A/N: Helloooooo~ Just wanted to say a few things before I start here.
I do not plan on updating regularly, and although I will probably do my best (sometimes) to do so, just check back when you can and maybe I'll have written more.
There is a lot of angst and I love to make things dramatic so you can absolutely count on that. If you're not interested in that sort of thing, then please don't even bother.
I try to avoid fluff but it is occasionally necessary. If you catch me making people out of character PLEASE TELL ME. Nicely. Unless of course I said something about it in here before/after the chapter.
None of the Akatsuki members are dead… This is mostly because I love them all too much to let them go. c:
So, this takes place right after Gaara's Ichibi was taken, only Sasuke hasn't left yet and pretty much everyone else is still hanging around. I don't know how that works, but it does.
I'm pretty sure that's all, but if I think of anything else I'll be sure to let you know. Remember to tell me what you think, give me your ideas, feedback, anything to make this better. I don't really have an actual end in sight here right now. So will it have a happy ending? i do not know.
PS: I changed the character settings for the story so that the people who are just starting to read this might actually get a surprise when Hina picks her man. YEAH SURPRISES. That's all.
'You've got to be the best
And use this chance to be heard
Your time is now
Change everything you are
And everything you were
Your number has been called...'
-Butterflies and Hurricanes, MUSE
The room was dark, and was filled with the dank, reeking stench of someone-or something-who was neither dead nor quite alive. In the center of the room there was a large statue with nine eyes, only one of which was closed. From this statue protruded a set of hands, large and looming in the presence of the room's occupants; ten blurry images standing on an oversized finger each. From the silence broke a commanding voice of no more than 25 years of age, throaty, controlling and profound.
"Friends," it began, using the word as a greeting with heavy sarcasm as if none of the other 9 were his friend's at all, "before we depart..."
There was a collective groan and another voice, this one slightly younger and with an accent of an unknown sort, piped "What is it now? Haven't we had more than enough trouble for the week? Sasori almost kicked it, you know! And my arm! Kakuzu had to stitch it back on! When have we ever done enough to satisfy your crazy demands, yeah?"
"Quiet!" the first voice barked in that way of letting others know exactly who's boss. "You'll do what you're told, Deidara."
Deidara slipped back into a silent reverie, in what seemed to be a vain attempt to remain calm and docile. "Now then," the first voice continued, "our objective in this mission is quite simple. Even the thickest of you shouldn't have much of a problem with it."
"What exactly are you insinuating, yeah?"
"Deidara, shut the fuck up. God, annoying pansy-ass little-" The new voice was oily slick and seductive, but was colored thickly with malice and mischief.
"Thank you, Hidan," the first voice said warily.
"Whoever said I was doing it to please you? Shit, get off your high horse and have the balls to tell him it yourself."
"For christ's sake, be quiet, will you all? We'll never get out of here if you don't shut your traps pretty damned soon." This time it was an older being who spoke, throat scratchy with age and turned hollow through the years.
"ALL RIGHT THEN," the first voice stated firmly, "here is our objective. Listen carefully, because I will not repeat myself, got that?" There was a collective murmur of agreement, and the voice continued "We are to infiltrate Konoha to retrieve the First's forbidden jutsu. Does anyone object to this? Again, it is fairly simple..."
"I think it's pretty damned-"
"Yeah, well, it's a good thing that I don't care about what you think, Hidan. So, we attack tomorrow. I'll alert you when; be in the general vicinity. It'll make things easier. Head on over to the land of fire as soon as we've finished up here."
"Will we all be going?" This voice was female, soft-spoken but dangerous, sounding of past heartbreaks and sufferings.
"Yes," the first voice stated matter-of-factually. "This could be extremely dangerous. Itachi and Kisame will be my backup when I go in to get the scroll. If they send in reinforcements, everyone else should be able to distract them pretty well. Got that? Konan, you are to keep me up to speed on what's going on outside of the village and scout; we don't want them getting allies in there with us. Is this all understood?"
Various forms of agreement were mumbled throughout the room, most of which sounded grumpy and tired.
"If you all think you're set," the commanding voice stated irritably, "then you are all dismissed. Get as much rest as you can."
Eight of the shadows standing on the statue disappeared into the air.
"...What is it, Konan."
