Chapter Zehn

Let me walk

Along a path that is clear

Let my feet touch

Upon the stone that leads

Into a place I'll never know

And let my senses be stroked

By the autumn hues of untold tales

Let it not fall into the trap of

Winter's harshness

And so let my soul sleep

While the pages turn

and my life story flows

Into a legend of hope

Have you ever found yourself wondering about the complexities of life, only to realise how simple it really is?

Sometimes the spell of despair and some call depression is nothing more than a pod of doubt that has grown into excessive thinking that has in turn wound a yarn of thick shelter that is hard to break through. At times like these, we need to learn how to bring ourselves back to the same level as others and sometimes we need to forgive ourselves before we can forgive others.

And so my friends, I shall leave you with a quote:

"For so long as the sun rises and the earth spins, I will always be there. For so long as you keep me in your thoughts, we still have one more chance for tomorrow. And one more chance for the heart to heal..."

It was one of those days.

Muted colours of soft blue and the creamy clouds filled the skies that loomed over the pointed spikes of the skyscrapers of Tokyo. Yes, she was back again. It has been a little more than 6 months when she left in determined tears. Now she wore doubt around her neck that weighed upon her heart as she stood in the corridor of unnatural pristine alabaster granite that was flanked by endless glass that let the morning sun shine through, making it look like a illuminated tunnel of sorts. Dressed in a simple knee length skirt and a long sleeved blouse, she had pearls to match her eyes and absently, she kept her hair up in with a pin.

Hinata sighed as the hour drew near and her nervousness rose up in notches.

She then felt a footstep come up to her and the figured placed a warm hand on her shoulder. Shikamaru rarely said much as he was not good as offering comfort as he was at giving snide remarks or planning strategies. Flicking the cigarette in his mouth with his tongue, he stood beside here and smile with some words of assurance.

"You're sure that you want to go through with this?" He asked for the umpteenth time.

She smiled.

"Only as much as it should be done."

He frowned. It was a weird answer but before he could chide her, his newly-wedded wife of one week, who had appeared from nowhere, pushed him aside to get to Hinata. And in the process, he was shoved off to the side and had landed against the wall with a thump. Though smarting from the bump, he had to laugh. Ino has always been animated in her gestures especially when it came to friends and in his case, she was desperately trying to do a theatrical turn and have Hinata turn around 180 degrees and walk out of the whole thing.

"It's ok Hinata! We can always just walk away and do this another time! There's no need to rush-"

And Hinata hugged her friend. An action that halted the blonde girl in her tracks immediately. Ino instinctively raised her arms and hugged her back. Ino wished there was more she could do as a friend but how does one convince a hard headed, stubborn Hyuuga that she is still in love with her husband! Oh, damn the frustration! The tension of trying to wake her up from her ideas is incredulous! Argh!

"Thank you, Ino. But I am fine. Really I am!"

Hinata peered at her friend in earnest.

"I know what I am doing. Trust me."

Hinata begged. And with a sigh, Ino nodded. She had to respect the girl. It is still her life after all and others should not run it for her. And how could anyone turn Hinata down when she gives that puppy-dog eyes look?

Giving her friend's hand a squeeze, Hinata proceeded to move from the glass window at Shikamaru's announcement to enter the room.

It was time.

And Hinata found it hard to control the racing of her heartbeat as she heard sets of other footsteps. Of the familiar steps of leather shoes pacing across the marbled floor and making their way towards them. Looking up, her heart ached. He looked exactly as she remembered him to be. Itachi stood tall and dignified in his usual business suit of dark grey and a matching tie while Sasuke stood by his side in a light blue shirt and dark pants. He smiled and offered a smile to render some support.

He was still as heartbreakingly handsome and her chest tightened into a dead knot, causing breathing problems.

Within a few steps later, they stood facing each other for the first time in months. She smiled at him in a quiet manner before turning her heels and clicking them forward towards the looming dark maple panels flanked in men in dark suits that lead the way into the room.

At least, we are not ending on a shouting note. She thought as she heard the footsteps fall behind her. She prayed silently that things will go smoothly and quietly...

The authority figure presiding over the whole procedure today was an old man with ragged white hair and small eyes. He said in a droning fashion explaining the terms and everything that is to be expected. Hinata sat in her chair fidgeting with a part of her skirt, twisting the fabric in nervous waiting. And next to her, Uchiha Itachi sat in calm composure. He has not said a word not voiced out anything over the past months. He took it all in his stride, never once did he lose his cool. Not when he came under fire from the media, or even when he was asked to come for the signing of the papers. He was always cool and enigmatic.

