Title: Hope Will Find a Way
Genre: adventure, humor
Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to the Stargate series or Naruto. :)
Word count: 3,734
A/N: Hahaa, you didn't have to wait six months for this one, luckily. I want to thank each and every one of you for reading this story. And your reviews always make my day! I try my best to answer all of them when I have time, but sometimes I forget to answer, because there are so many of them! You guys are awesome!
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Chapter 7: To be free
Hinata couldn't believe her bad luck. She just couldn't believe it. 'I had it planned out so perfectly!' She grumbled to herself. She'd focused her will to withstand the pain, snuck a needle in and made sure the guards were completely clueless to her actions or her intent. Hinata had tried to free herself in hopes that she could then free her fellow villagers and shinobi.
And yet, she had failed.
With the cuffs still preventing her from using her powerful chakra, she hadn't been able to sense the guards returning almost immediately. She still didn't know why they had done it, given her false hope. What she did know was that she was hurting. Hurting badly.
After receiving her immediate punishment, which had consisted of being beaten with fists, hands and staffs, they had thrown her to new cell. Hinata had thought her previous cell had been horrible. This was worse. It was utterly dark and small. She was forced to sit in a same position without the option to move herself. She could already feel the ache in her muscles getting worse.
Hinata could feel the claustrophobia set in. How many days could she handle being like this, stuck in a confined space with no means to know how long she had been here and no company to comfort her? In her previous cell she had at least known time went on. In here... she felt like she was going insane.
How long had it passed already? A second? A minute? An hour? A day?
She suppressed a sob that was trying to escape. She would not cry. She would not give in. She was a real kunoichi. It became a mantra to her. Real kunoichi would survive torture. Real kunoichi would not give in. Real kunoichi would find a way out. Real kunoichi fought long and hard to the bitter end.
So she resisted the urge to relent and give the Goa'ulds what they wanted. And she would continue resisting, until she would find a way to save herself and her people. Hinata refused to let the desperation lurk its way into her heart. She quickly replaced it with determination.
Her mind began to work, formulating a plan that would free every prisoner aboard the horrid vessel that belonged to the vile snakes that had captured them.
Her biggest problem was the fact she couldn't use her chakra.
The blasted cuffs around her wrists prevented any and all chakra use, lest you wanted to be punished. Hinata knew the cuffs had to come off but that idea proved to be much more difficult than she planned.
Only one person had opened her cuffs so far. Well, if you could call a Goa'uld person rather than an evil parasite. So she knew either guards weren't able to do it or they weren't allowed or maybe even the reason was that they believed as their masters do, shinobi are mere prisoners and thus, they must be kept locked away. Perhaps the guards refused to act for all of those reasons.
She stared over her shoulder at her hands or rather the direction where her hands should be. The cuffs were tight, so she couldn't wiggle her hands free. She had tried that almost immediately after getting caught and that had resulted only in painful wounds and bleeding hands.
Using chakra didn't work either. She could try and channel it and it always ended the same way; her body suffering from convulsions and pain. Hinata didn't want to try it again, unless she was forced to do so. If everything else she came up with failed, she would try using her chakra again, risking the pain.
Hinata sighed. She didn't know where to start. There had been no visible lock in the cuffs when she had first inspected them. She didn't know how they operated. She ran her fingers alongside the surface of the cuffs. If she just had something to work with here...
Her fingers stopped in mid-motion. Was there a crack?
She copied her previous route and stopped when her fingers felt it clearly. There indeed was a small crack! She tried to calm herself down in fear that her heartbeat might somehow magically call the guards. But there it was! A crack in the cuffs! When had it appeared there? It had to have been sometime during the beating she received when a stray fist or foot had collided with it.. A new hope surfaced in her. Would she be able to use her chakra now?
Hinata composed herself and closed her eyes. She could do this.
She would do this.
As she began slowly gathering her chakra, Hinata felt the effects almost immediately.
When the first wave of nausea hit her she gritted her teeth and continued. It didn't feel as bad as before. Maybe due to her determination and strong will against pain. The cuffs were somehow broken, but not completely. They needed the final strike.
