Why do I have to hide?
Chapter 13: Confessions of a Ninja
Brought to you by: Anonymous Joe
Disclaimer: I do NOT…I repeat I do NOT own anything related to Naruto….this honor belongs to those who own its copyright…which sadly is not me.
(I don't know Japanese so…techniques are in English and I use honorifics whenever I feel like it…so don't ask me why, I put them in when they feel right, Sorry if you don't like this)
The stadium medical clinic -
Naruto walked hurriedly along side the stretcher and would not let go of the girl's hand for anything. The dark and cold concrete walls of the stadium were whizzing by them as they rushed to the medical room in the bowels of the stadium. Naruto's rage and worry were warring within him for precedence. He couldn't help but stare at the beautiful woman's face as they ran toward help. The face was contorted in pain and he couldn't bear to see it but for some reason he couldn't look away.
Soon it seemed to get brighter but he didn't dare look up to see why. He felt one of the med-nin starting to pull him away, and he allowed them to do so numbly. The young man said kindly to the distraught blonde, "Don't worry she'll be fine! We have the best recovery team around, and from what I can tell the injuries aren't that bad, she'll be up and fighting in no time…" Naruto nodded dazedly and sat down in a chair the young man lead him to.
Naruto sat there while worry was still over flowing in his mind even though he had heard what the man had said. It was natural; he was going to worry until he could see her again. So there he sat wringing his hands and thinking over the gruesome details of the match. Hinata's cries pain still rang in his ears and he could feel guilt wash over him. The same thoughts kept rushing through his mind, 'I could have stopped it! I should have done something!' and 'those cracked ribs didn't look too good…please help her. If only I had…'
The Kyuubi had enough, "Kit it wasn't you fault! It was that bastards! Stop beating your self up already and start planning how you're going to avenge her suffering!"
Naruto replied in an extremely depressed voice, "No I could have done something and I failed. Otherwise the phoenix would not have come…" He paused for only a moment not allowing his father to rebut. "Besides the avenging is your department…just do me a favor, make it bloodily and painful" his voice turning sour toward the end and every word seemed to drip with venom.
This caught the great fox off guard and he said questioningly, "What do you mean, "it is my department?" She is your "mate!""
Naruto sighed, "And I have a pact with you, that takes priority, a word of a demon is binding after all." Sensing his father's argument coming he then put on a weak smile, "Besides I don't know any other way that is more fitting. Though I have no idea how you're gonna fit in the stadium…I'll work on it though."
The great demon sighed, "If that is what you want." Sensing that the decision was final he began to grin wickedly and began to gleefully mumble things about the taste of wicked blood.
Naruto went back to worrying about the girl just beyond the doors to his left. He found himself looking at the clock at equal intervals and saw only about three minutes between each. About ten minutes after the accident he felt a strong hand on his shoulder and something wet on his ankle. He looked to see a glum and down trodden Kiba weakly smile toward him while Akamaru was kindly nudging the kitsune's leg with his nose.
"Is…Is she alright?" gruffly asked Kiba while the dog whimpered questioningly touching its nose to his leg.
Naruto smiled sympathetically and nodded his head softly and he said quietly, "I…I think so. One of the Med-nin said she didn't look too bad when he lead me here."
Kiba nodded his head thoughtfully and sat down with a sigh and began to scratch behind his dog's ears absent mindedly. After a moment of gathering his courage he said almost inaudibly, "Sorry…"
Naruto barely picked it up even with his enhanced hearing. He shook his head sympathetically and said gently, "Why? There is not reason for you to be sorry."
Kiba said with anger toward himself, "No! I am a fault! If only I wasn't an Idiot and held you from going to help her…she might not have…" he couldn't bring himself to finish.
Naruto shook his head fiercely and sighed. "You were doing what you thought was best for her and there is no shame in that." Kiba looked at him awkwardly but thankfully. Naruto sighed again and continued in a really disheartened voice, "No Kiba, you have nothing to be ashamed of. I, on the other hand, do. I am the one who failed her, not you, not Jiraiya, not anyone except me."
Kiba seemed to get angry at this notion, "Naruto don't be so hard on yourself! You can't place the entire burden on yourself! We are all to blame!"
Naruto for some reason became infuriated and yelled at the top of his lungs back at the dog tamer, "NO! I AM THE ONLY ONE RESPONSIBLE!" Seeing the shocked look on Kiba's face along with the low growling of Akamaru calmed him down a bit. The blonde heir huffed and turned away from Kiba but continued talking albeit a bit softer. "Kiba, I am the clan heir, I am the one responsible for all who sign our scroll. I failed to fulfill the contract." He pulled his hand up to his face covering his eyes, unable to hold in the emotions any more. Tears fell from the man and soft sobs began permeating the air. He turned his head so his teammate couldn't see him cry but continued in a cracking voice. "I-I failed as a friend and teammate again…I did it again! I broke a promise to friend again!" He yelled in anguish and punched a near by wall. He slowly removed his bloodied hand from the crater and looked at it shamefully. He allowed more sobs and Kiba stared in shock and pity for the man next to him.
