Last Waltz by The Rasmus


GILDED BUTTERFLIES


Make me blind, cover my eyes
You can do what you want
I'm paralyzed by the perfect mood
When we're dancing with blindfolds on.

.00.
downhill from here

gil-ded: based on pretense; deceptively pleasing

He was beautiful. Just like Okaa-san had said. The morning sun shone bright yellow rays against his pale skin and made his irises sparkle like newly cut diamonds. His long brown hair was loose around his back and shoulders, waving like a curtain of chestnut-colored velvet behind him. His glittering eyes narrowed in the light slightly, his mouth curved into a charming smirk. Hyūga Hiashi was a prince indeed. He had driven up beside the curb in a big black car that was so perfect and new that one's reflection seemed to look more attractive if they'd stare into it long enough.

Okaa-san had said he'd come back.

Okaa-san had never lied to her before.

Holding a fistful of the reddest tulips in her mother's garden, Hinata took three tiny steps towards him and then immediately hopped back. Her heart was thundering inside of her little ribcage and it was getting difficult to breathe. She swallowed and blushed, her giddiness making her smile. The apples of her cheeks raised higher and higher, their color going from pale to pink to crimson. She looked up at her mother, marveled at the simple fact that she was nervous and wringing her long white dress in her hands. Her black hair was thrown to the side in spiraling curls and her pupils swept back and forth like a clock.

She began to bite at her red lips when Hyūga Hiashi straightened his black tie and stuffed his hands into his business suit bottoms and strode over to them. By the time he got into the front yard his kind smirk turned into a full blown frown. His thin brows furrowed. Okaa-san let go of the sob that she must've been holding and ran to him, wrapping her thin arms around his waist. She was a tiny five feet and Hyūga Hiashi was a staggering six feet and three inches. Okaa-san buried her tear-streaked face into his chest and looked up at him with wide dark eyes. "Oh, baby. Baby, I knew you'd come back to us. Hiashi, I love you." She smiled wide and gripped him tighter.

However, his gaze was not directed at the woman who was holding him. Instead, he was practically gawking at the little girl directly behind her; a little girl with long black hair and a white dress on. She was gently touching her mother's exposed leg where her dress had ridden and was intently staring back at him.

Finally, he looked at Okaa-san and said, "Who is this?"

She blinked a few times before she looked behind herself and saw her small daughter clutching her flowers. Okaa-san smiled softly and placed her hand on Hinata's head, ushering her forward. She stepped back from the man she loved and put her in between them. Hinata and Hiashi didn't break gazes once.

"Hiashi," Okaa-san whispered, "this is Hinata. My daughter." She glanced up at him. "Our daughter," she specified. He inhaled deeply through his nose. "I see." He bent in front of Hinata and hesitantly strung a large hand through her long hair. She grinned brightly and wrapped her arms around his neck in a fierce hug. He was unresponsive. When Hinata didn't feel his arms return her embrace, she pulled away from him. "Otou-sama?" she mumbled. He looked into her eyes, eyes identical to his own, and chuckled a bit. "I'm sorry, sweetheart. You just surprised me, that's all. It seems your mother has been keeping you a secret," he said, looking up at Okaa-san.

"She's very good at that," Hinata clarified and hugged him again. He was fascinated by her silky hair and pulled it around her shoulders. He did have to admit that Hinata was the prettiest little girl he'd ever seen. He could see she had her mother's hair and mouth, but his nose, ears, and chin. He held her hands in his and said, "Why don't you go…pick some more flowers, while your mother and I have a little chat." Hinata nodded and giggled when he kissed her forehead. She handed him the tulips and walked into the backyard and pass the garden. In her happiness, she didn't notice the small white, stray kitten she tripped over. The cat shrieked and ran around behind her, its icy blue eyes narrowed and black tipped ears pressed down on its head.

"Oh, Akiku!" she yelped. His menacing look turned into one of utter cuteness as he recognized who she was and snuggled under her leg. She petted him once or twice, feeling his softness, before a loud aggravated sound resounded through her ears. She crawled to the side of the garden beside her house, and from her hiding spot she could see her mother and father arguing. Okaa-san's hands were clenched into tight fists, her eyes filling with unshed tears. "What did you just say?" she seethed through gritted teeth. Hiashi reached out to tightly grip Okaa-san's small shoulders. "Have you lost your mind?"

"Kanae, you've ruined everything," he hissed.

Her lovely face twisted into one of sheer anger. She was absolutely livid. She jerked out of Hiashi's arms, tears falling down her red face. "You were just acting like you loved her," she said. "Why didn't tell me you were pregnant?" he scowled. She hugged herself. "You were in America so long. I kept trying to contact you, but your wife always answered the phone…" She turned even redder and shrank into herself. She had never, ever felt right about what they were doing, but that didn't mean Hiashi had to ignore his own daughter for the first seven years of her young life. "Kanae, listen to me. We didn't need her. I only wanted you."

