An hour has passed since Minato left the village and Iruka was currently back at the academy finishing up on filing the written test his class had finished earlier. He had just started working on them when the call for all chunin and jonin to come to the Kage tower came in. In truth, he should be home asleep right now, saving this till tomorrow. But the events of the day had left him not really caring. He knew Minato was innocent of the crime, but how could he prove it? Just as he was about to put the test away, some of the paper's slipped from his hand.
He immediately scoped down to pick them up and that was when he noticed two things. One was that Minato's was the top most paper and the other was he got his first real look at the questions on Minato's test and finally saw how they had been written. 'What the hell? What is this gibberish?' he thought as he looked it over. Though he had been the one to grade the test earlier, he had wanted to finish quickly so he had just done a quick run down over each, only taking time to read the answer's written down and had not even paid any attention to the question's. I mean, why would he need too?
As he read over Minato's questions over the next five minutes, he slowly started to see the real questions mixed in thru the gibberish. Though each question still led to the same answer, they were written in such a way that almost anyone would not know what was being asked. And yet, Minato had answered correctly. But then again, Minato was equal to Shikamaru as the smartest kid in class, so it would be no surprise that he could deduce the truth behind all this gibberish. As he looked to see if any of the other test had been tampered with, Iruka wondered to himself. 'Who could have done this and why? I printed the test out myself and I gave them to Mizuki to.....'
Iruka's thoughts froze at this. 'Come to think of it, Mizuki did seem off after the written test was over and he was absent for the practical skills portion of the test as well as the clone test.' In fact, Iruka suddenly realized that he had not seen his friend at all since the completion of the written test. He had not been present during the summons nor had he been present during the search. Then there was that chunin who had found the stolen scroll behind Minato's bed. Iruka suddenly realized two more things. One was that this chunin had found the scroll rather quickly, almost as if he knew where it was going to be. And the second was that he had never seen this chunin around the village before today.
'Wait, could it be possible? No, it can't be. There's no way Mizuki would do something like this, not when he knows what would happen to him if he was found to have done this. I mean sure, he was never that supporting towards Minato...' That is when the possibility of Mizuki being behind this really seemed real. Mizuki was never happy with Minato and had on several occasion's declared that Minato shouldn't have been allowed to attend the academy do to him being an outsider, but those were just the ramblings he released when he was drunk, right? He really didn't mean all that, right?
But Iruka knew the truth, Mizuki could and from the looks of it, did do this to Minato. 'OK, I can at least tell the fourth about this and see what she thinks.' Iruka moves to the door and starts to open it when he hears two people speaking outside. "So, I see you did your job well." said a voice Iruka was not familiar with. However, the other voice was very familiar to him. "Of course I did my job well. Getting rid of that kid was something I wasn't going to screw up. Oh, and thanks for that helpful information about getting to the scroll. I never would have been able to have taken it otherwise."
'What? That's Mizuki's voice. I don't kow whats going on here, but I better listen and find out.' thinks Iruka as the two figures continue. "It was necessary for you to complete this task, so don't worry about thanking me." said the hooded figure. Mizuki smiled and asked "So, about what we agreed upon. You will keep your end of the bargain now, right?" The hooded figure nodded and said "I will come see in in a couple of days to bring you your reward. Will that be satisfactory?" Mizuki did want to wait, he wanted his reward now. "I'm sorry, but I want it now if you please. I have no guarantee that you'll even come back so give it to me now." said Mizuki in a demanding voice.
The hooded figure frowned before saying "You don't trust me now, huh? Very well, I shall give you your reward now if you really want it." Mizuki smiled and said "That's more like it. So, come on already and give me what I have coming to me." The hooded figure now smiled and said "As you wish." Mizuki suddenly felt a sharp pain shoot thru his body followed be a piercing cold. He feels blood staring to fill his mouth as he looks down to see his associates hand shoved into his chest. As he falls onto the man, he manages to sputter out "Why? I...thought...we...had...a......deal" he says the last part just barely above a whisper before his eyes roll back into his head and his life comes to an end.
Iruka is shocked by this, but stays his ground. The hooded figure pushes Mizuki's lifeless body off of his and says "I kept our deal. You just assumed my payment was something different than what I was offering. After all, I said that I would free you from your current hell that you call a life. So don't blame me if you thought I was going to find you a better job than being an assistant teacher here at the academy." As the figure leaves, he turns and says "And you should be thankful I don't have a reason to kill you either, Iruka Morino." And with that, the hooded figure disappears.
