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First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who reviewed! I got the majority of them through private messages o.o ...something about being unable to review the chapter? But I'm so grateful that you guys took the time to message me. It brightened my day :) and continues to whenever I think about it! You guys are truly awesome :D Reviews are cookies to my soul :D
Also, about the chakra system that will occur in this chapter, just a note: as I did my research and based much of the chakra interfuse on actual information, so it might be confusing as to what is real and what isn't. The chakra interfusing it is entirely an invention of my own, so just be aware that the interfuse part isn't true, and the masculine/feminine references! Everything else is, though.
3-31-11 EDIT: Jeebus damn. I meant to upload this chapter last weekend during spring break. But the story edit feature didn't work for over a week. I'M SO GLAD I COULD UPLOAD! Lol.
The Matriarch and Hinata were in Ino's office. Laying sideways on a blanket on the floor, Hinata was biting her lip and slowly counting into the hundreds. The Matriarch was kneeling over Hinata's body, green glow in hand as she carefully sealed one injury after another. She pulled back after five more minutes, kneeling back on her haunches to examine her work.
"Not bad. The medicinal baths have done good work to your skin. Though I must say that the good intentions of the person who attempted to heal you shall remain," the Matriarch said. Hinata lifted her head and looked at her body. There were marks still marring her skin, but they were a light pink color in contrast to the three large, red jagged lines remaining on her hip.
"With habitual usage of the jelly these scars should fade under half a year. You should still cover the scars with bandages to prevent any damage from the sun."
"Yes ma'am. Thank you. I'll be sure to remember."
The Matriarch handed Hinata a paper package of herbs. "This is a month's supply. These herbs should soothe the pain and quicken the healing process. You are allowed to use a hot spring here to take your bath after-hours."
Several hours passed and lunchtime came. Leaving the kitchen with a bowl of rice topped with baked lobster, Hinata was pulled over into the secret headquarters by none other than Temari.
"Hinata, come have lunch with me," Temari said as she kicked a pillow off the sofa and sat. Hinata settled beside her and smiled. She had noticed that Temari often went by herself to eat and felt honored that it was she Temari wanted to spend time with on her rare days of socialization.
"So, Hinata, what is it you like about my brothers?"
A piece of baked lobster stopped halfway to Hinata's mouth. "What?"
"Kankuro and Gaara. What do you like about them?"
Hinata blinked. Putting the lobster into her mouth, she chewed thoughtfully. "Well...I-I don't really know Kankuro-san. I usually get the impression that Kankuro-san dislikes me...but sometimes he randomly smiles at me and I feel a little better." She poked at her rice. "I-I'm also really grateful that day when I was injured by the glass, because he looked out for me then..."
Temari smirked. "Kankuro doesn't dislike you. It's just in his nature to be mean to newcomers. And kids," she added, chuckling. "So what about Gaara? Why do you like him?"
"Because the only time I see you both communicating together is when you're giving him a massage. So I'm wondering how you both established a friendship beyond work," Temari said quickly, hoping she didn't sound too eager.
Blushing somewhat, Hinata bashfully appraised her food and began mixing the rice and lobster together.
"At the Chuunin exams, I remember that he was really, really scary. And he was even scarier that day when I first personally met him."
"He was very mean, at first," Hinata continued. "But that one night...he looked out for me. He protected me from someone dangerous. And he continues to make sure I'm safe and okay..."
"Really? How so?"
Hinata considered telling Temari about how he shared his hotel room with her, but realized how wrong that would sound. "He...bought a hotel room for me when I moved out of my apartment. Sometimes, we would eat dinner together," she explained, trying to make it brief. "A-and he makes sure I am escorted back home. He was really nice about my injuries, and being unable to work for him. He treated me out, instead..."
Hinata nodded. "I admit he is intimidating on the outside. But inside, he is a v-very kind and considerate person. I can see he also cares for others' well-being, a-aside from his remarkable ability to frighten them without even trying." She looked Temari dead in the eye. "I don't understand why others would be scared of him when he means them no harm."
Temari stared at Hinata for a moment. She bit her lips together to keep from laughing and her face turned red. Between poorly disguised snickers, she choked, "Tell me more!"
"I-I find it easy to enjoy h-his company," Hinata asserted, growing defensive when she noticed Temari's amusement. "H-his good intentions must be the reason why he is so admired in the Sand. I hold the same reverence."
"Ah...yes, sorry," Temari said, blotting her eyes out on her sleeve. "Wow. You must know more about my little brother than myself."
