Hey there everyone! It's been quite the hiatus, I know! Thanks to the lovely people who have sent messages asking how I'm doing and for the update of this story. Let's just say I've been super busy "adulting". Other than that, I'm doing great. Hope you enjoy this next chapter. Thank you so much for the continued reviews! Being a writer means I'm naturally very critical of my writing and stories. Reading your reviews encourages me to continue & makes me realize what's most important is the love we all have for these characters & the inspirations we get from them! As always, enjoy & feel free to share your thoughts! :)
The room had a dim setting to it, courtesy of the glowing candles giving off a subdued and romantic aura. The centre table, usually bare, was covered with a beige clothe and a dining set that probably did not belong to Naruto. The cutlery, plates and glasses, though plain white, looked much too fancy for his taste. The heiress imagined he probably borrowed or bought it for the sole purpose of this surprise. There was a lavender bouquet of flowers at the centre of the beautifully organized table, creating a picturesque setting from out of a novel.
Hinata had yet to voice her emotions, so choked up was she by the scene before her. Sensing she would need a few more minutes to gather her thoughts, the blonde male grabbed her hand and led them towards the table, pulling back Hinata's chair in a display of chivalry, to which she accepted by taking a seat. He then sat across from her.
"Last time you stayed over, we fought and ate ramen for dinner. Not exactly the night of your dreams." Naruto broke the silence.
Hinata was finally forced out of her daze to defend him from his own self accusation, "I-It's okay Naruto-kun, couples fight. No relationship is perfect. "
"I said some things I didn't mean. Jealousy can be ugly like that."
"We worked things out, so no more talking about it moving forward." she replied gently.
He nodded, "You're right." then added, "The flowers are for you. I've wrapped them in a bouquet for when you need to take them home."
It was a huge assortment of red and white roses, elegantly put together and wrapped. The heiress imagined her boyfriend had sought the expertise of Ino to achieve the artistry.
"I love them. They're so beautiful. I'll put them in a vase by my bed." she leaned forward slightly to enjoy the scent.
When she pulled back and looked up, Hinata was met with intense blue orbs. Lost in them for a moment, she quietly voiced, "T-his is the sweetest thing anyone's e-ever done for me," referring to the decorated dinner he had set, "I'm so happy, I have no words."
The young man she loved stood and took the few steps between them to be by her side. Before Hinata could process his intent, Naruto's lips were on hers. A soft and smouldering kiss that had her tilting her head back for more, while he leaned forward to accommodate the position. She was holding onto his shoulders before she knew it and he responded by wrapping his arms around her and exploring the warmth of her mouth with a need that made her want to skip dinner altogether. When they parted, Hinata was breathing deeply and Naruto planted more kisses down neck.
"And you make me happier than I've ever been." he whispered against her skin. His hot breath made her shiver a little.
He pulled away to gather his bearings. The heiress could feel the effort it took for him to let go of her and return to his seat across the table. She was deeply flattered by his yearning to be close to her and it helped elevate her confidence. Something she should have in abundance. However, Hinata did not see herself the way others saw her. Or rather, she was oblivious to the effect her beauty had on others.
"So…I made dinner?" He announced. It wasn't a question, but was posed as though it was. She understood his hesitation. Naruto could not cook. He was horrible at it; ramen being the only exception. So the indigo haired girl tried not to sound surprised.
"What did you make?"
"Fried rice?" Again with the questioning tone.
Hinata giggled, "You don't sound too sure."
"I wanted to make something fancy. But I'm not exactly a chef, so I got worried I'd ruin it or burn anything too complicated. Fried rice seemed simple enough, so I did that instead."
"I'd love to eat what you cooked Naruto-kun." she encouraged, genuinely meaning it.
He gave her a handsome grin that had her heart race a little before heading over to the kitchen counter with their plates. The male returned with both dishes served. It was still warm, if the soft fumes were any indication. Which meant he'd really just finished cooking less than an hour ago. She was beyond overwhelmed and appreciative for the efforts he went through, knowing he could have just ordered something from a fancy restaurant. Regardless of the outcome in taste, she would cherish this far more than if they had eaten out.
When he hadn't moved from his seat, Hinata realized he was waiting for her to take a bite.
So she did; chewing slowly.
Seconds went by in silence.
And frankly, it was very salty. So salty the heiress fought to keep a grimace off her face.
"N-naruto-kun, t-this is good." she voiced after a few difficult bites; trying to keep her best poker face on.
"Yeah?" He smiled, unsure.
"Oh yes." she said with too much eagerness. He became suspicious at her enthusiasm.
"I mean it. The rice is, um, really well...seasoned." she told him. And by well seasoned, she meant drowned in so much salt that they might both get high blood pressure after this meal.
"Well seasoned." he repeated, raising a brow; the raven girl nodded quickly.
