Hello Boys and Girls. I want to tell a story.
This idea, like all of my oneshots, came to me on the train to work. I was thinking nonsense thoughts until I started waxing philosophical. What's the difference between want and need. Well, to answer that, I will use Naruto and Hinata to explain it to you.
Naruto and all of its characters do not belong to me. Now that I've put up the standard disclaimer, enjoy your feature presentation.
Want Versus Need
There is a difference between what you want versus what you need. To want is to desire something. We hunger for it, long for it, even wish for it. Slowly but surely, the want starts to consume us until we can no longer think about anything else but the want. On the other hand, a need is a necessity. We can't live without it. It is essential to sustaining life. What we want and what we need can be two totally different things or it can be the same thing. How so? Well, listen to this tale.
Uzumaki Naruto was sitting down on the face of the Fourth Hokage on the Hokage Monument, reflecting on the past couple of weeks. The war was over. They were victorious.
However, it did come at a terrible price. Many ninjas lost their lives in the fight to protect Naruto and save the shinobi world from the machinations of Uchiha Obito, including Nara Shikaku, Yamanaka Inochi and most notably Hyuga Neji.
Neji's death affected him greatly, mostly because Naruto was right there when he died. His death showed the blond ninja just how ephemeral life is. One day, you are alive. The next, you are gone. Perhaps it was because of Neji's death that Naruto resolved to live each day like it was his last.
That's not to say that it wasn't all bad. Uchiha Sasuke had returned to Konoha. It was probably one of the biggest surprises to everyone who had participated in the war. Uchiha Sasuke, the international criminal, had fought with them...on their side. Guided by the words of both his brother, Itachi, and the previous Hokages, the Sharingan wielder, together with the first four Hokages, joined forces with the Shinobi army. It was their intervention that probably tipped the scales in their favor. Now, Sasuke was working hard to find a path that is congruous to his brother's desires.
The war had changed them all, Naruto surmised. But now, it was finally over.
While Naruto was reflecting, his eyes fell upon Sakura and Hinata. They were moving logs from the center of the town to rebuild the village borders. He could see them talking to each other. From his vantage point, the blond couldn't hear what they were talking about but the smile on their faces indicated the light hearted nature of the conversation. Perhaps, he thought to himself, it wasn't surprising that his sapphire orbs landed on the two women in his life closest to him.
These two were on completely different ends of the spectrum.
Sakura always stood out in a crowd, even back in the academy. With her bubblegum pink hair, impressive grades and her confidence, she was usually the center of attention, at least come break time. (Sasuke was the center of attention during school hours, mostly because he was a prodigy.) Perhaps that was part of the reason why Naruto had feelings for Sakura at the beginning. As an outcast, it probably shouldn't be surprising that his first crush was on a social butterfly.
When Naruto was paired with Sakura and Sasuke, there was a mixture of both joy and horror. He finally had a chance to prove his worth to his crush. However, he had to deal with the stuck-up asshole prodigy kid who held Sakura's attention. And yet, Naruto figured he could use this situation to his advantage. If he could prove that he was better than Sasuke in front of Sakura, perhaps then she would like him instead of that Uchiha punk. Not that it worked. The black haired ninja would see the progress Naruto made and always try to one-up him. What the Jinchuriki would later come to realize is that this situation was part of the reason he became a better ninja. His rivalry with Sasuke and his affection to Sakura pushed him harder than if he were working alone.
When Sasuke defected, Sakura had asked Naruto the biggest favor of his life. She had asked him to bring Sasuke back. It would be the promise that would define him for the next four years. Because of that promise, the blond worked himself to the bone while he was training with Jiraiya. The Jinchuriki worked to get stronger so that he could fulfill his promise of a lifetime. It was, in part, because of that promise that he desired to bring back Sasuke, regardless of his sins and the three times he tried to kill him.
As for Sakura, Naruto tried his best to make her like him, which was met with varying success. Sometimes the blond would hit the mark and she would look at him sweetly with those beautiful green eyes. Other times, he would screw up and Naruto would go flying with a single punch. And even with that, the knuckleheaded ninja didn't lose heart. He figured all of her punching was just her way of showing affection.
Then came that fateful day. Naruto was heading towards the Land of Iron when Sakura found him. The pink haired medic told the blond that she loved him. It was so shocking that Naruto needed her to say it again. Sakura explained how she had seen the change in him firsthand and was supposedly charmed by this. And then she had asked him to forget that promise Naruto had made to her those years ago. The blond saw this for what it was, a sham. At that moment, his feelings for Sakura were shattered.
