The Golden Scroll Chronicles, Episode 3:

A Gentle, Giant Kunoichi





Chapter 23


            It was a dark night in the Hidden Leaf Village. People slept through it, curled up in their nice, warm beds, completely unaware of what was happening in the forest. For three ninja were still awake despite the fact that it was the middle of the night. They were waiting for their orders to come; they could not go to sleep just yet, no matter how cold it was. Oddly enough, even though it was the middle of summer, it was felt as cold as night in winter. Not one of the three ninja could understand it. But they really didn’t care; they were just hoping the messenger hawk would arrive soon with their instructions.


            “G-geez, where is that s-stupid hawk,” Goro said, shivering, “I’m starting to lose the feeling in my toes…”


            “Y-you think y-y-you’ve got it bad,” Sai said, his face nearly white from the cold. “I c-c-can’t f-f-f-feel my cheeks or m-my lips.”


            “What is the deal with this cold weather? I-I mean it’s the middle of s-s-s-summer for Pete’s sake. It shouldn’t be this cold.” Goro shivered violently as a cold wind blew down his back.


            “Just be patient you two,” Ko said, flipping through his notes, not even bothered by the cold. “The hawk is probably having trouble getting here because of the cold. So just be patient; besides, it’s not that cold…”


            “S-s-so says the man who’s wearing the thickest coat between the three of us!” Sai retorted as he began to rub his arms. “Man, I can’t believe this! I mean, I’m good at predicting the weather, but how did it get this cold without me noticing!”


            “Who knows,” Ko said as he turned another page in his journal. “This world we live in is sure a strange one. I would really like to learn more about it before I-”


            Ko stopped his train of thought when he heard the flapping of wings above his head. He put his journal away and looked up to see the messenger hawk come gently floating down between the trees. He held out his arm to let the animal land. He saw the pouch tied around the hawk’s back and opened to find a new set of instructions along with a new golden scroll. He then released the hawk into the sky before he put the golden scroll under his arm and opened the instructions. As he read them, he was both surprised and intrigued by the orders.


            “Well, well, this is rather interesting,” Ko said.


            “What i-i-is it, K-K-Ko?” Goro asked.


            “It seems we aren’t going to kill the test subject this time,” Ko said as he continued to read the instructions.


            “W-w-what!?” Sai said, surprised by the new orders. “B-b-but I thought the test subject didn’t need to be alive?”


            “The master wrote it’d be too risky to use a dead subject as we might we lose the chakra.” Ko said. “But what’s even more interesting is who are target is…”


            “What do you mean?” Sai said, obviously intrigued.


            “See for yourself…”


            Ko turned the instructions over and showed them to his companions. They quickly skimmed through the details until they reached the part about the next test subject. They then saw the name printed in bold, red letters: Hinata Hyuga.


            “Hyuga…” Sai thought about this for a second and quickly became shocked. “Wait does he mean we’re going after a member of the Hyuga clan!? That’s crazy!”


            “Crazy nothing, it’s suicidal!” Said Goro, completely scared out of whit’s by the new orders. “The Hyuga clan is the most powerful clan in the entire Leaf Village! If something happens to one of their members, particularly to someone from the Main Household, we won’t just be punished, we’ll be tortured!”


            “Will the two of you just relax? We have nothing to worry about…” Both Goro and Sai looked at their partner in disbelief. Ko just sighed at their ignorance. “Look, if you had studied the village ninja more closely, like I did-” Ko struck a bit of a pose and placed his hand over his chest to signify his superiority. “-then you would know that Hinata is considered a complete failure to the Hyuga clan and is absolutely frivolous to them. In other words, they don’t even care if she dies, understand?”


            Goro and Sai thought about what Ko had said for a few moments and then began to smile in an evil way.


            “Good,” Ko said coldly. “Now then, we are to strike as soon as we find her alone and away from the village. We don’t want to start a panic…Unless we’re the ones doing it.”


He then started to roll the scroll back up when he noticed that something had fallen onto the paper. Ko stopped rolling up the scroll and looked carefully at whatever had fallen onto the paper. He then watched as it quickly melted, damping the spot where it landed.


It can’t be, Ko thought as he looked at the wet spot. Was that-?


Ko stopped his train of thought as he saw another one fall right next to his face. And then another one landed on his shoulder. He couldn’t believe it at first, but there it was, delicately falling all around him. He first thought his mind was playing tricks on him because it was far too early for this. But after a few minutes of watching, he was sure what he was seeing was no illusion.


“Oh great,” Sai groaned as he watched the white flakes fall all around him. “As if things weren’t bad enough, now we’ve got snow!”


“But this is the middle of summer,” Goro complained. “How could it be snowing already?”


“It couldn’t be, but it’s the only logical explanation!” Ko said as he looked up into the sky and saw the snow falling. “Goro, Sai, you two had better appreciate this moment because it won’t again in your lifetimes…”



            It was a very strange morning for the entire Hidden Leaf Village. It was the middle of summer, but people were already wearing their winter clothes. Nobody had expected it get so cold so quickly; it caught everyone by surprise, even many of the ninja were surprised by the dramatic change. What was even more astonishing was that it was snowing too! No one had even the faintest clue as to what was happening. Some guessed that it was a natural weather phenomenon and simply ignored it. While others grew concerned that it could be some kind of herald to an approaching natural disaster and were starting to get a little panicky. But despite most of these disaster claims, the people managed to continue on with their lives as they would normally.


            Kakashi, in particular, was enjoying the cold weather. The last couple of weeks had been real scorchers; this cold weather was a big relief for him. He was sitting on a deck of a hotel room, reading the newest issue of Make-Out Paradise. He had been sitting on the deck for at least half an hour, waiting for Jiraiya to wake up. Jiraiya had returned to the village right after Temari had been changed back to her normal size. He had managed to give Tsunade and the other four team leaders’ valuable information about the new enemy. But that apparently still wasn’t enough; despite the fact that the Anbu now had some idea of who the enemy was and what they were up to, they were still unable to get any solid leads. Some of the Anbu had also been patrolling the village after the Fifth Hokage and jônin team leaders realized that there had to be enemies working within village. But they also had no such luck.


            Jiraiya gave a big, lazy yawn as he finally woke up. He had been out all night, doing his usual research. He got out of bed and stretched out his limbs; he could hear some of them crack when he did, but it didn’t bother him at all. As he got out of bed, he had no idea how cold it was outside. The hotel was so well insulated that when the temperature changed overnight, he didn’t even notice. But once Jiraiya got outside, he quickly found out how cold it was really. He shivered violently as the cold wind ran all over his body.


            “Geez, what happened?” Jiraiya said as he rubbed the side of his arms for warmth.


            “Well, nice to see you’re finally awake, Jiraiya,” Kakashi said in his usual casual tone. “I see you’ve noticed the weather, finally.” Kakashi then put away his book and leaned against the railing. “It’s very strange, isn’t it? This is the middle of summer, yet it’s as cold as winter. Plus, we’ve already had over six inches of snow!”


            “What…?” Jiraiya said in awe as he looked out over the village and saw a white blanket of snow over all the buildings and streets. He then held out his hand and let a small snowflake land in his palm. A small smile crept across his face. “Well, I’ll be, so the legends are true. I didn’t think it was possible, but here it is, right in front of me. The Summer Snow…”


            “The Summer Snow…?” Kakashi asked.


            “Well, you see,” Jiraiya started to say. “They say about that about once every century, a huge snowstorm forms over the Land of Snow during the middle of summer. Thing of it is, though, is that the storm never actually starts over the Land of Snow. By the time it has completely formed and ready to release its fury, strong winds blow it right over and across the sea. Much of the storm’s power is lost before it ever reaches the mainland, but not much of its ‘content.’ The storm eventually slows down and comes to settle over the Land of Fire. And all this happens right in the middle of summer no less! It can last for days, maybe even weeks before it finally breaks.”


            “Really…” Kakashi said, watching the snow continue to fall.


            Jiraiya smiled for a little while longer before his smile changed to a frown. “There is also an interesting legend behind the Summer Snow, a legend about a broken hearted prince who lived in this land a long time ago.” This little tidbit caught Kakashi’s attention as he turned his head towards Jiraiya. “You see, they say that this prince was in love with a beautiful woman. It was during the middle of summer when he finally managed to work up the courage to propose to her. But on the day he was planning to propose, he discovered that the woman had loved someone else and wound up going with the other man. They say that his heart took such a deep blow, that it froze over and he was unable to feel anything at all. Just a few days after all this, the air grew cold and it started to snow…just like it is now. It supposedly lasted for months before the prince met a woman who truly loved him and his heart finally healed and the snow stopped falling. It is said that, about every century or so, someone in the Land of Fire goes through the same experience as the prince. It is said that the Summer Snow won’t stop until that person’s heart is healed by someone who truly loves that person.”


            Kakashi didn’t say anything at first because he was lost in thought for a moment.


            “You know, that actually sounds like our favorite not-so-hyperactive knucklehead.” Kakashi said.


            “What do you mean?” Jiraiya asked, turning to Kakashi.


            “Well, lately Naruto hasn’t been acting the way he used to. He’s lost his trademark grin and never says ‘believe it’ anymore. He is also much more serious now, like how Sasuke used to be. He trains so hard that he sometimes comes back completely exhausted and battered. We try to treat his wounds, but he just shoves us away, refusing to accept any help.”


            “I see…” Jiraiya said as he went back to watching the snow fall. “Do you have any idea why he is acting like that?”


            “Not really, but it most likely has to do with the fact that Sakura and Sasuke are going out together.” This caught Jiraiya’s attention. “Naruto has had a crush on Sakura since their days in the academy. Much of his training has been devoted to becoming stronger so that he could become Hokage, but part of it was also so that he could impress Sakura and get her to notice him. But since Sasuke and Sakura have been going out and spending so much time together, Naruto just hasn’t been the same.”


            Jiraiya didn’t say anything; he just continued to watch the snow fall on the village. He could only wonder if Naruto’s broken heart was causing the snow to fall. And if it was, he could only hope that there was someone out there who loved him and heal his aching heart.



Chapter 24


            Naruto was out in the middle of one of the training fields’, pounding away at a log was using for practice. The log was seriously battered, but not as seriously battered as Naruto’s hands. They had cuts, scrapes and bruises all over them; he was even bleeding from a few of the wounds. The cold wind blew through the trees and over Naruto’s wounds, but he didn’t react at all. He just kept pounding away at the log, completely ignoring the pain. He was so focused on the log that he didn’t even notice the two very familiar figures come up from behind him. It was his two teammates, Sakura and Sasuke.


            “Hey, Naruto,” Sasuke said, trying to get Naruto's attention. “What are you doing, don’t realize how cold it is?”


            “Sasuke’s right, Naruto,” Sakura added. “It’s so cold today; you should be wearing winter clothes.”


            Indeed, Sasuke and Sakura were both clad in the proper winter attire. But Naruto was only clad in his usual, everyday orange jumpsuit without even so much as a scarf. But Naruto didn’t care, nor did he listen to anything his two teammates were saying; he just continued to pound away at the log.


            “Naruto!” Sakura said in a concerned voice.


            “I’m fine…” Naruto mumbled, not even bothering to turn around.


            “No you’re not,” Sakura said, this time more annoyed than concerned. “Your hands have cuts and scrapes all over them. I can also see the blood seeping out of them. Come on, you’ve got to see Lady Tsunade or a medical ninja before you come down with something…” She started to reach out for Naruto, but the moment she put her hand on his shoulder he just shrugged it off.


            “I said I’m fine,” Naruto said in a very angry voice. “Just leave me alone!”


            Sakura puffed out her cheeks and put her hands on her hips. She was really getting sick of this negative attitude of Naruto’s. It was probably even worse than Sasuke’s old attitude.


            “All right, listen here, mister-”


            “Sakura!” Sasuke quickly interrupted as he put his hand on her shoulder.


            Sakura looked back, the same annoyed expression on her face, to see that Sasuke was shaking his head. He was telling her not to push the matter any further. Sakura’s face quickly went from annoyed to concerned; why was Sasuke telling her to back off when she was only trying to help?


            “Come on, let’s go,” Sasuke said as he turned around and started to walk away.


            Sakura was confused; she couldn’t understand what was Sasuke was up. She wanted to stay and help her teammate, especially since there was now a small pool of blood beginning form at the base of the training log. No doubt the blood was from Naruto not tending to his own wounds. But she also wanted to go with Sasuke since she didn’t want to make him angry. She eventually gave into the obvious choice in her heart; she left her ailing teammate to follow after Sasuke into the woods. She wanted to understand why Sasuke wanted to leave Naruto when he obviously needed medical attention.


            “Sasuke, hold up,” Sakura yelled as she ran up next to him. “Why are you just leaving Naruto like this? He needs help; he’s our teammate after all. We can’t just leave him out here in the cold the way he is now. He could catch a fever or pneumonia or worse…” A grim look came over Sakura’s face as she thought of the possibilities.


            “Sakura, I’m afraid it’s not that simple,” Sasuke said casually, after he stopped walking. “You’re right about Naruto needing healing, but I don’t think even Tsunade could heal what Naruto has.” Sakura looked at Sasuke, confused by his answer. “I think Naruto is suffering from what I had not too long ago: a broken heart.” Sakura was still confused; how could Naruto possibly be suffering from aching heart when he was always so cheery? That’s when Sasuke said something that took Sakura a little by surprise. “Sakura, do you remember the first time we kissed?”


Sakura blushed and smiled. “Do you mean the first time we kissed this week?” She was referring to the fact that the two of them kissed so often, that she had lost count.


“No, I mean, the very first time we kissed; when you used to be a giantess.” Sakura was now seriously blushing as she thought back to how nice it was to kiss such a cute and tiny Sasuke. She only wished that she was a giantess just so she could do it again.


Sasuke cleared his throat as he prepared to go on. “Well, I think Naruto might have seen us. I found a bouquet of roses nearby; when I inspected them closely, it had a faint smell of ramen and sweat. That meant that Naruto must’ve been the one who bought them and was planning to give them to you. He must’ve seen us…kissing each other when he got to the cave.”


Sakura quickly frowned when she thought about what Sasuke had said. It was true that he had a crush on Sakura, but she never guessed that he would take rejection so badly. She didn’t say anything; she just stood there with Sasuke as the snow continued to fall all around them.


“Right now, Naruto’s heart is in such turmoil, he probably can’t feel anything. The best thing we can right now is give some time and space to let him sort out his feelings. We’ll come back to catch on him in about half an hour or so; if he’s still out here training, they we’ll just knock him out and take him to the hospital, all right?”


Sakura smiled and nodded as she walked off with Sasuke back towards the village. Part of her still wanted to go back and try to reason with Naruto, but she knew deep down that a wound to the heart needed time to heal. So, while she may have wanted to try and console her friend, she also knew that he probably wouldn’t even listen to a word she said.


As the two of them walked off, they failed to realize was that there was someone else there. Which wasn’t a very big surprise, for this person was never really noticed by many people especially those she wanted to notice her. She had a pale brown jacket on wearing dark blue pants, with blue mittens, scarf and earmuffs. She had dark blue hair, and her eyes were pale lavender with no irises in the center. It was Hinata Hyuga! She had been walking to where Naruto was when she saw Sasuke and Sakura coming. She quickly ducked behind before they reached and listened to everything they had said.


Naruto is in pain…? Hinata thought as she looked in the direction from where Sasuke and Sakura had just come from.


Hinata eventually found her way to the training area where Naruto was. She quickly ducked behind a tree, just like she always did when she Naruto, watching him train viciously. From the looks of things, he hadn’t been practicing on anything but his punches and kicks. She could see that his legs were starting to buckle under the strain of repeated kicking. But Naruto didn’t even seem to notice; he just continued to pound away at the log, ignoring the pain in his body like how he used to ignore Iruka-sensei’s lessons. Hinata could see that there was a small pool of blood in between Naruto and the log. She knew right away what that was from and she quickly pulled out her healing ointment. This one was different from the kind of stuff she had during the Chûnin Exams, it was more potent and was antibacterial so that it not only heal wounds but also prevented them from getting infected. It took her a little while, but Hinata finally worked up the courage she needed and walked out from behind the tree.


Naruto was just pounding away at the log when he heard a twig snap. He quickly spun around; expecting some kind of enemy, but all he saw was Hinata, just standing there, with some ointment in her hands.


