Disclaimer: Naruto Copyright ©2003 Kishimoto Masashi, Scott / Shueisha - TV Tokyo - Pierrot Any content of said program are under copyright, and included for entertainment purposes only. Under contrast, all originally made content (characters, countries, etc.) are under copyright of the writer and his circle company, Millenium Pen Studios.

Pairing: Uchiha Sasuke/ Hyuuga Hinata

Minor Pairing: Uzumaki Naruto/Hyuuga Hinata

Side Pairings: Uzumaki Naruto/ Haruno Sakura

Author Note: Sorry, I've been busy with a few personal things and some slight emotional discomforts. I know it's been some time since I last updated, and I'm very sorry for that. I'll try to update at least once a week, no later then two weeks. I've also enjoyed reading your reviews. they encourage me to write more for your entertainment. Thank you for your support and opions. I hope you enjoy this weeks chapter.

--+0+-- Chapter Four: Our Voices --+0+--

"Sasuke-sama..you had a nightmare..." She asked him in a low and gentle voice. Sasuke only continued to stare somewhere other than her face at the moment.

"Yeah..so what?" There in the darkness, Sasuke's pain reached out to her and it made her want to soothe it.

"You want to talk about it?" Sasuke sat there with visions of his nightmare still tormenting him. He really hated to sleep. It was the only time he was truly vulnerable.

Awake, he could control his thoughts and emotions. Then as soon as he slept, all things he wanted to forget came back with a vicious clarity. If he could, he'd purge those memories from him entirely. But they were his memories and his feelings. Two things he didn't like to share with anyone else.

"Not really.." He could see Hinata's disappointment. But what confused him was her gentle kindness that was all but unknown to him. He didn't understand why it was important to her that she would try to soothe his unrest. When she spoke, her tone was low and comforting.

"You know, when I was a little girl, I use to have these awful dreams about..." She hesitated as if considering whether she should continue, her words tumbling over one another as she stuttered gently. With a soft laugh, she admitted her nightmare. "Well, okay, my mother's clay dolls coming alive while I slept. It was kind of stupid, but it used to scare me to death."

Sasuke let out a tired breath even though he appreciated what she was trying to do. "I assure you, I'm not dreaming about dolls, Hinata."

"I know. But whenever I woke up from my nightmare, my mother would always make me tell her what I'd been dreaming--no matter how stupid it seemed. She said that when you talk about it, you get it out of your mind so that you can dream about good things instead."

"I don't want to talk about it."

But then he felt her hand in his hair, gently playing with the dark strands. Hinata didn't know what had come over her but she couldn't stop herself from doing the affectionate action.

"Okay, Sasuke-sama..."

Sasuke closed his eyes as a foreign emotion went through him. He couldn't remember the last time someone had offered him comfort. The last time a woman had touched him like this. She moved her hand lower, over his shoulder to his arm, where she gently rubbed his biceps. Her touch...no, her kindness singed him with heat. Hinata didn't say a word as she rubbed his arm. She merely sat there, comforting him, gliding her hand along his flesh. Reminding him that he wasn't alone in the darkness. Reminding him that it was okay to be human. He didn't sense her judging him.

Before he realized what he was doing, he was speaking to her about his nightmare.

"It's always the same memory..." he whispered. "I'm coming from school that day. I was really excited about showing my father my new skills I had gained at the school. It was so perfect that day..I can still see it clearly in my mind. It was a nice spring afternoon...yet something felt strange. As I walked in the Uchiha grounds, I saw my aunt and uncle in the middle of the street in a puddle of the blood. To my horror I looked around and found everyone I had known in the same condition. Fear rushed into my mind as I rushed home only to see my elder brother kill my parents..."

Hinata gasped softly and just stared at him. She didn't say anything as Sasuke leaned over and turned on the lamp, now it seemed neither of them were going to get any sleep. "So? Each night you dream about what happened...back then?"

Sasuke layed back to stare up at the ceiling. She could feel the guilt and anger inside him, reaching out to touch her heart. "You have no idea how much I wish I could go back in time and change that night...that night I lost everything. My parents, my life, and my strength to love or to be loved..."

"I'm sorry Sasuke-sama. Everyone deserves to have someone who loves them." By his face she could tell that he didn't agree with that. How she wished she could ease that guilt from him. But there was nothing she could do. He would have to learn to forgive himself someday.

"What about you?" he asked quietly as he played with her fingers.

"What about me?"

"Did you or do you love someone?"

Hinata bit her lip as her own regret and sadness gnawed at her. "Yes..no..maybe. Not really.." And it wasn't from lack of trying on her part. She did her best everyday to tell Naruto that she loved him, but each time her best friend's name would come up...Sakura..she couldn't compete with the girl Naruto had always loved. "At least not like you read about in books or see in movies.. I've always wanted to be swept off my feet, to have that one person who I can't live without come into my life and make me his..."

Sasuke frowned at her a bit, for such a shy girl when she gets comfortable she can't seem to stop talking so much. "Yeah, but things like that don't exist.."

"No," she said seriously. "It does exist. I saw it with my parents before my mother passed away..they were so in love." His rough fingers continued to play with hers as he watched the emotions flash of her pale face. Hinata paused as she realized just how comfortable she was with him. She hadn't talked to anyone like this in a long time. And it felt really good. Licking her lips, she stared at the joined hands and wondered if Sasuke even realized what he was doing.

