After such a long time with dealing with him, you might think that I would be able to dodge his attacks when they came at me. Well, I wasn't. Oh, do not misunderstand me, I knew very well when to leave, the signs were there and anyone could see them, even without the Byakugan. His eyes would begin to sharpen, his chest would arise and there would be the very distinct taste of metal in the air.

He always prepared in slow motion for me and waited to see my reaction. And I never failed him. I never got up and left. He gave me time to do that much, but I never did. Even after he was finished ranting at me, I stayed there, waiting, almost milking more vile out of his heart and into mine… Does this make me a masochistic person?

Yes, I guess it does.

I would always feel a little relieved for him, that even though he got to have me as an elder daughter, and he was disappointed in me, well… at least he could get it out of his chest once in a wile. I would be glad for him. It didn't really mater that my chest would hurt to the point I couldn't breathe, or that my vision would blur for many moments after he left, and I would be unable to use my Byakugan during those moments, even if I wanted to. It was ok that I could barely breathe, like something was not functioning in my lungs. It would feel like I had no lungs at all, actually. Like there was something in me keeping me from going anything but gasp with my face pressed against the floor… but it would last only a few minutes and then the suffocating feeling would be gone, and i would feel as numb as ever. So i didnt mind it very much.

Usually after I would get up slowly and I would go train, or do something really difficult and push myself to the limits, just like Naruto always did. On the other hand, I did it because concentrating on the physical exercise would make it hard to think about anything but what I was training on. Once I even went to the waterfall and tried to make a whole in the water… I was freezing and felt so numb it hurt to move my eyes, but I did it. What I was set out to do that is. By the time I had finished my training the thoughts had gone and the despair had left my heart. I was going to be all right again. I even felt good - I was stronger than when i began.

Well, I wasn't that lucky this time.

I was still pressed on the floor, he had left a wile ago, but I found myself unable to move this time. What was it that made this time different? Oh, right… I was dirty and still wearing my mission clothes. I had just gotten back from my mission actually. Just 15 minutes ago. At the door of the Hyuga compound, one of my cousins told me that I was to see my father the moment I set foot on the house. I wanted to change into my house-robes, to be presentable for him, but apparently that was not a possibility. My cheek had been slashed, thought not badly and every part of me hurt, even my hair… which was knotted in places and had things in it that i didnt even want to think about. I could feel dry blood on my skin; my robes were muddy and smelly. It must have been a gross sight to behold…

Maybe that is what set him off about me… I don't know. As soon as he saw me, he narrowed his white eyes. I felt the metallic scent in the air… what had I done this time? I had been away for almost two full weeks; there was no way I had done anything to displease him. Even during the mission, I had been strong and hardly blabbered at all, and fought well, so my team-mates said. They said that if it hadn't been for my help, it would have gone all to hell, - using Kiba's direct quote here.

I looked into his eyes and he looked into mine as I tried to sit before him as gracefully as I could. My left knee had almost been dislocated, so that proved to be very hard. But I managed. His look was stern, and I expected nothing les, but I was still thrown off. I still couldn't find what had upset him He hadn't been like this in a long while.

"I have found out that you have been behaving unworthy of your name again." He said with his voice so hard it made me blink and my breath cought in ym throat. I wasn't ready for this, I wasn't feeing well enough. If he didn't this to me again, I would go back 9 years and have to start building my self esteem from scratch. He stopped and looked at me long and hard. But I didn't move… I never did… even I couldn't understand why… If I went and washed, healed myself, cleaned and braced for what was to come, then I would eventually be able to deal with it in the end. But right now all my defenses were gown and I felt so powerless, like I was 10 again…

I was silent. I knew better than to interrupt him.

"You have once again brought shame to this family, and I will not allow this to go any further. You are to no longer associate with the Uzumaki boy, and that is an order. This charade has done unnoticed for too long and it will not stay that way. You are not to speak to him, or contact him in any way. If you are seen with him you will be punished accordingly… and for good measure, so will your sister and you beloved cousin… I will know if you keep thinking of him, be sure, and it will not go unnoticed."

He stopped speaking and I stopped breathing. I was feeling as if my insides had just been drained and I had turned into merely bones and skin stretched over them… I barely felt him leave and when he closed the door behind him, I slid on the floor and tried to breathe without lungs. It wasn't working. My mind was like frozen in his words and it kept playing over and over again in my head, cruelly eating away at what was left of me. I felt my vision go black and a warm liquid started to pour down my face.

