Naruto & Hinata begin dating after the events of 'Initiative' and Naruto soon discovers that what happened seemed to have a chain effect...
Before you begin reading, here are some things to know:
1) There are spoilers within concerning Naruto Shippuden. Ye be fairly warned
2) Certain charaacters that are dead are in here, hence the Alternate Universe tag.
Ripple Effect (Or, The Hyuga Guide To Dating)
By Kairi Taylor
It was late in the evening when she found him; Haruno Sakura spotted her teammate, Uzumaki Naruto, sitting down at his usual dining spot in Ichiraku Ramen, looking down at his huge bowl of chicken ramen. The young man had a far away look in his eyes, as if he was seemingly lost in thought. Now, years ago, Sakura would have never thought Naruto was incapable of having any such capacity for deep thought, but the time spent with him as a teammate & dear friend had taught her otherwise (Of course, it still annoyed her greatly that he had picked up a few pesky habits from Jiraiya.) Sitting down next to him, she tapped him lightly on the shoulder & said, “Hey, you look lost”
“Oh, Sakura! Hey, didn’t see you there.” Naruto lightly blushed. The day’s events still played out over and over in his mind: the young man had, in a relatively short amount of time, not only learned that Hyuga Hinata was deeply in love with him, but had his first kiss with said girl & lost his virginity to her within 5 hours. Afterwards, Hinata’s father gave the blessing to the two to start dating. This came right after Tsunade informed the two that Jiraiya had a hand in Hinata’s rather bold behavior. “So, uh, what brings you here?”
“What, I can’t check on my favorite loud mouthed knucklehead once in a while? Word has it that Hiashi paid you a visit to your place today.”
“Oh yeah that…look, I kind of know that you, Neji & Lee…”
“Don’t worry, I’m not here to pummel you in the ground or anything,” Sakura smiled as she patted Naruto on the back, “I’m just seeing how you’re adjusting. This is a mighty big step, you know.”
“You’re telling me. How come you’d never thought to tell me Hinata had loved me for so long?”
“I was kind of hoping you’d figure it out sooner or later! I mean come on, remember the Chunin Exam? It was so obvious she had her eye on you. I didn’t interfere because I was worried if I told you, you’d stumble half assed through the reply.”
“I can’t argue with that logic.”
“And in a way, I’m a bit jealous. I mean, if I had done what Hinata done…”
“If you did, maybe Sasuke would learn to lighten up.”
Sakura had to laugh at that one. It was true; Sasuke had never quite learned to let himself have a small bit of fun. “Of course, given the business with his brother, it’s kind of understandable.” Naruto sighed. Their long time friend and comrade, who learned some rather shocking details about his brother and the reasons behind the destruction of the Uchiha clan, decided to take a yearlong trip to think things through. He assured his friends he would come back soon & set right the damage he had done when he opted to defect from Konohakure. The matter was, of course, complicated by the fact that what he learned involved certain heads of the village. It was anyone’s guess how the young man would be received when his journey was complete. “At least you don’t have to worry about that crazy Karin woman getting her hooks into him. Granny Tsunade’s keeping her mighty busy.”
“She’s just lucky she isn’t serving any hard time in jail! I swear, I never met a woman so obnoxious in my entire life, she’s like…”
“An even lustier version of you.”
“Don’t even go there!”
“Ah, sorry, sorry. Look, I’m really nervous about this. This is my first date with Hinata &, well, it’s going to be special.”
“Of course, I mean you two have known each other for quite a while.”
“Yeah, but the Hyugas, they have this sort of tradition to follow. Hiashi told us about it today & it’s rather…weird.”
“As long as you’re not making any blood oaths to give up your first born, what is weird about it?”
“See, according to the rules that Lady Hyuga had laid out, the first date must be a group date. So, not only am I going out with Hinata, I have to be accompanied by another Hyuga & their respective date.”
Sakura’s eyes perked up. “I see, I guess it’s to keep an eye on you. So that means that Neji will be joining you.”
“More than likely he will be. But I wonder who they will get to date him.”
“Duh, it should be obvious.”
“You wished to see me, Hiashi-sama?”
Neji sat down at the table of the Hyuga elder, a mask of curiosity overtaking him. Usually, if there was anything that Hiashi needed to discuss with him, they would do so in the garden of the estate. However, Hiashi had insisted that they talk in private in his quarters. “Well, Neji, it’s about your cousin, Hinata. As you know, I have given my consent to have her date Naruto. But a few conditions have been set in order.”
“I’m not familiar with these conditions, actually.” Neji said. Hiashi nodded & replied, “Yes, I know. This is what I need to discuss with you. After Hanabi was born, Lady Hyuga had realized that the girls would more than likely mingle with the other ninja families of Konoha. She had drafted these rules in a span of three years after much research and insisted that we use them in any and all interactions with prospective mates.”
“This is the first I’ve heard of such of decree.”
“Yes, well, it’s a rather long list. Not only are there a few rules, but Lady Hyuga had drawn up lists of places to visit, local restaurants, festivals and other activities. You should take a look at this to see what I mean.”
