Retribution- With the death of her cousin, a purpose finally rose in her life. Seeking aid from the brother of the killer, the two both strive for the same reason. To seek revenge... to get retribution...
He is d-dead. I-impossible. Neji-niisan... he was the genius of the Hyuga branch family, he was the Hyuga prodigy... he can't be dead.
Her lip trembled as her father guided her to the training grounds to where the body of her cousin lay. She let out a startled cry, and was about to rush over when she was stopped.
"Evidence proved that he died from an jutsu... Tsukiyomi," Hiashi explained, his hand tightening on her shoulder.
That technique can only be used by somone who possesses the Mangekyou Sharingan...
"Only two people have the Mangekyou Sharingan. Hatake Kakashi, although he is unable to use the Tsukiyomi. However the other, Uchiha Itachi is known for using that genjutsu," Hiashi said coldly.
Hinata bit her lip, tearing her grip away from her father as she ran off, her footsteps ringing in the silent training ground.
"I'm sorry," TenTen said apologetically, tears pouring down her face.
Hinata got to her feet, pale eyes looking over bright. "So am I," she said sadly.
"Neji was so strong, it was u-unfair that his death resulted in a genjutsu," TenTen trembled.
Hinata's gaze lifted slightly, following the trail of white lilies to a table with several portraits of Hyuga Neji upon it. TenTen's gaze also followed the same path.
"I'll put my flower down, then come back, ne?" she tried to offer reassuringly.
Hinata gave a shaky nod in reply, sinking into a chair as she watched TenTen cross over to the table, to lay her lily down softly into the growing pile.
"I am sorry about the news," a cold voice offered.
Why don't you just get lost? All of you. None of you really care. All you do is say your apologies before you walk off. I don't see you shedding any tears... I don't see you mourning over Neji-niisan's death. Why the hell are you people even here?
"If it helps, I know how you feel," he continued.
The hell you do...
"Well exactly..." he corrected himself.
Well exactly your situation is allot different. One of our closest family members did not die from a stupid genjutsu. Neji wouldn't even have wanted to die that way... he would have wanted an honorable death!
"My family were lucky enough not to be killed by that jutsu, nonetheless they were murdered by that bastard of a brother," he said nonchalantly.
Hinata finally looked up, her pale eyes meeting a pair of dark ones. "Uchiha-san," she greeted dully.
"Sorry, it was an unworthy death was such a noble shinobi," he offered.
Her pale lips turned upwards slightly, "Indeed," she agreed.
"If you ever want to talk, you should know where to find me. The ghost of a compound shouldn't be that hard to miss. An isolated place. Wooden planks hammered over windows, broken glass, a run down place. Can't be that hard to miss," Sasuke offered, disappearing off as TenTen came back.
TenTen gave a shaky smile, "It is time for the speeches," she stated.
A moment later Hinata found herself looking over the audience, her gaze dropped to the paper in her hand that contained her speech.
"Hyuga Neji. Even though he was in the Branch Family House, he never let that fact stop him. He was the first of us former twelve gennins to reach the Jounin status. He alone mastered the techniques of the Hyuga, even learning the secrets of the Main House," at this Hinata's lips quirked slightly.
"He was worthy of his title. The genius of the Hyuga clan. He was a noble shinobi, always willing to risk his life for others. Even if he didn't always seem friendly, if you were truly in danger, he would help without a second thought. He was that type of person... Many thought he was cold and stoic. But the truth was he hiding his emotions was his way of protecting himself. He always protecting someone else, but rarely did anyone protect him," she broke off there to take a pause before she continued.
"He was a worthy, noble shinobi. His death was not even suitable for such a great shinobi. He deserved better than to be killed by a weak shinobi who had to resort to that technique since he was unable to defeat Neji. Hyuga Neji, may his spirit be remembered," Hinata concluded, her tone turning cold at the end.
Since you aren't here, I'll be strong for you. I'll be strong for everyone else. I'll avenge your death Neji-niisan. I promise...
"This is my application to be a missing-nin hunter," Hinata said, passing a sheet of paper to the Hokage.
Tsunade observed Hinata for a moment, worry in her brown eyes. "Hinata..." she began softly, "Are you sure you wish to do this? I understand that you want to avenge the death of your cousin but is this the right path? There is a higher risk of death for this job; you are the Hyuga heiress, a Hyuga family member without the cursed seal. If death was to fall upon you..."
Hinata straightened, "I am aware of the facts but I know I made my choice, now it is up to you to accept me or not," she said coldly.
Tsunade let out a sigh, "Fine. I see you reason in which why you should not be a missing-nin hunter. Konoha could use the aid of another Hyuga," she gave in.
Hinata bowed politely before departing.
"I have been accepted into becoming a missing-nin," Hinata announced softly.
Hiashi looked down at her, "Daughter... are you aware..." he began.
"I am willing to renounce my position as heiress to my sister for the time being," Hinata cut in.
"I am aware that you are still grieving over the death of Neji," at his name Hinata flinched. "Don't do anything rash," he finished.
"Thank you Father," Hinata said before making her departure.
"I hear you got accepted into the missing-nin hunters," a male voice said teasingly.
"So you know, whoop-dee-whoo go stop the world from spinning," Hinata said dryly.
Sasuke frowned, "I'm also a hunter as well," he said.
"Your point being?" Hinata demanded.
"I don't want a weakling to slow me down whilst I go hunting, especially for my brother," he said in a carefree tone.
"I could say the same," she retorted.
He paused from his aimless walking to glare down at her, red eyes against her white ones. A moment later he sauntered off, pausing for a moment. "We should go spar some time," he called out, flicking a shuriken towards her ankles.
A moment later Hinata's form flickered and disappeared, reappearing beside Sasuke, her open palm striking forward, chakra leaving a trail of blue behind. Hakke Kusho (Eight Trigrams Empty Palm)
Her attack was dodged, and in a counter attack, Sasuke dropped down, hands supporting himself as he tried to sweep her feet with his legs. Chakra gathered to her feet as she leapt away, landing on a nearby branch.
