A/N: I accidentally deleted this chapter, so I had to repost it; sorry to those of you who are following and got an alert for a new chapter (though, this chapter was originally only posted a few days ago, so it is possible that some of you have not read it yet).


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How Things Change:
Chapter VIII~ The Betrayal


Sakura stomped her foot down, and crossed her arms over her chest.

"Ino-pig, move! I want to sit next to MY Sasuke-kun!" she huffed, trying to get her former-friend-turned-rival to move from her self-proclaimed seat. "He doesn't even like you! I mean who would, what with your massive thighs and pig like nose!"

Ino's eyes narrowed in anger; though, if one were to look close enough they would have been able to see the sadness deep within them. Her former friend's words hurt her far more than she'd ever let on.

"Back off, Sakura! At least I can wear my hair back without worrying about how big my forehead looks!" Ino hissed at her in retaliation. "And Sasuke-kun will never be yours, not in a million years! He's mine! M-I-N-E, mine! When are you going to understand that?!"

Truth be told, Ino didn't even like Sasuke that much. At first she thought he was the coolest boy in class, but over time, she realized he was far too quiet and arrogant for her tastes. He had a tendency of thinking himself better than most in the class because he was an Uchiha, and, on top of that, he was number one in the class, beating Naruto—The Hokage's son— by a mere point or two. However, acting like this was one of the few ways she could get Sakura—whom she still thought of as a friend—to talk to her, so she felt she had no other choice but to do it.

She had tried to explain to Sakura that she didn't even like Sasuke anymore, but Sakura had refused to believe her and declared them love rivals. Not wanting to lose her friend, Ino went along with the charade even though she knew it was wrong. She was only holding herself back now, but she felt as if she had no other choice but to do it.

"Says who?!" Sakura screeched in response to Ino. Taking a calming breath, she then added, "Just move over already, Ino. Sasuke-kun wants to sit next to me. Don't you Sasuke-kun?"

"Not rea—"

Before he could finish responding, however, Ino finished for him, "No he doesn't!"

"Yes he does!"

"NO HE DOESN'T!"

"YES HE DOES!"

"NO!"

"YES!"

Hinata sighed, while laying her head down on her desk. The two she disliked most in class were definitely Yamanaka Ino and Haruno Sakura, and for good reason.

It was going on two weeks since she started the Academy, and every day it had been mostly the same. She'd arrive, take her seat next to the silent Aburame, and listen to the incessant whining of the dreadful duo until Iruka decided to begin class.

Hinata never thought there would come a day where she felt the never-ending urge to knock sense into anybody until she met Sakura and Ino. Normally, she'd just ignore whoever was bothering her, but she found that near impossible to do when it came to those two. Their voices were just too loud and obnoxious to ignore, and they caused her the worst headaches.

During classroom spars, she really had to hold herself back from hurting them. It wouldn't have been hard, either. Their Taijutsu was barely passable, it was quite laughable, actually; they were easily the worst in the class when it came to close combat fighting, which was a shame. Hinata, much to her dismay, couldn't help but see the potential they both had, if they would just put their minds to it and train harder. Sakura, for example, probably had more upper body strength than half of the guys in class, but in order to look "cute" she would often pull her punches at the last minute (unless, of course, that person was Naruto).

Looking up, Hinata found herself staring daggers into the back of their heads, hoping it would magically stop them from bickering. Luckily enough for her, she could do so without being noticed since her bangs were more than long enough to cover up her blatant staring. Unluckily, however, the staring did no good.

'When are they going to learn that he isn't more important than their survival?!' Hinata yelled in her head. 'They are a disgrace to Kunoichi everywhere! How have they made this far in their ninja career when they don't even care about it?!'

They may have had the smarts to pass the class, but they lacked the resolve to ever become successful Kunoichi. Neither of them took their training seriously as they worried too much about what Sasuke-kun thought. They paid more attention to their hair and makeup than they did to their jutsu and weapons training.

And that was going to be their downfall.

Hinata had soon come to learn that it hadn't always been like that, however, and that's what truly annoyed her most about them.

After she had begun her exciting mission, she had decided that the best way to train her ever growing Byakugan and beat back the boredom that threatened her was to use it to read through the children's files that were locked safely away inside Iuka's desk. She found out a lot of interesting information doing that; like, for example, that Naruto used to have flocks of fangirls fawning over him like Sasuke because of his status as the Hokage's son, but that all quickly changed when he had begun pranking each and every one of the girls until they stopped with their nonsense altogether. Hinata, when she read that, had almost been unable to keep her laughter in. She would never admit it anyone, but she had begun to find Naruto's pranks amusing. It was never dull in class when he decided to prank someone, and it helped pass the time.

However, while she found Naruto's tactics to get girls to leave him alone funny, she couldn't help but feel disgusted at what the two girls were doing. As it turned out, Sakura and Ino used to be friends. Best friends. They had taken their training seriously, and had pushed each other to do their best in class every day.

That is, until Sakura found out that Ino also had a crush on Sasuke.

She had let a boy destroy their friendship, a boy who didn't want anything to do with either of them.

