Hey guys! ODL is back again, and this time with a SasuHina. Every chapter in this story will be named after a song, and the reviewer who can tell me all of the artists gets a free one-shot! (I have my restrictions, of course, but when the winner…well…wins, they can decide!)
I will warn you that I listen to very obscure music at times, so googling might be a little tougher than you think. Like, there might be a bajillion people with the same song. I'll actually be very impressed if anyone can get this first one. :D
This is an AU. The main pairing, of course, is SasuHina. There'll also be KibaIno, eventual NaruSaku, and ItaTen. Yes, the last one is a bit…unique. I wanted to test myself.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. It would end being a sappy shoujo if I did. O_o (Cue the SPARKLIES!!) *glitter glitter*
Chapter One: The Day We Met
Hinata lay in the grass, counting the clouds that crossed the sky above her. The day was hot, one of the hottest of the year, and her mother had slathered her with sunscreen to keep her fair skin from burning and donned her with a large pink sunhat because "it looked cute." She had discarded the hat hours ago by the creek, but no amount of rubbing could wash away the oily feel of the sunscreen. Disgruntled but at ease, Hinata had ran to the tree.
The tree was a huge, looming figure with sprawling branches that were perfect for climbing and large, juicy apples that were good to eat. It was her only friend in this new place. It shaded her from the vicious sun, listened to her when she felt hurt, and dropped snow on her head in the winter. Its bark was rough under her skin and although Hinata knew it was only a plant, she sometimes dreamed that a kind, wandering spirit hid underneath the surface.
When her mother left her father, she had spirited Hinata off to this place, telling her that there were legions of kids she could play with, and that she would definitely see Neji-ni-san at least every week. But almost a year had passed, and not only had she not found any playmates, but her cousin had not visited her even once.
Restless, she stood, brushed off the seat of her shorts, and galloped back to the creek to retrieve her hat. When she reached it, however, her hat was gone. Fear rose quickly in her breast; mother had bought her that hat with some of the little money they had; she would be heartbroken if she knew it was lost. Hinata's shrewd eyes scanned the area, praying to catch it.
She did. Somehow, her hat had fallen off the bank and floated into the water, lingering somewhere in the middle. The water wasn't deep at all, and the creek was narrow, but the banks were about five feet high. She looked down, heart racing, and, taking a steady breath, stepped back. She was about four and something feet tall—how hard could a five-foot jump be? Bracing herself, she ran forward, about to leap, when something grabbed her roughly by the arm and pulled her back. She cried out in fear and squeezed her eyes shut.
"Are you stupid?"
Hinata turned to face her assailant, and she smiled in spite of herself. He was a boy, about her age, and she liked him immediately because he was cute and looked a bit like nii-san. He continued his tirade, unaware of the fact that she wasn't listening to him at all.
"If you jump down there, you'll break something!"
Hinata finally looked away. She pointed to the stream. "But my hat!"
His black eyes flashed angrily, but he looked in the direction she indicated anyway. At the sight of the flowery horror, he let out a bark of laughter.
"You were going to kill yourself over that ugly thing?"
Hinata knew the hat was ugly, but did he really have to say so? She yanked her arm away from him and stared forward defiantly.
"I-It is ugly. I want it back."
He regarded her carefully for a moment, and then sighed. "Girls are weird," he observed, and then said, "Follow me."
She did, and he led her just a little further along the creek. She saw an empty bucket, and, next to it, a long stick with a string and hook at the end. It was the crudest fishing rod she had ever seen, and seemed very out of place too, because there were no fish to catch.
He took his rod, made her move out of his ay, and swung it over to the hat. To her surprise, the hook snagged the scarf around the hat. He lifted it to safety.
"Here you go," he said when she stared at him dumbly. She hooked the hat and looked at him blankly for a moment.
"Thanks," she finally managed. She tilted her head to one side. "I haven't seen you before. Who are you?"
She knew she probably sounded a little rude, but he had called her weird, so there really was no need for niceties.
"Sasuke Uchiha," he answered. "I'm staying at my uncle's place for the summer," he added, as though explaining to her why an outsider like himself would have any reasons to be in their little town.
Hinata's mouth formed a round 'o' in understanding. "Well, I'm Hinata Hyuuga," she said, smiling. "Let's be friends, okay?"
She was very cute, and so he blushed. "No way. Why would I be friends with a girl?"
