Discalimer: I do not own Naruto.

Playing the Role of the Byakugan Princess

The Search and Rescue Arc

Chapter forty-two

He's not coming off… He's not coming off! I'm scrubbing and scrubbing, but I can still feel Hayai all over me!

I slam the blood-stained washcloth down, back up against the shower wall, and slowly slid to the floor. The shower is still going as I ignore my throbbing and bruised hands to hug my knees and hide my face from the world. .

I feel gross. Disgusting. Why can't I get him off of me?! Stupid bastard needs to…

I jerk my head up and bring my hand to my forehead.

Calm down, Hinata. You don't want to start thinking those dark thoughts, again. It will only make you feel worse.

I take a deep breathe and stand up.

I need to get out of this shower... I'm tired of looking at my body…

Maybe going back to sleep will help me feel better.

I turn the shower off and reach to grab my towel. After drying off, I twist the towel around my hair and step out of the shower to throw my clothes on. As I am primping in the mirror to make myself look decent since I am sharing a room with Shino and Kiba, my ears perk up to the sound of voices coming from the bedroom. I activate my Byakugan to snoop and see that Hanako and Tani are in the room, chatting it up with my comrades. I quickly deactivate my dōjutsu and lean against the sink.

Crap, what are they doing here? I bet they are wanting us to go to the beach with them. I mean, I wasn't planning on secluding myself all day, but I really wanted to be left alone until I forced myself to Oshiro's place for dinner later tonight.

I sigh and unwrap the towel off of my hair. I run my fingers through my damp dry hair until it looks alright enough, plaster a fake smile onto my face, and walk out of the bathroom.

"I thought I heard your voices," I say as I shut the door behind me.

Hanako bows politely. "I apologize for stopping by on such short notice."

I waved my hand. "Oh, it is no big deal. We weren't doing anything important as you can tell by my wet hair."

Hanako chuckles as Tani runs over to me and hugs me, catching me by surprise. "I'm so glad you're okay!" she exclaims. "I thought something bad had happened to you once that guy dragged you away from us."

I try hard to keep my smile from wavering. "Psssh, that guy? He put up a tough fight, but we defeated him and rescued the two of you so that's all that matters."

Tani pulls back. "Oh, yeah! Thank you so much for saving us! We've already thanked those two a thousand times, so now it is your turn!"

Hanako bows again. "Yes, thank you!"

I shake my head. "It is no problem. We would go back and do it again!"

Tani crosses her arms and rolls her eyes. "Well, hopefully it doesn't happen again!"

Hanako nods in agreement and then says, "Before you came out, we just asking Shino and Kiba if they wanted to visit the beach with us. We were on our way there."

Ugh, I really don't want to go. If I am going to experience the beach for the first time I want to be in a good mood and enjoy myself.

Kiba catches on to my long pause and adds "If you're feeling up to it. I know you mentioned earlier that you were tired."

Nice save, Kiba.

Hanako clasps her hands together. "Have you not slept, Hinata? I'm sorry! We can leave if we're bothering you."

I dismiss my hesitation. "Nah, I'm fine. I would love to come."

I start towards the door, but Kiba coughs behind me and I turn around. "Hmm?"

"Don't you want to dry your hair first, Hinata?" he asks.

I bring my hand up to my hair and widen my eyes. Crap! I'm losing it.

I drop my hand. "Oh, yeah. That might be a good idea. Everyone hang on for just a few minutes!"

I waltz back into the bathroom and then drop my act as I close the door behind me.

Way to make yourself look like an idiot! You're going to catch a damn cold if you go out into the cool air and near the water with a wet head!

After drying my hair, we leave the hotel room and head down the street towards the beach. Nobody talks as we walk, but the atmosphere isn't awkward. It is oddly peaceful and it is making me feel uneasy.

Tani and Hanako are two civilians who probably had not had anything much worse than being kidnapped happen to them. So, why are they acting so calm and normal? Are they putting up an act like I am? I mean, maybe Tani has experienced some bad things in her life since she is homeless, but Hanako admitted herself that she was sheltered growing up. She is the leader's daughter, so she has, most likely, lived a great and safe life up until this point.

I suppose I could straight up ask they how they are feeling, but that would be odd and rude of me. I didn't like Kiba prying back there, so I don't think they would appreciate me asking if they are feeling the same way I am. Plus, they might think something is wrong with me if I randomly ask them that. I am a Shinobi. They should feel safe around me and do not need to know that I'm feeling very vulnerable right now.

