Oh God SORRY! I forgot! I completely forgot! I didn't post the week after then every time I thought about it I didn't have time. But now it is here. SO tell me what you think please.
Reader 1: Oh my God this person hasn't put a disclaimer...it MUST be Kishimoto! Oh my God Oh my God Oh my God!
Reader 2: *Gives first a strange look* Uh, I doubt that.
Reader 1: No it makes perfect sense! He uses to write all the story lines he can't put in canon!
Reader 2: No he doesn't, idiot!
GhibliGirl91: Um, he's right. I'm not Kishimoto.
Reader 1: Oh...but why didn't you put a disclaimer?
GG91: Because I didn't think anyone would be dumb enough to assume that I am Kishimoto or that I own Naruto!
Reader 2: *chuckles*
Reader 1: *death glares*
Without further ado; I give you 'Loves, Lies and Promises: Chapter 20: The epilogue
"So I sent you on a simple body guard mission and you came back married to the client?"
Naruto nodded sheepishly.
Tsunade tented her fingers.
"Well this is a fairly phenomenal failure Naruto even for you."
"Actually," Naruto said, perking up, "she's still alive therefore the mission was a success."
"You were both in hospital for a week."
"Still..." he grinned rubbing the back of his head.
The door rattled once, they turned to look at it, and then burst open. Hinata fell in pursued by two guards.
"Lady Tsunade!" she gasped, "Please, don't be angry with him. It's not his fault he was protecting me! I'm the one to blame. Father was going to marry me off and Naruto rescued me..." she stuttered to a halt as she saw everyone looking at her. She suddenly turned bright pink and bowed so low she almost fell over. 'I'm sorry!' she squeaked. Naruto sighed and walked over to her. He pulled her up and led her over to the desk. Lacing his fingers with Hinata's, Naruto smiled at Tsunade.
"We're serious about this whole thing. It was a rash decision but we don't regret it."
Tsunade looked at their hands and up into his eyes and Hinata's frightened face.
"So you don't want a divorce?" she asked slowly.
Hinata's hand tightened around Naruto's.
"No." He said calmly.
Hinata smiled at the floor. Tsunade nodded looking at them.
"Go on then get out."
"What?" Naruto asked surprised.
"You heard me get out."
Hinata almost kissed her. Instead she bowed low until Naruto dragged her out of the office.
"Ah, to be young and in love." Tsunade sighed then chuckled at the thought of the stubby, blonde twelve-year-old that she had met being married. "All grown up I see?" she whispered after Naruto and was surprised to feel a lump in her throat.
Naruto sat up in bed and looked around his room. He couldn't get used to this view. His old single bed had been chucked out and replaced by a plush double bed with a soft leather headboard, repositioned on the opposite side of the room. Hinata's choice. Naruto had to admit the cushioned wood was a lot kinder than the solid wall in relation to their night's activities. There was still a dent on the other side of the room where his head had almost gone through the plaster. Their bed now sat facing the windows so when the sun rose it was like a natural alarm. Naruto slept through it none the less. Waking up an hour later to the smell of fresh coffee, breakfast and usually a note on the table explaining where she had gone. Naruto was sorry he didn't get up earlier if only he could see her being so, well, wife-ish, but it was stay up late or get up early and he found he defiantly preferred the former. Naruto kicked off the duvet and let the cool air wash over him, it was going to be a nice day, and outside the sky was already a sweet blue. Naruto grinned at it. Definitely nice.
He walked into the kitchen to see the bowl on the table with a note propped against it.
'I've gone shopping although I might be back before you're up. Do not attempt to use the dish-washer!'
The dishwasher was another new fixture in the house; Naruto had tried to use it the other day to Hinata's exasperation.
'There is now a funny wailing sound when it turns on. I'm pointing no fingers.'
There followed a tiny drawing of a hand pointing straight at Naruto with the word 'YOU' emblazoned beneath it. This was the end of the neatly printed note. Beneath though was scrawled a quick message.
'Be warned, Tenten wants to come round for dinner! If she calls put her off! XXX'
Smirking Naruto put the note down and picked up the porridge. It was still warm so he ate it quickly while hunting around for a clean shirt. He remembered with fondness the messiness of his house before Hinata moved in. It had been disgusting, nothing was clean but he had a system and could usually find clothes when he needed them. Now his dirty clothes were gone as soon as they hit the floor and if something wasn't clean he couldn't locate it. The result being that he spent most of the morning wandering around in his boxers like a lost puppy. A bald cold lost puppy.
