Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of its characters.


Life can be many things...but it is hardly ever what you want it to be. Or expect it to be anyways. And if it is both, than count yourself lucky, because you are the few that have been blessed with a life free of the heavy burden everyone has been forced to carry.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She remembered...

A long, long time ago there was a girl who lived a miserable life. Born into a life and status she did not want, she followed the footsteps of her family unwillingly but not protesting. She had not wanted this life...and one day, she met someone. Her Protector, her shield against the dark, against life. And he loved her, saved her, and took her away from the path she had not wanted to walk...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Be two and be naive.

" Momma! Momma!" She cried, tugging at her Mother's kimono, " tell me story!"

Her Mother smiled down at her, eyes warm with love and bright with joy, " Again?"

" Again!" She said nodding viciously.

" Which one my dear child?" She questioned her beloved daughter.

" Protector! Protector!" The child fairly screamed.

The woman chuckled, " Again?" And laughed as her daughter swung her head nodding energetically once more. " Alright."

" Momma?" The child asked quickly before the story started and waited for her Mother to look down at her, " Will I ever find a Protector?"

She did not know why, but the child knew the gaze, in which her Mother bestowed upon her now, contained something more than what had been in her eyes before. " Perhaps and maybe." The woman's voice was soft, " It all depends my daughter. It all depends..."

She had not understood what it had depended on back then.

Be three and be innocent.

The three-year-old girl child looked forward from her perch on her Mother's arm as she was carried. She glanced around for another child her age; the one who Mother had promised would be her friend. She was quite excited; she had never had a friend before around her own age. Everyone that came and gone from the house were all adults, she had never had a friend of her own age group in the past; she wondered what he would be like?

And then she got nervous as she continued to think about it. Would he like her? Father was never around, her grandfather was always displeased and her trainers never smiled. Her lips started to tremble, and the tremor started to move gradually outwards on her body.

Her Mother looked startled as she peered at the trembling girl she held in her arms. She saw the fear and nervousness, and tried to think of a way to cure it. And then an idea struck her.

" Don't fret my little child," she soothed, " you're going to meet a friend." And when the trembling didn't stop, " And your Protector."

The child stilled. " My Protector?"

" Yes." Her Mother cooed, " Your Protector."

" So...will he-love me?" the child curiously asked.

" Yes." The Mother chuckled, " who could not love you?'

" But, he's a man." The girl child spoke uneasily. " Father...and grandfather...and Shingi-sensei... they..."

" Your Father loves you." The woman spoke, but left the rest unaccounted for, " and he's only a boy. And we promised you'll get a protector when you grow to be three did we not?"

" But he'll grow up to be a man..." her Mother shifted her to the other arm, not answering.

" Ah, just put her on the ground Wife." Her Father said coming up to them, " Your arms must be tired."

The child's Mother complied and they covered the rest of the way walking, all of them. As they drew close to another group of people, the shy girl child clutched onto a part of her father kimono when they stopped and half hide behind his leg when the boy child smiled at her. She tired to smile back but only succeeded in looking at him beneath her eyelashes.

She didn't listen to what the adults said next, only partially feeling the change in the atmosphere as she studied her new Protector. Although her Protector he might be, she also knew what she had told her mother was true.

He'll grow up to be a man...

She wonder if he would fail her then or even before then.

Be five and know pain.

Blood splattered like rain on the floor as she flew backwards in the air, barely conscious enough to feel the pain but not so close to fall into unconsciousness so that she could block it out. She gingerly pushed herself up on her elbows, her whole form shaking from exhaustion.

" Get up!" a sharp kick in her already broken ribs sent her flying again.

She landed sideways and even leaned over a bit more as she coughed, and then wiped her mouth. The blood that soaked her sleeve did not frighten nor shock her; by now it was an expected sight. Blinking her eyes to try to dispel the dizziness and felt a kick connect on her stomach and this time, she was sent flying through the paper doors and landed on the grassy earth near the koi pond outside.

