The end is here, YAAAYYYYY! :3 Read, review and thank you so much for the love and support. I'm in happy tears now it isn't funny.
Oh, and if anyone wonders, there isn't going to be a sequel, but please feel free to read past NaruHina stories of mine if you hadn't. :D
It All Came True
When he had his night terrors in the past, he would wake up gasping for breath and on alert as well as ready to fight with the ferocity of a feral animal on the defense. His face would be moist with his own tears just as his throat was sore, and his skin clammy with sweat.
He would grab his dagger he kept on hand as well as his magnum which was loaded, only to find that no one else was there. Still, he was pissed to no end that the nightmare never seemed to end.
Tonight, he opened his eyes at some point, peaceful and relaxed, but his weapons were still nearby just to be safe. There she was beside him, pale as the moon and with some silk threads of midnight strewn about. The one who gave her body and soul to him, who gave him who she was and LOVED him even if he didn't deserve it - even if he was still returning her safely and soundly to the man she was supposed to marry.
She was here when the demons which tormented him in his sleep hadn't dared to approach him this time. He wasn't going to get his hopes up and say that it wouldn't happen again; this could always just be a temporary boost to lure him into a false sense of security.
Naruto found himself moving closer to Hinata's sleeping form, wrapping one arm around her while pulling the red-and-gold blanket higher around them, since the night was as cold as it could be. Except...
Except this isn't the end of it. I still have to try and heal, and part of me is worried that I might hurt her if I wake up from another bad dream of that day. What if I end up grasping her by the throat, realizing it's her too late?
He knew that when they both awoke in the morning, they might end up having another conversation especially about what existed between them. She would try and insist they let their love heal, just like an oasis existing in the desert like the one outside, but even a single drop of water wouldn't be the result. He wasn't even sure if he could be a father to her children if everything worked out. He'd told her before that he would end up marrying, but someone else who wasn't her - only he was thinking that maybe he didn't have to go through with that, after all.
They weren't careful last time when they did it a second time, so chances were that she might be with his child. If Naruto had anything to say about it, he would be there to support her with everything he had if it was true, though he hoped she wasn't pregnant for both their sakes.
Hinata would no doubt get angry and demand what this had been - a fling in the heat which compromised everything. His defense was the heat itself and lust which mingled a man's brain...when it was painfully far from the truth.
How could he be gone again - her Naruto, the man she made love with several times today? How could he be, the man who made her reach inside and find her strength? Here was the warrior she met on day one, telling her that their love was like a single drop in the desert which wouldn't do the trick of mending all the dry cracks; she had to try and break it to him that cracks existed to be filled again.
As usual, he wouldn't budge. He was the same man who paid for her with nearly the last ryo he had. But somehow, it felt like SHE was the one who paid the highest price.
Naruto went outside to get his clothes which he left by the water, leaving her to ignore the ones from before and settling on the old ones from when she was first abducted. Her heart was in pieces; how could she be so stupid to believe there was a future with him? When she'd seen him broken time and time again, when he laid out his insecurities to her? And knowing everything he'd been through made her love him all the more, just like knowing the man he was in spite of it all...and wanting to be with him.
Going into all of this, not once did Hinata ever envision a future with him - but her feelings had emerged.
Her stomach was swirling with nausea just as her hands and eventually her body were trembling. She was leaving Suna, not allowed to even bring Naruto or his friends with her - but it meant she'd take them with her, in her heart and memories. He's already inside me, deep in my bones as much as my organs. It makes me think of who I can be now.
No one would ever take THAT from her, not even Naruto. Despite the heartache she was feeling now, she was going to be strong now, use her resolve to find her own place and joy.
Wasn't it ironic that heartbreak over losing him would make her harder?
Sooner than five days estimated did they finally reach the border between Suna and Kawa. It was here that she was able to find a pay phone to call her father, after she and Naruto traveled for hours without much stopping and resting. He waited outside the booth while she dialed the number; he'd told her he intended to be here until she was retrieved, which made her worry about him getting hurt, but he swore he wouldn't be seen - and you think you have no heart. Even when it was too late for her own heart, she didn't want him injured by the ones coming for her.
