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Winter's Eyes, Chapter 2

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Hinata made it to her class, saying goodbye to Naruto in the hallway before he headed off to his own.
She had apologized to her teacher for being late before being helped to her seat, where she sunk low enough that no one would pay attention to her. Not that they would have, anyway. Hinata pulled a small silver tape recorder out of her pocket and clicked record before setting it on the edge of her desk. She listened carefully as the teacher talked, as much as she could with the rest of the class muttering and giggling to each other.

She heard a few comments about herself and sunk even lower in her seat. Hinata focused on the lesson, but found her mind wandering to the boy she met, Naruto. He was definitely different than the others. For one, he was nice, and two, he seemed much more… honest and real. Hinata found herself blushing and ducked her head so no one would notice. To say the least, Naruto definitely was… interesting.

Naruto walked down the hallway slowly, his hands deep in his pockets. He wasn’t worrying about being late; he would have gotten in trouble even if he wasn’t. Naruto shook this thought out of his mind, instead turning to think about the girl he had met, Hinata. She was completely… different than anyone he had ever met. Not just the fact that she was blind, but… she just seemed real. Naruto felt himself smiling a bit at how small she was. He was short himself, but this girl gave a new definition to the word petite.

Naruto frowned as he realized how much teasing she must be getting. Kids in this school were evil, and only cared about what was normal or “in”. He doubted being blind was on their top ten list of things to pose as. The boy shook his head again; he needed to stop thinking these things.
Hating the world and feeling bad for her or himself wouldn’t help anyone. Suddenly he made a promise; he would watch after Hinata, even if she didn’t want her to, and make sure to protect her whenever he could. Naruto wasn’t sure why he made this sudden vow, but anyone knew that if Naruto made a vow, he would keep it.

Eventually he made it to his class and everyone turned as he walked in. His teacher sent him a hateful glare.

“Naruto Uzamaki,” he spat in disgust, “Just where have you been?” Naruto sucked in a deep breath, ready to put out the best fake grin he could muster.

Hinata shifted her bag on her shoulder as she once again shuffled amongst the traffic of teens honking in the hallway. As hummers and bugs honked their horns and parked by each other’s lockers, Hinata carefully tried to avoid running into anyone. A few times someone would put on their breaks in front of her, and she’d crash right into him. Always she would hear them turn and honk, “Hey, what are you, blind?” Each time she would feel her cheeks heat up, her eyes prickled with mounting tears, and she’d whisper an unheard apology before maneuvering around them.

Sometimes she wondered if they felt bad about saying that when they turned to see her sunglass-ed face and cane- clutching hand, but more than that she told herself that they probably didn’t care, that they probably did it on purpose. She didn’t know why she told herself this, why she constantly tried to keep her hopes low. Perhaps because it was all she knew, and she didn’t want her heart to take that hard of a blow when everything blew up in her face as it was bound to.

Unfortunately, it was lunch time, so the crowd was twice as rowdy and twice as uncaring if they knocked into a blind girl as they usually were. Not that Hinata blamed them, of course. Would she be the same if she was in their place? Hinata doubted it, but she had no way of knowing, did she? She shifted her bag again when suddenly a barrage of noise erupted in her ears, making her flinch; she had reached the cafeteria. Instead of worrying where she was going to sit, or going to look for the friends she didn’t actually have, she felt her way around the tables and chairs, passing obnoxious girls and repulsive boys, towards the back door.

By some miracle, Hinata finally found it and was able to push it open with her small shoulder, immediately feeling a light breeze brush her face as she stepped outside, the door closing behind her. Hinata felt a small smile grace her face when suddenly she heard a voice call out.

Naruto was sitting in the grass outside, his face turned up to the sky while his eyes were closed, letting the sun warm his face.
It was lunch time, and seeing as how no one would think to let him sit at their table and he didn’t like being inside that crowded place, anyway, he had resided to sit by the back door alone. Alone, that was, until he heard the back door open. He felt disappointment and slight anger in his stomach as he turned to see who had interrupted his reverie.

These feelings disappeared when his eyes landed on the girl from before, Hinata. She stood on the small steps that led from the door, letting it close behind her. Naruto watched in some small amazement as the tiny ghost of a smile appeared on her lips.

“Hey,” he called. Hinata’s smile disappeared as she jumped and turned towards the source of the voice. She felt her face heat up and immediately ducked her head.

“I-I’m sorry,” she whispered, and turned to go back in. Naruto stood from his spot and placed a hand carefully on her arm, which was outstretched to grab the door handle. Hinata jumped again and flinched. Naruto’s eyes softened and his heart automatically dropped at the thought of Hinata having to think any sort of touch would be to hurt her.

“You don’t have to go,” he told her, “It’s me, Naruto.” Hinata’s eyes widened behind her sun glasses as she realized why she recognized the voice so much. When she didn’t respond, Naruto tugged lightly on her shirt sleeve.

“Come on, why don’t you sit with me? If that’s alright, I mean…” Naruto was expecting her to say no, so his jaw dropped a bit when, after a moment of hesitation, Hinata nodded. Naruto quickly recovered and smiled. He lead her over to his previous spot, where he waited for her to sit down before taking a seat next to her.

“So where’s your lunch?” he asked, noticing that she didn’t hold anything in her hands and she didn’t seem to be getting anything out of her bag. Hinata pressed her finger tips together, a blush painting her cheeks. She shrugged, and after a moment of silence Naruto determined that she wasn’t going to say anything else on the subject. It was silent as Hinata continued to press her finger tips together, and Naruto leaned back on the palms of his hands. Surprisingly, the silence wasn’t an uncomfortable one; it was companionable, almost natural. They sat in the comfortable silence until they heard the faint sound of the school bell ringing, signaling the end of lunch.

The two gathered their things and Naruto surprised her by holding the door open for her when they went back in.

“Well, see you later, Hinata!” he said. Hinata’s face reddened and she nodded. Naruto hesitated a moment, watching her as she turned and started walking down the hallway. He didn’t want to just leave her so she had to go to her class alone.
Naruto shook his head. Hinata didn’t need to be babied; that was probably the last thing she wanted. With one last glance at the small girl, Naruto turned and began walking to yet another class he would get in trouble in for something he didn’t do. Good luck, Hinata.

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