Hey guys. I've got another chapter out (finally) for you.
I'm sorry to say, but this is a little bit of a boring chapter.
But, I'm getting there. Everything will slowly come together after this chapter (hopefully)
ANway. As always – ENJOY.
After the sudden realisation that we weren't alone in this horrific establishment, Kabuto made no move to hide us from each other anymore.
Naruto now occupied one of the many cages in my 'room', and we began to spend all out conscious time - that wasn't spent in the training room or in the lab - together.
"Hinata?" I heard Naruto shuffle about his cage as I fell face first onto the refreshingly cold cement floor of my own humble 'room'.
"Mm-hmm?" I mumbled into the concrete as Kabuto closed the door and turned to walk away swiftly, constantly writing on his little notepad.
I rolled over on to my back so I could speak clearer, and winced at the feel of my hurting back pressed up hard against the floor. "I was stuck with the rock clones today." I muttered, feeling the bruises and sprained limbs without even having to move. "They were armed with tonfas."
Naruto sighed, and I glanced over to him to see his back up against the corner of the cage, looking down on me. "Tonfas, huh? That's a new one. I wonder when I'll be dealing with them!"
I smiled at Naruto's insane positivity and optimism during the time he'd been captured in this dark, cold and rocky place we'd called home for the past couple of months.
Well, I'd only been there a couple of months.
Naruto had been there for a little over half a year.
I slowly sat up, and studied his new form. He had changed since I had last seen him in Konoha – he was taller, scarred, but beautiful. Kabuto had done a lot of things to Naruto in here, and the influence of the Kyuubi sealed inside of his stomach had affected his appearance. His eyes were now a malicious red, still as beautiful as they had ever been, his whisker marks darker and more pronounced, hair thicker and wilder.
I found it insanely attractive – but I was a little biased, considering I had been in love with him for years.
My outer appearance had changed too since I had set foot in here. I was stronger, both physically and mentally, my byakugan advanced – despite the fact that it now gave me a soaring headache every time I used it, my hair now shoulder length as I had to impulsively cut it as it kept getting in the way during 'training'.
I was paler than I had always been – as was Naruto – as none of us had seen the sunlight for quite a while. And we were both constantly dirty and bruised from whatever experiment Kabuto was doing on us at a time.
There were many days that I'd wake up and Naruto would be missing, and many days where Naruto would wake and I'd have disappeared – with Kabuto. We knew when the other had gone that they were either at the training room or in the lab – none of which were particularly pleasant, despite what Naruto might say about the training room.
"The earth clones are always my favourite." Naruto was still going on about my ordeal in the training room, "Because you can hit 'em back!" He was doing punching actions, getting all excited for when he'd have to do it.
I laughed at his enthusiasm, and Naruto turned around and grinned at me – his distinguished canines glinting in the low light of the room.
I moved towards the edge of my cage so I was closer to him, and sighed. "I wonder what our friends are doing in Konoha right now? Do you think they're looking for us?"
Naruto's smile slowly disappeared, and he looked over to me with gentle eyes. "No. I don't think they are."
The admission shocked me. Not that I would be surprised if our friends had given up on looking for us (it had been a while), but that the admission had came from Naruto – who had been Mr. Positive the entire time he'd been here. Confused, I looked him in the eye and tilted my head to the side, "Why not?"
"You said yourself, everyone thought I was dead. You're probably considered the same." Naruto reached through the bars of his cage and into mine to put a heavy hand onto my shoulder, "We've got each other. And we don't need anyone else to get out of here. We need to take into account that no one can rescue us but ourselves. And count on each other – because that's all we've got at the moment." Naruto said seriously, and I let out a sigh, and a small smile.
"You're a lot wiser than you let on, Naruto-kun," I smiled, "When we get out of here, you could definitely be Hokage material – whether you think so or not."
Naruto smiled at me, and shrugged, "Kabuto said he's got me on this new hyper-sense thing, where all my senses have been enhanced. He reckons some side effects are that I'm smarter too."
I shook my head, "I doubt that's not Kabuto's doing, Naruto. It's all you."
Naruto smiled, "Well, there's not a lot to do in here except lay around and think."
"I enjoy the quiet in this place." I admitted quietly, staring absently at the wall of the cavern that had us both imprisioned, "I feel as though I even prefer it to home."
"To Konoha?!" I heard Naruto sit up quickly, but I didn't face him. "What do you mean?"