“Oh, it’s just you,” Naruto said coldly. He then went back to pounding on the log.


Hinata was now just frozen. Usually, whenever she heard Naruto’s voice, it was always so warm and enjoyable. But now, it sounded so cold, it could probably freeze water. Hinata gulped, wondering if she could really do this. She had always found it difficult to approach Naruto, let alone talk to him. But she knew she had to do this; if Naruto kept pushing himself like this, there was no telling how sick he was going to get later. So she took a deep breath and prepared herself for what she was about to do.


“Um, N…N…Naruto,” Hinata stuttered. “I…I have something…for you…It’s some healing ointment…”


“No thanks,” Naruto said without even turning around.


“But…but, your hands,” Hinata said, reaching out for him. “Your hands are bleeding…if you don’t treat them…in this cold weather…then you might…you might…”


Hinata’s hand had reached Naruto’s shoulder, but the moment it did, he just shrugged her off.


“Would you just leave me alone,” Naruto said in a seriously annoyed tone. “I don’t have time for this!”


“But…I just…wanted to…” Hinata tried to say, completely scared of Naruto now.


“Look, you’re not helping at all, if that’s what you’re getting at,” Naruto said in an angry, spinning around to look right at Hinata. When Hinata saw his eyes, she could tears streaming down his cheeks. “All you’re being is an annoying, bothersome pest. You really want help, then stop bothering me and GO AWAY!!”


Hinata couldn’t contain herself. She began crying hysterically and ran off into the forest. Naruto didn’t even bother to try and stop her; he just went back to punching the log.



            Hinata had just kept running after her little episode with Naruto. She had no idea how far she had ran, she was so busy crying, she didn’t bother to look where she was going. That’s why she didn’t notice the root that was sticking up out of the ground and wound up tripping over it. She landed face first in the snow and the ointment fell out of her hands. As she lay there in the cold snow, thinking what could’ve possibly made the one person she had come to love so cold and heartless. She lifted her head out of the snow when she suddenly remembered what it used to be like for Naruto. She remembered, as a child, how Naruto was always treated like he was worthless, nothing but garbage. She knew how tough it had been for him, but somehow, he always found a way to smile. Maybe, somehow, something brought all the pain back. If that was the case, then what was happening to him now was understandable; he was in such pain, that it wouldn’t be easy to calm him down.


            As Hinata thought about this, she realized she just shouldn’t give up. If Naruto’s heart was in pain, then it was up to her to try and heal that pain, no matter how hard it was. She knew that it was going to be a challenge, but ever since Naruto cheered for her during the Chûnin Exams, she had started to face every challenge life had thrown at her since then. And this was going no different; so with that thought in mind, she got up, brushed herself off, picked up the ointment, and got herself ready to try again. Only this time, her eyes were filled with the same type of determination she had when she faced Neji during the Chûnin Exams.


            What she didn’t realize that she was being watched by three shadowy figures sitting in the branches nearby.


            “We’ve found her,” Ko said, looking through the telescope.


            “About time,” Sai said. “The sooner we do this, the better. I may be clad in winter wear now, but it’s still ridiculously cold!”


            “Quit your griping,” Goro said in a branch right above Sai. “It’s not that cold, you just didn’t buy a thick enough coat like I did.” Goro could see the annoyance growing in Sai’s eyes. “Hey, Ko, do we have to be so far away. Can’t we move in closer?”


            “No,” Ko said flatly.


            “Look, I know I’m good with long-range attacks, but even I’ve never done a jutsu from this far away. I mean, two kilometers…are you sure we can’t get in any closer, like say about 10 meters or so.”


            Ko just sighed at Goro’s attitude. “Look, in case you forgot everything I’ve been telling you about the Hyuga clan, then would know what the Byakugan is capable of. Even the youngest clan member can see almost 360 degrees around them and see almost 15 meters away. And given this girl’s age, despite the fact that she is still considered trash by her clan, she may be able to see over a kilometer and a half away. And even if we were just at the edge of that range of vision, she would still see silhouettes of us. This distance provides us with the optimal distance to be completely out of her line of sight as well as keep us being detected by the Anbu Black Ops.”


            “What do you mean?”


            “Ah, here we go,” Ko groaned. “The unbelievable questions of an idiot; look, in case you’ve forgotten, the Anbu are not only active outside the village, but inside as well. Meaning we can’t just give the golden scrolls to the intended targets anymore. That’s precisely why the master changed the jutsu to a long-range jutsu. Plus, they’ll be keeping an eye on the kunoichi around the village, especially those who are walking around alone. So this distance is ideal not only to avoid detection by the Hyuga girl’s Byakugan, but the Anbu Black Ops as well. Does that answer your question, Goro?”


            Sheesh, you didn’t have to shoot it back at me, you jerk… Goro thought. Sai just shrugged his shoulders and went on chewing a piece of cold wet sweet grass.


            Ko continued to look through the telescope, watching Hinata as she started to walk back to where Naruto was.


            “Goro, get ready,” Ko said. “She’s almost in position…”


            “Yeah, yeah,” Goro said as he reached into his pocket and pulled out the golden scroll. He then unraveled it, laid it down by his feet and performed the hand signs written on the scroll. Once he was done, he made a sign much like the one Ino makes when she is about to launch her Mind Transfer Jutsu. He then looked to Ko—who had his arm raised—waiting for the signal. He didn’t have to wait long because only seconds later, Ko rushed his arm signaling Goro. Goro then quickly launched the jutsu through the trees to the target.


            Hinata was just walking along, thinking of all the possible things she could say to help heal Naruto’s broken heart. Suddenly, she was overcome by a strange force and collapsed to the ground. She had no idea what had just hit her, but she really didn’t care. She just wanted to sleep and dream about her favorite orange ninja.


            “Good work, Goro,” Ko said as he put the telescope away.


            Goro was unable to answer. Casting the jutsu took far more chakra than he thought, more than he possessed. He was unable to remain conscious and fell off of the branch and into Sai’s arms. Sai had been standing underneath Goro incase something like this occurred.


            “Well, this is a big surprise,” Sai said in a sarcastic tone. “He collapsed from complete chakra exhaustion. He probably won’t be able to move for quite some time. Does this mean I have to carry all the way back?”


            “Yes, so quit complaining,” Ko said as he put the telescope away. “Now come on, let’s get back to the campsite. It’s time to begin the observations…”


            Ko started jumping from branch to branch, while Sai just groaned and threw his unconscious teammate over his shoulder as he followed after Ko.



Chapter 25


            Naruto was just pounding away on the log, not caring how much time had gone since he had been out there. He was just about to take one big swing at the log, when a sudden image flashed before his eyes that made him completely miss the log and land face first in the snow. He couldn’t recall what the image was, but he quickly shook it off and was about to get back to training. Once again, Naruto pulled his fist back to perform a powerful punch, but before he even made contact with the log the image appeared again before him. He stopped this time, since he knew what, or in this case who, was the image. It was the face of Hinata Hyuga!


            Why would I be thinking about such a pest now? Naruto thought as he relaxed his body. He then remembered his talk with her right before his battle with Neji and how it had inspired him. Well…I guess I do owe her for that. I better go find her and apologize to her, at least.


            Naruto turned around and started to walk into the forest. It wouldn’t be very hard to find Hinata since she had only left a little while ago and her tracks were still fresh in the snow. So even an academy student ninja who knew little in the ways of tracking could follow her, which meant it wasn’t going to be very hard for Naruto to find her. He continued to walk through the forest, following the footprints, when he suddenly bumped into something. It was strange though, because whatever he bumped didn’t feel exactly, it felt kind of soft, almost like hair. Naruto backed up a little bit and saw that whatever he bumped into was a dark blue color. For some reason, the color almost seemed familiar somehow; Naruto just couldn’t place where he had seen it. He then placed his hand against this “wall” and realized that what he had bumped into was hair!


            Naruto was now starting to go pale. If this was hair, then that must mean there is a head to go with it. And if the hair was this big, then the head must be enormous. Naruto tried to go around, but the path was just too thin and this “head” completely blocked it off. So he had jump up into the trees to get a good vantage point. Once he was up into the trees, he almost went pale. Indeed, what he had bumped was hair and there was a head attached to it. As he continued to look, he could see the body that went with the head. He knew right away who the body belonged to; it was the very same person he had just been looking for.


            Ah man, not again, Naruto thought as he smacked his headband. Geez this just isn’t my day. Man, I can’t believe I have to go through all this again. I’d better go get Granny Tsunade. Naruto started to turn around and head for the village, but stopped before he even moved an inch. Then again, once she wakes up, she’s going to be really scared. I better stay here for when she wakes up. I just hope she wakes up soon…


            Naruto turned back around and sat down on the branch he was on. He just sat there, swinging one of his legs in the air as he waited for Hinata to awaken. He didn’t have to wait long, for ten minutes later, Hinata eyes began to twitch. He could hear a few mumbles, but wasn’t able to tell what she was saying. He watched as Hinata moved her arms to rub her eyes and knocked several trees down in the process. She then sat up, but Naruto wasn’t intimidated by her immense size at all. After seeing Sakura as a giantess, nothing like this could faze him any more.


            “What’s going on,” Hinata asked. “Where am I? Why is it so cold? Am I in my room?”


            Hinata vision soon began to focus. After first, she could barely make out what was in front of her, but after a minute or so it became much clearer.


            What’s going on, where am I!? Hinata thought as she looked around at her unfamiliar settings. She moved her hand a little and knocked her hand into a tree, causing the snow fall off. Wait, is that… Hinata then reached down and literally pulled the tree up by the roots and looked at it closely. It is; it’s a tree! But it’s so small, how can this be? Maybe, this is all a bad dream… She then reached up and pinched her cheek as hard as she could. She quickly felt the pain and retracted her hand. No it isn’t a dream…if that’s true then…then…


            From his vantage point, Naruto could see Hinata’s face and watched it become sadder. He then watched as she turned her head around and saw the little orange ninja sitting in the branches.


            “Hey there,” Naruto said flatly. “How’s the weather up there?”


            And that was the final straw. Hinata completely lost it; she wasn’t able to keep herself composed any longer. Naruto covered his ears and focused chakra in the bottom of his feet, waiting for the giant yell to come. But thankfully, Hinata didn’t become as hysterical as Sakura did when she was a giantess. Instead of letting out a giant yell, Hinata instead started to literally cry a storm of tears. The tears fell to the ground and landed with a hard splash; these tears were so big that when they fell, they broke some the branches into splinters. Naruto wound up jumping between several different branches, dodging the tremendous tears.


            “Hey, hey, easy with the water works!” Naruto called out. Fortunately Hinata was able to hear him and stop crying. “Look, don’t worry, this isn’t the first time this has happened. So just relax, once we get Granny Tsunade out here, she’ll be able to fix you up, okay?”


            Hinata nodded a little and wiped her tears away.


            “Good, but first things first. We need to get you out of here before someone spots you and spreads it all over the village. And I know just the place where we can go…” Naruto then started to jump from branch to branch. “Follow me, we need to move quickly!”


            Hinata nodded as she stood up to her full height and started to follow Naruto. She managed to move very carefully through the forest without causing too much damage while still able to keep with Naruto. What neither of those two knew was that tow Anbu Black Ops had seen Hinata transform into a giantess. When they saw Naruto come along and take Hinata to the cave where Sakura had been before, they immediately started to head back for the village to notify the 5th Hokage.



            Tsunade had just finished the last of the paperwork when the four jônin team leaders came into the room. She placed the papers in the appropriate pile and turned to face Kakashi and the others.


            “Well, anything new to report?” Tsunade asked, getting straight to the point.


            “Afraid not,” Kakashi said, casually. “We haven’t been able to find anything whatsoever.”


            “I see…” Tsunade said as she interlocked her fingers, placed her elbows on the desk and leaned forward.


            It’s already been a couple of weeks since Temari was turned into a giantess, Tsunade thought as she continued to stare directly at the four jônin. You’d think the Crescent Moon Syndicate would’ve made a move by now. Just what are they planning?


            It was then that a knock came at the door.


            “Come in,” Tsunade said.


            The door opened slowly and two Anbu ninja came in. One was a little short and slender compared to his big and brawny partner. Nobody knew what their faces looked since they were hidden beneath their eagle masks.


            “Lady Hokage,” the short Anbu said. “We’ve a report to make.”


            “What is it,” Tsunade asked. “The same old news about not finding any new leads?”


            “No, ma’am,” the tall Anbu said. “I’m afraid we’ve got a different kind of bad news. There has been another golden scroll incident!”


            “What!” Tsunade said as she jumped from her seat. “How did this happen and why didn’t you stop it?”


            “My lady, please,” the short Anbu said. “Let us explain; we weren’t able to stop it because, well, the victim didn’t cast the jutsu herself this time. We think that maybe, the enemy has found another way to cast the jutsu.”


            “As for how it happened,” the large Anbu began to say. “We’re not sure ourselves; all we can tell you is that the victim was just walking and suddenly collapsed, just like the others. She then started to grow to 50 feet tall; we tried to find out how, but she didn’t have a golden scroll on her anywhere.


            “Just great,” Tsunade said as she fell back into her chair. This Crescent Moon Syndicate just keeps getting smarter, Tsunade thought as she rubbed her head. It seems we just can’t keep up with them. This just isn’t our day…


            Kakashi just sighed as he scratched his head. “Well, don’t keep us in suspense. Who is it this time?”


            “That’s kind of the other part of the bad news,” the large Anbu said. “The victim this time was…Hinata Hyuga.”


            Everyone in the room just froze; it felt like a cold spell had fallen over the room.


            “Well, this day just keeps getting better,” Tsunade said with a sigh. “Have you informed the Hyuga Clan?”


            “Believe us, Lady Tsunade, we know better than that,” the small Anbu said. “We haven’t told the Hyuga Clan anything yet.”


            “Good,” Tsunade said. “That’s one piece of trouble we don’t need right now. Even if Hinata isn’t considered worthy by the clan, it could cause a serious problem. By the way, where is Hinata?”


            “That is the only good news we have,” the large Anbu said. “Naruto Uzumaki found her and is taking her the cave now.”


            “That’s good,” Tsunade said. “If that’s all you have to report than you’re dismissed.” Tsunade waved her hand and the two Anbu disappeared in two puffs of smoke. “Now then, I assume you all know the drill.”


            “We sure do, Lady Tsunade,” Guy said, giving his usual thumbs up.


            “Okay then, Kurenai, assemble your-”


            “Kiba and Shino aren’t here,” Kurenai quickly interrupted. “They’re both out on special missions with both of their families. I don’t when they’ll be back…”


            “Great,” Tsunade sighed with her head slumped down. “Well, we’ll figure something out. Shizune, grab the med kit, the usual stock.”


            “Yes, Lady Tsunade!” Shizune said as she bowed with Tonton in her arms.



Chapter 26


            Naruto finally came to a stop at the entrance to the cave as Hinata came walking out of the forest.


            “Well, we’re here,” Naruto said.


            Hinata stepped over the last few trees and walked up to the cave entrance.


            “Th-Thanks Naruto,” Hinata said in her usual shy voice. “This l-looks nice…”


            “Yeah, well, better get used to it,” Naruto said as he walked further into the cave. “I don’t know how long it’ll be before the effects of the golden scroll-”


            “What golden scroll…?” Hinata interrupted as she walked up to the cave.


            Naruto was a little surprised by Hinata’s statement.


            “Wait a minute; didn’t you perform so kind of jutsu written on a golden scroll before you got like this?”


            “No, I was just walking through the forest, when I was overcome by a strange force and suddenly collapsed. I don’t anything else until I woke up and saw you…”


            Naruto turned around and looked at Hinata right in the face when he heard that statement. Hinata, of course, looked off to the side and began to blush.


            Man, she sure can be weird some times, Naruto thought as he scratched his head.


            Hinata eventually stopped blushing long enough and walked into the cave. She found the comfortable spot in the cave and sat down.


            “You comfortable…?” Naruto asked. Hinata responded with a weak smile and a nod. “Good, now you just wait while I go get Tsunade…”


            Naruto then turned around and ran out of the cave. He didn’t far before he plowed head first into something very soft and fell backwards into the snow. He quickly got back up, brushed off the snow and looked to see what he had hit. He saw that he had collided with Tsunade, and she wasn’t alone either. Kurenai, Kakashi, Guy, Asuma, and Shizune were also with her as well. Naruto was more than just a little surprised to see the entire at the cave already.


