Hinata watches Naruto from a distance, wondering if she'll ever be able to talk to him. Onesided NaruHina. Currently a one-shot, but may be extended later.
As she often assured herself, Hinata wasn't following Naruto for the same reasons girls like Sakura and Ino followed Sasuke around. For one, she never went too far out of her way to find him. She was just lucky that he was so predictable in where he spent any free time. She simply enjoyed watching him and learning about him in an effort to become more like him.
After years of stuttering and blushing, she was tired of being the quiet one, the shy girl who could barely hold a conversation of any great length with her closest friends, let alone say anything of significance to the boy she admired and loved more than any other. She hoped that by getting to know him, she could learn to become more confident. And since the normal way of getting to know someone was out of the question, she had started watching him from a distance.
Hinata sighed as she watched Naruto enter Ichiraku’s Ramen Bar from down the street (her bloodline limit was useful in times like this). She wasn't having much success at becoming brave enough to approach her crush. How many times had she tried to talk to him, only to end up stuttering her way through a simple greeting or, even worse, fainting when he spoke to her? She had mentally rehearsed the situation many times: she would 'happen' to run into him on the streets of Konoha. He would greet her in his usual, exuberant way, and she would ask if he wanted to get some ramen with her, just as any of his other friends would. He would accept, of course (she was sure he'd never say 'no' to ramen), and she would get a chance to get to know him properly. However, no matter how well thought out her plans were, at the mere thought of approaching him, her pulse would race, pumping blood and adrenalin to her panicked mind as every coherent thought fled.
She had felt fear coursing through her body and wiping her mind blank many times before; she was a shinobi, after all, and had experienced her share of dangerous situations. That type of fear could be dealt with. Her training would take over, and her team was always close if they were needed.
She couldn't understand the extent of her fear when simply faced with talking to the boy she loved.
She couldn't know for sure if it was love she felt for him; she wasn't exactly experienced in matters of the heart. She could ask Sakura or Ino, but that would mean admitting something to them (which even that would take more courage than she possessed), and she didn't want to risk someone saying something to Naruto and making it even harder for her to talk to him. Besides, she wasn't really close enough to the other kunoichi to talk to them about something this personal; she had never formed any close friendships with anyone other than Kiba and Shino. But despite her inexperience, surely this had to be love that she was experiencing. Why else would her heart beat so frantically around him? Why else would she blush and stutter so much more when talking to him than anyone else? Not to mention the fact the she had only fainted in his presence. But, most significantly, why else would she feel drawn to him so overwhelmingly, yet want to back away from fear? Surely no other emotion could be so complicated, so conflicting?
She was jolted from her thoughts by the sound of Naruto's voice. He had left the ramen stand with Sasuke and Sakura, and the three of them were heading in her direction. Now was the time to withdraw. She stepped into the busy road, making sure there was a shield of people separating her from Team 7. As casually as she could manage, she stepped into the first shop she came to. She didn't notice the floral patterns decorating the shop or the faint smell wafting onto the streets until she had opened the door. Too late to turn back, she entered the florist to see Ino behind the counter. She really wasn't having much luck today.
"Hi, Hinata!" Ino called to Hinata as she looked up from the flowers she was arranging. As Hinata mumbled a 'hello' in reply, Ino caught a flash of pink out of the corner of her eye. Hinata froze as the blonde girl turned and called out to Sakura. While Ino and Sakura's newly restored friendship had caused some awkwardness between the two girls to begin with, they now acted as if they had never been rivals.
"Anyway... what can I help you with, Hinata?" Ino asked as she turned back to Hinata.
"I... sorry, Ino-san I-I just... thought the flowers smelt nice and th-thought I'd get some to brighten my bedroom," Hinata managed to choke out. Ino instantly started telling Hinata which flower's scent she would have smelt as Sakura entered the shop, followed by Naruto and Sasuke.
"Hi, Hinata! Hi, Ino!" Naruto yelled when he saw the girls (Hinata always wondered why he seemed to yell everything). Before Hinata could compose herself enough to stutter her way through a greeting, Naruto turned back to Sakura to ask why she had to drag him and Sasuke along when she just wanted to talk to Ino. Hinata missed Sakura's quick glance in her direction as she paid for the flowers she had asked Ino for as her excuse for entering the shop. She left the shop, and bolted back to the Hyuuga compound. Once inside her room, she noticed a card attached to the flowers she held. Inside was a message scrawled in Ino's handwriting.
I don't mean to pry, but you should ask Naruto on a date soon. Sakura said that they've got a day off next Saturday. I'm sure Naruto would like it if you did.
Hinata put the flowers into a vase as tears threatened to fall from her eyes. How could she ask him out? Despite Ino's hint that Naruto would want to go on a date with her, how could she know for sure? Due to her shyness, they had hardly talked. He had supported her in her fight against Neji in the Chuunin exams, but he would do that for any of his friends, right? And everyone knew that he had been asking Sakura out for years. How could she compare?
Hinata didn't know why she bothered trying to avoid detection when she watched Naruto. How would it make any difference? Even if he saw her, he'd simply greet her before moving on.
That was the way it always was.
Hinata was used to being overlooked.