Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
Uchiha and Hyuga
Part One: An Unknown Past
Chapter One: The Question and the Answer
It was a gentle day.
Uchiha Itachi leaned against the rough bark of the tree he was sitting in and enjoyed the quiet breeze. He was high up enough that the sounds of children playing nearby would not disturb him but he could still hear them faintly.
He knew that today was the day Hyuga Hiashi, the head of Hyuga, would come to meet with some of the Uchiha clan, including his father but he was not interested in their matters.
His mind was occupied by other thoughts.
He noticed the commotion some way off and knew that Hyuga had arrived.
Soon they came into sight and he saw Hyuga Hiashi and his people surrounded by Uchiha.
He was carrying a child in his arms. He put it down when he saw the children and said something to it. Then he walked away.
The child looked lost even in his dispassionate mind but the children ignored it.
Being children, they did not know how to be considerate and they went on with their game.
Soon, the child went off to one side and sat on a nearby swing. It looked very small and he guessed that it must be around his brother's age.
The children were kicking a ball around and it bounced towards the child.
It took the chance to get off and run forward, hoping to pick up the ball and join the game. However, in its haste, it tripped and fell.
The children did not seem to notice it and Itachi saw the child get up and brush itself down. It turned to go back to the swing and he saw that it was crying softly.
No one heard, not even him, but he knew because he had exceptionally good eyesight.
He was mildly curious now and he leapt off the tree and landed silently.
He was like a shadow extended from the tree and he walked over to the child.
He thought that it was a girl more because of its gestures than its looks.
As young as it was, it looked rather sweet, he thought for a moment, much better than that one at home who already have the beginnings of an annoying smirk on his face.
He did not want to stay down there and be noticed by anyone because everyone annoyed him. He picked the crying child up and leapt back to his perch on the tree with ease.
He was so swift that the child did not notice until he was sitting on the branch with it on his lap facing him.
It looked up and sniffed, curiosity stopping the tears effectively. It spoke, "O-onii-san?"
Itachi thought that it was somewhat strange because this child did not seem to be afraid of him and yet, it did not approach the other children.
He did not know that this child had been more around adults than children in its young life.
It did not really know how to be with other children and because it was shy by nature, it did not dare to try. To it, Itachi seemed more like an adult and hence, it was not afraid.
Because Itachi did not know about all that, he was intrigued by this contrast in behavior. He was a stranger to it and yet it showed no fear, only a bit of shyness from the quiver in its voice.
Its voice was soft and quiet, unlike most of the children in Uchiha, including his brother. Well, to be fair, his brother was already quieter than most but this one seemed to surpass him.
Itachi did not give voice to his slight surprise but instead, asked the question he had been thinking of, "You are Hyuga, one of the strongest clans in Konoha. You should not be afraid to approach the other children. Why were you afraid?"
His voice was soft as velvet but his tone had steel behind it. He gave it no slack despite its young age.
While he was speaking, he did wipe the tears on its face though because it seemed to be the natural thing to do.
He did not really know how to be around children because he did not have a childhood even though he was only ten years old. While his appearance was that of a child, his manner and presence was not.
Part of that was because he was a precocious child and part of it was his experiences. It was also because of the way his people treated him. They did not treat him as a child but as 'other'.
The child bit its lip at his questions, thinking hard. This person said things that its father sometimes said.
It answered hesitantly, not sure how to convey what it thought, "U-uh… F-father said that to me too. He said that I am Hyuga… b-but…"
It broke off and bit its lip again. Itachi pressed, "But?"
It looked at him with its pearl-white eyes, the distinctive mark of Hyuga, and continued, "…I'm Hyuuga but… but Hyuuga is not me. I-I'm Hinata."
Itachi was shocked; this was the answer to the question he had been thinking about and could not come up with and yet this child, this girl called Hinata, answered. He had not had such a surprise in a long time.
He was silent for a while, lost in his own thoughts and little Hinata did not disturb him. She had been taught to speak only when spoken to.
Itachi had been feeling rather frustrated lately because he felt so empty inside.
Everyone said that he was the pride of Uchiha, that he was a rare prodigy and would do great things.
He did not understand what they were saying because what he had done so far had not been great or difficult.
He knew he could do things a lot of other people could not do at his age but since they came naturally to him, they were not really achievements.
He knew he was clever but he thought, "So what?"
He did not understand why he was the pride of Uchiha. The things he did were what other older shinobi did.
Besides, they were things that he had done, not them, so why were they proud. Should it not be him that was proud?
They did not make sense to him sometimes.
Graduating at the age of 7 did not mean anything to him because he thought there was no point in staying in a place where he could not learn anything.
He already knew the jutsu and theories that were taught there. How he knew he did not know. To him, they were simply a matter of using his brains, a little bit of common sense and a little of imagination.
He could not understand what the fuss was about.
Mastering the Sharingan when he was eight was the first challenging thing he had ever done that he could remember.
He thought that the chunin exam would be another challenge but no, it was not. It was merely another mission: simple and straight-forward, to him anyway. Lots of people seemed to find it difficult but he did not.
Soon after that exam, he started to wonder why he was doing all that.
He did not find anything that was worth doing anymore. Besides, whatever he finished did not belong to him. They were never his to be proud of because he did not think they were worthy to be proud of, no matter what everyone else thought.
Yes, they were belonged to Uchiha and he had nothing left. His life was empty because all that he did was attributed to the pride of Uchiha.
Everyone looked at him and saw the pride of Uchiha and what he could do to add to it.
He knew that as a fact but it also made him empty and frustrated.
He did not know why he was doing all these and he hated it.
Itachi looked at this little girl; it must be a little girl because he remembered that the head of Hyuga had a daughter called Hinata and it had said that it was Hinata.
She gave him the answer.
He was feeling frustrated and empty because he did not feel alive.
He was being forced to be Uchiha and all of Uchiha was forced into him.
The person called Itachi was lost and now he found it again because he realized that it was lost.
He vowed that he would never just be Uchiha again. He would also be Itachi and he would start living the life of Itachi as well as Uchiha.
That resolved, he looked down at the little figure.
She was staring at her fingers which she was twiddling, probably in boredom but she had not disturbed him and he was pleased.
He decided that this child was not so bad after all, compared to most of the other children that he had seen.
He said, "Hinata, look at me."
She started at hearing him speak suddenly. He had been so silent before and she did not have the courage to disturb him.
She looked up shyly and peeked at him from under her lashes.
She had thought that this onii-san looked stern, a bit like her father but now he did not look as stern and she was not so nervous.
She looked at him and waited.
Itachi twitched a rare smile and Hinata widened her eyes a little at the change on his face.
She was too young to know Itachi was a handsome boy but she felt that his smile looked nice and she tentatively smiled back. It was a sweet, shy and innocent smile and Itachi liked it.
He knew that she was smiling at him, this boy whom she did not know and not the pride of Uchiha. She was looking at him, just him and she was smiling.
He had a rare moment of pure joy.
He said again, "Hinata, I am Itachi, Uchiha Itachi."
Hinata tipped her head to one side and repeated, "I-Itachi-niisan?"
Itachi nodded, "Good girl, remember my name and remember me, Hinata."
Hinata glowed at his praise; she was praised so little that she took his it and treasured it in her heart.
She said in her little voice, "H-hai, Itachi-niisan."
Itachi and Hinata, though they did not know it, became friends up on a tree in that gentle day. It was to have a great impact some years later.