Chapter 13: Physical Attraction
Hinata knew that she needed to find out what her father planned to say to Naruto. While Hinata knew that her father would be able to sense her presence right outside the door of his study where he had undoubtedly taken Naruto to talk, there were other ways she could find out what he was saying to Naruto.
Heading up to her room, which seemed the most obvious spot for her to go, she activated her byakugan, and focused on watching her father. They were in the study as she had predicted. Hiashi stood behind his desk, seemingly loathe to sit in Naruto's presence, and it didn't seem that he'd bothered to offer Naruto to take a seat. Then again, if Naruto had been offered one, Hinata wouldn't be surprised if he had declined it.
They hadn't started talking yet, or at least, neither of their lips were moving. Instead of initiating the conversation as he usually did when there was a lapse of silence, Naruto stood still, focusing his attention on Hiashi. Hiashi clasped his hands behind his back before focusing his white eyes on Naruto. Naruto didn't avert his gaze.
"You got my daughter pregnant," Hiashi finally spoke, his lips moving. Hinata wished she could hear the tone of his voice, but the slight upward tilt to his lips indicated it had come out as an accusation. Naruto stiffened, but said nothing.
Hinata bit her bottom lip. What would Naruto say if Hiashi asked him for details? Hinata had been the one to seduce Naruto without his direct knowledge. In reality, he had the right to be yelling at her for tricking him into a situation that had made him unhappy. Instead, Naruto was doing his best to do what he clearly thought was right. It made Hinata feel horrible to know that he was only pursuing a relationship with her because he felt trapped into doing the right thing.
"Have you any idea the precarious position you've put yourself in? Hinata is unwed and carries your child. The type of stain that something like this has on a man's reputation is very different than on a woman's reputation. She will bear the brunt of the criticism, while you will float through with hardly a blemish to your name."
"You want me to marry Hinata to take off the stain on her reputation?" Naruto asked. Hinata desperately wished she could hear the tone of his voice. His eyes were narrowed, and he certainly looked angry, but it was still hard to know for sure the feeling behind these words.
"No. I want you to give her full custody, and pretend like you have had no involvement whatsoever."
"What?! No! The baby's mine too!" Naruto said, and the fury was clear on his face, along with the surprise that Hiashi didn't want him to marry his daughter.
"You have no relationship with my daughter beyond physical attraction. A union based on physical attraction alone is doomed from the beginning. It is better that you realize that the two of you will not work as an actual couple, and relinquish your custody rights to the child now. If you were to marry my daughter and do the supposedly right thing, then you would end up being miserable in a relationship with her. She's too quiet in comparison to your rather rambunctious nature. She was raised in a proper family with clan etiquette and ties. You are held accountable to no one. How would you possibly understand what it's like to hold the type of responsibility necessary to have a proper family?"
Hinata gasped, and watched the emotion drain from Naruto's face. This emotionless mask showed Hinata just how badly her father's words had hurt him.
"Just because I never had a family, doesn't mean that I wouldn't be a good father – or husband," Naruto said, his fists clenched, his eyes lowered briefly before he shot his head up to glare challengingly at Hiashi. "You have a family and don't know how to be a good father. You've always been harsh on Hinata. She's always tried to be better! Ever since the Chuunin exams she's done her best to prove that to you, and you can't even see that!" Naruto exclaimed, or at least, Hinata hoped he did. She put her hand over her chest, feeling her heart beat wildly at Naruto's words.
"Whatever you may think in regard to the relationship I have with my eldest daughter, it does not deter from the fact that the relationship between you and Hinata is hardly substantial. Like I said, a physical attraction is the only thing the two of you have in common."
"I've known her since she was younger, and I might not know that much about her, but I know she's a good person, and she fights for what she believes in. We both do!"
Hinata watched as her father gave Naruto a once over.
"You should be heading home now," Hiashi said.
"We're not done talking yet! I am not-"
"No, we're not done talking permanently. But for tonight, you've worn out your welcome."
Naruto clenched his fists tighter, and for a moment, she thought that Naruto might argue, might try and stay and debate the point more. Instead he turned and left the room, slamming the door behind him.
She was about to divert her attention to focus on Naruto's angry departure from her house, but instead, her eyes caught the faintest of smiles flittering across her father's face.
Hinata frowned. It almost seemed like her father was pleased with what Naruto had said. Maybe he was impressed that Naruto hadn't backed down? She had a feeling her father would not have thought too well of Naruto if he had given up easily. Even if that's what her father wanted, to do so would have made Naruto a lesser man in Hiashi's eyes. Deciding not to dwell on her father's strange behavior, she turned her gaze to watch Naruto walk away from the house. Not once did he look back.
