Okay! Hello everyone, I'm back ^-^ This time I'm writing a bit of SasuHina, the first ever! So...be nice XD I've taken a bit of a break from writing...been doing some drawing, actually...so, I came up with this little plot bunny a few days ago, and I haven't had the motivation to write it until now XD I guess it hasn't been too long since I've written, given that I've had periods of months at a time of nothing at all, but since I've been going on kind of a streak, it feels like it's been a while X3. That and I seem to be procrastinating on continuing "Just to Hear Your Voice"...eh heh heh ^-^' Anywho, hope you enjoy!

EDIT – 3.15.11 – Hey guys! I'm going through my fics and fixing errors and changing things that need to be changed. Nothing major, promise! Just some tidying ^-^

Well, I've never had a review on a oneshot from an anon or someone I can't reply to, so I thought I might as well just update this fic and include a shout out for sayuri, who left a review that I couldn't reply to: Thank you! I know, I prefer ItaHina as well, but I also love SasuHina! But I'm glad you liked it regardless ^_^ I loved including Gaara – he doesn't get enough love from me, even though he was my favorite character for a while. And thank you for YOUR encouragement – it's reviewers like you who keep my writing fanfiction ^_^

Summary: Hinata takes up a new activity at school. She soon learns that her role affects people more than she knows.

Rated: M for several reasons...don't want to give it away!

Characters: Hyuuga Hinata, Uchiha Sasuke

Warnings: AU, high school setting, age warping. There's a weird mix of American and Japanese culture...basically they're in America and speak English, but they use Japanese honorifics and stuff. Um...can't warn you about much more without giving the plot away!

Disclaimer: None of the mentioned movies are mine – they belong to their creators. None of the characters are mine. They belong to the brilliant mind of Kishimoto Masashi sama. Please don't sue. I don't even have any money U~U

Clutching her books to her chest, Hyuuga Hinata walks back to her locker. The numbers 315 look back at her from their silver plate atop her locker door as she spins the dial to open it. The day is finally over. No one likes Mondays, not even Hinata with her kind and patient disposition.

Unloading her books into their proper places (she keeps them in order by subject and class period), she assesses what ones to bring home for the assignments given to her to do. Luckily she's escaped this Monday of Mondays with very little despite her Honor's schedule. As a freshman she's taking all six class hours: Honor's English, Honor's History, Chemistry, Geometry, Orchestra, and First Year Japanese. The homework load for tonight consists of only Geometry (will there ever be a day she doesn't have math homework?) and Japanese. Tucking the required textbooks into her book bag, she shuts her locker and turns to head home.

"Hey! Hinata chan, can I talk to you?"

Pausing, Hinata spins around to see a girl from her Orchestra class coming up behind her. "Sure, Konan chan."

Said upperclassman stops when she reaches her fellow flute player. "I'm glad I caught you. Listen, I know you're a great kid with a big heart, and I've got a bit of a proposition for you. The school is thinking of trying out some peer counseling with a select handful of students. I volunteered to run it since the only extracurricular activity I run otherwise is Origami, and everything you do looks good on a college application. Anyway, I thought I'd extend an invitation. The people who do it need to be good listeners and have kind dispositions, and the first person I thought of was you!"

Blinking once, twice, Hinata stares at the blue-haired senior. "Um, w-well...I guess I'd have to think about it. I have a pretty full schedule..."

"Well, the sessions are held after school for an hour every Tuesday and Thursday, so it is a bit of a responsibility time-wise, but I'd really appreciate it. And like I said, it looks great for colleges. Plus you get to help out kids in the school who are having troubles. Anyway, you don't have to decide right now. I have to have twenty students willing to do it before I can even start the program, so you've got a while to make up your mind." Konan glances at the shiny watch on her slender wrist. "Sorry, I've got to get going...my Origami students are gonna skin me alive if I'm late. Catch you later – maybe have your answer by Friday if you can!" Waving, Konan walks briskly past the younger girl, obviously in a hurry.

Hinata watches as Konan disappears around a corner, still a little dazed at the rushed proposal. Well, it sounds like something I'd like to do...but I usually have so much homework because of my schedule. The Hyuuga pinches her brow together in thought. Hm...

Several minutes later, Hinata is opening the door to her apartment. Her cousin Neji invited her to live with him when he moved here a year ago to go to the university in the city. Her father supported the move, seeing as how the high school is one of the best in the state. So now she spends most of her time with her cousin, making trips to see her father and younger sister every couple of weeks over the weekends when homework isn't bogging her down.

The place is small but well-kept. Neji isn't one much for knickknacks, but there are pictures to make up for it and fill the empty space. Everywhere are photos of the Hyuuga family and friends of both Hinata's and Neji's. Shots of Neji and his long-term girlfriend Tenten are everywhere, as the brunette girl insists of carrying a camera everywhere and taking as many pictures of herself and her boyfriend as often as possible. She herself is taking photography classes in college, and has a job at a studio downtown. Hinata's favorite is one of the two of them lying in the grass in the park this last summer, and Tenten managed to capture a small butterfly on her cousin's nose, his eyes crossed to stare at it in shock.

Taking her bag to her room, she unloads her books onto the small desk she brought from home. Hinata wasn't able to take much with her, given the miniscule size of Neji's humble abode, but she managed to squeeze in most of her favorite books, posters, clothes and trinkets. A small mountain of stuffed animals rules her bed during the daylight hours, and she often snuggles up among them after a hard day at school. She even managed to bring along her favorite lilac squishy pillow that's caught more than a couple of her frustrated teenage tears.

