project: Fifty Days
disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, or the characters in it.
summary: "In fifty days, Uchiha Sasuke will be executed." For fifty days, she will visit him. For fifty days, he will fall steadily in love.
pairings: SasuHina, some NaruHina
beta'd: 16.09.2010, by SilveringBlue.
Yes, I am back from the fuutttuuurree. And, let me tell you, past me, double digits are cool.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the first (freshly beta'd) chapter of Fifty Days. I will complete this fanfic, even if it takes me years, and trolls have to prod me with small sticks until I update. If you ever think I'm falling behind, just drop me a PM; hell, if you're getting even the slightest bit impatient, I won't be upset. Basically, your PM will just shout, "Hey, Briony, grind your gears and get a-working!"
Oh, by the way - if you're looking for a fast-paced, straight into the romance, SasuHina fanfic, this probably won't be your cup of tea. For the majority of this fanfic, Hinata will probably be in love with Naruto - and Sasuke won't admit his feelings for her until much later on. I plan on pacing this realistically (hopefully).
Hyuuga Hinata was a kind person.
Granted, she lacked the confidence necessary to become a valuable, strong kunoichi. Her self-doubt and insecurity were her biggest downfalls, along with her ability only to see the weakness in her character. She was not at all confident and she was too quiet, she doubted she could be attractive with her shy personality and her frumpy clothes, and she knew she was a wallflower, doomed to spend the rest of her life simply blending in, but she was a kindly person nonetheless.
However, simply being kind would not make her a strong kunoichi, as her father chose to remind her time and time again. Kindness was a weakness and her enemies would see it as that. Kindness would not make her a strong leader of the Hyuuga clan, when her time finally came. Kindness did not make her father proud; he regarded it as something pitiable and pathetic, and therefore regarded her as exactly the same thing — and it hurt her.
It hurt her to look into his eyes, and see he was disgusted with her; to see that he wished she was Neji, or Hanabi, or anyone else. It hurt her more than anything else, but she didn't mention it at all; when she passed her father in the corridor, she would lower her gaze respectfully and continue onwards.
"Hyuuga Hinata is a lovely child," her teacher, Iruka, had gushed, during her academy days, "Although very quiet. She is extremely kind and compassionate; I'm sure she will make a wonderful mother one day, and a beautiful wife."
Her father had been outraged. His daughter, he had informed him, was to become the Hyuuga heir — she had to become the strongest kunoichi in all of Konoha, if she wished to lead such a prestigious clan. Her teacher had nodded, attempting to appease her father, but she had seen the doubt in his eyes; and if she had noticed it, she was certain her father had too.
She did not graduate the academy with flying colours, like her cousin, Neji; in fact, she had barely managed to pass at all. After hearing of her so-called achievement, her father had simply gazed at her in disdain.
Hinata had spent most of her time after that in her bedroom.
Her sensei, Yuhi Kurenai, disagreed with her father. One day, before trying out for the Chunin exams, her father had sat in on one of her training lessons; he'd said nothing throughout the entire lesson. When Hinata had collapsed for the fifth time, he'd simply stood up and left; and the disappointment in his eyes had been obvious. After the lesson, Kurenai had taken her away from her teammates, Shino and Kiba, and placed her hand gently on her cheek, staring deep into Hinata's eyes. For a while, neither of them had said a single thing.
And then finally Kurenai had tilted her head and smiled and said, "You are a kind person, Hinata, and that is the best thing you can be."
At the time, Hinata had simply bowed her head, her cheeks flushed, and her sensei had left without another word. It hadn't been enough for Hinata then; it had embarrassed her and left her feeling ashamed. Kind? Kind was not a word used to describe a shinobi. Kind was a word used to describe mothers or teachers. Kind was not a word used to describe a dangerous and deadly assassin.
Kind was not a word she would use to describe Kiba — although, of course, he was kind. Brave was the first word which sprung to mind and strong was the second. Handsome was a close third, simply because he was all of those things, and brother was forth. Kind was not a word she would use to describe Shino either, although he was kind as well. Deadly was the first word she could think of, closely followed by dangerous and strong. He was not boyishly handsome, like Kiba — mysterious was a better word to describe him — but, much like Kiba, brother was definitely the fourth word.
