Birds of a Feather

- Chapter One -

In Which Discoveries Are Made

::

Hinata spent about five minutes staring at her reflection.

She'd been very meticulous, checking over the knee-length grey-plaid skirt for any snags or loose threads and smoothing out the matching sweater, before taking a moment to comb her hair again. Palms clammy, Hinata made sure her red tie was straight but paused as she reached for her coat. It wasn't warm enough outside to warrant an extra layer, but the jacket was familiar and comforting and it'd be nice to have something to hide behind. Her hand hovered over it for a moment longer before she quickly folded it over her arm, grabbing her bag before making her way downstairs.

It'd work as a security blanket of sorts.

She took the stairs carefully, glancing out the window at the end of the hall to send the morning light a soft smile as she contemplated the day ahead. It looked like it was going to be a lovely Monday morning and Hinata allowed her thoughts to drift, trying to ignore the silence of the house. It was a nice enough building, but the largeness meant it provided an eerily quiet ambiance - one that left her able to detect the smallest of noises. She didn't bother wandering around once she made it to the ground level, simply heading straight for the kitchen.

Her father was, of course, already at work and Hinata prepared breakfast silently, eyes glancing over the still-unfamiliar walls of their new home. Hiashi's work didn't often involve relocating his family, but this definitely wasn't the first time Hinata and her younger sister, Hanabi, had found themselves in a new house. They'd only moved to Negura about two weeks ago - they had taken their entrance exams (retaken, in Hinata's case, since Negura was much too far away from their old school for her continue to attend it) over a month ago when their father announced that they'd be moving and had luckily both been admitted to the same school, leaving the sisters relieved and looking a little more forward to the upcoming semester - and, while Hanabi was already adjusting, Hinata still felt out of place, slowly getting used to the large house. Luckily, they hadn't moved during the middle of the school season and would be able to start classes at the beginning of the semester, just like the other students.

First Days always made Hinata nervous but she stubbornly tried to look on the bright side of things to calm her nerves. A new school meant new potential friends and she was determined to make a few this year, having left only a handful of vague-friendships behind after their move. Frowning down at her glass of juice, Hinata tried not to worry too much. So far, the city of Negura had seemed pretty nice - though she hadn't had much time to do sight-seeing or really explore the city - and she tried to imagine herself hanging out with new friends, smiling slightly at the thought.

The city itself wasn't too big, but Hanabi had mentioned a few interesting-sounding shops downtown that she'd found online. There was a large public park and plenty of restaurants and even the forest area just outside the city limits offered excursions for the more outdoorsy people. Though she'd probably be focusing more on her school work, it wouldn't hurt to see what all the city had to offer.

It wasn't long before Hanabi came downstairs, smiling in greeting at her older sister before the pair ate breakfast, relaxed in the familiar comfort of each others' presence. Twelve year-old Hanabi seemed leagues more confident than her seventeen year-old sister, but Hinata knew her well enough to know that the younger girl was just as nervous about their first day at their new school.

Still, Hanabi was bound to relax much quicker and, inwardly, Hinata was a little jealous.

Hanabi was a quiet girl, but she was no where near as shy as her sister and she definitely didn't struggle with social anxiety like Hinata.

"What kind of after-school clubs do you think they'll have?"

Hinata looked thoughtful at her sister's question, taking another bite of her toast before replying.

"I didn't see anything listed on the class schedules they sent us. Is there anything in particular you'd like to join?" She had a pretty good guess to Hanabi's answer, but she always enjoyed being able to talk with her sister like this.

The younger girl smiled widely behind her glass of milk, gesturing with her arms after a moment.

"Kendo!" Hinata returned the smile - she'd guessed correctly - and listened as her sister continued, her foot tapping absentmindedly.

"I liked the kendo club at the old school so I'm hoping this one has a team I can join! I got pretty good last year but never got to compete in any competitions..." Hanabi paused, sending her sister a knowing grin. "Maybe they'll have a ballet club for you to join."

Hinata picked at the sleeves of her sweater before replying with a fond look, giggling under her breath. "I hope so. Our old school didn't have anything like that and it was so disappointing. If there isn't a club, maybe there's a place in the city where I can take classes again."

