Disclaimer: Nah, I don't own Naruto. And I borrowed the chicken plushie from my dear cousin. But I own the plot!

Hey everyone. Sorry I haven't updated for a while, I sort of lost interest (and laziness) and then I got back on track again. Strange, huh?

Little bits of NejiHina in the first part, and some GaaHina in the ending parts of this chapter.

Change is Good, or is it? Chapter 9 starting right… now.


Hinata packed the last of her items in her bag. She made sure she brought what was most precious to her, a picture of herself and her friends, a picture of her family, and some other items she couldn't live without. Setting the straps of her backpack on her shoulders, she pulled her suitcase –with wheels and the Hyuuga family insignia, of course- down the stairs and into the halls. The entire Hyuuga family- all 47 people (They live in a compound. Doesn't that sound big? It reminds me of the zoo for some reason. And here we have the gorillas in Compound 5. And if you want to know why there are so many people in the family, I've got a lot of cousins. Lots of people to meet. I just assumed Hinata's family is big too.) were assembled there. Hinata took one look at them and burst in tears. The Hyuuga's, on the other hand, stood there rather dumbly.

"Hey, Neji-san, what do we do?" Hanabi nudged her cousin. Neji was a genius. Nothing ever fazed him. He'd fought Naruto with Kyuubi's power. But this-nothing ever prepared him for dealing with a crying infantile Hinata. He walked over to her and began awkwardly patting her shoulder.

"There there, Hinata-sama. It will be alright. You can send letters to us. Kazekage-sama will take care of you." Somehow, Neji managed to say all this looking dignified but still sympathetic. That was a feat only Neji –or maybe Shino- could have accomplished. Hinata threw her arms around her cousin and sobbed into his shoulder.

"Hinata –sniff- will miss her family –sniff- very much! Nyuu!" Hiashi patted her shoulder.

"Be a good daughter for me, Hinata. We will miss you too," he said kindly.

"Come on, sis. We'll still be there for you," Hanabi smiled. Hinata managed to smile wanly under her tears. Then the Hyuuga clan escorted Hinata –Hinata clinging to Neji for emotional support- to the gates of Konoha. Naruto, Kiba, and Shino were waiting there.

"Hey. Where is everyone else?" Neji asked them. Naruto shrugged.

"Eh, missions."

"Is Sasuke Chicken-kun coming, nyuu?" Hinata asked.

"Teme. He said he was busy." Kiba said this in a way that even the most oblivious person could tell that Kiba really meant Sasuke just didn't want to come. "Hinata-chan, you deserve someone better than Sasuke. He betrayed Konoha, for kami's sak-"

"Nyuuuuuuu!" Hinata buried her face in her hands and began tearing up. "Poor Chicken-kun is so busy he cannot even see his Hinata! Nyuu!" Obviously, she hadn't heard a word of Kiba's degrading of Sasuke. "Hinata wishes that she could stay to help her Chicken-kun!"

"Uh… yeah. See you soon, Hinata-chan," Kiba said. Hinata gave him a huge hug, making him flush.

"Shino-kun, take care of yourself and Shino-kun's bug friends, nyuu?"

"As you say, Hinata-chan." He gave her a quick hug. "Take care of yourself."

"Nyuu!"

"It's been great with you and all, Hinata-chan. Say hi to Gaara for me!" Naruto exclaimed. Hinata saluted and smiled broadly.

"Ok! Take care, Naruto-kun!" So Hinata set off for Sunakagure, with Neji as her escort.

All chapter dividers will be a random underlined comment by Jaded Delirium (or whatever pen name I'm using). Such as: Hey, is change really good, or is it only good in this story?

At sunset, Neji and Hinata looked for an inn to spend the night (not that way!). It took three days to get to Sunakagure, after all.

"Hinata-sama, we should retire for the night. Is this hotel suitable?" Neji asked. Hinata tilted her head to the left, then tilted it to the right. She made a square with her fingers and peered through it at the hotel. Neji tried not to think about how cute she looked doing that.