Walking to her bed, she snuggles up with her pillow, setting it under her chin as she hugs it close. Her homework can wait a bit. For now, she wants to consider Konan's offer. It would be a great opportunity. I love helping people, and it doesn't hurt to add it to my college résumé. But...with all the homework I have, I barely have any time to myself as it is. Heaving a sigh, she buries her pale face into the pillow. Stupid Honor's classes...stupid college...stupid homework. After a few minutes of deep breathing, she decides to ask Neji's opinions when he gets back from class. For now, she'll settle with completing her take-home assignments.

.oOo.

A few hours later, Hinata sets a plate of mashed potatoes, green beans and chicken in front of her cousin. As the only female in the house (not to mention the only one with any sort of culinary competence), dinner is usually her responsibility unless Neji feels the need to order takeout. Since he grew up under Hinata's father's wing since the death of his own, Neji gets a certain amount of monetary compensation from Hyuuga Hiashi for attending school as well as taking care of his daughter. However, Hyuuga Hiashi is still a stingy man, and gives no more than absolutely necessary. So, nice meals often give way to cheap takeout, but Hinata still likes to serve a respectable dinner to her favorite and only cousin every once in a while.

"Thank you, Hinata," Neji praises, waiting until she seats herself behind her own plate before taking the first bite. "My mediation class was especially torturous today."

Hinata makes a small noise of sympathy through her nose as her mouth is currently full of potatoes.

"Anyway, how was school today?" Neji waits patiently as Hinata struggles to swallow her spuds.

"Good. I didn't get much homework, so that was a relief. Although I'd like to t-talk to you about something a friend asked me about today."

The older Hyuuga places his fork back on his napkin, folding his hands in his lap and preparing to listen. "Very well."

"Well, the school is thinking of instigating a new peer counseling program to be held after school Tuesdays and Thursdays. A senior girl in my Orchestra class is putting it together, and she asked me if I'd like to g-give it a try."

"I see."

"I'd really liked to participate, but...I'm worried about my class load. I've got s-so much homework most days that I'm not sure it would be a wise decision." Pouting a little, she stirs her potatoes with her fork. "I h-hate having Honor's classes..."

Neji offers a small smile at this. He remembers having to put up with the pressure of high-honor classes when he was in high school. If it weren't for his girlfriend who gave him regular reminders, he probably wouldn't have achieved much of a social life those four years. Hinata, being shy, doesn't have many friends and has yet to find a boy she is interested in enough to date...not that she hasn't been looking. "Well Hinata, it looks like you've got a personal choice to make. You could drop a class in order to have extra time so you can do the counseling program, or you could skip it. I don't think it would be wise to attempt both. A full Honor's program is hard enough without other activities taking up your spare time."

"I know, it's just...Father would be mad if I dropped a class. I don't even know what one I'd drop...though I guess it would have to be Orchestra. But...I l-love that class."

"Classes are a hard thing to balance. But I'm sure either way you'll make the right choice."

"What do you think I should do?"

Neji pauses, having moved slightly to retrieve his fork. "Hinata...this is something you must decide on your own. Part of me wants you to keep up the classes because it's what I did and I know it looks good for college. But part of me also wants you to do the program because it would be good for you and the people you would help – you are a kind soul and meant to help others. I can't make the choice for you. You have to do what will make you happiest in the end." Giving his cousin a reassuring smile, Neji continues his meal.

Hinata takes this all in, her mind just as busy digesting as her stomach.

.oOo.

The next morning finds Hinata walking to school a bit slower than usual. She's pretty sure she's made up her mind, but a part of her is still unsure. I'll just have to tell Konan my decision. Once I tell her, there's no going back.

She puts her books away, still having about ten minutes before the first warning bell rings. After her belongings are safely stowed away, she makes her way toward the senior part of the school intending to find Konan and tell her her decision. She passes many unfamiliar faces before she finds her friend lip-locked with Yahiko, her boyfriend. Instantly awkward, Hinata clears her throat. "Um, Konan chan...?"

Breaking free of the orange-haired boy, Konan blushes lightly. "Oh, hello Hinata chan. What's up?" She waves goodbye to Yahiko who opts out of the conversation.

"Well, I thought I'd t-tell you I made up my mind about the counseling."

"Oh?" Konan's eyebrows raise in surprise. "I didn't think you'd come to a decision this fast! Are you sure you gave it enough thought?"

"Yes. I'd like to sign up."

"Oh, Hinata chan that's great! You make my eighteenth confirmed student...hopefully I'll have two more by the end of the day and we can get started today! I've already put up fliers, so we might have a few people drop by. If not, we can use the time to get organized and get officers elected and all that jazz. Anyway, thanks again for joining! You'll be a great help, I know it."

"Th-thanks. I'll do my best. See you in orchestra!" Waving, Hinata turns back around and heads for the office to change her schedule. Second quarter started only a few days ago, so she shouldn't have any trouble.

Approaching the counter, Hinata waits for the secretary to get off the phone. Her nametag reads Shizune. She talks quickly into the receiver, taking notes on whatever is being discussed.

"Yes, and thank you again, Mr. Yamanaka. We'll be in touch." Sighing, Shizune puts down the phone and looks up at Hinata. "Can I help you?"

"Yes please. My name is Hyuuga, Hinata. I'd like to make a change in my schedule."

"Alrighty, let me see...which class do you have in mind?"

"My First Year Japanese class, please." Behind the counter, Hinata twiddles her fingers nervously. When her father found out, she was so dead...

"Okay, and what would you like to change it to?"

"A study hall, please."

"Okay. You can go to the library during that period. There is a supervisor there to make sure you stay on task."

Surprised at the simplicity, Hinata replies, "Okay...do I go there today?"

"Yes."

Feeling awkward for a second time this morning, Hinata hesitates before saying, "Well, um...thank you," and taking her leave. Shizune doesn't give her a second glance.