Naruto would come to understand the reasoning behind this thanks to Sai. But their friendship would become strained for weeks to come. By the time the Fourth Shinobi War rolled up, he had forgiven her completely. However, after this event, it was really difficult to imagine Sakura in a romantic light anymore.
Then there was Hinata. In the Academy, her grades were just as good as Sakura's. However, she did not stand out at all. Naruto only knew her by name and because of her bloodline limit. And she was very quiet, shy and deeply withdrawn. Most of this was her nature already. However, her home life didn't help any either. She wasn't good at being the center of attention. Whenever she was, she wilted like a flower. And it got even worse whenever Naruto tried talking to her on the few times he recollects having a conversation with Hinata. She would blush and poke her fingers together, if not faint all together. Should it be shocking that Naruto would think that she was a dark, weird girl?
His relationship with Hinata languished. They were on different teams. But it would pick up again during the Chunin Exams. That was when he really started taking notice of her. It first started when she allowed him to cheat off of her test for the first part of the exam. Not that he did but he was grateful to her for the opportunity. Then came the moment after his fight with Inuzaka Kiba. Hinata had given him some medicinal cream, even though Naruto had defeated her teammate. This struck him as odd but he didn't question it.
When Hinata had to fight her cousin Neji, the Hyuga prodigy used a barrage of psychological attacks on the timid girl. Naruto couldn't stand it. How could someone so nice be subjected to such cruel words? At that moment, he had felt a connection with her. He would only understand years later that this connection happened because he endured similar treatment from the villagers of Konoha. That was one of the reasons that he cheered her on so loudly.
After Hinata lost, Naruto dipped his hand in her blood, using it to swear an oath that he would certainly defeat Neji. At first glance, the blond made that promise because he wanted to pay Neji back for what he did to Hinata. And while that was true, there was also another reason. He wanted to show Hinata that even someone who was dead last could defeat a genius with enough hard work. However, when the morning of that match arrived, Naruto lost all of his confidence. How serendipitous that Hinata found him. The blond told the white eyed girl that he felt like he was using his loud and brash attitude to cover up his weakness. She explained that even though he wasn't perfect, the ability to get up after being knocked down was true strength. That speech had a profound effect on the Jinchuriki. It was probably one of the reasons why Naruto was able to overcome Neji.
Afterwards, Naruto had gone on several missions with Hinata both before and after his training with Jiraiya. She was both an enjoyable person to be with and a capable ninja. Her cooking was amazing (her ramen was on par with Ichiraku's). She always listened to him whenever he talked. And although she still stuttered and blushed around him, Naruto accepted this as one her many personality quirks. (And secretly, he thought it was very cute.)
Then came that fateful day, the day when Naruto's perspective on Hinata would forever be changed. It was the day when Pein attacked Konoha. The blond remembered it well. He was lying on the ground, captured by the Akatsuki leader when she came. It was a suicide mission, to be sure. There was no way that Hinata could ever defeat Pein. She knew that. But that's not why the Hyuga heiress jumped into the fray. It was for a much more selfish reason. On that day, Hinata told Naruto that she wouldn't mind dying for him because she loved him.
Even though Hinata didn't mean it, her confession hurt Naruto deeply. For most of his life, the blond ninja had been alone. He had no one to talk to, no one to comfort him, and certainly no one to love him. From his graduation from the ninja academy up until this point, Naruto could say that he had many friends. And though many of them would be proud to call him 'nakama', not a single one would have said that they loved him...until Hinata. That's what made her confession so devastating. It wasn't the words that hurt Naruto; it was the timing. The only reason Hinata said those words at that moment was because she thought she was going to die soon after and would never have to answer for it. If it wasn't for Pein, who knows when or even if she would have told him. And Naruto had to admit that he was hurt by that.
That was the main reason why Naruto didn't talk to her after his conversation with Nagato. He had no idea how to even approach Hinata, let alone say something meaningful, without trampling on her feelings. At that time, the blond thought that he still had feelings for Sakura. But that confession turned his whole world upside down. Hinata had loved Naruto before he was anything. To him, that made no sense until the Jinchuriki looked back in his memories. He finally understood the reason behind the stutters, redness, and the inability to make eye contact. He wanted to reflect on it more But Naruto wouldn't have a lot of time to mull on Hinata. Danzo ascension as Hokage, Sasuke's attack on the five Kages and Sakura's confession came at him one after another.
When Naruto was attacked by Uchiha Obito and Neji sacrificed his life to save the blond, he felt completely lost. He fought this war because he wanted to protect everyone. To have one of his nakama die in front of the blond...it quite nearly broke him. What was the point of fighting if the people he wanted to protect died? But thankfully, Hinata was there to slap him out of his funk, quite literally in fact. If she wasn't there, perhaps the war would have had a different outcome.
