By: Bill the Cat
Chapter Two: Beloved
"Sh-Shikamaru-san… we, we could never," Hinata began, my words ringing in her ears ominously. Placing her in my care as a Danna would probably be the equivalent to proposing to her. As it was, she was shocked to say the least, so I took her stuttered negatives as denial. I decided to smooth the situation over the only way I could.
"We can, and we would… If you'd let me," I answered simply, hoping the explanation would be enough to placate the situation. Her eyes widened and her lips parted for a response before we heard a sound coming towards us. Quickly, we stood up and she dashed lightly down the hallway the sound looming ever closer. Adrenaline flushing into my body, I pocketed my hands and began mumbling how troublesome something was before I saw my father walk around the corner.
"Hey, there you are. I was wondering where you were," He stated humorously. I merely frowned agitatedly at him. Hinata was probably long gone in the Okiya and I would not be able to tell her it was okay. Sighing harshly, I pulled on my shoes and followed him out the door giving one last longing look at the hallway.
"Shikamaru-kun!" An ecstatic voice lofted through my humble abode. I blinked tiredly, shielding my awakening eyes from the light with an arm before glancing irritated at the clock. Of course since the blaring letters read something less than 10 am I chose to turn right over and fall back asleep. I hated it when people woke me up at the crack of dawn… okay, maybe 9:45 wasn't the crack of dawn but it was still pretty damn early. Groaning, I clenched my eyes shut before the memory of a crying Hinata the night before entered my mind. I hated to see her cry. But then I remembered that soon I would be saving her from her prison. That, my friends, made me smile.
Suddenly, with no respect for the occupant of the bed, AKA me, the obnoxious intruder burst through my doorway and flung themselves on top of me. I was on my side so it was rather uncomfortable to have a feminine body squishing up against me hugging me. Wait, feminine?
"Ino?" I asked agitatedly. If it was the blonde I was going to friggin kill her and then—
"No silly crybaby, it's me. Temari," The woman replied, her bushy plump like pigtails looming into view as she lifted her head. Her twinkling blue eyes grinned at me mischievously as I blushed and ducked away from her.
"Gah, the hell? Jumping into a man's bed. Get off!" I ordered more or less afraid. Sure my womanphobia was silly but it was present. Not bad enough for hives, but you get the idea. She giggled and jumped off of me and waited for me to answer her. I turned over and sat up, the covers falling onto my lap. I blinked at her, annoyed.
"What is it this time?" I asked rather upset at her disrupting me in such awkward fashions. The woman's grin seemed to soften as she padded over to me and kneeled in front of the bed where I was sitting. She took one of her hands and laid it atop mine. I didn't move it.
"I came to see you… I miss you all the time ya know?" She replied softly, her glistening in embarrassment. Whenever Temari did anything emotion she would glance shyly to the side. I sighed.
"Is that all? I mean, we live like right down the street from each other now," I asked again wondering why she was being so dramatic over a block of distance. Her eyes widened a bit as she caught on to what I was hinting.
"I'm not being dramatic! I'm just… lonely I guess," She answered truthfully, removing her hand from mine and resting her head on it. She gazed at me thoughtfully, trying her best to put on a cute face. She couldn't pull it off very well as her lingering smirk was displayed nicely on her lips.
"Temari-chan I think you're just confused. Go on some dates or something," I replied, her hopeful gaze starting to freak me out. When Temari wanted something, she would stop at nothing to get it. She sighed and rolled her eyes.
"You know I'm not interested in other guys. Just… you," She replied honestly, tracing small circles in my sheets, her finger making slight ripples in the fabric. Her attempt to seem nonchalant was blatantly noticeable, but a total failure. I tensed at her seemingly innocent almost conversational gibes.
"I don't understand why," I tried back, hoping she'd get bored with me eventually. She continued her circle tracing, egging me on with her silence.
"Maybe cos you never turn me down,"
"What's wrong with keeping my options open?"
"What? So I'm a last resort now? Just tell me no then!"
"Think of it as you being a spare tire,"
"What?! How dare you!"
"Just being honest,"
She stood up angrily and glared at me.