            “Ah, Naruto,” Tsunade said with a smile on her face. “Looks like we arrived right on time.”


            “Tsunade…but how did you know…?”


            “Three little words, Naruto: Anbu Black Ops.”


            Of course… Naruto thought as he rolled his eyes.


            “So, where is the patient?” Tsunade rubbed her hands as she walked into the cave.


            Kurenai and the others followed Tsunade into the cave and looked straight up at the giant kunoichi. Naruto walked in as well and stood right behind the jônin team leaders. Hinata looked down at the group of tiny people standing before her and began to blush a little as they stared at her. Fortunately, they didn’t look at her in fear, they just looked at her as they normally do—with bright smiles and warm grins.


            “Um…hi,” Hinata said meekly after a few minutes.


            “Hello Hinata, you’re looking well,” Kurenai said casually, so as not to panic Hinata. “Do you feel okay…?”


            “Y-Yes, I feel fine, thanks for asking.”


            Man, why are they acting so casual? Naruto thought with his hands behind his head. “Look, Tsunade just take the sample and do your physical inspection; I need to get back to training.”


            Tsunade clenched her first and cracked her knuckles, ready to knock Naruto out for his insensitive words. But she restrained herself, realizing that she couldn’t beat around the bush forever. She eventually relaxed and looked up Hinata, who now had a depressed and a worried look on her face.


            “Sample and inspection…?” Hinata asked with a quiver in her face.


            “It’s nothing serious, Hinata, just a minor blood sample like the kind they take during your usual doctor appointment.” Tsunade then took the large medical bag from Shizune and opened it up. She rummaged through it until she found the giant syringe she wanted. “Okay, now Hinata would you please lower one of your arms for me. And don’t worry, I promise it won’t hurt…much.”


            “O-Okay…” Hinata said a pale tint on her cheeks as she looked at the giant needle and rolled up her sleeve.


            Tsunade spat on both of her palms and rubbed them together before driving the needle as hard as she could into Hinata’s arm. Hinata cringed at the pain in her arm, just barely managing to hold back the tears in her eyes. Thankfully, Tsunade managed to get a sufficient sample in no time at all and was able to withdraw the needle as quickly as she had plunged it in. Hinata was relieved to have that needle out of her as she placed her hand over the entry point. Shizune then handed Lady Tsunade the bandage tape, which Tsunade quickly used to seal the opening.


            “There now, that wasn’t so bad was it?” Tsunade said with a smile on her face.


            Hinata didn’t say anything, she just shook her head. It was then that she noticed Naruto leaning against the entrance to the cave, his back turned to Hinata. She began to hope that she could somehow find a way to ease his pain once this whole matter was resolved. In fact, she wanted to ask if Naruto could spend some time with her, but she decided against it and kept quiet.


            “All right,” Tsunade said as she placed the needle into the bag. “Now that that’s been taken care of, there’s only one thing left to do.”


            “What’s that…?” Naruto asked as he cleaned out his ear.


            “We need to figure out a schedule for feeding Hinata. Since both Kiba and Shino are away on business, I’ll handle her dinner. Kurenai, would you be willing to take care of her breakfast?”


            “Of course, Lady Tsunade,” Kurenai answered with a bow.


            “Good…that just leaves lunch…” Tsunade then looked at the other jônin, expecting some kind of answer from one of them.


            “Uh, sorry Lady Tsunade,” Asuma said as he scratched the back of his head. “But I’m afraid I’m a little short on cash as it were. Let’s just say you aren’t the only one who is bad at gambling.”


            “Sorry, but I’m saving my money for something special,” Kakashi said in his same old casual tone.


            “Uh, I’m afraid I’m in the same boat as Asuma,” Guy said with a nervous grin on his face. “You see, Lee and I made a little wager as to who could eat the most curry in one sitting. And I lost…sorry…” Guy hung his head low in shame.


            Tsunade just sighed. Man, these guys are probably just as bad with money as I am… Tsunade began to wonder if Shizune would be willing to cover Hinata’s lunch, but she often had to spend her money to cover for Lady Tsunade when she lost a bet. As she continued to look at the group, she realized that there was one person whom she hadn’t asked yet.


            “Naruto…” Tsunade said. Naruto didn’t even turn around; he only moved his head a little. “Would you be willing to bring Hinata’s lunch for her?”


            Hinata suddenly began to blush terribly as she realized what Tsunade had said. She had always wanted to spend time with Naruto and this was probably the best chance she would get. Naruto, however, wasn’t as thrilled as Hinata about this. He just sighed and hung his head.


            “Fine, fine I’ll do it,” Naruto said in an annoyed tone, his back still turned, waving a hand in the air. “Can I go now?”


            Tsunade groaned at how insensitive Naruto was being. She looked up to see that Hinata was frowning, most likely hurt by Naruto’s words. But Tsunade there was no arguing with Naruto, so she just sent him on his way. Naruto didn’t even bother to look back; he just walked out of the cave and leapt into the trees.


            “Geez, what is with that kid?” Asuma said. “He isn’t acting at all like his old self.”


            “You know, if I didn’t know any better,” Guy started to say. “I’d think he was acting like Sasuke used to act before.”


            Both Kurenai and Shizune nodded their heads in agreement. The only person who didn’t add anything to the conversation was Kakashi. He was probably the only one who had some idea of what was wrong with Naruto, but decided not to say anything. Once all that was done, Tsunade dismissed all of the jônin team leaders and told Shizune to take the sample to the same room at the Hidden Leaf Hospital as before. Once that was done, she turned to face Hinata who was now curled up against the cave wall. Obviously, she was still quite upset with what had happened to her and she was having a much harder time dealing with it than either Sakura or Temari.


            “Look, Hinata, don’t worry,” Tsunade said with a confident smile across her face. “I promise you I won’t stop working on this until you’re cured. So don’t be so glum, okay?” Hinata looked at the 5th Hokage as a weak smile crept across her face. “Good, now just wait here for a while; I’ll be back with your dinner soon, promise.”


            With that last statement, Tsunade disappeared in a puff of smoke right before Hinata’s eyes. After Tsunade was gone, Hinata just sat there with her legs curled up. She was too afraid to move even an inch; even the slightest mistake could result in her being spotted by a passerby that could easily lead to panic back in the village. Just the thought it scared Hinata so much, that she refused to move even an inch from where she was. She just stayed as still as possible, sitting in the fetal position as she waited for Lady Tsunade to bring her dinner.



            Ko was already up in the tree, with his notebook and telescope, observing the newest test subject. He was a tad bored just watching Hinata just sitting there, not really doing anything except breathing. He guessed that this would probably be one of the more boring observations weeks; at least with the last two subjects they did something while they were transformed. Apparently, this test subject was so scared by her hew size that she wasn’t going to move an inch. He just entered a few minor notes down in his journal before he folded the telescope back up and jumped back down to the campsite.


            “So, how’s it looking?” Goro asked as he took a sip of the tea he had just brewed.


            “Well, it’s definitely not going to be interesting, that’s for sure,” Ko said as he took out a mug of his own and poured himself some tea.


            “Why do you say that?” Sai asked his mouth full of sweets he had picked up from the village.


            “This newest test subject is probably the most timid I’ve seen,” Ko said as he pulled the bandages down and took a sip of his tea. “She so frightened by her new size, she’s hasn’t moved an inch since she got to the cave. Honestly, I think even you could take her Sai…”


            Sai just pouted and spat a few bits of the sweets he was chewing on in Ko’s direction. Ko just simply ignored them and pulled out his journal, once again reviewing some his earlier notes on everything that he had seen since the whole operation started. He hoped that this would be the last test subject and that they would finally be able to move ahead with the final plan.



Chapter 27


            Hinata waited patiently for her rations to arrive. She was already starting to feel like a real burden to everybody, after all they had to feed her and at her current height that could easily add up to a fortune. As the thoughts raced through her head, she quickly remembered the words her father had said the day she had become a genin, saying that she was useless and weak. She was beginning to think he was right after all, as was Neji saying that a leopard can’t change spots. She was so depressed, that she didn’t hear the squeaking wheels of a cart approaching or the occasional grunt from the person pulling the cart.


            Tsunade was trying her best to pull the vegetable cart through the snow, but the hinges on the wheels were old and the snow was quite deep. She just hoped that this strange snow storm would end soon. The cart had a tapestry covering it; she decided to have the vegetables steamed since it was so cold. She eventually reached the entrance to cave at sunset and looked inside; she could see that Hinata was still sitting in the same position. Tsunade looked worried as she released the cart and let it fall back into the snow.


            “Hinata, are you all right?” Tsunade asked as she walked in. Hinata didn’t even move an inch when she heard Tsunade’s voice. “Have you even moved from this spot at all?”


Hinata shook her head as she slowly turned to face Tsunade.


“I’m sorry…” Hinata mumbled as she fought to hold back her tears.


            “What, why are you sorry Hinata?” Tsunade asked, obviously surprised by Hinata’s remark.


            “For being a burden, for being a pest, for just being so weak…” Hinata had stuttered statement because she could longer hold back the tears of disappointment.


            Tsunade was shocked. She had learned from Kurenai that Hinata always lacked confidence in what she did, but she didn’t think it was this bad. Normally, if it was someone like Naruto, she would just give that person a quick rap to the head. But she knew this would require a different approach, especially since a rap on Hinata’s head would barely leave a bruise.


            “Look, Hinata, you don’t need to burden yourself like this,” Tsunade said in an unusually motherly tone. “It’s no trouble for us at all. You’re a ninja of the Hidden Leaf Village; that means we’ll all be here to help you, no matter how little or big (no pun intended) the problem may be you’ll always friends there to look out for you. Do you understand?”


            Hinata managed to stop crying long enough to look down and see a broad gentle smile across Tsunade’s face. Hinata wiped away her tears and put on a gentle smile herself, nodding her head signifying that she did understand. That one little speech was enough to make her feel better about her situation.


            “That’s better,” Tsunade said. “Now come on, I brought you your dinner. Hope you’re in the mood for steamed vegetables, and don’t ask how we managed to cook. Even I still can’t believe we did it…”


            “Thank you, Lady Tsunade,” Hinata said, her voice much calmer than it was before. She stood up, walked out of the cave and found the cart lying there in the snow. When she took the cover off of it, she was greeted by the pleasant smell of steamed veggies as it rose from the cart to meet her nose. She then placed her hands under the cart and lifted it to her mouth, dumping the vegetables into her mouth. She licked her lips as the warm vegetables ran down her throat warming her body. She then placed the cart gently back on the ground.


            “Did you enjoy it?” Hinata smiled and nodded her head. “Good, now get some sleep. I promise I won’t stop working until I find a way to turn you back to normal, okay?”


            “I do…” Hinata said. That’s when Hinata did something Tsunade did not really expect; she reached down, grabbed hold of Tsunade and gave her a big hug against her cheek. “Thank you so much!”


            “Okay, okay, enough already,” Tsunade said as Hinata pulled her away and placed her back down on the ground. “Now get some sleep, it’s late and you’ve had a long day.”


            Hinata nodded and walked back inside the cave. Tsunade smiled at herself, glad to know that she had managed to make Hinata feel a little bit better about her situation; she could only hope that this new jutsu that was cast on her was only temporary, like with Sakura. Because if it wasn’t, she couldn’t even begin to think how down hearted Hinata would become if she were to stay like that forever.



            The night seemed fairly still. The snowfall had let up a little bit, but not much. The wind wasn’t blowing anymore, so it wasn’t as chilly either. All things seemed peaceful, but inside the cave, things were not so peaceful. Hinata was twisting and turning in her sleep. The nightmare she was having was just unbearable…


            Hinata was walking through the streets of the Hidden Leaf Village, at her normal height, looking for her team. When all of sudden, she has a tremendous growth spurt and reaches the height she is currently at now. She’s so big, that her feet practically block the road. In no time at all, a small group of people gathers around her feet.


            “Look, it’s a monster!” Hinata hears one villager say.


            “No, you’re wrong,” Hinata stutters to say. “I’m not a monster! I’m not!”


            “Careful or you might get crushed by one of it’s humongous feet!” Another said. This comment made all the villagers begin to panic.


            “No, no please,” Hinata begins to beg. “I won’t hurt you…”


            Hinata began to frantically look around the roofs of the buildings, hoping to find some sign of her teammates. She knew they would be able to get her out of this. It was then that she spotted Kiba, Akamaru, Shino, and Kurenai-sensei on one of the buildings.


            “Kiba, Shino, Kurenai-sansei,” Hinata said with a hint of relief in her voice. “Thank goodness you’re here. Please, I need your help.”


            “You want us to help you?” Kiba asked in a sarcastic way. “Yeah right, there’s no way I’m going to help a giant freak like you!” Akamaru barked, agreeing with his master.


            “Indeed,” Shino said in a colder-than-usual voice. “Why would we waste our time with someone as useless as you?”


            Kurenai just sighed as she put her hands on her hips. “I can’t believe I actually thought you could change. What a fool I’ve been; it’s obvious to me now, you really are hopeless.”


            “No, you’re wrong…” Hinata was practically on the verge of tears.


            “How sad,” said a cold and harsh voice, one that Hinata knew all too well. She slowly turned around and saw the last she really needed to see standing on a nearby rooftop: Hiashi Hyuga, her father. “You only used to be weak and useless. Now you’re weak, useless, troublesome, and a freak. It’s obvious now that I made the right choice in selecting Hanabi to be the heir of the Hyuga Clan…”


            “No, you’re wrong, I’m not any of those things…”


            “Oh, do be serious Hinata. Look at yourself: if take so much as one wrong step, you could easily crush an entire group of people beneath your feet. You’re could easily demolish an entire building with your bare hands.” As Hiashi spoke these words, Hinata looked down to see that there were much bigger than before. She was so terrified by what her father said that she swung her arms to the side of her and wound up plowing them through the sides of a couple of buildings. “You see what I mean? You’re nothing more than a freak, a butt to everyone’s jokes. You’re not even worthy to be considered my daughter or even a member of the clan anymore!”


            Hinata couldn’t help it anymore; all these things she was hearing, she knew they were all true. She then quickly spun around to run away, mostly to get away from all this pain but also to find the one person she knew could help her feel better. She had to find Naruto, even if he wasn’t in the best of moods, he was probably the only person who didn’t see her as a monster. But when she spun around, she wound up tripping over her own feet and falling face first into another building.


            Hinata quickly picked herself up as she brushed her off and looked to see what kind of damage she had caused this time. She nearly choked when she saw that the building she had damaged turned out to be the apartment complex where Naruto lived. She then started to panic when she realized that her head had plowed right through Naruto’s room. She then began to sift through the rubble, hoping not find any sign of her favorite blonde ninja. But when she moved a large section of the roof, she did find Naruto. He was pinned down by a large wooden beam. She quickly removed the beam and gently cupped the blonde ninja in her hands, examining him closely. But when looked at him, she could see that his arms and legs hung loosely at his side and his chest didn’t move even a bit to let air into his lungs.


            Hinata didn’t want to believe it, but it was true. The most important person in her life, whom she had come to admire and eventually love, was gone. And what made it even worse was that she had been the one to do it. She was so overcome with grief, that she held Naruto’s lifeless body against hers and let out a terribly loud scream that quite literally made the whole world shatter around her and replace it with an endless darkness…


            This nightmare was so horrible, that Hinata was literally thrashing about in her sleep, leaving gigantic craters in the cave wall and floor. She soon stopped thrashing and instead curled up into a ball and began to cry her eyes out. This nightmare was the worst kind of torture she had ever experienced. She just couldn’t take it and wanted the pain to end. But she tried to endure; after all, Naruto had been through a lot turmoil in his life already and that only made him stronger. Hinata just had to keep telling herself that it was just a bad dream and dreams weren’t real. That thought made Hinata calm down a little bit, but it wasn’t enough to get the tears to stop. Still, it was enough to ensure that she would have a peaceful night’s sleep.



