Disclaimer: Naruto is drawn and written by a fantastically splendid, wonderfully cute, and very talented manga artist Masashi Kishimoto. (Obviously, I don't own it.) On top of that, I don't own the songs, Give You Back by Vertical Horizon and Missing by Evanescence, which inspired this fic.
Author's Note: Sorry for the delay. I will try to update UUS next. Now, on with the story!
In the Previous Chapter: Amoto is caught between love and hate for his mentor Sasuke, while Naruto and Sasuke attempt to be friends to protect Naruto's son from being hurt. But a mysterious pair of eyes watch Amoto from the shadows and threaten to break even this most precarious arrangement…
Chapter Fifteen Rating: NC-17 (don't look kids; it's really sad)
My E-mail: rosesareblue at ymail dot com (Write me with any comments, questions, or suggestions. Remember, there's nothing like feedback that improves an author's moral/writing and keeps the chapters coming.)
Give You Back
A SasuNaru Fanfiction
If I bleed
Knowing you don't care
Missing by Evanescence
Chapter Fifteen: If You Love Me
Uzumaki Hinata caught her own reflection in the kitchen window as she waddled towards her boiling tea and blushed at the awkward figure she made. In the advanced stages of her pregnancy, everything she did was clumsy and loud; she was now totally unfit to be a ninja, having been removed from her medical nin assignments months ago. But as she settled down with her tea, decaffeinated of course, and rested a slim hand on her enormous stomach, she reflected on how she liked being a mother much better than being a ninja.
"Liking" and "being capable", unfortunately, didn't come hand in hand. Earlier that day, she'd gone to Tsunade-sama for a checkup and had admitted a secret fear, which had been wrecking havoc on her mind for the last three weeks: Her second child would be a girl. She's told Tsunade-sama, Naruto-kun, Amoto that it'd be a son because, well, because Hinata had believed it then. But now, she felt as though she'd believed it because she'd long been scared it weren't true. And, confirming her fears, her current symptoms were very different from this stage of her pregnancy with Amoto. And, really, how could you be sure on feelings and not a proper medical checkup. It could be a girl, it could be a girl…
Hinata feared a daughter, because a daughter might not be like Naruto at all. A daughter might be a little Hinata in all her weaknesses. And when Naruto left her for Sasuke, and maybe even her son would also leave her to pursue the raven-haired man he might have been named after, Hinata would have nothing to remind her of the precious ten years she and her love had shared.
It wasn't even a question of loving the child, because Hinata loved the unborn baby in her belly so utterly that it brought tears into her eyes just thinking of it. But, because of that overwhelming love, all the more reason for Hinata to be afraid! What if Hinata couldn't protect the child? With Naruto and Amoto gone, what if Hinata couldn't protect a weak child because she herself grew weaker?
Tsunade-sama had been gentle but curt in her scolding. Hinata had to be strong, there was no argument. She'd just have to make sure she wasn't weak. Period. Tsunade-sama had said she said this not because she was speaking to Hinata, but because she would say this to any mother. A mother had to be strong, no excuses, and protect her precious ones. That strength she couldn't borrow from anyone. Not her husband. Especially not her children.
Hinata sipped her tea quietly, though her slim white hand trembled slightly, thinking about Tsunade-sama's words and waiting for Naruto and Amoto to come home. Soon enough, there was a clatter in the front hall, and her men's simultaneous cries of "WE'RE HOME!" Amoto flew into the kitchen, hugged his mother around the neck, and scampered off to change for dinner, sniffing the air like a puppy and screaming "POTATOES", all in a matter of two seconds. Naruto was much slower to appear to greet her and by this and the grin that didn't reach his eyes, Hinata knew that he'd been with Uchiha Sasuke.
Hinata braced herself against the painful fear of abandonment and the pangs of hatred for the raven-haired man. These emotions rose in her, hurt her, then died down. Only then did she rise to embrace her husband without even the slightest hint of resentment. She did this, she told herself for the millionth time, all this for Naruto and Naruto alone; it had nothing to do with Sasuke. For Naruto to be at ease, for Naruto's happiness, Hinata would play the fool a million times. She had to be strong. She had promised to be strong.
