Hello, all! This one is supposed to be somewhat angsty, so...fair warning. It's titled 'Parents', because they both discuss what their parents were like, what with similarities and whatever. It's a little shaky in some areas, I think, but this was a hard topic to write with. Still, I'm somewhat satisfied with the result, so please review it!

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Simple as that.


Parents

Sasuke wandered the streets of his village, hands deep within his pockets. He glanced at the people out of the corners of his eyes. They waved at him cheerily, and he, in turn, ignored them. It wasn't that he was trying to come off as rude; he just didn't see the point of saying hello to people he didn't know. He walked down the road, nodding to some of his fellow genin when they called out to him. The various buildings around him disappeared, and became a long wall on one side, and trees on the other. He glanced at it and noticed the flame symbol on the wall.

He was at the Hyuuga house.

He continued on, thinking about what type of genjutsu he should attempt during training; perhaps he'll ask Kakashi to help train with him. As he strode on, he heard a faint voice growing louder and louder as he got closer to the gate. Slowing down, he realized it was a man yelling. He finally stopped right in front of the closed gate, and looked at the dark wood, trying to figure out what was going on.

"…I'd expect more from my daughter! Not only that, but my eldest, the one who is the heiress to this clan!" the voice shouted. Sasuke was curious, What the…? Glancing left, then right, he saw no one approaching, then back at the gate. Whatever was going down in there, it was serious. Curiosity growing, he crept closer and peered through a crack between the beams of the gate.

He saw a tall man sitting straight up, gazing disdainfully down at the trembling, blue-haired girl bowing before him. Sasuke took it all in: the yard was deserted, sans a couple sparring dummies similar to the one at the training ground, and several targets with kunai lodged in them. He shifted his onyx eyes back to the man and what Sasuke presumed was his daughter. The man opened his mouth and spoke again, "Your nine-year-old sister is far more advanced than you!" he spat, and Sasuke's eyes narrowed as the girl trembled even harder. "You will continue this tomorrow, and spar with Hanabi until you get this right! For now, go! Get out of my sight!"

For a moment there was silence, and Sasuke managed to hear a quiet, "Y-yes…sir…" from the girl. She sat up, and his eyes widened slightly in surprise to see Hinata. Her father stood and went inside, leaving poor Hinata to sit alone in her humiliation. Sasuke stood back from the gate, and hesitantly turned to leave. He had no right to be here, it wasn't his business.

"Hear anything good, Sasuke?" Kakashi stood casually, hands in his own pockets, looking at his student. Sasuke froze in surprise, before recovering and glaring at his sensei. "What are you doing, sneaking up like that?" Kakashi chuckled, "Well yes, I suppose that wasn't necessary. But neither is snooping," he added lightly. Sasuke scowled, looking away to his right, "I wasn't snooping, he was yelling loud enough for the whole damn village to hear." The masked man rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Well, true, but still. You shouldn't have looked through there to see it." Sasuke looked back at the gate.

"Kakashi-sensei? Who was he? And why was he yelling at her?" Kakashi blinked. "If you want to know, that was Hiashi Hyuuga, head of the main family and all of the Hyuuga clan, and Hinata's father." Sasuke quickly looked back at his teacher. Her father? His own father flashed in his mind's eye for a split second. "He was scolding her because she isn't quite…up to his standards," he said carefully. "She isn't quite good enough for him yet, and he wants her to be better. Unfortunately for her," he sighed, "she just can't grasp things as easily as you or Naruto or even Sakura can." He glanced off in the direction of the Hokage tower, "Anyway, I need to report to the Godaime for a mission, so I can't help you train today. Sorry, Sasuke!" He smiled, waved, and disappeared. Sasuke grunted, there went his partner for the day. He strode off in the direction of the training grounds, resolved to train on his own, and figure out genjutsu techniques himself.

As he walked, he kept hearing Hiashi scolding his daughter. He figured that she was pretty weak, so maybe she deserved it. Especially if she had a younger sister who was more advanced than she was. He shook his head to clear those thoughts away; why would he even bother? Hyuuga matters shouldn't even concern him; the Uchiha had always kept out of Hyuuga business, being rival clans.

Once arriving at his favorite spot to train, he started training with a nearby dummy, tossing shuriken at it and testing his speed. After he went as fast as he figured he could today, he sat down, panting. This isn't enough…I need a partner! He tossed another shuriken in frustration, landing in a nearby tree. The leaves rustled, and he glanced up as a figure stepped in the clearing.

