[EDIT This story is AU, which shouldn't be that surprising. That being said, I think it could fit in pretty well with the canon storyline, providing none of the characters in here get killed off by the time Kishimoto's finished with his Sasuke boot-licking. Onward!

[3 September 2007 - Fixed factual and spelling errors in all chapters.


Intro: Preludes

and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.

-From "Preludes" by T. S. Eliot



Aburame Shino, Hyuuga Hinata, and Inuzuka Kiba (plus Akamaru) traveled in silent formation, leaping from tree to tree in fast pursuit of their quarry, an escaped prisoner.

This was their first B-rank mission altogether since becoming Chuunin, and there was tacit agreement that they had to out-perform expectations.

Hinata's father had been gruff and cold as usual, and it was clear he would be disappointed if she didn't outshine the others. The Hokage had given them an implied warning: if they didn't succeed, they would only get C-rank missions for as long as she felt like giving them. And last, but most importantly, they wanted to make Kurenai proud, even though she couldn't come because of her newborn baby.

Shino, at the front of the formation, held up three fingers, indicating that there were three ninja up ahead of him. His bugs buzzed angrily. The other ninja weren't friendly.

"Byakugan!" The Chuunin steeled themselves for a fight. It would be one-on-one, and they didn't know their enemy's strength.

They entered a clearing one at a time and spread out. Shino first, to the right. Hinata second, in the middle. Kiba and Akamaru third, to the left.

A needle whizzed past Hinata's ear. It wouldn't have phased her normally, but her Byakugan was activated- and she couldn't see anyone.

"Hinata!" Kiba yelled. "Can't you see them?"

She made the hand signal for 'no'. They were at a disadvantage already; their enemy didn't need to know that even she couldn't see them.

"There!" Shino said. His bugs were swarming around about twenty meters in front of them, and seemed to be forming crude outlines of human shapes.

"I see 'em!" Kiba and Akamaru dashed forward impulsively. "Dynamic scent marking!" But they only got halfway there, when the bugs dispersed into formless clouds.

"Kiba, stop!" Shino called. "My bugs can't smell them anymore!"

Kiba kicked the dirt in frustration and walked back to them, throwing wary glances over his shoulder. Apparently neither he nor Akamaru could smell anything either.

"You're sure you can't see anything?" Shino whispered to Hinata.

She shook her head, scanning the chakra outlines of trees, logs, grass… nothing odd, except a few chakra-less shadows. She had never heard of anything being able to block the Byakugan's view of chakra. Stranger still, there were no birds around. None in her entire fifty-meter radius. In fact, there weren't any animals at all, except Akamaru, and Shino's bugs. Something was wrong.

"Shino!" She whispered back. "We have to get out of here!"

He nodded and motioned to Kiba. Hinata was tensed to jump when she felt a small pinch at the back of her neck. She reached back and felt a needle. It had hit her right at the base of the neck. Her father had warned her about this. Byakugan's blindspot. Her regular vision replaced the chakra outlines. She tried to leap, but couldn't. Fell to her knees… regular vision fading too… she called out to her team-mates…



The last thing Hinata remembered was seeing Shino's blue sandals sideways through the grass, and then a sort of blank, non-existent white.

Now she was- she opened her eyes. The ceiling was paneled with squares full of small holes. Most of the room was colored a tired white. –This must be the hospital.

A beaming nurse came in.

"You have visitors, Hinata! They've been waiting a long time to see you!"

Kiba and Akamaru came in first, followed by Shino.

"You're okay!" Kiba cried, grinning. He enveloped her in an enormous hug and Akamaru joyfully licked her face. When Kiba stepped away, Shino put a large hand on her shoulder. "Are you really okay?" He asked.

"Yeah. Thanks for coming to see me. I can't remember much that happened. How long have I been here?"

"Almost two weeks." As usual, Shino gave away nothing other than what he intended.

"What about the mission?"

"Kiba and I were both hit with needles as well, but took you and escaped. You didn't wake up, even after treatment, so we aborted the mission and brought you back to Konoha."

