A/N: I don't own Naruto, otherwise Jiraiya would still be alive. That sucked.
This is my fic, synopsis would be this: Hinata is taken under the wing of one Mitarashi Anko. Watch her as she blossoms into more than just about anyone expected. Pairings possible Naruto, but nothing set in stone. Pairings would be coming way, way later.
This is Hina-centric big time. In this fic Naruto is not really a big factor for her, for reasons that will be explained later. They might pair but Hina needs to be developed, so he will not come along until way later in the story.
I hope you enjoy. This chapter is short, so forgive that. I don't plan on making chapters of this length too often.
Any deviations from cannon please take it in stride, though I don't think there will be many. Still, this is fanfiction you know P
(A/N: I'm reposting this story. This story was originally under the name White Snake by the author ThreeJewels. Well, ThreeJewels is me! :D. But due to some problems with my hotmail account linked to that screen name, I've had to completely abandon that name. I'm going to be reposting the story so far bit by bit and hopefully continue it. For those of you who liked the story and have not had an update in years, I want to say thank you for reviewing, liking, and reading the story. I feel a good ammount of time has passed and I've re-discovered my fan fiction muse. Thank you all very much =]. I hope you keep reading! And to any new readers... I hope you enjoy the story. IMO when re-reading it it could use some polishing. But plenty of people seemed to like it, so I hope anyone new will too).
Kurenai sat in Mihoi Café early in the morning, sharing an early morning breakfast with one of the more unusual Jounin in all of Konoha (as far as she could tell only second to their green spandex-clad counterpart). Yuhi Kurenai couldn't help but frown at the choice of drink her friend had so early in the morning.
"You know Anko, sake is not typically considered a breakfast drink" she said as she drank her own tea. They had come here to have a Western breakfast, as they usually did once a month just to keep track of each other. They had been friends for a long time, though Kurenai sometimes wondered how she had lasted as the eccentric and violent woman's friend for so long. Something about her own great capacity for patience, she mused.
Mitarashi Anko drank her cup of sake in basically one shot, and then moved to refill it. "You know Yuhi, we hardly get to go drinking anymore," she said with a sly smile as she raised the cup to her lips. "You can't blame me for trying to make up for the time we miss together. And what does the time of day have to do with anything, mind you?" she asked in an innocent and teasing voice.
Kurenai shook her head, knowing it was pointless to argue with the woman. If she wanted to drink at eight in the morning, that was her business, thought Kurenai could not help but worry some for the friend. She wondered if it was the same issue that had always been with her that had her drinking early in the morning, or if she was just doing something crazy like she tended to do for no reason. Either way, the mood was light and now was not the time for such an inquiry.
They made small talk, Anko becoming overly excited and exclaiming loudly when some Western breakfast delicacy called a crepe was put before them.
"Hey, old man, whip us up an order of dango while you're here will you?" Anko said to the waiter turning to look at him.
The man frowned, he couldn't have been older than forty, and said with some stiffness in his voice, "I'm sorry ma'am, but we do not serve that kind of food on the breakfast menu…"
Anko's hand moved lighting fast to her head, as if she was going to scratch an itch on the back of her neck. The motion however caused a kunai to fly out of her sleeve and passing within an inch of the man's neck, imbedding itself on a wood column ten feet behind him. The man froze and looked around, then back to the women again, a frightened look on his face as he realized what had just happened.
"Oops, sorry! I forget I keep that in there sometimes," said Anko with a not so convincing self deprecating laugh. "Now," she said, pulling another kunai out of somewhere and casually cleaning her fingernails with the tip, "I know turning an oven on and making some pre-prepared dango would't be too much trouble, now would it? I mean, most people usually make it a point to try and keep shinobi happy. Can't imagine why that would be, though" she said, keeping her voice neutral in a way that was not neutral, and made it sound much more like a veiled threat.
The man only nodded, accenting that he would take care of it, and quickly made off in the other direction. Before he was all the way gone, Anko thought of something else, turned and yelled at the almost-running man "Hey and another bottle of sake while you're at it, old man!"
Kurenai shook her head. "You shouldn't do that to civilians Anko. Intimidating the general population could elicit disciplinary action and a black mark on your record from the Hokage's office. If the waiter or the restaurant owner decided to make an issue out of it Sarutobi would be taking it out of your hide for a month."
Anko just shrugged and crossed her legs casually in a very feminine manner. Kurnai was always wondered how the younger Jounin could be such a tomboy one second and seem so feminine and sultry the moment after. She guessed that was at least one of the reasons why the woman was never short on male company when she wanted it. That the woman made it clear what she wanted from a man in the first minute was probably an attractive factor for the opposite sex as well.
