Hello, dear readers, and welcome to the rewrite of A Good, Good Year!
Thank you for being patient with me. I will try to update every Sunday from now until the story ends.
"I've got a feeling," Hinata said to her cousin Neji, not even sure if he was listening as they walked to school, "that it's gonna be a good, good year."
"Really?" Neji drawled, startling Hinata- though who was she kidding, Neji was always listening. "And why is that, Hinata-sama?"
Hinata's cheeks bloomed with color. She didn't know why this year was going to be different, it just was, she could feel it, though Neji put little stock into gut feelings. He preferred facts and evidence, and the occasional healthy helping of predestination. No, he wouldn't understand her intuition, so she attempted to blind him with a smile and chirped, "This year, I'm finally going to get a 100 on an English test!"
Nevermind that Hinata had actually managed to say "good morning," to her long-time crush, Uzumaki Naruto, on the train this morning, or even that Naruto actually heard it and greeted her back. This optimism was intuition, it was pure feeling, it could not be quantified! It was going to be a good, good year, and that was that.
The corner of Neji's mouth quirked up in a lopsided smile. "Ah, so it had nothing to do with Uzumaki this morning?"
"No!" Hinata replied vehemently, though the rosy glow on her face betrayed her.
"I-I just have a good feeling about this year!"
"Mm. Whatever you say, Hinata-sama," Neji reached out to tug a lock of Hinata's dark hair. "I hope that you are correct, for what it's worth."
"Me, too," She murmured as the pair passed the gates of Konoha Gakuen, joining the throng of students waiting for the warning bell to sound. Hinata paused for a moment, letting the air of new school year excitement wash over her. She loved this time of year; the smell of chalk, the feel of a new book, and the sight of all her friends, just as excited as she was- well, mostly. She could hear her old classmate Shikamaru through the din, and he was already complaining about how troublesome school was. Hinata giggled to herself, "What a drag."
"Did you say something, Hinata-sama?" Neji appeared at his cousin's side.
"Oh! No," Hinata said. "Nothing important."
Neji nodded, "Alright. Well, I'm going to find Tenten and Lee. Will you be alright on your own?"
"Of course," Hinata smiled at her cousin. "Go find your friends!"
Neji gave another curt nod before ruffling Hinata's hair fondly. "Good luck this year, Hinata-sama."
"You, too, Neji-nii-san," she replied, giving him a slight push. "Now go!" Watching her cousin disappear into the crowd, Hinata smiled gently; Neji was over protective, it's true, but he meant well. It's just that always having a personal bodyguard can make it hard to make friends, especially with the opposite sex.
"Hinata-chan!" a rough voice called through the crowd. Hinata turned to see her best friends, Inuzuka Kiba and Aburame Shino, wading through the crowd of students to stand by her side. "We checked the class list, we're all together again!"
Shino's voice was muffled by the surgical mask he always wore, "A certain Uzumaki is with us, too."
"Yeah, but so's Sakura-chan," Kiba said flatly. "We gotta make sure he notices you this year, Hinata-chan!"
"I-it's okay, really," Hinata stammered, not trying to hide the color in her cheeks from her friends. "Just l-let nature take its course."
"Nature's taking too long!" Kiba howled to the sky as Hinata giggled softly and Shino just shook his head.
Chiming loudly, the warning bell rang and the students scattered around the building in search of their classrooms.
Taking one last deep breath and basking in the glow of her optimism, Hinata followed her classmates. "Yeah... a good, good year."
This was good, Hinata thought, settling into her assigned seat. She was positioned two rows behind Naruto, and one seat to the left. Clearly their new homeroom teacher had heard of Naruto's reputation, seating him front and center of the students, much to Hinata's benefit as she could now watch him during class without seeming class clown himself had yet to show up to class, so for now she gazed longingly at his empty seat.
"Nata-chan!" Kiba made himself comfortable sitting on Hinata's desk. "What's with the empty seat behind you? You know who's sitting there?"
"I don't know, Kiba-kun," Hinata twisted in her seat to view the desk in question. "The s-seating chart said 'Uchiha', I don't think there's an Uchiha in our year."
Shino materialized behind Kiba, "Maybe it's a transfer student."
"A transfer student, huh? I hope it's a chick," Kiba grinned wolfishly.
The classroom door slid open, and a man with white hair wearing a surgical mask strode in, followed by Naruto and an unfamiliar teenaged boy. The chatter in the classroom ceased almost instantly, though not out of respect for the new teacher; the girls were all stunned by the newcomer, and the boys seething quietly at the prospect of a new rival.
