The Orange Fox And The Lioness: Where The Sunshine Grows

Pupil-less eyes blinked in confusion. Who would do such a thing like this? It was a question that was on her, as well as her fellow classmates, mind. Hinata was hardly paying attention to the lesson about chakra control. The large container full of sunflowers sitting before her was currently distracting her.

It didn't help that every time her young mind would attempt to bring her to focus, she would always end up making eye contact with another one of the girls. The only thing the shy girl could do in that situation was look away, hide her blushing face behind the plants. The heiress couldn't help but remember the others reaction to the gift. There had been such a chatter surrounding a wall flower like her. Everyone was full of questions and comments, most of which she had ignored because 1) she was too embarrassed to speak, cheeks redder than a cherry and 2) her mind was still trying to wrap on who could have possibly given them to her.

The thing that was the most surprising about the flowers happened to be the date. December 27th. Her birthday…

Now the only person who knew what today meant was Iruka-sensei, and it was a fact of life that he would wait until class was dismissed to wish her well (and spare her anymore of the spotlight for the today). It certainly wasn't Ino-chan, the only girl she was considerably close too in the classroom. The blonde had mentioned that her mother's flower shop didn't carry glass vases with sun spirals on them…

Her mind started to wander a little as she rested her chin in her hand. In her head the image of a young blond boy was appeared. She smiled a little to herself, but then it disappeared because the culprit couldn't possibly have been—"Naruto!" Iruka shouted, causing Hinata to break her train of thought! "Wake up!"

A piece of chalk flew past her head striking said boy in his exposed forehead. She turned to face him as soon as he awoke with an indignant cry! Their sensei ordered him out of the room for falling asleep, and though the child started mumbling as he stood up, he wore a rather large smile. The door shut behind him and the class restarted for everyone except Hinata.

She was in shock, for in the moment Naruto had left the room, he had casted a glance. He gave her a single nod toward the flowers and a wink of an eye. Her hand had instantly covered her mouth as she stifled a gasp and Hinata's cheeks were flushed crimson as she remembered what he had told her: "Don't worry, I'll fix this! It's a promise and I never go back on my promises!"

Two years previous was the first time she had met him really, before the bullies. Young Naruto had once again got himself into trouble and was on the run. The merchants he had taken from could only here his laughter, but was in a slight panic knowing that the adults would catch. So this time he'd try and throw them off!

Instead of going right, the blond made the snap decision to go left. He giggled quietly at the cries of 'he went this way!' as the footsteps faded in the distance. The boy gave a quick look back before sounding colliding with something hard! Naruto blinked several times as he landed on his but before realizing that he had run into a wall.

A grin suddenly spread across his face. He didn't know where it led, but maybe wherever it could hide him in case someone came this way! Climbing the wall with a little difficulty, he soon had on leg on the other side of the barrier. Before he jumped down he stuck his tongue out at his pursuers.

He landed feet first, brushing dust off his blue and orange hoodie. Naruto's smile widened as he began to laugh to himself. That is until his ears twitched slightly and he caught the quietest of whimpers. Naruto's normally blinding smile dissolved into a frown as his chuckle got caught in his throat. He turned around slowly to find a girl his age, watching him with a pair of the biggest, clearest eyes he had ever seen.

'Her eyes are so weird. Is she blind?' The young boy had thought to himself. He took a step towards her waving his hands, only to have her take a step backwards and cringe slightly. Okay so she could see him. Now the question was did she fear him just like—was she tearing? Why was she doing that? He hadn't done anything but stand there and now she was point to his feet.

Naruto looked down and lifted a foot. Oh. Oh no. Underneath his feet were white flowers, lilies. He hadn't meant for that to happen! It was an accident! Surely this girl knew that. He looked up at her and gave her an uneasy smile, hoping that it would placate her. Though this being Naruto, it had the opposite effect and only provoked her to start crying. So what to do now in a situation like this? Panic, of course!

"Wait! Stop! Please don't cry!" He took a few rushed steps towards her—cringing slightly every time he accidentally stepped on more flowers—little arms flailing frantically. Naruto was now a few feet from her and the cries lessened to sniffles now. She had raised her head, small fists rubbing her tear-stained eyes clear and looked up at the boy before her. Naruto stopped because her eyes were actually kind of pretty up-close, tinted slightly lavender. He lowered his hands, sliding them into his pockets and looking at the ground before mumbling with a pout, "I'm sorry."

Hinata smiled at the apology, since not many people she came in contact to her were nice of their own accord. He never looked up out of shame though and never saw her smile. Before she could say anything to him, the sounds of footsteps were quickly approaching! Naruto's head snapped up at the sound, fear slipping into his features.

Soon enough members of the young Hyuuga's family arrived to find the forsaken "Nine-Tails" standing with their future heir. Being who he was, the blonde went out kicking and screaming as they grabbed him quickly. The last thing he said before was his promise that he had made to her.

"It took him forever to choose what flower to grow for you," Hinata blinked again, taken from her daydream. Iruka was standing beside her, the class all but empty but the two of them. She colored red, her hands going her lap and squeezing them tightly. Her teacher smiled at this reaction for the obvious reasons.

"Nothing would grow for the first few months when he tried, but one day these happened to spring to life. That kid's eyes were so bright with awe at the sight that he created life, he became determined to grow more. You should see his garden, Hinata, he has so much to take care of that's all his. 'I'm gonna make this a place where I can grow everything!'"

"I didn't know that he'd leave it on your desk though, for all to see. Naruto seems to not notice how you don't like too much attention to yourself." His smile was uneasy like Naruto's had been, eyes giving a crinkled smile of apology. Iruka put a hand on her shoulder and she looked up at him tentatively. She returned the gesture, as he wished her a happy birthday.

When he offered to help her take the gift home, she merely shook her head. She knew that once she got home, she'd press all but one of the flowers for her collection. For the next couple of days, she wore the sunflower in her hair for weeks on end, brighter than any of her classmates had seen her.