Disclaimer:I do not own Naruto or any of its respective characters. This fanfiction is for entertainment purposes only. (Mostly my amusement.) However, if I DID own Naruto, it would be called "Neji and Hinata: Byakugan Babies Galore!" That has a nice ring to it...
Author's Note:Here you go everyone. A nice update. Thank you all for reading, and I'll do my best to finish this fic. :)
Possession - Chapter Twenty-Two
Hyuuga Hinata, Leader of Konoha's prestigious Hyuuga Clan, stepped out of Hokage-sama's office. She spoke not a word, and made no acknowledgment of the seven men standing before her. Her lips were pursed together, and her eyes glossy with tears unshed. Her hand clasped her belly so tightly that the black folder tucked in her obi was crumpled and bent. Then, her head jerked up toward Neji, the newly appointed Branch leader.
They waited. Still, she did not speak. Looking upon him, Hinata could tell that fear and guilt still weighed heavily upon Neji. He shifted on his feet several times, wishing, she supposed, that he could just run away from her and all that she commanded. But, there would be no running. Not for him. Not ever. And especially not now. But for herself?
"Hyuuga-sama?" He began to question, and his very voice drove her to anger. Hinata released her belly, drawing her arm back with palm open. Seeing this, the Branch leader stiffened his jaw, but it wasn't enough. The collision of her surprise fist against him sent her cousin reeling backward, into the arms of one of the guards, who promptly threw the boy to the floor.
Neji, holding his face, looked up only to find the back of her lovely patterned kimono, as she walked away from him, having uttered not a single word. Out into the hall she went, leaving him to the mercy of her loyal Branch guards.
"What was that for?" Neji wondered aloud, as he stood to face the now open door leading away from Tsunade's office.
"I can think of two reasons, Branch leader," one guard sneered, eyeing him contemptuously.
"Aye," said another. "I wonder how many other reasons our Hinata-sama has been so kind as to keep to herself?"
"Kind?" Neji nearly choked on the word.
"Indeed," the chief answered, catching him by the arm. He led the prodigy and the others out of the waiting area. "Hyuuga-sama's kindnesses are many. Extended even to the lowliest among us." He peered through narrowed, white eyes. "Those who have wronged her, and yet still carry their lives in tact."
Neji looked away, allowing himself to be led by the man who was technically his subordinate. As they exited the building, he fell back into the space between the six Branch guards, as they formed an oval around him, with the chief at the front.
"Well, Branch leader," they stepped onto the street. "Shall we find Hyuuga-sama?"
"No," Neji answered, perhaps more quickly than intended. "I mean..." He sighed, took a deep breath. "We'll go to the hospital. To properly honor Hyuuga Hisoshou, as was our Lady's wish." The chief grunted an acknowledgment. "Afterward, if the Lady has not met us there, we shall return home."
"As you wish, Branch leader," the chief answered. Although he'd tried to hide it, Neji still heard the disgust in the older man's voice.
Hinata ran. She ran through the village, down indiscriminate streets, uncaring of her destination. There was but one thought on her mind. A child. What was she going to do?
Her legs were tired. She was tired. Gasping for breath, she stopped at an empty bench and collapsed onto it. The street was vacant, and Hinata was glad for it. She had almost run right into Ino and Shikamaru a few blocks back. Luckily, the blonde had spotted Sasuke walking ahead of them, and neither of team ten, or the Uchiha had noticed her cut through an adjacent alley. Hinata's image was now her most important asset, and the last thing she needed was gossip of the new Leader's weakness making its way back to the Clan... and her enemies within it.
She sank to her knees on the ground, folding her arms onto the seat, and plunged her face into her kimono sleeves, sobbing, as she had recently become accustomed to.
Rising and falling upon her father's bed, Hinata clutched onto the dozen or so robes that she'd pulled from the closet in the large, Leader's suite. She wrapped them around herself, burying her face in them, soaking in her father's scent as her sobs filled the air around her. She knew not how long she'd been there, or how long it would be until she would again have to face the Clan, and her duty. All that mattered to her now was satisfying the awful pain in her heart.
"Hinata-sama?" She heard Neji's voice calling from behind the shoji screen separating the Leader's suite from the adjoining room. "Hinata-sama? Please, may I come in?" He asked.
"Go away!" She shouted back at him. She did not wish to be disturbed, and had given strict orders to ensure her privacy. However...
The shoji screen was pushed aside. Neji entered, and Hinata buried herself further beneath Hiashi's garments.
"I told you to go away, Branch House!"
"Hai, Hinata-sama," he answered.
She lifted her face, white eyes swollen with grief. "Then why are you still here?" She flung a kunai toward him, but he did not move. The prodigy stood in place as the sharp metal flew past his head, and through the shoji screen.
"Because," he said, stepping forward. "I will never leave you, Hinata-sama. Not like this."
"Niisan..." She cried, beneath the pile of robes. "Why are you so stubborn? Can't you see I don't need you? I don't need anyone!" She shouted. "I'm all alone... Otousan left me all alone..."
