Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, happy now?
A/N: Just randomly got this idea one night. And I wrote it all in one go! Yay me!
General Spoilers for the newest manga chapters.
Hope you all enjoy!
Summary: He always took her feelings for granted, and now it seemed like it was too late to take it back. One Shot.
If You Said You Loved Me
The first time he saw her with him, he didn't think much of it.
She was entitled to friends, after all. It worked to his advantage, in fact. If she was making new friends, then he wouldn't need to feel so guilty about... he had to admit it to himself, at least, he was avoiding her. He was scared in a way that he had never felt before.
Love? Real, all-consuming, I'd die for you love? What was he supposed to do with that?
Give him genocidal maniacs, and sociopathic best friends any day. They were no problem.
But give him a pretty girl that simply smiles and says she just wants him to be happy in life, even if that doesn't include her, then he panics.
Because it's new and it's different and it's dangerous...
So he avoided her as best he could without being too obvious.
And the first time he saw her with him, he was actually pretty grateful for it.
The first time it bothered him, he didn't understand why.
Nothing was out of the ordinary. It was the middle of the day and he was just walking down the merchant side of town. The business and restaurants had recovered well after the war and were doing better than ever.
It wasn't unusual for people to be enjoying a late lunch in one of the cafes.
But then she was there, in one of the cafes, sitting across from him and she was laughing. It was an almost enchanting sound and he realized that he had never heard her laugh before.
And suddenly it bothered him that he wasn't the one that made her laugh like that. That even though she said she loved him, her eyes never glowed with mirth as she stared at him and hung on his every word.
There was something so very wrong about it, but he didn't understand why.
The first time it made him angry, he knew he had no right to be.
It was during the festival celebrating the founding of Konoha and the first really big celebration they would have after the war. It was supposed to lift spirits and prove to the world at large that the village was surviving and thriving.
Everyone was dressed accordingly.
She was breathtaking, to say the least, in her pale lavender kimono and her hair done up. He almost found himself running to her but he stopped before he even started. Because suddenly she wasn't alone. He was there, running towards her, a giant teddy bear in his arms which he handed to her with much fanfare.
She accepted it with a smile and then she stood on the tips of her toes and kissed his cheek.
And suddenly he was angry. Completely and uncontrollably, almost like when he thought he had watched her die. Because even though she said she loved him, she had never tried to kiss him on the cheek.
But then Sakura asked him what was wrong and his anger vanished. Because he realized he didn't have any right to be angry.
Because he didn't even try to ask her to come with him to the festival.
The first time it made him sad, it was also the time she introduced him.
They had bumped into each other by chance. He was walking back home and they happened to cross paths. She was simply chatting with her friend, she wouldn't have even noticed him if he hadn't called out to her, and that was just a completely new experience for him.
"This is Akihiko," She said simply, as if he wasn't the guy who gave him homicidal tendencies just by breathing.
"Aki-kun, this is Uzumaki Naruto." And that was another first as well.
Since when did she not call him Naruto-kun, and why had she never given him some cutesy nickname?
He should be angry, he knew he should be angry, but he wasn't.
"So this is the famous Naruto?" Akihiko said mischievously as if he had heard a lot about him. He wondered if it was all good or all bad.
Hinata blushed and smacked him on the arm but she was smiling the entire time. She was being playful. Like girls are when they're flirting. And just like that he knew why he wasn't angry.
It was because he was sad. Because even though she said she loved him, she had never flirted with him.
And suddenly he was questioning everything.
Sure, she risked her life for him multiple times, she was always there for him when he needed her, but she would do that for any friend because that's the type of person she was. Maybe she meant she loved him like a friend.
Or maybe he had just ruined it.
Maybe she got tired of waiting for him and moved on. Akihiko just happened to be there. There was no reason to hate the guy. He should be angry with himself.
And that just made him unbearably sad.
The first time he saw Akihiko alone, was the time he realized why it all affected him so much.
Sakura and Ino had somehow managed to convince him to join them in shopping. And by joining them they actually meant using him as a pack mule. So he was walking through the very first Konoha Shopping Mall - because not only was the village enduring, but it was growing - with about fifty bags of clothes, shoes, and make up, minding his own business, when he saw him.
And it felt like the earth opened up from beneath him.
Because Akihiko was in a jewelry store, and the diamond ring the shop keeper was showing him could only be one thing. And there was only one person it could be for.
And he felt his heart tear itself to shreds, because if he was buying an engagement ring for Hinata then it meant that she had told him she loved him. And if she loved Akihiko then that meant that she didn't love him.
And that just wasn't right.
And it really sucked, because it took all this to for him to figure out that he felt all this whenever he saw her with Akihiko because he loved her.
And if she didn't love him anymore then he would probably die. Which would be really stupid considering everything he had managed to survive, but yeah, he'd die. Because he meant what he told her during the war.
