Uchiha Sasuke stretched his arms up above his head, letting a small sigh escape him as he did so. He looked himself up and down in the full-length mirror by his bed, fluffing up his hair a little, shaking his head, and flattening it again. Putting a hand to his face, the roughness he found told him he really needed a shave this morning, and so he padded softly from his bedroom to the bathroom a little way down the corridor. The door clicked shut and he locked it – a habit he’d never really gotten rid of, although he was completely alone.
Once he’d showered, he wiped a hand over the steamed up mirror and proceeded to shave the shadow that had appeared on his jaw line, nicking himself just under his chin. Wincing and cursing quietly, he calmly ripped up a small square of tissue and placed it over the bleeding cut, hoping it would stem the flow. Next, he picked up his blue toothbrush and set to work getting rid of the horrible taste that always seemed to manifest itself in your mouth every morning, spitting into the sink and washing it away. His dark eyes followed the water as it swirled down the plughole. He lifted a slender finger, tracing letters onto the still steamed up part of the mirror. Smiling to himself, he quickly wiped them away again, before wrapping a towel around his waist and leaving the room.
A good hour later, after much primping and preening, Sasuke felt he could face the world. He picked up his sunshades and checked himself in the mirror beside the front door, for the millionth time in his life silently thanking his entire clan for being vain enough to place mirrors throughout the house. He half-smiled, his usual slightly amused look, almost checking himself out as he cast his eyes over the slim figure staring back at him. It was hard to imagine that the 20-year-old in front of him was the same revenge-obsessed boy from 7 years ago. At least I haven’t lost my looks he thought, putting the shades on and stepping out of the door. He turned and locked the front door, pulling the key from the lock and placing it under the plant pot on the porch – another habit – before leaving the compound altogether and heading into the village centre.
As soon as Sasuke left the house he was representing the Uchiha clan, and so he immediately put on his mask, so to say. The expressionless, levelheaded and intelligent Uchiha clan always walked the streets of Konoha with the utmost dignity. As the only one left, he wanted to keep up this tradition. Holding his head high, he almost strutted along the road, until a loud shout from behind him made him turn.
It was Uzumaki Naruto, number one hyperactive ninja in Konoha. Sasuke rolled his eyes beneath the shades and stopped walking as the orange-clad boy caught up to him.
“Sasuke-teme, I’ve been looking for you. Want to go eat some ramen together?”
Naruto grinned widely, showing his pure white teeth. Sasuke looked around him casually, yawning slowly.
“Hnn.” He said, nodding a little.
With that said, Naruto grabbed his arm and raced of towards Ichiraku’s, dragging his teammate along behind him.
Hyuuga Hinata sat on the bench, her feet dangling a little above the ground as she tried to ignore the slurping sounds coming from beside her. Her teammate, Inuzuka Kiba and his girlfriend Watanabe Tsuki were making out on the bench next to her, and Hinata had never felt so awkward in her life.
She grimaced, patting a huge white dog on the head. He whined at her.
“I know, Akamaru-kun. I’m pretty disgusted too.” She said, coughing softly.
Kiba broke away from his girlfriend’s mouth to turn to his best friend.
“Ah, Hinata-chan, gomen! I forgot you were here…um…I mean…”
“It’s okay Kiba-kun, we’ll do something tomorrow instead.” Hinata replied, sighing and leaving the park quietly.
It was difficult being best friends with Kiba. They’d always been close, ever since they’d been put in a team together as genin. But as they’d grown older, Kiba had suddenly developed an almost unhealthy interest in the opposite sex, cleaned himself up a bit and moved in for the kill. Hinata laughed to herself. Really, going out to karaoke bars with him is like watching a wolf hunting for it’s prey! She looked back towards the park, wondering if Kiba would be telling Tsuki about the girl he took home with him the night before. Hmm, knowing Kiba, I don’t think so. At least, not until he’s got his leg over… She pressed her hand to her mouth, a smile breaking out again. She felt bad for Kiba’s many girlfriends, she really did. But at the same time, most of them couldn’t even add 2 and 2 together, and had as much personality as a brick wall. Hinata strolled onwards, letting her feet carry her through Konoha’s busy centre, taking in the smells from the various food stands. Her stomach rumbled, and she cursed Kiba. They were meant to go for lunch, as was the norm on Wednesdays when they didn’t have missions, but Tsuki had rung him and begged to meet up. That’s how they’d ended up in the more secluded part of Konoha Park, also known as Make Out Corner. Hinata found herself laughing again, and stopped herself immediately, realising that everyone around her must think she was insane. Her cheeks went hot as she blushed, noticing a shop-owner staring at her curiously.
