Phoenix from the Flames

Disclaimer: Naruto is all mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Well, I can dream, can't I?

I felt absolutely useless when I heard Otousan tell Kurenai-sensei that he didn't really care that I had become a Genin in her care. You see, Kurenai-sensei had come to our house to speak to Otousan about me after I had been assigned to her team. I hadn't meant to eavesdrop, but it just happened that I was walking past the training room, on the way to my room, and I heard everything. Everything that Otousan thought was wrong with me. He thought I was weak, much, much weaker than my younger sister Hanabi, who was an embarrassing five years younger than me.

I stood there in shock. Yes, I knew that the entire Hyuga clan didn't think very much of me, for I was timid, weak, and easily intimidated. But still, I felt so hurt and betrayed when I heard those heart-wrenching words being uttered by my very own father.

And so I stood there, shell-shocked, and heard the rest of the emotionless verdict Otousan had for my performance these twelve yeas I had been on this earth. Although Kurenai-sensei tried to reassure him that I had my strengths, he heard nothing of it. To him, as well as the rest of the Hyuga clan, being strong meant being able to master the famous Hyuga Taijutsu.

In the Hyuga clan, any family member deemed useless was banished to the mountains in the North, and was not allowed to return until he was considered worthy of bearing the surname 'Hyuga'.

Bearing that in mind, I knew that from what Otousan thought of me right then, I probably couldn't last very much longer in my own house. Therefore I made a rather decision to save whatever was left of my dignity- I would leave home to live with Kurenai-sensei, under the pretext that I wanted to learn more from her.

Even today, I still remember clearly the smirk on Hanabi's face when I announced my decision to the clan. True, I hadn't relinquished my hold on my rights as the heir of the family, being the firstborn in the main branch, but still, my leaving home meant that she was one step closer to wrenching the title of heir from my hands. After all, she was the family favourite, having much more potential as a ninja than I did. I was jealous of her skills to a certain extent, and she despised me because I deprived her of the chance to become the heir of the Hyuga clan. Admittedly, she could already fight almost as well as me, and considering the fact that she was five years younger and several kilograms lighter than me, my status as heir was very much at stake.

I was the poster-girl for timidity and a fine specimen of a weakling, and that was the very reason why I admired his strength so much.

Uzumaki Naruto, the boy who had mesmerised me with his spiky blonde hair and sky-blue eyes, and his very loud voice. But what I truly admired about him was the strength he possessed.

I had to keep my feelings for him hidden as best as I could because the clan elders had ordered me to stay away from him because in their eyes, he was an outcast. He was orphaned, and had lived alone as he could remember, but his strength despite having such a difficult life attracted me to him.

Here I was, coming from a reknowned family with an advanced bloodline, and living a luxurious life in a big house, and yet, I was so weak and useless, completely unbecoming of my status in society. In all the novels that I had read so far, the poor were always oppressed by the rich. And so all this while, I had carelessly assumed that I would be a cut above the rest because I was from a prestigious family.

However, I was proven otherwise soon after I entered the Konoha Ninja Academy. I was thoroughly defeated by Naruto-kun. When I broke the news to Otousan when I got home, I was given a tight slap across my face. "What do you mean you lost to that Uzumaki fellow? You are a member of the Hyuga clan, and have learnt our famous Taijutsu and still you have lost to that outcast! You have shamed the entire Hyuga clan!"

That was my first fight at the Ninja Academy, and I was utterly crushed by the defeat. But at the same time, I felt a sense of admiration welling up in me. Here was a boy, as old as I was, and who had received no prior training. And yet I had lost to him. Yes, my skills were supposedly many notches above his, but the determination he possessed turned the tables against me.

I was envious of the determination he had within him. And because of that, I watched him closely to find out what the source of his determination was. Gradually, I realised that behind his stoic, loud and determined countenance lay a vulnerable boy who had led a tough life. It also dawned upon me that his grinning exterior was but a mask to hide the hurt feelings he truly felt.

I admired him even more than ever for that. Over the years, I found my admiration turning into a crush on him. But being the heir of the Hyuga clan, I knew that a future with this common, orphaned boy was impossible. Moreover, my parents disapproved so greatly of him that I never dared so much as to mention his name. Hence, I kept my feelings secret, but always failed to conceal the tinge of pink that crossed my face whenever I was near him.

There was once when we were on an excursion to the mountains while we were still in the Ninja Academy. Iruka-sensei had warned us of the threats and dangers that we were going to face, and everyone had a choice whether he wanted to go or not. However, although it was clearly stated that we had a choice, there was an unspoken rule that if we did not go for every single excursion, it would be difficult for us to become a ninja. After all, the whole purpose of these excursions was to prepare us mentally for our future missions as a shinobi.

I still remember that it was a sunny day, clear sky and all. Iruka-sensei had said that this would be a mini-test for our survival skills-we were told to search for all possible sources of food we could find. We were grouped in fours, and Naruto-kun was in my team. I was so happy to be in the same team as he was that I mistakenly picked some poisonous mushrooms and tasted them carelessly without informing my groupmates.

It was a disastrous mistake with fatal consequences, and within minutes, I was writhing on the grass, frothing at the mouth and eyes rolling back in my head. I knew right then that I had been poisoned, and cursed myself for being such an idiot. I mean, I spent much of my free time learning about herbs and other medicinal plants, and here I was, getting poisoned.

It was some time before my teammates noticed my suffering. I think it was Naruto-kun who noticed first, and he picked me up immediately and ran down steep slopes in search of Iruka-sensei. I felt my limbs stiffening, and my heartbeat becoming erratic. I could barely see by then, and the last thing I could remember before I blacked out was Naruto-kun saying," Hinata-san, I know you'd be okay, so don't give up..."

