Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto...just that. (I swear this disclaimers are only designed to rub it in).
For the next three days Naruto and Shikamaru worked hard on the case of the missing Hashi exhibit. Hinata had been able to rustle up a copy of all the employees that had been working and were still working since the Hashi exhibit arrived. She also sent over copies of the security camera tapes and what other limited data she had on the Hashi exhibit.
Shikamaru sighed as he sat at his desk, looking at the pop-up on his computer screen. "I don't think the criminals have access to one of Hinata's files. I can't open one of them, it's password protected."
A quick phone call to Hinata as she was leaving the museum that afternoon revealed to them that the password was the word 'jyuuken', whatever that was. There was nothing particularly important about the protected file, but Hinata explained she'd been in the process of password-protecting all her files after there'd been a breach in the museum's computer system.
"I-I don't think it has anything to d-do with the case. The breach was by a University student who hacked into the w-wireless on his laptop to do r-research. He was j-just a computer s-savvy student who got curious and got into the s-system."
Still, an interview was conducted and Hinata's story about the boy was proven to be true. Naruto had smiled as the boy had left, thinking that Hinata was predisposed to give people the benefit of the doubt.
The one file that Shikamaru had not been able to immediately access was just one of the past movements of the scroll, tracking it's trail back several decades. "She's very thorough." He had commented.
Hinata had come in the day before for a follow up interview and to get an update on the case, during which her father had called, having finally found out about the robbery.
"N-No father, I didn't think it of t-top priority to notify you. I am w-working with the police to get it all back." There was silence as she apparently listened to her father on the other end of the line. "No father, I d-don't think it was an attack on the Hyuga, we only owned one of the f-four artefacts. It was merely a c-coincidence." She closed her eyes with an almost inaudible sigh. "No father, I can't tell you the d-details of the robbery. Y-Yes, I know you're well connected, but if you find out, it won't b-be through me. And Neji doesn't know any details yet either, th-there's been n-no-one to charge yet. G-Goodbye father, I love you." She flipped her phone shut with a sigh.
"Stubborn?" Naruto asked from behind his desk.
She nodded. "M-My father seems to think that his m-money and connections c-can get him anything he wants."
"And most of the time," Shikamaru said as he put down his coffee. "That statement would hold true. But you're right, this case is not closely linked enough to him for him to exert his power and money to receive special treatment."
Hinata looked at her watch. "I-If you have no more questions, I-I'd better go. My car is back at the mechanics-"
"I'll give you a lift home!" Naruto volunteered with a smile.
Hinata blushed and accepted his offer with gratitude and humility. As Naruto led Hinata out of the station, Shikamaru watched with curious interest. Naruto liked this young woman a lot, he concluded. A vibration from Naruto's desk roused him from his thoughts.
Naruto had left his phone behind in his haste to aid Hinata. The viewing screen on the mobile phone read 'Mai'. As Shikamaru remembered, Naruto had dated a girl by that name about six months ago. Curiosity and boredom getting the better of him, Shikamaru leant over and flipped the phone open, reading the message.
'Naru, haven't heard from you in months! I'm sorry about last time, he was an old boyfriend. It didn't mean anything.'
Ah, now he remembered, Naruto had come back to his own apartment to find his girlfriend naked with an ex-boyfriend on the floor. Why a girl would be stupid enough to cheat on her current boyfriend in his apartment was beyond him. Were people really that stupid? Or heartless?
Naruto didn't need to see this message, he decided. He seemed to be getting along with Hinata very well and she was a smart, pretty, well-adjusted girl. As Naruto's friend, he approved of Naruto's current interest. He certainly wouldn't put Hinata in the list of the girls Naruto had dated that he dubbed 'those girls'.
There had been another girl once called Kimi…she'd broken up with Naruto the day after her birthday. And Erika…Naruto had dumped her when she'd become obsessively clingy and jealous. That had been an annoying three-week relationship that even Shikamaru had to put up with. And that girl Nami…
"T-Turn right at these lights please N-Naruto-kun." Hinata was blushing. "And it's th-that house, the two-storey one with the p-purple roof."
Naruto pulled the police car to a smooth stop outside the aforementioned house. "Are you on the first or second floor?"