Each ring felt like forever, similar to an announcement of doom, but then she finally heard his voice, and the tears flowed as she croaked. "F-Father?"
"H-Hinata?" Hiashi really sounded desperate, which wasn't usual for him, so this was confirmation he really did love her, except she was partially ready when everything calmed down and she came clean. "Oh, gods, we were looking for you! We really were, but we couldn't let the media know about this. It would have made your captors panic; do they still have you? Where are you now?"
"No, I'm not with them. I'm free now," she promised him, looking at Naruto and seeing the absence of emotions in his eyes. "I was...ransomed by a stranger, and I'm near the encampment where I was taken. Can you please come and get me?"
She gave him the coordinates Naruto handed her, then hung up when she was done. As much as she missed her father and knew he wanted to talk more to her, she would miss the man in front of her even more - because she refused to spend her last moments with this one talking to someone else. Even if Naruto wouldn't speak to her while she waited for the rescue party...
This spot they were in was broad with an outcropping of rock, providing all the shade they needed, though it was the equivalent of being in an oven - a formation of clay within the kiln - in that the heat was absorbed and then sent back out. Naruto was by them while she was near him, a small space between them, and they glanced in the direction where Toneri and her father would be coming. Just as she expected, they didn't touch or speak to each other...
...but that didn't stop her from drinking him in. And until the moment would arrive, Hinata would use this precious time to soak in all of him with her eyes since she'd never see him again. It would be vast and endless just like the desert around them. "Naruto, please look at me. I have to memorize you before I go." Need to burn with that golden hair and skin, those eyes deep and passionate while being the brightest blue, more than water and the sky.
He did as she asked by turning his face down her way, but while he didn't smile back, his eyes showed the warmth. "I've already memorized you. I wish you the best, Hinata."
"I'll be back in Konoha, if you ever need to see me on your own."
"...if only I could forget that information. It means searching and obsessing, which isn't fair to both of us." It was then that they both heard the sound of helicopters approaching, and that was his cue to leave now. He covered his face and mouth before leaving her where she was, disappearing behind more rocks to find Kurama, as if he blended in with the sand.
The first copter itself drew closer, carrying her family with it. But when she thought of home, there was that feeling of sickness, though it wasn't towards that manor in Konoha or that boarding school where she spent most of her teenage life - or even the mayoral estate in Suna.
Naruto...in his arms.
It was then that she collapsed to her knees in tears and exhaustion like she did after he ransomed her.
When he rode away on Kurama as fast as he could, his lungs burned and his eyes stung, which he knew had nothing entirely to do with the sand - it was because he left Hinata behind. Left her to be taken back to her civilized world and to a man she didn't love.
His heart was in a terrible pain even worse than his parents' deaths. He'd thought those parts were taken out that day, but the fact it was beating for HER had to do with why he had to leave before the helicopter arrived. He kept convincing himself over and over that it was for the best, that as long as he still had some ounces of the dark past inside him, she was safer. He wouldn't be able to love her the right way, much less be the father of her children.
The image of his hands drenched in enemies' blood - the blood of Rasa Sabaku's men mostly - cradling a bundled up infant was so wrong that he feared a new nightmare in this version.
His love was selfish: keeping her at his side in Gaara's family home, sharing the same bed with her and watching her stomach grow round and full with their child. It should have been pleasant, but it made him wonder how he could be worthy of being a father, much less Hinata's man.
First, he was going to work to be a man worthy of the people. He didn't deserve her love, so he was going to try to really earn it.
Naruto lay down in the tent that night, when the dark skies were blanketed with stars, while his mind was on her again and his heart beating with love...and when he drifted off to sleep, there was once again no more nightmares.
So...she told Toneri last week that she'd never be his wife. She mustered it up in her guts and risked a backlash - only for it to go better than expected, but she saw the deep sadness in his eyes.
