Author's Notes: Yes, you are all going to kill me that I'm posting this instead of another chapter of Innocence… I need some sasuhina angst to counteract all that Kakashi humor.
No matter how many times I read Naruto, I always have the same question. How in the hell did they let six-year-old-looking Sasuke live alone after the massacre? Ninja village or not, I find it hard to believe they'll just leave him wandering around. He's a Uchiha—no matter how much enmity exists between the Uchiha police force and the shinobi, their bloodline is highly prized. Also, I'm always curious why he isn't out there raising hell like Naruto; you know, rebelling against society. But then again, I guest I'll be a pretty angsty ridden character if my whole family (regardless how much I like them or not) was slaughtered. Brutally. Efficiently. (You've got to give credit where credit is due.)
So, my Hinata-fixation aside, it seems fairly logical Sasuke (in my world of logic) be trotted off to the Hyuuga Clan. Besides having distant familial connections, there exists the whole plethora of politics that having a Uchiha under Hyuuga thumb invites. And because I've always been a sucker for political mayhem…
Please view in 3/4 format.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Dedication: clockwork starlight, because she lets me bounce ideas off her and also because we love/hate the same things.
"Are you leaving me?" His voice was soft and resigned.
The sound of her fist suddenly slamming into the wall seemed painfully loud in comparison.
She didn't bother to hide her tears even as she whipped around to run away. But with the same speed and ease that had made him one of the deadliest shinobi around, his hand snaked out and grabbed her wrist. She resisted just a little bit but didn't bother doing much else, knowing it would be useless. Instead, she fought with words.
"After everything… how can you say that?" she bit out through the tears, mucus, and rage. Her fists clenched and unclenched.
Sasuke felt his chest tighten as he stared at her shaking back. Guilt made him speechless. So, as always, he sought to communicate the only way he knew how.
Hinata shuddered but didn't resist as he slowly wound his arms around her waist and drew her close. His scent of clean soap was surprisingly calming. She tensed but did not move away as he gently pressed his face into the crook of her neck.
"I'm sorry. It was an inappropriate thing for me to say," Sasuke said quietly, his voice muffled. He reached out and raised her bruised hand to his lips.
"You should have hit me instead," he said softly, his breath ghosting over her swelling knuckles.
"Damn straight," she hissed into the dark room.
Hinata could feel his lips stretch in an amused smile against her neck. Somehow, it made her feel marginally better.
Because that's just another fancy word for chaos.
Uchiha Sasuke walked in like the little prince he rightfully was.
His yukata was properly black and it made his skin seem whiter than ever. His movements were graceful and his dark eyes showed no sign of tears. He looked perfect—and she resented that. But whenever Hyuuga Hinata thought about doing more than merely resenting the intruder in her life, she always reminded herself that at least she had her family. Yes. No matter what, she still had her family. Her Clan.
Her reason for existence.
There was nothing more important than that.
Despite Sasuke's perfection, there was no bringing back his family.
Hinata had always liked the tea Mikoto had prepared.
So she bowed and whispered a quiet hello when he was introduced as a "new family member". Her father gave a brief nod of approval at her behavior but otherwise focused his attention on the quiet boy. It made Hinata crumble inside but it wasn't an unfamiliar pain and she hid it well.
As an Uchiha, as the Uchiha, Sasuke was housed in the main compound with the rest of the Main Branch and was expected to be treated as such. Hinata noticed that Neji's countenance had darkened considerably when he realized that, but he bit his tongue and kept his peace. It made Hinata wish Neji would be half as tolerant with her.
Sasuke ate all his meals with her immediate family (and Neji). In the beginning, Hiashi subtly tried to cajol Sasuke into conversation. Unfortunately, his good intentions were for the most part useless, and by dinnertime the family plus one dark-eyed-boy had returned to being silent once more. Even the servants made more noise as they served tea and exquisite meals befitting the shinobi nobility of Konohagakure. After dinner, right before Hiashi went to check on Hanabi and Neji vanished to his usual evening training, Hinata had been instructed to guide Sasuke to his respective bedroom. She did so with the same meekness and compliance she did everything and was only thankful that Sasuke did not ask any questions.
Bowing goodnight after the fifteen minute tour of the compound, she soon retired to her adjacent bedroom.
That night, Hinata slept peacefully if not a little bitterly.
She awoke to cold sweat.
Hinata briefly tussled with her sheets before she managed to crawl out of her futon. She pressed her cheek to the wall and shuddered as she heard a choked wail echo in the next room.
Sasuke had been fine for three nights—silent, reposed.
On the fourth night, however, he had cracked.
Despite the bitterness and the unforgiving nature of the Hyuuga Household, they protected their own. Although everyone was aware of the young Uchiha's nightmares, no one spoke of it out of respect for the obviously still grieving boy.
Hinata had heard Hiashi contemplating whether to confront the Uchiha about his nightmares, but a fellow Elder had convinced him otherwise, saying the Uchiha would not appreciate a gesture of comfort at this time. In the end, they had settled for placing a constant mild silencing jutsu outside his room. However, silencing jutsus didn't stifle chakra surges or the louder sounds. With her room adjacent to Sasuke's, Hinata felt each sudden surge of erratic chakra quite clearly, as well as the more pained screams.
