AN: Greetings, everyone!
I am MistressWinowyll
I know most of you have already read this chapter and are probably wondering what I am doing. Honestly, this is something I should have done earlier, but simply forgot that I was supposed to break this arc with the last one, the Wave Arc. So, with that said, I have severed this piece from the other to create this next 'book', if you will: Suitors.
*************READREADREADREADREADREADREAD READREADREADREADREADREADREAD READREADREADREADREADREAD****************
PS- IF YOU HAVE NOT READ For The Good Of The Village: Wave Arc, PLEASE DO. THIS PART OF THE STORY WILL NOT MAKE SENSE UNLESS YOU DO!
For The Good Of The Village: Suitors Arc
Ch 1 Her Man
Sakura wouldn't believe what she was seeing had she not been here, personally, witnessing it.
Naruto was the center of attention in the middle of Ichiraku. Sasuke and Hinata nibbling on their ramen, nodding here and there about certain events during the mission. It nearly took her breath that they actually survived meeting two B ranked Chuunin, an A Rank Jounin missing nin, both in the Bingo book, and an assistant that was captured being returned to Konoha by Kakashi's rival.
They actually saved a village, faced death at least three times over, grew exponentially in their skill, and all came back with stories she couldn't believe! All of this in only two weeks!
What was she doing during that time?
She had been planning Sasuke's return while that pest Ino was trying to one up her at every chance she had. She even bought the same dress she was going to wear when she went on her first date with Sasuke-kun when he came back!
Bitch, Sakura thought angrily.
Also, didn't it mean anything to Sasuke that she was now out of that itchy, smelly (she would never tell him it was smelly. It's so unladylike), and limiting cast?
She couldn't wear her normal spandex, so she was forced to wear sweat pants or long dresses to try to and cover that horrid thing, but Sasuke had yet to ask her of how cumbersome it was or what she was doing to get back on her feet.
While he was out spreading the great Uchiha name, she had to wonder if he missed her at all.
"Uhm...Sasuke-kun," Sakura's shoulders fidgeted nervously, "You did some pretty amazing things, huh? I'm so proud of you! I knew you could do it! You really are the best, Sasuke-kun."
"We all worked really hard, Sakura." Sasuke stirred his noodles, looking into its soupy broth. "We actually made a difference for someone else. It was...a good mission."
"Well, I bought a new dress I would like to show you. You can see it during our date?"
"Hn," Sasuke ignored her, turning back to Naruto and Hinata. He deliberately spoke to her without even looking in her direction.
That had to be a bad sign, Sakura thought warily.
"You could have learned a lot on our last mission. Naruto certainly did."
"Yep," Naruto rubbed his nose, his voice raised in joy. "You should have been there. We kicked so much ass."
"Naruto," Sakura grouched, "Stop saying bad words in front of a lady!"
"Hinata doesn't mind, right Hinata-chan?" Naruto cheekily turned to Hinata.
"I was talking about myself as well, baka!"
"You know, screaming is also very unlady like, Sakura." Sasuke winced, considering her bellowing mouth was right next to his ear.
"Sorry, Sasuke-kun." She played with his hair, making him shuffle away from her.
Taking a breath, now that she could talk, Hinata's fingers pressed against the other, shyly answering Naruto's question. "W-well, if we're t-talking in public, it's not a ba-bad idea to keep it to a minimum, Naruto-kun."
"Eh?" Naruto's smile fell. "Was it bothering you?"
"N-not at all!" She waved her hands frantically, afraid to offend him, "It's just, well, you just get into your stories and there might be kids who hear those words. I don't mind, but..."
"You want me to stop, Hina-chan?" Naruto looked sincerely into her eyes, weighing her every word.
Hinata's hands folded cutely into each other. Naruto was so intent in pleasing her that it was just too sweet to ignore.
She shook her head, indigo locks swaying. "I like the way you are, Naruto-kun."
"Really?" Naruto leaned forward, "I'll stop. I'll do it!"
"No, its fine." Hinata blush, her fingers raising timidly to hook with his. "Thank you, though."
"Eh?" He pondered. "Why?"
"For caring what I thought." She rubbed her thumb over his knuckles. "Thank you."
A cheesy grin and chuckle left his lips before saying, "Anytime...Hina-chan."
"Naruto!" Sakura barked, forgetting she was still next to his ear and leaning over Sasuke to get her point across. "Now that you have a girlfriend you need to consider what makes her uncomfortable! You're always just thinking of yourself! Sheesh, you're always so annoying to a maiden's heart!"