Hiashi then handed over the scroll for Neji to look over. Reading in earnest, Neji observed, “I see what you mean. The rules and guidelines for dating are dwarfed by the other sections of the scroll---why is there a listing for love hotels in here?”
“She was quite blunt when it came to the subject of Hinata possibly being intimate with her chosen beau. I didn’t feel like arguing, it would make her remind me of the antics we used to get into.”
Neji sighed. He was already traumatized by the use of his Byakugan earlier that day, when he caught Naruto & Hinata in the middle of their most intimate moment. (And, as he regretfully learned, he found out just how aggressive Hinata could get) The young genius was not ready to even tolerate the image of his uncle doing anything of the same nature. “I have to ask, why tell me about the scroll?”
“The rules dictate that for the first date, Hinata must participate in a group date, to break the ice between the families. Therefore, I think it would be good for you to accompany Hinata on her date with Naruto.”
“Well, I don’t think it would be appropriate to ask Hanabi, she’s not quite ready to date yet. I’d go myself, but I think I’d be too intimidating to both of them.”
“And think of it this way, it finally gives TenTen a chance to formally go on a date with you.”
“Yes Neji. Surely you know how she feels about you.”
“Oh, I uh…suppose I did notice she has been quite supportive of me.” Truth be told, Neji was very aware of TenTen’s feelings towards him, but he was never sure how he should address them. Being open about certain things was never one of his strengths. Hiashi took note of this & said, “I think she has a greater deal of affection for you than you believe. This will be the perfect time to explore it.”
“Well, if you think that is wise, I’ll give it a shot. Of course, there is the matter of Guy-sensei.”
“Yes, well it can’t be helped. I do not think it will be so bad if he learns two of his teammates are dating. Of course, if he was to learn WHY this came about…”
Neji shuddered. Guy was a bit of a dramatic when it came to affairs of the heart. “I assure you, no one in their right mind will tell him about Naruto & Hinata’s most intimate moments.”
“Wow, she’s pretty thorough,” Sakura remarked, “but she’s made a lot of good choices.”
Naruto had just finished telling Sakura about some of the details of the scrolls contents & its tips on dining out. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say her hobby was matchmaking.” Naruto said. “But I’m still lost. What is a ‘love hotel’ really?”
Sakura blushed. “Um, maybe we should save that question for Kakashi-sensei. Right now, we have to figure out what you need to wear for your first official date with Hinata.”
“What’s wrong with my usual outfit?”
“It’s a casual affair, silly. There’s no need to go on a romantic date in your work clothes. Besides, she sees you everyday in that orange & black jacket. I think she’d prefer to see you in something a little more, shall we say, gentlemen like.”
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right.” Naruto rubbed his chin in thought. “I think the ero-sanin said I needed to expand my wardrobe if I ever wanted the ladies to take me seriously.”
“For once, the perv gave sound advice.” Sakura agreed. It was at this moment that two faces peeked into the noodle stand: Temari & Shikamaru Nara respectively. “Ah, here he is!” Temari said.
“Hey, Naruto, word is you’re going out on a date with Hinata.” Shikamaru said to him. “So, you finally caught on, eh?”
“Yeah, I was worried the lug would never get the idea in his head to ask her out.” Sakura smiled.
“Geez, am I gonna hear this from everyone?”
“Pretty much.” Shikamaru replied. “The poor girl’s had the hots for you for a very long time. It was only a matter of time before you got the hint and hooked up with her.”
“You mean like you & Temari?”
“That falls in the realm of fantasy, kid.” Temari answered. “So, what was it like?”
“What, asking her out?”
“No, losing your virginity to a hottie like her? Come on, the first time has to be memorable.”
The looks on Sakura & Naruto’s faces screamed ‘oh crap’. Shikamaru sighed & said “You just couldn’t keep it to yourself, could you?”
“Sorry, I just had to see how the kid would react.”
“How did---who---WHY DO YOU KNOW THIS?!” Naruto practically had jumped out of his seat & shook Shikamaru by the shoulders as Sakura said to Temari “We thought this was a secret between us, Neji, Rock Lee & the Hokage.”
“Well, it is, in a matter of speaking.” Temari said. “However, we had to drop by the Hokage’s office a while ago and we kind of learned more than we ever intended.”
Precisely 1 hour ago…
“You’re more sour faced than usual.” Temari observed as she headed towards the Hokage’s office with Shikamaru. The young man sighed & said, “You can’t really blame me, can you? This year’s candidates for chunin from the Hidden Mist Village were some of the most obnoxious, cocky genin I’ve seen yet! It’s a miracle they even made it to the exam at all.”
“True. But I’d figured having them ejected would be a bit of a picker upper for you.” Temari said. “Ok, maybe the threats to have you knocked back down to genin are troubling you.”
“Like hell. Kids like that need to learn you can’t buy your way into the chunin rank. And if it was that simple, I’d have dreamt up a scheme like that a long time ago.”
