*The Princess and the Guard*

Being the daughter of a powerful Lord of Japan has it's ups and downs, but if it's one thing Hinata Hyuuga doesn't like is being pampered. For once she would like to be treated like a normal person. And that's when she met him...

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4. Chapter 4

"H-Husband?" Hinata repeated.

Hiashi nodded. "As a peace treaty between our countries, I'm handing you over to Lord Hitsugaya. In other words, an arranged marriage," he says.

Renji and Hinata paled. This can't be happening, not now. Not when Renji just confessed to her. Hinata's eyes slowly trailed over to Hitsugaya. It's hard to believe someone so young can be a Lord.

"My Lord, permission to speak," Renji asked. When Hiashi nodded, the red head continued. "Isn't this kid too young to marry the princess?"

Hitsugaya's brow twitched. "I'm not a child!" If it's one thing he hated, it was being referred to as a child. Sometimes he cursed his appearance. Maybe if he were a tad bit taller, it would not happen. Teal eyes glared darkly up at the red head.

Hiashi couldn't help but to smile. "Despite his appearance, Lord Hitsugaya is actually a few years older than Hinata. If you'll excuse me, there are some things that I need to attend to. Renji please come with me." His pale eyes narrowed at the tan skinned male.

Renji wanted to object, there was no way he could leave Hinata alone with Hitsugaya, but he could not ignore Hiashi. Frowning, Renji nodded and followed the older Hyuuga.

Once out of earshot, Hiashi parted his lips. "Renji, please stay in your place. You are nothing but a palace guard. You are not worthy of courting my daughter. She's too good for you." He said calmly, walking ahead.

The male stood in shock. Out of all of the things to say, he had to say that. Was he not good enough for Hinata merely because of his status? Did Hinata feel the same way? She never had answered him. Maybe she was going to turn him down? Pressing his lips into a thin line, Renji's hands tighted.

"Come on, Renji."

"A-Ah, yes my Lord. I'm sorry!" He quickly ran to catch up with the older man, but his mind glued to Hinata and Hitsugaya.

-x-x-x-

Hinata shifted uncomfortably in front of the shorter male. The look on Renji's face when her father announced the news is still in her mind. He looked so sad. "Renji…" She whispered.

"You don't appear to be so thrilled about the arrangement." He spoke deeply, his eyes gazing away from her.

She smiled sadly. "I'm s-sorry."

He shrugged. "It's alright. To be honest, I'm not really interested in this arranged marriage either. My grandfather is the one who suggested it. I only agreed to make him happy." Hitsugaya sighed, leaning against the banister.

Silence engulfed between them. "So w-what do we do?" Hinata finally asked.

"Since either of us wants this, we can just go along with it for the sake of our family." He says, observing Hinata closely. Just before he came, Hitsugaya couldn't help but to notice how close she seemed to be with the palace guard. There could be more going on between them than he knew. Maybe even more than Lord Hyuuga knew. Pressing his lips into a thin line, the white haired male frowned. "Excuse me. I may be out of line asking this, but do you have any feelings for that palace guard?"

Hinata tensed. A crimson color stained her porcelain cheeks. Her lavender eyes gazed at the clear blue water. "I…I do." She whispered.

"I figured so." He turned away without another word, leaving the female Hyuuga alone with her thoughts.

-x-x-x-x-

"Why do you look so glum? I thought you would be enjoying your time in the Hyuuga palace." Kisuke said, fanning himself with his white paper fan.

Renji frowned. "It's something you wouldn't understand." His brown eyes narrowed with a look Kisuke couldn't distinguish.

"Is something the matter?" He asked in slight concern.

"Like I said, it's something you wouldn't understand."

Renji often spoke to Kisuke in a formal manner, despite their different status in life. The feudal lord had taken Renji under his wing when he was a young boy. In some ways, Renji looks up to Kisuke like an older brother figure. It was normally easy to talk to him with just about anything, but this was something he knew would be harder to discuss. Someone like Kisuke, a feudal lord, would have no problem getting any girl he wanted and all because of his status in life. But someone like him—a lowlife palace guard, had things harder.

Kisuke scowled, closing his fan and slamming it down on the taller male's head. "And here I thought we were good friends. What's with you? What couldn't I possibly understand? Hm? Tell me." He leaned forward, waiting for Renji to respond.

"It's about the princess. Are you happy now?" Renji says.

"The princess? What could possibly…oh, I see." He smiled slyly. "She is pretty cute, isn't she? Have you made a move on her yet? Though I doubt Hiashi-sama would allow anyone to—"

"That's the thing. Hinata is a princess. I'm just a guard. It could never happen. Besides…she's getting married." He grunted. "To some short guy named Hitsugaya, or whatever."