Sasuke's breath caught in his throat as he saw the tender look on her face. She was beautiful. Her pale eyes tinged with dark circles from the lack of sleep, but they in no way took away from her angelic features. Her long black hair was a complete mess and yet he'd never seen anything sexier in his life. In that instant, he knew he should get up and sleep somewhere else, but he didn't want to leave her. She'd been right, talking about his nightmare had made him feel better. A lot better. The haunting images where gone now, replaced by her hesitant smile and gentle voice. And deep in the back of his mind was the question of what his life would have been like if he had spent those lonely days with Hinata instead of by himself...

--

The sun was getting ready to take it's slumber, when Naruto, Sakura, and Neji were summoned to the Hokage's office. The three shinobi glanced at each other with known anticipation. They did not know why they were summoned, they only knew that the scroll said it was urgent and that they arrive quickly as possible.

Sakura paced back and forth in the office waiting for Tsunade to arrive, whom was late for some unknown reason. The Hokage's tardiness was causing the pink haired beauty to become antsy and irritable.

She was not the only one who was becoming irritated with the current situation. Hyuuga Neji, was privately cursing the pink haired nin who seemed as though she couldn't sit down for more then a few minutes. It was getting on his nerves and bad enough he had to be trapped in the room with her and Naruto. Combined with Sakura's never ending movements and Naruto's overly loud and unneeded complaints, Neji thought he would quickly go insane. Or be carried off to jail for murdering his fellow comrades.

It soon become the last straw for him when Naruto and Sakura began to bicker over who knows what. Now he had to suffer with Sakura's annoying screeches at the loud blonde, who in return tried to be louder then his female teammate. That was it for him. That was the last Hyuuga Neji could deal with this annoyance anymore. Standing from his chair in a sudden quick motion, which caused the two loud mouths to glance his way. Letting out a tired breath, he spoke in a deep and cold tone.

"If you two do not be quiet, I will forcefully gain your silence myself," his words were bathed in ice water, while his eyes stared mercily at the two.

Sakura and Naruto gave each other frightened glances before sighing and taking their seats.

"Neh, sorry Neji-san...I'm just antsy," Sakura admitted in a soft tone as she looked down at the floor, which suddenly became interesting.

"Yeah, I'm sorry too Neji."

Neji nodded at both of them. His eyes closed and arms crossed over his chest, he waited patiently in the new found silence.

The uneasy silence did not last long, as Tsunade walked into the room. Her arms piled up with scrolls and other important documents. Placing the sheets of information on her desk she sat down. Her fore finger and thumb pinching at the bridge of her nose. Showing the signs of a on coming headache and sheer irritation. Too add to her distress Naruto began yelling and demanding why they had been brought here.

"What in the hell Granny Tsunade!? You send us this urgent message and then you show up late with no explaination behind your laziness!?" Naurto barked loudly at the older female. Whom sent him a death glare as she slammed her fist against her desk.

"I do not have to explain myself to a bunch of impatient ass children! Either you shut your damn mouth or I'll shut it for you! Do you understand?!" she spat the words viciously at the wide eyed blonde who was now staring at her with his mouth agape.

Sitting back properly in her desk, Tsunade let out a tired breath and linked her hands together. Her chin resting on top of the entwined fingers in her normal fashion.

"I'm sorry, please understand that I am under alot of stress..."

Sakura smiled softly at her Hokage and personal sensei and nodded. "We understand Tsunade-sama. Please excuse Naurto for his selfish rudeness..."

Nodding towards the aggressive female, Tsundae began to speak in a soft tone. "As you all know we have been put into a lot of stress with the war between our two allies, the Rain and Waterfall countries. As both their allies it is difficult to aid them in this battle. But it seems the demands for help have become more demanding. And at this rate we may lose to good allies. I believe it is best that we send a few groups out to polite get out allies to understand our current situation. I would like you to be the captains of the teams that have to solve this conflict..."

Neji's brows furrowed as he gazed at the Hokage. "Is that all Hokage-sama?"

"There is more isn't there?' Sakura asked in a questionign tone.

Closing her eyes again and sighing. Tsunade looked at the three powerful shinobi before her with worry and sadness in her light brown gaze.

"I'm afraid to say that Hyuuga Hinata has yet to return from her previous mission. I sent out a group to scout the area she last reported from. In the end they could not find a single trace for her."

Neji's face beamed with fear for a moment before it returned to his normal expression of stone. "You don't mean--"

"Hyuuga Hinata is currently M.I.A until further notice."

"You mean Hinata-chan is out there somewhere alone and you want us to go off to some damned selfish countries to solve their stupid problem!?" Naruto yelled as he rushed the Hokage's desk. his palms slamming onto of its surface.

"Calm down Naurto. Hinata is a strong shinobi. She can take care of herself. In the mean time, I'm assigning you each to a group to go out and help our allies. Neji, your team is Lee and Kiba. Naruto your team is Shino and Ino. Sakura your team is Sai and TenTen. I want each and everyone of you to be fully focused on this mission. You can not let your emotions get the best of you, do you understand?" her voice was low but stern as she carefully eyed their faces.

They nodded in unison. "Good...now go and gather your teams. You leave at dawn in the morning."

They left the room quietly, each one of their faces twisted with worry, anger, and what seemed like fear. Leaning her head back, Tsunade eyes drifted over the ceiling in thought. Please be safe Hinata...without your happiness and radiance these young men and women could not survive. Not only them many of the villagers would be distraught and confused with out your kindness. Come home soon...