She finally told him, and yet he still gave her this room for her stay. A room fit for a princess. It was traditional with black-lined shoji panels, filled with lush bonsai planting, lacquered vases for decorum, and a bunch of artificial, realistic-looking white trees planted to the floor and extending to the roof. The bed itself which was slightly above her ankle-length had hanging paper lanterns on either side as well as a textured ivory canvas with overhead lighting at the headboard.
And beyond: two glass walls offering the view of the forest. It was so calming, but despite that and Toneri's assurances she'd make a full recovery here, she had no idea whatever the hell "full recovery" meant, because there was no healing THIS. Heartache was not fatal, but it was the worst kind of pain ever because it hurt all the time, and Hinata was certain it would never mend. She'd changed so much in her time with Naruto that it was impossible to pull the veil back in place.
I'd be marrying Toneri next year if not for Naruto. I would have made the wrong decision. I would still be making choices to please everyone...except myself. And my father - not marrying Toneri would cost him millions if not billions. When she told Hiashi her decision, there was no mistaking it. He never voiced his disappointment, but she knew it. However, he didn't leave or disown her, just told her he loved her no matter what she did, because she spent so much of her life doing what she had to - and then he surprised her with something she never thought she would hear in all the years past.
"Hinata, I know you must have blamed yourself since your mother left," Hiashi told her, "but the truth is, it was never your fault. I loved her so much, but I was oblivious to how she really felt. So much had been put on her shoulders since we were married that I really thought she could handle it, as she promised. It had nothing to do with you or Hanabi. Also, sometimes...it's easier to turn your needs and your heart to things rather than people, because some say it's easier." Including the plate I broke.
He had told her nearly the same thing Naruto said, and more weight was off of her. He even told her that she was welcomed to still come home when she wanted.
Hinata looked out the broad glass walls to the forestry, at its majesty. There were no regrets for this place not being her home; she felt nothing of the sort for Toneri, not exceeding the simple affection she had for him. She knew him, liked him, but didn't LOVE him.
When she saw him, her mind was occupied with none other than Naruto, when she told him that their engagement had to be called off - and had to tell him she was sorry great-great-great grandmother Kaguya's ring was stolen, which he didn't blame her for.
Her head had been clear, and there was enough time to find out that she wasn't going to have Naruto's baby, even if it made her a little sad. Her breath was long and slow when she let it out, her heart beating when she thought of his precious face. Every second she missed him was slow and painful...
...and then the door being knocked on made her nearly have a heart attack. Hinata quickly jumped to her feet from the loveseat near the opened glass. "Yes?"
Her visitor was none other than Toneri, tall and pale and handsome as ever, though it didn't make her stomach flutter. "Hinata, how are you?" His voice was so soft she'd have thought he was a benign god descending from the heavens. She forced a smile and shrugged, at a loss for words, but it made him frown slightly. "I know things aren't like they used to be, but I keep hoping you'd change your mind."
"Toneri, let's be honest with each other. Do you love me - really love me?"
"No." He wasted no breath, not even a second, and without poison. She nodded, agreeing with him and stating she wouldn't change her mind. "And that means I won't make you change it. You do have my word." His smile was back in place.
"You've been so good to my family, so I appreciate everything." Hinata turned to look back out at the wild, wishing there was a view to offer of Suna. "You're a good man."
He had walked in to join her at her side. "There's no honor in forcing a woman into marriage, just as there's no honor in treating you poorly for this decision." He paused. "I've been called a good man before, but I'm not sure if I have ever been rewarded for it."
And so, from there, they got to more discussions: he intended to make deals with her father, whether she would be his wife or not. Toneri planned to discuss more on it with Hiashi, no bad consequences involved. It was then that she had an idea of her own, to fix it on her end even if HE was the one to make the final decision.
"Toneri, our marriage would have ensured fair treatment and loyalty, and that means I would like to strike a deal on my end, separate from the one you and Father are making." This caused him to raise an eyebrow, which she saw when she looked up at him. Here was how it went in a list:
Toneri had to swear to always be loyal to the Hyuuga family, no matter what happened. And that included if they didn't mount an attack against Suna for the indignity she recently suffered.
