Shadow of Hinata

A/n: Edited 3/9/09 (I wanted to clean things up before finishing up Koishii the sequel to this fanfic)

Set in the Chunin Exam Arch Episode 46ish Hinata and Neji's match. Hinata's POV and some unrequited affection.

I do not own Naruto…but you knew that already…

Her pace quickened to catch up with her teammate while her hands raised to show the ointment jar in her hands. Although he was being carried away in a stretcher he was able to quickly raise his head to look at her.

"Hey don't worry about me…" Kiba flashed a toothy grin "you should worry about yourself Hinata. If you have to go against Neji just give up, quit. Same goes for that sand guy."

Hinata looked blankly at her teammate. He returned her gaze with a slightly softened expression. Hayate's voice echoed in the arena. "The next match will be…" All eyes turned towards the next names that would appear on the board.

Hinata trembled, her eyes widen with the feeling all around her. Sympathy. They felt sorry for her. She glanced up again seeing her name and Neji's. Without thinking her eyes found the blond haired blue eyed boy dressed in orange. "Naruto…" Hinata thought. The boy who always tried so hard. Who never gives up, who dreams of being Hokage. He wanted to be recognized for something other then being the "number-one-knuckle-headed-hyper-active-ninja." She knew that feeling all to well.

"I want to be recognized," she thought "not as the one who needs to be protected, not as the weak one, and for more than being the heir of the Hyuuga's main branch." But now her mind was being invaded by thoughts and feelings that were not her own. All she felt around her was pity. "No, it's worse. An empty feeling. Nothing. A painful neglect." She cringed with knowing that they assumed she wasn't worth recognizing.

"It doesn't matter…" she had already made up her mind. Her eyes traced the outline of Naruto then brought her pale lavender eyes down to the floor. "I have my own ninja way." Her soft lashes brushed her cheeks as she closed her eyes and inhaled slowly.

She was five years old and training with her father in her families dojo. She didn't need Hyuuga blood to know he was disappointed with her. Her uncle and cousin sat watching them. The little boy only a year older then herself watched with expressive eyes smiling at her. His face cheerful and bright.

Then she felt it; a strange feeling that seemed like a cold shiver at the back of her neck and a hot burn on her cheeks. She heard her father say "Murderous intent!" while he jumped in front of her uncle. Her uncle dropped to the floor writhing in pain. Hinata felt sick to her stomach as she ripped her eyes from the horrific sight.

In an instant her eyes found something equally unbearable. Neji was completely stiff. His skin pale. Hinata knew it then. Something in Neji's eyes died that day.

He would never have those smiling eyes again.

Now she raised her eyelids to face those eyes again. They where a mirror of her own. Was it hate and loathing in his gaze she wondered, or was it just indifference? She wasn't as skilled as her father or Neji at reading people's "intent." A cold shiver ran up her spine and a flush of warmth spread across her face. She clenched her hands into fists.

"No…no..NO!" Hinata's thoughts echoed in her mind. "Not now…" she shoved the all too familiar feeling down. "I choose…I decide…I'm not going to faint now…" Memories of Naruto ran across her mind.

Somewhere in the crowd she felt it. That sympathy--no wait that wasn't it. Was it fear? Fear for her? It couldn't be.. She thought to herself in disbelief. Hinata was used to doubting herself. Stuttering, blushing and fainting, this was the girl everyone knew to be Hinata. But on the inside even she was struggling to find herself.

"Give up. You weren't meant to be a ninja. You are too kind, you seek harmony and avoid trouble. You just go along and follow someone else's idea and you have no self confidence. You always feel inferior. The truth is that you are taking this exam unwillingly. Am I wrong?" Neji spoke as if to no one in particular in a mild monotone.

"Your wrong! Your wrong…I…I…just wanted to change myself…so I willingly…" Hinata spoke with all the resolve she could muster, though her voice betrayed her, she felt herself strengthen.

