FORWARD: While the review response to 'Thank you in Pink' wasn't massive (in terms of volume of reviews, or size of reviews) it still warmed my own heart to see that I had warmed that of others. This story isn't connected to 'Thank you in Pink', and stands alone, and had it's name thought of at the last minute. Having finally gotten around to finishing it, I post it for you all to read.
Hinata was thankful for the rain, she was sure her mother had sent it down for her, so that no-one would be able to tell if she were crying or not.
It had been her final mistake, her father had said. She had been given a chance to redeem herself in the eyes of her family, a proper B Class mission, and she had screwed it up. Kiba and Shino had been hospitalized due to her mistake, and now she was cast out from her home.
"You are a disgrace! You bring shame onto our house! From now on, you are no longer heir to this family! You are no longer a Hyuga! And you are no longer my daughter!"
If there had been anyone in the streets, they would not have been able to tell that Hinata shuddered not because of the cold, but because of the harsh memories of her exile. Trudging through the streets of Konohagakure, the young kunoichi was deaf to the patter of the rain upon tin roofs, the splash of her sandals in the muddy puddles, blind to the empty streets and dirt splashing against her, and numb to the weight of her satchel, carrying all that she could take from the place she once called home, and the ache in her legs from walking the entire day with no destination. All she could hear was her own sniffling and sobbing, all she could see was that she was a failure, and all that she could feel was misery.
'If I died…' she wondered. 'Would anyone notice?'
Pushing her slight arms further up the sleeves of her over-sized jacket, Hinata pondered this depressing notion as she walked, unconsciously heading towards the bridges that joined the two halves of the town, crossing the river that tore its way through the village. Her jacket became heavy as it soaked up the rain water, her hair lost any form it had and sagged before her pearl eyes. No moon shone to light her way as the rain continued to beat upon the broken girl, hiding her tears. Then, amidst the gloom and the haze brought on by the rain, she saw a bright point, there upon the bridge, a figure in shining orange, with hair as spiked and as bright as lightning. There on the bridge, stood Uzumaki Naruto, village disgrace, class clown, and Hinata's secret love and inspiration.
'If I died…Would he cry?'
Her face, already red from crying and cold weather, began to change tint slightly, as embarrassment crept over her. But she was also scared. She had told Naruto, once, that she was going to try hard to get better, and become someone she could be proud of. She had failed to do that, and now stood broken, worth even less than before. She wanted to turn and run away, but curiosity struck her. It was close to midnight, and pouring with rain, why was he out here? Brushing her eyes to try and encourage them to stop tearing up (though she wasn't sure if she still was crying, the rain made it hard for even her to know) and hid herself behind the gateway to the bridge. Looking over at him, the Naruto upon the bridge was clearly not the Naruto she knew and loved. He looked… Sad.
He did not stand proudly, waiting for the world to challenge him, nor did he look cocky, ready to challenge the world himself. He did not appear angry, or envious, or scheming. He lacked all the confident emotions that drew Hinata to him, instead, Hinata believed, he looked a lot like she did, it was as if he too, was using the rain to hide his tears, his shoulders were slumped, and his head was bowed, gazing down at the river. Then, rather suddenly, he hopped up onto the railing, crouching slightly still, as if contemplating launching himself into the water. Even though she could not be sure of his intention, Hinata panicked, and cast her arms wide as she ran from her hiding place.
"NARUTO-KUN!" She cried, fear of losing the one she loved over-riding all of her usual concerns and insecurities.
Startled, Naruto made to turn, swivelling on his heals, but the wood of the bridge was soaked through, causing it to become slimy and slippery, and his balance was lost. With a loud yelp, he began to topple backwards, saved only when Hinata grabbed tightly onto his jacket, pulling him up towards her. Seizing her shoulders, Naruto pulled himself to first sit on the railing, and then slide down to stand by the young girl, neither releasing the wet form of the other as they thought to regain their breath and calm their hearts.
"Hinata!" Naruto gasped, his mind finally allowing him to register who had saved him.
"Naruto-kun!" The girl suddenly sobbed, pulling herself close to him and weeping into his already wet top.