But Kiba and Shino had both disagreed with her father as well.
"Hinata, you're the nicest girl I've ever met in my entire life," Kiba had told her, rolling his eyes and fidgeting awkwardly. "It's better than being the strongest girl or the smartest girl, because… because…"
He'd trailed off uncertainly, before punching her shoulder gently and grinning.
"Because if you weren't so nice, you just wouldn't be the Hinata we all know and love. Right, Shino?" he'd finished, nudging his friend, obviously pleased with his little speech.
Shino's expression was unreadable and his voice was strained. "Never…" He too had trailed off; and he'd pushed his glasses further up his nose. "Never try and be what you are not, Hinata, in an attempt to make someone else proud. It is not fair on to you."
The matter had never been brought up again.
Uzumaki Naruto was also a kind shinobi. Hinata had realised this, after watching him and admiring him from afar. In fact, he was the kindest shinobi she knew, and the strongest. As her admiration slowly turned to love, she had decided that a kunoichi could be kind and strong; and so she had trained, not for herself, but because she needed to prove her point and she needed Naruto and everyone else to recognize her strength.
Hyuuga Hinata was naturally a very kind person — but sometimes that could be more of a weakness than a strength.
"Did you hear?" Yamanaka Ino asked, leaning across the counter and rubbing her hands on her apron, before reaching across for the pair of roses Hinata was holding (one red, one white, oh how beautiful indeed).
"H—Hear what?" Hinata murmured, clasping her (now empty) hands in front of her, her mind elsewhere; Naruto had finally agreed to go on a date with her; he'd finally recognised her, and no amount of gossip was going to stop her from getting to him in time. He'd said he'd meet her at the ramen stand, and they'd eat there, and then he'd take her for a special surprise, and it all sounded so romantic and perfect that nothing at all could spoil it.
For a second, Ino didn't register Hinata's response — she was too busy concentrating on tugging off tiny leaves, making the flowers look pretty and perfect, wrapping them in black paper, sprinkling black glitter on them — and then she looked up, her eyes wide, stopping altogether. "You… you really don't know?"
Hinata blushed furiously — oh, it was always that way with her — she was always the last person to know, because no one ever felt the need to tell her. Even when she found out Naruto had returned; even when she'd found out she was no longer going to be the leader of the Hyuuga clan, and the position had been given (grudgingly) to Neji or Hanabi; she had been the last to know.
Always the last to know.
Ino shifted the roses to one side, gently, before leaning across the counter and raising her eyebrow. "Everyone's been talking about it," she said, flicking her blonde hair casually and attempting to look disinterested, even though her eyes were burning fiercely, excited and pleased, feeling important that there was someone to tell, that someone didn't know. "It was big news, the moment we found out… Sakura came here straight away, all pale and flustered, and announced it — I think the entire street heard her."
Hinata nodded slowly, not at all bothered — gossip didn't interest her. Besides, if it was between Sakura and Ino, it usually was nothing but meaningless rumours.
"Uchiha Sasuke has been captured."
The idea didn't quite click in Hinata's mind — it wasn't that she'd been close to Sasuke, goodness no, he was a good person turned bad, just like her cousin had been and that Gaara person, and she had never really had the chance to talk to him — in her academy years, she hadn't found him at all interesting and, once he'd left, she'd felt only pity for him. How could someone make a person like Naruto hurt so badly? How could he do that to anyone? She had wanted desperately to comfort Naruto, but the blonde boy wouldn't hear an ill word about Sasuke, and so she had remained silent, her heart aching (even so).
No, the idea that Sasuke had finally been captured was bizarre. She was certain she was dreaming; the Uchiha was stronger than possible and had become dark and twisted since he'd left, and he'd repeatedly said over and over again that he was not, under any circumstances, coming back. Ever.
"Who caught him?" she whispered, finally, and Ino looked triumphant, pleased that she had managed to snare Hinata's interest.
