I'm back! Sorry for the wait..ehe…

I'd like to thank: el H.H, Aki666, nina, risen truth ruthless lies, imorin, mackyli, tatoo26, sunnyseaforever, violet404, ImCutePoison, Drasonz, Francis, umnia, ruler of dragons, ArtWolf, Kanra-Kaoru, pisceanchic101, Rianan D' Halmsu, CFA09 and lilmaimas

Thanks so much for taking the time to review, read, and wait for this chapter XD

Survive With Me

~Chapter 3: through deception~

Sasuke had maneuvered his body so he could hold her still while keeping her mouth shut. He used his right hand to hold her arms above her head as she struggled in his grasp, while his left hand was tightly clasped to her mouth. He was now on top of her, frightening her further as tears spilled from her moon like eyes.

He gritted his teeth, thinking through exactly what he'd have to say to stop her resistance completely.

Sasuke leaned near her ear and whispered in an unsympathetic snarl, "Your clan, the massacre of your clan was real. The reality, the loneliness that will soon pierce your soul will devour you until you voluntarily become a monster. None of it was a dream, believe that now. Don't question if it was real or not because it very well damn was." His grip on her wrists tightened, remembering how many nights he had to sleep alone. He thought about how many mornings he had to wake up, with no one and not a reason left to live. No purpose to live his life out happily.

He'd stop her with the pain of accepting her fate, it was cruel to use this way, but Sasuke held no mercy for the broken doll whose life had shattered into tiny, indistinguishable shards. He couldn't, not when his life was on the line because of her.

The death of this girl will end everything he's strived for. His life has just begun, and with her death it will end just as fast as it had come.

She started sobbing, warm tears continuously falling one after another onto his pillow that was dry only moments ago. He could hear her muffled cries under his hand.

A flash of himself at seven, crying during the night came to life before his eyes. Her eyes were like reflecting mirrors, and all he could see was himself.

He let his hands slip away from its constricting hold on her.

His mind went blank. Just moments ago had he wanted to rip the girl's mouth off. But now, he just didn't feel like doing anything at all. He felt like getting away from the sight of her. The sight of her reminded him sorely of himself.

It pissed him off.

He got up slowly, standing up from the bed with his back to her.

She turned to her side as her body shook, hugging herself as she receded into a fetal position. Her whimpers pierced into Sasuke's ears. Should he have felt sympathy? No, he'd lost that feeling long ago. This feeble girl will not be the one who will change that.

More than anything right now, more than anyone in the entire Shinobi world…

He hates her the most.

"You were having a nightmare, and I just saved your worthless life. If you want to get stronger, if you want revenge, play along with whatever I tell you to do." He sneered, looking back at her. She wasn't planning on responding, but Sasuke realized she wasn't retaliating either.

Maybe she does want revenge. Maybe she'll fall into the darkness just as he expects her to.

Sasuke set his back to the wall and sat down, crossing his legs as he took to staring at the glowing moon instead. Her sobs could be heard while he blankly looked out the window, his stoic expression dominating his face once more.

He doesn't feel like sleeping anymore.

Light was soon filling the corners of his dark room. After Hinata had fallen asleep from fatigue he changed into a plain black shirt and gray track pants. He did not sleep, choosing instead to silently listen to her cries until they quieted down into small and desperate breaths. He felt like strangling her, he hated and loathed that she was reminding him of his past, of his seven year old self.

He stood up from the floor and walked to the right side of the bed, seeing her curled up and sound asleep. He glowered at her, wondering how in the hell she could sleep when she was the one with the massacred clan. It bewildered him how he was the one who couldn't sleep instead.

Great, the day hasn't even started and he's already ticked off by her face alone. She looks nothing like a spoiled heiress. With the obvious red rims around her eyes and her skin a dull white the girl might as well jump into a coffin already.

But oddly enough, he found himself staring. Why, out of all the people in the Shinobi world, had the massacre gone to this fragile girl?