"I love her," she said simply, crossing her arms.

"I thought you loved me?" he questioned, his silver eyes piercing her unnaturally dark ones.

"I do," she breathed. "I do love you."

Hyūga Hiashi reached for her to give her a kiss, but she pushed his chest. "But I love my daughter more. And if you can't accept her, then you can't have me." His face tinted ruby. "Fine," he spat. "You keep your wretched little girl. I'm going back to my wife." He threw the tulips in his hands and stomped them, before he began walking back to his car. Okaa-san's tears became more prominent and spilled down her chin in waves as she screamed after him, "Go then, you bastard! And don't ever show your fucking face back here again! Do you hear me, you fucking asshole?" He called her an evil bitch, opening the black door and climbing in. He started the car and drove off.

Hinata moved back behind the corner of the house and covered her mouth with her tiny hands. Her legs were brought to her chest, and Akiku was under them, his white head on one of her bare feet. She was crying, her whole body shaking. Why did her father not want her? Why did he already have a wife? Wasn't Okaa-san his wife? Why did he live in America, so far away? She buried her head into her knees and sobbed until she felt a soft, warm hand on her back. Hinata looked up quickly, only to see her mother. She smiled sadly and kissed the corner of her mouth. "Please. Please tell me you didn't hear that." Hinata bit her lip. "What does 'wretched' mean?"

Okaa-san then proceeded to burst into tears.


Four weeks and three days had passed (Hinata had counted) since Hyūga Hiashi's brief—and rather unpleasant—visit. She had brushed off her disappointment, cried a little bit, but her father was a stranger and she didn't see how she could miss him. However, he obviously was not a stranger to her okaa-san, because all her mother did was cry…and cry…and then cry some more. Sometimes she would start up in the middle of the night; loud sniffling noises and ear-splitting sobbing and constant blowing of the nose. Hinata felt like a new mother that had to wake up every hour and a half to tend to a new baby like the women that she sometimes watched on the television. She would rush into her mother's room and climb into bed with her, patting her back and kissing her shoulders until she fell asleep again.

It had been routine for the last four weeks and three days but it was tiring. How many seven-year-olds had to take care of their mother? Okaa-san would not eat or drink, so Hinata had to bring her cookies and bologna sandwiches and glasses of milk. She wouldn't answer the phone when it rang, or watch TV, or tend to their garden. She wouldn't even read bedtime stories anymore. Hinata found herself doing all these things alone, but what was the hardest was having to read the books. She didn't know many of the words.

Two more weeks after that, Hinata couldn't even get up in the night to comfort her mother because she was crying, too. Okaa-san was not being a grownup anymore. She was being a child, the child that Hinata was supposed to be.

One night when she was fast asleep in bed, her mother had barged into her room, smiling, laughing and crying, shaking her awake.

"Baby, wake up! Look, look, look! Look at what your father has sent me!" There was a white, large letter in her hands and she pressed it to her chest before sighing. "He sent me a letter; isn't that romantic?" Okaa-san scooted Hinata over and sat next to her, shoving the rose-scented envelope into her face. Okaa-san's name was scrawled onto the front.

"It's beautiful, no, Hinata?"

Hinata sat up in her bed, pushed the pink and white covers from her body, and ran to the bathroom to vomit up the contents of her stomach. At the time she wasn't exactly sure what had made her so sick, but hearing the word "father" made her insides churn like a meat processer. Okaa-san ran to her daughter's aid, pulling the hair back from her forehead. "Oh, baby, are you okay?" she whispered, helping her up to the sink. Okaa-san washed her mouth clean and picked her up.

They walked back to Hinata's bed where Okaa-san lied her down and soothingly stroked her hair. Hinata loved it when her mother stroked her hair. "Okaa-chan, why did otou-sama send you a letter?" She felt that calling him Hyūga Hiashi would hurt her mother's feelings. "Because, silly, he loves me!" her mother shouted, throwing her arms in the air.

She giggled her heart out, squeezing that piece of paper until it crinkled under her grip.

Hinata's small mouth made a sneering shape. "Really?" she asked, her eyes straying from the envelope. She got back under her covers and smothered her face until her pillow. Maybe if she did that long enough she would stop breathing.

"Honey," Okaa-san said. Her voice quieted. "I know the impression your father must've given, but he really is a wonderful man. He's paying for our house and everything. He loves us." She touched the crown of her daughter's pale white forehead with shaky fingers.

"I want to sleep," Hinata said. She could feel her eyes tearing up. She didn't want to cry in front of her mother, but could the woman actually be that stupid?

"I don't want to see him!"

"Hinata!"

"No! I hate him!"

Okaa-san stood and grabbed her by her shoulders, slightly shaking her. "Take that back!" she screeched, her voice taking on that of a three-year-old's.