"He is predicting my failure. How can he say that he knows me, knows what I'm thinking? State that he can see through me, my own doubt and foreseen failure. When I can't even see myself. He is wrong…" Hinata fought with all that she had she had something to prove to herself and to everyone. "Is he watching me?" she thought.

"It's over." Hinata wasn't sure if she heard it or felt it. Was it "over?" She was on the ground, the pain was overwhelming. Her mind was screaming at her "Get up!" Just as she finally felt her body comply she heard it.


Naruto was calling out to her and her heart swelled with emotions--but what was that other feeling, like and echo…calling me? Her eyes caught the high collared jacket and dark round glasses. She was sure her teammate was looking at her. She couldn't see Shino's eyes but she felt his gaze on her. His eyebrows were raised but furrowed. Hinata did not have time to consider Shino's expression. "Was he worried?" was her fleeting thought.

She was standing and a collective gasp could be heard in the crowd. It was astonishing that she was able to do so with her chakra so damaged. She coughed up blood and looked at Neji with intent.

"I feel sorry for you…I can see you are suffering more then me…" Hinata's voice was ragged but calm.

It came suddenly, a piercing hot sensation on her cheeks and a cold shiver that seemed to claim her. Murderous intent.

Jounins were surrounding Neji. Holding him back.

Hinata blinked at the ceiling. It looked like a soft color of jade. She turned her head to the side but it was just a gray blur. The medical ninja had set her down and she closed her eyes. Had any time passed?

A soft caress brushed her cheek, "Am I dreaming…" Hinata thought.

"I saw you Hinata…I always see you."

"Shino?" A soft whisper passed Hinata's lips. There it was again, that feeling of fear, fear of loosing something. A soft beat hummed in her ear. It enveloped her and radiated throughout her body. It was not fear.

Hinata recognized the familiar rhythm of Shino's heart beat. She had become accustomed to Shino's presence while being a part team eight and sharing missions together. He had the qualities of a good leader. He was level headed, calm and composed. He was thoughtful and considerate. Everything he did, he did with a purpose. He was someone that she had come to understand.

Whenever they had to camp during the night they would always share a tent. Akamaru claimed a spot next to the tent's opening flap. Of the four of them the little dog had the smallest bladder of them all and needed to excuse himself on occasion. He also had a very warm coat and enjoyed the night breeze.

Kiba slept next to his furry companion. Hinata had often thought how sweet it was how close the two were. She found it easy to feel how Akamaru felt towards Kiba and to things in general. She loved spending time with the ninja dog because of his honest affection for her. Hinata had often wondered why she could understand Akamaru when she had trouble understanding and reading people in the same way.

Shino slept in the widest part of the tent being the tallest member of the group and Hinata slept in the back of the tent next to him. She found comfort with the sound of his breathing and the soothing rhythm of his heart beat. He seemed to radiate heat. "Was it the kikaichu that made him warmer then others?" she wondered. Shino was such a contrast to Kiba and Akamaru. He was calm, quite almost…soothing; and they were loud, especially Kiba, and especially while sleeping. Kiba's and Akamaru's snoring was incredible…incredible that team 8 could remain undetected with such a noise.

Hinata was once embarrassed to find herself snuggled up to Shino, her head under his high collard jacked trying to muffle the sounds of loud snoring. Her faced seared red and for once she was so embarrassed she did not faint. (Though she wished she had.) Was that loud pounding her heart beat or his?

That soft rhythm brought her back from her reminiscences, her eyes focused to see dark black round sunglasses. A blink and it was gone.

"Shino." She said again louder this time.

--points index finger together, softly taps them--

My first story.

Sorry about the title, couldn't think of anything then I thought of Orson Scott Card's Shadow of the Hedgemon and then thought of this title.

Edit 3/9/09: I have always intended to revisit Shadow of Hinata but I'm one of those people who need to proofread with a hard copy and make notes. I can't do it of the computer for some reason. And then I didn't have a computer because it broke…life got in the way… (insert excuse here)… the usual.