Unbeknownst to Kakashi, Hinata had become increasingly cautious and was bordering on paranoia by the middle of her seventh month of pregnancy. She rarely left the apartment while her husband was away unless accompanied by Kiba or Shikamaru or sometimes Neji. And even when in their company, each of them noticed her nervousness.

Now, each knew Hinata had always been a nervous person. Early in life she had always been timid and nervous mostly because of Naruto. But this nervousness was different and almost bordering on sheer terror.

Neji had pressed her about it but she had avoided the topic carefully, chocking it up to pregnancy hormones. She wasn't really all that terrified of the three women as much as she was the safety of the twins inside her. The love she already had for them gleamed from every fiber of her being; everyone saw it. Many had praised her on her healthy glow and countless had assured her that she would be a great mother. She would also prefer not hurting women that had probably already had a lifetime of hurt.

Those words had been a great comfort in her fear for her children, as had Kakashi. He was wonderful. She had gained another 15 pounds and its strain was starting to show. Though the moodiness had settled down after a tumultuous sixth month ( she and Kakashi had numerous fights and spats and her angry tears had been frequent. They also had not made love but twice in that month). But he was a trooper and he had held her each night despite any outburst she had or any words exchanged between them and also whether she had wanted to be held or not. He helped her stand when she needed it and all the other little tasks she hadn't realized would become difficult, like walking down or upstairs (he usually carried her, though she was embarrassed to the roots of her hair that she was so heavy) and with cooking. He had also put up with her insatiable appetite for squid smothered in chocolate sauce which had been her only craving thus far.

Hinata sighed. Tonight she would probably have to have help showering as she couldn't turn or really move at all without great difficulty. The shower wasn't small but it just wasn't big enough to accommodate her new girth. These thoughts, along with thoughts of Kakashi and slight paranoia, buzzed around in her head as she made her way through Konoha's market street. She needed to restock her vegetables and squid or else she would not have ventured out by herself.

So preoccupied was she that only on the second shout of her name did she react.

"Yes, oh! hi Naruto" she said politely, her mind still deciding on how much celery to buy. She hadn't even turned at his greeting.

"Hi Hinata-chan! It's been a long time since I've seen-"

The energetic shinobi halted as his shy friend turned to face him.

"W-Woah! Y-you're HUGE HINATA-CHAN! Waaayyy bigger than your usual tiny self. Are you okay, Hinata?" He looked at the vegetables in her hands.

"If you've been eating like that then-"

The heiress giggled lightly. "Naruto, I am pregnant."

"Ohhhhhhh. Sheesh everyone is these days" a look of realization overcoming Naruto's expression. "Well...that looks...fun?" he said a little awkwardly.

"Oh, not some days but...it will be worth it." she said, smiling."Anyway, I have to be going Naruto. Have a good day" she said as she paid the vendor and walked way.

Naruto stared after her. She hadn't stuttered at all.

"Weird" he shrugged and walked the opposite direction.

A dark shadow, having witnessed the interaction, disappeared.

Hinata didn't even realize until she got back to the apartment:she hadn't even asked how he was doing. In fact she'd barely acknowledged him at all!

Her heart dropped through her chest at the realization. When was the last time she had thought of him? Last week...no...before that...

Fortunately, she was near the kitchen table and sat down in the nearest chair, shaking. She discovered she had forgotten completely about Naruto's existence since Temari's wedding.

She frantically searched her memory.

Hinata thought of Naruto's sky blue eyes and his face. She thought of his strong arms she'd always wished would hold her. She thought of...

Her heart didn't skip a beat anymore...but when she remembered Kakashi simply glancing at her...

For the first few minutes she felt sick, like she wanted to throw up and would be throwing up for the rest of her life. Even the babies inside her stirred, sensing something was amiss.

"Shhhhhhhh" she cooed to them, stroking her stomach softly.

Unbidden tears began streaming down her cheeks and she decided to sing a lullaby, mostly to calm herself rather than the growing ones inside her.

Her sobbing soon became uncontrollable. Part of her was relieved: She didn't have to pine away anymore. She didn't have to suffer from unrequited love. She didn't have to want him anymore.

But it was like losing a part of her that she'd always had. It's not that she wanted to want him; she was Kakashi's now, evidenced most strongly by her engorged stomach.

He'd been winning her heart over from Naruto. He paid attention to her. He cared for her. She was even beginning to believe that he loved her, despite this marriage having been for the village.

