Let me start out by saying YES, I know that my last update probably wasn't long enough to make up for my long absence. And I apologize for that! I just thought that it would be better to put that last chapter up while I was thinking of it so as to not risk completely forgetting about it! :B
So I had started to type up the next chapter on Monday, but then on Wednesday my computer got a virus, and on top on not being able to write any more of the chapter, everything (and I mean everything) on my computer got erased when we had to wipe my comp clean and start all over again.
So I'm sorry if this is a week or so late :/
Oh, and hey, what do you guys think of same-sex couples for this fic? Let me know. (Don't worry, I won't do anything bad! I just want to know! I'm still debating whether I want to use one or not . . .)
But thanks to all of you who read my story and review/favorite/watch my little SasuHina fic, I will never forget again! It means so much to me that you guys do that stuff for me. Really, I love you all. And I mean that!
Oh, and since I got some messages about it, this story is now being deemed as slightly AU. Because I still talk about things from the Naruto universe, but I don't completely focus on them . . . and Superman doesn't exist in the NU, I'm pretty sure. xD
So, without further ado . . .
The rest of dinner when by without a hitch. Naruto's toast had put everyone in a very good mood, and even Sasuke was contently sitting and eating without his usual scowl on his face.
"Lee! Please pass me the bread of eternal youth!!"
"Yes, Gai-sensei! But only if you pass me the carrots of everlasting truth!"
"With this extra strength, we shall save the earth from the tyranny of evil!" Gai and Lee stood up and struck "heroic" poses, much to the horror and amusement of those around them. Ino and Sakura had stopped their bickering and were talking pleasantly, albeit still a bit stiffly, about other things (such as boys). Naruto, obviously trying to show off, was eating as much as his belly could hold, and Kiba had soon joined in to make sure that Naruto's ego didn't inflate any more than it already had. Shino was standing close by ready to help if there were any exploding stomachs or puking, and Chouji just sat with Shikamaru (who was dozing off, top-hat lying strategically over his eyes to keep out the light) close by, not sharing any words but looking happy nonetheless munching on his dinner and being around his friends. (Shino was about to point out to Naruto and Kiba that Chouji could put them away as far as an eating contest went, but thought it was better for them to learn their lesson. So he played the waiting game until someone got ill, which was a given in this situation.)
Kankuro and Temari were minding their own businesses, talking and fighting as siblings often do. Gaara had left the table to go to the bathroom. Neji sat next to TenTen, and the two of them were talking pleasantly about weapons and new jutsus that they had read about, TenTen looking excited and blushing the slightest bit while Neji just looked happy to be having an intelligent conversation with someone. Kurenai, Kakashi, and Azuma had all gotten bored in their wait for the judges to arrive, and had therefore became buzzed (Kakashi had sneaked in alcohol, much to Hinata's horror and Sasuke's annoyance), and were at the present moment standing outside The Coffee Shop, waving at everyone who passed by and cat-calling.
Sasuke sighed in annoyance at the three "role-models", and instead turned to talk to Hinata. He turned his head only to come face-to-face with a basket of bread. He jumped slightly in surprise, but soon regained his cool-composure and looked at Hinata, who was the one holding it.
"Sasuke-kun, w-would you like a piece of b-bread?"
Sasuke nodded and went to take the basket from her. In the process, his fingers brushed over Hinata's and he allowed himself to hold them there for a split second, feeling her flesh against his, before taking the basket out of her hands and grabbing a small loaf from inside. He took a bite of it and looked to Hinata. "Did you make this bread from scratch, Hinata?"
"W-Well, I tried. I-I'm not sure h-how it turned out, t-though." Hinata blushed a bit and stuttered. Does he not like it? Is it not fluffy enough? Oh no . . . A litany of thoughts rushed though her head, and it took everything that she had not to grab the bread from Sasuke's hands and throw it in the garbage.
When she looked back at Sasuke, to her surprise he had finished the bread and was reaching for another loaf. "It's very good Hinata. You really have a gift for this sort of thing." He smirked as Hinata's eyes dashed up to meet his.
"Y-You really think so?"
"S-Sasuke-kun . . ." Hinata's heart beat faster and she blushed a deep crimson, but her smile was unparalleled at that moment. She was in bliss that he had paid her such a large compliment. She found herself thinking that it was strange. If anyone else had told her that same compliment, she would have smiled politely and been happy with it. But when Sasuke told this to her, her heart soared.
