Her mannerisms were only slightly less annoying than Sakura's.

Her fingers touched nervously, head bowed, eyes cast downward. Her mouth would open every now and then, as though she were about to say something, but every time he looked over to find out what, it would quickly snap shut again.

Irritating.

He sipped his tea, studying her features out of the corner of his eye. It wasn't as though he had never noticed her before. You would have to be blind not to notice her, she was always following that idiot Naruto around, but he had never really looked at her before.

Her skin was pale, alabaster, eyes a starling whitened silver. Her hair was a soft blue-black, sleek and smooth looking. Hand small and graceful. Individually all her features were pleasing to the eye, but put together, they were slightly startling and awkward. They were also a bit eerie, especially when staring into her eyes. It was like looking into hot light and the possibilities of the future, the glass surface of a swirling crystal ball.

Her mouth opened again, he waited for it to close, but her lip only trembled a little until she spoke. He saw her glance out the window. He looked away.

"I-I think I'll go for a walk.

He didn't answer, only nodded to show that he heard her and glanced at the clock. It was 9:00. He vaguely wondered why she would want to be out this late, but didn't bother to ask.

He didn't really care.


"Die…" He bolted upright, sweat sticking the sheets against his bare upper body. His neck burned and his eyes were glazed

His gaze snapped across the room, when he heard someone clear their throat. Hinata stood by the window, eyes wide. She wore a simple cotton shirt that fell to her knees. It slipped slightly down one shoulder, revealing a smooth expanse of pale skin.

Her neck was pale planes and unmarred.

"Are you ok?"

He looked away as soon as her voice reached him. Fell back into the bed and turned away.

In the morning neither mentioned what had happened.


The light padding of her feet by the bed woke him. She had gone out again, just as she had every night since their mission started. This was the first mission he had been allowed to go on since his return, and he wanted it to go as smoothly as possible. At first he had been slightly worried and irritated that she'd do something stupid and attract attention, but after the first few nights passed with no incident, he'd stopped worrying.

Even after living together for a week, they were still carefully polite. Though she still spoke to him as if she unsure if she should be, he was relieved that she has stopped her nervous fidgeting whenever he asked her a question. It had been an unnecessary and aggravating habit.

He heard her slip into the sleeping bag on the floor beside the bed. They took turns sleeping on the mattress, it was only fair that way.

After she situated herself, he noticed it only took a minute, she didn't fuss around like a normal person would, he let himself slip back into sleep.

He woke, skin burning hot and sweaty. The mark on his neck was searing and his vision was hazed in red. He sat up, teeth clenched , inhaling deep breaths of musty night air trying to calm the memories flashing across his mind.

He glanced over at the figure lying beside the bed to see if she had woken up. Stared in surprised. Her own skin was flushed red, eyes closed tightly, as though in pain or panic. Her breathing was erratic and rapid. Forgetting his own heated state, he lay back down, eye on the small girl clutching the edge of her sleeping bag tight enough to see the bones in her hand pop underneath the skin.

He wondered what she was dreaming about.

Suddenly her eyes opened, gaze filled with fear and fervor, and something else he was sure flashed across his own face every night. Their eyes met briefly before she bolted up and stumbled to the bathroom.

He noticed that her feet, which were usually covered up, were marked with purple bruises that stood out harshly against her pale skin.

He heard the sound of running water. It did nothing to cover up the harsh noises of her dry heaving or coughing. Something shattered on the floor.

He stayed where he was.

After a few minutes the water stopped, and he heard her shuffling around, cleaning up whatever had fallen. Then the door opened and light flooded the room for a brief instant before she flicked the switch off.

She walked quietly back to her sleeping back and slipped in, her gaze fell on his.

He didn't look away.

Her eyes stayed on his, a hint of fear from whatever she had been dreaming about swimming around the edges. He wondered if his eyes looked the same.

He kept his eyes on hers until they slowly drifted close, and even then he kept staring.

In the morning neither mentioned what had happened.

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Sasuke sat at the kitchen table, face a mask of impatience and irritation.

Today had been a long day, they had, had to attend several functions under their guise of a newly married couple. Each was more boring than the last, and they had not managed to gather much information on their target. It had left him a little more than annoyed.

And now she had disappeared again. Normally he wouldn't think about it, but it was already twelve and she wasn't back, plus it was raining, the drops hitting hard against the window. She had not taken a jacket with her.

He did not want to have to deal with taking care of a sick teammate.

He waited another hour before he set out to look for her. It didn't take him long, the village was small and there were only so many places she could be at night.

He found her in a field, training.

He watched her for a few minutes, interested even through his anger. Her movements were quick and precise, her face quieted in complete concentration.

After a particularly harsh kick he jumped down from the tree and grabbed her wrist to stop her movements, glaring. The look of determination slipped off her face only to be replaced with the familiar timid expression.

"Sa-Sasuke."

