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Had to fix the ages. Having only 18 year-olds in their second year just didn't seem quite right.
The Substitute - Pilot
It was a winter morning at Konoha High. A day like any other, the students sat in their classroom and waited for the always late Asuma sensei to enter through the door ten minutes later than scheduled.
Sakura pushed the limits of her poor school chair, leaning on all but one leg as she half-heartedly read the notes for their upcoming spring exam. Ino sucked thoughtfully on a lollipop and stared at Sasuke, who was staring at Kiba, who was staring at his lunch box which had been crushed when he slipped in the stairs on his way out of the station that morning. One could practically read his thoughts as he optimistically studied the contents of the box: Yep. Still edible. Needless to say, the students weren't being particularly productive that morning.
Hinata sat in the middle-back of the classroom, reading a piece of literature she'd recently gotten into. It wasn't that she felt ready enough for the exam that she was doing something completely different at that moment, but rather that she was so tired that if she did anything other than entertain herself, she'd fall asleep.
High school life was kicking her ass. She had cram school, a part-time job and tennis club to attend, and on top of that needed to make time for a social life and exam preparation. She put her book down and sighed, thinking about the day she had ahead of her. Tennis practice after school… And then I need to get home and make dinner since father is staying at the office tonight.
The door slid open and Asuma slowly entered, his body slouched as if he had just lost his house, family and job all at once. Knowing how careless Asuma normally was, the students made no move to sit in their seats as he wobbled unsteadily up to the front of the classroom and sort of cleared his throat before speaking.
"Uh… We're gonna need to change things around starting today, guys." He started, barely looking at anything or anyone as he spoke.
"What's up with Asuma-sensei?" Sakura whispered to Ino, who was sitting on her desk. Ino popped the lollipop out of her mouth and shrugged.
"Who knows. Divorce maybe."
"Worse." Asuma answered for her. "I just became a dad." He glowered, and in turn the class gasped in unison, some in surprise, some in pure disbelief.
"Wow sensei, congratulations!"
"If Asuma-sensei can find someone, then there really is someone for everyone." Kiba mumbled bitterly, already starting on his lunch.
Hinata watched how Asuma listened to all the comments without so much as blinking. He sighed, his shoulders somehow sinking further down than before, and spoke again:
"Anyway, the school has taken the initiative to hire two new teachers in my place. One is an experienced math teacher, the other a college student doing his Masters in teaching. I'm gonna be in and out for my parental leave, so it's a temporary solution." The class commotion quickly descended into whispering.
"I wonder who they are…"
"I hope they're hot!" Ino stood up and turned to Hinata and Sakura. "I've always wanted a teacher I can fantasize about." She smirked to herself, already disappearing into the realm of her imagination.
"Don't be stupid Ino, those things only happen in movies. They're probably nerds, especially the college guy. I mean, he's seriously in college and teaching people like, four years younger than him! I bet he has no friends." Sakura said, crossing her arms and turning to Hinata. "Right?"
"About what?" Hinata asked, not having paid any attention to her friends' disagreement.
"Hinata!" Sakura moaned, leaning her head back in frustration. "How did you not hear us?!"
"Quiet down!" Asuma suddenly yelled, capturing everyone's attention. "I want to stress that I want you guys to behave in front of these teachers! Make me proud, not ashamed that you're my class. The last thing I need is more problems in my life right now." He held his head as if a headache had begun to develop.
"Poor sensei…" Hinata worried. "He must have so much to think about right now."
"Enough about him! He's old, unlike the college guy!"
"So." Shikamaru's voice caught everyone's attention. "When will they be here?"
Asuma took one glance at the clock. "Anytime now."
