Dark Corners of the House of the Rising Sun
(Tales from Konoha's Quintessential Dysfunctional Family, the Hyuugas)
A/N: I love the Hyuugas, and I write tons of shorts and not-quite-one-shots for them, which I'm compiling here. These are drabble, usually interconnected drabble, although sometimes they don't connect at all... I'll try to list the related stories in the beginning of each, along with a short summary, so you'll know what you're getting into.
Ok, Short Summary One: The chapters named after the title (Dark Corners, or DCHRS) are all stories from Hiashi and Hizashi's childhoods... or young adulthoods, told as flashbacks from Grandma Hyuuga. There is a frame story... good luck piecing it into a plot, though.
Chapter One: Dark Corners of the House of the Rising Sun, Part One (An Intro)
Life is full of maybes and what-ifs. For example, if Itachi Uchiha had stuck around, he would have been able to coach Hinata Hyuuga in the pitfalls and problems of having a little sibling five years younger. However, it didn't work out that way, and Hinata had to learn for herself that little siblings love, repeat, LOVE to wake up their older siblings at one in the morning.
Hinata snored. She was a notoriously heavy sleeper.
"Hinata, wake up."
Hanabi bit her lip, and finally came up with a solution, namely, clamping her hands over her sister's mouth and nose so she couldn't breath. This succeeded in waking Hinata.
"AH! I wasn't sleeping! Really! I was just... resting a little, that's all!"
"Sis, it's one in the morning," Hanabi said, a little startled by her sister's reaction. "You're allowed to be asleep."
Hinata took a deep breath. Hanabi could practically hear her blushing (Hinata blushed a lot). "Sorry, Hana-chan... it's just, the only time that people wake me up when I'm sleeping is when Dad wants to yell at me for being lazy... or that time when Kurenai-sensei's apartment caught fire because Asuma spent the night and forgot to put out his cig... anyway, what's up?"
Hanabi thought briefly about pressing for details on the Asuma's cig story (Hinata's life with her team was a good deal more exciting than anything that ever happened to Hanabi, and the younger girl was always eager for stories) but she had a more important mission. She sat down on the bed next to her sister.
"Hinata, what happened to Mommy?"
Hanabi sighed in that angsty way little kids have. "All the kids my age have mommies except me. Where did she go?"
"Uh..." Hinata was stumped. It had honestly never occurred to her to ask about her mother. Anyway, who would she ask?
So, Hinata pulled out her Sprint Katana (it's a cell phone, not a sword), and called her lifeline.
Three pairs of eyes shot open as a tinny electronic version of the 1812 Overture resounded throughout the house. The fourth pair remained closed. The problem; the fourth pair owned the cell phone bursting forth in all its glory.
"Sensei, permission to force his door and flush the cell phone down the toilet?"
"Permission granted. Come, let us fetch the emergency ax!"
Tenten preferred to take a more direct approach, pounding on the wall that separated her bedroom from her teammate's. "NEJI GET THE DAMN PHONE! AND FOR GOD'S SAKE, TURN IT OFF AT NIGHT IF YOU AREN'T GOING TO ANSWER IT!"
"Merg," Neji groaned groggily, groping around for his phone with his eyes closed. "'Ello?" he asked it, having managed to locate the "accept call" button.
"Nii-san, what happened to my mother?"
Neji forced his eyes open in order to do the confused blinking this question demanded. "Hinata, it's one in the morning."
"You called me up at one in the morning to ask about your mother?"
"Well, Hanabi woke me up, and she wants to know what happened to mom, and I don't think she's going to leave me alone until she finds out."
"Typical," Neji sighed. He didn't know what had happened to Hinata's mother. He didn't know what had happened to his own mother, come to that. "Just tell her Hyuugas reproduce by budding."
"But that'd be a lie."
Neji made an annoyed noise that was a cross between a sigh and a growl. "You're an older sibling, it's ok to lie."
"I guess..." Hinata said, not sounding convinced. "Ok, thanks, nii-san."
"Mergh," Neji replied, hitting the end call button, rolling over, and going to sleep in one graceful motion.
A second later, he sat bolt upright, fully alert, then sank back onto the pillows, staring at the ceiling. Hey, what DID happen to our moms?
The question kept him up all night, and bugged him to the point where he actually contacted Hanabi, an unheard of phenomenon, and together the two of them made the Ultimate Sacrifice and went to the Keeper of the Family Secrets; Grandma Hyuuga.
She wasn't really their grandmother. In fact, no one in their family was really sure exactly how she was related to anyone. She just was. All the Hyuugas could really agree on was that she was old and crazy, and a branch. (This last was actually pure speculation, as she had very long bangs, very thick pancake makeup, and the last person to ask she had knocked senseless. That was thirty years ago, and no one had brought it up since.)
