Author's Note/Summary: (Repost) Hinata is 18. She had some feelings for Naruto in the past, but gradually came to see that they were meant to be just friends. Hinata is a jounin, and has also received extensive medical training.
Itachi just finished a mission and is very ill when he meets up with Hinata. He is preparing himself to meet up with his brother soon and die at his hands.
Timeline: Right after Sasuke killed Orochimaru in the manga. I will do my best to follow the manga, but this story will obviously be AU. This part one of the story.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, if I did I would kill off characters that annoy me rather than the ones I like.
Drawing up her knees and linking her hands lightly around them, Hinata stared out pensively over the ocean and watched as the flashes of sunlight danced over the waves. She smiled a little wryly to herself as she tried to remember a time when she ever had a chance to just relax and do nothing.
Leaning back in the chair and closing her eyes she realized that if she ever did have such a time, it was so long ago that she couldn't remember it. Her life, for as long as she could remember consisted of endless training, work, and missions.
For years Hinata had worked hard, continually pushing herself and trying to make herself stronger so her father and Naruto would recognize her. She still trained with Kiba, Kurenai and Shino, and on most evenings they would go home long before she did.
When she wasn't with her team, she was training with Sakura to become a medic nin. The Hokage had decided with her Byakugan and chakra control she would be an asset to her medical staff at the hospital. Over time Hinata had trained her eyes to see many things that others simply could not.
Unfortunately, her father did not consider her much of asset to the clan.
Hinata felt frustrated that even after making the rank of Jounin, her father still failed to see how strong she had become. He still thought she was weak. She stared sadly out over the ocean and wondered what it would take for him to recognize her. Sighing softly to herself, she wished she knew.
Back at home, Hinata had a feeling her father had only allowed her to come here because he was planning something for her when she returned home. She had been becoming suspicious when a few weeks ago he mentioned he wanted to have her meet some of her distant relatives soon. She knew that could only mean one thing. He was preparing to marry her off, now that she was eighteen, and set up Hanabi as his heir.
As she thought about marriage, an image of someone from long ago flashed in her mind. Someone she had kept locked deep away in her mind and heart, but was always with her. To her…he was unforgettable.
At the mere thought of his name she sighed painfully, what he had done was unforgivable and deep down she had given up on him long ago. When he brutally destroyed his clan and left, he had betrayed all of them. She closed her eyes as the knowledge still hurt. Her eyes were pensive as she knew she had to look forward to a future without him in it.
Taking a long, deep breath she tried to relax as she listened to the soothing sounds of the waves as they broke along the shore. It wasn't long before she fell fast asleep.
A few hours before dusk, two weary figures trudged down the road back towards their base. The younger of the two could barely see the glimmer of the sun off the waves. His eyesight was growing dimmer all the time and he knew it was only a matter of time before he lost his sight altogether.
The last mission was particularly hellish. In their search for the four tails they had to fight almost a whole village, and his chakra levels felt dangerously low. It was getting more and more difficult for them to move around from town to town without being recognized.
"Itachi?" Kisame asked.
"I just need to rest soon and restore my chakra levels," Itachi replied wearily.
They walked along a little bit longer when Kisame spotted a beach house up ahead. Maybe we can kill whoever lives there and stay for a while, he thought. He was just about to mention it when he noticed Itachi had already stopped walking and was staring at the beach house with a intense look on his face.
"Itachi? Why did you stop? Did you see a ghost or something?" He joked with a smirk on his blue face.
Itachi turned and looked at him with unfocused eyes as if he was thinking about something else.
Hmm, I wonder if it is her, it feels like her chakra, he thought to himself.
"Kisame, I am unable to go any further and am in need of some time off. Please inform leader I will return to the base when I am fully recovered." Itachi stated coolly.
Kisame was surprised at his change of plans, as it was highly unusual for his austere partner to ever do anything even remotely spontaneous. Itachi was by far the most rigidly disciplined ninja he had ever met.
He looked at him closely and knew his illness was progressing rapidly and realized it probably wouldn't be long now before he succumbed to it. Kisame had known about his illness for months and had been only feigning ignorance for Itachi's sake. He decided to keep up the pretence that Itachi wasn't dying a little longer.
"Okay Itachi, you get yourself rested up and I will tell leader you will report in to him in a couple of weeks. Just know this—you owe me big time." With that said he picked up his pack and Samehada and began to head toward the base.
