disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to kerapal bubbles.
notes: blaaaaaaah.
notes2: too sweet, too sweet! /mimes vomiting

title: february air
summary: Looking for wisdom in the dark. — Naruto/Hinata.

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Ino had woven snow flowers into her hair. The white-edged-violet blooms stood out starkly against Hinata's hair, almost glowing in the golden incandescent lights of the flower shop.

For luck, she'd said.

Hinata had flushed and tried to remember that the Hyuuga inauguration ceremony wasn't that big a deal, and he probably wouldn't be there, but—

Well, she'd never been very good at not hoping.

And then she'd seen him there. A flash of yellow hair hidden under the wide brim of the Hokage cap, blue eyes and a wide grin. Naruto. Her heart had nearly stopped—stuttered in her chest like she herself once had every time he'd come into her sphere of influence.

But her placid pace hadn't faltered, and Hinata had said the words and placed her vow without fail. It passed in a blur. And then her father had almost smiled, and there was a dull roar in her ears that she would later realize was cheering. She was too dazed to properly process and she smiled in a vague way and talked in a vague way until—

C'mon Hinata-chan, I'll walk you home."

And someone took her by the hand to spirit her away.

The world sped around her, and Hinata clutched at a jounin vest over ugly orange fabric under that ridiculous coat. Oh, Naruto. They sped through town, lights and scenery blurring together, wind on her face and ripping the snow flowers from her hair.

He caught them all anyway, and set her down.

"You call that walking me home?" Hinata asked, softly teasing.

"I—uh, yeah," Naruto chuckled, rubbing the back of his head. "But, hey, flowers!"

He held them awkwardly out to her. The petals bent under his fingers because even though he'd saved them all, he hadn't managed to not crush them. Hinata took them from him, her hands nimble and very small.

"Thank you," she smiled. "Ino—gave them to me. For—for luck, I guess."

"You didn't need luck. You were so great, Hinata-chan," Naruto grinned sort of sheepishly. "I felt sorta like an idiot."

"Why?"

"'Cos I just sorta stood there. Shoulda helped or something."

"You couldn't have done anything anyway. It's—I'm alright. It's—it's okay, you know?"

"Yeah," Naruto said, and smiled like the entire sun.

Everything was warm and Hinata felt a little faint. Really, she thought she'd gotten over this but—well, she'd probably never get over it. Naruto was sort of special, like that.

"Um—" Hinata said. "—here."

And she reached up to tuck one of the few flowers that had weathered the ride in his gold hair, smiling a little.

Naruto turned his face and kissed her palm.

She could do nothing except stare at him, blushing furiously.

He bent and kissed her, lips sweet and soft and careful. The whole world exploded behind her eyelids, into fireworks and then a rain of sparklers of hazy pleasure that lingered around her face and shimmered down her spine. Naruto pulled away, and looked down at her.

"You're not gonna faint, are you, Hinata-chan?"

"No," Hinata squeaked.

"And you're not mad?"

"No," she squeaked again, but it was softer now. Sweeter. "No, not mad."

"Can I do it again?"

"I'd like that," Hinata said. She looked up at him with shining eyes.

And so he did.

fin.