Sasuke Uchiha, as it was well known, was in possession of some very, very gorgeous eyes.

To all the girls that gushed about them, adjectives such as "smouldering," or "piercing," or even "both as dark yet bright as the vast night sky" were often used. Nothing was too romanticized and if it bordered the edge of obsessive, then all the better. The list of features went on as well such as downy black hair that would sweep adorably in front of his eyes on occasion, pale lips that if ever even a quirk of a smile were graced upon them granted swoons by any female in the vicinity and a body built to be worshipped even by the gods themselves.

Hinata however found herself disagreeing with all of these.

Sasuke Uchiha 's best feature was ultimately his nose.

She didn't have a nose fetish or something nearly so freaky, but didn't understand how ballads weren't written about its regal slant, or perfect amount of bridge in the centre that just managed to give it enough character not to be boring but still beautiful. She remembered watching him in high school when he would present a project in front of class, with that deep liquid voice that ran and caressed against the corners of your ears and mind she would watch him just as intently as any of the others. Watch that nose. She would have been the first one to agree on the fact that a rock had more emotions and depth than Sasuke Uchiha did, but when he presented and wrinkled his nose just so, she would see that spark of emotion and could imagine that perhaps there was more to the boy.

Well, maybe she was a little bit of a freak.

But she still didn't think that she stood anywhere near close to the freakiness of her co-workers who were near pissing themselves as they watched him enter their humble little café.

"Oh my god." Sakura trilled and dug her expensive and painfully long manicured nails into Hinata's arm in an attempt to stabilize her suddenly jelly-like legs. "The firemen are here. They are all fucking here in our café. At once. Sasuke Uchiha is here. Oh thank god I took Temari's shift."

"I think I'm swooning." Ino sighed and clutched her hand against her heart and leaned her full weight against Hinata who was staggering under the two's combined weight.

The Cinnamon Café was a small coffee shop crammed into the corner of a large brick building that so frequently changed offices and businesses that no longer were any signs or any of the such hung on the outside to indicate them. On more than one occasion the café was labelled as "quaint" and had coffee that was known to make grown men weep. It wasn't an entirely gross exaggeration. Some men just felt it the best place to have a good cry after a break up. Or a lost football/basketball/hockey/whatever game. Perhaps something to do with the extra nutmeg or cinnamon they put in their coffee as a "secret ingredient," though if Hinata had to venture a guess it had more to do with the sympathetic bosoms of Ino and Sakura they found themselves eagerly crying to.

There was a rumour that went around the town that the café only hired girls that ranged from just so darned adorable to drop-on-your-knees-and-beg sexy. Part of this rumour stemmed from the fact their owner and manager happened to be the most notorious pervert in town and was often found researching the subjects for his smut he wrote and unbelievably actually managed to publish. It was a daunting fact for Hinata as she was hired for her role as the adorably cute, but she found the man oddly protective of "his girls" and didn't stand for any harassment against them. In fact, she found him somewhat the role of her father figure to replace the one who hadn't had such a big part in her earlier years.

It also seemed somewhat appropriate in this case that the café also dubbed as "The Babe Coffee Shop" was right across the street from the fire hall that hosted about ninety percent of all the attractive males in the town. If you dated one of the firemen or even had a one night stand with one, you had yourself a ticket towards moderate fame. Hinata sincerely worried about the state of the town's arson and accidents for all the times she watched the fire truck race out of the hall, lights ablaze and sirens shrieking at a ludicrously loud decibel. Luckily though, from what she had heard from the firemen who often came into the coffee shop and spoke with her, many happened to be false alarms.

"Oh please, oh please, oh pleeeeease let me go over there for their orders and take the register for me? Pleaaase, Hinata?" Sakura had nearly dropped onto her knees to beg and that pleading, desperate look on her pretty face was tugging at everyone of Hinata's heart strings. "I'll give you all their tip money, and they tip good."

"What?" Ino screeched and glared daggers at the smug pink headed girl. "I will give you all of my tip money for the day if I go over there."

"Keep your tip money. Why don't you t-take their order and Ino bring it t-to them?" Hinata gave a small, caved smile. "It's not a h-huge problem."

