kept turning pages every few minutes, but it was just a pretense. He was kicking himself for being so blunt and upsetting Hinata. He knew how sensitive she was about her secret crush! She was horribly self-conscious and extremely embarrassed about it. In fact, it was so bad that she couldn't even tell him who it was – and they told each other everything. He should have kept his stupid mouth shut.

'Is that a Valentine?' Well, of course, it's a Valentine, you idiot! What else would it be? Naruto wanted to bang his head on the desk. (Maybe he'd knock some sense into himself if he did. It was worth a try.)

Ever since he discovered that Hinata had a secret crush on a boy, he'd promised himself that he'd watch out for her. It was his duty as her best friend! If she was going to go crushing on some stupid boy, then he was going to make sure that that boy didn't hurt her – or else. The only problem was Naruto had no idea who it was – and he'd recklessly promised not to ask, when he saw how much it upset Hinata.

But maybe... maybe I don't have to ask! Naruto sat up straight and grinned. Today is Valentine's Day. All I have to do is keep a close eye on Hinata-chan. The one that she gives her Valentine to will be the one that she likes...

and then he and I are going to have a little talk...

Naruto did an admirable job of sticking to Hinata like glue all morning. He followed her so closely that Hinata nearly tripped over him every time she turned around.

When Hinata got up to ask Shikamaru a question about strategy, Naruto was right behind her.

"Do you mind? You're so troublesome... I can't think with you breathing down my neck."

When the other girls stole Hinata away for some girl time, Naruto was there – even though he was immediately shooed away.

"Didn't you hear us? This is for girls only," Ino snapped. "Are you a girl? No! Now go away!"

He ended up sulking just out of earshot, but made sure to keep her within eye-sight at all times.

When Iruka-sensei asked Hinata to take a box of teaching materials (containing books, maps, and several sets of flash cards) down the hall to Fuyutsuki-sensei's classroom, Naruto immediately volunteered to help, too.

"Will you stop groveling?" Iruka closed his eyes, pinched the bridge of his nose, and prayed for patience. "Fine! You can go with her, Naruto. Just stay out of trouble and come straight back."

He even followed her to the restroom, much to Hinata's consternation – though he knew better than to follow her inside! When she found him loitering outside the girls bathroom waiting for her, Hinata finally had enough.

"Naruto-kun, are you following me?!" she asked suspiciously.

"Of course not!"

She didn't believe him for a minute.

Unfortunately, Naruto had less luck with his self-imposed task later that afternoon.

Every other Friday, their normal taijutsu class was replaced with a simulated "mission." The mission objectives varied, ranging from investigation (which was really a glorified scavenger hunt on the Academy grounds) to direct-combat (where students were required to attack and/or defend a small territory on the training field) to escort-and-ambush (where one team would try to "escort" a "civilian" from training field A to training field B and another team would try to "ambush" them in between). Naruto usually enjoyed the simulated missions. They were more exciting than simple sparring and gave him a taste of what it was like to be a real ninja. However, in order to promote teamwork, the teams were always randomly selected.

Naruto cursed when he and Hinata were placed on different teams for a capture-the-flag mission. He was separated from her for the entirety of the "mission." And to make matters worse, he later found out that Hinata's team managed to complete their "mission" half an hour early – and as a reward for doing so well, they were allowed to do as they pleased while waiting for the rest of the teams to finish.

What if she'd given her Valentine away while he was busy with capture-the-flag? He'd have to wait until next Valentine's Day to find out who Hinata liked! That was a whole year away!

My life would be so much easier if Hinata-chan would just tell me who she likes. Naruto thought grumpily. How am I supposed to protect her if I don't know who it is?

The sun hung low in the sky, casting an orange-red glow over the village. Soon it would vanish over the horizon and allow the pale moon to shine. The brightest evening stars were already visible to the naked eye.

In just a few hours, Valentine's Day would be over.

In just a few minutes, she and Naruto would reach the crossroads where they normally parted ways.

Hinata glanced at the boy walking quietly beside her. (The sunset made his bright blonde hair look orange – his favorite color. She thought it suited him.) She bit her lip and looked down at her feet. Her hands clenched the strap of her book bag almost painfully.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't give it to him.

After sneaking into the kitchen late last night... After spending hours making the chocolate and then decorating it... After carefully wrapping it and making sure that everything was perfect... All that effort... All for nothing.

Hinata took a deep breath. The intersection where they normally parted – she, to go north towards the Hyuuga estate – and he, to go south towards his small apartment – was only a few feet away. Even if she couldn't give him the Valentine, she could at least wish him a happy Valentine's Day. Right?

"Happy Valentine's Day, Naruto-kun," she said as cheerfully as she could.

Naruto smiled and returned the sentiment.

"Happy Valentine's Day, Hinata-chan."

"Good night," she said, as she turned to go.

"Wait! I was just wondering..." Naruto hesitated. It was probably a bad idea to bring it up, but he really wanted to know! "Did you give it to him? Did you give him your Valentine?"

Hinata bit her lip and looked away, pressing her fingers together. That told him everything he needed to know.

"You didn't. Why not, Hinata-chan?"

"I was t-too n-nervous," she whispered.