Quickly, she ducked into the nearest ramen stand and took a seat on one of the high stools, grabbing a menu.
Ichiraku’s. Naruto’s favourite she thought with a smile.
Flipping her long, blue-black hair over her shoulders, she began to read what was on offer, finally settling upon the Ebi chilli ramen. She ordered and sat waiting, sipping upon the cool lemonade the girl behind the counter had given her.
Sasuke brushed Naruto’s hand off his sleeve as they neared their destination. He whipped off his shades, clipping them over the collar of his navy t-shirt. Naruto hopped around on the spot waiting for Sasuke to smooth down his clothes, before they entered the stand and took their seats.
“I’m going to have 5 bowls of ramen. I’ll have beef ramen, and pork ramen, and ebi ramen, and yasai ramen, and…”
Sasuke zoned out as Naruto continued his ramblings about ramen. He looked away from his best friend, scanning the few other seats in the place and catching sight of a familiar figure. He quickly looked away again, staring down at the menu Naruto was shoving under his nose.
“Sasuke-teme! I said: what ramen is your favourite?”
Sasuke hit Naruto on the top of the head lightly.
“You know I like the ebi ramen, dobe…” he said, ordering it from the girl at the counter.
Soon, the food arrived, and Naruto swiftly demolished his first bowl, his chopsticks moving like lightning. Sasuke looked unimpressed, and carefully continued to eat his own bowl of noodles, selecting a prawn and lifting it to his mouth. He chewed slowly, savouring the taste, and swallowed, closing his eyes and letting out a contented sigh.
Sasuke opened his eyes quickly. The girl behind the counter was beetroot red and squealing. He sighed, blinking. Not again…
Ichiraku himself emerged from behind a curtain, grabbing the girl by the arm and dragging her into the back room. Sasuke could breathe again.
“Oi, Sasuke? How come all the girls scream over you?” Naruto pouted as he polished off his third bowl.
The dark-haired boy shrugged nonchalantly, focusing his attention back on his food.
Not all girls do, Naruto… he thought, glancing quickly over to the other side of the stand.
Hinata finished her ramen, placing down her chopsticks. She had been reading for most of the meal, but was missing Kiba’s company. He usually spoke enough for the both of them, and she was quite content just listening to him go on. She often thought that was why they were such good friends: she was so quiet and he was so loud. She suppressed another laugh as she thought that maybe they made one, entire, normal-volume person, when together. In his absence, she’d regretfully listened in on others conversations. And with Uzumaki Naruto entering the stand, there was no way she couldn’t hear what he and his companion were discussing. She had decided to read, so as not to feel like an eavesdropper. Now, about to pay for her bill, she looked up to see where the serving girl was, and found her squealing in an unnaturally high-pitched voice, red as a streetlamp and staring at…Uchiha Sasuke. Of course, Hinata thought scornfully, it would be him!
She watched as the poor girl was dragged away by the angry owner, disgruntled, as now she’d have to wait to pay her bill. She looked over at Sasuke angrily…as he looked straight at her. Their eyes locked for a second and he quickly turned away, looking down at his bowl almost bashfully.
It was 5 years since he’d arrived back in Konoha, broken and alone. Everyone was wary of him for a while, but it seemed that most people accepted him back with no worries after a few months. Hinata had felt in her heart at that time, that she could never forgive him for hurting her beloved Naruto so much. True, he was probably one of the best-looking guys she’d ever set eyes on: tall, slim, and dark-haired; swooning girls everywhere he went. And yes, he had style, Hinata had to admit. But at the same time, she couldn’t stand him!
She opened her eyes, realising she’d scrunched her napkin up into a tight ball. Although over the past 4 years - since her disastrous attempt at a confession to Naruto had gone wrong - her feelings for him had withered away, there was still a little torch she held for him, right in the depths of her heart. This meant that she could never forgive Sasuke for turning his back on his only friend, could never forget how he’d upset Naruto so much.
