AN: Because April Fool's is the most ironic day to update this after months of waiting. B)

(More like the beta asked me what the hell in a very subtle polite manner and I finally wrote this.)

Chapter Nine

The obnoxious beeping of the alarm clock near her head awoke Hinata as she slept in bed that morning. Eyes blearily blinked opened as her hand fumbled to turn it off before sitting up properly in bed, the sheets falling down to rest at her waist. She barely registered the early hour that she had been waking up at for the past two weeks before she automatically slid out of bed. If she lingered she knew the urge to go back to sleep would hit her.

In a few moments her mind was clearer and she moved around her room, pulling on this white shirt, grabbing that pair of beige capris, and putting her last clean pair of scrubs on her bed by her pillow. She made a mental note to do laundry tonight seeing as she would not have to go meet Temari, Gaara, and Kankuro. She paused by her nightstand to look at a binder she had placed there last night. Inside were various papers related to the hospital, as well as things for her class.

She was looking forward to seeing how well they would do on the quiz she had for them today. A mixture of technical descriptions of where certain chakra points were and hands on use with a dummy, she hoped they would once again show her how devoted they were to being better at their job to the advantage of their village. It was nice just to watch their determination sometimes. Hinata picked the binder up and slipped it into a bag, placing her folded scrubs inside too. Well, she would find out in an hour or so.

She bent down and pulled her sandals to her, putting them on quickly and grabbing her bag. With a quick glance around the room to make sure she hasn't forgotten anything, she opened the door and headed to the hospital.

The sun was just rising as Hinata walked down the street, and other villagers walked around her and past her as everyone tried to get to their respective location before the sun came up and started to heat the air. A shinobi with a messenger band on his arm jogged past her, and Hinata wondered when she would see the message Gaara said he would send to her today. It would be nice if they could do their next lesson tomorrow while she was still full of confidence from yesterday's lesson, and had some ideas for the next fresh in her mind. But if he could not, then that was how it had to be. Whatever Gaara was working on as Kazekage was certainly more important than the simple tips she was trying to give him!

"Hey, Tauro, wait up!" Hinata stepped out of the way automatically as two children shot past, a little girl with dark hair chasing after a boy about her age.

"Hurry up Navi, or we'll be late and Sensei will scold us again!" The boy shouted back, and both disappeared around a corner, their shouts quickly fading. Hinata smiled to herself, realizing they must be attending an academy. She had never been late like those two though; Neji made sure the both of them were always early to school and on time getting back to the compound even as children. Hinata looked thoughtfully at the building the two kids had disappeared behind, wondering if she should send her own letter to her cousin. She had already been gone from Konoha for two weeks, and had yet to hear from anyone in Konoha. Perhaps they were waiting for a letter from her first.

Hinata nodded decisively to herself and continued on her way to work, pushing thoughts of letters to the back of her mind until she got off later.

"It's right here on the deltoid, right?" The man placed his index finger on the dummy's arm, continuing, "and if I apply chakra it will heal that muscle along with the trapezius muscle, the triceps, and the acromion muscle." Hinata beamed and nodded approvingly, and the man grinned before stepping back into line with the other eight medics. He had been the last to go, and Hinata was delighted with everyone's results. There had been one or two minor mistakes that had to be corrected, but overall everyone had done wonderfully. And she told them so.

"That was extraordinary work, everyone! I'm more than pleased with your progress." Her class either blushed, grinned or accepted the praise calmly according to their nature, but she could tell they were all happy with the praise. She dismissed them for lunch and turned to clean up a bit.

"I've never seen medic nin look so happy. Did you tell them they were all going on vacation or something?" Hinata turned to see Temari grinning in the doorway.

"Temari! Oh, yes, they just did very well on a quick quiz I assigned them today, so I gave them an early lunch. It's been slow today anyway." Temari nodded and walked forward to hand Hinata a rolled up piece of paper.

"It's from Gaara. He insisted on writing it down even though I already know what it says. He already got those daimyos to back down and agree to his terms for the water distribution, so if you're still free tomorrow night you two can continue with the next lesson." Hinata smiled and nodded, tucking the paper into her bag. She would read it later in case Gaara said anything else, but Temari already told her what she was mainly curious about.

