Summary: After developing amnesia in Konoha, Hinata is sent back to Suna, unaware of her life there, or that she's married to the Kazekage. Gaara/Hinata.
Author's Note: This is a multi-chapter spin-off of my one-shot "Amnesia."
The Benefits of Amnesia
by Bullwinkle's Lady
She awoke to find someone roughly shaking her. Her head ached and her vision was blurred. When finally it focused, she met blue eyes and slowly smiled.
"Hinata, are you all right?" said Naruto.
But he looked...different.
No longer was he dressed in blue and orange, but wore an ANBU uniform, his cat mask hanging from his belt. And Naruto was taller...older, his calloused hands on her shoulders, his adorable half-frown - even his ice blue eyes had changed, and were solemn; penetrating. Uzumaki Naruto was more mature, and his body had aged at least ten years.
The heiress was assaulted by a wave of dizziness. She held her head and closed her eyes, not seeing the mischievous smirk crawl across Naruto's lips.
"Goodness Hinata, you were screaming Gaara, Gaara! I think I know what's on your mind." He chuckled darkly.
Hinata's eyes snapped open. Paling, she stared at him in shock and confusion.
Someone snorted beside them. "Don't lie to her," the person said. "She was screaming 'Gaara's trying to kill us!'"
Hinata gasped when Naruto was shoved aside. Taking his place was the grave-faced Naara Shikamaru, all tall and lanky, with a bristled chin and furrowed brows. "Hinata, what's the last thing you remember?"
Feeling uneasy, the Hyuuga took a gulp of air. "W-we were in the f-forest of death," she said, her voice croaking as though she hadn't used it in days. "G-Gaara was t-trying to kill us!"
Naruto burst into laughter. Was the prospect of her being crushed to death with sand really that amusing to him? The kunoichi shrunk in her sheets, wanting to cry.
Shikamaru heaved an annoyed sigh and grabbed Naruto's elbow. "We'll be right back," he said, giving her a curt nod and dragging Naruto out of the room.
Hinata opened her mouth to protest but they had already disappeared, the door swinging closed behind them. Taking deep breaths in an attempt to control her anxiety, she looked around. She could tell she was in the hospital, more so by smelling than by seeing. She had never liked hospitals. The sterile environment was sickening to her.
What had happened?
She climbed out of the bed, her legs numb, her body feeling awkward and unfamiliar to her. Beneath the window was a backpack, probably her backpack. Maybe she had gotten hurt in the forest of death. Kneeling beside it, she zipped it open and rummaged through the contents. An odd uniform...rather like the one Naruto was wearing. And a rat mask. It was ANBU, meaning it couldn't possibly be hers. Maybe someone else had forgotten it there. The heiress stared at the Suna forehead protector that accompanied the uniform. Something about it just...drew her concentration. What was she missing...what had she forgotten?
Hinata distractedly brushed something away from her shoulders only to feel it return seconds later. She looked down at herself to find the irritating sensation on her neck to be hair. Her hair: long, dark, and glossy. Eyes wide, she followed the tresses to the small of her back, and quickly attempted to detach them. Why wouldn't they come off? Her hair was short. This hair couldn't be real. Why wouldn't it come off? Hinata cried out in pain as she tugged again, when the door suddenly opened.
She guiltily looked up, one hand quickly shoving the backpack aside, the other still holding a chunk of her hair. Haruno Sakura stood in the doorframe. It seemed that she had cut her own hair...and like Naruto and Shikamaru, she too was taller, older. It was all so strange. Sakura put her hands on her hips. "Hinata, stop pulling your hair!"
Containing a whimper, the heiress obeyed.
Sakura approached, kneeling beside her. "C'mon, let's get you back to bed."
But she didn't need rest, she was fine! - well, aside from her pounding headache, the one that made her vision blur.
Her legs were long...much longer than she remembered. Her whole body was different...she didn't know why, it just was!
"Shikamaru tells me the last thing your remember is your first chunnin exam," Sakura said as Hinata clumsily climbed back into the bed.
What did she mean by first? Hinata attempted to tell the girl what had happened in the forest, and managed, hoarsely, "G-Gaara-"
"And Gaara seems to be the focus of your memories," Sakura interrupted. "That's a very good sign."
What was she talking about? Hinata stared up at the pink-haired girl, feeling herself tremble.
Sakura patted her shoulder. "Hinata, you're twenty-five. We think you have amnesia."
Twenty-five? How could she possibly be twenty-five? That wasn't logical! She was only twelve!
No, no, no, not possible. She knew she was twelve! It was all she knew! She couldn't be twenty-five!
"You're living in Suna now. But you were knocked unconscious during your last mission, and you were closer to Konoha than you were to Suna, so the ninja who found you brought you here. We have to get you back as soon as possible-"
"I'm not twenty-five," Hinata cut her off, disagreeing. "I-I'm twelve! I want to go home!"