The day passes by in a blur, and soon Hinata finds herself in her study hall period. Several other students, none of which look familiar, are scattered around the library when she walks in, books in her arms. Suddenly nervous, she opts for a seat alone near a window, hidden from view concerning the rest of the large room. It seems as though her teachers are making up for yesterday, and now she has homework in all four of her remaining subjects (Orchestra doesn't count. Who ever heard of Orchestra homework?). Fanning out her books, she decides to begin with English.

Write a 500 word summary of chapters thirty-six and thirty-seven in which you analyze the motivations for the main character's sudden change of plans regarding revenge on the antagonist. Normally 500 words is nothing. But lately her teacher seems fond of giving one every day, sometimes bumping the count up to 1000 or more, depending on his mood. That combined with the reading assignments, vocabulary worksheets, grammar studies and other essays not concerned with their current reading make for more work than Hinata cares for. Slowly she lowers her head to connect with the table, mumbling about dropping more than one class.

"Hey, anyone sitting here?" A voice whispers next to her, snapping her out of her pity party.

With a sharp intake of breath Hinata brings her head up to look at a somewhat familiar face. He's in her grade, and she might have seen him in one or two of her classes...what's his name again? "Uh...n-no, go ahead."

The boy slips into a chair silently, glancing behind himself before doing so. "Thanks. Thought I'd never get away."

Unsure how to respond, Hinata simply puts her head back against the table. It's obvious he doesn't want anything to do with her – he's just hiding out from the world like her.

"Hey, you in McPherson's English class?"

Hinata slowly nods her head against the wood grain.

"What have you got so far for the essay?"

This time she shakes her head back and forth.

"Oh...okay then. It sure seems like he's hounding us lately...guy needs to get laid."

This sends Hinata sputtering, her forehead turning hot against the table. "W-what?" She snaps her head back up, looking at her new companion. "You shouldn't say that! What if he h-heard you?"

The boy leans his chair back on two legs, hands folded behind his head. "I'd tell him to fuck off."

Completely horrified at this boy's lack of any kind of manners, Hinata just stares at him. She'd sooner cut her tongue out than say such rude, disrespectful things! Especially about a teacher!

"So, now that I've got your attention...what are you going to write for the essay?"

"I don't know yet," Hinata sniffs, starting to dislike having this boy in her company. "Look. If you want to h-hide here and copy my work, you can just leave! I've got a lot of work to do for my Honor's classes, and stuff to do after school, so I need to get this done. And you are not helping!" Face flushing red in frustration, Hinata picks up her pencil and paper and begins writing furiously. Who does he think he is?

She hears his chair set back down on all fours and his arms fold on the table as he leans toward her. "Look. I was just asking. I don't want to copy you, Miss Honor Student. If you hadn't noticed, I'm in the Honor's class too, seeing as how I was asking you about it – that would probably mean I'm there for a reason. And if you have a problem with me sitting here, I can go someplace else. I was just trying to get away from some people who were bothering me."

Pausing in her writing, she looks up at the boy. Deep black eyes stare deeply into her own, looking slightly irritated. But even so, she can tell he's not lying. Blowing her bangs out of her face, she replies, "I don't mind if you stay. Just d-don't distract me."

"Yes ma'am." The boy leans back away from her, pulling a binder from his backpack. Several times before he gets settled, he tosses his head to move the blueish-black hair from his face, running his fingers through it and making the back stand straight out. Hinata watches him until he finally stills, and then the name hits her.

This is Uchiha Sasuke.

.oOo.

Hinata manages to get away from Sasuke when the bell rings, putting her books back in her locker (she actually managed to get all of her work done despite her dark-haired distraction). Once finished, she moves to find Konan again in the senior hallway.

"So, are we going to start tonight?" Hinata asks, luckily finding the older girl separated from her boyfriend this time.

"Yes, actually! We managed to get twenty-four people altogether, so we're ready to go for today. Odds are it'll be kind of slow, seeing as how we haven't had much time to advertise. But, we'll take what we get. If it's slow enough, we'll use the time to get some organizing done. Here, walk with me. We get to use the old gym – basketball is in the new gym only, so we're free to use it as much as we want." Konan leads the Hyuuga girl through the hallways to the older gym that's retired from sports and used more as a multipurpose room. "We have one half of the court set up with individual booths. You sit on one side, your peer on the other. They have up to the whole hour if they want, but usually they don't last too long. Anyway, mostly you deal with small stuff – boy drama, class stress – but if anything really serious comes up and you don't think you can handle it, you can refer them back to the school counselor. Things like family issues – parents, abuse, bad situations – or if they start talking suicide or self abuse, you probably want to get them to someone older with more experience unless they need immediate intervention and don't have time to go somewhere else. I'll be here the whole time and up to an hour afterward if you need my help with anything. Still want to do this?"

Despite her slightly reeling head, Hinata nods. She gave up a class for this – she isn't going to quit that easy!

"Good. Now, here's your booth – number fifteen. It has your name and grade on it so people can know who you are. You are responsible for its upkeep and anyone who comes to your booth – have each person sign a guest form so we can keep track of numbers. Pretty straightforward, really. If you feel overwhelmed you can always talk to me or have someone step in. Okay?"

"Okay. Thanks, Konan chan."

"Anytime. Thanks again, Hinata chan, for volunteering. This means a lot." Smiling, Konan walks off to greet a group of students coming to take their own booths.

Ten minutes go by, during which Hinata hears the basics explained several more times, and none of her peers come to her for help. She feels the urge to lean on one arm, but she resists, not wanting to look bored or uninterested. Instead, she goes over chemistry formulas in her head, occasionally switching to English vocabulary.

Then, someone approaches.

"Hi," the girl greets, taking a seat opposite Hinata. "Um...my name is Sakura. I'm a freshman too, actually." The girl laughs nervously, tucking a strand of pink hair behind her ear. Her matching pink top rests above a flowing white skirt. "Sorry, I have no idea how to do this..."

