Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, the Naruto franchise, or any of its characters.
Author's Note: Here's my retake on Love: Lost, then Found Again. Hopefully, this one does better than the last one.
Lost, but not Forgotten
Hinata was out in one of the training grounds, taking her anger, her rage, out on one of the training posts. Her crush, no, not a crush, the man she loved, Uzumaki Naruto, had gone missing almost a month ago, shortly after seeing her again for the first time in three years. That wasn't why she was so angry, though.
The fact is, a lot of the people of the village, upon hearing that the 'demon brat' was missing, began celebrating! Hinata damned those people to the lowest pits of hell, in her mind at least. Jinchuuriki or not, Naruto was an all-around good person, as she and the other members of the Rookie Eleven were aware. When they had all reached Chuunin, Tsunade had called them together to inform them of Naruto's status as the Kyuubi's prison, and let them know of the duty that comes with being Chuunin or higher of having to help restrain him, should he ever lose control of the beast within the village.
Almost all of them were saddened to hear that Naruto had to carry such a burden, and the ones that weren't saddened, were angry, due to the fact that the people of the village had treated him like crap for such a stupid reason. They had all made a vow, then and there, to make sure they treated Naruto like the hero he was, from then on.
But now, their hero was missing. They had searched high and low for him, but there were no results. Hinata wanted to cry, but she refused to. Crying wouldn't help her find Naruto.
She was awakened from her thoughts, though, when an enormous explosion of chakra sent rubble into the sky a great distance away. Immediately, she turned on her Byakugan, and saw chakra similar to Kyuubi's, but without the malicious intent that was reported to accompany it in events when Naruto loses control. Seconds later, an object, no, a body, came hurtling in her general direction, appearing to have come from the explosion itself.
Hinata, shaking herself out of her shock, sped over to where she saw the body land. As soon as she got there, she gasped at what she saw. Naruto was lying face-first on the ground, naked, with nine five-foot long fox tails coming out of the base of his spine, and a pair of fox ears atop his head, replacing the human ears that were no longer there.
She quickly turned him over, checking his neck for a pulse, and the rest of his body for injuries, and was grateful to whatever gods were listening that he was only suffering from chakra burns.
She was startled, yet again, when he began to groan a bit, showing that he was regaining consciousness. She quickly took her coat off, and wrapped it around him, trying to avoid the chakra burns. "It's going to be okay, Naruto-kun. It's me, Hinata. I'm going to get you to Hokage-sama, so she can treat you," she said softly.
"Hinata... Thank you..." he murmured, falling unconscious again, and subconsciously snuggling into her arms as she carried him, causing her to blush a bit.
Hinata quickly made her way to the village, heading to the Hokage tower...
A few hours later, at the hospital...
Hinata and the other rookies sat outside of the hospital room Naruto was situated in, waiting to hear what had happened to him. Inoichi Yamanaka had entered earlier, but neither he nor Tsunade had come back out.
After a few minutes more of waiting, Tsunade and Inoichi came out. Tsunade then decided to tell them the status of their friend. "He's going to be okay, physically. He'll be in pain for a day or two, so be gentle with him, but...he's lost a huge portion of his memories," she said, causing the group to become relieved, then saddened.
The legendary medic then turned to Hinata. "He remembers you, mostly, Hinata. From what I can tell, he loved you, but was afraid to pursue a relationship with you, due to how your clan normally treats you, so he held onto what memories of you he could, along with his memories of how to talk, eat, walk, ninja techniques, and other necessities. Also, 'you-know-who' has been completely absorbed into his being. Unfortunately, this has changed Naruto into a hanyou, so he's probably going to get more grief from the villagers than before. Please, all of you, try to be there for him, because he needs you all now more than ever." Tsunade bowed, then gestured for them to enter, which they all did.
Naruto looked fairly depressed at first, and didn't react to them entering for a bit, simply staring at his hands in his lap. Eventually, Akamaru trotted to his side and whined a bit, gently butting his big head against Naruto.
The former jinchuuriki blinked for a second, then raised his head to look at everybody in the room, his eyes lingering for a moment on Hinata. "You're...my friends, right?" he asked, sounding nervous. Everybody nodded, some of them holding back tears upon seeing their friend in such a state.
One of Naruto's tails reached out to Hinata, slowly, as if nervous, and rested on her shoulder. "I loved you, right? I can still feel how I felt, somehow, but I want to know," he murmured.