"Is that all?" she asked.
She didn't have to wait for an answer as she spun around, sending several senbons flying. Sasuke knocked the flying projectiles with his kunai, as he came to a halt beside her.
"Senbons?" he questioned, as his hand formed seals. Serpent. Ram. Monkey. Boar. Horse...
She formed her own hand seals. Ram. Boar. Ox. Dog. Serpent...
At the same time he stopped on the Tiger hand seal, whilst she stopped on Serpent hand seal.
Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu, his blew out a large ball of fire that shot towards her.
A moment later the flame died out and a charred piece of wood fell to the ground with a loud clunk.
"Kawarimi," he murmured.
"Hakkeshou: Rokujuu Yonshou," Hinata murmured as she struck forward.
"Two strikes," she announced, as she spun away to dodge his attack before gracefully striking again.
She was cut short as Sasuke delivered a low openhanded attack, releasing chakra from his hand as he struck her solar plexus.
An poor imitation of my Hakke Kusho (Eight Trigrams Empty Palm). Successful enough to knock me back, but without the Byakugan, he is unable to copy it to deal the most efficient damage. Just a random strike, he doesn't know where to aim for...
"I admit, you are pretty good with your Sharingan. Able to copy my strike that quickly, even though I only used it once."
A startled look came over his face, disappearing just as quickly, "What else can you expect from an Uchiha?" he asked arrogantly.
"Allot," Hinata muttered softly.
"Stop mourning over the death of Neji. Regretting his death isn't going to help you. You chose to become a missing-nin hunter for vengeance. For retribution," he said angrily.
Hinata remained silent as she turned to make her departure. Before she could take another step, she found her gaze meeting a pair of angry red ones. "You have potential Hyuga. Use that to your advantage," he said stoically before he disappeared.
She traced the shape of the mask for a moment before she fitted it neatly upon her face. Even with the mask, it wouldn't hide her white eyes. Heck almost any shinobi could recognize those eyes as those of a Hyuga and only one Hyuga was a hunter-nin. The mask didn't hide the style of her hair, didn't hide any recognizable features of hers.
Yet she welcomes it. It was a relief against who everyone thought she was. They still thought she was the soft-spoken, good-natured Hinata, the weaker of the two heiresses, the one who had renounced her position to her sister. They thought of her as the kunoichi who easily blushed and stammered most of the time, who fancied the Kyuubi-vessel.
How wrong they were. They weren't stupid, nor were they oblivious. They stuck to what they believed to protect themselves, to maintain their life as it used to be. It was just like a fact.
She was the shy and soft-spoken Hinata, usually seen with Shino and Kiba. Kiba was the loud boisterous shinobi of the Rookie Nine, friends with equally loud Naruto. Naruto would always have an obsession with ramen, and who was best friends with Sakura. Sakura would always fawn over Sasuke. Sasuke would always be an avenger.
It was what Konoha had accepted to be. It was what Konoha had expected them to be. No one wanted to believe that she changed. That she became a strong Hyuga who was dead set on one goal. Retribution for the death of her cousin. No one wanted to believe that the once innocent Hinata had goals in her life.
So she let them continue their belief, she kept up the facade. At least until the physical mask came on. It didn't matter if they recognized her or not. The mask was enough for her to drop her act. They could recognize her but they chose not to, they lied to themselves. They pretended that she wasn't the one beneath the mask. And she let them.
Every time a person came up to say their apologies about her cousin's death and ask if she was alright. She could have told the truth and asked how could she be alright, but she sufficed with giving a small smile, thanking them and making her way along. She didn't mind. They were reminding her about her cousin, and giving her more motive to seek revenge. Still even without them she would not forget his death, she would still strive for the death of his killer.
Only one person seemed to realize what she had really become. Only one person had accepted her as changed.
That was not much of a surprise to her, seeing as he suffered the same fate. His whole family died on the hands on a Uchiha. His brother to make it worse.
And... he was a good spar partner. Kiba was still hesitant on hurting her, Shino refused to use his bugs unless it was for a serious situations, so training sessions with them were pointless.
Byakugan against Sharingan. Hyuga against Uchiha. And it always ended up with her losing. Every since time she would pick herself up from the ground for another match before they both made their own ways as the sun made its descent. She fought him because he was stronger than her, and because he was an Uchiha.
If she could eventually beat him, it would give her a better chance at defeating his brother. By fighting Sasuke it gave her knowledge on the Sharingan. And by fighting Sasuke, it gave him knowledge on her Byakugan.
"Hyuga," a voice greeted.
Hinata didn't need to turn her head towards his direction. Her byakugan had already spotted him coming towards her a fair distance away,
"Uchiha," she responded.
"You recognized me with the mask on," he stated.
"The mask doesn't hide the trademark of your hair. Nor does it hide your eyes or your familiar style of clothing," Hinata scowled.
"Same goes for you," he stated.
Hinata froze for a moment before she relaxed, "No one else seems to be acknowledging who I am when I have the mask on," she shrugged.
"No one wants to," he corrected.
Hinata shrugged again, "Like I care," she said dismissingly.
"You have your supplies and everything else?" Sasuke asked.
"Of course Sasuke-kun," Hinata said sweetly, in a manner that made her sound like one of his fan girls.
He cleared his throat, "Unless you want to continue acting like an overly sweet kunoichi, I suggest you resort back to the status of a hunter-nin so we can seek out the sighting of that missing-nin," he said crossly.
"I don't see what's the point of seeking out this missing-nin. Apparently all he did was leave the village. I checked his status, he is weak. No special jutsus, no special skills. Waste of time," Hinata stated.
"Don't kill him like you did to the last one," Sasuke ordered.
"It wasn't my fault," she said innocently.
"No it wasn't, you just happened to close most of his vital tenketsu," he retorted.
