Author's Note: My muses have been very unhelpful as of late. I thought I could lure them out with something new and shiny so I decided to try the Men in Uniform Challenge proposed by Perpetual159. This particular story was inspired by a fantastic image from Yukikou-chan.
Summary: Hinata loved being scheduled for the same flight as Captain Naruto… except when she was trying to avoid him. Like now. Written for the Men in Uniform Challenge. Complete.
Warnings: largely unedited and contains minor innuendo
She was running late. Her dark blue heels clicked frantically against the cement floor and her standard sized navy suitcase rumbled behind her as she sprinted down the corridor. Hinata was running late but it wasn't her fault.
She had just arrived on an overdue flight from Los Angles. The plane had to circle the airport a few times before they could land due to congestion on the runway. By the fifth circle, Hinata had to quit counting in order to deal with irritated passengers. By the eighth (or was it the tenth?) loop around, even Hinata was feeling a bit tetchy. Then when the plane finally landed, it sat for another an hour before the control tower gave them permission to pull up to the gate and disembark. Hinata and the new flight attendant, Tenten, were forced to deal with customer complaints during the three hour waiting period.
Sighing, Hinata slowed her pace to a brisk walk. It just wasn't professional for passengers to see a flight attendant sprinting down hallways and up escalators like a recently escaped convict. Not to mention, she thought as she straightened the snug blue vest over her white blouse, sprinting down hallways presented a rather unbecoming image.
Sighing, her neck craned to see her departure gate on the flight screen ahead of her. The previous captain, Shino, told her that her flight was still at its scheduled gate but it was always better to check for last minute changes.
She smiled as she read the screen. It would seem that she had finally caught a break. The flight to New York was still set at Section B Gate 23. Hinata walked to the correct gate and quickly scanned the passengers seated in the area. The last flight she was on had a large group of teenagers and too few teachers to corral them. Fortunately, most of the people of the flight to New York seemed older. She noted only a few families with children.
Hinata nodded to the person at the desk as they checked her in. As she boarded the plane, she noticed with surprise that a few of the business class passengers had already taken their seats. She really was late. Quickly, she stowed her suitcase and pulled out the last part of her uniform, a pair of white satin gloves, from the side pocket. Then she got to work.
The next half hour passed quickly. Between directing people to their seats, dealing with passengers who wanted to hold their luggage in their laps, and listening to a young baby wake up from its nap screaming, a headache had already began to form. Hinata rubbed her eyes, wishing she had time to grab the bottle of Advil in her bag. Instead, she took a deep breath and smiled. After four years as a flight attendant, she was well versed in dealing with the stresses of the job. She continued to get the people settled in the correct spots, carefully explained the rules to stubborn passengers, and volunteered to mix some baby formula for the child. Eventually, the plane pulled away from the gate and headed towards the runway.
Knowing the procedures by heart, Hinata went to the side cabinet to pull out the oxygen mask to prepare the pre-flight demonstrations. What she wasn't expecting was the pilot.
"Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen!" a voice boomed form the speakers, "My name is Naruto Uzumaki and I'm here to get you to New York."
Hinata dropped the mask at the sound of his voice. He wasn't supposed to be here. Naruto was a former Air Force pilot for crying out loud, he was only ever scheduled for international flights. What could he be doing here unless… Hinata blushed a dull shade of red as she fumbled to pick up the dropped mask.
She used to do international flights too. Her ability to speak basic Mandarin Chinese and fluent Japanese had qualified her for such a position. But then, a month ago she was on the return flight from Hong Kong, Naruto working as the head pilot. It was on that flight that Sakura, a fellow flight attendant, began to pester her by asking her the standard gossip questions. The questions were usually meant to be a way for the flight attendants to entertain themselves over longer flights but one question in particular always made Hinata's cheeks burn. Which pilot did she want to screw the most?
At first, Hinata managed to stammer a refusal to question but Sakura was surprisingly persistent. By hour seven, she finally gave in.
Blushing heavily and more than a little uncomfortable she finally replied. "Naruto," she whispered.
"What?" Sakura exclaimed, "out of all the pilots you would chose Naruto!"