How typical.

Hinata, completely in awe that her mother was acting this way, felt tears brim in the surfaces of her eyes—Hiashi's own grey eyes—and shrieked. She screamed and cried and fought against her mother's grip until Okaa-san gasped and, in her anger, struck Hinata across her tiny cheek. There was an instant silence that consumed the bedroom in that moment in which both mother and daughter were in utter shock. Okaa-san had her pale hands wrapped vice-like around her mouth, her strange colored eyes wide and bulged.

Hinata, however, was indifferent. Even though her hands were fisted in the sheets underneath her, her face was calm.

"Baby, I-I—" Okaa-san stuttered, tears filling her eyes. "God, I'm sorry! Oh, God. Baby, I love you, I'd never hurt you on purpose! I lo—"

"Okaa-san," Hinata said darkly. "I want to sleep."

"But, you really need to listen to what I have to say."

"I'm tired. Let me sleep! I want to sleep!" And now she was screaming again, the pain of the slap swimming through her face and making her lips slack. This was not okay. She could not forgive her mother for hitting her in such a way. She would not sit and watch Hyūga Hiashi destroy their very lives. She pushed Okaa-san's hands away when she tried to gently touch the spreading purple-pink mark on her cheek. Hinata buried herself under her covers and softly cried, soaking her pajamas and blocking out her mother's sobbing, apologetic voice. After about five minutes, Hinata felt the bed shift and she knew her mother had gotten up to leave the room, the letter still tightly in her grasp.

When she felt her eyes growing heavy, a warm, cool hand was placed on the back of her neck. She jutted up from the sheets, hair in complete disarray, and stared with wide eyes at Yuhi Kurenai.

The woman had been her nanny for nearly two years. Hinata wiped her face and pushed back the black strands of hair that were annoyingly blocking her vision. Kurenai smiled kindly, her blood red mouth stretching in a closed-mouthed grin. Hinata looked away from the woman's irregular red eyes and pretended as if it did not bother her. True, it scared her deeply, but her mother had convinced her that Kurenai's eyes were not strange. In fact, they enticingly beautiful and she should appreciate that she had such a caretaker. Kurenai sat her up slightly and leaned forward to kiss her on the forehead.

"Is your okaa-sama stressing out?"

Hinata didn't say anything. She turned her head and sang a small tune in her mind.

"She loves you, honey."

Silence.

"Hinata-chan, everything's going to be okay. You know what? Your mother asked me to take you on a little trip. We're going to the beach! Just me and you, hon." Hinata's head snapped to Kurenai. "Not Okaa-san?"

"Well, no, not this time."

"I don't want to go."

There was a very quick flash of something that passed in the nanny's red eyes. "You don't have a choice."


They drove to Hitomi Beach outside of a large city with one bag for each of them. Next to the beach was the Hitomi Resort, some two and a half star place that looked rather appealing from the outside. They were practically in the middle of nowhere, Hinata noticed, when she woke up from her nap and glanced out the window. There was nothing for miles except for ocean. Kurenai had the shiny, new black car parked in a small place that was crowded with not-so-nice-looking cars everywhere else.

Hinata cringed when Kurenai opened her door and roughly yanked her out the car. "C'mon, kid. We're here," she said, her bloody eyes glued to the hotel in front of them. She was wearing pink stilettos and a skin-tight, strapless white dress. Her black curls were tousled about her head lustrous waves, cascading down her back. Hinata frowned at the length of her shoes, but cracked a tiny smile at seeing the blue ocean. They were far away from it, but she could still see the sun setting on the azure waters. Kurenai had said they'd go down to it later. She let go of Hinata's hand for a moment to grab their bags. It's just for the weekend, Hinata kept reminding herself.

She reluctantly walked with her nanny to the entrance of the hotel and whined quietly at what she saw. There were men, dozens of them, coming out from the doors with sleazy looking women on their arms and drinks in their hands. One older looking man came out with a very young girl on his back, her legs wrapped tightly around his waist. There was black makeup and pink lip gloss smeared all over her face. Her brown hair was falling out of its ponytail, and her eyes were a beautiful, intoxicated light blue.

They were also leaking tears.

"C'mon, kid."

Hinata tightly closed her eyes and then opened them. Kid, huh?

Kurenai had started calling her that a lot. Maybe she forgot her name when Okaa-san wasn't around.

She nodded regardless, and walked with her hand-in-hand into the building, her nose scrunching up at the smell and her skin crawling at the aura this place held.

"Well, look who it is: Yuhi Kurenai-chan!" A large man walked over to them, eyeing them both. His eyes fell on Hinata, and he smiled. "Well, hello there…" His voiced slurred a little. He bent to her height and she could smell his breath, reeking of alcohol and smoke. She quickly hid behind Kurenai's long legs. "Hey! Stay back, Gai!" The man backed away at seeing Kurenai's mean face. "O-Oh! This youthful flower of beauty is...yours?" he asked. Kurenai threw her head back and laughed. "No way! Me? Kids? Get real."

