A/N; Yes, well... apparently I should continue. -sniff- A huge thanks to the surprising amount of reviewers that did their part-- I was thrilled to see that my short little fluffic was reviewed on so much! I hope you will consider reviewing for me again! -prays fervently-

Blue Sugar

She remembers, but she is keen to forget. Years have told her repetitively that what's past is past and that could never be changed. She can't forget, but she can move things around in her head.So, little by little, she removed the orange mask from the front of her mind. It wasn't too hard; he was nothing special to her. He was simply intriguing. Something to ponder on during nights of cold, bitter insomnia.

Hinata blew on her frozen fingers. She sat at the top of one of the forts overlooking Suna. Pale eyes focused on the village, as she had been forewarned of some possible disturbance. The Kazekage had put her team on alert because he had seen a nearly suspicious bird-shaped creature in the sky earlier in the evening. Now, after the sun had set, the desert wind turned cold and the temperature bit at the Hyuuga's fingers and nose, not to mention her uncovered toes.She felt even more uncomfortable sharing a room with a handful of Suna shinobi when Shino and Kiba were currently patrolling another base. An hour or so earlier Kiba had smiled sympathetically and Shino let his hand rest on hershoulder.

"All you've got to do is wait here," Kiba had said with a grin.

"You don't have to make conversation," Shino had added quietly. "You're just here to watch. So stay." Hinata nodded to herself at the thought, heating her cold fingers with her breath once more.

She blinked, looking up as the accompanying Suna guards jumped up. A messenger ran up, breathless, looking at the guards frantically. "Everyone is needed!" he gasped, clutching a stitch in his side. "Akatsuki!" he was able to get out before collapsing to his knees, breathing with difficulty. Quickly, as though running water, the guards filed out of the room. Hinata twitched as though to follow, but instead went to the messenger's side to aid him. The boy, only slightly older than her, looked up. His cheeks were flushed of all color from his exertion.

He must have run across the desert from the city to the standoff-ish post. She kneeled down beside him.

"Were you injured?" she asked softly, placing a hand on his back. The boy shook his head and Hinata smiled. "Good."

"Why aren't you going?" the messenger panted, looking slightly confused at her rootedness. The Hyuuga blushed lightly.

"I-I'm supposed to stay behind," she admitted. "If someone is injured, I'm s-supposed to... help..." Now that she thought on it, Hinata wondered why she wasn't put in the line of duty either.Slowly, she wondered...Was she automatically presumed weak by everyone? Perhaps she would be angry at the thought if she were not Hyuuga Hinata; if she had known it was not true. But she was weak. It was the smart thing to do, keep her in the base so she couldn't hinder the others' battle.

She normally would have let it be and stick to her role without further complaint, pushing the thoughts to the murky back of her mind. However, her precious teammates were in the midst of fighting a very dangerous organization. She could not abide by the expectation of others when she had people to protect. "Stay here," she murmured, standing to leave.

The messenger grabbed her wrist. Hinata haulted immediately. Questioningly.

"Don't, pretty Miss Hinata."

The henge broke. Kneeling before her was no longer the exhausted boy, but instead the masked man that she had so easily banned thoughts thereof.

"Don't?" she replied in a tiny voice. He nodded.

"Don't," he repeated. "The one attacking is Deidara-san. I haven't met him, but Zetsu-san says he's really dangerous. He wouldn't mind blowing you up."

She tugged experimentally, but his black-gloved grip never slackened.

"But my friends..." she said weakly, staring through the hole of his mask. She could feel him stare back.

"The other shinobi are out helping, right?" he asked. She wasn't sure if he was referring to the guards he'd sent to the city or the Suna populace as a whole.

"W-well, yes, but I..." I don't want to be useless.

Tobi seemed to catch her melancholy.

"Wait here, pretty Miss." He tugged her down and sherelented, positioning herself on thefloor beside him. The orange maskwas always turned toward her. Hinata breathed. Tobi stared. "You're even prettier than before," he said, and she could hear the grin on his lips as he reached out and touched a strand of dark hair that had been tossed over her shoulder. Hinata normally would have flinched, but she didn't. She couldn't tell if it was because he was simply too sweet to ever hurt her and she was subconsciously aware of it... or that the same subconscious was giving the subtle warning that he might not take a recoil too lightly.

Tobi's pinky tickled her chin unintentionally and Hinata twitched. It was an odd feeling, and it just didn't seem right to laugh at a time like this. But Tobi noticed. He burried his own chin between the invisible folds of his green scarf and his hand left her hair in favor of her cheek.

"Thank you for staying."

The phrase suddenly reminded her of Shino.

She wondered briefly how Tobi had found her. And why. She didn't quite decide to push the thoughts away for another day... it just happened.

His gloved hand against her skin was enough to keep her eyes away from the explosion that incinerated a good portion of Suna. It shouldn't have been. But it did.

-0 -

Written while listening to Honey by The Hush Sound. It's actually more of an ItaHina song, but whatever.
There's one question I'm surprised no one's asked. The only person ever was my lover, Deibby, one crackish night at her house... did I ever answer? XD If you don't know, then I won't say anything.
Reviews make my sun rise and sprinkle it with dew. Or something. (Please?)