(Disc: I do not own Naruto. Dangit.)
"There is no present or future, only the past, happening over and over again, now."
- Eugene O'Neil
Live every day as if it were your last. The words were simple and clear. That day they were spoken by a friendly sensei they had resonated deep into Hinata's mind. To live each day as if it were your last. As a shinobi, no other phrase could mean more in one's personal agendas. Today could easily be your last tomorrow; you had to make it count for something. But often times, Hinata didn't act on the thoughts that raced around her like shuriken, beating, striking, and slicing at her until she broke down in a messy conglomeration of ninja and hopeless little-lost girl. At months away from seventeen, this really hadn't changed much, this theory still stood steadfast, detectable by the current state of affairs that had ensued in only moments. The mission had been easy enough so far. Take the scroll, carry the scroll, and deliver the scroll. The two bands of rogues only hours apart had not been part of the plan, no step had ever included their appearance. But then again, that was surprise.
Hinata was not doing so well. No, actually, she was doing horrible. Curse Byakugan and its uncanny abilities to drain one of chakra in what seemed like only a few minutes; time weighed like hours in the fight going on. She blocked the mental fatigue of being worried and focused on her enemy, racking up numbers. Four. Eight. Thirty Two. They continued till the fall, his heavy body disintegrating onto the turf of the roadside. She was only vaguely aware of his presence beside her, slash, kick, and tumble, up again. It was all limbs and blood and swears. She danced in and out of her opponents grasp, eyelashes fluttering, clothes flags in the wind, ethereal, beautiful, and silent. She had no time for words; they distracted, they were a burden. Naruto was already occupied; she could go without her typical sounds of concentration, the ringing of numbers off of trees. He past the peripheral of her vision before leaping away, unseen. She had only hesitated a moment to watch his fleeting form, aware he was not abandoning her, and leapt forward again, hands distended.
They were heavily outnumbered. Ten to two was not a walk in the park, even for someone as seasoned as them, especially when only six were dead. Her eyes wavered and she stumbled on her footing, a low pant echoing off of her lips. 'No time. Keep moving, moving. Seeing, lurch, strike, see...' She pressed forward on her toes, balls of her feet springing up and landing the palm of her hand deep in his chest. Blood littered his lips and she relaxed, like an exhale of air.
The sword drove through her arm without even warning. How could she have been so stupid? Hadn't she seen him coming behind her? Sweat mixed with blood on her brow and she gasped, Byakugan wavering, holding, flickers of white hot pain across the spectrum of violet, blurring everything out. Three days of nonstop travel and Naruto as a partner. Chakra deprivation and two many to keep up with. A knife in her arm, cutting and tearing and...And...
The mistake was a natural response, though she should have been better disciplined to have let it come to this. She should never, ever have let it get in the way.
Hinata stumbled, and she screamed.
After that, Hinata was vaguely aware of the tearing of the underbrush as he rocketed out, blood ran between her fingers as she touched her arm; it was cut deep to the bone, maybe even passed...her head bobbed foreword and she opened her mouth in an attempts to find reason, but everything was going too fast. Flicker. Byakugan, Chakra, holding on. She would not let her knees hit the ground, but they did anyway. She raised her head, eyes still fighting to focus, the kunai still clutched in her palm. When had that gotten there? Reflex.
Yellow streaked in and out of the frame, her mind not having enough time to catch up. She was still panting; there was blood all over her sleeve, all over her hand, her chest, the grass. She watched in stupor as the two danced; rough, vicious, feral. Nothing at all like the refined softness of her heritage, yet so beautiful she was enthralled. Even when the katana plunged through his chest, still wet with her own life, she was mystified by the carnal grace. Her head shocked with pain, Byakugan kicking in again, tearing through everything. It all threaded together instantly. Three hundred and sixty degrees of two seconds ago. Then it burnt out and everything was blurs again.
Hinata realized that Naruto was no longer up, the shinobi clinging to a tree, hanging on by a thread of will, hand clutching his stomach. Entrails spilled out; slashed raggedly. Hinata's brain buzzed and hummed as she stood shakily, fighting her way across the clearing, watching the Shinobi die out of the corner of her eye, her mind was in too much chaos to form coherent words. All that came out were strangled questions.