"Thank you, Hinata!" Sakura squealed and nearly skipped over to one of the larger tables in the shop that the firemen were seated before changing it into a sexy swing of her hips. It wasn't an action that went unnoticed by the firemen either. Hinata watched their visible widening of eyes and giggled quietly as Kiba seemed to go comatose as he stared at Sakura's legs that approached closer to their table.

She blinked as she noticed the darkest pair of eyes slide her way at the quiet sound of her laughter and flushed as Sasuke Uchiha raised a perfectly arched (Did he wax them? There was no way they were that perfect naturally) eyebrow at her and twitched his nose in amusement. His gaze was diverted as Sakura invested most of her Powers of Flirting (as Hinata had come to know it) in his direction.

Hinata shook her head with an amused smile and grabbed a cloth to begin wiping the counter with. Sasuke had been Sakura's target ever since she had laid her bright, ambitious emerald orbs upon him. However, much to Sakura's constant frustration, the man never reciprocated this and often blew her off with a small sneer and distasteful tilt of his nose. She watched as he repeated those very same actions and frowned; how rude.

But she also noticed the tired and annoyed scrunch of his eyebrows as Sakura giggled at something said and slapped Sasuke's arm playfully. It was probably very wearisome to come into a place merely for the sake of a cup of coffee and be constantly harassed with unwanted attention. At least Jiraiya managed to prevent that from happening to them and even the occasion fire fighter would uphold this when they felt someone had gone too far.

It wasn't long before Sakura swayed back behind the counter with their orders in hand looking positively euphoric. "I love my job, I love my job, I love my job..." She continued to chant and sing to herself as she begun concocting complicated caffeinated beverages with Hinata. Turning slyly to Hinata, Sakura grinned and murmured cheekily, "You know...Kiba's definitely cute and I think he likes you. A lot."

Hinata chuckled and felt her pale cheeks flush red. "And I-I think you haven't seen the way he's been st-staring at you today. Besides, Kiba a-and I have been friends for a long time."

"Ahhhh, but one could always become more than friends sometimes." Sakura smirked knowingly and dashed the top of if Hinata had to guess, Kakashi's extra hot hold the foam non soy mocha extra whip cream, with a hearty amount of chocolate shavings. "I think you should give him a shot."

Ino snorted and shook the whip cream can. "You just want an excuse for Sasuke to peel his eyes off of Hinata. Kiba stares at anything with an ass or a decent rack. We all know he adores Hinata right here, but he'll rip the balls off of anything that comes in her direction but only because you guys were, what? Childhood friends?" Ino glanced over Hinata who was blinking rapidly and blushing in horror.

"I...I...s-something like that...Sa-Sasuke...d-doesn't...there is no staring." Hinata hissed and turned around quickly to withdraw a blueberry scone with tongs from its display. Sasuke, she was pretty sure and kept it that way in her mind since high school, was an entirely asexual being and the only reason he would be needing to "peel his eyes away from her" would be because he found her ever present blush and stutter so very odd.

Ino merely laughed at Hinata's horrified face and Sakura's tight lipped one before sweeping all the drinks and assorted baked goods onto the trays. "C'mon, Sakura, I'm feeling mighty generous today and the least you can do is assist me in bringing these over to the gentlemen over there."

Sakura's face lit up immediately as she scrambled for a tray and followed Ino over as the blonde haughtily slapped the back of Kiba's skull as he made probably an entirely deserving of such actions comment and smirked as he whined pitifully. Ino was a star attraction with Sakura at their café and though she felt small twinges of envy with every phone number and appraising grin they managed to receive from a cute customer with every tinkling laugh they emitted, Hinata could honestly say she was relieved that she didn't actually have that power of unbelievable attraction. She didn't know what she would do with herself, and she hated leaving her comfort zone.

One by one the firemen began drifting out of the café starting with Shikamaru and followed by Kakashi before it wasn't long until just Kiba, Naruto, and Sasuke were left sitting at the table basking in both Ino and Sakura's giggling girlish attentions. As Ino and Sakura left to deal with other customers, Hinata drew her eyebrows together and frowned slightly as Naruto and Kiba murmured to each other behind Sasuke's turned back. Bright, devious grins burst across their faces as suddenly both leapt up and dashed out the café's doors leaving Sasuke sitting there with a slowly darkening and enraged expression spreading across his face like an ominous cloud.

