This came to mind after finding the lyrics to Inoue Kazuhiko's (Kakashi's seiyuu or voice actor) song, "Ai no Mizuumi." Englishi Translation: "The Lake of Love."

For those I believe in, I can change my shape
A deep pure love can even become the ocean
Embracing it like a cradle the waves glisten~

Reading that, I instantly thought of Hinata's love for Naruto and how she would do anything for him, even change herself, as we've witnessed in her battle against Neji. Anyways, this is one-sided NaruHina, slight KakaHina.

Thanks for everyone's amazing reviews :)


The Lake of Love

Hinata watched the fierce battle end, the loser on the ground heavily beat up and the winner standing triumphantly above him with a wide grin splitting his face in two. Hinata cheered inwardly for her crush's amazing comeback before instantly scolding herself, knowing that Kiba and Akamaru were hurt and were probably in immense pain.

Sobered by that fact, Hinata reached into her weapons pouch, her fingers searching for the tubs of medicinal cream she had packed a few days earlier… Her body froze when she saw blonde spiky hair approaching from her peripheral vision. Inhaling shakily, her hand grasped around her spare container tightly as she heard sandaled feet pad even closer. Licking her dry lips, Hinata took a wobbly step forward, a single word escaping the confines of her mouth.

"N-Naruto-kun…"

Bright blue eyes suddenly turned to focus on her, the directness in them making her cheeks color darkly. Bowing her head embarrassedly, Hinata held out the medicinal cream, her eyes shut and her heart pounding erratically in her rib cage.

Ba-dump.

Ba-dump.

"Take it, Naruto," she heard Kurenai-sensei say quietly.

"Oh… Okay. Thanks!"

Hinata walked down the steps with a soft smile etched on her face. Just before she reached the bottom, she looked down at her hands, blushing as she remembered the warmth Naruto had passed along to her when he accidentally brushed his fingers against hers.


"He's leaving today, Hinata-sama," said Neji as he spun away from her vicious attack. "Are you not going to see him off?"

Taking deep, controlled breaths from her place crouched on the ground, Hinata shook her head with a slight smile on her lips.

"Why should I?" she asked quietly as she stood back up to slide into her preferred fighting stance. "When I can see h-him when he returns, stronger and more e-experienced?"

"Indeed," murmured her cousin as he flew towards her, his palms alight in chakra.


Hinata could feel her eyes start to sting from the massive amount of chakra she was pouring into them, but for the life of her, she couldn't find it in herself to care.

"Can you see anything?" asked Naruto desperately from her side.

Hinata didn't have to turn to see the blonde's intense stare as he looked forward, his azure eyes trying, and failing, to see ahead through the thick clouds of dust that obscured her team's sight.

"No," she said softly. Her eyes didn't fail to catch the look of disappointment that clouded her crush's face as he looked away and fell back to sprint in time with Sakura.

"I… I'm sorry," she murmured, frustration just barely hinted in her quiet apology.

"You don't have to be," she heard a voice from behind her say. Her sharp eyes picked up on her captain and the warm smile that was conveyed in his single visible eye. "Just give us the best you can do, and it'll be fine."

Blinking in astonishment at her commanding captain's unexpected words of encouragement, Hinata nearly missed the next tree branch. Catching hold of herself just in time to land smoothly, she waited a second, letting the others jump ahead of her, before leaping in time with her captain.

"Thank you," she whispered as she passed his lean form.

The man smiled in acknowledgment as Hinata channeled more chakra into her eyes. Ignoring the slight burn that accompanied her surge of chakra, Hinata scanned the distant area ahead of her, her eyes instantly landing on the massive amounts of chakra that was filling the air.

"I-I see black flames… ten kilometers ahead."


"I won't let you lay another finger on Naruto-kun!"

The look on the man's face as he drew back against her push of wind made shivers run down her spine, but she continued to walk on firmly, her sandals light on the ground as she prepared herself for any sudden attacks.

"W-what are you doing here, Hinata?"

Naruto's hoarse voice nearly broke her heart, the underlying weakness in it creating the thinnest of cracks.

