Disclaimer: I know this is shocking, but I don't own Naruto. Never have, never will. Make me cry, why don't ya… I make no money from this, that's why it's FANfiction.
She Wasn't Prepared
Requested By and Dedicated To: Mizheekay
Song: "I Wasn't Prepared" by Eisley
Warnings: AU, and, umm… fluffy angst? Oh, and extremely (extremely!!) mild wartime gore, equally mild mention of sex
Lyrics in Italics
She Wasn't Prepared
Hinata shivered and pulled her shawl tighter around the shoulders of her nightdress, warding off the early morning chill as she stood on her porch, watching the pale light of dawn lighten the dark sky. The colors of sunrise slowly bled across it, fading into the brightness of the day as the sun made its way over the horizon, beginning to warm the earth and finally allowing the blue of the sky to show through. The chirping of pre-dawn birds and insects grew to a steady song, bees buzzed around the trees and flowers in bloom, and a gentle breeze rustled the leaves and the tall grass, carrying with it the scent of fresh country air. It looked like it would be a lovely spring day.
She shivered again, a fine layer of goosebumps spreading across her skin, though this time it was not from cold. It was days like these that the dull ache of melancholic longing grew painful with nostalgia; with memories of her husband.
It was on a day like this that she had met Sasuke.
Oh, when the day is blue
I'll sit here wondering about you
It had been a warm day in mid spring when Hinata first learned of her intended husband. She hadn't been surprised by the fact her hand had been promised in an arranged marriage without her knowledge, after all it was a long-standing part of her family's heritage. She'd had the finest tutors and intensive lessons in order to become the perfect example of a lady of Hyuuga breeding, knowing all along it was her fate to be married off to the finest suitor her breeding would garner.
Nevertheless, knowing abstractly and being faced with the realization that she was now promised to someone were two very different things, and Hinata found herself awaiting the arrival of her future husband with a strange mixture of intense anxiety and nervous anticipation. Not only because of the fact she would soon be meeting the man she was expected to spend her life with, but because of who that man was.
Sasuke Uchiha; aristocrat, youngest son of the noble military family Uchiha, and most eligible bachelor in the country. Every eligible lady, many ineligible by class, and even those already married, had dreams of someday claiming the Uchiha in one way or another. Be it his heart, his body, or his fortune. However, Hinata was the exception. She'd never met him personally, though she'd been to a few of the same social events his family attended when she was younger; Sasuke always seemed to make himself scarce at those events, and Hinata was always shy and not one to wander from the comfort zone of her parents or nursemaid, so she'd never even seen a glimpse of him. Despite this, stories of the youngest Uchiha were prevalent, especially in the aristocratic circles to which Hinata's family belonged. It was common knowledge that, as handsome and well-bred as Sasuke was, he was equally as cold and untouchable, especially when it came to matters of the heart.
Perhaps it was naïve of her, especially considering her place in her family and society, but Hinata had always been a tenderhearted romantic. Though she'd known all her life she would someday be married off by her family, she had hoped she would be allowed the time to get to know her fiancé, and possibly have a romance and fall in love with him. To have him love and cherish her in return, as she'd never been by her family, who always favored her younger sister over her. However, knowing Sasuke's reputation, Hinata knew her dream of a fairy tale romance was just that—a dream. Especially since she was to be married by month's end.
So she found herself tightly wound with a tense energy as the day of his arrival later that week grew ever closer, and, unable to figure out what to do with herself, Hinata often found herself gazing out over the horizon as if he would appear at any moment. Finally, the day came that, as she was once again watching and waiting, a horse-drawn carriage broke the monotony of the empty road below the blue sky. It drew ever closer, finally stopping in front of the veranda where she stood off to the side. The coach stopped, and the footman opened the door, allowing a young man to step out.
Her unease increased at the sight of him, her stomach clenching and filling with anxious butterflies as she realized her intended had finally arrived. Quivering with nerves and knowing she was nowhere near presentable in her plain day dress, and not wanting to disappoint either her father or her future husband, Hinata fled into the house to her rooms; hoping to make her escape before he could catch sight of her, not noticing the onyx eyes following her retreat.