"We have nikujaga for dinner," she said and Naruto flinched.
"I… I love nikujaga," the hokage replied, very, very guiltily.
"I know." Hinata found herself laughing, really laughing, as her husband's face contorted into that of a child's, with his hand caught in the cookie jar. "You can have some, even if you were slacking off from work with Uchiha-san and Amoto."
The guilt in Naruto's eyes intensified tenfold. "How-how did you know…?"
Hinata smiled. "There's nothing I don't know about you, Naruto-kun. And don't be silly. Why would I be angry if you take a break from work to spend time with your friend and your son? I only feel bad for Konohamaru-kun stuck with the paperwork…"
With that, the hokage's wife tried to rise from her chair to tend to dinner and failed due to the weight of her body. She blushed dark red and, mortified, reached out her hands for Naruto's help. Naruto laughed, pulling her up into his embrace that lasted longer than it needed to.
"I don't deserve you, Hinata-chan," he whispered.
She hugged him tightly, letting herself be saved by Naruto's words again. "I should be saying that to you, Naruto-kun."
He finally let her go with an awkward laugh, announcing, "Wait, you sit back down. I'll finish making dinner."
As Naruto clattered about and broke things in the kitchen, Hinata watched his back.
Finally, she made herself call over to him, "I was wrong… I think our second child will be a daughter."
"EH?" The blond upset a container in his surprise and its contents fell into the stove, causing the meat and potatoes to burst into flames. "OH SHIT!"
Amoto, who'd appeared in the kitchen just in time to hear his mother's big news, yelled out in despair, "SAVE THE NIKUJAGA DAD! FOR THE SAKE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THE WORLD, SAVE THE FOOD!"
Naruto instantly performed a water element jutsu that extinguished the flames.
"IDIOT POPS! I SAID SAVE IT! NOT FLOOD IT!" the son wailed, as he and Naruto mourned the soggy remains of their dinner.
At last, the blonde poked the mess. "Maybe it's still edible?"
"Hopefully…" Amoto said. "If we put sauce on it?"
"Wait, this isn't important. Hinata-chan, did Tsunade baa-chan say something?" the kitsune asked his quietly amused wife. Amoto stared at his mother with round inquiring blue eyes as well, mirroring his father's face.
"No." The dark-haired woman shook her head. "It's different from when I was pregnant with Amoto… so I just thought… and…" Hinata ducked her head, too ashamed to look up. "I am worried she won't be like you at all, Naruto-kun, and be a weak shinobi and coward like me."
"ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" the hokage leapt to his feet. "A girl, huh? That's great! She'll be the first real female hokage – since Tsunade baa-chan only looks like female."
"Okaaaaaaaa-chan," Amoto drawled. "If my little sister looks like pops, she'll be butt ugly. She has to look like you or it's such a waste!"
"A daughter, huh? I always wanted a daughter after we failed in having a cute child when we got Amoto."
"YOU TAKE THAT BACK IDIOT POPS!"
"See, not cute at all."
Both Uzumakis, head locking one another rather cheerfully, were shocked when Hinata burst into tears. She hugged her belly, hugged her unborn child, and wept because, though she didn't know the child yet, Hinata loved her so much that she was more afraid than she'd ever been in her life for its safety and wellbeing… its happiness. If Naruto stayed with her and this child, Hinata would protect her daughter with everything she had. If Naruto left, Hinata would still protect her with everything. Nothing would change. She would love her unborn daughter, through her very fears and insecurities. As a mother should. As only a mother could.
Having no way of knowing this, father and son bared their teeth at each other.
"Brat," Naruto growled. "How dare you threaten your mother of having butt ugly children!"
"I said only if she looks like you!" Amoto yelled. "And I think okaa-chan's crying because you murdered her nikujaga!"
