Hinata, Hanabi, and Chie left the Hyuga manor. Chie knew Hinata didn't like leaving the work she had begun. Fortunately, Hinata also understood Chie and Hanabi had been worried about her. So she offered no resistance when they pulled out outside and insisted on a walk and fresh air. The three walked in silence for several minutes before anybody spoke.
"I'm sorry…" Hinata said. Chie and Hanabi stopped to look at her.
"It's okay, Nee-san." Hanabi insisted.
"No, it isn't. I was so absorbed in my own problems I shut you out. I heard you both trying to get in and I ignored you."
To Hinata's surprise, Chie grinned while Hanabi looked horror struck.
"NO!" Hanabi shouted, "You weren't ignoring us! You were just caught up in your work and didn't hear us? Right!"
"Too late, Firecracker!" Chie said with a laugh, "She admitted it herself, she ignored us. Pay up!"
Hinata watched in confusion as Chie held out her hand, and Hanabi handed her a small bag with coins in it.
"That's the last of my pocket money!" Hanabi whined.
"Too bad. You made the bet and you lost the bet. That's all there is to it."
"You… you made a bet on whether or not I was ignoring you?"
"Yep!" Chie said, as she put the small bag in a pocket. Chie couldn't help grinning more as Hinata suddenly looked a little less apologetic. The little group walked on with no set destination. Their silence soon passed over into casual chatting.
"So you're going home, then?" Hinata asked, for Chie had just announced she no longer studying Dojutsu.
"Well, I still have a few things left to do here. Finishing up our villages' information exchange and all. So it won't be too soon, but as far as my personal business goes I'm done."
"What changed your mind?" Hanabi asked.
"Well… it was this whole thing with your cousins." Chie answered, "Kiriko in particular. When I fought her I realized a few things. My mother's last request was to not seek revenge. Now that I understand why, I'm going to honor that. I won't go hunting for her killer anymore."
"That's probably for the best." Hinata agreed.
"Don't get me wrong though." Chie suddenly said, "If I ever get a shot at him I'm taking it! I'm just not gonna go out of my way for his sake anymore."
"I see." Hinata said, then, with a sigh, asked, "What's happened with Kiriko-nee-san?"
Hinata's companions suddenly turned solemn.
"She passed away." Chie admitted, "About a day and a half after Taiki died. Sorry, Phantom. I tried not to go too hard. Knew you didn't want her dead. But she was tough. I had to use my best jutsu to take her down…"
"It's okay…" Hinata said, Chie looked at her warily, "I mean it. You did what you had to, same as I. Perhaps… perhaps now the two of them can be reunited with Shunichi-kun."
There was a brief moment of silence between the three.
"What about you?" Chie eventually asked Hinata, "Gonna leave the diplomats now that you've got your Mission in Life?"
"I was, initially." Hinata said, "But some of the things my father said make me think staying there would be a good idea. I can learn skills that will prove very useful to my goals in the future."
"And Saruwatari-ojisan said you were getting good at it." Hanabi said.
"Did he?" Hinata asked, blushing slightly.
"Yep." Hanabi said.
"You up for it?" Chie asked, "Reforming an entire clan is no small feat. My mother actually held off putting me into our academy at first because they were still reforming the Genin trial. And that was with most everybody admitting there was a problem."
"Yeah, a lot of people won't like what you wanna do, Nee-san." Hanabi pointed out.
"I know it won't be easy. Father said I had to be prepared to fight a losing battle. But I think… I know I can do it." Hinata said firmly.
"Yeah!" Hanabi cheered.
"So, what do we do next?"
"Well," Hinata replied, "I'm starting to feel a bit hungry."
"Me too!" Hanabi agreed, "We should've eaten before we left."
"No, I think I'd prefer something else, anyway." Hinata said, "How about we get something at Ichiraku?"
"Yeah!" Hanabi agreed happily, then suddenly shot an angry look at Chie, "But I haven't got any money to buy anything…"
Chie's expression darkened as she realized where this was heading.
