This takes place after Hinata talks to Naruto about his experience in the chunin exams against her sister Hanabi and about the fight she has to have with her upon her return to the village. I ended up cutting this from Fox Sage since i felt it brought them together too early, but i may use the altered personality clones later on in Fox Sage. Let me know what you think!
She looked at him, a little shocked. He was showing a side of himself that hardly anyone had seen before. Gone was the goofy grin, and obnoxiously loud voice. He was projecting an aura of quiet fierceness; his eyes radiated determination and power.
She was even more surprised when he summoned a three-tailed fox. The fox was a rich reddish-brown color, and big enough for them to ride on. She also noticed a black leather collar around her neck.
"How may I be of service, Naruto-sama?" the fox asked.
Taking note of the feminine voice, Hinata assumed the fox was female.
"How many times to I have to ask you not to call me that, Masami?" he said, "Anyway, I need you to carry us to the Hidden Cliff Village."
"That shouldn't be too difficult, Naruto-san. When do we leave?"
"As soon as Kotaro gets here. Oh, and you might want to cover your ears for this," he said, while taking a strange whistle out of his pocket, "you too, Hinata." Hinata noticed that Masami had had crouched down and covered her ears with her paws, and she noticed that Naruto was covering his own, the whistle held between his teeth. Just as she covered her own ears, he blew into the whistle. To her it seemed nothing happened, but to Masami, it looked painful.
"Did it work?" Hinata asked him, "I didn't hear anything."
"Most people can't. It's a fox whistle. Only animals can hear it. Kiba might be able to though, since he has heightened senses."
As he finished, Kotaro came bounding up out of the dense jungle, and jumped onto Masami's head. "Hi Masami," he said to the fox, "What do you want, Naruto?"
"We're leaving," he said, as he placed Hinata on Masami's back, "Now."
He jumped up and sat down behind Hinata, which surprised her. "Ano, shouldn't you be in front?" she asked.
"Normally yes, but until you get used to riding Masami, this way is safer."
As Masami stood up, she let out a slight 'Eeep' as Naruto reached around her waist to help hold her on. He showed her the handles on the collar, and they took off, crashing through the jungle. During the trip, once Hinata was comfortable enough to ride without hanging on, he started to teach her how to use shadow clones. He told her of the knowledge gathering ability, as well as some of their other traits and limitations. She took to it rather well, and by the end of the day, she could make ten clones without problems.
When they stopped for the evening, Naruto decided that they spar a little so Hinata could get used to using shadow clones in battle. It didn't take her very long. Acquiring the knowledge of the defeated clones in battle was slightly disorienting to her, but Naruto explained that it would pass as she got used to them. Suddenly, she asked him a question that he found kind of strange.
"How bad is it when you dispel a whole bunch of clones at the same time?"
"Well," he replied, "It doesn't bother me at all. I can dispel up to about a hundred clones at once before I feel anything. If you did that, it'd probably knock you out for quite a while."
"Ano, can I try anyway?"
"I guess, if you really want to."
He then walked over to stand behind her, and put his hands on her shoulders. "Oh, we should probably get you used to my chakra first. It's kinda intense," he said.
"Ano, w-what should I do?" she asked.
"Just hold out your hand, and I'll run some of my chakra through you, so you can get used to it," he told her. She did as he asked, holding her hand, palm up, in front of her. He stood behind her concentrating as she waited for something to happen, and when it did, she wasn't very prepared. His chakra slammed into her like ten Tsunade punches, and she thought she would die. She fell over panting.
"Sorry. I should've explained better," he said, "Can you make a Rasengan?"
"Ano, I'll try," she replied, still out of breath. Before very long, she had a perfect, if slightly smaller version, of Naruto's Rasengan spinning in her right hand. "I guess I can."
"Wow, it me almost a month to do that. Anyway, when I push my chakra into you, this time I want you to make a Rasengan again. Oh, and this time you should hold your hand over your head, cause it'll probably be really big."
He put his hands on her shoulders again, as she held her right hand as high as it would go. She started to form a Rasengan in her hand as he gave her some of his chakra, and instead of the five inch sphere it had been, it was now five feet across. As she gaped in wonder at its size, she started to lose control of it. Noticing this, Naruto quickly reached up, and after gathering some chakra in his hands, shoved the massive Rasengan away from them, before it destabilized and exploded.
Knowing he didn't push it hard enough for them to escape the blast zone, he wrapped his arms around Hinata and began to push as much chakra out of his body as he could, and a red sphere engulfed them, right before the massive Rasengan hit the ground.