There was an upside, Naruto had barely been aware of the fact that he had a kitchen before Hinata arrived. She had stared at the mess opened mouthed for a full minute until Naruto had made a remark about catching flies and she had shut it pretty quick obviously thinking he was serious. He had been exiled for three hours when he met up with Shikamaru and complained about the downside of married life. But when he returned he had a kitchen and mentally took back everything he had said. It had been sparkling clean; two bin liners sat in the corner bulging with junk, dirt and food that was well past its peak. After they had put them out-or thrown them out the open window because they wouldn't fit out the door-Hinata had opened all the cupboards and told him where everything now was. He had gazed around in amazement until Hinata made the same joke about fly catching. At that point he had come round and looked at her. She had laughed then kissed him to which he had responded with vigour almost forgetting about their location until she insisted that they moved or they would break the kitchen table.
A slam of the door and Hinata walked in with Sakura, both had grocery bags in their arms. Sakura looked disgusted when she saw him.
"Jeez, Naruto! Put some clothes on."
"Couldn't find any." He said cheerfully and trotted over to Hinata. "Morning." He said only it came out 'Mounig' because he was kissing her at the same time.
Sakura coughed loudly as she put the things on the table and Hinata pulled away with a giggle to help her.
Naruto walked up the stairs to Tsunade's office. He hoped he had a mission; it had been a while. He walked straight in not bothering to knock.
"Naruto!" cried a voice in obvious delight. The woman in the chair opposite the Hokage was, in every respect, his wife aside from those deep blue eyes.
She leapt out of her seat and ran over to hug him tightly. He staggered a little but hugged her back and smiled. Their last embrace had been somewhat bittersweet.
"What are you doing here?" he asked, smiling. Just think, if she was here that would make Hinata almost perfectly happy.
"Well I was talking to the man who tends all the legal documents in my house. You met him, prancing idiot who sits in the lobby of the big room and he told me something interesting."
Naruto waited thinking of the squat little man who had almost turned him away from the big room of the Water-country mansion.
"My daughters are under the guardianship of their father until his death, at which point they become wards of the Hyuga house, or until they are married."
"What? But Hinata's an adult!"
"Such is the life of a princess. Anyway he said I can see her without Hiashi or the council getting in the way!"
Naruto frowned, knowing that as soon as he became Hokage he was going to force some changes with the nobles. But he also found he had gleaned a little respect for the doughy man in charge of legalities at the Hyuga house.
"Hinata's at home! Come see her."
River looked sad then.
"No I can't.'"
"Why not?" Naruto looked upset as the thought of Hinata glowing with happiness at the sight of her mother slipped away.
"I'm on a special visit on my way up north to visit some old friends and do a little business; this is just a pit-stop. I'm pushing my luck as it is. Legal or not I doubt the family council would be thrilled I'm in town, no I'm just passing through to inform certain people of the new situation and deliver something."
She dug around in the pocket of her long dark coat and came out with a tiny box.
"This was mine. I always wanted Hinata to have it. Will you give it to her?"
Naruto took the box but didn't open it, knowing already what it was. They nodded to each other then River laughed and flung her arms around Naruto.
"Thank you son-in-law."
He laughed and picked her up which made her squeal. Then when he set her down she kissed his cheek, nodded once to Tsunade and walked out of the office.
Tsunade stared at the box with serious intent. Naruto clutched it to his chest.
"Oh please, just let me see it!"
He ran from the room and didn't stop before he reached home.
That evening Naruto was at home alone. He was trying to cook but was failing miserably. He had already burned several dishes and now, somewhat rashly, was inventing his own food. Hinata walked in, her nose wrinkling at the smell and her eyes widening at the sight of Naruto in an apron.
"What's that?" she asked politely pointing at the dark brown goo Naruto was forcing around the bottom of the pan with a big dessert spoon.
"Um, there's soup in there and I think some noodles." He lifted the spoon, long strands of the gloop clung to it. It could have been noodles, but then it could have been a lot of things.
Realizing the extent of his failure Naruto dropped the spoon back in the pan and turned off the cooker.
Hinata looked relieved and went and sat at the table. Naruto inched over to her, hand clutched tight around the jewellery box. Silently he set it on the table beside her. She set down the magazine she had picked up and looked at it. He pushed it towards her and waited. Her fingers touched it and she peered up at him, tentative. Then she picked up the tiny velvet container and weighed it in her hands. Slowly she took the lid and flipped it open. The diamond was cut in the shape of an octagon surrounded by sapphires. Naruto felt his stomach lurch. That ring had to be the most expensive thing in the entire apartment. The whole district even.
"But this is-"
She looked up at him.
"That was what Tsunade wanted." He shrugged feeling a little sheepish that he hadn't even thought to buy her an engagement ring.
Hinata pulled the ring out of the box and slipped it on her finger. It was a perfect fit. She held it up to admire it where it glittered in the lamp light. She stood and took Naruto's face in her hands. He didn't wait. He kissed her; he would have been happy to carry on but when his hands slid under her shirt and ran up her warm stomach she pushed him away.
