notes - This is originally supposed to be a one-shot, but I decided against it at the last minute. Y'all deserve better from me. This is an apology fic for not updating "Stay" nearly enough. I don't know how long it'll be, but hopefully it shouldn't be terribly long. You were all asking for something longer, right? This story is strictly from Sasuke's point of view (because I like writing his constipated interactions with his "friends"). Future reference - this is heavily inspired by shoujo, lol.

There is a blatant difference between looking at someone and seeing someone.

Before now, Uchiha Sasuke would've never known such a thing existed (or mattered, really), would've never even cared to find out. He's smart enough to know there's a subtle difference, but not quite invested enough to understand the meaning behind the two. Incidentally, it isn't until he has a run-in with Hyuga Hinata that he's able to discern just what each observation entails.

She's a regular face in the melting pot of students that attend school. She dons the same uniform just like all the other first year female students - a navy blue sailor fuku with a red tie. She has long hair, she's short, and somewhat stubby with a bust second only to Yamanaka Ino (not that he was looking or anything - he just happened to overhear some second years talking about it once), another first year and a face he, unfortunately, has to remember on a day-to-day basis, if only for self-preservation reasons.

Simply put, Hinata's someone he doesn't even give a passing thought, partly because he's ignorant to her existence and mostly because she's a girl.

But then, he notices her standing outside of his classroom one morning, fear and trepidation very evident in her shaking form. It's obvious that she wants to enter, if only by the way she reaches for the door handle, but she retracts her hand at the last minute, shutting her eyes to take in a breath.


Her body goes rigid at the sound of his voice as she cranes her head almost mechanically to meet his gaze. Sasuke almost wishes she hadn't done that; the sterling white of her eyes sends a chill - albeit, not unpleasant - down his spine.

"Y-yes?" she addresses hesitantly.

By then, he's already recovered from whatever-that-thing-was he'd just felt and, ignoring the fact that he's speaking to a potential fan girl, Sasuke uses his eyes to gesture towards the door before looking back at her. "That's my classroom."

Any other time, he'd grunt or say nothing at all, but he figures he could at least play nice just this once (and not because she looks scared out of her mind). His answer doesn't quite register as she stares at him with a baffled expression, doe eyes blinking questioningly up at him, and it's enough to make him repress a sigh.

"You're in the way," he says grumpily.

"Oh!" she squeaks, stepping back to give Sasuke room. "I'm sorry."

He steps in front of her, hand reaching out to pull the door open, but he stops when he notices that she hadn't budged so much as an inch away from her spot behind him. If not for curiosity, Sasuke would've entered the classroom, but he chances a peek over his shoulder nonetheless, dark eyes feigning disinterest.

"Do you need something?" he asks, taking note of her bent head and the way she wrings the strap of her book bag between her fingers.

Hinata lifts her head immediately, mouth parting in response, and for the second time since encountering her, something unfamiliar nips at the back of his neck, something he can't quite explain. For a second, Sasuke blames it on her eyes, freaky in color, yet striking all the same, like twin moons peeking from behind a curtain of dark clouds. Only the clouds is her hair and… what is he thinking, standing here like the dobe, describing a girl he barely knows?

This time, it's Sasuke's turn to stand there, brows crinkling in equal parts distaste and sheer bewilderment as Hinata mouths - or stutters, he thinks offhandedly… he can't tell either way since it's all muffled by his (ridiculously) wandering thoughts, anyway - something, pearl eyes darting nervously between him and the classroom door. The silence that drapes over them is stifling, and Sasuke briefly feels like an idiot for not paying attention to anything the Hyuga girl had just said, partly because she's looking at him with expectant eyes, making it harder for him to avert his gaze, and mostly because it requires him to ask her to repeat what she'd just said (Uchiha do not ask twice).

Thankfully, he's interrupted before he can proceed with the latter, as Naruto's incredibly loud voice tears through the tension like a typhoon when he yanks open the door. "Hey, bastard, you're la-! Oh, Hinata! You're just in time! Thanks for letting me copy your homework for Englis-"

And the next thing Sasuke knows, he's taking back his thanks, choking Naruto with his arm, and dragging him back into the classroom, pissed that the blond is so goddamn loud. Naruto's spluttering curses and death threats as he fights to regain his breath. Sasuke ignores him in favor of his desk and doesn't hesitate to push past him towards it, ultimately knocking him on the floor. The action elicits giggles from their classmates.

"What crawled up your ass and died?!" Naruto bellows, but his remark goes unheard by Sasuke - his fan girls immediately launch into a verbal assault - and sidles past him with Hinata's notebook in tow.

Sasuke pulls back the door in one fell sweep, gaining Hinata's attention. He's a little surprised that she even bothered to stick around, especially since Naruto's voice was loud enough to warrant a teacher's attention, but then he remembers why she was there in the first place.

"You came for this, right?" he asks, holding the green notebook towards her. "Naruto had it."

Hinata straightens her back, cheeks tinging pink in response to the idiot's name, and offers Sasuke a shy, thankful smile. She accepts her notebook shakily, milky eyes brightening slightly in return as she takes a breath and a step back to bow in gratitude. Her inky hair pools over her shoulders from the gesture - like water… not that he cared or anything - before she straightens once more.

"Thank you, Sasuke-san."

Her voice is soft and her smile is brief, but it's enough (for her and him) as she bids him farewell, turning to take off down the hall in a streak of purple, blue, and white. Sasuke lingers in the door of his classroom for a fraction of a second, dark eyes watching the direction she'd ventured off into intently before finally deciding to pull himself inside, the words 'you're welcome' dissolving from his tongue. Kakashi should be in any minute now, if he wasn't mistaken.

As soon as he turns around, however, Naruto's standing in his face with a big, dumb look (not that he ever has any other look).

"What was that all about, huh?" he asks, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively. "You finally interested in girls now?"

Sasuke never answers him.