Author's Note: According to the databook, Hinata hates seafood. This is clearly because she knows Sasuke's allergic to it in my fanfic. –nod, nod–

Your feedback really molded this chapter. I ended up making a lot of tweaks, so thank you.

The Hyuuga Curse 2

By Bullwinkle's Lady

Chapter 13

Neutral territory. Was that all this was?

"Can you feel him?" Hinata whispered, as she took his hand and held it against her stomach.

Him. Sasuke was still somewhat disordered by this new information. What else had Hinata not told him about the pregnancy? He was the father; he should have known these things.

He stared at his hand, held by hers, against her, and that was when he felt it. The faint fluttering of movement.

"He's kicking," Hinata told him as she smiled. It took him an additional moment to register it, and he blinked.

"Oh," was the single syllable he managed to produce. After a few moments, he pulled her against him, almost unconsciously. His lips pressed her head in a contact that was far more intimate than their kiss had been. He didn't register it. He stared off. Hinata trembled in his hold.

The two were standing by a wall outside the ballroom where Naruto and Sakura's reception was being held. They barely noticed as people walked to and fro, passing them by with curious glances.

When Hinata pulled away from him, Sasuke surveyed her. Her hair had grown longer, falling down her back and melding with the color of her dress. Her bangs hung in her face, her cheeks flushed from the intimacy. It was still hard to believe he had survived eight weeks without her. Eyes shifting, Sasuke noticed that her hand had taken to squeezing his where she held it.

"You're allowed to be nervous," he said, still not knowing what this was. They had been at war just moments prior, and now this strange deferment.

Hinata nodded. "We should try to get along," she said, though her voice was feeble and without optimism.

"We should," he said, returning her hold on his hand. Her eyes filling with tears, Hinata buried her face in his kimono, and he inhaled at the contact. He absently slid his hand up her back. It was strange when Hinata cried. His body acted without any guidance from his mind.

"He kicks when you talk." She laughed wearily, then fell into sobs.

"Hinata…"

"N-Naruto-kun reserved some of us rooms – in case we ended up staying here late. Spend the night with me?"

When seconds turned to minutes, and she received no response, she pulled back to look up at him, cheeks wet, and energy drained.

Sasuke pulled a lock of indigo hair out of her face.

"Okay."


"What do you think his name should be?" she said with a sheepish smile.

She had not been able to smile for months, but now a chronic one was plastered to her face.

She was leaning against the bureau, watching Sasuke who was seated on the edge of the bed. He was in the process of removing a shoe, but looked up at her with his wary eyes.

"You're glowing," he accused, enjoying as she blushed, like he knew she would.

"N-no I'm not," Hinata retorted, then paused. "Am I?" She smiled as she realized he was teasing her. Sasuke stood and approached.

"You're beautiful," he said in apology, but this only seemed to make her blush more. She was so beautiful, it hurt. He couldn't help indulging in her presence even though he knew better.

"I…" Hinata averted her eyes. "I want to name him Sasaki," she said, changing the subject as she tended to when she was shy.

Sasuke pulled away from her, increasing the centimeters between them to merciful inches. He stared, inhaled, and finally said; slowly, "That's a girl's name."

"I like it," Hinata responded, smiling and nodding, but her husband continued to stare. "Ano…you don't?"

Sasuke breathed in and out so deeply, she began to worry he was having another allergy attack, but then stopped and said, "Fugaku." A suggestion.

"Fu...gaku?" said Hinata, her face falling as she frowned at him. "That's not such a nice name."

"It's not supposed to be pretty," Sasuke returned through gritted teeth. Hinata still looked displeased. It was shocking to realize how little they knew about each other.

"Who is he?" she wanted to know.

"Later," he said. He pulled his haori off his shoulders. "Let's go to sleep."

Agreeing, Hinata stepped out of her sandals. She joined Sasuke as he climbed onto the bed.