Her reprieve did not last long. No sooner had she freshened up and changed into more formal attire, suitable to meeting her intended, than she was called down for tea with her parents and their 'guest'.
Her nerves refused to settle as she walked into the parlor and caught a glimpse of his profile before quickly averting her eyes as she made her way to her seat by her father. Despite her nerves, though, her eyes grew curious and their gaze often swept to the man sitting not far from her, dressed immaculately in his shiny black shoes and dark blue dress uniform bearing the insignia of his rank of Lieutenant. Not yet bold enough to look him in the eyes, her gaze would flicker up from the floor, taking in small details of his dress and body language, and flitting back down to the floor before reaching his face. She hadn't even realized the conversation around her had continued without her attentions, so it was a surprise to her when the shoes beneath her gaze began to move forward, and suddenly there was a hand being offered to her. Looking up curiously, her breath caught as she finally saw him truly for the first time.
The tales and gossip could not possibly have done him justice, she realized, as she stared up into the deep, dark eyes set in the pale, handsome face framed by long dark hair, slightly ruffled in the back, so black it appeared blue in some light. He was lovely—nay—beautiful even; despite his definite masculinity, she felt her own feminine features could never compare to the beauty of him, and blushed with the realization of how plain she must seem to him.
Of course, having grown up with great insecurities about her supposed inadequacies in poise and appearance, often pointed out by her father or her tutors, Hinata had no idea how truly beautiful she was. She couldn't have known how her shy, downcast gaze only increased his curiosity and determination to catch her eye; how he found the genuine blush dusting her cheeks endearing, unlike other women who seemed to have trained themselves to blush in an effort to appear innocent and modest when in fact they were anything but; how he found the unique, pale lavender of her eyes fascinating and the contrast of her long, dark lashes made her eyes even more alluring. How her shapely womanly figure, accented as it was by the violet, tightly corseted dress, was just as lovely in the simple lilac dress and white lace shawl he'd glimpsed her in earlier.
How, all those years ago at the parties they'd attended as children, before he went off to military school and she to finishing school, he'd watched her from the sidelines and the shadows; always curious about the shy girl with dark hair and pale eyes. The one who never gossiped with the other girls; who timidly held onto her nursemaid's apron, but bravely answered the adults that spoke to her; never jealous of the spotlight given to her younger, seemingly more talented sister; instead happy to quietly share in the praise of Hanabi as she would often perform on the grand piano or sing to an accompaniment after elaborate stately dinners. The girl who, once when the guests had left the ballroom to discuss politics over coffee, had played a slow but hauntingly breathtaking melody on the recently vacated piano, unaware of the boy listening with rapt attention from behind the door he'd cracked slightly ajar.
She couldn't have known how Sasuke couldn't help but puzzle over his and Hinata's contrast in attitude, despite their similar situations of poor favor compared to their siblings within their families; couldn't help but grow more and more intrigued every time he'd seen her, wondering at how sweet her disposition was compared to the air of cold yet haughty indifference he surrounded himself with in an attempt to both protect himself and emulate his brother in order to garner some of the favor bestowed upon Itachi. How, though he'd spent many years of his life and schooling conditioning himself and hardening his heart to such things, the curiosity he'd held for her as a child returned full force when he learned his parents had arranged for his marriage to her.
She couldn't have known these things, for he made no show of his inner thoughts or feelings, his face remaining studiously blank as he offered his hand, inviting her for a walk in the afternoon sun. Though she trembled slightly under the intense, seemingly cold glare he held her in, she pulled up her courage and accepted his hand. Once she was standing, though, he took back his hand and placed it and its partner in his pants pockets; something that seemed, to Hinata, a bit more informal than his dress or station should probably call for. Nevertheless, it didn't bother her. After all, she wasn't sure if she was ready to handle having his hand or arm in constant contact with hers; she may not make it through their walk together due to passing out from nerves!
