I decided to rewrite it, because I really hate my English and how I developed this story, and mostly because I already forgot how the story had gone and it's been a "YEAR" and a half since I updated. And I'm sorry for that, but I have no regrets. Writers block is a pain. :D

Please understand that the following changes made are for the necessity of the story. Thank you!


oOo

Chapter 1 – Sadness and Relief

A relationship can go a long distance as long as you are able to maintain it. Along the way, you have to make sacrifices of your own, to keep the relationship going. This begins with Hinata and Naruto's one-sided relationship.

Or so called…

Old secrets are revealed, and new ones unfold.

Love can be told in more ways than one, not just by mere words but also by actions. Words are a source of misunderstanding between couples and that can further worsen your situation.

There are types of love shared by a couple.

First could be filled with happiness and some are filled with agony and despair. There exists, one-sided love, and that goes for our main couple, but is that really the truth? There are dangers that lie in secrets untold, and a single slip up can cause more than one reaction.

It began in the Academy where Hinata fell in love with him. She blushed when she saw her crush enter the classroom with a smile glued to his face. She began to hide her eyes and fiddle with her fingers as he drew near.

She heard a shout coming from the "Inuzuka" kid and raised her head; from there she watched a scene unfold.

Another fight.

"Oh no, not again." Hinata thought.

"Say it to my face!" Kiba shouted. "You're so annoying!"

"Look who's talking, dog breath!"

Kiba had Naruto up against the wall and was holding Naruto's collar. Hinata squeaked in fear as she peeked through thin fingers, watching in horror.

There were times like these where Naruto and some kids would start a fight. People insult Naruto or even pretend that he doesn't exist, it's usually the cause of why fights ensue and how it aggravates the blonde further.

"It doesn't matter what people think of me or what they expect me to be!" Naruto shouts. "It only matters what I do and who I am, that I can prove you wrong."

Naruto's words made Hinata flinch and she could remember days where he said the same things, only in different words, but they all held the same meaning. "If I haven't given up on this, why would I give up on myself?" And he was going to prove them wrong.

Sasuke, who was always liked, usually watched while the fangirls who were Ino and Sakura, stood behind him; eyes hungry for him.

Shikamaru, who was too lazy to interrupt, sat at the back, with Chouji eating next to him. Shino, the person no one wants to sit with because of his bugs, cared less as Kiba pushed Naruto, dumping water from the vase on him.

Kiba laughed, and soon, everyone joined in.

"What kind of a Hokage can you be if you can't even defend yourself from me?" Kiba sneered, as the bratty kid he is. "This only proves that you're worthless and you have no friends!"

Kiba walked away and went back to his seat right next to Hinata, averting his attention to the window. Hinata watched with a frown as Naruto stood up to dry himself.

Why is it always like this?

Naruto would never do anything to harm anyone, and yet everyone was against him.

They both caught each other looking, and Hinata turned away just as Naruto frowned.

"Everyone is the same." Naruto thought, as he heard the laughter echoing in his mind. They all despised him. "And that shy girl doesn't even talk. There's no use pretending anymore, No use in making everyone believe I can make a difference."

The door opened to reveal Iruka Umino, their Sensei. He stopped and saw Naruto dripping wet and the classroom went silent as he demanded answers. Naruto told him that Kiba dumped water on him from the flower vase but Inuzuka protested and lied that he had nothing to do with it.

The Class began to protest as well, backing up claims that it was Naruto who was lying. Naruto was sent out of class, and he obeyed without protest, and he could hear the silent snickers of his annoying classmates.

Recess came and all the children went out to play, one kid was left behind all the rest. And it was the Hyuuga girl.

Naruto noticed that she was all alone, no confidence whatsoever and no real friends that she could call her own, not so much as having a goal and also bullied by the bigger kids. In the midst of his thoughts, he barely noticed that the girl had walked a leap of courage and stood in front of him, turning red.

"What?" Naruto casually questioned.

"N-naruto-kun." She quietly spoke, handing him the towel. "You should dry yourself off. Y-you might c-catch a cold."

"Oh." Naruto shockingly took the towel and brought it to his face. "Thanks."

