Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto

A/N: I'm so sorry for this long overdue!! Well, notice that I'm having time-lapses in this chapter coz some readers wanted to know what happened to Hinata in the present time. Sorry if its pretty crappy, but had to get this out soon…..and Happy New Year to everyone!!

Warning: Bad language, bad grammar….


Recap:

"AHEM!!!" both older patriarch were trying to catch their wives' attention.

"Do you mind??" Fugaku demanded.

"What is it Fugaku??" Mikoto looked irritated. "And don't you try to ruin my fun! There hasn't been a wedding in the family for ages! And I'm simply dying to have grandchildren!!"

Everyone in the room blushed at the word 'grandchildren'.

Hinata could feel dizziness coming back to her now. Hanabi's grip on her arms tightened as her sister hissed, "Don't you dare to faint this time, Nee-chan!"

"Didn't you two forget something?" Hiashi was the one who asked.

"Forget about what, darling?" Karura asked, striking an irritated pose.

"Which Uchiha you want to marry Hinata off to?" Hiashi asked. Everyone turned to look at Itachi and Sasuke.


CHAPTER 4: ONE SWEET MISERY

"Hinata-chan!!" Ino glomped at her petite friend.

"Ohayou Ino-chan!" Hinata smiled, putting on her mittens and pulled out a tray of wonderful smelling muffins.

"Ohhhhhh!!" Ino inhaled the wonderfully sweet smelling muffins dreamily. "Can I have one??" Her striking blue eyes looked pleadingly at her bestfriend.

"Of course Ino-chan! I'll give you more if you want," Hinata smiled. "And I made your favourite custard puffs too."

Ino screamed happily and rubbed her cheeks against Hinata's. "I'm so glad I don't have any photoshoot until next two months!! You're super awesome Hina-chan!!" Then Ino looked at Hinata. "So, what's the occasion for?"

Hinata blushed slightly whilst biting her lower lip in such nervous manner.

"Our Hina-chan is going off to meet her future in-laws, Ino," Tenten grinned wickedly, leaning against the door of the kitchenway.

"Nooooooooooooooooo……." Ino's sapphire blue eyes widened in surprise and then turned her pretty little blonde head sharply at Hinata. "You got a boyfriend and didn't tell me about it?? Why Hina-chan!!!" Ino flushed angrily and at the same time she pouted like a spoilt child.

"Eehh…" Hinata flustered. "You…you misunderstood Ino-chan!! Tenten-chan!!" Hinata panicked. "Mou…Tenten-chan…"

"Why nobody isn't telling me anything??" Ino sulks.

"Its an arranged thing, Ino. Nothing serious," Tenten laughed at her two bestfriends.

Hinata blushed even more. "Are…aren't you…going to…to..help Neji…nii-san, Ten-chan?"

"He's still looking for all those things in his list, no worries."

"Oh no you're not going to change the subject matter, Hyuuga Hinata. You better tell me what happen or I swear you're not going out of his house until you do!" Ino has her hands on her hips and glared.

Hinata sweatdropped.

Ding dong!

Hinata sighed in relief. Saved by the bell….

Ding dong! The doorbell rang again.

"I'll get it!!" Ino got up from the kitchen high stool and opened the door. "Well, how may I help you, handsome?"

"I'm looking for….Hyuuga…Hinata?"

"Ohh!! Are you single and available? Only single and available are allowed to enter," Ino winked at the tall, handsome young man in a ponytail.

"Well, you could say I'm quite attached to the owner of this humble apartment," Itachi winked back. "So, are you going to invite me in?" he asked smoothly, smirking his dazzling handsome smile.

Ino's heart almost skipped several beats there until Hinata broke the trance Ino was kept under.

Oh Kami….this man is…dangerously…..hot!! Ino breathed to herself.

"Ino, who is there?" Hinata asked, poking her head out from the kitchen door.

"So, answer my question first?"

"Which one?"

"Did I ask more than one question?" Ino thought for a moment. "Oh nevermind, c'mon in. Hinata-chan just finished baking some muffins and other sinfully delicious goodies!"

"Aahh…," he smiled and stepped in.

Tenten who held a hockey helmet dropped it instantaneously when she saw the tall handsome man entering the apartment. He wore a simple red silk shirt unbuttoned at the top leaving a part of his smooth pale chest exposed for the women to drool over. His long sleeves were rolled up to his elbows and the girls noticed how strong his forearms looked.

Oh Kami…... Ino thought.

Can a man be more beautiful….. Tenten shook her head, checking out the tall specimen of a man.

"Oh….hello there," Hinata looked a little shy and brought out a large picnic basket.

"Are you going to introduce me to your friends, Hinata?" the tall man walked towards Hinata and helped her with the basket. Both Ino and Tenten noticed how smooth the tall gorgeous man slid his hands up to the small of her back, getting the shy girl to blush at the contact.

"Ne, Ino-chan….Tenten-chan….this is U…Uchiha I…Itachi," Hinata bashfully introduced.

Itachi looked down at the petite young woman beside him, "You don't have to be shy around me, Hinata."

The blonde and brunette noticed the lack of suffix behind Hinata's name.