Hinata perked up. "It's not hard because you three are actually quite similar!"
"Strong, protective, and a scary first impression. Oh, and all of you share the same smile!"
Then it was Hinata's turn to burst into giggles while Temari sat speechless.
o o o o o o o o o o
Peeking over the paper screen, Hinata spied on Deidara who was ten feet away, busily conducting water maintenance. Suddenly he swiveled around. Hinata squeaked and ducked behind the screen.
"Who's there?" Deidara demanded. Slowly, Hinata held out her hand and waved before poking her head out.
"H-hello, Dei-kun...how are you?" She walked out from behind the screen as Deidara turned back and resumed busying himself with his tools.
"I-I didn't see you at lunch today."
"I didn't eat today, hm." His hand clattered around inside his bucket of tools. Somehow the noise seemed magnified. "So. No more Gaara?"
"N-no...he left for Suna just this morning."
"Hm. I'm glad he's gone."
Hinata looked down at her toes and frowned. "How come you do not like him?"
Deidara hesitated. Then he replied somewhat accusingly, "You're always gone when he's here, and only when he's gone you are here..."
Apparently her friend was still in a grousing mood. She would leave him alone. "Well, I'll be going now...just wanted to drop by. Work hard, Deidara."
"Wait." Hinata turned around to see Deidara considerably happier looking. He gestured to her and she went and crouched beside him.
"How've you been? I missed you the past couple of days, hm."
"I've been good," she said.
"Your injuries are okay?"
"Yes, I have medicine to use. So I just need to be careful."
"Good. You remember what I told you last night?"
"Um...oh! Your birthday party! Where will it be?"
"Here. I've reserved the best hot tubs and ordered tons of food. Promise me you'll come, hm?"
"I promise. Is there anything you would like as a gift?"
"Hinata-chan!" Both turned to look up at the third-floor balcony. Ino was waving her arm rigorously. "The Matriarch wants to see you!"
o o o o o o o o o o
"I have decided. That you are ready. To formally begin your extensive training for masseur."
A thin hand gestured to a wrapped bundle of clothes on the table.
Hinata gasped, then clapped her hands with glee. She laughed, a pleasant sound that tinkled throughout the room. The Matriarch smiled and sat down at her desk.
"I've noticed that you have been working very hard, despite your constant injuries. And developing good relationships, in the meantime. There is no better time to prepare for your debut."
Hinata's laughter faded and a new thought entered her mind.
"What about Sakura-san?"
The Matriarch scoffed. "Oh, her? She may have been a good masseur, but she can speak for herself. I have set a weekly allowance for her to surpass. Now, go help Shikamaru make blend. Your training will begin tomorrow in the evening."
That night, Hinata decided to withdraw the hotel room, insisting to the clerk that the month's pay be put on her account and not the Kazekage's. It took her only five minutes to pack her meager supply of clothing and toiletries. Standing in the entrance of the hotel room, her white eyes scanned the area and she smiled, remembering the hours she and Gaara had spent practicing massage. She also recalled the way Gaara would occupy the desk in the corner, leaning back way too far in the chair by supporting himself with a pillar of his sand. At the thought, she looked towards the desk and cocked her head.
A white piece of paper was lying on its surface. It appeared to have writing on it. Walking over to the table, she picked up the paper. It was an envelope, with an address to Suna penned on the back. The envelope contained a paper scribbled with random questions. "Gaara" was signed at the bottom of the paper, along with a bad sketch that implied a person with a gourd. Hinata grinned openly and held the envelope to her chest. She believed he wrote the letter during the times he was bored of his work. She turned it over to look at the address once more. She would write the reply letter tonight.
Hinata stood in front of the glass doors of the hotel, closing her eyes to smell the fresh night air of spring. The days were growing longer and the night sky was not quite dark enough for streetlights. She pulled her coat around her shoulders and headed down the steps. She stopped. Against a faraway rooftop, a silhouette stood pin-straight, painted black against the fading blue backdrop of the western portion of sky. She couldn't tell which direction the person was facing, but she could tell that the person was not dressed in ninja attire.
She shrugged her shoulders and turned away from the silhouette, her thoughts focused on renting out an apartment complex that she had had her eye on for a while. However, as she hurried away she couldn't shake the eerie feeling that the silhouette might be watching her.
o o o o o o o o o o
The next evening, Hinata met the Matriarch in her office, just as the sun was setting and casting the large room in tints of golden pink. The Matriarch went straight to business.
