Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
Welcome to the world of Naruto Elseworlds, a look at Naruto's life in an alternate universe where even the smallest of changes have the greatest of consequences. Hinata Hyuga was gravely injured by her cousin Neji but would make a full recovery and ultimately rebuild a close relationship with him. But what if the jonin had failed to stop Neji's final blow against Hinata? What if Hinata had died that day? Would the death of the shy and unnoticed Hinata be a footnote in history or would it be the catalyst for life changing events to come?
Naruto Elseworlds: Kyubi Avenger
Chapter 1: Fallen Angel
The jonin present saw the intent of the hit and moved as fast as their training allowed them. Maybe it was the slight hesitation on the part of some, or perhaps it was the underestimation of Neji's speed. But in the end it did not matter as the strike landed hard right over Hinata's heart
Hinata stumbled falling backwards blood pouring from her mouth Kurenai looking on in horror.
"Get the medics down here now," Kurenai cried out into the arena rushing to Hinata's side looking for any sign of life.
Kakashi, Guy and Hayate held onto Neji who remain stoic and unmoving, simply staring down at the unmoving body of his cousin. The many genin were in a wide range of emotions from the amused or apathetic Sound and Sand ninja to the utter shocked, distraught or furious Leaf genin. Kiba was being restrained by Asuma and Choji from leaping the rail and killing Neji where he stood. As Shikamaru was using his shadow to hold back the normally quiet Shino who had pulled a kunai and also had attempted to leap the rail trying to end the elder Hyuga's existence.
Ino, Sakura and Tenten were emitting a cross between screaming and crying with Lee yelling about his teammate's unyouthful behavior. The only one not saying anything was Naruto who remained still transfixed on Hinata's fallen body. He had encouraged her not to give up. He had urged her forward when she should have quit.
"It's all my fault," Naruto whispered to no one.
The medics carried Hinata away exchanging grim looks as the extent of the damage done was painfully obvious to the trained eye. By this time Shino had regained his composure but was still flanked by both Shikamaru and Lee just in case. Asuma had to knock Kiba out with a blow to the head and had laid him up against the wall, Akamaru whining by his master's side.
Kurenai rose from the floor and turned to see Neji with his usual neutral look across his face. Even after all he had done there was no remorse or any emotion for that matter. For Neji's part he had gone over the last few minutes in his head and had reached the only conclusion he could. If she was to die, then fate had decreed it. Fate had decided that she was to die by his hand. It would seem that even the great main branch of the family was not immune to fate. That thought led to the smallest of smile to cross Neji's lips. It did not go unnoticed.
"You son of a bitch," Kurenai screamed charging Neji. Guy and Kakashi went to stop her but it was Asuma that appeared before her, holding on as she struggled against him.
"Let me go Asuma! Don't you see the smile on that bastards face? He has to pay for what he's done," Kurenai screamed struggling against the grip of her fellow jonin.
"Killing him will not help Hinata," Asuma calmly whispered. "She may still live and if she does then she will need her sensei to be there for her, not locked away in the ANBU cells." Kurenai struggling ceased and calling on all her power she assumed a mask of neutrality. In some ways it was more frightening than her previous outburst of rage. Asuma led her to the infirmary with Shino being allowed to follow.
"What do we do Lord Hokage," a chunin proctor whispered to the distressed leader.
The third who was clasping the bridge of his nose with his fingers let out a long sigh. "There's nothing that we can do I'm afraid. Even if the girl dies, Neji did not break any rules as far as the chunin exams are concerned. Hinata did not submit and Neji had not yet been declared the winner of the match. Technically he did nothing wrong."
"But if she does die my lord, there will be a huge backlash from the Hyuga Clan," Ibiki whispered.
"There is nothing we can do at the moment. If she does not survive, we will have to cross that bridge when we get to it. For now I want Neji Hyuga escorted from the tower and under guard for his own safety. We should also send for Hiashi in case his daughter takes a turn for the worst."
"Very well my lord I'll see to it," Ibiki said signaling two ANBU to his side. "Hawk I want you to bring Neji Hyuga to headquarters until this mess blows over. I want him under guard at all times, no one is to get to him understood?"
"Yes sir," the ANBU said disappearing and reappearing next to Neji, the two of them vanishing in a swirl of leaves.
"Rabbit," Ibiki said turning to his other subordinate, "inform Lord Hiashi Hyuga that his daughter has been gravely injured and she may not have long to live."
Rabbit said nothing just simply bowing and disappearing in another swirl of leaves.
Hiashi stood in his training dojo across from his youngest daughter Hanabi. Unlike her sister, Hanabi was a true genius in the art of the gentle fist and near prodigy level in her use of the byakugan. Although his eldest daughter was competing in her first chunin exams in her rookie year he was far from impressed. She was too timid and frail to make it far and had no doubt been dragged along by her brutish Inuzuka teammate.
