A/N: So this is fic number nine. Kurenai X Hinata is the pair this time around. I'm kinda relieved that after my last comedic crazy fic I can actually do something grounded that takes itself seriously, even though that fic was fun to write and this one will probably give me some grief somewhere along the line. As a precaution allow me to warn you that yes this is yuri, Kurenai and Hinata will be engaged in a romantic relationship and there will eventually be sex. You may think this very idea is sick, perverted, and twisted (and part of me agrees with you, just I kinda like sick, twisted and perverted) but if you are strongly opposed to this pairing then know that no one is forcing you to read this fic… unless of course if someone has strapped you down into a chair and for some reason is forcing you to read this fic, in which case I'm sorry and hopefully you'll learn to put up with it.
Disclaimer: I actually own Naruto this time… Oh, wait… No I Don't…
Many years had passed since the fragile visage of Hinata Hyuga had entered her life. In that time Kurenai Yuhi had experienced many things. Emotions of sadness and overwhelming joy, of love and friendship, of loss and despair, and of pain and pleasure had found their way into the woman's sheltered heart. Yet through it all this child had shone a brilliance on her life that proved to be something more irreplaceable than anything she could have imagined.
When Hinata Hyuga was first given to her she was even more fragile. She had been thrown into her arms, a frightened child, unwanted and resented by her father. Kurenai found tears in her eyes when she thought of how this girl came to her, yet she found nothing but elation as she monitored the girl's progress; she felt nothing but joy when she thought of how the girl idolized her as a mentor, of how in some small way, maybe she was bringing this fragile girl some comfort.
Then Hinata changed. That boy changed her and Kurenai knew it. Naruto Uzumaki, was one whom Kurenai realized she would always be held at second place to in Hinata's heart. In her weakness, Naruto had given her strength, he had inspired in her a new drive, a spark. Suddenly the girl wasn't so sad, she wasn't so miserable. Still, when her father took Hinata back from her care, Kurenai couldn't help but cry. The smile that had seemed to satiate her existence, the smile that drove her through the good and bad was now something she would see all too less frequently. But she couldn't be sad; no, Kurenai felt nothing but joy as she watched her most precious student steadily find acceptance and happiness in her life. Yet, still, she would have to treasure every smile.
"Hinata, I'd like to talk to you about something." Kurenai said as she approached her student one day.
"Yes, sensei." Hinata replied flashing a smile.
"Hinata, there is an event I'd like you to maybe participate in next month. I think it would be a good opportunity for you." Kurenai started, returning the smile.
"R-really… and what is that sensei?" Hinata asked hesitantly.
"There is a taijutsu competition coming up, I think it would be a great opportunity for you… the Hyuga style is very hard to defeat, it's certain you would do well." Kurenai answered coolly.
"I don't know… this isn't the sort of thing that I… I mean, Kurenai sensei… I don't think I could…" Hinata fidgeted intensely as she tried to convey some thought.
"It's free entry but the competition is bracketed by sex, so even if Neji enters, which I doubt... you won't be fighting him if that's your objection." Kurenai said in a reassuring tone.
"Oh… that's not what I… I mean, still… I don't think this is the sort of thing I would want to do…" The young girl responded, averting her eyes.
"Well these sorts of competitions don't have any real meaning to them, but if you do well it might be considered when their making selections on missions, and could possibly be of use when they are considering promotions for new jounin. If you never do anything to prove your own worth, it will be hard for you to stand out." Kurenai spoke caringly.
"B-but what if I don't want to stand out… There are better shinobi then me…" Hinata said in a soft tone.
"That's fine, if you're content with no one noticing you, if you're fine with being overlooked by the ones you care about…" Kurenai said expertly, knowing where to pressure the girl.
"You think, that if I do stuff like this… that if I succeed that Na-… that other's will like me better." Hinata asserted meekly.
"Everyone already likes you. This is just so that they can all see that you are truly great." The older woman said consolingly to the other.
"I… well, sensei… I'm not sure…" Hinata stumbled on her words.
"I'll personally train you the rest of the month if you say yes." Kurenai suggested in an offer.
"But your specialty is genjutsu. I can't see how it would help me to be trained by you…" Hinata said reservedly.
