Part One: Childhood
They told her to stay in her room and out of everybody's way, so little five-year-old Hinata Hyuga did. Her cute, rotund face looked worried as she heard people scramble up and down the hallways. She blinked her white eyes in fear when she heard her mother screaming in another room. Dressed in a small white kimono and light brown sandals, she hopped down from her bed and hesitantly scuttled to the door.
Her short bluish black hair swayed with motion and her index finger went to her mouth uncertainly. Her small childish hands went to slide the door open, only a fraction, and saw servants with tubs of hot water and handfuls of clean towels rush to her parents' room.
Another scream startled her to fall on her bum, and her eyes darted to and fro to look out for the invisible danger that had befallen her mother. For awhile, she was a shaking mass of fear, but after ten minutes, what seemed like hours to children, she stopped and stood up, her face scrunched up in worry.
Softly, she laid an ear against the door to listen to the people moving about, and then there was another scream that sent her heart in a fury of concern. She had to see her mother. She had to comfort her mother. So once she no longer heard any movement, she cautiously slid out of her room and crept up to her parents' room.
By then, a baby's wailing had replaced her mother's screaming. She paused at the side of the hallway in wonder. Was that her new sister? Determined to find out, she continued to creep and quickly leapt into a closet when a servant came out with a moving bundle. Her sister, of course, and she was tempted to see being a curious child, but then lots of other servants came out of her parents' room, filling the hallway.
Scared, she pushed herself further into the closet, watching them all leave as a solemn crowd. She frowned and wondered why they weren't happy at her sister's birth. Putting her index finger back into her mouth, she looked one last time to see if the coast was clear before coming out timidly and running into her parents' room.
The smell of blood was in the air, a warm sweetness that scared her further. The room was lit with worn candles that were almost down to its last breaths, and it was so dark that when she approached the figure lying on the bed, she almost ran back into the safe confines of her own room, away from all the sad faces and screaming and crying.
"H-Hinata…" her mother's voice called weakly from the bed.
She immediately perked . Her mother was calling her and she quickly replied by walking up to the lying woman and smiled at her.
"Mama," she said in quiet happiness. "Th-They told m-me not to c-come, but I wanted to s-see mama. Am I tr-trouble?"
Her mother, a beautiful woman of pale skin and ebony silk hair in the morning, looked worn and dead that night. She smiled at her pretty daughter and placed a reassuring, and weak, hand on the mop of her head.
"No," she said, voice straining for last breaths. "N-No."
Hinata smiled more confidently at that.
"H-Hinata," her mother continued. "Listen."
She nodded, all attention.
"M-Mama is going to l-leave soon," her mother said, wheezing slightly.
"To where?" Hinata wondered, worried.
"To h-heaven," her mother said. "B-But before I g-go, you ha-have to d-do something for me… okay, my s-sunshine?"
She nodded her head vigorously in child innocence.
"Th-There's a key in the dr-drawer," she said. "T-Take it out."
Hinata cautiously went to the drawer and slid it open. At first she didn't see it, and after looking to her mother, she pushed aside some of the papers there and found a nice silver key. She held it up with a proud smile, a small victory for her mother to see.
Her mother returned the smile warmly. "N-Now, see th-that box?"
Hinata looked over to the box on top of a high shelf.
"T-Take it down f-for mama."
Afraid to climb so high, she shook her head, but her mother gave her such a pleading look that she quickly scrambled over and pushed a chair near the shelf. Carefully, she climbed up and reached her the chest. But she wasn't high enough, and she was growing worried at how high she already was. Looking her mother once more, she put on a brave face and jumped. In midair, she snatched the chest off of the shelf and landed on the ground, hitting her elbow.
Her eyes watered, but she didn't want to cry in front of her mother, not after that great accomplishment. Unlike her father, her mother always complimented her, and she hated to disappoint her mother. She was always afraid that one of these days her mother would look at her the same way her father looked at her now.
Always in disdain.