He began to dry himself as a smile crept to his face. "It smells like lavender." Maybe making friends wasn't as difficult as he initially thought; maybe life was testing him on who his real friends were supposed to be.

Maybe he was wrong about her; maybe she wasn't so timid after all. Making friends with her could change both of them. That seemed like a good plan. When he was finished drying his hair and face, he wrapped the towel on his neck and smiled.

"I'll bring your towel back tomorrow at school." He reached out to shake hands with hers. "It would be bad if I gave it to you without washing it. It's yours after all."

"Oh, I—" Hinata blushed, nodding at him as she took his hand.

Hinata was pulled from behind with her hair as three older kids smirked, pushing her to the ground as Naruto watched in horror.

"Hey Hyuuga, you still need to apologize for what you did." The first one shouted. "You just ran! That's what you get for bumping into us three and making us look like dirt because of your status in the Shinobi world!"

"Yeah! Being all high and noble!" The second and third sneered. "You act thought but you can't even fight for yourself. Now apologize!"

"I— I'm so-" Hinata trembled.

"Leave her alone, she doesn't have to apologize." Naruto fisted one of them and pushed them back. "She's not that kind of person."

"Why isn't it the demon talking!?" The first kid laughed. "My mom told me about how I should stay away from you; she always referred to you as a demon. Why is that?"

The bell rang and the three kids vowed they'd be back to finish the job and they did. As Naruto was about to head home, he heard shouting and a familiar cry. Hinata on her knees as the three kids pulled at her hair and demanded the apology. Naruto fought them, but failed as an adult or rather, Hinata's guardian "Kou" scared the three away.

Hinata's view about Naruto drastically changed and therefore the crush she had on Naruto, it appeared stronger than she thought.

It was the beginning.


oOo

Nobody knew that Naruto was done with making everyone believe.

He hated people, he continued to hate them, but he just couldn't stop pretending that he was fine. As time passed by in the Academy days, the pain was kept buried. He had lists in his head of who he wanted to hurt, and those who have caused him pain.

And yet here he still was… pretending to be stupid.

Pretending to someone that's care-free and hated but Naruto didn't care. He read books secretly; he planned things and pretended to make them seem it was an accident.

No one knew who he really was.

The end of the Academy days was the day where they all end up graduating from being young learners to Ninja's in training. Naruto's only downfall was the bunshin but now that he had an ace up his sleeve, he'd have to keep it to himself. And occasionally mess up just for the fun of it.

Eventually, they all passed and they were shocked that even Naruto passed.

How could the dead-last even pass?

"Idiots." Naruto thought as he got to his seat. "They don't know who I really am, yet they judge me so easily as if they know me. It's stupid."

And now, it has begun. Naruto smiled as they announced the teams, and yet deep inside, he really hated everyone in the room, except Hinata.

"Please let me be on the team with Hinata." He thought, grinning on the outside but sulking on the inside.

Hinata was hoping she would be paired with Naruto, how things would be different if they did. She played with her fingers, wondering who she would be paired up with. It would be a dream come true if it was Naruto, and she wouldn't be alone anymore.

She waited eagerly on what the future held for her, desperate to get a good team.

Iruka announced team 8, her heard skipped a beat. This was it. The moment they all waited for, Hinata's heart pounced as her name was called and it died down when she heard the rest of her team.

"No, Naruto-kun." She disappointingly sighed. "Well, at least I have a good team. Kiba though, he hurt Naruto a lot, maybe we can be good friends and Shino, he doesn't talk much but I hope we're a good match."

Hinata smiled, maybe being apart from him wasn't so bad after all.

They get to meet new people.

Naruto smiled genuinely this time; glad that he could be part of something he always wanted despite the people trying to ruin his dreams.

Naruto noticed the glances Hinata made towards his direction, and he did his best to pretend to ignore it. It would do them no good to try and flirt their way through with glances, and Naruto almost laughed at the idea of it.

It's so stupid, just like the rest of this class.

Naruto's excitement died down especially when he heard Hinata was going to be in someone else's team, and it was that "Inuzuka" kid too.

He acted dumb, not noticing Hinata's feelings for him, and ignored her, all to save her from himself. He didn't want her to get involved with the Kyuubi.