And just like that her tears turned to tears of happiness. She'd been such an awful wife and had so much to make up for. But she didn't even know how to begin.

Her heart wasn't all his yet. But it wasn't Naruto's either. She was still holding onto a part of herself but she wanted to give her all to Kakashi. He was a good husband, a great listener and a superb lover ( in every sense of the word). And yet here she was still holding on to a fading dream. How childish.

"I'll start proving how good of a wife I can be by protecting our children." she stated aloud to herself.

"You might want to know that your Hinata ran into Naruto at the market today."

Kakashi calmly yet with gritted teeth turn to stare at the other shinobi. He didn't want to know what had happened. Part of himself wretched at the thought of her blushing under the blonde's gaze.

"You'll be happy to know they didn't run off together, making youthful, passionate love by candlelight."

That did it.

The normally calm and calculating Copy Ninja grabbed his old nemesis and shoved him against the wall.

"Woah Woah youthful Kakashi" said Gai nervously. He wasn't used to his side of Kakashi.

Kakashi's normal eye narrowed. "It was just a little youthful joke. Honest! nothing happened."

"Then why are you here taunting me with this information?" demanded Kakashi, tightening his grip on his comrade's jacket.

"B-Because I thought you might like to know that she barely knew he was there, until he shouted her name...twice."

The gray haired shinobi released his hold. "Go on..."

Gai smiled. "I mean she wasn't even aware he was there, not even searching for his presence. She looked much more interested in the celery she was buying than conversation with him, in fact."

"You aren't lying?"

"No, my friend. Calm down. Hinata is a noble lady and would never betray you, even if she still had feelings for him. She's loyal to you. But as I said, she really didn't seem all that interested in her youthful comrade. She appeared rather preoccupied, actually."

Gai thought it looked as if a ten-ton weight had lifted off Kakashi's shoulders as the other man sighed in relief.

"Her affections and their loyalties seem to have veered off their long course and straight into you. You are one fortunate man, my youthful rival!"

Kakashi smirked.

"And you're also rather *ahem* youthfully head over heels."

"She's my wife. It's my duty to the village-"

"Oh Kakashi. Stop it. You haven't been fooling ANYone. You just threw me against a wall because I joked about her having feelings for anyone else. And with a lovely like that, it's no wonder. Stop pretending, the cat's out of the bad, my friend. You're rather taken with youthful love for her, aren't you?"

Kakashi's face reddened slightly.

"I'm also here to take over since your shift is over, so if you want to leave-"

The sentence wasn't even out of Gai's mouth before the other ninja disappeared.

He decided to surprise her with flowers.

The pregnant Ino's giggling followed him out of the store.

No wonder she always knows who's with whom. He had no idea what sort of flowers he held. They were pretty enough, he supposed, and the Yamanaka had assured him that Hinata would greatly enjoy them.

"Those flowers for me, handsome?"

Oh no , he'd thought after all these weeks she had heeded his warning.

"I thought I told you not to contact me again" he growled, turning toward the thin and skimpily dressed vixen on his right.

"I just happened to be on a stroll-"

"DON'T play that game with me, Yuuka" he spat. "I only came to you when I had one need and one need only. Hinata satisfies those needs as well as many more than what you ever could. So GO AWAY and STAY away"

Her glare didn't falter. "You can't tell me you desire her when this" she gestured at her see-through red stockings, obvious black lingerie and long legs "is at your service when and wherever you want."

He sighed, not allowing his eyes to leave hers.

"Actually, what's attractive to me these days is someone who doesn't have a whoreish ambition and needs the attention of men from her body to validate herself. Especially when those men treat you only as a means of release."

That statement broke her confident mask. "YOU BASTARD! YOU WERE ONE OF THOSE MEN! AND YOU STILL ARE!"
"That's where you are sorely mistaken. Hinata is my wife. I am a happily married man now. And she has my loyalty and love, no matter how you feel the need to throw yourself at me...in desperation."


As the slut turned to saunter away Kakashi, quick as a flash, snagged her wrist.

Yuuka turned to slap him, only to freeze as a cold liquid seemed to crash through her torso and into her stomach.

The man's eye swirled dangerously in her direction and she was held in terrifying captivation. He'd always kept that terrible eye hidden during their passionate encounters.

"Using this on a citizen, no matter how lowly or provocative, is regrettably forbidden" Kakashi said slowly, drawing out his words carefully and allowing her fear to wash through her.