"What's there to be nervous about? Just go up to him and hand him your Valentine."

"I... I can't do that, Naruto-kun. I thought I could... but..." She shook her head and shrugged. "Besides, Valentine's Day is over. It's too late."

Hinata looked so depressed that Naruto knew he had to do something. He hated to see her so unhappy.

"It's okay, Hinata-chan. There's always next year," he said encouragingly, but she still looked miserable. Naruto desperately racked his brain for a solution. "I know! I'll help you train!"

"Train?" Hinata blinked in confusion.

"All you need is some practice!" Naruto said excitedly. "If you practice, then next year, you'll be able to give your Valentine to him for sure!"

"Practice? Train? Naruto-kun... What are you talking about?"

"Whenever we have trouble with doing stuff, we train and train until we get better. You're just nervous, right? So we'll practice and practice until you're not! Here. I'll show you. Where's your Valentine?"

Hinata was still puzzled, but she did as he asked and carefully took the gift out from her book bag. The small box was wrapped in red and tied with a pink ribbon.

"Okay. Now we can practice. Hold it out in front of you with both hands... just like that. Perfect!" Naruto nodded approvingly. "I'll pretend to be your crush and-"

"Wh-What?!" she stammered. She stared at him with wide eyes, so startled that she almost dropped the box in her hands.

"I'll pretend to be your crush and you can practice giving that to me until you're not nervous anymore," he explained patiently. "Then next year, you'll have no trouble at all!"


"Trust me, Hinata-chan," Naruto said confidently. "This is going to work!"

"I c-can't-"

"Of course, you can! It'll be easy! Now, repeat after me. 'Naruto-kun, I really like you.'"

Hinata blushed so hard that it felt like her cheeks were on fire. Her mouth opened and closed, but nothing came out.

"Come on, Hinata-chan. Work with me a little," Naruto said in exasperation. Then he grinned mischievously. "How about this? Repeat after me. 'I made these chocolates for you, idiot. So you'd better accept them and you'd better like me back or my best friend will kick your ass.'"

Hinata gaped at him for all of two seconds... before she burst into laughter. She laughed and laughed until her sides hurt.

Naruto looked on in satisfaction. She wasn't depressed anymore. Good.

"I can't say that, Naruto-kun!" she gasped, still giggling a full two minutes later.

"Why not?" he asked innocently. "I thought that speech was perfect. But if you want we can try a different speech. Try saying this, 'I made this Valentine's chocolate especially for you.'"

"I m-made this V-Valentine's chocolate e-e-especially f-f-for y-you."

Naruto shook his head. She was only pretending to talk to her crush – and yet, it was making her stammer worse than she had in months. She really has it bad for this guy...

"Relax, Hinata-chan. It's just me, remember?"

Unfortunately, that was exactly her problem! It was Naruto.

"I'll..." she took a deep breath and squared her shoulders. "I'll try."

"Good. Try saying that one more time."

"I m-made this... Valentine's chocolate especially f-for... you."

"'So I hope you like it.'"

"S-So... So I hope you like it."

"Thank you. I'm sure I will." Naruto took the box of chocolate from her and smiled. "There! You see? That wasn't so bad, was it?"

She blinked in surprise. She was still blushing, but that hadn't been as bad as she'd expected and... she blinked in surprise again.

Did I just give Naruto-kun his Valentine's gift?!!

"With a little bit more practice, you'll be just fine," he said cheerfully.

"Thank you, Naruto-kun. It's getting pretty late. I'd better go. See you later."

"Hey, wait. Don't you want this back?" he asked, gesturing to the gift still in his hands.

Hinata shook her head.

"You can keep that, Naruto-kun," she said – and then before she could lose her nerve, she blurted, "I made it especially for you, so I hope you like it."

Then she spun around and dashed away. She was halfway down the street before he could protest. Naruto watched her go, feeling oddly bemused, before turning around to go home himself. He looked down at the pretty Valentine that was now his.

I made it especially for you, so I hope you like it.

That was weird. The way she'd said that last bit... It sounded like she really meant it... It sounded like the words had come straight from her heart... But that couldn't be right. Could it? Maybe she was just practicing a bit more?

With a shrug, Naruto untied the pink ribbon and opened the box.

No point wasting perfectly good chocolate!

He took a bite out of the large heart-shaped chocolate that was inside.

Wow! This is really good!

He nibbled on the delicious treat all the way home.


Author's Notes:

(1) 9 down, 21 kisses to go! (For the first 8 completed kisses, please see my other fanfic, One Small Step.)

(2) This plot bunny was partially inspired by the omake at the end of Naruto Shippuden episode 96. I really wanted to write a NaruHina fanfic for Valentine's Day, but couldn't come up with any good ideas. Then, the day after watching that omake – and one day before Valentine's Day – this idea popped into my head.

(3) It's only coincidence that this story is NaruHina-centric and fits one of the Thirty Kisses themes because I actually had something else planned for theme #19 (red)... but this works, too! FYI: Most of the stories in this collection won't be NaruHina-centric and won't have kisses in them.

(4) Useless Trivia: the alternate working title for "Valentine's Day" was "Replacement Kiss" or "Kawarimi Kiss" ^_^