Her eyes slowly opened, a light lavender peeking through her long black lashes. Sasuke tensed, wondering if she'd make a move to scream again.

She looked at him, with dead and hollow eyes as she stayed laid down on the bed, still slightly into a curled position. Hinata started tearing up, but she clenched her hands together and covered her face immediately, wanting to hide from the man in front of her, from everything.

Sasuke frowned promptly, and grasped her wrist firmly, pulling it away from her face. She bit her lip and looked at him with desperate and lost eyes.

"Stop crying. I have to explain everything to you, unless you'd prefer finding out on your own." he gritted out in irritation, roughly pulling her up to her feet as she struggled to balance herself. She fell into his chest, her body still not used to moving after being unconscious for three days straight.

Sasuke grunted, feeling the urge to throw her off, but held onto her petite structure instead as she clenched the front of his shirt for support. He'd have to make her trust him in order to make her do what he wants.

She whispered incoherent words before realizing her throat was dry and sore. She swallowed, wincing at the pain as she tried to push herself off of Sasuke. She wobbled like a newborn chick and ended up sitting back down on the bed.

Sasuke sighed in frustration, waiting for her to say what she wanted to say. Signs of his impatient nature showed clearly.

"W-why did you let me survive…"her voice came out hoarse, and she bit her lip, trying hard to hold in fresh tears that were building up from her already sore eyes. She looked up at him, not caring that she had no idea why Sasuke Uchiha, of all people, would help her out. The only thought that kept circling her mind was why she was still alive when there was nothing waiting for her, no one to welcome her home. There is no where she can call home.

Sasuke clenched his fists together. 'She's just as weak as I expected her to be, how pathetic.' But he chuckled in reply to the first words he was hearing from the girl. Hinata Hyuga, heiress to the almighty Hyuga Clan. The same girl that holds his life in her hands is this weak willed being.

"You can only help yourself Hyuga. Death is the last thing that will bring you and your clan peace. Now tell me, it's revenge you want, right?" he inclined his gaze her way, with nothing but the intention of bringing her down into the darkness.

In his imagination, black snakes were coiling around her, engulfing her in false resolves and visions. They will slither over her eyes and blind her from the truth. Even with the "all seeing" Byakugan, she won't be able to see anything at all. She'll be stuck in an eternal abyss. Hinata will go through the path he once went through. It's the only way she'll be able to live, and in return, he'll survive through her suffering.

"Neji nii san…"she clutched the bed sheets tightly, showing her knuckles turn snow white in the process. Tears finally streamed down her cheeks once again. Malice was laced in her tone, as soft and gentle as her words may have sounded Sasuke knows she is holding hidden hatred for this man. It pleased Sasuke to no end to find that as innocent as she may seem, she can harbour feelings of hate too. She's just as human as anyone else.

Sasuke took a minute to think about the name she called out. He vaguely remembers that he once had interest in fighting the so called "Hyuga prodigy". Sasuke thought harder, racking his brain for any further information he can draw upon that single name.

His eyes widened upon realization. This must be one of the vital reasons why she was chosen to take on the burden of the massacre. She's part of the main family in her clan, one the most prestigious clans in Konoha. Not only that, but she had an overshadowing prodigy brother figure in her way. From Uchiha to Hyuga, from Itachi to Neji...from him to Hinata.

Their family histories are almost identical. Sasuke has no doubt that the jutsu could not have been mistaken now that he has pieced all the fragments together. This girl was destined to take on his misfortune.

For now, he'd have to explain their situation hastily, before any of the clan members wake up.

"Mikoto, my mother, is very...fond of you." Sasuke stopped to analyze her reaction. He needed to draw information from her reactions so he'd know what to say next.

Hinata actually looked up at him, with a tint of hope glazing over her tiny figure as she sat up straighter, wanting to hear more from him.

And that's when Sasuke figured out how exactly he'd catch her in his trap. She won't be able to stray away from him now.

