The Substitute @wasabisugar
After the Storm

After the Storm


Hi everyone. Hope you're all well in the middle of this strange, crazy pandemic. Also, sorry about the long wait. Exams and life got in the way, but I'm back and ready to smack (whatever that means)!

Two times a week does seem to have won, but if I deem that a chapter requires more thought or more time, then I'll skip one deadline. I'm really gonna try to keep this up to date. I have another story idea too, but it'll have to wait until this one is well into its plot.

Sorry about all the drama, but I feel I can't just write a story with only a bunch of lemon and fluff without a plot. Maybe a short one, but I want this to be long. I want this to last.

So please, bear with me.


She bolted down the hallway, down the stairs and straight to the shoe lockers, throwing her indoor shoes off and switching them with her outdoor ones as quickly as she could. Everything went by so fast - nothing registered.
Her breath caught in her throat as she pushed the door open to leave, forcing her to take a moment to inhale properly. A fleeting thought struck her, and she relented to it, turning her head around in hopes of seeing Naruto there, as out of breath as she was from running to catch up to her. However, all she was met with was a dark, empty hallway. That was all that she had to look back to.

A dark void.

Is this how things would end?

She felt warm tears brimming in her eyes, threatening to fall as she turned back around and finally opened the door. Why did this have to happen...

She stepped out into the open air, thick humidity meeting the bare skin on her face and arms. Breathe…

But the tears wouldn't stop falling, so she stopped trying to wipe them and instead secured her bag on her shoulder and started running towards the station, head bowed. A voice called out to her, but she wouldn't hear it.

"There you are!" Kiba stood up from the hill he'd been sitting on and waved at her, smiling blissfully, unknowingly. "I knew you would- H-hey, Hinata?"

Hinata bowed her head further and continued to run, eventually passing the gate and disappearing from Kiba's view.

"Hinata?!" He started down the hill, but stopped to question her strange behavior. "What's up with her..?" He tried to run, but nearly slipped, so he was forced to look at where he was stepping. "Hinata, wait!"

Just as he got down and was about to pursue her, the door to the school opened and out stepped Uzumaki Naruto. His expression grave, Naruto kept his eyes low as he walked towards the school gate. Kiba glanced over at him and had to do a double-take. What's he doing here?

Kiba looked between Naruto and the direction Hinata had run before figuring that it probably was no coincidence that they came out at almost the same time. Did he have something to do with it?

"Hey, old man!" Kiba called out, but Naruto made no move to acknowledge his existence. "Did you do anything to Hinata?!"

Naruto stopped and raised his head, his hollow eyes meeting Kiba's own, distressed ones.

"It's none of your business." He replied coldly.

"Actually," Kiba felt his entire body tense, his brows furrowing slowly as he set a glare on Naruto. He gripped his bag tighter, digging his nails into it. "You just made it my business." Without another word, he turned around and started running in the same direction as Hinata.

Hinata had stopped outside of the station, and now stood doubled over, hands on her knees, panting. Beads of sweat traveled from her forehead to her nose, then dripped down onto the pavement as she shut her eyes tightly to focus on her breathing. Her knees started to shake, so she squatted down and buried her face in her knees. The tears welled up in her eyes and she began to sob as everything caught up to her. I can't believe I was so naive… I really hoped..

People gave her looks as they passed, but no one said anything.

"Hinata!" Kiba came running after a few minutes, but slowed down dramatically upon seeing her nearly collapsed next to the sidewalk. "Hinata…" Watching her small, frail figure falling apart before his eyes, all the anger he'd felt towards Naruto before was quickly set aside and all he could think about was her. "What… What happened?"

"K-kiba-kun?" Her head shot up and saw him approaching her somewhat cautiously, as if he were walking towards some kind of exotic animal in the wild. "Wh-what are you doing here?" She hurried to wipe her tears but it was already obvious that she'd been crying. Kiba's voice was gentle as he spoke.

"I had my suspicions that when you talked about 7 p.m, you meant you'd be done studyin' by then, so I waited for you..."

