So first off, y'all should know that this story did NOT belong to me. The original author is Esus927, but they have not updated this story in over ten years and I didn't want the story to be forgotten.
Now, I HAVE sent them a PM requesting permission to adopt this from them, but after over a month of waiting and getting no reply from them, I figured that it was alright to just move forward with posting it. If they tell me to take it down, I will let you Readers know and then delete it after a couple days.
That is my promise to them if they wish.
Bear in mind that this chapter will be all three of their posted chapters squeezed together into one; but with some edits and changes from yours truly. This way you, my lovely Readers, can get it all in one setting.
Disclaimer: I, Raymond Smith (aka pain17ification), own nothing
Perceived Possession (Remake)
Chapter One: Getting Acquainted
Standing a few meters apart inside a wide room was a small girl and an older man. The girl, Hanabi Hyuuga, stood around four feet tall with brown hair and pupil-less eyes wearing an emotionally composed face. She was panting slightly from recent exertion, a sheen of sweat coating her brow. The middle-aged man was Hiashi Hyuuga, the girl's father and the Head of the Hyuuga Clan. He had dark colored hair, similar eyes as the girl, and had a strong, impressive build. He looked as noble and as composed as always.
"Father," she questioned him as she regained her breath, "how is my training going in comparison to sister?"
The small girl always compared herself to her older sister of five years. Even though the younger Hanabi came out the better performer, she always had less to show for it.
"You are adequate," was his reply. It was the closest thing to a compliment that the stern father would ever bestow on anyone. But it wasn't enough for Hanabi.
She wanted more.
"Would I make a better heiress than Hinata?"
A gleam of hope and envy could be seen in the young brunette girl's eyes. She wanted to finally get an advantage over her sister.
"Hinata is the eldest and heir. No matter how embarrassing she may be, I will not have you questioning this," Hiashi stated sternly. His face was impassive and apathetic, not showing even a hint of remorse at scolding his youngest daughter nor insulting his eldest. "Our training is concluded for the day. I have other duties to attend to today and tomorrow, so I will send for someone at my next opportunity to train you."
Hanabi watched him walk out of the training room with brief flash of resentment. Her father may have spent much more time training her than Hinata, but the time they spent together was more out of duty than any semblance of family bonding. It didn't fill the hole in her chest that made itself known each and every time the young brunette witnessed one of her cousins being hugged or comforted by their parent.
Seeing that there was nobody else in the room with her, she decided to take her anger out on the nearest training pole.
Blinking away from the memory, the now seven-year-old Hanabi returned herself to her origami. It was a hobby she had originally taken up to help with finger dexterity. However, she practiced the art more often for its meditative and therapeutic properties. It had become something to take her mind off her solitary existence.
The sound of angered footsteps pulled the young girl from her careful and measured folding.
"He's such a pain. And this damn seal makes me wanna-!" a young woman was heard complaining before she was cut-off quickly.
"Shh! Keep your voice down!" The other woman – both Branch members Hanabi noted – had the sense to lower her voice.
Hanabi was about to comment on their lack of decorum. Apparently neither of the women noticed the Clan Head's youngest daughter quietly seated near the corner of the sitting room. She stopped herself when she heard her father's name mentioned.
"Look, I know Lord Hiashi is a pain, but we have to deal with him. He's our Head and all we can do is hope for Lady Hinata to take over soon. She's such a kind-hearted girl, and she'll be much more pleasant to serve."
Hanabi's hands clenched themselves into small fists. 'Always her…'
"I wish his wife was still around," the woman continued somberly. "He was such a different person then. He actually cared for and was willing to express his love to Lady Hinata and Lady Taira. Such a shame Lady Hanabi never had the chance to know them when her mother was alive. He didn't start getting bad until Hinata was kidnapped, and he only got worse when Lady Taira died giving birth to Hanabi…"
The seven-year-old could hardly wrap her mind around that thought as the gossiping Branch girls' voices faded into the background.
'He was caring toward sister and Mother… Why doesn't he seem to care for me? Those girls said he changed after Hinata was kidnapped. When did that happen, and why did he become so cold afterwards? Am I undeserving of his love?'
She contemplated it for a few moments before angrily shaking her head.
'No! If anything, I'm more deserving than Hinata. She must have done something to cause him to be distant. She stole my father's love before I even had a chance to receive and appreciate it!'
The young girl, far too mature and jaded for her age, stood angrily. Her nearly completed origami crane was long forgotten on the desk, and the movement attracted the attention of both Branch House women.
"Lady Hanabi!" the first squeaked out, her expression one of panic. "I-I…! We didn't know you were there! We were just discussing…uh…a book I had read!"
The small brunette girl ignored any stuttered apologies and pleading, simply walking out of the room. Hanabi didn't care for whatever they were talking about or doing anymore. All she cared about was the thought that Hinata had gotten herself kidnapped at some point, and that had started the change in her father from a loving man to a cold, unemotional shell of a man.
Her legs seemed to have a destination of their own while Hanabi was feeling the most intense surge of jealousy she had ever experienced. She resented her father's lack of compassion toward his youngest daughter, and she was bitter over the fact that she would never know her mother's love. Most of all, she was envious that Hinata knew and had memories of both of those things.
She came to stop outside a white door – briefly pausing to check the hallway – and opened the door only after ensuring no one would see her enter Hinata's bedroom.
Her older sister's room wasn't any larger than her own. The walls were painted differently though, and Hinata seemed to favor lavender and cerulean colored walls with an off-white ceiling. The desk had a few pieces of paper that Hinata seemed to be practicing her kanji on. The dresser was clean other than a few knick-knacks.
With her older sister at the academy Hanabi couldn't take her frustrations out on Hinata; so, the younger girl made do with glaring at the contents of Hinata's room.
Glaring at inanimate objects wasn't as satisfying as sparring against the elder Hyuuga girl. As Hanabi was about to leave the room she noticed a purple leather book peeking out from under one of the pillows. Curiosity getting the better of her, Hanabi snatched the book and immediately rolled her eyes.
The cover of the book had little stickers of bowls of ramen sprinkled all over it.
'How immature… And this person is supposed to lead the influential Hyuuga clan?' she thought with a dull expression as she moved to flip open the book.
To her interest, she discovered that it was a diary; Hinata's diary.
Glancing at the first couple of pages rewarded nothing interesting. They described basic insecurities Hanabi was already aware her older sister had. The next few pages were equally as dull with Hinata rambling on about whatever nonsensical thing happened on that day. The young girl was about to close the book and exit the room, but she stopped herself when she noticed a particular entry.
'Naruto-kun talked to me today! I'm not sure what he said, because I was too busy staring at him to pay attention. As I was working up the courage to ask him to repeat what he said, it happened again. That pink-haired, man-stealing bitch Haruno bumped into Naruto-kun, pushing him closer to me, as she was walking by.
I tried, I desperately tried, to control myself; but with him so close to me, I couldn't help myself. I fainted.
One of these days, Naruto-kun, I'll overcome my shyness. Then I'll talk to you and confess my feelings for you. You will, of course, tell me that your crush on that pink-haired gorilla was a lie to give yourself time to come to terms with your feelings of love to me. Then we'll get married.'
Hanabi was more than a little surprised her kind-hearted and gentle sister would call anyone names with such colorful vocabulary; even in the privacy of her diary. She banished that shock quickly though and replaced it with bitter jealousy.
