Pairings: GaaHina, SasuHina if you squint
Summary: When the villages were first established the founders tried to acquire many clans under their banner, the two most sought after being the Hyuuga and the Uchiha. Konoha acquired the Uchiha, Suna acquired the Hyuuga. Hinata, an outcast socially and in her family at her young age one day runs into a red-haired child who just so happens to possess a demon. A 'What If' story. The initial idea was from a fanfic I read but it was never finished. I'm going to completely different route for the most part, but I thought the premise was intriguing.
Warnings: I've taken huge liberties with the actual series and the general flow doesn't 100% match the Anime...and it ain't gonna.
The nights in Suna ranged between comfortable to cold, depending on the season. Weather does not bother him, his sand protects him from such things so he is never physically uncomfortable. It is the internal pain that the sand cannot protect him from and sometimes he wishes it could.
They hate him. They fear him. It hurts him so badly, he feels so alone. The only one who cares for him is his uncle, Yashamaru. He’s the only one who loves him and he is always telling him stories of his mother and how beautiful she was.
“She loved you too, Gaara.” His uncle would say “She felt that you were the best thing to ever happen to her. I think that maybe she helps watch over you with the sand. “
He knows what she looks like through picture, she is very beautiful. There is a smile on her face and the background looks bright and sunny. Yashamaru was able to get the picture framed and it sits in his room right this moment.
He loves Yashamaru and he loves his mother but…he still feels so alone. He wants to play with the other children, he wants to feel as if he belongs somewhere. His siblings are too afraid of him to play, just like the others. His father hates him, at least he thinks so. Father never looks at him favorably, he’s always angry with him but he never knows what it is he does wrong.
It hurts. It hurts when people run away from him screaming. Every time they do he feels another painful stab in his chest. Why was he different? Why was he the only one no one would play with?
The sound of a door opening brings him out of his thoughts and he turns from his perch on the building’s ledge, alert. Was it another assassin? He didn’t like those people, they kept trying to kill him but he wanted to live, he wanted to exist. Why do they come after him?
Moving into the light he notices that the figure is a girl, a very young girl about his age. He knows her, she’s in the academy. He sometimes watches the other children from a distance but he’s always noticed her off by herself and none of the other children would seem to want to play with her. It wasn’t until now that it clicked in; she was just like him.
She was wearing a standard purple shinobi outfit and her hair was cut short, almost boyishly. Her eyes were so strange, they looked completely white. He remembers now how the children would sometimes call her a freak because of her eyes.
They…they call me a freak sometimes too. He sympathizes with her and a hopeful thought moves through him. The other kids wouldn’t play with him but maybe the two of them could. They were both outcasts, they’d be able to understand each other.
Gulping nervously, he takes a few steps and slowly reaches out. She doesn’t flinch or scream and when he is actually able to touch her shoulder he snatches his hand back as if she had burned him. That was the first time anyone his age had allowed him to do that. The hope inside of him increased, making him a little bolder.
“Hey,” he says to her as she’s walking towards the ledge. “Um…well…” courage quickly deflating he nervously looks at her face and then blinks. Her face was completely slack and her eyes were flat, as if she wasn’t actually seeing anything. He had heard the white-eyed people weren’t blind, it was just a genetic thing. Or something.
“H-hey…” he reaches out again with both hands this time, touching her arm. She doesn’t respond, it’s as if she doesn’t even know he’s there. For a split second he thinks that maybe she really is like the others and she’s just ignoring him but for some reason he has a gut feeling that that’s not what it is at all.
Stopping at the ledge she steps up, her movements stiff, as if she wasn’t used to her own body. Alarm washes over him; if she falls, she will die. She doesn’t have sand to protect her like he does. Panicked, he rushes over, discarding his nervousness to grab her arm in an effort to pull her back.
“Hey!” he’s yelling at her now, eyes wide with fear and confusion “Hey you have to get down from there!” he tugs again but she continues to stare straight ahead, as if she couldn’t hear him. Was she maybe sleep walking? But she should wake up now right? He was yelling and he knows that sometimes when people yell it wakes up others.
