Author's Note: This was inspired by Maxcene Cyrin's cover of the Arcade Fire song "No Cars Go". If you want to know what I felt while writing this, here is the url: watch?v=27SbVk1i-RI. I highly suggest you listen while you read.
-One More Dance-
He knew this place well.
An elderly man slowly made his way up a hill, every step committed to memory. The softest blades of grass brushed against his legs, tickling him, and the sun shone brilliantly in the sky, lighting up his unruly hair like a firework in the nighttime air. He covered his eyes to see better.
A small rock stood in the man's path. Such a tiny thing wouldn't have stopped him in his younger years, but at his age, even Naruto Uzumaki had to be careful. Wouldn't want to strain his back, after all.
"Come on now," he whispered to himself, gingerly stepping over the obstacle, "just a few more steps." He took several deep breaths to recuperate. The fresh air filled his lungs.
His dull blue eyes, their bursting, vivid color faded away, scanned the surroundings. The wildflowers had begun to blossom, just as they did year after year, and it soothed his soul. He was happy they could have that effect on him after so much time.
He knew this place well.
"Okay, up we go…" Naruto gave his legs a little pep talk, and he was back on the move, on the last leg of his little trip. One last push, and Naruto had finally arrived.
And there she was.
A woman stood in the middle of the meadow, surrounded by the young blossoms. The sun made her porcelain skin glow, the same way her smile did. The beautiful wildflowers paled in comparison to her. At least to Naruto they did.
She turned around to greet him, and Naruto was drawn into those beautiful eyes, endlessly soft, just as he had been millions of times before.
"You're late." She sounded scolding, but the warmth in her eyes betrayed her teasing, and Naruto grinned, wrinkling his face even further.
"Oh, you know that's not my fault!" he said. "I've got to keep an eye on these bones nowadays. Can't go leaping around like we did in our youth."
He laughed. "Listen to me. I'm starting to sound just like Guy!"
The woman laughed as well. The sound was soft and sweet, like the ringing of bells. The ends of her robes trailed behind her, gliding across the ground as she approached Naruto. He sighed as she drew near, and wrapped his arms around her.
"I may be a little late, but I made a promise. I'll be here every year, just like you asked."
"I can always count on you, can't I?"
Naruto grinned from ear to ear. "It's what I'm famous for."
And then, as delicately as he could, he took one of her tiny hands in his, and placed his other into the small of her back. The two began to sway, and they fell into a trance.
It had become a tradition between them. Every year, on this day, Naruto would climb the hill, and every year, she would be there waiting for him. There was no sun or clouds in the sky, or earth beneath their feet. That had all faded away. They had entered a world entirely their own, a world that only revolved around one another. He knew he wouldn't trip or stumble or fall over, even in his old age. Every patch of dirt and fleck of greenery here was an old friend.
He knew this place well.
"How have you been?" she asked, as he lightly spun her around.
"I miss a lot of things," he replied quietly, pulling her just a little bit closer. "I miss pulling pranks, eating more ramen than my stomach had room for; I miss being the hyperactive knucklehead everyone always knew me as." He wanted to tell her that he missed her most of all.
"Getting old is fun, isn't it?" she joked, closing her eyes and laughing to herself. "But you look happy!"
"Of course I am. How could I not be?" And again, he brought her a little closer. "I got to spend all those years with you, didn't I?"
"I loved it too. Every minute of it." The space that had separated them no longer existed. He held her to his body with both arms wound tightly around her, breathing her in and letting her essence fill his nose and lungs. She smelled like lavender.
They fell silent, but continued to dance. There wasn't any music to accompany them; Naruto didn't need any. The sound of his heart was enough for him, just as it was enough for her.
Twirling and floating, they danced for what seemed like forever. For Naruto, forever was the only thing good enough. He clung to her a little tighter.
But no matter how long Naruto wanted it to go on, he felt their dance begin to slow. One final turn and they stopped. Forever had come to an end.
"You get better every year," she complimented, hugging him around the waist.
"Only because I've had so many years to practice." He almost sounded sad. She didn't like to see him sad.
She started to pull away as she knew she had to, but Naruto wanted to be stubborn. He lured her back with a soft whine, burying his face into her neck.
"I don't want you to go," he said. "Can't you stay for just a little longer?"
"You know I can't, no matter how much I want to." She smiled, and pulled his chin up, letting her look him in the eye. Her smile grew wider.
"But I'll be with you as long as you want me to. Even after the end of time, and everything else is gone, I'll be there."
She closed her eyes, and pressed her lips against his in a soft kiss. The feeling still made Naruto's heart flutter. He kissed her with every ounce of his soul. Mere words could never truly express how he felt.
They separated. Naruto was staring at her, and through all the wrinkles and scars he had accumulated over the years, she could easily see the child she had fallen in love with. The child she was still in love with, wrapped in the body of an old man.
"Promise you'll be here next year?" she asked, letting his forehead rest on her own.
"I promise." He stood up a little, just enough to plant another kiss on her forehead. "Same place?"
She laughed, and nodded her head. She didn't want to, but it was time to go. She took a few steps backward, towards a light behind her. It became so bright that Naruto had to shield his eyes, but just before she was enveloped by the light, he heard her voice one last time.
"I love you, Naruto-kun."
He didn't want her to see his tears forming in his eyes. So he held them back, and smiled at her instead.
"I love you too, Hinata."
Naruto blinked, and she was gone. But only from Naruto's eyes was she gone. He could still hear her, and smell her, and feel her somewhere deep within his heart, where the most treasured of memories are kept safe. All those years they had spent with together, laughing with her and crying with her and loving with her…it kept her from fading away completely, and Naruto was content with that.
He knelt down where he had been standing, in the place they had danced and laughed and loved together. A memorial lay among the flowers, well kept. Naruto's fingers grazed lightly over her name inscribed into the stone, and the wind whipped through his hair. One last tear fell from his face, and landed on a flower at his feet. Onto a lavender.
He knew this place well. It was the place where once a year, he would give Hinata one more dance, just as she had asked of him.
Author's Note: I hope you liked it. It may be a little sad, but they spent a lifetime and then some together, and that makes me happy.
Until next time.