Author note: Please don't hate Ma Toad for this chapter, She's a character I haven't seen much of, and might be a little OOC. However, her lines are just too funny to take out. Naruto's tough; he can handle it.

Chapter 2: Walk Beside You

"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 you marriage ceremony."

CRASH!

Naruto fell off his chair and onto the floor. Hinata gasped.

The young man sat on the floor, rubbing his head. "WHAT? I said I loved her. Not that I was going to marry her!"

The Toad smacked him across the head with the stirring spoon, leaving a red lump. "Naruto-chan!"

Naruto paled, "No . . . I didn't mean that!"

"That's what you said. Are you using this girl?" Lady Toad demanded.

"No!" Naruto crawled away from the wooden spoon. (Ma Toad hit harder then Geezer Toad ever did, which was saying something!) He crawled farther under the table, trying to get away from her wrath.

"OW!" He thumped his head on the table, then grabbed the spoon, yanking as the two ended up in a tug-of-war. "That's not what I meant!"

"Then what did you mean you idiot boy?"

"I am going to marry Hinata. I WANT to! Right now actually. It's all I have wanted for ages!"

"I. . .I want to marry you too Naruto. . ." Hinatta whispered. But he didn't hear, as he was busy dodging a metal spatula.

"Explain yourself boy or I will tan your sorry hide!" Ma Toad said.

He waved is hands in front of his face. Being cornered by the dish basin and counter. "I mean there's people after me. It's not safe, and it's too soon! I'm sure Hinata-chan wants a dress, and the proper people, and her family, and - Ouch!"

Ma toad stood on the table above him, hands on her hips. "WE HAVE DRESSES, and robes, and veils, and candles, and ceremonial bells. Lord Toad has done our weddings since the beginning of time!" She waved her spatula, "And YOU ARE her family Naruto boy! As long as the groom and bride are there and someone to do all the technical stuff what else do you need? Or is the toad way just not good enough for you?" The spatula pointed at him threateningly.

He waved his hands again shaking his head, "Of course it's good enough. Just like sage mode. Whatever you guys do, you do it the best."

This obviously was repentant enough for her, as the spatula lowered. "Then what's your problem?" she demanded.

Naruto was at a loss

Hinata shook her head. She stood up from her chair, pulling the spatula away from the toad and holding it close to keep her from hitting her Naruto with it again. She had both their attention now.

She shook her head again to clear her thoughts. "Shouldn't I have a say?" She asked, trying to keep her emotions back.

"Of course you do dear." The toad said kindly.

Naruto rubbed his head tenderly, I get called a jerk and she's a dear? Then again, it was his Hinata. "Of course Hinata I always listen to you."

Hinata nodded tearfully. Then, wiping her eyes, she set the spatula down and walked around the table kneeling in front of Naruto and taking his hands.

Naruto stared in shock. Even the Ma Toad was speechless.

No stuttering. Hinata commanded herself, "Naruto. If you don't want to get married now that's fine. I'll wait. But I'm afraid. . . I'm afraid that someday. . .someday I'll lose you, that something will happen to you. I understand it's the ninja way, I understand death is a part of life. I'm not afraid of that because I feel that what we have is forever, but what I am afraid of is that we will live our whole lives waiting and never get this chance! I don't care what father says or Neji thinks. I feel foolish in even saying their names while talking about how I really feel because they have nothing to do with us."

"They kind of do. . ."

"Listen!" She took a breath, "I'll wait. But I want to make sure you are waiting for you, not me. I am ready now. I WANT it now. I want to spend the rest of my life with you."

"I do too Hinata-chan." He wrapped his arms around her. "I just. . "

"Look, it's okay. I'll wait."

Ma Toad grumbled. "She shouldn't have to. She proposed to you Idiot say yes."

Naruto glared at her. "Could you just give us a minute?"

She shrugged.

Naruto concentrated on Hinata, "I have never been very careful with anything Hinata. I get myself hurt, I fight. I lost my parents, my teachers, I lost Sasuke. Why? Because deep down I know what I want and I want it now no matter what."

"It isn't your fault. . ."

He put his finger on her lips. "Shh. My turn." His hand moved to her shoulder, then to her long dark hair. "I always rush, but most of those things I have gained by it, I lose just as easily. That's how I feel right now. I want to be careful with you. I don't want to be the reason you get hurt."

"But I'm hurting now Naruto."

"What? Where?"

"Right here." She touched her heart.

Naruto kissed her on the lips. "Do you want to get married now?"

"She just said that Naruto boy, is your hearing impaired? What are you, twenty already? Disgrace."

Hinata clung to Naruto, "Yes Naruto. I want you to marry me. I want to be beside you, to walk beside you all the time."

Naruto stared. The words were familiar. He embraced her. "Me too. Gosh, how could I be so stupid?"

"You're not stupid Naruto."

"Yes he is."

Naruto turned, pulling Hinata up beside him. "Lady Toad. I am stupid. Stupid I didn't do this sooner. What do we do next?"

Ma Toad grinned. "Follow me."