Hinata buttoned up the last large button on her warm, cranberry red pea coat and stuffed a hand into her locker in order to tentatively pull out another thick black coat. This one was three sizes too large for her, had a smooth synthetic feel to it and—she quickly brought it close to her face in order to bury it deep into the creases and inhale—still clung to the slight trace of male scent, even when it had spent two and a half weeks in her most definitely female looking and smelling room.

Biting her lip, she stared at the coat as she held it in outstretched hands in front of her. Should she have washed it? Why didn't she wash it? She had puked while in this jacket. Surely he wouldn't want back an unwashed jacket that had been sitting in her room for several weeks...

Shaking her head, Hinata frowned and rolled it up beneath her arm. Enough. She had resolved to do this, and by God she was not backing out. Again.

With a determined gait, Hinata walked down the empty school hallway and down to the gymnasium where the sound of basketballs hitting the ground pounded through the walls. Grasping the handle, she jerked open the door and strode into the loud gymnasium with her head held high and scanned the room, her eyes finally landing on her target.

Sweat poured out down his head as he dashed up to the basket and made a graceful leap, successfully managing to shoot the ball right into the basket with a nearly audible swish. Encouraging cheers from his teammates echoed and mixed all into an inaudible rush of noise as one of them high fived him. Hinata felt her heart pump and clench as she watched the easy smirk on his face and ran fingers through his ruffled hair.

"Hey, it's your girlfriend, Sasuke!" One of them jeered and laughed as Sasuke turned and glowered at him before looking at Hinata with a mixture of faint uncertainty and surprise.

Cowering slightly, Hinata wrung her fingers together and resorted to peering down at her shiny navy blue flats her father had purchased for her as a gift last week in what he said was a reward for her improving mark in physics. She said she had wanted to do this, but why now when Sasuke was at basketball practice with almost all the boys who had attended that party and consequently seen her plastered out of her mind, escaped her.

"Hey," The low murmur of his voice still sent shivers through her. "What are you doing here?"

Jerking her arm out, Hinata pushed his coat into his chest and dared a glance up. His eyes, still black, but bright from the exercise were intense as he stared back, the coat flung at him barely even seeming to register.

"You should probably wash it. Since I...I well, you know what happened." She murmured and couldn't find it in herself to continue looking directly at him. She instead settled for the corner right above his left shoulder.

"Hm," He commented vaguely and slowly reached up to take the coat, his fingers barely grazing hers, but enough to make her jerk her hand back. At this, Sasuke grinned slightly and reached up to lightly pull at the long ponytail she had quickly tied back in a high position. "I vaguely remember telling you that it looked better down than up." The tips of his fingers brushed her bangs that still hung straight and clean across her forehead as he retracted his hand.

Defiantly, Hinata lifted her chin and set her lips into a firm line. "I wear my hair how I want to wear my hair."

There was momentary stunned silence as Sasuke merely stared at her in what seemed to be shock before bursting out into laughter. "That's good. I like to hear that."

Blushing all over again, Hinata waved her hand in front of her face. "Irrelevant. That's beside's the point." She straightened up and bit her lip before continuing. "Just...I just wanted to apologize for it taking so long to return it is all."

He stared at her for a moment before saying slowly and letting the words almost carefully roll of his tongue, "You're...different. You've changed, for the better, I think."

"I'd like to think so too." Hinata whispered and took an unsteady step back. He had somehow entered the area she considered her personal bubble and was closing in. Fast.

"What would you do if I kissed you right now?" He asked, and Hinata found no hint of smirk or mirth in his eyes as he said this. Something that altogether scared her too much.

"Oi! Sasuke! Making out with girlfriends is reserved for after practice is over!" One of the players shouted and threw a ball at them that skimmed over their heads and bounced back safely over them. Sasuke turned around with a snarl on his face, ready to yell something in return.

"I have to go. Now." Hinata hissed and reached behind her to feel the handle of the exiting gym doors.

"I guess I got my answer." He growled before fingering the tall boy who had distracted Hinata's attentions and watched as she dashed out the doors without looking back once.


