miikka-xx: um, i have no excuse for this other than cat power, within temptation and this urge to write hinata as a ruthless bitch. (which didn't really happen, because if it did, this would be a itainosasu. and that's just ew.)

Title: the art of breaking
Rating: T
Summary: AU; non-massacre. Itachi is looking for a bride and the Hyuuga are looking to rid of a weak heiress. Lessons in being a kunoichi and the slow descent into irony. itahinasasu. complete.
Disclaimer: you know what? i don't even want to own naruto. it's so crappy lately. good luck getting yourself out of this one, kishi.
Warning(s): it's a triangle. (i know, shocking). and slight oocness due to the massacre not happening. (aka Sasuke not being a little emo bitch). but not overly so. oh yeah, and bad writing. of course, that's a default warning.

the art of breaking

Seduction is an art that is mastered by every kunoichi that ever was. This is a fact. Seduction is also an art that little girls that still dream of butterflies and white sheets under sunlight have to learn. They start at chuunin; at thirteen and fourteen, shuffling, smiling, blushing, giggling.

First, there is a painting of a woman, a beautiful woman. She has her hair pinned up, kimono folding around her exposed calf, wrist exposed so delicately to pour tea. Her lips part oh-so slightly, red and pursed, her eyebrows arching, too coy to look innocent. The girls shuffle, whisper, blush, watch in awe.

Hinata stands in the back, fourteen and fiddling with her new chuunin vest as she examines each curve and flick of ink on the painting. The painter has not coloured the eyes in completely. It is a flash of white prying holes into Hinata. She flinches.

Ino is the quickest to catch on, and Hinata is second. Sakura fumbles, cracks her fists and tries again but she's too much of a boy. Too much like Naruto. Ino tangles her long, elegant fingers into her hair and smirks, tongue flickering out. Hinata arches her back, feels her eyelashes flutter and lets out a small gasp, just a petite moan and the room goes silent.

She wonders if the others feel as dirty as she does as they practice. Thisishowyoumoan, howyouarch, howyoucurlyourtoes, howyourhairfallssoprettily, readily, seductively.

Sex is not a new subject to be broached. They learned it in the Academy, with awkward pauses set against fluttering hearts. But now, when Hinata feels herself give away her figurative virginity to the air, to the prying eyes, flashing white, she cries. (you're a Hyuuga, not a whore, but here, lines blur until you can't tell the difference anymore.) The instructor tells her that her tears are silent and beautiful and really, Hinata, be proud.

Because you're beautiful. So beautiful. You're ready, Hinata.

She sees the white of her eyes in the instructor's and Hinata flinches.

The news comes quickly, spreads through the village like a wild fire. It ignites the Hyuuga Manor and tears her up quickly and quietly, like an autumn leaf in winter winds. Neji looks on coolly, running his hand through her hair, white eyes peering, dissecting, ripping apart.

(you feel the incertain twitch in his hands as he loses himself in your hair. but he's pulling away and you have to bite the inside of your cheek to not laugh at his naiveness.)

"You're good enough," he comments, retracting his fingers, observing them dryly, "no split ends, no dry strands, you will do."

The news is on everyone's tongues and all the girls are lining up. Uchiha Itachi is looking for a bride.

"Do as I tell you," he says, "you're not doing this for the Hyuuga, but for yourself."

Neji tells her Itachi likes his woman's hair long, his woman calm and collected. He likes them like his mother, obedient and beautiful. He knows because Itachi is his ANBU captain and he is a Hyuuga that watches; coolly, logically.

The Uchiha have chosen a strong heir, a ruthless one with a strong bloodline. The Council, acknowledging this fact, watches the oldest girl with indifferent eyes, tells Hiashi she would be best as a political pawn (another man's wife). Hanabi sits beside her, eyes flickering between her sister and her father. Neji signs the scroll that appears before him without hesitation. Hinata is to be passed over as a political pawn, Neji will become leader through marriage with Hanabi. Hyuuga has a strong heir as well now.

Hinata nods, feels the pretty silk kimono on her skin (the lingering warmth of Neji's hand); she is doing this for herself.

Itachi is taking interviews with each woman. Ten minutes, quickly, make an impression girl. Hinata glides in, her kimono swishing elegantly against the polished wood. She catches the black eyes of the other Uchiha watching her. His name was always on top of hers in the class rankings at the Academy: Uchiha Sasuke. He does not acknowledge her presence, letting his eyes gaze impassively over her made-up form.

