Chapter 19 : Lightning And Fire
The sound of cups clanking together and sake being poured was the only noise that could be heard inside of the room.
Both of their minds were currently on the same subject.
Uchiha Sasuke and Hinata Hyuga.
“What are you going to do about Sasuke and Hinata?” Tsunade chugged down the 13th(20th) cup of sake before turning to the current Hokage whose head was currently downturned, finger slightly tapping against the table’s surface.
Kakashi did not think that there would be a day where they would say these two names together in a sentence. From his knowledge on the two rather quiet Hyuga Hinata and Uchiha Sasuke, they barely interacted with each other until this whole captivity. He wasn’t sure if either one of them has ever greeted or even acknowledged one another and yet here the big problem lies before him.
“There’s nothing much that we can do. Let the kids take care of their own problems,” he said, reaching out for a cup of sake and clanking it with hers. The whole town can’t possibly be endangered by their strange relationship, right? Right.
“Hinata was covering up for him during interrogation and it seems she has a rather strange attachment to him,” Tsunade said. Her observations were always more in depth than others since nothing could really pass her notice and the way Hinata acted was rather mind baffling for her.
“I know you saw what I had, Tsunade. It doesn’t look like co-dependency or needy attachment. The only way aura’s can meld and dissolve into one another is- - - -”
“I know but that rotten Uchiha is no good for Hinata. He’s way too hard headed and prideful. Who knows if he’ll even come back,” Tsunade murmured with a small quirk of her lips.
Sasuke Uchiha was a vessel of darkness and hatred while Hinata Hyuga was all innocence and kindness. They were the complete opposite of each other and Tsunade couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact that they could become romantically involved like this.
Well, what do you know, opposites really do attract.
She had always thought that Hinata would be with someone more... normal. Like Naruto- -Who was she kidding? Both Naruto and Sasuke were not normal. These two males were in a league of their own. Their capabilities blew other nins out of the water. Naruto was bright like the irritating burn of the sun in your eyes while Sasuke was darkness and decay. Naruto seemed like the better choice for Hinata, but the stupid nin had messed up big time from his oblivious attitude towards everything except for Sakura.
What an idiot, she mused.
“I’ve never seen him look at anyone the way he looks at her. You saw for yourself how delicately he handled her. If it was Sakura(Sorry Sakura), I doubted he would have even cared,” Kakashi stated rather calculatingly before taking another sip of the sake, “I know for a fact that Sasuke will come and there’s going to be a big storm coming with him, especially if it includes Hinata.”
“If that’s the case, then you know there will be more headaches coming, especially from Sakura and Naruto. Perhaps the whole town will go up into flames. Who’s going to clean up the mess if not for us?” Tsunade set her cup down and opted to drink from the whole bottle. She was not a therapist and she definitely did not want to figure out relationship problems, especially one that involved that Uchiha brat and shy Hyuga. That type of work was cut out for someone else, not her.
What a headache!
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.” Kakashi grabbed the report and set it down, flipping the yellow folder open to the report about the evil woman and the dark staff that Hinata had described.
“You need to send some Anbu’s out to investigate those women and see if there’s anymore of them. They could be a danger to Konoha if they are still alive,” Tsunade grumbled under her breath.
“I know.” Kakashi grabbed the sake bottle from Tsunade’s hand and quickly downed it.
“Hey! That’s my sake!”
In another part of town, two men sighed out heavily as they stared at the silent Hyuga heiress seated not too far away from them.
Hinata had changed.
Shino and Kiba had noticed the change in their team mate and comrade way before anyone else had, but they had no clue what they could do to help.
Her shining, happy and innocent mien had completely changed now. No longer that innocent always smiling Hinata Hyuga who trudged through everything with a bright smile. No longer that girl who optimistically looked at everything even as everyone put her down.
Hinata barely spoke to them now.
Her eyes were dull with a hint of sadness and longing that seemed to grow as the months gradually passed. She was always searching for something around them, eyes always roaming around, bright aura always reaching out for something yet drawing back in disappointment each time.
What was she looking for?
It was confusing for them both.
Hinata always held her emotions on her sleeves, anyone could tell what she was thinking with just one look her way, yet they could no longer do that. She remained distant and rarely spoke out of line. The smile she carried on her lips no longer reached her eyes and nothing they did could make her happy anymore. Pretty flowers, herbs, even her favorite food was received with a hollow ′thank you′ that didn’t even seem heart felt.
