Shallow as the Ocean
Notes: I'm baaaacccck!~ That's right folks, I've finally updated this without waiting an entire year! I feel that I deserve a pat on the back for this one...-is knocked off the stage with rotten fruit- O-kay! I get it! It's been a few months since I last updated this; you have to admit though, I'm getting better. Right? ...Readers?
P.S: Has anyone else watched the Kakashi Gaiden episodes? I'm talking subs for the Japanese episodes. Kick-ass!
P.S.S: I made a mistake in the last chapter. I said Konohagakure was at war with Kusagakure at the time; but I went back and re-read the manga/watched the Kakashi Gaiden episodes and realized it was actually Iwagakure- which had invaded Kusagakure- Konoha was fighting against. Sorry for the mistake! I've fixed the info in this chapter and will go back and edit it in chapter two.
Chapter Two: Conversations with the Dead
It took a lot of convincing, loud demands from Kiba, questions from Shino, and uncomfortable stares from Kakashi; but eventually Hiashi's office was cleared save for the Head of the Hyuuga clan and the woman claiming to be his sixteen- year old daughter. Hiashi was too anxious to sit, yet he made up for the uncharacteristic discomfort by standing. Hands clasped firmly behind his back, the Hyuuga clan glanced at the young woman from the corner of his eye.
Rather, she wasn't young in the traditional sense. Her hair had grown even longer, pulled up in a bun secured by sebon yet still enough for trendals to fall along the middle of the young woman's back. The way she sat, back straight and shoulders squared. This wasn't the false and trembling bravado often displayed before the Hyuuga council and himself on numerous occasions. This was genuine, if quiet, confidence.
Feeling he was composed enough to carry on a conversation with this woman, Hiashi turned. The one claiming to be his daughter, slowly looked up. Their gaze connected for a minute and she didn't cower or look away. Certainly not the reaction his timid daughter would have normally given.
"Start from the beginning."
With a nod, Hinata gladly told her father all she dared to reveal.
"I'm not buying it." Kiba grumbled, arms crossed over his chest while he, Shino, and Kakashi stood several feet away from Hiashi's office.
"I admit I'm rather suspicious of her claims as well." Shino admitted, then shot Kakashi a glance behind his glasses. Kakashi hadn't said a word since the thirty-something woman walked into Hiashi's office and demanded a private audience with the Hyuuga Head. That was over thirty minute ago.
Before Shino could say anything, Kiba spoke first.
Still distracted, Kakashi turned his head, only to blink his uncovered eye as Kiba roughly reached over and grasped his Jounin vest.
"You said Hinata disappeared,then this chick walks in claiming to be her. Now tell us the truth! What did you do to Hinata-chan?!"
"Kiba, stop yelling." Shino said as he noticed members from the Hyuuga clan opening their doors or turning down the hallway to see what all the fuss was about.
"I don't know." Kakashi responded calmly, moving to pry Kiba off his jacket.
"That's not good enough! I'm going to ask you again, where is Hinata?"
'Where am I?' Hinata wondered to herself. The village in front of her looked like home; but for all the similarities there were numerous differences. The dead man standing right in front of her was the current development which was troubling Hinata.
'Did he just say we're at war with Iwagakure?' the young woman thought. The Hyuuga heiress vaguely recalled Iruka-sensei lecturing his students about the Kusagakure-Iwagakure invasion, also known as the Third Great Shinobi War. Hinata abruptly snapped to attention when Minato leaned over and waved a hand in front of her face.
"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked for a third time.
Hinata swallowed, honestly unsure as what to say. Saying "I think I've been thrown back in time", wasn't going to cut it. No one would believe her. Hinata didn't even believe it. Yet all she had seen: a man supposedly dead before her time, a war which started and ended years ago was unfolding around her and a boy claiming to be Hatake Kakashi, told her otherwise. It was all so confusing, Hinata felt lightheaded and unstable standing on her own two feet.
"I...think I need to sit down." Hinata muttered distantly, just before her legs gave way.
Minato was quick to catch her, supporting Hinata by her elbows.
"You don't look well. I would take you to the hospital myself, but I'm already late..." he suddenly stopped talking.
Owlishly blinking pale eyes, Hinata turned her head to follow Minato's line of sight, "What's wrong?"
Minato didn't answer, instead Hinata heard a loud gust of wind and rustling of leaves.
"Damn..." the man holding her up cursed softly. Hinata winced as his grip tightened on her arm, pressing light bruises.
"We missed the departure. My team is not going to be happy about this."
"Well? Can you see them?" Rin asked below.
