For The Good Of The Village: Hyuuga Arc
Ch 18 The Right Questions
Two days after the Forest Of Death Event
Inside the Hyuuga Compound
Hyuuga Hiashi and several Elders entered the Ceremonial center of their home where the Suitors first met Hyuuga Neji, each one holding a single folder under their arms. Standing at the doorway, Terumi Mei and Pirimiko followed with their eyes locked on the Clan Head, curious as to what he was going to do. At the very front of the throng stood one lone, small figure: Hyuuga Hanabi. Dressed in the whitest robes with a red sash over her small shoulders, the word 'Obey' glittered with gold stitching. One hand in poised in front of her held in a sign very familiar to the throng of three score of Cadet Branch before her, all supplicant and bowed in perfect deferment.
Behind her, an easel with a picture of Hinata's body laying on a hospital bed, eyes taped and bandaged, with doctors hovering around her lower abdomen with a sonogram machine. The faces all looked grim, including those nurses that seem to turn away out of pity for the young teen.
Lines of Cadet branch members were set in rows of three and columns of ten...with the exception of one row. An empty space purposely was left unoccupied with a set of clothes folded neatly in its place: Hyuuga Neji's.
"Two days ago, we had to say good bye to one of us, Hyuuga Hinata," Hiashi began, his voice quiet yet deep, cool and clear. "I have the report by the medical staff at Konoha General. Mind you, we did not have just any mediocre doctor or shinobi medic inspect Hinata's injuries, but one that specializes in our Clan's specific doujutsu and our Jyuuken style. Shall we begin?"
Opening their folders with deliberate care, each page turned with perfect timing, Hiashi called out as the Elders read along. "Hemorrhaging, abrasions, and lacerations due to chakra flaring of the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus. Diagnosis? Irrepairable and highly suggest hysterectomy. Retinal vessels, optic lenses and nerves, rods, cones, and orbital muscles ruptured due to chakra scars. Diagnosis? Irrepairable. Suggests seeking therapy to live through auditory therapy and counseling."
As one, the Elders along with Hiashi closed the folders in their hands.
"I want to give a moment of silence to Hinata. With a heavy heart, and with the approval of the Elders," He took a moment to glance at each Elder who, in turn nodded. "that we must recognize that Hyuuga Hinata is now, simply, Hinata, for she is no longer able to hold the dignity or ability of what it means to be a Hyuuga. Also, as of today, Hyuuga Hanabi is the Heiress of the Hyuuga. May wisdom and duty give her strength."
Mei's lips tightened into a grim scowl. "She's not dead. Your daughter is still alive and you and this family are treated her as if she's already buried."
"For the family, I can see the purpose of this tradition." Pirimiko remarked, earning a nod from Hiashi and a scowl from Mei. "As samurai, we live to serve and if we can not then what purpose do we really have? We are dead."
"Mei, you are not from a clan so this would not seem appropriate. I understand that, however you are also not a Hyuuga," Hiashi answered coolly, not even turning to see the weight of his words on her. "It is not your places to understand."
Mei's eyes narrowed dangerously, glaring at Pirimiko and then Hiashi. "You're right, it's not." Terumi Mei disappeared in a flutter of crimson locks and flowing skirt.
Naruto's senses snapped him from his sleep, realizing he was incredibly vulnerable and with company. He didn't want to be awake, knowing the inevitable repercussion of his actions was at hand and the executioner was probably whetting his blade. What had it mattered? Where was his Hinata-chan? Where was that bastard Neji? Was anyone else hurt? Did...did he hurt anyone else when he and Gaara...
The turn of a page in a book made him open his eyes and look in that direction.
He had expected to be in some kind of musty dungeon or humid catacombs. If anything, the cell was rather spacious, obviously meant to keep something much larger immobile than him. It dawned on him, just then, the village has had been prepared if or when he decided to go full Kyuubi. The idea left a strong taste of bile in his throat. It wasn't so much that the village been ready for the day, but that he had everyone of his friends, his teachers, and his fellow shinobi try to stop him to prevent the predictions of those that hated him from coming true.
Kakashi sat on the other side of his cell, lounging against a wall reading his Icha Icha book with neutral interest. Peeking over the page, he exhaled loudly, disappointment and boredom mixed with his breath. "Was it something I said?"
