AN: I'm not sure if I like this fic as a whole (yes, it is completed at 7 chapters). It's one of the shortest ones I've written (this was done on purpose), so that could be it, I suppose. So. AU Fic that's I guess GaaHinaIta? Or however you want to arrange that. Everyone's personalities were adjusted to fit their age, setting, and life. I will say this: Itachi is kind of hard to write. I made him talk a helluva lot. In the series he was actually a pretty chill guy around his brother, he smiled and did a little chuckle, whatever. In fanfiction he's always 100% extremely serious and I picked up the habit. So I tried to make him lighthearted around people he's comfortable with but stoic to everyone else. I'm pretty sure I freaking failed. Anyway, enough ranting. Edit: Apparently, no longer wants to love my dividers for scenes. I'm having to go through and fix it so it doesn't look insane when you're reading it.
"This is stupid." Five year old Uchiha Sasuke said under his breath. "These dumb parties are always so boring."
Holding his little brother's hand, ten year old Uchiha Itachi frowned. He agreed with his little brother, he detested these parties, especially when everyone tried to fawn over 'the great genius'. Itachi hated being in the center of attention yet it was impossible to avoid it; his father liked to boast about him too much. The only difference between him and his little brother was that Itachi wasn't going to complain about it. He couldn't. His life revolved around what his father wanted for him, free will didn't exist for him.
Sometimes, he envied Sasuke. Most of the time he hated his father.
"You two will be playing in the gardens," their mother, Uchiha Mikoto, informed "The Hyuuga family have brought their heir, Itachi. Perhaps you two could bond or get along."
"Yes, mother." He said coolly although inwardly he was irritated. Just because the child was an heir to a powerful family didn't mean that they would get along or be compatible. Besides, he tended to enjoy solitude, the term 'friends' wasn't something he could identify with. At ten years old Itachi is considered a genius, having recently graduated high school to attend university in the fall. As an Uchiha, a family with uncanny power over the business world, he was heir to the company and the expectations placed on his tiny shoulders have been heavy. As a result up to this point he has never experienced a true childhood and inwardly he is horribly cynical and pessimistic. Sasuke is the only light to the otherwise stifling darkness of everyone else. With Sasuke, he can just be Itachi, a ten year old kid with a little brother.
Releasing his hold on Sasuke's hand, he raises it and ruffles the boy's hair, earning him some annoyed squabbling. Guiding him to the gardens he flashes his brother a genuine smile, something he shares with few people. The five year old shoots him a glare and tries to smooth out his unruly hair.
"You always do that." Sasuke pouted as the two boys walked through the white French doors that led to the gardens. Still smiling, he turns and pokes his little brother on the forehead, earning him another annoyed exclamation.
"I also do that." He teased. Once again Sasuke pouts but then he smiles back up at his brother and Itachi wonders if Sasuke will ever understand how much his love and affection mean to him. The entire world could disappear and as long as he had his little brother, his anchor, he was okay. "Let's try and find the Hyuuga."
"Do we have to play with him?" Sasuke inquired. "You and I can just play out here alone."
"Mother says that we must make an effort," he reminded his little brother "so at the very least we can introduce ourselves."
Dark grey eyes scan over what can be seen. There's a tiered fountain currently active, a bench behind that and then an expanse of grass leading to a huge wall of shrubbery. While he's taking in the rest of the garden he sees something purple out of the corner of his eye. Turning back to the fountain he could see nothing out of the ordinary yet he was almost positive there had been something there. Intrigued, but not to the point where he'd want to explore, he decides to pretend that he's looking away again. When he sees the purple again he quickly turns in time to hear a high but soft 'eep' and once more ducks behind the fountain. Obviously, this had to be the Hyuuga.
"You can come out you know," Itachi offered, ignoring Sasuke's inquisitive look "We're supposed to introduce ourselves."
There was silence for a moment. Sasuke moved to the side of Itachi that gave him a better view of whatever or whoever his big brother was talking to.
Purple hair emerges along with a pale face, child-like in appearance. The hair style is very short, almost boyish. Pale white eyes blink at the pair of smoky grey and she seemed quite content to stay behind the fountain.