“Right, you can explain that to me over a bowl of noodles.”
“Hey, I just want to see how an old friend of ours is doing. No need to read into that.”
“Yeah, my foot it is. Wait- you hear that?” Shikamaru looked towards the office of the Hokage, which was slightly ajar. “Yeah, sounds like the Hokage is reading someone the riot act. Maybe they gave her the wrong horse sheets.”
“It wouldn’t be the first time.” Quietly, the two crept up to the door to hear the Hokage dress down whoever was inside. Quite suddenly, several thuds, loud and deep, echoed across the hall.
“Sounds like a meeting of face & desk.” Temari whispered.
“DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOUR STUPIDITY HAS CAUSED, YOU DUMB ASS?!!” Tsunade bellowed.
“Hokage, I don’t think Jiraiya-sama can respond if you keep smashing him face first into the desk like that.” Hiashi’s voice calmly addressed her. “While it is mildly pleasing, it really gets us nowhere.”
A muffled thud echoed from the room, along with the sounds of someone readjusting his nose. “Honestly, how was I supposed to know this was going to happen? It’s not like every day I think ‘Gee I wonder if my actions will cause Hinata to lose her inhibitions, declare her love for Naruto, drag him to his apartment & have sex with him’ at every moment, now is it?”
“No, but I wish you’d use more tact when describing the situation, Jiraiya-sama. This is my daughter we are talking about.”
“Oh, my apologies, Hiashi-san.”
“In any case,” Tsunade continued, “what’s done is done. I guess this will be more than a good excuse to schedule mandatory sex-ed classes in the academy courses from now on.”
“Are you sure you’re ok with this, Hiashi?” Jiraiya asked.
“Yes, I am. I think it will be good for these two to be together quite honestly. We all know what kind of a life Naruto has had to lead on his own & he’s been gaining many friends these past few years. Moreover, my daughter’s grown quite a bit ever since the chunin exams. Besides, she’s been in love with him for so long, my wife would kill me if I interfered.”
“I’m surprised Lady Hyuga didn’t track you down & beat you to death with your prosthetic arm yet.”
“Well, my wife is a bit more subdued in this sort of thing than I am.”
“Subdued? I heard that your courtship was a bit on the ‘torrid’ side, if you catch my drift.”
“You’re one to talk, Jiraiya! The tales of your exploits make my relationship with my wife seem like a casual occurrence.”
“I don’t want to hear about what the two of you did when you were horny teenagers, seriously.” Tsunade interrupted. The sounds of someone sitting down on a leather chair were barely audible as Tsunade said “Let’s just try to keep the circumstances of these two dating between us and never let Guy hear of it.”
And Back To The Present…
“And basically, that’s how we found out.” Shikamaru finished relating his tale as Naruto stood there, eye twitching. Temari waved her hand in front of his face as Sakura said “So much for keeping a secret.”
“Trust me, this isn’t exactly something I would be talking to Choji about.” Shikamaru assured her.
“I think it was rather romantic. Well, if your idea of romantic is to have the girl totally dominate the guy.” Temari said “But I think I’ll squeeze the finer details out of the kid some other time.”
“Can you at least promise me you won’t tell Gaara & Kankuro about it?” Naruto said to her. Temari laughed & said, “Believe me, Kankuro knows more about the birds and the bees than anyone else. Gaara though…wow. That was a doozy explaining it to him. When I got finished, he had a look on his face like Shukaku was possessing him all over again.”
“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.” Naruto replied.
“But you’re not nervous about the date at all? I mean I don’t know much about the Hyugas but it’s gotta be a big deal to date the eldest daughter.”
“Well, I’m not too worried. I’ve known Hinata for quite some time. But dating is kind of new to me, so maybe Kakashi-sensei has some pointers for me.”
“Better him than Jiraiya.” Sakura pointed out.
A small knock alerted Hinata to her sister’s presence. Hinata looked up from the scroll she was reading to see Hanabi entering the room, carrying a tray with two clay cups of green tea. “Hinata, mother said you should drink this to help you relax.” Hanabi said.
“Oh, yes, thank you, Hanabi-chan.” Hinata smiled at her sister as she sat down with her older sibling. Hanabi had often started coming to Hinata’s room to have nightly discussions, as per Hiashi’s advice. The two often discussed Hanabi’s progress in the academy & ways to improve. But tonight’s talk was much, much different.
“Hinata is it true?”
“Do you mean the news that I am dating Naruto-kun?”
“Yes, I overheard mother & father a while ago. They said he will be visiting our home tomorrow.”
“Yes, he is. This is the first time you’ll meet him face to face, you know.”
“Yeah. I haven’t seen much of him since he came back a while ago. I hear he’s quite the chatterbox.”
“Ah, mother’s description I take it?”
“Uh huh,” Hanabi nodded. She took a sip of tea & said “Still I can’t believe this is actually happening. Do you suppose the same thing could happen between me & Konohamaru?”
“Oh, so you do like him?” Hinata smiled “I was worried that his jokes were getting under your skin.”