Dark eyes behind orange goggles squinted against the blaze of a setting sun. He strained to see, damning his useless eyes all the while; if only he had the Sharingan activated by now he could have seen the quickened pace of shinobi on the move.
Then Obito saw a blur of motion, the Medic team exiting the North-East gates of the village. Obito watched with a sour expression as the guards closed then sealed the gates after the last Medic nin left. Rin cringed as the Uchiha in the trees above cursed loudly.
"We're too late! They're leaving without us!" Obito shouted, hanging off one branch before climbing the rest of the way down. He landed on both feet with a loud 'thud'. Brushing leaves off his shoulder, Obito suddenly ducked his head as something hit him. That 'something' was Kakashi's gloved fist.
"Owww! Why did you do that?" he sulked, rubbing the knot forming at the back of his head.
"You're too loud. Rule number 4: Shinobi must remain silent, stealthy, and discreet." Kakashi remarked.
The Uchiha rolled his eyes, his mouth silently mimicking Kakashi's every word. Obviously, he had received this lecture from his teammate before, several times in fact. Despite herself, Rin giggled at Obito's antics.
Obito turned to take a swing at his teammate, only to miss as Kakashi ducked. Keeping himself from tripping, Obito righted himself and caught a glance at two people approaching him and his team.
"Oi! Sensei!" the boy yelled, waving to Minato.
At first, Kakashi didn't pay any attention to their approaching team leader; he only turned to look when Rin spoke.
"Her again? What's she doing with Minato-sensei?"
Kakashi's grey gaze connected with the Hyuuga's pale eyes. Seeing she had been spotted, Kakashi watched as she walked a fraction closer to Minato-sensei.
"Hey, it's you!" Obito said, pointing at the Hyuuga girl.
"Um, hello. Again." she muttered, looking away from Kakashi.
"You four have met before?" Minato questioned.
"Sort of. She was talking to Kakashi the whole time though." Obito remarked, hands folded behind his head. Then, as if he was just now thinking to ask, Obito looked over to his silent teammate.
"What were you guys talking about anyway?"
"None of your business," was Kakashi's curt reply.
Whether he was reading too much into Kakashi's briskness or just wanted to rib his teammate some more, a grin spread wide on Obito's face.
"Oh, so she's one of those girls. Makes sense now. Did you get another love letter?"
"Aw, come on! Don't be a poor sport Kakashi, I want to read it!" Obito said walking towards his teammate.
"Obito, enough already." Rin said, extending her right arm to catch the boy in the gut, keeping her teammates separated only a few feet apart.
Confused as to what was going on, Hinata glanced up at Minato, who gave her a sheepish smile in return.
"Kakashi has girl troubles sometimes. Namely, a bunch of girls following him around and professing their undying love for him."
"Oh." Hinata said softly, realization dawning on her. With that in mind, Hinata looked on as the team of thirteen year-olds bickered, or rather Kakashi and Obito fought, Rin was trying to mediate.
'That sounds a lot like the problems Uchiha Sasuke went through, before he left.' Hinata thought with a frown. She for one couldn't see the attraction other girls her age had to boys who were obviously uptight and emotionally unavailable; if not downright rude.
In a weird sort of way, thinking of the defected Uchiha brought Hinata back around to her current predicament. She didn't need to be here. Something was obviously wrong with this Konohagakure, this wasn't her home or at least not how Hinata remembered leaving it. She need answers.
If the Third Hokage really was the one currently in charge, Hinata knew she could go to him and explain what happened. Maybe the old man would know how to fix this mess.
"Minato-san?" Hinata asked, briefly drawing the older man's attention from his team. Hinata felt a bit uncomfortable looking him in the eye, those bright blue eyes were so familiar.
"Um...do you think it's possible if I could speak with the Hokage?"
"Why would you want to talk to the Hokage?" Obito suddenly interrupted, obviously he had gotten bored with Kakashi, his attention back to his sensei and the Hyuuga.
"I...um...I have something important to tell him." Hinata mumbled, quickly losing nerve as all eyes centered on her.
"Then you should report to the head of the Hyuuga clan. Right?" Obito speculated. He assumed the Hyuuga clan operated like the Uchiha in that it had a strict chain of command. If information needed to reach the Hokage from a member of any clan, it started with the clan head then moved up the chain.
"Or you could relay the message to him through me." Minato suggested. "I've got to visit the Third's office tonight anyway, in order to get my team reassigned."
"I..." Hinata started, her gaze looking at the achingly familiar Kage she never had a chance to know, save for his name and past deeds. Then pale lavender eyes looked to Kakashi. In her Konohagakure, he was much older, Team Seven then Team Eight's sensei. Not this boy.