Hinata looked down at her feet.

"Did someone say Kurenai?" A tall, muscular man came down the steps of the lobby. He had a hand-made cigarette in his mouth, tanned skin, and black hair. Kurenai's face lit up when she saw him and she ran over to him.

Hinata followed her quickly, seeing as how that Gai man was still leering at her.

"I've missed you so much…" Kurenai said to the man. He kissed her passionately on the lips and Hinata could hear whistles and cat calls in the back. What kind of hotel is this? She was so young and confused. There were naked women holding onto men around their necks and kissing and hugging and whispering. Hinata even saw one woman who had a big, pregnant belly and no shirt on. Babies aren't supposed to have smoke around them.

"Well, who's this?" the man that was kissing Kurenai asked. "Yours…?"

"No," she said, "the lady I work for."

"She's such a pretty little girl. My name's Sarutobi Asuma. What's yours?" Hinata blushed crimson and stuttered out, "M-My n-name is H-H-Hinata." Asuma stared down at her with a devilish look on his face. She hid further behind Kurenai. She began to dislike being called pretty. "It's nice to meet you. So," he turned back to Kurenai, "what's her ma look like, eh?"

She rolled her eyes and pushed on his chest, but grumbled out, "Spitting image."

Asuma tilted his head to the side and smiled. Then she must look like a goddess.

Loud music and shouts started coming from the room around the corner. Hinata could hear the hollers of men, like "Gimme more!" and "Yeah, baby!" She felt tears sting her eyes. This place was scaring her and she wanted to go home. She was jumping at the smallest sounds; hear heart was hammering inside of her chest, numbing her ribcage. "Would you like a drink?" Asuma asked, kissing Kurenai again. "Arigotou," she mumbled and followed him to a huge bar filled with alcohol. "What about the kid?"

"Just get her some water." When the clear aqua was handed to Hinata by the old bartender, she drank it down appreciably. Only when she opened her eyes, did she notice some of the drunken men staring at her.

"Get a life! She's just a little girl!" Kurenai yelled.

"Let's go upstairs to a room," Asuma suggested, wrapping his strong arms around her bodacious figure. Hinata wasn't sure exactly what to do at that point, but she definitely was not going to stay in the lobby with all those weird men. One man even had the audacity to grab a lock of her hair and pull her towards him. She screamed and threw her water glass at his bare feet, shards of the crystalline substance stabbing his toes. She ran after her nanny as fast as her feet would take her and sighed deeply when she spotted them together in one of the hotel rooms.

"So, how's it been?" Kurenai asked her—Hinata assumed—boyfriend.

She had curled herself up on the older woman's side on a hard bed. "Well, strippers have been coming in and out asking for work, but none of them have been as good as you were, baby," Asuma responded, putting his arms behind his head and leaning back into the chair he was in. Kurenai giggled. Hinata tilted her head to the side, eyes wide. She knew what that was. Sometimes, when they would go into town, people would shout those kinds of words at Okaa-san. When she asked Okaa-san what they meant, she'd just shake her head and smile. Tell her that those people were just jealous and sad because she had a beautiful daughter and a great man, Hyūga Hiashi. But she had learned the meaning anyway. Hinata then came out of her revere and realized one thing.

This was not a hotel.

In her distraction and utter fear, she barely noticed when Asuma lifted her into the air and placed her on the sticky chair he'd been sitting in. He crawled on the bed closer to Kurenai and laid her down under him, lining her neck with fierce kisses. One of his hands searched under her dress for her panties, while the other tugged at her hair. It wasn't until Hinata sniffed loudly that they both finally stopped. She was crying, tears rolling down her cheeks and plopping onto the nasty hardwood floors. Where was Okaa-san? Why had she agreed to let Kurenai take heranywhere? She wiped her bright red face and cried harder when she realized that Okaa-san had dumped her on the nanny to spend time with her father. It all made sense. He had sent a letter to let her know he was coming, so Okaa-san had to drop her and quick.

"Asuma-kun…" Kurenai mumbled. "Not now. Not in front of the kid." Asuma shrugged and kissed her again. "Iie, stop," she said. "She's heard our entire conversation. She'll tell her mother…" Hinata folded her arms over her torso when the man came stomping over to her from the bed. "You won't tell, will you? Because if you do…" He reached into his pants pocket, bringing out a small knife and grabbing her face, squeezing her cheeks until her lips puckered, "I'll find you and cut that pretty little tongue out of your mouth." She nodded like her life depended on it, and ran passed him into Kurenai's arms.

