-1She's Coming Home….
So, tell me Christmas
Are we wise
To believe in things that we never see?
Are prayers just wishes in disguise?
And are these wishes being granted me?
For now I see
To every prayer I've prayed!
She's coming home this Christmas Day!
So, tell me Christmas
Are we kind
More this day than any other day?
Or is it only in our mind?
And must it leave when you have gone away?
It's different now
It's changed somehow
And now you're here to stay
She's coming home this Christmas day!
All at once the world
It doesn't seem the same!
And in a single night
You know it all has changed!
And everything is now as it should be!
I have the ornament
I have the perfect tree
I have a string of lights
I have a chance to see
Everything that my heart thought it could be!
For of all the dreams
You were the first I knew
And every other one
Was a charade of you!
You stayed close when I was far away!
In the darkest night
You always were the star
That always took us in
No matter who we are!
And so she's coming home this Christmas day!
Naruto Uzumaki ran around his house like a hurricane, pulling his hair out as he searched and searched without trying to tear up what he had so painstakingly worked so hard on for the past eight weeks. His blue eyes were lit up in despair as he frantically looked for that one special thing he had gotten that would make this night so absolutely perfect. Suddenly, a knock at his door startled him like a kunai through his heart as he looked at the wall clock and cursed himself for allowing the time to get so late. Spinning on his heels, he ran to the door and threw it open, only to come face-to-face with a pink haired kunoichi who stood at the door with a smile on her face and rather large bag of presents in her arms.
"Sakura!" he yelled as the young lady stood there, shocked at the response she received.
"Merry Christmas, Naruto….whoop!" Her smile never left her face until Naruto grabbed her by the hand and yanked her into the house.
"Thank God you're here!" the hyperactive blonde panted as he dragged her into the house, "I need your help!"
"Whoa! Calm down, Naruto! What's wrong?" Sakura asked as she glanced around his house and took it all in. She hadn't visited since he had moved in two months ago. Naruto still stormed around the house, doing his best not to tear everything up.
"Gotta find it, gotta find it, gotta find it…" he muttered to himself as Sakura walked over and placed the presents down on the sofa before turning on the blonde.
"Naruto! Calm down and tell me what's wrong! I'll help you, but you have to tell me what's going on!" the pink-haired girl barked, causing Naruto to stop in his tracks and turn to her. She was shocked to see tears starting to form in his eyes.
"Hinata's present! I can't find it!" he said miserably as his shoulders sagged and he collapsed on the sofa.
Hinata Hyuga walked out of the Hokage Tower after giving her detailed report to Lady Tsunade. The wind was picking up, sending waves of cold that caused her shiver uncontrollably. She zipped her jacket up as she stood before the massive building, turning this way and that as she waited to see if anyone had decided to come and greet her on her return. The Fifth Hokage had sent her on a two month training mission to Suna to exchange information on the movements of their enemies, as well as learning new medical procedures from their vast medical texts.
At Gaara's insistence, she stayed in the Kazekage's residence with Temari as her roommate. She and Temari had become quite close during her stay, and was pleasantly surprised to find a new friend she could talk with so openly. Ever since she and Naruto had started going out a little over a year ago, she had discovered that there were very few people in Konoha with whom she felt comfortable opening up to. The two of them spoke about their boyfriends and how silly the two of them could be. Temari's eyes would lose focus whenever she spoke or thought about Shikamaru and how much she missed him, and to Hinata's surprise, she discovered she did the same thing whenever it came to Naruto.
"Speaking of Naruto," she said to herself as she continued to look around, waiting for her knuckleheaded boyfriend, "Where on Earth can he be? I thought he was going to come for me!"
"Her present?" Sakura asked, a look of surprise on her face as she sat down beside the distraught young ninja. "You can't find her present?"
"Yeah," the blue-eyed demon container mumble miserably, his eyes downcast and staring at his feet, wringing his hands in worry. "I lost it." Sakura cocked an eyebrow as she stood up and walked over to the huge Christmas tree that stood in the corner of the room. She knelt down and began to sort the large pile of presents that had been carefully wrapped and placed under it. She noticed that there was one under there for everyone Naruto considered a friend, whether or not they were going to show up for his party. She stopped when her hands came upon a large package.
"Hey dummy!" she called out, bringing Naruto out of his funk. "It's right here! In fact, there are more than one! All you had to do was look! Sheesh!" When he saw what she had found, his eyes grew sad again and he slumped to the ground beside her. Sakura noticed immediately and was embarrassed.
"Look, I'm sorry for calling you a dummy, there's no need to be sad because of it!" she apologized, but his mood didn't lift.
"It's not that," he replied glumly as he stared at his hands, "those are her Christmas gifts, I was looking for her birthday gift!"
Hinata sighed as she walked down the sidewalk toward the Hyuga compound. Naruto hadn't come for her, so she decided he must be on an errand and began to walk home. After being gone for two months, she missed her boyfriend badly and had wanted to see him so much it hurt. She knew Naruto had missed her too, he had told her such in the letters he had sent her, and it was really disappointing not to see him as soon as she got back.
Hinata hadn't gotten more than a block or two when four members of the Hyuga branch house arrived and surrounded her. A lump formed in her throat when the leader of the group came forward.
"Lady Hyuga, your father has sent us to escort you home. Please, follow us!" he said sympathetically as he and his men surrounded her and began to walk with her. Her heart fell when she knew what was to happen, but there was nothing that could be done about it now. A young genin placed a hand on her shoulder as they walked and spoke to her, sadness evident in her voice.
"Happy Birthday, Lady Hyuga."
"Her birthday present?" Sakura asked, somewhat stunned. For as many years as she had known the young Hyuga heiress, she had never asked about her birthday. Right now, Sakura felt like a really awful friend.
"Yeah," Naruto said as he got back up and began to search the house again with a little more gusto this time. "Today is her birthday, and I wanted to make it really special for her!" Tears began to form in his eyes again when he thought about what Hinata had told him before she had left on her mission to Suna. He stopped for a second and wiped his eyes with the back of his sleeve, an action that did not go unnoticed by his friend.
"You know, you have a ton of gifts right there for her, you could always give her one of those for her birthday," Sakura said as she came up behind him and gave him a hug, resting her head on his shoulder. Naruto relaxed a bit, but shook his head.
"No, I can't. You see, with her birthday so close to Christmas, Hinata never got any gifts for Christmas. I guess her father is a cheap bastard, because all her birthday presents were also meant to be Christmas gifts as well. So, on Christmas morning, when everyone else opened their gifts, Hinata would sit in the corner and watch. It's not right Sakura! Can you imagine how that would make her feel?" Sakura could feel the silent sobs that escaped her friend, and she felt the wetness of his tears as they fell on her arm.
"Oh, Naruto," Sakura said sadly, knowing all too well that Naruto could understand his girlfriend's pain. It wasn't until he and Hinata had started going out that he had ever gotten a Christmas gift from anyone. Sakura and all his friends felt so bad about that. It had never occurred to them that their friend had never had a Christmas, be it presents, parties, or even company.