Even though she was anxious to the point of being ill, Hinata attempted to compose herself. Hands forced into the pockets of her jacket, not noticing the hole torn in her right sleeve; Hinata steeled her nerve.
"N-no. I need to go by myself. I need to speak with Hokage-sama... alone."
Hinata would have given almost anything to read minds. Just for a moment, she wanted a peek at the inner workings of the mind of Hyuuga Hiashi. Although years of experience afforded Hinata an improved talent of reading faces, habitual tics, and eye movement; her father was still as unreadable to the young woman as ever.
At some point during their discussion, Hiashi found his way back to his desk chair. Hands folding in front of chin, Hiashi observed his daughter as if she were a stranger.
'Well, in a sense I guess I am. Years have gone by for me, but nothing has changed here.' Hinata admitted to herself.
"If what you have said is true..." Hiashi said suddenly, snapping Hinata out of her thoughts.
"After your fall at the training grounds, you woke up in Konohagakure, while we were fighting the Third Great Shinobi War."
"Yes, Outo-san." Hinata replied with a brisk nod.
"And you...stayed and grew up there."
"Yes." Hinata repeated, her voice quieter than her first affirmation.
"Now you've returned, only older. Yet you, or rather the you I and your teammates know, is where?"
The only outward sign of Hinata's distress was the momentary lapse in her posture; which was easily corrected.
"I don't know, Outo-san."
The door remained closed long after Shino saw himself and Kiba out of the Hyuuga compound. Kakashi for one was grateful for the silence. It gave him a chance to think. Closing his eye, Kakashi could clearly see the ropes snap, the start of Hinata's decent. His mind had raced to find something he could use to save Hinata from a deadly fall. Of all the jutsu he knew, only one stood out. So, he acted. He had pulled out and launched three kunai. One projected ahead of Hinata's fall so he could catch her. Another thrown halfway down the tree to slow their fall. The last one hit the ground, his final mark.
Kakashi remembered running down the side of the tree, his arms out after completing the seal. He hit the first marker, effortlessly catching Hinata. The second marker was tricky, since Kakashi had to shift his and Hinata's combined weight. Kakashi recalled touching the mark with the heel of his right sandal, barely yet not a miss. The ground mark was hit too, he remembered getting up with the kunai in his hand.
What went wrong then? Many things, Kakashi admitted to himself bitterly. Any little thing could have thrown off the jutsu. It was dangerous and had only ever been perfected by one man, the same one who had invented the jutsu in the first place. Even after receiving Obito's Sharingan, Kakashi never could copy Minato's jutsu perfectly.
The seal was easy to copy, but there were so many different factors at work when it came to the Fourth's signature technique. And even if the execution had been flawless, Kakashi knew the jutsu was meant to only transport one person at such blinding speed. Two people? No, impossible. Hinata's resulting disappearance was proof of that.
In hindsight, Kakashi knew of the critical error he made. He could have used many other jutsus. Why that one? Why did he think of taking such a risk with a such a dangerous and unfamiliar technique?
The door to Hiashi's office finally opened. Looking up, Kakashi saw the Hyuuga head emerge. The stern-looking older man motioned for Kakashi to come back inside. Expecting to see Hinata, or the woman who claimed to be her, still sitting inside; Kakashi was surprsied to see the office empty save for himself and Hiashi.
As if expecting the question, Hiashi stood in front of the Copy Cat ninja, hands hidden inside the long sleeves of his robe.
"Hinata was not feeling well. She went to bed."
"So, you have confirmed she is Hinata."
Hiashi nodded, "Yes. She explained everything to me. It's..." Hiashi paused as if searching for the words.
"Difficult to believe everything she said." Hiashi finaly said.
"You trust her though." Kakashi noticed.
"I have no choice, but to trust her. Besides, I know my own daughter, Kakashi-san. She can't lie to me."
Kakashi noted the cutting look Hiashi was giving him. What had gone on in this room while he was outside?
"I'll give you one week."
The visible grey eye widened, "One week for what?"
Hiashi frowned, "A week to fix this mess you've created. While I've been assured my daughter was unharmed by her...adventure. I still would like her back home, the way she was, the same age and same person."
"After one week, I will have to report this incident to Danzo-sama."
The way he spoke of their new leader, Kakashi had a feeling Hiashi didn't trust Danzo. To test his theory, Kakashi remarked, "He won't be happy, knowing we waited so long to tell him."