Why was I so weak that I couldn't even defy him in this one thing. This one thing I have always wanted, why wasn't I allowed to have it? Why was I always the one to be denied things I wanted. Like peace of mind… why had that always been denied that? Was it so much to ask for? Or freedom of choice, even freedom of being myself and having my own thought and feelings? Why those things that seemed do trivial to others, and that they took from granted, were always denied to me? Always!

Why did I never need to feel happy with my life… Why did my own father wish I was something different? Was I really that repulsive, that unwanted? After all, father had nothing to worry about, Naruto would never want me the way I wanted him, need me the way I needed him. He was the thought that made me grind my teeth and want to become worthy, but he would be no longer... because my father had said so? I strived to understand the logic of that, but couldnt. It just didnt make nùsense to me, not this time. Of all the orders father gave, all teh things he found displeasing about me, I always agreed or found them logical enought and worked to be better. But this time, I just couldnt see it. And it was Naruto... I refured to believe that it was my mind that was too weak to grast the logic of fathers order, because it was Noruto we were talking about. There was no reason why anyone should keep away from him.

For the first time in my life I was angry at father. And so powerless in my anger that it dounbled the pain i felt. And when i replayed his words in my head for the fifteenth time, I felt a sob make its way throught my chest. Even if I disobeyed him - which scared me so much that I left the idea untouched in the back of my head - I couldnt bring others down with me. Hanabi, my only sister, how could I ever hurt her for something that twill never be mine anyway. I'm not that selfish. Neji, hurting Neji was unconceivable, hurting Hanabi made me coil in disgust.

They had made me strong as I was today, I owed Hanabi my confidence, my stopped blabbering, the love she always gave me, that way she would hold me when I confided in her my deepest secrets... the way she would brush my hair after I had brushed hers and tell me all about her teammates and missions and how proud she was of me that one day when Kiba and Shino had put her apart from the rest of the genin in the training field, because she was my sister.

I owed Neji all the hour of training he spent with someone like me. I would see it in his eyes that he knew he was wasting his time, but he would still help me… unselfishly help me become better.

My father certainly knew how to push me. He knew me well enough to predict my reactions to the dot. He knew how I was made and he knew that I would not fail to obey him, as I always did, whether I wanted to or not. I wandered if he knew that all I wanted was his love… I wondered if he knew that people stop craving love after being pushed away a certain number of years. Somehow, that little part of the person just withers way. But i hadnt let it... I just burued it really deep in me, always hoping, but never beggin anymore. He hated that.

I always wanted the love of men that couldn't give it to me. Was this a pattern for me? Was this my destiny? To be a puppet and alone forever? I knew in my heart that there was no place for nobody else in my soul but him. Every time anyone else touched my hand or my arm, I wanted it to be him, every time I imagined myself being kissed, it would be his lips, all I ever wanted was all of him. No-one else, never anyone else. The thought of being touched by anyone else made me snort at physical contact like I used to when I was 10. I wanted just his arms and his face and his soul.

But it would remain a dream, I knew, because it didn't matter if I spent so much time with him now and if we sometimes even trained together. It didn't really matter that he said he liked the way I was always so persistent, just like him. I had seen his mind work; I knew that he would never seen me more than just a friend whose company was nice. I had head him say so himself.

"We are great friends now, right Hinata?" I had smiled at him, not blushing once - I was so proud of myself about that, that i didnt blush at him anymore like a silly girl. He hadn't meant it that way of course, but I had my fantasies.

"I that so, Naruto!" Sakura had said, looking at me as if she knew the truths of the whole world. I had launched her a warning look and she smiled at me.

"Yes, Sasuke is a mean jerk and you, well, you are my lover!" He got a good punch in the face for that. He still liked to tease her like that. It had hurt thought, hearing him call her the way I wanted to be called that.

Even if he thought me as a simple friend, I indulged myself into his eyes and his smile every time he would offer it. I would always smile back to him.

Was this some kind of greed? Always wanting the love I couldn't have.