Always far and untouchable.

"Are there any questions? If there are none, please sign the papers. After which, the divorce will take effect in two years after the stipulated period of separation."

The old man stately in dull boredom as if he was about to sleep.

Hinata released her hold on her skirt and proceed to lean forward to sign. She was about to scribe when she noticed no movement from the man sitting there next to her. Pausing, she turned to look.

He held her gaze with those dark eyes of his. And unexpectedly, he smiled!

She blinked as she watched him pick the entire stack of papers and threw it back at the old man in cool boldness.

"I disagree with all the terms. I do not have the intention going through with this divorce." He said coolly. The room froze to a dead silence as papers could be heard as they rustled through the air and flew up into the old man's face, which instantaneously redden from the shock.

Hinata was taken aback. She stood there in pure shock at the uncharacteristic behaviour of Itachi, who merely continued to smile at her, unfazed by the whole scene that he had started.

"You what?" was all she managed out her stunned self.

Instead of answering her, he took action. Getting up from the plush seat of rich fabrics, he grabbed her wrists to hoist her up. Pulling her along, he then promptly made his way out of the room with her in tow.

The action stunned the crowd who watching as the dark figure with red eyes walked out with Hinata protesting at being forcefully taken. With a smirk on his face, Shikamaru merely pulled his wife into his arms in a bid to calm her before she hits hysteria.

"Things are going to be just fine." He said as he planted a kiss on her forehead.

And Sasuke could not resist a knowingly smile from encroaching his face as he watched his brother walk through those doors with Hinata in hand.

Outside, Hinata was struggling to deal with what had just happened in the room whilst trying to wrestle her wrist back from Itachi who kept a very firm hold and fast stride as he dragged her into the elevator with him. Itachi did not slow even as they flew through a crowd of really surprised reporters who had gathered outside the building until they got into the sleek transport vehicle that was waiting for them. As if, the entire thing was planned...

"What are you trying to do here?" She finally asked after finding her voice back from all the excitement.

He was pouring himself a drink and offered her one to which she declined.

"Did you think I was foolish enough to let you run the entire show to your heart's content?"

He threw back at her.


She did not believe what he just said about her being all theatrical about the whole situation! How dare he think in that way!

"Hinata, you know that you do not really have any real basis of a divorce. You know that I did not cheat on you - well, I did initially but that was before we married-"

"I do."

He looked at her.

"Tell me then, my dear wife."

She cringed at the tone but stood her ground.

"I don't love you enough to put up any more facades."

Her heart ached as she chided herself mentally for letting the tears escape and fall freely from her eyes, blurring her vision in the process. Swallowing, she turned to swiftly wipe the confounded tears away as she bit her lip to stop herself from crying.

"I don't love you-"

"You do."

He said bluntly as he observed her from the side with the Cognac in his hand.

"No, Itachi. I-I don't-"

She said as she felt herself stuttering again against the falling tears.

"Then tell me to my face. As far as I remember, it's not where you are staring at on the floor of the car, my dear."

He continued as the vehicle finally moved to smooth roads where there were not excited paparazzi chasing them down like hounds.

Taking a deep breath, she steadied herself and wiped away more tears. Looking up to his handsome dark face, she slowly gathered the words in her mouth. Praying silently to not choke on her words, she could only curse at her lack of strength and lack of poise.

"I do n-not love you-"

Hinata would have finished the sentence in choked arrangement if he had not suddenly leaned forward so close to her.

"Have you really lost all feelings for me, Hinata? Do you really not think about me during the time in Osaka? Do you not have dreams of me touching you in the dark hours of your sleep?"

A surge of anger crossed her features as she glared back into those eyes of his. There was anger arising from the truth of those words. Hinata felt more hot tears flow freely as the truth pierced at her heart. She was so angry at the truth that she was thinking about him. The fact that he haunted her dreams at night when she would remember having his body nearby in the cold nights and when he would wrap his arms around her as she slept soundly in their bedroom. And the fact that she missed feeling his touch. And the fact that she was missing him even though she had already resolved to leave him.


And then she noticed on a watch that rested on his left wrist.

He smiled slightly as he admired the titanium steel-linked watched with a red dragon embossed at the bottom left corner of the face with diamonds studding the hours.

"You had left it in the drawer beside the bed. It had the birthday card attached to gift box and what a lovely surprise to find though I only discovered it a few weeks ago."

She placed her outstretched hand in his face.

"Give it back. It was a present for my husband."

He furrowed his eyes in mock bewilderment.