            Off in the distance, Sai was having the time of his life. He watched through the telescope as the giantess thrashed about in her sleep; it was priceless! Especially since he had used a special genjutsu of his that made anyone who was asleep experience the worst nightmare of their life. He knew he might be severely punished for this later, but he didn’t care. He had been stuck out there for so long without anything to do, except argue with his two teammates. Now, at least, he finally had something he could do to keep himself entertained. In fact, he was enjoying the show so much that he didn’t even notice that Ko had jumped onto the branch next to him.


            “What are you doing…?” Ko asked in a rather suspicious tone.


            “Oh, just passing the time,” Sai said in a pleasant tone. “I used one of my special genjutsu to give that girl-”


            “You did what!?” Ko exclaimed, his fist clenched, ready to knock some sense into his idiotic teammate. “You know the instructions our master gave us!”


            “Yes…” Sai said as he looked away from the telescope. “I’m aware of what our master’s instructions…”


            “Then why on earth would you do something so idiotic!? If our master finds out what you’re doing to the test subject, he won’t just take away your headband!”


            Sai just sighed and shook his head. “Look, our master’s specific instructions were to not physically harm the test subject. So, technically, I’m not disobeying our master’s orders. I’m just giving a little fun, I mean we’ve been stuck out here for days now with hardly anything to do and I am just getting so bored with being out here with nothing to do. Besides, look at it this way: by making her so miserable, it’ll be easier to take her.”


            “…Well, you got there,” Ko said, admitting to Sai’s logic. “But if our master finds out about this and isn’t happy, then I won’t be held responsible for your actions, understand?”


            Sai nodded his head with a smirk and looked back through the telescope.


            “Oh man…”


            “What is it?” Ko was worried Sai’s genjutsu had done a little too much damage.


            “Nothing, it just looks like she’s gotten over the genjutsu already. Well, I guess that means fun time’s over, for now…” Sai then folded the telescope and handed it back to Ko before he jumped back down to the campsite to get some rest.


            Meanwhile, Ko stayed up in the tree branches, looking out to the cave in the distance. He was actually kind of relieved to know that Sai’s genjutsu had faded; he knew his partner’s genjutsu were usually quite brutal and more often than not lead to several cases of heart attacks in most of his victims, even those who were still quite young. He could only that Sai’s lust for amusement would quell soon, because if he decided to get serious with his genjutsu one day, they could easily lose a test subject.



Chapter 28


            The next day, things were just as bad as they were yesterday. The snow was still falling and it was still just as cold; many of the farmers were more than just a little ticked off. This was supposed to be the season where they raised and/or harvested most of their crops, but thanks to the snow they wound up losing more crops than growing them. Fortunately, they had plenty in stock both to sell and to feed their own families for another week or so. But unless this cold snap ended soon, then they could easily be in big trouble.


            Kurenai was trudging through the snow, thinking the exact same thing as all the farmers were thinking about this cold snap. She was carrying a large basket of fruit on her back; this was supposed to be Hinata’s breakfast. But at the price she had got it at, it was amazing she hadn’t gone bankrupt. This sudden drop in temperature forced all the grocery stores to up the prices on all of their produce. Kurenai had wound up paying nearly all the money she had on her and then some just to buy this one basket for Hinata. She was just glad that she was one of the smart people and had saved her money in the bank along with a few hidden stashes around her home for emergencies.


            Kurenai finally reached the cave entrance and looked inside to see that Hinata was already up. What worried Kurenai was the look of sorrow that Hinata’s face. It looked she had been crying most of the night; Kurenai could even see a small frozen puddle right next to Hinata. Kurenai took in a deep breath and walked inside the cave, ready in case Hinata was still a little depressed.


            “Hey there, Hinata,” Kurenai called out. “I brought you your breakfast!”


            Hinata didn’t move a muscle. The nightmares she had had last night still haunted her; she just couldn’t thinking about them. Kurenai walked into the cave and up to Hinata. She still didn’t give a response.


            “Hinata, are you all right?” Kurenai asked, gently tapping Hinata’s giant.


            “Huh, oh, hi Kurenai-sensei,” Hinata responded in a gloomy tone.


            “Is everything okay? Is something wrong?”


            “No, no, nothing's wrong…”


            Kurenai put on a skeptical look as she took the basket off her back and put her hands on her hands on her hips. “Hinata, I’ve been your sensei for a while now. So don’t think for one second that I don’t know when something is upsetting you, any one of my students. Look, Hinata, I’m just here to help you; if something is bothering you, you can tell me about it. I promise I won’t be angry with you. Now please, tell me what’s bothering you?”


            Hinata looked down at her sensei’s determined face. She knew all too well that Kurenai sensei could easily be quite stubborn when she wanted to be. She also knew she wasn’t going to get out of this. So, she took in a deep breath and prepared to tell Kurenai about the horrible nightmare she had last night.


            “Well…” Hinata started to say. She then went on to tell Kurenai about the nightmare where she turned into a giantess right in the middle of the village and how everyone looked at her as a horrible monster. She then went on to tell her about all the horrible things she, Shino, Kiba and her father said to her. She left out the part about what happened to Naruto; she was already depressed enough as it was, she didn’t need to be reminded of that horrible image.


            “I said that…!” Kurenai exclaimed. Hinata nodded her head slowly. Kurenai shook her head in disbelief. “Listen, Hinata, I know you’re upset about how you are now. But trust me when I say there is no way Shino, Kiba or I would never say anything like that to you. You’re their teammate and my student, there’s no way we would ever abandon you if you were in trouble. So don’t think even for one second that we would just shrug you off like a bug. So, do you feel a little better?”


            Hinata brightened up when she heard those words from her sensei. She knew she could count on her team to help sheer her up when she was done; she also knew she could count on those who weren’t even on her team.


            “Good,” Kurenai said with a smile on her face. “Now come on, eat up, you’ll need your strength.”


            Hinata nodded as she reached down and picked the basket off of the ground. She then lifted it to her mouth and tipped the basket to mouth, dumping all the fruits into her mouth. She then placed the basket back on the ground; Kurenai looked inside and was amazed that Hinata had eaten the whole thing in one gulp. There wasn’t even a leaf or peel left in the basket. Kurenai could only hope that it would be enough to tide her over until lunch because she wasn’t sure her savings could take another trip to the grocery store.


            “Thank you, Kurenai-sensei,” Hinata said with a satisfied look on her face. “That was delicious, I really enjoyed.”


            “Glad to hear it,” Kurenai said as she picked up the basket and threw it over her back. “Well, if that’s all, I’ll be on my way.”


            Kurenai started to walk out of the cave when he suddenly spoke up.


            “Kurenai-sensei,” Hinata said meekly as Kurenai stopped and turned around to face Hinata. “I’m just curious, um…” Hinata was now starting to blush a little bit. “Is Naruto…doing okay?”


            Kurenai smirked as she realized what Hinata was asking. “Yes, he’s doing just fine. He’s acting a little more serious than usual, but other than that, he’s just fine. You can see for yourself when he comes to deliver your lunch today. And don’t worry, Lady Tsunade and I will make sure he will live up to his promise.”


            Hinata breathed a deep sigh of relief that nearly knocked Kurenai off her feet. “That’s good to hear…” She was glad that that one part hadn’t come true; for if it had, she would be terribly depressed.


            Kurenai continued to smile as waved to Hinata and walked out of the cave. When she was out of the cave, her smile quickly disappeared. She couldn’t help but worry that this new jutsu might not be temporary or curable like the last two. She could only hope that Lady Tsunade had at least found something out about the jutsu by now. As soon she got the basket back home, she planned to go straight to Lady Tsunade and hope for some good news.



            Tsunade was busy performing another test on a sample of Hinata’s blood. She had spent practically the entire morning running several tests on Hinata’s blood trying to find a cure for Hinata. She had set a sample separate from the rest of the samples and just let it sit there. She was using this sample to see if the jutsu was only temporary like the one Sakura had cast. But after several failed attempts to even find a way to shrink the blood cells even an inch, she starting to think this jutsu might be permanent. If that was the case, then she could already hear Hinata’s hysterical crying when she received the news. She looked behind her where Shizune stood, watching in suspense, hoping for a good sign. But sadly, Tsunade just shook her head as another test failed. Shizune sighed deeply, they didn’t seem to be getting anywhere with these tests. She began to wonder if they were approaching this the wrong way.


            Just then, a knock came at the door. Shizune froze up, wondering who it could possibly be, while Tsunade just sat at her desk completely unfazed, preparing to do another experiment.


            “W-Who is it…?” Shizune asked.


            “It’s Kurenai, could I come in?”


            Shizune sighed with relief. “Yes, come in, come in…”


            Kurenai walked in with a solemn look on her face; obviously, she was just as worried as Lady Tsunade was about this new jutsu used on Hinata. After Kurenai was in the room and closed the door behind her, she turned directly to Lady Tsunade.


            “I’m just curious if you’ve made any progress with curing Hinata’s condition?” Tsunade didn’t even move her head to Kurenai. She just looked intently into the microscope, hoping to see that the last test hadn’t been a complete failure and there was at least some kind change in Hinata’s blood. The look on Tsunade’s face was more than enough to confirm Kurenai’s fears. “I see…that bad huh…?”


            “I’m afraid so,” Shizune answered. “We’ve been at this since this morning; Lady Tsunade hasn’t even stopped for breakfast. We ran at least several tests, including this one and none of them have even produced a minor result. We’re going to keep trying, but it’s not looking good…”


            “Are you sure there’s nothing you can do to even shrink her even a couple of inches?”


            “It’s not that simple, Kurenai,” Tsunade said, not even moving her gaze from the microscope. “It’s not that we don’t know what we’re dealing with, it’s that we just don’t have enough go on.” Tsunade didn’t even have to look up from the microscope to know that there was a confused look on Kurenai’s face. “With the last two cases, we at least had something to go on, like the hand signs. But this time, the victim didn’t even perform the jutsu, it was cast on her by another person. So we don’t even know if there hand signs were changed somehow, cause if they were then we might wind up doing more harm than good. Does that answer your question?”


            Kurenai sighed and nodded her head.


            “We’re really sorry, Kurenai,” Shizune apologized. “But don’t worry, we won’t stop until we find something. By the way, how is Hinata doing, how is she coping with her situation?”


            “Not well,” Kurenai said bluntly. “She had a very bad nightmare last night that made her feel even worse. I’m worried about her; she’s not very confident about herself. She’s worried she might hurt someone at her height.”


            “Is that so…?” Tsunade said as she finally pulled herself away from the microscope and rubbed her eyes. “Are you sure there isn’t something that can be done to cheer her up?”


            Kurenai started to shake her head, when she stopped and snapped her fingers as a thought occurred to her. This was enough to make Tsunade turn her head towards Kurenai.


            “What is it, Kurenai?” Shizune asked.


            “Have you thought of something that might help Hinata?” Tsunade asked.


            “Not something, someone…” Kurenai said. Now Tsunade was the one confused. Kurenai then looked up at the clock on the wall and saw that it was close to lunch time, which Naruto had promised to bring Hinata lunch. “Listen, Lady Tsunade, if you could help for just a few minutes, I think I may know a way we can get Hinata to cheer up.”


            “Why do you need my help?” Tsunade asked, a little intrigued by what Kurenai was planning.


            “Let’s just say it involves a very stubborn orange clad ninja…”


            This little tidbit was enough to make Tsunade smile as she stood up from her chair, stretched out her arms, and threw her winter coat as she and Shizune both walked out of the room following Kurenai.



Chapter 29


            Tsunade, Kurenai, and Shizune left the hospital to go look for Naruto. Along they way, Kurenai explained to the two of them her plan to Tsunade and Shizune, and as they heard her plan the two of them got a mischievous smile across their faces. If this worked right, not only would they help Hinata out, but Naruto might finally return to his old self. As they wondered through the streets of the Hidden Leaf Village, they suddenly stopped and felt like kicking themselves. If it was this close to lunchtime, then there was only one place Naruto could be: Ichiraku Ramen.


            The three of them made there way through the snowy streets to Ichiraku’s and sure enough there he was. They were about to approach him when they suddenly stopped and realized he had just sit down to his first bowl of ramen. They all sighed, knowing that not only was it a bad idea to try and pull Naruto away from a bowl of ramen, but also that he could easily go through more than a dozen bowls of ramen before he was full. So they decided to just wait outside of Ichiraku’s until Naruto was finished and hope that he would have enough money to buy food for Hinata. Thankfully, they didn’t have to wait very long. Naruto had only one bowl of ramen and he finished it in less than five minutes.


Once he paid the owner, he walked out of the booth and was surprised to see Tsunade, Shizune, and Kurenai standing there in snow.


“Hey there, Granny,” Naruto groaned. “Don’t worry, I didn’t too much on ramen. I should have enough for Hinata’s lunch, so don’t worry.”


Kurenai smirked as she looked at the young, spiky-haired genin. “That may be Naruto,” Kurenai said as smoothly as she could. “But we’re still going to go with you just to be sure.”


“What!? Ah come on, I’m not a child! I don’t need supervision!”


“Oh really,” Tsunade said in a playful tone. “Well, too bad, you’re going to have chaperones whether you want to or not. So deal with it!”


“Fine, fine, whatever…” Naruto sighed as he waved his hand in the air to signify his defeat.


He then walked off towards the fields, the same place where he bought the veggies he used to bring to Sakura when she was a giantess. Tsunade followed right behind, but Kurenai and Shizune hung back a little while to speak to each other privately.


“I sure hope this idea of yours works Kurenai,” Shizune whispered.


“It has to work,” Kurenai whispered back. “Naruto is the only one who can really help Hinata deal with her problem. Even if Tsunade doesn’t find a cure, Hinata will at least have someone who will look after her. That’s more than any cure can give her.”


With that, Shizune and Kurenai ran after and caught up with Tsunade and Naruto who were heading out to the fields to get Hinata’s lunch.



            Hinata sat patiently in the cave, waiting for her meal—and Naruto—to arrive. She sat with her legs stretched forward, waving them up and down. She also hummed a nice little tune to help pass the time. She stared up at the ceiling, thinking about what Kurenai had said to earlier when she brought Hinata her breakfast. She thought about a lot things, but the one subject she always returned to was Naruto. He had always been an inspiration to her, ever since she first arrived at the academy. She could still remember the day she first met him, when he had just pulled a prank on Iruka-sensei and ran out of the class, screaming that he was going to be the Hokage no matter what. She then remembered how he used to be bullied and beaten by everyone in the village, even when he didn’t pull a very serious prank. She kept thinking about how she used watch him everyday, trying his very best and working to the point where he was on the ground gasping for air. And no matter how much he was knocked down, he just got right back up, dusted himself off, and put a wide smile on his face.


            Hinata than pulled back to the present. She then started to think how Naruto was now; depressed and serious. It was like something had broken the dam that was holding back all of his sorrow and now he could no longer put a smile on his face. She then thought back to what Sasuke and Sakura had said yesterday. She hadn’t really heard all of it, but she had heard the part about the two of them kissing and how Naruto had seen the two of them kissing. Seeing his old academy crush kiss someone else must’ve really devastated Naruto. As she thought about this, she realized she had to help Naruto in some way ease his pain if he was ever going to be the same again. That’s when an idea occurred to her that made her blush a little bit, but she knew it was the only way she might be able to help Naruto.


            Just then, Hinata heard a group of voices right outside the cave. She couldn’t identify them, so she activated her Byakugan and looked straight through the walls of the cave. She was relieved to see that it was only Naruto with…Tsunade, Shizune, and Kurenai-sensei! This really wasn’t what Hinata was expecting at all. She was hoping that Naruto would be alone; that would make what she was going to say so much easier. But with Tsunade and the others around, it would be far too embarrassing for her to say. She just hoped they would leave once they helped Naruto push the cart to the cave.


            As Naruto trudged through the snow, he barely made a sound louder than a grunt as he pulled the cart through the snow. It hadn’t gotten much deeper, but it was still difficult to pull the old cart through it. He was just glad he had Granny Tsunade and her incredible strength there to help him push the cart. Kurenai and Shizune were walking right behind the two of them, not wanting to get in their ways.


            “Let’s hope this works,” Shizune whispered. “Do you remember what to say?”


            “Of course I remember,” Kurenai whispered back in an annoyed tone. “It’s my plan after all. And besides, if Hinata winds up saying it first, then there’ll be no need for me to say it…”


Naruto soon reached the entrance to the cave and pulled the cart inside where Hinata sat, waiting for the delivery. Naruto then released the cart as did Tsunade and let it fall back.


