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When Sasuke first gained consciousness, there was a package of instant ramen and a dying white flower on the hospital nightstand.
He was sentenced to a year in the only type of prison the village had- the dungeons of the Hokage tower. He was given three meals a day which he humbly picked at and discarded. He wasn't allowed his old clothes or weapons. He wasn't allowed visitors. He wasn't allowed light.
Six hours a day he worked along shinobi and civilians reconstructing the mess he'd help make. It was safe to say he made no friends. In fact, he could count his number of friends on one finger. Naruto Uzumaki.
The hyper ninja made a point to show his friendship, all the time. During Sasuke's allotted thirty minute breaks Naruto would greet him with a smile and some ramen. The two sat at a distance away from the other men, Naruto chatting and eating both bowls of ramen while Sasuke ate the provided scraps.
"Granny's finally gonna let me do some missions! I'm leavin' tonight!" The blonde grinned, a single noodle struggling to slide down his mouth and escape. Sasuke grimaced when it succeeded.
"You're gonna miss me, aren't ya teme?"
Sasuke stared off, probably at a tree, "Not at all."
Naruto frowned but perked up seconds later. On his way out he waved enthusiastically at the Uchiha. "See ya around Sasuke! Oh! I asked Hinata-chan to come see ya tomorrow. Be nice to her or I'll have to kill ya again!"
Whatever dobe, like that was gonna happen.
She showed up just as promised. Unlike Naruto, she was on time.
He continued dipping his spoon in and out of his food, pretending not to hear. Her voice was pretty faint after all.
"Naruto-kun told me you would be here."
He didn't need company, especially when that company was ordered out of pity. When he continued to ignore her she took a seat beside him. He scooted over a bit. Because he liked his personal space.
She didn't seem to take it personally. She twisted the cap off her canteen and brought the container to her lips. Sasuke instantly recognized the aroma as tea, and good tea at that. He saw there was a second one at her feet.
Before she'd even completed her first sip the shinobi had swiped it. Hinata looked at her feet, head tilted to the side, and noticed the second canteen missing. Sasuke was looking into his food, chewing peacefully with the tea sitting on the other side of him. She didn't reprimand him for it. It was meant for him anyways.
Hinata arrived early the next day. Sasuke wouldn't have noticed if not for the large gap surrounding her. With each step the surrounding villagers moved to the side to let her pass. It was more than just a polite gesture. Everyone was moving. Everyone was staring. And when she'd leave the earshot of their presence, multiple mouths would move with hushed tones.
Sasuke knew what it was. It was hate.
They ate under an overbearing tree, repeating the same process as the day before. This time she sat the tea next to him wordlessly. On her lips he saw a silent smile.
If she knew what Sasuke knew, there was no trace of it.
"Why do they hate you?"
Hinata looked up from her lap with wide eyes. She swallowed the last bit of food and frowned for a mere second, not expecting Sasuke to notice it. She wasn't surprised he asked. He was known for being straightforward, and a particular group of workers were doing a poor job of hiding their revulsion of the girl.
Still, they had only known each other for a week.
"The same reason everyone… hated Naruto at first."
Sasuke had to think back. It wasn't that he was unfamiliar with Naruto's childhood difficulties. It was that the idea never crossed his mind. When it did, he had to take a double take at the fragile girl. One look into her eyes and it was confirmed.
She was a Jinchuriki.
Sasuke didn't feel like talking to her about it. The thought of mentioning the war to someone he barely knew scared him. He didn't want to bring up painful memories and have her crying or attacking him out of the blue. He figured everyone in the village had at least one bone to pick with him.
He waited four days later, when Naruto had showed up instead of the girl.
"Did ya miss me?"
Naruto's face drained entirely.
Idiot. Doesn't even know a good joke when he hears one.
That day he actually did eat the ramen. It made Naruto lean in and smile like child. Sasuke rolled his eyes and pushed the other boy's face away.
He didn't know how to speak any way but bluntly, "I thought all the tailed beasts were killed. Which one is sealed inside of Hyuuga?"
Naruto reeled back in surprise. "She told you?"
Naruto poked his noodles absently. "Granny Tsunade didn't have a choice… Hinata-chan, she was gonna die. I thought.. I actually thought she did die." The boy looked away. "Just like last time, when she tried to save me from Pain."
Sasuke felt some sick sort of satisfaction. So the fool needed help after all.
"She had to be saved, even if that meant putting the Seven-Tails in her. Granny used up all of her energy-"
"Can't let people go, can you baka?"
Naruto whipped his furious head toward his friend. "What was I supposed to do? Let her die!"
Sasuke closed his eyes and rested his head on his palm. "She might as well have died. Everyone in the village hates her."
"I don't! And how would you know? You don't even know Hinata-chan!"
He may have had a point.
Cowered beneath wool coverings, her chest sunk and breath heaved. Her fingers grabbed onto the underlying sheets and clamped so hard her knuckles paled.
Hinata's body flung forward in a sitting position. Both hands flew up to press against her ears, attempting to block out sound. She breathed heavy.
When it was over her eyes finally opened. Further down Hinata's sweat-drench body her knees folded back into their place of rest. Her whole body had moved during the night. She breathed again. Then blinked.
There was nothing in the darkness. No presence except her own and the one that now lived inside of her. It chased her in dreams and spoke in darkness. She fell back into the sheets. Hinata would keep it's voice out of her head, even if it meant slugging off sleep. She curled to one side absently. Long lashes blinked in the darkness at nothing in particular, until morning came and showed it was a wall. When the sun was high enough, she rose and pretended all was hushed.
AN: If I stole anyone's idea I'm really sorry. I thought about this a while back and haven't looked to see if the idea's already been used.
Criticism loved but no flames please. I might just cry and spontaneously combust