"That's what surprised me the most — he was found all beat up and bloody, and a couple of ANBU stunned him and dragged him back here," Ino whispered conspiratorially, as though it had been her plan all along, before leaning backwards, her attention distracted. "Who are these flowers for, by the way?"
Ino let out a high-pitched squeal, leaning over the counter again to congratulate Hinata, telling her it was about time that boy grew up and realised what he was missing, and then announced that the flowers were free of charge, and oh boy, would Naruto really be going on a date today, or any time soon, what with Sasuke being caught and all?
Hinata fidgeted. "I ought to go and f—find him, to see if he w—wants to rearrange the date," she said quietly, picking up the roses gently and holding them against her chest. "He's probably not in the mood right n—now."
Ino shook her head wearily. "Jeez, Hinata… You're really going to pass up this date? Due to the fact that the guy is so dense, this is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity."
She simply smiled and shrugged slightly, bowing her head in thanks for the roses and then turning away; for a few seconds, she stood there, simply relishing in the sweet scent of the various different flowers around her; and then she walked steadily forwards, clutching her white and red roses in her hands and stepping out of the door and into the street.
(Behind her, Ino shook her head again.
"That girl is way too nice, sometimes.")
As Hinata walked, she found her mind straying back to the captured Uchiha; her clan had been in constant competition with his clan, she vaguely remembered, before their deaths. It had been entirely down to pride, and she was certain of that—words had been exchanged, insults and threats made, and two of the most powerful clans in Konohagakure had constantly tried to outdo each other, time and time again. After the violent demise of the Uchiha clan, the warring had been completely forgotten — the Uchiha clan were now saints, heroes in the villagers eyes, and therefore the Hyuuga clan could not afford to have any ill will towards (the memory of) the Uchiha clan. Once or twice, she vaguely remembered her father having discussions with the clan elders, as to whether or not they should offer the remaining Uchiha a bed to sleep in and food to eat, or a sum of money as compensation.
The idea had been quickly dismissed.
Sasuke had been a quiet boy at the academy — mysterious and silent — and he had been fawned over, by adults and children alike. "Look at that strong and handsome boy," mothers had cried, clasping their hands together. "Oh, it's such a shame." The other girls had found him tall, dark and handsome — he was the fairytale prince charming they were all searching for, and he fit perfectly into their happily ever afters.
Hinata had felt so sorry for him.
He had been a quiet person, tending to keep to himself, just like Shino — it was his tragic background and his handsome looks which drew attention to him. As far as she knew, none of the adults ever approached him, unless they wished to talk to him about the Uchiha clan massacre, and if there were one thing he definitely didn't want to talk about, it was that. And as far as she knew, none of the girls had ever wanted to talk to him — they'd simply watched from afar, every now and then vying for his attention, and then swooning as he dismissed them briskly.
She had been able to sympathise with him then, back in the academy; he had been silently compared to his brother for such a long time, just as she was silently judged and dismissed — and, judging from the look in her teacher's eyes, he too had been silently judged and dismissed. Never quite living up to anyone's expectations.
She wondered if he'd finally surpassed everyone's expectations now — if he'd done the thing she could never do — or was the village disappointed in him, for finally being captured?
She heaved a sigh, slumping slightly, and glanced down at the roses in her hand. One red, one white. Hinata had chosen them originally because they had caught her eyes. The first rose, such a pure white — as white as a dove, as white as freedom — and the second rose —a s red as blood, as red as sin — had been winding around each other and, despite all the pretty flowers she could have chosen from, she picked those.
It didn't matter now, though. She doubted Naruto would want to go on a date with her, not after Sasuke's arrival, and it would be unfair to force him to go. Briefly, she wondered where he would be, so that she could arrange a second date with him (if possible), and wish him good luck for when he finally went to see Sasuke, because he definitely would, sooner or later.
The Hokage's office, most probably.
She looked around her quickly, taking in her surroundings; she was at the edge of the marketplace, not too far away from the Hokage's building; and if she ran, she could probably catch Naruto on his way out or in. There was a sharp prick of pain in her left hand and she glanced down, bewildered — she was still clutching the roses, so tightly that the thorns had punctured her skin.
