Hello, here I am again, trying for a less serious theme, romance XDD well not telling you that romance is an easy task, at least it is easier for me because I'm awful in making fighting scenes. Let's say it's a break for me from another story I made, Ayame. But still… my writing skills are… you can tell me after reading this. I doubt you're going to praise me.
First, I'm fond of SasuHina pairing, if you're against it, you may not read this. And I'm influenced by the experts of SasuHina authors such as Fractured wings 01, Scented Candles, Mila J, and many others that you can find in my list of favorite stories.
Second, I don't have a beta for this story, so you may find many mistakes, added English is not my main language, I can write a fanfic is already a miracle. This is my first attempt in romance story. I hope though my mistakes won't affect your reading too much.
Third, standard disclaimer! I would never own Naruto, that's one thing for sure. I only own the title, summary, and plotline ; P There's a possibility I change them though. So, let's go on with the story, shall we?
What Are We?
She didn't accept the news very well. When she was called by his father, she didn't suspect it would turn out this way. She should have seen it coming. She had seen him visiting the Hyuuga compound, asking for her father's presence, which her father approved soon afterwards.
As she walked into the room where her father asked for her presence, she felt uneasy. Even though all the years, she had gained more confidence and strength, her father still had a great influence over her. She sat before him without making noise, the Hyuuga clan head merely nodded at her to acknowledge her presence.
"Hinata… I suppose you know the relationship between Hyuuga and Uchiha clan"
"Yes, I'm fully aware of that, Otou-sama"
"We made an agreement to strengthen the bond between two clans by betrothing our heirs." Her eyes widened slightly in surprise but she gave no hint of her feelings. Somehow she was able to hide it.
"You were betrothed with Itachi as the Uchiha heir, but now due to the circumstances… with Itachi as missing nin and Sasuke as the last Uchiha, leaving him as the rightful heir of the clan and also leaving him with the responsibility. I suppose you notice his visit to our place?" it wasn't a question, it was more a statement. Hinata indeed noticed Sasuke's visit to the Hyuuga compound, it wasn't a daily occurrence the last Uchiha visited the Hyuuga. She couldn't help to notice it, she doubted if he came for his cousin, Neji who was already an ANBU captain. Hinata knew where the conversation was heading at, her keen observation had always been her strong point since she was young. In exchange of his question, Hinata merely nodded, not showing the turmoil she had.
"He is well aware of his responsibility. Hinata… now you're no longer a child, I believe both of us are fully aware of that. You're ready for marriage."
She left the room without any protests even though there were so many things she wanted to say against her father that she wanted to fall and cry in front of him to change his mind. But she knew better, once father had made a promise, he would fulfill it even though it would cost his life. It was one of the reasons why he was respected, not only because he was the head of the Hyuuga clan but also of his integrity. Nothing would change his decision, and his decision was an order she couldn't refuse.
She found herself sitting on a bench near the pond, her eyes were looking skywards to the heavens above. It was her haven, it was her favorite place with her mother when she was still alive. She came here every time she had problems, taking out her suppressed feelings and found comfort as if her mother lingered here. The clouds gave way to the full moon, its pale light fell over her tearstained face. Hinata looked at the moon blankly, she had no more tears to cry. There was only silent surrender to her fate, she was the Hyuuga heiress, and she must do what the clan told her.
"…Kaa-san…" her mind drifted to the past, how her mother would comfort her here. She truly wished she had been here, she wanted to hear her soothing voice, telling her everything would be alright. But she weren't, and now there she was, on her own without her mother's guidance. Her trained senses picked someone else's presence, for a moment she thought it was Neji who was looking for her until she glance toward the person to find her father, Hiashi. She didn't expect from all people, her father would look for her.
"May I?" Hiashi asked if he might sit beside her on the bench. Hinata merely nodded in approval, quickly avoiding his gaze. He sat down and felt like the first time, he examined his daughter thoroughly. Hinata had grown her hair reaching her back and now it was cascading over her shoulder. Her midnight hair shimmered under the moonlight, accentuating her beauty more.