"I thought you liked being trained by me… I may not have your technique but I can still oversee your training just like I always have. I thought you'd actually jump at being able to spend some time together like we used to." Kurenai said in a disappointed manner.
"Yes you're right. I would like that very much…" Hinata admitted sweetly.
"Then it's settled. You can stay at my place for the month while you perfect your technique. Then next month you'll promise to do your best." Kurenai said conclusively.
"B-but… I still don't… A-alright I promise. I'll try my best for you, Kurenai-sensei." Hinata said finally giving in.
Hinata began her training for the competition the next day and weeks soon flew past. She trained hard under Kurenai's watch, striking out against various targets while Kurenai worked to make adjustments to her aim and speed. Hinata's technique was already so sharp and flawless from her time spent under the eyes of her father that Kurenai figured any change in the girl's form she could bring would be minute. In truth, Hinata's skill was spectacular to behold, yet it was obvious to Kurenai that for Hinata this might not be enough. The true purpose of her training this girl was not to bring about any physical change in the girl's battle posture, nor was it to prime the girl in terms of physical strength, but rather to work on bringing about a new state in Hinata's emotional being. Kurenai hoped to train this girl through a new approach, by talking to her.
"That's enough for today, Hinata." Kurenai called out as the girl continued to strike the set target with her palms.
"Yes sensei… though wouldn't it be better if I train some more. I mean we don't have much time left and it isn't that late yet… I could keep going…" Hinata managed to say in a withdrawn tone.
"I want to try a different approach this last week." Kurenai said coolly.
"Alright… what do you want to try?" Hinata asked intently.
"I'd like to ask a few questions to you…" Kurenai admitted in a sharp tone.
"I don't see how that will make me a stronger ninja…" Hinata started reclusively.
"But it will… You don't realize that in term of your battle posture and raw technique you're already on a level near equal to that of Neji." Kurenai said in a reasoning tone.
"I'm not… I'm not as good as that…" Hinata said with somber look in her eyes.
"No, you are. There are only a couple key differences in your skill. You're more cautious, which on the battlefield could prove to be a good thing. And you are not as confident, which is what I hope to improve here." Kurenai acquiesced.
"B-but what are you going to ask?" The young kunoichi's tone held an uncertainty to it.
"Just stuff about you." Kurenai said smiling.
"I don't know. I don't know if there is really anything to say." Hinata said with a sad gaze that revealed that this wasn't a topic she was particularly interested in discussing.
"Please, bear with me. I'm not trying to torture you, I only hope to let you see the root of your mental blocks….So let's see…What's your goal in life, Hinata?" Kurenai started her process deductively.
"I-I… I'm not sure… to live my life according to my ninja way and try never to disappoint those I care about." Hinata said with a repressed intensity.
"An interesting balance… you try to make your own path through things while trying perhaps even harder to meet the expectations of those precious to you." Kurenai said in a deep tone.
"I-I guess so…" Hinata agreed.
"What is more important, meeting the expectations of others, or ensuring their safety?" Kurenai gave her next question.
"I don't know… I'd like to do both…" Hinata said showing signs of discomfort.
"What if in the act of doing something terrible, something that you fear your friends may never look at you the same way after, you could save many more friends lives? What action would you take then?" Kurenai asked trying her hardest to see into the girl's every reaction.
"I-I… well… I think it would depend on the situation…" Hinata said fearfully.
"What if some people very precious to you are being held captive by the enemy. If they could be freed if you offered your body as payment would you take that deal?" Kurenai said now trying to ignore her precious student's obvious discomfort.
"I don't know what I'd do…" Hinata said shaking her head meekly.
"So you would freeze up, shake your head and pretend like it wasn't happening?" Kurenai said bluntly.
"N-no I would do it. I'd do anything to protect those I care for…" Hinata came to her conclusion.
"But what if those friends would then forever judge you based on that event?" Kurenai responded constructively.
"I-I, if they are really someone who cares about me, they would see that I did it for them…" Hinata ascertained with a focused look.
"If that is the case, if the love you receive from you friends is unconditional, then shouldn't your only goal be protecting those precious friends?" Kurenai tried to lead the girl.
"B-but…" Hinata failed to form a counter.
"Unless, you believe that the one's you hold near do not in necessity hold you in the same regard." Kurenai suggested classily.
