A/N: This is a simple oneshot that came into my head last night. Couldn't sleep because of it ;) Technically this is an explanation as to how SasuHina can work even if it doesn't look like he'll be surviving the end of the manga the way Kishimoto's going. I have no way of knowing how Kishimoto's going to end the manga, but I'll just fill in my own details.

Disclaimer: Naruto does not belong to me. This is an original idea that came to me although others may have already thought of the same concept :)

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Torrential rain came hammering down over the earth which was slick with mud that ran in currents. There was no greenery in her view range and it was difficult to see through the heavy rain. Yet as difficult as it was, clashes and bright light were still visible in the far distance, contrasting with the dark scenery that enveloped her. She didn't need to use Byakugan to even see the fierce battle that ensued.

Hinata ignored the mud that sloshed through her shoes and caught between her toes. Twice she'd nearly slipped. Her fringe stuck to her forehead and her hair was plastered down her back, too heavy with rainwater to billow out as it would usually do. Her clothes underneath her cloak were sticking to her skin unnervingly, but all these factors she ignored. The rain and sodden earth wouldn't stop her from getting there in time. She had to get there in time.

No normal human would be travelling this quickly, but of course, she wasn't the average human. She was a shinobi. To top that, she was a Hyuuga, one of the clans that resided in Konoha gifted with abilities associated with their eyes. She wasn't a part of Team Kurenai for nothing. All three were excellent trackers and it had taken her little time to locate the two.

The flickers came closer as she sped up.

I can't keep my promise. Forgive me.

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"Teme!"

A good distance away from the lone shinobi who raced against time, two others battled against one another, knowing that it would be the last encounter they would ever have in their brief lifetime.

Susanoo was summoned and the two shinobi were out of breath and struggled to even stand on their two feet.

"You…really won't come back to us, won't you?"

There was a coppery taste in Sasuke's mouth and blood streamed down his lips. Wounds marked every inch of his body and he knew he was dying. Still, he was too preoccupied with trying to stand straight than to bother with wiping the blood from his face. Unknown to Naruto, it took a great deal of strength to even answer "You should really give it up" with his usual smirk.

Naruto was no better, he was breathing just as heavily, Sage mode slowly wearing off. He had no more clones and struggled to stay still and absorb what he could. Shameful, he would have said if he was the other. But he wasn't.

"I won't."

Both had exhausted more than should of their chakras and if there was to be a next blow, it would be the last. Both knew this and with hardheadedness, prepared for it. It didn't matter who would be first but rather if any of them would survive at all.

"You're a fool. What's there in Konoha for me? Fight me, Naruto!"

"Yeah. I thought so."

Naruto pressed his hand together into a jutsu, creating a single clone. They bent over their hands where bright swirls of chakra swirled in the original Naruto's hand.

"Headlong attack, is it?" Sasuke closed his eyes, feeling the familiar buzz of electricity spark around his hand. Maybe it wasn't so bad to die. But then again, there was her. He couldn't die just yet, could he?

He opened his bright red eyes to see watch things slowly rush towards him, if there was such a thing as "rush slowly". To him, everything was slow. Naruto's feet against the mud that caked his legs, and the sudden swirl of darkness that settled between them. Darkness? His eyesight must be failing. He cursed his eyes.

Except that the darkness screamed out, "Yamete kudasai! Stop please!"

Darkness doesn't speak unless it's in the form of a man named Orochimaru or Madara. But Orochimaru was dead after his second revival, and Madara had perished under the hands of Naruto, never to come back again.

His and Naruto's eyes recognized the cloaked figure of one of the Konoha 11 falling between the two. Naruto was too late to pull back his attack, but Sasuke wasn't. He at once deactivated his chidori and took the figure into his arms, swinging her out of the way of the rasengan. "You idiot!" he wanted to rebuke her, if it wasn't for the sharp pain in his side.

He might have broken all twelve ribs on his left side. If not broken, then devastatingly shattered.

"Hinata!" He could hear her name called in a midst of darkness. "What are you doing here?"

"Yuruse, Sasuke. Forgive me."

"Why," his voice through cracked lips, "why did you come?"

He could see glimpses of her shaking her head slowly though clouds of black dominated his vision. "I couldn't just sit there. Yuruse…yuruse…."

Naruto was dumbfounded, falling to his knees as he watched Hinata cradle a dying Sasuke to her chest, shaking her head as if it was the only thing she could do.

"You shouldn't…have come."

"Wakatteru, wakatteru yo. I know, I know." Her voice cracked as teardrops fell on Sasuke's cheeks.

"At least…I can meet you again." His eyelids closed and Hinata screamed tearfully, burying her face into his shoulder. It was piercing and broken, not at all meant for a delicate girl of fifteen.

What was more was how she used informal language with him. What was going on that he didn't know? This wasn't the Hinata that he knew. He Hinata he knew was always blushing around him, quiet, and polite. This was someone else.

"Who are you?"

She still rocked on her knees, tears dripping off her cheeks. Her lips were still parted, and her scream was soundless, but it still chilled Naruto through his jacket.

"You want to know the truth don't you, Naruto-kun?"

"I lied for him," she was murmuring. "I lied to you. You were…in danger. He made me promise to protect you. He said he would be the one to kill you. So I protected you."

"You…," Naruto was speechless, feeling the last of his chakras drain from his body.

"Pain…Pain was going to kill you. I couldn't let that happen."

"So you lied to me. You pretended…that you loved me."

Her sobs were louder and she shook violently. "I-I lied…I lied…. But I couldn't let him d-die…."

He watched as she laid Sasuke down, fingers shaking as she sought a solid cylinder from his waistband. As she tugged on both ends of the cylinder, he caught sight of a metallic gleam. He felt his blood ran cold. She—

"I-I broke my promise…I i-interfered."

"Yamete, Hinata-chan!"

He caught her hand before she could plunge the blade into her throat, but his own hand was shaking as violently. He didn't have much strength left, other than to keep the dagger away from her. "Don't do this, Hinata-chan. Don't."

"Naruto-kun."

"You…don't deserve to die," he closed his eyes, feeling calmness wash over. He could feel the warmth of his parents waiting for him. Just a little while. That teme did love someone. Naruto was suddenly glad. Sasuke wasn't made of all ice after all. He'd known that from the beginning.

"Live, Hinata. Live for Sasuke."

The rain had thinned visibly as she watched his body slump, immobile on her lap. She wiped the mud from both men's faces, waiting as the rain lessened and transient rays peeked through the heavy clouds, waiting to drench the entire world with its glowing wonder. It was the dawn of a new day.

She would live, she decided. For both of them.