By TwinEnigma

Disclaimer: I do this to alleviate boredom and don't own the series.

Characters: Hinata, Hanabi, Neji, Hiashi, Hizashi

There were many secrets in Konoha. Shinobi were, by nature, a secretive and deceptive lot, even within the borders of the village they called home. But they were loyal to home and country and so secrets and deceptions continued to build in the cracks between words and families. It was a strange sort of mortar, this secrecy and faithfulness, but it was the mortar that held their village together.

In the Hyuuga clan, there were few secrets. Their doujutsu stripped away walls and floorboards, exposing the hidden in a burst of chakra. The luxury of privacy only existed in thoughts and dreams, the only place their doujutsu could not see.

Hanabi had secrets.

She was jealous of Hinata for being able to remember their mother, but only a little, because she was a good sister and it would be like loosing a limb if her big sister were to leave. She could never find the courage to ask, though, just what their mother was like. Something about the subject terrified her, as though it were taboo, the memory unsuitable for any but Hinata. Still, Hanabi would find excuses to stay near her sister and wonder what mysteries were hidden in her big sister's memories of those days long past.

Hinata had secrets.

She wanted to be strong, strong enough to run away and make her own destiny, and she was jealous of how easily strength came to others. But she never said anything, for she felt guilty even thinking of leaving and hated herself for being so childish and petty. So, she stayed with her family, shouldered the burden of heir and worked harder, until her palms were bloody and raw and Neji had to wrap them for her because they hurt too much to move. Destiny was cruel, but she loved her family too much to leave them to face it alone.

Neji had secrets.

He regretted attacking his cousin in the chuunin exams three years ago, but deep down inside he feared that he was still jealous. The thought frightened him and he always wondered if it meant he was a bad person deep down, no better than the traitor Uchiha. He continued to protect Hinata long after she finally became chuunin and wrapped her wounds when she could not, reminding himself that he could not do this if he really hated her still. Even when she got mad at him and pushed him away, he would do nothing, fearful of falling once more into the destiny of hate.

Hiashi watched the three children in silence. He knows all their secrets, more or less, through their actions. They let their secrets rule their lives and he is unable to be blind to it, but he knows better than to say a thing. He knows what it's like to let secrets shape your life.

Hiashi has the biggest secret of all.

He remembers his brother's laughter and sunshine, whispers and promises in their secret language. He remembers freedom, muddied feet and frogs in the maid's pockets – and oh, how that was the cleverest trick, even if they did not know she had already seen them. He remembers exchanging clothes with his brother and pretending to be him and switching names back and forth, again and again until neither they nor their parents could tell where Hiashi began and Hizashi ended. It had been so funny to trick everyone!

"Come along, Hiashi. It's an important day for you and your brother."

"But mama, I'm Hizashi!"

"And I'm Hiashi!"

Familiar twin chuckles and knowing glances echoed in his memory and he closed his eyes, clamping down on the memory, until the urge to proclaim the truth to the world passed.

Yes, Hiashi had a secret, all right.

But Hizashi was no squealer.

AN: It would be ironic if Hiashi and Hizashi had switched places to play a trick on their parents the day Hizashi was to get the seal, don't you think?