Oh dear.

And now he was approaching her.

She hugged the tray she had been cleaning close to her chest and stared up at the tall man with widened eyes as he slapped the bill in disgust against the counter. Biting her lip, she lowered her tray and took a cautious step forward and peered up through her bangs nervously. His annoyance and anger was utterly palpable and Hinata would've gladly handed over this situation to Ino and Sakura had it not been for the fact both were currently extremely busy dealing with their own customers.

"Did y-you get, ah, stuck with the bill?" Hinata murmured in a quiet sympathetic voice and cringed. It wasn't just Naruto and Kiba's orders that were on the bill.

He glanced down at her timid form and seemed to forcibly calm his rage before running an agitated hand through unruly black locks and gritting out, "Yeah. Those fuckers...I knew something was up when Kiba and Naruto insisted Ino and Sakura deal with other customers."

"Oh, th-that's not very nice..." Hinata frowned and said sincerely. She would need to have a talk with Kiba about social manners and how to behave in public again.

He blinked before chuckling softly and scrunching his nose (oh god, that nose) slightly. "No. But neither will the chief's reaction be when I tell her about the betting pool everyone has about the authenticity of her breasts." He smirked before unearthing a credit card from his pocket. "You take credit, right?"

She nodded and automatically as she stared flabbergasted at him, at that nose, and at that face that just laughed. Smiled. Never in all her years of knowing him had she seen him so unchecked with his emotions that his face did not resemble a slab of rock (an attractive rock, if there ever was such a thing).

"I'll see you around, I guess." Sasuke finally muttered as he placed the credit card back in his pocket and turned around before hesitating slightly. "Why are Ino and Sakura always attending our table? I happen to know we can't always be sitting in their section."

"I...I..." She fiddled with a cloth uncomfortably. "Y-you don't want them as your waitresses?"

"Not particularly." He snorted and unsuccessfully hid his annoyed sneer as Sakura turned around at her table to wink and waggle her fingers at him.

"Oh," Hinata blinked. "I always th-thought you all preferred their company a-and they've always asked to if you-you guys-were in my section."

"Oh." It was Sasuke's turn to blink as he seemed to mull over something before resolutely turning his back and began walking towards the door. "Well, see you."

"See you..." Hinata repeated, more than a little confused.

It was the first time she had witnessed him outside of his working uniform. The first time she had ever felt any sort of tug of attraction towards Sasuke Uchiha as he took off his jacket and tugged at the collar of his form fitting t-shirt uncomfortably. Dark jeans and black t-shirt beneath a beige cargo jacket seemed to be the taste of the day as he sauntered over to a table, snarling something at both Naruto and Kiba as they began wandering into Sakura's corner of the coffee shop before begrudgingly following him away from that section.

She forced her pulse to die down to a comfortable pace before timidly approaching their table with a small smile on her face. "H-hi, what can I get you guys?"

"Hinata!" Kiba crowed and threw heavily muscled arms around her slim waist from his seat and grinned up at her. "Haven't really talked to you for a long time."

She grinned at him and tousled his hair affectionately before prying his arms off of her. "Yes, w-well, you do seem to make a conscious effort to be seated in Ino's section every time you come here."

"Aw, Hinata," Kiba whined and pouted before grasping her hands within his considerably larger ones and rubbed his face against them. "But you know I loooove yooooooou."

A sudden snarl from Sasuke who looked ready to leap across the table and strangle Naruto distracted the two. Naruto's jaw was hanging open in disbelief as he murmured, "You are... you really are! Of them? You're je-"

With a kick that made Hinata wince as she could hear Sasuke's foot connect painfully with Naruto's shin, Sasuke looked up at her and bit back his glare. "I'll just have a coffee. One cream. No sugar. I think Naruto wants a hot chocolate. Extra whip cream, load it with sprinkles and shit, just go all out."

"Hey! I do nooooot." Naruto moaned and clutched at his leg.

"Shut up. Yes you do." Sasuke confirmed and glanced over at Kiba, "Kiba, go. What are you getting?"

