|The Divine Winds of Suna
Author: Eros ex Nihilo PM
He was Strong and she was Weak. He was a Predator and she was Prey. The only use he had for her was her Byakugan. So why couldn't he stop looking at her? Why was he always thinking about her? And why did he have this overwhelming desire to touch her?Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Adventure - Gaara & Hinata H. - Chapters: 18 - Words: 91,548 - Reviews: 462 - Favs: 230 - Follows: 169 - Updated: 01-29-10 - Published: 07-04-09 - id: 5190838
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Kamikaze (literal meaning: Divine Wind) were Japanese pilots during World War II that would attempt to intentionally crash their aircraft – often laden with explosives, bombs, torpedoes and full fuel tanks – into enemy ships.
THE DIVINE WINDS OF SUNA
When he had first seen her at the Chûnin Exams, his first thought was that they were nothing alike. He was strong – unimaginably strong – and she was so pathetically weak. He had what it took to end a fight, the will and drive to kill, and an instinct for intimidation. She could no more kill than speak a sentence without stuttering, and she had absolutely no killer instinct. He was dangerous and she was meek. He was a predator and she was prey.
With this in mind, he couldn't think of why the Godaime Hokage would send him someone so useless. Was it a joke? The few times they had met, Gaara noticed that the Hokage had what some people considered a 'personality.' That is – people thought she was humorous at times. But would she joke about such a serious issue? He had placed a formal request for assistance, and Tsunade had returned his plea with this…this simpering, stuttering girl who probably didn't deserve to wear her hitai-ite!
Gaara felt himself snort disgustedly as he read the missive once more.
In regards to your request for assistance I am sending one of my highly trusted chûnin kunoichi. Please do not judge her on appearances, because I believe she is uniquely suited for this particular mission. Her name is Hyūga Hinata, and she possesses the legendary Hyūga kekkei genkai, the Byakugan.
Please, feel free to contact me for additional assistance if needed.
Lady Tsunade, Godaime Hokage
He snorted again, tossing the scroll violently across his desk. The tiny girl jumped slightly, shrinking back towards the door. He stared at her with his typical impassive eyes, noting the way she fidgeted under his scrutiny. True enough, the Hyūga girl had the Byakugan, but then if Tsunade had wanted to give him aid in the form of the Byakugan (which was, truly, an inspired idea he had not thought of) she could easily have sent the boy Byakugan-user. At the Chûnin Exams, the boy had impressed Gaara far more than the girl.
Finally, Gaara grew tired of looking at her, what he considered a complete waste of space, and barked for his assistant. Matsuri rushed into the room, a typical breathless, needy smile plastered on her face. "Hai, Kazekage-sama!" she said excitedly.
"Please, have quarters prepared for Hyūga-san," he directed. With a nod, Matsuri turned to leave.
"Dōmo arigatō gozaimasu, Kazegake-sama," the Hyūga girl said softly, dipping her head and backing out of the room to follow Matsuri.
"Not you," he said sharply, watching with disgust as the girl nearly jumped out of her shoes in fear. If there was one thing he couldn't bear it was the look of fear on another's face. He had suffered through those looks his whole childhood – his whole life – and to have to suffer them from such a weak, foolish individual as Hyūga Hinata grated on his last nerves.
The situation in Sunagakure had escalated in the last month, prompting him to write for assistance from Kaze no Kuni's closest allies. To be frank, Gaara was unsure if the situation had become completely out of his control, and he feared that the rebels would soon have the foothold they needed to cause serious damage. First, there had been a few political killings, but they had progressed to public bombings – usually of uninhabited buildings in the business district at night. They were calling themselves the Kamikaze, and their mission was to help Sunagakure – and all Kaze no Kuni – to reincarnate itself into a stronger nation. But, as they put it, to be reincarnated as something stronger, the current nation must die.
As politely as he possibly could manage, Gaara motioned for the kunoichi to sit opposite him before his desk. She did so hesitantly, looking down into her lap as she sat. Gaara found that if he just stopped looking at her he could control these nearly irrational feelings of irritation and viciousness.