"Asuma-kun! Don't say things like that to her!" He came over to Hinata and picked her up so she was straddling his waist. "Feh, she won't tell now." He walked to the door, opened it, and put her down outside the room on the floor. She looked up at him, obviously terrified, and then at Kurenai, who was looking at her long nails. She bit her rouge-colored bottom lip and glanced at Hinata from the corner of her eye. She looked like she wanted to say something, but she silently shook her head to herself and lay down on the bed. Asuma quickly waltzed back into the room to grab a heavy, thick gray blanket. He threw it to the ground, smiled smugly, and then pointed to it. "Stay here for a while, kid. Don't you come back 'til Kitty comes to get you."

K-Kitty?

An old name.

She nodded hesitantly.

"If you do, I'll come out and feed your pretty ass to the rats."

She began to cry again.

He laughed. "That's more like it, Hinatro!" He walked back in and shut the door hard in her face. "M-My name i-is H-Hinata…" She sat on the back of her heels and blubbered and cried in her small hands. Okaa-chan…Okaa-chan, I need you. Does Otou-sama mean more to you than…than me? Hinata couldn't think about it anymore. It made her head numb and her mouth strangely dry. She just curled into a small ball and wiped her tears. All through the night, the disturbing sounds of Kurenai and Asuma's erotic moans and groans taunted her, adding to the sounds of the rats in the hallway that were snickering at her misfortune.


"Get out!"

When glass breaks, it is a very distinctive sound. Some find it right out horrid the way it shatters and cracks. Hinata could only describe it as revolting; the worst sound she'd ever heard in her life. It made her ears sting and her heart quicken. When the glass broke from behind the door of Kurenai and Asuma's room, Hinata felt the pieces stab straight into her seven-year-old heart. She got up from the dirty, smelly blanket she'd slept under and walked briskly into the room. She was surprised when she saw Sarutobi Asuma running out with his hands covering his head. Kurenai was settled on the bed with her hands on her face, sobbing. She had on nothing but her underwear. Hinata walked up to her, being sure not to stab her bare, soft feet on the glass. Kurenai's breasts had awful teeth marks all over them, and her one of her nipples were bleeding. There were purple bruises all over her neck and shoulders and her lips were split. Hinata wanted to cry. "Did he beat y-you up?" she whispered, her hand reaching out to touch the woman's bright red clavicle.

"W-What happened?" she pressed. "Are you o-okay?" Kurenai did not answer. She caught Hinata's hand and raised it to her swollen lips to kiss each fingertip. "Oh, you're beautiful," she slurred.

Hinata frowned. "Stop that," she said seriously without her nervous stutter. "I want my mother."

Kurenai tossed her head back and laughed, pressing Hinata's hand under one of her breasts where her heart was. She leaned in close and kissed her nose. "Do you feel that beating? It means that I love you. Feel!" she pressed it closer, harder. Hinata felt her eyes water. Kurenai's skin was ice. "Oh, it's getting faster. You see, when a heart gets fast, it means its feeling something—something beautiful." Her eyes darkened. "Your mother's heart does not beat this way." Hinata blinked. "What?"

"It only beats for Hiashi. When he's not around, her heart is just…dead fucking weight in her chest. You'll see!" She was drunk. "Kanae doesn't love you like I do, Hinata. I'll be your mother. God, you're a beautiful girl…" When she tried to kiss her again, Hinata scrambled off the bed and backed into the corner of the room, her hands over her mouth. No. Kurenai was lying. She didn't know anything about what Okaa-san felt. "Hinata," she whined. "Come touch me. Please? Will you touch me?"

"Take me home!" Hinata cried, banging her fists against the wall behind her. Kurenai tipped her head. "I think I hate men now," she mumbled. "Bunch of lying bastards, they are. Don't you evertrust a man, Hinata. They just eat away until there's nothing left but the bone, and then they move on to the next course." And then Kurenai began to cry again, begging Hinata to come touch her. She wouldn't get up from her spot, however, until Kurenai finally sobered up and came back to life, got their bags from downstairs where a man and woman were having feverish sex on a table and left for home. Hinata cried the whole way there.

She did not even get to touch the waters of the ocean.


Hinata was not quiet about what had transpired at the non-hotel. When she first saw her mother, sitting in a lawn chair with her black hair in her face and her eyes focused on a magazine, she wanted to spit on her. But she was ecstatic to be back at home where things made sense, and as soon as Kurenai went into the kitchen to get a few drinks, Hinata spilled her soul. Okaa-san was furious. She got up out of the chair and marched into the house, her eyes glossed with tears. Kurenai was holding two lemonades and bottled water, and Okaa-san smacked her across the cheek, sending the drinks flying to the floor. Hinata gasped, stepping back and covering her eyes. "You filthy, rotten whore! You dirty bitch! You took my daughter to your fucking stripping-prostitute joint, did you? I could kill you!"

Kurenai wiped her wet face and surprisingly did not strike Okaa-san back. "You left her in my care."