"I didn't know that he was low on chakra," she protested.
"I think that was why he gave up mid-battle since he couldn't use any more jutsus, we could have captured him alive but you just had to go do your fancy Hakke technique," he said gruffly.
"Anyway, how was I supposed to know that I blocked him off from accessing any chakra. I only closed sixty-four of his three hundred and sixty-one tenketsu," she asked.
"Oh and you just happened to pick those that were around his most vital ones," Sasuke shot back.
Hinata chose to ignore him as she continued along. "You should really stop arguing Uchiha, I suggest you resort back to the status of a hunter-nin so we can continue our mission," she said.
Sasuke glared at her.
Tsunade glanced at the two. "You managed to capture him alive," she stated, eyebrows raised. After a moment she added in, "You may remove your masks."
"Oh but we have technically completed the mission, but I'll remove my mask anyway so you don't get that Uchiha mixed up for me," Hinata said innocently, reaching to remove her mask.
"Are you implying something?" Sasuke said crossly, also removing his mask.
"Oh, it isn't my fault you happen to have similar feminine looking side bangs like I do," she said, blinking her wide eyes to paint the very picture of innocence.
Tsunade cleared her throat, somewhat startled at the boldness of Hinata. If only Hyuga Neji was still alive, the Godaime thought to herself, recalling the times where Hinata appeared alot happier and careful, but those times were over… Ever since Neji was found dead upon the training grounds.
"Well you two are dismissed. Chances of the need of hunter-nins now are low, so the next time I see you, would be when I call you in for ordinary A-Ranked or B-Ranked missions. Still... any of you thinking to changing back to the Jounin status and becoming a sensei to three genins?" Tsunade questioned.
"No." Sasuke said flat out.
"Not at the moment, Hokage-sama." Hinata said politely, as she bowed before the two of them made their departure.
Tsunade frowned, Amazing how fast she falls into the facade of her old self.
"Hyuga," started Sasuke.
"I do have a name other than my clan name," Hinata responded.
Sasuke chose to ignore that comment, "Why do you still pretend to be the same Hinata you were before," he demanded.
"Pretend?" Hinata repeated, a puzzled look on her face.
"Anyone can see easily through that mask," he stated.
"Yet most people choose not to," Hinata said truthfully.
"Forget it, let's spar. I admit you have gotten better but still, if you can't defeat me, there will be no way of you defeating my brother," he said.
"Hey," Sakura greeted.
"Hello," Hinata said in reply.
"Haven't seen you lately. Pity you gave up with the career of a medic-nin," Sakura sighed
A medical ninja. I initially chose that because I believed it was my purpose in life. I wanted to help people. How wrong I was back then. What is the point of helping heal people I barely know? What is the point when I couldn't even help Neji-niisan?
They don't even help. When the ninjas heard of Neji's death by a Mangekyou Sharingan, the first thing they did was go around in search parties to search Konoha and the outskirts to make sure Itachi wasn't there.
Afterwards they asked us Hyugas to search for him. Did they not realize that we lose an important member of our family? They didn't care. They were too concerned about themselves, and their families. They didn't want a mad killer in their village. They didn't care that Neji-niisan died. They were just thankful it wasn't someone close to them, it wasn't their family.
What is the point in helping selfish people like that?
What can I achieve my helping them? Am I supposed to have a happy feeling that I helped someone else. No. I get a sick feeling from helping someone so pathetic.
"It wasn't the career for me," Hinata admitted.
"Isn't that the Hyuga child, I heard of the death of her cousin. Yet she seems to be acting like her normal self," a woman whispered to her friend.
I hear their whispers... My true self is when I hide behind my mask. Ironic. Most hide behind a mask to act as someone different. Not I. Hinata glanced over at the woman who hastily pretending to be talking about something else.
Her lips tugged into a polite smile which the woman returned.
Pretence. Everything is pretence. Nothing is truly real.
"Hyuga," a familiar voice greeted.
Her eyes shifted to the left, locating the source of the voice, sitting on a stool at Ichiraku. Automatically she crossed over towards him, and sat gracefully next to him.
"Uchiha-san. Naruto-kun," she greeted politely.
Naruto paused from his slurping of his ramen to give a polite salute with two fingers before continuing to eat.
"Never knew you were the type to fancy ramen," Hinata said lightly.
"Dead-last decided to drag me here. He offered to pay, so I accepted," he answered. At Hinata's raised eyebrows he added, "It is rare for him to treat, since he usually ends up making me pay, or some other unsuspecting victim."
"I see..." she said slowly.
The conversation died as they waited for Naruto to finish. Naruto stood up, hand searching in his back pocket, a sheepish look coming across his face. "Um," he started guiltily, scratching the back of his head.
Sasuke sighed andhe reached into his own pocket to take out his wallet. "I knew this was too good to be true," he muttered loudly, depositing money on the table.
"Well I best be going now. Ja ne Hinata-chan, Sasuke-teme," Naruto said brightly as he ran off.
Sasuke started walking off, and Hinata lengthened her stride to catch up with him. "I wonder what ranked mission we will get today?" she pondered aloud.
"Probably some stupid B-Ranked one that involves escorting some noble," he answered.
She smiled good-naturedly. "Can't be that bad."
He looked at her disapprovingly, "Most of the missions we been getting are pathetic. Chuunins could do it easily. Yet they sent two jounins who both possess different bloodline-limits," he scowled.
"Technically we aren't really jounin," Hinata said thoughtfully.
"We both used to be Jounin so for normal missions like that, we are still classified as Jounin-leveled," he retorted.
Hinata gave a shrug, "Hokage-sama mentioned something about seeing how effective two bloodline limits work together in missions..."
"You mean, see how much weaker the Byakugan is in comparison to the Sharingan," he smirked.
Her polite smile faded as she pressed her lips tightly together. "At least the full potential of the Byakugan can be achieved without the need to kill your best friend," she said softly, glaring at him.
