Yay, new story, I hope you like it. I want to thank the lovely rcr who read over this so it is actually understandable. I still need a full time BETA though so if you're interested, leave a note or something. Okay I think that's all for now, on with the story, enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of the characters, very sad...
'So this is happiness' thought Hinata as she snuggled deeper into her boyfriend's arms. She was a young woman now and it seemed for her that life was a dream come reality. She had finally won the approval and pride of her clan after years of sweat, blood and tears. Most importantly to her however was that she finally was able to tell Naruto her feelings for him. Hinata wasn't sure how she got the courage but one day in her quiet way she finally told him and was more than surprised to find that he had known for a while. It had all led to this, her finally being happy as she watched the peaceful sunset nestled in her beloved's arms. Today was an especially special day, it was their year anniversary. Hinata had been anticipating this day for a while and planned a very special day to celebrate; sometimes it paid to be the Hyuuga heiress she thought ruefully.
The date went wonderfully, better than she could have expected. It was a dream come true as she gazed on Naruto's rugged good looks. She was a very lucky girl. Sometimes it irked her, everything was just so perfect that it seemed like she needed something to go wrong just so she knew it was real. Multiple pinches on her arm put those thoughts to rest although there were a few red splotches on her skin as a reminder.
She was shaken from her thoughts as Naruto stirred to rise. "Naruto?" she asked as she stood as well, questioning his actions. He looked sheepish as he held out a small ring box. "Hinata, happy anniversary" he said. She didn't notice that he didn't look at her as he said this, his eyes were unfocused as they stared away.
"Oh my goodness, Naruto thank you" she said happily as she opened the small box, inside was a small promise ring of silver. On it was engraved, "Happiness". She slipped the ring on her finger and they watched the setting sun before heading home.
"Naruto," she said softly as they trudged the streets of Konoha, "Do you love me?" He stopped for a moment and Hinata feared her heart stopped with him before he answered a simple "yes".
"Are you sure?"
"Of course" This put her fears to rest because even though Naruto came late or forgot things sometimes, she knew he always kept his promises.
"What?" his tone was short and she could tell he was getting irritated.
"I just wanted to tell you I have a mission for a little bit. Tsunade-Sama says that I'll be gone for a week at most."
"Oh" Hinata had been with him long enough to know that he was mentally berating himself for snapping at her. They walked in silence to the Hyuuga manor and when they reached the doorway she gave him a gentle "I love you" and a goodbye kiss to send him off before going inside. She was greeted by her cousin Neji, they had grown closer after the Chuunin exams and she confided almost everything with him.
"How was your date?" He was very protective of her now but she didn't mind, it was always nice to know that he cared.
"It was wonderful" she gushed, "We had a wonderful dinner and then we watched the sunset. Look, Neji-niisan, he even gave me a ring!" She held up her hand for him to see. He glanced at it and one glance was all it took, it was nothing to be prideful of, the silver was cheap, the engraving poorly done and the workmanship was sub par. He sat silently as he watched his cousin, he didn't want to hurt her feelings but this ring was of such poor quality he felt that Hinata deserved more. His thoughts were voiced by another as Hanabi spoke, "Hinata-neesan, if that is his gift to you, he does not deserve you." The two girls had grown closer as well but Neji feared that that one ill placed comment might destroy their fragile bond.
"How can you say that, he gave this to me from his heart? You have no right to criticize a gift." She was stern and her tone was clipped unlike her usual soft soprano. Hanabi looked over the gift one last time before sighing, "And that is why we worry nee-san". With that she left the room leaving a silent Hinata.
"I must take my leave also" said Neji as he left the room but added before he exited, "Hanabi-Sama only says such things because she cares about you, you know that."
"Yes, I know" She knew that her family now valued her but she wanted them to accept her happiness. With Naruto she felt safe and she flourished with him, it hurt her that her family couldn't see that.
She was alone now and in her hand laid the small ring, it was odd, now that she looked at she was discouraged. She now saw the nicks along the metal and the slight dents that pocked the ring. It surprised her that she did not notice such things before but she had been so happy that he had remembered that she didn't care to look much at the ring in the first place. It was odd, her family seemed to make her see differently. Where once she saw black, she saw white and it scared her. In a few short minutes, after just one conversation, her unwavering faith in Naruto was replaced by doubt and insecurity, an emotion she was all too familiar with. 'Enough of these thoughts" she chastised herself 'you have a mission tomorrow' and so with that the Hyuuga drifted into an uneasy sleep.
One Week Later…
She was back, the mission had been simple, escorting a random important person off to Rain Country. She hadn't really bothered to get to know them and was just bent on getting home as quickly as possible. Everything had gone without a hitch until the fifth day, they had a run in with a few low class ninja. They had encountered a small scuffle and even though she came away with some cuts and bruises, nothing was major. All in all it was a welcome change from the hospital, 'everyone needs a break once and a while' she thought to herself. She remembered that as she winced, feeling a particularly nasty bruise along her side. Hinata knew she should tend to herself but she wanted to visit Naruto first just to surprise him and let him know she was back.
