When Naruto came to, he found himself staring into a pair of blue eyes that were just a little too much like his own. He gasped and sat up a bit quickly, throwing Himawari off him. He managed to catch her before she hit the floor, though. "Daddy!" Himawari said happily. "You're up!"
Naruto smiled at the small girl who had been sitting on his chest and staring down at him. "Yes, I'm awake now, Hima," he said back, using the nickname he had heard Hinata use for the girl.
Himawari smiled, and Naruto felt his heart melting. She was just too cute! Himawari asked then, "Why are you here, though, Daddy? Shouldn't you be at the office?"
As she was asking this, much to Naruto's relief, Hinata came into the room. "Your daddy isn't feeling well," she told the girl. "Kakashi is taking care of his duties until he can get better."
Naruto smiled gratefully at Hinata. Himawari turned back to her father. "What's the matter, Daddy?" she asked.
Naruto felt his heart melting all over again at how adorable Himawari was. "I'll be fine, sweetie. Nothing you need to worry about."
Himawari took that in and decided that her dad would be fine in time. She made up her mind then and there to just enjoy him being at home with her. "So, does this mean you'll be at home with us until then?" she asked. Naruto nodded. "YAY!" she yelled out. Naruto just smiled until Himawari ran out of the room.
Naruto turned to Hinata. "What was that about?" he asked.
Hinata giggled. "She's probably going to get something so you can play with her," she said back. "You're almost never here, usually. You're so busy with your duties as Hokage."
Before Naruto could respond to that, Himawari came back into the room. She had indeed gone after something for Naruto to play with her. She was carrying a rubber ball that, if Naruto could remember it, would have reminded the blond of training to learn the Rasengan. As it was, he just smiled as he began to play catch with his daughter.
Hinata smiled at the two. "I'm going to go make some breakfast. We need to get Himawari to the Academy," she said.
Naruto chuckled as he saw his daughter deflate a bit. Throwing the small ball to her, he asked Hinata, "What are we going to do after that?"
Hinata answered, "Oh, I'm sure we'll come up with something." That said, she left the room.
Naruto smiled down at his daughter, who still looked a bit depressed after the Academy comment. "You don't care for the Academy, huh?" he asked her.
Himawari looked up. "No, I hate it. Classes are so boring. Shino-sensei just drones on and on about stuff, and it's hard to even stay awake sometimes," she said, her voice betraying obvious frustration.
Naruto took in that little revelation. "Shino is your sensei now, huh?" he said thoughtfully. Himawari nodded. Naruto chuckled. "That...seems oddly appropriate somehow. He always did like the sound of his own voice," the blond said.
Himawari tossed the ball back to her father. "He certainly talks a lot, if that's what you mean," she said back. Naruto nodded. "It's not like I'm not interested in class, it's just...he's so dry."
Naruto chuckled. "Yeah...Shino always was like that. You'll get used to it...or you'll go crazy," he said with a playful wink at his daughter. As he was saying this, Naruto was rubbing the ball in his hands without really realizing it.
Himawari chuckled at her father's comment, then said, "I guess I might as well go get ready. Mama will kill me if I'm not ready in time." That said, the girl bolted from the room.
Naruto was barely aware the girl left. He was now focusing intently on the ball between his hands. "This feels...so familiar," he said quietly. Naruto never noticed when Hinata peeked in on him. She saw he was deep in thought, and she left him alone.
Instead of interrupting her husband, Hinata went to make sure Himawari was finished getting ready. The two Uzumaki girls went downstairs together and ate, leaving Naruto to his thoughts for the moment. "Is Daddy okay?" Himawari asked as they sat down to eat.
Hinata chuckled at her daughter. Himawari really was just like Naruto in some ways. "He's fine, sweetie," Hinata said with a smile. "He's just having some trouble with his memory right now. So if he says something weird, don't worry about it too much."
Himawari giggled. "Daddy said Shino-sensei likes the sound of his own voice," she said. "I thought that was a little weird."
Hinata looked at her daughter in surprise; she remembered distinctly when Naruto had first come to that particular conclusion about her former teammate. It certainly wasn't before his fight with Gaara during their first Chunin Exams 18 years ago. Was Naruto regaining his memories?