"It's cos you like someone else isn't it?" She asked vehemently. I keep see the ugly green monster rearing its head as she spoke. I cringed as my honesty muscle was twitching from need. I liked giving people the honest true, no matter how hurtful.
"Yes actually. I don't know if we could ever be together though,"
"Well, then chose me! I'm the safer option!"
"Would it be fair to either of us if I were to go into a loveless relationship with you?"
"So… you love this girl, do you?" Temari asked a few seconds later, her voice shaking from adrenaline. I hated upsetting women. It was usually followed with angry threats, tears, and shouting, but this had to be done.
"Yes Temari. I do actually. But, now that I think about it…" I started, slowly feeling my logical side taking over. I felt like I was lying to myself, thinking I could become Hinata's danna. Not only did you require status, you required a butt load of money. Both of which I didn't have. Also, I had to keep her open as a Geisha and continue to "loan" her out. I wondered if I could even just pull her out of being a Geisha at all. Something told me no. And something else told me that I would never have her no matter how much the two of us wanted it. I sighed heavily, causing Temari to look over at me.
"Can we not talk about this right now? I need to go do something,"
Temari's teal orbs softened slightly as I stood up and sighed a bit more harshly than I intended. I wasn't one to whine, but Hinata was something that changed everything for me. As a matter of fact, she was the reason for my sudden impulsiveness.
------ Flashback ------
It was maybe two years after the Hyuuga heiress had disappeared and the town had finally settled down. I had been specially assigned the mission in charge of locating said Hyuuga, but when one never wanted to be found, they could do a damn good job on their camouflage jackets. I had moved up to Jonin rank by this time and brought in pretty decent money. Also by this time, Temari and I had established a sort of relationship. She wasn't quite like Hinata, but a lot in what I wanted in a woman was there. That and our family trait was to date and marry bossy, annoying overbearing women.
One day the two of us were at a café, just a simple date as we were so premature when I spotted a very familiar lavender ringlet of tresses. I desperately looked out the window as Temari busily read her latest Cosmo. There standing on the street corner with a very elegant looking woman was Hinata. I knew it was she even though her hair had grown well passed her shoulders. She had grown her bangs out almost hiding her white eyes beneath the prism of her porcelain skin. Her soft lavender kimono blended in sweetly with her longish tresses, the tips curling slightly inward. She said something to the elegant woman beside her and I watched her lips tremble. Same old stuttering Hinata. The woman nodded at something the girl offered, then looked towards the street. Hinata scanned it for a second and pointed at a man walking slowly towards the café, eyes buried in a book. The woman nodded and with the tips of her fingers placed gently together at her waist, the elegant woman took tiny steps to meet this young man. She merely passes him, but dipped her head low, raising her eyes up to meet his at the same time he looked up. Too enthralled in her gaze, the man tripped over the newspaper stand, papers flying all over the place. I could see Hinata gasping in partial amusement and fright as she watched the sputtering man say hasty apologies. I couldn't figure out why when her small mouth broke into a wide grin and her warm irises lit up in a smile I too couldn't help but smile, and my heartbeat quicken. Something about her.
Her long hair flowed to the side quickly as she turned excitedly to talk to the woman, smiling almost apologetically. Nodded at her words, the woman turned her head and began scanning the road. I had no idea what I was doing or why I was doing it but all I remember was hastily scraping back in my chair and pulling the hood low over my head. Temari was saying something as I practically ran out the door, but I had no idea what she was saying. All I knew is that I wanted her eyes to look at me like that.
Her corner was a bit of ways down the street so she hadn't noticed my hasty approach nor my presence. I kept my head low and looked preoccupied, hoping that this woman would choose me. I heard the woman say "This one," and the quite stuttering acceptance. My breath quickened as did my pulse, my body numb and burning at the same time till I suddenly saw small shuffling feet approach me. I lifted my head barely to catch a glimpse of her lowered lids, till they suddenly rose to meet mine, insecurity but also seduction visible in the wide pupils. I stopped completely in my tracks as those ivory pools tugged at my heartstrings, them ringing more of pain that seduction. But then again, no one really knew her. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew by us, blowing my hood completely back. She gasped in fright and I knew I was caught. I had caught her glimpse and knew I was captured hook line and sinker. But, as I watched her dash away back to her partner I couldn't help the aching feeling in my heart. Something that I knew I would never see her again.