She inherits your beauty, Hoshino…
Hiashi's gaze softened as he remembered his late wife, he could see so many similarities between his oldest daughter and his wife. Hinata didn't only inherit her beauty but also her kindness and warmth, something that most Hyuuga lacked of and under appreciated as they considered it a weakness. But he knew better, some weakness could be strength, there was no exception. Hiashi realized everything was too much for her daughter, being forced into a marriage for the sake of the clan. He wished he hadn't had the agreement but some things needed to be done, and there was no place for personal feelings. His daughter had grown a great deal after all those years, slowly but surely gaining acknowledgement for the clan as the rightful Hyuuga heiress. He had been watching her progress silently, how she started to gain confidence, how she learned not to stutter much until she didn't stutter anymore, how she held her head high instead of looking towards her feet and fidgeted, how she learned from every mistakes she did in her daily training, how she managed to climb through the ranks until she gained the title jounin now, and how hard she worked to reach the title, harder than Neji as he saw how bruised and battered she was after training. He never said anything about it or even gave a slight notice that he knew. However, he noticed and as a father he was proud for his daughter's achievement and he saw that she was satisfied with it too. He hated that he needed to destroy his daughter's happiness by forcing him into a marriage she didn't want. When he delivered the news, he wasn't oblivious to her reaction. He saw how she accepted the responsibility obediently without protests even how much she wanted to, knowing she had nothing against it. He let her alone to cope with the situation, but when she hadn't returned he couldn't help but to feel worried so he went to search for her by himself instead of Neji. He was surprised to find her in Hoshino's favorite place, a seat by the pond. He saw her cheeks were wet because of tears.
"Hinata, look at me," he spoke gently though there was still authority in his voice. Hesitantly, Hinata raised her head and looked at her father only to find him looking at her affectionately. It totally caught her off guard, her father wasn't someone who openly showed his feelings, like most Hyuuga and what he said next surprised her even more.
"…I'm sorry to force you into this." Hinata simply looked at him wide-eyed.
"I suppose you don't expect this to come from me," Hiashi noticed his daughter's expression,
"…I've never been a good father for you and Hanabi as your mother expected. I am the clan leader and it is my duty to bring the best for the clan. The agreement is included one of them, there weren't many times I regretted my decisions…And this is one of those times. As a clan leader, I know this is the best decision. As a father, I don't even know if it is… Every father loves their daughter, in their own way and every father wishes their daughter's happiness," he paused for a moment,
"I'm proud of you, Hinata. I'm proud as a father could be, you've exceeded all of my expectations and you've proven yourself worthy as the Hyuuga heiress. I couldn't ask for a better daughter. I'm sorry for everything you've gone through…I'm sorry I am not able to be a good father for you." Hinata saw that every word that he said was true and the fact he cared and acknowledged her touched her deeply. She tried to hold tears from falling then she felt a warm hand on her cheek. Hiashi slightly smiled to her daughter,
"As a father… I wish for your happiness best, daughter, you deserve it better than anyone else…" When he spoke those words, she couldn't hold her tears anymore, slowly tears were falling without restraint. Hiashi didn't bother to move his hands, instead he caressed her daughter comfortingly, as a father would. Hiashi looked at his weeping daughter sadly,
This is the only thing I could do for our daughter, Hoshino…
Hinata didn't know if it was the worst day of her life or not, but she couldn't help but to feel relieved… to know that she was loved all along.
It was a nice weather in Konoha, the cloud was sheltering the village from the sun, and the sky was crystal clear. Most people could be found enjoying the weather by having some picnic with their family, gathering with their friends or having a warm conversation on the street. Among all the people who was crowding the street, a sole presence could be seen walking casually, didn't seem to be bothered that he was just alone. It appeared he was a young man with cold onyx eyes and his bangs falling in front of his eyes. He was wearing a black turtleneck with sleeves that reached his elbow and pants with matching colors, bandages could be seen strapping his lower arms. An image of a red white paper fan on his back confirmed the man as the last Uchiha, Uchiha Sasuke. He was full aware of people's attention towards him, some was looking at him not differently like he was young, looking at him with admiration and some others was looking at him with wariness, and hatred. He wasn't oblivious to their gaze and he knew well their reasoning. After all, he was the one who chose to leave the village to achieve his goal to Orochimaru. He was a traitor, he was supposed to be a missing nin, until he decided to return to the only place he called home. Only few people who truly accepted him with open hands and treated him indifferently when he returned, it was his abandoned team. Their first reaction was a little violent, a well-round punch in the gut from Naruto and a slap on his face from Sakura, luckily only a pat from Kakashi or he would have been dead, but their reaction was understandable. The truth was, he expected him to be killed in the spot to what he had done, he knew how much he had hurt them but instead they accepted him gratefully. Their only response was,
"Thank god you still have the brain to realize your mistake"
"Glad to see you back, Sasuke"
He couldn't have more, he was ready to face the consequences of everything he had done. His friend was already more than enough for him. Many had disapproved for his return and the Hokage's forgiveness –partly because of Naruto, Sasuke knew- but gradually things changed. In short amount of time he was able to climb through the ranks and now he was an ANBU captain together with Naruto and some of the genin fellows as his subordinates. They were the next people after his team who accepted him after his uprising to the village. Even though some of them couldn't really trust him as much as before like Neji, Shikamaru, and Shino. Sasuke had grown colder through the years, his face was still as stoic as ever, barely showing any emotions and many found his calm unnerving and intimidating. His calm façade disappeared only when he was around his team, especially Naruto that had become his best friend. Funny how they both started on the wrong foot and the two people who had totally opposite character could get along, let alone understand each other. They often shared their thoughts and problem to each other, considering what they had been through only could be understood by both of them. Naruto could easily read what lie underneath his façade and so could Sasuke.