With a chaperone following a short distance behind, the two made their way outside to tour the estate; seemingly taking a leisurely stroll, though they were both a bit too tense for that label to be applied properly. As Hinata found herself stuttering too much to keep up her attempts at small talk or light conversation—something she'd often had trouble with as a child, but after much tutelage mostly only plagued her in stressful situations—and Sasuke didn't seem very inclined to talk either, Hinata soon found that she had steered them through the gardens and into the orchard in an unconscious attempt to find her comfort zone. As a child she would often walk amongst the trees—her favorites being the beautiful magnolia trees of which she loved to watch the flower buds blossom, mature, and grow heavy with pollen. Just as they were now.
Seeing this made her pause under one of the trees, smiling up at the flowered boughs with sudden nostalgia.
Realizing she had stopped somewhere behind him, Sasuke turned back to join her, stopping by her side and looking up at the tree with curiosity, wondering what had caught her attention. It seemed to be an ordinary tree; he could find nothing of particular interest about it. Yet he couldn't help but notice the sudden calm that seemed to overcome Hinata, just by smiling up into the gently rustling branches. Deciding there was no harm in indulging her in this, especially if it made her less jittery, Sasuke decided to wait quietly by her side, watching her watch the tree.
And how the pollen fell
All around your face in strange yellow patterns
A sudden breeze blew the fringe of her bangs across her face, and Hinata turned, gently pulling away the stray hairs that had stuck to her lashes. The action brought her attention back to her companion, giving a start when she saw how closely he was standing to her, having almost forgotten he was with her. Her eyes immediately shot upwards, worried of his reaction to her wistful inattention, and she gasped as she found in his dark eyes—not anger or even irritation as she'd expected—but an open, almost curious expression that deepened the natural blush she'd already earned on her cheeks from the small exertion of their walk.
Why was he staring at her so?
She'd almost gotten up the will to voice her question when another breeze came, and she watched in utter fascination as Sasuke's eyes looked up to the blossoms above them, the pollen stirring up in some sort of small dance in the wind, then falling down slightly before the wind picked them back up in another variation of the dance. As the wind died back down, light traces of orange-yellow pollen dusted Sasuke's hair, the shoulders of his uniform, and—Hinata noticed—the tips of his nose and eyelashes.
Without a first, let alone a second, thought, Hinata reached up to lightly brush the pollen from Sasuke's nose. She didn't realize what she'd done until her fingers had already slid from his nose, across his smooth-shaven cheek, to the dark fall of his long bangs framing his face. Then her hand stuttered, hesitating, and she pulled it away quickly, cradling it at her chest with her other hand as if she'd been burned, her gaze quickly dropping back down before she could see the sneer that would certainly be on his face from such a bold action.
Instead of reprimanding her, however, his own hand came forward, hesitating inches away from touching her. The action brought her attention upwards once again, and her eyes widened as she watched his eyes set on her face with a strange look of curiosity and determination in the black depths. Seeming to come to a decision, his hand continued its movement and Hinata felt a thrill go through her—similar to her usual nervousness, yet at the same time wholly different—as Sasuke's hand mimicked her former action and smoothed a finger over her nose. Then his hand cupped her face gently, his thumb rubbing over one cheek and then the other tentatively, collecting the pollen on the pad of his finger before pulling away and looking at it thoughtfully as he rubbed his thumb and forefinger together.
Mere seconds were spent in seeming contemplation, before Sasuke silently returned his hand to his pocket and turned to continue on their path, the expectation for Hinata to follow being quite clear without him needing to say a word. She stood still, watching him with slightly widened eyes, two small, pale fingers lightly stroking the tingling skin of her blushing cheek where he had touched moments before. Confused over his actions, but feeling inexplicably warmer about the situation, Hinata couldn't help the small smile forming on her lips as she finally moved her feet and walked after him.
When they returned to the manor, Hinata was ushered off by her mother, sister and their attendant, to be made ready for supper. Sasuke, in turn, was beckoned to another room by her father and cousin to have a drink and further discuss the terms and agreement of their engagement and impending marriage.
