I know it's been a very long time now. I appreciate every review and story follow, and story favorite which is what stops me from forgetting this story and struggle to finish it. This is a short chapter, it's been almost ready since I posted chapter 12 but I wasn't sure of a few elements. Hope you will enjoy and expect to see the rest soon!

Chapter 13

They had slept in a tight embrace. The bed was huge and spacious, but they had felt no need to explore that space. Sasuke had her in his arms and just didn't want to let go. Once she had fallen asleep, the alcohol probably helping to that effect, he'd allowed himself to slumber as well. There was no doubt in his mind anymore. He loved her. He knew he did. Hinata had believed in him, been there for him and she was just pure innocence that even he could not taint. Or at least he hoped he wouldn't. The thought of ruining her made him shiver with despair.

What was he doing? His blood-filled world never should've mixed with her white one. Would everything he touched be ruined? Disgraced? This was no way to atone. He couldn't take her down. He just couldn't.

"Sasuke-kun?" Hinata's sweet sleepy voice roused him from his thoughts. He'd unconsciously moved away from her body and she felt him. Her hands grasped the front of his shirt, searching for his presence. She wanted to sleep a while more, to stay close to him some more minutes.

"I need to go to my room, Hinata." He whispered gently in her ear. Her grasp reluctantly let go of him and turned around. He sighed; he really didn't want to leave. But he felt he should. The point of this pilgrimage was to atone. To do the right thing. After everything, it didn't feel like he had the right to ask anything from her.

He kissed her cheek, absorbing every moment. Maybe once he was a better man. One who did not succumb to his desires like he'd done in the past and taken what he wanted. If it wasn't too late. If he wanted to at least be part of her life, now that he realized that that's what he desires, he needed to try harder. He couldn't rely on her to always be his beacon. His journey had only just started.

After a couple of days in Suna, Sasuke's hawk finally came back with news from Konoha. They were directing them to three missions near the both countries border and all needed expedited interventions. Hinata hadn't seen much of Sasuke those days after their night together. Thinking about it still made her blush. But Temari had occupied her with a city tour and Gaara had allowed her access to the medics compound where she could train. The Hyuuga heir was very grateful and enjoyed their generosity, and the so-needed distraction.

"We'll be taking our leave immediately." She announced to the Kazekage, taking the courage to look into his eyes. He was even more imposing with his ceremonial attire and surrounded by officials. "We've received word from our Hokage and need to attend affairs as fast as possible." It was the usual request for authorization to depart from their hospitality.

Sasuke only focused onwards, itching to move already. He'd always hated all formalities but from his childhood had learnt the importance of it. He was presently trying to re-engrave those teachings.

Before leaving the room, he turned his head around to stare one last time into the green eyes of one of his former enemies. Gaara understood what he meant. He would make good of the opportunity he'd been given. The most powerful man in Suna allowed himself to smile. Another soul had been given hope.

Sasuke barely allowed for them to rest. Hinata wondered if it was her imagination, but he seemed to be putting more distance between them. No more teasing, no more approaches. Both had always been the silent type; however, it was starting to bother even her, yet she never dared to break the silence. She just accepted it. This was his journey; she actually had no place to say anything.

Despite that feeling, she noticed some small attentions. He always took the first shift and let her sleep in a bit more, then he'd wake up on the time he wanted to leave not allowing her to do the same. He'd give her a slightly bigger portion, which took her some meals to notice and finally protest. He shrugged his shoulder as if "if you say so" and stopped it. He didn't ask for her help training anymore, and she knew he did after every sunrise when they were lodged in the villages. They'd had no more issues with rooms, each always got their own. She'd never seen shinobi accomplish missions so efficiently. Her team was one of the best in tracking but her eyes were enough to provide Sasuke enough information. He quickly analyzed every situation, could think like the enemy and neutralize them. She'd barely had a fight, he only ever let her take care of the small fry.