After a few moments of sobs Kiba finally said softly, "Naruto you can't blame yourself for Sasuke…he had everything and betrayed all of us!"
Naruto shook his head in denial, "I still broke a promise to Sakura-chan, I could have brought him back if I had only took my time and thought about it…I could have done something different! Look at what happens when I try to protect anybody, one just started getting over the wounds in her heart and the other is in a hospital bed."
"Naruto…don't think that way. Nothing you could have done would have changed Sasuke and without you Hinata would be dead. I think your forgetting you're the one who gave her the phoenix" comforted Kiba in almost a whisper. "We are her teammates and the best thing we can do is forget about the past and be happy she is still alive."
Naruto gave a small smile and said, "Since when did you become so kind?"
Kiba realizing what he had just said huffed and turn the other direction, "I am just under a lot of stress and I don't like seeing both of my teammates suffering." Naruto gave him a meaningful smile and decided to be quiet for awhile.
Over the P.A. system the two of them could hear the announcer say, "Time for the next match, Ino of leaf versus Arata of sand. It will begin once both contestants arrive!"
Kiba looked toward the door where Hinata was kept and back down toward the arena. The blonde man could see the man's though process and smiled solemnly. "You go watch and tell me about it later" he stated in a kind tone. Seeing that Kiba was about to protest he shook his head and continued wearily, "Don't worry, I don't think she'll be up for awhile. I'll send for you when she comes around."
Kiba looked broken and asked, "Are you sure? I mean I can stay and wait."
Naruto smiled, "I think it would be best to cheer on our comrades."
Kiba nodded and stated in a low growling voice, "I guess your right. But you better call me the minute she wakes up!" with that he got on Akamaru and slowly headed back to the player's box. Naruto turned his head toward the ground in thought, while he gave the clock a furtive glance once in awhile.
-15 minutes later-
It seemed like ages since the dog user left and only the occasional ticking of the clock broke the air. Once and a while the announcer would comment on the battle going on outside but he wasn't paying attention, right now nothing mattered except one thing…the girl in room next door.
Gradually the clacking of high heeled shoes began to grow louder in his ears. He looked up hoping to see a nurse or Tsunade coming to tell him the fate of his teammate. All he saw was a cold empty hall with not but a small bug skittering across the concrete floor. He turned away chalking it up to his overactive imagination and continued his blank stare towards his hands.
A soft and fearful voice permeated the tense air. "My lord?" it timidly asked. He jumped a little surprised at the disturbance in the quiet. His head looked up slowly looking for the source of the tiny voice. What his eyes saw was a little shocking. Kneeling about five feet in front of him was a beautiful brunette haired woman with tears in her eyes. Her head was down and on closer inspection her body was trembling. As he looked closer her fox ears and two tails became obvious, he hadn't noticed them at first but now they were obvious.
An odd smile seemed to break across the blondes face at seeing how pitiful the woman looked. He said kindly, "What do you need?"
She looked up shocked at hearing the kind tone but she was still unsure of herself. She tearfully looked into his eyes and said in a cracking voice, "I am s-sorry I failed you, I tired my best but I wasn't able to protect her…"
For a moment nothing happened, Naruto felt numb for a second. 'Why is she apologizing? She didn't do anything wrong' he thought dazed. A broad and kind smile broke on his face, his pain and worry forgotten for the moment. "Megumi was it?" he asked in a soft but strong voice.
She looked up at him a little confused. She opened her mouth to say something but was unable to find her voice so instead decided to just nod her head. Naruto's face turned to worry and he asked quickly, "Are you alright?"
Hearing the question surprised the vixen but she replied quietly, "Yes sir, I was just released form our hospital."
"That's good…send the bill to me" he finished.
"No that isn't necessary" she quickly responded. He shook his head and she quickly stopped her protests.
A few more moments seemed to pass and she gained enough courage to say, "I am sorry for not being able to do more. He just caught me off guard…" and she began to ramble apologies
Naruto lazily raised his hand and rested it on his chin deep in thought which silenced her. He then stated as if to no one but kept his eyes locked on her, "There is no reason for apologies; in fact I should be thanking you for what you did."
Megumi looked at him even more bemused and questioned, "My lord?" He smiled his dazzling smile once more and benevolence seemed radiate from him. The feeling was so powerful that the two tails couldn't help but let out a low gasp.