"Are you sure? I won't be get hurt if you don't like it."
She nodded her head, with eyes so huge he knew instantly she was lying. Yet, he decided to play along and see how far she would keep this up.
"That's a relief." he grabbed her plate, "let me serve you some more."
The panic in her eyes made it difficult for the blonde male to contain his laugh, but he managed.
"Wait, you just served me. Save some for later." she quickly blurted.
"Nahhh. This is all for you. I'll make sure your plate is filled to the brim." And indeed, when he returned the plate, it was a mountain of rice.
"Oh." she said, eyeing the food and blinking very quickly.
Naruto thought he might pass out from how hard he was holding back his amusement.
"Enjoy." he said, taking a bite of the food for the first time himself.
And he nearly choked on it; it was so damn salty, the fact Hinata was actually attempting to eat it was both extremely hilarious and endearing.
As she continued to eat, Hinata struggled to maintain a smiled through the taste and caught the jinchuriki watching her very closely.
He bent over and couldn't hold his laughter any longer. It was a low rumble that emitted through his chest and if it had been a different circumstance, she would have focused on how much she liked the sound. However, it was clearly at her expense, so she placed her chopsticks on the table with indignation. That amused Naruto even more.
"You added more rice on purpose, didn't you." she realized.
At this point, the muscles in his stomach were hurting from how hard he was laughing. But it was contagious and Hinata found herself laughing too. Hers was a feminine sound that had a bashfulness to it.
For a few minutes, they tried to regain their breathing.
"Hinata." he paused to calm himself, "were you really going to sit there and eat it all?"
She smiled in amusement, "I was trying my best to. But I think I might have fainted at some point!"
Naruto laughed harder for a few minutes before settling down a little.
"Don't think I'll ever meet anyone nicer than you." he chuckled, shaking his head.
The heiress laughed, "I'll take that as a compliment. So, what happens now with the rice?"
"It's garbage. It tasted saltless when I starting cooking it so I probably added too much to give it flavour. Sorry, I really tried."
She giggled, "It's okay. This is still the loveliest thing anyone's done for me. The fact you went through the efforts of cooking a whole meal, with little experience, means a lot. Thank you."
"Well, guess it's the intention that counts." he replied sheepishly, "So, let's do take out?"
"Sure." she smiled.
Naruto served them water so they could drink away the taste of the rice.
They ordered dinner from a particularly popular restaurant and enjoyed the meal amidst candle lights and the beautifully made table. As they conversed, Hinata happily noted her shyness had diminished over the weeks and although Naruto spoke with the confidence that naturally surrounded him, she held the conversation pretty well and would only stutter sometimes, which she blamed on the intense look in his eyes and his suggestive remarks.
When they were done, the heiress helped him clean up and they later found themselves making out on his couch for what felt like hours. His arms roamed every curve on her body. She was freed from clothing not long after, dress and bra discarded somewhere, and he tasted and smothered every inch of her bare skin with his mouth. He buried his face between her legs and it felt so good Hinata saw stars behind her closed lids. When all they could both think about was skin on skin, the blonde male took the heiress to his bed and made love to her.
They lay tangled in each other's limbs under the bedsheets an hour later, the blonde male fast asleep. She was exhausted from their earlier and vigorous love making. So was he, if the quiet snoring was any indication. But there was something the heiress had to say before slumber took over.
"Naruto." she called softly.
He did not respond.
"Naruto-kun." she repeated, slightly louder and shook him gently.
"Hmm?" was his sleepy response, eyes slowly opening to gaze at her.
"If a-anything happens the day of the attack…and I don't make it." she paused, gaining the male's full attention, "I want you to know that-
"Don't." he cut her off; his drowsiness quickly slipping away at what she was about to say.
They were silent for a long time. Naruto was now fully awake, cerulean eyes gazing attentively at her.
"You won't do anything to risk your life." he told her; and there was a seriousness to his tone that left no room for discussion.
"Then it's only fair you promise me the same." she whispered, looking up at him.
Their eyes met in the moon lit room; blue to Lavender.
"Promise me." she repeated with more urgency this time.
"I promise." he finally relented.
The heiress's gaze dropped to his lips and she kissed him, feeling relief.
"Hey." his voice drew her eyes back up, "I can't live without you. I won't live without you."
There was a warning to it. A discreet way of saying; if she did not make it during the attack, he'd make sure he didn't either. She immediately felt frustration rise within her.
"Don't say things like that Naruto." the distress rising just as quickly, "you're more important to the village than I'll ever be. Konoha needs you."
He let out a scoffing sound to that, implying that his importance in comparison to her life was irrelevant.
She sat up to look down at him, "Wait. Did you just tell me that to make sure I'd keep my promise? That's not fair."
He shrugged indifferently, "I know my life is more important to you, than yours. So, if you understand your life will directly affect my desire to remain alive, then you'll definitely keep your promise and not risk anything."