"I… came here because I wanted to," she said as she walked towards him. "I'm just being selfish, I know…"

Coming to a stop in front of Naruto, Hinata silently activated her byakugan and shifted into a comfortable stance.

"What the hell are you saying?" yelled Naruto from his place pinned to the ground.

Hinata regarded the emotionless man observing her blankly, the dark rings in his eyes flashing the slightest when she let a faint smile overtake her lips. His face set into a firm mask, the imperceptible twitch in his eyebrow telling her all she needed to know.

I'm going to die today.

"I... was always chasing after you, Naruto-kun," she admitted with a self-deprecating smile. "I wanted to talk to you… I wanted to… walk beside you."

Her hand slid up fluidly as she tested the ground at her feet, looking for a solid path forward.

"W-what… what are you saying?" rasped out Naruto from behind her.

"Your smile saved me, Naruto-kun, saved me from who I could've been… would've been."

Hinata looked up towards the sky for a fleeting second, memorizing the pattern of the pure white clouds dotting the vibrant sky. She took in the surrounding area, telling herself that it was Konoha, no matter how in shambles it was, and she breathed in deeply, tasting the cool air with her tongue.

"I'm not afraid," she murmured as she closed her eyes tightly. "I'm not afraid to die… protecting you."

Forcing her eyes open, she finally found the courage to search for Naruto's face with her byakugan. Upon seeing the look of shock on his face, Hinata felt a small smile cross her face. Concentrating chakra to her palms, Hinata breathed out her last words, hoping that he heard them.

"Because… I love you."

Finishing with the three words she had struggled with all her teenage years, Hinata rushed forward, all her thoughts thrown out to the wind as she ran towards her opponent and certain death.


Naruto's dark blue eyes stared intensely into hers before they dropped as he bowed his head deeply before her.

"I'm sorry, Hinata… but… I… I love Sakura-chan… and no one else. I can't—"

Despite already knowing the outcome of a 'private conversation' with Naruto behind the Hokage's Tower and the answer to her spur-of-the-moment confession months earlier, the warm tears that escaped her eyes just wouldn't stop.

"I u-understand, N-Naruto-kun," she mumbled through her dry tongue as she hurriedly wiped away her tears. "I-I already knew you l-loved Sakura-chan…"

Not being able to stand in the presence of rejection any longer, Hinata fled the area, making sure to cover her tracks so she would be left… undisturbed.

A tremulous sob shook her body as she finally found an empty clearing in the middle of Konoha's vast forest. Flinging herself down at the roots of a tree, Hinata hugged herself as she sobbed into her jacket, soaking the purple sleeves with wet, salty tears.

He doesn't love me…

He never will…

"H-he doesn't love m-me," she coughed out in despair.

A rivulet of tears streamed down her cheeks as her heart twisted itself in painful knots, the pain sending jarring jolts through out her body.

"I-I never had a ch-chance," she whispered before her body was once again overtaken with body-wracking sobs.


Hinata lay on her back as she stared listlessly at the dark sky and the twinkling stars that decorated it. Her swollen eyes fluttered shut as her breath came out slowly and deeply.

"I-I was stupid… to think that he would r-return my f-feelings," she muttered miserably.

"So you say."

Hinata's eyes snapped open as she drew herself up shakily into a fighting stance. Lifting up a hand to settle into a stance, she blinked in alarm when she realized how weak her limbs felt.

"You must have cried a lot if you can't even settle into a proper stance," observed the voice.

Biting her lip, Hinata quickly activated her byakugan as she rasped out, "Who a-are you?"

Her eyes widened when she caught sight of a familiar lax figure leaning against a tree, the person's forehead protector glinting from the starlight that was shining upon it.

"Naruto can be a bit dense," murmured the person as he pushed off the tree to shuffle towards the village. His footsteps stopped as he turned to face her, the expression in his eye clearly visible due to her bloodline limit. "But then again, you probably already know that, don't you?"

