Hello, Team Naruto fans! I'm back! And, I have a special announcement! I have gained some control over my inner author! It wasn't easy, but I have rebuilt my lost chapter (which is backed up in three different locations, just in case)! I wasn't able to get the old chapter off my hard drive, so I was forced to re-write it. So, there may be a few points where it seems awkward to read because I was trying to get the author juices flowing again. Oh, and for this chapter, we're going to see someone no one seemed to approve of with her first appearance. Sorry if it offends you, but she has been in my story since its creation. And no, she doesn't have supernatural powers; I'll explain it at author's note. Now! Without further adeu! After nearly three months of being out of commission, Team Naruto is back in action! Boo-Ya!

"Nagamaki Ichigo, I trust you know why you're here." As the Hokage spoke, Ichigo nodded slowly, a forlorn look on his face as he lowered his gaze down to the shackles which now bound him.

"You are here for your past crimes, 67 counts of murder," he explained anyway. "Murders that, to our knowledge, didn't seem to have been agitated in any way shape or form: you can understand my concern for the villagers and ninja who live here, in my village."

"Yes, sir. I understand."

"… Well, Nagamaki Ichigo," the Hokage started after a brief pause, looking to his fellow judges, among them including clan heads and village council members, then out to the visitor's gallery gathered to watch the trial. "We give everyone a chance to explain themselves here. Even for crimes as monstrous as this. Do you have any explanation for your actions? Or perhaps you could describe what happened that day, maybe at the very least you won't be remembered as a monster by everyone who hears your name."

"I'm sorry… I have no explanation or justification for my actions…" he admitted, looking back to the villagers gathered to watch the trial to find an upset looking Tenten glaring at him. He closed his eyes, then faced the judges once more. "But maybe I can explain what happened. Maybe I can give those who were affected some closure…"

Flash Back: 6 years ago

"Ichigo!" a male voice echoed through the dark, empty home. "Ichigo, are you up? Get down here, I have something for you!"

The house remained still, except for the older man dragging a large rock through the house, leaving black scratches on the wooden floor it was dragged over. The only light in the house was from the smelter in the main room. After making it to the smelting room with the rock, the man stood and called again.

"Ichigo, come on, get down here!" A heavy silence was his answer. The man sighed, his face drooping into a mournful expression for a moment before he headed back to the front door.

Across from the door was a flight of stairs heading up to the second floor of the house. The man ascended the stairs tentatively, pausing briefly every other step until he reached the second floor. The second floor was darker than the first. Some might've argued that it was because the lack of any light source on that floor, but the man had no doubt the second floor would be just as dark if all the lights were on.

"Son…" the man started as he approached his son's room. He pushed the door open to see darkness pierced only by the light blue rays of the moon. The only way he could tell his son was there was by the orange hair just barley captured by the moonlight.

"Son, I know you're… well, I know it's rough on you. It's rough on all of us, but it's really tough on you… we all loved her, son, but she wouldn't want us burdened by what happened. You especially, she would have never wanted you to feel an ounce of pain for what happened."

The boy made no reaction at first, but after a few moments he lowered his head a bit. "Come down stairs, son. I have a present for you, something to help cheer you up." The boy made no reaction at first, but after a few moments he stood up.

"… O… Okay…" Ichigo answered softly. He wiped at his face with his right sleeve before turning around. His moonlit silhouette moved slowly towards the door, where his father was now walking away from.

He followed his father down the stairs, and into the smelter room.

"There it is," the father explained, gesturing to the large black rock sitting in the middle of the room.

"… It's a… rock…?" the small, orange-haired boy observed, sounding a bit confused.

"No, it's not just a rock. It's a piece of metal that fell from the sky: a meteor. Now… I remember you saying at her funeral that you wanted to become a strong swordsman."

Ichigo nodded slowly, lowering his eyes to the floor.

"Well, this will be your first sword!" the father proclaimed cheerfully, taking a step towards his son. "And you…" he started, clasping his hand down on Ichigo's shoulder, "you're going to make it!"

"B-but…" Ichigo mumbled, looking up to the rock in confusion.

"I know what you're thinking," the father said, nodding his head a bit before continuing. "Our clan laws state you have to be 12 before you can start weapons training, or blacksmith training. But, I've already talked to everyone. All of the elders, along with the clan head and a majority of the lesser clan members have agreed to allow you to begin now, with what has recently happened, on the condition that I watch over you every time you do weapons training."