Their courtship was short, as they were set to wed in just a few weeks time. Sasuke was invited to stay in the guest house of the manor until then, however as he had business to attend to in town, and the manor was a good hour's journey outside of town, he opted to stay in his family's large townhouse within the city—one of many they owned in several cities (along with the main Uchiha Estate that sat sprawling on the edge of town)—the deed of which would be signed into Sasuke's name upon his and Hinata's marriage.
So Hinata's days were once again spent in nervous anticipation and contemplation of the future set for her, walking the gardens, strolling the orchard, or gazing out from the veranda—during the times she wasn't being whisked off for dress fittings or last minute lessons on proper poise for a lady, and what was expected of her before, during and after the marriage. All the other wedding arrangements were being taken care of by her mother and father and the person they had hired to coordinate the whole ordeal; in theory, Hinata would have liked to at least have some say in these decisions—such as cake flavors, designs, and floral arrangements—but with the current state she was in, she wondered if she would be in the right frame of mind to be making such seemingly frivolous decisions in the scheme of things anyway.
In the late afternoons or early evenings, Sasuke would arrive from town by carriage, occasionally even riding in on horseback. They would spend the time before supper together, usually retracing Hinata's steps from earlier in the day through the gardens and the orchard, or else sitting in the parlor over tea. Conversation was still often difficult, both of them being more prone to keep silent rather than chatter on. However, attempts at small talk were made, neither yet daring to broach deeper topics such as their families or their future together. And when they merely sat or walked in silence, it became increasingly more comfortable, rather than awkward, and they grew to enjoy each other's company.
So when the time finally came for them to make their vows, though both were still nervous about the prospect of marriage to someone they'd barely just met (not that Sasuke would ever admit to his own distress), neither could find any reason to protest the union. They made their vows just as their parents had planned, and were soon beginning their new life together in the house Sasuke's parents gifted them within the city.
But, I wasn't prepared for this
Oh, no, I wasn't prepared for this
Days passed and turned to weeks, then months. The time they spent alone together increased, broken up only by Sasuke's family or military duties within the city, and the social and political parties that seemed to be required with their station in society. As they grew more familiar with each other, conversation came easier between them. Hinata opened up to Sasuke about her fears and dreams and, slowly, hesitantly but surely, Sasuke did the same.
Hinata had always dreamed of a romantic love; the kind of fairy tale where she and her husband would become so wrapped up in each other that the world around them would fall away, leaving just the two of them. She dreamed of being a mother; of teaching her children to appreciate the simple joys in life, and loving all of them equally and endlessly the way she never had been. Sasuke had spent most of his life trying not to dream, instead driving himself to and past his limits, striving to be the perfect son like his brother Itachi. Hinata knew, without Sasuke having to say it or even fully realizing it himself, that his dream was to be loved as well. And, Hinata also came to realize, she did love him.
Sasuke knew that Hinata enjoyed walking through gardens, smelling and admiring the flowers, but she much preferred the flowering trees in her family's orchards. Trees, once they lost the beautiful blossoms, would often have fruit to show for it. And even if they did not, they would still be there standing strong and providing homes to birds and animals; shade to those walking amongst them and admiring them. Beautiful and practical—something Sasuke himself could also appreciate, and did every time he took Hinata back to her parents' orchards for a visit.
Hinata understood why Sasuke never said 'I love you', why he never felt the need to kiss her for no reason, or shower her with praise and affection. He hadn't been raised to show affection, had never given or received frivolous kisses, had not been cuddled since he was a toddler holding his mother's apron strings—and even those times had been rare. Hinata knew these things, and did not feel bitter. After all, if Sasuke did not kiss frivolously, he truly meant every kiss he did give her. And even if he never told her he loved her, even if she could never be sure he felt for her as deeply as she felt for him, Hinata could tell he cared for her. In the way he gave her his complete attention when they were alone. In the way he gently stroked her hair when she left it down. In the tender way he made love to her, always making sure she was taken care of as well as him—even that first time, when she had been a blushing virgin and so nervous it was painful, yet he had taken his time with her and had been so patient and careful, slowly teaching her body to relax until she began to grow accustomed to him and soon found herself participating fully. In the way he would often hold her afterwards, and even in the nights when they would only sleep, her body neatly tucked against his, her hands pressed to his chest or gripping his bicep or shoulder as his arms wrapped around her.