Now I would also be cruel, hurting those I loved. Like the time I got Neji's father killed… or when I got my entire group of friends in detention…. Or when I got Hinabi punished in my stead. She never held it against me. She said she knew that I was in much more pain that she had been, as I watched her get whiplashed… God that day had been the worse of my life. I didnt know if it was because i was tired or because of what i was thinking, but I felt my stomach clench, like i was about to throw up and felt the bile in my throat. I breathed throught my nose, and gulped hard. My cracked rib made itself known at this.

Oh, how I wanted a way of escape in this. I just couldn't find it. Nowhere was there an escape for me, everywhere wrong choices and other people sacrificing for me. I wanted to be that brave too, but I couldn't see how… what did I have to sacrifice? I knew that I had no say in what my very being wanted! I had long ago tried to control it, every time I tried it would only make me fall deeper for him, finding new ways to love him, new thing to admire about him.

As I thought of a way to escape my pain, with my cheek on the floor, the idea came to me. It would be quick and it would be painless. The hurting would end and I would be free. Free of everything, of every rule. The only thing I would miss was him. I spared a thought for my sister... what would happen to her if I wasnt there? But Hanabi was strong, so much more stronger than I was. She would know that I love her. She would probably hate me for a while, but it was better than having her suffer for me. As for father... well... I had heard it from his lips that he wouldn't mind if I died… Now that I thought of it, I wouldn't mind either. It was the only way where no-one else got hurt. Not eve me. I would be free of myself, and others would be free of my burden.

….

It was strange how I found myself on the edge of Konoha's high bridge. I was now cleaned and washed and I smelled just like always, looked just normal. People would surely think of it as an accident. It was not rare that civilians would fall from here, especially when it was raining, in a storm like this one. The wind was so strong that if it hand been from the chakra at my feet I would have probably been unable to move. And if it wasn't for the Byakugan of my eyes, I would have been unable to see.

But I was and I felt. The storm was at its peek and the cold was chilling my bones away. But i was under the effect of the painkillers and my brain was fuzzy, blissfully unaware of anything major.

As I leaned to the side, I slipped ever so lightly. Good. I threw my purse so that it would get stuck at the side of the bridge. It would look like I had fallen trying to get it back. No-one would think of it twice, after all it could have happened to anyone, right? It would be easy to believe I was this weak, as to drown in the rampaging rived below… I leaned again, this time more, half of my body was off. My hair was clinging to my face. I noticed that my bangs had gotten too long, they almost reached my chin. I had to get them cut… Oh, wait, I wouldn't need to. The sudden distraction had made me forget about what I was about to do. So I leaned over one more time and I felt my body slip. A moment and it hit the water hard, making my wounds hurt, even thought the thick haze of the medicine. I remembered not healing them, but I couldn't remember why… Everything was cold and rushing through me. I had no air. The waves were pulling me under and I couldn't get back up… I couldn't even move… I was frozen. I wanted to do something but had no strength left… as I felt a hit in my chest, my last mouthful of air exploded in bubbles and I felt the sting of pain. My head felt like it had hid something hard and was spinning, my chest hurt, but I was used to that…

As I felt the last wave of pain hit my head I convinced myself that it wasn't death taking me away, but the last pain I would suffer from life…

I didn't even have the chance to say goodbye to you, Naruto… sorry…

The hospital was half empty so every sound was heard twice as loudly. As he sat with his head on his hands, he realized his heart was beating twice as fast and his thoughts were twice as scattered. He couldn't concentrate on anything and he kept looking at the door of the room behind which he felt there was something very, very important to him. His chest ached and the pressure in his ears wouldn't go away. The whole in his stomach seemed only getting bigger and heavier, but he wasn't hungry at all. The image of her falling down was something he wouldn't be able to forget anytime soon. He was sure that it would hunt him even in his dreams.

If he hadn't been so far, if he had been faster maybe the girl behind the door he was staring at wouldn't be in such danger. Maybe if he had paid attention to Sakura when she talked about her job he would have been able to help her better.

Maybe, maybe, maybe… there was no point in thinking this way… he couldn't help her if he was all depressed. Because she would pull through, she had to, she just had to. the thought of her not doing so was something that refused to register in his head. But mostly, what he couldn't comprehend was how could someone like her fall, just like that. She was one of the strongest ninjas of the village, second in using the Byakugan, maybe only to Neji. And even he couldn't see as far as she could…

She could control her chakra perfectly; she would have been able to resist the flow… She could have used one of her techniques to resist the pulling of the violent waves. She had had worse than that, and she had won… so why was she in the reanimation room with her lungs full of water, with unhealed wounds and dieing? He just couldn't understand…

The door on his left opened and four people came in, wet from head to toe. Neji was the one leading the group and the one who looked more angry. Kiba and Shino were right on his tail, Kurenai sensei behind them.

