The New Generation
prologue: old-timers' legacy

Under the branches of the forest, a couple, side by side, walking.

One of the two was stiff-backed and straight, ebony black hair short and cropped, military style. A headband seemed to strangle his forehead so that the severe lines were even more defined. He walked with his hands clenched loosely at his side, power and authority in his stride. He was one who had never inclined to follow someone else's footsteps.

The other person was old and graying already, showing signs of exhaustion in a mid-limping stride. The person's chestnut hair was long, swinging among the waist. A hand grappled to rest briefly on the long trunks of the trees as the legs ambled slowly along.
Not your usual couple. For one thing, both seemed to have a terrible aversion to each other, although they walked side-by-side. Whenever one person brushed by the other, the other person would jump back violently, or brush back, purposely harder.

For another, each was talking in low tones about his family.

For the third, both were male (most likely deduced already).

Through the conversation came the unmistakable sounds of anger; Fugaku Uchiha, reeling from a comment, snapped back waspishly, "At least my child will be Uchiha, and not a Hyuuga, like your sniveling clan. I saw that girl, Neji, the other day, tripping over his already knee-length precious curls."

"My brother's child is a male," snapped Hiashi Hyuuga, and he "accidentally" tripped and swept a leg in effort to kick his companion.

Dodging smoothly, the Uchiha noted, "But my son, Itachi, is actually manly."

"Not with his equally-long hair he isn't."

"No, his hair is shoulder-length, and swept back in a manly ponytail, unlike yours, which is not so nice or manly."

"I see no difference," muttered the Hyuuga vindictively.

"Ah, but it is all choice of shampoos, my dear friend. After all, it has long since been known the Hyuugas need to use the most expensive of shampoos, and, lo behold and woe betide if a single strand is astray, for then the Hyuuga will promptly enter a nervous breakdown and/or crisis."

"I have not," snapped the Hyuuga harshly, forgetting his dignity for an instance.

"What about last week, when you forgot your comb to the Coucil meeting and insisted using chopsticks as a substitute?"

"That was - a - a complication. It fails to count," stuttered the Hyuuga.

"And what about the time you got your hair snagged in your door, and you left the keys in the house? Hmm? Will you not admit, it caused you great mental anguish to tear off those strands of hair? Hmm?"

"That - that was an aberration," sputtered the Hyuuga. "A deviant of the norm. Something that doesn't occur too often - "

"And the time," the Uchiha interrupted smoothly, "the time, on your head, a bird dropped its shi - "

"That," said the Hyuuga hurriedly, grateful to the darkness to disguise his purpling, mottled visage, "was another aberration."

"And the time - "

"An anomaly," said the Hyuuga. He suddenly stopped, the trees' shadows swaying on the ground. Quick to change the subject, the Hyuuga asked, "How is your wife doing?"

"My wife," Fugaku Uchiha interposed smoothly, aware of the swift change of direction, "is doing fine, better than anyone in the Hyuuga household. Why, just this morning, she declared that she is pregnant once more! The happiness the news brought to me, I have not felt since the birth of my great son, Itachi - "

"And let's see how great he'll turn out," muttered Hiashi Hyuuga bitterly. "Another fuddy-duddy."

"Ahem," said the Uchiha. "Lovely comment there, but you are incorrect. All Uchihas have done their crest and title proud, to increase fame of the household name. The new addition to our family will be aptly named, Sasuke Uchiha."

"What a girl-ey name."

"Ahem. Not girly at all (unlike (coughs ensued) someone's hair). Anyway, Sasuke is sure to be a great ninja. When he is born, he will rise to greatness immediately and be a most successful heir to the house."

The Hyuuga gave a dry cough. "Really great at birth, if as a "successful heir" he already attracts prostitutes." The Hyuuga grinned in response to Fugaku's incoherent sputterings. "Unlike Sasha Uchiha, however, my daughter will truly be a gem."

Fugaku Uchiha, recovering from his fit of anger, frowned tersely into the darkness. "Old age has got your brains muddled," he said finally in retaliation. "You do not have a daughter."

"You are wrong, there, Fugacker!" crowed Hiashi Hyuuga. "My wife, today she announced that she was pregnant, also." He gave a hard look at the Uchiha. "With a better addition to the family than yours, I presume. Hinata Hyuuga will exemplify the brightness - smartness - of the sun, and will rise to greatness a notch above your...erm, scum, I mean, son."

