Chapter One

Have you ever been in love with someone who doesn't love you back? That must hurt a lot, I wonder. I wish I knew what that felt like.

I'm in love with a boy in my school who isn't even aware of my existence.

I am Hinata Hyuga, and I attend Konoha High. Currently, I am in the chorus, band and orchestra, and I am an ideal student. In a whole, I'm the typical goodie-two-shoes. There is nothing too special about me; I live with my parents and my cousin, Neji; I attend school every day and do my homework every night; I have a crush on a boy at school; I play the flute and the viola. Ultimately, I am a typical high school girl.

I stepped into my first period classroom and was immediately met by the energetic Psychology teacher.

"Hinata!" Gai leaped halfway across the room when she stepped in. His bowl haircut and caterpillar eyebrows always caught me like a deer in headlights. This morning, he had a twinkle in his eye, which could only mean one thing. "Draw a name out of the hat, and the power of youth will grant you a splendid partner for our next experiment!"

I didn't say anything - sometimes I felt that to be for the best - and I plunged my hand into the ocean of paper. I didn't have a preference to who my partner would be, so I wasn't finicky with trying to find the perfect shred.

Quickly, I retrieved my hand, and glanced at the paper. Before I opened it, I blinked once, looking at it for only a moment. Gai never became impatient, and he waited for me to proclaim my partner.

With both hands, I felt the thin sheet of loose-leaf paper between my fingertips and unfolded it tenderly.

Sasuke Uchiha

I was wrong before. I think I did have a preference to a partner. It wasn't bad enough that Sasuke was as silent as I was, but he was also dating Sakura Haruno, who had a short-lit fuse. I was immediately afraid of what she would do when she found out that I - another girl - was partnered with Sasuke.

Calm down, Hinata, I told myself. It's not that bad yet. We might not have to work on it outside of school.

I glanced over to my charcoal-haired partner and made my way to him. He barely looked me over before shoving his hands in his jeans pockets. We stood there in complete and utter silence, waiting for the rest of the class to find their partners. There were either grunts or cheers from her peers, depending on who their partners were.

"Alright!" Gai danced to the front of the room and turned to face his pupils. "You each have a partner, and the two of you will construct your very own Psychology experiment. Of course morality of the experiment is implied, but other than morality, the only rule is that you may not discuss any portion of your experiment with anybody."

I raised an eyebrow. How were we supposed to construct an experiment without anybody else knowing what we are doing? I let out a deep sigh and broke my posture for a moment, and I felt the presence of Sasuke's dark eyes on my shoulders - only for a moment.

"Well what happens if someone finds out what our experiment is?" Sakura raised her hand and shouted out, doing both being redundant.

Her comment caused chatter to uproar in the room, and Gai tapped his knuckles on the blackboard behind him to receive attention.

"If someone outside of your partnered pair - even myself - discovers the goal of your experiment, you must start over, regardless of your progress."

While a commotion exploded and World War III began, I sat back and realized the teacher's true intention: he wanted us to be subtle. If we were so faint in our true purpose, then it will give us more objective data.

Figuring it out, I nodded once and placed a loose fist on my chest. Then, again, I glanced over at Sasuke, and suddenly felt a sigh of relief escaping my throat.

Maybe it wasn't so bad that I was partnered with him. For one, we're both quiet, so the odds of our experiment details getting out are slim. Second, he was a basketball player, so he can't work on the project when they have a game, which means I get to go and watch Naruto.


I sat in the stands, within the mass of other Konoha High students, and watched intently as Naruto stood at the foul line, preparing for his two free, foul-induced shots. The crowd grew silent, and I could feel the anticipation growing and growing.

Inside me, even, it bubbled and I felt secretly giddy as I examined the way his body moved, how he precisely placed his feet right at the line. He paid no attention to the referee who was dying to give him the ball. I wondered why that was.

Naruto shook out his arms and did a single squat before turning his eyes to the referee, who bounced him the ball. Professionally, Naruto kept his eyes on the prize, and he repeated the motions that he always did during a foul shot.

He bent his knees and dribbled the orange rubber three times with his right hand, and then he spun it between his fingertips, finding the exact spot to place his hands.

I pressed my hands into my lap and crossed my fingers tightly, hoping for the best. I wanted nothing but the best for Naruto.

Naruto sent the ball arching towards the basket, and I automatically knew that it was going to go in with nothing but the sound of a swish.

The crowd around me cheered, and I clapped my hands. Oh, how I wish he knew that I exist. My heart fluttered as Naruto stepped off of the foul like to receive pats from his teammates. Sasuke was the only one who stayed behind; instead, he checked the scoreboard. I followed his gaze.

Konoha was down by three points, and there were only seconds left in the game. If Naruto could score this point, then we would only need one more basket to come out in a victory.

I took a deep breath and continued to hold my fingers tightly together, wishing nothing but the best of luck to Naruto and his team.

All eyes were on my secret crush as he repeated his warm-up and preparation stance for his second foul shot. There were a few whispers in the crowd, but they died down the moment the ref surrendered the basketball to Naruto's clutch.

Please, Naruto, I begged in my mind.

Dribble, dribble, dribble.

You can do it!

Silence...followed by the most beautiful sound in basketball: swish!

The crowd around me jumped up into the air and began screaming, and I clapped for my secret love. It was so exciting to see him be successful, though there was never any doubt in my mind that he would be able to conquer these shots.

But my eyes flickered back to the scoreboard that Sasuke had brought my attention to. We were still two points down, and there were only twenty three seconds left in the game. I wasn't entirely sure what had to happen in order for Konoha to get those two points, but I knew it had to happen fast.

Konoha's team jogged down to the other end of the court and formed their defensive position as the other team prepared their offense. Sasuke stood just beyond center court with his hands on his bony knees, awaiting the arrival of the other team's point guard. The point took his time dribbling down the court, declaring his win over Konoha.

Sasuke moved closer towards him, attempting to push him to step backcourt and cause a violation. Not sweating too much about it, the point tossed the ball to his right wing. Kiba Inuzuka dashed away from the man he was guarding and intercepted the ball with only two seconds until the game ended.

The crowd around me yelled at him, "Shoot!"

Giving it his all, Kiba whipped the basketball across the court towards the basket. I watched as the trajectory seemed to match, and I found myself rising to my feet as the buzzer went off. But that didn't stop the ball. Instead, it smacked against the rim and bounced twice, toying with the blood pressure of all those in the audience.

Much to my dismay, the ball tipped along the outside of the rim and plummeted to its death on the court. Immediately, there was a release of breath from the audience in its entirety. The other team's student section jumped up and cheered for their victory.

No matter what happened, I still enjoyed watching Naruto play. I just wish I could build the courage to congratulate him for playing so well...