"N-naruto? N-naru..." Her knee gave out again and she yelped, grasping her arm before the boy. She reached out her hand to touch his chest, searching. Where was his heart? She couldn't find it. No thrum, no steady pulse she'd heard a million times this mission, no flutter when he got excited, no drum when he was still. Red seeped out of his wounds, congealing around the handle of the sword, burning. His skin was pale, but his body felt like fire. Where was his heart?
"Naruto!" Her shout was choked as she threw her hands on him, still searching. The red burnt her hands. What? Questions burned her mind, searing. She should never have screamed, never. Then, maybe he wouldn't be... tears clouded everything and dripped onto his lifeless body, those blue eyes frozen open and skyward. No. No no no. She stared at him and her heart thrummed, blood rushing from her arm. She didn't know what to do, so she did the only thing she could.
"Byakugan!" Piercing, blinding pain. Her head screamed, or maybe it was her mouth. She couldn't tell. All she knew was that the pain had been instant, her eyes no longer seeing the moment they had engaged. She didn't have the strength to ask why as she collapsed foreword over him, the red still spilling from him like blood. Her eyes fluttered, numb and then, Hinata fell, his name still tickling her lips.
She didn't know how long she floated, lights popping like camera flashes past her. She was in deep water, but she wasn't wet; surrounded by bubbles that floated from her nose and throat, thick and rippling like honey. She watched them with shaded eyes, her mind still as death. Death...was she dead? Another bubble and she turned her had lazily to the side. She was tired, but she was still alive. A lock of indigo hair swayed on the waves, light penetrating her world from the surface. Her hand was ghostly pale as she reached out to touch the sphere, it dancing precariously close to her outstretched fingers. Light danced in her eyes, still flashing and flickering like static, reflected off of the incandescent surface of her former breath. She watched, mesmerized, clothes still flowing with invisible currents, held up and suspended within nothing. She watched, and then suddenly, the bubble popped and with its dissipation went the light.
And with the darkness came the thrust. She was still, and then rocketed upwards, spinning and whirling in unidentifiable hues and great glowing swirls of something. Violet, blue, red, and lavender chased each other through the fray as her eyes widened, still trying to take in the sights of her inner conscious, or at least what she thought was her inner conscious. The black around her began to melt away, creating a million pinpoints eaten up by the colors that were invading, still thrusting her foreword into what she didn't know. And as soon as it had begun, it stopped her, and she was once again floating.
Suddenly, water filled her lungs and she coughed and sputtered and gasped, choking and treading in the water she'd landed in, kicking to the surface. She fought for the air she could see, the sunlight creeping through the depths. Her hand reached up, and her head followed, breaking the surface of her dreams.
"AHH!" Hinata catapulted her head up, her chest heaving, eyes wide and lips dry. She blinked her eyes and trembled, unable to feel the dampness of her skin, only dry. Her eyes squeezed shut and then opened again as she stared at her perfectly normal hand from its position among the tangle of what appeared to be bed sheets. She lifted it, still in awe that it was intact and not covered in blood from her arm...
She immediately looked to the injury, but found nothing but the charcoal grey sleeve of a cotton shirt, and when she pushed it back there was nothing there, not even a scar. Her mind fought against the confusion.
"W-what?" Her words were mumbled in disbelief as she looked at the bed below her. Bed? When had she...? She took up a bit of the sheet, rubbing it through her fingers before lifting her head to stare at the room she was in. White walls and soft tan woods accented little pops of color here and there, a doorway to the right of the bed led to what appeared to be a tiled bathroom, simple and clean. It was a beautiful room, but unfamiliar. It was too simple to be her room at home, or any of the traditional homes she'd ever been in Konoha. It was too big to be Shino's or Kiba's houses either; too big and too clean. She whipped her head to the other side, seeing the broad window with fluttering curtains, cracked in the early dusk of the morning, letting in the smell of grass and wet earth.
"What?!" She exclaimed this time, untangling herself from the covers, only to get more entwined. She thrashed in some kind of mad hysteria and confusion and suddenly, found herself on the floor, knocking her head painfully on what appeared to be a bedside table. Something fell off with the force of the impact, crashing towards the floor and she heard the sound of shattering glass above her mad attempts to get the sheet off of her legs.