"I didn't think you'd be a fucking asshole about it! How could you? She's barely seven!"

"You're the bitch who dumps her on an ex-prostitute so you could fuck a man that doesn't give two shits about you! How long was he here, Kanae? A day? Congrats; you're just as evil as me." She wrung out her hair. Okaa-san slapped her again. "You fucking put your hands on my daughter and told her to touch you! What the fuck? And you had some strange, awful man threatening her! You are sick; you fucking practically molested Hinata!" Kurenai bit her lip hard when she touched her bruised face.

"You're fired," Okaa-san spat. Kurenai rolled her eyes and walked to the table to pick up her purse, slinging it over her shoulder and throwing back her wet black hair. "I'll guess I'll go back to what I do best," she mumbled, straining her gaze on Okaa-san and then onto Hinata, who buried herself into her mother's soft white calves. She smiled, sickeningly sweet, and pursed her lips. "See ya," she said. Hinata, at that particular moment, never really knew who she was talking to; her or Okaa-san? The ex-nanny briskly exited the kitchen and then the house. Okaa-san dropped down onto the floor and her daughter came tumbling down with her, their dark hair falling over their shoulders. Okaa-san began to cry, her lips trembling as she held onto Hinata's hand and began to mumble.

"Okaa-chan?" Hinata whispered. Oh, no. Was she relapsing back into her self-pitying phase? Okaa-san lifted her head up high and gave a heart-wrenching smile. "We have to leave, honey."

"W-What? Why? To where?" Hinata's heart was racing. Okaa-san's tears were rivers now. "I don't know, love. I just don't know." She wove her hands through her hair, pulling it out of her eyes. Hinata was confused. She had left with Kurenai in order for her mother to supposedly spend time Hyūga Hiashi. She had gotten a wonderful letter from him, and he had supposedly come to the house, and now they suddenly had to leave? It wasn't adding up. "Why?" she asked again. Okaa-san looked at her through her tears. "Well, baby. Ah, your otou-sama…is having a hard time getting the money for the mortgage, so…we have to go. But it's alright! We'll get another house—a better house—all too soon, you'll see." She swiped the upturned, slightly freckled tip of her nose and then tapped her daughter's straight, thin one. "You look like Hiashi," she gasped, and once again the tears were rolling. Hinata didn't cry. She was tired of crying. Instead, she simply tossed her head back so that she couldn't look at her mother and closed Hiashi's gray eyes, put her hands over Hiashi's pointed ears, scrunched Hiashi's perfect nose, and felt his forehead tighten as well. But her lips. Her pink-red mouth stayed the same shape it had been in since that morning; pulled down into a frown.

She wasn't all Hiashi. Her mouth was Kanae's.

Three days passed in which they began to prepare their things to leave, and Hinata came to one conclusion during one of the most critical times in her young life.

Okaa-san's parents hated her. After they had packed their clothes into various suitcases and Okaa-san had signed some papers to give to an important looking man, they got into their small silver car to see what the grandparents could do for them. They lived in the busy town, smack dab in the middle of two candy stores. Hinata didn't very much like it. She was used to the quiet of the country; the solitude is what put her to sleep every night.

When Okaa-san had knocked on the crème' colored door, an old woman that looked like a shriveled, short version of her opened it and immediately frowned. "Kaa-san…" Okaa-san had said. The woman sighed deeply, stringing her fingers through short, choppy brown hair. "Oh, Kanae. What…What are you doing here?" she seethed. She then looked down at Okaa-san's side, where Hinata was clutching her hip tightly.

"Is that—?"

"My daughter," Okaa-san finished.

"Get out of here."

"Okimi? Who's at the door?" An older man came out from the back. "No," he said once his eyes landed on Hinata's mother. He shook his head and walked back into the room he came from. "Get out, Kanae! Your unholy antics bring dishonor to our family," he wheezed. "You disgust me."

Okaa-san's nostrils flared a bit as her grip on Hinata's hand tightened considerably. "Kaa-san," she whispered angrily. Hinata hugged her mother tighter, leaving nail marks under her shirt, on her hip and stomach. She raised her arms up and her mother lifted her, smothering her little head into her bosom. The woman called Okimi let out a strained cry and slowly shut the door in Okaa-san and her daughter's faces.


She listened to the rain pitter-patter against the tin cups that she'd placed under the roof to keep the floor from turning into a pond. Her legs, much longer now, were pulled up at her chest and crossed at the ankles, pale white hands holding them there in place. Everything about her face seemed much sharper. The baby fat from that of a seven-year-old had melted away, leaving sharp cheeks and an elegant brow. Her mouth had gotten fuller, lips pouty and pink, while she no longer contained a short torso and a flat chest. Her hair was way too long, growing out pass her bottom and her bangs—both the front and the side ones—were getting rather irritating. She was planning on chopping all of it off with the rusted shears she'd found earlier that week.

