Author's Note: Props to those who got my TCT nod. xD

Yep, I know "aishiteru" isn't commonly used, but I chose it because it's more recognizable to non-speakers. In general, I like to use Japanese words for the same reason Japanese artists use English words, simply aesthetics. I also make occasional references to poetry, literature, and mythology, probably more in TCT than anywhere else.

This may be somewhat belated, but allergies are no joke. If you have serious food allergies, always carry your epipen, don't ever expose yourself to what you're allergic to.

Thank you for all the constructive criticism. Sometimes I don't monitor Hinata's development as closely as I should, so I'll definitely keep my eye on that in the future.

At the same time, Hinata has not reverted. You'll find throughout this/Light, Hinata has attacks of anxiety when she is overwhelmed, but this is apart from her character development. Also, in the last scene, for those who didn't get it, Hinata was inebriated from the pain medication.

Lastly, it's important not to see any one chapter as a stand-alone, or think of it in terms of "the second-to-last chapter," and shift your expectations in consequence. When I first posted this story, I did not tell readers the story was nearing its end.

Anyway, here's a corny scene:

"Open," Sasuke instructed, absently twisting the chopsticks around in his fingers.

Hinata closed her eyes and parted her lips, wondering what she would taste.

He kissed her.

She groggily climbed out of bed the next morning. She had been healed in her sleep, but there was some residual soreness. She touched her abdomen to note that not even a scar had been left behind. Sasuke was nowhere in sight, but his backpack sat in the corner of the room.

Drowsily walking across the room in only her hospital gown, Hinata knelt beside Sasuke's backpack, hoping to find some clothing suitable to travel in. She was eager to get back to Konoha before any more bad things happened, and wondered if sleeping with the Uchiha had been one of them.

She noticed a scroll in Sasuke's bag and unraveled it in curiosity, but then wished she hadn't. It's…a...

A marriage contract. A blank one, with two large squares beside each other for blood prints.

Hinata looked up as she heard the door open, then Sasuke walked in. Upon seeing Hinata crouched down beside his backpack, he raised his brows, and at seeing her with the scroll, he opened his mouth as though to say something. But he didn't say anything.

"Wh-what is this?" stammered Hinata, her heart pounding in her throat.

A few seconds of silence passed, before Sasuke seemed to have formulated a response. With some even steps, he approached her, crouching down so his eyes were level with hers. "I still..." he said, softly, carefully. "...want to marry you."

It was raining.

Uchiha Sasuke stared up at his ceiling. Kakashi was away on a mission and wouldn't be back for a while, so he was alone with his thoughts and it was brutal.

A small frown was etched across his face. It had been two days since he had seen Hinata.

Two days since they had entered Konoha's gates together, not looking at each other, not a word exchanged between them.

Why did he always seem to mess things up – to do or say the wrong thing to her? Each time they were together, her trust for him only weakened.

He wanted to marry her – but more as an agreement than anything else. Sasuke sat up and looked out the window. Biting the inside of his cheek and climbed off his bed.

Maybe it was inspired by selfishness, but he wanted to know that Hinata was his – though if she wasn't ready; if he was being too brazen, then maybe he could reverse his actions before things spiraled out of control.

A twinge of pain in his chest. The stress. The fear. Of being rejected, alone; devoid of those large eyes he always made water, and that annoying pout that always seemed in place just for him. Of her blush, her giggles – the way she pressed her pointer fingers together, and nipped her bottom lip – how she had cried out his name, not Naruto's, her fingers and toes curling as they–

Sasuke held onto his doorframe, suddenly feeling woozy. What if – what if everything is… He forced himself to move again, wondering if this was how Hinata endured her existence – in this torturous, crippling anxiety? Then it was just as well. He would make her better.

As he walked across Kakashi's apartment, he wondered what they were at that moment. Together? Apart?

Sasuke stepped out into the rain with the intent of finding out.

Hinata scrubbed the dish vigorously, till it was impeccable, then she scrubbed it some more. A passing elder eyed her, but walked on. Hinata bit her mouth.

