I don't own Naruto or anything else from any anime/manga/movie/show/book or game.
First I would like to thank everyone for the reviews for the last chapter. I am sorry for the long wait for this chapter. This chapter was harder to write than I thought it would be, and I'm not 100 percent happy with it but I didn't want to wait another one or two weeks to post it. Any way please let me know what you all think. Enjoy!
Several days after Hinata's birthday a delegation from the Hyuuga Clan, with a select few representatives for the Leaf included, made their way to Whirlpool Country. While Hinata's parents had done their best to help Hinata understand that this was what was best for her, and that everything would work out for the best, the look of sadness hadn't left her face. Hinata had accepted her fate, she knew that there was nothing she could do about it; No matter what her parents said, Hinata knew that her life was no longer her own. She would be expected to marry the person chosen for her no matter how she felt about it. She also knew that most noble families did not allow its members to practice the ninja arts, luckily the Uzumaki are a ninja clan themselves and that would not be a problem for her at least.
Hinata's second arrival to Luca port was much different then the first time. While last time they did their best to not bring attention to themselves, this time they were met by a full samurai squad to escort them to Aydindril. Hinata and her mother had to act like this was Hinata's first time visiting Whirlpool since their first visit was still 'off the record'. As the last of the Leaf members arrived on the dock, the leader of the samurai stepped forward to speak to them.
"Welcome to Whirlpool, I am Sousuke Sagara, captain of squad 16 of the infantry division of the Guardian Core. My squad is charged with escorting you to The People's Palace. If you follow us we will lead you to the carriages that you will be traveling to the city in."
Once everyone was settled into the carriages the samurai escorted them from Luca port to the bridge. The massive bridge was still breathtaking, and Hinata still found the giant whirlpools sounding the island to be an impressive sight, they just looked terrifyingly powerful. Many of the Leaf members who had never been to Whirlpool were just as amazed as she had been when she first came. Once the group made it past the gates and in to the city Hinata once again realized just how different this place was from the Leaf Village. Aydindril was likely the largest city in the world, certainly the largest city Hinata had ever heard of. She noticed that the people of the city seemed to be preparing for some sort of celebration. People were putting up decorations, many with the Uzumaki crest on them. Plazas were being set up with stands for food and games, and everyone seems to be happy as they worked with smiles on their faces.
"Um, excuse me, Captain Sagara, is there some kind of festival that the city is getting ready for?" asked Hinata.
"No lady Hinata, the people are getting ready for Naruto-Sama's birthday celebration. His birthday is tomorrow, and the people will celebrate it all day long and well in to the night as well. This year will be even bigger than last year by the looks of it."
"I…see. Have you met him, Naruto Uzumaki?"
"I have not actually met him, only seen him in passing. Because he is so important to this country's future, he is kept near his family and his teachers."
"Oh, so you don't know what he's like then". Hinata didn't know much about the boy she would eventually marry, she only knew that he was the son of the Fourth Hokage and her mother's ex-teammate.
"As I said I have not actually met him myself, but I do know that you need not worry. Naruto-Sama is a very kind and intelligent young man. He is also very hard worker; he is trained by some of the best captains in the Guardian Core and never complains about how much work they make him do. I believe he will make a great leader someday, perhaps once you get to know him, you will see that as well."
Hinata spent the rest of the ride to the palace quietly thinking about what the captain said. Perhaps if she was lucky, her future husband would not be too bad. She knew she had to make the best of it, not only because she had no other choice, but because it was expected of her by her clan and the whole Leaf village as well. Once the group arrived at the People's Palace they were escorted to their rooms. After resting and having time to freshen up and change in to more formal clothing they were led to the throne room. Hinata and the rest of the Hyuuga were wearing traditional Hyuuga robes while the Leaf Jonin representing the Hokage wore their standard uniform. As the door opened, Hinata's heart started to beat faster. It was time; the next meeting was likely the most important meeting of her life, all she could hope for was that it would go well.
Naruto had not been his usual happy self over the last two months since being told about the arranged marriage. He had been depressed for weeks, and only recently had he began to act more like himself. Naruto had spoken to all of his teachers and asked many questions. While he didn't like his situation, he knew it was his duty to his people, and it helped a little knowing that his mother wanted this for him; Naruto's teachers helped by listening and advising Naruto in what little ways they could. Naruto hoped that the girl wouldn't be one of those really stuck up nobles he had come to hate. At least this Hinata girl is from a ninja clan, and would relate to him better than most girls his age.