Naruto blinked rapidly, returning back to the present. He looked for Sakura and Hinata and found them sitting on a bench. It seems as though they were taking a break from their work and were enjoying a nice cold soda.
Two women... Two totally different women... Two women that were very important in his life. After Naruto had acknowledged how each girl was significant to him, he started contemplating their beauty.
To Naruto, Sakura's beauty was like the sun. She stood out with her vivacious personality, her outgoing nature and confidence. The medic knew she was beautiful and she acted like she was as well. Her figure developed in the three years he was away. Her curves grew in. And she knew how to dress for her body type. Sakura, when she wasn't on a mission, was very fashion conscious. What she wore would always turn heads. And that's what made Naruto crush on her in the first place.
Hinata's beauty, on the other hand, was like the moon. Sometimes it was obscured by clouds and other times, it was eclipsed by the sun. But when the moon is full and shining brightly, one can appreciate its beauty. Hinata, unlike Sakura, hid herself with her shy and introverted nature. Her baggy jacket hid her very developed figure. Every time someone complimented her, Hinata would always withdraw into herself, unable to accept it. She was more content in fading into the background than she was being the center of attention. However, Naruto found that she was more appealing because she was so shy than if she were showy.
Yes, they were very beautiful indeed.
So, you may ask, how does all of this work into the difference between want versus need?
Well, for the longest time, Uzumaki Naruto wanted Haruno Sakura. He wanted her because of her looks and her personality. It was a crush. And like all crushes, they were based on appearances. She was pretty but that was as deep as Naruto got with her. Naruto never learned about her past, her likes, her dislikes... It was only now that the blond understood how thin his relationship was with Sakura. They were friends and nakama. But that would probably be the extent of their relationship. (Plus she was still hung up on Sasuke which meant that Naruto was still number two in her heart.) Strangely enough, the blond was fine with that.
What Naruto started to realize is that he needed someone who loves him. He needed someone who loves him not for what he is (i.e. a hero, a powerful ninja) but for who he is (loud, boisterous and knuckleheaded). He needed someone who loved him long before he was anything but a loud annoying kid. He needed someone who understood his feelings of inadequacy and trying to change because she has also gone through the same situation. Yes, she was beautiful. That is a given. But her main draw, to Naruto, was that she had overcome so much to get to the point where she was today. The jinchuriki realized that his relationship with Hinata was much deeper than it was with Sakura because they overcame similar adversities to get to the point where they are today. That's when Naruto came to the conclusion that he needed Hinata.
I need Hinata, Naruto thought.
I need Hinata, Naruto repeated in his head,
The more the blond started repeating this thought, the more a shift started happening in his head. What Naruto wanted and what Naruto needed started to meld together and became the same thing. He wanted to know more about Hinata. He wanted to learn why it was that she fell for him. He wanted everything from her. He wanted her smiles, her laughter, her hugs, her kisses...
Naruto wanted Hinata.
Naruto needed Hinata.
With that, Naruto got up onto his feet. His mind made up, he jumped off of the Hokage Monument to talk to Hinata.
Hinata and Sakura were still on the bench, talking about rebuilding Konoha when they heard the sound of feet lightly landing on the ground. They stopped and turned to see Naruto looking at them...well, more specifically, looking at Hinata.
Hinata looked back at Naruto, confusion written on her face. She had never seen Naruto look that intensely at her. He looked like he was analyzing something very important.
"Naruto-kun, can I help you?" She asked in a soft spoken voice.
Naruto didn't drop the intense look. "Hinata, can I talk to you in private?" He asked very seriously.
Hinata's pupiless eyes widened at the question. It was like her brain shut down with the intensity of his stare. She could only nod dumbly and allow Naruto to take her hand. The blond led the heiress away from Sakura towards a more secluded area.
Sakura just watched as Naruto took Hinata away to speak to her in private. She, too, was stunned by this turn of events. Then she closed her eyes and snorted in amusement.
"About time, Naruto." She smiled to herself. "You kept her waiting for so long. It's about time you made your move."
Naruto led Hinata away from the hustle and bustle of the reconstruction into the woods. He didn't look back at the white eyed girl. He was focused on getting her alone. And only when he deemed the place they were at as private enough, the blond let go of Hinata's hand.
Naruto turned around. He took a deep breath and let out a loud exhalation.
"Hinata." Naruto began.
