Chapter 6: The Party!

Part 2: A Special Place.

~x~

We all settled down at the table. The regular noise of knives and forks meeting the surfaces of plates echoed throughout the room along with our conversations and laughter.

The table was large and round, made of a strong shiny wood. The seating arrangements were; I sat next to Hinata, she sat next to Sakura, Sakura sat next to Sasuke who sat next Rock Lee, Lee was sitting next to Ino and then it was back to me. Heh, seating arrangements…they're not exactly the easiest thing to describe…

The conversations continued and the night was filled with general merriment…added with Sake which always adds to the general merriment hehe…although Lee, who was still happily drinking his orange juice, acted like he was the most drunk out of all of us and no alcohol had even entered his system…I guess he doesn't need alcohol to be drunk, simply drunk on life haha. I guess that's kinda nice, being drunk on life…certainly cheaper.

As we ate I glanced over at Ino, remembering something,

"Oh yeah, Ino, Sai said to wish you a happy birthday and sorry he couldn't come…"

Her pretty face shot up at the mention of Sai, showing much excitement,

"Really..!"

I couldn't help but feel irritated at the obvious glee it brought my baby sister to know Sai was thinking of her on her birthday…I could feel my overly protective big brother instincts kicking in…

Before I could open my mouth to comment on her clear delight of Sai thinking of her, my attentions were averted when I heard Sakura whisper to Hinata,

"How's the Guinea Fowl?"

Hinata looked slightly uncomfortable, then whispered back so only Sakura and me (she, however, didn't know I was listening in…my bad…) could hear,

"I'm…a vegetarian."

I nearly chocked on my food as I held back a laugh. Sakura couldn't help letting herself smile humorously,

"Oh dear…"

Hinata and her giggled slightly. Sasuke, who had just returned from getting something from the kitchen, asked everyone as a general whole,

"How's the Guinea Fowl?"

Haha…Coincidence that he should ask that?

Hinata looked sideways at me before saying cheerfully,

"Best Guinea Fowl I've ever tasted!"

Sasuke smiled, pleased. Well, I guess it's nicer to let him think she's eating it, let alone liking it…mind you, if I consume more Sake tonight I might just have to let the fact she's a vegetarian slip, heh heh that'll serve the cocky so and so right for that earlier comment he said to me…

The night went on as did the meal. It didn't taste too bad - I've had much worse from Sasuke's cooking skills - but it certainly wasn't the best thing ever. We were now onto eating chocolate brownies for dessert…now they were yummy! So yummy in fact, we all ate them pretty quick until only one was left. We all stared at it. Rock Lee cleared his throat,

"Sasuke, you haven't had any, why don't you have it?"

Saskue rolled his eyes,

"Lee, we've been friends since high school…you know I dislike sweet things."

I drooled slightly as I looked at the remaining, lonely, brownie thinking how crazy Sasuke was for not liking sweet things…he was so missing out…oh well, more for me…

Sasuke placing his hands together in a thoughtful motion said,

"Hn. Well, I think I have had an idea of how to decide who gets the last brownie…"

We all looked at him expectantly, he smirked,

"The last brownie for the saddest act"

…Huh?

He picked up the plate with the last brownie on it and said,

"I'm going to give the last brownie to the saddest act here."

He stated this in a friendly tone, so even though we were going to be competing for the saddest act here (Aka saddest life) it wasn't in a nasty demeaning way.

The saddest act gets the brownie…well…the room went silent as we blinked at each other. Suddenly Rock Lee jumped up from his chair banging his fists on the table excitably,

"I volunteer to be the first to say that I am obviously the saddest act here! Because that is the truest and noblest thing to do and would make Gai Sensei proud...And I also really want that brownie!"

He then sat back down after his distinctive bushy-brow outburst, before continuing,

"I work five times a week and often end up doing the Saturday shift, even though my boss rips me off and never gives me a bonus! I always smell like sweat – and not always my own due to me being a gym instructor – unless I bathe at least three times a day using extra strong body-wash to get rid of that smell! This is why I don't smell like sweat right now because I will not allow myself to stink! So everyday after work I spend a good two hours washing!"

