Itsumademo

By: Bill the Cat

Chapter one: My Only

It's been five years since she disappeared. Five long years since the eldest Hyuuga Heiress vanished.

I don't know how it happened, or even why it did, just one day she was gone. Kiba and Shino were baffled by the absence of her stuttered good mornings and sweet comforting smiles. She had always been their silent welcome, always on hand for a chipper pick me up. It wasn't the same without her.

Yeah, I knew about her family life. It royally sucked. I mean, who would still use that old tradition anyway? They did, and it cost her a lot of happiness. Including any chances with that fool Naruto. Gods that loud mouthed ignoramus totally blew her off after she confessed her feelings to him. Not that she needed to, it always being written all over her red face. Naruto is the dunce for a reason. He in the end couldn't understand being in an intimate relationship with anyone, so of course he sent her emotionally battered self away. What a fool.

Her heart was so fragile. She was molded from glass and spun with silk. Her heart was pure, tinted white with purity. A crown of shimmering raven locks spiraled across her small head as wide white irises glanced innocently at the world, small mouth open in wonder, eyes alight… She was beautiful. She had begun to grow her hair out, so she would look like her sister. Maybe she thought it would help to please her father if she looked and acted more like her baby sister. Pity… I liked her the way she was.

Okay I admit it. I did have feelings for her. Fleeing, but there. She was something else, something quiet and shy, but someone strong and graceful. I wanted someone like her by my side. But… that wasn't to be.

Today is my twenty first birthday. A day to be celebrated amongst all my friends and family as I finally reached the legal drinking age. Honestly, who would celebrate such stupidity? Ino had hinted several things to me about what she and I could legally do. I had shudderingly discarded her comment. Sometimes her advances were too direct. Temari… she also hinted at something less dramatic. She wants to be with me. Sure, I do like her enough, but I don't know about her personality. It's… rough. I told her I would consider it.

Of course, now is not the time to think about such things. Marriage is still way far off and well… I don't want to be tied down yet. Outo-san thinks differently. He wants grandchildren and such. Hmm… do I even want kids? Anyway, I especially can't think about my future because as of now, my father is taking me to a surprise for my birthday. What does he think I am, eight?

Here we are. He pulled me aside to this tall oldish looking building where pleasant sounds of tea were ringing. It was quaint, but rather extravagant looking. He approached the paper door and rapped slightly. Slowly, the paper door crept back revealing an elderly woman dressed in an off-white kimono. Her white hair was pulled back taut in a bun with two black chopsticks protruding from it. Father bowed to the woman, as did she to him.

"Nara-san, your punctuality is admirable," The woman noted softly. She rose back to her normal height, and even though the woman was ancient, her movements were so graceful that they could be called beautiful. Her image spoke of grace and lovliness as did the small yet prominent indentations in her aged, yet young face. She must have been an actress or something as a young woman. Father turned to me and spoke to the woman.

"Satsu-san, thank you for the compliment. I trust we are allowed inside now?" He asked pleasantly, sending some sort of signal to the woman, Satsu with his glance in my direction. I raised a curious brow as the woman smiled mysteriously. What shocked me most was that I couldn't interpret her underlying intentions. Her face was that void, that mysterious… Stupefied, father led me into the small little entrance with shiny oak floors. The boards were pressed together and shimmering with lights from the lamps and the small crack coming from the door in front of us. I looked up, horrifically confused as Satsu-san stripped my Jonin vest off of me. She then ushered the two of us towards the paper door where she crouched onto the floor, head bowed low as she slid the door back.

I couldn't believe my eyes.

A gasp escaped my comically jaw dropped face as I stared in awe at the scene before me.

This was a Geisha house.

There were four geishas floating all around the room, their white faces devoid of color and blemishes, and their red lips hiding secrets. A floral pattern of illusion guarding the innermost heart of a goddess like no other. Each had beautiful floral kimonos with a variety of colors and patterns, each one fitted perfectly. Their obis trailed gracefully down behind their backs like water, trails of shimmering material grazing the floor in their elegant wake. My breath stopped. Pop had to clap my shoulder to get me breathing again.

"Happy birthday son,"

I couldn't even respond as stupefied and amazed as I was. A geisha house. The one time to get away from all the troubles, all the women, all the commitment. It was a god send. Finally the two of us sat down, me still entranced as the silken entity poured me a small cup of tea. She flashed me a mystical smile, one that didn't reach her eyes. Her red kimono displayed shimmering waves of gold trails like ripples on water contrasting with the golden kimono underneath. Her deep blue obi splashed down her back so graciously, I couldn't tell what part of her began, and even if she was there to begin with. With an air of mysterious dignity, the geisha rose like a lily to the dawn and floated towards my father. Her steps were so tiny that it seemed as if she trotted on the air itself.

