Note: Have you guessed who the father is yet? I thought I had left out glaring hints already… XDDD
Note 2: HPBabe91, if I had Tsunade call in Rock Lee, the guy would claim the child as his, but would obviously cry a river of tears first, which would immediately tell Tsunade that he was not the father. And that would be entirely defeating the purpose. XDDDDD And don't worry, I've done something about it.
Note 3: sillymail, yakinori is the green wrap on the sushi. In Korean it's called kim, and the Korean name for sushi is actually kimbap. It's made of dried seaweed, and I usually munch on the yakinori my mother uses when she makes some kimbap (and I get my hand slapped off in the process. Phooey.).
Note 4: I gave our dear shy girl some backbone. So I already know that she's a bit OOC. I hope no one would tell me how crappy it is. And I sincerely apologize for my three-month hiatus -- me being 'swamped' by school work is much too soft a word for my many predicaments.
BTW, this is not yet beta-edited, so anything about grammar and whatnot should not be mentioned in reviews. You were forewarned. Thanks!
And She Said
Third Wave: Like Wildfire
Hinata was running.
She ran as fast as her legs could carry her, and as quick as her stamina would allow. After all she was not the active type (in the ninja sense), and chasing the active type was quite a feat for her to accomplish.
And if active type, one meant that it was empowered by the Kyuubi's chakra, or considered as the prodigy of the Hyuuga Clan, then that would seem like an entirely futile feat.
Her black-violet locks, in a low ponytail, swung behind her as she chased Neji, who, in turn, was chasing her dear Naruto-kun.
Apparently, her cousin had heard of the news. As it was news wasn't such a difficult thing to transport, unlike products needed to sustain an economy. So Neji and Tenten, the newlyweds, were in the know. And her dear cousin had taken the liberty of trying to bring a stop to such, in the Hyuuga Prodigy dictionary, treason.
Which brings us to the shy girl's current predicament.
"Neji-niisan! Ch-chotto...! Please, it's not what you think!"
BAM! CRASH! "Hinata-chyaaan!"
The girl pumped more chakra into her legs.
"Mou, Neji-kun. You should have listened to Hinata before acting." Tenten placed the cup of oolong tea on the table before seating herself beside her husband, her personal first aid kit on hand.
"It's common instinct to protect one's Clan, its people and their interests." Came Neji's sharp retort, followed by a barely noticeable fast intake of breath. "It is my duty as a part of the Hyuuga Clan. I would have done the same for the sake of Hanabi-sama."
"Your intentions are admirable and that's well and good, Neji, but look at you now. You should have expected Naruto to at least defend himself against you, yet you complain--"
Her husband flashed her a glare, a patented one that told her to watch her words.
of course knowing him since their Academy days had its perks, and she
had been immune for so long already to his eccentric ways that she
could brush off
his glare, while any other person at the receiving end of such look would have died on the spot. Yes. Just like that look he's sporting now.
"-- that you got that unnecessary wound just hours before the Tribunal Council would convene." She continued, dabbing ointment at the gash on his arm that Naruto inflicted on him. (And Naruto had injuries, too, much to her satisfaction. Her Neji-kun wasn't ANBU captain for nothing.)
A few beats passed as her hands wove the white bandage around his left arm, while the prodigy drank his tea with his right hand, eyes closed. Then:
"I would have done the same --more -- if it had been you."
Tenten cracked a small smile, fastening the bandage. "I know, Ne-jii-sama."
Neji's expression was a cross between a scowl and a grimace. Tenten chuckled, swatting his injured arm in the process.
"Oi, watch it!"
"Eh-he-he. Gomen ne, Ne-jii-sama." It was her new term of endearment for him these past few days, and the guy never failed to show his distaste for such mockery. She, in turn, just ignored his silent complaints (shown through various forms of faces no one would know he was capable of), and laughed at her husband's expense.
Neji considered hovering near her face just to fluster her (it always worked), but dismissed the idea the moment he felt another presence headed toward their room.
When oh when can he have some quiet time with his wife? Or better yet, simply some quiet time alone? Ever since their arrival they had not been left undisturbed for more than an hour (the pains of belonging to a huge clan), and while there came a time they had been alone for a longer time his loving wife had decided to practice her (non-existent) kitchen talents and began to go about their quasi-kitchen noisily. Ergo, no meditation for him.
