Sounds of whispering and hushed voices erupted in the small streets of the village as their hero walked alongside holding hands with the pink-haired kunoichi. The two laughed and looked like a lovely couple, warming the hearts of the villagers who anticipated their union as a couple. Walking towards the ramen restaurant that they frequently visited, they received many warm smiles and some glares from jealous women that hoped they could have won the heart of the village hero. Among the villagers walking the streets was Hinata alongside one of her closest friends, Kiba. He placed a hand on the small of her back, showing that he was there for her and understood that it hurt her to see her crush with the girl he had been alongside for the past decade.
“Hina, let’s go eat Korean with Shikamaru and Choji,” Kiba said quietly to the girl beside him as he lead her to a different direction. Initially they had planned on eating ramen together but he knew Hinata wouldn’t take it very well to see Naruto with Sakura in that way. She simply nodded in response and walked with him in the other direction.
Shortly they arrived at the restaurant and the boys tried to alleviate the tension they felt with conversation about stories of past missions and funny jokes. Hinata laughed and smiled along, she was good at hiding her true feelings. A little too good.
Kiba walked Hinata to her clan, “if you need anything I’ll be there okay? You can never bother me,” Kiba said as he walked off, Akamaru whimpering as he didn’t want to leave Hinata. Hinata smiled and waved before walking to her house and shutting herself in her room, letting the tears fall finally.
6 months later
Wedding bells rang throughout the village. Everyone gathered around the venue to watch the ceremony between two village heroes. Hinata sat in the white wooden chair in between Shino and Kiba, Akamaru rested his head in her lap. She patted his head and gave him light scratches as she found it comforting to maintain her composure. She found herself no longer wanting to be with Naruto, but still beating herself up over the fact that she wasn’t the one standing at the altar with him.
Watching them share a kiss as a married couple broke her. Watching the man she would do anything for, risking her own life for, love another woman, was enough to make her want to leave the village. She decided to suck it up but as they made their way to the reception area. She snuck away to a woodsy area to quickly compose herself so no one would notice that she was upset. She leaned against a tree, after shedding a few tears, she heard a bit of rustling to her right. She looked and saw the once rogue ninja standing there quietly. He looked so calm, so serene and content with life. In the most melancholy way she had ever seen a person. Was he in love with Sakura? She thought. He looked at her, they held eye contact for a brief moment, he simply nodded at her and looked up to the sky. She wanted to say something, to see if, just maybe, he felt the same way she did. But she couldn’t find the words to. She simply cleaned herself up and walked back to the reception.
Kiba ran up to her and looked relieved, “I thought you ran away,” he whisper yelled. Hinata giggled and told him that she simply went to go use the restroom. They talked amongst themselves and very quickly noticed that nearly everyone was in a relationship. Kiba tried to make sure that Hinata didn’t notice, but he knows she, of all people, isn’t blind.
Hinata looked around and noticed that Sasuke was nowhere to be found. “Kiba-kun, have you seen Sasuke?”
“Huh? No not in a long time, why?”
“I ran into him earlier”
Suddenly she heard a quick pace making its way toward her.
“Sasuke was here?” It was Naruto. Hinata felt herself skip a beat but held herself together.
“Y-yes, it was just after the ceremony, near the woods,” she replied.
“I must’ve just missed him then,” Naruto said as he sighed in defeat. “I invited him, I wasn’t sure he’d actually come,” he paused for a moment as if remembering something, “I’m glad I heard you, Hinata, I know that he was here to see me begin a happy adulthood, thank you for coming by the way. You’ve been a really good friend, Hinata!” Naruto said as he wrapped an arm around her and smiled a big Naruto smile.
Hinata felt herself want to go hide in a hole, ‘be calm,’ she told herself.
“Oh it’s no problem Naruto-kun, congratulations, I’m very happy for you,” she said and looked to her hands.
“You’re the best Hinata, don’t ever change!” He waved and ran back to his bride. She wasn’t sure what he meant by that but it made Kiba and Shino exchange a glance and change their heads. It blew them away that Naruto never realized Hinata's feelings for him.
Later that afternoon, Hinata made her way home alone, refusing Kiba’s attempts to walk her back; she wanted time to think alone. As she made her way to her room, she looked out of the balcony to see flashes of light from the neighboring clan. To see the once dark and gloomy streets, filled with street lights and some type of life gave her a heartwarming feeling. She supposed Sasuke was back in the village to stay and felt happy for him. She found herself watching him train as if it was a light show. She went to bed, still a bit sad about Naruto, but happy that her comrades were happy. So she felt a bit better about that.