Suddenly, Satsu-san reemerged from the wooden door and announced that Hikage-san would be performing her dance of the fans. I took notice with seemingly apathetic stance that Hikage meant sunshine. And, the only other person to have the name meaning sunshine was… I stopped my musings short as Hikage-san herself made her entrance. This geisha was like no other. Her kimono was golden all around with bright white lace patterns of the suns rays glistening down her slender arms. Her obi was a beautiful pure white, traces of blue outlining invisible clouds. The trinkets in her raven hair were spun from gold ribbon, lacing around her bun and dangling cherry blossoms like veins. Her pale white face held all the emotion of a glass doll, her red lips pulled in a comforting yet empty smile. She held two fans in each hand, one red and gold, the other blue and silver. She stopped in front of the room and smiled.

Hikage flipped her fans open with grace, delicately fanning her arms around each other one at a time; like the passing of the sun and the moon. With a flick of her wrist, the sun was in the air, spinning gracefully onto her other hand, which quickly clipped the moon into the air. She caught the two so fast, I hardly blinked. Placing one on top of the other, she flipped it up and caught it in her hand. Closing the two, she raised them above her head and twirled in place, her obi swinging out like condensation in a storm. Her tiny bells made cleansing peaceful tinks as my eyes overflowed with color and admiration. Quick as a flash, she threw the two in the air, they both flipped open at the same time. She deftly caught the two without even looking. Closing them, she bowed deeply as her audience applauded her. Pop again had to elbow me.

"Geez son, I though you didn't want any of this?" He mocked, winking at me. I barely had time for a retort as Hikage-san herself approached the two of us.

"I believe you are our special guest?" She enquired softly, settling herself next to me. I glanced at her wide-eyed, amazed at how close I was to perfection. Her soft-lidded white eyes peered back at me in amusement. Wait… white eyes?

"H-Hinata?" I managed to utter, finally finding my voice box. Hikage-san's eyes didn't change, but a flicker of hope glimmered in the soft transparent pupils for a second. It was so faint I was sure I had imagined it.

"Shikamaru-kun, please don't call me that. I am Hikage," Hinata insisted. Though her words were soft, they were clipped with demanding. I didn't dare disobey her. Sucking in a quick breath as a thought struck me, I couldn't help but ask her.

"Why did you disappear?" 'And leave me…' I quickly brushed away the thought as Hinata's eyes darted to the side, hurt apparent with more vividness than blood on a dove. The pain was apparent even in her posture as suddenly her shoulders drooped. Yet, as quick as a flash, she was composed again, geisha mask in full bloom. She smiled at me with those pure white eyes, lost in her white face, lashes lined with a slight tinge of gold, red lips soft and small… I forgot who she was.

"Someday, I will tell you. If… I have the strength," She replied, slowly standing up. I followed her form walk out the door with jaw dropped confusion. Hinata was here. I knew where she was. And her entire being screamed of heart break and anguish.

I had learned years ago about geishas from Tenten at her phase of obsession with the topic. It seemed that they never became geishas by choice. It was usually their last option. From what she told me, they are unreachable beings much like goddesses meant to beguile men and distract them from their stress and strife. Their silken kimonos and white apathetic faces, unsmiling blank eyes and mysterious red lips were all the ruse for perfection and purity in a woman. Geishas were meant to be aloof, reserved but even more so, unloving and unloved. Their lives were hard and sad, living only to attain, never to love or be held. Granted, when they acquired danas, it sort of became love, but not often. Still, geishas were meant always tempt men and appear available, but always detached; like the water.

Hinata was nothing like that, and I never wanted her to be.

The thought of her becoming one of those elegant woman forever, being held and lusted over by men she didn't even know, and sacrificing her life and heart and soul… was too much for me to bear. Which brings me to this day. I turned twenty-one today for a purpose. My father allowed me to find her again for the specific reason of only one task.

I was to become Hinata's danna.

It will be hard, but it will be worth it. Not only do I have to cover half her geisha fees, but I also have to continue to pay her for her time. I will not technically own her, but at least I can get one hand on her and eventually pull her out of this putrid, but elegant white mask.

She is hosting a party at the brand new teahouse right down the street from our house, her being the first geisha they requested. I sincerely hoped that maybe I could get a glimpse of her. The kimono she wore the last time I saw her on my birthday was exquisite, costing quite a bunch. It made me even more anxious on how I was to become her danna, paying off all her debts. I made a promise though, and I intend to keep it.

Pop is a member of the jonin team that is actually being entertained, so he decided to take me along. Of course, I had to ask him first. The surprised look on his face was priceless. I had never asked for anything before, always saying everything was troublesome. Especially to a teahouse. I never had any interest in those kinds of things. That is, until I found her.

