Sometimes you feel things and just can't explain it. It comes completely out of the blue and without warning. A certain urgency makes itself known and doesn't leave until you start to worry. Call it fate, destiny, or whatever you want, but it does happen. It happens for a reason, and some say it's just natural instinct. It might start out as a tingling sensation in your knees, or a troubling thought that warns of a bad omen. However it starts, the feeling of anticipation, of waiting for something to go wrong, it eats away at the psyche
"Something is wrong," Hinata frowned to herself.
Neji glanced over to her, "What is it Hinata?"
They were driving home after the eventful practice and something was nagging at Hinata's mind, "I don't know, but something isn't right."
Neji concentrated on the road, they were almost home, "Did you forget something at school?"
She shook her head no, "I just feel like," she hesitated, "something bad is going-going to happen." Hinata saw that Neji was frowning now too, "Neji, why did you guys all circle around like that at the end of practice today?"
He sighed and sent a look towards her, "We were just warning Chouji to stay away from Ino and you, really any girl though, he shouldn't have hit her. But he said they broke up so things should go back to normal."
Hinata allowed Neji's words to float around in her head, maybe everything would be okay then. Still though, something just wasn't right. She could fee it in her bones, something bad was going to happen. She thought it over again and again in her mind. So Ino finally broke it off with Chouji, but given that Chouji's past with violence towards her, it wouldn't be a far stretch to think he might want some retribution.
Suddenly she felt chills run down her spine. What if…, "Ino. Neji, we have to go."
"Go where, what are you talking about? Are you okay?"
She shook away his questions, "It's Ino; Neji she's in trouble I just know it. Please, do you know where she lives?"
"Woah, calm down Hinata," he pulled into their stone driveway, "we just got home you can't be serious."
Her head nodded yes rapidly, "Please, I don't have her number."
Again, Neji sighed, "I know where she lives," at her questioning gaze he explained, "Ino's thrown a couple parties over the years, I've been there once or twice after a game."
"Please hurry, I just have this bad feeling."
Admitting defeat, Neji rolled the car in reverse and headed towards the part of town Ino lived in. It wasn't long before he turned onto her street. Pulling up to her house, Neji took notice of Chouji's beat up car in front. Hinata only saw the front door wide open for anyone to come in. The two cousins looked at each other before Neji got out of the vehicle.
"Stay here Hinata," he demanded in a firm voice.
She didn't nod and he didn't care if she did or not, as long as she listened. Not to be cruel, but in his eyes, her safety was most important. After preparing himself for what he might be walking in on, he made his way to the entrance of the Yamanaka's door. And he wasn't surprised at what he saw. It disgusted him, but he wasn't shocked by any means.
Chouji was choking her, choking like he was trying to kill her.
But what did surprise him was that Sakura was there too, she was screaming and pulling on Chouji's arms to get his grip off Ino's neck. When he back-handed Sakura and flung her to the ground as though she were nothing is when Neji rushed forward.
In two quick strikes in succession of each other, he had Chouji's arms off of Ino and focused on him instead. Chouji was gurgling in unrecognizable phrases, screaming as though he were insane.
Ino fell to the floor where Chouji had her pinned, grabbing at her sore throat and gasping for air. Sakura was groaning in pain and pressed a hand to her temple as Choiji and Neji eyed each other.
A light gasp was heard at the doorway and Neji cursed to himself. Without looking away from Chouji who was poised to attack again, he called out, "Damn it Hinata, I told you to stay away!"
"Hinata," Ino's sore voice cried out.
As Hinata moved towards Ino Chouji lost it and started his screaming again, high off of drugs and not feeling any pain. It was the only reason why he went after Neji again. Neji was too strong of a fighter for him to really have a chance at actually harming him, but he would still try in his crazed rage. But when he started to go after Hinata, that was when Neji finally had enough.
Neji didn't even notice that he broke his hand with how hard he punched Chouji in the jaw. He also didn't realize that he'd broken said jaw in the process and knocked him out. In one swift movement after the destructive hit, he had Chouji pinned to the carpeted floor of Ino's living room, his arms behind his back and with Neji's knee pushing down against his spine.
It was over.
Now they all just had to worry about the consequences of what happened this day.
They were at the hospital. The mood was as somber as it was cold in the facility. The scent of many deaths mingled with that of both old and fresh spilled blood in the air, all polished off with the crisp smell of cleaning products. It was the smell of every hospital. No matter how clean it was, nothing could ever quite erase the smell of death.
