Title: Falling

Author: Shawny Wong

Characters: Naruto x Hinata

Warning: Spoilers up to manga chapter 443!


He only had eyes for her.

His muscles trembled from the stress and strain of so many consecutive fights – and he had absolutely no chakra left to spare. Traveling back to Konoha as quickly as he could, fighting multiple Pains, defeating multiple Pains, drawing out 8-tails of the Kyubi's power, and then battling Nagato and Konan alone took everything that he had. Were it not for his accelerated healing ability, Naruto was sure that he would have collapsed hours ago. As it was, he was only a hairsbreadth away from oblivion.

But...

There was one last thing he had to do first. He had to see for himself...

There were blood stains on her clothes and several fresh bandages wrapped tightly around her injuries, but she looked a million times better than the last time he'd seen her... broken and bleeding to death at Pain's feet because she'd been willing to die for him. Naruto shuddered and quickly banished that memory.

His eyes settled on her face. She was watching him with wide lavender eyes full of worry... for him.

… he had to hear for himself...

The sounds around him started to fade, becoming indistinct and fuzzy. He didn't hear the sound of his Hokage barking orders to the ANBU. He didn't hear the voices of his friends asking him if he was all right or Yamanaka-san asking him if Nagato was dead. He didn't even hear Sakura scolding him for pushing himself so hard, recklessly going off alone, and... what was he thinking?

Naruto half-walked, half-staggered over to where she was standing and pulled her into a rough embrace.

He only heard the sound of her surprised gasp in his ear and the sound of his name on her lips.

"N-Naruto-kun!"

… he had to feel for himself...

He felt her arms go around his waist and gently squeeze, as she tentatively returned his hug. He felt her tears on his shoulder. He felt her silky hair brush against his cheek. He felt her warm breath on the side of his neck.

… that this girl who loved him...

Him! The jinchuuriki!

"You're okay," he whispered gruffly. "Thank God. You're okay..."

Naruto closed his eyes and finally allowed himself to fall.

Fin.


Author's Notes:

I pop onto the NarutoFan forums every now and then for fun. Mostly, I like lurking about the Naruto x Hinata Fanclub - where there's plenty of fun NaruHina discussion going on all the time. When I popped into the fanclub this morning, they were discussing Naruto and Hinata's reunion after the current manga arc is over and speculating how Naruto and Hinata might react.

One member, Rasengan2theface, posted an idea that I just couldn't ignore. I liked it so much that I whipped up a quick little drabble. It's such a short little ficlet that I wasn't even going to post it here! However, the feedback from the fanclub was very positive, so... I hope you enjoyed it despite the shortness!