Chapter 18 : Fighting Blind
Although she felt much stronger, her vision had not returned.
Hinata was still as blind as before; even though, she knew that her vision was healing a lot faster than she had thought.
It wasn’t enough. It never was enough.
She had trained day and night in hopes of reforming her chakra control but every step forward felt like she was taking a step back. Her chakra fought with her every step that she took and sometimes it barely followed her strict control until she was left at wits end. It tended to snap back at her in retaliation the further she pushed and this caused Hinata to worry even more.
Hinata was terribly worried about this fight.
She was confident that she could do a lot of damage to Rennosuke but there was always a voice in the back of her head telling her that she was not good enough.
Her father’s voice.
It continuously rang in her ears, telling her of her failure and defeat, her inability to succeed because she will never be up to par. There were nights where she broke down crying until her voice was hoarse and her body trembling from exhaustion and turmoil.
Her only silver lining was Sasuke. Just the thought of him kept her going, kept her father’s harsh and critical comments from breaching the fore front of her consciousness and destroying her control.
She fought with her inner monsters every step of the way and sometimes she felt like she wasn’t good enough but that didn’t stop her from forcing herself forwards.
Hinata propelled herself upwards with every push down that her father made.
When she fell down, she stood back up. When Neji Nii-san slammed her to the dirt ground during rigorous training, she picked her battered body up and fought back with all that she had. Hinata fought and forced herself back up until her body trembled, her vision darkened, and her consciousness left her.
Even when asleep she was fighting.
She never gave up because what she was fighting for was for herself, was for Sasuke. Sasuke had somehow become her strength and her weakness.
She was scared because she didn’t want to make Sasuke disappointed in her, but most of all, she didn’t want to let herself down. Hinata couldn’t let herself down, she was all that she had now. No one can save her other than herself. Sasuke wasn’t going to come back and save her, she already knew that but her chest still ached at the thought of him.
“Are you ready to become mine, Hinata-sama?” Rennosuke whispered against her ears, obsidian hair seemingly longer than her own when he brushed past her. He left a trail of his disgusting presence behind as he walked and she was tempted to throw up.
Hinata immediately tensed when she felt his palm purposefully brush past her rear, squeezing her flesh before quickly retreating back to his side. Had she been able to see, she would be gifted with the vision of his perverted face and she was glad that she couldn’t see him.
The bastard didn’t deserve her attention.
Hinata felt heat rapidly make way up her chest. Anger, hot and fast caused her cheeks to heat up in a fierce blush that threatened to consume her. It was obvious that he was trying to mess with her emotions. Even Saints would be angered by Rennosuke and Hinata was no Saint.
Hinata stomped down the urge to slap him as she quickly got into her stance, waiting for Hiashi’s call for the battle to start.
She couldn’t wait to gentle fist that arrogant smirk, that she knew he had on, off of his perverted face.
“You may begin.” Hiashi’s calm and stoic voice broke through and Hinata had a feeling that her own father was waiting for her to fail. Hiashi was definitely waiting for her to make a fool of herself just like she had in the past, but not this time. She was not going to let him continue to break her down until there was nothing left of her except for tears and hurt.
Delicate hands clenched when Rennosuke raced towards her prone form, chakra enhanced fists raised to knock her back.
She barely managed to dodge in time because he was a lot faster than she had thought. During the time that she was set out to improve herself, he was probably doing the same thing. His aura wildly lapped at her own when her gentle fist met his and her skin crawled when their hands touched. She hated the feeling of anyone touching her now other than Sasuke.
With a hard knock of her fist, she managed to send him sailing backwards, but Rennosuke had quickly bounced forwards again like her punch had done no damage. The time crawled by when Hinata’s punches were easily deflected by him. Hinata faked to the left, sweeping her leg out and waited for him to dodge before sneakily sending a powered kick into his face that resounded with a sickening crunch.
She can imagine how swollen and broken his face is right now. And a dark smirk that could usually be seen on Sasuke’s face was currently plastered onto her own.
The smile almost split her face because just the thought of Sasuke had made her stronger, had made her more confident in herself and her abilities.
Hinata forced chakra to her legs, forcing herself to become faster to avoid his kick and avid punches. She barely dodged his gentle fist before slamming her knee into his gut and Hinata could feel his blood stain her pants when it rained down from his chin.
Just when she thought that this would be an easy win, her chakra suddenly started fluctuating wildly, dancing about as she tried to control it.
Swiftly when she dodged back, her chakra completely extinguished like a dying flame.
The panic had quickly started to set in and the disbelief was stained onto her features like a second skin. She failed to block his next hit.
Rennosuke noticed her sudden hesitation and sent a gentle fist straight to her heart, attacking an old wound he knew she had.
Blood immediately dripped down her lips in spurts like ruptured glass. It stained the front of her grey shirt, when the bastard hit the same place again and again until she wheezed from the pain.
Every kick and punch she sent to distract him did not connect like she had hoped without her chakra. Their fighting style was far too similar to find a small loop hole for her to break through and Hinata started to panic all the more.
The arrogant smirk on Rennosuke’s lips deepened when he swept her legs out beneath her, sending Hinata plummeting to the ground rapidly. She immediately rolled herself around before he could slam his chakra infused leg down on her.
Just as she got up to her feet, he sent a hard kick her way.
His leg connected with her stomach and she was sent flying back several yards before finding her bearing. Her breath came out in quick and short pants, sweat dripping down her temple to wet the front of her shirt. He continued playing with her, kicking and punching her back several times until her face was a bloody mess.
She was out of chakra and her body was starting to fail her.
