A/N hi, this is part of my Naruto series. I'd like to say it will stand on its own, but not this one. You will be very confused if you don't read at least In the Past if not the rest of them. The order is on my ffnet page at the bottom of the summary. Jiraiya is taking Naruto off soon, I promise. Also this one will be a chapter story ending with him leaving...I hope.
First story: True Friends Truly Believe /s/3953609/1/
Previous: In the Past /s/4093550/1/
Disclaimer Me own nothing
Chapter 1: Bonds Start
Naruto sat on his branch resting. He had been training with Kyuubi for several hours. The melding of their senses was something he needed to get used to. That and he was trying to cope with the fact that most of his friends knew about Kyuubi and still supported him. He thought back to when Gaara had left several days ago.
Naruto jumped back as Gaara appeared in front of him. Gaara looked at him a moment. Naruto wasn't sure what to think. He hadn't talked to Gaara at all since the hospital incident. He had remained in intensive care overnight and was released the next day with bandages and orders to take it easy for a day or so. The girls had all been released similarily, though without the bandages, and Temari and her brothers had immediately returned to the Hokage's guest quarters where they had been staying.
"Hey Gaara. What's up?" Gaara looked at Naruto. He wasn't sure how to phrase his question.
"Why? All these people hated you, ignored you, even persecuted you. Why did you wait for them to care?" Naruto looked at him a moment remembering a fight he had had. A fight with someone so lonely and hurt that it seemed as though he was fighting himself instead. Naruto remembered what Gaara had said, that he existed to kill everyone else.
"They were proof." Gaara looked at him, "They may have not cared for me but they cared for each other. If everyone else here was cared for then there had to be something that was worth caring for. The people in this village may still see me as a monster but I have precious people now. They saved me from from the worst existence there is. I will protect them. I will become Hokage and protect them because that is my way of the ninja." Gaara looked at him a moment. He could see all the pain that had gone through Naruto's head when he had answered that question. He had found people to care about, and then found a purpose. Gaara had started to care about his family and village and now he had other friends. This one understood him. He understood how Naruto was able to defeat him and he was grateful for a chance to settle things with him.
"I apologize for revealing to your friends about Kyuubi. I hope they will not turn from you because of it." Gaara looked off into the distance. Naruto looked at him a moment, startled. Then he smiled.
"No, they all have accepted it so far. They would have found out eventually. I will find time to tell Sakura, Shino, and Chou." Gaara nodded. He looked down the walkway at the forest. He had one more question.
"Naruto, tell me about Shikamaru."
They had spent a while talking before Gaara's siblings had found him to leave. Gaara had wished Naruto luck before leaping off after his brother and sister.
Naruto hadn't been sure how he would tell Sakura. She was the girl he had had a crush on, and while it had disappeared, he still cared a great deal about her and her opinion. That problem had been solved. The other person he wasn't sure what to do about was Sasuke. He was someone he wanted to tell more than anything, but he wasn't here. Naruto gnashed his teeth in frustration. Ero-sennin was still off somewhere. Easy young one. You have to become stronger here first. Naruto didn't dignify that with an answer. He and Kyuubi had been arguing about this forever. Suddenly Naruto sat up straight. He had felt some trepidation for a moment. He couldn't pinpoint its source though. Where's your female? She isn't my female! Naruto argued even as he located her scent and took off after it. He stopped at the edge of a clearing where he found her. She was sitting on a stump watching her father and cousin train. He looked at her closer and saw that she was rubbing her arm as if it was bruised. It probably is. You could have felt her reaction to the pain on the moment of impact. Naruto had to try to figure out a way to control these random reactions. It wasn't always pain, every now and then he would feel giddy or relaxed or nervous. Upon closer inspection, he couldn't identify the cause of these feeling until he tracked down Hinata. He really didn't now what to do though. She was scared of him. She always stuttered and sometimes she even fainted. She seemed to be trying to get over it but still, how could he tell someone that scared of him that they were connected to him. She would really have a hard time being around him. As he thought this he heard Kyuubi grumble in the background. He knew the fox didn't agree with his interpretation, but Naruto wasn't ready to believe someone like her could consider liking someone like him. Besides if the two body-mates agreed on everything it would get boring.
He looked back over the clearing. They were quite a ways out of the village. Naruto sat down, exhausted. He was already tired from his training, then leaping through the woods wasn't his idea of relaxing. He decided to just watch. Hinata was resting on the side and Neji was sparing with Hiashi-dono. Naruto was just getting comfortable watching Hinata when he felt some people approaching at high speeds, including Kakashi-sensei and Sakura.
Neji stopped his form when he felt the chakra of his sensei and teammates. He was about to turn around and wait for them when the three Hyuuga were blindsided. Neji felt the foot connect with his back a split moment before he was flying at his uncle. Hiashi was likewise heading for him at full speed, having been kicked in the head. Both shinobi twisted and dragged his feet along the ground, slowing his momentum. Both looked at their opponent, who was rapidly circling them. Neji glanced at his cousin out of the corner of his eye and saw three shinobi descend upon her, at least two with ANBU masks. This wasn't good. They had to get to her. Neji activated his Byakugan as he heard his uncle do likewise. The problem, however, is that their opponents weren't attacking. They were just circling, leaving the two shinobi with the opinion that Hinata was the goal after all.
Naruto watched as all three got blindsided. Two enemy opponents circled Neji and Hiashi-dono. Four waited on the outskirts of the clearing and three advanced on Hinata, who had been thrown on her side. Naruto stood and looked for his opportunity to jump in and help out. He was focusing on the four who hadn't entered to fight yet. What they would do is help if anything started to interfere with the current plan. He could feel Kakshi-sensei coming but not fast enough. He jumped towards Hinata as her opponent kicked her backwards into another shinobi.
Hinata had been at the end of her training when this had happened and thus she was very tired. They were kicking her backwards so fast she couldn't get her balance. A moment to breathe was all she needed. She was struggling against the arms that had grabbed her from behind when the shinobi suddenly let go and flew backwards. She stumbled forwards, to be caught by her helper. She looked up and saw Naruto. She didn't know why he was here but presently she was glad. Naruto turned towards their opponent.
"Hinata, we need to assist your father and Neji." Hinata looked towards them and saw the problem. Without an attacking target, someone circling a Hyuuga could avoid the attack as long as they stayed at the speed of the Hyuuga in the center. It was one of the weaknesses of her clans favorite technique. She nodded to Naruto and concentrated.
"Naruto-kun, when I call your name remain perfectly still, okay." Naruto looked at her and nodded. Hinata closed her eyes, trusting Naruto to keep those guys off her for a few moments. Her style was very different from the other forms of the Byakugan used within her family. Her's didn't spiral outwards. She opened her eyes to see Naruto get kicked back towards her. He looked at her and leaped back to his feet, crouching. She looked at him and her family and spoke.
"Naruto-kun..." He froze in front of her feet and she began her justu. She formed her long, thin strands of chakra and began to attack the enemy shinobi. Most of them moved back out of her range, which was nearly the entire clearing. She focused her energy on her family, since they didn't know necessarily to not move, and hit anything else that moved with chakra. She saw the two circling her father and cousin stop to get out of the way, and all the others retreated slightly. When she was sure they were all outside her range and she couldn't keep from hitting her family anymore she dropped her jutsu. Naruto stood up and put an arm around her shoulders and she slumped towards him. Keeping precise control in order to not hit her family had taken much of her remaining energy and she was starting to feel faint.
Naruto helped her stand as Neji and Hiashi-dono stood in front of them. They could hear the enemy shinobi talking amongst themselves. Apparently they thought that Hinata was the weakest of the clan and were going to steal her away to study her eyes. Hinata just glared at them.
"What's the matter honey, don't like the value of your eyes?" The men were joking with her now. Naruto tightened his arm around Hinata.
"We could let you keep them long enough to see how much fun we can be." More laughter. Neji tensed into his stance and Hiashi gathered his chakra. Kakashi, Gai, Ten Ten, Sakura and Lee entered the scene at this point. This seemed to be a signal because then the enemy shinobi attacked.
Several of the shinobi leaped towards the new arrivals and began to do battle. Kakashi and Gai tried to divert the majority of the group away from the younger comrades. The two rivals had the anbu shinobi surrounding them. Kakashi was counteracting several moves when he recognized a signature move from his days in the Anbu. Motioning to Gai, they used they're combined abilities to divert the attacks.
Hinata was barely standing as she watched her family fight. Lee and Ten Ten landed next to Neji and they had began several battle strategies that had to be due to the fact that they were a team for nearly two years. Ten Ten had noticed how tired Neji was but she had thought it was due to training but upon further observation she noted that his attention was constantly on his cousin. She doubled her effort as they were attacked by four jounin. Lee was the point person of their team, she assisted with weapons, however, she found herself keeping defense too.
Neji forced himself to check his attention again as Ten Ten blocked another kunai headed his way. His attention span was incredibly non-existent currently. He looked to Ten Ten and leaped at her and pulled her out of the way of several attacks from different directions. He was confused inside. His feelings for his cousin and for his teammate were foreign to him and he was finding it hard to deal with them when either were in danger. He hadn't the chance to talk with Ten Ten since the memory incident with Naruto and he desperately needed to. She had kissed him. He had felt so many emotions, yet he wasn't ready. He wasn't sure what to do about his cousin either. She had shown immense care and concern for him recently however, he was unsure how to reciprocate. He just wanted to sit with her and talk, in fact he had thought to do it after training today, but other annoyances had changed that. He pushed these thought to the back of his mind as Ten Ten shoved him out of danger again. She was being way too understanding and exceedingly observant today. He leaped in to help Lee and resume their attack.