"It's a girl!" Sasuke said with no small amount of annoyance. He couldn't blame him, both brothers seemed to have the same problem with it came to the opposite sex and he had to admit that at ten years old he didn't like them either. Girls were clingy and tried to kiss you – "Disgusting!" – and forced you to do things you don't want to do at all just to keep them from wailing like a banshee and getting you in trouble with the parental units.
This little girl, however, seemed almost afraid of them. When Sasuke shouted she squeaked out another 'eep' and hid back behind the fountain. He'd met a lot of girls in his age group and 'shy' was not something he had ever encountered.
"Stay here Sasuke." Itachi told him and began to walk around to the other side of the round fountain. As expected, the girl had her back facing him while the rest of her kept trying to peek out and see what was going on. She was the same age as Sasuke and was wearing a plain purple kimono with a dark blue obi. Curious about this strange creature, the ten year old quietly snuck up behind the girl and lightly taps her on the shoulder.
She must have jumped at least a foot into the air, large pale eyes widening in fear. Opening her mouth she began to let out a high pitched scream when the older Uchiha quickly stepped forward and slapped a hand over the child's mouth. With his free hand he raises a finger to his lips and tries to smile reassuringly. Last thing the brothers needed was a hysterical five year old female.
"I'm going to remove my hand," Itachi informed her "if I do, will you promise not to scream?" when she nodded at him he slowly removed his hand, taking her in. With those eyes and skin, she looked like some sort of weird doll.
First things first; calm the girl down. Obviously, she was incredibly shy to the point of fearing unknown people. Like his parents, the Uchiha prodigy could surmise that she was probably tossed out here as well and told to 'go make nice with the Uchiha'. Standing straight he looks down at the girl. Seeing him staring her gaze immediately shifts to the floor and she begins to look very nervous. How strange for a five year old, was she abused perhaps?
"My name is Uchiha Itachi," he told the girl formally. At this point he could feel Sasuke's presence behind him until his little brother is doing what the little girl was doing; hiding behind something, or in this case someone. "This is my little brother, Sasuke."
The shy girl remained silent her gaze still at her feet. She begins to poke her fingers together "H-H…Hyuuga…H-Hinata." It's said so low that the boy almost didn't catch it.
Itachi smiled at the girl, although it was not heartfelt. "Hinata? That's a very pretty name." It's also an oxymoron, the girl is dressed in dark clothing. There's nothing 'sunny' about her.
The girl's face turned a bright shade of red and she continued to poke her fingers together. "Th-thank you…" she whispers.
Inwardly, the older Uchiha frowns. At five years old this child shouldn't be that frightened of people right? His overactive brain begins to go through all sorts of scenarios and explanations for her strange behavior when Sasuke decides to make his presence known.
"You always this quiet?" the boy asks, obviously not impressed with the person in front of him "We can't make…friends with you if we can't even hear what you're saying." Itachi smiles thinly at Sasuke's pause.
Despite his pause the girl's head shoots up and she looks at the two of them in genuine surprise. "Y…you r-really want to…to be my f-friend?" she sounded so surprised that he honestly was beginning to think the girl was being abused in some way; abuse wasn't always physical.
Then again, she really could just be a ridiculously shy girl. His mother always told him he had an overactive imagination.
"It's not like we have a choice," Sasuke muttered and Itachi lightly thumps his little brother in the head in admonishment.
"Stop being rude." Itachi scolded, although in reality Sasuke wasn't so much rude as brutally honest.
Unfortunately, Sasuke's mutterings made her eyes water a bit before looking back down at the ground. He could almost see the 'too good to be true' in her eyes. Itachi didn't like it, this girl was the same age as Sasuke yet she held even more pessimism than he himself did. It irked him for some reason, perhaps because she was an heir like him and more than likely she was being drilled the same crap he has been fed for the past ten years.
"Hyuuga-san," Itachi closed the distance between them and forced her to look up at him. He sees the tears she had been trying to hide "we don't mind if you play with us, you seem like a nice person."
"But Itachi," the little brother whined "she's a girl." He says it as if it explains everything.
Smirking inwardly, he reached over and took the girl's hand, her face turning as bright as a tomato. He turns back to his brother who was still too scared to go near the girl. "Well, I guess Hyuuga-san and I will have to play by ourselves." He looks down at Hinata "Is that alright with you? You don't have to if you don't want to, it's your choice."