She was very glad for the new jacket she had reluctantly bought with her newest pay check. She adored the bright red of it, but most importantly, in the late January weather, it kept her from shivering as wind blew across her flushed cheeks. A sharp bell sound echoed through the cold air as Hinata fumbled through her pockets to produce her cell phone and read the new text message she had received.

Gonna b late. Just wait inside 4 me. Srry took longer than i thought 10-10s.

Groaning, Hinata leaned back against the wall behind her and flipped her phone closed. It probably meant that Neji was just leaving Tenten's now and it would take at least forty-five minutes to get here, and by which time it would be about quarter after midnight. She felt the overwhelming urge to chuck her phone in the gutter beside her. Everyone had left already, meaning she couldn't get a ride from Iruka, and as much as she would've had the creeps the entire way in the car, asking Tobi was out of the question too because he had been the first one to leave.

Really, the only option was—

"Where's your ride?" Sasuke opened the latch to the front entrance to the Fan and stepped out before locking it behind him. He was wearing the coat she had given back to him, she not-so-vaguely noticed.

"Coming." She said in a tightly lipped voice where the sound was flat and sharp all at the same time.

"Coming from where?"

"...Amegakure." She muttered and scratched her nose out of embarrassment. Embarrassment over what, she was still unsure.

"Jesus, that's like, an hour's drive away. How far along is he?"

"He just left." She resigned her voice to a quiet sigh by now. There was just no point in avoiding where this was going anymore.

"So you're going to be waiting out here by yourself. For the next hour." He said slowly and stared at the nearly empty parking lot in front of him unblinkingly.

"That's the plan."

"Fuck that plan." He motioned for her to follow him. "I don't care about your as of late aversion towards me. Just let me drive you home, because neither I, Itachi, nor your stick up his ass of a cousin of yours, Neji will forgive me if I leave you here like this."

"It's really okay, I can't just—"

"Get. In. The. Car." The frown on his face was brittle and cold and reminded her all too much of the Sasuke she had never been very familiar with prior to her working at the Fan.

"Alright..." Hinata obliged meekly and followed him to the car and hesitantly opened the door to buckle herself in. "Thank you, I guess."

"Hm." He gave a vague grunt and put the car into gear before backing out of the parking stall and driving out of the lot. The ride was silent, something Hinata was grateful for. She wasn't sure what she would've done if Sasuke had attempted to talk to her about the kiss in the janitor's closet, or the kiss(ing) at the party.

Finally, he pulled in beside her house and unlocked the doors. Murmuring another thanks, she unbuckled the seat belt and was half way out the door before Sasuke's firm grip engulfed her wrist and tugged her back in.


"I can't—you can't keep," Sasuke's voice cracked for a moment as a frustrated and angry emotion passed over his altogether still too gorgeous face as he struggled with his words. "You can't keep slithering out of when I talk to you. Stop fucking leaving me in suspense and say yes or no, dammit!"

"Sasuke," Hinata struggled in his grip to finally yank her hand out of his and turned a bright fuchsia colour. "I'm not—can't, it's too late for this right now!" She shrieked and bolted out of the car, slammed the door behind her and ran up to her porch steps.

This time she looked back and watched as Sasuke glared at his steering wheel, shouted some profanities at it which she was unable to hear from the distance, and drove off.


"You okay, 'Nata?" Kiba asked with concern painted in his drawn together eyebrows. "It's Taco Thursday. You love Taco Thursday. You haven't even touched the taco..."

"Wh-what are you talking about, Kiba?" Hinata gave an airy laugh that was more of a forced exhalation of breath than a jovial sound. "I'm eating it," She took a dainty bite out of her now cold taco and plastered on a cheesy grin. "See?"


"I'm fine, Kiba. Really. It's just...exams, you know? End of semester's almost here." She looked around at the rest of the cafeteria and clamped her mouth shut, signalling the end of this discussion.

In all complete honesty, everything was not fine. After her 'talk' with Sasuke Saturday evening, she had phoned Neji to tell him of the situation, hung up on him when he demanded to know every dirty detail, locked herself in her room and only left it to eat, go to the bathroom and go to school the following Monday. She knew she couldn't keep avoiding him, especially since ignoring him involved quitting her job (which she liked), moving schools and leaving her friends (which she also liked), and never leave her house again now that she found out Sasuke lived down her street.