As soon as we arrive at the top of the hill that leads down to the beach, I inhale sharply as the ocean comes to view. I hear the distant sound of the waves lapping over one another as they glisten from the rays of the afternoon sun. Kiba whoops and he and Akamaru rush down to the shore in excitement and we take our shoes off and follow him. I halt to a stop briefly once my feet makes the sudden switch from hard ground to the soft sand. I dig my toes into the sand and look down as I watch the sand get caught in between them and I wiggle them around. I cup my hands together and bend down to scoop up a handful of sand. It feels really fine and warm as I hold it and then I drop the sand. However, a cool breeze picks up the falling sand and it swirls around in the air for a moment. Then, it scatters and the grains rains back down to join the rest of the sand. I turn my focus back to the ocean and blink towards the breathtaking view.

Wow, the ocean is so beautiful. I've picture of it before, but those do not even compare to the real thing.

"Get in, Hinata and Shino!" Kiba calls. I look over to see him and Akamaru wading through the water and waving over at us.

Shino shakes his head. "I will pass. My insects will not take a liking to the ocean."

Kiba rolls his eyes. "Whatever. Come on, Hinata!"

Maybe playing around in the water will ease my mind for a bit.

I step over towards the ocean and allow for the water to sweep through my feet.

"Ugh, it's cold," I mumble as I leap backwards.

Kiba laughs in the background. "Of course it's cold, Hinata! What did you expect?"

"To not get hypothermia," I reply as I shiver and rub my arms. "I'm just going to enjoy the ocean over here with the others."

Kiba waves his hand. "You guys are not fun."

I turn around to walk away from the water and see that everyone is doing their own thing now. Hanako and Shino are collecting seashells while Tani is building her version of a sandcastle. I decide to just sit down in the sand, watch the ocean, and try to calm my mind.

The beach is nice. I could almost lose myself in the ocean if I stare at it for too long. Maybe if I look at it while thinking about other things, I can repress these thoughts and feelings like I usually do and move on…

Suddenly, Tani interrupts by sitting down next to me. I sensed her coming a few seconds ago, but I didn't think she was coming to sit next to me.

"You're acting strange," Tani says before I can greet her.

I blink in annoyance at her bluntness.

Tani doesn't even know me. How would she know if I was acting strange or not?

I plaster a small smile onto my face. "I'm fine. I'm just thinking about some things."

Tani knits her eyebrows together and scoots closer to me. "Look, I know there is something wrong."

I keep my composure. "There is nothing wrong so I'm afraid I have no idea what you are talking about, Tani."

Damn, can this girl back up? Has she ever heard of personal space?

Tani doesn't let up. "When we were split up back at the ship, what did that guy do to you?" I tense up, but I shake my head in response and Tani sighs. "I'm not stupid. Something happened and you're not going to feel better if you keep thing bottled up."

I arch an eyebrow and give Tani a hard look.

Okay, this girl is overstepping her boundaries. She doesn't even know me that well so she shouldn't feel this comfortable to start making accusations about how I am feeling; even if they are correct.

I look away from Tani, lean my head back, and shut my eyes.

Since Tani is sensing that I am acting weird, maybe I should just go ahead and ask her why her and Hanako are acting like they weren't just kidnapped.

I glance back over at Tani and ask, "You said that I am acting strange. Well, why are you and Hanako acting like you two weren't just kidnapped and almost sold into slavery?"

"Answer my question first and then I will answer yours," Tani replies.

I have a feeling that Tani has an idea what Hayai did to me and that is why she keeps pushing me to open up to her. It sounds like she is trying to lead up to something she really wants to say.

Maybe I should open up to her. Maybe she has experienced the same thing I just went through before.

I take a deep breath. "Were you or Hanako treated… inappropriately by any of those men on the ship?"

"Besides roughly kidnapping us, no," Tani answers. "I mean, they commented and stared at our bodies, and they got a little close to play with our hair and face. But, nothing terrible. Why?"

I am assuming Tani and Hanako aren't as shakened up as me is because they were only kidnapped and nothing else. Sure, getting kidnapped is scary. However, they are safe now so maybe they are just trying to forget the fact they were kidnapped and almost sold off into slavery.

I am glad they went through what I went through, but now I am regretting asking Tani that question. She is expecting an answer now and I don't really want to open up to her anymore.