Fugaku Uchiha's lip had begun curling unpleasantly. "We shall see, then, Hyuuga, we shall see."

The Hyuuga's eyes bulged at his skeptical tone. "What? You doubt the greatness of the Hyuuga family? You scorn! Hinata will become much greater than that son (scum) of your household - what was it - Sashina Uchiha?"

"Sasuke," said Sasuke-to-be's father dryly. "But you are wrong there. Sasuke will rise so much higher than a little skinny upstart of a Hyuuga, Hinerda Hyuuga."

At this point, Hiashi Hyuuga seemed to take all he could. He braced his rickety limbs and shot out an elbow. It missed, and Fugaku Uchiha used the momentum to attempt to knee the Hyuuga. Both men missed by a mile. It was a sad performance, to say in the least.

Finally, exhausted by anger and thinking up the previous retorts, both men walked in silence upon the forest path. Towards the end there came a light. The Houses were close; their conversation would be drawn to an end soon.

But both men refused to let it end there.

At the lamp posts, Uchiha: "Sasuke will become better than Hinata. Hell, he's already superior, for being a Uchiha, and - and - a male."

Hyuuga: "How dare you, scum (at this point he had stopped trying to mask his insults). Hinata's a brain or two smarter and probably will be faster by two lightyears, too!"

"Lightyears measures distances, idiot, not speed."

"You know what I mean," snapped the Hyuuga. "In fact, Hinata can easily beat your son in - let's just say - school! With her brains and good breeding, she will ace every test and gain every teacher's respect, even the strict ones that look stringy like string beans!"

"Oh yeah?" Fugaku purpled; his bottom lip quivered ominously. "I think Sasuke will take over the school and dominate all the teachers, even the strict ones that look stringy like string beans!"

"Well, Hinata will receive all 150 percents on her semester averages!" Hyuuga purpled back.

"Well, Sasuke will receive all 250 percents on his semester averages!" Fugaku yell-owed back. (note that both parents had not even seen aforementioned children before, much less see their prowess in school).

"Oh yeah?" they both roared at each other. "Well, let's see, then! Let's see your son/daughter/scum beat my son/daughter/scum - (I mean, son)! Let's raise a bet, shall we?"

"Yes!" agreed the Hyuuga to the Uchiha's good suggestion. "How much money for betting on these children that we...have neither seen nor talked to before...?"

The Uchiha seemed to falter. "Uh...the winning man may have the satisfaction, then." Hmm. Perhaps the Hyuuga was right - maybe, as once in a while might tell, his son would be of no-good breed. If they bet now, on money or land, then there was that chance of utter, epic phail.

The Hyuuga seemed to deflate, in turn. Maybe Hinata would end up as a wastrel, or one of those spacey girls that seemed to crop up particularly in the Yamanaka's family. "Uh, okay. Whomever's son or daughter has better grades overall during the course of his or her teen years - (for those are the years of blooming and spring and youth!) - then his or her father wins the bet, and therefore satisfaction."

The Uchiha's jowls quivered in agreement. "Agreed," he agreed.

"Yes," echoed the Hyuuga, eyes alight with excitement. "Hahaha! I will tell my wife to hurry up and pop that baby out from wherever it pops out, so as to further along the pace of learning in my child!"

"And a miscarriage, too, you dolt," muttered the Uchiha, but the Hyuuga had already set up the path to the household grounds. The Uchiha was left to his own thoughts as he slowly ambled up the (opposite) walk of the Uchiha's clan grounds.

The Uchiha had no doubt in his mind (well, perhaps a smidgen, accredited to pure nervousness) that Sasuke would win. After all, he was a U-freaking-chi-ha. And everyone knew Uchihas succeeded, even though they were a smidgen arrogant.

Fugaku had no idea how Uchiha that Sasuke would be.

The arrogant part, not the success part.

So - new story! I'm super excited - for now, I just want to write, so pardon if the wording is a bit awkward or un-grammatical (though I doubt it, seeing I'm the world's biggest grammar freak). The next chapter will include snippets of childhood in competing, but most of the chapter involves teen years. Remember, these two haven't even met each other when their parents decided that they'd be lifelong enemies for being best in school.

Yeah. Crazy parents, no?

SasuHina 4eva,