Massive thanks to: Kandita, Aruan, Guests(x3), Dimensional Roamer, KoreanGal5, fanofthisfiction, Cascade00, Sulli8989, Hina chan, silvereye1314, In your dreams, lalala, Fujisan, and aurora0914. Thanks for your reviews, I appreciate every single one of them!
Itachi woke up in the sterile hospital room because one of the nurses took his temperature in his ear, and the beeping sound pulled him out of a restless sleep. The side of his head felt like it had been kicked in by a mule and a pained grimace swept over his face as he moved just a little. He had several small bandages on his hands and over his face.
His hand twitched when he realized it was empty, and his eyes shot open desperately in alarm.
An anguished, sick feeling of dread began to form in his gut as he asked the nurse as calmly as he possibly could. "Where's Hinata?"
The blonde nurse's blue eyes were thoughtful for a moment before she answered him, "I'm sorry, I haven't seen her all morning. I think she left sometime last night." Her eyes became very concerned as she watched a raw desolate look pass over his pale face, and she began to make notes on his chart as she began to observe him.
Itachi's eyes closed in pure misery, knowing Hinata wouldn't leave his side without being forced to.
"Can you hand me my cell phone?" He asked the nurse and he could see it was on the chair across the room.
The nurse retrieved his phone for him and continued to watch him with assessing eyes due to his head injury.
His fingers shook a little as he called her number and something within him knew she wasn't going to answer it. Pain like a dagger stabbed his heart when it went straight to her cheerful voicemail.
As if the world had somehow become a colder, darker place over night, despair began to penetrate his mind as he was beginning to feel like he was trapped in some hellish nightmare, and could feel something was horribly wrong. He had thought what had happened yesterday had been a horrific experience; today was starting to feel much worse. At least, then, she had still been a part of his world.
Suddenly he felt like he was suffocating in this small room and he needed to go home. His eyes were beginning to fill with desperation as he ripped the I.V. out of his arm and droplets of clotting blood began to drip systematically on the floor.
"What are you doing Mr. Uchiha? You should really keep that in until they discharge you, you have a severe head injury and Dr. Tsunade would like for you to stay one more day for observation purposes," the blonde nurse said with a deeply worried frown as she placed her hands firmly on her hips. She was starting to think he needed a psychiatric evaluation done on him as she observed the strange desperation in his eyes.
"Prepare the discharge paperwork; I am leaving in fifteen minutes," he said in a chillingly cold voice that was utterly sane and almost business-like.
The nurse stood her ground, "I am going to get the doctor first."
"One way or another - I am leaving," he stated with finality as he stood up in his hospital gown and watched her retreat from the room. He saw his heavy blue fleece jacket was hanging on the back of a chair and he walked over to it and began searching through it, and a fathomless sense of loss touched him when he felt the ring and the cookies in the side pockets.
He called Kisame with a clawing feeling of panic beginning to settle into his heart, when his lawyer answered, he asked him, "Do you know where Hinata is?"
"No, I haven't seen her since last night," he said as he thought for a moment and tried to think of the last time he saw her. She had been with Itachi and he didn't remember her ever leaving the hospital room. It was strange like she disappeared, he just assumed at the time she had just gone back home.
"I can try to call her and see if she is at your place," Kisame offered helpfully trying to keep his concern at bay. Itachi didn't sound at all like his normal calm self.
"Don't bother, she's gone," Itachi said in a voice utterly devoid of emotion.
"How do you know?"
His throat constricted and he swallowed painfully. "Her story was true…she really used to be an angel, her cousin rescued me last night and told me the truth. I think she was taken back sometime last night after I fell asleep."
The lawyer's eyebrows lifted as he believed his friend without hesitation, because he knew Itachi was no liar, and he knew Hinata, and out of everyone he'd ever met, he could actually believe her fantastical story was true.
"I'm sorry, Itachi," he said quietly. "Do you need me to do anything for you?"
"Where's Jonas?" He asked suddenly, in a disquieted voice.
"He with Mrs. Green at your house," his lawyer assured him.
"Good." Itachi breathed out in relief. "I'll call you later," he said before hanging up, he just couldn't talk anymore. He needed to be at home with his nephew right now.
Next he called his driver. "Come pick me up now," he ordered and hung up and within fifteen minutes he was dressed and ready to go. And against the medical advice of his doctor, he was discharged, and on his way home.
It was Christmas Day, and as usual all of Heaven and the outer areas, such as the celestial zone where Hinata was temporarily staying were gloriously alive in full celebration mode. Everywhere she turned there was the invigorating sound of music, pulsing with supernatural joy and life.
Normally, she adored this day and would celebrate it with a blissful heart, but today was the first time she didn't feel like she belonged there. Her heart was too broken to allow her to sing.
Everything around her was so beautifully resplendent, the air was pure, her pristine clothes were shining radiantly, and many of her fellow angels welcomed her home and had truly missed her. Kurenai, for once, was even proud of her. She had completed a mission and there was talk of assigning to her, her first person to watch over in over eighty years.
