AN: This fic was a prize request for Okita Rina over at the SasuHina fanclub for winning first place in their fanfiction contest. She wanted a SasuHina High School story where she's being severely harassed and Sasuke comes in to help her out. During the confrontation, she realizes he cares for her. She liked it, even though it wasn't exactly how she requested it, so I'm good.

xxxxx

How the mighty fall.

"How does it feel to be on the bottom, Hyuuga?"

He watches her take the abuse daily. Each blow, each painful insult, and asks himself 'Why'?

A rip, a tear. Long, silky hair is disheveled beyond repair. The sound of thin metal sliding together. Scissors.

Get up. He thinks to himself. Don't just sit there looking pathetic!

But she doesn't move. She doesn't move, but she doesn't shed a tear either. She sits there on her knees, white eyes dead and facing the ground. She takes the beatings, accepts them, and does it without complaint. That's why they keep coming back for more, because through her, they get them, and that's their real target.

"Your company thought it was so cool, firing people left and right. It's your family's fault mine got torn apart!"

"You Hyuuga stepped on the little man for too long! Pushing people around...the tables have turned now, bitch!"

Is it pride? It's twisted and misshapen pride if it is. In reality, all her silence does is make them angrier. The fact that she doesn't cry out or shed a tear only makes them think she does it out of arrogance. It's stupid. They're stupid. She's stupid.

He's tired of watching.

"W-whoa hey...!" he grabs one of the harassers by the collar and shoves him into the wall hard. All goes silent, everyone's waiting for the Uchiha to do or say something. He doesn't disappoint, but it's not exactly the speech they were expecting.

"Enough." his voice is low and he sounds bored. His face is blank, free hand in his pocket. Tilting his head, he looks at the others from his peripheral. "Get lost."

It's not much, but it gets the point across. Of course, they're not going to go down without a fight.

"C'mon Uchiha...!"

"Just stay out of this..."

"I said," Sasuke cut in, turning his head slightly to regard the others. His grip on the other guy's collar tightens. "Get. Lost. Don't piss me off."

The glare he shoots them is enough. He lets go of his victim and the ignorant asses scramble to get away, leaving the dirtied and bruised girl abandoned. Still scowling, Sasuke kneels in front of the Hyuuga, lifting up strands of haphazardly cut hair. She would have to cut it short again now, those guys were ruthless.

Slowly, white eyes glance up at him. She blinks once. "Thank you...Uchiha-san." the voice is soft, tired, and defeated. It seems as if she wants to say more, probably a reminder that they would just return once he wasn't around again, but even that seems like a chore.

He's angry and somewhat disgusted with her. "Why?" because he really wants to know. Why does she allow them to do it?

The silence in the hall lasts so long he feels she will never answer. Just when he was about to give up and walk away, she shook her head. "Because it's my fault. They're miserable because of me. So...it's the least I can do."

"You're wrong." he snapped and she looked at him, surprised and confused. Why was he even bothering with this girl? They weren't friends, she was just a girl he was vaguely intrigued by every now and then. It had never been anything serious until she started letting the abuse happen.

Standing, he offered his hand to her. She takes it in hesitantly, unsure at first. After a moment, she's been helped to her feet but he doesn't let go of her hand. He wished he knew why.

"You're not your family," he elaborated. "You're not your father."

"I'm Hyuuga." she responds, as if that answers everything. In a way it does, but he still doesn't like it. He doesn't like the fact that it has to be her.

"You're Hinata." he insists, his grip on her hand tightening. She gasps and meets his gaze. Cool white crashing against heated black, crashing together yet never blending. "And you don't deserve...this. No one does. Stand up for yourself, it's pathetic watching you."

Confusion graces her dirty face and she tilts her head slightly. "Why...why does Uchiha-san care?"

His response is just to blink at her for a moment, as the question catches him off guard. He quickly regains his composure. "I don't." as if to prove it, he drops her hand and turns his back to her. "But that doesn't mean I'll stand by and watch someone get beat on. Still, stand up for yourself. I won't always be around."

The words sound hollow to his ears and he comes to an uncomfortable realization about his classmate. He wonders if she saw it but then realizes it doesn't matter. Even if she did, it's not as if she would do anything about it. After all, she loved someone else.

He was fine with that.

"Thank you...Sasuke-san." he refuses to turn and look at her, but he can hear the smile in her voice. He can hear what he doesn't see. She knows. She understands. She accepts. Still, it doesn't matter in the long run, so he squashes down the feeling. She loved another, he was fine with that.

"I...won't...I won't make you worry again.

Really.