"My mother wants to take care of you, but there is a condition. If you want a mother's love, if you don't want to live the rest of your life alone, follow everything I tell you to do. For now, what the clan knows is that you're my girlfriend. They think I'm...in love with you." Sasuke cringed at the thought, but kept his voice straight and firm. He does not know what it's like to be in love.

He doubts he ever will.

But Sasuke continued, pushing his thoughts to the farthest parts of his mind. If he were to think that he can't pull off pretending to be in love, he might not actually be able to.

"We have to be convincing to make them give permission for you to stay, even when not a hint of Uchiha blood is in your veins."

She did not reply, but was looking at him with a hesitant look.

"Okay..."she whispered.

Sasuke was taken back by her fast reply. He thought she'd at least hesitate and ponder for a little bit more before answering, but the mention of his mother seemed to make up her mind.

"If... If I do as you say, promise me s-something." Her voice finally sounded normal, with her light tone of speech ringing in his head for bit. It isn't annoying, not as much as he expected it to be. But her stuttering did bother him a bit.

"Train me. P-please train me." she looked at him pleadingly, desperate lavender eyes searched his dark ones, and he looked away.

He wants to say no. But even he has to agree that this would be the best case scenario. Hinata wants revenge. She wants to murder Neji with the same hatred he had harboured for Itachi not too long ago. Sasuke doesn't mind that she's consuming herself in dark and malicious desires. He wants her to suffer, after all.

His prime concern is keeping her alive anyway, and training will ensure that she will be able to protect herself in the future, on her own.

"Fine." he muttered under his breath, his answer barely audible. But Hinata heard it. And she didn't make any further sound than a simple thank you in return.

"I'm doing this for my mother, not for you." He wants to make it clear to her that she doesn't mean anything to him.

She made a small nod of understanding, looking away from him right after as her mind was already off of Sasuke and in another place altogether. She was thinking about how she would've reacted if the massacre didn't happen. She would have been blushing, repeatedly refusing this act of pretending to be in an intimate relationship with Sasuke.

But right now, it seems like such an insignificant and minor dilemma. She can only imagine it as a tiny island in the middle of an ocean.

She feels numb to everything. The heat that always rushes to her cheeks on an abnormal rate seems dormant, distant and just gone for the most part. She doesn't feel like Hinata. She doesn't feel like the Hinata Kiba can openly joke around with, that Shino listens to when she needs someone to talk to. She feels far from that now.

'Hinata Hyuga.' She repeated her name over and over mentally until it was losing its own meaning. Now even her name sounds unfamiliar to her. She really will lose herself, she realizes.

Reserved footsteps entered the room, and Sasuke recognized them immediately. The strong presence that always accompanied them allows Sasuke to distinguish who it is instantly.

"Nii san."

Itachi looked towards Sasuke, and then to Hinata, taking in her crushed stature. He looked away, his emotionless mask covering the wounded expression that only Sasuke had seen. The last time he even saw Itachi show an ounce of such an emotion was after he had massacred the clan. The glimpse of Itachi he thought wasn't real, when a single tear slipped from his brother's eye as he turned to leave, leaving him traumatized and alone.

Hinata too, after hearing Itachi come in, finally looked up. Her hollow eyes lingered on Itachi, a gaze of lost longing was present. It was like she was feeling something she couldn't quite express, and so she fixed her gaze on the floor, all emotion lost from her again.

What exactly is he missing here? Sasuke was really getting frustrated, seeing all these clues and yet they were not enough to tell him what he doesn't know.

"The clan's outside outoto, don't keep them waiting." Itachi took one last glance at Hinata, and then turned to leave. As subtle as Itachi tried to make it, it was obvious to his brother that this is far from Itachi's usual passive behavior.

Sasuke walked towards Hinata, grabbing her by her arm as he roughly pulled her to stand. She winced. She could finally stand on her own, but she didn't want to stand alongside Sasuke. Hinata was at least a good meter away from the Uchiha. It was sorely obvious she was uncomfortable with him.