"Th-the first. A v-very nice deaf man lives on the s-second. The p-poor man's wife left him when he lost his h-hearing in a workplace accident. He l-likes my cooking."
"You cook?" Naruto sounded impressed.
"Y-Yes, I find it diverting and r-relaxing. D-Do you cook?"
He grinned. "Does instant ramen and frozen meals count?" Hinata's silence and blush told him that she thought it didn't and he laughed. "Nah, I'm only good at catching bad guys. And kids, kids love me! Must be because I have more energy than they do…Shikamaru says it's because we're at the same intellectual level."
"I-I think you're smart N-Naruto-kun and you're v-very good at what you d-do."
"Thanks Hinata, that means a lot."
With that, he leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. He froze as he pulled away and realised what he'd done. Hinata had stiffened too. She instantly felt herself go red, and unable to look up.
"Ah, I'm sorry! I don't know why I did that, I made you uncomfortable."
"I-I-I-It's o-okay, I d-don't m-mind."
Naruto's eyes and smile were tender. "I'm glad." He kissed her on the cheek again, this time his lips lingered for a moment against her skin. "Bye Hinata." His lips and breath brushed her flushed skin.
"B-Bye N-Naruto-kun, and th-thank-you for the l-lift home."
She looked at him and hesitated for a moment, before she laid a quick kiss on his cheek before hopping out of the car and hurrying to her front door. She looked back for a moment after she got her front door open and he waved goodbye before she disappeared inside with a deep blush and a shy smile.
Starting his car, Naruto grinned goofily.
That night Hinata was laying in bed, tossing and turning, as she couldn't sleep, thoughts of Naruto running through her head. His smiles, his eyes and his kiss haunted her thoughts, making her heart skip a beat every now and then. She looked at her clock and it read half past 12 at night. She sighed as she sat up in bed, placing her feet on the floor.
Maybe if she got a drink she'd be able to sleep.
She went to the kitchen, reaching for a glass before she filled it in the sink. She was humming quietly as the water filled the glass, a smile playing across her lips. As she sipped her water, she scratched her bare leg absently. She was wearing an oversized university jumper that had been a gift from Neji on her graduating year of university, and a pair of short boxer shorts.
Her humming came to a halt as she heard the telltale signs of someone trying to force a door open. Grabbing her phone that was fortunately lying on the kitchen tabletop, she set her glass down and knelt down behind the counter. As the door splintered open, she poked her head around the side of the counter and saw three men in masks barge into her apartment.
They were speaking to each other but she wasn't paying attention, she was opening her phone to her newest phone contact.
Shikamaru watched as Naruto tapped the steering wheel and whistled a tune. "You seem to be enjoying this case. You must find the museum exhibits enlightening."
Naruto grinned, checking his rear view mirror. "Yeah, history is great, I'm learning a lot."
"And I bet its teachers has nothing to do with it…"
"I really like her Shika."
"I can tell."
"Did you know I've met her before?"
"What, was she one of 'those' girls?"
Naruto almost cringed. "No, nothing like that. You remember just over a week ago when we broke up that fight? She was knocked aside during the fight, I helped her up."
"Naruto, we broke up five fights last week alone."
"Ah, but you don't forget those eyes, especially when they're accompanied by a smile."
Shikamaru thought back. "No, I don't suppose you would."
Naruto was about to speak when his phone rang. "You answer it."
"If it's one of 'those' girls, I'm throwing it out the window." Naruto grinned. "Hello?" A short pause. "Hinata? It's Shikamaru, what's wrong?"
Naruto looked stricken. "Hinata! What's wrong?"
Shikamaru waved a quietening hand at him. "How many?" A beat. "Can you get out? No, it's alright, just stay out of sight and- Hinata? Hinata! Damn, lost her." He looked at Naruto as he slid the phone shut. "There's men breaking into her house and she can't get out. The phone cut out."
Naruto swore colourfully as he switched the siren on and the car tyres squealed as they made a hard and sudden left turn.
Her phone shattered on the floor into little pieces as she was hoisted to her feet by the wrists from her hiding place in the kitchen. The wool ski mask she was facing looked entirely foreign and evil to her as two narrowed brown eyes glared at her.