Itachi's body slumped in relief after Kisame left, grateful he no longer needed to pretend he was fine. He found a tree on the outskirts of the property and sat down wearily under it. Ever cautious of his surroundings, he scanned the house and property with his Sharingan to see if he could detect others in the area with Hinata.
Relief flooded his mind when he found that she was all alone. The last thing he needed was a confrontation or another battle. Such a thing was almost beyond his capabilities right now.
Besides, he wasn't exactly sure what type of reception he was going to receive from Hinata as it was. It had been several years since he had left the village, and he left under very treacherous circumstances. When he last saw her she was about 8 years old. I bet she has grown up a lot since then, he thought with a ghost of a smile.
He first met Hinata when he was 10 years old. He was out training when his brother found him to tell him their father wanted to see him. When he came into his father's study he saw Hiashi Hyuuga with him. As he bowed respectfully towards his father and the Hyuga clan leader, he noticed a little girl dressed in a white kimono hiding behind her father's legs. She seemed very timid as she kept her eyes firmly on the tiles on the floor.
Looking at her he felt a small amount of pity for her. He understood what it was like to carry the oppressive weight of clan expectations on his shoulders. For someone young and shy like her, he knew the weight of being an heiress to such a powerful clan, as the Hyuuga, was probably crushing her.
Itachi watched her patiently until she was brave enough to sneak a peek at him. When she looked up, he was stunned when he saw her eyes. He had never seen a Hyuuga with eyes like hers. She had beautiful, warm pearl colored eyes with just a hint of lavender in them. Most Hyuugas he knew had cold white eyes like her father.
Standing rigidly in front of his father, he effectively hid all of his thoughts from him.
"You wanted to see me father?" Itachi asked coolly as his eyes looked at his father with suspicion lurking in them.
He just knew his father wanted something from him and he didn't trust him at all. He stood up taller and looked his father straight in his eyes.
Fugaku had a fleeting glimpse of admiration at his son's quick assessment of the situation. Even at only ten years old, nothing ever got by him as he noticed everything. He just hoped his brilliant son would go along with the plans he made for him. Because he knew if Itachi made up his mind against them, it would take nothing short of a miracle to change his mind.
"Yes son, I want you to meet your betrothed," he said tightly as if he was expecting his son to argue with him. He gestured his hand towards the little girl who was still cowering timidly behind her father's long white robe.
"Itachi, this is Hyuuga Hinata, and when she comes of age you will marry her," his father stated firmly with the threat of dire consequences if he refused lurking in his eyes.
Hiashi looked on as father and son glared at each other for a long while. Itachi finally looked over at Hinata and sighed, "Father, I will do as you say. May I go now? You interrupted my training schedule," Itachi said in quietly controlled voice. The only sign he was upset was the small clench of his hand at his side.
His father nodded and closed his eyes for a small moment and allowed himself to savor the small victory over his son. Those moments were very rare for him lately.
Fugaku had been worried that he would have to apply more pressure to the boy and was a little surprised when he caved in so easily. Maybe, the little Hyuuga got to him somehow, he speculated as he looked down at the shy little girl.
Hiashi, watched the boy as he left and was very impressed with how strong he appeared. He had been following his career as a shinobi for some time and was very happy when Fugaku offered him as a suitor for Hinata rather than the younger son.
He was very pleased with the betrothal and thought the alliance would be beneficial not only to both clans, but especially his daughter. She was so shy and timid; he knew she would need someone strong to look after her when he no longer could.
He glanced down at his eldest daughter and sent her outside to play and his eyes followed her until she left the room.
Itachi ran out to the training area and did what he always did when his father tried to control him, he trained. He continued to push himself to the edge of his limits until he heard a noise behind him. He looked down away from him and saw Hinata watching him with big white eyes from behind a bush.
"You may come out now," he said to her in a slightly irritated voice. The little girl peeked out slowly from behind the bush.
"Gomen, Uchiha-sama. I-I am s-sorry…my f-father wanted m-me to go o-outside while he t-talked to y-your father," Hinata said shyly as she bowed respectfully to him.
"Well, just don't bother or annoy me like my brother does, or else you will have to leave," he replied passively giving her permission to stay.
