Author's Note: I'm not gonna lie, I don't know how many chapters are left, but probably five, which would include two epilogues.
The Chaos Theory
by Bullwinkle's Lady
When Kasai encountered the man in white, she didn't open her eyes. She lay contently, in the warmth of several sunsets, the world around her was red, and burning, like fire. She knew that if she peeked, the flames would consume her.
Someone knelt down beside her; greeted her with fondness. Suddenly his presence was everywhere. He urged her to make an offering.
He said he wanted her birthright. Her identity, and her future as Hyuuga head. What wouldn't she have achieved in such a standing?
Give me the byakugan, he ordered.
She had been born with the byakugan. Under the tutelage of the Hyuuga, she was meant to become great – to do great things.
But stripped of the byakugan – not unlike her aunt had been – stripped of the byakugan, she would be blinded in a way. Her life would take a significantly different course.
Her father's traits would awake in its stead, taking dominance where before they had been suppressed. Igniting in her like fire.
She would become volatile on the world – not cruel, but more trouble than she was worth. People would chase her power. She herself wouldn't know what to do with it. Without the byakugan, but the sharingan – and without a father to guide her abilities...
Her mother and father were dead now. Neji and Hanabi were all she had left.
So how could her sister be the person Mirai Naruto claimed her to be? A villain? A murderer? The reason for his traveling to the past in the first place? Mirai Naruto had even said she had killed his wife.
Hinata frowned as her mind drifted to the young Naruto. He had always been alone. She couldn't imagine the thought of him finding love and then having it taken away again. His wife must have been wonderful, whoever she had been.
Hinata absently stared at the rice ball in her hand. She was someone's wife now.
"What is it?" someone said.
Hinata looked up at Hanabi, who was watching her from across the kitchen table. Hanabi lowered her chopsticks. She was perceptive beyond her years.
"It's nothing," said Hinata, standing. Resigning her efforts to eat her breakfast, she left the room and walked outside. As she stepped onto the wooden veranda, which was damaged now and charred from recent events, her mind continued to be occupied by Hanabi, and the things Mirai Naruto claimed she would do in ten years time.
There was a familiar tug on her sleeve. Hinata glanced down.
Kasai was five again to her quiet bewilderment. Last time she had seen her, she had been nine or so. Kasai's age seemed to fluctuate, maybe some consequence of time traveling?
As Kasai became diffident under her scrutiny, Hinata offered her a smile she didn't realize to be motherly. "Are you coming with me today Kasai-chan?" Hinata said gently. She started off the veranda, Kasai predictably adhering to her sleeve. The five-year-old version of Kasai was far less intimidating than the nine-year-old one. Hinata didn't notice the way the child continued to peer at her.
Unbeknownst to the her, kissing Sasuke had been the antecedent for a landslide of changes that would occur to her over the coming years, starting with the way she twisted her hair around the pointer finger of her free hand, at that moment, in a very absent, guilty way.
Hinata looked back down at Kasai. "What-? I-"
"Kaasan!" said Kasai, triumphantly latching to her waist and wrapping her limbs around her. Hinata struggled to breathe as her anxiety took hold of her lungs.
Kasai had never addressed her in such a way. In fact, she had never before recognized her to be her mother. Of course she and Mirai Hinata weren't dissimilar in appearance, but they couldn't have been more different behavior-wise. What had finally prompted Kasai's realization?
Kasai decided to release her, giving a strange, confident smile as she did so, and Hinata had no doubt that she would be addressed as "kaasan" thereafter. Her breathing thinned as her panic built. She still hadn't spoken to Kiba and Shino about any of this. They exited the gates together, this time Kasai leading the way.
Kasai seemed doubly excited at having the company of both her young parents. The young Sasuke was standing against the property wall, his eyes rising as he was addressed. Kasai released Hinata's hand and instead took Sasuke's, leaving the Hyuuga's feeling cool, clammy, and vacant.
Sasuke scrutinized Kasai, and as he did so Hinata knew that he too had taken notice of the ways Kasai's age had fluctuated. No one else seemed to perceive it besides them, and maybe their future counterparts. Not even Kasai seemed to realize she had been a nine-year-old only a few days prior. Why had it happened and what did it mean?
Maybe Sasuke had the answer to her contemplations. She watched a strange, almost uneasy expression cross his face, before he wiped it clean. "Let's go," he said.
The three walked off towards the training grounds together, Kasai continuing to cling to Sasuke's arm. Kasai gazed up at him in adulation though Sasuke seemed to take little notice of her. Hinata watched in silent awareness that Kasai seemed to favor him over her.
It's because he's laid back, Hinata mused. Sasuke was surrounded by an aura of calm, whereas she was a nervous wreck. He neither encouraged Kasai nor drove her away, he simply went along with her.
