Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, nor do I own any of its characters. If you see anything familiar in here that looks like it comes from something else, I don't own that, either. All I own are the monkeys that scream out story ideas in my head whenever I try to sleep. If you want them, you can have them. I haven't slept a wink in months...
Spread your Wings, Little Angel
On the day of the Chuunin Exam Finals, at Training Ground 7...
Hinata sighed as she continued waiting for Kiba to come pick her up. So many things have happened with her clan since her loss to Neji. The elders were hoping to brand her with the Caged Bird Seal, but her father made a very effective argument to that. Killing one's opponent in politics is oftentimes frowned upon, but Hiashi had obviously had enough of being pushed around by the elders, and had decided to show them that HE is the head of the house, and he isn't going to take shit from them.
Naturally, the elders had been furious at first, but when Hiashi reminded them how they could all be easily replaced by their eldest children, they shut up. Hinata had no doubt that they would make trouble because of this new development, but at least she didn't have to worry about being sealed for the time being. When she had asked her father why he'd gone so far, Hiashi had replied, "I love both of my precious daughters, and I'll be damned to the deepest pits of hell if I let what happened between your uncle and me happen between you two."
Hinata smiled fondly at the memory. Her father loved her, of course, he just had trouble showing it, what with all the stress running a clan like theirs puts on him.
"Oneechan!" a familiar voice called out from behind Hinata. She turned to see her little sister, Hanabi, rushing over to her, panting slightly.
"What's wrong, Hanabi-chan? Why aren't you with Father?" Hinata asked.
Hanabi grinned. "Daddy managed to convince those old farts to let you sit with us!" she said happily.
Hinata smiled as well, then asked sheepishly, "He didn't have to kill anybody this time, did he?"
Hanabi giggled. "Nope! He just threatened to sit with you away from the VIP seats if you weren't allowed to sit with us. Apparently, they think that would make the clan look bad," she explained.
A slight gasp from behind them alerted them to somebody else's presence. "Hinata?" a familiar voice called out hesitantly.
Instantly recognizing her crush's voice, Hinata found herself instinctively hiding behind one of the nearby training posts. "N-Naruto-kun?" she stammered.
Hanabi recognized the name, and decided to help her sister with her shyness. "Oneechan, stop being so shy! He may have whiskers, but I'm pretty sure he's not going to bite you!" she chided, pulling her older sister out from behind the training post.
Naruto rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "I wasn't interrupting a family moment or anything, was I?" he asked nervously.
"No, I was just here to tell Oneechan something for our daddy," Hanabi said, then added, "I've heard a lot of good things about you from my sister! She says you really put your all into what you do! You know, that's an important quality in a leader." Hanabi then giggled a little, and said, "If my sister didn't already have a thing for you, I might have considered trying to court you myself after I'd gotten old enough!"
Hinata gasped, then blushed horribly. "Hanabi-chan! Why did you tell him?! Now he's going to think I'm really weird or something!" she shouted, sounding on the verge of tears.
Naruto was startled for a moment, then turned to Hanabi. "Could you leave for a minute? I have to talk to Hinata about her feelings, and... why it's not safe for her to have them," he said somberly.
Hanabi looked shocked for a full minute, having thought her plan to get her sister and Naruto together had been foolproof, then lowered her head. "I'm sorry for ruining it for you, Oneechan," she murmured as she ran off.
Naruto sighed, and as soon as he sensed that Hanabi was gone, he looked sadly at Hinata. "Hinata... I'm flattered, honestly, and very happy to know that somebody as nice as you could have those kinds of feelings for me... but, like I said, it's not safe for you, or anybody for that matter, to feel that way for me," he explained.
Hinata whimpered a bit, and asked, "How can it be dangerous for me to feel this way for you? You're a good person, and to say that nobody should like you in such a way is completely wrong!"
Naruto smiled sadly, and explained, "I'm not normal, Hinata. Not even close. And the thing that makes me 'not normal' is hated by a huge portion of the village." With that, he lifted his jacket and shirt, and channeled a little bit of chakra, showing the Shiki Fuuin on his stomach.