Uzumaki Hinata wiped her tears and acted the peacemaker once again. "I didn't want to do the dishes anyway. Let's go out to eat?"
As Naruto took up one hand and Amoto took up another, Hinata let herself be led along and thought, "Enough. This should be enough."
Nara Marika stood at the edge of the clearing and watched her classmate Uzumaki Amoto chase after the raven-haired man that everybody in Konoha feared. Marika was a little bit scared of him too – unlike the other adults who were her father's friends, this man whose name they said was Uchiha-san never stopped to pet her on the head, smile at her, or bother to ask where the little genius was going. Instead, he seemed to look right through her with blood red eyes, his face always dark, his voice always silent.
So she had asked her father about him, over one of their games of shogi, "Should I be afraid of Uchiha-san?"
And her father, who she believed knew everything in the world and was smartest ninja ever born (even if a tad bit lazy), said, "Is Marika afraid of loneliness and loss?"
Her mother had shouted from the kitchen, over the vindictive chopping of vegetables, "What kind of emo words are you saying to our innocent child, Shikamaru? You want me to go out there with this knife, huh?"
But Marika admired her father for never treating her like a baby and telling her things straight up. Even now, muttering about how women were scary, Shikamaru waited for his daughter's answer. So she said, without hesitation, "Of course. Everyone is afraid of loneliness and loss."
"That's why the villagers fear the Uchiha, because they think he embodies both things. But in truth," Shikamaru paused. "In truth, he's just trapped. You must not feel sorry for him though, Marika. To be forever trapped by loneliness and loss and still remain alive, only a true shinobi can pull it off."
The rest of the conversation had been cut off by his mother appearing with the kitchen knife and chasing her husband around the lawn.
Try as she might though (because when was her father ever wrong – except when he argued with her mother?), Marika hadn't been able to throw off being a tiny bit scared of the red-eyed stranger. The little girl found her own irrationality unacceptable, so she liked to watch Amoto with Uchiha-san. When Amoto was near him, he wasn't so scary after all.
"So just how strong were you when you were my age?" Amoto ran after Sasuke as he crossed the clearing. "Tell me exactly, like what jutsus you could do and stuff."
The raven-haired man gently pushed the child away, but Amoto was already hanging on his sleeve.
"Come oooooooon, Uchiha-san? How am I supposed to know I'm going to be able to kick your ass or not if I don't have this suuuuuuuuper important informatiooon?"
"Listen, brat," the raven-haired man had growled in a voice surprisingly not angry. "What kind of ninja asks the enemy upright for information?"
"Well, if the enemy tells me, and I tell him, then we can fight fair and square, right?"
A chuckle. "You are not cut out to be a shinobi. You're too foolish."
"Uchihaaaaaaa-saaaaaaaaan datteba! Just tell meeeeeeeeee!"
Finally, Sasuke managed to unattach the child from his sleeve (he hadn't been trying too hard, else he could avoid the clutching white hands easily) and said, "I have a mission from the dumbass hokage. You run along and play with your other brat friends. Look, she's waiting for you."
Marika felt the red eyes on her. Fighting a flutter in her stomach, she walked a little into the clearing and bowed her head politely to the raven-haired man. If the Uchiha was even the slightest bit surprised at receiving a fearless greeting from such a tiny village child, he didn't show it – disappearing at once with a quick ruffle of Amoto's hair, leaving Amoto pouting at his departure.
"Hi Amoto," the brown-haired girl said, approaching the sulking boy.
Amoto turned to see the familiar dark green eyes of his classmate and instantly his feral grin returned. "Hi Marika-chan! Sorry, I was doing real important avenger stuff so I didn't sense your presence like I normally could, ya know?"
"Avenger stuff?" Shikamaru's daughter blinked her pretty eyes and put her hands on her hips. "Explain."
"Oh, well, Uchiha-san is super strong so only I can match his strength and not my weak weak pops, who's only hokage because I'm still too young. I'm training hard so I can become Uchiha-san's equal because everyone else is too chickenshit and afraid of him when he's not even that mean on the inside. I am a gonna fight him for making my mom cry."
