a/n:

I finally updated this story. I'M VERY SORRY!

*fires a gun at myself*

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN NARUTO.


Chapter 22: Decision

It has been two months since Naruto and Hinata started their relationship. Believe it or not, Naruto was already in good terms with his girlfriend's father. Somehow, the two were able to get along with each other after the blood-shedding event in New Year's. A lot has happened during the past few months. Lots of romantic things… and weird things. Since they are more than friends now, they found out more things about each other. Like, Hinata found out that she wasn't Naruto's first kiss at all but Uchiha Sasuke(which the lad defended over and over that it was just an accident), his severe obsession to Ramen, that he hated studying, he views Sasuke as his rival, and so much more about his childhood life. On the other hand, Naruto found out that Hinata was never afraid of bugs, her favorite food was cinnamon rolls, that she and Neji rarely got along when they were kids, her experiences in school when having no friends and other things that had happened in her life before they met each other.

But… Hinata was careful with her words. She had mentioned almost everything about herself except for one tiny yet most important thing that Naruto should know.

Her illness.

There were numerous times when she planned to tell him, but whenever she's on it, she can't bring herself to tell him. She was always out of words, her mind couldn't find the right words to say and she couldn't obtain the courage…

On top of all, she was afraid. Afraid to let him know.

Hinata shut her eyes as she felt the breeze touch her soft, smooth skin. She closed the bible she was reading and leaned her back on the fat tree trunk to free herself from disturbing thoughts. When she couldn't relax, she always went to the secret place where Gaara usually went to watch the soccer practice and where she and Temari talked. She also informed Naruto about the place. So, when they had free time, they both relax here.

It has been two months… Two months and she kept lying to him.

But just… how could she tell him everything that Minato said?


A loud crash filled all over the room that distracted the serious conversation the three people were having.

"Wh-what?" Hanabi had the most shocked expression among them as she entered the room to serve tea for their visitor. The whole tray slid down her hands and glasses shattered on the floor when she heard the most devastating news in her life.

"Minato-sensei… th-that's not true, right?" the younger Hyuuga said in a slightly brave voice. She forced herself not to shake, but failing badly.

"Hanabi…" Hinata rose from her seat.

Hanabi made her way towards Minato and begged for him. "Doctor… tell me… please, tell me it's not true. You're just joking… what you are saying is just TRASH! None of these is true!" she shook Minato back and forth.

"Calm down, Hanabi." Hinata said softly.

"TELL ME MY SISTER IS NOT GOING TO DIE!" Hanabi's voice cracked as tears streamed down her face.

Minato stared at her solemnly. He felt as if his heart was being pulled out through his throat upon seeing Hanabi's painful expression. He knew that the trusted him with her whole heart on taking care of her elder sister… but what was happening right now? He just reported to them that Hinata doesn't have much time left to live. The words that neither of the members of the family, even him, wanted to hear.

"She's all right… she's healthy… she's going to live! All of what you are saying are lies!" Hanabi cried, of all things in the world, accepting the fact that her elder sister will die was the hardest to swallow. She was born with a motherless world and it was Hinata who became her mother and filled that empty space in her heart. All her life… she treated Hinata not only her sister… but also as a mother. Just how could Hanabi accept that she'd lose her mother again?

"Doctor… she won't die… tell me… she won't die." She continued begging even though she knew that kind of person Namikaze Minato was.

The type who never told jokes in his life.

Hinata gently pulled Hanabi away from the doctor and faced her. "Listen, Hanabi… I will never leave you, I promise. Your sister will just be here, okay?" she gave Hanabi a warm hug, "So, stop crying… you know that I never want to see you cry."

"Bu…but Minato-san said…"

"Hush… we'll work things out. Everything will be fine." She then kissed her sister on her forehead. She broke the hug and wiped Hanabi's face. "You go back upstairs and rest."

Hanabi nodded numbly and followed Hinata's orders. She was escorted by a butler as she climbed up the stairs and when she was gone, the three continued their conversation.

Hinata sat down in between Hiashi and Neji. She directly looked at the doctor who sat opposite of them, with determined eyes. "Sensei… please, tell me the real state of my body."

"Hinata…" Neji whispered.

"I'm prepared for anything. Ever since I found out about my illness, I'm already prepared myself for this moment." Hinata said, "I'm ready to face what's ahead of me."