She didn't dare to activate her Byakugan. That would require too much chakra and she didn't have enough energy to do so, plus Hinata was also afraid that she would end up injuring herself more with the activation of her Byakugan rather than it working in her favor. With it she could have seen the weak spot in her cuffs and maybe get a hint of how they worked, but now her main focus was on how to get rid of them. She was quite sure that if she applied enough chakra, she would be able to break the crack even further and free her other hand completely.
But using her Byakugan was definitely not the way to go. The Goa'ulds could not see it's power or they'd fight even harder to take it from her.
The nauseating feeling grew stronger and her muscles started spasming, but she didn't quit. No, she needed to do this now, because later she might not be able. She pressed herself even further. This might be her only chance. Her only chance to get herself free and go find other survivors. She needed to do this! She needed to do this so she could have revenge on the Goa'ulds!
It was all up to her!
The sudden feeling of hate towards the Goa'ulds surprised even her but it gave her strength and understanding. These Goa'uld parasites had forced them from their homes into imprisonment and desecrated their homes, destroyed families and cause so much betrayal amongst the survivors that Hinata didn't care what harm came to the Goa'ulds. Even if she was the last surviving shinobi from Konoha, she would make the Goa'ulds suffer for their evil deeds. She would make them realize why the ninjas were a force to reckoned with!
The sudden clang made her almost yelp with surprise. The cuff had broken! Hinata was too scared to move and make any sounds. Had the guards heard her? What if this was some elaborate plan to break her spirits?
She shook her head. She didn't care. The cuffs had broken! A wave of relief washed over her. It didn't matter if this was a trap. She was free to use her chakra now! Even if she was weak and malnourished, she was able to deal damage. If this was some sort of trap, then it was a really lousy one.
Freeing her hands was an easy task now but she bit her lip when the blood started circulating free again, causing her hands and parts of her wrists to become numb and tingling. But she was used to pain. Pain would be temporary. Just like her imprisonment.
Hinata took a deep breath before taking a closer look of her situation. Now that the cuffs were broken her chakra reservations were free to use as she pleased. She had enough to use Byakugan, but not for long. She didn't know how long the Goa'ulds had planned for her to stay in this cell and she had no idea when the guards would come and check up on her. She would need to act now.
But how would she get off a space ship? She didn't even know they existed until they attacked Konoha! Hinata could feel the familiar grip of desperation grasping her. What would she do know? What point would be there in escaping if she could only escape into space? That would mean death!
She pressed her forehead to her knees. There must be another way out... What would the Goa'ulds do if somebody attacked the ship? They must have some sort of evacuation plan! Smaller ships perhaps?
Without thinking further, she activated her Byakugan and hoped she would see most parts of the ship. The corridors opened before her, no wall could hide from her vision. Hinata saw everything. The guards, the Goa'ulds, the other prisoners, everything. She extended her talents to her limits. She needed to see, she needed to know!
She saw a ship hangar. To her disappointment it was buzzing with guards. She'd need to fight them all if she wanted to get out. Although she was capable of fighting, she didn't know how many she could take down in her current condition. Just using the Byakugan was hard.
Another place piqued her interest. There was a sudden flash of energy and something she had never seen before took a place in front of her Byakugan. There was a huge ring and it was bubbling with energy. She couldn't explain what she was seeing. She didn't know what she was seeing! The guards and one Goa'uld in front of the ring stepped casually in it. Hinata waited them to emerge on the other side, but they didn't. For a while she didn't believe what she was seeing. Somehow the ring had made the guards and the Goa'uld vanish. Was that the escape route? The ring was the escape hatch but where would it take them?
She knew she had to check it out! The hangars were further away and full of activity. The ring on the other hand was on a remotely quiet area with only few guards pacing through the corridors. Hinata steeled herself and was ready to burst from her cell, when another thing got her attention.
Chakra. And it wasn't her own.
Two stories below and to her left was a figure with chakra. 'Sakura', she suddenly realized. Sakura was alive! And she was in the same ship!
She didn't need to think twice what she would do. She checked the ship one more time to see if there were any more ninjas aboard. Sakura remained the only one. There were guards in the cell block, but Hinata was fairly sure she could get Sakura out. And after breaking her cuffs, there would be two of them fighting their way out to the mysterious ring.
Hinata didn't thought what would happen if she or they failed. She would lose her will if the plan failed. Without further delaying their escape she started forming the seals. She would save Sakura and they both would leave the ship! She didn't think where the ring would lead. She didn't care. Everywhere was better than the prison these Goa'ulds had kept them in.