"I couldn't fend Tenten off."
"They'll be here in a bit and since it was such a nice day we're eating on the roof. Tenten's idea." She added quickly, "So I have to set up the space heater for later and get the chairs and stuff set up."
Naruto groaned. But went and picked up a chair. "Off we go then."
The roof looked quite good when they were done. The space heater was on the far right while a table with four chairs burdened with food sat beside it. On the other side strewn against the low wall was a pile of cushions and blankets and in the centre Naruto had set a large metal barrel in which a fire was roaring. It was as much for heat as for light. The sky was streaky pink and blue as the bright orange sun sunk quickly out of sight behind the horizon as Hinata carried the CD player through the door and set it down. She fiddled with the dial until she found some music. Turning around she found herself face to face with Naruto who held out a hand. Taking it, unsure, she was surprised when he took her gently in his arms and waltzed her, a little unsteadily, around their campfire. So caught up she was, she didn't notice her cousin and his fiancé as they breezed through the door. Only when Naruto stopped did she pause and turn. Neji looked amused while Tenten looked like she was barely concealing her mirth. Hinata stumbled over, embarrassed and gestured at the table. Their guests sat down without a word and began to eat. They made it through the first bowl when Tenten and Neji both burst out laughing. Naruto flicked rice at them while Hinata giggled, self-conscious. The conversation flowed easily after that. Tenten noticed Hinata's ring about halfway through the evening and nearly upended the table as she lunged, but the only one to get splattered in the end was her as she put her hand in a bowl of soup. In the end they retired to the cushions where Tenten tried to teach Naruto how to waltz properly and Hinata rested her head on Neji's shoulder. Naruto was being chastised for making a wrong turn when the door swung open.
Hinata and Neji both sat bolt upright, Neji inclining his head.
"Father!" gasped Hinata.
Hiashi was frozen in the doorway staring at the four of them. He actually looked embarrassed. Naruto stepped away instinctively, then realized that Hiashi clearly wasn't here as an enemy.
Hinata had risen. She walked over to him and he nodded to the stairs. Agreeing silently Hinata followed him down throwing one reassuring look over her shoulder before she went.
Down in the kitchen Hiashi looked around. It was very small. His daughter however seemed very at home here. She was making tea.
Hinata was wondering what to do. Should she begin the conversation or should she wait for him to talk? More importantly should she hide her hand so he didn't see the engagement ring he had bought for River?
She turned and saw it was too late to consider that; Hiashi's eyes were fixed firmly on her left hand. Quickly she folded behind her back and asked,
"What are you-"
Unfortunately it was at the exact same time that Hiashi opened his mouth and began to ask his own question. They both stopped and looked at the floor.
"Please you-" she mumbled unable to say anything else.
Hiashi harrumphed in that funny way he did when he was nervous or uncomfortable which drew a chuckles from Hinata that she pushed down almost immediately. Hiashi eyed her for a second but then straightened up and began what was clearly a rehearsed speech.
"Hinata you've chosen the path you want and I won't stand in your way. I've been thinking and arranged marriage is outdated anyway. Although Kaien-san hasn't been told the whole story he's not been lied to either. We told him that you were not willing and quite frankly, neither was I, he was very understanding."
Hinata stared, dumbfounded, at her father as he rattled off the passage and she was still rooted to the spot for a full minute afterwards. She barely noticed as he walked past her to the door.
Hiashi's hand was on the handle when something slammed into his back. At first he didn't understand and his hands were halfway to his weapons belt when he realized it was his daughter. She was hugging him as hard as she could. He harrumphed again unused to the affection.
"Thank you Papa." She whispered.
Hiashi didn't turn as he detached her hands from his middle but he patted her hand once his finger lingering on the ring. Then he walked calmly from her kitchen and her life.
Hinata walked back through the door to see Naruto sat tensely on a dining chair; he jumped up when he saw her. Hinata was crying as she ran into his arms. He stroked her hair.
"Was he cruel to you?" he asked sounding angry.
Hinata shook her head. "No, actually he was perfectly civil."
"Oh." Said Naruto, "Right, okay so you've sorted it all out? Has he forgiven you?"
Hinata shook her head and looked up. Naruto was surprised to see that she was smiling, tears still wet on her face.
"No. But...we'll get there eventually."
Naruto smiled down at her and squeezed her round the middle. She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him only to be interrupted, for what felt like the millionth time that day, by a very loud cough from Tenten. Rolling her eyes Hinata turned back to her.
"Waltz lesson." Said Tenten, "Hand him over."
