Author Note: This is the last chapter people!
Lemon Alert: There is a lemon in this chapter, so be aware all those who are under 18 years of age. Also, I want to state right now that I do not write graphic and explicit lemons, nor will I ever. I've always preferred to write the emotional aspects of it, rather than physical. Just thought you'd want to know, and hopefully that made sense. Due to the fact that some readers do not want to read the lemon, I have marked it so that you will know when it starts and when it ends, so it will not affect the overall reading. And don't worry to those who aren't going to read the lemon. There's nothing in there that you will miss from the chapter. To mark off the beginning and end of the lemon, be looking for this marking here: "()()()()"
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
A few days later…
"Right this way, Hyuga-sama." The guard opened a chakra-infused gate and continued leading Neji and Hinata down a dimly lighted corridor.
On both sides of the corridor were barred rooms holding various different females all wearing the same dark gray prison garb. Hinata had her arm looped with Neji's and their hands entwined at their sides. While Neji walked tall and proud with his stoic features never lessening, Hinata shifted her eyes between all the different cells. It seemed like forever before the guard stopped in front of a certain prison cell toward the end of the corridor, and stepped aside for the two Hyugas to approach.
Neji stayed back a few feet while Hinata stepped forward and wrapped her hands around the bars, peering inside. Her eyes rested on a cradled up form of a woman with short brown hair and closed eyes. The curse seal marring her forehead was the only indication that she was of the Hyuga branch house. Seeing her, Hinata furrowed her brows in sympathy. "Izanami-san?"
The young woman quickly looked up at the sound of the melodic voice that called her name. Waiting for her eyes to adjust, she widened her white eyes at seeing who was standing there. Staring in disbelief, Izanami took slow strides toward the bars and gazed unbelievingly at the young woman on the other side. "H-Hinata-san?"
Hinata smiled and nodded in reply.
Izanami shook her head in wonder. "Is it really you? I…I can't believe it, I…I thought you were dead. After what the elders did, and…Nobody told me if you lived through it or not, I…" She was breathing shakily and collapsed to her knees while never parting her eyes from the angelic woman above her. "You're really alive…"
Hinata smiled sadly and glanced at the guard off to her left. "Could you open this, please, so I can go in and talk to her?"
"Uh, of course." The guard nodded uncertainly and moved towards the barred door, and began forming hand seals, but he was interrupted mid-way through.
"No, I don't think so." Neji hissed, glaring spitefully at the guard.
"Neji," Hinata faced her fiancée. "I'm only going to talk to her, it's no big deal."
"It is a big deal. You're not going in there. You can talk to her through the bars."
"But, Neji…Why can't I just—"
"Don't be ignorant, Hinata. She's in prison for a reason, and I was the one who put her there because of what she did to you. Do you honestly think she wouldn't take advantage of that situation and attack you?"
"She wouldn't do that!" Hinata retorted and stepped back when the guard stepped towards them.
"Well, actually, I seriously doubt there's much danger for Hyuga-san here." He told Neji with certainty. "See those bands around her wrists and ankles? They control her chakra and keep it as low as possible without killing her. The only kind of attack she would be able to do would be a simple punch or kick, and that would still be weak enough for anyone to avoid. Also, if I remember correctly, she's one of the Hyugas sent here who had their byakugans sealed away, am I right?"
Neji nodded reluctantly, but he still didn't seem convinced.
Hinata walked in front of Neji and placed her hands on his arms comfortingly. "Please, Neji? It won't be so bad, and I don't think she would attempt anything. I just want to talk to her."
Neji stayed silent and averted his gaze away from her pensively. After a few moments of that pure silence, he sighed heavily and nodded. "Fine, go ahead." He saw her smile brightly. "But, I'm going in there with you. If she tries anything suspicious…" He left the sentence hanging with obvious threat, which Hinata hesitantly agreed to.
The guard opened the door and allowed them inside before closing it behind them. Neji stood off in the corner, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed tensely over his chest. His eyes never strayed from Hinata and the branch house wench.
Izanami was still collapsed onto her knees when Hinata knelt in front of her so they could look eye-to-eye. With a gentle smile, Hinata lifted Izanami's chin upward. "As you can see, Izanami-san, I'm fine now. I really wasn't hurt all that badly, you know."
Neji snorted loudly and looked as though he wanted to counteract that statement.
Hinata ignored him and stood up with Izanami following. The shorthaired girl bowed her head and folded her hands in front of her. "I am so sorry, Hinata-san…I'm sorry for everything I've done to you…" She gazed pleadingly and sincerely into Hinata's eyes. "Honestly, I didn't know they were planning to kill you! I just thought that they were going to banish you or something—that's what they would usually do if a branch house member spoke against a main house member like that. I didn't know they had special rules if it was the Hyuga Head who was being insulted! Please, believe me, Hinata-san, I would've never consented to having you murdered. No matter what you may think about me, I'm not like that—I would never do that!"
Hinata's soft smile hadn't left her face. "I know, Izanami-san. It's okay."
"No, it's not okay! I was still apart of it, and I'm so sorry! All I can do is ask for your forgiveness, even though I don't deserve it at all."
Hinata placed a comforting hand on the other girl's shoulder. "It's all right, Izanami-san. I already forgave you, and…I'd like to give you a second chance if you want."
Izanami widened her eyes again, except it was directed to what Hinata just said. "W-What do you mean?"
Hinata smiled wider and leaned closer as if telling a secret. "I managed to talk Neji out of serving your sentence here for the rest of your life. It took awhile, but he finally agreed to lessen your punishment. You can come back home."
"What…?" She whispered in astonishment before glancing at Neji, who was scowling at her hatefully. Wincing from the stare, she faced Hinata again and couldn't believe that it was this woman before her who managed to be so special to the Hyuga leader. So much so, that he was willing to forsake all rules and tradition just to have her by his side. Glancing at the obvious engagement ring on the timid woman's finger, it was proof enough how much this Hinata meant to the cold-hearted Neji Hyuga. It was also proof that Izanami never stood a chance, just like every other woman who might have been interested in Neji. Hinata was the only one capable of being close to his heart, and he made sure to let everyone know that.
Strangely, Izanami wasn't as heartbroken as she thought she would be. Her ego was tarnished, but it was nothing compared to the guilt she felt after nearly sending an angel like Hinata to her death. Hinata had been the first person to ever treat her kindly, no matter what she had done in her past. Izanami believed she owed more to Hinata than anyone else, and she was more than willing to pay it all back with interest.
Hinata's voice interrupted her inner reverie. "Although, the agreement was that you would still have to serve two years here before coming back to the compound. Also," Hinata murmured depressingly. "Neji wants you moved to a different part of the compound, opposite where we will be staying, and you will be given duties to perform everyday." Hinata giggled nervously. "It seems like Neji doesn't want you around me for some reason."
"Gee, I wonder why." Neji muttered sarcastically, only to receive a pouting glare from his beloved, which made him smirk slightly and turn away from the two females.
Hinata exhaled before smiling again. "So…if you want to, it can be arranged and you won't have to stay here for the rest of your life. I think you deserve a second chance, and now you have the opportunity, but…it's your choice."
Izanami was still in awe. "You…did all that…for me?"
Hinata laughed lightly. "Well, it was really Neji's doing. All I did was convince him to do it."
Neji frowned. "And I'm still wondering how you managed to get me to consent to this. God knows I wouldn't have minded to keep her rotting here."
"Neji!" Hinata scolded him lightly.
Izanami lowered her head. "It's okay, Hinata-san. I think I finally understand now why he would prefer me to stay here." She smiled weakly at the dark-haired girl in front of her. "I tried to take something very precious away from him. If I were him, I wouldn't be very forgiving about it either." She shook her head in utter awe once again. "But, I can't understand how you can forgive me so easily. After what I did…"
Hinata's smile was beaming. "Everyone deserves a second chance. You're no different, Izanami-san."
"Thank you…" The slightly older female Hyuga looked near tears.
Hinata tilted her head cutely. "So, what's your decision?"
Izanami nodded. "I would like that second chance very much." She paused. "But, in return…" Shocking to not only Hinata, but Neji as well, Izanami lowered herself to the ground and bowed lowly at the timid woman's feet. "If you'll allow me, Hinata-san…I'd like to pledge my allegiance to you. I owe you so much for all you've done—I owe you my life. When I finish serving my sentence and if you don't mind, I'd like to spend the remainder of my life paying you back for your kindness."
Knowing what she was implying, Hinata glanced worriedly at Neji before kneeling down in front of the bowing girl. "Izanami-san, that's not necessary. You don't have to spend the rest of your life serving me."
"Please, Hinata-san, it's the least I can do. It's all I can think of."
"Having a servant would make me uncomfortable, so…um, I'd really prefer you not to."
Izanami didn't relent. "Please, Hinata-san, I beg you. I'll do anything."
Hinata was quiet as she thought over what she could do. She didn't want to insult Izanami's attempt at redemption, but she didn't want to see her serve her for the rest of her life. It just wasn't right in Hinata's eyes. Her eyes found Neji's again, only to see him shaking his head for his answer. Hinata could already tell that Neji didn't want Izanami around her at all. It was hard enough trying to get him to agree to let her free in two years, but any contact with her after that was prohibited as far as Neji was concerned. The two would be married shortly, which meant they would be around each other a lot. If Izanami were to be Hinata's servant, she would be around them just as much. Neji didn't want Izanami near Hinata, and he sure as hell didn't want her around him either.
Hinata sighed deeply before placing her hands on Izanami's shoulders. "I apologize, Izanami-san, but I wouldn't like for you to be my servant." She saw Izanami hunch over in saddened worthlessness, so Hinata lifted her face up and smiled into white eyes nearly identical to her own. "But, if you really want to pay me back, I'd like very much for us to be friends."
Neji rolled his eyes and resisted the urge to groan in future irritation.
Izanami was even in more shock than before. "What? You want…to be friends with me?" She saw Hinata nod happily. "But, why?"
"You have a good heart, Izanami-san. The Hyuga clan is free now, and I want you to enjoy that."
Eventually, Izanami nodded with a small smile gracing her features. "Thank you, Hinata-san…Thank you so much…"
Neji sighed loudly and stood erect. "Are you done, Hinata? We need to go."
"Okay, Neji." Hinata stood up, while helping Izanami stand up as well. "I'll come visit again, okay?"
Gradually, Izanami's smile was growing wider and her eyes softened whenever looking at Hinata. She was beginning to see why Neji seemed to hoard Hinata to himself all the time, and what he saw in her in the first place. Hinata was a rare gem, and she just happened to fall in love with a very possessive man, who fell in love with her in return. Oddly enough, Izanami was laughing inwardly at the realization that they were truly meant for each other, and nothing was going to stand between them for long. She was proof of that.
