Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, any of its characters, or any song lyrics used. If someone wants to give me Sai, though, I'd be more than willing to take him off your hands.
Okay, this story is my first Naruto fanfic and focusses mostly on Hinata with some Sai on the side. It's canon up until around Pain's attack on Konoha, then it deviates. So all the fun stuff with Danzou Hokage in the manga right now never happened. Yay!
This story has no real pairing, but there is some mentioning of Naruto/Sai, so if boy on boy really bothers you, you probably shouldn't read it. Parts of this will also be pretty dark, so once again, read at your own risk. That said, enjoy!
No matter what I've done
Or is done to me
Or unable to be set free
"Hyuuga Hinata. You know why you have been summoned here today?"
"H-hai. Hai, Tsunade-sama."
"You have been charged with the heinous act of selling out your teammates for your own self-preservation. Do you have anything to say in your defense?"
The dark-haired girl was trembling so badly, the small shake of her head was nearly missed. She was nervous beyond words, kneeling alone in the middle of that big room, the council's eyes all on her, glaring, accusing, her father's included. And then Tsunade-sama speaking in that authoritative voice filled with disgust, her expression angrier than Hinata had ever seen. To hell with nervous, she was genuinely terrified. This was harder than she had thought it would be.
"It has been discussed and concluded that this act of betrayal is unforgivable. You will be stripped of all ninja status and confined within Konoha's borders. You will wear a tracking device that will allow us to know your whereabouts at all times. If you are caught attempting to leave the village or caught doing anything that breaks the law, no matter how minor, you will be immediately and irreversibly sent to prison. Is this understood?"
Hinata nodded, not trusting herself to speak. With shaking fingers, she untied the hitai-ite from around her neck, very gently placing it on the ground in front of her, willing herself not to cry no matter how much she wanted to. The tracking device, a collar of sorts, was placed around her neck and locked there, only to be removed by the Hokage herself. The urge to cry just got stronger, but she shoved it down. It would be all right, she just had to stay strong.
Without a backward glance, the girl scurried from the room, forcing deep, calming breaths into her body. The first part was over. She wasn't done entirely, but at least the first part was finished. She immediately dashed from the Hokage tower and made it to the Hyuuga compound in record time. She literally ran to her room, ignoring the looks of abhorrence sent her way by anyone she passed. She was used to not being particularly liked by her family, but this was completely new.
She entered her room, closing the door tightly behind her. She wanted to collapse onto her soft inviting bed and just sleep it all away, but she knew that wouldn't be happening. She had to hurry, she didn't have much time. Dragging a bag from her closet, she stuffed some clothes, hygiene products, weapons, and rations into it, as if preparing for a mission. Then she grabbed some personal items, a few scrolls, a small book of poetry she loved, a very worn-out teddy bear she had slept with since she was a child, and a picture of Team 8. Lastly, she carefully lifted a small gold, heart-shaped locket from her dresser, opening it and smiling at the pictures of her parents when they were young, barely older than her. It had been her mother's, and it was her most precious treasure. She rarely wore it, for fear of breaking or losing it, but now she knew she would need the strength it could bring her. She clasped it delicately around her neck, tucking it safely beneath her clothing where it rested against her chest, not far from her own heart. Then she sat on her bed to wait.
After a few minutes a servant knocked softly on her door, telling her that her father wished to speak with her. Standing once again and doing her best to steel her nerves, she lifted the bag onto her back and made her way to her way to the second part. She had to stay strong.
That was easier said than done. Sitting in front of her father and the elders, all giving her those nasty looks, she felt herself begin to shake again, silently willing them to hurry so the second part would be over.
"Hinata," her father's strong voice suddenly rang out, making her flinch slightly, "you have brought shame to the Hyuuga clan. To do something as despicable as this is unforgivable and cannot be overlooked. For the disgrace you have brought, you shall no longer carry the Hyuuga name. You are to leave this compound and never return. You are no longer welcome here."
If the situation had been different, Hinata would have been amused at the elaborate way to say she was disowned without ever actually using the word itself. As it was, she nodded as best she could, eyes fixed hard on the ground rather than look at her father. "Hai."
"It is only because of your previous position as clan heiress that your Byakuugan will not be sealed. You should be grateful for this honor."
Grateful didn't even begin to cut it. She was far beyond grateful; without her Byakuugan, she'd be nearly worthless as a ninja. Even when moves didn't actually require the kekkai genkai, she had incorporated it a lot. "Hai. Arigatou gozaimasu."
The elders filed out of the room, leaving her alone with her father. She stood to leave what was once her home, when she heard him say softly behind her, "I am very sorry, Hinata. I never wanted anything like this to happen."
She shut her eyes hard, willing away the tightening pain in her chest. She could hear the sincerity in his voice, knew that he really was sorry, that he truly cared at least enough to feel bad about this. She knew it was because of him she was allowed to keep her Byakuugan. That just made it worse. "No, Outo-san, it is I who should be apologizing. I'm sorry I've failed you." And she slipped out of the room and away from the compound, the second part now done. This was much harder than she had thought it would be.