Hiashi and Naruto were fighting back to back as Sakura helped Hinata. Three shinobi, probably jounin, circled them. They were circling fast enough to keep up with Hiashi. Presently, the two males were both attempting to figure out how to defeat these three, and how they got paired up with each other in these fights. Naruto, shook his head as he pushed that thought out of his mind and focused on the motions in front of him. In order to make use of the Byakugan he would have to stop them. He looked at Hiashi.
"Hiashi-dono, Let's do this." Naruto leaped at the jounin, missing him completely. Hiashi stared after him as if he were crazy. Naruto landed in the path of the jounin, who were jumping over him. Hiashi watched a moment and noticed something. When the jounin landed they had to readjust their speed. He looked at Naruto and pointed to their landing spot. Naruto looked at it a moment then brought his hinds together in his signature seal.
"Kage Bushin no Justu!" He created several dozen clones. Six of them stood in the path of the jounin, replacing themselves every time one got destroyed. Hiashi activated his Byakugan. Locating the real Naruto back with his daughter, surrounded by half-a-dozen clones, he began his Justu. Naruto waited until the Hyuuga head was spinning before whistling towards Ten Ten. Ten Ten looked over and, from practice with Neji, recognized the request and tossed an arsenal at the clan head. As planned they bounced off his justu into the path of his adversaries. His circle widened to include them and he blasted them backwards.
The remaining Anbu, who had escaped Kakashi and Gai saw he was alone and looked towards their target. He began to shout in anger.
"You will never win against us. We will have the power of the Byakugan. Not even a monster will save you." They stared at him, some in confusion. "You don't even know, do you? That's how much of a monster he is. How can you hide behind a monster in good conscious? I thought Konoha was praised with the highest moral standards. HA! You use this monster." He was gesturing toward Naruto at this point. Naruto was looking almost like a deer in headlights. He was frozen. Never had an opponent sneered at him about Kyuubi while after another. Usually the only ones who knew about Kyuubi were actually after his power. Naruto was shocked.
"You monster! You killed their family and friends, but with your power they will rise so they use you. When they are strong enough or they tire of their pity, they will dispose of you like the trash you are! Then we will win." Naruto was shaking at this point. He hadn't taken a step back but it looked as if he would dearly love to. He wasn't meeting anyone's eye. Pity, that was the word used. Naruto heard it over and over. Was that truly the reason he was tolerated, even liked now, his strength? No Kyuubi's strength. Kit, don't you dare start thinking like that! That would make his position no different from Gaara's, a tool. Kit! Shinobi were tools. He was nothing but a tool. KIT! Stop it! Do you honestly think Sakura or Lee see you that way? And your female? Do you really think that is what she sees? He shook his head but the thought remained.
"I wouldn't be surprised if they send you away to train so you aren't a danger until you are strong enough to help them. You will always be a tool, a monster and a too-" Suddenly a kunai landed on his shoulder. Everyone looked to Hinata. They hadn't seen her rise.
"Naruto-kun isn't a monster. He isn't. He is Naruto. He is Uzimaki Naruto." Hinata was panting to keep herself up, even with the help of Sakura. Hiashi looked back at his daughter. Suddenly, he was reminded of a cry from years ago, She isn't a monster, anyone who says that is the monster, for not recognizing what she is, a hero! He looked at his daughter with wide eyes. "He is the most courageous, brave, and caring shinobi any of us know. How can you, who see people as tools or things dare call him a monster. You are the monster here!" She wasn't shouting but it was definitely more forceful than Hinata had been in years. The shinobi laughed, a maniac laugh.
"I see, staring at a comrade whilst she takes a break from training, looking at his prey. He looks to pounce, he watches every move you make. You cannot deny the look of hunger, when he watches his prey flex and turn. He-" The shinobi fell silent as Kakashi put a kunai through his throat. He hadn't known Naruto had been watching from the beginning of the impromtu training. He knew Naruto harbored feelings for the Hyuuga in question, but he could see this making things difficult. The poor boy was having enough trouble. Hinata turned to Naruto, it was true that he arrived very fast but she hadn't thought it was because he was already here. Turning to him she found herself seeing his back as he took off. Hinata shoved herself away from Sakura and raced after him. Neji followed her. Sakura just stood there. The idea of Kyuubi was still too fresh. She finally shook herself and started after Naruto. Kakashi, however, raced back towards the village.
Hinata was looking everywhere for Naruto. She didn't have enough chakra left to use her Byakugan. She was searching everywhere. She turned when she heard Neji come up behind her.
"I can't find him." Neji landed next to her. He, too, was looking in all directions, literally. He had activated his kekke genkai to follow his cousin. He couldn't find Naruto at all. He could feel Hinata begin to panic. He turned to her. She was crouching, hugging her knees. "I didn't know he was so close. What if he saw me when I lost? I couldn't hold my own, and he was watching." Neji looked down at his whimpering cousin. He sighed.
"He didn't." She looked up at him. "I saw him with my Byakugan. You had already relaxed. He appeared a moment after you went to sit." Hinata looked up at him.
"Why? I don't understand." Neji knelt down beside her.
"He's had periods of time where he's standing there, and has absolutely no attention on the real world. I have noticed it because he seems intent on doing it in so in a random tree near me while I'm training. Thus I have become exceedingly familiar with his chakra signiture. Actually its something I've been wanting to ask him but never got to it." he looked at his cousin, who was now much quieter.
"I wish I could be there for him. I'm too scared. He will never want to be around me." She began to cry into her hands. Neji slowly put a hand around her shoulders.
"I used to think that." Hinata looked up at his eyes. He wasn't looking at her, he was staring at the ground. "Hinata-sama, how can you be around me?" Her eyes widened. "I nearly killed you. I hated you. Now that Naruto... After our fight I realized I did have family and I was ignoring that." Hinata had stopped sobbing and was listening to her cousin. She thought he did still dislike her. She thought he was tolerating her because he was training with her father. "I was so afraid. How could I have been so selfish. I- I wanted to be there for you, to show you what you could do to improve. But what if you already hated me?" Neji looked into her eyes. She could see utter terror in his. "I wanted to tell you, Can we be- I mean- Could we become- cousins? Friends?" She looked at him a moment then looked down. He felt the world crash to a halt as he took it as a rejection. Then he heard her tiny voice.
"How about family?" She was tapping her fingers together in her nervous fashion. He smiled slightly and hugged her tighter.
They stayed like that then rose. They were about to take off when Sakura caught up to them.
Naruto was kneeling in his tree nook. He always felt safe here. He had hid from Mizuki here and he was hiding from everyone now. This is where Iruka found him.
"Naaaaruuuuutooooo!" Iruka scared him out of his wits. Iruka considered the blonde as he fell away from him in surprise.
Iruka was just minding his own business when Kakashi snagged him. Actually, Kakashi had literally grabbed Iruka by the back of his shirt as he leaped over him. The explaination on the fly was confusing but Iruka thought he had grasped the gist. Sakura, Neji, Lee, Ten Ten , and Hinata all had heard about some attacking shinobi talk about Kyuubi.
As far as the village knew, Naruto's generation was still in the dark about this.
"I-I-Iruka-sensei!" Naruto finally found his voice. Iruka looked at him and sat down next to him.
"What happened Naruto?" Naruto looked at the first person to acknowledge him. Iruka looked at him kindly. "Do they know?" Naruto started. Iruka didn't know who knew now.
"Actually, for about a week; Hinata, Lee, Shikamaru, Neji, Ten Ten, Ino, Kiba, and the sand siblings, they all know. Sakura found out yesterday. I'll tell Chou and Shino eventually." Iruka looked totally floored by this. If they knew last week then ... he already knew. Naruto knew he was accepted. So then...
"So what lit the fire under your tail tonight?" Naruto looked up at the only person he could ever call a father figure, or at least an older brother. He took a deep breath and explained how he was merging with Kyuubi. He went on to discuss some of the changes.
"The hardest change is in my chakra. A demon mates for life. Their lives are bound together. My chakra will and has too." Iruka was still trying to follow all the changes over the last week.
"So you've formed a mating bond of sorts with a girl and its unbreakable?" He thought that was the gist but he wanted to make sure. Naruto nodded.
"Exactly, it means that I randomly feel her extreme emotions and pain." Iruka frowned.
"That would make concentrating hard." Then it hit him. "Wait-a-minute. MATES! As in marriage partner!" Naruto nodded ruefully. Iruka leaned back against the tree heavily. That made things a little more complicated. "Naruto, What exactly happened tonight that has you out here?" Naruto looked at him than at the ground, then in a halting voice explained the evening's events and dialect. Iruka was startled to note that Kyuubi talked to him in normal situations, not under meditation or anything. But now he did understand why Naruto took off. "What has your second voice said about this?" Over the course of the conversation, Iruka had come to note Naruto's depiction of the fox as a strange uncle; knowledgable, tricky but mostly trustworthy. He just put the past out of his mind for the moment.
"Kyuubi has been talking my ears off for listening to the shinobi that long without putting a kunai through his throat. He says he doesn't quite understand why I don't tell her." Iruka could see Kyuubi's point. Nearly everyone in Konoha knew of Hinata's crush except the object of the crush himself. Likely, Kyuubi figured it out as well.
"Naruto, I don't think they will deduce anything from this one incident, but you should tell Hinata before you leave. Especially if it will eventually work both ways." Iruka shuddered at the thought of him leaving for three years and coming home to find Hinata in an insane assylum. Naruto kept his eyes on the ground but rose with his sensei. They went back to the village. Iruka offered him some late ramen but for the first time in either of their lives, Naruto turned it down and went home. Iruka tagged Kakashi on a roof and explained the situation. Kakashi disappeared, presumably to call off the frantic search most likely taking place.