While Hinata could see that it was mostly Sakura to blame, she couldn't pin all of it solely on her. Ino knew what she was doing was wrong, but she didn't do anything to stop it. Instead she embraced it, hoping to stay close to her friend. But, that was her mistake. She shouldn't have done that. She was only holding herself back by doing so. She should have done the right thing long ago and let Sakura go and focused on her own studies more. Her survival was on the line, after all. Being a ninja wasn't all fun and games like she seemed to think it was. It was a dangerous and cruel job, especially for those not ready.

'You girls won't make it in the world of shinobi,' Hinata thought with a frown.

Hinata knew firsthand what an enemy shinobi was capable of and she could clearly see that the two girls were nowhere near ready to handle it. If they ever made Genin—which Hinata was starting to severely doubt—more than likely they would die within the first year of their shinobi career, if they ever even made it that far.

The thought of what else could happen to them, caused an involuntary shudder to run down her spine.

As much as she wanted to remain detached from the two girls, she found it harder to do so every day. She would never wish what happened to her onto anybody, and she knew that was exactly the outcome the two girls were headed for, and they would be too weak to stop it, just like she had been.

Closing her eyes, Hinata tried to push her dark thoughts aside. She couldn't continue to dwell on it. It was over and done with, and there was nothing she could do to change it. She wasn't the same weak girl she had been. She was stronger now, and she would never let anything like that happen to her again.

Just as Hinata was beginning to calm herself, Naruto, to her surprise, entered the classroom right on time. Not only that, but his eyes were lacking the mischief they usually held. Instead his eyes were full of eagerness and anxiousness, like he was waiting for something exciting to happen.

Hinata raised an eyebrow.

'No prank today? I wonder what he's up to…? We're not supposed have any fieldtrips around the village today, so that can't be why he's excited.'

While she was somewhat disappointed that there didn't look like there was going to be a prank, she didn't let it show. It's not like she cared what he was up to normally; she just wanted to see what kind of mayhem he would cause for the day. It made her mission a lot more interesting.

Shrugging, she pushed the thought aside. She'd find out what he was excited about later. It's not like it had anything to do with her, anyway.

Turning her attention back to the front of the classroom, she waited patiently for Iruka to start class.

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"INO! SAKURA! STOP RIGHT NOW!"

'Right on time…' she thought, being quite glad they would have to stop arguing now.

Sakura, who was pulling Ino's hair to get her to move, dropped it and pouted, "But Iruka-sensei, Ino-pig won't move out of my seat…"

Iruka wanted to slap himself in the face.

"I don't want to hear any excuses, Sakura! Not Today!"

Hinata raised an eyebrow. This was a little different than what normally happened. Usually he would just tell her to stop, and find another seat. She'd moan, but ultimately follow the order with little fighting.

'Must be in a bad mood today, hmmm?' she wondered in amusement.

"But—"

"No buts! Now since neither of you are planning on listening to me, I'm going to have to separate you. Kiba, I want you to move to the empty seat next to Shino, and Sakura I want you to take his seat."

"That's not fair, Sensei!" Kiba yelled out in annoyance.

He liked where he was and didn't want to move. It was the closest seat to the door, and the easiest seat to sneak to if he were to arrive to class late. It only took one look from Iruka to get him to pick up his things and move to the back, however.

Hinata sighed upon learning where Kiba was going to be sitting. It was disappointing to know that someone far more talkative than Shino was going to be sitting so close to her now.

'I hope he doesn't talk to me…'

"I didn't like that seat, anyways…" Kiba muttered bitterly under his breath, while walking to the free seat next to Shino. "I'm stuck next to the two quietest people here, now what's going to hold my interest in class?!"

Iruka, hearing this, turned toward Kiba with a scowl, "How about what is being taught for a change, Kiba? It couldn't hurt your grades any. Or would you prefer to have your mother barge into the classroom to scold you about your test scores in front of everyone, again?"

Kiba paled at the thought of that, and slowly lowered his head while ignoring the snickers in class.

"No, sir…" Kiba muttered.

"Well, then I suggest you start paying attention, hmm? And what better place than—as you so kindly put it—next to the two quietest people in class?"

Kiba nodded, but remained quiet.

"Good, now that that's settled, how about we begin class?" Iruka said as he turned to begin his lesson.

Feeling as though she had won, Ino stuck her tongue out at Sakura in victory, and said, "Have fun over there next to Naruto, Sakura!"

It was an obvious fact that Naruto had a huge crush on Sakura, much to her annoyance. While most girls would be thrilled to be having the Hokage son's attention, Sakura despised it. She only wanted Sasuke. Naruto, in her opinion, was too loud, annoying, and obnoxious. And she didn't mind telling Naruto that on a daily basis.

It was, because of that, that Naruto had a crush on her, Hinata had come to realize. Sakura was the only girl in class who had treated him like a normal kid without needing to be pranked several times for her to do so. She didn't care about who his parents were, she judged him solely on what she saw. And, that was one of the things Hinata agreed with her about.

Naruto was loud, and he was annoying, and he was obnoxious.