The pretty little seven-year-old was now a beautiful eleven-year-old.

And, God, she hated that word. All of them. Every single word that could describe someone good-looking was trash. If those words had a body she would spit on them. Her life had become a never-ending carousel ride; it went around and around and around, singing the same old tune. And she was about to vomit. After being kicked out of every hotel because of lack of money, she and the woman that used to be her mother settled in a small shack settled right by the blue ocean. Sometimes she liked to sit on the hot sand of the beach and watch the waves move back and forth. She never got into though, God, no. It was completely filthy. So many sailors—sometimes even from different countries—would dock their ships or boats on the nearby harbor and pay visits to Okaa-san. She would have to leave the shack while the sailor—sometimes two—would close themselves up in the room she and Okaa-san slept in for an hour or two.

She wasn't an idiot. The night at Hitomi Beach with Kurenai had awaked the part of her brain that didn't know what sex was. She knew what it sounded like to have sex and she knew that that was what her mother had been doing for the past two years. A year before that, a man who called himself Kanji and nothing else came to give Okaa-san a proposition. She didn't know the details for she had not been in the room at the time, but she got the gist. Kanji would accept money from the sailors that came and greedily count it while they closed the door to the only bedroom. Every time that door closed, a piece of her heart broke off. The sailors would even talk to her once in awhile. They'd touch her hair and tell her she was beautiful; tell her they'd come back when was just a smidge older.

She was tired of it.

She got up from her spot on the floor and wiped her forehead where some rain droplets had landed. She made a mission to talk to her mother since they had not spoken in a few weeks. Okaa-san had been paying more attention to Kanji lately.

"Okaa-san," she said when she opened the door. The name was sour on her tongue, almost foreign. Kanae would've sounded better leaving her lips. Her mother was sitting up in bed, staring into space with her rosary clutched tightly in between her fingers. She'd found it on the shores of the beach when they had first arrived there. It was made of some kind of black marble—obsidian glass. There were also little tiny emeralds, rubies, and sapphires on it. All in all, the rosary looked rather valuable. She was rubbing it in her red hands and mumbling, playing with the thick satin ribbon that it bore around the ends, tied together in small bows. She coughed and held the cool stone on her face, whispering words that were not coherent. Her daughter sighed. Okaa-san laid her head back and closed her eyes. "What is it, Hinata?" she croaked. Hinata had forgotten what her name sounded like for a second. She blinked and wiped her lips. "You s-should go to the doctor."

Okaa-san looked horrid. Her waist was abnormally thin and her scent was sickly. She coughed like someone was squeezing her lungs in an iron grip and her eyes and cheeks were puffy and swollen. She had thin, pink scars down her sagging face that ran down her arms and legs in quick, sharp lines. And her eyes. Hinata could only describe them as completely hollow. Her mother was the very embodiment of death. Hinata cringed at the thought and walked to the bed to lie down beside her. She was still staring up with half-lidded eyes, seemingly trying to morph her rosary into her for she held it so tightly. Hinata sniffed. Okaa-san sneezed. "Tell me a story, honey," she whispered, her vocal cords torn to pieces because of her late night screaming. "What kind of story?"

"Any kind, love. I'm very tired."

Hinata nodded and began to make up a fairytale in her head about a princess that lost everything, but then met a fabulous prince who asked for her hand in marriage and then they lived happily. She was so deeply engorged in her imagination that she didn't hear her mother whisper two words that would've meant the world to her; the two words that she always wanted her to say. She didn't feel her mother's trembling hand close around her arm or the way her chest heaved up and down before collapsing. Only when she heard a strangled puff of last breath did she stop talking. "Okaa-san?" she asked. But Okaa-san didn't respond. She wasn't breathing. Her daughter's story hadn't entranced her into a deep, opened-eye sleep. No. She was dead.

Hinata was at first completely startled, and then realization sunk in deep and she went near half mad. "Okaa-san! What is it? Iie, iie, iie! Onegai, Okaa-san, don't die!" she cried, placing her head in between her mother's cold bosom. "I'll be a good girl! I won't be in the way anymore. Please, Okaa-chan, you can't leave me! You can't leave me! Don't go!" She snatched the rosary out of her mother's freezing hands and put her ear on her her skin, listening attentively for a heartbeat, for something beautiful, before Kanji ran quickly into the room. "Hinata!" he shouted. His eyes landed on Okaa-san who had turned a deadly blue hue. She screamed at him to go away and looked down at her mother. She saw the way her forehead was creased and how her earlobes were a little big. She saw the awkwardness of her upturned, black freckled nose and the way her hair fell in choppy cuts around her. She saw the weird slope of her chin and the too-pointed cheek bones, the deep clavicle and the pasty skin. She saw the short eyelashes and the wrinkled lids. And under them, she saw the strange colored eyes that no one could name the color of. They were not brown, blue, green, hazel, or grey, and no mixture. They were black; solid, haunting black. And that was when Hinata noticed finally noticed it, with tears falling from her eyes.