Minato closed his eyes and nodded. "I understand." He said as he looked back at the girl. "Your heart failure became worse since you had a heart attack the night before the play. As days pass, your heart will grow weaker and weaker until it couldn't pump enough blood for your body anymore." He brought out an envelope which contained X-ray results when she went for a check-up yesterday. "The cardiovascular muscles are swelling and the blood vessels which supply the oxygen narrowed. With this, you'd continue experiencing irregular pumping, and when the pumping is lost, blood may back up in the other parts of your body. Fluids build up in the lungs, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and arms and legs."

"Congestive heart failure…" Neji whispered.

"Yes. We had known that this congestive heart failure was Hinata's illness ever since. We were able to save her when she was a baby because we immediately responded for its treatment. The operation saved her that time." Minato said.

"Another operation will cure her… is that right?" Hiashi asked.

Minato looked down and regretfully replied the negative.

"Unfortunately… based from my researches… an operation will not do anything to prolong Hinata's life."

Neji and Hiashi's eyes widened.

Hinata just continued listening to the doctor's explanation.

"The previous heart attack caused too much damage to your heart, Hinata. The pain during your palpitations would enhance and would be harder to endure. That would result for more frequent faintness, weakness, fatigue and loss of appetite. If you had another attack, the chance of your survival would be very low." Minato knew that it was harsh for him to say those words to her… but that was the truth. It would be better for her to know the real state of her body… and by the look of the girl's eyes, he knew that this is what she wanted.

Hiashi kept his apathetic stance. He wasn't the type who would throw his emotions in front of people. He was good at keeping his emotions down his sleeves, but… by the look of his eyes right now, he was at the verge of breaking down in tears.

His precious daughter… His precious daughter was going to die.

"Doctor… how much time do I have left to live?" Hinata asked softly.

Minato turned his hands into fists. He didn't want to answer the maiden's question… It was also getting harder and harder for him as they continued.

"Minato-sensei… please, answer me…" Hinata pleaded, "How much time do I have left to live?"

Minato endured the shaky feeling he had. He was angry at himself for not being able to change the answer to her question. In the end, he still couldn't do anything for the kind-hearted girl. With all the courage he had, he answered her.

"Less than a year… If there are no attacks, you will live in the maximum of eight months. But, if only one attach occurred, then it would be automatically a 50/50 chance of surviving."

"Eight months…?" Neji gulped.

Minato looked down, "Her heart is very weak and couldn't manage to give off enough blood as months will pass by. In one attack, she would die."

Hinata clasped her hand on her lap and lowered her head to hide her emotions. She remained quiet for a moment.

"Is there a cure?" Hiashi said, "Tell me… what can save my daughter?" he glared sharply at the doctor.

"Yes. There is a possible cure." Minato replied. "That would be a heart transplant."

"Then do it. Whatever is fine, as long as it could save my daughter, you shall do it." Hiashi said.

"Unfortunately we couldn't proceed with the heart transplant because we haven't found a compatible heart for her. Neither in your family is qualified… Finding a compatible heart for the transplant is very hard to do." Minato explained.

"Are you saying that we just have to accept everything and let Hinata live for only eight months? You're her doctor, right? Do something! Find another way to save her life if the transplant cannot be conducted!" Hiashi rarely loses his calm and composed nature.

"I am looking for a way to save her life. I will not abandon her! I AM doing everything I could!" Minato fed back.

"You're not doing well enough." Hiashi's tone hardened, "You have to save my daughter no matter what. If you can't keep your promise that you'd protect her life, I will not hesitate to find a better cardiologist for her."

"That is enough, Father…" Hinata interrupted the rising argument of the two men. "Please, don't talk to Minato-sensei like that. He's working hard for all of his patients… He is a very great doctor. So don't get mad at him. After all… without him… I wouldn't be alive right now. He was the one… who saved my life multiple times."

Not to burst Hiashi's bubble, Hinata was correct.

Hiashi somehow relaxed when he heard his daughter's words. Same goes for Minato.

"We can still hope right…? If God would give me another chance, then I will gladly accept it. If not… then shall be it." Hinata said.

Hope… They can still hope, right?


Hope.

Was hoping enough?

"There you are!" A lively voice enlightened the tranquil place. She opened her eyes quickly to see the dear person who called her.

Uzumaki Naruto.

"I've been looking all around for you. Classes would resume soon, let's go." Naruto offered a hand to hoist her up.

Hinata grabbed his hand but didn't allow him to hoist her up. Instead, he brushed his hand on her face.

"So warm…" she said softly. "I've always loved Naruto-kun's hands… it's always warm even without gloves."