It had been three days since Sasuke had began to have nightmares and Hinata was beginning to dread them with a vengeance.
Hinata shuddered at another gut-churning, chilling scream.
Before she was even aware of it, she crawled out of her room and stood outside his. It was only when she saw her own hand reaching to push aside the sliding door did she realize exactly what she was about to do.
She hesitated. Another muffled scream.
Hinata braced herself and slid the door open. It was only by force of habit she remembered to close the door behind her.
In the darkness of the room, she could make out the shivering form in the center of a mussed futon. The blankets had long been kicked off and as Hinata padded across the tatami floor in as silent a manner possible, Hinata couldn't help but idly think he would get a chill at this rate.
I'll have to remind the maids to get heavier blankets.
She knelt down on the edge of the futon and peered at the still-sleeping boy. Up close, she could see that his face was wet with tears and his fists clenched—he looked far from perfect. But for some reason, Hinata liked this Sasuke better than the stoic perfect boy of before.
Hinata reached out to shake him awake and then hesitated. It took her several moments to muster enough courage to let her fingertips gently graze his cheek.
There are tears on his cheeks.
She would have never expected him to wake so suddenly.
Hinata was too stunned to even cry out when she was suddenly slammed onto her back and pinned to the floor. Her eyes widened and her Byagukan unconsciously manifested even as dark eyes bored into her own. As she began to hyperventilate at the sickening feeling of cold metal pressed against her neck, some childish part of her noted that his eyes were pretty—even when they looked sad.
His breathing was harsh and his throat was undoubtedly raw from all that screaming, but his face was calm if not a bit aggressive. His lips moved as if to speak, but nothing came out as he struggled for both his voice and for the appropriate words. He was so close that she could feel his harsh breathing tickling her cheeks. It wasn't a very pleasant feeling considering the circumstances.
With her Byagukan activated, Hinata could see his chakra spiking erratically. In comparison to the usual chakra flow she saw in other shinobi, it was such a mess and for a brief moment Hinata wondered if he shouldn't be sent to the hospital. The hand he had pressed onto one of her arms was remarkably clammy—he really must have been cold without the blanket, Hinata mused.
Hinata never realized that she'd forgotten all about the kunai pressed to her throat.
After a few long moments, Sasuke finally released her--the kunai didn't fail to leave a nick.
Hinata slowly rose to a sitting position as she unconsciously touched her neck. Her Byagukan receded and she blinked, disorientated.
The room was eerily and heavily silent as she peered nervously at the silent boy. Sasuke was still clutching the kunai (where he'd hidden it, Hinata had no idea) tightly as he stared at the space in between them.
It felt strange and sort of nice not to be the one staring at the floor this time.
"A-are you alright?"
Sasuke's head whipped upwards so fast Hinata thought his neck might crack. His eyes narrowed and his mouth twisted in an ugly scowl. Hinata cringed, feeling very foolish for asking such an obvious question.
"I'm fine," he snapped. Hinata mutely nodded. She couldn't hold his rage-filled gaze for long and glanced downwards nervously.
"I'm sorry Sasuke-san. Forgive my intrusion," she whispered to the floor as she backed away hastily, almost tripping on her sleeping robe as she did so. She did not look back as she scurried out of the room and closed the door behind her with a mild thud.
As she dived into her blankets, Hinata couldn't help but pity Sasuke. Although she had nightmares, she never screamed.
Sasuke was screaming again—and Hinata was standing outside his door again. This time however, she had warm tea that she had gone to the kitchen to silently prepare. Tea that the nursemaid would always feed her whenever she had a problem sleeping—tea Hinata hoped would help Sasuke. Even if he hadn't spoken much, Hinata could tell that his voice had been hoarse the whole day from screaming—the tea would help that at least.
As Hinata stared at the door, she briefly wondered if she was allowed to be doing what she was doing. The Clan Elder had discouraged such behavior. However, if there was something Hinata hated, it was the feeling of helplessness—and she felt that much too often to allow this little chance to be useful slide.
Bracing herself mentally and physically, Hinata slid open the door. Once again, she was met with the sight of a pathetic little being scrunched up among his covers.
Oh, Kami. Hinata almost felt like crying herself.
This time around, she was slightly smarter and Hinata managed to dodge Sasuke's instinctual grab and kunai when she roused him. Her courage soon fled however as she swiftly realized that even half asleep he was far more aggressive than she was—it took everything in her to gingerly hold out the tea as he stared at her groggily.
It was awe-inspiring really, to see his eyes sharpen and focus. Even in his night clothes, even with his hair mussed, somehow Sasuke could still look intimidating.
He stared at her. Glared at her. For a terrifying moment Hinata thought he would knock the hot tea out of her hands too.
It was something Neji would do.
To her pleasant surprise, he accepted the tea. Hinata couldn't resist giving a soft, almost sympathetic smile—but he scowled at her and the smile vanished. She took his unspoken cue to leave and bolted. Nonetheless, Hinata slept a little better that night than the night before.
