A/N: Just listened to My Immortal by Evanescence. God, I was depressed when I heard that song. Here's the result. The lyrics from that song will show up in this story, but since it's so long, I don't consider it a song-fic. One-shot.
To those who have read my other stories: I'm sorry about not posting anything, but I haven't had any inspiration. I've also been trying to write an original story called 'Wolf of the West.' You can find the beginning chapters of it on fictionpress: http: //www. fictionpress. com/s /2753043 /1/Wolf_of_the_West
Just remove the spaces if you want to read it. I go by 'Ypsilon' on there. It's a story with a wolf as the main character. :)
Lyrics by Evanescence. Characters from Masashi Kishimoto.
In a Field That Night
That's what her grave overlooked.
Would she be happy with that? Probably not… but what did it matter now? She was dead. She couldn't see the dried out prairie, and she never would.
She would never get to feel the breeze that blew through the various grasses that covered the land surrounding her grave because she was six feet under the surface of the earth.
She would never get to smell the fresh air that came with that breeze, nor would she ever hear the distant bird calls that had once chirped in excitement.
They only cried in sadness now, and it was oddly fitting, that melancholy tone.
The field used to bring her a great happiness, and everything there seemed to share that feeling, from the buzzing of the bugs to the songs of the birds. They only sung in harmonious voices when she was around.
Now, they wept because of her absence.
The man that sat there felt sorry for them, in a way. They would never sing in happiness again because she would never come back. He closed his eyes as a light wind passed through.
Was she trying to tell him something?
Even the thought of her brought a sad smile to his face. At least she wasn't in pain anymore; that was the only thing he could tell himself to stay in one piece. He still couldn't believe he hadn't been broken yet. Who knew? Maybe he was, but just didn't know it. The fact that he visited her grave so often might have been proof of that.
Was he lost? Was he fading from existence, just like she had?
When she had first passed away, everyone had mourned the loss of her. Her good friends cried for her day in and day out, but like everyone else that died in her profession, she was quickly forgotten. Everyone let go of their memories of her. That was how their minds were trained to work. If they continued to think about all of their dead comrades, they would never get anything done. They would drown in their sadness and sorrow…
Just like he had.
He couldn't help it, though. He couldn't let go of her memory. He hadn't even really tried to. The man knew that she wouldn't want him to mourn her to such an extent. She had never wanted to cause anyone else any pain. She couldn't intentionally harm anything. She was too kind to do such a thing; her heart was too big for something like that. He knew she would have wanted him to let go of her.
But he couldn't.
It would hurt too much to do that. It would cause him so much more pain than what he felt by holding onto her. He couldn't let her go.
The man looked down from the field to the gravestone. His eyes were empty. His heart and spirit had been ripped from them when she died. In place of the old piercing blue his eyes had once been now rested two grayed versions of them. He rarely felt happiness anymore. The only time he could be found smiling was when he was reliving a memory with her. Even then, he was usually crying at the same time. He never seemed to be truly happy.
Why couldn't he get over it all? Why couldn't he leave the past behind and move on?
His eyes locked onto the words that were carved into the stone:
That was why he couldn't let go.
He had created far too many memories with her. He had done too much with her to even think about trying to forget. They had experienced so much together. He hadn't ever wanted them to be apart.
But Kami had had other plans for them.
I'm so tired of being here
Suppressed by all my childish fears
And if you have to leave
I wish that you would just leave
'Cause your presence still lingers here
And it won't leave me alone
He sometimes found himself wishing that he had never met her. At least if that had happened, she wouldn't have been able to hurt him so badly, just like she hadn't wanted to. If she just hadn't had that crush on him back in the Academy, maybe things would have turned out differently. Maybe, just maybe, she wouldn't have been involved in something that she'd had no control over.
These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase
That was how long it had been since she died that night.
Why couldn't he get over her? The man asked himself that question every time he visited her grave.
She had been the first one to show him any sort of love, let alone affection. She had been the first one to jump in to try and protect him against his battle with Pein. Although it had been foolish, it had also been brave. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that it was that same thing that he would have done. Well, would have done. The days of his foolish and idiotic self had ended long ago. That was the part of him that had seemed to die with her.
She had tried to protect him because she loved him. He had been shocked to learn that at first, but soon after, he had asked her on a date, and everything had gone from there.
They had gone through a steady relationship: one that had both its ups and downs, good times and bad. And just when he thought he had it made, the gods had torn his world apart in one night.
When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me
She did indeed have all of him, even from her grave. She stole part of him unintentionally when she died, and he had never gotten it back. He was broken, all because of that night, five years ago.
