Cover Image: "Naruhina-sombra" by Bordemela on Deviantart. Used with Permission.
Author note: This is a valentine special for my One and Only, CaptainFlye - who kind of ruined my surprise by proposing to me, thus, this simply pales in comparison.
Nonetheless, I wanted to give his favorite Naruto couple as happy a valentine as I'm getting. So, I will give it a try.
The Safest Place
The safest place for Hinata during the Hyuga civil war was with the toads. Naruto wanted to make sure she stayed there. . . .
Chapter 1 Chance for Forever
Naruto felt guilty, he knew he should have warned Hinata that toad food was no good unless one was extremely hungry. He himself had developed a taste for it during his sage mode training (After getting sick from it multiple times.) Eventually his body had learned to accept the meals of bugs and other nameless goop that Old Lady Toad fed him. He had another advantage as well, as he was pretty sure that being used to nature chakra helped him adjust to said food. Hinata ate quietly and politely. He admired her, and prayed she wouldn't get sick. He tried to point out the best things for her to eat in a way that would not offend the toad's favorite delicacies.
"You spoke of returning home soon Naruto-chan," Old Geezer toad said, stuffing his large mouth with colorful bugs. "I was hoping you would stay longer. . ."
"Me too."Naruto said, glancing once around the table. "I should leave tomorrow. . . I was hoping Hinata-chan could stay here with you."
Hinata's face lost all color. She nearly dropped her wooden plate. "But Naruto-kun. . .I. . .I should really get home to my father. I'm worried about him."
"But I'm worried about you Hinata. I know that attack last week was on Neji, but you are in danger too. This is the safest place possible, no one would find you here." Naruto said.
Hinata shook her head. "I'm. . .I'm glad you're concerned Naruto but I really must go home, with you, with my family.. . I can't just stay and hide anymore."
The room went silent. Naruto stared at Hinata unhappily, "Hinata I won't be able to guard you. I have to go on a mission as soon as I get back!"
The toads looked at each other, they rarely heard Naruto yell, and never at Hinata.
Hinata blushed slightly, and began to play with her fingers. "That's just it Naruto. . .I. . I can't stay home, or here, or anywhere while you go risk your life for me." She shook her head, hair swaying against her face, "I never know if you're okay. . .or. . .or if you will come back. . .I can't just sit here a million miles away and wait!" He voice broke. And the room fell once again into an awkward silence.
"Pa, we need more wood." Lady Toad said.
The old sage toad stared. "That' will mean I will have to chop some, and I am worn out from training with Naruto."
"Just go get me some. And take a long time."
"What are you planning to do?" Geezer Toad asked. Both he and Naruto looked at the old female toad suspiciously. Ma Toad jumped from the table and pulled out two bowls from her cupboard. "I'm just showing these kids something, and you will only be in the way."
Her husband stared at the bowls, then at Naruto and Hinata, then back at his wife. "Alright but be nice."
"I'm always nice." she replied, setting the bowls down with a large thump.
Naruto cringed, watching in dismay as the old sage toad left the house.
"It seems to me that you two are having issues." Old Lady Toad said. "And I have something that might help you. But I need to make sure you truly love each other first."
Naruto stared. "Of course I love her. I told you that."
"Are you sure?"
"Of course! I'm sure." Naruto declared.
Old Lady Toad nodded once, then looked at Hinata, who gasped slightly and nodded quickly.
"I. . .I love Naruto-kun."
Lady Toad took a large bottle and poured a sort of blue/red liquid into each bowl. "Then you have nothing to worry about!"
"What is it?" Naruto asked, curious now.
"It is a love potion of sorts. Just something simple. It proves your love."
Naruto frowned. "Uh?"
"To know for certain that destiny's red thread binds your hearts. You both drink this. To those in love it will taste very sweet. If not it will taste extremely bitter."
Naruto stared at the bowl in front of him. It looked harmless enough, and of course he had no worries as he knew he loved Hinata. He looked at her. "Do you want to try?"
Hinata, also curious, nodded eagerly. For how much she loved Naruto, it ought to taste very good. "We can try if you want. I would like to." She said quietly.
He nodded, scooting his chair closer to hers. They each took a bowl, and together they slowly took a sip.
It was the most disgusting thing they had ever tasted in their lives.
Naruto gasped, spitting it out and taking a breath "What the. . .!"
Hinata stared at the wall from over her bowl, hands trembling. The bowl shook in her fingers, but. . . She took another sip. If it proved that she loved him, she would drink it all, even though it made her stomach churn. She felt tears in her eyes. What did this mean? Surely her love was strong enough. What had she done wrong?
"Hinata DON'T!" Naruto tore the bowl away, dumping it out on the floor beside him, as far away from Hinata as he could. "It'll hurt something." He shoved his own bowl away and glared at the old toad. "What was that? I'd rather eat the beetles!"
Lady Toad glared back "I happen to take great pride in my beetle recipe young man." She smacked him across the hand with a wooden stirring spoon.
"What. . . But . . . What does it mean?" Hinata asked. "I. . . I love Naruto. I know I do. . ." she looked at him tearfully.
Naruto put his arm around her, looking confused.
Lady Toad laughed, falling on top of the table and clutching her sides. "Hahaha! It worked!"
"What worked?" Naruto asked.
"I tricked you." She said, gasping for breath through her laughter, "That stuff always tastes nasty."
"But you said. . . "
"Hush up Naruto-chan," she commanded, straightening and taking a deep breath, completely under control now. "You were both willing to try together, and Hinata was willing to drink it all because she loves you. While you on the other hand, you were willing to protect her from it, despite what I said about love and destiny. It made no difference to either of you. It is very clear that you care about each other deeply."
Hinata stared, wide eyes. Naruto held her tighter.
"So." Ma toad said, turning suddenly somber. "I don't mind giving you this. But we must do it quickly before Pa get's back." She jumped onto the table right next to them. "Roll up your sleeves, the both of you."
Naruto clasped Hinata's hand, their bare arms touching. The old toad made hand signs. Then, with a finger, she drew a full circle around Naruto and Hinata's upper arms where their skin met. First one full circle, then another, then a third.
Dark black marks traced across their skin, and Naruto could feel it tingle slightly, though not uncomfortably. The seal glowed red, then tan, then purple, then back to black again, like a faint ink line, three of them in a circle.
"The circles are unending as you hold each other." Lady toad said. "Three will always show when you are together."
"You can let go now, I know the position is a little uncomfortable, but love isn't always easy."
Naruto unclasped Hinata's hand, turning his arm where the circles where now only crescents, the other half of the lines being on Hinata's arm.
Hinata fingered the seal, she could feel it deeply in her skin, but it didn't hurt. She held Naruto's hand on the table.
Ma Toad continued. "If you are separated but well, the third one will disappear and you will see two. If you are separated and one of you is hurt or sick then only one will show. They will never disappear completely. There will always be at least one."
"So. . ." Naruto said, "I can always know that Hinata-chan is well?"
"And if Naruto-kun is in danger or hurt I will know I need to help?"
"Yes. You will not necessarily know where the other person is, but the heart is better for that then any seal or jutsu anyways."
Naruto stared in awe.
Lady Toad laughed. "You like that? It is very ancient technique. . . It is also the first part of your marriage ceremony."
Author notes: I should probably mention that the seal idea was CaptainFlye's You will see it in another story this summer.