Summary: .'..Please don't let this moment end.'

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto; all rights reserved to Masashi Kishimoto-sama. I don't even own a decent eraser. ;_;


A Ride for Two




"It's still raining."

Hinata glanced up to the sky. Stretching out her hand into the pouring raindrops, she sighed. She didn't expect rain today; it was sunny all morning. Most of the students didn't seem to expect it, either, since they had scurried outside with impromptu umbrellas. There must only be a few of them left in the school building by now, she reckoned. Her surroundings were quiet and still, silenced by the rain's gentle patter.

She let out another small sigh.

To go home with a slightly drenched uniform would mean facing a series of admonitions and tough advices from Father and Neji; she remembered the last time it had happened, and if she could, avoiding that would really be best. It was just her luck to not bring an umbrella today – her schoolbag was too small to protect her from the drips of water, so she had to stay and wait for the rain to stop.

She shifted, leaning on the wall. For how long she had been waiting, she couldn't tell – she only wished that she could go home soon, drink a warm cup of cinnamon tea and read her favorite book afterwards.

… Then, she suddenly wondered if he had gone home.

Her cheeks warmed.

From what she recalled, he had soccer club today. But if she wasn't mistaken, the club ended moments ago when the drizzle started to fall. Perhaps he was already in the comfort of his house, then. She felt honestly glad – he could catch a cold easily.

Smiling a little, Hinata let her mind wander.

She remembered the time in Iruka-sensei's class just today; it was already that time of the month where they had to swap seats. Out of pure luck, or maybe – just maybe – with a little touch of fate, she got a table next to his.

She could still feel the tingles and the rapid beating of her heart; she felt truly delighted. He was hardly ever that near, and to know that she could be somewhat closer… it felt truly nice.

Most of the times, she would only look at him from afar. He would sometimes look back, caught her looking at him, and then smiled his very own warm, vivid smile. In some chances, he would chat with her for a little while, unknowingly indulging her with his cheerful grin and clear, sparkling eyes.

Sometimes in class, when the teacher was not looking, she would steal fleeting glances at the bright boy. She would quietly smile when he yawned; would imagine the rhythm of his tapping fingers. She would admire the look on his face as he struggled to understand the lesson's subject; would notice that he didn't get it as he scratched his head and frowned.

She would, then, let her heart hope for that wish she had been having for the longest time. She would promise herself that she would strive to do her very best, following his example. Maybe one day, he would no longer be so far out of her reach.

Maybe one day, she could finally catch up to him.

Hinata smiled, but then shook her head – she shouldn't be thinking such wishful thoughts so often. Even though he was far, if that was enough to make him happy, she would be happy, too.

The pitter patter had slowed down and eventually stopped.

A feeling of relief enveloped her. She could finally go home! Father might be a little irritated since she got back late, but she would try to make it up to him. Perhaps a nice, decent meal would do – she knew how he loved a warm bowl of miso shiru.

'The best way to a man's heart is through his stomach.'

Standing up and grabbing her schoolbag, she smiled. She was glad that Father was not as strict as he was before, now that he and Neji had come to good terms and the bonds within her family had grown better. He took part in that as well, and she felt thankful for him; she would always be.

Should she make Neji some, too? It would be nice to have a dinner together today, if they were not busy. She'd be really glad if –


That voice…?

She froze.

Footsteps then approached her; strong, lively footsteps.

No, it couldn't be –

"Hey, it's really Hinata!"

She gasped, trying to make it as inaudible as possible. Slowly, she turned her head towards the voice, and was stunned, then, when she saw him; his shirt messy, his blazer unbuttoned, and his face – his vibrant, kind, grinning face.

All of a sudden she felt lightheaded.

"Na… Naruto-kun?"

He laughed, and she felt a thousand emotions bubble in her chest. "The one and only!" he replied cheerfully. "You haven't gone home yet?"

"I-I…" she gulped, "I didn't bring an umbrella…"

"So that's why," he said, nodding a few times. "I mean, your father is a pretty tough guy from what I recalled, right? He'd get mad if you get home soaked."

Hinata smiled bashfully, trying to hide the deep red on her cheeks. "B-But, um… he's been nicer since you've talked to Neji nii-san," she said. "Thank you, Naruto-kun."

He rubbed the back of his neck. "It wasn't really because of me, you know."

She shook her head, admiring his modesty in heart. She was sure that he was the one who brought that change to her family – he had this power in him that could reach people's hearts.

He was special.

"I… I think it really was."

His lips curled up into an even bigger smile.

"So… are you heading home right now?" he asked.

"Y-Yes, I was just about to." She let a smile grow on her face as she waved him goodbye, although if she were to admit… she would have loved to stay there for a little longer. "Um, I'll see you tomorrow, then, Naruto-kun!"

