Sickness plus lots of deadlines and midterms do not make a happy nora. I hope you like the chapter, well, I hope you like all of the chapters really, since they're fun to write. But I hope you like this one too.

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Hinata slowed her breathing, telling herself to remain calm. It didn't matter that that the boy she was facing had an aura that tolled death for anyone who got in his way, didn't matter that she was one of the worst Byakugan users in her clan, and it certainly didn't matter that her stomach was currently doing somersaults. Her hands wouldn't stop shaking.

Focusing her eyes on her opponent, Hinata told herself that she could win this fight. Her Byakugan transformed the world into a swirl of chakra, pinpointing the weaknesses in anything it's gaze fell upon. This Gaara was no exception. She could see what she had to do, where she had to strike him, the only problem was actually doing it. Hinata slowly let out a breath as she wracked her mind for some sort of plan.

Across from her, Gaara unfolded his arms and he took one step forward closer to her. As he did so, the stopper in his gourd fell out. Not knowing exactly what to expect, only that the gourd was full of powerful chakra, Hinata was surprised when sand spilled out. It poured down around the boy, trailing behind him slightly as he continued taking slow, deliberate steps towards her. Thinking to take him unawares, Hinata decided to charge. As she filled her palm with chakra, Hinata zeroed in on the spot she was going to strike: his arm. She thrust out her arm along with a spike of chakra. As her hand neared the boy, the sand around his feet rose up and blocked her attack.

Hinata's chakra mixed with the sand's and the girl watched as the sand's destroyed her own. She jumped back quickly, out of the sand's reach. Despite being an ordinary part of the earth, Gaara somehow made it dangerous. Landing far away from her opponent, Hinata started to analyze the sand's chakra. It wasn't the same as the boy's. Although it seemed strange to her, she couldn't think about the difference in the middle of her battle.

Suddenly, the world tilted around her and Hinata fell to the ground. Eyes snapping to her legs, she saw that some sand had gripped her ankle and had started to tighten. How had she missed it? Gritting her teeth, Hinata sent a wave of chakra down into her leg, thrusting it out into the sand in an attempt to loosen it. It wouldn't budge. Her Byakugan made her aware of more sand rushing over to her, intent on her torso and head. She didn't have much time. As tears bubbled in her eyes from her panic, Hinata pushed a large amount of chakra down into her foot, clawing at the sand. To her shock, something clicked. Her chakra had found a sort of pattern in the sand's and Hinata was able to push it away. With a quick burst of speed, Hinata got out of the path of the onrushing wave of sand with barely any time to spare.

She landed far away from both the sand and Gaara himself. For his part, Gaara's eyes were widened in surprise from the fact that Hinata had gotten free. No one had been able to do that before. Hinata's eyes focused in on the sand again, yet she kept her sense open for another surprise attack. As she dissected the flow and movement of the chakra, she could see the beginnings of a rhythm to it. A small smile flew to her face as she came up with a plan. Terrified, Hinata ran towards the sand.

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Naruto's hands gripped the railing in front of him tightly. Why did Hinata have to fight this creepy guy? Why couldn't she have gone against Ino or Shikamaru? Heck, anyone from their academy would have been a better choice. Naruto raised one hand to wipe it on his pants, when had it gotten to sweaty?

Still, Hinata was holding her own. Naruto'd been worried when the sand had knocked her down, but she'd managed to break free of it. Maybe she'd be able to beat the creep. Naruto smiled. Yeah, she could do this! Hadn't he told her so earlier? He nodded to himself, confident that she could win.

Suddenly, Hinata ran towards the sand that had been moving towards her. Naruto blinked. What? No! What was she doing? Was she trying to get killed? Why was she going towards it? He leaned over the railing, biting his lip. She had to stop. She couldn't get caught up in that much sand. The creep would kill her! Why was she still running? Naruto gasped.

The sand had risen up, towering over the girl before crashing down and surrounding her. She was encased.

Naruto didn't remember opening his mouth before shouting, "HINATA!"

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The sand was all around her, slowly crushing her. Her right arm was out in front of her, left somewhere by her side. Both hurt from the pressure. Ignoring it, Hinata focused on her chakra. She spread it all around her body, pushing it to the edge of her skin. She forced her eyes to stay open, analyzing the sand around her. As she did so, the pressure on her right arm increased until, with a large snap, it burst. Tears fell down her cheeks as Hinata felt her arm break, but she didn't stop her work.

