Title: explaining the paradox
Character/Pairing: Hyuuga Hanabi x Inuzuka Kiba
Dedication: Quiet Moon, or Nagoyaka-chan, for her birthday, which was March 29. :3 I'm sorry it's so late, and it's probably going to be slightly awkward. But enjoy as much as you can.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. The original series and all related things are the property of Kishimoto-san
Summary: She wants an answer, but she feels like she just got another question. That's always the story for her and him, and she can't really change it.
Hanabi doesn't like to be left behind. She feels underappreciated, because even if she is better than her sister, even if she can beat her in every spar, even if everyone knows that she's stronger and faster and smarter, she will never match up to Hinata. Hinata will still be the one that will become head of the Hyuuga clan. Hinata will be the one that will eventually get a happy ending, Hanabi just knows it, and the fact makes her want to grit her teeth and wish that Hinata never existed.
When Hanabi was younger, much younger, maybe three or four, she thought, quietly to herself, "I want to be like Hinata-nee-chan when I grow up!"
She feels those kinds of thoughts are frivolous now, because Hinata is a girl that crumbles easily and can shatter once she is pushed to the floor.
But Hinata is also the girl with friends. She is also the girl that has goals and dreams that will probably come true. She is the one that can put behind her fears and fight if she has to. Hinata is the one that has somebody to love her and people who care.
Hanabi always feels like the replacement, the person in second place, the piece of garbage that you can throw away anytime.
When Hinata's team comes over to spar, Hanabi sees a boy with sunglasses on all the time, a beautiful woman with crimson red eyes, and a stupid-looking boy with fangs and red stripes on his face.
He lets her play with Akamaru, his small, white-colored dog. For once she feels like she gets more attention, because this boy, Kiba, is playing with her more than he is sparring with Hinata. She feels almost special, different. She feels like sighing in relief, because finally, somebody has noticed her. Finally, she is not 'Hinata's sister' or 'Hiashi's second daughter'. She is Hyuuga Hanabi. Just Hanabi.
"So why is he called Akamaru when he's white?"
"I don't know, what do you think? There's always a reason, right?"
Hanabi is a little bit older now, as she brushes her brown hair away from her face while the wind blows the dust around on the streets. She is trying to buy some new kunai, because her old ones are too blunt now, even with sharpening.
Hanabi has come a long way, but Hinata is still in front of her. Hinata is still the one that is admired, the one that is talked about. Hanabi still doesn't like it, but at least she has some recognition.
And the one person that is her everything cares, so that is enough to suffice for now.
Hanabi still wants to get stronger, to prove everyone wrong, to make an impression. She is ambitious, and she wants to be head of the Hyuuga clan, and she wants everything that her sister has but doesn't deserve.
But when she steps across the orange-red bridge and looks at the water that trickles so quietly over the rocks, she thinks maybe she doesn't deserve any of this. Maybe Hinata deserves it, because she is the modest, sweet first daughter.
So her sister, Hinata, walks by, her lavender eyes to the floor and pale hands wringed together. Next to her is Kiba, who quietly laughs, and tells another joke. Hanabi sees the purple-haired girl's smile, and feels like crumbling, but the boy makes her clench her fists and wish, once again, that Hinata was deaddeaddead.
When they spot her, Kiba waves, his pointy teeth showing and lips curved into a devious grin. Hinata gives a quick glance and nods, trying to lift her lips up forcefully to feign ladylike delight. She knows how bitter Hanabi feels and wants to try and make things better between them.
But Hanabi doesn't care what her sister thinks, because if Kiba likes seeing her, it's enough for her to glow the whole day.
"So why are you with my sister all the time? Do you like being with her?"
"Why are you always alone?"
Hanabi always watches a gray, stone wall when it rains. She waits for the sun to come out and shine again, so it can hit the stones and make the glazed water glisten pretty colors. She waits until she is soaked with water, until she cries enough tears, until she coughs and shakes and stops being weak.
When the raindrops slide off her smooth skin and cling to her eyelashes, she shakes them off, because she can't afford to catch a cold and be more fatigued than she already is. She must beat Hinata; there was no other option.
