Title: Precious

Author: PersephoneSings

Date: 11/24/04

Author's note: I'm thinking of turning this into a multi-story series, following the paths of Naruto, Gaara, and Hinata. In fact, even as I type this I find I keep getting all sorts of ideas. Anyway, enjoy this. It can stand on its own and has hints of Naruto/Gaara/Hinata in it.

Precious: Part One

He had asked her to come out to train with him awhile, so he could make use of her Byakuugan. Hinata didn't mind since she was often asked to step in as a training partner just for that purpose. If she found it odd that Uchiha Sasuke would approach her after five years of hardly speaking a word to anyone in the village, she didn't voice it.

Nor did she tell anyone where they were going to train. She would think, later on, that this was probably her first mistake. Trust came so easily to her because she wanted everyone to be honest and approachable.

And so she had followed him, blindly even with the supposed aid of her blood limit sight, deep into the forest, past the river and past the fenced off area they had passed the first part of the first and second Chuunin exams they had participated in. When they entered a large clearing, one that she had never seen before, she began to think she had made a mistake.

She wondered how many people knew of this particular area and how loudly she could scream. Would even Kiba's sensitive ears pick up her cries for help? She had shaken off the feeling almost immediately. This was Sasuke. They had grown up together in the same class. She had thought she was being silly and easily spooked.

He had attacked without warning and if she hadn't activated her Byakuugan as soon as they had entered a part of the forest she wasn't familiar with, she probably would have lost an ear as she dove out of the way. As it was she swore she saw hair being sliced off.

It was a close call for a starting move. Too close.

As she frantically dodged his kicks and his punches, blocked jutsu after jutsu, used water to douse fire, she grimly considered her second mistake.

Turning a cheek at a friend's faults or not being bothered by a quirk was all well and good, but she, who always believed herself a good judge of character, should have been able to see the difference in his eyes.

Sasuke was frozen.

His eyes, even lit by the red of Sharingan, were glacial in their distance. There was no determined young ninja in his eyes anymore. There was death and destruction and a hatred so strong it burned not hot, but arctic cold.

Mistake number three, Hinata had decided as she was slammed up against a tree and pinned without landing more than five blows, was thinking too hard when she was fighting a stranger. Because this Sasuke was no one she had ever met before.

And as she stared into his frigid eyes, watched them turn from red back to his normal dark color, she wondered if she would have the chance to make a fourth.

"Did you bring me out here to kill me, Sasuke?" Hinata couldn't read his face and wished her Byakuugan read emotions better.

Sasuke smiled, but it wasn't in the least bit pleasant and it made her stomach knot up.

"Are you afraid to die, Hyuuga heir?"

"Well, if you had been planning this for awhile, it would have been nice of you to notify me so I could have prepared better. I'm not even dressed appropriately." She really didn't think sarcasm would help ease her out of the situation, but Hinata had passed the point of really caring what others thought of her a couple of years ago. If she was going to die, though she really didn't think so, she might as well go being as vocal as possible. She had a lot of silent years to make up for, after all.

Something flickered in his eyes before he turned his Sharingan back on and she thought it might have been humor.

"You've been hiding yourself from the village, Hyuuga Hinata. When did you get so mouthy? Didn't they teach you at the academy stuff like that could get you killed?" He dropped one of his hands down from her neck to rest against his side.

Hinata shrugged as well as she could, being held a couple of inches off the ground by the remaining hand around her neck "I like to keep some secrets, you know. Although, I think this situation has upped my level of vocality. We could continue the conversation with my feet on the ground, if you prefer?" She could hardly believe she dared to be this mouthy.

His eyes narrowed and his hand began to glow blue as chakra began to crackle in his palm.

He tilted his head, as if considering her proposal, but he shook his head, "No, I don't think so. I like you just where you are. Are you ready, Hyuuga, to die as the weakling you were born to be?"

Her eyes widened when she felt the power emanating from his hand.

"I don't understand. Why, exactly, are you planning on killing me?" Buying time, she thought to herself scornfully, for what? Her knight in shining armor? Did those even exist anymore? She didn't think so.

He glared at her.

"Do you not know? How has everyone remained oblivious to my plots? This is it, don't you see? I'm leaving; I'm declaring war on this village. You are my way of doing so. They will find the remains of their precious heir to the most powerful clan in the village with a note attached from me."

Hinata eyed him warily as he increased the power in his hand, "Don't you think it's all a little cliched?"

"Cliched, how?"

She laughed, "Come on, Itachi did this, Mizuki tried to do this, and I'm sure Orochimaru did it, as well. Everyone always kills someone powerful and then uses it as a message or leaves one. You should really do something else."

He was angry, she could see, and it made her feel better, if not a little stupid for antagonizing him. Oh well, she thought as he made to raise his fist, better to go out with a bang.

"What would you have me do, Hyuuga?"

She smiled brightly at him, wondering if he could read her fear, "Well, funny you should ask because I was kind of hoping you'd let me be your messenger. Alive, I'd walk back to the village and inform them of your decision. What do you say?"

Sasuke laughed low in his throat. "I say you die." He dropped his hand from around her neck and she dropped the couple of inches to the ground. He pulled back to slam his fist against her and Hinata forced herself to not close her eyes as he thrust his fist at her mid-section.

Oh god, she thought, I'm not getting out of this one.

To be continued . . .