Hey guys, thanks for the reviews :) Heh I know its been a bit but I was trying to make this chapter good and lengthy. Not sure if I succeeded cause this was difficult to write, so many ways to launch the last arc. Enjoy :3

shippu27

Chapter Sixteen

Hinata sat in the common gardens, deep in thought. She had it all figured it out. Her plan was going to be flawless but now there was only one slight hiccup. However she could handle it, and in fact use it to her advantage. Yes, she thought while tapping her chin, she would no longer need her original plan. Whoever sent the assassins did her a favor. Until that situation was sorted out the heir match would be postponed indefinitely. However, if her father remained true to form, the inquiry would be performed as soon as possible, and in no time things will get back to normal. So her task now was to find some way to keep the tension up. As the person who killed the latest assassin she dared not go into the branch family at this moment. She leaned back a little and exhaled.

"Something bothering you?"

Hinata swiveled her head towards the voice and saw Neji standing there. She didn't even hear him approach. "Neji-nii-san, when did you get here?" She asked smiling at him.

Neji sat next to his mysterious cousin. "A few moments ago, are you here escaping the clamour as well?"

Hinata nodded. "I assume all the elders will be looking for you now?"

Neji sighed. "Thankfully Mameha-baa-san scared them away for now. But truthfully I've come to ask how are you? You're not worried about yourself? Someone in the family has it out for you and Hanabi-san."

Hinata shrugged. "I'll be fine, I can hold my own, however I'm not too confident about Hanabi. She's been getting in all sorts of trouble with father lately."

Neji smirked. "Oh I think she'll be just fine. She apparently has her own agenda from what I've heard. Though we should be careful Hinata."

I wonder what he knows on Hanabi, she thought. Maybe she was able to enlist Neji to aide her in her troubles. "We? Why should we be careful? Shouldn't we watch out for Hanabi? Despite our issues she really does worry me at times."

Neji folded his arms and stated with cold confidence, "I think it's someone from either the main household or the branch household who's behind all of this. If you think about it, it's like we're being set up."

"Why would you say that?" Hinata asked, a little bit cautious. She'll definitely have to choose what she says wisely else he might catch on.

"With Hiashi-sama's retirement approaching soon, an heir has to be named. Seems to me someone is trying to remove the current heirs so they can easily slide into the spot as clan leader." Neji whispered. Ears were everywhere, and with such tension in the estate, anything could be used as a weapon. The ambitious will use this tension to their own benefit and he'd prefer if nothing he said would help them.

Hinata pondered a bit on what Neji was saying. It was credible enough. If he was right it would seem someone was entering into her game. "Hmm I wonder - "

"Neji-sama! Lord Hiashi requests your presence!" A servant interrupted, appearing out of nowhere.

Neji stood and said, "If you could Hinata, pass it on to Hanabi." With that said he left with servant.

It wasn't until some minutes that Neji left she realized he only told her the obvious. She pondered some more for a bit before getting up. Maybe she should go into the branch family after all. Start a few rumours and get herself into the good graces of the branch family. She'll visit the family of the assassin first. Give them her bullshit sympathy and play the empathy card. That should work nicely in her favor.

Hanabi entered into her father's chambers via the servant's entrance. It was the first time she had done so, and she had to admit, she felt a good rush knowing she might hear something she shouldn't. She tiptoed along the hallway that would take her to a room right before her father's chamber.

As she slowly made her way, she thought of her predicament. It was high time she restored herself to her former state of being and get the ball rolling. She had a match she didn't wish to fight in, but had no choice and she also had an investigation on her hands. Maybe the recent incident with Hinata would clear up her case. Thinking on it now, it was ludicrous to believe she had cause to murder someone from her own clan. What reason would she have for trying to assassinate herself? At most, she figured it'd cast suspicion on Hinata seeing that the match was looming, but most of the main family knew she didn't really want to fight her sister. She's told them that, much to their dismay. Her arguing with the council was why her father and most of the main family was riding her so hard. She remembered that night quite vividly...

*Flashback*

Hanabi walked into the council room, annoyed. For what reason the council deemed it necessary to interrupt her while she was eating, she didn't know, but it had better be something important.