He paused to breathe looking around at our stunned faces. Wow. Who would have known bushy-brows had such a problem with his workplace, I thought he loved his job…he continued with why he's the saddest act here, very determined,

"I haven't had a girlfriend since…well, puberty! And nobody fancy's me and they never will if these eyebrows of mine get any bushier!"

He finished and we just couldn't help but laugh (Lee was also laughing)! Poor Lee he did have ridiculously thick eyebrows… In actual fact…it was kind of our fault that Lee had such thick eyebrows…heh. Well you see, what happened was…a few years ago (Lee actually had normal eyebrows before this incident…) Lee had got absolutely trashed after only a sip of Sake and well…the rest of us were awake and in the joking mood and well um…heh we kinda, sorta, shaved Lee's eyebrows off. And well, when they finally grew back…they were a hell of a lot thicker…

Ino spoke up once he had finished, using a 'pfft don't be so silly' tone,

"Nonsense, I fancy you!"

…Say what!

Lee blinked in shock, along with the rest of us, and asked curiously,

"…Really?"

Ino looked thoughtful,

"Well yeah…" she paused before raising her eyebrows and stating in a matter of fact air, "Or at least I did before your eyebrows got so bushy and you got that silly haircut!"

A brawl of laughter proceeded around the table at Ino's observation, even Lee let out a loud chuckle. He waved his arm,

"You see! I am the saddest act here! Mwa-ha!"

Triumph written all over his face. Sasuke spoke then his lips curling in a smile,

"Yes, but if I'm not mistaken Lee you love your job, whether it makes you stink or not!"

Lee had no choice but to agree to this, he did love his job. Sasuke persisted,

"Whereas Ino here, flogs her guts out on an outdoor stall in a market place, attempting to sell wilting flowers to uninterested people walking past everyday."

Ino nodded her head, eyes widening,

"Yes! Not only that but also my boss is a fat pervert who pays me peanuts! I barely have enough to pay for my tiny flat! This isn't fair coz I work all day in all weathers trying to sell almost-dead-flowers to back sassing costumers!"

She paused, thinking. Ino does hate working on the flower stall everyday in the market place, yes, but we all also knew that her dream was to open her own flower shop. She hated working on the market and her pervy boss…but she didn't hate flowers. You could say flowers were her passion.

She then said in a sighed voice,

"I'm also attracted to cruel men. And no one will ever want to marry me because I come off as an over excited, blonde, Barbie!"

She finished pouting slightly her eyebrows raised into a comical expression. The whole table laughed once again. We just couldn't help it! Seriously, even if this banter sounded pretty sad the expressions and the character in which things were said it was just hilarious. The war for the last brownie was in full motion!

Sakura pointed out reasonably,

"Yes but you do like flowers Ino," to which Ino had to nod in response, "And also…you are bests friends with Hyuuga Hinata!" she finished in a 'duh' voice. Ino waved her hand her face showing defeat,

"Oh! Well I can't deny it, what can I say she needs me!"

She grinned at Hinata who laughed in response. The atmosphere around the table was a good humoured one. Sakura, although now in a much more subdued tone, carried on after the laughter had calmed down slightly. As she spoke the table quietened,

"And most of her limbs work. Whereas I'm stuck in this thing day and night in a house full of ramps, and to add insult to serious injury…I can no longer do cross country running, my favourite thing..."

She gave a wry smile at the end of that sentence. The room was silent as we listened intently. Sasuke's gaze never wavered from her face. His expression was intense, almost dark, a sad smile caressing his lips. He moved his hand inconspicuously and placed it upon Sakura's which was resting on her lap. She glanced at him, her smile mirroring his, before she continued slowly as if each word was lodged in her throat awkwardly. Although, she said each word strongly her voice was thick with emotion…

"And, um, well…the truth is…we can't have a baby."