"Hai Uchiha-sama," she said softly and obediently went to the side of the training area and after tucking her kimono demurely under her legs, she sat down to watch him train.
Hinata had been training since before she could walk, but she had never seen anyone train or move like he did. By the time he was done, she was more than a little awestruck. He's so amazing, even better than Neji.
Her face began to fall the more she watched him; his brilliance made her own shortcomings become even more glaringly apparent to her.
Watching as the sun sparkled off of his long, dark hair, her admiration for him continued to grow, as she noted he looked like someone who never failed at anything. It pained her to know that she would never be able to measure up to him.
The brilliant sight of him grew painful so she turned her eyes away from him and stared at the ground while she fidgeted nervously with the hem of her kimono. A ragged sigh escaped her as she just knew he was going to be one more person added to the growing list of all the people she had let down. It was only a matter of time, before he too, would one day see the failure she was, and dislike her as much as her clan did.
Itachi watched as the little girl went from one emotion to the other. She really is pathetic, she is like an open book, he thought disgustedly. His mouth became tight as he decided how to deal with this unacceptable problem.
"Hinata," Itachi said firmly as he looked at her.
She looked up timidly into his piercing onyx eyes and he saw something in them that reminded of him of Sasuke and the way he would look at him sometimes. It was the look of someone starved for approval and attention.
Itachi looked away from her almost irritated; he really didn't need any more responsibility added to him. He didn't have enough time to spend with his brother as it was, with training and all of the missions he had to go on. Sometimes, he barely had time to sleep at night.
Itachi looked back over at the solemn and timid little girl and felt pity. He knew, if he didn't help her and train her, she was probably going to get herself killed. He decided then and there as her betrothed, it was his duty to help her.
"Tell your father that I am going to start training you, I will work out the details with him later," he offered with a resigned look in his eyes.
She looked up stunned. "A-are y-you s-sure, I-I a-am pretty weak. My f-father t-tells me s-so all the time," she stammered as her eyes started filling up with tears.
Placing his hand impatiently under her chin, he made her look up at him. "Hinata, do you want me to train you or not?"
She stared up at him and felt his sharp eyes were searching hers, trying to find something in her that would show him she was worth the effort of training her.
Her timid eyes automatically began to look toward the ground when she realized that she wanted—no, she needed him to train her. She desperately needed to prove herself to her father and her clan that she was not worthless.
"Yes, Itachi-san, I w-want to get stronger and prove myself to my father," she replied with a look of determination in her eyes.
Itachi stared at her for a while before he looked away from her with a just a fraction of a smile on his face.
"Fine, I will help you."
At his words, Hinata gave him a shy, but very happy smile. Inside she was in shock that he was going to take time to train her. She never would have expected something like that from him.
It made her feel almost…special.
"Arigato Uchiha-sama," she told him gratefully with her eyes looking respectfully down at the ground.
Itachi nodded and then began searching for some of his kunai knives and other gear to take home. Just before he was about to head home, he turned and looked at her almost as an afterthought.
"Oh, and Hinata, it is just Itachi, no sama or san please, I am not so formal." Itachi told her, giving her permission to use his first name.
"Hai I-Itachi," she said trying the name out. It felt a little odd to her because she had been rigorously trained since birth about protocol and was not used to speaking informally.
Hinata looked over at the picnic basket next to her and picked it up. "Itachi?" she said in her quiet high-pitched little voice. "Y-your m-mother gave me this picnic basket to share with you. A-are you h-hungry?"
"Yes I am, thank you Hinata," he said as he was already opening up the basket. He found a little blanket inside and spread it out so they could sit on it. Hinata handed him a bottle of water and a bento box along with some chopsticks. They ate mostly in silence, but it wasn't awkward. Both of them were too busy eating and thinking to want to talk much. It was the start of a friendship of sorts.
Itachi had fallen asleep under the tree and during that time the sun had started to go down. Even though the temperature outside was still warm, he began to shiver. He had been travelling for a few days and he still hadn't healed from all of his wounds and he had a feeling he was burning up with a fever.
Swaying slightly, feeling pathetically weak; he picked up his gear and cautiously checked to see if he could sense anyone else's chakra in the area. Feeling relieved that there was no one else around, he looked toward the beach until he saw a person with long indigo colored hair lying in a beach chair.