Naruto stood shocked, his hands still gripping her shoulders as Hinata cried into him. He was unsure of what to do, no-one had ever turned to him for comfort in any situation, and when he was young, he was left to cry alone. So, he chose to go with what he had wanted whenever he had cried, and gently wrapped his arms around Hinata. It was in this moment that the kunoichi realized what she was doing. Part of her wanted to break away and run, she wasn't used to any form of intimate contact, and to receive it from Naruto was something she had only dreamed of. The rest of her wanted her to stay, believing it would never have this chance again. In the end, she didn't have much choice in what she did, her body was so tired from walking all day through the rain and she hadn't taken time to eat either, and so, supported by Naruto's arms, she went limp and fell into darkness.
And with a groan she awakened. The first thing she realised was that her body felt heavy and floppy. She tried moving, but that just made her feel worse, so she simply lay her head back down on her pillow, snuggled deeper in, took a look over her room with the motivational posters on the walls, empty ramen cups upon the table, and the view of the town through the window and closed her eyes. Then rapidly opened them again and almost screamed (which came out more as a painful sounding gasp) having realised that this was not her room.
Walking through one of the inner doors of the small apartment came Naruto, carrying a glass bowl full of steaming water with a towel draped through it. Upon seeing her open (and rather scared looking) eyes, he broke into a smile and darted across the room, dodging the basket of unwashed socks as he did so. Putting the bowl to one side, he knelt by the bed.
"Whew!" He exclaimed. "I was worried you'd never wake up." Still beaming at her with his foxy eyes, he gently placed a hand atop her head, causing to flinch slightly and screw up her eyes. "Don't worry, I'm just gonna check your temperature." He assured her, fearing that she thought he was going to try something perverse.
As Naruto's hand was placed gently on her head, Hinata cracked her eyes open, before shutting them again. She had no fear that Naruto would try anything perverse on her; rather, she just feared the close contact. All too soon, she felt Naruto's hand withdraw from her head and the hot, wet blanket take its place. As she felt the moisture run down her sweat covered brow, the memories of the night before came rushing back to her. Her excommunication, wandering all day in the rain, the bridge, fainting in Naruto's arms. Oh how she cursed herself for that, looking so weak before him.
"Hinata." Naruto's voice called her back from her thoughts. "What were you doing out there?"
Turning her face away from him, Hinata willed back the tears that wanted out as her father's words once more crashed through her ears.
"I…I was…" She began to stutter, the tears pushing hard against her. "Th…that is I…" She tried, she honestly did. But to think about it was bad enough, to tell anyone would be awful. But to tell him, to tell him that she had failed, that she had fallen, how could she? She had promised him and failed him. What chance could she ever have of earning his love now? Subconsciously, she chose the lesser of the two evils, and began to sob there in his bed.
Worry striking him, Naruto wrapped his arms around Hinata, sitting down beside her and pulling her so that she almost lay within his lap.
"I'm sorry." He said, surprising her. "I shouldn't have asked that. I'm sorry."
Hinata looked up at him through watery white eyes. Good and bad points aside, she had never heard Naruto apologize to anyone for anything. Naruto knew it was a rare thing for him to do, having never received any real respect in his life; he had felt no reason to return it. But Hinata was different, like many, she rarely spoke to him, but when she did she always said something nice, making the thought of upsetting her making him feel rather guilty.
"I…I was ex-excommunicated."
Naruto looked down at her suddenly as she spoke up, his eyes wide with confusion. Hinata, realising that he didn't understand the word, chose simpler terms, as much as she loved Naruto, even she had to admit he could be quiet dense. Her eyes grew more downcast as she prepared to relate her story.
"I w-was kicked out of my family."
She winced as she heard Naruto gasp in shock, his eyes widening. And Hinata proceeded to explain all, from her failed mission, right up until the bridge. How she had to flee from her own home, how she wandered the whole day in the rain. All the while, Naruto sat there listening, keeping a gentle hold of the girl in his lap, his fists tightening as he thought of what had been done to Hinata. Of all the things Naruto dreamed of, there was one dream that dominated even that of becoming Hokage, but one that for him, seemed even more impossible. To have a family, people who wouldn't just respect him, but love him but he felt that this was something he could never have. And here, Hinata's father had chosen to not only treat his daughter badly, but to banish her? Weren't families supposed to look after one another? His grip on Hinata tightened as an angry expression came across his face, and he recognised this feeling, he had felt it once before, and again because of this girl in his arms, and again because of the harm inflicted upon her by one of her own family.
Snapped from his daze, Naruto looked down at Hinata, who's face had sunk, hiding her eyes from view.
"Huh?" Was Naruto's well thought out response, his grip slacked slightly, and Hinata forced herself to look him in the eye as she spoke.