And yes, he knows.

All the adults knew, except the younger generation, who knew so little and was too blind to see.

It was his burden to bear, and it was another sacrifice in love and friendship that he had to carry. When he was called, he smiled, and when Sakura was called, he felt the world wither and die.

"Oh God, no." He thought deep inside. "Not the fangirl. And I'm pretty sure I know who's going to follow into this team."

He swallowed his pride and stood up screaming his happiness…

"YES! In your faces! I have Sakura-chan on my team!" How painful those words sounded. "Ha. Ha. HA!"

Everyone thinks that he's really enamored with her when deep inside, he really wanted to kill something to make up for the embarrassment of what he did.

"Great, I really hate calling one of Sasuke's fangirls like this, but there's no other way. I have to live up to whatever I put myself into."

It was his decision, and a stupid one at that, to pretend to love the bubblegum haired girl in order to protect the one person he really seemed to care about.

People may think it's just childish admiration, and that he was too young to know what true love was, but the bubbling feeling in the pit of his stomach wasn't something he could simply push away.

Hinata's heart felt like it was crushed when she found out that Naruto loved someone else, especially Sakura. She would change that, she vowed she would get better, and here's to her beginning to change her way as well.

It may be one-sided, but she would make a difference.

Naruto noticed the determination on Hinata's face, and Naruto could feel the aura surrounding her and it was scary.

"Sorry Hinata." Naruto frowned inwardly. "We both have to endure this, I don't like it but I guess everything has to tread on a different path. I don't want to hurt you, but by not doing that, I'm still giving you pain and I'm sorry."


oOo

(Meeting the Team.)

Naruto was severely pissed, he hated his team and he hated his new Sensei. Naruto dug up some information on him and knew this was bound to happen, but now that he was enduring the tardiness of his teacher, ohh how he wanted to burn something.

"Out of all the people, it has to be these two." Naruto glowered inwardly. "I mean seriously, who would put an annoying- bossy fangirl, a stuck up Uchiha and a deadly dead-last kid."

When Kakashi finally came up, Naruto's initially thoughts were annoyance and just pure hatred for all of them.

"I am Hatake Kakashi. I have no intention of telling you my likes and dislikes, as for my dream- I have a few hobbies." Kakashi's introduction wasn't that informative but Naruto could care less.

Naruto investigated who Kakashi was and he was a ranked nin, was an ANBU and was a skilled Jounin.

Then there were his teammates…

"My name is Haruno Sakura, and my dream is… my hobbies are… my likes are… and my dislike is Naruto!"

"You're not the only one who hates someone." Naruto pouted, seriously wanting to cut her pink hair and feed it to her. "I'm stuck with haters."

Naruto wanted to sulk in a corner as he listened to Sakura practically drooling and wiggling on her seat in pure fangirl mode, while Sasuke brooded about killing someone, which Naruto figured was probably his brother.

"My turn, oh great, another need to lie." Naruto thought bitterly, as he caught the attention of his new team.

There he lied through his teeth, pretty pissed that he was that good of an actor that nobody could noticed he was pretending to be someone he's not.

Who would be that happy when everyone towered down on him like bricks falling from the wall?

Nobody is that gleefully stupid, to act like nothing was wrong.

And yet, people believe him.

"Meet me in the training grounds, run along."


oOo

(Chunin Exams – First Test)

Naruto really hated Kakashi, because the training they had was stupid and a little helpful. Only just a little, but Naruto was still glad that he could bump up in his status if it ever occurred.

"Here it is, the next step further." Naruto took a deep breath.

He was worried for his so called friends, especially Hinata. They've been through a lot to get to the Chunin Exams, they've fought so many already and yet it wasn't enough.

First of all, he knew that Sasuke would pull through and won't back down from a fight, and Sakura would have most likely followed the Uchiha and himself so she wouldn't look so weak.

Hinata on the other hand seemed to have gained enough courage to fight back and that was at least improvement. Naruto shouldn't doubt her and he knew that but he couldn't help it. He would just have to watch from afar, to keep her safe.

He's been learning quite a lot of things in scrolls, and managed to use Transformation Jutsu to fool the people in the library so he could get more information. Not only that but he's used the Transformation Jutsu on countless other things, like buying the groceries and new clothes.