He had such high hopes for his eldest child but had learned long ago she did not have the will to be a powerful ninja or a suitable heir. Hanabi was now the future of the clan and it was why he now focused all his energy and time forming his new heir for her task at hand.
They were about to begin the second part of Hanabi's training when a branch member interrupted.
"My apologizes Lord Hiashi, but an ANBU messenger is here from the Hokage," the servant said bowing.
"ANBU," Hiashi questioned, "very well send him in at once."
The servant bowed and left the room, a moment later a tall ANBU in a rabbit mask walked in.
"Lord Hiashi," the masked man said bowing, "your presence is requested at the tower in training area forty-four."
"The forest of death? What for," Hiashi said quirking an eyebrow.
"It regards your daughter, Hinata Hyuga," the ANBU said nervously.
"What has she done now," Hiashi asked somewhat annoyed.
"She has been gravely wounded and she may not have much longer to live. The Hokage has asked that you please hurry," Rabbit said bowing once again and disappearing in a puff of smoke.
"Hinata," Hiashi said shocked.
Forest of Death Tower Infirmary
Hiashi and Hanabi both stood over Hinata's bed looking down on her pale form. Hiashi had not wanted Hanabi to see her sister in such a state, but Hanabi had insisted she be there. The doctors had explained that the damage to her heart was irreversible and within a few hours it would give out from the stress and she would die.
Looking down on his daughters face he was reminded of her mother when she had died just after giving birth to Hanabi. She had always looked so much like her mother and in a way it was like watching his wife die all over again. Hanabi looked stoic as ever trying desperately to hold her composure. She did not like to be seen as weak and she refuse to allow others to see that side of her.
Hinata's eyes fluttered and she slowly opened them to the harsh white lights of the medical ward. She could feel a sharp pain in her chest and did not remember much of the end of her match. But she knew she had lost, that she was a failure once again. Opening her eyes further, she saw that her father and Hanabi were both by her side. She let out a small squeak of surprise quickly turning her head in embarrassment. It was then she felt a hand grasp her own. Turning back she saw Hanabi was holding her hand. Looking at her sister's face, she saw…tears?
"Hanabi," Hinata said unsure.
"I'm…sorry," Hanabi whimpered, releasing Hinata's hand and wiping her face before running off.
Hinata looked up to her father confused and saw he was giving her a grim look. He was disappointed in her once again. Perhaps she was to be sent to the branch family to be branded and that was why Hanabi seemed so upset.
"I have failed you father," Hinata said solemnly. "For that I apologize."
Hiashi heart snapped in that instant as he quickly knelt and embraced his daughter. Hinata was shocked by the sudden show of affection, but even further shocked by the fact that her father was crying, his tears dripping onto her shoulder.
"No my daughter," Hiashi sobbed holding her tighter; "it is I who have failed you. For too long I was blinded by foolish pride. I beg you to please forgive me Hinata."
Hinata was nearly too shocked to move, but eventually she returned his embrace and began to cry herself as if a great weight had been lifted off her shoulders. "There is nothing to forgive," she said quietly, "you are my father and I will always love you."
Hiashi released his daughter and regained his composure still holding her hand. Hinata smiled up at him for the first time since he could ever remember before succumbing to a fit of coughing. Hiashi panicked and began screaming for the medics who rushed to Hinata's side trying to get her stable. Hinata saw her hands were covered in the blood she was coughing up and looked up to her father to see the same grim look as before.
"There's something wrong isn't there," Hinata asked putting two and two together. Hiashi remained silent. Hinata closed her eyes and breathed deeply, "how long do I have," she asked.
Hiashi closed his eyes dropping his arms to his side, "a few hours. There is nothing that can be done, I'm sorry Hinata."
Hinata remained quiet, her eyes still closed the only sound in the room her breathing. Finally after a few moments to herself see opened her eyes and looked up to her father.
"There are some people I wish to speak too," Hinata said calmly. "Of course," came the reply.
A few minutes later
Team eight was gathered by Hinata's bedside trying their best to put up a strong front. Kiba stood still hoping his anger would prevent him from completely breaking. Shino stood calmly his emotions hidden by his stoic mask. Kurenai was trying to hold on but the tears were threatening to fall as she held Hinata's hand. Akamaru was the only one not betraying his emotions as he whined and nuzzled Hinata's free hand as he sat in her lap.
Hiashi had informed them of Hinata's condition much to the shock of her team and sensei and had excused himself to allow some privacy as well as to speak with the Hokage.
The team sat in silence no one sure really what to say. Eventually Kiba could take it no longer.
"I swear Hinata, that bastard will pay for what he's done," Kiba said slamming his fist together. Shino said nothing but placed a hand on Kiba shoulder and nodded in agreement.
