It Doesn't Matter, I Keep Loving Still.



ABOUT ONE YEAR AGO


Uzumaki Naruto aka Rokudaime, Hokage of Konohagakure sat in his office doing what he hated most. Paperwork. His mouth frazzled and the cerebral CPU at an all time low.

"Argghh!"

He grouped up the papers and documents and laid them aside, cleaning a space in the middle. Naruto softly smiled as he reached for a picture frame that rested right in front of him. In fact there was several. One was a picture of himself with Jiraya, the other was the beloved Team 7, and the last one was a family picture. That was the frame that rested in his hands. Sakura stood by him as he embraced his two yr old daughter.

The kanji for "Iru" means "exist". Naruto lived and was always reminded of how it was insignificant. But now a days he had this burning passion in his heart to show everyone, to teach every new generation that "to exist" in itself is significant," a life no matter how pathetic, how dangerous was special, valuable, precious, even.

His fingers traced his daughter's image. He couldn't wait to go home. Iruko had his playful smile as well as the color of his eyes. Her hair was long painted with her mother's rose pink mane. Iruko was a wild, rambunctious, a free independent spirit that was obsessed with her father.

There was a sudden knock on the door and Naruto quickly put the frame down.

"What is it?"

"Hyuuga Neji."

"Neji—get in!"

The door slowly opened to reveal the Hokage's old classmate and friend. Neji grew to be taller still, pale as the moon. His face appeared to be grave for these days the Hyuuga Head rarely smiled. He walked in, his long decorative robes flowing behind him. The hands were hidden within the long sleeves and the long sable mane remained untied descending a little past his waist. On his forehead the branded curse mark of the Hyuuga Branch rested exposed. He chose to no longer hide it, for he was the last generation that was ever destined to receive it.

"Sit down," Naruto motioned him to a chair. Neji sat down and closed his eyes slowly. Naruto anxiously worried about him and Hinata, hushing any bad gossip, paying for any medical advancement. He wanted them to finally have a child. He wanted them to feel how he felt.

"Naruto," he suddenly paused.

"Go on," Naruto urged. This was rare, RARE, to see Neji beg or ask for help; it was always Hinata to do such things. So in this one blue moon moment, Naruto peeled his ears and eyes and gave him his full attention.

Neji clenched his teeth, what he was about to say was not easy. But it was a conclusion that he came up. The Elders of his clan gave him consent. This was the only way but it tore him to shreds. He took deep breath.

Jeeze, is it that hard to ask a favor? Uzumaki thought cluelessly.

"Naruto," he then shot out the rest of his request, "Please give Hinata a son—please!" and with that he slightly bowed his head. The clenched fists resting at his lap squeezed tightly; the nails digging into his flesh.

Naruto fell back on into his chair in shock, "What? I-I can't do that!" he spat his face flushing furiously, "Sakura will never forgive me!"

"No, this must be a secret. No one must know," Neji insisted.

"But why me? What if the baby comes out looking nothing like a Hyuuga?!"

"You're the only one I can trust Hinata to. She has feelings for you for the longest time."

"I know, but I—wait. She still does?"

"…… I don't know," the nails tore through the skin as the blood oozed out of his fists.

"Neji, it doesn't have to come down to this—,"

"You don't understand, do you?" Neji spat in quiet anger. He quietly steamed, his stomach churned violently, "We CAN'T try anymore—I don't want to take that risk. Hinata CAN'T bear to hold another dead child in her arms—she CAN'T. I tried everything. I've offered up prayers to the Gods. I've cared for her, made sure she ate, slept, took walks—EVERYTHING. It's not health, it's not anything else—it's ME."

Naruto's eyes softened, "Does Hinata know—,"

"No, she doesn't, not yet. I haven't told her about this."

"Does anybody else—,"

"No."

"Neji, let me ask you a question."

Naruto crossed his arms and closed his eyes, contemplating, "What exactly are your feelings for Hinata?" I know that for you it was an arranged marriage prepared by your Uncle Hiashi."

"Why should that—,"

"Answer it."

Neji opened the palms of his hands and saw the blood and scars created by his fingernails.

"I…love her."

Naruto's hand propped up his chin, watching closely Neji's expression as it slowly changed.

"I adore, no, I need her. I don't understand how this happened. I was forced into a marriage with a woman who didn't love me. Who had always looked down at me from a higher level, passing me feeding me scraps of pity and compassion. I didn't want it. None of it! I hated her.

Naruto, you don't know hate. Hate in its most concentrated state. The hate you have seen burn in the eyes of Sasuke Uchiha. Yes, that kind of hate, the one that plunges you into the most profound level of darkness. That is the hatred I felt for Hinata, for my family. It was a long time ago since our match years ago, when my Uncle showed me that letter. Since then, all of that has changed. But that same awkwardness remained. I wasn't too happy to be tied to her in marriage. And she, she had loved you until the very last night before the wedding, clinging on to the hope that you may change your mind."

"…"

Neji saw Naruto lower his eyes without saying anything.

"But the truth was, I knew nothing about her… And neither do you, Naruto."

Naruto lifted his gaze to meet with pure white.

"Within the dark nights and the passing days I came to know the real Hinata. The Hinata that I love. I now know everything. What makes her laugh, cry, w hat causes that smile to blossom and color her cheeks. I love her and it no longer matters, if you have to share the same bed with her. If she still clings on to you instead of me. It doesn't matter, because I keep loving still. I keep loving still because she holds the key that freed me of my cage. As long as I can come back and see her face, as long as I can see that smile—it doesn't matter."

"N-neji…"

"I am not asking this of you because the Elders demand for an heir, or because it is a natural order of things for the Head of a clan to produce children—I am asking you this because Hinata wants a child more than anything else in this world. A baby with face and eyes she can identify something small and tender that will grow under our care that will learn words and walk. Walk and run to her, call her Mother. Mother.

My wife wants to be a mother. And if I can't give her what she wants, I will lift earth and sky even if it means going against my own feelings."

There was a period of silence before she spoke.

"Fine, when you put it that way, it's hard to refuse," Naruto folded his hands on top of his desk, "But under one condition,"

"What is that?"

"Ask your wife the same question that I asked you."

"…"

"Without mentioning our conversation. Ask her to give you an honest answer. I want you to tell me. If she still holds feelings for me then, I refuse. Simple as that."

"Very well."

Naruto watched as Hyuuga stood noiselessly and exited the room. He then spent many hours alone in his office, the paperwork piling up with thoughts of Hinata floating about in his mind.


End Chapter


Notes: Naruto's daughter Iruko, the name Iru is "exist" and ko "child" in other words she is "the child who exists"

Thank you guys for the reviews. I never expected that I would receive feedback for this so soon. I'll try to update as soon as I can! Thanks for reading!

-Zerolr -