Her face fell suddenly, and she looked away, hurt. He blanched—she wasn't going to take him seriously, was she? Frowning, he crossed his arms and looked away.
"Look, I was kidding, okay?" he mumbled. "Stop looking so sad, stupid."
She sniffled. Had she actually started crying? When she looked up again, her face was slightly red and she looked horribly offended. She punched him on the shoulder with her little fist. "Y-you're mean!" she stammered indignantly.
He shrugged as though brushing off a compliment. "Hey," he suddenly said, "It's hot. Wanna come to my uncle's for ice cream?"
Normally, Hinata would decline—her mother had told her not to go into stranger's home and she hardly ever disobeyed her.
Hardly being the operative word.
"Sure," she said, and with no further ado, followed her new friend back to his house.
Summer passed by languidly, but too fast at the same time. The two could never be found very far from each other. They were inseparable, and Hinata dreaded the advent of Fall more than before. Mr. Uchiha had taken them to waterparks and carnivals, her mother had made them baskets and sent them on picnics. Sometimes, they would go together, the tall and smiling Uchiha and her lithe, quiet mother, and anyone who watched would have thought they were one family, going out on heartwarming adventures together.
Sasuke loved music. He showed her his massive CD collection (remarkable for someone who was only nine), much of which was filched from his uncle's media room. He adored his uncle, who, allegedly, could play forty different instruments proficiently, including the panpipes and the tuba. Sometimes, if he wasn't in a bad mood, he would sing with her—karaoke to some cutesy pop song—and she loved his little-kid voice and the way it could sometimes get so low it sounded like a rumble in his slim throat.
When the inevitable day came when Sasuke was to return home, he grabbed her hand in two of his and swore he would be back the next summer. His promise was as good as gold. The next year, she waited anxiously for his return, visiting his Uncle almost daily to ask when he was arriving. When he finally did, she grabbed him again, ecstatic, and they would begin from where they had left off.
The pattern continued for three years.
On the last day of the third year, Sasuke led Hinata to her tree. It had become his as well, and it stretched out its limbs to accept them both. They sat down, silent—something uncharacteristic for children of their age. She waited for those dreaded, inevitable words. For the "I'll be back next summer, Hina-chan, don't worry."
But this time, they didn't come.
Instead, she felt something soft and warm on her mouth, and when she opened her eyes with a start, realized that it was his lips.
He pulled away quickly, embarrassed, his cheeks glowing pink. She looked away as well, twiddling her thumbs together.
And then, he said it.
"I love you, Hina-chan."
And she had felt like melting, even though she wasn't so sure what love was and had no idea what to do next.
So she said the first thing that came to her mind, and it slipped out of her mouth so naturally that she knew it must have been right.
"I love you too, Sasuke-kun."
His hand curled in hers, his fingers moving against the soft palms as they looked up into the night sky.
"I won't be coming back," he said with a sigh.
She bolted upright. "What?"
He looked at her sadly and smiled. "Dad says I'm too old for these visits anymore. So I won't be coming back." She looked like she was about to cry—her eyes had widened into saucers and they were glistening with wet. He blanched. "We can still talk! I-I'll give you my phone number for home, and we can get emails and stuff!"
Hinata couldn't keep the tears from falling, but she kept up a brave face and looked at him carefully. "You promise you won't stop talking to me?"
He looked at her fiercely, and in his black, black eyes Hinata thought she could see a fire burning.
They linked pinkies tightly, and then fell back against the tree to count the stars that smiled down on them.
Ino waved her hand over her seemingly comatose friend's face. She quickly jumped to attention, and just then, those wonderful memories faded away and instead of being twelve and sitting happily under a tree with Sasuke, she was seventeen and sitting at a table with her three closest girlfriends, chatting and sipping frappuccinos.
"S-sorry!" Hinata stammered, blushing a little. "I was just—remembering something."
Ino lifted an eyebrow. "Are you in love, Hina-chan?" she asked mischievously. At the word love, Sakura and Tenten jumped to attention, forgetting their previous conversation and leaning in to hear Hinata's answer.
Hinata turned away, pursing her lips. Of course she was in love—she'd been in love for the past six years. But she couldn't very well tell them that she hadn't seen the guy since she was twelve. Besides, the feelings she still somehow harbored were so stupid. He had promised to keep in touch, but had stopped answering her emails over a year ago and didn't seem to have a Facebook. He must have moved or something, too, because his phone number no longer worked and she would always get an annoying, monotone, "This line has been disconnected" every time she tried it.