“No, actually he has a charm all his own, even if the jokes he uses are a bit…stale.” Hanabi sighed. “But at least you were able to find the courage to tell Naruto how you feel.”
“Uh, actually…well my situation is a bit different. In fact, I think it’s best if you find your own way to tell Konohamaru how much you like him.”
“What do you mean…wait, does his have anything to do with why father sat me down earlier & explained where babies come from?”
Hanabi face faulted. “Wow. That was a bit…extreme, don’t you think?”
“I couldn’t help it. There were outside forces influencing me!”
“A likely story. It’s always the quiet ones; Iruka-sensei always says that.”
“In any case, I need to prepare for tomorrow night. That’s why I’m reading this scroll mother made.” Hanabi took a glance over her sister’s shoulder & noted “She wrote all of that? Mother is pretty thorough about this.”
“Yes. She seems to have studied all types of male & female personalities when she composed this guide. And if I read this correctly, I think tomorrow’s plan will appeal to Naruto-kun and TenTen.”
“That’s right; Neji’s joining you for the date too!” Hanabi took another sip of her tea & mused, “It’s about time the two of them started dating too, now that I think about it. I mean, they’re always giving each other funny looks, as if there’s something they want to say, but can’t will themselves to do it.”
“I know. Maybe it’s me, but this family seems to have trouble just saying what’s on our minds. You think coming into contact with Naruto-kun has anything to do with this change?”
“It seems to look that way,” Hanabi said. “Think about it, your matches with Neji, it stared something within our family. Father is not so cold anymore, Neji is no longer a nihilist, and you became stronger and stronger. But maybe letting him have his way with you is a bit much.”
“Actually,” Hinata blushed, “it was the other way around.”
“Somehow, that does not surprise me. Just answer me this: how do you think Naruto will handle meeting mother?”
“I’m more worried about what she will say to him. You know how she is about meeting suitors to the family for the first time. Remember cousin Hoshi’s first date?”
“Yes. Poor guy didn’t know what hit him.”
“Say, did you hear anything else about what mother & father discussed?”
“Well, they mentioned something about the possibility of you and Naruto visiting a love hotel. Just what did they mean by that?”
Hinata blushed furiously. This is going to be tricky.
Kakashi quietly stood by as Naruto casually sifted through the assorted shirts laid out for him. “Really, Naruto, I’m kind of flattered that you called me here to help you with this,” Kakashi started, “but I’m not really used to this sort of thing. Iruka probably has more of an eye for this than me.”
“Sakura suggested this actually,” Naruto began to explain, “Since you’re the only other guy we know who’s a real ladies man & not a complete perv. And Iruka sensei’s been having a real tough time trying to talk to me since yesterday.”
“I can imagine. You are almost like a son to him, and Hinata’s one of his favorite students. I imagine that the news of what had happened between the two of you…” Kakashi put a finger to his head and said, “I’m certain he was on the verge of overreacting.”
“Sort of. He sat me down & had a long discussion on the birds & the bees. The charts he pulled out were a real surprise. So, what do you think about this one?” Naruto held up a short-sleeved button down grey shirt, with blue flames at the hems. Kakashi nodded & said, “Well as far as casual wear for a date goes, it’s agreeable. But I think orange is more of your color.”
“Yeah, I get that a lot.”
“Anyway, don’t worry about the date, you should be fine. I’m more concerned about the meeting you & TenTen will have with Lady Hyuga first. As you know, Lady Hyuga’s had a reputation for being quite harsh on any potential suitors for the Hyugas.”
“She’s just being an overprotective mom.” Naruto replied.
“She scares Shino.”
“Ok, that is pretty bad.” Naruto gulped. It took a lot to unnerve Shino. For Kakashi to say that meant that this was indeed something not to take lightly.
“You’ll have to understand, the Hyuga family has a long history with Konoha, and they have many enemies as well. Not just anyone can meet with them Lady Hyuga is a particularly notable person especially given her relationship with Hinata.”
“I know. Hinata told me she was not exactly thrilled with how her father acted before the Chunin exams. They almost broke up because of it.”
“Yes, and it was a miracle they worked things out. My advice to you is to try not to be too harsh on her if her questions get too personal.”
“Oh come on, Kakashi-sensei, am I that hot blooded?”
“Do you want the honest truth?” Kakashi cocked an eyebrow.
“Oh second thought, a little restraint won’t hurt me.”
As Naruto examined an orange shirt, the two were joined unexpectedly by someone Kakashi hoped would not pry into their business: Guy, the leader of Neji’s team. “Ah, what an unexpected surprise, Kakashi!” Guy flashed a smile so bright it could possibly kill vampires if they were in the vicinity. “Who’d have thought that you actually would be wearing clothes other than the standard drab clothes you run around in.”
“Well, sorry to disappoint you Guy,” Kakashi casually replied, “but I’m not here to try anything. I’m actually helping Naruto out today.”
“Naruto, eh? Oh, yes, I see. I was wondering when the lad would upgrade his attire.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Naruto asked.
