Chapter 2

Naruto gasped and quickly looked away, blushing. "I am so sorry, Hinata, I didn't realize you'd gotten out of the shower," he said quickly. He held out the item he'd gotten out of her bag for her. "I realized I'd forgotten to put these in here for you."

Hinata blushed when she realized he was holding a pair of her panties, then quickly took them and, making sure he didn't look again, stepped into them. Naruto didn't dare move for fear he would see her again, so Hinata quickly dressed. "All right, Naruto," she said. "I'm dressed now." Hinata was embarrassed about this whole situation, but she didn't feel violated or anything like that; after all, it was just an accident.

Naruto looked up carefully then breathed a sigh of relief when he found her clothed this time. "I'm really sorry about that, Hinata," he said. Then, his curiosity got the better of him. "I couldn't help noticing,'re different from me. Why is that?"

Hinata gasped and blushed furiously; she was glad the room was hot since she could use that as an excuse for her red face if Naruto asked. "All girls are like me," she said. Looking around frantically, Hinata tried to think of some way to distract Naruto from their...physical differences. Her eyes landed on the still-running shower. "Oh, Naruto, how do you turn off your shower?"

Naruto, never realizing he was being subtly played, snapped his attention to the shower. "Oh, right, sorry," he said, then reached in and fiddled with the two knobs that controlled the water pressure and temperature. He explained briefly to Hinata how they worked. Hinata sighed in relief that her ploy had worked. "Is there anything else you need, Hinata?" Naruto asked after he had the water off and Hinata had yet to move.

"Oh! No, I'm fine, I should get my things and get ready for bed, though, I'm exhausted," she said, yawning. Naruto gave a small smile at how cute she was again, but he didn't say anything.

Shaking his head to help him focus, Naruto told Hinata, "Wait right here, I'll grab your bag for you." He disappeared a moment, then reappeared, bag in hand. Passing it to the girl, he vanished from the bathroom.

Once she was alone, Hinata let loose the breath she hadn't known she was holding and slumped onto the sink. Taking a moment to catch her breath and let her blush recede, she briefly combed her hair and brushed her teeth.

Stepping out of the bathroom, Hinata found Naruto sitting on the couch, seemingly deep in thought. "Naruto?" she asked quietly. He looked up at her and smiled briefly, then went back to thinking. "What is it, Naruto?"

Hinata watched in horrified fascination as Naruto put his thoughts aside and schooled his features to show her a cheerful smile. "Oh, it's nothing, Hinata," he said then. "Are you ready to head to bed?"

At the mention of bed, Hinata yawned. "Yeah, I guess I am," she said, chuckling slightly. Naruto smiled, then showed her to his room. Hinata crawled onto his bed. Naruto smiled at her. "Um, Naruto?" Hinata asked hesitantly.

"Yes, Hinata? What is it?" he answered, smiling slightly.

Patting the spot beside her, the young girl looked up at Naruto. "Stay with me? Please?"

Naruto gasped in surprise. "A-Are you sure, Hinata? I's not really...right for us to do that you know..." he said, his voice trailing off at the end as he realized he actually didn't want to leave her.

"I'm sure, Naruto. Just please stay," she said back. Naruto slowly crawled into bed beside her. He was surprised when the girl grabbed him and cuddled up to him like he was some kind of plushy, but he didn't push her away. Instead, he gently put his arms around her and held her.

Feeling the girl in his arms trembling, Naruto suddenly realized she was afraid to sleep alone. "Are you all right, Hinata?" he asked her.

Hinata looked up at Naruto. "I'm fine, as long as you're here," she said. "I'm sorry, Naruto, it's just that I really don't want to be alone tonight. Thank you for staying." That said, the two youngsters closed their eyes and drifted to sleep in one another's arms.


Naruto opened his eyes slowly. He looked around, feeling oddly heavy. He was surprised when he found Hinata sound asleep with her head resting on his chest. Rather than awakening the sleeping girl, he rubbed her back gently, letting her sleep; after all, her weight on him, rather than bothering him, was actually rather comforting in its way.

Watching the girl sleep, Naruto was struck yet again by how cute she was. Her face looked so peaceful in sleep, and with her long dark hair framing her pale face, she looked...angelic somehow. He started humming softly, a tune he made up as he went. Eventually, the rubbing and the humming awoke the sleeping girl.

Hinata opened her eyes and looked around. It took her a moment to get her bearings; she wasn't in the Hyuga compound or her own bed, after all. Realizing she was still in the arms of her savior, as she still thought of Naruto from when he helped her with the bullies the day before, she smiled. Naruto returned her smile, still humming and rubbing her back gently.

"Good morning, beautiful," Naruto said, causing Hinata to blush.

"Good morning yourself," she said back after a moment. She thought a moment. "You stayed."

Naruto chuckled. "Well sure I stayed. You asked me to," he said, as if it was the most natural thing in the world; to him, it was.

