.disclaimer: don't own.
.chapter one: infants.
"It's a beautiful baby boy, Hyuuga-san!"
Hyuuga Hizashi couldn't help but let a serene smile spread across his features as he gently took hold of his new son, all snuggled up in a blue blanket. His wife smiled weakly, reaching a shaking hand out to stroke his cheek, her lavender eyes softening. "Hizashi…"
Hizashi smiled and brought his hand up, brushing the back of his fingers softly, delicately against the baby boy's cheek. The skin was silky soft and the ear piercing cry that he let out barely registered as annoying; it was the sound of life, it symbolized his birth and his coming into the world. His tiny fists were clenched shut and when his eyes fluttered open, they were the same shade of silver tinted with lavender looked back at him.
There wasn't much that Hizashi was happy about; he knew to appreciate what he had, but he couldn't help but forever be plagued by the cursed seal. After all, how could he not? It stared him every day in the mirror when he removed his forehead protector; the green mark on the pale skin of his forehead stood out prominently, taunting him in the mirror. It reminded him of his imprisonment, of his inferiority, of what his fate was like. And he was so tentative to bring forth a son in this world that would have to deal with the same fate that he had to endure. It wasn't fair; he couldn't subject anyone to this imprisonment, much less his own son.
But, then he realized, it would be even less fair to not give his son the life he deserved.
This was, as cliché as it was, his bundle of joy. Hizashi smiled, bringing his crying son closer to him. This was a shining light in his otherwise dreary life. The idea of raising a son in the same fashion he had been brought up in pained him, but, nevertheless, Hizashi believed that life was a great gift, one he could not deny to his son. He was so beautiful and Hizashi couldn't fathom that this was his son, his blood, his family.
"Hi… Hizashi…" the voice was weak and immediately, Hizashi's sharp eyes flitted up in panic.
"Her heart rate is dropping…"
"Oxygen, we need the oxygen mask!"
"Hyuuga-san, please step outside…"
All Hizashi remembered was being forced outside of the room, watching through the window as the doctors crowded around her wife. Her beautiful lavender eyes closed slowly and the line on the monitor was more flat than spiked, the beeping slowing, the mountains disappearing. His grip tightened on his newborn son, the hand of Hiashi on his shoulder barely registering. And suddenly, a nurse came and took away his baby boy, saying he had to be monitored and he suddenly felt cold as the line flattened, the beeping turned into a shrill, high, ear piercing, and heartbreaking sound.
At that moment, he felt he lost everything.
"I am so sorry."
"My deepest condolences, Hizashi-san."
Hizashi kept his head bowed as people muttered words of sympathy, bowing and leaving incense in front of a picture of his wife. Tightening his clenched fists, he took a quick glance at his son, resting in a cradle next to him. He looked around with alert eyes as he sucked his thumb, unaware of the morose situation he was in. His eyes were bright and full of hope, and Hizashi's heart ached for him. No longer did he only have to live as a branch member, but now he would never know his mother either, his beautiful, sweet, kind mother.
It was so unfair, he wanted to yell, he had brought forth a son into such an unfair life, one he wasn't deserving of. It wasn't fair, why did he do this?
Hiashi was the last of the Hyuugas to come and he knelt down, put his hands together and bowed before leaving the incense. He looked at the picture and smiled softly. "She was beautiful. Truly unique. I am sorry for her untimely death."
It's because the main branch was far too focused on your wife's flu rather than my wife's disease, Hizashi wanted to retort, but kept his mouth shut and nodded his head in agreement. Guilt flooded him for thinking that, because it was evil to think of such ill of his brother's wife. He understood why; the wife of the head of the household had come down with a horrible douse of the flu, and all attention was focused on her. But Hizashi's wife had been sick for such a long time, but little was done to help alleviate her pain because, after all, he was a branch member and she was the wife of a branch member. As a branch member, they didn't matter.
She was frail, but beautiful. She coughed often and had a weak immune system, and Hizashi knew it. But she was so optimistic and full of life; her coughing lips almost always smiled and her pale skin was masked by her radiant expressions. Her dull hair was silky smooth, and tired bags insignificant to the light in her eyes. It was an arranged marriage, but Hizashi felt he was so lucky to have fallen in love with her, with such a beautiful and perfect being. But now she was gone, just like everything else good in his life.
Except his son.
"Have you named him yet?" Hiashi asked softly, turning to look at the baby in the crib, laughing as Hiashi's wife bent down and smiled warmly at him. The head of the Hyuuga's eyes softened. "He has his mother's eyes."
