Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of it's characters.
Setting: The rookie class is now in their late teens, and a situation has arisen that sparks some unrest amongst the population. A public event is about to take place, hosted by the Hyūga clan for the elite of the upper-classes, but what exactly is for sale?
Hinata stood alone on the stage, staring out over the gathered crowd. Some were here for the actual event taking place, others were just watching the show. It made her sick to see people she knew amongst them. Kiba and his mother were near the front row, Shikamaru was trying to convince his parents that it was too troublesome to stay. Even Chōji was here with his mom, though they seemed to be there more for the spectacle than anything. The only person she really wanted to be there was nowhere to be seen. She couldn't blame him for it though, it's not like he would have to money to afford such luxury.
You may be wondering what exactly this illustrious event might be. After all, an event held by the Hyūga for the high society of Konoha is sure to raise such a question. What could possibly be important enough for such a reclusive clan to ring such amusement, revelry and...scandal to the forefront of Konoha's social stage?
Hinata was walking towards the chambers of the Hyūga council. She had just turned eighteen and was now legally able to take the position of clan head. The position had been vacant for a year now due to her father's sudden death by a Kumo assassin. The man didn't make it out of the compound alive, but apparently he knew he wouldn't as in his last moments he managed to ignite the numerous explosive tags that covered his body and take out a group of Hyūga that weer seeking revenge for their fallen clan head. In the end Kumo had won with one death to their side and five deaths, seven casualties for the Hyūga. Of course Kumo denied any involvement and all Konoha got was a written apology for not catching their supposed missing-nin sooner.
After that event the Hyūga council had taken charge in order to keep the clan running stably until the heiress was old enough to take her rightful seat. Today was supposed to be that day. Today she would finally be able to right the wrongs in her clan. Today was the day that all her dreams would come crashing down...
Silence began to creep across the stadium as the auctioneer made his way to the podium. He began his speech about how glad he was to see everyone and how he hoped that tonight's main event would please them all. To get them riled a bit more, or bore them to death, he delved into a telling of the history of the Hyūga clan. He harped on about their many accomplishments and their prestige. She could practically feel the breath of the audience as he wove his intricate tale.
As soon as she opened the door, she realized there was something amiss. The elders were there, just as she had expected, but missing were the witnesses to her ascension. There was no Hokage to validate the records for the village archives, no clan heads to bear witness, no photographers to get the first snapshots of her in her clan head regalia. There were only the blank, soulless stares of the elders staring back at her.
Despite the pit forming in her stomach, she walked into the room with as much dignity and grace as her station demanded. She knelt down on the lone pillow, facing the chorus of eyes with practiced patience. When she was fully positioned, she waited...and waited, until finally the chosen spokesman addressed her.
"Hyūga Hinata, do you know why you are here?"
"I am to assume the position of clan head as per the destiny handed to me by my father." She expected many things. A curt nod of approval, a sign of acceptance. What she didn't expect was the open laughter and snide remarks.
"You assume much, Hinata-san."
Her throat tightened as she watched numbers being assigned to those gathered. The rule had been explained and at certain announcements some of the audience had decided that this just wasn't an event for them. She watched them leave with happiness. Hoping, praying that they would all just get up and go. That of course was not her fate in this little game that was her life. A game that seemed to be fun for everyone...but her.
By the time the numbers were all passed out, there were still a good fifty people left in the audience. She could still see faces she recognized. Chōji had stayed, though with a look of concern now marring his face. Shikamaru had, thankfully, convinced parents that they had better things to do elsewhere. Unfortunately Kiba and his mother remained and he looked more excited than ever as he waved his number around. Towards the back of the seating area she could see Shino with his father and their number laying in his lap. She couldn't really blame him, they were always a logic based clan and this was a grand opportunity for them.
There were also faces she'd never seen before. Even people from other countries and non ninja nobles were present. Dignitaries from Kusa and Kawa, the son of the Diamyo of Tori. Stranger still were the unnamed few and amongst them and unnamed man in rags wearing a polished silver mask. She would have thought it were to cover his blindness save for the two slits in order to see and a small gap for his mouth. Opposite him was another man that seemed too tall to properly sit, so he chose to slouch with his elbows nearly touching the ground. Others were lined up in the rows upon rows of chairs that had been set out for this even, and none of them seemed to want to budge.
