This is based on the famed tale of Beauty and the Beast
Just because I'm too lazy to make up a totally new setting for this story, I'm using the same world and timeline as my story Two Swans. You don't need to read it, but it may help you understand a few details on how the story works. I'll try to clear up a few here, but I may for get some things. If you have read it, I want to mention that this takes place a couple of years before Two Swans. Hinata's about . . . seventeen, let's say.
EDIT: I changed the title, for those who read the story before. Why? A reviewer made something come to my attention (The Beautiful Beast of Konoha!). It's a funny story, actually. I asked my friend for some help with the title and we eventually came up with Plain Jane and the Dingo (just because she likes dingoes O-o?) I though it was stupid, but it remembered the title of Oz's band in Buffy. Hence the title. I know you all wanted to know this.
(x) means NOTE, which are below.
Title: The Dingo Ate My Baby
Characters: major: Hinata, Hiashi, Neji, Hanabi, Kiba, Tsume, Hana, Kurenai. minor: .
Relationships: none in this chapter, eventual HinataKiba
1. In this story, clans like the Hyuga clan are called witch clans because their members (coven members) have special abilities (Byakugan, in this case). Unlike in the anime/manga, if a person outside the clan were to obtain this ability through acceptable means, they could join the clan (i.e.: Kakashi would have been able to join the Uchiha clan).
2. This text in italics is a flashback, told in Hiashi's point of view, which means Hinata does not necessarily know the whole story, or his thoughts.
3. There are kingdoms (Leaf, Sand, etc) and the castle in which the leader lives (Hokage, Kazekage, etc) are named after the hidden villages (Konohagakure, Sunagakure, etc).
4. The Inuzukas don't hold the Hyuga witch clan in high regard . . . I wonder why. xP
5. This one is Yuhi Kurenai. Kurenai isn't an Inuzuka, but she is Hinata and Kiba's teacher, so I added her as one. She was not born into their tribe, but was accepted anyway.
6. Tense changed on purpose. Flashback over. From immediately after Hiashi's POV on it was a flashback until this point.
7. Yep, still branch families.
8. This is the day I die INSIDE. Sorry, it was joke with my friend. We like to make fun of those overly depressed people who think it's cool. Well, Hinata's not exactly depressed. She really thinks today is the day she dies.
I look back at my father, at my sister, at my cousin, and I wonder briefly if I should wave goodbye. Hanabi raises her hand in a simple wave, and so I return the gesture. My father's expression is stoic, as is my cousin's. Neji and Hanabi are the only ones seeing me off. I would be more hurt I had not fully expected it.
So this is goodbye, then? It may be the last time I ever see them, and all they are willing to do is stare? If I were anyone else, I would get angry. But I am Hyuga Hinata, the quiet girl of the Hyuga witch clan (x).
No one has ever thought very highly of me, not even Neji, back when we were close. But I do not want to think about Neji, because he is just another thing that I have lost.
No one would guess from the cold farewell he is giving me that we used to be so close. I would tell him my secrets and he would tell me his, on days where the sun lit up the trees in a beautiful display of green, on nights when the moon brightened everything, and made our world by day look pale in comparison.
Now he just stares at me with those empty white eyes of his. It makes me incredibly sad.
Living in the Hyuga witch clan would not have been hard for me if I had been just another coven member. If only Neji and I had been borne by different people, we would have been happier. My father would have received the child he deserves, the child he always wanted, instead of a child unworthy of his love. Neji's powerful abilities would not be wasted, and my own could be appreciated properly because my parents would expect less of me.
This all began the day the Hokage needed a particularly astute advisor on his mission, and who was better to bring alone than Hyuga Hiashi? I remember when my sister and I went to see him off. He asked the two of us if we wanted anything, but I knew he was really just asking Hanabi. She responded energetically, asking for weapons and toys and candy. She was young, after all, and our father spoiled her. He would have completely have ignored me if my younger sister had not asked me what I wanted.
I told my father that I wanted nothing but his well being on this mission, but even this my father found unacceptable. He told me sternly that he was trying to do me a favor—when he really was not—and that I should be honored and accept. Reluctantly, I made as simple a request as I could.
