Um... wow. This is totally unlike my usual stuff. What is this plot you speak of? And what is this, happiness? Fluff? Unheard of! Haha, anyways, this was something I just did for a couple hours to keep myself busy. I thought it was about time I wrote a story again. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
He looked forward, eyes fixed on… well, what were his eyes fixed on? They seemed to be staring into space endlessly. Frankly, she was getting a little worried.
"U-um, Naruto-kun?" she asked, gathering all of her courage.
The two were heading towards the Hokage Tower after being informed they had a mission. Previously, they been sitting at the same ramen stand, several seats apart. She didn't even think he had noticed her before the messenger summoned them both. Well that was a boost of confidence to her.
They hadn't spoken of… The Incident since the day it happened. Half a year ago. Hinata was sure he had either forgotten, or-! Or had decided that he really didn't feel the same way, and didn't want it ever brought up. Which hurt, but she wouldn't really want to reject anyone either. She had been rejected enough.
When he didn't respond, she grew even more apprehensive. Was he sick? Did he have some sort of bad day? Was he embarrassed by her spur-of-the-moment confession? Did he… hate her?
No, of course not, that was crazy talk. Naruto-kun wouldn't hate anyone for simply expressing their feelings. But once the thought was in her head, she couldn't let it go. What if he dreaded this mission because she was there? What if he wished to be anywhere but there right now, just because he hated her so much?
She nearly cried out in pain at these thoughts, but kept them inside of her. She didn't want to be even more of a bother to him by randomly breaking down and sobbing in the middle of the sidewalk. He would feel guilty then, and she didn't want him to feel that way.
Naruto-kun deserved happiness, with her or without.
Naruto tried keeping his eyes forward, but it was just so damn hard. There she was, the girl who had been plaguing his thoughts for the past couple of months. The girl who he felt so guilty for neglecting all these years. The girl who deserved better than him.
His gaze travelled from the open skies to his shoes. She probably hated him by now. She had poured out her love for him on the battlefield, and he was such a big jerk to her that he hadn't even responded. He didn't know how to respond. He had never felt that way about Hinata in his life. Was he supposed to start now because she had said she… she… had certain feelings?
But, he thought, eyes daring towards the raven-haired beauty for half a second, he didn't think that Hinata could ever hate anyone. Hinata was kind and sweet and caring, almost reminding him of… of a bunny rabbit! A pure white one, that serves no purpose in the world but to be adorable.
NOT that he thought Hinata was worthless! Oh no, never! Hinata was the coolest, most determined, bestest fighter ever! Yeah! She was just like the white bunny in that one movie, with the Holy Grail and the knights of the round table, who was all like rawrrr and ate the knights and… ahem. She was amazing, though. She was a lot like… himself.
But that just brought him back to the confession! The memory floated to the surface of his memory for the kagillionith time. He inspired her? She loved him? She risked her life, just to save his own. That was just… that was just…
The nicest thing anyone's ever done for him.
They got to the Hokage Tower, and he opened the door for her. She was surprised at this, but smiled and thanked him meekly. He murmured that she was welcome, never once looking in her eyes. He didn't even try. … At least she thought he didn't. She was too busy staring at her fingers to notice much else anyways. That was the first time they'd spoken since The Incident. It was so good to hear his voice again.
As they walked into Tsunade's office, she wasn't surprised to see the rest of their team members there, ready to go. They had been walking at a slow pace. She was actually surprised that they weren't late. Her, a Hyuuga, late. Hyuugas are never late for anything. But… Naruto-kun would be the exception of course.
She listened politely as Tsunade went over mission details. To even be in the same room with him made it harder to concentrate. What was their mission? She didn't even know, didn't even know if she cared. She got some time to be with her Naruto-kun, and that was all that mattered.
"WHAT? GRANNY TSUNADE, WHY THE HECK DO YOU NEED ALL OF US FOR A DUMB ESCORT MISSION? I CAN DO THESE IN MY SLEEP, DATTEBAYO!" Naruto hollered. He really didn't understand why the woman would assign six ninjas to do a stupid mission such as this.
A vein appeared on Tsunade's forehead as she tried to remain calm. "Naruto. Do not call me that. Ever. You understand?" Before he could reply, she continued, "And we need this many people because you're escorting at least twenty people. Ah, not so easy now is it?"
Naruto pouted. The safer his Hinata-chan was, the happier he was. Didn't she get that? His team could do it themselves.
Wait. HIS Hinata-CHAN? When had that happened? Instead of screaming back at the old lady, the boy withdrew into his thoughts. All onlookers were shocked.
Tsunade seemed to recover first. "Well… okay. Um. Right. You guys can leave, be ready at eight tomorrow morning. Dismissed. I guess."
The next day they all met up at the gates, prepared to leave. Tsunade was correct in her estimate, there were twenty total people here to escort. Naruto shook his head, okay, so maybe he would have to be awake in order to escort this many people. He had been wrong, so sue him.
