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Naruto yawned and opened his blue eyes, which opened even wider at the site that met them. There were no less than seven flower arrangements sitting in various spots on and around his nightstand. He pushed back the covers and looked at the cards. One from Hinata, one from Sakura and five from girls in his Academy class he'd never talked to. Girls...that had ignored him. What the....? he thought. He looked up as the door to his room opened. Hinata was carting in yet another bouquet.
Hinata peeked around the flowers she was carrying. "N..Naruto-kun," she said with a smile.
Naruto looked at Hinata in confusion. "What's going on here?" he said, glancing at the flowers behind him.
A flicker of irritation crossed Hinata's face. Why does he have to be popular all of a sudden? "I...I don't know." She held the flowers she had out to him. "H..here's another one."
Naruto took the flowers and looked at the card. It was from Tsunade. He smiled and put them on the window sill. He turned around and looked at the other flower bunches again. "Why are girls sending me flowers?"
"M...maybe if y...you read the cards?" Hinata offered.
Naruto frowned thoughtfully and pulled the card out of the nearest vase. As he read it his eyes went wide and small smile crept up to his lips. In happy disbelief, he handed the card to Hinata and eagerly grabbed the next one.
Hinata opened the card and silently read the words to herself.
I just wanted to say I'm glad you're alright and that I've kinda, um, liked you since I saw you fight in the main Chuunin Exam. I was thinking, maybe we could go on a date after you're better? Um, that's all I wanted to say. Bye.
Get well soon,
Hinata's heart sank. If all those cards were like this one then her chance to be with the boy she loved was now slim to none. She couldn't help it. Tears began to prick at her eyes.
Naruto was about to happily hand the next card to Hinata when the look on her downcast face stopped him cold. "Hinata-chan? Are you okay?"
Hinata shook her head slowly.
"What's wrong?" Naruto asked, now quite concerned.
Hinata swallowed. "It's nothing." She sucked in a hurt-sounding breath. "I have to go home," she said as she turned to leave.
"Please tell me what's wrong. Did I do something?" Naruto asked quietly.
Hinata stopped and turned around. Tears were now streaming down her face. "No. It's n...nothing you did."
"What then?" Naruto asked, putting a comforting hand on her shoulder.
At Naruto's touch, Hinata squeezed her eyes shut as if in pain. "Please, it's p...rivate."
Feeling torn between wanting to help his friend and respecting her wishes, Naruto relented. "Okay. But if you wanna talk...."
Hinata nodded and left the room. Naruto sat down on his bed. He had lost interest in his cards. His thoughts were interrupted as he heard a knock on his door. He looked up to see Kakashi and Tsunade come in.
"Yo, Naruto," Kakashi said offhandedly.
Naruto smiled a little. "Hey, Kakashi-sensei. Hey, Granny Tsunade," he greeted them.
Tsunade twitched a bit when she heard Naruto's 'nickname' for her. "How're you feeling brat," she said jokingly as she placed an affectionate kiss on his forehead.
Naruto blushed a bit. "F...fine."
Tsunade made a low whistle. "You have quite the fan club going here," she said with a wink.
Naruto ducked his head a bit in embarrassment. "Yeah, well two of 'em are from friends," he said as he scratched the back of his head with a grin.
Tsunade's face became a bit more serious. "As much as I'd like it to be, this isn't only a social call," she said suddenly.
The smile disappeared from Naruto's face. "You...want me to tell you what happened, huh?"
"Yeah," Kakashi answered. "I'm sorry, Naruto, but we have to know," he said, even though he wasn't looking forward to hearing it.
"I don't want to talk about it," Naruto said as he turned away.
"Don't want to talk about what?" came Sakura's voice from the other side of the room. Sasuke and Sakura were walking towards Naruto.
"Orochimaru," Naruto answered miserably.
Sakura's bright smile evaporated. "Oh...do..do you mind if we stay?"
Naruto shrugged. "Suit yourself."
Sakura and Sasuke sat on the edge of Naruto's bed. Tsunade sat in the armchair and Kakashi leaned against the wall nearest to the group.
After what seemed like an eternity Naruto spoke. His voice sounded hollow. "He drugged me."