"In addition to your becoming masseur and advertising your special service, I will specifically teach you myself: the art of chakra-interfusing.
"As you know, our bodies hold seven main chakra centers, all of them a different color of the rainbow. Each of these chakras have their own intelligence and therefore is connected to our soul, health and belief system on a physical, mental, spiritual and emotional level."
Hinata activated her Byakugan, enabling her to see the chakra system of herself. She noticed certain areas of her body were concentrated in chakra. "I can see it," she breathed. "The seven main chakras. It's along my spinal cord..."
The Matriarch nodded. "If there is any pollution or blockage that causes a chakra imbalance or if a chakra center is out of sync with the others, it probably will effect its neighboring chakra. It is usually felt physically, intellectually, emotionally or mentally. To balance a chakra on any of those levels, you treat that specific chakra with the color it is designated with.
"Or," she said, an intelligent sparkle appearing in her eye, "you use chakra interfusion."
"Chakra interfusion is the act of injecting your own chakra into another person's chakra system. Chakra is our life force and to combine the life forces of two people together is a pleasurable experience since we are naturally social beings. It is even more enjoyable when you use your chakra to heal and nurture the other person's chakra. It doesn't seem like much but according to the theory of life energies two chakras that bind together will produce a nice sensation when the users switch chakras. It is like a complete body-healing using both of your chakras. If your chakra bounds well with theirs, then there's the ability to even exchange chakra with each other. Since that is the case, chakra interfuse is used sparingly and considered a somewhat intimate matter since you are almost literally blending your two souls together. By doing this, you are directly communicating with that person on all their levels.
"The most basic treatment of this interfuse is physical. Next is emotional, then mental, then spiritual. Take for example, the heart chakra. On your most basic level you would be able to improve blood circulation in the body. Intermediately, you will promote their complex feelings such as love, compassion, well-being and rejection. Advance the technique, and promote passion in their minds. Master the technique and you may influence their beliefs, including the other three levels. They may find you very agreeable especially if you have performed an enjoyable interfuse.
"Take in mind, however, that not all interfuses are successful. Such as two people who hate each other. Their interfusion would be agonizing. Or if one of the participants in an interfuse is abnormally negative, the interfusion would be grating.
"Also note that masculinity and femininity affect the 'feel' of a chakra. For example, a male's chakra—a masculine one, would feel somewhat...carbonated. It will feel textured. It is usually hot or cold. A woman's chakra is much different. Just as a male's immune system is sturdy while a female's immunity is extremely sensitive, her chakra will be the same. It will absorb some of the qualities of the chakra it is interfusing with, but generally it will feel smooth and flowing like water. It differs between warm and cool but can even be hot or cold like a man's; hardly any woman's chakra is lukewarm. A lukewarm chakra has no results."
Hinata raised her hand. "Ma'am, I understand that combining chakra can be quite an intimate process since it deals with our emotions and beliefs...but I do not quite understand why i-it's so heavily restricted."
"Activate your Byakugan."
Hinata complied. She looked down at her chakra system.
"Now, since you observed that your centers are aligned against your spinal cord, note their locations."
There was a center on the crown of her head, one on her brow, then her throat, heart, solar plexus, and spleen. Her heart lurched at the last one.
"Y-you can't mean—"
"When you perform an interfuse, you must treat all seven chakra centers at once to prevent a potentially dangerous imbalance."
"This is your customer's choice to make, not your own. It rests with whether they are considerate of your feelings or not. You should steel yourself against these intimate matters anyway. Though I highly despise the idea, I suggest you have Sakura train you in mastering the technique. There is a reason she attracted so many customers before, close or not." The Matriarch grabbed her gold cone from the wall.
"Sakura, meet Hinata in the masseur's lounge. Remember our conversation and be prepared to teach her."
The woman turned to Hinata. "Get going."
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Hinata entered the room and made eye contact with Sakura. Aside from the sounds of tinkling water, awkward silence hung between them. Taking a deep breath, Hinata forced herself into her professional mode. Be affected by nothing seen or heard. Grow numb to the environment.
Sakura scoffed, looking at Hinata with disdain. "You are already wrong. By forcing yourself to be overly apathetic, you turn your chakra lukewarm and it won't affect the medium. Also, there is a reason why only your closest friends request this service; your chakras would interfuse much easier since they are familiar with each other. They also trust you are trained enough to be neutral to their physical bodies. You must learn to control the influence of the physical over your actions. Get over here."