"But" he said, his face barely an inch from hers.

"If you EVER threaten my wife and the mother of my children again, I will not care about rules. I will not hesitate. I would like to see the Hokage try to stand between me and your fragile little frame if harm ever comes to Hinata or my children by your doing."

At that he released her, re-primping the flowers into a more upstanding arrangement.

Ino watched her friend's husband stalk away, looking the most enraged she had ever seen him. When she had first looked out and seen Kakashi grab the whore's wrist she had thought he was giving into temptation.

But within seconds she could feel the killer aura, even from all the way inside the shop. She shivered. Whatever the woman had said must have been awful for Kakashi to have even uncovered his Sharingan.

Ino watched as the woman stayed stunned for at least another 5 minutes before shakily walking away in the opposite direction of the ninja.

The blonde shivered. She never wanted to be on the receiving end of his rage.

But at the same time, it was soooo ROMANTIC! she squealed inwardly.

Surprising pregnant women was really easy Kakashi had realized in recent weeks. Then Hinata had explained that the babies' chakra could do funky things so a mother ninja's chakra senses naturally decrease to a minimum so as to not interfere with the babies' development of sensing the outer world. With two children, the Hokage had told her hers would probably drop even lower, so her senses were about 1/100 as sharp as normal. And after the 8th month began, she would be nearly as a normal non-ninja woman.

So when flowers suddenly appeared in front of her face as she washed dishes at the sink, Hinata startled. She was immediately calmed by an amused chuckle.

"Have I not told you, darling, that anyone else trying to get in here without your knowledge would be taking his life in his hands?"

She nodded and her attention was brought back to the beautiful blooms. Ino's expert hand had obviously helped him with picking the variety, but his thoughtfulness on just any ordinary day made her bawl.

"Did I do something wr-"

She shushed him and just laid her head on his shoulder for a long while, crying her eyes out.

" They're ssooo bbetifu...I'mssooooooo ssssosorrryyyyyyyyyyy" she whined.

Used to this, Kakashi remained quiet, stroking her hair and leading her to the couch for the remainder of the nearly 10-minute cry. He had no idea what was wrong but knew she just wanted to be held. It sometimes amazed him how well he already knew what she wanted and they hadn't even been married all that long yet.

When she had finally quieted he shifted her head and held it in his hands. Her eyes were red and tear stains covered her cheeks. He thumbed away the last of them, leaning in to a gentle but very firm kiss.

Things got heated very quickly. He hadn't approached her romantically in almost two weeks, as the physical strain on her had grown particularly exhausting and he hadn't wanted to push her into anything.

He was about to push her beneath him when the timer on the stove sounded, alerting them that dinner was done baking.

Hinata stopped and immediately went to stand, turning her attention to cooking. She struggled and Kakashi was at her side immediately, helping her gain her balance.

"T-Thanks" she whispered, beginning to waddle toward the kitchen area.

"Would you rather I get-"

"N-Not tonight, I am feeling fine besides a little weepy. P-Plus it's not that hard of a dish, I j-just have to see if it is done."

He nodded and let her go, content to watch her move back and forth as she readied the table. She set the flowers in a clear vase at its center.

"They really are lovely. Thank you so much Kakashi-kun" she called to him as her small hands stroked the petals.

He held up his hand in response. "Thank you for being all the more lovelier."

After her quiet gratitude, Kakashi's mind wandered to a time in the not too distant future when it wouldn't be just the two of them anymore. He looked forward to the day with the most intense mixture of emotion he had ever experienced. He knew he would be very delighted to meet his children, no matter their gender. But he was also nervous beyond all measure. To have the responsibility of two little lives, lives that shared his blood, when he had already not been able to protect too many people was reeking havoc deep within him. He and Hinata would also not have that much alone time anymore and he was a little afraid they would grow distant.

"D-Did you hear me, Kakashi-kun?"

He shook his head, dragged out of his thoughts by her soft tone.

"I said that the dish will take about 10 more minutes than I thought but-"

He was at her side, lifting her into his arms before she knew it. Her blush was only light as she quickly met his eyes and used both of her hands to draw his lips to hers in a deep, longing kiss that didn't break until he settled with her on the bed.

"Mmmmmm...I need to go check on dinner" she murmured against his neck.

"Let it burn" he suggested, not opening his eyes and tugging her naked body closer to him.

