A/N: The revised chapter six. Much longer now. I had to cut chapter seven in half and add it here. Chapter seven was over 10,000 words! I over did it lol
Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto
All I need is a little love in my life / All I need is a little love in the dark / A little but I'm hoping it might kick start,Me and my broken heart / I need a little loving tonight
Hold me so I'm not falling apart / A little but I'm hoping it might kick start,Me and my broken heart – Jake Roche
Succumb to Me
Chapter Six: Gaara Prelude
Hinata was pleased to discover that breakfast was actually edible this morning. She would have made a beeline towards her own room but the delectable scent of cinnamon rolls convinced her to stay and enjoy breakfast in the company of the two shinobi she woke up next to. She was so wrapped up in enjoying the sweet confectionary that she didn't even notice a messenger bring Temari a scroll until the older girl was already paraphrasing it to her and Shikamaru.
"So apparently," Temari began, "Kumo has appealed to have the exams in their village this year. Dammit, it would be them making everything so complicated."
Shikamaru looked rather appalled at the news, "We've spent so much time organizing the exams to take place here. Such a change would be troublesome and a downright pain in the ass."
"We can probably overrule them," Temari walked across the room to pull a blank scroll out of her drawer, "Let's get this refusal written up."
Hinata decided to drown out the two shinobi as she downed the rest of her milk. She had no idea what they were talking about anyway. With the other two distracted, Jiraiya revealed himself to the young girl.
"Hey, kiddo. Did you sleep well?" Jiraiya cheerfully asked, earning a halfhearted nod from his charge, "Good, good."
Hinata blinked at him expectantly. Realizing she didn't plan to speak, Jiraiya decided to just get straight to business, "Well, I'm guessing you didn't get much information on the Kazekage last night, right?" a nod, "Luckily, you have a good amount of time for this one so don't stress too much. I trust you'll find a way." a smile, "Maybe you can get blondie to help you out," a hesitant look, "I'm sure she would be glad to help you! From my research, I know she's constantly concerned with her little brother and if he's stressing himself out. And what's the best stress reliever, eh?"
Hinata couldn't help but giggle slightly at the way the Sannin suggestively wiggled his eyebrows. She nodded to let him know she understood what he meant. Jiraiya opened his mouth to speak again but stopped as Shikamaru rose from the floor and addressed Hinata.
"I want you at the convening today," he spoke seriously, "Konoha's voice against this appeal will be stronger if both of us speak.
Hinata dutifully nodded her head, "Just let me know what I need to say." Jiraiya dissipated before the girl could even turn back to him. Her seduction mission would have to wait since her immediate responsibility was to the Leaf Village.
The trio placed their breakfast platters back onto the silver tray and promptly collected their respective belongings to prepare for the day. Hinata mumbled her plans to go shower and had to skillfully evade any suggestion of either of them joining her. She silently wondered when they would get out of this 'doing inappropriate things with the shy heiress for fun' phase.
Hinata quietly observed as the Chuunin Exam conference got a bit…rowdy. Eventually the Kazekage himself showed up and threw in his own two cents, effectively sealing the deal that the exams would most definitely be in Suna. No one dared speak against him. His mere presence demanded power and Hinata couldn't help but flinch slightly when his sharp gaze cut to her for a moment. She looked down with a demure expression and once again began planning her own funeral.
Shikamaru and Temari were in a cheerful mood as they walked back to the residential complex. Temari kept recounting the part where a Kusagakure-nin shed a silent tear when the Kazekage pressured him to give an unbiased opinion. Hinata confessed how she emphasized with the shinobi. The Kazekage was a scary man.
"Aw, c'mon, Hina-chan." Temari smiled as she spoke to the Hyuuga, "Gaara's not that bad. When he isn't making crybabies crap their pants, he's a cool guy."
Hinata weakly crossed her arms, "If you say so, T-Temari-chan." The indigo-haired girl already knew that if Jiraiya was here, he would be pressing her to use this opportunity to get information out of the blonde kunoichi, "I guess I shouldn't make assumptions since I don't really kn-know him."
"I think you two would get along actually," Temari looked forward as she continued, "Believe it or not, he doesn't actually mind his fangirls' company but he wishes they were quieter. You'd be the perfect fangirl. Pretty and silent."
"Tch," Shikamaru threw Temari and incredulous look, "You can't seriously compare Hinata to one of those…cretins."
"All I'm saying is that he would like her!" the Sand kunoichi pointed a finger in the Nara's face, "Don't think I forgot about how much of a crybaby you are. I'm surprised you never crap when Gaara enters a room."
Shikamaru gritted his teeth, "That is completely irrelevant."
Hinata almost walked into Temari's back as the pair paused to argue. After about three minutes, she decided to intervene, "M-Maybe I should just meet him then!" the two shinobi turned to her, "I mean, if he isn't too busy." Hinata blushed intensely at the thought of seeing him again.