Hinata looked away from the man's gaze, deactivating her byakugan as she did so. A faint blush colored her cheeks as she nodded, the faint memories of the blonde's many mishaps and naïve questions coming to mind. A soft smile reluctantly made its way to her lips.

"So you see," continued the man, "He sometimes says wrong things in certain situations. The things he say can hurt a person, can wound them fatally, but he really does mean well." The sound of footsteps reached Hinata's ears as she watched the tall figure start to walk away.

"It's up to the person to see if they can forgive him or not."

"Forgive," mouthed Hinata uncertainly.

But… what is there to forgive?

Her feelings for him were purely one-sided; she had known that ever since the innocent academy days when a blonde-haired boy would follow an emerald-eyed girl endlessly, always asking for dates no matter how many times she rejected or how violently she turned him down…

"Wait," she whispered to the retreating back. "W-wait, please," her parched throat rasped out.

Forcing her feet to move despite the crippling weakness in them, Hinata stumbled forward, grasping onto the nearest tree trunk desperately. Breathing in deeply, Hinata pushed herself and managed to take a few weak steps.

"Wait, p-please," she mumbled one last time before a dizzying feeling overtook her. Forcing it away, she pitched herself forward, only to trip over a tree root. Falling weakly to the ground and not having the strength of mind nor will to keep conscious, Hinata didn't fight against the overwhelming dizziness and let darkness overtake her.

x-x-x

"I'm so sorry, Hinata. I... shouldn't have let you leave like that. L-look, now you're in the hospital and..."

His words were still fresh in her mind, the hurt and agony in his face forever engraved into her memory.

Turning the corner of the white hospital hallway, Hinata's eyes searched for the familiar figure of her cap-.

"K-Kakashi-sensei!"

"Hmm?" murmured a distracted voice. The silver-haired man, who had been preoccupied with reading his literature, turned to face her, a curious expression in his single visible feature. "Hinata?"

Grasping onto the stray ends of the determination that had led her here to face the man who she hoped would—no, don't think about that, not yet—Hinata kneeled down before him, her forehead brushing against the cold floors of Konoha's hospital.

"Please... train me."


"Do you wish to sign this treaty with the Sound?" asked Uchiha Sasuke, not even a single emotion inflected in his tone.

The blonde Hokage facing him frowned, his forehead knitting together in frustration. "Look, Sasuke, we're friends and all, but don't you think the terms are a bit... unfair." A tanned digit pointed to the scroll both men were currently facing. "Don't come near Sound's borders; don't even think about trying to breach our borders; don't even try to breathe when in the vicinity of the Kage of Sound, etc. I mean, come on, Sasuke, we're trying to make a treaty, not a stupid gang alliance."

The Uchiha was quiet as he, too, scanned over the treaty. His dark eyes flashed in recognition before whisking up the scroll with lightning speed.

"Wrong one," he murmured as he withdrew a different scroll. "That one was for when you decided to visit."

Two lean figures observed the two former teammates as they haggled over what was 'fair' and 'not fair' with amused grins on their faces, their expressions hidden behind porcelain masks. The two ANBU turned to look at each other before silently nodding. With a hand seal, both disappeared noiselessly.

"It looks like the negotiations won't be finished any time soon," concluded the silver-haired ANBU as he took off his mask, only to reveal another mask underneath it.

The young woman beside him nodded, a slight smile still on her lips, as she released her indigo hair from the stiff ponytail she donned for ANBU purposes.

"It's nice to see that the two are starting to banter like they used to, though."

The man nodded, only to quickly wield a kunai when a loud yell was heard from the Hokage's Office. With an affirmative look from his partner, the man rushed in, his kunai held lightly between gloved fingers. He blinked when he opened the door only to see the Hokage cradling his hand and Uchiha Sasuke sporting a slight smirk on his pale features.

"...is there something wrong, Hokage-sama?"

"Nothing's wrong, Kakashi," growled the blonde. He pointed a trembling finger at the raven-haired man accusingly with narrowed eyes. "'Cept that bastard just gave me the most painful hand shake ever!"

