Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto nor any of its characters!
Thank you all for reviewing my last 2 chapters, you guys rock. Sorry I'm being slack about replying to reviews and stuff, I've just got too much study to catch up on etc. Hope you like this chapter, I actually did research about what all the tarot cards meant... how nerdy of me P
"Don't worry about Tenten," said Kiba cheerfully. He had noticed Hinata looking rather worried whilst the other girl had been arguing with the soldiers at the gate. "She's an absolute nutter when it comes to her weapons, otherwise she is quite sane."
Hinata blushed and giggled softly, "I was just surprised at her reaction." She climbed down from the caravan and surveyed the bustle of activity around her. Everything was so colourful, compared to home. Their troupe was not the only one who had travelled to the city for the Summer Festival either. It was her first time in the city and she was surprised to find that there was such a large caravan green in the middle of all the crowded buildings, near the heart of the city. A young dark haired gypsy man from another troupe with dark bottomless eyes stared at her unblinkingly. Hinata quickly averted her eyes.
Kiba grinned at the pale eyed girl, not noticing the other gypsy. She was slowly coming out of her shell and she had had to be the sweetest, nicest girl he had ever met. "So the security check wasn't so nerve wracking was it? I told you that it would be fine."
She smiled shyly back at him, "It wasn't so bad." She had pretended to be asleep while the soldiers carried out the security checks on the caravan. Kurenai had told them that she was sick and sleeping so they had left her alone. At first she had been worried that her father would have sent out her description to all the major cities but Kurenai explained to her that there were a large number of wanted criminals at large that the city guards would be on the lookout for instead. The only description of her circulating would consist of her distinctive pale eyes so as long as she kept them closed or hidden, no one would know she was a Hyuuga.
"Gai and the rest are back!" exclaimed Lee excitedly. He bounded out of the caravan he had been sitting in and rushed to meet the three gypsies approaching them.
Kurenai looked grim and Tenten looked less annoyed compared to when she was at the checkpoint. Gai was grinning widely as he waved to them before embracing his protégé, Lee, tightly.
"Hinata," said Kurenai quietly before pulling her aside. "We saw a Hyuuga here in this city so you will have to be extra vigilant. Make sure you always keep the veil on whenever others are present, do you understand?"
Hinata's eyes widened and she nodded. There weren't many Hyuugas who lived away from the main house estates except for a few branch house members. Her favourite cousin was one of them but as far as she knew, he was currently stationed at one of the towns near the Suna border. Otherwise, none of the other Hyuugas who lived outside the main estate would know her face as they had all left before she was born.
"I will have to go deliver some messages now so stay here with Tenten, Kiba and Shino and help them set up camp," instructed Kurenai. Her red eyes fixed onto Tenten who approached them. The brunette girl was still holding one of the swords she had managed to bring into the city. Hinata smiled at the older girl hesitantly. Tenten grinned back at her then handed the sword to Kurenai. Kurenai fiddled with the hilt of the weapon and suddenly the pommel twisted off. The gypsy woman pulled out a small concealed scroll from inside the handle. Hinata stared at it with surprise, was that the real reason Tenten had been so possessive about her weapons? Kurenai gave her a sly smile and raised a finger to her lips. With her other hand, she tucked the scroll firmly into the bosom of her dress so that it was well hidden from view.
Kurenai called Gai and Lee over and handed them a small pile of scrolls each, keeping one for herself. Together they left the caravan green to deliver the messages they had been given. The other gypsies immediately began setting up camp and rubbing down the horses. Tenten and Hinata tended to the horses while the boys set up the colourfully striped awnings that attached to the side of the caravans.
Tenten and Hinata sat next to the campfire that was now cooking their dinner. Kurenai and Gai still had not returned from their errands. The other gypsy boys were working on odd jobs nearby. Tenten shuffled the pack of tarot cards and flipped open one card, "So Hinata, this is the card is The Fool. This card represents you; it stands for renewal, new beginnings and possibilities. Pretty accurate isn't it." She winked at the quiet pale girl who smiled shyly back at her and opened the next card. "Ah the Two of Swords…a clash of ideas or words?"