Shikamaru mumbled his favorite word as Temari mischievously spoke to the chuunin, "Ohh, I see. You want to do him next, don't you?"
"Uh," Hinata bashfully turned away, "I…uh."
Temari pumped her fist in the air at the new development, "I knew it! Better him than Kankuro, anyway." Hinata shifted her eyes nervously at that last part.
"Let's not get carried away," Shikamaru straightened his posture some, "Hinata is still my teammate and I would prefer if she didn't recklessly pursue your brother. It's a safety issue."
"You jerk," Temari shot him a death glare, "Gaara isn't homicidal anymore, okay? How's about I prove it to you by introducing Hinata to him!"
"Hinata?" the pair looked at the Hyuuga for her opinion.
"Ano…" Hinata slowly looked back and forth between the two of them, "I think that would be…fine."
Temari grinned while Shikamaru tilted his head up, closed his eyes, and sighed as he placed a hand on his forehead. Hinata rallied up a smile as Temari excitedly began to talk.
"I wouldn't mind if you….you know," she made a motion with her hand.
Hinata blushed once she realized she was talking about sex, "I think he's a bit out of my league, Temari-chan."
"I'll be frank," Temari once again stopped in her tracks and gave Hinata a grave look, "My brother needs to get laid."
Shikamaru groaned and stomped far ahead of the girls. Hinata blushed furiously and stammered as Temari grabbed her arm to catch up to the Nara.
Hinata laid down on her bed and stared at the ceiling. She didn't know what to think of her current situation. Gaara is scary, Temari wants her to have sex with him, and Shikamaru keeps bringing up safety and political issues. She sighed before summoning her guide.
"Jiraiya-sama…" She whispered. Only silence greeted her for a few moments.
"Hey." Jiraiya phased through the floor and sat on the edge of her bed.
"Where are you coming from?" she asked, confused as to why he came from below instead of just appearing in front of her.
"I was doing research," the Sannin informed her with a mellow look. Hinata's eyebrows furrowed causing the spirit to wave his hand dismissively, "Don't worry about, kid. I didn't find anything useful anyway. So, how are things going with you?"
Hinata sat up in the bed and explained to him everything that happened. He carefully observed her facial expressions before he spoke again.
"I had a feeling fear would be your main obstacle," he confessed.
"Wh-What?" Hinata's eyes widened as she frantically tried to refute his statement, "You're wrong! I'm not afraid. I don't fear anything…"
"You don't have to put on a brave act," Jiraiya tried to comfort her, "You're still young and only a chuunin. I don't expect you to be fearless." Hinata still had a hurt look on her face but otherwise looked placated, "That's why I'm here anyway! To help you."
Hinata smiled at him before responding, "You're not the only one helping me this time."
"You got blondie hooked?" he looked at her excitedly and smirked when she nodded, "Good. So when do you make your first move?"
"Um," Hinata's eyes moved upward as she recalled the conversation she had with Temari before entering her room, "Temari-san said she's going to introduce us. Something about having a sit down dinner."
Jiraiya made a 'hm' sound before nodding approvingly, "I guess that beats having your meals delivered to you. It almost makes you an actual guest to be invited to the dinner table."
Hinata looked at him with no particular expression, "I guess."
"Wear something nice," he suggested, "First impressions are everything."
"First impressions…" she looked down nostalgically, "I wonder if he remembers my pitiful defeat at the Chuunin exams that y-year…"
Somewhat concerned that her stutter came back yet again, Jiraiya patted her on the back the best he could and gave her words of encouragement, "That's the past, princess. Him holding that against you would be the same as you still holding him to his reputation of being blood crazed."
The Hyuuga agreed with her guide, "You're right. I'll try my best, Jiraiya-sama."
"I know. If you need any assistance, you know how to reach me." The Sage said before dissipating. Hinata decided to wash up then read over some protocol scrolls until it was time for dinner.
Two and a half hours later or so, a servant knocked on Hinata's door to announce dinner. She diligently slipped on her sandals before observing herself in the mirror. Satisfied with her reflection, Hinata walked out and made her way to the family dining room.
The Kazekage's dining room was nothing spectacular. It had the same rough walls and brownish flooring as the rest of the complex. Hinata took a seat across from Temari and Shikamaru sat on her right with Kankuro across from him. The head of the left and right end of the table were empty so she wondered which seat was the Kazekage's.
"He'll probably sit here," Temari indicated to the seat nearest them, as if having read the Hyuuga's thoughts.
"Oh…okay," Hinata lamely said with a smile. She felt a heated glare from her right and turned to meet her teammate's gaze.
"You're still going to try, aren't you?" The Nara questioned, earning only a shrug in response, "I was afraid Temari would rub off on you. How troublesome…"
"Ack!" Hinata yelped as something hit her knee. Temari immediately looked guilty and started ushering out apologies.
"I was trying to kick that bum next to you! Sorry!" she spoke over the table in a hushed tone, trying to prevent Kankuro from hearing her.