A bead of blood welled up, remained still for a few seconds, and then dribbled down the white rose, staining a petal red.
"Ouch," Hinata mumbled, inspecting the wound and then turning back towards the office — her cut temporarily forgotten as she broke into a sprint.
Behind her, the roses dropped to the floor. One red, one white; but not so pure a white now, stained red. There was no way she would give those to Naruto anymore.
The wind picked up.
The white petal, with the red stain, was swept away, floating down the street and far far away, never to be seen again.
Hinata winced, stepping warily away from the door to the Hokage's office; Naruto's loud outburst had startled her and once again reminded her that she definitely should not be eavesdropping. Even so, she stepped back to the door anyway, checking first to see that no one was nearby.
"You heard me, brat," Tsunade hissed, and Hinata could tell she was seething. "The council has decided that neither you nor Sakura will be allowed within spitting distance of Uchiha Sasuke — and I, for one, agree."
"You can't be serious!" Naruto wailed.
"I'm deadly serious; and this is a decision neither of you can change my mind about — if either of you are spotted near Sasuke, during the first few weeks of his imprisonment, you will both be under immediate suspension and house arrest. Am I clear?"
"I said, am I clear?"
"…Yes, Tsunade…" Naruto finally mumbled, grudgingly, sounding like a five year old who had just been scolded by his mother — and Hinata could see his expression; tight-lipped, his head bowed submissively, his fists clenched and his bright eyes clouded over with darkness.
"Hokage… Tsunade…" Sakura finally spoke up, her voice tense and strained. "Do you… do you have any idea of what his… sentence will be?"
For a while, Tsunade didn't reply — she probably had her back to them, looking out over her village or otherwise she was sat behind her desk, pretending to shift through papers; Hinata had seen her use both tricks before.
"In fifty days, Uchiha Sasuke will be executed."
There was a roar of outrage from inside, and a shriek; outside, Hinata's eyes widened and she paled. Fifty days… She sank to her knees, her heart aching for her beloved Naruto — in fifty days, his best friend would be executed; she could barely imagine the pain and misery he had to be going through, and she bowed her head, staring intensely at her hands. And she found herself thinking of Sasuke — fifty days, and throughout half of that time, he would have no visitors; who would want to visit a traitor, condemned to death? Kiba had told her once that searching for Sasuke was fruitless; "the moment we find him, the council will deem him a threat and sentence him to death — no doubt about it. He's better off not being found."
"F—fifty days?" Naruto cried, his voice filled with disbelief and rage. "Can't you… can't you change your mind?"
"I was outvoted."
"You're the Hokage!"
"It's for the safety of the village."
"—there's nothing I can do!" Tsunade finally snapped, shouting, and there was the sound of something shattering. "The council decided! I was fully against it, but there was no way… I couldn't convince them. When you went after Sasuke the first time, people were hurt — your friends nearly died — Naruto, you almost died! He left the village; he betrayed us — he betrayed you as well! And, believe me, I tried — seal his chakra, I said, he'll never perform another jutsu — but that would have been as good as death for your beloved Sasuke!"
There was a tense, heavy silence, punctuated by panting.
"Is that what you want, Naruto? We spare him so that he can just go ahead and kill himself? What do you suggest I do?"
"Let us… let us see him, please," Sakura begged, and Hinata could hear her voice wobble as she fought back tears. "Please… I don't want him to die, thinking we've forgotten him. He doesn't… he doesn't deserve that…"
Judging from the silence and Sakura's sudden outburst of tears, Hinata assumed Tsunade had shaken her head — and she was struck by how personal and private the conversation was — she shouldn't be listening. And yet, she couldn't move away. She wanted so desperately to help her friends, to ease their pain, but she couldn't…
Hinata stood up, her heart thumping in her chest, and walked back the way she came, striding purposefully.
She knew what she could do.
