Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and do not make any money from these writings.
For the Good of the Village
Hinata sat nervously in the waiting area outside the Hokage's office. She worried at the hem of her jacket, wondering just why she had been summoned here. Usually regular missions were handled out of the assignments office downstairs in the Hokage tower. One was normally only summoned to Tsunade-sama's office itself for higher-level missions or covert ones or...disciplinary reasons.
The black-haired beauty fiddled with the hem of her garment yet again. This probably would not have worried her if her whole team were here, Shino, Kiba and Akamaru. They had performed plenty of A-ranked missions together and even some S-ranked ones as well. If she were being assigned to some temporary team she'd certainly do her part. And she couldn't begin to imagine any disciplinary reason why she would have been called up here.
But Sakura had acted so strangely when she'd delivered the message. Strangest of all was that it was Sakura herself who informed her. The Hokage had sent her own student rather than a normal messenger. Sakura-chan's demeanor had been terse and unusually reserved. Hinata had a bad feeling that this was a matter of gravest importance.
She tried to relax, taking several deep breaths and forcing her mind to quiet itself from its restlessness. As Kurenai-sensei would say, things would sort themselves out soon enough. In just a few more minutes she would know the answer to the reason for this meeting.
From behind the heavy oak door, she could hear Tsunade's voice raised in anger. Hinata shrank inwardly dreading the day if the ire of that woman should ever be directed toward her. She resisted the overwhelming urge to use her Byakuugan to see just who was in the office suffering the brunt of Tsunade's wrath. That, however, would have been rude and an unnecessary use of her powers. Hyuuga, if anything, were circumspect to a fault.
She knew that Sakura was behind that door, however, and for a moment she feared that her friend might be the object of Tsunade's anger. That concern was swiftly swept aside as she recognized the voice of her fellow kunoichi urging Lady Tsunade to remain as calm as possible.
Hinata could make out other voices muffled behind the door but they were not clear enough to where she could recognize any of them. At least one male and one other female were in the room, as well as Shizune-san whom she heard echo Sakura's plea for calm.
The door slammed open so forcefully that it rebounded and only Tsunade's outstretched arm, palm flat to intercept it kept it from slamming shut again. Hinata gulped and tried to stand, her knees wobbling so much so that she was afraid she'd collapse.
"L-l-l-lady Tsunade, you a-a-a-asked to see me?" she managed to stammer out.
"It wasn't me, Hinata," Tsunade growled through gritted teeth. "But it seems my council have other ideas. Get in here."
Tsunade stood with the door held open wide for her, ushering her in. Hinata scurried in, praying that her knees wouldn't fail her causing her to faint right here in the center of the Hokage's office. She looked around the room, Tsunade, Sakura, Shizune and members of the council Koharu-sama and Homura-sama were present. Hinata swallowed again, hard, redoubling her prayers for strength. To collapse in front of this august body would be unthinkable. She chided herself - what kind of a shinobi was she?
The lavender-eyed Hyuuga heiress straightened herself and then bowed politely greeting the attendees.
"Take a seat, Hinata," Tsunade motioned as she returned to her own chair behind her desk. The blond-haired sannin indicated a chair and as Hinata sat, Tsunade nodded that Sakura and Shizune should also. The silence was deafening. Hinata wished someone would speak. The only sound she could hear at the moment was her own blood pounding in her ears and her heart beat hammering in her chest. What on earth was going on here, she thought nervously.
"Well?" Tsunade's sharp comment was directed toward the two older council members. "You asked for this meeting. Aren't you going to tell her?"
No one spoke and Hinata withered under the penetrating gaze of the two elderly shinobi, teammates of the former Third Hokage and the only ones in the village able to overrule Tsunade-sama's decisions.
Unable to bear the silence any longer, Hinata finally broke it herself. "Tell me what, Lady Tsunade?"
Tsunade snorted in derision as she poured herself a small saucer of sake from a flask. Tipping it up and draining the saucer, she peered over the rim at the two old people across the room from her. "Tell you their hare-brained scheme to 'make-up' for their own past sins, Hinata. And if they don't have the guts to speak up right now, then this meeting is over. One...two..."
"We certainly have the 'guts' as you say, Tsunade-chan," the old woman spoke before Tsunade got to the count of three, her voice graveled with age. "It's just that we were...observing her. So you are the Hyuuga heiress, my dear?"
"Y-yes," Hinata answered simply, mentally kicking herself that she had stammered in front of these dignitaries.
"And you possess the Byakuugan, do you not?"
"Yes. I do, ma'am."
The two nodded satisfied. Then the man spoke. "You have a sister, also. Younger than you, is that correct?"
"And she carries the Byakuugan and is accomplished in its use as well?"
"Yes." This time, Hinata also nodded her assent. The questions were puzzling. This should all be easily available in her personnel file. Why were they asking them? Surely it couldn't be for information, it almost seemed more like they were asking as if to reassure themselves of something. But what?
"Get to the point!" Tsunade snapped.
Koharu sighed. "Very well then. But before I do, I must swear everyone in this room to silence. Nothing discussed here leaves this room." The three younger woman nodded in acknowledgment. She paused before continuing. "Perhaps, Tsunade, your choice of words was the best. We do indeed seek to correct our previous actions, our 'past sins' as it were. You are no doubt familiar with the Uchiha massacre?"
Hinata's eyes widened. Of course she knew about it, everyone in Konoha knew about it Only it was always spoken of in hushed tones - Konoha's shame, Uchiha's shame, that the pride of their own clan, Itachi, could do something so monstrous.
"Yes, my lady, I do. But what does this have to do with me?"
"Patience, Hinata Hyuuga, is something that your sensei assures us you are good at. Indulge an old woman. The tale isn't easy for me to tell."