"… Really?" Ichigo asked, his voice sounding brighter than it had been for the past two months.

"Yeah. I also got them to allow you to work on your sword on your own. That way you'll have something to do while I'm at work." His father was a traveling merchant, selling various weapons and ninja tools out of his oversized backpack at the center of whatever town he visited.

"When can I start?" Ichigo asked, his voice reflecting some of the excitement he was feeling.

"Tomorrow morning. I'll set you up, make sure you remember what to do and have all you're tools ready, then I'll head to work. When I come back, we can either start your sword training or I can help you make your sword."

"Okay."

"Alright now, get to bed. You have to wake up with me tomorrow morning," his father said as he headed for his bedroom.

Ichigo moved, to head for his bedroom too, but stopped cold, turning slightly toward the stone before making it out of the room. "…" Ichigo felt something, something indescribable, call out to him. What it said was unknown to the young Nagamaki, but the feeling it gave off was easier to make out. Strength. Somehow, without knowing anything about this piece of rock, or how it would be, if it even could be, forged into a weapon, he knew that it would make him stronger than he could possibly imagine. That feeling brought a sense of calm to the boy: that calm would let him sleep easy that night, unlike the countless, sleepless nights of the past few months.

A week later

Work on the sword went quickly, especially with Ichigo sacrificing his entire weapon training time in order to work on making the sword out of the meteor faster. So much so, that his father started to worry a bit. His son had been working non-stop on the sword, which any Nagamaki parent would have been proud to see, but something was off: Ichigo looked almost possessed as he worked on the sword, forgetting to eat and use the bathroom until he was dragged away from the Iron by his father.

Normally a father might seek some sort of help for their son with such troubling behavior, but this was not a normal situation. As opposed to the haunted look his son wore since his mother was murdered, possessed was an improvement. Of course, that didn't mean his father was at ease.

"I'm just starting to worry about him… something's not right, but I have no idea what it is, or how to fix it."

"Well," his brother began as he pondered his nephew's strange behavior, "maybe he's just pouring his grief into the blade. I think it might be a good thing; after finishing it, he'll be more like the old Ichigo you knew. I'm sure he just needs to let what he's feeling out, and this sword seems to be the perfect outlet. It's almost done though, isn't it?"

"Yeah, it is… if you're right, then there are only a few more days before this is all over."

They both remained quiet for a moment, looking up and down the crowded plaza for merchants of all kinds. There were people trying to sell miracle potions (among them were potions for hair loss, sexual inadequacy, headaches, stupidity, weight loss, muscle increase, nagging wives and poison (… those last two aren't meant for the same thing… *cough*) etc.), food, armor, weapons, clothes, animal skins, fish, vegetables, and pretty much anything else you can think of.

"Hey, where's your daughter? Tenten always seemed so excited when you come to visit. She's always fascinated with these plazas, isn't she?"

"Yeah. She was really disappointed, but I had to leave her in Konoha."

"Why, what happened?" he asked with concern obvious in his voice.

"No, nothing happened; I just didn't feel safe bringing her this time. There have been more and more bandits showing up between here and Konoha, so I asked one of our neighbors to watch her until we get back."

"That's why you're only staying a few days for the family reunion?"

"Yeah. Two days until it starts… man, I'm missing my little girl already," he admitted with a sad smile on his face.

"Don't worry, you'll be on your way to see your little girl in no time, ya big softie."

The brother's continued to talk about various things that had happened to them, or things they've heard about until late in the afternoon.

2 days later, during the Nagamaki Family Reunion

Ichigo knelt in the blacksmithing room. Ichigo handled the blade. Ichigo hammered out the form of the blade. But Ichigo wasn't there. He was there, but elsewhere. The body of Nagamaki Ichigo is at the iron, forging the sword that he was told was destined for him, but his mind is here, in a (Litereally) sideways world that was said to be his inner mind. It would probably scare an ordinary person, but he has started to become comfortable in this sideways world, standing on these sideways buildings, talking to 'Him'. This isn't the first time he's been here, there have been countless visits. Whenever he begins work on making the sword in the real world, 'He' brings Ichigo here.

Ichigo stands on the sideways building, looking around, scanning the adjacent buildings for something, someone.

"How's it goin', 'King'!" 'His' voice greets in its normal, odd tone. 'His' voice is like hearing multiple people talk at the same time, and knowing that each and every one is the voice of a monster. Materializing in front of him was the person who said he lived inside the meteor, and Ichigo's closest friend. 'He', despite all of their time together, has yet to give his name.