She shook her head in disbelief.
"I c-could say the same thing, you know. Would you be content knowing that your death would lead to mine? Wouldn't you want me to continue to live despite losing you?" the heiress used his argument against him.
Unable to dispute her, he remained silent.
"You'd want me to live, even if I lost you, wouldn't you?"
After several seconds, he relented, "I would."
"So we've reached a compromise."
Bed-talk typically did not include the topic of death; but both shinobi fully understood that as long as they were in active duty as jonin, their lives were for the taking. Unfortunately, it tasted a lot more bitter with the involvement of love. Being in love meant there was much to lose and the couple realized this conversation was inevitable. They had to accept that the death of either one of them was a reality for every dangerous mission to come. And it was best to have the discussion of what would happen following that.
The jinchuriki sighed, "It's just...hard. Imagining a life without you. Every minute, every day that would go by would only remind me of what we could have had. I'd see you in my dreams, only to wake up to the nightmare of you gone. And honestly, the thought of ending it all would be a relief. Than having to...live without you." he paused to control the overwhelming set of emotions that were currently brewing.
Hinata herself, sat quietly, willing herself not to cry.
"But you're right." he continued, " That would be selfish. Especially knowing that I would want you to continue on, even if you lost me. It's only fair that I should choose life. And endure the pain of losing you, to keep my promise to you."
The heiress gently held his face in her soft palms; whispering, "And I'll do the same, for you."
He smiled sadly, "Good. Besides, whether you first or I go first, we'll eventually be reunited again. Makes death not sound so bad after all."
It was then that Hinata truly understood that Naruto loved her as much as she loved him; if not more. The epiphany was surreal. And she suddenly wanted to kiss him again. So she did.
He responded immediately. Within minutes, he was on top of her. She gasped and held onto him. When he picked up the pace, she wound her legs around him like a vice. When his thrusts became harder and precise, she left passionate marks on his back with her nails and a series of soft moans escaped her; completely surrendering to the moment. When he released himself deep within her, she reached her peak as well, taking everything he could give.
"I didn't know loving you could be so much." he whispered in her neck. It was more than he thought anyone has ever had in this life. More than he deserved, he thought.
"Neither did I." she whispered.
They fell asleep to the quiet breathing of the other.
At dawn, the couple woke up, got ready and were at the Hokage tower before the rest of the town had truly risen. On the Hokage's table was a miniature version of the Hyuuga district. The model was an exact replica of the real buildings in that area of the Leaf. The team of seven Jonin consisting of: Naruto, Sasuke, Neji, Kiba, Hinata, TenTen and Sai, stood around this table with the Hokage seated behind it. Kurenai was standing by his side.
TenTen, Sai and Kiba had yet to be debriefed on the mission details. The rest of the group had found themselves involved at some point, courtesy of Sasuke, who was responsible for discovering the nature of the mission and informing Naruto. It didn't escape the Hokage that it was forbidden for Leaf shinobi to investigate other missions that were not assigned to them. Which explained why the silver male addressed this almost immediately.
"Before we begin, I must address the elephant in the room." he began, "that is the broken policy committed by you, Sasuke."
All eyes turned to the Uchiha, who looked completely indifferent by the accusation.
"You cannot spy on your fellow comrades to gain information on an ongoing mission that you are not part of. That is a direct offence to my orders." the copy-inn continued.
"That's a very heavy assumption to make Kakashi." Sasuke retorted, not bothering to use any terms of respect normally given to the Hokage, "To insinuate I knew Hinata's strange behaviour was due to a mission. It may have just been my curiosity about her sudden and suspicious romance with the Rain shinobi. Which somehow led me to discover that it was a mission."
The rest of the team all wore the sort of expression you had when you thought someone had made a fair point.
The older male smiled, "And do tell me why Hinata's dating life was of such an interest to you?"
"Naruto happened to think he was involved with her." the sharingan user explained, "And that conflicts with what Kiba and I saw when we walked into her date with the Fuma."
The heiress in question silently stood in embarrassment. She disliked that she was a part of the topic and wished she could forget the day the Uchiha and Inuzuka had caught her with Kenji.
Kakashi raised a brow. He was no idiot. He knew the only reason Sasuke would use his precious time on something other than himself is because he knew the "date" was the tip of the iceberg to a mission. However, unless Sasuke came clean, there was no way of proving it. And he knew the Uchiha could not be intimidated into revealing the truth.
"When you found out about the mission, it was not your place to inform Naruto."
It was the blonde male to intervene, "Sasuke was only doing what any friend would do. He warned me to keep the information to myself and wait the mission out. Which was the reasonable thing to do. But as you all know, I didn't."
They had reached an impasse. Naruto and Sasuke would have each other's backs come heaven and hell.