"It was just a small shock," said the Uchiha nonchalantly as he examined his hand. "I don't really want a treaty with a village whose Kage can't even take a little lightning."

"T-teme! It was a freaking Chidori in disguise, damn it!"

Kakashi looked between his two former students with indecision before shaking his head and walking out of the room, closing the door quietly behind him. His Hyuuga partner sent him a questioning look before also shaking her head, the slow upturn of her lips betraying her amusement.

Three hours later the two Kages walked outside the door, both looking worse for the wear and considerably more exhausted than when they had first walked in earlier that day.

The blonde Kage lifted up a wrinkled scroll with a yawn and tapped it. "Treaty," he mumbled.

Loud exclaims went up in the air as all of the former Konoha Eleven cheered, save for the more reserved ones. From the side, a dehydrated-looking Suigetsu nodded as he exchanged looks with Sasuke and trailed down the hallway, slinking into a door labeled 'Restroom.'

Kakashi and his partner observed the celebrating shinobi from their place in the shadows, both keeping a close eye on their Hokage and the Sound Kage.

The blonde suddenly broke through the crowd to grab a pinkette by the arm, dragging her with him towards Uchiha Sasuke.

"Let's go get a drink together... to celebrate the return of Team Seven," said the Hokage solemnly, his dark blue eyes silently questioning the rigid Uchiha. After what seemed like an eternity—in which all the shinobi gathered in the room watched with bated breaths, a few with their hands casually over their weapons pouch—the Uchiha gave a slight nod.

Tension was released as quickly as a pin poking a balloon.

"Great," said Naruto with an easy grin. "Let's go, then!" He took a few steps before blinking and turning around, his eyes discretely scanning the corner where the two ANBU were situated, a quiet invitation in his dark blue orbs.

Kakashi turned to his partner, not at all surprised to see her shake her head. With a 'what-can-you-say?' shrug of his shoulders, Kakashi nodded when the blonde gave them the 'OK' to leave their active duty positions. Two dark shadows suddenly entered the vast lobby, the two animal masks nodding to him and his partner in greeting and dismissal.

With their own nods in return, he and his partner exited the building, the tenseness in their limbs instantly relaxing as the crispness of the changing seasons hit their bare skin.

Taking off his porcelain mask for the final time, Kakashi turned to look at his female partner. A silent message was quickly exchanged between the two. Nodding, Kakashi lifted up two stiff fingers and made a hand seal, disappearing in a poof of smoke.

x-x-x

"Ramen's the best!" yelled the blonde Hokage as he slammed down his fifth bowl.

The pink-haired medic at his side rolled her eyes. "You're staining your Kage robes," she pointed out distastefully.

"You're eating like a child," murmured the Uchiha to the blonde's right as he took a sip from his glass of water.

"You guys just don't understand," sighed Naruto with a hand over his heart. "Ramen is the food for the soul, I swear. Re-energizing, refreshing, refilling..."

Lifting a clear glass to her lips, Hinata observed the scene, her keen eyes intensely focused on the two helpers assisting Teuchi-san, watching for any sudden movements that could be potentially harmful to the Hokage and his former team.

"You're off-duty," said her partner as he sat down at the table across from her. "And on a date."

"Date?" asked Hinata as she tore her eyes away from the trio to turn to face the silver-haired nin who was currently engaged in reading his book. "Was this a 'date'?"

The masked man nodded as he turned a page. "Yes, during our silent agreement to meet up to further observe Team Seven, your shining eyes told me that you wished to make this a meeting where we could share our deepest secrets over a splendid meal of well-cooked barbecue and sake, which, of course, means a date."

Hinata blinked slowly at the man and his misguided conclusion before wincing slightly when Kakashi closed his book with a loud 'snap'.

"So are you ready to start this 'date'?" asked the silver-haired man as he propped an elbow on the table, prompting Hinata to notice, for the first time since Kakashi's arrival, the navy blue set of hakama and haori he was wearing. In unconcealed shock, despite her many years spent mastering her facial expressions, Hinata openly gaped at Kakashi's formal wear.