Kurenai chose her words carefully, "you know he wasn't refusing out of personal dislike. Not everyone in this town dislikes you you know."
Anko just shrugged again. "It's my style. He won't go reporting to the Hokage. Most people are too afraid of what I might do to them," then she gave her friend a savage smile, "if they really believe the crap they say about me then they should be smart enough not to go out of their way to make me irritated, otherwise who knows what could happen?" Anko sat back, smiling like a cat and feeling smug. Kurenai just shook her head. The woman went about these things the wrong way, even discounting her abrasive personality and her…strange behaviors. She sadly wondered if the woman had given up trying to be accepted by the general population.
They both turned to their forgotten crapes and started to eat in earnest, and soon along came the waiter with freshly made dango and a hot bottle of sake. He dropped them off and scurried away quickly. Anko offered her some dango, a rare and for the few who knew her a profound sign of trust and friendship, and gladly Kurenai took a couple while Anko consumed over a dozen to finish the plate. Kurenai would have been impressed if she did not know this was like a dango appetizer to the woman. She had personally seen her consume over a hundred and still ask for more. Where the woman put all of that inside her body Kurenai did not know.
When they were done eating and Kurenai sipped her tea while Anko drank her sake, the younger woman asked, "so, what are you up to this morning? I heard you're getting your first genin team. You won't pick them up until later in the morning though. Don't go easy on the brats by the way. So what is it that you have to do so early in the morning?"
Kurenai hesitated before answering, thinking there was no real harm in telling her friend. "Well, as it turns out one of my students is the heiress to the Hyuuga clan," this got a raised eyebrow and a curious look from her friend, "and apparently her father wants to talk to me. It's not common for the Hyuuga to allow their heirs to join a genin team and serve as regular active duty shinobi, but it's not the first time it's ever happened. But I'm not sure why he requested a meeting with me before the teams have even convened. I suppose it might be to request something for his daughter's safety, though he knows I cannot show any favoritism. So I'm not sure what his game it."
Anko thought about this for a minute, playing with a dango stick hanging out of her mouth. Then she smiled sweetly at her friend, "Can I come with, big sister Kurenai? I'm curious to see what the heir to the famousHyuuga clan is like."
"Anko…" began Kurenai in a warning tone, "you're not exactly popular with the Hyuuga's. They still hold a grudge about what you did you know. You won't exactly get a warm greeting. And what are you planning to do, slip a large viper into Hinata's room? Or Hiashi-sama's study? It's not really in your interests of self preservation to go pissing off the Hyuugas," she paused for a minute, "even if you might be entitled to it to some extent."
Anko gave the older Jounin a puppy eye look that Kurenai knew was completely fake, even if it was somewhat convincing.
"No" said the older woman.
"Kurenai," said the younger woman in a oh too sweet voice, with a mischievous and dangerous glint to her eye, "you want me to come."
"No," said the red-eyed woman firmly, looking her friend in the eye. " I don't. It won't do anything but cause more problems. I don't really want to have to deal with a bunch of pissy Hyuuga's."
"I'll behave, Kurenai" said the younger woman with a teasing playfulness to her voice.
Kurenai rolled her eyes. Her friend would not drop the subject until she got what she wanted, she knew from painful experience. This was one of the pains of being friends with such a headstrong woman. Maybe it would just be less painful to let her come, but just make sure she was kept well out of anyone's way. She would get a headache if she had to sit here and argue about this for the next half hour. That decided it for her.
"Fine. But if you want to come you will have to wait while I speak with Hiashi-sama. And if you cause any problems I'll ask Hokage-sama to ban you from all dango serving restaurants in Konoha for a month."
The scowl her friend gave her was divine, that was not a price she was willing to pay to ruffle the skirts of some Hyuuga's. "Fine," she said, leaning back on her chair and stretching her arms overhead, "have it your way."
Kurenai gave her friend a tight smile. "Let's go then."
It wasn't nearly as entertaining coming into the Hyuuga compound as she thought it was going to be, given the circumstances. The two gate sentries were from the branch family, and in their early twenties or late teens did not seem to know who she was. A servant had led them through the large house until they were outside the study of the clan leader, Hiashi, who Anko, despite all the resentment between her and the clan, had never met personally. They never came across or saw another Hyuuga during the whole time they were walking through the estate. It was really uneventful. She was hoping to run into an elder or something, and get some kind of amusing reaction. Sadly, she had promised Kurenai she would be on her best behavior, so she couldn't take the initiative with some "entertainment".