"It's stupid to be training in this weather." He let the disgust drip into his words, "It's like asking to get sick and for out mission to be prolonged."

"I…"

"Let's go."

He didn't wait for her to say anything, merely turned around and headed off. He felt her follow.

When they got back he didn't talk, merely walked into the bedroom. She followed, clothes dripping, and disappeared into the bathroom. He heard her sneeze. He ignored the sound as he slipped out of his own soaked outfit and slipped into a dry pair of pants. He slipped into the bed and closed his eyes.

Pretty soon he was sleeping, dreaming of dead bodies and death smiling. His skin burned, felt stretched tight and yellow-hot until he felt a cool hand slip onto his forehead. He opened his eyes to see Hinata kneeling beside him, face worried.

Her voice was quiet.

"You have a fever."

The words only slightly registered in his mind. He could only watch her as she walked out the door toward the kitchen. She returned with a bowl of water and a bundle of cloth in her hands.

She dipped a washcloth into the cool water and placed it across his forehead. Dipped another one in and used it to lightly mop up the sweat from his chest and shoulders, trying to help his skin cool. His eyes watched her face, a small blush had fell across her cheeks as she moved the cloth against his skin. He couldn't concentrate on why it was there, only knew his face felt strangely hot and his head ached. His eyes drifted close as the cloth moved gently against his skin.

For the next couple of days she stayed there, placing a new cloth against his forehead every so often and trying to cool his body with another. On the third day he was well enough to sit up in bed for a few minutes and scold her, in his harsh way, for staying by his side and not concentrating on the mission.

She pointed out that she was the reason he was sick as she gently pushed him back down.

He noticed she didn't blush as her hand came in contact with the skin on his shoulder. Perhaps she felt comfortable with him now. He didn't know why that relieved him. Maybe because he could say so few people were comfortable with him. A majority of the villagers had avoided him ever since he had returned from killing Itachi.

It had been as lonely as before, now with the added bonus of many people's hatred at his betrayal.

Few people talked to him when he walked down the street.

Even fewer came into physical contact with him.

So perhaps, this was why he let a quiet sigh slip out as she gently placed a smooth hand against his forehead. The moment it did, he tensed up, but after she made no indication of having heard it, he relaxed and let his drooping eyes close.

He didn't notice that a small smiled had slipped onto her face.

He woke up later that night, glad that no nightmares plagued his sleep. His fever had broken and a dry thirst now plagued his throat. He went to the kitchen and filled a cup of water. Drank it without pause. Filled another and headed back to the room.

He heard a harsh moan as he entered and saw Hinata moving around, agitated. He placed the glass of water on a trunk in the corner of the room and moved to the spot next to her sleeping bag. She had slept there for the past three nights.

Her eyes moved rapidly beneath her closed eyelids and her fists clenched tightly. A sob fell from her lips.

"Father… I'm sorry…"

He raised an eyebrow as her clenched hand slammed onto the floor. Hard. The sound of the wood cracking reached his ears as her fist raised into the air once more. Blood trailed down her wrist.

"Hinata." He caught her fist before it could hit the floor again and shook her awake.

Her eyes opened, gaze startled into consciousness, sob caught into her throat. She looked at him confused.

"Hinata."

Her gaze snapped to his face and recognition flooded her features. He saw a tear slip down her cheek before she hurled her body against his. His eyes widened in surprise.

She buried her face in the smooth hollow of his neck skin burning his own. She clenched her other fist into the front of his shirt, twisting the material. Her tears moistened his skin and her breath was hot against his throat. He didn't push her away, nor did he embrace her. Instead he stayed where he was, one hand enclosed over her bloodied fist.

They stayed that way for a few minutes breathing together, until she pulled away

"I'm sorry."

Her gaze fell to her lap.

"I-I have nightmares sometimes."

He nodded.

"I know."

"I'm sorry." She repeated the words again, pulling her hand out of his grasp. He had forgotten that he was holding it.

He didn't respond, just watched as tears welled up in her eyes.

"Sorry." She repeated it again, looked up at him. "You can go back to sleep, I'm fine." She was cradling her hand against her chest.

He didn't say anything, just stood up and headed toward the bathroom. He came back out with a wash cloth and a roll of bandages.

Wordlessly he grabbed her hand and cleaned the wound.

Gently wrapped it.

"Thank you."

"Your welcome."

They sat in silence again. She stared at her hand. Started to repeat herself.

"Sorry, it's just that I have-"

"I know." She looked up at him. He face was turned away, gaze looking out the window at the trees swaying in the wind. The cloth of her shirt hand been impossibly soft against his skin. She smelled faintly of sandalwood.

His mother had smelled like sandalwood.

"I have them too."

She didn't say anything, just nodded, turning to look in the same direction he faced.

They stayed that way for the rest of the night.

Both wondered what the other dreamed of.

In the morning neither mentioned what had happened.


Reviews gladly welcomed.