Title: Pazienza
Author: Pickled Death
Genre: Angst
Rating: PG
Summary: one-shot; Naruto x Sakura; but I wait only for you.
Author's Notes: If Naruto x Sakura or Naruto x Hinata squicks you, run. Run now!

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Silver never stops him—

Silver? Stop me?

It'd take nothing short of platinum—

no.

Are you okay, Naruto?

am I?

If I'm happy, you're happy

you make it sound selfish.

Are you happy?

am i?

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sometimes, he drowns in a pool of milk-white and awakens cradled by green jewels and thinks he can never escape the spell she has cast upon him. Thunder rolls outside, resonates the agonies of tortured souls in explosions of light and lightning and the skies are gray like her soul and Hinata's eyes and he sits and watches the storm. there is quiet. nothing but quiet. in the Hyuuga manor.

The doors are translucent and so is his soul but Hinata respects his wishes and never, never delves deeper. He can just tell. Hinata who never breaks a promise, gives him warmth he does not deserve, gives him warmth he probably doesn't even want. and he sinks, disappears in the folds of Hinata's fleece and floppy sweater or the silken kimono that dangles lifelessly off Hinata's silken shoulders in ripples of autumn and orange.

Footfalls are soft. hanabi doesn't like him, prefers the company of blood meeting blood and he knows that's hiashi's damn fault but he doesn't care. He understands. Blood is valuable. Sasuke and Sakura's son has awakened his Sharingan and utilizes it at every given opportunity, never mind the strain. what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. ripped tendons strengthen upon reconnection. Naruto understands.

on the twenty-third footfall Hinata appears, a swan lingering behind a paper door. Doors are courtesy. No need to vehemently inform outsiders that there are no secrets here except his.

Because he is the head of the household and the head of Konohagakure and he's cradled in green jewels. the sea of coral that lingers in phantoms of memories. coral. Eyes bearing a glassy sheen of tears. He neglects the Hokage headpiece tonight. Ten years ago he would've never let go, would have clung to it with fingernails begging to be claws.

"Naruto-kun," Hinata says and Hinata's soft voice is melodious like the twang of harp strings on the underside of a ballet, but her voice is like the low trill of a wooden flute, so soft and then so loud, conveying whatever she wants to convey. and he's dreaming…still dreaming… "Did you have another dream?"

Face upturned, he closes his eyes, so ashamed. "Yes," he says, softly, as another clap of thunder deafens him but briefly. "I did."

He doesn't want to steal a little boy's mother. He doesn't want to steal a doting husband's wife.

He wants to steal Sakura.

He holds Hinata. She doesn't know why, her breath hitches in her throat, but he holds her, embraces her silken shoulders and buries his face in the crook of her neck and shoulder and wills his pain to disappear, to scurry away like a frightened animal at the feel of the warmth she radiates the warmth she radiates and he will not ever deserve.

Hinata thinks he's haunted

he thinks she's right.

·

·

·

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i always knew your dreams would come true, Naruto

all but one.

Are you happy?

am i?