It happened one day when Naruto was in Sage mode. He was meditating, looking over the life chakras of the entire village in a secluded training ground like the [epic and awesome] guardian of Konoha he was [at the grand old age of nineteen!]

Then he noticed something amiss. There was a chakra source in the bushes twenty meters behind him that hadn't moved for over half an hour. He turned around slowly, monitoring the chakra as it moved in a circle, always behind him. So he had a stalker, did he? Naruto mused for about five seconds before coming up with a plan.

He disappeared from his spot and moved in front of the stalker in a flash of speed. With smiling eyes and a big grin, he announced himself with a cheerful, "Yo!"

Hinata promptly fainted.

Naruto looked at her prone form for a second. "...Huh."

When Hinata finally woke up from her Naruto-themed fantasy, it was approaching dark. There was a note taped to her forehead, on which was scribbled [in Naruto's cute but barely legible scrawl], "Date at Ichiho's tomorrow. 6:00 PM. I made reservations."

She gave out a squeal of delight. Then she realized she would be on a date with [studly, manly] Naruto. She fainted again. By the time she woke up again, dawn was breaking. And Ino was prodding her with a stick, with the note in her other hand. Ino grinned [like a wolf grins at a rabbit.]

Hinata almost fainted again. Oh, the horror.


Hinata stepped into the fancy restaurant, wearing the skintight black dress that Ino had practically forced her into. She hoped Naruto would appreciate it, she really did. She also hoped he would appreciate the lack of underwear [totally necessary, according to Ino.] Looking like a stiff breeze would knock her over [oh my, it's cold down there!], she approached the maître d' at his podium and hesitantly asked, "Ano... excuse me? There's a reservation for... Uzumaki?"

He checked the reservation list. "Ahh, yes. Uzumaki-san is already waiting at a special, out-of-the-way table picked just for you. Follow me, please."

The maître d' picked up two menus and led Hinata through the restaurant, towards the quieter section. The table Naruto [handsome, gorgeous Naruto] was placed near the kitchen and surrounded by several large, decorative cacti.

"Hey, Hinata! Here, let me pull the chair out for you!" Naruto leaped out of his chair, brushed [shoved] past the maître d' in his eagerness to perform the chivalrous duty.

Naruto's enthusiastic welcome knocked the unprepared man backwards. As he lost his balance and fell, his hands automatically reached out behind him to cushion the fall - right on top of a cactus covered in inch-long spines. After five seconds of listening to a woman scream right next to him, he realized it was actually his own voice ringing in his ears. Ouch.

After that humiliating debacle, Naruto convinced the maître d' to be their personal waiter for night with a handful of ryo bills [disappeared at the speed of light into his back pocket.] When Hinata expressed concern, the waiter reassured her that, "It's pretty much impossible for you two to embarrass me any further, so the rest of the night should go fine!" Famous last words.


They gazed into each other's eyes above their respective menus. Their waiter, pad in hand [healed, thank God, by that nice pink-haired woman sitting in a corner with a blond blatantly watching the Couple], patiently waited for their orders. He didn't want to ruin the atmosphere by intruding on the intense staring contest.

"I've never had Chicken Kebabs before... I'll try that."

"Ano... I'll have the Stewed Pork on Rice."

"What drinks would you like with those orders? We have quite a selection of fine wines."

"Just a water, man."

"Um, water too, please."

"Yes, sir, madam." He slowly backed away and ran with all his might to the kitchen to escape the staring. [My god, the staring!] He had no idea. Absolutely no idea [stares like that could curdle entire cows.] He also forgot to take the menus with him, the poor man.

"Nice dress, Hinata."

"Thank you, Naruto-kun. I think... that suit fits you very well. You look h-h-handsome in it."

"Aw, thanks, Hinata."

The initial tension abated, but a new sensation of bashfulness replaced it. They buried their faces into their menus, too embarrassed to look up at each other any longer.


A half hour passed, during which Naruto struggled to make conversation. He struggled hard. Real damn hard. Hinata fared even worse, as she could barely say anything more than, "Ano..." or "Um..."

"Err..." Naruto glanced around, trying to find a topic worthy of discussion. "Man, those cactus spikes are really sharp, huh?"

Hinata slumped in her seat and sighed, "Yes they are... ano..."

Eager for a response [gimme something to work with!], Naruto leaned forward and asked, "Yes?"

"Nothing..." 'He probably thinks that I'm a dark weirdo...' She stared down at her untouched plate of food. Naruto had finished his plate five minutes ago, and was [valiantly] trying to make conversation.

'What a dark, weird girl.' Naruto looked at his date's dish, still filled with completely untouched food. "Uhh..."

Hinata's face mirrored her crush's expression. "Ano..."

The seconds ticked by, until finally Naruto could take no more.

The blond's hand came down on the table, making the silverware rattle and Hinata jump. He clenched his hair and frustratedly declared, "This...This isn't really working out. I mean, aside from agreeing that Neji needs a boot up his ass and I'm the sexiest thing alive, we have absolutely nothing in common! Nothing at all!"

Hinata drooped her head again [till her chin rested between those magnificent, majestic breasts.] "I'm sorry, Naruto-kun..."

Naruto's eyes naturally looked down the magical canyon of her cleavage as he replied, "It's alright. It's not your fault." '... wow, now I really wish we did have more in common.'

Hinata started twiddling her index fingers and shamefully confessed, "I am... just not used to being so close to you... or looking at your front."

Naruto scratched the back of his head. Wearily, he said, "Oh, okay. So... I guess this means that dating is out."

Face flaming red, Hinata nervously tried to say, "We can't date, but does that mean...well, c-can I"

Cocking his head to one side, Naruto curiously peered at her and prompted, "Can we still...?"

She squeezed her eyes shut [please don't hate me] and exclaimed in one breath, "CanIstillstalkyouplease?!"

Naruto recoiled as if struck. Hinata's stomach plummeted. Then his brow quirked and he thoughtfully rocked his head from side to side.

Shrugging, Naruto suddenly replied, "Well, if you're still up for the stalking, sure, I'm down for being stalked."

"Really?!" Hinata giddily shrieked. She jumped out of her chair and gasped, "Thankyouthankyou-thankyousomuch!"

Then she dashed out of the restaurant, causing their waiter to drop a pitcher of ice water and an extremely pointy pen onto his big toe. Poor waiter. At least he managed to grab the check as it fell, relieved that it didn't get drenched.

Naruto supposed that he was pleased with how the evening had turned out. Satisfied, he turned and bellowed, "WAITER! CHECK PLEASE!" not realizing the man was standing right next to him.

Startled, the waiter slipped backwards, fell on his ass [my ryo!], and dropped the check into the small pool of water surrounding his feet. 'Well, shit.'

"Guess that means it's all on the house." Naruto said to himself, then walked out of the restaurant without even leaving a tip.

Poor, poor waiter.

Once outside, Naruto glanced around the dark alley with a worried look on his face. Then as his eyes adjusted to the glare from the streetlights, he spotted Hinata's familiar form crouched in a squat [wow, her cleavage isn't her only magical canyon] behind a trashcan half a block away.

Overcome by a peculiar sense of relief, Naruto gave Hinata a full fledged Nice Guy pose complete with a thumbs up and shiny grin [... ano, he even got his teeth to ping! So dreamy!].

Whistling serenely, Naruto made his way home, feeling his stalker following him, feeling whole and content knowing all was right in the world.


Beta'd and Edited [and Completely Ruined] by Kraken's Ghost.