Hinata was still hunched over in pain when servants began bringing out the meal. A yelp from Shikamaru alerted her that Temari obviously met her intended mark and the male also doubled over in pain. Kankuro, who had previously been tinkering with some handheld puppet, brought his attention to the guests.
"What the hell is wrong with these two?" Kankuro lifted a hand up towards them, "Did I miss something?"
Temari laughed and slapped her brother on the back, "You and your jokes, Kankuro!" She turned back to the chuunin in front of her, "I hope you two enjoy. Everything here is loaded with spices found only here in the desert!"
Hinata's face twitched into a smile while Shikamaru grimaced. After a few seconds, Kankuro lost interest in them, again allowing Temari to sigh in relief. She didn't want him knowing about her plans for Gaara. The blonde then looked up to greet said brother as he walked in.
"Gaara! I'm so happy you're joining us for dinner," Temari's velvety voice rolled out as her sibling took the seat next to her and Hinata.
The redhead's expression was blank as ever as he responded to his sister, "You were so persistent, Temari. I figured there was no harm."
"I'm happy too, little brother," Kankuro spoke with a smile, "It's usually only me and Temari but now you're here and even the Leaf ambassadors."
As if just becoming aware of their presence, Gaara looked to the right of the table and nodded at the two chuunin. The throbbing in Hinata's knee was nothing compared to the beating in her heart as she locked eyes with the Kazekage. Shikamaru was nowhere near as effected as he spoke for the both of them.
"It is our honor to join you for dinner, Kazekage-sama," Shikamaru respectfully remarked as Hinata nodded in agreement. The table fell into a silence after with Gaara and Kankuro turning their attention to their plates. Temari had obviously expected Hinata to say something so now she was giving her a hard look from across the table.
Hinata bit her lip and purposefully avoided the older girl's gaze. The Kage's mere presence was so unnerving that the girl contemplated forgetting the whole idea. As if sensing her inner turmoil, Jiraiya appeared next to his charge.
"How's it going, kid?" Jiraiya didn't expect an answer as he observed the scene in front of him, "Well, I can see nothing spectacular has happened yet." Hinata cut a piece of her unidentified meat and chewed it slowly, not sparing the Sannin a glance.
Temari brought her ceramic cup to her lips and took several sips before looking forward to address Hinata, "So, how's Konoha this time of year?" Hinata stopped chewing momentarily and gave the blonde an exasperated look. Seeing her expression and current inability to speak, Shikamaru answered for her.
"It's great. You should know since you've visited recently," he said matter-of-factly.
"Oh," Temari stared at him through half lidded eyes, obviously displeased at his interference. It's not like she had a set plan anyway, "Anyways, how's the family, Hinata?"
Hinata blushed a bit as numerous pairs of eyes fell on her. She was half thinking up a response as Shikamaru once again intervened.
"The Hyuugas are terrific," he said nonchalantly, "One of their members has recently been promoted to jounin."
Temari now looked borderline pissed, "Are you going to give her a chance to speak for herself, smart ass?"
"Maybe," Shikamaru was now smirking, "Hey, Kankuro, can you pass the rolls? Hinata wants one-"
"You don't know what she wants!" Temari impatiently informed the male.
"Ano…" Hinata finally broke her silence, "Sh-Shikamaru-kun is only teasing, Temari-chan."
Temari visibly calmed and smiled at the younger girl before continuing her banter with the Nara, albeit quieter. Hinata pushed her hair behind her ear and caught her Ecchi Spirit Guide's eyes. The Sannin looked to be in deep thought but eventually responded to the girl's silent question.
"You have to interact with him. Blondie gave you several openings but now it's up to you. Just strike up conversation," Jiraiya instructed his charge. Hinata ate a few more spoonfuls of the somewhat spicy mush on her plate before shyly turning her head towards the Kazekage.
"You have a v-very beautiful village, Kazekage-sama," Hinata spoke quietly.
Gaara looked at her impassively before giving a silent nod. Temari turned her attention away from the shadow user to give this new conversation some depth.
"Oh, that's right," the blonde grinned, "This is Hina-chan's first time in Suna."
"….Hina-chan?" Gaara had an almost inquisitive look on his face.
Temari nodded her head, "That's what I call her. She's just so adorable, don't you think?" Kankuro laughed a bit too enthusiastically from her right.
Gaara looked at Hinata for an extended period before responding to his sister, "I suppose it fits."
"I know," Temari gave an uncharacteristic giggle, "You should be proud that a Hyuuga is admiring your village, Gaara."
"Oh!" Hinata snapped back to the conversation, "Y-Yes, I really d-do like it. My visit has been made even more wonderful by being in your presence, Kazekage-sama." She bowed her head.
Gaara waved off her formality, "You are a friend of the family. It is my pleasure to have you here. You and Nara."
Shikamaru looked up mid-chew and gave something akin to a grunt of appreciation. The table once again fell into silence as everyone finished their meals. Gaara was the first to excuse himself.