"There are seventeen gifts there for Hinata, one for every Christmas she missed, plus one for tomorrow," Naruto said as he turned around in Sakura's arms and looked her in the eyes. Sakura could see the pain Naruto felt for his lady. "I got her a birthday present as well, just to show her how much I lo…" He stopped and turned bright red. Sakura smirked as she let him go and stood back, her arms crossed.
"How much you love her?" she asked teasingly, causing Naruto to blush more.
"Uh, yeah," he answered as he was enveloped in yet another hug, this one strong enough to rival the ones Tsunade was known to give him. "So, will you help me?"
"Sure I will, Naruto!" Sakura said, smiling brightly. "So, what does it look like?" Naruto blanched.
"You're going to have to tell her, kit, if you want her help," Kyuubi said, back in the recess if his mind. Naruto mentally scowled at the fox, causing a deep chuckle to rise from the depths.
"Why the hell can't you tell me where I put it?" Naruto demanded, causing a snarl to come from the imprisoned fox.
"Because I was asleep when you brought the damn thing in, Dumbass! Now, tell Pinkie what she needs to know and get started looking, idiot!" Kyuubi barked back at him, literally.
"Damn crotchety old fox," Naruto mentally mumbled as he turned back to Sakura. "Well, it's kind of a small box, all fuzzy-like…"
"Happy birthday, Hinata," Hiashi Hyuga said, rather disinterestedly as he watched his daughter, who sat on a pillow before his desk. He motioned for a branch member who had brought her in to come forward and handed him a box. The branch member in turn gave the box to Hinata before returning to his position.
"Th-thank you, Father," Hinata answered softly as she studied the box before opening it. Inside was a pale kimono, one that Hinata recognized almost immediately. Her heart stopped and she felt hot tears begin to form in her eyes. Her father, for his part, never noticed.
"As you know, Hinata, you are now seventeen. The time has come to determine your destiny and place within the clan," Her father began as he stood from desk and turned to face the closest window, never once turning to address her directly. "After carefully weighing all the options, I've had to come to some difficult decisions."
"And…and what are those, Father?" she asked sadly, knowing full well what his answer was to be.
"First off, I have designated your sister as the new heir to the clan. As such, you are to be assigned to the branch family," he began, no trace of emotion in his voice. Hinata knew that the second she saw the kimono in her lap. It was for the ceremony where the Caged Bird Seal would be placed on her forehead. "Tomorrow, your sister will be formally announced, and we will have the ceremony." Hinata gasped. She was to be branded on Christmas day!
"Second, despite what your sensei claims, you will turn in your resignation as a ninja immediately after the ceremony. I still find your skills lackluster at best, which greatly disappoints me, Hinata." His words cut her like a knife, as the tears streamed down her face. She knew he had received word of her abilities, such as her rotation and her new jutsu, The Protection of the Eight Trigrams, but he seems to have dismissed them as hyperbole.
"Finally, I have deemed your sole value to this clan as to be a breeder. As such, after the first of the year, I shall search the branch house and see if I can find anyone desperate enough to want to have a failure such as you as a wife. I expect you to have a many children as you can to help strengthen the clan. Understand?" Hiashi asked, rather cruelly. Hinata gasped.
"But…but father? Why?" she squeaked. Being a ninja was all she knew, and the very thought of having anyone touch her like he was so simply stating was disgusting. Well, almost anyone. "Naruto, where are you?" she cried in her mind.
"Do you truly have to ask? I gave you my reasons and I have made my decision. Now, go and get ready for your party. The guests should start arriving soon." he added as he dismissed her. "One final note, daughter. You are NEVER to see the Demon again!" Hinata stood and ran to her room, her tears leaving wet spots on the floor as she passed. A shadow watched what had happened and had to suppress it's killing intent lest it be discovered.
Sakura began to search the kitchen while she listened to Naruto tear through the rest of the house, looking for Hinata's gift. She chose this room because it seemed relatively unscathed from Hurricane Naruto. Opening the cupboards, Sakura was surprised to see the utter LACK of ramen. She remembered when Naruto lived in his apartment, the place was packed with instant ramen. After opening every cabinet, she discovered that there was no ramen to be found anywhere.
"Gee, I wonder if he's feeling okay?" she muttered as she noticed the cans of vegetables, soups and such that had places within his kitchen. Naruto had really started to change after he and Hinata began to date, and especially after he had moved into this house. This got her to thinking.
Sakura looked around the large kitchen and began to wonder about the house. She knew Naruto had a habit of saving his money, but she just knew he would never have enough to afford a house like this. The hallway from the main door was huge, as was the living and dining areas that she and her friend had already searched. The kitchen was amazing, and she remembered that when he moved in he gave her a tour of the bedrooms as well. There were five bedrooms, each one bigger than his old apartment. The front yard was big, but the back yard and flower garden area was enormous! In the center of the backyard was a gazebo that he had had built, and surrounding that was a rose garden that he had planted himself. He never told her why he had done it, nor had he told her how he had gotten the house or why. She really needed to ask him one of these days.
Sakura continued her search, and when she opened the refrigerator, she saw what they were looking for. She reached in and grabbed the small, dark blue box, only to notice that it was a small jewelry box. "Aw, that's sweet! He must have gotten her a necklace or some earrings," she thought as she called out for him. "Hey, Naruto!"
"What?" he yelled back, obviously from further back in the house than she thought he would be.
"I found it!" she hollered out as she opened the box and gasped. A noise drew her attention to the door as the blonde-haired ninja spun around the corner and slammed into the opposite wall. Sakura turned and held the open box out to him, an utterly stunned expression on her face. Naruto's eyes widened as he saw what was in Sakura's hands. "Naruto?"
"Uh, heheh! Sorry, Sakura, but I'm spoken for!" he grinned has he placed one hand on the back of his head.
Hinata sat on the edge of her bed, waiting for the servant to come and get her for her seventeenth birthday party. He father had wanted her to wear a dark blue silk kimono for the party, hoping to make a good impression on any prospective husbands that would be attending. However, in a blatant act of defiance, she chose a light blue dress that she knew Naruto liked to see on her. It came to a point several inches above her knees and had a white flower petal pattern on one side of the skirt. She also chose a dark pair of stockings to wear as well, along with a set of heels she liked that matched the dress. She rarely used any make up at all, seeing how the clan frowned on it, but tonight she wore a little blush as well as a color of lipstick that Naruto had complimented her on one day. He had been quick to tell her she never needed any makeup, but the compliment he had given her had stuck in her heart. She would wear it for him. And only him.
There was a knock at the door which broke her train of thought, "Yes?"
"Lady Hinata, may I come in?" a familiar voice called out, causing Hinata to quickly stand and answer the door.
"Neji?" she asked as her cousin stood in the doorway, waiting for permission to enter. "Sure, come in. You don't have to call me that, you know. I am no longer the heir. I'm just plain old Hinata now." Neji looked at how she was dressed and grinned at what she said.
"Trust me, cousin, there is nothing plain about you!" he snickered as Hinata blushed and playfully hit him on the chest.
"Neji! You better watch it or I'll tell Tenten all about your stash of porn!" Hinata teased back, causing Neji to gasp in surprise. Dating Naruto for a year had changed his cousin, mainly for the better.
