Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any part of Naruto. If i did Hinata and Naruto would have been on the same team...with Gai as sensei :)
Naruto, Hinata, Kiba, and Shino walked into the Hokage's office to give their mission report. They'd failed the mission because Naruto had dropped Sasuke's headband when they finally had the bikouchu beetle, so it had not been able to capture his scent. Instead it had received a large blast of Naruto's own odor, courtesy of his ass.
That in itself wasn't the worst part. After Naruto had been spotted laying next to a passed out Hinata with a tent in his pants, Shino had to hold Kiba back with his insects while he was hardly restraining himself. Kiba was carried outside the tent which gave Naruto enough time to make himself decent. When they returned Kiba had a content look on his face while Shino remained impassive.
The failure of the mission only served to further infuriate the two. Naruto had felt terrible the day it happened, Hinata had tried her hardest. He had said he would protect her, but she had protected him. There was no ulterior motive, no 'I had to save you', she simply saved him out of kindness. She hadn't even rubbed it in his face after!
As much as he wanted to talk to her on the way back, it was simply impossible. Her teammates had either forbidden it or had stuck close enough so that there was no room to walk next to her. Their glares were enough to tell Naruto if he was to try to get close there would be dire consequences. When they had reached a five mile radius from the village the two bodyguards (Kiba and Shino) had insisted Hinata go ahead and they would watch the back.
Hinata listened obediently and took up the front watch. She had reached the village not five minutes later, but neither Kiba, Shino, nor Naruto were in sight. She waited a full ten minutes, worry had settled over her gradually. Just when she had taken a step outside the village gates Hinata caught sight of Kiba dragging something with Shino walking next to him.
It turned out what Kiba was dragging was a very worn out looking Naruto. He had small cuts and scrapes covering his body, along with several insect bites and scratches that looked to be caused by claws. Hinata rushed over to him and checked his condition, it looked like nothing serious but she was sure whatever happened to him wasn't painless.
When she had asked Shino he had said Naruto was adamant about getting some training in and they were forced to stop. He had attacked them, forcing them to fight back in some wild attempt at training. They had been forced to subdue him by using whatever methods were necessary.
That's how they looked when they strolled into the Hokage office, Naruto looking a mess and the others with hardly a scratch.
"Naruto what happened? Did you get attacked on the way back to the village?" Tsunade asked
Naruto looked from left to right, the other two male ninja gave him a look that clearly meant he would receive another beating lest he keep quiet about the first one.
"No I just fell in some thorny bushes Baa-chan. I'll be fine if I rest in the hospital a bit."
Tsunade raised a brow. "Thorny bushes? Whatever brat, go drag yourself to the usual room. I'll make sure a nurse goes to give you a check up."
Naruto obeyed and left the office. Kurenai's team gave their mission report and also left.
Naruto laid in the hospital bed while a nurse checked his condition. It didn't really hurt that much anymore, the fox had probably healed the majority of his injuries. The nurse checked his vital signs, dabbed some alcohol on his wounds, then started writing on a clipboard. Her face was in a frown the entire time, probably because she didn't like helping him. It wouldn't surprise him if she hated him too for what happened in Konoha twelve years ago.
"Honestly, I didn't believe it myself" the nurse said
"Did you say something miss?"
The nurse looked at Naruto, he was startled to see a smile instead of a frown. Her eyes weren't cold like the others either, they were warm, comforting. She had black hair down to about waist level and caring gray eyes. She looked to be taller than him and probably weighed around the average for her age.
"I was just checking how many times you've been here in the last month and its quite a few. The other employees here told me that you visit on a daily basis when you're not on a mission but I found it hard to believe. You're medical record says otherwise though. How do you manage to bang yourself up so frequently?"
"Training." Naruto answered.
"What are you training that hard for? You have years ahead of you to train, shouldn't you take a break sometime?"
"No I...have to bring someone back to the village, and he's stronger than me now. The only way to drag his sorry ass back here is to defeat him. The bastard won't listen to reason."
The nurse had a general idea of who Naruto wanted to bring back. The only person who she could think of was Sasuke Uchiha, who had left the village not too long ago. He had been on the same team as Naruto if she recalled. The only way she knew of that was because of the enormous disappointment inside the village when they heard the last Uchiha had been teamed up with the 'demon'. They must have a had a strong bond for Naruto to train himself as hard as he did just to bring him back.
"I understand, but maybe you should take a break sometime. I'm sure being dead won't help you get him back her any faster."
"Thanks for caring nee-san, what was your name?"
"Ayane, nice to meet you too Naruto."