There were other changes. He was colder towards her however his head was cooler. It'd seem like he'd finally found his determination to steer his emotions on the right path. She didn't have to stop him anymore, and on the last mission she trusted that he wouldn't use any excessive force or extreme measures if not needed. Hinata would catch him at the end of mission in deep thought, looking at their captured prisoners before noticing her stare. He'd pretend it was nothing and would then start writing his report.

Their second mission had been to put a stop to bandits pillaring small villages one after the other. It had been hard to find them. The mission was simple: execution. The shinobis followed them back to their hideout and took them out with Sasuke's strategy. He'd also found a young girl one of them had kept prisoner. Once Hinata saw him carry her out, she'd rushed to apply first aid and then all the medical ninjutsu she'd learnt. Unfortunately, she was still a beginner and the injuries were far too great. Those bandits had taken turns torturing her and abusing her in ways it made Hinata's spine shiver.

Before they could reach the nearest village, the girl died in Hinata's arms after the deeper wound in her chest re-opened. Before dying, she had thanked her saviors and told them she was glad to at least go knowing her captors had been served justice.

Hinata clung to her body. Her name had been Elise. Sasuke had managed to keep his head for the whole thing and let her do as she wanted but he'd seen Hinata get attached and had feared this outcome.

"Hinata, let go. I'll find a place to bury her." Hinata stared at Elise's empty eyes. She cursed herself. If only she'd been a medic-nin, a real one. If only she'd been good at something. "Hinata." Sasuke covered her hand with his own and lifted it so her eyes would until they met his own. She bore a vacant gaze, her mind trying to stop the information from reaching her brain.

"She was only fifteen." Hinata managed to whisper.

"I know." He said. He tried to separate her from the now lifeless body. "At least she died knowing someone cared. We'll find a place where she can rest in peace." He argued.

Hinata had trained and managed now to keep her emotions at bay during missions. Nonetheless, her heart was too big for her own good and once she didn't have to anymore, she was exposed. She'd care too much. Sasuke had learned how she worked.

He undertook a stern voice. "Hinata, you are a shinobi. What do you have to do right now?" His tone reminded her of her father's. It woke her up from her trance. Her eyes regained some color. Sasuke didn't like to force her like this but that was the only way he'd found to help her.

The Hyuuga, now bearing more than usual her family traits, got up and closed Elise's eyes. Right beside the body, she started to dig. Sasuke helped.

Once they were done, they both stared at the grave. Sasuke touched her arm gently, telling her 'It's okay now'. Hinata's eyes teared up immediately and released all the sadness that had welled up inside of her. Despite his efforts to distance themselves, the Uchiha knew she shouldn't feel alone. So he put his arm around her shoulder and sat down with her. Hinata raised both her arms, hiding her face behind them as she sobbed. He caressed her back and they stayed until she calmed down and fell asleep on him. She had feared he'd think she was weak and too emotional, but Sasuke had been understanding. She was grateful he'd been there for her.

Slowly the distance started to make her heart ache. Like a small rift that was growing. Their night in Suna had her believe they were growing closer, and during the night of the burial she thought they were developing the intimacy they had started years ago but never fully understood. The Hyuuga girl wasn't sure of what it was but she had decided to let herself go and see what it was. And after a fortnight, she was trying to convince herself that everything had just been a dream, or a misunderstanding on her part. Maybe she had just been a toy thing. An occupation. And once he saw he had won her over, there's was no more challenge, no interest? Rationally, she knew him well enough to know he wasn't that kind of man. Emotionally, she felt so rejected her heart shrunk in her chest when he'd pull away from her.

On their way back from their sixth and last mission, her distraught made her clumsy and she stumbled once more on a tree root. He had immediately reacted and caught her, but as quickly as he touched her, he let her go. She didn't realize how much she had longed to feel his touch again. Without a word he turned around and kept walking straight ahead, his face expressionless. Hinata couldn't help it. Tears of frustration rose to her eyes. Kunoichi's were trained to hide and control their emotions when needed. But she didn't need to at that moment, she'd had enough.