So there he was walking in the street, looking for a certain loud blond and with ease he found him on his favorite place, Ichiraku. He stood in front of the place looking at a familiar back of his former teammate who was eating his what-could-be-his- 20th-ramen bowl. Sasuke didn't bother to call him, he merely stood at his place. Through his eating, Naruto sensed his former teammate's familiar chakra signature behind him so he raised his left hand without looking,
"Yo! Wanna eat Sasuke?"
"No. I need to talk," Sasuke spoke monotonously. As soon as he heard the tone of his voice, he turned himself to eye his friend carefully, his eyebrow twitched in question. He understood Sasuke better than anyone else, even though his friend spoke so casually he knew there was something important that he needed to talk with him. So he quickly gulped his last bite of ramen and paid his bills, leaving the chef surprised because it was the first time Naruto didn't finish his bowl of ramen.
"Where d'you want to talk?" In a moment, Naruto was already at Sasuke's side and they were walking on the same pace.
"My place," he answered short. They went to Uchiha compound where Sasuke lived on his own. Naruto had been there few times and he always wondered how Sasuke could stand staying in this place, after everything that had happened to the clan. Once he had asked it, Sasuke merely shrugged it off but Naruto didn't miss the look of sadness that crossed his friend's face in a brief moment. Afterwards, Naruto never brought up or even touched the subject and kept the question to himself. As they arrived in front of his house, Sasuke slid the door open and let him in to the house. Naruto threw himself on the couch while Sasuke sat in the opposite side of him.
"So… what's up?" Naruto asked him casually but seriousness could be seen in his face. Sasuke noticed it and inwardly smiled to himself. Naruto was truly his best friend, he wondered if there was anything missed his keen observation. He knew there was no point in lying, so he went directly instead,
"I'm going to restore the clan"
Naruto's eyes were widened in surprise,
"Don't you think it's too soon?"
"I'm 21 years old, Naruto. I'm old enough." Naruto knew Sasuke was serious, there were only certain conditions where Sasuke called him by name directly.
"I've achieved my goal and that leaves me to restore the clan"
"…Who?" Naruto asked, instead of asking his reasoning further.
"…the Hyuuga heiress"
"Hinata-chan?" Naruto couldn't believe his ears, he didn't drop the suffix after all those years. She had become one of his precious people since the chuunin exam.
"The Uchiha have an agreement with the Hyuuga that the heirs would be betrothed to each other in order to strengthen the bond between two clans. The agreement still stands, and I'm the Uchiha heir. Hyuuga is the best candidate to restore the clan"
Naruto's eyes narrowed when he heard his last statement,
"So you marry her just because of her bloodline?" he didn't like the idea at all.
"Don't take it wrong. It's been arranged since we were born," Sasuke wasn't oblivious to the tone of his voice, he sensed protectiveness.
"…I know," surprisingly Naruto didn't yell at him, his cheek rested on his hand, his face was thoughtful,
"But you can refuse it, Sasuke. You have the choice. I understand how much you want to restore the clan, and I know you want the best for the clan. But have you ever considered you own happiness? And Hinata's? You will be married out of love!" he pointed out loud.
