One-shots are a lot easier to write than a full length story. I hope to update Wild Card after this, then Counting Down. I just wanted to write something a bit pointless with light fluff, so this came out. I also wrote it because I wanted to procrastinate writing my 1 year review.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Hinata stared into her locker. Sitting innocuously on the bottom shelf lay a small white envelope. She picked up the envelope and frowned slightly, puzzled. There was no writing on the outside. She opened it and peered inside only to find a small yellow object and nothing else. Her eyes widened in surprise when she pulled out a candy heart with an innocent 'CUTIE' inscribed on one side in red. The text itself wasn't even in the centre, characteristic of the sugared pieces of chalk.
As she turned the candy over in her fingers, two things came to mind – how did someone get it into her locker and didn't candy hearts only pop up around Valentine's Day? It was already August. Her next thought was then, who would do such a thing?
She was a realist. She knew she didn't attract attention the way Ino or Sakura did. If anything, she considered herself rather plain and boring enough to fade into the background while her two more outgoing friends took the spotlight. That never bothered her since she found it more interesting to observe people and took pride in her observational capabilities.
So it annoyed her that she had absolutely no idea who would put a candy heart into her locker. Was it some sort of prank? Or did she have a secret admirer?
The second thought shocked her somewhat. She then dismissed it. It was probably a mistake since Ino's locker was next to hers. Someone probably put it in hers by accident.
So she decided to do the mystery person a favour, and put the candy back into the envelope before slipping it into her best friend's locker.
Thinking that was the end of it, she headed to chemistry.
It was exactly a week later when she found an identical envelope in her locker. Once again there was a candy heart inside, except this time the words 'YOU ARE SWEET' were printed on the pale blue candy.
Again, she placed the envelope into Ino's locker.
It was only when five more of the envelopes made it to her locker did she decide to put any thought into who could be sending them. It was getting a little annoying, always having to put the envelopes into Ino's locker. She would like to find the person doing this and tell them that they had been getting the wrong locker and that Ino's locker was actually the next one over.
She thought about the people she knew. Naruto was too infatuated with Sakura to be the culprit, and Sakura's locker was in another hallway. Sasuke was asexual, and everyone knew it, even his fangirls (but that didn't stop them from trying). Shino wasn't interested in this sort of thing, and he would probably just tell Ino calmly (but she was pretty sure he didn't like Ino in that way). Kiba, if he ever was interested in someone, would not do something as subtle as this; it would definitely be showy and obvious. Shikamaru and Chouji were Ino's childhood friends and wouldn't need to do such a thing to convey their feelings, if they had such feelings.
She always found the envelopes in the morning, so she presumed the culprit had to do it late after school (because why would any sane student come in early?).
So, one Thursday after school, she decided to hang around her locker area in order to tell the person that he (or she, she wouldn't judge) had the wrong locker.
After hanging around for close to two hours, she hadn't seen anyone with an envelope. Sure, people she knew walked by, like Kiba and Naruto, but nobody came forward to put the envelope in a locker.
Maybe it was because she was around and the person wanted it to be a secret?
She quickly grabbed her things and left, feeling bad that she probably messed up the person's plans.
Throughout the past two months, Ino and Sakura had been excitedly discussing who the mysterious suitor could be, and spent a good chunk of their free time going through every guy they knew, even the ones in the lower years.
And up until now, the three of them still hadn't figured out who it was. She also didn't mention that she had been putting the misplaced envelopes into Ino's locker. She didn't think it was important to note.
And whoever it was was good at keeping themselves anonymous, especially since they were dealing with the two biggest gossips in the entire school. If something happened early in the day, it was guaranteed that either (or both) Sakura or Ino knew about it, and if it happened at the end of the day, then they knew about it the next day. It even applied to events that didn't occur during school hours. She had no idea how they did it, but it was an amazing ability, equivalent to a modern-day superpower, at least in her opinion.
When she arrived the Friday morning, she found the envelope sitting at the bottom of her locker once more. Out of curiosity, she took a peek inside at the message.