Hiashi's gaze was cold, "What happens to a member of the Hyuuga clan, while they are inside the walls of Konoha, is my business; not Danzo-sama's. I trust you more than I trust him to resolve it. Though not by much."
It wasn't until Minato and his team started accompaning her to the Hokage Tower, did Hinata realize talking with the Third was a bad idea. In her version of Konohagakure, the Third was dead as well. Too late to turn back now, Hinata knew she was a burden on Minato-san and his team already and would hate to tell them she'd change her mind. Though she hadn't asked them to come along, Minato still seemed to be under the impression she was not feeling well.
Rin and Obito were glad to go along. Kakashi on the other hand...
Hinata tried to sneak a secret glance around Minato-san, looking to the short teenage boy with white hair sticking up all over the place. He hadn't spoken much. Despite Kakashi's initial rudeness, Hinata hoped he'd say...something.
So far, he was the only person she knew in this place. Not a very comforting thought, since Kakashi had been rather cold and rude to her. All things considered Kakashi's teammates were much more agreeable and easy-going. Obito especialy liked to tell embrassing stories about Kakashi; which really weren't all that humliating since most of the time Rin would make corrections mid-story. In every tale it was Obito, not Kakashi, who wound up looking like a fool.
Hinata bit back a gasp as Kakashi suddenly looked at her in turn. Whipping her head around, Hinata tried to keep her gaze on the sidewalk ahead of them.
"We're sorry, but the Hokage has gone home for the evening." one of the guards stated.
" Are you sure? There's still a light on in his office." Obito remarked, only to be shh'ed by his female teammate.
The Chunnin narrowed his gaze at the impertiant boy, then looked to Minato.
"State your business and we'll send a message to Hokage-sama to get back with you when he's first avalible."
"I need a reassignment for my team. We missed joining the first wave of reinforcements."
The Chunnin nodded, "Very well. Is that all?"
"Um...me, sir." Hinata said quietly, yet tempoarily lost her nerve as stern eyes turned to her.
"Yes? What does someone in the Hyuuga clan want with the Third? You should be reporting to your clan head."
"Told you...oww Rin!" Obito exclaimed, rubbing his sore middle where the girl elbowed him.
"I...would like to speak with the Sandaime-sama." Hinata said simply.
The Chunnin guard glared, "I'm aware of that. What do you wish to speak with him about?"
'Something isn't right with this girl.' Kakashi observed as the Hyuuga stammered and attempted to talk circles around the two Chunnin guarding the enterance to the Hokage tower.
Needless to say, she was unsucessful. Minato-sensei had to gently steer the girl away as one of the guards threatened to report her to the Hyuuga head for interfering with their duties. Kakashi for one thought it was a bit much to report someone for wasiting time or being annoying; but then again there was something strange about her.
"I really need to speak with him though!" Hinata protested, without a stutter for a change.
"It's alright. You can try again tomorrow, I'm sure the Hokage will have a canceled apointment. Why don't we take you back to the Hyuuga district?" Minato offered. Kakashi noted that it was times like this, Minato-sensei was too nice for his own good.
Even in the weak light of the street lights; it was obvious by the troubled look on her face the girl didn't want to go to the Hyuuga district.
"N-no. I can't go there. Not yet."
"Why not?" Rin asked.
"I...it's hard to explain."
This was a waste of his time. Kakashi wanted to go home already. He missed out on the mission because their sensei was late, talking with her of all people. Still, he refrained from saying anything. All the better for Kakashi to quietly slip away from the group as they tried to coax the Hyuuga into telling them why she couldn't go home.
Yellow duck slippers squeaked across the newly waxed kitchen floor. Pacing, green eyes narrowed as the young red-headed woman stared at the kitchen timer. With each glare, the woman willed the clock to move faster. To her right, the stove was on and over the burner was a tea kettle.
A low grumble came from her stomach, "Ah, come already clock! I'm hungry." she whined with a sulky pout pulling down the corners of her mouth.
Kushina's attention was suddenly pulled away from the timer and to the door as someone on the outside knocked.
"I'm coming!" she said, bounding out of the kitchen and at the front door to the small apartment in no time.
Kushina was a bit taken aback to see Minato standing there, sheepish grin and all.
"Sorry to bother you this late at night Kushina...whoa!"
The blond just barely dodged her high-kick.
"Oh I'm sorry Mina-kun? Did I scare you?" Kushina asked with a wide and wicked grin, followed by another swing, this one being her right fist.
"Not now, Kushina. Be serious...stop!" Minato said, catching first her right fist then it's opposite.
"What? You don't want a re-match? Man, you've become so boring since your promotion to instructor..." Kushina's voice trailed off as she saw something standing behind Minato's tall frame.
