.

.

.

Training with Naruto was the best.

It didn't involve a lot of talking, or any meaningful eye contact that would make her anxious, or really, social interaction. All that Hinata was left with was his knuckles brushing just past her chin, and the fierceness of his sky blue eyes.

And, of course, his playfulness.

She could always tell when Naruto would begin to change his tactics to something more playful, like charging forward with both arms extended to tackle her in a bear hug, where she'd jump up and over him, using his back as a stepping stone to hop over him. Other times, his punches would change to tickles.

She was breathless, shaking with uncontrollable fits of laughter, while his hands trailed around her stomach feather-like. Hinata squirmed under him, managing to push him off of her and sit upright with a bright smile.

Naruto snickered quietly, sitting up as well, and flashing her his trademark grin. "How do you expect to be prepared for battle if you can't handle being tickled for more than one minute?" he said with mock concern. "We gotta work on that, Hinata."

She laughed again, brightly, shockingly voracious, slapping her hands over her mouth to control the oncoming peals of laughter. Was it possible to die from laughing too hard? Her sides ached.

Naruto's smile softened a bit. "You have an awesome laugh."

Her giggles quickly simmered down, but still shook slightly. Quietly, she deactivated her byakugan, realizing that they were probably done for the day. "I like your's better," Hinata murmured back truthfully, red beginning to stain her cheeks.

"Well, maybe, but I never get to hear you laugh that loud. It sorta rings like wind chimes, or something. I like it," Naruto said happily. He began to stretch out his arms over his head, but then paused half way, a strangled look overtaking his face. Hinata began to giggle again.

"Are you okay, Naruto-kun?"

"D-d-don't laugh!" Naruto stuttered, his face turning red. His arms stayed where they were, mid air, as if he were calling to someone beyond the reach of the training grounds. "No! I think you did something to my shoulder earlier. Shit. Am I stuck?"

"I think you're stuck."

"Oh god, what did you do to me?"

Hinata smiled bashfully, scooting closer to Naruto and shifting so that she was aligned with his shoulder. She emitted chakra through her hands as she massaged the back of his shoulder. "A new technique I've been working on that affects the muscles," she answered. "It was supposed to kick in a while ago, and I did it more than once."

She could almost hear his pout. "Well it worked now."

She laughed again.

In a matter of seconds, Naruto was able to move his shoulders again, and happily dropped his arms. He sighed, and dropped onto the grass, flattening himself out. "Thanks, Hinata-chan," he said. "Whoa, that was an awesome massage."

She laughed again, and Naruto's eyes trailed to her.

"You know, if I have to be stuck like that every day just to make you laugh, I'd seriously consider it," he mused, as if speaking to himself aloud. Hinata's face went red again. "Well, you know, if you'll keep offering those massages. I'd be in for it."

Hinata brushing her hair from her shoulder, and pulled up her knees to her chin, wrapping her arms around her legs. The sun was beginning it's descent, the sky brightening with pinks and blues and purples. The trees swayed with the summer breeze almost elegantly.

The sunlight fell onto his face, making his skin look golden. She smiled softly at him. She was no longer laughing, but she still remained breathless in his presence. 'Oh, I just want to talk to him,' Hinata thought impertinently. 'How does he do it? Just speaks his mind so freely?'

"Hinata?" he prompted.

"You look good in sunlight," she sputtered out, keeping her words in their intended syllables. Hinata took in a deep breath, steeling her nerves, before she continued. "It suits you very well."

He chuckled lowly, sounding older. "I can promise that you wear it like a dream."

Her face burned brighter, and she was already beginning to feel dizzy. Quietly, she steeled herself. She couldn't faint now! This conversation was going somewhere!

But just as she was about to continue speaking, Naruto's hand wrapped around her wrist, and pulled her forward so that she landed haphazardly on him, their noses touching. He grinned his thousand-watt smile, eyes gleaming mischievously.

"Oops," he said. "Excuse me, Hinata-chan. I didn't meant to do that."

Hinata giggled again, burying her face into the crook of his neck when she shook with laughter. His arm wrapped around her waist to steady her, lay her over his body, but she didn't dare look up yet. His lips were too close to her own to be anywhere safe.

The anxiety rippled and rattled inside of her for a moment, threatening to grasp her throat in a choke hold, when she took a deep breath in, smelling salty skin, sweat, and something like palpable sunshine ingrained into his skin, and she smiled.

She looked up from her hiding place and kissed all her happiness onto his lips.