"Naruto-kun! Please hurry or we're going to be late!" a light voice called from the other room. "Tsunade-sama will not be pleased if we do not show up on time!"
Grumbling as he pulled on the rest of his formal kimono, he called back, "I'll be there in a second, Hina-chan."
He sighed in relief when he finally managed to finish putting on his outfit. Why did formal dinners require so much preparation? Why couldn't they be like his dinners with Hinata? She would either help him cook, or they would eat ramen together. All he had to do to get ready for those was put on a t-shirt and shorts. She didn't care, and neither did he.
Why had he even agreed to meet Tsunade in the first place? Well, that was an easy one. It was his sort of 'inauguration' dinner, so to speak. He was going to be announced Tsunade's successor for the first time, formally speaking. Everyone in Konoha knew he was already taking part in many of the Hokage's various jobs, be it signing paperwork or meeting with an important leader. Many diplomats from all over Hi no Kuni would attend the dinner of his inauguration, so he was required to make an appearance as well.
He opened the door to their room (they still lived in his apartment, for Hiashi had allowed her to move in with him when he announced his plans to marry his daughter; who better to marry than the future Hokage?) and was met with a fist to the chest. He was about to receive another, but he managed to dodge and catch it. He looked at the owner, and saw Hinata blushing up a storm.
"Sorry, Naruto-kun," she apologized for pounding on his door. "We need to hurry. We were supposed to leave ten minutes ago."
Naruto laughed it off. "There's a reason I'm a ninja," he said, a quick plan already formed in his mind. "Ready to go?"
Before she could say anything, they disappeared in a swirl of leaves.
They reappeared on the roof of the Hokage Tower seconds later. Hinata fell onto Naruto, who just barely managed to keep his balance with the sudden added weight.
"Are you okay?" he asked, looking down at Hinata's navy blue hair.
She grumbled and pushed away from him with a glare. "A little warning next time would be nice."
"Sorry," Naruto murmured under her powerful gaze. "It won't happen again."
She rolled her eyes and grabbed his arm. "Yeah, right."
He grinned like an idiot as she dragged him off. "You know you can't resist me."
Her response was a smack over the back of his head.
"Ow!" he grumbled.
She looked back at him innocently. "I'm sorry, Naruto-kun. My hand must have slipped." After a disbelieving look from her boyfriend, she continued, "Let's go find Tsunade-sama."
They had found a way into the tower through one of the doors near the top. Tsunade had probably left it unlocked since they always went in that way. There would be an ANBU nearby, so it didn't really matter. No one would get in if they weren't supposed to.
When they walked through the doorway, Naruto accidentally ran into the doorframe because of the quick and sharp angles Hinata was taking as she led him through the tower. He felt the pressure of a small box press against him in his pocket because of it, and smiled a bit. It was an engagement ring. As long as everything went over as planned, he intended to take her from the after party early to propose atop the Hokage Mountain. They had talked about marriage before, but hadn't really had too much time to flesh out the details of it. He wanted to bring them one step closer to it, and he wanted to do it that night. An opportunity like a formal dinner didn't come up very often. It was also one of the few times that he wasn't gone on a mission.
Hinata had quit being a ninja several years prior in favor of using her talent in the Konoha Medical Corps. She was rarely out of the village after that, so they got to see each other even more. Once he became Hokage, he would be in the village even more, too. Other than diplomatic missions, he would be in Konoha most of the time, working the hours that many of the civilians worked. He would be able to see his girlfriend (soon to be fiancée) on a daily basis; he would be the strongest ninja in the village according to the ranking system… what could be better than that?
"Naruto-kun," he heard a voice call to him. He jerked his head in the direction it came from and saw Hinata giving him a concerned look. "Are you alright?"
He grinned. "Why wouldn't I be?"
She noted his nervousness, but passed it off.
"Tsunade-sama says we are to go to the ball room immediately," Hinata explained. "She's a bit angry about our timing, so let's try and not make her wait any longer."
Naruto nodded and quickly followed Hinata down several flights of stairs. She had grabbed his hand as they ran to make sure he didn't go in some other direction. She knew he hated formal events, but she also knew that his inauguration dinner was one that he was absolutely required to attend.
Naruto's thoughts were elsewhere, though. The simple action of her holding his hand stirred up memories in his mind. His girlfriend had changed over the few years that they had been together. They were both nineteen now, and had been dating for roughly four years. In that time, Hinata had changed. A lot. She wasn't the quiet girl that he had started dating back when they were fifteen. She had become far more confident in herself, and seemed to be the one that bossed him around the most. It had probably started the day he had first brought her to his apartment. He still remembered how she had scolded him on the messiness of the place.