"Is this mission so important that we have to move out tomorrow? We really should give them a break. The Jinchuuriki and Hatake really took it out of Deidara. And that Konoichi... Well, I don't really think I need to tell you about what she did to Sasori. I think that Deidara must have made that pretty clear to you by now..."
Pain just laughed. "What she DID to him, indeed. He's infatuated with her. They wouldn't have survived if he wasn't. Strange how that works, isn't it? And yet..." he sighed and faced down at his open palms, eyes unseeing in the pitch blackness of the space. "The fact that we almost did not acquire Shukaku is the exact reason that I think this mission is such a priority. We need to keep the five lands of power in check. We need to take some of their authority for our own. That is why this mission is a priority." He paused for a moment, and looked towards where he knew his companion must be. "Not that cracking the whip a little ever hurt them. They're losing sight of our objective."
Konan said nothing to him in return, instead made a sign with her hand and faded from the room. Her silent anger was apparent. Sighing and mouthing a few curse-words in frustration along with a drabble of 'how women always take everything so seriously' and 'hell hath no fury...' Then he followed her example and disappeared
The room, spacious and now lacking in tenants was completely and utterly silent, save for the soft echoes of cave water pattering from the ceiling.
The Hyuuga's training grounds were placed deep in the woods outside of Konoha Village for privacy purposes. Away from distractions, 'and any sort of real help' thought Hinata bitterly, the grounds were said to improve concentration and increase training effectiveness considerably.
It was also possible to her that she had only been brought here so that she might be left in the middle of nowhere once Neji had finished kicking the crap out of her. He attacked her ruthlessly, his jutsu penetrating deep into her and stopping the flow of her chakra, destroying her with every hit. Sweat flew off of her in sprays as she was thrown backwards with a particularly rough punch in her gut, and Hinata cried out as she hit the rough ground. Neji breathed heavily, but did not say anything to her. Hinata stayed on the ground, relatively safe for the time being, and panted helplessly. She couldn't believe this. Neji looked as if he'd just been out for a leisurely stroll, with little to no evidence he'd been training at all.
"Pathetic," he hissed, and glared down at her. "You're the damned heiress for christ's sake! Why don't you start acting like it? Why are you so useless?" He let out a furious exclamation of annoyance and kicked her once, then stormed off. Hinata just lay on the ground and watched him retreat, completely inanimate She certainly wished to tell Neji that she was TRYING to be a good little princess but it was pretty difficult when he wouldn't even give her a chance. She wasn't sparring with him; he was practicing on a live punching bag. She felt like kicking something, but remained still and began to cry. What good did any of this do, anyways? Nobody would ever want to marry someone like her anyways, so why was she the heiress? Hanabi was much more talented and outgoing and all in all simply better than Hinata herself was; so the 'good' in being Neji's target practice seemed pretty nonexistent.
Hinata sat up and stared around. She was completely alone now, with just the dimming pink light filtering through the trees to keep her company. Sighing, she began to get up, but stopped when she found that she could not-Neji had left her semi-paralyzed and had not bothered to check whether or not she really was all right. Well, that was fine and dandy. She could just wait here until it wore off, really. It was peaceful, being in the woods, alone, at sunset. Hinata carefully lowered herself back onto the ground and stared up at the sky, and began to daydream. Closing her eyes, she imagined being free of her clan and running off with...
"Oh!" She sat up straight, remembering. She had promised to meet Sasuke outside of the village after practice. He would be worried if Neji came back and she did not. What would he do? Would he confront Neji? Hinata tried to stand up again and fell right back down. She couldn't bear the thought of Neji using his silly 'rotation' jutsu on Sasuke just because he'd been a little prying.
"Sasuke," she grumbled, stretching on the ground and frowning irritably, "whatever am I supposed to do now?" Having doomed herself to hours of slow healing, Hinata closed her eyes once more, and tried to keep herself from becoming too upset. She'd just tell Sasuke what had happened tomorrow, that's all.
Her eyes flew open and she saw above her a pair of dark obsidian eyes, staring intently at her. "Oh! S-Sasuke-kun!" she tried to stumble to her feet, and, of course, failed. "A-ano...W-what are you doing here, Sasuke-kun?" He frowned at her as if she were a little off her rocker. "I came to see what you were doing. Neji said that you stayed behind. I guess he was just saying that, though..." Hinata shook her head fervently. "I think it was an accident. I'm fine, I just-" "Can't walk." "...y-yes."