Looking the expectant girls in the eye one by one, she gritted her teeth and answered appropriately.
It was the only lie she had ever managed to tell convincingly. Almost simultaneously, all three girls leaned back into their seats, obviously disappointed. Ino shook her head, and then laid her hand carefully on Hinata's shoulder.
"Honey," she said slowly, trying to choose her words properly, "We have to tell you something."
Sakura and Tenten nodded, leaning again. Hinata had to stifle a laugh—the way they moved in unison was amusing.
"We're worried," Ino continued, brushing her bangs out of her eyes. "Understand that, however you answer this, we will still love you just as much and won't ever judge you. Hinata…do you even like boys?"
Hinata froze in her seat, flushing redder with each passing second.
Sakura took her silence for a 'no' and slapped her hand on the table. "Oh gosh, Hinata! No! Don't tell me you like girls! That's such a loss to--!"
Hinata shook her head. "I like guys. I really do."
Tenten looked mildly concerned. "Hinata, how long have we known each other?"
Hinata looked down at her lap. She had met the brunette not long after Sasuke had left, and while she was probably the least vocal of her friends, Tenten was probably the most perceptive.
"Four years," she whispered. Tenten nodded.
"And in those four years," she said, "When we were all rushing into puberty, have you had a crush on a guy even once?"
Hinata pursed her lips and thought about it.
"Not once," Tenten finished her thought for her. "Sakura changed her crushes like we change our underwear, but you haven't liked someone even once."
Sakura made a face at Tenten, but nodded enthusiastically nevertheless. "It's bugging us because it almost seems…unnatural, you know? I mean, do you even think anyone is hot?"
Hinata tried to imagine what Sasuke's face would look like now, but found it impossible to age him in her mind. She shrugged.
"Not really, I think," she said, "I know all of the guys too well now to think any of them are hot…"
Someone walked by the table, and all of the girls looked up—it was Naruto—his blond hair wet from swimming, smiling widely. He really had gotten very attractive over the years—but he was still too gregarious and familiar for Hinata to feel the pull.
Sakura lowered her voice. "Not even him?" she asked, looking incredulous. When Hinata shook her head, she made a sound not unlike a hiss and clutched her head in her hands.
Ino drummed her fingers against the table quickly. As daughter of the school's principal and the superintendent of the district, she knew how to do everything—from sneaking into teacher's gradebooks to giving people she didn't like referrals—something she didn't do anymore since it bothered Hinata. But it also meant she was a valuable, babbling fountain of information…
"Well, check this," she said, smiling briefly up at the waiter as he gave them each their coffees, "There's a new kid coming to class tomorrow. Mom says he's drop-dead gorgeous, and I trust my mother's judgment—we can test him out on you, right? You say you only don't like them because you know them? Well, you won't know him!"
The other girls cooed at once in agreement, leaning forward again enthusiastically. Sakura gasped.
Hinata hid her face in her hands. Knowing these girls, she knew, somehow, that tomorrow would not be fun.
The next morning, Ino burst into Hinata's bedroom, nearly sending the door ricocheting off its hinges. Hinata looked up drowsily and then collapsed back onto her pillow.
"Hinata, you lazy bum, get up! Today's the big day!"
When she still didn't respond, Ino stepped forward and swept off her blanket. The cold hit Hinata directly, and, with a yelp, she jolted awake—grumpy, but wide-eyed nonetheless.
"How did you even get in?" Hinata groaned, throwing her legs over the side of her bed.
Ino pursed her lips. "Your mom let me in," she said. She pulled Hinata to her feet and pushed her toward her bathroom. "But that's beside the point."
She waited, pacing, while Hinata showered, and the moment she was out proceeded to molest her.
"I don't understand you, Hina," she purred, eyeing Hinata's betoweled body with undisguised hunger, "you've got awesome boobs but you're constantly hiding them." She leaned forward seductively, pressing her cleavage together. "You should tease those boys a bit, don'cha think?"
Hinata blanched and then looked away. "N-no. I couldn't." She pulled her towel around her like a tarp and slipped on her underwear. Stepping into her closet, she began pulling out her customary turtleneck and jeans combo when Ino reached out and knocked her hands away.
Ino grinned devilishly, reaching into her sequined tote for something. "Hush, hush. I'm dressing you up today, hon."
Hinata scowled. "Why?"
Ino gasped, mock-offended. "Erm? Hello? Sexy new kid?"
