Written for "The Distance" contest hosted by the sasuxhina fanclub on deviantart (linked at the top of my bio). The universe is pretty much stolen from my "Scar Tissue" fanfic. One of the gestures is most definitely hijacked from the artwork of the uber-talented lems. Other inspirations include Peter Petreli from Heroes, and Yu Yu Hakusho's Dark Tournament saga.
Seer and Snatcher
by Bullwinkle's Lady
In his dreams, he was allowed a superficial peace. He fought on no other's behalf and there were no claims out for his life. Only on occasion did his dreams become plausible. He would see things so real he believed they were happening at that moment.
Maybe it was just his own paranoia, his dreams driven to that foolish attachment – Hinata Hyuuga, with her wrists bound, eyes blindfolded, and face wet with tears.
Sasuke sat upright, his eyes crimson and fangs protruding where his canines had been. Deeply breathing, he tried to rein his powers.
"I know what you are."
Sasuke's eyes snapped up to the chair across his room. Elbow against the arm and face against his knuckles, there sat the prince wearing his usual, victorious grin.
"What are you talking about?" Sasuke's growl was more feral than he'd anticipated. He glanced down at his clawed hands and knotted them in his sheets, closing his eyes and keeping his head low. He then inhaled, focusing, and feeling his changes begin to wane.
"I couldn't figure it out – until just now," Naruto continued. "I knew your father was on the guard, but I don't know anything about your mother. She was a snatcher, wasn't she?"
Sasuke raised his eyes, unaware that his iris' were still flecked with red. He watched Naruto's grin grow larger.
Snatcher was an epithet for power stealer.They could absorb the magic of the people around them for short periods of time and use it – of or against their will, as Sasuke was unhappily discovering. He hadn't realized his symptoms until his later teens when his abilities had begun to manifest. Now, midway through his twenties, he still couldn't get used to them.
Sasuke climbed out of his bed and began to dress.
"You should be proud of your lineage. Snatchers are powerful," said Naruto.
"Is that why they're all dead?" said Sasuke, pulling on a dark turtleneck. He turned to the door when Naruto caught his arm.
Stealthy as a fox.
"Why did you hide this from me?" said Naruto. His amusement had disappeared, and it made Sasuke wonder if it had been real to begin with.
Snatchers were praised and feared. Loved and hated. Most importantly, they were used as weapons. They brought only discord to the world, and had died in consequence.
He couldn't have known his mother had been one of them.
"Where's Ino?" said Sasuke, dismissing it.
Naruto sighed. It was clear he wasn't getting any further with Sasuke on the matter. He'd reserve his efforts for a later time. "She's up," Naruto conceded.
"I need her help."
He paced the dark meeting room, holding his head. He was getting a headache, and suspected it was a consequence of telepathy. Did all their powers have these penalties? Ino's pain and Naruto's volatility? "A woman was kidnapped north of here at the border. She's being brought back into Konoha-"
"We're in the middle of a war," Naruto interrupted. "Why should we involve ourselves?"
"It's a seer."
There was a pause.
"That's an unlikely claim," said Ino. She was in a robe, her arms crossed and brow furrowed. "How would you even know that?"
"Why don't you check?" said Sasuke impatiently.
Ino narrowed her eyes before squeezing them shut. She was a telepath, and the unwitting source of his knowledge on the situation. Her and Naruto's quarters were not far from his. Even in his dreams, Sasuke drew on their powers and took them wherever his subconscious desired.
Though Ino's eyes were closed, Sasuke could see them moving under her lids, searching for the source of his ardency. It took her longer than him. She didn't know where to search.
"He's right," said Ino, finally. "It's Hinata."
"Hinata?" said Naruto, blinking. He glanced at Sasuke, wondering why he hadn't been more specific.
"She's been captured by members of Kumo's militia," Ino continued. "They're leading her to Greys forest – this can lose us the war."
And it would be convenient to save her, Sasuke decided. Nothing more, nothing less. "We only have a few hours."
"We're not going to hurt you."
We'll kill you when we're done with you.
"What do you want?" Hinata asked. She was flanked by two men. Another stood before her. She didn't know how many others surrounded her, but suspected there were at least half a dozen.
Taken from her Inn late in the night, Hinata had not left her room before she'd been blindfolded. She didn't know where she was, but something about their surroundings was familiar. The whispers of leaves encircled her, almost beckoning her.
"We just want to meet your family."
Hinata stiffened at this. They wanted access to the rest of her people.
"So lead us to the other seers."
She heard a metallic noise as a blade was unsheathed. Hinata felt the point press her back, behind her heart.
"I can't see," she claimed, her voice soft in defeat.
"And you don't need to. Walk."
Seers were the eldest of the apparitions. Some even said they were the makers of magic. They lived in a secret community deep within Greys forest, and rarely did they move beyond the shelter of the trees. Mortals and apparitions alike had searched tirelessly for the seers, but were only to be lost in the endless forest. Like the stealers, seers weren't meant to live amongst the others. They proved only to disrupt the precarious balance between the Kingdoms.
Hinata felt the sword lower, but instead her captor seized her hair. She cried out as he jerked her against his chest.
"What is the problem?" he hissed.
"You'll kill them all," Hinata whispered.
The man released her hair and threw her to the ground, her blindfold coming loose in the process.
Hinata looked up at him. He had dark, spiky hair, strange markings on his face, and the golden eyes of a fire apparition. His lips twisting into a sneer, he raised one of his arms, his hand outspread to face her. "And we'll start with you."
Hinata bowed her head, and felt the warmth of his magic begin to descend on her.
As a young seer, she didn't have a fraction of the mastery her elders possessed. She could see the future, but only at the pinnacles of her grandest emotions.