"On the day I was born, something horribly powerful was sealed inside of me, to ensure the safety of the village. A lot of people died because of it, and, naturally, their hatred was redirected towards me, the one who holds it. If they knew you cared about me in such a way, the villagers would cause problems for you, like they do for me," Naruto explained.
Hinata smiled warmly, tears starting to fall. "I know about Kyuubi, Naruto-kun. I know how it was sealed inside of you to keep us all safe. And I know the villagers hate you for it, and would hate me for loving you. But I don't care. Naruto-kun is Naruto-kun, and Kyuubi is Kyuubi. I've always believed in you, Naruto-kun, and that's never going to stop," she cried.
Naruto, completely shocked, could only ask, "How?"
Hinata wiped her tears away a bit. "Did you know, Naruto-kun, that when you train harder than normal, the seal shines like a beacon to the Byakugan?" she asked, then continued, "It was just by accident, but I happened to be practicing with my Byakugan one day, and I caught a glimpse of that light. I focused on it, and, naturally, I saw the seal. It worried me, because there are seals that can be harmful to people... I know that all too well, considering the clan I come from... I asked my father about it, and he took me to see Hokage-sama. He told me about the seal, and how you protect us everyday with it." Hinata slowly moved closer, hoping not to startle Naruto, who, at the moment, looked like he would bolt at any second. As soon as she got within arm's reach of him, she wrapped him up in a hug.
Hinata didn't know where this sudden burst of courage was coming from, but right now, Naruto needed somebody, and she wasn't going to let him suffer.
"Thank you, Naruto-kun, for protecting all of us for so long. But it must be hard to do this alone... Please, let me help you carry this burden," she whispered softly to him, and he finally relaxed, putting his arms around her as well.
"I'm not sure I can do that, Hinata... I don't know much about 'love'... I want to tell you I love you, I really do, but I don't want to wind up being wrong and breaking your heart," Naruto replied.
Hinata smiled warmly. "That's okay. I'll give you time to figure it out. Please, though, don't keep me waiting too long," she said softly, then murmured, "I will always have a special place in my heart for you, Naruto-kun."
Suddenly, Naruto felt a pulse of something go through his body. Kyuubi gasped suddenly, then began laughing like a nut.
"What's going on? What did you just do, fuzz-head?!" Naruto asked inwardly.
"Nothing, fleshbag. I guess your little girlfriend just has that kind of effect on you," Kyuubi said, then chuckled silently and thought to himself, "If only you knew how lucky you are, midget. You've got a girl with angelic blood who's madly in love with you, and you don't even know it! Hell, I don't think she even knows what she just did, so she's probably unaware of her heritage, too! Now, how to use this to make crazy shit happen... Hehehehe!"
Hinata, noticing that Naruto had suddenly spaced out, voiced her concern. "Is everything okay, Naruto-kun?" she asked.
Naruto shook his head. "It's nothing. Just the furball messing with my head," he reassured her, then asked, "You didn't happen to feel any sort of pulse just now, did you?"
Hinata shook her head. "No, I didn't feel anything like that. Are you sure you're okay, Naruto-kun?" she asked, looking worriedly at him.
Naruto smiled. Not a fake smile, but a genuine one. "Trust me, I'm fine. It makes me very happy to hear that you care that much about me. I guess, if you really don't care about being persecuted alongside me, the least I can do is see if I can love you, too," he said, then awkwardly leaned forward and kissed her cheek.
Unfortunately, that was when Hinata's courage failed, and she fainted. As soon as Naruto noticed, he began panicking. Fortunately, Kiba was nearby, and after laughing his ass off at the scene, he pulled out some smelling salts he keeps on him (tightly sealed, of course) for when his youngest teammate passes out.
"Don't worry, Naruto. I've got this," Kiba said, plugging his nose and moving the chemical near Hinata's face. Before Hinata woke up completely, Kiba gave Naruto a stern look, and said, "You'd better not break her heart. Your 'inner demon' secret is safe with me, but Kyuubi or not, if you hurt her, I won't be the only one out for your hide."