Not even five minutes after finishing her meal, Hinata found herself being pushed down a hallway she could only assume belonged to the Kazekage. Temari was talking a mile a minute and Shikamaru had a bored look on his face.
"Hand him that," Temari gestured to a random package she had shoved into Hinata's hand, "tell him it's from me, then make conversation instead of just walking out. I swear, if you walk out you're going to feel my wrath!"
"I-I-I-I don't know what to say," Hinata stuttered as she kept her feet firmly planted in one spot in the hallway.
Shikamaru mumbled under his breath before stepping forward, "Look, Hinata," he continued after she met his gaze, "You have several options here. You've chosen to pursue the Kazekage so that has eliminated any option that involves you walking away and going back to your room. You've had several hours to properly strategize for this moment but since you haven't, you're only left with options that involve improvising.
"For this strategy, you have two distinct options. Go in his office as direct as possible and hope he accepts your advances or be subtle and stretch this out for much longer than optimal. If you decide on straightforwardness-"
"You're complicating this too much!" the blonde kunoichi impatiently snapped at him, "This isn't an assassination!"
During Shikamaru's rant, Jiraiya appeared before Hinata and gave her somewhat more useful words of encouragement.
"Look, kid," the white-haired Sannin began, "Think of this as a true test of your valor. You want to become a great shinobi, right? This is a piece of cake compared to the things you will face in the future of your career."
Without a word, Hinata shook herself from Temari's grasp and walked towards the door leading into the Kazekage's office.
Hinata had no idea what Temari expected her to do once she got in her brother's office. It was ridiculous really. She saw no possible way for this to end successfully. Jiraiya gave her words of encouragement but it was all much easier said than done.
With Hinata out of earshot, Temari turned to her fellow ambassador and spoke slowly, "Do you really…have faith in her, Nara?" Shikamaru only glanced down the seemingly endless hallway without acknowledging the blonde for about thirty seconds.
"No," he finally turned to her, "I don't think the Hinata Hyuuga I know is capable of this. However, the Hinata Hyuuga I know has a way of surprising people," Shikamaru looked down with a smirk, "and she's kept herself alive for this long, hasn't she?" Temari couldn't help but smirk as well as she followed the chuunin back to their now shared bedroom.
"I'm happy Hinata can keep her soul and all that but let's not forget the equally important factor here. My little bro is getting laid!"
Hinata repeatedly fingered the edges of the package in her hand before she reached the large oval door with 'Kazek….ma" engraved into it. She only had time to briefly contemplate why the words were so faded before the door suddenly creaked open. The kunoichi's heart began pacing, 'of course he would immediately know he had a visitor, why am I so surprised!'
Hinata strode into the room, refusing to get caught looking like a deer in headlights. Gaara's eyes never left his paperwork. It didn't take the Hyuuga long to realize his eyes were scanning the page without even blinking, 'creepy…'
The Kazekage's eyes suddenly shot up as if hearing the silent insult, causing Hinata to feel as if someone shoved a kunai right through her. His piercing gaze was unlike anything she ever experienced, even more chilling than the look of hatred she received from her cousin for all those years.
Gaara cleared his throat, bringing Hinata out of her stupor, "May I help you, Hina-chan" the name rolled awkwardly off of his tongue, effectively allowing an awkward moment to pass between them. After about half a minute, Gaara's eyes dipped down to the package in the female's hand.
"Oh!" Hinata lifted the package as if just remembering she had it, "Te-Temari-san sent this for you," she hurriedly bowed while reaching the package to him, "she told me to wait until you opened it before I took my leave." Gaara took the package and began to open it. With the Kage preoccupied, Jiraiya appeared before his charge.
"I have no idea what blondie's point in giving you that was but she seemed persistent. Any ideas?" he had a curious look on his face that dropped into annoyance due to the Hyuuga's nonchalant shrug, "Well, kiddo, I hope you're ready for this. Just give a signal and I'll give you lines to repeat if you ever draw a blank."
Hinata suddenly felt despair at the fact the Sannin wasn't his usual goofy self. It made her realize just how dire this situation was. She began to frown and felt stinging behind her eyes as she and her mentor shared a silent moment.
"Hinata," the young girl snapped her attention to the young man who was staring at her from across the desk, "I understand."
Jiraiya and his charge stared at the Kage with mouths agape, "aye kid, what's this guy on about?" Hinata didn't even bother shrugging.
"My sister informed me some time ago that she would select a partner for my first…date", if Gaara wasn't emotionless, Hinata might even believe he was blushing, "like a fool, I accepted."
He looked at the indigo-haired girl expectantly.
Hinata's spirit guide suddenly lightened up substantially, "alright, princess! We're in business! Blondie really hooked you up here!" Jiraiya grinned, "Say something!"
"Of-Of course, Kazekage-sama!" Hinata's posture straightened, "I'm your date for the night!" She ushered out a genuine smile that fell was she noticed Gaara's frown.