But sometimes, she just lets the rain fall, lets it cleanse her, lets it wash away the sinful thoughts of killing that torment her mind. Sometimes she'll just wrap her arms around her legs and hug herself because there just isn't anyone else.
So the tapping begins, the quick, rushing beat, when the droplets sound in her ears like nevereverever before.
Quietly, she feels like she's missing something. Like she is missing from the world, like she never really deserved to live. Or she never deserved anything at all, she was just cursed by God to live but not really live.
She doesn't know anymore, but for the moment, she tries to forget, even if it can be the biggest sin in the world. If so, she'll just be a sinner, because she needs to let go and try to be free and break the memories of stupid responsibilities and duties and the pointless roles she has to take on to benefit her sister.
At the moment, though, she feels like she can grow wings and fly. She feels like she can live forever and breathe and feel and livelivelive. She loves the feeling, the feeling of being alive, instead of being trapped in her head, and pushed around like a doll that was once beautiful.
The dream shrinks, almost immediately, when she feels the tap on her shoulder. She says Who are you?, but her heart breaks because the boy laughs and she knows that it is
Kiba, Hanabi, you forgot?
In one futile attempt of a breath, she says No, I'll remember, and he laughs again, feeling full and happy. A cloak lands on her small, shivering shoulders, and she almostalmost sighs at the sweet smell that reaches her nose.
It feels familiar, to her, something that accepts her, that she can grasp, that she can love. So he says Can I join you?, and she says Yes, you can. She almost whispers Will you stay here forever?, before swallowing her saliva and licking away the suddenly salty rain.
"Do you think I can fly? Because I really want to."
"Do you think you can believe? Because that's your answer."
The younger Hyuuga main-branch sister knows that Inuzuka Kiba is from a dog-training family. She knows that his sister is a (pretty) vet, and his mother's dog doesn't have his left ear or his right eye.
She knows that he was on Team 8 when he was a genin, and he knows that his dog's name is Akamaru. She knows that he has spiky, brown hair, and that his teeth are sharp and pointy.
But everyone knows that, right?
What nobody else knows is that his hugs are warmer than the sun. They don't know that his teeth don't make your lips bleed when he kisses you, even if they are sharp. They don't know that his hands are soft like silk, and that he likes to swing his arms when he walks. They don't' know that he likes to be serious sometimes, and that his life isn't as splendid as he wished it could be.
And this is when Hanabi feels special, because she beat her sister, beat her for real. For once she's better. She doesn't have to give up this win to her sister, no, not yet, and she hopes, not ever.
This is all that should matter for now. She should try to live happily, move on, break those negative bonds with her cursed family. She knows she's different from those brainwashed idiots. She's not her stupid mother that listens to her mindless father's less-than-wise words. She doesn't try to impress anymore, no, because that Hanabi is left behind. She is living with Hinata, who struggles still, who has made improvements, who is trying.
When she is alone, Hanabi tells herself that she'll try to love her sister again, because she can see the (small) change when she stares into Hinata's blank eyes. She can see the newly gained confidence in her older sister's straight, bold posture, because she now has her shoulders pushed back and head held high, like the ugly duckling that became a glamorous swan.
For this, Hanabi praises her, and accepts Hinata as her sister again. Hinata is worth it, she isn't as weak, she can hold up. Hinata will no longer cry for such a defeat, and instead, she shall fight for her next win. She shall, she will.
So Hanabi has to stand guard, because Hinata has reached this level. She has to hold on tight to Kiba, because one day nee-chan dear may start to throw out those deadly traps.
But Kiba's always worth it, Hanabi knows that. He bounds over to her with a bright, vibrant smile. He makes her laugh. He makes her feel like she's worth something.
To him, she is number one, for the moment, and she wisheshopeswants that to be forever. Hanabi will fight, nevermind those (almost) definite tears and drips of crimson blood that might run through her fingers. She knows that Kiba will appreciate it; she knows that she'll appreciate it.
"When will the end be?"
"When do you want the end to be?"
Treacherous words fly out of his mouth, and she is screaming, yelling, hating, because the promise is broken. The future is now nothing, forever was never the truth, and her eyes have just been able to see everything but her everything.