He can see it in her eyes 'I have a choice?' and this girl reminds him too much of himself at her age, minus the shyness. It truly upsets him, as Itachi is a boy that despite all of his shortcomings genuinely cares about others.
"I…I want to p-play…" she says softly, looking at her tiny hand in his slightly larger one. "I…I want to be friends." She looks back up at him with those pearl-like eyes and Itachi realizes that her eyes aren't white at all, they're pale lavender. Intriguing. "Is that…is that okay, Uchiha-san?"
"Okay then, we'll play and we'll be friends." He began to walk away with her hand still in his, ignoring his little brother. "It's too bad Sasuke doesn't want to join us…"
"That's not true!" the smaller boy rushed up to them. He frowns at Hinata who shifts closer to Itachi and then he reaches down and takes her other hand. "See?" he looked up at Itachi as if daring him to challenge his claim. When he didn't Sasuke turned back to Hinata "So I get to play with you and be your friend too, even if you're a girl."
As the three begin to walk along in the gardens Itachi briefly wonders how long his little brother's love and adoration for him will change to envy and resentment. It's unavoidable, Fugaku completely ignores Sasuke for his first born and the older is well aware of the fact that because of this Sasuke will begin to hate him.
Itachi hated being a genius most of the time. It meant restriction, manipulation and ignorance because adults tend to want to live vicariously through their children, especially if they're 'gifted'. It meant that his little brother, his anchor that keeps him from becoming completely cynical and closed off, would be taken away from him.
I suppose it's best to just 'live the moment' or whatever such nonsense.
While he doesn't show it, Itachi is somewhat disappointed in both Sasuke and Hinata's slow progress concerning the martial arts. Both families owned dojo's and practiced their own style; it was expected for those in the direct bloodline to master these skills.
Going over everything, he notes that Sasuke isn't bad, but he's not improving physically the way he would like. Mentally, Sasuke understands the concepts and can recite them to his big brother perfectly. Physically, neither his speed nor his strength was increasing during these training sessions.
Hinata was a completely different case altogether and he has to admit that it's not the fact that Hinata isn't getting any better that's the problem but rather the fact that she simply doesn't believe in herself. The two families are very close, so close that Hinata only lived a block away. Hinata was constantly over at the Uchiha's for whatever reason and the two boys didn't mind her presence. To Itachi, Hinata was the little sister he never had and he tends to spoil her – mostly because it irritates Sasuke when his big brother takes her side.
For the past few years the elder Uchiha has tried to go through his brain for different ways to deal with Hinata's self-esteem issue. Unfortunately, Hinata does not live with them and there is only so much verbal support the brothers can give. Hinata's issue is frustrating to both of them because it could be so easily prevented if her father and her relatives quit being assholes and telling her that she's worthless. So far, the only thing Itachi has been able to do is convince the Hyuuga to allow Hinata to stay with them during the summers, where both boys can try to somewhat undo the damage that's been done. She has gotten better by each year but in the end it's her against her entire family and that's hard to compete with.
"That's enough." He says, grabbing Hinata's wrist when she missed a blow to him. "Let's stop for today."
He watches as Hinata bows respectfully but her expression is less than happy. Solemnly she walks away and grabs her bag, heading for the shower. Both brothers watch her leave in silence and Sasuke is the one that breaks it.
"She's not cut out for this."
Itachi agrees but says nothing. His mind is working, trying to come up with a more suitable plan for his 'little sister'. Sasuke looks frustrated, which has been making him rather snappish towards his friend.
An idea comes to him "The issue of Hinata's self esteem is due to her family, correct?"
His eleven year old little brother looks at him and then shrugs, looking irritable "It wouldn't hurt her to have a little backbone though."
Itachi ignores the comment; not wanting to argue that Hinata is heavily sheltered and has been told since the time she was five that she was worthless. Honestly, he's surprised the girl hasn't tried to kill herself yet. "A child's development is based on social situations, be that through family bonds or friendly. Our problem is that Hinata is surrounded by people that refuse to have the patience to deal with her. Our efforts to change that have been fruitless for two reasons." Noticing that he had Sasuke's full attention he continued "Firstly, we're not related to her. She is not an Uchiha, she is not part of our family, even if we treat her as such. Secondly, she lives in an environment that seems to be detrimental to her growth potential. We cannot do anything about the former, but we can do something about the latter."