The servant bowed politely to them. "Hiashi-sama is expecting you, Kurenai-san. If you could please go inside and wait, Hiashi-sama will be with you in just a minute." Anko noticed how she had just been politely toldshe wasn't welcome in Hiashi-sama's study. Maybe the servant knew who she was. The grey haired servant certainly seemed old enough. But she doubted it. It was probably just how the anal retentive Hyuuga did things, since the servant had not been told to expect her.
"Thank you, my friend will wait for me out here then." Said Kurenai politely, shooting her friend a meaningful don't you dare do anything look. Anko just smiled at her, something that could either mean she agreed or that she was going to raise hell anyway. Kurenai just shook her head and walked in the study.
Anko had nothing to do but wait in the hallway as the servant left. As the minutes dragged on, she began to get a little restless.
Man, I can't do anything fun to these stuck up pansies, and now I just have to stand here waiting. Maybe it was a bad idea to come after all. Maybe if I only let a few snakes go out and play, Kurenai couldn't get too mad about that…
Eventually from the other room, she heard a door open. Anko smiled. Well, at least she would be able to eavesdrop on whatever Hiashi wanted to talk to Kurenai about. This was considered to be intimately rude, in traditional houses with paper walls people were supposed to pretend like they couldn't hear anything through the walls. It was a nice way to try to maintain privacy, but when someone wanted to listen to you, well, you had better whisper or any half-assed genin or even a civilian might be able to listen in to what you were saying. It gave her a kind of childish satisfaction to be able to rudely eavesdrop on the clan's leader.
Inside, they began, Anko rapt in attention.
"Kurenai-san," began a deep, stern male voice. Anko thought it sounded like the owner of the voice must have had a complete and utter stick up his ass. It clearly had to be Hiashi. This Hyuuga must be a real piece of work, she thought. It was hard to put that much pompous and self importance into a simple greeting.
"Hiashi-sama," replied Kurenai from the other side.
"I've called you here to speak about my daughter. I understand she will be assigned to your team." Anko wanted to gag. The way the man said your teamwas polite enough but dripped with what he thought about what her team would be. He probably thought they would be miles beneath his clan because they would be genin and most likely not from a prestigious house. Typical.
"That is correct, Hinata has been assigned to my team."
There was a pause, and then Hiashi began again, "Kurenai-san, I will get right to the point. Hinata is a failure. She does not have what it takes to lead this clan, she is weak. Because she is so weak and pathetic," he said the last with an angry and bitter tone, "she is being given over to you, to become a genin of Konoha, where hopefully the Hokage might find at least some use for her."
Anko was privately a little bit surprised at the man. She had never heard anyone display such open contempt and dislike when talking to somebody else about their own child. The Special Jounin knew the Hyuuga's were a bunch of self-important assholes, but this man Hiashi seemed to be on a league of his own.
"Hiashi-sama, perhaps…" began Kurenai in a concerned tone. Anko couldn't figure out why that was, but kept on listening.
"No Kurenai-san, this is the way it has to be" the man said sternly. "The truth is her younger sister, five years her junior, beats her handily in every match they have. It is clear to me which of my daughters needs to be groomed as clan head. I wash my hands of my eldest daughter, and will not waste any more time with her. She is yours and the Hokage's to use as you see fit. If she is killed in a mission, I will not care."
He paused for a minute, then added, "However, there is one request I should make. She is my daughter, and it would be shameful to the clan name if my daughter were to fight using anything other than our own Juken. While you can teach her other" he said in a way that made it clear he thought whatever it was would obviously inferior to theirs, "skills, I would like her main fighting techniques to remain the Juken. Is that clear?"
There was a pause, and then Kurenai's voice, "Hai, Hiashi-sama."
"Well then Kurenai-san. We are done here."
A few seconds after she heard a door close, presumably Hiashi leaving the study. A few seconds later, Kurenai opened the door to the hall and walked through. She looked a little bit ill to Anko's eyes.
As they were walking for the exit, neither one of them said a word, Anko with her hands in her coat and Kurenai seeming to be deep in thought. Eventually they found their way back to the entrance (Shinobi have good memories about things like this) and left the Hyuuga compound.
Eventually, growing a little uncomfortable with the silence, Anko said to her friend, "That Hyuuga is a real piece of work. Wouldn't want to be born into that kind of a family. I hope the daughter wasn't anywhere in the whole house, it would suck if she ever heard a third of what her dear otousan said about her. The poor girl might be scarred for life" she said, a little smile playing on her lips. Little things like thinking about scarring someone for life tended to amuse her.
Kurenai, however, had grown pale, and visibly retracted further into her own thoughts when she made that comment.
