AN: Last one-shot, I swear, and then I'm working on Next.
Those were the words that sat at the top of the piece of paper. The paper, in turn, sat upon a bureau in a bedroom of a girl. Hyuuga Hinata, the heiress to the Hyuuga Clan of Konoha, was that girl.
Next to the paper lay a stone. Unassuming, soft, rounded, and grey.
I know it seems strange to be writing a letter to you instead of him, or anyone else, but I'm sure you'd forgive me if you could talk.
Hinata's clean, neat and flowing writing filled the page, line after line, accompanied by the faint scritching of pen upon paper. As she carried on, her cheeks grew pinker.
I've heard that this might help boost my confidence, writing to you, that is. Despite that, I still feel a little foolish. I am writing to a rock, after all. If anyone were to find out that I was writing letters to rocks instead of people I might get locked up and called crazy...
Here is the reason I am writing to you, Rock-san; I adore Uzumaki Naruto. My Naruto-kun. He has to be mine, because for some reason no-one else seems to want him, and I said I liked him first. I know I did, because all the other girls my age were fawning over Uchiha Sasuke instead of Naruto-kun, who is much better than Uchiha-san anyway (in my opinion).
Uchiha-san ran away from the village, despite everyone liking him and wanting him around. Naruto-kun stayed when everyone said that they wanted him to leave for no reason. Naruto-kun brought their favourite person back, and didn't even ask to be thanked. Of course, Uchiha-san went crazy and tried to kill Naruto-kun...
Hinata's eyes grew teary as she remembered that horrible moment, just as her Naruto-kun was lying on the ground and Uchiha-san was stood over him, ready to deliver the killing blow, when she had overcome her shock and fear and leapt at Uchiha-san. She had saved her Naruto-kun!
In return for this horrible thing, I saved Naruto-kun. He doesn't know it, I don't think... He might not like me if he found out. I didn't mean to do it. I just lost my temper.
Hinata's left cheek twitched, a nervous tic left over from the weeks of therapy she had undergone after saving Naruto. She really hadn't meant to do what she did.
She still saw Uchiha-san's face exploding whenever she closed her eyes, just at the moment she Jyuuken'd him in the temple, pushing all of her anger and hatred into that one blow because he had hurt HER Naruto-kun. She had been ANBU at the time, taking a minute before 'work' to check on Naruto-kun. Things had gone so, so wrong...
Tsunade-sama, the Godaime Hokage, says I did a very brave thing, and did what anyone should have done... I still stay well out of the way of Sakura-san and Ino-san though, just in case they find out it was me who killed Uchiha-san.
I hope you don't mind that I will be burning this letter, Rock-san. I think I'm meant to bury it in the gardens, and sit you on top of it so I never forget, but I can't run the risk that someone will find it. I think it is better that everyone thinks Naruto-kun was saved by someone else, and that it was someone else who killed Uchiha-san.
Maybe it is for the best, Rock-san.
Setting her pen down on the bureau, Hinata resolved to burn her letter within moments. She abandoned her room, walked quickly to the kitchens of the Hyuuga Main House and quietly 'borrowed' a match, and returned to her room.
Hinata entered her room, crossed to the bureau and-
Rock-san had moved, and her letter to him had gone. Hinata was not prone to casual outbursts of cursing, or anger, but anyone near enough to her room to hear could swear blind they had heard her cry out the words, "Oh balls!".
Hyuuga Hinata had stayed in her room since. Three days had gone by, and she hadn't even left to get anything to eat. Neji-nii-san had come to check on her and asked if she was ill after the first few hours, and had brought her meals to her since.
She couldn't face the world, when the world knew her darkest shame and her biggest secret.
On the fourth day, as she woke late on the morning, she froze in horror.
An ANBU was crouched in her open window, the androgynous figure's feet and left hand resting against the frame to hold it steady. With barely a sound, the ANBU half-fell, half-jumped backwards and disappeared.
Hinata scrabbled to her feet, running to the window and peering out at the grounds of the Hyuuga complex. ANBU-san was nowhere to be seen.
Confused and frightened by the visit, Hinata sat heavily in the chair by her bureau to calm herself and take stock, only to see something right out of her nightmares.
Rock-san was sat upon a folded piece of paper embossed with the symbol of the ANBU corps.
Hinata carefully retrieved the paper from underneath the stone as though it might explode in her hands, which it could well do given the usual missions ANBU undertook, and unfolded it gingerly while quivering in fear.
She took a deep breath, steeled her nerves, and began reading.
As dusk was settling that same night, Hinata sat up against a tree in training ground thirty-two. It was the regular haunt of Team 8 before their designation had changed to Team Kurenai, and held good memories of fun times and hard training for her. Over there, Kiba-kun and Shino-kun had finally learnt to stop annoying each other when they assisted each other in de-flea'ing Akamaru, and just to her left was where Kurenai had taken Hinata to explain certain things she felt sure her father would have exploded before telling her.
Just as the first stars began twinkling, the gentle blowing of a breeze signalled the arrival of ANBU-san, exactly as she had expected.
Hinata stood, brushed herself down, and stood as tall and as well-postured as she had ever been taught. Her forehead was in line with ANBU-san's nose. She would face this as determinedly as she could, with her head held high and with no regrets.
ANBU-san raised a gauntleted hand, the matte-painted armour covering it's forearm glinting as minuscule scratches were revealed in the moonlight, and gripped it's mask. ANBU-san slid it's mask from it's face and clipped the porcelain façade to it's belt.
Hinata looked hard at ANBU-san's face, burning every single line, hair and detail into her memory. She looked down to her feet, her forefingers' tips coming together and pressing against one another nervously, and shifted her gaze to her left.
"A-Arigatou, ANBU-san." came her voice, timid, but strong.
ANBU-san raised his hand once again, gripping Hinata's chin and tilting her head back.
"Daijobu, Hinata-chan." came the reply, powerful and gentle, before ANBU-san released her and hugged her tightly.
Uzumaki-san has been informed of the contents of your letter to 'Rock-san', and whilst displeased that Uchiha-san had to die, he believes in the end it was for the best.
Uzumaki-san has confided to several persons he also stays out of the way of Haruno-san and Yamanaka-san to avoid any undue tension and/or unnecessary violence.
Uzumaki-san thanks you greatly for your assistance, and would like to discuss the events following the incident with Uchiha-san tonight at Training Ground Thirty-Two, previously Team Kurenai's regular training area.
Uzumaki-san thanks you in advance, no matter if you are present or not.
Hinata nuzzled into the ANBU that held her, her eyes closed tightly and a smile on her face, a blush staining her cheeks and warming them in the night air. She felt the edges of the body armour the ANBU wore digging into her stomach and chest, the heavy bracers attached to his forearms and felt the edge of the Bird mask pressing lightly against her thigh. All these distractions, she ignored in favour of the warmth that the ANBU generated, the sound of his breathing, and the feel of his arms about her shoulders.
AN: There we go, yet another little one-shot that is a damn sight more WAFFy than the other two I've written.
Maybe now I'll be able to get my ass around to writing more for Next...
I'd like to thank everyone who has reviewed, favourite'd and indeed simply read Next, Akemi, Tale of a Tormented Heiress and now Rock-san as well, for mainly being great and also for liking or hating my work.
I hope you've all enjoyed the reading of my work as much as I have enjoyed writing it, and reading the works that you all might very well have written.
Ja mata ne!!!