'Another thing you have that I don't, Hinata. You were born the heiress, you were loved by Father when he was a better parent, you knew and were loved by Mother, and now you have someone you want to spend your life with.'
After a moment, a small smirk formed on her face.
'Well…you don't have him yet, do you sister?'
The young girl flipped back to the first page of the diary as she began combing the entire contents of the book for more information on this "Naruto-kun".
According to her older sister, his name was Naruto Uzumaki, and he was the same age as Hinata – twelve. The Hyuuga heiress physically described him with hair as bright and golden blond as the shining sun, blue eyes deeper than the ocean, cute whisker marks on his cheeks, and a beautiful smile that could cause [her] heart to beat faster than ever before.
Hanabi conceded that the picture her sister painted was attractive. Naruto's personality was portrayed as loud and out-going, being very expressive of his emotions. That also caught her attention. Perhaps this boy could supply the happy feelings her family always failed to give her.
The negatives for him, from what Hanabi could discern from the book, were his desire to prank people, an obsession with orange, and that the boy seemed to survive on ramen. The wardrobe was easily dealt with. She was also confident she could easily intimidate him into eating more properly.
'He's only a commoner after all. I will glare at him while ordering him to wear different clothing and eat healthier,' she internally mused.
However, the pranking would be harder to deal with. She would need to give him focus.
'He wants to be the Hokage… I can likely manipulate him by using that as a goal to convince him to be more serious in his studies and training. Whether I am chosen as the future Clan Head or not, I can at least ensure that I have one thing Hinata does not. And being the wife of the future Hokage wouldn't be too bad of an alternative.' The young girl finished her thought with a vindictive smile; confident that she would take at least one thing away from her older sister.
Placing the diary back the way she had found it before, she left the room to mentally plan out tomorrow's events.
Hanabi watched from the shade of a tree as the Ninja Academy let out for the day. She could see dozens of children ranging from eight to twelve years of age walking out the doors of the building. From what the seven-year-old girl could remember, the academy was in its fourth of an eight-month term.
She took notice of her older sister, Hinata, being escorted away by a female Chunin with messy black hair and oddly red colored eyes. Hanabi turned back to the doors, waiting for a specific student.
Minutes after the last kid walked away, she still hadn't spotted her target. It wasn't until ten minutes later that she spotted the boy.
'Golden blond hair – check. Blue eyes – check. Whisker marks on his cheeks – check. Obscene amounts of orange clothing – ugh, check.'
With her mental checklist finished she made her way toward the boy with small, determined steps.
The boy in question was walking the other way with at a brisk pace, never taking notice of the small girl following him and silently trying to catch his attention. Within minutes he seemed to arrive at his destination.
Hanabi was becoming extremely agitated as she tried to catch the blond boy's attention in a way that would be somewhat dignified. She settled for moving her tiny legs faster in order to try to catch up to the boy. By the time she nearly caught him he stepped inside a small food stand, which made her show a deadpan expression.
'I really should have expected this considering what I read in Hinata's diary.'
The young brunette girl paused outside Ichiraku's Ramen stand for a moment, collecting herself before stepping inside. Her eyes immediately locked onto her reason for being here. She calmly, with all the composure she could muster, moved to stand a few feet away from him. While waiting for him to take notice of her, Hanabi couldn't help but be disgusted by his eating habits.
'He eats like a starved animal… Perhaps I will need to put a lot of work into him. Well, the reward should make all the effort worth it.'
The girl, growing tired of being unintentionally dismissed, coughed slightly.
"You are Naruto Uzumaki, correct?"
Naruto stopped consuming his third bowl as he turned to answer the little girl talking to him. "You bet I am! Naruto Uzumaki, future Hokage! Hey, you have strange eyes like that weird girl in my class."
'Maybe I underestimated just how much work I would need to put in,' Hanabi thought with a sigh.
The boy had no tact to speak of.
"I am Hanabi Hyuuga. I assume that you're referring to my older sister, Hinata." The young girl took a moment before moving to put the start of her plan into motion. "I have heard of your dreams to become the Hokage and I would like to aid you on your journey. May I take a seat?"
Naruto blinked in surprise since most people just laughed when he told them his dream.
"Uh, yeah, sure," he replied a bit awkwardly.
"Thank you." After sitting on the stool next to him she continued, "Now, you wish to become to Hokage. That is a very lofty goal for anyone to have. As someone who doesn't come from a clan, I'm sure you already know how immensely difficult it will be for you to achieve your dream. Frankly, I say that you will need assistance. So, I would like to offer you a trade."
"How can you help me? You're just a little girl," Naruto questioned with a slight tilt of his head.
Hanabi bristled at the slight insult but quenched that anger quickly. To be fair, it was a reasonable concern.
"I am the second heir of the Hyuuga Clan. We are the most powerful and influential clan of the Hidden Leaf. I'm unsure whether you're aware of what you need to attain the position of Hokage or not, but it takes far more than brute strength to achieve the position. You must also have the support of the councilmen and the general public. You will also need to know how to act appropriately in public. Social etiquette-"
"Social what now?"
While a bit put-off at being interrupted, she clarified, "How to act and speak in public and social situations, along with how to properly eat when you have company or are a guest. Being a Hokage means you will be the public face of the village, and if you act like an uncivilized animal, then it is what the other villages will see when the think of the Hidden Leaf."
"And you think you can help me?" the Uzumaki questioned.
"Yes," the young Hyuuga replied without missing a beat.
"What do you get out of this?" Naruto's words were laced with suspicion. "People don't like to help me; especially those from the clans."
Hanabi was expecting that question but she wasn't prepared to answer it in such a public place.
"That…is something we will need to speak about in private," she reluctantly answered before gaining her composure and getting off the stool. "Follow me, please."
She turned and made her way toward the exit. Only then did she notice the blank stare coming from the still seated Naruto.
"I said follow me."
"I'm not leaving my ramen."
"Your food is more important than this discussion that will help you realize your lifelong dream of being Hokage?" Hanabi allowed her apathetic emotional mask to crack, revealing a bit of disbelief.
"Not food," Naruto corrected. "Ramen."
"You've eaten over three bowls in the time I've been here. Surely, you have had enough."
"I normally have over ten bowls before I leave, Hanabi-chan." The young girl flushed slightly at the rather familiar way he addressed her. "You'll have to wait."
"Look," she ground out, her frustration mounting, "just bring your food- I mean, your ramen with us."
It took a few more minutes of arguing before they both exited the stand, with Naruto carrying a few take-out containers of ramen. Hanabi led him in the direction of a training ground she often went to when she needed to take a break from her clan. Once they arrived the girl took a formal seat on her knees as she motioned for Naruto to sit across from her.
The boy immediately began digging into one of the ramen containers. While a bit bothered that he wouldn't be giving her his full attention, she pressed forward.
"I would like…" Hanabi paused and looked down at the grass between them both in shame. "I would like you to be my friend."
She knew she couldn't just demand he promise himself to her, since it would take time for her to win him away from her older sister. Even though the young girl had a long-term goal involving Naruto, she was still embarrassed to have to ask someone to be her friend. Hanabi had spoken to and interacted with many people from her clan, but they only saw the daughter of the Clan Head.