Smiling at the gesture, she put the candy back and closed the envelope before moving to open Ino's locker.
She paused, just after pulling the lock off, and turned to see Naruto walking towards her. "Naruto, good morning."
"Good morning! How're you doing?"
"I'm good. How about you?" She smiled warmly at him.
Naruto stopped in front of her and grinned. "Great! We've got our last practice today before the game tomorrow. We're gonna steamroll Suna High!"
"I'll go and cheer you guys on." She turned back to Ino's locker and put the envelope inside.
"What've you got there?"
"Oh, this?" She held up the small white envelope. "Someone keeps putting these in my locker instead of Ino's." She put the envelope in her friend's locker and shut it, locking it back up.
Naruto had a strange look on his face. "So Ino's been getting those?"
She was confused at both his expression and question. "Umm... yes? I can see how that person would get confused. The lockers aren't numbered and mine is right next to hers... But I'm not sure how they're getting it in my locker..." she hastily explained herself.
"Oh, that makes sense. Well, err, I'm guessing it's some sort of confession then?"
She nodded. "Yes. It's so cute. Ino is really excited."
Naruto had his trademark grin on his face at her words. "That's nice. So is that what her and Sakura have been talking about for the past while?"
"Mhm." She glanced at the time and frowned. "I need to get going, Naruto. I need to fix up the photos."
"Right, you're an editor for yearbook. I'll see you later!"
After saying her goodbyes, she walked to the computer lab to finish her work.
The following week, she found the same envelope in her locker, except with one major difference - her name was printed in Times New Roman on one side. Once again, she opened the envelope and found a pastel pink heart candy with the trademark red print stamped on with 'ONLY YOU.'
Did that mean all the previous envelopes were meant for her? Why was it only now that the mysterious person put a name on it?
She stared at the envelope as she thought back to the previous week. There was nothing different, except... Her eyes widened.
She had told Naruto about the envelopes and now this one had her name on it! So either Naruto was sending these to her or he knew the person sending these to her. If it was the latter, it would take ages to figure out who it was. Naruto knew everyone, well almost everyone.
If it was Naruto himself... Well, she would be flattered, but would turn him down. She admired him greatly, but didn't feel that way about him. He was more like an idol rather than a potential date. Besides, she was pretty sure he liked Sakura, so it shouldn't be him, right?
She put the envelope in her bag and went to class. She would ask Naruto about it later.
While she was sitting at the table for lunch, Ino and Sakura were chatting avidly about the lack of a secret admirer envelope in Ino's locker this week. Hinata did her best to stay out of it since she wasn't sure what to say, but unfortunately she couldn't stay out of the conversation for long.
"What do you think, Hinata? Do you think he gave up sending them to me because I couldn't figure out who he was? Or maybe he plans on talking to me face to face!"
"Umm... Maybe he is planning something different?" She couldn't just tell the two of them that the envelopes had actually been for her the entire time!
Sakura snapped her fingers. "That would make sense," she said as she nodded. "The letter thing got boring after a few months and so he decided to mix it up by doing something different."
As the two discussed that idea with fervor, Hinata felt the guilt welling up inside. She had to find Naruto and clear this whole thing up.
The rest of the day went by in a blur. Her main focus was finding Naruto. He would surely have the answers to her questions. And hopefully, Ino and Sakura would forget about the envelope and focus on something else.
She managed to catch up to him at the end of the day, just before he reached the gym with his friends for basketball practice. "Naruto!" She waved at him. "I need to talk to you."
He looked at her, then at his friends. "You guys tell Hatake that I'll be there in ten minutes."
Sasuke merely inclined his head while Kiba smirked at him, saying, "Will do."
Naruto ran over to her. "What's up, Hinata?"
She got right down to business. "Is it you or is it someone you know that is sending me those candy hearts?"
He blinked a few times before replying. "W-what are you talking about?" he asked, before laughing nervously.
Really, he was too honest for his own good sometimes. She just stared at him silently, waiting for him to answer her.
He sighed, finally caving. "So you figured it out, huh?"
"The only reason why the envelope had a name on it this time was because I talked to you. It wasn't hard to figure out."
