Hinata was not happy. Not happy at all. She considered herself a very accommodating person but her two friends seemed to almost enjoy trying her patience. There was only so much she could handle despite her 'people-pleasing' - as Ino had once not-so-gently pointed out once - ways.
Not only had Sakura and Ino had somehow convinced her into going on vacation in the Fire Country's capital but all they had actually managed to accomplish this past week so far was get far more lost than she thought was possible while trying to tour the city, causing the two aforementioned girls to bicker and spit at each other like rabid cats. That, she was used to. Going through high school with the two girls who shared an odd sort of 'friends but enemies' dynamic had increased her tolerance for needless shouting and she knew well enough by now that flying accusations and doors slamming were just the skin off the back of their childhood rivalry.
Then, during the miserable excuse of a 'nice tour' of the city, the two girls managed to find time amidst their spat to find some brainless morons to flirt with. This, she could deal with, too. Their popularity in high school was no secret especially with their cafeteria drama sessions and cat fights that tended to attract more male crowds than Hinata was comfortable with.
However, this predicament that she found herself in at the moment was the boiling point. Fighting and shameless flirting she could handle. Cornering her right after a nice, lovely bath only to ruin her good mood with the demand that she shack up with a man? Lord help her if she gets her hands on a sharp object.
"Look, Hinata, you seriously need a boyfriend," Ino scolded, hands on her hip and eyes rolling at Hinata's obvious disdain. "You're on your third year of college already. Sakura and I are just trying helping you." Oh, yes, god-forbid that she remain single.
"And I appreciate your help," Hinata replied, teeth gritted and adjusting her towel before trying to head towards her room and therefore wiggling her way out of this conversation. Sakura, being the smart one, quickly stood at her room's doorway, successfully blocking her only escape from the much unwanted intervention.
Irritation climbed it's way up her throat and before she could stop it, she ground out,"However, unlike the two of you, I don't need a guy to re-assure me of my self-worth." From the way Ino's jaw clenched and her eyes quickly averted, Hinata already regretted her words and an veil of awkward tension quickly descended upon the three friends.
"Ouch! Low blow, Hinata," Sakura coughed out, trying to ease the uncomfortable atmosphere and earning a scowl from the blonde. "I should have guessed you'd be this feisty about it, seeing as how touchy you are about the whole male subject. But Ino's right; we are just trying to help. It's been three years since your break-up. It's not healthy to still be this bitter about it and it's definitely not fair to the guys out there who are genuinely nice."
Hinata slightly softened her scowl, taking in her friend's words and Sakura, sensing this slowly tried to slip in,"Especially the guy I'm setting you up with tonight," at which Hinata quickly groaned in protest shaking her head and running a hand through her wet hair. This was tiring but she could feel her defenses slowly wearing down.
"He's a really nice guy!" Sakura tried to salvage her last attempt only to have Ino, pride still mortally wounded scoff.
"Who, Naruto?" the blond skeptically asked, arms crossed again her midriff. "She'd have a better time with a male escort, not that there's much of a difference between the two."
"Not helping, Ino," Sakura ground out.
"What? I'm just being honest!" Ino barked back, a vein on her temple already prominently jutting out.
Hinata sighed. The last thing she needed right now was to listen to another of their bitch fits. "Would you guys quit it already?" she tiredly scolded, voice slightly raised.
The two immediately shut their mouths, albeit with clenched jaws and fists. Sakura, being the more mature out of the two quickly tried to appease the girl.
"I'm sorry that got out of hand a little bit," Sakura huffed out, ignoring Ino's quiet muttering,"Who's fault do you think that is?"
Hinata sighed in defeat and looked the girl in the eye. She hated fighting. Especially with her friends, even if they were annoying but she knew they've been concerned about her for a while now. All of a sudden, she felt immensely guilty about making them worry. She hated feeling that way but that's just how she was.
"It's okay,"she finally said and turned to her blonde, blue-eyed friend. "I'm sorry for snapping at you, Ino."
The girl simply huffed with her chin in the air,"I've heard worse." She looked at Hinata and smiled,"Besides, I know you didn't mean it. I'm surprised you came up with something that rude, actually."
Hinata felt the heaviness in her lighten. "Only 'cause I learned from the best," she replied with a small smile
Ever the opportunist, Sakura took advantage of the atmosphere to slowly tread the waters."So, you'll go tonight?"
Hinata grimaced and for a moment the two girls held their breaths and braced for the explosion.
"But it's a goukon," she merely whined at which Sakura and Ino smiled brightly. They've got this in the bag.
"It'll be fun!" Ino exclaimed, dragging Hinata into the girl's room and setting her down on the bed. She immediately turned towards the wardrobe and started shifting through the hangers full of clothes, no doubt to pick out an outfit she deemed appropriate for the devil's creation that was a goukon.
"Besides, it's a great way to make friends even if you're not looking for a guy," she sang, only pausing her actions to turn to the towel-clad girl to warn,"that doesn't mean you're off the hook, by the way. The main goal of tonight is still to get you laid."
"Besides,"Sakura plopped onto the bed beside the poor girl to rub her back in comfort,"it's not like I'm setting you up with a total stranger. He's an old friend from when I was still living here. We've kept in touch so I know for sure that he's good looking. Hell, if I hadn't grown up with the dork, I would have gone for him!"
"Alright, alright, I'll go," Hinata sighed,"But this is only because you guys are going to be there,"muttered with a weak glower.
"We know," Ino chirruped,"You would have gone ballistic is we made you go on a solo blind date. That's what I would have wanted but Sakura's all,'She needs to go slowly, trust issues, needs space, blah, blah, blah',"eyes rolling as she used her hand as a mock-mouth and voice drawling in what was an impression of Sakura as Hinata giggled in the background.