The brunette felt a hand under her small chin tilt her head up. She was greeted with a large smile on Naruto's face, one that brought a small smile to her face as well. Absently, she agreed with Hinata's diary and its description of the blonde's smile.
"I'd be your friend anyways, Hanabi-chan," he said plainly, and she blushed slightly again. "But if that's what you want, then I'll be the best friend you will ever have."
Hanabi forced her blush away while taking note of the empty ramen containers. She could immediately deal with one problem this day, hopefully.
"Naruto-san, why do-?" she started to ask, but was interrupted.
"Naruto or Naruto-kun," Naruto stated. "Friends don't address one other with -san."
"Very well, Naruto. Why do you wear such bright clothing?" She made a motion with her hand indicating the blue, white, and orange monstrosity that was his jumpsuit.
He blushed slightly out of embarrassment while scratching the back of his head.
"Well, uh… It helps people notice me. A lot of people ignore me, and I want people to see me and pay attention to me."
Hanabi had noticed this while she escorted Naruto away from Ichiraku's. Most people looked the other way purposefully; though, some had been noticed staring disdainfully at the blond.
'This is likely the real reason he wishes to become the Hokage, to be looked at with respect and awe. Not the most altruistic of reasons, but then again, I'm doing this for selfish reasons; so, I don't have any room to speak.'
Ignoring the irony, Hanabi continued.
"Naruto, you must learn that there is a large difference between positive attention and negative attention. Going out of your way to be obnoxious to gain attention may work in the short-term, but you have to be aware of the long-term ramifications."
"Huh?" Naruto appeared more than a little confused.
"What I mean is that while you may get people to look at you today by wearing orange and speaking loudly, this will cause people to see you in a bad light in the future. Years into the future, people will still remember you wearing orange, playing pranks to annoy people, yelling loudly at them, and generally acting like a pest."
She forced a small smile at the end to soften the blow before moving on. Thankfully, while he looked a bit hurt, he was still paying attention.
"If you want to be the Hokage you have to start planning for the future. It is a long road you have to travel to get to that point and it starts before you even become a Genin." She paused to make sure he was keeping up with her. "So, you will need to work on your image and how people view you. Do you understand?"
"I think so…" He seemed reluctant for a moment before adding to that, "So, I should stop playing pranks and wearing orange?"
"I'm not telling you to change who you are, but to pay more attention to how everyone sees you. If you enjoy…playing pranks, then you should continue to do so." She was careful, she didn't want to change him completely or too rapidly and cause him to resent her later. "You should just tone it down and target only those that you feel deserve it. People who mistreat you, for example."
"Ah, I get you. I don't really want to get rid of the orange though. I really like it, ttebayo."
She fought a snort at his verbal quirk, but she allowed herself to smile. Hinata's diary made no mention of that, and it was admittedly cute. "Then you should keep some orange, but you should go with darker colors. Browns, blacks, dark greens; colors that will blend in with your surroundings."
"Does this fit in with the how people see me thing?"
"Yes," she answered with a more pronounced smile, pleased that he was getting it. "People must learn to respect you before you gain a position of leadership, and it would be hard to gain that respect if you dress like a kid instead of a ninja."
"I don't…" he looked down in embarrassment before forcing out the rest of his words. "I don't have any money for new clothes this month, but I'll probably have enough next month when I get my check."
"Well, I can purchase them for you. After all, my clan is extremely wealthy."
"No! I couldn't let you do that; it wouldn't be right," Naruto immediately shot down.
Hanabi thought quickly on a way to compel him, not wanting to lose the ground she had gained.
"Naruto, we're friends, correct?" she inquired with a sly tone.
"Well, yeah…" Naruto answered with a blink, slightly confused at why she was asking.
"And friends do nice things for each other, correct?" she continued.
"Yeah…" he replied, feeling like he was being led on.
"Then you will let me buy you new clothes," Hanabi finished with a firm nod before masking her face with obvious depression. "Unless… Unless you don't consider yourself my friend…?"
"No! I do!" Naruto jumped to his feet and quickly reassured her. "It's just-! I don't think-! Ugh! Fine, you can buy me clothes! Just stop being so sad! I don't like seeing my friends sad…"
She brightened up noticeably which caused him to let out a relieved sigh. While Hanabi felt slightly guilty at manipulating him, she pushed it aside quickly. 'This will also help him be a better person, so it's not like I'm hurting him.'
An hour later her companion had tossed away his old, bright jumpsuit in exchange for something much more presentable. A black zip-up ninja vest that covered a dark orange, short-sleeved shirt, and basic black ninja pants. His blue sandals had also been swapped for a black pair.
As they walked away from the clothing store, he spoke softly, "Hanabi-chan, I…" Naruto scratched the back of his head with a slight blush. "I want to thank you."
Hanabi could hear the sincerity of his words, and she gave him her full attention.
"No one has ever done something like this for me before, other than the Old Man…"
Before she could react or ask about this Old Man, Naruto had crossed the small distance between them and enveloped her in a warm embrace. Hanabi stiffened in surprise before, after a couple moments, tightly wrapping her arms around his midsection and burying her face into his chest. Tears poured out of her eyes slowly as she choked out a sob, causing Naruto to attempt to pull away. She wouldn't let him break the embrace though, tightening her hold on him so that she could savor the warm feeling.
"Hanabi-chan, why are you crying? Did I do something wrong?"
"No, it's just…" She finally pulled back slightly so that she could look him in the eye, a small smile on her face despite her tears. "It's just this is the first time I can remember being hugged."
"But… But what about your parents?" Naruto asked with the shock apparent on his face.
"My mother died when I was born and…" She was reluctant to openly admit the next fact, but she felt compelled to get it off her chest. "And my father is not a loving man… I see him for training and formal functions, but those are the only times I see him."
Hanabi turned her head down slightly in shame.
"Hanabi, look at me." She peered up at him, partially out of shock that he didn't call her Hanabi-chan. He gave her a small smile and stated, "If you ever want a hug, I want you to come to me. Okay?"
"Really?" And for the first time that day, Naruto was able to see the insecure seven-year-old girl that she hid behind her apathetic mask.
'She has one too…' he mused, saddened that someone younger than him had to put up a front to hide her true feelings.
He had worn a mask for a long time, so he knew how hard it was to keep it from cracking.
"I mean it. I promise I'll always be there for you, and I never break a promise!" His small smile widened to a full foxy grin as he pulled her into another hug.
Hanabi enjoyed the moment for a few more seconds before reluctantly pulling away. She wiped away any remaining tears before regaining her previous composure.
"Thank you, Naruto-kun." He smiled at the added honorific causing her to blush lightly. "I need to return to the clan compound. I'm not sure when I'll be able to see you again, but I'll meet you outside the academy when I can."
"Looking forward to it, Hanabi-chan," he bid before the two went their separate ways.
"So… I'm supposed to walk up the tree?" Naruto's skepticism was easy to hear. "And this is supposed to help my control so I can make a Clone?"
"Yes. You coat the soles of your feet with a small amount of chakra, allowing them to stick to the surface of whatever you're walking on at that moment." Hanabi paused for a moment before adding to that, "Or if not your feet, then whatever you currently need to affix to the surface. For example, if you wanted to hide in the shadows of a dark corner, you could coat your back with chakra and literally stick yourself to the wall."