"Kiba I want you and Shino to promise me that you will not do anything that will get yourselves in trouble," Hinata said looking into both their eyes. "Swear to me that you will not let vengeance consume you both."
"But Hinata," Kiba began.
"Swear to me," Hinata said tears dripping down her face.
"I…I swear," Kiba said choked.
"You have my word Hinata," Shino said removing his glasses. "I will not break the laws of this village in the name of revenge. But I make no promises if I meet your cousin in the finals," Shino said replacing his sunglasses.
Hinata nodded her head in understanding and turned to her sensei. In many ways she had been a mother for Hinata and it pained her to see Kurenai with that dead expression on her face.
"And what about you sensei," Hinata asked gripping Kurenai's hand tighter. Kurenai could no longer hold back the flood as she bent down to embrace the girl she considered a daughter.
"You really are to kind for your own good Hinata," Kurenai sobbed.
"I know sensei, I can't help myself," Hinata said both laughing and crying.
With the Hokage
The third was standing out on the balcony that overlooked the vast forest that surrounded the tower. His ever present pipe was lit as he contemplated his next course of action. He felt a familiar presence behind him as he blew out another plume of smoke.
"It seems we have a sever situation Lord Hiashi."
"My nephew will be responsible for my daughter's death in a few hours Lord Hokage. That is hardly what I would call simply sever," Hiashi spat.
"What are your intentions for the boy," the elder man said not turning around.
"He has killed the heir to the clan, if I wished I could activate his seal and kill him," Hiashi said plainly.
"Would you," Sarutobi pried.
"If I did, it would be looked on as cold blooded murder and would result in perhaps the branch family having a case to have the seal removed for fear of their lives," Hiashi said crossing his arms. "Neji has acted within the parameters of the chunin exam rules and he has not done anything wrong from a technical stand point."
"A fine explanation and summary but that does not answer my question," Sarutobi said putting out his pipe. "I would not blame you if took your revenge being a father myself, but as Hokage, such actions might result in a clan civil war. One that could result in one of our most powerful clans devouring itself and opening the way for our enemies to destroy us."
"My daughter will be dead in a few hours and you ask that her killer go free when with just a movement of my hand justice can be achieved?"
"Vengeance shall be achieved," Sarutobi corrected. "We may bring Neji before a tribunal to hear his case and if need be dispense his punishment, but I cannot allow vigilante justice to decide who is guilty and who is not."
"But as I have already said, technically he has done nothing wrong. Save your trial and tribunal, I do not wish to waste the villages time," Hiashi said turning to leave.
"Please Lord Hiashi, I know the anger and grief you're feeling, but I won't allow this village to be compromised because of revenge. Neji will be placed under ANBU guard for the time being. If something were to happen to him in the mean time, I would be forced to intervene in clan affairs for the greater good of the village. Do I make myself clear?"
"Of course…Lord Hokage," Hiashi said leaving.
Forest of Death Tower Infirmary
Hiashi returned to the area Hinata was being kept in a foul mood. How dare the Hokage assume to meddle in clan affairs. Of course, the old man was right. Killing Neji would cause a panic within the branch house. If his own nephew could be killed for what he was sure Neji would claim as an accident, then what about them. They would petition the Hokage and the council to lift the seal on branch members out of fear from a grief crazed clan head. Or worse the branch family might even attempt a desperate coup against the main house. No matter, one way or another justice would be done, he would see to that.
He was about to enter Hinata's room when he saw her speaking with the Kyubi child. Though he held no real ill will towards the boy, he felt a boy of his reputation was best kept away from his family. He was rather surprised that Hinata had requested to speak with him in the first place. Curiosity got the best of him as he snuck towards the door to eavesdrop.
Naruto stood silently unsure of what to say. A medic had come out and told him that Hinata had requested his presence down in the infirmary. He arrived and had seen the rest of team eight around the girl looking down with Kurenai sensei crying. He had turned to leave feeling he was intruding when Hinata had notice him and called him over. Kiba and Shino were not quite sure why Naruto was there, but Kurenai had given him an odd look before ushering the two boys out of the room in order to give them some privacy much to Hinata's embarrassment, Naruto confusion and Kiba's chagrin.
They stood in silence for awhile with Naruto unsure of what to say and Hinata unable to put words together. Hinata was surprisingly the one to break the ice.
"They say I'm going to die soon," she said nonchalantly.
Naruto's head snapped up and he took a step back as if struck. He saw the resigned look on her face and decided that this was not some sick joke.
"I'm sure they'll find a way to fix you," Naruto said unsure of his own words.
"No, the damage is too great. In a few hours, my heart will give out and I'll die."
She said it so calmly that Naruto couldn't believe it, he wouldn't.
