Disclaimer: sadly i own nothing.

They said she had cried the moment she found out the blond and his pink haired companion returned, they said she ran toward the tower as soon as she processed the news, they said she was heartbroken because of team 7's couple, they never said her reactions stemmed from the raven haired man they dragged back with them.

Her world was crumbling around her as she ran through the newly rebuilt village. Her lungs burned as she pushed her body to a faster pace, while trying all the while to stop her emotions from bursting through her chest. She had built herself a world with rainbows and dreams all the while lying to herself. She had lied to herself and she despised the weakness. Her only self-defense, her ostrich like mentality had lead to this… this was reality, her own doing.

She had been naïve back then, barely thirteen and with no confidence to speak of after years of emotional warfare against her family, against her village, against herself. Naïve or not, reality had always crept up to her consciousness at night when the shadows would remind her that she didn't belong in the light, no Hinata Hyuga belonged to the darkness. Better yet she belonged to the newly crowned King of darkness, and if what they said was true then very soon she would have to give up on chasing the rays of sunshine and finally accept her reality.

He had expected death, he had welcomed death but as was fate's custom he was denied. The battle between once teammates had been brutal, all three had given it their all, and been dubbed the new sannin. Well they had given it their all, he had held back, and at that last moment as Naruto's rasengan came at him from his left and Sakura's charka filled fist from the right he had extinguished his chidori. They hadn't been able to stop even though they had tried. But as he had fallen from atop his hawk summon and toward the ground with their cries sounding further and further away he had smiled, welcoming death, welcoming peace.

But alas neither peace nor victory were to be his and so he had awoken healed and imprisoned in the very heart of that which he had vowed to exterminate. Surrounded by ANBU and shackled by charka restraints he glared at his guards, he fumed at their holier than thou attitudes, and plotted their destruction. He would bring upon them terrors and-

His hearing picked up the labored breath beyond the four barriers that held him, he heard the whispered demands, he smelled clean citrus and the earth after the rain, and memories that had been buried for so long surged to the forefront, causing a smirk. Perhaps he had been careless, it appeared he had forgotten that he had left something of his in this kami forsaken village.

She had argued and demanded her way through the rookie ANBU stationed at the most fortified cell in all of Konoha. She had pressed through checkpoints and security clearance and finally she had arrived at the final barrier. She laid her hand parallel to the barrier, closed her eyes and she found what she had dreaded the most. He was really here, alive and she would bet the entire Uchiha Compound hell bent on revenge. His essence reached out to her, curled around her as if drawing her closer, and then the whispered, "Come."

Her eyes sprung open as she looked at the final barrier, feeling the deer masked Anbu lazily scrutinizing her.

"Ma, are you just going to stand there after demanding to be let in?"

" No deer-san if you would please let me in."

"Ne, Hinata-hime what does a Hyuga of your station have to do with a traitor especially since you've never had anything to do with him?"

And even though it was an honest and harmless question birthed of confused curiosity it made her flinch because barely a week back in the village and the shadows she had fought for so long were devouring her whole.

"Please just let me in."

With a analyzing look she could feel the Anbu guard stood aside, lowered the barrier, and unlocked the heavy door to a small room with two sentries on either side of the door and a cell with bars against the far wall that held one pale, raven haired male.

She had changed, not so drastically, that he couldn't recognize her –although he would always be able to sense and recognize her no matter the disguise- but small things like longer hair, the less bulky clothes, the height, and most noticeably the curves. She had finally come into her own, she had become a woman, and had acquired the one thing she had lacked confidence. Although he was seeing precious little of it now she looked him directly in the eye something she had only ever been capable of in the dark when she thought he couldn't see her, her shoulders where held straight as well as her head something that years ago was an impossibility. Yes, she had matured and become a woman but a woman with at least one habit she hadn't been completely able to eradicate – denial.

He saw it screaming through her wide eyes, in her labored breath, in the slight shake of her head, she had convinced herself that he would never return, but he was finding that this village had one redeeming quality…it had her. And as he studied her he realized that there was one last thing on his to-do-list that he had yet to check off.

He hadn't changed. He had the same pain wrapped around him like armor, the same set of arrogance in his elevated nose, the same cold determination, and the same stubborn smirk. In all the ways that mattered he hadn't changed much. And were she any other person, with any other set of eyes, and she had she not known him as she did she could have left it there but she was Hinata Hyuga, she possessed the byakugan, and she knew him very well.

He had matured, instead of the consuming hatred that had driven him away years ago it was pain that controlled him now. He had laid to rest his hatred and in doing so had allowed the pain of his clan's extermination, of his murdered parents, of his time with that snake, of his brother's death at his hands, and the knowledge of all he had done throughout the years to consume him. Where she had fought the shadows, he had offered himself up. The man she saw before her was broken and yet no one could break him.

'Oh, Sasuke what have you become' she thought as she looked into his obsidian eyes.

He looked at her and smirked "Took you long enough to get here, hn."

"Hai. I just returned from a mission."

The raven haired Uchiha took to staring at the Hyuga heiress after their short exchange but it was a mutual perusal. It was for lack of better words odd and confusing to the strategic nin hidden behind the deer mask. Shikamaru felt like he was missing a vital piece of information because this connection – and there was a connection between the dark haired couple – was simply unexplainable.

Shikamaru went over the knowledge he had on both shinobi. The Hyuga reigned on the right side of the village with the rest of the shinobi clans of light in descending order of light toward the left with clans such as the Sarutobi, Senju, Akimichi, Yamanaka, and many others. While the Uchiha had reigned to the far left with the dark clans such as the Nara, Aburame, Inuzuka, Kuraku, and a couple more. There was a rift between the two clans and yet while living both had been cordial, acting more like estranged cousins than enemies. During the Academy the couple was never seen together neither was there any evidence to suggest that they were aware of the other's existence. Yet they were somehow connected.

"Hn. I'll be out soon," was the statement that broke the silence surprising everyone in the room for its utterance and the words themselves.

"I am calling into effect our contract"

This statement seemed to hit the heiress like a physical blow even though it seemed as if she was braced for it.

"Are you certain you can call it into effect?"

Sasuke's reaction to her quiet question was immediate and angrily he seethed.

"Careful kimi(1) your words call into question my honor and my name. It would seem I should be more concerned with your end, no "

Again Hinata flinched, bowed her head looking as if on the verge of tears but she took a shuddering breath and then consented.

"I Hinata heiress apparent of the Hyuga clan honor and renew my blood oath to Sasuke Uchiha."

The smirk on the treacherous bastard's face looked as if he had won a shōgi game over a particularly difficult opponent. Still smirking the Uchiha bowed his head slightly before giving Shikamaru the missing piece to the puzzle.

"Good, I too honor and renew my blood oath to you dear wife."

Two things ran simultaneously through Shikamaru's mind : they don't pay me enough to deal with this and more so than anything else 'how troublesome.'

(1) Kimi is one of the very few terms of endearment actually used by Japanese men toward their significant others.

So hope you enjoy this. please read and review it would mean a lot to me.