Tales of Two Ninjas
Memory Loss AU
Summary: I love you. Will I ever hear those words from your lips again?
The leaves looked sad and wilted. Defeated. The petals dull and pale.
He knelt in the grass, ignoring the early morning dew soaking through the fabric of his pants as he tended to the plants. The sunflower, one of Hinata's favorites, was in dire need of help.
Just yesterday it was standing straight and tall, reaching for the suns rays.
Today it wept.
"Daddy, when's mommy coming back?"
"Welcome back, Naruto-kun." Hinata greeted him from the hall, a towel in her hand, and a smile on her face.
Naruto grinned, pulling off his shoes quickly, letting them fall in a messy, muddy heap before barreling down towards his waiting wife. He pulled her into a tight embrace, burying his face into her hair.
"I missed you, Hinata," he said, brushing his lips against the bare skin her short hair revealed to him.
He cherished this moment with her, simple as it was. He briefly wished it could have been longer but in no ways was he upset by the interruption.
He sensed them before he heard the pitter patter of their feet.
They were upstairs when he had taken off his shoes. Their movements stopped when their mother had greeted him. They shifted as he moved towards her. Now they stumbled through the hall, ran down the stairs, shouting in excitement-
Naruto pulled away from Hinata, grinned, and gave her a quick, chaste kiss before turning on the spot, arms open wide.
Boruto arrived first, sliding against the wooden floor. He clambered to his feet, smile not once faltering before jumping into the air. Naruto caught him with ease, muscles burning with exhaustion from his mission but his sons weight was nothing but pleasant.
Himawari came next, moving as fast as her little legs could take her.
He heard Hinata giggle behind him, mimicking their daughter. Her sock covered feet were a liability and both parents surged forward as she tumbled to the floor. But their brave little daughter just laughed and joined her brother in her father's arms. A soothing weight he'd gladly carry.
The eggs were charred.
Naruto cursed quietly to himself as he scraped away the inedible parts of the meal. He quickly cracked a few more into the pan, determined to give his children a proper breakfast. He didn't understand. He was doing fine these past few weeks. But today something just felt wrong. He couldn't place a finger on it but his heart felt heavy and his mind didn't stay still.
Naruto glanced down as Boruto stood at his side on tiptoes, scrunching up his nose at the mess in the frying pan.
"Scrambled eggs," Naruto said, bumping him with his hip. "Get your sister. It's time for breakfast."
The ghost of a smile on the older blondes lip vanished as the smell of something burning filled the room.
Naruto crawled into bed, utterly spent from that days training. His head sunk into the pillow and he pulled the soft blankets up to his chest as he watched Hinata roam the room. It was late and they kids were sound asleep in bed. She stripped off her outfit for the day and slipped on a comfortable pair of pajamas before flicking off the light and crawling into bed to join him. She pressed herself against his side, her hand resting on the solid plane of his chest, fingers wandering innocently before speaking.
"I have a mission."
It was one of her first real missions since Himawari was born. Of course she had been on plenty low ranked ones but those would be nothing compared to this one.
"It's an A rank," she had explained. She ran her fingers down his chest, silently placating him with her touch.
"An A rank can become in S rank in seconds," Naruto spoke lowly, knowing- understanding the situation himself.
"I already accepted."
He had his arm wrapped around her and unknowingly tightened his grip.
"Okay," was all he could say.
"Are you mad?" she asked quietly, tilting her head to look up at him. She noticed the way his jaw tensed and how stiff he felt in her grip.
"No," he said truthfully. "I understand. I'm just…worried."
"I'll be careful," she said quickly.
"I know you will," he said, finally looking down to meet her eyes. "It's the rest of the world that's unpredictable."
"Take care of the kids, okay?"
Naruto nodded. "Of course."
"I leave in three days." Naruto waited. There was more. "I can't give you details but the mission can range from a week to a month."
"A month, Hinata?" Naruto asked, finally allowing his emotion to come through. He sounded exhausted, tired, and sad.
"Or sooner. I don't know yet."