(you wonder idly if he's ever seen Sakura or Ino like she has: lips parted, cheeks flushed, neck curving like an elegant swan, ready to be snapped at his fingertips.)

There is no white in his eyes, but there is red and it makes her think of her own painted lips. Her own, pretty, lying lips.

"A Hyuuga," Itachi comments rather uselessly. She nods, bows and gets on her knees. Subservient woman, Neji's voice tells her, quiet, calm woman. Itachi kneels as well in front of her, dressed in his bloodstained ANBU uniform.

"Does this bother you?" he smirks, gesturing to the red splattered vest.

"I am accustomed to such things."

"True, being a Hyuuga and Neji's woman."

She's surprised and her eyes quickly flicker to his.

"He is my cousin," she says, as if it is an appropriate argument against their closeness. (and it is, because he hates you and loves trying to kill you in their shared Hyuuga cage. Keep your friends close, dear Hinata, but keep your enemies closer.)

"Are you a virgin?"

A sharp intake of breath, colour in her cheeks.


"Of course."

Itachi seems absolutely disinterested after this point. He asks her inane questions: her lineage, her ninja records, her bloodline limit.

"The Uchiha are a secretive family," he murmurs as the ten minute limit comes to a close, "as such, they are a prying bunch. Keep your secrets to yourself, little Hyuuga, and don't let them pass your red-painted lips."

Hinata tells him she's used to living with prying eyes and Itachi smiles; just a little coldly, just a little sickly.

In the end, they pick her and they dress her in white with lilies blooming at her feet, bursting from the hem of her kimono. Hinata wonders, why she's getting married at fifteen, (you feel like you're thirty-five instead, so old and too wise in the disgust of the world), but it doesn't matter because Itachi's up ahead and, later, she can taste his mouth on the sake cup they share.

Neji is present, watching her impassively, as he stands beside his betrothed, Hanabi. (she's turning 10 this year and will learn what sex is. In three years, she will learn how to use it. But she's a Hyuuga, not a whore, and will never accept the teachings. you shouldn't hate her for it, but you do.) By the end of the ceremony, her cousin slips a pouch in her sleeve and presses his mouth against her ear, whispering, "Keep it close, Hinata, remember, you are doing this for yourself."

(when you look back at him, with a simple toss of the head, his mouth is flushed red, as are his cheeks. Don't laugh Hinata, look at him: innocence is hard to come by.)

They ship over boxes of her things to the Uchiha manor later that day and she watches servants carry them up into her new rooms.

While unpacking, her hands open a box with a scroll sitting on the very top. Curious, the scroll ends up unravelled on the floor and she remembers it is her graduating certificate from jounin-level kunoichi training. At the bottom is a note, elegant kanji curling over themselves like snakes in a basket.

Put it to good use.

By the end of the day, her lips are painted red and she's pouring tea for her new husband, wrist exposed so delicately, lips parted so sweetly.

Itachi does not stay in the manor for long. He is always on ANBU missions, directing meetings and other responsibilities of an ANBU captain that Hinata cares not for. Neji sends her little discreet notes every now and then and she always keeps them close, tucked in the pouch under her pillow. They speak of how her hair, when it falls near her eyes, make her seem more charming. Or how lavender complemented her skin. She thinks that perhaps Neji is more apt at seducing her husband than she is herself.

They keep her at home the first year, to have her accustomed to the traditions and ways of the Uchiha. In truth, it is not too different from the Hyuuga proceedings but she keeps that thought close, as Itachi warned.

So Hinata occupies herself with the secluded training ground at the corner of the property. It is at a the point where two walls meet, as far as possible from the manor and shaded with many pine trees. There is a small pile of logs and a tiny garden she has started at the base of a wall.

She grows herbs that do not require much sunlight, and a few edible mushrooms. They are sprouting slowly so she goes to them almost everyday. And sometimes, she meets the other Uchiha.

"If I crush them, I apologize," states Sasuke, monotone when she stumbles into the small clearing. Hinata brushes any dirt and debris, smiling.

"Let it be practice for your accuracy," she replies. Sasuke watches her and nods curtly, going through half a dozen katas before stopping.

"We should spar, Hyuuga."

Hinata looks at him through the corner of her eye, the red in his flashing quickly.

