Chapter 11: Hereafter
Synopsis: Naruto has finally reached the end of his journey. With his friends who supported him as well as his strong determination, he was capable of conquering the impossible and doing the unbelievable. But now at the finish line why can't Hinata be saved? With all that Naruto had gone through to get there will he truly allow it to end this way?
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of the Naruto franchise or characters associated with it. I also do not own any part of the 14th century Italian divine comedy Dante's Inferno.
"What are you talking about Hinata?" Naruto chuckled thinking it was a joke. "We just saved you and everything".
"I can't go back with you Naruto-kun because . . . . I've already died" replied Hinata sadly.
The blond shinobi grasped her shoulders as he looked intently into her eyes. "That can't be true! Your body is still alive back on Earth. So there is still a chance for you to come back to us".
The Hyuga heiress looked down sadly. "My spirit is already too weak to make it back . . . . I would not be able to endure the trip".
"I don't understand!" exploded Naruto. "We've gone through too much to give up now!"
Hinata looked away again as she hugged herself. "Naruto-kun . . . . I just can't . . . . I'm simply too weak to go back now . . . . Izanami had severely weakened my life force which anchored me to my body. I would not be able to stay . . . . "
"Wait! That can't be right! We were! We were . . . . We were . . . ." said Naruto as realization dawned on him. Izanami had held her captive for so long, torturing and corrupting her, and not only that, Inferno was a place which drained life force energy the same in how it ate away his sage chakra. But the final straw must have been her purification. Ripping off all that malevolent energy must've taken whatever little life force she had left to endure it. "It can't be . . . ."
"I'm sorry Naruto-kun for you having to risk so much for . . . . " but before Hinata could finish she was wrapped into a tight hug. The Hyuga heiress blushed at the action but then took notice that he was also crying. "Naruto-kun?"
"It isn't fair" sniffled Naruto. "It isn't fair that this had to happen. Why? Why can't I save you?" as he held her tighter. "After all we've been through, after all that fighting, after all these hardships why couldn't I save you?"
Hinata sensed his grief as her face began to contort into tears. She then smothered her face into his chest as she began to sob while hugging him back in return. "I'm so sorry Naruto-kun . . . ."
They continued to hold each other as they silently cried. Even though Hinata stood right there in his grasp she felt so far from him now. No matter how tight he held on she wouldn't be able to stay.
"I'm sorry . . . . Hinata. This all happened to you because of my own stupidity. If only I was more careful then none of this had to happen" said Naruto. "Can you forgive me . . . .?"
Hinata softly pushed away from him as she shook her head. "You're not stupid Nauto-kun and it isn't your fault. I made these choices on the basis of my own free will" as she caressed her hand on his cheek.
"I don't have any regrets" she interjected. "Everything I've ever done was because I loved you". She then gave a light chuckle. "But I guess that makes me a fool for doing all those reckless things".
The blond shinobi reengaged his hug once more. "You're not fool! You're not . . . . "
"Naruto-kun . . . ." said Hinata as she hugged him back. This was the first time he had ever held her so closely. Holding him now she could feel the warmth radiating off him as if his feelings were being conveyed in such a manner. She held on tightly not wanting to let go of this feeling. However this was one thing she knew she couldn't do.
After a while the two separated as they looked around. "Where are we now? Is this Paradiso?"
Hinata shook her head. "This is Purgatory Naruto-kun. This is where souls go to as a purification before they go there" as she pointed to the mountain leading into the sky.
"Purification?" asked Naruto
"It doesn't matter" she then said. "I have to go now because I'm being called there".
As Hinata was about to leave, "Can I . . . . can I accompany you there?" asked Naruto. The pale girl smiled as she nodded for his company.
"But before that . . . ." said Naruto as he turned away with a blush with slight blood trickling down his nose. "Maybe you should . . . . " as he pointed at her.
"Ehh? Ehh?" she responded as her face lit up in deep crimson. In her spirit form she didn't have any cloths. The meant she was completely stark naked before him. Hinata immediately turned away as she covered her chest and nether region.
