Chapter 23 : Discovery
The sun was gradually going down, casting an orange hue of light when night quickly made its approach in the skies with oncoming darkness. From afar, two tall figures quickly bounded across the rather vacant dirt road’s of Konohagakure, one in long winded strides while the other trudged rather un-enthusiastically along with a slightly lazy gait.
“I was delivering flowers out here and you won’t believe what I saw!” Ino excitedly exclaimed, waving her hands exxageratedly into the air and motioning towards the chest nut haired male in order to hurry him along. Although, it didn’t look like he was interested one bit in investing his time in her latest digression for gossip.
The male blatantly ignored her over-enthused expressions and continued to travel sluggishly before Ino heaved out an exasperated sigh. At the current snail rate of travel that Choji was proceeding with, they might never make it there before the moon comes out. And she knew that he was probably doing this in order to annoy her with his reluctance to come out here.
She sharply tugged Choji’s arm, dragging him hurriedly down the long winding roads as if her discovery could disappear at any given moment. And God knows how disappointing that would be.
She couldn’t be anymore upset at the thought.
Just as they traveled past the forest, further down the road stood the intimidating Uchiha compound in all of its haunting glory, restored to near perfection of its previous distinctive imminence. There was a rather dreary and grim presence that clouded the entire compound with its lack of life and previously macabre history, but Ino was quick to over look this fact.
The only thing that had managed to catch her attention was the light that filtered through the rice paper windows like a haunting glow of color that burst through the grey and black.
“I knew I saw lights on! I told you!” Ino nearly shouted with an exhilarated expression on her face when Chouji slapped a hand onto her wide open mouth in fear of attracting any unwanted attention. Mainly the attention of one Sasuke Uchiha, if he really was inside of the Uchiha compound at this time instead of traveling around like everyone said.
Ino shot him a narrowrd before stealthily peeling his large hand off of her mouth, grinning widely with eyes sparkling like stars in the night sky while the wheels in her head continued to spin uncontrollably in excitement.
She really couldn’t believe her luck!
“Sasuke must be back! I can’t wait to see foreheads reaction when she finds out!” Ino laughed excitedly. Her hands clenched into victorious fists at her findings before saying lowly, “But I’m not going to tell her!”
“I think you should quiet down, Ino.” Choji warns.
He didn’t know why, but he suddenly had a very very bad feeling about letting Ino drag him out here to spy on the Uchiha compound. All that she was going to use this information for was gossip anyways. Nothing important. And Choji knew that she was going to pass it out like the morning newspaper early at the Konoha markets just to get the crowds riled.
He was assured of it.
Slightly annoyed, Ino thwarts another attempt of his to quiet her before suddenly swallowing down the last of her laugh when her eyes caught slight movement close to the Uchiha compound.
From the opposite side of the road, an unexpected figure walked briskly along the barren dirt and gravel path carrying a basket of groceries towards the Uchiha gate with a rather sweet smile on her full lips.
The blonde female was quick to note the long blue-black hair that laid in abundance down the woman’s back before she finally saw pupil-less lavender-grey eyes and the familiar face of Hyuga Hinata.
Ino squinted her eyes to assure that she wasn’t seeing things, almost double taking when she managed to identify the pretty woman.
“Is that Hinata? What’s she doing out here?” Ino tipped her head to the sides, contemplating the oddity of the situation with her brows burrowed tightly together in thought.
“Maybe she has something to deliver to Sasuke,” Choji replies warily.
Yet contrary to his words, they both had a feeling otherwise.
The gates were closed but the dark haired woman fluidly opened the lock in practiced movements that seemed oddly out of place.
How could she had known the way to open the gates so easily like that?
Even Ino had found it rather tenaciously hard to open when Sakura and herself sneaked in to rearrange Sasuke’s house after being egged on by the pink haired friend’s incessant goading. It took a lot more effort than what Hinata was deploying and the only way to be able to open the lock so easily is from recurring practice. This odd thought was quickly tossed out by Ino because of its absurdity.
Maybe it was just a first timers luck.
The pretty dark haired woman merrily closed the gates behind her in a smooth polite manner and leisurely walked up towards the daunting closed Uchiha doors. From the distance, they both felt sweat drip down their backs in fear for Hinata.
But, both Ino and Choji had hesitated, completely frozen in their spot.
A part of them wanted to stop her from walking face first into a very unpleasant encounter, yet the other part was curious as to what the outcome of this unexpected confrontation between Hinata and Sasuke would be.
In the past, neither one had ever seen any interaction between the two rather quiet and reticent nins. Hinata and Sasuke’s names has never left their mouths in the same sentence. It was just something not done because both stood on completely opposite poles of each other and could never be classed together due to significant differences.
It was odd, really, that something like this was unfolding before their very eyes.
But they were entirely sure that what they were about to see is definitely going to be an extremely big and mind blowing event, possibly to the point of a coma inducing shock.
And Ino was, surprisingly, excited.
They watched Hinata raised her hand to knock when the door swung open almost automatically before her fingers could even touch the mahogany wood in a rather fast motion as if her presence had been anticipated by the owner of the home.