After several seconds, Iruka emerges from the classroom into the hall while thinking 'He knew I was here and yet he let me go, why? Surely he knew I would take what has happened here and what I have learned to the Hokage and she would bring Minato back since we know he's innocent. Unless, what if he wants Minato to be returned. And if that's the case, then why get him exiled to begin with?" Not sure what else to think, Iruka leaves quickly to inform Kushina on what has happened.
Hinata moved along the ground quickly, her Byakugan activated as she kept looking for Minato. She was still surprised that she could pack up and abandon her clan so easily just for him. It was that along with all the feelings she had been having for a while now that was confusing her greatly. Hearing that he had been exiled and that she would never see him again had been like a stab wound to her heart and the seconds that passed where she hasn't found him was slowly tearing her apart. She wished she knew what was making her like this. Why was it hard to be around him now anyways. Two years ago, they could stand side by side and she'd be fine. But now, she felt nervous and couldn't look him in his eyes. She would shy away and stutter and even faint if he and she made physical contact.
'Minato, where are you?' she wondered as she passed the ten mile mark beyond the village. Just when she was about to try looking else where, she spotted him off the road and resting under a tree. She quickly moved towards him and arived in seconds. She stopped a few feat from him and allowed herself to smile. "Minato, I found you." she said quietly and happily as a tear slowly slid down her cheek. Minato was asleep, unaware of the girl standing besides him. Hinata went to sit on her knees as she looked at him. She wanted to wake him up, but she didn't want to disturb him either. As she sat there, the feelings he brought out in her started to emerge. Hinata felt a warmth in her chest that was comforting to her while her stomach felt like she had butterflies living with in.
"So, your certain of this?" asked Kushina as she looked at Iruka. He nods and says "Yes, I heard it come from his mouth with his own words. Mizuki was the one who stole the scroll so he could get Minato cast out of the village. As for who he was talking too, I never saw his face plus his voice was not one I knew."Kushina nods and says "OK, I'll send some Anbuu to the academy and collect Mizuki's body. Hopefully, we can learn more from it. Iruka, go and Minato back at once. We own him apology and I intend to make this incident up to him." Iruka nods as he rushes out to find Minato.
(Hinata and Minato)
Hinata was just sitting there looking at her friend over a long time, simply admiring his features while she thought back on all the things they had gone thru together in these few short years. She hoped in doing so, she might find a word that could help describe and explain what it is she was feeling for him now. She first thought back to the day that they had first met; he had only just arrived in the village and was wondering around when he had found her. She had needed to get away from everyone so she could overcome her sadness in peace and isolation. When their eyes first made contact, she admitted to herself that she had never seen anyone like him. There was just something about him that made her feel calm and safe.
She had been surprised that she had been so open with him about her troubles with her family, something she never thought she would ever do. And even more surprising was the fact that he then chose to comfort her and he hugged and held her close, telling her that it was OK to cry. She never really understood why she had let herself breakdown like that; she knew that no one else could ever do that, so why had it been so easy for him to do? The answer was easy for it was because, in that first meeting, she knew that she could trust him without question or doubt. That he was the one she would always be able to count on, no matter what.
When they had gone their separate ways, she had been sad about that. She didn't want to leave him, leave the warmth and comfort he gave her. It reminded her of how she felt back when her mother was still alive. After that day, they got lucky and had ran into each other several more times over the next few months before he started attending the academy. On several occasion's, he had found her in a similar state to what she was in when they had first met. But unlike that first time, she had ran to him and latched onto him with all her might, never wanting to let him go. He had become that important to her.
She was brought out of her thoughts when she heard him mumble something in his sleep. "..nata, I'll...ways....there." Hearing him say that made her blush deeply. 'I know, you were always there for me Minato. You don't know how much that means to me. I just wish that it wasn't so hard to be around you now. I wish I knew what this feeling was. But when I look at you, I feel as if my whole body is starting to warm up. And I like the way that feels. I like looking at your spiky blond hair, I can loose myself in your beautiful blue eyes, I admire your strength, and I find myself hanging on every word that escapes your.....'
Her thoughs come to a halt as her eyes focus on his lips. Suddenly, an erge shoots thru her like nothing she has ever experienced before. Not even fully aware of it, she leans forward and brings her face to with in an inch of his own. Her cheeks are glowing pink, she can feel his breath washing over her face, and the bangs that normally rest against the side of her face are now hanging down and brushing against his face. Not knowing why or how, she allows this power and feeling to win as she moves closer, lightly pressing her lips against his.