"Good evening Hanabi," one of the council members greeted.

"...", Hanabi stared at the speaker. She'd prefer if they got straight to the point, her food was getting cold.

Hiashi cleared his throat.

"Father, elders," Hanabi spat out giving the slightest tilt of her head in greeting. Oh how she despised the council.

A few seconds past where no one said anything. Hanabi stared at the seven faces who were sitting behind the table. A few were expressionless, the others a bit uneasy. She'd decided they all had five seconds to speak or she was leaving to resume her meal then go to bed.

Just as she was about to turn to leave one of the elders said, "Right, Hanabi, we've decided that we would like you to be the heir."

"What?" Hanabi said with genuine surprise.

One of the other elders explained, "Yes, we would like you to succeed Hiashi in place of your sister."

Hanabi thought for a minute. She hardly cared about the affairs of her sister, but as far she knew it was tradition that the first born succeed the clan leader. Furthermore she had no desire to lead a clan, nor be pushed into the branch family for that matter.

"For what reason?" she asked.

Another elder spoke this time. "We believe that Hinata does not have the requirements needed to run and lead the clan efficiently. She has proven herself to be too soft, whereas you possess the cold relentlessness of your father; a trait that has shown to be benefitial in a leader. The clan would continue to flourish under your reign. It is an honor for you to be in such a position. Never before has there been a female clan leader. With the direction from the council you can make Hyuga history."

Hanabi folded her hands across her chest, feigning contemplation. She scoffed. "I refuse."

"What was that?" Hiashi asked. A few of the elders stared at her as if she committed some great act of insult.

Hanabi shrugged. "I said I refuse. I have no desire to lead this clan, nor do I wish to usurp Hinata in such a manner."

Hiashi stared at his daughter. "Hanabi, such an offer isn't made every day. You should reconsider."

Hanabi raised her head in slight defiance. "I have considered and I'm telling you no. Do you not comprehend?"

One of the elders spoke up, "I told you Hiashi-sama, she would not easily agree. I suppose she feels she has an obligation to her sister."

Hanabi laughed, "Obligation to Hinata? I'm as obliged to her as I am to this clan, which is by circumstance and not choice."

The council gasped. Hiashi exhaled, his daughter was truly testing his temper. "Hanabi mind your tongue."

Another council member suggested, "Hanabi, I'm confident you wish to be leader but due to your sister's nature, you may not wish to hurt her, but I can assure you Hinata will be fine with it. Perhaps if you do not feel sure with this unconventional method, how about you fight her for leadership. Title matches have been used before to determine a clan leader many times."

"An excellent suggestion." one of the elders agreed.

"So it is settled then, you will fight with Hinata and assume the role as clan heir. You will do well as leader. We can now rest easy knowing the clan is in capable hands." another elder stated. "Do you agree Hiashi-sama?"

Hiashi gave the slightest nod of his head.

Hanabi stood there in awe. Look at them going on as if she agreed to their decision. So I am to take directives from you guys as clan leader then, Hanabi thought.

"Don't get it twisted or misconstrued," She started, "I have no intention whatsoever of being clan leader. I have no desire to fight Hinata to be trapped down by the clan. You won't use me as your excuses to hold on to power, to have another few years of seeing things run how you guys want it. If you think I'll accept your ridiculous position so you can lead through me you're terribly mistaken! You'll have a better chance of pushing your views onto Hinata."

"Such ungratefulness!"

"How impertinent!"

All the members of the council started to argue amongst themselves at her outburst.

"Hanabi you will fight this match, and you will become clan leader! Or you will sorely regret it!" one of the clan elders shouted. The other elders agreed.

"The only thing I will regret is being born into this generation of Hyuga where you guys are still alive. This conversation is finished and I will hear no more of it!" Hanabi turned on her heel and exited the council room, which was in a mild uproar. Her food was probably cold now. She kissed her teeth.

*End Flashback*

The ridiculousness of her clan knew no end. She scoffed at the memory and continued on her way. She was now in the room that lead to a small opening in her father's closet where the servants came and went when cleaning up. Just as she was about to barge through, hoping to take her father by surprise, she heard a familiar voice and decided to eavesdrop. Sounds like Neji-nii-san and father, she thought.