Sasuke realized he was handling her wrong. From now on, they'll be pronounced as lovers by everyone. He can't risk any sort of suspicion, especially under his brother's calculative and sharp eyes.

He swallowed his ego and snatched her hand into his, mumbling a few profanities because they'll never succeed with such half assed acting. Her cold hands met his warms ones and Sasuke just felt like he was holding a corpse. He grasped her hand tighter, feeling the sudden urge to check if she's alive.

Her hand twitched in response, like she was still unsure of what they were about to do. He sighed and rolled his eyes. Sasuke knows the reason why she isn't responding to any of his actions. It'll take a while for her to figure out how to express herself when she is already so drained of emotion.

Yet it didn't take long for her to show emotion the minute Itachi came into her view. It irked Sasuke.

He's going to have to look into that more. Her connection to his brother is intriguing, but it is putting Sasuke in an agitated mood simultaneously.

"I swear Hyuga, if you can't pull your own weight in this plan I will throw you out of the Uchiha compound myself." It was a bluff of course, but Sasuke thought putting her into the fire would bring out a better "performance" out of her dead soul.

He felt her hand slowly return his hold on hers. She just made a contract with the devil. He grinned subtly, his dark bangs hanging over his face like a curtain. He's got her by the throat, right where he wants her.

Itachi held onto his perfect façade of an unfazed individual, thinking about Hinata as he gazed at the growing crowd outside their household. The whole of the Uchiha Clan is here, and even their father seemed intrigued enough to put his clan leader responsibilities aside.

The faint memory of a little girl clenching the back of his shirt came into his mind, and he realized just how much time has passed since he last talked to Hinata. It's unfortunate that this tragedy is what was bringing them together again.

It bothers him that he didn't know his brother had gotten in contact with her. That they have had enough contact to form such a relationship. It was far from convincing, seeing as Sasuke was never one to return feelings he isn't familiar with. It came as a big surprise that even his brother would one day show interest in the female species.

It may have been his guess that they are a couple, and thus forcing Sasuke to come out with the truth, but Itachi is more than skeptical now. Sasuke didn't even look concerned for her.

He'll found out what it is soon enough. The more he can understand about his brother and Hinata, the better.

"Three days have passed as of now, Hinata sama… I'm sorry." Neji held his head in his hands, wanting nothing more than to run a kunai through himself.

Neji has done it. He eliminated his own clan for Konoha. He left his team behind, he left Hinata behind. The impulse to check on her is hard to ignore, and he's far from being forgiven now.

He laughed dryly, knowing that he has changed Hinata for the worse. Will she come after him just as he had asked? Will she become stronger because of the dark path he has laid in front of her?

Kisame chuckled at Neji's state, "Oi, you going senile already Hyuga?"

Neji glared in return, not responding to the blue skinned man's tendency to bring up childish comments. Neji had only recently joined the Akatsuki, and it was already proving to be a shit filled experience.

He's repulsed by the thought of himself as an Akatsuki. He wants so much to just rip off this god damned cloak and go back to Konoha to care for his cousin. But this cloak resembling the appearance of a shinigami is glued to him now.

He remembers how hard he was training to become a prodigy. He needed a high ranked profile in order to be considered by enemy organizations like this. And it just so happened that he made it into the most heinous one of them all.

At thirteen years old he knew he had the raw talent, and so did the elders of Konoha. But he was still young, too inexperienced to pull off this task to its full extent. To take the Hyuga Clan on, with the bird cage seal as a constraint, made it hard to attain the skills he needed to destroy it.

The teenage years he spent showing Hinata how much he "hated" her were just mere attempts to push her away from him. She's the only one he really cared for, the only one that really mattered to him. It was because they were both innocent children. They never wanted anything that happened to them, and she was the only one that could understand that. But being a child living in bliss is far from reality. During the chuunin exam he showed the worst he could to her, in hopes that she'll hate him enough to be able to kill him when the time comes.