Shouldering his bag, Sasuke follows his big brother towards the main house "What are you talking about? She spends every summer with us and we get her to a point where she's getting better and then her family tears down all of what we've done. It's getting to be pointless."
"A few months aren't going to dramatically change her when she spends years with her family," the older Uchiha explained "However, an extended period of time under us could change things. She won't revert back so easily under her family's thumb."
An eyebrow rose "Extend it by how long?"
He didn't answer at first, because he was already going through his mind how he wanted to approach the subject to his mother and what his argument would be when it came down to convincing the Hyuuga. "Two to four years." He finally responded and Sasuke's eyes widened. "She's almost eleven, if we can influence her consistently with minimum interaction with her family I think it'll get her where she should be."
Sasuke snorted "How are you going to convince those guys to give up their heir for that long?"
"Don't worry about that." He said blandly. He had a few options to go on and none of them Sasuke needed to know about. Despite his attitude, Sasuke probably cared about the Hyuuga the most between them. They were close in age, lived near each other and they were very close. The irritation, frustration, and hostility from his little brother is more inward, he feels as if he's failing his friend. "In four years she'll be close to entering high school. Usually that's when friends opinions tend to hold a greater influence than families'. You two are close in age, if we can do this it will mean that she will be depending heavily on your opinion of her than any of us."
A small shrug "I want to help her. I hate her family."
By the time they entered the main house, Itachi already had the plan complete and he was absolutely positive it would work. After all, he is a genius.
"This will be an hour long exercise," twenty year old Itachi explained "We're using laser sets instead of paintball guns since last time you two were complete idiots and nearly killed each other." His little brother snorted and shoved his hands in his pockets; Hinata turned red and began to poke her fingers, looking sheepish. "It's a free for all and head shots give you an automatic win against your opponent. If you take a total of ten shots you are out of the game. Do not beat each other with your guns." He gave a pointed look to Sasuke who, once again, snorted and looked defiant. "If you do anything colossally stupid I'm going to let you take the fall with mother; you're old enough." Lifting up his sleeve he pulled the fabric of his shirt back "I will give you two a five minute head start to make things fair."
"We don't need a handicap." Sasuke snapped, looking rather irritated. "Or rather, I don't need one. Dunno about Nata-chan."
Pale eyes shifted over to her 'brother' and she frowned slightly. She said nothing, however, to which Itachi was grateful for. At fifteen it appeared that Sasuke hit a phase where he pretty much disliked everyone and everything, especially his big brother. For the most part, his little brother had become somewhat of a jerk, irritated with Hinata because she looked up to Itachi and irritated with Itachi because he is constantly reminded of how inferior he is to him by the family. There is little he can do about this, he knew it would happen eventually. Their father is simply an asshole who has always ignored Sasuke for Itachi. With only a few more months to go before Hinata would return to her family, he would rather she leave on good terms with everyone.
"Sasuke, indulge me for today." He finally said "It is not often that I can take time from work to spend time with the two of you." He wouldn't admit that he needed those breaks where he could simply forget about the demands of the company and act like the teenager he never got to be. He tries to live through his siblings when he can, for those are the moments where he can actually feel free.
The older brother's statement hits Sasuke and he looks away, a little ashamed for his behavior "Whatever. Let's just get started."
He sets his timer once the two enter the forest and waits. Both teens had their own tactics when it came to games like this. Hinata would always take the high ground, moving through trees and up on ledges. Sasuke would stick more to the ground and camouflage himself, giving him better mobility. Both were rather good and it was usually a tie between the two of them unless big brother was involved.
Once the five minutes were up Itachi calmly entered the forest, his sharp eyes missing little. It didn't take him long to find Sasuke but when he did it seemed that Hinata had also spotted him and the two of them erupted into movement and missed shots. The eldest kept himself back and observed. So far, Sasuke had taken two hits and Hinata five. Sasuke was faster than her, so he was quickly able to catch up, climbing up into the trees where she had taken refuge. It became difficult to see after that but he kept his gaze towards the general direction. There was quite a bit of yelling, mostly from Sasuke. Then there was a loud snapping noise and his little brother fell down, landing on his back hard. Right as he landed his headband lit up, showing that he had taken a headshot.