A rose. He was going to a fairly warm kingdom where such a flower would not be difficult to find. He nodded, and seemed relieved that I had not asked for as much as my sister. Then he was gone, and Hanabi and I were left under the care of our older cousin, Neji. He was cold, and uncommunicative, and for the most part left the two of us alone.
Hanabi and I waited expectantly for our father that week. Unfortunately, though, due to a trap set by the Wind kingdom, my father was isolated from the rest of the mission team. (x)
It was cold, I was tired, but I was also a Hyuga, with pride far beyond that of an average human. I knew I had to find my companions soon. Unfortunately, I soon found out that I could not discover them with my Byakugan. That left two logical explanations. One: that the Wind kingdom's trap had blown me extremely far from my original course and my teammates, or two: something was blocking my Byakugan.
I began guess it was the latter, especially when I passed the same tree more than six times when I knew I was walking in a straight line. So, someone wanted to lead me somewhere. I decided to allow them to lead me, but only to get rid of this spell that kept me locked in that area. I let my feet lead my bodyand, and sure enough, a large castle soon came into view.
This castle was nothing compared to the one the Hokage and the most important people of the Leaf kingdom called home, but it certainly rivaled it. It was surrounded mostly by fields upon fields, as far as I could see. There was one lake upon the landscape, but it was frozen over for the winter. Icicles clung to the towers and the windows were all carefully shunning all light with thick black curtains.
The castle itself seemed to be made of a dark rock, and it looked nearly impenetrable. I would never have found the entrance if I had been but a normal man. Fortunately for me, though, I was not a normal man, but the proud head of the Hyuga clan. The door seemed to be hidden in the way, with the doorknob disguised as a jutting rock.
I pulled the door open with little difficulty and stepped inside the castle. It was oddly bright in the place, and a great many scented candles lighted my path. Even with the candles, I could almost smell something else, a less pleasant aroma. I went on nonetheless.
The first room I found seemed to be a dining room, which was mostly empty, except for a long table in the center. Said table was set for one, with fine foods lining the tabletop. It was enough to make me go mad with hunger, but I managed to control myself.
I would eat only after speaking to the person responsible for all this.
Unfortunately, I found myself breaking my promise when after nearly an hour of searching I found not trace of the host. The bedrooms did not look lived in, the bathrooms spotless, the libraries packed with dust. It looked like an abandoned home, if one ignored the fact that the food had been served warm
But I was not in any sort of mood for childish games of hide and seek. I checked the food for poison, and then I began to eat. The food was wonderful, but I was still suspicious. This was most likely a ruse to force me to lower my guard, which I certainly would not do. I had a nearly 360 viewpoint, and there was little chance any would surprise me.
After completing my meal without interruptions, I went to search the perimeter of the castle for the trickster. If he could not be found, I would attempt to leave once more.
I did not find the fiend, but instead I found something beyond what I had thought possible. There, behind the castle, lay a garden of majestic proportions. There were more flowers and plants there than I had thought existed, and even more amazing that all these plants bloomed together in mid-winter. I was not very knowledgeable with the life of a tulip, but I did know they did not bloom in this weather.
Oddly, though, the weather was mild around the castle, neither too hot, nor too cold. This was another factor that should have killed some of the plants that needed heat. And yet, there they were.
And in the center of them all, a beautiful red rose.
It reminded me of my useless daughter, Hinata. She only brought shame unto me, by being so weak when a child of mine should have been especially strong. She had asked me for a rose, had she not? It was more than she deserved, but I would get her this rose. It was doubtful that it would survive the trip home, but if it did, I would give it her.
And so I picked the rose. What a folly, that was.
Immediately after, I heard the roar of an enraged beast, and I turned to face a creature that looked small, but vicious. Fur covered its entire body but its face, where it looked human. Two red triangles were painted on each of its cheeks, and its brow was furrowed heavily. It growled at me menacingly, but I was not frightened by its act. It was probably a stupid creature whose bark was fiercer than its bite.