I turned toward him slowly, "Does that… do you think that makes me some sort of masochist?" I'd been thinking it for a while, "That I'd prefer to be stuck in this hell than be home?"
"I don't know what a masochist is, but I'm sure you're not one of those." Naruto smiled gently, before hesitating, "Unless it's a good thing, then I'm sure you're a really awesome maso… maso-whatever!"
I laughed gently at his reassurance, and rolled onto my back to stare contemplatively up at the solid black roofing to my cage. I felt as though I was closer to Naruto than ever – that I finally had someone I could confide with. That I could trust with every secret I held and every memory I owned.
I guess prison does that to a person.
The simple question broke me from my thoughts as I turned back to Naruto, "Hm?" I mumbled, voicing my confusion, "Why what?"
"Why do you prefer here to Konoha?"
I smiled a humorous curve of my lips and gently tilted my head until I was facing the blonde Uzumaki. "The freedom. I prefer the freedom."
"I don't know where you've been these last couple of months," Naruto mumbled sceptically, "But I've been locked inside a cage. A cage." The look on Naruto's face almost made me want to laugh, "Don't be too shocked when I say this, but being imprisoned doesn't seem like freedom to me."
"The Hyuuga Compound wasn't much different." I said after a long silence. "Just better furnished."
The silence continued after I spoke, and I had to admit that I was surprised. I had thought that Naruto would take that chance to enquire further, but he said nothing.
Gathering my courage, I turned to the blonde, who had his wise blue eyes directed on my face. As if he understood the words I hadn't yet said.
"When I was younger, I hated everybody."
My eyes met his face once again; however he had his eyes turned to the ceiling much like mine were only moments before. I said nothing, knowing he would continue if he intended to. And if he didn't want to, it wasn't my place to intrude.
"I treated everybody as badly as I was treated. Got into fights with other kids for basically no reason. Refused to let anyone get close to me. I knew everyone hated me, so I decided I would return the favour by hating them more."
"It didn't help." I mumbled, and his beautiful eyes snapped to my face. He was scarred on the inside too, refusing to let anyone to see the imperfections he held deep. I sighed, "It just made them hate you more. And you realised that now, they had a reason to hate you." I took a deep breath. "And you started to hate yourself just that little bit, too."
Wide eyes were staring deep into my soul. Blue shining so brightly I couldn't turn away – not that I'd ever want to.
He looked at me, a mix of awe and shock clearly portrayed on his handsome face. "You hated everyone?"
"I didn't get into fights," I sighed, "Or verbally attack anyone. I never said anything. But on the inside, I hated them all. My family."
"And you started hating yourself." Naruto's rough voice travelled throughout the room. Warm. Everything about him was warm.
"I didn't feel any better about anything. I was still being ignored and treated badly by my family. I started to believe that everything they said about me was true. That I was useless. Worthless. And I began to hate myself more than I ever hated them."
Naruto breathed loudly, and I turned to him as I knew he'd decided it his turn to speak. "I hated myself too. I realised I gave everyone a reason to hate me. When they called me a monster and a freak, they were right. I hurt people. I was a monster."
"I met a girl."
My heart dropped in my chest, but I smiled at him nevertheless. My jealousy was laughable. She changed his life – for the better. If I ever saw her, I would thank her from the bottom of my heart.
"She was getting beat up by a bunch of older guys." Naruto's eyes strayed from mine, "They were treating her the way I was always treated. Saying terrible things about her and her family. Calling her ugly. Unwanted."
I finally began to feel some sort of familiarity with his story. But I stayed silent, shocked and absorbed in his tale.
"She didn't deserve it. She didn't do anything wrong. And I needed to stop her being treated the way I was always treated. So I jumped in and fought them. I got beat up, but I had to try."
"She will always be grateful."
Naruto grinned at me, "I know."
"Naruto." I looked at him and took a deep breath. I needed to tell him. I didn't think I'd ever have as much confidence as I did in that moment. The time was right.
"Naruto, there's something I have to tell you," I glanced around the room, refusing to make eye-contact with him. "I-"
My eyes widened and I stopped talking, catching sight of the two figures at the edge of the room.
"Naruto." I whispered, and his eyes followed my own before narrowing in suspicion.
"Hey!" He called out, "I know you're there! Who are.."
A lone hand adjusted into the one-handed sign. Boar.
And everything went black.
Let me know what you think.