I came up with the first seeds of a headache-inducingly complicated InoSaku plot while I was out walking just now, so I'm backtracking to (almost) the beginning and, inexplicably, putting out NaruHina instead.
It was supposed to be noir, but I don't think I can do noir. It's turning into some kind of bizarre mystery thriller with noir bits on the edges.
For the record, yes, this is wildly AU. Not in the way all my other AU is (that is, having a divergence from canon continuity that spirals into great changes to all the characters involved), but AU in the sense that it actually takes place in a completely different universe--just with the same basic characters. I don't usually do this.
But then, I don't usually do InoSaku, and I never do AsuIno.
"You have to leave," she told him. It was a wonder he could hear her over the frantic beat of the hummingbird trapped in her throat. She was perfectly sure it was a hummingbird that got caught in there. Her own pulse had never done that.
"What are you talking about?" He gave her one of his puzzled grins--oh, he had so many different grins. She loved every one of them--before it got whipped away by something more confident. "There's no way I can leave now, Hinata. I'm about to make things better, I promise."
Take a deep breath, she told herself. She took a deep breath, and the bird in her neck gentled for a moment. "But that's exactly it, Naruto. My family found out."
"Oh," he said, and that was that. It smacked his grin right back into his mouth. But only for a moment. Then he was all brightness again. "Maybe it's time I went down there and talked to them."
He stared at her.
She wanted to close her eyes. Don't close your eyes, she told herself. Tell him the truth. "They're sending the guns in tomorrow morning. Go 'talk to them' and you'll just die sooner." And you can't die. That would be wrong.
She didn't know what she'd been expecting him to do, but she hadn't expected what came next. He reached out, all sudden, and pulled her into a hug. "You're a smart girl, Hinata," he said. "So you shouldn't be saying stupid things like that. There's no way I'm gonna die. You know that!"
She had to admit: something about the boy made her want to believe in immortality. Which was probably why she did what she did next.
Hinata tipped her head back and looked him in the eye (his face was so close to hers). "I'll be with you," she said.
He let go of her and took a step back, looking alarmed. "What?"
The hummingbird was trying to escape her throat again. She thought of grabbing it by the wings and holding it in place. Stupid bird. "Whatever stand you make," she said, "I'll make it with you."
He looked at her, worried and surprised and not a little grateful. "Hinata," he said, and his face softened.
For the second time, she took a deep breath. Then she said, "Naruto, please don't move."
"What?" he said again.
She had to do this now, or she'd never have the courage again. She took a step forward--
--and she stumbled. She felt her face growing hot, felt her perfect chance sliding away from her--
He caught her by the arm and held her up. "Uh," he said. "You were going to fall."
"Yes," she said, "but I'm not now."
So she leaned up and she kissed him, and for the first time, she wasn't afraid of dying in the morning.
This actually has very little to do with the main plot. But for some reason I wanted to write it.