"Uhh, here" stuttered Naruto as he passed her his jacket. The Hyuga heiress immediately took it as she put it on. Unfortunately it was too damaged to put on directly. So with some slight modifications she managed to rework the clothing to cover herself . . . . more or less. After a slight moment of awkwardness the two teens began their trip together.
As they walked side by side with each other another awkward silence took the both of them since neither really knew what to say. Naruto had no idea how to talk to a girl he failed to protect and Hinata was being either too shy to speak up or possibly still embarrassed from being seen.
"This might be the last time . . . ." she thought. "I at least want to do it once"
"Naruto-kun . . . . "
"Yes?" replied Naruto
"Can I . . . . ask a favor of you?"
"What is it?"
"Can you . . . .can you . . . . can you . . . ." she said as she began to shy away.
"What is it Hinata?" asked Naruto
"This will most likely be the last chance I have!" and with great courage, "Will you hold hands with me?" she blurted.
Hinata jumped back and covered her mouth in embarrassment. "I'm sorry for the strange request!" she immediately apologized.
The blond shinobi gave a slight chuckle before smiling softly. "Sure".
The pale girl blushed deeply as she slowly extended her hand. Naruto continued to smile as he reached to grasp her hand. Hinata shivered at the sensation but soon relaxed into it as she smiled and blushed.
The two continued to walk down the path hand in hand. But this time the silence was more pleasant as they enjoyed each other's presence.
Soon they both reached the mountain that extended into the sky. The rocky terrain was enormous. It would take time to reach the top. However they both knew this would be the final moments they would have with each other. So anything they wanted to say must be said now or forever hold their peace.
As they began their climb, a particular question jumped into the blond as this was something he wanted to understand since the time he came to learn of it. "Hinata . . . . how did you ever love an idiot like me?"
Hinata blushed at the question, but then gave a light chuckle. She should have expected that question since it was common sense. I mean they never really talked or anything and then just out of the blue she confessed her love for him.
She then looked down with a smile. "Do you . . . . remember the first time we met?"
The blond jinchuriki thought about this carefully. But to be honest as he thought about every encounter they had he only officially met her during the chunnin exams. However he knew that couldn't be the right answer since even then her reaction was still the same as it is now.
A solemn look then appeared on her face. "Well I wouldn't expect you to remember it clearly after that day" as she remembered it fondly.
Naruto looked to her curiously. He didn't recall meeting her at all during his childhood. So when was it that they met?
"That day many years ago . . . . I had a match with my little sister Hanabi. But I lost and ran away after being told how weak I was by father. I ended up in the forest, but when I got there three bullies found me and started to pick on me" said Hinata. "But that's when you appeared to save me".
A light bulb then lit in his head. As he recalled that memory he did remember saving a dark haired girl from three boys who were picking on her. However he then gave a sour look as he remembered it clearly now. "Not exactly my coolest moment" as he recalled that incident. In that confrontation he attempted and failed miserably at using his bushin jutsu to scare the boys off and then immediately got the stuffing beaten out of him as he became unconsciousness.
"But your words inspired me. Even though you faced bad odds you never gave up and continued to fight no matter how bleak it looked" she then said. "Even aftert that day when my caretaker told me never to see you again I couldn't. Your determination and will drew me to you to whom I could never take my eyes off of".
Naruto blushed at the flattering comments. "It really wasn't much, I just wanted to be Hokage so that everyone would come to accept me as who I am" he chuckled.
"I knew that, since that day I've been watching you as you worked so hard day after day to accomplish your dreams, and I still continued to watch even after we entered the ninja academy" she smiled.
Slight warmth then lit in his chest. The longest time, he had always been alone during his childhood. No one would talk to him, no one would pay attention to him, and no one would even look at him. But here was this girl who had been watching him for the longest time since they were kids and that did mean something to him. But then that only brought more questions, "why didn't you come to talk to me?"
Hinata blushed at this, "I didn't . . . . really know what to say. I still had problems with my own confidence in which I didn't know how to approach you". She then looked down sadly. "But if I knew then that you were hurting so much I would have approached you sooner . . . . "
Naruto gave a solemn look. "It's OK, you didn't know".