Naruto huffed, his blue eyes staring into her pale ones unwavering.
"Come here," he said, pulling her atop of him. Their lips met and his kiss seared through her. His emotions, his feelings- his fear was hot on her skin. He showed her how he felt with every touch and caress. He burned himself onto her skin.
He knew something was wrong when he got a message to go the hospital.
He quickly dropped off his confused kids at their Grandpa Hiashi and Aunt Hanabi's home before rushing towards the place he knew Hinata would be.
He had a feeling but he wished he had been wrong.
"Where is she?" he asked as soon as he saw Sakura's familiar pink hair.
His friend only had to point before he burst through the door. He ignored the beeps from the machines and the strange wires connected to her as he approached her gingerly, quite unlike his previous behavior.
Naruto, broad shouldered, strong, capable of destroying mountains, cutting the moon in half, savior of the world-
She brought him to his knees.
"Hinata-" he croaked.
His chakra flared and he absorbed every minute detail he could about her but he sensed nothing perilous.
"Physically she's healthy," Sakura's voice answered his unspoken question. "Do you know who else was on the mission with her?"
Naruto shook his head, mute. His eyes were still glued to Hinata's immobile body. He watched her chest rise and fall steadily. She was alive.
"Who did this to her?" he asked, anger leaking into his words.
Sakura felt the pressure he exuded and almost took a step back.
"Ino," she answered.
His reaction was immediate. Surprise, confusion, fury-
"Their mission went wrong," Sakura said. "It was either this or be captured."
"I don't understand."
"The enemies…I can't name," his friend said. "But they wanted information at any cost. Ino and Hinata would not allow it. So…they had a failsafe prepared."
"Just tell me," he snapped.
"Their memories…Ino invented a jutsu that wiped their memory. Wiped them of the things those people wanted to know just in case."
Naruto took Hinata's hand into his own, rubbing his thumb against her skin. "Okay, so they didn't get the information. And the two are back. Everything is okay?"
He knew things were never that easy.
"Ino is in a coma," Sakura said. "The strain was too much for her. Hinata brought her home. Chakra exhaustion is all this is."
Naruto felt his heart drop at the news, thinking of Sai and Inojin. And then he felt a little guilty feeling relief after hearing about Hinata's own prognosis.
For some reason he remembered the wilted sunflowers and could still smell the burning breakfast.
The world was a blur when she first opened her eyes.
She saw pink.
Her throat felt hoarse and dry and she strained to sit up. Comforting hands held her by the shoulder, helping her upright.
"I'm so glad you're awake."
Hinata blinked rapidly. Her head felt as though it was smashed into a wall-several times. She almost laughed. In her line of work that wasn't completely implausible.
"What happened?" she asked as the world came into focus.
Sakura stood by her bedside, donning a white jacket, clipboard in hand. Her face was a mask of concern as she did a thorough check of her vitals. Hinata glanced around her hospital room, noticing a bouquet of bright flowers at the foot of her bed.
"You were on a mission," Sakura explained gently. "With Ino."
The dark haired woman frowned. "I don't remember…"
"That's perfectly reasonable," Sakura said, trying to soothe the Hyuga. "Ino had to wipe mission sensitive information from the both of you. I can see why you wouldn't remember."
Hinata nodded, looking down. She still felt defeated. Her eyes wandered to a glint on Sakura's hand. A ring.
"Oh, Sakura," she said with a gasp, holding out her hand to grasp her friends. "You're married!"
Hinata didn't notice Sakura's face fall. "I am…" She said slowly. "Say…Hinata. What-"
Shouting from somewhere in the hallway interrupted her train of thought.
"Sir, you can't-"
"She's awake? And no one told me?"
"Get out of my way!"
Sakura grumbled, gently taking her hand away from Hinata. "One second," she said, smiling softly. Her facial expression changed immediately as she faced the door. Her eyebrows were pushed together and her lips pursed. She had noticed how a faint red appeared on Hinata's cheek when she heard the mans voice outside her door-
The door that just flew open.