Hiding behind the blond was a Hyuuga girl, she looked to be about sixteen.
"Oh, who's this? Another girlfriend? Is it just me or are your tastes in women getting younger, Mina-kun?" Kushina teased with yet another wide and warm grin.
"Not exactly." Minato muttered as he motioned Hinata to come forward. The girl did so reluctantly, honestly unsure what to make of this woman. Hinata hadn't been in this girl's precence for even two minutes and already felt overwhelmed by her energy.
"This is Hyuuga Hinata. She's...kind of in a bind and needs a place to stay for the night."
Green eyes narrowed as Kushina pulled the door closer to her, narrowing the gap in the enterance "Is that what my apartment looks like to you Minato, a bed and breakfast?"
"No. Could you please just listen to me for a second?" he asked with a small sigh. Yet, Hinata noticed, oddly enough, Minato-san didn't sound annoyed with Kushina, he merely wanted to get a word in edge-wise.
"A-ano..." Hinata spoke up, hoping she could help Minato-san.
Kushina looked at her, though not much older than Hinata she was rather tall for a girl.
Hinata bowed, "I'm sorry for the inconvience, Kushina-san; but I need someplace to stay. Just for tonight."
For a second, it looked like the young woman was going to close the door and lock them out. However, before the latch hit the frame, Hinata blinked owlishly as the door was flung open wide again.
"Psyche! Of course you can stay! My parents are away on a mission this week, so I'd love to have some company."
"A-ah..." Hinata replied, casting a weary glance over to Minato-san. If Hinata was expecting the man to save her though; it was a lost cause, because Kushina reached over and took Hinata by the hand; pulling the girl inside.
"Night Mina-kun, sorry but this is a gal-only sleepover."
"I wasn't even..." Kushina shut the door in his face.
"going to ask." came the muffled reply.
Once inside, Hinata finally caught her breath. It wasn't meant to last though, because Hinata gasped yet again as Kushina grabbed her hands tightly and looked deeply into the Hyuuga's pale eyes.
"Before we get aquinted Hinata-san, I have a very serious question to ask you."
"Um...yes? What is it Kushina-san?"
The girl leaned in closer, making Hinata recoil instinctively, yet she couldn't leave because of Kushina's tight grip on her palms.
"Like instant ramen?"
The kitchen became silent, obviously to Kushina this was a very hefty question. While ramen wasn't her favorite food, Hinata didn't hate it either.
"I like ramen, Kushina-san."
"Yes!" Kushina exclaimed.
Hinata squeaked as she was suddenly and boldly embraced by the older girl.
"I knew it when I saw you. I thought to myself: Kushina, here is someone you can eat ramen with! My parents hate the stuff. My older sister says it will make me fat. Mina-kun will eat it with me sometimes; but he's so picky it takes him hours to order at the ramen stand, not to mention he's been so busy lately...Oh! That's the timer, dinner's ready! I'll be right back Hinata-san, make yourself at home."
Hinata's weak smile slowly started to grow. Kushina, while overwhelming at first, reminded her of someone dear. Suddenly Hinata felt weighted down with dread, would she ever leave this place and get back home? Would she never see her teammates and friends again? What about her family?
Without noticing, teardrops starting falling from her eyes. Meanwhile, Kushina returned with a pot of instant ramen.
"It's nice to share dinner with someone for a change. Since this war started my parents and sister are always away. I can't go because the Medics won't release me, all over a stupid twisted ankle... Hinata-san, are you okay?"
"Huh?" the younger of the two asked, lifting her head.
Kushina leaned in and brushed away the last three tears. Embrassed at having a near breakdown, in front of a total stranger at that, Hinata blushed and stammered.
"Ah...I'm sorry Kushina-san! N-no I'm not crying, it's just...my allergies."
Kushina's lips pursed, "A Hyuuga with allergies...that make her eyes water. Hn, that's pretty funny." she said with a weak chuckle.
"Do you guys suffer from hay fever too? I mean your eyes would be all red and itchy, but then you have to use Byakuguan and boom! Pain is like ten times worse! Then you'd have to put up with people accusing you of having pink-eye all the time."
Despite herself, Hinata giggled as she pictured herself, Neji, and Hanabi with pink eye balls. Kushina was weird, a bit loud, and loved ramen a little bit too much; but overall one of the nicest people Hinata ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Notes: Not a lot of Kakashi/Hinata in this chapter I know. It's coming folks, just be patient with me kay? I was going to move the plot along, but Hinata has to go through somethings and adjust to her situtation before the story and relationships can move too far along.