"Chakra can do that?" he questioned. He still didn't look convinced.
"Chakra can do many things that normally wouldn't be possible. It isn't only used to create genjutsu and ninjutsu. Surely you have seen ninja in the village running up the sides of buildings and jumping across rooftops."
"Well, yeah…" Naruto admitted. "But I always thought they just moved their legs so quick they were able to run up the walls. I didn't know about the chakra sticking thing."
Hanabi nodded in acknowledgement, understanding his assumption, before moving back to the actual training.
"Now, you must learn the proper amount of chakra to use. Use too much and it will cause a backfire, throwing you away from the surface you're trying to adhere to. However, use too little and it won't be enough to withstand your weight and you will slip off."
She briefly glanced at him to ensure he was keeping up with her explanation. In the past three weeks since she had first met him, she found Naruto to be a quick learner. His naivety and ignorance caused him many problems and misunderstandings, which led to most people thinking ill of his intelligence.
"Many people believe the best way to perform this training exercise would be to run up the tree and mark the highest point you reach with a kunai; but I believe this to be counter-productive." She made a hand motion indicating for him to come to the tree she was standing next to. "The goal of the Surface Climbing Exercise is not to reach the top of the tree, but to learn how to properly adhere yourself to a solid vertical surface and to assist in learning to control your chakra. Now, I'm going to demonstrate for you before I want you to try. Watch carefully."
Naruto blinked in surprise as the smaller girl calmly placed one leg on the tree and began walking up the surface. She stopped halfway up the tree and turned before walking back down.
"Wow, that was amazing Hanabi-chan!" Naruto praised as he gave her a wide smile.
His enthusiastic compliments never failed to cause her to feel good inside. Thankfully for her, she was getting much better at concealing her blush over the past few weeks. It was a large adjustment for her, since she wasn't used to people giving positive reinforcement of her abilities and skill level.
The best her father or Clan Elders would ever give her was adequate.
"Now," she started while taming the smile that threatened to show from his praise. "You couldn't actually see it without the use of a bloodline like my Byakugan, but I used a small amount of chakra to stick to the tree as I climbed. What you also didn't see was me reinforce my body with a very small amount of chakra to counter the gravity that would have attempted to pull down my upper body. When you first start this training, you will have to be consciously be aware of this. However, after a while, your body will learn to instinctively counter gravity's pull no matter the angle of the surface you're standing on."
She took a moment to let him absorb what she was saying. When he nodded, she continued.
"This is another reason why I believe you should slowly walk up the tree. If you were to run, you wouldn't get the full benefit of this body conditioning. Now, I want you to try."
Hanabi watched him reluctantly approach the tree and stare down at his right foot as he placed it flush against the tree. Naruto's leg immediately recoiled away as he was propelled to the ground.
"Damn it!" he cursed loudly and grimaced as he stood up and dusted himself off. "Guess I used too much, huh?"
"It does appear that way," she agreed. "Try again. You already know you need to create a Clone for the Genin Test, which is a little more than three months away. So, you'll need to be able to do this."
The girl watched him approach the tree again, much more determined this time. Instead of repelling away like last time his foot slipped before he could even begin to raise his other leg.
"So, once I can work out the correct amount to do this," Naruto spoke while he continued to attempt the exercise, "I should be able to create a Clone?"
"To be honest, I'm not sure." Hanabi was slightly uncertain as she expressed the reason for her confusion. "Your chakra coils are unlike any I have ever seen before. You seem to have a secondary chakra coil system made of red chakra. This is oddly unusual, since you should only have the normal blue colored system. This Surface Climbing exercise will help with your overall control of chakra. So even if it doesn't allow you to form a Clone, you will still greatly benefit from this exercise. Power is nothing without control," she quoted as she watched him fall from the tree a few feet above the ground.
She grimaced at the landing and at his colorful language; something else she'll need to work on for his public interactions.
"If this becomes a serious issue, perhaps I could seal a large amount of your chakra coils to make it easier to perform the chakra requirement Clone Jutsu the day of the test?" she offered. "But for now, don't worry too much about the future and concentrate on this activity. We'll deal with any problems as they come."
She watched him struggle to find the exact amount needed to properly stick as she drifted back to a conversation that they had two weeks ago.
Hanabi was indulging in her most recent, and most disgusting, way to spend time with Naruto: watching the blond gorge out on an unhealthy amount of noodles, broth, diced meat, and vegetables.
This was the third time she sought out the boy and each time involved Hanabi forcibly preventing herself from regurgitating at the scene. It was becoming too much for her.
"Is this the only thing you eat?" She grimaced slightly as a few noodles fell from his mouth and into his lap. "It cannot be healthy."
"Huh? Oh, no. I eat other stuff." He placed the bowl on the table before grabbing any stray noodles from his lap and eating them, never taking notice of the sickened expression on his companion's face. "I don't eat ramen for breakfast or dinner. Mainly cereal in the morning and whatever I have available for dinner at my apartment."
He stopped for a moment, looking in the direction of the father-daughter team that owned and worked the Ichiraku Ramen stand. He had a small smile and an almost loving expression on his face as he stared at them.
"It's just…" He placed his hands on the table and began drawing random figures with his fingers, a small look of shame on his face. "It's just that this is the only place that would serve me when I was little. I don't know why, but other places treated me weird when I tried eating there. They wouldn't throw me out or anything like that, but they would make me uncomfortable. Like…they would stare at me, as if they were waiting for me to do something wrong. Or they would serve me the wrong things on purpose. This was the only place that treated me normal. So, I come here so much because I want to repay them, y'know?"
Naruto stopped playing with the table and looked at her with unshed tears.
"This place doesn't get a lot of business, so I try to help them out to show how much those few acts of kindness meant to me. It's not much, but it's the best I can do right now."
Hanabi didn't really understand. She had never genuinely cared for someone else or placed herself in their situation to try to understand their problems. She brushed the feeling of concern away before getting back to her original reason for the topic.
"Then why do you eat like an animal?" She pointed at the broth that pooled around his bowl. "Didn't your parents teach you anything? I don't see how they could be proud of you acting like this in public. Don't you have any dignity?"
Only then did she notice the anger and hurt that marred the blond boy's face, and she knew she had made a grave error.
"Maybe because I didn't have anyone to teach me. You ever consider that?!"
He jumped to his feet and stared down at the girl while slamming a fist on the table.
"Maybe because there were no parents to teach me stuff. Maybe I eat like an animal, as you say, because I had to learn to live like one. I thought-!"
His breath caught in his throat before he finished.
"I thought you were different… I thought you might not judge me like everyone else - seeing only the worst. But I guess I was wrong… Goodbye Hanabi."
He turned and almost ran out of the stand, a few tears burning their way down his cheeks.
Hanabi was left shocked, more than she had ever been before. No one had ever yelled at her, not even her father. And she had never felt so horrible in her life. She knew her life was privileged, that she had it better off than most. But she just didn't care about anyone else. However, she assumed everybody had at least one person to teach them the most basic of life skills.
A voice brought her out of her thoughts.
"I can't ban you from this restaurant because of who you are, Lady Hyuuga," the old man that ran the stand firmly stated.
Teuchi, she remembered Naruto said was his name.
"But I can ask you to leave. Please, don't cause any more problems," he requested, though she couldn't help feeling like it was an order.