The sisters chatted amiably over their breakfast and, eventually, it was time to leave. After making sure that they both had a key to the house and their lunches, Hinata walked her sister out and they headed down the street. Sure enough, it was a lovely day out - the sun shining brightly and birds chirping pleasantly and the soft thrum of suburban life was a comfortable tune to walk to. The school wasn't that long of a walk away - their father had fortunately found a house in a neighborhood near the campus after he'd confirmed that both of his daughters would be attending the school - and the pair linked arms, talking quietly and reviewing their classroom lists. There were plenty of other people out and about at this time, walking either to work or to school (Hinata easily spotted a few teenagers dressed in uniforms similar to hers and Hanabi's)

After about a ten minute walk, they finally arrived at the school, the courtyard mostly empty besides a few other early students, and the sisters wished each other luck as they separated and headed towards their respective buildings, quickly losing sight of each other in the small crowd of students.

Hinata would easily admit that she felt a little less confident without her sister by her side.

Clutching her bag close, she let herself move with the rest of the students, following the flow of the crowd - honestly, it wasn't that big of a group since it was still pretty early in the morning, but it was enough to make her want to blend in - towards the front door's of the high school building. After finding her assigned locker and trading out her shoes for the provided slippers, Hinata headed further into the school to find her homeroom. She kept her gaze on either the signs hanging over doors or her schedule, sure that plenty of the people around her had realized she was new to the school. Chewing on her lip, Hinata eventually found her homeroom classroom and slipped inside, pausing in the doorway for a moment to glance at the few other early students before carefully making her way in.

There was no note about assigned seats on her paper so Hinata quietly took a seat towards the middle of the room, claiming the desk and distracting herself with pulling out a notebook and pen. There were only about four other students in the room and, unable to stop herself, Hinata stole quiet glances at her new classmates, inwardly wondering if she should introduce herself. A pair of boys were chatting towards the back of the classroom and another girl sat closer to the door, her fingers tapping away at her phone as she texted, and Hinata briefly contemplated greeting them, but ultimately stayed in her seat, pulling her coat a little closer around her.

To her left was another girl, bent over her desk as she furiously scribbled words down onto one of the three open notebooks in front of her. She sat in the front row, two in front and three over from Hinata's desk, and was either unaware of the other students or was simply ignoring them. Hinata observed her quietly, watching as the other girl briefly raised a hand to tuck her pink hair - styled in a short bob that reached down just to her jawline - behind her ear, revealing just enough of her face for Hinata to make out her determined, focused expression from her angle.

Shifting slightly in her seat, Hinata, glanced away and watched as a few more students began to enter the classroom. A few of the others sent her curious glances and she shrunk in her seat, fidgeting with the hem of her sleeve as she felt her face begin to warm under the attention. Before anyone could make a move to greet her, however, there was a squeak of rubber-against-tile and movement out in the hallway before, suddenly, a balled up piece of paper was sent hurtling through the open doorway, connecting with the side of the pink-haired girl's head with startling accuracy, and instantly bouncing off and landing on the ground.

Everyone, Hinata included, paused, staring in shock as the pink-haired girl didn't even glance up. She simply pulled one of the notebooks closer, frowning down at the pages and comparing the journals. Within moments, another girl stomped into the classroom, her long blonde ponytail swinging and her shoulders stiff as she huffed and approached the girl before stopping in front of her desk.

"Forehead! You were supposed to walk with me to school."

Having been momentarily distracted, the other students moved to take their seats, chatting with their friends and acting as if this was a common occurrence. Hinata, however, watched curiously, gently tapping her pen on the top of her notebook.

The pinkette finally looked up and, from Hinata's perspective, she could see her lips turn down in a small frown before she crossed her arms and leaned back, shrugging up at the blonde.

"You never told me that. Besides, I wanted to be early, for once."

The blonde pouted, resting a hand on the desktop before reaching up to flick the other girl's forehead.

"You could have at least waited for me at the gate, Sakura!"

She - Sakura, apparently - swatted her hand away, but didn't seem too annoyed and, silently, gestured down at the notebooks. The blonde's expression turned to one of curiosity and she grabbed one of the journals, turning it around so she could read it as she leaned over the desk. After a moment, she glanced up to send Sakura a meaningful look, lips parting to speak before, suddenly, her gaze flickered in Hinata's direction and she seemed to notice her. The blonde quickly straightened up, sending Hinata a bright grin before making her way towards her after depositing the journal on the desk, her hand tapping against Sakura's arm as she passed the pinkette.