Chouji was getting ready to go into immediate surgery to get his jaw re-attached. No one held an ounce of sympathy for him. Ino was admitted into a private room and currently Sakura was with her trying to get her to talk. The doctors told her she would have bruising on her neck for a while and it would be best to not strain her throat to talk unless necessary.
Talking to the police was very necessary. But it wasn't happening for a while at least.
Neji and Hinata had just returned from speaking with Konoha's law enforcement department regarding Neji's attack on Chouji. It was cleared up right away though, that if Neji hadn't done what he did, things may have been much, much worse. So the two cousins were sitting in the waiting room, Hinata was watching the television while not really paying attention while Neji told his uncle what happened and that they would be home before curfew.
When he got off the phone he leaned back in his chair and sighed deeply, causing his younger cousin to look up at him with her wide, innocent eyes.
"I'm sorry I got you involved in this Neji, for-forgive me."
He looked at her and then shook his head once in denial, "You did a good thing today Hinata."
"I know but…"
"…It worked out for the best, it could have been worse. Have you thought about what would have happened if I didn't listen to you?"
She swallowed and shook her head no and he sent her a soft smirk. Neji thought about it. He almost didn't listen to her, and if he hadn't been there…then Ino and Sakura probably would have been hurt really bad. After a few quiet minutes spent in silence between the two cousins both lost in their own thoughts, Sakura and her pale pink locks was seen walking towards them.
Standing in front of them she closed her eyes and spoke softly, a little brokenly, "She asked for you Hinata." It hurt to admit, but it was the truth. Ino wasn't talking to her, plain and simple. She only got two words out of her old rival…don't understand. But Hinata did? Maybe, maybe the shy girl knew something she didn't. Besides, she really owed both the Hyuuga's now.
Soundlessly Hinata shook her head in acceptance and quietly rose from her chair. Sakura opened her eyes in time to watch the back of her shiny hair disappear around the corner. Everything just seemed so petty now. All her 'hatred' for Hinata diminished to almost nothing. She did it to herself, Sakura destroyed her friendships herself, it was nothing Ino or Hinata ever did, it was all her. And now, her two closest 'once upon a time' friends were closer to each other than with her separately. It hurt to think about.
"Have a seat," Neji's ever-confident voice broke her out of her internal hell.
"Thanks," she whispered and took Hinata's seat next to him. She let out a small sigh and put her hands on her knees. "For everything, I mean."
He glanced at her, his light grayish white eyes catching her jade ones and merely nodded.
Sakura swallowed suddenly, an odd nervousness filling her throat, "She wouldn't talk to me," she blurted out. Not knowing why she was telling Neji Hyuuga this of all people, but now she couldn't hold it back, "We've been friends forever and she couldn't tell me what was really going on with Chouji all this time."
Neji better angled himself towards her in his seat and took a moment to try and read the expressions floating around in her green eyes before asking, "Sakura, what were you doing there? What happened?"
Her eyes widened and she looked down towards her lap, "She didn't show up for practice today, something she never misses. She was there for our music session but then skipped cheerleading. I knew something had to be wrong. I heard all the gossip about how she broke up with Chouji and figured she was just avoiding him." He nodded at her to continue, "I tried calling her but she wouldn't answer, and I don't know, it just felt off. So I stopped by to check up on her and at least tell her how practice went. But then," she gulped as the memories replayed in front of her, "her front door was open and then I knew something was wrong. I didn't notice Chouji's car at first, but when I went inside he was," she started breathing heavily, "he was trying to r-rape her."
"Hn," he let out an extended breath of his own, "and you stopped him?"
Tears started to gather in her eyes as she nodded, "I yelled at him and then he kicked her in the thigh. He started to turn around, to come after me I guess, but she got up and slapped him clear across the face."
Neji closed his own eyes and shook his head at the news, "What a mess."
"That's when he turned on her," she told him, a tear rolling down her cheek, "Ino was crying and backed up into that wall and then he grabbed her around the neck. I couldn't believe it at first, but her face was turning really red and then I knew it, he was going to kill her."
He nodded at this point, able to finish out the tale from his own perspective, "You tried getting him away from her but he pushed you down, I saw that when I first got there."
Sakura nodded, "Neji, why were you and Hinata there?"
He let out yet another deep sigh, "That is all Hinata's doing. She all but begged me to take her to Ino's place, saying she had a feeling something bad was going to happen."
"I wasn't strong enough," she sobbed out unwillingly and looked at him with glass eyes, "Neji if you hadn't shown up…"
It started out a little awkwardly, but he slowly placed his arm around her shoulders. She took his initiative and let loose the tears she's been hiding inside and leaned into his touch. She cried about almost losing Ino, she cried about her past mistakes, she cried about hurting the people closest to her. And he let her. For some strange and twisted reason, he let her.