Kiba narrowed eyes suspiciously at the Uchiha before wrapping his arm possessively around Hinata's waist again to draw her close. "Right...well, I'll just have...actually, just surprise me, sunshine."

"Uh...sure," Hinata stepped back nervously and glanced back, baffled and completely confused about what just occurred.

"Kiba needs to take his adorable little head out from so far up his ass." Ino commented and rolled her eyes as Hinata returned and began working on their orders. Maybe something different for Kiba this time? An Americano? No...too bitter. A cappuccino probably.

"What?" Hinata asked distractedly and contemplated giving them each a complimentary cookie.

"That whole Kiba-Sasuke power struggle thing going on out there. I mean, Jesus, learn to let go. Sheesh. Kiba's gonna be the worst over protective dad ever." She pointed out to where Kiba and Sasuke seemed to be engaged in some sort of staring contest. Hinata was pretty sure Sasuke was winning because every so often Kiba would begin twitching the muscle beneath his eye and his hand would spasm without notice.

"What? Kiba will be an excellent father, granted it will take a few more years for h-him to grow up but...wait what d-does this have to do with anything?" She placed the cookies on plates and glanced up at Ino looking adorably perplexed.

"Oh, Hinata," Ino laughed and threw an arm around her neck to draw her close. "You are just so adorable and naive. No wonder Jiraiya hired you as one of our main, uh, attractions."

"'Main attraction?'" Hinata repeated back dumbly. "...I'm n-no main attraction. Really."

"You've got to be kidding. You must be the blindest person I know!" Ino threw her arms skywards in exasperation and narrowly avoided knocking the drink Hinata just finished making for Naruto over. "I meant, do you know how much it takes not to have you constantly harassed at work? Jiraiya works over time to keep you safe and do you know how many guys the firemen have beat up because they've merely looked at you wrong?"

Hinata blanched dramatically and nearly dropped her tray. "But...m-me? What about you g-guys?"

Ino waved her hand dismissively and placed a steady hand against Hinata's shoulder. "Psh. They know that we can all take care of ourselves."

"I c-can take care of myself too!" Hinata hissed before draining even further of colour. "Oh...J-Jiraiya? he already works so hard and h-he has to worry about me now because everyone thinks I can't take care of m-myself and-and what if th-the firemen got suspended for it? It w-would be all my fault-" She began hyperventilating and looked near tears as out of no where blood suddenly rushed back to her face with a vengeance leaving her completely flushed.

"Hinata!" Ino squealed, panicked and placed both hands against her to steady her. "Aw, shit! Jiraiya said you'd act like this if you found out. It's okay! Really, we all care for you so much, we don't want anything happening to you that would make you uncomfortable, or Jiraiya doesn't mind, and the firemen sure as hell don't. The guys they beat up are assholes anyways."

"Ino...they can't keep..." Hinata looked up pleadingly and shook her head. "I'll t-talk with them I suppose..."

"No!" Ino near shrieked and shook her none too gently. "First of all, Jiraiya may very well kill me for telling you, and secondly they'll only find ways more discreet to look after you. I mean, were you aware that both Sasuke and Kiba only come here on days that you're working? I have no idea how they figure out your schedule like that, but they do. They do it for you, and I think that...maybe you should just be grateful." Ino gave a rueful smile. "You inspire the protector in people, Hinata."

Hinata threw her arms around Ino before rubbing her face in frustration for its blotchy appearance. "O-okay...I'll try." She turned away from Ino, the counter, and towards Kiba and Sasuke who seemed to had forgotten their dispute and seemed to be bantering back and forth venomously, but in what Hinata hoped to be good fun..

"Hot chocolate with extra sweetener, whip cream, and sprinkles," She placed it in front of Naruto who seemed to implode with joy at the sight of it. The corner of her mouth tweaked up as she watched Sasuke roll his eyes and grunt, "Told you," to Naruto who began heartily scooping off the whip cream to devour messily.

"A cappuccino for you," She gently placed a cup before Kiba and gave him an affectionate stroke of his hair as he crowed about how she knew him so well before taking a grab at the biggest cookie on the plate she also placed before them with an enthusiastic "Sweeeet, cookies!"