Sasuke was not romantic in the fairy tale sense. He did not have bouts of spontaneous shows of affection or outrageous showering of gifts. He was a military man first and foremost, and everything he did had purpose. Even those blasted aristocratic parties, which he knew even Hinata loathed just as much as he did (if the sweet, softspoken woman could ever be described as loathing something, which he very much doubted, but he could so he would stick with that), had purpose in maintaining the elitism of his family's name and honor, and the social and political ties that came with it.
No, Sasuke wasn't romantic, but he had developed a deep affection for Hinata. Love, even, though he surely was not one to ever pronounce such things aloud. Instead, he showed his love with every meaningful action he took regarding his wife and their life together. He knew Hinata understood; how could anyone miss the adoring devotion in her eyes, the way her already soft look would soften even further while at the same time deepening their lavender hue every time he would hold her or touch his lips to hers. The way she smiled at him so sweetly, blushing shyly when he asked why she never played the piano in public. The way her eyes lit up when he uncovered them, presenting her with the piano he'd had delivered to their parlor, asking her to please play for him. The way she had breathlessly said yes, and proceeded to do so, and nearly every night thereafter—only for him.
Towards the end of winter, Sasuke was promoted to Captain and transferred to a new base in a small rural village. Neither he nor Hinata much minded the change, as they were more than happy to leave behind the stuff and nonsense of aristocratic city life. Of course, they would also be leaving behind the conveniences such an atmosphere included, but they felt they could live with some sacrifices with the promise of a peaceful home life.
When the thaw set in, Sasuke procured a lovely country house for them and brought Hinata with him once all the moving arrangements were made. It was barely early spring, and a rare dry day, when they stopped in the village settled a few days away from their former township; Sasuke arranged to take an open carriage from there, so Hinata could better enjoy the view and the fresh, country air. As she caught sight of the landscape, Hinata was again reminded of her love for him. She smiled softly, almost with a sweet sort of nostalgia, an open, yet at the same time secret, smile. Sasuke had given her a small orchard of magnolias.
Sasuke knew again that he loved her when he found himself smiling in a similar fashion, once again watching her watch the trees. They were not in bloom yet, of course, but the young couple looked forward to the day they would once again stand together under those blossoms.
That day did not come. The next week, civil unrest at the country's borders grew into a small-scale war, and orders were sent for Captain Sasuke Uchiha's service to his country. One month before their first anniversary, Sasuke kissed Hinata goodbye for the first time ever, and Hinata wept silent tears as she wished for his safe return home.
When the morning came
The bees flew down and
Wrapped themselves around me
The trees budded and blossomed. The blossoms fell, leaving behind fruit. Hinata wrote to Sasuke, sending him her love and news from home; telling him she missed him. Sasuke wrote back, thanking her for the letters and letting her know he was well; telling her, without telling her, that he felt the same. Telling her he would come home to her soon.
Winter came, and the trees, animals, and earth hibernated. Hinata continued writing to Sasuke, but his replies grew scarce and altogether stopped. She kept writing, refusing to believe the worst. Surely, if something had happened, she would be told. Surely the Captain's wife would be given such important information.
Spring came again, and so did the blossoms. Still no word had come, and Hinata found herself full of anxiety wondering what had become of her husband. Standing alone in the tall grass beneath her trees one morning, her only companions the bees buzzing through the orchard and garden flowers, Hinata felt as if she were the only person in the world. It was such a lonely feeling, even for someone who had spent much of her life this way; or, perhaps, especially for that someone.