Naruto smiled gently, "Come on. We wouldn't want to be late for our next class. You know what kind of person Ibiki is."

Hinata didn't want to go. She wanted to stay here longer with him by her side where no one would see and bother them. She wanted to share this peaceful while before she goes back to the cruel reality. It's only him who could make her feel at ease and this place could make her forget her problems for the meantime.

"Can we stay here a little longer? Just the two of us…" she said, not letting his warm hand go.

Naruto glanced at his wrist watch, it was only 12.50pm so… who cares about Morino Ibiki?

"Sure. We stay here as long as you like." Naruto said.

Hinata smiled and made space for him on the blanket she was sitting on. Then there, Naruto sat down beside her and wrapped an arm around her to keep her body warm.

Hinata shared her scarf with him as she gently leaned her head on his muscular shoulder. They both held each other's hands tightly, not intending to let go.

She let out a relaxing sigh, "It feels so good… lying on Naruto-kun's arms." She said as she closed her eyes. "I always want to feel this warmth… only Naruto-kun's able to do that. I want to be in your arms… I feel so relaxed…"

"You just like me so much, don't you?" Naruto chuckled softly as he landed a soft peck on her forehead.

"Yes… I like you… VERY MUCH." She held his hand tighter and settled her head on his hardbound chest. She could hear Naruto's pounding heart… and that sound was the most soothing music in her ears. She just loved everything about him. His hair, his eyes, his whiskers… just everything. He was perfect for her.

"Hey, I've been working on a song. Want to listen to it?" Naruto asked,

"Yes, sure." Hinata replied.

"Ah~ Kimi ni fureru tabi ni

Kimi e to chikazu itte

Ah~ Kimi wo kanjita mama

Bokura mitasarete

Takanaatte iru kokoro wo tashikameru you ni

Kimi wo tsuyoku dakishimeru yo…"

This was the very first time Hinata heard Naruto sang. He was no singer, but his voice was perfect for the song. She even blushed because of the sweet lyrics.

"You sound really great." Hinata said.

Naruto gulped hard and his heart raced. "W-well… That's all I've got for now. I'm still learning the song so…" he paused, "I want you to be the first one to hear me sing."

Hinata blushed harder.

"When I complete it, I'll definitely sing it to you first. I promise." Naruto said.

Hinata nodded, "I'd be very happy about that, Naruto-kun."

Then, the school bell rang at exactly 1pm for the afternoon classes. But Naruto and Hinata didn't budge from their positions. They just remained there, not caring about anything else but the person they're holding. When the bell stopped ringing, silence finally came back and nothing bothered them.

Except for one thing.

"Ne, Naruto-kun…"

"Hm?"

Hinata looked up to him and he stared back at her.

"Oh… I-It's nothing." Hinata said.

"Come on. Tell me, what is it?" Naruto locked eyes with her.

"I-it's nothing really… It's just… I'm happy that I can be with you." She replied. And once again, she wasn't able to tell it to him.

Naruto smirked and pinched her cheek. "You're just sooooo cute Hinata! You've been talking smoothly at me, haven't you?"

"Mou… I was telling the truth." Hinata pouted.

"You are just too cute." Naruto continued pinching her cheeks, "Well, I want to tell you something too." He inched his face close to her until the tip of their noses touched. "I'm the luckiest guy in the world to have you as my girlfriend."

Hinata became redder and redder.

"You're the smooth-talker here…" she said.

Naruto just chuckled and pulled her head to his chest again. Later on, Hinata accompanied his chuckles by beginning to giggle melodically.

How Hinata wished they could stay like this forever.


Classes were dismissed about an hour ago and Neji was on his way for his Karate practice. While he was walking out of the school building, he crossed paths with Inuzuka Kiba, who had stopped bothering Hinata since she has started going out with Naruto.

"Yo." Kiba greeted first, "On your way to the Karate club?"

"Yeah." Neji replied.

"Great. Let's go together since the soccer field is also that way." Kiba said with a grin.

"Whatever." Neji said.

"Also, I need to talk to you." Kiba's tone of voice suddenly changed.

Neji knew that this was serious business. Kiba never approached him before just to talk and this was the very first time that they would have a serious conversation.

"Go ahead." The prodigy said as he shot him a side glance.

Kiba placed his hands inside his pockets as he walked side by side with Neji. "I know you know who our topic might be in our conversation… so let me just ask," he paused for a moment and looked at the ground, "Is Hinata doing fine with Naruto?"

