The Orphans of Konoha
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto and make no profit from writing this
Author's Note: Hi, this is BittersweetXRomantic
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However, I really want to make a strong Awards Site to award Naruto fanfics and need help. If you can, please nominate a story that you think should win for one/any/all of the categories. Just email me at luciferius (at) live (dot) com.
Summary: Everyone over the age of twenty has died in Konoha for unknown reasons. How will Konoha's children and teenagers handle new threats from other villages and new enemies without the support of their parents, senseis and more importantly, their Hokage? Will they step up and mature and do what must be done for the good of the village or will they fail as inexperience and their youth overtake them?
Warning: Although this should really be obvious, a lot of people are going to die
Chapter One: The Fall of Konoha
The test of one's true character is not revealed during peace but in moments of pure chaos
"Run, Hanabi!" Hiashi screamed at his youngest child, even as blood dripped from his eye sockets and lips. The older man, now with hair streaked white and grey, clutched his lower abdomen in unbearable pain. He spat out more blood, coughing even as he tried to command his innocent daughter. Hanabi, despite being used to the sight of blood and her father's harshness, became completely white at the sight of her father's exponential amount of leaking blood. Her breath quickened as her father threw a kunai at her. Her heart froze, even as her feet leapt through the doors, scanning as she saw more and more Hyuugas dying all around her.
Hinata… Hinata would know what to do.
Tears streaming down her cheeks, Hanabi's eyes strained to recognize her sister's unique chakra coils. Please, I need your help sister! Hanabi's leg carried her throughout the village, to the training grounds and even beyond the borders of the village and yet her sister was nowhere to be found. Her heart quickened as she saw more people fall to the floor in writhing pain. Her mouth became dry as fear enveloped her completely.
This couldn't be happening! Konoha was under attack!
Children were screaming in the streets, clutching their parents. Babies were left unattended. Teenagers ran in futile circles, trying to find help. Hanabi ran to the hospital and realized how all the upper-level medics had also fallen ill. The new medic trainees stared in horror as blood leaked from every pore. They were useless without the assistance of their medic advisors.
Where are you, Hinata? Suddenly, a patch of dark long hair! Hanabi immediately raced after her.
"Hinata!" Hanabi screamed as she threw herself into her sister's familiar and motherly arms.
Hinata's eyes widened at the sight of her sister. Suddenly, it only meant one thing if all these people around her were any indication.
"What happened?" her voice trembled yet there was no stutter as Hinata's eyes hardened. Hanabi had never seen her sister this way before. It was as if she had changed completely.
Her own voice trembled, "F-father… he - "
Hinata took at a dead run while Hanabi had to stare a moment before running after her sister. When they reached the compound, dozens of Hyuugas laid very still in pools of red liquid. Birds chirped in the background. The deep blue sky was heavy with puffy white clouds. The wind flowed gently and yet not even the beauty of nature could take away the horror of their motionless bodies.
Hyuuga children stared at their parents, older sisters and brothers and caretakers with wide, sad eyes. Their heads slowly turned and their white eyes glinted with tears at the sight of Hinata and Hanabi.
"Lady Hinata," they all whispered, afraid to make a sound.
Hanabi's lips trembled but Hinata merely clenched her fist. They were too late.
"Hanabi, take them to a room where no one has died. They don't need to see this," her sister's voice boomed with steel. Hanabi only nodded her head as she gathered the children and tried to find a safe place. She turned around to look at her elder sister, whose hardened eyes glinted with some fierceness she had never before seen. Those hardened eyes scanned the deaths of her clan members. Hanabi hushed the crying children and took them away into the safety of the backrooms, used only during times of chaos and war.
Hinata, on all days, had not expected this. She had not expected anything like this when she woke up this morning. When one of the medic-nins started throwing up blood, she had simply thought only that medic-nin to be sick. Unfortunately, everyone who was older began to fall and leak blood from every entrance and exit of their bodies.