--------- End flashback -----------
This was over three years ago and I knew that I finally had a chance. As I grabbed a brush to run through my hair I remembered those innocent wide eyes pulling me in with their sorrow, their hope and their pain. I knew she needed me possibly as much as I needed her. I knew that no matter how hard it was, I had to fight.
"I'm sorry Temari, but I'm in love with a Geisha. And I intend to be with her no matter what,"
Mother's door was slightly ajar bringing snippets of her conversation to the wandering ears outside. One of which was the object of their discussion, her purple tresses pressed against the paper paneling of Mother's abode, trying to camouflage herself with bated breath. She dared to turn wide ivory irises into the room to glance at Mother and Shikaku, Shikamaru's father.
"So, your son wishes to become Hinata's danna? Such a responsibility. Even with no status he believes he can do it?" Mother drawled in a languid tone. Every time she spoke like that, she wanted something, but wasn't willing to show it. Shikaku nodded and pressed his hands together reminding Hinata pleasantly of Shikamaru.
"Yes, Hokage-sama was
about to give him a promotion to become her head Jonin for special
cases considering kidnappings. It is quite a feat to achieve,"
The man proclaimed, grinning widely. Hinata blinked hugely. She had literally no idea no idea what was happening with her almost danna. And that frightened her. Mother clicked her tongue in intrigue.
"Interesting. Hokage-sama will do this eh?" I suppose then that he will have enough money to pay off all of Hikage's expenses? She's doing a good job, but life as a Geisha is so… hard," She purred, pausing dramatically. Hinata could see the jaws muscles tightening in Shikaku's face. She bit her lip and held in a whimper.
"Yes, all of her demands will be met and more," Shikaku replied confidently, relaxing. Mother looked at him before pulling her pipe out from inside her robes. Lighting it, she took a long drag and exhaled it out to the side.
"You know," she began. "Hikage-chan has yet to sell her Mizuage. It could bring in much more money than you could give," She finished, holding her pipe in her thumb and forefinger, staring at it like it was the most interesting thing in the world. Hinata watched as Shikaku's brows furrowed in contemplation. Hinata knew mother was ruthless, but she didn't like being sized up like she was a bargaining ship.
"I'll give you double her worth," He replied icily. She could feel his contempt in heated waves, restless eyes glancing at mother. His words sent an excited chill through her. She was finally going to be free! Her bated breath was stopped short as they began talking again.
"… you do realize her family history, yes? Wealthy family, prestigious stature… you inherit all of this if he becomes her danna. Her father died around three years ago and her sold his other daughter to another Okiya some time ago. I've been meaning to tell her for a while now but it wasn't important enough," Mother recited, glancing scrutinously at Shikaku. The man didn't reply, but Hinata didn't care. She had whipped around the door, eyes wide and pooling. Her father was dead, Hanabi gone and apparently all of her family's belongings would go to her danna. All that wealth…
'Perhaps,' she thought,' Shikamaru-san only wants me for my worth,' Gruesome as it was, she couldn't shake the thought of manipulation. She was easily swindled by a handsome face. Hinata sighed and clenched her small fists tightly. Logic didn't always explain purpose. Perhaps this wasn't Shikamaru's intention at all. Still, she couldn't take any more of the conversation. She sat there for some time just mulling over whatever intentions her charming danna to be was conning than he himself showed up. Crept right up to her and everything. At some point she had just closed her eyes to help her think when she was jolted awake by a very soft kiss. Opening her eyes expectantly, she greeted the kisser with warm grace. How could she ever doubt that sincere face?
"Don't worry Hinata. You are all I want. I intend just that," He assured her, kissing her forehead before entering the room with his father. Blushing sweetly, the Hyuuga heiress giggled girlishly to herself.
"Mrs. Nitta, I believe this girl can technically belong to me now," I began, seated beside my father. She cropped a skeptical brow, her pipe laid in splayed fingers, the smoke gently curling from it.