Father is finally coming downstairs to accompany me to the house. He got invited, and of course since I was his son I too could come as well. He was the one who explained to me how to become a geisha's danna, him seeing one of his colleagues do it once before. He didn't seem upset with me about my seemingly impossible task, rather he seemed proud. He told me that he was glad that I had finally found something that I truly wanted and would fight for. It made me crack a smirk at the proud look on his face. For some reason, it gave me all the more courage to set her free.

Finally, we are off. Pop and I stepped out into the cool night air and as my trait calls, I glanced at the sky. The stars were shining brightly in a cloudless sky. I couldn't help but frown in empathy. Those stars were stuck there for the rest of theirs lives for others' pleasure, much like a geisha. The metaphorical comparison between stars and geishas really struck me as odd. I was never quite the poetic type, yet here I was caught up in a torrent of figurative language, metaphorical sense and empathetical pathos.

"Hey son… I really think you're doing the right thing," Pop began quietly as the two of us strolled down the street, anything but merrily. Hands in my pockets, I sighed and leaned my head back.

"What else can I do ya know? She was a friend, and now she's in trouble," I responded apathetically. Detached is my nature. Outo-san stopped.

"Shikamaru, you can't honestly tell me that you're doing this just because she's a friend are you?" He asked.

"What else?"

"To become a geisha's danna… well, you know the circumstances. Son… are you in love with her?"

Several feet ahead of him I stopped dead in my tracks. Sure I'd thought about it, but to hear someone so blatantly suggest it sounded rather absurd.

"No pop, women are a bother,"

"You don't mean that and you know it,"

I sighed heavily, covering my eyes with my hand. Fate was cruel and the first and only imagine that would appear was she at 15, several days before she disappeared. Crying. Hinata had been at the park, all by herself, crying on the swing. And I had done nothing. Did all I want to do was atone?

"Can you confuse love with atonement?" I asked uncertainly, hoping to God it wasn't as heartless as it sounded. I heard my father take a deep breath, and release it harshly.

"Son… you will hurt her more if you only wish to atone. There has to be a deeper reason than that. Think about it,"

'I did. I did for a long time pop.' I thought angrily. Love is such a strong word, and I can't just label every strong feeling with it.

"Maybe it will show itself," I responded. I heard pop start walking again and when he reached me, he clapped a hand on my shoulder.

"Love can be confusing, and so is your heart. When the time is right, you will know your true feelings," He said kindly, smiling at me. I smiled back, slightly.

Once the building came into view, I started to get nervous. These Geishas were so goddess like that it was hard not to be intimidated. I'm sure Hinata would be a little freaked out too when she saw me. Might think I'm stalking her. Heh, maybe I am. Anyway, these women are highly cultivated in every aspect of life that many folk feel obsolete. Which made me wonder why everyone liked them so much. Maybe it's because they live to serve? Hmm… not much longer Hinata. Not much longer…

Pop knocked gently on the door and waited for a few seconds. I took a deep calming breath and composed myself as the sliding paper door slid back revealing a very small hand maid probably around eight or nine. She bowed low to us as we bowed to her.

"Please come this way honored guests," She said timidly, shuffling nervously into the okiya. Pop grinned at me as we entered a similar hallway of glimmering oak and tealeaves. The same maid crouched onto the floor and slid the door back with her head down. We peered into the room already seeing most of pop's comrades. And there she was. We entered the room graciously, bowing towards the Geisha before sitting down upon the pillows laid out for us. Hinata hurriedly came to us with tea. Her kimono was a deep violet with colorful waves of threaded jade. Her obi was a marvelous red with a jade sash. One lone jade jewel adorned the front of her obi, the underlying kimono being jade. Frightened white eyes gazed at my own calm brown ones, hers tinted with violet and fear. A large violet with jade stones surrounding its gentle base adorned her made up hair. She breathed softly as she crouched down to pour our tea.

"Shikamaru-san," She asserted almost breathlessly. She didn't look me in the eye.

"Yes Hinata?" I responded quietly. Her uncomfortable composure worried me.

"Hikage!" She hissed and continued. "Why are you here? What do you want from me?"

I stared at her, hard. Thoughts flooded into my mind as the severity of what I was trying to do suddenly ran into my conscious mind. A danna. A Geisha's caretaker. Gods, the responsibility was huge. But I knew I must. I must because…

"Hinata…" She gasped and attempted to retaliate, but I stopped her with a hiss. "Hinata, you don't deserve this life. You're too kind, too fragile… I don't want you suffering anymore,"

With this statement, she began to raise her eyes to mine. There was pure shock emanating from those pearl eyes. I gladdened me to know that she wasn't just a cold unfeeling white finger of Venus. I searched her eyes slowly, keeping them locked in mine.