He paused and stepped closer to her, "You are wasting your hatred on me. You should use your hatred to your advantage... use that power to seek revenge," he whispered, his breath warm against her ear.
Her hands rose to shove him lightly away from her, well that was what she planned anyway.
He caught both hands by the wrist, turning them away from him so it would not inflict any damage upon him. "Why do you continue to hide behind your mask?"
"You asked me a similar question a while back," Hinata said.
"You never answered me properly."
"If I recall, you were the one who changed the subject."
"Then answer me now."
Hinata made to move away, but a tug on her wrists reminded her of the situation she was in. "Let me go," she murmured.
"Answer the question first."
"Let me go," she repeated.
She struggled, chakra gathering into her fingertips but no matter how much she twisted her hand, she couldn't burn him. She grimaced, and promptly released chakra from all her tenkutsu, forcing Sasuke to let go. But before she could bolt, he reappeared behind her, twisting her arm painfully against her back.
"Why do you want to know?" Hinata demanded.
"Because I want you to listen to your answer," Sasuke responded.
"That makes no sense."
"Ask yourself, why do you hide behind that mask."
"Why? Because no one wants to admit that I changed."
Because... Because... I didn't want to admit that I had c-changed. I was afraid... that was why I hide behind that facade of my old self.
Hinata fell silent, ceasing all signs of struggle. A moment later Sasuke released his hold on her, yet Hinata did not flee.
"You are a cold bastard," she said bitterly.
"At least I don't lie to myself," he countered.
"I don't want to listen," she said angrily, storming off.
Sasuke caught up to her, his hand seizing her arm. "The mission sweetheart?" he mentioned, falsely sweet.
She glared at him, pulling out of his grip as she continued along.
"I don't see why Sakura still fancies you," Hinata remarked.
"What isn't there to fancy about me? I am the heir to the Uchiha fortune. I possess the Sharingan. I am a strong shinobi. According to females I am handsome with my dark hair and eyes," he listed.
"And you are a cold-hearted shinobi, dead set on revenge," Hinata finished, her anger fading.
"No different from you."
"I am different."
"You are still one of the heiresses of the Hyuga fortune. You possess the Byakugan. Compared to other kunoichi you are strong enough. You aren't exactly ugly with your dark hair and pale eyes."
"Thanks. I am not exactly ugly...Anyway, I denounced my position to my sister."
"Still you are an heiress. You can still inherit, just not as much as your sister."
"The Byakugan occurs naturally in every Hyuga."
"So you still have a bloodline-limit, most ninjas don't."
"I am not a cold-hearted kunoichi."
"That is because you hide behind your mask."
"And you're ugly." Hinata added, amusement rising.
"Good. Go crawl into a hole and die."
"But you know, you never denied that you are dead set on revenge."
"I am not."
"Oh really, then why are you a hunter-nin?"
"Revenge is one of my motives. It is not my only one, unlike you."
"I have other motives."
"Being the best shinobi."
"So you can be strong enough to defeat your brother."
"Learning different techniques."
"Refer to my last statement."
"I want to revive my clan."
"So if you fail to kill your brother, they can do that for you."
"Never thought of that. But thanks for the idea."
"See. Dead set on revenge."
"Oh and what are you other motives."
"Later I want to be a medic-nin."
"So you can be strong enough to seek revenge."
Hinata narrowed her eyes. "So I can help those I care about."
"You cared about your cousin that is why you are helping him by seeking revenge."
"What does healing have to do with revenge?" Hinata questioned, choosing to not take heed of his remark about her cousin.
"Never mind that. What other motives do you have?"
"I want to be respected as Hinata, not because I am a Hyuga."
"Is that anything to do with revenge?"
She grew serious. "Uchiha. I am nothing like you. So don't compare yourself to me. Don't pretend to know me."
"Tell me... why do you bother me? Why don't you bother some kunoichi who actually likes you?"
"And risk them swooning over me?"
"Rather not. I would rather have a talk to someone who is my equal."
"Are you implying that some of my friends are above you?"
"No... below me."
"I don't know why I put up with you."
"Because you love me."
"Because we both aim for the some purpose," he said seriously.
"Didn't I make it clear that we are nothing alike?"
"Lie to yourself as much as you want but face it. You and I both aim for the same thing. We both want the death of Uchiha Itachi to happen."
"I am not admitting tothat."
"You don't have to. I already know."
"Conceited-" she started.
"Watch your language, the man we have to escort is here."
Sasuke nodded politely. "Uchiha Sasuke."
"Hyuga Hina-" Hinata began as she bowed.
"I don't care about your names. You are merely here to guide me from destination A to destination B without any harm coming across me," he said snidely
As Sasuke opened his mouth to make a reply, Hinata nudged his sharply in the ribs. "Of course... um..." Hinata trailed off as she realized she didn't know his name.
"Hark." he said proudly.
Hark... must be some noble. "Of course Hark-sama," Hinata said politely, ignoring the urge to throw a senbon into the back of his neck.
"I really don't have time to waste, shinobi of Konoha," he said rudely, as he started walking.
Baka... I am a kunoichi not a shinobi. Stupid idiot. Can't even use the right term.
"Kunoichi," Hinata corrected.
Hark sniffed and continued walking.
I'm surprised this isn't an A-Ranked mission. It would take some ninja to tolerate that lump of lard.
Sasuke fell into step with her.
"Can we kill him?" Hinata asked.
He made a highly amused sound. "That would just ruin the whole point of the mission if you kill the person we are meant to protect."
Hinata shrugged, "Then they shouldn't send hunter-nins to do the job of ordinary jounins. Our aim is to seek and destroy. Not follow and protect."
Hark glanced at them startled.
A fake smile spread across Hinata's face. "We are just joking around," she said lightly.
"I was initially suspicious when Hokage-sama requested that we do this mission," Sasuke said softly.
Hinata raised her eyebrows in surprise. "Yea... like why she chose us to go on this mission," Hinata said in a low voice.
