[Naruto/Hinata] Napping the Fox Title: Napping the Fox Rating: PG-13 for some mild swearing. Pairing(s): Naruto/Hinata, Team 8 vibes Character(s): Hyuuga Hinata, Uzumaki Naruto, Aburame Shino, Inuzuka Kiba Summary: Naruto's leaving, still intent on saving Sasuke. He hadn't really planned on saying good-bye, but a couple of his peers don't find that acceptable. Prompt(s): 'NaruHina, bigbrother!Kiba and Shino interaction, flustered!Naruto' & 'don't think, just feel' Word Count: 1757 A/N: Originally posted September 2006.
"He's leaving," Shino said flatly, looking straight ahead. Kiba turned to look at his teammate, looking surprised.
"How do you know?" Shino turned his eyes on him and Kiba shuddered, imagining the piercing stare behind his glasses.
"Don't do that. It freaks me out. But yeah, I forgot," Kiba said, scoffing. "You have your 'ways.' Man, that's creepy." Shino merely shrugged and turned away again.
"He's not planning on telling anyone," he added after a while, a nigh undetectable tinge of emotion in his voice. It didn't happen often, and most people missed it; when you hung around with Shino long enough, you picked up on these things. Kiba's grin dropped into an annoyed scowl.
"That bastard," he muttered under his breath. Shino didn't respond, but Kiba guessed that maybe (it was hard to tell with Shino) he agreed.
"He's just trying to spare...everyone unnecessary pain. Though I cannot understand his actions, I do understand his intentions."
Kiba scoffed. "It's just going to hurt more when she finds out. He's a big, stupid idiot." Shino didn't respond at first, he only pushed his glasses farther up the bridge of his nose. "Perhaps."
"We should do something about it," Kiba said, a brief look of glee crossing his features. Shino raised his eyebrows. "What do you suggest?"
Kiba's expression grew mischievous. "A little persuasion, perhaps..."
Shino sighed, wondering how he had let Kiba talk him into this. He normally prided himself on his good judgment, but perhaps concern for his teammate had clouded his vision this time. Although, he reasoned, if they didn't resolve this now, then Hinata was likely to be distracted during future missions.
But to be honest, Naruto's muffled cries for help were becoming quite annoying. Not to mention that it was hard to be discrete with all the birds flying away in fear of the odd roaring noise emitting from the boy. Shino had half a mind to procure some more of that drug to knock him out again, but it was no good. It wasn't his fault that Naruto had woken up so soon. But they were running out of time; Hinata would soon finish her meditation session, and it would be difficult to get her alone after that. Shino dragged the uncooperative boy behind him, finally reaching the bushes outside the clearing where Hinata often practiced meditation. Kiba was there already, making frantic "be quiet" gestures. Shino rolled his eyes, tossing a rebellious-looking Naruto at his feet.
"I would not have needed to drag you if you would have cooperated," he whispered, prompting Naruto to glare at him in response, followed by some muffled curses.
"She's getting up!" Kiba whispered, glad that Hinata hadn't activated her byakugan. "Untie him!"
Hinata turned toward the bushes, hearing the noise. She thought of activating her byakugan, but an orange blob came shooting out of the bushes, in her very direction. She evaded it easily; it was only afterwards, when the blob was lying face-first on the ground, that she realized what exactly it was.
"N-N-Naruto-kun?" she asked, bending down to make sure he was alright. Was he in the bushes the whole time? she thought nervously. "Are you okay?"
Naruto pulled his face out of the dirt, brushing off his face with his sleeve while glaring in the direction of the bushes from which he had been launched. "They're going to pay for this..."
"Naruto-kun?" Hinata repeated in a worried tone, blinking at him nervously. Naruto, as if just noticing her presence, stopped scowling, although he did shoot an occasional murderous glance toward the bushes.
"Hey, Hinata," he said warmly, staring at the way her feet were shuffling around. There was silence for a few moments; Naruto thought that perhaps they were done, but then Hinata spoke.
"W-What are you doing out here, Naruto-kun?" Hinata asked nervously, her heart in her throat, not daring to hope that he'd come to talk to her.
"This had better work, dammit," Kiba muttered, from the vantage point he and Shino were sharing in a nearby tree.
"Your teammates drugged me, tied me up, and dragged me out here," came Naruto's purposely loud response, squinting at the surrounding foliage as if expecting them to jump out at any moment.
"That idiot," Kiba said angrily, his teeth clenching. "I'm going to kick that bastard's ass when this is all over."
Hinata felt her throat constrict, trying (with absolutely no success) not to blush. Naruto, however, seemed oblivious, and she figured it was just as well.