As he walked out towards her, he noticed she didn't even know he was there. His mouth tightened in irritation as he thought about all of the time he spent training her to become more alert of her surroundings.
You know better than to let your guard down like that, Hinata, he mentally chided her.
It didn't take him long to figure out she was sleeping when he got closer to her chair. His weak eyes were first drawn to her beautiful face. From what he could see of her he could tell that she had grown up to be lovely. He gradually let his eyes slowly drift over the rest of her. She was wearing a bikini and there wasn't much left of the little girl he remembered...she was definitely a woman now.
Hinata stirred slightly, when she sensed someone was staring at her. When she opened her eyes she immediately noticed the black background with the red clouds on his cloak and her heart began to race in fear.
She started to jump up to defend herself when his calm emotionless voice stopped her.
"Hinata, it's me."
At the sound of his beloved voice Hinata's head turned quickly to look at his face.
"I-Itachi? Is it really you?" She asked in a breathless voice not really believing she was seeing him again after all these years. Her eyes searched his face and stared at him almost hungrily. Overwhelmed at seeing him so suddenly, she swayed a little on her feet.
Itachi reached out to steady her arm and felt a little hurt when she flinched away from him in fear.
Feeling saddened that she no longer trusted him like she used to; he sighed and backed away from her a little and looked over at her tiredly.
"Hinata, I am injured, and I need your help." He knew was sinking low by getting her involved with him, but he was desperate. He wasn't sure how much longer he was going to be able to stand without blacking out completely.
Hinata looked at him and knew it was her duty as a shinobi to turn him into the authorities, but she knew she couldn't do it. Even though he was a member of Akatsuki, and an S rank criminal, and had slaughtered his clan, including his parents, she couldn't betray him; he was almost like family to her.
"Itachi, I will help you recover…and then you must leave. You must promise me, because unlike you, I will never betray Konoha or the people in it," she said as her eyes locked bravely with his and saw him give her a solemn nod.
Looking into his dark onyx eyes, Hinata felt her heart begin to hammer in her chest. Unwillingly, she was beginning to notice how undeniably attractive he had become.
The squawk of a seagull sounded loud over their heads as Hinata picked up her beach bag, and nervously began putting on her tank top and shorts.
"I will never hurt you, you know," he stated in quiet voice.
Hinata felt something thaw in her as she recognized his tone of voice. It was the voice that he only used with her and no one else.
"I-I know," she replied simply knowing that she believed him. Itachi was nothing, if not a man of honor; if he gave her his word, she knew he would keep it.
Itachi nodded, and began to follow her towards the small house.
As they were nearing the house, Itachi began to sway a little. His body hurt all over and he felt so weak, but he did not want her to see it. Just a few more steps he told himself and they would be inside. Hinata was too caught up in her racing thoughts to notice how slowly Itachi was walking.
As they approached the covered porch, she turned to him. "Are you hungry?"
Her eyes got a good look at him and they opened up wide in alarm when she noticed he was sweating, and he looked like he was going to pass out at any moment. Hinata put her hand underneath his arm, and tried to help him into the house.
He wanted to shake off her help, but he didn't think he could make up the steps without her. Damn it, I am so weak, he complained to himself.
She looked at him with concern, especially when she noticed he was burning up with a fever.
"Itachi, let me help you," Hinata asked gently as she helped him up the steps into the house.
Somehow she was able to get him into the guest bedroom. Using the last of his strength he lowered himself on the bed just before he completely blacked out.
Worry was evident in her eyes as she stared at him, and quickly activated her Byakugan to assess his chakra levels and it didn't take her long to notice he was dangerously low.
She applied chakra to her hands and using her Byakugan she began the tedious work of transferring some of her chakra to him. When she was done, she peeled away his black Akatsuki robe and threw it on the floor. He was wearing black clothes underneath and had several weapons concealed under his clothing. As she looked at the small pile of weapons she smiled slightly as she thought he was still the same as he used to be—always prepared for any situation.
After she finished undressing him (she left his shorts on) she went to the bathroom to get some wet wash cloths and antiseptic, because not only was he feverish, but he had several small wounds on him.
A frown began to form on her face as cleaned him up and healed his wounds as she noticed how thin and pale he was. His condition was anomalous for a shinobi of his caliber who at his age should be at the peak of his conditioning. She began to wonder how long he had been sick.
