"I'm telling you, Sakura! Hinata's cheating on me."
Sakura looked at Naruto seated across from her and felt a vein pop in her head. She placed the chopsticks she'd been holding down on the table.
With deliberate patience, she said, "I'm holding on to my control right now because I don't want to hit you. I've got to perform a surgery tomorrow so I don't want to injure my hands. But what the hell are you talking about?"
Naruto sighed again and blinked back tears. "She's cheating on me."
Sakura folded her arms. "She. We're talking about sweet, gentle Hinata who's loved you since we were twelve? That Hinata?"
"Yes," Naruto said.
He heard a crack and he realized that Sakura had let her control slip a little. She was gripping the edge of the table with both hands and the sound was her breaking the wood.
He was suddenly glad he'd chosen this place for their conversation. He glanced at the booth they were in, delicate shoji paper on the walls of this newly opened Japanese restaurant. The sounds of koto strings played in the background as the low lights flickered over the small, individual plates of delicately braised meat and vegetables, the kaiseki dinner he'd ordered for the two of them.
Naruto had shamelessly used his status as the Hero of the Great War to get a seat at the crowded restaurant that night. The waiting list for the restaurant had been long, but after much wheedling, they'd been forced to give him and Sakura a table. He'd cut to the front of the line without any remorse for those who had waited hours. He needed to talk to Sakura. This was the perfect place to talk to her because he knew that she would never let herself lose control and flip the table in such an elegant setting.
He frowned at the cracked edges of the table. While he was glad she'd not made a ruckus, he was still going to have to pay for the damage she'd caused.
She was still glaring at him, but she picked up her chopsticks and dipped her mushroom tempura into the soy sauce. "Why would Hinata ever cheat on you?" she asked, then popped it into her mouth.
He continued, "She's been very quiet recently, and I know she's hiding something from me."
She frowned as she continued chewing. "She would never cheat on you. You know she's not the type of person."
Naruto nodded then sighed, his heart and voice heavy. "I thought so at first, but I can sense someone else's presence in the room. It's faint, but I feel like there's a lingering trace of another person's chakra when I come home."
Sakura shook her head. "No. Hinata would never do that. And you're an idiot for thinking that way."
"Then how do you explain the other presence then?" Naruto asked.
Sakura smiled briefly. "Listen, why are you talking to me about this? You should be talking to her. She's your wife."
"I'm scared," he said. "I don't want to know that she loves another man, that I lost her somehow."
Sakura felt her heart melt in sympathy but she tamped it down. Instead, she banged a hand on the table, snapping him out of his misery and startling the other customers in the restaurant.
"Quit moping and snap out of it!" she yelled.
She felt everyone's censoring eyes on her but she just didn't care. "Listen, Naruto, you are a dumbass for even doubting her love for you. If you continue this, I really am going to hit you so hard you'll be making a hole on that wall. Now, I'm going to finish my dinner—and maybe yours—because you're going home right now and talking to her."
Naruto still looked miserable. She stood up, grabbed him by his shirt, and pushed him out of their booth. "Go talk to your wife, but leave your wallet," she said. She waited until he dropped the frog purse on the table and turned around to head for the exit.
She picked up the rest of his dinner and started demolishing it. God, she was so hungry, she thought. But damn, this restaurant was fast becoming her favorite. She sighed as she popped another piece of tempura in her mouth.
"Thanks, Naruto," she murmured with a smile.
Naruto walked with leaden steps home. He saw the lights of the apartment were on. For the first time since he'd been in a relationship with Hinata, he was dreading coming home. Sakura had been right, of course. He'd been postponing the inevitable. He should have gone straight to her and confronted Hinata about the issue, but he was scared to know the truth. What if she truly was cheating on him? That she didn't love him anymore? He couldn't stand the thought.
He'd felt the other presence a week ago. At first, it had been a small feeling that something was off when they were together. Then Hinata had suddenly become subdued and worried, but she'd tried to be her normal and cheerful self. Still, though, she seemed distracted. He thought it was because she'd been hiding the other man's presence from him because they'd been meeting secretly at his apartment.
And the thought of it broke his heart. How could she do it? He really thought they were so in love with each other that there had been no problems with their relationship.
But it was unmistakable. The chakra he felt was different from his and hers. It stayed in the house.
He sighed as he got to the front of the door. If Hinata was cheating on him and was no longer in love with him, then he was going to have to let her go so that she and the other man could be together…
He suddenly felt angry. He slapped both hands on his cheeks, forming red, angry imprints. Holy hell. No way! He wasn't going to let her go that easily. He would fight for her and break the other guy in half. Destroy him into little pieces so that he would never recover and make sure he never got near her again. Then he would make sure that Hinata wouldn't fall out of love with him ever again.
But what if the other guy had forced her? He paled at the thought. Maybe that's why she was so distracted. His heart started pounding. Oh, god. He didn't want to think about it, but he suddenly needed to know the truth. All this thinking, ruminating inside his brain didn't matter. He needed to hear it straight from Hinata if there was a problem.
He opened the door in a hurry and ran into the house. "Hinata!" he called out.
Her face peeked out of the doorway. "Naruto!" she said, her face wreathed in smiles, her eyes glowing in welcome. "I'm glad you're home. I'm cooking right now so I'll give you a hug when you come in."
She walked back to the kitchen. He ran to her and ignored her cry of surprise as he wrapped her in a hug and kissed her flush on the mouth.
