CCNote: This is the last chapter of Becoming an Uchiha. Whaaaa?

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Becoming Enflamed

As the morning wore on it was becoming increasingly clear that Sasuke was not going down without a fight. Now that he had his sight partially back it appeared that he was more determined than ever to regain all of the losses he'd taken since the war. Hinata ducked as a kick came hurtling towards her head, a whoosh of air ruffling her hair as his leg barely missed. Him being so determined was fine by her. She hadn't had a good spar since the war had ended and with this new found vigor, Sasuke was proving to be quite the challenge.

"Scared?" Sasuke taunted as she carefully circled around him, giving him a wide perimeter.

"Never." She said and lunged.

It wasn't as easy to take Sasuke down now that he could actually see her form. He was able to dodge much more easily and grab her at will. He was cocky though and overconfidence could mean the downfall of even the most talented shinobi. That much was proven by the fact that he allowed her to hit him head-on, pressing his own body forward so the force of her hit added to the momentum when they fell to the ground. It felt as if all of the air had been knocked out of her lungs as soon as her body hit the ground.

"Hn. I win." Sasuke gloated.

Hinata blinked up at him, well the two versions of him that kept swinging back and forth. Ignoring the way her body screamed for her to back down, she pressed her hands against his chest and infused a bit of chakra to send a small shock through his body. Sasuke immediately lost his focus, giving her the edge she needed to flip their positions so that she was the one on top.

"I win." She said breathlessly and Sasuke narrowed his eyes at her.

"I thought we agreed to no chakra." He growled but it did nothing to sour her small sense of victory.

Sure she'd cheated but it was his fault for believing her. Smiling, she tried to get up but strong hands firmly held onto her him.


"You cheated."

If he was more expressive she was sure he would have pouted. Instead, he stared up at her blankly, a slight hint of displeasure in his voice. He looked rather cute when he was being childish. Hinata bit back a giggle and leaned down closer to him.

"Uchihas don't apologize." She said before kissing him.

It was a short kiss, little more than a peck, but Sasuke's reaction to it felt as if it were anything but. He stared up at her, his eyes unreadable but her face flushed red anyway. Maybe he was more upset about her breaking the rules than he let on. Maybe he didn't like her kissing him.

"I-I-I'm sorry!" she stammered and tried to cover her burning face with her hands.

"Are you apologizing for cheating or kissing me?" he asked.

"Both? Maybe?"


At his grunt, Hinata peeked through her fingers to watch him sit upright. His hands moved from her hips to her wrists and he pulled her hands away from her face. He was so close. Too close. Kissing was fine. She could do kissing. However the way he was looking at her now felt as if he wanted to devour her. That notion alone made her entire body heat up intensely.

Warm lips catured her own, molding against hers with the intent for more. Hinata shivered when his tongue swiped against her bottom lip and her mouth instantly opened to him. Instinctively she melted into his kiss, enjoying the way his tongue brushed against her own.

They shouldn't be doing this. This kiss was not like the previous one. He wanted more from her. What should she do? There was honor in remaining a virgin until marriage. That was what she was expected to do. However, as he continued to kiss her senseless her notions of honor and duty began to slip away.

'Don't over think things or you will hesitate in a moment that you shouldn't.'

Kurenai-sensei was right. She shouldn't hesitate. Not when her entire body felt as if it were about to burst into flames at any moment. She could stop at any time she wanted but right now with the grass at her back and Sasuke's lips against hers she only wanted to relish the feeling. Unfortunatly as soon as she let her self control slip just a little bit, Sasuke pulled away from her.

"Sasuke-" she squeaked as Sasuke lifted her up in his arms and skillfully carried her towards the backdoor. "W-w-what are you doing?"

The Uchiha grunted and slid open the slightly ajar door with his foot.

"Would you rather we have an audience?"

Hinata's eyes widened as she remembered the ever present watchful eyes they were under. There wasn't a doubt in her mind that their little makeout session in the yard would make it back to the Hokage. Groaning, she hid her face in Sasuke's chest and tried not to think too hard about it.

