Series: Naruto, belongs to Kishimoto

Pairing: NaruHina

Author: Keshrewd

Notes: My first story so I wanted to keep it light. Tell me what you think. Oh and I'm not a sensitive person so tell me exactly what you think.

A gentle breeze traveled through the beautiful, sunny village of Kohona. There could be hundreds of citizens seen crowding the recently rebuilt market district of the village. Newly made stands full of merchandise occupied both sides of a wide stone street that identified this area of being the place of mass shopping. Decorations from recent passed celebration events and festivals shrouded nearby buildings, and hung fashionably from the lamp posts on the street connecting one with another. If this wasn't the perfect picture of peace then a curtain Hyuga did not know what was…

Hinata sat thinking as she look out upon the scene underneath her as she sat on the edge of a three story building's roof. Once again, much to her dismay, the argument her brain and her heart often get into began to erupt in her sub conscience.

'It has been more than half a year since the Invasion of Pain...' Hinata thought sadly, 'And he has not spoken to be at all…!' Hinata began to sniff as a pressure began to build in her nose. '(sigh) I'm such a little girl… Naruto has done nothing wrong. It was me who'd brought emotions onto the battlefield. It was me who'd interfered with his fight with Pain, that he directly told us not to. Naruto probably hasn't thought a second time about my… confession (sniff) and who's to blame him? He is continually hunted by S-rank ninja… he has no time for me; that's why he still trains hard… months after beating the leader of the Akatsuki. Or perhaps, he doesn't want to have time for me (sniffing)… I, I, don't bla- blame him, however, (sniff) I'm sitting here crying while he is somewhere training, getting stronger… fortifying his ability to protect his ninja way; I couldn't even prove my ninja way of being nothing but a shadow of his. A great man like him would never use his precious time to waste on a scared girl like me...'

It was at this moment the dam broke and tears sprouted heavily from her large lavender eyes. Hinata threw her hands onto her face to catch them and she began to weep. Her frame shook softly and masked whimpers radiated from her. The chatter and laughter emitting under Hinata from smiling joyed faces was certainly a contrast to the atmosphere around her. She wiped her eyes gingerly and blew her red nose with a small white handkerchief. Hinata was in desperate need of an escape, she herself, knew she could not live like this for long as a ninja. She has done next to no training since that unforgettable day. Deep inside, she wanted to wait for Naruto to speak with her and hope they would be able to spend more time together; she wanted her next training session to be in the company of her love, Naruto Uzumaki. Hinata sighed; she needed to do what she came out to do. Standing slowly, recovering from a stiff body, Hinata jumped off the building into the crowd below…

Naruto waded happily through the sea of admirers that crowded him. This past year give or take, he had to admit, had been the best in his life. Never had he had people greet him at every passing, people attempt to make friends with him, women make passes at him! It was needless to say that he enjoyed the attention. And no one could blame him, not even his loyal friends… he simply deserved it. After about an hour of taking pictures and signing various objects, Naruto decided he had enough and continued on down the market area politely turning down more and more request. 'Finally, I made it to Ichiraku's.' Naruto thought tiredly. He was still a little down on the owner's choice to change the old ramen bar into a tsukemen shop but he couldn't deny that the food was still delicious...

After fifteen minutes; Naruto stood outside the shop satisfied from his lunch. He patted his stomach involuntary, pleased with his self-control over how much food he had eaten. Naruto had planned to continue training right after lunch and he knew he shouldn't continue to stuff himself right before training. Especially, since he was being sent on an S-ranked mission in a couple of days to some unknown island with Yamato and Might Guy and other jonin and chunin. Naruto was so excited to get an S-ranked mission, it was like his life was changing for the better. Everyone seemed to accept him and he was finally getting recognized for all his training and accomplishments! Naruto also figured that this would be a great stepping stone for him in dealing with Sasuke. He needed more power if he was to match up evenly with his brother and he surely did not want to be killed. Naruto figured he would head to a secluded forest somewhere to meditate in Sage mode since that would have to be his ace in beating Sasuke. Naruto prepared to turn down an alleyway but stopped abruptly to avoid colliding into a girl who had turned the corner has sharp as he was about to.