The sudden slap of door shutting clued Hinata in that Sakura's voice had carried. She whirled around to see Naruto staring at the pair in shock. No doubt he had just exited the cockpit area for a quick bathroom break and managed to come across their conversation. If it wasn't for the fact the plane hit some turbulence shortly after and sent him scrambling back to the cockpit, she probably would have jumped from the plane to spare herself the humiliation. As it was, as soon as the plane hit blacktop, Hinata spirited the passengers out the plane and didn't stop running once she got past the gate terminal.
She had even considered going back to being a check in attendant at the gate just to avoid further humiliation. Fortunately, her manager at AirKonoha convinced her into simply downgrading to doing domestic flights for awhile. Hinata missed visiting other countries but by working domestic flights, she had time to sort through the mess she had created.
Hinata missed whatever Naruto had said next but it was enough to get the majority of the cabin chuckling. She smiled slightly. Naruto definitely had a gift of setting people at ease. Out of all the pilots, he was always the kindest. In fact, she loved being around him for that very reason… except when she was trying to avoid him. Like now.
"And now our lovely flight attendants will demonstrate the proper safety procedures. Please follow along as I get us ready to take off."
Hinata went through the motions and made all the necessary gestures. She pointed where the exits were and how to properly strap on an oxygen mask in case of an emergency. Back when she first started, she felt silly doing the motions but now the gestures had become so routine she hardly even noticed or pay attention. In truth, her mind was too focused on the fact that Naruto was here, with her, in a small plane with no exits for the next six hours.
Hinata smiled as the safety procedures finished but mentally she groaned. She was stuck. No doubt about it. There was absolutely no way to escape. She briefly wondered if Naruto had planned it that way but dismissed the idea. It wasn't unheard of for pilots to request a shift change in order to visit places or cities that they wanted to see. Most likely he just wanted to visit New York. Naruto probably didn't even know she was on the flight. And secretly Hinata hoped to keep it that way.
Once they were safely in the air, the pilots signaled it was okay to remove their seatbelts. Hinata got out the refreshment cart and began to make her way down the aisle. She started in the business class, pouring the complimentary champagne and then headed towards the regular section offering the passengers water and soda. The process took awhile since people had already started moving around. But eventually she made her way through.
Dragging her cart back to the front, she quietly began to restock for later use. As she was stacking more plastic cups in one of the cart's compartments she heard someone giggling. Glancing up, she noticed one of the passengers from business class was heading to the front lavatory. Since the seatbelt warning was off, Hinata ignored it and went back to work.
She had nearly finished restocking the cart when she realized something odd. She could hear… sounds. She knew that a movie was showing on the flight but the sound should only be coming out of the headphones not from overhead speakers. Then she realized where the sound was coming from.
Where the woman went in.
About ten minutes ago.
Hinata blushed pure crimson. She had heard horror stories from other flight attendants about daring passengers who wanted to join the "mile high club" but she never thought she would have to deal with something like this. Then she heard a few thumps followed by a lengthy moan. Her blush deepened.
She had to do something. It was her job. What they were doing in there wasn't sanitary. Not to mention it would soon draw attention from other passengers but how was she supposed to fix this? She had never been prepared for something like this. At most, they were taught in training to avoid such situations by preventing them from happening. The best way to do that was to pay attention when two people from the same seating section tried to go to the bathroom at the same time. Normally, Hinata was great at that. Normally, Hinata gave her constant attention to all of the passengers. But normally, Hinata wasn't distracted by thoughts of jumping out of the plane should the door to the cockpit open and a certain blonde pilot come out.
But it was too late for that now. Itwas already happening. Hinata took in a deep breath and tried to square back her shoulders. She was the head flight attendant. She worked on planes from the United States to Hong Kong. She could handle something like. Less than a foot from the door, she heard the woman let off another deep moan.
"Oh Shika-" the voice purred.
Hinata froze petrified.
Hinata squeaked, spinning around to see who called her name. She found Naruto. Naruto there. In the doorway. Looking at her and smiling in a way that made his blue eyes sparkle.
