Oh my gosh, guys! It must seem like forever but I was sick—seems like I always am—and that's why there's been a delay. I've also been caught up in catching up in subscriptions and stuff as well as designing a tattoo I'm going to get soon; it'll be my first. Then, I started watching DeGrassi again and it's amazing! On top of that, this week has been hellish with work and then I was making preparations to attend the Rihanna loud concert—I just HAD to go! Then there was the fact that I'm still working from home right now. It's late but I hope it will be a good read for you.
I hope I didn't make you guys wait too long and that you will enjoy this chapter.
Excuse any errors or formatting issues and R&R‼!
Chapter 57: Hime
After a little while, the matches began.
Hinata was not nervous about fighting her old sensei as the woman had practically raised her. What she was worried about was making an impression on the older woman that she had grown and improved.
The first two matches were over, Shino passed but Sakura had not made the mark. When Hinata thought about both matches, she saw Kurenai was lenient while Kakashi was a little harsher.
Somehow, he reminded her of someone. His fighting style was somehow familiar.
Currently, Gai and Lee were up against each other. For others it would appear as though the two were mere streaks as they darted around the small arena at top speed. It was very impressive to Hinata the way they fought, putting their everything into and going beyond. The two were not allowed to open any of their gates as it was a spar after all.
Hinata didn't know if she should have been thrilled or mortified at hearing her name shortly after Gai announced Lee had passed.
"Yuuhi Kurenai and Hyuuga Hinata are next!"
Hinata's heart pounded in her ears as she and Kurenai went to the center of the arena and faced each other.
She thought of Sasuke, who was watching her from the side and then of Itachi who wasn't there. The latter had trained her and been so good to her that she could not let him down at this point.
"I hope I make you proud sensei," Hinata whispered to herself.
Hinata made the first move, analyzing as she went. She knew Kurenai was one to cast Genjutsu early in and so she was very wary of that.
Hinata blocked Kurenai's blows, delivering some of her own to shut down the older woman's chakra points. Her old sensei was never that good at close range and so Hinata was pretty much set in the match.
The woman proceeded to call up the branches of nearby trees, stretching them in Hinata's direction, which she eluded quickly. Hinata in turn set up her barrier and sent chakra needles Kurenai's way.
Having Itachi teach her how to avoid his doujutsu was valuable indeed, as Hinata was able to effectively dispel Kurenai's genjutsu but another was right behind it.
Rose petals swirled around Hinata obstructing her sight briefly before the area around her shifted so she was at the Hyuuga compound. She could feel the wind on her skin and hear the crunch of the gravel as she went across the yard to the main door.
What she found inside stunned her.
Hanabi was right there, arms folded across her chest. She had no eyes, her sockets deep and menacing in a seemingly sightless glare.
"Well isn't it the cowardly bitch," Hanabi said with a sneer.
Hinata knew she was caught in the genjutsu but something about seeing her sister rooted her to the spot.
"Hai, it's me. Did you think you could get rid of me so easily?" said Hanabi as she approached Hinata.
'It's genjutsu. It's not real.'
The genjutsu wavered as the thought thrummed in Hinata's mind.
"You're a selfish, manipulative weakling who hides behind innocence and naivety," Hanabi continued. "But you don't fool me and you're not fooling anyone else. You would do anything to get what you want and even killed me!"
"Iie! I didn't," said Hinata in panic. She knew Kurenai was able to see all that was happening and would find it suspicious if anything out of the ordinary was said. She thought quickly. "You're just an image of my guilt of not being able to save you!"
Hinata fought against the genjutsu before Hanabi could say anything else that might cause trouble and fought hard.
Kurenai was very adept with genjutsu and would probably even be able to rival Itachi so it was difficult but Hinata held through, eventually ripping the illusion to shreds.
Hinata huffed a sigh of relief, as everything around her was normal again. She looked at her old sensei, afraid the woman would ask questions but she only saw sympathy in her red eyes.
"Very good, Hinata-chan," said Kurenai with a small smile. "That was one of the strongest genjutsu I use and you were able to avoid it in mere seconds. You pass."
Hinata wiped her clammy brow as she gave a short bow to her old sensei. "Arigatou, Kurenai-san," she said, barely containing her excitement.
Kurenai walked up to Hinata and shook her hand formally before pulling her into a tight hug. "Congratulations!"
Hinata turned around to see Sasuke standing next to Kakashi, both of them smiling in her direction and returned it.
It felt so good to pass another level of the exam. Hinata was proud of herself and wished Itachi and Deidara were there to see her.
She'd heard a little cheer from one of the Jounin there, one with green hair, and blushed but it quickly died down at the look Sasuke gave the man.
Hinata figured Sasuke probably thinking the Jounin was attracted to her and was replaced with a grin.
Sometimes Sasuke was so cute.