It's true she was scared of him. She kept her distance, avoiding eye contact and didn't dare to speak with him. But she never once learned to hate him. She kept forgiving him, over and over until Neji himself couldn't keep track of what his main goal was. He eventually grew closer to her, and now it hurts her more now that she has witnessed her beloved nii san kill their own clan. It wasn't supposed to hurt this much, it wasn't supposed to hurt Hinata or himself if they had only kept each other at a stranger's distance.

Because she is so gentle, he needed to hurt her. Hinata is too forgiving, and so he had to do the unforgiving. The massacre of their clan draws a fine line between them that he'll never get to cross ever again.

It pains him immensely. He thought harder about it, causing his head to pound and making it hard for him to breathe. Neji coughed roughly, dry air making it out of his lungs as he struggled to steady the unpleasant sounds coming from his mouth. He gripped his mouth with his hand, coughing a warm substance out. Neji pulled his hand away to take a look, and his eyes widened at the rich red blood that trickled down his palm.

He chuckled as a tear slipped down his cheek. He deserves this.

Neji then wiped his hand on his cloak, making the red liquid disappear into nothing as it blended with the already red clouds that patterned his jet black clothing.

He stood up and tipped his straw hat down, covering his face as he walked ahead of Kisame. The sun was beating down on them, bright and radiant. It may be the beginning of the day, but as far as he's concerned, it is the end of his life. His future is bleak and condemned now.

And there is nothing left to look forward to.

Whispers and expressions of utter bewilderment danced throughout the compound. Sasuke stood in front of his clan, his father, his mother and his brother. His heart beat rapidly, wanting to burst out of his chest as he inhaled and exhaled in consistent deep breathes. It's an understatement to say that he is happy. All the eyes that resembled his were staring at him, sinking in this feeling of sheer elatedness. It's finally embedding into Sasuke's mind that all of them are alive.

Fugaku, his father, gazed at Sasuke with a stern and calculative look. Sasuke promised himself he'd restrain such emotions. But he couldn't help but let the corner of his mouth curve into a content grin. He let the warmth of knowing all of them are alive sink in, like the satisfaction of a cold drink flooding down your throat on a scorching hot summer day. Each Uchiha face his eyes met would add on to filling his quench for family. His sense of loneliness is all of a sudden lost from him. Dark thoughts that always circled his mind were drifting out of his head like balloons into a clear blue sky. Familiar dark eyes from his clan looked on in shock as a tear fell from his unknowing eye.

The shock really is getting to him, he realized, wiping it subtly, as if he was just fixing his bangs. But everyone there saw it. They saw Sasuke Uchiha cry, which is one of the rarest things to come upon these days. The stoic son of the main Uchiha family would never let his guard down so easily.

But happiness, though it may feel unending, really is impermanent. Good things don't last long when you get caught up in them. The tiny hands that were intertwined with his brought him back down to earth. He feels his stomach drop all of a sudden and his chest tightens uncomfortably. He can die any day now because of this god damned Hyuga.

He clenches her hand in his tightly, earning a grunt of pain from the victim.

"I hate you." Strong malicious words left his mouth then, reaching her ears like an arrow to its target. She looked away from him, emotion finally starting to stir within her from those few words. It pleases Sasuke that he hurt her. She deserves it.

No one suspected anything of the couple. No one expect for Itachi. His sharingan activated the minute he saw Hinata wince. And because of this, he caught the words that had left Sasuke's mouth. He deactivated his Sharingan quickly, letting the bright red settle back into his natural pure black eyes.

"You've all been informed of the occurrence concerning the Hyuga Clan." Sasuke let the words roll from his tongue, feeling pride and power as every eye in the crowd was trained on him.

"I-" he stopped in his tracks, pondered his next few words and continued, "We haven't been open about our relationship. This girl before you is the sole Hyuga survivor, and also, my lover." Whispers and gossip quickly sprung from the audience, but Sasuke definitely wouldn't give them a chance to disagree.