Yes, no quiet time.
At the footsteps sounding just outside their door Tenten stopped chuckling. And then after three knocks, a voice called out. "Neji-sama, Tenten-sama. Hinata-sama and Uzumaki Naruto are here to see you."
A vein throbbed uncontrollably on Neji's temple.
Hatake Kakashi had been smiling to himself as he walked to the Hokage's office, his mask covering his grin while his charcoal eyes soaked in every single detailed drawing of Icha Icha Voyeur Extraordinaire, Jiraiya's temporary offering while his Icha Icha Make Out Paradise was still on a two-week hiatus. The book was a refreshing one (if it is an appropriate word for such book), since the point of view of the story shifted from the protagonist of the story to the close friend a.k.a. spectator of the two protagonists' story, which makes it appealing to the readers as well -- a third party perspective of the violent yet passionate story of the leads. A perspective just like the readers'.
"Oi, Hatake Kakashi." Yamato greeted the seemingly-engrossed jounin as he came across him on his way out of the Hokage Tower.
"Aa-- Yamato." His visible eye crinkled, never parting from the orange book. "How did it go?"
"A success, of course. But the gathered data from the reconnaissance was something different from the information we have acquired just last month. What we do need to know is if what we have is fraudulent or genuine, or updated from the first set of data." The former ANBU breathed a bit easier. "Have you just arrived from Amegakure?"
The former ANBU commander's hand went up to scratch his mop of silver hair. "Ah, yes. Just came in. Well then, I have a report to do. Sore ja..."
"Yosh. See you around." The other man grunted, his boots making scratching sounds on the wooden floor.
As Kakashi went past him, Yamato felt the need to turn around and call him back. However he felt unsure. Normally he and Kakashi would exchange words about missions and important Konoha issues, but now he felt he had to tell him something, though he couldn't place a finger on which he had to say...
And then, the black-haired ANBU turned back, just in time for him to see Kakashi stop and knock on the Godaime's door. "Oi. By the way. Congratulations, Kakashi."
"Are...?" The jounin's neck craned to look at Yamato, delaying his tedious mission report, and partly because he didn't know why he was being congratulated.
"I said congratulations, Hatake. You know I'd have expected it from Asuma's students, but never from Sakura and--"
Yamato saw Kakashi's eyes open just a tad bit wider. Oh. He didn't know.
"Well I don't know if you've heard already, but your little Sakura's a... Full-fledged woman now." He ended rather awkwardly. Since when did he use phrases such as 'full-fledged woman'?
The copy ninja's hold on the doorknob loosened. "Huh? Sakura is what?"
"So you really didn't know... That Haruno Sakura is pregnant."
Naruto, still with that annoying foxy grin on his round face, finished his animated explanation, scratching his cheek with his forefinger. "Sorry if that came out wrong, though. But I understand. He-he."
Tenten looked completely apologetic after hearing Naruto out, while Neji had the decency to look just a tad bit embarrassed while quietly sipping his staling tea.
Hinata then proceeded to bow low on the floor. "Neji-niisan, I am deeply sorry for the trouble I've caused--"
The Chinese girl abruptly pulled up the other girl from her low position on the floor. "Chi-chigau, Hinata-chan! It wasn't your fault, I was the one who told Neji the wrong information! I should be the one apologizing."
Naruto and Hinata exchanged curious glances.
"I heard it on our way here from Yukigakure, while I got some supplies from the market just as we got into Hi no Kuni. I shouldn't have, well, told Neji about it. I'm truly sorry."
Naruto's eyebrows shot up his hairline in proportion to his eyes widening when the other girl bowed down before them.
"Tenten! D-dame yo!" The Jinchuuriki motioned his hands and shook them sideways, telling the Chinese girl to stop, glancing at Neji's expression from across him. He gulped when he saw the Hyuuga throw him a piercing glower. "Ya-Yamerou..."
Her eyes roamed her exposed belly.
Despite the knowledge of her current state, Sakura still could not believe it. A lazy finger traced the outline of her navel.
