We come to the end of this fic, my friends. Thanks to my reviewers for their support; I know this wasn't a popular fic, due to the 2nd person POV, but it was a fun ride, was it not?


Chapter Twelve: Peaceful

The chakra in your eyes flares; there is nothing but the red light. The light has a life of its own, flowing like a sinuous dragon out of your eyes. It bathes the world in crimson, it flows and whorls like a windstorm.

Unbidden, the words ring out of your mouth: "Protect Konoha."

Then, the red dragon fire is gone; you have no time to wonder if you are dead or merely sleeping as the darkness drowns you...


You flutter your eyes open, but you can't see; there is something heavy over your eyes. You reach out, flailing weakly; a warm hand catches your own.

"Naruto?" you rasp, wincing at the sandpaper sound of your own voice.

He places his other hand on your forehead, smoothing back your hair. "How are you feeling?"

You consider the question for a moment. Everything hurts: your eyes, all your chakra pathways; you ache from your little toe to the tip of your nose. "Awful," you mutter at last. And then: "What happened?"

"You burned out all your chakra pathways," comes another voice, soft with concern. It is Sakura. "Actually," she continues, "it would be fairer to say that you scorched your chakra pathways. And don't even try opening your eyes, because—"

"No," you whisper. You already know that your condition is abysmal. "I mean, what happened—with the Akatsuki?"

There is a moment of silence.

"They were apprehended," Sakura says at last.

"What do you mean?" you rasp. You try to sit up in bed, but Naruto gently holds your shoulders so that you can't move.

"They fell under your genjutsu—or whatever that was. Man, it was awesome," Naruto whispers. "When they came to, they offered themselves up, just like that."

"Offered themselves up?" you ask, not comprehending.

Sakura chuckles. "They asked us how they could protect Konoha, and Naruto said they should knock themselves out—and they did, literally."

Naruto laughs heartily at that. "What can I say—I'm a genius! We had those idiots trussed up like turkeys in no time." Naruto rubs your shoulder reassuringly. "I don't know what you did, Hinata, but you really kicked ass."

You cough weakly in response. "Thanks." You are warm from the praise and you sink into your pillows, content.

"We should let you rest," Sakura murmurs. "And Hinata? I…"

"I forgive you," you whisper, and there is a moment of silence before you say, "and I'm glad you're okay."

Sakura doesn't respond—you get the feeling, even without sight, that she is choked with tears—but Naruto laughs warmly, dispelling the awkward tension.

"Sleep well, Hinata," Naruto says.

And you do, because you cannot stay awake any longer; you fall into a deep, dreamless sleep.

When you wake up again, you sense other presences in the room. One of them is Neji, but the others… Though the chakra signatures seem familiar, they are also distorted. You can't quite tell who they are. It is only after they whisper to each other that you recognize Hanabi and your father. Becoming de-vampire-ized must have altered their chakra.

You cough, then force yourself to sit up in bed. "Hey."

"Hinata-sama," Neji cries, and he flings his arms around you; you smile.

"I'm fine, Neji-niisan."

"You are not fine! You almost died—"

"Shhhh. I'm fine," you insist, and you smile widely. "Father? Sister?" you call, "How are you feeling?"

There is much coughing and shuffling of feet; there are mumbled words of apology which you can't quite make out. It is as if the words are muffled in their hands, or fall from their mouths like thick, dry cotton.

You reach up and remove the gauze covering your eyes, with care. Your vision is blurry, but you can see your father and sister, looking shamefaced, but gods, they are alive, and you smile your warm smile.

"I'm glad you're okay," you say.

Hiashi clears his throat. "The Hokage wanted to see us…after you woke."

Neji helps you up; after wobbling for a moment, you regain your footing, though you still lean on him for support for the entire journey to Tsunade's office. The long trip up the stairs makes you woozy, and you feel as though you are floating instead of walking on solid ground.

Naruto and Sakura are in the office, waiting for you; Shino and Kiba are there too, looking concerned but mostly relieved. Neji leads you to a chair directly across from Tsunade's desk, and you sink into it gratefully.

"Tsunade-sama," you say before anyone else can speak, "I'd like to ask two favors of you."

"Anything," Tsunade replies. "We owe you!"

"It was nothing," you whisper. You close your eyes and think that if anyone is the hero in this story, it is Itachi and not you. You shake your head and open your eyes. You didn't come here to mourn, or to lessen your own accomplishments; you came here to finally get what you want.

"The first thing I would like," you begin, "is to renounce my family name. I no longer wish to be a Hyuga."

Behind you, you hear Hiashi inhale sharply; however, he does not say anything.

"You realize your inheritance will go to your sister, then?" Tsunade replies, her voice soft. You nod. "Fine. I'll finalize the paperwork with your father this afternoon. The other thing that you wanted?"

"A vacation," you blurt out. "I want a long, paid vacation, in a foreign country where no one knows who I am. And I want to take Naruto with me."

There is a moment of silence. You feel your palms sweating and your stomach clenching, but you jut out your chin in defiance, because the gods damn it, you are going to get what you want this time.

"Granted," Tsunade says at last. "That is, if Naruto wants to go."

"Hells yeah, I want to go on vacation! That sounds awesome!"

Naruto comes over to you and starts babbling in your ear, but you can't quite make out the words; in your mind's eye, you see tropical islands, endless sand, the ocean, and an open bar.

Naruto leads you out of Tsunade's office and into your apartment. You lay down on your bed, exhausted, but happy.

"Hey, Naruto?" you whisper as you place your head on the pillow. "Pack your bags. I want to leave tomorrow. For Hawaii; or maybe Tahiti," you say, your lids growing heavy with sleep.

"Are you sure you want to leave so soon? Are you feeling—"

"I'm fine, and I want to leave right away," you whisper. "And…Naruto?"


"Let's elope," you blurt out.

Naruto is quiet for a moment; you force your eyes open, and you see he is grinning from ear to ear.

"Yeah babe. Let's do that," he whispers.

You smile broadly and you fall into a deep, dreamless sleep, feeling peaceful for the first time in a long time.


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