Naruto honestly didn't have any friends his own age; Naruto loved his family and his teachers but he did feel like he was missing out on something. Because of who he was most kids around his age would not even look him in the eyes. Kids in the palace were either servants or academy students for the Guardian Core and would not really talk to him unless spoken to. Naruto knew they didn't do it to be mean; they were just intimidated because he was an Uzumaki. After several failed attempts at making friends his age, Naruto had given up. Maybe he would have better luck with Hinata; after all if they were going to be married one day, he might as well try and be friends with her at least.
Naruto sat to his grandfather's left wearing a royal, dark blue kimono that had several intricate designs on it. Naruto hated wearing all this formal stuff but knew he had no choice. His grandfather was in the middle as he sat on the Uzumaki throne and his uncle was standing next to him, both were wearing similar kimonos to the one Naruto was wearing. Naruto sat straighter when he heard his grandfather tell a servant to let the group from the Leaf Village in… it was time to meet the person he would share his future with.
Naruto looked on as several people were escorted in to the throne room. There were three men that were defiantly ninja of high rank, judging by appearances. One of them had black hair tied in the shape of a pine apple. He had a scar on his face as well as a lazy look to him; his appearance didn't fool Naruto, this guy was a paying close attention to everyone and everything in the room.
The second man had black hair and was wearing a coat that covered the bottom part of his face; he was also wearing sunglasses that Naruto thought were pretty cool. This man had a very stoic look to him; Naruto could tell this man knew how to keep cool in stressful situations.
The third man had black hair and a beard, and even if the man tried to hide it, Naruto and likely everyone in the room could still smell the scent of tobacco coming off of him. He was wearing a sash that Naruto recognized as on worn by the elite guardians of the Fire Daimyo, so Naruto knew this guy had to be pretty strong.
To their left were two much older looking people, a man and a woman both wearing expensive kimonos similar to the ones that the dignitaries that regularly visit Whirlpool. They both had an arrogant feel to them, like they felt they were very important people or something. Naruto didn't pay much attention to them at all.
To the far right there was a larger group of people, they were all wearing regal looking white robes. They all had long black hair and clear pupil-less eyes, the Byakugan of the Hyuuga Clan. There were four men protectively flanking the five people in the center. In the center there was a much older man, they only one who had mostly white hair. He also had an 'I'm better than anyone' kind of attitude to him. Next to him was a stern looking man, who Naruto assumed was the head of the Hyuuga Clan, Hiashi Hyuuga if Naruto remembered correctly. Standing next to Hiashi was his wife, Hana Hyuuga. She was a very beautiful woman; Hana had long silky dark blue hair, and her Byakugan had a more lavender tint to them than the usual colorless one that the other Hyuuga had. She was giving Naruto a loving smile that he could tell she honestly meant. Hana had a very cute little girl in her arms that seemed to be about two years old, Hanabi Hyuuga, the younger of the two Hyuuga heirs.
It was the final member of the group that drew Naruto's attention. She was about his age and wore the same white robes as the other Hyuuga. She had short hair the same dark blue color as her mother, as well as the same lavender tint in her Byakugan eyes. She had a nervous look on her face that Naruto under stood, and Naruto could see the hint of a blush on her cheeks. "She's very pretty" thought Naruto as he felt an unfamiliar heat on his face. It was as Naruto looked at the person he was expected to one day call a wife that she looked his way and their eyes met.
Hinata had a difficult time trying to keep calm as her family made their way into the throne room. She kept her eyes down as much as possible, not daring to look up. It was not until they were standing in front of the Uzumaki family that Hinata gathered her courage and looked up, she looked up and directly into the brightest pair of blue eyes she ever seen; they were deeper than the ocean. They boy also had golden blond hair than was as bright as the shining sun. Hinata also noticed he had these cute whisker-like markings on his cheeks. Hinata couldn't help the full blown blush that was on her face at that moment. "He's cute," thought Hinata as she looked away, missing the slight blush that appeared on Naruto's cheeks.
