Ah the long awaited last chapter. Thank you everyone for your reviews, they are much appreciated and I adore everyone who actually enjoyed this fic. I'm also planning on making a new Gaahina fic soon so that's something to look foward to.
Anyway read on, don't let me stop you.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Chapter 10 All or Nothing
"So what are you going to do Hinata?" Neji asked, his stoic eyes on her.
"I can't say," her eyes darted away.
"Why not?" Naruto blurted, dying of anticipation.
"Because…" Hinata said shifting her look onto the ground. "I don't think you guys would approve…" she said with a small smile.
"Well what is it?" Neji asked impatiently. Gaara looked at her questioningly.
"Well.." she took a deep gulp of air and said, "I'm going to challenge him to a fight."
Everyone stared at her, not sure if she was serious or seriously out of her mind. She could've swore she almost heard Neji stifle a laugh. She glared at him, he immediately put his hand to his mouth and started laughing, trying hard not to make it evident but obviously it was.
"Sorry…" was all he could mutter, "But you're going to fight Hiashi-sama?"
Hinata wanted to hit him but before she could decide for herself Naruto did, a clean punch to Neji's face made his laughing cease. He shot a cold glare towards Naruto but calmed down.
"Thanks Naruto-kun," she said sighing. "I'm serious," she said told everyone.
Gaara eyed her suspiciously, "Are you sure?"
"Yeah," she said giving him her best smile.
"Hinata you can do it!" Naruto said putting an arm around her much to Gaara's displeasure.
"Quit parading around like an idiot, why don't you save it for after she wins?" Gaara said quite coldly.
"C'mon Hinata let's go beat up your dad!" Naruto said, either he hadn't heard or was ignoring Gaara, he started ushering Hinata backs towards Konoha.
"Aren't you annoyed?" Gaara asked Sakura. She looked at him surprised.
"About what?" she didn't get it.
"Never mind," Gaara said going ahead of her, maybe it was because he wasn't very helpful to her or maybe it's how close Naruto and Hinata were that pissed him off. Humans sure are possessive creatures.
Gaara grabbed Hinata's hand and led her away from Naruto, shooting him a dangerous glare that he hoped that Hinata didn't see but due to her carefree expression she probably didn't.
"Are you sure you can take him?" Gaara asked her trying to find a reason for suddenly dragging her away. He understood why he was uneasy when Naruto was around Hinata. He wondered who was more important to Hinata, Naruto or himself?
"I don't know… I haven't really fought my father in awhile but I'm sure I'll manage," she told him.
He remained quiet, calculating the chances that she would win. First off she was already weak from the lack of nutrition and sleep, not to mention she hadn't been training very much, well not from what he could tell from their time together. He didn't want to doubt that she could win but the facts were against them. It would be foolish of her to rush in without thinking, he assumed that too was what Neji thought. He could tell by the serious look on his face he too was calculating.
The other two on the other hand were carefree and harbored enormous faith in their friend. Gaara glanced at Hinata, though she was weak, she seemed to believe in herself. He remembered back when she fought Neji, though she had no chance of winning she broke everyone's expectations, and the reason she did was because Naruto cheered her on. At first Gaara thought that Naruto was purposely trying to kill the girl by making her get back up to fight but it was actually for her benefit, if she didn't stand up then she would never stand up for herself again.
Hinata was mesmerized by the small fire as it engulfed the dead leaves, twigs and the wood. The night was chilled but not cold. She was the fire but was her father a mountain of twigs and branches or was he water, able to extinguish her in one try? She couldn't deny that she was nervous but maybe if her friends were there to cheer her on she would be able to win or at least make her father realize how much she's grown. It wasn't as much as a physical battle but an emotional one.
"Hey Hinata, here," Naruto said giving her an instant ramen bowl. She looked up at him, his blue eyes were pure and innocent. Even after all that's happened to him he can still see quite clearly, she was envious.
"Thanks, Naruto-kun," she said.
"What are you thinking Naruto?" Sakura said smacking him on the head. "I mean ramen? You should give her something healthier!"
"It's the tastiest and healthiest thing, you need both to survive," Naruto argued.
"It's okay Sakura-chan," Hinata said opening the package and gently pouring some steamy hot water into it. She watched the noodles drink up the water and slowly break apart from one another. Noodles sure were easy to cook. At home she never had instant noodles before, in fact she never saw how anything she at home was made. It helped her realize that she lived a very sheltered life compared to everyone else.