Once they were away from the prying eyes of the Anbu on the roof, he quickly made his way to their bedroom where he deposited her on the bed. His body was on top of hers in an instant, his lips claiming her own as if it were his first time kissing her. His kisses were more urgent and greedy as he took advantage of her readily open mouth. The warmth in her stomach grew as she tentatively met his tongue with her own. The small action encouraged the Uchiha further and he let go of her wrists. Without breaking their kiss, he braced most of his weight on his forearm while his left hand snaked it's way up her shirt. His fingertips made her shiver and despite her nervousness, she wanted him to continue. Was this what it felt like to be wanted? To be desired? Unsure of what to do with her own hands, she decided to mirror his own actions. However, as soon as her fingers ghosted over the warm skin of his abdomen he immediately grew tense and pulled away.

"Sasuke?" she asked breathlessly as she lifted herself up onto her forearms and stared up at him. "Did I do something wrong?"

The color drained from her face with the realization that she probably had. Sasuke had likely been with countless women who had a lot more experience than she did. How had they kissed him? Touched him? The thought of him being with another woman, albeit in the past, made an odd cocktail of jealousy and insecurity swirl within her. He was probably disappointed with her.

"I…I don't have much experience in this area." She mumbled, her cheeks no longer lit up from arousal but embarrassment.

Sasuke shifted off of her, rolling onto his back and laying beside her on the bed with a huff. Hinata tried to swallow but found it to be nearly impossible.

"I don't handle…touch well." Sasuke said, breaking the awkward silence between them.

Hinata shifted onto her side and stared at the Uchiha. He didn't handle touch well? She opened her mouth to question him but he was pointedly looking away from her and the tips of his ears had turned bright red. Was he…embarrassed? If he'd been with women before why was he so adverse to her? Unless…

"Sasuke." She started, parsing her words carefully in her mind before she uttered them. "Have you had experience with other women?"

Her heart thrummed loudly in her ears as she waited with bated breath for a response. He did not verbally reply to her question but his silence alone was enough of an answer. She knew he would never say it out loud but it appeared that they were in the same novice boat. As strange as it was, it was almost a bit of a relief to know that she was not competing with imaginary experts in her mind.

Slowly but surely her own embarrassment and insecurity began to seep out of her and a warm feeling of contentment took its place. A small smile tugged at the corners of her lips as she curled into the Uchiha's side, pressing her nose against his chest. He jumped slightly at the contact but she threw an arm over his waist to keep him in place.

"Hinata." Sasuke said, his voice tense with confusion at being in a slightly more submissive position. Usually, it was him that did the holding.

"I'm sleepy." She mumbled, a lie of course but it kept him from moving away.


"Ah. I could use a drink."

"Lady Tsunade! We still have an hour left on duty!"

"What difference does an hour make? There's a bottle in my desk anyway. We can just start now-"

"For the last time! You can't drink in the hospital!"

Sakura smiled as she watched her mentor quibble with Shizune. She couldn't fault Tsunade for wanting a drink either. Today, Sakura had found herself to have been particularly busy with no less than five births, three minor surgeries, and a never-ending trickle of miscellaneous ailments. Luckily their trainees were coming into their own and were starting to actually be more of a help than a hindrance. It would still take more time before they were able to delegate responsibilities though.

"Stop hounding me!" Tsunade grumbled and leaned back against the bench, her arms stretched out against the back. "I'm so tired."

"You should take a vacation." Sakura suggested and chocolate eyes narrowed in her direction.

"Trying to oust me already?"

The pink haired woman laughed and shook her head.

"No one can replace you Lady Tsunade."

The three woman sat in comfortable silence in the hospital gardens and for the first time all day, enjoyed the sound of silence. Sighing, Sakura looked out at the hospital gardens and allowed herself to indulge in the well-kept grounds. Everything was green and lush, the large sunflowers that line the walkway had heads that wilted downward with the burden of their seeds. Rose bushes were interspersed with patches of colorful petunias and tiny windmills blew lazily in the breeze. Along the garden path, a few of their nurses pushed patients in wheelchairs to allow them much needed time outdoors.

Despite its beauty, the hospital garden was still quite small. In time she hoped to expand to the undeveloped area beside the current hospital where a new wing would be erected. As wonderful as their medicine was, there was nothing better for recovery than fresh air and peace. Sakura sigh again, a nagging thought tugging at the back of her mind. Peace was something that she hadn't been able to truly find since the day she found out that Sasuke was getting married.

'No.' She as her brow furrowed slightly. 'That isn't true.'

She'd felt uneasy ever since the end of the war. She'd been worried about when the Uchiha would wake up and once he had she'd been anxious for the day that he'd finally notice her. The only peace she'd found was when she wasn't thinking about him. During the nights she'd spent in Naruto's apartment, thoughts of Sasuke had barely crossed her mind.