The blonde kitsune said elegantly, "You came to help even though I am sure you had your doubts. You gave your all to help my friend and our clan's ally. There is nothing more I could ask for; what I saw in your eyes out there, along with your work, makes me proud to be a vulpine."
Megumi's eyes widened and a small blush creped up on her face from the compliment. She replied positively beaming but with a sad undertone, "You complement me too much, sir."
Naruto shook his head chidingly and looked toward the door then back to Megumi's figure. His tone turned once again to being soft but meaningful, "I also want to personally thank you for being kind to her out there in the stadium."
She smiled and said, "Not at all, sir, she is really cute it is hard not to like her."
Not thinking Naruto mumbled with a slight blush, "Tell me about it…"
She looked at him quizzically with a small knowing smirk, "My lord?"
Seeing this he quickly became flustered and began sputtering out denials. "Nothing, it's nothing" he quickly got out with a little flush in his cheeks. "Anyway thank you for all your hard work, I know you did your best."
"Thank you, Milord" she finished reverently with a little cheerfulness behind her voice. She turned to leave but stopped midway and turned to look over her shoulder at the door. "Will she be alright?" she questioned guiltily.
"I-I don't know. The doctor's aide seemed to think so, she has a long road ahead of her" he replied downtrodden but with hope skirting around the edges.
She smiled sadly and said, "Well, she will always have this vulpine to count on."
Naruto looked at her in shock and murmured, "Thank you." Megumi nodded her head and set off once again only to be stopped by the heir's voice. "Wait, I still need to reward you."
She turned around quickly with a bow and said surprised, "There really is no need!" Naruto shook his head and stated firmly, "No, I want to. But this is the first time I did this so sorry if I screw up…" He quickly raised his hand next to his head and the vixen looked on in shock.
"What are you doing and what do mean by "screw up!"" she yelled in shock. He only smiled and snapped his fingers. Then he found himself talking with his father again.
"Oh so you are about initiate your first tail ceremony?" he asked intrigued.
"Yeah, though I kind of forget how though…" he laughed nervously and scratched the back of his neck.
His father soon became quite peeved and growled, "Don't you listen to anything I teach you?"
Naruto began yelling back, "Oh course I do…I just kind of um…don't pay attention to it."
"That's not my problem now is it!" yelled the towering demon.
"Come On! Just help me!" yelled Naruto as he began the seals for the ceremony.
Begrudgingly the Kyuubi replied, "First off you are using too little chakra to change a commoner into a noble! This is the basics!" His son gave him an unflattering glare and began concentrating. "More! Come on! Stop acting like an idiot!" "Hey, I am trying!" he screeched back. "Well then, just shut up and try harder!" fumed the older demon. Once he gained enough confidence he returned to the real timeline.
The vixen began to glow and chakra seemed to pulse out from her. Then slowly a third tail began to grow while her face was scrunched up from the pain. After about a minute the pulsing and the glowing stopped and Megumi's labored breathing was all that could be heard.
Naruto put on a formal voice once again and said kindly, "For your service to me you are now the rank of three tails. As such you are now entitled to the privileges permitted to such rank. Congratulations!"
She looked at the tail in disbelief and back toward Naruto and then back to the tail at a loss of what to say. She said still shell shocked, "I failed but…but you still reward me?"
"No" replied Naruto while shaking his head. "I am not rewarding failure. I am rewarding your loyalty. You put all your heart into it and that deserved something. I was afraid that no one would come…you proved me wrong."
She looked at him guiltily, "But I wasn't the only one who wanted to go…there were others too."
He smiled, "And when they show their loyalty they will get their reward."
Tears of joy began to well up in her eyes and a big smile broke on her face. She looked as if she wanted to hug him but decided not to. She instead bowed even deeper than before and said reverentially, "Thank you, Milord! This will help my family a lot! When the rest of Kitsune Prefecture hears about this…!"
He nodded his head kindly, "Well I won't hold you any longer, I am sure your family and friends will want congratulate you. Just promise me something."
She looked attentively and stated quickly, "Anything Naruto-sama!"
"Don't let them get too liquored up. The royal police have enough on their plates" he finished with a sly smirk.
Surprised and embarrassed she nodded quickly, bowed and dashed off to transport back to the Divine Realm.
He sat back in his chair with a grin and sighed. But one glance toward the doors made his mood come crashing down.
As he sat there in thought so did his father, 'Even though I don't think he means it, his actions are making him a tremendous force. When the prefecture hears about this, it will only solidify his esteem with the masses. Maybe I should have tried benevolence….nah! Malevolence is so much more fun!'
