WARNING!: This chapter is very violent, very sad and contains character death. You have been warned!
Six months later...
Kisame thrust Samehada into the ground and slumped down to sit heavily on the floor of the cave. Leaning back against the wall, he tried to steady his ragged breathing. The pain shooting through his entire body made his head feel hazy. Losing so much blood hadn't helped either. Glancing around, he couldn't help the smirk that came to his lips. How ironic. This was the exact same cave where he spent his first night with Hinata. Thinking of her brought her image to his mind, and a new pain swept through him, this one in his soul.
He let his eyes wander to the empty space across from him. He could almost see her, the way she was before. The innocent expression she wore when she slept, the sound and scent of her as she bathed in the tub he made, the way she looked in her lavender and blue kimono. Suddenly a spasm seized him and he coughed hard, fresh blood running down his lips. That damned Kisho, he must have grazed his lung. Not that it mattered. Nothing did anymore, except her. Because soon, if Kami had any compassion at all, he would be with his Hummingbird once again.
Eight days earlier...
The village of Hidden Rain came into view at last. Kisame couldn't help the smile that softened his hard features. Soon, he would be back home. Hinata had promised to make him dinner tonight, and the thought nearly made his stomach growl. She didn't cook often, but when she did, it was wonderful. She had a good nose when it came to flavoring food, and he often had to stop himself from devouring the entire meal. He quickened his pace until his partner cleared his throat, gaining his attention.
"Kisame." Itachi said in a stern voice. Looking back, the shark nin smirked. He had nearly left him behind. Pulling to a stop, he waited for his partner to catch up. Turning his face upward, he let the misting rain fall on his face, enjoying the feel of the water as it slid down his cheek.
Kisame glanced at the sky just in time to see Kisho fly overhead. Hinata wasn't with him, and he was racing through the air as fast as the roc would carry him. He glanced down at them, but continued on as if he never saw them. Was something wrong? Kisame couldn't help the feeling of dread that settled in the pit of his stomach. Itachi reached him a moment later and they both headed toward the base with a new sense of urgency.
'You're just being paranoid.' he told himself. Mentally he shook his head. Hinata had him running home to her like a school kid to his mother. Hidan was right, he was so whipped. Soon, the brick front of the Akatsuki headquarters loomed ahead. Stopping in front of the door, they started the hand seals to allow them entry. They finished a moment later and Itachi swung the door open. Kisame froze as he stepped across the threshold. There was a feeling of violence in the building, and he could smell fresh blood. Hinata's blood. The air was so thick with it, it was almost suffocating.
"Hinata!" he screamed, his sudden panic overriding everything else. He rushed forward only to be stopped by a smaller body bowling into him. He looked down to see Tobi clutching the front of his cloak and gesturing wildly.
"Kisame-san! Tobi tried to stop Kisho-kun, but Tobi was too late! So Tobi stayed with Hinata-chan because Tobi is a good boy!" he yelled up at the taller man.
Kisame grabbed Tobi by the front of his cloak and pulled him off the ground to glare in his mask. "Where is she?" he bellowed.
Without waiting for a reply, he dropped Tobi to the floor and took off, Itachi on his heels. His nose told him everything he needed to know. She was in the kitchen. Skidding to a halt, he slammed into the door frame, making the turn into the room. His blood ran cold and the world fell away at the sight that greeted him. She was lying in front of the refrigerator, face down, with a kunai sticking out of her back, right where her heart was. Blood pooled around her torso, soaking into her long, dark hair, making it sticky. A rivulet of crimson crept across the floor where it was uneven, steadily making its way toward Kisame, who stood frozen in the doorway.
As if in a trance, Kisame forced himself to move. Slowly, he made his way to her side and dropped to his knees, uncaring of the blood soaking into his pants. Deftly, he pulled the kunai out of her back and tossed it away. He couldn't stand for it to touch her precious flesh any longer. Rolling her over, he brushed the hair out of her face. Her eyes were closed and she had an innocent expression on her face, the same one she wore while she slept. Looking down, he saw that she had one hand wrapped tightly around the hummingbird necklace she constantly wore.