However, unlike his teammates, who would have just yelled at him about, she helped him clean it up. While he hadn't appreciated it very much back then, he did now. She had forced him to do the majority of it, but after a few repeated times of cleaning his apartment, he found himself doing it almost unconsciously. She had affected him greatly over the years.
Once they spotted a line of people who were awaiting entrance into a room, they slowed their pace. They had to look important since many of the diplomats wouldn't recognize them, meaning they would have to give them a good first impression.
Hinata smiled as she approached one of the ANBU and spoke quietly with him. He nodded and moved aside, allowing them access. As they passed, Naruto nodded to the masked man and flashed him a grin because he recognized him as Inuzuka Kiba.
Kiba nodded back, and continued to wave more guests in.
Behind him, Naruto heard some ask, "Why are they allowed in before us? I've been waiting for over thirty minutes!"
Another voice responded. "You fool! That is Uzumaki Naruto-sama, the new Hokage!"
Naruto chuckled lightly as he continued to walk, and didn't hear anything else from behind him, probably because of the embarrassment the man had felt for announcing something like that. Instead of holding his hand, Hinata now gently clung onto his arm. He could see that she was still a bit nervous around others, but didn't comment on it.
As they weaved their way through the many small dining tables and approached a mass of people at the end of the hall, Tsunade caught sight of them. It took her a few minutes to reach them because of all the chairs that were backed out from the tables because of the people that sat in them. It caused the need for many 'excuse me's and apologies for interrupting conversations and bumping into people.
"Hey, brat," she greeted in a friendly voice. It was too loud in the room for anyone to hear them, so it really didn't matter how she addressed the blonde. "Good evening, Hinata."
Naruto rolled his eyes at the clear disrespect. He really couldn't blame her, though, because he always did the same to her. "Hey, baa-chan."
Hinata elbowed him.
"But-!" Naruto grumbled.
"Good evening, Tsunade-sama," Hinata returned the greeting.
Tsunade stifled a laugh. "Let's get going; many people want to meet you."
The young couple nodded and followed the Hokage toward the mass further down the hall. Naruto groaned lightly at the sight. It would be a long night. He was nervous about proposing to Hinata, but he honestly couldn't wait for it because at least then he wouldn't have to sit through boredom. He glanced at Hinata. She had a smile plastered onto her face, though she couldn't have been feeling nearly as happy as that. She had been forced to sit through many formal events back when she lived with her clan, so this was nothing new.
"Is that the new Hokage?" a voice called from off to Naruto's left. His head jerked in that direction and his eyes wandered over the crowd until he spotted a familiar face.
"Tazuna-san?!" Naruto said with wide eyes. Both his girlfriend and Tsunade looked back at him in confusion. It only took Hinata a moment to realize what he was talking about, but Tsunade never caught on.
He began to walk in the man's direction, only to be stopped by Tsunade.
"Just where do you think you're going?" she asked with a raised brow.
He looked back at her. "To see an old friend. Can't the other diplomats wait? You'll announce me at the beginning of the dinner, but then they'll have the entire after party to introduce themselves to me." He knew that the last part wasn't completely true, seeing as he had other plans, but he really wanted to see Tazuna.
Tsunade caved in. "Fine. Just don't let this become a repeating process at future dinners. I'll cover for you while you catch up with your friend." She then turned to Hinata. "Keep an eye on him, and please don't let him accidentally 'wander off.'"
Hinata nodded with a giggle, while Naruto stared at her. "You honestly think I would do that?"
"I can never be too sure," she said with a smile as she walked off.
Naruto groaned and pulled his girlfriend in the other direction.
"Hey, Tazuna-san," Naruto said with a grin as he approached, Hinata in tow.
"Finally showing some respect, eh? Tazuna is just fine," he said, returning the grin. "So, who's your lady-friend? Is she your wife?"
Hinata blushed, while Naruto responded. "Not yet," he said, making Hinata blush even more. "Her name is Hyuuga Hinata."
"Pleased to meet you, Hyuuga-san," he said with a friendly smile. "I'm sure you already know my name, but I'll say it anyway. I'm Tazuna, governor of Nami no Kuni."
Naruto was surprised by the new piece of information.
Hinata nodded and smiled in return. "Naruto-kun has told be much about you, Tazuna-sama."
Said man chuckled a bit. "I am no lord to you, my friend. You are the Hokage's girlfriend, and whenever he decides to pop the question, you will be his wife."
"The honor only comes with the title, and until then, you are a lord to me. Being his girlfriend does not change my status," she returned.