Naruto smiled widely. It made Ayane smile back. There was a knock at the door that interrupted their wordless conversation. Naruto was surprised to see Hinata walk in shyly carrying about a dozen flowers of some sort. She walked awkwardly towards his bed and dropped the flowers on the desk beside it.
"O-Ohayo N-Naruto-kun. How are y-you feeling?"
"I'm feeling great Hinata! Just a few more hours and I'll be out of here!"
"T-That's g-good to hear."
"Hai." Naruto glanced at the older woman. "Ayane-nee-san why are you smiling?"
She waved a hand in front of her face. "No reason Naruto. I have to go check up on other patients but I'll come see you before I leave to make sure you're okay."
Ayane picked up her clipboard and turned towards the door. She walked out with a knowing smile, stopping at the door to wink at Hinata. Hinata turned red. Ayane walked down the hallway to tend to the other patients in the hospital. She had other duties to take care of after all.
"Thanks for coming to see me Hinata. I would've been bored if I was here alone."
"Y-You're welcome N-Naruto-kun. W-Why d-did Kiba-kun and S-Shino-kun hurt y-you e-earlier?"
Naruto expected her to piece it together. As far as he knew Hinata wasn't stupid. She had probably known from when they were in the Hokage office but didn't want to embarrass herself or get her teammates into any trouble.
"It was when they found us in the tent and you passed out. They probably thought I was going to do something to you."
Hinata flushed at the memory. The last thing she had seen before passing out was Naruto's pants standing out, pointing directly at her. She was sure he was embarrassed enough as it was, but she had made it worse by fainting again. He hadn't even tried to tell Kiba or Shino otherwise. Did he care for her enough that he didn't want her to carry any of the blame for that incident? She was sure it was her fault for grabbing him, which made him stand out like that.
Did that mean he liked her?
"G-Gomen Naruto-kun. I should have stopped them but I d-didn't think I w-would b-be s-strong enough t-to."
"Don't worry about it Hinata, and you're plenty strong. I'm sure you could kick Kiba's ass no problem." The blonde glanced out the window. "How about you come out and train with me today? Usually I go alone but it'd be nice if I could have a training partner."
The heiress sucked in a breath. "Y-You w-wouldn't mind?"
He grinned. "I figure it's the least I can do to try to make up for what happened on the mission. I was sure you'd slap me or yell at me after it happened. I'm happy that you're the way you are Hinata. I want you to train with me. We can both get stronger together."
'He likes me because I'm me? He doesn't think I'm weak?'
Hinata pressed her index fingers together. "A-Arigatou N-Naruto-kun. I'd l-like that."
"Yatta! Hinata you're really something. Meet me at training ground seven in about an hour. I have to go home to change my clothes."
Naruto stood up somewhat shakily and jumped out the window, nearly missing the first roof. Hinata stood in the hospital room, still unsure of what to do. She could just stand here for the next forty five minutes and then head to the training ground. A thought occurred to her.
'I have no life'
She could also take after Naruto and just meet him at his apartment. It wouldn't be 'stalking' as some would put it; she was just testing her stealth skills. She followed him at a slow pace, mainly because he wasn't moving very fast due to his injuries. There were a couple of times when he looked back and Hinata had thought she was caught, but he just kept going after.
It took awhile but eventually he made it to his apartment. If she'd gone to the training ground when he had said he would've been late. She waited outside his apartment, wondering what to say when he opened the door. How would she explain the reason why she followed him home?
"Hinata, what are you doing here?"
She spun around to see Naruto standing in the doorway with his ninja clothes on, shower water running in the background. He was looking at her with a surprised expression, probably wondering why she was just sitting in front of his apartment. Her eyes widened momentarily, then they rolled back and she fainted.
"Hinata! Hey! Wake up!"
It was in vain. She laid on the ground, completely passed out. It was unlikely she would come to anytime soon. Hinata had come to his apartment for reasons unknown to him. Maybe because he was a little late to get to the training ground? He still hadn't showered but Naruto couldn't just leave her laying in front of his doorway. He toed the girl but she didn't stir. The blonde sighed and picked her up to bring her inside.
Naruto set her down on the bed and went into the bathroom. Hopefully she wouldn't wake up until he finished bathing and put his clothes back on. He didn't want to have any more awkward situations around her. He'd was lucky to get out of the first two unscathed by female hands. Kiba and Shino had given him a pretty good beating, but Hinata had remained calm about the entire situation. He walked into the bathroom and climbed into the shower, still thinking about her.