It was funny, she thought. Of all the people to be in this kind of situation she should be the best person ready for such a life-changing path. After all she had been the Byouin's resident nurse, and seeing as many women approach her regarding issues concerning pregnancy, she still felt like she was not prepared for it. She could even swear that Shikamaru, even with his laid-back attitude, already knows everything about it. Pregnancy. Especially the term mood swings. (Ah, but it was to be expected. Yamanaka Ino has never settled for anything less, even when it came to 'tutorial lessons for soon-to-be daddies' and 'Pregnancy Seminars.' And counting on Nara Yoshino's constant badgering on her 'good-for-nothing' son, it was still a miracle that the jounin tactician, while being pressured from both sides, was still able to perform his duties well.)
The medic felt her delicate, barely protruding tummy. In a sense it was scary, bringing a child into a war-infused time. With the remaining members of the Akatsuki still at large, the nature of her work, and Konohagakure no Sato's village classification, it was impossible to ask for a more peaceful era. However whenever she thought about it... Bringing a child into the world... A child that was both her flesh and blood (and technically no one else's), it was a happy thought.
Now, now. This sudden melancholy strike. Is this part of the 'mood swings'?
Blowing her hair out of her face, the pink-haired girl chuckled. "Maa, they'll never know, won't they? Don't worry, Shun'ou. Kaa-chan will be here all the time to protect you. And when they discover the truth, let's just see what happens, all right? Kaa-chan loves you." She placed a kiss on the pad of her index and middle fingers, and then pressed them on her tummy.
The door opened. "Ne, Sakura-san..."
Green eyes looked up, startled.
The Hyuuga heiress placed her clipboard down her table, giving Sakura ample time to readjust her robes while she wasn't looking. "I have finished checking on Lee-san's injuries. He should be released tomorrow, but him being himself insisted--"
A flash of forest green passed by their office door that Hinata had left open, and within moments appeared in front of the other medic's desk.
"Sakura-san!" The gejimayuu, in Naruto's vocabulary, grabbed the professed girl's hand.
Stock-still on her place beside the grey file cabinet, Hinata appeared to be shocked and embarrassed at the same time. Of course, Lee being Lee, would not let such a chance get past him, especially since she'd been refraining him from getting up his bed the first time he heard the news from her (loquacious) apprentice nurse. And forgetting to close the door, honestly!
The girl hesitated. "L-Lee-san, I have specifically told you that you should still be--"
"Lee-san. Is there a problem?" Sakura straightened up in her seat, fluffing her white dress conspicuously.
Rock Lee's sincere gaze flickered between her face, her eyes and her abdomen, unable to hide the sorrowful glint in them. "Sakura-san... I-I've heard..."
The more experienced medic frowned while tapping her pen light on her desk. "Is anything wrong? Was Hinata-san's diagnosis erroneous, or did you need--"
"I've heard, Sakura-san." He repeated.
Sakura fell silent.
"Yes, I've heard. And... And I'd like to know if there's anything I can do for you." Lee's rough, calloused hands squeezed hers. "I'll do anything for you! Just tell if I have to hunt for the father, or maybe try and be the baby's fa--"
The tears she'd been holding at bay seemed to seep through her defenses. And so teary-eyed, she shook her head, efficiently stopping Lee from counting off his suggestions. '... And his inevitable and predictable declaration of love and devotion,' her Inner Sakura snickered, but her mind suppressed it. "It's all right, Lee-san. Just knowing there are people who actually care," at this her eyes strayed toward Hinata before sweeping over to the huge frame hanging on the adjacent wall with her former teammates' picture, "... is more than enough. Thank you." But of course she still had control over her tears, so they didn't trickle down her cheeks, only rimmed her jade orbs, making her smile look more wane than how she intended it to be.
The taijutsu specialist simply nodded his head, despite holding the girl's gaze. "No problem, Sakura-san. Demo... Is this... setup okay with you?"
"Lee-san, I think that is quite enough already." Hinata interrupted, voice soft though firm. "As much as we all care for her well-being, Sakura-san needs space, and you also need rest. So please, don't make me use family techniques in such inappropriate location." After all, she did know when to put her feet down. Concern may be the best of his interests right now, but what she did know was that as a medic her priorities were to see to it that her patients were well and ready to serve the country.
Both Lee and Sakura glanced at her, apparently not expecting her outburst. The Byakugan wielder turned red, but spoke again before she lost her nerve. "I-I... I will ac-accompany you to your room, Lee-san."