"D-date?" she asked hollowly, this time without the joking tone. "Y-you mean..."

"So this wasn't a date?" asked her ANBU partner with a light voice. "Well, then, maybe I read your expression wrong." Kakashi motioned to the waiter with a raise of his hand. "Since we're here, though, we might as well make the most of it."

Hearing a loud exclamation from across the street, Hinata turned rapidly to access the situation, only to relax when she saw Sakura pounding Naruto's back with fierce slaps to help with his choking. She observed the scene for a few seconds before turning slowly to face the man who was currently staring at her with an unfathomable expression in his eye.

"Yes?"

Kakashi smiled and shook his head, motioning to the menu that had been placed in front of her while she'd been distracted. "What would you like to eat?"

Blinking slowly, Hinata lifted the menu up to see the choices of meat before looking up hesitantly at Kakashi.

"Beef."

The night passed by quickly for Hinata, most of it spent enjoying a warm meal with her ANBU partner and occasionally checking on the two Kages and pink-haired medic.

x-x-x

With a small frown, Hinata's steps came to a stop in front of her apartment house. In a quiet voice, Hinata turned to look at the man walking beside her and asked, "I guess... this is good night?"

"Yes, I suppose it is," replied Kakashi as he pocketed the book he had been holding.

Hinata stood between her doorsteps and Kakashi with indecision as words built up on her lips, only to be pushed back with forceful restraint. Taking a hesitant step forward, Hinata finally felt her restraint break, her mind losing against her heart in a fierce battle. Turning around rapidly, words poured out of her mouth, her hot breaths creating thin swirls in the chilly night.

"Tonight wasn't... a d-date."

Years of reading Kakashi's emotions without the use of his facial expressions made the disappointment in the lines of his body show clearly to Hinata, his rein on his emotions breaking momentarily due to her words. Clenching her fists tightly, Hinata inhaled lightly, so as not to lose her nerve, before continuing.

"Dates... should be confirmed by both parties. Next time... I don't want to be the only one not knowing."

Turning around to face her apartment door, Hinata took a step forward, stopping only to utter her last words.

"Tomorrow we're both off-duty... So, d-do you want to have breakfast together?"

It was deathly quiet as Hinata stood there, stock-still, her heart beating rapidly in its confines, and Kakashi silently taking in her words. When the silence continued to persist for a few more minutes, Hinata finally lost her nerve and turned around, ready to smile and laugh it off, as she and Kakashi were opt to do whenever an awkward silence would occur between the two.

Which hasn't happened in years, Hinata mentally recounted.

"As a date?"

Her mouth half-open, Hinata blinked at Kakashi's unexpected question.

"W-what?" she asked, caught off guard.

"As a date?" repeated the man in a quiet voice.

Hinata nodded slowly as she fervently wished for her ANBU mask so that the light blush that was worming its way to her cheeks wouldn't be so obvious.

Her ANBU partner blinked before smiling, his eye creasing in the action. "Which means we've both confirmed it?"

Feeling a slow smile start to overtake her lips, Hinata nodded. "Yes."

"Good," said the man simply. Raising up his hand, he sent her a cheery wave before disappearing in a poof of smoke.

With a smile still on her lips, Hinata turned to enter her apartment, only to see a strange sight from the corner of her eyes. Blinking curiously at a mysterious piece of paper laying where Kakashi had previously been standing, Hinata picked it up, her eyes quickly scanning it over for its contents, ANBU protocol instantly planting suspicion in the back of her mind.

Actually, I didn't think it was a date, either. You looked too beautiful for it to not be a hallucination.

Her cheeks flushed darkly as heat flooded her face, the messy scrawl on the piece of paper making her heart beat erratically. Noticing that the other side wasn't blank, Hinata swiftly turned it around.

9:00

Hinata lifted a hand to her face, pressing her calloused fingers against her curving lips.

I won't be late.


End.

For those I believe in, I can change my shape
A deep pure love can even become the ocean
Embracing it like a cradle the waves glisten~