Note: This probably won't make a lot of sense if you haven't read 'Heat'... ^_^; It's just a piece of extra NaruHina fluff, anyway...
Water dripped off soaking strands of hair and clothes, puddling the floor.
"Are you sure this fireplace works?"
"It should... I mean, I didn't do anything to it. Now, sit back."
She moved back as he threw a match in. The slightly oiled sheet of paper immediately disappeared in fierce flames that quickly licked up the logs. Soon, Hinata and Naruto were basking in the warmth and glow of firelight.
Hinata peeled the lids off the cup noodles as Naruto propped a grate against the fireplace, and was pouring hot water from the kettle as Naruto leant back and sighed.
"Too bad it started pouring out there," Naruto remarked as he looked out the window, and Hinata's eyes automatically followed his gaze at the sheets of rain. A roll of thunder sounded.
"I like mornings after it's rained." Hinata said softly, and Naruto raised his eyebrows.
"Why? It's all humid and sticky and gross and stuff, isn't it?"
"Well, yes," Hinata admitted, setting scrolls atop each cup noodle so the steam wouldn't escape, "but it feels nice. All cleansed..."
Shaking droplets of rainwater out of his dripping hair, he pouted. "Well, yeah... I mean, it's not like I hate rain or anything, but I wanted to eat at the ramen stand..."
"Cup noodles are okay." Hinata said with a smile, and moving a little closer to the firelight lifted her frozen hands to meet the glow. Naruto followed suit, still pouting. Her eyes trailed to the purpled muscles evident in his skin, and couldn't suppress a worried tone as she spoke.
"Do your hands hurt?"
"Not really." He said honestly, and was surprised to see her brows crease slightly.
"Are you sure? They look... strained."
Flexing his fingers for her, he said firmly, "They're fine! The stupid fox heals me up pretty quickly."
She started to say something, but then sneezed suddenly. She blushed before shivering, and Naruto sneezed himself.
"I guess we should take off these wet clothes." Naruto commented, and pulled off his shirt as Hinata felt herself grow scarlet.
"Uhm... I'm okay," She said vaguely, but sneezed again. Naruto stood up abruptly.
"Naruto-kun?" Hinata called after him, surprised, then watched him rummage somewhere behind his bed before returning with a large shirt in his hand.
"Here." He tossed it to her, and it landed with a soft flump on her head. He turned, blushing as he added, "I... I won't look."
His bare back facing her, Hinata gave up and started to peel off her drenched clothes. As she pulled on Naruto's shirt, however, she felt a pain as the sleeves slid past her forearms. The bruises were still smarting, but Hinata still managed to keep a smile on her face as she announced, "I'm done."
They leaned closer to the fire, this time feeling warmth soak straight through.
"You know, Hinata. I always wanted to know... do you remember back before our first chuunin exams, when we met in the training area?"
Hinata nodded, feeling her cheeks grow warm at the memory.
Your type of person... I really like.
"Yes, I do." She murmured, tugging the ends of the sleeves towards her thumbs.
"I was just thinking of that, and wondering... when you said you felt that maybe, you liked yourself a bit more... did you not like yourself?"
Hinata's eyes darkened a little as she watched the flames in the fireplace flicker and brighten.
"I used to hate myself," Hinata said quietly, "I used to think that I didn't... I didn't deserve to live. That life was a nightmare, and... I just didn't want to face anything... I always thought I'd make things worse."
"Then Hinata..." Naruto looked at Hinata very seriously as he asked in a low voice, "Why did you try to save me? If you knew what it felt like to feel so unworthy...? To feel that you'd rather die then face life?"
"Because of you." Hinata smiled at him, a warmth not from the fire radiating from her features. "Because of Naruto-kun. You taught me that no matter who it is... that person has a self-worth they should never forget. Something they must learn to preserve... I think the cup noodles are done," She added, and handed one to Naruto, removing the scroll from the top. They stirred the noodles with their chopsticks as Hinata continued,
"You taught me that to want to die then face life... is cowardly. You forgot that, so I reminded you. That's all." They ate in a comfortable silence for a while, still taking in the fire's warmth, before Naruto suddenly said quietly,
"I didn't do a thing," Hinata protested, hiding her face behind the gentle steam of the noodles, "I just... helped a little, that's all."