Her mother had never really been that pretty.

"No!"

She fell onto her and clutched at her arms, nails digging into the sagging flesh. Her tears were burning her now raw cheeks and she tried to choke Kanji when he attempted to pry her from Okaa-san. She was screaming, banging her head against his broad chest while he looked for a garbage bag. She looked up at him, scowling darkly at his frazzled red hair and fat face, and the truth hit her like a thousand bricks. She was all alone. "Ah, what am I going to do with a kid?" Kanji sighed. Hinata panicked. "Kanji-oji-san…I c-can stay wi-with you! Y-You can be m-m-my father!" Where on earth was Hyūga Hiashi?

"No, Hinata. But I know where you can go." Her heart hammered. She looked down and saw that she was still holding the black rosary. She fell to her knees and sobbed into the obscure marble. "W-Where?" she choked. He smirked and it gave her chills. "We're going to town." She wrapped her arms around his thick neck and let her long bangs blind her eyes. They persuaded a group of men at the dock to get them to the inner city and arrived at a very large building with flashing lights and a decorative picture of a small girl with a swimsuit, followed by a half-naked woman with flowing bronze-colored hair. Kanji entered the lobby and a petite woman was standing at the desk with a pen in her hand. Her mouth was slightly agape, a look of miniature anger pinching her brow. "Uh, mister? Are you sure you're in the right place?" she practically seethed. It was dark and Hinata clung to Kanji's shirt like her life was on the line. "Yeah, I was told a pretty little girl like Hinata here would fit in nicely!" He was pissed drunk. Hinata could smell it on his breath now that she was so close to him. The woman sighed. "Bring her in. But, dammit, I warn you; you're doing the wrong thing…" Kanji didn't even seem to hear her.

Hinata gulped.

The three went up to a room where another woman was sorting all kinds of makeup. Kanji put Hinata beside him and the black-haired woman sat down in a chair. "Hi, my name's Shizune. Yours?"

"H-Hinata."

"Hm, you're so pretty. Ichiko-san, let's make Hinata-chan look nice." Ichiko, a woman with large blue eyes and orange hair, nodded and escorted Hinata to a fancy bathroom. The whole room was porcelain and she was awe struck at how pretty it was. After a bath, a new silky dress, and tons of makeup added to her face, Hinata appeared to be a geisha. "Come this way," Ichiko said softly. Nodding and moving hair out of her eyes, Hinata followed her to another room where many men and Kanji were standing, gripping the rosary. It was taking everything in her not to curl in fetal position and sob her guts out. Ichiko quickly ran out of the room. Hinata frowned and Kanji waved to her. The men turned and smiled.

"Well, you've got her!" exclaimed Kanji, laughing. "Where's my motherfuckin' money?" One man, that had not turned yet, snapped his pale fingers. At once, all the men gathered around Kanji and strangled him with a black cord. Hinata, still standing in the doorway, screamed. The men stopped and backed away from him. His mangled body was left on the floor, blood pooling around his head. With another harsh snap, they grabbed his over-weight form and dragged him out the room.

When everyone was gone, and Hinata was left on the floor in a state of permanent shock, the pale man knelt down in front her. "Why, hello there." His face was white, purple markings were painted by his liquid gold eyes, his hair was long and black, and when he spoke, his voice reminded her of a snake's warning hiss.

Hinata was terrified.

He smiled at her. "You, my dear, are much too pretty for paint." He began to wipe all the makeup from her face, before lifting her up and placing her on a large bed with black silk sheets near a window. Hinata looked around herself frantically, every limb attached to her body trembling with fear. She was sure that the snake-man was going to swallow her whole like they did the rats and birds that she used to watch on the television at home. He put a cold hand underneath her bangs and swept them up, exposing her whole face. At the skin-to-skin contact, Hinata squirmed and released a blood-curdling scream. Once she started, she couldn't stop. Her hands pushed his away, her throat raw from shrieking. The man scowled and slapped her cheek, sending waves of pain through her entire face and making her eyes sting with tears. She had been hit in the face twice now. The memory burned her skull.

"You're so beautiful… a tenshi…"

Hinata wrapped her arms around herself as he began to unbutton his shirt. She backed away, but her hand slipped on the silk sheets. She fell right onto her back, legs spread. The man held her small feet in place and grinned down at her. "That's it…you'll be my beautiful little tenshi, my little angel…" She screwed her eyes shut when he tugged at her dress, running his fingertips over her inner thighs and licking her cheek. But she couldn't fight him off. "You can call me Orochimaru, Tenshi."

From that moment on, life had officially stopped, and she had been tossed one hundred feet into the deepest pits of hell.


Thanks so much for reading.