He surveyed all the people around him, trying to pick out one girl in particular. And for once, it wasn't Sakura. It was the girl who had been plaguing his thoughts all night, who hardly let him get any sleep.
Her name was like a drug, he just wanted to say it over and over again. He'd have to settle with thinking it. Hinata Hinata Hinata-chan! He smiled to himself. He liked the sound of her name. His wasn't quite the same. Naruto Naruto Naruto. Naruto Uzumaki? Nah. Hinata Hinata Hinata… Uzumaki.
…well that sounded even better. Hinata Uzumaki. Hinata Uzumaki. Each time he thought it, his smile grew wider. Content with his thought game, he followed the group out of the village, taking up the rear. He didn't even consider as to why he used his last name instead of hers.
Hinata scoured the aread in front of the mass of people. Oh how she wished she didn't posses the Byakugan right now. Then she could be back, walking next to her Naruto-kun. Whether he wanted to see her or not.
But he had opened the door for her, that meant he couldn't hate her. Otherwise he would have just slammed the door in her face. That… would have been unimaginably painful.
Right. Looking out. But she couldn't help but wonder… was their friendship over? After all she had worked for, gathering up the courage to befriend him, and then slowly struggling to make her way into becoming one of his precious people as well… Was it all for naught?
Distracted, Hinata failed to notice the band of people in black headed straight towards them.
Hinataaaa. Hina-channnn. Hinata Uzumakiiiii. God he was glad that people couldn't read his mind right about now. He was having way too much fun with this.
Suddenly, he heard the clamoring of kunai up ahead. Oh shit, it was time to actually do his job. He got into his battle stance and prepared for a rough ride. Protecting one stupid civilian from trouble? Piece of cake. Twenty? Not so much.
But he charged into battle anyways, because that's what ninjas did. They risked their lives for the sake of their mission… and their village. He just hoped Hinata-chan was okay.
Hinata was not okay. She blamed herself for this stupid ambush in the first place. If she had been paying more attention, she would have noticed them coming. They could've evaded them, or at least been more prepared. As it was, she had a severely bloody gash on her stomach, and was finding it a little hard to breathe. But she maintained. It was for the sake of her village.
But as she continued on, her palms disarming everyone she could reach, she felt like there was something more to what she was trying to do. Yes, she was trying to complete the mission, and yes, she was trying to uphold her village's honor, but she was also doing something else.
She was proving herself to him. Proving that she was worth it, that Sakura wasn't the only one with the guts and the ability to take down her opponents. She was a ninja, she was strong, she was the one that was right for Naruto. She was never going to let him down, she would love him as long as she lived.
She wanted him to look back at her during battle and realize that she was everything he ever wanted, all he could ever need. She was tired of being unnoticed by him. She was tired of not being seen at all.
Naruto was going all out, as usual. The sooner this was over with, the sooner that he could get back to his little game. Hinata Uzumakiii. He smirked, but as he lost focus was scratched on the arm. Shit, let's not think like that in battle, shall we?
All through, he concentrated on the war at hand. What were there, fifty of them? It felt like it. He felt like it was bottomless rogue ninjas buffet. Hm. Ramen buffet. He was scratched again. Damnit.
So he focused elsewhere, avoiding the two topics. But of course, when he tried to avoid thinking of something, he thought it. Hinata. How was she holding up? Had she even fully recovered from… That Day? She had taken a pretty bad beating then, he hoped that all of her was intact or whatever. Should he be helping her? Ow. Right.
As abruptly as it started, it all ended. Naruto grinned, panting. That wasn't the easiest task he's ever taken on, but definitely not the hardest. He caught up to his teammates, checking that they were all okay. He felt that being the future Hokage meant he had to know what went on at all times.
He was relieved to find that no one had any major injuries that he could see. All were standing up straight, smiling half smirks at their victory. Yep, they were good it seemed.
Hinata had felt the gash being made and chose to ignore it. It would close eventually, and she really didn't want to hold anyone up. Plus it would totally blow her whole plan to prove how strong she was to Naruto. So she didn't ask Sakura to heal it. She'd allow Sakura to heal the other's cuts and bruises, she didn't want to be a bother.
They continued their journey onwards as if nothing had ever happened. Hinata was resolved to do a better job as a lookout this time, so she squinted her eyes and tried VERY hard not to think of Naruto. He had looked great after the battle, not very many scratches at all. Kiba had gotten the worst of it, but Sakura healed him midway through the battle.
She soon realized that not telling the medic-nin of her situation was proving to be a bad plan though. She felt sluggish as she tried to keep up with her old pace. She gravitated towards the back of the pack, her teammates looking at her concernedly.
Suddenly, everything felt fuzzy. Bad, bad plan Hinata. She collapsed to her knees, praying that anyone but Naruto would help her to Sakura. She just didn't want to fail him anymore. She let out a small sound of sadness before fainting altogether.
