A/N: The world needs more LeeHina, so I am doing just that! I hate to clog my profile with 100 LeeHina stories—actual likelihood of me completing this is zero to none, but on the off chance… However, since there's so little LeeHina love each one is getting its own one shot under its own link.
Thank you for understanding.
Prompt: Lovers100 Table B: 087. Biggest Fears
Disclaimer: Lee and Hinata are owned by Kishimoto, even though I think I love them more than he does. He owns all rights and gets paid the big bucks. I sit at a desk and write 1000 plus word stories to entertain myself and get paid minimum wage.
Summary: Occasionally, what we dream of is someone else's nightmare. Pre-LeeHina.
WARNING: HERE THERE BE SPOILERS FOR MANGA CHAPTERS 437 TO CURRENT. THIS IS TRUE FOR ALL MY LEEHINA STORIES, SO READER BEWARE.
Told Myself Forever
They had started sparring every Wednesday night sometime after their first Chuunin exam, when he had recovered from his surgery. Lee had just appeared at her window one night, grinning brightly, and asked if she wished to join him for an evening of 'indulgence in the passions of our youth to move toward our common goal of bettering ourselves for the good of our village and self-image'. It had taken her four minutes to work out that he meant training, but after that it had become a routine. Lee would somehow make his way into the compound—how, she still didn't know, as she had yet to catch him—and land on her windowsill. They we walk out the front gates together to the small practice field Lee liked best, and would train until just before dawn. Then they would return the way they had come and Lee would mysteriously disappear again.
This had gone on for four years now, with never a week missed unless one of them had a mission. Still, she never tired of it. Lee was always improving something, getting stronger every week, and encouraging her to do the same. He never laughed when she tried something new only to have it fail horribly. Instead he'd sit with her and work with her, increasing their nightly meetings to every night if he had to, until they could get it right.
It was Lee that helped her perfect the Juho Soshiken move she had attempted to use on Pain only a week before. Obviously, she still had much work to do before it became the unstoppable offense she meant it to be.
What she was waiting for, Hinata didn't quite know. There were no walls or windowsills left to climb, and certainly no training field for them to use. She was still recovering from her run in with the Akatsuki as well, so even if there was some place to train, she probably shouldn't. Still, here she sat, in the rubble of what was once her home, waiting.
Honestly, she could not decide whether she wanted Lee to show up or not. He had been encouraging her from the beginning to tell Naruto how she felt—the first and only person to ever directly confront her about it—and she didn't want to tell him that she had, only for Naruto to do nothing about it. Even Naruto explaining he didn't have similar feelings for her would have been better than the aching silence. At least then she would know. She could know and she could hurt for that instead of bouncing back and forth between terrible heartache and hope that he might turn and smile at her and might, maybe, say…
"If I had known you were waiting, I would have hurried faster." Lee's voice came from behind her, and she turned to see her friend looking down at her curiously from the top of a rubble pile. He looked dirty and tired. Probably, he had been helping with the rebuilding.
"I wasn't waiting, exactly," she turned and forced a smile at him, trying to push all thoughts of Naruto and what he may or may not be thinking of her now out of her mind. Somehow, even over the last three years, not thinking of Naruto had always been easier with Lee around. Usually he kept her so busy she didn't have time for anything else. Even when they were talking, though, before and after their work out, his happy conversation and bright smile made it hard to be sad enough to miss anyone. "I wasn't sure you would come."
"Training with you is the light of my week. I would not miss it for anything." That was his standard answer, whenever Hinata was feeling low and asked him why he bothered wasting his time training with her. She didn't know how serious he was about it, but always it made her smile. "We are not going to be doing much training today though, I am afraid. I have not worked this much since we were all genin."
She scooted down the slab of concrete she'd been using as a seat, making room for Lee to flop gracelessly down next to her. "Probably for the best. I do not think I am allowed to train just yet anyway."
Lee made a soft noise, closing his eyes briefly before tilting his head back and looking up at the stars. "Well, with all the lights gone, we can at least see more stars. Without the mountain, too. The change of scenery is nice."
"Lee-san always finds something happy to think of," Hinata giggled softly, brushing the tips of her sandals over the loose dirt, drawing unintelligible squiggles. She bit her lip slightly, and sighed, looking over when Lee continued to stare up. "Why did you come when you knew we couldn't train today?"
She'd been expecting, or maybe just hoping, for a loud exclamation of how they were friends, for more than training, and seeing her was the light that he still needed. What she got was a long silence, during which Lee's smile melted into something softer as he continued to stare upwards. If she had to give it an emotion, Hinata supposed she would call it sad. No, more than that, he looked like he was in pain. "Lee-san…"
"You nearly died." He didn't really whisper it, but it wasn't anywhere near his usual volume either. "Who knows, if Naruto-kun had not convinced Pain, you could have still." His fists clenched on his knees, so tight Hinata thought she heard something crack. "And I was not there to help you."