Leaning forward, Hinata kissed Naruto on the cheek. "Thank you," she said. Naruto blushed at the kiss, then just smiled and got out of bed.

"All right, first, I'm going to make us some breakfast, then we're going to go talk to the Hokage and see what we can do about your situation. Oh, is there anything you left behind at your old place you want to get in particular?"

Hinata thought about that a moment, then gasped. "Oh! My diary! And my mother's necklace! I can't believe I forgot them!"

Naruto smiled softly. "It's okay, Hinata, we'll talk to the Hokage and see if he can help us get them back for you," he said. Hinata took a deep breath, then nodded, choosing to put her trust in Naruto. "Go ahead and get dressed, I'll make us some breakfast, and we can go see the old man." That said, the blond disappeared, leaving Hinata to dress in peace.

Naruto sighed. "It's a good thing I went to the store yesterday," Naruto said to himself. Moving quickly, he pulled out ingredients and began mixing, working efficiently and quietly. By the time Hinata emerged from the bedroom, dressed, Naruto was sliding a pan of cinnamon rolls into the oven.

Hinata gasped at the sight and smell of the huge sweet rolls. "How did you know, Naruto?" she asked. Naruto looked at her, confused. "Cinnamon rolls, they're my favorite!" she said.

Naruto grinned. "I'm glad. I was afraid you wouldn't like them," he said. "I just had the stuff for them, and I'd been meaning to make a batch for a while anyway, so it's your lucky day I guess."

Hinata smiled again. "It's very sweet of you to do all this for me," she said.

Naruto chuckled and waved her off. "Think nothing of it, Hinata," he said. "Now, I'll get dressed so we can go see the old man once we're done eating." That said, he went into his bedroom, changed, and came back out just in time to remove the rolls from the oven. Setting them on top of his stove, he cautioned, "They just came out, so they're really hot. Help yourself, but be careful, don't burn yourself." That said, he handed her a fork and knife to cut and withdraw the rolls from the pan.

Hinata nodded. She couldn't resist, so she immediately extracted one of the rolls from the pan, being careful to only touch it with her utensils. Sitting down at Naruto's table, she carefully began to eat the very hot sweet roll.

Naruto grabbed one of the rolls himself and sat down with her. The two ate in companionable silence. "All right, you ready to go talk to the Hokage and go get your stuff back?" Naruto asked when they were both done.

"Yep!" Hinata said cheerfully; she'd woken up in Naruto's arms, they'd eaten breakfast of her favorite food in the world together, and now they were going to go get her stuff back; it was going to be a good day, she just knew it!

The two lonely children made their way down the main street of the Leaf Village on their way to meet with the Hokage. Naruto looked at Hinata. He realized for the first time that the two of them really did have a lot in common. They had both lived their short lives so far being very lonely, never being accepted, always having everyone around them reject them just for being who they were. But they had one another.

"Hinata," Naruto said softly. Hinata looked up at him, surprised to find a small smile on his face. She blushed at the intense look in his eyes, but smiled in return and nodded for him to go on. "I was just thinking how we've both always been alone, never having anyone. But now...we have one another, right?"

Hinata smiled again. "Right, Naruto, now we have one another."

"Good. And I promise, Hinata, I will never leave you to be alone again, I'll always be by your side," Naruto said, smiling softly. Hinata blushed as the import of his words sank in.

"I'll always be with you, too, Naruto," she said back, smiling at him. Naruto beamed at her words.

Looking up, Naruto saw that they had arrived at the Hokage Tower. "Well, here we are, Hinata, you ready?" Hinata nodded and the two made their way into the building and up to the Hokage's office. "Hey, Old Man, I need a word with you," Naruto said as he and Hinata entered said office.

Hiruzen Sarutobi, the aging Third Hokage, looked up at Naruto as he entered. "Oh, good morning, Naruto, what can I do for you today?" he asked. Naruto and Hinata spent the better part of the following half hour explaining their situation and what they needed. Hiruzen nodded. "I think I can take a short time to come help you. I need to talk to Hiashi, anyway."

A few minutes later, Naruto and Hinata were approaching the Hyuga compound with the Hokage in front of them. The Hokage demanded to be allowed in, along with his two followers. The two guards at the gate didn't dare defy him and allowed them all into the compound. Naruto and Hinata made a beeline for Hinata's room while the old man made his way more slowly toward Hiashi's study.

"I'll leave you here to get your things, Hinata," Naruto said. "I'm going to do some snooping, I'll be back soon." Hinata nodded. Naruto left her room and began to wander the halls of the building. He was wandering aimlessly, but always with his return route in the back of his mind, until he heard voices. That gave him a target, so he made his way toward where he heard them.

Approaching a door, Naruto realized the voices were coming from the room on the other side of the door. He quietly approached it. No one inside seemed to notice him. What he heard made him shake in horror.

"We are overriding you, Hiashi!" one voice said, anger apparent in the tone of the voice.