But, unlike Sakura, Hinata found amusement in those traits. He was different than most people in her eyes. It helped her pass time in class to watch him, and made her mission a lot easier. So, even though she would never admit it to anyone—not even to Kakashi—she liked that Naruto was in her class.

"I'll keep Sasuke warm!" Ino continued to taunt, while intertwining her arm with Sasuke's.

Iruka ignored Ino's taunt, and calmly turned back toward the class, "Ino, I would like for you to switch places with Akio."

Naruto smiled brightly upon hearing this. Sasuke was his best friend and rival, but he rarely got the chance to sit next to him because of the fights it would cause between him and Sakura and Ino.

Realizing he wouldn't get another chance like this, Naruto excitedly raised his hand, and asked, "Can I move next to Sasuke, instead, Iruka-sensei? Akio can take my seat!"

While he did really like Sakura and would love to sit next to her, he was smart enough to realize that probably wasn't a good idea for him to do. Not now, anyways. She would only take her anger out on him right now, and he would prefer not to be brain dead.

Iruka nodded, coming to the same realization as Naruto, "Yes that would probably be for the best."

"Awesome! Sorry, Sakura-chan, I'll make it up to you later!"

Before Sakura could respond, however, Naruto was already halfway to the soon-to-be-vacant seat next to Sasuke.

As Naruto was moving over to take her seat, Ino exclaimed, "What?! But I was here first! That's not fair, Iruka-sensei!"

Iruka turned to the blonde and glared, "I know. I had every intention of letting you keep your seat as you were there first, but you had to open your mouth and ruin it. Now move!"

Ino bit her lip in anger and grabbed her things and stormed off to her new seat next to Chōji, while cursing at herself in her head.

If only she had stayed quiet….

Chōji smiled tentatively at her as she sat, and held out a bag to her and brightly asked, "Would you like one of my chips, Ino-chan? They're barbequed flavored."

Chōji wasn't one to share his chips with just anyone, so it really showed everyone just how much he cared about her. However, Ino just waved it off like it was nothing.

"Is food really all you care about, Chōji?" Ino groaned, "I'm on a diet, do you really think I want a chip?!"

Chōji slowly lowered the bag, and looked down with a sigh. She would never change. Chōji missed the old Ino; the Ino who laughed with him and Shikamaru, and always accepted his chips when he offered.

Instead he was stuck with this.

He couldn't even recognize her anymore.

'Why did you have to change, Ino?' he asked himself sadly. 'Is Sakura really that important to you? So important that you decided to just abandon Shikamaru and I?'

Shikamaru, seeing the state of his friend was in, placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder, "I know, Chōji, but don't take it too hard. She's just upset, she'll get over it, she always does…"

Chōji nodded his head, and looked back up to Iruka to listen to him begin his lesson.

Iruka sighed, "Now those seats for you two are permanent, got it? I don't want to hear anymore fighting about where you are to sit. If anything like this happens again, I will contact both of your parents immediately, am I clear?"

Ino and Sakura lowered their heads at his stern gaze and threat, "Yes, Iruka-sensei."

"Good. Now that that has been settled, who's ready for a pop quiz?" he asked with a smile, earning groans from the entire class.

Everyone in the class scowled as they turned their attention to the girls who had caused it, but they remained silent knowing it would only be worse for them if they said anything.

"Everyone? Good. Then I'll begin passing the papers out."

After a few minutes had passed, Hinata was the last to get her paper. At first glance, she couldn't help but to sigh at what she saw.

Chakra Theory.

Again.

She understood that not everyone in the class had trained as much as she had, but it still annoyed her that she was forced to review the same things day in and day out. She knew everything and then some of what Iruka was talking about thanks to Tsunade, and it was getting boring to hear it over and over again; especially since she had to pretend not to understand it. She couldn't count the number of times she had accidentally started filling out her tests and quizzes correctly, before realizing she was supposed to aim for barely passing marks and had to start over. She hoped Shino hadn't realized it, and because he sometimes offered her help with the class work, she assumed he had not.

Iruka, taking her dejected look as a sign that she didn't understand the material, patted her on the back.

"You'll do fine, Hinata, I believe in you. You just have to have some faith in yourself, alright?"

Hinata's eyes widened at his kind words. While he hadn't really treated her rudely, this was the first time he had actually gone out of his way to comfort her.

She was quite unprepared for it.

"Um, t-thank you I-Iruka-sensei, I'll do my best…" Hinata sputtered in embarrassment, not used to hearing any words of encouragement from the Chūnin.

Iruka smiled brightly at her, and continued on his way back to his desk.

Hinata's eyes narrowed slightly at his retreating form as she tried to figure out if he was being sincere or not.

'Is he planning something?' after thinking about that for a moment, she shook her head. 'No…I don't think that's it; I didn't see any deception in his eyes…'

What was it then?

Why was he all of a sudden speaking to her like he wanted to help her?

Hinata read through his files, and had come to learn that Iruka's parents had been killed during the Kyūbi attack, so why would he want to be kind to her?

Interrupting her thoughts, Iruka said, "Alright, class, you have thirty minutes to finish. Begin!"

Deciding wondering about it wasn't going to get her anywhere, she pushed the thoughts aside and begun to read her own quiz. A sigh left her mouth as she read the first question:

Chakra is the resulting form of what two energies?