Neither spoke to each other and the silence was only broken by the occasional ticking of the clock or an announcement on how the fight was going on outside. Along with the announcements sometimes came a gasp from the audience or a cheer and an occasional boo.
Then when he least expected it the doors swung open and he lifted his head expectantly. Kurenai stepped out from behind the doors and gave him a weak smile. He quickly got up and rushed over to her and said hastily, "How is she?"
"She'll be all right but she will be asleep for a little while longer" she said gently with a look of relief.
Naruto sighed and said, "Well that's a relief, I just wish they'd let me see her!"
The older woman smirked and asked suspiciously, "And why would that be?"
"Because I am her teammate!" he shouted defensively.
"Oh really?" she chided.
The Naruto looked dumbfounded as realization dawned on him. "Wait a minute!" he yelled while pointing an accusing finger at the genjustsu specialist. She raised an eyebrow as if to ask, "What?" He flushed in annoyance, "How the hell did you get in there! I was here the whole time and didn't see a single person walk in there!"
She let out a small laugh and she stated seriously, "I haven't been around lately but I would think you would still know a little about you new sensei!"
"Well excuse me!" haughtily replied Naruto.
This touched a raw nerve with her. She no longer could hold it in from all the stress she was under and yelled and the annoying blonde, "Don't give me any lip! I am not in the mood right now! Do you know how much smoothing over I am going to have to do with the Hyuga clan for her!"
The man stood stock still for a moment replaying what he knew about the clan and couldn't help but feel a bit guilty for the trouble he might have caused. He turned his head and mumbled an apology.
Kurenai took a deep breath and stated, "As for your other question I specialize in genjutsu. I hope you can put the pieces together from there…" Seeing the look of understanding on the young man's face she hastily said, "Well I'll be going to monitor the rest of the fights." With that she turned and started toward the arena while the blonde man stood there watching her fleeting figure.
He slowly made his way back to his chair when over the announcement he heard, "Winner: Ino Yamanaka by a nose!"
He smiled inwardly as he regained his seat but as soon as his backside touched fabric the doors opened again. This time it was a younger man of about 23 years of age in surgical garb. He looked at the boy and asked professionally, "Are you Naruto Uzumaki?" He numbly nodded his head as he stood up. "Normally we would wait at least another hour for visitors but she is asking for you." Naruto's demeanor brightened up and he asked hopefully, "She is alright then?" The doctor nodded and said, "She is perfectly fine but all she keeps asking for is to see you." Naruto's heart swelled and said disbelievingly, mainly for himself, "She is asking for me?" Getting frustrated the doctor stated, "Yes, yes but could you hurry up, we are getting another round of injuries!" Naruto hastily nodded and followed the man into the darkened room.
Hinata's cubical –
The kitsune was lead by the cold doctor past beds divided off by curtains. Some were occupied by ninja, for example he saw the stone ninja from the first fight. The man was hooked up to a life support machine and most of his body was covered in bandages. Finally they reached their destination and the doctor gave a quick good-bye and headed off toward the operating rooms. Naruto shyly looked into the cubical and saw Hinata. She was wearing a hospital gown and was sitting up in her bed while graciously accepting a glass of juice from the nurse tending to her.
Naruto nervously cleared his throat which made Hinata jump and spill some grape juice all over her gown. He said shyly, "Ano… Hinata, can I come in?" She looked embarrassedly at the stain on top of her gown and nodded. He smiled slightly and sat down in the chair beside her bed. The nurse seeing the tension quickly finished her diagnostic and left quickly to leave the two alone.
It was an awkward silence broken by furtive glances by both parties. It was finally broken when Naruto finally broke the silence in an unsure but worried voice, "Are you feeling better?"
Surprised by the sudden break in the silence she sharply inhaled. She quickly nodded and said softly, "I'm fine…It doesn't hurt much but the doctors won't let me get up."
Naruto sighed in relief and said, "Well that's good to hear. I was really worried" realizing how this could be taken he began to flush.
She wasn't stupid and picked up on this causing her to turn a bright shade of red. "Arigato…" she mumbled.
"Don't worry about it. It is only natural for teammates to care about each other" he said blowing it off and in the process sending her spirits plunging. 'He only thinks of me as teammate? I…I…I thought he was beginning to care for me more than that…' she glumly thought. "Oh that reminds me, Kurenai-sensei and Kiba were here to see you too!" Naruto said trying to cheer up the "baffling" quick drop in her mood.
"They were?" she asked a little surprised.
"Yep! We all care about you and wanted to make sure you were alright" he replied happily.
Suddenly the doors banged open fallowed by the squeaking of a stretcher, distracting them. While the door swung closed the muffled voice of the announcer could be heard announcing the next fight between T and a sand Ninja. Naruto outwardly shivered in pity for the sand boy. Hinata quickly picked up on this and hurriedly asked, "What's the matter Naruto?"