Tani sees that I am struggling to answer and continues to speak in a much lower voice. "Are you asking because you were treated inappropriately?" I lower my eyes, not saying anything. "Yeah. I figured so. You're too covered up for a visit to the beach, even if it is a little chilly, and you are acting standoffish."

I don't want to talk about this. I don't want to talk about this.

Tani sighs. "You know… I was raped, too, once."

I jerk my head towards Tani in shock. "No, I-"

Tani holds up her hand. "Just let me speak, please. Anyways, I was born an orphan and came from a small village a few miles from here. I don't know anything about my family so I was raised in an orphanage until I was fourteen and was booted. I was considered a troublemaker, which I was. I was caught stealing and hooking up with boys one too many times, and I was leading a bad example for the younger ones. Even though I was acting out, I don't think that I should've been kicked out. Nobody ever talked to me or tried to get me to stop. They would just punish me and then move on.

"Iwazaki wasn't too far from my hometown so I traveled here to see if I can find work and a place to stay. But, nobody wanted a young teenage girl with no skills and a weak education to work for them. After a few weeks, I was getting tired of hungry and cold so I decided to use what I got to get money. So I started to observe the men in town, scouting them out in the bars and such. I would base my target on what they looked like, how tough they looked, if they were a local or a visitor, and if they had any valuables on them. My ideal guy was someone who wasn't that look good looking or strong, wasn't a local, and was carrying something good on them.

"Once I find my guy, I would follow them into their hotel or bar, stand beside of them for a bit, and then strike up a conversation with them. I have always been older looking and well developed for my age, so I had not problem getting guys to find me attractive and want to hook up with me. After a couple of drinks, which I would always dump out or switch which water when the guys weren't looking, we would go up to a hotel room. I would play along at first by flirting, touching, and kissing. Then, I would suggest we spice things up by getting him naked, tying him, to the bed, and blindfolding him. While the guys would wait for me, I would quickly put my clothes back on, grab his wallet and anything else good, and sneak out of the room. I don't know what happens whenever I leave because I was never caught or pursued by anybody. I would always change my name with each guy and then hide out for a few days before searching for my next prey.

"After awhile, I had enough money to buy food and spend a few days at a time in a hotel room. I did this for about a year until all of my luck ran out one night. When I suggested to this man that we spice things up and told him what I wanted to do to him, his whole demeanor suddenly changed. He became aggressive and told me that he knew what I was up to. Apparently, I had stolen from a friend of his a few months ago and his friend had complained to him about it. I tried to get out of there, but he grabs me by my hair and yanks me to the bed. From there, you know what happens without me going into any details.

"During the whole time, the man kept beating on me, calling me a whore, and saying that I deserve this. It was karma for teasing and stealing from all of those men. When he was finally done, he threatened my life if I told anyone what happened. I believed him and ran off before he could do anything else to me. After that incident, I stopping trying to survive and just wanted to die. I believed what the man said and thought I deserved to be raped as punishment from stealing from those men. I even believed for a long time that I wasn't even raped because I was trying to seduce the man before he figured out my plans. Even though I told him no over and over again, I still thought I was in the wrong. A few weeks after what happened, I was on the verge of dying. I was sick, starved, exhausted,and disgusting. I had lice in my hair and had a terrible rash going on at the time. Desperate times were calling for desperate measures and I decided to go back to my old ways of stealing for some food. I was, in some ways, on a suicide mission, too. A little part of me was hoping that if I got caught that the person would just beat me up until I died just so I could get put out of my misery.

"Instead of stealing from men, I decided to sneak into a house to steal some food. I was in one of the more wealthier parts of town so I was hoping to get out of here with some good quality food. I didn't even care about money anymore. I just wanted something decent in my stomach. It was the middle of the night and I managed to sneak in without any problem. As I was trying to find the kitchen in the complete dark, my dumb ass ran into a shelf and knocked some books off of it. I tried to find a place to hide as I heard footsteps run into the room I was in. I ended up hiding behind the curtains. It was a thick layer of curtainsns so I was hoping it swallowed up my figured and I wouldn't be caught. Even though a little part of me was hoping to get caught, that was only just a little part of me.