The world gently tilted and leveled itself as they lay down, face to face, not touching, not speaking, simply looking at each other. Hinata watched as Sasuke's eyes drifted closed. It would be the first time in weeks neither had bad dreams.


They felt awkward going down to the breakfast banquet barefoot, disheveled, and wearing their clothes from the night before, but it seemed they were not the only ones.

The Nara shrieked as his date pitched a cup of scalding coffee in his face, as Gaara discreetly sprinkled sand over his eggs at his table across the room. Hyuuga Neji staggered by holding his eyes and colliding with the occasional fat waiter, as Inuzuka Kiba, still drunk, seductively threw his arm around Shino's shoulders.

In a corner booth, Naruto and Sakura were kissing, grinning, and kissing.

Sasuke glanced at Hinata as they took seats across from each other in a spare booth. She placed her elbow on the table to rest her face against her knuckles, offering him that weary smile of hers.

A waiter arrived, and Sasuke reluctantly turned away from her gaze. He glanced at the menu. "She wants eggs, toast, salmon, five riceballs – different kinds –" he watched Hinata pale, "–and this." He pointed at a massive fruit salad fashioned to look like an angry monster.

"And you?" asked the waiter.

"I'm not hungry," said Sasuke.

As the waiter tottered off, Hinata stared at him. "I can't eat all that," she said.

"You didn't eat anything last night," Sasuke argued, but the waiter was already floundering back with alarming prompt.

Everyone gaped and pointed as the waiter lowered Hinata's feast to the table directly in front of her. The kunoichi shrank in her seat, but as Sasuke watched her, she reluctantly picked up a riceball, biting into it.

Just as she did, however, Naruto stopped by, staring in awe at Hinata's "breakfast." "Woah, Hinata, you must be really hungry! Cravings, huh?" He laughed jovially for a good three minutes, until Hinata decided she wanted to combust. "Ahahah – aha – erm, Sasuke, can I talk to you?" the blonde inquired, finally noticing the Hyuuga's beet-red face.

Hinata blinked as Sasuke stood. "B-bill!" she mentioned in panic.

Sasuke eyed her. "Don't be so stingy," he growled stingily, fishing a miscellaneous wad of cash out of his pocket and placing it on the table. Hinata whimpered as he and Naruto left her alone with the food.

The two shinobi walked to the other side of the restaurant where Sasuke found the coffee cart. He poured a cup and began to drink it – black – ignoring as Naruto wrinkled his nose. "What do you want, dobe?"

Naruto offered a nervous smile. "I wanted to see – to ask – if you'd be able to cover a few of my missions while I'm off for the next two weeks."

The Uchiha raised his eyebrows. Missions had come to offer him a demented stability. They were where he clung to reason, beyond his stifled anger and his empty house. He hid behind missions, and had slowly come to need them.

He'd need them...wouldn't he?

Naruto rubbed the back of his neck. "They're mostly S and A-class, I know, but..."

"Fine," Sasuke interrupted him.

"What?"

"I'll take them," said Sasuke, finishing his drink and lowering his mug. Swiftly dodging Naruto's attempt to hug him, he walked back to his table where it seemed Hinata had given up.

He slid back into the seat across from her. "Two riceballs. I'm impressed," he said. He had ordered a variety to see what she could tolerate, and it seemed she had gone for the starches.

Hinata plucked a piece of fruit into her mouth. "And a grape." She smiled. She was usually sick in the mornings. She wasn't sick today.

"I love you," Sasuke muttered, so suddenly and arbitrarily, Hinata's eyes widened, color rising to her cheeks.

Sasuke looked down, and reached out to the platter, for – something – to distract himself, but instead Hinata took his hand.

"I love you," she promised, with a gentleness in her voice. As she entwined their fingers, he breathed, his eyes remaining on table. She squeezed his hand. "It's okay…. Sasuke?"

They remained like that for a long while, until Sasuke finally forced himself to lift his eyes. "Let's go home."