"H-hello, Sasuke," Hinata fiddled with the hem of her jacket shyly. "I…I saw you were training, and I…well, I…"

"What do you want?" Sasuke stood up, giving her a small glare. She turned pink, "I would l-like to train w-with you," she squeaked. He raised an eyebrow, "What?"

"I…well, actually, I w-would like you to h-help me t-train," she said quietly, then glanced at him nervously. "I want to become s-stronger, and…well, you are the b-best in our year, and…I want y-you to help m-me…"

After minutes of silence, Sasuke sighed. "Fine," he said. "But don't think I'll go easy on you." She shook her head, "P-please…don't go easy on m-me."

They took their stances, his Sharingan and her Byakugan activated. She moved first, beginning her Eight Trigrams attack. "Jyuukenou! Hake Rokujyuu Yonshyou!" (Eight Trigrams: 64 Palms). Sasuke evaded her attacks, some just narrowly. Ducking under her arm, he saw an opening and punched upwards, sending her flying. She skidded across the ground and hit a tree, and Sasuke stood defensively, watching her through crimson eyes.

She pushed herself up and ran towards him, thrusting out her hand. "Shotei! (Palm Heel Strike!)" Sasuke moved just slightly to the left, dropping his arm at the last second and thrusting himself sideways, knocking the girl off her feet. He faced her, "Give up yet?"

"No." To his surprise she got back up, and ran towards him yet again. She began to strike at him, her hands glowing light blue chakra, "Chakra Needle Technique!" She shot needle-like bits of chakra at him, and his eyes widened as he jumped around, trying to dodge both her Gentle Fist style and her needles.

What? How did she get so quick? He pushed her arm away, and kept jumping and ducking. Damn! I can't get an opening! Finally he saw another shot. He quickly jumped behind her and punched her in the shoulder blade. She stumbled and spun around, to be punched in the cheek. Regaining her balance, she looked around for him, seeing he was not there. "Where did he go?" she asked herself.

She sensed him behind her, and spun quickly, hands glowing again. But she was too late; he brought up a leg and kicked her, sending her flying again. He stood, panting and wiped off the dirt from his cheek as she slowly pushed herself up again. She gazed at him, her Byakugan deactivated. She was holding her arm, panting. He let his Sharingan deactivate as he walked over to her. "That was a good run," he told her, and she blinked up at him.

"But it was still weak."

She blinked again, before gazing down sadly. "Y-yes…" she agreed quietly. She sat down under the tree, taking out a jar of her ointment and applied it to the cuts on her face. He gazed down at her skeptically. "Don't be so disappointed. If you want to do better, train like that more."

She glared up at him, and he looked slightly taken aback. "I do train like that! Every day!" She put away her ointment, and leaned back, looking up at the leaves. Her eyes softened, and she sighed sadly. "But it's not g-good enough for my father. He w-wants a genius, like Neji…or Hanabi. But the p-problem is that I'm the oldest, and the heiress…I'm the one that should be s-strong, and Hanabi…she should look up to me. But I'm not…"

Sasuke looked around, then back at the shy girl. What was she complaining about? At least she had a father and sister. He sighed, then sat down. He was too tired to try and go home yet. He remembered this morning, how Hiashi shouted in disappointment at Hinata, and it reminded him of his own father.

How when he was just six or seven years old, and he wanted his father to notice him, to acknowledge him as his son as well. He had wanted to make his father proud of him, and he suddenly recognized himself within Hinata. True, for her it was the other way around by having to live up to a younger sibling (or cousin), but still…

"He's proud of you."

She looked up at him, shocked and confused. "W-what?" He gazed back at her, his eyes unreadable. "Your father. He may be harsh, and maybe disappointed. But, you aren't a total failure; I could tell you that from this training. You even landed a couple hits on me," he showed her his shirt, which was slightly torn on his shoulder from her chakra needles. "So he has to be proud of you a little." Hinata blinked, then a knowing expression came on her face. "S-Sasuke…you felt this way before, haven't you?"

He looked at the blades of grass in front of him. "Yeah…I always thought my father wasn't proud of me. He was too busy always congratulating my brother for his accomplishments. He would always compare me to my brother…" he stopped himself quickly. What was he even doing? Why was he telling this to her? He never told anyone this, not even his team. "Did…did he tell you h-he was?" he heard her ask tentatively a moment later.