Denial set in and Kisame vainly searched her for a pulse or sign of breathing. Finding none, he gently grabbed her shoulders and lightly shook her. "Hinata! Hinata, wake up!" he yelled at her. When she didn't respond, he quieted his hands, and his voice became a whisper. "Don't leave me, Hummingbird." he pleaded softly.
He felt someone shift behind him, then a hand landed on his shoulder in a comforting gesture. "Kisame, she's gone." Itachi said in an emotionless voice. Turning, he addressed Tobi, who was standing in the doorway, fidgeting. "Tobi, where is Leader-sama?"
"Tobi is the only one here! Leader-sama and everyone else are out on a mission today. It was just Kisho-kun, Hinata-chan and Tobi. Hinata-chan was teaching Tobi to make onigiri." he replied, growing quiet as he spoke.
Itachi nodded his understanding and turned back to his partner. It was getting hard to maintain control of his perfectly masked emotions. Watching his partner so undone pierced his heart. He wanted to say something, anything, to help ease his friend's pain, but he knew it was useless. Pain, betrayal, death. They all knew that this was the grim reality of shinobi life. No amount of kindness or love would change it. But knowing the facts never made bearing it any less difficult.
Kisame was cradling Hinata's lifeless body in his arms. He didn't cry aloud, but tears streamed down his marked cheeks, unchecked. Minutes passed, and nobody moved. Then, just as quickly as they came, his tears were gone. A cold expression settled on his features. With Hinata still in his arms, he stood. Turning without a word to anyone, he brushed past Itachi and Tobi and headed up the stairs. Itachi followed silently.
Tobi stayed in the doorway, looking at the blood left in the kitchen floor. Beneath the swirling orange mask, Madera smirked. Everything had gone exactly as he had planned. He was getting tired of watching one of his strongest ninja grow weaker by the day because of a silly girl. Fortunately for him, he knew of Kisho's fear of the Sharingan. The redhead had foolishly admitted it to him one day while they were playing pool. All it took was a look into his eyes and a little 'persuasion' and the Stone ninja was driven completely over the edge.
It was easy enough to convince him that Hinata was the cause of his pain. If not for her, he would be safe and happy in Iwagakure. Then all he had to do was release the genjutsu, sit back and watch. Kisho did the rest. It pleased him immensely when he saw Kisame shed his grief and return to the merciless killer he knew so well. Pushing his mental victory dance to the back of his mind, he let Tobi slide back into place and set to work on cleaning up the mess in the kitchen. Soon he was caught up in the motions and nearly missed it when Itachi and Kisame passed by the doorway and headed outside. The shark nin still carried Hinata, but she had been cleaned up and dressed in a kimono.
Rushing after them, Tobi caught up just outside the front door. "Itachi-san! Kisame-san! Tobi needs to know where you are going, so Leader-sama won't be angry you left again!" he said frantically.
Itachi paused and turned back to face him. Kisame continued onward, giving no sign that he had heard at all. "I'm going to the edge of the village to see Kisame off. He is taking Hinata home." he said simply.
Without waiting for a reply, Itachi turned around and hurried to catch up to his partner. Settling down to the same pace, both shinobi walked silently to the edge of the village. It began raining softly, and a low fog settled over the village, covering it like a shroud. Occasionally, Itachi glanced up at Kisame's face. There was no expression in it, only a hard mask of steel.
It was in that moment, that he knew he would be going after Kisho. That nothing would stop him until he had avenged Hinata. They reached the outskirts of the village, and Itachi drew to a halt. In perfect sync, the moment Itachi stopped, Kisame took off at a run. Itachi watched his back until it disappeared into the mist. He nodded in silent farewell, and turning, made his way back to the base.
Two days later...