"Damn," Kiba whispered, sliding off Hinata's desk to take his seat.
"Welcome back, students," the man said, standing behind the desk at the front of the room. "I see you've all noticed our new student, but first things first." Picking up a piece of chalk, he scrawled his name on the blackboard. "I'm Hatake Kakashi, and I expect you all to call me Kakashi-sensei or just Kakashi. I wear this mask," he gestured to the mask on his face, "because I'm so good-looking it would be a distraction to you all." There were a few awkward giggles from the class, and the man fixed his students with a look. "That wasn't a joke." There was silence. "Now I know you are all waiting for me to introduce this delightful young man to you all, but I'm sure he'd rather do that himself. Uchiha-kun?"
The strange teenager scowled and attempted to shove his hands even deeper into his pockets, only answering after a lengthy pause. "I'm Uchiha Sasuke. 16. From America. I'm here on exchange for a year."
"Heh, tell 'em where you're from in America, Sasuke!" Naruto elbowed the boy in the stomach playfully.
After another healthy pause, and a nasty glare at Naruto, Sasuke finally bit out, "I'm from Kentucky. Louisville, Kentucky."
Naruto doubled over in laughter, "Like Kentucky Fried Chicken!" There was an audible noise of recognition from the class, followed by a few titters of laughter. "'s why your Japanese is so bad, yeah?"
"I think your Japanese is excellent, Sasuke-kun!" Haruno Sakura suddenly declared, bolting up to stand behind her desk and slamming her hands on the table top. "Don't you listen to what Naruto has to say, everyone knows he's an idiot!" There was a murmur of agreement from most of the female class, notably save Hinata, who seemed to be the only one who noticed how crestfallen Naruto was after Sakura's comment.
"All right, all right, that's enough," Kakashi-sensei came to stand next to Sasuke. "We do actually have to have class today. Uchiha-kun, your seat is behind Hyuuga-chan. Hyuuga-chan, please raise your hand."
Hinata swallowed hard as her female classmates turned to glare at her. A good, good year, yeah? Just remember that, she said to herself, raising her hand and even managing a small smile at Sasuke. He just blinked, picked up his bag and went to his seat.
Hinata swore she could hear her classmates' heads turning as they all craned their necks to get a better look at Sasuke. In her opinion, there wasn't much special about him, just another teenager with dark eyes and dark hair stuffed into a school uniform. It was clear from the class' reaction that she was missing something. They all acted as if they were gazing upon the glorious visage of a vengeful god. From the looks of it, most of the female class were signing on to be his acolytes. That was a strange thing to do for someone you'd just met, in Hinata's eyes.
Sighing, Hinata turned in her seat to pull a notebook from her school bag. The notebook seemed stuck in the bag, so Hinata yanked on it; something that had been caught on the wire binding of the notebook flew off and made a forcible landing on Sasuke's desk.
Time seemed to slow down as Hinata realized what had just happened: a tampon flew from her bag and landed on the exchange student's desk. Luckily he had his head down so she could reach out and grab it- but like she had tripped a proximity alarm with her hand, Sasuke lifted his head and glared at her.
His line of sight travelled down her arm, landing on her hand just inches from the spurious tampon.
"Oh, god, really, on my first day? That's nasty, you're nasty," he said accusingly, using a pencil to roll the tampon closer to Hinata. "Take it, put it away, I don't wanna see that shit again, that's nasty," he repeated.
Hinata snatched the tampon away from Sasuke, a horrifed look on her face. "I-I d-didn't mean to! It just f-flew out! I-I'm so s-sorry!"
"Sasuke bothering you, Hinata-chan?" Naruto dashed to her aid.
"She was bothering me," Sasuke said simply. "She put one of those girl things on my desk." He pointed to the tampon in Hinata's hand.
"Girl things-oh," Naruto's face grew almost as red as Hinata's. "I don't know about that, Hinata-chan's a real nice girl, not a creep like you-"
"Sasuke-kun is not a creep!" Sakura stomped up to their little gathering. "If he said Hinata's bothering him, then Hinata's bothering him!" Sakura caught sight of the tampon in Hinata's hand. "Put that away, Hinata-chan, that's not decent."
Kakashi rapped on the blackboard. "Excuse me? I do have a class to teach, this is school, an institution of learning. Everybody get back to your seats and maybe we can actually have class." He moved to write on the board, paused, and glanced back at Hinata. "Hyuuga-chan, put the feminine hygiene products away. You're scandalizing your classmates."
Hinata's face burned like a beacon of embarrassment. It's gonna be a good, good year, she reminded herself, tucking the tampon securely into her bag. A good, good year.
A good, good year.