Next up was Kakashi and Naruto who were quite interesting to watch. Sasuke could see Hinata really wanted to talk to him but he had not fought yet. Instead, she was with her old teammate, Shino and the others. He sent a wink her way to which she returned with a blown kiss.
The match between the two males was amazing, both showing lots of skill besides Naruto's trademark move of kage bunshin. Sasuke was impressed with Naruto putting in extra effort and saw that he had improved on some of his moves he'd used when sparring with him before.
A while later, Kakashi deemed Naruto fit to continue, the blonde screaming hysterically in his joy as he bounced around, lifting the silver-haired man and swinging him around.
Up a few minutes later were Gai and Neji and Sasuke watched them in great interest as it was something he'd never gotten the chance to witness before.
Gai was such a passionate and forceful being that Sasuke had no idea how a stoic guy like Neji had been able to keep up with the man while he was on the team.
Sasuke had to hand it to Neji though. He was holding his own against the green-clad Jounin with great aptitude. None of Gai's gates was open but he was still very fast, using that advantage to attack at Neji's blind spot.
Neji knew this; however, and protected himself well against the powerful blows, delivering chakra-infused ones of his own.
Sasuke watched them steadily with his Sharingan; he'd had it on since the very first match. He knew it would probably cost him a little and Kakashi had warned him of it, but he wanted to see everything in detail.
The match between Gai and Neji ended fist against fist; Neji had kept up with Gai all this time.
Gai announced Neji had passed with streams of tears running down his face at the fact that even though not all of his students had made it, Lee and Neji had met his expectations.
"Two out of three isn't bad!" said Gai happily.
Sasuke barely heard what Gai had said though, because his name was called on next.
"Hatake Kakashi and Uchiha Sasuke!"
Sasuke walked to the center and faced his former sensei.
Kakashi lifted his hitai-ate to reveal his own Sharingan.
"Let's see how much you've improved since I last saw you," the man said.
Sasuke's tomoes spun lazily as he regarded Kakashi. The man had not used his Sharingan against the others and Sasuke suspected more was expected of him.
Kakashi rushed at Sasuke right off the bat.
Sasuke was ready for him though, kunai in hand and many more ready. Kakashi came to him and flung a kunai of his own at Sasuke, which the latter deflected.
Sasuke's theory was right as the move was used as a decoy for chakra strings, which he cut with his own chakra, saturated with his lightning before he was bound.
Kakashi then came at him with jutsu after jutsu.
"Raiton: Raijū Hashiri no Jutsu!"
A beast of lightning came hurtling Sasuke's way, which he copied and sent its way. His own was not as strong as Kakashi's but it was enough to tear the other down with much effort.
Sasuke could tell that Kakashi must have somehow gotten stronger since the last time he'd seen him. Sasuke knew Kakashi did not have a lot of chakra to spare and had placed a bet on him tiring but that had not been the case at all.
Itachi knew Kakashi was not known for having a large chakra reserve and hoped it would not raise suspicion that he'd lasted so long.
He was aiming to get Sasuke to use something to indicate what he'd done had worked but it was seeming to be futile as he couldn't exactly use intention to kill in the matches to draw it out.
Sasuke was definitely skilled enough to pass, even without the help he wasn't using and Itachi decided he would have to pry what he wanted from his younger brother another time if he didn't show it soon.
"You pass," he said to Sasuke, giving Kakashi's trademark smile that crinkled his eyes.
Sasuke's chest heaved as he nodded his thanks.
Itachi nodded and covered his Sharingan with the hitai-ate as he went with Sasuke to the others.
Anko caught their attention right after.
"Okay! Chuunin who participated in the matches take a form from the table," the brunette said. "Jounin will take the forms according to matches."
Itachi went to the table and took up three forms for Sakura, Naruto, and Sasuke.
The form was quite simple. He simply had to give reasons why he either failed or passed the Chuunin and his recommendations for them.
For Sakura, she had plenty of strength but it was nearly out of control. Not that her chakra control was not excellent, she simply had to learn how to use it correctly to avoid overdoing it. He suggested more time focusing of this to fine tune her abilities. She would be an excellent medic nin even at Chuunin level.
Naruto was a great shinobi, Itachi had no doubt, and would do well as Jounin. He wasn't the loud, obnoxious teenager he'd come across at the river so long ago and had matured enough to focus on the match. Naruto had plenty of room to improve but he was definite Jounin material and could even be considered for special Jounin or ANBU very soon.
Sasuke did well, in Itachi's opinion. He was nowhere as strong as Itachi at that age, but he was Jounin material. With Sasuke's abilities, he could try out for special Jounin like Naruto could or even ANBU captain. Itachi thought the hunter division would suit Sasuke very well.
When he was done, Itachi handed the forms to Anko, who briefly looked over them.
