HA HA HA HA HA

It hasn't been a few months, right?
Anyway, I've been incredibly sidetracked recently, and I give you all a large apology for that. I'm pretty sure you all will be able to tell when I wanted to originally release this due to the content of this chapter, and I hope you all enjoy despite how late it is.

-o-

DISCLAIMER
I still do not own Naruto, nor do I own Mito and Kurama's toddler-sized ninja suits.
That would be pretty cute though, you've got to admit.

-o-

The months had come and gone, and Hinata found herself enjoying a free day for once. College was far more difficult than she had imagined, and had been having a hard time making room for Naruto and the twins. He had offered to find someone else to watch Mito and Kurama, but Hinata had stubbornly refused. She had committed herself, and was going to hang in there.

Soon, she found herself juggling textbooks while she made dinner or notes while the twins watched cartoons. It was all worth it though when she got an hour alone with Naruto, one where they could both relax and unwind about their day. Sometimes she wished she could just stay in the cozy Uzumaki-Namikaze household instead of her own stuffy one, but Hinata decided going home was better than letting her father come up with wild assumptions.

But, instead of relaxing for on her day off, Hinata found herself calling Sakura. She listened to the ringing for a couple of minutes before the pinkette picked up, some sort of music blasting in the background. "Hey, Hinata! Whatcha need?"

"I-I had a favor to ask, actually."

An hour later, Hinata found herself sitting comfortably in the passenger seat of Sakura's beat up pick-up truck. The red paint job had long since faded to a comfortable pink, something that Sakura absolutely adored. No one talked bad about Cherry the truck.

"You really are adorable, you know that?" Sakura joked, causing Hinata to blush slightly. Emerald eyes never strayed from the road, but the pinkette could sense the blush anyway. "None of us thought you would be the first to have a stable relationship."

"Thanks for the c-confidence, Sakura" Hinata muttered dryly, causing the driver to laugh.

"It's not a bad thing! We're all really happy for you, now that you've found someone. You really deserve to be happy. That and your babies will be adorable." They found themselves pulling into the Konoha Mall parking lot, one that was decently empty for once, being a Thursday. "So, what do we need?"

"W-well, a nice dress for starters. And a b-birthday present for Naruto. Its Monday, and I-I still have no ideas." Hinata admitted glumly, listening to Sakura hum thoughtfully.

"Well, I have no idea for the present, never held a relationship for that long." She didn't seem at all saddened, placing her hands on her hips. "But dresses? I can do dresses. What for, exactly?"

"A b-ball, of sorts. Naruto-kun's friend's company holds one every year, and asked if I-I would accompany him. I believe its formal, t-though." The inside of the mall was a bit cooler than the outside, and stores of all kinds lined the walls. They briefly looked at the food court and the pet shop, before waking their way to the clothing sections.

Sakura would pick a store and a stack of clothes, and soon Hinata found herself being shoved into changing rooms with an armful of dresses. Most were shot down by Sakura, but after the 30th or so dress, the pinkette was absolutely thrilled at the recent selection.

Hinata shifted at her friend's expression, tugging on the end of the dress awkwardly. It was a little short for her tastes, but couldn't deny it was gorgeous. Tinted black mesh floated over teal fabric, giving it the look of a dark green color. It barely reached her knees, and the top was just modest enough for her tastes. A black silk ribbon a couple inches wide tied around her waist kept the dress for falling off, and her shoulders had been covered by a small black jacket. The flowers stitched lightly on the front were the icing on the cake, and Sakura couldn't have been grinning any wider.

"We are so getting this one! I even have some shoes at home you can borrow; oh I can't wait for this!" Leaving Sakura to her excitement, Hinata took a few minutes to get her real clothes back on, stepping back out of the changing room and leading Sakura to the register. As they waited in line, something else caught her eyes.

"M-ma'm!" Hinata called softly, calling over one of the workers. "Do you think you could get that for me?"

"Ah, getting ready for a party?" The woman asked, cheerfully opening a sliding case and retrieving the desired item.