"A..anou…"

Itachi touched her head with his right hand and smiled at the two stunned women. "I'm Uchiha Itachi, future fiancé to Hinata. I am pleased to meet you both," he bowed slightly. Obviously observing the social etiquette required when introducing oneself.

"I'm Yamaguchi Tenten and this is Yamanaka Ino. We're Hinata-chan's bestfriends since school and its so nice to finally meet you too!" Tenten bowed and so did Ino.

"Oh? Hinata has talked about me?" Itachi looked surprised.

"Yeah, about ten minutes before you arrived," Tenten gave a dry look.

Itachi laughed. "It is nice to meet some of your friends, beloved," Itachi said, putting his arms around the crimson looking young woman who is on the verge of hyperventilating.

"I don't think…." Ino said.

"…that's a good idea." Tenten added.

"It would be better if you were to take your grimy, slimy, dirty hands off her, U-chi-ha," Neji said icily, appearing from the bedroom corridor.

Hinata gasped.

Ino looked surprised.

Tenten rolled her eyes upwards.

"And why is that, Hyuuga?" Itachi looked slightly amuse. "We all know that Hinata is going to be my wife."

Hinata blushed furiously, head bowed down, obviously afraid to look at everyone's expression.

Neji's eyes narrowed and he strode over, pulling his baby cousin into his embrace. Holding her close to him, Neji almost snarled at the taller man.

"Not yet….Uchiha," Neji growled. "As long as she is not married and not attached to anyone, I have the right to protect her as her cousin and guardian. And you," Neji pointed at him. "Keep your perverted hands off her, and tell your equally perverted bastard of a brother to do the same."

Ino, Tenten and Hinata could feel the rising enmity and tension thick in the air between the two men.

"Ne, Nii-san," Hinata murmured, putting a hand on Neji's muscled chest. "Its okay, he…he..won't do…any…harm to…me."

"You expect me to believe that, Hina?" Neji's voice softened, then he frowned at Itachi. "Make sure you bring her back accordingly," he sounded threateningly before adding, "….and in the same state as she did when she left the house. Untouched."

Itachi smirked slyly.

"Neji!!" Both Ino and Tenten yelled at him.

"What??" Neji was annoyed. He could never understand how his baby cousin could make friends with a harpy and banshee.

"Hinata is old enough to know how to take care of herself," Tenten began.

"And stop treating her like she's a baby!" Ino glared at Neji. Turning around to look at Hinata and Itachi. "Okay, you two go and have some fun there! And no worries, we'll make sure everything is fine here."

"I'll make sure Hinata here is safe…" Itachi smirked, putting his arm around her shoulders, purposely provoking the highly aggravated Neji. "….with me."

"Uchiha…" Neji snarled. Ino and Tenten each took Neji's side and held him away.

"Neji-nii," Hinata chided her cousin lightly. Pulling away from Itachi, she approached her hostile-looking cousin. "I'll be alright, don't worry about me, ne Nii-san?" She touched his cheeks gently.

"Hai?" Neji immediately turned putty in Hinata's hands.

"Don't forget," she reminded him.

Neji sighed deeply, scrunching his shoulders. "Don't worry Hina-chan, I'll look after things here. Although I'd rather much preferred to accompany you," throwing a glare at the amused Uchiha heir. "I just don't trust others when it comes to your safety, Hinata."

Both Ino and Tenten rolled their eyes in exasperation.

"Sometimes Neji takes it to extreme," Tenten muttered drily.

"You bet it," Ino agreed.

Hinata smiled slightly and kissed her cousin's cheeks, "Itachi-kun will take good care of me. Don't worry Nii-san, you worry too much."

"Just because she said that, it doesn't mean you can take advantage over her, Uchiha."

"You don't have to worry about me, Hyuuga. I'll protect her, even from my horny little brother."

Neji bared his teeth at the mention of the younger Uchiha son. "Just because Hinata trust you, it doesn't mean I do, Uchiha. I'm still keeping my eyes on you. Or better yet, why don't I just follow the two of you…"

"Neji!!" Tenten and Ino yelled at the same time.

"Stop being so bloody over-protective!" Tenten smack him in the arm and looked apologetically at Hinata's one shot of happiness.

"Sorry about that, Itachi-kun," Ino apologized to Itachi. "Neji tend to get into that 'guard dog' mode every time he feels Hinata is in some sort of danger or something. We think he hangs out too much with Kiba and Akamaru."

"I. Am. Not. A. Mutt." Neji objected vehemently, ignoring the giggles from Tenten and Ino.

"Have you checked your list yet?" Tenten changed the subject, hoping to divert the tension to a lesser one.

"Hn," Neji handed her the list.

"Cross-check again," Hinata said, looking from Tenten's shoulder. "I don't want anything to happen to Nii-san like….the last time."

"Last time?" Itachi seated himself at one of Hinata's comfy looking sofa.

"Hai. He was injured so badly that he had fifteen stitches just to close his wound," Hinata explained, walking back into the kitchen.

Ino started to laugh. "Yup! You ought to see Neji fi…."

"Shut up Ino," Neji growled when Tenten helped him put on the protective vest and shoulder pads. "You don't have to tell him about that stupid…"

"Shut up Neji!" Tenten retorted, smacking the back of the Hyuuga alpha male's head. "And let's get this done and over with or else Hinata won't be able to leave in peace without knowing everything will be fine."