And then it bit me, and I was enraged. I would show this thing some respect!
But before I could move a muscle, I felt several other creatures surround me, their growls ominous. I froze.
"You dare pick my flowers after we showed you such hospitality?" The first beast growled at me, its expression fierce still.
"My daughter asked for me to bring her back a rose," I responded easily. I did not need to make excuses to this scum
"You couldn't take a rose from some other garden? Or a mere tulip, then? Is your daughter so important to you that you would disgrace your hosts by picking a flower from their garden?" This time another beast speaks, its voice deeper and more mature than the first's, yet oddly feminine.
"No. My daughter shames our clan and me. She is weak, so weak her younger sister could overpower her. But I am not known as one who does not keep his promises." I assumed that these creatures, so full of strength and obvious pride, would understand the shame of having a weakling as a daughter.
Instead they all snarled at me simultaneously. I heard insults aimed at me, and I barely managed to control my anger. How dare they?
"Who are you, you disgusting piece of garbage?" asked the first beast angrily, as if it had the right to ask me anything of the sort. I twisted my mouth in a grimace, and I did not answer. This only infuriated the beasts more, and they began advancing. I got into a fighting stance; ready to fight them all off if I had to.
"Stop!" the large female called out to the others. "I know who this man is. His white eyes are proof that he is from Konohagakure (x), and part of the notorious (x) Hyuga witch clan. He is not an enemy to be taken lightly. Let us make a deal with this creature, then. Kiba, step aside." She nudged the smaller beast—Kiba—to the side as she stepped up to me. "Hyuga, we will spare you—but on one condition. Return to this castle in a week . . . with one of your blood. If you do not return, or return alone, we will kill you without mercy."
All for a rose?
"I could easily fight you all and escape without losing anything myself," I replied curtly, but I sounded far more confident than I really was. I was strong, but whether or not I could overpower a large group of these creatures was a completely different matter.
"Or you could bring us the daughter that is such a nuisance to you," another female beast (x) says slyly.
I thought it through, logically. For the first time in her life, Hinata would be of us. A tithe, of sorts, she could be.
He had returned from the mission, with a worn rose in hand. Hanabi had been a little confused as to why I had received my gift when she had not, but neither of us dared ask.
He told me anyway.
He informed me that he would be taking me to a castle in the woods the next day. I was relatively confused, but once again I could not find the courage to ask him. He told me this would be the greatest sacrifice I could make for my clan, to be used as a sacrifice to the beasts that lived in the castle.
Why was there a need for a sacrifice, I wanted to ask, but my mouth would not obey my commands.
He also told me not to pack much. After all, I would not need a lot after I got there.
He did not look remorseful. Had a really been such a horrible daughter that he did not seem to care? Or was this just his usual front, his stoic face he used to cover up the fact he really was human?
I packed some food for the trip, and a book to read.
"Hanabi, I shall be back before you know it!" I told my younger sister optimistically. She looked doubtful, as if she knew more about our journey than she let on. Well, at least she was worried. She said she would let me 'borrow' her special kunai until I came back. I almost did not accept it, but the look in her eyes forced me to keep my mouth shut and slip it into my bag.
I would have to tell my father to bring it back with him.
My father and I traveled in silence. This was our last time together, and still he could not speak to me as a father should. But I could not gather my anger and confront him, even now, even as I am heading for my death. The fact that I am soon to be among my ancestors does not make me reckless. Instead I concentrate on appreciating what I see around me.
It was mid-winter and even wrapped tightly inside my warm fur coat; I felt the frost slipping through. The flowers and plants were hidden under a thin layer of snow, and the trees had lost all their leaves and life several weeks beforehand. I hated this silence just as I reveled in it, just a little bit. This silence allowed me to think, which was one thing I did not want to do.
And yet, this silence was home to me, and who does not feel comfortable in their true home?
When at last they reach the castle, I am (x) surprised at how . . . homey it looks. Worn and old though it seems, it has an air to it that makes it feel that people enjoy living in there even if they do not take very good care of it. And then I remember why I am here to begin with, and my spirits fall deep underground, where the worms begin nibbling at it.