"Y-yes I fear that more than anything…." Hinata acquiesced shyly.
"Is that due to the changes you saw in Neji, or perhaps, it was when you felt your father had abandoned you. Or maybe it related to how, no matter what you do, you seem to fail at attracting Naruto's eye." The jounin teacher tried to give a comforting smile as she hit the girl's every weak point.
"Yes. It's all of that. I want them to notice me, to cherish me." Hinata said softly though with a latent passion.
"Yet you expect them to love you, without giving them reason to do so." Kurenai said in an inquiring tone.
"I hold them dear and strive to protect them, isn't that enough?" Hinata replied with a hint of force.
"Perhaps, though sometimes, such actions are lost on people." Kurenai responded simply.
"Then I should make it so that they have to see." Hinata spoke showing a slight reluctance as if she knew she was proving her sensei's point.
"Hinata who is it you would protect above all else? If you could ensure the safety of one person who would that be?" Kurenai asked hoping the girl would come to eventually point to herself.
"N-Naruto…" Hinata answered hesitantly.
"So, you would protect someone who is seldom conscious of your existence and never conscious of your feelings over that existence and those feelings themselves?" Kurenai said critically.
"Y-you're right… no matter how I feel about Naruto, I can't say I would protect him no matter what…. There is a difference between loving someone and j-just admiring them from afar… I-I guess there is only one person who's life I would truly try to protect over even my own." Hinata found herself saying in a somewhat distant voice.
"Over your own…hmm… really? So you would give up your life for the sake of someone else? It is not befitting a ninja to unconditionally hold someone else in a higher regard than herself." Kurenai said trying to keep a stern face in front of the girl.
"B-but if I care about others, doesn't that become my strength?" Hinata asked immediately.
"There is a fine life between what becomes strength and what becomes weakness. Love can be strength, but through betrayal and disaster, it can become a person's greatest weakness. How sure are you that this one you care about will never betray you?" Kurenai said in a driven tone as she searched to shape the youg girl's heart.
"I know that could never happen…" Hinata said with a blush.
"No person is so perfect… you can't predict others, all you know is what they want you to know… The only one you can truly trust is yourself. So, tell me, who is this one you would protect?" Kurenai returned her previous question, now with a definite hidden curiosity.
"Actually… i-it's you, sensei… the only one who stood with me through everything. Ever since I met you… even when father didn't want me… even though Naruto doesn't want me… through everything you've always been guiding me… that's why you're the one most precious to me…" Hinata averted her eyes as she spoke in a shaky but heartfelt tone.
"H-Hinata… I-I…" Kurenai said in shock; she found herself unable to focus on whatever point she had been steadily building up to until this point.
"I-I'm sorry… I didn't mean to embarrass you…" Hinata replied noticing that her sensei was now the one who had been made suddenly uncomfortable.
"No… it's okay… That's enough questions for the day… why don't you try to get some rest." Kurenai said recovering herself and abandoning her struggle into Hinata's mind.
It was of course, a rather foolish position for the young girl. Kurenai was only her teacher, her mentor; what 's more, Kurenai's skill was something that generally exceeded the Hyuga girl. Hinata protecting her made little sense and Kurenai knew it. Perhaps, she thought, Hinata knew it to, and had only said this, uncomfortable with the intense questioning session, to throw Kurenai off. Kurenai doubted Hinata was the type to do so; no, those words were genuine. Kurenai had never known this girl held her in such high regard and in many ways it felt beautiful. She watched as Hinata Hyuga exited the room and felt as a tear trickled down her cheek.
A/N: So, yeah, this first chapter sets things up. I figured I'd use this long questioning session, to get the underlying psychological base of the pairing out here, it's likely quite dull, try not to judge the fic by this little bit. I'm also doing this whole competition thing. Before you draw comparisons to my Temari X Tenten fic, realize that that was an international grand tournament, and this a small scale thing, it's really all just there to give the story a sense of progression, and so I don't have to fill every chapter with dull dialog like this and can add some action instead. In terms of the Kurenai X Hinata stuff, hopefully you all already see where the relationship is coming from. It will be gradual but it will get heated eventually. So you know, this fic is post time-skip, but there really isn't a set time after the time-skip where I would place it, just use your imagination. Anyways, tell me what you think.