Hinata reached up to her shoulder, and gently rubbed the tail there, causing Naruto to purr, surprising the group. "I...I really don't know, Naruto-kun. Tsunade-sama thinks you did, but didn't tell me because of how my family would react," she said, moving closer to Naruto to put her hand on his shoulder, hoping to comfort him.
She quickly took note of his new features. His tails were covered in warm, soft, bushy fur, that was similar in color to his hair, and his new ears nearly blended in with the spikes of hair on his head. They would have been invisible if it weren't for the white tips, but even those were hard to see against his brightly-colored hair.
Naruto surprised everybody with his actions again, when he gently butted his head against Hinata's stomach, rubbing said body part gently against her as he purred loudly.
Sakura smiled slightly. "Looks like Naruto's become a hanyou in more than appearance. If what I've read is correct, I'd have to say he wants to date you, Hinata!" she giggled, then turned to the door, and said, "I'll report to Tsunade-shishio about this change in behavior. It's possible she didn't notice it, since she didn't bother telling us. I'll also see about getting him a place to stay, since that damned landlord of his burned his things and sold his flat. Who knows? He might wind up staying with you and Kurenai-sensei!"
Neji simply nodded at the scene. "He will treat you well. I approve of your budding relationship with him, Hinata-sama. Just try not to have coitus with him too soon," he chuckled.
Naruto's ears perked up for a second. "Coitus? Is that something you can eat? It sounds tasty!" he exclaimed, his stomach rumbling loudly a few seconds afterwards, followed quickly by Hinata fainting. Fortunately, Naruto caught her before she hit the floor, and placed her unconscious form next to him on the bed. "She must be pretty tired to have passed out so easily. I'll keep her comfy until she wakes up," the hanyou boy stated, covering Hinata up with his tails while snuggling with her slightly. He then looked pointedly at everyone in the room, and said, "Go away. We're bonding."
Neji sighed. "Just don't mate with her, please. It would cause both of you a lot of trouble at this point," he muttered, silently cursing the clan of his origin.
One of Naruto's ears flicked. "If she wants to make love with me, it's our business. Her hateful clan won't touch her," he said with an air of finality, then growled, "I will protect her." He then stunned the bewildered Hyuuga prodigy by holding out the same fist he had used to make a vow on Hinata's blood three years ago.
"You...you remember?" Neji asked, startled.
Naruto nodded, and added, "I remember my promise to you, too, now. I intend to keep it, so hopefully, Hinata-chan will be able to remain safe from that seal." The hanyou then gestured for them to leave, turning his attention to the unconscious Hinata. "I will try to remember the rest of you through my memories of her. But for now, I want to be able to properly bond with Hinata-chan, here, and I just don't feel comfortable snuggling with her while people watch," he said, smiling fondly at the sleeping heiress.
Shino nodded, and discreetly sent one of his Kikai to stay on Naruto, so he wouldn't be lost again anytime soon. "We'll bring you some ramen later. Why? Because that's your favorite food, and because Teuchi-san and Ayame-san have been worried about you as well," the insect wielder said, smiling a bit under his coat.
Kiba grinned. "You're probably pretty hungry, too, after being kept wherever you were!" he added.
Lee grinned, then looked to the big-boned member of their group. "Chouji-kun! We should see if Naruto-kun can eat more ramen than his previous record now! He could possibly beat our combined scores in a ramen-eating contest, with his new level of metabolism!" he exclaimed.
Shikamaru sighed, then began ushering the others out. "Come on, everyone. Naruto probably wants some time with his new girlfriend right now, and we're intruding, as troublesome as it is. He's not going anywhere anytime soon, so let's just go," he said, closing the door as he and the others left. It didn't seem like Naruto cared about what they had been saying, but part of the reason he was smiling so warmly was because the voices of his friends were bringing back a few memories, little by little...
About half an hour later, in the Hokage's office...
Tsunade sighed. "So Danzou-teme was the one behind this. I knew it! If he weren't already dead, I'd be killing him right now!" she suddenly shouted, then pounded her fist on her desk hard enough to shake the room.
Shizune, who was standing nearby, smiled sadly. "At least the only people that chakra blast killed were members of ROOT. The prisoners and all the animals and people above ground were completely unharmed, oddly enough. It makes me wonder if Kyuubi was really as evil as we all thought he was, since Naruto-kun obviously wasn't the one to perform that chakra-poisoning technique," she said, then brought a finger to her lip and wondered out loud, "Maybe Naruto-kun made it have a change of heart? He seems to have done that for a lot of people..."