Hinata nodded, with her calming smile, and a continued gentleness that made him realize how easily she had always seen through him. Though he guided her, it was all but the contrary. She held onto his hand, and held him together, until they reached the privacy of their hotel room. There, they detached, and with that detachment, Sasuke gathered his things. It was only after they checked out, and exited the lobby of the hotel that Hinata remembered there wasn't a consensus "home" between them. The paths to their respective houses led in opposite directions.

Hinata unconsciously stiffened as Sasuke turned to her, leaning down. She had tensed, not in fear of the connection, but in fear that it was his way of parting. Her body relaxed as the tip of his nose touched hers, and she wrapped her arms around his neck, to kiss him once, lightly, on the lips. When it ended, they remained close, their eyes half lidded, their breaths mingling between their lips.

They had taken a break from their separation while on neutral territory – so was this the end? Was it over?

Part 2

It was over.

On her veranda that day, Kiba brandished a blue onesie, holding it at arm's length as though afraid it might explode. He was looking pointedly away from her, grinding his teeth with a faint blush on his cheeks. Hinata felt one blossom on hers. "Hana...made it," Kiba mumbled, seeming tremendously uncomfortable. He grudgingly turned the adorable article of baby clothing around to reveal an Uchiha fan on the back.

A long moment of silence passed in which Kiba fidgeted and Hinata stared at his reluctant gift. She bit her lip and took a gulp. "I...I..." she trailed off, looking uneasy.

Kiba finally met her eyes. "You...? You?" he said. Beside him, Shino adjusted his sunglasses.

"Hinata..." the bug-user started.

That's when their pregnant teammate began to bawl – loudly bawl – baffling both men who took to waving their arms and begging her to stop. This only seemed to make her cry harder, and the panicked boys grew all the more frantic.

Hyuuga Hinata was becoming emotional – horrifyingly emotional, and even she was aware of it.

Hinata knew her teammates weren't trying to upset her. They loved her, and simply weren't fully aware of what was going on. She couldn't bring herself to admit her marriage was over to herself, let alone to them.

After Kiba and Shino left (she had tearfully hugged them both goodbye as they awkwardly patted her back), Hinata went upstairs to her bedroom and tried to calm down. Her anguish about her marriage did not correspond well with pregnancy hormones. She sat on her bed, gripping her knees.

Two weeks had passed.

Two weeks that she stared up at her white ceiling, reliving the night of the wedding over and over in her head. The baby had begun to move quite regularly, and it had kept her up, absorbed in it for hours as she watched Sasuke sleep.

She knew she could get through this, even without him. She had to stop moping and figure out a way to keep living.

Blinking back the rest of her tears, Hinata decided she would start in the attic, where she would go through some scrolls, and try to better understand the politics of the Hyuuga main house.


"Did you hear? Uzumaki Naruto lost his virginity!"

Sasuke was slightly alarmed by the whispers that followed him that day. Perhaps it had something to do with his company.

"So...how were my missions?" the blonde inquired, chuckling nervously while scratching his cheek. He had returned from his honeymoon only the day before.

The missions? Terrible. Painful. Violent. Perfect. Sasuke glanced at the sky. "Good," he said, ignoring the ache in his side where he had broken two ribs. He couldn't sleep, so he ran.

The two fell into a silence as they walked into the village gates, awkward for Naruto, and peaceful for Sasuke. They had been training together in the woods for the past few hours. From the corner of Sasuke's eye he saw a passing jounin give Naruto a thumbs-up. Odd.

"So..." said Naruto. Yes, a classic "so." More of a warning than a remark. Sooo, I'm about to instigate a rather irrelevant and potentially inappropriate conversation. "When did you and Hinata first do it?"

Silence.

Sasuke stopped walking.

Paling, Naruto glanced back at him, startled by Sasuke's dead stare. A full three minutes passed between them, in which Naruto opted not to breathe.

And then it ended.

"The night before we were attacked," Sasuke mentioned. "On our way back from Suna." He pocketed his hands and continued to walk.

Naruto blinked. "No way! Is that why you guys were angry at each other that day?"