"Nyuu!" she said cheerily. They went in. There was a middle-aged brunette woman at the counter, reading a magazine with her head propped up on her hand.

"Hello!" Hinata chirped. The woman started.

"Good evening. Would you like to book a room?" she asked. Neji stepped forward.

"Yes. One room with two beds, please." The woman's eyes trailed to Neji, then over to Hinata.

"Are you sure you wouldn't like the honeymoon suite?" Neji started.

"No, thank you." The woman slid two card keys over the counter. Neji felt her gaze on them as they headed up the stairs.

"Neji-kun, what's a honeymoon suite?" Hinata asked. Neji wasn't sure how to phrase his answer. 'It's a place where couples go to have wild sex, Hinata-sama.' No, that answer was definitely out of the question.

"It's where Kazekage-sama may take you some day. You should ask him. He would be better at explaining than I am."

"But Hinata thinks Neji-kun did a good job of explaining, nyuu!" exclaimed Hinata. "Maybe Hinata will ask Kazekage what honeymoon suite is." Poor Gaara.

So they went to their room. Neji wanted to make sure Hinata was safe, so he took the bed next to the window. That way, he could protect Hinata. Fifteen minutes after going to bed, Neji heard soft crying. He got up.

"Hinata-sama?"

"Sorry –sniff- Neji-kun. Did Hinata wake Neji-kun up?"

"What's wrong?"

"Hinata misses her family. And her friends. Hinata feels lonely… nyuu." Neji was silent for a moment.

"Would you like me to come over?" he asked.

"Hinata would be really happy if Neji did," Hinata replied dolefully. Neji crawled over to her bed, sitting on top of the sheets. Hinata wrapped her arms around him and began sobbing into his shoulder.

"Arigatou, Neji-kun." Her voice was muffled by his bedclothes. He hugged her, patting her back.

"Neji-kun?"

"Yes?"

"Will Neji-kun stay with Hinata till Hinata falls asleep, nyuu?" she asked. Neji stiffened at first, but then lay on top of the sheets while Hinata readjusted herself under them.

"Good night, Neji-kun!"

"Good night, Hinata-sama." After a few minutes, Hinata fell asleep. Neji slipped back into his own bed.

Neji rules! Hinata rules! Yay! Ok weird comment

A couple of days later, they reached Sunakagure. At the long entrance (I'm thinking of the one from Shippuuden episode 3-4, somewhere around there), Hinata peered into the deep crevice and looked hesitantly at Neji.

"Is Hinata going to live in there?"

"Yes. Sunakagure is on the other side of that entrance."

"Nyuu…" Hinata said softly. Neji didn't know what she meant, but she sounded scared. He patted her shoulder comfortingly. Hinata gave him a small smile, and tried to be brave. They walked down the shadowed walkway. A breeze rebounded off the stones, and Hinata shuddered.

"Entrance is dark and cold… Hinata is frightened, nyuu. Hinata doesn't want to live in a scary place!" Neji didn't say anything, he focused his Byakugan on three figures silhouetted against the sunlight of the opposite entrance.

"Nyuu? Why is Neji-kun scrunching his eyes?" She waved a hand in front of his face.

"Ohh… is it the Byakugan?" Hinata turned her gaze toward the entrance.

"Neji-kun, they are?"

"We're glad you're here," called a firm voice. Hinata squinted and saw a girl a few years older than herself with four blond ponytails protruding from her head.

"Nyuu?"

"What did you say?" asked a friendly but slightly loud voice. Hinata saw a figure whose attire made him look like a cat.

"Neji-kun, did Kazekage-sama send a cat to see us?" she asked her cousin. She was a bit startled to see Neji smile slightly. What is Neji-kun thinking? Hinata thought. But her question was answered as soon as they stepped into the sunlight.