Forcing away the second wave of tears, she slowly trudged down the street, no particular destination in mind. She was waiting for the third part, and this one scared her. The first two she had known exactly what was going to happen, had been able to anticipate it and prepare herself. But this one... she had no idea what would happen with this one. It could go so many different ways... She was truly afraid.
Be it good luck or misfortune, she didn't have to wait long for the third part to begin. Everyone had found out what she had done. Ninja and civilian alike glared at her in some form or another as she passed, but she did all she could to ignore them. Until she ran into who she feared meeting the most. She turned the corner and there, right in front of her, were her friends. All of the Konoha eleven with the exception of herself and Neji were leaving from where they'd apparently just enjoyed barbecue. Just the snippet of conversation she caught before they noticed her, let her know that they were celebrating Kiba and Shino's safe return. The pain in her chest tightened further at this, but at the same time she was happy that her boys were so cared about. Then they noticed her standing there.
The happy expressions dropped from their faces instantly. What met her were cold expressions, though they varied by person. Most of them looked angry, disgusted like everyone else, but some of them looked more... pitying, though she didn't understand why. She averted her eyes rather quickly to the ground, her bangs covering them from sight. She didn't know what to do or say, so she stayed quiet, waiting.
"You've got a lot of nerve showing your face here," Ino snapped, breaking the heavy silence.
Hinata opened her mouth but couldn't think of any way to respond to that, so it closed again. Don't cry. Whatever you do, just don't cry.
"She's not 'showing her face here', Ino, she's just on the street," Shikamaru said in his usual, bored voice. Hinata's spirit lifted ever so slightly at his words, though she knew they weren't meant to defend her, he was just pointing out the facts. Even so, that he was willing to be that impartial made her happy.
There was a scoff, followed by Tenten grumbling, "She shouldn't be allowed on the street," while Sakura made an affirmative noise to agree with her.
No one came to her defense on that one, and Hinata certainly wasn't going to defend herself. If she had been in their place she would be acting the same, and she knew it. She wasn't hypocritical enough to think otherwise.
"Maybe we should just go," Chouji said softly, not particularly wanting to get into any conflicts. "Just ignore her, she's not bothering anyone."
"She's bothering me by being here," Ino corrected hotly.
Everyone looked at the orange-clad blond in surprise, even Hinata lifted her head. Naruto-kun...
"Chouji's right. What she did is unforgivable. Anyone who betrays their teammates, their friends like that is the lowest form of scum and isn't worth wasting your time and anger on. So don't talk to her, don't even look at her. Just ignore her."
The pain in her chest nearly suffocated her now. She may not have had a childish crush on Naruto anymore, but he was still a dear friend. More than that, he was still practically her idol, the person she wanted to be like, the person she admired most in the world. To hear him say that about her hurt more than she could ever express. And the worst part was that he was completely right.
"We should go," Lee insisted, re-voicing what Chouji had suggested before. There was a general mumbling of consensus, but when they turned to leave, Shino and Kiba didn't follow. The others all gave them looks, but no one said anything, choosing to let them handle things how they wanted. Once they were gone, Hinata found herself facing just her two teammates, refusing to meet their eyes. Silence hung thickly in the air until Kiba finally broke it with a growled, "We need to talk."
She nodded, not surprised, and Kiba roughly grabbed her arm, practically dragging her to an empty training ground, Shino right behind. Now off the crowded street, they were genuinely alone. Hinata braced herself for whatever would come. She expected a full verbal assault, of course, and if they decided to lash out at her physically she wouldn't do anything to stop them. They deserved it for how she'd hurt them.
The tension was thick enough to cut with a knife. Hinata subconsciously played with the hem of her shirt, waiting, wanting them to make the first move. After what seemed like forever, Kiba finally said in a broken voice, torn with anger and betrayal, "How could you do this to us?"
She couldn't answer. She wanted to, she really did, but she was afraid of what might come out. If she tried to talk now she may say something she couldn't afford to, so she kept her head down, silent.
"We're your team, Hinata," Kiba continued, shaking now as he spoke. "We've been together for years. We love you. We would do anything for you. How could you sell us out to the enemy?"
Hinata shut her eyes, not sure how much more she could take.
"We know you're not as strong as we are, Hinata. We never expected you to be. But we never thought you'd be such a coward that... If you were that fucking afraid you should never have become a ninja in the first place!"
She bit the inside of her mouth to keep from speaking. Please, just hit me or something. Do something. I can't take this guilt anymore, please...
Kiba didn't hit her. He turned abruptly and dashed away, unable to face her any longer. She wearily watched him go then glanced hesitantly at the remaining boy, waiting for him to speak now. She figured that like Kiba, he would be angry, wouldn't show it as much, but it would be there. What she didn't expect was to see tears streaming silently down his face from underneath dark glasses. He was crying? No, Shino didn't cry.
"Shino-kun..." she whispered, finding her voice for the first time.