Sasuke's cheek twitched.

"Wait – is that the night you got her pregnant?"

"No…of course not…" He glanced back at Naruto's amused expression, and narrowed his eyes. "When you and Sakura – did you two use–?"

"Woah, woah! What's with all the personal questions!" yelled Naruto, waving his arms and blushing furiously.

Though Sasuke was peeved by the blatant display of hypocrisy, the blonde was right. He and Naruto had no business discussing their sex lives together.

But maybe other things. Naruto's wedding had passed, and he was tired of pretending. "Hinata and I are separated," he stated. "A few months now."

Naruto gawked at him. "No way! But – but at the wedding-?" the blonde yammered.

Sasuke frowned. The same question had plagued his mind since the wedding. "We're still...getting along," he said fishily. Was "getting along" akin to kissing, touching, whispering false promises?

It was what Hinata had suggested. That they stop fighting, for the sake of the baby.

Sasuke gasped when Naruto clapped him on the back, jerking him violently out of his thoughts.

"Things will work out," the blonde assured him, though with his forced smile, he did not seem genuine. "They can't not work out. You two need each other."

Naruto was wrong. Hinata did not need him.

Before going home, Sasuke stopped by the grocery store to buy some tomatoes, and as he passed the seafood isle, he paused at who he saw. "Hinata?"

The Hyuuga head was staring into a lobster tank, a blank look on her face. At hearing his voice, she stiffened, and turned to face him with a guilty expression. For a moment, they simply watched each other.

Sasuke started, "What are you–?"

"Why do I have to suffer because of your allergies!?" Hinata cut him off, pointing an accusing finger at him as tears poured down her face. "Why can't you just be normal, like – like a n-normal person!?"

Sasuke's brow twitched. Around them, several other patrons of the grocery store had stopped to stare at the hysterical Hyuuga and the deadpan Uchiha. Lowering her arm, Hinata huffed and walked off.

Sasuke hesitated, and followed her wondering if this was a craving or something. He didn't want to engage her again, but he didn't feel he had much of a choice. He caught up with her and walked alongside her, watching as she rubbed her tears on her sleeve. "What other foods do you like?" he asked in a shady, but conversational way.

Hinata thought for a moment. "Shrimp."

"No."

"Crayfish."

"No shellfish."

"C-crab."

He twitched again. "You like rice balls," he accused.

She nodded.

"Let's get some," he offered.

"I'm s-sick of rice balls!"

"What do you want? Right now? More than anything – aside from shellfish?"

Hinata stopped walking and stared up at him, then responded with the most elaborate thing he could have imagined.


So maybe zenzai wasn't that elaborate. Sasuke wasn't much of a cook, so anything Hinata said was bound to intimidate him.

After buying the ingredients – red beans, rice, sugar, salt, and various spices – he brought Hinata back to his house, and boiled the beans while pounding the rice into a paste then forming it into perfect, identical squares of mochi.

From the table, Hinata watched him cook in silent astonishment. Sasuke's hands worked so quickly, she could barely follow them with her eyes. "I thought you couldn't–"

"I learned," he deadpanned, glancing back at her, and it was then that she noticed his sharingan was activated.

Had Sasuke used powerful doujutsu to learn to cook? Hinata blushed and figured doujutsu had been used for less constructive things. "You're cheating," she said petulantly.

Sasuke shrugged as he finished the mochi, then returned to the pot of red beans on the stove.

When he was finished, he joined her at the table, serving them both, but he mostly took to watching her. As Hinata lifted her spoon and took her first taste, her eyed widened.

"Good?" said Sasuke.

It was better than good. It was her recipe. Sasuke must have copied her at some point when she had made it for him. She eyed him, but decided having Sasuke cook for her was better than cooking for herself. "Can I come back sometimes?" she asked him, without thinking.

There was a painful pause between them, before Sasuke inhaled.

"You can come back any time," he said impassively.

They stared at each other for a moment longer, before returning to their meals, and eating together in silence.