"Well, if it isn't my favorite grandson!" she exclaimed upon opening her front door. "How are you, sweetie?" She grabbed Neji in a suffocating and ego-destroying hug, then spotted the little girl over his shoulder. "And a young'un! Why, hello, honey! Look at how big you've gotten! Mwuh!" she planted a very wet granny-kiss on Hanabi's cheek. "Where's your sister?"
"I dunno," shrugged Hanabi, waiting for Grandma Hyuuga to turn around so she could wipe her cheek off.
"She couldn't come out and see her old grandma?" huffed the old lady.
Hanabi perked up a little, her initial instinct to show up her sister kicking in (in the Hyuuga clan, this was a survival technique). "I'm here, Grandma," she said hopefully.
"Pft," snorted Grandma Hyuuga. "Well, I suppose you mean well, dear."
Hanabi looked over at Neji, looking a little hurt at this. He shrugged apologetically and twirled his finger around his temple in the "don't mind her, cuz, she's nuts" hand sign.
"Now, have some cookies, darlings," the little old lady said, pushing a plate of homemade cookies at them. "How is Paul doing these days?" she asked Hanabi.
Hanabi paused with her molasses crinkle halfway to her mouth. "What?"
"Paul, how's he doing?"
"... Grandma, I don't know any Paul..."
Grandma Hyuuga sighed. "That's right, what the hell is his name? Your daddy, honey."
"Oh... he's fine, I guess."
"When your daddies was born, I told your grandparents to name them Hizashi and Paul," she griped to no one in particular. "Bad enough they're twins, I said, don't make it worse by giving them names one consonant off. But no, your grandmother said. It'll be cute, she said. Uptight psycho bitch."
It must have gotten back to young Hiashi and Hizashi that one member of their family had had the courage to object to the indignity of the boys' names. Even though their parents (Neji, Hinata, and Hanabi's real grandparents, deceased) had spurned the questioning of their logic, the twins appreciated the gesture anyway. In Hiashi and Hizashi, Grandma Hyuuga had made an ally.
The boys took to stopping by their Grandma Hyuuga's home after school whenever confronted by some identity confusion during the day. She was their favorite relative (even though she wasn't their grandmother, either. Everybody just called her "Grandma Hyuuga"). After a day of endless "He's Hizashi, I'm Hiashi!"'s and "No, that's Hiashi, I'm Hizashi!"'s, always dismissed with an impatient "Oh, what's the difference, you know who I mean," from the teacher (who was by no stretch of the imagination an Iruka-esque father figure), they could go to Grandma Hyuuga's, and she would give them cookies and call Hiashi "Paul" and ramble about back in the day, when her Herbert was alive.
(It was not quite clear who Herbert was. Mostly the Hyuugas figured he was Grandma Hyuuga's husband, but this was not really a certainty.)
"Well, if it isn't my favorite grandsons! You boys want some snickerdoodles?"
Hizashi picked up a cookie and picked at it listlessly.
"Paul, what's wrong with your brother?" Granny H. asked Hiashi.
"Oh, he's got a crush on some girl, but she gets him mixed up with me, and she thinks he's a Nazi," he explained glibly, checking the expiration date on the milk before pouring himself a glass (something the boys had learned to do after a very bad experience early on in their lives.)
"Hmm... you'd think it'd be one or the other," mused the old woman. "Well, sweetie, sit her down and explain that you're not a Nazi, but your ancestors are."
"Good luck with that, she doesn't even talk to us."
"I should just kill myself and get it over with," Hizashi sighed melodramatically. He said this so often that it was practically his catchphrase... and, if they had thought of it, would have been a good way for the girl in question to tell him apart from his brother.
"Or you could start cutting yourself, see if that gets her attention," Hiashi suggested sarcastically. "Wear some black eyeshadow, too."
"Mom won't let me."
"... I was joking, bro."
"I need to pass the entrance exams early so I can hurry up and get a headband."
"You think that will help?" his 'grandmother' asked. He nodded. "Well, heck, no need to wait for the exams (or study for them, for that matter). I must have about fifty of those headbands in my attic... come on upstairs and pick one out... you, too, Paul, come on."
The twins lingered over the snickerdoodles. "But... we aren't ninjas yet... are we ... allowed?"
"Who cares?" Grandma Hyuuga shrugged. "No one will dare give you any guff about it, you're from the most powerful clan in Konoha."
Hiashi and Hizashi looked over at each other and shrugged. Hey, when Grandma Hyuuga was right, she was right.
"Uh, Grandma?" Hanabi started after listening to this story. The old lady ignored her and continued talking. Neji shrugged at his little cousin. This wasn't called "The Ultimate Sacrifice" for nothing; their day was pretty much over the minute they knocked on the door.