Hinata had a hard time deciphering the look in Naruto's eyes. She found it odd that the man whom she had loved for most of her life, the man whom she knew basically inside and out, was acting out of character.
"Hinata, we never did talk about that day when Pein attacked the village." Naruto told her.
Hinata fought the instinct to turn away. How embarrassing. She thought that he forgot that day... well probably not forget but rather put that incident out of his mind. It wasn't particularly the heiress's finest hour. But she finally got to say the words that had been in her heart for the longest time.
"I remember." Hinata whispered.
"Did you mean it?" He asked, unsure of himself.
"Every word." She said confidently.
Naruto sighed. The weight of her confession hung over him like he was giving an Akimichi a piggyback ride.
"Why me?" Naruto asked.
Hinata understood the complexity of those two simple words and gave Naruto a beatific smile. "Many reasons. But the most important reason is that watching you helped me become the kunochi and the woman I am today." She told him. "I wanted to be someone that you would not only notice but wanted to be with, you know?"
Naruto could not keep the look of awe off of his face. Who was this woman? Did he really know Hinata as well as he thought he did?
"Before that day, I couldn't tell you." Hinata explained. "I was scared of rejection. Why would someone as amazing as you want to be with someone as dull as me? Plus, you still had your crush on Sakura-san. But as long as you were happy, I was happy. On that day, I wanted you to know how you've made me feel. I wanted to tell you the words I've held in my heart since the academy days. I wanted you to know that I loved you so much that I was willing to die for you."
Naruto felt something wet on his cheeks. He put his hands to the wetness and realized it was tears.
"But after that day, something changed." Hinata continued. "I felt like I was given new life and that I couldn't waste it. That's when I made a promise. I didn't want to be in the shadows anymore. I wanted to be the one who stands by you, holding your hand." I don't want to die for you. You can't choose death to protect the ones you love. That's why I want to live for you."
Naruto grabbed Hinata's hands. They felt so delicate in his larger, rougher hands. How could he have not noticed the resolve in this woman earlier? How he did not see the love that she had for him? I mean, it was right there. He had to tell her now.
"Hinata, all of this time, I thought I wanted Sakura." Naruto told her, the statement causing her to bow her head. "But all this time, what I needed was right in front of me."
Hinata's white eyes widened in surprise. "Naruto-kun." She whispered.
"I'm no good at these things." Naruto continued. "I'm not well-mannered. I'm loud and sometimes annoying." He would have continued if not for Hinata's delicate index finger on his lips, silencing him.
Naruto looked into those eyes, those beautiful white eyes that had just a touch of lavender in it. She was gazing at him with a look of love. What on earth did he do to deserve that look? "I don't care about those things." Hinata answered him. "I love you, all of you, and that's never going to change."
The blond gave the woman in front of him a very serious look. He was about to unload his heart. He only hoped she was ready for it. "Hinata, I want you." Naruto told her definitively, stressing the you. "I need you. Please walk with me. Hold my hand. Be with me." His voice had on a pleading edge that, though he didn't intend, conveyed his feelings quite well.
Hinata smiled. "I will." She said simply.
Those two simple words made Naruto ridiculously happy. She said yes. And that made him laugh merrily. He picked up Hinata and spun her around a bit before setting her back on her feet.
"Wanna go out on a date tomorrow?" Naruto asked.
The Hyuga heiress's eyes widened at the offer. This was exactly what she wanted for a long time. "I'll go anywhere..." Hinata replied with a soft smile. "As long as it's with you."
Naruto smiled. Then, just because the thought came to him, he leaned over and gave Hinata a peck on the lips. This move caught her by surprise. She really didn't have time to react because as quickly as he kissed her, Naruto pulled back just as fast. The white eyed girl couldn't help the blush that formed on her face when he was done.
"Alright." Naruto gave Hinata his trademark grin. "I'll pick you up at your place sometime in the afternoon and we'll go out."
Hinata, still dazed from that kiss, could only nod her agreement and watch as Naruto walked away.
The blond, as he was walking away, couldn't keep the grin off of his face. He tapped his lips with his index and middle fingers. Naruto's lips had been on Hinata's. It was an impulsive move but he liked anyways. He turned back to see her still smiling at him.
"Yup." He smiled to himself. "Exactly what I needed."
Word Count: 3840
Hooray. Another one shot done.
I don't know why but I always find that I'm more of an introspective writer than I am a dialogue or action oriented writer. I guess I like contemplating on feelings rather than on dialogue. I guess, to each his own, right?
Loved it? Hated it? No strong opinions one way or the other? Leave me a review. I'd love to hear from you.
Well, I've got some Fairy Tail fics to write. If you'll excuse me...