A/N: Thanks for all of the nice reviews! I'm sure they'll keep me moving forward in this story…

No one guessed the first song? Hrmph. :P No ficcies for you then, less work for me, ne?

Anywhooz, just so you know, this will be a tiny bit of a band fic. Nobody is famous or will get famous (yet) and I'm making them sing just because I think the emotional connection is really strong that way. Not so I can have a million girls as Hinata's rivals chanting out Sasuke-kun's name. :D

Disclaimer: One way to check whether ODL has taken over Naruto? See whether Sasuke and Hinata have started giving each other da bedroom eyes. :B

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Chapter Two

The Walk

Hinata's pencil dropped abruptly from her hand, rolling somewhere behind her. Without knowing exactly how she'd gotten there, she found herself on her feet.

He turned to look at her, and she knew that her friends certainly hadn't been exaggerating as much as she had assumed. He really was beautiful—his messy black hair hung before his dark, bottomless eyes, and he was tall and toned, masculine while somehow remaining… pretty.

After a moment of blank staring, his brow furrowed.

"Hi…na…-chan?" he said slowly, sounding unsure of himself. She smiled dumbly; her throat felt thick. Even his voice was beautiful, exactly as she'd remembered it, with the same cadence and tone, except deeper.

And then he started crossing the room purposefully, ignoring the bewildered looks the rest of the class was giving him. When he reached her, he threw his arms open, inviting her. She smiled even more widely and dove in for a tight hug.

"Okay, guys. Nice that you've been reunited," Kurenai drawled, "But. I have a lesson to teach, and you have a test in three days. So save your reintroductions for later, right?"

Hinata nodded fervently and sat down, so elated that she didn't even think of being embarrassed. Sasuke took a seat behind her and didn't speak a word for the rest of class. She turned a few times to look at him sneakily, to look at how much he had changed. He had lost all of the baby fat, but still managed to somehow look soft to the touch, and now his face seemed to have more shape. When he grinned, there were little indents in his cheeks that were almost dimples, but not quite. His clothes were simple and slightly rocker-esque, not baggy and not entirely form-fitting either—a black and red t-shirt from some band and dark-wash jeans. Her heart stuttered in her chest.

How long had she dreamed of this? Of course, in her mind the meeting had been much more ostentatious—they would find each other in the flowery meadow surrounding their tree, and share a kiss a little less innocent than the first, hidden from the rest of the world by low-hanging limbs and the darkness of night. Of course, she'd also been half-expecting something awkward—that she'd see him somewhere and run up to him excitedly, only to be met with a leery glare and a "Who the hell are you?"

She grinned and nestled her chin into her hand, suddenly thanking Ino to high heavens for taking charge. This was perfect. He remembered her. He hugged her. He had felt so warm and hard and broad that she thought she could've melted right against him.

The bell rang, interrupting her thoughts, and she swooped down to grab her binders and quickly swung around to face him, not even trying to hide her happiness.

"I can't believe it," she breathed truthfully, and then gestured down his body. "I mean, look at you!" She laughed, feeling giddy. He raised an eyebrow.

"Thanks, I think," he said, and then after a second of silent appreciation, added, "You aren't so bad yourself, Hina."

She blushed and walked with him out of the classroom. A few girls were still throwing him awed looks, virtually ignoring her. She didn't care. Her heart felt like bursting. Six years. She'd dreamed of this for six years, and here he was, walking beside her, as naturally as if they saw each other everyday. She had so many questions to ask him. So many that she didn't even know where to start.

So she panicked and picked the wrong one. "Why didn't you answer my mail?"

The moment she said it she colored red and felt like kicking herself. She wasn't supposed to start this with confrontations, not yet. She could already feel the chill of his silence. She felt her eyes start to well up—he probably hated her now. Probably wanted nothing to do with her. Desperately, she turned to him and bowed quickly.

"U-um! Sasuke, you really don't have to answer that! What matters most is that you're here now… and we can start over, right?"

She allowed herself to peek up, only slightly aware of the pleading in her eyes.

"Which way are you going?" he asked. She pointed to the left. He looked at his scheduele, and then, looking a little more relaxed, added, "Which way am I going?"

She couldn't help but smile. "Same way, I think."

He nodded and gestured for them to continue walking. She matched his strides with some difficulty, but in her chest, her heart was fluttering like a bird. She felt proud walking next to him, special. She wondered whether he remembered the last words he'd spoken to her and whether they still rang true for him the way they did for her. She looked down, knowing how unlikely this was. After all, he was a really good-looking guy, and she'd be surprised if was still a virgin, let alone not in a relationship.

He caught her eye coyly. "Got something else you wanna ask?"

Hinata colored pink. No way I'm going to ask him that! "Erm," she started, and then smiled. "Do you still sing?"

It was his turn to smile. "Yea," he heaved. "I still sing."

"Can…can I listen? Someday?"

He reached out and ruffled her hair. "Maybe."

She grinned, ecstatic, and blabbered on. "I bet you and your uncle sound awesome together!"