"Oh really? And why is that?" She asked knowingly, laying said pipe down and snuffing it out. I grinned and pulled out the paper of promotion I had just received from Tsunade-sama.
"This is my promotion. I am now the single most important Jonin in the whole city. Fame or what?"
Mrs. Nitta stopped in her ministrations of putting out her pipe and stared incredulously at the form. Signed sealed and delivered. This kid meant business. She stared absently at the form trying her best not to look excited. She knew she could swindle more money out of these kids for Hinata. They seemed to like her a lot more than necessary. Dropping the form, she sighed.
"All right. I'll agree only if you buy Hinata's Mizuage," She complied as my mouth opened in rage. The hell would I need to buy that for?
"Why? So you can rake in more money? How greedy are you?" I asked, thunderstruck. Hinata was worth it, I knew she was. Mrs. Nitta sighed a bit before glancing at me impatiently.
"It's the final stage for a Geisha. After she sells her Mizuage, she can either marry her danna, or stop being one or both. She has to give it up though," Mrs. Nitta explained, glancing eerily at the door almost exected Hinata's quit form to be hiding behind it. I glanced at my father who shrugged.
"Your call son."
'Thanks pop. You're such a help.'
"Fine, I'll do it. How do I anyway?" I asked, acquiescing. At this, Mrs. Nitta smiled a smile that even made Hinata grimace from behind the door.
Today is the day that Hinata's Mizuage is to be auctioned off. That would be the most valuable thing she has… that you can put a price on. I expect this was all a ploy to get more money out of us, as it is a nature for money grabbing wenches who own Okiyas. But, Hinata was definitely worth all the trouble. Her happiness at being saved will be enough for me. And all the gold in the world isn't as brilliant as her smile.
Tsunade has a soft spot for adorable woman, especially younger ones that she can order around, so I'm sure she'll help me. She had agreed once I had told her that I found the missing girl, further cementing our now permanent friendship. Though the age difference was immense, Tsunade-sama and I have developed a fondness for each other. Which s why I know she will help me find happiness. Clutching my fist at my side, I bowed to the man at the doorway and entered the bidding war.
I wasn't to be out numbered for I had Tsunade on my side. Yet, many men bet quite considerably. I hoped that even though they had no chance, that Hinata's nee-san would still let me have her. I had never met the woman so I sincerely hoped that she would allow me that opportunity. And if it came down to it, I would fight for her.
My feelings for Hinata could no longer be denied. I knew the second that I had kissed her that it was love. That pining I had after our chance occurrence two years her senior of leaving. The ever constant hope that one day I would find her and be able to make things right. I ignored her, even though I knew she needed help. I knew in my heart that I wasn't being a good human being. And even though I had been the only one to witness her last days, I ignored her. Fate had punished me, and now I wasn't letting her get away from me again. She had changed me and even as I raised my hand to counter someone's bid I knew that I was making the right decision.
The auctioneer pointed at my raised hand to a beautiful woman next to him with her long black hair tied in a silken bun, many cheery blossoms cluttering it. The almond-eyed woman nodded at his choice and bowed at me. It seems that I have won.
"Nee-san, what happened last night?" The timid girl asked fearfully. Her elegant violet locks were pinned beautifully up in a soft bun with violets interlacing the weaves. She adorned a simple purple robe and sash, used for the Mizuage ceremony. Her older sister, Hikaya sent her a comforting glance with a tinge of mischievousness and sat down next to her.
"Well Hikage-chan, your Mizuage sold for such a high price that you will pay off all your debts. And what's more, you know the gentleman," She responded happily, brown eyes flowing with happiness.
Hikaya knew Hinata for years now and never believed her to be geisha material. Not as an insult, but as a sad cry to someone to save her. Being a geisha was a harsh road and for someone as pure as Hinata… well, a better life awaited her than this. Still she was ever proud that her little sister sold for so much. Hinata's eyes widened dramatically.
"W-Who nee-san?" She asked breathlessly. Hinata knew deep in her heart that it was Shikamaru. She knew of the Geisha requirements and knew that he had to pay quite a deal. But still, she knew it was he. Hikaya smiled ever more.