In fact, at the exact moment that Hinata was thinking this, Naruto was staring intently at the rubber ball Himawari had left with him. He had spent several minutes rolling it back and forth between his hands, and now he found himself almost unable to take his eyes off it. He felt like there was something he just had to do with this ball, but he couldn't seem to remember exactly what it was.
Naruto continued to roll the ball back and forth between his hands slowly. He didn't realize he was channeling chakra into the ball as he did. Without consciously realizing it, Naruto was rolling the ball faster...and faster...and faster.
Hinata was just about to take another bite of breakfast when she and Himawari both jumped as a loud BANG rang out from above them. "What in the world was that?!" Himawari asked.
It took Hinata a moment to realize where that sound had originated. When she did, she jumped to her feet. "Naruto," she said simply as she sprinted for the stairs.
Moments later, Hinata and Himawari were standing in the doorway to Naruto and Hinata's room. Naruto was laying flat on his back on the bed, where Himawari had left him sitting, holding the rubber ball. All around the room there were shards of the ball laying on the floor, on the bed, on the dresser, everywhere.
Naruto sat up slowly when he realized he wasn't alone. He took in the two most important females in his life and their worried expressions, then he just laughed.
Hinata was shocked when her husband started laughing, but then she started to get annoyed. "What is so funny?" she asked him, one hand on her hip.
Naruto took a breath, still chuckling. "I remember," he said back. "I remember Pervy Sage teaching me Rasengan!"
Hinata gasped, her arms falling limp at her sides. "You...remember? How?" she asked, her voice flat from pure shock. She wasn't sure how to react to that.
Naruto shrugged. "I have no idea, but I was just sitting here playing with that ball, and all of a sudden, I just had to pop it with chakra. When I started doing it, the memory came back. I don't know how or why, but I remembered."
Hinata smiled. "I don't know, but I'm certainly not complaining. At least you're regaining memories," she said. "We should get Hima to the Academy now, then we can go tell Ino and Lady Tsunade about this."
Naruto nodded. "We should tell Pervy Sage, too!" he said, his voice full of excitement.
Hinata sucked on her teeth. She really didn't want to be the one to tell Naruto his teacher had died, but she didn't see any way around it. "We can't tell him, Naruto," she said. Naruto looked at her, his eyes full of questions. "He died...a long time ago."
Naruto gasped, the shock of this hitting him harder than he had thought it would. Hinata came to him and wrapped her arms around him. Naruto let himself be held, and he just let the hurt flow through him and allowed Hinata to comfort him. It felt...good to have someone be there for him for once. He wrapped an arm around Hinata in turn.
After a moment, Naruto collected himself. "Well, let's go, we can't make Himawari late," he said. Hinata smiled and gave him a squeeze. She knew he was trying to hide his emotions, but she wasn't going to push him on it.
Himawari grumbled, but within a couple minutes, the three Uzumakis were on the street heading for the Academy.
After dropping off Himawari at the Academy, Naruto and Hinata made their way to the Hokage's office. Naruto spent most of the trip marveling at how different the village was, and Hinata spent the time telling him a little about what had happened in the last few years. Naruto was taking all of this surprisingly well, Hinata thought, but she was also aware, more than most people would have been, that Naruto could very well be hiding his true feelings on the subject. Hinata had seen the blond hide his feelings one time too many times to take his reactions at face value this time.
When they arrived at the Hokage building, Naruto made his first comment. "I guess it's true," he said. "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
It took Hinata a moment to realize what he meant, and when she did, she had to giggle. "Yeah, I guess that is true enough," she said. "It helps that the security seals tend to keep this place pretty safe."
The couple made their way to the Hokage's office. Stopping at the door, Hinata knocked. She chuckled at herself. "It feels weird to knock on this door," she said quietly, not intending Naruto to hear her.
"Why's that?" the blond asked.
Hinata jumped and blushed guiltily. Of course Naruto would hear her. "When you were in there, I would just walk in," she said back.