"I'm sorry…" a polite sweet voice said upon seeing it was her fault they nearly hit each other. She looked up into the man's face and gasped. The very object that had her in turmoil was a foot away. Hinata took a step back and glanced downward, "Naruto… hello." Naruto's heart jumped at the sight of Hinata so suddenly in his presence. He had been avoiding her ever since the day Pain invaded. And it's not like Naruto didn't like Hinata or thought she was disgusting… it's just that… he didn't know how to react to a girl spilling her heart over him… dying for him. And he knew she could sense his avoidance of her, any idiot could and he knew it made him look like a prick. Naruto just found himself to be afraid of her then and even now. Hinata of course wasn't the first girl that Naruto was frightened of; Grandma Tsunade and Sakura held special places in his psyche and even Anko, the weird snake mistress. These where different types of fears than what Hinata presented him with, however, because he did not have to run away from the three mentioned earlier. Looking at her face directly, Naruto felt blood slowly creep to his face and he hid his face by look downward and using his right hand to sweep over his face and linger there. "Hi there, Hinata." Naruto attempted to sound like his usual happy self but even he could hear the strain in his voice. Naruto hadn't felt this way around a girl since when he first met Sakura. Hinata noticed his apparent difficulty addressing her and lowered her head in shame. She knew it… he hated her. Hinata plastered her own fake smile and bowed good bye, tears begun to sting her eyes and she had to get away from here. She wouldn't dare again in her life let Naruto see her cry again. Hinata quickly jumped up away from the area in a swirl of leaves leaving Naruto sighing with relief holding his chest. Even the battle with Pain didn't have his heart racing this fast. A cord then stuck him. How was he ever going to become Hokage when he couldn't even show a classmate and longtime associate gratitude for saving his life? Naruto slapped his cheeks with both hands and he shown determination on his young face.

He leapt unto the roofs of the buildings in a flash to follow her. The wind blew his hair backward as he glanced in all directions before quickly tracing her chakra and sprinting towards the correct direction. Naruto ran towards his right after several seconds of sprinting and leapt onto the ground. His head tilted up and searched for Hinata believing her to be perched on a high tree branch of a nearby enormous tree. Sniff, Sniff. Naruto shot his head forward and walked around the other side of the tree to see Hinata, her hands on her face, with her head resting on her thighs sitting upright. 'Did I do this?'Naruto thought to himself. He no longer felt uncertainty at his moment and sat next to her, to which, Hinata, in her state was oblivious. He placed his left hand on her dancing shoulder in which it stopped shaking immediately and her head shot up.

"Na- Naruto!" Hinata near shouted but a reassuring smile returned to her. "It's okay, Hinata, I've come to say I'm sorry. I have been ignoring you purposely." He confessed. She looked unsure at first before using the back of her hand to wipe her eyes and nose. "I understand, Naruto, it's okay-", "No," Naruto interrupted, "You risked your life to save me and I haven't even said thank you. That's shameful." He held his head down in shame before looking her with hardened crystal blue eyes. "You even told me you… you….. that you… loved me. No one has ever said that to me before. No one." Naruto added whispering before thanking her sincerely with tears in his eyes. Hinata stared at him mouth agate. Was this really Naruto? "I can't even explain why I was treating you like that... I guess I was scared… yeah scared to face you." Hinata blinked several times waiting on him to continue and when she saw he wouldn't for a while spoke up. "Scared of me?" Naruto nodded while a small smile lingered on his face. Next, a single tear fell from his left eye and all Hinata could do was gasp. Hinata felt her inner strength arousing inside her. She decided it to be now or never as she wrapped her right arm around him and pull him in a loving embrace. Tears stung her eyes slightly blinding her, she breathed quickly and quietly in his ear for fear she would lose her nerve,

"You don't have to be afraid of me, Naruto. I will always care for you… Love is hard to shake."