The red chakra shield wavered and deformed slightly, but it managed to withstand the massive explosion that shook the jungle. Once the dust had mostly settled, Naruto let the shield down, and began to survey the damage. They were in the middle of a clearing, about thirty feet across, and standing in a slight crater. As he took in the sights of their new clearing, he noticed it was raining.
"Ooops," he said, as he let go of her, "I probably shouldn't have used that much chakra for your first time." He then noticed that Hinata was cradling her arm, as if it was broken. "It's not broken, is it?"
"No, but it feels like it's on fire."
"Sorry about that, it's the sudden expansion of your chakra vessels that's causing the pain," he told her. He then held his hand up to her arm as a reddish-green chakra enveloped his hand, soon spreading to her arm as well. "Does this make it feel any better?"
"Y-yeah, it does. When did you learn medical jutsus?" she asked him.
"I didn't. This is a veterinary jutsu in case one of my foxes gets hurt," he told her, "I had absolutely no idea if it would work on you, although it seems to be working fine. Oh, and you should get the feeling back in your arm in about an hour."
They wandered over to the trees to get out of the rain, and while they waited for Hinata to get the feeling back in her arm, they sat and talked about inconsequential things, and whatever came to mind. It was a great confidence boost for her. She was actually able to carry on a conversation with her crush that wasn't about training or a mission, without fainting, or even really blushing a whole lot either.
Little did she know, the conversation was affecting him, too. He was watching her out of the corner of his eye, and had to fight himself not to outright stare at her. He'd seen many very attractive women in his travels with the perverted sennin, several of whom had been……..less than fully dressed, some even not wearing anything at all, and yet, he found himself thinking that he'd rather stare at a fully-dressed Hinata than a bunch of hot, naked women.
His thoughts of how she looked were interrupted by what he found to be one of, if not the most beautiful things he'd ever heard: Hinata laughing. It sounded angelic to him, something pure. The sound completely took over his thought process, replacing everything else with the desire to hear that sound again.
Before they knew it, an hour had passed, and Hinata's arm got its feeling back. They decided to continue training.
"Okay," said Naruto, "this time try to make shadow clones instead."
He put his hands back on her shoulders as she prepared for his chakra to slam into her. Being slightly used to it by now, she was able to maintain enough control of it to form five clones that were just like her, in looks if not attitude. The presence of Naruto's chakra had altered the personality of Hinata's clones to be a lot closer to his.
It was quite an eye-opening experience for him, to say the least, for he was immediately tackled by the five clones. They were all over him, planting kisses on whatever part of him they could get their lips to reach, and when they couldn't reach any part of him, they were all screaming about how much they loved him. Needless to say, the real Hinata was mortified.
She was snapped out of her stupor when the clones started to talk about some of the things they wanted to do to him, and she was able to dispel them before their conversation got too graphic, even though Naruto didn't notice what they had been saying. One of the clones had finally gotten him in a full lip lock after screaming that she loved him, and he had promptly passed out from the sensory overload.
Realizing what had just happened, Hinata took off into the jungle. Her world was crashing down around her. 'There's no way he feels the same way I do,' she thought as she ran, 'and now that he knows, he'll completely ignore me. I'm gonna be stuck as a timid, dark-haired weirdo forever. I'm just a failure.'
Being so lost in thought, she tripped over a fallen tree, and went tumbling down a hill, and just laid there sobbing.
"Oi, Gaki, wake up"
"Huh? Where am I?" the last thing he remembered was being attacked by Hinata's clones. "Why am I here?"
"When that girl's clones attacked you, one of them managed to kiss you, and you fainted."
"I did not faint!"
"Then how do you explain the fact that you're here? Huh? Call it what you want, you still fainted."
"Fine, I fainted. What do I do now?"
"Well, how about you start with waking up."
As he left his mindscape for the real world, he pondered over what the clones had said to him. Somebody loved him. She loved him for him, and apparently didn't care about the fox inside of him. Unfortunately for him, what with having grown up without a family, he had never really known love, and that fact was making itself painfully obvious to him at the moment. He had absolutely no idea of how he was supposed to feel or what he was supposed to do.
So he did what he does best. He pushed ahead blind. He'd just make it up as he went. Sure it didn't always work the best, but that philosophy hadn't really failed him yet.
As soon as he started trying to figure out where she went though, the fox decided to bring him back to reality.
"So, you're just gonna forge ahead with no real plan, then?"
'Yep. I just gotta find her and talk to her.'
"And just how are you gonna find her?"
'I'm gonna follow her, duh.'
"Which direction did she go?"
'Uh, I haven't figured that out yet.'
"Try following her scent."
"Yes, idiot. Her scent."
'But I can't smell it.'
"You can if you use my chakra. Run it through your nose."