Neji approached the bed slowly, step by step, avoiding the various ninja tools tossed haphazardly in his direction. She didn't want to harm him. That was obvious. She only wanted to intimidate him, but should have known that in this frantic state she would be less than intimidating.
"You are not alone, Hinata-sama." Neji carefully peeled away the layers of cloth surround his Lady, to find her trembling like a sapling in the wind. "You have me. And Hanabi-sama, as well," he said. "The three of us will stand together. She and I will support you and your rule in all things." He sat down beside her, waiting until he felt her inch a little closer on her own. "I will support you in every way I can, until the day I die, Hinata-sama."
"Do not speak such words, Branch House," she scolded, sitting up to face him. Hinata clasped onto the fabric of his shirt with both fists, pulling herself against him. Thoughts of Hokage-sama's rage, and the punishment that the Godaime would enforce upon her niisan were brought again to the forefront. "I won't let you die," she whispered through the tears still spilling down her cheeks. "Not while there is breath in my lungs..."
Ever so slowly, Neji's hands found their way to her waist, and there they lingered, as both Hyuuga were caught... mesmirized by the other's gaze. Then, the prodigy closed his eyes, swallowing down the urges he felt within him. He began to pull his hands away from the Lady, but she stopped him with a word.
"No," she said, angling her head slightly. Neji opened his eyes, and nearly gasped at their proximity. He swallowed again, and stiffened his jaw. "Kiss me..." She commanded.
The Branch leader took a long, deep breath. "Hyuuga-sama," he said. "I can not. You are grieving. You are not thinking straight right now, and your emotions are too volatile." He looked down at the many robes strewn across the massive bed. "You do not really want-"
"Don't tell me what I want and don't want!" She screeched. "I am your Leader!"
Neji pulled her body so close to his, that they were as a tangle of limbs upon the bed. But he did not kiss her.
"Hiashi-sama would not approve," he answered her silent pleading. "Look at where we are, who we are, and all that has occured." His left hand found its way into the loose strands of indigo at her neck, even as his words conjured more distance between them. "I will not disgrace you, or myself, or so fine a Leader as Hiashi-sama by violating you again on the night of his death... on his very own bed."
"But, I w-w-want you to..."
"No, you don't. You are only confused, Hinata-sama." He started to lift himself from the bed, to peel away from her embrace, but she held fast, and he remained on the bed. Neji then wondered if entering without permission had been a good idea afterall. "Hinata-sama..."
"Then, j-just hold me, niisan," she begged. "Don't go. P-Please... You said you wouldn't leave."
"And I won't," he answered, tucking them both in under the covers, and the many robes. "Rest now, Hinata-sama."
"Hai," she whispered, curling up beside him. Hinata then pulled one of the robes close, tucking it under her head, as a pillow.
She breathed in her father's scent once more, while Neji gently caressed her back. Soon, the Leader was asleep. But, even in her dreams, Neji heard her calling out.
"Otousan..." She whimpered, again and again.
"Otousan..." Hinata cried. "What should I do, Otousan? You... you were always so strong. You always knew what to do." She sniffled. "Otousan..." Grief anew washed over her, and she bit into her own arm to keep the scream from coming out. "I don't want to have a baby!" She wailed. "I don't want to be a mother!" She bared her teeth against a chill wind, and her overflowing eyes grew heavy. A trembling hand reach into her obi, past Hokage-sama's black folder, latching onto a kunai. "I'll kill it," she hissed. "I don't need it. I don't want it!"
Hinata stood, with arms at her sides, ominously clutching the blade. "Yes," she said. "I'll kill it..." She raised it high above her head, angling the point of the weapon back toward herself. "And then... then..." She shut her eyes, plunging it straight at her belly.
"Hinata!" Uchiha Sasuke caught her by the wrist, squeezing hard until she dropped the weapon. His other arm wrapped tightly around her, holding her against his chest as she struggled and kicked in her anguish. "What do you think you're doing, Hinata!"
"None of your business!" She screeched. "Let me go!"
"Not on your life!" He countered, as her thrashing grew more persistant. "Not if you're going to stab yourself!"
"What does it matter!" She broke free her left arm, then swung back the elbow to catch Sasuke's perfect nose. "And what do you care, Uchiha!" He stumbled from the blow, and with a graceful twist, she was free from his grasp. Then, Lady Hyuuga turned to face him, her diamond eyes full of fear, rage and despair. "I have to get rid of it! Now, before anyone else finds out!"
"There are better ways," he said. "For the Gods' sake, Hinata! How many times do you need to get stabbed in twenty-four hours!"
The Hyuuga narrowed her eyes, suspicious of the raven-haired shinobi. "How do you know how many times I've been stabbed?" She demanded.
"Hn," Sasuke scoffed. "I know more than you think, Hyuuga-dono." Then, that subtle, arrogant smirk appeared on his naturally pouty lips. "We're equals now, you know."
Hinata rolled her eyes. "Being the last of the Uchiha doesn't make you a Leader, because there isn't anyone left to follow you, Sasuke."