Gaara made his way back to the camp with some more wood, he expected them all to be asleep but Hinata was still awake and listening to Neji's advice on how to approach Hiashi and his weaker spots.
"Do you really think she can defeat him?" Gaara asked quietly to Neji when he passed by.
"I've never beaten him," Neji replied. That didn't ease Gaara's concerns. He dropped the wood near the fire and sat down next to Hinata.
"You're back," she said happily. "Naruto-kun taught me how to make instant ramen noodles and how to eat them," she said with a smile. He listened to her as she went on and on about what Naruto-kun did. He felt disconnected, like he really didn't belong in their world, he was uncomfortable in it.
He never understood what it meant to live normally. It was like a street thug being forced into a suit, it was awkward and he kept stumbling. Hinata was different from him, she had connected to other people aside from him. She had a life before him, she already had her first love, she was a normal girl.
"If… Naruto told you he loved you what would you say?" he asked suddenly, not caring that he just interrupted Hinata mid-sentence. Something inside him was breaking, he wasn't doubting Hinata, he was doubting himself. Was he capable of living such a normal life? He always thought that it would be just him and Hinata, together, not with everyone else. He was foolish to think that just because he had no one doesn't mean Hinata had nobody either.
"Why are you asking something like that Gaara?" she said, a little embarrassed.
"I want to know," not daring to look at her, instead he just watched the fire slowly disintegrate the wood.
"I would be happy and unhappy," she said, he was surprised. Honestly, he didn't know what kind of answer he was expecting to come out of her mouth. "I would be happy that the person I admire most loved me but I would be unhappy because Sakura is my best friend and I don't want her to get hurt…" she said thoughtfully. "And of course I don't need Naruto-kun if I have Gaara," she said giving him a smile but he didn't see it, he also couldn't see her face blush into a deep shade of strawberry.
He remained quiet, he wanted to ask her who was more important, himself or Naruto. He wanted to ask her if she was willing to throw way her friends, family and home to be with him. Why was he so selfish? It was always his selfishness that drove everyone away. It always had to be his way, always what he wanted, always whenever he felt like it. He never took into consideration of what others needed until he became the Kazekage but even then he did it to be accepted, more selfish reasoning. When he was younger he killed anyone who didn't do the things he wanted or anyone who got in his way even literally in his path, he would immediately crush them.
"Gaara are you okay? Did I say something upsetting?" Hinata asked worried.
"I'm fine," he said snapping and throwing a deadly glare at her. She was surprised.
Would she be able to accept the monster in him? Even if he tried he couldn't deny that he was not normal, his past plagued him, it churned inside of him ripping at his sanity. Would she still be able to love him if he destroyed her? He wanted to know her limit even if it meant losing her.
He wondered why these thoughts were coming to him now, he never thought about hurting Hinata before, it was always for her but seeing her so happy with Naruto, seeing her ability to stand up on her own two feet made him feel alone, like he was being left behind.
"Gaara?" she said, confused. She must see him as some obedient dog suddenly turned a foaming beast. Her hand reached out and much to his surprise she gently wrapped her arms around him, her head resting softly on his shoulder. "Are you worried?" she asked in a whisper.
He didn't reply, still stunned from what she did but he didn't have to because she said, "Me too."
He closed his eyes accepting her warm embrace just like she accepted his. He was worried and scared but if it was Hinata he was willing to endure it.
Hinata wondered what made Gaara so upset the other night? He avoided the questions she asked so she didn't ask anymore. He looked better today but he was really troubled, it scared her to see his eyes sharpen like a dagger aimed at her.
"We're almost there!" Naruto announced with great joy.
Now that she thought about it, she was very keen on seeing Konoha again. She missed it. She saw the gates and at the front she was pleased to see Kiba and Shino there and Akamaru greeting her happily with his barking. She was happy but every step she took made her even more nervous than before.
She glanced at Gaara to see what his reaction was but it was his same indifferent expression. If he was worried before he sure didn't show it now.
"It feels like it's been forever," Hinata said to herself, her hand slowly slipped to her chest and held onto the necklace.
At the gate though, wasn't only her teammates and Kurenai but there stood her father looking at her with displeasing eyes. Her stomach did a back-flip, was she really going to fight him? The guy who beat her down everyday in her almost 16 years of life?