Hiashi sat at his desk, reading. He had just finished drawing up Hanabi's marriage contract, and was checking for any errors. She was to wed in two months' time, so everything had to be correct. His brow furrowed slightly as he frowned. This should have been Hinata's wedding. If things hadn't gone wrong, that is. He absently wondered what she was doing at the moment. If she was well fed, if the Akatsuki were treating her fairly. She may have shamed the clan by becoming a missing ninja, but she was still his daughter.
His pride wouldn't allow him to admit it to anyone, but he now regretted pressuring her so much as a child. She obviously was a lot stronger than he gave her credit for, if the Akatsuki was willing to accept her as a member. He sighed heavily. Maybe if her mother were still alive, she would have grown into the heiress she was meant to become. His thoughts were interrupted by a crash against the window. Turning, he saw a small lump lying on the sill.
Curiosity got the better of him. He rose and walked over to the window, sliding the glass aside so he could get a better look. Lying there was a small black hummingbird, dead. It was lying on its back, and Hiashi could see its pale throat contrasting sharply against the bluish black feathers of its stomach. It must have flown into the glass, breaking its neck in the process. Shaking his head at the foolish thing, he reached out and shoved it off the sill, watching as it landed in the bushes below.
His attention was diverted by a shout coming from the main gates of the village. They quickly died down, and he turned back to his desk, leaving the window open to let the summer air circulate in the room. He had just started reading again when a knock sounded on his door. "Enter!" he commanded sternly.
"Excuse me, Hiashi-sama." a servant said. "There is a commotion at the front gates. Neji-san has been called for, and two other ninja as well. I've heard that it has something to do with Hinata-sama. Forgive me, but I thought you would want to know."
"Thank you, I'll go immediately." Hiashi responded coldly. Inwardly a small hope took hold of him. Did Hinata come back? Was it not too late to tell her how he really felt about her? Grabbing a katana, he headed out to see what was going on.
Kisame once again stood in front of the shinobi guarding the massive gates of Konoha, Hinata still cradled in his arms. But this time, there was no smirk, no empty threats. His lifeless eyes stared at them dully as he spoke. "I'm not here to fight you. I need you to fetch Aburame Shino, Inuzuka Kiba, and Hyuuga Neji. Bring them to me." he commanded.
The guards never moved, just stood in shock, staring at Hinata's lifeless form. "Now!" Kisame shouted. "If you do not, I will tear this village down until I find them!"
Finally one of them snapped out of it, and ran down the street, shouting. The other maintained his defensive position, watching the shark nin carefully. Kisame just gave him a blank look before staring down into Hinata's face. Even in death, she was beautiful. The dark blue of her kimono stood out sharply against her pale skin. Lavender hummingbirds decorated the bottom, flying in the midnight sky. Little silver stars splashed across the fabric. He had just bought it for her, while he was on a mission a couple of weeks back. She had never gotten the chance to wear it. Until now.
Chakra signatures caught his attention, and he lifted his head. Five ninja stood at the gate, watching him cautiously. Two were obviously Hinata's relatives, with long dark hair and pale eyes. He recognized the younger one, Neji, from his fight with Might Guy. Two more he recognized from Hinata's descriptions as Kiba and Shino. The fifth was the Hokage herself, Tsunade. The expressions on their faces ranged from the shocked look on the older Hyuuga's to intense anger coming from the dog ninja, Kiba.
No one moved for a long moment, then Shino stepped forward. He walked right up to Kisame, without an ounce of fear. Lowering his hood, he removed his glasses before he spoke. "Hoshigaki Kisame, I am Aburame Shino." He glanced down at Hinata before continuing. "I see you have brought Hinata-chan back to us. Arigatou."
Kisame nodded, a flash of pain lighting his eyes before he gingerly placed her in his outstretched arms. Stepping back, Shino bowed before turning around and walking back to Tsunade. He focused hard on walking straight, trying to ignore the tears welling up in his eyes. As he passed Hiashi and Neji, the older Hyuuga muttered regretfully under his breath. "So she was weak after all." The words had barely left his mouth when a blow to his face sent him sailing, and he landed on his back several yards away. He had blinked only once when he was grabbed up by his shirt and found himself staring into furious yellow eyes.
