A/N: Hello everyone! Before you start reading, I'd like to let you know that I'm doing this as part of the "challenge" we have going on in the NaruHina FC at NarutoFan forums. Basically, there's a list of prompts, and for each prompt I'll write something and post it as a chapter. They are most likely going to be completely unrelated. I hope you enjoy!

Accumulated Affection

By: Britata348


He could feel it, nestled in the back of his mind. The dull ache that accompanied him throughout his days and nights would erupt into dreadful pain whenever he would let himself think of it. Home, that is.

It'd been so long since he'd seen it. Forever since he heard the laughter and felt the love from the people he cared for. The things that brought him so much happiness. . . they seemed to disappear in a blink of an eye. The idea that he would never get to return to Konoha, or even worse, that there wouldn't be a Konoha to return to, tore him up from the inside out.

He felt so alone, and afraid. The thoughts swirling through his head in a discordant mess, seeming like they would never cease. Overtaking him. How long would it be before he lost himself as well?

Naruto's fists clenched tight, doing what he could to ease the agony. He wondered if people around him could tell he was such a mess. He eased his hands into his pockets, trying to hide his pain.

It was then that he felt it, his silent reminder: a midnight colored lock of hair.

A new rush of feelings and thoughts were added to the volatile mixture within himself. They started fighting the thoughts that weakened him, the thoughts that brought no good. Inspiration. Will. Determination. Those were the victors.

He had someone who missed him, he knew, someone that kept going. Someone that he himself had changed. . . someone that he loved. And she was waiting for him− no, she believed in him, and she loved him.

She had cut a lock her own hair, something that was so sacred in her clan, and given it to him. A reminder to keep going. To never doubt. To keep fighting. To keep being the person he was, and never lose hope, so that he may return home.

A/N: There we have it. I know this one was short, but the lengths will be different for each prompt, depending on how inspired I become. :) Just so you know where the hair idea came from, in Ancient China, hair was super sacred because it was a gift from your parents. It was not to be cut, unless you had done something that ashamed your parents. (This is why I believe that Hinata's hair was short in Part I). Women, would also cut a lock of their hair off and give it to their husbands when they left to travel or to fight, so they would remember they had someone waiting for them, so they should try their bests to return home :o

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