As she drew nearer to his house the first thing she noticed was that she heard voices coming from his apartment. One was the distinct sound of Naruto, his voice was imprinted in her memory, the other was familiar but she couldn't exactly place it. It was distinctly feminine, Ino? Sakura? Unconsciously she activated her Byakugan and was surprised to find that it was indeed Sakura. The pink haired girl was standing so close to Naruto it was uncomfortable to watch. But, then again she thought to herself, they had been teammates for many years and had gone through a lot together. The two were having a hushed discussion but she was able to pick up most of the conversation.
"Naruto" Sakura said, her usual loud voice soft, "this… doesn't feel right, what abut Hinata?
"Shh," he muttered, "she isn't back yet, she won't know and if I have anything to do with it, she never will."
Hinata looked on in shock, her boyfriend, with Sakura? A wave of emotions hit her as she looked on, anger, sadness, disappointment but worst of all was the cold empty feeling that settled in her stomach. Everything felt so surreal it was like watching the worst moment of your life over and over and as she looked on, Hinata had one thought running over and over again in her head, 'He lied'. The worst was yet to come though, she saw Naruto's head bending downward and she saw them kissing, it felt like a blow and she began to feel numb with the emotions running through her.
She was about to stop looking when she saw that Sakura abruptly pulled back from the kiss whispering, "I don't love you" then bolder she yelled, "I don't love you!" and then she ran, away from Naruto, and away from a situation she never wanted to be in. She only halted once in her flight as Naruto gave one last plea, "Sakura, please don't go" he started "Don't you see? I love you, ever since I met you and I always will" but he was cut short when he saw Sakura backing away mouthing only one word before she ran again, "No". It was as Sakura fled did Hinata notice the tears streaking down her face and then she realized that she too was crying. Now there was only one thought was in her mind, 'run' and so the crying Hyuuga departed not noticing that the ring she had cherished lay where she had been just a moment before.
Naruto was frozen, 'she doesn't love me, she doesn't love me' he thought. A wave of cold hit him as another thought came to him, 'Hinata', she was the one who always believed in him. She never gave up on him even when he gave up on himself, she was the one redeeming point in his life and he had thrown it all away with a simple kiss. Really though, there was nothing simple about that kiss, it held years of pent of hurt and desire. When he finally kissed her and she kissed him back, he truly thought that everything would be okay. Everything came crashing down when she pulled away and whispered those words, "I don't love you" every word was like a blow and he knew, no matter how hard he tried, no matter how much he wanted it, she would never love him. The worst part was he knew the reason, Sasuke. Then he noticed the tears that stained her face and he finally realized, he had to let her go.
He had to get out of that apartment, it was a burning need just to get away. Naruto wanted to get away, forget all the mistakes he had just made. Stepping out of his home he noticed a slight glint of metal on the ground. Stooping down he picked up a familiar object, the ring he had gotten Hinata. Pocketing the band he began to run, anywhere he thought to himself, just to get away. While he ran he thought, 'she knows'. But then slowing down he realized that she saw everything, the slight cuts from training or the faint crease on his brow when a day went awry. Somehow, she always seemed to make things better which made it hurt all the more.
Hinata ran and at last stumbled, finding herself in a deserted training ground. She had been there before but not often as it was often used by the members of team 7. She recalled how she had often brought lunch over for Naruto, the memories were all rushing back and she found that she couldn't stop crying. 'No wonder he loves Sakura,' she thought bitterly, 'she's strong and beautiful, nothing like me'. So the Hyuuga heiress lay crumpled on the ground sobbing.
That was how Neji found her and his first response was anger, "Who did this to you?" he muttered as he helped her to her feet and was infuriated when he heard her broken response. The infamous stutter was back as she managed to say, "N-N-Naruto" before collapsing once again. He didn't know what to do, he was her cousin and protector, would she be offended if he tried to hug her? But as he looked at her he discarded his reservations and held her while whispering "He'll be sorry for hurting you Hinata-sama, I'll make him pay, I promise". He would always protect her, before it was out of duty and guilt but now it was because he wanted to. He wouldn't be able to take it if his delicate cousin was hurt again. She lay quiet in his arms save for the occasional sob, she had grown stronger over the years but at that moment, she couldn't bring herself to tell him that she didn't believe in promises anymore.
Maybe she wanted too much, wishing for a fairytale that would never happen, a prince that would never come. She realized now there were no princes to sweep her off her feet and carry her to a happily ever after. But, when she had been with Naruto for the first time in her life she thought she truly would have a happy ending.
After a while the two left not realizing that they had been watched. A pair of coal black eyes narrowed as they watched the pair leave and soon after, the last Uchiha left the scene.
Okay so that's the new story, I hope you like it and if you do you can show it by dropping a review. The plot might be a little jumpy because stories come to me in bits and pieces so I have to write "fillers" in between areas I've already worked out. I haven't decided if it's to be a NejiHina or SasuHina so I put a bit in each into the story, who knows, I might just surprise you.