Iruka just sat on the roof contemplating Naruto and Kyuubi.
Sakura had met Kakashi and was told Naruto was home, and wanted to be left alone for the night. She found Neji and Hinata and told them and the three of them wandered home.
He was floating with his eyes closed. He could feel their eyes on him. Hiashi-sama, the council, fate; he could feel them damning him. He would look up and see their feet. He tried to move, to defend, but he just floated there. He felt himself falling. He landed on his hands and knees. Looking forwards, he saw the feet of his clan's main family. He tried to stand and look at them but a council member shoved his shoulders down harshly, nearly putting his face into the dirt. Everyone laughed. he looked at the ground in embarassment. He heard someone walk up. He recognized her hesitant steps. Hinata-sama. He gritted his teeth in humiliation. She had been hurt so much because of him, now it was his turn to hurt. He waited for her harsh words, cold tone, and unforgiving strike. He saw her turn to her family. They dispersed as if by some invisible signal. She was merciful to allow him privacy for this humiliation. She turned to him. He clenched his eyes and felt her hand.
She used her soft hand to lift his chin. He looked into her lavender eyes as she lifted him from the ground to stand before her. He saw her smile at him. He felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning he saw Naruto. Naruto went to Hinata and they walked away. He began to follow when something caused him to turn around. He saw Ten Ten behind him, waiting. She reached for him. He stood there frozen. She touched his face and his muscles unclenched. She cooed in his ear and he forgot his trepidation about his family. He placed his hand around her waist as her hands felt his neck. He pressed against her as she whispered in his ear.
Then she shoved him away. He looked at her in confusion, then he saw the council member. The palm was at her chest. It would have killed him if she hadn't shoved him away. Hinata-sama came running up. She shoved him away from the member of their clan's council and got hit herself. He watched as they died, doing nothing. Darkness surrounded him.
Neji shot up in bed, panting. He was covered in a cold sweat. That dream had been so real, so emotional. Then he noticed yells and crashes outside. Jumping out of bed, he burst into the hall in time to catch a body heading for him, full speed.
Hinata and Hanabi had been sleeping in Hinata's room. Since her kidnapping, Hinata discovered her sister sneaking into her room on a nightly basis. Apparently, seeing her sister captured had taken its toll on the young trainee. She was only 8.
Hinata was having a nightmare of gigantic proportions. She was running. She could see Naruto up ahead of her. Next to him was her father and the Hyuuga council. She could hear them speaking.
"How can she be trusted? No one trusts her. She is too weak." They turned and walked away. Hinata was about to follow them when she heard Naruto shout. Turning, she saw him fighting a nameless shinobi.
"I will protect Konoha!" He jumped at the shinobi but the shinobi just sneered and sidestepped him. Naruto attached himself to the shinobi and placed an exploding tag on his own back. The enemy began to yell.
"You'll die too!" Naruto looked at him sadly.
"It doesn't matter. I am a monster. I know it. These people only use me for him. They only tolerate me. I am fulfilling my only use."
"NARUTOOOOOO!" Hinata screamed as she awoke just before he exploded. Sitting up quickly, she recalled the entire dream. She hugged herself, crying silently. Naruto-kun. Naruto-kun! Please. I need you. Please... She suddenly straightened as she heard something. Looking around she spotted a smoke bomb rolling into the room. Grabbing her sister, she threw them both out the window.
Rolling into the courtyard she felt herself caught and set down by gentle hands. Looking up, she saw her father. He often would walk the courtyard when he couldn't sleep. He had activated his Byakugan and was scanning the area. Hinata had done the same automatically when she had gone through the window. Hanabi was waking up slowly, disoriented from her spinning awakening. She crouched behind her sister, attempting to get her bearings.
She wasn't given the chance, as an enemy knocked her out from behind a split second before Hiashi sent him across the yard. Hiashi was looking around as his heir tried to help his youngest. Then he noticed a shinobi making hand seals. Actually he counted ten shinobi, at least three anbu level and five or six jounin. This group of seals, he recognized. His father had explained them to him, and they had been indirectly the cause of his death.
"Hinata, when I say now deactivate your Byakugan." Hinata looked at her father in confusion. He was watching the seals though. If his daughter could deactivate her kekke genkai during the second to between the second to last and the last seal, she wouldn't be harmed. This justu only attacked clans with kekkei genkais that were in the eyes. They attacked the muscles around the eyes, blocking off the chakra flow. If the muscles were in transition, then the harm was next to nothing, however the target would be vunerable while they recovered the short burst of perception change that comes with deactivating your kekke genkai.
"NOW!" Hinata deactivated her Byakugan. Just as she regained from her split-second disorientation her father fell to the ground, holding his head in pain. He had watched to the very end to insure none of the enemies would take advantage of the small lapse. That was how his father died.
Hinata was looking at her father when she felt a foot to her chest. The force of the kick sent her flying back intothe house and down the hall. This was where Neji caught the heir to his family. After checking their combined momentum, he set her on her feet. He was about to demand the situation, as were the other twelve Hyuuga in the hallway when Hinata yelled down the hall.
"Father! Hanabi-chan!" She was about to take off after them when Neji caught her arm.
"Hinata-sama, what is going on?" She stopped and looked around. Of the fourteen Hyuuga in the hall, four were not shinobi in anyway. She realized that as part of the main family, they expected her to tell them what was happening. She didn't even think about it, or her dream would have come back to haunt her. She pointed to two of the non-shinobi, siblings with the older one roughly Neji's age.
"You two, go to the Hokaga-sama's house and tell her that 'Hyuuga Hiashi and Hyuuga Hanabi have been kidnapped by ten unknown shinobi. Eight are pursuing and require assistence.' Go! You four, check on the guards and post more around the compound. The rest of you follow and listen carefully, these shinobi understand the Byakugan." She took off down the hall to her room, where she grabbed her shoes and her shinobi pouch. Neji, likewise, ducked into his room, grabbed his shoes, shirt, and pouch, and raced after her. Though, not before growling at the eight Hyuuga still frozen in the hall. Two leaped into action and went with him. Four went to check on the guards. One grabbed his younger brother and raced towards the Hokage's house. Everyone else had already caught up to Hinata. Once she counted seven behind her she set a pace they could keep that was hopefully faster than that of the kidnappers. She was going to protect her family.
Naruto couldn't sleep. Hinata must have been upset about something. He had decided several days ago that most of the time these were nightmares and they pass after 30 minutes or so. She never had two a night. He was waiting for this one to pass when he felt something different through their bond. Pain. He sat up and looked towards the Hyuuga complex. Deciding he should at least see if there was an indication of trouble he stood on his roof. Looking across the village he tuned in on the two Hyuuga he knew. His eyes widened when he felt both of them flare in distress then leave their home. They were heading out of Konoha. He raced through Konoha, making sure his path took him past very specific houses. As he past each one he flared his chakra in a way that any friend of his couldn't miss. Eventually, when he headed into the woods, he could hear at least six behind him.
Hinata and every other Hyuuga had their Byakugan activated. Hinata was looking around frantically. Neji was just a step behind her. He suddenly got her attenition and pointed off to one side. She focused harder and saw something that made her blood run cold. They were on a parallel course. They must have caught up with the unknown shinobi and they had been skirting them for a while. She saw one of them being carried and he was making the same hand signs that she had seen before her father was taken. She remembered exactly when he had told her to deactivate her Byakugan. She watched the seals. She shouted to her group.
"Everyone deactivate your Byakugan...Now!" She timed it so no one would argue with her. None of them had heard this tone of voice from their meek little clan heir. They reacted instinctively to the authority in the voice. Hinata blocked the kunai thrown at them in the moment of weakness the rest of her party experienced before she collapsed in pain. She heard two other Hyuuga collapse, they were the only ones that hadn't followed her orders. The rest noticed that they couldn't activate their Byakugan. Neji landed beside her in concern. She was on the ground in a fetal position, clutching her head in pain and the chakra points in her eyes closed and caused chakra to build up slightly before her body began to drain it off. She nearly passed out in the feeling, but she wouldn't leave her family alone to face the shinobi. The ten landed in front of them. Two were in the back holding Hanabi and Hiashi. Both were still unconscious, though Hiashi looked like he was rousing. The two sides rushed each other, five Hyuuga and seven unknown shinobi. Neji and one other Hyuuga stayed with Hinata and one shinobi stayed with the two holding captives.
Hinata struggled to rise as the single shinobi attacked the two guarding her. After taking out one he focused on Neji. Another two leaped through the clearing, one disappearing to help his comrades another to help against Neji, them having finished their fight already. Hinata struggled to rise as she saw Neji get knock about continuously. He was knocked back against a tree when the two shinobi split their targets. One headed for Hinata and the other stayed to finish off Neji. Hiashi awoke at this point, still extremely weak from pain. He looked up to see the two shinobi charge two of his closest family with the intent to kill. Hinata saw Neji struggle to rise. She focused herself and threw a kunai into the leg of Neji's attacker. Her attacker stopped to see why his partner had fallen. Hinata was using that to try and gain her bearings. The shinobi turned to her and threw two sets of balls on a string at her, tying her up. She saw a similar thing happen to Neji. Hiashi, who was similarily bound, could only sit there as he saw them charge again. Hinata saw the hit coming and closed her eyes. Naruto-kun! She suddenly was air born. Looking up at her savior, she stuttered.
