Ah, I worked so hard on this! This the first serious story I've written. TT_TT I hope you don't find too drawn out, I was trying to keep the characters in character, use character depth, and such... It would be incredible appreciated if you reviewed, I really really really need to know if I did good on this or not. Also, I need at least 1 review to convince me someone is reading this story and wants to see the next chapter...Please enjoy!
Summary: Hinata overhears a terrible secret of Tsunade's. One that she could use to control the Village. Tsunade has been working on a project, and it might be worse than what Orochimaru and the Akaksuki are doing.... Hinata wants to keep the village safe, but will her own desires get in the way?
Shards of glass crunched under Hinata's feet as she quietly slipped through the back gate of Hiruko's Inn. The city's noise was a blur, almost humming in the background. Broken bottles were strewn all over the path, the jagged edges and triangular shards practically glowed in the light of full moon. The sky was dark, even with the bright stars and the moon, and even the lights of the Konoha could not brighten the black sky. Hinata exhaled deeply, a white ghostly cloud flowing forth from her mouth.
She stopped. A sound; a muffled scream from somewhere in dark, a crash. Her heart sped up. The noises of the city seemed to get louder, whispers from the street became roars, and sky twisted and wavered like a sheet of silk. She exhaled again and the city's sounds simply hushed back into a that familiar humming. Hinata began walking again, slightly faster, she was starting to feel unsafe in Konoha.
Each day more people from all over desired the destruction of Konoha. More people, enemies, found their way into Konoha's walls. And the Anbu, did nothing. They were slipping, becoming nothing more than a name the Hokage used to reassure the citizens. Hinata recalled the many times she'd been attacked in broad daylight, inside the city with the Anbu watching.
That's all the Anbu did now, watch. They watched, and reported to Lady Hokage. Lady Hokage did nothing about the rising crime, she just told the citizens it was all under control. Lady Hokage also started acting strange, she was starting to become more and more stressed. Each little thing set her off with an intensity no one had seen before. What was happening to Konoha? Why doesn't Lady Hokage act? Hinata's mind was plagued with these kind of thoughts. She sighed loudly and kept walking.
She followed a narrow path that was almost hidden by the branches of a weeping willow. Down through a small a garden full of white flowers and beneath the full moon, nestled between a few trees that hid other houses from view was her house.
It looked like a little castle, from the roof to the sliding doors to the large porch that wound all around the rather small house. Hinata smiled. If there was one thing she was proud of, it was this house. Having convinced the owner of Hiruko's Inn that having a ninja around would discourage robbers, she managed to get a price that was practically a steal. So for once she had little spending money for cinnamon buns, shinobi gear, or home furnishings.
Hinata, wanting to keep the little home's castle-like appeal, bought several paper lanterns and hung them all over. She had even hand painted a dragon on the sliding doors, that had to be another thing she was proud of since it turned out to look just like the ones on real castles. Inside it was set up to be something like a tatami room with the paper walls. It was one main room and small cramped bathroom, in the back was a very small kitchen. It had built-in shelves which helped with the small space, but Hinata would never be able have a large bed or a TV or anything like that.
Hinata walked into a larger part of the garden that slowly had consumed her yard. She had done very little gardening and yet the white flowers were already everywhere. She found her favorite spot near a small stone lantern and sighed, thinking over what a disaster the day had been. She laid on her back and stared up at the moon. Today had been one of the worst, something that was becoming a trend within Konoha. The day started off bad and it ended even worse.
~First, she ran into Naruto. She just wanted to talk to him a little, she hadn't seen him awhile.
"Oh, N-naruto-kun. It's been awhile, h-how are you toda-"
"Get out of my way! I don't have time for you!"
Naruto had actually pushed her aside. Hinata was baffled. Naruto has never acted like that before! Was that even the real Naruto?
And then Sakura had glared at her, grabbing Naruto's arm she had told Hinata not to be such a bother. She then led Naruto, who was looking at her with dreamy eyes, away. Hinata's heart pounded hard in her chest. What was that? She clenched her fists. Why did Sakura always do that? Ever since Sasuke had ran away she had clung to Naruto and showered him with attention. And when Hinata tried to speak with him she always intervened.
And then Sai gave her that fake smile, saying Naruto had a bad day, a failed mission, a big argument with Lady Hokage, and something happened out in the forest. His expression was false but somehow his words were sincere. Hinata nodded and headed off to find her teammates, at least her friends would be happy to see her.