"I f-f-failed you." Hinata choked out, on the brink of sobbing again. "J-just like I f-f-fail e-ev-everyone. I sh-shouldn't be allowed to li…"
She didn't get to finish as she was suddenly pulled back into Naruto's chest, his grip tight upon her as he tried to protect her from all the world.
"You haven't failed me, and you do deserve to." Naruto had intercepted her thoughts. "You're a shy, quiet strange girl…But you're much kinder than so many I've met. So don't you dare say you shouldn't be alive. You've suffered so much, you're one of the strongest people I know."
Looking up at him, Hinata was reminded of all the reasons she loved him, and for a moment hoped that he could, one day at least, feel the same for her.
Some weeks had passed, and heavy rains of Autumn had given over to the all consuming snow of winter. Naruto had initially invited Hinata to stay at his home until she got better, and then until she found a place of her own to stay, and then never mentioned the idea of her leaving ever again.
In this time, the feelings the Hyuuga girl harboured for the young blonde hadn't diminished, all that had changed was her ability to speak around him. She was able to speak to him without clamming up, and she didn't turn quite as red as she used to when he paid close attention to her. As it was, she was sure she loved him even more now. In this time, living with him, he had been taken from the pedestal of admiration she had placed him upon and been brought down into her life.
She was also getting worried now as she couldn't find him within the small confines of their (now much tidier) apartment.
Stepping around the small corner that hid the bedroom from view of the rest of the apartment, Hinata removed her apron and began to search (the apartment's open plan made privacy a very difficult thing to achieve, unless you were in the toilet). Stopping in the silence, she knew something was either very wrong, or Naruto was up to something. Her hands moving like lighting, she fired up her blood limit, the Byukagen, the all seeing eye, the practical purpose behind her opaque eyes, the trait in her blood which would forever bind her to the family who had cast her out. With the blood pumping into the pale orbs, she was able to see everything around her, through walls, (she had at times been tempted to use it when Naruto was bathing, but swiftly chastised herself for such thoughts) and found him.
From his position under the bed, the first thing Naruto saw of Hinata, were his own socks. When winter set in, Hinata had found her own socks to be inadequate for staving off the cold, and had (after a three attempts and at least a minutes worth of stammering) asked to borrow his to see her through these cold days (Naruto decided it was better to offer the use of a sweater, rather than wait for her to try and ask). Then the girl's pale eyes came into view as she crouched down to his level, lying herself flat on the floor. He could see the veins on her face slowly returning to their normal size.
"No fair." He grinned widely. "You used the Byukagen."
Rolling over to lie on his back, the young ninja (preparing for his third attempt to reach Chunin level in the test next summer) latched onto the wooden frame of the bed, and pulled himself out, Hinata turned a pleasant shade of pink as he brought his head out enough to lie along side of hers, close enough so that each breath one took, could be heard by the other.
"You spend too much time with Konohamaru." She giggled, looking at his grinning face. "You've started playing his silly ninja games."
Both had changed a lot since they began living together. Naruto seemed to be more willing to think his actions through, rather than launch in on impulse, or cry out the first thing to come to mind, while Hinata had grown a little bolder, just a little. Before, she would never had made a joking comment like that to anyone, let alone her crush, for fear of upsetting them, and now, she could happily (if a little nervously) do so without too much fear.
That night, they sat together on the bed. The central heating in Naruto's apartment was unreliable, so they sat with the duvet from the bed wrapped around them. Hinata sat before Naruto, his legs running along side hers, as she fought the urge to lie back against him. In her arms, she clutched a hot-water bottle, it would be her turn to sleep with it tonight.
"I saw Sakura and Sasuke today." Naruto spoke from behind her in a quieter tone of voice, his eyes remaining on the world outside, the clouds blocked out the stars, the snowflakes taking a turn at being the points of white within the darkness. Looking up at him, Hinata knew this was treading onto thin ice, Naruto's infatuation with the pink haired kunoichi hadn't fully left his system.
"D-did you speak with them?" She asked, the timid tone of her voice evident, and she couldn't help but wonder if Naruto could discern why.
"Yeah." He answered, his tone leaning to the upbeat side of neutrality, but sounding a little too strained for the ex-Hyuuga girl. "They've moved in together apparently. Just a matter of time until one pops the question to the other." He sniffed at the end of the sentence, a quiet 'oh' came from Hinata's mouth.