They messed around a little longer, Naruto purposefully screwing up the waltz in the vain hope of making Tenten give up, but this just seemed to fuel her fire. Finally he just lost hope and instead began to take the Mickey. He was prancing about looking like a complete lemming when Sakura breezed through the open door.
"Whoa there." Called Naruto holding up a hand, "what do you bring to this fine gathering pray tell?"
She looked at him then held up a clinking crate.
"I got booze."
Naruto was silent for a second.
"Meh, good enough come on over."
Slowly, as Sakura called people and word spread, the roof began to fill. Finally they were all there sat around cheering on Kiba and Naruto as they had a very misguided beer chugging contest. Neither was really victorious as they both gave up at the same time. Kiba passed out and was caught by Akamaru while Naruto ran downstairs to throw up much to Hinata's chagrin.
After this Naruto retired to the cushions in the corner and lay there. Soon enough though Hinata came over and lay beside him snuggled against his side. He put an arm around her. He was in paradise.
But only just. He had a beautiful girl who was his alone; he had good friends who surrounded him; being a shinobi was better than it had ever been. Two things alone hung over his head rubbing obnoxiously against his nirvana. The first was something that he had been forcing out of his mind repeatedly for the last month. His promise to the Kyuubi. It hung over his head like a dark cloud. He had tried to tell himself he didn't care what the favour was as long as he had Hinata back with him alive and well but he couldn't repress that little thrill of fear whenever he let his mind wander. Refusing to let it ruin the evening he repeated to himself the little mantra he had created that he found calmed him for a little while, 'What's done is done. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.'
After the first the second felt a little shallow and he almost felt a bit selfish for admitting this but he wished that Sasuke could have been there with them, just for the time being, and then his world would have been complete. But as things were he was halfway to heaven already and figured that as what he had now was way more than he deserved anyway, he was content. With that thought he pulled his treasure close to him and slipped into a sound sleep.
If only he had known at that moment that his second wish was a lot closer than he thought.
About three roofs away a figure was sat watching one, Rock Lee, do a bizarre slightly violent twitching dance with Tenten. It would have been funny but the observer didn't really have much of a sense of humour. With a sigh he stood and spoke into the tiny radio mike around his neck.
"Target observed. I'm leaving now."
"Affirmative." Came the voice through the little speaker. "See you in a minute."
Sasuke watched the party. He was wholly disgusted with himself when he felt a little stab of longing.
Neji had rescued Tenten and was dancing very close to her, were those two a couple now? Shikamaru and Chouji had a poker game going on the clear table. Lee was swaying around the makeshift floor while Ino and Kiba carefully avoided him; they appeared to be dancing together too. Shino was sat on the floor next to the space heater. Maybe it was better for his bugs that way. Only Naruto and Hinata's legs were visible now but Sasuke knew it was them. He couldn't say he hadn't been a little surprised when he saw them together. Naruto, loud, obnoxious Naruto, with the demure Hyuga princess. Strangely enough though they seemed to fit. There was a slam of the door and the last guest toppled onto the roof, a cheer went up at the sight of her. Sasuke watched as the pink haired girl clanked across the roof carrying a crate and dumped it on the table. She tore it open and pulled out a bottle that she flicked the top off with ease. As the others converged on the beer Sasuke watched the girl sip hers and gaze affectionately at the sleeping couple by the wall. Sasuke shuddered when saw her. It was a sudden sharp pull that made his chest ache.
Quickly he squashed the feeling.
An impatient crackle of the speaker made him jump and he chastised himself for lingering so long. He took one last look at the small party and shimmered into nonexistence.
"What are you looking at Sakura-chan?" asked Lee bouncing over.
"Huh? Oh, nothing Lee-san." She smiled warmly.
"I'll get you another drink."
Away he bound to the cooler.
"No Lee, really I'm fine."
But he was already gone and she decided to let him be.
Before she turned back to her friends she looked once at the moon. It hung low tonight. Just behind the mountains but still large enough to throw long shadows over all of Konoha. She gazed up and wondered about the figure she had seen silhouetted against its silvery face.
With a fixed smile she turned away. She had probably imagined it anyway.
Well, I'm crap with goodbyes so...that'll do pig.
Aw, I forgot the fuzzy feeling you get when you complete a fic. It's nice. A bit sad, but nice.
Wow, well its done. And you saw a little of the next one at the end there. I hope you all will read it, whether its by author alert, or just keeping an eye on me then I would love it if you all saw this through to the end of the trilogy XD Remember its going to be called Book 2: The Mark and the Monster. The third will probably be called something like 'Family Ties' and I'm still looking for a definite trilogy title so keep the ideas coming :D
Its been so much fun and I never expected quite so many reviews so I have to thank you for everything you have said.
So this one is meant for all of you.
Remember to review, which is the green button somewhere down there. PRESS PRESS PRESS!