As their lips touch, a powerful sensation explodes through her body which causes her heart to speed up faster that she ever thought was possible. After holding it for several seconds, Hinata pulls away and allows herself to think about how it felt. Realizing that she liked it, she moves in for another kiss until...."Minato? Are you out here?" comes a voice from the road. Hinata immediately jerks away followed by Minato himself shooting up at the sound of the voice calling him. He looks around and sees nothing, failing to notice Hinata's lunge to hide behind a tree. He then hears the voice again.
"Huh? Is that Iruka-sensei?" he wonders as he hears Iruka once again though his voice is a little further off. "Hey, Iruka-sensei. I'm back here." yells Minato. After several moment's, Iruka comes rushing over and says "Minato, thank Kami I found you." Minato looked at him confused and asked "Why, what's going on?" After catching his breath, Iruka smiles and says "Good news, we found the real thief. It was Mizuki, he was the one who stole the scroll and framed you for its theft." This took Minato by surprise. "What, Mizuki-sensei stole it? And he used it to get me expelled? But why would he do that?" Iruka shook his head and said "I don't no. I guess he was of the same mindset as the rest of the village about you. He even messed with your written test in order to try and make you fail."
"Well, that explains the weird questions. So, what happens now?" asked Minato. "Well, if you want to, you can return to the village to live again. Lady Kushina will inform everyone about this in the morning and of course you'll be needing this back too." Iruka pulls Minato's forehead protector out and hands it to him. Minato smiles and puts it on before getting up and saying "Well, we better get back home then, huh. After all, it's getting pretty late out." Iruka nods as they start to leave. As Minato walks, he thinks to himself. 'Well, I guess I'll go back for now. But this has made my dream seem a lot easier to go thru with now. The dream to one day return home and rebuild my peoples Light Village.' At that moment, he places a finger on his lips at suddenly realizing a lingering impression in his mind. 'Strange, why do I feel like something warm and soft touched my lips? Hmm, must be my imagination.' He shrugs the feeling off and focus's on his future.
Meanwhile, Hinata is smiling happily at what she has just heard. 'Minato's coming back. Thank you Kami, for answering my prayers.' she thinks as she gets up. But, as she starts to move herself, she comes to a halt as she suddenly presses a finger to her lips as the memory of what she had just done with Minato re-entered her mind. "I...I just kissed...Minato." she said in disbelief. Her face then turned a deep shade of red as the memory and feeling of it replayed over and over again with in her. It was then that she finally realized what it was she had been feeling towards Minato all this time.
"I..I'm in love with him. I love Minato, I really love him." She said as her blush became even redder. The realization of this was making her happier than she had ever thought was possible. But it was then that the harsh truth hit her as well. And that truth was that they could never be. The laws of the Hyuga clan would never allow them to be together as Hyuga were only allowed to marry other Hyuga. Even if she told him and he returned her feelings and they started dating, she would have to break up with him after her eighteenth birthday. She now found herself once again on her knees with her face buried in her hands as she started to cry and cry hard. "This isn't fare, why did I have to be born a Hyuga? Why did I have to fall in love with Minato?" she sobbed to no one but the forest around her.
It was then that a memory of her mother played thru her mind. It had been one of they last things her mother had said to her. "Hinata, one day you'll meet a special boy who will capture your heart and be everything to you and you will fall hopelessly in love with him. So make me a promice and never give that love up. Even if this love is not from of our clan, don't let no one stop you from being with him. We are all given only so much time in this life and we all only get one life, so make the most of it and be find happiness with him. No matter what you do and sacrifice, don't give this love up because if you do, you will regret it forever."
Hinata once again stood and wiped her tears away. "I remember your words now mother. I promise that I won't give this love up. It will be difficult, but I will find away to be with him, I swear it." She started for home knowing that there would be hell to pay for her if she was found gone. She also decided not to tell Minato about her feelings at this time. The reason was because she wanted to see if she could determine if he felt the same. She also needed time to build up her courage so that she could tell him the right way. And finally, she wanted to see if she could find something that would allow her to be with him for life, not until she was eighteen. Although, it may be that the only option was to run away with him and hope that they never are found again.
Yes, she had a lot to do and not much time to do it in. But she would find a way. After all, true love can never be denied.
Or so she hoped!