He looked at her grimly and said cryptically, "Just the mention of those grass ninja give me the creeps." Although she asked for more, he wouldn't elaborate. So they sat in the quiet once more. Only the occasional bustling nurse would disturb the air.
Then Naruto heard the faintest "you must be so disappointed in me…." He turned to see the girl with eyes of milky lavender softly crying with her head in her hands. His eyes got wide and said seriously while placing a firm hand on her shoulder making her gasp, "What would I have to be disappointed about?"
She looked into those orbs of strength and felt a strange comfort wash over her. For one of the only times in her life she felt as if she was safe. The doubt and shame in her once again drained and only anger at herself remained. "I lost" she murmured even though she could already guess his reaction. She knew it was coming but she wanted to hear the words.
"Hinata, that doesn't matter. You tried your best and that was great! Any other ninja and you would have wiped the floor with 'em! I don't want to hear you say that again. You were true to yourself and nobody can ask for anything more!" He strongly stated to her while captivating her with intensity of his eyes.
She said softy through the glass of juice to stifle her words, "My father can…"
This was starting to piss Naruto off, "Who gives a damn about your father! What can he do really?"
She looked at him like a mother trying to explain something to her child, "Everyone except for you cares what he thinks! He can order me sealed and placed in the branch house or worse if he wants."
Naruto was dumbstruck for a moment and then asked, "You mean that seal Neji blabbered on about when I beat him?" She giggled at his choice of words and nodded her head sadly. Then he stated confidently "If it ever comes to that, I'll stop him! That's a promise." She giggled again at the audacity of what he was saying and said lightly, "And how do you suppose you'd do that? Do you think the Hyuga clan will let you barge in, stop the ceremony and walk right on out with me?"
His face suddenly became serious and said, "No of course not! But under Konoha law your father can only perform the seal on clan members, right?"
Not completely seeing where this was going she said puzzled, "Yeah. But I am the clan heir…"
He smiled with a blush, "Then I would just have to make you not a Hyuga clan member."
Her brain didn't comprehend his shy explanation and she asked hesitantly, "How would you do that?"
He flushed and turned his head away. Then in an almost inaudible voice, "I-if it c-came down to it…m-marriage I guess."
Her breath became short and the world around her felt like it was spinning. With the fleeting thought, 'He…he w-would m-m-marry ME?' she fainted while silently wishing for the first time ever for her father to actually live up to his constant threats. She fell back onto the bed spilling her cup of juice all over Naruto's lap.
He didn't care though because at the moment he was more worried about her condition. He panicked and leaped up making his chair topple behind him with a loud clang. "Hinata are you all right?" he asked frantically as he felt her forehead.
"Don't worry kit she just fainted again! Jeez, you never learn…" was his amused remark. "What did I do this time?" a frustrated Naruto whined. "You pretty much said you wanted to mate with her! She is sensitive as it is, then you said that…" he finished chuckling. "I never said anything about…m-m-mating!" yelled Naruto stupidly. "Yeah, you did! But you used that human word…"Marriage"" his booming laugh was irritating the blonde kitsune but he took his razzing like a man. "Oh…" he murmured which caused his father to begin to roll around his cage in a fit of laughter. "Kit, you still can be so thick sometimes…" he barely got out between laughs. Naruto scoffed and refused to talk anymore.
So he quickly set up his chair and retook his seat. From his perch he kept a protective eye on the girl, feeling his heart jump every time she stirred. This lasted for what seemed like days but was really closer to ten minutes.
After what seemed like forever her eyes began to flicker rapidly beneath her eye lids. Naruto smiled and cooed kindly, "Good morning sleepyhead…" Then he questioned himself seriously, "…or should I say good evening?" Not being able to come up with an appropriate answer he growled out in aggravation and gave her one of his cheesy smiles.
Blinking furiously to regain consciously she smiled cutely and soon a questioning look graced her features. "How long was I out?" she asked shyly.
"Aw…not too long." he said comfortingly. She smiled and she couldn't ever remember Naruto having such tenderness in his voice which caused more blushing. Luckily for Hinata something distracted her from this dangerous train of thought. The crowd became deathly silent and the nurses in the room seemed to begin to bustle at a frighteningly fast pace. She looked to Naruto confused with a little worry etched on her face, "What do you think happened?"
He shook his head at a loss for an answer and murmured, "I don't know Hinata-chan…" She pulled the juice stained blanket up from the foot of the bed and wrapped herself up for comfort. She then said seriously, "I don't like it…" and the kitsune silently agreed.