"Hey," Ichigo replied happily, looking straight into eerily empty eyes. 'He' looks exactly like Ichigo, for a reason 'He' wouldn't explain, with only a few differences: He had unhealthy looking pale skin, white hair, black teeth, and white robes with black linings (as opposed to Ichigo's black robes with white linings).

"So, are we ready to pick off (not a typo) where we left last time? Tellin' me why ya want ta get stronger?"

Ichigo nods, takes a deep breath, then closes his eyes. The doppelganger mimics his actions. After a few minutes, 'His' laugh broke the silence.

"Kha~ ha ha ha kha ha kha ha!"

"It's not funny!" he yelled, glaring at his pale double.

"Yes it is! Look at ya, just sittin' there and cryin' through the whole thing!"

An expression of pain and anguish wash over his features, over the normally collected face of Nagamaki Ichigo.

"He hits ya once, and ya turn into a snivelin' little girl!"

"Shut up!" he cried out, anger starting to seep in to replace the pain. His trembling hands tighten into fists as tears start to build up behind his eyes.

"Look at ya, look at ya! Ya don't even lift a finger as this guy kills yer mother! Kha ha ha ha!"

His eyes fall to the floor, followed closely by tears, as the pain overtakes the anger again. 'He'srightIwaspatheticuselessacoward…'

"Hmm, so this is yer reason! The reason ya wish ta become strong!"

"Yes… please, help me become strong!" he shouts, wiping the tears from his face with his right arm before looking up to the amused eyes of his living reflection. "So strong that I'll never have to watch someone I care about die again!"

"That's tha spirit, 'King'! I'll lend ya all of my power! Yer gonna become so strong that no one will even recognize ya anymore! Kha~ ha ha ha kha ha kha ha!"

"Y-you will? Thank you!"

"Khaaaa~hahahah! Yes! Well, it looks like you've finally finished makin' me! Open your eyes, and you'll be stronger than ya could'a ever imagined!"

With anticipation and hope, he opened his eyes.

The world seemed much darker than he remembered it, seeing as there was no light anywhere, not even from the smelter. And it stank. 'Whatisthatsmell?' Starting to analyze his surroundings, he stared to notice a few things.

The first thing he noticed, aside from the aforementioned observations, was that something was on his face, which was likely the cause of the darkened view. He moved to grab at it with his right arm, but realized something else. He was holding something heavy; the handle of something heavy. 'Aasword?Mysword?' he thought hesitantly, somehow almost fearful of being right.

Not being able to see too well because of whatever obstruction was attached to his face, he lifted his left arm to pull something that felt very much like a bone plate off his face: when turned around, he saw it was a very scary, somewhat enticing bone mask. The mask had red tribal markings on it, jagged teeth, a pointed chin, and was just big enough to fit his face.

After inspecting the mask for a few seconds, he looked down to the sword he was holding. His breath caught in his throat as he did. The normally black sword with a white blade was coated in a shiny red liquid. Red nearly enveloped the sword completely; rising up the blade, onto his hand, and reaching up passed his elbow.

A flickering light somewhere in his peripherals caught his attention. It was a knocked over torch, its flames fighting to stay alive in the icy night air. Looking across the large field surrounding him, he took notice of the countless bodies lying in the blood-red grass.

There's a low groan at his feet. It's his father, covered in blood.

Their eyes meet, and look of pure fear overtakes his face, and he screams a poor, gargled imitation of a scream as he tries to crawl away from his son.

"F-father?" Ichigo called out to him in disbelief at the surreal landscape painted around him. Before he can say anything more, his left arm raises the mask back up to his face; his right arm acts on its own as well, lifting the now weightless sword up overhead head. That's the last thing he sees before darkness takes him once more.

End Flash Back

The previous day (The day before Ichigo recalls these events)

Today had been rather eventful for the young Hyuuga princess. Her life had gradually been getting more and more exciting with each passing day ever since she had been put on a team with her (Relatively) secret crush. Today, however, had been one of the most excitable days in her life.

First, Naruto had, after waking from his mini coma, brought her along to rescue her other teammate, Sakura. Hinata didn't know the specifics of what happened after that, but when she woke up at the hospital with Naruto, Sakura, and her Sensei Anko, everyone seemed awkward. Sakura was covered in dirt and blood, with an unnervingly vacant look in her eyes, and had no clothing except for Naruto's jacket. Anko had tear stains on her face, and seemed uncharacteristically quiet. Naruto was also quiet, and seemed almost as distant as Sakura.