"Kiba-kun?" Looking over to Neji, she saw Lee had blind sided his would-be executioner and Ten Ten was carrying Neji over to her father, which was also where she and Kiba were heading. Turning slightly she saw Naruto fighting the anbu that had been in front of her. The anbu bounced back and looked over at the jounin who had just cleared Lee's range. They looked for their hostages to discover the Hyuuga unguarded, their comrades on the ground. A boy had appeared and using small insects he both incapacitated the two shinobi and had lowered the two hostages to the ground gently. Hiashi had been very surprised when the grip on him suddenly released, and even more surprised that neither he nor his daughter came crashing to the ground when this happened. The jounin looked at the Konoha shinobi.
"Where the hell did you come from? This is an internal clan fight, we weren't involving anyone else. How did you even know?" Naruto looked at him.
"Yeah right! We are Konoha shinobi! We protect our precious people." Ten Ten spoke up next.
"If you attack our precious people, you attack all of us." Kiba looked up from putting Hinata down next to her father.
"Because we protect each other." Lee formed his pose.
"Our comrades are the source of our youthful energy." Shino stood near the now freed Hyuugas.
"And we all place our trust in our comrades." Naruto looked at his opponents.
"So get ready to meet Konoha!" Naruto, Lee, the anbu and the jounin leaped at each other. Shino, Ten Ten, and Kiba disappeared to find the rest of the Hyuuga family. Neji looked at Hinata and Hiashi. For a moment it seemed as if they had been left alone, and tied up. Then a large orange fox creature landed in front of them. Neji looked at it, memory tugging. Hinata looked at it startled when it licked her on the cheek. She giggled and smiled.
"Naruto-kun." Neji and Hiashi looked at her as if she were crazy. The fox leaned over her and bite the rope holding her. Just as she turned to do the same to Neji, Naruto landed, dropped off a Hyuuga member and vanished in a puff of smoke signifying a clone. Naruto and the other's had planned the attack on the way.
He had stopped by Ten Ten's, Lee's, Shino's, Kiba's, Shikamaru's and Sakura's house. Sakura was snagging Kakashi and Gai then was going to catch up. The rest of them landed. He sent Kyuubi's chakra to protect the Hyuuga members that were incapacitated. He did remind his comrades that the justu would only know that certain people were friends and he didn't think the list was long so please be careful when approaching it. Thus it was decided that whenever a Hyuuga was located, Naruto was called to make a clone, which then deposited said Hyuuga with the others. He, naturally, had forgotten to consider how it would react to Hinata, and Kyuubi had decided not to remind him.
The fox turned and bit through Neji's bonds as well. Hinata smiled.
"Neji-ni, are you alright?" Neji nodded at his cousin. He was injured yes, but they were relatively minor. He should probalby watch how much blood he lost though. He looked back to Hinata just in time to see her faint towards the ground.
"Hinata-sama!" He caught her as Sakura landed in the clearing. Neji could hear his sensei and others in the woods, joining the fray. Sakura carefully approached the red beast, which smelled her a moment then went back to its pacing. It had began doing that when Hinata had fainted. She was actually still concious, but in a lot of pain. Sakura placed a hand on her back.
"She has too many internal injuries and her chakra is completely depleted and blocked. I do not have the know-how to heal her." She looked exceedingly distressed. Hiashi looked to his heir in fright. The fox suddenly came over and surrounded Neji and Hinata in one of it's tails. It looked at Neji pointedly. Sakura spoke up.
"I think it wants you to let go." Hinata glanced up shakily.
"It's alright Neji-kun. It's Naruto-kun." Neji looked at the fox sceptically but released his cousin. Two tails joined the first and they engulfed Hinata, lifting her several feet in the air. Sakura tended to Hanabi as she distantly wondered how Hinata could breath. Neji was watching his cousin intently. He saw her face clench in pain as the tail glowed. Then she was slowly set down next Neji who cradled her in his arms. Sakura gave her a brief examination.
"Well, aside from strained eye muscles, chakra depletion and enormous blood loss, she's all better. All other injuries are healed. Most likely, these were the injuries this chakra thing didn't know how to handle. Hiashi-dono, how long have you been awake?" Sakura hurried to untie him as she noticed his state of conciousness. He nodded to her in gratitude and asked about his youngest. "She's unconscious but nothing more, she should awaken in a few hours." Hiashi nodded. Sakura turned to the Hyuuga that Naruto-clones had been dropping off. There were five of them. Only one was conscious. She began to do what she could.
Hiashi knelt next to his daughter and nephew, holding his other daughter in his lap. He gently ran a hand down his heir's cheek. She looked up at him through tired eyes.
"Father..." He shushed his daughter. She looked over at the fox, which had continued it's pacing. She tried to stand. After some help, and arguments, from Neji she managed to walk over to it. It looked at her. She smiled and petted it on the head. It leaned into the hand, purring softly. Suddenly, it was very alert as Gai landed in the clearing. The fox moved in front of Hinata supporting her with one of its tails, growling at the newcomer. Gai backed up nervously. Behind him, Iruka landed. He saw the fox and also began to back away. The fox swept it's tail out and between the two shinobi, pushing Iruka towards Neji. It advanced on Gai menacingly. Hinata went and stepped in front of it.
"This is Gai-san. He is a friend." She told it quietly but firmly. It looked at the man in green once more before backing off. Gai breathed a sigh and came over.
"The spirit of youth prevails! Our forces of good and beauty have triumphed over the forces of evil and conniving!" Hinata relaxed at this. She still wasn't sure about Gai but Neji's sensei was trustworthy. Turning she saw the others return with the remaining Hyuuga. The fox gave her a lick then leaped in the air to join with Naruto as he entered the area. They began to setup their respective medical supplies and bandage the injured. Hinata went from person to person asking how they were.
Ten Ten was walking to towards Gai when Sakura found her.
"Oh good, could you bandage Neji please? I don't know him very well and I'm helping all these other people. Thanks." Ten Ten watched as Sakura hurried away before she could get a word in edgewise. Sighing she walked to where Hinata had forced Neji to rest. He was cut pretty bad. He looked up at her when she sat next to him but she would not meet his eyes. She had been avoiding this confrontation for a while now. She silently bandaged his arms and chest. She was even too distracted to enjoy touching his chest. After she had finished she rose to leave, hopefully he would wait. Not to be. As she walked away she felt a hand grasp hers.
"Ten Ten, wait. Please." She stopped. She always did when he asked her like that. "I've been thinking a lot about what happened. What I can't figure out is why." She looked back at him out of the corner of her eye. He had the confident look he always had, but his eyes were troubled. She sighed and knelt in front of him.
"Neji" She whispered as her lips brushed against his gently. He froze as he felt her lips ghost over his, his name from her lips into his ear. He reached his arm around her waist and pulled her against him. This time his lips met hers. Her hands slid from his chest to his neck and back to tangle with his hair. He could feel her soft lips moving against his firm ones, her chest up against his. She was kneeling in front of him. Neji gently ended the kiss, needing air. He looked down at Ten Ten. Her cheeks were flushed and breathing fast. She looked up at him shyly. His lips settled into a small smile. Her eyes lightened when she saw it.
"Ten Ten" His hand came up to glide down her cheek. He brought her close again, holding her tightly. She relaxed in his grip.
"I want this- this feeling, but..." Neji looked at Ten Ten. He knew but he wasn't ready to give her what she deserved, "please, Ten Ten, wait for me?" He was looking steadily into her eyes. She looked at him then grasped his hand. Lifting it she placed it in the middle of her chest, over her heart.
Hinata was still walking among the Hyuuga when Neji found her. Naruto had been at her side the entire time, terrified she was trying to kill herself. When she finally fainted, he caught her. Neji dashed over.
"Hinata-sama!" He knelt in front of Naruto and Hinata. She was barely conscious.
"Its okay, I need to look after my family." Her voice was so low only the two of them could hear it. Naruto looked at her sternly.
"You need to rest!" Neji looked at her.
"Hinata-sama, the branch family exists to protect the main famliy. We can't relax until you are safe. Please rest." Hinata looked into Neji's concerned face. She looked around. Several of the Hyuuga had tried to rise upon her collapse. She nodded and leaned into Naruto's embrace. Tsunade landed next to her.
"Hinata-san, your father and sister are at the hospital already. We are operating on your father. Once we are done we will operate on you next. You both will recover full use of your eyes and kekkei genkai." Hinata nodded gratefully to the Hokage. Naruto carried her to a stone well out of the way and sat down. He wanted to talk to her.
Kakashi landed in front of Tsunade just after she left Hinata.
"Godaime-sama, I found the hideout but all that I saw there were these." He held out eight Anbu masks. Tsunade looked at them thinking hard. It couldn't be a coincidence that two attacks on the Hyuuga main family in the same day. Looking over, she heard a commotion coming from the village. Hiashi landed in the clearind, followed by several med-nins. She walked up to ask what exactly he thought he was doing outside the hospital when Ten Ten flew past them and landed almost on top of Naruto and Hinata. Naruto caught her quickly, juggling the two girls in his arms. Naruto and Hinata hurried over, looking everywhere for the enemy. Shikamaru was looking at the masks.
"They tried to capture Hinata-chan with two anbu and three jounin and four chunin and failed; they tried to capture Hanabi-chan with three anbu, six jounin and one chunin and failed; if they had all these anbu in reserve that means their target hasn't been either of the previous people. Who could they be after?" Hinata started to look around immediately as her father thought.
"Where's Neji-kun?" At Hinata's frantic inquiry Naruto immediately located the comrade he was becoming closer and closer to. He leaped toward him, Hinata and Hiashi following closely, with Kakashi and Gai behind them.