Sasuke's smirk widened as he watched her face glow. In the dim light her halo and wings gave off a soft white light and created light shadows on her face. The way that she could be so talented and not realize it was just one more thing that he loved about her.
This is her. This is the girl that I love. Hinata. I've never been so sure of anything else in my life. Sasuke's devilish smirk turned into a small smile.
* * *
"Hello everyone! Sorry we're late!" All heads turned when a booming voice was heard from the front door. Tsunade walked in in all of her glory, costume-less except for a tail poking out of her clothing and a pair of cat ears standing proudly on her head. Jiraiya sauntered in after her, face plastered into a smile and dressed as a doctor. (Sasuke found this innocent enough for the perverted ninja until he thought about the fact that doctors perform physical examinations on people and things of the like. Sasuke's eyebrow twitched. Pervert. He made a pact right then that if Jiraiya got anywhere near Hinata he would make sure that he sent him to a real doctor.) Iruka shuffled in after them holding a clipboard, his mummy costume looking well-put together while some of the strips of gauze trailed on the floor while he walked.
Kakashi hurried in after the trio and started announcing things in a slurred voice. He was obviously more than buzzed. "Hey everyone! The . . . the . . . judges are here! Iruka! Looking good!" Kakashi stood by Iruka and slapped him on the back sharply, causing Iruka to lean forward and groan in pain.
"H-Hello Iruka-sensei. J-Jiraiya-sensei. Hokage-s-sama." Hinata took it upon herself to greet the judges since Kakashi was . . . not prepared to act as host at the moment. "H-How has your H-Halloween been?"
"Hello, Miss Hyuuga. Our rounds have been very good, yes. But we were most excited to come here, to tell the truth. And by the looks of it, we were right to be excited. You really don't disappoint." Tsunade smiled down at Hinata, who smiled back a pleasant smile.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hey, where's the booze? I see Kakashi has already gotten into it!" Jiraiya looked around for a bottle while Kakashi slumped even farther over onto Iruka, who was trying his hardest to support him while still keeping his distance.
Tsunade shot Jiraiya a look. "Shut up, Jiraiya. We're here to judge, not get drunk . . . although maybe later we can have a glass of sake."
"Ssssssake? Woohoo!" Kakashi waved his hands in the air and lost so much balance that Iruka couldn't keep him up anymore. The two crumpled into a heap on the floor and Sasuke took this opportunity to intervene. He ran over and shoved Kakashi off of Iruka, giving Iruka a hand getting up.
"Thank you, Sasuke. Do you have a back room that you can put him in or something? I think he needs to lie down."
"I'll get on that, Iruka-sensei. Hey! Baka!"
Naruto's head popped up when he heard Sasuke call. "Yeah?"
"Help me move Kakashi into the back room. He's out like a light." (Sasuke chuckled to himself that Naruto had just responded to the name "Baka", but decided to just wait for him to realize it instead of pointing it out himself.)
Naruto got up and walked over to where Sasuke was standing and was about to bend down to grab Kakashi's feet when he realized that Sasuke had called him "Baka", and that he had quickly responded to it as if it was him own name. His face contorted. "Screw you, Sasuke."
Sasuke chuckled again and grabbed Kakashi under the arms, hoisting him up with the help of Naruto. "Hinata, I'll leave you to making the judges comfortable until I get back." Hinata nodded at Sasuke and got on her job while Sasuke and Naruto worked together to lift the large body of Kakashi all the way into the back room.
* * *
Hinata took care of showing the judges around and giving them food, being the good hostess that she is. She talked a bit with Iruka about how school was going and how the young ninjas were fairing.
"Oh, they're a good bunch of kids."
"A-are they trying hard?"
"Most of them are, but there are of course the kids who just slack off and expect to get everywhere."
"I wish I had more people like you and Sasuke in my classes this year. You both were very good students . . . though you were much more pleasant, Hinata."
"Thank you, I-Iruka-sensei!" Hinata smiled and took the compliment with great ease. She seems to have grown accustomed to getting compliments lately.
"You're quite welcome, Hinata." Iruka smiled back at her and excused himself to go to the restroom. Hinata waved slightly as he left, and suddenly saw that Gaara was standing on the other side of the room looking rather bored. She looked to see that his siblings had took it upon themselves to take over he music since the teachers weren't sober enough to do it, so Hinata walked over to where Gaara was leaning against the wall, arms crossed, running his tongue periodically across his pair of fake fangs.