After that, Naruto and Anko had gone to the Hokage Tower to report Sakura's rescue in. While they were away, however, Sakura had fallen asleep and into some sort of nightmare. She was thrashing around and crying for parts of her sleep (if it could be called that), and other times she curled up and sobbed while saying almost unintelligible things: among them, from what Hinata could remember, were things like "It was my fault…", "Because of me…", "Do something!", "Move!", "I'm sorry…", "He's dead…", and a few other's that she could almost make out, but not quite.

Hinata tried to comfort her in her sleep, but that didn't work; she would either get hit by Sakura's thrashing, or her soothing actions had no effect. It got to the point where Hinata was worried she might hurt herself, so she decided to hit a few tenketsu points on her body that would allow her to sleep in a dreamless state of unconsciousness. And that is when Hinata saw the strangest thing she had seen since she had her first real team meeting.

Red chakra.

Or, at least, that's sure as hell what it looked like. To Hinata's knowledge, a person's chakra can't change color. You're born with the color/shade of chakra you're born with, and that's that. Now, Naruto was a rare case, being the first person Hinata had ever seen with red chakra (or even chakra of a different color), but she was told by the other Hyuuga that it was normal for him, and not to worry about it. Naruto's chakra was normally blue, but upon closer inspection of his naval chakra coils, there was a bit of red that seemed to always be trying to push its way out.

Now, back to Sakura; Hinata was sure she had blue chakra, and nothing else. Upon learning of the bit of red in Naruto's stomach, Hinata regularly checked the chakra of everyone she met to look for any bit of discolored chakra. The only people she had seen since then with any abnormal chakra or chakra traces had been Rouge, Ino, Ichigo, and Luffy (light red tint to her chakra, red chakra traces in her forehead, white chakra in the sword, and a purplish chakra, respectively).

'Well… now that I think about it,' Hinata mused as she approached her manor, 'maybe it's just people in Konoha that have blue chakra… maybe in different lands, it's normal for different colors… maybe to someone else, blue is abnormal…'

Hinata had been so lost in this new and intriguing train of thought that she had neglected to pay full attention to her surroundings; more specifically, the guards at the entrance of her home trying for her attention.

"Hinata-sama!" one of the guards, the female branch member, called in a slightly elevated tone, trying to get her attention while staying in her place as a branch member at the same time.

"H-huh?" Hinata gasped out in alarm, looking alert for a moment, then embarrassed at the fact she was caught spacing out.

"Hinata-sama," the other guard at the gate started, looking down to her with a sympathetic look in his eyes, "Hiashi-sama instructed us to escort you to your room when you arrived home."

"O-Otou-sama did?" Hinata whispered to herself. 'He... he has never done something like that before. He normally never even has time to talk to me, let alone interact with me. Even indirectly like this...'

She followed the two guards to her room, noticing that the halls were very empty for this time of day. Normally there would be somewhere around 6 or 7 people walking through the halls on the way to her room. She saw no one besides her escorts.

"Hiashi-sama said that you are to stay here until he sends for you..." the second guard said. She paused, like she wanted to say something more, but in the end she just turned and walked away with her fellow guard.

An eerie silence fell on the Hyuuga princess after they shut the door. She moved to her bed, lying down and staring up at the ceiling while she wondered what her father could possibly want with her. The failure. The useless princess. The hated heir.

After a few minutes of depressing musings, she moved to her bedside phone. She dialed the only number she knew. After a few rings, the first person who ever thought she was worth something, and the only one of three at the moment, picked up.

"Hello?"

"Hey Tenten."

"Hinata? Hey, how you doing! I take it Naruto-kun's alright now."

"Yeah, he is but... how'd you know?"

"Because you'd never leave his bedside until he was better, and there's still a few hours left for visitors at the hospital."

"W-well... Y-yeah, Naruto-kun woke up. We found Sakura, too. Right after he woke up, Naruto-kun brought us to her."

"Oh wow! Was she ok? What happened to her?"

Hinata, over the next 10 minutes, explained the entire day's events.

"And right now, Otou-sama said I have to stay in my room until he comes and gets me."

"Really…? Did you do anything for him to get mad at?"

"Nothing that I know of: I got home and the guards escorted me to my room and told me to stay here."

"Hmm... Do you think you'll be out in time to get to our meeting tonight?"