But why was it that every time she saw the Uchiha, that heated blush rose on her cheeks?
Sasuke followed Naruto as the blonde ninja bounced along the road in front of him. His long legs ached from all the running around he’d been doing. It was the first time in weeks that he and Naruto had neither had missions nor scheduled training on the same day, and so could spend some time together. It had taken a while for their friendship to flourish, and of course in training terms they were still rivals, but Sasuke enjoyed this time he had. Of course, he’d never divulge this information to Naruto. He loved to tease his friend way too much. Right now, they were heading to an ice cream parlour Naruto had wanted to go to ever since it had opened a month ago. Sasuke had agreed to go along, begrudgingly. They finally arrived at the parlour, the sound of lively chatter coming from inside. Sasuke sighed heavily for what seemed the hundredth time that day. How did Naruto stay so full of energy all the time?
They walked through the doors, immediately met with faces they knew. A group of their friends sat in one of the booths situated around the spacious lounge area.
“Naruto-kun! Sasuke-kun!” Ino waved at them from her seat beside Choji.
Next to them were Shikamaru, Neji, Tenten and Lee. Naruto waved back, pulling Sasuke over to them and plonking himself down on one of the soft, cushiony, pink seats.
The whole place was nauseating to Sasuke. Bright neon signs flickered above the seating area, and cheesy pop music seemed to be pumped into the room via invisible speakers. The waitresses strutted around wearing the smallest pink dresses, leaving nothing to the imagination, and the whole place was the most lurid fuchsia colour. However, the large selection of ice cream sundaes, desserts and smoothies seemed tempting. Naruto clutched the menu – also pink – and trailed a finger across the choices.
“Which one will you have?” he said, glancing up at Sasuke who had not yet taken a seat.
“Try the banana split! It’s lovely!” Tenten said enthusiastically from her seat next to Neji.
“Hnn. I’ll have that then.” Sasuke said, settling himself on the seat next to Naruto.
“So, has anyone seen Sakura since she got back off holiday?” Ino sparked up.
Her friends collectively shook their heads.
No, none of them had seen the pink-haired girl since she’d left for a family holiday to the Snow country. Skiing, apparently.
“She sent me a postcard” Offered Naruto, “Saying she’s met a really nice boy there.”
The friends went silent, Ino looking pointedly over at Lee. He and Sakura had broken up almost a year ago, and it was obvious to most that he still wasn’t fully over it. He shrugged however, energetically digging into his triple chocolate sundae.
The door opened, making a small jingle sound.
“Ah, Hinata-chan!” Lee cried out, standing up as she joined them.
“Hinata-sama? I thought you were seeing Kiba today?” Neji said, looking over at his cousin quizzically.
“He was, um…busy.” She said, looking down at the menu.
Sasuke watched her breathlessly as she swung her long hair back over her shoulders, and placed her small bag on the table. She blinked her large, pale eyes, smiling politely at her cousin as he bombarded her with questions about her day.
Why, oh why do I feel this way? he asked himself, yet again. This question was always there, in the back of his mind whenever he looked at Hyuuga Hinata.
He’s looking at you again, Hinata, her mind told her loudly. She tried to focus on what Neji was saying instead of the eyes that bored into her from across the table. The ice creams came, and she welcomed the distraction, feeling the heat off her for a few minutes at least. She watched as Naruto tucked into his cheesecake, delving a spoon into Sasuke’s banana split too and pinching a mouthful before the Uchiha had even taken a bite. She laughed along with everyone else as Sasuke hit his friend on the head.
“Baka!” the dark-haired boy muttered.
There was something in his voice that made Hinata think he didn’t quite mean it. It sounded almost…affectionate.
Affection from an Uchiha? Unheard of.
She turned away from the scene, digging into her own food, which arrived a few seconds after the boys’. These weird thoughts she kept having, the feelings that seemed to come from nowhere. What was she meant to do about them? Did she really hate Uchiha Sasuke as much as she thought she did?
Chapter notes: So I was playing around with this idea, it it sort of appeared in this story. It was just gonna be a one-shot, but I really like the way it's going! Please R&R?!?
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