"Damnit Nata-chan, that's cheating and you know it!" the boy snapped.
"It's not cheating Sasu-kun…just opportunity." Came the soft voice of his little 'sister'. Itachi smiled inwardly; convincing the Hyuuga to allow Hinata to stay with them for four years had dramatically increased her self-esteem and self-worth. She was still kind and gentle Hinata, the girl who blushed at everything and never raised her voice; but she was also more confident and sure of herself.
"It is cheating. You hit me while I was down."
"Sasu-kun, you're just mad because you lost." She said and he bristled because she was right. "I have to go find Itachi-niisan so…" she trailed off and he saw her briefly as she moved further into the forest, leaving an irritated Sasuke behind.
Itachi followed at a distance, knowing that neither of them would be able to see him. This was Hinata's first time not being the first to lose and of course it was only through coincidence. She wasn't as good at hiding as Sasuke and her movements were limited because she insisted on taking higher ground. It took him no time at all to find her, she was skillfully perched on a rather thick branch and her back was facing him. She wasn't that high up so he decided to scale a tree close to hers, one of the branches only inches away from her. Taking aim, he was about to catch her attention when she suddenly turned and leaped, colliding into him. Startled beyond belief, he instinctively pulled the girl into his arms as they hit the ground. Then he rolled back, taking her with him so that he was on top, his gun aimed for her headband. He almost smirked when he saw her gun aimed at his.
"You did that on purpose." He remarked "You realized that I would probably come in from behind and you took advantage. How very underhanded of you." He was impressed.
Her face turned a bright red and she struggled to regain her breath. They sat there like that, guns pointed at each other's heads. Now breathing regularly she smiled softly at him "I'm only doing what Itachi-niisan taught me to do."
He has known this girl since she was five years old. An extremely introverted and shy girl, self esteem being demolished by her family due to her inability to perform 'above average'. He's watched her grow up from a shy girl to a pretty teenager and he has always seen her as the little sister he never had.
So when he looked at her this time and felt a strange tightness in his chest he hesitated, stunned. His hesitation cost him the game, but he didn't care about that. Itachi was oblivious to the two teens as they argued back and forth about the game on the way home. He remained strangely silent even after they returned to the main house. He avoided his siblings, retreated to his room and did not come down for dinner. He was twenty years old, five years the teens senior. He was their big brother, a solid foundation. They looked up to him and he was able to relax and ignore the pressures of the world with them. He has done a lot for those two, especially Hinata when he had convinced the Hyuuga to let her stay with them. Itachi still has yet to tell Sasuke exactly how that had been pulled off.
Hinata has always been like a sister to him, so when he had sat there in that forest and looked down at her, it had been as if he were seeing her for the first time. Her face had been flushed, her eyes bright, long hair splayed out around her, that trademark smile on her features. Sitting there holding his gun a feeling hit him so hard he was still trying to function properly. He was attracted to the girl, in more than brotherly-like fashion. The feeling was very unwelcome, he was twenty and she was fifteen. Not only that but Sasuke was practically in love with the girl, he was somewhat possessive over her and became jealous whenever Hinata gave any attention to his older brother – thus the reason he was cranky around both of them.
Obviously, he was mistaken. Whatever that feeling had been back there in the forest was not attraction. He didn't know what in the hell it was, but it wasn't that. She was his sister and more than likely if she ended up with anyone it would be his little brother. On top of that, he felt like finding a fifteen year old attractive when he was a fully grown male to be disgusting. So he ignored it and eventually he stopped thinking about it.
It wasn't until later that he would find out Hinata had gone to him first to deliver the good news. Since she had been so excited yet did not want to spill the beans over the phone, he invited her to his apartment. She didn't know it but besides his mother, she was the only female that had ever seen his humble abode. It wasn't as if he were a social butterfly in any case, most females tended to shy away from him after a few dates.
Normally the cause would be that they were intimidated by him; he had been considered a child genius, he held two PhD's, two master's degrees and gods only knew how many bachelor degrees. He had graduated from high school at ten years old for crying out loud. He would even be running his family's corporation if he hadn't been so resistant to the idea. Itachi wasn't one who enjoyed bossing others around or giving out commands. He didn't like manipulating people and while he was certainly capable of running things flawlessly, he didn't want to. There was also the fact that he was currently not speaking to his father due to an argument concerning his treatment of his little brother. If his father wanted him so badly as president, he could suck it up and acknowledge his brother as an equal and treat him better. Enough was enough.
