Four-year-old Hinata had given her caretaker the slip once again. She was getting very good at it, even though she was so quiet that they never noticed she was gone until they looked down and saw that the sleeve they had been hanging on to was torn. She made her way to her favorite place, almost as if by memory. The play ground. It was close to the academy, so it was usually filled with big kids that her guardians never let her play with. But now, it was dinnertime, and all of the children were inside. Expect one.
She saw the blond boy swinging on the wooden swing, and she shyly hid behind the slide, watching him. He looked to be the same age as her, only a little taller. She was a tiny girl, which was why Hiashi had someone watch her at all times. But today, she was all on her own. Slowly, she made her way over to the boy.
"Do you want to play?" He voice was tiny and high pitched, and very soft. The boy looked up, distrust painted across his face. When he saw the girl, though, that feeling was gone.
"I've never seen you before!" He sounded excited. Someone actually wanted to play with him! "My name's Naruto! Do you want to swing? I'll push you!" He said, jumping up. Hinata nodded, smiling. She clambered up onto the wooden swing, and gripped the rope that attached it to the tree tightly. Naruto walked behind her and pushed her, gently moving the swing forward. There was a comfortable silence for a few moments, before Naruto spoke again.
"What's your name?" He asked.
"Hinata. I'm four." She said, her words sounded new to her still. Naruto smiled at this, his chest puffing out.
"I just turned five! I'm older, so that means I have to protect you! " He sounded so happy. He finally had someone to spend time with. He'd waited so long! Hinata giggled, but didn't say anything. She was happy to just to spend time with someone her own age. She normally only spent time with her guardians. She never got to play.
"Do you want to play something else?" Naruto asked, grabbing the ropes to stop the swing. Hinata stood up and nodded slowly.
"Yes! Can we play on the slide? I've never been on one!" She clapped her hands together. Naruto grinned, grabbing one of those small hands and pulling her towards the slide. When they got there, Naruto pointed to the steps.
"Go up there and slide down. I'll wait down here and catch you so you don't fall!" Naruto told her. Hinata nodded, grinning with delight. She ran up the stairs and sat down at the mouth of the slide.
"I'm coming down!" She warned him, before pushing off and sliding down. She giggled, loving the rush. When she reached the bottom, she slid right into Naruto's arms. He laughed, giving her a little hug.
"You so cute, Hinata-chan!" He laughed. He reached into his pocket, and pulled something out. He held it up for her to see. It was small, shiny green bead that was threaded through a long piece of hemp string, which was tied at the top. It was a necklace. "I made this for my future wife! I picked the bead out all by myself, but the string I had to find somewhere else." He said, handing it to Hinata. She grasped it, blushing.
"I want you to have it," he continued, "because when I'm big and strong, I'm gunna marry you." He puffed his chest out again, smiling. The sweet moment was short lived though, as Hinata heard her caretakers voice.
"Hinata-hime! Get away from that…that boy!" The man yelled. Hinata quickly hid her new necklace up her sleeve so he wouldn't confiscate it.
"Don't talk that way to my husband!" Her tiny voice was sharp. The man tugged on her arm, pulling her away.
"He is not your husband! Get those thoughts out of your head right now! You're not to talk to that boy, ever, do you understand me? Those are your father's orders!"
Hinata looked over her shoulder at Naruto, who was growing farther and farther away with every step. His head was hung, and his fists were clenched at his sides.
And that was the last time Hinata saw him until they both started academy. Hinata wore that crude, homemade necklace every day since she'd received it. She'd never forgotten Naruto's promise. But he had, it seemed, because he acted like he didn't even know she was alive.
Maybe he just needed a reminder.