He rolled his eyes at her and held out his hand to her. "Here." She took it and, with a little bit of trouble, succeeded in standing up properly while leaning against her friend. "I'll help you walk back, okay?" "O-okay...Thank you, Sasuke-kun." He nodded coolly, as if to say 'no problem.'
This was the problem she had with Sasuke. She appreciated his lack of pointless chatter and calm demeanor, but he was cold. Almost to the point where she never would have guessed he liked her if he hadn't said it to her face. Not only this, though, he also hid his feelings, and only ever thought about one thing...
Hinata sighed. Revenge was Sasuke's best friend. He lived for it. He was consumed by the need to fulfill his oath, that he would kill his brother and restore his clan. And, sometimes, this frightened her. It was almost as if Sasuke were being controlled by something ominous rather than simply being himself. The village walls were just over 200 feet away now, and Hinata's feet were really beginning to get sore. Suddenly, Sasuke broke the silence. "I was thinking we could go get ramen," he said casually peering at her from the corner of his eye. She giggled a little. "O-oh? I am a little hungry..." A small smile slipped through his iron-clad defenses and he said "Well...It's settled then. I'll pay, of course..." "Sasuke-kun, you don't have to-"
They both stopped in their tracks. Smoke was rising from the village now, and they could hear shouts and screams from within its boundaries. "What...?" Sasuke exclaimed angrily, almost running towards the havoc upon sight and then remembering he was supporting Hinata. Who was impaired. And certainly not in any condition to fight. "Hinata, I-"
Sasuke was interrupted by an exploding note aimed right at them from, seemingly, out of nowhere. "Sasuke-!" In the confusion before the explosion, she felt herself fall to the ground and crumple. She was then flung a good thirty feet from where she had been before, and she could feel the blood slowly covering herself. Breathing became difficult, but, in her panic, she found she could force herself to her feet. "SASUKE!" she shrieked into the smoke, wondering what had happened to him.
Tears stung her eyes as she wailed his name over an over, unable to see in the destruction that was escaping her home's walls.
"Hinata! Hinata, run! Get out of here!" His voice came to her from a fair distance, over the clash of metal and the sound of crumbling buildings. Hinata didn't disobey. As adrenaline and panic settled into her system, she found her legs moving of their own accord, somewhere, anywhere, away from there. She couldn't believe she was simply abandoning the village she was meant to protect, but here she was. And anyways, without most of her chakra and a good deal of injury already dealt to her, what good would she be?
Hinata ran, and ran, until she began to feel dizzy from blood loss. She knew her face must be a mess; she had been on the ground right in front of an exploding tag, after all. Neji had done a good deal of damage to her as well, and she now knew that she really would be spending the night passed out in the woods. Hinata picked an especially large tree and curled up at it's base, trying to find some sort of security; she knew that, when she returned home, it would be in the process of being rebuilt. She let a few tears escape, thought, rather sadly, about how hungry she was, then drifted off...
Hinata dreamed uneasily that night. She dreamed of Sasuke, bloodied and mangled, and of exploding notes raining from the sky destroying all that she loved. She also dreamed of steaming hot ramen with miso, and soft, fresh rice cakes like her mother used to make for her when she was young...
She dreamed of white butterflies, which fluttered about her like a cyclone, and then turned into a beautiful woman with strange colored hair. The woman had asked Hinata if she were all right, and Hinata began to cry and tell the woman of the terrible ordeal she'd just gone through. She told the woman she didn't want to die yet. She wanted to prove to everyone that she wasn't worthless. She couldn't die yet. 'If you can,' Hinata had sobbed to the lovely woman, who had stared stoney-faced at Hinata and did not say a word, 'please help me... Take me somewhere safe...please...I can't die yet...I can't...' and then her dream had turned black, with images of Neji, her father, and Hanabi looking down at her in disappointment, arms crossed and faces set. No matter how much she plead, they simply looked, then, when it became apparent that she was not worthy of even that, they turned their backs on her. It was then that Hinata finally pitched a fit. She screamed as loud as she could, pounded the ground with her feet and arms, begging for some form of acceptance from her family. When they did not turn, she pulled at their clothes and punched them, beat them in her fury, and they still did not turn. Exhausted, she finally fell to her knees and accepted her fate.
END OF CHAPTER ONE
Butterflies and Hurricanes