She had tried to help and then Hanabi had run through that door and into her arms. Hinata had never before seen such an expression of fear on her younger sister's usually composed and confident face.
Hinata's steps were light as she went into the main household's training room. Her hands lightly touched the edge of the sliding door. She drew in a deep breath and opened the door. There… the man who had meant everything to her, the cause of her pain, love and determination, laid pathetically in a pool of blood. Tears threatened to fall but didn't, her heart felt like exploding and yet somehow she found the courage to take steps forward and touch him.
She tried to think logically. Whatever was killing people, it seemed only to hurt mature adults. Children and teenagers were safe. Hinata laid her hands on her father's body, tracing his face. Hanabi entered the room after her.
Hinata stared at his haunted face and realized that even in death, he was stern-looking. She touched his neck and felt no pulse, as they had all suspected.
"Collect what bodies you can and pile them outside the compound – we need to burn them before it spreads more. Neji has yet to return to Konoha – from what I have gathered, it only attacks mature adults. We cannot take the chance that it might harm returning ninjas," Hinata replied.
"But…" Hanabi felt reluctant to burn her father's body. It wasn't the proper –
"I don't care if it follows tradition or not. We need to survive and save whom we can, Hanabi. I saw some older Hyuugas – ask them for help. We burn them by tonight," Hinata's voice was laced with steel. Hanabi could only nod her head, even as her eyes darted towards her father's lifeless body.
"Go… gather them now and tell them my instructions," Hinata continued as she kneeled before her father. Hanabi left to spread her instructions and Hinata had more time to study her father's face for the last time.
"I'm sorry father for never being the daughter you wanted and I'm sorry for what I must do," Hinata whispered to her father. She finally got the nerve to begin carrying him outside. All of the elder children helped while one of the elder girls stayed inside the closed room and watched the other younger and helpless children. Two babies, twins, were also being watched.
They had piled them by the time the sun set. Some of the boys went to go collect logs from the back. They set all around the bodies. They began wiping away the blood from the floors. Finally, the younger children were allowed to come out to say the final goodbye. They threw oil at the logs.
They all looked at Hinata with wide eyes. Was this the pressure her father had felt as head when his head had been demanded for protecting her? Was this why he had been disappointed in her? Because he knew that her weak character would do horribly in such chaotic situations as this? Hinata tried to look strong, unknowing if she failed or succeeded in such an endeavor but she tried, if only to somehow for the benefits of her remaining family members.
"Today is a sad day and we do not yet understand the cause of it. However, know that I will do everything in my power to make sure that it does happen to our other family members or other villagers. I burn their bodies in hopes their disease and poison dies with them," she explained to them all, despite being mindless in her grief.
"Cry as much as you can and want today. Understand though that everything from now is different without our elders to guide us. You must be strong for those who are too young to understand. We must change our ways if we are to survive without our previous numbers and without experience in this world," her voice was dead and strong. The ones old enough to understand nodded with tears in their eyes.
Hanabi handed her a match. Hinata grabbed it and without hesitation, threw it on the dead bodies of her clansmen and clanswomen.
They watched it burn for a while before Hinata regained her voice. "Hanabi, you must stay here. Guide them back inside. I must go and find out what has happened to the rest of the village. I will return with others who need our help," Hanabi nodded as their new unofficial clan head left the vicinity.
Elsewhere, more and more bodies were being burned. The Nara clan with few children and no infants and a high level of elders burned the brightest. The Akimichi Clan grieved the loudest as all their elders and adults died with the highest number of infants. The Yamanaka Flower shop was destroyed in the chaos. All but ten children and teenagers remained from the Haruno's small clan. Even the older dogs and wolves of the Inuzuka clan were not spared. One could hear pups crying for their mother's milk. Chaos reigned supreme as neighboring villages heard and saw the fires lit from the Leaf.
Naruto Uzumaki, Sakura Haruno, Sasuke Uchiha and Neji Hyuuga were away on missions as well as others.