Hinata wrinkled her nose. "Your mother thinks he's sexy."
Ino stared off into space dreamily, a light blush alighting her cheeks. "He stopped by at the office after school yesterday. Ohmigosh, Hina, I almost had a heart attack, or died from bloodloss, or whatever. He. Was. Gorgeous." She stretched out the last word into as many syllables as she could. "And even better… he's eighteen and he's moved out. Zero parentals."
Hinata sighed. "Why don't you go for him, then?"
Ino wrinkled her nose, actually affronted by her statement. "Um… 'cause I've got Kiba?"
Hinata had to agree—Kiba was the only guy out there who could match Ino in obnoxiousness as well as intelligence—they were made for each other. Hinata blanched. Out of the group, only she and Sakura were really single, and Sakura had finally started answering Naruto's calls for dates (After all, he was getting hotter by the minute; the swim team was doing wonders to his body).
Again, Hinata sighed aloud, and then finally addressed the problem that was really bothering her.
"Ino-chan, what if…I-I'm not pretty enough?"
Ino's mouth dropped, but once Hinata started spouting her insecurities, she couldn't very well stop.
"I mean, no guy has ever liked me before—why should he?"
There's nothing even special about me.
Suddenly, Ino grabbed Hinata by the shoulders and shook her violently.
"Hina! You. Are. So stupid!"
With a huff, she let her go, and then whipped out the clothes while Hinata tried to recover her balance—a blue and black plaid, pleated miniskirt, a short sleeved white polo, and a low vest that tucked right under the breasts. Hinata sighed, half-relieved. Ino wasn't a slut, but she was skinnier than Hinata and most of the clothes that looked cute on her made the curvier Hinata look like a total skank.
Abruptly, Ino shoved them upon her. "What are you doing? Get dressed!"
Hinata obeyed, carefully avoiding Ino's stare as she hoisted her skirt to her waist.
Hinata could feel their stares from the moment she entered the school that day. So she had worn make-up and shown a little more skin than usual. That shouldn't warrant all of this attention…
Of course, Ino's booming voice, announcing proudly that she was the mastermind behind the transformation, didn't exactly help her lie low. To make matters worse, all of her other girls had already seen the new guy, and she wouldn't until fifth period, after lunch.
HInata rubbed her temple, ignoring her open bento for the most part. Fifteen minutes into lunch, and Sakura, Tenten and Ino were still tittering happily about the new kid, cooing about everything that could possibly be found as attractive in the male figure.
"Do you guys even know his name?" she hissed, annoyed.
The three girls looked at each other expectantly. Ino shrugged. "Something-suke. Honestly, I wasn't really listening…"
"He didn't talk much, so…"
"Yea, and you know, I don't think anyone could focus enough to listen to anything after seeing a face like that…"
"Oh my god, did you see his ass?"
Hinata stood up, effectively annoyed. "You don't even know his name?" she looked pointedly at Ino, who shrugged.
"Chill, Hina. You'll find out next period anyway!"
Hinata stomped her foot on the ground, an old childish habit she'd never managed to shake off. "You know every detail about his freaking anatomy, but not his name? Is he a piece of meat?"
If she had been thinking a little more clearly, she would have anticipated Ino's answer and known that her scolding would fall flat.
"Of course," she said brightly, "Sexiest slice o' ham I've seen in my entire life."
At this, the other girls burst into laughter, and, silenced, Hinata slid back into her seat and stared at her bento as though it were the least appetizing thing she'd ever laid her eyes on.
By fifth period, Hinata came to a rather anticlimactic conclusion—she could care less about this new kid, regardless of how clearly you could see his abs through his shirt (just barely, when he moved a certain way, according to Sakura). He would probably end up being another pretty face, another empty-headed moron who lived like a pimp throughout high school and crashed and burned in the real world. Hinata had certainly seen enough of those to last her a lifetime.
She started doodling in her notebook, not even looking up as the new kid sauntered in, ignoring the fact that the whole room had fallen silent. She focused intently, instead, on her picture.
Distantly, she could hear Kurenai-sensei stammer, "P-please welcome our new student…"
Hinata sketched in her character's hair and filled it in to a solid, even, black, pressing her eraser to her lips.
A/N: Oooo! Cliffy! I woulda kept going, but this was riding on ten pages and I was a little hesitant to make it much longer… hope you like!
Btdubs… Read and Review! I'm not giving up on Forever Elusive, so don't you worry, guys! :D