Neji-niisan had mentioned that both TenTen and Lee had bee upset finding her in the state they had. He'd told her that TenTen had been upset that it was one more friend they had lost, but he'd offered no explanation for Lee. Now, perhaps, she had one, or at least part. "You were on a mission, Lee-san. Nobody blames you for not being here."
"It is not everyone I am worried about. Just you." Now it was his turn to force a smile, she could tell. "I do not have friends enough to spare on things like that. I always wanted to be strong enough to protect those I cared about, but I realize now I cannot be everywhere at once. How am I to tell where I am needed most? Sensei, Neji, and TenTen could have completed that mission fine without my help, and I can not help thinking that, maybe, if I had been here, would things have been different?"
Probably not, Hinata knew. It would have still been Naruto facing that powerful enemy alone, and she still would have gone to his aid, because she had to. Would she have gone alone, though? That would depend on if Lee had been beside her or not. Others had been in the village, she knew that, but no one had come with her. Unless he'd been directly next to her and able to do so, it wouldn't have made any difference at all. Except that she might have hesitated. She remembered being relived that Neji-niisan and his team had been out the village and therefore out danger from the attack. If Lee had been there, wouldn't she perhaps have looked for him to assure his safety before looking for Naruto?
Now that she'd thought that, it seemed strange. She loved Naruto, she didn't doubt that, so why would she have looked first for her treasured friend?
That was why. He was her beloved friend, her Lee-san. The one who listened, and cared, and always believed in her without question or judgment. The very idea that she could even possibly loose that made her throat close up and her fingers clench as she fought back the sick twisted feeling in her stomach. Where Naruto was the sun she aspired to be, Lee had become her ground, and she didn't think she could live without either of them.
"It is difficult to say what might have been," she whispered quietly, eyes glancing back up at the sky. Lee was right; the view was more spectacular with all the buildings gone. There seemed no end to the heavens above their heads, and she suddenly felt very small. If she had died, this would have still continued. And Lee-san would have had to watch it alone. "I am sorry if I frightened you, Lee-san. I needed to do something. Naruto-kun needed me."
"What if I needed you still?" Lee's face reminded her of a kicked puppy as she watched him out of the corner of her eye.
"Had you been here to help Sakura-san, wouldn't you have chosen her over me?"
Lee was quiet for a while, hardly seeming to breathe, before he said quietly, "do not ask that decision of me, Hinata-san. It is not a choice I feel capable of making."
She turned to him, feeling her eyes moisten as they widened. She knew how much Sakura meant to Lee. He loved her with everything he had, and had for years in spite of her constant rejections. That he would even hesitate to save Sakura because she, Hyuuga Hinata, was in danger was more of an honor than she could ever ask for.
Of course, hadn't she just come to that conclusion about Lee and Naruto, and how they were both important to her? In different ways, perhaps, but even so, a life without Lee-san would seem just as empty as a world without her sunshine. "I…" her voice trailed off as her courage failed, and she had to swallow hard so she could speak again. "I am sorry for the trouble I caused you, Lee-san. I didn't think it would bother you so much."
A quiet chuckle from her companion; a surprisingly dark sound for the normally cheerful Lee. "I am strong, Hinata-san, but even I am not invincible."
She had beaten Lee once or twice in the years they had trained together. Even so, it was strange to hear him say so. To admit that he had weaknesses, or could be anything but her strong happy light that burned so brightly. Hinata looked down at her hands still clenched tightly on her knees. "You would have run to Naruto-kun's aid as well. I know you would have."
Glancing at him out of the corner of her eye, she saw his eyes widen before he looked away sheepishly. "That is probably true. If I could have helped, I would have."
"That is what I fear for Lee-san," she turned to smile at him now, closing her eyes as she did so. "That you will burn so fast and so bright that your candle will run out too quickly. How do I protect you against that?"
The silence between them turned uncomfortable, but when she opened her eyes Lee was no longer looking at her, or even the stars. His eyes were focused on the rubble by their feet. "You are afraid I will leave you behind?"
"You're already well ahead of me in skill." On instinct, she reached out and covered one bandaged hand in hers. Never before had she noticed how small her hands were compared to his. "That is something I don't mind. But if Lee-san were ever to leave me behind forever, I don't think I could stand it."
A quiet thoughtful hum filled the space between them before Lee turned to smile at her. "Let us make a promise, then. To never leave each other alone and always be together, the best of friends. Would you like that, Hinata-san?"
Her fingers tightened around the hand she held and she smiled back. "I would like that very much."