"Bye, Izanami-san." Hinata waved, while allowing herself to be dragged away by her affianced.
Izanami could only wave back before lowering her head, allowing tears of joy to stream down her face.
A Few Months Later…
Neji watched in apparent awe as Hinata, on the arm of her father, made her way slowly down the aisle towards him. She was decorated in a beautiful wedding kimono, which was embroidered elegantly by the Hyuga clan symbol on the seams. He, himself, was wearing his own ceremonial wedding attire, which managed to compliment what Hinata was wearing.
Her eyes were glistening as she made her way towards him, and her smile was ever present. When she finally approached him, Hiashi gave his consent to the handing off of his daughter before he nodded warningly to Neji and left to take his seat. From there, Neji held his hand out for Hinata to take, and he couldn't seem to wipe the small smile off his face.
The two stood side-by-side, facing Tsunade, who was presiding over the wedding. The older blonde woman was smiling widely at the two before beginning the ceremony. The speech given by the hokage seemed to go by in a blur, and before either of them knew it, they were saying their vows. "Neji Hyuga, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live?"
Neji was gazing intensely at his soon-to-be wife with a love he could only ever express towards her. With a small smirk, he nodded. "I do."
Tsunade nodded in approval before turning to face Hinata with a gentle smile. "And do you, Hinata Hyuga, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live?"
Her eyes were filling with tears as she nodded happily. "I do."
Tsunade smiled wider in pride. "Okay, the rings?"
Neji turned around in order for Naruto, his best man, to hand him Hinata's wedding ring. The ring was the same one he bought for their engagement, but just like his, it was slightly different. Entwined around the band of the ring was a significant string he and Hinata found a few weeks prior. It was the same string she had once worn as a ring when they were children. Gazing nostalgically at the ring, he turned around to face Hinata again.
Hinata received Neji's ring from her younger sister, and faced Neji again with that same glowing smile. Entwined around his golden band was the string he wore as a child. Briefly remembering the time they had gotten "married" when they were young, Hinata giggled and Neji chuckled, knowing what she was thinking of.
With a short nod from Tsunade, Neji spoke another memorized vow as he placed the ring on Hinata's finger. Hinata repeated the vow Neji spoke and placed his ring on his finger as well. When they had finished, Tsunade folded her arms under her chest and smirked slyly. "All right, now the part you've been waiting for. Neji, go ahead and kiss your bride."
"About time." Neji murmured before unveiling Hinata and planting his lips gently against hers. Feeling Hinata's fingers brush against his cheek, he wrapped an arm around her waist, bringing her closer and allowing him to deepen their kiss.
Tsunade laughed loudly while everyone present began clapping. "Ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you the happy couple, husband and wife, Neji and Hinata Hyuga!"
Hinata startled at Tsunade's loud voice and parted from Neji while blushing in embarrassment that she had nearly forgotten where she was; if she hadn't noticed then, she probably would've been content being in Neji's arms with their lips locked passionately.
Seeing his wife's distress, Neji laughed quietly before escorting her to where the reception would be.
The reception contained dancing and rejoicing over the new married couple. Neji managed to loosen up slightly after drinking nearly one bottle of wine to himself. Hinata smiled as she led Neji to the dance floor multiple times, which gave the guests plenty of time to awe at just how graceful they were together. Hinata had also danced with her father, Hanashi, her teammates, and of course, her best friend Naruto. Eventually, she even got Neji to allow her to dance with Sasuke too. As for Neji, he had only consented to dancing with Hinata's younger sister—his sister-in-law—and Hinata's sensei, Kurenai, who gave him plenty of threats if he ever hurt her timid student…as if he hadn't already been threatened by almost every guy there, not including the branch house.
They cut the cake and continued to celebrate in Neji and Hinata's favor. While everyone else seemed happy to just be there and witness something they had been waiting for to happen for years, it was immensely different for the newlyweds themselves. It was as if everything finally came to place in their lives, and every obstacle they had been through had somehow led them to where they were now. In that moment, everything was perfect for Hinata.
Neji, on the other hand, would only agree to that after the honeymoon.
Before the wedding guests even departed, Neji had bid them all farewell before picking Hinata up into his arms and practically running for the small one-bedroom cabin, located in the far corner of the Hyuga territory. He had made sure beforehand that the cabin was in good enough shape and well prepared for when he would take Hinata there, and stay there for at least a week. He was hoping to stay there for longer, but was reminded that he was still the Hyuga Head and he had responsibilities to attend to.
Entering through the front door, Neji bypassed the small living room and kitchen and went straight for the bedroom, making sure to close the door afterwards. As soon as he stepped foot into the room, he deposited Hinata on the bed and went straight into crushing his lips against hers.
Breaking away from the kiss for air, he lifted up and cursed when he remembered how many layers were apart of Hinata's wedding attire. He barely got through the first layer when he heard Hinata giggle.
"Neji…We should change out of our clothes first."
"That's what I'm working on." He replied with a smirk.
Hinata shook her head and sat up in an attempt to get off the bed. "I don't want this to get wrinkled, so I'll go change in the bathroom and you can change in here."
Neji sighed. "We'll see each other naked soon enough, so why don't you just change in here with me?"
"Neji," Hinata blushed brightly and fingered a piece of thread on her kimono.
He was about to continue, but widened his eyes at something he nearly forgot. "Wait a minute, come with me. There's something I want to show you." Before Hinata had time to say anything, he grasped her hand and led her into the large bathroom and stopped before the mirror with her facing the reflective glass.
With Neji's hands on her shoulders, Hinata gazed at him curiously through the mirror. "Neji, what is it?"
He leaned forward with a small smile and brushed his lips against her ear. "Close your eyes."
Glancing at his face one more time in the mirror, Hinata slowly allowed her eyes to shut and waited in silence for whatever was supposed to happen. Nothing happened for a short moment before she felt Neji's hand over her forehead, followed by a hot sensation not only on her skin but seemingly deep within the skin as well. She gasped at the slight pain that came along with it and felt her body tremble, only for Neji's arms to wrap around her waist soon after. Her back leaned against his chest, and his lips were gliding over her ear again.
He could both hear and feel her heavy panting, and couldn't resist his smile from widening. "Open your eyes now." Just as soon as the whisper passed through his lips, his eyes trailed back to the mirror and watched as she opened her eyes and gazed blankly at her reflection before noticing what wasn't present on her forehead.
Her eyes were wide in shock and disbelief as her fingers brushed over her skin shakily. The curse seal mark she had lived with for most of her life was suddenly gone with not a trace of it ever being there to begin with. Her bottom lip trembled and she turned in his arms until she was facing directly into his eyes. She was speechless for what seemed like forever before her hands rested on the sides of his face in a gentle caress. "Neji…"
He was smirking triumphantly. "So, what do you think? Not bad for it only being my third success, huh?"
All too quickly, Hinata's eyes watered and she wrapped her arms around his neck, burying her face against his throat. "You did it! You figured it out, Neji…I can't believe it."
"Hn," Neji grunted smugly. "We managed to figure out the order of hand signs a few weeks ago, and we spent these past weeks making sure it would work without any side effects. In case you haven't noticed, there are already a few branch members walking around without their curse seals. You probably confused them with main house members." He sighed. "Not like it'll matter in a month. Pretty soon, nobody will be able to tell the difference between the two houses."
Hinata pulled back with the oddest of smiles on her face. She almost looked like she wanted to cry, while at the same time, something else was shining in her eyes. Neji soon found out what it was when her lips touched against his softly. Her hands found their way back to the sides of his face as she deepened the kiss herself. Overcoming his momentary lapse of surprise, Neji held her tightly against him before winding one of his hands into her hair and delving his tongue into her mouth with every intention of tasting all that she had to offer.
Hinata pulled away sooner than Neji preferred and rested her head just above his heart. Listening to his heartbeat, she whispered to him. "Thank you."
Neji chuckled lightly and pulled away from her embrace. "You can show your gratitude to me by getting out of those clothes. I'll go change in the bedroom since you're so worried about privacy." He was smirking teasingly as he exited the bathroom. Before closing the door behind him, he glanced back in at her blushing face. "You know, this whole privacy thing won't last long. You'll get used to me in time."
"I-I know…" Hinata mumbled, keeping her eyes averted from his. "It's just…I'm kind of a little embarrassed…"
"I know." The corners of Neji's mouth quirked upward softly. "I'll be waiting out here when you're finished."
Hinata nodded with a small smile. "Okay."
As soon as the door closed, Hinata began carefully removing each layer of her wedding kimono, not wanting any part of it to get wrinkled.
After Neji changed out of his formal clothes, he was left only wearing a sleeping yukata with the top left lazily open, revealing his bare chest. It was no surprise that he would be finished before Hinata, so he kept himself busy by wandering around the bedroom they would be staying in for the next week. Beforehand, he and Hinata packed away a few belongings for their honeymoon, and had a few Hyugas deliver their necessities to the cabin. What Neji didn't expect was for those few Hyugas to have already organized their things into certain places in the room.
For instance, all their clothes were put away into the wardrobe, and Neji's clan paperwork was set out on the small desk in the room, along with his father's scroll placed on the corner. On the other side of the room, the few items Hinata treasured were decorating the top of a small bookcase. Walking slowly towards it, Neji gazed down at the different items. All of them he recognized, except for one.
He furrowed his brows curiously at the small scroll, which looked nearly as old as his own did. Interestingly enough, her name was scrawled on top of the scroll in his father's handwriting. It only took him a second to realize that it must've been the scroll that was written to her from his father all those years ago. He had not only heard that she received a letter from his father from what Hinata told him, but from what Hiashi told him as well. He just never had the chance to read it.
Glancing quickly at the bathroom door, which was still closed with Hinata inside, Neji reached for the scroll and rolled it open until he could view the entirety of the letter. As he scanned each word and meaning, his eyebrows knotted to match his narrowed eyes.
I want to thank you for all you have done. If not for you, then my Neji would not have remembered to smile and laugh again. He would not have found the joy he lost when his mother passed. And lastly, he would not have found out how much his heart could love. You are well deserving of his rare love that he seems to only want to give to you, little Hinata.
It is because of this, that I must ask you a favor. If you are reading this, then there is no doubt that I have passed from this world. I wrote this and gave it to your father for safe keeping until the day I would die. After all, there was so much I still wanted to say to you before I had to depart. Anyway, back to the favor I ask of you. Please, little Hinata…please do not leave Neji's side. He will need you now more than ever. I fear what will happen if you are separated from my son. You give my son happiness and peace, and without you he will only feel pain and anger. Do me this favor, little Hinata. I beg of you…don't leave Neji's side. Please.