"Where's the last file?"
In contradiction to any of the several reactions he had been expecting, Hinata matched his glare. "I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about."
With those words, she pulled back a leg and kicked him hard in the shin, simultaneously wrenching her wrists from his now slackened grip. The man stepped back with a cuss, nursing his bruised shin. Hinata delivered him a hard blow to the nose, and she both heard and felt it break. She cleared the kitchen tabletop as if it were a gymnastics vault and made for the front door, which was within her sight.
Then another man came at her from the corner of her eye and she stepped back, right into the grip of the third and final man. Even in her situation, she scolded herself for not accounting for all three men she'd seen beforehand. The second man had a manila file in his hand.
"We've got what we came for." He caressed her cheek and she blanched away. "But there's no sense in wasting what's been so graciously put before us."
She spat at his ski mask, only to receive a slap across the face. She bit back her gasp of pain as she felt her lip split. The first man had recovered and reappeared, delivering a cowardly punch to the captive woman's face. That was going to leave a bruise.
She threw her head back, breaking the nose of the man holding her back and managed to get free, only to land in the grasp of the second man, the one holding the file. What was in it again? She wrestled in his grip for a few moments, before she was shoved to one side and was thrown against her dining table, impacting hard on her lower stomach.
She collapsed to the ground in a heap, the wind knocked out of her and her head spinning. She groaned and writhed for a moment, clutching her stomach, before darkness overtook her, surrendering her to sweet unconsciousness.
The front door to Hinata's house was already knocked in when Naruto and Shikamaru arrived and they both cocked their guns. Naruto cursed the delay of the back up, taking the lead as he ventured into the house that was only lit by moonlight. Switching the light on, they both saw Hinata collapsed in a heap by her kitchen table.
Though every fibre in his being screamed at him to rush over to her, Naruto stayed where he was, they first had to clear the house. Shikamaru headed for the kitchen, and as Naruto passed the figure on the floor, he bent down to check her pulse. His heart restarted at the sensation of hers still beating.
He cleared the bedroom and the bathroom, hearing Shikamaru clear the kitchen and the laundry. Naruto rushed back over to Hinata, kneeling down beside her and turning her onto her back. She frowned and groaned in pain in her sleep.
"Hinata, c'mon, wake up Hinata. Shikamaru, call an ambulance!"
Naruto could only assume and trust that Shikamaru did indeed call for medical assistance. Naruto checked her over for visible injuries. The bruise under her eye and bloody, split bottom lip caused him great anger. His eyes travelled down and he saw that some of her midriff had been exposed in her fall, and was pained to see the ugly, purplish-blue bruises already forming on her stomach.
"They tossed the living room. I think they found whatever they were looking for relatively quickly, everything else is intact." Shikamaru called from across the room.
Naruto looked back at Hinata's face, running a hand through her hair. "Hinata, wake up now. Hinata, it's Naruto, wake up please. I want to see those pretty eyes."
She moaned and her eyes creaked open, her expression becoming pained as the soreness in her body registered.
He smiled, though it didn't reach his eyes. "That's me. Sorry I didn't get here sooner. What happened?"
"Three…th-they broke in. A-Asked for a…f-file. They…they f-found it." Her eyes closed again.
"No Hinata, you have to stay awake! The ambulance will be here soon, just stay awake. Umm…" He looked up at Shikamaru, who was nodding encouragingly. "What's your favourite colour, you haven't told me that."
Her eyes opened again, looking straight into his blue eyes. "B-Blue, like…l-like your eyes."
The admission surprised him. "What about food?"
The sirens of police cars and an ambulance shattered the jarring silence. Naruto was whispering to her as he held her hand and stroked her hair with the other. Maybe if she'd had enough energy to talk, or if he'd realised, Naruto would have stopped talking because even the tone and rhythm of his speech was soothing, lulling her into sleep.
And so it was his urgings for her to stay awake that guided her into sleep.
"Sir, we did all we could to keep your daughter safe."
"I was led to believe that Hyuga involvement was minimal in the case. Why is my daughter now in hospital because of this 'minimal involvement'?"