Without warning, she leans forward, going over the ledge. For a tenth of a second he’s so surprised that she actually did it that he is frozen. Then sand erupts from his gourd and with uncanny speed reaches the ground, providing a cushion to break her fall. He jumps from the roof, sand slowing his fall. When he reaches the ground he immediately rushes over to the girl’s side, the sand cushion disperses and is back in his gourd by the time he reaches her. Kneeling down, he turns the girl over so that she’s facing him and shakes her shoulders lightly. Did he get her in enough time? Had he been able to save her?
“Please wake up,” he pleads softly, giving her another gentle shake. It’s obvious by now that she’s either sleepwalking or something because those large white eyes of hers still look flat and sightless.
Slowly, he watches as she blinks for the first time. Delicate brows furrow and she squints, looking groggy now. She lets out a soft yawn and looks over at the boy holding her. Their gazes lock, green to white, and he smiles slightly when he notices that she is fully aware and that her eyes actually look somewhat pretty when light shines in them.
“Um, hello.” The redhead says softly, a little nervous. She continues to stare at him until he notices that her pale skin is turning colors. It’s a strange transformation for him and his eyes widen, not sure if he should be alarmed or not.
When she’s as red as his hair she lets out a soft cry and jumps away from him, her hands covering her face. She looks terrified.
A hand moves to his chest as he feels another stab of pain. She’s scared of him. He had really thought that for a moment…
“I-I’m…I’m…s-so sorry!” the girl says, her voice shaky. To his utter and complete surprise she bows in apology at him. “P-please…please…I-I’m sorry…so…I didn’t m-mean to inconvenience y-you…please forgive me.”
When she looks back up at him he realizes that she’s not afraid of him, she’s afraid of him being angry with her. She thinks she’s done something wrong. He shakes his head.
“No,” he reassures her “you didn’t inconvenience me.” Standing up, he hesitates for a moment before taking a step forward. “Are you alright? Why did you jump from the roof?”
“Eh?” her eyes widen in disbelief and she looks up at the roof and then at him a few times. All of the red from earlier disappears and she looks even paler than she had when he had first looked at her. She was shaking, understanding just how close she had been to death. Finally her eyes settle to him and she bows again, deeper this time.
“T-thank you s-so v-very much!” the thanks is genuine and for a moment he can do nothing more but stare at this strange girl who still had yet to run from him screaming. “I…I o-owe you m-my life…”
Raising his hands in the air he gives her a nervous look “No, you don’t have to do that…” she stands straight again, her hands moving to her mouth, her gaze focusing on everything but him. He would have thought of it to be fear but she wasn’t moving so it had to be something else. “Um, you’re not hurt, right? I tried to make sure the sand was soft enough but…” but he still wasn’t in complete control of his powers. Sometimes things would happen that he didn’t want to which only made people fear him even more.
Shyly, she shakes her head, she seems to be fine and it takes him a moment to realize that she’s not going to speak up again. Gaara is very confused; the girl isn’t running away but she seems nervous anyway. She had even thanked him.
Understanding now that he would have to make the first move, he takes a few more steps towards her, his sharp eyes taking in every movement, unsure if she’ll run away or not. Her hands seem to rise in an effort to cover more of her face but she’s not moving.
“Do you know who I am?” he asks calmly, knowing it’s a rhetorical question. Of course she knew him, there wasn’t anyone in the village that didn’t. Instead of responding she nods once. His brows furrow “You’re not afraid of me?”
The question seems to confuse her, for she even drops her hands. “W-why?” she asks in her soft little voice “Y-you…y-you s-saved me.”
“B-but…” he finds himself stammering now and there’s a tight feeling in his chest that’s completely different from anything he’s ever felt before “But everyone is afraid of me. They say that I’m…a monster.” He looks down sadly at this, the words hurt whether or not they say it or he says it himself. “They say that I’m bad.”
