Good Lord1 I'm writing another one-shot. This idea's been in my head for a while, so I finally wrote it.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of its affiliated characters. If I did, Hinata would have so much more screen/page time.

Rated T for themes, sexual references and slight violence…plus I like the letter 'T'.

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The battle was over. Bodies, blood, kunai and shuriken littered the forest floor. The area was silent, and no one remained standing. Suddenly, Naruto Uzumaki broke the silence by groaning and appearing, sitting up from amongst the war-torn battlefield. Gathering his bearings, he rubbed the back of his head and groaned as his eyes adjusted to the light…or lack there of. Through the canopy of trees, the dark sky was filled with shining stars that seemed to illuminate the horror of the battlefield. As he stood, Naruto looked around, searching for his teammates.

"Lee? Hinata? Shikamaru? Choji? Ino? Are you guys alright? Answer me!"

A little off to his right, groaning could be heard, and Naruto ran to the source. He pulled Ino out from amongst some rubble and helped her sit up.

"Eh, Ino-san, are you okay?" He asked, looking at her intently.

Her eyelids flickered open. "Aside from a few bruised bones and a sore head, I seem okay. Where are the others?"

Naruto scanned the battlefield again. As he did, Choji appeared from the dense foliage, sweaty and bleeding, but smiling wearily all the same.

"You guys got anything to eat?"

"Yosh, that battle was most invigorating! It really tested my strength! I had to open 3 gates!" Lee shouted, leaping up from underneath a pile of bodies. "It seems we are still missing comrades, I do hope their flames of youth and life are still burning!"

"What?" Naruto asked, helping Ino stand.

"He says he hopes that Hinata-san and I are alive." Shikamaru said, coming up from behind Naruto and Ino.

The five Jounin looked at each other, each becoming paler than moments beforehand.

"Hinata?"

"Hinata-chan?"

"Hyuuga-san?"

The five did a circle on the spot, gazing for their last teammate. Naruto soon became anxious.

Over the years, Hinata had become a close friend and a very precious person to him. She had fully accepted what was contained within him, and offered support where she could. She had stopped stuttering around him, but the blush still occurred, which he'd learned to find endearing and nostalgic. However, the reason for the blush was still oblivious to him.

The five walked around the battlefield, searching among the countless enemy bodies and praying to find Hinata alive.

"Hinata, can you hear us? Silver-Eyes, where are you?"

The nickname Naruto shouted was noticed by both Shikamaru and Ino, but neither questioned him about it…now was not the time. First, they had to find Hinata…dead or alive.

Naruto was in the middle of the battlefield, carefully stepping over the dead bodies, yet looking intently between them looking for the familiar blue hair and ivory skin.

Choji and Lee were searching the right hand side of the battlefield, Shikamaru and Ino the left. As she searched, Ino felt a drop on her face and paused.

"Great…now it starts raining." She hissed.

She lifted her hand from her side and wiped away the drop from her cheek. As she brought her hand back down to her side, she noticed something on her hand as the light of the night sky illuminated it. It was red…blood.

"Blood?" She questioned softly.

She frowned and then it clicked. She looked up.

"Oh Kami…" Ino whispered.

They all heard her, and all looked at her, then followed her gaze up…directly above her. The colour drained from Naruto's face, the bile rose in his throat, his heart hammered to a stop, and tears stung his eyes.

There, in a forked branch hanging over Ino, was Hinata. However, it was not that that made Naruto sick. It was the fact that the young woman laid motionless in the fork of the branch, and that a sword blade was protruding from her back, blood dripping down the blade towards the ground. Her arms and legs were hanging over the dividing branches, and her neck was limp, her head tilting back. The moonlight illuminated the ivory skin of her face, and she seemed to glow, despite being covered in blood.

"Oh Kami, Oh my Kami…" Ino whispered over and over again, tears springing to her eyes and making trails down her face.

Choji and Shikamaru appeared beside their teammate and walked her away from the despairing sight. Naruto just stared at the listless young woman, mind only processing one word.

