Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Save the Pieces
"Wait - she asked you out?" Sakura asked for the tenth time. She was in disbelief. Beautiful and timid Hinata - Naruto's Hinata - had asked Sasuke out on a date. Sakura couldn't wrap her mind around it. Hinata wouldn't have spared Sasuke a second glance in her right mind.
She hadn't liked him in her childhood even as a crush and now? After her memory loss, she was asking him out? Sakura shook her head and asked again as if Sasuke's answer might change eventually if she asked him enough times.
"On a date - she asked you out on a date?" Sakura repeated.
Sasuke was growing frustrated with Sakura's refusal to believe the situation. He ran a hand through his messy black hair before fixing Sakura with the coldest stare he could muster. He had no idea why he had thought it was a good idea to even tell Sakura about Hinata's dinner invitation. He just hadn't known how to react. But he obviously was not going to date his dead best friend's wife. That was out of the question. He had ignored her stares and the obvious crush she had on him because being mean to her would solve nothing and he knew that she was lonely and without friends.
And Naruto had asked him to be kind to her if anything ever happened. He must've been psychic.
"Yes. For the thousandth time. She asked me to dinner. I don't know what to do." He explained through gritted teeth.
Sakura finally relented.
"Okay and are you going with her to dinner then?" She asked.
"Well I accepted. It's not like I was expecting her to be so forward, Sakura." He said coldly. He felt like banging his head for even making a call to the pink-haired girl who was obviously going to be of no help.
"Maybe ..." Sakura paused for a second to think, " Maybe it's not a bad idea."
"How did you reach that conclusion?" He asked, looking at her as if she were stupid. Sakura shot him a glare before continuing,
"She's obviously lonely - and since you work together you are her only choice. Otherwise, I very much doubt she would ever like you - no offense. I mean, I hadn't thought too much about her what with everything else going on but maybe I can help. She needs friends and I can be one. And you can be one. And then, maybe her memory will start to come back. And once it's back, things will become normal again. Well not normal of course but they'll go back to being what they should've been in the first place." She explained.
"So I go and do what? Be friendly?" He asked impatiently.
"Kind of. Be yourself but don't be overly callous, please. We want her memory to return and being around you enough might trigger that. You could help her a little bit. Drop clues you know? And then you'll be free of her once she remembers Naruto." Sakura said sensibly.
And it made perfect sense. Once her memory came back, she wouldn't want to be his friend anymore. She probably would be too busy mourning and dealing with her grief.
"Hinata," Hanabi stepped into her bedroom with a stern expression. Hinata was amazed by the similarities between her younger sister and her father. How could two people be so far removed from others. Or maybe they hid it well?
"Yes, Hanabi?" Hinata lifted herself from her bed. Hanabi looked grave as if she was about to deliver bad news.
"Hinata," She began slowly as if she were a teacher and Hinata were her student, "there have been a few rumors. Circling around you and the Uchiha traitor. Please tell me they are not true." Hanabi spat out the word Uchiha as if it had a bad taste.
Hinata looked down at her hands, unable to meet Hanabi's eyes. Hanabi had asked her stay away from him.
"We're friends." That was of course a lie. She felt a little more than friendly towards Sasuke. But nonetheless it was only a mere crush. A crush on someone she saw everyday. Someone who was entirely too good-looking to be real. It would pass she was sure.
Hanabi's lips were pressed into a straight line as if she was supressing the urge to say something more about the issue. Hinata had no idea why she was so against the idea of Sasuke. Why it was such an issue if she went out on one dinner with him.
Hinata needed space - at least from the rest of the cool and aloof Hyuugas who didn't pay her any attention unless it was to judge. And she had an apartment yet no one even allowed her the option to go and stay there. She wondered why. She might've lost her memory but she wasn't helpless - and certainly not after all this time.
"Hanabi, where is my apartment? The one you mentioned before?" Hinata suddenly asked. Hanabi looked visibly taken aback by the question.
"Does it matter?" Hanabi replied stiffly as if she wanted nothing to do with the conversation. But Hinata pressed on anyway.
"It does. I think - I think maybe my memory might be helped by moving back there." And to Hinata that made perfect sense. Didn't anyone want her memory to return? Wouldn't it be best that she return to the place where she lived previously? Where she no doubt had many memories?
"It might help. But wouldn't you rather take the opportunity to start afresh? There's nothing to remember really. You were a shinobi - and you still have the option of being one if you so chose." Hanabi said. Hinata knew that but it was so difficult. Difficult to re-learn things that had taken her so long to learn in the first place.
Then an idea struck Hinata suddenly.
"Hey Hanabi, one last thing," Hinata started off meekly, knowing Sasuke wasn't her favorite topic, "was the Uchiha traitor a good shinobi?" Hinata prepared herself for the verbal thrashing that her sister was about to give Sasuke but instead of saying anything Hanabi only nodded curtly before leaving Hinata's room.
She would've cooked for him. However, it wasn't really a viable option considering the prying and disapproving Hyuuga eyes that would've watched their every move in the compound.
And of course, there was no way she would head to his home for dinner as she was the one who invited him and therefore, she should take the trouble.
So there was only one option: dinner at a restaurant.
They headed straight to the restaurant after work. While they were walking to the restaurant, Sasuke remained silent and Hinata followed suit.
But once they reached and were seated, Sasuke finally spoke up.
"The last time we spoke, you mentioned a blonde man."
Hinata nodded. She had but he had told her he knew of no such man. She still had those recurring dreams about her mystery blonde and each time the dream was slightly different.
Sometimes she would dream of them going to a park together or a festival.
There was even one dream where they were in the same house and she was fixing him breakfast before he left to go somewhere.
