Chapter 1: The Martyr

Disclaimer: I do not own anything and the flower symbolisms aren't coming from my perceptive imagination. Books, yeah!

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Her Okaa-san, her beautiful, warm, Okaa-san.

She remembered her mother still, it didn't matter that those memories were molded in child-like appreciation nor did it matter that they were ignorant to the shadows of cruelty. She still remembered her Okaa-san.

"O-Okaa-san?"

Her mother shifted her opal gaze to her daughter. "Hmm?"

The swift attention made the shy girl blush. Her Okaa-san was so pretty that it made it nervous to be around her. She wished that she could look her mother but she was stuck with ugly stark eyes and choppy indigo hair, nothing like the elegance of her mother.

"O-Okaa-san? W-What's G-God?"

Her mother's eyes warmed in amusement and she smiled widely causing the little girl to break into a panicky flutter. "You mean, who's God, Hinata-chan." She chuckled as her daughter's head bobbed down in embarrassment, red tinting the tips of her ears.

"G-G-Gomen Okaa-san…" she mumbled. Swiftly the Hyuuga matriarch patted the adorable child's head. Her eyes shined with sympathy as she recalled a time when she was like the girl before her, eager to please but much too shy.

"Ne, ne Hinata-chan. Don't apologize, it's a simple mistake," she said.

The girl quietly replied, "O-Otou-sama says m-mistakes a-are u-u-unacceptable. H-he w-would b-be displeased…"

The older woman frowned. Her daughter had turned into this stuttering, unconfident mess because of this clan and yet most importantly because of her husband. Hiashi did not know how to feel but he was a natural leader. He was a prideful soul that would dare not bear with a weak branch to his family, especially if that weak branch would one day grow to be the trunk of it. Under the pressure of such a title, the Hyuuga matriarch witnessed her daughter's crumbling. She was an atypical heiress, too empathetic and shy to be a firm leader. She cared too much and she was set for failure. The older Hyuuga knew sooner or later her beloved daughter would fall hard...especially when there was nothing left for her to live for.

"Do not worry Hinata-chan. Are we such strangers that I would report a simple grammatical mistake to your Otou-san?" She chided the little girl and brought a slender pale hand to cup her daughter's blushing cheeks.

Hinata reluctantly looked up and smiled a small smile. "H-hai Okaa-san. S-so w-ho's G-God?"

Her mother grinned brightly and said, "Well, God is, from what I've heard, a wonderful man. He's made everything around us, the sun, the moon, the stars, even my little Hinata-chan."

The child blushed herself to a tomato color as she stood in awe that a three-lettered word could describe such a powerful man. "D-did G-God m-make flowers too, O-Okaa-san?"

Her mother nodded, "Hai."

Hinata brought her small index finger to the edge of her pale pink mouth. "I-I think I-I w-would like to m-meet God one day."

She could see a small flicker of unidentifiable emotion pass her mother's gentle eyes but that was overshadowed by her mother's chuckling. "You won't for a long time Hinata-chan. If you like though, would you want me too meet him for you?"

Hinata lowered her head and hid behind her indigo colored bangs. A shy nod was her reply. "H-Hai…" then she looked up abruptly and yelled without stuttering too much, "Arigatou O-Okaa-san!"

The same unidentifiable emotion welled up in her mother's ivory eyes.

When Hinata later found her mother's limp body on the floor of the clan meeting room, without the vital heartbeat she had grown so fond of, she became filled with questions and worry.

They told her that her Okaa-san had passed away to a better place, a paradise. She asked when her Okaa-san would return; they said she would unfortunately not. After all, would she be so selfish as to rid her mother from a place she could be happy in? Tears streamed down the little girl's for once pale cheeks. Her Okaa-san had left her alone, cold without company to warm this house up and she hadn't even bothered to say goodbye. She asked where then, just for her own mind's peace. The honorable Hokage, with his always welcoming expression, smiled sadly and took the little girl's hand. He replied with a solemn look, raising a chin up, "To a better place, Hinata-chan."

She stopped her tremble of questions when the stony face of her Otou-sama held a scowl directed at her. He motioned her to be quiet and obedient. Hinata decided to wait till the elderly nurse who had taken care of her came for the nightly routine of preparing her for bed, a task her mother could no longer be of assistance towards.

"A-Ano….Riku-san? W-What d-does it mean to be in a b-better p-p-place?"

"Ai, it means to be in heaven Hinata-sama. Your Okaa-san is with God now. Kami, pray for her."

With that, the young Hyuuga heiress broke down in a mix of realization, guilt, anger, and despair. She had sent her Okaa-san to meet with God at the price of a life with her. Her selfishness had taken her mother away from her. She fell asleep sobbing in her silent way like the well brought up child she was.

In the middle of the night, she stood up from her bed, dried tears staining her china skin, and ventured to the kagami she had in her room. There she bit her thumb the way her Otou-sama had shown her to do when signing as a shinobi of the village. She imitated perfectly the contract signing action and drew out a fascinating stream of garnet blood. Drop by drop; she vowed to never do a selfish deed again.

Perhaps then, she could be in paradise with her Okaa-san and meet God once and for all. All she needed to do was atone for her sins…

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The next day, the funeral for her Okaa-san was conducted. The richest of the village as well as the most important clans like the Uchiha came to pay their respects. She watched intently with a quivering mouth as the priest burned incense as an offering to the ancestors and various gods. As she attempted to understand the sermons, the child realized how much this process differed in explaining the essence of God from her own mother's explanations. These gods felt more impersonal, so stern, and so short-tempered. They could not be the spirits who her Okaa-san was residing with.

