Summary: A small, delicate hand reached toward another's face, intending to trace a small cut across his cheek. The hand was promptly slapped away. SasuHina.

Maple Tree

by Bullwinkle's Lady

A small, delicate hand reached toward another's face, intending to trace a small cut across his cheek. The hand was promptly slapped away.

Naruto and Sakura winced.

"Why does she take that from him?" was Naruto's hushed whisper. Sitting high in a tree branch beside his pink-haired teammate, he absently fingered a whiskered cheek. The dying red maple leaves easily hid them from sight of the two shinobi standing below.

Sasuke was dressed in his ANBU armor, having returned from a mission only moments prior. He seemed rather cranky, as he glared at the heiress with a clenched jaw and narrowed onyx eyes.

Cheeks flushed, Hinata wore a jounin vest, her long hair beating against a tense back. Her fingers intertwined behind her, she shuffled the tip of her foot and stared upon the parched earth. It was the Hyuuga's newest nervous stance, And cute as hell, Naruto thought. Why is she with a guy like Sasuke?

It was painful to see them fight, yet it was something that had to be done. Naruto wanted only to leap down between them – to protect Hinata from the Uchiha's loathsome stare.

"I wonder if they're breaking up," Sakura hissed quietly.

"Some people are incompatible," Naruto responded hoarsely. "Sometimes death is a beautiful thing." He watched fiery maple leaves rain down on the couple.

"But what could they be fighting about?" the Haruno girl murmured, cupping her ear.

Sasuke made a comment, one that neither of them could catch, but his tone was monotonous, and his girlfriend visibly sagged. The Uchiha snatched a leaf from the air, allowing it to burn between his fingers. Her eyes watering, Hinata quickly turned to leave, and Sasuke seemed momentarily caught off guard.

Stunned.

"What?" Naruto whispered, unable to comprehend. "Is it over?"

A weary smile crossed Sakura's face. "Maybe it's...just beginning?"

They watched Sasuke's scowl soften, until it revealed something bordering pain.

"Hinata."

And in his voice, the slight breech of diffidence.

The heiress gasped as Sasuke caught her wrist, and Naruto nearly fell in his desperation to keep them in sight. Sasuke pulled Hinata back under the dying tree, against his chest, wrapped in his arms, and whispered something, gently, against her ear.

Naruto and Sakura stared in shock when Sasuke released her. Hinata's tears finally spilled.

Naruto shook his head in disgust. "What a bastard. What a sick basta-"

"I love you too!" Hinata cried, loudly enough for the spectators to hear. Naruto dazedly watched as the heiress latched onto Sasuke and attacked him with kisses.

Her lover's arms locked around her waist, and smirking, he kissed her back. Against her lips, he offered his vow, again and again. I love you.

It seemed their argument was finally over.

Naruto blushed and Sakura grinned. The blonde released a small cough. "So maybe I was wrong," he mentioned.