The blonde tried to rush his way towards Hinata only to be pulled back by a vice like grip on his bicep.
"Naruto, just wait-"
Hinata watched the two with wide eyes. He looked different…stronger but…also weaker. Worn down. Worried. Sakura roughly pulled Naruto to the side and the man reluctantly tore his gaze away from her Hyuga ones.
"What?" he asked, exasperated. "Can't this wait?"
Sakura pulled Naruto down by the collar and whispered something in his ear. Hinata glanced down, not sure what this as all about. She didn't want to intrude on this intimate moment.
But her breath caught in her throat.
As she lowered her gaze she noticed something…Naruto…he had a gold band on his finger as well.
Hinata felt a knot in her throat as her fingers tightened around the thin hospital blankets. She knew she forgot some things but how much had she forgotten? Had she… had they… She could feel her heartbeat quicken and an annoying, repetitive beep started echoing in her ears. She realized too late that the other two in the room could see the emotional havoc that was being wrecked inside her as her heart beat erratically.
Sakura was beside her instantly, checking the screens.
"Hinata, what's wrong?" she asked, wondering why her heartbeat spiked so suddenly.
"No-nothing," she stuttered, taking a deep breath. It was all too much. Naruto was married? To whom?
Naruto hadn't moved from the corner. When Hinata dared to glance over he looked crestfallen. He looked beat up and weary. As though he aged about ten years in this moment.
"Naruto-kun," she finally said, ignoring Sakura as she worked on her. "What are you doing here?"
Was he here to see Sakura? Was he and Sakura…
She tried not to let her emotions get the better of her. She was strong.
He had perked at his name and approached her cautiously. "I came to see you, of course."
Hinata tilted her head. "Me?"
Naruto chuckled. "Yeah, you. Does that surprise you?"
Honestly, it didn't. He had visited her on occasion if he heard she was injured from a mission but she didn't feel hurt. Well, not physically.
"Naruto, would you mind giving us the room?" Sakura spoke, giving her close friend a reproachful yet wistful look.
"He can stay," Hinata spoke, her mouth moving before her mind could catch up. She wondered briefly why she said that. "I don't mind."
Naruto gave her a small, tender smile, which she returned, almost shyly.
She didn't understand.
Was that pain that crossed his face?
"Hinata, what's the last thing you remember?" Sakura asked, pulling up her clipboard once more.
"Waking up here," Hinata answered.
Naruto laughed and Hinata could feel a smile tugging at her lips.
Sakura rolled her eyes. "He still influences you, eh?" she muttered under her breath, teasing in her tone.
Sakura ignored her. "Before all this. What do you remember?"
Hinata stared at the mixture of yellow, orange, and pink flowers at the foot of her bed, thinking back. A faint red tinted her cheeks. She wanted to take back what she said about allowing Naruto in the room.
"Helping Naruto with his stump…"
"Excuse me?" Sakura asked, suddenly sharp.
Hinata tried to hide her face from view, grateful for her long hair-
Suddenly her fingers scrambled at her locks.
"My hair!" she exclaimed. With her whole world suddenly being flipped upside down she felt a little bit ridiculous to be agonizing over such a miniscule detail but- "My hair!"
"What's wrong with it?" Naruto finally spoke.
"It's…it's so short." She looked up at their worrying faces, uncertainty clawing at her insides. "Sakura, please. What…how long…?"
Sakura bit her lip. "Naruto, hold her hand."
He didn't even question her. He moved forward, clasping his hand around hers and suddenly Hinata recalled the events during the war.
"I remember holding his hand during the fight against Madara," she whispered, looking at his bandaged fingers.
"Your hand!" she exclaimed. "It's…"
"Hinata," Naruto said, voice rough. She looked up at his blue eyes, clouded with something she couldn't read. "Don't you remember-"
"Naruto." Sakura's voice was sharp as a kunai and her eyes even sharper. But she smiled at the woman before her. "So you remember the war. And after it."
Hinata nodded slowly. "I remember helping Naruto get used to having one arm…"
"And then…I woke up. Here."