Not calling the boy out on his obvious lies, Marika asked instead, "Why do you need to fight him for? If he's not really mean?"
"That sounds too troublesome to me," Marika replied with a toss of her head.
"That's cos you are a girl and don't understand important stuff about war," Amoto scoffed.
"I get better grades on tests than you," the girl replied.
Amoto rolled his eyes. "Only when you stay awake during them. Which only happened twice. Plus, a ninja's all about the awesome jutsus… hey! Come with me and I'll show you this fire element jutsu that Uchiha-san taught me. He doesn't know it yet, but I've almost perfected it."
With that, Naruto's son pulled Shikamaru's daughter after him into the woods… not sensing the pair of glowing eyes that followed.
"You weren't lying for once," Marika said, looking up at the singed leaves of the trees surrounding Amoto's secret training grounds. "I've never seen that jutsu before."
"Heh heh." Amoto chuckled, glad to have received praise from someone who so rarely gives it. Marika was known throughout the academy for being the hardest kunoichi to impress, since nothing seemed to capture her interest for long (other than shogi and her father's words). "Still not good enough to show Uchiha-san yet. I want it to be perfect."
"Ne, Amoto," the intuitive little girl pressed. "Do you really hate Uchiha-san?"
"Of course!" the blue-eyed boy clenched his fists. "I want to kick his ass!"
The girl, not entirely convinced, asked, "Do you also love Uchiha-san? You are with him every day."
At that plain observation, Amoto seemed taken aback. It was a bit before he recovered, screaming as if that'd hide his blush, "Of course not! He doesn't have a family so I just tag around to make sure he's not lonely and stuff… I do hate him! I do! But sometimes… hating feels the same as… that other thing…"
"Do you feel sorry for him?" Marika said.
"No! Uchiha-san is a great shinobi! Maybe the best in Konoha," Amoto yelled, angry that she had to even ask.
"How deeply ironic that a descendent of the Senju clan so highly acknowledges the last descendent of my clan, when it is by his doing that Sasuke no longer returns to darkness."
The two children jumped upon hearing the cold voice as a masked man pulled from the shadows of trees. He was the only shinobi currently alive who could have snuck into Konoha without Naruto's or Sasuke's sensing him. Amoto noted that his one visible eye was the same shade of red as Uchiha-san's and immediately got between the stranger and his friend.
"Who are you? This is Konoha territory and you aren't allowed on it!" Amoto yelled, spreading his slender arms as if to shield Marika.
The red eye flashed, amused, annoyed. "Have I, the greatest of my clan, fallen so low as to be spoken to in such a way by a mere brat?"
"Get out of here, Marika!" Amoto shouted, shoving the girl before turning to the tall stranger and putting a hand to his lips.
"KATON GOKAKYU NO JUTSU!"
It was the surprise of that particular attack, the trademark of the Uchiha clan, coming from a descendent of Senju more than its having the slightest effect that stopped the masked man from murdering the fleeing Marika. Amoto tried to run too, now that he'd created the diversion for his friend, but it was a miracle that he'd gotten even her out safely.
The masked man descended on him, hissing, "Come, child of Senju, I'll teach you true revenge. I'll show you the real power of the Uchiha clan and why your kind should never dare to mimic it…"
Hinata, with the helping arms of a giggling Sakura and a joking Ino, was attempting to take a walk around Konoha when she saw a familiar brunette girl racing towards them from a distance.
"Marika-chan!" the pearly eyed woman waved. "Do you know where my Amoto – "
"Hyuuga-san!" the little girl wailed, red-faced and bawling, "He-help! A missing nin's got Amoto!"
Though Marika said more, Hinata didn't hear it. Already, she was struggling in the direction the child had come; Sakura and Ino could barely keep her back.
"No, let me go to my baby, Amoto, Amoto!"