"Well technically we are still married. So I get to keep the watch."

He said, smiling at her.

"I bought the watch for the man I loved. I spent three hours in the shops looking for a watch for the man whom I foolishly thought loved me somewhere in that cold heart of his. I bought that gift in hopes that perhaps, if I have my feelings confessed in this present I could perhaps allow myself to have a chance at happiness - of real happiness that perhaps I finally had someone who truly loved me for all that I stood for - not for the titles that looms over my head nor the status that I manage in society but rather, the person who is tired of holding up the different masks for people. I bought this watch to gamble shamelessly without any masks on someone whom I loved. A gamble that I miserably failed before I even attempted. It was a foolish hope that only a fool like myself would think of doing."

Hinata said as she swallowed back any tears that could not stop flowing out from her tear ducts. Despite it, she felt such a relief come off her chest to have finally said everything. Everything that she had wanted to say for so long now was finally out in the open. She remembered dragging Ino and the girls all over the shops before setting her eyes on the blazing red dragon motif one that a very helpful salesgirl carried out in velvet cushion. She remembered how her heart fluttered at finding the gift and the high school glee she had as she wrote the card and carefully tucked it in the drawer for safekeeping. A week later, things changed and she left. In her hurry, she left it behind, most forgotten.

Slumping back into the seat, Hinata looked outwards and watched the changing landscape as the vehicle drove through the busy CBD area of Tokyo.

Itachi sat silent as he watched his wife breathed a little easier from being able to finally say everything that has been looming on her mind for a long time. He remembered his surprise at finding it one day as he searched through the drawer for his confounded passport that loves to hide. Oh Kami-sama, how he missed her. He missed watching her klutz self as she whizzed through the morning routine when she woke up late and the times when she ended sleeping in the library where he had to carry back to bed and indefinitely, he missed watching her sleep and having somebody waiting for him. He had cursed at the overloaded schedule that kept him away from the home for nights at a time and therefore, leaving her alone. He also cursed himself for thinking that she would understand when he already knew that she was such an introvert and insecure creature. He should have known better than to take measures to control all the mess that the fumbling media managed to blow out of proportion. But just when he was about to suggest a holiday away for the two of them, that incident had to happen. It was the pivot that drove her away and made him the evil one. Not that he really cared but that meant that he had to give time for her to cool before approaching her. And he practically flipped when he read the lawyer's letter! As if he was going to go through with a divorce!

But given little choice, he had decided to stay low until today.

"And so let me play the fool."

He quoted Shakespeare quietly, garnering her attention from the window.

"I'm not someone who is used to having someone waiting for me. Not used to sharing my space or chasing after should I have frightened or made insecure. I got through life without needing to care for others because it is tedious and a waste of time. Women to me were nothing but distractions from work. I know not how to have someone to myself. I am not used to the exclusive nature that was required of me to maintain relations and that extended to having a wife when I got married. But soon, I grew used to seeing someone smile for me and welcoming me home. I grew accustomed to having someone chasing after me and looking after my needs. I grew to like having my wife around."

And he leaned forward to face her.

"I grew to love her."

Hinata teared again.

"And to need her very badly."

She was really starting to cry again.

"But it seems that all I'm capable of is to make her cry."

And she choked amidst her tears as she tried in vain for the umpteenth time to wipe them off her face. He reached out to gently stroke her cheeks that were flushed red with emotions with his fingertips before fully extending his arms to drag her close to him in tight embrace, burying his face to inhale the familiar lavender scent that haunted side of the bed that has been void for the past half year. Hinata nested in his warmth and sobbed as she wanted to bask in the moment for as long as it could last, lest it be a farce.

"Come home, Hinata. I need you."

Nodding, she buried her head in his chest and cling most happily as they found the car to have stopped and the doors opened to a heart-warming welcome from the Uchiha household and all their friends from earlier who had gathered outside the doors and who were cheering most enthusiastically as the couple climbed out.

Still standing close to him, Hinata stood there as the whole crowd roared and celebrated with ribbons and much pomp that coloured the air with endless emotions.

"Welcome home."

Itachi whispered as he lowered his face to kiss his wife.


Author's note:

I know that I took a really long time for the final installment but I did not forget about it! It has been lurking in my hard drive and in my mind all this time but I must say it is such a great feeling to finally have it done! I really want to thank everyone for their kind support and encouragement and hope that you enjoy this early Christmas present from me! ) I guess there is some good in falling sick and getting some time out from work eh? haha! Anyway, Merry Christmas everyone and thank you so much for staying wth me all the way ! Love ya guys!