"I apologize, Hina-chan," the red haired man stood and walked around to her, "It will have to be tomorrow night. I have much work to complete."
The dead Sannin gave an exasperated sigh as Hinata spoke, "I understand, Kazekage-sama. I'll take my leave now," she waited for a nod of approval, "Goodnight."
Once a fair distance away, the chuunin turned to her Ecchi Spirit Guide in excitement, "I have a date with a Kage! My father will be–"
"Whoa there, kid," Jiraiya interrupted her, "The Kazekage isn't going to remember any of this, did you forget?"
"Well…I figured he would only forget the…sex," she looked away in embarrassment both of the word 'sex' and at her uncharacteristic 'fangirling'.
The gray-haired spirit looked at her and put his best smile on once again, "Hey, you know this stuff works mysteriously, even I can't tell you what to expect exactly. Maybe he will remember. Maybe he'll even fall in love with you, princess!" Jiraiya got louder, "Imagine your father's reaction if raccoon boy were to ask for your hand!"
Hinata's eyes widened before she walked away quickly with no response. She suddenly didn't want him to remember anything at all. However, she couldn't help but giggle as she heard her guide's boisterous laughter slowly fade away, 'Jiraiya-sama seems much more at ease. Maybe I can do this. Just maybe…' The Hyuuga heiress smiled to herself as she finally got to the guest corridor. She placed her hand on the doorknob to her assigned quarters before she suddenly stopped, much to her own surprise.
Hinata stood in that position for a moment more before decidedly turning around and making her way to Temari's bedroom instead. The Suna kunoichi's bed was much more comfortable after all, that's the only reason she decided to go there. It had nothing to do with the fact she grew to enjoy sleeping with her fellow ambassadors. After all, Temari had a somewhat masculine snore and Shikamaru slept stiff as a log but anything beats that dreary guestroom. Yep, that's exactly what Hinata told herself as she stepped into the bedroom and took in the unsurprised faces before her.
"Back this soon? It couldn't have happened that quickly, no way. How troublesome…"
"You mean he actually went along with the date? My little brother's growing up!"
The trio only chatted for five minutes more before settling in bed together. Hinata had a big day tomorrow. An extremely big day. However, the combined planning of an heiress, a jounin, a genius, and a dead man should be more than enough to get this mission done.
The next morning, Hinata woke up refreshed. She looked around the room and noticed the obvious absence of her companions.
'They must be at an early meeting or something,' Hinata didn't think much of the absence as she headed to her quarters to shower. Breakfast was the same slop as usual, only this time it was purplish. Though her curiosity was peaked, Hinata decided against a taste test.
After spending the morning reading over more protocol scrolls, the chuunin was actually delighted when her Ecchi Spirit guide appeared before her.
"Hey there, kiddo!" the Sannin flashed his charge a toothy grin, "You ready for your big day?" his tone turned rather…suggestive at the end of his question.
"Ano…" Hinata blushed and looked away but quickly shook her head to rid herself of the embarrassment. She's gotten more confident recently, no use regressing now! "I guess so, Jiraiya-sama…"
"What are you planning on wearing? You packed that red lingerie, right?"
"Y-Yes…I uh, I'm actually not sure what I'm wearing. Maybe I can borrow something from Tem-chan. She's a bit taller but I think it'll fit fine," Hinata stood and went to the dresser to see what makeup she had packed. A girl has to look nice, right?
Jiraiya gave a lecherous look as he began speaking once more, "I hope you've been reading up on some new tricks, princess," the spirit crossed his arms and smirked, "You're going to need them. After all, this is a kage."
"I'd rather not think of it like that," the Hyuuga closed the dresser drawer and faced her guide, "He's just another target that I will have no problem with," she said firmly.
"Splendid," Jiraiya was slightly taken aback by her assertive behavior but quickly decided that was in fact a good thing. His little princess was growing into a vixen!
His thoughts were interrupted by two knocks at the door. Hinata opened it to reveal a Suna messenger.
"Urgent message for Nara and Hyuuga," he shoved a scroll into the indigo-haired girl's hands before rushing off. She unraveled it and read it aloud.
"The Hokage will be arriving soon for the exams (possibly by early evening) and requests the Konoha ambassadors write a thorough report of all accounts that took place among the Suna exam council"
Hinata looked up at her guide, "Jiraiya-sama…isn't Tsunada-sama…a day early?"
The gray haired man bore a deep frown, "I believe so. I'll go do some investigating. You should probably work on that request." Before she could even nod her head, Jiraiya dissipated into nothing.
The chuunin read over the scroll once more before searching for a blank scroll among the pile on her floor. Even though Shikamaru attended more meetings than her, she had a basic idea of what to write.
Hinata's head snapped up as her guestroom door suddenly flung open. Temari walked in as a spew of curse words left her lips. Shikamaru followed closely, his hand behind his neck in an exasperated manner.