"I am weak. That is why I married into your house," she tells him quietly. (a great political move by the Hyuuga as well, may our two clans be united under the fan and flame.)

"You are still a Hyuuga. And you are better than all the other kunoichi."

"You are biased, Uchiha-san," she says, "Sakura can tear a hole through my body if she wants to."

Sasuke frowns, "she's too distracted with her infatuation with me. So is Ino. And every other girl."

Hinata smiles faintly and replies, "why yes, of course. And I am married to your brother. I shall try my best then."

It only takes ten minutes but she's on the ground, a kunai flush against her neck and her mouth is open, laughing, watching the blue, blue sky.

"Tch," frowns Sasuke, disappointed as he straddles her. Hinata closes her eyes and feels the firmness of the earth under her back.

"Tell me, Uchiha-san," she peeks at him underneath her eyelashes, cheeks coloured red and an amused smile on her lips, "please, honestly, did you hold back?"

His dark eyes watch her quietly, "yeah."

And Hinata laughs once more, "because I am a kunoichi. This is good then."

Sasuke does not move, still straddling her. The kunai drops beside her head and his trembling, fifteen year old fingers trace the column of her neck.

(you feel like you're thirty five, old and wise in tempting a man, and every time one touches you, be it Neji or Kiba or Shino, you have to love how they shake and tremble, inexperience ingrained into their very being.)

"Do as you wish," she whispers, smile gone as grey rain clouds cover the sun.

His eyes are dark, and the white that flashes through pierces into her soul.

She flinches.

She returns to the manor, wet from the still pouring rain, as her kimono clings to her in all the right (wrong) places. It is cold and soothes the red of her lips from Sasuke's biting, hesitant mouth. She knows he holds no affection for her and she doesn't mind.

Itachi corners her in the hallway, gazing silently over her wet form.

"You smell of fire," he remarks, his hand reaching out to smooth her hair out of her face.

"I was outside training," she tells him, feeling him run his fingers through her hair. (like your cousin's but steady. Now you are certain he's seen woman arched, mouth pulled open and pink colouring the apple of their cheeks.)

"With fire, in the rain? What a peculiar wife," he smiles, pulling his hand away. She can hear Neji's voice, no split ends, no dry strands.

"Would you like some tea? Or a snack?" she offers, eager to escape him. Itachi still watches her through his emotionless eyes.

"How long have we been married, little Hyuuga?"

Hinata cringes from the nickname but answers obediently, "three months."

Her husband seems to contemplate something, observing the intricate wood whorls of the walls.

"I am pressured for an heir," he's not looking at her, but she can feel something different of his tone. Perhaps vulnerable, perhaps irritated. Irrationally, she wishes Neji was with her.

"We have time," Hinata replies, a bit quickly, a bit desperately. (biting, inexperience lips on your neck. Bites that itched under your kimono collar. But he'll see eventually, won't he?) Itachi looks at her sharply, and his sickly amused tone comes back.

"Are you a virgin, wife?"

(Sasuke's mouth was on your collarbone before you lifted your hand to stifle a moan. Then, the heat of his lips left abruptly as you both stared at the gold band wrapped around your thin finger. He was off of you in a mere second and you watched him, curiously yet with a sudden understanding.)

"Of course, husband."

That night, he enters her rooms and leans against the closed door, asking for permission with his cold eyes. Hinata lies down on the futon and lowers the collar of her kimono around her shoulders. Her hair is in a disarray, the column of her neck littered with red bites and there's dirt under her nails.

Under her head is Neji's advice on bits of paper, his curling kanji explaining her beauty and how to wield it. Hinata wants to laugh at the picture she paints; a whore woman. His advice is useless to her now, when she looks like a farm girl dressed in a kimono too expensive to actually be hers.

Itachi lies beside her and strips her of her clothing quickly and efficiently. He leaves no second wasted as his fingers flutter down her smooth skin. Hinata wants to laugh like a mad woman when she does not even feel the slightest hint of desire in her core.

Thisishowyouarch, thisishowyoumoan.

Hinata thinks of Sasuke, trembling little fifteen year old Sasuke, with wide, dark eyes and biting lips. She arches, she moans, she curves her neck like a swan and under the moonlight, he notices it.

"You smell of fire," he mouths against her collarbone. Too late now, he's in and quivering with desire. When it's reached it's peak, Hinata cries, tears, like crystal, dripping down endlessly.