Picking up her pencil, she very slowly started filling out the quiz, making sure to leave just enough of her quiz correct to get passing marks.

Before Hinata got halfway through her paper, however, a knock sounded on the door. Hinata looked up, wondering who it could be. When the door opened, however, she wished she would have just ignored the sound and continued on with her work.

"Kushina-sama, what can I do for you?" Iruka asked; he too was surprised by her visit.

Kushina, ignoring the honorific she so despised, looked into the class and met Hinata's eyes for a brief moment. A smiled lit up her face, but slowly fell when Hinata made an obvious attempt to look away from her.

If Hinata would have kept her gaze, she would have seen the hurt look in her eyes.

Sighing, Kushina turned to Iruka and said, "Ah, nothing much, I just need to pick up Naruto and Sasuke. I really hate to interrupt, but it's pretty important that they come with me now."

"Not a problem!" Iruka said, before turning to look at Naruto and Sasuke. "If you two are not finished with your quizzes, you can complete them when you get back to class tomorrow."

Naruto sighed in defeat. He was hoping to get out of it.

"Actually, they will be gone for a few days," Kushina whispered to Iruka. "They're going on an important trip with Minato and I."

Iruka eyes lit up in realization, "Oh, yeah. Hokage-sama sent me the message last night about it. I had forgotten."

Kushina smiled, "So he did remember! Well, we really need to get going. Sasuke-kun, Naru-chan, follow me!"

The class erupted in laughter at his nickname, much to Naruto's dismay. Trying to fight back the blush that was crawling up his neck, Naruto yelled, "What did I say about calling me that in front of my friends, Mom—ttebayo!"

Kushina smiled.

Taking much enjoyment in her son's embarrassment, she patted him on the head with her right hand and used her left to wipe an invisible smudge from his cheek, "There, there, it's alright. I am your mother, after all. I can call you whatever I want. You don't need to feel embarrassed about it, my little Naru-chan!"

Again the class erupted in laughter, much to his annoyance.

Hanging his head in defeat, Naruto pulled away from his mom and stormed off toward the door, muttering under his breath, with Sasuke following closely behind him.

"Yeah, you better hurry up, Naru-chan," Sasuke sniggered into his ear, enjoying every ounce of Naruto's embarrassment.

"Better stop before I tell everyone in class what your mom calls you when no one's around, Sasuke!" Naruto threatened.

"You wouldn't dare," he glared at the blonde.

"Sure I world, Sw—Mmmph!"

Before Naruto had time to react, Sasuke forced his fish into his mouth to keep him from speaking, and quickly pushed him outside the room and slammed the door shut. Their scuffling in the hallway could be easily heard through the door.

"Sorry, again, Iruka," turning she slowly made her way towards the door, a cloud of anger rolled off of her in wave. "Now, if you'd excuse me, I have some business to attend to. Have a good day."

Iruka visible paled and said, "You too…"

As the door slammed shut behind Kushina, her shrill voice soon filled the classroom, "I would suggest you two stop the fighting right this second if you know what's good for you—dattebane!"

Shivers fell down the spines of everyone in the classroom at the sound of her cracking knuckles.

"What a drag…who would have thought Naruto's mom could be so scary?" Shikamaru wondered aloud, having finally been awoken from his nap. "I think she's worse than my mom."

Almost everyone in the class nodded in agreement to his statement.

Before anything more could be said, Iruka pushed back the momentary fear he had felt from Kushina, and asked, "Hey, what are all of you doing? Don't you have tests to finish?"

Groans filled the room, as pencils began to be picked up again.

"And be quiet about it!"


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"So," Kakashi began, "Are you sure it's okay to be leaving the village? And I thought you weren't leaving until late tonight, what happened?"

Minato sighed, "No, I'm not sure. But it can't be helped; this meeting is far too important to be put off any longer. I have already put it off twice now…if I do it a third time, I'm afraid they'll take it as an insult and refuse any further negotiations with me. We can't risk losing this ally, especially since we still haven't fully recovered from the Kyūbi's attack. And, as to why I'm leaving now instead of later, I just really want to get this over and done with so I can make a speedy return."

Kakashi nodded in understanding.

Clearing his throat, Minato interrupted the silence that followed, "Anyways, Kakashi, the reason why I've called you here is because I wanted to ask you about Hinata before I left. I haven't really had a chance to talk to you about it, and I was hoping you could tell me if you've figured out anything useful about her unknown Kekkei Genkai?"

Kakashi shook his head, "Unfortunately I have not made much progress. So far, all I've managed to figure out is that there is a very strong possibility that her affinities lean toward fire and water as she had the easiest time with those type of jutsu, but other than that I know nothing. I've never heard of that combination in a bloodline limit so I am unsure of what will happen if she combines them, especially since she doesn't have a complete grasp on either element so far."

"I see…well, just keep teaching her how to control both elements. It's all you really can do. When you feel she is ready, we'll take the necessary precautions to test out what will happen if she combines them."

"Okay, can do," Kakashi said. "Also, who's going to be in charge while you're gone?"