Bravely, she went to her mother with the chest and key.
"G-Good," her mother praised, feeling herself losing. "Now in-insert the key a-and o-open it."
Hinata, with her small and uncoordinated hands, clumsily put the key into the slot and fumbled it open. At first, she couldn't get it, and eventually she got desperate that she was fighting back tears. Her mother's hand on her head quickly quieted her, and suddenly, the chest opened.
"Th-The scr-scroll," her mother heaved, knowing that she had to hurry before it was too late.
Hinata took the scroll and unfurled it to show words written in ink… and blood?
Seeing her daughter frightened, she quickly explained, "It's a s-summoning s-scroll. It h-has b-been in my f-family f-for g-generations. Hinata, mama is leaving. You must continue the tradition."
The word "tradition" hit the five-year-old like a ton of bricks. Her father always talked about traditions and how she couldn't keep to it because she was weak. And looking at her haggard mother, she found that her mother was quite adamant about this tradition.
"C-Come here," her mother gestured. "G-Give me y-you hand."
Hinata went to her side with her right hand outstretched. Before she knew what had happened, her mother drew a kunai and sliced a small slit on her thumb. She gave a tiny cry, trying to pry herself away from her mother when she began to squeeze the blood out.
"Hinata," her mother said, quieting her immediately. "Sign the s-scroll."
Crying silently, she did as she was told, afraid to disobey. When she disobeyed her father, he would always punish her, and then he would punish her even harder when she cried. So, struggling with herself, she went down to her knees and with a wobbly arm, she wrote her name on the scroll with her blood.
"W-Wonderful," her mother said. "R-Remember to k-keep the scroll h-hidden from everyone, alright? Even fr-from y-your f-father."
Hinata nodded and promised through teary eyes as she finished the last stroke of her name.
Although the characters were disorderly, her mother sighed in relief and fell back onto her pillow, gasping silently for breath. Seeing her mother in obvious pain, little Hinata moved to her bedside, ignoring her bleeding thumb, and felt her mother's forehead with her left hand.
"Are you sick, mama?" Hinata inquired.
Her mother smiled bitter sweetly and said, "Hinata, my sunshine, I love you. I am proud of you, and I know you'll do great things."
Hinata blushed at the compliments, poking her index fingers together in modesty.
"I kn-know you'll protect Konoha w-with all y-your heart," her mother continue, her voice quickly decreasing in volume with her eyes slowly growing far away. "Tell your sister that I love her… Tell your father… that… I love… him…"
Hinata leaned her ear forward to hear her mother better, but all she got, was the last breath of her mother.
A week later, her father came back from a Class A mission to be greeted by his new infant daughter… and his dead wife. Anguished, but composed as the Head of the Hyuga Clan should be, he saw the body of his wife with a stone expression and set forth for a funeral at once.
Little Hinata, dressed in a black kimono, was led by the hand to the grave. She looked around curiously and, seeing everyone around her wearing the same colour, she was confused as to what was happening. And when they lowered the casket to the ground, she knew something was wrong. Her father, as silent as he was, made her nervous.
"Wh-Where is mama?" she asked him, suddenly realising that she hadn't seen her for a week now.
He gave her a scolding look that crushed her into silence and hurt. Where was her mama? She questioned this for the rest of the day, being led all over the place with clan members looking coolly down at her and outsiders looking at her with pity.
Where was mama? She asked herself as she looked around for her beloved mother. There were a lot of woman around the place, and she more than once mistaken another for her mother. She was beginning to become scared. Her mother usually lent a skirt for her to hide behind from all those who stared at her.
"Where is the scroll?" she suddenly heard her father ask a group of servants, and she halted in her steps.
"We do not know, Hiashi-sama," a servant answered, bowing and afraid for his life.
Upon hearing "scroll," Hinata moved away, knowing that she had the scroll, hidden safely away – just as her mother told her to.
And by the end of the day, Hinata knew.
Her mother was dead.