Thank you, my little Hinata
Despite how it may have made Neji feel in the beginning, after reading the last part, a strange surge of anger swelled within his chest. But…it wasn't only anger…it was betrayal too.
Hinata inhaled and exhaled deeply as she stared at herself one more time in the mirror. She had already removed her clothing, and now was only wearing a sleeping yukata covering her naked body. Her dark hair flowed over her back and shoulders as she fiddled with the tie around her waist. The amount of nervous anxiety swarming within her was enough to make her gulp audibly and feel her hands shaking. Sighing deeply, she turned from the mirror and opened the bathroom door, closing it behind her soon after.
She entered into the bedroom and for once took notice of how dark it was. The only illumination present was coming from the moon, and it was still bright enough to cast a dim glow on the inside of the room. With the light's help, she caught sight of Neji sitting on the corner of the bed with his elbows resting on his knees and his head lowered. She tilted her head in wonder and stepped closer to him hesitantly. "Neji…?"
The only movement he made was a tensing of his jaw; he didn't even look at her. "Hope you don't mind. I read your scroll from my father." Neji muttered emptily.
Hinata's brow raised as she finally saw her opened scroll lying on top of the bookcase. She gazed back at him in confusion as to why the scroll would make him appear so…distraught. Mustering up her courage, she warily approached him until she was standing in front of his hunched over form. Hesitantly, she reached forward with her hand with the intention to stroke his face. "Neji…What's wrong?" Only an inch before touching his cheek, he quickly stood up and looked down at her with an angered and heated intensity. Hinata's eyes widened in surprised fear. "Neji?"
"Why didn't you just tell me?" He questioned tensely. "Why did you even bother in the first place?"
"W-What…?" Hinata stepped back in absent surprise, as well as confusion.
Neji's shoulders squared as he advanced on her, only for her to take more steps backward to keep distance between them. "All those years ago…when my father died…" He began laughing bitterly under his breath. "You had me completely fooled."
"What are you talking about, Neji? I-I don't understand…" Hinata mumbled and made a quiet sound when she felt her back hit against the wall. With her hands pressed against the wall, she watched as Neji stopped just an inch in front of her.
"Obviously, you forgot about your little promise to my father. It's so typical of you to honor any of his last wishes, but I had no idea that that was the reason why you never ran away from me when you wanted to." He paused, not allowing her to speak. "All these years, I assumed that you stayed by me, even after everything I've done to you, because you cared for me…loved me." His eyes narrowed in hurt. "Now, I realize it was nothing but a theory."
"Neji, you're not making any sense. I don't—" Hinata flinched when Neji's fist slammed against the wall near her head.
Neji's head was lowered, and his face was hidden from her view. "In that letter…it was my father's last request of you…that you would promise to stay by my side always…" His voice was hoarse and despairing. "Just tell me the truth, Hinata…Did you stay by my side all these years because my father wished it of you?"
Finally understanding what Neji was referring to, Hinata's shock wore off only to be replaced by a calm solemnity. Licking her lips briefly, she replied in the barest of whispers. "Yes…"
Neji's fists clenched even tighter to match his unseen gritting teeth.
Before he even had a chance to unleash his wrath upon her, Hinata edged forward in pleading eagerness. "But, it was only part of the reason, Neji." She hesitantly placed her hands on his chest, feeling his muscles tense beneath her fingers. "What your father asked of me when I was younger…I would've done anyway, whether it was his dying wish or not."
At last, Neji lifted his head until he was able to look her in the face, their eyes locking in honesty.
Hinata smiled weakly and edged closer still. "I never lied to you when I said that I loved you. And, I will never lie to you when I tell you I love you." Her voice had become a whisper only he would hear. "After everything we've been through, can you honestly believe that I would only stay by your side because of a promise? Could you really believe that there was nothing else there besides a promise?"
Neji gulped inaudibly and remained silent.
Gathering her courage once again, Hinata leaned forward and slowly wrapped her arms around his neck, resting her forehead against the side of his throat. "Plus…I seemed to have broken that promise anyway…when I dated Naruto-kun, and when I left for those two years. It wasn't a promise to your father that always brought me back to you. It was because I have always loved you that I realized that I could never truly be separated from you. That will never change."
Slowly and cautiously, Neji's arms wrapped around Hinata until they were embracing each other without even looking at the one they were holding. Grazing his fingers along her back, he finally replied in a deeper whisper. "Are you sure you're in love with the right person? I'm not the little boy you loved as a child."
Hinata was quiet for a moment as she thought over what to say to him. Gathering her thoughts, she gripped onto him tighter. "I know, Neji. As a child, you were my Neji-kun. I fell in love with Neji-kun, but like you said…that Neji-kun is long gone now." She leaned backward until she could see his face, and lifted her hand until her fingers were caressing his cheeks gently. "And so is the Neji-sama who hurt and confused me greatly for years." She released a small smile at his regretful frown. "Right now, though…I'm in love with Neji…just Neji…and I forever will be."
Feeling as though a large doubtful burden had been lifted from his shoulders, Neji desperately clutched Hinata to him as he buried his face into her hair, inhaling her tempting scent. Closing his eyes, he briefly shook his head in self-loathing. "Sorry…It's our first night as a married couple, and I'm already doubting you…I'm sorry." He sighed deeply. "Sometimes, I really don't know how to deal with you, Hinata…but, I can't imagine living without you."
Hinata smiled. "I wouldn't have minded you reading that letter, Neji. But…I would've never expected you to feel lied to or betrayed because of what it says. I'm sorry."
Neji sighed again. "What did I tell you about apologizing to me?"
"Oh, I'm sor—" Hinata caught herself and giggled in amusement. Shaking her head slightly, her arms wrapped around his torso until her hands were clenching onto the fabric covering his back. "I love you, Neji."
Giving off a small smile of contentment, Neji continued to inhale her scent as his fingers returned to gliding over the curvature of her back. In his mind, he knew he couldn't explain in words how he felt about her, since talking about feelings wasn't really in his character. If he wanted her to know, he knew he would have to show her.
In a matter of slow moments, their once comforting embrace became something else entirely. As Neji's hands began to travel further downward before roaming along her sides, he leaned back just as Hinata did, allowing for their lips to connect mutually. While one of his hands wrapped tightly around her waist, crushing her against him, his other hand moved behind her neck, directing her to different angles to better suit his hungry mouth.
Feeling his heating passion, Hinata could only grip onto the cloth over his chest, while absently trailing her fingertips over his revealed bare skin. His body shivered from her innocent touch, which ignited a more urging need from within the core of his body. The hand behind her neck glided over her collarbone and between her breasts before stopping at the tied knot, which kept her yukata closed.
With deft fingers, he picked at the knot before letting it loosen of its own accord. Hinata's returned kisses became strained with anxiety when she could feel Neji's hand separating the two folds of cloth from her naked body. Resisting the strong urge to back away from him and hide away from his eyes in embarrassment, she repeated to herself to trust him, and to believe that he wouldn't do anything to hurt her.
Hinata wasn't naïve. She knew what it was all leading up to. It was her wedding night, and she knew that there would be some pain involved since it would be her first time, but all her reluctance and caution flew out the window in a matter of seconds. She and Neji had waited long enough, and she was finally ready to give herself to him fully. However, she still couldn't desist the feeling of being nervous about what was to happen. Ready or not for the inevitable, Hinata still had no idea what she was really supposed to do. She wasn't experienced, so she was greatly worried that she would only disappoint Neji when all she desired was for him to enjoy their consummation.
Sensing her worry, but not knowing the details, Neji parted his lips from hers and left whispered kisses leading up to her ear, where he nibbled gently. "Relax, Hinata. Everything will be fine, I promise."
Hinata eventually nodded and closed her eyes, allowing her senses to only focus on the pleasure she was and would be receiving. "I trust you, Neji."
Her softly spoken words only seemed to provoke him into wanting her even more, if that was possible. In a hurried fashion, Neji pushed away the yukata covering her body, letting it fall to a heap on the floor at their feet. Attaching his hungry lips to her own, he untied his yukata and abandoned it somewhere near Hinata's. Without breaking from their kiss, he lifted her up into his arms and cradled her against his chest before walking steadily toward the bed, where he would get his chance to show her just how much she meant to him.
Laying her gently onto the bed, their mouths didn't separate for more than a few seconds as Neji settled himself beside her with one arm holding him up and the other stroking her side teasingly. Hinata's hands found their way to Neji's shoulders, feeling the strong and lean muscle beneath. Focusing solely on the feel of his skin and the pleasure from his lips, she wasn't paying attention to where Neji's hand was headed.
The skin underneath his fingertips was softer than anything else Neji had ever felt before. As his fingers reached her stomach, he could feel it move at his touch before relaxing comfortably. Just as slowly, his hand moved further upward until his thumb was brushing against the underside of her breast. Her chest was heaving with her labored breaths, and just at his mere touch, her nipples became erect with need. It was at that time that Neji couldn't resist anymore; he wanted to feel all of her.
Hinata gasped and turned her head away from Neji when she felt his hand cup her breast, and immediately begin massaging it between his fingers. The sensation was strange to her and sent a wave of heat to a deep core below her stomach. Her hands knotted into his hair and her nails scratched soothingly against his scalp. She figured that just his hand rolling her breast between his fingers was already intense as it was, but she was proven wrong when his thumb and forefinger began focusing on her erected nipple instead. By then, her heavy breathing had increased until she was panting, while her hands moved from his hair to fisting into the sheets.
Hinata had never been touched so intimately before, and Neji was proud of that fact. If she were to be pleasured, he would only want himself to be the cause and initiator. There were so many thoughts of how he could pleasure her and make her first time wonderful, but he didn't want to embarrass her or make her uncomfortable in anyway. All of it was new to her, and he didn't want to scare her off so soon. If anything, he only wanted to take it slow and make it easy for her first time. Anytime after that, though, he smirked at the possibilities of just how intimate their love-making could or would be.
Returning his concentration to the body he seemed to be worshipping at the moment, he trailed passionate kisses down her neck, over her collarbone, and down to the breast that wasn't receiving any attention. He placed gentle and reassuring kisses over her delicate skin before taking her nipple into his mouth and putting his tongue to use. He was rewarded by a moan and a full-body shudder coming from the woman under him. "Neji…" Her voice was like a breath against his ear.