The priests blessed the Hyuuga matriarch to a rich afterlife and grand flower arrangements were set in honor. Hinata couldn't help but admire them in her meek way, silently contemplating what she could give to her mother that would be even better than the lavish displays. She knew her Okaa-san was a simple woman, she knew she appreciated thoughts more than materials, and she knew that this would be the first step to her atonement.

So Hinata looked around the expansive Hyuuga gardens for a flower to symbolize all she felt. The priest continued chanting from the sutra in his deep monotonous voice lulling the crowd to a stoic silence. The cremation started as well, the smell of burning flesh and perfumed displays overwhelming.

In stubby milk white arms lay a bouquet of childishly picked flowers, seen from the eyes of a girl that deep inside was wise beyond her years. A little girl who was searching for redemption.

Hyacinth for, 'Your forgiveness, Okaa-san…'

Heather for, 'My own loneliness,in y-your absence...'

Aster for, 'Our memories...'

Baby's breath for, 'The purity of life…'

Bluebells for, 'Otou-sama's humility…'

And lavender for, 'What I've n-never said Okaa-san…'

Aishiteru… I love you.

If she believed enough in God and the spirits, they would show her to her Okaa-san. She would live up to her vow.

As the determined little girl walked up to the other flowers with the crimson colored ihai (3) nestled in between them, she crashed into a little boy, no older than her.

"G-G-Gomenasai!" Hinata bowed repeatedly, her black kimono brushing against the ground because of her hurried movements. Her face flushed the normal red as her bangs tickled her opal eyes.

Without waiting for a reply, she hurried off to the flower arrangement with her gift. The little boy she bumped into looked blankly ahead with one unbearable thought running through his head, 'Kawaii….'

He looked up to his older brother and tugged on the rigid boy's charcoal yukata. "Aniki, was that the Hyuuga you were talking about?"

"Hai, Sasuke. She is the heiress."

"…why isn't she crying anymore?"

The older boy paused for a second, gazing at the little girl who was shyly placing an assortment of flowers on her mother's grave. She had a small but sad smile on her cherubic face. He in turn smirked the odd way he always did. "Perhaps, Otouto, she has found strength."

The little boy could only pout at his brother's vagueness and smile at the fact that at least he still had his Okaa-san. In times of tragedy you must cling to the things already have. He couldn't imagine being in that strange little Hyuuga's shoes without his Otou-san or his Okaa-san or even his intolerable aniki.

But it was good she found strength. Maybe all girls weren't so annoying after all.

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Gradually, as seasons changed and years passed by, the little girl was shown the effects of her Okaa-san's demise. She was shown what misery truly was and she believed it to be the consequences of her naivety years before. Despite her kind nature and her pure innocence, bad luck attached to Hinata. There was no love running through the veins of the Hyuuga clan for her. Neither was there acceptance to the novel character of the heiress.

She was a weakling in her father's eyes and his growing contempt for her since she was born grew darker and deeper. Her Neji-niisan despised the title on her head and for the fact that she belonged to the main part of the Hyuuga clan. She had freedom, impeccable freedom, while he was stuck with memories of his sacrificed father, Hinata's own uncle. The vendetta he was to start would be a cold and bloody one and he transformed into a prodigy to overshadow his cousin. All he wanted was a father again, and Hinata had everything already. She did not deserve more in his eyes. For the sake of her pathetic life, the Hyuuga's had used his father as a scapegoat.

Forgiveness was not a term this family could understand.

Pride however was.

Thus, Hanabi Hyuuga, Hinata's junior by 3 years, was pushed into the spotlight as the clan realized how much of a safer candidate she was in position for the heiress. She was the true Hyuuga and was molded extravagantly by the hands of their ancestors. She was the perfect toy soldier.

Despite all the horrible lashing, the burdensome pressure, and the unrelenting tragedy Hinata was forced to endure, she never truly changed inside from the little girl five years of age such a long time to go. She was pure in her thoughts and her intentions. She loved her cold father, her murderous cousin, and her apathetic sister unconditionally. Hinata still had her broken yet assuring smile, the self-less pact she made to her mother, and the sagely silence she had woven her life in between.

The only thing to differ however was the fact that gradually the girl gave up on believing in God. She was content to live her life as martyr without a heaven to look forward to. Paradise wouldn't need her; her Okaa-san would only look in pity.

All she could expect for her sin years back was unrequited love. She truly only had herself now.

Step by step, the gentle-eyed Hyuuga became a legend; the kunoichi that brought the darkest of men down on their knees.

Hinata Hyuuga became a shadowed angel for Konohagakure whose wings weren't dipped in blood.

(END)

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A/N: Ai, so well this could be considered a rather lengthy novel-like fanfic tying in the wonderful components of a STRONG Hinata and her journey in flashback sequences. So, yes. I am very much excited! Hopefully there are minimal mistakes since I don't know how to approach a beta-reader without sounding completely moronic.

And yes, this is a SASUHINA. No worries, I mean I hinted that when she bumped into a mini-Sasuke at her mother's funeral. I also must mention I am not particularly as familiar with the Shinto customs as I am with orthodox Buddhist and Chinese customs. Basically, I fail at all of the technical things associated with Japan. Forgive me and please do not be too offended with my mistakes.

Reviews?!