Bursting through the foilage some twenty minutes away, Naruto saw something that made him see red. Neji was tied to a post, hands eagle spread. He had large amount of cuts on his body in random locations. Next to him was a med-nin with a surgeneon's knife and it was heading for the struggling Hyuuga's temple. They were going to cut out his eyes. Naruto saw red immediately as five Anbu landed in the clearing. Naruto was beyond caring. He charged them, his eyes red and pupils vertical.
Hinata raced towards her cousin. Her father was directly behind her. He tried to catch up as an enemy leaped at her but he needn't worry. Naruto sent a shuriken his way, efficiently distracting him. Hinata reached her cousin even as her father did. They both immediately scared the med-nin away and began to cut Neji down. He fell to the ground in shock, tears still streaming down his face from pain. Hinata found several stab wounds in various spots on his body, near very important veins. Hinata looked over to Naruto. Every time Kakashi and Gai would try to help Naruto would find some way to grab the back of their jacket and toss them at the other and out of the fight. He was loosing desparately. Hinata watched him a second longer and realized that he glanced over towards her every few moments. She recalled their talk before this battle
Naruto set her down on his lap as they sat on the rock. Hinata looked at him. She wanted to ask many questions but she was too afraid. Naruto took a deep breath and looked at her.
"Hinata, I have been merging with Kyuubi." She looked at him startled and a little confused but he wasn't looking at her. "My chakra has made a connection with yours. Every now and then I feel your extreme emotions and feelings." Hinata's eyes widened. "It was why I was watching you earlier today. I felt your startlement at pain. And tonight, I felt your panic." He finally looked at Hinata sadly. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to form the bond. I- I mean I know- Well, if you- if you don't want to be my friend I'll understand." He lowered his head. Hinata looked at him. This did explain a few things. She looked at him a moment.
"What about me?" He looked at her. "Can I feel you?" He stared at her a moment then relaxed. He nodded.
"Kyuubi says that the bond will be both ways after you reach out to me for the first time. It won't be telepathy but it will be feelings and ideas." Hinata nodded and opened her mouth to say something. That was when Naruto shot up and caught Ten Ten.
Hinata realized why Naruto wouldn't attack, he was worried he would loose control. He had told her while waitng for her to get out of the hospital a week ago that he couldn't control himself very well when he used Kyuubi's energy. Thus, right now, he was fighting three battles; the enemy, Kakashi and Gai, so they wouldn't get hurt, and himself so he wouldn't hurt the three Hyuuga over here. He had said that he felt really close to Neji. She looked at him then at her father. He had gone through the surgery already.
"Father, can you activate your Byakugan?" Hiashi looked at his daughter and thought a moment.
"Barely, my chakra reserves are fine but the muscles around my eyes won't hold long."... "Why?" She looked at Naruto.
"We need to block this direction entirely." He looked at the same direction and nodded. He didn't understand his daughters plan but he was willing to trust her, she had proven that tonight. He nodded to her.
"I can do it without my Byakugan once I start." He settled into a poition she hadn't seen before but she ignored that, she had to connect to Naruto. Neji was sitting next to her, leaning against the post he had been tied to. Hinata sat down and put her hands into her favorite position, that of her Byakugan. She reached for Naruto's chakra with her own. Naruto-kun. Naruto-kun! NARUTO-KUN! She unconciously began to say her internal mantra. Suddenly she was filled with an overwhelming sense of panic and fear. She felt the growing anger to destroy these people who had touched what she protected and the gnawing fear of harming the very people she protected keeping it bay barely. Hinata realized that this was what Naruto was feeling. She tried to project a feeling of safety towards him. She opened her eyes and looked at him. He looked at her. Neji noticed her eyes had vertical black pupils. She tried to convey all the support and trust she held in him as she felt his fear dwindle. Finally the anger took over and Naruto rampaged through the enemy. It took him all of three seconds to finish the battle, occasionally colliding with Hiashi's barrier. Kakashi had grabbed Gai and jumped clear just as Naruto ripped loose.
Once the battle was over Naruto crouched down. Hiashi halted his justu and turned to end to his nephew. Neji was still shaking from his experience. Naruto came over. He looked to Hinata then to Neji. Hiashi looked at him warily. Naruto wrapped two chakra tails around Hinata. He brought another around and brushed it against Neji's shoulder. He looked at Neji. Hinata could feel his hesitation, and his fear. His respect for Neji was large and his desire for his friendship was genuine. Neji looked at Naruto a moment, then to his cousin, wrapped in two of the tails that had just brushed him, then back to Naruto. The tail was still in front of him. he reached out tentively and stroked it. Naruto shuddered slightly. Hinata giggled at the feeling from him.
"That was the wrong way, you petted against the fur." Neji looked at her a moment, wide-eyed, then petted the tail again, this time in the opposite direction. Naruto looked at him with those firey eyes. Neji felt three tails come forward and rest on his shoulders a moment before they retreated with the arrival of his sensei.
Gai landed next Neji and began to check his pupil for serious injuries. Kakashi landed nearby and was watching Naruto. Naruto looked at Hinata and wrapped the rest of his tails around her. She heard a voice she had only heard a few times before.
"Your reaction to the bond was perfect, young female. I can block out the bond now so it will only be active if you focus on it. You will be able to either tell what is happening with him or tell him what is happening with you. However, you two need to talk. He left out a very important part of this bond. His fear is stiffling him. You will need to be the brave one and tell him how you feel. Trust me, he feels eactly the same, if not more-so. He also will need a highlight of what happened here, which I shall leave to you. I suggest you take up meditating, you might find it worth your while." Hinata looked at Naruto, or rather Kyuubi, in amazement. He was suggesting that Naruto cared for her. The same she did for him! She looked at him tentively, as he seemed to be waiting for a response.
"What should we do?" She didn't trust him completely, but his opinion should be taken into account since he was the only one that understood any of it. Kyuubi sighed.
"You get him to talk, before he leaves in seven days with that toad-man. I will tell him what needs to happen after that." She looked at him skeptically. "Nothing can be done until you both share your feeling, and I have tried for weeks to get him to do it, so your turn." She nodded to him and the chakra receeded back into Naruto. Naruto gave her a quick lick then his eyes turned blue.
None of the on-looker had been able to hear anything within the cloak of the tails. When they receeded Naruto looked at Hinata, licked her cheek then fell against her. Hinata, being very tired already, couldn't hold him and they both crashed to the ground. Naruto, who was conscious, just tired and injuried from the fight before he cut loose, blushed as he tried to push himself off Hinata. Suddenly he felt hands grab him and Kakashi lifted him onto his back. Gai was carrying Neji and Hiashi helped Hinata to her feet, both too tired to carry the other.
They ran into help from Konoha a few steps from the clearing. One med-nin insisted on carrying Hinata but Hiashi firmly refused assistance. They arrived back at the former clearing to find only the rookie nine plus Lee still there. They joined them on their trek to the hospital. One the way they gave a report. All Hyuuga were fine and would be up and about within the week. Of the reinforcements, Kiba and Akamaru were slightly injured and Ten Ten had some bruised ribs from the kick when Neji was kidnapped. Everyone else was fine. Also, Tsunade had said that she would personally strangle and hog-tie any of this group that didn't come to the hospital for an overnight at least. Naruto shuddered, he knew she meant it too.
Hinata awoke the next morning in a hospital bed. Turning she spotted her father next to her. He looked up and gazed at her a moment.
"Father, how is Hanabi-chan?" Hiashi ndded and pointed to the bed across the room.
"Your sister will be fine, she will awaken any moment." He looked at Hanabi's form a moment . "Your surgery went well, you should be out of here the day after tomorrow." Hinata smiled at this, she would be able to see Naruto off, wait, Naruto!
"How is Naruto-kun?" Hiashi looked at her a moment.
"He awoke an hour ago, give or take. Even if they wanted to, I doubt they could keep him here for more than a day, with the noise he was making." Hiashi nearly winced at the ceiling. Naruto had been very vocal about staying in the hospital for 24 hours. Hiashi was glad it hadn't awakened any of his family.
"And Neji-kun?" Hiashi looked at Hinata again and actually winced.
"He is next door. He may be here longer. He won't sleep due to nightmares that won't cease. Tsunade says that many of the open wounds he had when we found him were made with a scalpal and made to cause pain. He will be physically fine today, but mentally could take a few days." Haishi looked at his daughter. "They caught up with the med-nin earlier. Apparently this group was a renegede group hoping to use the Byakugan to earn back their position. The med-nin himself had lost his family when he was young in the great war and blamed the Hyuuga family. He was taking his anger out on Neji when we arrived." Hiashi's voice had gotten very soft. He knew Hinata needed to know what had happened to her cousin, because she was one of the people Neji needed to heal. Hiashi's respect for his eldest daughter had grown exponentially over the last 24 hours. He had gotten a report of what she had done before they had chased after him and Hanabi. She had seen to the clan and the village as well as her family. It was time she began to train to be the head of the clan.
After lunch was served, which Hinata thought smelled worse that the garbage piles outside her house and tasted slimy, Naruto found her. Her father was just sitting off in the corner reading, so they didn't bring up Kyuubi. She did update him with an abrigded version of how Neji and Hanabi were doing. Naruto nodded saying he had already stopped by Neji's room. Ten Ten was sitting next to him and not budging an inch.