Kisuke's eyes widened. "Ah, little Toshiro? I had heard that he was supposed to be getting married, but I wouldn't have pictured it to be Hinata-hime." He said thoughtfully.

Renji sighed dejectedly "You aren't exactly helping."

"I'm sorry about that." Kisuke chuckled apologetically. Noticing Renji's saddened expression, Kisuke's eyes narrowed forlornly. "Hey, you're really sad about this aren't you?" Renji's silence was more than enough. It marked the second time Renji had falling for a princess. The first time was Rukia. Kisuke still was not quite sure how Rukia felt in return towards Renji. However, just like Hinata, Rukia was placed in an arranged married to someone by the name of Ichigo Kurosaki. Renji was devastated when it happened. He put himself in seclusion for two months. Now this happens. Renji sure did fall for the wrong women.

"I don't know what to do." Renji sighed.

Kisuke rubbed the back of his neck. His eyes closed thoughtfully. He wanted to help Renji out, but he didn't know where to start. Just as he was getting ready to speak, he spotted Naruto and Ino approaching. "Ah, it's nice to see you two." Kisuke chimed.

Naruto smiled, while Ino flipped her long blond ponytail behind her shoulders. "Is Kakashi anywhere around here?" Naruto asked, looking around the vicinity.

"No, he didn't come this time. He was too engrossed in the latest volume of Icha Icha Tactics to come. If you know what I mean." He nudged Renji and Naruto, who glared in response. Clearing his throat, Kisuke coughed awkwardly. "So what brings you two here? Shouldn't you been on guarding duties, Naruto?"

The blond shook his head. "No, Sai has taken my shift. I was just on my way to visit Hinata-chan. But this one—" Naruto pointed his thumb at Ino, "started following me. I want to spend time alone with Hinata-chan! Why can't you go follow Sasuke around? You're in love with him, aren't you?" He yelled in frustration.

"Oh shut up. I'm Hinata's friend too!" Ino shouted.

Renji rolled his eyes. "She's busy either way. The princess is with her prince." He grunted, pushing past everyone. Before he could step any further, Naruto grabbed the red head by his arm. "What the hell?" Renji growled, not all too pleased by the gesture.

"What do you mean by 'prince'?" Naruto narrowed his eyes.

Renji looked away. "She'll be getting married soon."

Ino noticed his saddened expression. It didn't take a genius to realize Renji had feelings for Hinata. The wedding simply couldn't happen! Not with Renji's heart on the line. Furthermore, Hinata's heart is on the line too. Her best friend couldn't marry this guy. Her blue eyes locked on Renji's features. Placing her hand gentle on top of his, she smiled with determination. "Don't worry. We'll get her back for you."

Naruto and Kisuke raised their brow. "Ino, what are you planning?" Naruto asked slowly.

"Just wait and see." She winked, pulling Renji along with her.

Kisuke blinked. "Do you think this is a good idea?"

The blond shrugged. "Who knows what's up her sleeve. I just hope she knows what she's planning."

-x-x-x-

Renji frowned. The female has been dragging him around the palace for nearly fifteen minutes. Trying to pull away from her didn't help. She's quite the strong. For a girl that is. "Where are you taking me?" The red head questioned.

"Somewhere we can talk in private. The Hyuuga's can be quite nosy." Noticing a vacant room Ino pulled Renji with her, shutting the door behind them. "Do you love Hinata?" Ino asks seriously.

Renji bit his lip. It's rather difficult to tell someone other than Hinata that he has feelings for his. He could feel his face grow hot. "She means a lot to me." He mutters.

Ino fans her hand dismissively. "But do you love her?"

He grunts in annoyance. "Why are you asking me this anyways? It isn't really any of your concern!" Renji yells.

Ino smiled. "I know a person who is in love when I see it and you, my fine fellow, are in love with Hinata Hyuuga. You don't have to deny it while I'm around."

"Are you always this perceptive?" Renji smirked.

"Well I am a girl. I take notice in these things. So what are you going to do?" Ino flipped her long blond hair over her shoulder, waiting for a response.

What could he do? There was not anything he could do. By him being just a guard, he couldn't offer the type of lifestyle she deserved, but Hitsugaya could. He was a Feudal Lord of an entire country. Then there was Lord Hyuuga. He would never allow his daughter to date him.

Renji shrugged. "There isn't anything I can do, but be happy for her. All that matters at this point is Hinata's happiness. I can't offer her everything. I'm just a guard anyways." He chuckled bitterly.