"Hinata."

The dripping of the blood reached his ears and he instantly ran forward, leaping into the tree and pulling Hinata from the branches, taking her back to the ground. He cradled her in his arms, unable to place her on the ground lest he remove the sword, which he found himself unable to do. Gazing at the girl, his eyes bled red, teeth elongating into fangs and whisker marks becoming more pronounced.

Lee approached the devastated young man and gazed at the girl in his arms. Then, he noticed her hand.

"Naruto, she moved her hand. She's alive!" Lee shouted.

The red in his eyes cooled back to blue and he then noticed the slight rise and fall of her chest. They were shallow breaths, but they were there.

"Lee, take out the sword, we have to get her back to Konoha!" Naruto shouted to the young man standing right beside him.

Le readied himself but then froze at the shout that rang through the field.

"Don't remove that sword!" Shikamaru shouted, running over to them in a rare display of energy. "You remove that sword and she'll bleed to death!"

"We can't take her back to Konoha with a sword sticking out of her stomach! It'd be too painful for her!" Naruto retorted.

"Naruto, if you take out that sword, she'll die in minutes. At the moment, the sword is acting as a plug. The moment you remove it, her life gushes out with it. At the moment she's just…leaking. She must have closed off the chakra points surrounding the injury before falling unconscious. She's restricted the blood flow, slowed her heartbeat. That way, it'll take longer for her to bleed out."

"She condemned herself to slow death?" Ino asked, appearing next to Shikamaru, and accompanied by Choji.

Naruto smiled proudly down at the unconscious girl. "No, she's putting her faith in us, her friends, to save her. And that's what I'm going to do. Lee, on my count, take out the sword." He handed Hinata carefully to Choji. "Ino, I need you to cover the exit wound with your hand while Choji lowers her to the ground. Shikamaru, help Choji." Naruto looked fondly at the pale and bloody girl. "This will work, I'll save her."

He took out a kunai and readied it in his hand. He looked at Lee, swallowed and then nodded.

"One…two…THREE!"

Lee swiftly and cleanly pulled the sword from her stomach and threw it away. As soon as the sword was gone, Ino covered the wound on Hinata's back, trying to stem the flow. Choji and Shikamaru lowered Hinata to the ground quickly but gently and Naruto knelt down beside her. Before anyone could say anything, he brought down the kunai on her neck and slit her Jounin outfit from neck to navel. Choji, Lee and Shikamaru all had the decency to turn away as Hinata's clothing fell away from her body, exposing her naked torso to the world. However, Naruto didn't hesitate, he leaned down and licked the wound on her stomach. The salty taste of her blood coated his tongue, but he didn't hesitate. He lapped at her wound until the surface was clean and the wound had closed. He pulled back and looked at Ino.

"Turn her over." He commanded.

Ino didn't object and softly turned Hinata onto her stomach and Naruto fluidly leaned down again and began licking her wound.

As he worked, Shikamaru realised what he was doing. Without turning around, Shikamaru only gazed up at the stars.

"That's actually pretty ingenious Naruto. Using the Kyuubi's fast healing prowess, you closed her wounds."

Ino looked from Naruto, who'd finished licking Hinata's back wound and turned her over to reapply more saliva to her newly-healed front wound, to Shikamaru, who was facing away from her.

"But…that can't be very effective. The Kyuubi's healing power only works on Naruto because the Kyuubi's power has long since been ingrained in his chakra and blood systems."

"It's a short-term solution, until we get her back to Konoha." Shikamaru explained. "Naruto obviously knows that. At the moment, it's like he's applying layer upon layer of bandages to her wound. With each lick, he's adding another layer. He's creating another plug."

"Choji and I will go on ahead and tell the Hokage-sama of this development. That way, there should be doctors and a rooms waiting when you return." Lee said, and with that, he and Choji took off.

Naruto had once again turned Hinata onto her stomach and was licking her back wound. As he did, he unzipped his Jounin jacket.