            “Well, Hinata,” Naruto said. “Here’s your lunch.”


            “Th-Thank you, Naruto,” Hinata said as reached down and picked the cart off the ground. She then tipped it to her mouth and let the veggies roll down into her mouth. Once she was done, she put the cart back on the ground.


            “And with that, I’m off,” Naruto said casually as he started to walk out of the cave.


            Kurenai watched as Hinata just sat there, completely still. She had expected this to happen and was well prepared for it. She was about to speak up, but amazingly, Hinata managed to speak up first.


            “Wait, N-Naruto,” Hinata said meekly. This got Naruto’s attention and so he stopped right at the cave entrance. “W-w-would you…stay with me…please.”


            “Why…?” Naruto asked bluntly.


            “W-well…uh,” Hinata started to say. She was trying to find the right words without saying too much with Tsunade and the others around. But no matter what, the words just wouldn’t come out. It was starting to look like she was going to bomb this whole thing. Fortunately, Kurenai was there for the save.


            “Come on, Naruto,” Kurenai said in a gentle voice. “It wouldn’t be very gentleman-like to deny a ladies request…” She then lightly nudged Shizune in the side and winked at her. “…right.”


            “Oh, oh, yeah, yeah,” Shizune said, catching on to what Kurenai was getting at. “Besides, it’s not like what Hinata’s asking for isn’t much. You could just spend one day with her; it wouldn’t be too much trouble, right Lady Tsunade…?”


            “Exactly,” Tsunade said right on cue. “And it’s not like anyone’s waiting for you at home anyways, right…?”


            Both Kurenai and Shizune just stared in disbelief.


            Lady Tsunade, how could you be so insensitive? Shizune thought.


            Tsunade just smiled at the looks on Kurenai’s and Shizune’s faces. She then looked over to see Naruto shooting her a seriously cold stare that would chill most people to the bone. He gritted his teeth and clenched his fists as he continued to look at Tsunade, his cold stare becoming colder by the minute. Hinata, meanwhile, was mainly shocked by what she was seeing. She had never seen such a cold stare from anyone, even her own father never looked at her like that.


            “Fine, I’ll stay…” Naruto said after a while through his gritted teeth. “…but just for one day, understand?”


            Tsunade put her arms up to her side and smiled. “Fine, fine, whatever you say!” She then looked up at Hinata who was looking down at her and mouthed the phrase ‘you’re welcome’ to her.


            When Hinata saw this, she was a little surprised by this. That is, until it finally occurred to her; they had planned this! They were planning to have Naruto spend some time with her. They obviously knew about her crush on him, otherwise they wouldn’t have gone through so much trouble. As she took this in, she began to blush furiously. She was just glad that Naruto’s back was turned and…he was walking out of the cave!


            “N-Naruto,” Hinata exclaimed. “Where are you going?”


            “Isn’t it obvious,” Naruto said in a lighter tone than before. “If I’m going to be staying here, I’ll need my sleeping bag and clothes and stuff. Don’t worry, I won’t break my word, I’ll come right back once I have my stuff.”


            Hinata smiled and nodded her head; she was glad to know that one of Naruto’s best qualities was still there. Kurenai and Shizune both smiled at each and gave each other the thumbs up. The plan had worked, although they could’ve done with out the tension Tsunade had caused earlier. Tsunade, meanwhile, was secretly praying that Kurenai’s plan would work. Cause if it didn’t they wouldn’t just have a depressed knucklehead on their hands, but a heartbroken giantess to boot. The three of them finally left the cave after a few minutes, leaving Hinata to daydream about her favorite ninja as she waited for him to return.



Chapter 30


            Hinata had been waiting nearly an hour for Naruto to return. She wondered if maybe he just made the excuse to go get his stuff just so he could escape from the deal he had made. If he had, then it meant that the old Naruto was really gone. Hinata started to feel depressed when she looked out of the cave and watch as Naruto jump down from the tree branches. She wanted to ask him why he had taken so long, but decided against it. She was just glad he had shown up at all.


            Naruto, however, wasn’t as thrilled as Hinata was about all this. He had been planning to get in some serious training and now, thanks to Hinata, was stuck out in the forest. But still, he knew there had to some way for him to train. So, once he set up his sleeping for later that night, he cracked his knuckles and began to look around for ways he could train. He decided to start with pushups; he then curled his hands into fists and began to do pushups. But the only thing was that he wasn’t doing them inside the dry cave floor, he was doing them outside in the snow.


            As Hinata sat there and watched Naruto exercise, she began to worry. It was still severely cold and he wasn’t clad in any winter clothes at all. She was starting to worry that he might catch hypothermia if he didn’t cover up soon. She knew she had to say something, no matter what, because if she didn’t her beloved little ninja could wind seriously sick.


            “Um, N-Naruto,” Hinata said meekly. Naruto didn’t respond, he just continued doing pushups. “Naruto, please stop this, you’re going to get sick if you don’t put on some clothes! Please, Naruto, don’t do this to yourself!”


            “Just leave me alone!” Naruto said in a cold tone. “Mind your own business!”


            “Naruto please,” Hinata begged. “Why are you torturing yourself like this?”


            “That is none of your business!” Naruto scolded as he finished doing he pushups and began to walk outside. He then walked over to a nearby tree and began to pound away at it with his bare hands. He didn’t even care that his form was sloppy, he just kept hitting it and hitting it till his knuckles began to bleed like before.


            As Hinata watched this, her misery increased. She hated seeing him like this, so depressed that not even physical pain fazed him anymore.


            Why is he doing this? Hinata thought. He can’t keep doing this to himself! But what can I do to help him? Oh my, this is just like before… Hinata thought back to when she first tried to help get over his grief and all he did was just push her away. She started to think it was hopeless to heal Naruto’s broken heart; that is, until she looked at her enormous hands. Wait, what am I doing, just giving like this? If Naruto were in my position, he wouldn’t give up so easily. I have to heal his heart and I think I know how. Oh, I hope this works…


            Hinata closed her hands, stood up and walked outside the cave to where Naruto was training. Naruto had no idea Hinata was coming until her shadow eclipsed him. Naruto stopped and looked up into Hinata’s face.


            “What do you want now?” Naruto groaned as prepared to go back to training.


            What happened next really took Naruto by surprise. Hinata reached down, wrapped her hand around Naruto, lifted him up off the ground, and placed him on her chest where she gave him the biggest hug he would ever get. Naruto was shocked at first, but he quickly got over and started to become agitated. He then started to struggle, trying to get his arms free from Hinata’s embrace.


            “Hinata, let go,” Naruto grunted as he tried to break free.


            “No, I won’t,” Hinata said.


            “Hinata, let me go!” Naruto groaned, Hinata’s embrace getting a little tighter.


            “I will not,” Hinata said, tears starting to form in her eyes. “No matter what you say or do, I will not let you go!”


            Naruto continued to struggle until he became too frustrated and stopped. He then looked up into Hinata’s face.


            “Why are you even doing this, Hinata?”


            “Because…I know what you are going through…”


            “You couldn’t possibly know what I’m going through!”


            “But I do, Naruto, I really do know what you’re going through and what you’ve been through.”


            “You couldn’t possibly know what I’ve been through! All the times I’ve been beaten for just being alive, all the times I was looked down upon by everyone, I was always being treated like garbage. So don’t say you know what I’ve been through, cause you have no idea what it’s been like for me.”


            Both Naruto and Hinata remained silent for a few minutes before Hinata finally spoke up.


            “It’s hard, isn’t it, looking into the eyes of those who consider you worthless. They give you a stare that is so cold, colder than an ice storm in the middle of winter. It just chills you to the bone…” Naruto quickly picked up on what was saying and looked up into he face, tears now gently rolling down her cheeks. “Those people don’t see as anything but a worthless piece of garbage they just want to throw out and just forget all together. They think you’re weak and pathetic, that you’re not even worth their time. They just want you to fade away…” Naruto found it hard to believe, but she was hitting the mark on every point. “I know this pain all too well…because I’ve received the same kind of stares from other people. But they didn’t come from the villagers, they came from my own family.” Naruto gasped when he heard this; he always knew that Hinata had problems with her confidence, but he never would’ve guessed that it stemmed from her own family.



Hinata had to clear her throat of a lump that started to form before she continued. “When I was younger, my father quickly labeled me as a worthless failure…he said I wasn’t worthy of being part of the Hyuga Clan. Ever since then, my family looked at me with contempt and thought of me as nothing more than worthless. I started to lose faith in myself and began to wonder if I ever really could change myself. The only person who ever didn’t see me as worthless was my mother and she passed away, leaving with no one who believed in me. Then, one day, I found someone who I came to really admire. Like me, he was also looked at with cold eyes and was considered a reject by his everyone around him. But despite all that, he never gave up, not once and every time he failed at something, he just got right back up and tried again. At first, I really admired this person and watched him from afar. That person I really admired was…you, Naruto.” Naruto was completely shocked when he heard that statement, but he didn’t stop her, he let Hinata. “You inspired to improve myself, to overcome my fear and doubts, to become a better person. And as time passed, I discovered that my admiration became something much deeper. Once I realized what this emotion was, I started to get nervous around you, fearing that you didn’t feel the same way about me. But now, I feel I have to say it, or else I will regret it for the rest of my life. It’s s-something I’ve been waiting to say for some time and now, I’m finally ready to say it. I…I…I LOVE NARUTO, MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE WORLD!”


Naruto was completely bewildered. He wasn’t sure he could believe it, but Hinata had said it. She said she loved him, him the number one hyperactive knucklehead of the Hidden Leaf Village.


“Hinata, do you…really mean that?” Naruto stuttered as he asked her.


“Of course, Naruto,” Hinata said, the tears now streaming down her face like waterfalls. “I love you with all my heart and soul. There is no other person who has ever made feel as happy as you have.”


Naruto couldn’t believe what he was hearing; it was almost too hard to believe. He then  thought back to when he was younger; he remembered the hatred in everyone’s eyes, the hatred he could never forget. But as he thought about it, he realized that he often noticed a pair of eyes that didn’t look at him with content or hatred. These eyes were warm and gentle, they made him feel happy. But no matter what he did, he could never tell whose eyes they were. He now realized that they were Hinata’s eyes; he felt so bad that he never realized that Hinata was in love with him. But he didn’t really think about that right now; he couldn’t think about it now because tears were dripping from his face.


Hinata was so happy to finally have Naruto in her arms. Though she wished that she was small enough to have his arms wrapped around her, but this was a good start. She then looked down when to see that Naruto was crying.


“Naruto, what’s wrong?” Hinata asked, worried that she might be hurting him somehow. “I’m not squeezing too tight, am I?”


“No, that’s why I’m crying, Hinata,” Naruto said, still feeling choked up. “I’m crying because I’m so happy.” Hinata was surprised and glad to hear she wasn’t hurting her true love. “All my life, I’ve wanted to be recognized in the eyes of others. But to be recognized this way…it’s something I’ve longed ever since I was a child. And now that I’m feeling love, real love, for the first time, I’ve got to say it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world.” Naruto pushed himself further into Hinata’s chest and nuzzled her as her warmth flowed over his body. “Thank you so much Hinata…”


“Does that mean…?” Hinata asked, her anticipation building to dramatic levels.


“Yes, it does,” Naruto said, pulling his head away from Hinata’s chest and looking up into her lovely face. “I love you too, Hinata…”


Hinata couldn’t believe it, but he had said it. Naruto said that he loved her; Hinata pinched herself to assure that this wasn’t a dream. Sure enough, it was real, all of it. She was overcome with joy that she hugged Naruto even harder, not daring to even loosen her grasp an inch. She wanted him as close to her as possible. Naruto was especially enjoying this; he felt like he was sinking into a soft plush bed. He almost wished it would never end, but a sudden brush of cold air ran up his spine and quickly brought him back to reality. He shivered when the cold air ran across his face, causing his teeth chatter. Hinata felt Naruto shiver and quickly wrapped her hand him, lifting him to her face. She immediately knew what was wrong with him and smiled, glad that it wasn’t something she did.


“Man, has it always been cold?” Naruto said, shivering and rubbing his arms. Hinata was shocked to see that Naruto was finally responding to the cold when it had been like this for two days now. “Man, I cannot believe how cold it is. And I didn’t even put of a scarf or mittens? Geez, what was I thinking!”


Hinata smiled at seeing Naruto finally back to his old self and completely aware of his surroundings. She started to think of way she could help him keep warm. A thought then occurred to her, one on how to keep Naruto warm, and it made her blush. Naruto could see a smile coming across her face and a light pink blush on her cheeks. He then watched as Hinata moved her hand to her coat zipper and pulled it down slowly. Naruto gulped as he realized what Hinata was thinking. He noticed that she wasn’t wearing her usual black shirt she always wore underneath her coat; instead, she was wearing a lavender shirt that was the same shade as her eyes. Hinata smiled at seeing Naruto blush; she had never really seen him blush before, but she thought he looked really cute. She then placed him against her chest and zipped her coat back up, leaving Naruto trapped between her shirt and coat.


“Are you comfortable, Naruto?” Hinata asked as watched Naruto face still blushing.


Naruto didn’t say a word, he just nodded his head slowly, relishing in the warmth of Hinata’s body. Hinata smiled as she walked back inside with her tiny ninja resting comfortably in her jacket.



            Sai watched through the telescope as the two lovebirds headed inside the cave.


            “Oh, gross…” Sai said sticking out his tongue.


            “What is it this time, Sai?” Ko said from the branches above Sai, putting his book away.


            “It’s just those two just had a romantic moment…man, I swear if she had kissed, I would’ve puked!”


            “Oh, grow up Sai, this childish behavior of yours is getting bothersome. Besides, it’s not like you could ever get a date…”


            Sai just grunted as he folded the telescope. “Well, they’ve gone back inside the cave, I guess that means we’re done with observations for today. Come on, Goro has got be up by now…”


            “Yeah, yeah…” Ko complained as he jumped down from the tree.



Chapter 31


            Time seemed to drift slowly by for Naruto as he lay in Hinata’s coat, pressed against her warm chest. He had never been so happy in his whole life; he was glad to have someone like Hinata. It seemed that now that he was with her, all the pain from his childhood just vanished and his recent aching heart was finally healed. His old feelings for Sakura were quickly fleeting as Hinata took her place. He was so happy to finally have someone who loved him, even if she was a little bit bigger than him. But as Naruto continued to think about it, he started to feel guilty and it showed. Hinata was curled against the cave wall, gently stroking Naruto’s spiky hair when she happened to look down and see his troubled face.


            “Is something wrong Naruto?” Hinata asked.


            “Uh, no, nothing’s wrong…” Naruto said in a slightly gloomy tone.


            A skeptical look appeared on Hinata’s face when Naruto said that. Even if they had never really spent much time together, she still knew him well enough to know when something was troubling. So she reached into her coat, plucked Naruto out, wrapped her other around his body and lifted him to her face.


            “Come on, Naruto, you can’t fool me. Even without using my Byakugan, I can tell something is wrong with you. Come on, you can tell me what’s bothering you. I promise I won’t get angry or judge you any less, no matter what it is.”


            Naruto wasn’t sure if he could tell Hinata what was wrong. But when he looked into that giant, gentle face he found he couldn’t lie to her or keep anything from her. So he took breath, hoping that she was telling the truth about not getting angry.


            “Well, I was just thinking,” Naruto began, twiddling his fingers. “I know that you’ve been watching me ever since we were kids—the others told me during the Chûnin Exams. But, even though you were always there, I never once paid you even an ounce of attention. I always just assumed I was training alone, that there was no one there. And just yesterday, I pushed you away when you were only trying to help me. I acted like such a jerk, there is no way you should’ve forgiven me, and yet you did despite how I acted. I just think I don’t deserve such kindness after the way acted. You should probably just say that you hate and toss me out in the cold where I belong…”


            Hinata just smiled; she could never hate Naruto. Even if he did act out fo character before, she knew Naruto was only going through a rough time. So, instead of doing what Naruto thought she should do, she instead puckered up her lips and gave him a big warm kiss. Naruto was completely shocked by Hinata kissing him. It wasn’t at all what he had expected and this was made evident when Hinata saw the look on his face.