"Consider this a warning to you both. Moving forward, if you ever follow up a mission that is not your own and without my permission, there will be severe consequences. Understood?"
They both nodded; knowing with certainty that their former sensei was being absolutely serious.
Pleased, the Hokage returned his attention to the display on his table; everyone's attention followed his and the miniature replica before them.
"Sai has built a live imitation of the Hyuuga district. We will use this to determine everyone's designated position throughout the day of the ceremony. You will be separated in pairs, with the exception of Hinata, who will have clan matters to attend to. If she doesn't go about her tasks, it will look suspicious. However, she will be in constant communication with the rest of the team, using these ear devices we are providing you with."
On cue, Kurenai discarded a set of ear pieces to each shinobi. They passed it around until everyone had his and hers.
"Once in the ear, it has an on/off button. You will keep it on all day. There is no visible mouthpiece for you to speak in, as that would be too obvious. The earpieces have the technology to pick up on anything you say and all surrounding noises. Therefore, speak freely when communicating, without being overly noticeable of course. Understood." she informed.
They all nodded in affirmation.
"Kiba and Sai will be north of the district, monitoring the guests and activities there. TenTen and Neji will be south of the district, roaming the perimeter as discreetly as possible while engaging in the ceremony to reduce suspicion. Naruto and Sasuke will be in the centre of the district. You're both to act as invitees, so behave as such by striking conversation with the guests to give a sense of normalcy. Hinata, as the Hokage mentioned, will be doing whatever it is she is designated to do for the event. Hyuuga Hiashi has been informed about the threat and the precautions we're taking to ensure everyone's safety. Do you have any questions?" Kurenai asked.
The team looked to each other and there seemed to be no inquiries.
"Naruto and Sasuke. Considering you will be at the centre of the district, where the crowd will be mostly concentrated, it is likely that Kenji will be there. Keep a strict eye on him and report his whereabouts at all times." the Hokage instructed, "Meanwhile Kiba and Sai, you will watch for the cloaked woman at the entrance. She will attempt to infiltrate the district at some point. Report anyone suspicious immediately. Neji and TenTen, you will watch the shinobi that have been placed to guard the ceremony."
"Forgive me Hokage-sama. But why would we spy on the shinobi guarding the event?" TenTen questioned.
"Neji can explain this." the copy-nin prompted, to which the male Hyuuga glanced at TenTen, to reply.
"In the earlier days of the mission, I followed the cloaked woman past the village borders. We later realized the perimeter was not guarded during her exit and entrances into Konoha. Meaning the guards have been letting her in on purpose."
The weapon mastered now understood, "So they are working with her. And if the same people are guarding the Hyuuga event, then they are in on it too. Pretending to be on our side but can turn on us at anytime?"
Neji nodded at his lover's words.
Following the quick exchange, Kurenai resumed detailing information.
"The Hokage will only attend the evening part of the day, along with the Kazekage, who was invited months ago and accepted. We are deliberating whether to uninvite him given the new threat level."
"And?" Naruto's interest perked at the mention of his good friend from the Sand Village.
"It's too short noticed, yet we don't want to implicate another Kage in a Leaf conflict. What would you suggest, given your close relationship with him?" Kakashi inquired.
"It would be a little strange for Konoha to suddenly uninvite him. If we do, we'll have to tell Gaara exactly why." Naruto replied.
"That would mean sharing intel about our mission to a foreign leader, which is not advisable. What if the message gets in the hands of the wrong person? It would jeopardize our plans and safety." Sai interrupted, expressionless as ever.
The jinchuriki frowned slightly at his ANBU teammate, "He's our ally. Gaara would never betray us."
"I don't question his loyalty. We don't know where the cloaked woman is from. She might be from the Sand. And has clearly gone rogue. Which means the Kazekage wouldn't know how many of his people follow her or are part of this. One of his trusted men could learn of our mission from him and share it with the woman. This is hypothetical but it's bad practice to share information about a mission."
"Fine. So we don't uninvite him. Threat or no threat, Gaara is fully capable of protecting himself either way." Naruto responded.
Kurenai looked at the silver-nin and he nodded.
"That concludes the briefing of this mission. I believe in all of your abilities and skills. Not only are you some of our top fighters, you all have an unbreakable bond." Kakashi reverberated, "This sort of trust is something that can only be developed over time and after many battles fought alongside each other. This is the advantage you have over most enemies. So what do you say team? How about we show these bastards what Konoha is made of."
"Hai!" TenTen, Hinata and Sai responded.
"There's no holding back," Naruto agreed, "what'd you say Sasuke?"
His best friend smirked dangerously, "I'm going for blood."
"Fuck yeah!" Kiba exclaimed, punching his right hand into his left palm, "It's been over a month since I've gotten some action."
Akamaru howl's of agreement resounded across the room and the sound could be heard down the hallways of the Hokage tower; signalling the wrath of battle on the way.