The sun shined brightly in the sky. The fairies had all gone back into hiding, each performing their own little job that allowed Neverland to run smoothly. It was the next morning after Hinata and her siblings had all arrived in Neverland. Hinata's eyes opened slowly. She saw the image of a blond boy sleeping by her side. A soft smile went across her face. After having such an eventful evening last night, and all the energy Naruto possessed, it was nice to see him in his peaceful state. She definitely didn't want to wake him, but apparently two other people had that option in mind.
"Naruto!" A young girl's voice called out. Hinata was still somewhat drowsy and had trouble forcing herself to sit up and look. "Naruto! Hinata!" The voice called again.
"Naruto!" Another voice joined in. This time it was the sound of a boy's. They were rapidly approaching. Hinata could even hear their footsteps on the ground where her head was resting. She glanced at Naruto once more to see that he was completely engulfed by slumber. It made her smile. She learned a new trait about him, that he is a heavy sleeper.
"Naruto!" Naruto's eyes shot open as the girl known as Moegi had jumped onto him. He showed an annoyed facial expression for a second from being woken up quite rudely. It soon faded as he became more awake. He sat himself up, rubbing his eyes for clarity. Hinata saw Naruto's body move and joined him in the upright position.
The blond boy yawned. "Hey Moegi." He smiled, he then turned over to look at Hinata, who was attempting to fix her messy hair the best she could through her fingers. "Morning Hinata."
Hinata smiled lightly, slightly embarrassed by her raggedy appearance. "Good morning..." She responded politely.
Moegi smiled widely. "We found you!"
Naruto glanced over at Hinata with a confused expression. "We were lost?" He asked questionably. Hinata returned his stare with an unsure one of her own.
Moegi removed herself from Naruto's body. She remained next him on the ground, sitting back on her lower legs. She tilted her head. "Aren't we playing a game of hide-and-seek?" Moegi asked the two eldest members.
"We are?" Naruto continued to respond in question format.
"Well when we woke up everyone was gone, so we thought it was just a big game of hide-and-seek." Moegi explained. "Right Udon?" He nodded in agreement, adding the wiping of his nostrils in the process.
Hinata's eyes widened. "Gone?" She repeated. Her voice was full of fear and distress. "Everyone? Even Hanabi?"
Moegi and Udon both nodded together in unison. "You guys, Konohamaru, Inari and your brother were all gone when we woke up this morning." Udon told them. He sniffed before continuing. "So we thought you guys were playing a massive game of hide-and-seek and made us the finders!"
"You're the first ones we've found!" Moegi laughed. She smiled as she walked over to Hinata, who was still seated on the ground. Her eyes were completely full of worry, but Moegi was too immature to have noticed. She was too focus on the pretty blue flower that decorated Hinata's pretty face. "I like your flower Hinata."
"Thank you." She answered standardly. She looked over at Naruto with upset eyes. Naruto stared back. He understood exactly what Hinata's worry was. He gave her a reassuring smile, as bright as the sun in the sky.
"Don't worry Hinata!" The blonde boy kindly responded. "She's probably having fun with the rest of them!" Naruto told her. "We can go look for her if you want."
Hinata nodded. "I would like that." She answered honestly, getting up to her feet. Naruto followed in pursuit. Once on his feet, he raised his arms above his head to stretch. As he leaned towards the sky, his body rose with it, removing his feet a couple inches above the ground. It appeared that even when he didn't mean to, the boy would fly. It was definitely his constantly happy disposition that helped.
Hinata scanned what she could see. It was evident that she was worried. She really wanted to believe that Hanabi was out there safe and sound having a wonderful time with everyone, but something in her gut made her feel unsure about what Naruto had said. All she knew was that she needed to see her sister and fast.
Naruto's feet returned from the ground as his stretch ended. He smiled over at Hinata, but frowned when he saw how hurt she looked. He knew they had to find her sister soon, and he knew Hinata probably wouldn't be able to stay too strong for very long.
"Okay!" Naruto announced, gaining everyone's attention. All eyes were focused on the blonde preteen. He smiled as he looked over his small group. "We'll split up in groups and find the others!" He told them. "We'll find them better if we go searching through the sky. So I'll take Hinata with me, and Moegi and Udon, you guys wait for Sakura to come back, and use her to help your search."
"Aye-aye!" Udon said, sneezing after he had finished.
"Awe!" Moegi groaned. She ran over to Hinata and grabbed her hand. "But I want to go with Hinata." She whined. Hinata stood there, smiling, allowing Moegi to do whatever she wanted to her. She felt honored to be wanted, but in truth, she'd rather be partnered with Naruto.
Naruto smiled. He went over and knelt down besides the red-haired child. "Don't worry Moegi," He said gently. "We'll meet up again later and re-group. You can be partnered with Hinata next." He told her.
"Promise?" The girl asked, sticking out her pinky at Naruto. He nodded and gripped her finger with his own.