With mixed expression the Godaime's apprentice watched her colleagues exit the room. Upon hearing it close she let out a small breath of exhaustion. The door clicking shut never resounded so loud before, but she can never be too sure. It might be the mood swings talking. But when you think about it, her Shishou had already exited there while fuming (and all the while she was thoroughly intoxicated), and it never resonated in such a manner that left her... Lonely, for lack of better term. A pale hand swiped her sweat off her brows.
'I'll do anything for you!' Lee's declaration echoed in her head. True, it is quite relieving to know someone would actually go lengths for you, but of course, she wasn't one to abuse other people's generosity. Rock Lee may be one of the few people willing to do just that for her, but taking him up on his offer felt wrong.
And somehow, that line sounded like something she had said in the past. She couldn't remember when and where, though.
(Or maybe she was trying to forget the incident.)
'... Or try and be the child's father,' He had almost said that. And under normal circumstances such altruistic declarations moved hearts. In her situation, however, it seemed like some kind of curse. Really, she did not need another person to volunteer himself as the child's father! She already has three male teammates who are always breathing down her back, and now another member has joined the ranks of the JERKS, as she not-so-fondly called them (Juvenile, Egotistic Rascals to be Killed by Sakura's hands). While it is a bit sweet of them, they were already meddling with her affairs. Which is a bit unfair, considering they always left her out of their 'manly brawl.' Add to the fact that she has not yet informed her quasi-surrogate father...
"Kakashi-sensei!" Sakura gasped.
The tension was palpable.
She sat across them, eyes closed, her breathing erratic, though she was trying her best to slow down her heart rate. She knew better than to make things worse it'd be bad for the baby.
"Why did you have to tell Tsunade-sama?"
"But Sakura-chan, I didn't tell her!"
"I don't know what I told Godaime-sama and why you're angry."
Her pink eyebrows furrowed in annoyance upon hearing their replies. "Shut up. Shut up. Shut up, you three." She snarled, effectively making Naruto stop babbling, mouth hanging open. Sai stared blankly, still a bit unsure of the reason his teammate looked like a tomato and Sasuke merely huffed and looked away in annoyance.
"In case you three airheads did not know, you just made matters worse." The only girl in the quartet raked her hands through her fringes. "I told you not to say anything!"
"But I didn't say anything! And you... You didn't really tell us anything anyway!" The hyperactive ninja seated across her was almost standing now, aggravation and agitation obvious in his body language. "You made us promise that we don't tell her any details and you never really told us anything so that's what we did!"
"Sit down, usuratonkachi." Sasuke's veins throbbed on his temple. "You're making a scene."
"I'm not making a scene!"
Sai snorted derisively, something that suspiciously sounded like 'osuwari' and this didn't pass Naruto's hearing. "Shut up you dickless ass."
"I didn't say anything." The ANBU root countered.
"Like hell you didn't!"
"I said shut up!" Sakura huffed. "I'm the one who called for you three here so I get dibs on who talks and shuts up!"
It was amazing to see the effects of such a skinny, frail figured girl shouting at three of the strongest high-ranked ninjas in town.
But then again looks can be deceiving.
Unpleasantly reminded of the last time Sakura had gone on a rampage, Naruto sat down. Not without sending a heated glare toward the two stoic figures in front of him.
"You didn't tell Shishou anything because you didn't know anything. So why did you all three pretend to know who the father is?" The pink-haired medic brushed off stray strands of her hair. "And you know the best thing about it? You all just claimed to be the father of the child. How convenient, isn't it?"
From their places around her, Naruto, Sai and Sasuke exchanged gazes – bewildered, blank and sharp, respectively.
"Now, I demand to know why you all did what you did."
A/N: Again please forgive me for leaving this hanging. I've been swamped by RL, and frankly it's a bit irritating – I don't like what happened, but I have to be grateful that I still got to upload this. I hope you still believe I'll finish this.
Nothing much happened, yes I know, because the real happenings would be on the next chapter. Will be posting it between tomorrow and next week, so please bear with me. Oh and osuwari is used for making dogs sit down. And yeah, Kagome uses it on Inuyasha, but they really do use it in Japan. Literally translate to 'honourable sit'. Weird, isn't it?
The Orange Girl