"Hello there, my favourite trio of outcasts!" Naruto's jovial voice entered Hinata's thoughts like a spear as he slammed his lunch tray on the table next to Kiba. "How are you silly billies doing?"

"Are you high?" Kiba asked with a horrified expression and an oh-so-unattractive dangling jaw.

"Of course not." Sakura insisted and sat herself down next to Shino who looked at her warily before scooting over on the bench to distance himself. "Naruto never gets high. Anymore. I've made sure of it."

"What the fuck are you doing sitting here, anyways?" Kiba asked and took a handful of Naruto's fries to stuff into his mouth. "And don't think I've forgotten that 'outcasts' remark."

"Hey!" Naruto whined and looked at his depleted French fries stock. "Those were mine!"

"Yeah, well they're mine now." Kiba shrugged and washed it all down with a swig of his large bottle of Pepsi.

"You guys are disgusting pigs and by the time you're twenty-seven, your waist line's going to exceed your height." Sakura made a face and spooned herself a bite of yogurt.

Hinata gave a half hearted chuckle and wondered too what Sakura and Naruto were doing remotely close to their table at lunch time. Already, their presence was attracting the stares of most of the cafeteria. They probably were wondering what the conclusion would be to the drama that happened on the night of that party almost two weeks ago.

Sheesh. Whoever said gossip eventually died down obviously never attended high school.

The almost uneasy way Sakura glanced over Hinata's shoulder and Naruto's eyes flickered momentarily towards the doors that separated the cafeteria from the rest of the school made Hinata ask suspiciously, "What are you two doing here?"

For the first time, Hinata was not fooled by the easy grin on Naruto's face. "What? Can't join a few of my friends for lunch?"

Hinata never really could distinguish what happened in the next few seconds later when she looked back on the incident. Whether it was because her mind had imploded on itself or it happened all too quickly, she also was unsure of.

Yelling. That had been Naruto greeting and beckoning Sasuke over when he had entered the cafeteria in all his lordliness. Snarling. Kiba wondering what the fuck was going on once he figured out that the two's intrusion on their table was a little more suspicious than usual. Naruto's firm hold keeping Kiba from standing up and punching him out. Sakura's hand delicately and if not slightly threateningly placing itself upon Shino's stiffened hand. Sasuke calling the attention of the entire cafeteria.

Absolute silence.

He was standing tall. Very tall. Perhaps it was because he was standing on their freaking table looking down at her in excruciating intensity.

"Sasuke, wh-what are—?"

"Will you go out with me, Hinata?" He asked loudly, ignoring her flustered questioning altogether.

"What the fuck?" Kiba exploded and jerked within Naruto's still steady grasp. Shino had almost managed to jerk his hand out from beneath Sakura's before she caged it in an iron tight grip.

The entire cafeteria detonated in hushed whispers, loud comments, jeers, and pointing. Some egged them on. Some were chanting for her to say yes. Some of the girls were shrieking threateningly for Hinata to say no.

For Hinata, all she could register was Sasuke's intense and sincere eyes boring into hers, the blood that had flooded from her hands and face and were now rushing to her legs in a flight response, and the dread crawling painfully through her stomach and throat.


Don't run.


Stop being such a coward.

Just run.

Standing slowly, Hinata scrambled off of her seat at the table and darted frightened glances around the cafeteria where every single pair of eyes was on her, all awaiting her next move. She glanced up at Sasuke who had jumped off the table and had gripped her hand in his in an almost pleading way.

"Why are you doing this?" She asked, tears sprouting in her eyes as the murmurs of voices around her grew louder.

"Because you wouldn't answer me one-on-one." He snarled before biting back his frustration and anger. "I figured...I figured in a crowd you would have to."



She jerked her hand out of his as shook her head vigorously. "You can't—I can't do this. You can't force me like this!"

And she ran.