She pushed her chakra out and into the sand, working it into the pattern and rhythm of the sand's. With another loud crunch, Hinata felt her left leg break. He was slowly crushing her, taking his time in his kill. But Hinata couldn't stop, couldn't focus on the red hot heat emanating from her arm and leg. There! She matched the chakra and froze it solid. The pressure stopped. The sand was in her control. Hinata thrust it away from her, keeping her control over it as she did so.

As the sand fell away, Hinata crumpled to the ground, her left leg unable to support her. She still kept an iron grip on the sand. It was more difficult when it was far away from her, but she could do it. Hinata lifted herself up on her left hand, turning to face a very shocked Gaara. With a fierce flow of pleasure, Hinata saw that his mouth was open, gaping at the fact that his sand had been stolen from him. Hinata smiled, but she knew this fight wasn't over yet.

Hinata dragged the sand over to her, made it rise behind her in a show of power. She knew had to do this quickly, her chakra was draining fast, but she couldn't help but take a moment to revel in her small victory. With another push of her chakra, Hinata moved the sand towards Gaara. Her smile grew wider as she saw him stumble back, shock still apparent on his face. He didn't seem to know what to do without his power. Hinata wrapped the sand around Gaara, cocooning him until only his head showed. Her voice rasped across the distance between them, "Give up."

He only stared at her, unable to comprehend what was happening, or refusing to accept it. Hinata began to squeeze him, repeating what he had done to her not minutes before, "Give. Up." Her voice washed across him and his eyes came back to reality. For a few moments he pushed against her chakra, feebly attempting to take his sand back. But he had never had to use his chakra with purpose before, never had to try to control his sand. His efforts didn't even phase Hinata. Gaara's gaze rose back up to Hinata's, anger burning in his eyes. After a prolonged silence, he nodded.

Behind her, Hinata heard the proctor's voice, "Does that mean you concede the fight?" Gaara gave another nod, and, surprisingly, his gaze turned from that of anger into curiosity. "Then I declare Hinata Hyuaga the winner of this fight."

With a sigh of relief, Hinata let go of her control over the sand. It fell around Gaara, limp with no master to guide it. As the little chakra she had left fled into her body, Hinata could see Gaara's chakra slink into it's former place inside the sand. Closing her eyes, Hinata let her Byakugan fade. When she opened them, she saw that Gaara's eyes were still on her. The anger had completely faded, that fierce curiosity remained. She wished he would stop looking at her like that.

A voice broke through her thoughts, "HINATA! YOU DID IT!" Hinata looked up into the stands, a soft smile upon her face. Naruto's hand was in the air, huge smile upon his face. Pride welled up in Hinata's chest. She'd done so well, and in front of Naruto too. He'd seen her power. Hinata's smile grew. It stayed on her face even as the medical ninja team came up around her to care for her injuries.

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Sakura wasn't sure she could believe what she had just seen. Hinata Hyuga had just beaten Gaara. Hinata. Hyuga! It was amazing, Sakura would never have guess the girl to hold so much resolve in her, let alone the prowess to take over Gaara's sand. As Naruto congratulated Hinata beside her, Sakura couldn't find the words to join him. But she felt happiness and pride for the girl well up in her all the same.

Sakura felt a poke in her side, drawing her attention away from Hinata. She looked over to see Sasuke, who'd joined team 7 in the middle of Hinata's fight, pointing at the board. Realizing what his gesture meant, Sakura gritted her teeth and turned her eyes to the board.

Kankuro vs. Sakura Haruno.

Sakura sighed. Well. She could have gotten worse, at least she had some history with fighting puppet masters. Her gaze fell across the arena to the stands on the other side. Her eyes found Kankuro's. And he certainly wasn't at the same level Sasori and been at. Sakura felt a pang in her side and winced. Getting rid of the poison had left its mark on her. All of her muscles still ached, and her chakra levels were lower than they would normally be at. But she couldn't let it effect her. Sakura jumped down to the bottom arena. Kankuro did the same.

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Betcha didn't expect that! Hinata is a badass and should be portrayed as such! None of the female Naruto characters live up to their potential in the actual manga so I do that hereā€¦