Hello again! If you're an old reader to this, you'll notice the huge changes from the original. If not, then I welcome you to Team SIN!
Now, this chapter was rewritten for the main reason of that I felt the beginning chapters were less-than-presentable. Okay, but not great. I improved so much in my first couple months that I just wasn't happy with what I was presenting to my readers anymore. It holds the same story and characters, just with some huge rewording done.
I hope you'll stay along for the ride!
I do not own Naruto in any way, simply my ideas and my words that follow.
Most days, the Hokage office was bustling with lines of people filing in and out to meet with their village leader. Sometimes it was simple things, such as mission requests and briefings, others it was difficult, like meetings with the Daimyo and debates with the council. Today, the Hokage was blessed with an easy schedule, only a few appointments.
"Hokage-sama, your next meeting is ready."
Most days, Sarutobi Hiruzen, the Professor and dubbed 'God of Shinobi', detested what his life had become. The withered old man sat quietly hunched over behind a wooden desk, stacks of paper piled around him making a paperwork fortress. How long he had been there was anyone's guess, but he had likely been scribbling through the stacks all day. He paused for a moment, thanking his secretary, and set down his pen with a sharp clack that filled the otherwise empty room.
He had not minded the job as Hokage when it had been his own time in office, but he felt he had long overstayed his welcome. Keeping the hat had become more of a chore than an honor since the death of his successor (he loved Konoha, truly), and it had been seven years since he had been forced back into office. After the Kyuubi attack, none were suited for stepping up for the hat. Shimura Danzo was willing, but Hiruzen wouldn't budge on that one. There were many talented youth as well, such as Hatake Kakashi and Uchiha Itachi, but they were still just children. In the past seven years, he felt the Will of Fire had reached an all-time-low.
Yet, as long as he was needed, he would stay where his village needed him most. Besides, the paperwork wasn't that bad, simply tedious after a few years. That and far too much of it was centered on a small, blond-haired child for his liking.
The office door opened with little protest, and soft footsteps glided across the hardwood floors. Their owner bowed quickly before sitting in one of the available seats, shifting awkwardly in the comfy armchair.
Hiruzen couldn't have said he expected to see Hyuuga Michi, the Matriarch of the Hyuuga sitting in front of him. The meeting request had been signed with a 'Hyuuga M.', and he had passed it off for being a mission request for weeding gardens and such. For some reason he felt quite wrong.
Long indigo hair cascaded down the woman's back, framing her face in an elegant style. The lavender eyes of the Hyuuga fit her porcelain-like skin perfectly, and a slight blush danced across her cheeks. In short, she was the epitome of high class. He paid close attention as she knotted her hands together on her kimono, and the slightly frantic way her eyes darted around the room. Noticing his eyes watching her, she did her best to straighten herself out. "Thank you for seeing me today, Hokage-sama."
"It's no trouble at all, Hyuuga-san. How are your daughters doing?" Slightly taken aback by his cheerful manner, Michi blushed slightly.
"That is actually the reason I have asked for your audience. I-if it isn't too much trouble, I would prefer this conversation to be a private one." Understanding and finding no threat in her words, the Hokage snapped his fingers once, four black blurs gone just as fast as they had appeared "Thank you. My eldest Hinata turned seven quite some time ago, and while Hiashi and I have been stalling their decision of the Elders for as long as possible, they have reached a decision. They feel Hinata is unfit to be a Hyuuga."
"What do you mean by that, Hyuuga-san?" Michi was now staring at her lap in silence, shaking slightly. He gave her a few moments to collect herself.
"They wish to kill her off, and make Hanabi the immediate heir. I know much of the blame is being placed one me, as I was her sensei most of her life. She is sweet, quiet, and reserved, nothing like a proper Hyuuga should be. Hanabi is only two, and therefore still impressionable. Hinata, to them, is worth not even enough to be transferred into the side branch." Though he did not show it, Hiruzen was deeply shocked the Hyuuga would even attempt something like this. He knew they were proud, dreadfully so, and as arrogant as they came. He had no idea they were willing to go to such lengths to achieve their goals.
As Michi met the Hokage's eyes for the first time that day, he understood how desperate she was. And sadly, he knew he could do nothing to help. There were too many laws that kept him from interfering with what happened inside the Hyuuga household, and as long as the Elder's covered their tracks well, nothing legal could be done. Unless...