The voice was weary and resigned. Hinata wasn't sure how Tsunade could be angry at the old woman, she seemed to her to be more...pitiable.
"Forgive me," Hinata ducked her head in a brief bow. "Please continue. I will listen."
"It was a long time ago. And you must understand..."
"All we did, we did because we thought it was best for the village, for Konoha." the old man finished for her.
Hinata nodded and the old woman continued. "The Uchiha massacre was...our fault."
The words rang in Hinata's ears. Itachi Uchiha alone was responsible for his clan's massacre! How could these two respected members of the council have had anything to do with it? She opened her mouth to ask but the old woman shushed her by raising a wrinkled hand, dry skin spotted with age. "Hear what Homura tells you - we honestly believed at the time, that the action was the only way to preserve Konoha."
There was a long pause, before she added. "We ordered Itachi to carry out that mission."
Hinata gasped. It wasn't possible. It was...incomprehensible. Monstrous. She wanted to rise from her seat and had to grip the edges to keep herself from doing so. She gripped so tightly that her fingers hurt. The people across from her were monsters. Then she looked into the two tired old faces.
The old woman continued and she could hear the heartbreak in Koharu's voice now. "We honestly believed that Uchiha were planning an uprising. That left unchecked they would destroy Konoha, the entire Leaf Village. Looking back now we see how misguided we were but at the time..."
"At the time," Homura finished for her "we thought we were saving more lives than we were sacrificing."
And Hinata realized that they believed it. She couldn't describe it, she just knew, instinctively, that they were telling the truth. She'd heard the old expression that the road to hell was paved with good intentions and here in front of her was living proof of that. These two old people had been living in their own private hell for years now.
"But...what does this have to do with me?" she asked.
Silence once again descended on the room and she looked around, peering into each face, wondering why no one would answer her. Tsunade wore an expression of sheer anger as she downed another saucer of sake. Sakura was white-faced and trembling, with fear or with anger herself Hinata couldn't tell. Shizune was implacable, her face a perfect mask revealing nothing.
Homura cleared his throat and shifted in his chair, turning to look at Koharu who sighed and looked at her own hands, folded in her lap. "We...have come across...that is...there is a remote possibility that we could...restore the Uchiha clan."
"But...how?" Hinata asked, bewildered.
"The kunoichi, Karin, who came back to the Leaf when Naruto and Sakura returned after their encounter with Sasuke five years ago, was intimately familiar with Orochimaru's lairs as well as his experiments and ... test subjects and materials."
Hinata nodded, wondering when they would continue.
"Some of that material was genetic," Homura added finally.
"It is possible that...with artificial insemination, a new Uchiha possessing the sharingan could be born. The clan could begin to be restored."
Shattering realization dawned on Hinata. They were asking her to...bear a child? To bear a Uchiha child? "I...I...why me?" she asked.
"Stop right there!" Tsunade interjected. "Before this goes any further, I want to make it perfectly clear to Hinata that I am opposed, morally, philosophically, ethically, and medically to this. I will not allow you to use my kunoichi as brood-mares!"
"Your kunoichi, Tsunade? Isn't she Konoha's kunoichi?" Homura asked sharply.
"More importantly doesn't she have the right to make up her own mind?" Koharu asked. "What is the harm in presenting complete information and allowing her to make her own choice? Or would you decide that for her, imposing your own will on her? In which case, how are your morals or ethics better than ours?" Koharu added.
Tsunade grumbled and glared at them. "Just to be crystal clear Hinata. You can get up and walk out that door anytime now. And this conversation never happened."
"I-I will hear them out, Tsunade-sama," Hinata, ever the peacemaker answered, hoping to restore some measure of calm to the room even as her own head swirled with the outrageous possibility they had just proposed. Bear a Uchiha child? Preposterous.
The heart of the matter now out in the open, Koharu found it easier to proceed. "Karin has informed us that Orochimaru kept meticulous samples of all his subjects before he began...altering them. Many of these labs have been discovered and much recovered, some even viable. The most recent lab contained genetic material from Sasuke Uchiha among others."
"But how can you be sure?" Hinata asked.
"Orochimaru and Kabuto were fastidious at cataloging everything. There is no mistake. The material is viable. It is highly probable that it could produce a viable pregnancy."
"I see," Hinata nodded feeling like she were watching a Saturday afternoon science fiction movie. "But again, what does this have to do with me specifically?"
"The Uchiha clan is an offshoot of the Hyuuga in the not-too-distant past. Sharingan is a mutation, a refinement that originates in specialized use of Byakuugan. With a Hyuuga ovum, there is a greater likelihood that the child would inherit the Sharingan capabilities."
"But again, why me? There are many other Hyuuga women."
"You don't have to do this, Hinata. Just get up and leave," Tsunade broke in.
Koharu raised her hand again. "All other women in your clan of child-bearing age bear the Caged Bird seal at this time except for you and your sister. Only you two can act freely from clan oversight in this matter since it involves potentially creating a Byakuugan heir instead of a Sharingan wielder. And your sister is only 15."
Hinata nodded again. "I see." She paused then said. "But I believe there is more to this than simply atoning for past sins?" She surprised herself by her own boldness at the force in her question.
Koharu chuckled. "Perceptive. You will make a worthy leader of Hyuuga some day young Hinata."
"Sasuke remains a threat to this village. Hatake Kakashi is the only one in Konoha who still possesses Sharingan and even that is limited. It would be...good for Konoha...if Sharingan was restored to the village."
"For the good of the village, you mean?" Hinata prompted.
"Yes. For the good of the village."
A/N: I hope I have piqued your interest. I would love to have comments and feedback.