"A few minutes later, I was found by a guard due to my terrible smell and was dragged over to the middle of the room. I didn't resist or anything. I just remained quiet and kept my head bowed. Then, I heard a kind and gentle voice ask me why I trespassed into their home. I looked up and realized I was in Hanako's dad's home. I told him the truth, how I was hungry and was just looking for some food. To my surprise, Oshiro offered me some food and even extended his kindness by allowing me to shower and stay the night. He noticed that I was sick and had his wife to take care of me. She is actually a nurse so it worked out in my favor. I ended up staying a few nights until my lice and rash went away and I felt better.

"By the point, I had not met Hanako or even heard of her until I felt like I had overstayed my welcome and tried to leave one day. I had left a thank you note to Jin and Oshiro and was heading down the stairs when Hanako came out of nowhere. Apparently, she had been away with some friends for a few days and had just came back late last night from her vacation. She wasn't scared or anything. She simply introduced herself to me and started asking questions to get to know me. I knew her parents hadn't said anything to her about me because she thought I was the new maid they just hired. I played along for a bit and then I tried to leave, but I was caught by Oshiro before I could. He tried to get me to stay a little longer, saying if I was homeless that he would hire me as help. I would get paid and have a place to stay."

So, Oshiro already knew that Tani was homeless the moment she was first caught? He told us that they didn't figure that out until a few months in. He must've been protecting Tani so we wouldn't know that she went through all of this.

"These people were so nice to me and I appreciated the offer, but I denied it because I felt like I didn't deserve their kindness," Tani continues. "I still considered myself the whore and a thief. Since I wouldn't take that offer, Oshiro suggested that I come over a few times a week so I can be tutored. If I want a job, I need to be more educated with reading, spelling, and math. I did give in to that and I went over there four days a week. Long story short, Hanako and I became friends, I learned a lot of things, and I eventually was able to pick up enough money from odd jobs to constantly live in a hotel without having to go back out to the streets."

Tani tilts her head and gives me a sympathetic look. "Sorry, I didn't mean to tell you my life story. What I'm trying to get across is that I didn't get over being raped immediately. It a long time before I could stop blaming myself and making amends with what happened. However, Hanako and her family helped me out during the healing process because I opened up to them and allowed them in my life. The only thing that sucks is that the bastard that raped me will never be caught since I never got his name. But, the asshole that kidnapped us and his men were captured so that is a good first step for you."

I bite my lip and look away from Tani so she doesn't see the tears welling up in my eyes.

Tani was raped! She was actually raped and here I am feeling depressed about having my breast groped and receiving hickies! I'm such a coward!

"Hey, hey," Tani says, placing a hand on my shoulder. "Are you okay?"

I try to blink my tears away, but the tears betray me and stream down my cheek. A lump is forming in my throat and I swallow back the sob that is trying to escape.

I shake my head. "Tani, I-I wasn't raped like you think I was. I was trying to tell you that earlier." I swallow again. "I m-mean, I was still s-sexually… sexually assaulted. But-"

"There is no buts!" Tani tells me, firmly. "Whether you were raped or not, you were still sexually assaulted and that is wrong. That doesn't mean what I went through is just as bad as what you went through, Hinata."

Tani, it goes deeper than just me feeling violated and gross. There are other women and girls out there that were sold by Hayai and his men who will never be rescued. They will continue to live and be treated the way they are until they run away or die. Those people are going through much worse than what I did and I cannot help but feel so defiled. You've actually been raped, but you actually opened up and allowed others to help you out. I can't do that! I just don't operate that way! My emotions are all fucked up right now and I don't know if I should just shut down or suck it up!

….. That is what I would like to say to Tani right now. I would like to spill the beans and tell her how I am feeling. She has felt what I am feeling right now so it should be easy to open up to her. No one else has to know! Why can't I just fucking open up to her?!

Suddenly, flashbacks of Hayai and that incident flicker through my mind and my body goes clammy as my heart starts to beat fast. Panic begins to bubble in my chest and then it tightens up, causing me to suck in my breathe. I see Hayai's face again and fear and anger surges through me.

Tani gasps. "Hinata! What's wrong?"

I don't want to think about this anymore! I don't want to talk about this anymore!

"I can't… I need…"

I spring up to my feet and dash away.

I can feel Hayai on me, I can see Hayai, I think about Hayai! Why can't the bastard just leave me alone?! I just want to torture that motherfucker!

"Hinata! Stop!" I hear Kiba's voice shout from behind.

Damnit! He's faster than me and will catch up soon. Why can't he just leave me alone?! Why does everyone want to bother me?!

