Inspired by a conversation in Emma. Written for the SasuxHina-FanClub contest.

I do not own Naruto.

Safe

Evening had settled in nicely and the moon shone brightly over the dark waters of the sea beneath the rather large vessel that was location of an ongoing party that had started mid afternoon. Even if the waters were proving to be choppy and difficult for the party goers, they had yet to dampen the mood. People were talking, laughter filling the otherwise clear skies of the night in a scene of pure bliss for the terribly well to do.

Sasuke knew in his position, in this so called high classed society, he was forced to attend such social events as this but, even so, he could never bring himself to enjoy them. Not in the least. The sea was too rough for him and the thought had crossed him as to whether he should begin a discussion with his dear friend Uzamaki as to who's idea exactly had it been to put this gathering on a boat? The only thing holding him back from approaching his friend would be that he would, in the midst of their 'discussion,' most likely become uncivil and abrupt in a most shameful way. For fear of being looked down upon as a common house boy, he kept his tongue and bad mood to himself, standing stiffly towards the back of the crowd.

Eventually, Naruto found time for his dear friend, shaking his head and sucking on his teeth in a manner that caused Sasuke to cringe. Sasuke wondered where high breeding had gone wrong and caught himself before insulting the blond, remembering his mother had been but a chamber maid when his father had decided to marry her. After an uproar of scandal, almost being disowned by his family and proper society, Uzamaki Minato had somehow found the time to produce his son. Yes, this back story of Naruto's was a soft spot for him and had often caused him to lose his temper in public, it would be safe to leave it be. Though in Sasuke's eyes it certainly did explain a lot. "You can't just hang back here forever, Uchiha-san." Naruto's goofy grin never ceased to amaze him, and Sasuke had to clear his throat to compose his thoughts.

"I can if I have to, I have no intention of become chummy with any of your guests." This was a simple and honest reply. Sasuke did not try and be a conceited jerk, but after a good deal of soul searching and practice of change, he found that he simply could not help it. He had a theory that conceit ran in the family.

"You shouldn't stick your nose up in the air so high, if it starts raining, you'll drown. Then who am I supposed to hunt with?" Naruto gave a hearty laugh and clapped Sasuke on the back, earning further disapproval from the man.

"What a pretty picture you've painted." If anything Sasuke stood all the more straighter and Naruto continued on shaking his head.

"At this rate, my dear sir, you will never find yourself a suitable wife. Who will be mistress to that grand estate you have got back home? Will you ever produce any heirs to succeed you when you are gone? You are not getting any younger, a man of nine-and-twenty cannot be a bachelor forever." Sasuke brushed Naruto off.

"That is none of your business as to how I will find a wife, if I ever find a wife, and when I will find a proper time to marry. A man has the right to go as he pleases in his affairs and I myself am in no hurry. I do not think marriage should be taken lightly and do not appreciate most of the silly women you yourself seem so bent on impressing. I would much put a little more time in efforts to my searches and find someone I could perhaps have an actual conversation with as opposed to the prettiest in the room."

"Are you criticizing on how I found my dearest Sakura? Are you to say that the most beautiful woman in the room can not also be the smartest creature there?"

"I believe, in that case, you lucked out."

"What do you mean by that?"

"You could not possibly begin to tell me that you actually knew of her smarts when, the first time we saw her and you leaned over and told me that was the woman you were determined to court?" Sasuke chuckled under his breath and leaned back on the railings. "Sheer, dumb luck. Just like everything else about you." Naruto crossed his arms over his chest, cheerful face turned hard as he scrutinized his friend. Finally he turned away with a sigh.

"I will never begin to understand why I keep in your company. Oh well, I hope you will allow yourself to enjoy the rest of the evening." With that said, Naruto walked on to continue in his hosting duties while Sasuke was left to brood.

The night went on. He allowed his dark gaze to search the faces of those around him, many he knew well, most he knew only by sight. The women all looked appealing, and he was aware of who were spoken for and who were available. He knew these were all supposed to be women of high class and standard, genteel in every sense of the word, but whenever his ears caught a shrill giggle or happened to pick up some of the idle chatter floating around him, he felt at a loss. He was supposed to pick a wife from this group? Naruto had to be joking.

He continued down the deck, gripping the railing tightly for the sea were becoming more and more choppy with every quarter of the hour past. Sasuke cursed his lack of sea legs and continued on, hoping to get to a point where he wouldn't have to listen or watch these people, at the moment he only wanted some peace. The voices became far off and he was soon able to breathe a sigh of relief when he caught sight of one other person seemingly seeking refuge from the crowd.