"No, no I don't think so. I still haven't even seen father. Talking with him will definitely take time. Even if he came in right now to talk, I wouldn't be able to make it."

"Oh... well, I've gotta get going. It's almost time to get there, but I'll be by the phone all night if you need to talk, okay?"

"Yeah… Thanks, Tenten... for everything you've done for me."

"Hinata... don't talk like that, it makes it sound like something bad is going to happen."

"... Tenten... I'll talk to you later on tonight."

"Okay... H-Hinata?"

"Yes?"

"U-um... N-never mind! Talk to you later!"

CLICK.

Tenten stared at the phone she slammed down on the receiver. Her face was flushed, and her breath was a little heavier. After a minute of staring at the phone, she got up, got dressed (into her normal attire instead of the around the house clothes she was wearing), left her house and headed to the restaurant her and the other kunoichi would meet at.

"Hmm..." Hinata hummed thoughtfully as she stared at the phone in her hand; after setting it down, her door open.

"Hello, Hinata-nee-sama," the small voice of her younger sister called stoically.

"I told you to stop calling me that, Hanabi-nee-chan." Sighing, the elder Hyuuga leaned back into her bed and closed her eyes.

A moment later, the door shut, and a few moments after that, her bed shifted and she felt warmth at her side.

"Were you waiting outside my door?" Hinata asked quietly as she wrapped her arm around the small, fragile frame of her sister.

"Yes. I didn't want to be in here listening to your conversation on the phone."

"Oh. Well, how long were you out there?"

"Since you started talking about Naruto, up until you hung up," she answered calmly as she stared up at the ceiling.

"Y-you just said you didn't want to eavesdrop…"

"No, I said I didn't want to be in there; If I was, you would have surely left certain details out, and might've omitted the entire story altogether."

"..." Hinata stared at her sister with a mix of frustration, bewilderment, along with embarrassment and curiosity (both at the thought of how many times her sister might've had listened in to her conversations with Tenten).

"Who is this Naruto? I've only heard his name spoken with anger by Otou-sama, with affection by you, or in concerned whispers by the Branch members. Can I meet him?" Hanabi's question might've sounded eager or hopeful if it came from anyone else, but she was able to make it sound as if she was asking someone if they wanted fries with that.

"W-well... I guess, the next time you get a day off from training I could bring you to meet him."

"That soon?"

"Sure, I don't see why not."

A comfortable silence fell on the siblings as they rested on the large bed, both thinking their own thoughts about the same topic.

Three knocks echoed through the timid Hyuuga's room. "Hinata-sama, Hiashi-sama wishes to see you in the main room."

"Hinata-nee-sama, remember why I respect you," Hanabi stated as she got up, headed to and opened the door. "If there will ever be a time where you show your true worth... let it be now." With that, Hanabi was out the door and on her way.

"Hinata-sama," the man who had knocked moments ago appeared in the doorway, "your father."

"Y-yes... I'm coming..."

FLASH BACK

"I don't think it's a good idea to let them spar anymore." The opinion was spoken by an elderly Hyuuga sitting besides Hiashi.

Hiashi's harsh eyes trained on the crying form of a 10 year old Hinata beneath the confused form of her 6 year old sister.

"Hinata. Get up, and get out of my sight."

Hinata stopped crying for a moment, struggled to get herself up, then left as she started crying again.

Hiashi sighed, placing his head in his hands and slouching forward. "Hanabi," The Hyuuga head spoke softly, causing his daughters eyes to snap away from where her sister went to him. "No more training today... You can go get some rest."

"Thank you, Otou-sama."

Hanabi promtly left the room, heading off to her room.

After the young Hyuuga made it to her room, she eased herself onto her bed and begun to reflect on today's sparring match. 'Why did that happen? Hinata-nee-san should be stronger than me, yet she started crying before I even hit her. Is it truly like Otou-sama says; is she just weak?'

Hanabi thought about it for a while, then decided it would be best to talk to her sister directly about it, and ask her why she was unable to win.

After walking to Hinata's room, she discovered her sister was elsewhere. When she asked Branch members around the manor if they've seen her: they reported seeing her heading to the Hyuuga training ground in the Hyuuga forest.

'That makes sense,' Hanabi thought to herself as she headed to the training area. 'She's upset about losing, so she's training herself.'

The Hyuuga forest was, as its name implied, a forest owned by the Hyuuga family. It was behind the manor, and took up a decent amount of space.

After a few minutes of walking through the forest, she found her sister.