"I have bad news," the blonde plopped down on the younger girl's bed, "Gaara asked me to tell you the date will have to be tomorrow night because there's some big kage meeting going on tonight or something like that."
"That's no problem, Tem-chan," the indigo-haired girl was actually somewhat relieved, "there's no rush."
Shikamaru sighed then sat on the floor across from his fellow ambassador, "I don't think you understand," he lazily drawled out, "the date is tomorrow night." Hinata was still lost.
"Hey, kid" Jiraiya materialized in the room, standing behind his charge who tilted her head upwards to meet his eyes, "They're trying to tell you Gaara has decided you're going to be his date for the festival tomorrow. Y'know, the festival kicking off the chuunin exams? Fireworks, free food, the works."
"WHAT!? " Hinata looked frantically between her companions, "N-No, this can't happen! M-Me? His date to….THAT?" her voice cracked towards the end.
Temari had been staring at the space above Hinata's head, realizing her "ghost" must've been the one to explain things. Ignoring the supernatural implications, Shikamaru spoke up in a serious tone that was still somehow laced with nonchalance.
"From a political standpoint, this could either be a bad or a good thing. It isn't really a huge deal, but considering you plan to bed him at some point during the night, failing to do so could leave you in an awkward position."
The sole jounin interjected, "It really isn't bad at all, Hina-chan." After all, you're an heiress so you have the status to pull of being the Kazekage's date for the biggest event of the year."
Hinata was still flushed as she stood from the floor and turned her back to the other two human occupants of the room, "We have to…make this as discreet as possible" her head suddenly snapped to the blonde, "What was in the package you told me to give to Kazekage-sama?"
"Oh, um" Temari looked on at the Hyuuga's expectant face, "I told Gaara I would force him to go on a date eventually. The package contained a little note as a reminder he agreed and also a special gift to be given to his first date. Which, inadvertently, is you." She stuck a finger lazily towards her younger companion.
The Hyuuga blinked absently before decidedly turning around and collapsing on her bed face first. With her out of commission, the duo of the trio continued the conversation amongst themselves.
Shikamaru scratched the inside of his ear with a pinky as he spoke his piece, "Even though you said she has the status, Temari, I don't think she should actually attend as an heiress," rolling his eyes at her confused expression, he continued, "What I'm saying is maybe she should wear a disguise, not actually be Hyuuga Hinata."
"That's so…stupid" Temari looked taken aback, "I thought you were smart, Nara."
"How does this in anyway show a deficit of intellect?"
Temari groaned, "Well, Nara, shouldn't you be looking at this as a political advantage? Our dear, strong kage has chosen a leaf kunoichi as his date."
"Hokage-sama might ask questions on how this came to be," Shikamaru was now deathly serious, "it could be interpreted as mixing business with pleasure which is strictly against shinobi code. This could even turn into a political disaster if we don't tread carefully."
"But, say he chose her and–"
"And what reason would a Kage have choosing a Konoha kunoichi as his date? Also one which most people would deem unapproachable," he tilted his head towards Hinata's limp figure on the bed, "No offense, Hinata."
"Pfft…" was the reply.
Temari gritted her teeth and was now furiously clenching the bedding under her hands, "How dare you say something like that about your fellow shinobi? Hina-chan is very attractive and could catch the eye of any high ranking official!"
"Guys," Hinata moaned as she sat up, "you can not seriously be arguing about this."
"It's not an argument!" both shinobi snapped. The young chuunin flinched and fell forward face first once again.
Jiraiya silently watched the exchange continue, 'both are right in their own way. Should Hinata go in front of the world as someone close to the Kazekage? Or should she play it safe and wear a disguise?' he crossed his legs and floated over the floor, deep in thought, 'a disguise would raise questions among the staff here and the Kazekage. He might take it as her being ashamed and then we'd accidently be insulting all of Suna.'
"Kid," the Sannin saw the subtle perk of his charge's ear, "what do you want to do?"
Hinata opened her eyes, staring into darkness. This was a question no one alive here had bothered asking.
"I don't want a disguise!" Hinata proclaimed as she shot up, interrupting the bickering of her companions.
"Hm," Temari smirked, "I knew you wouldn't let this knucklehead get to you." Shikamaru cut her a look of disdain at the insult but softened his expression before addressing his fellow chuunin.
"Hinata…you know the implica–"
"I know!" the Hyuuga finally turned to meet their gazes, "I just…I'll just try my hardest to avoid anyone from the village. They can't ask questions if I don't give them the opportunity, right?"
Temari clasped Hinata's hands excitedly in a very uncharacteristic way, "Yes, yes! You're so smart Hina-chan! I'll go talk to my brother right now! Maybe he has time to take you shopping before the Kage meeting!"
"Wa-Wait!" Shikamaru looked alarmed, "Why would he do that!?"
"Ugh," the blonde snarled at her lover/greatest annoyance, "you tried knocking her self-esteem! (I did not!) Plus I want her to be seen with him before the big event. It'll get buzz going around."