She broke the lock on her cell door, then the hinges, grasping it quietly before it fell to the floor. She would avoid making any sounds. Hinata didn't want to guards to be rushing to her cell block. She leaned he door against one of the walls of her cell. Keeping the Byakugan active, she started her way towards Sakura, keeping an eye out for any guards that would come her way. Her legs trembled with disuse and pain and she had to lean on to the wall but Hinata refused to let that stop her in her quest to free her friend. She could rest later, when both she and Sakura were out of here.
Hinata avoided the guards the best she could. She had to attack once, but the guards were unconscious before they even realized what was happening. She hoped no-one would find them before she and Sakura were out.
She used every ounce of her training. She used empty corridors, empty rooms, anything to get to Sakura. Byakugan was draining her chakra reserves but she didn't stop using it. She needed to see everything. Staying vigilant made her head throb, but she knew it would pass. She hadn't been eating and sleeping well, but once they were out, everything would get better. Hinata was sure of that!
The amount of guards in the cell block amazed Hinata. She could sneak her way in relatively easy. Where was everyone? Or did they think they didn't pose a threat anymore? It was a relief yet at the same time it annoyed her. Boy, they were in for a surprise.
There was only one guard in front of Sakura's cell. Hinata couldn't believe her luck. Only one person standing between her and Sakura! She'd need to be quick. The guards was armed with a staff weapon and Hinata knew they would do some real damage if she got hit with it. Hinata had seen the staff weapon used on another prisoner that begged for their life, right before one of the guards had used that staff weapon to end it.
She sprinted towards the guard quicker than she knew she was able. He didn't have any chakra coils she could hit with her Gentle Fist, but she could do some damage to his internal organs. He would be out before he knew Hinata was there!
To her horror her feet decided to argue with her. She sprawled on the floor when they gave out and gasped in horror when she realized the guard had seen her. Hinata quickly rolled out of the way when the staff weapon fired and left a smoking black mark on floor where she had been just a second ago. The guard was already aiming for again.
Damn her muscles! Damn her body!
She used the wall to quickly stand up and jumped when she saw the hit coming for her again. She broke her jump in a roll and kicked the guard in the groin when she was below him. The staff weapon fired, but Hinata was out of its way again. She forced her feet to work. She forced her body to the limit.
Hinata used Gentle Fist to the guard and his eyes lulled backwards until his whole body collapsed. Small trickle of blood started running from his mouth and Hinata was quite sure she had killed him. She didn't feel remorse. Why should she for someone who was willing to capture and contain innocent people, allowing them to be subjected to torture and pain?
She picked the staff weapon and hoped no one had heard the noises they had made. Her hope was extinguished when she saw that there were already more guards running on her way. She needed to get Sakura out and quickly!
The cell door opened quickly with the help of the staff weapon. The inhabitant of the cell was laying on the floor, unmoving. Hinata felt a dread settle in her heart. She couldn't get Sakura out if she was unconscious! She was barely able to move herself, she couldn't carry another dead weight. She tried firing at the cuffs on Sakura's hands, but the blast just bounced of and Hinata had to duck.
"Sakura-san! Wake up!" she yelled and shook Sakura from the shoulders. The pink-haired kunoichi opened her red-rimmed-eyes and stared at Hinata dully.
"This is another dream," she whispered. "I don't want to see dreams anymore. Not anymore." Sakura closed here eyes again. Hinata didn't think twice about what she was about to do; she slapped Sakura.
"Wake up! We need to leave! I don't have much chakra left and the guards are on their way! Get up!" Hinata commanded. Sakura's eyes flew open and they blinked once, twice...
"Hinata-san! How? Why?" Sakura asked, the bewilderment evident in her green eyes.
"No time to explain! We have to go now!" Hinata answered and tried to lift Sakura up, only to collapse on the floor herself. "Damn it!" Sakura was gaping now. She had never heard Hinata swear or speak without stuttering at least one word. She didn't know what was happening, but she could guess. Somehow, Hinata had managed to escape the chakra containing cuffs, get past all the guards, find Sakura and try to help her escape, all with limited chakra at her disposal!
"You can see everything with your Byakugan?" Sakura confirmed from Hinata and received a nod as an answer.
