It's been so long since I've written something for KakaHina... And for that, I apologize ^^; To be honest, this is just an old draft I found in my email, but I thought it was too interesting to just not post. It's not fluff, but I enjoyed writing it. This is for the theme #20 Fortitude for the 100 themes challenge xD
I hope you all enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Theme #20 Fortitude
A streak of sunshine illuminates his companion's weary face for a split-second—there's a hardness in the soft curve of her jaw and her wary eyes that briefly surprises him. Then again, he has seen that same look in her peers as well—the carnage of war leaving its effects on both shinobi and civilian alike.
"He had no reason or cause," murmurs Hyuuga Hinata, cutting through the silence that has accompanied them into Fire Country. "They were just ch-children." Her voice breaks, belying the turmoil she has been battling since their mission's completion.
Kakashi leaps from one tree to another, taking the time to think his response through thoroughly. "It's a casualty of war," he begins, pretending not to notice how the Hyuuga's eyes flicker, as if to protest. He cuts her off. "Of course Konoha wishes to end this war with the least possible amount of bloodshed, Hinata… But our enemies are neither so kind nor merciful. All we can do as shinobi is to prevent and protect as much as possible."
The young woman nods quietly, but he does not miss the way her fists clench. The rest of the journey is made in silence, both immersed in their thoughts.
As Konoha's gates come into view, the silence is once again broken by Hinata.
"I will not let it happen again."
Her voice is unwavering, the determination in her promise unshakeable.
Kakashi only nods and smiles, the familiarity of her tone conjuring up the image of a particular blonde.
The peculiarities of Hyuuga Hinata shine through brightest when battle has come to a momentary stop, both sides tending to the injured or mourning for the dead.
An outraged voice slows a healing hand from reaching a dying Rock genin. "What the hell do you think you're doing? That's the damn enemy you're healing!"
She turns to face the man, her fury coupled with the Byakugan sending chills down even the most hardened shinobi's spine.
"The enemy? Is that w-what we have been taught?" Her soft voice cuts across the shaded clearing, demanding each and every nin's attention. "To call a child the enemy and slit his throat? To not spare a dying shinobi ease of p-passage into death?"
Her compassion holds little weight in the clearing, filled with shinobi and kunoichi who have witnessed for themselves the brutality of the enemy in war, too battle-hardened to feel any form of sympathy. Kakashi, on the other hand, is forcibly reminded of another time in a different war, when even teammates were encouraged to leave their friends for dead for the higher cause of completing the mission.
The Rock genin gurgles and chokes on his blood, the barrage of kunai lodged in his lungs finally finishing death's process. Visibly stricken, Hyuuga Hinata stoops down and gently closes the nin's glassy eyes.
Kakashi's eye is glued to his book for the remainder of the night, his attention focused, however, on the young jounin.
What he observes drags wearily on his heart—war is tearing Hyuuga Hinata in two.
His former student is brought into the medi-tent nearly unrecognizable, if not for the bright shock of yellow hair, matted thickly with blood. Multiple burns, lacerations, broken ribs, internal injuries, and poison are even too much for the Kyuubi to heal by itself; Sakura clenches her fists angrily, but Naruto's injuries take precedence over revenge. Hyuuga Hinata watches the pink medic-nin's healing with an expressionless face.
It does not take Kakashi long to feel the absence of Hinata—instinctual as breathing, in this battle-worn area, it has become habit to seek out the Hyuuga, whether to make sure she is still alive or for his own curious interest in her, he does not know.
He follows the light traces of her chakra twenty kilometers from their camp site and deep into no-man's-land. Unease stirs inside him the farther he goes, as the lingering scent of Naruto and bloodshed is getting stronger along with the Hyuuga's scent. Just as he reaches the end of Hinata's trail, he is relieved to find that she has not gone to seek the man who had brought down Naruto. Instead, he finds her indefatigably hitting a tree, in the semblance of training—but Kakashi knows better.