Normally it would have been the elders, but because of what had happened to Hinata, he severely doubted it would be them. He had a pretty good idea who it would be, however.

Minato answered automatically without thinking anything of it, "Tsunade, or course. Though, I'm sure you already knew that. If she needs any help, she can rely on either you or Shikaku. I don't think she will have to, though."

Again Kakashi nodded. He had, like Minato had said, assumed she'd be the one left in charge of the village. She was, after all, probably the strongest and most experienced ninja in the village after Minato and Kushina.

"But…will she be able to put her sake bottle and poker chips down long enough to take care of the village?" he asked with a twinkle in his eyes.

Minato responded with a laugh, following along with his joke, "Well, Shizune will be here watching to make sure of it—"

"HEY, I HEARD THAT!" a shrill scream filled the room, as the door crashed opened revealing an extremely pissed off Tsunade.

Kakashi's eyes widened as he turned around to look at her.

"Sorry. We, uh, didn't know you were there? Hee, hee…"

Tsunade rolled her eyes as she crossed her arms over her chest. Her anger evaporated at his poor excuse.

"Liar. You probably felt my presence long before I even set foot in the building," Tsunade coolly replied.

Kakashi shrugged, confirming that he was indeed lying.

Minato smiled, almost unable to hold his own laughter in, "And, to answer your question seriously, Kakashi, I think she'll do a splendid job. She was a student of the Third, after all."

Upon the mention of Hiruzen, the room went silent for the Hokage who had died in action a decade ago. His death was still a sore point for them.

Before it could drag on too long, however, Tsunade loudly cleared her throat to break the silence.

"So, when were you going to tell me I was to be left in charge?" she then demanded. "And what if I refuse?"

"Uh, now?" Minato said with eyes closed, scratching the back of his head, "And if you were to refuse, I guess I'd just have to find someone else. But you don't mind doing it, do you?"

Tsunade sighed in defeat at his pleading tone and said, "I guess I can do it, but only just this once got it?"

"Great! I guess I should be on my way now, thanks for doing this Tsunade!"

Before Tsunade could respond, however, she noticed something she hadn't before. Narrowing her eyes, she started to approach the Fourth.

"I wouldn't have really been able to decline even if I had wanted to, would I have?"

Minato shrank back, "Sure you would have, I would never make you do something you really didn't want to—"

"Then tell me, Minato, why are you just a shadow clone?"

Kakashi's eyes widened. He hadn't even realized it. This just proved to him that, at the moment, Tsunade was indeed on another level than he was.

"Well, there is a good reason for that—"

"The original has already left, hasn't he?" she asked in a voice much sweeter than she felt.

Realizing there was no way out of it, the clone said, "Y-yes. The original left about fifteen minutes ago with Kushina and Naruto—"

Tsunade's eyes narrowed even more, "That's what I thought. You did that to leave me no choice but to take over until your return, didn't you?"

"Well, um, now that you're here, I think I'll just dispel myself—"

"No need, I'll do it for you," Tsunade said in reply.

The clone slowly began to back away from her, realizing just where the situation was headed, "Ah, no, that's fine…I can do it myse—"

"No, no. I insist," she stated as she slowly cracked her knuckles. "Just do me a favor, and make sure this gets back to your creator. There. Will. Be. Hell. To. PAY!"

SMACK!

The clone didn't stand a chance.


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"Minato? Are you alright?" Kushina's softly asked as she turned to her currently frozen husband.

Before he could answer, an involuntary shudder ran down his back, much to Kushina's amusement.

"Ah, I understand now. She figured it out, didn't she?" she asked with a hint of laughter in her voice. "Bet she forcefully dispersed your clone, right?"

Minato could only nod in confirmation.

"I told you not to do it, but you never listen to me…" Kushina sighed. "Can never just take what your wife says seriously, can you?"

Kushina was truly enjoying her husband's suffering.

Naruto, now interested, turned to his mother and asked, "What's going on?"

Kushina rubbed her hand through Naruto's messy hair, and smiled, "Nothing, really. Your father just figured out why one doesn't mess with your Obaachan."

Naruto snickered, "Well, even I know not to do that—dattebayo!"

"You need to help me, Kushina!" Minato exclaimed in horror once he was able to move. Turning to Naruto, he then said, "You too, Naruto. Tsunade likes you the most, so—"

Kushina could no longer hold in her laughter. Narrowing her eyes, she shook her head no.

"I think you're on your own for this one. Maybe next time you'll listen to me, hmm?" Kushina said as she pulled Naruto along.

Minato's mouth dropped opened in surprise at their retreating backs.

He had been abandoned.

By his family.

His family had just abandoned him.

"HEY, THAT'S NOT FAIR! SOME WIFE AND SON YOU ARE!"

All he got in response was a throaty cackle from Kushina.

Sasuke, who had remained back with his mother during the ordeal, turned and murmured, "How come I've never realized that Naruto's father is such a scaredy cat?"

Mikoto laughed, while patting her son on the head, "You're one to talk, Sasuke, or have you already forgotten what happened last time you made Tsunade-sama angry?"