Oh, this couldn't be good, Hinata thought as she roused into consciousness. The bickering continued, with Shikamaru trying to reason with Hiashi Hyuga, her father and very influential businessman. She groaned lightly, wanting to quell the fighting, it was her own fault she was here.
"Hinata!" That was her father.
"Hanabi, get a nurse!"
Her sister was there too, that was rare. She hadn't seen her sister since Hanabi's 17th birthday the previous year. For whatever reason, Hanabi didn't seem to like her 5-year senior sister. It had started when Hinata had gotten her first job and moved out, when her father first started showing slight pride in his eldest daughter, in her independence.
Hanabi was not used to the spotlight not being on her.
"Hinata, rest. I'll find out who did this and have him buried-"
"Sir!" It was Shikamaru again.
"In legal documents. Neji will have him in jail by the end of the year."
"Th-there were…" Hinata coughed, her head swimming. "There w-were…" She couldn't finish; she ached everywhere.
"There were three men."
It was his voice, the one that had sent her off into peaceful sleep. Naruto.
"And who are you?" Hiashi again.
"N-Naruto-kun." She whispered, forcing her eyes to open slightly, looking for the blonde amongst the brunettes.
"I'm here." He said softly from somewhere to her left. "And I'm Naruto Uzumaki sir, I'm assigned to the Hashi case."
"You haven't done a very good job protecting my daughter."
"Father…" Hinata managed to sit up. "It…it was n-never their job to protect me. My run-in with those m-men was purely c-coincidental. They came…they came for a file."
"What was in the file Hinata?" Naruto asked.
Hinata closed her eyes, trying to remember. "It…it was…background information…the m-movements of the scroll." Her lips suddenly curled up in a secret smile. "It was the hard-copy of th-that file that was password protected. I only had it at home b-because I wanted to see if I could find anything unusual or interesting in it's history that w-would give us a clue as to whether the scroll is authentic."
Shikamaru nodded. "When they couldn't get into that file on the computer, and couldn't find it in the notes they took, they went looking for it in the only other place they could think of."
"Your address must have been among the stuff they took." Naruto added. "Oh," He mashed a fist into his other hand, his eyes widening in surprise. "If they went to all that trouble to get the one file, I think we can confirm that what they're after is the scroll."
"And it's secrets." Shikamaru said with a nod, agreeing with his partner. "Hinata, were they wearing gloves?"
"No," She lifted a hand to her face, flinching at the stinging pain. "And…" She seemed reluctant to speak. "I broke the nose of two of the m-men."
Shikamaru nodded. "We'll have your clothes checked for blood."
"Wait, you broke two of the guys noses?" Naruto seemed impressed. "How'd you do that?"
"My daughter has been training in martial arts since she was five. Hinata," Hiashi sounded slightly disappointed. "How did this happen?"
"F-Father," She fidgeted with her fingers. "There is a v-very big difference between a controlled spar and three erratic, m-morally skewed men. One…one even th-threatened t-to…" She trailed off, her sentence not needing finishing.
Hiashi nodded in approval. "Your injuries could have been more severe if you hadn't acted as you had. You should be proud." His lips twitched up in a smile. "I know I am."
Hinata's eyes watered. "Father!"
"I am relieved you are okay daughter. You had me worried."
Hinata smiled a large smile. "Th-thank-you father, and I'm sorry."
Hanabi re-entered with a nurse and Hiashi turned. "We have to go, I must conference with Neji, he will take your case against these men. Trespassing, robbery, assault…sexual harassment, we can have them put away for a long time even if they aren't put away for the Hashi robbery."
And he and Hanabi were gone.
"I have to call the Captain and inform the forensics team. Meet me by the car in ten minutes Naruto. I hope you feel better Hinata, we'll be in touch." Shikamaru said, bowing to Hinata.
Hinata tilted her head forward in reciprocation and the man left. Only the nurse and Naruto remained in her room, but her attention was only on the latter.
"You had me worried." He said suddenly. "And then when I saw you lying there…I thought I'd lost you."
Both were oblivious to the nurse and her smirk as she went about checking Hinata's condition.
"I like you Hinata." Naruto blurted out suddenly. "A lot…more than a friend and I was wondering if, after this case is closed, you'd want to go out sometime?"