"But…but…but I don't have a stash of porn!" he protested, causing Hinata to giggle as he blushed. She smiled ever so sweetly before leaning closer to him.
"I know that, you know that, but SHE doesn't know that!" she giggled as he turned even redder than before. The two of them began to laugh, releasing most of the tension from the day.
"It's time for you to come to the party," Neji said after recovering from his blushing/laughing fit. "You're going to make quite an impression dressed as you are. Your father will not be pleased, you know."
"He…he can go to hell, as far as I'm concerned," she replied, trying very hard not to stutter. Neji looked at her with admiration, then just a bit of sadness.
"Good for you," he replied as the two of them left her room, "I heard everything earlier. I am truly sorry. I will still protect you, you know." Hinata patted his hand as they continued down the hall.
"I know," she said sadly, the weight of everything beginning to get to her once more. Neji looked at her but had to smile inwardly. He knew that plans of the Main House could be easily disrupted by outside influences, especially a blonde-haired one.
Knocks at the door interrupted Sakura's and Naruto's talk as the hyperactive blonde rushed to answer. For the next half hour or so, Naruto was too busy greeting his friends and guests for Sakura to get a hold of him and get some straight answers from him. Everyone seemed shocked at the size of Naruto's new place, as they walked around, drinking in the festive atmosphere.
"Yo, Naruto," Kakashi said after he finished touring the place, "I like what've you done to the old place. It brings back some good memories."
"I'm glad you like it, Kakashi-sensei," Naruto replied as he watched Anko sneak up on Kakashi and pull him into a nearby closet. Naruto grinned, but wondered how much cleaning the closet would require after tonight.
"Are you settled in good, brat?" Tsunade asked as she downed another glass of sake. The Kyuubi container rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, Grandma, I've settled in real good," he smirked, his whisker marks twitching as his smile grew. "Thanks for the heads up!"
"No problem! Urp!" Tsunade replied as she nursed her glass. "Say, where is Hinata? I thought she would have gotten here before anyone else!" Naruto's eyes shot up in surprise.
"She's not supposed to come in until later tonight, right?" he asked, a sinking feeling creeping upon him.
"Naw, she came in hours ago!" Tsunade replied as a groan rose from Naruto's throat.
"Crap! Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap!" he thought to himself as he ran to his room to grab his jacket. He had wanted to be there to meet her and bring her to his new place. Grabbing his coat, he dashed out of his room when he heard a familiar voice.
"Hey, kit, I hate to bug you, but Pinkie is about to…" the kitsune warned, but it was too late.
"Whoop!" Naruto screamed as a hand grabbed the back of his collar and yanked him back into his room.
"Never mind," Kyuubi sighed as he got ready spend a rather large amount of chakra to heal any wounds the insanely strong kunoichi was about to inflict.
"Naruto!" Sakura snarled as she dragged him into his room and slammed the door shut. "We really need to talk!"
"Not now, Sakura! Hinata came home hours ago and I wasn't there to greet her! She must think I'm a horrible boyfriend for not being there!" he said in an extremely agitated voice. Sakura refused to let go of him.
"She's a big girl and can take care of herself! We really need to talk about her gift! Are you really that serious? Where did you get it from? For that matter, how did you get this house and why?" Sakura asked before drawing a breath. Naruto's eyes went wide.
"But Sakura…" he whined before she lifted him up and threw him to his bed.
"SIT!" she commanded as he tried to get up and head out the door.
"Yes ma'am!" he responded, sitting upright, his back as straight as a board.
"SPEAK!" she barked, her eyes blazing fire.
"Woof!" he replied as a reflex, before covering his mouth, fearing the worst. He watched her cock back a fist before waving her off. "Wait! Wait! I'm sorry!"
"I'm waiting," the pink-haired kunoichi growled as she stood before the rather nervous young man before her.
"She's scary!" Kyuubi said as he hid in the darkest corner of his cage.
"No shit!" Naruto replied to the cowering fox before turning his attentions back to his friend. "Yes, Sakura, I really am that serious. I can't imagine my life without my Hinata! She makes me feel like I can conquered the entire world! She doesn't see as a goof, or a demon, or an idiot. She sees me for me and accepts me! I want nothing more than to make her happy for the rest of her life!" Sakura's anger left her and was replaced with a warm feeling. She was happy for her friend.
"What about the ring? It looks kinda old," she asked as he sighed and pulled a scroll from his nightstand drawer.
"The ring came with the house, and with this," he replied as he handed the scroll to Sakura, who sat next to him and promptly read it. Her eyes glazed over as the scroll fell from her hands and almost hit the floor. Naruto caught it.
"So, this place…" she said, her eyes staring off into the distance.
"Yeah, it's my inheritance. My mother and father left it to me before they died. The ring was my mother's wedding ring. I want Hinata to have it." Naruto said softly as he reached into his pocket and pulled the small box out. He opened it and stared at the golden band, with it's twin stones, one a sapphire and the other a ruby. The band itself reminded him of separate chakra streams that intertwine and become one. A small tear fell from his eye and landed on the stones, causing them to shine brightly.
"And your parents were…" she continued, still very numb from what she had just learned.
"Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki. The Fourth Hokage and his wife," he finished softly. Sakura saw how sad he was and wrapped her arm around him. "I never got to know them, but I miss them nonetheless."
"Naruto, I'm sorry," she said as he stood and put the box back in his pocket.
"It's okay, Sakura. I gotta go find Hinata, though," he replied as he started to walk back to his door.
"Naruto, you have a house full of guests, you just can't leave! There has to be some other way to find her!" Sakura said as a look of confusion crossed Naruto's face.
"What do you mean I can't leave?" he seethed. Sakura cocked an eyebrow before answering him.
"A host can't leave the party, they have to take care of their guests! Don't you know that?" she asked incredulously. Naruto just shook his head.
"I've never hosted a party before. Shoot, I've never even been to a party before! The book never said anything about never leaving!" he argued, as Sakura winced at being reminded that Naruto had never been to parties.
"What book?" she asked, as Naruto handed her a scroll titled, "Christmas Parties for Dummies".
"If I can't go, what can I do?" he wondered as he paced his room before a light bulb went off in his head. "I got it!" Sakura tilted her head to the side as she watched Naruto bite his thumbs before slamming his hands to the floor. "Summoning Jutsu!" A huge amount of smoke filled the room, blocking Sakura's vision.
"Good idea, kit!" Kyuubi said, impressed that his idiot container was able to come up with a plan. When the smoke cleared, a large toad and a slightly larger fox sat in the floor before Naruto.
"Hey Fuzz-ball!" the toad called out to the fox before turning to Naruto. "What's up, boss?"
"What's up, Legs?" the fox replied before turning to Naruto as well. "You need me, oh wise-one-with-spiky-hair?"
"Gamakichi, Takuya, I need your help," Naruto said as he squatted down to the floor so as to look them both in the eye, "Hinata came home early, and I need you two to go find her and bring her here, please?" The toad and the fox looked at each other and shrugged.
"Sure thing, boss," Gamakichi said, giving Naruto and Sakura a wink. "Just one problem, though."