"O-oh…" Kiba-kun… He's so thoughtful and kind. "I'm sorry…"

"Nevermind that, what happened?" He tilted his head to the side and squatted down next to her, although with legs far more spread than hers. He rested his elbows on his knees as he watched her, patiently waiting for her to gather herself.

"I…" The question reminded her of why she had been running and she felt her heartbeat quicken again, the pain in her chest returning. When she tried to speak, her lips quivered and she felt the tears threatening to fall again, so she shut her mouth and simply shook her bowed head.

Kiba's concerned look grew more severe as he watched her. "Hey… You okay?" Hinata quickly stood up and wiped the tears that threatened to fall. Kiba also stood, then leaned down, trying to read her expression, but she shied away. As he desperately ransacked his brain trying to figure out what to do, a quiet sob escaped from her and his eyes immediately grew wide. He dropped his bag and, without thinking wrapped his arms around her, pulling her as close to him as he could.

Hinata's eyes instantly opened in shock and she was quickly enveloped by a comforting warmth.

"K-kiba-kun..?" She whispered, but he only pulled her closer, burying his face into her neck.

"I'll walk you home." He suddenly said, his voice muffled from her hair.

After a moment of silence, Hinata let out a small "mm" and Kiba slowly let go of her, his eyes focused steadily on hers .

"Kiba-kun… Thank you."

"Don't thank me for something like that! Of course I'd- " Kiba's cut himself off, then grew silent. "Be there for you…"

Hinata didn't catch the last part, instead picking up Kiba's bag for him and handing it to him. He took it, then offered to take hers, but she kindly declined.

As they walked, Hinata tried to not think too much about what she had witnessed back at the school. It hurt to recall the sight of Shion and Naruto kissing, so everytime the image appeared in her mind, she would just shut her eyes and try to think about the present. Kiba watched her as she struggled to distract herself from her thoughts, not saying anything. He urged her on the train when it arrived. They stood, pressed against the door, with Kiba trying his best to keep a respectful distance from her. They said little to nothing, but Hinata made it clear that his presence was welcome by glancing at him every now and them and smiling as much as she could muster. It may not have been much, but it was genuine and Kiba made sure to return the smile with one of his own.

They stepped out from the train station and Hinata quietly pointed in the direction they needed to go, with Kiba following next to her. Kiba glanced down at her as they walked, only to blush and quickly look away, flustered.

"Hey, you know… It's not worth getting down about." He started, trying to make conversation. "I get that you.. Have a crush on him and everything but isn't this a good reason to move on? There are other guys out there… Who would never make you cry…"

"Kiba-kun…" Hinata sighed. "I feel so dumb… I kept thinking about what you told me…"

"What I told you?"

"About… Bothering him… Because he's a teacher…" I guess I really am nothing more than a fan. A person among many.

"O-oh man, did I say that?!... "Kiba chuckled nervously. "Sounds so mean when you say it like that!" Though those are the exact words I used! He thought to himself.

"It's true though…" She let out another sigh. "It really is true." I didn't even have anything to say to him. Why did I even go to him when I had nothing good to say?

Kiba's heart skipped a beat as she spoke. On the surface he appeared relaxed as they walked towards her house together, but she failed to notice how he stole glances at her every other second to watch her expression. She's so pretty... I wonder… If it'd be untimely to confess to her now… He thought, his body tensing just at the thought of it.

"Oh, man…" Sensing that his heart rate was going out of control, Kiba raised a hand to brush the hair from his forehead and cover his reddened cheeks. What am I thinking about! She's sad and here I am, thinking that I wanna tell her that I like her! Of course it's untimely! I have to do it in a cool way, a cool way! I'll choose the perfect timing and she won't be able to say no!

"Are you okay, Kiba-kun?" He hadn't noticed that, in his mentally panicked state, he'd come to a halt. Hinata turned around and, seeing his hand hiding half of his features, walked closer to him. "Have you been drinking enough?"