"She is NOT weak!" Kisame bellowed into his face. "If you say one more word, old man, I'll fucking kill you!"
Everyone stared in shock. It had happened so fast, no one had time to react. Kisame had already dropped him, turned and was heading back out of the gate when Kiba charged him, kunai drawn. "This is all your fault, you bastard!" he shouted.
Kiba reached him and plunged his weapon deep into his side. Kisame never even tried to dodge. Pain roared through his body, but he relished it. It took the edge off his shattered soul and fueled his desire for vengeance. He turned and looked at the dog ninja calmly. "You're wrong. This is Kisho's fault. And when I find him, I'm going to kill him with my bare hands."
Kiba staggered back. The pure hate in the other ninja's eyes and the venom in his words made him pause. Kisame pulled the kunai from his side and dropped it to the ground. He took one last look at Hinata and turning, jumped into the nearest tree and was gone. Kiba fell to his knees, staring blindly at the bloody weapon lying on the ground. His vision soon became blurry and tears ran down his face as he screamed his anguish to the sky.
Neji shook his head sadly before turning and looking at Tsunade. "Shouldn't we go after him?" he asked. "He is a wanted criminal and member of Akatsuki."
"No." Tsunade replied softly. "Let him go."
"The elders will not approve."
Tsunade sighed heavily, the weight of her own guilt making her shoulders sag. She needed to find a bottle of sake, and fast. Glancing over her shoulder as she turned away, she glared at the prodigy of the Hyuuga clan. "I just don't give a damn." she said, before walking slowly back to the Hokage Tower.
Neji nodded and went to help his uncle up. They both walked over to where Shino was standing silently. Kiba wandered over a moment later, red eyed and in a daze. Hiashi took Hinata's body and started down the street towards the compound, the others silently trailing behind him. The village was quiet, nobody spoke as they passed, just watched the procession with sad, haunted eyes. And nobody mentioned the large bruise on the clan head's cheek, or the tears streaming down his face as he walked, head up and back stiff.
Five days later...
Kisho stumbled and fell to his knees. A rock cut his palm as he caught himself and pain shot up his arm. He ignored it, too tired to care. He had been traveling steadily for a week now and his body was just about ready to give out on him. He needed to rest. Glancing up at the sky, he tried to judge how close to sunset it was. Dark gray clouds blanketed the sun, making it nearly impossible to tell. He figured it was somewhere close to six o'clock. If he made it another hour, he could rest. By tomorrow he would reach Iwagakure.
Climbing back to his feet, he trudged onward. Alone with his thoughts, he brushed a tear away with a dusty hand as his memories began plaguing him. Three days ago his fragmented mind began pulling itself together and since then, the horror of what happened slowly began unfolding. Pain washed over his soul as the scene played out in his head of its own accord.
The last thing he clearly remembered was sitting in the common room with Hinata and Tobi. They were playing Shoji. Tobi was losing terribly. After their fourth game, Hinata stood and said she needed to start making dinner for Kisame, who was due to come back from a mission at any time. A twinge of jealousy hit him, like it always did, and he shoved it away. Tobi begged her to teach him how to make rice balls, and she agreed with a blush.
After that, things started to get fuzzy. Hinata headed out to the kitchen. Tobi started to follow, but turned back at the last minute to tell him something. Then the room started spinning and everything went black. The glowing red eyes of the Sharingan flashed in his mind, along with a whispering voice. He never did remember just what the voice said, it was always muted by the fear consuming him from seeing those deathly eyes.