Naruto nearly panicked again. "Y-you heard?" he stammered.
Kiba sighed. "Yeah, but if there's one thing Hinata is able to do better than anybody else I know, it's telling who has a good heart and who doesn't. If she loves you as much as it normally looks, you've probably got a heart of gold, or maybe diamond. So it's obvious you and the fox are two separate beings," he replied.
Hinata finally came around, and smiled in embarrassment at her crush and teammate. "S-sorry about that, you two," she murmured, then turned to Naruto, and added, "You should probably get going. I know you're very strong, Naruto-kun, and that you can beat him, but please don't do anything permanent to my Niisan. He's hateful of me, yes, but I love my big brother. Good luck, Naruto-kun."
Naruto smiled warmly at Hinata. "I'll beat his hate for you out of him, and then you two can be happy again, dattebayo!" he said happily, then headed off for the arena.
After Naruto was gone, Kiba looked at Hinata with a bit of disbelief. "I know he's tough, but do you really think he can win?" he asked.
Hinata smiled softly, looking in the direction Naruto had run off in. "I don't know, but I believe in him. Definitely,"she said happily.
And so, the two headed towards the arena, where Hiashi and Hanabi had decided to sit away from the stuffy old men of their clan...
Later, in the arena...
Neji smirked at Naruto. "Fate has already decided. I'm going to win," he stated matter-of-factly.
Naruto smirked back. "If you're so sure, how about we make a bet? If I win, you have to at least give Hinata a chance to be your friend. She really seems to care about you, despite how you treat her. Now tell me what you want from me if you win," he called out to his opponent.
Neji grinned evilly. "Well, since you seem to covet the position of Hokage so much, how about giving up on it if I win?" the Hyuuga prodigy called back.
Naruto walked over and held out his hand. "You have a deal, Neji Hyuuga," he said. Neji held out his hand as well, and the two combatants shook on it.
Genma, the proctor and referee, smirked upon hearing this. "Neji has no idea what an idiot he is for betting with Naruto. Hokage-sama would always bring the little squirt to the village's shinobi-only poker tournament as good luck. Anytime he'd have that baby blond with him, he'd win the whole thing, and the few times he didn't bring Naruto, he lost horribly. I swear, if the kid has anything demonic about him other than his jinchuuriki status, it's his devilish luck!" he thought to himself humorously.
As soon as Naruto and Neji separated, Genma announced the match with a simple, "Begin!"
Meanwhile, with Hinata, Hiashi, and Hanabi, in the stands...
"How did things go, Oneechan?" Hanabi asked, hoping the answer was a positive one.
"I'm curious as well, Hinata," Hiashi added, having heard earlier from Hanabi what happened before she left the two.
"N-Naruto-kun was worried that I'd be persecuted by the village if I were to date him because of...that... I managed to convince him that it wouldn't bother me, since I'd be with him, and that I could help share his burden. He feels that if I'm that determined, that he should at least give me a chance," Hinata explained softly.
"What do you mean by 'that', Oneechan?" Hanabi asked curiously.
"Something that shouldn't matter at all, but does, in the eyes of the general populace, concerning events surrounding Naruto's birth. All you need to know is that their hatred towards him is as baseless and stupid as our clan's idea to enslave the Branch Family. Don't ask people about it, Hanabi, because unless Naruto were to tell you, you wouldn't hear anything about it that makes more sense than what I just said. If anybody tells you, truthfully, why Naruto is hated, they are breaking a law that results in capital punishment, and you should report them to Hokage-sama immediately, and seek me afterwards. Only Naruto and the Hokage himself are allowed to speak of such things," Hiashi explained with a stern look.
Hanabi looked over at her father nervously. She wasn't used to him using such a strong tone with her, so she realized the matter must be something important. "Okay, Father. I'll make sure to remember that," she replied softly.
Hinata smiled gently at her baby sister. "Don't worry, Hanabi-chan. Father isn't angry with you. He's just upset at the trouble this issue has caused," she explained, then looked down into the arena to watch the match, silently wishing Naruto luck.