She stepped before Sasuke uncertainly and felt her heart jolt as he glanced at her appraisingly...glanced almost longingly at her form. She blinked and watched as his stare directed towards his coffee in her hands. She flushed quickly in mortified embarrassment and nearly dropped it on him in her haste to place it on the table. "And a coffee, one milk no s-sugar."

"Thank you." He murmured and glanced up at her. "...And for the cookies, I guess."

"Thank you," She blurted out quietly and found herself staring at that nose again. It would be a lovely nose to kiss, to nip-

To nothing.

Utterly mortified with her sudden thoughts she nearly missed his confused look he gave her as she scurried off to assist Ino, clean counters, cater to other customers, do anything to avoid that gnawing feeling in her stomach when around Sasuke Uchiha and his nose.

It was a Thursday night the next time she saw Sasuke in normal clothing. Dark jeans again and a simple button down top rolled up at the sleeves never looked so good she decided. She smacked a hand against her cheek in embarrassment. When the hell did she start thinking like this? Like every other female in this town?

She was mildly surprised to see him alone and pushed away the annoying voice that sounded much like Ino whispering, "Were you aware that both Sasuke and Kiba only come here on days that you're working?" It didn't do any good to dwell on inconsequential pieces of information that couldn't even be called reliable fact.

"Sasuke," She approached him with a small trembling smile and watched transfixed as long tapered fingers came up to run themselves through his thick hair. "You're a-alone." She dumbly blurted and looked away uncomfortably from his raised eyebrow and almost-could-turn-into-a-chuckle-at-her-expense smirk.

"Yeah, well, Naruto decided to be an idiot and Tsunade wasn't happy so made him scrub all the tires of the truck with a toothbrush after hours and Kakashi had I don't want to know." He shook his head and sighed through his lovely nose. She should probably look away soon. He would think she was staring. Well, she was, but it was at his nose, not him really or anything stalker-esque like that.

God, she was a freak.

"Besides, I wanted to be alone for the last half hour that you guys are open." He shrugged and looked at her in a way that almost dared her to say otherwise.

"Well, t-tonight's a good night for it," She smiled faintly and gestured around to the near empty café. "Pretty lucky, I'd s-say." She chuckled nervously, finding it hard to look away from the tip of that dashingly handsome nose. She sighed at her utter lack of composure and tried again with, "What can I get y-you?"

"Same as last time. One coffee, no sugar and one milk." He leaned back luxuriously in his seat. "You can hold the cookie, I'm not all that fond of sweets myself." The smile he gave her was wry and utterly leg melting.

She nodded slightly and scurried off to the counter to begin his order, only to trip into a broad and opening chest that engulfed her completely in its hold. The hands around her were warm and gruff as she was swung to the side under one arm instead of two to lean against the large looming figure.

"Hinata!" Jiraiya boomed loudly and directed them behind the counter with a friendly pat against her cheek. "How's my favourite doe eyed girl?"

"Ah, Jiraiya." Hinata smiled up at her boss and asked, "How was the weekend hot springs getaway? I heard Tsunade also went this weekend and came back e-early or something like that."

"Um, well," He scratched his red cheek sheepishly. "She may have been there as well...maybe I sorta ran into her?"

"I see," She smiled knowingly and patted his arm affectionately before turning to begin preparing the coffee. "I hope the t-trip was pleasant."

"Very." He grinned lasciviously before schooling his features and quickly asking, "You manage to hold down fort long enough without me?"

"Temari would be a very good manager if ever you f-felt to give up the position." She smiled demurely at him and chuckled at his raucous laughter as he smirked and nodded in agreement. "Yes, that she would..."

His gaze caught on the lone Uchiha in the corner of the café and Hinata watched perplexed as his bushy eyebrows puckered together in that look she knew on his face as agitated concentration. She wasn't used to people, well, males per say, staring so intently at Sasuke, not when it wasn't accompanied by a swoon or a girlish giggle.

"Uchiha came alone today?" Jiraiya asked her casually but from the tilt of his lips she knew it was anything but.

"Yes..." She just couldn't understand the problem. "I'm about t-to deliver him his drinks, unless you'd like to?"