Genryusai looked at every one of the Leaf members before speaking, "Welcome all of you to Whirlpool, I hope your trip was a pleasant one."
Hiashi stepped forward and spoke, "We thank you for your hospitality Daimyo-Sama. Our trip was indeed a pleasant one."
"Excellent, I am glad the Hyuuga Clan was able to accept my invitation, however I see there are others I did not expect as well," Genryusai said as he glanced at the other members of the Leaf Village.
Before Hiashi could continue, Homura Mitokado stepped next to him and spoke. "We are here to represent the Council in this meeting; it is after all of great importance to the entire village".
"Troublesome," Shikaku Nara stepped forward to speak. "We are here to represent the Hokage in this meeting, and to make sure that some people" he said glaring at the village elders; "don't cause an incident between our village and Whirlpool". The last one to step forward was Asuma Sarutobi.
Asuma bowed to the Daimyo and said, "I'm Asuma Sarutobi, I'm here to represent both the Hokage and the Fire Lord."
"Very well, I believe we will have no problem accommodating extra… guests". Genryusai then turned to the girl that one day would be queen of Whirlpool. He noticed Hinata shooting nervous glances at Naruto with a blush on her face, Genryusai smirked, maybe this won't end too badly after all. "Hinata Hyuuga, daughter of Hiashi and Hana Hyuuga and Heiress of the Hyuuga Clan, come forward" Genryusai said in his commanding-regal tone.
Hinata fought the urge to 'EEP!'; she nervously stood up and walked forward until she was only a few feet from the Uzumaki Clan. As practiced she bowed to the Daimyo then waited for him to continue.
"Naruto Uzumaki, son of Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki, Crowned Prince of Whirlpool, come forward."
Naruto like a true Uzumaki did as told without showing how nervous he actually was. Naruto stopped when he was standing in front of Hinata. His clear blue eyes looked directly in to her pupil-less lavender eyes. Though it was only for a few seconds, to the both of them it seemed like an eternity as they looked in to each other's eyes; the eyes of their future spouses.
Hinata knew she had to be the first to introduce herself; but had a hard time tearing her eyes away from the intense, piercing blue gaze that seemed to look directly into her soul. But with a great effort she did, and with a bow to her future husband she introduced herself. "My name is Hinata Hyuuga; it is an honor to meet you".
Naruto followed her lead and did the same. "My name is Naruto Uzumaki; it is an honor to meet you as well". Both kids straightened up looking rather embarrassed which brought smiles to some of the people in the room.
"Excellent! Naruto, why don't you show Hinata round the palace? It will give you both time to get to know each other without adults getting in the way, I have things to discuss with our guest that neither of you need to be here for." said Genryusai.
Naruto hating these boring meeting didn't need to be told twice. "Lady Hinata, please allow me to escort you around the palace," Naruto said as he extended his arm as he had been trained to.
Hinata blushed prettily, "Thank you Naruto-Sama," she said as she took his arm a let him lead her out of the throne room.
Once Naruto and Hinata had left the room Genryusai turned to look at the rest of the Leaf Ninja. He wasn't happy to have the extra members of the group but he would deal with it.
"Are you sure they should be left alone Daimyo-Sama?" asked Koharu Utatane.
"I assure you, they are perfectly safe inside the People's Palace. Besides, they're children; they should be allowed to get to know each other without adults interfering.
"But this is a very important meeting…"
"That you were not invited to!" Genryusai cut her off. "This was to be a private matter between the Uzumaki and the Hyuuga clans."
"This union is of greater importance than that and you know it. The entire Leaf Village has a stake in the outcome of the marriage between those children. We only wish to do what we can to help them get along as best as possible."
"I'm confident they don't need any of us to get along, besides, they have plenty of time to get to know each other."
"While that may be true daimyo-Sama, it would be illogical to ignore the importance that their first meeting has in their future relationship," Shibi Aburame said in his usual monotone voice.