"What's that?" Naruto asked, a little exasperated. He wanted to go out and find her, rather than having his buddies do so.
"Where can we find her….AW CRAP!!" Takuya yelped as Sakura scooped him up from the floor and proceeded to wrap him up in a killer hug.
"Aw! He's so cute!" Sakura gushed as she continued to smother the poor fox summons. Takuya's ears drooped and his tongue flopped out as he struggled to get some air into his lungs.
"Boss…help…" he managed to squeak, which made his cuteness factor to Sakura rise about one hundred percent.
"Sakura, put Tak down! He has a job to do!" Naruto fussed, shooting an angry glare at his friend.
"But he's so cute!" she shot back, still holding the fox in a death grip. Naruto had to reach over and pull Takuya from her arms and place him back on the ground.
"Thanks, boss!" Takuya gasped as he tried to get the breath back into his lungs.
"Hey, cutie! You can hug me anytime!" Gamakichi said as he hopped over by her feet, hoping for the same treatment.
"Uh, maybe some other time," Sakura answered as she did her best to suppress a shudder. "Eeeeeewww!" she thought to herself.
"Okay, your loss," the orange toad replied as he turned back to Naruto. "So, gotta location for us?"
"Try the Hyuga compound first. If she's not there, try training field seven," Naruto answered, a small grin on his face.
"Why that field?" Sakura asked, and seeing how Naruto was…well…Naruto, he answered her almost immediately.
"That's where we were the first time we…" he noticed three pairs of eyes staring at him rather intently. He was puzzled as to why until he heard Kyuubi chuckle. He blushed when he realized what they were thinking. "Kissed! It the first place we kissed, you damn perverts! I swear, you three are worse than Jiraiya! Now, you two get outta here!" With that, the two summons beasts disappeared in a puff of smoke. Naruto glanced over at Sakura, who had a rather heated blush on her cheeks.
"I swear, I wasn't thinking…" she began before a glance from Naruto told her that he knew the truth.
"Come on, Sakura, I have a bunch of guest to take care of," he said as he took her hand and lead her from his room.
Hinata laid on her bed and cried. Her father had been more than displeased with her choice of attire for her birthday party, despite the fact that she had received more than her fair share of compliments from her guests. He berated her publicly for her lack of discipline, her lack of decorum, her lack of skills, and her lack of use in general. A few sets of eyes in room agreed with Hiashi, but many, many more looked at her with sadness.
After Hiashi forcefully dismissed her from her own birthday party, he set guards outside her room, forbidding her from leaving for the remainder of the night or the next day, until the time came for her to be branded. The hatred she saw in his eyes hurt her more than the public ridicule he had subjected her to.
"I thought it was a pretty outfit," she sniffed as she hid her face behind the curtain of her raven hair. Her father had pretty much accused her of dressing like a whore before the whole of the Hyuga clan. She had also noticed that Hiashi had failed to invite any of her friends and co-workers. Everyone there was either a high ranking member of the clan, or a business associate of her father's. She didn't even get a piece of her birthday cake.
"Naruto, where were you?" she cried as she buried her face in her hands, tears of sheer pain soaking her pillow. She was so distraught that she failed to notice the sudden additional weight on her bed.
"Hey, cutie! What's wrong?" she heard to her left. It was a voice that was vaguely familiar. Before she could say anything else, a second voice sounded out.
"Dear lady, what troubles you so?" This voice was unlike any she had ever heard before. Hinata's head shot up and stared straight into the eyes of a rather cute fox that sat nose-to-nose with her. She spun her head to the left and saw Gamakichi sitting there with a worried look on his toady face.
"Gamakichi!" she squealed as she picked up the toad and gave him a gentle hug and a kiss on the top of his head.
"Now that's what I'm talking about!" Gamakichi chirped with a smile as she set him down next to the fox. "This is my buddy, Takuya. Boss-man sent us both to get you!"
"Nice to meet you, Takuya," Hinata said, "I'm Hinata Hyuga." She reached out and scratched him between his ears, eliciting a contented sigh from the fox.
"I must say, your greeting is much preferred over the one that Herculean pink-haired kunoichi gave me earlier," Tak commented as he walked over to Hinata and curled up beside her, trying to lessen her pain as best he could.
"Sakura?" Hinata asked, a bit confused. "Why was Sakura with Naruto when he summoned them both?"
"Yup! That's the one!" Gamakichi replied. "Pinkie tried to squeeze the stuffing out of my red-haired friend there!" Tak just shuddered at the memory, which brought a smile to Hinata's face. "Anyway, boss-man was told the wrong time for your arrival, and he feels like crap for not picking you up! We gotta get you to the party!"
"Party? Naruto's place is much too small to hold a party," she mused while the two summons both grinned at her. She had the distinct feeling she was missing something.
"Not his new place," Gamakichi croaked, jumping up and down in excitement. "It's freaking huge!" The fox quickly slapped him down.
"Idiot! That was supposed to be a surprise!" Tak growled, as a sheepish look took over the toad's face.
"Sorry! Come on, we need to go! At least you're dressed for a party!" Gamakichi remarked with a wink, causing Hinata to blush. As she stood up and brushed herself off, she froze.
"I can't go! Father has placed guards on my room!" she said miserably as tears threatened to overwhelm her once more. Her door opened, revealing the face of her cousin.
"Don't worry about the guards," Neji replied as he closed the door behind him. "I made sure each and everyone of them were branch family members that were on duty tonight. None of us want to see you branded like us, Hinata. You were the only member of the Main House that treated us like equals. None will stop you." Hinata jumped forward and gave her cousin a hug and a kiss on his cheek, causing him to blush.
"How can I thank you?" she asked. Neji looked her straight in the eye before replying.
"Go and live a good and happy life Hinata! I shall send your things to you tomorrow. But for now, I've promised Naruto to get you to the party as soon as I could. Let's go!" With that, Neji took her hand and lead her from her room and through the compound. After they made a clean getaway, the two summons disappeared to give Naruto the news.
"Hey, you two! Just what were you doing in Naruto's room all alone for so long?" Kiba laughed as he caused a blush to rush to Naruto's cheeks. His laughter was short lived as a certain pink-haired kunoichi punched him in the back of his head and smashed his face into the wall.
"Hey, Sakura! Be careful! I don't want any holes in the wall!" Naruto barked as he rushed over to inspect for any damage. Kiba squirmed under the pressure Sakura was using to crush his face into the wall.
"gmpg mmpg cnfrmm iff hrtmrrmfn," Kiba said, which translates into "Gee, your concern is heartwarming!" when your face isn't pressed into a wall. Tsunade gave Sakura a harsh look, which caused her to release the poor dog ninja.
"Sheesh! It was just a joke,' Kiba fumed as he watched Naruto inspect the wall. "By the way, how did you get this place?"
"That's a secret, Kiba, so shut up!" Tsunade and Sakura barked at the same time, which startled everyone else in the room. Kiba's hair stood on end, and he swore to God he never wanted to get those two mad at him, especially at the same time. Tsunade shot a quizzical look at Sakura, who merely nodded. Tsunade went back to sipping sake. A sudden explosion of smoke quickly drew everyone's attention.