Neji was more than satisfied at the reactions he was evoking from her; especially since he was doing something he had never done before. When it came to bedding women, Neji had only ever taken the woman from behind, so he wouldn't have to look at her face, and so it would be easier for him to imagine the woman was someone else (Hinata). He would never bother with the woman's sexual wants or needs, and only ever focused on temporarily satisfying his own. During the time Hinata had been away on a mission, he could only view women as a simple way of relieving momentary stress. It was nothing more than that, since he had only ever wanted to be that intimately close with Hinata and no one else. At the moment, though, he was regretting that he never waited for Hinata like she obviously did for him. For that, he wanted to prove to her that she was the only one in his eyes, and she always would be.
At that last thought, his kisses and movements became more fervent and desired. He switched his attentions between breasts, while gauging her reactions for what pleased her the most.
Feeling quite overwhelmed with the new feelings she was having, Hinata clenched her hands into Neji's hair and pulled him up to meet her lips again. She moved her lips timidly against his before separating and gazing into his intensely silvery eyes. Her fingers combed through his hair as she studied and memorized every feature of his face.
Before her breathing could completely calm, Neji began stroking his hand away from her breasts and down past her stomach. He stopped any further movement when his hand stayed resting against the inside of her thigh. Hinata could only keep staring into his eyes with a mixture of uncertainty, wariness, and desire. Neji bent down to touch his lips to hers at the same time his fingers inched closer and closer to her most private area. The only indication that Hinata felt his movements was the increasing of her heartbeat, as well as the quickening of her breathing. The trust lingering in her soft white eyes was the only sign that gave reason as to why she wasn't pushing him away in her usual timidity and fright. She wasn't closing herself off to him like he originally thought she would. The amount of trust she was beginning to have in him was enough to make him deepen the kiss with even more want. In case his kiss didn't express his craving for her enough, his arousal pressing against her leg would've sufficed.
"Hinata…" Neji whispered against her lips. "I need you…" Once the words parted from his mouth, his finger entered into her, testing whether she was ready for him or not. Luckily for them both, she was quite ready, and he was growing impatient.
At the insertion of his finger into an area she had never really touched herself, Hinata's eyes widened at the entirely new emotion. She could feel something deep within her lower belly clench tightly, along with another wave of heat building up in that same area. Her hands clenched even tighter on the sheets while her body writhed in wonder. "Neji…" She moaned with an underlying plea of want.
Removing his finger from her, he situated himself between her legs, but stopped before entering. His eyes found hers again, looking for any sign that she didn't want what was about to come. His brows furrowed in concern, while she just smiled weakly. "Hinata…"
She smiled wider and caressed his cheek with the back of her hand. "I'll be alright. Don't worry."
He leaned down until his mouth was at her ear. "I'll be as gentle as I can. If you want to stop, then tell me. If it hurts you too much, we can stop, all right?"
Hinata gulped inaudibly before nodding frightfully. "Okay."
Neji tried to reassure her with a smile of his own before he claimed her lips, in hopes that it would force away her attention from the pain to come. As soon as he entered his tongue into her awaiting mouth, he slowly pushed his way into her center and stopped once he reached a barrier—her innocence. Pulling out, he provided more force to penetrate her barrier, which elicited a loud whimper from her lips once he passed it. Neji was fully sheathed within her, but didn't move any further and could only stare worriedly at his love's face. It was all he could do to restrain himself from moving, like he so wanted to. The feeling of being inside of her was more than he imagined; it was indescribable. He almost wished he would always be able to stay sheathed within her. However, even as he panted and shivered slightly, he focused on the love of his life below him, whose face appeared full of pain. "Hinata?"
Her eyes closed as she bit down onto her lip. Her eyebrows knotted as she kept her face turned to the side. She was surprised by the sharp throbbing pain, and tried desperately to focus on calming her heart and breathing until the pain subsided.
"Hinata?" Neji murmured again, his concern becoming more and more evident. "Are you alright?"
A few minutes, which felt like an eternity, passed before the pain wasn't so noticeable anymore. She could still feel it, but it wasn't as intense. Perhaps it was the obvious worry in Neji's tone that helped alleviate the pain. Either way, Hinata opened her eyes and found her way back to staring into Neji's own eyes. The genuine concern there was enough to make her smile and grasp onto his upper arms. "I'm okay. Don't worry about me." She whispered.
"Are you sure? We can stop if it hurts too much."
Hinata placed a kiss against his lips before replying. "I'm okay, Neji. Really. It's not that bad, I promise. But…" She trailed off, looking dejected and embarrassed based on the blush riding over her cheeks.
"What is it?" He questioned with returned worry.
"Um…" Her eyes averted from his for a moment before glancing back at him. "I don't know what I'm supposed to do."
He gazed at her blankly for a moment before a smile stretched on his lips, followed by low chuckling. When his laughter died off, he sighed and nuzzled his face into her neck. "Just do what you feel like doing, Hinata. It'll be fine."
Slowly, she nodded and held tighter to his arms. Not knowing what to do at first, she shifted her body, wanting to readjust into a more comfortable position with her head on the pillows and her back staying on the bed. However, that small movement alone managed to urge a gasp of surprise from Hinata and a deep-throated groan from Neji. Before Hinata had a chance to understand the meaning behind the small movement and the pleasure it induced, Neji had already began moving.
His hips rocked before he began pulling out and thrusting back in—each thrust gaining more speed and depth. While Neji was breathing heavily and groaning once in awhile, Hinata was panting, writhing, and moaning loudly at the overload of sensations she was feeling. Never before had she thought that such an act could be so…enjoyable. Hearing about sex had always intimidated and frightened her to some extent, but she was currently regretting those thoughts. It may have not been the actual act, as much as it was that she was doing the act with the one man she had loved for as long as she could remember. There was something about that knowledge alone that made it all the more worthwhile.
Continual moaning and whispering of Neji's name filled the air, while Hinata kept her hands busy by stroking, gliding, and scratching the skin on Neji's arms and back, and sometimes running through his long brown hair. She was searching for every part of him that she had not touched before. Anything in her reach, she was memorizing with her fingertips. She felt the muscles contract beneath his skin before scratch marks became embedded into his skin during a particularly toe-curling thrust.
Their speed and intensity increased as the seconds ticked by. Minutes passed and Neji went deeper and harder. Hinata writhed even more, and instinct led her to join his rhythm with precision as she met each of his thrusts.
Her back arched, their hips met, bodies slapping together due to built-up sweat, lips being placed against any area they could find, and all they could see, hear, smell, and feel was each other. Nothing had ever felt so ultimately right for either of them.
A noticeable pressure from deep within Hinata burned until she nearly felt on fire. She couldn't stop moving because the feeling was so incredibly fierce. Something within her also seemed to tell her that there was a release coming for her; all she had to do was reach it.
Neji could feel how restless and needy Hinata had become, and he knew the reason, for he was feeling his own release coming as well. With that knowledge, he intensified his movements, drawing them both closer to the edge of their pleasure.
When they had reached their peak, and something snapped within Hinata, their groaning gained another level of audibility before Hinata's body trembled and Neji's body collapsed in exhaustion on top of hers.
At that peak and that moment, everything fit together, and they truly felt like they were unified as one being, one soul, and one heart. For the first time in their lives, Hinata had felt overwhelmingly loved, and Neji had finally found true inner peace.
Not wanting to put any more weight upon her heavily breathing body, Neji removed himself from her before collapsing onto the bed beside her. Even as they were still trying to calm their breathing, he reached for the blankets and pulled it over them until they were contently covered. Only then did Neji pull Hinata towards him until she was held protectively and slightly possessively in his arms.
Hinata rested the side of her head against his chest and listened to his beating heartbeat, drumming rapidly in a consistent rhythm. A small smile of contentment was etched onto her mouth as she felt an immediate wave of true exhaustion wash over her, making her eyes start to droop shut.
Neji planted a firm kiss against Hinata's forehead before allowing his breath to run over her skin. "I'm in love with you, Hinata. I have been since I was a child."
Hinata's eyes widened at what Neji had said, considering he had never really said it to her, not since they were children. She looked up at him in question, only for it to be confirmed by the sincerity in his eyes.
All too suddenly, he was smirking and holding her against him tighter. "You realize that now that I've claimed you, I'm never letting you go, right?"
Hinata beamed in happiness before resuming her original position. She giggled shortly before yawning and allowing her eyes to close sleepily. "I love you too, Neji…"
A few days passed for the newlyweds, and it wasn't until the fourth day of their honeymoon that they actually made an effort to leave the confines of the bedroom before the late afternoon. Hinata had suggested it, and Neji was disappointed, wanting to keep Hinata within his hold for a few more hours…or days. The only way Hinata managed to convince Neji to let her go and give her a short break from all the love-making was to say that she was starving, since neither of them had eaten since the previous day in the afternoon.
Currently, Hinata was standing at the stove, switching between different pans of food while Neji took the time to take a shower. As Hinata finished with the cooking, she couldn't help smiling at the memories from only the past few days. In just the past few days, Hinata was shown just how amorous Neji could be. Their first night seemed quick and easy for her, compared to everything new Neji had introduced to her recently. A blush heated her cheeks at the overwhelming amount of pleasure Neji was able to evoke from her. Although, a prideful smile lit up her features at the memories of how many times she made Neji writhe on the bed as well.
With a quiet giggle, she began placing the food on two different plates, and walking towards the small dining room table. She had just finished placing her plate of food down and began walking towards the other seat to place Neji's down, but was stopped by a pair of arms wrapping around her waist and pulling her back against his chest. His face buried itself in her hair, audibly inhaling her scent. "We should go back to bed. I don't think I like seeing you with clothes on."
"Neji," Hinata pouted, even though she couldn't look at him. "We both need to—"
"Eat. Yes, I know." Neji muttered in boredom. He reached for the plate she was holding, while nibbling on her ear at the same time. "Anything for you, Hinata. But, after we're done eating, it's back to bed with us."
Hinata furrowed her brows and fiddled with her fingers in uncertainty. "W-We've done a lot in just four days…I thought you'd be tired of me by now."
Neji chuckled after placing his plate before his seat and walked over to stand in front of her. His arms wrapped around her, pulling her against his bare chest, since the only clothing he was wearing was sweat pants. He trailed teasing kisses along her jaw line as he spoke. "I've waited for you my whole life. It shouldn't surprise you that now that I have you, Hinata, my thirst for you is insatiable."
Hinata smiled, allowing Neji to touch his lips to hers deeply before backing away, so they could take their seats and eat for the first time that day. The meal was silent of course, except for the occasional discussion between them over what duties Hinata would help him with when it came to the clan. It wasn't until they were finished eating and putting their plates in the sink that their momentary dream of being alone was shattered. A knock sounded at their front door.
"I thought I told them no business until after this week. Damn it." Neji cursed as he made his way to the door and opened it, allowing his visitor to see his full-blown scowl.