“But t-then, you wouldn’t h-have saved m-me right?” blinking, he looks up at her and notes her genuine confusion. She really and truly isn’t afraid of him. The tightness increases and he almost finds himself unable to breathe. “Y-you saved me so…y-you can’t be b-bad.” He hears her say.
What is this feeling?
Feet moving, he finds himself standing right in front of the girl. Her face begins to turn red again and she looks nervous but not afraid. Then it clicks in; she’s shy. Just. Shy. Not terrified, not horrified…
“What’s your name?”
“H-Hyuuga H-Hinata…” she stammers out once more, looking down at the ground.
“Why do you always look at the ground?” he blurts it out and stiffens at his rude behavior. Surely now she’ll…
Pale eyes look up and he’s stunned to see that they’re filled with tears. “I-I’m s-sorry. P-please don’t…b-be mad at me. I w-will try h-harder.” And she does, even though she looks uncomfortable, she makes an honest effort to keep her gaze on his face.
He’s forced to take a few shaky breaths or else his chest would burst open, he was sure of it. Gaara is completely confused but extremely hopeful. Not only that, he found himself wanting to reassure her that he won’t get angry with her, that she’s fine the way she is.
“It’s okay.” He forces a smile “You don’t have to if it makes you uncomfortable. I’m just happy that you’re not afraid of me.”
Hands over her mouth she tilts her head and he can see that she’s smiling at him, even though her mouth is hidden. Her smile floors him, no one except Yashamaru has ever smiled at him and even though he can’t see her lips her smile is the most wonderful thing he’s ever experienced right at that moment.
“Hyuuga-san, please be my friend!” he shouts it at her, and she jumps and makes a little sound, but she doesn’t run away. He hadn’t meant to be so loud he just…he just wanted…
“O-okay.” She speaks again and when his eyes snap back to her she nods, as if confirming her statement. Hinata still seems shy but the air is lighter and he can tell that she’s happy. Happy. Around him.
They just stand there for a long while, Gaara because he can’t believe that this is actually happening and the girl who is also pleased to make her first friend. She doesn’t really understand why everyone is so afraid of him, even her father doesn’t like the boy. He was really nice though, why was everyone so mean to him? He didn’t look like a bad boy, he always looks sad…like her.
Looking up at the sky she realizes that, however the heck she got out here, she would need to leave and get back home. Her father would be upset with her if he found out that she had almost jumped off a building even though she couldn’t even recall it.
Turning back to him she lowers one hand from her face “I um,” she begins “I h-have to go home.” She tells him “F-father will…he’ll be a-angry with me…”
His disappointment and sadness is very obvious and she tries to think of a way to let him know that she really did want to be his friend. Coming up with an idea she lowers her other hand, smiling and reaching out. “Could…y-you walk w-with me?” she asks, pale eyes hopeful “It’s a l-little scary at n-night.”
Wide green eyes look at her in disbelief. Then his gaze shifts to her hand. He looks back up at her and he takes a step back, extremely nervous. Taking him in, she realizes that he’s unsure about her honesty. She didn’t think it was fair, everyone was so mean to him but he looked just like everyone else and he was really nice. Normally she would remain shy and be too scared to approach him, but looking at him makes her feel that she should make him feel better.
Reaching over, she gently takes his hand. He lets out a sharp breath and continues to look at her as if she were a hallucination. Smiling again she lightly squeezes his hand.
“Please?” she asks again. Blinking a few times, sadness emerges when he actually looks as if he’s going to cry. It wasn’t fair. No one wanted her either, she wasn’t good enough. She gave up too easily and cried a lot, so her father was becoming less and less interested in her. Now that her little sister was born it seemed that he was focusing on plans to train her once she’s of age. No one wants her, no one wants him.