"Neither do I," Hinata admits. "This is our f-first day, and you're my first, uh...peer, I guess. Anyway, just talk about anything that's bothering you, I suppose. Don't be shy. Nothing you say leaves this booth."

"Okay...um...well, I guess I'm just kind of stressed out lately. I've been trying to get a scholarship for a foreign exchange program to Italy, but it isn't going well...ever since I was a kid I've wanted to go there. I love Italian food, and I just think it would be a great experience..."

Twenty minutes later, Haruno Sakura says her goodbyes. "Thanks again, Hinata chan. It was great to get that off my chest. I'll definitely recommend you!" Offering a smile and a wave, she leaves the Hyuuga alone again.

Once the girl is out of sight, Hinata lets a small sigh escape her lips. Never has she heard so much about a foreign country in so little time, not even when she was still taking Japanese. But despite her overwhelmed ears, Hinata feels...good. Happy that she's helped someone feel just a little bit better. Smiling, she folds her hands on her table and waits.

One other person comes by before time runs out – a sophomore boy who feels that everything life is asking of him is far too troublesome – and Konan comes by to relieve her counselors. "So, how was your first day?" the older girl asks, giving Hinata a grin while shuffling guest forms from her counselors.

"Good. It felt nice to know I was helping someone." Standing, Hinata stretches her back with a sigh. "So, this time again Thursday?"

"Yup! By then we should have more people show up. I'm guessing we had about ten today."

Hinata tilts her head. Huh...so out of ten people, two visited me...even though there are twenty-three other counselors! This makes Hinata feel even better, if possible.

Back at her locker she leaves all her books, taking her empty bag with a smile. This study period is a good idea. With a spring in her step she makes her way to the nearest door, excited to get home and share her experience with Neji.

.oOo.

"So, I mean, I probably didn't impact either of them that significantly, but it still felt good to know I was there to listen to them, you know?" Hinata picks some chow mein out of her takeout box, explaining her experience in detail to her cousin. "I'm r-really glad I decided to do this. I can't wait until Thursday when I get to do it again!"

Neji smiles at her from over his own takeout. "Good. I knew you'd make the right decision."

"Oh, that reminds me...don't you know an Uchiha?"

Neji's expression changes to one of annoyance. "Yes, I do. He's in the Law program with me. He's a genius. Don't get me wrong – he's a great guy, and puts everything he has into everything he does, but...sometimes having the same person at the top of every class gets a bit old, you know?" Neji relaxes his face again, picking at his food. "Why do you ask?"

"His little brother was in the library with me today during my study period. He's...different."

"Itachi says he has some problems with adhering to good etiquette. He never does say why, though. Did he bother you?" Neji's protective side begins glowing brightly.

"No. Well, a l-little, but not like you think. He just talked to me a little and said some rude things about a teacher. But otherwise he wasn't that bad. He seems to have a bit of a rebellious streak."

"Well then, he's nothing like Itachi, his older brother. That man is a model citizen."

"He was a bit of a shock," Hinata admits, folding her empty box closed. "There wasn't anything terribly repulsive about him, he just...surprised me."

"I see. Well, since you don't have any homework, how about a movie?"

"Sound good."

"Alright, just no chick flicks...Tenten makes me watch enough of those."

Hinata giggles at her cousin. "You pick then. I don't mind."

The two clean up their dinner mess before settling onto the couch to watch Neji's favorite movie, Way of the Dragon.

.oOo.

"So...what do you do after school?"

Hinata glances up from her chemistry to look at Sasuke. The two of them are back at their table, seated opposite each other. The raven-haired boy isn't looking at her, instead staring at his Algebra Two. Perking an eyebrow, Hinata counters, "Why do you want to know?"

"Just curious."

The girl sighs lightly. "If you must know, I'm in the Peer Counseling group. We give counseling to any student who wants to come talk to us."

This causes the boy to look up. "Seriously?"

"Yes. Why? Does that bother you?"

Sasuke stares at her, face blank. "No, it doesn't bother me. It's just easy to see you could do that."

"Oh really?"

"Yeah. When you're not arguing with me, you're quiet, which probably means you're a good listener. You have a peaceful expression on your face, suggesting you are kind and won't judge anyone for their issues. I can just see you doing well counseling other students."

This sudden piece of attention to detail and insight on the boy's part leaves Hinata a bit speechless. "You...you really think so?"

"Yeah." With that, the strange boy goes back to his math, once more becoming the enigma that is Uchiha Sasuke.

Rolling her eyes slightly at his sudden change in attitude, Hinata goes back to solving her chemistry equations.

.oOo.

"Okay, so...I've had a lot of people tell me over the last few days that they plan on coming today, so we should be a bit busier than Tuesday," Konan says as she walks with Hinata to the old gym. "If it gets out of hand, you can take a break. Good luck!"

"Thanks." Taking her seat, Hinata waits to see someone enter her line of vision. Tuesday went well enough. Now that there should be more traffic, Hinata is excited to start.

"Ino, over here. Yeah, this one. Really, she's great, I promise. I think I have chemistry with her too, so don't worry. Go on, it's okay!" Sakura from Tuesday pokes her head in, smiling. "Hello! I hope you don't mind I brought a referral for you!"

Hinata shakes her head. "That's great!"

Sakura disappears again, obviously having a hard time getting her friend to agree. "Oh come on, Ino...it's fine, I promise."

"I don't think this is something I should do peer counseling for...I mean, shouldn't I go to the real one?"

"She's too busy. Hinata's great, I promise. Come on, Ino. I'll sit with you. You need to talk this out, okay?"

Silence. "...Okay. Fine. But once the counselor's available we're going to her too."

"Fine. Come on."

Feeling nervous given the background chatter, Hinata keeps a smiling face. Oh boy...

A pretty blonde girl Hinata doesn't recognize steps into view, arms folded across her stomach and a nervous look on her face. She sports a light blue shirt and dark wash jeans. Sakura walks beside her, holding onto one arm in a comforting gesture. "It's okay, Ino."

