Dedication: Bullwinkle's Lady, or SophiaJor—because you give me the critique I need and also because you've been rolling out too many Sasuhina oneshots for me not to do the same.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

I suppose this would fit underneath Commonplace Anthology… but I wanted to post this as a separate gift for SophiaJor.

Happy 2010!

Of Chopsticks

"—and then Kakashi-sensei had the nerve to show up two hours late but luckily—Naruto!"

If Hinata had been twelve, easily excitable, and less the Hyuuga she was now, she would have jumped at Sakura's sudden snarl. As it was, seventeen year old Hyuuga Hinata only blinked.

"Ara, Sakura-chan?" Naruto said around a mouthful of sushi. If Naruto had been twelve, brash, and naïve, he probably would have had a genuine doe-caught-in-headlights look. As it was, seventeen year old Naruto only plastered a mock-scared expression on his face. Sasuke had to admit, Naruto would have fooled him if it weren't for the subtle gleam in his blue eyes.


Sakura curled her lips in disgust at yet another display of Naruto's bad table manners. "Don't speak with your mouth full! And how many times have I told you, stop holding your chopsticks that way! It's utterly improper for someone your age!" she snapped, clicking her own correctly-held chopsticks at the blonde's face.

"But I don't know how," Naruto whined childishly, before a sly look stole across his face. "How about Sakura-chan teach me again…?"

"No! I already wasted god knows how many hours trying to do just that!"

Naruto deflated. Really, Sasuke could have told him his foolish plan wouldn't have worked… Feeling pleased, Sasuke patiently popped a nigirizushi into his mouth. Hinata's cooking ability, combined with the Hyuuga budget (who else could afford decent nigirizushi for everyday lunch?), never failed to create edible lunches. Edible, in Sasuke terms, obviously meant excellent, tasty, and all the synonyms Naruto had lauded on the young Heiress… words that had made the girl turn a bright pink.


Sasuke crunched on the sushi harder than he ought to and he reflexively winced as a shudder ran through his body. He reached out to grab his tea cup (only a Hyuuga would actually bring crockery for an afternoon outdoor lunch) and then closed his eyes as he relished the "edible" tea.

Only a Hyuuga would bring out decent tea for a simple afternoon spar.

Then again, it could have just been Hinata.


"Ah, Naruto-kun…"

Sasuke lowered his cup and peered out from behind his bangs to see a very unusual (unwelcome) sight.

"Here, you hold your top chopstick with your thumb and first and third finger…"

Hyuuga Hinata was sitting next to Uzumaki Naruto.

Hyuuga Hinata was holding Uzumaki Naruto's right hand.

Hyuuga Hinata was doing all of the above with that damned voice of hers and damned smile of hers.

"Eh, it's fine Hina-chan!" Naruto said hastily, eyes just a bit wide and frantic. Unfortunately, seventeen year old Naruto wasn't as oblivious to certain things as he was before. Even more unfortunately for him, Hinata was not to be deterred.

"Rest your bottom chopstick on the crook between your thumb and first finger… see?" Hinata said cheerfully as her fingers gently guided Naruto's hand into the correct position.

"See?" Sasuke's eyes traced Hinata's own chopsticks as she daintily picked up a sushi and maneuvered it toward her soft, vulnerable, lips—

Sasuke grabbed his tea cup and swallowed the tea must faster than he planned and he couldn't help coughing as the tea burned its way down his throat.


"I got it Hina-chan!" Naruto laughed nervously.

"Very good Naruto-kun." Hinata smiled, her cheeks flushing at Naruto's exuberance.

Naruto's shoulders tensed uneasily as he felt a glower aimed at his back. "Hehe, like this right?" Smoothly (subtly!) jerking his hand away from Hinata's and with perfect form that made even Sakura narrow her eyes suspiciously, he reached out and grabbed a temakizushi. However, in his haste, his shinobi strength kicked in and the poor sushi didn't stand a chance.

It exploded. As a result, Hinata found herself suddenly covered with rice, seaweed, and an assortment of other things.

"Naruto!" Sakura cried, dismayed.


Naruto gulped. Somehow, that one word managed to snake through his brain over all of Sakura's shrieks.

Uh oh.

"T-that tickles," Hinata giggled.

"Naruto's an idiot," Sakura hissed as she dabbed Hinata's face with a napkin.

Hinata chuckled. "But you still liked him anyway."

The girl scowled and would have intimidated the Hyuuga if her face hadn't matched her hair.


"I swear, I didn't mean to do it!" Naruto cried defensively. "I just wanted to get Sakura-chan's attention," he whimpered.

"And I care because?"

Naruto just barely dodged the chakra-crackling fist.

"Why do you care anyway?" Naruto retorted slyly, throwing Sasuke's words back at him. Sasuke froze and his face darkened. His mouth moved as if to make words, but he was silent.

For a moment, Naruto seemed to forget his best friend was a very dangerous shinobi. Placing one hand on his hips and using the other to point accusingly at the glowering boy, Naruto laughed.

"You can't even admit you like—"

"Naruto." This time, Naruto didn't quite manage to evade Sasuke's knuckles.

When all else failed, use the fist.

"Explain to me again why I have to heal you," Sakura muttered. Despite her dry tone, her hands were gentle and soothing as they wove green chakra over his wounds.

"Because you love me!" Naruto chirped. The girl flushed.

"Naruto baka!"

Hinata chuckled.

"Are you okay with that?"

She blinked at the sudden question. Looking up from the arm she herself had been bandaging, she found herself looking into dark, impassive, pretty eyes.

Oh my.

"W-what?" Sasuke was so close that she could see how long his eyelashes were.

His eyes sharpened and she was appropriately distracted away from his pretty eyelashes. Although his eyes were just as dark and as imposing as ever, the message was clear: you heard me.

If it had been anyone else, she would have cagily avoided the question. However, although he did not speak, Sasuke's eyes were authoritative and Hinata could feel herself submitting. In her defense, she thought she saw a gleam of something that looked like sympathy and kindness in his eyes. Hinata was never able to resist a kind person… especially someone who was treating her kindly. (Never mind said person was notorious for his hostility.)

"It… hasn't bothered me for a quite some time now, Sasuke-san," Hinata said honestly.

"I see."

Even the courage and the maturity she'd mustered over the past five years wasn't enough for her to properly stare down Sasuke's indescribable, unreadable gaze. Flushing slightly, Hinata looked away and resumed tending his wounds.

That day, he helped her carry the empty bento boxes home, despite her protests otherwise.

Author's Notes: A short drabble that I might expand later on if I want to. I apologize for not updating AFAIG or Pandemonium.

Review! It makes me a happy author. XD