"Hi!" She stopped in front of her desk, smile friendly and blue eyes warm, "You must be new! I'm Yamanaka Ino - it's nice to meet you."

Ino gave a quick bow and Hinata resisted the urge to hide more behind her jacket, sending her a tiny smile as she took a moment to look the blonde over. Her hair, pulled back in a high ponytail, reached down to her mid-back, and the part of her long bangs that wasn't pulled back fell over her right eye. Her uniform was near identical to Hinata's, the only difference being that she was wearing a red bow instead of a tie and, while Hinata wore tights, Ino had socks that reached up to her knees.

She felt her cheeks warm slightly - the blonde had a very pretty face.

Fidgeting slightly, Hinata noticed the pinkette, Sakura, stop next to Ino, and, remembering her manners, quickly stood to bow to both and nodded in greeting to her as well.

"I'm H-Hyuuga Hinata. It's nice to meet you too, Yamanaka-san."

"Haruno Sakura," the other girl introduced herself, her smile just as friendly as Ino's. "Welcome, Hyuuga-san!"

Now able to see the pinkette fully, Hinata took in her features as well. Her pink bangs were side-swept over her forehead, held in place with green barrette, while a red ribbon was tied into her hair, the ends dangling down behind her neck. She wore tights, like Hinata, but, instead of a sweater like the other two, Sakura had a grey cardigan, the top few buttons undone and the sleeves pushed up to her elbows. Her bright green eyes sparkled charmingly and Hinata was sure her cheeks were steadily growing pink.

They both had such pretty faces.

Her heart was pounding, but she was pretty sure it wasn't just her nervousness.

Before anyone could speak, however, Sakura was suddenly pulled away as a dark-haired boy suddenly darted into the room, his voice loud and excited as they greeted each other and exchanged happy smiles. Ino glanced over at the pair, expression fond, before offering Hinata a quick smile and wave and taking a seat behind Sakura's desk. She grabbed one of the open notebooks just before she sat, flipping the other two closed and skimming the pages as more students began to fill the room and take their seats.

It wasn't long before class had officially begun, but the teacher still hadn't arrived. No one seemed too concerned, however, but Hinata was a little confused, glancing to the other students who all continued to chat amongst themselves. About five minutes after the first bell had rung, a blond-haired boy suddenly popped his head into the classroom, eyes searching and almost a little worried.

Other than Hinata, no one seemed to notice him and he glanced around for a moment before grinning when he didn't spot the teacher. He crept in quickly, waving in greeting to a few classmates before moving towards the desk next to Hinata - one of the few empty desks left. He didn't make it to the seat before another figure suddenly entered the classroom, closing the door behind him. This man was obviously the teacher, dressed in a professional-casual manner and his lower face hidden behind a medical mask as he walked towards his desk, gaze down at some book in his hand.

"Tardy on the first day, Uzumaki? Your year is off to a crummy start."

The blond boy froze and Hinata caught sight of his pout before he spun around, crossing his arms over his chest.

"I made it to class before you, Sensei!"

The silver-haired teacher merely shrugged, sending him an unamused glance.

"I got lost on the road of life and, besides, I'm allowed to be a little late. What's your excuse?"

Before he could make a snarky come-back, the teacher waved him off, turning to his desk and gathering a few papers. The blond boy huffed and plopped down in his seat, briefly glancing at Hinata before pulling out a notebook. He paused, blinking in surprise, before doing a double-take and looking back at the nervous girl, a wide, bright grin spreading over his face.

Hinata's face flushed brighter and she shrunk in her seat, but, before he could greet her, the teacher turned to face the class, leaning back against his desk as he addressed his students.

"Welcome, class. For those of you who don't know me," Hinata was pretty sure he sent her a glance here and, inwardly, she wondered in he well-known amongst the students or something, "I'm Hatake Kakashi, your homeroom and Literature teacher for the semester. But, before we get into morning announcements, let's take attendance."

Hinata put a few names to faces - Lee for the dark-haired boy that was apparently friends with Sakura and Naruto for the blond sitting next to her - and the morning passed quickly, three new teachers cycling through their first four classes as they briefly covered the class content before giving short lectures. During the brief break between homeroom and their first class, Naruto leaned over to introduce himself, practically radiating friendliness and leaving Hinata a little flustered. It wasn't often that people were so eager to greet her and in such an honestly friendly manner.