"It is more important that they are allowed to be themselves, which they can't do with all of us adding unnecessary pressure. Their relationship will take time to build, what we should do is make things as easy as possible for the kids to grow closer on their own," answered Genryusai. Reluctantly the rest of the Leaf ninja agreed. "If that is all for now, I'm sure you are all still tired from your trip, let us meet at dinner after all of you have had time to rest. You will have samurai escorts outside your respective rooms in case you wish to explore the palace, please be aware than any and ALL chakra use can be detected, than includes your bugs Aburame-san. Please remain with your escorts at all times when you leave your rooms, we don't want any… incidents," said Genryusai making sure everyone knew it wasn't a request. Just as everyone was making their way out of the throne room one of the Hyuuga stayed behind.
"I would like a private word with you if I could Uzumaki-Sama," said the Hyuuga elder. Genryusai already knew the man would ask for this meeting so he wanted to get it over with.
"Very well, what would you like to speak about Hyuuga-san?" asked Genryusai politely.
"I would like to speak to you about the agreement that was arranged between yourself and Hiashi, as you know the Hyuuga Clan is very protective of our bloodline. Hiashi agreed to your request of having Hinata's Byakugan unsealed without the permission of the Hyuuga council. As a clan head of a ninja clan with your own bloodline you understand that we would like to find a way for our…"
"For your clan to keep its members enslaved!" cut in Kenshin in an angry tone.
The elder glared at Kenshin but knew better than to answer him, because Kenshin was right!
"As I told Hiashi, that is non-negotiable. I have studied your Cage Bird Seal and it's an abomination! You change the seal my aunt Mito made for the Hyuuga, that seal protected your bloodline without the ability to cause pain to the one bearing it. Do not forget Hyuuga-San, I am known as the best seal master in the world, do you honestly believe I haven't already found a way to safely remove that seal of yours?". The Uzumaki smirked as the Hyuuga elder paled. "Oh yes, I already have. I already told Hiashi and Hana about it. They both believe it would cause too much bloodshed if we were to try to have the Hyuuga Branch House unsealed at the moment. However it is a possibility, personally what The Hyuuga do to each other is none of my concern; however Hinata is as good as an Uzumaki in my eyes." Genryusai's eyes narrowed and his tone of voice hardened, "And the Uzumaki take care of their own. Is. That. Clear?"
The elder gritted his teeth and answered, "Crystal," he then stormed out of the room in a rage.
"What are the chances that they will let this go?" asked Kenshin.
"Not likely, they're too stubborn for them to let it go so easily. We'll have to keep an eye on things; if they try something stupid… they'll find out why you don't ever anger the Uzumaki".
Shortly after leaving the throne room Naruto was leading a nervous Hinata through one of the many halls in the palace. He stopped and turned to look at Hinata. "So, what would you like to see first?" he asked, not sure what she would like.
Hinata fidgeted with her finger before saying, "Anything you like will be fine Naruto-Sama,"
"Oh, you really don't need to use the whole Sama thing, I don't really care about that stuff. Besides I thought that we could be friends, you know?" Naruto said as he smiled and scratched the back of his head.
Hinata blushed," O-ok, um, Naruto… Kun?" Naruto smiled and nodded.
"So Hinata, what kinds of things do you like to do back home?"
"W-well, I like to spend time in the garden with my sister or learning to cook with my mother when I'm not studying or training; I also like to read."
"In that case let's go to one of the palace's gardens," said Naruto. Hinata was excited when she heard that thinking he meant the Garden of Life. Naruto escorted Hinata to a very spacious garden with many beautiful flowers. It was beautiful but not what Hinata expected, so she asked Naruto.
"Is this the Garden of Life?"
"Oh, you know about that? No, this is just one of our regular gardens. To be honest even I haven't been to the Garden of Life. It's a very important location for my clan; it holds the remains of the founder of our clan. My grandfather said he would take me to it soon though. I'm sorry but I can't take you there, well not until we're actually married" he said causing both of them blush furiously.
"What kind of training do you do Naruto-Kun?" Hinata asked once they took a seat in one of the many stone benches that the garden had.
"I do all kinds of training, I have nine different teachers that help me study all sort of things."
"Nine teachers? I only train with my parents, but I will start the academy in when we return to the village. I'm really looking forward to it." Hinata noticed that Naruto frowned when she mentioned the Leaf Village. "Is something wrong Naruto-Kun?"
"I'm Sorry Hinata, but I don't have a good opinion of the Leave Village".