Konohagakure's prison was one of the most secure prisons for miles around. It was secluded, deep in the middle of Konoha's forests, and hidden by a genjutsu. A pit had been dug around the entire building, deep and dark and filled with poison vines and snakes and various other deadly creatures; the only way to cross it was over the bridge, and there were guards at either end. The prison itself was surrounded by a wall, higher than the trees around it, where shinobi stood watch at the top, and there was no way of seeing into the prison from the outside, and therefore no way of seeing outside, from the inside. Most of the prisons were above ground and these were reserved for those with a less serious crime: mass murderers and traitors and other such deadly criminals were kept underground, where security was tighter.
Morino Ibiki did not often see many pretty women down at Konohagakure's most notorious prison — despite the fact that visitors were allowed, no one wanted to be associated with the criminals whom were imprisoned there. There was also the fact that Ibiki himself was quite an intimidating figure, what with his scarred face and narrowed eyes; it was even rarer still that someone from such a prestigious clan, such as the Hyuuga clan, would ever be seen down at the prison.
He raised his eyebrows at Hyuuga Hinata. "Evening, Hinata," he mumbled, leaning against the high gate and peering at Hinata. "Who're you here for, then?"
His eyebrows managed to rise even higher and this time, he couldn't keep the curiosity from his voice. "How… strange…" Ibiki blinked, before promptly scowling. "That's a lot of paperwork for me, y'know; fancy reconsidering?"
Hinata's cheeks flushed pink and she shook her head. He ruffled her hair good-naturedly — he wasn't that scary; it was more of a character he played when he needed to — and then beckoned for her to follow him. They crossed the bridge easily and Ibiki exchanged greetings and whispers with the guards at the opposite side. Each one of them was a big and burly shinobi, who flexed their muscles and practically growled at Hinata as she passed, with a nervous smile.
She followed Ibiki through a door she hadn't spotted previously. There was no genjutsu on it; it was simply built to look precisely like the wall, and shrouded in ivy. Inside was swarming with guards—a few of them even had dogs and watch lights — and, just in front of her, were around fifteen different prison blocks. Each block was filled with around twenty small, cramped cells. She peered at one as she passed. It was more like a little stone room, made out of concrete, fitted with a bed and bowl for a toilet and the smallest window to let in light.
"Welcome to heaven," Ibiki smirked, waving one hand at the various cells. "Brilliant, isn't it? The most secure prison I've ever seen — plus, it's got the best torture chamber for miles around. Sunagakure's barely compares."
He chuckled lightly, fixing her with a relatively manic grin. "Not that you'd care about torture chambers and prison cells, am I right, Hinata? You're far too nice and proper for that — you're the heir to the Hyuuga clan, after all."
Hinata didn't bother correcting him.
He led her towards a set of stairs, which spiralled down into the ground and, before they began their descent, he span around and clutched her hand. "You need to be careful now. Stay a safe distance away from the cells. Walk directly down the middle. Follow my lead. Don't look anyone in the eye, and don't answer any questions about anything, understand?"
Hinata nodded and he gazed at her with a critical eye, before nodding, apparently satisfied. He stepped down the first few steps, beckoning for her to follow — she did so, placing one hand on the wall to steady herself and descended into the unwelcoming darkness. Finally, she reached a corridor and let out her breath, which she didn't know she'd been holding.
She gazed into the first cell, despite herself, relieved when she realised it was empty; and then she peered inside — the entire cell was completely white. The walls were white, the floor was white, the ceiling was white; even the bed was white. Every single thing inside that room was white. She shivered again; it must be such a boring and awful place to live, so depressing and dreary. She blinked, realising that Ibiki had managed to get pretty far ahead, and hurried after him. Upon noticing her, the inhabitants of the other cells began moaning and speaking rapidly at her, asking her questions and whispering names at her.
She didn't answer.
Hinata blinked, as Ibiki slowed down, turning a corner. He gazed over his shoulder at her. "The Uchiha's a special case — originally, the cell was being held for his brother but, well… one Uchiha is the same as the other."
She winced, even though the insult wasn't directed at her — Uchiha Itachi had massacred the whole of his clan, including Sasuke's mother and father. They were hardly the same at all. Ibiki pushed open the door, moving slightly to the side so that Hinata could step around him. She did so cautiously, barely able to stop herself from gasping as she gazed at Sasuke's cell.