Hinata awoke seconds later to the smell of ramen. She opened her eyes and looked around. It seemed like an average looking apartment; a little messy but otherwise not a complete disaster. There were a couple of empty instant ramen cups on the ground. The bed she was laying in was neatly made but could hardly be thought of as comfortable. The mattress was a little lumpy and had a small concave in it. She looked around and noticed several orange jumpsuits in the closet. Now she knew where she was.
The pitter-patter of water gained the heiress' attention. That would explain why Naruto wasn't anywhere in the room. He was taking a shower not twenty feet away from her. She waited patiently for him to return. The water running became almost hypnotic. Thoughts of puppies and kittens, innocent thoughts she used to prevent her mind from venturing into more perverted territory, were soon cast away in favor of the boy showering nearby. Curiosity was getting the best of her.
It'd be only fair. He'd seen her naked, right?
'Go ahead, he won't even know.'
He conscience egged her on. It didn't help any that Naruto took the longest showers. The sound of the water still running pressed her to go look, pressing her to hurry before she ran out of time. The heiress slowly got up, looking both ways in a strange attempt to make sure no one was watching her. Hinata made her way to the bathroom door. She creaked open the door and looked inside; there was steam everywhere. Fighting her own mind, Hinata decided she'd invaded his privacy enough. Even though his infatuation lied elsewhere and she would likely never get another chance, she still managed to pull her eyes away.
She tried to pull out only to have her jacket catch on a stray nail near the door frame. She gave another unsuccessful attempt to pull but the jacket wouldn't give. It wouldn't even rip! Hinata tugged harder but still had no positive results. Her heartbeat skyrocketed; the shower water had stopped. She was about to get caught peeping. One of Naruto's legs exiting the shower pushed the heiress to give one last, fruitless attempt to free herself. Finally, after another mighty tug, the jacket's fabric had enough and tore loudly. She closed the door quietly, leaving a piece of clothing hanging on the nail by it.
Naruto walked out moments later, completely oblivious to any watch he had been under. Hinata was sitting up on the bed, head down and fingers twiddling. He looked at her for a minute. For some reason she seemed...more attractive? There was something different about her...something she was missing something. The torn remains of some piece of clothing lay next to her. There was a large rip in one side of whatever it was.
The blond pointed at it. "Hinata, what's that next to you?"
Hinata's did a double take between him and the ripped remains. "I-It's my jacket N-Naruto-kun."
"What happened to it?"
"I r-ripped it on a nail that w-was sticking o-out of t-the wall."
Naruto glanced at the offending nail. He scratched the back of his head apologetically. "Gomen Hinata, I've been meaning to fix that. Well if it's any help I think you look loads better without it."
Hinata flushed red and made a mental note not to wear her jacket as frequently. "W-We should g-go train."
"Hai, let's get to the training ground."
They both departed via the window. It would only take a few minutes to arrive at the training ground. During the trip Naruto stole many glances at at the bluenette. Without that piece of clothing her entire look seemed to change. This did not go unnoticed by the heiress, who blushed at every occurrence and was happy for the little self-confidence boost. She would definitely wear that jacket less around him.
They arrived at the training ground moments later. The same logs were in place, giving Naruto a feeling of nostalgia. He ignored that for now. The reason he was here was so that he could become stronger, not to dwell on old memories.
He faced the girl. "Hinata, what do you think you need to work on?"
She gulped. "M-My taijutsu is pretty g-good, b-but I h-hardly k-know any n-ninjutsu. The only thing I know i-is my Shugo Hakke Rokujuu Yon Shou."
Naruto nodded his head "Hai, it was amazing when I saw it. Okay, I know few ninjutsu and my taijutsu is hardly meeting the average, as much as I hate to admit." He put a hand to his chin. "How about you help me with my taijutsu and I teach you a jutsu I know. We'll go from there."
A smile painted itself across her face. Since she was helping with his taijutsu, that affirmed future training sessions. "A-Alright. S-Should w-we spar first?"
"It would be good if we did. You can see where I am in taijutsu and we can test the strength of your Rokujuu technique."
Hinata nodded and took the opposing side of the field. Both shinobi took up their battle stances. Hinata took notice of Naruto's stance; it had several openings. Naruto charged at her and threw a sloppy punch with his right fist. Hinata easily dodged and planted a soft punch in his stomach. Naruto grunted and stood there for a moment. Hinata looked down at him, bewildered. He stood up stared at her for a moment and then sat down at her feet. He motioned for Hinata to join him.
"W-What's wrong N-Naruto-kun?" Hinata feared she had messed up. This was the only time she was sure he'd ask her to train with him.