When he finally came to, he was in the kitchen, standing over Hinata's body in a pool of blood. His hands were covered in the crimson liquid. He turned around just in time to see Tobi running into the room. He started screaming about how he murdered Hinata-chan and he'd better run, because when Kisame got there, he would be dead meat. Panic set in and without thought, Kisho ran for his life. He summoned a roc outside and took off, heading for Iwa.
As he was leaving the village, he happened to look down. Kisame and Itachi were there, and the shark ninja was looking straight at him. Kisho quickly looked away and urged his bird to go faster. A few minutes later, he felt a massive chakra flare coming from the base. It had to be Kisame. Reminded of what had happened, a wave of sorrow swept over him before his mind shut down completely. Everything was a blank after that, up until he woke up three days ago.
A bright flash of lightning interrupted his crippling thoughts. It was going to rain soon. Maybe he should go ahead and build a shelter from the storm, and continue traveling tomorrow. Looking around, he spotted several boulders that would be suitable for molding into a shallow cave. He had just started forming hand seals when he felt a familiar chakra signature flare behind him.
'Oh, shit...' he thought, taking off at a dead run.
Kisame had been running at a steady pace for five days now. He wasn't pushing himself hard, but he hadn't stopped to rest either. It wouldn't have done him any good anyway. He probably would never be able to sleep again. Not without her. His chakra was getting pretty low, but it hardly mattered. As long as he still had strength in his body, he would continue on. His side had stopped bleeding, but it still hurt like hell. He had crossed the border of Earth Country yesterday, and he was now starting to pick up faint traces of Kisho's scent. He was getting closer...
He suddenly came to a halt as a new smell caught his attention. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on it. Blood. And it belonged to Kisho. A savage grin crossed his face. He hoped the bastard was in as much pain as was humanly possible. Spurred on by this new development, he took off again. As he gained on the other ninja, he let go of his chakra, letting it flare and swirl around him. All of his pain, anger and bloodlust rose to the front. Instead of pushing it down, he embraced it. It flowed through his body like fire until his demon blood took over. His chakra glowed with an intense blue light and his hearing and sense of smell sharpened considerably.
There, just ahead of him, he picked out Kisho's outline on the horizon. Grasping Samehada's hilt, he sped up until he was practically flying over the terrain. Kisho started running away from him. As he gained ground, he could pick up on the redhead's fear. He fed off the emotion, triggering his predatory instincts further. Closing in, Kisame took a deep breath and called out to his opponent.
"KISHO!" he roared.
The other ninja jumped visibly and sped up. Forming hand seals as he went, he summoned his stone lions. They sprung out of the ground, and turned towards Kisame, charging. Pulling Samehada from his back, he swung the great sword in an arc in front of him. Not slowing down, he smashed through Kisho's constructs, reducing them back to piles of rubble and dust. More lions came and Kisho was starting to pull ahead.
Coming to a quick halt, Kisame threw Samehada with all his strength. The great sword flew through the air, then plummeted to the ground, directly in front of Kisho. As the sword tip was buried in the ground, Samehada's blades erupted from their wrappings, stretching out as far as they would reach. Kisho came to an abrupt halt, mere inches from injury. Turning, he watched as Kisame met the last of his stone lions. The cat leapt high into the air. Another flash of lightning lit up the darkening landscape as Kisame's fist made contact with it's face.
Pain shot through Kisame's hand as the stone lion crumpled under the force of the blow. He heard at least three bones break in his hand. Ignoring it, he turned to the focus of his wrath. Kisho stood just in front of Samehada, watching him. Stepping closer, Kisame's face twisted into an angry snarl. Just then, the clouds thickened, sending great droplets of rain pounding to the earth. Lightning struck again, followed by a massive clap of thunder.
When he was only a few feet away, Kisame came to a halt. "Why, Kisho? Why would you do it? She trusted you! She was your friend!" he ground out furiously, his voice getting louder as he spoke.
Kisho struggled to be heard over the pounding rain. "I didn't even know I did it! I don't remember it at all! Something went wrong, and I don't know what it was!" he shouted back, defending himself.