Sasuke was back to ignoring her, but she was beginning to realize this wasn't a conscious decision. Sometimes he just got lost in his thoughts. It was...charming. She scratched her cheek and tried to drive her thoughts away from Sasuke's onyx eyes, and the funny way his hair stuck up in the back, but suddenly all her thoughts surrounded him, and she couldn't help wondering if this was a mystical predisposition, andif fate wasn't watching her, guiding her thoughts.
And then there was Kasai.
She looked up.
Sasuke regarded Hinata as they walked. She was breathing thinly, the way she did sometimes before she fainted.
He didn't realize he was saying it until after it had come out.
He hadn't cared about anyone since Naruto and Sakura – and certainly not in regards to silly things like feelings. But when he had found Hinata in the forest, he might have given her special priority over his teammates.
Not that she was someone who necessitated a particular amount of concern. Hinata was just...sensitive. And it would be inconvenient if she fainted right then.
She shook her head as if to say no, she was not okay, and the corner of Sasuke's mouth twitched.
"What is it?" He didn't know why he pursued the matter, or what it was about her presence that he enjoyed. Though she hadn't noticed, her breathing had finally begun to deepen, purging the threat of her hyperventilating. Still, he watched her lips.
"Kasai," she managed. "She c-called me – s-she's been c-calling me-"
Sasuke understood. He remembered his own panic at being outed by Kasai. "What does it matter? They'll figure it out eventually."
Hinata blushed, but said nothing.
Sometimes Hinata was different. She drifted into a solemn, dreamy state, like during their first spar together, or when he took her back to his apartment after she was attacked. Beneath all the blushing, stuttering, and fidgeting, he had seen glimpses of her internal self. He wondered how long it would be until they got better acquainted.
"If you're concerned about them-"
Them, as in, their teammates.
"-finding out that we're married-"
Married and kissing. Married was one thing, kissing was another.
"-I can...collaborate with your discretion..."
Hinata pressed her pointer fingers together. It wasn't that she was embarrassed about being with Sasuke, or being legally married, or being in a relationship or...whatever it was that was going on between them...it was just that she didn't think anyone would take it very well. There would be concern, as he was a recently reformed missing nin. Shock, since no one thought he liked anyone, let alone girls. More concern, because she was so timid and vulnerable. Scandal, because they were only fifteen and married, and it was all just so overwhelming.
And maybe she was a little embarrassed about kissing boys too. "I just...ano...have t-to figure out how to tell K-Kiba and Shino that we're...that w-we're..."
Kasai was looking from one to the next, oblivious of what was being discussed. If only Kasai wasn't there, Sasuke mused, he would have shown Hinata how discreet he could be.
When they reached the training grounds, Hinata quickly joined her teammates who stood a little away from team seven. Sasuke approached Kakashi, Naruto, and Sakura, Kasai still attached to him like a strange growth.
"I want to be matched with Hinata today," he said.
Kakashi raised his eyebrow. Only the day before the Uchiha had requested specifically not to be matched with Hinata. His student was being awfully inconsistent. "I have other plans for today," he said dismissively. "I've been made aware some of you haven't mastered your summoning techniques yet."
Naruto grinned, seeming contented that he excelled at something the others did not. Sasuke frowned, irritated that there was really nothing for him to achieve at this session. Kiba was looking pointedly at Sakura, who in turn was throwing him a rude hand gesture. Shino seemed all but interested in the matter, as he had a hoard to insects at his beck and call. Hinata was nervously twiddling her thumbs. It seemed that she had something to be achieved.
"Let's see it," said Kakashi, looking over the group.
Sasuke glanced at Kasai as she finally released him and wandered off to bother Akamaru. He was still curious of her talents with fire. Maybe he could tempt her to use them since she was there.
"Hey, teme," Naruto said, interrupting his train of thought. "I bet I could summon a bigger animal than you."
Sasuke glanced at his hand. If he summoned Manda, he would immediately try to eat them. Then again, he was faster than Naruto...
"Though I know you've been wishy-washy, making out with girls and all," Naruto chortled, causing Sasuke to clench his hand and Kakashi to glance their way, his interest officially piqued.
Ignoring the boys, Sakura dropped to her knees and began to practice her own summoning technique. "Boar...dog...monkey..." she mumbled to herself, seeming to have little confidence that she would succeed. The girl seemed to be distressed as of late.
Hinata decided to get started as well. Since Kiba already had Akamaru summoned at every waking moment of every day, he took to mostly coaching Hinata, his fists clenched as though he was watching a death battle. "Boar. Dog. Bird. Monkey. Ram!"snarled Kiba, calling out the seals as he watched Hinata perform them. "Okay perfect!"