Ten Ten had found Neji a few minutes after they had brough him in. She was allowed to walk around as long as she didn't get too tired and she minded her bandages and ribs. She found Neji's room and sat next to him. She had only been there a few minutes when Neji began to thrash about. Immediately, half a dozen docteors were in the room, ignoring her, and trying to wake him. He sat up, panting hard. He was very tired but that dream would leave. He could see him. The knife going into his thigh, his chest, coming to his eyes, he saw it over and over again. The doctors finally left as he dozed back to sleep. His medication was designed to do just that. This time, Ten Ten came forward and held his hand. His face relaxed slightly. They stayed like that a while until Neji's form was wracked with another nightmare. Ten Ten whispered soft reassurances to him as he fought against his dreams. He calmed down eventually and continued to sleep. TenTen dozed beside him, waking whenever he would start to move again to calm him into a dreamless state. When the morning came the doctors had tried to get her to return to her room, but the second she released his hand, he began to thrash again. They let her stay.
Naruto had poked his head in and gotten an update when he had heard Hinata had yet to awaken. Ten Ten just told him that they expected Neji to sleep well into the afternoon. Naruto explained all this to Hinata.
Naruto, then, took out present for her.
"I had this made for you several days ago, but I wasn't sure when to give it to you. You won't be able to open it until your Byakugan returns but still...here" She unwrapped the box and found a locket. On the front was a seal and on the clasp there was another seal. She looked at Naruto. "I only have a few things from my parents and the seal on the metal in the front of the locket is one of them. I don't know yet what it does but I wanted you to have it so that when I do I can show you my cool justu." She smiled at him and nodded. Then they heard Tsunade screeching outside. Naruto cringed as he left in a whoosh.
Hiashi came up next to her. She looked at him cautiously. He simply looked at the door a moment then at the locket.
"That would look better around your neck. May I?" She nodded happily as her father took the locket. He fastened it around her neck and held it in front of her. He stared at it a moment, his eyes wide. He had seen this seal before!
Naruto, Ten Ten, Hanabi and Hiashi were released from the hospital that day, though Ten Ten still wouldn't budge. Naruto went out and found his apartment again and then returned. He found Hinata resting her eyes, reading had made them ache. She had been told not to use her Byakugan for at least 24 hours or so. Naruto sat next to her and they talked. They agreed to meet in the woods after Hinata was released to discuss Kyuubi, and their feelings, though Naruto didn't know the last part.
Hinata and Naruto visited Neji before they left the hospital the next day. He was sitting in bed, looking out the window. Hinata sat next to him, Naruto stood behind her.
"Neji-kun, How do you feel today?" He didn't look at them.
"I'm fine. They'll release me tomorrow." His answer was quiet and monotone. Hinata's face fell at the blank look on his face. She turned to Naruto and nodded her head. She had asked him before hand if he would take Ten Ten out for a few minutes so she could tell Neji what had all happened. He hadn't been told yet. Naruto looked at her skeptically, he wasn't sure of his ability to part the two, but rose and went to Ten Ten.
"Oi, Ten Ten, Hinata wants to talk family for a few minutes. Could you come with me and we can find lunch for us and these two, unless Neji wants hospital food again." He was joking at that last part. Ten Ten looked at Neji a moment. His only response was to release her hand. Hinata nodded to her. She reached out and squeezed Neji's hand again and followed Naruto.
They walked to a nearby stall and bought some food. Ten Ten hadn't said much. Naruto was watching her, he would let her start to talk. She looked like she was about to collapse. Suddenly she stopped walking. Her bag was held in her hands in front of her. Naruto stopped and looked back at her bent head. Her shoulders were shaking.
"How? How can I help him? He won't form any expression. He just sits there. What can I do?" She was crying now. She felt her bag taken and set on the ground as an arm came up around her. She gripped Naruto's sleeve and cried into his shoulder for her love. He just stood there, glaring at any who slowed in their walking to watch the spectacule. She finally dried her eyes and picked up her bag again.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that, it isn't your responsibility." Naruto put his hands behind his head and spoke.
"Maybe, Maybe not. It is a friend's responsibility." She looked at him. "Besides, you are important to Neji. And he's my friend. All we can do is show him that he can depend on us. Thats all he needs anyway." Ten Ten looked at him. He was looking off to one side, hands still behind his head. She smiled slightly. He was right, they were friends and they were there for Neji. They returned to the hospital.
Hinata had told Neji what her father had told her. He was sitting as he had been when they had left. The only change they could find was his hands, which were now clenched. Naruto resumed his previous position as Ten Ten sat next to Neji again. She placed her hand on his fist. Neji began to shake. He ws staring out the window, well more like glaring out the window.
"That was the one thing he wouldn't say. Why. That was what I wanted to know, why." Naruto looked at him.
"It doesn't help." Neji looked at him fiercely, daring him to argue about something he didn't experience, "Knowing why just makes it harsher. You start to think you deserve it, then you let them hurt you or you protest the reason and they hurt you faster. Either way all you get is hurt. Jusitfying it simply makes your friends get hurt as you ignore them as you wallow in self-pity." Neji looked at him a moment with wide eyes. He's been through this! He found out about Kyuubi when he was 12. That was nearly two years ago. The village didn't treat him any different once he knew, but it was different. He had to decide who to let win. He is standing here, with his friends, because he knew they were wrong and they didn't matter. I have been sitting here trying to rationalize an event that doesn't matter. It happened. It's over. It won't happen again. I have made Hinata-sama worry. Ten Ten has barely gotten any sleep in the last two days and her ribs were bruised. Enough! Neji looked at Naruto, his normal stern look back in place. Naruto was staring at him stubbornly. He saw Neji's expression and relaxed. Neji looked over to Ten Ten.
"Ten Ten, did you bring me anything to eat." Ten Ten nodded happily. He had refused food yesterday so she was really happy he wanted to eat now. They all settled to eat. Hinata told Neji about the locket and Ten Ten told Hinata about the sale in her parents store the next day. Neji watched Naruto out of the corner of his eye. He thought back to all the times he had seen Naruto walk through the town. He had never seen him walk close to any one. Even with his team, they had always walked either the back paths or the roofs, or Sakura chasing him, screeching her head off. Naruto had never walked through town with a friend next to him. Neji swore that when he left the hospital, before Naruto left, he would do this. Tuning back into the conversation, which, if Naruto's panicky expression was anything to go by, would be incredibly amusing.
Hinata and Naruto left after they had finished lunch. Neji turned to Ten Ten a moment, and smiled slightly. Ten Ten's head was resting on his lap, and she was fast asleep. He reached over her and carefully pulled her up onto the bed next to him. He was fully healed physically after all. He lay back against the wall, holding Ten Ten to his chest.
Hiashi stopped by to bring him some books from his room. He just left them on the table and smiled as he left without rousing the two sleeping genin.
Naruto and Hinata journeyed out into the woods towards Naruto's favorite training spot. Hinata was thinking about what she had to tell him. Despite Kyuubi's reassurance to the contrary, she was still terrified that he would reject her. Naruto looked at Hinata, sensing her trepidation.
"Hinata, I'm not going to hurt you." She looked at him and felt his worry. She realized he could feel her fear. She smiled at him a moment and then sat down in the spot they had chosen. Naruto sat and closed his eyes. He opened them and looked at her.
"Foxy says you have to start. Do you know what he is talking about?" Hinata looked at Naruto a second, that in a very quiet, stuttering voice she explained the entire episode from the battle after he had cut loose. Naruto's annoyance and fear grew expontentionally as she went over what Kyuubi had said.
"I-I- look I don't know why he said that b-b-but you don't have to f-f-feel that way about me I mean-" He stopped as Hinata's hand came up in front of his mouth. She could sense his fear, actually what she was feeling from him was nothing short of utter terror. She felt as if her stomach had dropped out from under her. She allowed his fear to push her's aside as she steeled herself.
"There is one other thing..." Naruto looked at her as if he would dearly love to flee the clearing. "I-I-I love you." Her whisper was so soft that she wasn't sure he had heard her. She felt something bubble up inside her. It was his hope. She looked at him, face scarlet. She found him staring at her. He opened his mouth twice before he got a sound out. It was another few sounds before actual words came out.
"But- But- I have Kyuubi! I'm his container. Everyone blames me for what happened. They will hate you for siding with me. You can't- I mean Your father- No one can like me, its too dangerous. We proved this ten years ago. We-" His tirade was halted by her lips on his. He froze for a second before responding. They broke the kiss and she whispered against his lips.
"And if I don't care? What if we are strong enough now? What if my father knows and approves?" She looked into his eyes, "What if I want this, Hokage-future-san?" Naruto looked at her in amazement. They both felt their mutual elation. After just sitting, enjoying each other's feeling Naruto remembered that they had to talk with Kyuubi. Gee thanks Kit. You remember how to visit me right? Just hold her as you come. Hinata felt herself pulled out of her body and into Naruto's. It was as bizarre feeling as it was the first time several days ago.
She found herself in a long dark pipe. She looked around. Naruto was next to her, holding her.
"Naruto-kun, where are we?" Hinata looked around but didn't see anything but the pipe. Naruto sighed.
"Come on, this way." Naruto led her to a huge cage. Behind which she saw a red eye as blazing as the pits of hell. She shuddered. "Hinata meet Kyuubi.