"Naruto, what-" Ino started, as Naruto pulled away and stood up.

"Here," He said, handing Ino his jacket before turning away. "Put my jacket on her. Can't take her back to Konoha half-naked. I should have healed her enough to make it back to Konoha."

Ino gently rolled Hinata onto her back and then pulled her into a sitting position, placing Naruto's jacket on the injured woman.

"Hai, all done. Let's get her back to Konoha."

Naruto turned around and knelt down, gently lifting Hinata into his arms, carrying her bridal style. Shikamaru had retrieved the sword that had been lodged inside the Hyuuga heiress, and they were off towards Konoha. As they ran towards their home town, Naruto was looking down at the sleeping girl in his arms, relieved to see her skin was no longer pasty white, and her breathing had become deeper and more regular.

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Hinata Hyuuga awoke many hours later in a room where the sun's morning rays were filtering in through the window. She hurt all over, yet she knew she was glad to be alive. She smiled softly.

"I knew they'd save me." She thought to herself. "My teammates…my friends."

She slowly sat up and as the sheet fell into her lap, she noticed the jacket she was wearing was not her own. In fact, it was about 3 sizes too big.

"I…I-I know this smell…this is Naruto-kun's jacket!" She thought wildly, eyes widening.

The door to the room opened and there stood Naruto Uzumaki, sweaty, tired, and without his Jounin jacket. Their gazes locked and Naruto's sad tired face, transformed into a huge grin with sparkling blue eyes.

"Hinata, you're awake! Oh thank Kami!" She shouted in his glee, sprinting over to the bed. "I was-I mean…we were so scared-worried, I mean worried. I-uh…these are for you!"

He produced a bouquet of flowers from behind his back, containing violets, daffodils and lavender. He handed her the flowers and blushed like a 15-year-old. Hinata too, blushed, but she could get away with it because she was 19 and had been blushing over Naruto for over ten years.

"A-Arigato Naruto-kun, they're lovely." She said, gratefully accepting the flowers.

He grinned sheepishly and rubbed the back of his head nervously. He accidentally loosened the knot on his forehead protector, and it fell with a 'clunk' to the ground. He laughed nervously, leaned down and scooped it up. Hinata watched the display in innocent amusement, a small smile gracing her features.

"Naruto-kun?" She yawned, covering her mouth. "What happened?"

His expression suddenly turned serious and he sat on the side of her bed, lightly pushing her back onto her pillows. "Maybe you should tell me. How…how did you…" He couldn't even say it.

She closed her eyes and sighed. "Choji-kun and I had just finished off three of the ninja using explosive tags and ninjutsu. Choji-kun ran off to help Ino-san, and using my Byakugan, I saw a ninja come up behind me-"

"Yeah, but how did you end up in a tree with a sword…in you?"

"I-I beat the ninja in three jyuuken strikes and as he fell, I saw you fighting a whole group of ninja using your bunshin technique. In the tree above you was a camouflaged ninja. I called out to you, I did…but you didn't hear me. I ran towards the tree, I knew running to you wouldn't help. My Shugohakke Rokujuyon Sho is still only a stationary attack, and I couldn't get to you fast enough to cover you. I'm still not strong enough to protect those I care for-"

"Hinata!"

She ignored him. "S-So I ran up the tree and fought the ninja. During our fight, we must have swapped positions, because I found myself on the overhanging branch. I barely noticed that you were out of trouble and had moved on to help Shikamaru-san. Then the ninja summoned a sword. That's the only explanation, because I'd been using my Byakugan the entire battle, and I hadn't seen it." She paused and opened her eyes, looking straight at the enthralled man before her. "W-Well, the branch of a tree is not the most suitable surface for Shugohakke Rokujuyon Sho and I wasn't able to activate it. I-I-I tried to use jyuuken on his arm, but the sword was longer…" She looked at her hands in her lap. "The last thing I remember doing is using jyuuken on myself to slow my heart beat. I struck myself similarly to where Neji hit me in the first Chuunin exam." She lifted a hand and indicated to where she'd struck. "It didn't stop my heart, it slowed it down. I remember falling back, and as I did, I struck a chakra point here." She indicated to a spot around where the sword had been protruding. "And here." She indicated to a spot on either side of her forehead…her temple.