"I want to become your danna," I answered. She gasped downright and almost fell backwards. Even years of training couldn't prepare her stunned features to revert back to empathy so quickly. The color literally fell from her face as she bowed her head to me and stood up. Saying something quickly to the head Geisha, she left the room. After a few seconds when she did not return, I sighed.

"You know, it might not have been smart to tell her the plan so soon," Pop stated from my left. I sighed again and nodded.

"I don't know what came over me, Pop. I guess I really wanted to make her happy…" I replied quietly. I glanced at the paper door that she had retreated from so hurriedly. "I guess I didn't."

The party ended a few hours later and Pop and I were ready to go home. We waited to go last so as to beat all the traffic. We were after all, lazy. Leaning back frowning in discomfort I mumbled a few incoherent whines to myself before standing up. Pop almost laughed at me for my forever lazy trait. Shoving my hands in my pockets, I followed him out the door, though took my time in getting my shoes back on. Before I could get very far down the hall however, a solid arm snaked out and yanked my into another room. The person proceeded to slam me against the wall and pin me there. I grunted in shock as my eyes adjusted to the dark. It was Hinata.

"You fool! How could you do this to me?" She hissed, glaring at me with such intensity that I actually shuddered.

"What do you—" I tried to answer, but she interrupted me.

"You know what I mean! You can't be my danna! Why would you?" She shot back. 'Ah, I see what this is,' I thought.

"Hinata… why don't you want me being your danna?" I asked calmly, slowly raising my hands to rest on her shoulders. Her fists that had been tugging on my shirt slowly released as her eyes widened in fear.

"B-because… why would you? Do you realize the responsibility?"

"Yes,"

"Then why! Why would you care? Why do you choose to care now!" She thudded me hard on the chest with a small pale hand. The pressure itself was so minimal; I wondered where all her ninja training went. My eyes softened considerably as she brought the offending fist under her chin, as if to guard herself.

"Hinata…" She flinched. "What happened to make you leave so suddenly?"

Her eyes widened dramatically, all stature of geisha concealment discarded. Her small mouth opened slightly, my question staggering her very train of thought. Slipping slowly to the ground, the small geisha flinched and shook visibly, battling tears. My hands dropped slowly and I realized they too were shaking. I desperately wanted to know what hurt my dear friend so much.

"I… I…" She fumbled, sobs choking her voice. My eyes softened even more as I lowered to her level. Cupping a hand to her small cheek, I raised her teary face to mine.

"Hinata… you don't have to say it if it hurts you…" Though I wanted to know, I didn't want to cause her pain. Her lips were trembling, her eyes pooling, her entire form shaking… those bright luminescent orbs of purity… how they matched her soul. I found myself swept in their hypnotic gaze. She's so vulnerable, so helpless, so beautiful… I leaned forward and whispered to her.

"It's okay… I'll protect you…" Her eyelids drooped at my soft words, my breath caressing her small mouth until I captured it with my own. She was so sweet, so pure, so innocent… I found myself lost. I kissed her softly at first; sure that it was her first, letting her get the feel of it. Soon though she herself pleadingly deepened the kiss, wrapping her small arms around me. She had lost so much strength it almost made me cry. I acknowledged her need and pulled her tiny frame closer to mine. I could hear her whimper against my lips, and it was euphoric. Whether it was of joy or fear, I didn't care. And that frightened me.

All too soon, we parted, slightly panting, eyes heavy. She looked at me, and I looked at her and realized something.

I was in love with a geisha.

Hinata then smiled. Blithely those kissable lips upturned in a soft serene smile. Her eyes crinkled in warmth, glittering in the lamplight from stray tears. The gesture was contagious as I found my own mouth curving upwards. Stroking away the few tears from her warm cheek, I answered her question.

"This is why I want to be your danna," I said softly, feeling for the first time absolutely certain of my decision. She laughed lightly, like tinkling bells.

"Oh Shikamaru-san…" She whispered. I'm sure that's all she could say, her emotions overflowing her conscience. I could see it in her eyes. Embracing her, I stroked the back of her hair just feeling her small form against mine. She fit so perfectly in my arms, I wondered why I was foolish enough to let her go in the first place. I subconsciously embraced her tighter making her gasp.

"Hinata, I was a fool. I was stupid for letting you get hurt, and not being there for you. But know that I am now, and I always will. Itsumo…" I whispered into her ear feeling her whole body tense up. She gasped audibly.

"Shikamaru-san… are you…?" She stuttered, her words muffled by my shoulder. Shaking, I pulled back just enough to let her see the tears running down my face. I smiled.

"It would be an honor if I could be your danna," I whispered.

A/N: There you go. Another ShikaHina pairing. Pretty different eh? Hope you like it! R/R so I know to continue it.