"If you think she will disgrace the Uchiha Clan and stain our name then you can think the same for me. If you wish to throw her out, like a stray cat, then throw me along with her." Itachi mentally applauded his brother for his fraud performance.

'Well played outouto, well played. You might have been able to fool even me.' But Itachi knows the truth. He knows very well that he couldn't care less about Hinata.

Fugaku cleared his throat, clearing a path for himself as every person in his way moved to the side in respect.

"This is too sudden, Sasuke. I don't want the burden of this gir-"Mikoto promptly whacked her husband, with the strength leveling that of a professional jounin.

He mumbled words of pain but was silenced completely by his wife whose face had distorted into that of a demon.

"Our son loves her, so we're going to accept her, okay?" She smiled sweetly, but obvious killing intent laced her tone as Fugaku swallowed every doubt he had about Hinata seconds ago.

He grunted and fixed his stature before saying," F-fine. Sasuke, if that's what you want then by all means do what you want. But if this affects the clan in any way I have the right to do away with the Hyuga." He left after that, with his arms crossed and the stone hard face he always has plastered on. Fugaku tried to seem already disinterested, but in reality he was very irked by how much power his wife holds over him.

He was also still very weary of having a Hyuga amongst his Clan.

Sasuke let his father's voice sink in. He let everything sink in to every part and fiber of his body until he could feel different emotions waiting to pour out. He wanted to shout to the Heavens that he had cheated God. His father is alive. This is his new life, his new reality.

Various members of the Clan stole glances at Hinata, some with pitying expressions while others were shown to be envious. But for the most part they displayed looks of shock and disbelief.

Slowly, the crowd began to disperse. Gossip was spreading fast, and soon all of Konoha will be informed.

Mikoto walked over to Sasuke and Hinata with a saddened expression spread across her face. She was close to tears as she held Hinata's hands in hers. Weirdly enough, Hinata's hands are colder now than they were when she was unconscious. She seems deader now than she was when she was on her hospital bed. Mikoto could not fathom why, but it grieved her further as the tears finally dropped from her dark eyes.

It's the first time she's seeing Hinata awake, and it's almost as if meeting a long lost daughter. Hinata is important to her, and so was Hinata's mother. Hinata's mother, to her, was her bestfriend. She'll never forget her bestfriend as long as she can feel and see the strong resemblance of her in Hinata.

But right now, this girl is not 's a body without a soul, gone without a hugged Hinata tightly, earning a slight sigh from Sasuke who was still confused as fuck. Hinata's hands slowly returned the hug, the love and attachment Mikoto was showing her was bringing out lost emotions in her.

She's just like her mother.

Warm tears sprung from Hinata's eyes, catching both Mikoto and Sasuke off guard. Hinata furiously tried to wipe them away, trying to smile in front of this lady who was caring so much for her. But she couldn't smile, and she ended up sobbing instead.

Mikoto pulled away, feeling her heart wrench at the sight of Hinata. She hugged Hinata again, saying so many things but at the same time saying nothing at all, because nothing can fix what she had lost. Nothing she says will bring back the hope in this lost girl.

"Kisame, I'm going." Neji walked off, done arguing with his so called teammate about his venture back to Konoha.

The blue skinned swordsman laughed, "You're too soft Neji. If the others hear of this they won't let it go."

"This'll be the last time, so spare me this." Neji hissed, glaring at Kisame with his Byakugan fully activated. The veins on both sides of his eyes tensed violently.

"Fine, fine. But I aint gonna wait forever, you got it?" Kisame sat on the floor, his legs crossed and his eyes glinting with amusement. Neji is not suited to be in the Akatsuki. But he's gotta admit, the kid's got spunk.

Neji sighed in relief, his Byakugan receding back to normal. This is probably the only time he can actually admit that he's glad Kisame is his partner. If it were any of the other members, they would not stand for it.

But for just one last time, he wants to see Hinata.