Ino takes a seat, sinking down as though trying to be as small as possible, arms still folded across her middle. "Hi...I'm Ino."

"Hello Ino, my name is Hinata." Said girl gestures at the guest forms, waiting patiently while Ino signs her name and grade. Freshman, huh? Huh, I don't recognize her. Then again...there are a lot of kids in my grade. Didn't the paper say around 400 this year? "So, what is it you need to talk about, Ino? Anything you say stays here with me."

"Well, um...I've been feeling sick the last few days, so I um...I bought a pregnancy test over the weekend with Sakura. You see, I have a boyfriend who's a sophomore, and we've been dating for a couple of months now, and well...one thing led to another, and now it turns out I'm pregnant."

Hinata keeps her face blank despite her frazzled mind. Oh my...maybe this is something for an adult... "Well Ino, do you parents know about this yet"

"No way. If my dad found out, I'd be dead before I hit the floor." Ino squirms a little. "My mom moved away this summer, so I'm stuck here with my dad...he's...difficult. Ever since Mom left he's been drinking more than usual...and I spend most of my time at Sakura's."

"I see..." Mind reeling, Hinata tries to think of what to say. "Well, you need to tell an adult you trust, Ino. This is a big deal, and you're going to need help getting it all sorted out. M-maybe if you aren't comfortable telling your father, you could call your mom, or talk to Sakura's parents if you know them well enough, or even a teacher you trust. And you need to talk to your boyfriend. Do you, um...want to keep the baby?"

"Yeah! I mean, I'd rather keep it if I could...but...I know I'm young, and maybe I'm not ready, but...I'm not going to have an abortion. If I have to I'll give it up for adoption. I just...I'm still kind of freaked out, you know?"

Hinata does not, in fact, "know", but she nods her head. "I'm s-sure you have a lot on your mind. I would stay with Sakura until you manage to talk to someone. If you think your father is going to be an issue, maybe have another adult accompany you when you tell him. And make sure, no matter what you decide, you talk to your boyfriend. This is just as much his responsibility as it is yours. And don't forget to tell an adult."

"Yeah..." Ino stares at the table for a few moments, light blue eyes filled with worry. But when she looks back up at Hinata, she seems to look a bit better. "Thanks, Hinata. You make a lot of sense. I'll...I'll do that. Maybe I'll let you know how it turns out." She stands with Sakura, waving and thanking the Hyuuga girl again.

Once Ino is out of sight, Sakura gives Hinata a big smile. "Thank you so much. You have no idea how worried she is...but you've helped a lot. Bye."

Hinata waves lightly, still feeling a bit dazed. "Huh..." Seeing no one else at her booth, she scoots out and moves to find Konan.

"Hey, Konan chan, can I talk to you?"

Said girl shoos off another counselor, turning to face Hinata. "What's up?"

"I just had a girl come to my station named Yamanaka Ino, she's a freshman. Anyway, she just told me all about how she's pregnant and living with a friend to stay away from her alcoholic father.

Konan just stares at Hinata for a moment. "You're kidding."

"N-no."

"Wow...that's just the kind of stuff I was worried about. What did you tell her?"

"To tell an adult and her boyfriend, and stay at her friend's until she can get things straightened out with her dad."

"Huh. Well, is sounds like you handled it well. As long as she follows through talking to someone else, I think she'll be okay. Great job, Hinata. Keep up the good work."

Nodding, Hinata retreats back to her stall, seeing a familiar face there. "Uh, hey. What are you doing here?"

"Just thought I'd drop by and see what all you do here." Sasuke stands coolly in front of her station, hands in his pockets. "So, talked to anybody yet?"

"Yes, actually." She snags the filled-out form to keep Ino's appointment confidential. "Just one, but it was kind of a doozie." Gesturing with a grin, she asks, "Got anything you want to talk about?"

Sasuke regards her nonchalantly. "Nothing you want to hear, princess."

"Princess?"

"Everybody's got to have a nickname. Of course, if you already have one, I could use that."

Hinata blushes lightly. In all honestly she isn't close enough to anyone to have a nickname. "Nope."

"Alright then, princess it is."

Hinata sighs in exasperation. "Whatever. If you don't need to talk, you should g-get out of the way. Someone might actually want to talk to me."

The raven-haired boy snorts lightly. "Fine, I'll go. Catch you later."

"Mm."

Hinata watches him go, shaking her head a little. "He is ridiculous..."

Several minutes go by with the hum of talking coming from the other booths and no one approaching Hinata's table. She twiddles her fingers in her lap out of sight, waiting for someone to come and talk to her. Maybe I should have let Sasuke stay. But she pushes away the thought. Ugh, no. He's so...just...ugh. Shaking her head, she jumps lightly as a face comes into view.

"Hello."

Hinata blinks a few times. "Hello. Please, take a seat."

A sulky-looking redhead clothed in dark colors sits down opposite her, glaring down at the table. "Is this where one goes to talk about what's bothering them?"

"Yes, it is."

"...can I talk to you?"

"Of course. I'm hear to listen."

The boy sits silently for a few minutes, rubbing at his wrists nervously and moving from leaning back to leaning forward. Hinata waits patiently, knowing that he will talk when he's ready.

"My father died this weekend."

Hinata's breath catches in her throat. "Oh, I'm so sorry!"

"I'm not."

This leaves Hinata unsure what to say.

"I hate him...he's always been mean to me and my siblings...my sister got away going to college, but my brother and I are stuck here. He...he used to hit us. But when we got bigger he just started yelling. I don't know how many hours of sleep I lost listening to him rant and rave well into the morning...he hated me most of all since Mother died when I was born."