He wasn't about to wear Orange all the time, that was just stupid.

His color was more Red and black, because it matches him just fine. So he wore those whenever he was in his apartment. He's also used other illusions to keep his house dirty, whenever he had guests, but when he was alone, the apartment was practically spotless.

"Well, we've done it." Sakura smiled. "We're here."

"Hmm…" Sasuke smirked, not allowing it to swallow his pride.

"Let's just hope the first exam isn't much of a bother." He grunted, early morning pains spread quickly when he saw the others.

It was time to pretend to be that goofy, stupid, orange loving idiot that everyone knew.

"YOOOSSHH!" He shouted, painfully ringing in his ears. "We're HERE! We're so awesome!"

"Shut up, Naruto!" Sakura socked him on the head and proceeded to follow Sasuke inside.

"Here goes nothing." Naruto sulked.

Exams began and Naruto was panicking, he wasn't prepared for a written exam. He's always failed those and even if he studied hard enough, he still didn't know where to begin.

Answering would let others know that he's not so dead-last.

Not answering would just render him incapable of passing through, or at least that's until he figured out the point of the exam.

"Now that I think about it." Naruto pondered for a moment. "Nobody really taught me in the Academy; it was always me learning by myself."

He glanced at Hinata, who was sitting next to him, looking calm and collected. She must think him so stupid that he can't answer the question, the point was cheating and he knew that but how was he supposed to cheat without getting caught.

"So annoying, I hate this." Naruto thought. "Nobody taught me anything and it's hard enough to teach myself something new if nobody is going to offer anything new."

Tension began to build up.

"N-naruto-kun." Hinata whispered, pushing the paper towards him."

Tension began to build up.

"N-naruto-kun." Hinata whispered, pushing the paper towards him. "Y-you can c-copy mine."

Naruto felt an arrow hit his heart; she would go through all the trouble just to help him? He smiled and shook his head, he wasn't going to let her get caught and he wasn't about to look so heartless and stupid in front of her either.

"Sorry, Hinata." He whispered back. "I'm not going to copy; I'm going to finish this exam without cheating. I know what I'm doing, trust me."

"Okay." Hinata smiled at him, staring back at her paper.

Naruto seems so different and so mature when he said that, maybe there was something he was hiding and that was it. Hinata tried to ponder on the situation, he usually snuck a glance at Naruto in classes or whenever they meet at a road and it was all the same.

There's always a brief moment when Naruto isn't that goofy kid.

And Hinata found herself, liking the idea of getting deeper into Naruto's life, because she wants to be. She wanted to exploit it and she wanted to be there for him when it happens, and that Naruto would soon know that she was always by his side.

"One day." She smiled, confident of her answers.

"Ahhh, you idiot." Naruto mentally slapped himself. "You could have said other stuff, oh well, it's done and over with."

Ibiki made his last statements to scare everyone.

"That's so lame." Naruto chuckled inwardly. "People fall for that."

"There's a tenth question that everyone needs to answer correctly. If you wish to take it, you may, but if you don't then you are free to leave by raising your hand."

Ibiki smirked, loving the confused faces of the genins.

"It is to determine whether you are capable of being called a chunin, and if not you are staying a genin and will take the chunin in another year. Rules are, do not take the tenth question, you and all your teammates are eliminated. Get the wrong answer and you stay a genin forever. You may leave if you want, by raising your hand."

A lot of people raised their hands.

And Naruto was shocked when she saw Hinata freaked out, carefully raising her own. Naruto had to think of something fast and when he did, he was also shocked by the outcome.

"That stupid tenth question isn't going to scare me!" He stood up. "I'll stay genin if I have to and never become chunin, but I'll be the greatest genin alive! So hit me with your best shot!"

He sat down, out of breath.

"That moron." Sakura thought, smiling. "Look at what you did, everyone else stayed."

"The idiot." Sasuke mumbled. "Here I thought I was going to kill him if he raised his hand."

Naruto glanced at Hinata and mumbled to her. "Don't do that again, have some confidence. I think I have enough to share." He grinned at her and it caused her to turn red and look away, smiling happily.