"This is the castle," my father announces, as if it is not completely obvious. And then we approach the castle, and its looming towers bring dread to my heart. I should feel honor and pride at serving my clan, but I do not. My clan has done little but be condescending and haughty towards me, just because I am Hiashi's daughter. They all this Neji should be the heir, but he is only a cousin, and branch family member to beat (x).
We leave our horses and packs in the stable, and head towards the castle doors. I glance back at the footprints we are leaving in the snow, which are quickly being covered by the falling flakes. The doors open as we advance, but there is no one there. I am frightened out of my wits, but my father looks solemn, and I decide to be worthy, just this once. I follow my father's lead and hang my jacket besides his by the door.
We reach what looks like a dinning room, which is set for two. The food on the table is extravagant and looks delicious. I wonder if this is how they treat people they are planning on killing. The thought does not hearten me very much.
My father simply stands next to the table, but does not sit. The food makes my mouth water; the fruits look so juicy, and the meat looks so succulent. Oh, but I want to make my father proud, and I remain standing, praying that my stomach will not give me away by growling.
After what seems like a half an hour, I hear soft, padding footsteps approach, and my whole body tenses before I can stop myself. Even if I had the courage to run, I would not be able to, because I am paralyzed with fear. The nails tap the floor rhythmically, but they seem to approach from all sides, and my heart seems to be beating along with the tapping.
"You decided not to eat then? Well, that's too bad. I'm sure Kiba, Akamaru, and Hana will eat it, even if it has gone cold." I spin around, and finally I see our hostess. Her hair is large and spiky, and on her cheeks are painted two twin triangles, in bright red paint. Despite her rowdy tone and unruly looks, I cannot help but see in her an odd kind of beauty.
"You are his daughter, then?" She continues, stepping over to us. I notice her feet are bare, and her nails are sharp and pointed like that of a wild animal.
I shake my head. I do not trust myself to speak if I open my mouth.
"Well, then. Hiashi, I expect to find you gone tomorrow morning. Kurenai will lead the two of your to your room for tonight." She shoots my father a sharp look. "Take what you want back home, Hiashi. Nothing of much sentimental significance or importance will be left in your reach." I am unsure as to whether what she gives me after those words is a growl or a smile, but she's gone afterwards. I heard her nails fading away, but I had seen her leave.
"I welcome you," a cold voice interrupts my frightened thoughts. Behind us is yet another one of these people, her hair long black tresses falling around a soft face, with bright, intelligent crimson eyes gazing back at us.
My father gives her a look of recognition. "Young Yuhi?" He asks in awe, as if he does not quite believe it.
"I go by Kurenai, now, Hiashi." Her voice is colder still, as if by merely her tone she wants to make the room as cold as it is outside. How is it these two know each other? I want to interrupt and ask, but there is no way I am getting in between the silent battle going on between their eyes.
Eventually, she turns and heads towards a door besides a lit fireplace. She apparently wants us to follow her, and I do so, right after my father. She does not say a word to the two of us as she leaves us in our designated room.
I glance around, and I am surprised at how much I like it. Its walls are painted a light, pastel color, which calms me somehow. The bed is a dark violet, and as I press my hand against it, it feels soft and especially inviting. I just want to lie upon it, close my eyes and leave this place, just for a little while.
Before I die.
"Hinata, go to sleep. I . . . want to explore." It is obvious he wants to see if he can find anything to take of value, not for the item itself, but just to irritate our hostess. I believe that my father is being childish, but I do not argue. I simply nod my head, and lay myself down the bed.
It is as comfortable as I thought it would be. Soon I am asleep, my father's steps fading from my made, as well as all the weight of disappointment that I had not even felt on my back all this time. I simply allow myself to rest, and to clutch at the covers unconsciously, as I have the best dream of my life.
I awaken at the loud knock at the door. As soon as my eyes flutter open, the dream flashes away from my memory, forgotten.
The good feeling stays with me, though, even as I think to myself sadly, this is the day I die (x).