Konoha had a shortage of missions, so she had been burying herself in chores, well – anything to escape her thoughts of Sasuke, and what he had done two days before.

And now she was thinking about it again. His nonchalant proposal. Hinata dropped her hands to her sides, dripping water all over the floor.

He had proposed to her.


Hinata shoved her hands back into the sink, resuming her assault on the plate. She had never thought she would get a marriage proposal from anyone, let alone for Uchiha Sasuke at the age of seventeen. None of this makes any sense, she thought, feeling miserable. I'm – I'm-

She was beginning to suspect she had been insane all along, regardless of the Hyuuga curse. She absently stared at her reflection on the surface of the plate, past the soap suds sliding along it.

He thinks I'm pretty. She blushed at the memory but frowned at her reflection.

White eyes blinked back at her. She didn't have Sakura's shining red lips, nor did she have Ino's long blonde hair. Her nose wasn't significant in the least, nor was her mouth, her cheeks, or her chin. Her light skin and white eyes conflicted with her indigo hair, and she had never considered herself anything other than average.

But maybe her eyes weren't just white, they were ghost white, a tint of violet mixed in corresponding with her hair, adding a depth to her features that couldn't be purchased in a beauty salon. She wasn't as radiant as Sakura and Ino. Maybe her looks didn't scream loudly like theirs did. Her colors were quiet, her features were too. Hinata closed her eyes. She was attractive, but in a different way than her peers. She didn't dress in revealing clothes or experiment with different styles, she was just…her.

And Sasuke thought she was pretty. Maybe others did too. Sasuke had probably thought it all the times he had kissed her, touched her – when they had finally gone through with sex… Prettier, even than Sakura and Ino.

Her insecurities had been getting the better of her lately, and she had been treating him so badly. She had been assaulting him with so many accusations, it was a wonder he still put up with her.

Because he loves me. She sniffed.

It was still difficult for her to accept this sometimes. No one had really ever found the time to loveher. To continue to love her even as she pushed them away.

So she had Konoha's heartthrob in the palm of her hand – and all she could do was panic.

What would the villagers think? Outlandish, they would say. He had chosen Hyuuga Hinata. And...she had chosen him. Of all the gentlemen who would have her, she wanted not Konoha's bright blonde savior, but the one who had left. The traitor. The dark, slimy, evil, Uchiha Sasuke, who ate slugs and tortured kittens. Sure he was handsome, but what sort of sick bastard would torture kittens!? Kiba would be heartbroken, Neji, infuriated, and Ino would probably cry.

And Sasuke...he would smirk slightly, and maybe say, "Thanks." Hinata couldn't help but smile. What did it matter what the others thought?

She abandoned the dishes and walked upstairs to her bedroom, only to find-

Déjà vu.

Sasuke, soaking wet, and looking rather irritable. "You need to learn to lock your window," he said through grit teeth, and she couldn't help feeling intimidated.

"Sasuke…" she mumbled, bowing her head. She trailed over to him despite it, but then lost her nerve, and walked passed him, where she sat on her bed and stared at her lap.

Sasuke walked over to her, and Hinata felt cornered there. She peaked up into his stony eyes, and was hypnotized, but for the first time, Sasuke was the one who broke the gaze.

The silence was so potent, Hinata babbled to break it, "You shouldn't go out in the rain, you could–" she stood, thinking she would get him a towel, and came to be so close to him her nose brushed his throat. Sasuke deeply inhaled, and didn't back away.

"…get sick," said Hinata, intoxicated by his proximity. She was trapped there, between Sasuke and her bed. She teetered, and nearly fell backwards onto it, when Sasuke grabbed her hand, with his wet, cold one, leaning down as her eyes closed and she could feel his breath on her lips.

But then she regained control of herself, and slipped away from him, trying to relax her racing heart and organize her muddled thoughts. She looked back at Sasuke, who seemed more frustrated than before, then looked away again, still feeling his stare on her back. Hinata walked to her bureau and pulled a fresh towel out of a drawer. She returned to Sasuke and offered it to him, as he scowled at her, and she felt horrible about everything. She had hurt him so much already.