At this, Sasuke's smile stiffened, snuffed out from his eyes. She winced, immediately knowing she had said something wrong. But what…?

"He's dead. The last time I saw him was the last time I saw you."

Hinata gaped in horror. "Madara-san is dead? What? When?"

Sasuke shrugged, but the nonchalance was obviously only surface-deep. "Two months."

HInata touched his arm gently, and then quickly withdrew—what if he didn't want to be touched? What if he shirked her pity?

"I'm sorry."

He shrugged again. "You don't have to be, unless you killed him." When she gave him a horrified look, he snorted. "He had cancer, you dork."

That didn't sit well with her either. They walked forward in relative silence.

"Can I ask a tough question?" Hinata said softly.

Sasuke smirked. "Have any of your questions been easy so far?"

She pursed her lips, showing just how much she didn't appreciate his teasing.

"Why are you suddenly back?" She didn't add that she knew he wasn't with his father—Ino's information was supposed to be confidential and he'd definitely know she had been snooping if she brought it up.

He looked at her darkly, his obsidian eyes unreadable. The corners of his lips twitched in a could-be smirk. "

"How about…" he drawled, "Today, after school, we go over to your house. I don't really think this is the time and place, neh?"

Her cheeks tinged pink at the thought of grownup Sasuke sitting at her white desk, sprawled across her burgundy sheets, emerging half-naked from her bathroom—but then she remembered that they'd be much more likely to lounge in the living room (And that he would definitely not randomly feel like showering while he was there.)

"Y-yeah, that'd be better, right?" she looked awkwardly to her right, spying her classroom, and, to her eternal chagrin, a stupidly grinning Ino. "I'm here, Sasu-kun."

His nose wrinkled with amusement. "I forgot you called me that, HIna-chan."

She stuck her tongue out at him and they parted ways. The moment she entered the classroom, Ino pounced.

"Oh my gosh, Hinata. You…you did it!""

Hinata rolled her eyes. "I know him, Ino."

Ino's jaw dropped. "You know him?" She narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms, looking offended. "Um, why haven't you introduced us?'

Hinata stepped into the classroom; people were trying to squeeze past and were shooting them dirty looks in the process. "I haven't seen him in six years."

Ino laughed, and then slapped Hinata cheerfully on the back. "This is soo lucky. I can just see it—an old friendship kindles new love. You two look good together already."

Hinata smiled stupidly, wondering whether they actually did or if Ino was just blowing hot air. "He's coming over today, actually."

Ino's face seemed to freeze solid before thawing into elation. "You're kidding."

Hinata shook her head profusely, secretly proud of herself. "Nope."

At that moment, a loud voice interrupted their conversation. "Oh, damn, Hinata!"

Hinata whipped around to find Kiba bent over sideways, trying to peek under her skirt. She shrieked and clutched it closer to herself, mortified.

"Kiba, you baka!" she yelled, flustered, "Don't you even see that your girlfriend is standing right here?"

Kiba grinned, gave Hinata a one-armed hug, and then lunged at his girlfriend. She squealed, and he responded with a series of very public love-bites along her neck.

"Just admiring my baby's handiwork, hon. Don'cha know that you're the only girl who can really start my engine?"

Ino turned bight pink and gave him a quick peck on the cheek before shoving him away. The second their hips were no longer touching, she had his hand in hers, and they walked over to their desks together.

"Hey, Hinata," Kiba said suddenly, "We're practicing at your place today, right?"

Hinata nodded. "Hn. J-just…make sure that you keep the bass low today."

Kiba lifted a brow. "Momma Hyuuga gets headaches from it, or what?"

Chuckling, she shook her head. "No. I need to do my homework, that's all."

They sat down at once, spinning in their seats to face each other again. "Sucks, cuz we still can't find a singer. I mean, I rock ass on the guitar, and Shika and Naruto've got the bass and drums down pat, but none of us can sing worth a crap, you know?" He leered at her a bit. "Since, you know, you won't do it."

Hinata turned away, flushed. They'd had this conversation so many times. "My voice doesn't suit…your…genre."

His expression became serious. "You're the only one who thinks that."

She looked away, slightly embarrassed to be letting him down, but she didn't want to get pushed into this. Her singing was mostly a secret—she did it at home when she thought no one was around, and her voice, by no means, would mesh well with the alternative rock Kiba's crew liked to blast. Unfortunately, one day he'd come to her house early for practice (none of their parents allowed them to practice at their houses, but Momma Hyuuga had been more than accommodating) and caught her red-handed on the piano. He'd never left her alone since.

"Kiba, baby," Ino whispered, "Another time, 'kay?"

He scowled briefly, and then wagged his head. Ino leaned over and squeezed his hand.

"Fine," he hissed. He pointed at Hinata. "Don't think I'm letting you off the hook."

