On A Whim
-o- Ichi -o-
Jihi no katannakoui
A Simple Act Of Mercy
His steps were quick, but lacked his usual stealth as he trudged down the familiar road. At the end of this road, were the gates of Konoha, and beyond that, his future.
He still couldn't believe he'd done it, yet forced his mask of indifference to stay in place. He could think things over later, it was dangerous now. He had to move quickly, yet not draw suspicion. He had to remain calm.
He stopped suddenly, at the sound of hurried footsteps. They were far too light to be an adult, yet the pace was frantic, desperate. He could taste the fear in the air before the source even came close and was surprised when something crashed into his side.
Looking down he saw it was a child, a girl. She was small, yet seemed around his little brother's age. He ignored the pang in his heart when she looked up at him, wide innocent eyes filled to the brim with tears.
"You shouldn't be out this late at night, it's not safe," he said to her, his voice bland, almost bored to his own ears. She shook her head frantically, making her short dark locks sway. "No?" he questioned, not understanding her.
"I-it's not s-safe b-b-back there," she whispered, clearly frightened.
He didn't have time for this, he had to leave before they found him.
"Why?" he asked. He noticed her shiver, and a small hand went to her cheek for a moment.
"O-t-tousama… He-he's angry…" she stammered. Another pang.
"I'm sure it's not…" but he was cut off when she suddenly clutched his pant leg, her small fingers grasping it tightly.
"Y-you don't un-understand! O-o-otousama is r-really a-angry!" she cried, looking up at him desperately. Didn't he know what it meant when her father was angry?! Didn't he know? He bent down to try and calm her, he needed to leave, he couldn't stay here. But his words were lost when he finally took a good look at her face. A dark bruise was starting to form along the left side of her face, starting from her temple, darkening around her left eye, and spreading down, along her small jaw. She'd been hit, and pretty hard at that.
"What happened to you?" he asked and her bottom lip quivered, the tears spilling out leaving silver tracks down her face.
"Otousama is angry," she mumbled.
She flinched violently at the shout and pressed herself against his leg, as though wishing she could melt into him and hide. His hands wrapped around hers to pry them from him, but he was stopped when he noticed the small bruises among her arms. Jyuuken attacks no doubt. He knew she was a Hyuuga, but this treatment was extremely rough. He'd seen Hyuuga children before, but none were in this state.
And this girl was the heiress if he wasn't mistaken, so why on earth was she covered in so many bruises. Wasn't she supposed to be protected?
"P-please," she begged, her face pressed into his leg. "P-p-please d-don't let the b-bad men take m-me to O-t-t-tousama!"
He had to leave! He couldn't let anyone see him!
"There you are you little brat," a man said heading towards them. He had the traditional Hyuuga eyes and dark hair, but seemed to be a branch member, though his forehead was covered. Without hesitation, he grabbed hold of the back of her shirt and practically ripped her from his leg. "My apologies Itachi-san, the little rat ran away."
"Onegai!" Hinata half screamed but was slapped and fell silent, tears coursing down her face.
"Off on a mission?" the Hyuuga asked, yanking on the small girls arm when she struggled too hard and ignoring her small whimpers.
"Yes," Itachi replied, glancing down at the near hysteric girl. Catching his gaze the Hyuuga smirked.
"Little Hinata-sama's going to get a thrashing for running away," the branch member said, he almost sounded smug. It was sickening.
"I see," Itachi replied. Hinata had slumped now and was hanging from her arm. She was still sniffling but seemed to have given up her attempts of escape.
"We'll leave you to your mission," the Hyuuga said, and with a sharp tug almost dislocated the young girls shoulder. "Come along brat, you've got a punishment to receive."
"Hyuuga," Itachi said, catching the man's attention. The Hyuuga didn't have time to react before Itachi's eyes had turned red. Hinata screamed when she felt the grip loosen on her arm, her eyes wide from the slice and thud as the branch members head fell to the floor. She quickly stumbled away from the bloody mess, trembling at the gore.
"I-i-itachi-sama?" she stuttered out, remembering how the branch member had called him.
"Go to a teacher and explain your abuse, they should be able to help you," Itachi said, sheathing his bloodstained katana.
"C-can't I go with y-you?" she asked stepping around the corpse to grasp his pant leg again.
"Where I'm going isn't a place for little girls," he said in monotone looking down at her with his Sharingan still activated. "You'd die there."
"I-I'll d-die if I s-stay here," Hinata said, catching him off guard.
"DON'T KILL ME!!"
He'd already shown mercy that night, by sparing the life of his beloved little brother. But looking down at her, she wore the same look as Sasuke, a desperate pleading fear for their life. And he knew she was right, if he left her she would be killed, and by her own father no less.
"Ah, finally back from seeing the Hokage and Danzou--Hm? What in the world have you got there Itachi?"
"She's coming with us Madara," Itachi said simply as she peered at the other Uchiha from behind Itachi's leg.
"You're taking the Hyuuga heiress with you to the Akatsuki?" Madara said.
"She'll die within a week, and that's if she's lucky," Madara said folding his arms.
"And she's still coming?" Madara said, glancing down at the young girl. She shrunk behind Itachi a little more, but didn't avert her gaze. Madara let out what seemed to be cross between a sigh and a huff. "Fine, bring her along. If she survives, a pure-blooded Hyuuga could be of use. But you can train her, because I most certainly am not going to do it." He turned and began walking, continuing further from Konoha. Itachi followed and Hinata scurried close behind him. When they started moving quicker, Itachi picked the small girl up and carried her.
'I hope there's a lion hidden within the meek little lamb,' Itachi thought as she curled close to him, small hands gripping his ANBU chest plate. 'Because the Akatsuki is full of hungry wolves ready to tear you to pieces.'
"Otousan! Okaasan! Oniisan! ONIISAN!! OTOUSAN AND OKAASAN!! How come!? NANDE?! WHY DID YOU DO THIS?!!"
"AGAAAHHH!! YAMERO ONIISAN!! I'M NOT SEEING THIS!!! NANDE?! ...Oniisan IIIEEEEE!!!! YAMERO ONIISAN!! OTOUSAN AND OKAASAN!! AGAAAAAH!!"
"Did... Did s-someone hurt you t-too?" she said quietly.
"What makes you say that?"