"I know it's been two days, I've just been – p-preoccupied," she said weakly.

Sasuke's expression softened. "Of course," he said, taking the towel, and continuing to observe her. "You're really–" –a flicker of serenity in his eyes she seldom saw there– "– cute."

Shameless, Hinata thought as she blushed. He knew he embarrassed her when he said things like that. He knew it completely threw her off, and left her in a mindless haze for the rest of the day. "Y-you're really c-cute too," she assured him.

Sasuke looked disturbed by this allegation. The two of them sat on her bed together.

"During the mission, I was preoccupied as well," he said, taking a lock of her long hair and allowing it to slide between his fingers.

Grasping her thighs, Hinata nodded in understanding. Sasuke had been thinking about proposing to her. The concept was so adorable, she blushed even more.

Wanting only to withdraw, she was so nervous, Hinata leaned down to rest her elbows on her knees and her chin on her hands, her fingers curled and concealing her mouth. "How are you?" she mumbled, her voice muffled and barely coherent. She was staring, but not really at anything.

"Fine," Sasuke responded, as Hinata started taking deep breaths, and he wondered if she shouldn't start carrying paper bags.

"That's – good," she said awkwardly.

"What are you thinking?" Sasuke asked, growing impatient. She had not allowed him to kiss her. In fact, she had been withdrawn towards him since even before she had found the scroll in his backpack. Are we still together?

Hinata glanced at him, to notice the towel she had given him laying untouched beside him. She unthinkingly took it and brought it to his head, rubbing his hair dry, and disorienting him in the process. Sasuke's fingers twitched as Hinata finished and noticed how peeved he looked. She brushed her fingers through his moist hair until it returned to its usual, implausible fashion, the corner of her mouth curling upward as she did so.

But then she frowned again. "I..." Hinata trailed off, not thinking she would be able to articulate herself in words. She stood up and walked to her bureau, taking deep, calming breaths as she did so. She opened the top drawer to withdraw a scroll, before quickly unraveling it and holding it out to present its contents to Sasuke.

It was the marriage contract, and within the right box was a dash of dried blood. Her blood.

"I want to marry you as well," said Hinata breathlessly.


Sasuke was blankly staring at her from the bed. He stood and walked over, carefully purging the distance between them. "Are you sure you want this?" he said, scrutinizing the contract in her hands.

Hinata's eyes widened. "If – if you don't want to anymore–"

Sasuke's fist had gone to his mouth. He bit his thumb with his right canine, then marked the contract with a blood print of his own. Hinata gasped when the scroll disappeared from her hands in a poof of smoke. When she looked back up at Sasuke she noticed a small smile on his face.

It's beautiful, Hinata mused, feeling one tug at her own lips. Sasuke definitely didn't smile enough. As the room spun, and she sunk into a sweet euphoria, she was barely conscious of Sasuke taking her hand.

"Come here, wife," he muttered, pulling her against him.

The End

Closing Notes:

I can finally say I'm happy with this story. This was the funnest fanfic to write. Originally it was called "A Light in Darkness" (and you probably noticed me making "light" and "dark" parallels, which is funny, because I think most of the time Naruto was described as the "light" and Sasuke described as "dark" so ultimately…this was just a really subtle SasuNaru fic? O.O).

Another thing I took out was when Sasuke called Hinata "Hina," to disorient her. But I felt that had become a little cliché as well.

The original story was 31 chapters and 78,072 words, so I took out a lot of random angst scenes/chapters, but I also added a few new scenes and chapters as well.

"Reasons for a Kiss" by Mila J was the first SasuHina fanfic I ever read, and I don't know why I clicked on it, I thought the pairing was the stupidest thing ever. But I was pleasantly surprised and that story is what converted me way back in 2006. Also, Renoa Heartilly's "Torn" hugely inspired me, and the fanbase as a whole.

Thank you again for reading this story, even all these years later! I'm currently working on the last chapter of the sequel, "The Hyuuga Curse 2." So I'll start posting it some time next week or something. xoxo