Ino slapped the back of his head and pointed forward, and he reluctantly turned away. She leaned over again and mussed his hair; he laughed and his expression softened. Hinata watched them enviously—it was as though they couldn't bear not to touch each other for too long. She knew that Ino was as much a blushing virgin as she was, so it wasn't a sexual thing, she didn't think. But even now, sitting in their seats, it looked as though they couldn't help but touch every few seconds. It was like they were assuring each other that what they had was real.

Hinata sighed and tried to absorb herself in the lesson.

**

Her heart pounded in her chest all the way home. She had found Sasuke in the halls just before they had walked their separate ways and told him that she still lived in the same house. She handed him the address and then ran from him before she could be pulverized by the jealous stares thrown their way, and then drove home like a speed demon.

'Momma Hyuuga' wasn't home from work by the time she got home, and in a flash, she found herself at her piano. There was very little that kept her calm, and her Kawai Baby Grand piano was one of them. Her mother had given it to her two years ago as a birthday present, and she cared for it like a zealous mother would a spoiled child.

The keys dipped under her light caresses, singing out notes that went from flowing to jumping. Hinata exhaled slowly and jotted a few notes onto the pad on her lap. She tapped out a few experimental keys and then abruptly changed scales. It sounded better in E minor anyway, she decided, and then flipped a few pages over to her poem.

This was always the hardest part for her—matching her words to the music. The jumping, lilting notes were not intended for vocals; they were accompaniments, added to give the music flavor and substance, not melody. She knew that most artists came up with the tune early on, but she'd never managed to do so, and besides, this was only a hobby.

Hesitantly, she started singing, matching the notes as she went, barely dusting the piano with her fingertips.

"You should lock your front door," a voice said.

Startled, Hinata pressed a false note that resounded through the halls. She cringed, and then she turned in her chair to give Sasuke a small smile. She clutched her notebook fiercely, as though she was scared he'd try and take it.

He noticed, and cocked his head toward it. "You write?"

Her face turned slightly pink, and she looked down into her lap as though it were the most interesting thing in the world. "Yes, but I can never match it to the music right…"

He held out his hand. She stared at it for a moment, confused, but then he motioned toward her book. She gave a little squeal and held it closer.

Sasuke scowled. "What, are you hiding naked pictures of me in there or something?"

Hinata turned an even brighter pink at the thought and thrust it at him as though to prove that she was doing nothing of the sort. She waited, a blush rushing to her face as he read, and she remembered just a little too late the nature of her lyrics.

He read them in silence for a moment as she looked up at him shyly, twiddling her thumbs.

"Play it," he demanded. She didn't think to protest, just turned to the piano and played her composition.

He pursed his lips and said, "Again."

She obeyed, but this time, after a few measures, started to sing.

Her heart felt like it was going to burst. His voice was beautiful, unique—it had a certain twang to it that she couldn't quite identify. She listened carefully, eyes closed, as he sang her words, those words that she longed for him to say for real someday. Her hands seemed to glide effortlessly over the keys, propelled by his voice. He matched the words to the music so perfectly—it sounded so real, the feeling in it so raw, that the moment he stopped, she felt her eyes start to well up.

"Sasuke," she whispered, "That was—that was perfect. So perfect!"

He grinned down at her and mussed her hair. "Your lyrics are moving, and you know your piano. I only added the vocals."

She wagged her head fervently. "No! You did more!" Her eyes were ice-fire now, almost seeming to glow blue in their fervor. "You added feeling to it! And…And gosh, Sasuke… you can sing!"

He scoffed, and then sat down next to her. She blanched at his proximity, and then he lifted a hand to gently brush a scale across the keys.

"So," he said slowly, "Who's the lucky guy?"

She started. "What?"

He shrugged, grinning. "Kids like us don't pull our lyrics out of nowhere. You have to feel what you're writing, otherwise it comes out contrived."

She clamped her lips shut—of course he was referring to her unabashedly lovesick lyrics. "There's no one."

He lifted a brow skeptically, and she found the one lie she had ever managed to say convincingly shattering at his gaze.

"Well…There is someone I like…" she admitted, absentmindedly plucking a few notes.

"Ah," he said, "you haven't tol him?"

She turned red at the very thought and looked at him pointedly. How dense is Sasuke-kun?

"Baka!" hse said, flustered. "I'll never tell!"

He was silent for a moment, touching the keys on the other side of the piano. "You know, if you don't tell, you won't ever know. You'll wonder forever whether that person would have accepted you."

She stared at him with wide eyes and bit her lip. He wouldn't say that if I still like him…

It sounded impossible even to herself. They hadn't seen each other in so long. They'd both become different people—even if she did think she hadn't changed much. He seemed…so much more distant now, charming, yes, but distant.

Awkwardly, she cleared her throat, and then gave him a soft, half-hearted smile.

"Maybe someday, I guess."

**

A/N: A reviewer very bluntly told me to stop being an arse and update already, and since I had this chapter roosting on my laptop, I decided to. Everybody thank the anonymous, aptly named Can't be arsed to sign in2312 () for finally jolting me to reality and reminding me about this fic. THANK YOU!!!