Silence. The room was thick with it. As thick as the emotion that spilled from Sakura's mouth. Sasuke's face still never left his wife's, his expression still pretty much the same, except now there was a deep hurt in his features. My heart felt like it was constricting, as I felt part of their pain along with them. They were two of my best friends, two of the best people I knew…it didn't seem fair…

Sakura turned her sad, green eyes upon Sasuke and gave him a brave little smile which she also showed us as she looked around the table of bewildered faces.

"But that's life I guess. Our life anyway…But we're lucky in, lots of ways…well, surely that's worth a brownie!"

She finished giving us all a grin. The silence only lasted for a few more seconds before Sasuke broke it with a thoughtful voice his smile broadening,

"You know…I'm not so sure…Look at Naruto."

He stated motioning his hand towards me. What? What's that teme planning..? I raised one of my eyebrows, tucking my chin in.

"He works in a job he doesn't enjoy and that he knows really doesn't suit him but has no choice but to carry on working there because he needs the money to pay for his apartment…"

Sakura chimed in nodding her head,

"That's true."

They all laughed slightly as Sakura and Sasuke described my sucky life…Yeah yeah guys…make me the comic relief…I'll get you all for this…Sasuke carried on in a joking tone,

"He's had two very serious relationships, both of which didn't turn out well…and he knows if he's not careful he'll have to stop eating his favourite food, Ramen, because one of these days he won't be able to pack it all away without putting on a huge belly…"

He took a sip out of his glass grinning away, Ino, Lee and Sakura were giggling more and more…Hinata sat smiling cheerfully…I sat still with my eyebrow raised, chin tucked in my appearance plainly saying 'are you done yet?'. Once he put his glass down he said one last sentence in a quick breath,

"And he's never going to hear from Hinata again once she learns that our high school's football team's nickname for him was…"

No…he's not going to..?

He and Lee chorused,

"Floppy!"

Oh yes they did. Great. Thanks guys. Pricks…

There was no point in glaring…I was the comic relief after all and I guess someone had to be…especially after Lee had already said his sad life happenings.

"Well, ha yeah! Thanks guys…well at least I get the brownie right?"

As I reached over to grab it (yesss mine mine mine) I suddenly stopped as I heard a voice say,

"Wait! What about me?"

I turned, stunned, to look at Hinata.

"I'm sorry! Do you think your worthy enough for the brownie?"

Sasuke smirked teasingly. Hinata looked rather indignant,

"Well a shot at it at least."

I replied to her in all seriousness,

"You'll have to prove it…this is a very important brownie…you'll have to fight for it!"

…What? This was very serious business…those brownies are damn good! I don't know who made them…couldn't have been Sasuke in any case…

Hinata thought for a second, her face was serene but I could definitely see her determination under the surface. A sort of, lady like determination…

"…I've been on a diet everyday since I was thirteen…which basically means I've been hungry for a decade."

She finished that first sentence widening her eyes comically and tilted her head to the side when she stated the 'hungry for a decade' thing…man…hungry for a decade…I'm glad I don't have to worry about dieting…jeez…she carried on,

"I've had a series of not-nice-boyfriends…one of whom, hit me…And every time I get my heartbroken the newspapers, splash it about as it it's…entertainment. I haven't spent quality time with my family in years as they don't approve of my career choice therefore I rarely ever hear from them…"

Ino looked shocked,

"Really?"

Hinata nodded still smiling calmly. It would be hard for Ino to understand that a family could do such a thing, practically disown their daughter simply because of her career choice. It was hard for me to understand too…Ino and me grew up with Grampa Jiraiya, having frequent visits from our Granny Tsunade too and although our family was small and dysfunctional we never got the inclination that we would be ever disowned, not for any reason, let alone something so trivial…

Hinata's eyes suddenly took on a distant look, as if she was somewhere else, as she said her final piece. Her voice was serious, to the point but also…had a sad undertone as if what she said was inevitable. The following words came out carefully and slowly,

"And one day, not long from now, my looks will go. They will discover I can't act and I will become some…middle aged woman who...looks a bit like someone who was famous for a while…"

