I want to thank my beta- Starchii

"Contrary to what we may have been taught to think, unnecessary and unchosen suffering wounds us but need not scar us for life. It does mark us. What we allow the mark of our suffering to become is in our own hands."

― Bell Hooks

Hinata's POV

I felt a cool sensation splash on my face, and it felt refreshing to the wounds on my face. I heard a mumble. Was someone speaking?

"You awake?." A deep voice called from above., My eyes fluttered open to see a blurry outline of blue. Kisame that was his name. "I've been splashing water on your face for an hour now."

"H-hai, I'm a-awake,." I manage to get out, though I'm not sure if I stuttered out of nervousness or weakness., Perhaps both?

"You need to stop stuttering. It shows that you're weak."

I try to sit upright only for my head to throb in searing pain. I touch the throbbing pain only to feel a large bump.

"Don't touch it." Kisame leaned back on the grass seeming very content. I don't know why but the silence was killing me.

"I-I c-can't s-top s-stuttering."

He glanced at me for a second and chuckled, looking back at the sky, "If you keep telling yourself that, then yes you're are not gonna stop stuttering."

He must have seen the look of confusion on my face as he sighed and sat up, staring at me intently.

"Let me guess. When you used to say you couldn't do something back in your village, they just plastered a smile and told you could it, right?"

I blinked., Yes, it was true that many times I had told people that I couldn't do something, whether it be with Kurenai or my father, they always simply told me I could it.

He scoffed taking my silence as a yes., "I knew it. Well, let me tell you something, they lied. If you tell yourself you can't do something enough, then you won't be able to do it. Sometimes it is simply your mind telling you can't do it, and other times you really can't do it. You are so comfortable with your limits that you accepted them. You have gotten comfortable with your stutter so you have set your limit so that you can only stutter."

I blinked once, twice, thrice. I didn't quite understand what he was getting at. It was confusing to say the least. "H-how d-do I s-stop s-stuttering then."

"Get out of your limits. You need to push out of your comfort zone both mentally and physically."

"H-how?" I was sounding like a broken record now, but I needed to know how, I needed to know how to become a better and stronger ninja and person.

"Simply, stop stuttering. When you start to stutter stop and try to not stutter, you are going to feel uncomfortable at first it won't feel right, but it will make your stuttering stop."

"B-but-" Before I could finish, he shot me a glare.

"You're stuttering again., Don't stutter. Make yourself stop and, if you can't, then don't talk until you can."

We sat there till the sun set, the silence was gnawing at me reminding me every second that I couldn't talk because of my failure to stop stuttering.

"Come on we have to go in." He watched as I struggled to get up. It seemed to amuse him every time I fell back down as tears welled up in my eyes from the pain.

"This is your limit to pain, your limit to your body., I'm not going to help you because this is something that will help you in the long run, but I suggest you hurry. There are some rouges that usually come to these forests and seeing a pretty girl... well we all know what will happen to you." He smirked, and it annoyed me., It annoyed me to see him just smirking at me like this was okay.

I bit my lip and struggled to get up again. I grabbed on to a tree to lift myself up, but for Kisame to grabbed my hand and pushed me off the tree that was supporting me.

"You're getting help from that tree. Help yourself for once and stop relaying on people and things to help you."

I tried again, pushing myself to to my knees and hands, my body screamed to lie back down to stop.

"I used to always cry and give up… I made many wrong turns… But you… You helped me find the right path… I always chased after you… I wanted to catch up to you… I wanted to walk beside you all the time… I just wanted to be with you… You changed me! Your smile is what saved me! That is why I'm not afraid to die protecting you! Because… I love you…"

Those had been my words to him. Kisame's words broke my thoughts, "For once in your pathetic life, do something for yourself., For once in your life, fight for you, not for anyone else."

I've always fought for someone:, for my father, for my clan, for my team, for Naruto... He was right I needed to, for once in my life, do something for myself.

I dug my nails into the ground, giving all my strengthen to push myself up., My body screamed in pain, but I paid no heed. I needed to stop letting people run my life, I needed to do this for myself.

I got up to my feet, my knees wobbled, I heaved trying to catch my breath, but I did it. I got up not for anyone but for myself. A feeling of power rushed over me.

"You look like shit." He smirked and laughed at me, laughed at my pain.

"I-" I stopped myself, trying to get my words in order., I spent what felt like a life time standing there forcing myself to not stutter. "I feel like shit." I smirked at him, but he was right. I felt uncomfortable with out my stutter, but at the same time not being able to talk and letting silence eat me was a feeling of loneliness that I couldn't deal with, at least not at the moment.

He bellowed out a laugh, "Come on, Hime."

He walked ahead of me, the feeling of pain still there, but I listened to Kisame and allowed my body to feel the pain, to take it in, to feed off the pain.