"Ah, but it is I who should be calling you 'lady,' seeing as you are the heir to the Hyuuga clan."
Naruto felt like bashing his head on the table. "Please, can we stop talking about titles, ranks, and politics in general for a few minutes?" he begged. "I won't hear the end of it later, so can we please not talk about it now?"
Tazuna laughed while Hinata pulled out a few chairs so they could sit while they spoke with the governor.
"While you may have grown taller, you certainly haven't changed much since I last saw you," Tazuna said, referencing the time just before Naruto and Hinata had started dating. The old governor had come to Konoha to help rebuild the village after Pein's attack, but he hadn't seen them again in the years that followed.
"I have to agree with you, Tazuna-sama," Hinata said all too sweetly. The older man chuckled while Naruto rolled his eyes. At least she was opening up a bit more. She didn't seem to be as nervous as she had when they first walked into the ballroom.
After a few moments of laughter, Naruto decided to shift the focus of their conversation. "So, how is your family doing? Did Inari decide to take up your business after all? How's Tsunami-san? I bet Inari's still a handful."
The blonde ninja watched the other man's eyes drop toward the table. Naruto's jaw clenched. "Is everything alright with them?"
Hinata looked concerned as well. "If it's something you'd rather not talk about…"
"No, no," he said with a sigh. "It's just been a while…"
"Since?" Naruto pressed. He caught Hinata glance at him, but tried to ignore it.
"Since Tsunami died." Tazuna closed his eyes in thought. "It was a simple accident, really, but one that wound up taking her from this world… I'd like to leave it there."
Naruto smiled sadly and nodded. Hinata didn't really know much about this 'Tsunami' person, just that she was the man's daughter. She didn't really know what to do, so she placed her hand on her boyfriend's shoulder, mentally urging him to do something. No parent should have to bury their child.
The blonde felt Hinata's hand and bit his lip as Tazuna opened his eyes. "I'm sorry to hear that. She was very kind to me and my teammates." He paused. "How is Inari doing?"
Thankfully, the thought of his grandson brightened the older man up. He grinned when he spoke. "Inari's doing great. The loss of Tsunami hit him hard, but he's recovered from it. Right now, he's an apprentice to one of my old friends from back in the days when I was a bridge builder. You inspired him greatly, Naruto. And for that, I thank you. I'm still indebted to you and your team for saving me and the town seven years ago. If only I could come up with a way to repay you."
"N-no," Naruto stuttered. "Your being here tonight is enough. I didn't expect to see you at all; I didn't know you had become the governor. Looks like I'll be speaking with you on official terms in the near future."
"Still…" Tazuna trailed off.
Hinata finally spoke up. "I believe Tsunade-sama just called for us, Naruto-kun. Let's get going." She turned to Tazuna. "We can speak with you after the dinner, Tazuna-sama."
The old man grinned at Naruto. "You've found yourself a fine woman. Be sure to invite me to the wedding." Then to Hinata, "It was a pleasure meeting with you, Hyuuga-san."
The couple blushed and nodded before running off in the direction of the current Hokage. They didn't want to risk anymore embarrassment, so they didn't bother stopping by any other familiar faces.
When they had cleared the obstacle course of tables, they found Tsunade. She waved them over to a table and sat them down. Naruto sat next to Tsunade, while Hinata sat on the other side of him. Their table was by far the largest one in the entire room. The Daimyo sat on the other side of Tsunade. Other people that Naruto couldn't recognize filled in the rest of the seats.
"Ah, Naruto-kun, it's a pleasure to see you again," a voice called from behind him. Both he and Hinata looked over their shoulders to see a dark haired woman dressed in an expensive kimono approach them. Hinata frowned ever so slightly. Who was this woman and what did she want with her Naruto-kun?
"Ko-Koyuki?!" Naruto's eyes widened considerably.
"The one and only," she said with a smile.
Hinata looked surprised as well. She had heard about Naruto's mission to Yuki no Kuni, and how he had met the princess there, but she hadn't expected her to show up at the inauguration dinner.
"Ah, Kazahana-dono, welcome," Tsunade interrupted with a friendly smile. "Naruto has told me about you. I'm glad you were able to make it."
Hinata felt relieved when the beautiful woman stopped staring at Naruto. The woman made her jealous, even though she was older than them. Koyuki acted too friendly with him, and she didn't really like it. Why did Naruto have to make so many friends out of such powerful leaders? Her boyfriend probably knew half the people in the room. It made her feel a bit envious.
"Are you okay, Hinata?" Naruto asked, dropping all familiarities, genuinely concerned.