“Well, there was a bit of a bet between most of the jonin concerning whether or not you wore anything other than the jackets and t-shirts you usually walk around in. Kurenai said it would take the direct intervention of Kakashi to get you to change. Looks like I’m out a few yen.”
Naruto turned to look at Kakashi and asked “You guys bet on us when we’re not looking?”
“Oh no, this was a one time thing. You have to admit, Naruto, your choice of attire does leave a lot to be desired.”
“Says the two guys who wear the same clothes everyday.” Naruto mumbled.
“We can’t help it,” Guy shrugged, “since our duties keep us busy. Ah, but you are young! You have more than many opportunities to take it easy! So, what is the occasion anyway? Something special must have happened to get you to come here.”
“Try to contain yourself when you hear this.”
“I can control myself!”
“Do I need to mention what happened when you learned Kurenai was pregnant?”
“Tonight Naruto is going to go on a date with Hinata.”
Guy arched an eyebrow. “Whoa, hold on! You mean to tell me Naruto is going on a DATE? With Hinata?”
“Yeah, I’m dropping by the Hyuga place tonight.” Naruto answered.
What followed next was standard Guy behavior. Guy literally grabbed Naruto by the shoulders, nearly on the verge of tears. “I’m…I’M SO PROUD OF YOU NARUTO!!!” Guy gushed. “Finally, you and Hinata take the all important first steps to a mature, loving relationship!! I always thought that you two would make an amazing couple! To think, we were taking bets on when you’d figure out she loved you and take that all important leap into love’s domain!”
“Ok, Ok, calm down Guy-sensei!” Naruto laughed. “I see why Kakashi-sensei said you’d overreact.”
“Can you blame me? I was getting worried that none of you would ever take the chance at love. Bad enough that Neji & TenTen are too scared to try to date.”
“As a matter of fact, Guy, Neji & TenTen are joining Naruto on his date.”
Guy, upon hearing this piece of news, pumped his fist in the air. “YES! I had thought I’d have to resort to Jiraiya style tactics to get those two together. Just watch out for Lady Hyuga. She can be a bit of a hard case.”
“Lady Hyuga? What is this all about?”
The trio turned to see the latest member of Kakashi’s team carrying a large set of shirts with him; Sai, Sasuke’s replacement joined the men. “Oh, we’re just discussing Naruto’s date for tonight.” Guy replied.
“Oh yes, Yamato-sensei told me about that.” Sai said. “I was wondering myself if the two of you would ever get together. She does look at you a lot.”
“Is there anyone you didn’t tell, Kakashi-sensei?”
“Although,” Sai continued “I was certain you were playing coy with her. I mean, it was obvious she had feelings for you, although subtle. They say quietly ignoring the object of your desire makes you even more desirable.”
“Oh great, even the guy with no emotions figured it out sooner than I did.” Naruto sighed.
“Anyway, I suppose a change of outfits is needed. And from what I hear, Lady Hyuga is a bit of a stern & protective mother. My advice, Naruto-kun, is to not be the usual abrasive & blunt person you are. It could get complicated real quick if you say the wrong thing.”
“Sai is right. To the point, but right. I am curious, though. Just how did the two of you get the idea to finally start dating?” Guy asked.
“Well, it’s a funny story really…” Naruto was well prepared for this one. He had concocted a rather elaborate story to tell Guy about how the two of them set out on their path. He had practiced it with Sakura & had Kakashi help with the perfecting of said story. There was just one problem.
“Oh that. It was because Hinata accidentally drank a drug laced sake bottle of Jiraiya’s, so she kissed Naruto full force, stunned him, dragged him to his apartment & had sex with him.”
No one remembered to tell Sai.
“Man that was a disaster.” Naruto sighed, still visibly distressed. “I never knew a grown man could cry like that.”
“Try not to look down too much on Guy.” Sakura replied to him. The two were walking down the road leading to the large Hyuga estate, in which Naruto took the time to tell of the fallout of Sai’s extremely bad call. “What’s even worse is the way he so casually told me about some of his past experiences with girls! He’s almost as bad as the ero-sanin!”
“I don’t think anyone is as bad as him.” Sakura deadpanned. “In any case, here we are. Now, remember, try not to make a complete ass of yourself. This is the first time meeting with Lady Hyuga, and first impressions are always important.”
“Yeah, I know. Everyone has been telling me to watch myself around the woman. Trust me, I’m a bit more tactful than you think I am.”
“That does little to reassure me. Oh, here comes TenTen & Lee.”
When the pair came into view Naruto’s jaw had nearly dropped. TenTen wore a jade green cheongsam, with a emblem of a dragon carrying a lily in its jaws set in a small patch across her right shoulder region. Her hair, normally done up in buns, this time was let loose, so it flowed naturally. “Whoa.” was all he could utter.
“ I see Ino gave you a few tips.” Sakura remarked.
“I’m still getting used to the idea of leaving my hair like this. Of course, if Lee still can’t stop drooling over the way it looks, I’m sure Neji will really appreciate it.”
