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Once Strangers

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“Sasuke-san, I didn’t expect to see you so early,” Hinata tried to speak first as it seemed that Sasuke would stay silent if he had the choice. Hinata didn’t like silence with company.

“I should say the same, did you eat? We shouldn’t leave on empty stomachs.” Hinata was shocked, she had never heard so many words come from his mouth at the same time. He began before she could respond.
“If you don’t want to eat you can wait here and I won’t take too long.” Hinata walked up, yeah, she ate before coming but she wanted to join him.

“Lead the way Sasuke-San,” she looked up and smiled at him. “Hn,” and he walked to the direction of a small diner.

They were greeted by a young girl as they entered. It was cozy with warm lighting, Hinata loved it. They were seated at a two-person table and both ordered green tea.

“I’ve never been here before, Sasuke-san, it’s so… cozy,” she gave a small smile. He looked away as quickly as he looked at her, “it’s inexpensive and they’re fast.” The waitress came back with their drinks and they both ordered a small plate each. “Ah, the usual, I should've guessed,” the waitress giggled and walked to the kitchen. Hinata looked at Sasuke and he already knew what she was thinking, “I don’t cook often, so I come here a lot.”

They soon got their food and began to eat. The sun began to set and they both shared a glance at one another before returning their gazes back to the sunset. Hinata felt warm, and while they sat together, sharing a meal, she knew she had nothing to worry about on their mission.

—-

They made their way out of the diner and walked towards the village gates.

“We’ll make our way to the next village and stay there for the night, after that we should only have to stay the night at one more village before we arrive to the location,” Sasuke said before he jumped into a nearby tree. Hinata followed and they ran for a few hours with a few small breaks in between. Side by side with Sasuke, Hinata felt free, she felt no judgement from him, nothing that made her feel belittled. With him, he made her feel like she was a worthy ninja.

Soon they arrived at the next village and entered a small hotel. “I’ll ask if they have any rooms available,” “okay, Sasuke-san.” Sasuke made his way to the front desk and spoke to the man at the front desk. The hotel smelled warm with a bit of cinnamon and citrus, she looked over and saw Sasuke with a set of keys. She followed him upstairs to their room. Two futons and robes lay on the floor. They took off their extra gear and Hinata changed into the hotel robes in the bathroom. She came back to see Sasuke already in his futon on his side.

“There weren’t anymore rooms available, so we had to share this one,” Saskue said, it sounded as if he wanted to add more but cut himself off. Hinata blinked a few times, was this an apology? She thought. She quietly giggled, “it’s not a problem, good night Sasuke-San.” She gave him a warm smile, she knew he couldn’t see it, but it was a habit. She wrapped herself in the futon and began to fall asleep. Just before she fell into sleep she heard his voice. “Goodnight, Hinata.”

—-

The sun peeked through the room curtains and both the ninjas stirred awake. Hinata sat up and stretched before getting up and fixing the bed. Sasuke took a little longer and still looked very tired. They both got their things together and went to the desk to check out.

“That’s a pretty girl you got there,” the man at the desk said eyeing Hinata. His gaze was less than discreet, Hinata just looked away.
“What’s her name?” Sasuke looked at Hinata and back at the man, “Hina,-“ before Sasuke could finish, the man beckoned for Hinata to come to the desk. She didn’t know how to react and looked at Sasuke. “She’s my fiancé,” he handed the man the keys to the room and put his arm around Hinata's shoulders as he made his way out the door with her.

“I just didn’t want him to keep bothering you,” Sasuke said as he made his way in front of her.

“N-no, I really appreciate it, I had no idea what to do,” Hinata said, blushing. Sasuke looked at her for a moment and looked away again, “just don’t let a stranger take advantage of your kindness,” he paused as if thinking then motioned for her to follow him back to the forest to head on their way again. After about 2 hours, they decided to eat and rest for a bit.

“There’s a river nearby, let’s go catch some fish?” Hinata suggested and Sasuke got up. They got to a decently sized river and sasuke caught two fish. Sasuke started a fire with his jutsu and they sat together for the time it took to cook the fish.

Hinata stoke many glances at the man next to her. She was sure he noticed, but he was so handsome and she couldn’t help herself. She thought for a moment and remembered Naruto and the feelings she had for him. She wanted to be with him for so long. She recalled the night she found out about their marriage, she shuddered and forced herself not to dwell on the past. She was over Naruto, and was ready to find interest in other people. It was easy to see Sasuke and feel a certain way, she dice fed not to let herself dwell on it before she got her feelings hurt.

“Food’s ready,” Sasuke handed her her fish and they began eating. After, they travelled many miles until the sun began to set again. They were half a day from arriving so they decided to rest now. As they made their way into the village, Sasuke reminded Hinata that they need to look as normal as possible as this village did not seem to be well versed in the ideas of Konoha and other villages with ninjas. He reached into his satchel and pulled out a poncho similar to his own.
“Put this on,” Hinata took the poncho and slipped it over her body. It was a bit large for her but she was glad it kept her warm. “Thank you, Sasuke-kun,” she smiled and then returned her gaze ahead. Sasuke did not answer, she didn’t expect him to. She kept looking forward and he found that he was not able to remove his gaze from her. The moon reflected off of the only exposed skin and gave her an angel-like aura, he has never viewed any woman in this way before in his life and that’s when he realized he was a doomed man.

For the first time, Sasuke felt his heart ache for another person. And he had no idea what to make of it, or do about it.