As Sakura turned away she rolled her eyes. Hinata sensed her agitation; no doubt that training one's competitor would be a very delicate situation. Sakura walked over to the massage table with Hinata following behind. Putting her hands together, Sakura summoned a shadow clone of herself on the table.
"Now. When you use chakra on the outside of the body, you can heal injuries such as cuts and bruises which lie on the surface of the skin. However, in order to get at the internal structures the chakra must go under the skin. And to do that, you must lacerate it."
Sakura held out a glowing blue hand and held it over the wrist of her clone. The blue sharpened into a point. Sakura slowly lowered her hand. The clone gave out an anguished cry and disappeared in a puff of smoke.
"And as you can see," she said, "getting cut by blue chakra is painful, and it doesn't diffuse through the body. You have to cut through their skin, but it will hurt the person. So how do you enter the chakra system of the person you are treating?"
"Y-you transfer your chakra through a-a body opening," Hinata answered quietly. She looked at the table while Sakura appraised her.
"Hm. Not as foolish as you act."
Hinata jerked her head up. Before she could say anything, Sakura had already summoned another clone.
"There is also another way you can insert your chakra. With blue chakra you might enter their chakra system via the mouth, nose or ears. But with medical training, you could create green chakra. And green chakra diffuses into the tissues, enabling the healer to go beneath the skin without cutting it open."
Smiling contentedly to herself, Sakura held up her hand and her fingertips began to glow green. She put her fingers to her clone and the chakra was absorbed by the skin.
"When you're performing the interfuse, you must make sure they aren't wearing garments as clothing will obviously interfere with the chakra connection that enables you to control it. And the best method as of late is to put your fingers where the chakra center is located. Including the crotch," Sakura said, sneering at the nervous look on Hinata's face. "Get over it, you're gonna have to deal with it someday."
"Now then," she said, clapping her hands together. "Since you got the point, I guess I won't need to waste my time anymore." She turned to leave.
"W-wait! I-I don't have green chakra...A-aren't I supposed to learn how to insert the blue chakra safely?"
Sakura turned and faced Hinata. "That's for you to teach yourself," she replied coolly. "Oh, and one more thing? What the Matriarch forgot to mention is that when a person is effected physically by the interfuse, it includes more than just...health and circulation," she said slowly, watching Hinata's expression.
Hinata gulped. With that, Sakura left.
Hinata sighed, summoned a clone and placed her hand on the clone's forehead. Closing her eyes, she recalled the exclusive Hyuga ninja trainings she had to endure as a child; it was all about focusing chakra to specific areas of the body and knowing how to damage one's chakra circulation by aiming at certain points.
If there was a technique to attack someone's chakra system then is it possible a reverse method exists? she thought. She would try and delve deeper into her bloodline's history for some assistance.
Holding her hand up, she focused chakra to her fingertips and, rather than sharpening the chakra into a point she allowed it to spread into a large bubbly vapor around her hand. She held her hand over the clone's nose and watched as the blue smoke of chakra was inhaled by her clone, settling in the throat. Hinata concentrated very hard, never blinking or looking away from the cloud of chakra inside the clone's system. Pressing her fingers very lightly to the clone's neck, she moved the cloud to her forehead, the first of the chakra systems.
Suddenly, the clone gasped, choked and disappeared in a puff of smoke. Hinata cried out in surprise. She summoned another clone, and this time held her hand above the mouth. Again, she attempted to guide the chakra down the trachea and esophagus towards the heart, but the clone coughed, choked and exploded once more.
Apparently inhaling the chakra was not good for the host as it was virtually blood in the form of blue plasma. Hinata summoned another clone and attempted to cut through its skin after numbing the target area with chakra, but the clone cried out and disappeared.
Hinata frowned. She thought of Sakura, and the Matriarch's high opinion of her skill. She felt the old feeling of surrender tug at her heart once more as she began to realize it was a possibility that no matter what she did, she might not be as good as Sakura. She might never find out how to safely insert chakra, wouldn't ever nurture someone's life energy with her own, never really live up to the Yuuto's masseur position...
Hinata opened her eyes.
I have the Byakugan. I'll make my own style. I'll find a way and I'll keep practicing nonstop until I surpass her. I may be a cripple compared to her, but I am not blinded like she is. I see paths that she cannot see...I will surpass her.
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Nervously appraising the thin envelope in her hand, Hinata pressed the doorbell to the Hyuga manor and listened as a screen slid open and a sandalled pair of feet approached the door. The hinges creaked as the door was hoisted open and Hinata found herself looking into the face of her father, who smiled. He was happy to see her.