"Thank you, Naruto-kun." Hinata giggled silently.

Looks like it was true, Naruto was keeping a secret and Hinata was slowly unraveling it. Naruto isn't stupid as everyone believes he is. Hinata knows that Naruto has a heart, a brain and everything else in-between.

They just have to dig deep.

"That was so embarrassing." Naruto could feel himself flinching. "There's no choice, I had to do it or else, Hinata won't be the ninja she's destined to be. Gaahh! That was still so embarrassing!"

Naruto began to sulk, hiding it behind his grinning face, but Hinata could see it. He could see the embarrassment Naruto had to put through for her.

And there on forward, she was slowly falling for him over again.


oOo

They passed the first exam and soon, the window blasted open and a really tough scary looking woman began to relay the instructions to the next exam.

"Great, as if the first one wasn't enough." Naruto's eyes twitched.


oOo

(Chunin Exams – Second Test, the forest of death and Prelims)

The instructions were clear as broad daylight. They had 5 days to get a scroll from the other team. Heaven Scrolls need to get an Earth scroll and vice versa. Everyone is the enemy, people can team up if they want and there are no other rules.

"Oh great, we have to sign death contracts so they won't be held responsible." Naruto signed through the paper without care. "At least it'll lessen the competition."

People die eventually, so Naruto doesn't really hold it responsible to care.

The exam was terrifying, even he had to admit. He can't use the techniques he's learned on his own, even in near death situations, it would ruin the image of a brainless idiot he was pretending to be.

All that Naruto was worried about was the safety of Hinata and his teammates. He wasn't really worried about them, he still disliked them with a passion, but he had a goal and they were part of that goal.

He couldn't proceed to the next level without them.

"If Kiba and Shino lets Hinata get hurt, I'll kill them myself." Naruto glared as he jumped from tree to tree.

Orochimaru attacked them and Sasuke eventually got his hickey, or at least that's what Naruto wants to call it.

"Well, at least we managed to pass through." Naruto shrugged, looking at his teammates.

Sakura was so shaken up and Sasuke, he was also in bad shape but they managed to get through and that was enough for Naruto.

The third Hokage spoke up and told them about the prelims that needed to happen as soon as possible to eliminate the competition.

Sasuke Vs. Dosu.

Naruto watched in silence, calculating and still managing to look stupid as he was supposed to. He pretended to be shocked just like the others but Sasuke's moves were predictable and the idiot won so there wasn't a problem.

The others fought as well and he found himself bored with every single one.

He could see Hinata fidgeting on his left, and he wanted to comfort her, but it was probably best if he stayed away from her.

"No use doing anything at this point." Naruto thought. "It's bad enough as it is."

Naruto vs. Kiba.

This was going to be an easy match of revenge.

He had the stage planned out. Before the match, he took something from his weapons pouch and placed it on one of his back pockets. Something he made before the second exam.

It was a stinky gas bomb he made at home, using old cups of ramen and milk.

"I can already smell your defeat, Uzumaki!" Kiba shouted confidently.

"That's not the only smell you're going to get." Naruto wanted to roll his eyes. "Seriously, If only it was really easy but no, I have to go through all of this crap."

"G-good Luck, Naruto-kun!" Hinata shouted from above, with enough courage.

"Funny." Naruto laughed. "Even your teammate seems to be cheering me on. You must have done something bad to earn a dislike."

"Hinata!" Kiba angrily bit back. "You're supposed to cheer me on! We're teammates."

"Uumm… s-so-sorry." Hinata looked at him, whispering faintly. "Go-good luck to you too Kiba-kun."

"That's more like it! ALRIGHT!"

Kiba's smell was uniquely strong, like the other Inuzuka's and he needed to counter that. He made clumsy movements which were technically his brainless fighting style and ohhh, how he wanted to do more.

He wanted to use his Shuriken techniques, a few tactical movements, some combat styles and just go all out.

But No… he can't do that.

It was too revealing.

He released the stinky bomb he had in his back pocket and made a bad impression on his face to make it look like it came from him and boy was everyone dumbfounded and disgusted.

He didn't care, save the embarrassment for later.