She was shocked, however, when she saw the beating he was taking. At first, he had made around a hundred clones of himself, and managed to trick Neji into thinking one of the fakes was the real Naruto, but then, right when Naruto was about to get a solid hit in, Neji sent him flying with a sudden Eight Trigrams Palm Rotation, and then sent him down for the count with Eight Trigrams Sixty-four Palms.
Hinata didn't know how, but she felt the blows Naruto was taking, as if they were happening to her! She checked her internal organs with her Byakugan, and could see that they weren't anymore damaged than they had been when she'd gotten to the arena, so she knew these were phantom pains, but they felt so...real...
Then Hinata felt it. She could feel all of Naruto's self-doubt, that he hid from the world, suddenly churning around in her heart. "I can't do it after all... I really am a failure... It'll be alright if I just give up now... My body is pretty much dead anyway... Nobody will miss me for long, if I just let go and die," she heard in her head, realizing, somehow, that these were his thoughts.
Hinata whimpered, the thoughts she was hearing bringing her to tears. "You're wrong, Naruto-kun. Just by being around, you've made so many people happier. The prank wars you've had with Chouji, Shikamaru, Kiba, and Akamaru... All that time you spent warming the hearts of the Ichiraku family... Shino believes you to be an important comrade, and a good friend, and even Sakura thinks you're a nice guy. And I...I..."
"I love you, Naruto-kun!" Hinata shouted suddenly, startling people around her, and, unbeknownst to most, bringing Naruto back to consciousness.
Hinata quickly stood up, and, despite her usually quiet voice, continued shouting in a voice everybody seemed to hear. "You can't die! You have so many people who believe in you! You have to take the mantle of Hokage someday! You have to defend your record at Ichiraku Ramen! You have to have the happily ever after you've always wanted! You have to find out about your parents! Believe in yourself, like you believed in me! If you don't, I'll just have to believe in you enough for both of us! I love you, Uzumaki Naruto! I love you!"
As she shouted this, for the whole village to hear, Naruto began to stand. As he looked up at her, and heard those last words she spoke, something shocking and beautiful happened. A pair of ethereal wings sprouted from Hinata's back, shining down onto the battlefield, and filling Naruto with a great...warmth. Suddenly, he found himself believing in himself again. He had to win! If not for himself, then he'd do it for this girl that loves him!
Before he could think anymore, though, Hinata collapsed, the wings disappearing. Hiashi caught her, and smiled down at the young jinchuuriki, mouthing the words, "She'll be fine."
Neji was startled by the sudden display, but smirked as soon as it was over. "So, a failure loves another failure. How fitting," he sneered.
Naruto growled. "What's it to you?!" he snarled.
Neji smiled cruelly. "Nothing much. It just gives me a good reason to kill you now, so I can take away something Hinata-sama loves, just like she took my father from me," he explained.
Naruto was confused now. "She killed your father? What the hell do you mean by that?! There's gotta be some kind of explanation!" he exclaimed.
Neji smirked. "There is, and it isn't a pretty one," he said, removing his hitae-ate and revealing an intricate seal on his forehead.
He then went into a tirade about the Kumo incident, where Hinata was kidnapped when she was three, and revealed the fact that the Hyuuga enslave their own to the whole crowd, which, unfortunately, earned them many enemies. He then spoke of how his father, Hizashi, was used as a body double for Hiashi when Kumo wanted compensation for the shinobi that had been killed by the Hyuuga head.
Naruto grew sadder and sadder as he heard the tale. "Families shouldn't be torn apart like this..." he thought to himself.
He then heard Hinata's voice in his head, though he didn't know how. "Neji-niisan has been hurt so badly. I really want him to be happy again. I don't know how I'm hearing this, seeing this through your eyes and ears, Naruto-kun, but I really want Niisan to be happy again, like he was when we were small. Please help my Niisan, Naruto-kun. Beat him, so he'll give me a chance to help him," she said, as Naruto felt both his tears and hers flow down his face and through his heart.