"Y-yes, but that one is for a f-friend."

-o-

At 10:30 Naruto opened the doors to the house as quietly as he could, pushing the door open and sighing slightly. Hinata was waiting as usual, the house cleaner than he had left it and the twins asleep in their beds. His face softened at her small smile, finding himself smiling as well; Naruto never minded coming home to this. "Good as always?"

"Of course. A-ah, I wanted to apologize again, for not being able to see you on y-your birthday." Her eyes were pointed at the floor, and both of her hands were held behind her back.

"Hey, it's not anybody's fault." He joked, watching as she raised her eyes, a soft expression on her face.

"I know, b-but I still n-needed to give you this." Bringing her hands around, she placed a light blue box into his larger ones. His eyes widened slightly, looking between Hinata and the small box in shock.

"Hinata, you didn't need to do this." He said, softly but sincerely. She simply shook her head.

"I-I know, but I w-wanted to. O-open it?" She watched eagerly as he did, taking off the lid and staring at the contents. Gently, he picked it up, staring at the beautiful thing in shock. It was a necklace, a deep blue crystal hanging off the gold chain. It was hexagonal shaped, and glinted slightly in the low lighting. "I-it reminded me of you, a-an I don't k-know if you w-wear things like this, b-but-"

"Hinata, I love it." Naruto managed, cradling the necklace carefully. He set down the box, reaching around his neck and clipping the necklace in place. "How do I look?"

"You look wonderful, Naruto-kun." Naruto didn't know whether it was from the earnest present or Hinata's beautiful smile or her missing stutter or a mix of them all, but he felt better than he had in a long time.

-o-

"N-Neji, you're sure you're okay with this?"

"Hinata, please, just enjoy yourself. I'll have TenTen and Hanabi to help me as well; besides, it's only trick-or-treating." Neji pleaded, sighing. "Consider it a thank you for that one time." Naruto, who had arrived moments earlier in a suit and two costumed toddlers, looked between the Hyuuga cousins for a moment. He wasn't happy about leaving Mito and Kurama here either, but almost everyone else had been busy. They were happily sitting on the couch with sippy cups in both sets of hands, watching cartoons. Of all things, hey had wanted to be ninja's for Halloween. Where they had gotten the idea from, Naruto had no clue.

"If you insist. W-we'll be home by ten, a-alright?" Neji nodded once more, Hinata giving in with a deep breath. "Mito-chan, Kurama-kun, p-please be good for Neji."

"M'kay!"

"Bye-bye Miss Hina, Bro!"

Naruto chuckled, pulling a flustered Hinata out the door with him and giving one last warning. As the door shut, Hanabi stomped down the stairs unhappily, watching the retreating headlights disappear down the road. Her face was just as stoic as always, sending a scowl of distaste to the toddlers on the couch.

"Hanabi." Neji warned, pulling out his cell phone and looking through his texts. "TenTen should be here any minute, if you could-"The sound of the doorbell interrupted him, and he sighed. "Answer the door." The girl did as she was told, opening the door for the cheerful brunette waiting outside. Her brown hair was in its normal side buns, but wore a formal Chinese-style dress instead. She had said it looked enough like a costume anyway, deciding on it rather than a store-bought one.

Ignoring Neji completely, she dashed for the living room, cooing at the toddlers on the couch. "Neji, they're so adorable! I want one!" The Hyuuga could only shiver at the look in her eye, and pleaded her thought process wasn't going where he thought it was. Carefully she kneeled in front of them, smiling widely. "My name is TenTen! What are yours?"

"I'm Mito! This is Kurama." Mito, dressed in bright orange (Naruto insisted on something that could be seen easily in the dark) shouted, smiling cheerfully at the newcomer. Kurama offered a shy wave, TenTen still entranced by them both.

"TenTen." Neji spoke dryly, doing his best to control his voice. "You act like you've never seen children before."

"Come on, Neji. When was the last time you've seen a toddler this cute!?"