She climbed up on the ceiling of the room and crept closer to the door way. She'd be able to hear them better and if anyone unexpectedly opened the door they wouldn't see her right away and she'd have time to disguise herself with the servant's robes.

"...you wish for me to do what exactly? I think I misheard you" she heard Neji say.

"You heard me correctly. Just prepare yourself for it. I don't have much faith in them."

"As you wish, uncle."

Hanabi waited until she heard Neji leave and her father reclined back in his chair, then she hopped back down to the ground. She pondered what she just heard and filed her thoughts on it for further contemplation. It was time to face her father.

She silently crept through the entrance being as noiseless as possible. She ducked under the little overhang and came upon her father sitting in the chair

"Hello Father," Hanabi casually mentioned.

Startled, Hiashi knocked over a pot of tea he was drinking, and swiveled to see his daughter standing behind him, looking bored.

"Did I startle you? I'm sorry." Score one for Hanabi, she thought. It wasn't easy to startle her father.

"What are you doing here?!" Hiashi sputtered in feigned anger. He felt a bit embarrassed that he was caught off guard. "I didn't summon you."

Hanabi took a seat and sat down in one of the chairs by the little table where the tea was currently running off of. "I summoned myself."

Hiashi eyed his daughter in surprised. It would seem she relocated her spine again; the council had effectively broken her spirit in the weeks following her refusal to usurp Hinata. "For what reason?" he asked while cleaning up the mess he made.

"I heard there was an assassination attempt on Hinata." Hanabi stated.

Hiashi reclaimed his seat. He took her silence as indication that she wanted him to update her on the events that happened. Just this once, he'd entertain her. With all that was going on and all that would be going on he'd need his rest. "Yes, there was an attempt on her life. However, she terminated her threat, and like your incident, the assassin was revealed to be a Hyuga, which has resulted in clamour. You would know this if you were there. Why weren't you present? Where were you?"

Hanabi shrugged in reply to her father's questions. Her focus was more on getting behind these assassination attempts. "I had a visitor I had to attend to. And concerning my trial?"

Hiashi scoffed and pinched the bridge of his nose. Times like these was when he missed his wife the most. "Visitor? You bring that boy back on this estate, and I will find time to deal with you. Understood?"

Hanabi stiffened and slowly swallowed. How did he know? How could he possibly know? That room was supposed to be foolproof. Hanabi gave the slightest inclination of her head in acknowledgement.

Hiashi paused to take a sip of his tea. "As for your trial, I spoke with the council and it was determined that your trial would be indefinitely dismissed in light of recent events. However, that does not put you out of the light. An investigation is ongoing."

"What does that have to do with me? You can't think I set up a hit on myself?" Hanabi asked.

"An investigation is ongoing." Hiashi repeated. "Now, take your leave. I must rest."

"Understood." Hanabi muttered. She got up and exited the way she came. Avoiding her usual paths of travel would keep her inconspicuous for awhile. She had some thinking to do, plans to make. An investigation huh, she thought. What was there to investigate? It'd be near impossible to find out who sent the assassins. The most that could be done was point fingers and hoped the person felt paranoid enough to mess up.

Well, since she was cleared of her trial, she could invest her energies into something a bit more fruitful. She'd put all thoughts on family matters aside for now, it was high time she got some fresh air. A quick trip off the estate should do her some good. She grinned wickedly as she neared her room.

"What were you able to find out?" Hinata asked, shrugging out of her

Her lover shifted from her lap. Running a finger down the center of her chest, he said, "It'll cost you."

Hinata smirked. "If it's something good, I'll pay you bonus. Now tell me."

Her lover shrugged. "Didn't find out much really. I'm still spying, though I can tell you the assassin wasn't the one you ordered. Seems like someone was a bit quicker than you."

End of Chapter

So...? How was it? Do let me know in the reviews. Heh not sure if I'm staying true to form :P. next update is gonna be end of Sept sometime, maybe before if I get some inspiration. So inspire me with reviews :3

shippu27