"Where is she?" Neji's voice was almost a growl.

"In reanimation." Naturo's voice, on the contrary was tired. He sounded as exhausted as he felt.

"What happened?" Kiba asked sitting beside him.

"I have no idea. I saw her fall and just ran… I should have run faster, she drank a lot of water…"

In that moment Sakura came out of the reanimation room and so did Tsunade. She had assisted to the young Hyuuga herself. The look on her face promised nothing good. She was too serious. Naruto knew that look on the Hokage's face. He felt his self-control slip as the Fox in him became restless. Seeing tears on Sakura's eyes was what made him freeze.

"I'm so sorry Naruto."

"No." the whisper was inaudible as the room started spinning and the noises were fading. NO!

The scream was only in his head.

It was strange; I hadn't imagined death to be like this. I had thought about it a lot but somehow I had never gotten to this point. I had only yearned for the quite and the peace. It was quiet, but I didn't feel at peace. I already missed him. Even in midst of the darkness that seemed to be so soft and the unfeeling of my body or mind, the only thing I was certain was that I missed him. The darkness was pressing and I wished to get away from it. I wanted to run away and hide, just like I did so many times before in my life. I wanted to use the Byakugan to see beyond it, but I didn't know where my hands were, or where my eyes were. Then I decided that I was going to get lost and give up on it. It was useless anyway… what need had I of my body here?

That was when I started hearing things. It was so much like… so much like his voice… Why couldn't I be free of him, like he seemed to be free of me? Why had my obsessions had to follow me even in my aftermath? I had died to be free of all this pain, so why hadn't it gone away. Had it done all this for nothing?

I wanted to cry and scream, but I didn't know where my lips were… So I just wept silently, just like I always wept when alone in my room. Nothing was different from my old life. Maybe I hadn't died at all, and all this was a scary dream I had after I fainted at my father's floor.

Then I felt something warm on what could only be my face. So there's where it was! The warmth was soothing and it mover across my cheek in circular motions, and then something else, something warmer and softer touched my skin. It was strange the reaction it caused in me, stirring emotions that I only imagined feeling, but still not understanding fully what was happening. The warmth lingered and then it went away, and I whimpered again, not really meaning to, but seeking the warmth again. It was better than anything else I had ever felt! I had stopped crying and was desperately trying to find my body parts admits the darkness.

The warmth settled on top of my head, and another source of warmth helped me find my way to my hand. The soothing voice was whispering, his voice, just like I had imagined him whispering into my ear. As I found my body and willed my eyelids open, everything began to clear. I felt his breath on my ear and shivered, trying to tighten my hold on his hand, but felt like I had no strength left at all.

"Come on, wake up. Show them that you are stronger than they think, show them!" I knew now just how close he was. If he turned her head, I would be able to brush my lips against his… the thought gave me a rush of desire unlike any other, and I just couldnt be bothered to feel ashamed about it. I was dead anyway, what was there left to be prudish about? I just had to let him know that I was there too, hearing him. The only linm that I could locate were the ones he was touching. In the back of my head I was happy that this illusion had followed me here. It would be nice to hae all of him forever here. I willed my hand to move and felt him hold it tighter and before.

"Hinata? Hinata, please wake up." His voice was so close, his lips were brushing my temple as they spoke, and I felt my heart leap painfully. I didn't think it would be worth waking up from this dream. It was much more innocent than some others I had had, but still, so much more intense. It felt so real in was cruel. This time my tears came for real, I felt their wetness.

"Don't cry. You're all right. You'll be just fine. You'll see. Then we'll get to kick Kiba's ass, remember. We had a challenge, remember? Come on wake up!"

Well, if he wanted me to be awake than i would be. I really wanted him to help me find my eyelids so that i could open them, but I couldnt speak. This was prooving more difficult than it should have. But his warms was spreading over me, like a blanket and so very slowly the awareness rose like from a long slumper. Everything began to clear and with clearness came the sharp pain, little by little. It was then that I started to filter that maybe i wasnt as dead as i thought i was. Everything around me was so familiar and the pain was far too real. I grunted and the sound came forein to my ears. I breathed and it hurt my chest. Oh, that feeling i remebered. I knew there was someting wrong, i felt it. It was only natural for me to want to see. when you grown up as a Hyuuga, sight is the most important of all senses. Its not normal to be in the dark.