"Oh!" said Hinata in surprise, "I'm afraid I don't either…"
The Hyuga sisters stared at Chie in silence. Chie caved quickly.
"Okay… I'll treat you…" she said, following it with various mutterings she made sure the other two could only just hear, including "I just got that money, too…" and "Phantom'll make sure I come out of this broke, I know it…"
Hanabi giggled as she and Hinata smiled as Chie used the money she had just won off Hanabi to buy their lunch. As Hinata ate, her mind went back to her new goal. Part of her didn't want to go back home to resume her work. Part of her wished this simple day out with her friend and sister would last forever. But she knew it wouldn't be. She had much ahead of her now. She was going to be the one who changed her clan. The one who ended the heartless cycle of tragedy that it allowed.
She was Hyuga Hinata.
After oh so long, I am finally finished with this story. I want to personally thank all those that kept up with it since the start for staying with it. Also, some little trivia bits to make the last of it a bit more worthwhile.
Tsurukawa Chie - As noted a while back, Chie is not my creation. She came from the mind of my friend Toujin, along with madoshi. There were particular reasons I chose to use Chie here. First of all, I liked th challenge of writing another person's character to see how well I could do it. Also, Chie gave Hinata someone Naruto-like to interact with without actually having Naruto around. I didn't want things like pairs and focus on Naruto to steal the limelight from Hinata as, from the start, I had this planned as Hinata's story. Granted, I could've used Kiba for someone Naruto-like, but Chie helped to also tie in with the diplomat angle (inspired by KlosetAuthor's Hinata's Story).
While I can't take credit for Chie, I can claim credit for some of her jutsu in her fight with Kiriko. In particular the Heisei no Kawa, the name of which is derived Joss Whedon's television series Firefly and its movie, Serenity (one of the central characters of both was a genius girl with empathic abilities named River).
Hyuga Taiki & Kiriko - Their names were derived from one of those "Find your Japanese name" things where you enter your name and it comes out with a Japanese one. Though I've long since forgotten what I'd entered to get Taiki and Kiriko. To be honest, there's one aspect of these two characters that I have to feel proud of. That is the fact that these two, despite having the same goal, actually possess drastically opposite motivations. Kiriko was driven by her utter hatred of the Hyuga, Taiki by his complete love for Kiriko. A scene I'd had but never used for them was a mini-flashback where Taiki was the one who suggested revenge against the clan because Kiriko was on the verge of committing suicide (the revenge plot would give her reason to continue living).
Their respective jutsu were inspired by ways to fight the Byakugan (Kiriko) and use it alternatively (Taiki). Since Branch members don't have access to Kaiten or Rokujuuyon-shou I had thought they would develop their own individual methods of combat (this was also seen in the Branch Hyuga in Ghostly Eyes). In Kiriko's case, it also displayed how far gone she was and how determined she was for her vengeance.
Hanabi - As mentioned before I think, Hanabi's personality here is based on two factors. one is the fact most fics have her as hating Hinata, and I love to mess with what's already been done. The other is what is pretty much Hanabi's sole speaking role in the entirety of the series (start of Naruto vs Neji, in which she expresses surprise at the suggestion that Neji is superior to her sister).
I do have an idea for a third story in this little plotline. In which a secret concerning Hinata's mother threatens her chances of reforming the Hyuga. Though I'm not sure if/when Ill do it. I have several (okay, three) original story projects I want to focus on a bit before I proceed on anything. If I do work on this story and write it, however, I will not post it until it is complete. I'm furious at myself for how shoddily I updated this story and would rather it not happen again if I can help it. In the meantime though, I might do a couple of one-shot ideas I had. One features a cetain someone remembering Naruto's birthday when most people ignore it, and a story featuring Ino and Choji after the Great Sasuke Chase.
In conclusion, thanks to everyone who read this far. I hope you enjoyed the story.