Hinata's face began to grow warm as she couldn't help, but notice, because, while he may be a little thin and pale; his body was lean and wiry muscular and altogether sublimely beautiful.
Shaking her head at her foolishness, she forced herself to look at him in a professional manner, like she had been trained to do. She leaned over and listened to his breathing and began to frown when she heard the sounds of wheezing coming from his airways.
After examining him with her medically-trained eyes she started to detect signs of some other illness.
Itachi, what is going on with you, she thought worriedly and a sick feeling of dread began to come over her.
She decided to use her bloodline limit to get a closer look at his chakra system; because she doubted when he was awake he would allow her to have this kind of access to him.
"Byakugan," she said as she formed the hand signs.
The veins started swelling around her eyes and soon tears began filling her eyes as she saw the mess his chakra system was in. It was starting to deteriorate in some areas and she could see some foreign black cancer-like substance in his lungs.
What could it mean? Has he been poisoned? She thought while she was to feel panic building in her chest.
It was shocking for her to see him like this; while she was growing up she had always considered him to be almost indestructible. How could this happen to him?
"Okay, focus Hinata," she said anxiously as she tried to pull herself together.
Beads of sweat began to gather on her forehead as she tried to focus her Byakugan even finer, she looked at the chakra coils around his eyes and saw how swollen and damaged the blood vessels and chakra coils were. She had read about the Mangekyo Sharingan and the damage it does to the eyes.
Itachi, you must be almost blind! she thought feeling horrified.
Thankfully, she knew she could help restore his vision. Her father taught her years ago how to repair chakra damage to the eyes, and how to maintain her own vision.
She gathered chakra to her hands and started blocking all of his tenketsu, especially the ones around his eyes. It wouldn't do for him to wake up and try to use his Sharingan. He will need to relax for some time before he will be able to use any doujutsu, but at least he will be able to see again.
After she was done repairing his eyes, she was completely exhausted. The damage had been quite extensive, and it had required a large amount of concentration and chakra for her to repair the coils. She took another quick look with her Byakugan, and relaxed some when she was satisfied that he would be able to see again with nearly perfect vision.
Hinata knew she would have to wait until he woke up to ask him about his other illness. She wasn't looking forward to that conversation, not only was she fearful about what he would reveal, but she also knew getting him to talk about himself was probably going to be about as fun as having a tooth pulled.
After placing her hand on his forehead to see if he still had a fever, she was pleased to see his temperature was normal and the medication she gave him was working for at least the time being. Walking around the bed she laid down next to him to take a quick nap. She was too exhausted to go to her room and she wanted to be near him if he needed something. Almost as soon as her head hit the pillow she fell immediately asleep.
A few hours later, Itachi awoke instantly alert. After being in Akatsuki for so long, he learned to never fully relax his guard. Looking around, he noticed that it was night-time. He turned slightly towards the wall and saw in the dimly lit room Hinata's long blue-black hair on the pillow next to his. He immediately relaxed when he remembered where he was.
There is no danger here, he thought to himself.
He noticed as he tried to roll over, he was having trouble moving his body. Hinata must have blocked my tenketsu. Hmm, I guess she still doesn't trust me, he thought sadly, but a part of him approved her lack of trust of him.
Hinata felt him stir next to her and slowly started to blush as she saw how close she was to him on the bed. She turned toward him, and reaching out a tentative hand, she moved his hair out of his eyes when she saw he was awake.
"How are you feeling?" she asked gently touching the side of his face to see if his fever returned. Her eyes darkened with worry when she felt he was warm again.
She was beginning to get up from the bed when he asked her in a scratchy voice for some water. While she was going to get his water and some more medicine he asked her. "Why did you block my tenketsu? I promised I wouldn't hurt you."
Hinata came over to the bed with his water and medicine and set it on the nightstand.
"I know," she said as she looked at him solemnly. "I didn't block your chakra because I am afraid of you. I did it because…" she stopped when she heard him begin to cough.
"Gomen Itachi, we will talk more when you are feeling better," she told him as she put her arms behind his pillow and helped him drink some water and take his medicine. As she lowered him down slowly, he closed his eyes and fell back to sleep.
Hinata watched him sleep awhile before she went into the bathroom, and wet a wash cloth down with cold water, and placed it on his forehead. She had a feeling she was in for a long night.