As if on queue, the light sound of footsteps slowly approaching outside of the classroom could suddenly be heard and everyone stopped whatever they were doing to listen. The eyes of the students followed the sound outside and eventually they stopped right outside of the door. After a moment of palpable silence, the door slid open to reveal a tall, slender yet well-toned man who looked to be almost the same age as them, with wavy blonde hair and ocean blue eyes. Was man really the right word? Seriously, if he was doing his masters, then she was Santa Claus. He looked as though he had recently graduated from high school and could easily pass as eighteen if it weren't for his classy attire and mature gaze. His eyes were cool and calm, briefly scanning the classroom to identify the students he'd probably read and discussed with Asuma about.
He sported a white shirt underneath a dark green sweater and a pair of jeans rolled up at the bottom. His shoes were a gorgeous light brown leather with laced patterns. Classy and somewhat upscale compared to how the rest of the teachers dressed, with his unruly blonde hair and cool, intense azure eyes that regarded each student individually.
So young - and honestly, attractive. Very attractive. Too attractive. Was it wrong to feel that way about a teacher? Hinata didn't know. All she knew was that she felt herself strongly drawn to the man in front of her. Hinata was at a loss for words, but luckily she wasn't the only one. Sakura and Ino's jaws had dropped to the floor along with the rest of the class. Even the guys were unable to mask the surprise they together felt about how wrongly they'd judged their new teacher.
"No way…" Ino mumbled in disbelief. Sakura nearly lost her balance but regained it right before falling.
As the rest of the students attempted to regain themselves, he walked up next to Asuma and bowed. He placed his books and notes on the desk before him and smiled, unaffected by the deafening silence in the room. Perhaps he didn't know what to expect from an ordinary second year high school class, because if he did, he would've been worried by now.
Finally, his voice broke the silence.
"Good morning. Sorry about the sudden change - I'll be your substitute teacher in English from now on. My name-" He turned to the board, running a hand through his thick, bright hair and took out a piece of chalk. "Is… Uzumaki Naruto." He wrote his name downwards and Hinata felt her heart jump. Uzumaki… Naruto.
"Who's the class president here?" He asked, his eyes searching the room for a potential fit. Hinata got ready to jump out of her seat, but froze, her cheeks tomato red and her hands pressed firmly against her sides. I need to represent the class, but… But I'm so nervous..!
"It's Hinata!" Kiba yelled out, leaning back in his chair with an arm propped up behind him. "Over there." He pointed in her general direction and Hinata's face grew even redder.
"It-it's me..!" She squeezed out, confirming Kiba's statement. The blonde man raised a brow, a hint of confusion on his face.
"Did you forget or something?" He asked softly, a small smile on his lips. Hinata mentally punched herself for already embarrassing herself in front of him.
"I-I'm sorry!" Gathering herself, she made her way up to the front of the classroom all the while feeling his eyes regarding her shrewdly. Time moved slowly as she walked, and she felt the many spears of jealousy from all her female classmates mentally stabbing her for being in the position they so dearly wanted.
Hinata bowed robotically towards Naruto, who smiled and bowed his head in return. "I-I'm Hy-hyuuga H-H-Hi-Hina-Hinata…"
"Hyuuga Hinata." He repeated, taking mental note of it. "Nice to meet you." His voice was warm, possibly amused, but it was difficult to tell from his impassive expression. He looked mildly interested, but above all, polite. He said my name…
Hinata turned to face the class and redirected her attention to her task.
"Okay, we need to talk about that teacher!" Ino started as she hurried to lift her chair and practically throw it between Hinata's and Sakura's desks. Sakura took her lunch bento out and studied it for a moment before picking out her least favorite piece first. "He was at least a ten!"
"That's for damn sure." Sakura agreed, taking a bite. "And he seems smart, too. I might have to ask him how I could get my grades raised, if you know what I mean."
"Hey, you're gonna scare him when he finds out you're a cow!" Ino glared at Sakura, who in turn glared back.
"Like he would want a pig who fails math!"
"That was once! And I fell asleep!"