At the training grounds Kiba was wrestling with Akamaru, Shino was leaning against a tree letting all sorts of insects crawl on him, and Kurunai-sensei was no where to be seen. Hinata went over to speak with Shino since Kiba was busy doing something that looked suspiciously like he was sniffing Akamaru's butt. Before Hinata even opened her mouth to speak Shino put his hand on her shoulder.
Small black beetles ran down his arm onto her, some climbing up her neck, others fanning out over her back. She suppressed a shudder, not wanting to offend her friend. Shino always spoke calmly, but he seemed overly stoic this time, "Hinata.....Kurunai-sensei wants to talk to you...."
Hinata felt her stomach flip. Shino's bugs retreated and he pulled away, he looked to Kiba. Kiba had stopped whatever he had been doing earlier and sat quietly next to Akamaru, his eyes concerned and his mouth in a prominent frown.
Hinata swallowed and listened to a crunch of leaves and twigs and then felt a gentle hand on her shoulder pulling her away slightly. She followed her sensei a good way's away from her friends. Kurunai looked away, "Hinata, it's just not enough." She said it softly, like she was trying to take away the sting.
It didn't. It was about Hinata's training, her power, more accurately it was her weakness. It was the reason why she was disowned, the reason why she was never given anything more than low ranked missions.
Hinata felt like a freight train had rammed into her stomach and left a gaping hole. She trained all the time. The only moments of rest she allowed herself were so brief, a quick trip to the store, fifteen minutes or so tending the garden, sitting at night staring up at the moon for little. She also trained as hard as she could. And she had improved! She knew she had, she remembered when she was younger, she was so much stronger now.
But it was never enough for the others. They expected her to be like Neji, her father, or Hanabi. Sometimes people seemed to enjoy telling her she was failure. She even had spoken to Lady Hokage about her training. She remembered Lady Hokage's mouth twitching, like she was trying not to laugh as she told her how pathetic and weak she was. How she was behind and holding her team down. Hinata felt like the more she trained, the less people thought of her, the more they told her she was weak.
Hinata couldn't take it. It was happening again, now with Kurunai-sensei, her mouth was twitching at the edges. Even Kurunai-sensei wanted to laugh at her! Hinata's eyes began to sting, a lump formed in her throat, she grabbed her stomach and fell to her knees. Kurunai stood over her, doing nothing.~
Hinata felt her eyes beginning to sting again. Even Kurunai-sensei! Hinata felt betrayed. "What do they want me to do?" She whispered aloud to herself, "What am I doing wrong? Why is it the harder I try the farther I fall?!" She sat up, now wiping tears from her eyes.
"What do I need train? My chakra? My strength? My endurance?" She stared up at moon, tears streaming down her cheeks, "What is it!? Do I need to use some kind of forbidden scroll like Naruto-kun? Do I need someone special to train me? Or am I just to be weak forever? Kami! What do I do?" Hinata was sobbing now, her breathing was shallow and uneven.
A thought slipped into her head. It whispered to her, calming her racing heart and stopping her tears.
Why don't I just ask them what they want?
For a split second Hinata imagined herself marching into Lady Hokage's office and demanding that she tell her what she needed to do. What kind of training she needed. Asking why it was never enough. But then a tight feeling closed around Hinata's chest. She couldn't do that. She wasn't that bold. She was also almost afraid to hear what the answer would be.
But then that whisper in her mind spoke again, this time a little louder, her inner voice sounding more confident;
Then why don't I just find out what they want?
Again, for barely a second, Hinata thought she could. In her mind she thought she could observe everyone else, listen to what the teachers and Lady Hokage said about them. Then she could see where she was falling behind by comparing them to herself. It was so simple....
Panic gripped Hinata's chest again. She couldn't. Why not? Her inner voice was speaking louder in her mind, no longer whispering. She thought about those words. Why not? What do I have to lose?
She sighed, "It won't work,"
"Because the teachers will judge their students in different ways,"
So? It still might work.
"I can't do it!"
Who's stopping me?
Hinata's head was spinning, arguing with herself was confusing, today was confusing. Then she heard herself in her mind again; why not?
