Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Chapter Five: Flight
It seemed to be any other day and no one thought that it would be otherwise. That was, no one except one.
It was a weekday and also a school day for those who attended Konoha's Ninja Academy.
The streets were alive with people as they went about their business. People greeted each other cheerfully. Birds sang and everywhere there was only peace and stability.
At least, on the surface that was the case. No one knew that there was something building up under all that normality and stability.
Something that was dark and deadly. Something that most would term evil but as I asked, "Who are you to judge me?" so I thought, "Who am I to judge others?"
Though I did not judge the act that would happen under the harshly open sky, I could not deny, as no one could, that the act was one of terror, blood and ultimately, sorrow.
Itachi had always wondered what he was capable of.
He had always wondered how far he could go.
He had always wondered what he would be willing to do to go higher and higher and still higher.
He had felt it was coming nearer. His time to be free of this place was near.
He could feel it and he wondered and waited until he whispered to himself that it was time to sever the traditions and ties that were holding him back.
It was time to try and see if he was capable of taking on those who were supposed to be so close and yet remained so distant.
He knew them well, indeed better than any other for he was born of them, brought up by them and lived among them.
His powers came from them; the bloodline they shared, the beliefs that were passed on from father to son.
Though he was not close to them, they were still people he had been with since his birth thirteen years ago.
Once he had thought that his life was only for them, for them and their pride until a little girl told him otherwise, without even knowing she did so.
Now he knew that he did not live for them for they did not live for him.
They bound him down from the sky with their so-called morality and traditions.
They limited his strength while praising and envying it.
It was time to end all this and be free.
To be free of them – the Uchiha and free of them – the shinobi of Konoha.
It would be killing two birds with one stone. Finally, he could let it out.
This deep, smoldering hatred and contempt that simmered inside him these years would finally be released.
He could finally know what he was able to do.
He could finally let his mask off in front of those who imprisoned him with invisible bonds of blood and clan.
Hinata had been feeling out of sorts all day.
She did not know why but she had trouble concentrating and she did even worse than usual during her training with her father and at school.
She kept looking over her shoulder for someone or something.
She was confused and frightened. She wondered what was going on with her and why she was feeling so unsettled.
She had never felt like this before, not even when she was ill.
What was happening with her? Was she ill again?
She wanted to tell someone but she could think of no one to talk to.
She secretly wished that Itachi-niisan would visit her that night so she could ask him.
He had always been so patient with her and he was so clever. He could get into the Hyuuga compound in the middle of the night and no one knew!
She may be little but even she knew how difficult that was with so many skilled shinobi of the Hyuuga clan around.
Yes, most of them would be asleep during that time but she knew that there were people who stayed up and kept watch.
Besides her training in ninjutsu, she was also taught a lot about their clan and these she had no problem remembering.
She knew that it would be unlikely that Itachi-niisan would visit her that night because he visited her so rarely.
Therefore she tried to ignore the unsettled feeling inside her. She was good at pretending to ignore feelings.
She always had to, in lots of occasions.
In occasions like when she heard people talking about what a disappointment she was.
In occasions when she failed to master the ninjutsu her father was teaching her.
In occasions when she was feeling so lonely that she longed to just curl up in bed and stay there forever.
Her young mind was too limited to imagine much worse than that though she did not know it.
While the world seemed to spin in front of her clear young eyes like a merry-go-round that never stopped being bright and merry, she was left standing outside, always waiting for her turn and never getting it.
It was difficult being this young and having to cope with feelings she could not name much less understand.
The loneliness, the helplessness and the bleakness of her existence seemed to spell despair on bad days. She had a lot of those days.
There were rare days that she could remember smiling shyly at people.
Some of her earlier birthdays were happier and there were always the rare times when her father was not disapproving.
There were the early days in her meeting with her cousin, Neji, before her uncle and his father died.
There were also the times when she saw Itachi-niisan that she never told anyone about.
She had no one to tell and giggle with but most of all, she was afraid that if she told anyone, he would never see her again.
He was like a spirit that would come and go as he pleased.
She remembered some folktales she had heard of that told of spirits that would appear in front of humans.
However, the spirits would always leave when they were exposed or their secret was told to another.
She knew that he was not a spirit of course but she could not help being afraid just the same.
There was so little sparkle in her little life that she treasured this one.
This sparkle that she knew to be Uchiha Itachi who paid her attention even though she was not worthy of it.
She was so weak and useless and he was everyone's hope and pride.
Young as she was, she could clearly see him standing tall and strong, infallible while she was so small, trembling even as the wind blew.
There was a full moon that night.
Itachi's senses, usually acute, were sensitive to the extreme because of it.
He knew that his brother was still at school and would not be back yet. He did not care about him at the moment.
His brother might be worth his attention or he might not be; for now, it did not matter.
There would be time enough to test him later when he finished what he had set out to do this brilliant night.
The moon, so cold and round and pale, would be witness to what he was about to do.
He would finally be able to find out his depth or rather he should say, how far he could fly.
He was dressed in his usual outfit, just like any other mission that he went on but this was so much more than those mundane missions.
This would a day to remember, for him and not for anyone else.
He would know and he would leave this prison with its false freedom and words of 'for the greater good'.
He wanted no part in contributing to that greater good. It clouded the senses and made one dull.
It forbade progress with its limitations and so-called morality that was narrow and hypocritical.
The people all say that they have imagination but that was a lie. They only see what they expected to see, nothing more.