"I- I'll be fine! Don't worry about me when you're feeling sad!" He turned away, embarrassed to be embarrassed. The more he tried to get rid of his blush, the more it deepened. "Anyway, lotta houses 'round here!" With his back turned, he pretended to be searching.

"U-uhm.." Hinata cocked her head to the side, confused.

"One of them must be yours!" He exclaimed desperately. Ugh, what am I even saying!? He mentally slapped himself.

Suddenly, he the most adorable - albeit short - giggle from behind him. He quickly spun around and caught Hinata trying to stifle laughter.

"Kiba-kun, you're so weird…" She giggled again, holding a hand in front of her mouth as if to hide her amusement. Kiba's face went from surprise to adoration in a matter of milliseconds.

"You're… So cute." He mumbled, and Hinata immediately stopped laughing.

"H-huh..?" She whispered, and he instantly snapped out of his trance to ransack his brain for some excuse.

"W-well! What I'm saying!... Uhh-" He subconsciously scratched the back of his head and laughed awkwardly. "What I'm saying is that, you know… Uh, yeah, you're cute - SO…. So… Uh… So you shouldn't worry about finding another guy! Yeah, that's it!"

"O-oh…" She somehow seemed to buy his terrible improvisation. Maybe I should be thankful that she's so dense…

"Anyway! Where's your house? Feels like we've been walking for ages!" His pathetic attempt at changing the subject didn't seem to elicit any reaction from her.

"It's right here." She stopped in front of a large house - perhaps mansion was a better word - with a tall gate and practically walls surrounding the entire place. The house was old in a traditional sense, and seemed to stand out compared to all of the other nearby homes. The gravel was neatly raked and next to the door was a beautiful cherry blossom, most likely as old as the building itself.

"Wow... You don't commonly see houses like that here in Tokyo." Kiba mumbled in awe as he stared at the Hyuuga residence. Hinata cast her eyes downwards upon hearing him speak and let out a sigh.

"Yes… It's a house that has been passed down through many generations." Her eyes reflected nothing but sadness as she talked. "I can't wait to move out.." She added to herself.

"Well, I'll be damned! I feel like a mere peasant next to you now! I live in Nakano in a huuugeeee…. Apartment building. And by huge, I mean one of those with like a million people living in them."

"Do such buildings exist?"

"Okay, more like one thousand or something. You get what I mean!" He laughed airily and ruffled his hair reflexively. "Well, I guess this is where we part. Hope you feel better!" He cast her a grin, raised his hand to say goodbye, then turned on his heel and started walking back from where they came.

"Thank you, Kiba-kun!" She called out after him, but she couldn't tell if he'd heard her or not. "Thank you… So much. What would I have done without you today..?" She said to herself, then entered the residence.

"You're late." Hanabi was already standing in the hallway, arms crossed, when Hinata entered. "Where were you? You know father comes home late on Fridays."

"I'm sorry…" Hinata mumbled, her head bowed to hide her tear-stained face.

"You weren't expecting me to make dinner, were you? I have a scholarship to study for, you know."

"N-not at all… I just ended up staying late to study…. I-I… I forgot the time…" Hinata quietly took her shoes off under the glaring eyes of Hanabi, then hurried inside and immediately went to the bathroom to wash her face.

"Good." With that, Hanabi returned to her room without another word.

Uzumaki-sensei and Shion-sensei… Did he lie to me, then? Did he really call me to his office to show me that? Was that his way of turning me down? She buried her face in her hands, standing over the bathroom sink for a few minutes.


The next day, Hinata went to school as she always did and arrived a few minutes before class would start. Since winter was long gone, she went to school with only a sweater over her uniform. Tokyo was well on its way towards summer, and just standing on the morning train made her sweat.

"Good morning Hinata!" Ino slapped Hinata's shoulder just as she was getting off the train. "There you are! Man, the trains are even more crowded now during the tourist season."

"Good morning, Ino-chan!" Hinata cast her friend a smile and repositioned her bag so they could walk together. "How are you?"