"Why? I know that you used to live there but my mother didn't tell me much. Can you tell me? I would like to get to know you better."
Naruto sighed. "Ok, since were going to be friends and more than that later on, I guess you have a right to know everything." And Naruto did tell Hinata everything. He told her about his parent's deaths, about his treatment in the orphanage, and more importantly about the Fox getting sealed inside of him. Hinata was in tears by the end of his tale. Naruto thought she was crying because she thought he was some kind of freak or because she was scared of him. He couldn't help but feel hurt; he thought he would finally have a friend. Imagine his surprise when Naruto felt Hinata's arms wrap around him as she gave him a tight hug. Naruto felt his own eyes water as he returned the hug.
"I'm sorry that the people of my village treated you that way Naruto-Kun, you didn't deserve any of it. You never asked to be the jailer of a demon."
"You mean you're not afraid?" asked a confused Naruto.
"My mother told me that your mom was also a Jinchuriki, and she was still my mother's best friend. I don't care about that. I still want to be your friend; I actually don't have any back home. There are not many kids my age in the clan. And I'm not allowed to go outside the compound without an escort, so it makes it hard for me to approach other kids."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. I don't have any friends my age either".
"W-well, we have each other now right? Just like our moms had each other?"
Naruto smiled widely. "Yeah, I guess we do".
After Naruto and Hinata spent some more time talking and getting to know what each other liked or didn't like one of the servants came to let them know they had to get ready for dinner. After Naruto escorted Hinata to the room she shared with her parents and sister Naruto left to get ready with a big smile on his face. The dinner went surprisingly well, Naruto and Hinata sat next to each other and talked about many little things like what food they liked or didn't like while the adults talked about politics and finances. They all paid attention to how well Naruto and Hinata seemed to be getting along, that was a relief to everyone; especially Hinata's parents and Naruto's family.
The next day was Naruto's birthday and the entire palace was a buzz of activity. After breakfast Hinata joined Naruto in his Taijutsu training with Sano. Naruto soon learned that the Hyuuga were feared for a reason, the Gentle Fist wasn't very gentle at all, and it HURT! After training the Leaf ninja and the Uzumaki left the palace to go to a Kenjutsu tournament that was being held in Naruto's honor. The members of the Leave Village were very impressed with some of the skilled samurai that participated in the tournament, especially when they were told that none of the officers of the Guardian Core were allowed to participate. It just showed that Whirlpool was a dangerous enemy to have. After that, Aydindril had a parade that was attended by thousands of people and was enjoyed by everyone. After the parade the group returned to the palace, were they had an early dinner, after dinner the Uzumaki and the Leaf ninja were waiting for Hana and Hinata to finish getting ready so they could go to the city and enjoy the rest of the festival-like attractions.
"What's taking them so long?" said an impatient Naruto. Walking around the city at night was one of his favorite things to do on his birthday, that and looking at the fireworks. Naruto was wearing a formal dark blue kimono similar to the one he had worn the day before, this one was a little more casual and allowed for the wearer to be more comfortable while walking around.
"You better get used to waiting around for women, because it only gets worse when they're older. Women are so troublesome!" said Shikaku who was wearing a grey Kimono provided by the Uzumaki Clan. Asuma and Shibi were wearing similar ones, Shibi's however, was altered to cover the bottom part of his face; he was still wearing his sunglasses.
"Eh? What do you mean?" asked Naruto. Shikaku was about to answer before he suddenly felt a sense of dread creep over him.
"Yes, please explain Shikaku-San. I'm sure your wife would like to hear what you have to say." Everyone turned to see Hana who was wearing a beautiful lavender kimono. She had Hanabi in her arms; Hanabi was wearing a white and red kimono that made her look real cute.
A very nervous Shikaku answered. "Um, nothing! I didn't mean anything at all. Women are the least troublesome of anything at all, really". This made several members of the group chuckle and Asuma made a coughing sound that sounded a lot like 'whipped'. Naruto was stilled confused but his attention was stolen by the person that had just entered the room.
Hinata was wearing the ember silk Kimono that had been given to her on her birthday. Naruto felt his face heat up. Hinata looked more like a princess than many of the actual princesses he had met.
"Hum. D-do I look ok, Naruto-Kun?" she asked shyly with small blush on her face.