Hinata realized she hadn't been talking for a while. "Yes, sorry," she apologized. "I'm fine."
The blonde nodded slowly. "If anything's wrong, just let me know."
Hinata's heart fluttered a bit at that. She nodded, but felt like smacking herself. Why did she need to feel envy or jealousy toward other women? She had been dating Naruto for four years and knew him better than anyone else, besides his teammate. Hell, she probably knew him better than even they did. She loved him, and she knew he loved her back. Why did she have to feel insecure about it? There wasn't a doubt that he would always remain faithful to her. He was Naruto; he kept his promises.
A sudden clinking noise broke Hinata from her thoughts. She turned in the direction of it and saw Tsunade banging a utensil against her glass. She sighed; at least it was better than her living up to her reputation and yelling for everyone to be quiet.
"May I have your attention, everyone?" she called out loudly. It took a few minutes, but the room finally quieted down. "Thank you," she said. "Fellow citizens and allies of Hi no Kuni, we are gathered here today to recognize a person. Many of you have seen him running a mission, or have heard of him from friends and family. He has befriended many of the land's great leaders, including the current Kazekage of Sunagakure, the ruler of Yuki no Kuni, and many more. If I were to list you all, we would be here until dawn tomorrow," she explained with a chuckle. "I'll get right to the point, since I know that you all are looking forward to actually eating and talking with each other." She paused. "This man has been chosen as my successor for several reasons. He will be a great leader, and has already won the support of many of the villagers. He has affected many people, including myself, and will step into office with a great amount of diplomatic relations. He is strong, dedicated, and will protect Konohagakure and her many allies with his entire being. No one is better suited for the job. Even though he is still young, he has experienced much of what life has to offer him. He has struggled greatly, but because of his determination, he has persevered.
"In fact, he is going through one of the many difficulties of life as we speak. I'm sure you all remember your first love." The comment earned a few chuckles from the crowd. Hinata blushed when Naruto put his arm around her. "I know he will be the greatest Hokage thus far, and I am sure you will see it too within the first week of him taking office. While I hate to admit it, he is the strongest ninja in this village. His strength surpasses even that of the great Sharingan no Kakashi, his sensei. He has even surpassed me, and the late Jiraiya and Orochimaru. Though he is greater than any of the Sannin, he is still a kindhearted young man who cares about everyone that is under his protection. It has been his life goal since he was a child to be the Hokage, and I am highly honored to be the one to bequeath such a title to him."
She turned to Naruto with a smile. The blonde understood the message and got out of his seat. Hinata smiled in encouragement.
"Hi no Kuni, and all of her allies, I present to you Uzumaki Naruto, Rokudaime Hokage of Konohagakure!" she announced, and was met with a thunderous applause.
Naruto grinned when he heard the cheers, even from the diplomats. Tsunade looked a bit surprised by the response; it was something one would usually expect to come from a crowd of civilians and ninja - not an audience of the most important people of Hi no Kuni. It made him happy. He was finally receiving the recognition he had longed for as a child. It felt similar to when he had defeated Pein. The people of Konoha had welcomed him back with applause then, but this was different. It wasn't just the population of Konoha that was cheering him on anymore; it was the representatives of every city in Hi no Kuni, along with other important people.
Also, this time, he had Hinata by his side. He looked over to his pale eyed girlfriend and grinned. She smiled back and leaned in to kiss him. He leaned in too, causing their lips to meet before the enormous crowd. However, the couple didn't care. They had been embarrassed before, but now, they were just glad to have each other.
Naruto could have sworn he heard a cat call come from Tazuna among the applause, but he couldn't be too sure. He thought back to the ring in his pocket. That moment would be a great time to propose to Hinata, but he desperately wanted to do it when they were alone - not in front of hundreds of people.
"Alright, you two, break it up," Tsunade interrupted. "Dinner's coming out."
Naruto chuckled as he broke the kiss, causing Hinata to frown at Tsunade.
"You'll have plenty of time for that later," the older woman said. "Among other things."
Hinata's jaw clenched as her eyes widened, a blush spreading across her face.
"Baa-chan, stop embarrassing Hina-chan," Naruto whined.
Said woman shrugged. "I didn't say anything wrong. It's up to her how she interprets my words."
Naruto rolled his eyes and put an arm around his girlfriend. He couldn't wait for dinner to be over. He was getting antsy about the whole proposal. He wanted to be done with it so he could call her his 'fiancée' instead of his 'girlfriend.'
Hinata leaned into him for warmth. It was oddly cold in the ballroom, despite the number of bodies that filled it. She looked up to her boyfriend.