"I'm great, actually!" She grinned, then stretched her arms out in the air. "I feel… Like this really is the last year of high school!"

"What do you mean by that?"

"Like, I feel like I'm getting older. The prospect of being a third-year used to be so daunting, like "oh my god I have to apply for universities!" and all that stuff, but we've gotten so much help from the teachers with all that jazz so I feel fine!" Hinata nodded in response. "Who'd you get as your mentor for university applications?"

"I-I don't know yet… I applied for Tokyo university and Waseda."

"Man, you're aiming high!" Ino gaped at Hinata's choice of schools. "I think Sakura is going for Tokyo as well."

"You aren't?" Hinata gave Ino a look of concern. "If you study hard, I'm sure you'll get in."

"I don't know… I'd really, really have to study, you know!"

"The circle test isn't that bad. Maybe you can get in with a recommendation?"

"To Tokyo? No way that they take recommendations!" Hinata shrugged.

"It's worth a try…"

"Yeah, I mean… I really wanna go to school with you guys!"

"What're you guys talking about?" Kiba appeared out of nowhere with Sai at his side. "Universities?" Hinata and Ino nodded in unison. "I applied for Tokyo and Waseda-"

" -Because he saw that Hinata was." Sai added phlegmatically.

"Ha-ha!" Kiba let out a dry, strained laugh and while still forcing a grin, grabbed Sai by his hair and headlocked him. "Aren't you in a comedic mood today, Sai!"

"Agh! The truth needs to come out!"

"What about you, Sai?" Ino asked, rolling her eyes and ignoring their dispute. Kiba let go of Sai, but gave him a death glare that he would not soon forget.

"Only Tokyo. I wanna study medicine so it's my best option."

"You only applied for ONE university?" He shook his head.

"In Tokyo at least. I applied for one in Okinawa and one in Toyama, but that's only if Tokyo goes to hell."

All this talk about universities… I'm starting to feel so grown up. Maybe Ino is right, the idea of being a third-year student is really starting to sink in.

They continued to talk about their future, eventually reaching their half-full classroom where Sakura was waiting for them.

"By the way Hinata, did you say you didn't know who your mentor is?" Hinata nodded. "I can check, I'll be right back." Ino said, hurrying back out even though they'd just arrived.

"Another day, another opportunity to eat good food!" Kiba seated himself and stretched his arms wide, then placed them behind his head and shut his eyes. "Sai, wake me up when September ends."

"I can't do that. You would be a bloated corpse with mag-"

"Not literally, figuratively, my friend."

"Are we friends?"

"No."

Sai leaned back in his chair, thinking. "Oh…"

"Good morning, Kiba!" Sakura walked past him as he tried to take a nap and placed a book on his desk. He cracked one eye open to look at the book, then closed it again.

"Thanks, Haruno. How'd you know I was into physics?"

"I borrowed a book from the library and saw that you'd borrowed it before me!" She cast him a dazzling smile, but alas, his eyes were closed and so he would see none of it.

Inwardly, Sakura scowled. He really makes no effort to continue the conversation..! She thought while picking the book back up and smacking his head with it.

"Ow!" He rubbed his head and looked up at her. "What was that for?!"

"'Thanks, Haruno'. Is that really how you thank someone who went to the public library just to pick up a book for you?!"

"Okay, okay, I'm sorry! Thank you, m'lady. Want me to kiss your hand, too?!" Without thinking, he picked her hand up and pretended as though he would do just that, but when he saw Sakura's surprised expression, he quickly let go and turned away awkwardly. Sakura did the same, and they both blushed awkwardly.

Sai watched them with boredom written all over his face. "What is up with people, really."

"Good morning, students." Naruto entered the classroom, today sporting a white T-shirt and black dress pants. He looked like a salaryman - a gorgeous one. While all the female classmates were busy fawning over him, Ino came back into the classroom with a huge grin on her face.