"D-does it b-bother you?" She asked, ashamed at her stuttering.
"Nah." Naruto spoke quietly still, but tried to seem cocky, waving the event off. "I got over Sakura, honest!"
For a moment, both smiled at each other, Hinata trying to see past Naruto's eyes to ensure he was speaking the truth, while Naruto's tried to plead his honesty, unable to discern anything right now, Hinata gave a small sigh before looking back out, both returned their full attentions to the view from the window.
Hinata let her thoughts drift. Sakura and Sasuke had been going out since before she had moved in with Naruto. When they started, she couldn't help but notice that her beloved blond seemed to have to put more effort into maintaining his usual bouncy exterior. She had also seen Sakura and Sasuke, they seemed very much in love, they had to be for Sasuke's icy exterior to by melted away to show some actual emotion and force him from his usual egoistical self. They had moved in to be closer to one another, to share their life together. She had always dreamed of doing so with Naruto, and she had, but the reasons were different. She wasn't entirely sure why Naruto let her remain in his home, and she often feared asking, worried he let her stay out of pity. She often thought of asking him, but as bold as she had grown (and she had only grown a little bit bolder) she could not work up the nerve to ask him.
"Hinata." Naruto broke the silence, causing her to look up at him, just in time to see him smile down at her. "Thank you…for being here with me."
Hinata could not help but blush quietly up at him, her previous train of thought de-railed as she looked into his shining blue eyes.
"Why?" she asked, feeling the sheets contort beneath her as she turned, altering her position to kneel facing him, her face openly confused.
"I…I've never had anyone to come home to." Naruto began, his face tilting to let his eyes escape Hinata's, and to hide his blush of embarrassment. "Going out always meant seeing people who didn't want me, and coming home meant being alone. But now, no matter what I've faced in the day, I always think 'soon I'll be home, and I'll see Hinata'. When my day's been good, I want to tell you about it, when it's been bad, I just want to be near you and know that it doesn't matter, because you'll smile at me." Lifting his face up to look at hers, his eyes remaining evasive, Naruto's tone became apologetic. "I know I haven't been helping you look for an apartment of your own, I know I've been selfish just wanting to keep you here but I promise…"
He stopped as he felt Hinata latch on to him, looking down at the girl, he could see tears leaking out through her screwed up eyelids as she pressed her face into his chest.
"P-promise to let me stay." She blurted out, dreading the thought of leaving even more now that she knew why Naruto let her remain. "I-I like being here with you, I like thinking 'soon I'll be home, and I'll see Naruto.'" She looked up at him, her eyes watering. "I like this place being my home, I like being here with you and seeing you smile. I like going to sleep knowing you'll be there when I wake up. I used t-to feel so sc-scared and alone…but here…I…"
She stopped as she felt a small tear drop on her face from above as Naruto's own eyes watered up. For two who had been lonely and isolated for so long, free from loving touch and kind words, to be told you were wanted was a thing to make your heart burst. Naruto wrapped his own arms around Hinata, his warmth filling her as the blanket slumped around them.
It was in that embrace that Hinata awoke the next morning. The snow had eventually stopped last night, leaving everything bathed in white, and the heads on the hokage monument looking like they had a bad case of dandruff; but the scene outside when unnoticed by Hinata as she looked at Naruto's peaceful sleeping face.
Last night had hardly been a confession of love between them, and she still didn't know if Naruto did love her. But he had told her that he cared, and that he wanted her in his life, that was a good start, and it did mean there was the chance he could one day fall in love with her.
Pulling one arm from the embrace, Hinata down the sleeve of Naruto's tee-shirt, hiding the old scars of self mutilating attacks from view. Naruto had only shown her them once, when he had talked her out of cutting out her own eyes when she was still in a spiral of depression in those first days she started living here. They weren't something he wanted people to see, but it had helped show Hinata that he understood. Both had horrible pasts, but things seemed much brighter now. Choosing to submit to the groggyness that pursued her, Hinata took the chance to snuggled close to Naruto, her face turning red as she did so, her head tucked in beside his.
Before sleep claimed her once more, a small dream-state whisper, accompanied by a heart-warming smile, escaped Naruto's mouth , causing Hinata's eyes to widen for a moment, before settle down happily knowing there was defiantly hope for the future with Naruto she dreamed of. Taking a chance, and pushing her boldness to the limit, Hinata nuzzled in a little closer and sighed happily as sleep took her, and Naruto mumbled the word once again.