"Uzumaki Naruto…" Hinata mumbled, still in awe. Her words went unheard as Ino and Sakura argued back and forth. I think I'm in love…
"You're lucky to be the student council, Hinata!" Sakura suddenly said, a hint of envy in her voice. "It's at times like these that I wish I'd chosen that damn position."
"Oh yeah, you get to have one-on-one discussions with him!"
"O-oh yeah…" The sheer thought of being alone in the same room with him gave her goosebumps. She felt an odd, exhilarating shiver run down her spine and tensed momentarily.
"Don't act like you haven't thought about it!" Ino yelled angrily. "You know how privileged you are!"
"Ino, she's been class president since like, forever. Don't be stupid, she deserves it!"
"Yeah, I know…" Ino's shoulders slumped. "I'm just jealous…"
"Me too." Sakura sighed, then continued.. "Asuma-sensei said he was twenty-one." she rested her head in her hand, pondering. "That's like hardly anything. He's four years older than us. Is that weird, even?"
"A hidden relationship sounds so thrilling…" Ino drifted away into her imagination again. "Imagine kissing in a classroom after everyone's gone home, or sleeping in his apartment…"
Kissing… The word caused Hinata's heart to pound. I've never kissed anyone before… I wonder what it would be like…
Just then, the door to the classroom silently slid open and Hinata heard her name be called. She turned around to see Naruto taking a step in, his arms crossed and his eyes set on her.
"Hyuuga, do you have a moment?" Hinata's heart jumped out of her chest. M-me..?
"Go!" Ino and Sakura whispered in unison. "It's probably some class president stuff!"
She did like they said and quickly got to her feet, picking her bag up and hurrying towards him.
"And ask him if he has a girlfriend!" Sakura half whispered, half-yelled as Hinata got to the door. She turned around, her cheeks suddenly flushed in embarrassment. He totally heard that!
"This way." Without acknowledging her friend's words, Naruto turned and started walking down the corridor towards the teacher's office. Hinata followed suit, holding her bag near her chest for mental support. I don't know how to act or what to say around him.. He has some kind of aura… And he's so serious…
Just as she thought that, he tilted his head down towards her and a wide, boyish grin adorned his face. "I'm sorry for taking you out during your lunch, I just needed some help with the projects you guys have started this year. Asuma-sensei was supposed to tell me, but he was gone before I knew it. He said I could turn to you instead."
Hinata's heart pounded as she rushed to find words. "U-uhm… It's r-r-e-re-real-really n-no probl-problem… I-I'm hap-happy to he-help…"
"That's kind of you." His grin faded into a smile. "I'll make it up to you sometime."
When they got to the office, he immediately seated himself and handed her a paper to write on. Hinata took a seat next to him and took the opportunity as she was writing to watch him work. He appeared a little lost, but calm and collected. He glanced at her every now and then, not in a stressed manner, as if her presence was bothering him - but rather to make sure she didn't have any questions or something she needed to say.
So there she sat, right next to the new substitute teacher - the most handsome man she had ever laid her eyes upon. What had she done to deserve this blessing, really? She wrote as slowly as she could, pretending to think every now and then to extend her time with him as much as possible. The cologne he wore was intoxicating, almost addictive, and now after having sniffed it at least one hundred times, she could only ever associate that wonderful scent with him.
Eventually, the twiddling of the thumbs and unnecessary time to think grew suspicious and she was forced to hand in the paper. He thanked her as he received it from her, his fingertips grazing over hers ever so briefly - though it was enough to send an electric shock up and down her spine. She struggled to find her words, so she instead settled for a bow and made her way towards the exit. Before she opened the door, she stopped and turned back around to take one last glance at her newfound crush. His back was turned, but she could picture what he was doing. Uzumaki… Naruto.
"Um.." She half- called out. He quickly sat up and turned around in his chair upon hearing her voice.
"Hm? What's on your mind, Hyuuga?"
"I-I look forward to being taught by you, Uzumaki-sensei."
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