And the Record Won't Stop Skipping

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Bundled up in the corner of a trashed bedroom was where her not much of a life sat. Clothes all over the floor, bed stripped of its sheets and the mattress flipped onto the floor, pictures shattered, papers shredded, and the little desk in the corner was turned on its side.

She shivered and shook and grasped pictures and letters to her chest, one by one. She'd cry over them and stroke them and smile at the memories, eyes bloodshot and rimmed with red.

"Naruto-kun…remember this picture, ne? We were at the faire…and you had cotton candy all over your face…" A salty tear dripped from her cheek and onto the picture. Wiping it messily away she dropped the picture in an ever growing stack.

"And this one…we went to the zoo and one of the llamas tried to eat your shirt." She choked on a laugh.

"Good times, ne Naruto-kun?"

She picked up a letter, her eyes skimming over the faded pencil chicken scratch.

Hina-chan,

Meet me at my car after school. I've got a surprise for you!

That was it. But the memory behind the letter was what counted. It was her birthday present; a backseat full of roses and a trunk full of birthday cards. The cards were in her closet in a box, and each and every one of them was signed and had a special birthday message from the goofy Uzumaki. Well, that was the last birthday present she'd ever get from him. For the rest of her life.

"Why'd you have to go and die, Naruto-kun!? What am I supposed to do now!" she sobbed, the pain coming at her all over again. "Why'd you have to try to drive home drunk…?"

Now three days dead, Naruto Uzumaki had been driving home from Kiba's twenty-first birthday party when he lost control of the car, flipped the guardrail and went rolling down the rocky hillside. They didn't find him until a little over twenty-four hours later.

"Hinata." Neji's voice rumbled from the other side of her bedroom door.

"Wh-what do you want!?"

"There's someone here to see you. I didn't think you'd want them in your room, so they're waiting downstairs." And he left, leaving her to debate on whether or not she wanted to go down and meet whoever had come to visit.

Finally picking herself up off the floor she shuffled to the bathroom to brush her teeth and comb her hair and change her clothes. Satisfied that she didn't look too horrible, she left her bedroom and stumbled down the stairs. Upon entering the living room her eyes went wide. Naruto's foster parents were sitting on the sofa, a big brown box between them.

"Oh, Hinata!" The couple looked up from their clasped hands, mildly startled by her sudden arrival.

"Good afternoon, Mr., Mrs."

"Uh, we brought you some stuff we thought he'd…he'd like you to have." Mr. gestured to the box, a sad smile on his face.

"Oh. Uhm, thank you. Can I get you anything…?" She shifted, uncomfortable with the situation.

"No, thank you. We just wanted to drop this off." The couple stood, and Hinata followed them to the door.

Mr. smiled and patted her on the shoulder, and then walked out. But Mrs. lingered, her eyes on her feet. Finally gathering herself, she looked up at the young Hyuuga, their tear worn eyes meeting.

"He…he really loved you, you know? There wasn't a day that went by that he didn't talk about you." She smiled, a tear rolling down her cheek. "He's probably up there right now, watching over you. He'd want you to smile." She looked down again, her voice quieting. "I have to tell myself that a lot."

"Thank you, Mrs." Hinata smiled for the first time since her boyfriends' death, albeit a sad one.

The woman nodded and followed her husband to the car, and Hinata watched them drive away. She remained on the porch long after they were gone, silent tears streaming down her cheeks. Sniffling, she returned to the living room and gathered up the box, its' weight surprising her.

Once in her bedroom again she lifted the mattress back onto the frame of her bed and sat down, sliding the box in front of her. Drawing in a deep breath, she lifted the flaps on the box and peered inside.

The first thing that met her eyes was a folded black leather jacket with orange cloth lining the pockets. She lifted the worn article of clothing out and pressed it to her face, inhaling. It smelled just like him. Refusing to let herself cry all over again she pulled the jacket on and continued to go through the stuff packed in the box, amazed at how many more photos he had than she did.

Finally she found a large orange envelope filled with countless letters. Some were from her, some were conversations between the two, and a few were conversations with other people regarding her. She smiled. He always had been so sweet.

Sakura-chan, what am I going to do!?

What are you talking about?

Well…tomorrow is Hina-chans birthday, and I still have no idea what to get her!

Are you kidding?? You idiot. But knowing her, she won't care one bit if you don't get her anything! She's too nice to you, ya know?

I know, I know!! What should I get her? What do girls like to get?

Well, we like flowers…and sweet birthday cards…and chocolate…and expensive jewelry. But Hinata doesn't really wear jewelry, and she doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, so get her some flowers and a card.

That sounds a little cheap.

Well then take her out to dinner or something!

But I don't have enough money for anywhere fancy!

Well I don't know then! Figure it out!

Hinata smiled, sniffling. So it was actually Sakura's idea to get her flowers and a card. Cards, really. He just expanded the suggestion to his liking.

Curling up on her mattress she yawned, clutching the teddy bear Naruto had gotten her for Valentines Day. She buried her face in the crook of her elbow, relaxing to the smell of the jacket she was still wearing. A dull ache settled in her chest, and she heaved a broken sigh.

He'd want me to smile.

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Don't drink and drive, people. You're a hazard to yourself and everyone else on the road, not to mention your family and the people that love you!

Tip of the day courtesy of,

Mistoffelees Shadow