"No one else would be able to analyzed as fast as us," Sasuke replied.
"Of course, we both have an Advanced Bloodline." Hinata added.
Hark sat down on a rock. "We are to rest."
"So are you comrades going to ambush us anytime soon?" Hinata asked.
"What!" Hark demanded.
"I mean it was pretty smart to lure two jounins out. But you chose the wrong jounins." Sasuke said coldly.
Hark snapped his fingers and there was a rustling of leaves as several shinobis leapt out.
"Stone." Hinata mentioned, taking note of the symbol on the hita-aite.
"As if two jounins of Konoha would be able to take on ten jounin of Stone," Hark hissed, dropping the illusion around him.
Hinata sighed. "First mistake. You tried to ambush ninjas of Konoha. Second mistake. You chose two jounins. Third mistake. You picked two jounin-leveled Hunter-nins. Fourth mistake. You chose Hunter-nins who possess bloodline limits. Fifth mistake. With the Byakugan and Sharingan, we were able to quickly analyze the situation and we were quite aware of the ambush." Hinata ticked off the mistakes on her hand.
"We have heard about you. Uchiha Sasuke, we admit that you are dangerous but the Hyuga, everyone knows that she was so weak that her father broke the old traditions and named her sister the heiress," Hark smirked.
"Sixth mistake. You underestimated me." Hinata said, reaching into her weapons pouch.
Shurikens flew out from the stone shinobis to hit both Hinata and Sasuke who exploded in a spray of water.
"Fire Style: Art of the Phoenix Flower," Sasuke shot out multiple balls of flame.
"Earth Release: Earth Release Wall," a shinobi countered, blocking the attack.
"Eight Trigrams Empty Palm," Hinata reappeared in the midst of the shinobis, her palm thrusting forward.
Before the enemies could even attack her, she fell into a low stance. "Divine spin."
Hinata glared down at Hark who was tied up on the ground,
"Care to explain Hark-sama?" she asked innocently, fluttering her eyelashes.
He glared at her before he disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
"Ah heck, I should have sealed his tenkutsu," Hinata sighed.
Sasuke scowled, "We kept him alive for nothing?" he demanded, glancing over to the remains of the other shinobis.
"Well you could have kept one of those shinobis alive instead of burning them," Hinata sighed.
"What are you going to do now?" Sasuke demanded.
"Count down from five would you?" Hinata requested.
"Why do you want me to do that for Hyu-" he got cut off, as there was a loud bang, sending birds flying to the air.
"Did I forget to mention that I placed an exploding tag on him?" Hinata suddenly said.
He sighed and smacked his forehead. "That was pointless. Now we didn't even know his motive." he scowled as he began to make his way back.
"They wanted to threaten Konoha so they decided to kill two of their Jounin to prove how much stronger they are. Sneaking into the city, luring two jounin out. Killing them. The best way to threaten Konoha," Hinata mentioned.
"Hm... what ever happened to hiding behind a mask?" Sasuke questioned.
Hinata frowned for a moment. "You can't expect be to be sweet all the time Sasuke-san," Hinata pouted.
"Whatever," he stated.
"Mission a success," Sasuke said.
Tsunade raised her eyebrows, "Finishing escorting so soon?" she questioned.
"Um Hokage-sama... the man... a shinobi of Stone..." Hinata offered hesitantly
She looked cross, "I am more than aware of that, why else would I pick you two to go on the mission?"
"Mission a success," Sasuke repeated before leaving.
Hinata gave a polite smile.
"Hina-chan, do you have any intentions in continuing your studies as a medical ninja?" Tsunade asked.
"Maybe at a later moment. I don't think I am able to continue being a hunter-nin as well as a medic-nin," she said.
"Just to let you know, the offer stands," Tsunade offered.
"Thanks for that," Hinata said politely.
"Learning to heal would be effective," Tsunade muttered but Hinata caught her words.
Her smile died. "Some injuries aren't meant to be healed, Hokage-sama," Hinata said tightly before leaving.
TenTen looked at Hinata, "Been ages since we last had a proper chat," she started.
Hinata nodded. "I guess I found it too awkward to hang around after the incident," she explained.
"You aren't the only one that misses him."
"I am aware of that."
"I don't think he would have wanted you to become a Hunter-nin. He was always proud that you defied the clan's wishes and became a Medic-nin," TenTen said softly.
Hinata grimaced, "I haven't given up on being a Medic-nin, I just need a break from it."
"Hinata-san, there have been many moments when I considered taking the same path as you, but I realized that killing him won't bring Neji back," TenTen remarked.
"I am aware of that."
"Right now you seemed to build your life around seeking retribution, but what are you going to do after you kill him? You built everything around killing him, so if anything, you would lose purpose in life afterwards."
"I lived eighteen years of my life without a proper purpose, now one has finally rose. I will decide what happens afterwards. I am not afraid of the consequences."
"Then good luck with that."
This is my chance... everything I worked so hard for... put to this test. If I fail now... there won't be a next time... I won't let there be a next time. Not after what happened.
Hinata landed nimbly on the grass before falling into the shadows. Where is he?.. There! She spun around, locking kunais with the enemy.
"Uchiha," she hissed, pushing forward with a sudden strength before she dropping, hands supporting herself as her legs swept at the enemy. Chakra gathered into his feet as he leapt away, his hands forming the trademark technique of the Uchiha.
Damn! She leapt to one side, rolling to softened her fall. A moment later she sprung back upright, arm flinging forward, several projectiles moving towards her enemy.
He blocked the projectiles with his kunai, metallic rings filling the area.
Hinata formed a hand seal. The exploding tags around the senbons triggered, blowing up around her opponent. Leaving him no time to recover she surged forward, attacking with a low open handed strike filled with chakra.