The silence echoed around the room once again. Different to Sakura's silence, Sakura's had been more of a heartbreaking silence as we all took in what she had said; a stunned saddened silence. This was more of a 'coming down to earth and crashing head first into a thick concreted slab' sort of silence. I felt a new understanding for Hinata…a new understanding to how she must feel, how insecure that must make you feel, knowing that…I had the sudden urge to take her in my arms and crush her to my chest, I wanted to chase away those fears. I wanted to let her know that even if that day came I would still be here. I would always see her for what she truly was, someone much more than just a pretty face…she was Hinata. She was amazing…but to say or do that, was impossible…I would most likely not be in contact with her when the day came that she could no longer star in movies…my heart constricted once again but this time for a different reason…

Sasuke broke the silence again, grinning, he said in a quick burst of words filled to the brim with good humour,

"Nahh sorry gorgeous but you're not foolin anyone!"

The table laughed in uproar again. I grinned at Hinata as I exclaimed in a mock disapproving voice,

"Pathetic attempt to hog the brownie!"

Hinata laughed in response her eyes looking at me warmly…the constriction in my heart subsided gradually as the evening carried on in much of the same good humour. The brownie…well we decided we were all a bunch of underachievers so we shared the single brownie between each of us, earning a biteable amount which was seriously good enough haha.

The party came to an end some time later. Hinata and me got our coats and made to say our goodbyes (We were the first to leave). Hinata showed off her best smile, her beautiful eyes saying so many words of thanks without the use of her mouth…her expression brought so many unimaginable emotions inside of me to surface…she gave her hand to Sakura and then Sasuke thanking them politely and warmly for having her.

"It was a pleasure having you Hinata…it was so nice to meet you!" Sakura replied happily.

As we were about to leave I got a mischievous urge…I just had to act on it. Before we went into the hallway I turned to Sakura and said clearly,

"Oh you might want to wait until after we've left before you tell him Hinata's a vegetarian!"

Hinata's eyes widened. Sakura frowned at me. I, Ino and Lee burst out into loud laughter at the expression on Sasuke's face. Complete horror and shock filled his eyes at the realisation that the famous actress who had visited his home had only been able to eat part of the meal…he meekly (yet hilarity was still visible) let one word from his mouth,

"No...!"

The laughter got louder at that...

I'd laughed so much that evening my jaw was actually slightly sore…

Hinata and me were escorted to the door by both Sasuke and Sakura along with Lee and Ino. We said some more final goodbyes. Ino grabbed Hinata's hands,

"And if you ever want to go shopping don't hesitate to call me!"

Hinata smiled at my hyper baby sister,

"Of course, you are my style guru!"

Ino's white teeth shined brightly as she grinned before pulling Hinata into a hug. Hinata let out a little gasp of surprise…I couldn't help but think how cute the noise sounded…

"It was so great to meet you!"

Ino finally let go of my date. I quickly took Hinata's hand before someone else decided to take hold of her in a final farewell. Waving a goodbye to my group of embarrassing but amazing friends I gently pulled Hinata out of the door out into the fresh night air (It briefly crossed my mind that this was the first time I had taken Hinata's hand in an informal and intimate gesture…it made me feel all warm and gooey inside…that actually sounds pretty yuck but the concept wasn't!) four indulgent faces waved to us and chorused a 'bye' before closing the door...

…I could have went back in there and given them a right talking to for what happened next…

As the door closed and Hinata and me made our way down the steps; there was a pause behind the door before a loud, and I mean very loud, round of over excited laughter, "Oh my god!" and keyed up screams could be heard…yep. I'm gonna kill them.

We stood at the bottom of the steps awkwardly looking back at the door (Naruto and Hinata sweat drop) before I cleared my throat and explained whilst scratching the back of my head,

"Heh yeahh…they always do that when I leave…I hate it."

My poor excuse to what was obviously my friends excited outburst – that no doubt they had wanted to do all night – at meeting one of the current most famous actresses in the world.

We started to walk down the street, my hands in my pockets now. It had occurred to me to carry on holding her hand but…it was technically the first date and I didn't want to come on too strong…it probably would have just turned uncomfortable if I had carried on holding her hand...

"So…" She started to say, "Floppy?"