"I do not see what is humorous, esteemed elders." Hinata scowled a bit at their mocking glances.
"What is humorous, Hinata-san, is that you believe you are capable of leading this clan. We as the council have seen your efforts and we find them to be far too...gentle." One of the older members of the council tried to explain. Quite the feat to tell the difference considering they were all well into their golden years.
"I lend a helping hand when needed instead of a stone fist. I have seen much of an increase in improvement in those I teach over others their same age. I do not see the problem."
"The problem is that you are breaking years of tradition with this method of teaching you have. We have bred many a great ninja, and they got that way through determination and hard work. Those that are not intelligent enough to learn quickly either learn to think quicker or they find other duties. That is the way we have always done things and it will be the way we continue to do things."
Hinata began to get angry as she narrowed her eyes at those gathered. "That method only serves to weaken this clan as a whole. Instead of nourishing those who may be a little slower, you toss them to the side and focus too much on those that show the most promise. With just the slightest bit more effort on our part we would be able to have double the amount of capable ninja at our disposal." She had so much trouble controlling the volume of her voice that she feared the strain she was putting on her own throat.
"And thus diluting our ranks with incompetent warriors. We have always expected the best, and have only rewarded the best. You, Hyūga Hinata, are not the best!"
Her eyes widened at the mans harsh words before she began to grow a bit more self conscious. "What exactly are you saying elder?"
"We are saying that there is a slight purge needed in this clan. This council has kept the Hyūga running since your father passed away, and we will be more than adequate to continue to do so until there is a more suitable heir that can handle what it truly means to be clan head."
She narrowed her eyes. Now she knew exactly what was going on. "Hanabi..." Their grins told her all she needed to know about that. "Then what is to become of me?" Their grins grew even more feral and she suddenly had the desire to run, run far away and not look back.
Bowing her head down, Hinata recalled the harsh orders they gave and her imprisonment right after. They stripped her of her title and rights before telling her of her ultimate shame. Now she stood on this stage, staring out at all of those eager eyes. The sounds the announcer made were barely hitting her ears as she prayed for a better life.
"The bidding on out final and most anticipated item will now commence. However before we start there are some stipulations and guidelines that those who desire this product will need to follow. Anyone who wishes to bid must accept that he, or she, may not win this prize. They must also accept full responsibility of the consequences of their actions should it come to that. Those who wish to bid but do not win the auction will be required to leave peacefully, or they will be forced to do so. I will have you keep in mind that there are ANBU stationed around the premises that have orders to use force up to and including elimination of anyone who gets too rowdy."
That's right. Hyūga Hinata, former heir to the Hyūga clan, jōnin by her own power and one of the most beautiful and desirable women in Konoha...was up for auction.
"Now I will explain what exactly you will be bidding on. The current item up for bid is none other than Hyūga Hinata. Since being denounced at the next clan head, the Hyūga council has decided that their funds were running low and thus have decided to get what use we can out of her while we're still able." There were sounds of disgust and others of excitement as she was announced. It sickened her, but she would endure. She had already endured so much more that this seemed a mere distant reality.
"This will be a possible two part auction. The first possibility is that you will be bidding on the former heiress's innocence. That's right, her very first encounter will belong to someone her tonight. The second possibility is that the winner will have the opportunity to purchase her fully. In other words that person would own her as a slave with full rights to do with her whatever he, or she, wishes. This of course comes at a substantial cost. To have that privilege, the winner will have to pay five time more than their winning bid. If everyone is in agreement with the terms," He looked around the room and saw no objections. "then the bidding will start at five thousand ryou."
Hinata's heart sank as she heard the starting bid. In a morbid way, she thought that her supposed family would at least think she was worth more than that. Even more shocking to her own mind was the slight joy she felt as the price, her price, went higher.
Her worth seemed to double every few seconds as patron after patron shouted out a new number, higher than the one before.
"One hundred thousand!"
"Two hundred and fifty thousand!"
Some people were already starting to drop out of the running as their feeble hopes were dashed apart.
"Three hundred thousand!"
"Five hundred thousand!"