Neji predicted that this would come. For a moment, he didn't want to answer because he didn't want to think about the idiotic Uzumaki for a while. After all, Naruto and Hinata were late for the afternoon classes earlier and Neji knew that it's definitely Naruto's fault. As usual, the blond brought up a cover for them so no trouble would be made. And they're safe from getting reported to the adviser or the principal. Still, he blamed Naruto for teaching Hinata how to be late in class as though the girl reasoned out that she was the one who started it and that it was not her boyfriend's fault.

They just don't get tired of defending each other, do they?

"She's fine. Even though I'm against their relationship, I trust Naruto." Neji said.

"I see. Naruto really is a reliable guy, isn't he?" Kiba said, "I'm glad Hinata is in good hands."

"I will not approve if I can't trust that guy." Neji said, "Not to interfere with your business but… what are your plans now since Hinata is… taken away?"

"Wow. You ask about other people's life now? And I'm one of them? What an honor." Kiba blinked in amusement. He shrugged and placed his hands behind his head.

"Saa… I don't have an idea. Even if Hinata turned me down that night… it's still her. These feelings I have are still strong and only for her." he said. He couldn't believe that he was telling these things right in front of the stoic Hyuga Neji. "All these years… it was only her. So it was really hard to accept that another guy has already captured Hinata. Of all people, I never expected for him to be Naruto."

Neji agreed with that. He also thought that… he never expected that his cousin would fall for Naruto.

"I guess I lost to that guy again." Kiba chuckled, "Even in love… I lost to him. We liked the same sports and kept competing against each other about everything. But even in love… we fell in love with one same girl. And he wins once again. So, someday, I'm so gonna sucker punch his face for taking the girl of my dreams away."

"Hn. He'll definitely wonder why you'd do that." Neji said, "He's the dumbest person I've ever known."

Kiba let out a hearty laugh, "Agree! That guy doesn't even have the slightest idea of my feelings for Hinata."

"Too dumb to be treasured by my cousin so much." Neji added sarcastically.

Changing the topic, Kiba dropped off Naruto. It's true that he decided to stop chasing after Hinata, but it doesn't mean that he'll stop caring for her. Just as he said earlier, it was still her… His feelings won't disappear in just a snap of a finger.

"How's Hinata doing…? How's her… health?" He needed to ask that.

Neji looked uneasy upon hearing Kiba's next question. He gripped the strap of his bag tightly as he glared at the ground.

"Naruto still doesn't know about her illness. If he knew it, then he'd definitely make a big fuss over it."

Neji continued walking.

"So, tell me. What's happening to Hinata? Is she getting better?" Kiba asked persistently.

Neji halted on his steps, now clenching his fists. Eyes glowing in madness.

"Hey—" Kiba had never seen Neji like this before. Nothing made him turn into this state until now… He knew… the Hyuga prodigy won't look like this unless there's a very deep reason behind it.

Neji tried his best to regain his composed nature. He wasn't himself. Easily losing his temper and getting hyped up… totally not his usual self. With pure calmness in his voice, he replied, "None of your business." Then he walked away from Kiba.

Kiba frowned and then immediately blocked Neji's path, "No, Neji. I need to know what's happening to Hinata."

Neji shot Kiba a glare, "Step aside. You're nothing to her. You have nothing to do with her anymore."

"I won't step aside. Yeah, I'm nothing but a friend to her… but she's very important to me." Kiba stood firmly in front of Neji, "Don't you dare tell me that she has nothing to do with me anymore. All my life… I have waited for her. She was the only one I cared about next to my family. I badly wanted to see her for all these years. It's true that I'm not her boyfriend. It's true that I'm just her classmate. But I care for her just as much as you do." He gritted his teeth, "Just like you, I'm also mad at the guy who stole her. We just can trust Naruto that's why we're not getting in the way, but I am mad because I couldn't be that right guy for her. If it was possible, I wanted to switch body with that idiot so I could be with Hinata." He paused, "But… all I wanted to do to get her back to me are all impossible now. I can't manage to take her happiness. So, for her, I'd rather sacrifice just to see her happy with the one she truly loves." He glared at Neji's eyes.

"So, don't you dare tell me that she has nothing to do with me anymore."

Of all things, he never imagined that he would hear Kiba's real feelings towards Hinata. He glared back at the Inuzuka and had a stare-down competition against each other. From those eyes, he knew that Kiba was prepared to know the truth. Kiba surpassed what he felt when he found out that Hinata was ill, but… can he handle this one? Even Neji couldn't handle this cruel truth.