He had thought that, over the years, time would level out his violent and unpredictable nature. Indeed, he had thought that he'd made great improvements here, especially after Shukaku had been removed. He was usually even-tempered, and not so edgy. He thought it was the situation here in Suna, the impending implosion of social balance, and the safety of the citizens he was responsible for. But, even when Deidara had been attacking the city, assaulting it with aerial bombings, Gaara had kept his cool, remained levelheaded and reliable, and barely shown any semblance of emotion at all. However, this enemy, the ill-named Kamikaze, was a hidden enemy, one that lurked in corners and was crafty and sneaky. You couldn't hit an enemy that you couldn't see.
Settling himself, calming his irritation with the Hyūga girl, Gaara purposefully aimed his eyes to the top corner of his office – not that she would notice with her eyes pinned to her knees! He stopped himself, exhaled softly, and tried to continue. "You can retire to your quarters when I finish briefing you, Hyūga-san," he said in an even tone.
From the corner of his eye, he saw her nod once. Forcing his eyes into a corner, Gaara spoke. "For the past months, there have been a series of assassinations and attacks within Kaze no Kuni," he explained, tensing when she gasped softly. "My ANBU force has tracked these events to a single organization that calls itself the Kamikaze. They seem to be based here in Suna, but their members and headquarters – if they have any – are unknown. The attacks are becoming more frequent and violent, though civilian casualties have been kept to a minimum. I have come to realize that things are quickly growing out of hand, and have requested assistance from your Hokage."
He paused, daring a look at her reaction to all this. Despite her former fear and hesitance, the Hyūga's face was now formed in an expression of concentration and seriousness. There was a slight frown on her lips, and she'd stopped fiddling with her hands, though she would not raise her eyes higher than the top of his desk. After a moment, Gaara continued. "My ANBU forces are…spread very thin…Kaze no Kuni is a large land, and our boarders are being tested by more than one nation. I wish for this organization to be neutralized, and for its leaders and participants to be jailed or put to death. Now is not the time – it is never the time – for Suna to implode on itself. It will not happen on my watch. I refuse to let the people of my city be threatened and terrorized by these madmen."
As he spoke, Gaara realized that he was going off on a bit of a tangent, and his blood was rapidly beginning to boil just thinking about the possible consequences of the Kamikaze. Gaara was not typically so verbose, but he felt the words pouring right out of him. When he realized that the girl was staring right into his eyes he promptly snapped his jaw shut, narrowing his brows. For the first time, Gaara got a good look at the fabled Hyūga kekkei genkai as the girl stared right at him. There was a slight ominous air to her gaze; the pupil-less, pearl mirrors seemed to reflect the passion of his short speech. For some reason, Gaara found it extremely difficult to tear away from her gaze, as though he was hypnotized by this girl's bizarre, yet somehow alluring eyes.
After a long, uncomfortable pause, in which the Hyūga girl's eyes pierced deep into his soul, Gaara cleared his throat, the gravelly timber of his voice jogging her gaze. Her eyes returned to her knees, and Gaara felt the spell break. "I want you to find the Kamikaze," he barked harshly. "I'm assigning you to the special ANBU group already investigating. In the morning you will report to Temari. Matsuri will assist you in the morning." For a moment, Gaara didn't know what else to say. "Dismissed," he finally grumbled, noticing the girl made short time to the door and closed it silently behind her.
Before long, Gaara realized he was frowning deeply, and he rose from his desk, opening the doors behind him to walk out on the balcony. Night was beginning to creep into the desert more quickly now that it was winter. There was never enough moisture for snow anywhere in Kaze no Kuni, but, in the fall, the monsoon season gifted the desert with the only precipitation it saw all year. Monsoon season had just ended, and the days were becoming shorter, while the nights were considerably colder and longer.