"It isn't true, they just aren't trying hard enough. I'll get those doctors down here and get them working twice as hard," Naruto said turning to do just that.
"Please," Hinata said softly. The request froze Naruto in his place as he turned to see her smiling at him with a small but genuine smile. "I don't have much time and…I wanted to tell you something I should have a long time ago."
Naruto paused and stepped forward as Hinata motioned for him to take a seat next to her. He sat and patiently waited for her to begin.
"Ever since we first entered the academy, I've always...admired you," Hinata began.
"You have," Naruto asked somewhat bewildered.
"Yes. I used to follow you to the small training ground you used and watched you train yourself. Even if you didn't have the skills of the others, you never gave up and you never quit."
Naruto couldn't help but stare at the girl that he had never truly notice until her fight with Neji and now she was telling him she had been following him around since the academy.
"You were so determined and no matter what, even if you failed you still continued to try. I wanted that determination for myself, I wanted your approval."
"Why didn't you tell me this before," Naruto asked saddened.
"I tried too but I never had the courage to do so. Usually I would get nervous, stutter and babble or worst faint."
"But you're not doing that now."
"Death has a way of giving a person new found resolve," Hinata said showing a small smirk.
"I'm sorry I shouldn't have said…," Naruto began.
"No, I should be the one to apologize. I didn't have the courage to tell you how I felt and instead I left you alone."
"I wish I had known before, if only because I would have had another friend in my life. Another precious person to protect," Naruto said grasping Hinata's hand.
Hinata's hand closed around Naruto's as she basked in this moment taking it for all it was worth. Looking into his eyes, she smiled before clutching her chest from a sharp pain.
"Are you okay Hinata," Naruto said grabbing her shoulder. Hinata breathed deeply and calmed herself before answering.
"I'll be fine for now. Naruto could you please find my team and sister and bring them here. Father should be returning shortly and I'd like to spend some more time with all of you."
Naruto nodded and headed for the door. Hiashi backed away and watched as the young man headed down the hall before being stopped by an ANBU.
"Naruto Uzumaki," the mask ninja asked.
"Yes," came a wary reply.
"Lord Hokage has sent me to inform you of your placement in the tournament. Your opponent is Neji Hyuga, you will have one month to prepare before competing in the finals."
Without waiting for a response the ANBU disappeared leaving a silent Naruto and an intrigued Hiashi. Hiashi watched as Naruto pulled a kunai from his holster, slashing his hand squeezing the blood through his fingers.
"I swear by my blood Hinata. I will break that bastard for what he's done to you."
Hiashi watch as Naruto went in search of team eight and his youngest daughter a plan forming in his head.
"That boy is the answer to my problem. He shall be an avenger, a sword of justice," Hiashi muttered to himself.
Two hours later
Team eight, Naruto, Hanabi and Hiashi stood by Hinata's side sharing old stories and memories of a better time. Soon the pain and coughing fits became too much for Hinata and the medics gave her medicine to dull the pain as best they could. She was starting to feel tired as she looked up at the faces around her bed and smiled.
"Please look after those two Kurenai sensei," Hinata said quietly to her teacher, "you know Kiba can be quite foolish at times and Shino needs to open up more."
Kurenai smiled brushing a strand of hair from Hinata's face tears once again flowing down here own.
"Don't forget your promises to me you two," Hinata said turning to Kiba and Shino. "Take care of one another and Kurenai sensei."
Kiba hid his face in his sleeve nodding with Shino simply nodding his head as well.
Hinata turned to Hanabi who rushed to her sister hugging her tightly. Hinata stroked her sister's long hair whispering into her ear. "Become strong Hanabi and be the great clan head I know you'll be. And please try to smile more; it suits you better than that scowl."
Hanabi couldn't help but laugh into her sister's shoulder releasing her and taking her place next to her father. Hinata's eyes met her fathers and she saw the man she had not seen in years.
"I love you father, never forget that," Hinata said weakly. Hiashi bent down and kissed her on her forehead. "I will always remember," he said quietly.
Naruto watched the scene unfold feeling almost guilty as if he were intruding on a moment meant just for them. As if he didn't belong among friends and family saying goodbye to their sister, daughter and friend. Hinata looked towards Naruto and held out her hand which he took ever so gently.
"No matter what happens Naruto…promise…promise me you won't change. Promise me…you'll continue to be full of hope and give hope to others."
"Of course I promise. I never go back on my word, it's my ninja way."
"It's our ninja way," Hinata said smiling.
Thirty minutes later, surrounded by those precious to her, Hinata Hyuga, genin of Konoha, daughter, sister, teammate, friend passed away.
What does Hiashi have in store for Naruto? How will Neji and the other genin react to Hinata's death? Find out next time. Read and review people and let me know what you think.