Before he could stop himself this time, he shook his head. "No. My mother did—she told me that when he was alone with her, he would always talk about me. And my mother…I never talked to her much, but she was proud of me." He drew his dark eyes to her light ones, to see her studying him. He wondered what she was thinking, and then wondered what he was thinking. But, why not? He already told her this much. And she wasn't crazy about him like Sakura, or Ino, so he had a feeling she wouldn't bother him about it after this. Like they would ever talk to each other after this…

"She was always worried about me, and made my favorite foods for me. She took care of me," he continued, and he envisioned his mother smiling at him. He looked down at the ground again as sadness overcame him, and he tried to squash it down.

"Your mother sounded kind." He blinked at the girl sitting across from him. "I'm sorry you lost her," she added quietly. He narrowed his eyes, "I don't need your pity." Her eyes snapped to his, "And why would you? You have no right to be sad, at least you have a mother!" he nearly shouted angrily.

She looked at him, worried. That made him angrier for some reason—he didn't need sympathy! He needed strength, so he could avenge his parents. He was about to get up and leave this pathetic girl here, when she spoke.

"You're wrong."

His eyes snapped angrily to her face, where she gazed at him steadily. "What?" he asked through gritted teeth. "I…I said you're wrong," she repeated. "I…I don't…have a mother. Not anymore," she muttered, looking down at her hands, twisted in her lap. His face relaxed, his anger dissipating. She didn't have a mother? "What…?"

She smiled softly. "Mother…was v-very sick. When she g-gave birth to my sister, she couldn't hold on a-anymore. She fought with h-her life, but…she was too w-weak." To his shock and dismay, he saw tears running down her cheeks. What the hell was he supposed to do with a crying girl here? "Father was left to raise us…he was already upset, b-because my uncle, his b-brother, had sacrificed himself. And now m-my mother was gone. He started training m-me and Hanabi relentlessly. While m-my sister could grow easily, I could not. I am a d-disappointment," she said, wiping her face. "And Hanabi…she is like Father. S-she is very serious, and I love her v-very much, but…I can't talk to her. She doesn't r-remember Mother, so she n-never knew her kindness."

Sasuke didn't know what to say. Whenever he was upset, he had gone to his mother, or more often his brother. Itachi had always managed to cheer him up, and his mother had given him a few loving words that made him feel better. He couldn't imagine he'd be where he was today if he hadn't received such encouragement. Of course, he had eventually gained his father's approval directly, but…he doubted her situation was the same. He had advanced more quickly than she had.

"I'm sorry." He found himself saying those words, and even more surprising to him, he found he meant it. His eyes betrayed no emotion, however, as she blinked, just as surprised as he felt. She gaped, at a loss for words, before nodding. "T-thank you. I…I know she is proud, just like your family is…proud of y-you," she smiled softly, her tear-stained cheeks tinged pink. He raised his head, studying the sky. "It's almost dark," he said, standing. He held out a hand to her, "We better head home." Nodding, she took his hand and was helped to her feet.

They walked, side by side to her house, his hands in his pockets and her hands fiddling together. Upon reaching the gate, she stopped. "Sasuke," she began. He stopped and looked over his shoulder at her. "I…thank you," she said, not quite sure what to say. He nodded, and was about to walk away before he felt arms around his midsection in a tentative hug. He looked down over his shoulder in surprise, to see dark blue hair resting against his shirt. "You helped m-me," he heard her say, muffled by his shirt. "I would like to train w-with you again, sometime. Good n-night, Sasuke." And with that, he felt her arms withdraw and heard her run inside before the gate slammed shut.

He watched the gate for a second, before turning and walking home at an easy pace. She would never truly know his pain at being alone, but if he had managed to get Fugaku to admit he had been proud of him, she would be able to gain approval from Hiashi. He felt a small smirk grow, and he knew something right then: because of Hinata, he realized he only had to work to get his parents approval because his parents wanted him to be the best he could be. He and Hinata were alike, strange as that may be. But although they didn't physically have their mothers, they both had something much more important:

Their parents' love.


Yep. Not too happy with that last paragraph, but I had changed it like, eight times and this was all I could get. So tell me what you think, and the next one is going to be a funny one, I promise! ^_^

~Liviyan