Chapter 16 : Her Revelations
Sometimes she dreamed about him, about his wonderful kisses and gentle embrace before the calm and happy moments would be ruined by those horrid women. They dragged Sasuke out by his hair and hurt him in gruesome ways that left her sobbing as she woke.
She never had such horrible dreams when she had slept in Sasuke’s arms and it seemed as if even these nightmares were afraid of him. If only he was still here to scare away her nightmares. If only she could still be enveloped in his arms.
A crystalline tear drop darkened her sheets as she hugged her knees tightly to her body, laying her head across her knees as she cried. It seemed that this was all that she had been doing, confining herself inside of her room ever since she had left the hospital, crying worthlessly as if tears did anything to help.
“Hinata?” Hanabi’s words seemed to penetrate through the wood of her door and startled her out of her musings before Hinata quickly pulled herself upright and wiped her face, smoothing down her hair in the process.
“Come in,” she replied before the younger girl entered, sharp eyes inspecting the dark room to where her older sister sat tangled in the sheets with a slightly broken expression on her face.
Large lavender eyes stared back blankly, face blotchy and lashes wet as if she had been crying for hours now.
What had caused this?
“Father wishes to talk to you,” the younger girl said, head cocked to the side as she watched her older sister fidget under her probing gaze. There was something oddly different about her older sister now. Knowledge, some sort of maturity and an emptiness in her gaze that made it unsettling to stare Hinata in the eyes.
“Hai, I’ll be right out,” she whispered, words barely audible that if Hanabi hadn’t been studying her older sister so hard, she wouldn’t have heard it.
“Okay.” Slowly, the younger girl made way out of the room before sliding the door closed with a slight tap. Hanabi breathed a sigh as she walked down the halls and towards her fathers sitting room where he waited with slow measured steps.
This would be the first time that he had summoned Hinata since she had returned to the house. Father had not even visited Hinata when she was in the hospital in a coma for months, but Hanabi knew that he kept himself from going. He was afraid of what he would do when he saw his first daughter so beaten and broken like Hanabi had. The gruesome sight of what had happened to Hinata seemed to linger around in Hanabi’s thoughts, making her wonder what had actually happened to her.
Grey eyes wandered back to the closed door, hearing the sounds of Hinata’s scuffling around behind the closed walls before slowly walking away.
Hinata was quick to change her sleeping robe into a loose kimono before venturing down the halls and straight into Hanabi who settled her frantic body with a steady hand.
She was frazzled and frenetic as the rice paper doors slid open and she felt the burn of his wild aura against her own. His sharp gaze was hot on her face and she realized that she wasn’t ready to face him just yet. Just by the trembling of her hands and the sudden nervous sweat that wet her back was proof of it.
Hiashi made here uncomfortable.
Will he be angry at her failure to defeat the people who captured her, for letting herself get beaten to a mass of broken limbs and blood, or for even returning to ruin their family name?
Perhaps, he thought that it would be better if she had just died on a mission instead of returning. Had she died, at least she would be honored for her death to Konoha as the nin of the town, yet she couldn’t even do that right.
“H-Hello, f-father,” she greeted, trying her best to calm the stutters as she was met with his intimidating presence. All her previous habits came to surface. The pathetic stutters, the shaking limbs, and lightheadedness came back in a rush.
“Help your sister sit down, Hanabi,” he calmly stated, bringing his tea cup upwards and taking a slight sip as he inspected his daughter for the first time in months.
Alive. Weak. Blind. Useless.
Hanabi frowned, noticing the faint displeased curl of his lips as he studied her older sister with a look of disdain on his face.
Hinata raised her hand, stopping Hanabi from helping as she pridefully shuffled around until she sat right in front of him, head tipped upwards but not quite staring at his face.
“It has come to my attention that you are currently incapable of proceeding as clan head. Under the councils decision and my final ruling, we have decided to remove you as heiress of the clan. Hanabi will replace you as the clan head.” He spoke almost as if they were dealing with a business contract of some sort instead of a loving conversation between father and daughter.
No such warmth was found in his voice.
Hinata knew that this day was coming long before she had been kidnapped. She had only been tricking herself into thinking that any of her efforts would be rewarded in the end, but all of that was coming to pass now. She knew this was going to happen but the blow to her pride still stung and ached like an open wound that would not heal.
“Hai,” she replied respectfully, head bowed downwards in defeat as she swallowed down a pathetic cry. What else was there that she could do to make him change his mind? Should she grovel and beg pathetically, cry and sob for him to accept her? She doubted that it would work.
“With your handicap as is, it is best if we find you a guard, someone adequately equipped to protect you from further--incursions.”