Neji glared at the tall athletic-looking Tenten, "You're not helping much Tenten."

Tenten grinned maliciously, "Anything to annoy the very Hyuuga in you, Neji-kun!"

Ino giggled.

Looking into his check-list with utmost distaste. "Crash helmet?" he asked.

"Check," Tenten replied coolly.

"Gloves?"

"Check."

"Knee-pads?"

"Check."

"Leg-guards?"

"Check."

"Chest pads?"

"Check."

"Boots?"

"Check."

"Isn't it a little too hot to play ice hockey, Hyuuga?" Itachi frowned slightly, wondering if Neji has lost his mind.

"Oh, he isn't going to play ice hockey, Ita-chi-san," Ino winked at him.

Neji was muttering to himself when Tenten clasped the protective guards around Neji's legs. "I most certainly did not volunteer myself for this, but because Hinata needs me and that's why I'm doing this." Neji said a little proudly.

"Yeah, yeah," Tenten replied drily. "Just admit it, Neji. You're such a lapdog when it comes to Hinata-chan, ne??"

Neji twitched.

Itachi sweatdropped.

"Bu…but….you lost the bet, Nii-san" Hinata came out from the kitchen, carrying a glass of juice for Itachi.

"Really?? I would've thought he was going to war or something," Itachi said, sipping his juice. "So, who is he fighting? Muhammad Ali? Mr T? Hulk Hogan?"

All the girls looked at each other and started laughing their heads off.

"Not even close enough!" Tenten laughed out loud, followed by Ino. Even Hinata giggled a little.

"Gomen Neji-niisan, but…but…Tenten-chan is…funny," Hinata apologized to her grumpy looking cousin, all decked up as if he's playing hockey but without the hockey stick.

Ino's blue eyes twinkled, "Oh, he's going to give Chibinaru a bath."

Itachi raised an eyebrow, looking somewhat…amused.

"A fat lazy orange tabby cat," Neji replied in distaste. "Weighs like a baby elephant who has an appetite akin to a black hole and a lousy disposition like a pregnant gorilla."

The girls tried to stifle their laughter, but it wasn't working.

Itachi looked slightly baffled until he turn to look at the girls for answer.

"Hinata's cat," Tenten laughed.

"And?" Itachi couldn't be more than amused by now.

"They simply loathe each other," Tenten smiled. "Whenever Neji tried to get closer to him, Chibinaru will start to glare and hiss at him." Tenten made hissing sound around the rather pissed-off looking Neji.

"Yeah, and the funniest part is when Neji hissed back!!" Ino laughed.

"I most certainly do not!!" Neji objected when Tenten placed the helmet on his head with a thud.

"Alrighty Sir Neji! You're battle armour is complete! Now, go find your fatty, orangey dragon and try dragooning him to his bubble bath!" Tenten replied in an offhandedly manner, further pissing off the long-haired Hyuuga. "I'll go and prepare the bath. You go and get your little orangey nightmare."

"I hate that cat," Neji replied coldly, turning around and walked slowly with all the heavy gears on him. "Now, where is that stupid fat cat?"

Meeoowwww….

Everyone kept silent.

"I hate that cat…" Neji muttered all the way, looking for the orangey tabby who was oblivious that it was his bath day. "I hate Naruto more for giving Hinata that fucking cat."

MRRREEOOWWWWW!!! HISS….HISSS!! MRRRROOWW……HISS….

"I fucking hate you too!!" Neji yelled back in one of the bedrooms.

Itachi made a mental note on Chibinaru and chuckled to himself as he could hear the very sound of battle cry between man and cat.


"I'm so glad you can make it, Hinata-chan!!" Mikoto exclaimed happily, kissing Hinata on both cheeks. "Oh my, you look ravishing!" The Uchiha matriarch appraised the bluenette in front of her and apparently trying very hard to contain her excitement.

Hinata blushed slightly. Not used to the attention, she pushed a lock of hair behind her left ear shyly.

"Awww….my daughter is already so shy??" Mikoto crushed the girl in her arms whilst thinking about the grandchildren she will have with Hinata as her daughter.

"Mother, I think you're suffocating her," Itachi pointed out at the wriggling Hinata.

"Oh, I'm so sorry my dear," Mikoto giggled. Exciting at the prospect of spending more time with her future daughter in-law, but what was more exciting were that her sons response to this gentle petite young woman!

Mikoto have always been worried about her two sons. Two. Single. Not. Dating. Sons.

Itachi was always fooling around and never serious with any girls more than a week. Notorious for his 'player' status, Mikoto would worry that he would never settle down. But the most worry goes not to Itachi, but to her youngest boy, Sasuke.

Mikoto would never thought Sasuke will respond to any living female. She was worried that he might turned out…well….gay.

But thank the heavens, it proved all wrong when they caught him making out with the shy girl. Mikoto almost screamed in exultation at that time, but carefully brought herself not to. All because of her polite upbringing she refrained herself from being over-excited. Uchiha Mikoto almost could not contain her over-excitement everytime she thought about it.