"Both of you are my best friends, and I don't want to see both of you sad. Both of you deserve to be happy, by marrying someone you love. You can choose anyone you want Sasuke! There are a plenty of girls out there love you and I believe there is someone who deserves your love!"
Sasuke was taken aback by Naruto's words, surprised to see the truth and wisdom in his words. Naruto looked straight at him, demanding for an explanation. His friend had truly grown a lot, not only in stature but also in mind. He was still loud and brash, he was still the cheerful and optimistic guy who liked to wear orange and eat ramen, but he was no longer the dense, insensitive idiot. Being the demon's vessel had shaped him into what he was now and everything they had gone through had forged the bond between them stronger. He saw concern in his eyes, as a teammate, a comrade, a friend… and a brother. Sasuke unconsciously lowered his gaze, Naruto was right. He would be married out of love, he didn't deny the fact he also wanted a marriage with love… but his goal came first.
"I know Naruto, I know… But I want the best for my clan… I don't care of my happiness." Naruto looked at him seriously,
"How about Hinata's?"
"…She will understand"
Naruto didn't accept it, but he knew once Sasuke had made up his mind towards his goal, nothing could change it. He knew it too well, he sadly remembered the past.
"I don't have a say in this. At least Hinata needs to know about this from you directly. She deserves to know," he emphasized the importance of it.
"Just promise me you'll make her happy, don't ever try to hurt her"
"You have my word," Sasuke raised his head to look directly at Naruto. Naruto could see his words were true and he would keep the promise. He placed his hands on his shoulders and squeezed it firmly.
"Be happy, Sasuke." a slight smile appeared on Sasuke's face, it was a sincere smile. He only nodded, warmth filled his heart to see how much Naruto cared. Though the moment was broken with an unfamiliar presence outside the door. Sasuke rose to his feet to find out who was the person who dared to step his/her feet on the Uchiha compound. He found a pair of white eyes looked at him impassively. He was a Hyuuga, before Sasuke demanded for explanation, he spoke,
"Uchiha, Hiashi-sama requests for your presence"
Sasuke glanced to Naruto who was standing behind him, both of them were fully aware what would happen.
For the second time, Sasuke found himself sitting before the Hyuuga clan leader, Hyuuga Hiashi. He sat formally like he had been taught since he was young, his back straight, his head held high, demanding respect and authority. He must admit the leader's presence only had given him a strong pressure, making him didn't question why he had been chosen as the leader. Hiashi was closing his eyes, giving no sign that he noticed Sasuke's presence in the room. Sasuke knew it was an invitation for him to start the conversation.
"Uchiha Sasuke, by your request," he started.
"You're totally aware why you are here," it was a statement.
"I'm fully aware," Sasuke kept his gaze on Hiashi, slowly the leader opened his eyes and gave him a slight nod.
"I've spoken to my daughter, and she accepted the responsibility. Your wedding will take place a week after today. She will live with you in the Uchiha compound and I expect you to remember the agreement"
"I'm aware she is the Hyuuga heiress. The first child who wields the Sharingan will be the heir of the Uchiha, while the first child who wields the Byakugan will be the heir of the Hyuuga," Sasuke repeated one of the important parts of the agreement.
"Good," Hiashi nodded in approval, "You are forbidden to meet Hinata until the wedding." Sasuke was a little surprised with it, but showed nothing in his face.
"She is not only the Hyuuga heiress, remember that, Uchiha," Hiashi gave him a stern look, "You may leave now"
Sasuke gladly took his leave, he gave a slight nod of respect to the man who was going to be a part of his family –not like he wanted it. On his way to leave the Hyuuga compound, his sight caught a familiar figure in the garden. The person was wearing a simple yet elegant lavender kimono, her long navy blue hair was held in a bun. She was tending the flowers, she had dirt on her hands. Sasuke recognized her chakra signature and he saw her posture went rigid for a moment. She cleaned her hand from the dirt and raised her head to look at the Uchiha. Black met white. Their gaze locked, none willing to move, both trying to decipher each other's thought. Hinata was the first to break their gaze, she slightly bowed to acknowledge his presence then silently she retreated to the house, leaving Sasuke to continue his way to the gate and contemplate what had happened.
Author's note: To be continued… or not? If you think the story worth your review, please review, cause I don't know whether to continue it or not. And does anybody want to become my beta reader for my story? Thank you very much for reading!