Hinata blushed and her increased heart rate was picked up on the heart-rate monitor. They all heard it and it made her blush deeper, extremely embarrassed. She could only nod in reply, her words and courage escaping her.
Naruto smiled. "Well, I'd better go catch the bad guys. The soon they're caught, the sooner we can go out!"
He made to leave the room, but Hinata found her voice. "N-Naruto-kun, I…" She blushed in shame. "I sp-spat at the mask of one of the m-men. Just in case you n-need more evidence to l-link the two crimes."
Naruto grinned. "You are a very interesting girl. I'll see you later Hinata, get better soon."
Once he was gone, the nurse chose to speak. "I love a man in uniform, don't you?"
The heart-rate monitor beeped rapidly again.
The evidence collected from Hinata and fingerprints left at her apartment quickly led Naruto, Shikamaru and two more squads to a small warehouse off the beaten track. Two of the three men were sporting recently broken noses, and one of those two also had a nasty limp.
Naruto had almost laughed aloud when he saw the bruised leg as the man tried to limp away.
And they did find not only Hinata's saliva on a ski-mask out back, but also her computer, her notes and the exhibit she'd poured her heart and soul into.
Interviews back at the police station revealed to the law enforcement officers that the three men were only a fraction of a group of male descendants of an Edo era warlord that had been an enemy of Hashi.
Documents in the family's possession suggested that Hashi had been unflattering in his letters and documentations of the warlord. In an attempt to retain their ancestor's rather favourable historic representation, the men had resorted to destroying all the evidence of indecent and unlawful acts by their ancestor.
They had not yet destroyed the exhibit because they did not know what the scroll contained, which is why they'd also stolen Hinata's computer and notes. They'd broken into Hinata's house to retrieve the most important document they needed, but Hinata's infliction of damage had hindered their progress. They had been about to destroy the scroll, which through Hinata's research and their own documents had proven that it was authentic and did depict their ancestor in an unfavourable light, when the police arrived.
Neji came down on them hard in court, unforgiving in their attack on Hinata. It was the cornerstone of his argument in the Hashi case in which he also represented the state. Hinata's impeccable character and passion in the Hashi exhibit was regarded by the jury and they were almost as unforgiving in their decision to have all the men involved in the robbery and Hinata's assault, thrown in jail.
Hinata stood looking at the Hashi exhibit, which was now displayed in a new case, and had a new plaque. It accredited the discovery of the scroll's contents to Hinata, and the now famous Hashi exhibit brought many people to the museum every day to see it.
But it was past closing time, so Hinata was alone in her contemplation of her favourite exhibit.
That was until long strides with a slight spring in them echoed through the massive, empty halls, and a pair of arms slipped around her waist. A chin rest atop her head, and she only smiled and sighed contently.
"You know, if he hadn't been dead for hundreds of years, I think I'd be jealous of Hashi. He gets to see you more than I do."
"But you're on my mind more than he is Naruto-kun."
He turned her around in his embrace, leaned down and kissed her lightly on the lips. Her split lip had long since healed, for it had been months. No matter how much her father had tried, the trial had not been as speedy as he'd liked.
As soon as Naruto and Shikamaru had been assigned a new case, the day after the men involved in both the Hashi and Hyuga case had been formally charged, Naruto had called Hinata for their date.
It had gone well, as had the second, and the third…and the tenth. By the time the court case had been concluded and the men sent to jail, Hinata and Naruto were already exclusively dating, Naruto being introduced as Hinata's boyfriend to her friends, and vice versa.
"I feel like celebrating Naruto-kun, can I cook for you at my place?"
"Did Hashi live in the Edo era?"
She smiled up at him. "I love it when you talk history."
He was chuckling happily as his lips met hers in a much more passionate kiss. "History…eternal…commitment."
As you've probably noticed (if not, you might want to get your eyes checked) this is an AU NaruHina story. I've discovered a new favourite in NaruHina stories and it is ones like this. A one or two-shot that deals with an AU NaruHina meeting and get together. Just two ordinary people in an ordinary world.
On that note, I was inspired to write this after reading 'Sugar and Smiles' by TENDERvanilla and 'Pure Genius' by NessieGG. Read those and you'll know the sort of stories I now love.