"Hello, Hinata. How are you?"
"Oh, I'm doing well, thank you. Are you . . . bored?"
"Yes, slightly. There's no one to talk to. At least, no one who would not be afraid of me."
"Y-You're not scary, Gaara-kun!"
Gaara chuckled deeply. "Maybe not to you, Hinata, but to others I am like the boogieman." Hinata looked really worried and Gaara sighed. He hated to see her worried about him. "But, you know, I could try and talk to someone."
Hinata brightened up considerably. "Well, I'm sure we can find you someone to talk to, Gaara-kun!" Her eyes scanned the room looking for someone. Sakura and Ino were out of the question, since Gaara would probably kill them as soon as they spoke. They had that kind of effect on people like Gaara. Other people were deep in conversation with their comrades, and no one seemed to be alone . . . except for one boy in a spandex costume and a cape, sitting in a chair uncharacteristically patiently, waiting for something. Hinata tapped a finger on her bottom lip in thought, and decided that it was worth a shot. They knew each other, didn't they?
"I'll be right back, Gaara-kun."
Gaara nodded and closed his eyes. He preferred to let what she was doing be a surprise to him. He needed to keep things interesting, after all.
Minutes later, Hinata came back. Gaara could sense that she was coming with someone else, and opened his eyes. His eyes burned at the bright blue suit that he was staring into, and quickly averted his eyes to look at Hinata's soothing white eyes instead.
"Gaara-kun, this is Lee-kun. Do you know each other?"
"Ah! I remember you! I've fought with you before!" Rock Lee looked excited and pointed a finger at Gaara.
". . . hn."
Hinata gulped. Gaara's answer was not a good one. She started re-thinking bringing Rock Lee over to talk to Gaara. Yes, Lee had been sitting alone waiting for Gai-sensei to come back from checking up on Kakashi, and Gaara had also been alone, but they really didn't have much in common. She panicked even more at the thought that Gaara may try and kill Lee if he talked too much!
Hinata was about to intervene when Gaara cleared his throat. ". . . Hello, Lee." Gaara had seen, once again, how worried Hinata was and decided to give Lee at least a little chance. For Hinata.
* * *
Hinata stood in the corner pleasantly, Sasuke at her side. They were surveying the party, making sure that everything was going well. And it was! Gaara and Lee, much to Hinata's happiness, had been talking for a while now. Of course Lee was taking over much of the conversation, but Gaara seemed to be less tense than he was, and was saying a few words here and there, nodding and shaking his head when appropriate.
Everyone else was also having a good time and were talking and having fun. They had already cleaned up all of the food and garbage, and now the party just consisted of people talking and socializing, the music still playing softly in the background. Sasuke and Hinata made eye contact and smiled (or in Sasuke's case smirked) at each other, pleased with how the party had turned out. However, it was getting close to the time when they would have to end the party. The judges would be leaving very soon, and Kakashi and the other sensei needed to get home and rest, leaving the children without much parental supervision whatsoever. Not that the kids would mind that, but Tsunade wanted everyone to stay safe.
"Alright kids! We'll be off now, which means that the party will have to end here."
"Awwwwww, come on! Do we have to?" Naruto pursed his lips and pouted, but it had absolutely no effect on her decision.
Iruka frowned at his old student. "Yes. Safety is our main concern, and we don't want anything bad to happen." When Jiraiya didn't say anything, Iruka nudged him in the ribs. Jiraiya came back into reality and grunted a quick something that sounded like an agreement. The other sensei had all come together near the door, all far from being sober, and all being escorted home by the judges. They were in a heap, all giggling and having a good time, not at all noticing that all the kids were pointing at them and whispering. The kids would have brought them home, but no one knew what the drunken sensei were capable of, so it was safer to just have the judges take them home.
Hinata stepped forward and put on an award winning smile. "T-Thank you for c-coming! We look forward t-to finding out w-who won the c-contest! Please m-make sure that the s-sensei get h-home safely!"
The three judges smiled down at Hinata (Jiraiya doing so a bit creepily, which made Sasuke jump into defense mode), and sauntered out through the front door with one last wave, tugging the other adults behind them.
There was a silence throughout The Coffee Shop as everyone stared at the door.
The silence carried over into a second minute.
"MY LOYAL SUBJECTS! AFTER-PARTY AT MY HOUSE!!"