Numbly he nods his head at her question. She flashes him another one of her shy, dazzling smiles and his body is moving automatically, his mind still unable to process the fact that this girl was now his friend, not only that, but she didn’t mind touching him and vice versa. He was not repulsive to her, he wasn’t scary. He had hoped for so long for something like this to happen but now that it had he realized that despite his hoping he realistically never believed it could. Gently, he squeezes her hand. When she turns to look at him he finds himself unable to look at her face and his cheeks begin to feel warm. She doesn’t seem to mind, in fact, he was sure she understood it, since she was like that herself.
The two children didn’t say anything after that; they continued to walk hand in hand as she guided him to her home. It is actually not very far, to his disappointment. He didn’t want her to go, he wanted her to stay with him longer. When they’re right outside the gates his grip on her hand tightens and his gaze is still on the ground.
“I’m…really glad I met you.” He says genuinely. If he had known she had actually been approachable he would have tried to talk to her during the academy’s recess a long time ago. Gathering up a little more courage he forces himself to look at her “Can I…call you by your first name?” he looks away then, embarrassed at his forwardness.
Out of the corner of his eye he sees her nod her head and their gazes meet again. He is elated, she really is going to be his friend, really and truly.
“You can call me by my name too…Hinata-chan.” He says the last part low, excited but also very shy.
She squeezes his hand one last time and when she gently pulls away he doesn’t stop her. He doesn’t want her to go, but she promised to be his friend so he would see her again. He hoped it would be really soon.
Taking a few steps forward she turns, her eyes wide as if she had forgotten something. Then she smiles again and waves at him shyly “G-goodnight Gaara-kun.” She says softly and his heart skips at the familiar way she says his name “And t-thank you for s-saving me.”
His chest feels tight and full and he wonders if this is what love feels like. He wanted to find Yashamaru and ask him how it was supposed to feel, because he would be so happy if he had another person in his life that he could love and be loved. If he had Hinata, that would be okay right? It wouldn’t matter that the other children didn’t want to play, because they would play together.
There’s a crinkling sound when he turns to go home. Reaching behind him, he grabs the medicine bag Yashamaru had given him for the little girl he had accidently hurt today. He had been so scared to give it to her and he had been thinking on it when Hinata had arrived. Decision made, he heads for the girl’s house. Maybe if he apologized, she would decide to be his friend as well.
He had no idea that his life was about to completely and totally change forever.
There was something wrong. Hinata noticed it the moment it was recess time. She remembered that Gaara didn’t come to watch the other children every day, but she had hoped that she would see him. The cooks had allowed her to pack a small extra lunch and she wanted to share it with him.
He never showed and a sick feeling moved through her stomach, telling her that something was terribly wrong. Unfortunately she couldn’t leave the grounds so she decided to try and find him after the academy let out.
A small part of her had also hoped that he would have waited for her outside the gates but to no avail. Surely he hadn’t faked wanting to be her friend, he had been too genuine with his feelings. Did something bad happen? What if he couldn’t come because he was hurt? Now very worried she didn’t go home like she was supposed to; instead she ran around the village, hoping to find him and see if he was alright.
There was a thick tension in the air when she had moved through the marketplace. The adults were whispering to themselves and everyone looked agitated. The feeling of dread increased and she doubled her efforts. She couldn’t give up, not on her very first friend.
When she finally found him he was coming out of the Kazekage tower with a tall man beside him that she didn’t recognize. Hinata moved to signal at him until she saw his face. The happy boy of yesterday was gone, replaced with anger and open hostility. She had almost thought they were two different boys but Gaara didn’t have a twin and it was very difficult to mistake hair as red as his. There was something red on his forehead that she couldn’t quite read from where she was standing. Worry filled her, he looked so cold and closed off. What happened between last night and today?
The two males walked towards her and she found herself becoming incredibly shy all of a sudden, wanting to go and hide. Hinata was directly in their path yet the boy didn’t even look at her, didn’t seem to know she was there. Even though her courage was rapidly falling, she took a nervous step into his line of vision. Their gazes locked and then he looked away as if she were a stranger. Her face began to burn and her eyes stung as she tried not to cry and failed. He didn’t want to be her friend anymore and she didn’t even know why. Without thinking, she reached out a nervous hand and touched his shoulder before he walked past her.