Hinata looked from Sakura to Naruto, surprised to see tears gathered at the corners of his eyes.
That's when panic began to conquer her.
What was happening?
They were alone.
Hinata fidgeted in her thin hospital gown, suddenly realizing she was practically naked and alone with the man she loved all her life. The man who could never be hers. His ring shined brightly. Almost mocking. You could tell how much love and care he put into taking care of it. If he loved the ring that much how much did he love his wife?
Hinata swallowed, wringing her hands together.
"Um, so…" she coughed. "Congratulations."
Naruto cocked his head to the side. "For what?"
She gestured to his hand. "Getting married," she said, smiling faintly. It was a forced smile, he knew her well. But she didn't know that. "Your wife must be very lucky."
Naruto chuckled, combing his fingers through his hair. "I'm the lucky one."
Her heart fell. She didn't realize she could feel worse than she already did. She felt a ball in her throat but she refused to cry. She wouldn't.
"And me?" she asked, almost nervous.
"What about you?" he asked, leaning forward, eyes glued to her downcast face.
"Did I…Sakura tells me it's been eight or nine years or something since my last memory."
"Yeah," Naruto said. "Wow, that long huh?" He chuckled to himself.
"What are you thinking about?"
He looked at her, smiling sadly but ignored her question. "What were you asking?"
"Oh…" She was almost embarrassed to voice her question to him. "Am I…did I marry someone too? And why isn't he here to see me?" She was blushing and she laughed nervously. "Ah, that's probably a really selfish thing for me to ask, huh? Maybe he's busy…maybe I didn't marry at all." She paused, thinking. If Naruto had married someone else what would she have done? What did she do?
"Who do you think you married?" Naruto asked.
Hinata turned to look at him. His voice was cold and a frown marred his face but genuine curiosity shone through. "Are you upset with me?"
"Ah…no. Not with you. Never with you. With the situation," he said, suddenly feeling guilty. It wasn't her fault.
A soft knocking came from the door and Sakura popped her head in.
"Time to change your clothes, Hinata," she said gently, trying to read the room. "Naruto, do you want to help her with the string?" she asked, clicking the door shut.
Naruto nodded and leaned forward. The act of undressing her was as easy as breathing to him but Hinata flinched and drew back.
Naruto recoiled, suddenly remember where he was. Or rather when Hinata was.
"You didn't tell her?" Sakura spoke, sounding surprised. "I would have thought-"
"I didn't know how she would take it," Naruto said stiffly, suddenly standing. "I'll be outside."
"Naruto-" Sakura moved to grab him but he shrugged her away, letting the door slam behind him.
Hinata winced. "Is he mad at me?"
"Mm. No…I think he's mad at himself."
A beat. Then-
"He wasn't able to protect his wife."
The silence in the room was deafening.
"What?" Hinata croaked.
"Oh, Hinata," she said softly. "There's so much beauty you've forgotten."
"I'm married to Naruto-kun?"
"Honestly, who else?" her friend replied, laughing gently. "You've loved him forever."
"But… he loves me as well?" Hinata asked, almost scared to ask.
"That's for him to tell you," Sakura answered, smiling knowingly. "But…I can tell you he'd travel to the moon and back for you."
"We leave our rings at home for missions."
Indeed. Hinata noticed a faint circle of skin on her finger that was lighter than the rest.
The walk back home was silent. It wasn't anything he was used to. He'd be walking hand in hand with Hinata, chattering about the mission or what happened with the kids but this quietness screamed in his ears. It was deafening.
He had told Hinata as much as he could without overwhelming her. He allowed Boruto and Himawari to stay over at the Hyuga's, figuring he'd allow Hinata to adjust in her new home first instead.
"You sure you're okay with this?" he asked for the millionth time that night. "I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to stay somewhere else…this might be a big change."
"I don't mind," she admitted. "Unless you'd rather I not…"
"Hinata, I can't imagine you anywhere else but in our home together."
His candid admission warmed her heart and she followed him inside the large home. She took off her shoes before stepping on the clean wooden floors, hesitating.