Naruto heard a small noise from somewhere next to him, and turned to look for the source. What he saw deeply concerned him. Before he even registered what was happening, he bolted over and was catching Hinata's head before it hit the ground. Not good not good not good.
"SAKURA-CHAN, HINA-CHAN'S HURT!" He yelled, not even taking note of his voicing her new nickname outloud. All he knew was that this woman was a dear, dear part of his life, and letting her go would be suicide.
Sakura rushed over and gently examined the girl. Finally finding the source, she took a sharp intake of breath. This was no ordinary gash.
"Naruto. Listen to me. I need you to take Hinata and run back to the village as fast as you can. No stopping, no hesitating at all. This wound is infected with a very deadly poison that I can't treat here. She has an hour at most. Go. We'll take care of the rest of this mission," She murmured, her voice serious and deadly quiet.
Naruto nodded, and whisked her off, running as fast as he had ever run in her life. All he knew was that this girl needed help. This girl who loved him needed him to be as strong as he could be. This was the girl he loved.
He smiled somberly at this, fighting the urge to kick himself. He waits until now to discover pent-up feelings. She had always loved him, and he was ready to do the same for her. Hinata. Hinata-chan. Hina-chan. Don't you die.
Hinata opened one eye slowly, and then the other. The room was blindingly white, and she couldn't help but shut her eyes again. But wait… had she caught a glimpse of blonde? She peeked through one eye again, only to have both eyes shoot open. Naruto-kun…
It seemed as if she were in a hospital room. That much was obvious, but what was Naruto doing in a chair by her bedside? His head was resting on her bed as he dozed, oblivious to her petrified state.
She calmed down when she knew he was sleeping, and slowly reached a shaking hand up to his head and ruffled his hair. She had always wanted to do that. She smiled sweetly. This was like so many dreams of hers. Except a million times better.
She jumped about a foot when he lifted his head. Had he been awake? No, she noticed. His brilliant blue eyes were just opening, and she could see the tired circles under them. What had happened…?
Naruto woke from the most wonderful dream of him and his Hina-chan walking on the beach together, smiling and laughing, holding hands. God, he loved her. Why did it take him so long to notice again? He looked at the clock behind him, wondering what time it was. Shit, why hadn't Tsunade kicked him out by now? She usually did at like midnight.
He turned to face his angel, to kiss her forehead an-
"OH MY GOD! HINA-CHAN! YOU'RE OKAY!" He screamed. He pulled her into a tight hug, noticing how she gasped the tiniest bit and smiling. He held her tight like that for a couple of moments, not really feeling like letting her go. She was alright. She was alright.
"N-n-naruto-kun?" came her breathy voice. It just made him hold her tighter. He turned his face into her hair, and breathed in deeply. Hinata froze.
"They said you weren't going to wake up. They told me you were gone. I thought… I thought I'd lost you," he mumbled. He couldn't help a sob that wracked his frame. She was alright.
Hinata sat on the hospitable bed, motionless. Wait… what? What had gone on? She... she had been on a mission. With Naruto-kun. But, how was she here? She didn't remember ever getting to her destina-
Oh. Oh no no no. Her back went rigid. She had failed him. Again. She didn't get that wound fixed and now he was going to think of her as weak. But… why was he holding her? And was he crying? She gasped, finding it hard to breathe. A glimmer of hope sparked within her. It was then she decided. She had to know now.
She gently pushed him away, and avoiding his eyes, repeated the statement that she had regretted all of these months.
"I… I love you, Naruto-kun."
She looked down and twiddled with her thumbs, a blush heavy on her face. She shouldn't have done that. She didn't even want to hear the reply. Why had she gone and done that in a place she couldn't escape from? Tears formed in her eyes. Why was she so stupid and weak?
And then something truly amazing happened. Naruto surged forwards, capturing her once again in an embrace. He held her tightly, and she felt his wet tears on her scalp.
"I know, Hina-chan. I love you too. I'm sorry, I'm so so sorry."
Hinata went rigid once more, and then started crying harder. He was beautiful, he was her everything. And now she was his too. Feeling woozy, she leaned into him.
"Hina-chan! What's wrong! Don't pass out on me! Was it something I said? Did I do that wrong?"
They sat the stools at Ichiraku's, talking and laughing the day away. Somehow, they just seemed to fit. As they walked away, Naruto looked at her hand, debating. Was it okay to hold it? Would she think that was too fast? He didn't know what to do.
He inched it closer to hers, and let their fingertips brush. Hinata jumped. Seeing the hand, she looked up at Naruto, who was looking away, scratching the back of his head. He whistled an improvised song. Smiling, she took his hand, and he relaxed, ginning down at her.
"N-naruto-kun, you d-don't have to hesitate for anything, I l-love you no matter what," she said.
Naruto's grin turned into a full on smile. He was the luckiest guy in the world.