But, the rest of the morning was relatively quiet and Hinata settled in, glad that joining class on the first day meant she wouldn't be introduced as a complete stranger. Eventually lunchtime came and the class disbursed slightly, some students heading out to probably eat outside while others stayed in their seats or joined their friends. Hinata sat quietly at her desk and pulled out her bento, inwardly hoping Hanabi was having a good first day, before glancing up just in time to see Sakura look her way.

They locked eyes and the pinkette smiled, nudging Ino briefly before standing and making her way towards Hinata, her lunch in one hand and her chair in the other. Ino was quick to join her and the pair stopped next to her desk, offering waves in greeting.

"Would you mind if we joined you, Hyuuga-san?"

She fidgeted with the lid to her bento box, cheeks already pink, but sent the girls a small smile as she gave a gentle nod. They replied with grins of their own before taking seats around her desk, their lunches on their laps as they quickly began to chat with Hinata.

"Did you move to Negura recently?"

"Do you have any hobbies, Hyuuga-san?"

She glanced from girl to girl, her shoulders raised slightly, though she resisted the urge to hide behind the collar of her coat. Hinata addressed Sakura first, offering a small nod as she rearranged her food with her chopsticks.

"W-we moved in almost two weeks ago. It's my first time in Negura..."

Sakura smiled politely and nodded, taking a sip from her water bottle as Hinata turned to face Ino and answer her inquiry.

"I like to press flowers. I, uhm- I have an entire scrapbook full of flowers." A thoughtful pause. "I also enjoy ballet."

Her heart was racing and her face felt warm under their attention - it wasn't often that Hinata divulged so much information about herself to strangers (inwardly, she knew this wasn't, necessarily, a lot of information, but it felt like it, as someone who usually didn't talk much). She glanced down, playing distractedly with her fingers as she smiled sheepishly before repeating the questions back at the pair, taking a few bites of her lunch as they answered.

"Well," said Ino, tapping a finger to her chin in thought - it was then that Hinata noticed the ring on her left middle finger; a small silver band that was shaped and carved to look like a feather, curling around her finger with a small, light blue gem in the middle. "I've lived in Negura most of my life. Sakura, on the other hand..."

"I moved here in the middle of my final year of Elementary School." She continued for the blonde, her expression thoughtful as well as she seemed to reminisce for a moment.

Hinata glanced between the two of them, her gaze dropping to Sakura's hand when the pinkette rook a bite of her onigiri. She was wearing a ring similar to Ino's - a silver feather on the same finger, though her gem was a pale green.

She blinked in surprise at the realization. Matching rings?

Her face warmed with a delicate blush at the thought.

Hinata didn't address the rings, however, and replied.

"Is that when you two met? You, well, ah- You seem to be close friends, if you d-don't mind me saying..."

Hinata instantly regretted her bluntness, gaze falling to her desk as her cheeks burned. She looked up in time to catch the meaningful looks Sakura and Ino exchanged, their smiles nostalgic and warm.

"No worries, Hyuuga-san." Replied Sakura, sending the flustered girl a friendly grin. "You're right, that's when we first met. I had a few bullies that messed with me often and Ino was my savior of sorts, taking me under her wing and warding the bullies off."

"We ended up attending the same Junior High - the one that accompanies this High School," Ino continued, "And became closer friends. that is, until..."

Here, Sakura grimaced, looking embarrassed. "Briefly, we became rivals of sorts - both of us interested in the same boy - and nearly ruined our friendship over it." She paused, shrugging almost forcefully, as if to rid herself of the memory, "But we managed to move past that dumb rivalry and now we're the best of friends."

Hinata glanced to Ino, who had looked away, and noticed that she was looking thoughtful, blue eyes on the wall. She had a distinct feeling that the blonde had something she wanted to add, but was refraining from doing so.

They changed subjects, Ino and Sakura telling her their hobbies - shopping for the former and playing trivia games for the latter - before turning the questions back to Hinata.

"How do you like the city so far? Sakura asked, an odd look appearing briefly in her eyes, too quickly for the shy girl to notice. "Do you have any favorite shops or restaurants?"

She shook her head in responses, lavender eyes missing the way Sakura seemed to relax at her following answer.