Solemn faces exchanged looks while pondering just what choice of action they should go with. The group consisted of the rookie 9. Tenten, Lee, and Gai Sensei seemed to be in the gravest state. The usual lively and active duo was uncharacteristically distraught. And Tenten silently sobbed to herself, not wanting to believe that Neji was able to do this.

Tsunade had arranged a meeting with everyone beforehand, relaying what the anbu had collected from the scene of the tragic massacre. Everything, all of the evidence, pointed in Neji's direction. He has a motive, the skill, and he is missing from Konoha. As much as Tsunade hated to admit it to them, they had been deceived.

"He'd never… he wouldn't…" Tenten tried to convince the rest out of thinking cruelly about Neji.

Kiba stopped her abruptly, shouting as he cut her off," Don't try siding with that traitor! Do you realize how much pain Hinata is in right now? And all you can think about is your bastard of a teammate!"

Then arguing ensued, causing the air in their meeting room to tense even more.

"Shut up, everyone!" Sakura was getting tired or everyone's bullshit, wanting to get to a solution that will actually help them. She had already made her point of being pissed off by driving her hand into the wall, shattering it into pieces instantly.

Naruto made a noise of frustration and stood up, making his way to the door.

"And where do you think you're going?" Sakura narrowed her eyes at the blonde teen, getting ready to aim one of her punches and embed it into his head permanently.

"Where else? We have to see Hinata chan! I heard Sasuke took her in."

"What?" Everyone looked at Naruto in shock.

He tilted his head to the side, wondering why they were so surprised. His eyes widened upon realization at what he had just said. Sweat started forming on the sides of his face as he slowly turned to find Sakura loom over him with intense killing intent.

They weren't supposed to release that info to them just yet. What everyone knows is that Hinata is with the anbu for questioning and treatment from the trauma.

Kakashi cleared his throat, finally closing his indecent Icha Icha Paradise volume which he surprisingly couldn't concentrate on at all. He found himself reading over lines and forgetting what he had just read the minute he finished. He was getting nowhere, and this troubled him immensely.

"No one is going to the Uchiha Compound."

"And why the hell not?" Kiba shouted, tapping his foot impatiently because he wanted so bad to just run to Hinata's side.

"We don't want to rush her. She's going through something serious, and nothing we say or do will help anything. If the Hokage deemed it helpful that she stay with the Uchihas, we'll trust in her decision."

Everyone let his assessment sink in. It's painful how true his words are, how this feeling of uselessness was creeping on them. They really can't do anything that will help her.

"When the right time comes, Sasuke will tell us."

After having talked to Mikoto, Hinata could feel herself again. Emotions had seeped into her like a sponge absorbing water.

Mikoto is so much like her mother that it pains her to be separated from her. She knows she can't always be by her side, because she's supposed to be at Sasuke's. But seeing her once in a while does the magic of bringing up her spirits, if even by so little, it's still something Hinata can hold onto.

Hinata retreated back into Sasuke's room immediately after the clan announcement, and after having talked to Sasuke's mother. Right now, she wants to be alone. She doesn't feel hungry, even when everything inside her is empty. She feels numb to such needs, she wants something else. Hinata feels this strong urge for something, but she doesn't know what.


She finds her mind circling around this word, and slowly, it seems to appeal to her more than anything else.

Sasuke had left her long ago, not talking to her the minute the clan had dispersed. He knows her will to live has increased, and that the chances of her dying tonight are low. When he doesn't need to play the role of her savior, he can do whatever he wants. Hinata noticed that the air around him had changed. His eyes seemed to light up like a candle when he left her to roam around the compound. The look in his eyes showed so much longing and nostalgia that Hinata had to wonder if he really was Sasuke. It was strange.

Her shadow cast upon the floor as Sasuke's lamp glowed faintly behind her. She has been sitting in the same spot for hours now. Her shadow, a dark version of her greeted her invitingly. She put her hand out, seeing it mimic her scares her. This shadow is hers, but she feels that this is all she'll be later on. A shadow without a face, a shadow no one will care about.