"Kakashiiiiiiiii" she whined playfully, struggling to get free and perhaps rubbing against him a little bit in the process.

"That is DEFINITELY not going to help you get away from me, beautiful" he whispered.

"In fact, you just may have to stay here all the longer as punishment" he said, moving from his comfy spot beside her and coming over her again, pausing to once again drink in her exquisite, swollen and naked form.

"B-But Kakashi, I don't want a fire-"

Her worried statement was silenced with another smothering kiss.

"I will go check. And if it's done, I will bring it in here to us. Sorry, love, but I don't think I want you to leave the bed again tonight..." he said in a half playful, half husky tone.

Her blush deepened and he winked at her, reaching to pinch her nipple gently before rolling off the bed and into the living room where he knew she could not follow quickly.

Her moan of protest that followed him was worth it, though.

As he checked the dish, it was almost certainly done. Almost a shame, another 10 minutes and we could have easily...

But then he realized she would probably be starving, feeding 3 and all that. He scolded himself for being selfish and brought the dinner into her in the bed.

"Thank you, Kakashi"

He nodded and served the casserole, which had chicken and celery and many other good things hidden in it. He also noted she had managed to snag her shirt from the floor while he had been away and also had the rest of her hidden beneath the comforter. He would have to remember to throw them farther away next time.

She gobbled down four helpings before he had even finished two.

"You're hungry tonight"

"T-They've been extra active today. Plus, I restocked on vegetables."

He nodded. "Did anything else interesting happen today, sweetheart?"

She shook her head. "Oh, I did run into Naruto. He thought I was just not eating healthy and had gained weight." She giggled as she thought about it again.

Nothing in her demeanor changed or told of anything but amusement at Naruto's antics.

"And I also heard a really loud crash about two blocks from here b-but that's about it."

They chatted for a few more minutes and Kakashi slipped a hand beneath the comforter to caress her stomach as they talked.

"Mmmmm...they are lively tonight" he mused, feeling a series of kicks against his hand.

"These two will be pros at combo attacks before they can even talk!"

She giggled and he leaned in to nuzzle her face.

"Do you need a massage, love?" he offered.

He also delighted in the slight embarrassment this caused her, as his massages were very intimate. She was still so shy and innocent and, though frustrating at times, still endeared him to her.

"I-I-I would like a hot s-s-shower first."

He groaned. "But sweeetheart" he teased. " I don't want you to leave the bed and..."

He was on his knees next to her and she sat up, grinning as she trailed the tips of her fingers over his chest.

"Do you realllllllllly not want me to leave that badly?" she asked.

He shivered in response.

"Mmmmm" she mused, still deciding. She really wanted that shower..."What time is your shift tomorrow?"
Already stimulated by her soft barely-there touches, he took a little while to respond "T-Tomorrow is m-my day off guard duty so unless the Hokage calls me-"

"In that case, I will stay but you have to help me wash in the morning"

He nodded and bent to kiss her until he felt each of her silky smooth palms on each of his hipbones.


"Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh" she hushed him, steadily holding his gaze. She was nervous and acting on impulse but...she wanted to pleasure him like he had her all these months.

"I-I've never done this before b-b-but..."

She gave him a sweet smile before tearing her eyes away from his and focusing on the juncture of his legs.

Kakashi laid awake for hours after Hinata had fallen asleep at his side, exhausted from the day's strain and the night's pleasure.

Though he had brought her to pleasure twice more before she had fallen asleep, his hips still tingled with her inexperienced kisses. He was still having a difficult time comprehending that she had indeed willingly brought him to pleasure, without his even asking. They had only ever made love in one way and that still satiated him.

But she had initiated this, though shyly. And though she was still fairly new, she hadn't done a bad job at all. If he didn't know better, he'd swear she had a sixth sense because her mouth had caressed his most private part in ways others hadn't before...and there had been a lot of others.

Or maybe it's just because it's her and she WANTED to do it for you.

Whatever, they were definitely the closest they had ever been. He smiled at that thought.

He wrestled with his returning worries and recurring doubts until at least 3am and finally fell into a fitful sleep.

The next few weeks would be tedious and Hinata would be her at her most vulnerable and at her most dependent on him and others. He would also ask the Hokage to allow him to stay home more as the birth became imminent.

Yes, he would need his sleep indeed.

Maybe a goodish chapter? Maybe? R & R!