She asked questionably, raising a neatly plucked eyebrow at me. I quickly answered,

"It's the hair! Coz it…sorta flops around…heh…the football team gave me that nickname after one of the big games and I had just got out of the shower, it was extra floppy then…"

…I'm not even gonna start commenting on the double meaning that could be concluded in what I just said…

The rhythmical sound of Hinata's high heeled boots was a comforting sound in the silent night air (I say silent, we were in a town so it wasn't completely silent but, for a town it was pretty quiet.) it was a warm evening and I had my jacket unzipped letting what little breeze there was to enter under the fabric. We walked in quiet companionship for a while, neither one of us saying much. I wouldn't say it was awkward but it wasn't exactly overly comfortable either, Y' know?

Hinata asked tentatively,

"So...how long has Sakura been in a wheelchair?"

"About eighteen months now...she was in a climbing accident while she and Sasuke were on holiday…she was in a coma for a month after and was left with permanent damage to her spine."

I told her in a subdued voice, the memories still hurting.

"And has that got something to do with..."

"Them not being able to have a baby? I don't know, possibly. I didn't realise until this evening that they were even trying, let alone not been able to…"

A sad silence passed between us as we walked on,

"I really like your friends Naruto! They are honestly some of the nicest and friendliest people I've met in a long time."

She told me happily, smiling. I grinned back.

"Yeah! They can be jerks sometimes when it comes to teasing but yeah, they are brilliant! I don't know what I'd do without them!"

It wasn't long until we came to a large, locked gate, with high brick walls either side. Green plants grew up the walls…A strange feeling came over me when I saw the gate and towering walls but before I could think further into it my attentions were on the woman walking beside me. Hinata paused and stared up at the wall and impressive metal gate that gave off an old fashioned aristocratic air. She asked curiously,

"What is this place?"

Taking a step forward, clasping her hands around the metal bars on the gate, peering through, reminding me of a child peering through the railings of a staircase…I took a step forward too,

"Huh? It's a park actually but only people who live in this neighbourhood are allowed to visit it…I'm not sure why, I guess it was made for them or something…"

It seemed pretty weird to me actually. A park's a park. Why not let everyone enjoy it? I really don't see the point in a private park…But whatever…Hinata had an adventurous look on her face as she turned to me…I was slightly taken aback by that look.

"Let's go inside!"

She exclaimed. I blinked. Huh?

"Um…but it's locked…and we're not really supposed to go in there…"

"We'll climb over."

She said with a shrug. Is this girl for real? I grinned at her, who'd a thought sweet little Hyuuga Hinata, the beautiful actress, had a breaking-and-entering streak? Excitement bubbled inside me. I laughed,

"Okay! If you really want to…" I paused slightly before I said, with a wink, "Just don't blame me if we get caught!"

She smiled and as she walked - with her hands clasped behind her back in an innocent motion - over to a place in the wall that looked to have a good foot hold, she said sweetly,

"You first."

I smirked as I strode up to the wall. Placing my foot in a crevice, grasping hold of the strong green plant, I got ready to hoist myself up…very aware of Hinata's eyes on me…as I put my weight in the crack and went to pull my body up I felt myself slip…My other foot naturally and easily went back to the ground so I didn't fall but I couldn't stop myself from saying,

"Whoopsy daisies!"

…What the hell! Where did that come from? It just sorta slipped out…Hinata laughed,

"What was that?"

"What was what?" I ingenuously replied, she giggled,

"You said whoopsy daisies!"

"Did I? Are you sure?" I attempted ignorance,

"Positive. You said whoopsy daisies!" she continued to laugh musically, "Who says whoopsy daisies anymore? Not many people used to say it in the fifties and the few that did were little blonde girls with pigtails! Haha!"

She seemed to find this very amusing.

"No? Really…little blonde pigtailed girls huh? Well…it just slipped out so maybe I was a little blonde pigtailed girl in a past life!"

I joked, pretending to be serious as I put my finger to my chin in a thoughtful gesture. A few moments later I made my second effort to climb over the wall. This time I was ready for the slippery hold and managed to get a firmer grip. Pulling myself up to sit on the wall easily; I gazed around.