Even the clans looked to be getting a little nervous at the cost. Some of the previous bidders came back in as a group and made her stomach lurch.
She breathed a small sigh of relief when they were immediately overruled.
"One and a half!"
Kiba was about to raise his paddle again, but his mother gripped his arm and shook her head at him. He looked absolutely pissed, but despite his small tantrum, she took his paddle away and snapped it in half to show that they were out of the running. The Aburame weren't far behind as they too ducked out once the bidding reached five million. All that was left were people she didn't know. Foreign shinobi and political figures she assumed. The bids began to die off though, but something started to tug at the back of her mind. She glanced around at those remaining in the running.
"Six and a half!"
"Seven and a quarter!"
Most of the political figures were now out of the running as they had no desire to empty their countries treasuries for a one night stand, no matter how prestigious the act would be. That left the major players in her mind, and yet still there was something that didn't seem right about it all.
"Seven and a half!"
"Eight and a half!"
"Eight million seven hundred and fifty thousand!"
The man let out an exasperated sigh as she assumed he'd let loose his last bit allowed. There seemed to be only two players left if he was finished.
Her suspicions were proven true as the man slumped back into his seat, utterly defeated in the game of money. She looked to the last two men. One she could swear was a Diamyo, probably looking for a new concubine. The other was the tall man, the thought of him winning made her shiver.
"Nine and a half!" The tall man sneered at the politician.
"Nine and three quarters." The much smaller man was sweating bullets, just like the previous dropout.
"Ten and a half!"
The tall man narrowed his eyes at his prey as a grin crossed his face. "Eleven million." He didn't even need to shout it. The room hushed, waiting for the counter bid. It never came.
The abnormally tall man rose to his full height without even a cheer and strode over to her, licking his lips. "Looks like I win my little princess. Oh the ways I plan to defile you." He reached out a gnarled hand to stroke her chin and she turned away in disgust. "Now that's no way to treat your new master."
"Only for a night." She reminded him, not bothering to hide her contempt."
"We'll see." Again he made to reach for her, only this time aiming for her chest. His hand never made it to it's destination though as another caught his wrist. He looked over to it's owner and found himself staring at his own reflection. "What do you think you're doing? Let me claim my prize!" He tried to shake the smaller man off, but his wrist was locked in an iron grip.
Despite her position, Hinata hoped that this man would save her somehow. Kill all these people and set her free. She realized that during the entire ordeal he had not lifted his own paddle once. Perhaps he was there to do just that. Of course her dreams could never come true, she should have known that by now.
Slowly the man in the mask brought his own paddle up, signifying he wished to place his own bid. The gangly man snarled a bit at his new rival. "So you've decided to join the game finally huh? I still have some more money to throw around so let's see what you've got. I bit twelve." The masked man didn't say a word, he just kept his paddle in the air, causing a slight snarl to escape his counterpart's mouth. "Fine. Thirteen." Still no sign of movement. "Fourteen!" Nothing. "You must have one hell of a poker face behind that mask boy. You want to play games, fine we'll play. You get the next bid and stop wasting my time."
The masked man tilted his head to the side before nodding slightly. He calmly lowered his paddle and walked over to the auctioneers table. Grabbing a pen and a sheet of paper he quickly scribbled something down and handed it to the confused Hyūga...who promptly dropped it.
"T-t-the bid is...T-twenty ma-million yen." All eyes shifted to the tall man to see what he would do. They watched the emotions play across his face from confidence to disbelief, then to resignation and finally to anger.
"There's no way some brat has that much money. I demand he prove it right now!" Again the masked man cocked his head to the side before turning to the auctioneer and signaling to his competition.
"I believe he's asking if you concede, sir?" The masked peered back around and nodded in confirmation.
"...If he can prove he's got the money then I will concede, but he will prove it right here, right now!" The man snarled as he glared at the smaller person in front of him.
"Be reasonable sir, no one brings cash to...a...public..." The Hyūga man almost fainted as a case full of ryou notes was opened in front of him. He didn't even need to count it to see that it more than covered the cost. Quickly shutting the case so he wouldn't be able to give in to any baser forms of his instincts, the auctioneer turned to the crowd. The auction is over, Hinata Hyūga has been sold to the gentleman in front of me as he has proven that he can cover the debt he has accepted."
