xxx FUKAI MORI xxx

A sequel to Moonless Nights

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'Hinata… Hinata…'

The voice called out to her from the depths of the forest.

The wind carried the sound to her ears, and she rose, following it, trying to find its source… Just because the voice sounded so achingly familiar.

Hinata stepped out onto the soft, moist grass. The cool evening breeze ruffled her pajamas and combed through her hair.

'Hinata… Hinata…'

The voice took her deep into the heart of the forest, back to a place she held close to her heart.

As she stepped out onto the clearing, Hinata looked up at the sky, and saw that there was no moon in sight, only a smattering of brilliant stars across the blackness that stretched out into infinity. It was funny that, in her heart, she somehow knew that it would be another moonless night. She closed her eyes and sighed. It reminded her of that fateful evening…

"Hinata."

Her lavender orbs flew open, and they were met with a sight she had not expected to behold ever again.

The name rolled off her tongue like waves from the ocean.

"I… ta… chi…"

The Uchiha, wearing the familiar robe of the Akatsuki, held out his arms to her; and, as it seemed only natural, she ran straight into them. The collision knocked the wind out of her, but she didn't care. All she cared about was the feel of Itachi's warm body against her. Before she knew it, Hinata was crying out of sheer bliss.

Itachi's arms tightened about her, and it appeared as though he intended never to let go.

"You c-came back…" she sobbed into his chest.

"Yes…" he breathed into her hair, "There was something important that I needed to tell you."

She pulled back to gaze into his eyes. Such beautiful eyes. Fathomless. Dark.

"Wh-what is it?"

A hand came up to caress her cheek. Hinata marveled at how affectionate the Uchiha was acting.

"Thank you, Hinata…"

He smiled, and Hinata's heart burst into a million different shades of joy, and wonder, and awe…

Then he let her go, and his expression transformed into something that reflected grave sorrow and melancholy. The smile remained, but it was a sad one.

"Goodbye, Hinata… Forever…"

"Wh-what?"

Slowly, Itachi's form melded into the darkness –No, it was more like he was melting away… Disintegrating, crumbling… Turning into dust… Dust that was being carried away by the same wind that carried his voice to her. Dust that whispered to her, "I love you," before it was completely carried away to the heavens, until there was no more.

Hinata reached out, a little bit too late perhaps, for her fingers grasped nothing but empty air.

"No…" she gasped, "No!"

Wave after wave of despair washed over her. How could Itachi have disappeared just like that? He was there just a moment back. She felt him! He was tangible, real. He held her! How…

Her mind was giving her an answer her heart repeatedly rejected.

"No…"

And once more, at the very same spot, under a moonless sky, Hinata wept.

xxx OWARI xxx

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Author's notes:

This is a sequel to Moonless Nights, and the events transpired after Itachi's death in the manga, so… Well… Itachi is pretty much dead in here.

Fukai mori means deep forest.

I hope you enjoyed!~,~