" Such an embarrassment." She heard her grandfather's voice mutter as following footsteps walked away from her still form. She waited for her teacher to follow her grandfather out of the room before she started to push herself up on her tiny arms once more. After several unsuccessful pain numbing tries, she finally got back up to her feet and dragged her feet over to the pond and sat down on one of the big rocks.

Every single part of her small body hurt, but she wouldn't go looking for her Mother, who would be with the first aid kit yet. It was moments like these thoughts entered her mind, of how long she was going to last and if she was ever going to improve. So much training everyday, but yet wielded little or no results.

She sighed, and quickly clasped her hands over her mouth as another coughing fit started. Once her body clamed down, she wanted to run to her mother, but instead she dragged her tiny broken body back into the house and took tiny steps all the way to her room.

Be six and know despair.

" No! Mother!" Small arms extended to breach the impossibly wide distance between the two as tears streamed down both their faces. " Mother!"

" Stop struggling!" the rough voice of her instructor barked at her and he and a comrade held her back as her father and uncle dragged her Mother away from her. " This is your punishment for being so lazy! If you improve your skills, we'll let you see her!"

" No Motheerr!!" To separate woman and child from each other, to use their weakness in order to control them...

Is this what the Hyuga was?

Tears coursed down her face as she fell limply to the ground. The voices could no longer reach her and even when comforting arms came upon the scene, no one could touch the heart through the tears anymore.

Be seven and find betrayal.

" Mother's what?" she gasped.

" Lady Hyuga is three months pregnant, didn't you know?" the mocking tone in his voice laughed at her.

She stood still, shock still. Face pale and eyes wide, she saw the world through a detached manner. Her mother was three months pregnant - three months pregnant! And no one had come to inform her of this.

Was she that despised in the Hyugas?

" You showed no signs of improving, so I guess they started demanding for another heir." He sneered at her in contempt. " Might not be very strong, but hey, its got better to be better than you."

She murmured something unintelligible before he was finally satisfied and turned to leave her. Watching his retreating back, she wondered what exactly made her feel more pain. Her family not informing her that she was to receive a child sibling, or that it had been her Protector who had come to her with this news and took such joy in her pain.

And to think she had once thought he could love her.

Oh well, I not like I ever really expected him to anyways...

Be nine and find acceptance.

I'm so tired...

Tired of the shouts. Tried of the screams. Tired of the endless hours of pain. Tired of suffering.

Tired of living.

She rested her small bruised body down on the forest ground and curled up next to the moss.

Tired of fighting.

Nothing was ever going to change, she knew that now. There was nothing she could do to change anything, not now anyways.

She was just so tired.

Be ten and find hope.

She wondered how he did it. While Neji had the power and was powerful, he was strong. He had the strength to pull through anything. He was strong, he had the true strength of being able to fall and picking himself up. He found the will to fight and live while she had given up.

Given up...

No that didn't sound right, she hadn't given up. She could still feel the fire inside of her, wanting to erupt. But she subdued it, as she has always done since she accepted that she could never be powerful enough to satisfy the Hyuga's or her family.

She could never be powerful enough for the Hyuga's, she knew that and she had given up the notion of being accepted by them, but sometimes she stilled wished. Empty hopes lead to shattered dreams and unfulfilled wishes, she had found this out.

She could never be powerful like Neji, but looking at him, she wondered.

Could I ever be strong like Naruto?

Maybe, maybe.

Though uncertain it was enough to give her hope, and that was enough for the fire to be rekindled once more.

Be eleven and wonder.

Sometimes she wondered if her family even remembered her anymore. She hadn't seen her Mother in years, she saw her Father only in passing in the halls and the relationship with her younger sister, whom she was not allowed to associate with, was only of the yearning glances to directed to each other as their eyes met.

You had to earn your place in the Hyuga's they wouldn't let you stay otherwise, and she could see the many bruises her younger sister always bore. So young...they had started on her at such a tender age...

Was it her fault?

