Disclaimer: I do not own any aspect of Naruto

Disclaimer: I do not own any aspect of Naruto. Naruto is the property of Masashi Kishimoto and probably Shonen Jump, with license to Viz Media

Author's note: This is a short prequel to "To Change Hyuuga" with three to five chapters.

Post-time skip plus another few years. The rookie nine are now 17 years old. Everyone has grown up so there is some OOC since it is my interpretation (or wishful thinking) of how the character might evolve.

Translation - Taichou is captain.


Amigos para siempre

Chapter One: Teammates

Hinata wiped the sweat and grim from her eyes and puffed with exertion as she hauled her taichou to his feet and half dragged him away from the battlefield.

It looked like Kakashi's last move was decisive and took out the S-class nin. But the famous copy-nin literally fell down afterwards. He was severely weakened from using such a powerful jutsu.

The S-class criminal and his three partners were more difficult then expected. Hinata's broken ribs sent pain screaming through her as she pulled Kakashi out of the way to let Kiba, Akamaru, and Shino deal with the escaping nin. The primary target was down and his partners were running.

Shino sent Hinata a look. She nodded.

Without a word or a backward glance, her teammates and the criminal nins were gone.

Hinata sighed in relief and frustration. She knew her teammates would take them down and complete their mission. The escaping nin were fast, but not skilled and would not be able to escape Shino's kikai or Kiba and Akamaru's noses. She didn't worry about her best friends.

Wounded, Hinata would slow them down. Also, Kakashi needed protection while he recovered from his attack.

So it was fine.

Really.

But she didn't like being left behind.

Hinata shook her head to chase away her frustration and activated her byakugan. She followed her teammates for a moment and "saw" them going in the correct direction. But the three criminals had split up.

It was a simple ploy. But rather then risk splitting up to purse each separately, Shino, Kiba and Akamaru did the smart thing. They focused on one and would take her down and secure her. Then pursue the second one and then the last.

It was a good strategy. Probably Shino's. It reduced the risk of injury to the team. With their tracking skills, they would have no problem tracking each target. But it would take more time.

Shino would send word via his kikai when they had secured the last one. Then they would go back and collect the others enemy nin they had secured to trees, rocks or whatever along the way. Finally they would come back for Hinata and Kakashi-taichou.

It could take anywhere from one to six hours.

Hinata turned her byakugan inward and saw that she had three…no, four fractured ribs. But there did not seem to be any other damage. The fractures were not severe. She wasn't in danger of her ribs causing other internally injuries. But they hurt.

She turned to look at Kakashi and was startled to find his chakra incredibly weak. It was weaker than she had ever seen it. It pulsed faintly through his body and looked like it might fade with a slightest of breezes.

Probably not a good idea to move him.

She tried to make herself and Kakashi comfortable. She felt terribly exposed and weak as she sat next to the unconscious man on the forest floor. Even under the canopy of forest trees she was worried about possible dangers. She nervously scanned the nearby forest again with her family eyes.

The downed S-class was near dead. He was no longer a threat. There were no hostile animals in range and no people at all.

Hinata relaxed for a moment and released her jutsu. Hinata wasn't a cold person, but she was a trained nin. It never occurred to her to check further on the dying criminal, to try to care for him or end his pain earlier. It was one of the thousand small changes she had made as she grew as a shinobi.

Instead, she focused all her attention on her team captain and his condition. Kakashi told her that his new Sharigan based jutsu "took a lot out of him."

And it was a pretty cool jutsu…removing a region of space from this dimension… incredible. But it came with a high price tag. It looked like the chakra it consumed was almost enough to kill him.

She watched as his chakra pulsed slowly and evenly through his body. It pulsed weakly, but evenly.

She deactivated her bloodline limited and stared at him. The famous copy nin was probably not in any real danger. He had been practicing this jutsu for awhile. He was experienced and knew his limits.

Was it her imagination or was his breathing getting weaker?

Hinata was not a fully trained medic, but she knew first aid. She could give him some of her chakra and help stabilize his condition. Then maybe she would be able to move him to a safer location.

She placed her hands on his vest above his heart and began to gather chakra into her palms. Then she stopped.

She wasn't practiced at this kind of chakra transfer. She could lose 30 to 50 of the chakra she intended to transfer through the clothes and into the environment.

Hinita's broken ribs sent a sharp reminder that she couldn't afford to use or lose much of her own chakra.

Direct skin to skin contact would help. It was everyone was first taught chakra sensitivity. Hands over hands or hands over heart. Hinata hesitated for only a moment.

Kakashi's breathe seemed to skip a beat. She quickly unzipped Kakashi's jonin vest and his pushed up his shirt. She placed her hand palms down over his heart. Hinata closed her eyes as she reached out to Kakashi chakra network and "felt" for the pulse of his weak life force.