I ignore Kiba's calls, but that doesn't last for long because he and Akamaru are blocking my path in a matter of seconds. I barely register that they are there and try to run past them, but they get in front of me.

I halt in my tracks and clench my fists, body shaking. "Please... please, get out of my way!"

I need to see Hayai. I need to get rid of himself once and for all so I can be at peace again!

Kiba gives me a worried look. "What the hell is wrong with you, Hinata? You need to calm down. You're making your hand even worse."

Something clicks in my head and my body freezes as I widen my eyes.

Yes, Hinata. You need to calm down. You are still on a mission and you are the team leader; the only Chunin on your squad. You can't start acting irrational. You can't let Hayai have this sort of control on you.

But, it's so damn hard!

At this point, Tani, Shino, and Hanako have all caught up and are surrounding me. Shino appears expressionless behind his shades while Hanako and Tani look worried for me.

I wipe my tears away. "I'm sorry. I just need to be alone right now. Excuse me."

I ignore the looks of concern as I run past the four them and over the hill towards town.

Hayai is so fucking lucky. I almost snapped back there if Kiba hadn't stopped me. I was seriously about to find Hayai and get my revenge. If I had done that, my capability of being a leader would probably be questioned. We still need to get information out of Hayai and his men, and there is a glimmer of hope that maybe he'll tell us the whereabouts of all the women and girls he has sold off. I can't just go rogue and go after him no matter how much he deserves it. Plus, he is a Shinobi from Kaminari no Kuni. Kumogakure will probably want him back once we are done detaining and questioning him.

Still, at this moment, I feel like I won't feel better until I personally have my revenge on him. I know going down on the path of revenge is the wrong path to take, and I am currently trying to keep Sasuke from going down that path, but it is so tempting. This just sounds like such a good idea. I can be a hypocrite just this one time, right?

No, I can't act like Sasuke. I can't push my friends away when they are concerned about me just because I don't want to open up to them. That's easier said than done because I can easily hide my emotions in most cases so others don't worry about me. I'm the one that usually helps others and give out advice. I don't want to be on the receiving end and feeling weak and pitied.

At least Tani's story gives me some hope. After awhile, she seemed to have moved on from what happened and was able to be happy again. Maybe once this mission ends, I will be able to get over this after some time passes. For now, I should just focus on controlling my thoughts and emotions and finishing this mission. If I start getting upset about Hayai, I will just remove myself from others and calm myself down before it escalates. I don't want anybody else to see me almost lose control like that again. I don't like this side of me and I hate thinking these dark thoughts.

I let out a frustrated sigh.

You know, I was never like this in my old life. I mean, I still have my same personality. But, I was more open with my feelings when I was upset or angry; just like any normal human. Although, I never experienced the things I have in this life like I did in my first one.

I guess being a Hyūga is a blessing and a curse. As a Shinobi, I am glad I was taught growing up to control my emotions because having them go wild during missions can become a bad thing. That is how I have been able to remain rational during dire situations and come up with logical ways in getting out of them. However, as a human being, it really sucks having to keep all of this negative feelings in. As I can see now, it seems I have reached my capacity and I am a ticking time bomb; waiting to burst at any moment. Crying, screaming, and unleashing all of my emotions alone doesn't comfort me. I want the warmth and support from my friends to help me through this tough time, even when I'm usually the one extending my hand out to them.

Maybe if I wasn't in the position as a leader, I could have a quick breakdown and let Kiba and Shino know what is going on and then move on. I'm just going to have to wait until I get home and vent to Sasuke. I am just as close to Naruto as I am to Sasuke, but I just want someone to be quite and listen. Sasuke can do that. Naruto will listen, but he will also voice his opinion on finding this guy and beating the shit out of him. Sasuke will feel the same way, but he won't voice it out loud.

When I get back to the hotel, I'm going to bed.

The smell of food awakenings me from my deep slumber. I groggily sit up in my bed and stretch.

I actually got to sleep during this nap since I didn't have any nightmares, so I'm feeling refreshed right now. Still feeling crappy as well, though.

"Sorry, Hinata," I hear Kiba mumble. "We didn't mean to wake you up."

I drop my arms and open my eyes to darkness. The room is completely dark, with the exception of the dim light coming from the hallway from the open door. I turn my head to look out the window and I am shocked to see the moon.

I've been asleep this whole time?! That was more than just a damn nap!

