disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: REDACTED—
notes: barfs.

title: like liquid starlight
summary: Too many nights away from home. — Naruto/Hinata.

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He comes home two hours after midnight, weary in the eyes and the mouth. The lines on his face have deepened—he's not even twenty-two. Leaves his shoes by the entrance, heads for the kitchen on silent feet. He makes not a sound despite the creaky wood planks that make up the floor beneath him.

The light still glows from under the door.

Naruto pauses there for a moment, hand curled around the knob. Breathes in, breathes out. The house is dead quiet.

He thinks I hope you're there, a little guiltily. It's late, and she should be asleep.

He can't help but hope, though.

"Naruto-kun?"

The door caves inwards, and there she is. His moon-eye girl. In one of his old shirts and very little else, with her hair tucked back into a loose ball at the back of her throat, she looks sleepy-warm and safe. He can't remember the last time her saw her like this—he thinks I need to be here more, don't I.

Hinata's got one hand on the door, one hung boneless at her side, and he catches at it. Brings her small white palm to his mouth to press soft kisses against her skin.

"I hate diplomacy," he mutters with his eyes closed.

She goes all up in red, flushed but not stumbling, and offers her open arms. "Long day?"

"Always long without you, Hinata-chan," he says. Naruto slips his arms around her waist. And she, small and soft and warm, allows him to fall into her. It's been three weeks, and she hasn't changed at all. There is something sweetly wonderful about, that though he'd spent his time wrist deep in gore, his girl is quiet and all the same.

The world turns, and Naruto thinks vaguely about ships and anchors, and the winds that bring a person home.

They have nothing on this.

Hinata smiles into his throat. "Bedtime?"

"Bedtime," Naruto echoes.

He holds onto her, and they support each other the entire way.

fin.