But opening my eyes was painful and as soon as i did I closed them again with a grunt. I squirted them open again, to see his face and blue eyes over me, and this time, no matter how painful it was and how much they teared, i kept them open. Ant then the other details started to filter in. The sounds of beeping and rustling, the smell of the holpital - I would regognise that one anywhere after so many hours of workng there with the kids. And suddenly i knew that I was very much alive and wanted to go back to sleep and never face the idiocy I had made.

But he was there...

I tried to talk but he stopped me from saying anything. I was quite grateful because the mere actions of breathing send my throat on fire. He was still quite close and he didn't look like he was going to back from his position. I hadn't blushed before him in a long time, but if he kept staring at me like that, I was sure I would find the force to blush again like a little girl. Then he grinned so wide I was forced to give back a little smile. It hurt my cheek so badly that i winced. Only then i remembered the cut i had on it and I instantly felt so ashamed. I must look horrible...

But he had seen me in worse. That was what had made me so confortable around him in the first place. After so many missions toghether, he had seen me in all the degrees of dirty and disgusting that i would ever be. He always smiled.

"I never doubted you would make it. Not for a minute." He looked so happy I didn't want to interrupt it, but the thoughts and images from before I took my jump came back to me and I knew that I wasn't supposed to be here with him…

"Yu fell from the High Bridge, during the storm, four night ago. I saw you, so I pulled you out, but I was nearly too late." Tears formed into my eyes, but I managed to hold them back. I felt like I was trapped. What should I do now? He saved my life again, should I tell him to go away? Should I not do anything like always and watch things happen and roll by? I couldn't do that!

As I thought of my escape, his hand holding mine, the door opened. I jumped and Naruto's safire eyes turned to it, without leaving my hand.

"She's up!" He said so cheerfully it made me wonder why… but this was Naruto, I knew he would react like this for any of his friends.

"WHAT!" Sakura's voice was shrill and too loud, so much I winced.

"Sakura! Shout a little louder and the bats will hear you too! Gee, you're supposed to be a medic!" His voice was reproachful, but his expression was playful. I heard Sakura as she almost ran to my bed.

"Oh Hinata, we were so worried!" She was crying. It was surprising to see a girl like Sakura cry. She hadn't cried since a long time ago. It made me feel important somehow, it made me feel better. How selfish I was, feeling better from the tears of another.

"I'm fine Sakura" My voice was so rasp I regretted using it at all. It hurt a lot.

"Oh, I must go tell Neji, he has been here almost as often as Naruto." She said glaring at him.

"That's right, I was always here at your side! I never left!"

"Yeah, you were a pain in the ass."

"Weren't you going somewhere?"

He was such a fool sometimes. I wanted to laugh, but I couldn't. Soon my father would be here. Naruto… Naruto had to leave… he had to leave, but I didn't want him to. I didn't want him to move at all. My hand was still in his and it was warm and it felt so good it made me forget a lot of bad things I had never been able to put aside on my own. But I couldn't put aside Hanabi, or Neji…

As soon as Sakura was out the door, I saw his eyes turn to mine. They were sparkling, his grin huge.

"Are you feeling better? Do you want something to eat?" I shook my head, saying no. I felt empty, but I wasn't hungry. What now? What should I say to him?

"Do you mind?" His question caught me off guard. I didn't understand what he meant. So he squeezed my hand a little, intertwining his fingers with mine. My heart doubled its beats. I didn't know what to say so I just stared at him, every coherent thought escaping my head, leaving me in a daze, my only connection with reality his hand and his eyes, into which I was getting lost into. I could hardly breathe.

"I'm sorry it took me this much to understand just how much I was missing out. I've never been very bright, you know…" He said coming a little closer, propping himself on his elbows. I just kept staring at him, into his eyes, as what he said kept skimming my brain but not really registering. Under my gaze he was starting to lose the previous confidence he had had but I wasn't stupid enough, even in my current state to let him think I didn't reciprocate him. I felt my hand move in its own accord and rest over his forearm.