"A young man you entertained a while ago by the name of Nara Shikamaru," She answered, knowing exactly how the girl would react. Hinata smiled joyfully imagining his shy grinning face in her mind. She knew it was him. She felt like jumping for joy knowing that she could finally be with him. She bowed her head as tears rushed to her eyes.
"Now Hikage-chan, you are to see him tonight and give him what he paid for. With grace and divine beauty of course," Hikaya winked and petted her arm gently. Hinata smiled fully.
I didn't like the set up in the room. Nor did I like the incense. Or the really weird looking beds made up for the two of us. Rather, I hated the whole thing. 'Is this what she would have been subjected to if I hadn't won?' I wondered angrily. I couldn't help but imagine the timid girl lying down on an unfamiliar mattress as a hungry old man untied the only thing between her and pain…
I glanced up quickly as the door slid open. There was Hinata, even more beautiful than ever in her slightly make upped face and trembling fingers. She was nervous as hell, though I couldn't understand why. She couldn't honestly think that I would actually take her virginity. She bowed deeply to me and I only returned it slightly.
"Hinata, I'm so happy I was able to save you in time. Is this what would have happened to you if I hadn't been there?," I asked as she approached the bedside. The milky-eyed girl nodded, kneeling into a comfortable position. Her small legs curled underneath her body so delicately, like a closing flower. I sighed, a blush creeping its way onto my face as I gazed dreamily at the figure of perfection before him.
"Hinata, I didn't buy you to take you… I did it to help set you free. I only hope that you can do that," I explained as she turned her head to the side. I got a full glimpse of her soft white neck arced with three feet in the deeply backed robe she wore. It was suddenly very hard to breathe. She blinked innocently.
"Shikamaru-kun, you know that's not all. Yes you have to buy my Mizuage to help stop my Geisha duties, but that doesn't mean you don't have to take it," She replied sweetly enjoying how I squirmed at her proposition. Last time I checked, Hinata wasn't this forward. I swallowed nervously and weighed my choices on the matter. 'Perhaps she's been drugged? Why would she actually want me?' I wondered. All of this left my thoughts however as she gently rolled onto the bed. Once she got comfortable, she looked up at me expectantly.
"Shikamaru," She breathed quietly. "I hope that you love me… because for someone to go through all of this trouble just for Mizuage is pretty foolish."
I stared at her in complete shock wondering how in the world she had pegged me so quickly. I knew this girl was sharp, but damn!
"Once upon a time I
was a stupid jerk who ignored the most beautiful girl in the world.
Now I'm the luckiest guy alive who had finally discovered that he
loves the most beautiful girl in the world," I said cutely, tilting
my head at her. I guess
I really couldn't imitate cuteness quite the way she did because all I succeeded in doing was making her laugh.
"Mmm… am I really that important to you? Am I really as important to you as you are to me?" She asked ever quietly straining my ears to hear. I gazed at her thoughtfully, my eyes slowly softening as I embraced her sweet aura. I nodded slowly.
"I love you Hinata, and I hope you love me,"
She didn't even look surprised which kind of winded me seeing as someone seemed to have stolen my thunder. Then, without warned she hoisted herself up and grabbed me around the neck. She proceeded to pull me on top of her and hold me there before I could protest. I could feel my cheeks heating up at all the places our bodies were connecting. And I mean all of them.
"Hinata what are you— "
"Shikamaru, I love you too. And I want to feel important. Show me that you wont leave me ever again," She asked huskily, gazing into my eyes only two inches from hers. And that my friends was all the motivation I needed to kiss her again. But I did more than just kiss her and tell her she was beautiful. I gave her a family. I took her home with me and made her my wife. I raised our children and I was there for her. Never again would I lose her to a life unworthy to live. No longer did she feel the need to hide. Once again she was the woman she once was, and I was the man she dared to believe she had.
A/N: Mmm… I really enjoyed this finale. I know it was short but hey, I had no conflicts. Pure simple love. Can't get a better soap than that eh? Oh well, look for more in the future! I have a few plot bunnies jumping around. Hope you liked it!