The small girl nodded absentmindedly and walked out, still worried about whether she had destroyed any chances of a friendship with Naruto.
She was new to having a friend, but she was sure that if she went home and tried to solve the problem another day, it would only be detrimental for her. Allowing something time to fester would only cause it to become much worse, and she knew she would need to find him and fix this today.
Hanabi thanked the kami for being born into the Hyuuga Clan as she activated the Byakugan. Its main use was to see the internal chakra coil system of a person so that the user could precisely strike those spots of the target's body with the Gentle Fist, the Hyuuga's taijutsu style. However, it had another major use: the ability to see through solid objects in 360-degree vision. And depending on the skill of the Byakugan user, they could see a much farther distance away. The better trained they were, the further they could see with it.
Hanabi normally wouldn't be able to locate Naruto; her bloodline training wasn't that advanced yet. But the boy had such a unique chakra system that it was easy to identify him and figure out where he was. It took her over ten minutes, but she was able to find him. She disabled her bloodline and headed in his direction.
It was a place Hanabi had never gone or had even thought to go before. Sitting on the Third Hokage's head of the Hokage Monument, overlooking the Hidden Leaf, was a sullen blond twelve-year-old boy.
The girl stopped a few feet away, unsure how to deal with an emotionally hurt person or how to fix the situation she found herself in. She began twiddling her fingers, something she had seen her older sister do when she was nervous, as she tried to think of something to say to make it better.
The chance was taken from her as Naruto began speaking.
"I don't remember anything before I was five."
His voice was soft and distant, as though he were reliving the memories.
"So, I don't remember who took care of me when I was a baby. But my first memories are of the orphanage matron separating me from the rest of the kids. She had always said it was for the kids' safety when I asked why I was always isolated. I didn't even realize what she was doing was wrong for a long time. It wasn't until I was seven and Old Man Hokage came for a visit and saw me alone. He had asked why I wasn't playing with the other kids and I told him what she told me. He looked really upset and went to talk with the matron. That was the last day I lived there."
Hanabi listened silently, stunned that he was treated so poorly even as a young child.
"He moved me into an apartment later that week. It was much nicer than the small room I had before. I still lived alone, but I could talk to people and do other stuff during the day."
Hanabi took a seat near him and turned to face him, giving him her full attention. She wasn't sure what else to do.
"When I was walking around the village, trying to talk to people and make friends, I noticed the looks some of the people sent me. And those that didn't look at me like that didn't want anything to do with me. Parents told their kids to stay away from me, just like at the orphanage. It didn't really hurt as much as I think it should have. I mean I was alone my whole life, so it wasn't like it was new to me. When you don't have many highs in life, the lows don't really affect you like they would a normal person."
Naruto glanced at her and gave a small self-deprecating smile. Her earlier guilt compounded heavily at his words and that awful expression. She could've gone her entire life without seeing something so depressing.
"The Ninja Academy was my first chance to make some friends. I guess Kiba would have been my closest friend before you. That's why what you said hurt so much, because I thought I would get to have a real friend that I could spend my days with and not have to worry too much about being judged. I know you said that I should watch how people see me, but I need you to explain stuff to me. I don't need you acting like I'm trash that's not worthy of your time."
He turned back to look over the village, and Hanabi wondered what he was thinking at that moment. Was he expecting her to walk away or hoping for her to take the next move?
"I want… I would like to…" She tried to say, for Hanabi knew what she would have to do. It was something she had never done before, much less to someone not even from a clan. "What I mean to say is that… I apologize for my earlier comments."
Naruto turned back to her and offered her a small smile in thanks.
"I am…new to this friendship thing," she finished lamely with an awkward arm movement between them both. "This is why I wanted you to be my friend, because I need your assistance as much as you need mine. I want to help give you a center, something to focus on to help reach your goal. But at the same time, I want you to help me be a more well-rounded person; someone that isn't strictly the Hyuuga heiress."
His smile softened as he pulled her into a one-armed embrace.
Hanabi felt her face heat up as she shifted to get more comfortable in the hug. She was glad they were still friends, but she felt terrible. Her biggest worry of the day involved wanting to cause her older sister harm; but after listening to some of Naruto's life, she couldn't help but want to be a better person.
It was ironic for her that the blond chose that particular moment to ask a question on that topic.
"Hanabi-chan, what about Hinata?" He shifted to get a better look at her. "I don't really get the opportunity to talk to her, since she's really shy and faints a lot; but she doesn't seem like a bad person. Why doesn't she help you?"
"She…" she started before she broke off, trying to decide how to answer. "We don't really get along well. I don't really want to talk about it right now. Hopefully, I'll feel more comfortable later telling you…"
He didn't seem insulted and simply nodded, giving her a reassuring smile. She gave a faint one in return.
While Hanabi wanted to be a better person, she knew habits were going to be hard to break and it would take time before she changed.
That conversation had been a couple weeks ago, and Hanabi still hadn't been able to look at her sister any differently. The seven-year-old was still extremely jealous of her older sister; and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't see Hinata any differently.
"I did it Hanabi-chan!"
She broke from her thoughts and turned to see Naruto proudly standing at the top of the tree.
"Congratulations." Her smile was more genuine than most of her others had been. "Calmly walk back down here and let us see if you can perform the jutsu now."
She was somewhat impressed he had gotten the exercise down in such a short time, especially since she knew his chakra reserves must be massive to have such a hard time completing such a basic jutsu. Hanabi watched him form the three hand seals before calling out the technique's name.
The clones were not as deformed as before, but they still weren't something that would allow him to pass.
"You used the lowest amount of chakra, correct?"
"Yeah, just like you told me before." He frowned in frustration. "I still can't do it right."
Hanabi took a moment to study the three clones that Naruto created. Their skin was extremely pale, the black pants and vest were more brown than black, and his golden yellow hair seemed to resemble the Yamanaka's pale shade of blond instead of his own.
"While they wouldn't be enough to pass, they are substantially better than your previous attempts," she assured him, and she noticed Naruto lost his anger at her slight praise. "This is better than I expected to be honest, considering how terrible your first attempts were."
"Yeah, they aren't dead for one," he bluntly pointed out with a chuckle.
"You would still benefit from Surface Climbing, but the gain wouldn't likely be enough to correct this. We have three months, and by the time those months are over, I expect you to be able to pass the Genin Test."
Naruto seemed slightly confused.
"But you just said walking up trees wouldn't be enough."
"There is another exercise we can do to improve your control even further. Follow me, and I'll explain on the way there."
She led Naruto in the direction of the pond she first learned the next skill at.
"It's called the Water Walking exercise. It works under similar properties as Surface Walking; except instead of trying to stick to a surface, you're trying to repel away very slightly. This next control exercise took me a few days to truly get it, so I expect this to take up most of the next few weeks for you. Now-"
Her explanation was interrupted by her friend.
"Why do you expect it to take so long for me?"
"You shouldn't interrupt someone like that, Naruto. You should wait for a break in speech before asking a question," Hanabi admonished lightly. "As for why I expect it to take you much longer; I have two reasons, both equally as important. To start with I have been walking up walls since I first learned to walk, so I had much more experience than you will have when you start. Practice makes perfect and you won't get better at something if you don't practice."
Naruto nodded in understanding.