Surprisingly, once again, he agreed to it all - and if she wanted it in writing, he would agree to that. And one more thing...
He found himself waking every night once again, but not to visions of violence and death - just to sensations of pleasure and soft flesh, pure Hinata in his arms and in the bed they shared, or would have shared.
Except she was never there.
He'd spent his teenage years waking from nightmares about the most monstrous moment in his entire life, but this was a new kind altogether that put that day to shame now. He was consumed by the waves of pain that lashed at him a few random times of the day, a stark contrast to the background noises. That angering part of his life seemed to finally fade away because of the feelings he had let in.
Everything bad that ever happened in his life was going away ever since he began loving Hinata, but he'd sent her away because there was no other choice.
In terms of how his life would finally go, he was allowed to come back home to Konoha, was offered a simple but fulfilling job as an adviser, because being out there amongst people taught him so much that another person would need his "words of wisdom". He would also be allowed to attend college, gain a proper education.
He refused, his heart aching too much with being back where he'd been born and then immediately outlawed without proof; he had learned that after being a few days away from the desert and his friends. It was so strange, but that place grew on him now. He had a real purpose than back in a land of greenery, more water than here, and industrialism as well as ancient tradition. He had no friends there now, when they were here with him in the desert. He would have difficulty trusting anyone at "home" more than here. So, he remained and was now Gaara's adviser.
This was home, and he had no regrets - but without Hinata, he still struggled to breathe more from his aching heart than because of enclosed walls. His friends were very understanding of this, especially since he'd been on the run for so long that he wasn't accustomed to walls around him...and having known all along, aside from Gaara alone, that there was something between him and Hinata -
"Oh, there you are, Naruto!"
He was with Gaara in the office when Kankuro came in after knocking on the door, when they were busy at the moment in terms of a trading conflict between the Inuzuka and a new group who had yet to give themselves a name. "Sorry to interrupt," Gaara's brother said, running a hand through his hair, "but someone is here to see you. It's..." He paused to take a deep breath, struggling to keep in a snigger. "...it's Hinata. She's back!"
It was as if the air had frozen around them both at the mention of the name. Did you just...? "You're shitting us both, right?" Naruto uttered, putting down the papers he was halfway done with on the corner of the desk, but then he noticed Gaara wasn't the least bit surprised as he was. "You knew?!"
He smiled lightly as the answer. "Might as well bring her in, Kankuro."
Naruto couldn't believe what he was hearing, nor could he believe that his heart was pounding. If she was here, then that meant any of these possibilities: she was here to give him the warning of war that he was afraid of, announcing her engagement just to mock him - or to throw herself in his arms. After the way I treated her last time, that final option sounds unlikely.
Seconds later, she was right in front of them both, Temari behind her and smiling smugly. This was a goddess who must have come from the sea; that short dress was a soft, seaglass blue which flowed around her like a frolicking sprite. The bodice was laced up in the front and had her breasts gently pushed over the edge so they bounced softly, and the tattered layers of the skirt swished around her sexy legs. That pearl-and-tanzanite necklace with the silver circle was still around her neck, and it appeared she got a pair of earrings to somewhat match: mother-of-pearl petals looking like chrysanthemums, centered with the jewels around her throat.
A major change: her ebony hair was cropped to bounce around her ears.
"Hinata." Her name was a hoarse whisper.
"Naruto, Gaara," she responded, face neutral. "I came to deliver something to the both of you." She then held out a sheet of paper which was folded in half, having been in a pocket which wouldn't have been noticed amongst those natural folds of her slip. "It's an agreement - from Mayor Toneri Oosutsuki of Kawa. Take a read."