Sasuke absently did his seals as well. He could do his summoning technique without even thinking. He mimicked Hinata, watching her, if just out of curiosity of what animal she was disposed to. Naruto took notice that Sasuke's gaze had drifted over his shoulder. He turned and observed Hinata as well.
"Kuchiyose no Jutsu." She pressed her hand to the earth.
As Hinata disappeared in a poof of smoke, Sasuke abruptly realized her error.
"What?" said Kiba, waving his hands around in the space Hinata had previously occupied, as though he thought his eyes were deceiving him. "She got a reverse-summoning?"
"Maybe she did something wrong..." muttered Shino, though he himself had seen no errors.
"But doesn't that only happen if you're not under contract with the animal you tried to summon?" said Naruto, giving Sasuke a shaky grin. The two had experienced their fair share of reverse-summonings in their day.
Kakashi opened his hand, a contract materializing against his palm. He unraveled it and examined it closely. Hyuuga Hinata. Her name was right there. With his free hand he scratched his head, secretly baffled. If anything had been wrong with Hinata's seals, nothing would have happened, and if her chakra distribution had been off, she would have simply summoned a weak animal...like Sasuke over there. Kakashi paused to stare at the flimsy garden snake the Uchiha had summoned. Sasuke barely seemed to notice. He was staring off, frowning to himself. Kakashi's eyes shifted to Sakura who was glaring down at a pile of measly slugs. Naruto, meanwhile, had managed to summon one of his toad-relatives. This one was roughly was the size of an orangutan, and the two quickly became engaged in a tickle-war. Kakashi quickly diverted his gaze, alarmed that the blonde was the most competent of his students that day. Something was definitely up with them...
"Stupid contracts," growled Kiba, kicking dirt. "Hinata's probably on the other side of the country. It's gonna take her hours to get back!"
Sasuke was still looking away. He pocketed his hands.
Kasai had been extremely impressed by her mother's disappearing act. She stood with Kiba beside the spot where Hinata had been. Her sharingan activated, she had managed to copy the technique. Just as she began the seals necessary to execute it, Kiba caught her wrist.
"Not a good idea," he said gruffly.
Kasai squirmed for freedom. "But Jisan-"
"What did you call me?"
"Jisan, you're mean!"
"I'm not your uncle!" Kiba retorted, looking violated. He paused as tears pooled at the bottom of her eyes. "Wait...I mean..." Kiba glanced at Sasuke, who seemed all but interested in the matter.
"I'm off," he mentioned, stalking away.
He stood by the Hyuuga gates against the wall, his arms crossed and his eyes closed. He wondered if this would become a regularity. He ignored the sounds of all the footsteps that passed, before a particularly tired set stopped before him. The young Sasuke raised her eyes.
He looked over a fatigued Hinata. Her hair was tousled, her clothes, dusty, and she was covered in cuts and scratches. Sasuke became increasingly curious of what animals had summoned her.
Hinata was staring at him. "You waited for me?"
She predictably blushed. His gaze lingered on his cheeks.
"Y-you should come in," she said politely. Not waiting to see if he would accept or decline, she ducked into the gates, and Sasuke followed. He stopped her on the lawn.
"Let's try the technique again," he said.
Hinata's eyes widened. "But I – I d-don't-"
"Show me your contract."
Hinata blinked, but complied. The contract appeared in her hand in a poof of smoke. She handed it to Sasuke, her head tilted curiously.
Sasuke spread it out on the ground, examining her blood-written signature. "We have to fix this," he muttered, collecting some chakra in his pointer finger and burning away her family name.
Hinata blinked in realization. Her blush returned with might. "Right...ano..."
She bit her finger, not meeting his eyes. Where Hyuuga had been written, she inscribed Uchiha.
There was something very attractive about the way she wrote her name. They watched the contract disappear again in a poof of smoke.
"Try it," suggested Sasuke.
Hinata weakly nodded, still not meeting his eyes. Sasuke knelt down with her, holding her shoulder, as if he wondered if she wouldn't disappear again.
Biting her mouth, Hinata performed the seals. "Kuchiyose no Jutsu," she whispered, pressing her hand to the ground, and this time summoning an animal. Hinata smiled at her success and lifted her summons. "Nezumi-chan!"
It was a giant rat.
Sasuke quickly found himself several paces away. He decided it was time to take his leave.
Hinata noticed his reservations. "Wait, don't!" she said, stopping Sasuke in his tracks. "I'll get rid of him!"
"What?" snapped Nezumi in indignation, only to be dismissed by Hinata.
Sasuke slowly turned back around just as Hinata collided with his chest.
He stared over her shoulder as he was embraced by her, the connection intoxicating him, not unlike before. He drifted along in Hinata's warmth and idly glanced down at her head of dark hair. "We have to get you a better summons."