"But my legs don't work," she gritted through her teeth. "I can't walk or run properly! And I can't break your cuffs! I don't see any weak points and the staff weapon didn't work!" She could see the wheels turning in Sakura's head.
"I think I could carry you," Sakura said and offered her back to Hinata. "Just climb on my back. You can use your Byakugan and tell me where to go!" Hinata had to think the offer just for a second before she knew her answer. The guards were advancing. Only one route was free of them and they had to leave now if they wished to use it.
"Let's go!" she told Sakura. The other girl was happy to oblige. Their journey was wobbly at start, but Hinata was glad to realize Sakura's feet were firmer than her own. And she was fast!
"Next corner, to the right and then again right," Hinata whispered in Sakura's ear, fearing that talking out loud would attract guards. They both could already hear them yelling behind them; the empty cell and the dead guard had been found.
"Two guards ahead of us, backs on our way. They don't know we are coming," Hinata continued. Sakura nodded in understanding and the guards were finished with two blasts from the staff weapon. "Third door, go in."
They both exhaled a sigh of relief when the door closed after them. Hinata could still see the guards running around the cell block and some coming in their way. But they had found their way to the ring!
"What is this place and what is that?" Sakura asked pointing at the huge ring-structure and tried to regain her breath after letting Hinata down. Her legs shook and every muscle in her body hurt, but she knew Hinata was probably hurting more. Her face was full of old and new bruises and blood had caked around her delicate nose.
"Our way out," Hinata answered and stumbled to the pedestal on her right. She had seen someone pushing the buttons on the pedestal before the energy had started concentrating in the ring. "We just need to figure out how this works out and we'll be out!" She smiled at Sakura. They were almost free! Sakura smiled back at her.
Hinata focused on the pedestal while Sakura pointed the staff weapon towards the door a grim defiance settling on her face. They were so close to escaping. She wouldn't let them fail in it!
The pedestal was a curious thing but Hinata suppressed the urge to let her curiosity get in the way. She could see the energy connecting the different buttons. She tried to press one and it lit up. She followed the trail leading from that button to another. There were numerous routes and she bit her lip. 'Just choose one', she told herself. 'Just choose one and the energy will make the ring take us away. Just like the guards did earlier.'
When she pressed the seventh button, the whole ring started spinning. The energy coiling in it almost hypnotized Hinata. It wasn't chakra, but it was something very similar. She could see it working its way in the ring. And when it exploded, it was like whole room lit up. Hinata was mesmerized.
That was when she realized her error. She hadn't followed with her Byakugan what was happening outside. The guards surprised both Sakura and her. Sakura managed to shoot two guards before she was hit in the shoulder. Hinata could feel them both start falling towards the energy pool. And she could see the staff weapon pointing at her. And she could do nothing.
She felt excruciating pain in her back and after that a coldness that was colder than cold itself. And stars. Stars spinning around her faster and faster and faster.
The air in her lungs escaped when she fell on something hard. Sakura beside her moaned. Stars were still spinning and Hinata could feel the ice on her back. But the good news were there were only she and Sakura. The world was spinning but she could see the ring in front of her. The energy was gone. There were no guards. She saw only the sky and the green rustling leaves from the trees next to them.
"We-we got out," Sakura coughed and tried to inhale air. Her lungs let out a rattling sound.
"We are free," Hinata concluded. The trees looked so beautiful. It reminded her of Konoha in summer. She had been happy training for the whole summer. She had laughed at Kiba's jokes and nervously talked with him and Shino. Everyday she had felt herself get stronger. Those memories were the best. She had been happy.
"I think... I think I'm dying," Sakura whispered and grasped Hinata's hand on her own. Hinata tried to squeeze her own hand to reassure Sakura that everything was fine, but realized she couldn't.
"Me too," she answered. Tears were forming in her eyes, blurring her vision.
"Are you...sad? That... it ends...like this?" Sakura managed to say before a wet cough took her voice away. Hinata stared at the trees. To be with Shino and Kiba once more. And Naruto... Oh how she wanted to see Naruto. Once more. Just once more. She could see him smiling in the leaves.
"No," she answered a ghost of a smile lingering on her lips. "We are free."
The last thing Hinata saw was a woman with a long, frizzy hair with leaves and branches in it staring at her sadly.