He looked for a moment almost as if he would very much like to, but slowly shook his head with a defeated sigh. "No, honey, you go ahead." With that he walked past her with a bemoaned and quiet, "You just can't stop kids from growing up, old man..."

She was so tired of being so confused with everyone's actions. People should be straight forward and say what's on their mind instead of beating around bushes and being so damn careful around whose toes they were treading on. She was a tough(ish) girl, she could take it. Sighing, she placed Sasuke's coffee on the table before him and gave him a small smile, "No cookie, as promised."

He smirked at her and nodded his head in appreciation before taking a sip and a gracious sigh out of his nose as it curled down his throat pleasantly. Oh, the way his adam's apple bobbed as he gulped was just fascinating...

Aaaaand on to the next customer.

This customer looked not unlike a vampire had a vampire decided to don a sweater vest and loafers. Bright blonde hair and pointy features that quirked strangely, Hinata decided that he was an altogether funny looking man who happened to own a pair of lovely green eyes. It was half way through her pleasant greeting and order she finally noticed the odd way his eyes would trail down and away from hers and a strange smirk would draw his thin lips up. Was he...?

He was. He was staring blatantly at her breasts.

The uniform she had to don wasn't a revealing one, merely because she hadn't made the same altercations that Ino and Sakura had to theirs. A simple black v-neck, fluffy apron and green skirt that she managed to keep just past mid thigh were all that Jiraiya really asked of them. She held the tray she had been carrying tightly against her chest before squeaking, "S-sir?"

He spared her face a glance before grinning smarmily and leaning forward on one hand. "Sorry, I'm kinda new around here and I heard this place had coffee that was just to die for. I'm looking for small businesses to invest in and this place seems to potentially have some huge...assets."

She watched in horror as his eyes trailed down her body lazily and managed to choke out, "I...I wouldn't kn-know, sir. I-if you want, I can go get my man-manager to talk with you..."

"No, no, no," He waved his hand dismissively and grabbed hold of her own to pull closer to him. "I'm sure you would do fine, how about we go out for a drink and discuss it? I know this nice place-"

"I don't think th-that would be very professional!" She blurted and yanked her hand back, eyes wide and not unlike a cornered mouse.

"'Professional?'" He repeated before leering and narrowing his eyes gleefully. "Oh, darling, I promise I pay very well."

It suddenly dawned on her as her face turned beet red in mortified embarrassment what exactly he though she was, what this café was. Her hands flew up to hide her face as she shook her head back and forth vehemently, long dark hair flying in each direction and squealed, "No! You-you have it wrong! All wrong!"

His hand was suddenly on her hip and its heat made her want to vomit as he tugged her closer and murmured slyly into her ear, "Really now? How about I let you show me just how wrong I-"

With no warning, a fist rocketed itself into the tender flesh of the man's eye socket with a staggering blow as he flew backwards out of his chair, toppling against the ground with a loud groan. Gasping sharply and hiding her blotchy face behind her hands, Hinata backed up into a burly and inviting chest and let out a shaky sigh of relief as soothing large hands ran up and down her arms.

"I'm going to guess that this gentleman was being less than polite to Hinata?" Jiraiya pointedly asked Sasuke who was leaning over the man glaring and panting heavily with the force of his sudden release of anger.

"How astute of you." Sasuke spared a glance over and snarled before grasping the man by the collar and yanking him up none too gently. The man's eyes fluttered between open and closed as pitiful whimpers escaped his battered mouth. "Him and I are going outside to have a nice little chat." Sasuke spat and hauled him closer to get his point across.

"Oh, no," Jiraiya pushed Hinata into Sasuke's direction and grabbed the man away with a giant jerk that had him spinning into Jiraiya's caging grip. With a slight scowl at his prey that was stolen so quickly from him, he caught her gently and held her there, notably facing her away from the man in Jiraiya's grasp. "You take care of her, make sure she's alright. Luckily it's ten minutes before closing and you two were the last ones in here, can you just lock it up? I think I'll bring him over to the boys where we'll have a nice long discussion on how a lady is treated..." The bell on the door tinkled happily as Jiraiya stepped out of the shop into the night air with a trailing and altogether petrified looking man.