Sasuke shuddered, as he remembered the incident that involved a desk, a broken wrist and five stitches, "Never mind…"

Mikoto patted Sasuke's head, "That's what I thought. Now let's hurry, we're falling behind."


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Kakashi slowly backed away from Tsunade, as she straightened herself out. She really was scary when angered.

"Um, well, I guess I'll be going now…"

When Tsunade turned to start yelling at him, she was surprised to see that he was gone; all that was left of Minato's student was a pile of dead leaves.

He had body flickered away.

"Just you wait, Kakashi! I'll get you too!" she yelled out to thin air, too angry to care about whom in the tower heard her.

She hadn't yet realized that Kakashi had had nothing to do with Minato's little trick, and she swore to get revenge on him and Minato.

But first…

"Shizune, get me the most expensive bottle of Sake in the village—no make that ten bottles—and make sure to put it on Minato's tab!"

Shizune, who had just entered the room, sighed. There was no point in talking her out of this, especially when she was so angry. It would just bite her in the ass if she refused to do as she was told.

Turning around, she left as quickly as she arrived, "Yes, M'lady…"


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Sighing in frustration, Hinata followed everyone else to the front of the classroom.

While Hinata had grown accustomed to the academy, she still really did not like to work with the other kids. That's why, when she had no choice in the matter, she preferred having Shino as her partner. He was quiet, smart, and didn't ask questions.

He was the perfect partner for her.

Hinata, once the bell rang, was looking forward to Taijutsu practice, as it signaled that class was almost over.

However, that all changed when Iruka made the announcement that he was going to assign partners today.

'Please let my partner be Shino!' Hinata pleaded in her head.

Much to Hinata's dismay, that wasn't to be the case for her today.

"Alright, next we have…Kiba. Your partner is going to be…"Looking around the group of kids, his eyes landed directly on Hinata, "Hinata! Hinata will be your partner, Kiba."

And just like that her hope fell.

Hinata sighed and slowly made her way to the front.

'At least I don't have to deal with Sakura…' she thought, trying to make the most out of a bad situation.

Unfortunately for her, she thought that too soon. It turned out that the spars were going to be two on two, instead of the normal one on one ones she was used to.

"Kiba and Hinata, you two will face against Sakura and Chōji."

Had she not had the self-control she did, she would have let out a groan while smacking herself in the head.

Today was just not turning out to be her day.

"Remember you guys; this is supposed to be for practice only. No trying to seriously hurt each other. Also, no jutsu of any kind can be used, understand? We're practicing standard Taijutsu only. So that means no Akimichi or Inuzuka techniques, are we clear?" Iruka asked while looking toward Chōji and Kiba.

Everyone nodded in response.

"Good, then let's begin!"

Hinata slowly backed away in a defensive stance, being careful to leave a few openings so it didn't look too perfect. She had a mask to keep up, after all.

Hinata continued to stay behind Kiba as she was hoping to let him handle most of what their opponents could throw at them. It was much easier not to fight than to keep her talents hidden, especially since Taijutsu was her best skill. If she had wanted to, she could have knocked their two opponents down without them knowing what had hit them; however, she knew that was not something she could afford to do. So, that is why, when it came to sparring, she tried to do as little as possible to keep her cover from being blown.

And so far it had worked.

After a moment or so, after realizing no one wanted to make the first move, Sakura decided to take the fight into her own hands.

Hinata could only roll her eyes when Sakura flew toward Kiba, yelling, "I'll make you pay for what you said about Sasuke-kun yesterday, dog breath!"

Hinata was beginning to wonder if Sakura could do anything without Sasuke being involved in one way or another.

'He's not even here right now!' Hinata screamed in her head while trying to fight the urge to knock some sense into Sakura.

Kiba, on the other hand, just smirked and slapped Sakura's punch away as if it were nothing.

"I'd like to see you try!"

This only infuriated Sakura more, and she viciously started to attack Kiba. It was actually quite impressive what she could do when she actually tried, Hinata couldn't help but to admit. Her moves were sloppy, but powerful. They reminded her of Tsunade's, just not as disciplined.

However, her reason for fighting was truly pathetic.

Before Hinata could think much more about it, her eyes widened as she realized that she had almost forgotten about Chōji. Cursing herself for her incompetence, Hinata ran forward, to stop Chōji before he could attack Kiba from behind.

Using her agility, Hinata easily made it between Kiba and the oncoming Akimichi with time to spare. Without thinking, Hinata continued her assault by rushing forward, delivering a quick knee to his stomach. The kick was hard enough to keep Chōji from getting back up right away, but not enough to keep him down for very long.

Realizing what she had done, Hinata's eyes widened.

'No!'

It was too late, however. What was done was done and she couldn't change what had happened.

Doing the only thing she could do, Hinata put a look of shock on her face and tried to pretend it was a lucky shot. In doing so, she allowed a slow moving Chōji to hit her from behind.

Hinata, however, would have reconsidered that choice if she had known that Chōji was going to use his full strength. The hit, which landed at the base of her head, was heavy enough to send her crumbling to the ground, unconscious.

After what felt like an eternity, but was actual probably just a few moments later, Hinata slowly opened her eyes to see Iruka standing over her, genuine worry etched into his face.

