Prologue

Start Word: Certainty

Hinata POV

QOQOQ

I looked down into my arms with a dumbstruck look on my face. I couldn't believe what I had just heard. I turned my attention back to the woman lying on the bed. Her breathing was shallow, and she could barely keep her eyes open any longer.

She looked up at me, watching as I was held her daughter.

"Please… I must have your word that you will watch over her… and keep her from harm… Take her as your own, and never tell her of her fathers crimes until you deem she is old enough… when the time comes that she is ready, tell her of her past, and of her noble heritage… tell my father of this, and that I want her to leave the Land of Lightning for her safety… to live in Konoha… with you… and Naruto… and… someday… I hope that… she will one day claim… her rightful place… as the Daiyamo(sp?)… of the Land… of Lightning…"

She laid her head down against the pillow where she had lifted it while she was speaking, but kept looking at me, waiting for my confirmation.

I wasn't completely sure if I was making the right decision or not, but I couldn't just say no to her. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to take care of a child, when I was still very much one myself. But I knew that I would never be able to live with myself if I didn't at least put her fears to rest.

"I promise, I will take care of your daughter, and make sure that no harm comes to her. I swear to you that I will do this. And I will keep my promise, even if it costs me my life. For that is my nindu(sp?), my ninja way." I said this with more conviction in my voice that I felt.

She closed her eyes and smiled at me. "That is all that I can ask for…"

I watched as she finally relaxed, and let herself die, happy in the knowledge that her daughter was safe.

I collapsed into a nearby chair, feeling the sudden weight of my pledge drop onto my shoulders. What would I to do now? And how was I to tell Naruto that I just promised that we would take care of the princess of the Land of Lightning?

I whipped my head around as I heard the door to the room open. Naruto slowly walked though the door, shutting it behind him. He looked over at the bed before he walked over and sat next to me.

We sat, silent, for a few minutes. The baby began to fuss, so I started rocking and bouncing my arms. I began to hum a lullaby that my mother would hum to me as a child. She quiets down, but doesn't fall asleep. Instead she looks at Naruto. I look over to him and offer him the baby. His eyes get wide as if he's surprised, but forms his arms into a cradle nonetheless.

"Be careful to support her head and neck," I say as I carefully lay the delicate, infant girl in his arms.

He nods his head with a determined expression on his face. As he cautiously adjusts his arms around newborn, I see his face soften into a look of happiness and contentment. I decide that I should tell him of what I promised to do now, rather than later. I belatedly realize that I probably shouldn't have given him the child if I was going to tell him this.

"Ahem," I cleared my throat to get his attention, and then began to start talking. Or at least, I tried.

"Naruto-kun, I… I-I… w-well, th-the thing is… y-you see…" This was going to be harder than I thought…

"Hinata, what is it that you want to tell me?" He responded in confusion.

I sighed, and toughened my resolve.

"N-Naruto-kun, I… The prince-… The late princess has some… last words and wishes, before she died."

"What were they?"

"Well… *sigh* she asked that we keep her from harm. That we take her as our own daughter and raise her as such, always making sure that she is safe and out of danger. She doesn't want her to know about her father, what he's done, or that she is the heir to the throne of the Land of Lightning. We are to only tell her when we believe that she is ready to take on such a responsibility, and when we think that she will be able to handle the truth of what her father did… Naruto, she wanted me to promise that we would take her Konoha with us as that we would raise her as if we were her parents and she was our daughter. I promised her that I would. I never told her that you had to. I will keep my promise, my oath, because that is my ninja way, but if you don't want to be involved, you don't have to… I made sure no to commit you to anything that you may not want to be apart of…" I trailed off, waiting for his reaction.

"…" Naruto was silent for a while, simply looking down at the baby while he bounced her and rocked her.

"What's her name…?" Naruto whispered his question, so I almost didn't catch it.

"She doesn't have one yet. The late princess died before she named her." I answered, slightly confused by his question.

"…Would you… is it okay… can we name her Kushina?" he looked over at me hesitantly, as if he expected me to reject his idea. I smiled lightly at him.

"Of course we can."

He smiled hugely at this. Then he became very serious.

"I would never leave you to take care of a baby all by your self."