            “Oh Naruto, you silly little boy,” Hinata cooed softly. “There is no way in the world I could ever hate you. I know you were only acting the way you were earlier because you were sad. That wouldn’t make me hate you in the least; it just means you were acting human. So don’t beat yourself anymore okay…because if you do, I’ll smother you in love, like this!”


Hinata then assaulted Naruto with barrage of kisses, nuzzled him against her cheek and then proceeded to kiss him some more. Naruto was completely amazed by all of this; the love he was receiving from Hinata had been the most wonderful sensation he had ever felt in his life. He was especially happy when Hinata gave him a long kiss at the end, it was so warm he felt like he was melting. When the kiss was done and Hinata pulled Naruto away, she saw that he had his customary grin back on his face, the grin she loved so much. Naruto felt so glad that he found someone as wonderful as Hinata—not only had she forgiven for how he had acted before, she also gave him his first kiss from a girl. Hinata then moved Naruto to her chest and cuddled him in a nice warm, soft hug. Naruto loved being pressed against Hinata’s body, he wondered if this is what being hugged by a mother was like.


“Ah, that’s so cute…” said a voice from the cave entrance.


Hinata and Naruto were taken completely taken by surprise. They looked and saw Lady Tsunade leaning against the cave wall with her arms folded, smiling at how lovely the two of them looked together.


“You too really do make a perfect couple,” Tsunade said, making both Hinata and Naruto blush badly.


Looks like Kurenai was right after all… Tsunade thought as she watched the two of them blush. They were both good for each other. Heh, guess I lost that bet…again!


“When you two lovebirds are done, you should get out here. I brought Hinata’s dinner for today, you better come and get it before it gets hot. And I’m sorry Hinata, but I know you don’t like fish, so I brought you steamed veggies again.”


“That’s okay, Lady Tsunade,” Hinata said, the blush slowly fading from her face. “As long as it isn’t fish, I don’t mind.”


Naruto just stayed quiet; he could still see Tsunade smiling. He knew she was always looking for ways to embarrass him and this was certainly going to provide her with some mileage. Hinata then gently placed Naruto on the ground instead of putting him back into her jacket (Tsunade had already seen them kissing, they didn’t need her to see anymore displays of affection). Hinata removed the cover off of the cart and smelled the delicious aroma as it drifted up to her nose. She then lifted the cart off the ground and dumped the load into her mouth. For some reason, the meal seemed even tastier than before, probably because she was in such a good mood.


Naruto began to rummage through his pack until he found he was looking for: a cup of instant ramen. It was then that he realized he had a problem, he had no way to warm it up at the cave. He thought he would have to go back to his room and warm it up there, but he didn’t want to leave Hinata, even for a little while. He could try and collect firewood out in the woods, but with all the snow it’d be too wet for him to start a fire. He began to sulk at his dilemma when he looked over to the side and saw a large pile of wood inside the cave, completely dry and not a flake of snow on it. This pile was actually leftover from when Shikamaru was looking after Temari. But Naruto really didn’t care where it came from, he just saw it as a way to cook his food and nothing more.


When Hinata finished the steamed veggies, she put the cart back on the ground and wiped her mouth. She had a great smile on her face, happy to have such a great meal. Hinata was glad to see this new side of Hinata; Kurenai had told earlier how shy and unsure Hinata had been about herself. Obviously, being with Naruto was proving to have significant effect on her attitude.


“Well, Hinata, glad to see you enjoyed your meal,” Tsunade said as she grabbed hold of the cart handle.


“Yeah, it was delicious. Thank you, Lady Tsunade…”


“No problem…listen, I need to get going, so I’ll see you at dinner time tomorrow.” Tsunade started to walk away with the cart when she suddenly stopped and turned back around. “Oh, and don’t cause any big problems for Naruto!”


Hinata blushed at hearing that. Tsunade smiled as she continued to walk away, happy that she had managed to make Hinata blush one more time. Hinata was glad when Tsunade was gone and she could be alone with Naruto again. She really liked keeping him warm, it was a good excuse for her to keep him close to her. As she walked back inside the cave, she noticed Naruto crouched off to the side slurping on some ramen. He was sitting next to a small fire and there were at least several empty ramen cups on the ground. Hinata was amazed by how fast Naruto was able to eat, she had only turned her back for a few minutes and already he had eaten so much. She watched as he slurped down the broth and drop the cup on the ground with the others.


“Ah, that hit the spot,” Naruto said as he rubbed his full stomach.


Hinata smiled; from her point of view, Naruto looked like a little toy doll she used to have as a child. She hadn’t really thought about before, but now that she was really looking at him from her new size, she started to feel a little happier. She then noticed that Naruto had shivered a little, meaning that the fire wasn’t doing much good with keeping him warm. So she reached down and grabbed hold of Naruto. Naruto wasn’t at all surprised when Hinata grabbed, in fact he had shivered on purpose just so she would hold him again. He was made even happier when Hinata nuzzled him against her cheek, he relished in feeling Hinata’s warm cheek against his.


Naruto then asked Hinata to place him back down so he could change into his pajamas. Hinata nodded her head and placed Naruto gently back down on the ground. She watched fetched his pack and rummaged through it until he found his blue pajamas and goofy nightcap. He then proceeded to undress right in front of Hinata, which made her blush. She was just glad that he didn’t change he kept his boxer shorts on. He then proceeded to put on his pajamas until he was completely dressed. Hinata giggled when she saw Naruto’s silly nightcap. She had never seen it before, but now that she did see it she thought it looked really cute on him. But she stopped giggling when she saw Naruto pulling out his sleeping bag.


“Naruto, what are you doing?” Hinata asked.


“I’m getting ready to sleep,” Naruto answered. “I need my sleeping bag if I’m going to do that, right?”


“I suppose, but you know, I can think of a much softer, warmer, and more comfortable place you can sleep.”


“Really, where’s-”


Naruto stopped and blushed when the thought suddenly occurred to him. He looked up at Hinata, who nodded to confirm his suspicion. Hinata couldn’t help but laugh at Naruto’s innocence. She reached down and slowly wrapped her fingers around Naruto’s tiny body. She then lifted him off the ground and gave him another long warm kiss before setting inside her coat. Naruto couldn’t help but give a weak smile as he once again felt Hinata’s warmth come over him again. He looked up into Hinata’s gentle, happy face and began to feel so glad that Tsunade and the others had convinced him to stay. Hinata smiled as she walked further inside the cave, delicately stroking the top of Naruto’s head on the way in.



            The night air was amazingly calm. The cold wind had stopped blowing completely stopped as had the snowfall. Many people were glad that it wasn’t so cold anymore and hoped that the weather would return to normal tomorrow. Yes, everything seemed to be getting back on track and back to normal. Of course, what no one even suspected was the giantess sleeping in a cave in the woods. That certainly wasn’t normal; but thankfully no one had to find out.


            Hinata slept peacefully on the floor of the cave. She was resting on her back with her arms across her chest. She had a smile on her face, dreaming of what was to come for her and her beloved little ninja once she was returned to normal. She could just picture it; the two of them walking down the streets of the village, hand-in-hand, smiling. She also imagined the romantic nights they would have, sitting underneath the stars, enjoying a romantic picnic dinner. All these things really made her looked forward to her getting back to normal. She did enjoy being able to hold Naruto with just one hand, but she would enjoy it more when Naruto was able to put his arms around her. But for now, she was satisfied with being able to hold him like a doll and smother him in her affection. All these feelings made it easy for Hinata to sleep peacefully through the night.


            However, Naruto wasn’t quite as lucky. It was true that she had forgiven him for how he had acted before, but he still felt guilty about what he said and did. It’s precisely why he was awake in the middle of the night, looking up into Hinata’s giant gentle face.


            Man, she is so beautiful, Naruto thought. I can’t believe how big of a jerk I acted. I know she said she forgave me for how I acted, but I wish I could still make it up to her. Naruto then began to think of ways he could apologize to her. I wish I could just shrink her back down to her normal size; that would be the best way to apologize of all. But I don’t even know what hand signs were used for this jutsu. May be if I kissed her myself, but a kiss from me, at this size wouldn’t even be a small peck on her cheek. If only I was bigger…! That’s when an idea popped into Naruto’s head. Bigger…that’s it! I need to get bigger somehow, but I can’t just go running through screaming “Make me a giant!” I’d look like a total weirdo. I could ask Choji if he would teach me how to perform his clan’s Expansion Jutsu, but then I’d probably have to explain the whole Hinata situation. Maybe I could do a Combination Transformation Jutsu like I did with Gama Bunta, but he’s a little too big. Besides, I don’t think Hinata would like to kiss a giant toad.


Naruto continued to think of ways he could Hinata her first real kiss and the Transformation Jutsu would be the best way to do it. Only thing was that Naruto would need a member of the toad tribe that was about Hinata’s size in order to do it. Unfortunately, since he wasn’t an expert with the Summoning Jutsu, the only toads Naruto could summon were Gama Bunta and his two sons.


Man, this harder than I thought, Naruto thought. If only I could something other than toads. Just then, Naruto was struck with inspiration. That’s it! There is something I can use other than toads. Man, I really am a knucklehead! Naruto almost felt like kicking himself for not thinking of this sooner. I’d better start working on this first thing in the morning. Oh man, Hinata’s going to love this, I just know it!


Naruto blushed with excitement. If all this worked out, not only would he finally be rid of his guilt, but he would also give Hinata her very first kiss. He then went to sleep, anticipation filling his dreams as he thought about what was going to happen the next morning.



Chapter 32


            The next was quite a peaceful one. But more important than that, it was a warm morning! People rushed outside their doors and discovered that the clouds had finally parted and the snow was already starting to melt. There were puddles everywhere, but that didn’t bother anyone. They were just happy that the weather was back to normal.


            Jiraiya woke with a lazy yawn as he got out of bed and scratched under his arm. He then walked outside to the balcony, where a few puddles had formed on the wood. A sudden drop of water on Jiraiya’s nose made him come out of his morning trance. He looked up to see several icicles that had formed on the hanging above melting. They were already a quarter of the size they were yesterday and that was a very good sign to Jiraiya. He couldn’t help but smile as he leaned against the railing and looked out as the bright sunshine coated the village in it’s brilliant glow.


            So, the Summer Snow has ended, Jiraiya thought. And in two no less…I guess that means that Naruto’s heart has finally healed at last. That’s good, I was starting to get worried that his sour attitude might become permanent.


            Jiraiya then went back inside to put away his winter clothes, as he thought about the kind of girl Naruto had found…and if he would be able to use her in some of his “research” in the future. The thought really tickled him as he closed the door behind him.



The morning sun beamed into the cave, creating shadows of the various stalagmites on the cave floor. Hinata was still asleep; she had turned over when the sun’s rays came into the cave. She didn’t want to wake up just yet, not while Naruto was still resting comfortably on her chest. It was then that she realized that Naruto wasn’t resting on her shirt anymore. This made Hinata wake from her sleep with a jump. She began to get nervous, thinking that something had happened to Naruto. When she rose up from the ground, she realized it was much warmer today and so she removed her winter wear, setting it in a neat pile on the ground next to her. Hinata had worn her winter clothes over her summer clothes the day she was turned into a giantess. So she was now wearing a light-blue blouse with dark blue shorts. She looked around the cave, hoping that she hadn’t accidentally flattened Naruto during the night. She was both glad and worried that she couldn’t find any trace of Naruto.


Hinata then rushed outside and breathed a sigh of relief. She found Naruto lying on his back, heaving for air, just a few meters away from the cave. She walked over to him and kneeled down.


“Hey there,” Naruto said, exhaustion hanging on his voice. “Glad to see you’re finally awake sleepy head.”


“Good morning to you too,” Hinata said with a smile on her face. “What were doing out here this early?”


Naruto grinned. “That’s a surprise for later…”


“Oh, really,” Hinata said. She then reached down, took Naruto in her right hand and raised him to her face where she stared at him with a mischievous look. “Tell me what it is or else!”


Naruto was worried at first, but quickly remembered who he was dealing. He put on a confident face and looked straight into Hinata’s eyes.


“Or else what!?” Naruto retorted.


A mischievous smile crossed Hinata’s face. She then opened her hand so that Naruto was now laying on it. She then extended her left index finger.


“Or else this…” Hinata said moving her finger menacingly towards Naruto. “Gentle Fist Art: Tickle Torture!”


Suddenly, Hinata’s index finger began its work of tickling Naruto on the stomach and it worked. Naruto was laughing so hard, it could’ve been heard for miles. He tried his best to push Hinata’s finger away, but it was much too heavy for him.


“C-C-Come on, Hinata, st-stop…Hahahaha!”


“You want me to stop? Then tell me what is you’re planning!”


“I-I-I-I can’t, hahahaha…I told you, i-i-it’s a surprise for later!”


Hinata pouted as she moved her finger away from Naruto’s body.


“Come on, please tell me Naruto!”


Naruto took a few deep breaths before he answered. “No, I told you it’s surprise for later. How much later, I can’t say. I used up a lot of chakra just trying to do it this morning.”


Hinata then gave Naruto an inquisitive look. “Ah, so it’s a jutsu…”


“Yes, but that’s all you’re going to get out me, understand?”


Hinata frowned and nodded her head. “Okay, I understand. But until then, what’ll we do?”


“The first thing you should do is have breakfast. Kurenai delivered it earlier, while you were still asleep. So she left it at the entrance to the cave over there.”


Hinata turned around and saw the fruit basket Naruto was talking about. She walked over, Naruto still in her hand, and picked up the basket. Hinata noticed that there were some peels and cores lying off to the side.


“Uh, yeah, hope you don’t mind Hinata. But I had a few pieces of fruit before you woke up. Sorry…”


Thankfully, Hinata wasn’t mad at all. She didn’t mind sharing what she had others, especially Naruto. Although, she was a little surprised to hear that Naruto ate something other than ramen. But she really didn’t press the matter; she just tipped the basket to her mouth and swallowed all the contents. She then laid the basket down on the ground and rubbed her full stomach.


“Well, now that that’s done,” Hinata said, lifting Naruto up to her face. “What do you want to do next, my little man?”


Naruto blushed at the pet name Hinata had given him. “Well, uh…how about we just go for a walk?”


“A walk!?” Hinata said, surprised by Naruto’s answer. “Are you crazy, Naruto!? What if someone from the village spots me?”


“Don’t worry,” Naruto said, sitting himself up in Hinata’s hand. “That’s not going to happen. We’re just going to walk along the edge of this cliff for a little while. I’ll admit, I’ve been a little curious about seeing more of this place. And besides, if someone does see you, I’ve already got a plan to keep you a secret. So relax, I promise I won’t make you do anything you don’t want to, okay?”


Hinata smiled and nodded. She knew Naruto would never let anything really bad happen to her, so she decided it would be okay. Once she gave her answer to Naruto, she placed him on her shoulder and they both walked off along the cliff side. All the while, Hinata was anticipating what Naruto’s big surprise could possibly be, while Naruto sat comfortably on Hinata’s shoulder enjoying the spectacular view…



Chapter 33


            About an hour and half or so later, Hinata and Naruto returned to the cave. They hadn’t really seen much on their walk; at least nothing really new. The only thing they found that interested them was an entrance to some kind of valley they found right before coming back. Naruto had felt like exploring it, but he knew they were pressing their luck with being out of the cave for so long, so he decided they come back and check it out further. Hinata walked back inside and sat against the cave wall before she reached over and plucked Naruto off of her shoulder.


            “Okay, Naruto,” Hinata said, bringing Naruto closer to her face. “I’ve waited long enough, now I want to know what this surprise of yours is!”


            “Sorry, but not yet…” Naruto said playfully.


            “Why not!?” Hinata complained, putting her free hand on her hip.


            “Because, it’s lunch time and you need your strength.”


            “That’s not fair; now come on, tell me what it is! Or do you want me to give you the Tickle Torture again?”


            “You can try, but it won’t work…”


            “Oh really, and why not?” Hinata quickly got her answer when Naruto exploded into a puff of smoke. “Oooh, that cheeky little sneak. He must’ve made a Shadow Clone on the way back here without me realizing it.”


            “Well, of course,” Naruto called out from the cave entrance. “I knew how eager you were to see my surprise and you would probably skip lunch just to see it.”