This time, no one and she meant nobody on this planet is going to stop her from being a grandmother. Even if it kills her, she will not let anything happen to that little chance she is hoping for.

Smiling jovially, Uchiha Mikoto now can finally stop worrying about not having grandchildren. Oh yes…. Mikoto grinned. She is going to make sure the whole world will witness the grandest wedding of the century!


Hinata blinked at the Uchiha matriarch, who seemed to have this gloating expression on her face. Turning to Itachi for answers, he gave her one of his dashing smiles and whispered closely to her ears, "She's thinking about our wedding, my beloved."

Hinata gasped, eyes widened in disbelief. "Is..Isn't it…rather…early to decide…such matters?"

Itachi chuckled, "What if it is?"

Hinata blinked at him. "What if what?"

Itachi beamed at her. "You really have no idea what am I talking about, aren't you?"

"Is it that obvious?" Hinata asked back. "Don't you feel you…you're rushing….too fast…in this, Itachi-kun?"

"Do you think we're moving too fast?"

She nodded.

"I don't think so, Hinata."

"But….we…we're not in love!"

Itachi pulled her hand and proceeded to drag her off towards another direction, he totally ignored the looks others gave them and the whispers amongst the womenfolk. And particularly, a sinister dark look observing the two of them.


"Awww…won't you look at them," Mikoto clucked. "They are so perfect for each other, ne? Ne?"

"Itachi has made his move," Fugaku looked on grimly.

"I wonder where is, Sasu-chan?" Mikoto wondered about her youngest son.

"He's right over there," Fugaku pointed high up on a tree branch.

Mikoto gasped. "What is he doing up there?? Fugaku! Tell him to come down now!"

"Mikoto, he is a young man. He knows what he is doing. Besides, you've baby-ed him too much. How is he going to be a man if you keep on coddling him like a child? Look what happened to Itachi."

"Fugaku!!" Mikoto whined.

Fugaku sighed. He hated it when Mikoto whined. "Come now dear, the guests needs to be entertained," Fugaku motioned his wife away from what he thinks is going to happen.

Sensing his wife slight distress, Fugaku pulled her closely, "I remembered Hiashi mentioned that Hinata have always dreamed of a garden wedding. Perhaps you would like to get the gardens ready for the moment, dear."

Mikoto's eyes went wide and excitement now filled her face once again. "Oh yes!! The roses and lilies definitely need a little more around the lake, ne? And of course I have to get rid of all the weeds around the…."

Fugaku grinned at his wife's giddy excitement at organizing a future wedding for their son, whilst turning back slightly, he nearly laughed out loud when he noticed the look on his youngest boy's face.

Sasuke was scowling darkly whilst looking at his older brother and future intended.

May the best man win, my sons….. Fugaku hoped, for either of his sons.


"Whe…where are you…taking me…Itachi-kun?"

Itachi did not answer her and they kept on going.

"Ne…Itachi-kun."

"We're here."

"Huh?" Hinata looked around her. It was nothing around her but trees, bushes and a little stream running through. The tinkling sound of water provides a soothing rhythm, the sound of nature at its most tranquil state. To Hinata, it was music, a gift from Mother Nature.

How Hinata loved the beauty of nature, filled with vibrant colours and soothing sounds that calms one soul. Inhaling deep the fresh air of greeneries, Hinata smiled serenely to herself.

"Isn't it beautiful here?" he asked, not looking at her.

Hinata turned to face him, noticing for the first time his expression differ from the Itachi she knew half an hour ago. In place of the playful and sarcastic one she knew was somebody else. He exuded a calm and serene look, as if he was….dreaming?

Observing him closely, he has high cheekbones with clear pale complexion. His eyes, dark and large and most of the time sparkling with life when he teasing her. His nose, beautifully shaped, fits perfectly unto the perfectly sculpted face. His lips slightly thick and pink, arching beautifully whenever he smile, giving Hinata the goosebumps she has never felt before. Can a man be more beautiful when he smiles?

Then, his hair, gosh….his long gorgeous hair, all glossy ebony black like black silky satin trailing down his back almost rivaled her beloved cousin's beautiful locks. Hinata's fingers gingerly inching itself to touch the soft sleek locks belonging to the beautiful pale young man beside her.

"This is my private sanctuary," Itachi said, dropping himself unto the grassy bank and lay down. Enjoying the peace of chirping birds and running water of the stream, Itachi closed his eyes. He looked so much at peace with nature, blending right in so naturally.

Hinata dropped to the ground and joined him by his side. "I like it….here."

"Hn." Itachi agreed.

Both enjoyed the peace between them until Itachi broke the silence. "Why do you agree to this, Hinata?"

"Huh?"

"I mean, you don't have to marry either one of us. You could fight for what you want."

"I don't know."

"What you don't know?" Itachi asked, turning to face her. Leaning on his side, his dark gaze fell upon the young woman who have captured his family by heart. "Don't you know what you want in your life?"

"I know…that I like to bake," she admitted.

Itachi blinked and then he laughed.

"What's so funny?" she pouted slightly.

"I have yet to meet a woman who told me that she chose baking over love!"

Hinata blinked and she laughed at her own silliness. "I sound…silly."

