Disclaimer: The whole banishment story line annoys me. Take it further, every theme in this fic annoys me.
Hinata's resolve hardened as she listened to her father's meeting through the vent. She wouldn't let them hurt her Naruto-kun, no matter what it took.
She waited until the meeting ended and hoped against hope that her father would give some indication that he was unwilling to go along with the conspirator's plans. He didn't, sealing his fate.
Hinata cautiously crept into the branch compound, motioning for one of the guards to her side.
"Yes, Hinata-sama?" The guard asked respectfully.
"I need to talk to Neji, get him," she ordered firmly.
"Yes, Hinata-sama," the guard agreed. The man disappeared and soon returned with her cousin in tow. "Will that be all, Hinata-sama?"
"For now," Hinata agreed. "See that we aren't disturbed."
"As you command, Hinata-sama." Like most of the branch family he had far more respect for Hinata, who actually seemed to care for her branded relatives, than the rest of the main house.
Hinata turned to look at her cousin. "Thank you for coming, big brother."
"You called for me, Hinata-sama," Neji said stiffly, though much of his anger had been put to rest since the Chuin examines, he still detested the fate of the branch house. "I had no choice but to come."
"Have a seat, big brother," Hinata said calmly. "Please."
"I'd prefer to stand, Hinata-sama."
"What would you say to someone that could help you get your fondest wish?" Hinata asked. "Someone who could help you get your revenge on the main house and your seal removed."
Neji stared at Hinata for several long moments before taking a seat. "I'm listening."
Hinata took a deep breath to calm her nerves and then told her cousin everything. What she'd heard at the vent, what it meant for the village, what it meant for Naruto, and what she planned to do about it.
"Are you with me, Neji?" she finished nervously.
"I'll arrange everything," Neji promised after a moment of thought. "Wait in your room until I come for you."
"Thank you, Neji," Hinata sighed in relief. She stood up to leave the room.
"Wait," Neji's voice froze his cousin. "How do you know I'm not going to betray you? I'm sure your father would be willing to reward me handsomely if I told him what you just said."
"I can't do this without your help," Hinata replied. "And if I can't trust you then it's better to be dead then to be alive and see their plans come to fruition."
Left unsaid was the debt both owed an orange clad orphan for the improvement in their lives.
"I'll get you as soon as we're sure he won't wake up," Neji promised.
"Thank you," Hinata said softly. She slipped out of the branch compound and back to her room. The next few hours were the longest she'd ever experienced and it was with a profound sense of relief that she answered the door.
"He did not detect the drugs we put into his food," Neji reported. "The seal prevents us from striking out against the main house. The last part is up to you."
"I know, Neji," Hinata assured the older boy.
"Can you do it?"
"I have to," Hinata said simply.
Neji followed as she walked to her father's wing and she paused in front of his bedchambers to steady her nerves.
"No backing out now," Neji whispered.
"I know," Hinata whispered back. She gave a nod to the guards and they stepped aside to allow her through.
A quick strike to the forehead, doing exactly what the caged bird seal was designed to duplicate when a certain hand-sign was used, ironically enough, and it was all over.
"Are you alright?" Neji asked.
"He wasn't much of a father," Hinata said with tears leaking down her cheeks. "But he was still my father."
"I know, Hinata-sama." Neji gave his cousin an awkward pat on the shoulder. "He was even less of an uncle."
The Anbu guard around the Hokage's mansion went into high alert when a dozen Hyuuga landed in front of the gates.
"What do you want?" the lead Anbu demanded.
"Tell Hokage-Sama that the head of our clan desires a meeting with her," one of the Hyuuga requested calmly.
"Regarding what?" the Anbu asked cautiously.
"A clan matter," the Hyuuga replied impassively.
"Wait here." The Anbu disappeared, returning a few minutes later with an angry Tsunade in tow.
"What in the hell does Hiashi want at this time of night?" Tsunade growled.
"The head of our clan wishes to have a meeting with you, Hokage-sama," the branch Hyuuga said politely. "It's a matter of village security."
"Where is he, then?"
"Our clan leader requests that Hokage-sama meet at the Hyuuga compound," the branch member said calmly. "Wishing that we convey their deep regret that they were unable to come themselves."
"Tell Hiashi that . . ."
"Forgive my interruption, Hokage-sama," one of the other Hyuuga said with a deep bow. "But this is not a meeting that you wish to miss."
"Is that a threat?" Tsunade said dangerously.
"No, Hokage-sama. It is my sincerest belief that this is not a meeting you wish to miss." The Hyuuga took a deep breath. "I will gladly forfeit my life if I should be proven wrong."
"Have Shizune meet me at the Hyuuga compound," Tsunade ordered.
"As you command, Hokage-sama," one of her Anbu agreed before disappearing.