"Hinata! It has been a long time. Come in!"
Inside, Hinata bowed to her father and held up the envelope.
"What's this?" he asked.
"T-this is my most recent paycheck, Father...I have officially been promoted to the masseur position, and I felt it right to give you the first paycheck I received on the job."
Hiashi smiled and took the envelope. "It looks like you have been working hard. So what else brings you here?"
"I-I was wondering if you could teach me about...well, about the technical aspects of the Hyuga fighting style. L-like the techniques we use to affect the chakra systems of a-another person."
"You don't mean Jyuuken? You already know how to wield it. Why do you need to learn any more about that?"
"Not that. I need to know the flexibility of its functioning." Hinata looked up at her father, her eyes unmoving and serious. "Please."
Hiashi watched her suspiciously for a moment, then turned. "Follow me," he called.
Later on, Hiashi stood by the door as Hinata pulled on her shoes. Her bookbag was heavy with the remaining belongings she had taken from her room.
Hinata lifted her chin. "I'm moving out, Father. So...you can use my room for s-storage or something useful..."
"Well", he said gruffly. He cleared his throat and shifted. "Good luck, I suppose."
Looking steadily at him, Hinata bowed. "Good bye. Thank you for teaching me everything today. It really helped. I hope you and the rest of the family stay safe. I'll drop by once in a while." She turned away and disappeared quickly beyond the pathway.
As she was unpacking her bag back at the apartment, a black box fell out of the pocket. She picked it up and looked at it curiously; she didn't recall putting the box into her bag. Opening the box, it contained the lovely black comb that the Raikage had given her as an apology gift. She watched it for a moment and looked at the scarred skin of her arms. Heading over to a mirror, she pulled her hair up into a bun, picked the comb out of the box and inserted it at the base of her bun. Her eyes stared at the reflection in the mirror, then closed before she let out a sigh. She felt free. Free from her family and some of the repression that she had been feeling at the bathhouse.
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The hours elongated into days, the days into weeks, soon becoming one month, nearing to two. Because Hinata was now promoted to the masseur position, she was allowed to spend her days practicing her chakra infusion. At work she found herself giving massages to old teachers and many friends, including frequent customers she had befriended. Even Tsunade had stopped by to receive a massage and see her progress. In the evenings after she was escorted to her new home by Deidara, she would soak in a bath with the herbs the Matriarch had given her and constantly find her thoughts wrapping around Gaara. Early on the following mornings, she would hike to the hill with the pond to check on the lotus he had created for her. And every two weeks, a reply letter would return from Suna. They were brief and direct, but Hinata didn't mind. Judging from them she would realize Gaara was a man of very few words who spoke with a purpose.
"Happy birthday, Deidara!"
Hinata grinned, then blushed and looked away. "I-I'm sorry, I didn't get you a birthday gift...I-I didn't know what you would like and didn't want to get you anything you wouldn't use, I'm sorry—"
"It's fine, it's fine, hm! Your gift to me is that you came!"
She began to smile, but cried out as Deidara slung his arm around her.
"Now let's get to the party!"
The party was to start in the afternoon and last all night long, held in the public hot springs of the bathhouse. Tables were set up and were groaning under piles of food and alcohol. All of the employees were there, soaking in the hot springs and enjoying the condiments. Deidara took one look at the sake and groaned.
"It will take forever for me to get drunk on these," he groused.
Eventually, most of the workers borderline or full-on drunk. Kankuro, Deidara and Kiba were still trying to drink their way to oblivion while in contrast, Rock Lee lay unconscious and chained in the corner. The only sober people were Hinata, Temari, Shino and Chouji; Chouji was unable to get drunk mainly due to his large size and the rest just didn't like alcohol.
Hinata was entertained by the many funny drunken antics of her friends but found her energy drained after tending to the unending foolish acts and messes. Checking a clock, she saw that it was half past eight. The party had been going for almost four hours so far.
Hinata pulled Temari aside and told her she would take a bath since she needed a break.
"Sure," Temari replied. "Oh, and be sure to get back quick, I have a surprise for you at nine."
Temari just gave Hinata a seemingly suspicious smirk and winked.
"Don't take too long!"
o o o o o o o o o o
Hinata was crouched behind the bamboo screen, wiping her tears and trying in vain to keep her tremors at bay. Bathwater dripped from her towel into a puddle on the floor. She did not bother to brush the long hair plastered to her face, which was wet with water and tears.