Hinata gave Tenten a confused look. "I haven't been clashing with anyone…"
Tenten chuckled, "This can also represent a temporary compromise. Maybe the cards aren't so accurate after all. Now the next card is a Page of Cups and since you are childless, you are about to receive a message of love, either from family or a romantic interest?"
Hinata drooped, "I'm never going to be able to remember what all the cards stand for."
The brunette girl laughed, "Don't worry, I don't remember the meaning of every card, I just make it up if I can't remember whenever I have to give fortune readings."
"I'm going to be a terrible Fortune teller," murmured Hinata dejectedly. She was to be the Fortune teller who gave readings to individual spectators wherever their troupe performed. Gypsies did not tolerate scroungers travelling with them, so she was obliged to partake in everyday tasks. Kurenai had asked her to tell fortunes to help earn money and Hinata, although not keen on the idea, could not possibly say no to the woman after all that had been done for her.
"Hinata, just look at the symbols on the cards for clues on what they might mean, then just make it up. Whoever you're doing the reading for is not going to know what they mean, if they could read tarot cards they would read it themselves. What I do is I study the person and try to guess what kind of person they are and then I just tell them something they want to hear," Tenten confided. "The trick is to be as vague as possible. Now practice reading my fortune, then you can go practice on the boys."
Hinata nodded resignedly and took the pack of cards from the petite gypsy and shuffled it. She flipped open the first card. It was The Lovers. "You are going to meet a man you will fall deeply in love with," she said uncertainly.
Tenten snorted, "I bet he's tall dark and mysterious too."
The blue haired girl flipped open the next card, "The Ace of Cups…what does it mean again?"
"A new love," replied Tenten starting to look worried.
Hinata turned the last card over, "The Knight of Cups, he is also the knight of love…Tenten is something wrong?"
"Nothing, nothing," replied Tenten quickly. She didn't like this fortune at all, she didn't want romance. Romance was too much trouble, she had seen the outcome of Lee's attempts at wooing that young pink haired healer. Poor Lee had been depressed for a few weeks, which was the longest she had ever seen him down. "Time to practice on the boys now."
The brunette girl beckoned Kiba over who had been throwing curious glances their way every so often. She had a feeling that Kiba was starting to develop feelings for the gentle runaway who had joined their troupe. He was always looking out for Hinata and following her around. Even Akamaru adored her. The spiky haired gypsy boy came over with his dog shadowing him closely, tail wagging.
Kiba sat himself across from Hinata and grinned at her. She flushed, pushed her long hair out of her face and began reading his cards for him. Tenten listened to Hinata's soothing murmurs and watched both of them curiously. Kiba was much more interested in the pale girl, rather than the cards being read to him. Her dark blue hair fell across her face again and she pushed it back as she flipped open the second card. "The Three of Swords, your heart will be pierced."
"It also relates to love triangles," added Tenten. "I'm guessing between you Kiba, Akamaru and Akamaru's girlfriend."
Hinata giggled softly.
Kiba stuck his tongue out at Tenten, "It also means that true feelings will be revealed so everyone will know where they stand, genius."
Tenten smirked, "That's what I am."
Kiba rolled his eyes and turned back to Hinata, muttering "…and modest too."
"We'll read Lee's fortune next then we'll try to convince Shino to let you practise on him," said Tenten briskly, ignoring Kiba's comment.
Hinata peeked outside from the small Fortune teller's tent she had been stationed at for the past week and watched the gypsies go through their paces. Gai and Lee had an impressive acrobatics act. Kiba and Akamaru had an entertaining comedy routine and Shino and Kurenai handled the music. Tenten, with her hair pulled into two neat buns, was next, and she was going to do a sword dance. Hinata had watched the other girl perform for the past few days, Tenten was very skilled and her movements were fluid and beautiful to watch. She wished she could move like that.
Not all gypsy troupes performed shows for the public. Some sold craft and other wares they had created themselves, others traded exotic items they acquired in different provinces and countries. She had also seen two other gypsy troupes perform. One was a small troupe from Suna. One young man did a puppet show; his sister did a fan dance and the youngest brother and the troupe leader played the music accompaniment. Her troupe, were quite friendly with the Suna troupe. They had travelled together before and had even combined their acts for some of the performances for the Festival.