Hinata did not come to school for the next three days. Rumours spread like wild fire in a dry plain and were speculated upon in the mean time as to how meek, shy, and totally hot for one day in her entire existence got the untouchable, unreachable and completely handsome for every single day of his life Sasuke to ask her out in front of the entire school.

The favourite rumours were that Sasuke had done it to make Sakura jealous after she agreed to go out with Naruto, that it was a prank designed by the basketball team, and Sasuke had been the lucky one to go through with the plan, or everyone's favourite theory, that Hinata had gotten pregnant after having sex in the janitor's closet (or even at the party) with him and he was even planning on proposing to her soon.

Though nobody dared to ask Sasuke himself.

(Not after watching that one kid get beat to a bloody pulp after asking him how far along Hinata was, and if that was why she looked so fat.)


"I'm home and I come bearing chicken noodle soup!" The altogether too loud and jovial voice of Hinata's favourite cousin's girlfriend woke her from her groggy state. Moaning, Hinata curled up deeper beneath her comforter and just hoped Tenten would leave her alone so she could stay in her self-pitying solitude forever.

"I don't...I don't want to eat anything, Tenten," Hinata murmured from beneath the covers. "I'm not hungry. I'm sick."

"I've heard that it's been like this for three days." Tenten commented concernedly and sat down on the edge of her bed next to her. "I asked Neji if we could come down here to give you this and see how you were doing...Hanabi's really worried. She said you haven't really left the room since Saturday night." Slowly, she began tugging the covers away from Hinata's head before quickly ripping them away.

"Tenten!" Hinata cried and quickly hid her face in her pillow.

Too late. Tenten had seen the tear streaks that ran down her face, the puffy and redness in her eyes, and the tissues piled up all around her like a nest. "Oh, baby..." Tenten murmured and pushed back the hair in Hinata's face to expose the fresh tears that began to run again.

"Please don't..." Hinata begged quietly and clutched the pillow tightly in her hand.

"Tell me what happened." Tenten scooted over onto the bed so she was next to Hinata with her legs tucked beneath her chin ready to listen.

So Hinata explained. She explained in excruciating detail, every aspect of what had happened up to this point and had to repeat herself at several points when her bawling had gotten too incoherent. Luckily, Tenten was silent for a few moments in what was probably thoughtful silence, which gave Hinata just enough time to clear her tears, wipe her nose with another tissue, and sit up properly.

"You're making a really big mistake." Tenten finally said and leaned back against the headboard beside Hinata.

"Tenten!" Hinata yelled accusingly. "You're supposed to be helping me! I just cried my heart out in front of you!"

"I am helping you!" Tenten defended herself by drawing a pillow up against her chest. "I remember Sasuke from before I graduated. He was a grade A certifiable asshole who couldn't learn to remove that stick from his ass. But from the way you're describing him...it sounds like he's really into you."

"We're too different." Hinata whispered. "Too far away on the social spectrum and we have different wants. Different needs."

"Sounds to me like your wants and needs are very similar." Tenten snorted. "You want him and he wants you."

"It's not that simple, Tenten..."

"It is that simple!" Tenten threw the pillow at Hinata. "Are you ashamed of him or something? Are you ashamed for some ridiculous reason that Sasuke likes—maybe even loves you?"

"O-of course not!" Hinata tossed the pillow off her bed and clenched her fingers tightly into fists.

"Then what the fuck is holding you back? He's obviously not ashamed to be with you after asking you in front of the entire school to go out with him." Tenten jumped out of the bed, nearly knocking over the soup she had brought in with her.

"...I'm scared." Hinata admitted in a whisper and tucked the stray hairs behind her ear. "I don't want this to end in a disaster...I don't want to end up heartbroken."

"Trust me when I say you'll save yourself a lot more heartbreak if you just go and tell him how you feel. Can you imagine how much worse you'll feel if you see him with another girl? Knowing that you could've had that?" Tenten had lowered her voice to a softer tone and kneeled down beside the bed. "You know what you want. Just...follow that instinct for once, Hinata."

"O-okay..." Hinata nodded and sat up before wiping her eyes with the palms of her hands. "What time is it?"

"Four-thirty. Why?"

"Good. He'll be back from basketball practice by the time it takes me to walk over there." She threw on her coat that had been lying forsaken on the floor and strode over to the door.