I wanted to touch his face, but couldn't move any more than I already had. My longing must have shown in my face, because he brought the hand that was intertwined wit his to his lips, and kissed it lightly. I felt my chest tightened and my blood rushed to my ears, making my head light. I writhed my hand and he let it go, a slight emotion flickering into his incredible azure eyes. I knew that emotion well; it had been my companion for the longest time.

When my hand broke fee, I rested my palm his cheek, just like I had wanted to do earlier and he relaxed, kissing the inside of my palm again, making me close my eyes and sigh. I didn't remember a time I had been happier, and the delicious ache in my chest was welcome this time.

I had surely died and gone to heaven. Surely.

My assumptions were broken as soon as the door opened and Neji came in, followed by the figure of my sister, her eyes red, and the tall lanky form that I knew so well. I didn't have the force to move my hands from where they were, and apparently Naruto didn't feel the need to move them either. He smiled at the guests and my sister gave me the happiest smile I had ever seen her give, she squealed and ran to me, throwing herself at me, wile Neji just rolled his eyes and kept smiling.

"If you ever scare me like tha again... Im going to tell Naruto exacly how that dream of yours played out." she whispered in my ear and My breath hitched, my eyes going wide. Neji chuckled as he came nearer to my bed, but when his eyes met mine i felt like squirming. He always seemed to read me, like I was a book he knew by heart. I must asmit, i wasnt the hardest person to read, but the way he always seemed to know what i was thinking made me nervous. As he watched me with sterness, I knew that he knew. He would never forgive me for it...

He came at my side slowly, accusation in his eyes. i wanted to look away, but couldnt.

"You and I need to have a very serious talk once you get better." He whispered and I just stared. I was so scared that he would hate me. I didnt want him to. When he was a little closer I rose my hand to grasp his sleeve and make him come closer. He got the cue and leaned until his ear was near my mouth.

"Im sorry... Please dont tell Hanabi... She will never forgive me..." He drew back and I could see his face was odly blank. He alwayd sis that when id didnt want others to know what he was feeling.

"O course, cousin." When he moved I saw they hadnt come alone. Father was there. My eyes were on him and I was trying to hide the emotions from them, everything beside resolve. The atmosphere changed as soon as he spoke in his tumults, booming voice.

"Leave us." He never raised his voice, it was never necessary. Neji and Hanabi felt compelled to straiten up and throwing a fleeing look at us both they retreated from the room. Naruto however didn't bulge a millimeter, still holding my hand with his tightly. He had that determined look on his face every time anyone would throw him a challenge or tell him that he couldn't do something.

"I'm not leaving." He said and I knew he meant it.

"It's ok, I need a moment with my father Naruto." He looked at me as if asking me if I was out of my mind. I smiled and squeezed his hand. I needed nothing more than his love. I could handle everything now. Even my father, if I had to! Wether he understood or not i didnt know, but he got up. As he closed the door behind him, my father came closer to my bed.

"You are disobeying me Hinata. This will have dare consequences." He said, his hands crossed under his robe.

"Father, I'm going to say now what I should have said earlier." I tried to get up into a seating position. It was difficult, by muscles hurt, but I had had worse. "I am not going to comply with your wish this time."

"This is not a matter of choice. You either follow my order or suffer my punishment." I clutched the sheets of my bed. I had never wanted anything more than his love, but he refused to give it to me, and I could only chase at him for so long. He would never give me his affection, but I couldn't give up everyone, to fight a battle that in the end I knew I would lose, and sacrifice my heart to his altar too. If before I was reluctant, now that the sacrifice would be Naruto's heart as well, I had no intention to go along with his will.

"I understand that I will never be who you want me to be. I have lived with your scorn my whole life and I am now used to the idea that you will never love me." I spoke these words to the sheets, without daring to look into his eyes. Then I knew that now that I had started I wouldn't stop. I couldn't.

"But I will not let you make me unlovable. This I cannot do. I chose death before that. If giving up the fight for your love means I get to be free of your hate, then so be it. I shall deny your name and free myself from your rule and you will have you oldest wish. A Hyuga worthy of her name. Any punishment you choose for me, i will go thought it and not complain."

He just stared at me and his eyes were two pieces of stone. He seemed to have set roots to the spot and was unmoving the way a statue would be.