"That was a pretty nasty hit you took from Chōji," Iruka said.

The Akimichi were known for being heavy hitters, and Chōji hadn't tried to pull his punch like he should have. He had attacked her like she was an actual enemy.

Hinata slowly sat up, while rubbing the nasty bruise on the back of her head. Unfortunately for her, when Kushina messed with her seal, she lessoned the fox's ability to heal her; she was going to have a headache for quite a while.

"Don't you have something you would like to say, Chōji?" Iruka asked him, sternly.

Chōji bowed down before her, tears visible in his eyes, "I'm so sorry, Hinata-san! I didn't mean to hit you that hard. I thought you would have dodged it, seeing as you were moving so fast earlier…"

Hinata shook her head, not used to the attention of people in class actually caring for her, and said, "It's o-okay, I'm f-fine, really…"

Chōji nodded happily, he didn't like when people were angry with him. Hearing her say that made him feel much better. Rubbing the tears from his eyes he slowly got to his feet.

Before anything more could be said, however, the bell signaling the end of the class day rang, sending most of the children—including Chōji—to run to grab their forgotten belongings from the classroom.

"Hey, calm down you guys!" Iruka shouted, while following behind them to try and keep order.

Hinata shook her head and slowly got to her feet while brushing herself off. After she was as clean as she was going to get, she turned to the direction of the classroom. She too needed to grab her things from the room.

Before she could move more than a few feet, however, Shikamaru walked out from behind a tree.

"Yo," he said with a lazy wave of his hand.

Hinata lowered her head and stammered, "H-hello."

Shikamaru narrowed his eyes, "You can stop with the act now, Hinata."

Hinata's eyes widened upon hearing this. Snapping her head up, she looked into his calculating eyes.

"What do you want?" she demanded, her eyes never leaving his. While she remained calm on the outside, she was starting to panic in her mind. 'Shit! It's only been two weeks, did I fail already?!'

Shikamaru—as if he knew what she was thinking—put his hands up, and said, "Don't worry, I won't say a thing. It would be much too troublesome to try and tell anyone about this, so your secret is safe."

"How can I be sure you are telling me the truth?" she asked; he didn't seem to be the type to lie, but one could never be completely sure.

"You can't. You can only take my word for it," Shikamaru replied before turning away from her and heading in the opposite direction. Before he made it anywhere, however, he threw a look over his shoulder and added, "I would suggest that you be more careful in the future, however. If you aren't, I won't be the only one who suspects."

Hinata could only stare dumfounded at his retreating form.

Once he was out of sight, Hinata turned and continued on to the classroom. Her head was still spinning from the hit she took from Chōji.

'If that's what it felt like taking a hit from an Akimichi who hasn't even reached Genin, I don't even want to know what it would feel like coming from him in a few years,' Hinata thought with a shudder; she was trying to keep her mind off of the fact that Shikamaru knew more than she would have liked.

Turning around after retrieving her things, she was surprised to see Iruka still standing there, smiling at her. She expected him to be gone already.

Hinata bit her lip with worry. Was he going to question her too about what happened? She hoped not.

Tilting her head to the side in confusion and pushing her fear down, she shyly asked, "Is t-there something you w-want from me, Iruka-sensei?"

After having what looked to be an internal battle with himself, he finally replied, "Would you like to get something to eat with me, Hinata? My treat."

That wasn't anything close to what she expected to hear. Before she could stop herself, she nodded her head yes.


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A few hours passed by with no sign of Hinata, and Kakashi couldn't help but a feel a little worried. While he knew she could handle herself in most cases, he couldn't help but wonder if she was okay. It was not like her to return home late.

Deciding it would be best if he tried to relax, he plopped himself down in his chair and pulled out his favorite book to make the time fly faster.

However, this was unnecessary as only a minute later Hinata walked through the door, announcing she was home.

Kakashi looked up from his book and asked, "Did class run late today?"

Hinata shook her head, "No…"

Kakashi raised an eyebrow.

"Were you training?"

Hinata shook her head again, but didn't say anything.

After taking her shoes off, and hanging her coat up, she turned to Kakashi and said, "Iruka asked me to go to dinner with him."

He knew Iruka, and it wasn't really all that surprising he would do so. He always had tendency to go out of his way to help the kids who were struggling the most in class, as it reminded him of himself when he was young. And he really didn't believe it was he who was betraying Konoha (he already had a good suspicion of who it was but there was no proof, not yet anyway). No, what surprised Kakashi was the fact that Hinata had agreed to go.

"Oh?"

"I didn't mean to say yes, but it kind of slipped out when he asked. I wasn't prepared for it," Hinata hurriedly explained as she could see the disbelief on his face.

"How'd it go? What happened?" Kakashi asked in interest.

"Nothing much. He took me to a place called Ichiraku for ramen—it was really good by the way—and now that I mention it, I didn't get so much as a dirty glare from the two people running the booth. Anyway, he mostly just talked to me about my grades, and things I could do to improve. I'm surprised he even wants to help me, to be honest. Didn't his family die during the attack?"