"The other reason is that I have much, much smaller chakra reserves than you. It's easier to control a small amount of something than it is to control a larger amount. Your reserves are, to put it bluntly, massive. You probably have as much as Lord Hokage already, and your chakra will only grow larger as you get older, and your body matures."
Naruto's jaw slightly dropped at that. "So, that's why it's harder for me to do the academy jutsu compared to the other kids in class?"
"Yes," she answered as she turned onto a small path leading deeper into the forest. "If I'm correct, you will find it much more difficult to do E and D-Rank jutsu, whereas you will have a much easier time, compared to others, when performing B, A and S-Rank jutsu. When you pass, be sure to tell your Jonin sensei this, so that way they can teach you more appropriate skills."
"You said when and not if," Naruto pointed out, a bit surprised. "You…seem to expect me to pass."
"Of course, I do." She rolled her eyes and smiled at his doubt. "You have me helping you, you are guaranteed to pass since I refuse to fail."
The blond rewarded her with a large foxy grin as Hanabi had taken to calling it. It never failed to bring at least a small blush to her face. She then noticed they had arrived at the pond.
"Okay, this next skill is, as the name indicates, about walking on water. Take off your sandals and roll-up your pants to above the knees."
She watched him follow her instructions for a moment before she began mirroring his actions.
"To start with, I will warn you to stay close to the shore until you get the Water Walking down. There is no real purpose to learn how to do this in anything more than a few inches deep water." She walked to the shore while instructing, "Just like in Surface Walking, you coat a small amount of chakra to the sole of your feet. However, instead of using it to stick to the surface, you use it to repel away from it."
To Naruto's awe she calmly stepped onto the water and stood on top of it.
"Now you try, be careful with how much you use. I would prefer to stay dry."
Hanabi still took a few large steps away from him, in preparation for what was sure to happen.
As soon as Naruto placed his foot his foot on the surface, the water exploded. Luckily for her it mainly went up, which was unfortunate for Naruto.
"Damn it! Now I'm freaking soaked." He was drenched from head to toe, for the water had exploded in his direction. "I'm gonna take my clothes off, give them a chance to dry while I practice this."
Hanabi's eyes widened as she heard his words and flushed slightly at the thought. It only got worse for her as she watched him pull the wet shirt off before working his pants off.
'Orange boxers… I should have known,' she thought as she stared at him unabashedly. Thankfully for her he didn't seem to notice.
While she was ogling him, her eyes were drawn to his stomach. On his skin, there were strange markings near his belly button. It looked almost like a tattoo, but Hanabi highly suspected it was a seal of some kind.
"Naruto, what is that seal on your stomach?"
"Huh?" He was slightly confused before looking down. "Oh, I don't really know. I've always had it, and sometimes I forget it's even there. Why? Do you have an idea?"
He's always had it? She couldn't help but wonder how he always had a seal on him.
"Yes… It's a seal; an extremely elaborate one, from what I can see."
"What do you mean a seal?" Naruto asked as he stepped back onto the water for the seventh attempt at staying aloft.
"Fūinjutsu, Naruto. You really need to pay more attention in class. It's the branch of ninja arts that deal with Sealing." Her eyes slowly drifted away from his seal as she went back to gazing at his physique. "There are all sorts of things you can do with Sealing."
Hanabi took a seat on the ground to get more comfortable for what would be a long wait.
"It's an extremely dangerous branch, for one small mistake and you could easily kill yourself. It's why there aren't many Fūinjutsu specialists since most don't want to take the risk."
She continued to trace his exposed flesh with her eyes, and spent next hour staring at a nearly naked Naruto while he struggled to make any progress. It wasn't long before the day and ended, and he put back on his now dry clothes before both said their farewells and headed to their homes.
Hanabi couldn't help but shake her head at her friend's childish behavior. She was currently watching Naruto skate on top of the water while performing random jumps and spins, all while he was laughing his head off.
'Over two months for him to finally master it; a few hours to understand and make progress on the Surface Walking skill, but nine weeks for this exercise. Well, at least it's finally over and he can create his Clones to pass the test.'
In those two months, she had investigated what his secondary chakra system and seal could be - only to be disappointed. None of the fūinjutsu books or scrolls she could understand helped her decipher it. She assumed the answer would be in the more advanced section, but she could barely comprehend the basics of fūinjutsu. Anything higher than that was too confusing; and between her own training and spending time with Naruto, she didn't have enough time to study it.
She wasn't going to give up on the mystery though.
"Naruto! Stop acting like an idiot and come here," she ordered with her signature frown.
He stopped sliding around and turned toward her with a large smile on his face.
"I think you should come out here, Hanabi-chan. Unless you can't do this?" the boy teased while skating around backwards. "Can't do this, can you?"
She let out a sigh in frustration.
"I could do that if I wanted. I simply don't see the point. I want to test something, so come over here."
Naruto ignored her for a few more minutes before finally relenting to her glare.
"Okay, I'm coming over," he relented while sulking a bit.
Hanabi did what was becoming a habit with every passing moment she spent with her friend; she rolled her eyes. The girl watched him stop his sliding a little bit away from the shore.
"Hanabi-chan, pull me to the ground," he requested, and a smile threatened to show itself as he extended a hand toward her. "I wanna see something."
The brunette was wary about that smile of his, but she didn't see any harm as she grasped his hand. As she was about to pull him away from the water, he suddenly yanked her out onto the pond's surface. It was only her instinct that allowed her time to send chakra to her feet, preventing her from falling into the water.
"Naruto!" she screeched as she was pulled further away from the shore. "What in the world do you think you're doing?!"
He laughed as he pulled her along, forcing her to slide across the water. "Having fun Hanabi-chan! What does it look like?" He then gave her a mischievous smile. "Don't be such a prude! Isn't this fun?"
"This is stupid and a waste of time," Hanabi declared as she untangled her hand from his and forced herself to stop sliding. "Now, follow me back to shore. I want to test something with your multiple chakra systems."
"Come on, Hanabi-chan," he pleaded, his smile dimming a fraction. "Relax a little. You're too uptight…"
"I'm not uptight," she pointed out with a small frown. "I just don't like wasting time."
Naruto's smile slowly fell from his face while looking at her with slight disappointment. "Hanabi, we aren't getting off the water yet."
She was surprised by how serious he looked at that moment. Especially since he was laughing and smiling just a few minutes before.
"We aren't done here. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you tell me a while ago that you needed my help as much as I need yours?"
She wasn't sure where he was going with this, but she nodded to him, nonetheless.
"You have spent three months helping me out. You taught me how to eat when in fancy company." He noticed her raised eyebrow and relented, "Or at least how to eat with other people and not disgust them with my habits. You taught me how to walk up trees and on water, you helped my study habits, you showed me how to take notes while listening to Iruka-sensei's boring lectures, and you've helped me with a bunch of other stuff."
Hanabi was still confused about what this was about.
"But in all that time, I haven't really done anything to help you out."
She blinked in surprised at that. Now it was dawning on the girl what he wanted.
"You never do anything for fun, Hanabi-chan," he pointed out, looking a bit saddened at his own words. "Look, if you just relax a little and skate with me for a little while, I promise I'll do whatever you want for the rest of the day without complaining."
She must have looked uncertain, for he quickly spoke again.