He did the technique he copied from Sasuke using his clones and shouted. "U-Z-U-M-A-K-I-" And the original shouted. "Naruto RENDAN!"

The final blow knocked Kiba out and he would have won if he used his other techniques but oh well. The medics cleared Kiba off the stage and Naruto triumphantly accepted his embarrassing victory and went back up on the platform to his friends.

"Naruto-kun." Hinata walked up to him, murmuring. "Here's some ointment."

They were becoming really close and too close for Naruto's liking but just as long as nobody notices the closeness, it was fine.

"Thank you." He took it and walked away.

He tried to stop himself from blushing and ignored her half way through but when it was her turn to fight, oh how he wanted to kill Neji.

"That Bastard!" Naruto gripped the railing, strong enough to bend it.

Enough was enough, he shouted at the top of his voice.

"BEAT THE CRAP out of him Hinata!" The silence continued that you can hear a pin drop. "Don't let him tell you what you can and can't do. Kick him hard and show him what you're made of!"

Hinata proved she could fight but it still wasn't enough.

Naruto just felt sad and angry.

"P-please, N-na-" Hinata tried to look around but was stopped abruptly.

"Please calm down." The medic-nin responded to her. "We will heal your wounds, please wait and calm yourself."

"It's not your fault." She heard herself say, eyes falling to the prey of exhaustion.

Naruto swore that he'd hurt Neji if they end up on the finals together, and he planned to beat the living daylights out of him. Talk about fate in his face and it was nothing more than a load of crap.

"His life is ten times better than mine." Naruto hissed. "What's his problem anyways?"

When it was over, the announcements of the battle came.

Naruto vs. Neji.

"Sweet revenge." Naruto walked out, planning how he'd defeat a skilled Hyuuga. "Just my luck, I don't even know anything."


oOo

Naruto thought for once that life was changing for him, but apparently it wasn't. He thought that there some good that came out of the previous matches, but it only worsened and it only lead Naruto to believe that the world was against him.

And how he hated his so called friends and teacher more and more.

There was no point in teaching Sakura, because she was out of the match already. Sasuke and Naruto were the only ones to teach but Kakashi had already picked his favorite rookie to play with.

"And so, here is the hero coming yet again to another conflict in his life." Naruto narrated to himself. "And we all know the brooding Uchiha will face a great task to learn skills from his Sensei while the dead-last tries to find someone else."

"So, who is going to teach Naruto?" Sakura asked.

"Who else?" Naruto wanted to bite back. "Yeah, if you're teaching Sasuke, can you teach me too?"

What's the point, Naruto already knows that answer.

"You can train with Ebisu, Naruto." Kakashi said. "Unfortunately, I have to teach Sasuke with his Sharingan, seeing as I'm the only one here capable of doing so. So I'm sorry."

"It's okay, I'm just that amazing I'm already good to go." Naruto was dismissed and found that he hated everything as each day.

No, he hated each minute that passed being in Konoha.

Kakashi can't train him because of Sasuke, Ebisu can't train him because he was beat up in the bath house and the only one capable of doing so was the "Old Pervert."

"Great, the legendary Perverted Sanin is going to teach me." Naruto sulked. "I'm so lucky."

Not that Naruto wasn't grateful, he was, but the thought just felt dumb. The old hermit was stingy about the name call of 'Ero-sennin' but it worked out for the best.

"So, who do you like Gaki?" The old geezer asked.

"It's Sakura-chan." He lied, thinking in the back of his head. "It's Hinata, not bubblegum fangirl."

The match came up and everyone else was there. Sakura gave him death glares of 'You better win this' when in truth, the gaze spoke of 'Embarrass our team and I will pummel you to the ground!'

Yes, that's more like it.

The Hyuuga family were gathered together watching, and he couldn't find Hinata anywhere near them. That was until Kiba stood up and shouted…

"HEY IDIOT!" It caught his attention, it always did. "You better kick that guy's ass, or you'll be an embarrassment that you defeated me and lost to him!"

Naruto's eyes twitched in annoyance. "Don't tell me what to do, Dog breath."

He caught sight of Hinata, sitting there so pale and weak and Naruto just had to wave a hand towards their direction and it brought color to Hinata's face.