A pulse of chakra and a pause, a pulse and a pause, another pulse and a pause.

Hinata waited with her palms pressed gently on his bare chest until she was completely in tune with his chakra network. Then she slowly gathered her own chakra. She pulled slowly the precious life force from her own body and with the next pulse, she nudged the her own chakra into Kakahsi's body.

Hinata repeated this several times until she began to feel dizzy. She used her bloodline limited and was pleased to see Kakashi's chakra flowing more smoothly then before.

Hinata's dizziness increased and she immediately deactivated her byakugan as and conceded that she may have over done it.

"Hinata?" Kakashi's voice startled her.

She gave a small "eep" in surprise.

"I'm okay now." He said as he placed his own hand over hers. Kakashi closed his eyes wearily.

Hinata smiled and then blushed as she realized her hands were still his bare skin. "Th-The others are in pursuit." She said as she pulled her hands out from under his hand.

Now that the immediate worries were past, she noticed Kakashi's beautifully lean and muscle chest and abdomen. Her fingers glided over the smooth and scarred skin as she retracted her hands. She gently tugged his shirt back into place as the heat from his body lingered on her fingertips. She wondered vaguely if it was a result of the medical transfer of chakra or if it was something. Some other kind of heat.

"ah." He mumbled. His eyes still closed. He moved his hand to pull his headband down to cover his red sharigan eye. She reached over to help him and pain from her ribs lanced through her to remind her of her injuries. Hinata exhaled slowly and her hand trembled as she helped Kakashi with his headband.

With the headband in place, Kakashi opened his grey eye and peered at her.

"You're injured?" He asked simply. Both out of concern and as a practical matter of the mission.

"Ah, yes. Four ribs." She replied. She wasn't embarrassed but it was still hard to admit that she was the weakest one of the team.

"Give me a few minutes. I'll help you wrap them." Kakashi stated rather then asked. With the chakra boast Hinata had given him, he was recovering quickly now. His own recuperative system would help him get moving.

Hinata nodded and then carefully scooted to lean her back against a tree. Each movement was made carefully to avoid further protest from her injuries.

"How long?" Kakashi asked.

Hinata blinked for a moment and decided against checking on her teammates. Her own chakra reserves were running low. "You've been out for about 25 minutes. They've been gone for about 20 minutes." He nodded in acknowledgement. "They'll probably be back in a few hours."

Kakashi nodded. If Kiba kept his head and they stayed on task, it might take them awhile to track down all the criminal nin.

"They were fast, but not skilled." Hinata added.

Kakashi blinked. She had mirrored his own thoughts.

"Don't worry about them, they'll be fine." He reassured her. Hinata looked worried and a bit the-worse-for-wear.

Hinata smiled. Her eyes twinkled a bit as she replied. "I wasn't worried about them. I'm more worried about us."

Kakashi smiled back. "Ah, I guess we are a bit…"

"…weak?" Hinata supplied miserably.

"Er…no, I was going to say vulnerable." Kakashi corrected.

Hinata's lack of self-confidence was well known among the Konoha 11. He understood it. He, of all people, could understand the pressures of family and what it could do to a young mind. But he had seen the girl prove herself many times. "We should find more coverage if we are going to be waiting awhile."

Hinata nodded. "I was going to move you to another location, but you did not seem stable enough."

Kakashi grunted his acknowledgement as he finally felt well enough to push himself up. He was tired and weak, but he could move at least. He looked over at Hinata. Her eyes were alert, but she was very pale.

"Let's get your ribs wrapped. And then move out." Kakashi stated cheerfully.

Hinata smiled in response and waited for him to move.

Kakashi moved slowly but was feeling better by the moment. "Hinata,…you must have given me a lot of your chakra." He scolded.

Hinata blushed and said defensively. "I was worried."

"Yeah. You need to take of yourself too," He said as he motioned for her to open her arms.

Hinata opened her arms and let Kakashi gently remove her jacket.

He probed her ribs gently with his finger tips and noticed when she winced.

Kakashi pulled his medic kit scroll out and release the supplies. He quickly selected a roll of wide bandages. "This will help. But I need to wrap it tightly for it to be effective."

Hinata nodded.

She pulled her shirt and undershirt loose from her pants and winced again as she tried to hold them up.

Kakashi sighed. "Um…this might be a bit…awkward."

"Oh—Okay." Hinata whispered.

Kakashi leaned over and helped pull the shirts up and over her head. He stopped when the shirts were still on her arms, but over her head.

"Hold your arms up like that." He explained.

Hinata nodded. The shirts provided support. So it was easier to hold her arms above her head this way.

Kakashi reached for the wide roll of bandages again and then stopped to look at her.