You are ready, Hinata.

Itachi is done, a sheen of sweat covers his face and he looks at his wife blankly. Hinata curls into herself, still facing her husband, tears dried on her cheeks.

"You smell of fire."

They tell her third time is the charm and perhaps, it is. Hinata looks at him through her blank, white eyes.

"You are Sasuke's god, did you know that?" In the dark, she ventures a little farther, feeling a confidence that came with being half-invisible and half-broken, "and when his god, of all the women in the village, picks this little Hyuuga, why wouldn't he be curious? What does the little Hyuuga girl have that Ino doesn't? That Sakura doesn't?"

Itachi lets his fingers pass over her sticky cheeks, past her ear, lost in her hair.

"The instructor tells me you were the best seducing kunoichi they've taught in a long time."

Hinata stiffens, sees the whites of his eyes in the dark.

"Us men have no need to learn such tactics," he murmurs, almost to himself, "tell me, little Hyuuga, why are you so good at what you do?"

For the first time, Hinata does not flinch from the white she sees in his eyes; from the eerie reflection of her own blank irises.

"If I cannot be a Hyuuga, I will be a whore."

And Itachi smiles; just a little coldly, just a little sickly.

That morning, she wakes to find him lying beside her, eyes open and watching the ceiling. With the way the sun shines through the window tells her it is almost midday and he's probably been laying here for a few hours now.

"Good morning, husband," she murmurs. His eyes flicker over her form before returning towards the ceiling.

"Do you prefer me or my brother, little Hyuuga?"

Hinata knows the answer as surely as she knows he's read the little notes under her pillow. Prying Uchihas.

His eyes flash red, again reminding her of her own red-painted lips, of her own lying, dirty lips.

"You, of course, dear husband," she smiles, gently. Itachi turns on his side and looks at her blankly, letting his fingers comb idly through her disarray hair. They both know she's lying but he does not contradict her.

"Neji is quite the admirer of yourself," he remarks, making Hinata smile almost bitterly.

"Such are the bonds of us Hyuuga," she says. (her instructor once told her: any woman can have any man, from their father right down to that stranger across the street.) Itachi leans forward and kisses her mouth, feeling her lips part easily under his own. He is a good kisser, she notices vaguely, as he gently pulls her lower lip, massaging his mouth against hers. Quickly, he pulls away.

(you can have any man, Hinata. But this one refuses to go. He is too certain, too confident. He's seen you, back arched, fluttering eyelashes and he refuses to go. What shall you do?)

"He writes of your hair, and the ambience it creates."

Hinata smiles indulgently at him, "I will show anything and everything my husband wishes."

After he leaves, she burns Neji's writings and is pleased to note that she smells of fire.

Yet, even sealing away her own, passionless fate to Itachi that morning did not stop Sasuke from pressing her against the closed door of an abandoned tea room, sliding the collar of her kimono around her shoulders like a prostitute.

"He did not mark you," he says, almost surprised.

"How does dear little brother know of what he did last night?" she questions lightly. Sasuke, innocent fifteen year old Sasuke, looks at her and his eyes darken once more.

"Somehow, I understand why he picked you," he tells her, letting his tongue trace his own lovebites on her collarbone.

"And what would that be, dear Uchiha-san?" she grits out, her thighs clenching together and a blush enveloping her cheeks.

"You're too damn seductive for your own good," he growls against her neck.

And, Hinata realizes, this is what Neji was aiming for anyhow.

It didn't matter which Uchiha got her pregnant, did it?

Two months later there is a bulge, her abdomen swelling smoothly around the growing infant inside. Itachi does not touch her once after that night but he still occupies himself with her hair, letting his fingers lose themselves in the dark stream.

(you want to feel his fingers shake with nervousness, feel a trembling smile on his lips and a disbelieving look in his eyes. But you're describing Sasuke now and Itachi refuses to fall for you.)

And everytime his (confident, certain) hand slides through her locks, he whispers in her ear, "you smell of fire."

She nods, and he smiles; just a little coldly, just a little sickly.

an: god, wtf is wrong with me? yes, i do think of itachi as some sort of sick bastard that accepts these sort of things. (hell, i actually wanted him to seduce mikoto in front of hinata but quickly scratched that idea.)

drop a line, i would greatly appreciate it. it's awesome to know what you guys think.