"Uzumaki!" She burst out. "Hinata, you have Uzumaki-sensei as your mentor, isn't that great?!" Her face almost cracked in half from her grin as she seated herself.

Hinata's face turned a deep crimson. Oh no… He surely heard that! She slowly turned her head only to see Naruto staring right at her and Ino, a look of pure confusion on his face. Their eyes met, but only briefly and they both looked away simultaneously. How embarrassing…!

After yesterday's incident, Hinata had made a promise to herself to avoid Naruto at almost all cost. Obviously, as a teacher she wouldn't avoid him, and not during student president things either, but on a personal level she would stay out of his life.

"What are you talking about?" He asked walking towards them while the class continued their talking amongst themselves. "Mentor?"

"University stuff! Right, Hinata?" Ino elbowed Hinata, throwing her out of her thoughts and into reality. If it was even possible, she was quite sure that her blush got worse and worse the closer he got to them. "You're her mentor, aren't you sensei?"

Naruto looked at Hinata, then placed a hand on her desk and rested his weight against it. Her head was turned away, but she could still see his hand in the corner of her eye. His arm was so toned, there wasn't a chance that he wasn't an athletic type, though she had no clue what he did during his freetime. Uzumaki-sensei… She felt herself slowly start to melt under his fiery gaze that practically demanded that she look at him.

"That's right. Hyuuga is mine this year." When he said this, Hinata immediately looked up at him and their eyes met. His eyes burned with an intensity unlike anything she'd seen. It's like he was trying to communicate with her with his gaze, but she couldn't figure out what he was saying. Am I the only one who finds that phrasing peculiar?! She turned away and shut her eyes tightly, pressing her lips together.

"I also have like, four other students to keep a track of." He added strategically, looking back at Ino.

"Who?" Ino inquired curiously.

"Uchiha, Haruno, Inuzuka and Naara."

"The smartest, in other words."

"Academically, at least." He smiled slyly, threading a hand through his hair.

Hinata balled her hands into fists under her desk. He doesn't seem like he wants to deny anything about Shion… I guess they really are a couple. But… He said he didn't have a girlfriend…

She snuck a peek at him only to see that he was looking at her in the corner of his eye. Why can't I look at him even once without him catching me!?

"Anyway, that reminds me that I should be giving you information about that today. Thanks Yamanaka."

"Anytime, sensei." She started taking her notebooks out in preparation for the class while Naruto returned to the front of the classroom.

"Alright, settle down. I need to talk about the University applications with you for a minute or so before class begins." Hinata sank into himself when his eyes were no longer on her. How awkward… I don't know what to say, and he's acting like nothing happened.

As Naruto spoke, Hinata directed her attention at her notebook. Just hearing him talk makes my heart race…


When class was over, Hinata had learned that she was to have a personal meeting with Naruto about her university choices and meant to book a day to head out and visit them with the rest of the "group" (as previously mentioned by Naruto). She sighed. Of course I end up with Uzumaki-sensei.

"I'm lucky to have gotten Shion-sensei! She's so cool and laid-back!" Ino spoke happily to herself as she got up to leave.

"Ino, you should really consider applying for Tokyo, too... " Sakura followed behind her, insisting that they stick together even after high school.

"Guys, wait for m-" Hinata started to stand, but a hand slammed down on her desk in front of her. The same hand that had so leisurely been resting on her desk in the beginning of the lesson, was now pressed firmly against the surface. She followed his hand, to his arm, and eventually his face. Naruto was staring right at her, a look of seriousness painting his features.

"You. Stay." Was all he said, then he turned and walked off. Hinata did as told and sat right back down in her seat without making even a move to leave. Hinata's heart rate would pick up just a little bit for each student that left, because she knew that once they were all gone, she'd be all alone in the classroom with Naruto.

Eventually the only sound left in the room was that of the pencil spinning in Naruto's right hand. He remained at the front of the classroom, leaning against his desk while she sat with her hands clasping each other anxiously in her lap.

"What you saw-" He began, but she was quick to cut him off, standing and bowing deeply.

