Edit: The number of tags in the summary were getting a little ridiculous. So I moved them here.

Featuring: AU, ItaHina, Branch-Hinata, no Uchiha Massacre, cheeky Team 7 shenanigans, and (relatively) fast updates.

Warnings: Depressing beginning, Hinata with low self-esteem, short chapters, and slow progression. Also occasional crackfic tendencies.


By Airyo


It was accepted that except in birth order, Hinata was second to her younger sister. Compared to Hanabi, she was weaker and slower and dumber.


That might have been tolerable, since being second to a prodigy like Hyuuga Hanabi wasn't saying very much. It was like comparing the range of a mouse's view to that of a hawk's, the size of an ant to a tiger.

But worded differently, Hinata could be ranked first in two things: birth order and kindness.

It was implicit; kindness was more unforgivable a crime than physical incapability. Kindness was the counterweight to ruthlessness, to the cruelty required to sacrifice everything and anything for the sake of winning against the enemy. Without that key will to fight, the scale weighing Hinata's worth crashed hopelessly to the ground in a mess before she could even be judged.

She was worthless as an heir, as a warrior. Even as a daughter.

Without an indomitable will, her marriageable prospects also diminished. What use was a daughter-in-law who couldn't survive the harsh politics of a clan marriage? Yes, the bloodline of a Hyuuga was desirable, but Hinata made the suitors uneasy. What this weakness manifested again in the children she would bear? What if it was like a disease?

No one wanted to be infected. Tainted.

Hinata was used to the abruptly silenced whispers and averted glares. She knew her place, and the easiest way was to accept it. Neji told her many times about fate. Fate was a unyielding master, unchangeable, and unforgiving. It was actually a form of comfort because the element of the unknown was obliterated. Familiarity was safe, the comforting flame against the dark night of uncertainty.

There was actually a twisted sort of pride in that. So many people around her bemoaned the future because they couldn't predict it. Hinata could. She knew her future, knew her destiny, knew her path. She will conform herself to the background, and blur away the lines that separated the individual from the servitude of the Branch. She will support the name, the clan, the Hyuuga, and she herself will fade unobtrusively into nameless history. She was a part of the Hyuuga clan in the truest sense.

It was a quiet existence, bereft of uncertainty and chaos and fear, and Hinata could convince herself that she was content.

Completely Excessively Long AN:

I know, I know, I know...I really shouldn't be cranking out a new story right now, but Prey for the Hunted creates plot bunnies by the herd. (Or is it waren? Colony? Litter? Groups of rabbits would be called different things depending on the type, which begs the question...what kind of rabbits are plot bunnies? Hares? Domestic? Jackrabbits?...Interesting side note, did you know that a group of wild cats is a 'destruction'? How cool is that?)


Anyways, I'm really feeling the need for a "quiet" story that isn't overwrought with angst and big gestures and explosions. Hopefully.

And ItaHina has been knocking in my brain. What is a girl to do? Write it.

Anyways, fair warning: my romances progress slowly, I go off on tangents, and I let my characters take over way too easily.

Lemme know what you think. :)