The match began and they fought, Naruto could have easily won, already knowing how to defeat Neji, but he can't show off in front of all these people.

His image… his reputation as unpredictable Ninja was still his.

Some other time, maybe he could show off.

"Why is it that when you're so strong, you have eyes that say you know everything?" Naruto thought, angrily.

Naruto could care less about what went on with Neji, but he could sympathize with his story. Eventually it was Naruto who won, with an amazing speech at that, and it was received by every single adult in the audience.

They were so dumbstruck that they clapped for him, seeing him in a new kind of light despite not understanding.

"So much lies." Naruto looked at the audience. "Look at all of you clapping, do you really mean it?"

Naruto shook off the dark thoughts and pretended to be so happy, blowing kisses to the audience and bowing in delight.

"Oh Naruto-kun." Hinata could feel a smile itching from her lips. "You don't approve of their cheering, but it still managed to get to you."

Hinata didn't get to see the great ending but she didn't care, her knight in shining armor had managed to save her once again, but too bad she didn't get to watch. The fight came to an end during Sasuke's match and Orochimaru began his take over scheme, only to be foiled by Naruto and the Hokage's death.

The title, in which was later passed down to "Tsunade."


oOo

Sasuke left and that was it.

He had no more reason to stay in Konoha, given that Orochimaru offered him 'power' and who was Sasuke to refuse?

They fought and Sasuke won, but Naruto almost had it.

He was sent to the hospital, and he felt so depressed until Hinata mustered the courage to visit him in secret and she was really good at keeping it secret.

"A-are you sure you're o-okay, Naruto-kun?" She asked, sitting by his bed.

"I'll be fine, I hope." Naruto smiled genuinely. "You're here and that's what matters."

"S-shu-shut up." Hinata looked away, turning red.

"I'm glad you visited, it keeps the dark thoughts away."

"Y-you shouldn't suffer so much, Naruto-kun. You've done all you could do and t-that's w-what matters." Hinata whispered. "I-I'm glad that you're alive."

"But what's the point when everyone thinks that you'll always be a disappointment?"

"You can always p-prove them wrong." She encouraged. "L-like I always knew you would."

They talked for endless hours whenever Hinata was free to visit and it got them closer than before. Hinata confronted him about why he was hiding behind being so happy, and Naruto told her it was because he had to and it was only so they would stop fearing him.

"They would only fear me more if I acted like Sasuke, which is bad for all of us."

"B-but y-you're so smart." Hinata mumbled and Naruto could only laugh.

They kept the visits secret, but eventually one was bound to find the other and it was Tsunade that caught Hinata visiting secretly. And she begged for her not to tell anyone, Tsunade agreed to it, glad that Naruto was lucky to have her.

Hinata blushed furiously and the visits stopped after that, in fear that people will rat them out and it was bad enough to be so close to each other with so many people hating Naruto.

Hinata went to visit whenever the teams came to visit Naruto, she bought flowers and lavenders to be exact, placing them in a vase. She came back to find the lavenders gone, replaced by dandelions or cherry blossom petals.

She knew it was Sakura, and she couldn't care.

Sakura got what she deserved, and soon, she'll have to grow up like everyone else. It sounded mean when Hinata thinks like that, but the truth isn't always sunshine and rainbows. Naruto was taken as Jiraiya's apprentice and was to leave immediately. Belongings were packed and he decided to let his friends know, but could he? Or just leave them like that?

Will Hinata miss him?

Will he grow stronger? His mind mingled at the thought of his friends, to be gone for 3 years, would they really care and what would they look like? Or will they grow strong?

Villagers were beginning to accept him, and he was starting to love them again like he used to.

They were finally getting to know him as 'Naruto.'

Naruto said a quick goodbye to Hinata and she vowed that she would also change for him and for the better. Hinata mustered the courage and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and ran for her life, before she collapsed and pulled herself together in the corner.

Naruto could only smile and recover.

They left and Tsunade was left to tell everyone else what happened to him. He shoved his emotions aside, he wasn't going to stop now, and he'll prove them wrong and save Sasuke.

"That's a promise of a lifetime." For Sakura.

"I'll return." A promise to protect Hinata.


oOo

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