So she never could have anticipated what happened next.
There was a ragged scream that made her jump. Hinata looked up, shocked to find her kidnapper engulfed in his own flames.
Tendrils of the fire spread from him and seared through the soil as though chasing trails of oil. It spread from one man to the next, catching them, and swallowing them. Soon she was lost in a web of conflagration and the forest echoed with agonized screams.
One by one the men collapsed, their bodies devoured by the fire, but the flames never touched her or the trees – in fact, taking meticulous care to avoid them. When sparks did stray, they simply smoldered to nothing.
Hinata tried to stand, but her knees buckled beneath her. Someone caught her around the shoulders.
"Are you all right?"
She looked up at Ino Yamanaka, the Konoha prince's fiancé. Her eyes widening, Hinata abruptly realized who had saved her. She looked around the forest, spotting other soldiers on the prince's guard among the smoke and bodies. Finally, she saw the prince several yards away, with his arms crossed, and his blue eyes solemn. Beside him was his first general.
Sasuke's arms were held out like her kidnappers' had been, his chest rising and falling as he caught his breath. Lowering his arms, he looked away from her, his long bangs concealing most of his expression. She watched him pocket his hands and mutter something to Naruto.
"Let's get you checked out," said Ino, taking her arm and ushering her away from the scene.
Hinata numbly nodded, observing even more soldiers, walking about and securing the area. There had to be two or three dozen of them. All on her behalf? She watched them strip the burned bodies of whichever of their weapons had survived the fire.
Once Ino led her several more yards away from the scene, she could barely see Naruto and Sasuke through the trees anymore. But if she shifted slightly, she could just make out Sasuke's face.
"Did they hurt you?" Ino asked.
"No – I'm fine," said Hinata. Except for her wrists, which had been left tied together. Pressing her back against a tree, she redirected her attention to the telepath and awaited her explanation.
"We don't know where your loyalty lies anymore Hinata. I'm afraid we can't let you go."
Stolen from one captor by another. Somehow it suited her luck.
Ino offered a reassuring smile, but Hinata could not find the strength to return it. Sighing, Ino walked off to join Naruto and Sasuke. On her way she spoke to some guards, pointing in her direction.
Hinata sunk down the tree she was leaning on. Taking a seat at its base, she drew her legs up and wrapped her bound arms around them. She suspected the soldiers were finding a fresh blindfold for her.
Again, she peeked up at the prince and his general, still deep in conversation, when Sasuke suddenly threw her a glance.
Hinata quickly looked away, but she could still see them from the corner of her vision. She watched Sasuke begin to approach her.
By the time he reached her side, Naruto and Ino had taken charge of the men, calling orders, and sending some of them off. It had been a small mission and they didn't want to draw unnecessary attention to their group.
Sasuke sat beside her, drawing up one of his knees. Together they watched the troops work in silence. Hinata tried to focus on them, and not on the man beside her.
It had been a while.
"I've been thinking about what you said-" said Sasuke, breaking the silence. "That we belong together."
She continued to stare ahead, and not at him.
Regardless, his presence encompassed her.
"And I know your trade. You can see the future."
Her eyes widened as he took a lock of her long hair and idly examined it.
"But how do I know you're not just trying to manipulate me?"
She turned to face him. "I would never do that!" she said fiercely.
With her movement, her hair slipped free of his grasp. Hinata closed her mouth, regretting her forwardness. She felt her cheeks burn, the two of them staring at each other. She looked down, and Sasuke looked away.
"Did they hurt you?" he asked.
Did he genuinely care, or was he just filling the silence. Hinata looked down at herself. It was a popular inquiry. Maybe it had something to do with her dress, or lack thereof – no shoes, no jacket, just her silk nightdress.
"No," she said.
"Did they take you?"
"I'm not theirs to take."
Her blush deepened, but she didn't retract her remark. Why was she pushing him? Was she so desperate for the things she had seen in their future? What if he dismissed it as trickery? What if it never happened?
"Thank you – for saving me," she managed.
Hinata gasped when Sasuke suddenly leaned over her, his nose inches from hers, and his eyes holding her frozen. She pressed herself harder against the tree in an effort to expand the little space between them. Ironically enough, she was unwilling to own up to her predictions. Her heart racing, she felt Sasuke take her hands, then her powers took over.
She was lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. Eyes half-lidded, she held the white sheets to her naked torso.
"Are you all right?"
Hinata snapped out of her reverie. She felt herself blush. "Yes." She offered her husband an unconvincing smile.
Sasuke didn't buy it. "What's wrong?"
"It's just that when we-"
She was abruptly distracted when he leaned over her, kissing her neck. She groaned her next words. "Sometimes I can – um..."
"You see the future." He was good at figuring her out. "During-"
"Yes." Hinata weakly nodded. "Bits and pieces of it," she said, wrapping her arms around his neck.
But Sasuke paused, seeming interested in the matter. "What do you see?"
"Just – things."
"Good things. Bad things. L-lots of things."
She cried out in protest as he pulled away. Sitting up, she irritably pulled her fingers through her disheveled hair.
Sasuke scrutinized her. "You're being very vague."
She caught his shoulders, kissing him. She smiled as Sasuke submitted, wrapping his arms around her waist. "I want to surprise you," she mumbled against his lips.
When she was jerked back into reality, less than a second had passed but it could have been days. She was back in the forest, against the tree, with Sasuke leaning over her.
He took her hands and began to untie them, seeming oblivious of her disorientated state. When he finished, he pulled back again. Nothing had occurred as far as he could tell.
She looked away as he rose, and she tried to catch her breath.
"All the best to your forecast," said Sasuke as he left. She remained solitary in the shock of her latest premonition.
Little did she know, he'd seen it too.