A/N: So, I've come back with another SasuHina. I'm pretty sure this is going to be pretty short. How short, I'm not sure of, but it won't be very long. I just needed something to ease my mind while writing The Circumstances. And this is a non-AU, about as non-AU as I can get, so thank the lucky stars for that. I didn't think I had it in me, but with this, I'm pretty sure it's gonna be awesome. And I like the tone this is talking - very insightful, almost kind of dark. Annnnnndddd, there will be some love, unlike in Circumstances. I know you guys are waiting, but we aren't even as far as I want us to be. I doubt you can be patient any longer. Anyway, enjoy this fabulous treat, the first chapter in few to come.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, but I do own everything that happens between Sasuke and Hinata.

When Uchiha Sasuke was released seven years after his capture and arrest, Hyuga Hinata wasn't the first or the last person to check up on him. But she was probably one of the few who hadn't bothered to hid her presence. What good did it do? Amongst the shinobi, word had spread that his prowess was fearsome, his chakra levels through the roof. His time with Orochimaru hadn't been for naught. So she had walked into the once-deserted Uchiha compound, studied the weathered and abandoned buildings, breathed in the dust and the mold that had gathered over the years, and not bothered to hide the fact that she was intruding on his property. She knew he was around, his chakra had this state of being – crackling and popping like lava or fire – when he didn't bother to censor himself.

With more confidence than she probably should have had at entering another's home, she moved at a leisurely pace through the compound. Strangely enough she held no fear, when as a child she had avidly avoided taking any route near this side of the city. She and her friends had naturally kept their distance from the area, whether because of the rumors of paranormal activity going on behind the compound gates, or because it simply felt wrong to intrude on the home of another. She hadn't ever analyzed the reason why, and she wouldn't question herself now.

Turning a corner, she came upon Sasuke's house, and with it, the sounds of training. Activating her Byakugan, she easily spotted Sasuke training with his sword in the courtyard of her house. The veins around her eyes faded away into their natural state and she was faced with his childhood home, large and imposing. It was obvious that it was rundown, but Sasuke had done his best to patch up what was left. The thought of how sad his situation was briefly ran through her mind before she stepped up to the door and knocked–

Or at least tried to. One second, he was in the backyard, and the next the door was being flung open, and she was faced with the Uchiha Avenger in all his infamy. Suppressing her squeak of surprise, she found herself caught in place. His eyes, the deep pulsing red and swirling black tomeo of the Sharingan, was unlike anything she had seen before. She had never been especially close with Team 7, despite her one-time confession (which Naruto still had yet to answer to) and their golden boy hadn't ever been in her radar for her to care what he or his eyes looked like.

The talk his fan girls had done when he was younger was to some extent, true. He was indeed very handsome, with milky-pale skin, thickly lashed almond-shaped eyes, and a lean, muscular physique. He wore no shirt, just black sweats and no shoes, and she was treated with the unobstructed view of how well his work-out routine paid off. While he was lean, he was hard bodied. There were muscles everywhere it seemed, from his toned biceps, his broad shoulders, his defined pectorals, his washboard abs, his narrow waist, that strip of dark hair that started just below his navel and traveled down, down, down past the waist of his low slung sweats...

When her eyes finally found his, he had deactivated his Sharingan, leaving in its wake a dull, indifferent black that sucked in light but didn't care to give it back. If a person wasn't careful, it was possible to drown in their depths.

Whatever bravado that had brought her here tried to flee on sight, but she reigned as much as she could back in. There had been an actual reason for her coming to the Uchiha compound, and she squared her shoulders beneath her hooded lavender jacket.

Stepping back, she bowed politely, not too low though because she was noble, and still had pride in such a fact, even as she was requesting a favor the "traitor". "Uchiha-san, it isn't too much to ask, please spar with me."

She raised her head again, and once more, their eyes connected. His expression was indifferent, his eyes bleak, but he turned swiftly on his heel and headed back in the direction he came. Taking this as an invitation, she quickly stepped inside and closed the door, slipping off her sandals to follow after him. The inside of the home was barren, despite the spotless cleaning he did of it. The lemony scent of the waxing agent he used on the wood floors was still clinging to the air, and there wasn't a fleck of dirt or dust insight.