"'Kay!" The girl smiled. She ran back over to Udon and grabbed his hand, forcing him to turn around unstably. "We'll see you guys later!" Moegi screamed behind herself as she raced back to their tree house. Udon struggled to follow behind. He attempted to wave his own goodbye, but Moegi gave him one last tug in efforts to speed him forward. In a few short minutes, the two disappeared from sight.
Hinata looked over at Naruto, who was already staring at her. He smiled gently as he held out his hand towards her. "Don't worry Hinata, I swear to you that we'll find her."
His eyes looked so honest and so sure that she instantly believed him. A smile came across her face. She nodded, to show Naruto that she understood. She took his hand. It was bigger than her's, and really warm. It made her feel safe and assured.
Naruto used his abilities to lift them both off the ground. The higher they got, the tighter Hinata's grip was. No matter how many times she had previously flown, her feet off the ground was the most unstable thing felt. She looked at Naruto. His yellow locks were moved with the wind, just as her own hair was. It just seemed to suit him more, in Hinata's opinion. Naruto moved his head to make eye contact with Hinata. He smiled. She blushed, and looked down in embarrassment. No matter how many glances she stole at him, once their eyes met, something changed.
Hinata's feet finally touched land. There was a large body of water in front of her. It looked like a large lake. The sound of a soft flowing current filled the arena. Naruto titled it 'Mermaid Lagoon', which was questionable, since there was no mermaid in sight. The air was moist and so was the grassland beneath her bare toes. It gave it a mossy, damp feel. Naruto stepped down from the skies besides her.
"You okay?" He asked, as if he were just checking in with her. Hinata nodded and smiled at him. Together they headed for the water. Naruto was the first to get down on his knees by the edge of the lake, while Hinata followed in pursuit.
Hinata peeked her head forward towards the water. She only could see fish and other sea creatures, but no mermaids. "Are you sure that they're here?" She asked, leaning back upright.
Naruto just smiled. "Watch this." He said. He patted the water three times quickly with his hand and waited.
"Naruto, what did you-"
"Shh!" Naruto hushed her. "They won't come if they hear you." Hinata closed her mouth and kept silent. She stared back into the water. A few seconds went by, but when one is waiting those seconds start feel like minutes.
Hinata looked back at Naruto. Her expression was doubtful and unsure. It was the complete opposite of Naruto's who was just smiling and beaming with confidence. She was greatly fighting the urge to speak, due to the warning Naruto had given her. Still, as of the moment she was truly beginning to question whether or not they actually existed. She sighed, and opened her mouth to speak.
"Look Hinata!" Naruto said excitingly. His right pointer finger was fixed towards the water as he whole body was leaning towards it. Hinata was hesitant, but leaned in right besides the blond boy. The image that she saw made her eyes widen.
The females were swimming together in a whirlpool type motion. Their hair flowed with their movement in the water and if looked into with intent, a shell bikini and an image of a scale-covered tail could be seen as a part of them. Hinata continuously blinked. It was an involuntary act she did, to help her believe what she is seeing.
As they got closer to the water Hinata started to shift backwards, completely getting up and backing away from the lake in the end. Unlike Naruto who stayed there smiling. The first mermaid to appear did so right in front of Naruto face. She had eyes the matched the water she was in, and long beautiful flowing bleach blonde hair. Her face was so circular and attractive, Hinata almost blushed just by looking at her. Naruto lifted himself up only a little to give her space, but she soon closed the gap, placing her nose on top of his own and moving it side to side. It was nuzzle. They were nuzzling! Hinata's eyes widened at the sight, and a feeling of insecurity and tiny bit of anger made an appearance into her personality.
The mermaid pulled herself away from the boy and stared into his eyes. She smiled a beautiful, genuine smile. "Hello Naruto."
Naruto smiled back. "Hi Ino." A flirtatious giggle was given from the blonde mermaid, which made Hinata feel even more uncomfortable. Seconds later another mermaid with a little below shoulder length red-hair and glass spectacles that covered her equally vibrant red eyes.
"Hi Naruto." She said politely, with a soft smile. Naruto grinned as he shifted his position over to her. The red-haired mermaid leaned up as Naruto leaned down. Again, their noses nuzzled. Both girls, the blonde one in the water and the human on land watched the two in slight discomfort. When the nuzzling ceased, Naruto spoke.
"Hey Karin." He greeted. Karin gave him a playful wink, which seemed completely harmless to Naruto, but the other two girls held their breath at the action.
"Coming in for a dip?" Karin asked, doing her best to flirtatiously lure him in. She grabbed onto his arm and slowly made her hand down towards his. She held it there like it belonged there. Naruto shrugged.
"Maybe later." He answered kindly, though in truth he hadn't really been feeling the urge to swim right now.
"Please Naruto. You promised!" The blonde one chimed in, taking Naruto's other hand, but this time interlocking their fingers. "You haven't swam with us in so long." She squeezed his hand and batted her eyes. Hinata was stunned with how forward they both her, and somewhat disappointed that Naruto was allowing this all to happen.
"Well..." Naruto started, his voice was hesitant but it appeared to Hinata that he was starting to lean towards the mermaids advances. It began to seem like he had forgotten that she was even there, until she heard his voice say her name. "I have to help my friend Hinata right now, so I can't."