How could he have found her? They had been so close, sending small but meaningful exchanges despite the distance that separated them constantly. But still, how could he have done his actions? Now she was not sure she ever wanted to see him again, let alone be his friend.
She wrapped her arms around herself and allowed herself to shiver. It was a failed attempt to try and force herself to forget.
She was taking the bath using the herbs the Matriarch had given her. Since it was still early into the night Hinata took care to choose a locked private spring that would be far away from the party. The herbs neutralized the fizzy compound in the fortified water so the spring was translucent, clearly revealing her slowly healing body from beneath the surface. Aside from making her skin smell like a plant, the herbs really did help in fading the scars but turned it quite sensitive after the baths. Her hair was clipped high above her head and her towel, clothes and undergarments lay by the side of the spring. She closed her eyes and relaxed into the water.
Her head jerked up when she heard the lock being tampered with.
"E-excuse me, this spring is occupied," Hinata called, tensing as she heard the screen door slide open. She expected the shadow behind the screen to apologize and exit, but to her horror the door slid shut once more and she saw his brightly colored hair before he stepped out from behind the screen.
Yelping with shock, Hinata splashed towards her towel to cover herself.
"W-what are you d-doing here! P-P-Please leave!"
His cheeks were slightly tinged with pink but his eyes were steady. He stood there unmoving, his foam-colored eyes calmly watching Hinata as she splashed for cover. Slowly, he slid out of his robes and shirt and lowered himself into the spring.
Hinata panicked, trying as hard as she could to wrap the towel around herself in the water while trying to swim away from him, who was pursuing her with a look in his eye that sparked her fear.
"W-what are you doing?" She protested. "I-I'm bathing, I—"
His arm shot out against the spring-side so that Hinata was trapped.
She glanced at his arm and back to his face. "P-please, t-this is v-very—"
"Don't worry, Hinata. Nothing is going to happen. I just..."
Slowly but deliberately, he leaned his face closer to Hinata's. She cringed and turned away.
"No," she whispered.
"Just once," he murmured.
"No," she repeated, her voice somewhat sharper.
There was a pause. Then suddenly Hinata bolted out of the water, headed for the exit. He was faster. He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her back into the water and against his chest. He pressed his lips to her neck. Hinata squealed with terror and tried to fight her way out of his grip. Her skin instantly irritated and stung from the contact. Her hair came loose as she went underwater and elbowed him as hard as she could, pushing herself away from his arms. It was lucky for her that he was less athletic then Kankuro, who was the pinnacle against her strength. She resurfaced, gasping for air as she coughed the bathwater out of her mouth. She clambered out of the spring, clutching the soaked towel to her body and slipping on the puddles that formed under her feet.
"Hinata! Wait!" came his frantic cry.
Hinata left everything she had by the spring, taking only the soaked towel with her as she solely concentrated on running away from him as fast as possible. She bolted out of the bathing room and had only turned a right when a pair of people blocked her path. She skidded to a stop to prevent bowling them over, but the puddles beneath her feet offered no friction. She lost her balance and flipped backwards, landing on her shoulders. The sensitive scars on her shoulders reopened and began to bleed. Ignoring the pain, Hinata glanced up, sucking in her breath.
The pair gaped at her with their eyes wide and mouths slightly opened, completely shocked. A flush overtook Hinata's entire body and she felt her lower lip tremble. Tears spilled out of her eyes as she shakily sat up, grimacing from her fresh sores. She recognized that certain odd look in his eye; she knew she had seen it somewhere before, it was so familiar yet so displaced from her memory. At the present moment it only served to make her feel weak.
Hinata gasped, swiveling her head around towards the voice and unintentionally whipping water at the arrivals with her wet hair. Rapid footfalls were approaching quickly along with the sound of water splashing to the floor. She bolted to her feet, eyes wide with terror.
Spinning around, she sprinted into the opposite direction away from them, clutching the towel to herself as her sobs began to echo throughout the hallway.
Her pursuer ran into the hall, tracking water onto the wooden floor. He looked after the retreating figure of Hinata and began to chase after her.
"Hinata!" he yelled. A rope of sand lashed around his wrist and he was roughly yanked back. The sand wrapped around his upper body and Deidara found himself face-to-face with the enraged faces of Temari and Gaara.
So while I was writing this chapter I suddenly started writing some GaaHina love scenes on the side while working through the snags. Yay, GaaHina love coming up! It's just the problem of WHEN! :D