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Monday, June 4, 2012

The Immortals

The Immortals
by: a spark of insanity

Naruto didn't like hospitals, and always would mentally cringe when the word was mentioned. Over the years he built a tolerance for dull colored walls and the smell of antiseptic.
He shuddered, ugh, heebie jeebies.
And though being in the hospital was commonplace for shinobi, Naruto was an atypical case. Some of his earliest memories were of stark white sheets, bandages, blinding lights, and the smell of his own blood. The healing touch of the medic nin would cause him to flinch and black out into a panic attack and he would scream—No. He shook his head and pushed those grim thoughts back to the furthest recesses of his mind. Naruto was supposed to be happy, is happy, but happiness for him is always fleeting.


The halls of Konoha's newly constructed hospital are quiet as he trudged through them; Naruto was tired, beyond tired—bone weary. Physically he was fine, perfect health, mentally though, he was staggering. After a three month mission, he wanted to sleep for a month and a day, but as he took in the sign that read maternity ward, he felt a new kind of adrenaline and quickened his pace.
Naruto's eyes widened as he walked towards the glass and lifted a trembling hand to its cool surface.
Namikaze….
Despite being a walking slogan for optimism, neon colors and all, yelling his motto from the Hokage monument. "Believe it!" He didn't quite believe. Even though he was seeing—barely, his eyes were blurring with tears.
Seeing was believing, right?
They were here, finally and their hair was red. Ka-san….
Naruto was grinning, that lunatic grin of his, and he began to laugh. Which soon turned into sobs of joy, and he was probably scaring passerby's, but he didn't care. All was right in the world, because they—his son and daughter—were finally here after nine months. Overwhelmed by emotion, he ran a hand through shaggy blond hair, blinking away tears to take them in amongst the other sleeping infants. Cocooned in their blankets, their bassinets side by side, Naruto felt his disbelief giving into awe. Naruto never thought… he never assumed. Kami, I have a family now. Tears fell anew.
Briefly, a warm hand touched his on the window, Naruto jumped, startled. A quiet laugh met his ears, and his wide eyes took her in. She smiled beatifically and through his raging emotions he blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
"You went into labor early!" He said incredulously.
"They were impatient just like their Tou-san," She said calmly, and Naruto felt another wave of awe settle over him at the word. She came to stand beside him and took in his tattered jounin vest and haggard appearance—a cursory check over to make sure he was fine. Always worried for the wellbeing of others. She then peered into the window to see their babies, with an expression that Naruto could only call contentment settling over her porcelain features.
"The labor lasted for f-fourteen hours," Hinata, began quietly, Naruto was a mess of emotion and knew he couldn't be counted on to ask the right questions. "Our daughter was first; weighing 6.4 pounds, then three minutes later our son, weighing 6.9 pounds. They were both quiet, wailing only for a moment, but I cried for the whole experience. Our daughter has a b-birthmark on the back of her left calf that looks likes the leaf insignia on our hitai-ate; a shinobi born and bred…" She laughed, which gave way into coughs.
"You're voice!"Naruto blurted out again, his head was still spinning, but at least he managed to sound concerned.
Hinata waved him off, "Oh I have a c-cold, my throat is sore and my chakra is low so I can't heal myself—see?" She held up her hand and a barely there green spark emanated from it, "Thankfully it isn't contagious, but whatever Sakura gave me to drink isn't working fast enough-" She squeaked out, when the wind was all but knocked out of her.
Naruto had tackled her, crushing her to his chest, his touch desperate. He was intense and probably frightening her, but he couldn't help it. When one had been met with scorn the majority of his life and finally had the acceptance of receiving of affection, it was a godsend, a lifesaver. But to initiate affection, with walls mighty in their great height and miles long in their width surrounding and protecting his heart, was a breakthrough. Hinata's stiffened form relaxed and she slowly raised her arms to embrace his neck, and like always she got it, she always would. So accepting….
"Thank you," He rasped into her ear, "thank you so much. I'm so, so happy. I'm can't find the words, but you've given me the world and you are awesome, so awesome and, and-"
"I know, Naruto-k-kun, I know," She stuttered out thickly.
Naruto loosened his arms, but didn't let her go, "I'm sorry I wasn't here for the birth, the mission took an unexpected turn."
"It's okay, you've just been securing us for the next year, and b-besides the labor came as much as a surprise as the pregnancy."