Gaara, of course, felt no chill underneath his Suna no Yoroi. Though the amount of chakra it took to keep up the armor of sand was great, Gaara did not have much time for training these days, and felt that he should at least keep improving his stamina if he was going to protect Suna. Much of his power had been channeled through Shukaku, and he'd been driven by bloodlust as a result. Now that Shukaku was removed, Gaara's powers were slowly returning. He did not have the chakra reserves he'd once possessed, but he was working to remedy this. Shukaku had provided much of Gaara's raw power, so now Gaara was forced to dig deep within himself to find his latent, natural strength.
As he was preparing to return to his office, knowing there were stacks of papers for him to mull over, he became aware of a familiar presence. Turning, he saw his older sister. She was leaning against the railing next to the door, smirking softly. She uncrossed her arms and approached him with her usual cat-like grace. "You must have had some day to not have noticed my presence until now," she reprimanded lightly.
He shrugged, letting down his guard a little. "Maybe you're just that good."
Temari snorted, looking amused. "I'm not that good, not even if my life depended on it," she replied, half-joking.
Though he knew his sister was good, Gaara should have been able to sense her presence. Maybe the stress was indeed getting to him. He frowned, watching his older sister wiggle her nose – a particular trait she had that betrayed her uneasiness.
"Was that the reinforcement from Konoha?" she asked lightly, following him into his office. She leaned against the edge of his desk, toying with one of the shiny baubles Kankurō had given him as a birthday present. "Kinda puny."
He hummed vaguely, narrowing his eyes. "Why are you here, Temari?"
"Oh, I don't know," she said sharply, "I could just want to check on my little brother. You've only had about seventeen threats on your life in the last month! Why would I be worried?"
Gaara felt a pang of guilt. Temari crossed her arms and looked away from him. The relationship with her and with Kankurō had been slowly growing from one based in fear and intimidation, to one based in mutual trust and compassion. He found it easier to open up to Kankurō, who was not as commanding and aggressive as Temari. Temari had the tendency to act like a mother hen, and, though he knew she hovered out of love, he was still the Kazegake. He could take care of himself.
Gaara shifted uncomfortably. "Temari…arigatō…"
The blond girl turned to him sharply, a strange look in her eyes. "You're my little brother, Gaara…" she whispered softly. There was a genuine smile that reached her eyes, and then she laughed. None of the sand siblings expressed themselves well, it seemed. "Besides, if you were dead, it would be just me and Kankurō…and his puppets…" She shivered dramatically, and Gaara humored her with a partial smile.
Temari stood swiftly. "Yah, well, I have some preparations to make…and you need to get some sleep…" she reminded him.
He watched her close the door behind her, leaving him to a night full of paperwork.
When Tsunade-sama had called Hinata into her office, Hinata had been, understandably, timid and nervous. The Godaime Hokage was a formidable woman, and not one Hinata would readily cross. To calm her nerves, Hinata tried breathing techniques (to no avail), meditation (which only caused her to obsess over the meeting), and blind terror (which came naturally to her). The time finally came to enter her office and Hinata felt as though a full-blown panic attack might strike.
However, at least the torture was fast. She was being sent on special assignment to Sunagakure. She would be briefed upon arrival. The mission was completely top-secret. She would leave immediately. But, before she was dismissed, though, Tsunade-sama pierced her with her golden brown eyes, and Hinata was unable to break the contact. The Hokage smiled, wished her luck, and sent her on her way.
Four days later and that gaze still bothered Hinata. What had the Hokage seen? What had she been looking for? Hinata was sure she had no idea how to answer any of these questions, and she had asked them over and over again on the three-day journey to Sunagakure. She had reached the sandy city near dusk as a chill was setting over the desert. As commanded, she presented herself and the message from Tsunade-sama to the Kazekage immediately.