"Alright then, Hinata-chan. Let's just forget all about our Clans."
"Stop being sarcastic," she spat. Her hand once again found itself clutching her belly and drawing Sasuke's attention to the crumpled black folder partially hidden in her obi.
"I'm serious," he calmly said. "Forget about them."
Sasuke stepped forward, and Hinata stepped back. Soon, the backs of her knees were pressed against the edge of the bench seat, and she could retreat no further. The Uchiha stood in front of her, looking down through his bangs.
"Let's start a new life together," he whispered. "We don't need them. And you don't have to keep that," he glanced again at the hand on her belly. "But, only if you don't want to," he continued. "I would raise this child to be a proud Uchiha, despite its bloodline. Because, I swear to you, Hinata-chan... any life with you is better than a life without you."
Hyuuga Hinata shook her head in disbelief. "Why are you telling me this? What is wrong with you, Sasuke?" She cast her gaze away from him. "Sakura-chan..." She whispered.
Sasuke placed his own hand upon the one still grasping her obi. "I don't love Sakura." The words were cold, emotionless. Much like the truth of his relationship with the Haruno. "How could I, when I'd already tasted the sweetest love of all?" He found her other hand with his, bringing it to his lips. "Be with me, Hinata-chan. You don't have to be my Lady. Just be my wife."
For a long moment, Hinata considered his words, his stance, his expressions. They were subtle, but readable to those who knew him well. She had once known Sasuke better than anyone, except perhaps Itachi, and it had been a very long time since she'd heard true sincerety in his voice. He was serious, as unlikely as that might seem.
"I promise I will take care of you and your baby, and any other babies you might feel inclined to honor me with," he smiled. A true smile. He looked so vulnerable. So human... "And I'll go straight to Sakura, to tell her the truth. I won't lie to you, or to her, anymore."
"I want to have a normal life. I... I want to try, Hinata-chan. Before you're lost to me forever."
Hinata sighed, seating herself on the bench. She pulled Sasuke down to sit beside her, and a few minutes passed in silence. There was a time when the young Heiress could wish for nothing more than to hear those words spoken to her by Uchiha Sasuke. Even as she had avoided him in the years following the end of their engagement. Even only a few weeks ago, she would have leapt for joy at the words, if he'd said them at the Clan Gathering. But, why didn't he? Probably because he never could stop scheming. And now, wasn't all this part of some elaborate scheme gone wrong? Maybe he thought she hadn't noticed Sakura's anger during the battle, but she had. And she knew why. It only took one look at the ring on the Haruno's finger for her to remember the ring Sasuke had tried to gift to her during the Gathering. It was the same ring, afterall.
"Sasuke-kun," she said in a low voice. "Thank you. Only you could have put my life back into perspective so expertly. The Uchiha waited for her to continue. "I know what to do now, and I'm sorry."
"Sorry?" He repeated. "You can't be serious. You're not going back there. Not after I finally told you the truth..."
"That's just it, Sasuke-kun. It should never have taken this long. Not if you ever truly cared. And now," the Lady stood from the bench. "Now it is too late."
"No, its not too late, Hinata-chan," Sasuke also stood.
"Yes, it is," she answered. "I can't run from my responsibility, nor can I harm an innocent life." She wrapped her arms around him, and felt his body relax, even as a new despair crept over him. He couldn't be with her, and now he knew it. "Thank you for that, Sasuke-kun." She smiled into his neck. "How many times are you going to save my life in twenty-four hours?"
The Lady shook her head. "Before you stopped me, I was wailing and crying and hopeless. I even begged my dead father to tell me what to do. I begged to know what he would have done in my place." She sniffled once more, blinking back tears. "Now I know. It was so obvious, I should never have needed to ask."
"And what exactly is it that you learned, Lady Hyuuga." She was pleased by his use of her title, for it meant he too was coming to terms with reality.
"I learned," She began, "that Hyuuga Hiashi would do his duty, no matter what the cost to his personal life." Finally, she released her hold on him, and they stepped away from one another. "You see, I have no personal life, Uchiha-dono." She used his formal title in recognition of the truth he'd spoken earlier. They were equals now, and in that, they held a special relationship. One that very few in the village would ever be privvy to. "The Hinata-chan you once knew has been utterly replaced by Hyuuga-sama. And this Hyuuga-sama, like all those who came before, will do her duty."
Sasuke raked a hand through raven hair, before shoving them both into his pockets. "Well, you can't blame me for trying," he said, slyly, the smirk reforming on his lips.
"No," she laughed, wiping her face on her sleeve. "I can't blame you for that. But, if I could make a suggestion?"
"Tell Sakura the truth."
"Hn. Why the hell would I do that?" He scoffed.
Now, the Lady grinned happily. "Because if you don't..." She pointed toward the silouette disappearing down the stretch of rooftops. "Yamanaka Ino is going to beat you to it."
"What!" And he was gone, leaving the Lady refreshed and content. For the time being.
"Arigatou, Sasuke-kun. " She placed a hand back upon her belly. "Arigatou..."
End Chaper Twenty-Two