She was standing in front of a tenketsu training doll and a screen with red numbers that said "000". It was a special training doll that was used to train higher level Hyuuga's; it was good training because it had small chakra points that would glow red after being hit, accurately emulating hitting all 128 points on a human body. It was training that only the more advanced Hyuuga's could use properly. The doll was set up with tenketsu points that weren't easy to see, and even harder to see during the fast movements of hitting the correct points. It was also a little like whack a mole, as the points would show up (first 2, then 4 more, then 8 more, then 16 more, then 32 more, then 64 more, then all of them over again at the same time), then fade a set amount of time later if you didn't hit them quick enough. This doll's main purpose was teaching how to use one of the Hyuuga's strongest techniques.

Hanabi watched as her sister took her starting place, approximately 10 feet away from the doll. 'I've tried this before. I wasn't able to hit more than 12 of them, there's no way nee-san will…' Hanabi thought, but stopped dead as she saw her sister dash towards the doll. Red lights light up all across the doll. 'She passed the first set… the second set… the third set… fourth set… holy crap, fifth set!'

She watched as her sister sped across the points on the doll, stopping only after the doll made a beeping sound. The red points on the doll fade, and the screen besides the doll shows a number. "073".

Hinata took a few deep breaths before walking back to the starting point again. Before getting into her stance, however, she noticed someone was there with her.

"Wh-who's there!" she shouted, sounding more panicked then angry or upset.

Hanabi steeped into the clearing, a look of pure awe still etched onto her features.

"Ha-Hanabi-nee-chan! Wh-w-what are you d-doing here?" she demanded meekly.

"Hinata-nee-san… that was amazing… does father know you can do that?"

"No! Nonono, no, you can't tell him Hanabi! Please, you can't tell him!" Hinata begged, panic somehow overriding her stutter.

"Why? Would he not be proud to see what you can do?"

"Yes! That's why you can't tell him! If he knows, he'll expect me to actually do this to a p-person! I can handle being a disappointment, being useless, weak, and a failure, but he can't know I chose to be those things… I don't think I can handle it if he knew…"

Hanabi's eyes widened by only the slightest margins, an answer to her questions suddenly making itself known. " You… don't want to hurt people?"

Casting her gaze to the floor, seeming almost ashamed, Hinata nodded.

They stayed there for several long moments; Hanabi processing the information while Hinata awaited judgment. "… Father doesn't know that, either?"

"N-no… he thinks I am just unable to perform well." With every word, she sounded as if a piece of her was taken with it. Her face fell while her eyes stayed trained on a rock in the dirt, her mind comparing herself to it. They both belonged on the ground, covered in dirt, meant only ever to be walked on, or if lucky, thrown.

"You're stronger than I thought you were."

Hinata looks up at that comment, looking curiously into her sister's expressionless eyes. "… You mean the w-with the doll?"

"No," she said quietly with a shake of her head. "You," she added, pointing a petite finger at her sister. "I meant you."

"M-me?"

"Yes. Father, as well as several clan elders, portrayed you as a spineless coward, obediently following anything anyone says. Until it comes to fighting, then they'd say that you were such a coward that you couldn't even attack for fear of a counter-attack. But now I see."

Hanabi walked by her sister, moving towards the doll to inspect the slight damage, such as indents in the wood and blood on a some of the tenketsu points, that overuse seemed to have caused it. "You are strong; strong enough to disobey father repeatedly for your own personal feelings, even though doing so earns you disapproval and rejection. I don't know anyone else who would even think of disobeying father for anything other than a direct order from the Hokage. I don't think I could refuse an order father gave me, but I've seen you do it three times today, even though you could have easily accomplished the task of defeating me, and most of your other sparing partners, with your level of ability…"

She turned back to her sister. She was staring with wide-eyed disbelief, her jaw hanging low. The sight made Hanabi want to laugh, but the only visible change in her features was her eyes softened slightly. "You have earned my respect. Let's get back to the manor, Hinata-nee-sama."

END FLASH BACK

"O-otou-sama… I-I'm here…"

Hyuuga Hiashi, from his place sitting on an ornate pillow at the end of the room, looked to her. "Hinata, come here," he ordered, pointing to one of the smaller, less decorative pillow resting in front of him about 20 feet away.

"U-um…" Hinata mumbled, wanting to say something, but ended up just sitting on the pillow like she was told.

