"I'll be strong like my father, and I'll be kind like my mother!"
These were the words that Hinata lived by for as long as she could remember. It was once a creed with no solid meaning or definition, but on certain day of her life, that simple phrase became something for her to focus on, a source of clarity. Before that sudden epiphany, Hinata's childhood was far easier.
She was a gentle toddler, almost to the point of being considered fragile, but her parents didn't seem to mind, despite her grandparents' concerns of her being too soft. Mother let her wander in the back gardens, showing her the different plants that grew and what they were used for. Father read her books and taught her literacy when he could make the time, patiently guiding her clumsy fingers to trace each word until they were memorized. He smiled when she recalled a kanji's meaning. Her father smiled much more back then. Sometimes her Uncle Hizashi came to visit them, and she would play with Neji for a while, running around and throwing flimsy paper shuriken as they pretended to be ninja. Even at the age of four, her "big brother" always wished to be a shinobi.
And then she turned three. There was a small party held for her, but her father had taken Neji inside towards the end. He came back out again a few hours later with bandages wrapped around his forehead and tears of pain in his eyes. The occasion gained a sour feel after that, and her uncle left as soon as he could. He was more bitter from then on. The next day, Father brought her to the dojo for the first time, saying that he was going to teach her how to fight. She didn't comment on his decision, for she was too excited about becoming strong like him to care. Hinata was taught the first basic stances of the Gentle Fist style, and diligently practiced every day after that. Father was proud of her, and the other clan members were pacified with her progress.
Her mother started to teach Hinata other things she deemed important to know. She now had lessons on etiquette, clan history and traditions, and being a proper woman. After being introduced to so many new concepts at once, Hinata finally asked her father why it was all necessary in the middle of their daily training session. He had sat her down and explained, in the simplest of terms, that she was his heiress and would one day have to lead the Hyuga Clan. She had to be capable of doing so when it was time to take over as head. His answer satisfied her, so she continued to run through her stances without further complaint.
And then it got harder. Her Uncle Hizashi died a few weeks after her third birthday after she was kidnapped by a ninja in the middle of the night, and Neji never played with her anymore. She couldn't understand why he hated her now. Later, she learned that it was a Cloud shinobi who tried to take her. She never thought of the Cloud Village the same way again. The once easy Gentle Fist stances turned into full katas, each one involving countless moves to perform. She was never fast enough to please her father anymore, no matter how hard she tried. Ko, her assigned protector, tried to reassure her that she was only being pushed so she could succeed, but she wondered exactly what would happen if she never got better. What if she failed him completely? Her mother's lessons became more difficult as well. There were so many rules to keep straight and so many ceremonies to master that it overwhelmed her at times. Mother was more tolerant of her mistakes though, and willing to correct her every time she needed help. Sometimes Ko brought her outside of the compound for a break, and they would walk around the village streets to as he pointed out different locations, like the Ninja Academy and the Hokage's Tower. He told her that she would go to the academy just like Neji when she got older. She faintly remembered a day when she saw a blonde haired boy around her age, yelling at the top of his lungs about how he was going to become Hokage someday. Ko took her back home after the boy ran off, telling her to stay away from him. She barely remembered his face now, but his words stuck in her head for some reason.
When Hinata was six, her mother passed away from an illness, leaving her one year old younger sister Hanabi behind. Both she and her father were devastated, even more than Hizashi's death. Without her mother's comfort, she grew more timid than before, almost in sync with her father's colder behavior towards her. Feeling abandoned and alone, she struggled even more during her training. After one abysmal sparring session, He started to train Hanabi too.
The day he pitted his two daughters against one another in a match was the day Hinata decided to change. It had gone terribly, with Hinata ending up on the ground, face down after receiving a jump kick to the chest. She was on her hands and knees, trying to recover, when she saw her father shake his head and start to walk away. She had failed him one too many times, and he had finally had enough of her. She could feel the tears rolling down her cheeks to drip on the floor, proof that she was weak. Her mother had left her, and now Father was going to leave. She couldn't bear the thought of being alone, all because she was too weak. She felt like running away, but where would she even go? What would it accomplish in the end? Instead, she shoved that wounded part of herself deep within her, gritted her teeth, and got to her feet to face Hanabi again, the tears no longer falling.
"I'll be strong like my father, and I'll be kind like my mother!"
With an unexpected battle cry that made her father turn back around in surprise, Hinata charged at her opponent for another round. Their fight was intense, but Hanabi was thrown flat on her back in under a minute, Hinata standing over her with desperation flickering in her eyes like an unstable flame. The rest of her face was an unreadable mask, just as she had been taught to look but had never successfully done before. That was the first time she had completely buried her heart. She cried herself to sleep in her room that night, the way she had attacked her own sister playing in her head over and over again. Hinata steadily improved from then on, pushing herself harder than ever before to get the approval she missed so much. Hanabi was always two steps behind her in progress now, struggling to equal her sister's blooming skills. Hinata used that same newfound inner power and applied it to her other lessons, impressing the tutors who had taken over for her mother. The hardened shell she had developed wasn't perfect yet, but she found herself giving in to emotions much less now, and never in the public eye. Father was proud again, along with the rest of the clan, and they often praised her strength now. But Hinata always continued to train, for if she ever stopped improving, she feared the praise would fade away, along with that strength she worked so hard for.
Just as Ko had promised when she was much younger, Hinata started to attend the Academy. Despite her stronger backbone, she was still smaller than the other children her age, so she was a favored target of bullies the first week. They disliked her pupiless eyes and quiet nature, and expressed it by pushing her around when no one was looking. Most of her other classmates completely ignored her presence. Her inability to make friends stung her, but she would never let anyone see it. She redoubled her school efforts and studied harder. She picked up the Academy's basic fighting style after some dedicated training, and proceeded to steamroll any girl with the misfortune to be selected as her sparring opponent after six months of practice. She gave the boys a run for their money when she figured out how to merge some Gentle fist movements into her form, defeating most of them reliably once a few more years passed and they lost their inherent size advantage over her. Now people stayed away from her simply because they were intimidated by her fighting skill combined with her unwelcoming, almost cold behavior. When she sat at her designated seat, the people next to her scooted away a little. They avoided her like she was dangerous when they were let out for recess. Being alone at break time did give her a chance to practice her weapon accuracy and chakra control more, so she didn't mind. A large amount of them were loud and irritating to her anyway. In the years leading to graduation, most students who knew of Hinata either were terrified of her, resented her, or had a level of respect for the Hyuga heir. She considered none of them as friends, afraid deep down that they would leave her if they got too close and she didn't meet their standards. Hinata Hyuga was a loner.
AN: Okay, so this is an AU fanfiction based on a a flashback shown in episode 166 of Naruto Shippuden, in case you didn't understand where certain scenes came from. The Diverging Point here is that instead of crying and running away from her spar with Hanabi that day and being rescued by Naruto, Hinata finds her own form of strength and defeats her sister, regaining her father's approval and her spot as Heiress. This changes her worldveiw drastically, along with the way she acts, and you can hopefully see from above. I have yet to see someone try this way of causing a "butterfly effect", so I'll try to stay original with the content and not have a rehash of Canon. She's not a completely different person now, as she still feels and cares, but she's a little...harder around the edges now. Bear with me as I attempt to get a better feel of her new character. More changes will be demonstrated in the first chapter, where the genin teams will be selected, and I can show some character interaction. I would love to get reviews telling me your opinions of this idea and how things could progress from here.