A soft knock on the door caused her trance to dissolve instantly. She looked to see Itachi open the door, a fairly calm expression gracing his features, even when he was wearing his anbu gear covered in blood. He had gone out for a mission in the afternoon and finished early.

Her first crush. Her first love, right in front of her, and yet she cannot react at all. It's a bittersweet reunion for them, after all.

They shared a sort of look of mutual understanding. They understood that any form, or choice of words wouldn't be right to describe this situation. Itachi walked outside, and Hinata followed, knowing that he isn't the kind to cry for her or pity her.

He's treating her as she wants to be treated. He does not see her as a wounded animal that is not able to help herself.

He sat down on the wooden floorboards, the moon gracing them with its presence as it shone brightly, casting a nice glow to both of their faces.

The breeze blew around them, cold but gentle. It's a nice night outside, and she would've been cooped up inside Sasuke's room for the rest of the night if it weren't for Itachi. She might have even gone insane by then, because being left to her own poisoning contemplations doesn't seem safe.

They stayed silent for a few minutes, letting their thoughts settle and letting a comfortable silence fall upon them.

"You do not love my brother." He stated bluntly, not sugar coating it in any way because he is just not that kind of person. He'll get to the point, get his facts straight, and assess the circumstances with accuracy.

She bit her lip, looking down in shame, wanting to apologize. Her childhood friend, this man beside her that means so much to her is someone she does not want to lie to. She loves him, a long time crush that grew as her admiration for him progressed into something deeper. But he doesn't know this, he'll never know because she never had the will to confess.

"Are you unable to respond? Should I take it that this proclamation of love for you, by my own brother, is false?"

Still, she stayed quiet. She doesn't know what to say. It is just her first day in the Uchiha Compound and she is already ruining this for Sasuke and herself. She'll be kicked out in no time.

Itachi sighed, not a frustrated one. But more like a sigh that said, "It's fine if you don't want to tell me right now."

She appreciates it.

He ruffles her hair lightly, an action that is so tender and familiar that it forces her to realize he is the same boy that helped her gain confidence long ago. Not much has changed even when both of them have aged throughout time.

But this moment is only temporary because Itachi's Sharingan activates and flashes dangerously as his piercing red eyes glow into the darkness. Hinata heart stops at the ferocity in them.

He dashes to the woods nearby and she hears a clang of metal against each other. The two figures commence complex taijutsu. Itachi's anbu uniform gleamed in the darkness as the figure clad in black gracefully dodged oncoming and lethal attacks.

The only pair of Byakugan eyes left in this world, aside from hers, glowed light lavender. It is such a gentle and pretty colour, yet it is only used for such malicious intent. Hinata can feel her heart tighten dangerously and her palms sweat profusely.

Neji has come all this way, risking himself at the residence of the Uchihas, just so he can kill her. Not even a week has passed and he has already deemed it the right time to get rid of her.

The metal of both Itachi's and Neji's weapons clash again and Hinata can hear herself scream.

If Itachi hadn't been here, she would have been dead by now.

This is not what Neji wanted. He was supposed to watch quietly in the night, make sure she is alive, that she isn't in the wrong care.

He regrets he came. He came because of his purely selfish reasons. His cousin's scream pierces into his ears and echoes into his mind. Neji's heart beats harshly against his chest. He can feel his eyesight flickering before him, and his body starts to slow down as Itachi lands a hard blow to his rib cage.

Warm liquid trickles from the corner of his mouth.

Neji realizes that even with the immense pain in every part of his body, Hinata's screams of torment hurt him more.

Thanks so much to my beta reader saucekaay! You did an awesome job the last chapter, and for this chapter too. I love you! ;A;

If you have any suggestions or comments, I'd be happy to take them ;u;

Also, if you have any questions you want answered about this chapter, don't be afraid to pm me :D