"I don't have anything planned at the moment besides getting some lunch and stopping by the post office." Temari smiled and jabbed a thumb towards the door.

"Really? Sounds like my schedule. Want to grab some lunch together?"

"Alright."

After a few minutes of casual debate, they went back to the smoothie shop in the marketplace. This time they also picked up pre-made sandwiches with their drinks, and sat by the window. As they ate small conversations about the weather, people walking by the window and work were started and stopped. Setting her empty glass down, Temari looked curiously at Hinata.

"So, there's something I've been curious about, Hinata." Looking away from an old lady arguing with a fruit vendor across the street, Hinata turned to look at the older woman.

"What is that, Temari?" She replied, tilting her head and putting her sandwich down onto its wrapper spread out on the table.

"Well, I've heard a few rumors about you being banished from the Hyuuga Clan?" Hinata's eyes widened for a moment before she scowled, catching Temari by surprise. It was the first time she'd seen even a hint of anger in the young woman.

"That's not how it happened at all." Hinata said stiffly, knowing that her family must have spread this rumor around to avoid having to admit that their heir had washed her hands of them and their clan head. "I was the one to tell my father that I was no longer willing to be heiress to the clan, and left. I was not told to do this, or asked to. I was exasperated with the traditions of my family, and I knew that I was heir in name only. My father has wanted my younger sister as heir since before I made genin. I simply made things easier for him." Hinata huffed and placed her palms flat on the table to keep her hands from fisting. She should have known that one of the few times she had stood up for herself would have been twisted around like this.

Temari watched Hinata carefully, knowing the young woman spoke the truth and surprised at the difference in temperament from when Hinata had first arrived here. 'She's just as fiery as the rest of those Konoha Ninja. She just doesn't let it show all of the time I suppose. Nothing worse than underestimating your enemy.' Temari hid a grin behind her sandwich as she took a bite, letting Hinata regain control of her emotions. 'It looks like her father did just that!'

Hinata took a deep breath and a sip of her smoothie before looking Temari in the eye. "I'm sorry that I got angry. But you must know, as the daughter of a high-ranking shinobi like the Kazekage, and brother to one now, the expectations that come with your position. I did not come easily to the power I have now, and my use of the Byakugan for medical purposes is… unusual for my family. Strength and control in both body and mind are valued by the Hyuuga, and my weakness as a genin, as well as my stuttering, caused my family to treat me with disdain." Temari smiled and leaned forward across the table, almost knocking her glass over, to pat Hinata on the shoulder.

"I get it. Well, I'll let Gaara know the truth. You won't be slandered here, Hinata." Temari gave her a lopsided smile and leaned back.

"Thank you Temari. We've only known each other for a couple weeks intimately, but… you're a really good friend." Hinata smiled gratefully at the Sand kunoichi, and Temari grinned back.

"You too, Hinata. Trust me, you don't even know how much you've done for me." She stood up and grabbed her trash, throwing it into the bin nearby before turning to look at Hinata.

"Well, now that we're done eating, you want to go head to the post office?"

Hinata nodded and stood up to throw her things away, and then walked with Temari out of the restaurant and towards the post office down the street, both woman comfortably chatting about the stalls they passed and the weather again. Both happily thinking with satisfaction on the new friendship established.

At the post office, Hinata purchases the paper and envelope to jot down a letter to Neji, Ino, and Sakura, all asking after their health and what they have been up to, as well as a few general comments about her time in Suna. In Neji's she asks him that if the Hyugga family is telling a different account of the events surrounding her departure, if he could at least make sure all of their friends know the truth.

Temari digs an envelope out of her pocket and hands it over to the person at the desk when Hinata is done. Outside, they part ways until tomorrow, Hinata back to the hospital and Temari back to her brother.


Chapter Ten up soon? Yes, actually. If it's not up on the 3rd you can all come find me and beat me with a brick, mmkay? (You'll actually be saving me from my Multisim Circuitry homework but you won't know that. Shh, just accept it and clobber me with the brick now.)

Or Review? I don't know.