"Nyuu?" She shielded her eyes from the sunlight. Under the shade, she could see the people better. There were three people at the exit waiting for them. One of them was slightly taller than her, with red hair and startling green eyes. Hinata felt a warm, fluttery feeling, looking at him. She blushed. Suddenly, she was glad that he couldn't see her slightly reddened cheeks, although she had no clue why. The second person was dressed in a black full-body suit. He had strange points that stuck out of his head like cat ears. No wonder she'd thought he was a cat. Hinata turned to the girl next. Actually, she was more of a woman. But she had a face that suggested she was on the tough side, not unkind but not soft either. The woman stretched her hand out to Hinata, who after a moment's hesitation, shook it.

"My name is Sabaku no Temari, the Kazekage's sister. Hyuuga Hinata?"

"Mmm-hmm! Nice to meet Temari-san, nyuu!" Temari looked a bit confused. She turned to the black-suited boy beside her.

"Kankurou, tell me why she's engaged to Gaara again?"

"Hinata-sama is the heiress of the Hyuuga clan," Neji said firmly. "Recently she has been attacked by a rogue shinobi that left her mind infantile. But she is mentally stable, and still extraordinarily kind and caring. Hinata will be a good match for the Kazekage, who has experienced little affection during his life. Hokage-sama and the Hyuuga clan feels she and the Kazekage are well-suited for each other. She can be the friend he never had, aside from Naruto, and he can be her mentor and help her return to her previous state." Neji was a real smooth talker. He had a formal air about him that could make even the most arrogant person polite and unassuming. Hinata smiled at her cousin.

"Arigatou, Neji-kun!"

"She can even soften your tough heart, Temari," chuckled Kankurou. He turned to Hinata. "I'm Sabaku no Kankurou. The Kazekage's older brother and Temari's younger brother." Hinata shook his hand happily.

"Is Kankurou-kun perhaps part-teddy bear, nyuu?" she asked. No one in the entire village of Sunakagure had ever dared ask Kankurou this question. They'd all heard of this skill with puppets and figured they would all be murdered the instant the question left their mouths. But Hinata looked so innocent and eager that Kankurou just looked startled. Beside him, Temari laughed softly and even Gaara allowed a tiny smile to escape him.

"Uh… no. I'm not part-teddy bear, Hinata-san."

"Nyuu, Hinata or Hinata-chan will be fine if Kankurou-kun wants to call Hinata!" Hinata smiled.

"I guess I misjudged you, Hinata-chan. You are nice," Temari admitted. Hinata beamed, and with a sudden motion that threw everyone off guard, she hugged Temari, then moved to Kankurou. Neji, who was watching them at the side, couldn't help smiling at how shocked Kankurou seemed to be. It was probably the first time a girl had ever hugged him. (Sorry Kankurou fans. I think he's awesome too, but Kankurou with the makeup and cattish attire doesn't really seem to be the type to attract squads of raving fangirls. Unless he takes it off. :) Remember the episode where Sakura had to extract the poison and he didn't have his makeup on and was shirtless?)

Then Hinata turned to Gaara.

"Would Gaara-kun mind if Hinata gave Gaara-kun a hug, nyuu?" she asked. Oh man, thought Kankurou. Neji wondered if he would have to save his cousin from mutilation via angry Kazekage. But instead, Gaara just looked at her, and to everyone's surprise, smiled slightly.

"Go ahead." Hinata gave a cry of joy.

"Nyuu!" She rushed forward and threw her arms around him.

"Hinata would like to be Gaara-kun's friend!" Gaara looked down at Hinata's exuberant face, with a trace of surprise on his own. Kankurou elbowed Temari, and was punched in the arm in return. Neji tapped Hinata on the shoulder.

"I'll leave now, Hinata-sama, if you don't mind." Hinata hugged Neji and waved him good-bye.

"Hinata will miss you Neji-kun! Be safe!" Neji turned around and waved. He felt a slight wetness in his eyes, but walked away before she could see. The sand siblings escorted Hinata to their house in Sunakagure. Hinata tapped Temari, the nearest person to her, on the shoulder.