"I can make Clones, and my grades in the Academy are better than before," he pointed out with a proud smile. "I'm not even at the bottom anymore! I think I'm somewhere in the middle of the class." His smile softened and he offered his hand to her. "Come on… Just one day of doing something for fun. I want to enjoy this time with my friend before my test tomorrow."
That last comment won her over, and she accepted his hand with her own smile while fighting a blush. While his foxy grin was nice, this smaller smile seemed to have more weight to it. It was like he was showing her his truest emotions without any filters.
The duo then spent the next hour skating around, and Hanabi could honestly say it was the most enjoyable time she ever had. She felt like she was acting her real age, and not the older age she presented herself to others. It was…liberating to enjoy herself like this.
After a while, Hanabi noticed the sun nearing its apex in the sky and forced Naruto to stop playing around.
"Okay, I really want to test something out today before we have to leave." She reluctantly stated before she began gliding toward the shore. "We should have enough time if we hurry."
As the brunette stepped onto solid land, she noticed him not far behind. This pleased her since she really wanted to test her theory.
"Now, I want to see if we can activate this red colored chakra." She stopped and turned to face him. "I'm going to use the Gentle Fist on you to seal a few chakra coils."
"Gentle Fist?" he repeated. "What's that?"
"It's the Hyuuga Clan's taijutsu style. It does internal damage each time we strike our target's body."
"Can you teach it to me?" He was noticeably excited at the prospect, so she was a little disappointed at having to crush his hopes.
"I'm sorry, but no. There would be serious consequences if I were to do that." Hanabi grimaced at the thought, and she explained, "I would either be executed for teaching someone from outside the clan, or more likely branded with the Hyuuga Cursed Seal."
"They would kill you?" Naruto asked, horrified.
"They would be within their rights to do so," she stated with severity. "This may be hard for you to understand, being an orphan, but not every family or clan is filled with love or compassion."
Naruto was silent for a time, feeling sad about that fact and not wanting to experience that in his future.
"If I have a family," he spoke with a passion, "it won't be like that. I will make sure everyone is happy and loved. Family should stick together, not hurt one another…"
The intensity of his eyes brought a small blush to Hanabi's cheeks, finding his expression to be quite attractive.
"I know you will, Naruto. And it would be when, not if you have a family," she pointed out with a small smile. "You will have your family one day. I'll do everything in my power to ensure it."
She forced herself not to blush at her words. After all, her plan consisted of deepening her bond with Naruto from a friendship to an eventual marriage. And that would, hopefully, lead to having a family of her own.
She couldn't dwell on that, though. She had something to try.
"Let me see your arm," she spoke as she activated her Byakugan. "I'm going to shut down a few of the coils, and I want you to try to access your red chakra to unseal them."
Naruto seemed hesitant before asking, "It's not gonna hurt, is it?"
"Normally it would, but you should only feel uncomfortable during this test." She reluctantly added, "You may feel a small amount of pain, though."
He grimaced but put his trust in her and extended his right arm toward her. Naruto watched as Hanabi tapped a few spots on his arm with her index and middle fingers. There was a small amount of pain, but the more disconcerting thing for him was the numbness.
"Is my arm supposed to be numb?" He seemed a bit alarmed as he stared at his arm.
"Yes, that's what I was going for." She stepped back a bit and calmly explained, "The numbness is the internal damage I've done. What has happened is that I've sealed three of the coils in your arm. Using that red chakra, I want you to gently try and unseal them."
Naruto nodded once and masked his face in concentration as he attempted to fix his arm. All the while, Hanabi stared at his chakra system with her bloodline active.
"Naruto, try to reach within yourself and pull any power you may have hidden."
Beads of sweat began forming on his forehead as he struggled. He clenched and unclenched his fist, trying everything he could to unseal is chakra coils. After a few minutes, Hanabi decided to end it.
Hanabi was disappointed but didn't let it show, knowing that Naruto was probably more disappointed than her.
"There was no movement of the red chakra. I'm not sure why you couldn't access it or why you even have it, but I don't want you trying to force it too much. We don't want to potentially damage your arm."
"I'm sorry I couldn't do it," he apologized as he watched her tap a few spots on his arm and the numbness went away.
"It isn't your fault. You did nothing wrong, so you shouldn't apologize," she was quick to reassure him so he wouldn't feel bad. "It is something unique, so there must be a unique way to access it."
The young girl was uncertain for a moment before gathering her courage and smiling gently at him.
"Naruto-kun, I… Um… I want to thank you for earlier. With the water skating…" She shyly lowered her eyes with a slight flush of her cheeks. "It was…fun, and I'm glad you made me do it."
She then did something she had never done and moved closer so she could hug him. He seemed surprised by it, but he quickly reacted and engulfed her in his arms. It was the first time she initiated an embrace, and he was both happy for it and proud that she felt comfortable enough around him to do so.
Hanabi pulled back after a few moments, her smile remaining strong and getting him to smile in return.
"Well, um… I need to return to the Clan compound, so… Thank you and I'll try to make more time for you soon," she rushed out before she left in a hurry, a blush on her face the whole way home.
"Hey, Hinata," Naruto greeted. "Are you ready for the Genin Exam today?"
The poor girl's eyes widened in surprise as her secret crush took the seat next to her. She blushed at the thought that Naruto was so close to her.
"I think I am, N-Naruto-kun." Her voice was incredibly quiet and soft-spoken, but at least she didn't stutter as much when talking to the blonde boy. "Are you prepared?
Over the last four months, he had changed pretty significantly. It started when he came in one day wearing a different outfit. It consisted of mostly black - a vest and pants - with the only orange visible being a shirt beneath the vest. Hinata silently mourned the loss of his bright orange jumpsuit since it had been one of the original things that attracted her to the blond. She admired the courage he showed in wearing something that most people made fun of without letting it bother him.
"You're definitely ready to go." His encouragement only caused her blush to deepen. "And of course, I'm gonna pass."
Hinata noticed that even though his words were filled with self-confidence, his face showed his anxiety.
"W-Why are you sitting next to m-me?" After realizing how that must have sounded, she rushed to add to it. "N-Not that I mind! I'm j-just surprised."
"You're the person I've talked to the least in the class," Naruto explained, and he seemed a little disappointed to admit this fact. "And since tomorrow we'll all be assigned teams, I figured we might not get another chance to talk for a long time. I'm also getting tired of getting yelled at by Sakura, so I thought it would be best to start my ninja career off on a better foot."
Hinata smiled at that thought. She had noticed that he spent less time going out of his way to confront Sasuke and talk to Sakura over the past couple of weeks.
'Maybe I have a chance now,' she thought as hope bloomed in her chest.
"You have gotten much b-better in class. I- I'm really p-proud of y-you." She could barely force out her compliment as she blushed deeply. She got lightheaded when he gave his widest smile at her in response.
"Yeah, but I can't take all the credit. Most of the credit belongs to-"
He was prevented from finishing his comment as both of their teachers arrived.
"Quiet down!" Iruka called out as he stepped through the door with his assistant, Mizuki. "Today is the final Genin Examination day. You will be called, one at a time, to perform each of the three Academy jutsu. The written and practical portion of the test you all took part in yesterday has already been scored. Some of you have noticed there are a few students that are missing today."
Murmurs from the Genin were heard, most of them in agreement to that statement.