“I’m telling you, I was NOT drooling!” Lee protested. “I was just thinking about dumplings, nothing more!”
“Sure, keep sticking to that wonderful sweet lie.” TenTen laughed, and then said to Naruto “I see you’ve cleaned up pretty nicely yourself. Nice choice of shirt.”
“Thanks! Well, are you ready?”
“Yeah I’m ready. Let’s sweep them off their feet.” Sakura patted Naruto on the shoulder and said to him “Ok, you better treat her nice or you’ll have to answer to me. I’ll see you at the ramen stand later.” Lee gave Naruto his own thumbs up and added “I’m sure that he’ll do you proud, Sakura!”
The doors to the Hyuga estate opened & Hanabi, dressed in a formal white kimono, gave a low bow and greeted the two. “Welcome to the Hyuga estate. We’ve been expecting you, please come this way.” The two followed the young Hyuga into the estate as Lee & Sakura looked on.
“To think, that knuckle headed pal of mine was just starting to notice Hinata.” Sakura sighed.
“You think your teammate is bad? I can only count the number of times I caught Neji looking at TenTen the wrong way. The guy’s a genius at combat, but hasn’t got the nerve to express himself around a girl. Irony sure is sweet.”
“Well, let’s discuss this over dinner. The two of them won’t be back for awhile.”
“OK! I know this great spot near the Hokage’s office we can go. They serve a very hearty curry dish.”
“If it’s anything like that curry dish I heard you ate on that mission you and Naruto had, we are gonna have problems!”
“Man, talk about fancy!” Naruto whistled as he and TenTen sat in a large room, with a rather large oak table located in the center. The walls of the room were lined with various paintings and scrolls, all depicting what Naruto perceived to be any members of the Hyuga family. Next to the sliding doors that led to the other sections of the household was a pair of statues, each identical. The statues were of a Jonin, making the seal of the ram, a scroll in hand. Clasped in their teeth were kunai daggers. “I guess this is where the Hyugas have all their guests meet.”
“Well, this is one of the rooms.” TenTen explained. “This one is used more for family affairs than anything else.”
“Oh, so you have seen this room before?”
“One or twice, yes I have. But usually from the outside looking in.” TenTen sighed as she asked “Did they give you the same advice they gave me about Lady Hyuga?”
“That depends. I don’t think they’d tell you to think before saying anything.”
TenTen stifled a giggle. “No no, Lee had said to play it cool & don’t let her get to me. Oh by the way, I heard something about a meeting you had with Guy-sensei.”
“I rather not talk about it.” Naruto quickly replied. “Just please, PLEASE tell me that he didn’t talk to you about that little incident.”
“No, he didn’t say much about it.” That is what TenTen said to Naruto. Mentally, she told herself I don’t think Naruto-kun wants to know Guy practically blurted out that he found out Naruto and Hinata slept together to me, so I’ll keep mum about that.
A moment later, the doors slid open and a servant girl stepped forward. “Uzumaki Naruto, TenTen, Lady Hyuga Hitomi will now join you.” The two formally bowed their heads as a tall woman, dressed in a black and silver kimono, stepped inside the room. Her hair was cut short, almost identical to the hairstyle that Hinata originally had and she carried a small fan in her hands. The servant girl bowed gracefully and exited the room as Hitomi said, “Please, raise your heads. No need to be so formal.”
Naruto and TenTen looked up, slightly nervous. The gaze of Hitomi was steady as she looked on at the two. “TenTen, you look very lovely tonight. I am thankful you accepted my request to join Naruto on this date. But I don’t think there was no need to even ask, you would have accepted regardless of who was involved.”
“Ah, yes, thank you very much.” TenTen blushed. Hitomi nodded and turned to Naruto. “So, you are the one who has my daughter’s eye.” Her eyes narrowed as she said to him “Naruto, you’ve known my daughter quite some time, correct?”
“Yeah, almost all my life.” Naruto answered, cautious. He didn’t know where Hitomi would take this, but he had to be careful. “I didn’t really get to talk to her too much until the chunin exams.”
“Hmm, yes, I know. You did remarkably well. You even bested Neji, not an easy feat. There is something that I am curious about.”
“Do you mean about the fight?”
“No, I watched the replay, I even showed it to Hinata. She was very captivated by the effort you put out. But please, just humor me for a bit. Why now have you decided to go out with my daughter?”
“Uh…” Naruto stalled for a bit. He was a bit worried. Was she trying to get him to admit that his reasons for dating Hinata were less than noble? He had to take this slowly. “What do you mean?”
“It’s no secret to everyone that Hinata has had a long standing crush on you, Naruto-kun. In fact, it’s kind of a surprise to me that you eventually caught on. And as you are aware, the Hyuga family is one of the most influential and respected families in the village. It would not be so inconceivable for someone to try to marry into our family under the pretenses of love. Understand this, Naruto; my daughters means a lot to me, so I will not tolerate anyone who would do her wrong. So I ask again, Naruto-kun, why now do you date my daughter? Are there any other reasons that influenced your choice?”