Naruto's blush deepened, "You look very pretty… Hinata-Hime".
Hinata's face was so red that it would have made a tomato jealous. "H-Hime?"
Naruto gave her one of his face-splitting smiles. "Yes, I'm calling you Hinata-Hime from now on… is that ok?"
"I… I would like that Naruto-Kun."
The rest of the night went very well for the group; the kids enjoyed the games and the food. Hinata noticed how much the people of Whirlpool loved Naruto. Many times people would come up to them as they walked around and introduce themselves or just said hello. Hinata herself was well treated in the Leaf Village but never to this extent. It was like Naruto was a celebrity here. Naruto, however, didn't seem to notice very much, he was always polite and happy to talk to any of the people; he never ignored them or acted like he was too important to speak with commoners like some of the members of her clan. Hinata really liked that about him. At the end of the night the group returned to the palace and watched the fireworks that signaled the end of Naruto's birthday celebration.
Naruto had to admit, he had been worried about meeting Hinata, he was unsure what he should have expected. But now he was happy to have met her. She is a little shy sometimes but she is very kind. She is also very smart and will be a strong ninja when she is older. He was glad that Hinata is a very down to earth girl and not snobbish at all. Most of all Naruto was glad to finally have a friend his own age, someone he could talk to about kid stuff but could also talk to about clan stuff as well. It didn't hurt that Naruto though Hinata was very pretty.
The Hyuuga Clan along with the rest of the 'guests' stayed for two weeks in Whirlpool. In that time Naruto spent most of his time with Hinata. They trained together with most of Naruto's teachers, Naruto was adamant that Hinata did not meet Shigure for her own safety. Hiei said he wasn't a babysitter so he wasn't there with Kurama but Hinata met all of Naruto's other teachers. Hinata was not allowed to go with Naruto to his Kenjutsu training because she was not an Uzumaki…yet. The Uzumaki and Hinata's parents considered the visit a complete success. The kids got along great and quickly became friends. As had been agreed, Hinata will visit every summer until she became a Gennin; which will be in five years. At that point Naruto will have a choice to become a Leaf Gennin and spend more time with Hinata, or wait until he and Hinata reach their 16th birthday; at which point they will be allowed to get married. Both the Uzumaki and Hinata's parents hoped to wait longer than that, it is the earliest that the wedding can happen but that didn't mean that they wanted the kids married so soon.
It was time to say goodbye, the rest of the Leaf Ninja had boarded the ship and now Hana and Hiashi waited as Hinata said goodbye to Naruto.
"I'm glad we met Hinata-Hime. I'll make sure to write to you as much as I can," Said Naruto.
"I'm glad to have met you too Naruto-Kun, I promise to write as well." Hinata had a lot of fun spending time with Naruto. He was always so confident about everything and his happy attitude was infectious. Hinata found herself laughing and playing for the first time in her life. Sure she played with Hanabi but it was not the same because she was so small. She was really going to miss Naruto.
"I guess I will see you next summer, have fun in the academy ok Hinata-Hime"
"I will. And I will be a lot stronger next year too."
"I can't wait, goodbye Hime" Naruto said as he hugged Hinata.
"Goodbye Naruto-Kun." Hinata returned to hug. She was having a hard time trying not to cry, she just made her first friend and she wouldn't see him for a whole year. After they were finished saying goodbye Hinata and her family boarded the ship. Naruto was sad to see her go but he would see Hinata again.
"Don't worry Naruto-Kun. You will see Hinata-Chan again before you know it," said Genryusai.
"I know grandfather, but I will still miss her."
"Oh, I don't know if you'll have time to miss her too much."
"What do you mean?" asked Naruto.
"Your uncle and I have decided to increase your level of training, both for your physical, academic, and political training; so plan to be very busy over the next few months."
Naruto grinned, that sounded like a challenge to him. Naruto Uzumaki never backed down from a challenge!
So there you have it. I hope you all liked it. Please review and let me know what was good or not good. I want to do my best to make the story the best I can.
The following chapter will have Hinata's first day at the academy and the beginning of Naruto's new training. I will have the next chapter as soon as I can.
As always I would like to thank JS for the help with grammar/spelling.
Lord Rahl Master of D'Hara