Instead, she indulged freely in Naruto's childish antics when he got home. She knew that he threw anything she cooked into the trash as soon as she fell asleep. She knew that his greatest amusement of the day was riling her up. She knew that at the end of the day, no matter how hectic it had been, Naruto would be there with that same dumb grin on his face and suddenly all of her stress would ease away. It was being with Naruto that made her feel the most like herself. It had always been that way apparently. Sakura groaned and ran a frustrated hand through her short hair. This was all too much-

Ribbit. Ribbit.

At the distinct sound of a frog croaking, Sakura turned her attention back to where Tsunade was sitting on the park bench. Next to her was a green frog no larger than the size of one of the garden's decorative rocks. Upon seeing the frog, Sakura dragged a tired hand over her face and groaned. When was he going to stop?

Ribbit. Ribbit.

Sighing, Sakura held out her hand to the frog and waited for the inevitable. The frog then opened its mouth and spit out a note into her hand before disappearing in a puff of smoke. Surprising the note wasn't wet despite its form of delivery.

"He's a persistent one isn't he?" Tsunade said and Sakura felt her face heat up at the woman's inference.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Sakura mumbled, shoving the note into her lab coat pocket.

She didn't need to read it since she knew that it said the same thing as all of the others. She tried to act nonchalant but the way Shizune and Tsunade exchanged knowing looks between each other made it hard to keep her cool.

"I think I'll finish up some paperwork-" Sakura started and turned back to the path towards the hospital only to be stopped by yet another frog.

Ribbit. Ribbit.

"You should probably answer him soon." Shizune said, adjusting a sleeping TonTon in her arms. "Patients are getting weirded out by toads popping up in random places."

"There's nothing for me to say." Sakura replied.

She squatted down to accept a new note from the frog which promptly disappeared just like the one from before. As she had done with the previous note, she shoved it into her pocket without reading it.

"If there's nothing to say then tell him to stop." Tsunade grumbled, resting her cheek in her hand. "One of those little gremlins ended up in my coffee this morning. He's worse than Jiriya."

Sakura nodded. She really should confront Naruto about his persistent attempts to reach out to her. He thought he was being subtle with his approach but the man had no concept of what that word actually meant in practice.

"In any case, it's best to cut him loose now. He's got a line of fangirls a mile long being the savior of the village and all."

Sakura felt her ears prick up at Tsunade's words. Naruto had fangirls? Uzumaki Naruto? A man notorious for putting his shirt on backward in the morning and would lose his own head if it wasn't attached to his body?

"Oh don't act so surprised." Tsunade laughed. "As soon as the others catch wind that they have a chance, they'll take it. He'll get a big head I'm sure but maybe he'll mature with a girlfriend. Who knows."

"Naruto wouldn't know what to do with a girlfriend if he had one." Sakura snorted, crossing her arms over her chest indignantly. Tsunade rolled her eyes and got up from the park bench.

"Well, he's not getting much practice if he's chasing after you now is he?"

"Lady Tsunade!" Shizune hissed.

Sakura winced.

"I need a drink." The blonde sighed before reaching into her pocket and pulling out a familiar key. "Here. You did well today. After tomorrow you are off probation."

"Lady Tsunade." Sakura gasped as she barely caught the office key that her mentor tossed over her shoulder. "Thank you."

"Don't thank me. I expect to retire soon so I will work you even harder than before. Be ready." She said with a nonchalant shrug of her shoulders before her voice took on a more serious tone. "Oh and Sakura, tell Naruto to quit it with the apology toads or the next one I see will get smashed."


Naruto sighed as he dragged his tired body up the stairs to his apartment. The academy students always managed to wear him out, especially the class of the special cases. Surely he didn't have this much energy when he was their age? Still, as taxing as they were, he enjoyed popping in on their class from time to time when missions didn't call him elsewhere.

Yawning, the blonde unlocked the door to his apartment and reluctantly stepped inside. Once he'd crossed the threshold he was surprised to find that it wasn't empty. Instead, all of the lights had been turned on and the usual scattering of trash had been picked up off the floor.

"Hello?" Naruto called out as he stepped further into his tiny living room.

"In here!" a muffled but familiar voice shouted from his bedroom.

'Sakura!' he thought excitedly.