Those preconceptions would kill them someday. They were all talk and nothing was done to go higher and higher for a greater world than just the clan and Konoha.
He hated all of that and he would put an end to one part of it tonight – his family, his clan, his prison.
As Itachi sat still as a statue, waiting to start his last 'job' in Konoha, he contemplated what this would all mean.
He was satisfied and he opened his eyes, no longer dark and fathomless but red and fiery – the sign of Uchiha.
It was time.
Hinata could not sleep that night.
She huddled under the covers, still and quiet, as if she was prey waiting hoping that the predator would not notice her.
Her heart pounded and she trembled slightly. She was used to being nervous and frightened but this was new, unnatural and she did not know what to do.
She did not know why she was so panicked or was it terror that she was feeling.
She could not tell; she only knew that she wanted someone to be with her but she was immobile with her nameless fear.
She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to will herself to sleep.
It did not work and she prayed for the sun to rise because she could feel the moon outside her window. It seemed to be so cold and unfeeling, like an ice-queen.
She did not like the moon tonight because it scared her.
Suddenly she could feel someone standing in her room.
She did not even dare to breathe lest she drew attention to herself. All sorts of nightmares flew through her mind in that short moment.
She was so frightened that she thought her heart was going to jump out of her skin.
She could feel herself needing to breathe and she started to panic though it did not stop her holding her breath.
Before she suffocated, someone lifted the covers off her trembling figure and she did not dare open her eyes in case she saw a living nightmare in her room.
She had no idea what it would look like but she did not want to find out, not being an adventurous little girl.
She suddenly remembered that she could scream and she quickly prepared to scream for someone.
She open her mouth and was about to take a deep breath when a hand was clapped over her mouth. She could still take her breath though or she would have expired from lack of oxygen.
She smelled a familiar presence from the warm hand over her mouth and she opened her eyes in surprise.
She saw Itachi leaning over her and he looked tired.
All her earlier fears melted away as she looked at his much welcomed face. He could always make her feel better just by his quiet but strong presence.
It was not like her father's powerful figure for it overshadowed her while Itachi's did not. It cradled her gently and she knew that nothing could harm her when he was there.
She blinked back tears of relief and she got up quickly, albeit a little clumsily because she had been tense for most of the night.
When Itachi was sure she was not going to scream, he took back his hand and watched her as she launched herself onto him with relief.
She was sobbing under her breath and softly saying his name over and over again, as if he was a spell to make all nightmares leave.
He did not hesitate and put his hands around her. Those hands that had just killed so many.
He thought about the irony of it: his hands that had delivered so much death was also capable of giving the gentlest comfort.
She was as soft as ever, a little of bundle of freedom that he could leave because he had gotten his own. He would not miss her but he had to come before he left.
Other than his pathetic waste of a brother, she would be the only thing left in this place that would have any value for him. He would remember her.
He let her hold him a while longer for comfort and then he gently pried her arms away.
He looked down into her eyes, still swimming in tears but she had stopped crying.
He said, "I am leaving, Hinata. I have come to say goodbye."
Hinata blinked as she tried to understand what he was saying.
She stammered softly, "I-Itachi-niisan? W-when are y-you going to come back?"
Itachi shook his head, "Maybe never, I don't know. Take care, Hinata, maybe someday, I'll come back for you."
He smiled gently at that. He did not mean to say anything of the sort but it slipped out.
He did not mind because it sounded good to his ears. However, at the moment, the word 'burden' would not be able to describe her uselessness therefore he would not take her away.
Hinata seemed to understand his words and she looked down, biting her lip.
Itachi said, "Will you not say goodbye to me, Hinata? I must leave now."
Hinata looked up at him quickly and she rubbed away the tears from her eyes childishly before giving him a watery smile, "G-goodbye, Itachi-niisan."
She had so many things she wanted to say to him. About her odd fears that night; about his strange words that night; about when she would see him again, etc.
They all disappeared as she felt the slight urgency in his voice. She would not make trouble for him who had been nothing but kind to her.
She said again, "G-goodbye, Itachi-niisan, t-take care."
She saw him smile briefly and he was gone like the wind.
Hinata looked out the window and into the night sky but she could nothing except for the pale moon that seemed to dominate the illusion of peace in the night.
The next morning, the sun stripped away the illusion of the peace in Konoha, just as Itachi had intended.
The clan of Uchiha was discovered. Its people were found massacred with one member missing and the other unconscious.
Hinata was as shocked as any other person about the horror that was committed but she could not forget the person he had been. She could not find it in her heart to judge him so she kept her silence and her peace.
She did not speak to anyone about him but she would always wake up in the middle of the night and look out the window in silence.
Hence the years passed by and she grew from a child to a young girl; from a young girl to a young teenager but not for one moment did she forget him.
No she would always remember and she would wonder if she would see him again while being afraid of what it might bring.
In the meantime, she grew a little more confident, much more skilled but was still shy as ever.
As she became older, she would get bits and pieces of news from people around about the notorious Akatsuki and the reappearance of Uchiha Itachi.
When she heard those news, she would look up into the sky without saying anything.
Then she would turn resolutely and say to herself, "I-I will fly too, one day, like Naruto-kun, like Neji-niisan… like him."
The End of Part One
Author's Words: There will be a Part Two because I love these two characters so much. However, you will just have to wait until I have some idea on how to get around the original about their situations. Until then, you will have to be patient, my friends. Thank you to all those who have enjoyed this story and let's hope the next part will begin soon.