"Oink!" Tonton squealed enthusiastically, liking the idea that Naruto might have brought the era-old demon over to their side before it had gone.
Tsunade frowned. "Somehow, I don't think the council will see things that way, or at least not the civilian side. Not that they'll be allowed to the meeting, but they'll still cause problems, regardless," she muttered, then heard a knock on the door, and called out, "If it isn't important, you'd better leave now! I'm really not in a good mood!"
"I'm sorry to bother you, Godaime-sama, but I assure you, it is urgent, and something that should wind up putting you in a better mood when it's over and done with," Hiashi's voice called out through the door.
Tsunade smiled. "Come in, Hiashi-sama. If it's what you were asking about before, then I'd be happy to help you shove the clan politics in those elders' faces," she said happily.
Hiashi entered, the stoic look that was plastered to his face falling to show a smile behind it. "It's more than that, Tsunade-sama. Another proposition that I've recently thought up should give you something to tease your surrogate grandson over, and it will hopefully make him quite happy, as well," he said, pulling some scrolls from a pocket in his robe...
Meanwhile, with Naruto and Hinata...
Hinata's eyes slowly fluttered open. "What happened? Did I faint again?" she wondered to herself. She could feel a bit of weight covering her body, and whatever it was, it was generating soft...pulses of warmth, which relaxed her. As her eyesight stopped being fuzzy, she sat up to take a look at what was covering her, only for the objects to suddenly retract, having revealed themselves to be Naruto's tails. Almost immediately afterwards, she was pulled into a hug by said hanyou.
"I'm glad you finally woke up, Hinata-chan!" the blond exclaimed happily, then added, "It wasn't any fun snuggling with you when you were asleep. I couldn't tell if you were ticklish anywhere or not!"
Hinata giggled at his enthusiasm, then blushed when she realized what he was saying. "Y-you were snuggling with me?" she stammered.
Naruto nodded. "I've got all these weird thoughts and feelings going on in me now that you're around. The demon part of me says I should mate with you, and make a den somewhere for us, but the human part of me knows you probably aren't ready for that, so I'm compromising with my demon instincts by just snuggling with you. It was kinda nice, but it didn't feel right since you were unconscious," he explained, then frowned, and added, "I kinda wound up asking the others to leave us alone, and now I feel bad. They're my friends, too, after all, right?"
Hinata nodded. "They'll be fine. I'm sure they understand you're going through a pretty rough period of your life, but I'm sure you'll get chances to make it up to them later. Chouji and Lee would probably really like to have a ramen-eating contest with you, since you guys haven't done that in a while. I might join in, too, since my doctor says I haven't been eating enough lately. Shinobi like us have to eat a lot to stay in shape, don't we?" she giggled.
Naruto smiled at her, then gained a confused look, and asked, "The guy with the big dog and the hooded guy...they're your teammates, right?" To this, Hinata nodded. "And the guy in the white robe-ish clothes, he's your cousin?" Again, Hinata nodded, to which Naruto grinned, and said, "Well, I guess I'll have to make sure I don't tick them off, huh? They looked like they'd tear into me if I hurt you!" He then smiled in a more subdued manner, and asked, "Your cousin hated you at one point, if I remember correctly. He's treating you more nicely now, I take it?"
Hinata smiled, and gained a slightly far-off look in her eyes. "You really helped change Neji-niisan for the better when you defeated him in the Chuunin Exams, Naruto-kun. It's really helped him, my imouto Hanabi-chan, my father, and me to get along with each other better. Father actually smiles a lot more, and Hanabi-chan doesn't feel so much pressure in being heiress anymore. Neji-niisan is also dating Tenten-senpai, and I feel as if I've changed a bit for the better as well, because of you. Kurenai-sensei and I often have them over for dinner, where we can act like a regular family. Lately, though, the clan elders have been giving my father a lot of trouble..." she murmured, frowning at the last part.
Naruto smiled softly at her. "Don't worry. I gave my word to Neji that I'd protect you from your clan, and if need be, I'll protect your father, sister, and Neji from them, too. And you know I never break my word. That's our Nindo, after all, ne, Hinata-chan?" he said softly, kissing her forehead and causing her to giggle a little.
After her little giggle fit subsided, Hinata smiled warmly at Naruto, and said, "Thank you. I know you'll do your best, Naruto-kun."
Upon seeing such a kind smile on Hinata's face, Naruto gained a warm feeling in his stomach, and leaned in towards Hinata's face. The two of them closed their eyes in preparation for a kiss, but when the kiss landed, it wasn't on their lips. A young girl's laughter interrupted the moment as well.
