Notes: Wrote this [on yellow pad you can't imagine how many trees I killed for this frivolous pursuit] as I contemplated my short-term future. It's a messy oneshot. It started ItaHina, inspired by the Book of Songs of all things, and ended up this.

Disclaimer: Not mine.


This is the tale no one remembers.


This is where their story begins: a petty squabble over who used up the last of the herbal shampoo in the lesser branch of a noble house, a prodigious rookie on his first beat, a stumbling, stuttering heiress who tries to help in her own misguided way (no, no, Hinata-sama, those herbs are for cooking).

Shisui, young and proud and just a little irked that he can't debut his newly-developed jutsu to firmly establish who has the superior bloodline, laughs at the solemn little girl-child.

She promptly turns to him – expectedly, for he is standout dark blue and red among the whites and beiges of her own clan – studies him with a tiny, serious furrow between the brows before dropping her gaze and flushing madly.

Shisui wonders if it's the curls that make him irresistible to women of the Leaf of all ages. No, it was just him.


This is how it builds: seemingly innocuous meets-and-greets, quiet unannounced intrusions into training time, a wayward shuriken that could have sparked a massive civil war if either of them had been a second slower, a cheerful if savagely awkward conversation.

"I-I like watching you t-train."

Of course, by this time, Shisui knows she's been stalking him. Cute.

It is curious friendship, considering the pair involved (age-wise, clan-wise, personality-wise), but it works. But then, Shisui is Itachi's best friend – or so he likes to think – and Hinata reminds him acutely of Itachi in short, knifelike moments sometimes.

The next time he sees the Itachi – an increasingly uncommon occurrence, now that they were young responsible citizens (somewhat) of bloody Konoha – he gloats that he too has his own little duckling.

"Sweet-faced brats who think you hanged the sun in the sky, you do grow attached to them."

In obvious reference to one Uchiha Sasuke.


This is an interlude: A little vicious, but entirely harmless, mindbending to teach hateful little boys a lesson – No, Neji-kun, you do not treat your cousin like that, you do not try to kill them – for their own good really. A weak protest for propriety.

But even the most gentle and most polite and most well-intentioned of children weren't entirely immune to a little mischief, especially when coaxed by a relentless Uchiha Shisui.

That is what happens when you do not give up.

Someone had to be blamed for Hinata's tenacity.

"You are horribly infantile," says Itachi, when he finds out.

"Last I checked, I was Uchiha Shisui… or Shisui of the Mirage…and now, the Most Wanted Man in the Five Nations, Baby!"


This is what is important: the blood in your veins is always thicker than the blood you spill as a collective.

You are loyal to your clan first.

"B-but what about the village?" He has not talked to her in months, and already she had grown this bright. Had Itachi been brainwashing her? Oh wait, no, that was him.

Oh my, my, my – how do you explain to a child that, sometimes, the interests of the two parties are as divergent as a baby kikai and the fucking Nine-tails?


This is the terrifying dream, the juncture where their threads – carefully, carefully plaited – unravel.

It is summer and the bright sunshine and endless blue skies and dewy emerald of the leaves are deceptively gorgeous.

It hides from her the dawning tension of something being tugged, yanked, pulled brutally apart. She misses it, just as she does the nasty faces Shisui wears nowadays and the almost-warnings he gives – things will probably go bad soon – and Sasuke's worried confusion. But she does not miss that Itachi does not join them on the wharf this year.

Uchiha were, by their very nature and genetic constitution, thieves. They steal that perfect summer away.


A walk home, a hasty excuse-me-I'll-be-back-soon as his matured Sharingan eyes pick up something her fledgling Byakugan cannot, a break.

This is the denouement of their story: Shisui does not return.

It is Itachi who comes to take her home. Hinata had always been best at reading people, an exceptionally useful trait overlooked time and time again, and now was no exception.

His back is not as solid as Shisui's fifteen-year-old one already out of the throes of weak, awkward adolescence. But the strength is a comfort as she drips tears into his wet, warm hair.

This is what they call sacrifice.

A man they both love has died, and the world was poorer because of it.


This is the epilogue: there are ghosts dancing over Naruto's visage.

Shisui is in Naruto's smile and doggedness… and devotion to his Uchiha.

Itachi is in his love for Konoha… and devotion to Sasuke.

And Hinata thinks she loves Naruto.

Notes: First of all, I apologize to coincident, because I have obviously hacked into some of her characterizations for this (although mine are, expectedly, inferior by far). I'msorryi'msorryi'msorry but those characterizations are sort of gospel truth in my mind. Secondly, I'm sticking to oneshots for the time being, in this easy number format, drabble-type. Third, uh, review?