It didn't really dawn on Hinata that they were alone, just the two of them, in the café until she felt her heartbeat slow to a normal at the numbing scent of him and the heat of his warm hands against her hips made her melt further into him. She closed her eyes and place her face into his shoulder, inhaling softly. He smelt so very lovely...

"Hey, are you alright?" He asked her quietly as if not to frighten her further and ran soothing circles with his thumbs against her hips that made her sigh quietly and close her eyes.

"Y-yes," She murmured her heart flutter in a startling realization that frightened her somewhat at how comforted she was here, breathing him in and in his hold that she couldn't even find it in herself to blush at such closeness. Slowly, she traveled her gaze up to stare at the tip of his nose and breathed, "Are you?"

He blinked and scrunched his eyebrows together as if just realizing something and let one hand go of her waist to look at. It was beginning to colour after the punch he had thrown and skin had broken off of two of his knuckles. He shrugged and shook his hand behind him as if to shake off the pain and said wryly. "I've had worse. Fireman, remember? I'm sure he's going to be a lot more worse for wear than I am." His grin darkened sadistically as he seemed to consider all the possibilities the boys could pull against the man.

She reached for the hand and drew it within her considerably smaller ones to draw close to her chest in gratitude, in reverence. She wanted to reign peppering kisses against the split and bruised skin, but stopped herself from thinking such things and instead ran her thumbs with a feather light touch against it. His hand on her hip tightened suddenly and his pupils dilated in the most needy of ways. Rasping lowly, he asked, "What are you doing?"

"Thank you." She whispered back with a trembling smile. "Thank you for...protecting me."

His eyes slid shut in a pained sort of manner as he sighed and bit out, "Hinata, we've all been protecting you in our own way."

"I know, but you, you of a-all people didn't have to." She shook her head in earnest. "You don't have obligations to me l-like Kiba and Jiraiya," Her voice dropped to a small whisper as she continued playing with his long fingers. "But you do."

"Maybe." His hand slowly disentangled itself from hers to tug at a long strand of hair almost playfully had it not been for the way his fingers lingered in her hair. "Maybe I'm not your boss, maybe I'm not an overprotective...whatever Kiba is. I don't know what you define yourself as." His scowl was deeply chiselled into his face and Hinata felt a loss for the smiles and chuckles she had seen at the corner of those lips before.

With the courage she wasn't even aware she possessed, she reached up and smoothed the wrinkles around his lips that caused the frown and looked up, wide eyed at him. "Kiba and I are friends. The very b-best of friends since childhood. I love him deeply and he loves me...much l-like siblings do."


His voice was so vulnerable as he asked this that Hinata's heart thumped hard in chest at the tone. She wondered if Sasuke had always been like this, like the Sasuke she had become more familiar with, and she had just been completely blind to it, or if he had really changed that much. She found that either way, it would not stop her from slowly rolling onto the tips of her toes and sliding her lips against his in a gentle caress.

The hand playing with her hair gripped against her skull, pulling her closer and responding fervently in turn. She mewled automatically at the back of her throat as he drew back and looked triumphantly down at her as she gasped, "No-nothing more."

She was so close to that nose right now. She had almost touched that nose. Still overwhelmed by that kiss, she blurted out and raised her fingers to trace its lines, "You have the best nose I have e-ever seen."

The loud, unbridled laughter that came from Sasuke made her face burn at both the knowledge that the laughter was because of her, and also that she was the cause of that delightful sound. He took her face in both of his hands and pressed his lips against her again, smiling against them and chuckling, "I was wondering what you would stare at. You never made eye contact with me, but you always paid attention to my face."

"It's qu-quite exquisite." She admitted and took her remaining courage to tilt her head and kiss that nose and even nip it like she had so very much desired to do before. He made a satisfying groan at that and hissed, "Feel free to have your way with my...nose." He opened a single eye and raised that damned eyebrow rakishly.

She smiled before doing just that.

And so, it was a Thursday night at roughly 9:03 p.m. in which Hinata discovered just how magnificent Sasuke Uchiha's nose really was. She also discovered that his nose was not the only praise worthy portion of his body and became well acquainted with those eyes, strong arms, and lips that the other girls swooned over.

She decided, however, that the regal Uchiha nose, would always hold a special place in her heart.