And that's when I spoke the word
To have them trace your face for me in pollen
Hinata closed her eyes and imagined she could hear Sasuke's soft, deep voice on the wind, calling her, and she whispered his name back in answer. Hinata slowly opened her eyes and the breeze kicked up the pollen as it was wont to do, a flurry of little yellow particles from the trees and flowers and grasses. For a split second, she was certain Sasuke was right beside her, and her hand instinctively reached up to brush the pollen from his face…
…a face that was not there. She blinked. Merely the pollen, and the bees, happily buzzing around the garden orchard. Her hand dropped back to her side, and she returned to her empty house.
But, I wasn't prepared for this
Oh, no, I wasn't prepared for this
Boys were brought back by the wagon load; soldiers based out of the village and beyond, who had survived the heat of battle by their skins. Hinata took a crash course with the Red Cross ladies and joined the other women in nursing the injured, caring for the invalids, each day dreading what she would see; the carnage of war-torn bodies; the decay of death. Hardly able to stand the mixture of hope and terror that filled her every time a new shipment of soldiers came in, wishing for news of Sasuke but scared to death to find him among the dead, still Hinata pressed on. Both her parents and her in-laws had attempted to convince her to move back with them until Sasuke returned, to return to her privileged life in a manor, with servants and gates, away from the gruesome effects of the war, but Hinata refused, determined to do her part just as her husband was.
Come, come back to me, my, my darling
Come, come back to me, my, my darling
During the day she would care and pray for her patients; the sick, injured, and dead. At night, she would pray for Sasuke's safe return. Rumors spread of the war ending soon, the rebels sure to be overtaken and the troops due to come back victorious. Still no news had come of Sasuke or his company, and all Hinata could do was wait and hope, throwing herself into her Red Cross work in the sudden onslaught of casualties.
I wasn't prepared for this
Oh, no, I wasn't prepared for this
Time went on, seasons changed and changed again. Gradually, shipments of soldiers trickled down, until finally there were no longer any incoming. The dead were tallied and sent back to their families to be buried. The injured were patched up and sent home or to proper hospitals, depending on the degree of their injury. Hinata was no longer needed and was sent home, once again waiting day by day for her husband to come back to her.
With nothing to busy herself with, Hinata returned to her old pattern of walking the orchard and gazing worriedly out at the horizon.
When the day is blue
I'll sit here wondering about you
Which is just what she was doing now, standing there on the veranda, waiting, watching for a sign. Official word that the war had ended, that they'd been victorious, had come over a month ago, nearly two years after war had officially been declared. Still no official word on Sasuke had been given, though, and Hinata found herself wondering, worrying that he may never return to her.
Had he been injured? Had he been killed? Had he found someone better—someone he could truly love—while he was away so long? She had spent enough time around the returning soldiers to know the measures some men would take to defeat the lonely nights; not that most of them would speak of such things in front of a lady, but she certainly was not deaf, and now she was just that much less naïve as well.
Shaking her head at herself for doubting her husband, Hinata suddenly noticed a dark shape on the horizon, slowly coming down the long lane leading to her house. Squinting at it, she watched as it came closer and closer, slowly taking the shape of a horse and rider, moving ever forward with a tired gait. Her treasured trees blocked her view for several minutes as the horse drew to that part of the road, and she moved down her steps a bit, anxiously waiting for it to reappear.
When it did, a gasp broke through her lips as she was able to recognize the rider. Leaping over the last two steps, Hinata moved towards the trees with long strides, quickly throwing her patience out the window as she broke into a run, unmindful of her bare feet or state of dress. She neither noticed nor cared that her shawl had dropped from her shoulders at the bottom step, or that the dew from the night past dampened the skirt of her white night dress as she ran through the tall grass. Tears welled and sprung from her eyes, blurring her vision, but it didn't matter. She knew these trees like the back of her hand, and she would not stumble. Nothing would keep her from him.