Quietly matching her footsteps to his, he lead her out to the courtyard and she felt another bolt of pity shoot through her at the sight, but didn't dare allow herself to show it. The courtyard, like the inside of the house, was barren, with brown, dead plants, dark dirt and only recently cut glass. Sasuke had no problems standing in the middle of it, shirtless and bare-foot, and she quickly followed suit, striping herself of her jacket to reveal her tank top beneath. She shot an envious look back at the Uchiha's muscular body, knowing that her own was fleshy and soft, rounded and full in places that she couldn't really afford to be round and full. But at least it was hers to do as she pleased with. From the rumors floating around the jounin locker rooms, Orochimaru had used Sasuke's as he liked, that is until Sasuke killed him.

After a few minutes of stretching and warming up their muscles, she dropped into the standard Gentle Fist pose, the Byakugan causing her veins to protrude. Sasuke studied her for a brief moment, taking in her form, her defenses and her weaknesses, before he dropped into his own stance. With a deep breath, she attacked first, aiming a blow towards his shoulder. He easily deflected her away and aimed for her stomach, but she twisted and it grazed her rib. Still, the sheer amount of force behind it astounded her. There was no chakra to strengthen his attacks, just his own natural abilities, and it briefly crossed her mind that perhaps this hadn't been one of her wisest ideas.

Focusing her concentration, she dodged and weaved around his attacks, using her natural flexibility to her advantage. Sasuke though was adjusting to her style quickly and she kept finding herself needing to defend rather than taking the offensive. He was fast, and powerful, with punishing kicks and punches that left her breathless and sore. But she too got her hits in, though they didn't do as much damage as they could have done.

By the end of their session, she was worn out, sweat dripping down her back and soaking her tank top, her clothes dusty and grass-stained from the many times Sasuke had body checked her to the ground. He had a brutally efficient style, making use of every muscle and every limb he had. Even without the Sharingan invoked (yes, she had noticed he hadn't used it, though she took no offense. It was more than clear her skill level was far below his) he was capable of beating her, over and over and over again.

She flopped to the ground on her back, a knee propped in the air, her breath sawing in and out of her lungs. There was a warmth in her muscles that she hadn't experienced in a long time, seeing as how she spent her days teaching students at the Academy while her teammates globe-trotted, doing spectacular jobs and earning a reputation for themselves. She trained everyday, for hours and hours, till her hands bleed, till the Byakugan gave her an unbearable migrane and left her blind for a few hours, and yet she felt more accomplished in her spar against Sasuke than she had in the past year of beating a pole.

When he squatted in front of her, she found that whatever fear she had held for him before had disappeared. Her logic didn't make any sense, but after sparring with him, she found he wasn't a scary man, simply hard working and taciturn. He spoke with a low, terse voice, deep and smooth in a way she hadn't expected, but didn't deny was pleasant. "Your defenses are weak. And you rely too heavily on the Gentle Fist, so your punches have no strength. Just because you're a woman doesn't mean you can't be powerful."

She nodded at his instructions and he stood to his full height. "I'll walk you to the door."

Quickly snatching up her jacket, she followed once more in his footsteps, leading her back through the house, with its spotless, barren rooms and eerie silence. She didn't bother to place her jacket over her tank top, somehow proud of the grass-stains, dust and bruises that littered her creamy skin. It showed how hard she had worked, and though Sasuke hadn't used even a fifth of his true power, she suspected he gave her respect as an opponent. The surge of pride that swept through her left her feeling courageous, and she knew before they even reached the door that she would be coming back soon.

Slipping on her sandals, she tied the jacket around her waist and bowed to him once more. "Uchiha-san, I hate to trouble you after the favor you have done for me today, but would it be alright if we spared again?"

As their eyes met, he nodded his approval. "Friday – noon."

Her smile was too wide over a spar, but she didn't bother to dim it as she bowed once more. "Thank you very much, Uchiha-san."

Only when she had stepped off the porch did he close the door and she found herself brimming with excitement. While she had never been one for fighting, she had worked hard to get at the level that she was. Perhaps sparing with Sasuke would bring her up to par with everyone else – maybe even Neji, though that was probably a dream.

A/N: Was that a weird way to end the story? No, yes? Hmmm, well, whatever, I like it. And I've already got a second chapter written. Let's see how many reviews I can get on this sucker. Hold your dreams close ~ A Dreamer Always