Naruto wanted to laugh. It was kind of funny. Everything, all of it, was funny.
So he laughed. He wanted to hold his gut, but chains as thick as fingers wrapped around some kind of black cloth tied with a weave master's care kept him laughed harder. Then he saw the tags, the seals covering the walls, and the collar around his neck set with explosive markings.
Kakashi closed the book, tucking it away in his pouch and stared into Naruto's cell with the same focus and deadly calm he had when he faced off with Zabuza. "Do you know why I'm here, Naruto?"
Naruto's chuckling stopped to something more...broken. "I have one better for you, sensei. Do you know why I'm here?"
"This isn't a game, Naruto."
"No, seriously, sensei. Why am I here?"
Kakashi let himself give Naruto a little more credit than what he wanted to. "Do you mean why are you alive?"
"Those are answers I'm not allowed to give. Now, since I've answered your question, be a good student and answer mine."
"Because I knocked you out?"
Kakashi's hangdog, dull eyed mask practically sneered 'you're an idiot'.
Seeing as that wasn't the answer, "Are you here to keep an eye on your burden? To make sure the demon kid doesn't get revenge on the guy who ripped everything about the girl that made her a woman? Are any of those close?"
"I guess you're only lucid when you're attacking someone. "Kakashi shook his head. "I am here to take responsibility for any actions that will be needed for the sake of protecting the village."
Naruto's head tilted, the gears turning slowly.
"If you get out of hand again, Naruto, I'm here to kill you."
Naruto was too tired, too angry, and felt too bitter about everything to not keep his thoughts private.
"Did you ask for the honor or did you have to fight the other villagers to get dibs?" Naruto growled, angry and taunting.
Kakashi rubbed his temple. Huffing a sigh, he rocked himself to his feet. "I get that you and I don't have the greatest sensei-student relationship, Naruto, but do you really think so little of me that I would actually put in for it after all we've been through back in Wave?"
Speaking out of anger instead of common sense definitely put a ding in Naruto's turbulent emotions. Swallowing another hurtful rebuttal, he decided to tread onto safer grounds.
"Hinata-chan, how is she?"
Kakashi studied Naruto's posture, his eyes, his deep rooted worry for her.
"She's being treated. There's a lot of politics going on behind closed doors with what has happened to her and the abduction of her cousin."
"So they stole him? Those Suna nin!" Naruto snarled, testing the shackles integrity and making a few of the tags hanging off of him glow a warning hue of orange.
"You need to calm down, Naruto," Kakashi held up his hands to placate him. "You start to draw on any of the Kyuubi's chakra, you'll bring this whole place down around you and kill us both."
"I can't believe I let him go. He got away...he...got away!"
The orange glow from the tags started to seep into a burnt red discoloration. Kakashi pulled Naruto's chin to look into his one eye. "Hinata asked for you."
Recognition softened his features, slackening his growl. "Hinata-chan is awake?"
Kakashi waited for the tags to settle back to their inky black. "Yes, she has been this whole time."
Looking away, Naruto rolled his shoulders uncomfortably. "W-what else did she ask for? Can I see her?"
Stuffing his hands in his pockets, Kakashi tilted his head and offered a squint-eyed grin. "Now you're asking the right questions, Naruto-kun."
"You can't be serious."
Three dozen guards showed up at the front gate, brandishing kunai, swords, and hands preparing jutsus of their highest caliber as the lone Orochimaru strolled casually towards the front of the gate with his bespectacled assistant. Morino Ibiki appeared, arms folded and non-threatening.
"Oto is that way," Ibiki jutted his head north east of his position. "You're not really going to make it this easy for us, are you?"
"I never pictured you for a comedian, Ibiki-kun." Orochimaru chuckled darkly, his grating voice sounding particularly amused. "I believe my status has seen different facets as of late, has it not?"
Silence followed. Every shinobi waited like taut strings waiting to be cut.
"That still doesn't mean you're crimes are forgotten-"
"Oh, no, that would be a waste," Orochimaru cooed. "I want them to forever paint this history of Konoha. The greatest shame would be to actually be forgiven, then it would mean I never existed. Please, tell your shinobi of me. Let them, your civilians, your children know that in every dark corner, in every sin or little wrong deed will be answered by the great and powerful Orochimaru-sama."
Gritted teeth and muffled curses were getting louder than the steady breathing of the people surrounding the front gate.