"You could've said something at least." She accused.

Sasuke turned back to look at her and was confused at her reaction.

"Said what about what?"

"If you regretted what happened. At least make things clear since we are to keep travelling together." She breathed in, trying to sound rational. She felt ugly, rejected and useless. And stupid. She needed to shut up. Again. She was so good at not talking but why was it that once she started, she couldn't stop herself?

"What? Hinata, what are you talking about?" Sasuke's face seemed worried, but that was probably just her imagination.

She was stupid. Hinata swallowed, took a deep breath and got herself under control. "Nevermind, I was just delirious from the heat. I-I'm sorry for my outburst." Her stutter came back as he took a step towards her. "I-I-It's nothing really." He got closer. "S-stop." She took a step back only to be met with a tree bark. "I'm s-sorry." She whispered as his body was now only inches from her. But he had stopped, just like she asked.

"What is it Hinata?" he asked again, his eyes serious. He'd been trying really hard to be respectful and give her space, but if he'd hurt her, he'd never forgive himself. He needed to know.

"I-I-" She couldn't lie to those scrutinizing onyx orbs staring right into hers. "It's not a big deal. I get that you wanted to play around and now you are not interested anymore." She managed to burst out. "Of course, you can have any woman you want, so why stick to a plain girl like me, I'm the fool for being c-caught up in it and-" she rambled a bit and tried to laugh it off. He squeezed his eyes analyzing her features.

He had put his arm above her head so he could lean on her with the support of the tree that wouldn't allow her to escape. His weight shifted and dropped. So that was it. His weight lifted off his shoulders. He dropped until his forehead rested on her shoulder. "You are not plain, Hinata. You are beautiful. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and will ever see. I have not lost interest in you or will ever be interested in anyone else because to my eyes there is only you." As he spoke, his voice was muffled by their position, but Hinata understood every word. She blushed, a deeply faint maiden blush. "But I am not good enough for you. I have forced myself on you and you deserve better than me-"

Hinata's face flushed and her body quivered. Sensing her commotion, Sasuke lifted his face to find himself in front of a puffy red-eyed girl pouting at him. "H-how dare you, Sasuke Uchiha!" She managed to yell, putting a hand to his chest and pushing him away. His body was easily thrown back, due to his surprise seeing her in that state. "Good enough for me? Forced yourself on me?" She repeated in the best mocking tone her sweet voice could imitate. It had not been very convincing between her sobs. "I should get to decide that! Who do you think you are, or anyone else for the matter, to dictate anything for myself?!" She'd shout if she could. But her voice never really rose to those levels.

Sasuke had never seen her angry. Her tears were from frustration and her difficulty in dealing with confrontations. Her increased blood flow was from vexation and her pout from annoyance. Nevertheless, to him, she looked adorable.

"Hinata, I am the man who betrayed his village. I hurt you badly on a training session, I have killed people and I have conspired against everyone you love. How can I ask for a place by your side?" His eyes shifted to the side, not managing to hold her gaze.

"Have I ever asked you to stop? Did I ever hold anything against you, even when we were enemies? Yes, I was badly hurt when we fought for the last time as children, but I faced you, I accepted your challenge as a kunoichi. I saw you were mad and wouldn't hold back, however I did not try to run away or begged you to cease the fight. That was my decision." Sasuke remembered how her eyes had only been filled with worry for him instead of the pain she must've been felting from broken ribs. How those pale orbs could convey so much information. It always confused him. "Even when you k-kissed me the first time, I didn't fight you back or-" More tears came to her eyes. She felt like she had been once again dismissed of her own fate. Was she fated to have others decide everything for her?