Had she finally accepted his apology? It only took a few steps for him to make his way over to his bedroom where he flung open the door. Sakura stood in front of his closet, eyeing a pair of pants that were much too small for him before shrugging and tossing the article over her shoulder. From there it landed on a rather sizable pile in the middle of his floor.

"Sakura…" he started hesitantly. If she was throwing his things like this perhaps she hadn't forgiven him. "What are you doing?"

"You don't get rid of anything." She said.

Naruto scratched the back of his head even more confused than before. Sure he didn't like throwing things away but you never know when something might come in handy! He winced as she pulled several torn mesh shirts off of their hangers and added them to the pile. Perhaps she really was still angry with him.

"Are you gonna just stand there or are you going to help me?" Sakura asked, tossing a green shirt in his face.


"What? No Sakura-chan?"

Although her tone was serious, when she turned around to face him she looked as if she was amused. If she was amused then that meant she wasn't angry. If she wasn't angry why was she throwing away his clothes?!

"Sakura…about before…I'm really so-" he started but the woman in question held up her hand and shook her head.

"I don't want to hear it." She said, turning away from him and the closet to where her bag sat on his desk.

She then unzipped the top and turned the bag over, its contents spilling out. Note after note fell unceremoniously to the floor and all of which appeared to be unopened. With a shake, the last note fell out of her bag and she placed the now empty item back onto the desk. Emerald eyes stared back at him from across the room, now unreadable even after all of the years he'd known her.

"I didn't read any of your notes." She said, tucking an errant lock of pink hair behind her ear. "That day when Sasuke- I mean I guess that was you- said that my forehead was cute…I was so happy. At the time I thought it was sincere-"

"I wasn't lying to you. I meant what I said!" Naruto interrupted.

He might not have been himself but his words, as clumsy and as cheesy as they were, were nothing short of the truth. Sakura blushed in response and nodded her head.

"I know."

"So then why?" he asked, blue eyes dropping to the pile of unread notes.

"Because I don't want you to apologize. If you meant what you said then you should stand by it." She said as she placed her hands determinedly on her hips. "Just next time when you do it you should say it with your own mouth instead of making me think you're someone you're not!"

Naruto blinked. Was she saying what he thought she was?

"So you're not angry?"


The blonde grinned and crossed the room to where his former teammate stood. She narrowed her eyes at his approach and crossed her arms over her chest.

"I'm still mad Naruto!"

"But you're not really mad." He said, stepping over the pile of clothes and then the pile of notes to reach her.

She began to back away from him, but his desk impeded her retreat. When he wrapped his arms around her she tried to push him away but her attempts were quite pathetic. This only emboldened him to hug her tighter because if she wanted to, she could have flung him into a wall by now. She didn't though.

"You sent too many frogs to the hospital." She grumbled albeit her words were distorted a bit by his chest.

"You didn't respond to my messages." He pouted.

How else was he supposed to talk to her when she refused to speak to him?

"You shouldn't use your summons like that. Next time don't use frogs."

Naruto pulled away from her slightly but she refused to look at him. A blush almost as bright as her hair flushed across her cheeks.

"Next time?" he asked and Sakura shrugged her shoulders.

"You're bound to make me angry again like with this apartment. Why do you have so much junk Naruto? You really need to clean this out. Half of this stuff doesn't even fit you anymore. How can you live like this geez?!"

Naruto only smiled and pulled away fully, allowing her to continue her verbal tirade to her heart's content. She was right though. Inevitably he would make her angry again.

Next time though he wouldn't use frogs.

Next time he'd use clones.

Next time…


"Divorce is not permitted."


"As matriarch, you have to keep up with all of the changes of the clan. Weddings and funerals. Births and deaths. Naming rites and coming of age ceremonies."


Sasuke rolled his eyes at the woman's lethargy. Nothing within the contract dissuaded her or perhaps she was too tired to care. She didn't have much of a say either way. If his parents were alive neither would he. The only way out of the contract was for the head of either clan to demand it void or for all parties involved to die. Being that Itachi was dead, the responsibility of marrying Hinata fell to him and the same fate would befall Hanabi should anything happen to Hinata. Seeing as how they were not living through a war, he doubted that Hinata would meet an untimely end.