"Oneechan, Naruto-san, you have guests!" Hanabi laughed from between them, having intercepted their kiss with her cheeks, and the two lovebirds opened their eyes to see Hanabi, Hiashi, Kurenai, and Tsunade in the room.
Tsunade grinned upon seeing the position Naruto and Hinata were in, and said, "Well, it looks like you two are getting along well! That will make this a whole lot easier to make good. I have news for Hinata, and a mission for you, Naruto."
Hinata looked startled upon hearing this. "But Naruto-kun is still recovering from that explosion of chakra! He shouldn't be doing anything strenuous yet! You should know that better than anybody, Tsunade-sama!" she panicked.
Tsunade smiled warmly at the girl. "Don't worry, Hinata-chan. It's gonna be a long-term D-rank mission, and the little gaki shouldn't have to do anything difficult to complete it. I'm sure you'll both be happy about it once you hear what it is. But first, Hiashi-sama and Kurenai have some news for you," she explained.
Hiashi nodded, and stepped forward, a sad look on his face. "I really wish I didn't have to do this, but I will not risk the elders sealing you. Hinata, you are no longer Hyuuga. I have disowned you legally, though I want you to know I still love you dearly. Yuuhi-san has agreed to adopt you, so you are now Yuuhi Hinata. Because of this, the Hyuuga have no claim over you, and you can no longer be sealed, due to legal matters. I hope, however, that you will still invite your sister, cousin, and me over for dinner occasionally, so that I may see you," he said, gaining a small smile on his face near the end.
Hanabi wrapped her arms around her sister's waist suddenly. "I still wanna be able to call you Oneechan. Is that okay?" she asked, pouting cutely.
Hinata giggled, crying a tiny bit. "Yes, my baby sister, you may still call me that," she said, happy to finally be free from all the pressure of her clan.
Kurenai smiled warmly and stepped forward. "I may not be able to replace your real mother, but I'll try my best, Hinata," she said happily, putting her arms around her new daughter after Hanabi let up.
Hinata returned the hug happily. "Thank you, Kurenai-sensei, so much," she murmured happily.
Naruto smiled warmly at the scene before him, glad to see that Hinata was free of her greatest burden, and happier than he ever remembered seeing her.
"Uzumaki Naruto!" Tsunade called out. "Hiashi-sama has requested that you attend to a mission for him. You are to be Hinata's companion and confidant as she recovers from the emotional stress from losing her position as heiress of the Hyuuga Clan. You will be rooming with her and Yuuhi Kurenai for the duration of the mission. You will be given a steady income during this mission of 500,000 Ryou per week, because Hiashi-sama feels like you deserve a break after all the shit the village has pushed on you, and because he loves his daughter so damn much. Do you accept this mission?" she explained, then asked.
Naruto frowned, confused. "I accept, but Hinata-chan doesn't seem to be under any real emotional stress right now..." he said, looking back and forth between Tsunade and Hinata.
Tsunade grinned. "The Hyuuga Elders don't know that, and they don't have to!" she laughed, then, after calming down, added, "You're cleared from the hospital for now, but don't do any training for two weeks. Doctor's orders. Those chakra burns are going to be hell to move around with, and your chakra network still has to recover. Now hold still for a second." After running through a few hand-seals, Tsunade tapped Naruto's forehead, and his body looked just like it did before his hanyou transformation. "Now get some non-hospital clothes on. I've managed to adjust some pants to fit your tails and match the genjutsu to hide the hole for now, but I'm going to need to work on a better way to do such a thing," she said, handing him a pair of pants like his old ones that had a slit going about four inches down from the top-middle of the back of them, and a belt that was obviously meant to close up the top of the slit when it's put on.
"Thanks, Baachan," Naruto said warmly.
Tsunade smiled and flicked his forehead gently. "You get a freebee this time, since you just remembered that nickname, and since I'm in such a good mood. Now get in the bathroom, get dressed, and get out of this place! You've got better things to do than rot around here!" she laughed.
Naruto took the pants and belt, and a jacket of his that was conveniently placed on a nearby hanger, and got to figuring out his new wardrobe malfunction.
Hinata blushed upon realizing that Naruto would be changing in the next room, but managed to recover and turn to speak to Hiashi. "Thank you so much, Daddy," she murmured happily, then hugged him and whispered, "I'll never forget this."