He was wearing his deep blue pilot uniform; it barely seemed able to fit around his broad shoulders and chest. He had discarded his hat as usual so his blonde hair seemed to fall into his eyes. Hinata swallowed. Naruto never seemed to wear his uniform properly. And unfortunately that just made him all the more attractive in her eyes.
Another moan came from her left. Hinata squeaked again and jumped back from the door as if it had attempted to grab her. Naruto laughed in understanding. "Mile highers?" he guessed.
She nodded miserably.
He smiled and his eyes sparkled at her again, "I'll handle it."
Hinata knew she should refuse. It was her responsibility after all, but her stressed out nerves could only handle so much. So she nodded and let him move past her. He winked at her and then sharply rapped on the door twice. "Finish up already, other people need to use it too!"
He blinked at her appalled tone. "What?"
Hinata didn't know how to reply. All of it was just too much. She snorted slightly and then she started to giggle. He grinned.
A few moments later when a spiky-haired man and the blonde she noticed from earlier stumbled out, Hinata could only laugh harder. Naruto just shook his head as the pair hurriedly made their way past him and back to their seats. The blonde woman was smirking but the man looked slightly mortified at being caught. Naruto looked back at Hinata and shook his head still grinning ruefully. He stepped closer to her so he was out of sight of the passengers. "Well," he said, crossing his arms, "since that has been taken care of… care to tell me why you've been avoiding me?"
The laughter died in her throat. Her brain short-circuited a few seconds later. "Ugnh," was all she could produce.
"Well?" he asked taking another step closer.
She winced and looked for an escape route. Unfortunately, he was blocking the way into the main cabin area and the only other option was to head to the cockpit. She didn't want to risk being trapped in an even smaller space so she stood her ground.
"T-the plane," she murmured.
"Sasuke can handle it," he said taking another step closer, "Now answer the question."
"I-I'm not avoiding you," she lied.
"N-no, I'm not," she insisted, silently hoping he would drop it.
He sighed. "Is this about me overhearing you in Hong Kong?"
Her shoulders wilted like a flower exposed too much heat and not enough rain. She bit her lower lip as her eyes dropped to the floor. "I should see to the passengers," she mumbled but didn't move.
"Pilots do it too," he said gently.
She glanced up quickly and then went back to staring at her shoes. But she could feel the faint stirrings of curiosity nipping at her body like a puppy seeking attention. "Do what?"
"Talk about the people we fly with."
Her lavender eyes widened. "I think I should see to the passengers," she said more firmly, this time she tried to move past him. His arm caught her around the waist and spun her around. Her gloved hands fisted in his jacket trying to push him away. She already knew what he was going to say and knew she didn't want to hear it.
"Let me go!"
"Wait," he said, "let me finish."
"No," she said trying to push him back when he leaned closer. He was close enough that she could feel his soft bangs brushing against her skin. She closed her eyes in mortification. She could already tell that her face was bright red from his proximity. She probably made the whole plane looked like a bright red cherry in the sky.
"Please Hinata," he said softly, "let me finish."
One eye peaked open. To her surprise, Naruto was blushing. His tanned cheeks held a faint pink tint. Her struggles ceased.
He smiled, head ducking bashfully like a schoolboy at recess, "I always said that I thought you were the prettiest."
Hinata's face went neon red. "R-really?"
He nodded. "I wanted to tell you when we landed, but you took off before I could catch you."
She shrugged slightly, "I was embarrassed," she confessed.
"I was happy," he grinned. He was closer now. Lips just inches away from her own. Hinata felt her heart racing so quickly in her chest. She worried that her heart might fly away so fast that it would beat the plane to New York.
And then he kissed her. And for the second time that night, her brain completely short-circuited. His lips felt so gentle at first but the moment she responded in kind, the kiss became deeper and richer somehow. If it weren't for her hands clutching his jacket, she felt like her body would have melted away under his touch. When he finally let her up for air, she was gasping. "Naruto," she breathed.
He chuckled slightly and nuzzled her neck.
"So Hinata-chan," he whispered into her ear, "want to join the mile high club?"