And standing at the other side of the door was the imposing and notoriously known last Uchiha, practically towering over her delicate form with a glance of dark eyes sweeping across her face.
The tall Uchiha male took the heavy basket from Hinata who was smiling up to her ears without slamming the door in her face like they had thought.
“See. I told you she was delivering someth----” Choji said, trying to quickly brush off both of their assumptions when he was hastily cut off by the Uchiha’s peculiar actions that neither had seen coming.
Instead of closing the door after retrieving the basket, Sasuke had turned slightly to leave a larger gap open as if to invite Hinata in with his lazy and leisurely countenance. His cold yet handsome face had tipped downwards to look at the petite cheerful woman while saying something that they couldn’t hear or comprehend from this distance.
Yet, the expression on the Uchiha’s handsome cold face spoke volumes. It was something that neither of them had ever seen.
It was impossible, right?
They knew Sasuke to be an extremely cold and tenaciously dangerous person yet that slight tip at the corner of his thin lips border lined a smile.
It was a wickedly sinful smirk-smile that had nearly blinded Ino’s eyes at the initial glance. Even Choji felt slightly astonished and bedazzled by the Uchiha male’s minuscule quirk of the lips.
They watched with eyes wide and dilated pupils when Hinata stepped inside the barrier between safety and hellish chaos with that angelic smile deeply ingrained onto her pretty face as if she didn’t know or care about all the death and maelstrom associated with Sasuke Uchiha.
The ex-heiress placidly removed her shoes when they saw Sasuke drop a pair of purple slippers down for her to slip on with such ease that it completely baffled the two stalkers from afar.
Hinata’s smiled seemed to widen even more at Sasuke’s actions.
Then, the door closed.
Why in the hell does Sasuke Uchiha have a pair of fuzzy purple slippers in his house that was exactly Hinata’s size? Why did Sasuke even let Hinata enter his private sanctuary when all others were immediately stopped with just a gaze into his dark eyes as he slams the door into their faces? And why did Hinata actually enter his home instead of running away like they had expected?
The magnanimous amouny of questions ran rampant in both of their heads like the galloping of a horse through a wide meadow only to realize that it have traveled to the end of a road that happens to be a giant cliff when it’s hooves slip off of the precariously shaky bit of land.
Both sat frozen in disbelief.
And for once, Ino was stunned speechless.
“Choji, what did we just see?” Ino asked lowly, her mouth was slightly slackened from the shock that still coursed through her adrenaline pumped system like a jack hammer to the face in the midst of a heart attack.
Her male companion crossed his arms over his chest and proceeded to rub his chin thoughtfully with dark brows furrowed together into a line.
What did they see just now?
“Maybe Hinata’s helping Sasuke with something,” Choji tried to elucidate, wracking his brain for ideas that were all shortly scrapped due to how absurd and impractical they were.
How does one go about explaining a strange almost symbiotic relationship between Sasuke Uchiha and Hinata Hyuga that was basically impossible in their eyes?
“I don’t think so. Let’s stick around for a little bit longer,” Ino replied with a prompt click of her tongue.
“We shouldn’t dig our own graves and lay in it, Ino. If Sasuke knows, he might just chidori our faces off,” Choji said, grabbing onto her forearm, ready to drag her back to town and away from this headache that was starting to form.
He didn’t want to be emotionally entangled into this dangerous situation.
The blonde woman easily shrugged him off, heels digging into the dirt with an expression that told him how adamant she was on staying here to spy on the two.
She was not going to leave.
“Sasuke will know if you get too close. Let’s just go,” Choji warned, grabbing hold of Ino’s arm again when the blonde companion made a move to get closer to the objects of her current obsession.
“Fine. We won’t get close but I’m not going back until I get some answers. Let’s just stay for a little bit, at least until Hinata comes back out.” She then proceeded to give him this rather pouty yet pleading look.
Choji shrugged his shoulders and sighed out before leaning back against the tree, ready to stake out for the sake of gossip and to appease Ino’s growing appetite due to her cumbersome curiosity.
And so, in order to not blow their cover, they remained in the distance, carefully gauging any minimal activity from the Uchiha home with serious expressions on their normally cheerful faces. It was as if they were on a rather dangerous and important mission instead of just stalking outside of Uchiha compound, being nosy and all up in Sasuke and Hinata’s business.
The first hour went by rather slowly with no sign of the front door opening to show Hinata’s departure from the eerie home and Choji had a gut feeling that she wouldn’t, not anytime soon anyways.
“I have a very bad feeling, Ino,” Choji said with a low tone of voice, brushing a fallen leaf that had stuck to the sleeve of his shirt as he glanced at Ino’s huddled figure to his left.
They remained mostly quiet after that, waiting rather patiently while their insides turned as if they were on an amusement park ride for an answer that they knew would be coming.
After another hour, the only lights on in the compound had completely extinguished, casting the entire home into gloomy darkness. The moon had come out, replacing the burning sun by making perch high above them with moon light casting downwards over the peacefully quiet land.
The second hour passed by slowly.
And then, three more hours drifted by.