Kakashi's eyes turned soft, "It means he's smart, Hinata. It means he doesn't see you as the fox, but rather as it's jailer like how it should be."

Hinata nodded her head, and turned to go to her room.

"I'm going to go clean up now," she said as she walked down the hall. Looking over her shoulder, she added, "I'm supposed to stay after class tomorrow for tutoring with him and Mizuki, just so you know. Not only will it help my cover some more, but it will also allow me to spend more time around them. Maybe I'll get a lead?"

Kakashi nodded his head.

Hinata then opened the door to her room and stepped inside. As soon as the door clicked shut behind her, her shoulder's drooped, and an aura of depression surrounded her.

She really hoped Kakashi was right. She was actually starting to like Iruka, which was strange considering the fact that she had only met him a couple weeks ago. It was just that he reminded her of Kakashi; he was kind, patient, and seemed genuinely concerned for her wellbeing.

She really hoped he wasn't the traitor she was looking for.


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Tsunade, surrounded by full bottles of sake, cursed. She couldn't bring herself to drink more than two bottles. She wasn't stupid, and realized that being indisposed was not a good idea when she had work to do. The village wasn't going to run itself, after all.

Cursing Minato, she grabbed her ceramic sake cup and brought it up above her head to throw it at the wall. However, before she let it go, it suddenly shattered in her hand.

Looking down at the cold remains of her saucer, a terrible feeling filled her gut.

Something bad was going to happen. She could feel it.

Calling out, she said, "Shizune, come here. I want to make a bet with you…"

This would determine if what she was feeling was nothing or something really bad.


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The smell woke him before any sounds of screaming reached his ears.

Fire.

The complex was on fire.

Throwing himself from his bed, he could now see the smoke that filled his room, and hear the screams of his father trying to wake him.

"ITACHI, IT HAS STARTED! GET DRESSED, THE HOUSE IS ABLAZE! WE HAVE NO TIME TO LOSE!"

'Shit!' Itachi thought frantically as he grabbed any and all gear he could get his hands on in the next few seconds. 'This isn't supposed to be happening! Not now!'

Itachi had made a terrible mistake, he realized. He had gotten the information wrong. And now, countless people would suffer. And, even worse, Minato was nowhere near the village, and he had no time to try and summon him.

He reassured the Fourth that everything would be fine in his absence, that the clan wasn't ready to do anything, and wouldn't be ready for months.

Something went wrong, but what? Every single piece of Intel he had gathered since it had started had been spot on. How could he be wrong now? He was getting it from the same person he always did, a person he trusted with his life!

Unless…they somehow managed to figure out that Shisui was not as trustworthy as he seemed?

But, how? Shisui and he had been very careful to make it so no one would ever find out.

Shaking the thought from his head, he quickly finished making his way out of the heavily smoking building.

His father turned to him, and told him, "We don't have much time. Haruo and Shiro are trying to evacuate the children and elderly, but it may already be too late. We're going to have to fight, are you ready for—"

Before he could continue, Fugaku's second in command—Haruo—stumbled out of the ash that filled the sky. He was soaked in blood; his left eye hung from its socket, the blood oozed out in thick droplets.

Fugaku sprang forward and caught his dying friend before he fell to the ground.

"What happened?" he asked, gently.

His friend was going to die, that much was certain, and there was nothing he could do to save him. The only thing he could do for his comrade was avenge his death by stopping whoever it was who did it to him.

"T…there's a barrier a…around the w…whole compound. We couldn't escape. D…dead. T…they're all dead. E…even my son, S…Shiro. That m…man slaughtered them all. I o…only barely e…escaped."

"Who? Who killed them all?" he urged, frantically.

"S…shi—"

However, before he could finish, a kunai lodged itself deep into his throat, killing him instantly.

Fugaku dropped his comrade, and readied himself into a fighting stance. The smoke covered the area to the point that not even the Sharingan could see. They were sitting ducks for whoever was out there, unless he came out of the smoke.

"Who's there? Show yourself right now!" Itachi yelled out into the smoke.

A voice called out through ash, "Are you sure, this is what you want, Itachi-kun?"

'No, it can't be!'

That voice sent chills down Itachi's back.

He knew that voice.

"I guess if you insist, I have no choice but to comply. Either way, it will make no difference. Soon you too will die by these hands, my friend."

Itachi felt his heart fall to his stomach as the one he would consider a brother stepped forward, drenched in their family's blood. His Sharingan eyes held not even an ounce of humanity, as he dropped the decapitated head of Haruo's son.

No.

It couldn't be.

But it was.

How?

Why?

Itachi's lungs closed, he couldn't breathe, and he couldn't speak…

But Fugaku could, if only just barely.

"S-Shisui?!"

End.


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Sorry it took so long to get this out!

Anyways, if anyone missed it, it's pretty much been confirmed what Hinata's second bloodline is. If you missed it, she has fire and water as her affinities, so that makes her bloodline the Boil Release, which is the same bloodline as Mei Terumī, the Fifth Mizukage (I believe Ookami88 was the only one to guess it right, so good job).

I guess that's all I have to say; besides I'll try to get the next chapter up faster than this one.

Until next time…