"Th-that's not true, Sakura-san," Hinata quickly came to his rescue, waving her hands to distract her. "Naruto-kun is very polite and kind! He considers my feelings all the time. And," Hinata taps her fingers uncomfortably, "he is very romantic."
Sakura scoffed in disbelief. "Really? Prove it."
Hinata and Naruto stared at each other. "When I was injured, he stayed by my door and wouldn't leave till he was sure I was okay."
"Really?" Sakura tossed the idea around, agreeing it was kind of sweet to have a boy wait by your side. "He wasn't trying to peek in your room, was he? He's a total pervert!"
"I wouldn't do that to Hinata-chan!" Naruto barked at her, making her back up.
When did Naruto ever feel comfortable yelling at me? She thought to herself.
"Don't yell at him, Sakura," Sasuke mumbled, trying to get Sakura off of his shoulder. "You're being annoying."
Sakura flinched, unable to believe her Sasuke-kun was doing.
"You're defending him, Sasuke-kun?"
Sasuke rolled his eyes at her, "He's not too bad once you get past the screeching, nail across the chalkboard voice and obnoxious laughing. Naruto was actually pretty dependable out on the battle field."
"Yeah, Sakura-chan!" Naruto grinned at her, pointing his thumb at his chest, "Sasuke and I are friends now. He totally worships the ground I walk on and calls me Kami-sama! He can't help following me around and such. I think he's got a man crush on me."
"Shut up, dobe."
Naruto just chuckled noisily, enjoying the attention.
Sakura couldn't grasp the reality before her. Sasuke was letting Naruto say whatever he wanted.
Was she in a different universe or something?
Hinata played with the ends of her hair, still thinking back of her and Naruto's little dates.
"One other thing we did was go to the beach and picked up sea shells together. Look," Hinata dug out a really sea worn and pokey fiery looking conch shell. "Isn't it pretty?"
Uncomfortably, Sakura took it in her hand, twisting it around. "It looks like Naruto."
Hinata agreed, putting it back in her pocket.
Sasuke smirked at Naruto. "You hear that, dobe? You're pretty."
Naruto, unfazed by the taut, stood a little taller. "Yep, I sure am."
Hinata simply giggled.
Naruto snapped his fingers, remembering something.
"Oh, and Hinata showed me how to chakra walk! Look!" Naruto jumped into the air, flipped, and planted his feet successfully onto the low ceiling, grinning down with an accomplished smirk on his face.
"Naruto, if you dirty the ceiling you're cleaning it up," Ayame lectured, her arms across her chest as she stared at him.
"Hai, Ayame, nee-chan!"
Sakura was, despite her pride, was amazed. "Wow...that's really impressive."
"We all can do it," Sasuke mumbled, moving a little bit further away from Sakura's smother's, touchy hands.
Sakura felt uncomfortable, but her spirits were brighten when she turned to Sasuke, "Can you teach me how to do that, Sasuke-kun?"
Sasuke simply ignored her.
"I can teach you, Sakura."
"Sure you could," Sakura huffed, turned back to Sasuke to hopefully coax him into helping her.
"Uhm, Sakura, I'm doing it now! Why won't you think I couldn't help you?"
"I don't want your help," She snapped, turning back to Sasuke with a pretty smile, "I want Sasuke's help."
Again, Naruto looked deflated at her harsh denial. "But...I'm really good at this."
She acted like she had not heard Naruto.
"So, Sasuke, when would you like to show me? I'll be available to you anytime." Sakura preened her pretty hair and batted her eyes.
Sasuke got up, stuffed his hands in his pockets, tossed down some money and started to leave. "You know what, Sakura, I think I liked being in this team when you weren't here."
Sakura was unable to breath at such an indelicate remark. It was so...rude.
Naruto jumped from the ceiling, tucked, and landed on his feet next to Hinata. "Lets go, Hinata. I'm obviously not taken very serious here."
Taking his hand, the two young teens left the Ichiraku stand with Sakura lingering behind, trying to figure out...
"What did I do wrong?"
The trio headed back to the middle of town when they came to the crossroads of their departure. Hinata lived on one side of the village, Sasuke the other, as well as Naruto.
"I'll keep you company to your home, Hinata-chan," Naruto offered her his arm, which she gladly took.
Sasuke watched them for a moment, appraising their relationship and their differences in status.