Really looked at her. 'Crap.' He thought.

He could see the deep bruising where her torso had impacted and the general area where her ribs were injured. It was bad.

But that wasn't why Kakashi was swearing inside his head as he pulled a length of bandages out. Hinata's innocent face was calm as he tried very hard not to notice her long lovely neck and feminine figure. With some bare skin and her arms above her head, the position unintentionally mirrored the look of a woman in bed waiting for someone.

Kakashi leaned over smaller frame to circle his arm behind her to pull the bandage around her torso. His breathe tickled Hinata's face. She slowly breathed in the warmth generated from of his proximity and felt her own body temperature rise in response.

'She's grown up.' Kakashi thought as his hands swiftly repeated the process. He pulled the bandages snug enough to provide support but not too tight. He felt his own face color a bit as his hands brushed against her skin and her covered breasts.

"One more minute." Kakashi explained as he secured the bandage. "There. Take a deep breath and see if that's a bit better."

Kakashi's nose almost started to bleed when he realized he was a bit too close to Hinata to make that request. Hinata took a deep breath and he found himself staring. Her bosom heaved with several deep breaths and she arched her back to stretch her sore and aching torso.

"Better?" Kakashi asked. He was afraid he voice cracked. He concentrated on looking at the support bandages he had applied to see if they were sufficient.

"Mum hum. That's much better." Hinata responded with a smile. "Thank you Kakashi-taichou."

Kakashi rocked back onto his hunches and gave her some room as she struggled to get her shirts back on. Better to give her some space.

He nearly smacked himself when she spoke again. "Um, Kakashi-taichou could you help me please?" Hinata asked.

"Ah." He replied as he leaned over and helped her reposition her clothes. He felt like a teenager gawking at his first naked girl. And she wasn't even naked! There was nothing to be embarrassed about. It was just one teammate helping another. Just as he might help Might Guy or Gemma.

So he was quite surprised when she leaned into him and whispered "thank you" again. He could tell she was emotional. Her voice sounded like she was going to cry.

That never happened with Guy or Gemma. The warmth from her body and face seemed to seep into his soul. And he felt the irrational impulse to do or say anything to help her.

"I…I'm just tired of being the weakest member of my team." She said in a frustrated voice.

Hinata gasped and pulled away. "Forgive me Taichou." This was a mission, there was no room on the mission for this kind of sentimentality.

Kakashi chuckled. She was stronger then many chunin he had known in his career and yet she couldn't see it. He put his hand on her head and said affectionately. "I forgive you." He smiled with a twinkle in is exposed grey eye.

Somehow, this made her more embarrassed and she blushed.

"Hey, Hinata-chan. Did I say thank you yet for taking care of me?" Kakashi reminded her. She had helped him far more then he had helped her.

Hinata blushed harder and began to take on the complexion of a tomato.

"L-Let's get going. I th-think we are both well enough to move out." Hinata said abruptly to change the subject.

"Okay!" Kakashi agreed and stood up. As quickly as he stood up he felt himself start to fall down again…'damn, still weak'

He leaned heavily against the tree while he body got used to standing up. A few moments past and then he felt Hinata's smaller frame press against his and help him begin to walk away from the tree. He did not have to lean on her, but she helped him keep his balance.

"This way." Hinata explained as she led them deeper into the forest. "There is shelter of trees and bushes which will give us more security. Not much visibility into it, and only one way in."

Kakashi allowed Hinata to continue to help him walk as they made there way slowly to the area she described. He almost fell once and was not careful. He applied too much weight on her and he could tell she had suppressed a sharp pain through her ribs. She was injured herself but Hinata was also stronger then most. She would never complain. Still, he was more careful as made their way through the forest.

As they walked slowly, Kakashi thought about Hyuuga Hinata and the strong kuniochi she had become. But in this mission he saw differently.

Kakashi had been on hundreds of solo missions. He had been on even more team missions. But it was always a comfort to wake up to someone caring for you. Hinata's bright sweet smile brought more than comfort. Kakashi shook his head. He shouldn't over think it. Wasn't that what teammates were all about?

Hinata's face was flushed from the exertion, but also from the close proximity to Kakashi. His coolness was immutable. Despite their injuries, he remained calm and even teased her.

Most importantly, he also valued her help and let her know that. A little of her insecurity bled away with each successful mission. And she liked missions with Kakashi-taichou.

Kakashi didn't have to give her kinds words or comfort. It was enough to know that a strong nin like Kakashi depended on her during a moment of need. Wasn't that what was teammates were all about?

As they walked in silence, Hinata's warmth gave comfort to Kakashi. Kakashi's strength and weakness gave Hinata confidence.

Step by step, together, they slowly made their way to a better, safer place.


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