"You're going to be no help, Hinata!" Sakura yelled, "You can't aid him in your state! Ino – get Naruto! Get Naruto! Marika, tell me exactly where you saw this man!'
As Ino disappeared at once, Hinata broke free of Sakura's grasp and tried to move at a pace her pregnant body wouldn't allow, suddenly feeling a contraction go through her but gritting her teeth against crying out. Sakura didn't wait for the desperate mother, disappearing into the foreboding woods as Marika's shrill crying seemed to echo throughout Konoha.
It was impossible to tell who broke into the clearing first, Naruto or Sasuke. The Uchiha had been going over mission statements with the hokage when Ino appeared. The two men heard only "Amoto" and "missing nin" before both had exploded out of the office, leaving the blonde girl to organize backup. Amoto's trail had been too easy to follow – clumps of pink hair marked the way into the woods and, sure enough, they found Sakura bloody and barely conscious on the forest floor. Squatting over her was Uchiha Madara with Amoto on his knee, a kunai pressed against the thin stalk of the child's white neck.
"DAD! DADDY!" Amoto's cry instantly muted to a whimper when the ancient ninja jerked his head back, the kunai drawing a spot of blood.
"GET OFF HIM!"
"FIGHT ME INSTEAD!"
Madara ignored Sasuke and Naruto, gesturing at Sakura. "She's alive. You see, she's needed. She'll be witness to my murder."
Naruto jerked forward on raw instinct, reared in by Sasuke when Madara's grip on the kunai tightened. The father was positively trembling in the raven-haired man's hard grip.
"What do you want?" the kitsune cried. "Let the child go, and I will do whatever you want – let the child go. Only let him go."
"You've done enough, Uzumaki Naruto, heir of Senju." Madara gritted out, before turning a bloodshot eye on Sasuke. "My business is with my kin."
"Release the boy." Sasuke's face contorted, possessed by pure hatred. "If you harm him, I swear I will make you beg for death – "
"Ah, if only you had let that anger consume you before," Madara's voice lightened, "I wouldn't have had to bother with children to help you change your mind, Sasuke."
"You are a dead man," the younger Uchiha barked, holding back from charging Amoto's captor himself only because he was holding onto Naruto. "Half of Konoha is approaching and only you could have hidden your presence so well from me. I sense no one else. You are alone and you will die. I will make sure of it. Release Amoto, and I'll at least make it a quick death."
"Do you think me a fool?" Madara taunted. "Why would I, who has nothing left, not embrace my death - once I've had my last victory?"
With that, he kicked Sakura's head so that she was facing the two men. She could barely groan, but she was still blinking back her tears of pain. Proud and angry.
Naruto balled his fist and growled, "Teme, I'm gonna – "
"Silence, or your son is gone." Madara's voice came sharp and harsh. "I will only free him if Sasuke… ah, Sasuke, Sasuke…"
Madara's bloodshot eye glinted.
"Sasuke," he ordered, "kill the heir of Senju, while the woman and the child watches. If you want the child to be free, kill Naruto now."
The sharp and harsh voice seemed to ring. A team of anbu burst into the clearing, withdrawing to the edges as they took in the scene. Sakura sputtered up blood; Amoto squealed against the blade point. Then, the world seemed to stop, politely, for one Uchiha Sasuke and one Uzumaki Naruto.
Naruto was the first to move. He wasn't trembling anymore, steeled with a cool determination. Deftly, almost gracefully, he flicked out a kunai and held it out to his once lover, his once obsession, his very best friend.
The young blond god's eyes looked like heaven as they gazed into raven-haired man's.
The voice that uttered his name contrasted sharply with Madara's and was strong and beautiful, just like all those years ago.
"If you love me, if you ever loved me, please, please…"
Naruto drew himself close, so Sasuke could feel the very breath of the kitsune's most desperate plea.
"Please kill me."
Author's Note: Reviews are always appreciated. Please let me know what you think before this story reaches its very eventful end. Thanks always for reading.