He fell back, disappearing with a poof. Kage bushin eh? Not even my Byakugan can tell that it was a clone, because the chakra is evenly divided. But if that was the clone, where is the real one. Left? No. Right? No. Above? No. Her gaze dropped before she sprung into the air, narrowly avoiding the attack from behind.
Hinata spun on her heel, arm coming to block the attack. Twisting her feet slightly, she skidded around the enemy, her free hand snaking under to force chakra into the other's chakra system.
Her eyes caught the beginnings of a series of jutsu and hastily she sprung back, falling into a protective crouch. Shit... I recognize that jutsu anywhere. Sasuke did that plenty of times.
The fire struck her and died away, yet there nothing left behind.
Itachi scanned the area, his arm whipping forward to lock kunais with his brother. "Sasuke. The mask doesn't hide your killing intent. Doesn't hide your weakness. It only hides the fear in your face," Itachi said scornfully.
"Fool. Trust me, the last thing you will see before you die is my face. Right now I am merely toying with you," Sasuke mocked.
"Damn it!" Sasuke shouted suddenly, leaping back.
"What is the matter?" Hinata demanded, shifting away from the shadows.
Sasuke triggered his sharingan. "It is nothing," he brushed her off, springing back into battle.
After several attempted attacks, he leapt back beside her.
"That level of Sharingan would not be enough to tolerate the Mangekyou... It has six years since I last saw you but apparently those years have been wasted. You may grow stronger physically but you will never beat me unless you face me withthe sameeyes as mine," taunted Itachi.
Genjutsu eh? Is that the reason why Sasuke can't remain in battle with him, can't he just judge his movements by his feet? No... it would be too hard against someone as high leveled as him...
Even though the Sharingan can apparently see through genjutsu... against a higher level of the Sharingan I do not think it would work. He just isn't strong enough.
Let me try then. My Byakugan should be more than enough, after all the byakugan can see through any genjutsu... Well then BYAKUGAN!
Hinata sprung forward, flinging several senbons forward. To her dismay he did not block the senbons but insteadhis form flickered and he disappeared.
She spun around, delivering an open handed strike, a smirk spreading across her face as her eyes caught the small detail of his eyes widening ever so slightly before his arm came to divert her attack slightly.
"You have fast reactions... being able to sense my attack. But you strikes are pathetic. When they do happen to hit, they deal very little damage. What is the point of you placing chakra into that attack? You are not using superhuman strength..." he noted.
Is he this oblivious? I might be wearing a mask but my eyes still show. Doesn't he recognize these eyes of those of a Hyuga?
Doesn't he know that we have 360-degree vision... that was how I saw his attack. Doesn't he know that my fighting style if Juken, that I seek to cause internal damage, that I am forcing chakra into his system. Doesn't he know?
I honestly don't see how he was able to defeat a Hyuga who is even stronger than me in my current state. I honestly-
She broke from her trail of thoughts as a fist collided with her mask, sending her flying back. She crashed heavily onto the ground, sending dust flying everywhere.
Damn it! He was holding back. Just then he moved so fast... even though my Byakugan caught the movements I was unable to react fast enough. He caught me by surprise... that won't happen again.
Hinata got up, moving back into battle, the cracks in her mask becoming more apparent.
If I can just close the tenkutsu around his eyes, my chances would improve. Without his Sharingan to analyze... he wouldn't stand a chance. However I doubt he would remain still enough for me to initiate that attack.
Hinata's right hand dropped to her kunai holster, tapping it twice before falling back into a fighting stance.
Lucky we already planned this out before. Now hopefully Sasuke caught that... he nodded. Good. Now I have to let Sasuke distract Itachi long enough for me to attack. He's started. Now I have to watch for an opening...
Don't fail Sasuke. You better not lose. You better not fall under the influence of the Tsukuyomi. You better not stuff up the moment we have both been waiting for-
THERE! An opening!
Hinata shot forward as Sasuke jerked back.
"Hakke!" Two strikes. Four strikes. Eight strikes. Sixteen strikes- That should be enough!
She was sent flying back, tumbling to a roll to soften her fall. Moving back into a defensive crouch shemerely watched.
"Those white eyes-" Itachi started.
It was only then that Hinata realized that she could feel a breeze against her face. That there was an absence of the mask.
"It took you that long to realize?" Hinata asked coldly, the veins around her eyes fading.
"The eyes of a Hyuga. I have heard about your style of fighting and your techniques. I did not think they would do that much damage. Those chakra filled strikes you made earlier, I have the suspicion that they are as harmless as it appears to be. And you seemed to block off the chakra around my eyes."
"You did not think that would do that much damage?" Hinata stated sarcastically.
How the hell did you defeat my cousin then? Even if you did use the Tsukuyomi, it would only work if Neji-niisan had his Byakugan switched off. He would have only done that for two reasons. One he was out of chakra. Two he believed the battle was over.
Both options require him to fight, and that would require him to use the only style he masters. The style of the Hyugas. Juken.
Itachi started walking towards Hinata but there was a blur of darkness as Sasuke appeared in front of her. "Your battle is with me!" Sasuke shouted angrily.
"Thanks to your friend, I can no longer activate my Sharingan but I shall have no trouble with you. It is the Hyuga who poses as more of a threat. Her style of fighting is different, more risky. You however pose absolutely no threat to me as well," Itachi said calmly.
Sasuke formed a series of hand seals, muttering something under his breath. Itachi watched him warily, dark eyes searching the area to search for the attack.
"What-" Hinata started before chains of earth bounded her wrists and legs, immobilizing her. "What the hell!"
"This is my battle," Sasuke repeated.
No! This isn't your battle. I worked so hard for this. If it wasn't for me, you wouldn't even stand a chance!
Hinata struggled with her bounds, releasing chakra from all her tenkutsu in order to break the binds.
Sasuke crouched down to look at her level. Red eyes glaring at her own, before his hand struck at hertemple,a moment later Hinata collapsed only one thought ringing in her mind.
That wasn't the ordinary Sharingan. That was the Mangekyou.
