After much consulting and debating, I will admit that technically, I, Blue, for the most part, in accordance and context to the laws of reality and the facts of life verbatim do not in any way, shape, or form that can be physically, chemically, or naturally proven own Naruto in any noteworthy capacity. Kishimoto holds that claim.

A prequel to Under the Moonlight. Some stated that they were curious as to why Hinata was acting the way she was in Under the Moonlight. Well, here is the why. AU Shippuden time-line.

Konoha at midday. That is when the civilians were truly out and about. Shopping and socializing in the market place were the thing to do. The ninja population mingled with them at this time, but somehow still standing out just enough to distinguish them.

For the few Uchiha left, it was their clan fans on their clothing. Those of the Inuzuka had their nin-dogs. Aburame wore their high collars and shades.

For other ninja without clan, most tended to lend a personal touch to their standard uniform.

Special jounin like Anko or very special like Gai completely forwent the standard and created an outfit all their own. One Uzumaki Naruto seemed to believe in individuality himself, though no longer quite as painfully obvious as before. After training with the Toad Sage, he'd returned to Konoha with a much more tolerable outfit of orange and black.

Though not quite as bright, he could still be picked out in a crowd, especially with his mop of blond hair. He was even easier to spot if one had trained oneself to be able to spot said blond a mile off. Possessing the Byakugan helped even more.

The Hyuuga heiress had been on her way to the dango shop when she saw him, headed her way with Sakura. In the three years he'd been gone, she thought he'd only gotten more handsome. His golden hair had grown out, and she wondered how soft it was. His skin had gotten tanner, and she wondered if he'd gotten an even coating all over.

She flushed at her own thoughts and nearly had a panic attack when she saw him coming her direction. She looked around for an escape before ducking down a nearby alley. With her back to the wall and a hand at her heart, she activated her bloodline to scan the crowds. He was going past the opening of the alley with the pinkette, both completely oblivious to her. She crept out to the opening and peered out.

Naruto was talking to Sakura, the girl looking as if she were only paying attention to be polite. Naruto went on anyway, boasting and gesturing as if he had an enraptured audience. When Sakura looked away from him, Naruto threw his arm around her shoulder and grinned at her.

Hinata felt something twist in her belly, something that most would call jealousy. She called it indigestion. Sometimes, she really could not stand Sakura. She was so lucky to be on Naruto's team, but the other girl was always so focused on Sasuke. Not as much as she used to be, but still. Hinata didn't get why anyone liked him. He was arrogant, rude, mean, and just not nice.

She especially didn't understand since Naruto actually liked Sakura. Naruto was incredible. Naruto encouraged her. He was kind, and sweet, and brave, and so determind. Nothing could ever get to him, and he was strong. Even after everything people did or said to him, he was always better than them. He didn't stoop to their level. He wanted to protect them, keep everyone safe.

And she wanted him too. She wanted him to keep her safe.



Hinata spun around and was greeted with the sight of Hatake Kakashi four feet behind her.

"So…who're we spying on?" he asked with pure curiosity.

"Spying?" she spluttered. "I –I'm not spying! Uh, not really. I mean, I just saw him and, um…"

"Decided to hide in an alley to get a better view without being detected?" he finished. "And just who is this mysterious 'he'?"

Hinata cut her eyes away and blushed clear to her roots.

"Oh, dear. It's Sasuke again, isn't it?' I swear, that boy is –"

"It is not Sasuke!" she blurted. "Sasuke is…just so cold. He's distant. He's nothing like Na –"

She covered her mouth in horror over what she almost revealed. Kakashi eye-smiled kindly, thinking that she was very much like Sakura…and very much not.

"I can see you really care for him."

She sighed and crossed her arms over her middle.

"Is…am I very obvious?"

"To some, maybe. Well…actually, yes. Very. To everyone who has eyes. There might be a few blind people who know as well."

"Then how doesn't he know?"

"Naruto has never really had a lot of people care about him. I don't think he can actually tell. You'll have to show him. And there's no better way to show that knuckle-head you care than buying him ramen," he assured her.

"I – I couldn't do that. I mean, he likes Sakura anyway. What if… he says no?"

Kakashi shrugged.

"Well, then he says no. But at least you'll know instead of always wondering. A life of 'what ifs' is a life of regret. Ten years from right now, from this moment, you'll look back, and you'll think 'what if I had'?"

He looked down at the girl who stared back up at him.

"What I want is for you to be able to look back and think 'what if I hadn't'."

Hinata held her hand under her chin, her mind whirling. She looked away from him, down the alley as if she could see the object of her desire.

"What if I do," she whispered, "but what if I don't. If I don't…then nothing will happen."

She still seemed unsure, too timid. Kakashi decided to try one more tactic.

"I have a mission for you."

"A mission?"

He nodded.

"For one day until the sun sets, you will not play shy Hyuuga Hinata, clan heiress. You will simply be Hinata. A girl that is bold and confident enough to ask the boy she likes out on a date."

"But I could never…You…really think I can do it?"

"Of course! You're Hinata after all." he said, smiling through his mask. "Now…go get him."

"Hai! Thank you, Kakashi-sensei."

"Anytime. Have fun."

Hinata waved to him and rushed out of the alley, headed the way Naruto had gone. Kakashi leaned against the wall, more than pleased with himself. He pulled his little orange book out of his pocket and stroked it near lovingly.

"Yes, indeed," he mused aloud. "That 'what if' conversation is without a doubt one of the most powerful things Jiraiya-sama has ever written."

He shunshin'd to the rooftops and followed Hinata until she reached Naruto and Sakura. He watched as she hesitated a moment before she straightened up and marched right up to them. Kakashi felt like a proud, pageant mother when a minute later Naruto was walking off with Hinata. Sakura continued the other way. He followed her with plans to go after the other two later.

He and Sakura needed to have a little chat about Uchihas, self-restraint, personal boundaries, and borderline sexual harassment. Lucky for her, Icha Icha The Office had a great, long, detailed chapter covering that. There were even pictures!