The bug-boy looked away momentarily before bringing his gaze back to her. When he spoke his voice was even but so laced with hurt she could barely take it. "I am not angry with you, Hinata-chan. I feel betrayed that you put yourself before us. That you would allow us to be hurt so that you would not. I care for you and Kiba deeply; you are the only people outside of my clan besides Kurenai-sensei I have such feelings for. I would gladly die for both of you. Kiba would gladly die for both of us. That's what being a team means... I'm hurt that you broke our team. That you betrayed the trust Kiba and I put in you. But I cannot find it in me to be angry with you."
No, she thought desperately, that's even worse. Be angry for what I did, please. Yell at me, hit me, just please don't make that face anymore. It hurt her more than words could express. Shino was finally showing emotion so openly, finally letting his feelings come through, and there was nothing but sorrow and pain. Pain because of her. It was hard to breathe.
Shino suddenly closed the distance between them, and she patiently waited for the blow to come. It did, but certainly not the way she was expecting. Her heart took a direct hit, when Shino wrapped his arms around her, crushing her against him in a fierce hug, burying his face into her shoulder. "I can't ever forgive you for what you did, Hinata. But I still love you. Please remember that."
Hinata wanted to die. She couldn't take anymore, she couldn't do this. She wasn't strong enough for this... but she had to be. So much depended on her. She had to be strong.
Shino pulled back and gently, lovingly caressed the side of her face, tucking a long strand of dark hair behind her ear one last time. "Goodbye, Hinata-chan."
Hinata waited until he was gone before allowing her legs to give out under her. She curled into herself, hugging her knees tightly to her chest, rocking back and forth. Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry...
Unable to stay in that spot any longer, she got up and walked away, once again having no real destination, just unable to stay on those training grounds. Not after seeing Kiba so angry there and Shino so destroyed. She understood their actions, knew why each reacted the way they did. Kiba was deeply hurt and lashed out in anger and aggression, the same way he always did, but at least he'd be okay. She was worried about Shino. He was hurt too, obviously, but even more so than Kiba was. Shino had said himself, she and Kiba were the only ones outside of his clan he truly cared for beyond casual friendship. To put faith in someone, to love them, for what was the first time and then have it shoved back in your face... She couldn't begin to imagine how much Shino must be hurt. Hurt by her. Don't cry, don't cry...
She ended up on top of the Hokage monument somehow, sitting rather dejectedly on the Fourth's head, shivering in the late autumn chill. The third part was over, right? All three parts of the first stage were done. The hardest part was done. She knew it wouldn't get better, quite the contrary her struggle was just beginning, but at least the hardest part was through. At least that's what she thought until, "Hinata-sama."
Her blood froze at the sound of his voice. How could she have forgotten him? The third part wasn't over, she still had one more person to deal with. "N-neji-niisan." She didn't turn but felt him slowly approach her from behind. She was afraid to face him but tried to gage his mood from the feel of his chakra. It didn't help, he was obviously masking his emotions well, as always. So with a resolute deep breath, she looked over her shoulder to find he had come quite close. She peered up at him, catching a glare from the setting sun. His face was cold and blank, not helping her figure out his thoughts at all. She had a pretty good idea, though. "You're angry with me."
She felt mildly surprised when his eyebrow quirked and he said evenly, "No. Not with you." He took a seat next to her, carefully making sure there was enough space between them so they weren't touching in any way.
"I-I don't unders-stand."
"I'm not angry with you. I'm angry with myself."
Neji pursed his lips, staring straight ahead rather than look at her. "You are who you are, Hinata-sama. You haven't changed. The problem was that I had allowed myself to think you had changed somewhat. You fooled me quite well. I truly believed with everything in me that you had grown stronger, that you were a good ninja. I was proud of your accomplishments, how well you were doing. I never would have thought that I had actually been right at the beginning."
The beginning? The only beginning she could think of was before their relationship had started to mend. Before the Chuunin exams. And then she realized what it was he was saying. He was saying when he had thought of her as weak, useless, pathetic before the Chuunin exams, that was when he had been right. And that meant that all the effort both of them had gone through to rebuild the friendship from their childhood was lost. She had lost the respect she had finally managed to gain from him. She had lost everything. "N-niisan--"
"I don't believe you have any right to call me that anymore," he interrupted, voice still completely bland. "After all, you are no longer a Hyuuga. Even for you, what you did was unforgivable." He stood brushing his pants off idly before nodding politely to her. "Take care, Hinata-sama," and he took off down the side of the mountain.
She stared after him, breath catching uncomfortably in her throat. He was gone. She had lost him again. No, not just him. Everyone. She had lost everything she had ever worked for her entire life. She was alone.
The tears finally broke through with a vengeance. She curled up on her side, burying her face in her arms, clutching her mother's locket for whatever comfort it could give her, wishing once again she could just die. Why her? Why? She wasn't strong enough for this. Why did it have to be her? She let the sobs overtake her, soon followed by the darkness of a fitful sleep. This was harder than she could have ever possibly imagined.
I know that's a little confusing and you aren't real sure what's going on yet. Things will start to explain themselves better in time.
Review and let me know what you think!