"I'll see you later, Hinata," Naruto said, and before she knew it, he was turning back toward the village. Hinata's feet moved to follow him, but she hesitated; why, she wasn't sure. Maybe she thought that if she let him be, she'd never have to face what she knew was inevitable. But she bit her lip, forcing her hand to reach out and grab his wrist; something that she knew she wouldn't have been brave enough to do if she didn't think she'd never see him again.
Naruto turned back to look at her, surprised. "Naruto-kun...please...please wait." Naruto nodded quietly, the sincere sadness in her voice not escaping him.
It took a long while before Hinata worked up the courage to say anything more. All the time, Naruto stood there with uncharacteristic patience, just staring, as if he thought she might explode at any moment. Meanwhile, Hinata toyed with the hem of her jacket, fists clenching and unclenching around the fabric, leaving several wrinkles along the way.
Then she did something that made Naruto retreat a few steps. She brought her neck up and looked straight at him, her eyes wide and, Naruto thought, a bit scary. After all, Hinata almost never looked at anyone directly, so when she did, it was always a bit intimidating, in Naruto's opinion.
Hinata was trying very hard not to cry, which, coincidentally, was making it even harder to speak. Naruto-kun was already hurting so much, she didn't want to make it worse by crying. She blinked a few times, trying to prevent the hot moisture that she knew was building behind her eyes from spilling out.
"Hinata, do you have something in your eye?" Naruto asked curiously, moving his face close to hers, in an effort to inspect her eyes. Hinata went red, too surprised by his action to move or speak for a moment.
It was Naruto's turn to blush, rubbing the back of his neck in a nonchalant gesture. "Where'd you hear that, Hinata?" he said airily, grinning for effect.
"I can't hear what they're saying anymore," Kiba whispered to Shino. His companion was leaning back against the trunk of the tree, looking disinterested.
"Aren't you curious?" Kiba asked, a bit annoyed at the way his teammate could be so calm and collected. "Oh, never mind, I'm sure one of your bugs is down there getting every bit of it. Well, you'd best tell me what they say, too."
"I would never encroach upon Hinata-san's privacy in such a way."
"I know you want to save Sasuke-kun..." she began hesitantly, dropping her gaze again. She noticed the telltale stiffening of Naruto's spine, the way his eyes darkened, the way his fists clenched unintentionally. Hinata had no doubt that it was beyond his notice, but she always noticed it. She knew it caused him great pain; she only wished that she could do more - anything, really - to lessen it. But she couldn't. He was miserable, and he would only be whole again if and when Sasuke-kun returned.
She often wondered what Naruto-kun would do if he didn't. Those thoughts were never pleasant.
"I'm going to," he said under his breath.
Hinata nodded, looking down at her fingers and fidgeting with them as if she'd done something wrong.
"I think you will, Naruto-kun," she said quietly; so quietly, as a matter of fact, that Naruto wasn't sure if she'd actually said it or not. "Just..." she was shaking now; Naruto tilted his head to the side, looking at her curiously.
"Hinata, are you...?"
But Naruto wasn't able to finish his question because, for the first time in her life, Hinata interrupted.
"Just be careful, Naruto-kun!" she exclaimed, launching herself at him so fiercely that Naruto felt the wind being knocked out of him. She was hugging him now, and though Naruto couldn't see her face, he thought she might be crying. Naruto's brow furrowed; why was Hinata acting like this? She seemed so upset...he just couldn't figure it out. She barely knew Sasuke.
He let her hold him, still mulling it over in his mind. He didn't mind when the shoulder of his jacket grew damp, and he actually kind of liked the way her hair was brushing against his cheek.
Hinata was too busy mentally berating herself to notice much about his reaction. She couldn't believe she'd done something so incredibly stupid and rash; although, at the time, it had seemed like a good idea. She didn't let go for a long while...having to look at him after this was something she wanted to put off for as long as possible. But, eventually, she knew that she'd have to do it, no matter how embarrassing it was.
When she pulled away, her head was spinning. She sat down on a nearby stump, putting a hand to her forehead in an effort to gather her thoughts. Naruto looked a bit dazed. She blushed. Oh, what Naruto-kun must've thought of her now...
"I'm sorry, Naruto-kun," she said hurriedly, fidgeting with the zipper on her jacket. "I didn't mean...I just..."
Naruto was staring at the sky, a pensive look on his face. He didn't acknowledge that he'd heard Hinata's hurried apology, only shoved his hands into his pockets, the whiskers on his cheeks twitching every now and then.
There was silence for a few long moments. Hinata hadn't realized that she'd been holding her breath the entire time until he spoke.
"Thanks for believing in me, Hinata."
Hinata choked on the breath she was inhaling. "I've always believed in you, Naruto-kun," she said softly. And after all, returning the favor was the least she could do, in her opinion.
"Think he'll make it back?" Kiba asked, walking leisurely on the path back to Konoha, stroking Akamaru's head as he walked.
"I believe he will," Shino responded confidently, though Kiba thought he heard a touch of uncertainty.