With all honesty in his voice, he said it.

"Hinata has less than a year to live."

Thud.

A loud thud was heard from the ground when Kiba's bag freely slipped out of his hand. His eyes went wide and his world stopped spinning in an instant. He could hardly believe his ears.

Hinata… dying? That was horrific. Very horrific. He felt so devastated that it's like air refused to enter his lungs, his legs and arms chopped, his throat was slit and his heart was stabbed with millions of knives. An unexplainable terror surrounded his chest.

He was lost. Completely lost.

This was what he exactly felt when he found out that she had an illness. But this time… the pain was one hundred time stronger.


In another part of the school, Naruto and Hinata were on their way to the front gate to meet up with Ko. Naruto usually did this before going to his soccer practice. He would first see her off, then he'll go to the fields to train. Sometimes, she stops by to watch the soccer practice before Ko arrives. Even today, she wanted to stay and watch the practice. But Naruto disagreed with that since he notice that she has been coughing the whole day. He didn't want to worsen that.

Cough. Cough. Cough. Came from Hinata again.

"Are you sure it's just cough? I can go with you to the hospital to have you checked up." Naruto said worriedly.

Hinata gave off a warm smile, "I'm fine. I'll just rest at home… I'll be better tomorrow."

"Well, you should be since the game is two weeks from now." he said, "I can't play well if my inspiration isn't there." He winked.

Hinata blushed.

Naruto laughed. He found her way too cute seeing her blush.

"Ne… Naruto-kun…"

"Hn?"

"What would you feel if… I were to disappear?"

Naruto was stunned. He gave Hinata a frown.

"What?"

Hinata looked down, "What if… I'm going to disappear? What would you do? What would you feel?"

Naruto looked up the sky, "Isn't the answer obvious?" he said, "Of course… I wouldn't let you disappear. I would never let anything or anyone take you away from me. And if I fail… I'll never forgive myself." He paused, "And of course… I will definitely be lonely that it would drive me insane."

Hinata looked down.

"I couldn't imagine myself without you in my life. Without you… I don't know where I am right now. You're just so important to me." Naruto said, "I don't want to lose you… ever."

Hinata bit her lower lip and tightened her grip on the strap of her bag. She wanted to cry so much… but she can't. Not in front of Naruto.

"Hinata? Are you really all right?" Naruto said, deeply concerned about her strange behavior.

Hinata nodded weakly. When she lifted her head, she was relieved to see the family car arriving. "You can drop me off here, Naruto-kun. You must go back to your practice now, I'll be fine."

"You sure?" Naruto raised a brow.

"Yes. Ko is with me. I'll be fine, don't worry." Hinata said.

"All right. Be careful on your way home." He said and then landed a soft kiss on her forehead, "Text me when you get home."

Hinata nodded, "I will." Then, before she completely leaves… she gave Naruto a very tight hug, not wanting to let him go.

Naruto literally froze on his spot. He looked down at Hinata who was clinging to him for dear life… and as if she were to disappear. She never did this in school with him… with other people looking around.

"What's wrong? What's bothering you?" He returned the embrace warmly, "You've been acting really odd."

Hinata shook her head. "It's nothing… I was just really touched… by your words." They stayed attached to each other for some seconds, later on, they released each other and parted ways.

Hinata ran towards the car swiftly, Naruto watched her until she safely gets into the car. Once she got inside, the car drove off and he went back to his soccer practice.

Meanwhile in the car, Hinata was staring at the side mirrors which reflected Naruto from the school grounds. She placed a hand to cover her mouth as tears were burning from her pale-colored eyes. She began sobbing.

"Naruto-kun… I—I'm sorry—I'm sorry." She whimpered. "I'm—sorry."

Ko pulled down the curtains dividing the front seat from the backseat to give her more privacy with her personal matters.

Hinata buried her face on her palms as she continued crying. She has made her decision.

That was the final one. Tomorrow, she will definitely not hesitate anymore.

She would end everything between the two of them without letting him know the truth about her illness.

TO BE CONTINUED.


a/n:

*comes back from the dead* The lyrics over there are from the song Kimi Ni Fureru Dake De by CURIO.

Please, review. *gets shot again*

Inner self: You have guts to say that to the dear readers after not updating for f**!#$ decades!? SHAME ON YOU.

Me: *bleeds* I'm... sorry.