It was unerringly six years after Naruto had finally put an end to the Sasuke business. It was unusually cold that day for the season they were in, and the sky was a bit too dark for it just being noon. Naruto stared out the large window in the Hokage's main office, hismain office. It had been his since he was appointed the successor of Tsunade; right before she'd passed away a year and a half ago, she'd declared it.

There was a knock on the door just then, interrupting the man from his thoughts. "Come in." Slowly it opened, revealing a woman with long dark hair and pale eyes. "Oh, hey, Hinata," he greeted her with a grin. Hinata was Naruto's assistant, like Shizune was Tsunade's. She would make sure that the work would get done and would give him reports of the village and such.

"H-hello, Naruto-sama," she said. After all that time, the kunoichi still had a lingering crush on the blond, and was still very shy in his presence. It was better, though, that she had been able to control fainting when seeing him. "Y-you're doing your w-work, right?" She was never able to reprimand him as the previous Hokage's assistant did; she only gently reminded him that he had responsibility. But it wasn't difficult at all, since Naruto always knew that great responsibility came with the job.

Naruto's playful expression vanished, worrying Hinata as a result. He turned back to the window. "I've just had this weird feeling today, that's all. I'll get to it later."

Hinata sauntered over to him and stopped just a foot away. "I… I know what you m-mean. It looks l-like it's going to rain soon, but that's strange. We're in the middle of autumn." Naruto agreed with a nod. "What do you think, Naruto-s-sama?"

His large hands were clasped behind his back and he gazed up at the sky thoughtfully. I'm not sure, he answered in his mind. But whatever it is, I have a bad feeling about it.

The girl looked down, wanting to say comforting words to him, but she didn't know how. Her cheeks were shaded pink and she observed: Naruto-sama is so distant these days. All those deaths that occurred when the Akatsuki were alive, and all that Orochimaru did, and being forced to killed Sasuke must've done something terrible to him as well…

"Naruto-kun!" shouted an urgent voice after the door slammed open. The woman with short pink hair continued, though panting, "It-it's Sasuke-kun! He's here!"

Abruptly Naruto turned to face her, causing Hinata to jump back slightly. "What do you mean, Sakura-chan? How is he here? He was dead last time I saw him!" While he may have sounded cold when he said that, Naruto still held a place in his heart for the friend he once had. "You were there, remember?"

Sakura averted her gaze guiltily, "He wasn't… I didn't mean…" She didn't know how to tell him, how to tell the man that trusted her with all his heart that she'd basically betrayed him.

The look on his face didn't tell the women in the room anything about how he felt. "Sakura-chan, what happened?!" he bellowed. "Why is he here?"

"H-he's brought some other ninja with him, however it's no more than a handful; they all look really scary, though. Right now he's at the river just near here; what will we do if he's planning on attacking?"

The Hokage's face was grave as he said the harshest words to ever emerge from his mouth: "We'll kill him." His teeth were gritted and his hands were fists. "I'll go to the river first; you get everyone ready in case it doescome to a fight. Hinata-chan, you come with me."

Hinata straightened at her name. "R-right," she answered.

"All right," Sakura responded, wearing a determined face. I'm sorry, Naruto-kun, it's my entire fault. I've gone and put the village in jeopardy now; and it's all because I couldn't stop loving Sasuke-kun! I couldn't bear the thought of him dying, and now the whole village will.

With that Sakura darted out of the room to assemble all available shinobi and Naruto and Hinata took off toward the river where Sasuke was resting before going to the village.

"Sasuke!" yelled Naruto when he and his assistant got to the opposite side of the stream. With the dark-eyed man were five men and two woman, all ninja, no doubt.

Sasuke smirked and stared Naruto dead in the face. "Naruto," he said calmly. "Hm, I see you've accomplished your dream." The tall man was referring to the way Naruto was dressed; his clothes clearly stated the fact that Sasuke spoke of.