She let him kiss her until she heard the hot water bubbling over the stove, spilling out of the pot and hissing steam. She broke the kiss and his hug. With a startled "Oh!" she ran to the stove to turn it off.
Hinata turned back to him with an apologetic smile but it died when he saw the heartache on his face. "Naruto, what's wrong?"
She hugged him again and Naruto wrapped her in his arms so tight until she squealed in protest.
Oh, god. Looking at her, she looked so beautiful and so angelic, he didn't really think she could ever cheat on him. But it broke his heart to know that her feelings for him had died enough that she would seek out another man. Even now, the chakra of that other presence lingered on her.
It was now or never.
"Hinata, are you cheating on me?"
Her lavender eyes widened in shock. "Cheat on you?! Why would you say that?!"
He took a deep breath. He looked her in her eyes, so full of hurt and sorrow at his words. Doubt started forming in his brain, but he had to get the words out of him. He said, "You're hiding something from me."
The instantaneous guilt on her face almost made him black out. Hinata tried to hide it, but his heart was already breaking.
So she was cheating, then. A sudden wave of anguish made him drop to his knees.
"Naruto!" she yelled as she leaned down and sat next to him. "Are you okay?"
Naruto looked into her face. She was pale, but looking concerned about him. She hadn't really answered the question with a yes or a no, neither denying nor confirming anything. He dreaded saying it out loud, but he did anyway. He had to continue this conversation. He just wanted to be sure, and then he would leave.
"I can feel the trace of the other guy on you. There's a different chakra from another person in this house. Are you guys doing it here?" his voice ended in whisper. His stomach was churning.
Hinata didn't say a word, but she continued staring at him with a slight frown on her face. "The trace of another…" she repeated. Then her face cleared. Incredibly, she laughed softly.
"Give me your hand," she said. And because he didn't know what to do, Naruto did.
She took his hand gently, smiled into his face, and delicately laid it on her stomach.
"You mean this chakra?" she asked.
He blinked. The hand on her skin warmed. Yes, there it was. The same chakra he'd felt since a week ago. In her stomach. It was tiny, but it was strong.
"Hinata?" he asked, frowning, heartache replaced by hope as things were finally making sense. The distraction, the worry, the sign of another chakra that lingered on her.
She was crying, tears slipping slowly down her cheeks. She sniffed. "You're such an idiot."
Naruto grabbed her shoulders, looked into her eyes shining with tears and love. "Hinata, are you saying you're pregnant?"
"Dumbass," the love of his life said with another sniffle, but she nodded happily. "You ruined my surprise."
Naruto laughed as he squeezed her again. He stood up, grabbed her, and spun her around, happy and so giddy with relief. "God, Hinata! I'm so sorry for doubting you. Will you forgive me? You're right! I am a dumbass!"
He suddenly put her down as his face froze with fright. "Damn, I shouldn't be doing that, right? Are you alright? Did I squeeze you too hard? Is the baby going to be okay?"
Hinata wiped her eyes and gave a teary chuckle. She hugged him back. "It's fine, you're not going to hurt the baby."
Baby. Tears of joy filled his eyes. Naruto wrapped his arms tenderly around her, his heart aching for a different reason, this time. It felt so full, he was overwhelmed by it. She continued to hug him and they swayed silently together in the living room, enjoying the presence of this other person, the life they had created together.
"Imagine that," he said. "I'm going to be a father." He sighed. A father. He kissed her hair, and hoped the baby would have Hinata's hair, her beautiful eyes, but mostly, her beautiful heart.
He really was the biggest idiot in the world. Going through all that heartache, imagining her cheating on him, all wasted energy and emotion. She'd only wanted to plan a happy surprise for him.
"I'm sorry I ruined your surprise, Hinata," he said, cupping her jaw and kissing her on her mouth. He smiled at her, complete and utter adoration piercing out of his blue eyes. "I will love this baby as much as I love you. You've given me the family I've always wanted. Thank you."
"The family we've always wanted," she said, placing her hand over his heart, her own smile in place.
"Yes," he grinned.
Later, they were lying on the bed and Naruto couldn't stop rubbing his hands over her stomach, willing it to get bigger.
"No amount of wishing will make it grow quickly, Naruto. It takes time," she said laughingly, but she ran her fingers through his hair, wishing for a baby with blond hair and a smile just as beautiful as his father's.
He ignored her and placed an ear over her bellybutton trying to hear the baby's heartbeat, but he couldn't hear anything. He contented himself with just feeling the baby's chakra, letting it flow through him, into his hand and seeing that the baby had threads of his and Hinata's chakra mixed within.
He finished listening to the baby and came back to rest his head on the pillow. She kissed him and sighed against his cheek, his arm pillowing her head, the other hand still steadfastly plastered to her tummy.
He grinned at her again. "I saw Sakura today because I was slowly dying, thinking you were cheating on me and she told me to come home and talk to you. Did she know?"
"Idiot," she said lovingly, placing a palm on his cheek. "Of course! Who do you think examined me?"
He laughed. "Good thing I treated her to dinner then. You know, her appetite's gotten stronger recently, too. She ate hers and as I was leaving the restaurant, I saw her eat the rest of the food on my plate. I just couldn't finish mine."
"Hmm," was all she said.
Hinata grinned to herself. Sakura was going to have to tell her own secret to Naruto herself. That is, unless he figured it out on all his own, ruining another surprise.