She deactivated her byakugan and sighed. She'd hoped that he would have come to find her, but she guessed with the way her father had treated him that it was to be expected that he would want to go away for a bit.
Hinata awoke the next morning to a quiet knocking on her door. She almost pretended that she hadn't heard the soft tapping, but knew her father would end up coming in the room with or without her telling him to come in.
"Come in," Hinata said, sliding out of bed and throwing a robe over her shoulders while rubbing the sleepiness from her eyes.
"I want Uzumaki's family history," Hiashi said as he brought a tray of food in. Hinata was surprised to see an assortment of breakfast foods already prepared for her.
"His history?" Hinata said, looking at the tray that her father placed on a little nightstand next to her bed.
"Yes. Ever since he was young, there were speculations about his heritage. For the sake of both of you, I hope that the rumors of his more impressive heritage background holds true. From what I have heard, Ino's father had looked into his background when the two of them announced their engagement, and was hard pressed to come up with any pertinent information. It appears that his background is, for some reason, confidential. While Yamanaka didn't pursue finding out the background of his daughter's potential husband, I want to find out as much as possible about him. Yes, he is powerful, and yes, he may be the next candidate for Hokage, but I want more details."
"I-" Hinata was about to tell him that Naruto had explained that his father was really Yondaime Hokage, and she wondered if that's what her father had meant about Naruto's more "impressive" history, but he didn't give her a chance to explain.
"And eat all of this breakfast. It's good for you and the baby. You are also not permitted to go to any training session from now on as it might potentially harm the child."
"Unless you wish to have the same fate as your mother, and die during childbirth as she did with Hanabi, then I expect that you do as you're told."
Hiashi didn't say any more as he left the room.
Hinata was a little surprised. The food on the tray was clearly very nutritional – but she always ate fairly healthy. It was a little unnerving the way her father had brought her the tray as though he didn't trust her to take care of herself or her baby. She tried to look back to how her mother had behaved when she was pregnant with Hanabi, and remembered that she very rarely listened to what her father had tried to tell her. She had been more than willing to train her body and test it to the limits even while pregnant.
In his own sort of way, Hiashi was worried about her. Hinata was touched that her father was showing he cared, even if it was a rather twisted way.
As Hinata ate the prepared breakfast, she thought back to how she, Ino, and Sakura had all approached Tsunade-sama, trying to find out what Naruto's family history was. There was a lot that she felt that she ought to know about him, and she remembered Tsunade-sama's words that she ought to ask Naruto herself about his past. She knew that his father was Yondaime Hokage, but she still didn't know that much about how or where he had grown-up. Surely he had to have some caretakers as a child, right?
It definitely gave her an excuse to go and see him, and perhaps apologize for her father's behavior. It was a good excuse too (not any lame one she might have tried to concoct on her own), and she really wanted to see what Naruto thought about the entire situation.
She also wanted to talk with him more about his relationships with Ino and Sakura. She felt that she had avoided that for too long, and she cared about Naruto enough to want to help him. If he felt pain, she wanted to do her best to ease it, especially if she had been the source of it.
Hinata bounded to her door, intent on going to find Naruto. She was therefore surprised when she opened her to door to see him standing there, his fist poised to knock, his face slightly startled that the door had opened before he had gotten his chance to do so.
"Uh, hi!" Naruto said, overcoming his awkwardness quickly, and smiling at her. The smile and the sincere tone took her breath away.
"Hi," she replied breathlessly.
"So, I thought maybe we could do something today," Naruto said, looking a little sheepish. Hinata could only stare at him dumbfounded. He was asking her to do something? She stood there, gaping at him, her heart beating erratically inside her chest.
Naruto gave her a concerned look before starting to speak again.
"Unless, of course, you have plans. Were you just about to go somewhere?" Naruto asked.
"Y-yeah. I was going to look for you," Hinata said. Naruto gave a little grin.
"See? I'm a mind reader. I'm already here!"
Hinata giggled at his words, and his grin turned into an easy smile.
"I'd love to do something," Hinata said, her voice strong, her words clear. She thought she might be able to do this without stuttering.
"Awesome. Let's take a walk and figure out what we want to do," Naruto suggested, and he made a grand gesture of offering her his arm. Blushing slightly, she took it, liking the feel of her hand wrapping around his arm.
Apparently he liked it too, because his smile got wider. He bent over and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. She blushed deeply, and he laughed a little.