As he was preparing tea for his sister's arrival, he realized that it would be the first time she had ever been in his apartment alone. Normally she was either with his mother or Sasuke. An extremely uncomfortable feeling moved through him and he actually almost jumped – him of all people! – when she finally knocked on his door.
At fifteen Hinata had held an undeveloped beauty. Pale skin with white eyes tinted with lavender. She kept her hair long, the dark purple tresses coming down to her lower back. Now that Hinata was an adult, twenty two to be exact, she looked nothing short of absolutely amazing. Her long hair was pulled back into a high ponytail and she wore a light but baggy beige jacket and snug but comfortable jeans. Her face had thinned out over the years, and she held an almost 'motherly' appearance, especially when she smiled gently. Her body, which had shown the beginnings of a rather curvaceous figure, did not fail to disappoint years later at full development. She was still soft-spoken but more confident than she would have been had she not stayed with the Uchiha for as long as she had. This was the girl that he and Sasuke grew up with as children, the girl that they had treated like a real sister – oh the poor boys that had suffered during her high school years – and both men loved her. Just in different ways. Sasuke's feelings had shifted back and forth from brotherly to romantic and then eventually settled on the former. He currently had a girlfriend, Ino, who he has been dating for three years. As for Itachi? He was madly in love with her.
He hated it.
"I'm sorry to bother you last minute like this, Itachi-niisan." She said, removing her jacket to reveal a cute but not revealing long sleeved purple shirt. While he went to get the tea she sat down on his comfortable, and highly expensive, couch.
"You are welcome here anytime Hinata, you know that." He said kindly, bringing the tray over and setting it down on the coffee table. He poured them both a cup of green tea "Although I am curious as to what the secret is."
A blush dusted her pale cheeks and she began to poke her fingers together before she realized what she was doing and then settled her hands back into her lap. She still had that nervous habit? "W-well, you know how I'm trying to get into the medical program, right?" when he gave a slight nod she continued "Well…they selected a few students from the school to participate in an abroad program for the next year and I was selected."
He gave her a genuine smile "I am happy for you. Studying abroad is a rather wonderful opportunity to learn unique things. Japanese medicine tends to be a bit different from other countries; it will definitely broaden your horizons."
Hinata beamed at him "I'm going to England," she elaborated "My English is pretty fluent so…" she trailed off, a habit of hers when she didn't have anything to complete the sentence.
"Congratulations," he said honestly "Have you told mother or Sasuke?"
She shook her head and almost started doing her nervous habit and stopped herself "No. I um, I wanted to tell you first since you've been so helpful to me since I've been in college. I don't think I would have gotten half of the scholarships I did without your help."
"Little assistance was needed; you are a very intelligent woman, regardless of what your family believes." Or rather, ex family. Due to her desire to pursue a career path that the family did not support, they disconnected themselves from her. Her tuition was paid through scholarships and jobs. His mother helped in her own way, she would give Hinata a rather hefty sum of money to do what she wished during birthdays and Christmas and the Hyuuga normally put it towards her tuition. She wouldn't accept handouts. He didn't blame her. Hinata might have been born a Hyuuga but her pride and current mindset was Uchiha.
His compliment caused her to blush even more, amusing him. It was that same blush that attracted her so much attention in High School and was the source of many suspensions of one Uchiha Sasuke when someone got 'too frisky' with his sister. It gave her a cute and innocent look.
After a moment, however, her blush faded and her smile turned downcast. Confused but slightly concerned, he made a small movement to catch her attention.
"Is something wrong, Hinata?"
Setting her cup down on the table her hands and eyes shifted to her lap. "Itachi-niisan…will you…will you miss me?" She had said it so softly he almost didn't catch it.
Leaning back on the loveseat he gave her a look, confused by her line of questioning "Of course, you're my little sister after all."
Apparently, that had not been what she had wanted to hear as not only did she not cheer up, her expression became even more downcast. Quickly she stood up, surprising him with her reaction.
"I um, well thank you Itachi-niisan I…I have to go now." Her smile was shaky and before he could even stand up and ask her what was wrong she was out the door.