"I warned you, boy. If she dies, you die. Draw your weapon. I'm ending this now." Kisame pulled off his cloak, throwing it to the ground. Next, he ripped off his forehead protector, dropping it on top of his cloak. The downpour soon had his hair soaked, and the springy strands drooped around his harsh face. He took a step towards Kisho, who gripped his katana defensively.
"Wait, Kisame! I want to explain! We don't have to do this, man!" Kisho yelled.
"Man?" Kisame gave a hollow laugh. "The man you knew died when she did. All that remains now is the monster. And he will not be satisfied until you're rotting in Hell!" he shouted, charging.
Kisho drew his sword and raised it in front of him. It was obvious that the shark ninja was beyond reason. The only way to stop him now was to kill him. Bringing up his iron will, Kisho raced forward, and met him halfway. He brought his katana down, slicing into Kisame's arm as it was knocked back. Dodging a punch, Kisho jumped backward, just out of reach. Rushing forward, he attacked again, this time managing to slice into his shoulder.
He didn't get away unscathed. Kisame's fist made contact with his stomach, knocking the wind out of him and throwing him to the ground. He slowly rose to his feet, only to find the shark nin standing directly in front of him. He swung his sword again, aiming lower. He felt the blade slice into Kisame's side. Blood oozed out of the wound, running down to mingle with the rain in the thirsty ground. He seemed oblivious to the pain and punched Kisho in the face, knocking him back down. Head spinning, the crimson haired ninja lay there, nearly defeated.
Large hands were wrapped around his throat as a weight settled on his stomach. Kisho's eyes started bulging as his air was cut off. In a last ditch effort to save himself, he brought his sword up, and buried it in Kisame's chest. He felt warm liquid spray onto his face, mixing with the rain. His body starting fighting of its own will, pounding against the weight crushing his windpipe. Then a calm settled over him. It was no more than he deserved, really. He only hoped that wherever Hinata was, she would forgive him. Then the world tilted at a funny angle before everything went black and Kisho knew no more.
Kisame watched as blood slowly oozed out of Kisho's mouth. His body twitched one last time and went still. Rolling off of him, the shark ninja slowly pulled the katana out of his chest. Now that the battle was over, the pain from his wounds hit him full force. Panting heavily, he struggled to his feet. The rain was only a slight comfort as he made his way over to Samehada. He had to get out of here as fast as he could. There was no way in hell he was going to let the Iwa nins have the pleasure of finishing him off. When another flash of lightning hit, he could make out a canyon to the left. Since he didn't even have the strength left to hoist his sword to his shoulder, he let it trail behind him as he wandered toward the shelter of one of the caves he knew would be nearby.
Kisame glanced out of the cave entrance. The rain had finally stopped and it was getting close to dawn. He drew in another ragged breath before coughing again, spitting out blood. A shiver ran through his body. It was awfully damn cold for the middle of summer. It must be from exhaustion. A movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He had to try several times to bring his eyes into focus. Peering over to where Samehada sat, he smiled.
Resting atop the skull on the great sword's hilt sat a small black hummingbird with a pale lavender throat. It cocked its little head and looked at him. The fresh scent of lilacs wafted through the air. Suddenly, Kisame noticed that he no longer felt any pain or had trouble breathing. Finally, he would be able to rest. Closing his eyes, he sighed.
"Hinata..." he breathed. Wherever she was, he hoped she would forgive him.
Dawn broke and light streamed into the entrance. Small black wings, laced with blue, flapped rapidly and zoomed to freedom. A gentle breeze blew in, cleansing the air. Then all was still and the cave was devoid of life once more.
A/N: I don't usually pair an individual chapter with a song, but in this case I'm making an exception. If you listen to New Divide by Linkin Park, it matches this chapter so well, it's eerie, especially if you look at it from Kisho's point of view. Anyway, I want to thank everyone who reads this, I hope you enjoyed it. Your thoughts on how I did would be greatly appreciated. :)