They began to walk, and Hinata had no idea where they were going other than away from her house. She had a feeling that Naruto didn't have a specific direction in mind either, but that was fine with her. She didn't care where they were as long as she was with him.
It was easy, really, talking with Naruto. She wondered why she had had so much trouble all those years before. Well, no, she knew why she had had so much trouble, but it felt a little silly to her now when they were easily talking about things that they liked to do, things that they had seen, and remembering about their teachers in the academy.
"Iruka-sensei told me that a good shinobi would be able to be still for long periods of time. I laughed at him. At one point, he gave me this leaf to do a sorta calming experience, and I didn't last five minutes. I thought I'd never be able to do it, ever! And now, I can be perfectly still for hours – when I want to," Naruto said, his smile wide, though his eyes held a tint of sadness. She knew what he had gone through in order to train so hard, and she also was aware of what he had lost. Sometimes she was sure that he had blocked most of that from his mind. He didn't talk about it much, and she knew that afterward he'd had some blackout moments.
"Ano-sa, I don't know too much about how you grew up..." Hinata said, changing the subject slightly, remembering her own curiosity about how he was raised. Not to mention her father had asked her to find out more about him. "I know that your parents both died around the time of your birth, but how and where did you grow up?"
"Would you believe me if I told you I don't really remember?" Naruto asked, rubbing his head awkwardly.
"I grew up in an orphanage linked to one of the temples nearby. The monks who lived at the temple ran it. There weren't many kids my age. Most were older, and then when I got older, there were a few younger kids. I honestly don't really remember too much. I had duties I had to do, and then when I got into the Ninja Academy, I got my own apartment all to myself as long as I was at the Academy. Of course, they threatened to take it away from me a couple times when I pulled some of my more, er, notorious pranks. Old man Hokage never seemed too serious about it though. I wasn't really wanted at the orphanage at the Temple, and I didn't want to be there either. Staying on my own was a win-win for all of us. At least, I thought so."
"You used to get so lonely though. I should have talked to you sooner," Hinata said, frowning.
"I'm usually more observant of how people behave. I feel bad. I should have realized you liked me sooner. I mean, thinking back on it, it was obvious."
Hinata wasn't sure whether or not to be offended that he hadn't noticed sooner, or rather mortified at how obvious her intentions were.
"First you wanted to give me the answers to the chuunin written exam, then you gave me that medicine when I got hurt – and I had fought against Kiba, your teammate! And then you said the words to Neji that I had said earlier. Of course, you kept fainting and blushing every time I was around you-"
"Like right now," Naruto said, and he was grinning widely again. Hinata realized that Naruto had been trying to make her blush. Naruto laughed again. His smile lessened, and the warmth in his eyes turned into a more heated look. "You're very cute when you blush."
Of course, that only made Hinata blush more. Naruto stopped walking. Hinata stopped too, and she dazedly realized that they had walked into a more secluded area of Konoha; they had walked right into one of its many parks. There was no one around them, and they had even walked off the path. With Naruto near her, she realized that she felt so at ease that she had lost all sense of her surroundings. Not something a good shinobi should do, but Naruto had such an overwhelming effect on her.
It didn't help that he was gazing at her so intently. Hinata's eyes darted up to meet his. Gently he took her chin between his thumb and forefinger, and tilted her head up a little.
His lips met hers, and Hinata gasped at the feeling of warmth that he gave off. Naruto's mouth moved gently against hers, and she felt as though her body could melt. She pressed herself against him, and his hand moved from her chin so that way he could wrap both of his arms around her waist. Hinata lost no time in throwing her arms around his neck, the kiss becoming more feverish.
They broke away, reluctantly, and Hinata could feel herself practically panting.
Naruto leaned his forehead against hers and closed his eyes.
"This is nice," he murmured. Hinata let her eyes fluttered closed too.
All thoughts of any of her problems of what might happen with her baby, with her father, with Ino and Sakura, with the rest of the world in general seemed to fade away. Problems didn't matter because right now, she was in the arms of the man she loved. And the best part was she knew that he was feeling quite happy as well.
Next Chapter: Facing Facts
So…I haven't been around in a while. I'm sorry! I can't even promise another update in two weeks, but I will do my best. Now that my fiancé and I aren't running around in our time together looking at caterers and reception locations, we have more time to work on this. (I write it, but he reads over my shoulder and edits as I type.)
And thank you to all of those who asked about my foot! Yes, it's doing a lot better now.
Anyway, what did you think of the chapter? ~ Jelp