His mission was simple: infiltrate Konoha as Motoko Jin, a traveling Mist ninja, and befriend the shinobi of Konoha and kill his old friends. It was a test Orochimaru gave him. But he never thought he would be in the village where his life was born. Where his life was ruined.
He had let his hair grow a little longer, and wore grey lenses to keep his red eyes unnoticeable. His skin was a little darker, but still pale, and his nose was slightly broken from his training. There was a small scar on the side of his jaw, but it would heal quickly.
As Sasuke walked down the street recalling all the shops, he thought, Nothing's changed, except for the Hokage Mountain. I wonder how everyone looks now. Actually, I couldn't care more or less.
When he was lost in thought, Sasuke accidentally bumped into a girl causing her to fall and drop her grocery bags. He grunted in annoyance as he helped the girl to her feet, and she stuttered, "Gomen…I wasn't paying attention." His eyes widened as he studied her. Shoulder-length midnight hair, pearly eyes, white skin. He knew her, but what was her name? But all he said was, "Be careful next time," and walked away.
Sasuke walked to the Hokage's office to ask to be accepted as an active ninja of Konoha. Tsunade eyed him carefully, and decided to put him to a test. Of course, he passed with ease. Then she had him fight Iruka, who he defeated with little difficulty. Finally, she came to a decision:
"Alright, Jin. But I need to take precautions since these are dangerous times for our village. I'll have a trusted comrade take care of you. You'll also have to live with her of course. Shizune! Is she here yet?"
Then she came in. She wore dark pants, a Chinese-style black top and ninja sandals. Velvet hair draped over her shoulders, and pale eyes gazed at him in recognition. It was the girl he bumped into.
"Hinata, this is Motoko Jin. He's a ninja from the Mist. You'll live with him and take care of him. Is that okay with you?"
Hyuuga Hinata? Hmm. I expected to hear her stuttering again. She looks stronger, but…somehow even more fragile.
"Nice to meet you, Jin-kun," she said politely, bowing at the same time.
"You two are dismissed," Tsunade said.
As they walked to her place, she said, "After I show you around the place, I'm meeting up with all of my friends. Would you like to come?"
"Sure." Sasuke said simply. How come my vocabulary is so limited? Couldn't I say more? I have to make sure people don't recognize me as Uchiha Sasuke.
They walked into her apartment. It wasn't bad. There was a living room and a kitchen. Suddenly Sasuke wondered if they had to sleep…
"There are 2 bedrooms. You can take the one on the right. It's right next to mine. Are you hungry?"
Sasuke nodded. His stomach did growl a little. But he had to ask: "You live alone right? But why do you have 2 bedrooms?"
Hinata smiled and replied, "I finally got permission from Hiashi, head of the clan, to live away from the Hyuuga compound. But on one condition: Neji had to live with me to protect me. But he doesn't live here anymore."
It might have been his imagination, but he saw glimmers of pain in her eyes. She prepared a small snack, which they ate quickly, and they left to meet her friends.
The place was Ichiraku's. Sasuke was kinda surprised to see it looking the same. He heard a familiar voice, "Oi! Hinata! Come on!" It was obviously Naruto. He had grown taller, and possibly louder. They strolled into the ramen shop and saw practically all of the rookie 9. "Hinata, who is this? Your boyfriend?" Sasuke saw Hinata blush deeply, as she replied, "No. I have orders from Tsunade-sama to look after him." Sasuke turned and saw Sakura.
"Jin-kun, this is Naruto-kun and Sakura-chan. They've been dating each other since Naruto-kun got back from 2 years of training."
"Yo! So you're from the Mist? What's it like over there?" Naruto piped in.
Sasuke replied coolly, "Well, it's foggy over there, that much is obvious."
All of a sudden, everyone heard a loud thump. Sasuke whirled around and saw Chouji rubbing his bottom from a fall. He didn't even want to know how he fell.
"Tch. How troublesome. Oi! Chouji! Pay attention to your surroundings and cut down on the food! Jeez, you broke the chair!"
It was Shikamaru, leader of the mission to bring Sasuke back. Shikamaru held out his hand to Sasuke, "Nara Shikamaru, nice to meet you." Sasuke shook it and said, "Motoko Jin."
Sasuke felt a tap on his shoulder and he turned around to see Kiba, Shino…and a gigantic dog, who he guessed was Akamaru.
"Hey, we're Hinata's teammates. I hear you guys are living together now?" Kiba asked.
"Yeah, it sucks, but I understand that the Hokage has to go through such procedures." Sasuke replied.
"Just make sure she doesn't get hurt. She's been in too much pain. Back then, even though it doesn't seem like it, she used to stutter a lot. But then something happened, and she's not the same. She looks stronger, but actually she's even more delicate. So swear you'll protect her."
Sasuke agreed (inside reluctantly), but asked, "Can I ask what happened?"
Shino replied, "She made everyone promise not to say anything. She won't even say anything."
Kiba patted Sasuke's back and said, "Don't worry! Just get to know her better. She's not bad. Actually she's way better than those Sasuke-fangirls."
"Fangirls?" Sasuke pretended to act dumb.
Kiba shuddered. "Yeah. Uchiha Sasuke, last survivor of the Uchiha clan, left the village 2 years ago. He was on the same team as Naruto and Sakura. And he was really popular back then. Girls chased him around, including Sakura and Ino."
"What about Hinata?"
"Nope. She was probably the only one. She had a crush on Naruto for a long time, but last year, she gave up on him. Because of that incident."
By now, Sasuke was quite curious. What could have changed her so much? Is it that bad? But it was late, and Hinata and Sasuke went back home.
That night, he dreamed of Itachi and that terrible night. But strangely, when he couldn't stand the sight, he turned around and saw a dark-haired girl crying with her hands covering her face. She was sitting in a pool of blood, and when he touched her pale moonlight skin, the Sharingan pierced him.
Sasuke jumped up from his sleep. He was covered in sweat. He always dreamed about Itachi, but never had he seen that girl. He smelled something delicious hanging in the air and realized that he was hungry. He got dressed and walked out to see Hinata cooking in the kitchen.
She wore shorts, a T-shirt, and an apron. Her hair was tied back although strands of hair hung down. She noticed his presence, looked up, and smiled. "Are you hungry? Let's eat breakfast."
They sat down at a small table and ate their breakfast: rice, miso soup, fish, and some tea. It was simple yet extremely satisfying. But during the entire time they ate breakfast, Sasuke eyed Hinata carefully. She seemed so innocent, yet he felt she was hiding something.
"Ano, Jin-kun, were you born in the Rain village?"
Sasuke chose his words carefully. "No. I was born somewhere else, but since I traveled a lot, I don't recall where."
"What about your family?"
"We've all gone our separate ways. But what about your family? I'd at least like to know more about the person I'm living with."
Hinata's eyes dimmed and she too chose her words carefully. "My mother is dead, my father was cruel and strict, I had a sister, but the closest person to me as a family was my cousin, Neji."
Sasuke couldn't help but notice the past tense in her voice. "But why are you speaking in past tense?"
Hinata felt tears rise behind her eyes, and she didn't want to talk about it any longer. "Because it was in the past," she replied before getting up and closing herself in her room.