"I-I'm so sorry for eavesdropping o-o-on y-you two!" She accidentally yelled.

"Eavesdropping? No, she did that just because you were there."

"S-sh-shion-sensei is very pretty and… And I think y-you make a gre-great co-couple…!" Hinata continued, not hearing any of his words.

"Hey, are you even listening to me?" He asked, somewhat dumbfounded.

"I-I won't b-be bothering y-yo-you anymore…!"

"Hyuuga."

"I'll st-stay out of y-your way, I promise!" Oh no… I feel like I might start crying…

"Hinata." With that word, Hinata's eyes shot open and she looked up at him. During the time that she'd been talking, he'd made his way across the classroom to her. "Stop it."

"H-huh..?"

"I'm not dating Shion." He spoke slowly, reassuringly. "What you saw was a misunderstanding. I'm sorry."

Her heart skipped a beat. A… Misunderstanding…?

"We can't talk anymore in school." He looked up and out of the classroom as he spoke. "She's out to make sure that I don't talk to anyone but her."

Hinata didn't know how to make sense of anything he was saying. A misunderstanding? Was it even possible? Was he trying to cover it up because it was unprofessional, or was it really just that - a misunderstanding? Her eyes drifted down towards the floor as she tried to make sense of it all.

"So…" He tilted his head down towards her, trying to recapture her gaze. "If you're okay with it, maybe we can meet outside of school sometime soon?"

No matter what I do, I can't erase that image of her kissing him… Was it really all just a misunderstanding? What really happened…?

"I… I don't believe you… Entirely." She whispered. Naruto looked taken aback by her words.

"What do you mean, you don't believe me?"

"I-I… Don't thi-think you're te-telling m-me the entire tr-truth." At first, his expression was that of shock, but it slowly turned into something else. Something that made her feel like she wasn't entirely wrong about her intuition.

"Well, if you insist." Naruto rested his weight against the desk in front of hers and crossed his arms. "Shion and I… We dated for a very short period in our first year of university." Hinata felt her heart drop. So… That's what it was.

"But her personality was as rotten as it is now." He spat the words, then turned his head to look out of the window. "And it ended after less than a month. It was a low point in my life and I regret it."

"I… I don't know what to say…" Naruto lowered his eyes, disappointment in himself overcoming him.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not chasing after you. We haven't seen the worst of that crazy woman and we certainly don't want to." He shifted, and a thought seemed to strike him. "But… Inuzuka chased after you. Did he catch up?" He rolled his eyes, irritated by his poor choice of topic.

Hinata nodded slowly. "He… W-walked me home."

Something changed in Naruto's eyes when she answered his question. They turned dark, hollow.

"I see." Was all he replied.

Hinata smiled to herself, not noticing his change of attitude. "H-he comforted me… And helped me th-think about something el-"

"I get it." He cut her off, his cold, low tone alone sending shivers down her spine. "Anyway, we can't keep talking like this. Here."

He reached down and took her hand, placing a piece of paper into her open palm. "My phone number."

And with that, he left her alone in the classroom. After the door shut, it was as if she'd woken up from a dream. He was gone, the aura he carried with him was nowhere to be felt. All that remained was the lingering warmth that she felt on the hand he'd picked up and placed that paper in.

It wasn't until half the day had passed that she decided to write something to him. Although she'd put a lot of thought into what she'd say, she only ended up writing:

Good afternoon,

I thought I would send you a message so that you also have my number.

/H

When she was about to press send, a message popped up that read "Save this number as a new contact?" She pressed yes, but when she was meant to fill out the name, she had to think twice. Maybe it would be foolish to use his exact name. I'll just register him as… Hm… Well, he had a lot of ramen in his apartment, I'll call him Maruchan. (Note: Japanese instant ramen brand)

Not even five minutes before hitting send, she felt her phone vibrate.

Thanks.

If you're not busy, meet me at Shinjuku Sanchome station at six tonight.

Hinata's eyes widened. What..?

Is that a…

Date?

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