Hiashi smiled as Hanabi joined in the hug, and patted his eldest daughter's back. "You're so very welcome, my little sunshine," he said happily, then embraced both of his daughters happily.
Soon enough, Naruto was done changing, and they all left...
Fifteen minutes later, near Konoha's marketplace...
Naruto's stomach rumbled loudly. "I NEED FOOD!" he whined comically. He was hungry as hell. In fact, he actually couldn't remember any of the times he'd ever eaten in his life!
However, that's not why he'd shouted. He was trying to relieve the tension in the air, caused by all the people around him glaring at him, and whispering cruel things in hushed voices. He turned to Hinata as he walked, and quietly asked, "Are the villagers always like this around me?"
Hinata sighed. She had a feeling this question would come up soon. "Sadly, yes, Naruto-kun. However, none of the shinobi in the village really hate you, since they're a lot smarter about your 'condition' than the civilian populace, and a lot of the members of the younger generation actually look up to you, especially if they attend Iruka-sensei's classes. You might not remember him, but he was one of the first people you 'turned' from hating you to accepting you as who you are. He missed you a lot while you went missing, along with other people," she said, pointing out several of the people who gave waves in his direction and smiled at or called out to him.
Naruto smiled back at these people, happy to see that he'd been acknowledged by at least some of the people of the village, but then it was all interrupted by a flower pot falling from the railing of a nearby home. The young hanyou was only unconscious for about three seconds, but that was more than long enough for the genjutsu seal hiding his new features to wear off, revealing his new look to the villagers around him.
Upon seeing how the former jinchuuriki's body had changed, many of the villagers began shouting angrily. Startled by the shouting, and acting on an instinct he'd never felt before, Naruto let out a ferocious roar, startling the crowd. He then immediately picked Hinata up piggy-back style, and, to the confusion of the villagers who thought for an instant that they were going to die, ran like his life depended on it, with a panicky Hinata holding onto him for dear life.
After about a minute, the crowd realized they'd been duped, and was about to give chase, until a cleaver charged with chakra was thrown across the street, coming from inside of Ichiraku Ramen. An angry chef, one Teuchi Ichiraku, followed it, leaking Killing Intent.
"Ayame!" he shouted back into the shop, "Deliver as much ramen as you can to Hinata's place! We'll just have to send Naruto-kun's treat to him!"
The old man then summoned his cleaver back to his hand with a chakra string, and formed a seal, trapping the majority of the mob on the property of Ichiraku Ramen with a barrier ninjutsu. Most people wouldn't know this, but the land that Ichiraku Ramen is built on belongs to him. Normally, this wouldn't mean anything, but now...
"You people are trespassing on my property, and you scared away my favorite customer, who hasn't come by in so long... The only way out of here is through my shop's back door... I wonder how many of you people will make it out alive?" he asked sinisterly, leaking out a lot of KI as he did so.
Let it be known that Teuchi did not attack anybody that day. All injuries gotten by these trespassers were gotten because they all trampled over each other running away from the angry ramen chef, and because that many people just can't run through a fully-stocked kitchen safely...
Later, in Hinata and Kurenai's home...
Hinata sighed as she ran her fingers through Naruto's hair. He had passed out from the stress upon reaching a place that he deemed safe, which, conveniently, was the home where she and Kurenai lived together. She quickly got him into her bed, and checked him over to make sure he wasn't in pain. He seemed to be groaning a bit in his sleep, but she guessed he was just dreaming, though said dream didn't seem to be all that pleasant, what with all his tossing and turning. After inviting Ayame in and sealing the ramen into a scroll for later, the two young women simply watched as the hanyou rested, hoping he'd wake up soon.
A few hours had passed, and Ayame had to leave, with Kurenai arriving shortly thereafter. Sadly, Naruto still hadn't woken up. Something else had changed, however. Hinata felt a an emotional 'tug' as she watched the boy, and it kept pulling at her. It also appeared that Naruto was attempting to reach out to her in his sleep.
Hinata smiled fondly at him after a few more minutes of this. "I'm probably going to lose my virginity to him sometime soon anyway," she murmured softly. She went to give her new mother a good night hug, then changed into her night clothes and lowered herself into Naruto's waiting arms. To her relief, he didn't suddenly start ravaging her. He, instead, simply held her against him, wrapping his tails around the two of them like a blanket, and purred softly, seemingly at peace now.
Hinata smiled softly, and whispered gently, "Sweet dreams, my love. I'll stay with you always."
And so, the two of them found sleep together after that tumultuous day...
End Chapter One