ONE: analysis
summary: NaruHina – post chapter 437 – Hinata explains her feelings to Naruto by explaining why she likes one of Jiraiya's books.

author's note: it's been a while. wanted to see if i still had some sort of writing skill still. i'll let you all decide :D

Hinata flipped another page of the novel she was currently reading. She had been so engrossed in the book lately, that no one had seen her outside of missions and training.

"Ne, Hinata-chan? What are you reading?" the young kunoichi looked up and blushed automatically. Uzumaki Naruto, the boy she had taken quite a fancy to for the longest time, was standing before her, staring at her with a quizzical expression.

"N-Naruto-kun! Uhm, well…" she paused momentarily to gather her thoughts before giving Konohagakure's young hero a clear answer, "…it's Jiraiya-sama's first novel. I found it in my father's office and asked if I could read it since I've never read Jiraiya-sama's work before."

"It's a good thing you haven't; that Ero-sennin…" Naruto grumbled to himself; Hinata kept her gentle stare fixated on the jinchuuriki.

"What was that, N-Naruto-kun?"

"Oh, nothing!" he laughed loudly to hide his embarrassment. Surely the Hyuuga heiress would see not only Jiraiya, but Naruto, the savior of the village and the son of the legendary Fourth Hokage, as a huge pervert. Naruto threw his arms behind his head and grinned sheepishly, surprised when Hinata returned the smile.

He was certain that she'd turn even redder in the face and possibly faint and to be honest, he was actually grateful that the Hyuuga had not replied to his comment.

Hinata placed the book down on her lap and folded her hands on the rested book, "S-so," she started, rather awkwardly, "How have y-you been, Naruto-kun?"

Naruto noticed that her stuttering had gotten better. He had remembered the day he met her after the two and a half years he was gone; poor Hinata had fainted when he asked her a question! He snapped out of his reverie to notice Hinata fidgeting. Her eyes were downcast as she twisted her long, pale fingers.

His silence was making her feel uncomfortable, almost insecure. Again. And here he thought she was making progress when she…when she…

'Ack! I can't even bring myself to think about it! It was…it was so sudden! And I know I haven't talked to her about it yet because of everything that's been going on. I wonder if she thinks I'm a jerk because I haven't talked about it…'

Since Naruto, with the aid of the entire village's shinobi force, repelled the Akatsuki's attack, he could not stop thinking about what Hinata had said to him when she came to his rescue.

'I used to always cry and give up… I made many wrong turns… But you… You helped me find the right path… I always chased after you… I wanted to catch up to you… I wanted to walk beside you all the time… I just wanted to be with you… You changed me! Your smile is what saved me! That is why I'm not afraid to die protecting you! Because… I love you…'

It was a strange feeling, much different than feelings of friendship or companionship; he wasn't sure as to how he felt about it.

For the first time, Naruto's heart thumped wildly at the mere thought that someone had actually fallen in love with him.

Him, the clumsy failure and loudmouthed idiot; him, the only person in their age group still a genin; him, the jinchuuriki. Why was she so fixated on him?

Naruto knew that if he remained silent, he would not get the answers that he wanted. Finally, he spoke up.

"Ne…Hinata," her eyes snapped up instantly; Naruto's were now downcast, "…what you said. When Pain had me there, when he was going to finish me off…did you really mean that?"

His azure eyes moved upwards and focused on Hinata's face. He realized, this is the first time I've seen her face, normally, without her turning red or fainting or something. She was actually quite the beauty; her face, though pale and delicate, had unwavering determination. Naruto could see it all.

"Naruto-kun." She said, her voice clear and articulate. Naruto was actually surprised that she hadn't stuttered. A small smile appeared and she folded her hands again on Jiraiya's book, still sitting on her lap.

"What do you think? Do you think anyone would run out between you and one of the most powerful shinobi in the world if they didn't harbor some sort of affection for you?" she questioned seriously. Naruto thought about it; it still didn't make sense to him.

"I don't understand it, why?" he asked.

"Why? I…" she paused and blushed; Naruto could feel his heartbeat faster, "…I already told you that…" she finished quietly. Naruto shook his head, "No, not why did you try and protect me; why do you feel that way? I don't understand it."

Her blush was gone and she looked at him seriously, "What don't you understand?"

"I'm loud, I'm impulsive, I'm stupid and I get into trouble a lot. I only eat ramen and I'm always falling on my face. I failed the academy graduation exam three times and everyone hated me –" Naruto stopped when he saw Hinata smile softly. She held up the novel and flipped up the cover, so Naruto could see.

"I-I'm sure you've read this novel," she said, "I really like it. Can you guess why?"

He shook his head, confused as to where this was going. Wasn't she supposed to answer his question? Perhaps she was just avoiding him…

"The main character, Naruto, is a shinobi who shares the same values as you. I noticed that as soon as I opened to the first chapter. He tries and tries and tries; when he fails, he picks himself back up and tries again until he can finally succeed. I like Naruto," Naruto barely caught the double meaning in her explanation, "because he tries his hardest. To me, it doesn't matter if you're the c-coolest person in the classroom, o-or if no one is willing to support you; you still tried. I like this character, Naruto, the best."

Daringly, the young Hyuuga reached and placed her hand on top of Naruto's clenched fist; his hand relaxed as she gently held it.

"I told you before, that it was you who saved me. You made me a better person, and for that, I am grateful to you, Naruto-kun. And…I was serious about before," she looked down and grumbled, realizing that her bravery was starting to wear thin, "I…I won't ever stop believing in you because…because…because I do love you, Naruto-kun."

Suddenly realizing that she had somehow conjured up the courage to tell Naruto again, her face changed color again, instantly. She squeezed her eyes shut and began to retract her hand –

"Hinata…" Hinata felt warmth surrounding her; she felt something breathing on her neck and her eyes snapped open. Naruto tightened his embrace around her and sighed satisfied, "Hinata, thank you."

Not quite sure how she was going to react when he let her go, Hinata took advantage of her abnormal strength and returned the hug; she could feel Naruto smile and she did the same, ignoring the fact that her heart was about to tear right through her chest.

Hinata tightened her hold on the jinchuuriki and stood up, so that their position would be less awkward-looking. Unexpectedly, tears formed in her eyes, but remained unshed. She squeezed her eyes shut tightly and reveled in the amazing feeling of Naruto's arms around her.

It was wonderful, this love feeling. Naruto finally understood how his mother was able to live with the Kyuubi inside of her; to have something this powerful and this breathtaking at the same time…

"I'm so happy they didn't kill you…" he heard Hinata whisper. Naruto pulled back and took both her hands; he smiled.

"I'm happy you told me. Thank you Hinata," he said, still tightly holding her small hands. Hinata sat back down, inviting Naruto to sit with her. He complied and sat next to her. He found it astonishing how the awkward feeling he sensed before had disappeared, replaced with pure content.

Sure, Naruto knew that he had more objectives and promises to fulfill, but he was ecstatic knowing that he always had someone's love and support. He looked down and noticed Hinata reading, her right hand was still clasped in both of his.

"Ne, Hinata? Did you know I was named after that Naruto?"

author's notes: in my mind, naruhina is canon. this isn't fanfiction, this is a naruto chapter. i don't know which one yet, but it is one! review please :D