"Yes, if she is to be cast out of the clan, she must be sealed, and as you have obviously not yet filed the papers, she is still legally in our clan, so we WILL seal her!" another added, sounding triumphant.

"Lord Hokage?" a third voice, Naruto guessed this one was Hiashi, said, sounding fearful.

"I'm sorry, Hiashi, but they're right. She is still legally in your clan, which makes this an internal clan affair; I can do nothing," the voice of the Third Hokage said.

"I see," the previous voice responded, confirming Naruto's guess that it was Hiashi.

"We must get her now, while she is still in the compound," the first voice that had spoken said, this time sounding more arrogant than angry.

Naruto had heard enough. "I'm not sure what it is they want to do to Hinata, but I will not let them do it!" he thought. That thought in mind, he left, making a beeline back to Hinata's room. He knocked on her door. "Hinata?"

"Yes, Naruto, what is it?" she asked, worried at the urgency she detected in his voice.

"Do you have everything you need?" he asked her. He didn't want to worry her, but they had to move and move fast if they wanted to get out of here.

"Yeah, I'm ready, why, what's wrong?" Hinata answered. She was surprised when Naruto burst into her room, grabbed her by the hand, and, pulling her behind him, ran from her room all the way out of the compound and back onto the street. He refused to let them stop until they were all the way back to his apartment. "Naruto, what in the world happened?"

"Hinata, they're going to seal you," he told her. Hinata gasped. Naruto took a deep breath. "When I was wandering around, I heard your father, the old man, and a bunch of other people talking, they were saying they were overriding your father and that they were going to seal you."

"But we're safe here, now, right?" Hinata asked. She knew it was a vain hope, somehow.

"No, I'm sure they know you're here with me by now..." he trailed off, thinking. Hinata looked worried. "Hinata...we have to go. We have to run away, away from the village, away from everything, at least until this all blows over. And we can't tell anyone we're going, not even the old man, he said he couldn't do anything to help us."

Hinata thought about that and everything else Naruto had told her. He was right, she realized. "All right, Naruto, we'll go," she said. "But we need to pack anything you have that we might need first."

Naruto nodded and grabbed a bag from his closet. "This has all my camping stuff in it, a tent, two sleeping bags—don't ask—and some stuff we can use to start fires, plus a few spare sets of clothes I have. Most of your stuff is still in that bag you had last night, so just grab that and I'll grab a few more things and we'll be good to go," he said.

Hinata nodded, went into the bedroom, and grabbed her bag from where she had left it that morning. Both youngsters grabbed their things from the bathroom and tossed them into their bags, and Naruto grabbed a box from the top of his closet. "I'll explain later, but I'm not going anywhere without this," he said. Hinata nodded. "So, are we ready now?"

Hinata thought a moment. "Yeah, though I don't know what we're going to do for food," she said.

Naruto chuckled. "Don't worry, I've got that covered. All right, let's get out of here," he told the young girl. Hinata nodded. Naruto grabbed her by the hand and the two left his apartment. Once they were back on street level, the two sprinted all the way to the village's main gate. There, the two waited until the gate guards were distracted, then ran as fast as they could out of the gate and into the forest outside the village proper.

Naruto and Hinata turned back and looked at the gate of the Hidden Leaf Village. "We will come back, some day," Naruto said, more to himself than Hinata. "Until then, goodbye, old friend." Hinata wasn't entirely sure if he was talking to the village itself or to the Hokage, but, really, she didn't see that it mattered all that much.


While Naruto and Hinata were departing the village, the Hyuga clan was making its way to Naruto's apartment. The Third Hokage had accidentally told them where Hinata was staying, and they were on their way to find her. When they got there, Hiashi knocked on the door, hoping to soften the blow somewhat at least. No one answered. Activating his Byakugan, Hiashi commented, "There's no one here."

That was all the incentive the clan needed; they busted the door down and tore through the apartment looking for either the blond or their missing heiress. No sign of either was found. Just as they were leaving, Hiruzen stopped Hiashi and pointed to a spot in the closet that was completely dust-free, like something had just been moved. "Naruto would never take that unless he wasn't coming back for a while," the old man explained. "He's left the village, no doubt Hinata with him, to keep her away from your clan."

Hiashi smiled. "Good. He's saved her again, it seems," he said. "In the meantime, is there anyone you can send to keep an eye on them and make sure they're safe out there?"

Hiruzen thought about that. "There is, but it will take him a long time to get here, a couple years probably; he's in very deep cover at the moment," the Third responded.

Hiashi sighed. "Naruto's lived on his own, I'm sure he'll keep them alive at least. That will have to do. Please, do what you can, Lord Hokage," he said, his worry for his daughter obvious in his voice.

"I will, Hiashi, I will," Hiruzen responded. "Oh, Naruto, what in the world were you thinking? Just be safe out there, Naruto, please be safe," the old man thought. "Your father would never forgive me if anything happened to you."