Then over the intercom, the usually joyful and flamboyant voice of the announcer had fallen flat in shock and horror at what its owner had just seen. "I…I don't know how to say this folks…but Tellurium has just brutally killed his opponent from sand. Our…Our deepest sympathies are offered to those from Sand here today. I…I think a moment of silence is warranted."
Eerie silence permeated the whole of the Stadium but what chilled even the demon lord was the cold chuckling of T in the distance. Hinata whispered, "That's horrible…he seemed like an honorable Ninja."
Naruto nodded stiffly and looked out into the hall of the room. He saw three Med-nin with depressed expressions plastering their faces carrying a curiously thin body bag. Not far behind them was the quiet but enraged Kagekaze watching over the body of one of his own.
Swallowing a lump in his throat the blonde slowly turned to Hinata and said, "I'll be right back." She gave him an understanding nod and he walked over toward his friend.
He put a strong and comforting hand on the kazekage's shoulder and said sympathetically, "I…I am sorry, if I or my clan can do anything please tell me." Gaara shook his head a mumbled, "No, He knew the risks and died as a true shinobi." Naruto nodded solemnly. Gaara then said, "Those grass ninja…do you know anything about them?"
Surprised Naruto asked, "Why are you asking me about the grass village?"
Gaara stated coldly as he turned a cold eye toward him, "You have the divine spark…and there is something not right about them. Naruto, I can add."
Naruto laughed sardonically and said, "I knew I couldn't fool you." He scratched the back of his neck nervously and said seriously, "Well, I can't say anything for sure…but I think those are the one's we need to worry about. They kept talking about shinobi wars and this emperor of theirs."
Garra's eyebrows raised and said slowly, "So they are the enemy?"
Naruto agreed reluctantly, "For now…but we mustn't close our eyes…"
"After what they did to my gennin…" he said darkly. "They have found themselves a ruthless enemy and you have found steadfast ally" Gaara finished powerfully.
Naruto smiled grimly, "You have our friendship, now all there is do is to make it official…but a little later, after the Exams." Gaara nodded curtly but friendly and mumbled, "As a friend, I ask you to kill the man who did this."
It was Naruto's turn to raise an eyebrow and questioned, "You want me to kill him?"
Gaara looked disgusted and resentfully asked, "As much as I want to kill him, my position forbids it…it would cause a war. You on the other hand, being in the exams and all, have the opportunity. I ask this as a favor." Naruto nodded gravely and the two containers parted ways.
When the blonde re-entered the cubical where Hinata was, Naruto saw a doctor sitting next her quietly asking her questions. She was fully clothed now and sitting on the edge of the bed so she could better talk with the doctor. "Umm, If I am interrupting something I can come back…" he asked nervously.
The two turned and looked at him somewhat surprised. The doctor was the first to speak, "Oh, that's quite alright! Maybe you can talk some sense into her!"
"What do you mean?" inquired the confused kitsune.
"Even after I told her that she has two bruised and one broken rib along with many other maladies she still insists on fighting!" he said frazzled by her audacity.
"Naruto-kun, I am f-fine! R-Really he is just blowing it out of p-proportion" she timidly stuck up for herself.
The fox's eyebrow furled up in serious thought and he asked, "Well if she did fight how bad would it be?"
Shocked the physician said, "Not life threatening but…!
"So then I should fight!" retorted the girl.
"If…If she wants too…I can't get in the way of her nindo" stated the downtrodden blonde. Hearing this Hinata gave him a triumphant and approving look. The doctor on the other hand huffed and said sarcastically as he left, "Ninjas!
Hinata and Naruto broke out into victorious grins but the moment was ruined by the announcer's voice announcing the start of a match between two stone ninja. Naruto retook his seat next to the girl with the captivating eyes. After a moment he said softly, "Actually Hinata I would rather you not fight…"
The smiled she had worn slipped off of her face. Her face now scrunched up and she gave him an incredulous look. "What do you mean?" she haughtily asked uncharacteristically.
"I…I can't stand to see you get hurt" he said quietly but seeing her face he had to elaborate. "I mean, I know your strong, I don't know many ninja how could fight one of those grass ninja like you did" he said rapidly. The compliment seemed to lighten her mood a tad but not too much.
She gave him that annoyed look all men dread and she said, "Are you….are you patronizing me?"
Hearing this Kyuubi began to laugh tremendously loud which made it extremely hard to concentrate. "Oh you did it now kit!" he wailed as he sent Naruto the mental image of a shabby cardboard box with him in it. Upon closer inspection on top of the box were two words, "DOG HOUSE." The word dog was in bold to add insult to injury.
The blonde kitsune felt the blood leave his face and a cold pit swapped places with his stomach. 'Crap…' thought Naruto. "I told you that mouth of yours would get you in trouble!" cackled his father.