"No, you're not," Itachi grinned. "Women always wanted love, to fall in love, to be in love. Yet, they don't know what love actually is." His tone was sarcastic. "Love to them is like the colour pink. Full of chocolates and soft toys, but do they know what love actually is?" he questioned.

"And you….do?" she looked a little surprised.

"What do you think?" he taunted her.

She blushed slightly. "I think….to you…love is pain, and pain is love. Loving someone too much….is painful to….."

Itachi gazed intently at her, wanting to know what were her thoughts, until she turned away from his heated gaze. "Please don't stop for my account, Hinata. I'd like to know what do you mean by that."

Hinata turned around, biting her lower lip and trying to gather enough courage to say what have been bothering her all this time.

"I feel that…you're hiding something, Itachi-kun."

Itachi's gazed deepened.

"I don't know why, but just now…when you were enjoying the beauty of this place, I thought I saw a different…Itachi. Someone so…calm, so at peace with himself, very unlike the Itachi I knew before. Only someone who has much love could feel such pain and happiness at the same time."

"And you think I have that much of love and happiness?" his tone went sarcastic.

"I think you don't want anyone to think so," she continued. "I think…you can love, very much Itachi-kun but you're afraid."

"Afraid?" Itachi puffed. "What do I have to be afraid of, Hinata-chan?" Wanting to know more.

"You're afraid to….be in love, Itachi-kun."

Itachi stunned.

"You love with passion and relentless of everything. You love your family deeply and they're first in your…heart. You love women and the challenges in pursuing them, like a hunter after a prey. You love doing what you do with your work and you're so full of passion. You're very different from your brother."

"How do you know so much about my family, Hinata? We only met like…a few days ago?"

"You did not defy your parents."

Itachi seemed so surprise that Hinata did not notice his stunned expression.

"Obedience plays a key importance between a child and his parents and love for our parents which made us obey to their requests."

"I guess you love your family that much as well, but why did you leave your rightful inheritance?"

It was Hinata's turn to look surprised. "Are we having…some sort of counseling session, Itachi-kun?"

"Before an arranged marriage, it would be nice to know more about my future spouse, Hinata. Don't you think so?" he winked at her.

Hinata laughed. "I guess you're right," she agreed. Pulling her legs up and rests her head on her knees, she began telling him.

"I love my family, in their chaotic and dysfunctional way, I still care for them. But I know I won't make a good leader if I stayed on. My sister would make greater alliances and she's a whole lot smarter than I am. Neji-niisan is very much admired by the Council with his brilliance despite his past. I decided to make way for them, not to be a burden." Hinata held her tears at bay, remembering her painful childhood and the self-sacrifice she made.

"Love is pain."

"How true," she smiled back at him.

Itachi now understood how she knew so much about him. They almost had similar experience, and that was why she could understand what he was going through.

"Everyone in the clan relied on me," he started. "And everyone is confident that by having me around, and nothing could possibly go wrong. I am like this perfect Uchiha Heir that everyone talks about. Sasuke, my little brother is younger than me by a couple of years, and the way they treated him differs greatly than how I was treated. My little brother, he has so much in him. So much potential…..but was cast aside because he wasn't the heir."

"You felt his pain?"

Itachi nodded, continuing. "He never spoke about it, but I know. I can see what it is doing to him. I want my brother to be more than he is now and…I'm proud of him, Hinata."

"He is your brother."

"Yeah," Itachi grinned. "He was always around me, following me around and couldn't care less about how others think when he's with me. Because brothers always stay together."

Hinata could feel the love between the brothers greatly. How she wished her sister was like that, to be able to share their feelings and support one another. But Hanabi was different, she is the complete opposite to her own sister.

"I want him to be better, I want him to be stronger…." Itachi murmured softly, but with a strong emphasis he added, "…and he can't be better and stronger if I am around." He sighed and played with a small twig. "That was why I took my life around carelessly, wondering aimlessly, fooling around with my friends, hoping that he would snap up and take the lead without having me to guide him. He needs to do this himself."

"He is really lucky to have you."

"So is your sister."

"I don't think so," Hinata smiled. "She is a natural leader."

"So is my Otouto, but he needs a little push to realize that."

"You know, Itachi-kun, I envy you," Hinata smiled warmly, feeling somewhat at peace with the man beside her. "You….you'll make a good…husband."

"Thank you, Hinata," he smiled back. "I'm glad we had this talk."

"Hai," she giggled. "So, are you going to pursue me in order for your brother to try and step up?"

Itachi thought for a moment. "This time, I don't think so," he chuckled. "I think I'd like to keep this one to myself."

Hinata blushed at his comments.

"You…you're too charming…for your own good, Itachi-kun."

"Like a prince charming?" Itachi laughed. "I don't mind holding that title just for you, Hinata."

"This world certainly need a little of those, Itachi-kun. A little dose of fairytale and fantasy."

Itachi laughed. "Why would they need something so unrealistic, Hinata?" He pulled her closer to him. "How about me being your 'King' instead?"

Hinata pouts, "You can't be…King yet, Itachi-kun. You…you…need to go through proper…channels."

Itachi couldn't believe his ears. "You're being ridiculous now, you know."

Hinata huffs childishly and added, "Its my fairytale life, and I get the final say."