Hinata mumbled, "I thought I said discreet…"
The jounin smiled and exited the room. Shikamaru stood up and stared intently at the female in front of him.
The male groaned, "Don't do that," he closed his eyes and let out a deep sigh, "it would make the Kazekage look bad." Hinata gave a weak smile as he also exited the room. That was as close as she'd ever get to him telling her 'I support you.'
Jiraiya had an unreadable expression, "well that took longer than expected."
"You knew what my decision would be?" Hinata blinked at him.
"Nope," he gave a thumbs up and flashed his signature grin, "but I already decided I'd trust you no matter what."
It was still early afternoon when Hinata was called by a messenger to meet the Kazekage at the front of his estate. She was told to carry an umbrella because of the harsh sunlight, as if she doesn't deal with such circumstances all the time seeing how she is a shinobi.
"Well, princess," Jiraiya accompanied her for the walk, invisibly of course, "I don't think you need my help for a shopping spree, eh?"
"No," Hinata answered after a brief pause.
"Unless, that is, you're planning to sex him up in a dressing room or something. Public sex is the ultimate male fantasy!" the gray-haired dead man declared, signs of a nosebleed coming forward.
The Hyuuga stopped dead in her tracks as her face filled with a hot, red heat. This prompted a hearty laugh from her spirit guide, which only added fuel to the fire.
"No!" she said a bit too loudly as she suddenly picked up her paced, a sign she did not want to be followed. Even several meters away, she could still hear his laugh echoing.
"Hey, you!" a large built male suddenly intercepted the girl's path and even pushed her against the wall in the hallway. It was Kankuro. And he did not look happy. "You know, I really thought you were different. Konoha kunoichi here for the Chuunin exams, eh? Perfect cover-up for a slut trying to seduce my socially inept little brother!"
"Wh-What do you…what are you….Kan-Kankuro?" Hinata slid across the wall to remove herself from his front and took a few steps backward. She was caught extremely off guard by the older male and frankly, was a little frightened at his raw anger. Also, she was somewhat offended he managed to insult her and the Kazekage in one sentence.
"Am I wrong, slut?"
It took the chuunin a few seconds to process the entire situation, "You think I'm using your brother like other girls have in the past, correct? And how dare you speak of him that way!" Hinata took a firm stance and looked him straight in the eye, "Get out of my way. Gaara is waiting for me." She managed to get about two feet away before Kankuro grabbed her arm.
"One, do not disrespect my brother by addressing him by his first name, Two, I did not dismiss you. Learn your place, Leaf ambassador. You are a guest here and henceforth put on restriction until you leave this place." Kankuro strengthen his grip on her arm, "Guards!"
"What? You can't do this!" Hinata's eyes widened as two Suna jounin each grabbed one of her arms and practically dragged her down the hall. She knew she could easily dispatch them, they were both wide open, but Shikamaru's voice rang out in her head.
'This could even turn into a political disaster if we don't tread carefully.'
'There's nothing I can do. I can do nothing and they can do anything,' Hinata's eyes began to water. Before she knew it, her escorts had brought her to her guestroom and successfully locked it from the outside. The young girl was now a prisoner. A prisoner by order of the Kazekage's second-in-command. Even Temari couldn't help her now.
"What's wrong, little brother?" Kankuro walked outside to where Gaara was standing with his guards, showing absolutely no sign of what had just occurred in the hall.
The redhead turned his whole body to face his older brother, "Temari berated me into going into town with the female Konoha ambassador. She appears to be late."
"Oh gee, that sucks. She must've stood you up. I just saw her leaving out from the back."
"I should have known," Gaara briskly walked past the puppet master, "you're all dismissed."
Kankuro waited until Gaara was in the door and most likely far away before addressing the guardsmen, "Good job, men. I'll be happy to ensure each of you will receive a generous bonus on your next paycheck for helping me protect the Kazekage."
"WHAT?" a certain blonde kunoichi was visibly very upset, "Kankuro, you've really crossed the line this time. I will tell Ga–." She was cut short.
"Tell him what?" Kankuro abruptly said, "that I locked up the little broad? That you want her free? Oh please, room restriction isn't a big deal. The Kazekage has bigger worries."
"Temari," Shikamaru placed a hand on her shoulder, "let's go. We're clearly done here." The two took their leave but not before staring daggers at the man smirking behind the desk.
Once in her bedroom, Temari completely let loose all her frustration, "I can't believe I didn't see this coming! He always does this whenever any girl shows interest in Gaara. The only females he even lets near the building are Matsuri, Sari, and Yukata."
"We'll figure something out," Shikamaru looked visibly disturbed, "we have until tomorrow night to get her out of there."
"I don't have the authority and if you do it forcibly, you'll only cause more trouble," Temari looked defeated as she sat down on her bed, "we have to be realistic here. The plan is off. I'm sorry, Shikamaru. I shouldn't have…"
"No," the shadow-user was at her side in an instant, "don't blame yourself. Hinata doesn't blame you. Trust me."