Green lawns, tall over hanging trees, flowers growing in manmade circled arrangements…even in the dark I could tell it was a pretty place. I turned back to see Hinata already on her way up the wall. I went to give her my hand, expecting her to need my help but to my surprise she lifted herself up onto the wall gracefully and with ease…no problem at all. I stared at her incredulously. Don't get me wrong I'm not the type of guy who thinks women can't do things like climbing walls without male help…I mean, c'mon one of my best friends is Sakura, one of the most independent women I know…It just surprised me that Hinata would be like that, not that she's not independent, I just didn't automatically think she would be a bit of a tomboy…heh anyway…

Going back to me staring at her incredulously, I asked her,

"So…do you often break and enter as a part time hobby?"

She replied smartly,

"Well, we haven't actually broken anything so technically this isn't breaking and entering."

I grinned snapping my fingers,

"I like your reasoning!"

We climbed down from the wall so we found ourselves in the secluded park. We stood close to each other, our arms touching, staring around at the sight before our eyes, almost sheepish not quite knowing what to do next. I was the first to take a step forward breathing in the smells, the soft flourishing of flowers mixed with the earthy green grass and strong aroma that came from the trees. I breathed in, filling my lungs with the natural smells, enjoying the purity of it.

We walked together in silence. Simple serene silence. The place was so peaceful. There were no street lights to light our way but it was light enough so we had no trouble seeing. It was like being in a different place altogether, like climbing over the wall had transported us to another country…another world…and we were the only ones here…

I was very aware of that. Hinata's presence was like a candle. A warm and bright homely candle shining, standing right beside me - a burning light. I could see her creamy skin, magnified by her dark hair that matched the night perfectly, her pale eyes gazing around at the special place that we had stumbled upon…

I could have so easily taken her in my arms right there and then…making her mine…

It so happens I didn't, though.

The park was surprisingly big. We eventually found ourselves in what appeared to be the centre of the park. Numerous trees circled it, brightly coloured flowers in the centre, with a park bench slightly to the side. Hinata saw it and led the way towards it, I followed.

I stared around this place. I suddenly felt strange. I had that feeling again…the feeling I had at first felt when I saw the metal gate. It took me a few seconds to realise what it was but I suddenly realised, with a jolt, that it was familiarity. This place seemed familiar but I had not memories of ever being here…

I looked at the trees. The flowers…the bench…it was so bizarre. I felt a chill run down my spine although the night air was perfectly warm. As we walked up to the wooden bench I could feel unexplainable emotion rise within me…Why was I getting worked up? So what if it felt familiar and yet I'd never been there…a park's a park right?

If that were the case why could I feel it tugging away at me, tugging at the back of my mind, it was almost irritating…like when you're trying to remember a word and it's on the tip of your tongue but you just can't get it out.

We reached the wooden bench. It sat comfortably near a tree yet the tree was far away enough so that on a bright sunny day it wouldn't obscure the light away from whoever was sitting on the bench but also close enough so that the bench didn't seem out of place or isolated. It was a nice spot…

Hinata was smiling as she stepped closer. She had been smiling the whole time in fact. I had been too…until I got that strange feeling that was bugging the hell out of me. As she stepped forward she bent down slightly to read out a plaque that was secured safely onto the wooden bench…I stood a little further away. Her voice came out soft as she read the words written upon the plaque,

To my darling Kushina, who always loved to sit here

From her Minato, who always sat beside her

Before pausing slightly she straightened up and as she did she continued in her soft voice that seemed to contain some wonder,

"Some people really do spend their whole lives together…"

I couldn't answer. In fact, I couldn't move or breathe. As she had read the plaque I felt like I had stopped. Just stopped. My whole world. My whole body was frozen. I couldn't believe it…how could I've forgotten? Was I that stupid?

I stared around once again, this time truly seeing…I remembered…I was no longer in this body; I was in a different world as I recalled…the world of a toddler.