“Don’t touch me!” she heard right as something solid slammed into her and she felt herself go flying. Her back slammed into something else and she cried out in pain as the hard surface of the building scraped through her clothes and straight to skin. Then the pressure on her front disappeared and Hinata briefly, very briefly, saw him right as she collapsed. She tried to call out his name but it only came out as a harsh whisper before everything went black.
I know that girl.
Frowning, Gaara realized only too late that the person who had tried to touch him had been his ‘friend’ from last night. It wasn’t until she dropped to the ground with his name on her lips that he realized he had just made a terrible mistake.
The jounin behind him stiffened, too afraid to do anything while Gaara was obviously not aware of everything going around him. The boy stared at her crumpled body on the ground and something snapped. His legs were moving and then he was at her side, kneeling down as he inspected the damage he had just inflicted on her. Her face was pale and dirty and her back had been shredded from when he had slammed her against the hard jagged surface of the building. The little bag she had been carrying had fallen a distance away from her.
“Hinata-chan?” his voice was unsure. Her chest was still rising and falling so she was obviously alive.
No. he tried to tell himself I shouldn’t care anymore. I will love myself and only myself, no one else.
Yet when he looked at her he couldn’t help but to remember how she had held his hand reassuringly and had said that she hoped they could play the next day.
She was lying. She had to have been lying.
Then why did she try to reach out to him? If she didn’t care, wouldn’t she have run away?
Yashamaru ‘cared’ as well; look at where that got you.
But Hinata had been alone just like he had been. No one would be her friend either. She was his first friend and he had been hers. No, Hinata was different, she had to be. If she wasn’t…if she had been lying…
If she had lied he’d kill her too.
Looking down at her she opened her eyes although her face looked pained. Looking around her gaze finally settled on him. He was ready for it. He had almost tried to crush her, she was going to turn on him, tell him that she really hadn’t cared at all, she’d become afraid of him just like all the others.
“Are…you alright?” a shaky hand raised to touch his face, worry underneath the pain in her eyes. She wasn’t even stuttering, pain and concern overriding shyness. “W-what happened?” she let out a harsh noise, eyes closing “I had hoped we could play…” then she was trying to move, her hand reaching out for something. Following her hand he saw the bag she had been carrying earlier on the ground.
“The lunch…” she whispered “It should…still be good…if you want it.” She blinked as something wet hit her cheek and she looked up to see her friend crying. His eyes weren’t cold anymore and she winced a little when his arms tightened around her small body. “Gaara-kun?” she was confused, although a lot of it had to do with the fact that she was in serious pain and shock. For some reason she really wanted him to have the lunch. He might not have eaten today, that was her thought. “The lunch…” she tried again.
“Forget the lunch!” he yelled and buried his face in her chest, pulling her painfully close. His breathing was irregular and he was rocking back and forth “Hinata, I’m so sorry…” he started apologizing over and over, like a mantra. Still in shock, she looked confused although he couldn’t see it.
“Gaara-kun?” she frowned “I…I don’t feel so good.” She suddenly wanted to go to sleep. “I’m sleepy and…I think my back hurts.”
He began to start calling out her name but he kept drifting further and further away. Frowning again, she tried to reach out to him but her arm felt heavy. She kept trying until she felt her fingers lightly brush along his cheek. Smiling, she closed her eyes.
When she opened her eyes again, her back was stinging and her face was buried in a pillow that didn’t smell at all like hers. It smelled almost stale, as if it had never been used. When she made a little noise she saw movement and then her friend was at her bedside, taking her hand into his. He looked very worried.
“Are you okay?” he asked. He sounded absolutely panicked and his hands were squeezing hers a little hard. “Hinata-chan, I’m sorry so please tell me you’re okay. I tried…” he looked around as if someone was listening and turned back “I told them to heal you and afterwards they said that you just needed to sleep so I brought you to my room.”