"You can turn on the light," I say as they come in and close the door behind them. "You don't need to be walking around in the dark."

As soon as I finish saying that, I quickly shield my eyes to protect them from the impending light. Kiba switches on the lightswitch and I move my hand away to see they carrying a small box. I arch an eyebrow and I am about to ask them where they went to eat when my stomach drops.

Crap! Oshiro invited to his house tonight for dinner and I slept through it!

"We brought you some food about from Oshiro's whenever you get hungry," Kiba tells me as he sets down the box on the nightstand next to me.

I watch him as he sets Akamaru down on his bed and goes into the bathroom. As soon as he shuts the door, I look over at Shino. "I don't like this Kiba. He's acting like a dog with his tail tucked between his legs."

Shino raises his eyebrows. "In his defense, he's just trying to respect your feelings."

I huff and lower my eyes. "I know. I'm… I'm sorry for the scene I caused earlier and for missing Oshiro's dinner. I hope you guys aren't mad that I skipped out, especially Tani, Hanako, and her parents."

Shino shakes his head. "Nobody is mad at you, Hinata. You have something going on and you would rather to just keep it to yourself. We understand."

So, Tani didn't tell them why I was acting up earlier. Good.

I sigh. "Thank you."

Shino nods. "Although, you did miss where Oshiro asked Tani to come live with them and be apart of his family."

I gasp. "He did? What did she say?"

"He said he would not accept no as an answer. However, after everything that just happened and all that they've done for her, Tani accepted his offer and has already moved in."

I smile. "That's great. I'm really happy for her."

Tani finally has a family now and somewhere that she can call home. She's only sixteen. She can still learn from her past and have a better life from this day on.

Kiba walks out of the bathroom and looks over at me. "You haven't touched the food. Not hungry?"

I shrug. "I'll eat later after I wake up some more. Right now, I want to apologize to you. I already did to Shino so-"

Kiba raises up a hand. "Don't apologize. You have nothing to apologize for. You haven't done anything wrong. If anything, I should be saying sorry to you for keeping on bothering you so much when you didn't want to talk."

"No, that would be stupid," I say. "I know you're just looking out for me, but I'm just not ready to talk about it. But, Shino told me you all understand and respect my wishes. So, you don't have to treat me like I'm fragile or anything. I'll cheer up soon enough."

Kiba blinks at my words and then smirks. "Good, because I missed teasing ya."

I return Kiba's smirk with a small smile. "How about you hold off on the teasing and take a shower. You smell like a dirty mutt."

Kiba pouts. "I was suppose to have the first jab."

"Bite me, mongrel."

"How original."

I let out a chuckle, but it almost sounds forced.

I didn't know it would be this hard to fake a good mood. But, if it eases their minds then I need to continue up the act until the mission is over with. I don't need them to be worrying about me and acting like I'm going to have a breakdown any second. That makes me look bad as a leader.

The next day came and went without any breakdowns happening. Kiba and Shino went to go interrogate Hayai again while I went to see what Tani and Hanako are up to. I still cannot bring myself to be in the presence of Hayai and Kiba and Shino understood that, even though they don't know what is going on. However, it makes me feel like shit to not go because I feel like I am letting them down as a leader and I know I should be going.

I found Tani and Hanako out their house and we all went to the beach together. This time around, I actually enjoyed myself a bit. I played in the water, collected some seashells, and Tani never brought up our talk from yesterday so I wasn't triggered. When we went back to town for a late lunch, we met up with Shino and Kiba. They informed us that they still didn't get anything out of him and we will probably just have to let Konoha handle the three of them once we get back.

After lunch we walked the girls back to their house, and that is when we found a little surprise waiting on us once we went inside.

"Long time no see, Hinata!" Lee greets me with a flashing grin, appearing almost out of nowhere.

I blink at him in surprise. "Uh, hey, Lee. What are you doing here?"

"We are here to help you all escort the criminals back to Konoha," Neji tells us as he and Tenten round the corner to enter the living room.

Why is Team Guy here to help us out? Did Tsunade not think our Team could handle it? What did Shino and Kiba say in their report that made her think we couldn't bring them back ourselves? Okay, I really shouldn't be so offended with the way I have been feelings and acting. But, still. I didn't even know we were going to escort them back to Konoha.

Kiba crosses his arms. "We would have handled taking those three back without outside help."