Laughter, sun shining upon my face as I looked up, like warm kisses from an angel as the rays of sun danced upon my skin. I looked up to see equally smiling faces, some were strangers, others weren't…two faces stood out in particular, a man and a woman, beaming down at me…then, as fast as the previous memory had surfaced it was replaced with another.

I wasn't the only child this time…a little blonde baby sat beside me, sleeping soundly in a little baby-carrier. I had perched myself on the wooden bench, my legs dangling over the edge…I gazed over the fluffy cotton-candy I ate to gaze adoringly at the blonde man. This blonde man was such a comforting figure. A lost comforting figure…He was the same man from the other memory, the one who had been beaming down at me except this time…he was alone. Memories…lost memories…His face and only his…the sun was so bright and warm…

I gasped as the two memories from my childhood came back to me. It felt like they had punched me in the head in a fit of vengeance for forgetting them…

"Naruto..?"

Hinata anxiously said to me, standing close beside me again her hand on my arm reassuringly…pulling me back to the summer night to be beside the girl who I barely knew but still cared profoundly for…

"What's wrong?"

She sounded worried. I swallowed. I was surprised how difficult the action was, my throat felt mechanical, unable to do normal human movement. I stared at the ground my eyes half closed, my fists clenched, I spoke, my voice filled with heartache,

"Kushina and Minato…were my parents…"

It was silent. She just stood patiently waiting for me to speak if I wanted to…so I did,

"I used to live in this neighbourhood, which is why my mother and father used to bring me here…I can't believe I actually forgot…"

I spat the last words out vehemently, disgusted with myself. I had very few memories of them and I allowed myself to forget some of the most special? I continued in the same quiet, sorrow filled tone as before as the grief from my past started to crash all around me,

"My mum died soon after giving birth to Ino, something to do with complications…I was one when she died. My dad got that wooden bench made…him and mum used to come here all the time and when they had me they used bring me here too…we always sat on the grass, right where that bench is…he had it made soon after mum died…and he used to bring Ino and me here…we used to sit on that very bench…"

I looked up and stared at the darkened, deserted wooden form,

"When I was two…my dad was killed in a car accident…"

My hands shook slightly as the memories of his death came flooding back to me…the confusion, the anguish, the feeling of being lost…I was only two, I had been so confused…I closed my eyes frowning, feeling a lump growing in my mechanical throat,

"How could I forget this place!"

I exclaimed, angered at myself, shaking from head to toe now. Hinata looked up at me her face was full of care and understanding. Her hand tightened on my arm, squeezing it in a comforting movement. The slight touch sent warm, electric tingling sensations to shoot up and down my arm…even through my jacket her mere touch had such an effect on me.

After a few moments of her hand lightly pressing on my arm I began to calm down, my shaking subsiding…

She let go of my arm and slowly went and sat on the wooden bench. I couldn't. I couldn't bring myself to sit on that bench…I'm not sure why…it was like I was afraid I wouldn't feel right. Like, because my mum and dad weren't sitting beside me I would feel alone…empty…being cruelly reminded of how they had left me at such a young age…I know it wasn't their fault but it somehow made it easier to blame someone.

I took a few steps forward, so I was standing in front of the bench. I was back on to it. As I had moved my legs they had felt wooden, heavy, like they had forgotten how to work. I crossed my arms and simply looked out at the sight before my eyes. A peaceful and beautiful little haven placed in the centre of a town. A place where my parents used to bring me and we'd sit on the brightly coloured grass; I could almost imagine the short spiky touch of that grass tickling my skin once again…and even after, when it was Ino, dad and me the memories were happy…but they were clouded, disjointed, I hadn't been old enough to remember them clearly…they must have been some of my first memories…A sweet voice quietly brought me back. Brought me back to where I was standing instead of a far off past…

"Come and sit with me."

The voice said.

I slowly turned and gazed at the young woman who had spoken to me…I obediently obeyed. And as I sat myself down upon the wooden bench - that felt like it was the solid symbol of my parents - I did not feel incomplete, lonely or sad in fact….I felt…the opposite.

I sat close to Hinata our bodies touching. I felt different now. As I had sat it was like all my pain had floated up into the dark night sky…don't ask me why, because I wouldn't be able to answer. It just simply was.