He bit his lip, obviously hesitating. "Okay, fine. It's not me, just someone I know. I can't tell you who. It's not fair to him."
"So this isn't a prank or something?" she asked, curious. She didn't recall anyone liking her, but then again, she wasn't exactly looking for it.
Waving his hands with a panicked expression on his face, he hurriedly spluttered, "What?! No! Of course not! God, no! He's just really... really awkward. Like super socially awkward." Naruto clapped a hand to his mouth. "Pretend I never said that," he mumbled through his fingers.
She didn't need clarification to know which part he wanted forgotten. Naruto was a prankster, but he wasn't the type to do something cruel like a fake admirer, not unless the person he was pranking already had dozens of fans (like her cousin or Sasuke - and for the record, yes he had done the fake admirer thing to his best friend). So she believed his words about her secret admirer.
She could worm some more information out of Naruto, but she decided against it. Like he said, it wouldn't be fair to the guy, whoever he was, no matter how curious she was about his identity.
"I won't. Thank you for letting me know, Naruto. Good luck for your practice and for the game tomorrow if I don't see you before then."
His eyes widened. "Crap, practice! Thanks, Hinata. I'll see you later!" With a wave, he ran back inside the gym.
She headed home with thoughts of a secret admirer whirling in her mind.
She spent the next week at school watching people (not in a creepy way, mind you) and she still couldn't figure out her secret admirer. She wouldn't have believed it had it not been Naruto who told her. For all the mischief he got up to, he wasn't a liar. The mystery was frustrating her immensely. She was good at reading people, even better than Neji, and the mystery guy was eluding her.
She would normally ask Sakura and/or Ino, but both of them still thought those messages were for Ino and she didn't want to tell them it was a mistake and that they were actually for her. Then she would have to explain her mistake and it was all just too embarrassing.
The only clue she had was that he was an acquaintance of Naruto and that he was socially awkward. Her name was printed on the envelope by a computer so she couldn't even try and figure it out based on the handwriting.
She pulled out the latest candy from her bag. The white heart read 'BE MINE'. Turning it over in her fingers, she let out a sigh. It was the last class of the week and nobody was working, and Sakura and Ino weren't in her chemistry class, so she could stare at the candy without being bothered.
She would give up thinking about it for today. It had only been less than a day; she would give herself a week to try and solve this mystery before deeming it as not so important. She had to focus on university applications and she didn't want to have this issue taking up most of her time.
She considered talking to Hanabi or Neji, but decided against it. Hanabi wouldn't know the people at her school, except her group of friends, and Neji would go into overprotective mode.
The bell rang and she shoved her things back into her bag. The candy she put back in the envelope before slipping that carefully between her books. She'd never had an admirer before, so she kept all the hearts in a small glass container at home in her drawer.
She would worry about it next week.
She opened her locker on the following Friday morning and noticed there wasn't an envelope at the bottom. She blinked at the empty space a few times before putting her things inside and taking the relevant things with her.
Was there nothing there because she failed to get any leads on the guy? Or was it because the guy no longer found her interesting?
Slight disappointment bubbled up inside her. She had gotten used to seeing the white envelope in her locker for the past couple of months.
She hadn't even noticed how long she had been standing there for when the bell rang. With hurried steps, she made her way to class.
Thankfully, Ino and Sakura were focussed on another topic at lunch - Gaara and Matsuri's recent split.
She only half-listened to what they were saying, her thoughts on university applications and candy hearts.
"-nata, Hinata!" Sakura's voice cut through her thoughts.
She looked up at her two best friends. "Sorry, what were you saying?"
"We were asking what you thought of Gaara," Ino said.
She blushed. "Oh, um... I don't know much about him so I can't say."
The two of them sighed. "Oh Hinata. What about his appearance?" Sakura asked.
"Umm... he's all right?" She wished they stopped asking her embarrassing questions. Besides, wasn't personality more important than appearance? Granted, it would be nice if the person was at least somewhat attractive, but it wasn't as important as how they would treat you. Or so she thought.