(Making their own) Happily Ever Afters
AFTERWORD: Like 'Thank you in Pink', this story came to me while I was walking one day, and I got the image of Hinata and Naruto meeting in the rain. It occurs to me now that the rain at the beginning may be symbolic of their past lives being washed away, but in any case, that's how it started. I began writing it not too long after finishing the aforementioned story, but got interrupted about half-way by the events in my life (including the flu), and my own laziness. I then got back to writing it these past two days and have finally completed it. As it is though, I began writing it with only the scene in the rain planned out, the rest seemed to grow as I wrote, until eventually I wound up with this, and I'm quiet pleased with it. (It stands at 3,869 words, 7 pages, and 68 paragraphs). I'm always very impressed and happy when I get reviews, as I have no-one to proof-read my stories, and so I can never tell the quality of them until I get reviews in. I cherish all the reviews I get, and so I'll take this time to respond to the reviews I have received so far for 'Thank you in Pink'. I'm sorry if you review after I have done this work and don't get a response, but be assured I do cherish each review I receive and read them all. (I do not, however, cherish one review I got for Thank you in Pink, which was really just an annoying waste of space). I am also aware that there's a chance that the people who wrote these reviews won't read this story, and so won't notice that I'm thanking them, but I can only hope that they do.
THANK YOUS TO 'THANK YOU IN PINK' REVIEWERS!
TankukiLad – I agree that the world could use more Hinaruto stories (I like saying that better ), as long as their well written. I'm glad you were so enthused by my story.
Hyuuga no Shiranai – I'm glad you picked up on the point about Ramen. Along with my thought about why Hinata has a crush on Naruto, I also wondered why Naruto is so obsessed with Ramen? And if it was a kind gift like that (and kindness being something he was unused to) that got him started, it made sense to me that his love for it would continue. And I'm glad you enjoyed the story.
juliagulia1017 – A mouthful of a name I agree, I really hate how both Hinata and Naruto have suffered so much through their lives, even as children. I think it gives them a real empathy for each other, and is probably one of the reasons Hinata is attracted to Naruto. As I said, 'Thank you in Pink' came from the idea of too lonely children finding happiness. And I'm glad you liked the ending, I was worried it was a bit too cheesy, even for me.
Uzumaki-Girl – GLAD YOU LOVED IT! KEEP ON READING!
Hathors-Favourite – The best you've ever read TT I'm embarrassed sniffle and happy that I could write something so good (especially without a proof-reader) and be able to invoke such an expression from you. Thank you.
theevilgood – Glad you thought it was a nice story…umm…I like your pen-name?
Jelp – The only anonymous review! I suppose I couldn't help but make the fic cute for the most part, considering they were 6 in it. Good to see there are many Hinata and Naruto fans out there
Digiphantom of the Twilight – A user name longer than the review. But I'm glad you did review, every bit of encouragement I get, no matter how small, makes me feel good and gives me strength to write another day.
Tellemicus Sundance – I'm glad you like it so much Sadly, I won't be doing a follow-up, or continuation of 'Thank you in Pink'. It's a stand-alone story and I'm really happy with how it turned out, and I don't want to jeopardize that by trying to drag it out. I hope this one-shot makes up for it however.
Senorita Taco – (TACOS!) You think it should be in the manga TT This is one of the biggest compliments I have ever received! While writing, I tried to envisage the manga a lot, and try and stay really true to it (I left myself a little more room for poetic licence in this one) I guess I succeeded.
Shadowed-Moon2525 – WAFF at it's best? I like that I guess you managed to sum up my story pretty well in terms of style, well written happiness in a screen. Thank you for praising my actual writing style, I try really hard to make it sound good.
Zeno Bell – Glad I managed to encourage you to write. And every good author talks to themselves (it's one way of guaranteeing both intelligent conversation, and that the person you're talking to will understand what you are saying).
-Response to this review is missing because of Keyo's unwillingness to directly comment on the space waster-
DeathAngel-Lavenda – Cute seems to be used to describe a lot of my works, but if it encourages this much love, I'm happy with it.
Kyubi Rendan – Another use of the 'c' word. I liked the ramen part too, I had it planned since I started writing the story, and was one of the few parts I was certain about from the start (I went back and changed things so many times, especially the point where Naruto and Hinata met)
Thank you for all the reviews, and in case I don't get the chance later, thank you to everyone who reviews this story aswell.
May you all manage to build your own happily ever afters.