He picked up her hand with his, causing her to blush. Naruto wondered why she did this at the strangest times. He marveled at the softness of it; she had to take perfect care of herself. The blond cast those thought aside and asked his question.
"Hinata what was that? I know your hand can do more damage. If we're sparring you have to come at me with everything you have, no holding back."
"B-But I-I c-can't hurt y-you Naruto-kun."
"Why not? I don't want to hurt you Hinata and I don't want you to get hurt either. That's why we train. We can make each other stronger so that we won't get hurt by others. Didn't you tell Shino and Kiba not to hold back when you were training?"
"So don't hold back on me! Do you want me to get hurt?"
Hinata's shocked face almost made him feel bad for asking. "N-No!"
"So hurt me!"
Naruto rubbed his temples. He was beginning to confuse himself. "Hinata, come at me with everything you have, otherwise I wont become strong. If I'm not strong when I go to find Sasuke who do you think will get hurt? I need you Hinata. Please help me."
'He needs me?'
Hinata's determined face caused a grin to rise on his face. They both retook their fighting stances and Naruto charged once again. Hinata could tell he was doing the same thing, willingly leaving himself open. She wouldn't disappoint him this time. Hinata easily dodged his fist, this time she put in considerable force and plunged it into his stomach. Naruto coughed and spluttered. Hinata looked down at him worriedly. Naruto didn't turn down this opportunity, he swung his left fist and it impacted against her shoulder, sending her a good ways away.
"Guess I should have followed my own advice, eh Hinata?" he said with a smile.
Hinata stood up somewhat shakily but was on her feet again soon. She wore a smile similar to Naruto's "H-Hai, no h-holding back."
"Thats right. Here I come!"
Naruto charged once again, this time trying to sweep her feet out from under her. Hinata jumped, flipped, and tried for an ax kick but Naruto quickly rolled out of the way. She chased after him, firing several punches and kicks which Naruto had trouble blocking. The blonde was knocked away by an especially strong punch that pushed him into a tree. He had no idea Hinata was this strong or this good at taijutsu. He put his hands in his favorite seal and called out his jutsu.
"Tajuu Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!"
A hundred Naruto's popped into the clearing, all surrounding the heiress. She knew she could probably defeat them all with jyuuken strikes, but that would take too much effort. She looked at all the Naruto's, each was wearing a confident smirk. If it weren't for the fact that she was fighting right now, Hinata would be in heaven. She suppressed her urges for now and concentrated on the fight.
One lone Naruto walked out, he pointed at Hinata. "Lets see how strong that jutsu really is Hinata! Can you stop all of us?"
She was glad he had given her time to prepare the jutsu. As destructive at it was it still took a few seconds to redirect her chakra to her hands and form it. She fanned out her arms to both sides of her body and started moving them rapidly. At this point all Naruto's charged at her, brandishing their fists. During the fight with the other insect clan from Iwa Hinata had only used this jutsu to mainly shield herself from smaller enemies. Now she would have to use it to protect against larger targets, targets that could think for themselves and did not need direction. Naruto really was helping her better her jutsu.
"Shugo Hakke Rokujuu Yon Shou!"
Naruto's shadow clones started disappearing at an incredibly fast rate. From all sides they dispelled, Hinata's jutsu really did protect her everywhere. They last five clones jumped in and were sent into oblivion, but Naruto was nowhere to be seen. The ground cracked beneath her feet but she did not have enough time to react before the real Naruto sent her into the air with an uppercut.
Hinata back flipped and landed on the ground. She was breathing hard and so was her opponent. They each had a smile on their face. Naruto was thinking they should spar more often, he was having a lot of fun. Hinata was thinking along the same lines. She'd never really had fun while sparring with Kiba or Shino, but Naruto seemed to make everything interesting. Hinata decided to take it up a notch.
"Byakugan!" She smirked at Naruto's reaction. He had said no holding back.
Naruto's surprised look quickly faded in favor of an equally confident smirk. He put his hands in the ram seal and drew on as much chakra as he could without tapping into the fox's chakra. That would be going too far.
"Tajuu Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" Twice as many Naruto's popped into the clearing as before. They each took out a kunai, which Hinata took as her cue. She started moving her hands to get her jutsu started again. All of the bushin jumped up and hurled kunai at Hinata. Her shield deflected them and even sent a good portion going in other directions, dispersing many of the clones. Only ten clones stood in the area, Hinata could see their chakra coils but could not tell which one was the real Naruto. He had distributed chakra among them evenly.