She turned, startled out of whatever thoughts she had been entertaining at the moment of his approach. He couldn't help but stare, it had been a while since he had been in the presence of someone who had such peculiar features. Remembering where he was, he bowed gracefully. "Hyuuga-sama, I did not recognize you in this moonlight." Hinata blushed prettily, offering her own curtsy and hand, both struggling slightly when the boat jolted beneath them.

"Uchiha-sama… I did not realize you were here. I honestly cannot believe… that you would not be able to recognize me in the moonlight. I-I believe I look very much the same." Sasuke shook his head, straightening and turning away from her.

"You do not, in fact, look the same at all. In this light it is almost as though your complexion is glowing. It suits you well." This was suitable enough of an answer, and he continued with: "I hope you do not mind that I join you." She shook her head dismissively, not bother to answer out loud but giving the slightest of smiles he knew would be in turn her invitation towards him.

Hyuuga Hinata was a fine young woman, now three-and-twenty, from a prestigious family that owned a rather large estate close to his own, so they were neighbors, more or less. As stated before, Sasuke was not one to be sociable unless he was forced to, so it was not often that he called upon the Hyuuga home and, when he would, they would be short business related visits that did not take long enough to call for the company of the eldest Hyuuga daughter. He had seen her only a few times before, only enough to establish that she was extremely reserved, shy really, and had a great amount of sense whenever she spoke.

That was all the information he really had on her. Sasuke had never taken the time to try and make her acquaintance, never having reason or opportunity to speak to her as one would in those instances. The boat gave another sudden jolt, and her grip tightened on the rail, leaning her slender body forward and squeezing her eyes shut.

"Have you been enjoying yourself?" She shook her head sadly, regaining her balance and venturing to open her eyes again.

"No. I cannot say that I have. I'm not one for sea going…" Sasuke blinked. "There are also so many people, I do not think I could hold my own." There was a slight hint of sadness as she looked back up at him, her pale eyes locking with his for a moment before she looked away.

"You are sea sick and dislike social gatherings, well we have one thing in common. There are too many people here for my liking as well. I am only here for the sake of civility." He seemed to have startled her again, for she had to look up at him and search his face to reassure herself he had actually spoken. Hinata loosened her grip on the railing and turned her body to face him.

"I would have never expected you to be so blunt with your dislike of these events." She spoke quietly, studying his face further, making him feel uncomfortable. A smile formed with the slightest upturn of her lips. Sasuke furrowed his eyebrows.

"There is a reason I try and keep mostly to myself. I can't help but believe most of these people to be so silly, filled with chatter that I could honestly care less about. I do believe I would not be in good standing with anyone here if they were to spend a few moments actually speaking to me. I do not question their happiness and contentedness with my merely being here."

"I suppose you may be right, but I am standing here, having been speaking to you for a few moments and I do not believe that I… like you any less." She was blushing again, demure in every sense of the word and Sasuke was caught off guard.

They had only been having this conversation for a few moments, but that was how long it usually took for him to ascertain whether or not it would be worth continuing. He was about to follow on that thought when a particularly violent wave jostled them where they stood and he watched in horror as Hinata lost her footing.

With this new wave of violence coming from the sea, she was sure to fall into the unforgiving waters and sink to the bottom due to the weight of her petticoats. She was falling before his eyes and he reacted impulsively, grabbing her hand and pulling her towards him, holding on tightly to the railing with the other. In the time it had taken him to react, it would seem that she had yelped loud enough to gain the attention of the party further down the deck and soon there were people all around them.

Hinata hid her face in his chest and his hold around her form tightened as an onslaught of questions was thrown at them. Naruto, Sakura, and another familiar face pushed through the crowd. Neji reached for his cousin, practically tearing her away from Sasuke's grasp.

"Hinata-sama, are you alright? Are you hurt?" She pushed him away gently, assuring him that she was indeed fine, if not a little startled. She turned back to Sasuke.

"Arigato, Uchiha-san. I would honestly not be here without you." Neji looked up at the man before him and bowed his head in acknowledgement.

"Perhaps we should be headed back to shore." Sakura suggested, leaning on Naruto with a weary expression. There were murmurs of agreement and they set sail, the party now sober and quiet as oposed to before.

Neji walked his cousin away towards a grim looking Hiashi and worried Hanabi. Sasuke ran a hand helplessly through his hair and made note to himself.

He would most definitely be calling on Hyuugas more often from now on. The creature he had just saved from peril had sparked an interest in him he could not simply let go of.


Dearest Readers,

What? Too much time on my hands? It's summer, what do you expect! I am in a hurry to write as much as I can before I have to start worrying and such! I wrote this as a second entry for the SasuxHina-FanClub on DA. Theme: Move Magic (or something like that). The only thing that really bothers me is how chatty everyone is, but keeping with the Jane Austin style... well technically everyone is in character. Tell me what you think.

Much Love,
NewRageInc.