Summary: He was twenty, in love, and helpless to do anything about it. A civilian falls in love with Hyuuga Hanabi. Part 1 of the "Civilian" Series.


Fruitless


He first meets her when her teammates drag her into his uncle's shop for a snack. He is thirteen and working as an apprentice baker. She is eleven and fresh out of the academy.

Her clothes are a pristine white like her eyes and, unlike her sweaty dirty teammates, there is no indication that she just came from a grueling training session. She stands with her back straight and head held high, hitai-ite round her neck.

His initial thoughts are that she is too cold, too severe, with her brow furrowed and her lips in an almost scowl.

But then she bites into the piping-hot bread and her eyes widen is pleasant surprise.

"It's good," she says and a soft smile breaks out on her face.

He can't help but smile as well.


She regularly comes into the shop after that, trying something different every time. He notes that she likes the freshly-baked buns (still warm and with the fragment bread smell) sticky dango and sweets.

It is not long before he learns her name.

Hyuuga Hanabi, a member of one of Konoha's most prestigious clan. He does not yet know the extent of the significance of this, even more so that of her unmarked forehead.

All he knows is that Hanabi always says 'ittadakimasu' before she eats, consumes food in tiny bites, has a sweet tooth, and unconsciously smiles whenever it is satiated.


Her visits to the shop are almost regular, so he is worried when she does not arrive for her weekly fare (she buys breads by the dozen now, because 'decent food is severely lacking in missions').

Instead, a woman who is undoubtedly her sister comes in. She pulls out a list written in elegant, somewhat jagged script and asks for Hanabi's favorite foods.

She is polite, soft-spoken and beautiful but, loyally, he thinks that Hanabi is better even if she acted harshly and impatiently sometimes.

"How is Hanabi-san?" he asks, and she looks slightly surprised that he knows her sister's name.

"My sister is fine," she answers then, a bit awkwardly, as if unsure to say anything more, adds, "She pushed herself too hard yesterday."

He wonders how hard is 'too hard' for Hyuuga Hanabi.

If only he could see the number of craters that littered the Hyuuga compound.


Like all teenage boys, he fears rejection. And it will certainly be rejection with this girl.

She is richer than him. She is smarter than him. She is stronger than him. He has nothing to offer this kunoichi, as his friends repeatedly tell him.

So he does not say anything.


She knows him by face now and, true to her heritage, reads him like an open book. But, being the lady that she is, does not mention anything about his growing infatuation with her.

Eventually (after a week or so), she brushes it off and forgets it like all ninjas do with tiny, insignificant, mushy feelings.


One day she comes in, fifteen years old, and wearing worn green vest and another responsibility around her shoulders.

Then she is gone for months at a time. And when she drops by, she smells of Suna, of Iwa, of Mist or Wave. She asks for black coffee instead of sweet tea with her food, and eats much faster than before, no longer taking time between her small bites.

He notices the small scars on her arms and the way she walks with her hands positioned ready to strike. He has seen many other men and women like this and despairs.

It pains him to see her being turned into a soldier.


He is icing cakes when the village when a missing-nin infiltrates the village and comes dangerously close to the shop.

It is the first time he sees her in combat, veins bulging around her eyes and chakra glowing at her hands. Her teammates are at her back, ready to step in when necessary.

He doesn't know it but her Jyuuken is perfectly executed, every hit designed to take out a chakra point.

He just knows she impressed the hell out of him. And maybe took ten years off his life in the process.


Time passes and he sees her sister again while on an errand at the market. At her side is an impressive man, a known prodigy who is easily one of the Village's strongest.

He watches them for only a second before they notice his gaze. The man levels – not a glare, he probably would have wet his pants at that – but also not an entirely friendly look at him.

He imagines Hanabi with her family like this –an overprotective father, cousin, and brother-in-law – and gulps.

He loses his nerve a second time before he even realizes it.


When he is nineteen, he grins at the proud smile she wears when she asks for a large, fancy cake to celebrate her promotion to jounin. Inside, he wonders how much farther she is leaving him behind.

Then he reminds himself that she is not and cannot ever leave him behind. That would entail them being on the same level in the past. He had not ever been, and never will be, in the same league as her.


When she is eighteen she comes in with a man and he has to bite back the feeling of jealousy and resentment that floods his chest. He has no claim on her, he never has.

The man is tall, handsome and distinctly shinobi. He catches the name 'Konohamaru' and seethes silently as he drips glaze over some rolls.

Never in his life had he wished so hard that he'd been good enough to enter the academy.


He is a baker and shop proprietor – without a clan, without an iota of skill to save himself and without even the courage to admit his feelings.

She is Hyuuga Hanabi, Konoha jounin and heiress to the Hyuuga.

He is twenty, in love and helpless to do anything about it.


Might as well be a monkey reaching for the moon.


Owari


Notes: I can't believe I wrote this in less than an hour. My first story in this series was supposed to be something different (and more than halfway finished currently) but inspiration struck and struck hard. You can guess at the Hinata pairing (Personally, it's itahina but its open to anyone).

Next up (if you're interested)!

For this series…

Title: Happy Endings. Summary: A team of ninjas on an escort and protect mission. Civilian's POV.

Overall…

Title: Treasure (on Epitome) Summary: All is well for Hyuuga Hinata until she is captured by Itachi of the Sharingan and the Jolly Akatsuki. Sailing over the high seas with the most fearsome crew in history with Captain-of-the-Guard Neji and her own fiancé Uchiha Sasuke in hot pursuit, getting into bar brawls and continually being mistaken for a wench, and trying (in vain) to make sense of her kidnapper, what's a lady to do? ItaHina. Features Superstitious!Hidan ("What the hell! She's a fucking girl! It's fucking bad enough we already have Blue and Blondie ("I'm a MAN, un!")!Oh, Jashin-sama, you might as well sink our asses right now.")


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