Sasuke was taken aback. He passed his fingers through his hair, trying to analyze what Hinata had just said. He hadn't thought of it that way. His mind had been trailing on a different path. He slowly approached her and noticed she didn't try to slip away anymore. Despite her tears, she was determined to hold her ground. Her small hands were curled into fists by her side. Her eyes trembled from her usual instinct of avoiding eye contact, but her will kept them looking straight into his own. Sasuke analyzed her whole feature and damn, she stunned him.

The Uchiha slipped his hand over her cheek and pressed his forehead against hers. "So, I can do this and if you don't want me to, you'll say so?"

Wiping away a tear, Hinata answered "Y-yes, you idiot." He smiled at her attempt to insult him.

Without waiting another second, he pressed his lips against hers. She replied faintly. "And this too?" He asked again. She nodded nervously, with anticipation. Hinata had not realized how much she had missed his lips the past few weeks.

Sasuke let his hand trail to the back of her hips and pressed her body against his. He wanted to move his other hand to her neck to bring her closer and realized why he couldn't. Hinata noticed the deadly stare to his left side, his eyes darkening with bitterness. Before he got swayed by other feelings, she put both her hands on his face and called him into deepening what he had started. Surprised by her initiative, he let himself be led, but she was too sweet, too shy, too docile. He'd been avoiding her the past few days and it had mortified his desires.

It didn't take long before he was in control again and slipped his tongue into her mouth. She let him roam free, enjoying every second of everything this man made her body feel and her mind go numb. His hand clung to her neck, keeping her close. He enveloped her in his own cloak, and it felt like there were on a world of their own. Only them. Nothing else existed. Nothing else mattered. At that moment she was his and he was hers.

He opened the zipper of her baggy jacket to reveal she was only wearing a black-laced bra underneath. He admired her stunning body, she had amazing curves. He noticed her skin turn a shade pinker and realized she was blushing.

"It's been very hot…" She tried to justify her attire. He didn't mind. As she had tried to hide her now exposed bare skin, he pushed her arms aside and kissed her collarbone. His kisses slipped lower and lower, towards her collarbone and then towards her chest. To his luck, her bra opened in the front and with a deviant smile e popped it open. His tongue teased her nipples, one and then the other, and he could feel her legs growing weak from desire and the rest of her body responding accordingly. When she moaned, he couldn't help himself anymore. He wanted to make her experience everything, to make her lose her mind. Sasuke returned to kissing her and Hinata put a hand at the nape of his neck and another on his back. She was letting him know she wanted him too.

Sasuke decided to go further, trusting she'd stop him if it wasn't what she wanted. His fingers trailer over her inner thighs and went up until he caressed between her legs. Hinata broke their kiss to gasp, exposing her neck to his hungry lips. He bit her neck as he slid his hand into her pants. He felt her wetness and teased her. Slowly, he introduced one finger. She was tight, very tight, but her insides welcomed the sensations and as he started to move, Hinata felt a pleasure she didn't even know existed. At the same time, she could perceive his desire from between his legs against her hips and it only made her want more. As she relaxed, he inserted another one. As he moved, Hinata pulled him closer, and he couldn't help but deliver.

"Ooh˜" Escaped her lips as her pleasure rose and rose until it peaked and suddenly all her muscles relaxed. Sasuke kissed her as he removed his hand from her pants and closed her bra. They were both panting and flushed as they stared at each other.

He knew what her puzzled face was thinking. "Yes, that was an orgasm" he said with a smirk. "But a small one. Nothing like the ones to come." He said as he turned his back knowing she would blush even deeper and quickly wrestle with the zipper of her jacket.

As her legs gave out from all the excitement and the lack of blood (all in her face at the moment), he caught her in his arms before her bottom reached the floor and carried her like a princess. She buried her face into his chest, too embarrassed to look anywhere else.

"Your room or mine?"

End of chapter 13

Author's note:

As usual, please read & review. I'm open to constructive criticism, corrections and ideas :)

Thanks for following until now!