"Hey, boss!" Gamakichi called out as Takuya kept a wary eye out for any signs of hugging and crushing, "We got news! Hinata and Neji are on the way!" At this Tenten and Naruto both grew big smiles on their faces. Tenten had been missing her boyfriend all evening.
"Aw, isn't he cute?" Ino squealed.
"He sure is!" Shizune replied, a bit tipsy from sake.
"And he's so soft, too!" Sakura added.
"Ooo, I just wanna hold him!" Tenten spoke up.
"Tak! Run!" Naruto yelled as several females made a dive for the poor fox summons. Tak disappeared in a cloud of smoke as Gamakichi chose the better part of valor and leapt clear of the confusion. He wanted no part of that scene whatsoever. The sounds of several disappointed females filled the room as Naruto stepped outside to the front porch to keep an eye out for his beloved.
"Are you sure we're not being followed?" Hinata asked as she and Neji flew down the streets of Konoha as fast has her heels would let her. Her hearts was racing a mile a minute at the prospect of seeing her boyfriend again.
"I'm sure, Hinata! Activate your Byakugan if you want to be absolutely sure!" Neji reassured as the two continued to fly down streets of Konoha. The air was beginning to get colder, but Hinata couldn't feel the chill at all as her thoughts turned to seeing her boyfriend once more. Neji turned to see the far-off look on her face and couldn't help but notice. His chuckle brought her out of her reverie.
"What's so funny, Neji?" she asked as the two of them leapt over a large crowd that had gathered to sing carols. His attitude had puzzled her ever since she had gotten back. The two of them had grown closer ever since their first chunin exam, but his attitude had really changed in the two months she had been gone. He was warmer, more open. It was a definite improvement, but it puzzled her none the less.
"Oh, nothing," he replied as he increased his speed and pulled her around a corner, enjoying the look on her face as she recognized the area of town they had entered. This section of town was an area she had very rarely visited, and it rivaled the areas that the Uchihas and the Hyugas lived in. The houses were large and ornate, with tremendous manicured lawns and large open tracts of land behind the homes. Several were walled off just like the Hyuga compound, but that failed to take from the beauty of the area. Rather, it actually enhanced it. It looked like a place from a fairy tale. She gasped as her eyes widened with shock.
"Does…does Naruto live of the other side of this neighborhood?" Hinata stuttered as Neji chuckled, his eyes narrowing slightly.
"Well, I guess you could say that," Neji grinned as Hinata continued to look on in confusion as they flew past house after house until they came to the end of the street. A huge walled compound stood there with a wide open gate. Above the gate, painted in large letters was one word: Namikaze. The pale eyed beauty gasped when she recognized the name, then peered though the gate and looked upon the house that stood before her in the distance. It was more modest in size than the remainder of the ones on the street, but none matched it for it beauty or the size of the surrounding land.
"Naruto…lives here?" she asked, her voice a little more than a whisper. She felt Neji put a hand on her shoulder as she saw a light brighten where the front door of the house should have been. She looked down the long path, her eyes riveted on the beckoning light.
"You tell me," Neji responded warmly as he activated his blood limit. Nodding in understanding, Hinata activated her Byakugan and turned her attention back to the house. The sight before her caused her to lose her breath as well as lifting her heart.
"Naruto!!" she squealed as she began to run down the path. Neji began to laugh as he saw how fast she traveled down the stone path toward the soon-to-be-assaulted ninja that stood in the door. He and Naruto had had a discussion months ago about what was to occur this night, and Neji felt so happy for his cousin it had actually been difficult to maintain his detached demeanor around everyone else. Keeping Hiashi Hyuga in the dark had been the most difficult thing to accomplish, but Neji was satisfied the Hyuga leader was none the wiser. That is, until it would be too late.
Naruto had managed to escape the chaos that was occurring in his living room just in time. He opened the front door and retreated from the sounds of disappointed females, allowing the noise to retreat into the background. He stepped out onto his front porch and into the dark, crisp night. He looked up and saw the gathering clouds and prayed that nothing would happen to ruin this night.
"God, I wish she was here already," he moaned inside his head, drawing a slight growl from his imprisoned friend. Naruto cocked an eyebrow in puzzlement.
"Quit moping, kit! She'll be here soon enough. Very soon indeed!" Kyuubi chuckled, shaking his nonexistent head.
"What the hell does that mean?" Naruto barked back, drawing a sigh from the kitsune.
"Aw, come on! After all the lessons I've given you! If you want to see what I mean, expand your horizons!" the fox grumbled back, still unable to fathom what he had done so wrong to be imprisoned within such a dunce.
"Huh? Oh, yeah!" Naruto exclaimed as he closed his eyes and concentrated a small amount of chakra at a point just above and dead center between both his eyes. He felt the rather uncomfortable tingle begin, but before it could become painful he forced it out in a wave directly before him. He knew that Hinata would have to come from that direction, so he refused to waste any energy directing the wave behind him.
As the wave spread forth at the speed of thought, it rebounded off of solid objects and returned to him, much like a bat's sonar. Everything was as it should be until he got the information back from the front gate, showing two figures standing there. Since the wave was made of chakra, he was able to read the chakra of the people before him. One belonged to Neji, but it was the chakra from the second person that caused his heart to leap higher than the moon.
"Naruto!" he heard Hinata's voice call out to him as he saw her come running down the stone path toward him. His reaction was instantaneous, as he took off from his front porch like a shot, coming closer and closer to the woman who had shown him, over the time that they had known each other, how to love and how to be loved.
"Hinata!" he exclaimed as he scooped her up in his arms and spun her around in circles, drawing a gasp and delighted giggles from the pale-eyed beauty. "God, I've missed you!" With that, he gave her a deep kiss, one to which she eagerly responded .
"Wow, I can tell!" she giggled as she fought to regain her breath from the intensity of the kiss. "I've missed you, too!" The two of them looked deep into each other's eyes as Naruto gently set the lady who owned his heart back down to her feet. "Wow, is that your place?" Naruto nodded and began to speak when he felt Neji clasp a hand on his shoulder.
"As touching as this is, isn't there a party inside that you have to host?" the Hyuga genius asked as Naruto shot him a dirty look, to which Neji merely chuckled. "Your summons already spilled the beans, Naruto! Now come on, it's getting colder out here, and I have a young lady I want to see!" With that, the three turned and went back into the warm house.
The night was full of surprises for Hinata, as her friends and colleagues greeted her as she walked in on Naruto's arm. She blushed as she realized she had become the center of everyone's attention as Naruto lead her to a comfy sofa and sat next to her for a few moments before returning to his duties as host of the party. Hinata was immediately swamped by her fellow kunoichi, each and everyone of them wishing her a happy birthday, as well as a Merry Christmas. Naruto promptly returned to her with a warm cup of spiced cider as he turned and announced it was time to pass out the gifts.
Hinata was stunned. For as long as she could remember, Christmas had always been a sad time for her. Her family had never really been close or warm, even at the best of times, and their Christmas celebrations consisted mainly of trading a few gifts and then dispersing for the remainder of the day. She had never received any gifts, and so had always felt left out from even their cold rituals.
