Naruto blinked. His eyelids suddenly felt heavy. They wanted to close and never open again. But he couldn't give up. No, Naruto was on a mission. He had to prove himself again.

There was pain. There was always the pain coupled with these "A" rank missions. But the pain was bearable. It always was.

His limbs felt insanely…cumbersome now. They didn't want to operate properly any longer.

But if I fail, I won't be a proper Shinobi… I have to do this.

Uzumaki Naruto was no longer the same fun-loving, hyperactive boy of years gone by. That Naruto had vanished with the lives of his friends. Now, he was a tool called "Shinobi". At the age of sixteen, he was a now prominent Jonin.

Haku…You were right… I don't think I can do this anymore… I don't have anyone to fight for…

He smiled dimly and continued to navigate the path. His feet smacked the ground dully. It gave him a headache.

Itai… Kakashi-sensei… You were right. I'll never be a Shinobi…

The dirt captivated his attention, his core. Suddenly, he was nose-to-nose with the dirt. Naruto struggled in vain to rise. His appendages wouldn't listen.

Tazuna… Old man, you're right too… I can't be Hokage. It was just a far-off vagary… But there's nothing to drive me any further… You still don't respect me, do you?

He closed his once brilliant blue eyes. They were fleetingly hazy now.

Is this…death?

"Byukugan!" A pair of feet appeared in his small sight range. A gasp came from the figure. The figure knelt beside him.

"Naruto-kun… Are you…alright?" the sweet voice inquired of him.

"…h—h…" he tried to speak and look up at the spirit, whoever she was, but failed.

"Naruto-kun!" A pair of strong, yet trembling hands drew him up. This apparition was so comforting. Someone came to help him…

"You'll be fine. Just hang on a bit longer!" Her voice was frantic. She placed his head on her lap and dug through her bag for medicine.

"…no, not that one… wait, no… this isn't it…" she mumbled to herself. The girl brushed her hair out of her eyes as she continued her search.

"Here!" she stated triumphantly. Tilting the boy's head back slightly, she poured the medicine into his mouth. Naruto swallowed instinctively, the bitter liquid traveling down his throat quickly.

"H…Hinata-chan…" He opened delirious eyes and peered at her in an owlish fashion.

The heir of the Hyuga smiled quietly and nodded.

"Rest now, Naruto-kun. You'll feel better when you wake up."


Hinata laid his head onto her satchel and walked off in search of more firewood.

Am…I dead…? His bright blue eyes peered at the silhouettes in the shadow.

"Naruto…" The eyes of the former object of his affections lit upon him.

Sakura-chan… And Sasuke-kun. Is he here too?

"Naruto… You have to go back…" Kiba, and his dog, Akamaru.

But they aren't dead… Then, this isn't death!?

"Remember, you promised you'd look after oneesan!" Hyuga Hanabi.

Okay… I guess, I guess I have to.

Naruto grinned his fox-like grin. Cheers filled his head as he started back towards life.

"Hinata-chan…" Naruto smiled as the girl woke up. "I want to thank you for helping me last night…"

"Naruto-kun… Are you feeling better?" she sat up quickly.


They sat together in a simple silence, but the silence said so much.


Itai- Ow

A/N: This is my contribution to the fandom of Naruto. I am indeed a yaoi fangirl as well, but Hinata is one of my favorite characters… I couldn't bring myself around to write a SasuNaru yet…but I think one'll come soon. Oh, I think I also made Naruto a bit OOC. That wasn't exactly intentional, but I think that's how he'll turn out at the end.

Disclaimer: I own nothing from Naruto.