The visitor, or Hyuga messenger, winced from his leader's glare before shakily holding out a scroll. "This c-came for you, Neji-sama. N-Normally, the advisors wouldn't want to bother you, b-but they said that this would be s-something you'd want to know…"
Hinata, peeking at the man from behind Neji, smiled in welcome. "What is it?"
The man, seeing Hinata, smiled politely in return. "I believe it's just a letter, Hinata-sama. I wasn't told what it's about, though."
"Oh, I see. Are you going to take it, Neji?"
"Hn," Neji grunted before swiping the scroll from the other man's hands.
Before the wariness from the messenger wore off, Hinata stepped closer to him with her smile widening. "I don't mean to pry, but was it my father who sent you?"
"Yes, my lady. It was he and Hanashi-san who sent me."
Hinata was beaming all too suddenly. "Oh, how are they? Are they doing well? Do you know if my sister, Hanabi-chan, is doing okay too? She can get temperamental at times, but she's fairly well-behaved…sometimes."
The Hyuga messenger began laughing. "Not to worry, Hinata-sama. Everyone is fine. Your father is keeping himself busy with the clan duties, and I believe I've seen your younger sister in the dojo a lot. No doubt they miss you, but they're coping well."
Hinata released a breath before her smile became softer. "Thank you. Please tell them I'm doing well, too. I know they don't look it, but they can worry too much sometimes."
He nodded. "I will tell them, Hinata-sama." He bowed to both Hinata and Neji. "Neji-sama, if there is nothing else you need, I will take my leave now."
"Go ahead." Neji dismissed, waiting until the man turned his back before he closed the door and stared curiously at the scroll in his hand. Without hesitation, Neji cracked the seal and unrolled the scroll until the contents of the letter could be seen.
Hinata watched Neji's eyes scan quickly over the words, and she became quite interested when his brows rose in surprise before he closed the scroll. "What did it say, Neji? It wasn't bad news, was it?"
He shook his head and studied his wife skeptically. "No, uh…It turns out that…the Hyuga travelers are coming back…for good, it seems. They'll be here in three days."
"The Hyuga travelers…" Hinata glanced away in thought at the familiar name. Finally, her eyes widened and she looked at Neji with a small smile. "You mean, Hideki-san is coming back?"
Neji folded his arms over his chest, not really liking her reaction. "Yes, and his family. It seems as though their group isn't really needed anymore, since as the new Head, I'm not really concerned about being the best clan out there. Plus, they have branch members with them that need to have their seals removed too."
"I'm happy." Hinata smiled. "It's been so long since we've seen them."
"Hn," Another unhappy grunt from the Hyuga leader.
With a contented sigh, Hinata began walking towards their bedroom. "I'm going to go take a shower." She spoke, but stopped at the entrance to their room, and turned back to face Neji, who seemed to be in deep thought. Not wanting him to be brooding on their honeymoon, Hinata blushed and smiled shyly. "Um…Neji?"
He snapped out of his reverie and glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. "What is it, Hinata?"
"Um…" Her forefingers tapped together in familiar timidity. "I know you already took a shower, but…um…I was wondering if maybe…you'd like to, um…But if you don't want to, I understand." She was deeply flushed by now. "You've already taken a shower, so…"
Neji smirked at what she was trying to ask, and took smooth strides towards her until he was standing just in front of her. Leaning towards her, he whispered against her ear. "Another shower couldn't hurt. Come on." He grasped onto her hand, closed the bedroom door, and led them into their bathroom.
By the time the shower ended, Hinata realized she had never taken such a long shower before…Somehow, that didn't bother her.
"Do you have everything packed, Hinata?" Neji asked on the day after their honeymoon ended, and they were to be heading towards their new and permanent living quarters. In one of his hands, he carried a large bag of his clothes and necessities. Looking around the bedroom in the cabin, a few more boxes filled with their belongings littered the ground.
"Yes, I think so, Neji." Hinata replied, carrying her own bag of clothes before she attempted to lift one of the boxes.
"Don't worry about the boxes, Hinata. A few Hyugas are coming here after we leave to grab them and take them to our new room. Everything in our old rooms has already been transported there too."
"Have you seen it yet, Neji?" Hinata asked after he had taken her hand, and they began to leave the cabin.
"Not yet." Neji replied, locking the front door and walking with Hinata back towards the center of the compound. "Last I checked, your father was organizing everything for the new room in a part of the compound that hasn't been lived in for awhile. It's a bit farther away from the center of the compound than we're used to, but the privacy will be nice."
"Mm…" Hinata agreed. "So, for the past week, some Hyugas have been renovating that part of the compound for our usage, right?"
"Yeah, apparently so. It's done, and all they've told me about it was that it's like a suite—definitely fitting for the Hyuga Head and his wife." He chuckled deeply. "I have a feeling that if you didn't have your connections with the branch house, we'd be living in my old room for the rest of our lives. But because everyone seems to adore you, they wanted you to live in luxury. Thinking of it that way, it's like I'm the one tagging along."
Hinata giggled, keeping in mind that they had entered the middle of the compound and were walking through the courtyard on their way to the farther part of the Hyuga territory, where their new room was supposed to be. "I wouldn't say that. They're just doing what families are supposed to do."
Neji stopped with his hand still holding hers, and gazed down at her with an unreadable expression. Hinata stopped as well and tilted her head in curiosity as to why he was looking at her like that. Finally, Neji smirked, cupped her cheek, and leaned down to claim her lips with his own.
Seemingly to have forgotten how much of a public place they were in at the moment, they continued to stay lip-locked, allowing their kiss to become more passionate as the seconds ticked by. "I'll never tire of this." Neji murmured against her lips, which made Hinata smile without parting her mouth from his.
"Hina-chan!" A voice called out to the pair, followed by rapid footsteps.
Hinata broke from the kiss and turned towards the voice only to widen her eyes fractionally. "Hanabi-chan—Ah!" Hinata nearly felt the air get knocked out of her when her younger sister collided with her in a tight hug.
"I missed you so much, Sis! I was in the dojo, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw you in the compound with my byakugan—"
"Hanabi-chan," Hinata scolded lightly. "What have father and I been telling you about never using the byakugan inside the compound? It's a violation of privacy, and you know that."
Hanabi groaned at the rebuke. "It wasn't like that, Hina-chan! I sensed your presence, so I just used my byakugan to make sure, and there you were! I just had to come and see you cause it's been so long!"
Hinata laughed. "Hanabi-chan, it's only been a week."
"Yeah, yeah." Hanabi peered around Hinata to stare at the less than amused Neji. The youngest Hyuga allowed a glare to overcome her features the longer she stared at him. "Hey, Hina-chan, he didn't hurt you, did he? If he did anything to cause you pain, you let me know and I'll take care of it!"
"Oh, really?" Neji mocked, a teasing smirk riding over his face. "What could someone as small as you do to me?"
"Oh, you'd be surprised!" The youngest retorted with fury. "When it comes to protecting my sister, I'll be your fiercest opponent ever!"
Neji chuckled in his continued mock. "You don't look it, little one."
Hinata panicked at seeing Hanabi begin to rile herself up, so she placed her hands on Hanabi's shoulders to direct her attention to her instead. "Hanabi-chan, why would you think Neji would hurt me?"
Hanabi calmed absently and raised a brow instead, with her hands on her hips. "Well, duh! It was your first time having sex, and they say it hurts, so I was just making sure he didn't cause you unnecessary pain. Cause you know if he did, I would—"
"Hanabi-chan!" Hinata was blushing deeply. "You shouldn't know about this kind of stuff at your age; you're too young!"
Hanabi rolled her eyes. "I'm almost thirteen years old, sis. I'm not a baby anymore."
Hinata smiled jokingly. "You're right. You were a lot easier to deal with when you were a baby."
"Hey!" Hanabi pouted.
"Hanabi-san, wait up!" Another voice called out to the group.
Hanabi turned and rolled her eyes again at the newcomer.
Neji and Hinata's eyes widened at who it was.
Hideki ran toward the group and stopped when he reached them, only to hunch over with his hands on his knees, breathing heavily. "You just took off out of nowhere, right in the middle of our spar! And I was just starting to win, too!"
"Whatever, Hideki. You wouldn't have won even if I wasn't there." Hanabi replied with a smirk.
Ignoring the younger girl, Hideki straightened and noticed the other two figures there, which brought about a wide smile to his face. "Well if it isn't Neji and Hinata-chan! It's been awhile!"
"Hideki-san!" Hinata beamed. "I didn't know you already arrived."
"Yeah, we got here yesterday." His smile disappeared to be replaced by a pouting frown. "I can't believe you two! How could you not invite me to the wedding? You know I wanted to be there!"
Hinata giggled. "I'm sorry, Hideki-san. We didn't know if you'd be able to make it or not."
"Yeah, right. You just didn't want me there, even though I was the one who got you two together."
"No, you didn't." Neji interjected with a glare. "You just made things worse."
Hideki was back to smiling and stood next to Neji, while nudging his arm. "Aw, come on, Neji. Don't be like that. You're just mad cause you know I was right about you two. I always said that you would end up together, and look at you now all married and whatnot. I'm so proud."
The older boy laughed heartily. "Well, I guess this means I can finally say what I've been wanting to say for years." He narrowed his eyes slyly at the Hyuga leader. "I told you so."
"Go somewhere else, would you?"
He laughed again before noticing their forgotten bags on the ground. "Hey, have you seen your guys' new place yet?"
Hinata shook her head. "No, not yet. We were on our way there now."
"Oh, I see." He grabbed onto the two bags and began walking ahead of them. "Well, let's get a move on. I've seen it already since I helped out a little, so I'll give you the grand tour."
Neji gritted his teeth in annoyance. "I'd rather you not."
"Don't be such a spoilsport, Neji-sama." Hanabi smirked and ran to catch up with Hideki. "Come on!"
Hinata smiled, grasped onto Neji's hand, and followed the other two towards their new living quarters.
A good deal of distance was put between them as they walked, and Hinata leaned closer to Neji as a thought entered her mind. "Neji,"
"Hideki-san and his family are staying here at the compound permanently now, right?"
"Yeah. Why do you ask?" He glanced at her warily.
"Well," Hinata smiled. "Hideki-san will need something to do, and…You don't have to, of course, but…I think Hideki-san would make a great advisor to you."
"What?" Neji was shocked. "You're kidding, right?"
Hinata opened and closed her mouth a few times before facing away from him and biting her lip in a nervous habit. "Well…I mean…I know he irritates you at times, but…I think he would be very useful."
"Really?" Neji questioned skeptically, obviously not convinced. "And how's that?"
She was silent for a moment as if ordering her thoughts. "Um…Well, he's helped me out before, and…"
"How did he help you out?" Neji had to force away his jealous tendencies.