Hinata wipes at her eyes a bit, swallowing a lump in her throat. The air feels tense, and she avoid speaking for fear of warranting some kind of reaction.

"Every day he reminded me of how I killed her...of how he'd rather have her than me. I hate him...but not as much as I hate myself. That's why I keep doing it..." He splays his hands face up on the table, and Hinata sees the scars crisscrossing his wrists and arms. Gasping, she brings a hand to her mouth. "I need to be punished...I keep waiting for it to go too far, but it never does...I never get away..."

On an impulse Hinata reaches out to take the boy's hands in her own. He flinches, but doesn't move back. "Um, I don't know your name, but...don't blame yourself for what happened to your mother. Things happened that are out of our control, and we can't l-let them drag us down. I'm sorry to hear about what your father did to you and your siblings, and I know I can't fix it...but please know that you aren't alone. You can talk to me as much as you need to. It m-might not make everything go away, but maybe it will make you feel a little better. Please don't hurt yourself...the last thing you need to to be hurt anymore."

The boy stares at her hands grasping his, expression unreadable.

"Please don't do that anymore. I'm sure there are plenty of people who love you and wouldn't want to see you like this. I don't want to see you like this either. Your life is precious. Don't try to end it so carelessly. P-please don't..." Tears fall down Hinata's face, but she doesn't let go of the boy's hands to wipe them away.

The boy stares at her in wonder, apparently having never thought that way before.

"I'm sure your siblings want you to keep fighting. They would be so sad if you...if you died. There is always another day after today, and the only way to see if it gets better is to keep living. P-please don't give up. Promise me you won't give up."

Several moments of silence pass between them. Hinata stares into the boy's eyes as he stares into hers. Her hands still remain tightly closed around his own, the scars on his arms face up for the world to see.

"No one...has ever said that to me before." The boy lowers his gaze to his hands. "No one has ever told me to stop. All I've ever heard is that I killed my mother and that I'm useless...but you...why do you think differently?"

"Every life is precious," Hinata says with a watery smile. "Everyone has a chance to do w-wonderful things with their lives. I'm sure you'll find something you love to do, and you'll do it well. Every day is a gift, just like life, and you can't w-waste it. You have to keep fighting. I believe in you. I care. I don't want you to hurt anymore. So please...stop doing this to yourself. You deserve happiness and a chance to live. Okay?"

The boy's aquamarine eyes stare at her again. "...you really think so?"

"I know so."

Several more moments pass with neither teen moving. But then, slowly, a smile breaks across the boy's face. It's tired, and small, but it's a smile nonetheless. "Thank you...Hinata. Thank you so much."

"Of course. Please feel free to come back any time you n-need to talk, okay? I'll always been here for you. Remember I believe in you, and I care. Never give up. Now, just do one thing for me..." Releasing his hands, Hinata hands him a guest form. "Just fill this out – I just need your name and your grade – and then you can get going."

Slowly the boy takes the form, scrawling his name and grade onto the slip of paper. While he does, Hinata wipes her eyes. Never before has anyone made her cry like that.

"Here..."

Glancing at the paper, Hinata replies, "Thank you, Gaara. Have a great day, okay?"

Gaara doesn't reply, but he waves once out of the stall.

Once he's gone, Hinata folds her arms on the table, letting herself cry into her sleeves.

.oOo.

"Hey, Hinata chan! Wake up, girl!"

Jerking awake, Hinata looks up to see Konan shaking her shoulders. "Huh?"

"It's been half an hour since the counseling got over. What are you doing?"

Sitting up with a sigh, Hinata hands Konan her two slips. "There was this boy...he's a freshman and his name is Gaara. His father died this weekend, and he used to beat him and his siblings. And...he used to blame Gaara for his wife dying in childbirth, and he cuts himself...I've never cried like that before. So I told him that I c-care about him, and not to give up, and he smiled...and I know I changed his mind. He wanted to kill himself, Konan chan! And I...I think I saved him."

Konan's eyes open wide. "Oh my gosh...really? What is with you and getting all the drama? None of the other counselors have had anything like that!"

"I don't know...but I just...I feel so g-glad I helped him! I mean...he was in so much pain, and he just needed someone to tell him they cared." Running a hand through her hair, Hinata sighs again. "Wow..."

Konan motions for Hinata to join her. "Alright. Well, I'll go turn these slips in and make sure the counselor knows about Gaara. But judging from what you said, maybe he'll be okay."

"I told him he can come back and talk to me again if he needs to." Hinata looks over at her friend. "Konan chan, we need to do this more often."

"What?"

"What if there are kids who are so close to the edge like Gaara, and we aren't going that day to help them?"

"Hinata chan, I can't have the program going every day! I have Origami club the rest of the week! I can't be here to supervise!"

Hinata frowns heavily. "Can someone else supervise?"

Konan runs a hand through her own hair now. "I don't know...I really had to fight just to get the thing started. No one else wanted to put in the time."

Desperate, Hinata says, "I'll do it."

Konan stops mid step. "What?"

"I'll do it. Please? This is r-really important to me."

"Gosh Hinata chan, I don't know..."

"You could still be in charge. I'll just be there on the days you can't be. Please?"

"Hinata chan, you're just a freshman! Besides, if you're busy being in charge, who's going to listen to all the kids?"

"I can take turns with the others."

"Ugh..." Konan stares at the wall, hands on her hips and her teeth grazing her lip just above her piercing. "Oh...alright. We'll change it to five days a week. That probably means we'll lose some members, but we just had to have twenty to start. So, you're in charge when I'm not there, but if you need anything, anything, you come get me out of the art room. That's where we have Origami club. Understand?"

Hinata raises a hand to her forehead in a mock solute. "Y-yes ma'am!"

"Alright. I can't believe we're doing this..."

.oOo.

"So, how was peer counseling today?" Neji asks, picking up a slice of pizza. "Anything interesting?"