"You know this won't last, don't you?" Sasuke offered.
Naruto gave him a rude snort.
"Why do you always have to be such a jerk?"
Hinata frowned, fidgeting her fingers and her hands together.
"Unless you can prove your worth to her father she won't be able to even get you past the front door, Naruto." He shrugged, uninterested if he believed him or not. "Believe what you want, but you can't beat clan tradition. Good luck."
He started to walk away, flicking his fingers in a wave.
"If you ever want to come over, I'm sure it wouldn't hurt you too bad to have dinner or something. We could actually hang out."
"I'll think about it." He continued on home at a casual pace, disappearing into the crowd.
Naruto and Hinata were together, staring at the other happy to be in each other's presence. One of the lamps on the road they were on lit up, soon followed by all the others.
It was getting dark.
"You're going to have to go home soon, aren't you?"
Hinata's eyes drooped a little, unhappily agreeing.
"Here! Stay right there, okay?"
Blinking, she nodded.
Taking her hand, he lead her to a bench, and sat her down.
"Naruto-kun, what are you doing?"
"Just trust me, okay?"
"Kage Bushin No Jutsu!"
Out of thin air a hundred Naruto's appeared and were soon dashing all over the place.
While Hinata was curious of what Naruto was doing, she didn't like that she was going to be away from him after being used to having him so close to her now. She sighed remorsefully.
He was going to come back soon and she already missed him.
"Ryo for your thoughts?"
Looking up under her dark locks, she saw Sakura in front of her, uncomfortably troubled by her teams newest developments.
"Mind if I join you, Hinata-chan?" Sakura asked mildly, hoping to at least feel like she could get someplace with someone for a chance.
Hinata shifted on the bench, offering it to Hurano.
In muted patience, both kunoichis sat next to the other, not saying a word. Every now and then a blond haired blur would pass by with something in his hands.
"I'm doing something wrong, aren't I, Hinata-chan?"
Hinata made a cute noise, curious as to what Sakura was saying.
"You know, I've been in love with Sasuke-kun since we were little. I've only ever saw myself with him...ever." Sakura admitted, her hands smoothing down the front of her red skirt. "No matter what I say, no matter what I offer, no matter how much I beg, he still hasn't changed his attitude towards me."
Hinata tapped her fingers, unsure of what Naruto's ex crush was trying to get at.
"I'm not sure what you want me to tell you, Sakura-san." Hinata exhaled, not used to talking to someone else, especially someone Naruto had a long standing one sided heartfelt admiration with, about their feelings.
"You got the boy of your dreams," Sakura sighed, envy thick in her next words. "You got him even when he wasn't looking at you in one mission. I'm happy for you, really."
"I've been on dozens of missions with Sasuke and, no matter how hard I try, he has never even acknowledged me like he does you or Naruto now."
Twiddling her thumbs, Hinata waited to hear the rest of what Sakura had to say.
"Was one mission really that much of a difference between you and I? Can you tell me what I'm doing so wrong that Naruto and you are doing so right?"
Hinata took a moment to really think of how she was going to try and explain what she felt, as a Hyuuga's perception and Naruto's girlfriend, to assist with Sakura's misery.
"You don't listen, Sakura-san."
Swallowing hard, Hinata couldn't think of another time where she felt so nervous about telling someone about their faults. Normally, no one ever went to her for advice.
Except for Naruto.
Thinking of him made her blush, but she tried to focus on Sakura instead of her boyfriend for a moment.
"You tell him what you think he wants to hear and what you think makes you happy, not what makes him happy."
"But I always consider Sasuke in everything I do! There isn't a moment where I'm not planning nearly every hour around him so that I could make him happy! How could you say that?" Sakura asked in exasperation.
"How does that make Sasuke-kun feel?"
"He says I'm annoying." Sakura mumbled, toeing a rock at her feet with her sandals.
"Has that made you stop doing those things?"
"No!" Sakura exclaimed, flapping her hands on her thighs, "How can I? I love him! I want him to know it!"
"But, he just said it annoys him." Hinata injected in the middle of Sakura's soon to be rant.
Sakura's rebuttal fell from her lips.
"Then, what would you suggest I do?"
Just as Hinata was about to answer, a score of Naruto's crowded in front of her, exchanging things between theirs hands. Once in a while, a Naruto would jump up and wave at Hinata.
Hinata would wave back, barely able to contain her curiosity as to what Naruto was up to.