The Hyuga heiress gave a smile to this.
"But how were you so certain about what you felt about me?" he then asked.
"I wasn't" said Hinata. "At first when I met you your presence gave me inspiration to try harder. From that day I couldn't stop seeing you. But as I grew older my feelings for you started to become more like a crush. When you talked to me at the training grounds, I knew for sure then that I liked you. But when you left for those two years that's when I knew how I really felt".
Naruto gave a shocked look, but then turned it into a smile.
The pair was now close to the top as they were nearing the gates to Paradiso. So time was short for the two, but there was still so much that has not been said yet. But if this was going to be her final moments there was something she wanted to know if it were the last thing on Earth.
"Naruto-kun . . . . how do you feel about me?" Hinata asked as her eyes became shadowed under her bangs.
Naruto gave a surprised expression. He looked away briefly before looking back to her. ". . . . I'm not actually sure".
Those words made her heart sink. I mean he could have just lied about it. Truth is she wouldn't have known the difference.
But then, that would be very uncharacteristic if he lied about his feelings. Plus it would be far too cruel to say it and not really mean it as a final parting gift.
Naruto noticed her growing depression. However he had more to say, much more. "But honestly . . . . you're the only person who had ever seen . . . . me. That time before the chunnin tournament you encouraged me to give it my all no matter how bad it looked and no matter how many people said I was going to lose. Even though I didn't believe, you still believed in me and cheered me on to victory. In my entire life, I had never shown that side to anyone. Not Sakura, not Sasuke, not Kakashi-sensei, and not even Ero-sannin".
The Hyuga heiress started feeling a bit light hearted. That was something only she knew, and it kind of made her feel more special. This was something only the two of them shared together. It was the first time she truly talked to him. That moment was something she would never forget since her heart couldn't stop beating erratically, not to mention she was frozen stiff from bliss that he actually complimented her.
"But when you told me how you felt I wasn't really sure how to react. Even after that I still wasn't sure how I was supposed to respond, and . . . . I ended up postponing it until I gotten my own life straightened out. But I do really care for you and all, and if we had a little more time and things calmed down at Konoha . . . . I really would have liked to explore the chance to see where this bond would've taken us . . . . Hinata-chan" smiled Naruto as a tear came down his cheek.
The pale girl began to cry in both joy and sadness. The fact was there was a chance that they could be together . . . . but only if there was time. She was dead now and they had already arrived at the gates to the new world.
"I guess this is good-bye" she cried
"Hinata . . . ." cried Naruto
The pair then embraced each other.
This might have been the last time they could.
"But it isn't your time yet"
The teen ninjas looked back to a dark haired woman who seemed to be standing at the threshold of the gate. The blond ninja looked to her awe. However his companion had a different reaction.
"Okaasan!" exclaimed Hinata
The woman smiled as she stepped forward from the gate. "I knew I would meet you here if I just waited".
"But how did you know I would be here okaasan?" she then asked.
"I've been watching over you for a long time" said Hinata's mother. "I watched as you grew up, I watched as you trained hard every day, I even watched as your dashing friend broke into Inferno to rescue you". Naruto gave an awkward chuckle as the elder woman smiled to him. "But it's not your time to go yet Hinata-chan. You still have so much left to live for".
"But I used the scroll okaasan, and because of that I can't go back anymore!" said Hinata as she looked down sadly.
The elder woman raised her face as she looked into her eyes. "What you did was out of love, and you shouldn't be punished for that".
"I can't go back anymore; my spirit is too weak to make the journey" she cried.
The woman simply continued to smile. "That's why someone just has to carry you there". She then pushed her daughter into Naruto as she seemed to disappear right before his eyes.
"Where did she go?" said Naruto.
"My daughter is now resting inside your soul, don't worry she's fine".
The blond shinobi settled at the answer, but then another concern immediately rose up. "But wait how do I get back to the living world? Kakashi-sensei was my only way back and I'm not sure reverse summoning can take me back home".
"That's where I come in"
Naruto turned his attention back to the gate as his face displayed absolute surprise. "Dad?"