There were many grumblings and the tall man almost made a move to capture Hinata despite the results, but was reminded, by a cough, that there were numerous ANBU present to prevent such situations. He stomped off into the night with many other of the patrons following after, shooting looks of hatred and envy at the still masked stranger.
The Hyūga waited for them to go before turning to the new slave owner. "I just have some paperwork for you to sign and we'll get thing wrapped up so you can leave. Hinata! Get over here!"
Reluctantly the woman did as she was told. She was happy in a way that the man seemed to be someone her own age at least, but she couldn't help but be afraid by what the mask might hide. Was he disfigured or simply ugly? Was he maybe missing an eye or a nose that he kept his face hidden, or did he simply wish to remain anonymous. She studied him as he calmly filled out the needed paperwork, absolving the Hyūga clan of any issues that may arise from this event. Purchasing humans was not looked upon highly, and there was always the chance that the men from earlier could be waiting outside to jump him and steal his prize.
"Now, you have already paid us a large sum of money for this privilege, but I have to ask. Will you be keeping her for the one night or do you plan to completely purchase her?" The man's question was answered as the masked man waved forward any extra paperwork. The only meaning this could possibly have was that he wanted her, permanently. "S-sir, you understand that to do so would cost a hundred million yen correct?" The man simply nodded and the Hyūga shakily gave him the paperwork.
Hinata was slightly flattered, more so than she probably should have been, that the man was willing to pay so much for her. The only regret she had was that the money would go to her former clan. It no longer mattered though. She was a slave and would be force into a life of servitude to a stranger in both manual labor and to quell his physical desires. She wasn't sure whether to feel happy for getting away from the hate of her clan, or ashamed the she didn't regret it. She now only had one regret, but that dream seemed so far away now. The wayward fantasies of an adolescent mind.
The masked man brought out another suitcase, which they now saw had come from a scroll near his hip. At least now they both knew that he was a ninja of some sort. The Hyūga didn't want to trust his eyes, but before him now sat the full payment to cover the trade and make it official. The council would be pleased indeed. No doubt someone had already notified them. "Excellent sir. Now if you will just wait a moment I will apply the seal and you may be on your way."
Hinata was suddenly frightened. They were going to put that seal on her. She would be seen as a branch member and he would be given the ability to torture or kill her. She watched with blurry eyes as the Auctioneer lifted a piece of paper towards her head in order to transcribe the seal to her forehead.
A hand shot out and grabbed the paper, crumpling it into a ball and tossing it to the floor. Raw killing intent was shed throughout the room, causing even the ANBU to drop to their knees. The Hyūga was covering his head in sheer terror for the entire five seconds that the pressure was directed at him. Had it been any longer, he would have soiled himself for sure. "U-unless you don't want her s-sealed that is. I-I would advise against it as sh-she could become dangerous." Another short flare of killing intent gave him all the answer he needed. "U-understood sir. P-please take you paperwork and g-go!" The poor man was near hysterics as he shoved a few sheets towards the man before grabbing the cases of money and shoving his own copies of the paperwork into one of them without taking a second glance before scuttling away.
The masked man grabbed the papers and stuffed them in his coat before turning to Hinata. She took a slight step backwards as he advanced on her. She expected many things. A forced kiss, a grope,hell he could have just had his way with her right there and nobody would have done a thing most likely. What she didn't expect him to do was turn abruptly and offer her his arm. Hesitantly she took it, a little unsure of what was about to happen, but also unsure if she might really hate it. She got her answer almost as soon as her arm was locked in his as he shunshinned them away.
They reappeared shortly after in a room that was richly decorated. She noticed with some apprehension that it was a bedroom and she suddenly felt the pit in her stomach grow again. They stood there looking at each other for a few minutes as the masked man cocked his head from side to side. She had the vague feeling that he was...smiling at her. "W-won't you at least t-tell me you n-name?" She cursed herself for stuttering. It was a habit that she'd thought she had cured herself of long ago. She still did it sometimes, but only around a certain person. A person that would never stood so low as to buy a slave for his own pleasure.