"Technically I'm not supposed to discuss any of the specifics because of privacy, but I had a couple of really...deep conversations today."

"Ah. Do you think you helped anyone?"

Hinata smiles as she picks up her own slice. "Yes."

Neji settles back into the couch, looking at his young cousin. "Is there anything less than specific you can tell me?"

Taking her own seat, Hinata considers this. "Well, I guess as long as I don't mention names it's okay. One girl is pregnant, and she's worried her father will be mad because he's mean and an alcoholic. Another boy was trying to k-kill himself because his father, who recently died, has always blamed him for his mother's death in childbirth."

Neji freezes with his mouth open to take a bite. "What?"

"Exactly. But I think I really helped them b-both. The girl promised to get some help concerning the baby, and I think I convinced the boy not to give up on living. And now I've convinced Konan chan – the girl who started the whole thing – to extend it so we are available five days a week instead of just two." Hinata pulls away from her piece, stretching a string of cheese.

"Wow..." Neji's brow creases in concern. "Are you okay hearing all of this? I mean...that is some serious talk you've been listening to."

"Oh yes, I'm f-fine. I'm just glad I get to help people. Once I heard the boy talking about hurting himself, I was sure this is what I'm meant to do!"

Neji lets his face slide back into neutral. "Alright. But don't forget to take care of yourself as well. Even psychologists and therapists have to talk to others about their own problems."

"I know. I promise."

"Good."

.oOo.

"Hello Sasuke," Hinata greets on Friday, setting her books down next to the boy's.

"Hey princess. Where you been? I thought I'm usually the one late to the party."

"I had some stuff to do concerning the counseling program," Hinata replies, taking out her history book to do some reading. "Since I'm in charge when Konan chan isn't around, I've had some p-papers to fill out concerning responsibilities with the program."

Sasuke perks an eyebrow at her. "Okay then. You sure seem into this whole thing."

"I am. I'm so glad I decided to join. I think I might go to c-college to become a therapist."

Now both of Sasuke's eyebrows are lost in his long hair. "Really?"

"Mm-hm. I really enjoy helping people. It makes me feel h-happy that I can help them with their problems by listening and letting them know that they matter, and that whatever they're going through will get better. I even helped stop someone from t-taking their life the other day."

Sasuke considers this silently.

"Anyway, I need to get this chapter read by tonight." Giving the boy a smile, Hinata begins chipping away at chapter seventeen in her history book.

.oOo.

Setting her stack of guest forms on her table, Hinata heaves a happy sigh. She is getting more and more excited about the counseling program, and looks forward to it all day. Glancing up, she sees a familiar face looking at her.

"Hello Gaara! It's nice to see you! Please, come sit down!"

The redhead looks far less sulky today, his expression carefully neutral. He's wearing a white hoodie and light-colored jeans, and sits across from Hinata quietly, filling out another form. "Hello Hinata."

"How are you today, Gaara?"

"Good...better. I've done a lot of thinking since I talked to you last. I haven't cut myself since then, and I've been talking to my brother more. He seems to think talking to you was a good idea."

Hinata beams. "I'm h-happy to hear that, Gaara. It's good to know you're doing better."

"My sister has been home all week, dealing with my dad and everything. She thinks she's gonna move out of the dorms and stay with us until my brother turns eighteen in a few months. I'm glad; I don't get to see her much. We're gonna have a funeral for him sometime next week...I don't wanna go."

Hinata gives Gaara a sympathetic look. "I bet the prospect of going is tough. But maybe it would be a g-good way to get some closure for all you've been through. Not just for you, but your siblings too."

Gaara nods. "Yeah...you're probably right. It just...I guess it's because you're supposed to pay your respects to someone at their funeral...and I don't know if I can do that."

"What happened to you and your siblings isn't going to just g-go away," Hinata admits. "You have the right to be angry with your father. But in order to heal you have to start to let go of the anger. You don't have to forgive him, but putting it behind you will help you move forward."

This makes Gaara nod again. "Yeah..."

The pair sit in silence for a few minutes while Gaara thinks this over. Hinata watches him, noticing that he traces his scars absentmindedly with his fingers. But when he finishes his thoughts he gives her another smile. "Thanks. I'll come back next week to let you know what's gonna happen."

"Okay. Take c-care Gaara. Have a good weekend."

When the redhead leaves Hinata heaves a sigh, closing her eyes. It's good to hear Gaara feeling better. Poor guy...I hope things work out for him.

"You busy princess?"

Opening her eyes again, Hinata looks up to see Sasuke. "Oh! Uh, no, come on in."

The boy takes a seat, leaning forward with his arms braced on his knees. His foot taps rapidly on the wood floor, and Hinata lets her brow crease. "Are you okay?"

The boy bites his lip, drawing a few beads of blood. He doesn't answer.

"Hey, Sasuke!" Hinata leans toward him, appealing for his gaze. "What's wrong with you?"

Glancing at her, Sasuke makes Hinata hesitate. The look in his eyes is worrying. "I...I dunno."

"Sasuke, t-talk to me. What's wrong?" She offers both hands atop the table.

Sasuke looks at her open palms, obviously debating. But after a few moments he sighs and puts his hands in hers, gripping them tightly.

"I need you to tell me what's wrong, Sasuke. You're making me n-nervous."

The boy bows his head, foot still tapping. Hinata can feel his hands trembling. After a moment he looks back up at her, black eyes looking hollow and bleak.

"Sasuke...please..."

Heaving a heavy, shaking breath, Sasuke opens his mouth. "I've been...debating whether to talk to you or not. Over the last week, I...I've liked talking to you in the library. We don't say much, but...I don't really talk to anyone else."

"I'm listening, Sasuke."

The boy glances around as though afraid to be overheard. "I...I haven't told anyone about this. The only one who knows is my brother. But...that's because he was there. He was there..." Sasuke pauses, and Hinata notices sweat beading at his hairline. Whatever it is, something it really bothering him.