By the time Hanabi had returned, TenTen had both kids squished under her arms and Neji had begun to smack his head against the wall. The ten-year-old, who had begrudgingly picked a costume for the night out, stared at both of them in well masked amusement. Hinata had pulled her hair back into two braids earlier that night, and the knee length black dress and stockings matched her stoic expression. Instead of the pumpkins that the twins sported, her own candy basked was the shape of a skull.

TenTen looked at her for a few seconds, before almost dropping Mito in Kurama in laughter. "Wednesday Addams? Are you serious? It fits you perfectly!"

"Father picked it out himself." Hanabi added dryly, paying no mention the remainder of the household. "Now if you all have finished goofing off, I have candy to collect."

-o-

By the end of the night, both twins had amassed enough candy to feed a family of ten. It seemed no matter the neighborhood, the two bouncing orange toddlers attracted enough attention and awe, little of which they noticed themselves. Hanabi stared down at her own a bit glumly, having attracted much less than Mito and Kurama had.

Walking down the last row of houses, she watched as said blobs ran ahead with their flashlights, Neji and TenTen walked behind her, holding hands and paying little attention to anyone but themselves. When she had been first told about 'helping' Neji with the twins, she hadn't expected to have been given the bulk of the work. Then again, Neji did being a very distracting friend along.

As they reached the end, they crossed to the other side of the street as quickly as possible, Hanabi doing a quick head count as they reached the other side. Two annoying adults, but only one orange blob. Whipping her head back towards the road, her eyes widened in horror as Mito stood in the street, having knelt down to pick something up. Both girls noticed the oncoming headlights, and Hanabi only barely registered her bucket falling to the ground and pushing her legs into motion. She ignored the headlights getting closer to Mito's small form and the yells from Neji and TenTen, praying to reach the toddler as quickly as possible.

Grabbing her by the waist, Hanabi pushed as far off from the road as she could, ignoring the pain that came from smashing her body into the concrete and grass. She heard the crunch of the now flattened candy bucket and the screech of the truck's tires, as well as her own heaving breathing. It only took a few seconds for the others to be at her side, Neji picking her up and brushing her off while TenTen checked on Mito.

"Hanabi, oh god, I can't believe you did that!"

"Well, someone had to! And you were obviously too distracted… and… I couldn't let her…" She was cut off by her own sobs, never having noticed the tears rolling down her face. Neji, for the first time in a while, remembered how young Hanabi was. The ten year old had no place to be running in front of cars to save toddlers; they hadn't been her responsibility in the first place.

"Thank you Hanabi. But please, don't do something like that again."

"Well, if you did your job, maybe I won't have to." She laughed bitterly, pushing Neji away and wrapping her arms around her bruised sides. "You're going to be in so much trouble for this."

-o-

"YOU DID WHAT?"

"H-Hanabi ran in front of a car?"

"Mito, what on earth were you thinking!?"

"Neji, I thought you said y-you could handle this?"

Neji sat on the couch in shame, turned away from terrified cousin and said cousin's murderous-looking boyfriend. "I know, I know. This wasn't supposed to happen." He covered his face with one hand, ignoring the heaving breathing coming from Naruto.

"Why are you all screaming?" Hanabi had long since changed from her now ruined dress, her sides having been bandaged and cleaned. Naruto turned to her, the angry expression still on his face and hands still balled into fists.

"And you!" The youngest Hyuuga didn't expect a crushing hug from the man, arms wrapped tightly around her small frame. "Thank you, thank you so much."

It took a few seconds, but Hanabi gradually relaxed into the embrace with a small hug of her own. "Well, someone had to look after your idiots when the head idiot wasn't there to keep them in check."

"Have you been waiting all night to say that?" Naruto joked, accepting it as the closest thing to civil he would reach with the girl.

"Maybe."

-o-

If you all aren't familiar with her, Wednesday Addams is another character I happened to borrow for the production of this Fanfiction. If you do know her, doesn't she fit Hanabi perfectly?

Anyhow, thanks to all follows, faves, views and reviews. So much love to all of you!

Until next time!