Feeling stupid he no longer replied to his father and took a moment to think of an answer. Little did he know he already returned to normal time. Hinata sat across from him looking expectantly and (dare it be said of cute little Hinata?) pissed.
"No! It isn't anything like that!" was his delayed response and he received a skeptical look from the normally quiet girl.
"Really!" he pleaded for forgiveness. "Sure Naruto-kun" she replied curtly.
After silence and listening to match outside, Naruto finally mumbled, "Sorry. I shouldn't have said that…I just didn't want to see you get yourself killed."
"Thanks Naruto-kun" she replied cheerfully.
'When did she start acting like this?' Naruto asked himself.
"When you befriended her, your confidence is beginning to rub off on her."
'Oh…but why does she use it against me?" he asked humorously.
The great demon chuckled and said astutely, "She is comfortable with you now. She is opening herself to you…this is best time to pounce if your going to. She is vulnerable now."
Naruto blushed and let the conversation go. Normally he would yell at him, but for some reason his suggestion now actually seemed like good advice. His sanity was fighting and wining against this notion though.
'Hn…you kit you are becoming more of a kitsune day by day…" he chuckled to himself after listing to his sons confused thoughts.
Hinata thought shyly but happily, 'That…that felt good! I kind of like this…I should do it more often.'
Suddenly the Announcer came on and announced as the crowd clamored in approval, "Haru of stone wins! Now time to move on to round two! All eligible remaining combatants come to the center of the field!"
Hinata's features steeled as she stood up barely covering up a grimace as she stood. Naruto looked at her questioningly but she shook her head defiantly. He sighed and gave heran understanding look. He then offered her his hand for support.
She looked him square in the eye and gave him a puzzled expression.
"Need some help? I told you I'd always be by your side" he slyly said. A big grin and blush redder than Mars broke on to her face as she put he hand on his shoulder for support, making their bodies uncomfortably close. Both radiated heat from embarrassment but neither dared to break from their position.
On the jumbo-tron was a clock showing how much time was left for the contestants to arrive for the second round. As of now it was flashing 2:18 and counting. In the middle of the stadium stood the two stone teammates who had just fought each other, the two remaining sand members, all of the grass ninja and of course all the leaf excluding Naruto and Hinata. Gamma stood smirking and Kiba harshly whispered to Ten-ten "Damn him! Looking so cocky just because he got bye, I mean come on!" She nodded, quickly agreeing although worry was present on her face. "I wonder if Naruto will make it in time?" Ino asked aloud.
Kiba huffed and said coolly, "That dunce will do what he always does with that stupid fire with like a second left."
The other gennin had the same thought, 'Jealous much?"
The clock was counting down and the crowd was beginning to become restless along with the contestants. But that was silenced with what they saw coming from the tunnel that led to the bowels of the stadium.
Both with determined faces, The man and woman confidently strode together toward the cluster of ninja in front of them. But that wasn't what cause the crowd to be shocked, the two had interlocked their arms so Hinata didn't have to put to much weight on her body. But to the average eye it looked more…intimate.
Kiba stood shocked until he noticed the hand signal Naruto was using and quickly understood. Quickly Kiba ran over and took Hinata's other arm making the crowd sigh in what seemed like relief.
"Are you sure" he harshly asked his teammates.
Naruto answered for Hinata since she was in too much pain to answer, "She said this is what she wants…Trust me I don't think you can convince her otherwise."
Picking up on the male "code words" Kiba didn't press the issue.
The clock then stopped ticking and the announcer came back on. "All right we now have all of our competitors! Due to severe injury Hachiro Yukie has withdrawn as well the death of a sand ninja we are down to thirteen ninja." The crowd gave a fierce cheer of anticipation. "I ask all ninja to return to their respective places so the next match can begin.
The contestant's box
After they had all gone back to the box the board began to spin combinations of names, while everyone waited with baited breath. Though during the tense situstion Chouji leaned over and asked Naruto curiously, "Naruto why do you have grape juice on you pants?" The blonde quickly looked down and saw the purple stain on his new pants and sighed, "Damn and they were new too…" Chouji chuckled and said, "Say no more happen to me all the time!" Naruto then began try everything he knew trying to cover up the stain. Suddenly the names stopped and Hinata felt her heart freeze. The board proclaimed in large letters: "Naruto Uzumaki of the Vulpine (Leaf) versus Hinata Hyuga (Leaf)"
When Naruto felt eyes on him he had a bad feeling and looked at the board. Then his heart dropped and his blood ran cold.
'I…I will prove to him that I am strong! I will show him how much I have learned! He will have to see me now!' she thought with a strange feeling of happiness.
"Dad I can't do this!" screamed Naruto to his father.