He grinned. Hinata felt her heart flutter as she turned; ready to stride her way home. To see him at this time of the day and to be graced with his bright personality was certainly unexpected; it was much like a dream. She was sure that a smile would still be clinging on her lips, pink tinges still on her cheeks as she walked to–

"Oh, wait!"

She instantly turned back.

Naruto jogged to her front and stopped her, talking with a fairly fast pace. "Don't go home yet! Wait here, alright?" he flashed a toothy grin, "I'll be back in a jiffy!"

Before she could answer, he had darted off. Her mouth was left opened, cheeks warm, heartbeat rapid, and she felt butterflies dancing ever so freely in her belly. It was startling, these feelings he could inflict on her just by doing simple things.

Maybe this was the consequences she had to receive from falling in love – she had been feeling this way towards him for what seemed like years.

They had been wishful years, she thought, smiling a little.

Minutes passed, and as soon as she heard the noises of footsteps along with something she couldn't recognize, she turned.

When she saw him approaching her with a bicycle along with him, she was surprised; he rarely brought his bike to school – usually he would just walk. He then looked at her, walking cheerfully while sometimes sparing glances at the drenched, muddy wheels. The bicycle itself was as dry as it would be under the shelter where it was parked.

He stopped right before her, turned his bicycle to face the school gates, sat on the saddle, and patted the empty seat behind him.

Seeing her confused look, he grinned. "Hop on!"

"H-Hop on?" She blinked, at a loss for words.

Still smiling, he playfully shrugged and said the words that sent millions of butterflies back in her tummy: "How else am I going to take you home?"

Her heart soared.

If she were able to look at herself, she would have seen that her face's color almost matched those of ripe, crimson cherries. She would look funny, as well – eyes opened wide, mouth slightly apart, and body stood still in a frozen state. He must have noticed after seconds passed, because his smile faded a tad bit as he tilted his head and asked with a somewhat concerned tone.

"Are you okay?"

Hinata blinked, feeling flustered as well as a little embarrassed. Oh, if only she had more composure! "Y-Yes! I… I'm alright – I'm sorry."

He laughed. "You know, you're kinda weird sometimes," the said girl blushed and stared at her feet – "there's nothing to be sorry for! It's fine."

She looked at him only to be charmed by his beam.

Naruto then steadied his position, looking ahead as he grabbed the handlebars. He then glanced at her, asking her to come with a motion. She hesitated. "Um, is it really okay? I don't want to bother you –"

"It's perfectly okay. Besides, I know the way to your house and it's not too far away, right?" he replied, beaming at her. "I insist."

Her heart's pace increased yet again. Could she ever resist that kindness of his? With slightly awkward steps, along with a gulp every now and then, she approached him and sat on the bicycle's backseat.

His warmth collided into her straight away.

"Alright," he exclaimed, "let's go!"

He balanced his body and pedaled forward. Hinata accidentally let a gasp out of her mouth as the wheels turned. She had to hold on to the edges of her seat so she wouldn't fall – because simply thinking of holding onto him made her feel as though she would fall already.

They left the school afterwards, continuing the small trip. Hinata couldn't help but feel truly, most certainly happy.

She unconsciously smiled.




After a while, along the way, they could actually talk with an ease she found comforting. Even though the conversation was mostly initiated by him, she tried and learned to do it, too.

They talked about simple, trivial things, like food or the shape of puddles on the street. He said trees would be the best dancers ever if they were humans, and she laughingly agreed. She remarked that most dancers didn't have green afros, and he laughed; he told her that he never knew she could tell good jokes. Hearing that, she immediately – naturally – blushed, and felt her chest bubble yet again.

Suddenly, they were reminded of their childhood, and he nostalgically recounted their memories.

"I remember," he grinned, "that I was a really, really famous prankster back then."

She softly laughed. "I remember you drew on Iruka-sensei's desk one day."

"You remember? You know, that was a long time ago; in kindergarten, I guess? You got a great memory, Hinata," he chuckled. "He sure gave me a good detention that day. But hey! That's payback for giving a hard assignment – he knew I can't draw. He was just being mean."

Hinata giggled, although a small melancholic feeling surfaced in her heart. She knew quite well about his sorrow and loneliness in those days back then; back when people would put him down and kids wouldn't ask him to play. Moreover, he had no parents to back him up. Perhaps it was because of that, he would often pull silly pranks and do extravagant things to gather attention. She couldn't blame him – or anyone, really.

People said he was a child of unknown – there were even rumors that his parents died because they had a dispute with members of the localyakuza; some also claimed that they weren't people of good-will and honor, which she thought was wrong. People thought he was dangerous, too, much like a delinquent. But luckily, after time passed, they realized that they had been mistaken.