"The stairs to your right take you to the bedrooms," Naruto explained. "Living room is a little down this hallway towards the left. Kitchen as well. And my office over there." She watched him wave and point but still didn't move. "Are you hungry?"
"Mm, a little," she said with a shrug.
"Come," Naruto said, taking her by the hand. With a jolt she followed, feeling her cheeks go red. She was sure this was all normal to him but she still felt like the girl she was after the big war. "I think we have some leftovers and take out and ingredients lying around." He chuckled. "You're primarily the one that feeds us around here."
"Us?" They stopped in the living room and she took the chance to glance around. Different sized portraits hung on the walls and sat on shelves and she felt her breath catch in her throat. "Oh… Us." Her kids. Suddenly she felt remorse and guilt. "How could I forget…?"
"Hinata," Naruto said quickly, moving up to her. "It's not your fault."
"I-I," Hinata shut her eyes as tears fell freely down her face. She sought solace in Naruto's arms and it felt unmistakably familiar.
Naruto woke up to an empty bed.
Half asleep his fingers grasped against the sheets in search of warmth. A name mumbled from his lips as he opened bleary eyes searching for a familiar face. His line of sight fell on a memorable picture frame sitting on the bedside table. Their wedding day. A small smile graced his lips as he remembered that day.
Naruto rolled onto his back and stretched, yawning loudly. He idly scratched his stomach as he stared at the ceiling, his mind going back to the conversation with Sakura two weeks ago.
Two weeks and no change.
"There's nothing you can do?" he had said, feeling dejected.
"I'm sorry," Sakura said, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Ino…she's strong. The jutsu she used…we can't break it. I think only she can."
"But she's…" Naruto trailed off, pinching the bridge of his nose as his head throbbed painfully.
"I'm sorry," Sakura repeated.
Naruto finally met her gaze and was suddenly racked with guilt. Sakura looked heartbroken. Ino was her friend- their friend. And she was…
"It's okay," Naruto said, suddenly trying to comfort her. "We'll be okay. She'll be okay. It'll just take time right?"
Sakura sighed. "You can never know with things like this," she admitted heavily. But she wasn't sure if Naruto meant the situation with their comatose friend or the situation with his wife. It'll just take time. "And…" Sakura hesitated, looking conflicted.
"And?" Naruto urged.
Sakura signed, relenting. "And if Ino does wake up… who's to say she'll even remember her own jutsu? What if…" Sakura stopped, her voice catching in her throat.
"What if she's forgotten all of it," Naruto said slowly, understanding donning on him. "It's all up in the air." Everything was up in the air and Naruto suddenly felt like he had no arms to catch anything with.
Naruto bit his lip, eyes moving to the closed door that separated them from Hinata. She was alone. Confused. Lost.
Naruto opened his eyes, surprised that he fell asleep again. He groaned, sitting up and taking a few minutes before venturing down to the main room. He listened to the sounds of pots and pans and chattering voices, pausing to watch his family before taking a seat at the dining table beside Boruto.
"Morning Dad," Boruto said, picking at the food on his plate.
Naruto ruffled his son's hair. "Stop playing with your food."
"I don't want to eat the vegetables," Boruto said, scrunching his nose.
Naruto glanced up to catch Hinata's eye. She looked up from her son, her expression giving away nothing before giving him a fleeting a smile. She returned to the dishes, dancing around Himawari who lingered at her feet, watching what she did in awe.
The past several days had been…strange. They spent a few days alone before their kids insisted on coming home. And to be frank, Naruto missed them. The house was too quiet without them around. Hinata flitted around like a ghost. She was too nervous to completely settle in. Naruto did his best to try and make her feel comfortable but he had years of experience with her when she, for arguments sake, had none.
"Will you be returning to missions soon?"
Hinata took a seat beside him at the dining table, a cup of tea in hand. The kids had moved to the living room some time ago, the sound of their giggles drifting into the kitchen.
"Sakura said we're supposed to go about how we normally would," Hinata continued, picking at the porcelain in her hands. "I'm sure you wouldn't want to be stuck at home all day." She sounded nervous and Naruto instinctively moved to cup her hands, before pausing mere inches away.