Tenten narrows her eyes at Kiba. "Tsunade-sama ordered us to come down and help you guys. You must've had some difficulty if she called us to help you out."

"Besides," Lee chimes in. "Guy-sensei is here with us so Tsunade must have a good reason to be sending us out here."

Yeah, Shino and Kiba totally said something about me during their report. They probably sensed that I was acting weird or that something had happened to me once I was kidnapped.


I clasp my hands together. "Well, I'm grateful that you guys came to help us. We probably needed for the way back. This group of rogue Shinobi are pretty strong."

Kiba arches an eyebrow. "Speaking of which, how the hell are we taking these guys back to Konoha without them putting up a fight? I didn't even know we were going to take them back with us."

"That is a great question, Kiba!" Guy booms as he rounds the corner with Oshiro, Hanako, and Tani.

Is everyone just hiding in the other room and popping in when it is their cue? Who is going to come out next?

"Oshiro has arranged a caravan to transport the enemy from here to Konoha," Guy continues. "They will be completely sealed within with chakra bindings and seals while we watch over them. They will only be allowed out for short breaks one at a time and be supervised by me, but they will still be binded."

My heart skips a few beats.

They will be allowed out for breaks? That means Hayai will be out and about? What if he manages to break out of the bindings and escapes? He is very strong and fast.

"Are you sure that is a good idea?" I question. "I mean, they will only be sealed in for a couple days."

Guy gives me an odd look, as if he wasn't expecting to say something like that. "Even though they are the bad guys, they are still human beings and have needs. We cannot take those away from them."

Anger flares up in me, but I bite my lip to control my emotions.

Those motherfuckers don't deserve anything! They deserve to have everything taken away from them! But, now is not the time to freak out again.

"I do need to tell you something," Shino says to Guy. "We haven't been able to extract any information from the Hayai. I am assuming the necessary methods will take place once we get back to Konoha to retrieve the information out of theme. What is going to happen once we are done with them? Are they going back to Kumogakure since they are rogue Shinobi from there?"

Guy nods. "Yes, that is what will most likely happen."

I notice Neji tense up and an uneasy feeling passes through me.

So, Kumo Shinobi are going to come to Konoha to pick up Hayai and his men? That makes sense, but I don't know how my clan is going to feel about that. Kumo Shinobi have already tried to kidnap me a couple of times now, once when I was three and an attempt was made at the Chunin Exams. Who is to say they will not try to take this opportunity again? Especially if they find out that I was apart of this mission and fought with Hayai.

But, Guy didn't exactly say they were coming to Konoha to retrieve him. Maybe a group is going to meet them at a halfway point or something.

"Well, when are we leaving, then?" Kiba asks, breaking the silence. "I like this place, but I'm not used to the smell of the ocean so it gets overwhelming at times for me."

Akamaru whines in agreement.

"We are going to head out first thing in the morning," Guy replies. "I'm going to personally see if I can get anything out of them before we head off."

Kiba huffs. "I don't see how you can when we've tried a few times now."

Lee widens his eyes. "Do not underestimate Guy-sensei!"

Guy places a hand on his star pupil's shoulder. "Now, Lee. I am sure he did not mean it that way."

Lee turns to Guy with tears in his eyes. "But, Guy-sensei!"

Guy wraps Lee in his arms. "It is alright, Lee. I know you are looking out for me, but it is just fine."

Everyone in the room sweatdrops and Kiba mumbles. "Get a room."

Shino gives his teammate a look and I cover my face in embarrassment.

Ughhhhhhh. Do they really have to act like this in front of everyone?

After leaving Oshiro's place, Guy heads off to the prison while the eight of us head back to the hotel. Since they hotel is completely booked, Team Guy is just going to share our hotel room and their boys are going to sleep on the floor while Tenten shares a bed with me. After relaxing a bit and letting Team Guy settle in, Tani and Hanako leads us down to the beach so Tenten, Neji, and Lee can enjoy it.

"I challenge everyone to a race!" Lee shouts once we reach the top of the hill. "Last one to the water has to do 100 laps up and down the beach on their hands!"

Tenten rolls her eyes. "Lee, nobody is-"

"It's on!" Kiba yells as he gets in a starting position.

"Tenten! Tell us when to go!" Lee says as he bends down, too.

Tenten pinches her nose and stands in between them. "Ready, set, go!"

The two of them take off and rush towards the water while the rest of us leisurely make our way down.