"Its too much bureaucracy here," he argued. "Lets cut the red tapes and go straight to the point, ne?"

Hinata shook her head. "But…but…I want to be courted!"

Itachi sighed. "Okay okay, I rest my case, Your Highness."

"Yeayy!!" she clapped her hands happily.

"Does that mean you'll go on a date with me?" Itachi looked hopefully.

"Mou…I have to give equal opportunities….to your…brother too."

Smirking sexily, he asked her huskily, "Okay, to make things easier for you, who do you think kisses better? Me or my Otouto?"

Hinata kept on staring at his lips, and blushed crimson at the thought of them, she shook her head vigorously, trying to forget the most embarrassing moment of her life when she was caught twice with two different men at two different place right on the same day!

"You like my lips better, Hinata?" he murmured softly, slowly murmuring the words as Hinata's gaze locked to his lips movement. Blushing furiously, Hinata was horrified at herself. For thinking lustily at Itachi's red..hot…lips….on her neck….

Itachi noticed Hinata's expression, just chuckled to himself. "I'm glad you like my lips, Hinata."

Hinata could not help but turn away from him and bit her lips in embarrassment. "You….you..just assume, Itachi-kun."

"But I wasn't wrong now, was I Hinata?"

Hinata pout slightly, hating the fact that he was right.

Itachi leaned on his side, resting his head on his hand, supported by his elbow. He played with the end of her longish hair.

"You have beautiful hair."

"Thank….you."

"I mean it."

"You have…beautiful hair…too."

Itachi laughed.

Hinata looked perturbed, turning to face her prospective fiancé. "What's so funny?"

"This!" Itachi lay on his back now, hands behind his head.

"I don't…find it…funny."

Itachi's dark gaze bore right into her. "You're indeed a unique young woman, Hyuuga Hinata. You never cease to amaze me. You understood me in and out without having to play along like the other women I have by my side. You're real. Deep down, in and out, you're real and also my fantasy princess."

Hinata cocked her head aside cutely. "I…I…don't understand…what you…mean, Itachi-kun."

"I mean, you're pretty innocent and naïve, that you don't understand the worldly ways of flirting."

Hinata frowns, "So, what you're saying is that, I'm pretty stupid and naïve to be taken advantage of? Is that what you're trying to say to me?"

"No." Itachi shook his head.

Hinata blushed slightly. "I know I am….quiet…naïve and…clueless with the world of men, but I will…not be taken…so lightly."

"Point taken."

"Thank you."

A brief moment of silence permeated the air between them.

"So, was it your first kiss?" he asked all of a sudden.

Hinata blushed again. "Hai."

"Aahhh…" Itachi grinned. "I'm a lucky man, aren't I?"

"You don't expect me to answer that, do…you?" Hinata looked slightly horrified.

"No," Itachi chuckled. "So, how many children would you like to have?"

"Itachi-kun!!!" Hinata placed her hands over her flushed cheeks, wholly embarrassed to be asked such personal question. "I won't…answer that…question! Its too….too….personal!"

"What's too personal about, Hinata? I'd like to have little girls and boys running around the house," he grinned. "Don't you like children?"

"Of…course…I do," she smiled shyly, thinking about the number of children she would be having. Hinata have always dreamed of having a big family, with lots of children to love and care for. Stealing glances at Itachi, Hinata could envisioned herself surrounded by dark-haired children and mixed eye colours running around, crying and laughing.

Will I be happy with Itachi-kun? Hinata asked herself. Is there a chance that…he..might….ah well…... She sighed, wondering the possibilities of her future.

"I know what you're thinking, Hinata," Itachi took her hand in his. "Though it may be quite early to determine, but I don't mind this chance."

"We barely know each….other." She hesitated slightly.

"Some fairytale love stories work after arranged marriages."

"Such as?"

"Sleeping Beauty?"

Hinata giggled. "That's different, Itachi-kun. What I meant, in real life."

"Aaahhh….look whose talking about reality," Itachi smirked knowingly. "Who was the one who advocated 'fantasy and love' a while ago?"

"Alright, I rest my case," Hinata giggled again. She seemed to be much more at ease with Itachi, and surprisingly, she liked it.

"We will be married soon, and I promise you that, we will try to make this work. You may not fall in love with me now, but I'll be working on it," Itachi said, pulling her hands closer and kissed them. "Though I may not be your ideal prince charming, but I bet on Chibinaru that our marriage will be one that you have always dreamed about."

Hinata blushed and giggled at the same time. "Why bringing in Chibinaru?"

"Well, for one," Itachi grinned. "That cat and I are going to be the best of friends since we both have a common enemy…."

"Itachi-kun!!" Hinata gasped, horrified at the thought of how it will look bad on her cousin.

Itachi pulled her into his arms, cradling her softly. They both looked very much at ease with each other.

"Hinata, we will have lots of children…"

"I don't think so, Aniki."

Both Itachi and Hinata turned to the voice which interrupted their conversation.

"Hello Otouto-chan," Itachi smirked slyly.

Sasuke scowled at his older brother. "Hello to you, Onii-chan." Sasuke replied icily, before turning to look at the young woman sitting beside his older brother. "And also to you, Hinata."