Tonight, however, was different. She had never felt so much warmth and love before in her life. Her friends talked and laughed around her and with her. Her much beloved boyfriend lavished her with attention and affection. Laughter and merriment abound, as gifts were exchanged, jokes and stories were told, songs were sung, and food and drinks were consumed. Hinata had never laughed so hard or so much in her young life. What had really shocked her, though, was what had happened during the gift exchange. She had felt bad that she had not been able to get anyone a gift yet, but all her friends merely shrugged it off. She, on the other hand, had made out like a bandit. In fact, she got so many gifts, especially from Naruto, that she felt extremely embarrassed. Unlike many guys, Naruto actually listened to his girlfriend when she talked to him, and whenever she made some comment about liking something, or wishing she had something, he made a note of it. It was these things that he had gotten her. Her friends never gave it a second thought.
Later that evening, while everyone was sitting back and relaxing from the meal Naruto had served them, Hinata and Naruto took a stroll out in the backyard and watched the clouds roll in. Hinata basked in the glow of the evening, as Naruto felt his heart leap at the happiness that was so evident on her face. The two of them walked to the gazebo and took a seat next to one another as they watched the activity in the house. Hinata sighed and leaned on Naruto, taking in his scent.
"So, did you like it?" the blonde asked, cutting his eyes over to watch his raven-haired beauty. He felt her snuggle closer to him as a cold breeze gusted just a bit.
"Hm, yes, I loved it!" she purred as he bent his head and gave her a small kiss on top of her head, the scent of lavender warming him. "Thank you!"
"You're welcome," he replied as he wrapped an arm around her. Naruto glanced up and could have sworn he had seen a flash of pink hair coming from his back door. Shaking his head slightly, he spoke to her once more. "I did all this for you, my sweet Hinata."
"You what?" she gasped as she looked up at his bright blue eyes. There was no deception there, only love. Naruto chuckle lightly.
"I said I did all this for you! The house, the party, the gifts, all our friends. All for you!" he said gently as he turned slightly to face her. He could feel the heat from her cheeks as she buried her head into his chest. He couldn't tell for sure, but he thought he felt some dampness on his shirt. A small movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention, and once more he thought he saw a flash of pink, this time next to a flash of pale yellow.
"You…you didn't have too," she sobbed slightly as Naruto stroked her hair soothingly. He reached down and placed a finger under her chin and gently raised her head until her pale eyes meet his bright ones. "I'm…not worth it!"
"Why do you say that?" he asked, confused. "I think you're worth it! I had to do this for you! I remember how you told me that you had never had a good Christmas before, and I swore to God that I would never let that happen again!" He bent down slightly and gave her a light kiss on her lips. "Stay with me, and I'll never let you be sad again, if I can help it!" She smiled a pretty little smile, causing his heart to soar once more. Hinata wrapped him up in a big hug, and wondered why she had seen a flash of silver close to the house.
"I would love to stay with you, but I'm sure my father wouldn't allow it," she answered sadly, her lavender eyes downcast. She did giggle slightly at the thought of staying with her love.
"Why not? I've got plenty of room here," he said, trying very hard to keep from grinning. Sometimes, acting stupid was kind of hard. He heard her giggle a little more this time.
"Silly," she replied as she stroked his cheek. "So tell me, where on earth did you get this house? I saw the Fourth Hokage's name on the front gate. Was this really his place?" Hinata watched Naruto's eyes get a faraway look to them before he answered. Once more, she noticed several flashes of color by the back of the house.
"Uh, yeah," he gulped past the lump that had formed in his throat. "Yeah, this was his place. He and his…uh…wife lived here before the Kyuubi attacked, and they both …died." Naruto mentally growled at the Kitsune that lived with him, causing the fox to cower from the intensity of the emotion. Kyuubi had ways of hurting Naruto, but Naruto had equally painful methods of harming the fox.
"So, how…" Hinata prompted as she watched a single tear slide down Naruto's cheek. She reached up and wiped it away as he cleared his throat. She imagined the guilt he felt, knowing the instrument of their destruction resided within his body. She had told him many times before that he was not to blame for anything, after he had gathered the courage to tell her all about the Kitsune.
"He wanted to me to have this place when I was older, when I was ready to start a family of my own, when…. Anyway, just after you left , Grandma Tsunade called me to her office and gave me the keys to the place. Something about my old place being a deathtrap or such," he grinned as he looked back to her. She smiled back at him, urging him silently to continue his story. "I spent the last two month getting it ready."
"Ready for what?" she asked, wondering why Naruto was suddenly looking very, very nervous. He sidestepped the question though, as he continued his story.
"They were my folks, my sweet one." Hinata gasped. "They gave me the house, along with my name, my family history, my heritage. They gave me one other thing, though, but it doesn't suit me very well. I was hoping you might want it," he said as he dug into his pocket. He looked up and saw way too many faces pressed against the windows and doors that lead out to the backyard. He rolled his eyes, knowing that there was no way he was going to get any privacy to do what needed to be done.
"Naruto, you've given me too much already," Hinata protested, as her boyfriend fell to his knees before her and held his hand out. He grinned, his whisker marks twitching.
"But I haven't given you your birthday gift yet," he pouted, causing her to roll her eyes, then grin at him. He opened up the small box that was in his hand, causing her eyes to grow wider than they ever had before. The ring was reflected in her eyes. "But there's a catch…"
"Wha…" she began, but was unable to say anything else as Naruto continued on.
"Well, you see, this was my mom's wedding ring, heheh," he said, giving her his foxiest grin, "and it wouldn't be right to give it as just some ordinary gift, so I was kinda wondering if, well, maybe, uh, would you…would you…would you marry me? You see, I…" Naruto was unable to finish what he was going to say due to the fact a Hinata-shaped missile hit him from nowhere and tackled him to the ground.
"YES!!!!" the pale beauty squealed as she landed on top of her boyfriend, her arms wrapped around him in a killer hug. "Yes, yes, yes, yes!!" Her eyes glistened with tears as her raven hair spread out over Naruto's chest. "I love you so much!"
"Well, too bad you're not excited by it," he smirked as she sat up and hit his chest, her smile lighting up the night. She and Naruto stood up and hugged each other tightly as a cheer could be heard coming from the house.
Unbeknownst to the two young people, Naruto's back door burst open as several overly excited kunoichi tried to escape to the backyard. They were, thankfully, intercepted by the older members of the party and forcefully dragged back into the house so as to allow the couple to enjoy their moment together. If looks could kill, Neji, Kakashi, Tsunade, Shizune, Kurenai, and Anko would have been piles of ash by now. Iruka and Yamato merely sat back and enjoyed the show as several irate females assailed the older shinobi.
Naruto and Hinata sat back down under the gazebo and held hands and leaned into one another, both simply enjoying the moment and each other's company, before Hinata finally broke the silence, growing somewhat somber. "Uh, Naruto…" she started, a hitch could be heard in her voice.
"Yes, Queen of my Heart?" he replied, enjoying the look on her face and the warmth he felt coming from her. It may have sounded corny, but he wasn't a writer for nothing. Someone had to keep Icha Icha going after Jiraiya passed on.