"Stuck?" he said, chuckling lowly. "I love to be at home. Do you hear that music?"
"Music?" Hinata asked, glancing up at him, taking in his mischievous smile.
Naruto nodded towards the direction their kids were in. "Listen to them playing. They're happy. Laughing. It's…something I've always wanted." And you gave it to me, he wanted to say.
Hinata smiled. "It is nice."
"It's my favorite song."
Naruto dragged his heavy feet back towards his home, green plants welcoming him as he walked to the door. He was tired, dirty, and smelly and he wanted nothing more than to take a long, hot shower. He dropped his shoes haphazardly before wandering through his home in search for familiar faces. He was looking forward to his kids running up to him and giving him a hug as Hinata smiled from behind.
His face fell. A few more weeks passed and yet…
"Hello?" Naruto called, stifling a yawn as he looked through the open rooms. He sensed their chakra further back in their home and followed it, feeling it reinvigorate him- fill him with energy. He stopped at the sliding door leading to their garden in the back as he watched his family tend to their plants.
Not once did Naruto worry about how Hinata would act around their kids. Even when they first learned about her pregnancy he was sure she would be a natural. And she was. She still was. He watched as their kids laughed when she poked a dirt-covered finger on each of their cheeks, leaving a brown streak behind.
"Now you have three whiskers, just like your dad," she was saying as their kids laughed.
Naruto felt a tug in his heart. Yearning.
She was here. Alive. And they were trying but…
Naruto slapped on a grin before sliding the door open, arms wide, ready to accept them.
Weeks ticked by. Another day. Naruto dragged himself downstairs, nose following the scent of a delicious breakfast and the sounds of his kids yammering away. With eyes still half shut he shuffled across the hardwood floor, yawning into his bandaged hand.
"'Morning," he mumbled, voice still deep from sleep. Hinata turned to greet him and he placed a sloppy kiss on her cheek before taking a seat at the dining table, blinking drowsily as he adjusted to being awake.
Naruto glanced around the room, wondering why his kids stopped talking. He saw Boruto staring towards the kitchen, Himawari giggling sweetly.
"What?" Naruto questioned, following his gaze.
Hinata stood frozen, cheeks aflame, her fingers grazing at the spot he just- he just…
Oh, shit, Naruto thought, suddenly feeling wide awake.
"I think you broke mom," Boruto said, turning to glare at his father as if this was his fault.
"Out," Naruto mumbled, eyes still on Hinata who seemed to stiffen as more time went by.
"Out!" Naruto said louder. "Please, Boruto. Take your sister and go upstairs."
With a lot of grumbling the young boy did as he was told, tugging his happy sister behind him. "Gross," he muttered, rolling his eyes.
"Hinata…" Naruto started slowly, getting up from his chair. "I shouldn't have- I forgot…"
Suddenly, as if reset, she shook her head, fists clenched into her apron. She bowed deeply, starting to apologize.
Naruto ran his fingers through his hair. Of course she would be the one to apologize. He made a mistake and she-
Naruto signed, staring at the top of her head, how her short hair fanned around her face, the way her arms were stiff, back bent, shoulders trembling-
Wait. Shoulders trembling.
Naruto surged forward, grasping her gently, straightening her back up. He knew her. Even if she didn't know that- he knew her.
Sure enough, tears were gathered at the corners of her eyes and she continued to mumble quiet apologies.
"Shit," Naruto said, watching as pink spread across the bridge of her nose. "Hinata, please stop apologizing."
"I acted silly- I am acting silly," she babbled on nervously. "I shouldn't have- I assume- I know that was normal for you to- to- to kiss me and I froze and the kids saw and I probably ruined everything-"
"Hinata!" Naruto shouted, holding her tightly. "Please."
She stopped, finally meeting his eyes.
"I am mortified," he admitted, chuckling nervously. "That I did that without you feeling comfortable, that is," he explained as a pained look crossed her face. "Don't you ever feel bad for our situation. This was my mistake. I was half asleep and my body just acted on it's own."