Hinata sweatdropped at the two rivaling brothers. "Oh dear…"


Time: Present (from the Prologue)

"See you tomorrow, Akane-san!" Hinata said to her colleague as she waved goodbye.

"See you tomorrow, Hinata-chan!" a rather plump and cheerful looking woman in her early forties replied, waving goodbye to the very pregnant Hinata.

Trudging down the street walk, Hinata placed one of her mitten-covered hand on her large swelling belly and hummed slowly until she reached a small grocery store which wasn't far from her apartment block.

Despite feeling rather exhausted, Hinata was beaming with pride. The sole purpose of her happiness……her twin children.

Picking up necessary items for the house, Hinata looked at the two large bags tiredly. A wisp of her dark locks came free from its hold as she sighed in frustration.

"Hinata-chan, do you need help with that?" A rather portly middle-aged woman asked. "I'll get Tobi to help you, ne?" She offered and called out to the store boy.

"Arigatou Emiko-san!" Hinata smiled gratefully at the older woman. Emiko smiled gently at the very pregnant Hinata.

"Its nothing, Hinata-chan. Besides, Tobi likes best if he can help around and I don't think he'll mind helping you."

A rather teenaged looking boy with dark raven black spiky hair and red coloured eyes came up.

"You called for Tobi, Emiko-san?" Tobi asked, wiping his hands onto his apron and smiled at Hinata. "Konbawa Hinata-san!" He waved at her ecstatically.

"Tobi-kun," Emiko said. "Could you help Hinata-chan with her groceries? I don't think Hina-chan can carry all that groceries in her condition."

"Arigatou Emiko-san!" Hinata bowed slightly in appreciation. Thanking the thoughtful store owner for being very kind to her.

"You're welcome, Hina-chan!" Emiko smiled back and then she sighed, looking at the two figures walking down the lane. "Poor Hina-chan, raising her child all by herself," Emiko shook her head and sighed restlessly, picking up the ringing phone.

"Hai, she is being escorted by Tobi," she said into the phone.

-------------&&&--------------

When they finally reached Hinata's little apartment, Tobi laid down the paperbags on the kitchen counter where Chibinaru was sitting.

"Here you go, Hinata-san!" Tobi said happily.

"Arigatou Tobi-kun," Hinata thanked softly as she took out something from her sling bag. "Here, something from me. I hoped you liked it."

Hinata really liked Tobi. His sunny and happy-go-lucky nature reminded her of her good friend, Naruto and she always felt at ease whenever Tobi's around.

The first time she saw Tobi, she'd nearly had a heart attack because Tobi so resembled someone close and dear to her. But after spending time with Tobi, she was very certain that Tobi is not a Uchiha.

Hinata giggled, thinking about how impossible for Tobi to be a Uchiha when all Uchiha men are stoic and impassive except for one. Hinata sighed sadly.

Tobi smiled and looked into the paper bag Hinata handed to him. "Sugoi!!! Arigatou Hinata-san! Tobi like 'em!"

"You're welcome, Tobi-kun!" Hinata beamed and took a seat by the kitchen counter. "Just fresh out of the oven when I left the bakery, I hope you like it."

"Egg tarts! Of course Tobi like 'em! If Tobi have chance, Tobi wanna go to da bakery and watch Hinata-san make more yummy egg tarts!" Tobi grinned then he looked at Hinata with worry etched on his face. "Don't you a wantin' some, Hinata-san?"

Hinata smiled gently as she got up from her seat and placed her bag down on the sofa. "Its alright Tobi-kun, I had enough of egg tarts today, besides, Chibinaru needs to go on a diet and he's getting fatter now," she went and scratched Chibinaru behind his ears but instead, earning a little growl from the fat orangey tabby.

Tobi looked up at her innocently and asked, "How about your baby, Hina-san? Is it well?"

Hinata smiled gently as she sat on her couch and touched her swelling belly lightly as she laughed. "Well Tobi-kun, to let you know, I'll be having twins!"

"T..T…Twins!!" Tobi's eyes widened in amazement. "Hinata-san is going to have twins!?" He exclaimed louder this time. "YEAAYY!! HINATA-SAN IS GOING TO HAVE TWINS!"

"Hai!" Hinata laughed, feeling somewhat glad to share the news with someone. "It is hard when they like kick you in seven different places!"

"Congratulations Hinata-san!!" Tobi ran excitedly to the young pregnant mother and knelt before her. "Ca…can…Tobi??" He asked as he raised his right hand and eyes pointing towards her pregnant tummy.

Hinata cocked her head aside and smiled gently at his childish nature. She took hold of Tobi's hand and guides it towards her extended belly.

Tobi was all mesmerized when Hinata placed his hand on her large belly. A few seconds later, he could feel a gentle kick right under his palm.

Tobi's eyes went wide in amazement, feeling the life growing under Hinata's belly was something he hadn't felt for a long time……

"Domo arigatou Hinata-san!" Tobi smiled softly, his expression softened, unlike his child-like outburst he was famous for, took Hinata by surprise. For she has never heard Tobi sound more serious before and looking at another way, she was certain that Tobi looked far more mature than his age.