She stood up and wiped her eyes. She'd do it. Nothing was going to stop her. Except maybe the panic-y heart attack feeling squeezing the life out of her. She headed inside. She had no missions tomorrow. That would make a good opportunity to watch people. Hinata just hoped that people wouldn't mistake her as a stalker....again.
The next morning-
Hinata was running toward the training grounds, she dodged people on the street and after the streets became too crowded she jumped up onto the roofs. She was practically flying over them, normally she would enjoy this feeling but she was too busy trying not to collapse. She didn't know why but a feeling of absolute dread had taken hold of her and threatened to crush her into bits.
This was something so simple; observe people to see where she was falling behind. Hinata knew this wasn't even something people would care that she was doing, it was something she probably should have been doing all along. But the inane fear she had was killing her. So she ran as fast she could, so that she couldn't turn back or think about what might go wrong. Could anything like that even happen with something like this?
Hinata didn't know. As long as I don't turn back. She finally found her way to the training grounds. She stopped to catch her breath, then stumbled over to tall tree and leaned against it. I only have to watch, I don't have to talk or do anything else. Hinata took a few calming deep breaths and activated her byakugan. She thought maybe it would help her see what people did with their chakra.
Tenten was sitting on the ground cheering Neji and Lee on as they spared. Hinata was impressed, she never thought anyone could keep up with Neji's taijutsu but Lee was matching him almost perfectly. She saw with her byakugan the flow of chakra that Neji controlled expertly with the Gentle Fist.
Lee aimed a roundhouse kick at Neji's chest. Neji moved quickly to the side, the kick just about grazing him and shot out his hand toward one of Lee's chakra points. Hinata could see the chakra flow into his hand and form a slight point millimeters away from his fingertips. She thought Neji had hit him but Lee vanished in a whirlwind of leaves. Hinata suddenly felt a chakra signature that was a little too close for comfort. She turned her attention away from the fight and glanced behind her.
It was Sakura. Sakura stared at Hinata with a questioning look on her face.
"What are you doing here?"
Hinata deactivated her byakugan and turned to face her. She thought that was strange question, it was the training grounds, most ninja were here on their days' off.
"I d-don't have a-any m-m-missions today s-so," Hinata stuttered quietly.
Sakura stared at her for a minute, "You're not very strong," she said with an amused tone, "No offense Hinata, but I don't think standing around wishing that you were as good as Neji-san and Lee-san will help you,"
"I-I-I wasn't...I....w-was...I.." Hinata cursed at herself silently, her voice always seemed to fail her at horribly inconvenient times.
Sakura laughed, "Hinata! I still find it hard to believe you actually graduated from the Academy! I mean, even Naruto could do better-"
It was knee-jerk reaction. SLAP! Hinata's hand apparently decided it had enough of Sakura and whacked her across the face. Hinata herself was quite surprised, Sakura hadn't even insulted her that badly and the action didn't even register in her mind until after it happened.
When she said Naruto-kun's name.....I just....
Sakura's face had an angry red mark across the cheek. The force from the hit snapped Sakura's head to the side, she just stood there frozen.
I'm not upset about being compared to Naruto-kun like that, or even called weak....I just..
Sakura slowly looked back at Hinata and blinked. Her hand trembled with shock as it reached up to feel the stinging red mark on her cheek.
Tenten, Neji, and Lee had stopped to to look them. They had heard the slap and immediately thought Sakura had done it. Hinata's hand was actually still in the air, hovering in front of Sakura's face.
Neji smirked, "So she does have a backbone, sort of.."
Lee blinked his giant eyes, "Why did Hinata-kun just hit Sakura-kun?"
Tenten shrugged, "If I was Hinata I would do it too. Hell, if I had the chance I would do it now."
Lee turned to look at his teammate, "What? Why would you want to hurt Sakura-kun?"
"Sometimes you just have to dislike people like her. Pretty, smart, she even gets special training from Lady Hokage herself! In Hinata's case, when Sakura couldn't have Sasuke she took Naruto."
Neji folded his arms, "Well, all's fair in love and war, or so the cliché goes."
Lee frowned, "I still don't understand."
Neji sighed and patted his friend on the back, "Jealousy, Lee."
Hinata let her hand fall to the side. Sakura was staring at her.
"Hinata, I.....didn't mean...."
I just....hate her....
Hinata's legs suddenly decided that they too had enough of the pink haired kunoichi and walked right passed her in an angry manner. Sakura just watched her as she left, stunned.