"He was the one who told me about the elders, remember?"
Neji didn't say anything, but he remembered having that conversation. It was also one of the times he wished he had listened to Hinata. He regretted not listening, for the mere purpose of missing his chance to prevent what the elders did to her.
"Also," Hinata continued. "He's very perceptive. After all, he was able to see what we couldn't at that time. You don't have to ask him to be your advisor if you don't want to…I just thought he would make a nice addition…"
Neji didn't say anything once again, and the rest of their walk was silent until they finally neared their new room.
As Hideki and Hanabi showed the couple around, they were both surprised at just how much of a suite it was. Their bedroom was large and spacious, and was attached to a very open living room with a couch already set up. Windows covered most of the walls, viewing out into a lovely garden, which was something that greatly pleased Hinata. As for Neji, he was inwardly thrilled at another attached room, which had become his office. Also attached to their bedroom was one of the largest bathrooms the couple had ever seen. They each had their own sink, the toilet was separated, the bath was large enough to fit four people, and the shower was just as elegantly large too.
Overall, Neji and Hinata loved their new room, and were even more content to see that they didn't have to do any moving. Most of their belongings, other than what they had in the cabin, were already situated into different places in each of the rooms. They were impressed and eternally grateful.
Neji watched as Hinata was dragged away by Hanabi to the living room and bedroom to look at everything the younger sister helped decorate. Meanwhile, Neji was left in his office with Hideki studying the titles of the different books placed on the bookshelf. Neji watched him for a moment before moving over to stand in front of one of the windows, which overlooked the same lovely garden. "Now that the traveling group isn't needed anymore," Neji began, grasping Hideki's short attention. "Have you found your new place in this clan, Hideki?"
"Well," He rubbed the back of his neck. "Not really. I've been looking around to see what places need help. My parents are helping out some other Hyugas with the security around the perimeters, and my grandpa is too old to be doing work, even though he's dying to do something…I've been hanging around the dojo with Hanabi-san, so…" He laughed. "I could help out there for awhile."
"Is that what you're interested in?"
Hideki shrugged. "It's not really my forte, but it gives me something to do until I find what I'm interested in." He raised a brow at the Hyuga leader. "Why do you ask?"
It was Neji's turn to shrug. "You've been informed on all the changes in the clan during your absence, correct?"
"Yes," He nodded with a smile. "Hanabi-san and Hiashi-san briefed me on it, and I'm impressed…as well as very surprised. All these years, I was just hoping for you and Hinata-chan to hook up, and that to be it, but…I didn't really think that so much in the clan would change because of that…" His smile widened. "Then again, this is Hinata-chan we're talking about. I always knew there was something special about her."
"Hm," Neji nodded. "It was because of her that this clan changed at all."
"That doesn't surprise me." Hideki walked until he was standing next to Neji, staring out at the same garden. "She just has a way about her. Once you let her get close to you, it changes your whole perspective on life. But…you already knew that."
Hideki sighed. "You never talk to me, at least not like this. So, what are you really wanting to say, Neji?"
The Hyuga Head smirked. "Hinata was right. You are perceptive. Perhaps that would be useful."
"What are you talking about?" Hideki asked confusedly.
For the first time while they were talking, Neji turned to him with his usual stony expression. "If you're interested, there's a position open for you as one of my advisors."
His brows rose in shock. "No joke?"
Neji frowned. "Why would I joke?"
"Oh, right." Hideki blinked a few times. "You're serious, though? You want me to be one of your advisors?"
"Yes," Neji replied reluctantly. "Hinata suggested it, and I trust her judgement…no matter how much I may regret this decision in the future."
Hideki laughed and slapped Neji on the back. "Well, I'd hate to disappoint Hinata-chan, and it'd be fun working alongside you, so…yeah, I'll be your advisor." His joyous laughter became more sound. "Awesome! I'm going to go tell Hinata-chan!"
It wasn't until Hideki disappeared from the room that Neji sighed and cradled his head in his hand. "I really am going to regret this, aren't I?"
As more days passed, Neji could be found tempted to bang his head against the wall at the realization that he had not only just allowed Hideki to be one of his advisors, but Hideki's grandfather as well.
Hinata was thrilled.
Five Months Later…
Neji ran a towel through his damp hair as he exited the bathroom with only another towel wrapped around his waist. It was the early morning, and he had woken to the loud chirping of any birds nearby their room. Once his shower was finished and he dried himself off, he discarded the towels and dressed himself until the only garment he was missing was his top.
Ignoring his need for a top, he made his way towards his large bed in only his pants. A small grin stole over his features as he gazed at the pleasant view before him. Laying on her back in a white nightgown and illuminated by the sunrays, Hinata slept peacefully. While one hand rested near her face, her other hand seemed to be protecting the noticeable overgrown size of her stomach, the makings of their first child.
The covers had already mostly disappeared from her body, which didn't surprise Neji anymore. He was shocked and confused the first few times the blankets were thrown his way in the middle of the night, only for Hinata to mumble a complaint about it being too hot. Pregnancy was obviously something Neji wasn't familiar with, and each day was proving to be even more stressful than the first. It was pleasurable and amusing sometimes, but other times, he felt as though he was walking on eggshells around her. Many women in the clan told him that he had it easy with Hinata, considering she was so timid and docile. On some days, he really couldn't believe that.
Either way, Neji didn't hate it. Stressful maybe, but it was a good type of stress. Hinata glowed at the mere thought of being pregnant with their child, and Neji had never been so happy than when he was around her radiant smile and bell-like laughter. Knowing that they had created a life together made it all the more enjoyable. For as long as he could remember, he didn't know the last time he had released so many smiles of true genuine happiness.
Inching closer to his pregnant wife, Neji placed both hands on either side of her, caging her to the bed, and leaned over to rest his lips against hers before applying a small amount of pressure. The small feeling alone managed to make Hinata stir.
She inhaled sharply and deeply and turned her head with a small sound before her eyes began to blink open. When she was finally able to focus on the welcoming face above her, she smiled warmly and pulled him down for another kiss. "Good morning, Neji."
Hinata rubbed her eyes tiredly. "What time is it?"
Neji was still smiling and brushing his lips over her face when he answered. "Early."
"Mmm…I see…" She murmured, trying to wake herself up.
Seeing how tired she seemed, Neji was beginning to regret waking her up in the first place. "Did you not sleep well last night?"
Hinata could see the concern written all over his features, which always bothered her. "I did, I just…I'm having trouble waking up right now…" She giggled under her breath. "I think my mind wants me to stay asleep when I'm perfectly ready to be awake."
"Ah…" He smirked devilishly, situating himself above her and in-between her legs. "I can fix that."
Hinata only had time to giggle once before his mouth enclosed upon hers with that same hidden passion he always appeared to contain, and only release around her. Neji worked quickly. His tongue delved into her mouth while his hands went to work on inching her nightgown up slowly. Meanwhile, Hinata swept her hands and curious fingers over every part of her husband's chest and back. It took awhile to learn and understand, but she finally knew that her touch alone would manage to send him into a frenzy.
It was true. Just by feeling her delicate touch trace every curve of his muscles, his original plan to go tantalizingly slow went out the window. He broke from their kiss for a short moment to practically rip away the clothing covering her body. His eyes streamed lovingly over the unique form her body had taken in the past few months. Her stomach was an obvious sight of change, but he found himself to be more inwardly pleased at the larger size of her bust. Showing his appreciation, he began placing kisses upon the breast that wasn't already being played with by his hand.
Hinata's moaning only seemed to ignite his passion even more. Every moment of every day, he wanted his wife—craved for her. Her being pregnant only made a slight difference in his eyes. Moving downward, his fingers stroked her sides while he kissed her inflated stomach, turning his head briefly to listen for any sounds of his unborn child. As much as he enjoyed staying in that position for hours, just listening and feeling the life inside Hinata's womb, he could feel how restless his wife was and how much she desired his attentions.
Without waiting any further, Neji found her lips again and kissed her breathless. Hinata pulled away for air, feeling his kisses trail down to her neck. Her hands grasped tightly onto his shoulders before she pleaded with her husband. "Neji…please, I need you…"
Her words sent shivers up and down his spine, resulting in him sitting up in order to remove his pants. However, just as his fingers began to remove the bothersome clothing, a quick knocking sounded at their bedroom door. Both paused and stared at the door—one in irritation and the other in curiosity. "What is it?" Neji asked harshly.
A muffled voice answered him from outside the door. "Neji-sama, I apologize, but…I was told to inform you that your teammates are here to visit you. They're waiting in the courtyard."
"Alright, tell them I'll be there in a moment."
When the footsteps faded away from outside their bedroom, Neji sighed heavily before facing Hinata again with smoldering eyes. "I think I'll take you now, and make them wait longer for interrupting us."
Hinata frowned cutely at him. "Neji, that wouldn't be very nice. We can always continue this later." She sat up in their bed, pulling the covers over her chest. "Plus, you haven't seen your teammates since we announced my pregnancy. You need to spend time with them once in awhile."
"Oh, I agree." He replied sarcastically, getting off the bed to change into his clothes. "But let's make it so that it's spending time with them once in a very, very long while."
Hinata smiled, despite her trying to sound scolding. "Neji,"
"I know, I know. I'm going." Once he situated his clothing, he set out for the door, but stopped before exiting the room. Turning back to face her, he raised a brow. "What are you going to be doing?"
Hinata got out of the bed with the sheet wrapped around her securely. She casually walked toward him as she replied. "I'm not sure. I might go visit the gardens."
"Hmm…" Neji smirked as he placed his hands firmly on her waist before pulling her against him sensually. "Don't go too far." He murmured, pushing his lips gently against the delicate skin on her throat. "Five months being married…I'm nowhere near being done with you yet."
Hinata smiled softly before turning her head and placing timid kisses over his face, stopping when their foreheads touched. Her smile was still present as she led one of his hands to rest over her pregnant stomach. "I'm glad."
Eyeing the placement of his hand and feeling the life just under his fingertips, he gazed at her in concern. "How are you feeling?"
She giggled. "You're stalling, Neji."
A corner of his mouth uplifted in amusement. "It's worth it."
"You shouldn't make them wait."
Neji smirked dryly and turned away from her, stepping outside the room with his hand still on the door. "But, seriously, Hinata…If you're not feeling well, let me know immediately."
"It's okay, Neji. I'll be fine." Her eyes held light humor. "This isn't new to me anymore; I can handle it."
He nodded. "Nonetheless, make sure you eat."
"And if you get tired, don't overdo anything. Just go to bed and get some rest—"
"Neji," Hinata sighed.
He nodded again. "I'll come check up on you later."