Before long, Ino and Choji came to a rather disturbing and scary realization when the sun started to approach the horizon in bright blinding light on their frozen faces full of disbelief.
Hinata-chan never left the Uchiha Compound.
And from the shadows that casted in the curtains from Sasuke’s room, Hinata stayed with Sasuke... in his room... the whole entire night.
The knowledge of what they had just discovered almost knocked them unconscious and both were tempted to keel over in a dead faint but had to refrain in case they were discovered.
Choji was the first to recover and had tried to quickly drag his blonde haired companion with him, back from the direction that they had came. In their slight mortified rush, they failed to notice the tall silver haired Hokage who was just at the outskirts of the forest, heading towards the Uchiha compound.
Ino was surprisingly quiet throughout the trek back, still slightly dazed at the prospect of any relationship between the cold Uchiha and the sweet innocent Hyuga girl that they knew.
It was unimaginable! Preposterous! Ludicrous!
They must have gone insane for their imaginations to get this far ahead of them!
“Sakura will blow a gasket when she hears about this! I can’t wait to let---” Ino excitedly chattered, hands rubbing together at just the thought of breaking the news to a certain pink haired medic and all the chaos that it would ensue.
“Stop it, Ino. You’re only going to make things worse for Hinata-chan. Who do you think will have to endure Sakura’s hostility?” Choji replied with a stern look on his face.
It wasn’t their place or business to be going around telling everyone about Sasuke and Hinata’s relationship.
It isn’t right.
“Bu---you’re right. I won’t tell Sakura,” Ino said, lips pursed slightly with a sneaky thought that swiftly passed by in her head that she, obviously, wasn’t going to voice.
Just because she couldn’t tell Sakura, it didn’t mean that she couldn’t tell anyone else, Ino thought with a mischievous purse of her lips.
The ‘anyone else’ happened to be more than a handful of people who came into the flower shop, Tenten, Shikamaru, and Lee.
Lee, out of everyone, happened to be the bearer of good news. The green jump suit clad male was known for his rather wide mouth and interest in all things good. So, of course, she had to tell him of all people.
“Lee! You will not believe what I just saw!” Ino exclaimed after catching sight of the male from afar, quickly marching up to him and started to chat away like the flapping wings of a flying bird after she had managed to leave Choji behind with the pretense of going to work.
Her excitement was almost contagious to everyone around, beaming rather brightly like a ray of multi-colored light in everyone’s direction.
“You have good news, Ino-chan?” he replied back with a blinding smile of his white teeth and pink gums; although, the rest of him was already a sight for sore eyes.
“Uh-huh! It’s Sasuke Uchiha. He’s back and he has a lady friend with him!”
She didn’t say Hinata’s name.
So it should be alright to spread a little bit of the gossip with everyone else.
Ino knew that the poor girl might become a target for all of those vengeful fan girls and Sakura’s wrath if anyone managed to figure out it was Hinata. But, Ino would bet her left arm that no one could ever guess that this ‘lady friend’ happened to be shy and innocent little Hinata-chan.
And just the thought of what Sakura could do to poor Hinata-chan made Ino a little apprehensive in spreading the news but she couldn’t help the itch to tell everyone she knew.
It was in her blood to be slightly nosy of other people’s business.
She couldn’t help it.
And knowing Lee, everyone in the town is going to know about Sasuke’s return because the over excited male did a mighty fine job of spreading the ‘good news’ to all of Konoha within the next hour.
A lot faster than her expectations.
Walking lazily along the gravel path was Hokage of Konohagakure, Kakashi Hatake. Today happened to be one of his less busy days, making it extremely leisurely for him to actually take the time to walk this peaceful road further from the loud ruckus and busy town to seek out a certain Uchiha.
His silver hair shined in the bright morning sun when he noted the two familiar figures that hurriedly fled from the scene as if there were ferocious hell hounds on their heels.
It didn’t take a genius to know that they had obviously discovered something rather astonishing way out here in the most deserted areas of Konoha. Just that dumbfounded expression on their young faces was enough to justify his assumptions.
He had already known what they could have possibly discovered. It had taken him almost a whole bottle of sake and one night of no sleep to swallow down just the idea of the unlikely Hyuga-Uchiha union.
Yet, it was real and existent no matter how drunk he had gotten.
As he stepped closer to the Uchiha compound, the large gates at the front creaked open to reveal a slightly smirking Sasuke Uchiha with his arms wrapped like protection vices around Hinata Hyuga’s delicately petite form.
He didn’t have to think to know that the ex-heiress had stayed the night with Sasuke. Just the unbecoming wrinkles on her shirt was enough to clarify the situation and Kakashi didn’t want to even think about what that signified.
He wasn’t interested in knowing about his student’s sex life.
At least that was what he told himself anyways.
Then, he waited until the ex-heiress finally managed to bid her goodbyes after untangling herself from the Uchiha’s passionate mouth and arms only to be pulled back in for another seemingly endless kiss.
And finally, after what felt like hours, Hinata left, leaving the last Uchiha standing at the front watching her back before Kakashi bounded up to the gate.
“Sasuke,” he called, his voice breaking through the morning silence.