"You're not alone, Neji. A lot of people have been hurt horribly, but you still have a chance to be happy! Hinata-chan still feels love for you! She still loves her Niisan! So, for her happiness and yours, I'm gonna beat you until you're done hating!" Naruto called out, suddenly flaring his chakra and opening the many chakra points that had been closed.
He then took off his jacket, revealing that he hadn't been wearing a shirt underneath. "I can tell you're on your last legs, Neji, so I'll make you a deal," Naruto said, as his right arm suddenly bulked up, appeared to become shiny, and grew large jet-like holes. A pair of fins, also sporting holes that seemed to be for the same purpose as the ones on his arm, sprouted out of his back. "You throw up that spinny-chakra-shield-thing, and if I can bust through it, you'll give up, and we'll avoid changing this into something extremely messy. If you can defend against my attack until it wears off, I'll give up. Sound good?" he asked.
Neji smirked. "Fine. Fate has already decided that I'm going to win this fight. That arm isn't going to pierce the Hyuuga Clan's ultimate defense, no matter how tough it is!" he declared, as he got into his stance and prepared, then thought to himself, "Whether he gives up or not, I'll make sure he doesn't see the next day!"
"UZUMAKI SHAPESHIFT! EXPLOSIVE PUNCH!"
A thunderous roar filled the arena as Naruto blasted from where he was standing, and smashed his enhanced right arm into the spinning barrier of chakra. A sound like a claw scratching glass was heard, and kept going, until it was visible that the rotating blue mass was faltering.
Naruto growled as he continued pushing chakra out of the openings on his arm and back. "Just one more push...!"
"I believe in you, Naruto-kun!" Hinata's voice echoed through his head.
With that last burst, Neji's technique shattered, and Naruto's arm went from aiming towards Neji's head, to aiming at his leg. Opening his hand, Naruto grabbed ahold of the Hyuuga prodigy's leg, and threw him into a nearby wall, knocking him unconscious, and busting a few ribs as well.
Genma's mouth opened wide in shock for a moment, causing his senbon to drop. "Winner by one hell of a knockout...Uzumaki Naruto..." he murmured, as almost all the shinobi in the stadium, and several of the civilians, began cheering explosively!
Naruto smiled good-naturedly at Neji, as he was carted off of the field, and then leapt up to where Hiashi, Hanabi, and Kiba were, just as Hinata started coming around.
"Um, hey, Hiashi-sama? What exactly is going on with Hinata-chan?" Naruto asked.
Hiashi smiled. "It seems she's made a life-pact with you, and that awakened her mother's blood in her. You see, Hinata-chan is only half-human. Her other half, coming from her mother's side, is angel. That's why she sprouted those wings earlier. Because of this, the Hyuuga Elders will probably want to try something, but I've already put into action a plan that will keep her safe from them, and happy as well," he explained, as Naruto and Hinata started at him in shock.
"I-I'm...half a-angel?" Hinata stammered weakly.
Hiashi nodded in confirmation. "Unfortunately, since you've just spread your wings for the first time, you're going to be going through a state of weakness for about a month. Don't worry, though. I've arranged for somebody we both trust to take care of you during that time. I'm sure she'll let Naruto-san come by to spend time getting to understand the bond you two now share, and I'll try to convince Neji to be hospitable to you as well, when he visits to keep his end of the bet he and Naruto-san made," the Hyuuga head explained, then turned to Naruto, and bowed, saying, "If you discover you feel love for my Hinata, you have my blessing to take her as yours. Just try to make sure you don't make her faint too much."
Upon hearing this, both Naruto and Hinata fainted, one from information overload, and the other from hearing something she'd wanted to hear her entire life.
Kiba sighed in exasperation at the sight, and Hanabi continued trying to wake the two of them, calling out, "Oneechan! Naruto-niichan! Wake up!"
Meanwhile, a beautiful woman watched from heaven, smiling. "Good luck, my baby Hinata. I'll be coming back to see you and the others soon..."
End Chapter One