Ino moved to hug her. "Ohh, she's so cute! Look at how red she gets!"
"Ino!" Her protests were ignored as the two of them coo-ed over her.
"So, Hinata, do you want to come with us to the opening of that new cafe down the road?" Sakura invited.
"I'd love to, but my father wants me to finish the applications by Monday, so I was going to do that. And I can't do it tomorrow since we were going to hang out the whole day, and Sunday is the corporate gathering."
Ino pouted. "Hina, just skip the corporate gathering."
"I can't! My father would kill me."
"Just kidding, hon. Well, okay. But you have to come with us next time, okay?"
She nodded. "Of course."
She waved to Sakura and Ino before heading to the library.
The library was the perfect place to study on Friday after school since practically nobody was there.
The only people that ever joined her were Shino, Neji (when he was still in high school with her), and Sasuke.
So when she reached her usual table, she was unsurprised to see Sasuke. She put her stuff down opposite him and pulled out her applications. Before starting them, she gave him a small smile, which he responded with a slight nod. He appeared to be working on math homework, and she decided to finish the applications as soon as she could so she could ask her companion a question about the concept they learned today.
Even though he was a man of few words, he did help her out with homework. They had this understanding, which didn't require them to say much to one another, unless one of them was asking for homework help from the other.
She was actually quite comfortable with him. When their friends were doing something outrageous or being too loud, they would exchange a look. It was the subtle body language between the two that was the foundation of their relationship. And it also took maybe three months of knowing each other, and communication through eye contact and gestures before they even spoke a word to each other.
Her relationship with Shino was similar, except she had known Shino since elementary school, and talked to him more about personal things. Shino was an excellent listener.
Maybe she should talk to Shino about this. He always offered good advice.
She twirled her pen between her fingers, a trick she had learned from Kiba (who always found ways to not listen in class), as she read the last part of the final application, before signing and dating it.
She let out a sigh of relief. She finally finished all the applications. Shoving all the papers back in her bag, she stole a glance at her companion across from her. He was engrossed in the biology homework Ms. Yuuhi had assigned yesterday.
She pulled out her math homework and flipped open to the lesson from today.
When she saw him finish a question, she asked, "Umm, Sasuke, can you help me with this integration question?"
He raised his head and glanced at her page. "The trigonometric ones?"
"Yes. It's one of the looping ones..."
Sasuke spent the next ten minutes going over the concept of looping integration for her, clearing up all her misunderstandings. He was really good at math and had the patience to go over it all with her.
"Thank you, Sasuke. Your explanations are so much easier to understand than Mr. Sarutobi's." She smiled as she completed the question.
He shrugged. "He skips some of the in between steps since he presumes we all understand how he thinks. He's good one on one, but not so much at teaching a class."
She usually asked Sasuke or Neji, so she'd never gone to Asuma for help. She nodded at Sasuke's words. Both of them then went back to work.
The next two hours were spent studying, interspersed with questions from either person. It was relaxing to study with the Uchiha.
"Are you going to stay here longer?"
She looked up at him to see he'd already packed his things, then looked at her watch. It was already 6:30. "Oh, no. I should probably get going too. I didn't realise it was so late already."
She quickly packed her things. He was still standing there. "You didn't have to wait."
He shrugged, looking at everywhere but her.
"You okay?" His behaviour was odd, almost awkward, which was not a word she would have ever associated with him.
He hesitated for a moment before walking around the table to stand in front of her. He took her hand, placing a small, hard object in her palm. Then he took a couple of steps back. "...Do you want to grab something to eat?" His voice was almost a whisper.
She looked down at the object and her eyes widened. Sitting in the centre of her palm was a pastel purple candy with red letters spelling 'I LOVE YOU'.
She glanced between the candy and Sasuke, speechless.
He was watching her, a slight frown marring his features. At the prolonged silence, he murmured, "It was Naruto's idea..."
"I thought it was really cute!" she blurted out. She took a few deep breaths in order to calm down and organise her thoughts. "Umm... I'd like that, dinner, I mean."
The corners of his mouth curled upwards. "Good."