Hinata was a weak daughter that had let herself be kidnapped so easily compared to his younger daughter who had managed to defeat and kill all those who stood in her way. The family secrets could have easily been taken and used against the clan because of her.
Hinata swallowed weakly, fingers clenched into the fine fabric of her dark kimono, the color of dark blue silk with a deep red obi across the waist.
Hiashi had been slightly confused with her color choice until he momentarily remembered that she couldn’t see anything none the less color, yet the contrasting hues were a constant reminder of something long forgotten, something that should remain buried beneath years of dirt and debris.
He once again took a slight sip of his tea, eyeing the colors in distaste before watching her shoulders tense for the final blow his words would cause.
It had to be done.
"Rennosuke has gladly asked for your hand and is kind enough to look past your deformities, I have decided that it is best for you to marry him.” He stated the words forcefully, leaving no room for debate.
His words were always final.
Hinata’s head shrunk downwards towards her neck, tempted to grind her teeth together. He wanted to marry her off to that perverted distant relative that she had tried to stay away from since childhood. Even his name left a slight chill in the air.
"No.” She found the words had already left her lips before she could stop them.
“It is for your own safety, Hinata. I am your father. I only want what is best for you.” His sharp glare could have made all the blood drain from her face had she been able to see it, but even without her vision, she could feel his eyes burn through her face like a slap to the face.
She didn’t want to marry Rennosuke!
She wanted Sasuke.
How could she tell her father that?
Her cheeks flushed in frustration. She couldn’t argue and fight with her father head on, instead she must deploy another strategy while playing the submissive daughter.
“I wish to challenge him,” she stated, her words full of finality and conviction, “If he defeats me and is able to prove that he is capable of protecting me then I will accept the marriage, father.”
There was no way she would be able to defeat him, not when she had her vision and definitely not now when she was handicapped, Hiashi mused before deciding to just appease her for now.
She would have to succumb to his demands soon enough.
“So be it.”
For the next month, Hinata had immersed herself into training. At first her family and friends had tried to stop her, afraid she would do more harm than good but eventually they had faltered slightly when they saw the veil of determination etched upon her pale face.
They made her feel pathetic and pitiful, weak and useless like a piece of breakable glass. That was the shove that she needed in order to push herself back up. She wasn’t a damsel in distress who needed a knight in shining armor to save her. She wasn’t weak and she was going to prove it to all of them.
Sasuke wouldn’t have stopped her.
He would have silently watched her progress and just with his presence at her side, she knew that he would give her his approval of her actions, of her pushing herself to become stronger.
Other than training, Hinata spent most of her time at the hospital for hours on end as Tsunade and Sakura tried to undo the damage that she had caused. She could feel her eyes gradually getting better but not fast enough to be progressing at a rapid rate for a full recovery so that she could battle Rennosuke.
Hinata was glad that the chances of her vision returning was a lot higher than she had hoped for and she was extremely grateful for all of their help.
She wanted her vision to return again so she could see her friends and family along with beat that perverted look off of Rennosuke’s face, yet the traitorous part of her knew that what she yearned for the most was to see his face.
She missed him.
That was something that she couldn’t deny.
Did he miss her too? Probably not.
She was probably just a burden for him, someone he was forced to take care of because of their circumstances.
When training, she forced her body beyond its limit to tire herself out to the point where she couldn’t think about him anymore, where his deep husky voice didn’t come to mind, where his gentle touch didn’t cause her to shiver in pleasure, or where her body didn’t miss his warmth at night. Sometimes, falling asleep was hard without him.
Hinata had almost dropped the bento in her lap when she jumped slightly at the loud scream of her name. The calm and peaceful atmosphere was completely destroyed by the shrill shout that caused the birds to flee in fear.
The tall blonde male had quickly jogged his way over to her and was panting rather loudly with a grin on his lips as his bright blue eyes remained glued on her petite frame.
“Hello, Naruto-kun,” she replied. Her head was tipped to the side in wonder, bangs sliding downwards to reveal smooth pale temples and wide pretty eyes, while her lips pursed cutely with delicate brows slightly wrinkled.
What was he doing here?
“Naruto,” Shino greeted, a slight frown weaving on his lips as he helped his blind team mate up to her feet.
“Er- -Can I talk to Hinata-chan alone for a little bit, Shino?” The blonde stated, completely oblivious to the apprehensive stare that the bug user was sending him.
Hinata could feel the slight strain between the two males and she knew Shino was worried for her. And she was glad to have such caring friends.
“It’s fine, Shino-kun,” Hinata reassured, tapered fingers closing the bento in practiced movements before setting it down onto the bench and turning back to the blonde’s wildly waving aura.
Even without her sight he was still really bright. Hinata almost winced when his aura touched her own.