"Oh, nuh-uh." Tenten swiftly grabbed Hinata by the arm and pulled her back down onto the chair in front of the vanity mirror. "As much as Sasuke may like you, you are not going over there looking like that. Let me fix you up and I'll give you a ride."

Hinata sighed and bit back her groan of frustration. Something told her this may take a while.



The door opened to reveal a very tired, very grumpy, and very moody looking boy.

Just the boy she had wanted to see.

"Hinata?" His eyebrows rose as he took in the sight of her. Her eyes were a little red rimmed, though the eyeliner and foundation seemed to be working very well in hiding that, her nose was a little red as well, and her hair was pulled back in a messy bun where hairs still escaped and framed her face in an adorable fashion.

Out of nowhere, her hands gripped his shoulder and pulled him in by the back of his neck to place a firm kiss against his slack mouth. Just as quick as she had dragged him close, she backed up and wrung her hands together nervously behind her back.

"I really, really, really, really, really like you, Sasuke." She blurted out and stared down at his bare feet. "Whenever you're around I feel like someone's let loose a net of butterflies in my stomach and whenever you kiss me I feel like the butterflies have transformed into really loud, really big fireworks. You're always nice to me, even though I don't know why, and—" She managed to stop herself there before looking up with a flushed face. "What I mean to say is...w-would you like to go out with m-me?"

"...What the fuck?" He continued to stare at her in that unnerving way that made her babble like an idiot all the time.

"I mean, you asked me already, I know, and I—I totally get it if you take back that invitation b-because I ran away from you and...and what happened to your face?" Hinata demanded and stared wide eyes up at the dark bruise surrounding his eye.

His hand rose to gently trace the outline and shrugged. "After you ran off, Sakura let go of Shino and he let one go on me." He scowled at the memory. "You'd never know it by looking at him, but that kid's got a mean right hook."

"Yeah...he's been in Tae Kwon Do ever since he was four..." Hinata mumbled absentmindedly and reached up to delicately touch the skin around it. It looked very painful. She had never witnessed Shino use such displays of violence so rashly, but from watching him spar a few times, she knew that he was a very strong fighter.

"I'm so sorry," She whispered and hoped he understood that the apology was not just for the black eye.

The message seemed to have been successfully conveyed from the way he bent his head down to gently secure her lips between his. This kiss was slow and not at all like any of the other kisses they had shared which had ranged from hard, to clumsy, to just doing it in order to prove a point.

Slowly, Hinata removed herself from him and glanced up at him. "So what does this make us?"

"This makes you my girlfriend. And me your...boyfriend."

"Oh." It sounded strange to her, having a boyfriend of her own. "Will Itachi mind? Are relationships like this allowed at work?"

"We'll work something out," He mumbled and kissed her jaw.

"Where is Itachi?" She asked worriedly and glanced at the window beside the porch that peered into the family room.

"A seminar. He's not supposed to be back until Saturday."

"Are you expecting Kakashi today too?"

"Not until eight-thirty. Anymore questions?" He asked exasperatedly.

"No." Hinata shook her head and gave a small smile in return. "I...I don't think so."

"Good." He nodded and went back to the task of kissing her senseless. His fingers worked their way into her hair and pulled out the bun it was in. He ran his fingers once through her long hair before bringing his hand back up to clutch at the back of her skull. "I think...I think I liked it better down because I had hoped for a very long time to do this."

"Ah," Hinata hissed as he lightly bit her bottom lip. "D-do we have to do this on your porch where your neighbours will see?"

He glanced up over her shoulder after placing a hot kiss against her collarbone and answered, "Not at all." Before tugging her into the house and closing the door behind her.


What? I really love writing Kiba? Hm?


Jeeeessst kidding. (Sorta.)

BUT LETS HOLD OUR HORSES HERE NOW, KIDDIES. This is the end. Sort of. But I plan to write and EPILOGUE, something I feel I must always do for my multichaptered stories because I do so hate leaving things without ending them sufficiently.

Thanks to everyone who review and faved and story alerted it and just all around loved it as much as I loved writing it!