Minato Namikaze, the yondaime, the yellow flash of Konoha, the greatest Hokage who had ever lived walked from the gate to his son with a smile on his face. "It's good to see you again Naruto"
"Dad . . . . I have so much I want to say . . . ." he choked out.
"There is no time for that" interjected Minato. "Time will not permit you to stay in this world as this place is only meant for the dead". He then handed Naruto a peculiar looking kunai as he formed a few seals. "I'm going to send you back now to Konoha. So go and finish the mission you started".
"But wait! What happened to mom? Why isn't she here with you?" he then asked.
Minato gave a solemn expression. "You'll come to understand when the time comes for you to embrace your destiny. So don't worry, your mother is where she should be".
"Hold on! How am I supposed to put Hinata's soul back into her body?" he then exclaimed.
Hinata's mother continued to smile. "The same way in how a prince wakes up his sleeping princess" she giggled.
"Ehh!" but before he could say anything more he was pulled through time, space, and reality as he soon found himself in a vast forest.
"Where am I now?" he then asked as he looked around.
After a quick look it became quite clear where he was. Minato had transported him to the outskirts of Konoha only about two hundred meters away from the nearest gate.
"I better get going" said Naruto as he started to run off.
The blond shinobi started his mad dash towards home. Within a few minutes he arrived at the gate to find his friends there waiting for him.
He stopped as they voiced their relief of his return. "Thank goodness you're OK, but where have you been Naruto? And where is Hinata?" asked Sakura
Naruto scanned the group before looking back. "I'll explain later . . . . but where's Sasuke?"
"He left as soon as we got here. Man, he really made a blitz for it as soon as he realized he was in the heart of Konoha" explained Kiba.
"But it seemed we missed our chance to capture him" said Sai stoically.
"That's fine" as he took out his compass. "We can find him later when we need too, but now I have to go see to more pressing matters"
Naruto immediately broke out into a run towards Konoha hospital. As he ran, anxiety began to overtake him. He wasn't worried that Hinata would not be able to recover, but what he had to do to make it work. If things couldn't get any more awkward how was he going to explain that to the occupants of the room?
"I assume the mission was successful?" smirked Tsunade. In the room with her was Hinata's father and little sister who were waiting for his arrival as well as the good news.
"Yeah" smiled Naruto.
"Where is she? Where is my daughter?" then asked Hiashi as if he was glaring at him.
The boy then placed his hand over his heart. "She's right here, all I have to do now is place her soul where it belongs".
"Then what are you waiting for? Proceed already" said Hiashi.
Naruto face turned red as he looked away while scratching his cheek. "Uhh, I can't . . . ."
The head Hyuga looked to him suspiciously. "What are you talking about?"
"Well I ah . . . . I kind of need to do this ritual alone" stuttered Naruto.
"Why?" asked Tsunade. "Is there something wrong with it?"
"No! It's just . . . . complicated to do when I'm around other people" he then said.
Hanabi maintained her neutral expression. She was curious to why the blond who was usually so full of confidence was becoming so flustered before them. Well at least that's what she thought from her first impression not to mention how her sister always seemed to obsessively talk about him. But she then shrugged it off as a personality quirk.
Tsunade scanned him as well, but she honestly didn't know what could have gotten him so worked up. However the sooner he finished the less paper that had to be done. "Alright, we'll be waiting right outside. Just hurry up with what you have to do".
Naruto nodded as she along with the Hyuga's left the room. As soon as they were gone Naruto took a seat next to her as he prepared himself for the daunting task he was about to undertake.
"For some reason this doesn't seem right" he thought as he began to sweat. "I mean wasn't there any other way to put her soul back?"
Naruto's body began to shake as he prepared himself to do something that was morally (or was it ethically) wrong. "Why couldn't there be another way to do this?" as he wept inside.
I mean he didn't object to kissing, but . . . . wouldn't he be doing something against her will? Shouldn't she at least be aware that her first kiss was going to be like this? But wait was this her first kiss? Hmm, she did say he was the only guy for her so it definitely would be her first time. Doesn't that make it even more wrong that he was going to steal her virgin lips like that?