"What if I turned her into a Shinobi?" Michi had obviously been looking for an answer, but it hadn't been one she was expecting. "As a Genin, she must answer to me before the clan. Therefore, if they kill one of my Shinobi, I can act against them. Do you believe she is proficient enough to be promoted?"
"S-she has never been to the academy, but you have my word. She is talented, just not at the subjects of a Hyuuga. I've trained her in everything, fearing for her safety, as well as my own. But if she were to take the test now, I think she would have a fair chance." She raised both of her hands to cover her mouth, as if praying. Hiruzen nodded, pleased he had found a solution. And if the plan he had thinned out, he knew exactly who to put on her team. Not an older student who asked too many questions and certainly not a sensei who did the same thing. But...
"Sir" the secretaries' voice ran through the office, gaining both occupants attention, "he is here to see you".
The Hokage nodded at her, motioned to Michi, and headed after the secretary. He had not missed the tone of the woman's voice, but it also let him know exactly who was asking for him.
Down in the waiting room, a small blond child sat in a chair contentedly. It had taken a lot of work for the secretary to even start listening to him, but he had finally gotten it though her head. Good thing too, or he would have had to resort to pranking. "Naruto-kun, it's nice to see you." Naruto jumped up happily, running to the Hokage and holding up his orange (and slightly battered) notebook.
"Jiji! Sorry, I know you're busy but I wanted to ask for help on my homework. I already did it, but I think if you check the answers first I might get a better grade this time. It seemed a bit harder than everybody else's, but that's okay!"
Michi didn't miss the slight look of anger that passed over the Hokage's face, one that he quickly laughed off. He patted Naruto on the head and turned back to Michi, looking at her a bit sadly. "Naruto here is a prodigy, Hyuuga-san, and is in his last year of the Academy. I believe he might be a good fit to your small dilemma."
Naruto finally seemed to notice she was there as well, bowing to her slightly and running back behind the Hokage. Noting his whiskers, she knew exactly who the child was.
How could she not?
Michi, unlike many in the village, held no animosity for the boy. She understood his role, and from the look of things, was doing it quite well. One of her best friends had held it before him after all, and she knew how she acted. Bitterly, Michi remembered the days she, Kushina, and Mikoto would joke about their children getting married one day. Now, as the last one of her friends, those days were long gone.
Smiling slightly, she held out her hand for his notebook, watching as he handed it over carefully. His eyes were guarded, as if he was still trying to figure out her true intentions, something that no child his age should have to do. As Michi scanned over the work, her blood boiled slightly; the work he was doing was easy high-Genin, possibly even low-Chunin. And yet...
He got them all right.
"You're quite smart, Naruto-kun. Seems like you got them all right." He stared at her in shock for a moment, before his face split into a wide grin that hurt Michi far more than it should have. He acted as if he had never been praised before; then again, he probably hadn't.
That, and at that moment, he looked far too much like Kushina for her liking.
Hiruzen momentarily turned back to Michi, smiling at her approval. "Well, if you could meet them back here tomorrow at the same time, Hyuuga-san?" It seems we still have a few more pieces to this puzzle to figure out."
"Of course. Thank you again, Hokage-sama." She was probably more thankful than she had ever been before in her life. She gave a small wave to Naruto as well, exiting the building and once more meeting the cool spring air. Only twenty minutes had really passed, and the outside world looked just as she left it. The guards at the Hyuuga compound greeted her respectively, and she moved down the halls, the branch members passing by her like ghosts.
Opening the door of her own room, she moved through the darkness until she reached the crib in the very back. Little Hanabi was still sleeping soundly, and Michi picked her up carefully, petting the tufts of mahogany hair. Hanabi was kind now, but she feared for what the elders planned to turn her into.
"Mother? W-when did you get h-home?" Hinata stood in the doorway, her outline illuminated by the light from the hall. Small hands clutched the doorframe, and with another pang of regret Michi ruffled her hair.
"Don't worry about it, love. Have you gotten those passages read yet?" Hinata nodded, clutching her mother's free hand. Michi wasn't happy with turning her into a child soldier, but knew there were very few other options available. She wouldn't be able to help her with meeting her team or her first C-rank or even her first kill.
And that hurt more than anything the Elders could throw at her.