A cool breeze drifted through the Uchiha district, ruffling the feathers of the crows that lazed around in the trees. Underneath one of the trees, Sasuke sat comfortably with his back resting against its rough bark. Hinata rested with her head on his lap. Her shoulders rose and fell steadily as he lulled her into what he suspected was a semi-slumber by running his fingers through her hair. She seemed to like it when he played in her hair which was convenient because he enjoyed touching it.

"It says here that you will have to give birth to no less than two children within the first five years." Sasuke scoffed, his free hand holding their aged contract only a few inches away from his nose. "That seems…excessive."

"Mmm." Hinata mumbled as she rolled over onto her back, her eyes still closed. "It's not unreasonable or impossible."

Sasuke scoffed and sat the scroll down into the grass. Not unreasonable his ass. He looked back down at Hinata who had finally opened her eyes and was surprised to find a look of mirth within them. Pink lips were upturned into a small smile, her eyes crinkled slightly with information that she wanted to divulge.

"Twins run in the family." She said and at that statement Sasuke nearly chocked but luckily he played it off as a small coughing fit.

"What?" he said between coughs.

Hinata nodded and sat up next to him.

"It tends to skip a generation. My father was a twin remember?"

He did. Absently he ran a hand through his dark hair and let out a slow breath. Twins. It was no guarantee but it could happen. He'd have to have more than one child to revive a clan anyway. A one-man clan did not last long. Sasuke glanced at Hinata out of the corner of his eye and noticed the worried look that replaced her smile.

"Are you upset?" she asked.

Taken aback? Yes. Slightly overwhelmed at the possibility? Yes. Upset? No. If anything having children with someone like Hinata would only strengthen the Uchiha line. Now that he thought about it she was the most viable option out of all the kunoichi in the village. Sasuke smirked and gently used his fingers to straighten Hinata's messy bangs over her forehead. His parents had chosen well. His small, nonverbal gesture of assurance caused the Hyuuga to blush and move away from him so she could fix her hair on her own. Sasuke watched her, slightly amused by how cute she was when she was embarrassed.

"Sasuke." She started, her blush deepening as she spoke. "How many children do you want?"

At her words, he felt his own face heat up and he looked away. He'd thought about reviving his clan as a child but never gave it too much thought. That goal had fallen to the wayside as he'd gotten older but now….. He chanced a glance at Hinata from the corner of his eye. She was a bit blurry of from this distance but what he'd seen of her so far, he liked.

Her trademark Hyuuga eyes were not as creepy as he'd thought they'd be, the undertone of lavender in them helped to soften her appearance. Her pale heart-shaped face was framed delicately by dark hair that he wasn't quite sure was black or blue. Perhaps when his vision was back to full capacity he'd be able to figure it out. Slowly his eyes trailed from her face down her slender next and towards a part of her body that made the blood in his veins simmer. His initial impression of Hinata had been correct. She was soft but in all of the ways that she was meant to be…

"Sasuke…Are you okay?" she asked as she leaned forward to press a hand against his burning forehead.

He wasn't okay.

This woman laid next to him every night and even blind he had a challenging time keeping his hands off of her. It was disturbing how easily his baser instincts overcame all of the decorum he'd drilled into himself over the years. He'd seen many women throughout his short life. Ones that were flat and those that could spare a meal or two and everything in between. He'd ignored all of them, never once settling his eyes long enough to decide if they were his type or not. He was even able to ignore Hinata to an extent but over time his hands lingered longer than they should have and his eyes drifted lower.

It was unsettling for him to be attracted to anyone in this way but it was necessary, wasn't it? Sasuke pushed that thought to the side as soon as it appeared. Being attracted to Hinata had no bearing upon his ability to revive his clan yet he was. Undeniably so. As much as he hated to admit it, even to himself, Naruto might have a point. He might-maybe- actually like her.

"Sasuke?" Hinata said again, her voice a bit more worried than before.


He certainly liked the way she said his name. Even when she wanted answers she was never demanding. The way his name passed through her lips felt as if it were meant to be that way. Sasuke blinked at his own train of thought and moved away from the Hyuuga's hand. Being outside for so long had him thinking crazy thoughts.

"Hinata-sama!" an unfamiliar voice called in the distance. "Hinata-sama!"

The woman in question tensed but didn't answer the voice that was calling out to her. Sasuke looked at her curiously but she refused to return his gaze. Instead, she pressed a soft kiss to his cheek before standing up. Her back rigid and her shoulders squared, she took a step forward in the direction of the voice.