"But you're still not allowed ent-"
"Oh, but I am." Orochimaru made a point of looking at the birds flying over head. "By definition of the Code Black, any and all Konoha shinobi are to return to defend its citizens at all cost. Even my glorious accomplishments-"
"Crimes," Ibiki correct.
"-whatever," Orochimaru hummed, amused but not deterred. "are not enough to prevent me from coming in and...assisting," One long, slithery tongue stretched unnaturally across the side of his cheek, "however I can."
"Thanks for letting me visit, Sasuke-kun. I've never been inside the Uchiha compound. It's really amazing," Sakura piped cheerily, eyes aglow with wonder at the high, stone walls with the Uchiha fan emblazoned here and there. "It must be-"
Sasuke turned away from her, walking away in no particular direction.
"-hard, being here all alone."
Sakura had been thrilled to actually be where none of the other girls of have, but whatever joy she felt was quickly doused when she saw Sasuke's forlorn glare about to turn into anger. While she had volunteered the loudest when it came to being the expendable spy for the Hokage to keep an eye on their last Uchiha heir, she didn't take it as too much of a compliment when asked if her blatant adoration for Sasuke could be used to help him get free before his punishment could be issued.
The response was, "How much of a threat could she be? You saw her during the Chuunin exam."
Yeah, that hadn't irritated her at all. Inner Sakura was seething with a clenched fist, 'Shanaro!'
Sasuke's face softened, just a little. While he was still upset, at least it didn't seem to be directed at her. That had to be a good start, right?
"Am I allowed to be in the part of the compound? The ANBU only let me visit to check on you and make sure you're not going to do anything silly." Sakura cocked her head towards him, hands covering her mouth conspiratorially, "but if you need me to do anything, just let me know. I'll help however I can, Sasuke-kun."
Sasuke rolled his eyes at her, more out of patient bemusement than actual interest. "Do you know when the trial will be?"
Sakura opened her hand and shrugged her shoulders. "Who knows? Honestly, I don't think they're too upset with you so much as they are with Naruto. Sheesh, who knew that he was a mon-"
Sasuke snapped his head at her, waiting to hear what everyone had always rumored him to be.
"-powerful. That he was so powerful." Sakura cleared her throat, seeing if that answer had been more acceptable.
It must have.
"Yeah, who knew." Sasuke grumbled, kicking a rock down the southern stretch of road before them.
"Would you mind telling me a bit about these buildings here?" She gestured to the boarded up houses and business looking stands that huddled close to each other.
"My cousins, uncles, and aunts ran several stores here." Sasuke mumbled, pacing slowly, aimlessly. "After the investigations were done, nothing was really moved except the perishable food. If I wanted, I could go into any of the stores and just take what I want if I needed anything. I thought about doing that, once, but I decided to just stay out of them."
Sakura stuck to his every word, trying to redirect him from his obvious turmoil. "Did you have a favorite place to eat?"
Sasuke shrugged. "My uncle used to make some good omusubi with okaka and tomatoes. I really didn't care for the tomatoes at first, but I started to get used to it since my broth-," Sasuke grimace, chewing the word away with another, "he told me they would make me stronger."
"He?" Sakura inquired, curious to find out what had made Sasuke look like he just swallowed something vile.
Frustrated, but accepting that Sakura was actually doing more listening than talking...or begging or trying to ask for dates or anything, just anything annoying, he decided to answer her.
"My brother, It-" Sasuke's eyes widened to near saucers.
Behind Sakura, standing tall and unmoving, was his brother.
End of Hyuuga Arc
AN: Greetings, everyone! I am your Mistress. Just so you know, I'm going to start my attempts at writing an original story posted under the name R. A. Davila. Partnered by my annoying but much loved friend Lord Of The Land Of Fire, I'm now going to badger him to keep writing his own stories as well as have him help me along with a few story ideas of my own. If anyone has read my work Bloody Mary, I've decided to write the prequel to it. Also, I'm going to make an attempt to write another angle to my storyline in the form of some erotica called Eve. Now I know there already several series out with that name, however it has to do with an ongoing antagonist named Evelyn. More about that later! For now, know that I'll try to update as much as possible, but I need to start working on my original work as well. I just want you all to know that you all have been an amazing support group and I'll try to keep in touch! Take care!