She waited for further instructions from her father, who just stared at her with seemingly no purpose. Eventually, he sighed. "I have received information regarding you and one of your teammates," he stated, his eyes still trained on the young Hyuuga. "The Uzumaki," he clarified, saying the name with so much venom that he appeared to be disgusted at even knowing the person he was talking about.

Hinata's heart stopped. Her face drained of its color, and her fingers trembled. 'No… no, please, no!' she thought, goose bumps moving like a wave from her neck to her toes. 'Don't… don't take me off this team!'

"It disturbs me that you wouldn't know better than to acquaint yourself with that boy. That you would willingly spend time with that man's son… there are no words for my disappointment in your actions. I'm taking you off of that team."

Later, near midnight

It was dark. There were no candles, lamps, or lights of any other kind, save for the golden glow of the moon. Thanks to that light, the cave is not without illumination. It's still very dark, but the moon lights up a good portion of it.

It was fairly quiet. Only slight sounds could be heard: soft sobs, coming from a man chained to the cave wall, wearing nothing but a blood stained blind fold made from a leaf ninja headband and a makeshift loin-cloth made from what looked like a torn prison outfit. Across from the bruised and bloodied man, lying sprawled out on a bed, was a woman. She was young, somewhere in her mid-to-late twenties, with long red hair.

"I'm sorry," the woman spoke soothingly, with a slight shake to her voice. "I'm normally not this… energetic." The man's sobs deepened, and he trembled, causing a faint rattle to his chains. "I was stuck in that awful prison for weeks without anyone to play with," she continued, sitting up and smoothing out the one-size-too-big Konoha Jounin outfit she was currently wearing. "And when I finally got out, I found all of my friends had died from starvation! Can you believe that?"

She stopped talking for a moment. After a few seconds of listening to the man cry, her face contorted in irritation. She then stood up and walked towards the captive Jounin. "Now, listen…" she whispered as she reached him, her eyes wandering hungrily over his bare chest as her fingers danced along the open gashes littered across his body. "I know I've been a bit… rough… and you might not like me too much right now, but I'm not used to my friends just ignoring me. I don't like it when people just stop talking to me." Almost the instant she finished talking, the man cried out in pain.

After slowly sliding her pointer finger out of the man's stomach, which now had a finger-deep hole in it, she began speaking again. "I'll forgive you, though… it's not your fault: I've never had to play with only one person since I was little. It's a bit hard for me to deal with only one person," she admitted shyly, her hands brushing playfully against his loin-cloth.

"I've already told you, haven't I? If you play nice, then I'll play nice…" she admonished in a motherly tone before lolling her head back to face the entrance of the cave. "Or, maybe you would like to take his place?"

Stepping just into the mouth of the cave was a man in a Konoha Jounin uniform, holding a scroll in one hand and an envelope in the other. "No, I'm not here to fight you," the man assured calmly as the woman grabbed a katana that was leaning up against the wall of the cave.

"You know that I won't let you leave, right?" the woman asked, slowly unsheathing her sword. "If you don't move, you can live as my next friend… until you expire."

"An enticing offer, but I must refuse." The man took another step into the cave, and held out the scroll. "Here. It's a new mission. If you accept and complete this mission, we can ensure the end of your manhunt. You'll be free to continue to your…" the man explained, pausing to glance at the man chained to the wall, "hobbies… "

Suddenly the man started screaming. "HELP! HELP ME, PLEASE! OH GOD, PLEASE!" he screamed, pulling against his chains in a futile attempt to rip out of them.

"Oh, god," the woman groaned, covering her ears. "Now he'll never shut up. Hey," she called, looking to the man with the scroll still outstretched to her. "Tell him you're not here to help him! He won't shut up otherwise!"

The man looked towards the bloodied, thrashing mess chained to the wall. "I…" he started, pausing briefly at the insane amount of cruelty four simple words would hold. "I won't help you."

The man had apparently heard him over his own screaming, as he went dead silent. "There, he's quiet," the woman sighed, straightening up and facing her visitor. "So, what's this about a mission?"

The man threw the scroll to her, and watched quietly as she read through it. About 5 seconds later, she looked up. "So, all I have to do is use the same jutsu against this guy?" she asked, her voice seeming to cause her prisoner to start sobbing violently. "Oh, what now? He started crying; they can go on like this for hours…"

"I could put a sleeping genjutsu on him if you'd like," her visitor suggested, not used to and disturbed by watching a ninja cry.