"Hey! It worked didn't it?" Sakura objected, clearly not as amused as the dark-haired girl beside her.
"Yeah, well, I think three year's worth of space is enough," Ino shot back, not even bothering to look away from the contents of Hinata's closet.
"Whatever. We're just concerned, is all, Hinata," Sakura said.
"That Ino has issues with entering a long and stable relationship?" Hinata playfully replied.
"Hey!" Ino objected,"I thought we were past that!"
"No," the pink-haired girl replied, despite laughing a little. However, she quickly sobered, quietly continuing, "We're concerned that it's been three whole years since you were with Mikio and you haven't been able to look at a guy, let alone go out with one. You can't really just hate every male you see because of one jerk. It's not even just about guys, it's about people, too. At some point you're going to have to let other people in and start enjoying life again."
At this Ino, stopped and turned fully to rest against the cabinet shelves to look at Hinata. "We know it's been a rough couple of years for you,"she said, uncommonly serious,"but the 'time heals all wound' crap hasn't seemed to take effect yet. It's time to take action, honey. You're not going to get anywhere if you just sit around and wait for the world to magically eject all the assholes in the world into space."
"What Ino means,"Sakura quickly said, giving a warning look at the blonde and her blunt ways,"is that we just want you to be happy."
Hinata stared at her lap, fully absorbing her friends' words and suddenly felt so genuinely cared for. Ino was right, she needed to do get off her self-pitying ass and do something. If not for herself, then for the sake of putting her friends' worries at ease.
"I hope you guys didn't fix me up with some douche. I've had enough of those," Hinata said moodily but eventually cracked a grin.
Hinata's suspicions quickly rose when she received a scoff from Ino and a nervous smile and thumbs-up from Sakura.
Somewhere in the same city, a certain blonde sneezed. He sniffed and continued walking down the street, sandwiched between the two other young men on either side of him.
"Hmm. Maybe you're catching a cold, Naruto," a lazy voice dragged.
"Ah, man that would suck! Sakura was gonna introduce me to some chick tonight! Can't be on my game when the bod's lagging behind!" the blonde exclaimed.
"Don't worry. Idiots don't catch colds," said one with dark hair.
"Ah, thanks, Sasuke. I was really worried for a moment- wait, are you calling me an idiot?"
"Obviously, dumbass," the one apparently called 'Sasuke' replied with ease.
"Who's that dumbass here, you emo?!" Naruto shouted.
"You of course, idiot."
"AAHH?! WHAT WAS THAT? WANNA TAKE ME ON?!"
"Would you please stop shouting, we're in public, idiot. The people on the other side of the street can practically hear the exclamations marks. Sasuke, would you make him shut up. Sticking with you guys is so troublesome," the lazy voice sighed, shuffling in his pockets to reach his cigarette pack. He needed quieter friends.
"Don't put me in the same group as him, Shikamaru!" Naruto objected, pointing an accusing finger at the indifferent man.
"That's my line, dobe!" Sasuke muttered, annoyed.
"So troublesome. Why do we have to go this goukon thing, again?" Shikamaru drawled with a cigarette in his mouth while attempting to start his lighter, the flint sparking before it finally burst into a small flame.
"Because Sakura's hooking us up with some of her friends tonight. And you know that Sakura always has pretty friends," the blonde cheerfully replied. He swung both arms to rest on each of his friends' shoulders and took long, enthusiastic strides dragging his friends along much to their annoyance.
"It'll be good for you guys since I bet you haven't gotten laid in months!" he shouted for the rest of the world to hear earning him two smacks on the head.
"Speak for yourself, dobe. As if you could even manage to talk a girl into going home with you," Sasuke hissed, shoving his hands into his pockets and continuing to step down the street with a perfected 'I don't care' air about him.
Shikamaru and Naruto quickly caught up with him, the laughter slinging his arm on the irked man's shoulders to smugly reply,"Now, I don't think I need to remind you about the countless times you've walked in on me during one of my appointments with the ladies."
"No, you don't need to remind me," Sasuke groaned. He had just managed to get the image that was burned into his retinas when he accidentally walking in on Naruto with an 'appointment' - in the god damn kitchen, no less - out of his head a few weeks ago. He had made the idiot scrub the kitchen counter for two hours as punishment but the mental scarring of Naruto's tanned ass would haunt him forever.
"Sasuke, I feel sorry for you," said Shikamaru patting the man on the shoulder in sympathy.
"You don't know the half of it," Sasuke sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger in frustration,"Roommates with this horn-dog for three years and counting."
"Hey! There's one year for us left, and I intend to live it out well. That's what college is about," Naruto grinned as Sasuke shook his head tiredly,
"You've been living it well for three years. Take a break already, will you?" the dark hair sighed.
"You gotta enjoy life while you can," Naruto shrugged, fox grin growing even wider.
"Oh, enjoy life but while you might not need a break, Sasuke definitely needs one, so have mercy on his poor soul. Let his mind be at peace so that he doesn't have to worry about entering a room without seeing you bang some random girl who's name you probably don't even remember," Shikamaru said laughing a little, despite himself.
Naruto dramatically placed a hand on his chest as if he had been shot, feigning injury and pretending to stumble, nearly taking down Sasuke with him.
"Ouch!" he exclaimed. "Such poetic yet hurtful words!"
The two of them laughed while Sasuke was scowled. "Stop talking about me as if I'm not here, idiots."
"Alright, alright. For your sake, Sasuke, I'll take it easy with the one night stands. No promises if I hit it off with the chick Sakura's setting me up with, though. Tonight's gonna be a blast!"
For those who have reviewed and followed this story previously, just wanted to let you know that I'll be taking down all the other chapters to edit and re-write them before posting them up again.
Any comments, flames or violent reactions? Leave me a review!
Happy September, everybody. :D