It was completely white, just the same as the other cell she had noticed — but there was one definite huge difference. Uchiha Sasuke was positioned in the centre of the room, held in a white straightjacket; his arms were pressed uncomfortably tight against his chest; from the shoulders of the straightjacket were two chains — these stretched across the room, attaching at the ceiling — his feet were bound together with another chain, which ended attached to the floor, directly below him. Almost instantly, she found herself activating her byakugan, confirming her thoughts — the straightjacket was somehow sealing his chakra — draining him of his chakra; it seeped through the chains and into the ceiling and floor, completely harmless. He was probably drugged up as well. What she could see of his skin was pale, or bloodied and bruised. His head was bowed low and his hair hung across his face, which wassweaty and grimy with blood.
She was separated from his cell by a glass panel, with a few holes drilled into it. Stood in either corner of her side of the room, were two masked ANBU members — one with the mask of a bear, the other a rabbit. One female, she presumed, the other male — they chilled her, and scared her so terribly, although she would never admit it. Positioned in front of the glass, was a chair.
"Lucky you, Uchiha," Ibiki sneered, moving past her to rap his knuckles on the glass. "It looks like you've got a visitor."
Sasuke ignored him.
"Make yourself at home, Hinata — the ANBU will remain inside until they are certain you're safe — then, and only then, will they stand outside; and just behind the door, as well," Ibiki informed her, throwing Sasuke one last look of disgust. "If you need them, at any time, you can just knock. You have one hour."
Hinata bowed her head in thanks.
Ibiki shook his head, his expression blank. "This is more than the Uchiha deserves, Hyuuga Hinata. You're a kind girl."
Uchiha Sasuke waited for the door to slam closed — waited for that bastard Ibiki to finally leave — and then looked up, although it hurt his neck and his back and his head to do so. He was drained, tired, exhausted, and even a movement that small was taking its toll on his body—he found himself panting as he gazed up at the newcomer, through grimy black hair.
A kunoichi — he could tell, from her bruised knuckles and her calloused fingers — of around his age, perhaps a year younger, sat opposite him in the uncomfortable metal chair he'd spent hours just staring at. She had dark hair, not quite black, almost a midnight blue, that hung just past her shoulders. Her skin was pale, much like his, which contrasted with the blue hue of her fringe. She had nice eyes, he thought, pale lilac and wide and looking anywhere but at him. She sat stiffly, her hands clasped in front of her body, her lilac coat zipped all the way up — a nice girl, he decided, the kind a guy would probably take home to his mother. Idly, he realised his mother would probably quite like a girl like her — and that's about when he decided the drugs were making him delirious.
He'd recognised the name offhandedly; if anything, he recognised the clan name more. They were a prestigious clan — his father had mentioned the leader, Hiashi, briefly. This girl couldn't be a member of the branch clan, because they wore their forehead protectors to hide their tattoos and she wore hers loose around her neck.
Her eyes finally flickered upwards, nervously meeting his. "G—Good evening, S—Sasuke," she mumbled, stammering over her words. No wonder; he was scrutinizing her like she was a slab of meat.
"Is it?" He drawled, but his words came out slurred.
He recognised her from the Chunin exams, but only vaguely — if he remembered correctly, she'd been sat next to during the first test, but he hadn't seen her during the second test. However, she'd obviously gotten through, because he'd spotted her briefly in the preliminary exam before he'd fallen unconscious and been carted away. He'd heard that she'd been pitted off against her cousin and had lost; if he remembered correctly (and it was difficult, what with his drugged and bleary mind), she'd been pretty injured. He wondered briefly if she'd managed to pass the exam yet, if she was a Chunin yet or higher — he doubted it; her face was too kindly, too shy, and too insecure.
He tilted his head slightly, his hair falling across his face, and blinked at her — she was nervous, he could tell, and the presence of the ANBU probably wasn't making her any happier. He wondered how long had passed since she'd entered the room. He decided he didn't care.