Life had been bearable because she was always there. The future was bearable because he knew she would always be there. And now, for the first time, there was the possibility that she wouldn't be.
And he just couldn't accept that.
And all that brought him to now.
Being all creepy and watching the woman he loves through a store window. A bridal store window.
She's smiling that dazzling smile that he has only seen a handful of times, and all those times she was with Akihiko; she was smiling because of Akihiko. He isn't sure if he has ever made her smile like that, or at all really.
She is smiling and talking to the store attendants and a girl he has never seen before but is obviously good friends with her. Where did she get so many friends from? When did she get so many friends? And how did he not notice it? How did he not notice her coming out of her shell and reaching out to people?
The girl pushes her into a dressing room and waits.
He waits too. He wants to see her when she steps out of that dressing room, decked out in white and looking like an angel. He supposes he is a bit masochistic. Well, he does still count Sasuke as his best friend, that should say it all.
He knows he should be happy for her. He knows he should congratulate her and wish her all the best in life. Because that's what people do when they're really in love. They're selfless. They smile and tell you that they want you to be happy in life, even if that does not include them.
But he's selfish. He always has been.
He took her feelings, her presence, her for granted, and now he was paying the price.
She deserves to be happy, but it's not like he was famous for quitting.
He's charging into the store at the same time that she's walking out of the dressing room. The moment he lays eyes on her all his resolve fades away because he's breathless. She is more beautiful than he thought anything ever could be, dressed in satin and pearls. And then he realizes that what he's doing is wrong. He had his chance and blew it and she deserves to be happy, with whoever made her the happiest, even if it was not him.
He saw her notice him just before he turned and walked out.
He should have run, but maybe a part of him was hoping she would chase after him. And sure enough, she is running after him awkwardly in heels with the poofy dress dragging around her, and she's yelling "Wait! Wait!" But all he can think about is that he missed the moment she gained the confidence to scream at the top of her lungs in public, too. So he just keeps walking.
Until she calls out, "Naruto-kun!" Then he stops and turns so quickly she almost collides into him.
Her hair is a mess and the bottom of the dress is turning gray from the dirt. People are staring - because really, even for him, this is a pretty strange situation - but more importantly, she's staring him right in the eyes, so he's not going to do something stupid like cry or confess his undying love for her. He has more brains than people give him credit for, after all.
He swallows thickly to offer her his best wishes or some other mature thing, but then she starts talking faster than he has ever heard her talk. And he misses the first bit of it as he tries to control the beating of his heart in his ears.
In the end, the only thing that really gets through is, "I just wanted to make sure you didn't think I was weird or anything. It's not like I always try on wedding dresses. But Yukimi insisted, and the maid of honor can't refuse the bride!" She's breathing hard by the time she finishes what he's sure could probably count as a short story and her face is flushed a beet red.
But that doesn't matter, because she's still in her wedding dress and...
"What?!" He shouts so loud that she actually jumps. "Wait, maid of honor? I thought you were the bride!"
Her eyes grow wide in shock, "Oh, no, no, no! Yukimi is the bride. She just likes playing dress up with me."
Okay, he's definitely going to be thinking about the words Hinata and playing dress up later, but right now his brain is kind of floundering and he only manages to think about Akihiko. "But, Akihiko... he was buying a ring... he was going to propose..."
She tilts her head in confusion and then he sees understanding dawn in her eyes. She smiles an extra sweet smile at him and explains, "He was buying a ring for Yukimi, his girlfriend."
"So you're not dating?"
"You were never dating?"
"But you were always with him!"
"I wouldn't say always," She snaps, and he's only grateful that she doesn't bring up the fact that he has no way to know that since he's barely around, "He's just a really good friend."
This is awkward.
He looks up and down and everywhere but her. He unconsciously rubs the back of his head like he always does when embarrassed, and he feels his face burn.
Then suddenly she's giggling, and he's pretty sure it's the most adorable sound she has ever made. When he looks at her she's smiling sweetly again.
"Hey, were you jealous, Naru-kun?" She's being playful. And she gave him a cutesy nickname! And she's giggling, and smiling, and she's doing it all at once!
And a part of him knows that even though she doesn't love Akihiko, and she's doing all those things, he's still taking a risk by doing what he does next. Because even though she said she loved him so long ago, there's no guarantee that she still does.
But it's not like he's famous for being careful.
So he just does what he wants, and leans forward and kisses her right on the lips! She can kiss his cheek later, if she wants, this is so much better.
And when he pulls back, she's still blushing and smiling and even giggling as she looks at him.
People are still staring. Yukimi and the store attendants are staring, but they don't dare interrupt the moment, even though Hinata did technically steal the dress and dirty it up.
But none of that matters, because he's finally able to confidently say what he should have said years ago, "I love you too."
A/N: So, this ended up being nothing like what I planned when I started this. I hope it didn't get repetitive or anything, I was trying a different style of writing.
Let me know what you thought!
- Destiny's Sweet Melody