"Where are you going?" Sasuke asked, his words spilling out before he had a chance to stop them.

Hinata looked over her shoulder at him and although at this distance she was blurry, he knew she was smiling.

"I'll be back soon."

With that, she left and in her place, a chill set in.


"Nee-chan it's me!" Hanabi shouted at the door before her.

She'd been knocking for the last ten minutes at least but no one had come to answer the door. While the Uchiha District was creepily empty she knew that its sole member and head was at home. The Anbu staring at her from the roof told her that much. Why wasn't her sister answering the door? It was only just after sunset so she should be home! Taking a deep breath she raised her fist to knock on the door again only to have it yanked open.

"Hina-where is my sister?" Hanabi demand upon seeing that the Uchiha was the one who answered the door. Before he could open his mouth to answer she pushed her way into the dimly lit house. "Hinata!"

"Stop yelling." The Uchiha grumbled, leaning against the open doorway with his arms crossed over his chest.

Hanabi whirled around on her heel and glared at the man. How could he act so calm at a time like this? It had taken her a few days of snooping to figure out what her father had been planning. Most of the branch members were ignorant of what was going on under their very noses but she knew that something was off. It was only when she saw the dojo being prepped for the sealing ceremony less than half an hour ago that she finally put all of the pieces together. They were going to seal her sister. They were going to seal her. How could her father do something like this? What was the point of tying Hinata to this loathsome man if he was just going to seal her in the end?! Hanabi felt her nails dig into the fleshy parts of her palms as she tried her best to keep her composure.

"Where is my sister?" she asked through clenched teeth as politely as she could. Dark eyes narrowed suspiciously at her and he took a step forward.

"You of all people should know where she is." He said evenly.

"What are you talking about?"

"Hn. One of your clansmen came by to collect her earlier."

Hanabi felt her suspicion of the Uchiha drain away and was quickly replaced with panic. No. This was not happening. Sasuke took another step towards her but she ignored him and began to pace back and forth. It was the only thing she could do to keep her mind from running away from her.

"What is going on?" Sasuke asked.

The teen glanced at him as she continued to pace. Did he really not know what was going on?

'Dammit!' Hanabi mentally cursed. 'It is just like her to suffer in silence! How can she be so stupid?'

"How long has Hinata been gone?" she asked.

"Twelve minutes, forty-three seconds." He replied flatly, his answer was enough to make Hanabi stop in her tracks and turn to face him fully.

"You keep an exact log for how long she's away?"

The Uchiha didn't reply but Hanabi continued to eye him curiously. The fact that he kept such a close watch on Hinata's coming and goings took off a lot of the apprehension she had about him. This man was a liar and a traitor but he was also just plain…weird. Brushing that analysis aside she shook her head and made her way to the door. If Hinata had only been gone for twelve minutes that meant that she had to have passed her on the way here. How had she missed her? Had she been so distracted in her panic that she hadn't noticed? Just as she was about to walk out, Sasuke caught her upper arm in a near vice grip.

"What happened?" he asked- or more like demanded.

Hanabi raised an eyebrow at him and jerked her arm hard out of his grasp. This jerk wasn't actually worried about her sister…was he? Narrowing her eyes, she took a bold step towards him. He had no right to be worried about Hinata. It was his fault that she was in this predicament in the first place. All of this was his fault!

"The elders do not find you to be trustworthy." She said, her voice cold and firm as she kept eye contact with the man before her. "Hinata is collateral. I don't know why but they are going to seal her."

Turning away from the Uchiha, she quickly made her way down the steps of the front porch to the main gate. She'd spent far too long with the Uchiha. If she was fast enough she might be able to stop Hinata before she reached the compound. If not….

Hanabi shook her head. She couldn't think about that right now. Doubts would only slow her down. Just as she passed through the main gate, a distinct crunching of gravel joined her own before overtaking her completely. She stared, mouth slightly agape at the dark blur that whizzed past her.

'This man.' Hanabi thought as she pressed her lips together in a tight line and picked up her own pace.

She had many assumptions about who Uchiha Sasuke was as a man. She would never trust him farther than she could throw him. He was stronger than he looked and would flatten the village if he felt so inclined. However, never in a million years would she have ever assumed that he cared about anyone other than himself.


Hinata sat with her back rigid and legs tucked carefully underneath her. As with the day that she found out about the marriage contract her father and the elders were seated in a semi-circle in front of her. This time, however, there was no space saved for the Hokage. This was not a situation that outsiders were meant to be privy to. Not even the Hokage.