Wide pale eyes blinked sleepily at him. “Okay.” She said simply and gave him a weak smile. “Are y-you alright?” her brows furrowed “You l-looked a-angry. I th-thought m-maybe…you didn’t w-want to be my f-friend anymore.”
“No!” he denied vehemently “No, I do Hinata-chan…you’re the only one…” he looked a mixture between confused and in pain. She saw him wipe at his eyes with his sleeve “Are you angry with me?”
The question seemed to confuse her “No I…thought y-you were a-angry with me. If I did s-something w-wrong I’m s-sorry Gaara-kun. I w-won’t do it again so…”
Hinata didn’t understand why he was so upset. It had probably been her fault that he had struck out at her, it was always her fault when something happened at home. She had thought apologizing for it would have made it better but he seemed even more upset now.
The grip on her hand tightened and she fought not to wince. “Hinata-chan,” his voice sounded pleading, as if he was begging her “Do you really like me? He told me that…no one had loved me but you were…you were so nice to me and…” and he didn’t want Yashamaru to be right. “You’re always alone too right?”
She tried to smile at him but she was still in a lot of pain “O-of course I l-like you Gaara-kun.” Confusion filled her features “W-why would s-someone say y-you’re not l-loved?” Maybe it was because everyone was afraid of him. But she wasn’t afraid, he was nice and he was her friend. Why wouldn’t anyone love him? It was the same at her home, no one liked her, even her cousin hated her now. Her gaze flickered back to his “I w-will…love you.” She says finally “B-because…you’re n-nice and you’re m-my f-friend and I understand w-what it’s like to n-not be loved. M-my family d-doesn’t love me e-either.” She looked very sad.
There was a long moment of silence and she closed her eyes, feeling sleepy again. She felt his hands jerk sharply and it woke her up, the girl blinking owlishly at her friend. The look on his face was severe, as if he had been seriously debating something and had finally reached a conclusion.
“We’ll love each other.” He said it low and with dark determination “We don’t need anyone else. No one else matters but us. Mother said she would protect you too. It’ll just be you and me Hinata-chan, alright?” there was something panicked in his voice, as if he were on the edge of hysterics “I’ll protect you from them, from all of them.” His voice sounded shaky and a little sinister “We will belong to each other and love only each other, no one else.”
Hinata seemed to debate this. That would be nice, just the two of them. No one else cared for them so they would care for each other. Frowning a bit in pain she began to struggle to sit up, much to his alarm.
“You’re supposed to rest!” he grabbed her shoulders but then stopped when he saw the look in her eyes. She was nervous and in pain, but she was also determined.
So instead he jumped up on the bed and had her lean on him as he got her sitting up. Her head rested on his shoulder and her breathing was shaky. It hurt her and he knew she was in pain but she was trying to be strong. For him?
“Hinata-chan…” his voice was sad. He had hurt his friend because of Yashamaru. But he had been wrong, there was someone like him and she did love him. Even though he had hurt her she hadn’t been afraid of him, if anything she had thought she had done something wrong! “Hinata-chan, you have to promise.” He insisted. She had to promise, you weren’t supposed to break promises.
She nodded her head slowly, her hand reaching out to his. He took her hand, interlacing their fingers. “I promise.” She said weakly “Just the two of us. It would be…nice. I would like…to be loved. Mother loved me until she passed away…”
Stunned, he looked down at her as best he could considering their position “Your mother died as well?” she nodded and his hand squeezed hers lightly “Okay. My mother’s spirit is in the sand and she said she’d protect you so…she can be your mother too.” He felt her smile and nod again slowly and he fought the urge to pull her to him, knowing that she was in pain.
“I love you Hinata-chan.” He said firmly “You and only you. It’ll be just us and I’ll protect you from them. No one else will ever hurt us again, I swear it.”
Another nod “I love you too, Gaara-kun.” She whispered and eventually fell asleep, feeling happier than she had ever in her life. Nothing else compared besides being with her mother, they would be friends together forever.