Naruto immediately leaned forward and cupped her head in his hands, turning her head from side to side, examining her temple.

"What did you do?" He asked fearfully.

She blushed at being so close to him. "N-Nothing that affects me. It was a seal that only a Hyuuga can remove. It prohibits the activation of the Byakugan, so enemies can't get a hold of the secret." She noted his horrified look. "I'll remove it once I'm feeling better. It's painless N-Naruto-kun. I only placed the seal in case I did die, it's been drilled into me since I was a child: 'If you're about to die, activate the Hyuuga seal'. As a main branch family member, I do not have the seal that deactivates the Byakugan upon death, so that mantra has been drilled into me. It's fine Naruto-kun."

"But what if you're attacked while the seal is still activated?"

"In hospital?" She smiled at him. "Arigato for worrying. If it makes you feel any better, Neji-nii-san can remove it when he visits me next."

"Hmm…that would make me feel a lot better."

There was a brief moment of silence. "Umm…N-Naruto-kun, you're still…"

He snapped to attention and realised that he was still holding her head in his hands and leaning very close to her. He immediately released his hold on her and reeled back, blushing lightly.

"So, uh…I guess I'm in debt to you now. Thank-you Hinata." He said gratefully.

"Nani?"

"You risked your life for me Silver-Eyes," He said softly, leaning forward ever so slightly. "You almost died protecting me, arigato. I am now in your debt. I'll do anything you ask me!"

"No Naruto-kun, that's not necessary." She replied, blushing at the nickname. "You are my friend and teammate, and I'm sure if the roles were reversed, you'd do the same for me."

"Count on it Silver-Eyes!" He grinned happily. "Ne ne, Hinata, when I said I'd do anything…I meant anything. I'd die for you, since you were willing to die for me!"

She blushed again as he grinned at her foxily. All sorts of requests fluttered through her head, some more naughty than others. Her eyes flickered down to his lips and she subconsciously licked her lips, moistening them. Naruto was oblivious to her action and leaned forward, looking at her curiously.

"Ne Hinata, what would you have asked for?" She looked at him with a blush. "Ramen, is it ramen? Coz I can get you ramen." She shook her head. "Flowers maybe? I can get you more if you want. No, what did you want then?"

Hinata swallowed hard and looked away from him, thoroughly aware that his face was inches from her own.

"Come on Hinata, tell him the truth. Activating the seal wasn't the last thing to go through your mind when you thought you were going to die. It was Naruto; he was going through your head. You almost died, do you want to go through life without telling him. You've been given a second chance, don't waste it!" A voice that sounded similar to a gossiping Ino said, ringing in her head.

And who was she to argue with a statement like that? Hinata, with newfound confidence, leaned towards Naruto, closing the distance. She lifted a hand and softly brought a thumb across his lips, unable to meet his gaze. If she had looked up, she would have seen a bright red blush on Naruto's face.

"T-This…I w-want you Naruto-kun. T-That's what I want. You, now and f-forever." She whispered, breath fanning across his lips.

She brushed her lips across his, and noted the electric sensation that coursed through her body. Little did she know Naruto was experiencing the same thing. He leaned forward and kissed her fully on the mouth, closing his eyes to revel in the feeling. She was in bliss…he'd kissed her. He hadn't recoiled away after she told him what she wanted; he'd complied with her wishes. A horrible thought crossed her mind and she pulled back from the kiss.

"G-G-Gomen, y-you don't have to feel o-obligated-"

He leaned forward and kissed her chastely on the lips. "Hush Hinata, I don't even know what 'obligated' means. Besides…" He kissed her again. "For someone who's so quiet, you're sure talking a lot."