Every chakra-filled strike slams into the tree's trunk in precise hits. However, the control of her chakra is erratic, pulsing madly with the intensity of her emotions; Kakashi watches for a few moments more, waiting for Hinata to notice his presence.
"K-Kakashi-sensei," she acknowledges in a thick voice. Kakashi can tell she has been crying, or is close to it.
He is silent for a few seconds, her relentless hits slowing due to exhaustion—it has been weeks since any active-duty shinobi has eaten properly, he realizes with a pang—before finally speaking.
"There was nothing you could do about it."
"I know... It's something I've had to come to terms with d-during this war."
Swift hands bring soundless death, heartbeats frozen by the deadly Gentle Fist. Her frame of concentration encompasses all 360 degrees, her slight form nimbly avoiding wayward kunai and senbon while delivering crippling strikes to the enemies surrounding her. Kakashi swoops down and finishes the seventh and final shinobi off before the enemy can behead Aburame Shino.
"Your intervention was unnecessary," says a voice above him. Kakashi glances up at the true form of Shino as the clone in front of him dissolves into kikkai. He chuckles sheepishly and makes a wry comment about his age.
"You're not old, Kakashi-sensei. Our team wouldn't be the same w-without you, sensei," murmurs Hinata absent-mindedly. She scans the bodies with a quick sweep of her Byakugan. What she discerns from the dead nin pulls a frown across her face. "Shino-kun, these are the shinobi who burned down Sayuri-chan's town..."
"Judging from their violent nature, it would not be a conjecture to believe that they were also involved with many other deplorable acts against civilians," says Shino, his neutral tone at odds with the tightening of his jaw.
"War frees shinobi and missing-nins' inhibitions," says Kakashi. He glances at the darkening sky and nods to Shino. Immediately, Shino's kikkai swarm over the dead bodies, hiding any evidence of their deaths.
Hyuuga Hinata watches the process with hardly a flinch. Kakashi bites back a sigh, remembering a time when the shy heiress would have averted her eyes while holding back vomit—he does not want to admit that he wishes war had not destroyed her innocence.
Kakashi staggers away from the festival celebrating the war's end, trying, and failing, to walk without swaying. It's been too long since he's gotten this drunk. Many of the shinobi are not drinking to celebrate, but to drown away the pleas for mercy, the tears of fallen comrades, and the blood their hands are stained with. Kakashi is no different.
He feels the world spin around him for a second, before a small hand steadies him. He tenses, instinct instantly causing him to become alert, even in his drunken state.
"A-are you alright, Kakashi-sensei?"
The familiar melodic voice of Hyuuga Hinata allows him to relax. "Just attempting to get home without too many mishaps," he says with a sheepish chuckle.
She does not reply and simply guides him along the brightly lit streets. The sake must have flawed his perception of time because before he knows it, he is blinking blearily in front of his apartment door. The question of how the Hyuuga heiress knows where he lives has him turning suspicious wheels in his weary mind.
"Good night, Kakashi-sensei," she murmurs and gives him a light bow as she turns to leave.
"Returning to the festival?" escapes his lips before he has time to register the question, much to his surprise.
Hinata blinks. She replies after a few hesitant seconds. "No… I-I have to prepare for my new position tomorrow."
He quirks an eyebrow, not having known this. "Position?"
"I will b-be the new diplomat for Iwa." A determined expression has settled on her face—her eyes flash with resolve and her lips draw into a tight line. It is a look Kakashi is all too familiar with.
"I will not allow another war to destroy this country."
And Kakashi smiles, wondering what he'd been so afraid of.
Ehh... Not really romance, but I enjoy the interaction between Kakashi and Hinata. And I know Konoha isn't really at war with Iwa, but for plot purposes, they are :) I hope you like, and hopefully I'll be able to give my wonderful reviewers and readers something more in the future! Thank you for reading!