In obvious reluctance, Neji finally left the room after glancing at his wife a few more times. As soon as the door closed, Hinata found herself giggling as she made her way to the bathroom to get ready for the day.
Dressed in a maternity summer kimono, Hinata strolled through the wide garden, occasionally bending down to brush her fingers over the flowers and smell their fragrance. Due to her influence, the Hyuga compound contained many gardens, and just by gazing at one for a moment, a surge of peace would swarm their insides. It was something new to the clan, and it soon became a welcome change. I think everything is as the way it should be now…
Simultaneously, three different voices called out to her, grasping her attention immediately. Hinata turned to face her visitors, and smiled once she recognized their familiar features. A couple, holding onto the hands of their young toddler between them, began to walk towards the pregnant Hinata with smiles etched onto their faces. "Good morning, Hanashi-san, Haruka-san, Keiichi-kun. How are you?"
"We're doing fine. How have you been feeling?" The only man there asked politely.
"I'm fine, thank you."
Haruka laughed. "Didn't I tell you, Hinata-chan? I knew you were going to have kids someday, and you'll be able to experience firsthand all the little phases of a child." Her eyes gleamed with barely suppressed excitement. "Your children will be so adorable!"
Hinata blushed and gazed down at the ground. "Y-You think so?"
"Of course! Just look at you! You're downright cute, and that husband of yours can make any woman's heart flutter."
Hanashi raised a brow at his wife. "Oh really? Does he make your heart flutter?"
Haruka laughed nervously. "Are you kidding? Even though he's calmed down now, every time he looks at me, it creeps me out. Not to mention, he's the most intimidating man I've ever met."
"Well, then, that 'heart flutter' you were talking about was just a lie since it doesn't work on just any woman's heart."
She rolled her eyes. "Weren't you paying attention, dear? I said that it can, not that it will."
"Mhm." Hanashi murmured skeptically.
After another eye roll, Haruka turned back to smiling at her young female friend. "Anyway, it was lucky we ran into you. There's a favor I wanted to ask you."
Hinata smiled. "Oh? What is it?"
Haruka looked sheepish as she clapped her hands together in a plea. "Hanashi wants to take me out to eat for breakfast, and we were going to take Kei-chan with us, but it's been so long since we had some alone time, so we were wondering if—"
"It's not a problem. I don't mind." Hinata interrupted her. "I'll watch over him until you get back."
"Are you sure, Hinata-san?" Hanashi questioned worriedly. "If you're busy or not up to it, we understand. We can get someone else—"
"Don't second guess her, honey. She said she would do it, so let's get going." Haruka grasped tightly onto her husband's collar and practically dragged him toward the compound gates. Before leaving, she yelled to Hinata over her shoulder. "If you're really not feeling up to it, Hinata-chan, just hand him off to one of his grandparents. I'm sure those old crones won't mind…especially if you're the one to ask!"
As soon as they disappeared from sight, Hinata faced her "nephew" and smiled happily. "Come on, Keiichi-kun, let's find something to do."
"Okay, Aunt Hina!"
"As you can see, not much has changed since you've last been here." Neji muttered in disinterest as he gave a tour of the compound to his teammates. Stopping at the end of a hallway, he turned around to face the small group of three following him. Folding his arms over his chest, he glared at them with obvious unwelcome. "Is that all you came here for?"
"Why, Neji," Gai began, using his hands for emphasis. "We merely wanted to see how well you are managing the clan, and to make sure you're using your youthfulness to the best of your ability!"
"And, I must say, Neji-kun," Lee started talking immediately when his sensei finished. "You have done an excellent job!"
Tenten released a small, strained smile. "They're right. It's really flourishing."
For the first time, Neji really glanced at the female, and his eyes widened at the new development he had not paid any attention to. Trailing his eyes down her arm, he finally took notice that Lee and Tenten were holding hands, and if Neji looked deep enough, he could see the complete happiness shining in their eyes. Smirking to himself, he turned halfway, and held his arm out ahead of him. "Why don't I show you the gardens. Hinata's been spending most of her time working in those gardens, so I'm sure she'd like someone to see and appreciate everything she has done."
"That sounds great, Neji!" Gai gave him a thumbs-up.
Lee's eyes sparkled. "Oh, the fair maiden Hinata-chan is around? Is she? She is absolutely brimming with youthfulness! And, tell me, Neji-kun, how much bigger has she gotten?"
Neji chuckled under his breath. "Relax, Lee. You'll see her soon enough…once we locate which garden she's in."
Finding Hinata by visiting every garden in the Hyuga compound was more frustrating than it seemed. Never before had any of Team Gai realized just how many gardens had suddenly sprouted within the confines of the clan's living quarters. Most of them were small and elegant, but every now and then, a rather large garden would take up one of the courtyards. They had visited a total of four gardens before they finally happened upon a quite large garden just near the gates of the compound. Neji was the first to stop walking when his eyes located the familiar form of his pregnant wife, as well as the little boy she was playing with.
It was a sight that froze his teammates in their positions, and made Neji's heart jump before he smiled softly. He knew Hinata was unaware of their presence, which was made evident since she continued playing with the little boy, her adopted "nephew". Hinata was sitting on a stone bench, showing Keiichi how to make flower necklaces. Despite the "girly" action, the little boy seemed intrigued with Hinata's graceful movements. Seeing it, Neji couldn't help but imagine the same moment occurring later in their lives with their own children.
Hinata would make a great mother, and he knew that well. Just imagining what it would be like was enough for Neji to feel a sense of inner peace and joy. Having a family with Hinata would be the only accomplishment to completing his life. He couldn't wait until his child would be born, and he would be privileged enough to witness his or her growth as a person.
Finally sensing someone watching her, Hinata stiffened before turning halfway around and gazing behind her at the small group, who was gazing at her fondly. Facing forward again, she placed one hand on her stomach while the other hand helped lift her up from her sitting position. Once that was complete, she turned around fully to direct her tender and loving gaze to her husband.
Neji released a small smile as he made his way towards his pregnant wife, and embraced her when he finally reached her. Gai and Lee soon ran over as well to give their exuberant greetings to Hinata before finding great entertainment by playing with the two-year-old boy.
Tenten watched all of this from a distance, allowing the moment to fully sink into her. A lot had changed for her, and she hadn't taken the time to realize it until that very moment. For the first time, Tenten was satisfied and content at watching Neji with Hinata, loving her in a way Tenten once dreamed of receiving from him. She half-expected a sense of bitterness to take hold of her, but there was nothing other than happiness for the married Hyugas. Glancing at the younger of the dynamic duo in green, Tenten knew why that was. Sakura's words had burned in her mind until the older girl finally opened her eyes and saw what she had been ignoring for awhile. She was in love with Lee, and she had never been happier.
However, something was bothering her, and she knew exactly what it was. Turning her gaze back onto Hinata, Tenten slowly made her way towards her with the clear intention to fix what she had broken. With a smile, Tenten approached the pregnant Hyuga, causing Neji and Hinata to separate automatically.
While Hinata glanced at Tenten with a mix of uncertainty and curiosity, Neji narrowed his eyes analytically before relaxing and turning back to his wife. Placing a kiss against her forehead, Neji smirked at Hinata. "I think I'll go make sure those two idiots don't do anything 'youthful' to my advisor's only child."
With a light giggle, Hinata nodded and watched him depart from her before returning her attention to the weapon's mistress. She remained silent, not knowing what to do in that kind of situation, since she was certain that Tenten hated her for some reason. Licking her suddenly dry lips, Hinata tried her best to smile. "H-Hello, Tenten-chan."
"Good morning, Hina-chan."
Hearing the familiar title, Hinata's eyes widened slightly in surprise. She was even more surprised at the friendly and sincere smile she was receiving from the brunette as well. Instead of uncertainty and curiosity, Hinata felt confused.
Seeing her obvious confusion, Tenten's smile became wary and weak, as well as regretful. Her hands folded behind her back while she shuffled her feet uncomfortably, yet with determination. "I know I should've done this a long time ago, Hina-chan, and…the way I've been acting towards you…I know it hurt you and it damaged our friendship, and…I really shouldn't have blamed you for anything. It wasn't right, so…I want to apologize for my actions against you. I'm really sorry, Hina-chan. If you can find it in your heart to forgive me…I would really appreciate it." She gulped. "I'd really like to be friends again."
If possible, Hinata's eyes widened further and a weight felt to have been lifted from her shoulders. "Tenten-chan…"
The brunette continued shakily with a bowed head. "I know I don't deserve it after how I treated you, but…"
"Tenten-chan," Hinata interrupted inquiringly. "If you don't mind me asking, why did you treat me like that?"
She laughed shortly with not a hint of amusement. "I was being stupid and foolish…and jealous." She met Hinata's eyes with obvious plea for understanding. "I always thought that because I believed I was in love with Neji, we would end up together. I firmly believed that with all my heart, so…when Neji broke up with me as soon as you were gone on that mission, he told me the reason why he went out with me and gave me any attention at all. He said it wasn't because he loved me or even thought of me in that way…it was because he was getting back at you for going out with Naruto. I asked him over and over why he couldn't just stay with me since you were gone. Why he couldn't just learn to love me…" She shook her head. "He told me that dating me was a mistake, one he regretted deeply."
Hinata bit her lip and continued to listen to what Tenten had to go through during all their times of hurt and betrayal.
Tenten cleared her throat before beginning again. "At first, I thought he meant that dating me was the mistake, and it depressed me for longer than it should've because that was not what he meant, and I realize that now. You see, he told me he was in love with another and his feelings for her would never change. He was talking about you, Hina-chan. And the only reason he said dating me was a mistake was because it was causing you pain." Tenten paused briefly to inhale and exhale deeply. "So, you know, I took that all wrong and became very angry at you because I childishly thought that you took him away from me, that you took away my future. I was wrong…I was really wrong."
Hinata watched silently with furrowed brows as moisture began to build up in her older friend's eyes.
Tenten sniffed. "Everything I've done…I'm so sorry, Hina-chan." Apparent tears filled up behind her eyelids. "I was so stupid and angry over the whole matter that I just…I gave up the closest female friendship I've ever had before. I'm really sorry, and if you'll forgive me…I'd really like it if we could be friends again." No tears had released yet, but it was clear how close Tenten was to crying.
Hinata seemed to stay still for a few minutes before inching closer to Tenten and wrapping her arms around the brunette in a comforting hug, which was returned with added fervor and a few tears from Tenten. "It's okay, Tenten-chan. You had your reasons for acting the way you did, and I forgive you for that, because…I really missed you as a friend…and I would like it too if we could be friends again."
A quiet sob was heard from Tenten as a few more tears were released onto Hinata's cloth-covered shoulder. "Thanks, Hina-chan."