I remember regaining consciousness in a hospital bed, my classmates from the Ninja Academy gathered in a semicircle around me. The first person I sought out with my eyes was Naruto-kun, and I felt my face grow hot as my eyes met his concerned gaze.

"Hinata! Daijobu ka? You've been unconscious for the past two days!"

My family members were conspicuously absent, and I listened half-heartedly as the doctor droned on and on about poisonous mushrooms.

My eyes were fixed on Naruto-kun. And even today, I can still remember the concern he had for me.

I peeped out from behind a pillar in the twilight, trying to look as casual as possible, and shuffled into Ichiraku Ramen, Naruto-kun's favourite haunt. Plopping myself onto a chair a few seats down from him, I ordered my ramen, stealing glances of him, watching him slurp his noodles and down his soup.

I didn't have the courage to even look at him eye to eye, and so I watched him silently from a distance, a blush staining my pale cheeks. When my meal was served, I snapped the disposable chopsticks into half, and then turned my head slightly so that I could see Naruto-kun.

My heart sank when I saw that his seat was empty, and turned back to my noodles, stirring the soup absently with my chopsticks, regretting for not greeting him earlier on. I sighed, and fished some noodles out of the bowl with my chopsticks and was about to begin my meal when someone slapped me hard on the back.

I gasped in shock, my chopsticks falling to the ground with a clatter.

"Hinata! I didn't know you liked ramen too!"

Naruto-kun! My heart leaped with joy as the loud blonde slipped into the seat beside me. I smiled shyly and nodded, feeling my face grow hot. I didn't really like ramen. In truth, I was only here to watch Naruto-kun, an act which some other people would call stalking.

He grinned at me, and I turned away shyly, trying hard to conceal the blush that stained my cheeks red, and yet berating myself for appearing rude. Nervously, I tapped my index fingers together and tried to smile as I turned back to look at my crush.

To my amazement and shock, he was slurping down the ramen I had purchased for myself.

"Mmph! This ramen tastes heavenly! Hinata, do you want some?" He gazed at me earnestly, and my heart skipped a beat as I stared into his sky blue eyes, feeling myself get lost in them...

I snapped out of my reverie as I felt someone stuffing ramen into my mouth. Naruto-kun was grinning from ear to ear, and seemed to enjoy feeding me. "It tastes great, doesn't it?"

I smiled coyly at him, and nodded. The ramen was the best I had ever tasted.

"Anou... N-Naruto-kun..."


"Can... Can I confide in you?"

His eyes widened slightly in surprise, and then he nodded, leaning back on the park bench and bathing in the moonlight. "Yeah."

"I... I think I shouldn't have been born in the Hyuga family." I stammered. This was something I had always questioned, and after my fight with Neji-oniisan during the Chuunin exam, self-worth was something I always questioned.

I felt despised within the family, and I knew that Hanabi or even Neji-oniisan would have made a better heir. I hung my head and blurted, "Sometimes I even wonder why I was born-"

"NO! Hinata, you must not harbour such thoughts!" Naruto-kun stared at me, a fierce intensity in his eyes. His voice dropped to a whisper, and he continued, a wry smile on his face. "I've felt that way before..."

I gasped, unable to conceal my disbelief and shock. It seemed unfathomable that such a cheery, enthusiastic and determined boy like him could ever sink into depression. He was always seen with a wide grin plastered onto his face, and enjoyed playing tricks on others. Although he was deemed an outcast by many adults, and was shunned, he never appeared hurt, and that led to my assumption that he took all these obstacles in his stride.

Naruto sighed, and looked up at the sky, a melancholic expression on his face. "I've always been the outcast, always looked down upon, and shunned everywhere. It didn't help that I never had anyone to run to whenever I was in pain... I always kept those feelings bottled up within me, and tried to present a cheery facade to the rest of the world, to prove that I was unaffected by their taunts." He gripped his knees so hard that his knuckles turned white. "But no one knew that I always went home to cry, alone, isolated from the rest, with no one to comfort me."

He turned away, and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. He drew in a deep, shuddering breath, and turned to look at me. "Hinata, you have never felt this kind of pain before."

My heart ached to see my crush looking so depressed, a stark contrast from his usual sunny self. Nervously, I fished around in my pockets and handed him my hanky. "N-Naruto-kun, I'm sorry..."

Looking up in surprise, he accepted the piece of cloth, and blew his nose. "Hinata, there's nothing to be sorry about. It's just the way life is. But I've overcome those difficulties and I'm fine now."


"Yes, I know, these memories always get to me. But no matter." He shrugged, and grinned at me, though the happiness never reached his eyes.

Impulsively, I threw my arms around his neck, only to recoil moments later, blushing furiously and shocked by my boldness.

Despite the poor light, I could see Naruto-kun's face turn crimson, and there was a pause, pregnant with unspoken emotions, before he spoke. "Thank you, Hinata."

I lay on my bed, staring at the ceiling. In the bunk adjacent to mine, Kurenai-sensei slept, her deep and regular breathing forming a peaceful rhythm of its own.

"Naruto-kun." I whispered to no one in particular, revelling in the simple pleasure of just saying his name.

I now regarded Naruto-kun in a new light, after discovering that he, too had gone through much hardship, and I was all the more determined to make him my role model. Yes. I would train tomorrow morning, and every morning after that. Perhaps, in a few years' time, I would be able to show my mettle and prove that I was truly worthy of the Hyuuga name.

Thank you, Naruto-kun...

I will work towards rising from the ashes and I promise, I will become stronger.

Just like a phoenix from the flames...


A/n: Hey. This is a repost of the original, which was rather... shabbily done. I've made it a oneshot, and I guess I liked the end result more. This fic was inspired by a song by Robbie Williams, also titled Phoenix from the Flames.

Hope you liked it ^^