"I keep seeing a blonde man in my dreams – I thought he might be real but everyone insists that there is no such man in Konoha." She explained.
Sasuke nodded. He knew that somewhere deep down, Hinata still harbored feelings for Naruto. They couldn't have just disappeared altogether due to the accident.
He felt relieved though. That meant that Hinata was that much closer to regaining her memories.
The only thing he failed to understand is why everyone was so hell-bent on keeping her memory right where it was – lost. He understood that most of her family and Tsunade-same herself thought they were saving her the heartbreak and grief of Naruto's death.
However, at the same time, it wasn't fair to allow her to live in some fantasy land for the rest of her life like this.
Hinata noticed the far off look in Sasuke's eyes. It was like he was someplace else in his mind. Maybe she shouldn't have invited him to dinner – maybe he had said yes only to be polite.
"Ano," Hinata began as the waiter brought their drinks. Hinata was making a meek attempt at conversation – a failing attempt that is.
But then she remembered her earlier conversation with Hanabi.
"Ano," She began again, "do you, by any chance, remember where I used to live. It's a silly question, but I know I didn't live in the compound before the incident."
Hinata looked hopefully at him. Sasuke did know. She was talking about Naruto's apartment and he briefly contemplated whether he should tell her or not.
It would definitely help her memory to be back there but was it right to let her go back there? Had it even be cleaned out? If she saw any of Naruto's belongings before her memory was back completely, things would become messy.
"I'm sorry, I don't now. I think I know the general area, I could take you there if you'd like." Sasuke offered.
Hinata didn't mind wasting more time with Sasuke after dinner. At least she wouldn't be alone in the Hyuuga compound, bored to death.
"That would be nice." She smiled.
When Sasuke and Hinata left the restaurant, they were greeted by a cool burst of night air.
Like the walk to the restaurant, Sasuke was silent. When they finally reached the building, Hinata suddenly felt something in the pit of her stomach.
She recognized the building. Hinata stood outside, on the sidewalk, for a second, just gazing at her previous home.
Something inside of her told her that she had lived here. It looked and felt familiar.
"It feels familiar." Hinata finally said out loud to Sasuke. He only nodded in response.
Hinata stood for a few more seconds, seeing if she could remember anything else about the apartment building.
"Well, it's late. I should probably head back to the compound." She said, looking at Sasuke.
As she expected, he offered to walk her home. The rest of the walk was spent comfortable silence.
"Hello? Hinata? This is Sakura, remember, we met earlier? I was wondering whether we could meet up for coffee or something?" She said cheerily over the phone.
"Yeah, sure." Hinata looked over to Sasuke, who was typing something on his computer. She then hung up the phone after Sakura told her the details of where they would meet and when.
"So? How's work?" Sakura took a sip of her coffee, before setting it down and sending a warm smile at Hinata.
Hinata gave her a tiny smile in return before telling her everything was fine at work.
"I heard that you and Sasuke went out." Sakura said, looking directly at Hinata, in a casual voice.
"Hm." Hinata replied, nodding. She couldn't help but feel curious why everyone was so interested in her and her relationship with Sasuke. She knew she was hardly a fascinating person – maybe it was Sasuke?
Sakura frowned a little.
"Well, it's great that you guys are friends. You can never have too many friends." Sakura placed unnecessary pressure on the word 'friends.'
"Yeah." Hinata agreed, stirring her own coffee absent-mindedly.
"Listen," Sakura said patiently, "Hinata, I know you don't know me – but we were friends before, well, you know. So, it might seem weird for me to give you advice, but we were – are – friends. Sasuke's a good guy and he'll be a good friend. But it's better if you don't let it become anything more from your side."
Hinata remembered the distant expression Sakura wore when Hinata approached the topic of Sasuke at the party.
Sakura obviously had unresolved feelings for Sasuke and that was probably why she was telling Hinata to stay away – to save Hinata the heartbreak that she was undergoing.
"Yeah," Hinata said, "I won't."
Hinata could tell that Sakura wanted to say something more, but she was interrupted by appearance of Ino, a willowy blonde with the brightest blue eyes Hinata had ever seen.
They reminded her of someone else but she couldn't put a finger on who.
Once Ino joined their table, their discussion was discontinued in favor of a gossip session. While the two girls – clearly good friends – lightheartedly chatted, Hinata let her mind wander to her mystery man.
Hinata would've liked to say and chat, but she felt a little out of place and told the two that she would see them later.
Hinata paid for her coffee before leaving the café. But as soon as she was a block away from the coffee-shop, she realized that she had left her purse there, after paying.
Hinata walked back to the shop and made her way inside. She saw Ino and Sakura still sitting at the booth, but this time, from the looks on their faces, Hinata could tell whatever they were discussing was serious.
She was right behind their booth, where Sakura was sitting with her back facing Hinata and Ino was rummaging through her purse, probably for money.
Hinata was about to greet them and let them know about how she left her purse there, but stopped when she heard her name tumble out of Sakura's mouth.
"But we can't let anything like that happen – it would be wrong! Naruto may be dead and Hinata may not remember him, but that doesn't mean she can fall in love someone else. It's not fair to Naruto and I don't care what Tsunade says, it's not healthy for Hinata not to know that she had a husband before the mission."
Right at that moment, Ino resurfaced from her purse, with a credit card in hand. And her and Hinata's eyes locked.
Hinata suddenly felt numb.
"I left my purse in the booth." Hinata explained quietly.
Author's Note: I am SO SORRY for the long wait! Please don't hate me! I hope you enjoyed this chapter and don't forget to let me know what you thought! Your reviews mean the world to me!