The two women separated finally, and Tenten was smiling while Hinata wiped away her tears. The older girl laughed. "So…when's the baby due?"
Hinata's smile was wide and genuine. "In four months, just a few weeks before my birthday."
"Wow, a winter baby. Bet you're excited."
"Do you know what it is yet?" Tenten arched a brow.
"No, we had the option to know, but I wanted it to be a surprise."
"Oh…" Tenten glanced at the three men before laughing more amusedly under her breath and shaking her head.
Hinata tilted her head in question. "What is it, Tenten-chan?"
Tenten was still laughing when she answered. "You know, back when I was infatuated with Neji, I always envisioned us having a family together, and whatnot. But…now that I had some sense knocked into me, the whole idea of Neji being a father just cracks me up."
Hinata pouted. "What do you mean? You don't think he'd make a good father?"
"Hina-chan," Tenten wrapped an arm around the pregnant woman's shoulders. "He'll be an entertaining father. Cold-hearted and stoic Neji Hyuga…changing diapers and making faces at his baby to make them laugh…Don't tell me you don't find that amusing?"
Finally imagining what Tenten was implying, Hinata giggled freely. "You're right. It will be very amusing. And only four months to go before we can witness it ourselves."
Four Months Later…
"Come on, Hina-chan, just one more push! You're almost there!" Sakura called to her friend.
Hinata's face was contorted in pain with one hand gripping tight onto her husband's, who kept his free hand busy by stroking Hinata's cheek. She screamed, her voice laced with indescribable pain. Neji winced and planted comforting kisses on her forehead and cheeks. "You're doing great, Hinata."
"Neji…" Hinata whimpered with tears rolling down her face. "It hurts…it hurts so much…"
"Just get through it, Hinata. You're almost done, I promise. It'll all be over in a bit."
Sakura nodded, keeping her eyes focused on the baby she was pulling from Hinata. "Hina-chan, you've got to push! Push hard, right now! Push, Hina-chan!"
Hinata choked on a sob before setting her features into determination and pushing with all her remaining strength. Once again, her scream filled the air of the hospital room.
Luckily, it was enough, and the baby was freed and in Sakura's arms. After cutting the umbilical cord, Sakura handed the baby between two nurses to help get it cleaned slightly before bringing the infant over to it's mother.
Neji watched with wonder as the tiny baby was placed in Hinata's waiting arms. The small child was still drenched in blood and fluid, but he had never seen anything more beautiful in his life. His heart warmed immediately at just the sight of what he and Hinata created together.
Sakura smiled and backed up. "Congratulations, you two. You have a healthy baby girl."
Neji looked up. "A girl?"
Hinata smiled happily and gazed lovingly into the barely opened eyes of her daughter. "She's so beautiful…and I know exactly what to name her." She touched her lips to her daughter's forehead before whispering the name she had always planned to name their child if it was a girl. "Akari."
After the naming, Sakura took the baby and handed her off to a few nurses to take away in order to get cleaned up. Meanwhile, she watched Hinata lay back in the pillows exhausted and Neji collapse into the chair next to the bed without his hand ever leaving Hinata's. Sakura smiled secretly to herself before beginning to heal Hinata from the scars of labor and birth.
"Akari…my beautiful daughter…" Hinata whispered the moment the infant was back in her arms and she and Neji were the only ones in the room. While Hinata stroked through the thin hairs atop the baby's head, Neji leaned over and couldn't seem to keep his eyes away from the newborn.
He couldn't believe that something so fragile, yet incredibly beautiful came from him and Hinata both. He couldn't seem to fathom that they truly did create another life together, a symbol of everything they had been through…a symbol of their love. He almost wanted to cry tears of joy.
"Neji…" Hinata murmured, catching his attention. When Neji eyed her in silent inquiry, Hinata answered with a smile. "Why don't you hold your daughter."
His eyes widened as he stood and backed away half a step. "I-I don't know, Hinata…"
"Neji…" Hinata continued smiling. "She's your daughter, and you're her father. I think she'd like to see her father and become acquainted with him, don't you agree?"
"I might drop her accidentally, or…"
"Believe me, you won't." Hinata scooted and handed the tiny baby off into the arms of her protective husband.
As soon as the baby was comfortable in his arms, Neji couldn't help the overwhelming feeling of complete love and adoration for a child he had only just seen. For that moment, he just wanted to hold the girl and never let her go. He wanted to protect her and shield her from the horrors and cruelties of the world. He wanted to be there for her every step of the way, every day, every hour, and any time she would need him. He wanted to see her smile and laugh and grow to be as beautiful as her mother. He wanted to give her the childhood he never had. He just wanted to make her happy and show her how much he loved her.
Hinata couldn't stop the few tears that fell from her eyes at the sight of the different emotions running through her husband's eyes. The amount of love there was enough to make Hinata's heart swell with pride.
Slowly, Neji smiled and rocked his daughter in his arms. "Akari…my perfect daughter…I'll always be there for you…I promise."
Four Years Later…
Hinata sat contently in a rocking chair, positioned on a porch overlooking a small courtyard where her four-year-old daughter and the six-year-old Keiichi were playing. In her arms, Hinata held her six-month-old son, Yue. As she rocked him into a sleep, her eyes were gazing joyfully at the two young children playing tag with each other. Over the years, it appeared that Keiichi had grown quite attached to their daughter, Akari. They had become close friends, as well as developing a love for each other that couldn't compare with any other love so innocent.
When the two children collapsed to the ground, trying to regain their breath, Hinata felt two hands rest on her shoulders and a face brushing against her own. She didn't even have to look over to know who it was. The lips pressing against her exposed throat was enough of a reminder that it was her husband. His lips smiled against her skin. "I will never tire of this."
Hinata smiled and glanced at her sleeping son in her arms before facing up to Neji. "I'm glad."
Neji smirked before claiming her lips with his own. After deepening it to his satisfaction, he pulled away, kissed his son's forehead, and stood up beside his wife to watch the same two children playing together. Only this time, they were standing in front of each other holding hands. Neji frowned. "What does that boy think he's doing?"
"They're just holding hands, Neji." Hinata smiled.
Keiichi leaned closer to Akari and placed a quick kiss on her lips before backing away for the two children to laugh.
Neji's eyes widened and he was about to stalk over there if Hinata hadn't gripped onto his arm, halting any movement. Neji turned back to her with overly-protective eyes. "Didn't you see what he did?"
"Yes, it was very cute." She giggled.
"He kissed her, Hinata. They're too young for that."
Hinata gazed at her husband with knowing eyes. "So were we."
His eyebrows lowered in defeat before he stood closer to Hinata and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. With a sigh, he continued watching the two children just as Hinata did.
Suddenly, Neji and Hinata weren't seeing Keiichi and Akari. They were seeing themselves when they were that age, reliving the memories they shared. As they watched, it wasn't Keiichi and their daughter giving each other innocent kisses, but a very young Neji and Hinata, with their love for each other shining brightly in their eyes.
"You're not." He simply spoke. "Ugly I mean."
"R-Really…?" she sniffed wiping away her persistent tears.
Neji did his best to put on another smile, "Yeah, I think you're cute."
"Do you…like it?" he asked quietly hearing nothing else but their breathing. Just when he was about to look up thinking she didn't like it after all, he felt something soft touch his cheek. His eyes widened when he realized that Hinata had just given him a kiss.
"You know what, Hinata-chan?" Neji asked and Hinata shook her head. "I never knew your mother, but…she kind of reminds me of you."
Hinata's eyes widened as tears began to fill her eyes once more, but this time they were tears of joy. "Y-You mean it, Neji-kun?"
"Yeah! You'll probably be just like her when you grow up."
Her smile widened in happiness, "That w-would be nice…"
Neji jumped off the bench and bent over near the flowers with his back to her. "Was she pretty?" he asked picking out one of the flowers and walking to stand in front of her.
Hinata nodded vigorously; "She was r-really pretty!"
He nodded and placed the flower in her hair just above her right ear. He leaned back to look at her and smiled, "Then you are definitely just like her."
"Hinata-chan, we're going to get married."
"Yep." Neji nodded happily.
"W-Why?" she asked not really knowing what marriage was.
"Father says that's what people do when they love each other."
"Uh huh. But you only get married to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with." Neji spoke to her remembering everything his father told him while at the wedding. "And you know you're in love with that person when you want to make them happy."
"Oh, okay." She smiled in understanding. "So…does that m-mean we're in l-love, Neji-kun?"
"I think so." He pondered briefly. "Cause I want to stay with you forever and make you happy, Hinata-chan."
"Oh…" she blushed madly. "S-So do I, Neji-kun."
Neji smiled in relief, "Okay, now that we're in love, we have to get married."
"So…um, what do w-we do n-now, Neji-kun?"
"Uh…" he pondered since he really didn't know what happened afterward. "I guess we're s'posed to stay together for the rest of our lives."
"Oh, okay." She nodded feeling happy that she was now able to understand what marriage was.
Neji reached out and held Hinata's hand in his with his blush slowly fading. "Are you happy, Hinata-chan?" he asked in slight worry.
Hinata stared at him incredulously for a moment before smiling widely. She nodded vigorously, "I'm r-really happy, Neji-kun. We're in love, r-remember?"
Neji and Hinata both smiled as if remembering everything they had been through, and yet still…they loved each other. It was amazing to realize something like that. Remembering a certain memory from back when Neji and Hinata were getting "married", he moved to stand in front of Hinata. His hand reached out to caress her soft-skinned cheek. "Are you happy, Hinata?" he asked with a smile.
Hinata returned the smile as her hand rested over his so she could nuzzle her face against his larger hand. "I'm really happy, Neji." She giggled quietly. "We're in love, remember?"
Neji chuckled under his breath before leaning closer to her and lovingly touching his lips to hers in finality…a way of saying that their love…was endless…
Oh, wow! It's finally done, and I'm so thrilled! This chapter took forever, so I'm beyond happy that it's finished. Sorry for the wait, by the way, but as the last chapter, I wanted it to be my best chapter. Hope you enjoyed it, especially since it's so long! Now, onto more important matters since this is the last chapter to Possession.
If you have read The Final Lullaby, then you know what to do for this final chapter.
All I ask is that you give me an honest critique on the story. Tell me what you liked and disliked, what I need to improve on as a writer. I plan on being a novelist, so writing fanfics is kind of a learning experience for me. Anything you have to say is welcome and appreciated as long as it's something within the guidelines I gave a few lines up.
Thank you for reading and being patient with every update, and I will say that again when I reply to your reviews.
Thank you so, so, so much! You guys are awesome, especially those who have been reviewing! You reviewers are the best!
Thank you again!