"Those are the ones that were informed earlier that they had failed yesterday's portion of the exam. Today you will be required to perform all three Academy Jutsu in order to pass and become a certified Genin."
"Ami, follow us through the doors," The silver haired Chunin then called.
Hinata allowed herself to fall into a recent memory as she waited for her name to be called.
She stood across from her younger sister as their father watched on.
"Hinata, in three days you will become a Genin of the Hidden Leaf." There was no hint of emotion on her father's face; not even a small amount of pride. "According to my information you, at best, won't even be placed in the top ten."
The girl in question lowered her eyes to the ground, ashamed of her failure.
"I would be disappointed if I had high expectations, but this does not come as a surprise to me. You have never shown any real potential and I have long since accepted this."
The man continued to chip away at any self-confidence she may have left.
"Given that I'm duty-bound to see where your current level of skill stands, you will be sparring once again with Hanabi."
They weren't the only ones in the training room. Surrounding them were the Clan Elders and various Hyuuga of high rank, all here to watch the fight between the two heiresses. None had come to the twelve-year-old girl's defense against her father's verbal assault. Some had even nodded in agreement.
Hinata never noticed her younger sister's eyes soften slightly.
"Take your positions."
Their father waited until both his daughters had taken their fighting stances.
Hinata waited for Hanabi to attack. She had never been the type of person to want to hurt someone, especially her younger sister. She had always been caring and compassionate, never wanting to fight.
The girl with short dark purple hair turned her body to side to dodge the shoulder strike from Hanabi. Hinata immediately had to take a step back as Hanabi aimed a palm strike at her chest. She wasn't given any relief as her younger sister quickly struck her right thigh before she could reset her feet. The slight numbness in her leg from the strike would surely cause her severe problems for the rest of the spar.
"Hinata, you can't win simply dodging." Hinata heard some emotion leak into her father's voice; disappointment. "Strike back at your opponent."
Even though the Hinata knew she would need to fight back to win, she couldn't bring herself to hurt her younger sister. So, she continued to struggle to dodge and parry more strikes.
Hanabi was able to injure her right leg even further within a few minutes, and it became apparent to all who were watching just how outclassed the older girl was.
As Hinata was slowing down, futilely doing everything she could to prevent more damage to her body, she suffered a powerful strike to her shoulder. She gasped out in pain and closed her eyes, waiting for Hanabi to finish up the fight with a hard palm strike as the younger girl usually finished their spars.
Grumbles of discontent caused the twelve-year-old to open her eyes slowly. She was shocked to see her younger sister's palm halted a few inches away from her body. Never before had her sister shown mercy.
Hinata was so surprised by the action she stumbled back and fell onto the ground.
"Hanabi, why did you hold back?" her father asked, and Hinata knew he was not pleased.
"Father, the spar was over," Hanabi answered firmly. "Hinata couldn't defend herself and there was no need to continue."
Hanabi displayed more courage than she felt looking into the eyes of her father. She knew her actions, despite the explanation, would disappoint him; but she stood her ground.
Hinata's eyes watered slightly at the idea that her sister had decided to spare her more pain. However, she saw that her father was even more displeased at the reply. He stared with dissatisfaction at his daughters before turning and walking out, the rest of the spectators soon following.
Seeing that they were alone Hinata turned her attention back to her sister, a few stray tears falling from her eyes.
"W-Why did you s-stop?" Her voice was timid and shaky.
Hanabi stared at her older sister, eyes more compassionate than they had ever been.
"I simply didn't see the point of continuing." Her voice revealed none of the compassion her eyes held. "It would have been a waste in energy," the younger sister declared.
Hinata watched her sister hesitate for a moment after her explanation before she walked out.
It may not have been much to anyone else, but to Hinata it touched and warmed her heart. The two girl's relationship had never been good. Hanabi had always been jealous of her older sister and had taken every opportunity to beat and harm Hinata. This was the first time the older girl could remember her sister hold herself back and prevent more harm from befalling the timid girl.
Alone in the confines of the training room the girl softly sobbed, hoping that this was the beginning of a more loving relationship between the sisters.
That had been a few days ago and Hinata hadn't seen her sister much since then. Only for meals and when both were getting ready for bed. She wasn't sure where her younger sister spent most of her days and she never worked up the courage to ask her. Hinata didn't want to do anything that could cause more dissent between the two.
After that spar, Hinata had spent a lot of time going over her memories of her younger sister. It came as a surprise to her that Hanabi had been subtly changing in the past few weeks. It wasn't substantial, and she would have dismissed the changes if it weren't for that spar. Hanabi looked at her older sister with much less derision and resentment in her gaze. The tone of the smaller girl's voice was softer as well. It wasn't gentle, but it was much warmer than the cold indifference of previous years.
She was pulled from her thoughts by Mizuki's voice. She stood with some uncertainty, nervous about her chances.
"Don't look so scared."
She turned to the blond with a small blush at his supportive tone and smile.
"You're gonna do well, I know it."
Her blush magnified as she straightened her back and walked toward her sensei with much more confidence.
Completing examination was much easier with Naruto's encouraging words running through her mind. Less than five minutes after stepping into the room she exited it with a headband tied loosely around her neck. Naruto was the first person to congratulate her.
"Told you that you could do it." His smile was large as he praised her. "You really shouldn't doubt yourself so much. You're better than you give yourself credit for."
Naruto reached over and gave the girl a hug, something he had made a point to do for Hanabi at least once a week.
Her vision began to get blotchy as she developed a full-body blush. His body pressed against hers and the words rebounded throughout her mind. Naruto's worried face was the last thing she seen before it went dark.
She was awakened with her head lying on her desk to the sounds of excited screaming. Self-consciously wiping away any drool as she rose from her seat. The door nearly exploded open revealing a cheerful blond proudly displaying his headband.
"Hinata!" The boy immediately rushed to Hinata's side when he noticed she was awake. "Are you okay? You fainted again."
She blushed at his concern.
"Y-Yes…" Her head lowered a bit in embarrassment. "Congratulations, N-Naruto-kun."
His smile widened as she pointed at the item in his hand.
"Yeah…" Pride shined in his eyes as he gazed fondly at the piece of metal. "I was worried I wouldn't be able to do it. I mean I know I could make Clones now, but I was worried something would happen to cause me to fail."
Hinata gave him a shy smile as she watched Ino – the final student taking the test – exit from the room with her headband. Ino was followed shortly by Iruka and Mizuki.
"All of those that pass will need to return here in one week's time at the same time you did today. That is when you will be assigned a Genin squad. For those of you that failed, better luck next term if you decide to make another attempt. And if you don't, then I wish you luck in whatever vocation you choose. You are all dismissed for the day."
Naruto didn't even hesitate as he ran out the door. Hanabi had promised him all he could eat at Ichiraku's if he passed, and he was going to collect.
He completely ignored Mizuki who tried to catch his attention, more focused on meeting his friend and enjoying his reward.
And that's it! That is all Esus927 had for this story, with my own edits/changes/additions!
I'll leave this up for a month or so before updating it. I will also give Esus927 a PM with a link to this. If they tell me to take it down, I will put an "update" explaining the situation and then do so after a couple days.
Until (possibly) next time!
Stay safe, healthy, and positive!
Dreaming of the Future