Finally, the ANBU shared a glance, before turning — the bear-mask left first, her blonde hair flowing behind her, closely followed by rabbit-mask. Sasuke waited for a moment and then glanced at Hinata, once again.
"Did Naruto make you come here?" he asked, genuinely curious — he doubted he'd ever once spoken to the girl in front of him and he vaguely recalled who she was — why else would she visit him, in his cell?
To his surprise, she shook her head.
"N—Naruto doesn't know I'm here," she said after a moment's consideration. "I o—overheard him talking to Tsunade and, w—well… He couldn't make it. So I came instead. I thought you might like a v—visitor."
Sasuke raised an eyebrow. "Why?"
She blinked; it was her turn to be surprised. "What do you mean, why?"
"Why would you do something like that, for me or Naruto?" he elaborated, speaking slowly, as though he was talking to a small child. Hinata frowned slightly at his tone of voice, but otherwise ignored it.
"Naruto is…" She trailed off, searching for words. "When Naruto r—realised he couldn't make it here, he sounded so upset. I didn't… I didn't like it. He smiles so m—much, that I don't l—like to think he f—feels pain."
Sasuke raised an eyebrow and opened his mouth to speak, but his head suddenly felt woozy and he shut his mouth again, waiting for her to continue.
"And you, Sasuke?" Hinata blinked, with an expression like she'd just woken up—she shook her head slightly and fidgeted with her top. "I just didn't like the i—idea of no one visiting you."
His eyebrows shot upwards and he quirked his head, frowning slightly — oh God, the drugs had made his head fuzzy and now he was imagining things people said as well — and he opened his mouth again. Then he closed it, puzzling for a second, although his expression remained mostly blank, but slightly weary.
"How much can you tell me?" He asked finally, struggling to form the words — they felt clumsy and heavy in his mouth and they didn't roll from his tongue like they used to. "About… about what's happened?"
He wondered if she'd grasp what he meant.
From the look of pity etched on her face, he grasped she did — her body language changed slightly, tensed, and she seemed more defensive and uncertain, as though she was entering onto foreign ground — but her eyes had already given away everything he needed to know.
"It's not going to end well, is it?" he asked, attempting to keep his tone mocking and dry, but it was difficult because his words were slurred and he could barely see straight.
Hinata shook her head slowly.
"It c—could end worse, Sasuke."
He cocked his head, smirking despite himself — his arms ached, bound to his chest, and the loss of chakra was weakening him more than he'd ever anticipated. He tried to shift, to move, to do anything, but it was too difficult; his bonds were too tight and he was too tired. "Really…?"
She nodded sadly.
"You could be alone."
Uchiha Sasuke slipped into unconsciousness long before the visiting time had finished; his head lolled and his breathing slowed, his chest rising and falling gradually, in perfect time. Hinata had stayed for a while, watching him curiously — she didn't think she'd ever seen anyone sleep before and she was amazed at how peaceful he looked. How kind and gentle his face became, and how lonely he looked, bound and chained up in that white room.
She stood up and rapped softly once on the door. The ANBU in the rabbit mask slid inside, tilting his head at her. "You've got a while left yet."
"He's tired," she mumbled, fumbling with the edge of her jacket and glancing back at the sleeping Uchiha. "I think it would be better for me to leave now."
The ANBU nodded and the action sharp and brisk, before beckoning for his partner to follow him through — the female ANBU nodded once to Hinata as well, taking her position in the corner of the room and standing perfectly still, staring impassively at the prisoner. Hinata bid them a good day, bowing her head in respect and thanks, and then slipped back out of the door, with a final last glance at Sasuke.
One eye opened lazily, and onyx met lilac. A silent, unspoken promise was passed — it seemed to her like the other had accepted the finality of his capture, the finality of his punishment. And Hinata herself had realised that this wasn't a onetime thing.
Even if she could not prove it to anyone else, she would prove to him that a kunoichi can be kind, as well as strong. She would visit him once every day, for the next fifty days, and she would make his last moments memorable.
His last memories would be as pure as the white rose she had bought earlier that would be untainted by the red of sin, of loneliness, of hatred.
She'd make them perfect.