She panted her face flushed, and finally kicked free, knocking back into the table as she went backwards, it rattling loudly. As she hissed in pain, she rubbed the back of her head and looked at whatever had fallen: a picture frame, face down, glass sticking out from the thin trim of metal surrounding it. She stared at it for a very long time, too afraid to turn it over. Instead, she stared at the foreign wood floor and saw a scratch on her leg from where it had caught the edge of the low bed frame when she'd fallen in desperate means to escape. She'd never ever been in this room before, and it frightened her senseless. All at once, the scene at the clearing came flooding back and with it miles of confusion. Where was her injury? Where were the trees and twilight and smell of blood and death? Her head pounded sharply and she hissed again, rubbing the growing bump. She flexed her fingers, still consumed by the fact that she was able to move at all and then focused her attentions on the bed beside her.
Wherever she was she was safe at least, but that still didn't really help her situation, and that meant she needed to get out as soon as possible. 'Get out and...' all too quickly the sight of the boy with his eyes glazed and skyward in the dusty evening filled her memories, making her tremble with anxiety. If she was here, where was Naruto? Was he alright? Was he...was he alive? She shook her head and almost instantly tears began lacing her eyes. No. He wouldn't be alive. He'd been stabbed straight through the chest, his heart having stopped long before she reached his body. And it had all been her fault. She sank back against the nightstand, the bone-freezing sorrow and guilt taking over like a blanket of snow.
"It's all my fault! It's all my fault!" She whimpered, quiet sobs escaping her body. She couldn't shake the sight of the dead boy from her heart or her mind, the image plastered to her like wet paper. She took another rattling cry and buried her face in the sheet beside her, inhaling its unfamiliar scent with each gasping breath. Here she was, alone in a place she'd never been, probably far from home or captured, and the one boy she'd ever loved with every molecule of her heart was dead. Because of her.
She was so consumed with herself that Hinata didn't hear the low muffled sigh and groan issued from the bed. The bed that still held an occupant. She didn't see the shaggy head raise and blink in the sun before looking over to where she had been to find that the sheets were gone and so was she. The person rubbed their eyes and yawned before sitting up and crawling across the bed, peering over the side in a daze, stifling another great intake of air with a tan hand.
"Hina...what are you doing on the floor?" Hinata cried again, her own sobs drowning out the sound of the deep, rough and tumble voice. The figure's head tilted in confusion, slowly waking up and coming to find the girl in question crying on the floor. With a low moan of the mattress it lifted itself off of the bed and slid to the floor beside her, still watching in confusion. "Hina-chan? What on earth are you going on about...?"
Hinata's cries ceased as soon as the two hands came to either of her shoulders, rubbing gently through the fabric of her shirt, bringing her back to reality. She stared at her legs in silence as the rubbing continued. Was it her, or was the motion almost...soothing? Her head jerked up and her hair went flying...Wait. What? She looked to her left shoulder, seeing the heavy lock stick to her cheek and fall down her back. Her...hair...was...
"Long?" She said, still looking at the mane that was at least five inches longer than it had been when she'd been fighting in the clearing. Now it was well past her shoulders, collecting in blunt strands by her chest.
"Long? What do you mean?" Her face whipped around again, this time staring in the face the last person in the world she'd ever expected to see.
"What?" He looked at her with confusion, a somewhat unsure grin pulling at his lips. She was speechless. His hair was messily collected on his head, and it too was so much longer than ever: past his ears in golden spikes that made him look like the twin of the Fourth. Tan hands were still massaging her shoulder, although one of them had come to wipe the stray tears off of her face with a look of unhappiness. He was beautiful...
"Hina, why were you crying? Are you sad about the picture or something? We can always get a new frame..." His blue eyes flicked to the photo before picking it up gently and placing it on the side table, arm stretching, his head coming very close to hers. Hinata went red, and her brain spun out of control.
"That's the last time we have that much sake before bed..." He said smirking at her and raising his eyebrow. Hinata's mouth opened and closed, gaping like a fish's.
How? How could it be? She stared at him in utter shock. Not only was he alive but he was...he was...
She tried to put her finger on it. He was different somehow, his chest was broader, his face a bit thinner, his body more filled out...
Oh my God. It was Naruto. A Naruto who was supposed to be dead. A Naruto who was pretty much kissing her. A Naruto who was at least three years older than she was, a Naruto who was...going on about sake before bed? Bed? Click. Click...click...her thoughts popped into place.
She'd been in the same bed as NARUTO?! Somewhere in Hinata's brain a fuse caught flame and burned, and shortly following several things seemed to explode, everything frying like a malfunctioned circuit.
Hinata couldn't help it.
End of Chapter 1!
Please Review before favoriting if you liked, I know this chap was a little confusing, but please bear with it for now!