"Why'd you bring the Kazekage back?" her father asked her as she approached him. She and Neji bowed politely out of habit.
"I… I challenge you to a fight. If I win you'll let me do what I want and not interfere!" she straight out said.
"A fight? And if you lose?" Hiashi asked surprised.
"You may do whatever you wish and interfere as much as you like," Hinata said and gulped in fear.
"I admire that you're willing to take this so head-on but a stupid decision nonetheless. You know what the consequences are?" Hiashi said.
"Hinata what are you thinking?" Kurenai asked shocked. "I can't let this happen!"
"Good, any particular location?" Hiashi asked ignoring her teacher.
"Nope," Hinata said lunging herself at him, her Byakugan activated. She refused to lose. Her attacks she predicted were futile against her father's years of training with her. He knew her steps too well.
"Still too slow, your steps are still too sloppy and your blows are clumsy and inaccurate," her father said still correcting her as if this battle was another one of their training sessions. He didn't take her seriously.
"Shut up!" Hinata said furiously as she aimed for a vital spot. He dodged it but was surprised nonetheless of her bold move.
"What can you gain from fighting me? You won't win," he said giving her a clean blow to her gut. She stumbled but gripping her stomach.
"I know I can't win," Hinata said gasping for air. "I know that!" she cried desperately before going after her father again. She wanted to run away, crawl into a corner and cry her eyes out while licking her wounds but she couldn't. She wanted him to take her seriously.
"Then why fight if you can't win?" Hiashi asked, continuously dodging her, she realized that she had not landed a hit on him yet and he his hits pounded her body to the point she could barely hold her Byakugan active.
"You're still a naïve girl," Hiashi said delivering another blow but this time Hinata closed her eyes, knowing she could no longer dodge but she didn't have to. When she opened them again an angry Gaara was standing by her side, his sand shielding her.
"You're the one that's naïve," Gaara said to him. "I don't understand what you're trying to do, are you trying to kill your daughter or save her?" Gaara asked, his eyes sharp like a hawk, his tone dead serious.
"What about you? Are you trying to save my daughter or ruin her? You should question your own actions before someone else's!" Hiashi said.
"I guess we're more alike than it seems, we both want to control Hinata's life for selfish reasons but unlike you I've accepted that she is her own person, capable of making her own decisions and I will accept what she chooses."
"Gaara… please don't interfere," Hinata said gasping for air. She was happy that Gaara was standing up for her but it defeated the purpose she tried to make. "This is my battle…" she said trying desperate to form words.
"Our battle," Gaara corrected her. He looked at her kindly holding out his hand to help her up. She took it gratefully. She really did love him, tears welled up in her eyes.
"Outside help, does that mean you admit defeat?" Hiashi asked.
"Wait a second," Neji said interrupting them. "Hinata didn't come here to defeat you, she came here to convince you that she's willing to back up her own decisions," Neji said.
"BUT!" Hiashi said angrily, "Even though she tried to convince me she showed it very poorly. Her actions weren't well thought out and foolish."
"I'm sorry," Hinata said to Gaara, the tears flowing now.
"Are you really going to keep them apart?" Tsunade asked Hiashi, she watched the fight from afar.
"What an embarrassment to marry her off to the Kazekage when her fighting is so sloppy!" Hiashi said.
"So does that mean…" Tsunade said with a smirk.
"I'll train her to fight and when I feel she's ready I'll leave her in the hands of that Kazekage. He doesn't seem too bad, any guy who's willing to let the one they love die just because they said not to interfere is not a man."
"Did you tell Hinata that?" Tsunade asked, pleased.
"I think deep down she knows," he said. "She's not the same naïve girl she once was."
"Hey Gaara, do you think you'll ever see Hinata again?" Kankuro asked his brother. Gaara sat at his desk signing some papers, he looked up thoughtfully with a smile that seemed rare coming from the Kazekage.
"Of course I will."
OMG THE END! collapses
I'm thinking of putting up an epilogue or maybe just leave it up to your imagination. Anyway I know the ending was somewhat abrupt... but I was rushing to finish the story, I've been writing it for almost a year so yeah... Overall I'm pleased with the story though everytime I read the first chapter I get the urge to do a rewrite.
Anyway it'll also be helpful if you guys can tell me what was the thing you liked about this story the most and what you wanted to see more of and was disappointed you didn't, that would help a lot in my future writing. Anyway yay finished at last.