            Hinata pouted and crossed her arms, turning away from Naruto. Naruto walked, with a wide grin on his face.


            “Oh, come on Hinata, don’t be mad. I’m really sorry I tricked you like that, but I wanted to make sure you got your lunch before I showed you my surprise. Please, don’t be so angry, I’m really, really sorry Hinata.”


            Hinata turned her head a little and looked at Naruto’s grinning face. She soon broke and began to smile herself, turning around to face her tiny lovable ninja.


            “Oh, I just can’t stay mad at you. All right, I’ll have lunch first…But as soon as I do, I want to know what this surprise of yours is.”


            “Don’t worry, you will. Now come on, the sooner you eat the sooner I can show you my surprise!”


            Hinata smiled as she got up and walked outside, where a large cart of vegetables were waiting for her. Just like before, she lifted the cart up off the ground and tipped it to her mouth. Once the last of the vegetables rolled down her throat, she placed the cart back down on the ground. Even if she didn’t mind eating, she was starting to get sick of them. She wish she could at least enjoy a good cinnamon bun or some stewed bean paste again. But she wasn’t going to complain; as long she had food in her stomach she really didn’t what it was.


            Once Hinata was done with her dinner, she went back inside and sat back in the same spot she was sitting before. Once she sat back down, she looked down at Naruto who had a wide grin in his face.


            “Okay, Naruto, I’ve waited long enough. I’m ready for my surprise.”


            “Great…” Naruto then backed up a little bit. “Now then, here goes!”


            “Wait Naruto!” Hinata called out. Naruto was surprised by Hinata’s reaction that he fell back on his rear. “Have you had lunch yet? If this is a jutsu you’re going to do, then you’ll need to be at full strength and you can’t be hungry for that.”


            “Don’t worry, Hinata, I had a couple bowls of ramen before I got your lunch. So don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”


            “Okay…” Hinata said in a worried voice.


            She then watched as Naruto made a very familiar hand sign.


            “Shadow Clone Jutsu!”


            Suddenly, multiple clones of Naruto began to form in front of Hinata. But it wasn’t just a few clones; Naruto had made close to three thousand clones! Hinata was in shock, the most clones she had ever seen him made were about were about two dozen. She had never seen so many Narutos before in her life. She just wanted to scoop them all up and hug them with all her might. But she restrained herself from doing so. She knew that the surprise wasn’t yet because the clones were now starting to move into different positions and lying down on the ground. As Hinata watched this, she saw that the clones were forming the shape of a giant human body. She could only wonder just what was up Naruto’s sleeve. Once all the clones were in place, she saw that the original was in the center of the clone formation.


            “Okay, here it comes. Ready everybody!”


            “Ready!” The clones all responded in unison.


            “All right then, here we go. Transform!”


            Suddenly, a giant cloud of smoke surrounded the clones. Hinata couldn’t see anything; the smoke was very thick. Her anticipation grew as she waited for what was going to happen next. She didn’t have to wait long, for something began to rise from the smoke. When she looked closer, Hinata realized that what was rising above the smoke was a large human head, much larger than any normal sized human head. And there was more; rising out of the smoke was a whole body as well. Soon the giant human figure stood up to its full height and it completely amazed Hinata. The figure was close to 50 feet tall, just like her. What was even more amazing was that the figure looked exactly like Naruto, right down his orange jacket and pants. She was completely in awe, she didn’t know what to say. All she could do was just stare into the giant Naruto’s beautiful blue eyes.


            Hinata then watched as the giant Naruto walked over to her, leaned down to her eye level, wrapped his arms around her neck and pull her in. She then saw that his lips were puckered up and she knew right away what Naruto was doing. He was going to give her very first kiss! When their lips met, it was truly magical. Hinata felt like her entire world was lit up. She quickly wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him in tighter to her. She wished that time would stop so that the moment would never end.


            Unfortunately, Naruto was only able to keep the kiss was going for 15 seconds before his giant clone exploded in a giant cloud of smoke. Hinata was so surprised, that she nearly fell forwards when it happened. Luckily, she had the presence of mind to cup her hands and extend them into the smoke. She was glad she did because just two seconds after she moved her hands inside the smoke cloud, she felt something land in her palms. She quickly pulled her hands back to see a tired, tiny Naruto in the center of her hands breathing heavily.


            “So…” Naruto said, completely exhausted by the whole experience. “Did you like your surprise?”


            Hinata was beyond speechless. All she could do was pull Naruto in close to her body and gave him a big soft hug as tears of happiness ran down her cheeks. Naruto knew there was no need for words, not for this situation. Hinata’s display was more than enough for Naruto to feel happy about his results. He didn’t say anything the whole time Hinata hugged; he just let her hug him for as long as she wanted.



            Off in the distance, the troublesome trio was sitting in the branches of the tree looking out at the big cave where the test subjects had stayed every time. Ko was taking notes and reading his journal while Goro sat against the tree, swinging one leg in the air. Sai was the one who had the telescope this and he was absolutely disgusted by what he just saw.


            “Aw, that is just sick!” Sai protested as he looked away from the telescope.


            “What are you complaining about now, Sai?” Ko asked as he put his journal down.


            “That orange clad ninja just made a giant clone of himself and kissed the test subject…on the lips! Man, I swear I’m going to puke.”


            “Oh, grow up, you big baby!” Ko said sternly, snatching the telescope away from Sai who was leaning over the side of the branch. He was about to look through the telescope when he heard Goro sigh. “And what’s wrong with you?”


            “I’m just bored,” Goro said plainly. “It’s that, I know we’re not supposed to technically harm the test subject, but couldn’t we do something to her. Rough her a little bit…”


            “No, absolutely not!” Ko scolded. “You know what could and will happen to us if our master learns we harmed the test subject without his permission! We’ll be lucky if we come out at least emotionally whole!”


            “But there’s nothing to do out here,” Goro complained. “I just want something to do.”


            Ko listened intently to Goro’s complaining. It was this complaining that gave him a deliciously wicked idea.


            “Hey, I think I know a way we could have some fun with the test subject without harming her.”


            “Really!?” Goro said, perking up at Sai’s statement.


            Ko just shot him a skeptical look as he looked away from the telescope.


            “Oh, this ought to be good,” Ko mumbled as he put the telescope away.


            Sai smiled smugly as he looked at Goro’s excited face and Ko’s skeptical face.


            “Do you guys remember that special jutsu we learned right before we were given this assignment…”


            “Do you mean that special jutsu?” Goro asked. Sai nodded his head slowly. “Yeah…why?”


            “Well, do the math: our special jutsu plus one giantess minus one orange equals…?”


            Ko and Goro both scratched their heads as they thought about what Sai was talking about. But after a few minutes, there faces quickly gained a surprised look.


            “You don’t mean…!” Goro asked, anticipation hanging on his voice.


            Sai put on a wicked smile and nodded his head slowly.


            “That’s cruel!” Goro said.


            “Cruel, it’s down right rotten and evil!” Ko retorted.


            “And…?” Said asked smugly.


            Goro and Ko both looked at each other before responding. “We love it!”


            “So when do we strike?” Goro asked excitedly.


            “When do you think you’re chakra will return, Goro?” Sai asked.


            “By tomorrow morning…why?”


            “You’ll see…for now, I suggest we return to camp and get to bed early today. Because as soon as the sun rises and the test subject is awake, we strike. Don’t worry, I’ll explain my plan in the morning. So you’ll have to wait until then, no exceptions!”


            Ko and Goro just sighed at how smug Sai was being, but they knew once his mind was set on something there was no way to change it. So they just went back to their previous activities while Sai just stared out at the cave where the test subject was resting with her little guardian. His wicked smile became an evil grin as he continued to look out at the cave.


            Hope that girl has a big appetite in the morning, Sai thought. Cause whether she likes it or not, she’s going to have herself a nice, little, “orange” snack in the morning!



Chapter 33


            The next morning, Tsunade was back inside the room where she had been observing all the samples she had collected of the three previous giantess cases. And she wasn’t alone either; along with Shizune and Tonton, Kakashi, Guy, Kurenai, and Asuma were also in the room. They were waiting with anticipation, hoping for good news. They had been secretly hoping that this new jutsu was only temporary, like the first one. They all watched as Tsunade took the one sample of Hinata’s blood she had set aside from the rest and placed it underneath the microscope. They all held their breaths as they waited for the answer from Tsunade.


            Tsunade herself was also hoping that this jutsu was temporary as well. But when she put the sample under the microscope and looked at it, her face quickly solemn and grim. When she looked up from the microscope and the others saw the look on her face, the excitement that was in the air quickly faded.


            “Lady Tsunade,” Kurenai started to say. “Hinata’s blood…has it…?”


            “No, I’m afraid it’s still the same,” Tsunade said in the gloomy tone. “Her blood cells are still the same size as the day I took the sample from her.”


            “Maybe, maybe it’s too early,” Shizune said, trying to be optimistic. “Yeah, yeah, maybe this new jutsu just takes longer to dispel, that’s all.”


            “I’m afraid not this Shizune. I ran a little test last night to confirm something and unfortunately the tests were positive. I hate to say it, but this jutsu is permanent, there is no way to cure it.”


            Nobody said anything for several minutes. The air was so glum, it seemed nobody had the will to talk until Kurenai finally broke the silence.


            “Well, we’d better get going,” Kurenai said in the same gloomy tone that hung in the room. “I need to deliver Hinata’s breakfast to her. Do you guys mind coming with me? Hinata’s going to need all the support she can get.”


            “Of course, Kurenai,” Asuma answered. “We’ll come with you, right everyone?”


            Guy and Kakashi didn’t say anything, they just simply nodded their heads.


            “Well then, if you’re all ready,” Tsunade said as she stood up from her stool. “Let’s get going!”


            With that, she walked out of the room with Shizune and the others following right behind her. She could only hope that Naruto might be able to cheer Hinata up once she received the news. Tsunade knew this wasn’t going to be easy to say, but it had to be said.



            Naruto gave a big lazy yawn as the sun’s rays warmed his face. He was resting comfortably on Hinata’s chest; she had insisted that she would be much softer than Naruto’s sleeping bag, so how could he say no? Hinata was still asleep and Naruto didn’t want to wake her just yet, so he slowly wriggled his way out from underneath Hinata’s arms. It was a little tricky, but he eventually managed to do it. Once he was out, he jumped down to the ground and went to his pack where he changed into his usual orange jacket and pants. He had just tied his Leaf headband when he heard Hinata give a soft yawn and stretch out her arms.


            “Good morning, Hinata,” Naruto greeted her.


            “Good morning, my little ninja,” Hinata said playfully, making Naruto blush.


            “So, uh, what do you want to do today?” Naruto asked, scratching the back of his head.


            Hinata didn’t say anything. Instead, her left arm just shot out and her hand wrapped around his body. Naruto smiled as he puckered up his lips, waiting for his first ever good morning kiss. But he quickly grew worried when he drew closer to Hinata’s face and saw her expression. She looked pale and her lower lip was quivering, like she was being tormented by something horrible, but she was still moving Naruto towards her mouth. Naruto didn’t know what to think until he saw that Hinata’s mouth was slowly opening. Naruto knew right away what Hinata was doing and he quickly began to panic.


            “Hinata, wait, what are you doing!?” Naruto said as he struggled to break free from her grasp. “I’m not on the menu breakfast! Trust me when I say I taste absolutely awful. Believe me, you’ll have stomach problems for a month if you eat me! Hinata, please don’t do this!”


            But Hinata didn’t seem to be listening. She just kept moving Naruto closer and closer to her mouth. All the while, Naruto continued to struggle and try to break free. But it was just no use; Hinata’s grip was just too strong. He was about a meter or so from Hinata’s mouth when all of sudden, her right arm grabbed hold of her left and stopped it just in time.


            Naruto was completely confused by what was happening. It seemed like Hinata was trying to eat him and at the same time trying hard not to eat him. He couldn’t understand what was happening, until it finally hit him. Hinata was being controlled by a genjutsu! Someone was trying to force Hinata to eat him and he could see that she was completely aware of it too, because tears were now starting to form in her eyes. He could tell that Hinata was trying her best to resist the control, but it was hard to say whether she was winning or not. Luckily, Hinata’s will power was strong enough to allow her left hand to open and let Naruto fall to the ground.”


            “N-N-Naruto…” Hinata said. “G-G-Get away f-from me…hurry!”


            Hinata then curled her body into a ball as it shivered from Hinata trying to resist the genjutsu.


            This is terrible! Naruto thought as he watched Hinata suffer. I’ve got to get some help! But who could…wait, Hinata’s sensei is supposed to be a genjutsu expert. May be she can help; I’d better get moving and fast.


            Naruto didn’t waste any time, he turned around, bolted out of the cave, turned the corner and…ran smack dab into something soft. Naruto quickly collected himself and saw that he had once again ran right into Tsunade. She wasn’t alone either; Shizune, Tonton, Kakashi, Asuma, Guy and Kurenai were with her as well.


            “Naruto, is something wrong?” Tsunade asked.


            “Granny Tsunade what are you-” Naruto started to say, but stopped himself. “Actually, never mind that, just come with me, and hurry! Hinata’s in serious trouble!”


            That was more than enough to get the others worried. They quickly followed Naruto inside the cave where they saw Hinata shaking and rolling on the ground, curled up in a ball.


            “Naruto, what’s wrong with her?” Tsunade asked frantically.


            “I think someone’s using a genjutsu to try and control Hinata,” Naruto explained. “Just a little while ago, she tried to eat me!”


            Everyone was shocked when they heard that.


            “Kurenai, you’re a genjutsu specialist,” Guy said. “Do what kind of genjutsu this is?”


            “I sure do,” Kurenai responded seriously. “It’s called the Genjutsu: Meat Puppet, where a person literally controls a person’s muscles like a puppeteer.”


            “Is there any way to break it!?” Naruto asked.


            “It can only be broken if the caster is knocked out,” Kurenai said. “Thing of it is, this jutsu requires a direct line of site and it’s easier if it’s cast from a high view point.”


            “Well that doesn’t help much,” Asuma said. “Where could a possibly place like that be in the forest?”


            But Naruto didn’t listen; he was already scanning the horizon for the place Kurenai described.


            Let’s see…direct line of sight…high view point, Naruto thought. He scanned the horizon a little further when he saw a tree off in the distance that stood higher than any of the other trees in the forest. That’s it, that’s where they are!


            Naruto quickly jumped into the trees and immediately raced off for the tree, leaving the others trying their best to figure what Naruto had already though of.



            “Come on, Sai, what’s taking so long?” Ko asked as he looked through the telescope. He was sitting on a branch above both Sai and Goro as he observed the test subject struggle to resist the jutsu. He was mainly watching in case it looked like the test subject might not survive, but it also watching it because he enjoyed watching people suffer. It just seemed to provide some kind of comfort.


            “Oh, give it rest,” Sai complained as he struggled to maintain the jutsu. “This isn’t as easy as it looks, all right! I mean, I knew using this jutsu on a abnormal human was going to be difficult, but man it feels like my brain is on fire!”


            Indeed, it did look that way; Sai’s head had turned completely red, a few veins were showing, and sweat was pouring down his head. The strain of maintaining the ninjutsu was really starting to weigh down on him. But he knew if it was this hard for him, it had to be even worse for the victim. Still he wasn’t sure he could maintain it himself and so he decided he needed back up.


            “Hey, Goro, give me a hand here, will you! This is a tough one!”


            “Back up, coming right up,” Goro said as he quickly made the signs and cast the jutsu.


            Goro quickly found out why Sai was having so much trouble. He would’ve never guessed that a person’s size could determine their will power, but apparently it did since he was having just as much trouble as Sai was keeping his hold over the subject.


            “Man, this is hard…” Goro complained as his face began to show the same strain as Sai’s face.


            “Keep it up you two,” Ko said. “I think she’s a bout to…wait a minute!”


            “What’s…wrong now, Sai?” Sai asked.


            “That Naruto kid, he’s gone, I don’t see him anywhere. Where is he?”


            Ko moved the telescope frantically as he searched for the orange clad ninja but found no sight of him.


            How could someone wearing bright orange clothes disappear so easily? Ko thought.


            He soon got his answer when an orange blur jumped up in front of him.