"No no," she dismissed, waving her hand to him. "They have to learn that I'm in complete control of their life," she explained, making her way towards the sobbing man. "I've told you: crying while I'm not doing anything is fine, it's actually pretty soothing, but when I'm talking…" she whispered just above his sobs before they stopped short.

The man's face drained of any color it had left as five delicate fingers slid into his stomach. And, after what seemed like hours to the man, she twisted her fingers. Doing so seemed to make the man faint.

"Sorry about that," she explained apologetically, as if a mother had their child tantrum in front of company. After a quick flick of her hand to remove excess blood, she faced the man again, licking her fingers clean. "So, if I take out this guy-"

"Not take out," the man corrected quickly.

"Yeah, take out, use my jutsu, same thing. Anyway, I take care of this mission and I'm free again?"

"Yes. Once the report comes in that your jutsu worked, you will be free." The man handed her the envelope he held in his other hand. "This is information about your target. I suggest heading out tonight."

The woman smiled as she took files out of the envelope, and looked up to the man. "You know, this won't change the fact that you aren't leaving here; you know that, right?"

"Oh man," a middle aged man sighed as he walked down the street. The man had long, dirty blonde hair reaching down towards the bottom of his spine in a pony tail. "That boy's head is more messed up than tangled barbed wire…" he complained to no one in particular.

As he walked towards his house he looked up to the golden giant of a moon, seeming to be on the verge of falling out of the sky, smiling faintly to himself. "Such a beautiful night… I wish I could at least relax and enjoy it…" he trailed off, spinning towards a shadowed tree and flicking a kunai into its branches.

A young, beautiful woman jumped out. She sailed gracefully through the air, landing soundlessly on you of the few light posts lining the streets, the moon creating a mesmerizing backdrop for the startlingly attractive woman. She had long red hair on her head, an almost glowing red quality to her eyes, and a perverted grin on her face. "You really do look cute… but you're a screamer, I can tell," the woman observed almost disappointedly.

"Who are you? What do you want?" the man asked, ignoring her strange comments. Her grin widened a bit, showing almost all of her teeth.

"Such a beautiful moon tonight, isn't it?" she asked, her bright, blood red lips moving elegantly with each word, looking behind her at the large, golden, alluring moon. She turned back to face the man, and her canines seemed to have grown in size. They seemed to have almost doubled in length, glinting dangerously, almost seductively.

"Wh-what…" the man stuttered, his eyes fluttering, almost as if he was trying to stay awake. "What are y-you… doing…"

"The moon," she started, gliding down from her metallic perch to land in front of the spellbound shinobi, "it really does bring out the absolute worst in me…"

"Does it…?" he asked curiously, looking down to the woman as she approached him.

"Yes, it does," she replied, her voice laced with lust, as she reached him. She draped her arms around his neck. "Too bad," she whispered in a yearning tone as she brought her bright red lips up to his ears, "I had a feeling you would've really liked that side of me."

"Oh…?" he asked with clear disappointment as he looked up to the moon.

"Yes," she answered, bringing her lips down to his neck, kissing it lightly. "I'm sorry, Yamanaka Inoichi," she continued, licking the area on his neck that now seemed to be reacting violently to her touch: the spot she had kissed had grown almost clear with a slight tint of red, and a large vain was protruding from the twitching skin. "I normally like to play with my partners a little more, but… this is strictly business…" With that, her teeth sank into his neck.

He made a strangled gasping type of sound at first, but he seemed to accept it as his eyes rolled up into his head. After several long moments, she pulled back, her teeth shining bright red with blood, and stared at him. Neither of them said anything for about 10 seconds. "Well?" the woman finally spoke, looking back up towards the moon "You have your orders."

The man nodded absently, then stumbled away, looking back to her a few times as he got further away from her. "Hmm… I guess I'd better get back home…" she hummed as Inoichi moved out of sight. "I'll be seeing you soon…" she whispered with a grin and a shudder, then turned to head back to her hideout, "… Naruto-kun…"

Author's Note

… I'm actually not sure how I should react after you read this. Well… I'm gonna go with excited. HOOOOYAAAH! If it's the wrong reaction, I apologize. So, the red-haired girl (who is not kushina, even though they have similar hair) seemed to have vampiric abilities. Well, that's kinda true. She is an oc, obviously, who has the ability to hypnotize people, and have them follow whatever orders she gives them through injecting chakra from her teeth into their blood. Their abilities get amazingly strong during the full moon, and they do have weaknesses (which I will explain later). She's kinda like what would happen if a vampire had a baby with a werewolf in the naruto universe.