Five ran in and attacked, the first one threw a punch that Hinata dodged and then used a jyuuken strike to the chest to dispel it. She wasn't going for any vital areas; one of these could be the real Naruto. Another tried to tackle her but she moved out of the way quickly, it barreled into another clone and they both dispersed. She focused her attention on the two clones remaining. The female Hyuuga charged at one clone, hitting it in the stomach and dispersing it. With her byakugan she saw the other and brought her legs up to try for a backwards roundhouse kick, but the clone was too close and her foot impacted early.
The clone screamed in agony and fell into a fetal position. Hinata's foot had come into contact with the clone's testicles, and now it was lying on the ground. She thought for a moment that it wasn't a clone the way it didn't disperse as soon as it was hit, but it soon disappeared in a puff of smoke. Hinata was too distracted from the mental image she received from her foot of how Naruto's jewels felt to notice the other five clones coming up behind her
"Uz" the first said, sending a leg into her back.
"-Zu" the second sent her into the air, foot in her side.
"-Ma" the third landed a kick to her ribs, momentarily stunning her.
"-Ki" A fourth said as it sent her even higher.
"Naruto Rendan!" The final yelled after the other four dispersed. It brought its leg up, aiming for a brutal ax kick. Hinata caught the kick just in time, without her byakugan she would've missed it. She sent a savage kick into its gut, hoping it was the real Naruto. The Naruto who received the kick was destroyed, smoke being its only remains. Another Naruto rose up behind her and kicked her in the back, sending Hinata towards the ground quite quickly. She looked back up to see that Naruto disperse as well. The collision with the ground never came though. A strong pair of arms caught her before the ground could. She looked up to see Naruto breathing hard, but he was grinning the widest she had ever seen him grin.
"Hinata that was amazing! You're amazing! That was the best sparring I've had since Sasuke!"
Since the heiress couldn't hide her face she closed her eyes. "T-Thank you N-Naruto-kun," she whispered.
He grinned wider. "Hinata you didn't stutter! Yatta! Does this mean you'll stop acting weird around me?"
Hinata managed a slight nod. He still didn't know why she acted so strange around him. She wanted to tell him her feelings but she was too shy. If he would just ask her out on a date or something, that would probably give her the courage to act on her feelings. He shifted her in his arms.
"Did you hear me, Hinata?"
Her eyes widened. She'd been too drawn into her own thoughts. She shook her head. "G-Gomen Naruto-kun. I-I was thinking about s-something else."
Naruto donned a lopsided smile. "I said thank you. I've never had that much fun sparring Hinata. I wasn't even sure that you would say yes to coming today after what happened on the mission." He paused. The heiress could feel his chest expand as he took a deep breath. "I-I was wondering...well since you seem so nice and all...and you're really pretty-" Hinata face flamed. Naruto was scratching the back of his head.
'Naruto-kun thinks I'm pretty? He isn't about to...He wouldn't.'
"Do you wanna go out sometime?" Naruto asked with pinked cheeks.
Naruto chanced a look at the girl. Her mouthed was opening and closing repeatedly, almost like a fish out of water. Her face was so red that he couldn't tell if the blood that dripped from her mouth earlier was still there at all. He could feel the trembles from her hands moving along his arms.
"I-It's okay i-if you don't want to." He explained hurriedly, hoping to salvage their friendship. I-I've been shut down by Sakura-chan a couple times already so it's nothing big." Naruto continued, the hurt in his voice hardly concealed.
'Answer him! Tell him yes! Anything! Move Hinata! This is your only chance! Move!'
Hinata lunged and wrapped her arms around his neck. The impromptu hug shocked the blond. "I-I-I'd l-l-love t-t-to g-go o-out w-with y-you Naruto-kun." She forced out.
The blond beamed. "You will! Yatta! I'll pick you up at eight tomorrow Hinata, believe it!"
Hinata smiled from her position behind his head. "A-Arigatou N-Naruto-kun." Those were her last words before she went limp.
Naruto's sigh soon turned into a chuckle. He supposed the weird behavior wouldn't stop instantaneously. The blond walked over to a tree in the clearing and placed Hinata next to it. He sat down next to her and watched the sun set. It was a beautiful moment. It was unfortunate the girl had to be asleep for it. Even with that factor, he was still excited. A girl had finally agreed to go out with him! Turning to his left, he had to tell himself that she wasn't just any girl.
Naruto leaned his back on the tree. Hinata's head fell on his shoulder. She would probably dress up in something nice tomorrow, so he'd have to buy clothes. He chose not to worry about it. For now he would just lean his head to the left to rest on hers and enjoy the moment.