In truth, there were very few people that terrified Hinata more than Tsunade-sama. Her father could be cold and harsh, and he intimidated her with the slightest look, but not like Tsunade-sama. And Neji-nii-san, who she now had a hesitant friendship, had long been a person that made her shake with fear… And then there was Gaara…the Kazekage… No one she had ever met instilled more fear than Sabaku no Gaara. It started during the Chûnin Exams, when she, Shino, and Kiba had witnessed the horrible massacre of the genin from Amegakure.
Despite Naruto's faith in the Kazekage, and the recent good relations between their two countries, Hinata's most vivid memory from the Chûnin Exams was not her loss to Neji, but the frightening episode in Shi no Mori. Even the thought of that time was enough to reduce Hinata to tears.
So, understandably, standing before the Kazekage, being forced to be alone with him, having to hear his frightening, gravel-toned voice, was something Hinata dreaded. She was so eager to be dismissed that she had embarrassed herself further by trying to leave with his assistant. Even as he spoke to her, Hinata couldn't bear to meet his eyes, in fear that if she did he would devour her soul, trap her in a coffin of sand, and end her pathetic life right then.
Then something quite surprising happened. His monotone voice began to change, and she could hear something in his words… It was the sincerity and passion of a leader that truly cared for his people. It was the protective, powerful confidence that Hinata recognized all too well – it was Naruto's words when he spoke of protecting Konoha. This realization spread through Hinata, empowering her and allowing her to raise her eyes to his pale green ones. What she saw there confirmed what she had heard in his voice, and for a moment she thought of him not as the murderous monster from the sand, but the Kazekage of Sunagakure, the man that would go to any lengths to protect his home. For a moment she knew his nindo.
He had dismissed her, but the memory of this realization about his character made Hinata have a little more faith in Naruto's judgment. Perhaps Gaara had changed for the better. Perhaps he wasn't the bloodthirsty demon she remembered. Hinata mulled these thoughts over as she prepared for bed, and in the morning she woke early and refreshed.
She was washing her face gingerly when a knock came on her door. "Please, come in," she called out from the bathroom. She was just zipping up her jacket and walking into the living area as the young woman from the night before set a tray down on the low table.
"I took the liberty of bringing you breakfast," the young, brown-haired woman said briskly. "You'll need to eat fast, though. Sumimasen, Hyūga-san." She handed Hinata a scroll. "Your instructions from Temari-dono," she continued. "Please, meet her in Building Nine as fast as possible."
The girl was preparing to leave when Hinata called out, "Matsuri-san?"
She turned, and Hinata was relieved that she accurately remembered her name. "Hai."
"Um…arigatō gozaimasu," she said softly.
Matsuri smiled. "Hai." Then she closed the door behind her, leaving Hinata to breakfast of grilled fish and a bowl of rice. She ate this readily, preparing herself for a full day. Though she wasn't sure what to expect, she suspected that her Byakugan might be of use in a situation like this.
Despite her slight frame and fragile appearance, Hinata was a highly skilled tracker. Years with Kiba and Shino had taught her tricks she was sure many ANBU nin didn't know. She was at least proud of her one skill that she might even surpass Neji-nii-san in. Her mastery over Jūken was little more than passable, and she had developed a few original chakra techniques, but her Byakugan was of the highest caliber. Indeed, Hinata felt confident that her Byakugan was every bit as sharp as Neji-nii-san's, if not more honed when it came to tracking.
After Hinata finished her breakfast, cleaning the bowl of rice bare, she opened the scroll Matsuri had left for her.
My apologies for not being able to assist in Gaara-sama's briefing. Now that you understand the situation here in Sunagakure, please join me in the top floor of Building Nine.
Hinata straightened her jacket before leaving her quarters and making her way hesitantly towards Building Nine. It was not difficult to find the building within the Kazekage compound – all buildings were numbered in large, black signs on their front. Building One housed the Kazekage and his offices. Building Two was the hospital. Each building was designated for a specific purpose. Hinata was staying in Building Five where visiting dignitaries and other important figures were housed.