            “Ah ha, I found you!” Naruto exclaimed as he started to descend on the three ninja. “You’re going to pay for what you did to Hinata!”


            Ko had no time to react. All he could do was move the telescope out of the way as Naruto’s fist came down on him and landed a solid hit on his face. Sai and Goro watched in shock as their companion  fall to the ground. They were just glad it was Ko and not one of them; they knew he’d be able to handle that little squirt. But they weren’t able to relax for long because, out of the trees, two clones appeared right after the original and came down on both of them. One clone landed a kick to Sai’s lower jaw and the other thrust its elbow into Goro’s stomach sending the two of them plummeting to the ground.


            Ko quickly recovered from the punch Naruto gave him and spun in midair, allowing him to land safely on his feet. Even though he had landed safely, he knew Naruto was still coming down on him. So he jumped out of the way just in time, avoiding Naruto completely. Ko quickly collected himself after dodging Naruto, ready to fight him, when he saw Goro and Sai come falling out of the tree and land hard on the ground. He then saw two clones come down on his two companions and pin them to the ground. He was about to go help them when more clones suddenly popped out of the bushes and pile on top of his comrades. There was a giant dust cloud as the clones continued to wrestle with his partners and when the dust settled, Goro and Sai were tied up.


            “Well, well, you’re full of surprises,” Ko said, slowly turning to face Naruto. “Aren’t you, fox boy…”


            Naruto went pale when he heard Ko call him fox boy.


            “Yes, I know what you are…I wonder what would happen if your giantess found out about that. I’d bet she shun you just like everybody else in the village. After all, you’re nothing but a monster!”


            Naruto gritted his teeth and clenched his fists. “That’s it! First, you try and make Hinata eat. Then you call me a monster just because I have some demon inside me that I didn’t want. I won’t let you get away with this!”


            Suddenly, a few of the clones Naruto had made jumped into the air. They then drew kunai knives from their pouches, ready to pierce Ko’s wicked hide. But this was Ko had wanted; if he didn’t have the bandages on, Naruto would be able to see an evil smile on Ko’s face. He had made Naruto angry on purpose because he knew that nobody ever thinks clearly when they’re angry. And Naruto was no exception.


            Ko made several hand signs and called out: “Earth Style: Rock Spikes Jutsu!”


            Just then, several large spikes shot out of the ground and pierced all the clones, making them disappear. But Naruto wasn’t going to give up. He quickly sent some more clones around the large spikes and charge at Ko. But it was the same result as before and now there was another wall of spikes protecting Ko. Naruto decided to try one last approach and had the last few clones jump into the trees and come directly on top of Ko. However, Ko had expected this and immediately made another bunch of spikes come up and over him, piercing the clones, causing them to disappear. Now Ko was surrounded by a wall of spikes, so any attempt made to attack would only backfire.


            “How sad,” Ko said mockingly. “You let your anger get the best of you and look what happens. I’m completely surrounded razor sharp spikes. If you try to strike me, you’ll wind up hurting yourself. Too bad, you might’ve been able to beat me if you had just kept a level head. Hahahaha!”


            Ko was starting to feel invincible, completely surrounded by an impenetrable wall that would not only defend him but harm his enemies too. However, had he been paying more attention, he would’ve realized he was the one who had made mistake. And that mistake was making Naruto angry. While Ko laughed inside of his spiked barrier, Naruto had the last of his clones help him gather the chakra in his hand for his strongest.


            “Now who’s looking sad,” Naruto growled as he continued to collect chakra in his hands. “You shouldn’t be so cocky; the battle is still on and I haven’t even showed you my strongest attack yet. So don’t even think, for one second, that you’ve won. Cause if you have then you, like so many other people, have seriously underestimated me!” At that moment, there was a swirling sphere of chakra in the middle of his palm. He then charged ahead at full speed with the sphere still spinning in the palm of his hand. “Take this…Rasengan!”


            Ko watched in horror as his so-called perfect defense shattered before his eyes. He then watched as the attack continued right into his stomach and sent him spiraling right through his rock wall. He then went spinning through four trees before he finally stopped. Ko was in complete shock.


            “The Rasengan…” Ko mumbled as he coughed up blood onto his bandages. “It can’t…be…how can a punk like that…use such a powerful move…?”


            Ko fell to the ground and passed out.


            “You see,” Naruto boasted. “That’s what you get when you mess with my girlfriend!” Naruto quickly blushed once he realized just what he had said. He only hoped that none of the others had that.



Chapter 34


            The four jônin team leaders, Tsunade, Shizune and even Hinata eventually arrived at the sight where Naruto had fought the three rouge ninja and helped him secure the perpetrators. Guy finished tying up Ko with his three other buddies and gave the others his thumbs up. Kakashi just sighed at how childish Guy was acting, but he quickly turned his attention to the three rouge ninja they had just caught.


            “Well, well, well,” Kakashi said casually. “If it isn’t the three stooges…”


            Kurenai looked at Kakashi with a shocked expression. “Kakashi, you know these three ninja?”


            “I sure do,” Kakashi answered. “They are Goro, Sai, and Ko, the very first team I ever failed.”


            “Really,” Guy said, intrigued. “I thought these three looked familiar somehow. I should’ve known they were those three stupid students you dropped from the program all those years ago.”


            “Yeah, thanks a lot Kakashi,” Sai said sarcastically. “Because of you, we were dropped from the program. We were unable to fulfill our dreams, just because you weren’t willing to give us a second-”


            Naruto quickly grabbed Sai’s collar and pulled him in close. “Look, pal, I don’t really care about your little sob story. All I want right now is for you to change Hinata back.”


            Goro suddenly started laughing. “Change her back, yeah right!”


            “What’d you say jerk!?” Naruto asked angrily.


            “You heard me, blondie. You want us to change her back, right?” Naruto nodded his head slowly. “Well, I’m telling you we can’t. We only have a justu to make things grow, not shrink. Our master only wanted us to experiment on different test subjects until we found a jutsu that was permanent.”


            Hinata suddenly went pale. “You mean I…I’m…”


            “That’s right, ‘little’ lady, you’re stuck that way…FOREVER!” Goro exclaimed.


            Hinata just felt her world shatter. She had been hoping that Tsunade would be able to cure her, but when she looked at Tsunade’s disappointed face, she knew Goro was telling the truth. She was unable to take this news and so she ran back to the cave, not even caring if anyone saw her or if she knocked stuff down, crying giant sad tears.


            “Hinata, WAIT!” Naruto called after her.


            “Ha, guess the girl couldn’t take the news…so sad,” Goro said before he started laughing wickedly.


            Naruto was so mad, especially when he saw that Goro’s two buddies were smiling at Hinata’s sadness. So he decided to shut them up and whacked each of them several times on the head, knocking them out cold, before he took off after Hinata.



            A few minutes later, Hinata arrived back at the cave. She quickly rushed inside and assumed the fetal position against the wall. She then started to cry her eyes out; she couldn’t believe that she was stuck this way for life. She was so depressed, she didn’t even see Naruto come inside the cave after her.


            “Hinata…” Naruto said gently, waking inside the cave.


            “Go away, Naruto, leave me alone!” Hinata cried out.


            “I’m afraid I can’t do that, Hinata.”


            “And why not!? Don’t you see Naruto, I’m stuck like this for the rest of my life! I’m a monster now, juts like in that dream I had. Nobody will even come near me!”


            Naruto quickly became fed up with this little pity party.


            “Oh, so I’m nobody!?” Hinata stopped crying and looked down at Naruto’s angry face. “Have you forgotten what we’ve been through this last couple of days? Everything I did for you and everything you did for me? I sure don’t; I remember every moment of it and do know why?” Hinata shook her head, whimpering a little bit. “Because those couple of days were the happiest I’ve ever had! All my life, I’ve wanted people to respect me and acknowledge my existence. But more than that, I’ve wanted to find someone who I loved and loved me in return. And after waiting for nearly twelve years, I finally found someone just like that; and that person is you Hinata. So don’t think for one second that you’re alone or that no one will come near because you feel like a monster. Because, guess what, you’re not a monster. You just a big with a heart of gold bigger than you are. That’s what has made me come to realize something…when you said those three little words to me and eased my aching heart…that I love you too, Hinata, more than anything in the world!”


            Hinata was speechless. As with Naruto, she too had waited to find someone whom she loved and loved her in return. She was so overcome with joy that she couldn’t stop herself from reaching, scooping up Naruto off the ground, giving him several long warm kisses and hold him close to her heart. She was so happy that she started to cry again. But this time, the tears were tears of joy instead of sadness.


            “Thank you, Naruto,” Hinata whispered softly.  “I don’t think I’d be able to get through this without you. I love you so much!”


            Naruto didn’t say anything; he just let Hinata caress him. As long as it made her happy, he was happy too.



Chapter 35


            An hour or so later, Naruto was sitting in the forest by himself, contemplating a lot of things. Even though he had managed to tell Hinata how much he loved her and make her feel better about her situation, he still wished there was a way to make her normal again. He just sat looking at the golden scroll Tsunade and the others had pulled off of the three rouge ninja. He had been asked by Kakashi to look after it while they planned on what to do with Hinata. He had it opened and saw the hand signs written on it, but nothing else. He almost wanted to burn the accursed thing.


            This thing is the reason why Hinata stuck the way she is, Naruto thought as he looked at the contents of the golden scroll. This is what made her so sad before. If only this thing had some extra hand signs; maybe that way I could change her back to normal. But no, all this thing does is make people and who knows what else giant sized…


            Naruto was starting to sulk when a thought suddenly occurred to him that almost made him kick himself in the rear. If this jutsu can make people big, it might make other things big as well. So Naruto decided to start working on a few experiments of his own; hopefully, if these experiments were successful, then it would make Hinata’s life much easier. Naruto read the hand signs carefully and got to work…



            Hinata sat on her knees at the entrance to the cave while Tsunade and the others discussed their planes for her.


            “Well, what are we going to do now?” Kurenai asked.


            “I suppose we could just stick to the same system,” Asuma said. “Once Kiba and Shino get back, we’ll let them in on the secret and hopefully, with their contributions, it won’t be so expensive.”


            “I doubt that,” Tsunade said.


            “Lady Tsunade, please,” Shizune scolded, “you’ve got to be more optimistic about this. I mean, come on…”


            “Shizune, please, be reasonable; Hinata has an appetite of more than thirty people. Even with my salary, without gambling, I’d be pushing my limits.”


            Hinata sighed when she heard this. Tsunade quickly realized why Shizune was trying to stop her. She felt like she had to cheer up Hinata, but it was already too late, the damage had been done.


            Nobody said anything for the next few minutes. They were all busy contemplating ways to help Hinata; but no matter what they thought of, they knew it would be too expensive even if they combined all their money together.


            “Well, we’ve got to think of something,” Guy said. “Kakashi, do you have any ideas about this situation?”


            “Unfortunately not, Guy,” Kakashi answered, his usual cool tone sounding a little depressed. “I’ve pretty much been thinking the same thing everything else is thinking…”


            The group began to sulk, thinking it seemed hopeless, when they heard a cry roar out from the forest.


            “Kakashi-sensei!” Naruto yelled as he leapt out from the trees. “Kakashi-sensei, great news!”


            Everyone was shocked by Naruto’s entrance. Just a little while ago, he was as depressed as the others. But now, he had a broad grin on his face, like he usually does when he was excited. He landed in front of the group, breathing heavily from running so fast.


            “Naruto, what is it?” Kakashi asked.


            “Great…news…Kakashi-sensei,” Naruto heaved as he tried to collect his breath. “Really…great…news!”


            “Whoa, slow down there, Naruto,” Kakashi said. “Take a deep breath and relax…”


            “Okay, okay,” Naruto said, taking a few deep breaths. Once he collected himself, he looked at the group with his customary broad grin. “Everyone, listen, I think I found a solution to your problems and make Hinata’s situation a little bit easier.”


            “Really,” Tsunade said, cocking an eyebrow. “And what kind of solution might that Naruto?”


            “Okay, watch this…” Naruto reached into one of his pockets and pulled out a regular sized apple. He reached into another pocket and pulled out the golden scroll. He then placed the apple on the ground and opened the golden scroll, reading its contents. The others were a little skeptical about what Naruto was doing, but they knew better than to stop when he gets going. So they sat back and watched as Naruto continued with his demonstration. Once Naruto was sure he memorized the hand signs, he put the scroll away and cracked his knuckles. Naruto then made all the hand signs in sequence and aimed his hands at the apple. “Here we go; Ninja Art: Gigantism Jutsu!”


            Everyone watched in awe as the apple immediately began to grow bigger and bigger. Some of them were worried that it wouldn’t stop growing. But after several minutes, it finally stopped growing at ten feet tall! The everyone, even Hinata, was in complete shock by what they had just witnessed. Naruto had to restrain himself from laughing so hard at seeing the expressions on the others faces. He then turned towards Hinata.


            “Hey, Hinata, how about a snack?” Asked Naruto as he patted the side of the giant apple.


            “Um, sure…” Hinata said, still in shock. She reached down, grabbed hold of the apple, and lifted it to her mouth where she took a big bite out of it (no pun intended). She was absolutely amazed by what she tasted. “Incredible! It tastes just like it would at normal size!”


            “Exactly, Hinata!” Naruto said excitedly. “See everyone, this is the solution to all of our problems! If Hinata needs anything; food, clothing, or whatever then we can just make it bigger with this jutsu. Cool, huh!?”


            “It sure is,” Tsunade commented. “But I’m curious Naruto, why did you call it the Gigantism Jutsu?”


            “Well, you know…I came up with a few names for it and the two I settled on were the Expansion Jutsu and the Gigantism Jutsu. And since the Expansion Jutsu is technically already taken, I settled on the other name.”


            “I see, interesting…” Tsunade said, intrigued by Naruto’s discovery.


            Hinata was just so happy there was going to be a way for her live her normally, to some extent. “Oh, Naruto, thank you so much! I feel so happy!”


            “Ah, you’re welcome, Hinata,” Naruto said, blushing a little. “You know I’d do anything for you…”


            “Really…?” Tsunade said, intrigued by Naruto’s statement. “In that case, Naruto, I’ve got a new mission for you.”


            Everyone was appalled by Tsunade’s statement, Naruto was especially shocked.


            “A new mission!? You’ve got to be kidding me? Well whatever it is, I-”


            “Your new is mission is…” Tsunade continued to say, completely interrupting Naruto. Naruto wasn’t going to stand for this; he was ready to protest this new mission, even if it meant he might be dropped from the program completely. All he wanted was to stay with Hinata no matter what. He was just about to argue his disapproval when Tsunade finished her thought. “…to be Hinata’s caretaker.”


            Naruto just stopped, completely shocked. “What did you just say?”


            “You heard me, Naruto, your new mission is to stay with Hinata and look after her while she is like this. Does that meet your approval?”


            Naruto was almost speechless. “Are kidding me? Of course it does; I’ll do it!” He had never been happier. He’d been asked to stay with the woman he had come to love with all his heart. He couldn’t be happier…and neither could Hinata. In fact, she was so happy that she just grabbed Naruto off the ground and kissed him. She didn’t even care that the others saw this display, all she cared about was having her little man with her.


            Everyone was so fixated on the lovely couple, that they didn’t notice the hawk above circling above their heads. This hawk was a unique was that it was completely black and had red irises. It was the very same hawk that always delivered the golden scrolls to Ko and the others. It circled over their heads for a couple more minutes before it soared away towards the giant tree where the trio’s base camp was set up. It then perched on one the branches and continued to stare out towards the cave where the giantess was going to be staying.


            Suddenly, the hawk just exploded into a cloud of smoke! In the hawk’s place, there stood a figure wearing a black ninja jacket and outfit like the one Kakashi had on. He was also wearing a cloak like the ones Ko, Sai, and Goro had, only his had a hood which covered the back side of his head. His face was covered with a black Anbu-like mask with a crescent moon symbol at the top and only two holes on it for eyes. He just stood on that branch, staring at the loving couple of the giantess and the orange clad ninja.


            “Aw, now isn’t that cute,” the masked figure said in a menacing voice. “Those two better enjoy while it lasts, because very soon my plans will come to fruition and I will the world in the palm of my hand. I can’t wait to see the look Naruto’s face when he watches his dearly beloved die right before his eyes! Hahaha hahahaha!”