"Yeah, what're you doing here? I thought you were dead all this time!" Hinata raised her index finger to her lips nervously; honestly, she had no idea why he requested her to come with him instead of the much stronger, more confident Sakura. She felt no place with him, especially with Sasuke there stirring up bad memories of Naruto's.

Snickering menacingly, Sasuke mocked, "What? Didn't Sakura tell you?" Naruto gritted his teeth intolerably hard but paid no attention to the pain. His old friend took that as a no. "I wasn't completely dead after you left me on the ground, not even taking the time to bury me. Sakura stayed a while longer, right? It was because of h---"

Naruto growled, not wanting to hear the rest, afraid of what it was. "Never mind howyou're alive, because this time… I'm going to finish you!" He charged at the deriding man, one of his strongest Rasengan in hand. Sasuke was ready for this and had Chidori cackling around his katana. Both of them were in the air, and a sudden Dѐ-ja-vu came into their minds, but only overcame one of them: Naruto. He remembered the day that Sasuke demanded the two of them fight, even though he was still supposed to be resting in the hospital. Sasuke used his Chidori and Naruto his Rasengan; the only thing missing was Sakura, running in between them, and Kakashi, stopping them before they hit the girl. But Kakashi wasn't going to come, and Naruto had told Sakura to gather the ninja in the village. It was just the two of them, with no one to interfere but Hinata, who was the most reluctant person there was. She of all people wouldn't run in between them… right?

Hinata was paralyzed as she watched Naruto and Sasuke going at each other, a fierceness in their eyes. Sasuke's was pure evil, and Naruto's was utter rage that couldn't come anywhere close to evil. Naruto… Naruto…She thought in distress. "Naruto!" she screamed desperately, but he didn't look away from his target. Running between them, Hinata shrieked, "No!"

Naruto's eyes widened; Sasuke's became darker. The two were just inches away from her, unable to halt in their jutsu. Hit on each side of her body, Hinata cried at the top of her lungs for the immense pain at which she'd just been succumbed. Blood seeped out of the corners of her mouth as she dropped limply to her knees. Before she fell forward on her face, Naruto caught her and held her in his arms. He stared down at her, hands and shoulders shaking. Then he looked at Sasuke and snarled, "You, this is your fault!" The few cracks in his voice and the tears that were coming out of his eyes weren't meant to be hidden. The girl wasn't dead, but oh, she was hurt at his fault as well as Sasuke's.

"You had your Rasengan too," Sasuke slickly reminded him. His followers sniggered behind him.

Naruto was about to retort, but closed his mouth and kept his attention on Hinata, who's chin was covered in blood by that time. For once in her life her lavender eyes were lovingly fixed directly on his striking blue ones. "H-Hinata… I---"

"Naruto, it… is okay," she whispered hoarsely in her soft tone. "It's okay because..." Her heart fluttered at the words, "I wouldn't be able… t-to bear it… if you died…"

Naruto gasped slightly, but then realized he felt the same. "Hinata..."

Hinata's mouth twitched into a smile through the unimaginable twinge she felt. "I'm just glad... you're okay…" Each side of her jacket revealed her skin. The imperfectly round holes were burnt around the edges, showing badly charred dermis on her right side; that was where Naruto had hit her. He'd diminished his jutsu as quickly as he could, and that was why that was as dire as it got. On her other side, where Sasuke had pierced her with his Chidori-katana, was an open void. A bloody mess, it was. He'd pulled his blade out only after it had reached and almost cut entirely through her. The weapon had also sliced into both of her kidneys, vital organs.

Tears fell on her face, Naruto's tears. "I'm sorry, Hinata… I… I'm sorry." Hinata's own eyes watered but her smile remained.

"S-Sasuke…" she said. "You're the… Hokage, and if he's going to… attack the village… you have to… stop him, Naruto-kun." That was when Sasuke broke into his low and malevolent laugh.

"You won't be able to stop me. I have you outnumbered and I'll kill you before reinforcements arrive."