Hizashi couldn't help but smile and nod. He had thought about so many names for his son; he and his wife hadn't decided on any, as they weren't sure of the gender. He had toyed around with several, discarding and adopting new ones, waiting for the right one to come. And it did, just moments before he entered here, while he was looking up at the sky.
"Neji. Hyuuga Neji."
And thus, Hyuuga Neji was born.
"So how are you?"
A brown haired woman sat down across the table in her kitchen, warmly light by the sun's rays that filtered through the hastily pushed back curtains. It wasn't a very clean kitchen, but Hizashi didn't mind. It looked homely, with bread left out from the breakfast earlier that morning, toast still in the toaster, and half finished glasses of orange juice. Behind them, children's laughter joined the sound of a television. About six months had passed and Neji had learned to crawl very early on, at about five months. Whenever Hizashi brought him over, he joked that his son would grow up to be a prodigy.
"Doing well," the Hyuuga smiled, accepting the tea, "And how are you, Meiko?"
Ama Meiko was one of his closest friends outside of the Hyuuga compound. They had grown up together in the Academy, preserving a friendship never tainted with romance. He and her husband got along well and the three, it used to be four, of them often got together and had dinner, so it came to no surprise that their children were spending so much time together. Meiko visited him daily during the first two months after the death of his wife, and he was grateful. Her husband came as often as he could, but as an ANBU squad leader, he was frequently out on missions, such as right now.
The brown haired woman smiled again, wrapping her hands around her cup of tea and looking down, eyes sad. She had some of the most expressive eyes Hizashi had ever seen. Surrounded by eyes that could see all, it was refreshing to see eyes that revealed all. "Do you miss her?"
Hizashi's smile saddened. "Every day."
Meiko nodded quietly and sighed. "It just isn't the same without her… she was so beautiful. I know she would have been a wonderful mother for Neji."
"Just like you are for Tenten."
"Oh, it's hard," Meiko laughed, shaking her head, "She's a handful. While your baby is stealing your scrolls and trying to read them, Tenten's been grabbing kunais and throwing them around. Just the other day I saw her reaching for my katanas up on the shelf. That girl is going to grow up with an obsession for weapons for sure, because normal babies do not play with such sharp things."
"Well, what did you expect?" Hizashi raised an eyebrow, looking amused, "We are shinobi. Our children will grow up to be shinobi as well, and talented ones at that."
And it was true. While Hizashi's wife had retired early from life as a kunoichi and spent most of her days in the Hyuuga compound, helping the little Hyuuga kids with throwing practice, Meiko was active, training daily and going on missions. And when Hizashi's wife became pregnant, she stopped being a kunoichi permanently and focused on how to become a mother. Meiko was truly one of the most talented kunoichi Hizashi had known, with her perseverance, determination, and loyalty. And her husband was as well; together they made an undefeatable duo, both extremely skilled.
Hizashi had high hopes for Neji and Tenten. Neji was already showing signs of promise and interest in Hizashi's Byakugan (when Hizashi activated his, Neji stared in curiosity instead of screaming in fear), and Hizashi was eager for the day when Neji would begin classes at the Academy. And Tenten, well, with Meiko as a mother, Tenten was sure to inherit the stubbornness and loyalty. Meiko also had a hobby for weapons, one that Hizashi could see was being passed onto Tenten already.
The two adults looked at their children crawling around, occasionally stopping when they bumped into things or found something of interest on the floor. They laughed; Neji in his white Hyuuga robes and Tenten in a pink footie pajama that Meiko was in love with (and Tenten hated, evident by her attempts to dirty it by smearing her food on it).
"Wouldn't it be funny," Meiko said suddenly, picking up a cup of tea and sipping it, her brown eyes twinkling in amusement, "if our children grew up and fell in love?"
Hizashi couldn't help but laugh as well, taking a sip. He looked at the two again and smiled.
"It would be."
Author's Notes: I so deeply apologize for how long this took me. Since the summary is pretty bad and I hope I come up with a better one, this story is like a time lapse of Neji and Tenten's relationship, documenting how their love grows. The title is a musical term and it's to increase sound gradually, and I'm making that analogous to their love because at infants, it's hardly there if at all, but as time passes, they fall in love and it grows stronger. Each chapter will be a different point in their lives (infants, toddlers, genin, etc.) and so if you have a certain "stage" I'll call it (like toddlers or genin) that you'd like me to write, please do tell me and I'll try my best to fit it in. Thank you for reading, please review!