"Does Bushy Brows always act like that?" Tani asks.

"Tani, be nice!" Hanako scolds.

"Hey, I have a friend who calls him Bushy Brows," I comment.

Tani gives Hanako a smug look. "See, they approve of me."

"To answer your question, yes he is always like that," Tenten sighs. "But, it isn't always annoying I will admit."

"Oh, I don't find it annoying," Tani says. "I think he's funny."

"Lee's funny?" Tenten repeats. "I mean, his antics are silly, but he doesn't act like that to make everyone laugh. He's really like that."

Tani shrugs. "Hmm, it's whatever. I'm just saying what I think."

Tenten gives her a strange look. "Oh, um, okay."

Uh, did I miss something?

We reach the bottom of the hill and catch up with Lee and Kiba.

"It looks like I have won, Kiba," Lee says.

"Argh, I want a rematch!" Kiba says back.

"How about I do the laps with you?" Lee suggests. "I can always use the extra training."

Kiba widens his eyes. "You voluntarily want to go up and down the beach hundred times on your hands? Is that even possible?"

Lee sticks out his thumb. "Anything is possible if you push hard enough." He gets on the ground and lifts himself up with his hands. "Now, come on! Let's go!"

He takes off without waiting on Kiba, leaving him in a cloud of dust. Kiba shakes his head and gets himself in a handstand.

"The shit I get myself into," he mumbles to himself before walking off to catch up with Lee.

"Well, while they are doing that, I'm going to dip my toes in the water," Tenten says and wanders off.

I glance over at Neji. "You wanna go join her with me?"

"Actually, I want to have a private moment with you," Neji replies and then looks over at Tani and Hanako. They instantly take the hint and hurry over to join Tenten.

We both sit on the sand and I ask, "What do you want to talk about?"

"You're different," Neji says and I resist the urge to flinch.

Damn, he has me me figured out already?

I arch an eyebrow. "I don't know what you are talking about, Neji. I'm fine."

Neji gives me a sharp look. "Hinata, you know better than to lie like that to a Hyūga. We've been trained to read others. You were acting strange earlier when you were opposing the choice of allowing the enemy any breaks. You showed anger after Guy's response."

I narrow my eyes. "Well, were you told about what Hayai and his men did?" Neji nods. "Then, you know better than I do that they don't deserve any freedom. Spending a couple of days sealed up won't hurt them."

"I wholeheartedly agree with you, but even criminals are supposed to receive somewhat decent treatment," Neji tells me. "It is the law that we cannot deprive them of their basic needs."

I tense up. "Neji, we are Shinobi. Part of our job is to murder people. Isn't that against the law, too? Certain things can be overlooked." Neji opens his mouth to argue, but I cut him off. "Now, I know you are right. We need to follow mission protocol and not go rogue on anything. I still need to act as a leader. I'm just voicing how I am feeling since you said I was acting strange."

"I know," Neji says. "I still feel like there is more going on. You aren't telling me the whole truth."

I cross my arms. "You're right, but I don't want to tell you the whole truth. I haven't told anyone else, no matter how much they've kept badgering me about it."

Well, I told Tani. But, he doesn't have to know that just yet. But, it sounds like Tsunade didn't inform them about my odd behavior if Neji is questioning me about it if Shino and Kiba did report about it.

Neji looks at me hard for a few seconds and then says, "Well, if they've sensed something was off with you and you have not opened up to them, then I am not going to push any further. I just want to let you know that you can come to me and talk if you need to."

I nod. "Thank you, Neji."

Well, I'm glad he didn't push any further because I was starting to get upset. I'm glad everyone has my back, but I'm just not ready to fully open up. I tried with Tani and it didn't end well. It is just crazy that Neji's question could be solved if he just activated his Byakugan and notice all the bruises and hickeys. We would be able to easily put two and two together. If he has to activate his Byakugan for any reason on our back to Konoha, I hope he doesn't focus on me for some reason. I would hate to see his reaction if find out the truth when Hayai is still in our hands.

But, we are leaving tomorrow and Hayai will be away from me in a few days. Let's just hope these next few days go by very fast without any problems.

Author's Note: I AM NOT DEAD! I have just been really busy! College... full time job... preparing to move out on my own... writing my own book... other things. Basically life. Things should calm down by next month and I should have more time to write. I haven't gave up on this fanfic, trust me! Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this chapter!