Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto


Chapter 13

"We knew you would pass Gaara. Now you're one step closer to your goal." Kankuro's painted face held a smile for his brother's success. After everything he went through he deserved happiness, even if he couldn't bring himself to say it out loud. "Let's celebrate! As soon as we find an inn we'll—"

"We'll rest and find that hospital to keep an eye on that Konoha nin." Apparently only Kankuro seemed disappointed with this arrangement. He was about to complain when Temari interjected.

"He's right. Besides, I've received a letter from the Hokage. She's asked us to look after her until she's healthy enough to go back home. She was on a mission with her cousin but they were attacked by rogue ninja. She's the only survivor which explains why she was so wounded." But not why she was traveling in the opposite direction of her home destination. After finding out about the kunoichi's gender, calling her her got easier. But babysitting was not something any of them had in mind, although questioning her was in order.

Seeing as she was from Konoha, Gaara felt as if he owed Naruto the graciousness to keep an eye on someone he knew. He could still remember when Naruto stood up for her during the exams in Konoha, although the girl in question didn't make much of an impact on him until recently. He would have a few questions for her when she got better, and hopefully maybe a few sparring matches, unless she feared him like the others. He could remember all the hate he would receive, all the fear and how he felt so alone for years. But then he met Naruto and he changed everything.

"It's almost unbearable, isn't it… the pain of being all alone. I know that feeling; I've been there, in that dark and lonely place, but now there are others, other people who mean a lot to me. I care more about them than I do myself, and I won't let anyone hurt them. That's why I'll never give up. I will stop you, even if I have to kill you! They saved me from myself. They rescued me from my loneliness. They were the first to accept me as who I am. They're my friends."

Those words opened his eyes and new feelings emerged with them, especially when he was defeated. He questioned his own path, what he had been doing until then. In the end he decided to follow Naruto's path and has come one step closer to becoming the Kage of Sunagakure. He knew there would be many obstacles and this kunoichi was one of them. He wanted a peaceful relationship with Konoha so keeping an eye on her would be beneficial to his plans.

Luckily for them all his battle with Naruto had occurred outside of Konoha. While all the ninja were trying to stop Orochimaru, Gaara's battle was far away and only a scant few knew what had really happened, those being his siblings, Naruto and the rest of his team, so she would have no reason to fear or doubt him when he gave a, albeit false, reason to why she's at the hospital. They still needed more information though, which was difficult to get at the moment.

"The sooner we get there, the sooner we finish…and you can get your celebration Kankuro." The reluctance was obvious in his voice but his brother was oblivious to this. He picked up speed and with joy exclaimed,

"What are we waiting for then? Let's get going! The sooner the brat goes home the sooner we can party!" That earned him a smack from Temari. This is going to be a long trip back home. A long sigh was emitted from three reluctant ninja.

"Now I want you to hold still miss. I have to change your bandages and if you keep squirming it's just going to get difficult." At this point Hinata just gave up putting up a fight. When she woke up the situation was explained and she didn't see the point in trying to escape and possibly damage her eyesight further. Come what may, she'll cross that bridge when she gets to it.

"How long will I be here?" The lackluster tone in her question showed her exhaustion.

"It all depends on how you heal up. After that we will start your physical therapy. Your body suffered a bit from that heat stroke and with the surgery you'll need a lot of rest so you don't strain your eyes."

A scowl was all that was seen of Hinata's facial expressions. "When will be the soonest I can start the therapy?"

A sigh was heard. "Judging by your healing capabilities a few days, but I suggest you wait a few more weeks." Hinata was about to argue her case when the doctor bonked her on the head gently with his clipboard. "I may not have your medical reports but I know a surgical scar when I see one. Your heart was damaged and even though it looks like it's been some time since then, the strain has made it weaker, and I suggest waiting a few weeks. I am your doctor; I will not have you compromising your health while I watch over you."

A small giggle was heard, which soon turned to laughter. The doctor was shocked and wide-eyed at the sound. A soft husky sound was all that it was but it was soothing in a way.

"I appreciate that, I really do, but my life is already forfeit. I was born to protect those who are important to me, and I came here to get stronger which resulted in my injury. I know you noticed my tattoo on my forehead. In my family that means my life is nothing more than a shield for the higher ups. But I am willing to watch over those people because they are important to me as well. I am a ninja, I know that my life may end soon, I really don't expect to live a long life so I'm sorry but I can't follow your orders."