"Congratulations, Naruto-kun," she said brightly.
"Thanks," he responded with a smile. "Thank you for everything. You're the reason I made it this far. You believed in me all along."
Hinata looked at him curiously. "You were my reason for getting this far. You gave me the bravery and determination I needed to confess to you. I don't know where I would be without you."
"I don't know where I would be without you, either," Naruto said. "Certainly not here today. Without you, I probably would have had the drive I needed to defeat Pein all those years ago. When I saw you fall, my heart stopped. I hadn't really loved you back then, but we had gone to the Academy together. I couldn't bear to see a friend fall like that. I'm so glad you were alright."
"We've been through this before," Hinata giggled. "You were my world then and are my world now. I don't ever want to live without you."
He hugged her tightly. "I love you so much, Hinata."
"I love you, too, Naruto," she replied. "So much."
They were about to kiss again when Tsunade interrupted them.
"Ahem," she coughed. "What did I say? Dinner's here."
Naruto sighed and turned to his plate. Hinata did as well, but was highly disappointed at having to separate from him. She picked up her wine glass and tasted it. She practically spit it out because of the flavor. It was disgusting.
Her boyfriend seemed to think the same, if his gagging noises were anything to go by. She scanned the ballroom quickly, and spotted what she had been looking for.
"I'll go get us something better, Naruto-kun," she grumbled as she got up.
"Thanks, Hina-chan," he replied. "You're a lifesaver."
She walked around the table and weaved her way over to a waiter that had a plate with filled glasses on it. He seemed to be headed toward the Hokage's table anyway, so she figured she was just saving him some work.
"Excuse me," she said politely, but only received a grumble in response as he tripped over something. Instead of waiting, she reached up and took two glasses off the tray, just barely saving them from spilling. She grinned as she turned and headed back toward the table.
As she walked back, she heard a yell of frustration.
"Where did they go?!" the voice called.
Since she had no idea what the person was talking about, she carried on. If someone had lost one of their things, they could report it later. It didn't matter to her because she had no control over such things. It was the person's own fault for losing whatever they had misplaced.
She saw a few familiar faces in the crowd, like some of her friends that had become clan heads. Some of her family members were there, acting as guards for her father. Speaking of which, where was he? She scanned the hundreds of people until she finally found him at a table, several away from where hers was.
He saw her and smiled lightly. She smiled back. She would have waved, but the glasses in her hands wouldn't allow for that.
Hinata weaved through a few more tables and saw her sensei.
"Good evening, Kurenai-sensei," she greeted as she walked by.
Her sensei's head whipped around to face her, causing her to stop.
"Ah, Hinata, good evening! How are you and Naruto doing?" she asked in a cheerful voice.
"Great," Hinata replied. "How is little Asuma doing?" she asked, smiling brightly at the little four-year-old who was asleep in his mother's lap.
Kurenai glanced down at her child. "He's doing fine. He ate too much tonight and passed out. I had to bring him here because I couldn't find a babysitter. Everyone I know is here tonight."
Hinata giggled. "Well, it has been nice talking with you, sensei, but I need to get back to Naruto. He's probably dying to get something else to drink."
"He finished his wine already?" she asked in surprise. Dinner had started not five minutes ago.
"No, no," Hinata replied. "The stuff they served us tastes horrible, and since Naruto's presence is required at the table, I ran to get something else. Just because something is expensive doesn't mean it's good."
"Words to live by," Kurenai chuckled. There was a pause. "Well, it's been nice talking to you, too. I'm probably going to be leaving soon to get Asuma home. Let me know how the evening goes."
"I will," she nodded. "Say hi to Kiba for me on the way out. I believe he's still on guard at the entrance."
"Will do," Kurenai said.
"Bye, sensei," Hinata said before walking back to her table.
Naruto practically forced the glass out of her hand when she got back.
"Thank you so much, Hina-chan! Even the food can't get the taste out of my mouth," he said. He was about to gulp the new drink down when Hinata grabbed his arm.
He gave her a curious look.
"Let's have a toast," she proposed with a smile.
Naruto shrugged. "What should we propose to?"
Hinata paused in thought. "To us," she said brightly. "To everything. To you becoming Hokage. To us being together for four years… I really don't know…" she trailed off.
"No, that's good," Naruto smiled. He raised his glass. "To you, Hinata."
"To you, Naruto," she called back. They clinked glasses and she took a gulp of it.
Naruto was about to drink some, but Tsunade had chosen that moment to grab his sleeve. He had barely managed to avoid spilling, and grumbled at the older woman once he was sure he wouldn't end up wearing his drink.