Hinata pulled back, seeming slightly embarrassed. She smiled despite it, pressing her pointer fingers together. "R-rats are no worse than snakes."
She did make a point. He brushed his thumb on her cheek. "You're not stuttering as much."
Her blush deepening, her gaze shifted to the ground. "Y-you should – a-ano, y-you should s-stay for d-dinner."
He didn't remove his hand from her face. He was slowly becoming obsessed with the concept of her being his. No one else had had her. No one else could.
"Un," he quietly consented, finally lowering his hand.
The dreamcatcher had disappeared with Kesshi, but Mirai Sasuke continued to evade his bad dreams.
He didn't dream of the future anymore. In fact, he didn't dream at all anymore. He didn't know why, and he didn't want to know.
Blood dripped from his fingertips. He was knelt on the ground, hunched over a scroll.
"What are you doing?"
Mirai Sasuke glanced over his shoulder. He saw his wife standing against the doorframe, watching him.
"I'm working on seals," Mirai Sasuke admitted. "For Kasai."
He was trying to recreate the seals the nine-year-old version of his daughter had had on her back – the ones that restricted her chakra-use to keep her from abusing her powers. After watching Kasai spar with Hanabi the previous day, he had become concerned about the extent of her genjutsu.
"Why now?" Hinata wanted to know.
"Why not?" Sasuke countered. He was meant to do it at some point over the next few years.
He could sense Hinata's suspicion. She walked across the room and knelt down beside him, observing his work on the scroll. Her eyes drifted over the complicated combinations of characters. "Naruto's good with seals," she noted.
The last thing Naruto wants to do is help me.
She could feel his frustration at such a physical and mental proximity. There was also a subtle...very subtle...anxiety that she knew not to be related to his task. His fingers shook slightly as he again reached down to the scroll.
"Here," said Hinata, stopping him. She touched her hand to his, dabbing her fingertips with his blood. She reached down and corrected a character. I have dreams sometimes, she told him, the telepathic bond creating an emotional intimacy between the two of them. Everything's different, but everything's – good in my dreams. She again mused about his absence in them, but dismissed it for the time being. Hanabi's alive and well. Ino's alive. I think everyone is. Ano, except for Sakura-san. She's still... she trailed off and the connection diminished. "You fixed Hanabi by saving her eyes-"
Little did she know, he'd saved her soul.
"-I think you fixed everything. It's just – Sakura-"
Hanabi no longer had the capacity for evil, Sasuke mused. Which meant Sakura was responsible for her own death. There was nothing they could do about it. "We have to start planning to go back," he said tersely.
"That's what you're doing, isn't it?"
Mirai Sasuke said nothing, but kept his focus on the scroll. He felt his wife wrap her arms around him, burying her face in his torso.
"Everything will be okay."
It was interesting, being in a family setting again. The Hyuuga elders treated him with a strange pleasantness, seeming impressed that Hinata had been so bold as to invite her new husband over for dinner.
The elders took a weird interest in him. They asked him about his training with Kakashi, the nature of his techniques, which elements he favored, whether he would become a jounin or join the ANBU, and other things.
In a home setting, Hinata unconsciously shed some of her previous insecurities and reservations, in lieu of a quiet contentment that was...refreshing. But then she would glance at him, and her anxiety would leap up between them, like a barrier.
After dinner was over and Sasuke had left, Hinata went to her room to change her clothes. She got dressed in a white nightgown that went to her knees. She kicked off her slippers and turned around to notice that her window was open, and Sasuke was sitting against the frame.
Her face turned red and she nearly fainted.
But Sasuke was paying her little mind. Idly he examined a kunai, his eyes reflected against its impeccable blade. "Meet me on the roof."
Hinata said nothing. She watched as Sasuke disappeared.
She moved dizzily to her bureau, leaning upon it and breathing heavily. She didn't know what compelled her to pull on her jacket and follow Sasuke to the roof. Maybe she was a masochist.
Maybe it was something else.
Sasuke was sitting on the roof, peering at the night sky and looking unimpressed. He absently jammed his knife into a spot beside him, between some panels, causing them to chip. He glanced up at Hinata as she timidly approached.
"You d-didn't s-see a-anything?" she asked in a panic.
"No." Sasuke raised his eyebrow.
Hinata breathed a sigh of relief and sat beside him, drawing up her knees. She froze as Sasuke took the hem of her nightdress.
"I'm your husband. I can see all I want," he mentioned. He tugged at it, but Hinata quickly squirmed away.
She was again flustered and red, and couldn't construe a response to that. She wrapped her arms around her knees and willed herself to implode.
Sasuke sighed. "Come here."
After several seconds hesitation, she slowly uncoiled. Hinata crawled to him, then Sasuke caught her chin, and they tried that kissing thing again.
Yes. Definitely a masochist.