Hinata's eyes made contact with Naruto. He was smiling softly at her. It made her pleased that he would refuse a fun time with those girls to provide help for her. The two fish ladies frown in the water.
"Awwww." They whined together. Naruto turned his attention back towards the water. He seemed to be scanning it.
"Where's Matsuri?" Naruto questioned. Hinata did her best to keep her composure. Was there really another one?
"Who?" The blonde, Ino inquired. Her tone was clearly playful and the smug smile on her face seemed to accompany it just fine. Naruto gave her a look, which apparently sparked something in Ino's memory. "Oh, Matsuri, our sister." She said turning to Karin, as if she were explaining it to her.
"Oh, well..." Karin started glancing blandly over at Ino. The two gave the other a weary look before flashing a cheeky smile back in Naruto's direction. "She's in the water, if you want you can come and see her."
Naruto smiled. He was a nice guy, but he could obviously see what they were trying to get him to do, and it was evident to Hinata as well.
"Maybe next time." He answered, careful of his words that there would be no offense taken. He glanced back at Hinata, triggering a forgotten thought. His head whipped back around to the two exotic creatures. "By the way, have you two seen Konohamaru, Inari, another tall boy or a little girl running past here?"
The two mermaids exchanged a lost look. Ino shook her head, while Karin responded to it with a shrug and confused expression.
"No, sorry." Ino spoke first. "I haven't seen them. Though the "tall boy" you mentioned, I'm quite curious to meet." Ino giggled to her sister. Karin responded with a flirtatious reaction of her own. Hinata stared with shock. The two girls looked no older than her and yet they were so brazen with their sexual intent towards other boys. It awed her.
"What about the little girl?" Naruto inquired.
"Little girl, huh?" Karin repeated, showing a thoughtful expression. She shook her head. "I doubt it." She answered. "What does she look like?"
Naruto smiled. He stepped back to give the girls a clear view of Hinata. His hand briefly motioned to her.
"Like her," he told them, "but smaller."
Hinata's eyes scanned back and forth between Naruto and the girls in the water. Though whenever she looked at the girls in the water she felt such an intense discomfort coming from them. Even if their looks weren't particular dirty on the outside, the emotion behind them sent disturbing shivers down Hinata's spine. It was obvious that they didn't approve of her presence.
"Who's she?" Karin snipped.
"She's Hinata." Naruto introduced. Hinata smiled and bowed her head slightly. The two girls just stared, obviously judging. "She's my friend."
"Is she now?" Ino intruded, staring Hinata up and down, examining her. "How come we've never met this friend of yours?" Ino inquired.
Naruto shrugged. "I brought her here last night."
"That must be why the fairies were so festive last night." Karin hushed over at Ino, taking occasional glances at Hinata. Ino nodded.
"Must mean she's awfully special." Ino added sourly.
"So, have you seen her?" Naruto questioned, returning the topic back to its origin.
"I'm sure if we saw such a cute girl like this, we'd remember." Ino commented. Hinata felt the sharp tone in her voice that almost pierced right through her. She placed a weary smile on though, doing her best to maintain her composure. Ino placed a false smile on as well.
"Well, if you do see her," Naruto continued, completely oblivious to the tension around him. "Please tell us."
"Only if you promise to come back soon." Karin compromised cutely. Naruto smiled and nodded.
"Will do." He agreed. "Bye girls." He said, turning his back towards the two half-human fishes. They smiled back, waving with a girly fashion.
"Goodbye Naruto!" They said very choral. Their smiles then darkened when their eyes landed on Hinata. They kept the same expression as she waved them off timidly. It was blatantly clear that they were not fond of her, and to be honest, Hinata was exactly jumping at the chance to be their friend either. She turned and followed Naruto, who was waiting for her with a charming grin.
"You ready to go?" He asked. "We could try the Native's village next."
Hinata nodded. "Mhm." She agreed.
The blonde boy held his hand out, which Hinata graciously accepted. She climbed up on his back and they once again headed out on their journey through the sky.
Usually Hinata would look up as Naruto took her towards the sky. Her eyes would land either on the sky above, or on Naruto's sunny face. This time, however, she couldn't help but look at the ground below her. The ground where she believed Hanabi to be, all alone. Hopefully, and most likely, she was with someone, but there was an instinct in Hinata's stomach that wouldn't believe that.
Hinata could only imagine how scared her sister was. She was probably cold or hungry, and lonely.
"Neverland's not a scary place, Hinata." Naruto assured her. Hinata looked at him in awe. Was she speaking out loud, or was he just that in tune with her? "And you want to know a secret? It's not that big either!" He said, grinning so big and cheesy. Hinata couldn't help but giggle.
"Thank you Naruto."
"Huh? For what?"
There was so much to thank him for. But right now, Hinata decided just to keep it simple. She rested her head on the back of his neck. "For helping me." She whispered quietly, her breath almost tickling the back of his neck.
"I'll always be here to help you Hinata." He responded, just as softly. "Forever."