Were they taking such precautions just to make sure her sister never took after her footsteps? Was her sister being taught to hate her? Was she even considered a Hyuga family member anymore? Such thoughts should not ever see the light of day, yet they came more often then not.

She wanted desperately to help the battered form of her little sister, to make sure at least she was not rejected like her. But her help wasn't needed, her sister was strong, her sister was powerful. The Hyuga accepted the small child because the blood ran thick in her veins.

Slowly, she slipped out unnoticed of the dojo as the instructor focused on the younger sibling and her grandfather came into the room. She knew it was not she whom grandfather had come to see, and would either be ignore or brushed off if she had been in the room.

She closed her eyes as she stood in the middle of the yard. The skies were blue and the birds flew free, but in this glorious day with such a beautiful atmosphere, she felt as trapped as she always had been.

Be twelve and understand.

This was it, her last year at the Academy. Just a few more months until she was thirteen and then after that... graduation wasn't that far off. She would become a Genin and then she would prove it to them, to the Hyugas, that she was not a disgrace.

She was old now. Old enough to take care of herself and know stuff. Her clear perception of the world had shocked her new sensei, but there was nothing she could do about it. She saw the world through her eyes, not through the eyes of how people thought she was supposed to see the world.

The Hyuga's had offered her a lodging, an apartment not so far from the academy. It was a very long walk from the Hyuga main house to the school everyday. They had given her the choice of moving out for her final year of schooling, wanting her to be able to do her best. The apartment had been nicely furnished and the family would pay the rent. They wanted her best interest at heart.

Bull. Shit.

They just wanted her out and this was the most convenient excuse. They didn't want her around to be able to influence her sister, who was now starting to look towards her older sister and wondering. The younger sister was starting to take in interest to get to know the older sister and might even be looking towards her as a role model.

They wanted her to leave and to leave the unofficial Hyuga Heir alone.

She slammed the chest shut and clenched her hands into fists. She had the right to be angry. She had the right to be upset. She was also supposed to have the right to get to know her sister. She was supposed to be allowed to see her mother. She was supposed to be allowed to call these people her family.

But she couldn't, not in the truest sense. She didn't know what she was in their eyes. A failed Heir? A Main House member? A Branch member? An outsider?

She couldn't decide how she was supposed to feel.

Be fourteen and be Hinata.

" I don't go back on my word." The blood was starting to choke her, " That is also my ninja way."

Looking up at her tormentor, she felt something inside of her give. Maybe she had been a fanciful fool, maybe she had been a daydreaming girl, maybe she had been desperate, and maybe she had been all of those things. But slowly, with each punch and hit he landed on her frail body, the notions were slowly dieing.

She knew now it had been unfair to expect him to save her, when he couldn't see past his own despair. She now knew it had been foolish to want him to care for her, when he couldn't afford to care much about anyone else. And she now knew it had only been a dream that he would have someday became her Protector.

It was too late for him to redeem himself, and too late for her to try. Time had flowed and their lives had gone in such ways without their permission. There had been pain, despair and betrayal. It was hard to go back and change those things. But you lived life only once, and within that life, maybe you could have two beginnings.

Yes, that sounded nice.

They would try again, after this fight was settled. They would look at each other with -if not new than-different eyes. They would start over, and maybe this time there would be hope. Maybe this time there will be acceptance.

Maybe this time they wouldn't hurt each other.

Her body broken, bleeding, and ravage by the person who was supposed to save her, she only looked up towards the balcony and tried to smile at the one who saved her from him. Thanks to him, she could finally see what had been in front of her for a long time. Her Protector needed to be protected himself.

Here, in front of everyone she would take her first step towards changing, towards freedom. She would free herself from this cage, and she could only hope Neji could do the same. It was time to begin anew, and maybe there would be a reason for all the hate.

Maybe this time, they wouldn't hate.

Yes, that sounded very nice indeed.


Author's Note: This is my thoughts on how Hinata's life in the Hyuga was and how she grew up. th age for the Genin fight might not be right, but no one could tell me their difinate age, so I guessed. Please read and review, I would love the feedback.