Naruto leaned over Gaara's shoulder as it was read, his mind wondering if her engagement was still intact despite her swearing she'd end it. Even if he envisioned her being better off with another man, he was still seeing red. His world had fallen before, and her being here would just make it worse...until he finished reading what was on that paper: it was a pledge from Oosutsuki and his aides to always protect the Hyuuga family - her family - as it was now and when it grew. But why show it to them? "Because," she answered, "it's the solution to your problems, except it's not an offer to fix solely your end - it's also an offer to fix mine. Naruto, I'm not offering it to make you love me. I want you to marry me and become my family; this protects you and me, as well as all of Suna. But only if we were husband and wife."
Kankuro made a noise of stunned surprise as he never would have expected it to turn out this way. Temari snickered and covered her face with one hand. Gaara watched impassively with an amused twinkle. Naruto, however and with a pounding heart... "You are proposing to me?"
"Yes, and why? I spent more than just a week from you, and you were all that was on my mind when I tried not to dwell on you. In spite of all you said to me, I still have a beating heart for you. You helped me find my strength, you're a terrible dancer even now, and you disrespect etiquette when the gods know that there has been too much of that kind of respect in my life. You made me want so much, to do and feel more, Naruto."
She spoke so shamelessly and passionately that he found himself doing the same. "Hinata...I really want to accept not only this offer of the truce, but your hand and heart. You're beautiful and life-giving just like the Earth Mother. You talk about what I did for you, but you don't know what you've done for me: for years, I thought death would be a sweeter ending for me, ready to walk through the gates of hell...but then you closed them, and instead of that day I would see in my dreams, I saw you instead. I never had a decent night's sleep, but it was because I let myself fall in love with you that I stopped feeling hopeless and angry. You did what you said we should do, and that was to let myself be filled up. You also made me want again, though I was scared to go through with it. I thought I would be so weak I would fall apart, but loving you didn't make it happen, Hinata. I thought I left my heart and soul to burn to crisp in the desert when..." He hadn't spoken like this since he was a boy, pouring his heart out to the open, and he let it be known when he put his hand over that spot, the sight making her gasp.
But they are both here, where they belong. Because we healed each other. I was broken but helped you be strong, while your strength pulled me from the pit.
Inside, throughout the hall where there was going to be the party, stained glass vases filled with lush succulents, lavender roses and orange-red ones as well as green mums were placed on nearly every table in various sizes.
In the courtyard gardens was an intimate gathering, consisting of Hiashi Hyuuga and his youngest daughter who would soon enter college, Toneri Oosutsuki, as well as Gaara Sabaku and his siblings - along with a handful of important supporters - for this special day of the two who were joined hand in hand before the grand fountain, the guests themselves covered with a cabana. Privately, the couple thought there could have been a better man or woman for each other, but they wanted nothing of the sort.
"I'll stand by you and help you fulfill your purpose here. Suna is now my home and my purpose, too. Your home is my home - and where our hearts are. I love you, Naruto," she breathed. The beautiful bride was in smooth ivory silk which bared her shoulders while supporting her breasts, hugged in the right places, and gathered in a knot to the right side. Her cropped midnight locks, ever glinting with lavender, were crowned with fresh white roses attached to birdcage netting over her eyes.
Her groom was in a simple white shirt and cotton pants, both of them casual but presented. "My heart is yours, too, Hinata. I lost everything before, chose to ignore my heart for something else, until you revived it. If you take it today and from now on, I'll be the happiest man in the world."
Her ring made her think of a princess saying yes to her prince in a far, far away land - the square diamond was flanked by two brilliants on gold, which reminded her of the desert sands. His had been his father's, being an oval-shaped lapis-lazuli, glittering like stars in the blue night sky and set in silver sculpted with golden scrolls.
She'd never be anyone but herself with him. She wouldn't be quiet, even if they were around civilized company or if they were wild in the bedroom. He wanted her for HER, to challenge him and tell him whatever he did wrong. Those were the most wonderful words he could ever have said to her. She'd been his salvation just as he was hers, as he told her when he saved her from her desert kidnappers - "ransomed" was no longer allowed to be used.
The flower petals and rice grains were thrown into the air when their first kiss as man and wife was bestowed, the sun bearing down on them.