"But it has to be like this" thought Naruto as he resolved himself. "And . . . . I don't think Hinata would mind it being like this . . . ."
The young blond picked himself up as he hovered over Hinata's face. As he got closer he could feel her shallow breaths as her body was still in suspension. Little by little as he leaned in, his attention took notice of her face. Such a peaceful expression, even in such a state there was an ethereal beauty about her he had never noticed before. Her features were indeed the definition of perfection. Fare skin, a petite face, curly eyelashes, and lips that begged to be kissed.
"Hinata . . . ." he thought as he was only centimeters away from sharing their first kiss.
"I apologize, but I forgot my book in here and . . . . what are you doing?" said Hanabi as she suddenly opened the door to see the pair in the room.
"Ah, nothing" stuttered Naruto as he was now nervously sitting in his seat again.
Hanabi looked to him curiously but then mentally shrugged as she went to go pick up her book. "Please hurry, I would really like to see Hinata-neesan back on her feet again"
"Don't worry, she'll be fine after I finish the ritual" smiled Naruto nervously.
The young Hyuga found his expression to be odd, but then shook it off as she left the room closing the door behind her.
Naruto sighed, "I think fighting monsters in hell was easier than this. But I have to do this for Hinata's sake".
He then picked himself up again as he leaned forward attempting to finish the mission. "This is all for her" he thought over and over again as he inched closer to her lips. Just a moment away from contact . . . .
"Hey is Hinata OK yet? How is she doing ? . . . . Hmm?" said Sakura as she looked quizzically at the scene before her.
"It's getting there" chuckled Naruto as he began to sweat profusely from his seat.
The pink kunoichi looked to him curiously and slightly annoyed at the same time. "Then what's taking so long? Do you need some medical guidance or something?"
The blond immediately shook his head. "No ,no, no I got it covered I just need to be alone when I do this"
"Why?" she asked
"Umm because . . . . it's something that won't work with people watching" said Naruto nervously.
Sakura raised her eyebrow at the odd response. But if that's what it took then she could accept that. "Alright, hurry up then" as she left and closed the door behind her.
The blond shinobi immediately jumped up and prepared his kiss as she left wanting to get it over with before he completely lost his nerve. "I can't take anymore of this. I have to do it before another person comes through that door"
But as if fate was kicking him in the ass . . . .
"Naruto, how is my cousin doing? What is her current condition?" asked Neji as he entered the room.
"Fine, she's just fine. The ritual is almost complete" Naruto said quickly wanting the guy to leave already.
Neji looked around to see no difference in the room and sensed no unusual fluctuations of chakra. He looked back to the blond for an explanation.
"You may not be able to see it, but it is under way. But I can't finish it if people are watching" responded Naruto.
The Hyuga prodigy scrunched his eyes to compute the information he was just told. "Is it some sort of special jutsu that you need to do alone with her?"
"Yes! Yes! That's exactly it. So I need to be alone to make this technique work" exclaimed the blond.
"I see" said Neji, "please do hurry". He then turned and exited the room.
Naruto immediately put his face in front of the sleeping girl waiting to see if anyone else was going to interrupt them.
Minutes passed as no one else entered the room to which he began to calm down allowing his paranoia to subside. "Please no more interruptions, my body can't take it" he thought.
The blond slowly lowered his head as his heart began to race. As he got closer his consciousness balanced between nervousness and excitement. But there was no stopping now and it wasn't because of his want to finish the mission. Although it was for Hinata, a part of him couldn't deny that he wanted to taste her. "I wonder if we'll be able to do this again properly when she wakes up".
Finally after what seemed like hours of anticipation their lips finally met as the young Uzumaki slowly pressed onto her. "How nice . . . ."
Time passed and nothing seemed to have been happening. "Why aren't you waking up?" he asked softly.
But before he could say anymore two arms seemed to have wrapped around his head and pulled him down harshly into a very forceful kiss. His eyes widened in shock at the action. "You're awake!"
Hinata's eyes opened slightly as they seemed to be slightly glazed. "That was amazing Naruto-kun. Let's do it again".
"I don't think I was that good" chuckled Naruto as he slightly blushed.