But the cost of such a beautiful eternal life without Itachi was just too high for her. Inside she felt like she was dying, the pain of being separated from him was almost suffocating her. She would gladly give up eternity as an angel, for a human lifespan with him, because she loved him.
When she first arrived back home and had her wings back Hinata tried in frantic desperation to leave and fly back to him, but found she wasn't allowed to pass through the barrier until her supervisors figured out what to do with her. And right now everything was on hold for a few more days until the sacred celebrations were over.
Time in Heaven always seemed slower than earthly hours to her, and every hour away from Itachi felt like torture to her, and painfully frustrated tears constantly burned behind her eyes as she waited.
Watching Itachi's beautiful stricken face in the massive viewing pool in the city center, her fingers skimmed over the crystal clear water as she tried to touch him, but it only turned him into a sparkling, but blurred image. In the back of her mind she tried not to think about how she would feel if they never allowed her to go back to him. A future without him was too bleak for her to even imagine.
A dark, rayless, shadow fell over her and she saw it was one of the precious human residents of Heaven. They held higher positions than angels due to being created in the image of the Master, and it was rare for one of them to come to this transitional area where usually only angels trod.
As soon as she got a good look at him with his radiantly dark hair, a shaky gasp escaped her when she figured out who it was; he looked a lot like his brother. "Sasuke?"
"Yes," he stated bluntly and his eyes darkened with sadness as he peered into the pool at his beloved brother's face. "He looks awful." Itachi's haunted face was eerily similar to how it looked right after he had passed away over four years ago and it made him feel sick inside.
Tears began to pour down her face as she achingly agreed, "I know."
The angel and the human's eyes met in mutually pained concern for a man they both loved more than anyone else.
Sasuke's brows furrowed in angry frustration as he told her, "When I asked them to send you to him, I didn't know they were going to take you away from him the moment he loved you and wanted to marry you."
Hinata was all too aware of the cruel irony of the situation, and when she'd mentioned it to Kurenai, she was surprised by the lack of answers given back to her. It seemed the order to send her home had come from higher above and those commands were never to be questioned.
She would just have to trust there was a good reason behind it all.
Sasuke's eyes noted the look of resignation in her eyes and he didn't want any part of it. Since he had been in Heaven he had spent a lot of time with angels and he realized they were some of the most obedient beings ever created, they never seemed to question anything.
He understood that was just how they were made; they were servants after all, even though they were divine. But it went against every human instinct within him to just accept this situation. His brother was being hurt by this decision, and he wasn't about to stand by and watch it happen.
"What are you going to do about it?" He demanded.
Hinata's eyes were full of misery as she told him, "I can't do anything about it right now, until the celebration is over, and even then, I don't know if they will ever let me go back to him."
Sasuke's eyes were sharp and penetrating as he directed them at her with uncompromising force, "One way or another, you are going to have to find a way back. My brother needs you."
"I know," she said and her voice broke. "But how? I don't know what to do?"
"You are going to have to rebel," he stated bluntly.
Hinata's luminous eyes opened wide in shock. There was no way she could do that, the last time angels rebelled they ended up going to the place that must never be mentioned here and her eyes shifted uncomfortably downward.
"I can't do something like that," she sputtered out as if what he had just suggested was unthinkable to her.
He released a frustrated breath. "Well, you can't go through the courts; Itachi will be dead of old age before your case even goes to trial."
Hinata's shoulders drooped forlornly knowing he was right, the courts took centuries (in human time) to make a decision. She felt stuck in a hard place and she didn't know how to get out of it. It would take a miracle to get her back to earth.
Neji appeared behind her in all of his arch-angel splendor, and without even thinking about it she ran into his arms for the first time in her life. Even though they were as close as family, the warrior wasn't really the cuddly type. As his arms came stiffly and uncomfortably around her, he thought he would allow the contact, just this once.
"Thank you Neji for saving Itachi, I owe you everything. I am so grateful for what you did," she told him in an emotionally charged voice.
Her "so called" cousin gave her an undiscernible smile before answering wryly, "He actually did the hard part himself, I just showed him the way up the cliff."
"Of course he did, my brother is not some weakling," Sasuke bristled before meeting the arch-angels eyes directly.
Neji looked imposing, but thoughtful as he agreed, "No, I don't think he is either." His eyes turned toward Hinata and his gaze penetrated deep within her all the way to her heart as he asked almost kindly, "Is this what you want? Do you really want to leave here, and live on the earth as a human?"
Hinata's eyes were huge and alive with hope as she nodded quickly without any hesitation and cried out, "Yes, more than anything."
His eyes were a little sad as he inclined his head so his long dark hair flowed gracefully over his shoulder as he looked down at her. "Well then, Sasuke is right to a point…you are just going to have to get kicked out of Heaven."
Author's Note: I posted this after writing the second half of it rather quickly so please forgive me if there are a lot of errors. At this point in the story there are probably 2 more chapters to go and maybe an epilogue in the future. I will try my best to answer any questions. I do plan to have Hinata meet with the girl that saved Jonas in the next chapter. Also, I am considering different options regarding what to do with Sakura, so please share your thoughts or ideas with me; I would love to hear them. Big holiday hugs to all of you!