She thought it could work out, because she knew it could. Could have, would have, should have. Didn't.
She thought she knew him, and she did know him, back then. Now, she thinks, maybe it was wrong to trust, to hope, to have these kinds of thoughts.
Because, in the end, it was obvious that Hinata was going to get around that thing—
(even true love?)
—that was in her way and snatch whatever Hanabi had. Hinata would take it away, farfarfar away, and Hanabi wouldn't be able to catch up again, yes?
That was how the story always ended, and now, Hanabi knows why Kiba always gave her half-answers, half-smiles, half-everythings. No, not because he saved the other half for Hinata, but because he wanted her to be protected, so he was only half-loving and half-caring and half-dating.
Hanabi never got answers from him, no, they were always questions. She never got a statement, sentence, period, always just question marks and—
He leaves her with absolutely nothing every time. Whatever she asks is never answered, whatever she says feels ignored, whatever she does just doesn't matter to him anymore.
She questions herself, asking if there is even a reason to live anymore, because he's going to be gone, if he isn't already. She's invisible, she doesn't exist, nobody really needs her here.
His grip on her shoulder sears her skin, and she's hissing again. His nails dig into her clothing, making small nail marks on her skin. He stops right before she bleeds.
He turns her around, forcefully, while she's trying to hold back tears that are threatening to fall. The next two minutes feel blank, but when he pulls away, she knows it's time to leave him behind, to leave them behind.
She'll weep, she'll cry, she'll plead for him to come back, but even with his soft heart, she knows that he won't turn around to look and smile and say that she's prettier than any girl in the whole world.
It just doesn't work like that.
She takes another whiff of his hair that smells sweaty and like burnt wood, gives him another kiss on the corner of his mouth, and whispers quiet, parting words into his ears before letting him escape from her pained embrace.
She's glad that he's at least sad to say goodbye.
"Do you still love me?"
"Do you think can love you?"
On the day, the glorious, happy, cheery day, that Inuzuka Kiba and Hyuuga Hinata are to be wed, Hanabi sits in the front row. She wears a lavender colored kimono, with small bits of white flowers scattered across the expensive silk. Her eyes are glassy and clear, with her lips curved in a deceptive smile.
She's not ecstatic or thrilled or even happy that her (ex-)lover is getting married to her sister. She doesn't want to be Kiba's sister-in-law, she wants to be his girlfriend, his wife, his life. Perhaps she was just too jealous, selfish, cold-hearted in life. Perhaps Hinata was just fair, generous, and perfect in life.
Either way, Hanabi couldn't win. In games, in spars, in love, in life.
The shrine is quiet for now, with only the Hyuuga main-branch family members, the bride, the groom, and the priest.
Hanabi's eyes follow Kiba as the (fake) couple is purified, and notices that he could have been gloomier than her. She glances at Hinata, and sees her cherry-red lips in a straight, firm line. The bride opens her eye-shadowed orbs and drinks sake from the small porcelain cup, watching closely as the dog-lover clears his throat.
He only manages to mumble out the words of commitment, and Hanabi can practically hear her father growling beside her.
When all is done, there is a small clap, but the newlyweds look anything but happy.
Hanabi then reconsiders during the reception, when she seats herself at the table the married couple sits. The silence is quite tense, and only interrupted by a few drinking sake and the clinking of chopsticks against bowls. Many make speeches, all sound dull and meaningless, and Hanabi realizes that nobody is truly happy about this marriage.
Kiba did this for Hanabi, because if Hinata wasn't wed by this day, Hanabi would have an arranged marriage. She would have to live with a ridiculously old man that would enslave her for the rest of her life, and she wouldn't be able to run away. She'd be behind bars in a dark room, all alone, crying for some sort of savior that would never come.
He saved her, but in the most painful way she could imagine.
When he passes by, he makes sure nobody is looking, and gives her a feather-light kiss on her neck. He gives her all the answers, and she wishes there weren't any, for the first and last time.
"Why didn't this end happily?"
"Because Akamaru turns red, because Hinata can be your best friend, because you can fly if you tried hard enough, because this is the end, and I'm sorry, because I still love you, but I can't."
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