Hinata bolted upright. Where am I? ...
The hospital. Why am I here?
Several images flashed through her head.
Uchiha Itachi... we fought. I disabled his Sharingan, then Sasuke used some binding ninjutsu on me. What happened next?
"I see that you are awake Hinata-chan," Tsunade greeted as she stepped into the room.
"What happened?" Hinata demanded, rubbing at her forehead.
"I am not sure of the details but Sasuke brought you back unconscious. He gave us instructions and after we dispatched several shinobis, they were able to locate Uchiha Itachi's body," Tsunade explained.
"So he is dead," Hinata stated, an oddly empty feeling rising.
"Don't you remember?" Tsunade asked.
"No... I was unconscious-" she broke off.
"You only sustained superficial injuries. You should consider yourself lucky," the Godaime Hokage added.
If I only had superficial injuries...how did I become unconscious? Hinata pressed her palm to her forehead.
"Are you alright?" Tsunade asked concerned.
"I am fine. Just have a headache... Am I allowed to leave the hospital now?" Hinata asked.
"Yea I suppose so, but if you have any injuries come back," Tsunade said.
Now that I think about it... some things don't make sense anymore.
How did Uchiha Itachi defeat my cousin then? If he did use the Tsukuyomi, it would only work if Neji-niisan had his Byakugan switched off and he would have only done that for two reasons. One he was out of chakra. Two he believed the battle was over.
Both options require Neji-niisan to fight, and that would require him to use the only style he masters. The style of the Hyugas. Juken.
That would mean that Itachi would have to fight with Neji. And he most likely used his Sharingan meaning he should have been able to analyze Neji's fighting style. If he could beat Neji, he could easily defeat me but he was unable to because he underestimated my strikes.
He only recognized my fighting style after my mask broke, after he saw my eyes. He had his Sharingan activated then so he should have been able to match my style to Neji. We are basically the same.
It doesn't add up. However the evidence said that one with the Mangekyou Sharingan killed my cousin. If it isn't Itachi or Kakashi who else could it be-
I remember now... That wasn't the ordinary Sharingan. That was the Mangekyou.
That makes no sense... wait... I have to think rationally here.
What would Itachi have to gain from killing my cousin?
Apart from learning your technique, there would be very little. Akatsuki has not waged war on Konoha so Neji's death would not threaten Konoha that badly...
What would Sasuke have to gain my killing my cousin? And how did he even get the Mangekyou?
Sasuke wants revenge. However he is not strong enough to kill Itachi. Even if it was Mangekyou against Mangekyou, obviously Itachi mastered it better. So he had to gain the advantage.
He needed someone whose fighting style differed from everyone else's, that would end up surprising Itachi. He also needed one who could get rid of the factor of Itachi's Sharingan.. someone who could seal tenkutsu.
The only people who fitted both those categories was a Hyuga but where would find a Hyuga to aid him.
There was a low chance of Itachi coming to Konoha but a higher chance of getting a Hyuga to go to Itachi.
Most of the Hyugas think it is below them to become a Hunter-nin. Most wouldn't even work with a Uchiha.
He had to pick the right one. And that was me.
However I had no reason to become a Hunter Ninja when I was already a Medical Ninja. So he created a reason.
He took a risk of killing my cousin, purposely using the Mangekyou to make everyone, including myself believe that Itachi was responsible for Neji's death.
Then afterwards all he had to do was plant the idea of revenge into my mind.
He used me and I was stupid enough to fall into this mess.
I am such a fool.
"I, on behalf of the Hyuga clan, call treason against Uchiha Sasuke," Hinata started coldly.
"What makes you do that?" Tsunade demanded, not bothering to hide the shock in her voice.
"Several factors did not add up, thus I believe that Uchiha Sasuke was responsible for Hyuga Neji's death," Hinata continued.
"Do you have an evidence of your theory?" Sasuke asked arrogantly.
"Whilst fighting Itachi, I noticed that he was unfamiliar with my fighting style, which pretty much lead to his defeat," Hinata explained.
"And what does that have to do with anything?" Haruno Sakura demanded, speaking in defense for Sasuke.
Hinata folded her hands neatly in her lap.
"If Itachi had supposedly killed my cousin and Neji died from the Tsukyuomi. However the Byakugan can see through all genjutsu. Thus the jutsu would only work if Neji-niisan had his Byakugan switched off and he would have only done that for two reasons. One he was out of chakra. Two he believed the battle was over. Both options require Neji-niisan to engage in battle, and that would require him to use the only style he masters. The style of the Hyugas. Juken," Hinata stated.
"Is this leading anywhere?" Sakura shot.
"I am getting to that. Itachi would have to fight my cousin before he killed him... but when I fought Itachi, he had no knowledge of my fighting style. Meaning one, he forgot that style, which is highly unlikely due to the analyzing Sharingan. Or two. He never killed my cousin," Hinata continued.
"Do you have any real proof to back up what you are accusing?" Tsunade asked calmly.
After a moment to bite back a rude reply, Hinata shook her head slowly.
"We ask you to vote then. Is Sasuke guilty or innocent of treason by killing Hyuga Neji?" Tsunade asked, turning to the shinobis of each clan.
There a pause before there was a verdict.
"I, on behalf of the Nara, believe him to be innocent," Shikamaru drawled.
"I, on behalf of the Haruno, believe him to be innocent," Sakura added.
"I, on behalf of the Rock, believe him to be guilty," Lee declared.
"I, on behalf of the Uzumaki, believe him innocent," Naruto said solemnly.
"I, on behalf of the Yamanko, believe him innocent," Ino voiced.
"I, of Inuzuka, believe him guilty," Kiba said boldly.
"On behalf of Aburame, I believe him guilty," Shino said monotonously.
"I, TenTen, believe him guilty," TenTen said bitterly.
"I, on behalf of Akimichi, believe him innocent," Chouji mumbled.
There were several more murmurs.