The other troupe was larger. There was a set of Siamese twins, a strong man, a sword swallower, an archer, a flautist, a fire-twirler and the troupe leader who kept snakes. Most other troupes kept away from them and they kept to themselves. They were a newly formed troupe and nobody seemed to know anything about them. The troupe members made her feel uneasy. Even Gai and Lee who were friendly with every other gypsy avoided them. The fire-twirler especially made her nervous; she had caught him studying her with interest on more than one occasion.
Not many people had approached her for a tarot card reading during the Summer Festival. The veil tickled her face and Hinata wished that she could take it off. Sighing, she tugged at her dark red dress and adjusted the bright blue and purple scarf around her waist. Suddenly a blonde soldier with short spiky hair bounded up to her. "Will you read me my fortune? I've never had my fortune told before!" he exclaimed excitedly.
Hinata nodded quickly, feeling her stomach beginning to churn. She was finally going to have to put what she had learnt to the test. Tenten and Kurenai had made her practise reading the tarot cards every night since they arrived in the city until she had finally learnt what every card meant. The blonde soldier followed her into the tent and they both sat themselves on the large cushions on the floor, facing each other. She peered at him through her veil, he was roguishly handsome in the same way that Kiba was. His eyes were a stunning shade of deep cerulean blue and his skin was tanned.
"I'm Naruto," he introduced himself cheerfully.
Hinata opened her mouth to give him her name but managed to stop herself in time, she was not supposed to make it easier for her family to find her! Instead she merely nodded as mysteriously as she could and took out the tarot cards. Naruto's smile fell slightly when she didn't introduce herself. Feeling guilty, she tried to make some small talk, "It looks like it might rain tomorrow."
He perked up immediately, "Is that a prediction?"
Unsure of how she should react, Hinata nodded. She opened the first card for him, Strength. "Strength, the card of courage and energy, although things may seem out of control at times you must not give up, have faith in yourself."
Naruto stared intently at the card, deep in thought, "I must not give up on Sasuke then…"
Hinata frowned; she had heard of that name, he was the brother of the man she was supposed to marry, "Sasuke Uchiha?"
His eyes locked onto her with surprise and awe, "Wow, you're very accurate!"
Hinata relaxed slightly, this might be easier than she thought. "He is a dear friend of yours?"
The blonde soldier nodded vigorously, "He deserted the army after the whole scandal with his clan. They say that he murdered his entire clan but I don't believe it, I cannot believe it," he clenched his fists. "Sasuke is good and honourable and he would never do something as terrible as that. Someone must have framed him. I've been trying to find out where he has gone for months."
She observed the young man sympathetically as he struggled to control his emotions. It was ironic though, she was running from an Uchiha and he was searching for one. "You will find him one day," murmured Hinata as soothingly as she could. She opened the second card, "Two of wands, you will reach a crossroads where you will have to make an important choice."
Naruto nodded earnestly. Hinata took a deep breath and flipped open the last card. "The Knight of Wands, you will be setting off on an exciting trip sometime soon."
Big blue eyes fixed on hers excitedly, "Do you know where to?"
Hinata smiled and said as vaguely as she could, "Somewhere away from here."
"You're the real deal; wait till I tell the others! Especially Neji, he's always going on about fate, you should read his fortune."
She stiffened, Neji? As in her cousin Neji? "Are you talking about Lieutenant Hyuuga with pale eyes and long dark hair?" she gasped.
"Wow that's him exactly, you ARE really good!" exclaimed Naruto as he jumped to his feet and bounded out of the tent. Hinata could only gape at him as he disappeared into the crowd to find her cousin who would be sure to drag her home once he found her.
A/N: You all are going to kill me for leaving it at a cliffhanger aren't you? P I hope none of the characters seem too out of character. I know this is abit Hinata-centric at the moment... but I think in future chapters I will be focussing on Tenten and Neji... Please review!