"Good to finally meet you, young female." Naruto growled at him, reminding him that her name was Hinata. Kyuubi just shook his head and laughed. They argued for a while. Hinata marveled at how carefree Naruto was around the power. The jibes were made in good-humor, it rang of a beloved uncle and his bratty nephew. "Now, young female, since you both know, not only about the bond but each other's feeling you need to know that this is a mating bond." Hinata started "It was formed because Naruto's chakra contains so much of mine and he cares so much for you and the feeling is returned. This being said, I'm going to use your bond to deaden it. When you want to feel Naruto simply focus on your memory of his chakra. If you want to send him your feelings, simply meditate in his general direction with him in mind." Hinata nodded, still a little stunned. "oh and telling that cousin of yours, Neeki or whatever, might be a good idea. His grasp of both of you, as well as chakra itself, could be helpful to you. Now shoo! I'm going to sleep for a while." Hinata felt dizzy as she was shoved out of Naruto. She woke in her body next to Naruto. He woke a few moments later. He rubbed the back of his head shyly.
"Kyuubi hasn't rested since the battle, what with all the injuries and it takes a lot out of him to separate his chakra from himself." She nodded mutely "Sooo, what do you think?" Hinata looked at Naruto a second before giggling.
"I think we will never be bored." She smiled "Or lonely again." Naruto relaxed. He smiled. They sat down and practiced reaching each other. Once they had done that to their satisfaction they sat there and talked.
Hiashi stopped his daughter as she entered the compound. She knew she was a little late. She followed him to his office.
"Hinata, I believe it is time you became familiar with how this family is run. Starting next week, when you are not training or on a mission, you will be helping me with the decisions of this family." Hinata nodded, wide eyed. Hiashi sighed. "I apologize for not doing this sooner. Make sure you sleep well this week." Hinata recognized the dismissal and stood. She was about to leave when her father spoke again, "Hinata, may I see that locket again?" Hinata froze. She didn't want him to take it from her, but he had been acting so differently lately. She turned to him as he approached her. He looked at it a moment and she saw a small smile. "Thank you, you may go."
Neji was walking around town with Ten Ten when he ran into his cousin. She ran up to him, panting.
"Neji-kun. I'm so glad you're out of the hospital. Naruto and I were wondering if, maybe, we could talk with you at the training grounds. Oh and Ten Ten too." She was growing more quiet as she made her request and regained control over her breathing. Neji looked at Ten Ten in confusion but nodded and they followed her. She led them to the training ground, stopping a moment along the way. When they stopped she closed her eyes and brought her hands together for her Byakugan. Neji tensed, but she simply let out a breath then continued walking. Neji was very confused at this point. Hinata was pretty tense herself. She had discussed it with Naruto and they had agreed to tell Neji and to tell Ten Ten at least. Sakura and Lee they would play by ear for the moment. Hinata walked into the clearing as Naurto landed in the clearing.
They had decided it would be easier to find Neji if they split up, since he was already gone by the time they were at the hospital, although they would have been earlier if Naruto hadn't begged a stop for ramen. Once one found Neji they would simply contact the other and they would head here. They discovered that while words could not be transmitted, thoughts, feelings and visuals could. They discovered this because Naruto had tried to tell Hinata where to meet him this morning but it hadn't worked well. Hinata had gotten a feeling of tiredness, and strength, signifying how Naruto felt at the training grounds. It was confusing, which was in fact translated through the bond. Naruto then pictured the clearing and transmitted that to her. It worked a little better. In the end she headed for the training grounds and followed her bond to the correct one. It was an interesting experience for both of them.
Neji raised his eyebrows when Naruto arrived but kept quiet. Hinata and Naruto sat down in the grass and motioned the other two to join them. After all were sitting Hinata looked at Naruto and vice versa. They were nodding to each other. Finally Naruto looked at Neji.
"Neji, do consider Hinata a friend?" Neji was still confused and slightly exasperated but responded.
"No, I consider her family." He stated this firmly. Hinata smiled and Naruto jerked his head towards her. He smiled at the elation from his bond-mate.
"And me? Now that you know about Kyuubi, what do you consider me?" Neji looked at him in surprise. Naruto looked at him steadily. Neji had the feeling he was being tested. He cautiosly glanced at Ten Ten, who nodded in reassurance.
"I consider you a strong comrade and a close friend, and I believe I would trust you with anything I care about." Naruto looked surprised and speechless at the profound answer. He hadn't expected such trust from Neji. Hinata smiled as she felt his relief. Since he seemed to have lost his tongue, she decided she could help him a little.
"Ten Ten, what do you think of Naruto?" Ten Ten looked at her. She thought a moment.
"Well, he is strong. He always sticks to what he says and stands up to any he believes to be wrong. I am grateful to his help to Neji-kun. I hope we are friends." She glanced at Naruto as she said this, who was getting over the shock of having such support. He slowly asked her next.
"And Hinata?" Ten Ten answered easily.
"A dependable, strong comrade, that I would like to know better." Naruto nodded as Hinata blushed. Neither of them were used to people giving them anything close to praise. Neji spoke to Naruto next.
"Why are you asking us all these questions anyway?" He was very curious, it wasn't like Naruto to beat around the bush or Hinata to be so direct. In fact, that was one of the only traits they didn't share, rather they were opposite. Naruto tended to rush into things shouting at the top of his lungs, while it usually took an act of Kami to get something out of his cousin's mouth. Naruto glanced at Hinata a moment. He steeled himself, helped along by the encouragement he felt from Hinata, and began talking.
"Since my fight with Sasuke, Kyuubi and I have been merging. At least our chakra has. It has given me some interesting new abilities. My eye-sight, hearing, smell all are much better. I can actually follow people like Kiba does, by scent. My control over chakra has increased, with Kyuubi's help. He kind of lives in here, talking when he feels like it. He actually isn't all that bad. I don't know why he attack us fourteen years ago but he actually is pretty cool. His chakra has actually been swirling with mine since birth, so much that that my chakra has taken on several demonic qualities. The first you've actually seen twice. My chakra is the 'animalistic' side of my persona. That fox-thing represents my inner-most feelings." Neji looked at his cousin at this. She was scarlet. Everytime, the fox had come out it had made a point to lick her face. Neji turned back to Naruto as he continued. "Another thing my chakra has done is formed chakra bonds. These are with people I care about and they care about me. These bonds, save one, are currently incomplete until the other person reaches out to me. In these bonds, I can locate the other person, feel very strong emotions, and strong sensations." Neji looked at him, then at Hinata, then back to him.
"Hinata-sama...?" She looked at him and nodded.
"I have reached out to Naruto-kun and our bond is complete. It is now active but, we can turn it off when we need to." Naruto looked at Neji.
"Kyuubi is currently shunting all other bonds until I can handle the constant random distraction." Neji looked at him a moment. Ten Ten asked a questioned they had been wondering when it would come up.
"Are their different bonds?" Hinata blushed red and Naruto even went a little pink at that one.
"Y-y-yeah, my bond with Hinata is special. I won't be able to form it with another person." Ten Ten was still confused.
"Why?" Neji looked at the two of them, now both very much the color of the blood flooding their faces.
"You both know." They looked at him, "You told each other how you felt." Naruto looked at Neji in amazement as Hinata blushed and pointed her fingers together shyly and nodded. Neji sighed. "We should probably explor the extent of this bond before you leave Naruto." They proceeded to explain the exercises they had done. Neji had Hinata turn to Ten Ten and not activate her Byakugan. He dragged Naruto a few feet away. He spun Naruto around and struck the chakra points in his right shoulder. Behind Naruto, Hinata sat up straight and grabbed her right shoulder in surprise before Naruto realized what had happened and shut off their bond. Hinata came over to him.
"Naruto-kun?" He glared annoyed at Neji and turned to Hinata.
"I'm fine, just surprised." Neji looked at them a moment.
"I know Hinata-sama felt that for a moment, but it didn't stay. You probably should practice shut each other out for this reason. You both should also learn to meditate." Ten Ten walked over and watched. Naruto nodded as he massaged his shoulder. They spent the next few hours training Naruto and Hinata. As they walked back to the village Neji remembered his internal promise.
"Have you ever been to Ten Ten's family's shop, Naruto?" He shook his head. Ten Ten jumped in front of them.
"Come on, I'll show it to you!" Neji smiled. Ten Ten was very proud of the shop her parents ran. As she fell in step with Hinata Neji fell behind with Naruto.
"Naruto, you said one of the bonds, does that mean you have formed others?" Naruto looked up at him, then at the ground and nodded.
"But they are either not ready or not here." Neji looked at him. He could guess Sasuke and Sakura were two of them. He put a hand on Naruto's shoulder.
"If you need an ear about it, mine are here, and open." Neji saw as close to a real smile on Naruto's face as he had seen before. He knew he had done the right thing. How could he not, Naruto had brought him out of his prison of misery. Neji hoped that Naruto and Lee could still be his friends. He started asking Naruto about where he was going in four days as they started to walk through the center of town. Naruto was becoming more and more quiet as they walked. He was glancing in every direction. Neji looked around as well, though slightly more discreetly. He saw many people out today. He kept Naruto talking as he zeroed in on what was being said around him.
"That's him isn't it?"
"what does he think he's doing in the market at a time like this?"
"I know, there are too many children out!"
"Look who's with him." At this last comment, Neji saw Naruto turn his head slightly and identify the speaker. Neji too recorded the persons identity as they continued. Many things were said. Actually it becaome boringly repetitive after a while. The only thing that broke the monotony was their descussion and every comment about his friends would cause Naruto to look in the direction of the whisper. Neji noted they never mentioned Kyuubi, even in reference. Neji was angered at how they treated him. He had protected this village from Sunakagura and then Orochimaru. He was training to protect this land and these people scorned him. He felt a hand on his shoulder. He realized he had stopped walking and was standing in the middle of the street staring into space. Maybe this was why Naruto keeps doing that, he thought as he caught up to Naruto. They were approaching the store when Neji remembered a question he had yet to ask Naruto.