"The overall verdict is that he is innocent," Tsunade finally said.
Hinata narrowed her eyes. "So be it. Then Konoha will have to suffice without the Hyugas. The Hyugas will have nothing to do with that traitor, unless it be his death," Hinata said coldly before leaving the room.
"This is definitely a loss to Konoha," Tsunade sighed to her student.
"The Hyuga had withdrawn from missions. The few Hyuga who help around in the hospital have also withdrawn. They are barely seen anymore. All of them remain in their compound. Hyuga Hinata has a lot of influence on them even though she isn't the successor of the clan," Sakura sighed.
"It isn't solely because of Hinata. It is because the Hyuga all believe that Uchiha Sasuke is responsible for the death of Branch Member Neji. Neji was well favored by the Branch House, as well as some of the Main so it was quite easy to them to make their decision," Tsunade corrected.
"It isn't just the Hyugas though. TenTen pulled out of her missions, and that is quite a loss since she is the Weapons Master of Konoha. Rock Lee hasn't been doing any high ranked mission but instead remains teaching his gennin team. That too is a loss since he is a Taijutsu expert," Sakura added.
"All this for one person," Tsunade commented.
Sakura's anger flared, "Sasuke isn't guilty," she exclaimed.
"We don't know that. There is no proof," Tsunade sighed.
Whatever Sakura was about to say next was interrupted by the warning bells.
"Shit. An attack!" Tsunade cursed.
"How could this be, how were we so unprepared?" Sakura demanded.
"Usually the Hyuga are on sentry duty, but because of the incident," Tsunade trailed off as she flung open the door delivering a punch.
"Konoha survived an attack before, we should be fine as long as everyone recalls the plan. Evacuate children and woman. All kunoichis and shinobis try to stay low until the ones unable to fight have retreated to the undergrounds," Sakura attempted to reassure Tsunade.
"Let's just hope that the Hyuga join in aiding Konoha... against the Stone," Tsunade stated.
"Onee-sama," Hanabi cried in protest.
"Hanabi, you are to be the successor of the clan. You are not to put your life in risk. Remain in the compound with the family. If the enemy is foolish enough to attack the Hyugas, there should be more than enough to overwhelm them," Hinata ordered.
"But what about you?" Hanabi asked.
"I have to protect Konoha. Even if they still wish to shield the bastard of a traitor, I still have to protect my home and the my precious people," Hinata said before running off.
Shit... this is far too many people for even me to handle. If I continue using Divine Whirl, I am going to run out of chakra but if I don't, I will be too badly surrounded.
"My, my, isn't this a mess," a familiar voice remarked.
"I'd sooner die that ask for your help traitor," Hinata snapped.
"Oh who ever said about you asking me for help. It is the other way around," Sasuke mocked, as he leapt into the scene.
"This doesn't change anything. Us fighting together," Hinata stated.
"I never said it would," Sasuke replied. His tone then softened, "If I could change things, I wouldn't have killed your cousin."
Hinata continued fighting, pausing to glare at him. "You made your mistakes Uchiha. You can't take them back," she said bitterly.
"Allot of factors added to the fact that I realized that I had gone too far. But by the time I realized that, the chance of retribution finally came so I had to take it. I came too far..." he said softly.
"Oh and what made your start to realize that what you did was a big mistake," Hinata sneered, as she struck the air with an open handed strike, sending the enemies in front of her flying away.
"You," Sasuke murmured.
Hinata froze for a moment. "You built your foundations, even if you tear them down I shall still hate you."
"I never asked you not to," Sasuke replied.
"So you are running away. Becoming a missing-nin?"
"No. I filed for a permanent transfer. Tsunade-sama knows.
"Are you sure about this?" Tsunade asked, as she began to tidy her office. "I mean Konoha doesn't have that much use for you at the moment, since the attack is over but..." she trailed off.
Hinata surveyed the destruction before nodding. "I made allot of mistakes in the past months, I know I can't reverse them but I want to help. I want to me a medical-ninja again. I want to help others... just not here... not right now anyway..."
"I filled a transfer for you. Suna could use your medical skills. Don't forget that you area always welcomed back here, Hina-chan," Tsunade said gently.
"Thank-you," Hinata said graciously.
: End Flashback
"So you are just running away from your problems," Sasuke continued.
"I suppose so."
"Is it really because you wish to help the alliance village?" Sasuke asked.
Hinata paused for a moment, "I can't stay in the same village as the person responsible for the death of my cousin... at least not right now I think."
"That isn't the only reason, you filed for a permanent transfer"
"You are right. Right now I am confused since I am not even feeling any hatred towards you."
"And you feel entitled to hate me due to the sake of your cousin."
"Yet I am not. I know that it isn't right. That is why I can't stay here anymore. Too much confusion. Too many memories I want to forget."
"Will you ever come back?"
"I don't think so," Hinata said truthfully.
"Let me tell you the reason why I began to regret the decisions I made," Sasuke offered.
"You already told me," Hinata said turning away.
"It is because of you. Because the more time I spent with you, the more I began to care for you. I-" Sasuke started.
"Don't! Don't say anymore. If you truly care about me, let me leave, don't weigh me down with any more regrets. Just leave me alone," Hinata said coldly.
"Farewell Hinata," Sasuke grudgingly said.
Hinata didn't respond as she walked through the gates.
Running away from my problems. Cowardly isn't it. But I can't stay. Not anymore. Too much confusion is running through my mind. I hated him because he killed my cousin but after the invasion of Konoha I wasn't sure of my emotions anymore.
I can't hide behind a mask anymore. That shattered along with my physical one. It is broken... and it can't be fixed. That is why I am avoiding my problems. Maybe one day I can regain the shards of my mask and place them back together. But until then I won't return.
A/N: This was written when I was thirteen.
2005-12-19 - Retribution published.
2005-12-31 - Retribution completed.
2011-02-13 - Slight update to replace line breaks. Story was kept in a single chapter for convenience of editing.