When she said she was ′fine’, they were assured that she was not.
Dejected, lonely, and broken.
When was the last time they saw a real smile on her lips? A smile that brightened her face and lit up her eyes? A smile that meant she was truly happy?
Shino had asked multiple times what had happened when she was captured by those wretched woman but she had always shied away from the topic. Hinata always reassured him that nothing had happened other than a little bit of torture but Shino and Kiba knew that not to be the case. Could the extreme torture create such mental damage and change in personality?
What could have killed off that bright light in her eyes and darkened her innocent soul?
She had said that she had managed to run away when those women weren’t looking but they clearly didn’t believe her. They had fought those women themselves and knew that there was no way that was even possible with Hinata’s skills at the time. Not that they wanted to underestimate Hinata’s abilities, but they knew for a fact that she was lying.
Hinata had been returned broken to the point that they feared there would be no repair but here she stood before them, physically healthy and well. Mentally, they were not too sure.
They knew it had not been rape as they have seen many cases of that and Hinata did not show any of the signs typical of being sexually assaulted. Hinata did shy from touch now and then, but was not traumatized by it. Perhaps it had been something close to that and terrifying enough to extinguish the light in her eyes.
Shino and Kiba only wanted to help but the more they pushed her, the further the gap between them became. There was a slight strain and the atmosphere seemed rather strange when the three came together to train with each other. The awkward attempts at conversation on Kiba’s part seemed to make the tension seem more prominent and Shino and Kiba always felt like they walking on eggshells around Hinata. They feared saying something that could anger or embarrass her and make her burst into tears.
“Girls are so hard to figure out.” Kiba sighed out as he picked up the fallen shuriken from the practice grounds, slowly brushing off the dirt on the sharp edges.
Both men turned their heads to watch their silently sitting comrade in the shade, caressing the edges of her shirt with a dejected expression on her pretty face.
Both sighed and went back to practicing.
What they both didn’t know was that they won’t have to wait for too long. They were going to quickly realize what it was Hinata was always searching for while she was with them.
One can only wonder what their reaction would be when they found out the thing that Hinata was looking for was actually a person. A brooding, dark, and lethal man whose name brought terror to many out there and went by the name of Sasuke Uchiha.
Would they be able to swallow down the results that they wanted to find or would they keel over in a dead faint? The possibilities are endless.
“Hinata-chan are you okay?” Kiba softly asked the ex-heiress as Shino and him escorted Hinata to the heiress ceremony. He watched her smiling lips waver slightly at his question, just by that slight reaction he could already tell how she actually felt.
“I’m fine. I’m truthfully very happy for Hanabi.” Hinata had admitted this year’s ago because she knew that no matter how hard she tried, there was always going to be a day when everything she had would be taken away.
The day had finally come.
It hurt but she will walk with her head raised and a bright smile on her lips. Hinata wasn’t going to cry and let her father belittle her any longer, she had already been there and done that.
If she didn’t marry out of the main house to Rennosuke or anyone for that matter, she would be forced to have the caged seal put on when Hanabi turned 18. Which is only in 2 years.
She was truly very happy for Hanabi from the bottom of her heart, even if it meant that she would have to be marked with the caged seal after this, even if it meant becoming a branch family member. Hanabi was strong, smart, cold, and calculating enough. She was the best candidate to rule the clan. Hinata did not know another person more fitted to the heiress title than Hanabi ever would be.
But Hinata could only pray that Hanabi would reform the clan and the separation between clan members once the younger girl became the clan leader. She hoped that Hanabi will create a better Hyuga for the generations after them so that the Hyuga compound wouldn’t be as suffocating as it is now.
The sound of loud clapping dragged her out of her thoughts when lavender eyes glanced at the raised stage where Hiashi, Hanabi and the Hyuga council stood.
Hinata watched as her father and the clan council announced the new heiress to all the citizens of Konoha. She watched as her own title was revoked and given to her younger sister, watched the proud expression fill her father’s usually stoic and cold face when he introduced Hanabi.
What can she do when what she did was not good enough? When she was not good enough?
She could hear the people around her talk about her as if she didn’t exist. Perhaps, they didn’t care if she heard or not because her opinion no longer mattered now that she had lost such an honorable position and title in the Hyuga household.