Surprised that everything was rather silent, Tobi blinked at Hinata and realized something, "And if Hinata-san needed anythin', jes call on Tobi, yeah?"

"Hai, arigatou Tobi-kun."

"Sayonara Hina-san!" Tobi ran out and Hinata went to close the door and locked it.

Meowwwww! Chibinaru was meowing from where he was sitting as he got up and poked his head into the paperbags, indicating he wanted the kitty chow he saw.

"No Chibinaru!" Hinata lightly slap Chibinaru's head off from the paperbags and took out a small can of sardines and Chibinaru was meowing non-stop. Frisking with excitement when he caught the smell of fresh canned sardines filled the kitchen.

Smiling gently, Hinata poured out the contents into Chibinaru's bowl and the fat orangey tabby was grasping the bowl like it was going to run away!

"Chibinaru! You're more like Chouji-kun than Naruto-kun, do you know that?" Hinata laughed at her cat's antics while the orange tabby just ignored her and continue to chow time.

With her energy, Hinata heaved herself off the kitchen chair, she strode carefully towards her small comfy living room and played her CD stereo. Clicking the keys of her CD player, Hinata smiled when the gentle melody of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata filled her small apartment. Seating herself down on her old worn-out sofa, Hinata lift her tired legs up and lay down. Touching her swelling belly gently, asking softly, "How about this song, my babies? Do you like it?" She stroked her belly gently.

"My mother, who is your grandmother used to play this song when I was a very little. Before Hanabi-chan was born."

Hinata could not help the feeling of hot tears gathering in her eyes.

"Ouch," Hinata gasped as she could feel her twins kicking in her womb. Hinata smiled and at the same time, wiping her tears away. "Hey, mama is fine. You don't have to kick alright my babies?"

Then Hinata could feel a soft kick, and she could not help but cry more. It was not because of her unborn children, but the thought of how much he had hurt her that caused her to flee.

What can I do when they want to know about their father? Hinata thought painfully, as more hot tears coursed down her cheeks.

"I'm so sorry my babies," Hinata murmured, hugging her swelling belly.

-------------&&&--------------

Sighing deeply, Tobi dredged himself down the stairs and almost collided with a dark-haired man carrying a large box. Mumbling his apologies, Tobi quickly descend the stairs and ran out of the apartment block and into a dark alley.

Running down from Hinata's apartment, Tobi turned around the corner into a dark alleyway. Looking out for any unwanted presence, he took out an earpiece and plugged it into his ears and a small PDA look-alike equipment. He flipped it open and was instantly connected to a visual link.

"Tobi here, Tobi here. Reporting as usual," Tobi said softly.

Tobi! Where the hell were you, un! Konan was looking for you, yeah! Tobi nearly went deaf when the other person yelled in response.

Rubbing his ears painfully, Tobi murmured, "Gomen-ne Deidara-senpai!" Tobi apologised, scratching his head absently. "Tobi just got back from Hinata-san's apartment and now reporting!"

Oh? Report now, Tobi. Another voice responded, it was female.

"Hai, Konan-san!" Tobi responded excitedly. "Our subject, which is Hinata-san is doing pretty well, and staying on the second floor seemed a bit tiring for her. But Tobi have been helping her out!" Tobi grinned.

Good, how about her condition? What about her children? Konan asked.

"She is doing well, but a bit tired, Konan-san," Tobi sounded worried. "And I do worry, her crying everyday is not good for her twins, Konan-san. And Tobi don't like it if Hina-san cries." Tobi's lips started to tremble.

Again? I guess her pregnancy must've made her more emotional than ever. Konan observed, her expression seemed marred by lines of worries. Keep your observation Tobi and help her as much as possible.

"Hai Konan-san! Tobi will help out as much as Tobi can! And Hinata-chan is so nice, giving Tobi some delicious egg tarts!"

WHAT!! She fuckin' gave you her egg tarts! What the fuck! Tat's just so fuckin' unfair! Another voice bellowed into Tobi's earpiece. Tobi nearly fainted from the impact.

Hidan…. Konan muttered darkly. Tobi could even feel Konan's killing aura.

Sorry!! Hidan apologised. And Tobi could hear Hidan swearing in the background about egg tarts and unfair.

Just do what you can do Tobi. And if there's any appearance from anyone else other than us, inform us soon.

"Hai Konan-san!" Tobi saluted and shut his radio and walked off while snacking on the delicious egg tarts Hinata had made. "Oiishiiiiii!! (1)"

-------------&&&--------------

"What do you mean you can't locate her??" Neji demanded hotly, throwing the brown coloured folder down. His pale eyes blazing with fury, and when Hyuuga Neji was pissed off, nobody in their right mind would want to go near. "You're all dismiss!"

Neji loosened his tie and threw himself onto his high-backed leather chair and looked at the photos on his table. "Hinata….where are you??"

Rrringgggg!!

Neji looked at his Nokia N-3000i. His pale eyes narrowed when he saw the word 'Uchiha Bastard No. 2' on it.

"What the hell you want, Bastard?" Neji hissed.

TBC


( 1 ) Oishii = delicious

A/N: I'm contemplating on having lemons in this story, but not sure.....let me know what do you guys think? Coz there are those who don't like lemons....thanx a million for those reviewed~