With a resigned sigh, he left her with a bit of remorse pulsing through his body. Here was a patient who neither he nor any doctor would be able to save when the time came. It was a painful revelation.

Hinata heard his footsteps receding, and even though her body was pumped with pain killers because of the surgery, she released a thin layer of her chakra in the room to get a layout but only managed a rough sketch in her head. A few seconds of using her chakra made her weak and paler than what she already was. I'll need to be able to move and manipulate chakra if I want to start my training again. Once I go back to Konoha, I'll have to keep a close eye on the Elders. While I'm in this state they may send more people after me and if I'm gone who knows what may happen to my family and as a result the village.

With nothing left to lose Hinata decided to get some rest; anything to speed up the healing process.

The word kept flashing through his head, "injured," circling inside him with the deadly accuracy of a jounin's kunai. He knows he wasn't told everything, but to find out about Hinata's injury, a slight injury according to Tsunade, scared him more than anything and by the look on his aunt's face it wasn't something small like he hoped. When he made a fuss to know more he had to be escorted out, being scolded by the Anbu member to keep calm. Anything could be happening but he wasn't allowed to interfere and it killed him. After all this was his cousin, his family and even though Hinata was born to protect him, Neji thought it only fair to protect him as well.

"Dammit." With a final sigh Neji goes off to train, if only to keep him distracted. He would visit Ko's grave later that day, asking questions that he knows won't be answered, not yet anyway.

A door was slammed open and before Hinata could do anything, she felt herself being pinned to the wall by something cold, grainy and hard.

"Tell me why I shouldn't kill you right here, right now?" The voice wasn't deep but it was husky and very monotone. The grains were getting into her clothes and she found it starting to itch, her skin unused to the harsh reaction the item was having on her skin.

"Maybe you should answer why you brought me here in the first place. If you wanted me dead why did you do it when I was unconscious in the sand?" She felt the grains tighten around her body, feeling her ribs being pushed against her lungs leading to a coughing fit.

"What an underhanded way to attack though; while I'm blind and without use of my chakra, I'm nothing more than an injured civilian." The smirk and lack of fear in her voice is what made Gaara voice his opinion.

"You're either very stupid or over confident which just makes you more of an idiot in my head. You still haven't answered my question, why shouldn't I kill you? All I need to do now is just add a bit more chakra in my sand and you'll be crushed." If anything Gaara wanted to test this kunoichi, see if she could talk her way out of this situation and explain exactly what she was doing out in the desert alone.

A sigh was all that escaped her mouth, one of resignation and exhaustion.

"What will you gain from my story?" Her voice was so tired and emotionless at this point. She wasn't supposed to be captured; she was never supposed to have her identity revealed; if what she suspected was true, then her Hokage may already know of her secret and has revealed it to the Elders.

"Maybe I may gain the insight as to why so many are willing to protect you. Your Hokage specifically told us not to reveal you and to protect you until you are healthy enough to return home."

Even with her eyes covered with bandages, a look of shock and disbelief was apparent. If the Hokage knows, then does that mean…that everyone else knows as well?

The sand's pressure started to lessen and Hinata felt her body slide down the wall but she could still feel little grains on her fingertips.

"It all started on December 27th—"

"Hanabi, I know this must all be shocking for you, but until your bro- no sister returns, I won't be able to fully explain. Please be patient and forgive this mother of yours for any pain you may be experiencing." With a clenched fist and closed eyes, Hanabi launched herself on her mother, trembling. She was confused on how to feel and what to think. She wanted to hate her mother and father for doing this, at Hinata for deceiving her, at Neji and her uncle for being in the main branch who made the rules resulting in this current situation. But mostly she was angry and ashamed of herself for not noticing earlier on and living in her own little world of happiness when her sibling was suffering a life she couldn't even imagine. It was too cruel to even imagine especially when she remembered the wounds, the words, and the backlash for everything. How Hinata got punished, pushed around, and when protecting her. Maybe if I had noticed I could've protected her. If only…

Sobs were heard from the Branch House and it didn't let up until late into the night.

Merry Christmas! Yes I'm back and I'm sorry for the wait. With school, midterms and finals i have had no time. I have also had a serious case of writer's block so this may be a bit of a rusty chapter but it will get better I promise. I will complete this story!

Please Comment and Review...I'll see you guys soon