“Hiashi finally made his move. Removing the title from Hinata and handing it to Hanabi instead. Good move on his part.” The older Hyuga woman applauded, barely glancing at Hinata as she talked.
“Hanabi is more fitted to the role, don’t you think?” Someone else commented.
“Hinata is too weak to be the clan leader anyways.”
Their words resounded loudly in her head and she found it hard to retain the soft smile on her lips. She realized that she wasn’t welcome anymore as when she was still the heiress. Not that it made such a big difference anyways.
Hinata’s hands furled into the sleeve of her dark blue silk kimono, willing the tears down with a bright smile on her lips, albeit the smile seemed slightly more forced and fake now.
“Don’t listen to them, Hinata! You’re one of the strongest people I know!” Kiba tried to comfort her; although, he knew that nothing could make her feel any better right now.
How can you make someone feel any better when their title and inheritance is being stripped away?
Hinata nodded along, smiling softly as she slowly moved around the crowd of people watching the ceremony. Her steps did not falter, her head was raised proudly, and the calm smile remained no matter what people said and no matter what her father did.
Was she resentful? Angry? Irritated? No.
She was done being angry at her father, done being angry at the unfair world and most of all, she was done blaming herself for not being good enough.
If they couldn’t see the good in her then she didn’t need to keep pretending to be someone she wasn’t. Hinata Hyuga received her final closure the moment she lost her title. She didn’t need a title to prove herself. She didn’t need her father’s approval to prove her worth.
If he didn’t want to treat her with respect than she didn’t need to continue striving to compete for his fatherly affections. Hinata was tired already.
She was done.
Shino and Kiba had stopped to talk to Lee and Shikamaru when Hinata had slowly made way to the Hyuga gardens, her empty expression seemed to make the smiling facade crack slightly under the pressure.
Her wooden geta clapped along the ground as she walked in a slow rhythm, slender fingers curled into the sleeve of her kimono while lips finally lost that forced smile.
The Hyuga gardens used to carry only one type of flower that had silver petals a like to the bland color of Hyuga eyes, until Hinata changed that. The only thing that she had managed to change throughout the years that she lived in this suffocating compound.
Roses, hydrangeas, lilies, daffodils, daisies, delilahs, carnations, chrysanthemums, tulips, and much much more. The array of colors and flowers filled the whole garden in bright vivid hues of the rainbow.
Would they let her keep the garden this way? Or will they revoke her only bit of happiness in these grey walls?
Just as her fingers brushed along the petals of a pink peony, Hinata completely froze.
Long sooty lashes fluttered in disbelief, hands trembling in her surprise while she tried to recollect herself; although, her heart wanted to burst out of her chest with each throbbing beat.
Calm down, Hinata.
She reached her aura further out, hesitantly and hopefully, until the darkness of another wilder much more consuming aura tentatively brushed against her own like the sting of electricity. The slight burn of lightning and fire, the dark and vast powerful aura that she would never dare to forget.
It had to be Sasuke!
Hinata’s heart jumped to her throat, tempted to drop all logical thought in order to abide to instinct. The need to see him was imminent and so she dropped everything to run to him.
Hinata tossed off the outer coat of the traditional Kimono and kicked off the wooden sandals to aid in speed when she ran as fast as she could towards the location of the dark aura.
She was afraid he would disappear before she could reach him!
Her long obsidian colored hair fell loose from the carefully styled bun when the pins came un-done from the jostling. The long kimono split along the sides, waving frantically while her long hair fluttered in the wind the faster she jumped.
Chakra channeled to Hinata’s feet, fast rapid spurts of energy gathered into the soles of her feet like an adrenaline rush. The soaring high of finally finding what she was searching for caused rivulets of adrenaline to coat her entire body. She leapt from the high walls meant to keep people out of the Hyuga compound yet trapping so many innocent souls inside. Hinata was not going to be another lost soul trapped within the high walls of the Hyuga compound, she promised herself that she would never let herself be another puppet to the Hyuga command.
A happy smile threatened to tear her face, a smile that reached into the deep depths of her usually empty eyes. Her breathing became baited, excitement made her jittery from the thought of seeing him again.
She had decided.
If Sasuke wasn’t going to come to her, she was going to run to him.