He smiled teasingly as he leaned forward again, kissing her fully on the lips. Pleased with his answer, Hinata kissed him back, shyly at first, but more confidently as he sunk into the kiss. After breaking for air, he had to smile at the small blush evident on her cheeks. Unable to say what she truly felt, Hinata decided to change the topic.

"A-Ano Naruto-kun…" He looked at her curiously. "A-Ano…how did you get m-me back to Konoha?"

She noticed the slight blush that crossed his features. "He he, you see…that…well. Um…after we found you, and we saw that you were still alive." He paused. "Silver Eyes, when I thought you were dead…part of me died too…I even started transforming." She gasped. "But we realised you were alive, and I calmed down. I told Fuzzy-Brows to take out the sword…I couldn't do it, I couldn't cause you more pain. Then we lay you on the ground and I slit your clothes open."

Hinata's eyes widened. "N-N-N-Nani?"

"F-From your neck to your bellybutton."

W-w-w-why did you do that?"

"I had to lick your wound clean. The Kyuubi's healing powers worked on you."

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"Hinata, oi Hinata, don't faint!"

Out in the hall, Sakura, Ino, Shikamaru, Lee and Choji sat on chairs, smiling stupidly.

"I think he just told her he saw her without a shirt on." Ino said, snickering.

"Naruto-baka really is turning into a pervert." Sakura said, cracking her knuckles.

"For what it's worth, Naruto was very professional at the time. Didn't ogle her or nothing! And he turned around once he'd finished and he gave me his jacket to put on her." Ino reasoned, defending Naruto.

"Well…I guess. I mean, it was life-or-death, wasn't it? Ino-pig, I still can't believe you entered her mind and told her to tell him! She's just woken up, she didn't need you poking into her mind while she's fragile."

"What?" She defended, raising her hands in defense. "He'd asked her what she wanted him to give her! If that wasn't an invitation for a kiss, I'd be a…Billboard-Brow!"

Sakura scowled. "Why I oughta-"

"Ladies, ladies, we should all be rejoicing in the fact that two of our comrades have found love!" Lee said, striking a pose.

"Well…she didn't say she loved him…but she said told him she wanted him. It's a start." Ino said, rubbing her chin. "We just have to set up the right situation for a proper confession."

"I love you too Hinata."

Five pairs of eyes widened as Naruto's voice filtered through the door.

"Maybe not…" Ino concluded.

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Hinata, even in her elation at his reciprocation of her feelings, felt sceptic. For once not being totally oblivious, Naruto realised her expression.

"It may seem rushed, but it's not. Hinata…Silver Eyes, for months I've been feeling extremely attracted to you. You're not just an amazing shinobi, you're an amazing person, and that's what I fell for."

"B-B-But attraction may not n-necessarily mean love." She sniffled.

He took her hand. "No, attraction doesn't mean love. But the utter pain I felt when I thought you'd died, the gut-wrenching, heart-breaking pain I felt when I thought I'd lost the most important person in my life; does mean I love you."

Tears formed in Hinata's eyes. "Oh Naruto-kun!" She threw herself forward and hugged him, burying her head in his chest. "I love you too!"

Resting his head atop hers, he paled. "You know, I now have another gut-wrenching, heart-breaking moment coming up."

She pulled away and looked at him quizzically. "Naruto-kun?"

"Telling your Otou-san…AND Neji." He shuddered.

"Don't worry Naruto-kun, I'll be with you, and I'll make sure not more blood is spilt."

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Gah, I tried, I truly did try!!! I was going to kill her, make it 'tragedy', BUT I COULDN'T DO IT!!! Essentially, the idea in my head was for her to die after confessing to him. I couldn't do it for two reasons. One: Hinata is my favourite character and I couldn't kill her. Two: It's just too cruel for Naruto, to keep losing people that care for and love him.

Meh, I still like how I ended it. Hope you did.

-Wandering Wonderer