The man tilted his head back and for the first time she heard him make a sound. He was laughing...at her? The sound was greatly muffled by the mask he wore, but even so she could hear the amusement in it. When he was done he found her glaring at him, slightly annoyed. "Dear, dear Hyūga Hinata, former heiress of the Hyūga clan. How would you like to be offered something even better than your previously promised position?"
Of course her thoughts went to the most crude possible meanings to his words, not that one could really blame her considering her current status. "I doubt there is a position that you can think of that could impress me."
"Really? Is that what you think? I have danced with princesses of countries and prayed at renowned temples across the world. I've seen danger and traded barbs with royalty. I've been called a hero by some and less favorable names by others. I have wealth and power. I have many things that most men dream of Hinata, but there is one thing that has not been in my grasp...until tonight." He watched her curiously out of the corner of his eye to gauge her reaction. She was curious but defiant at the same time. It made him smile again.
"If you have all you say you do than what could there possibly be that has been outside your grasp...master?"
"Don't call me that. Ever. No one is ever anyone's master."
"You purchased and signed for me. I am now your slave by right of ownership." She almost choked as she said those words. It hurt her so much to come to grips with her fate.
"You wish to be a slave to me?"
"I said don't call me that. You are not my slave."
Hinata stared at the man, not sure what to make of him anymore. "...What is it that is out of your grasp?"
Hinata was absolutely stunned. 'He bought me to marry him?' She sighed. "I will be your servant, your slave, your toy, but I cannot be your wife. Not in the true manner. My heart will always belong to another and that ill never change."
"...So you don't want to be my wife? What a pity, and here I thought you'd liked me." He smirked as he saw her confusion. He was being cruel he knew, but he always was a bit of a prankster, but it was time to end the charade. "Tell me Hinata-chan, would it be so bad to be the wife of a Hokage?"
Her hands shot up to cover her mouth as she collapsed to her knees. "No, no, no, no, no, no...Na-Na-Naruto-k-kun?"
He knelt down in front of her and pulled her hands from her face before bringing them up to his mask. He felt them shake as they started to pull the silver casing off of his head. He watched as her eyes went from a near breaking desperation to hope. He smiled as the tear fell from her eyes and recognition spread across her face. His mask only got halfway off that slow before the tension became too much and she whipped it off of his head...a little too hard. She lost he balance in her excitement and sent them both to the floor.
"Are you ok, Hinata-chan?" His concerned voice was something that she had heard so many times before.
She closed her eyes, expecting to wake up any minute but despite how long she took to answer him the feel of his chest under her never left. She was afraid to look up, afraid what she might find, but the choice was taken from her as a hand gently lifted her chin towards his face.
"Hinata-chan, are you ok?" He asked again.
She opened her eyes, tear still streaming down her face. She didn't trust her voice so she just nodded her head and gave him the best smile she could. It was probably difficult to see through how hard she was crying, but she knew that he would see it. He always could.
"I'm glad...but," She wanted to die, she didn't want to hear a but. Buts always signified bad things and she didn't want anything bad to happen right now. She expected him to tell her it was time to wake up so she curled into his chest again to muffle her sobs. "Hinata-chan, are you still sure you don't want to marry me?"
Her head shot up in an instant. Just like that her tears stopped and her cries reduced to a quivering lip. She couldn't answer him, her voice wouldn't come, so desperate to show her feelings she did the only thing she could think of. She pushed herself up his body and smothered his lips with hers. They kissed for what seemed an eternity, and event in actuality it had been longer that one would normally simply kiss for.
Naruto looked directly into the tear-streaked face of his smiling, pale-eyed princess. He knew her answer, but he wanted to make sure. "So is that a yes?"
She nearly cried again from the emotions running through her, but settled for nodding her head frantically before taking full advantage of her position once again.
Once they broke for air, Naruto smiled up at her. "There is plenty of time for that anytime we want, my heart, my love, my hime. For now it's late and I think we both want to retire to the bed. As comfortable as this floor is I don't think my back would favor me tomorrow if we spent the night down here." He didn't have to explain twice this time as she quickly pulled herself off of him and went to the bed. Sure she didn't have any other clothes with her but, for tonight at least, she wasn't going to need them.
A/N: My first one-shot. Short, sweet, and written the day after I thought about it. I hope you enjoyed it and feel free to recommend it to whomever you wish. Ja ne.