Still, in all those hard times, he never gave up even once. He never stopped practicing to be the best, never cried or showed any quiver in his determination. She could see the loneliness in him, sometimes, but then he would always be able to brace himself up.

He would always try.

And just like that, he had caught her heart.

After sharing each other's stories, when they weren't exchanging words, Naruto filled the silence by humming a song. The cheerful tune seemed to be contagious, because she found herself smiling along. He would also mumble the words 'ramen, ramen' and 'chicken soup' while singing them in random melodies.

She laughed a little.

"What? What is it?"

His lighthearted tone earned him a shook from the head and a slightly louder laugh. "N-Nothing."

"Hm. Playing secret are we?" he clicked his tongue, smiling. "If I'm a singer one day, I won't buy you a ticket to my concert. My heart is a raaamen~!"

He stridently sang and her laugh grew even more.

But, surprisingly, she didn't even stop to worry about how her laugh might sound; she only felt free. It was still unclear how, but he could effortlessly put her at ease. It was yet another power that he had over her, and she wondered if she would ever have enough.

Although the reality that she was there with him, together on his bike, laughing without any restraint… if anyone told her that she was dreaming at the moment, she would have easily believed.

Yet she might not want to wake up.

"Hey, Hinata?"

She replied almost reflexively. "Yes?"

"You know, you should laugh more."

She blinked.

"I really like your laugh!"

He peered at her over his shoulder, smiling wide.

… He made her feel the happiest.

And suddenly, her heart was filled with years and years of longing and affection; of admiration, determination, craving, and at the same time, a sudden courage.

It was that of love.

The sky was turning amber with streaks of light, pale blue. The sun's flimsy shine painted the sky with hues of bright, beautiful golden. She glanced at his figure, illuminated by the tawny shade of the firmament.

Her feelings swelled. Her heart seemed as though it could burst at any moment, since it hammered against the walls of her chest in a really fast pace. Then almost entirely on impulse, she acted upon her feelings; she didn't notice the warmth on her cheeks, she didn't talk, she didn't feel nervous or awkward or even considering the consequences –

She did not think.

If this was a dream…

Hinata let her head gently rest on his back and closed her eyes.

He was warm.

Really warm.

She could feel his figure tensing for a fleeting second, but at that time, she didn't quite pay attention.

After a moment or two, he broke the silence between them and lightly coughed. "Hinata…? Are you sleeping?"

She simply hummed.

He cleared his throat, but said none thereafter. The small trip continued even as it turned into a quiet one for a while. Hinata began to be aware of her actions, feeling her cheeks reddening more than ever, but she remained leaning against his back. Her mind started to twirl and whirl; what could happen after this? Would he be mad? Was… was she too bold? Oh, what a silly, thoughtless person she wa –

He suddenly stopped.

She sat straight, surprised, wondering what could have happened.

"N-Naruto-kun, is there something wro –?"

"Can you hold out your hands towards me?"

She blinked, unable to utter a longer reply. "H-Huh?"

Naruto coughed. "Hold out your hands?"

When she stayed still and didn't react, he looked at her over his shoulders with a small smile. She couldn't help but flush under his stare as she peered at his blue eyes for a long, long moment, before she held back a gasp.

He had grasped her hands.

As soon as he turned his head back to face the front, he put her arms around his waist.

Her heart beat in its ultimate speed.

… If this was a dream…

He put a hand on a handlebar, one foot on a pedal, ready to continue riding towards her house. Before moving, he loudly sighed while she said not a word because she couldn't.

"In case you fall asleep," he said, one hand still holding both of hers, "you won't fall."

Her heart leapt.

Once again, he cleared his throat lightly before pedaling ahead. He started to hum again, although this time slightly quieter than before. Hinata rested her head on his back and closed her eyes with a smile she didn't quite notice tugging her lips.

She clutched his shirt in her small hands.

Just this time, she would hold on tight. Just this time, she would let herself be a little selfish.

Just this time, she wouldn't let go.

Because she really, really, really liked him.


… Please don't let this moment end.

"... Hinata?"


"Is it alright if I take a shortcut?"

"Um, s-sure."

He beamed.

Turning the bicycle to another path he knew, he hummed and took a longer route.




Author's Notes:

This story was inspired by the 'Jitensha' ending – I think it was really cute. (:

Please do tell me if there are any errors in the story, however - I'd do my best to fix it right away! I'm really sorry for the clumsy writing. I hope you could bear with me... D':

In all honesty, though, this was intended to be a short semi-drabble, but then it turned out to be quite long. I... I blame my muse. /fidgets/ I just hope it didn't bore you. ;_;

But thank you veryvery much for reading, and Happy Valentine's day! ((: