*sniff* I can't speak right now. I'll just see you at the end of the last chapter. *sob*
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN NARUTO OR ANY OF ITS CHARACTERS. (This is the last time I do the disclaimer for this story. T-T)
Chapter 36: The Priestess and the Hero
Three years has passed…
Hinata, at the age of twenty-one, had never been so nervous in her entire life. Her whole body was shaking in anxiousness, but at the same time, in bliss and excitement. She felt her heart inside her chest thumping loudly and her hands turned cold as the last strand on her hair was fixed by a Hyuga servant. She felt a gentle tuck on her sleeves and she noticed that the other servant assigned to help her with her attirewas done with the finishing touches.
A sharp breath escaped her lips.
There she was, wearing the shiromuku kimono of her late mother. The heavy and longer hem of the shiromuku fell on top of the ground, graciously occupying the floor below her covered feet. The white hiyoku underneath her Kimono followed the traditional layering, however slightly revealing the back of her neck and a part of her smooth back. Her long dark blue hair was fixed in nihongami, emphasizing her gentle facial structures. Her pale eyes traveled towards her face and saw her usual pale lips painted with rose-red beni; her face was covered with white make-up; her long eyelashes emphasized with the shadows applied on her eyelids and the corner of her eyes.
She could hardly believe what she was seeing. She could hardly believe what was about to happen.
"May I, Hinata-sama?" a servant kindly asked.
Hinata nodded in response.
Lastly, her servant carefully placed the tsunokakushi on top of her head, matching perfectly with her nihongami hairstyle.
Her lips tightened as she grasped her hands in front of her tightly.
This was not a dream… this was definitely happening to her.
Finally, Hyuga Hinata is Namikaze Naruto's bride.
Today is her marriage with her beloved. Involuntarily, a smile was formed on her red lips as she stared back at her reflection. The servants then assisted her back to a zabuton to let her take a seat before they heard a voice from the other side of the shoji, which appeared to belong to the bride's honorable father. The servants slid open the door for the Hyuga leader and he entered his daughter's room.
Hiashi was breath-taken upon landing his eyes on his beloved eldest daughter. She sat there in a complete form of a Japanese bride wearing her mother's wedding shiromuku kimono. It automatically reminded him the day when he and Haruka were wedded. She did inherit so much of you… my dear Haruka. He thought to himself as a rare gentle smile formed on his tight lips. He was in his formal hakama, with black kimono and gray hakama. He took a seat opposite the maiden's zabuton as she respectfully gave him her pleasantries.
"You are beautiful, my daughter…" Hiashi said and placed a hand on her smaller hands, "Your mother and I are very proud of you."
"Thank you, father…" Hinata answered and she felt his hand tighten his hold, she felt him trembling.
"It is time for me to let you go once again." He said in a soft melancholic voice, "I had many regrets when I lived my life after your false death. I know I was not a good father to you or to Hanabi… but I hope this time around, I was able to correct my mistakes and make you feel how much I love you, my daughter." He looked directly into her eyes before he lowered his head, "For all the pain I have given you… I sincerely apologize for everything."
"Oh, father… please lift your head." Hinata said in a sweet voice as she dearly pushed her father's head up, "Hanabi-chan and I both know how much you and okaa-sama loved us. I never blamed otou-sama for anything, not ever, will never. Please, do not wear that face in the most wonderful day of my life." She added.
"Naruto-kun would not want to see you unhappy in our marriage. Especially, okaa-sama… so forgive yourself, otou-sama. I have already forgiven everyone who had caused me pain." Hinata said.
Hiashi shut his eyes slowly as he accepted his daughter's kind and warm words. "You really take after your mother, Hinata." He said, "She and I are the happiest for your union with a very great man."
"Excuse me, Hiashi-sama, Hinata-sama," they heard a voice from outside and it belonged to Neji. "The norimono is ready. We await for your permission to leave."
"Yes. Hinata and I will be there shortly." Hiashi answered.
"Hai." Neji fed back as he politely took his leave to get back to the main gate of the household.
Hinata and her father followed soon and three norimonos waited outside the main gate. Neji stood by the norimono at the front, which was assigned as Hinata's litter. The norimono behind hers was occupied by her younger sister, and the last one would be occupied by her father. She saw Hanabi in her formal violet furisode with a red obi tied in a Taiko musubi knot, her brown her was done in a formal bun with several hair ornaments on her head. Hinata noted that her sister looked very lovely.
Hanabi, now sixteen years of age, flashed her elder sister one of her bright smiles as she watched her walk outside the household. She wanted to rush out of her norimono and give her sister a tight hug and praise her with thousands of positive remarks, but formality was the policy for now, just as what her father reminded her earlier.
Four servants stood in each corner of each norimonos, and two guards stood around each.
Neji volunteered to be one of the guards assigned on Hinata's litter and he offered her a hand as he gently assisted her up the norimono.
Hinata smiled at him and gave him a soft, "Thank you."
The servants then lifted up the norimonos and they had begun their journey to Konoha's shrine nearby the Sacred Forest.
Naruto, twenty-two years of age, sat anxiously inside his norimono. In every step the servants carrying his vehicle took, the louder and the stronger his heart pumped. Two ANBUs stood in either of his vehicle's side, guarding the safety of the village's Hokage. His blue eyes focused at the path in front of him and he tried to command his mind to stop calculating the time he would get to the Konoha shrine.
Naruto gulped and pulled the front of his kimono as if to let him breathe. He was wearing his formal Montsuki Hakama, a black Kimono and a gray hakama. His feet were sheltered with formal zori, and in one of his hands he held a Japanese fan.
Today is his wedding to Hinata.
He was excited and at the same time nervous, but the former was taking over his body more. He waited for this day to come—oh, how he waited for this day to come. Involuntarily, a grin formed in his lips as his mind only led to one resolve.
Hinata will be his wife at the end of the day. His wife.
Just thinking about it made his heart wild. He wondered if his father felt the same when Minato and Kushina got married.
Accurately after two minutes, he arrived at the Konoha shrine and saw the guests already occupying the place. Formally, the wedding guests must be an hour earlier than the bride and groom. His eyes roamed around the place first and saw familiar faces of his friends in their formal attires even other kages from around the shinobi world was there, but his eyes did not spot the norimono of his bride, indicating that she had not arrived yet. Settling down his vehicle, the guards opened whisked the curtains away from him and he got down the norimono.
His arrival was not missed by any of the guests at the shrine. Upon seeing the Hokage, they all bowed down at him politely and fell back in line. The Rokudaime acknowledged their formality by giving them a stern nod and he stood firm on his grounds as he saw the norimono he was waiting for arriving at the shrine.
There were three litters arriving, and he saw Hiashi first to come down from his own norimono, and then Hanabi as she was assisted by a guard, lastly… Hinata who was properly escorted down by her cousin Neji.
He almost did not recognize her. They were so many times she always took his breath away because of her purity and natural beauty… and this time was the best time of them all. He wanted to engulf her with his arms and shower her with his kisses, and he was taking a lot of goddamn effort to hold back. After all… after this ceremony, she would be his wife. After this day… they will be together for eternity.
The ceremony began shortly after the Hyuga family had arrived.
Following the tradition of the Shinto ceremony, it had begun with a rehearsal. During the rehearsal, the bride's mother would lower the veil of her daughter as the sign of giving her away. Since Hinata's mother has passed, she has chosen Aki—the wife of Lord Mizu of Ibaragakure to perform this duty. After that, Hiashi took Hinata's hand and placed it on his arm. He gave his daughter a small smile as he felt her trembling in nervousness, his eyes reassured her that everything would be fine.
Hinata nodded and the procession had begun. The chosen wedding celebrant, Haruno Sakura, was given the honors to give a brief introduction before the bride made her entrance. After the introduction, Hinata was walked at the shrine's aisle by her honorable father towards where her groom was waiting for her. The traditional music had begun and some tears threatened to fall from the guests.
Naruto bowed respectfully at Hiashi and the elder man bowed back to signify that he was accepting Naruto as his daughter's man. Given the permission, Naruto took Hinata's hand and placed it on his arm, together as bride and groom, they walked towards the aisle of the shrine.
The music continued as they walked, and finally they had reached the altar of the shrine. Respectfully, they bowed in front of the altar and the Shinto priest. It was Shinra, the Head Priestess of the Sacred Forest to perform the ceremony.
The service then starts when the bride and groom took their seat in front of the priestess. The Head Priestess began to perform the service by purifying and blessing the couple and bestowing upon them the blessing of the gods. After that, two mikos appeared and walked towards Hinata and Naruto to present the exchange of cups of sake, known as the san-san-kudo. The san-san-kudo was performed, in addition to that the couple's vows were exchanged, as well as their wedding rings.
The smile on Hinata's lips will never be perfectly painted by any artists in the world. Seeing the ring encircling her ring finger, she knew that moment that she was the happiest woman in the world. Slowly, she tore her gaze away from her hands which were captivated by Naruto's bigger and stronger hands, she looked up to meet his ever mesmerizing blue eyes.
Naruto stared at his loving bride tenderly. God, he had never seen such a beautiful creature in his entire life. He knew himself that he was the luckiest man in the world to have her as his own bride right here, right now at this very moment. Without completely listening to some more words of God coming from the Head Priestess's lips, he started ducking down towards Hinata's red lips. No one must have noticed that he wasn't listening because by the time his face began descending towards his bride, that was the moment Head Priestess Shinra gave the permission to kiss the bride.
Hinata slowly shut her eyes and she felt her hero's lips press against hers. It was a short and brief kiss, but it was a strong symbol of their union. The service of the ceremony was over when the Head Priestess pronounced Naruto and Hinata as husband and wife.
All the guests clapped formally in celebration of the wedding. To formally end the Shinto marriage, the bride and groom took another bow at the shrine and the head priestess before descending down the aisle. The couple must calmly and formally walk down the aisle to thank the guests for congratulating them.
Naruto could keep it no longer. This was the longest moment he could bear such formalities but he never promised anyone that he could bare it until the very end. Much to Hinata's surprise as she was descending the shrine, she felt strong arms sweep her off her feet. Automatically, her arms moved on their own by clinging onto her groom's neck and then in a blink of an eye, Naruto jumped towards the peak of the shrine's roof as he carried his wife.
"YOSHAAAA! I am Namikaze Naruto, Rokudaime Hokage of Konohagakure no Sato! I swear to every living creature in this world and to all the gods that I will forever love and protect my wife no matter what it takes from me! I will not let anyone take her away from me and whoever harms her shall meet my wrath! YOU ALL UNDERSTAND THAT?!"
Naruto screamed on top of his lungs. Just the way how his declaration as Hokage happened.
So much for formalities.
Sakura shook her head and sighed as Sasuke raised a brow at her mockingly. She tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear as she fixed the cherry blossoms ornaments on her formally fixed hair. She straightened her light pink tomesode with green obi tied in a Tateya musubi. She refused to meet Sasuke's gaze for two reasons: firstly, because he looked very hot with his formal kimono attire in dark blue color, and secondly, because she had lost their bet.
The arch of Sasuke's eyebrow did not disappear as he continued to look at her mockingly. A cool smirk formed on his lips and he imparted words, "Told you so." And it effectively struck Sakura in unknown ways.
Just an hour before the wedding, Sasuke and Sakura had an argument about the formality of the ceremony. That "Naruto will be able to be formal for once until the ceremony was officially over" as what Sakura stated, but Sasuke interjected that "He'll soon lose it before getting out of the shrine", and obviously the Uchiha won the bet.
"I'll have omusubi with okaka later as what you have promised." Sasuke said, claiming victory over his pink-haired wife.
Sakura sighed in defeat before a smile drew across her face, "Hai hai." And then she leaned her head on her husband's shoulder as she felt him snake a hand around her waist to pull her closer to him. Her hand traveled down to a small bump forming under her stomach as Sasuke's other hand placed it on top of hers.
Ino giggled harmoniously at the Hokage's actions. She had to supportively hold her big tummy hidden underneath her loose Kimono designed for pregnant women, and she sought support to her husband's firm shoulder. "That's just like Naruto. He can never stand such formal events, but he did quite a good job."
"Hey, take it easy. You're due this week, aren't you?" Shikamaru reminded her concernedly as he groaned, "I wouldn't want my wife to start experiencing labor contractions because of laughing over the Naruto's—the Hokage's foolish acts."
All of a sudden, she gripped tightly at Shikamaru's shoulder and clenched her teeth. Her brows furrowed in pain as she held her stomach.
"It…it hurts." She said.
Shikamaru's eyes widened and cold sweat formed in his body, "S-seriously? Oi, I'll take you to the hospital immediately—"
And then a soft laughter escaped her lips. She lifted up her head and winked at him, "Fooled you." and she giggled again.
"Wha—" Shikamaru's brows then twitched as he groaned loudly. "Give me a break, troublesome woman."
"WAY TO GO, NARUTO-NII-CHAN!"
A teenager's voice came from the crowd. He was in his formal attire as well, but his informal brown spiky hair was still in intact shape. Sarutobi Konohamaru gave him a high thumbs up and grinned at the Rokudaime Hokage.
The Hokage only grinned back at him and laughed heartily on top of the roof.
Yards away from Konohamaru was a Hyuga heiress trying her best to maintain her formality. But her prodigal cousin beside her did not fail to miss a soft discreet giggle leaving her lips.
Neji only smirked as he looked back at the crowd to see a brown-haired kunoichi smiling at him. A line of thought formed inside his intelligent mind…
…maybe it's about time that he propose to Tenten soon.
"I want to become someone like the Hokage, okaa-san!" A young boy with silver hair and pale skin looked up to his beautiful ebony-haired mother wearing a dark blue tomesode as he tugged her sleeves.
Miki looked down at her three-year-old son named Kotaro. "I believe in you, Kotaro-chan. The Hokage is a very well-respected man." She smiled down at him.
"Don't you want to become someone like me, Kotaro?" Kakashi, Kotaro's father said with an arched brow. "The Rokudaime was my student." He was in his formal kimono attire as well.
His handsome son smiled at him, "Yes! I want to become as strong as father and the Hokage so I can protect mother!" he exclaimed.
"Such a brave and strong child you are." Miki giggled, "Okaa-san will always support you and otou-san, all right?"
Because of Konohamaru's lead of cheering, the guests cheered loudly and lively for the wedded couple at the top of the shrine. The Head Shaman only smiled at the sight in front of her eyes, she was more than contented by just seeing the smiles on Hinata's and Naruto's faces.
Ever since the shrine has been built, it has never been very lively until the Rokudaime's wedding.
The night has come by and the newly wedded couple was exhausted for such a very long day. When they got to the reception, they were showered with mountains of gifts and different performances from the other countries. The members of the Five Kages formally congratulated them and offered them their blessings, and their dear friends gave them such emotional and memorable speeches. The ANBU did them a favor by transporting the presents to the Namikaze estate, where so few chosen people are only allowed to enter.
Getting down from the norimono made for married couples, Naruto and Hinata entered the Namikaze mansion. It was a huge luxurious mansion suitable for people with nobility. But unlike the Hyuga household, the Namikaze estate did not entirely followed the traditional design of Japanese mansions. Tall iron gates surrounded the whole compound and seals were planted in every entrances of the estate. Hinata could feel Naruto's chakra embedded within each seals.
They went straight to the master bedroom and he gentlemanly opened the door for her, "I'll tour you around tomorrow. I know you're quite exhausted for the day," he said with a smile. Hinata then thanked him for his gentlemanliness and entered the master bedroom, but before her husband could follow her tracks, a younger Hyuga entered before him.
"You have a nice gigantic room, Nee-chan!" Hanabi exclaimed as her eyes roamed around the bedroom.
The smile on Naruto's face dissolved as he accusingly glared at the younger sister, "What are you doing here again?" he asked irritatingly.
Hanabi gave him a knowing look, "I volunteered to be my sister's assistant for tonight instead of a servant in the household or in the Sacred Temple. Don't you know that she'd be not be able to take off her kimono alone?" before Naruto could argue with her, she continued, "Even if you help her strip off her clothes, I'm entirely sure that our mother's shiromuku kimono would meet such devastating fate with your hands, Naruto-nii-sama."
"Hanabi-chan." Hinata sweetly reprimanded her younger sister by the way she spoke to the Hokage.
Naruto groaned in defeat, "All right. But you have to leave immediately, okay?"
"Oh yes, I will. Well, then please excuse me and my sister for I have to help her take off her clothes." And then Hanabi shut the door in front of Naruto's face, securely locking it three times with the three locks of the door.
Naruto decided to get down to the guest room to take his bath there. He too had been itching to take off his Montsuki Hakama and his clones would definitely be enough to help him tear—take it off his body.
True to her word, Hanabi left shortly after helping Hinata take off her multi-layered Kimono and hair ornaments. Hinata was now taking a bath, and it has been twenty minutes since her sister left. Ino and Sakura were both right…
…the first night was definitely scary.
Hinata gulped as she sank deeper into the bath tub. All of a sudden, she heard the door outside the bathroom unlock and she heard Naruto's footsteps in the bedroom.
She sank deeper into the water until her head was not visible. After staying there for almost half a minute, she rose up and took a sharp intake of breath. She could do this. She has been waiting for this moment of her life. She has been dreaming to be with the right man for her. And finally it was going to happen this night.
She must be strong. She knew she could do this right.
Even though her mind screamed at her to gather all the courage in her body, she still did not budge from the tub and remained there for another ten minutes. When she thought that she was finally brave enough, she stood up from the bath tub and dried herself with the towel. She then walked across the bathroom towards where her clothes settled, and she immediately flushed in deep red when she saw what Hanabi had prepared for her.
It was the usual white hadajuban she wore under the layers of her kimono, but beside it was the present she got from Yamanaka Ino—now known as Nara Ino. It was the erotic black lingerie. Again she blushed when she remembered what Ino whispered to her earlier,
'He'll definitely go crazy when he sees you in this! You're such a formal girl, so he's expecting to see traditional undergarments, but if you wear this—you will definitely drive him and his "you know" insane!'
Praying for the guidance of the gods and the spirits, she took the lingerie and wore it before wearing her hadajuban.
When she got out of the bathroom and noticed the dimly lit room, she saw the most handsome man in her eyes wearing a loose blue hadajuban as he was sitting on the window pane. One knee was perched up near his torso as an arm settled across it as he looked at the bright full moon in the vast dark sky. She found herself staring at him for a moment. His calm blue eyes glittering upon the moonlight's reflection, his spiky blond hair nearly at the style of the Yondaime's swayed gracefully with the wind coming from the opened window, his lips tight in a thin line but she knew how soft they were, and then his hardbound chest which was revealed by his loosened hadajuban…
Hinata blushed again as she tore her gaze away. Naruto immediately noticed her discomfort.
"I caught you staring at me, my dear wife." Naruto said with a teasing smirk. "Come near me and join me watch the moon and the stars above." He invited with a hand.
Demurely, she offered him her hand and he immediately pulled her close to him. She nearly lost her balance since she was caught off guard by the sudden force, but he held her tight and made her fall on top of him. They settled on the window pane, cuddled in each other's arms, admiring the cloudless sky with the heavenly bodies smiling upon them. Naruto's hand snaked around her waist and pulled her closer to him. She blushed at their closeness, but she appreciated the moment that she had a closer view of his face from side view. She admired the bridge of his nose, his fine jawline, his pursed lips…
Naruto's eyes abandoned the beauty of the moon and stars above and stared back at his loving wife whose beauty beyond compare. Her innocent pale eyes, her flushed smooth cheeks, her soft small lips… He brought his other hand to cup her face, his palm gently appreciating the softness of her cheeks. Slowly he inched his face closer to her and he felt her not pulling back, the tips of their noses touched, and soon he sealed her sweet lips with a soft kiss.
Both their eyes closed as they savored the sweet, gentle moment. The wind blew past them, caressing their skin as the moonlight bestowed upon them a calm radiant. He started slowly, gently, so he would not frighten her and so she would feel safe and sound under his care. He parted his lips and his tongue slowly invited her to open her mouth, he felt her flinch at first, but she accepted his invitation so dearly. Passionately, they kissed under the moonlight. So passionate, so loving, yet so gentle.
Smoothly, Naruto pulled away to look at his beautiful wife's face. She was catching her breath and her lips remained parted, the redness of her face would be enough to drive a sane man crazy. He landed a soft peck on her cheek, and he began trailing kisses along her smooth jawline, down through neck, to her collarbones. The hand that used to stay in place on her face traveled down to her legs and he found the slit of her hadajuban. Slowly, his hand snaked through the slit and caressed her smooth thigh as he was kissing her collarbones.
That was when he felt her shudder and gasp in surprise.
He immediately pulled away and focused his eyes back at her flustered face. He was about to take away the hand underneath her lower hadajuban but her hand caught it and forced it to stay in place.
"Hinata…" he said concernedly. "We can stop if you're not ready yet. I am willing to wait, you know that… I wouldn't want to force you if it's against your will."
Hinata bit her lower lip and shook her head, "I will not tell you to stop, Naruto-kun. I have already decided that tonight… I will give you my all. I'm scared… but at the same time, I am very happy that tonight I will be one with the man I love most." She said in a soft clear voice, her other hand found its way to his face, "Make me yours for eternity, Naruto-kun. I am yours…"
"Hinata…" his eyes widened for a brief moment and then he again carried her into his arms and gently laid her on their soft gigantic bed. He placed himself on top of her, kneeling on fours pinning her underneath him. His eyes did not leave her ever beautiful face, her long tresses messily laid on her pillow, on her shoulder, on her neck… but she still looked so elegant. He pressed down his forehead on top of hers and stared directly into her pale eyes.
"I love you, Hinata…" he said.
Hinata failed to hold back a tear as it cascaded down from her pale eyes, "I love you, Naruto-kun…"
Once again, Naruto captured her lips and kissed her in the most affectionate way.
That peaceful night… two lovers with undying love for one another became as one.
After six years…
The ninja academy has always been a lively place because of eager children learning to become strong shinobis one day. Especially one blond-haired ninja who was running through the corridors with such a bright grin on his face accompanied with unsuppressed naughty laughter. He was six-years of age, wearing an orange t-shirt with a symbol of Konoha behind his back along with black combat pants, he has fair complexion, two whiskers on both his cheeks, and blue pupil-less eyes.
"Hurry, Saeki! We can't let him discover that it's us!" the child said to his companion following his tracks as they ran through the hallways.
A male child named Saeki was also six years of age. He had black straight hair and also a fair complexion. His huge forehead did not get in the way of the fine features of his handsome face. Black hawk-eyes glared back at his blond friend.
"He'll definitely know it's you, Hiroto!" he argued. "And don't you dare use again that string my father gave to me as a present last year for my fifth birthday!"
Hiroto laughed, "Why? It's really cool! And if our prank worked, that proves how that string is so useful to ninjas! It's so thin that even adults and jounins fall for the trick!"
Saeki only grunted at his friend.
When the two made it outside the academy, they saw both their chaperones standing side by side. Hiroto and Saeki both approached them.
"Konnichiwa, Hiroto-kun." Neji greeted back with a stern face. A girl a little bit smaller than Hiroto gave him a scowl.
"Don't address otou-sama so rudely, Hiroto-kun!" she had the tone of a refined ojou-sama. She had brown hair and Hyuga eyes, her hair reached only her shoulder and it was fixed into low twin braids.
"Hey, there, Momoka." Hiroto greeted with another smile. "I'm glad that you're done with your mission, Neji-ojii! I can't wait for our jyuken training!" he exclaimed.
"We'll proceed to that after you finish all your homework this week." Neji replied with a small smile.
"I will!" Hiroto beamed, "And I'll absolutely beat Saeki on the next test!" he declared boastfully, which resulted a grimace from his friend.
"As if you could, ahou." Saeki coolly argued.
"Saeki." A scolding feminine voice finally interrupted and Hiroto gave the woman a friendly wave.
"Hello there, Sakura-baa-chan!" He greeted with a huge grin.
"It's nice to see you, Hiroto-kun." Sakura greeted back and then she turned anew to her prodigal son, "Since when did you start learning such language, Saeki?" she reprimanded.
"It's not my fault that I needed to state the obvious." Saeki answered back.
"Oi!" Hiroto exclaimed with a frown.
Sakura sighed and heard Neji comment. "He does take after his father."
And all the pink-haired kunoichi could do was agree with the Hyuga's fact statement. "Your father would be home tonight, Saeki." She told the good news. Sasuke was away for three days because of a special mission in Sunagakure to assist a feudal lord. The Kazekage-sama Gaara especially requested him to partake in this mission, so he was sent off for the duty. Since he was going to be away for three days, Sakura asked permission from the Hokage to take a three-day off from her job. The Hokage granted her request and Ino, her long-time best friend, was generous enough to take her place for her absence.
Saeki's eyes glittered in excitement, but his face remained calm and collected. "Let's go home then, okaa-san." He said. He said his farewells to Neji and Momoka, and he only narrowed his eyes at Hiroto. "You won't beat me, ahou." And then he dashed away from them.
"We'll see about that, yarou!" Hiroto yelled back.
"There that kid goes." Sakura said, "Ja ne, Hiroto-kun, Neji-san, Momoka-chan." She said with a wave as she was about to follow the tracks of her son.
"Send my greetings to Sasuke, Sakura." Neji said.
"I will. Say hi to Tenten for me, too!" Sakura replied before completely joining her son to the streets.
Neji, Hiroto, and Momoka proceeded to the other side of the street to get to the Kage mansion.
Meanwhile in the academy…
A middle-aged instructor slid the door of a classroom open to retrieve some forgotten papers underneath his desk. But he felt an object about to fall on top of his head as he took a step at the threshold, his hand immediately caught the inanimate object, which was a chalkboard eraser full of dusts of chalk.
Iruka laughed and shook his head, "I'm too old for these tricks, Hiroto." He then entered the room unharmed by the dust of the chalkboard eraser. But it was too late when he felt his feet tangling a thin string on his path. Coming out of nowhere as if he activated a booby trap, a chalkboard eraser came flying directly towards the back of his head and powdered his whole brown hair white. He nearly tumbled forward, but maintained his posture. He was as stiff as statue when he heard a soft thump on the floor as the chalkboard eraser fell. His menacing eyes glared down at the cursed eraser and he read a note attached by a tape on it.
And a chibi drawing of Hiroto tucking his tongue out at him was beside the writings.
As Hiroto was walking at the busy streets of Konoha, he felt a shiver down his spines. He disregarded the weird creepy feeling and went back to practicing his spins to learn the kaiten. Neji who was behind him warned him not to train at the busy streets, Momoka scolded him as well, but Hiroto never listened.
"Watch my Hiroto-sama spin, Neji-ojii! Momoka!" he exclaimed and ran to the middle of the street. In a fast speed he began spinning, the very basic of the kaiten. Neji was about to stop him and praise him but all of a sudden, Hiroto became too dizzy and he did not watch his footing. It resulted to falling down the ground, face first, and a bump on his forehead.
"Itte!" Hiroto flinched as he touched the aching spot on his forehead.
Momoka went to him with her hands on her hips. "See? Why are you always so careless, Hiroto-kun?" she scolded.
"I told you not to practice here on the road, Hiroto-kun." Neji said and he was about to scoop the kid up, suddenly, a person in a hooded cloak approached them and knelt beside the injured Hiroto.
"May I help…?" the hooded person spoke in a weak elderly voice. They could see the wrinkles on her face, but her eyes remained hidden under the hood of her cloak.
"Can you heal my bump, baa-san?" Hiroto asked, his face still frowned from the pain on his head.
The old woman smiled softly and she placed a hand on top of the swollen area of the child's forehead. Her palm glowed in green chakra, in less than half a minute, Hiroto's bump disappeared and he could not feel pain anymore.
Hiroto stood, amazed of the relief on his forehead, "Whoa! You did heal it, baa-san! Just like how my okaa-chan heals me!" he exclaimed and beamed at her brightly, "Arigato gozaimasu!" he said politely.
The old woman slowly rose to her feet and stared down at the cheerful child. Her features softened at his liveliness, "Try not to hurt yourself too much, boy." And then she took her leave.
Neji never averted his gaze away from the old woman since she approached the boy. As she was walking away from them, he trailed her with his eyes in scrutiny and a realization immediately entered his prodigal mind. "Matte." He said firmly and the old woman halted on her tracks, but she did not look back.
"I am just an old lady who happens to love traveling. Please, excuse me." She said with a hidden smile and she walked away from them, going pass through the crowd.
Neji stood firm on his grounds, his gaze still locked upon the departing figure.
"Take care, obaa-san!" Hiroto waved enthusiastically at her.
Momoka tugged her father's sleeves and looked up to his eyes, "Otou-sama, is she the woman the villagers talking about? A wandering old woman who performs miraculous deeds in different countries?" she asked.
Neji looked back at his daughter, "Aah. She must be that person." He replied and finally turned away from the direction of the old lady. He resumed his journey with his nephew and his daughter to the Kage mansion. His emotionless features hid his surprising discovery and line of thought.
That old lady… there must be no mistake…
Twenty-eight-year-old Namikaze Naruto closed a confidential scroll in his hand as he was done with his business with the hawk-eyed Uchiha standing firmly before his desk. He cracked his neck side by side and his two companions in his office heard the loud cracking sound, after his release of stress, he handed the scroll to his temporary assistant, Nara Ino. His hair was now taking the form of his late father's, though he maintained his own style. Instead of a clean cut of his spiky hair that the Yondaime had, he chose to keep it messy at it had always been ever since he was a child. His long orange robe that he had worn for nine years now never aged nor wrinkled, thanks to the care of his loving wife.
"You did well, Sasuke. As expected." Naruto complimented. "The feudal lord from Suna was pleased of your assistance. You are now dismissed, and I give you a day-off tomorrow before Sakura-chan returns as my assistant."
"Oh, thank God." Ino whispered to herself, but Naruto and Sasuke did not fail to hear her.
But placing that comment aside, Naruto turned back to his best friend. "How's Saeki doing? I haven't seen him for quite a while." He asked.
"He's fine. Sakura's taking care of him very well." Sasuke replied promptly. Just like Naruto, his features changed for the past six years. His black hair was now long enough to be settled to a high ponytail that it swayed behind his back in his every footstep. His sharp hawk-eyes were sharper than ever.
"I see. That's just like Sakura-chan." Naruto chuckled. "I heard Hiroto's been spending more time with him this month. You think they'll take after our rivalry?"
"Hn." Sasuke said monosyllabically, "Another village dobe?"
Naruto arched a brow, "And another village teme?"
Ino only looked back and forth at the two men. She never knew how Sakura dealt with these two guys when they were still in the same team, and she never knew how Hinata handled these two men falling in love with her back in those days.
All of a sudden, a knock came from the door and Naruto gave them the permission to enter, expecting his visitors. The door opened to reveal Neji and two children bringing up the rear.
"A pleasant afternoon, Hokage-sama." Neji politely greeted with a bow. Momoka bowed before entering too, but the boy beside her only rushed inside the office, she grimaced at his rude actions.
"Konnichiwa, otou-chan!" Hiroto said casually. He was about to rush to his father's desk and give him a hug but he halted when he saw the familiar coldness of a family's close friend. "S-sasuke-oji-san!" he said in bewilderment.
Sasuke gave him a curt smile, "Hey." He said.
Naruto stood up from his desk and walked towards his son to pick him up, "Thanks for dropping him off, Neji. Nice to see you, Momoka-chan." He said before turning back to his son, "How's school today, kiddo?"
Hiroto's grin grew wider. "Sensei said we'll start with the basics of chakra next week! I can't wait! They'll definitely be amazed of my abilities thanks to father's training!" he exclaimed. "Oh! Also, Sasuke-oji-san's gift to Saeki last year was really useful to us. The thin string." He laughed.
Sasuke arched a suspicious brow, "My birthday present to Saeki? What did you use it for?"
Hiroto's energetic laughs turned weakened and turned to nervous laughter, he felt a bead of sweat trickling down his forehead, "Well, umm, w-we were testing it." He vaguely answered.
"Hiroto," Naruto's voice sounded a little bit reprimanding, his mind already knew the real reason behind his son's vague answers.
Sasuke sighed. He already knows too. When he gets back home, he'll probably have a word with his own son for taking part with these childish pranks again. Before he could excuse himself, Neji took a step forward and spoke in his ever serious tone.
"I've seen her, Rokudaime-sama. She is not dead." Neji stated. That brief statement was enough for both Naruto and Sasuke to understand what the prodigy was implying.
Placing down his son, Naruto spoke to Hiroto with a serious voice as well. "You saw an old lady today, Hiroto?"
An honest and innocent child he is, Hiroto nodded to his father's question. "Yes. She healed the bump on my head when I was practicing my kaiten's spin on the road. She healed it fast, just like how okaa-chan usually does."
"Sou ka." Naruto seemed satisfied with his child's answer and he turned back to Neji, "What was she wearing?"
"A white hooded cloak. She'll be easily spotted with her attire." Neji answered affirmatively.
Naruto turned to his temporary assistant, "Ino. Summon the ANBU. Tell them to look for an old lady in a white hooded cloak and have her sent to the Namikaze estate." He commanded.
"Wakarimashita." Ino promptly followed her Hokage's orders and disappeared into thick smoke.
"You're going to look for her, otou-chan?" Hiroto looked up at the Rokudaime curiously.
Naruto gave his son a gentle smile, "Of course. I have to thank the old lady for taking care of my son's bump from foolishly practicing his kaiten spins in the middle of the busy road." He chuckled.
Hiroto looked away embarrassedly, ashamed of his foolish actions.
Naruto then turned towards Sasuke who was still as emotionless as stone even hearing such a sudden report from Neji. His black orbs locked with his blue eyes and Naruto was the one to break their silence, "Explain it to Sakura-chan later, Sasuke. I'm counting on you." he said.
Sasuke only nodded, without saying any words, he disappeared from the room leaving only a thick smoke behind.
Naruto turned back to Neji, "I'm glad you were the one who saw her, Neji. Sorry for hiding this to you but… it was her request. Hinata knows about this as well."
Neji only nodded, understanding the situation completely.
The two children with them only stared at their fathers perplexedly and curiously, especially the son of the Hokage.
How are you doing these days? It has been a while since I heard from you. I am very sorry for not being able to write back to your letter last month, I was preoccupied by a lot of duties, and I know you are, too. I hope you are doing well and not overworking yourself too much. The Ibaragakure is rapidly growing these past years, we really are fortunate to be a part of the Lightning country once again. The Raikage-sama never left us alone—every now and then he would visit the village to check on us. Sometimes he even prepares a feast! He is such a lively man. His brother, Killer B-sama, even holds an eating contest. I always sat back and joyfully watch the villagers participate in this competition. Seeing them happy and hearing their laughter is enough to make my empty stomach full.
Remember three years ago when I told you that I've requested for the Kumogakure's assistance to build a ninja academy here in the village? Since the academy has been established, many children, male and female, enrolled to the academy! Shinichi-kun as well has been steadily doing his best to become a strong ninja. He swore to become as strong as Naruto-sama so he could protect the village. There was not a day he did not train to enhance his abilities. Right now, I really am happy for the boy for he grew to be such an honorable man. He really was a grandson for me. Now, the young man had settled his eyes on such a beauty. Her name is Asuza, she is such a brave, intelligent, and kindhearted young woman. She strongly reminds me and Aki of you. I must say Shinichi-kun has great eyes for women just like I and Naruto-sama.
It has been nine years since the cruelty of Lord Hiromitsu's rule ended. I feel bad for the man. His wife, Yuuka-san, was able to live and correct all her mistakes. She swore her loyalty to the village and served us all faithfully. Not even once she complained… But Lord Hiromitsu still was not able to change. He did serve us and stayed in jail for all these years, but he was driven insane. Two days ago, we only found him inside his cell… he hung himself. Right now we are discussing about Yuuka-san's arrangement, and the Lord's former attendee, Kohaku-san was willing to take care of the widow.
Right up to this moment, we are always grateful and thankful of you, Hinata-chan. The villagers always thought and prayed for your family's safety. If you had not come to our lives, maybe we still are suffering right now from the Lord's cruelty. Our lives wouldn't have changed… We wouldn't be freed from such cruel fate. We are forever indebted to you, Naruto-sama, and his friends. Please, do visit us soon. The villagers will be very delighted to see you again with the Great Hero. Send my greetings to Hiroto-kun as well.
Please stay safe and take good care of your health.
-Mizu, Lord of Ibaragakure
Namikaze Hinata, who was seated peacefully inside her norimono, closed the scroll in her palms as she looked outside the screen of her litter. A gentle smile formed in her face as she saw that she was nearing the borders of Konoha. She had a very tiring day, and she could not wait to get back to the mansion to start writing back to her good old friend, Mizu. This day, she got up very early for a temple ritual, after that, her presence was requested in a village cemetery to conduct some soul purification. Finally, she was heading back to her home and see her husband's and her son's faces.
Right outside her norimono, three ninjas accompanied her to ensure her safety. One of them was a good friend, an ex-ANBU named Sai.
"We're near the village, Hinata-san." Sai informed her.
She did hope that she could see her loved ones' faces soon.
Naruto and Hiroto both came back to the Namikaze estate right after they parted ways with Neji and his daughter. Once they have entered the mansion, they saw an old lady wearing a hooded cloak sitting at the couch of the living room all by herself.
"That's her, father! That's the lady who helped me earlier!" Hiroto exclaimed with a huge grin on his face. The old lady stood up immediately and faced them.
She was frozen on her spot when her hidden eyes landed on the father of the child she helped.
"I see." Naruto said, "Good thing she hasn't left the village, son." He replied to the child, "Why don't you play in the garden for a while? Make something for your mother, she'll be home soon." He told Hiroto.
Hiroto was about to oppose his father since he wanted to stay and talk with the old lady, but by the mention of his mother's coming, he suddenly beamed at Naruto and rushed to the garden to pick flowers for her.
Naruto sat on the couch opposite of the old lady, his blue eyes intently yet gently staring at her partly hidden face. He gestured her to take a seat, and she carefully did. When the child was completely out at the garden, the Rokudaime finally spoke to her after such a long time.
"It has been a while, baa-chan." He began. "It's good to see you back and still alive."
Tsunade looked back at him and pushed off her hood to reveal her elderly appearance. Silver hair replaced her gold ones, wrinkles replaced her smooth skin… if Naruto didn't know that it was Tsunade in the first place, he might have not known that it was her.
"I've heard stories about an old lady performing miracles around the world. I immediately guessed that it was you. You don't know how happy Hinata looks whenever she hears about different recent story from the villagers. I am, too, actually… since it was a sign that you were still alive." Naruto said.
Tsunade's eyes looked down her lap, "I've been travelling around the world for these nine years… I thought that I should pay my old home a visit now as being known as the "Miraculous Elder". I'm happy for you, Naruto… that you were able to achieve your dreams. The first thing I saw in this village was your face carved alongside with the previous kages at the mountain. Your mother, father, and Jiraiya must have been proud."
Naruto smiled sadly, "…Aah."
A thick silence filled the air surrounding them. Both individuals' minds started reminiscing the same memory of how they last saw each other…
"When you return to the village, tell them all that I am dead." Tsunade looked straightly into Naruto's blue eyes which immediately formed a frown.
"What?" Naruto said in a hard tone.
"Ever since I have agreed to partake in Maeko's conspiracy, I have decided my punishment. I won't go back to the village. I will give up my position as Hokage. I will suffer with the world." Tsunade said. "Please, do not stop me for this is what I wish for myself. Tell them all that I have died."
Hinata went to the lady Hokage with such a worried expression on her face, "Tsunade-sama…"
"I must be punished, Hinata… Even if it's you, I won't let you stop me." Tsunade said with a faint smile on her face, "I've taken so much from the both of you… all those years that you had to be together… I took it all away. I cannot easily forgive myself for letting one of the people I care about most suffer." She then started forming hand seals and they could all feel chakra flowing inside Tsunade's body.
"But you don't have to do this, Tsunade-sama… there must be another way." Hinata still tried to stop her despite everything they went through.
Slowly, Tsunade's form had begun changing. Her soft silky golden hair began morphing to dry silver hair of an old hag, her smooth healthy skin began morphing to old wrinkled flesh, her idolized feminine figure morphed into a figure of an old lady and her once firm voice became hoarse.
Hinata tried her best to hold back her unspoiled tears.
Tsunade slowly reached for the maiden's face and gently cupped her smooth cheek, "I do not deserve your tears, sweet Hinata…" she said with a shaky old voice, "Do not mourn for me for I must not be mourned."
Hinata shut her eyes and the tears went down. She held Tsunade's hand tightly, "Please… there must be another way… please, don't leave." She begged.
A teardrop rolled down Tsunade's wrinkled cheek as well as she stared back at Hinata's wet eyes, "But this is the only way I know, my dear. I am sorry…" she then pulled away from the maiden. She felt her tighten her grip at first, refusing to let the lady hokage's hand go, but she was able to slip away. She then turned to Naruto who was crestfallenly staring at her.
"I leave the village under your care, Naruto. I know… you will be a very great Hokage." She told him, "Now cheer up. The village wouldn't want to see such an ugly face of a Hero in his return."
Naruto blinked away his tears and wiped them with the back of his sleeves, "Shut up, old hag."
Tsunade weakly smiled at him before he turned to Sasuke who apparently took the unconscious Sakura in his arms. "Sasuke… take good care of Sakura for me."
Sasuke's impassive eyes stared back at her. "You don't have to tell me."
With that, she turned away from them as she walked to the distance. A strong wind flew by… and when they all looked back at her figure…
…Tsunade was gone.
"No one still knows except me, Sasuke, and Hinata." Naruto said, "Even Shizune-nee-chan does not know."
Tsunade nodded. Indeed, this man in front of her was always true to his words. She then turned her head sideward to look outside the glass where Hiroto was picking flowers at the garden, "He's such a lively boy. He reminds me of you in so many ways…" she said with softness in her eyes.
Naruto smirked, "He turned six this year. He really is hard to handle, somehow I finally understand how you feel when I kept on bothering you day by day."
Tsunade chuckled, "It's about time, Naruto."
"Heh. Well, sorry about that." Naruto said with a vague scratch on the back of his head. After that, there was another awkward silence formed in between them. Tsunade was looking at Hiroto through the glass window, but he could read her eyes. She did not want to gaze back at him but he could see the guilt in her once keen eyes. He knew for all these long nine years, she still has not forgiven herself for everything that's happened to him and Hinata.
With such care and earnest in her voice, he spoke anew to break the silence.
"I have forgiven you, baa-chan."
With his statement, Tsunade tore her gaze away from Hiroto's figure from outside and looked back at the Rokudaime in astonishment.
A small smile drew across his lips, "If my wife has already forgiven you such a long time ago, how could I not?" he said, "The only person who has not forgiven you is yourself, baa-chan."
Instantly, tears formed in the corner of Tsunade's eyes. Before she could speak back to Naruto, they both the main door softly open and the person Tsunade longed to see entered the Namikaze mansion.
Speaking of the angel.
"Tadaima." Namikaze Hinata announced as she entered the mansion. She was in a light blue kimono with the design of lavender, and with a dark blue obi tied in a Taiko musubi. She then gently shot the door behind her before her eyes looked around for her husband and her son. Her eyes immediately spotted her husband's blond hair at the living room, but he had company.
Both Naruto and Tsunade stood up from the couch, eyes locked at the elegant woman.
In just one look, Hinata immediately recognized the old lady who was with her husband. She halted on her short steps for a moment as her eyes widened at their unexpected guest. The scrolls and pen that she was carrying numbly slid off her arms as she slowly began to make her way to Tsunade.
"Tsunade-sama…" she said with a shaky voice. Tears started forming in her pale eyes in every step she took to get closer to the former hokage.
"Hinata…" Tsunade said with a soft sob, she did not hold back her tears anymore.
"It's you…" Hinata blinked her tears and they cascaded down her beautiful face. She reached out for Tsunade's cheek and warmly clasped it with her soft palm, "It really is you…"
Tsunade lowered her head and bit her lip, "I'm… I'm sorry for—"
Before she could even finish her sentence, Hinata's arms were already wrapped around her elderly body.
Tsunade's eyes widened in shock and she only felt the woman hug her tighter.
"You have returned… thank God… you have finally returned." Hinata said between her soft quick moans.
Tsunade's chin settled up on Hinata's shoulder, "I'm… sorry for everything I've done, Hinata… I'm sorry."
Hinata shook her head, "I have already forgiven you, Tsunade-sama… I've forgiven you all for I cannot bear such hatred in my heart. I may have suffered back then but… I was able to save many people's lives in Ibaragakure… and I was able to return to this village as a stronger person—as a rightful Sacred Priestess." She said, "We have gone through a lot but… in the end… everything still went well and I couldn't hope for a better life than what I have right now…"
Tsunade shut her eyes tightly. Her tears and sobs uncontrollable.
"That's why Tsunade-sama too…" Hinata sobbed, "Tsunade-sama must also be happy. It is time for you… to forgive yourself. Please… oh, please."
"… Th-thank you… Naruto, Hinata… thank you for forgiving me… and accepting me… once again."
Hinata rubbed a hand on Tsunade's back gently.
Hiroto sat with his father by the porch overlooking the guest room where Hinata was tucking Tsunade to sleep. They were both enjoying the sunset. Right after the two ladies cried in each other's arms, Tsunade fell asleep in exhaustion and in relief as well. Right now, Hinata was tending to her, not showing any signs of leaving the old woman's side.
"Who is she, otou-chan? It's like you and okaa-chan know her pretty well." Hiroto looked up to his dad.
Naruto smirked down to his son, "That lady is named Tsunade. She is the Godaime Hokage of the village."
Hiroto's eyes widened, "Eh?! She's the Godaime?!" he exclaimed in utter disbelief, "But she's dead! And they all say that she's such a pretty and busty woman, not an old hag."
"Now, watch what you're saying, kiddo. Your mother wouldn't be too pleased to hear those words from you." Naruto said as he crossed his arms over his broad chest. Hiroto murmured a quick apology. "You still won't understand it right now. When you're old enough, I'll tell everything to you, all right?"
Hiroto beamed at his father, "Hai!"
And then Naruto ruffled his son's spiky blond hair. His favorite trait that the boy inherited from him.
Naruto's features softened, "Your mother is an amazing woman, kiddo. She's nice, gentle, selfless and caring… but deep inside she is such a strong fighter. She's brave, intelligent, and has a strong sense of justice. I don't even know why I met such a great woman like her. I'll just have to say that I really am extremely lucky that she became my wife."
"…Eh? But otou-chan's really strong too, right? You're great at fighting! You definitely protected mom a lot!" Hiroto replied.
"Yeah, I did." Naruto said, "She was my inspiration to become stronger and stronger. But let me tell you something, Hiroto…" he stared directly at his son's blue pupil-less eyes, "Being great at fighting is not the only way to be strong. Remember that, all right?" he then gave the child a pat on the head.
"Yes, father!" Hiroto said determinedly, "I promise you and mother that I will become a very strong ninja one day! I will protect the village and my loved ones! I will surpass your greatness, father!"
Naruto chuckled, "You really take after me."
Hiroto grinned and an important event clicked in his mind, "That's right! Okaa-chan's birthday is tomorrow, right, otou-chan? What's your gift for her this year?"
"Sssshhh!" Naruto placed a finger on his lips and shushed his son, "Don't be too loud, kiddo! She might hear!"
Hiroto flinched and zipped his mouth. The father and son looked back at the room where they could see Hinata tending to a sleeping Tsunade, both were relieved to see that she gave no signs of hearing their conversation at all. Deciding that the coast was clear, Hiroto whispered to his father, "So, what is it, otou-chan?"
Naruto smirked, "You'll just have to see tomorrow."
Night had come by quickly and Hinata was back on her comfortable hadajuban, all prepared to meet with the bed and sleep. She was on her way back to the master bedroom. Right after she finished taking a night shower, she tucked her son to bed and read him bedtime stories to sleep. Feeling as exhausted as ever, she twisted the doorknob of the room and entered only to see the Rokudaime Hokage sitting on the window pane again wearing his hadajuban, glancing at the stars and the moonless sky. The look on his face seemed quite disappointed for this night was a new moon.
Naruto immediately tore his gaze away from the sky to look back at his newly come wife. "How's my hardworking wife doing?" he asked with a smirk.
"Oh, why, I had such a wonderful day, my dear husband." Hinata answered. Suddenly, she remembered that she got a letter today from Lord Mizu of Ibaragakure. Ignoring her mind to tell her to throw her body into the bed and got some sleep, she walked towards the desk where she usually worked on her scrolls and letters.
"Still not calling it a day?" Naruto asked.
Hinata lighted the lamp on the working table and pulled the chair to take a seat. "Not yet," her hand started searching for the scroll, the pen, and the ink, she'd use to write back to Lord Mizu, "Mizu-oji-san sent me a letter today. I want to write back to him as soon as possible."
"Oh, Mizu-oji-chan? How's he doing?" Naruto inquired, surprised to hear of the old man after a while.
"He's doing fine." Hinata replied with a smile. She briefly told her husband what the Ibaragakure leader said in his letter. The Rokudaime seemed happy to hear from him.
But not that quite happy for some reason.
Hinata began to write on her scroll, her face having a small smile as the ink of her pen touched the parchment. Naruto was intently eyeing his wife, oh, how he loved the view of her graceful moves even in just writing a letter. She was even humming silently, and he enjoyed hearing her soft voice. After a while, it looked like Hinata was halfway in finishing her telegram, he stood up from the window pane and approached her.
So engrossed with her composing of telegram, she was surprised when she felt a weight on her right shoulder. Strong arms wrapped around her upper body, preventing her to scribble further. She smelled his gentle scent, and she always loved that fragrance of her sweet husband.
Naruto's chin was settled on her shoulder, "I'm sure Mizu-ojii-chan can wait." He said softly to her ears and he began landing soft kisses on her jawline.
Hinata slightly shivered. He loved kissing her jawline, especially her collarbones where she's very sensitive. "Can you… mmh… wait longer…?" she asked, taking chances if she could still finish her letter.
"The Rokudaime Hokage is very exhausted from his work today. He would love for his wife to join him in bed and call it a day." Naruto said sweetly and his hand found its way to tilt her head towards his face, so that he could land a soft kiss on her lips.
Hinata giggled, "Hai, hai." She sweetly kissed his lips back and chose to leave everything that she was doing. After all, she also had a very long and tiring day. She wanted to feel his presence as much as possible to attain the greatest relaxation for the night. "I'm sure Mizu-ojii-san can wait…" she restated.
Naruto carried her to bed and pulled her close to his body. He rested her head on his arm and he felt her wrap her arms around his shoulder, pressing her warmth against him more. He took a deep breath, taking pleasure of her sweet scent and he landed another kiss on top of her forehead.
Before they both knew it… relaxation clouded their mind and they drifted off to sweet slumber.
The next day, Hinata woke up only to find an empty space beside her. She assumed that her husband had gone to work early today so she as well got up to take a morning bath. Indeed, it was the right decision to sleep with her husband last night for she had one of the best sleeps she had in her entire life. Tsunade was back, and that was enough to make everything for her wonderful. After a fifteen minute bath, she wore one of her favorite kimonos which was the present she got from Naruto nine years ago. The orange kimono with the red obi. Sanae, an old lady that they took in as a housekeeper and maid a few years ago, generously helped the Namikaze wife to tie her obi in a Tateya musubi. Hinata chose to tie her hair into a simple low braid that fell across her right shoulder, and when she was done preparing, she started looking making her way to Tsunade's quarters.
She expected to see the old lady Hokage there but, the room was empty.
She walked to the hallways to get to Hiroto's room, expectedly to see him getting ready for school, but she did not also see him there.
Hinata frowned. Where were they?
Before she could get back to searching for them in the entire mansion, Koshino, a middle-aged man they hired as their gardener approached her carefully. "Ohayo gozaimasu, Hinata-sama."
"Ohayo gozaimasu, Koshino-san." Hinata greeted back, perplexity still written on her face, "May I ask if you have seen Hiroto and our guest anywhere?"
"Oh, about that…" Koshino began, "Hiroto-sama and your guest left early with Naruto-sama. Naruto-sama told me to tell you that when you wake up, go to the village. It's an emergency."
Emergency. Hearing that last word, Hinata immediately held up her hand for a seal. In an instant, a portal was summoned in front of her and the garden who was taken aback with surprise. She entered the portal in a speed of a heartbeat and she disappeared from the mansion.
In just a second, Hinata was transported to the village, all credits to her useful portal. Her heart was beating in such a fast pace, thousands of thoughts were running through her head. Her feet landed on the ground and she began sprinting at the streets to look for her husband and her son. Emergency? Are they hurt? Was there an invasion? Is that why Naruto-kun was out of bed early? What happened? Is everybody all right?
All those thoughts clouded her mind that she could almost miss what the village looked like.
She halted on her steps as she finally noticed that nothing was wrong with the village. It was normal… except for petals that started dancing around the gentle wind and pots of flowers displayed in all corners of the village. There were roses, lilacs, daffodils, sunflowers, irises, dunes, and especially, her most favorite of them all… Azaleas. She was the only one walking at the streets, her eyes all wide as she gaped at the display of beautiful flowers around her. She couldn't help but wonder if this was what heaven looked like. Even the roof of every house in the village was filled with flowers. Suddenly, soothing music played and at that moment, the people that she was looking for finally appeared.
Hiroto excitedly called. He was on top of a high pole, and he waved down at her enthusiastically. Standing on a taller pole beside him was his confident father.
"Naruto-kun! Hiroto! I'm glad both of you are safe!" she exclaimed worriedly.
Naruto and Hiroto blinked. They immediately saw the uneasiness in the lady's face.
The Rokudaime took his son in his arms as he jumped down from the tall pole and landed in front of Hinata. He gently placed down his child before going to her.
"Hey, hey. What's wrong? Why do you look so worried?" Naruto asked gently as he cupped her cheek.
Hinata immediately wrapped an arm around Naruto and pulled Hiroto in a hug, "I was so worried. Koshino-san told me that it was an emergency—I—I thought—"
"There, there." Naruto pulled his wife and son closer to him, "Everything is fine. You have nothing to worry about… maybe Koshino-san was just making fun of you. You know how he loves jokes." He said with a slight chuckle and she slowly pulled back from him. Her worried face now turned to an expression of pure perplexity.
Naruto sighed, "Just as I thought. You forgot, didn't you?"
Hinata blinked innocently. "Eh…?" not really getting in the same line of thought of her husband.
Naruto pressed his forehead against her, "You don't forget the smallest things in the world, even writing back to Mizu-ojii-chan's letters or the Ichiraku Ramen's anniversary… but you forget your own birthday?" he chuckled.
Hinata's eyes snapped widely. She was frozen on her spot when she pulled away from him. Her eyes roamed around the colorful village full of beautiful flowers and finally, the realization sunk in her mind. "Today is my birthday… you mean… all this is…"
"Yes, okaa-chan. Otanjoubi omedetou!" With such a bright smile on his face, Hiroto presented her a bouquet of fresh Azaleas.
Hinata felt a comfortable warmth build inside her chest. Abruptly, tears formed in her pale eyes and she accepted the bouquet from her son. To express her gratitude to his sweet actions, she leaned down a planted a loving peck on his forehead, "Arigato, Hiroto. You made okaa-chan happy…" she said, "Very happy." And then she looked back at Naruto who was dearly staring at her with his mesmerizing blue eyes.
"So… what do you think?" Naruto asked and then the familiar faces of their friends appeared as they cheerfully wished her a very happy birthday. Sasuke had Saeki sitting on top of his shoulders as Sakura was with Tsunade, Neji and Tenten were both with their daughter smiling at Hinata, Ino, Shikamaru and their child were there together as well, Kakashi, Miki, and Kotaro were there cheering at the front of the crowd, and then there was Hanabi, Konohamaru, her loving father…
Everyone that she cared about was there. All her friends and all her loved ones… they were all there to celebrate the birthday that she forgot. Even Itachi, Tomoyo, and her mother… she could feel their presence in the crowd, wishing her a happy birthday as well.
She looked back at her husband's eyes and tears cascaded down her cheeks, "It's beyond wonderful, Naruto-kun…" she said softly and went closer to him, "Thank you… thank you for everything."
"No, Hinata… Thank you." Naruto said as he held her hand, "Thank you for coming back to my life… for becoming my wife… for bearing my son. You have done so much for me. If you weren't here, I wouldn't be where I am right now." He stared directly to her eyes, "I swear to the gods, Hinata… I will protect you for eternity and love you endlessly. No matter what happens, I will not lose you again."
Hinata desperately wrapped her arms around him and freely cried, "I won't go anywhere without you. Wherever you go, I will follow. I will do anything for you, Naruto-kun…" she said in between her soft cries, "Thank you… thank you so much for coming into my life."
Naruto gently cupped her chin and slowly leaned down to her face for a kiss. The music went louder and the dancing petals gracefully flew around the star-crossed lovers, the whole crowd cheered for them as the flower festival officially started. Hiroto was pulled away by Sakura to join Saeki for a while, leaving his mother and father to themselves.
In the middle of the lively street, Naruto and Hinata kissed each other lovingly. But as seconds passed by, she felt a naughty hand sliding down to her hips, down to her butt, her eyes snapped open and she pulled away from her husband. She saw him staring at her hungrily and she couldn't help but blush, "Don't get too ahead of yourself, please…" she whispered in a scolding yet shy tone to him.
Naruto leaned closer again and blew a hot breath on the shell of her ear. He felt her shiver, "It's not my fault that my wife looks very lovely…"
Gaining confidence, Hinata leaned closer to him as well, pressing her soft body against him more, "I'm sorry but… I suppose the Rokudaime won't get what he wants today."
Naruto's hand stopped caressing her soft firm bum as he heard her mutter such confident words. He arched an eyebrow, "And why is that, my wife?"
Hinata leaned closer to his ears… and her words would again change his life forever.
"Because you have to work much harder now… a new baby is on the way, my dear husband."
Sorry if I took quite a while. My brother came home from Japan this week and we had a lot of catching up to do. XD And my mind was kind of occupied by the oh-so-important thought of… "should I watch the Amazing Spider Man 2 or not?". Bro said that it was awesome but I like Toby better than Andrew Garfield and the reason why I watched the first the Amazing Spider Man movie was because Emma Stone was there so… yeah. Then I heard her character died. That was my dilemma this week, I guess.
Anyways! I won't miss X-men though. Ohohoho.
Okay. That's it! This story is officially over and I hope that the ending was satisfying. Oh, God. I can't believe that it's finally over. Well then, I must say that I planned to write a lemon for this story but guess what… I chickened out. For real, I was starting with it this day and then when I got to the "you know" parts, I just couldn't take it so I deleted it. I'm really sorry! I may be 18 but lemons are still kind of no-no for me. *sigh* I'm really sorry. I just can't seem to let go of this sweet innocent girl image with me. Haha.
It has been such a great and long journey with you guys and I'm really happy that you all stayed with me until the end. Hugs and kisses for all of you! Mwah! Thank you for all your support, those who favorited this and followed this story, and especially those who consistently message me and review in every chapter. You guys are the best! More hugs and kisses for you! Mwah! Mwah! Mwah! And thank you also to my shy cutie readers there who are too shy to leave a review. I know you're there so thanks for reading! Hugs and kisses for you guys too!
One last shout-out for three incredible authors who were such huge inspiration for me to finish this story.
Hektols-san!I really thank you for helping me develop this story. I am happy that I met such a great author like you… *sniff* If you weren't there to help, I must have posted such idiotic chapters and I may never have finished this story. Thank you very much!
Serious Sam-san! Thank you for your support as always. And also thank you for your inspirational messages. It's always great to read your reviews and thanks for dedicating some of your chapters in "My Precious People" to me, and the recommendation, and the shout-outs. All I can really say is thank you.
Last but not least…
Leaf Ranger-sama! *Bear hug attacks LR-sama* Just knowing that you're reading this story is more than enough for me! I've looked up to you as what I have previously said in one of my early chapters. Back then, I was just too shy to leave a review in your fics, thinking that I'll only embarrass myself so when I saw that you reviewed back in chapter 3 of this story... I was extremely happy and excited! Thank you very much for all your support! I played the latest Assassin's Creed yesterday at my friend's home(and I kind of ruined it for him. Well, his fault since he forced me to try to play it even if I told him I never tried before), so I think I will finally start reading your Shinobi's Creed! Yay!
Okay. So that's that. I was really inspired of the Korean Drama "The Moon that Embraces the Sun" that's why I was able to develop the plot of the story. The story is based from it, but not entirely. Hehe. So yeah, it's really the end of the story. But I have some good news. Hihihihi.
Oh yes. I devised a new plot inside my head! A new plot for a NaruHina story! Wohoooo! Wanna know the title? It's "Sanctuary for the Wounded". Genius weird strikes again! (Imitating PewDiePie's tone when saying "Genius Pewds strikes again".) I just don't know when I'll post it but I will have another NaruHina fanfic on this site. For now, I already have a next story I have to publish but it's not a Naruto fanfic.
So I'll just have to say… see you all again soon! Wheee~
Obi- sash of Kimono
Shiromuku kimono- a whiteshiromukukimono, worn open (without an obi), with a thick padding at the hem. Traditionally this is made with white, ivory or cream tone-on-tone jacquard silk. Modern versions might have a subtle trim color at the hem or an iridescence in the fabric, and common motifs are cranes, pine, peacocks, noshi ribbons, dowry carts, and fans.(source: )
Hiyoku- cloth underneath the kimono
Nihongami – traditional Japanese hairstyle of women
Norimono- Japanese litter used by warrior-class or nobility. Transportation by the means of people.
Zori- similar to flip-flops
Miko- priestess/shrine maiden
Tomesode- a type of kimono worn by married women
Wakarimashita- I understand