"What is it, baa-chan?" he said with a frown.
She looked annoyed. "The Daimyo wishes to continue the conversation."
Naruto rolled his eyes. Before Hinata had come back, the lord had been talking with him about various political issues to get the blonde's opinions on them, and to see who he would be working with in the future.
The man wasn't all that bad, but he had the worst timing in the world.
He looked around Tsunade. "I will be with you in one moment, Daimyo-sama."
The man quietly nodded and continued talking with Tsunade.
Naruto turned to Hinata to tell her he would be right back, but she was the first to speak.
"I don't feel very good, Naruto-kun," she said, sounding a bit queasy.
Naruto gave her a concerned look. "Do you want me to help you to the ladies' room?" he offered.
"No," she said, holding a hand to her head. "I can get there by myself."
"Are you sure?" he pressed.
"Yes, Naruto-kun," she replied with a forced giggle. "I'm an adult, not a child."
He nodded slowly as she got out of the chair.
"I'm going to check on you if you aren't back in ten minutes," he said, making sure she heard him. He had a bad feeling about this. "Call for me if you need any help."
She rolled her eyes. "I'll be fine, Naruto-kun." Her actions betrayed her words, though. She looked like she was sick, and Naruto couldn't shake the feeling he had that something was wrong.
He watched her as she walked off. After a moment, he sighed and turned to join in the conversation with the Daimyo and Tsunade.
Just as he was catching on to what was happening, he heard a thump, followed by a shriek of fear. His jaw clenched as his head whipped around. He scanned the crowd in an effort to find where it had come from, and then spotted a mass of people in the direction Hinata had taken. He saw several ANBU appear to try and break apart the crowd, but his thoughts were elsewhere.
He didn't even register Tsunade's words when she asked him where he was going. All he could think of was what had caused the thump.
It just couldn't be Hinata.
No way in hell would it be her. She was probably already in the bathroom. Someone had probably just gotten drunk and had passed out. A woman had probably shrieked because the man had landed on her. How could it be anything else? It was a simple dinner party.
Naruto sprinted to the scene and fought his way through the cluster of people. No one would budge, so he added some killing intent to make them feel nervous. Who were they to stop their Hokage from seeing what had happened?
He finally managed to force his way through the crowd, but when he got to the middle, he desperately wished he hadn't.
His fantasy of finding some passed out drunkard was shattered as his eyes took in the sight.
In the middle of the crowd laid a dark haired girl, face down. Some people were kneeling over her, so he couldn't see most of her body, but he could see part of her face. That alone had been enough for him to identify her.
He ran to her side and shoved a man out of the way. He knew the person had only been trying to help, but he didn't care. What had happened to Hinata?
He tried to reign in his emotions and flipped her over. The blonde put an ear to her chest and could hear the faintest of thumps. They were getting slower by the second.
"Hinata," he said desperately, but received no response.
The others around him tried to help, but none of them were doctors - they were all just politicians. They didn't know how to help someone like that.
A blonde haired woman finally pushed her way through the crowd, and crouched down next to Naruto. She moved him away gently, and then her hands glowed green as she began to work.
"ANBU!" Tsunade called out. Three appeared next to her. They almost missed the order because of how fast she spoke. "Tell Hakane to prepare a room, now! Help her get to the hospital. One of you, stay here."
Sensing the urgency in her voice, two of them departed immediately. Hakane was a medical specialist that spent a great amount of time at the tower. She would make sure that there was a room ready at the hospital for when they arrived.
Tsunade looked to Naruto, and saw that he had a blank expression on his face. His eyes were empty as he stared down at the lifeless form of Hyuuga Hinata.
He knew, Tsunade thought sadly. She focused back on Hinata.
Her heart had stopped beating.
Naruto knew this. He could feel it. He could sense it.
He wasn't crying, so Tsunade cried for him. She knew she was a ninja, and ninja didn't cry.
But she couldn't help it.
A young girl had just died. A young girl that had a bright future ahead of her with a great man. The young girl hadn't experienced half the things Tsunade had.
Her face was pale.
What had caused her death?
Tsunade looked up at the crowd. Some of the women were crying - mainly the ones that had known her - while others were still in shock. She stopped the flow of chakra to her hands, and they lost their green glow. She looked over to Naruto again and bit her lip.
"Why?" he asked quietly. Tsunade almost missed it. "Why did she die?"
He turned to her and their eyes met. Tsunade's eyes widened when she saw a red tint appear in them. It grew larger until his eyes were a solid crimson. She saw a trickle of blood trail down his chin and saw that his canines were growing longer.
