Title: Still I Rise -- #50: murmur
Characters/Pairings: Hanabi, Hinata, Hisashi
Rating: Hm. Leave it at K for now.
Notes: I've started a prompt list. I've got the first few written, and they happen to occur in an AU universe in which there are no ninjas, but modern life and colleges and jobs and such. (To tell you the truth, I only did this so I could envision Neji as my O-chem lab TA. Seriously. I'm a sad person.) I can't say how many will revolve around the Hyuuga (and primarily NejiHina), but given that I find them fascinating, I've decided that this will be the official dumping ground for Hyuuga-centric drabbles/fics/what-have-you that grow out of this particular prompt list). In any case, enjoy and remember to review!

There are as many things that Hanabi hates about her sister as there are things that she loves.

She loves when her sister brushes her hair, soft and gentle and infinitely patient. She loves when her sister bakes her cheesecake brownies when Hanabi is down, and when she'll go watch horror movies with Hanabi even though Hinata absolutely hates them. She loves how Hinata explains the intricacies of Hanabi's math homework, and how she will stay up late into the night gluing and painting and drawing, just to make all of Hanabi's school projects perfect.

But she hates that Hinata's voice hardly ever rises above a genteel murmur and that she does nothing to alter the course their father plans out for her life. Hanabi is not so docile—she will kick and scream and slam doors until she gets her way, but Hinata will never, ever defy their father. She will always stand shock still before him, head bowed and eyes shadowed by a curtain of hair, hands laced together before her, a perfect picture of abject obedience.

Until one night when Hinata says, softy as always, but firmly, that she will not marry the man their father has picked out for her. Yes, she understands that the merger that will shortly follow her marriage will enable Hyuuga Enterprises to survive into the next decade, and, yes, she understands that she is not repaying the debt she owes to her father for generously allowing her to attain a BA at the local college, but, no, she cannot and will not marry Uchiha Sasuke.

Their father goes silent then. Even Hanabi, spying though the keyhole as she is, feels a chill run down her back. Their father's silences are sharp like swords and his anger is even more deadly.

But Hanabi knows why her sister is refusing, or at least, she thinks she knows why. She pictures the slim folder filled with resumes and letters of recommendation tucked under her sister's mattress, a secret wish made in the dead of night. She remembers the shock she felt, the sense of utter betrayal: Hinata will leave me. Not because their father will push her out the door and into a stranger's care, but because Hinata, herself, will want to leave, to pursue things that have nothing to do with Hanabi, where Hanabi will be nothing but a fading memory.

The ugly sound of flesh hitting flash sounds through their father's study. His hand is outstretched, and Hinata's face is turned sharply away from him. Hanabi's gut clenches.

Later on that night, when Hinata's face is drawn and there are the beginnings of an ugly bruise on her left cheek and she is packing with the single-mindedness of the desperate, Hanabi retrieves the folder from underneath the mattress and places it in the suitcase.

Hinata looks up, surprise warring with despair on her face.

"If you're leaving," Hanabi says, proud that her voice did not break and with a shrug that looks careless, "you might as well make it worth your while."

Hinata does not say anything, but it breaks Hanabi's heart that her sister's face is crumpling in on itself. She cannot stay here, not in this house with its oppressive silences. Hanabi is strong, Hanabi is loud, and Hanabi can fight off the quiet with loud rock music and ripped jeans and dogged disobedience, but Hinata cannot. Hanabi stuffs her hands deep into the pockets of her favorite hoodie and balls them up so that her fingernails bite deep into her palms.

She will not cry, not yet, not until she sees to it that her sister is out and on her way.