"Hyuuga Hinata." The elder immediately to her father's right said, reading from a scroll that had been passed down through their clan for more generations than she could fathom. "Daughter of Hyuuga Hiashi and Hyuuga Hikari. Is the woman sitting before us who she says she is?"

"I am." Hinata said, proud of the fact that her voice didn't waver.

Her father nodded his head to confirm that she was who she said she was. It felt a bit silly having to prove her identity herself but this was usually done for branch children whose parents would speak on their behalf.

"Do you accept the marking of this seal and the terms with which you have agreed to comply?"

Hinata swallowed and nodded her head.


"Disobedience and noncompliance could mean death. Do you understand?"

"I do."

She knew what she was getting herself into. The elder's words did not sway her will. If it was a choice between her and Sasuke being sealed she would step in every time. He'd made so much progress over the last five months that they'd spent together. He trusted her as much as he could allow himself to. Allowing her family to seal him out of their own fear would break whatever was left of the man he was trying to become. He trusted her and she trusted him. He would not betray the village. He would not harm her clan. However, her words alone were not enough to prove this.

Behind her, the shoji door to the dojo slid open and a branch member carefully made their way to the center of the room with a tray in their hands. When they set the tray down on the tatami next to her, Hinata glanced at the setting. Only a single porcelain cup sat upon it. Clear liquid sat inside of the cup. She'd never tried it before but she knew it to be tasteless and of course, it held no odor. All the easier for children to drink it. Steeling her nerves, she reached for the cup and slowly brought it up to her lips.

She was only three years old when Neji was branded. She didn't have a care in the world at that time and yet such a weight had been placed on his young shoulders. Did he understand what was happening at the time? Was he afraid? At least right now she had a choice…something he never got to have. She didn't regret her choice even though she knew that her cousin would find it loathsome. The only thing that bothered her was the fact that she hadn't told Sasuke.

'Sasuke.' She thought. 'I told him that I'd be back soon but I won't get back till morning.'

Closing her eyes, she downed the saucer in one go before placing it back on the tray.

'Please don't be mad.'

As she inhaled deeply she could already begin to feel the effects of the drink she'd been given. Her muscles slowly relaxed themselves and her heart that had been beating loudly in her ears began to slow. Her father and two of the elders stood up from there seats and approached her silently.

"Close your eyes Hinata." Her father said.

She didn't need to be told to do so. Her eyes were already closing on their own. It was still nice of her father to say so. In this state, his voice was distant but it sounded almost…comforting. Her father's warm hand rest on her forehead for only a moment before the muffled sounds of a scuffle reached the ears of the dojo's occupants. The shoji door slid open with a loud crack and the warmth of her father's hand left her.

"Sasuke?" her father said, mildly alarmed by the intrusion.

'Sasuke?' Hinata thought as she forced her heavy eyelids to open.

"What is the meaning of this?"

Hinata blinked at the alarmed elders, all of whom were now standing. She tried to turn around to see what was going on behind her but her muscles refused to move.

"Hinata-nee-chan!" Hanabi cried out, small footsteps scrambling over the tatami to meet her.

"Ha…na…bi?" Hinata said.

Her brows knitted together in frustration at the sound of her own voice, her tongue now too thick for her mouth.

"Uchiha what is the meaning of this?"

"Hanabi you dare to bring him here?"

What were they doing here? Why? The commotion of the elders and Hanabi's angry rebuttals all melded together in an incoherent mess of noise. She could barely keep her eyes open let alone make out what her clan was yelling. However, the room fell silent when her father raised his hand.

"What is your business before the Hyuuga clan?" he asked, his voice surprisingly calm and smooth in spite of the tension in the room.

There were also three or four of him swimming in and out of her line of vision.

"As head of the Uchiha and sole clan member, I declare this contract void." Sasuke said.

Void? Was she hearing him correctly?

She didn't have much time to parse out the meaning of his words before a scroll was tossed in front of her.

'The marriage contract.' Hinata thought as her body finally relinquished its ability to hold her upright.

She barely felt her body hit the floor or the yelling that commenced soon after. In the blink of an eye, the scroll in front of her was engulfed in flames, scorching the tatami beneath it.

The End

Continued in Being an Uchiha (Sequel Release Date: 7/19/2018)