"No. You saved my life, and reminded me of all the things I spent my life so far learning."
Naruto grinned as he drank up the soup, having already finished the cup. Hinata shook her head.
"It's you who saved my life, Naruto-kun." She looked down at her noodles as Naruto raised his brows in surprise. "I felt so afraid... so alone. I thought I was different from everyone... that I had no self-worth, not worthy of the Hyuga blood or recognition the Main House receives... but when I saw how-- how all the townspeople treated you, but watched you still able to smile, to shout, to not be ashamed... I realised I wasn't alone."
Hinata stirred her noodles a bit as she went on, "I realised you were lonely, too... but you were different to me, because... You found something incredible in you. The ability to simply believe in yourself... so when I saw you, I understood... that you were so much more than people made you out to be, Naruto-kun..."
Smiling warmly now, Hinata looked at Naruto's surprised eyes. "It was you who taught me the power to change... so if it wasn't for you, I-- I'd be all alone... even right now."
Naruto was speechless for a moment, but soon found his voice again.
"I-- I was afraid of that the most," He admitted, putting down his cup noodles, "Afraid of being-- being alone..."
"But you're not alone. You have to remember that." Hinata moved slightly away from the fire, and in doing so her shirt shifted slightly back, pulling her left sleeve up a little. Naruto's eyes immediately caught on the red marks branding her usually pale skin.
"Nothing," Hinata said too quickly, pulling the sleeve down, but Naruto was not one to back down from something so suspicious. Grabbing the cup noodles in her hands, he plonked it onto the floor and pulled her arm towards him. A painful ring of bruises with dark-blue hues met his eyes, and he stared at her arm before realising with a start what they were from.
"Did I do this?"
"It's fine," Hinata said quickly, trying to twist out of his grip, but she winced in process. She was mentally hitting herself as Naruto looked at her with wide eyes. His thumb lightly traced her wrist before he looked at her square-on. Hinata saw deep sadness and regret behind his eyes as he whispered,
"Don't be," Hinata said with a sweet and honest smile, "It was worth the pain, saving you. I'm so glad I stopped by this morning... because if I hadn't, you might have hurt yourself, not me..."
"No, I would have only hurt you," Naruto said roughly, looking pained, "Nine-Tails only wanted you because-- because..."
Because I did. Naruto stopped talking, looking downcast, but Hinata carefully took his hands in hers. A relieved smile lifted her lips.
"You have no idea how glad I am to feel... that these hands are warm."
He snapped his head up surprise as he saw her smile suddenly drop away from her face. Her hold on his hands tightened as she whispered,
"When I... entered your mind, to try and help you... you were so cold, Naruto-kun. I was-- I was frightened by the cold... because you're usually so warm and bright. So please, Naruto-kun... don't..." Naruto watched, his eyes rounding as he saw her eyes fill with tears as she spoke softly, almost imploringly,
"Please don't say such cold words. Words that indicate you don't like yourself, or words of disappointment at yourself... because... I don't think I-- I could take it..."
She almost jumped in surprise when she felt his fingers brush against her cheek, and looked up to see a surprising intensity in his eyes as he looked at her. His fingers tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear.
Then, without another word, he leant forwards and pressed his lips against hers, his fingers lifting to sift through her still damp hair. She made a noise of surprise, her lashes brushing against his cheek before she started to respond. Kissing her as he slowly moved her so they were on the ground, Hinata was almost surprised to feel no fear from this familiar position.
Instead, she let out a soft moan as her arms encircled his neck, her own fingers tangling themselves in Naruto's blonde hair as he kissed her deeply.
His other arm slid behind her back, and he drew himself back to nestle his head against her shoulder, embracing her form to himself.
"Thank you for saving my life." He said sincerely, holding her tightly.
"Thank you for saving mine, too." Hinata replied softly, her fingers tracing his bare shoulders lightly, and he lifted himself up slightly so that their eyes met. Their lips met once more.
Hinata's cup noodles stayed forgotten, the firelight glowing brightly and spreading its warmth and light over them, overpowering the thunder and rain. They didn't say anymore words for the rest of the night.
They didn't need to.