"I haven't done much exploring yet, so I, u-uhm, haven't really seen a lot of the city."

The girls exchanged looks and Ino leaned forward slightly, her voice hushed.

"Word of advice, Hyuuga-san. If you happen to hear any odd sounds - like that of an animal - don't go investigate. Negura has... a bit of a pest problem."

"Some of them can get a little aggressive around people," Sakura added, "So it's best not to approach."

They distinctly didn't mention what kind of animal these 'pests' were and Hinata nearly questioned them further, but she saw the meaningful look in Ino's pretty eye (and her previous courage had left her) and she simply nodded in agreement.

The three continued to chat as they ate lunch, briefly turning the topic to Hinata's sister when she mentioned a sibling and ultimately leading to the reveal that both Sakura and Ino were only-child's. They discussed the differences in home-life with and without siblings before the topic changed again. Hinata hesitantly brought up a question of hers in regards to Hatake-sensei, her bento empty and put away and her desk clear.

"Is... Is, uhm, Hatake-sensei well-known as a teacher? He m-mentioned- Well, he seemed to be familiar with most of the class already... And the class familiar with him, as well."

Sakura nodded, finishing off the last of her water while Ino returned her own bento to her school bag.

"He used to be a Junior High teacher, but transferred up to Senior High level last year, I believe." The pinkette smiled, expression fond. "We had Hatake-sensei as a teacher a couple years ago and, just his luck, he has us all again."

"He's a good teacher," Ino added, smoothing out her skirt, "But he's consistently late to his own classes. So don't be surprised if he occasionally comes in, like, halfway through homeroom period."

Surprised, Hinata nodded slowly - even the teacher was more familiar with her classmates than she was - and, soon enough, lunch was nearing its end and the other students began to return. The ones that had left to eat elsewhere filed in steadily, still chatting with their friends before taking their seats. Her new friends offered brief parting words before returning to their desks as well, waiting for the next class to begin. Naruto barreled in at some point and dropped into his seat, sending Hinata a huge, sunny grin that left her shrinking in her seat, her face burning.

Towards the end of the final class, the teacher mentioned that sign-up for extracurricular activities would be available in the gymnasium and Hinata perked up, making a mental note to stop by the gym after class. The students began to clean up once the last class ended, though there wasn't much to do since the first day of school was pretty easy-going, and cleaning time was pretty short.

Hinata returned Ino and Sakura's waves of farewell and gathered her belongings before following after a pair of classmates (at a discrete distance) who she overheard mentioning clubs and after-school activities, hoping they were heading towards the gym. Out in the hall, she caught sight of Ino, the blonde girl bounding up to a tired, bored looking boy and throwing her arms over his shoulders from behind as she started chatting with him.

She watched curiously as she shuffled down the hall, inwardly wondering what their relationship was before she quickly derailed that - inappropriate! She barely knew Yamanaka-san - train of thought, blushing in embarrassment. Hinata continued to hesitantly follow the pair of students and did, eventually, find herself standing in front of the doors to the gymnasium. She hesitated for a moment before finally stepping in, clutching her school bag close and trying to ignore her racing heart at the sight of the large crowd of students.

Standing awkwardly near the entrance of the gym for a few moments, Hinata finally moved forward, trying to make herself small but also looking curiously at the various tables and booths set up for the different clubs. This - joining a club - would be imperative to helping her relax and become more sociable with her new classmates, she reminded herself, gaze darting over different signs and posters.

The gymnasium was abuzz with chatter from students and the squeak of shoes against the court, but Hinata's ear was quick to recognize the sound of her sister's voice and her search changed objectives. It wasn't long until she managed to spot Hanabi, near a table that's banner was advertising the kendo club, and she smiled to herself when she noticed that her younger sister was chatting happily with a few students that looked the same age as her.

Pleased, Hinata decided to approach her sister later - after she'd picked a club for herself.

To her disappointment, she couldn't find anything for ballet, but, determined to find an extracurricular activity that she'd enjoy, Hinata eventually found herself stopped in front of a booth for a different kind of sword-fighting.

The metal-mesh mask and long, thin blade were unmistakably those used for fencing and Hinata paused, expression thoughtful.

At the prompting of her father last summer, Hinata had taken a fencing class - so, she wasn't entirely unfamiliar with the sport - and, while she wasn't extremely good (she hadn't taken that many classes), she had still enjoyed it.