Naruto laid Hinata on the ground lightly and stood. "That may be so, but we've got you outnumbered by power, and I will get you, no matter what. I swear it, and I never go back on my word!"

"You still think like a kid, huh, Naruto? You believe in the impossible, just like before."

"I beat you once, and I'll definitely beat you again!" This time when he ran toward Sasuke he lived up to his title 'Hokage.' He started off with the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu and attacked Sasuke with all his might, each of his ten clones holding a Rasengan. After he landed Sasuke with that, he used one more move to finish the rest of the ninja there. With Sasuke down he had that chance, and he used Fuuton Rasengan, his most powerful technique yet. Everyone lie on the ground, on their backs, stomachs, and sides without any movements that showed life; Sasuke included.

He was on his back, a sinister look on his face, and evilsmirk on his mouth. But despite his expression, Naruto was sure this time that he was dead by seeing the empty space in his chest where his main organ should have been. Taking one last long and hard look at the man that was once called his best friend, his comrade, his mind then approached the fact that Hinata was also lying on her back, injured terribly. Then he dashed to the extremely wounded girl that lay in a warm pool of her own blood. Her eyes were closed but she was still miraculously conscious. There were still things to be said before Hinata left, and she would hold on to the life that was slowing slipping from her grasp until they left her mouth.

Cradling her in his lap, Naruto noticed how shallow the kunoichi's breathing had become, and hastily shouted that he was going to get Sakura; Hinata shot down his concerned words with a simple 'no.' "But why?!" the blond inquired, alarmed. "Sakura-chan's surpassed Granny Tsunade in her healing ninjutsu. She'll be able to save you!"

Hinata's eyes were open now, gazing upon the very sight she would miss seeing most. Slowly she shook her head, her left arm resting over her stomach. "It's okay…Naruto. I know she can't… heal me," she coughed more blood and Naruto wiped it from her chin with his hand.

"But, Hinata---"

"No, Naruto… I have to… say this before… I can't hold on… any longer… Please, listen… I've always… watched you, for so long… and I've always… loved you…"

Naruto's eyes widened at the remark, and he realized he retaliated, but he kept his mouth shut until she was finished.

"I could never tell you… not until now… because I was always afraid…"

'Always...' she'd said that word three times now.

"… I was always afraid that… you wouldn't love me back… and I was fine… just being friends... Now that I've told you… how I feel… I'm sorry I didn't… do it sooner… But I guess I don't… mind dying… now that you know…"

Naruto let out an anguished cry at the back of his throat, and even more heartrending tears made their way down his dark cheeks. "Hinata, you can't go… not yet…" His eyes were tightly closed and his teeth were clenched so firmly his gums began to bleed.

"No, Naruto…" Even through the internal throbbing in her body she still managed a sweet smile that could only be named her own. "Don't be sad… it's… fine…"

'Fine…' it was always fine when it came to the Hyuuga. She never blamed anyone, except herself of course, which was what she must have been doing at that very moment. Scolding herself for being such an idiot, but at the same time content that Naruto was alright.

"Please... just be yourself… always be yourself… Naruto-kun…"

Those were Hinata Hyuuga's final words.

Naruto tried to shake her awake, but her heart had stopped beating and her breath was at a never-ending halt. By the time Sakura and the assembled back-up squad had arrived, Hinata was long gone. That was when the rain finally began pouring down, as if all day it had been waiting for just that moment.


a/n: I'm not very confident in this story. The fight was a little too short, I think, but when Naruto gets pumped... well, you know. I wanted to add another chapter or something, but what other twists would I be able to add with Sasuke defeated and Hinata dead? Any ideas? Uh, well thanks for reading. Also, it's called "Crying for Hinata" for lack of a better title. If you have any suggestions, I'd like to hear them. It could be either the sky crying or Naruto; I prefer Naruto, but whatever.

Naruto (c) Masashi Kishimoto