Naruto's POV

It had been a day since she left.

A day or a few hours? I couldn't tell. How did I let another precious person of mine go?

First Sasuke, then Jiraiya, now Hinata. The feelings of guilt gnawed at my soul, the feeling of weakness and hopelessness taking over me.

How many more people did I have to lose? Losing Sasuke was hard, Losing Jiraiya was harder and losing Hinata was the hardest hit of them all. My feelings for her still had not changed., I still saw her as a friend and a team mate, not as a girlfriend, not as love interest, but as friend that I cared for, a friend that I would lay my life on the line for and a friend that laid her life on the line for him.

It was a hard pill to swallow. The reality that she was gone sunk in and it was killing me. I didn't want her to be known as rouge nin. She was too sweet, too kind, too shy and caring to be anything like the Akatsuki. This is was Hinata. Losing Sasuke wasn't easier, but it wasn't surprising. He was filled with hate and revenge, but Hinata...Hinata wasn't like that. Was she?

Had I missed any signs? She was always kind and caring. Did I miss something?

"Damn it!" I got up to pace around my room. I wanted to run after her to get her back and ask her what the hell she was thinking, but Baa-chan had all ANBU members on alert. Well, on alert after she screamed their heads off at them for letting the Itachi and his team mate in.

How did they get in? Itachi was a genius. It probably wasn't even that hard for him to get in.

That still didn't answer the questions that were haunting me, So why Hinata? Why did she go so willingly? Was Hinata going to become like Sasuke? What could Akatusuki offer that the village didn't?

"You don't think you had anything to do with her leaving?" Kurama's voice rang through his cell to my ears.

"I know I have something to do with it, that's why I feel like shit, But..." I let my words trail.

"You're disappointed in her." I cringed at his words because in reality I was disappointed in her and in the back of my mind I found her weak. Instead of fighting them, she went with them. She betrayed the village, her team, and most of all she betrayed herself.

"She betrayed you too."

I shook my head violently., "We're getting ahead of ourselves, we don't even know if she left with them willingly. They could have kidnapped her." I wasn't sure who I was trying convince, Kurama or me.

He chuckled.; I could tell he was shaking his head, "Keep telling yourself that, kid."

"She...she wouldn't leave willingly...I mean, it's Hinata we are talking about!" I fell back on the bed and ran my fingers through my hair.

Kurama let out a loud yawn before asking, "So who do you save first? Hinata or Sasuke?"


"One has to be more important than the other. So which one is more important to you? One has to be saved first and if the other one is still alive when you save the first one, then you save the second one." His voice told me he had smirked when he said alive.

"I can save both,." I argued.


How indeed. Sasuke had gotten stronger. Could I really save him and have enough power to go save Hinata? Both were precious to me.

"But one is more precious than the other; but Which one,Kit?" Damn fox could never keep his mouth shut.

"I used to always cry and give up… I made many wrong turns… But you… You helped me find the right path… I always chased after you… I wanted to catch up to you… I wanted to walk beside you all the time… I just wanted to be with you… You changed me! Your smile is what saved me! That is why I'm not afraid to die protecting you! Because… I love you…"

"I love you."

Those words seemed embedded in my brain,. in my soul. She loved me, and I rejected her. But what could I do? Could I plaster on a fake smile and tell her I felt the same? No, that wouldn't be fair to her. She needed someone to love her.

"Why can't you love her?"

He had a point. What was holding me back from loving her? I couldn'tan't lie. Hinata wasn't the ideal girl, at least not for me. It's not that she wasn't pretty. She's beautiful, but looks only play such a role in the matter of the heart. What attracts me to Saukra that Hinata doesn't have? Strength? Courage? But she jumped in front of an enemy that she knew she couldn't defeat. Wasn't that courage? Wasn't that true strength? Maybe, but I couldn'tan't help but want her to defeat him, to stand there and show everyone she was strong. She had courage down. But she was weak.

It pained me to say that.

"You sure it's because she's weak? Weren't you the one who was pinned down? Weren't you the weak one in that moment?"

What else could it be? What kept me from loving Hinata like she loved me? Perhaps it wasn't her, but me? Did I even know what love was? I didn't even know Hinata that well. She didn't even know me that well. How could she love me?

"Love for the sake of being loved?"

Perhaps. But I didn't love to be loved. How could anyone love someone just to be loved?

"You did say you didn't know her well."

I didn't have a reply. For once, I was speechless. I yawned, the lack of sleep finally getting to me, and I thanked my sleepiness for keeping me from pondering that having me to ponder on that statement.

So which one is more important to you?

"I love you."

"I don't look to the future any more. Only the past."

Who needed to be saved the most? Who was more important?