Biting her lower lip, Hinata hesitated another moment before stepping towards the table, writing her name and contact information down on the sign-up sheet.

After finding her sister again, Hinata and Hanabi returned home, chatting about their first day at the school.

::

And the week (and following as well) passed steadily, Hinata's days slowly falling into a comfortable routine.

Sakura always made it to class ahead of her, perched in her seat and either pouring over notebooks or reading a book by the time she arrived at school. Ino was sometimes with her, sometimes not, but, always, the pinkette would greet Hinata as she entered the classroom, smiling brightly and setting her journals or papers or novels aside in favor of chatting with her new friend.

If Ino hadn't accompanied Sakura to class, she arrived soon after Hinata, hair and makeup perfect and her smile dazzling as she greeted both of the other girls before spending the few spare moments before class started invested in conversation with the two.

On more than one occasion, Hinata found herself nearly reduced to a blushing mess at the mere loveliness of their smiles and kind words - especially when they complimented her over something (her hair, her eyes, the lingering scent of her body wash, a simple charm bracelet that she happened to wear one day) she wouldn't have deemed necessarily worthy of their praise, but appreciated nonetheless.

Yes, she certainly enjoyed the company of these new friends of hers.

Hinata was in the process of steadily (carefully, hesitantly) attempting to befriend her other classmates as well.

Naruto always left her flustered, simply from the sheer amount of overwhelming friendliness and sunshine he radiated, but she was beginning to get used to him and his boisterous mannerisms, intent on working up the courage to speak more than a few stuttered words to him. As Sakura and Ino had warned, Kakashi-sensei was almost always late to class, usually offering some vague reason in response to their questions before changing the subject by taking attendance.

The first two weeks were nice - Hinata enjoyed her classes and always looked forward to the lunch period, Ino and Sakura being her consistent companions during the meal break as the girls chatted as they ate and got to know one another better.

(She could feel that they were steadily approaching the territory of using given names rather than surnames and more relaxed honorifics when addressing one another and the thought filled her with such anticipation and joy, it was almost alarming.

The thought certainly made her heart pound a little louder.)

After class, Hinata attended the fencing club meetings and practices. She was rusty at first, as expected, but the class was by no means full of experts so she didn't feel too out of place and simply let herself relearn what rested somewhere at the back of her mind, becoming familiar once more with the feeling of the fencing rapier.

Hanabi had kendo meetings after class as well, but the sisters quickly discovered that their club activities didn't always end at the same time. Luckily, her younger sister had a cellphone of her own and they came to the agreement that they'd each wait at least ten minutes after texting the other that they were finished before heading home if there was no reply, so that neither of the girls would be forced to stand and wait in the school's courtyard for unknown amounts of time. Fortunately, two of Hanabi's club-mates (one her age and, the other, one of her senpais) lived near their home, so she would never be forced to take the journey home on her own.

It was on one such day, the Thursday of her second week of school, that something... something strange happened.

(Strange, frightening, unbelievable.)

Hinata was returning home after a satisfying fencing meeting, her own personal practice rapier (that she had managed to find amongst the other not-immediately-necessary, thus unpacked, boxes at home) stored in its carrier and slung over her shoulder as she ran her fingers through her ponytail, hair pulled up for practice, when she heard an odd... sound.

She wasn't quite sure where it came from - or what the source could have been - but it caused her to pause, expression a little nervous as she glanced around and realized she was traveling down a relatively empty street. Hinata was near her neighborhood and the buildings were beginning to bleed into a more suburban area, but she didn't see many other pedestrians around.

None, in fact.

The realization put her on edge and she began to walk again, pace quickened.

And, again, there was the sound.

It came from somewhere behind her and she spun around in fright, eyes searching. It was like the call of some sort of animal, though unnaturally raspy and breathy, like a breeze brushing through bare branches and making them scrape against one another. There was a soft clicking under the grating sigh, like pebbles falling and landing on a wooden floor, and the combination of sounds was both disconcerting and confusing.

The scrape of claws against gravel, an unnatural growl, and then the flutter of feathers.

And, finally, there was movement.

(But Hinata sorely wished she hadn't noticed it.)