Anko noticed and frowned at this. "What?"
Kurenai looked up at the sky, a sad look on her face. "Hiashi-sama brought Hinata in with him when he came to talk to me."
Anko gaped at her friend. She had to be kidding. Anko knew she herself was a bitch, and really enjoyed making people miserable and hurting them on occasion, but she was never deliberately cruel to anyone without good reason. And saying all that stuff in front of his own child. For the first time in a long time, Anko felt a real pang of sorrow. For this little girl Hinata who she had never met. She also felt a fresh wave of anger at the Hyuuga clan, as hot again today as it had been all those years ago.
"How could that fucking asshole do that?" she said, more to herself than to her friend.
"Beats the hell out of me," replied Kurenai in what was little more than a whisper, obviously having the same feelings for this girl as Anko was having. Maybe more so, Anko mused, since her friend was much more used to feeling for other people than she was.
And all of a sudden, Anko made an impulsive decision. "Give her to me."
Kurenai turned to look at her friend, genuinely surprised. "What? What do you mean give her to you?"
"Give her to me. She's going to need help if she's going to show that asshole father and that whole stupid clan they made a mistake by kicking her out like yesterday's trash. I'm going to train her. It's not like a genin like her is going to get many opportunities for individual training from a Jounin anyway. She'll need that if she is going to succeed."
"Wha-.. what? Anko, where did this come from?" her friend asked incredulously, "you don't even like kids. And you've never shown any interest in teaching anyone anything before. Why this now? And what do you care if she shows her father he made a mistake?"
Anko lifted one eyebrow up at her friend. "So? Is what I'm doing really that far out of the ordinary?"
They continued walking in silence for a few seconds. Then Kurenai cracked a smile, and said, "You feel sorry for her, don't you?"
Anko shrugged, "maybe a little." Kurenai was surprised by this response, and smiled. She completely expected her friend to deny it vehemently and get to tease her about it a little bit. With the younger woman, what she had just said translated as "this story is breaking my heart" or something equally cliché and overused as that. That sentiment was not something you often got from the Special Jounin.
As she thought about it, Kurenai suspected that at least in part the other woman was this interested in Hinata's situation because, at least in some ways, it probably reminded her of when someone who had been like a father to her had done something close to the same thing. But Kurenai wasn't about to say that outloud. She didn't feel like dodging kunai.
"Come on Kurenai," the other woman began, "you know she's going to be a mess. If that is the kind of abuse she goes through, the girl probably really believes all the crap her father tells her, that she's worthless, useless, weak, all that stuff. She's going to need to get her confidence up to speed before she can even make a half decent genin. Can you really give her the attention she needs while trying to put together a team?"
Kurenai thought about it. Maybe Anko had some good points. But still… "you just want her for yourself, don't you? Want to shape her your own little way?" she said, with more bite than she was usually used in her conversations, but staying from being hostile, "You know the Hyuuga's will have a stroke when they find out who has been training their heir… or rather ex-heir, though being the eldest child still gives her prestige within the clan. You're just looking for the outrage and to rub something in the Hyuuga's face, aren't you?"
Anko grinned, "yes, I admit that is a small part of it. But," she said seriously, "I think it will be good for the girl. You know that in the long term apprenticing her to train with me will probably be what is best for her. Don't be selfish Kurenai, I can tell you want to groom and help this girl yourself, you always were the 'save the kicked puppy' sort. But with a team to take care of you'll only be able to do a half-assed job at best."
Kurenai sighed. It was true that she would rather take the girl on and try to help her herself. In a team setting thought, where she could not take any more time with one student than the others, at least in theory, it would probably take a very long time for her to have the effect she needed to really make the girl into a confident and competent shinobi. Besides, as a Hyuuga, if it turned out the girl still did want to earn the approval of her father and her clan (Kurenai thought the girl should just forget about that, but family ties were never that easily severed), letting Anko become her main teacher would be the fastest way to accomplish that.
"Fine," said the red-eyed Jounin, "tomorrow I meet Hinata and her team, and I'll get a feel for her and the rest of them. If it looks like it is what is best for her, I will turn her over to you."
A smile split Anko's face. "Really, Kurenai-sempai?" she said in a teasing voice, harkening back to their earlier days as Leaf nin.
"Yes… but Anko, if you kill this girl, I swear we won't be friends anymore" she said to her friend, half joking and half serious.
"Don't worry Kurenai-sempai," said Anko happily, "I would never do anything to end the life of a student of mine. If she's quick I'm sure for the most part she'll be able to avoid most life threatening injuries."