"I- thank you."

"No problem, Hinata," Kiba said. "We're a team!"

"May I come in?" Called a familiar voice.

"Kurenai!" Hinata gasped. Team 8's jounin leader entered the crowded hospital room.

"I'm glad you're okay, Hinata," Kurenai smiled at her. "They said they'd be able to release you within a few days of you waking up."

"Do you… know if Tsunade-sama said anything about the mission?"

Three pairs of eyes conspicuously avoided hers.

"She's not happy," Shino began. "…she said she'd talk to all three of us once you got better."

"Okay…" Hinata yawned, suddenly very tired. Before she knew it, she had fallen asleep.

Hinata spent the next few days in leisurely recovery, taking walks around the hospital and eating cinnamon buns from the hospital café.

On the fourth day she was discharged and told to go to Godaime's office.

"You three!" Tsunade yelled when Team 8 came in. "You failed the mission! What can you say in your defense?"

Kiba babbled, Hinata stuttered, and Shino was silent.

"Enough!" She hit her desk with a fist, and the sound of splintering wood echoed for a moment. "Aburame Shino, Inuzuka Kiba! Dismissed! I'll decide what to do with you later."

Hinata shivered slightly at this ominous pronouncement. What could be in store for her, the one who wasn't dismissed?

Tsunade fixed Hinata with a piercing glare.

"What's wrong with your eyes?" She barked.

"I- I don't know." Tsunade-sama was scary.

"You have pupils." The Hokage frowned and leaned closer. "Activate your Byakugan!"

Hinata nodded and formed the seal. "Byakugan!"

A sudden, shooting pain coursed up her spine, and white spots flashed in front of her eyes.

"Oww!" Nothing else happened. No chakra visible, no heightened perception. Nothing. Even after several more painful attempts, it seemed that Hinata had lost the Byakugan ability.

Tsunade tried a few different dispelling and canceling jutsu, but none made any difference. Hinata's irises were still white, but now encircled two shadowy-gray pupils. Her birthright, her bloodline, and single quality that made her a useful ninja, was now gone. What would her father say?

As it turned out, Hyuuga Hiashi was too angry to say anything. He pointed to the door, hand shaking.

A branch family member spoke for him.

"You are no longer part of this clan. Do not come back until you have regained use of the bloodline limit."

After that, Hinata secretly kept in touch with her younger sister, Hanabi. They had been close for a while, both knowing what it was like to suffer under their father's tyranny.

Neji also acknowledged her in public, but aside from that, she was completely cut off.

The day after her disownment she had received a threatening letter from her father, commanding her not to tell anyone about her severance from the family or how the Byakugan had been thwarted. To top it off, he had ordered her not to have any children, as they would be weak and undeserving of the Hyuuga name.

At first she was tempted to expose how rotten Hyuuga family politics really were, but something held her back. Her next instinct was to go to Kurenai, the good-natured woman who had taken her under her wing so many years ago. That had turned out to be one of the best choices she ever made.



Author's Notes: First of all, thank you for reading! I hope you enjoy it, as there is more to come. This story will be a CRACK pairing, featuring our lovely Hinata, and our smexy Kakashi. Obviously, the 'don't like, don't read' policy is in effect. I'm writing this story for several reasons, one of which is to fill the void of the Kakashi/Hinata section. While there are quite a few wonderfully well-written stories on several archives, there is not nearly enough volume, especially of multi-chaptered fics. I hope this changes soon. (Also, anyone with good recommendations for the pairing that aren't posted here, please let me know.) Lastly, for those who don't speak or read French, the title of this story means "Song of Autumn" and was taken from the title of a poem by Charles Baudelaire. The significance of this will (I hope) become evident in subsequent chapters. Thanks again, everyone, and sorry for the long A/N. It won't happen again.


DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with, part of, working for, or in any way connected with Kishimoto Masashi, VIZ, or Shonen Jump, or any other people or organizations that own the Naruto franchise. No harm or infringement is intended by writing this fanfiction, on either the creator or corporations. I'm not making any money!