During the daytime, he was cold and aloof. He rarely interacted with the rest of the family beyond meal times—and when he wasn't at the main compound, he was in the training grounds.
Hinata did not miss the approving murmurs from the Hyuuga Elders. It made their silence at her incompetence seem so much more obvious. Hiashi was even worse—even as he trained her, he would frequently activate his Byagukan to check upon the young Uchiha.
Why can't you be more like Sasuke?
It made Hinata want to hurt the boy, the usurper, the thief of her throne. Badly.
Still, observant as Hinata was, she was still young and only seven years old. While she recognized that Sasuke was already being entangled in Clan politics, Hinata failed to see the uglier side of her family that Sasuke was suddenly thrown against.
Sasuke, older than he should be, couldn't help but see the word "Clan" in a totally new light.
Hinata, looking in only as an outsider, couldn't help but feel rage and jealousy.
And then he'll scream during the night again, and she'll guiltily regret everything she thought during the day.
They repeated this pattern for the next seven nights. By the eighth time, Hinata didn't even hesitate to whip off her covers and scurry to the kitchen.
They repeated the routine—up until a certain point.
Hinata's eyes widened as she stared at the hand that was suddenly grabbing her wrist. She dumbly sat down obediently, mind still reeling. Sasuke released her hand immediately, almost as if burnt. Studiously ignoring her shocked gaze, he focused on drinking the tea.
Hinata bit her lip and looked away as the awkward silence filled the space in between them. However, after a minute, she glanced back at the silent boy.
He had bandages wrapped around both his arms and both his legs. Hinata had heard from the Hyuuga healer that the boy was training himself literally to death. Hinata couldn't help but think it was more than simple training—it was also a way to work himself into exhaustion to escape the nightmares.
After all, she'd done the same thing before herself.
Because Hinata was still young and still hadn't developed nervous gestures, she could think of doing nothing else but speaking...
"I'm sorry." Suddenly the burden on her shoulders seemed to slightly relax.
I'm sorry you have nightmares. I'm sorry you're stuck in a house of strangers. I'm sorry you're family is dead.
In contrast, Sasuke tensed. The grip on his cup tightened. And then casually, almost indifferently, he replied hoarsely:
"I'm sorry too." Something about the way he said it…
I'm sorry I make your life miserable. I'm sorry for intruding in your life… I'm sorry for being here. Being born.
Hinata's eyes widened. She whipped her head upwards from staring at the floor to staring at his knowing eyes.
We're not so different, you and I.
Somehow, Hinata wasn't too surprised to feel tears welling up in her own. Sasuke, uncomfortable, looked away.
And I'm sorry Itachi-nii-san, for not realizing earlier.
Somehow, although she's the one crying now, the atmosphere seems almost comforting.
As the night dragged on, two seven year olds with old eyes licked their wounds.
Important Author's Notes:
Some of you may notice the unusual syntax and style in this chapter in comparison to my other works. This was my attempt to inject childishness into the writing and to subtly emphasize their innocence and young age.
It probably failed though.
I think canon-Sasuke always had this romantic outlook when it came to the Uchiha Clan. He obviously never saw, or refused to see all the faults of the clan-structure. However, in my fic here, Sasuke is more or less forced to own up to the faults of the Uchiha Clan. After all, there's nothing like the cold bitter exterior of the Hyuuga household to teach a youngster what hate is.
Some of you may also wonder about the maturity shown by Sasuke and Hinata—maturity, many of you will argue, that twelve-year-old Sasuke and Hinata never showed in canon. My belief is that children, uninhibited by long-held assumptions and hormones, are in many cases much more mature than teenagers. Teenagers have to have a pre-conceived belief in order to be angry or rebel against the reality. Teenagers also think a lot more, which means there are things they will definitely turn a blind eye to. Children simply don't think that much, and will naturally accept everything as they are. In that sense, children probably see more things than teenagers and adults. Brain power is naturally limited—what adults and teenagers spend on analyzing things children spend on simply absorbing their surroundings.
Am I making sense? I hope I am.
Why am I writing this when I clearly should be working on other things, such as my other fanfics?
Probably because I've hit a minor writer's block.
More likely because I'm finally writing that long-chaptered Sasuhina fic I always wanted to write.
Most likely it's because I keep getting bitched at by both my inner muse and friends to fulfill Sasuhina-obligations. They aren't very happy I launched off into the itahina depths without doing some noblesse oblige civic duty to sasuhina-dom.
Unlike As Far As Innocence Goes, Pandemonium is a lot narrower when it comes to characters. Yes, there will be politics and drama and humor, but it will focus more on Sasuke and Hinata instead of a host of characters. (Expect a hell lot more angst.) Don't worry, Kakashi will still feature prominently here as well as Neji and the usual favorites, but ultimately it's still Sasuke and Hinata. I feel a bit guilty letting Hinata recede to the background in Innocence. :D
Review. Golden cycle: more happy reviews makes more happy authors makes more happy chapters makes more happy reviewers makes more happy reviews… you get my drift.
And honestly, I'm still hesitant about Pandemonium. So convince me that Sasuhina needs just as much love as Itahina. ;)