Hinata was right, it was a whirlwind; the whole situation caught them underhanded. In the midst of war, where death surrounded them, on its coattails rode in grief, whose presence consumed them all. Naruto needed comfort and familiarity after witnessing the deaths of friends and allies alike. And so to the one who claimed to love him, he had reach out and she had accepted without hesitation. Hinata had been convenient, and Naruto was able to feel a touch of his humanity again. But what was supposed to be a onetime encounter, turned into multiple. Eight months later in post war, surprise, surprise. He had been shocked, Hinata had been in hysterics—her father had disowned her for not terminating the pregnancy, despite Naruto being a war hero, the war hero. Quickly though as if tackling a new jutsu, Naruto rushed in like the fool he was, with all his usual enthusiasm. And with Naruto's infamous words of support Hinata jumped onto the bandwagon, expecting the journey to be difficult.
"Do you want to hold them?" She asked quietly.
"Yah …O-okay." Naruto's arms tightened around her once more, before dropping limply to his sides. Hinata took his hand and led him inside.
At nineteen Naruto is a father, and while it may seem young to some, amongst shinobi it was typical. Ninja lived fast and died young. He hadn't been a child since he earned his hitai-ate, nor an innocent since he first drew blood. But as he's being instructed on how to hold his son properly, and adjust his arms to support the babe's head, Naruto realized he had another reason to live. His son yawned and blinked owlishly up at him with Hinata's eyes and his eye color. Yes he definitely has a reason to live longer and survive.
"They're beautiful," Naruto murmured and turned his attention to Hinata and their daughter. Hinata was singing a lullaby under her breath, her eyes were closed and her expression serene. Motherhood becomes her.
"Have you thought of any names?" Naruto asked, fascinated by his son's iron grip on his finger.
"Yes, maybe after your father for him?"
"No," Naruto responded automatically, "I want him, both of them to have their own identities." Having to fill someone else's shadow and not be one's own person was too much to ask, particularly if that shadow was the fourth Hokage's.
Hinata nodded and smiled, "Okay we'll figure it out."
For a moment he watched her, transfixed. Hinata cuddled their daughter close, and dropped a kiss to her brow. It's like she already had it figured out, but really with a clan as large as hers, of course she would. There've been examples for her to follow, hands on experience. Him on the other, well that was that a conundrum that had finally revealed itself. Hell until two years ago he hadn't even known he had parents, that were pretty much Konoha royalty. Naruto studied his son, and held him close, burrowing his nose in the downy red hair that graced his head. And he wondered can he really do this—parenting, fatherhood!
"Hinata?"
"Hai," She replied absently, their daughter was fussing and Hinata had begun shifting her to and fro to quieten her.
"…I'm afraid," Naruto nearly whispered, and Hinata seemed to already know his greatest fear.
"As am I, but Naruto we have the chance your p-parents and my mother never had, that my father took for g-granted." And suddenly her gentle tone and expression become fierce, "I'm along for the ride, are you?"
Naruto stared at her, and then shook his head in the positive, "Yah, every step of the way."
"Good," she softened and said those fated words. "I love you, remember that."
Naruto paused, and felt his heart clench. He respected Hinata, after fourteen hours of labor to bring him the greatest gifts of his life, it just increased tenfold. Hinata was awesome—fucking awesome; she was the mother of his children. Naruto was very fond of her and felt affection he supposed, that came from friendship and constant championship.
Did Naruto love Hinata?
...No, he didn't know what love was.
Sure in those brief encounters with his parents' ghost, he felt a blinding warmth that had always been absent in his life. But those were just moments, pinnacle moments, but moments nonetheless that barely reflected a major bond, that all his other relationships were supposed to be based off of. And though he made companions everywhere he went, Naruto's trust was fragile, no matter how willingly he gave it. His walls of defense were impenetrable, and openings appeared to those who fortified his trust and to those who broke it, found themselves facing a fortress covered by a fa├žade of grins and stupidity. But this defense wouldn't work anymore; he had a family now, both a vulnerability and now his greatest strength.
"I know."
And Hinata nodded in acceptance, she understood his shortcomings, and all of a sudden he felt inadequate. She was constantly meeting him half way and beyond, she had destroyed so many of his walls, and is within reaching distance of his heart. And while that would usually scare him, he felt strangely happy, maybe this is what love is.
Naruto reached out, callused skin to her smooth, and kissed her.
The words wouldn't form, but his actions always spoke louder. It would take patience to undo a lifetime of distrust, but for his twins and Hinata, he knew he could do it. For them he would.
Believe it!

The Immortals:
The Will of Fire continues for
generations,
and thus making us
immortal.


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