"How did get around to tell Hinata-sama about your feeling? Or did she tell you?" Naruto looked at Hinata a moment, but the girls hadn't noticed the question.
"Kyuubi encouraged her to tell me last time he came out three days ago. He had been trying to convince me for several weeks. I was too afraid though. He finally convinced Hinata." Neji's eyebrows disappeared, "I don't know how, she only said he assured her I felt the same."..."Was it really that obvious?" Neji grinned.
"Yes, for both of you." Naruto grimaced
"Must have been amusing." Neji looked at him.
"Far from it, my friend, far from it." He put an arm around a very stunned Naruto and led him into the shop.
Ten Ten showed them around the store. She was very excited. Her parents smiled as they continued to place things an the shelves. After an initial tour, they divided and conquered, meaning they split up to look all over the store. Neji looked at swords, Naruto studied the shurikens, and Hinata looked at the kunai, joined by Ten Ten after a few moments. Naruto looked up when he heard Hinata speak.
"These have seals on them." Ten Ten nodded.
"They are sold in sets, one of each seal." Hinata picked up one out of the set and look at it.
"But these all are the same?" The Ten Ten came over and picked up another from the set. Her father looked up from the spears.
"Those were from the basement, thus they may be from a time when we sold them that way. I'll ask Sasami what she thinks." He left in search of his wife. They were a good pair. He worked the metal, she worked the seals. Naruto picked up a third and examined it. Neji looked at the other kunai on the wall.
Naruto was looking closely at the seal, it was tugging at his memory. In fact, he was looking so close, his nose was practically touching it. He heard Ten Ten pull Hinata over to the test dummies.
"These are much lighter than usual but I don't recognize the seal." She looked at the targets and nodded towards them as she looked at Hinata. "Lets find out what they do. My parents don't sell any really dangerous seals out here in the store." Hinata nodded slightly and both readied to throw their respective knizes. At this moment Naruto got a feeling about the seal. He stared at it a moment more before he it came to him. Spinning towards the girls he shouted a second after they had released the kunai.
"Stop! Don't!" Both girls looked at him, Hinata feeling his utter panic, as they released their kunai. Naruto shoved the one in his hand into the floor and sped towards them. Hinata and Ten Ten turned and looked att he kunai they had just thrown towards the targets, or they should have been speeding towards the targets. Both kunai had spun about and were heading back towards their throwers. Ten Ten and Hinata dodged the kunai only to have them spin in midair again and follow them. Both were on the floor and off balance. Neji was rushing towards them, but not fast enough. As one they turned and watched as the kunai came at them and prepared to get hit.
It never came. Opening their eyes both girls saw Naruto crouching over them. He had knocked them flat to the ground and was covering them with his own body. Hinata saw his face crunch in pain.
"Naruto!" Neji was at his side a moment later. Naruto was leaning over the two girls with two kunai in his back. Naruto shoved Neji back onto his butt as both kunai exploded. The explosion knock the others loose, including the one Naruto had pinned to the floor. Ten Ten had begun to rise under him, but Neji grabbed her and they rolled away as Naruto focused on Hinata. He made sure they didn't hit her. Hinata looked on in fright as a few of the conventional kunai landed on Naruto's back. His eye shut as he tried to handle the pain and block it from her. She was looking at him when the corner of her eye caught movement. The kunai Naruto had shoved intot he ground had come loose and was heading for him. She quickly shother hand out and began to rotate it in small ovals. Increasing the chakra to her hands, she tried a variation of her new defensive technique. By cirling her hands she created a small sheild as the kunai sped towards the couple. It hit her sheild and stopped, however, since the force behind it hadn't stopped it continued to push against her sheild. Hinata shoved more chakra into her efforts as she felt it begin to overwhelm her. She didn't have to worry long.
While she had been doing this Naruto had noticed and called over to Neji and Ten Ten. He told them to not touch the kunai but that Hinata could propabaly use some help. Neji and Ten Ten had used their chakra to walk cross the ceiling and With Neji still up there, he had lowered Ten Ten until she could pin the rogue kunai with another one. Once Hinata saw this she gratefully dropped her justu, however as she did the kunai graced her hand and exploded.
Ten Ten's parents entered the room as the smoke from this last explosion died down. Truthfully, none of them had been particularly large explosions. They saw one Hyuuga curled under Naruto on the floor. The other was curled around their daughter, shielding her from the explosion. Both boys had noticed that when the first two kunai had exploded they had vibrated for a moment first. They noticed this one do the same and had pulled the girls away from it. Ten Ten yelled to her parents to stay put for a moment.
Hinata looked at Naruto. His breathing was labored and his teeth clenched. He was looking at her. Hinata felt her throat clench as she felt some of his pain leak through the barrier he had placed between them. She tried to send soothing feelings as her hand came up to his cheek. He leaned into the touch. She began to sit up as his strength finally gave out and he collapsed on her stomach, his breathing ragged.
During this, Ten Ten had located every weapon that she either didn't recognize the seal, had the new seal or she couldn't see the seal. Once located she threw kunai and senbon in their handles. Motioning to her parents and Neji so they knew it was safe they all walked into the room. Neji hurried to his cousin's side as Naruto collapsed. Ten Ten and her parents began to pick up the fallen weapons. Hinata was cradling his head. Silent tears feel down her face as she felt his pain. He suddenly heaved himself off her and coughed out blood. Hinata ran her hands through his hair as Neji held him up. Hinata was close to panic when Naruto finally got her attention. He had been tryingto since he had collapsed. One of the kunai had pierced his lung and Kyuubi was working overtime to heal it. Eventually, the fox had to take some of Naruto's energy. This was why he collapsed. He coughed up blood, because Kyuubi was shoving it out of his system now that the wound was healed inside his lung. He had recognized Kyuubi's rapid healing and was trying to calm Hinata down, he hated when she cried. She finally felt his reassuring thoughts through their bond. She sent a hope questioning back. He opened one eye, leaning back against Neji, panting. She looked at him, then hugged him.
"Naruto." She nuzzled his chest as Neji continued to support him. He winced as he brought one hand around her. She felt it and backed away. Neji looked at his cousin.
"Hinata-sama, Naruto, we should remove the jacket and shirt and bandage the injuries." Hinata nodded as she felt consent from her beloved. Together they began to rid him of the clothing that covered his wounds. Ten Ten brought over some bandages and they carefully wrapped his back. Ten Ten's parents were examining the kunai their daughter had deemed dangerous and began to either put them away or deactivate them. After they had finished they saw Naruto was bandaged. Hinata had taken Neji's place and sat behind Naruto, letting him rest against her. Ten Ten's parents came over and began to explain.
"These kunai were never supposed to be here. We ceased using this seal long before Ten Ten's birth. They were used during the last war. They would be left for the enemy. They latch on any chakra they feel and they attack it, exploding upon contact. They have no place currently, we thought they had all been destroyed. Are you all alright?" Sasami looked at them, concerned. Both her and her husband knew of the kyuubi boy. They had also heard their daughter speak of him often. They no longer hated him. Not that they were sure they were happy their daughter was friends with him. Naruto, realizing their attention was on him, put his act back on. Putting his hand behind his head he smiled widely at them.
"You bet! A few kunai won't get us down!" Hinata looked at him, frowning slightly. Neji looked at her and saw it. He looked at Naruto closely and saw his back muscled trembling slightly. He was forcing this facade. Ten Ten's father smiled and clapped him on the back making Naruto's head swim.
"That's my boy! Now it's close to dinner so, Ten Ten come and prepare for dinner. You all best get home for your own dinner." Ten Ten nodded and showed her friends to the door. Neji recognized this being one of her parents ways of saying they wanted to talk to Ten Ten before doing anything further. He nodded to her and followed Hinata and Naruto out. A second later Ten Ten followed saying the lest she could do was walk them home.
Naruto knew they wanted to talk to Ten Ten without him around. They wanted form their own opinion of him without him there. Truthfully, he was more focused on his pain and Hinata's concern. He would've been aware of the eyes in the back of his head even without their connection. He turned and gave her a big smile. She looked down at the ground sadly, thinking he wasn't willing to share his true feelings with her yet. Naruto saw it and stopped. Hinata, looking down as she was, didn't notice until she was practically on top of him. She stopped as his shoes came into view. Neji was standing next to her.
"Hinata?" Hinata looked up at him.
"Naruto-kun, you don't have to pretend. Please?" She looked into his eyes with her watery ones. She always hated it when he hid his true face. Neji saw Naruto's face change slightly. His eyes became softer, cheeks lowered slightly, and his smile shrank a little, until it was a content grin. Neji and Ten Ten just stared as they saw Naruto truly smile for the first time. Hinata smiled at the face. Naruto wiped her tears with a finger.
"Alright Hina-chan. Its okay. I won't hide from you again." She leaned at his chest as he eveloped her in a hug. He felt a hand on his shoulder. Looking up he saw Neji smiling at him, Ten Ten behind him. He tensed a moment then relaxed. Separating himself from Hinata they walked home together.
They trusted each other.
They were friends.
A/N That took absolutely for-ev-er! 16,600 words OMG!
Most of it has been ready for two weeks but the last bit took a while. I'll revise it soon, along with In the Past. Also, Character ages are below.
Special thanks to Hinata's Dream for making my stories a part of their C2 Community.
Reveiw Thanks to the following
True Friend Truly Believe
In the Past
Sakura, Kiba, Chouji-13
Sasuke, Ino, Shikamaru-14
Shino, Hinata-15 (recently)
Gai and Kakashi's generation are in their mid-late thirties