"What are you talking about Naruto-kun" Hinata whined a bit. "We do it all the time when we're alone". The Hyuga heiress then looked around the room as a dreamy smile then began to spread on her face. "It seems like my favorite one, the hospital dream".
"Ehh? Wait Hinata! This isn't a dream this is really happening!" exclaimed Naruto as his face began to flare.
"Not a dream?" said Hinata wearily. She then shook her head. "It can't be this feels too good to not be a dream". She then dragged his head down for another kiss to which the boy had very little power to resist.
"Wait! You have to stop" Naruto panicked. But he could not say anymore as he had his mouth full with her tongue. The pale girl then dragged him onto the bed and turned over as she now laid on top of him. Hinata held his shirt tightly as she deepened her kiss with the boy still believing this was her fantasy world. Her tongue began to dance with his as she slightly moaned from how exciting the experience was.
Naruto was hanging on the edge of how incredible this feeling was. He fought very hard not to fall unconscious at the extreme advances of the delusional girl. "I never knew she was this skilled!" as he blushed deeply at how excited he was beginning to feel. "Oh god, things can't get any weirder then this".
As if fate was giving him a second round in the ass . . . . .
"Hey Naruto! Aren't you done . . . . !"
The blond ninja glanced to the side to see that everyone was now in the room.
Tsunade, Kiba, Chouji, and Lee's mouth hung open at seeing the action before them.
Tenten and Ino gave a slight blush while cupping their cheeks at seeing how bold the two behaved in a public hospital.
Sai, Shino, Shikamaru, Neji, and Hanabi looked on stoically. But strange enough the young Hyuga seemed to have been holding a camera as she took a picture of the pair doing some very provocative things.
But Naruto felt very scared as he felt the killing intent of two people in the room.
"What do you think you're doing?" asked Hiashi venomously and he began to crack his fingers.
"You better explain yourself now Naruto" Sakura added in sweetly as she cracked her knuckles.
"It's, it's, it's not what it looks like! I swear! This is all just a misunderstanding! Isn't that right Hinata? Say something!" he panicked as he attempted to get up.
"Oh Naruto-kun, please touch me there again"
'Wait! She didn't mean that. No wait!"
The room exploded into several emotions which caused chaos for a while. But one thing was for certain that everyone was overjoyed that Hinata was able to return to them. Naruto was definitely the happiest since he was able to keep his promise and save the girl who loved him so dearly.
Two men watched from the heavens at they saw the scene below. One smiled for their accomplishment while the other smiled for a bit of a different reason.
"Huu huu huu, your kid is one lucky brat to get a girl like that. I wish I could've added a scene like this into my Icha Icha series" said Jiraiya as he gave a perverted grin.
Minato sighed, "Sensei, I wish you would stop that, you know what will happen if you keep doing it".
"What are you talking about?" asked Jiraiya curiously.
"You keep peeping into the woman's bath in every country of the world. I know you can't be caught in your current state. But it's still wrong" said Minato.
"Hey you should lighten up. This is heaven right? Why can't we have a little fun up here?" smirked the frog sannin.
Then a pale slender hand appeared on the man's shoulder to which he started to feel a scary aura. He then looked back to see Hinata's mother smile creepily at him as an ominous energy surrounded her.
"Jiraiya-sama, I have the highest respect for you. However if you peek in on my Hinata-chan when she's bathing and especially during her intimate moments with Naruto-kun then I promise you that I'll not only pop out your eyes but I'll personally drag you all the way to Inferno and leave you there until the end of time. Do you understand?" she smiled sweetly.
Jiraiya cringed as he gave a nervous chuckle. "Yes of course, you've made yourself perfectly clear".
Minato sighed again as he patted his head. "Sensei, how did you even get into Paradiso?"
Author's notes: well that's the end and I hope everyone enjoyed the story. I also like to thank all you reviewers for your kind words and constructive criticism. I hope we'll be able to meet again another time. Also if you're wondering about the first time they met it was shown in anime version when they were kids.
So I thank you for your time in reading this fic and further extend my gratitude if you can review it as well.