Naruto chuckled. "I can't imagine that you would ever be an unwelcome surprise," he said without thinking. Realizing what he just said, the blond blushed.
Hinata patted Naruto's shoulder softly. "Thanks, Naruto," she said simply, leaving it at that.
Before Naruto could say anything else, the couple heard a voice from inside telling them to enter, so they did. Hinata wasn't surprised to find both Tsunade and Kakashi in the office. "Ah, Naruto, good to see you, and you as well, Hinata," Kakashi said with an eye-smile directed at both of them. "What can we do for you two today?"
Hinata smiled. "Nothing, actually, we have some news," she said back.
Tsunade looked up at this. "What's happened?" she asked, her voice hopeful but also worried.
"I remembered!" Naruto announced happily. His announcement caused a brief uproar, after which it took Naruto and Hinata a few minutes to bring Kakashi and Tsunade up to speed on the morning's breakthrough.
After considering what the young couple had told him, Kakashi said, "I guess it's appropriate that someone like Naruto would regain memory from redoing his training." Tsunade chuckled and nodded her agreement. Kakashi pondered a moment, then said, "We should consult with Kurama, see if he can tell us anything else."
Naruto nodded; he was surprised to find he had gotten used to the idea of the fox being a good guy over the course of the last couple days. Closing his eyes, the blond reopened them a moment later, revealing the red eyes of the Tailed Beast.
"Ah, hello, again," the deep voice of Kurama said from Naruto. "What can I do for you all today?"
Tsunade, who had been mostly silent so far, was the first to respond to this. "We just heard about Naruto having regained some memory. We were just wondering how far it went, and whether it was a fluke or if more was coming."
Kurama gave a toothy grin. "I can honestly say, I have no idea," he said back. Chuckling a bit at the irritated looks thrown his way at this, he continued, "All I know is the boy accidentally redid his training, and it let him remember that. He remembers you now, Tsunade, and Jiraiya, of course, but his memory still cuts off rather abruptly around the time the Uchiha left the village. I'm not sure if he remembers the boy left or not, but he certainly doesn't remember anything after that."
Hinata was the first one to come up with a response to that. "Thank you for taking such good care of him, Kurama. We all appreciate it," she said with a slight bow.
Kurama smiled at her. "No problem," he said back. "I'll let him back out now. Let's hope this wasn't a fluke; maybe we can get more of his memory back."
When Naruto regained control of himself, the four conversed briefly about possibly trying the same technique with later things, but they all decided it wasn't the time yet. Naruto started to complain, but Tsunade said, "I know you always push things way more than you should, Naruto, but if you push this, you might lose all of your memory for good. We don't know exactly what's going on with this yet." That silenced any complaints either Naruto or Hinata might have had, and soon the young couple was heading back to their home.
Upon arriving at home, Naruto was faced with the reality of having three hours of just him and Hinata. For some reason, being alone with her for that long made him extremely nervous. Naruto supposed it had something to do with the fact that, the more time he spent with Hinata, the more aware he became of just how beautiful the girl was.
Hinata opened the door to their home, then realized Naruto was hesitating a few steps from the door. "What's the matter, Naruto?" she asked, turning to look at him.
Naruto took a breath. "Nothing, I'm fine," he said, but he still didn't take the next step toward the door, and he was looking everywhere but at Hinata.
Hinata sighed. "Naruto, I know you, something's wrong. What is it?" she asked again.
Naruto sighed. "All right, fine, I'm just nervous about having a long time with just you and me," he said. "I don't know what I'm afraid of, but being alone with you for a long time is making me really nervous."
Hinata giggled, then came to the man she loved so dearly and wrapped an arm around his shoulders. "Well, you know what they say. The best way to overcome your fears is to face them head-on," she said with a teasing glint in her eyes.
Naruto gulped. "I know," he said softly. Having Hinata this close to him was only making him even more nervous.
Hinata gently guided her husband into their home. "Let's get to facing those fears," she said, winking at him.
A/N: Yeah, I know, a bit of a cliffhanger there. You'll have to come back next time to see where I'm going with this. Hope you all enjoyed this one. See you next time!