"Hinata....I'm sorry...To make you of all people hit me like that, what I said must have really hurt," Sakura mumbled to herself.
Hinata was headed back home. She stopped and looked to the left, she was in front of the Hokage's home. She blinked, she hadn't had a single thought since walking away from Sakura. Now she was here. She walked over to a tree that was near the large wall surrounding the Hokage's house, it was in the corner almost hidden by the wall of another building and it seemed to be a nice private area were Hinata could collapse unseen. She sat down and leaned her back against the tree. Birds chirped above and Konoha felt safer than it had been in sometime for Hinata.
Then she heard footsteps. In slight panic she activated her byakugan and looked around, she still was crouched behind the tree and faced the wall of the Hokage's home. She saw two chakra signatures, strong ones. They had to be ninja. She looked around, no one else with particularly strong signatures. That surprised her, that meant there were no Anbu guarding the Hokage's home.
That's when she heard voices.
"Well, I don't think we'll be heard here.." It was Lady Hokage.
Hinata felt a little silly, you'll only be heard by me and the birds...
"Lady Tsunade, what are we going to do?" Shizune asked timidly.
Hinata heard Tsunade groan, "I don't know. This is bad, I can't do anything in this position or my secret will found out. I can't even trust the Anbu!"
"So that's why you sent them away on missions today... Oh Lady Tsunade, we have to do something! At this rate, people will get hurt!"
"I can't do anything Shizune! Not unless we want people to find out about Project Nine!" Tsunade snapped.
Hinata's ears perked up, this sounded strange.
"L-Lady Tsunade....A-a-about Project Nine..." Shizune whispered.
"Hitomi, Tsukiko, and Sayuri escaped. They are thought to be somewhere in the forest."
"What about the oldest one? Yodo?"
"Still in the Eastern Facility. The others are in the Southern. Well, except Nobuyuki. He's been so much trouble, he's absolutely insane! I don't understand why you think-"
"We'll sort it out later. Naruto is still in my office, no doubt giving the guards a hard time. Lets go before he decides to follow us."
"But Lady Tsunade, what will we do?"
"I don't know, at the moment I don't give a damn about the village. We need Project Nine to work so we can kill Orochimaru, and defeat the Akatsuki. I don't what would happen if people found out about what we're doing to them. I would do anything to keep that from happening."
Hinata listened as their footsteps faded. Her heart was pounding. What was that? Hinata couldn't believe her ears, Lady Hokage didn't care about the Village?
Doesn't Lady Hokage feel anything for the people who are getting hurt? If this Project Nine is to defeat the Akatsuki and Orochimaru why does she want to keep it secret? Should I tell someone about this!?
Hinata clutched her stomach, it was doing flips and somersaults. She wished she could pull the strings of Konoha, then people wouldn't have get hurt, and this terrible sounding Project Nine wouldn't be needed. But...
A little thought slipped into her head. It was a voice from deep down:
Hinata shook her head. She was trying to clear her mind of the thoughts those words brought with them. Find out all about Project Nine and blackmail Tsunade. Then she could fix Konoha. She could control it, and keep everyone safe.
Hinata gulped. This wasn't her. She felt ashamed at the very thought blackmailing anybody!
But what if I could make things better?
Hinata closed her eyes tightly, no, these couldn't be her thoughts! She had to tell someone about this project before it got out of hand.
I have a chance to do something and I'm ignoring it! I could help Konoha!
Hinata wanted to do it. She felt sick that she admitted something like that, even if it was only herself, even if it was to help. She also could feel her darker thoughts surfacing.
If I controlled Konoha no one could ever call me weak again.
She grabbed fistfuls of her hair and pulled. This wasn't her! How could she think that with the people she loved possibly in grave danger!?
If I controlled Konoha Tsunade wouldn't ever be able to laugh at me.
Hinata was shaking now. She refused to believe those thoughts were hers.
"I'll f-find out about Project Nine to protect the Village! Nothing else!" she lied to herself.
If I controlled Konoha........
No one would ever know........
No one would ever suspect me.....
I could get away with it....
No one would be able to stop me....
Because no one would ever think it was me pulling the strings....
I could take over Konoha.....
How was it? Please review! I only need 1! Please? I really want to know if my writing has improved! And if I got more than one review I would be especially grateful! Thank you for reading it! I hoped you liked it!