By the time Hinata had reached Ino's assigned room, she was sleeping uncomfortably with the bright lights still shining down on her frail looking frame. Poor Ino. Hinata moved to turn off the lights so that her friend could get some much needed rest, and then took the only open chair next to her bed. What was she doing here? How did all of this happen?
It had become a whirlwind school year so far, what ever happened to the days of her moping around for Naruto. Now when she thought about him, he was just a distant memory of a boy she once loved. Everything was different now. Just by looking down at Ino's slight snoring was proof enough. Ino wasn't at all like she remembered, and how long exactly has this all been going on without anyone knowing about it? Hinata cared, but she always had, hadn't she? Didn't she always care about other people over herself?
Was it her fault? In Ino's weakest moment, in her time of need, she suggested for her to break it off with Chouji. But she didn't think, didn't realize what might happen until it was too late. It was her fault, wasn't it?
Oh my Kami, she did this. She did this to Ino.
A sob rose up from her heart, through her throat and out into the cold, open air of the room. Silent tears streamed down her face, as she cried out how sorry she felt for being so very wrong. She told her she should break up with him.
"Hin-Hinata," a drowsy Ino whispered with her scratchy voice, "you okay?"
Two more sobs came out as she laughed bitterly to herself, "You ask if I'm-I'm okay when you're the one in the hospital."
The blonde sat up a little in the bed to get more comfortable, "I'm sorry," she lightly cleared her voice, "you had to see that."
Hinata shook her head, "Don't strain your voice Ino, and please don't apologize. I'm the o-one that's sorry."
"What?" Ino frowned, "No…"
"Ssh, please don't speak," Hinata pleaded with teary eyes, "I'm glad you are okay, f-fore the most part."
Ino nodded and Hinata smiled at her. A smile that was full of regret and sorrow, but also sincere all the same. It remained quiet for a few minutes until Ino couldn't stand but to ask, "Ch-Chouji?"
Hinata nodded her understanding, "He's in surgery, um uh, Neji broke his jaw. I think he'll be okay, though."
Ino sighed and relaxed a little more into the firm hospital bed, "Sing for me?"
Her eyes widened drastically just as a blush stole over her face, "Sing?" she gulped, "Uh, wh-what song?"
When Ino just shrugged and closed her eyes, Hinata mentally settled for a song written by Itachi. She had been working on lyrics for the music he gave to her and felt like trying it out.
"I can see, when you stay low nothing happens. Does it feel right? Late at night, things I thought I put behind me, haunt my mind. I just know there's no escape now, once it sets its eyes on you. But I won't run, have to stare it in the eye. Stand my ground, I won't give in. No more denying, I've got to face it. Won't close my eyes and hide the truth inside. If I don't make it, someone else will. Stand my ground."
Ino smiled at her and nodded, keeping her eyes closed, "Pretty. Nother?"
The dark-haired girl smiled at the praise and searched her mind for the song she was working on with Tenten, "Couldn't save you from the start, love you so it hurts my soul. Can you forgive me for trying again, your silence makes me hold my breath. And time as passed you by. Oh, for so long I've tried to shield you from the world. Oh, you couldn't face the freedom on your own. Here I am, left in silence. You gave up the fight, you left me behind. All that's done is forgiven. You'll always be mine, I know deep inside. All that's done is forgiven."
And once Hinata softly sang out the last note of the melody, she noticed that Ino had slipped into slumber.
She was fine with that, let the poor girl sleep away any troubles she may be in. If all Hinata had to do was sing to help her relax, then she would gladly do it. Ino was strong. Far stronger than she could ever hope to imagine being. And for that, she admired her. Hinata knew she would have just completely shattered mentally if something like this were to happen to her.
Hinata glanced at her phone to see that she had missed a couple texts. She frowned when she recognized the number. She frowned because it was Naruto.
'I miss you'. 'Call me.' 'I want 2 talk.'
A/N: I have really dug deep and put a lot into this story, and a lot of time. Seriously, I think I started thinking about this storyline back in like 2009 or something crazy like that. Which brings me to my next statement...everyone I'm sorry, but I'm going on a small hiatus. No worries, I'll be back to finish this up at some point, I just have some things that have a higher priority. I really hope you enjoy it and know that I read and appreciate every ounce of feedback that comes my way :)
Ok, I have an assignment for all of you while I'm away: Please, I'm begging, I need your help! I'm this far into the damn story and still do not know what name to use for the girl's band. I've had a few good suggestions, and am looking for more. Eventually I'll put up a poll, I just need help! ~Lady Crack