"You've got some high hopes for your former students there, Kakashi," said Anko with a whistle.
"Of course," said Itachi. "They are more than capable."
Anko moved on to the others and collected their forms before addressing everyone there.
"Now that the matches are out of the way, it's time to announce that last test of the exams!" said Anko. "The next test will be very serious as it will be an A class mission."
Itachi knew of this as he'd done it and waited to hear more.
"Those who passed are Shino, Hinata, Lee, Naruto, Neji, Hinata, and Sasuke," Anko continued. "Which makes it perfect to carry out the missions. You will be split into two teams.
Team one will be Hinata, Lee, and Sasuke with Sasuke being the leader. Team two will be Shino, Naruto, and Neji with Neji being the leader."
Itachi felt pride surge through him that Sasuke was made leader. Being leader of teams at this stage was almost as good as signing the Jounin contract. He was also glad Hinata was on his team as he would be able to keep an eye on the both of them without a problem.
He tuned in to Anko once more.
"-possibility of dying on these missions; however, if there is wind of deliberate attempts on a teammate's life you will permanently be demoted of Shinobi rank.
"The mission will last approximately one week and will start tomorrow at dawn," said Anko. "Full details will be given then but for now, be glad you have a break to rest. Food and everything will be in the main tent shortly and there's a river just east of here for you to freshen up."
After that, everyone started to mingle and gave their congratulations to everyone that had passed. Itachi had to play along, of course, giving his words of encouragement to everyone.
Deidara came over to him under pretense of also praise him on a good match.
"You pulled that off well, yeah," Deidara told him. "No one suspects a thing!"
"Infiltrating is part of who we are," Itachi answered, looking at the foreign features of the green-haired man. "Keep quiet about it before someone overhears you."
Deidara rolled his eyes. "Hai," he said then pouted. "I kinda…miss you."
Itachi's breath left him in an inaudible sigh. "What are you doing?" he all but hissed.
"Telling you how I feel, hmm?"
"You can't do that here," Itachi said. Trust Deidara to say something like that at such a time.
"Hmm, but I'll tell you and show you how much I do very soon," said Deidara with a smirk and turned, walking away to go to the others.
What was he thinking when he started this with Deidara?
The sad thing was that he missed the blonde also.
Itachi spoke to others and found it very easy to hold conversations with them all—except Gai, the man had issues.
He had yet to approach Hinata but if he didn't it would probably look strange.
Itachi made his way to the girl, who was talking to Sasuke.
"Hi there," he said, smile in place.
Hinata returned the gesture. Sasuke said he was going to get a drink for himself and Hinata at that moment, leaving the two alone. Itachi was grateful for that and turned his attention back to Hinata.
"I just wanted to congratulate you on getting this far," said Itachi. "I know you'll also do well on the mission."
"Arigatou, Kakashi-san," said Hinata with a dip of her head.
"You must have had quite a hard time training as I heard you've been do it alone," Itachi commented conversationally.
Hinata laughed weakly. "Hai, it's not been easy but I worked nonstop."
The poor girl could barely tell a lie.
"That's good to hear," said Itachi. Somehow, it felt harder to talk to Hinata while he was under the disguise. "But I'm sure whoever chipped in here or there will be very proud of you."
A more serene smile rested on Hinata's lips. "I hope so," she said. "I wish they were here to see. One person in particular who means so much to me… I wish he was here to see me."
Itachi rose an eyebrow in question to which Hinata stammered. "A-ano my father is who I'm speaking about. He doesn't believe in me. If only he could see how far I've gotten, hehe."
Itachi smirked. "You're not very good at lying," he said to her as he saw Sasuke coming back their way. "But don't worry, the person you might be thinking of is closer than you think.
Leaning close to Hinata, he whispered, "I'll talk to you later, Hime."
Itachi turned away as he saw Hinata's eyes widen at the name before a whisper of her own he barely heard was spoken.
Looking back, he nodded and placed a finger to his lips.
Walking away as Sasuke reached Hinata, Itachi wondered if it had been wise to let Hinata know he was there but as he took a glance her way as he went to have a bottle of water, her smile in his direction said he was more than welcome.
Later that night, Itachi wrote her a letter and slipped it under the makeshift pillow.
You know I'm always watching over you.
Deidara had nagged him and so he'd let the blond send one of his own as well.
You kicked ass, yeah!
Here is where I end the chapter. I did this in one sitting until 2:22 in the morning last night but was too tired to reread. I had to work today and so wasn't able to get this out earlier than now—and it's pretty late—but it was worth it to get this out to you guys. I think I said all I had to at the beginning so I only hope you liked the chapter enough to review.
You can follow me on Twitter RisaPooh13 if you have any questions.
If you have not read Hinata the Vamp, A Happy Ending, or Following the Sun please do so. It'll help pass the time until my next update.
Please review, I love it when you do!