Naruto let out a deep sigh. Usually, he would be angered by this sort of questioning and the infamous Uzumaki Bravado would rear it’s head. But Naruto actually could understand her position. “I don’t know exactly how to put it, since I’m not to good at expressing how I feel. But I really like a girl like Hinata. Ok, she’s shy and kind of seemed gloomy a lot when I first met her. But she was really nice to me any time we met up. She put a lot of effort into the things she did every day. Hell, she was willing to help me cheat during the first part of the chunin exams even if it meant both of our teams would have gotten kicked out. When she took on Neji, she wouldn’t back down even when she was losing. And she helped pull me out of my funk right before my match with him. Then, when our teams got paired together, I began to get to know her a lot better than before. She’s a really funny girl, and she’s improved so much from the last time. Without her help, we’d never have been able to track down Akatsuki’s headquarters and shut them down. What I’m trying to say is that I’m a bit slow in these things, but I know a good person when I meet them. Hinata is one of those people and I’m dead certain she’s the type of person I like.”
Hitomi’s eyes narrowed. “Is that a fact?”
“I see. If that is the way that you wish to state your case…”
Oh crap, did I do something wrong?
Hitomi patted him on the shoulder and smiled brightly. “Good going kid! I see you really are Uzmaki Kushina’s son!”
“Wha—“ Naruto was completely caught off guard by the change in her demeanor. Hitomi took note of this and said, “Ah don’t take it too hard. I just needed to see your reaction to the stern mother type, just to gauge your response. One of the things I’ve had some of the jonin do is spread rumors about how much of a hard ass I am. You won’t believe some of the reactions I’ve seen.”
“Somehow, this does not surprise me.” TenTen answered. “No, I didn’t think it would.” Hitomi agreed. “I was always curious about you, Naruto-kun. Honestly, my daughter could have been practically drooling over you and you wouldn’t have noticed. Maybe if you didn’t play so many pranks you’d have learned more about girls. But then again, they always did fawn over that Uchiha kid, huh?”
“Tell me about it.” Naruto huffed.
“I know. That boy was so EMO. It can’t be helped though. That ugly business with his clan and the elders…I’m sure you had talked the sense back into him.”
“Replace ‘talked’ with beaten’ and you have the complete picture.” TenTen replied. “That’s the story going around.”
“It wasn’t that bad.”
“Naruto, you two beat each other so bad, you both were confined to hospital beds for 2 weeks.” TenTen pointed out.
“Don’t remind me. Sasuke said he wants a rematch the minute he gets back to the village. Dope’s a glutton for punishment!”
“Ah, that’s male pride for you!” Hitomi laughed. Let me tell you about my husband.”
Nearby, in a room adjacent to the chamber, Hiashi listened on on the conversation as Kakashi joined him. “I take it that Naruto passed Lady Hyuga’s little test.”
Nodding, Hiashi replied, “That’s Hitomi for you, always springing the unexpected twist on people. We’ve turned down so many suitors for the family, we could fill the stadium with it.”
“So I’ve heard. Hoshi is still in therapy from that one experience.”
“Well, I think it’s a blessing that we’ve met Naruto. The lad’s influence on us has been quite monumental. I guess I better head in and make sure she doesn’t tell any embarrassing stories about us.”
“I’d join you, but I think I’ve coached him enough.” Kakashi said. “Besides, I need to make sure Guy doesn’t blab the details of what happened to anyone else.”
“How did he—“
Hiashi stepped inside the chamber as Hitomi concluded a particularly interesting tale involving the couple and a visit to a weird cave. “And to this day, he has never looked at a slug the same way since.” Hitomi concluded as Naruto howled in laughter. Hiashi sat down and said “Please, tell me he didn’t just learn about the cave incident.” Hiashi asked.
“Oh come on, it’s been, what, 15 years? Learn to let go.”
“Easy for you to say. All you had to do was pull.”
“I have to say, this is a bit of a surprise.” TenTen remarked.
“Yeah, you two are so different. I’d never thought someone as stern as you could marry her!” Naruto pointed out. Hiashi smiled and replied “Don’t be too shocked, Naruto. Sometimes two dissimilar personalities can make love work.”
“Oh, totally.” Hitomi agreed. “It seems alien at first, but true love means finding things about the person that you come to treasure no matter what. Of course, there are problems we have to endure with our prospective mates.”
“Like the fact that she tends to let her temper get to her and she does something completely unlady like.”
“Or when he completely absorbs that stick up his ass that the Hyuga elders placed up there when he was a kid.”
“Ouch. I had that one coming. Well, that is understandable. My duty as the head of the family has made me make some rather unreasonable demands on my kids. My attitude towards Hinata was almost the breaking point.”
“And trust me, I let him have it when it came to her. He didn’t know I was listening in when he had that conversation with Kurenai the day she became her sensei.”
“Yeah, I remember Kurenai telling me about that day too.” Naruto replied. “So understand that from my point of view I was completely justified when I gave him my response to those comments.” Hitomi continued.