As soon as he did, he caught her scent. It smelled like lavender. And it smelled really good. So good, that he became lost in it. It brought her image to the front of his mind. He wanted to be closer to that smell. He wanted to be closer to Hinata. He wanted to be around her, be with her, hold her close. 'Wait, hold her close? Where did that come from?' He shook his head to clear his thoughts. 'I just gotta find her,' he thought, and took off after her scent.
He followed after her for several minutes, until he got to where she had tripped over the log, and fallen down the hill. And that's where he found her. She was laying at the bottom of the hill on her face covered in leaves, sticks and dirt. He quickly slid down the hill after her, taking care not to crash into her. When he got to the bottom, he noticed that she was still crying, and that she was apparently still unaware of his presence.
"Hinata?" he asked quietly. She looked up, startled. He could see the streaks on her face where her tears had washed away the dirt on her face. She got up and tried to keep running, but as soon as she started she fell again, pain shooting up her leg from her ankle. She had broken it when she fell down the hill.
Naruto went over to the fallen girl, and used the same healing jutsu on her ankle that he had used on her arm earlier. Her ankle was still broken, but at least it wouldn't hurt as much. "Does that feel better?" he asked her. She just nodded her head. "I wanted to tell you, I don't hate you." This got her to actually look at him. "I still don't know how I feel, but I know I don't hate you." He helped her stand. She was a little shaky, but she could stand on her own. As he started looking around for some sticks to splint her ankle with, he continued quietly, "I've never been loved before, so I really don't know what it feels like. Just……just give me some time, ok?"
As soon as he finished, she tried to run to him, but with her ankle, she ended up stumbling over to him and knocking the both of them over, with her landing on top of him, their faces almost touching. Both of them were very red, and neither knew what to do.
Naruto spoke first. "Uhh, hi."
Hinata did the only thing she could think of in response to that. She fainted.
She awoke to darkness. Realizing it was night, she activated her Byakugan to look around. She noticed that she was on the ground back in the clearing they made earlier, wrapped up in a blanket. There were remains of a fire nearby. 'He must have carried me back after I passed out,' she thought. 'I wonder where he is.'
She was answered when he landed next to her. He had evidently been keeping watch in a tree above her, and had fallen asleep before falling out of the tree. To her humor, she found he was still sleeping, even though he just fell twenty feet out of a tree. Being slightly cold, she curled up next to him, and fell back asleep.
Naruto woke up a little after dawn confused and sore. He realized he had fallen asleep in the tree, and that he must've fallen out at some point. 'That explains the soreness and the different view,' he thought.
"Mmmmm," he heard from next to him. He turned to his right, and he was face to face with the sleeping Hyuuga girl. Taking the chance to study her while she was sleeping, he was able to look at her for an extended period of time without her blushing, fainting, or turning away, and he liked what he saw. The way the early morning light filtered through the jungle and played across her face gave her an almost angelic glow. He breathed in deeply, inhaling her intoxicating, to him anyway, lavender smell.
Not wanting to wake her up, he walked a ways away from her before summoning Masami. As soon as she started to speak, he motioned her to be quiet, before gesturing over to where Hinata was still sleeping. He spoke to her quietly, asking her to find something for them to eat for breakfast.
That being done, he went into his mindscape to ask Kyuubi to tell Kotaro to come to him. The great fox agreed, though he wasn't happy about being woken up for it, and before too long Kotaro came bounding out of the undergrowth.
"Kotaro, can you climb up one of these trees and see which way we need to go?" he asked the small fox quietly.
"Hai, hai," replied the fox. He then proceeded to run over to a tree and climb up to the top. He looked around for a few moments, and then made his way back to the ground. Once he got back over to Naruto, he said, "I can't see what way you need to go, but if you go south and a little west, I can smell a village of some kind. That's probably your best bet."
An hour or so passed and Masami returned with a small animal of some kind. He cleaned it, and sealed it in a scroll to deal with later. He also cleaned the last flecks of blood from Masami's face. He then packed up the little amount of stuff he had gotten out, and then realized Hinata was still sleeping. He stood and pondered what to do with her, when an idea came to him.
Hinata awoke to the sharp chill of the early morning air biting into the exposed flesh of her face. She immediately realized that she wasn't where she had fallen asleep. She was now bounding through the jungle on the back of Masami, with Naruto's arms holding her to his chest. In her confusion, she almost fell off the back of the fox she was riding on. Fortunately, Naruto was able to catch her before she got too off balance.
"Morning, Hinata," he said, "How's your ankle feeling?"
"Naruto-kun? My ankle still hurts, but what's going on?"
"We are headed to the Hidden Cliff Village."