Sometimes such brightness, alike to the sun, could be corrosive and nauseating.
Hinata found that she now preferred the darkness over all.
Shino clicked his tongue in annoyance before nodding his head and backing away from the two. Hopefully, Naruto wouldn’t do any more damage to his delicate team mate since he was such an oblivious person. The jinchuriki was a rather unpredictable individual so there was no saying what the outcome would be. Shino did not want Hinata to be hurt more than she was already damaged.
“Uh- -I don’t really know how to say this but I’ve uh- - thought about it for a long time, Hinata-chan,” he started, scratching his neck lightly in an unsure gesture as he watched her expression jump from confusion to surprise, “I’m really sorry for brushing off your feelings for such a long time.”
Hinata is at a loss of what to do. She hadn’t really expected him to come find her for this reason.
Especially not after everything that has happened.
“I-It’s fine, Naruto-kun,” she replied hesitantly, not really believing that Naruto was apologizing for taking her feelings lightly all those years.
“No. No it’s not. I’m sorry for everything, Hinata-chan. I should have known better than to do that,” he stated almost wistfully as she floundered uncomfortably almost in disbelief.
“I forgave you a long time ago, Naruto-kun. Please don’t be bothered by it,” she said with a slight strained smile on her lips. He was no longer what made her world spin on it’s axis, the position had been replaced by someone else now and she liked it that way. Naruto was just another comrade and that was how it was going to stay.
Blue eyes watched her slight movement, head tilted cutely as she glanced at him through thick dark lashes. Had Hinata-chan always been this pretty? His eyes widened slightly.
Hinata-chan had the traditional kind of beauty. Simple and elegant yet beautiful in her own unique way. Porcelain skin and rose petal colored lips that glistened as she spoke while wide lavender eyes were framed with thick dark lashes that made her seem even more ethereal to look at.
Sakura had the wild, untamed beauty with exotic hair and vivid eye color that no one else had.
No, this was about Hinata-chan. He couldn’t continue to be hung up on Sakura like this.
“I-I want to give us a chance, Hinata. You don’t have to answer me now but don’t leave me hanging too long.” He laughed jokingly, almost awkwardly for the both of them; although, his words had a rather serious note to it.
She was floored, her expression showed bewilderment and shock. What had brought this up?
Had Naruto told this to her half a year ago she would have willingly jumped into his arms and let him whisk her off into his own fairytale, but the her right now was not that naive and innocent girl she used to be.
Instead, she felt slightly bitter at his words. He had left her ′hanging′ for years for an answer from him and yet he expects her not to do the same. How hypocritical. But Hinata wasn’t the type of person who would go and step all over someone else’s heart, no matter what they had done to hers.
Her expression softened slightly and she could feel the tension from him as he waited for her answer. She didn’t know that someone so confident like him could be nervous over something like this.
“Gomen. I have someone I like now,” she finally replies with a certain conviction in her voice that had even surprised herself. How was she so sure of herself?
“Er- -okay, I wish you the best of luck, Hinata-chan. Thanks for talking to me,” he said brightly with a strained smile on his lips, scratching the back of his neck as she smiled at him kindly. Had she been able to see, Hinata would have been able to catch the slightly relieved yet disappointed expression on his normally bright and smiling face.
Had she lied to him?
She hadn’t because there had never been a doubt that the only one who was in her heart right now was Sasuke Uchiha. She wanted him, her heart and soul yearned for him in more ways than it ever could have for Naruto. She undoubtedly knew that she liked him- - -no it was way past that now.
Every hardship they had endured, every stumble and fall, every moment of intimacy had been ingrained into her head like a memory that could never be forgotten or erased.
"I love him.” Her lips parted in a small whisper, almost in awe as she contemplated her words, running them through her head a hundred times as if to make sure they were true. Her ears burned in embarrassment and astonishment at such a declaration.
Hinata Hyuga was in love with Sasuke Uchiha.
“Huh?” Naruto’s brows wrinkled slightly. Did Hinata chan just say she loved something? He wasn’t too sure but he could feel his chest pinch tightly at the thought.
“Thank you, Naruto-kun,” she smiled brilliantly, fingers clenched into a fist, heart beating rapidly against her chest and Naruto found her smile absolutely blinding, bright and beautiful in an ethereal way.
“I’ll see you around then, Hinata-chan! If you need any help with your training, feel free to come find me!” He hollered before running off again before she could say another word.
Hinata released a breath that she didn’t know that she was holding when the blonde finally disappeared from her senses.
It was definitely true what Ino-chan had warned her of when it came to Sakura and Naruto. Ino-chan said that if she wasn’t careful, she would be used by Naruto as a rebound girlfriend and Hinata had no interest in that whatsoever.
When had her life become so complicated?