"Temari-chan, why are we walking here, nyuu? Hinata thinks it's very dark. There's more light over there!" She pointed to the main roads of Sunakagure. Temari looked where she was pointing.

"To avoid publicity."

"Nyuu?"

"Well, you're Gaara's fiancé. We don't want people to stare or do anything. So we keep to the alleys," Kankurou stated with a reassuring smile to Hinata. When she was settled in her room, they called her down to the kitchen. Hinata seated herself at a spot at the table. Gaara turned to her. Hinata looked at the table. She wondered why she felt so shy suddenly, normally she was so happy around everyone else.

"Hinata, if there is anything you need here, you can ask any of us."

"Nyuu, arigato, Gaara-kun," Hinata replied.

"Yeah, Hinata-chan. Do you miss anything or anyone back in Konoha?" Kankurou asked. He meant it to be a friendly enquiry, but Hinata actually put her hands on the table and looked at the ceiling in an expression of great thought.

"Nyuu… Hinata does miss her friends… Oh Gaara-kun!" she turned to him suddenly. "Naruto-kun said Hinata should tell Gaara-kun that he is fine." Hinata turned back to the ceiling again. "Hinata misses everyone in Konoha very much, but Hinata does miss one thing a little more than the others, nyuu."

"What?" Temari asked. Hinata suddenly looked sad.

"Hinata misses… Hinata misses her CHICKEN-KUN!" Hinata cried. Bursting into tears, she leaned on the closest person to her, who was Temari, and began sobbing into her shoulder. "Hinata didn't get to say good bye to Sasuke Chicken-kun!" She sniffled, while Temari awkwardly patted her back. Gaara and Kankurou stared. None of the sand siblings were used to having people burst into wild crying fits.

"Sasuke?" Gaara said softly. Hinata could barely hear her.

"Isn't he the one who betrayed Konoha?" Kankurou asked.

"Yeah. The one who we had to chase after and nearly got everyone killed," Temari stated bluntly. They watched Hinata cry for a few moments.

"Hinata-chan, would you like a bath?" Temari asked hesitantly. Hinata looked up, face still wet with tears, and smiled wanly.

"Arigatou, Temari-chan." The fair-haired girl led Hinata up to a washroom, and left Hinata alone. Later, when Hinata was in her room getting ready to go to bed, she heard a knock on the door.

"Nyuu?" she asked. Opening the door, she saw the Kazekage standing there awkwardly.

"I thought you might like to have this," he said quietly. Gaara held out a stuffed chicken plushie to Hinata. She stared at it in awe.

"Would Gaara-kun really be kind enough to Hinata to give this to her?" she asked.

"You miss Sasuke, and he's your chicken so…" Hinata threw her arms around Gaara and the chicken, beaming.

"Arigatou, Gaara-kun! Hinata will treasure Gaara-kun's chicken forever, nyuu!"

"My mother gave it to me when I was younger," Gaara said softly. Hinata could tell that talking about his mother hurt Gaara.

"Gaara-kun's mother must be as nice as Gaara-kun!" Hinata smiled. "Gaara-kun's mother must have loved Gaara-kun a lot! Hinata does!"

"You what?"

"Hinata knows she has only just met Gaara-kun, nyuu, but Hinata likes Gaara-kun already," Hinata said with a smile. She turned, with the chicken in her arms, and closed the door. Gaara stared at it, dumbstruck. Hinata reopened it a crack.

"Oh, and Gaara-kun? Hinata thinks your pajamas are nice." Hinata closed the door, while Gaara looked incredulously at his scarlet bedclothes.


I always thought Gaara liked red or brown. It just seemed like a Gaara colour to me.

My cousin has this adorable chicken plushie. I love it, but too bad I don't see her too often. Hinata's plushie is borrowed from my cousin.

Thanks for reading! All reviewers- and readers too if you feel like it- get chicken plushies! If you want, upgrade it to a Sasuke Chicken Plushie!