Building Nine was to the northwest of Building One, and on the far side of the compound from Building Five. She crossed the barren compound timidly. Hinata wasn't quite sure what to expect, but within the Hyūga compound any empty area, like the one she was currently walking through, would have been filled with gardens, or perhaps a shaded overlook of a pond. But then, she scolded herself, Suna has no greenery.
It was true enough. Suna was in the middle of a desert, where moisture was a luxury not often enjoyed. During her journey from Konoha, Hinata had borne firsthand witness to the change from a green, summery land of blooming flowers and lush farmlands to the cold, barren wasteland of dry sand and endless dunes.
It was a frightening difference, but one Hinata almost appreciated in a way. The desert held a simplicity to it. In the desert you were literally staring death in the face. It would not deceive you, not pamper you, but accept you. If you could survive the desert's harsh conditions, you could find beauty in its Spartan nature.
Hinata found herself standing still in the middle of an empty courtyard, lost in thought. She shook her head, entering the building with a large '9' on the front. Taking the stairs to her left, Hinata climbed them solemnly until they opened into a large, long room with no doors or windows. Many men and women were gathered around a table, while others worked singly at desks. No one immediately turned to acknowledge her or ask her purpose, so she waited patiently by the stairs. A few minutes passed, and the men and women sitting around the long table dispersed. Hinata recognized the woman in the black yukuta as Temari – the Kazekage's elder sister.
"Hyūga-san," she said in a sharp voice, causing Hinata to jump slightly.
"H-hai," Hinata replied shakily, nodding her head in respect. "Temari-dono."
"Not so formal, Hyūga-san, if you don't mind," she continued briskly, leading Hinata over to a well-lit desk. Hinata thought it might be Temari's, for there was a photograph angled just so that she could see Gaara and the other Sand Sibling – Kankurō. The desk was neat and precise, and when Temari sat behind it she reminded Hinata of Tsunade-sama.
Hinata nodded and took the seat opposite Temari when she waved her to sit down.
"I'm relieved that the Hokage sent someone so well suited for this particular task," Temari said bluntly. "Anyone else and I might have turned them away." Hinata swallowed hard. This was not a woman she wanted to let down apparently. "You, however, will be perfect." Temari shifted a few papers around on her desk, and Hinata saw something that she thought looked like blueprints. "I have a few questions about your kekkei genkai, if you don't mind," Temari began.
"I…I don't mind," Hinata said in a small voice. Many people were curious about the Byakugan – among the kekkei genkai it was one of the oldest, the most pure. Even the Uchiha Sharingan was said to have been derived from it.
"Tell me," Temari said, pressing the tips of her fingers together before her face in concentration. "Tell me, can your Byakugan see anything?"
"Um, well, we are limited by distance, and to a certain extent obstacles…but there is no substance or material that is shielded from the Byakugan…if that's what you mean," she explained hurriedly. Giving away the secrets of the Byakugan was not something she was entirely comfortable with.
"So…you could see underground," Temari continued, looking over her fingers into Hinata's eyes.
"H-hai…for a distance…" she answered truthfully.
A quick smile brushed over Temari's lips. "Excellent." She sifted position, appearing very pleased. "You see, I have begun to suspect that the Kamikaze are using Suna's sewer system to move unseen through the city. We have been especially watchful for the past month, but unable to even catch a glimpse of anyone suspicious. In addition, in this meeting I've just finished, I was able to conclude that all of the attacks have been within twenty meters of an opening to the sewer system. I think the possibility is strong that they are using this to commute from location to location, and perhaps they are even based within it."
Hinata had already put two and two together, and saw that Temari was indeed every bit as bright a tactician as Shikamaru.
"I would like for you to begin surveying the sewer system for life signs…well, human life signs… I will assign you a three-man squad you can send to investigate any suspicious areas. Hopefully, you will be able to turn something up."
Hinata nodded. "If…if…"
Temari, however, was impatient. "If what?" she pressed sharply.
"If I could have a map of the sewer system it might speed up my search," she said very quickly, careful not to stumble over her words.