"Let's get this over with," Tsunade groaned. The remainder of her Anbu retinue formed a protective perimeter around their leader as they followed the Hyuuga back to their compound.
The Hyuuga compound was on high alert when Tsunade's group arrived and another dozen Hyuuga guards appeared around them.
"Our clan leader is inside and requests that you meet alone, Hokage-sama," the lead guard said respectfully. "Please take a look inside before you reject their request, Hokage-sama."
Tsunade was working herself into a fine fury and the guard's ludicrous demands didn't help her temper any. Shock replaced rage after a quick glance into the meeting room. "Wait here," she ordered.
"Hokage-sama?!" the lead Anbu exclaimed.
"Do I have to tell you again?" Tsunade asked calmly.
Tsunade stepped into the room and looked down at the new Clan Head with an unreadable look on her face. "What happened to your father?"
"He had to be removed for the good of the village, Hokage-sama," Hinata said in a small voice. "And for Naruto."
"Explain!" Tsunade barked.
"He met with several members of the council earlier today," Hinata reported. "They wanted him to throw the support of the Hyuuga clan behind a proposal to have Naruto banished from the village."
"He agreed?" Tsunade asked in shock.
"After they mentioned that they had enough forces to stalemate you if the Hyuuga clan threw in their support," Hinata agreed quietly. "There are forty Hyuuga Jonin on active duty and another fifteen on the reserve list."
"Which wouldn't be able to stand up to the village but might be enough to neutralize me and my guards," Tsunade said thoughtfully.
"Yes, Hokage-sama," Hinata agreed.
"You did the right thing, Hinata," Tsunade said gently. "The village thanks you."
"Does this mean Naruto-kun is safe?" Hinata asked hopefully.
"It does," Tsunade agreed. She cracked a small smile when the girl sagged in relief. "You don't happen to know who was behind this, do you?"
"I know a few names, Hokage-sama," Hinata said shyly. "And . . ." she screwed up her courage. "In return for our loyalty and support, may the Hyuuga Clan ask a boon of thee, Hokage-sama?"
"What is it?" Tsunade asked neutrally.
"I would like the village's aid in removing the Caged Bird seals," Hinata said respectfully. "It . . . it would be good for the village since it would prevent future clan heads from being able to force the rest of the clan to act against the village."
"Granted," Tsunade agreed. She grabbed a piece of paper and began writing down names. "Do you recognize any of the names on this list as conspirators?"
"No, Hokage-sama. The only names I recognized were civilian council members."
"That's what I thought," Tsunade said with a nod. "And I can give a good guess on who's behind it all." She stepped to the door and waved one of her Anbu over. "There are a number of people I want in my office when I arrive in . . . two hours, tell Kakashi that if he's even a minute late that his new nickname will be Castrato Kakashi: The Castrated nin."
"As you command, Hokage-sama."
The council meeting was in full swing when the doors burst open to admit the leader of the village.
"You are forbidden from entering this chamber without receiving permission!" one of the civilian council members shouted. "That has been the custom since the third Hokage formed the council."
"You are also forbidden from bringing guards," another added.
"Really?" Tsunade asked in mock surprise. "Who is going to force me to leave?" She turned to the section of the chamber where the ninja clan heads sat. "Anyone?"
"We are your loyal ninja before we are council members, Hokage-sama," the head of the Inuzuka spoke for them all. "None of us would think to give you an order."
"Escort her out of here!" one of the civilian council members screamed at Tsunade's escort.
"I think he was talking to you, Anko," Tsunade said calmly.
"Permission to teach him some respect, Hokage-sama?" Anko asked eagerly.
"Not yet," Tsunade said with a smile. "I think I'll give everyone a lesson first, it's one of the first things we teach new medic nin."
"As you wish, Hokage-sama."
"Now then, do you know what you must do to save the patient when rot sets into a wound, Anko?"
"You must cut it out, Hokage-sama," Anko replied dutifully.
"That is correct, Anko." Tsunade favored the younger woman with a smile. "You should have been a medic nin."
"Thank you, Hokage-sama."
"Cut the rot out of my village, Anko."
"With pleasure, Hokage-sama!"
Most of the condemned didn't even have time to scream before Konoha's ninja set about their bloody work.
Tsunade cursed her old teacher's ideals for what they'd forced her to do.
She was willing to concede that, in theory, allowing the civilians some say in the running of village was a reasonable idea as there were many tasks that, while important, did not warrant the attention of the Hokage.
However the practice of allowing a group of civilians power over her ninja could not be allowed to continue.
AN: Have absolutely no interest in this story line, don't even see anything that's recyclable into another fic. I just wrote it to get it out of my head. Main theme here is that it doesn't matter how much power it says you have if you can't back it up. Civilian control over the military will only last as long as the military allows it, one reasons why coups are so common I suppose. Thanks go to dogbertcarroll for the work he did in polishing this fic.