Silence engulfed the room for a few minutes before the jounin spoke, "we still have a lot of work to complete. We should start immediately." And just like that, the two immersed themselves in their profession.
"Jiraiya-sama…" Hinata moaned out, sitting on the floor with her back supported by the locked door.
Responding to her summoning, the Pervy Sage appeared in front of his charge. Immediately alarmed by her expression, he sat on the floor across from her and began his interrogation.
"What happened? Did someone hurt you? Did something happen during the shopping trip? Did you try? Were you rejected?"
"I didn't make it to the shopping trip," the chuunin whispered, barely audible, "Kankuro stopped me, called me a slut, then had me locked in this room."
"Geez…where'd that come from? He didn't seem like such an ass the other night when–"
Hinata grimaced and practically growled at her spirit guide, "Do not bring that up." Her expression softened, "I know you're disappointed but I wanted to tell you that it really isn't a big deal. Me and Shika-kun can just take our leave after the opening ceremonies. We're not actually required to stay past then. Our task of organizing is over."
"Kid…" Jiraiya had a sympathetic atmosphere about him, "to be frank, I'm worried about you."
The indigo-haired girl let out a long sigh, "as long as I'm not on my deathbed, I'll be fine. I can choose another target once I'm back in the village."
"I don't know if you'll last that long," Jiraiya said firmly, " I don't really understand it but I see you're weaker. Maybe the negative interaction with Kankuro somehow caused your soul to reject a large portion of the energy you received from him."
"I…" Hinata put her hand over her chest and looked down, "I'm going to die."
Hinata's inner turmoil was interrupted by someone unlocking the door and sliding a plate inside the room. The food looked more disgusting than usual. Scraps, maybe?
Jiraiya was deep in thought. Things really aren't looking good, "We need to get you out of here. This door doesn't look indestructible."
Much to his surprise, the girl began to laugh, "Jiraiya-sama, that would be an act of hostility towards Suna. My life isn't that important. It's amusing you believe so."
"Snap out of it!" the white-haired ghost was getting angry, "you're not being yourself right now! The last thing I need is you losing your marbles, kid!"
Still laughing, Hinata stood and collapsed into her bed. She didn't speak a single word for the entire rest of the night.
The next morning, Hinata was awakened by breakfast sliding into the room. She contemplated calling her spirit guide to apologize for her…behavior last night. Instead, she attempted to make contact with someone who wasn't dead.
"Shiiiii-kun" the girl almost whimpered, "Shiiiiii-kun," this time she banged her head against the door, "Shiiiii–"
"Hinata? Are you okay? Have they given you breakfast?" Shikamaru's disembodied voice came through the door.
"Yes, they have…" the female chuunin spared the plate on the ground a single glance before facing the door again, "I'm really not feeling myself. I think I might go crazy if I stay in here."
Indistinct grumbling was heard before her partner's voice became coherent, "It hasn't even been twenty-four hours, don't tell me you're that mentally weak."
"Ano…" Hinata's eyebrow twitched, "a little sympathy would be nice."
"Tch, you really aren't being yourself. Either that or Temari is rubbing off on you." He was met with silence, "well anyways, I know this isn't exactly ideal but you do understand why I can't help you, right?"
"I thought about telling Hokage-sama but that's a bad idea as well," Shikamaru's voice dropped in volume slightly, meaning he was now probably standing with his back on the door and only his head turned to speak. Lazy bastard. "we would have no legit explanation as to why you were trying to go on an outing with the Kazekage anyway."
"I know all this," Hinata's voice was soft with no indication of annoyance, "the village comes first. No use risking anything."
Shikamaru remained quiet for a few seconds before something clicked in his brain, "Hinata, will you be okay even if you can't do what you have to do?"
Silence. More silence. Another round of silence.
"Hai." Hinata knew it was a lie but still smiled as she heard Shikamaru sigh in relief. 'I really shouldn't bother him with my problems.'
Smile as serene as ever, the girl spoke once more, "Enjoy the festivities tonight. Just tell Tsunade-sama I'm sick." It's not a lie. Dying counts as being sick as far as she's concerned.
Not being one for farewells, Shikamaru walked off without acknowledging what his fellow ambassador requested. However, Hinata knew he would do so. It's the smart thing to do and Shikamaru is a genius.
"Y'know, kid," Jiraiya's voice came before his translucent body, "I didn't think you would give up." After a minute with no response, the Sannin let out an exasperated sigh.
"Princess, you better pray for a miracle."
End Chapter Six
A/N: I know, I know. You guys are disappointed in the lack of smut. It had to be two chapters though. Hinata screwing a Kage can't be built up all in one chapter!
Next chapter's gonna be really fun to write :P thanks for all ya'lls reviews. Much appreciated.
Bye for now ~ LilacBlossom