Temari smiled tightly, as if she was trying not to laugh. "Very well. I think that's an excellent idea, Hyūga-san."
As Temari began to sift through the papers on her desk, Hinata blushed silently. After a few moments, she grew curious as to how well she could actually see below the earth. She was easily able to see through rocks, but they weren't quite the same. She activated her Byakugan, sifting easily through the levels in the building to the ground. Although difficult, Hinata could see hazy passages that snaked around the building underground. They were more numerous than she expected, and on several different levels. In fact, the harder she forced herself to concentrate, the further down she could see.
Below the city was labyrinthine, twisting and turning tunnels – old built on new, dead ends, small openings collapsing and opening up into large passages. She was amazed, but intimidated at the task of searching all of Suna if all the sewers were this intricate and maze-like.
She retired her Byakugan as Temari handed her a thick bundle of scrolls. "You sure have a large sewage system here in Sunagakure," Hinata said softly with a timid smile.
Temari raised a brow at this. "Arigatō." She said this like a question, causing Hinata to blush in embarrassment.
Hesitantly, Hinata looked over the first one to check and see if she could read them, or if she would need assistance. She could read them…but could this possibly be right?
"Tem…" Temari looked up sharply at her. "Temari-san," Hinata said softly. "Um…where are the maps of the other sewage lines?"
"You can see the sewers from here?" the older girl asked in disbelief.
"A little," Hinata replied.
"Impressive…" Temari's brows drew together. "What do you mean 'other sewage lines'?"
"Well…um…" Hinata said, a little flustered. "You know, the ones below the newest ones…"
This time Temari scowled. "Just how many levels are there, Hyōga-san?"
Hinata swallowed. "Well…I think I saw two…maybe three…from this distance…and below the ground…it's hard to see that far…"
For a moment, Temari was deadly silent. Hinata made herself as small as possible in her chair, almost too scared to take her eyes off of the older girl. "Kuso!" Temari swore loudly, nearly shaking the room. "Kuso! Kuso! Kuso!"
Chûnin – the middle rank of ninja between genin and jōnin
Godaime – the fifth
Hokage – literally 'fire shadow'; leader of Konohagakure
Hitai-ite – forehead protector
Kazekage – literally 'wind shadow'; leader of Sunagakure
Kunoichi – female ninja
Kekkei genkai – literally 'bloodline limit,' or a trait that is limited to the members of one bloodline or family
Dōmo arigatō gozaimasu – thank you; used in very polite conversation
Sunagakure – Village Hidden in the Sand (usually shortened to Suna)
Kaze no Kuni – Land of Wind
Kamikaze – translates to 'divine wind,' and I know that's not very original, but I thought it was fitting
ANBU – abbreviated from ANsatsu Senjutsu Tokushu BUtai, a black ops organization that reports directly to the kage
Suna no Yoroi – Armor of Sand; Sand Armor (English TV); Gaara can cover himself in a compacted layer of sand for defense
Konoha – short for Konohagakure; Village Hidden in the Leaves
Arigatō – thank you; used in casual conversation
Sabaku no Gaara – Gaara of the Sand Waterfall; Gaara of the Sand (English TV)
Genin – lowest rank of ninja
Amegakure – Village Hidden in the Rain
Shi no Mori – Forest of Death; 44th Battle Training Zone
Nindo – ninja way ("Believe it!" …Muwaahahahahaah!)
Arigatō gozaimasu – thank you; used in every day conversation
Jūken – Gentle Fist
Yukuta – an informal, cotton kimono
Kuso – damn, shit, loud/upset expletive
Author's Note: For some reason I have a soft spot for Gaara/Hinata pairings. I've only read a few good ones, so I thought I'd write one to satisfy myself. This story doesn't have a real link to the Naruto series – it's set sometime after Shukaku is removed and after the conclusion of the Akatsuki/Orochimaru story. I'm not too sure…but it doesn't matter!
Please read, enjoy, and review!
Eros ex Nihilo
Edited: November 3, 2009