"I don't see why you can't. I mean it is no different from a normal spar" he said comfortingly.
"That's different. I hold back in those and if I do here I only hurt her confidence and her heart!" moaned the heir.
His father sigh tiredly, "I see your point…that is a problem." Then the great demon's eyes widened, "It gets worse kit! If you do go all out it is reason for impeachment and execution. It would be going against your word in the contract!"
Naruto moaned louder and said, "What the hell I am supposed to do?"
"You know the answer…just be careful" was the best he could answer.
When he returned to the normal time Hinata had already left for the field. So in the silence of the box he numbly walked towards the hard decision in his life.
In the stadium crowd was roar in anticipation and Hinata was standing emotionlessly next to Jiraiya. She was steeled for a battle that she knew she'd lose but wanted to prove something.
The depressed and anxious kitsune walked up to the spot reserved for him. Jiraiya puffed out his chest and spoke animatedly into the microphone. "Alright everyone! It is time for the teammates to battle each other! This is going to be battle full of emotion and trickery! They know each others strengths and at the same time each others weaknesses, which can use this knowledge best to their advantage? Let's find out!" After his proclamation the multitude of people in the stands were whipped into a fervor
He looked to the girl and asked, "Are you ready?" She replied more confidant than normal, "Yes!" as she slipped into the stance of her forefathers.
"How about you brat?" he asked giddily.
Naruto let his arms go lax and swallowed deeply since he knew what he was about to do in front of everyone and the council along with all the questions that would come along with it. He nodded, "Yes."
"Alright then!" smiled the sennin as he raised his hand he gave on last curious look to the nervous Naruto and dropped his hand. "Fight" his word echoed through out the stadium and the crowd roared in approval.
Within that second Naruto shouted weakly, "Forfeit!"
The fleeing Jiraiya stopped in his tracks and turn around confused. Hinata's face fell in confusion and the crowd began to boo in anger. The council was looking at him curiously and Takahashi seemed to be smiling in triumph. It burned his pride but he knew this had to be done.
"What did you say?" incredulously yelled Jiraiya. Naruto swallowed hard once more and said a little louder than before, "I said I forfeit! I refuse to fight her."
"N-naruto-kun if your worried about my injuries I'm f-fine" she desperately said.
"No that's not it!" he stated hurriedly. "I can't I promised to protect you! I can hurt you!"
Tears began to fall from her cheeks, "So…So even y-you think I'm weak! You told me I was strong…but…you're just like the rest of them." 'Here in front of the public too…' she thought sadly and images of her father screaming came into her head.
Hearing this shocked Naruto to the bone and made his mouth hang ajar for a moment. "No that's not it Hinata…I….I..." But her tears just started to fall harder and Jiraiya expression changed. He now seemed angry, "Naruto that's enough you'll just make it worse!"
Frantic and brought to senselessness from seeing her like that Naruto no longer cared what he said. He had to fix it now, or things would never be the same. His desperation was so strong in his voice it made everyone gasp, "Hinata it isn't like that!" He screamed with tears in his eyes, "Hinata I won't hurt the woman I love!" The booing and even the announcer fell silent.
She looked up at him in shock, tears still flowing in her eyes. Tsunade in the box broke into a huge grin. Many of the women couldn't help but demand from their boyfriends why they never did anything as romantic like that.
The pale eyed girl was shocked and couldn't say anything. Although her mind was working overtime, 'Did he just say he loves me? Naruto-kun loves me! HE loves me! But…why did he have to tell me here…in front of all these people….oh no! my father heard. He loves me though….I always wanted him to say it…but why here?'
A beat red Naruto looked shyly away and said pessimistically, "Sorry…I need some time…some time to think…" He slowly raised his hand and snapped his fingers and disappeared into the flames.
Hinata began to blink furiously as the information processed in her brain. Then she felt a tugging on her arm. As if in a dream she looked over to see a giddy Jiraiya holding her hand in the air. "Winner Hinata Hyuga!" he yelled jubilantly. He then let go of her hand and pulled out his notebook. At that moment Hinata could no longer take it and collapsed to the dirt in a faint. The sennin just looked down at her crumpled form then smiled and continued to write furiously in the notebook while murmuring, "This is good…this is real good."
While the stunned crowed watched the scene in front of them no one seemed to notice one council blue and orange haired member was now missing.
I wanted to make this longer but I have had one heck of a summer so I couldn't get as much done as I wanted. I was touring the country without a computer so…sorry.. I promise next chapter will contain some Naruto x Hinata fluff! Class start today…sigh how troublesome but I'll try to get it done on time this time. Sorry again for the lateness but my time has been really short lately.
Ich werde Sie später sehen!