In this moment. In this time. I felt like my parents were watching me, wherever they were, they were smiling. And so I smiled too.

Hinata was also smiling now, feeling that I was much more at ease.

We sat, in silence. Stilled by the quiet evening…by emotions that had now been tamed. I had my arm leisurely draped over the back of the wooden bench, meaning my arm was behind Hinata's shoulders. And no, I didn't do the over-used yawn bringing my arm over and behind the girl's shoulders. I had just automatically put my arm there because it felt comfortable.

A few minutes past and our bodies relaxed in time with the other. I had my head turned to the side when I suddenly felt a light weight on my shoulder. I turned to look down to find that Hinata had placed her head there. I smiled warmly. I felt flattered that she felt relaxed enough around me to do that. It was a very sweet statement. And, without even thinking, I leaned my cheek against her silky dark hair.

I closed my eyes, breathing in gently. She smelt good. Like raspberries with the hint of floral scents, the latter not overwhelming the first…I could have eaten her she smelt that good…

We were touching, right from my face resting on her hair, to her head contentedly on my shoulder, to our shoulders and arms, to our thighs pressing lightly together.

It would be cliché to say it was a magical moment but, I'm afraid, I'm a cliché kind of guy…because…

It was a magical moment.

I felt such joy. Joy and warmth at her touch. It had revived me and was distracting me so much that the mournful emotions that had aroused my past memories were all but forgotten. Well, not forgotten, more along the lines they had been…released. They were no longer an issue…they weren't gone but just…subdued. I was able to cope with them now.

And I knew that that was her doing. Her touch and voice had brought me back.

My heart bulged with gratitude and dare I say…love. I loved how this woman made me feel. I loved how her personality shined through right into my soul, something no other woman had done despite what Sasuke had pointed out about my two serious previous relationships. They were serious, yes, but neither of those women had made me feel like the one who rested her head upon my shoulder did now. None of them had caused such a reaction within me when she touched me. None of them had me feel quite like this.

Then, reacting on impulse…I just had to…if I didn't I think I would have gone mad…my cheek was still resting on the top of her head, my eyes still closed…I turned and pressed my lips, feeling the smooth silky strands of hair beneath them, as I kissed the top of her head. I didn't think. I just knew that I had to and I didn't care what the end result would be. As I pressed my lips tenderly upon the ebony blue hair, wafts of raspberry greeted my nostrils in an almost returning scented kiss.

It lasted for a split second before I rested my cheek back in the same place. A few seconds ticked by and I was beginning to wonder if I had upset her. She was still, I wasn't even sure if she was breathing. Was she holding her breath? I was about to ask if I shouldn't have done that when I felt a gentle hand grasp mine, squeezing it in silent answer.

I hadn't done anything wrong.

And so we sat. We sat together, holding hands, her head resting on my shoulder my cheek upon her head. In perfect companionship we sat; in the exact same spot, years ago, where my mother and father had sat together on the grass during their days of courtship. It was almost like we were repeating history…We sat in the same spot where I as a child had sat, dangling my legs over the edge of the wooden bench whilst grinning and getting myself covered in sticky cotton-candy…

This spot felt so significant, like a symbol with deep meaning…

We sat, together, in comfortable silence. Simply enjoying each others presence…Our hands entwined…

The night that could have been the night from hell…turned out to be pretty good…

~x~

A/N: Phew! Finally finished The Party section…I really wanted to get it done and out of the way! Lol…So what did you think of this chapter? Looking back there were some actually quite sad factors happening in it...

I would like to take this moment to point something out:

This fanfic is, as you know, from Naruto's POV (mainly) and when he's describing things about himself and other people he tends to say, for example, "Sasuke and me" now I know that it should be "Sasuke and I" it's just…I really don't see Naruto saying that. I just thought I should point out that I know what it should be, that I know the difference and that I'm not completely incompetent…only partly :/ hahaha :)

I apologise for any spelling and/or grammar mistakes.

Please review and thanks for reading!

LadyB3ARwolfFang