"Send her home," Hiashi consented.
Hinata gaped at him. Gathered in one of her father's meeting rooms was Hinata, Hiashi, Sakura, and a blonde woman she didn't recognize. Sitting on her heels on the wooden floor, the woman calmly sipped from her teacup as the heiress fought to breathe.
Hinata pressed her hands to the floor, bowing her head and feeling exhausted. "Th-this is my home. This is my c-clan-!" she insisted, though she didn't meet her father's eyes. Her voice was laced with desperation and raised unbidden by her.
Hyuuga Hiashi seemed unfazed. "This is Hanabi's clan," he corrected her, watching his eldest daughter pale.
Raising her head, Hinata bit her bottom lip. What did that mean? That her sister...that Hanabi had inherited the clan in her place? That Hanabi was the Hyuuga head?
Sakura touched her shoulder in an effort to reassure her. "You left before you could inherit the clan, Hinata. You got m-"
"Say nothing that can alarm her," Hiashi interjected. "I am not a therapist, and even I cannot comprehend the way things turned out."
Hinata stared. What did they mean? What weren't they telling her?
Sakura nodded, and turned back to the other kunoichi. "As I was saying before, Hinata, you were found unconscious in the woods by ninja of Kumogakure. The person you were on mission to assassinate was dead not far from you. You had a severe head injury that had put you in a coma, but the shinobi who spotted you recognized your status in Suna, and then your eyes, which connected you to Konoha. They knew the penalties of harming you, and brought you here. You've been out for about a week. We were on the verge of sending word to Suna, but - thankfully - you awoke, and we no longer have to tell them that one of their ANBU is in a coma. We wouldn't want to...ah...strain our alliance any more than it already is, especially considering the circumstances with which you left Konoha."
Consumed by dizziness, Hinata tried to absorb the information. "What circumstances?" she asked.
"You ran away," Hiashi said. He turned to the blonde woman. "So Suna doesn't know she's here?"
The woman nodded, taking another sip of tea.
"She's been avoiding the branch house seal for so long..." Hiashi mused, glancing at his daughter's forehead.
Hinata's breath hitched in her chest.
"Marking her would insinuate we captured her," the blonde woman finally spoke, her eyes snapping up. "Are you suggesting we trigger a war with Suna?"
Hiashi glanced away, and Hinata remained frozen. War? Over her? Were they kidding?
The blonde woman continued to speak. She was strangely familiar. She had an authoritative voice, and a purple diamond upon her forehead. "If we continue to pretend Hinata is still on mission, then it has been excessively long. The Kazekage would have expected correspondence from her by now." She snatched a pen and a sheet from the pile of papers beside them. Hinata stiffened as the utensils were shoved beneath her nose. "Write," Tsunade instructed.
Blinking, Hinata took the paper. "W-who are you?"
"I'm the Hokage."
Her white eyes widened. The third - he had already appointed a successor-?
"Write," repeated the woman.
"H-hai," Hinata said. So many things were happening at once. She was too disoriented to try to make sense of everything she was being told.
They said she had run away...but why would she run away from Konoha? Though her relationship with her family was tense at times - she'd never leave her home, her friends - she just wouldn't!
"Dear Ga-" a pause. "Dear Kazekage-sama," said Tsunade.
Hinata obediently wrote, though she had no a clue who the Kazekage was, or how the report should have been toned or formatted. It seemed Tsunade had it covered.
"I have successfully completed my mission. The body was disposed of as per ANBU's policy. Expect me back in three days."
Three days? The travel to Suna was three days long. Were they really sending her back, and so soon? Blinking back the tears in her eyes, Hinata struggled to keep up with the Hokage's words.
"Love," stated Tsunade.
Hinata froze. "W-what?"
"W-wouldn't Sincerely be m-more appropriate?"
Tsunade wryly smiled. "Are you disobeying a direct order?"
Quickly forgetting that she was allied not to the Hokage but the Kazekage, Hinata wrote the word Love knowing that it was completely out of line when addressing an authority figure. She was far too weak to argue with the woman.
"Hinata," finished Tsunade.
The heiress signed her first name at the bottom of the letter, feeling sick as Tsunade snatched it away from her. The woman rose, walked to the window, and tied it to the leg of a pigeon waiting outside. In a matter of seconds the bird had flown off along with every last bit of her dignity.
"Sakura, get her ready for travel," Tsunade said, and Hinata felt herself begin to shake again. "Shikamaru will escort her back to Suna. I expect her to be gone within the hour." Glancing over her shoulder, Tsunade flashed the Hyuuga a kind smile, one that utterly contradicted her cruel demands. With that, the woman left the room, and Hinata wished she had never woken up.