Hinata came forward to help other regular citizens, offering them shelter at the larger compound. She collected twenty infants and fifteen teenagers and pre-teens. Hinata's eyes scanned Konoha, finding many people who needed her.
There were a number of misunderstandings, but eventually she was able to save many. Finally, she was at the door of Gai's apartment. A sense of dread filled her but her eyes scanned the apartment. There were two people in there, one with under developed chakra coils.
She could hear Lee faintly.
"Gai-sensei… please wake up! We need to t-train, Gai-sensei!" Lee's voice throbbed with emotion and tears. Hinata felt like choking, felt like leaving them alone but she had to knock on the door. She needed Lee, Konoha needed Lee. When Lee ignored her knocks, she kicked down the door.
"H-Hinata?" Lee's voice dripped with apprehension.
"Gai-sensei's not going to wake up, Lee. We need to burn his body. I'll give you more time if you need it but I need your help to save others, children who are too helpless as soon as possible," Hinata began. However Lee's eyes burn furiously at the thought of burning his sensei. His eyes glinted mechanically and dangerously.
The air thickened with fury and pain.
"NO! I won't do it!" Hinata had never before seen the boy so crazed and angry before. "You've always hated Gai-sensei! You did this! You poisoned him! I'll kill you!" he blamed her.
"No… I," Hinata tried to explain but the emotion-blind Lee came at her with a fury and craze that only Gaara of the Sand had ever accomplished. Hinata backed away but Lee was too quick. His fist flew at her and suddenly, something in Hinata snapped. She had no time to pity this pathetic boy. If he wouldn't help her save Konoha, he could go and die for all she cared. There were more important things to worry about.
She twisted around and sent chakra into his head, causing the enraged Lee into unconsciousness. Hinata decided to leave him there and she grabbed Gai-sensei's body. She dragged it to the street outside, where she had piled the bodies of other civilians. Hinata had brought oil and she threw on them before lighting them on fire.
However, there was more work. There were still so many people to save and bodies to burn, even after three more hours. Kiba and Shino had come forward to help, taking in other people since the Hyuuga compound had become too crowded. More teenagers came forward to help. They also helped her pile bodies in safe areas to make fires and burn them. She didn't see Lee again.
Finally, Hinata realized that Kurenai-sensei had a child.
Dashing to her teacher's house, she kicked down the door and ran to her teacher's room. Her eyes immediately found them. Her teacher was dead on the bed in a pool of blood-soaked sheets. Her child however remained very still next to her.
"No…" her voice whispered as she came forward. She touched the child, whose cold cheeks simply brought pain to her. Hinata immediately drew her hand back.
Maybe it was thirsty! Maybe it needed to be hydrated… desperate to save at least the child, Hinata ran to the kitchen. She made the formula and came back to the room. She stuffed the nipple of the bottle into the baby's mouth.
"Please," she begged the child to drink.
Nothing… the child remained still. She tried again and again. She tried breathing air into the baby's lips. She gave it more milk. She shook it, slapped it. Nothing… the infant gave no reaction. After trying everything for twenty-minutes, Hinata gave up.
For the first time that day, tears spilled from the new Hyuuga Clan Head's eyes. Yet immediately after, they hardened into ice chips. There was more work to be done. Hinata knew she couldn't simply dwell here like an idiot. It's what Kurenai-sensei would have wanted.
She carried her sensei to the street outside the apartment where new body piles were being made where she met the faces of Kiba and Shino. The new body pile was placed so that nothing else flammable could get burned. If it did, she knew how to take out the fire. She returned for the child and piled it gently above Kurenai-sensei. They all stared as Hinata lit their beloved sensei and her child on fire.
Thankfully, there was no wind tonight or maybe Konoha itself would have been lit with the majority of its citizens. Shino patted Hinata's back as tears streamed down her face. Her hands clenched. There were no words that could be spoken. Hinata returned to work even as the sun loomed in the distance.