by Bullwinkle's Lady

Her hair was tied back in an elastic band. Her ponytail was a single lock that trailed down to her lower back, curling up at the end courtesy of the moisture in the air. It twisted and turned as it dodged droplets, black and glossy like the bangs that hung in her eyes.

Her skin was clear, pale but attractive, a number of faint freckles splattering her cheeks like an eternal blush-

No. It was a blush.

Maybe it was because of his compulsive staring. She glanced at him, then quickly away again, seeming rather frightened by his special attention to her movements.

His brows furrowed. Whereas the other girls had opted for tiny bikinis that displayed their inadequate proportions, Hinata was wearing a dark one-piece with a jacket over it, seeming strangely confident that it wouldn't get wet.

Her legs were alright. Hips, adequate.

And her torso...overweight? Underweight? He couldn't tell with that jacket. His crimson eyes chased the girl, but he wasn't any sort of a lecher. He was curious, just curious, because, and only because-

Water danced for Hyuuga Hinata.

It splashed for him.

"Psshh, water element," Naruto mentioned jokingly, the Hyuuga continuing to navigate through flying weapons, barely noticing the way the water curved to her every whim.

"Che," mentioned Sasuke, as though agreeing, but it was only then that he understood. So she was a water element. He should have known. It suddenly made sense that he and the others looked like incompetent morons, flopping and gaping like suffocating blowfish.

Was it wrong that he was competitive? But he was being ridiculous; their abilities didn't correspond. Byakugan, sharingan. Water, fire. And if he attempted electricity, he'd likely kill them all – including himself.

Sasuke ran forward, moving past the others. He had to stop wasting time comparing himself to the damn Hyuuga. He had to find his own strengths, ones that worked best with each given situation. He caught a kunai and pelted it back at Kakashi.

Were he and Naruto the only ones who hadn't known that training would be at the lake? They looked awkward in their baggy clothes, feeling strangely confined in places they'd always felt comfortable. It must have been all the nudity in the air – Ino's wild flailing, and Sakura's loosening spaghetti straps. The girls weren't training, just playing, and he hadn't the time for games.

And Kakashi and Hinata were the only ones who were still dry. Attempting to disregard his frustration – his utter uselessness in water – he jerked off his shirt. It had been weighing him down all day. He heard a gasp from behind him, followed by an obligatory splash.

Sasuke glanced over his shoulder, expecting it was Ino...but Ino was still standing, slack-jawed as she gaped at the air bubbles gurgling up from the water beside her.

Sakura – there. Naruto – check. Hinata...hn...

Eyebrows knit, Sasuke turned completely around, finding that he too was staring, rather perplexed by the Hyuuga's blunder. He watched her pale hand reappear, her sporadic flow of white chakra allowing her to clumsily climb back to the surface. He eyed her heaving chest, dripping lashes, and pink cheeks, feeling relatively surprised that the girl looked so much better when she was all wet-

The water exploded beneath him, sending the teenagers in all directions, and Kakashi would dare suggest that it was solely because of the Uchiha's monstrous libido.

Naruto, however, would simply damn their sensei for throwing an exploding tag at them.

"Sasuke drowned!" Ino was in tears. "You killed him!" She pounded Kakashi's chest with her fists.

"My mistake," muttered the jounin, mournfully tucking his face into his novel.

"Get out of the way!" Sakura groused, shoving the two aside. "He needs CPR." She started toward Sasuke's side.

"What!? Don't you dare!" Ino screeched, leaping onto Sakura's back. The two collapsed to the ground, writhing and wiggling and whatnot.

"His lungs are full of water," murmured Hinata, her byakugan activated as she stared down at the Uchiha's unconscious form.

"I'm-! Giving him-! Mouth to mouth!" the struggling Ino insisted from afar.

"Oh, he'll sleep it off," mentioned Naruto, lazily flopping his hand and disregarding the situation. "Maybe we should roll him back into the lake? That might wake him up..." muttered the boy thoughtfully.

Hinata slowly kneeled down beside the Uchiha, carefully laying her hands upon his pectorals, and feeling heat return to her cheeks. She didn't know why she felt so warm. She'd seen boys before – shirtless boys – with muscles! And she'd been stared at before, with disgust or annoyance, but never with such apathy – those bland eyes, relaxed lips.

They were parted where he lay there, sprawled by the water's edge as he awaited a savior. She was vaguely reminded of Sleeping Beauty, and grew all the more embarrassed that she admitted he was beautiful. Sasuke could have very well died as she sat there, leaning over him and idly watching.

She saw his electric blue chakra slowly retreat to his core...and his core, flickering; fading. Sasuke's lungs were unmoving but his chest was heaving, as though he was fighting even then. He was losing.

She leaned closer.

A pulse of energy flowed from the palms of her hands and into his chest, forcing his heart to jump and lungs to retract. His eyes flew open as he coughed up a mouthful of water.

Good, thought Hinata numbly, watching Sasuke gasp for breath beneath her. As he relaxed, and retired to long draws of air, her eyes returned to his chest, and she felt his gaze on her face. His weary onyx eyes were half-lidded in his fatigue, persistently staring, until she had to close her own. The silence was bizarrely comfortable, Ino's prattling barely discernable anymore. She could not feel Naruto's surprised gawk on her head, or sense the way Kakashi grinned beneath his mask, but found her entire focus on the sound of Sasuke's even breathing. She slowly came to realize how heavily she was leaning on his chest.

Her eyes snapped open as he attempted to sit up. She quickly removed her hands, awkwardly supporting his shoulder and wondering why neither of the medics were helping.

"Thanks," muttered Sasuke hoarsely.

"You're w-we-welcome-?"

She froze when he suddenly leaned forward, catching her lips before she could stop him, and stealing her very first kiss so abruptly she suspected she had dreamt it a second later when he pulled back. It was as though he equated kissing to thanking; as though it wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

And then the corner of his mouth twitched, looking rather like a smirk, and revealing that he knew exactly what he had done.

She couldn't quite breathe, but scrambled away from him, managing to climb onto her wobbly knees. Instinct told her that kissing was bad. Sasuke was bad. Run away!

Her inner-Neji told her to be polite about it.

"I – a-ano – I...have to...g-go..." she stammered, madly pressing her pointer fingers together.

Ino and Sakura were still immersed in their catfight. Over her shoulder and a few yards away, Kakashi mouthed the word "Rejection" with only his right eye.

Sasuke slowly frowned. His amusement was replaced with indifference, and indifference, infected with annoyance. He carefully climbed to his feet, ignoring the dizziness that accompanied breathing water and kissing girls. He momentarily bowed his dripping head, before looking up at Hinata who was inelegantly backing away.



He caught her shoulders, jerking her forward, and causing their lips to collide for a second time.

It was a hard kiss, but an especially nice one. Sasuke then kissed her one last time, lightly, if only to apologize for the last, or maybe to nurse her reddened lips. When he was finished, she was like water in his grasp.

Her eyes were unfocused, face a nasty shade of fuchsia. "I – I should...g-go," she mumbled faintly into his shoulder.

He released her arms and pocketed his hands. "Fine."

"I – I – sh-should..."

Sasuke curiously watched her pale eyes roll upwards. "...Hyuuga?"


But maybe it was a good thing.

"Sasuke, what happened!?'

"Omigosh, Hinata isn't breathing!"

"I think she needs mouth to mouth!"