“And what was the response?” TenTen asked.
“I broke several bokken over his skull.”
“Took me half a day to remove all the splinters from my head.” Naruto winced as Hiashi nodded in agreement. “It was one of the reasons why I made the scroll.” Hitomi told them. “I was so mad at him, I was convinced this was not the man I could love and raise a family with. So I decided to delve into the lost art of matchmaking. I studied all types of men and women, their habits, personalities, how they interacted & everything, where they went, what they wore, what kind of foods they enjoyed, all of that. It kept me away from him because I wanted him to know how it feels to shut out someone important to you, to see how Hinata felt. Then of course, there was the whole business with the chunin exam.”
“When I first heard that Hinata was in the hospital, I was a bit hesitant to visit her,” Hiashi explained, “since I hadn’t been exactly father of the year. I wanted to focus on training Hanabi, but my wife had different ideas. And by different I mean violent. She slugged me and practically dragged me to the hospital. I thought it was best for me not to be there, but when she forced me to see my daughter lying in the hospital in the intensive care ward, that’s when I realized how much of an idiot I was. So, we stayed by her side, and we all talked. I heard all about what she did during the chunin exam and how she found the strength to stand up to Neji. That’s when I finally said something that I should have said to her long ago. I told my daughter that I was proud of her. Of course, I also had to convince my wife not to completely murder Neji every time she saw him, and that took even more effort.”
“I doubt even Orochimaru could have stopped her.” Naruto said.
“With Neji, I could understand. Still wanted to rearrange his bone structure, but I could understand.” Hitomi replied.
“But all I know now is, ever since we have met you, Naruto, we’ve all seemed to have undergone a metamorphosis. It seems Namikaze Minato’s wish for his son to be seen as a hero is coming true, in more ways than one.”
“Well, enough banter from us!” Hitomi rose and said “You two put up with us old timers long enough, time for you to hang out with your dates for the evening.” The doors behind Naruto and TenTen slid open and they were joined by Hinata and Neji. Hinata was dressed in a low cut white and gray blouse while Neji was in a rather modest black short sleeved button down shirt and slacks. When his eyes met TenTen’s, the two blushed immensely. Hinata & Naruto looked at each other & smiled brightly.
“We’ve made reservations tonight for the 4 of you at a very nice bistro.” Hiashi said to them all. “We think you’ll be very happy with what they have. Just don’t overdose on the noodles, Naruto-kun.”
Uh…wow.” Was all Neji could stammer out as the young man looked at TenTen. Naruto snickered as he said to Hinata “Lee’s gonna have a field day with this one.”
“I can imagine.” Hinata replied. Neji sighed as he said to them, “Lee I can handle. It’s Guy-sensei that scares me.”
“Ditto.” Agreed TenTen. “Well, let’s get going.”
“Now have fun, all of you. Oh yes, Naruto!” Hitomi reached into her pocket and tossed a small wallet to him. “Take this.”
“Wow, a new wallet! But why?”
“Because I have a feeling that if you are going to continue to see my daughter, you’ll need that, and everything that comes with it.”
“Oh mother…” Hinata sighed. TenTen stifled a giggle as Neji looked nervously up. Naruto didn’t fully grasp the point of what Hitomi was hinting at until he opened the wallet, glanced inside, then quickly sealed it up again, feeling his face turn red. Somehow I should have seen that coming.
A few days later, Naruto and Hinata walked, arm in arm, to Temari’s place nearby the Hokage’s office, talking over the events of the week. “I still can’t believe those two, they seem so awkward together.” Naruto said to Hinata.
“Well, it is my sister and Konohamaru we are talking about, Naruto-kun,” Hinata replied. “It’s her first serious crush, so she’s still learning to handle it.”
“I just hope he doesn’t do any of the dopey things I did when I tried to impress Sakura.” Naruto sighed. “It could be worse.”
“Yes, I suppose he could do what Lee did when he first tried to impress Sakura. That must have been troubling.”
“You have no idea. Hey, here we are.” The duo arrived at Temari’s door & knocked. A few seconds later, Temari opened the door, dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, drinking from a soda can. “Oh hey, the lovebirds!” Temari smiled. “Great to see you, although it’s kind of unusual you’d come to me.”
“Yeah, well Granny Tsunade sent us.” Naruto explained.
“We are needed on a mission and the Hokage sent us to find Shikamaru.” Hinata said to Temari. “We were wondering if he’s been around to your place.”
“Funny you should mention that.” Temari replied. It was that moment that Shikamaru emerged from the back, shirtless and wearing jeans, toweling ff his hair. Naruto simply stared as Shikamaru said, flatly “I was hear all night, in case you have to ask, ok?”
“Wow…so you have a thing for older women?” Naruto asked him.
“Deal time…you don’t bring this up in casual conversation to any of our friends…” Shikamaru started.
“And we promise never to ask what you two were doing when you sneaked into the supply shed at the academy yesterday.” Temari finished.
“Deal!” both Naruto and Hinata agreed.
“Man, dating is troublesome.”