When he saw her running towards him—her white dress and creamy skin amongst all the greens of the grass and the trees seeming to shine like a beacon to him in the early morning—his heart swelled with a nearly forgotten feeling. He'd dreamed of this day for so long, he'd started to think it would never come. But now it finally had. He was home, and his sweet, young wife was running for him. After making her wait so long, he hardly felt he deserved such enthusiasm, even if the circumstances were unavoidable.
He drew his horse as close as he could to the orchard without being struck by low branches, then dismounted, careful not to jar his left arm too much. He had been shot and had his shoulder dislocated as well, but the field medic had been able to dig out the bullet and patch him up nicely. It was still tender and healing, though, so he had it in a sling.
Once he was on the ground, he ran to her, meeting her at almost halfway beneath the canopy of blossomed magnolias. His good arm wrapped around her and he pulled her to him, burying his nose in her free-flowing long hair, filling his lungs with the fresh scent of her to replace the smell of gunpowder, smoke, blood, and death that had filled them for so long. This was his home—she was his home—how he had missed it.
He pulled back from her, not letting her go but enough to see her face, and saw her tears and her smile. His heart simultaneously clenched and warmed at the sight. He had had to harden his heart during the war, falling back into his role as a soldier and leaving no mercy for the enemy. At times, when he'd become so numb from the every day act of killing that he no longer felt even a twinge of remorse, he wondered if he had actually died. Other times, he wondered if he would become some kind of demon and start to actually enjoy it instead. He was certain thoughts of Hinata and her letters were the only thing that kept him sane out there in the nights after battle.
It had become harder when things escalated to the point of post being unsafe to make it through the war zone, and he'd had to resort to reading her old letters whenever he had the chance—to the point that they were now split and crumbling at the folds. Then he would dream of her, often waking with the stray thought that she may never have been real to begin with, and there was no one waiting for him. Still, he never strayed from her. Whether she be real or a dream, he knew nothing and no one else would compare; besides, he did not need the distractions when his focus should be the war.
When everything was finally over, and the border had once again been secured, Sasuke had been released for home with his company. He was supposed to return with them to the base, allowing time for news of their completed task and well being to reach their village and loved ones before their arrival, and then be welcomed back as heroes in a victory march. Sasuke had not had the patience for that, though, and had ridden his horse practically to its limits, stopping only when absolutely necessary for food and rest, in order to make it home as quickly as possible. He would have plenty of time later to report to the base before his troop returned.
Now that the feeling in his heart was coming back, and he could allow it, he felt relief flood him. He was still alive; he was still human; his wife was real and still loved him. He was home, with her, and holding her in his arm beneath the blooming magnolias.
Gently, he wiped her tears away while unconsciously mirroring her relieved, loving smile.
"You came back," she said simply, softly.
"I told you I would," he answered in return.
Her eyes welled again as she bit her lip to stop her sob and nodded, holding onto him tightly.
A gust of wind kicked up a flurry of pollen all around them, dusting them with the yellow specks. Hinata reached up to wipe a bit off his nose and slightly stubbly cheeks, and Sasuke mirrored her, smiling with warm nostalgia as she paused and blinked from his action, the pollen from her lashes falling to rest on her flushed cheeks. His hand was now cupping her face, and he slowly slid it back to run through her hair. She closed her eyes and gave a soft sigh, and as her lips parted, he brought his hand back up to cradle her head and met her mouth with his.
They poured themselves into this kiss; everything they had ever said; never said; not been able to say. Everything from one year of marriage together and two years of forced separation. Their wants, their needs, their worries, their faithfulness, their longing. Their love. And the world fell away, leaving just the two of them; at least for that moment.
She had never expected it in her marriage to him, but somewhere along the way Hinata knew she had fallen in love with Sasuke. And now, as he kissed her for all he was worth, she knew he had done the same.
A/N: So, this is a change for me, as I don't often write (or read) het, let alone Het!Sasuke (that would be a never on that front, until this). But I couldn't resist the idea, especially since Mizheekay was such a sweetheart when they reviewed "How Soon Is Now". So I hope I did okay, please let me know what you think!
Ja mata ne,