"Nice one, kit!" Kyuubi chuckled before a king-sized rolled up newspaper started chasing him throughout his cage. His yelps could be heard in Naruto's mindscape.
"There might be a bit of a problem, about the wedding, I mean…" she muttered, casting her eyes downward before Naruto lifted her chin back up.
"How so?" he asked, dreading the answer. He and Neji had discussed many things these past two months while Hinata had been gone. Naruto knew that there was no way he would ever get permission from Hiashi to marry his daughter, but he didn't feel right about asking without talking to a member of her family. Neji was the only other one he was on good terms with. Neji was more than happy when Naruto brought the subject up, seeing how happy Hinata was with the blonde ninja. The biggest hurdle, they both knew, was Hiashi.
"Um…tomorrow, my sister is to be named heir to the clan, and…and," Hinata drew in a ragged breath before looking into his eyes and drawing upon his strength, "I'm to be branded as a member of the branch house. Father said that he would find me a husband from the branch house. He pretty much told me I was worthless."
"What… how could he…you're his daughter, after all!" Naruto seethed. The idea of his sweet Hinata being forced to endure the pain of the Caged Bird Seal was more than enough for him to want to release his Four-Tail form and reek havoc on the Hyuga Clan. He fought the urge, however, and reached over and took his lady's hand.
"So," the raven-haired girl continued, "unless we can magically stop time, or change my father's mind, I don't see how we can get married!" Tears began to slide down her cheeks, until she felt Naruto wipe them away. She looked up at him quizzically, for he once more wore his foxy grin.
"Or we could get married tonight!" he replied cheerfully. Hinata's jaw dropped at what he had just said.
"H-h-how?" she stuttered, " It takes time to plan a wedding! W-w-w-we need a license, a minister, flowers, I need a dress, we need to invite our friends and family, I have to get Father's permission…" She stopped when he placed a finger on her lips.
"Our family and friends are here," he giggled as he pointed to the house, just in time to see several heads disappear from the windows, " you're seventeen now, it's the legal age here in Konoha, and I see that you are wearing a very pretty dress! Now, if I can arrange everything else, would you marry me this night?" His eyes danced when he saw her nod her head, her eyes wide and her mouth hanging open. "Great!" With that, he grabbed her hand and lead her back to the house.
Everyone scattered when they saw Naruto and Hinata come flying back to the house as quickly as they could. Nobody wanted to be seen peeking out the windows and rapidly took seats, or leaned against the wall. Kakashi was doing the latter when Anko grabbed him by the collar and yanked him back into the closet.
"Well, it has to look like nothing was going on differently!" she defended as she threw the silver-haired jonin into the closet and dove in after him, an evil grin on her face. No sooner had she closed the door behind herself when the door to the backyard opened up.
"Lady Tsunade!" Naruto barked as he dragged Hinata in the house with him. Everyone's eyes shot wide open at what he had just called her, using an honorific rather than calling her 'grandma'. "I gotta favor to ask ya!" Tsunade saw his eyes and knew what was going on.
"Gotcha! Yamato! Kakashi!" the Hokage ordered as the two jonin appeared before her in puffs of smoke, causing a very frustrated scream to come from the hall closet. Tsunade smiled as Kakashi adjusted his belt before answering her. "In my top left desk drawer, there are two scrolls and a large book. I need them here as quickly as possible!"
"Yes, Lady Hokage!" the two answered in unison before disappearing in clouds of smoke. Tsunade grinned and instantly became sober. "Ino!"
"Yes ma'am?" she asked, wondering what was going on. The excitement level in the house was increasing amongst certain parties there, particularly from Naruto and Hinata. You didn't have to be a ninja to feel it.
"We need flowers! Lots and lots of flowers!" Tsunade said as she stood and took the center of the room, looking about at all the assembled shinobi. Her eyes shone with delight. "Can your family provide them as fast as possible?" Ino stood there, somewhat dumbfounded.
"Uh, yeah, we can. But why do you need flowers, especially at this time of night?" the blonde asked, her mind refusing to work. Sakura shot her dirty look.
"Well, we can't have a wedding without flowers, pig!" Sakura retorted as she rolled her eyes at her friends ignorance. Ino began to fume as steam flew from her ears.
"Hey, Billboard Brow! I know you can't have a wedding without flowers! What does that have to do with…WHAT?!" Ino screamed as she spun on her heel and looked at the happy couple before her, a blush rising to their cheeks. "A WEDDING? NOW?"
"Geeze, Ino, tone it down a bit," Shikamaru said as he tried to get the ringing out of his ears. "Obviously, we are having Naruto and Hinata's wedding here, tonight. It only makes sense, seeing how the rest of the clan feels about Naruto." Neji scowled at that.
"Shikamaru, we need more lighting for the backyard. Choji, we need more food and drink, have Kiba help you with that. Ino, you and Tenten go get the flowers we need. I'll put them on my account. Take any extra help you need!" Tsunade commanded as she lead everyone out to the backyard to see what needed to be done to get it ready. "Naruto, as soon as Yamato and Kakashi get back, I need you and Hinata to come with me."
The two jonin returned shortly with the required items, as the Hokage spoke to the couple about the seriousness of marriage and had them sign the scrolls, which turned out to be a marriage license and a legal document acknowledging the new clan of Namikaze-Uzumaki. Sakura quickly lead Hinata to a bedroom and helped her get ready for the wedding.
Hinata's head spun. This was happening so quickly she could barely keep up. The most important thing to her was the fact that, before the night was over, she would be Naruto's wife. This thought kept her warm and happy as Sakura, Ino and the other kunoichi did their best to get her ready. As soon as Ino had arrived, Tsunade went to work telling the other shinobi how and where to place the flowers as Ino took several batches to Hinata. A garland was braided and placed on her head as Sakura handed her a bouquet that went nicely with the dress she wore. The girls all stood back and sighed as they looked at Hinata, then turned her around to look at herself in the mirror. While it wasn't the most traditional outfit there was, nor was it what she had always thought she would wear when she got married, in her mind it was perfect, and she wouldn't change a thing. Hinata smiled as tears threatened to start streaming down her face.
"Come on Hinata, it's time!" Sakura said with a warm smile as she lead the raven-haired girl down the hallway and out into the backyard. Hinata gasped.
The backyard and gazebo was covered in flowers and lit up with candles and torches, giving them an unearthly feel, like something out of a dream. Her friends lined the path to the center of the yard, as she looked up and saw Naruto, Neji, and Tsunade standing in the gazebo. She had to stop and catch her breath for several seconds, fearing that she would faint at the sight before her. Naruto smiled at her, then turned and motioned for Yamato to come on over to him. After Naruto whispered something in his ear, the jonin smiled and nodded as he walked over to Hinata, Neji beside him.
"Naruto asked me if I could go ahead and give you my gift," Yamato smiled as he made several hand signs before slamming his hands to the ground. As chakra flowed from him and across the ground, roses began to spring from the earth and form two lines that lead up to the gazebo, creating a perfect pathways for Hinata. The roses bloomed, revealing alternating red and blue flowers, which then encircled the gazebo as the roses Naruto had planted began to bloom as well, this time in light pink, lavender, and dark red.