"I'm trying…I'm trying to do my best," Hinata whispered, looking shamefaced. "But…I'm a terrible wife."
"That's the stupidest thing you have ever said," Naruto said bluntly.
Hinata's face reddened.
"Hinata," Naruto continued, diving headfirst into the problem as always. "You're still pre Toneri you-"
Naruto ignored that but she noticed his expression took on an extremely disgruntled look for a brief second. "Doesn't matter," he said, shaking his head. "But I have to remember that all of this is new for you."
"I'm sorry," she said again, looking down. "You did it so casually," she said, and he noticed the tips of her ears redden.
Hinata shifted nervously. "Kiss me."
Naruto chuckled. "Hinata, I don't know if you noticed or not but we did a lot more than kissing. We have two kids."
Hinata squeaked and her whole face lit up and Naruto suddenly felt ten years younger, memories of a shy Hinata flashing through his head.
"And I only kissed you on the cheek," Naruto continued, placing a gentle finger on her chin to force her eyes to meet his.
Hinata blushed, darting her eyes away. "You're teasing me," she said, biting her lips.
Naruto's hands moved to cup her cheeks; his thumb caressed the soft skin of her face.
"Hinata," Naruto said, eyes dark and voice deep. Suddenly Hinata found herself enthralled- enraptured by his gaze. She felt her throat go dry and Naruto's eyes were a deep, deep blue water that could quench her thirst. "I…I can't make you remember," he said, hating that fact. That helplessness. She could feel his nervousness in the slight tremble of the hands so carefully stroking her face and the tenderness in his expression. "But if I had to I would do everything- start over with you again and again and again-"
And suddenly he was fighting back tears.
He whispered the agains over and over against her lips- his body curving down as if some unknown weight was pressed against him- all the worry and anxiety- all the fear of losing her – of her leaving – of the endless possibilities and the simple unknowing pushed down on him stronger than gravity ever could and he caved, encompassing her body with his and she gladly held him up.
It was all the same.
Hinata didn't remember.
What would you do if the one you love forgets?
"I love you," he found himself saying one day as he left for a mission. It was so easy. As simple as breathing. There was no thought behind it- he simply did.
But he saw the change on her face. It was immediate.
First shock, and it struck him in his heart that she even had to feel that. Was his younger self that bad? Did she suffer this much that the simple thought that he could love her was so much of a surprise?
Then a simple acceptance as the corners of her eyes wrinkled as a beautiful smile donned her face. He knew then if he were touching her- if he was resting his head on her chest as he had done countless times before he would hear her heart beating erratically as it always did when she felt for him.
He stared at her a moment longer, biting his lip. He swallowed.
They had talked before.
She had insisted they try and go about things as they would have if…if she was the same.
So he smiled and repeated what he said.
"I love you."
Sometimes he wonders, am I not enough for you to remember?
"The sunflower is blooming," Hinata noted as they stood side by side in the middle of their garden.
She stared at the beautiful flower proudly but he couldn't take his eyes off her.
"The kids should be awake soon," she said, turning to him, face glowing.
He leaned down and she tiptoed, her body reacting to him- remembering even if she didn't- quickly closing the distance between them.
It was soft, simple, and sweet.
"I'll make breakfast," Naruto said with a grin.
A year went by and they learned to live.
What was that he thought of on the day Sakura told him about Hinata?
…Things were never that easy.
"Ino is awake."
It's been forever. Remember in the previous out-shot authors note I mentioned I was applying to medical school? Well, I got in! And now I've been super busy (and super lazy).
I still have over like 20 different one-shot drafts in my folder that I'll probably rarely get to but hey it's been months (10?) since the last update so there's always hope!
I hope you guys like this one as much as I did. As always your support is appreciated! Take care.
P.S. Inspiration for this particular one-shot was based on a Kiba/Ino fanart by tiefrot I saw about three years ago. (Which means a skeleton of this fic has been sitting in my drafts for just as long! Crazy).