Something rounded a corner up ahead (or, rather, would-be behind her - she was still turned to face the way she'd come) and to her left, racing past a fence corner and into the wide street before pausing when it seemed to notice her.

It's skin was an ashen, dark grey (nearly black, with an odd matte finish that seemed to absorb the sunlight, rather than reflect it, stretched tight over its hulking form. It stood on four short, but powerful looking legs with dog-like paws and claws that looked too big for it's feet. It's body looked similar to a fat toad, head and body almost indecipherable from each other and a too-wide mouth that was open slightly, revealing sharp, pointed black teeth. It's eyes - there were four of them, she realized with a start - were devoid of both pupil and iris, a milky white that seemed unseeing

But she had the distinct feeling that it was looking right at her.

Hinata felt chilled to the bone - this thing was unnatural - and it gave that odd, raspy sigh and clicking sound.

It took a step towards her, still several feet down the street.

Her heart nearly stopped in fright.

She hadn't even realized she'd pressed herself against the stone wall to her left until she felt the bite of the rough surface grind against the back of her hand when she jerked backwards on reflex.

It seemed to be considering her and she had no doubt that this creature would harm her ferociously if it got the chance, but there was a sudden shout behind it, down the street, and it glanced backwards briefly before giving a growl that sounded more like a drowning man's gurgle, dropping into a defensive position. It hopped out of the way from a strike of an odd, light blue colored... whip? - it's source was still out of sight, but the sound of the crack was unmistakable - and continued to race down the way it was previously headed, disappearing from Hinata's line of sight.

She was still pressed against the stone wall, the drooping branches of a wisteria's flowering blooms draping over her, when two new figure's passed - though they didn't seem to notice her.

"After it, Magpie!" One shouted - a girl, dressed in shades of light blue - as she appeared around the corner, piercing blue gaze following after the creature. A pale blue skirt, puffed up by a thick white petticoat, a light blue shirt with a turtleneck collar and heart shaped window just above her chest, a midriff pastel-blue leather jacket, matching knee-high boots, and long, loose blonde hair, streaming behind her as she wound up her whip and ran, her strides long and startling fast.

Blue, blue, blue, but all Hinata could focus on was her pretty, familiar face.

'But, that's...'

A second figure rushed past the first girl, with almost unnatural grace and speed, arms pumping and fists clenched, the light glinting off the bright green brass knuckles on her hands. The rest of her ensemble was also shades of light green - fingerless pastel-green gloves, a pale green strapless dress with a (thinner than the blue-girl's) layer of white ruffles underneath, a long green sash around her waist (the tails streaming behind her as she ran), white knee-high stockings, green platform boots that only reached up to her ankles (the heels, they were covered in tiny spikes), and a sleeveless pastel-green leather jacket - vest?

And undeniably pink hair, the length of a would-be bob but styled up in a faux-hawk of sorts, revealing a small, light green diamond shape on her forehead, just above the center of her equally green eyes.

Both girl's ran past and Hinata caught sight of a matching pair of white wings, stitched onto the backs of their leather jackets with an odd thread that seemed almost iridescent in the sunlight, glinting prettily at her, as they disappeared around the corner.

She hadn't realized she'd been holding her breath and, finally releasing it, she stared wide eyed at the now-empty street, trying to make sense of what she'd just seen. She recognized those faces - knew those girls. It was easy to recognize them, especially after spending the past two weeks worth of lunches and classes with Ino and Sakura.

Confused and still a little frightened and her heart pounding, Hinata clutched her bag close, turned, and raced home, her mind reeling with questions.

::

notes: happy femslash february ovo this was supposed to be a oneshot but, like another certain fic, i ended up investing a little too much muse into the fic idea and now it's a full-fledged multi-chapter fic

hinata sakura and ino are all equal-leveled protagonists! the pov will switch between each girls focus throughout the fic and chapters uvu this fic is gonna be hella gay and i plan on working only really on this and cherry bomb during this month for femslash february (though cherry bomb has other het ships too)

this first chapter is dedicated to thefreckledone/jaylene! an all-around lovely person who writes lovely fics and had requested a magical girl!au sakura drabble but i happened to already have this fic in the works so...

edit: btw here's some art I did of the girls in their magical outfits! frostmarris. tumblr. com (slash) post/156628118431/local-lesbians-save-the-day

hope you enjoyed! please leave a review if you did uvu