"Honestly, Sakura-san, I don't think you want my advice."
Sakura flinched, deeply wounded by someone as sweet and kind as Hinata telling her that. "Why would you say that?"
"Because I think you want someone to encourage you to keep doing what you're doing, hoping your hard work will eventually succeed. You've been chasing Sasuke-kun for years. I know, it has been the same way for me watching Naruto-kun, but I didn't have the courage to tell him how I felt until we almost died protecting the other."
"Is that what I need to do?" Sakura asked hopefully, looking ready to put her life in peril just to get Sasuke's attention.
"No, but I think you need to ask yourself this," Hinata stood up when all the Naruto's disappeared in a large puff of smoke, revealing a single Naruto with two bouquet of flowers in his hands. "If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again and not getting the results you want, then maybe you need to do something different."
Sakura wilted under that thought.
"Or find yourself another goal."
Sakura simply bowed her head at that ever further.
Hinata grinned merrily, walking away from Sakura with her last words of advice. "I already told you to listen to Sasuke-kun, but you had convinced me that it wasn't the right answer. That is the only thing I can say for right now, Sakura-san. All I know is that it helped me. Good luck."
"Hinata-chan!" Naruto jogged to his girlfriend, handing her a large multicolored mix of flowers that looked like it would require almost two hands just to wrap around the stems. "These are for you."
"They're lovely," Hinata took them, dipping her nose to smell their different fragrances.
Sakura got up and strode over to both of them.
"Oh, hey, Sakura-chan. Are you okay? You look...unhappy."
"Naruto, these aren't from the Yamanaka shop. Where did you get them?" Sakura poked at a few of the flowers, then noticed some of them still had dirt on the leaves with roots still hanging out of the bottom.
"Oh, I went to all of the training grounds to pick them for Hinata. Do you like them?" He asked, grabbing a daisy out of the bouquet still in his hands and offering it Sakura.
Sakura took it, but frowned at him. "But they're all uncoordinated, mismatched, and clash. You should have just paid for the flowers from Ino's shop! Why do you have to be so cheap?"
Naruto winced, glancing at Hinata to see if she felt the same way.
Hinata's brows dipped in tepid anger. "They are wonderful, Naruto-kun, and I love them. Besides," She leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek, which he all but melted at, "It's not everyday you get flowers from the future Hokage."
"Oh, please," Sakura rolled her eyes, huffing out a mocking air.
"You really are the best girlfriend, Hinata-chan," He gave her a hug, nuzzling his cheek next to hers. "I want to hurry up and drop the bad news to Anko-chan. Can I see you tomorrow?"
"Anko-chan?" Sakura asked, curious and confused.
They both continued to talk despite Sakura's inquiry.
Hinata shrugged. "I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, Naruto-kun. I have to report to sensei and my father."
Naruto pouted in disappointment, but he perked up immediately. "I'll find a way to see you, Hinata-chan."
"I know you will, Naruto-kun."
One more peck, a lingering of fingers, and, for the first time since their mission all the way to and back from Wave, they were separated and not going to see each other till who knew when.
Hinata sighed so deeply that it felt like a big piece of her had just left her.
"You really shouldn't encourage him like that," Sakura pointed out, gesturing at her daisy and Hinata's bouquet. "He's only going to keep thinking it's going to happen."
"I believe it will happen," Hinata expressed in her own resolve. "I have seen Naruto's true strength. I believe he can do anything if he puts his minds to it."
"C'mon, Hinata," Sakura offered in a congenial laugh, "I know you love him, but it's simply never going to happen. He doesn't have it in him to be so."
Hinata's brow pinched at Sakura, in a rare show of anger that Sakura could so easily dismiss Naruto's dreams. "Then that is your opinion, Sakura-san."
Sakura could feel Hinata's anger start to mount, and it baffled her.
"Wait? You're mad at me, Hinata-chan?"
"Sakura-san," It was Hinata's turn to look over her shoulder and stare with waning patience at her listener. "Whenever someone even says something remotely bad about Sasuke-kun, you would automatically punch them or hit them to the other side of the nearest wall. Be careful, because now you're talking bad about my Naruto-kun. Please, stop it."
Sakura watched as shy, mousey, and perpetually peaceful Hinata walked away...
"Did she just do what I think she did?" Sakura gulped at the reality of what she just heard.
...after giving her first and very real threat to another woman talking bad about her man.