"You are just like your mother. Always making the wrong choices. Always risking everything, thinking with your heart and not using your brain." He spoke so sternly that i was afraid for a moment. It hurt to know that he thought no better of my mother than he did of me. I had heard that he had loved her abouve all else... it had always been hard to imagine that.

"That demon holder is going to get you killed and I will not allow that to happen as long as I am living, even if it means chainin you to a bed." His words were so unexpected and I was so stunned that I had nothing to say. My brain was frozen for the second time today and my body could endure only to a specific amount of emotion. My heart was pumping against my chest again.

"Father?"

"Do you understand the risks of tying yourself to that beast?"

"He is not a beast father. He saved my life so many times… He is a good man. He is going to make Konohagure proud, I promise." I spoke in whispers, trying not to set him off. But it was the wrong thing to say apparently. in all the years i had known him, i had never seen him lose his temper. Not once had i heard him raise his voice.

"I prohibit you to risk your life for him! I shall not allow it!" He spoke so loudly tha i flinched in surprise. My eyes were bulging out of my sockets in surprise. "I – shall – not – allow – it!" He repeated accentuating each word. I felt heat pour in my heart as I watched his gaze liquefy. I had been blind… and he had been very convincing in his act. I could forgive him anything if he just showed me that I was right in my current assumption.

"I'm safe with him, just like I have always been safe with you father. I shall be fine." He watched me and I watched him and waited for him to do something, but he didn't move. So for the first time in 19 years I broke the silence between us and moved towards him. I tried to put my arms around his chest, but winced at the pain it caused me. I had probably dislocated a shoulder… I wouldn't let that minor detail keep me from the thing I most wanted to have for the best part of my life though. I did wrap my arms around him and held as tight as my body could afford, letting my tears flow down.

The moment I felt him hug me back, I exploded in violent sobs. I felt so tired and completely drained. The mere crying was almost making me faint. My head was spinning again, but I was so happy…

"Your mother would have skinned me alive if she was here…" he said, maybe more to himself than anything. I smiled at that. nothing more improbable had ever crossed my mind and cried some more. I thought at the time that I was falling asleep, but Naruto told me later that I had fainted. Miss Tsunade had yelled at my father and Naruto for a good 15 minutes, for tiring me to that point, and another 15 minutes at Sakura for letting them. At least that's what Naruto told me later, when he had sneaked into my hospital-room in the middle of the night. I didn't get much sleep than night…

Neither in the nights that were to come.

Oh, don't get me wrong, we didn't do anything like that! He slept in the bed beside mine, only holding my hand all night. I was the improper one.

I played with the skin on his arm until he fell asleep. Then I watched the moonlight on his face and the strange shadows it made there, memorizing every curve and every plane of his face. His beautiful face. His hair seemed much lighter in the dim light from the sky, like it was platinum in one place and them dark brown in another. I traced his square jaw and the little whiskers in his cheeks and the bridge of his nose, his eyebrows and then again the side of his face until I reached his lips. They were slightly parted as he slept soundly, round and full, their shape well defined... so soft compared to the rest of his face. The thought of kissing his was so omnipresent it was almost as if he was pulling me to him. I hadn't realized I had been biting my bottom lip all the time.

I was gentle, I just put my lips over his lightly, imagining the way a butterfly would kiss a flower. When I pulled away I found his wide azure eyes staring at me surprised and completely liquefied, by an unknown emotion. It was like blue flames were dancing in them. I was startled. I felt his hand come to my face, his palm cupping my whole cheek. It was warm, and a little rawer than I expected it to be. I loved it.

When he neared his face to mine I felt like my chest would explode. He could surely hear the noise my heart was making… but after this my eyes fluttered closed at their own will and I was burning to have his lips on mine again. When his skin met mine… everything disappeared… everything became wild colors and as I felt him suck one of my lips in his, I felt something drop violently in my stomach, so bad I jerked and whimpered. I felt his hand on my face move to rest in my hair and tangled there. My lips were playing with his a game whose name I didn't know, I dint know the rules or the moves, but it seemed it didn't need to. I didn't even need to think. So I stopped thinking and parted my lips, touching his with the tip of my tongue, wanting to taste him too much to be proper about it. I wanted everything he had to give, I would take it all.

His hand in my hair fisted. It didn't hurt, it was perfect. He parted his lips too, more than I had and when my flesh met his… heat exploded like it never had before. It was bliss and it was my undoing.

Forever.