A single tear fell down his face.
Tsunade did the only thing she could think to do. She crawled over to him and wrapped her arms around him. He didn't respond, so she Shunshin'd them away.
She really could care less about what the others had thought about their sudden disappearance. The blonde woman knew that Naruto needed to get everything out. It wouldn't be good if he did that in front of so many important leaders.
When they reappeared, she looked around. They were in a field that was just outside of the village. It was in between several training grounds, and since it was so late, she knew they wouldn't be bothered.
Naruto looked at her, though his eyes lacked recognition. He pushed away from her and crawled off. He bashed his head into the soft dirt once he was away from Tsunade.
Get out of my head! he screamed in his mind. Give me Hinata back!
When he received no response, he let out a choke sob and crumbled to the ground in tears. He knew her heart had stopped, but he didn't want to believe it. How could she have died? Minutes earlier, she had been alright. Why did she have to die?
He could see her in his mind; only there, she wasn't a cold and dead body. She was alive. She was with him. They were at the ramen stand he loved so much on one of their many dates. She was laughing at a joke he had just told, and he was grinning because he loved her laugh.
Then they were at the park, and it was nighttime. They were holding hands while they sat on a bench, staring up at the moon. They had just taken a stroll around the lake and were enjoying each other's company.
Then they were on the Hokage Mountain. He had just told her that he was going to be the next Hokage, for real. Tsunade had just announced that he would be her successor, and she was congratulating him. They were watching the sunset, having just finished a celebration dinner. They were holding hands again. They had been doing that frequently. He liked it.
Then they were at the hospital. She had just received a promotion, and would be working as one of the highest ranking people there. He was kissing her. They were both happy with their lives. They had a bright future ahead of them.
Then he was in front of Hiashi. He had just asked the man for permission to marry his daughter. Her father had given them his blessing. He was the happiest man in the world. He was going to have a wife that he loved more than life itself.
Then he was at a store. He was looking for an engagement ring. Ino was helping him pick one out. In the end, he had gone for something simple, yet beautiful. Ino hadn't liked it very much, but he didn't care. He knew she would like it, and he couldn't wait to propose, despite his nervousness.
Then he was at his inauguration dinner. They were kissing again, in front of a large crowd. They didn't care, though. They had each other. That was all that mattered. When he was with her, he could ignore the outside world. It was just her. Only her. Always only her.
Then he was in a field. She had just left him. He was crying. Four years of his life had been spent with her, and now they were meaningless. It was the night that he was going to propose to her.
But he never got the chance to.
She had died Hyuuga Hinata. She hadn't become an Uzumaki. There would be no proof in fifty years that they had ever been together. Her gravestone would have the name 'Hyuuga' on it, not 'Uzumaki.'
They had never been married.
They couldn't be now, though, because she was dead.
Had she even known that he was planning on proposing to her that night? If she had lived just two hours longer, she would have been engaged to him.
The thought of that only made him cry harder.
Why did she leave him?
She was gone.
And she hadn't even said goodbye.
You used to captivate me
By your resonating light
Now I'm bound by the life you left behind
Your face it haunts
My once pleasant dreams
Your voice it chased away
All the sanity in me
It had been poison.
The wine had been poisoned, and he should have been dead, too. His glass had been poisoned, but Tsunade had kept him from dying.
Why had she done that?
If he had just been allowed to drink the wine, he would be with his girl. They would have died together.
Kami hadn't even been kind enough to do that for him.
No, instead, he had been forced to struggle through life with her memory dominating his mind. Even the thought of her made him break down crying. All of his friends - if he still had any after his self-isolation - avoided mentioning Hinata around him because they didn't want him to suffer.
He knew he wasn't being fair to the others, but he didn't want to let her go.
He had avenged her by killing the person that had poisoned the drink. The man had been targeting Naruto for unknown reasons, but Hinata had foiled his plans on accident by taking the drinks from the tray.
She had unknowingly saved his life at the cost of her own. Had he drunk any of the wine, he would have been dead right next to her.
These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase
"I'm sorry for not being able to let go, Hina-chan," the man spoke to the headstone.
A soft breeze blew through the air in response.
"I still love you, never forget that," he said. "I have some duties I need to attend to now, but I'll be back later. The Hokage can make time to visit the ones he loves."
Naruto helped himself get off the ground. He glanced one last time at the field, and then back at the headstone before walking away. He would always come back until the day Kami allowed for him to be with her.
I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone
But though you're still with me
I've been alone all along
His form retreated into the distance as a bird called out in the distance.
You're not alone. I miss you every day.
I love you, too, Naruto! So much!