"It was...gosh...nine, ten years ago. We were driving back from my aunt's house...my mom's sister...and the roads were really bad. It was dark and raining...and my dad could hardly see the road. We were maybe five miles from home when it happened. The car started hydroplaning, and my dad lost control...we slid all over the road, until we hit a brick fence head-on. My mom...my mom died instantly, and my dad not too long after that. It took them three hours to get me and my brother out. And just seeing my parents...sitting there, all bloodied up and...and dead...it just...ugh it freaked me out.

"They sent us to my aunt's, and we lived with her until Itachi turned eighteen a few years back. We got an apartment with our parents' life insurance money, and we've been there ever since. Now Itachi's in school and hardly ever home between classes and his job, and then when he's home he's constantly studying. He wants to be a lawyer to help car crash victims get their settlements. So I'm on my own most of the time, and I've been such an ass ever since they died...no one likes to be around me except stupid girls who think I'm being a dick just to be sexy or some dumb shit...I hate it. I hate being alone so much...

"That's part of the reason why I study with you. At first I was just hiding from some dumb broad, but...I kept coming back to your table. I like the way you don't treat me different or start drooling all over me. You dish my shit right back at me, but not to be mean, just...to match my attitude and keep on par with me. I can't...I can't tell you how much just sitting with you in that damn library means to me. I don't even hardly know anything about you except that you're kind and patient and like to listen and help others, and that you're beautiful and I just can't believe you put up with me. I...I really like you, Hinata."

Hinata stares at her companion. His gaze is still desperate, but she can sense he feels better after getting all of that off his chest. But to go from recounting his parents' death to admitting his feelings for a girl? Hinata finds that she has no idea what to say.

"I know this is stupid. I mean, you're too nice and pretty to be with a bastard like me, but...I can't help it. Being around you makes me happy. It makes me want to be less of a dick and just be with you. So...I dunno. I shouldn't have brought it up, it's just...it's so hard not to talk to you! I can see why everyone talks about their problems with you. You're just so easy to talk to, and you listen without judging. That's really great. And I'm sure you'll make one hell of a therapist someday." Sasuke gives her a crooked smile. "Anyway...thanks for listening...I'll get out of your hair now, and let you talk to someone who actually needs your help..." He moves to pull away, but Hinata tightens her grip on his hands.

"Sasuke, wait."

He glances at his hands, and then at her.

"I'm...I'm glad you talked to me. I can t-tell you feel better, at least a little. I'm so sorry about what happened to you and your family...I wish I could make it better. And...I'm glad I make you happy. I have to admit...at first you drove me crazy, but...over the last week I've gotten to enjoy your company and b-bantering with you. I um...I don't know much about you either, even less than you know about me, but...I l-like you too." A small blush conquers her face as she lets the truth come out.

Sasuke stares at her, apparently now forgetting his trapped hands. "Oh..."

Giggling, Hinata gently lets go. "Anyway...I think our time is up. I'm glad you got to talk to me, Sasuke." Quietly she begins picking up her things and guest forms, deciding not to record Sasuke's. "I'll see you later, okay? I need to get these gathered up and turned in to Konan chan."

The boy nods, still seated. Giving him a smile, Hinata takes her leave, going around and collecting the guest forms for today. After dropping them off to Konan, she makes her way to her locker.

In front of it, she spies Sasuke. He's leaning casually against the metal doors, face back to normal. When he sees her, he gives her a smile. "So, uh...I thought I'd walk you home, princess."

"That would be great."

The walk is silent, but comfortably so. Halfway home, Sasuke manages to snag her hand in his. Hinata giggles, blushing, but lets him do as he pleases. Once they reach her apartment building's door, she turns to face him. "So, I'll see you Monday?"

"Sure." He takes back his hand, blushing lightly. "So, uh...are we...uh...dating now?"

Hinata gives him another smile. "Oh, I guess we could g-give that a try. We could go to a movie tomorrow, if you want."

Sasuke blinks, apparently not expecting her to agree. "S...sure. I'll, uh...I guess I'll see you tomorrow."

"Sounds good. Bye."

"See ya."

With a huge smile Hinata makes her way up to Neji's apartment, barely containing her glee. After dropping off her (empty) bag, she returns to the living room to see Neji on the couch sipping a soda with Tenten. "Hey! No class today?"

"Nope, the professor called it off." Neji perks an eyebrow at her expression. "Something happen today?"

"Oh, I guess so...I talked to the boy who wanted to kill himself again. He's making great progress. And I talked to another boy...he told me all about an accident that killed his parents when he was younger...that's why he's a bit rough around the edges. But he's really a good guy otherwise."

"Oh really?"

"Yeah...we're going to a movie tomorrow."

Neji does a spit take, spewing soda all over as Tenten laughs heartily, turning on her camera. "What?"

Smiling, Hinata nods. "Yup! His name is Uchiha Sasuke. I think we're going to try dating a bit." Hinata spins around right as Tenten snaps a shot. Smiling to herself, Hinata is sure it's going to be her new favorite.

Oh...my...goodness. SO LONG! The word count! It's over nine thousand! Sorry...couldn't resist X3 Alright! So! This fic was a bit of a doozie. I wrote it all in one day...well, in less than twenty four hours, spanning over the course of two days. But now that I've finished it's about 1:15 am, so I'm going to go over it tomorrow for spelling and grammar, and then go ahead and post it because I'm too tired to do either now. I hope you enjoyed it, and pretty please review. I love love LOVE hearing from you guys! But please, no flames, or I will throw my cat at you...and he will not be happy and most likely scratch the tar out of you XD Anyway, I'm starting to sound silly, so I'm calling it quits. Goodbye for now, and lots of loves!

~BlackRoseDragon13