"Th-thank you, Yamato-sensei," Hinata blushed as she looked over to the older man, who bowed and took his place back with the others. She then turned to Neji. "Is this all real?"
"As real as it gets, cousin," Neji replied with a smile as he held out his arm for Hinata to take. "Now, would you allow me the privilege of giving you away?" Hinata reached over and gave him a hug as the tears began to run down her cheeks. "I'll take that as a yes!" The two separated as Hinata took his arm, allowing him to lead her toward the man she was to spend the rest of her life with.
"You and Naruto had this planned from the start, didn't you?" she whispered to Neji as they approached the platform. Neji chuckled.
"What gives you that idea?" he whispered back as Naruto and Tsunade waited patiently for them. Tsunade gave her a wink, causing Hinata to giggle a bit.
"Thank you," she whispered back as she took her place next to Naruto. Tsunade took their hands and placed them together as Neji stood back with the rest of their friends. The ceremony was short and sweet as Tsunade said a few words and then got to the important part of the service.
"Do you, Naruto Namikaze-Uzumaki, take this woman, Hinata Hyuga, as your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forth, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, forsaking all others, for as long as you both shall live?"
"I do" the blonde ninja replied past the lump in his throat, as tears of joy ran down his face. Tsunade smiled warmly at him before turning to Hinata.
"Do you, Hinata Hyuga, take this man, Naruto Namikaze-Uzumaki, as your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forth, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, forsaking all others, for as long as you both shall live?"
"I do," she replied, her pale eyes shining with a light that none had ever seen from the shy girl before. Tears were now pouring down Tsunade's face. A small hint of white caught her eye as the first flake of snow fell, followed soon by all it's brethren. Everyone stood around and looked up in wonder, for it had been several years since Konoha had experienced any snow. It was perfect.
"Then, by the power vested in me as Hokage, I now pronounce you as husband and wife! Go ahead, brat, and kiss your wife!" Tsunade announced as she stepped back, allowing the couple to lock lips before all their friends and family. A cheer arose, which disturbed the rest of the neighborhood, but knowing that the Hokage herself was where the cheer came from, nobody complained.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce Naruto and Hinata Namikaze-Uzumaki!" Tsunade announced, officially getting the second party of the evening started. It lasted well into the wee hours of the morning as their family and friends gave them a celebration to remember. Everyone played in the snow until the temperature became too cold for comfort, so the celebration moved indoors. The laughter, merriment, camaraderie, and toasts surrounded the happy couple, lifting their spirits higher than ever before. However, it was the fact that they were now married that sent their happiness higher than the clouds.
Eventually, the party wound down as guests said their goodbyes and went home, or just passed out where they lay, bringing smiles to Naruto's and Hinata's faces, as they moved throughout the house and placed pillows under heads and blankets over bodies that were sprawled out everywhere. Hinata blushed and smiled as she saw Ino curled up next to Choji, her head resting comfortably on the large man's chest, a smile on her lips. Naruto turned ten shades of red when he opened the hall closet to get more blankets and saw Kakashi and Anko in a rather…compromising…position. He quickly shut the door and tried to get the image out of his head. Finding Hinata and making sure all their guests were comfortable as possible, Naruto guided his wife to their room for the night.
Outside, Tsunade watched as the lights in the house went out one by one, except for a soft glow that came from one room in the house. After a while, even that light was extinguished, and the house was at peace. Tsunade sighed as she looked up at the sky, the snow continuing to fall and coating everything in a pure blanket of white.
"Well, Jiraiya," she whispered to the sky, "The brat has a home, friends, a bright future, and a wife who loves him. I think our grandson will be okay now, don't you?" Tsunade swore she could hear deep laughter on the wind, but shook it off as her imagination as she turned and began her walk back to the Hokage Tower.
Hinata began to stir from her sleep, not really wanting to wake up. She had such a good dream last night, it was like everything she had ever wanted had come to pass. She figured it was just her subconscious trying to comfort her, knowing that today would be just not another lonely Christmas, but the end of her life as she knew it. She was to be enslaved to the branch family soon. This thought saddened her greatly.
"Hey beautiful, what's wrong?" she heard a familiar voice ask from close by. Very close by. Closer by than it should have been.
"Na…Naruto?" she asked as she opened one pale eye just a hair, and saw her beautiful blonde man laying next to her in bed. IN BED?!
"The one and only," he chuckled as he wrapped her up in a hug and snuggled closer to her. She felt his warmth on her bare skin as she melted into his arms. BARE SKIN?! "You okay?"
Then it hit her. It wasn't a dream! It was all real, she had come to the party last night and ended up married to the man of her dreams. All the memories of the previous night flashed before her eyes, causing a warmth to flood her heart, driving away the dregs of despair that had tried to worm its way in. She remembered EVERYTHING. Her smile lit up the room as she felt the weight of the ring that Naruto had given her as it rested on the ring finger of her left hand.
"Yes! I'm fine! I'm great, really!" she replied as she wrapped her arms around her loving husband. "Everything is perfect!" Naruto chuckled.
"I'm glad!" he replied as pulled back a bit and looked her in the eye. "Merry Christmas, Hinata!" With that, he reached over and gave her a deep kiss before getting up and gathering his clothes. He was going to catch a quick shower before going out and looking after their guests.
"Merry Christmas, husband," she replied as she yawned and stretched out on the bed, purring like a cat. Naruto stopped in his tracks, his eyes popping from his head. A sultry look was on her face, captivating him like a flame captivates a moth. He shook his head as a grin brightened his face.
"God, you're beautiful! Heheh, we need to get up and check on everyone," he said as he placed a hand behind his head. " And you need to open the rest of your presents!" Her eyes bugged out as she sat up in the bed.
"Naruto! You didn't have to get me anything else! I haven't had a chance to get you anything yet!" she admonished as Naruto looked at her and giggled.
"You have already given me something," he laughed as he jumped back on the bed and nuzzled her neck. Hinata blushed a bit until he finished his sentence, "Your heart! That's all I need, now come on! We need to get up!" With that, he leapt from the bed and ran to the bathroom, looking as if he were flying. Hinata smiled as she watched her husband, then she laid back on the bed and rubbed her lower belly. She activated her Byakugan, and took a peek at what was going on inside of her. Her face flushed a bit as her smile grew. She quickly threw off her covers and crossed the room, not caring that she was nude This was now her home, as well. She was home.
"I have something else to give you, my husband," she whispered to herself as she walked into the bathroom and joined Naruto in the shower.
A/N: I hope you fine folks have enjoyed this story! It started off as an idea for a short little song-fic, but unfortunately, my little ideas have a tendency to grow into huge monsters! ( Oh no! It's Godzilla! Heh!) This meant to be a one-shot, but I have ideas for little offshoot stories later on, if you wish. To my fans that read my other stories, I am so sorry for it taking so long to get back to writing. Health problems with my oldest son, as well as a mild case of depression kinda put a temporary stop to things. For this, I am truly sorry! This was written to get me back not the groove of writing. The next chapter of 'Music of the Night' will hopefully be finished tomorrow, then I intend on finishing the next chapter of 'Father'. I hope you enjoy!-Lord Talon