Hinata swallowed down the mouthful of blood in her throat before picking herself back up. Her body was beginning to slow to a sluggish pace, breath coming out in harsh pants as blood dripped through the cracks of her teeth and down her chin.
Another kick from him sent her plummeting to the ground and she could feel her ribs collapse painfully. Rennosuke smirked down at her, light eyes gleaming viciously like some sort of crazed animal. Soon, his glowing hands lifted her up by the throat until her legs dangled inches away from the ground, choking her as punishment for daring to injure his handsome face.
“Admit defeat, Hinata-sama. The faster you admit defeat, the faster we can get married, and the faster we can consummate,” he said, blowing his hot breath into her face.
Hinata clawed at his hands weakly. Panic filled her at his words when she forcefully gathered her wild chakra into her palms, almost like grabbing a hissing and clawing kitten by the tail.
It seemed like an out of body experience when the loud sound of crackling and booming of an explosion sent her flying back.
Her consciousness completely left her.
When Hinata came to, she was back inside of her dimly lit room. Her whole body ached while tears threatened to fall from her eyes when she remembered the fight.
Had she been defeated by Rennosuke? Had she managed to fail at the one chance that she was given?
The wooden door slid open slowly and Hanabi stiffly entered with a tray of porridge and a cup of water. Cold grey eyes assessed her older sister, noting how calm she was.
“D-did Rennosuke win?” Hinata calmly asked, just to confirm; although, the bitter taste of disappointment made her nauseous to the point of throwing up.
Hanabi remained quiet, as if contemplating the words she wanted to say to lessen the impact on Hinata. How can you beat someone down when they were already seated at the lowest level on the ground?
“It was a draw.” Hanabi finally replied with a soft sigh when she set the tray down by Hinata’s bed. The cup and bowl clanked together noisily before stilling, leaving the room oddly silent with only the sound of steady even breathing.
The candle light flickered eerily.
“Your chakra fluctuated out of control and caused an explosion that knocked Rennosuke and you unconscious.”
Silence once again enveloped the room and the only sound to be heard was Hinata’s choppy and choked breathing.
She hadn’t lost but she didn’t win either.
“Then the marriag---” Hope bloomed like spring flowers in Hinata’s chest when she realized the implications. If neither won, there had to be some sort of loophole where they could cancel this arrangement. Hinata surely hoped so.
“Father has decided to postpone it for now, until Rennosuke can prove his worth.” Hanabi’s final words seemed to have dropped Hinata’s heart down to the depths of hell.
Trembling fists clenched the creamy sheets until they bunched and wrinkled under her hands.
She was still not good enough.
Hinata had started counting down the days now. Everyday that passed without Sasuke was seamlessly longer than she could take.
11 months, 9 days, 12 hours, and 48 seconds. 49 seconds. 50 seconds. 51 seconds.
She had gotten back into her regular routine. Eating, sleeping, training, and emptiness.
Her vision had fully returned now; although, using the Byakugan was not recommended and tended to strain her eyes to the point of bleeding. She had been slightly less disappointed that the first person that she saw had been Tsunade instead of Sasuke, because she knew he might not come back for her.
They were only companions in that cell. He probably didn’t feel the same way that she did, no matter how hard she had hoped that he would. She had tried to persevere and tried not to think of him so much but sometimes the brain couldn’t control what the heart felt.
Hinata was still off of missions like usual. Her father was still disappointed in her progress and every dreary day passed without stopping. Her world still continued to move even without him, unlike what she had thought. She hadn’t died because he was gone, her heart hadn’t broken anymore than it already had and her life moved on.
But she missed him. Terribly so, to the point that she could feel her heart bleeding with the need to see him. As if he was her only floating anchor to reality.
Her nightmares had haunted her to the point of insomnia and she was starting to forget what his warmth felt like. Could she have possibly imagined everything? Had she been trapped inside of a genjutsu the whole time?
She knew it was real.
Although the time continued to drawl by, her feelings for him had not changed. Her heart still ached from his abandonment, yet she couldn’t get herself to hate him.
Where was he? Why wasn’t he coming back for her? Is he safe now?
All these questions always bombarded her mind when she stopped long enough to let them creep across her conscious thoughts. Hinata had followed Tsunade’s instructions and moved on with her life but Sasuke seemed to always be apart of it, even if he was not truly there.
He was not a passing infatuation, or a fleeting attachment that would fade with time. Sasuke Uchiha had managed to embed himself into her heart. It was like his kusanagi had carved his name deep onto the canvas of her heart and she didn’t want it to heal back up, even if it did, it would be his name on there anyways.
How it had happened was a mystery to her. The feelings she carried for him surpassed anything that she has ever felt for Naruto. Her continued worshiping of Naruto had been for years, yet those feelings were nothing compared to her love for Sasuke in the weeks that they were together. She wanted to think that the feelings were mutual but were they?
Did Sasuke feel the same for her? If he did, why hasn’t he come for her?
The question had revolved in her head for months now.
Instead of waiting for him to come for her, Hinata could go and find him.
Perhaps leaving Konoha would be a good step for her. If Hinata left, would it be considered running away from her problems? If she stayed, who knew what her father would come up with to get rid of her. How long would it take for Rennosuke to prove himself to her father? 2 weeks? 2 months? 3 days?
She didn’t know and she didn’t want to risk it. After all, how many Rennosuke’s would her father send her way before she couldn’t take it anymore?
Father had always been a very calculating man. Everything he did was always carefully thought out and no one has ever questioned his decisions. Her father’s words were final and he obviously did not take ‘no’ for an answer. She had tried and failed several times.
Where ever Sasuke is right now, Hinata truthfully hoped that he is safe.