Ino frowned. "You're just going to give up? What kind of a man gives up on the girl he loves?"

"What's this about love?"

Ino and Renji turn around to see Sasuke leaning against the door frame. Ino blushed, running towards the raven haired male, wrapping her arms around his neck. Sasuke groaned, glaring at the blonde. "Let go of me." He demanded. Unfortunately he was ignored when Ino rubbed her cheek against his.

Renji raised his brow. "Are you two dating?"

"Yes!" Ino chimed loudly.

"No!" Sasuke retorted, roughly pushing Ino away from him. Ino pouted, folding her arms across her chest. "Now, back to my previous question, what are you two talking about?" He asked.

"Hinata is getting married." Ino explains.

Sasuke's eyes trailed to Renji. "Ah, I heard about this. Toshiro Hitsugaya, right? I spoke to him on my way here. He seems like an okay guy." Ino elbowed him on his elbow. The Uchiha sent the blond a glare. "What the hell was that for?"

Ino give a pointed look the Renji, which Sasuke took note of. He knew Renji held feelings for Hinata, but he also knew that Hitsugaya had no intention of marrying Hinata. From the previous conversation he had with the white haired male, he and Hinata had come to an agreement on only agreeing to please their family. "I'm sure Hinata-hime has her mind on other things, other than Hitsugaya-sama." He smirked at Renji.

-x-x-x-

It's been two weeks since the introduction of Hinata and Hitsugaya. Renji had been keeping his distance from the princess. Whenever Hinata tried to speak to him, he would ignore her. It puzzled her, but it also hurt her. Why was he ignoring her?

"Hinata-sama, are you alright. You look r-rather glum today." Hanataro asked worriedly.

The blue head female smiled sadly. "I'm fine. Thank you for worrying about me. I think I'm going to get some fresh air." She excused herself from the younger male, escorting herself to the garden. She smiled warmly spotting Sasuke standing under the cherry blossom tree smiling at her.

Approaching the male, she waved. "What are you doing out here?" She asked.

"I'm waiting on you. I knew you would be making an appearance. Come over here." He pulled her by her arm to stand next to him. His black orbs stared down at her pale features. "Are you really going to marry that guy?"

Hinata flinched. "I have to…"

Sasuke sighed, poking her forehead. "You always give up. Come on, didn't I teach you to stand strong. I know you don't want to marry that guy. Don't marry him for the sake of making your father happy. Runaway if you have to."

"R-Runaway? But I can't do that!" Hinata shook her head.

Sasuke chuckled, flicking her forehead. "You can. I know you can. Look, I know how much you like Renji. You are like an open book when you are around him. It's easy to read. Why don't you talk to Renji and you two could run away together. Start a new life." He explained.

Hinata stared in shock. It wasn't like Sasuke to suggest something like that. "But…Renji-kun hasn't been speaking to me lately."

"That's because he's a child. He doesn't know how to deal with the situation. Make him listen. And if that doesn't work, let me have a talk with him and I'll straighten him out. It's the least I can do for the princess." Sasuke winked.

She smiled. "You're the best friend anyone could ask for." Wrapping her arms around his waist, Hinata embraced him tightly.

Sasuke smiled, returning the hug. Hinata was the only girl he would allow to hug him. If things turned out differently for them, Sasuke would have wanted to be the one who married the princess, but he knew that would never happen. He was a fool in love, but it would never work out. It was a one-sided love. Sadly, Hinata only viewed him as her brother. "Go talk to him." He whispered, kissing her lightly on her forehead.

Hinata smiled with determination. Nodding her head, she ran off. Sasuke watched her until he could no longer see her. "Good luck, Hinata." Sasuke whispered. Smirking, he walked in the opposite direction.

-x-x-x-

She continued running as if she were running for her life. She searched every square inch of the palace for Renji and she had yet to find him. Until she spotted him near the gate, she called out his name.

Running towards him, she stared up at him with hopeful eyes. "Run away with me." She said.

"Wh-What?" He seemed flabbergasted by her sudden confession.

"I…I love you, Renji. I don't care if you're a guard! I just want to be with you. Please, let's run away together. Please…" She stared up into his eyes, trying to search for any answer.

Renji stared down at her. A shadow casts over his eyes as he spoke. "You want to run away with me?" He couldn't believe her words. Not only that, but she loved him. Reaching out to grab her hand, he lifted his head smiling warmly. "Alright, let's do it. Let's run away together." He leaned forward, sealing her lips with a kiss.

In the back of his mind, he knew it was wrong to run away, but he didn't want to miss the opportunity to be with Hinata. If that meant running away with her, then he would.

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