Pairings: GaaHina, NejiHina, 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. The story has actually taken a really huge twist, to the point where I'm not entirely sure the story will still end with Gaara and Hinata together romantically...I honestly don't know. It might turn into a friendship fic and they end up with different people...I have no clue and I am baffled by what's going on ATM.
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.
“Hinata-sama,” Neji said to her one day “I would like to give you a piece of advice.” When he has her full attention he continues “There will come a day where we will spar and you will begin to realize that you are perhaps faster, or there is an opening I might not even be aware of. One day, you will realize that you are skilled, so much so that you could possibly be on par with me.” She shook her head but he merely raised a hand to stop her protest “When this happens, do not tell me. Do not tell anyone. Once you have exceeded our expectations continue on your own, but never show us.”
This obviously confused her “I…don’t understand.” She admits “How will I know if I’m doing good if…”
“You will know.” Her cousin tells her “Listen to me, Hinata-sama. One day the two of us may have to fight for real, there are the chunnin exams amongst other things. As your sensei, I know everything that I have taught you and I know how to counter. Anything you come up with on your own will throw me off guard and that could be the difference between a loss and a win. Never let someone know just how powerful you are until it is absolutely necessary, do you understand what I’m trying to tell you?”
A thoughtful frown emerges for a moment before she nods “I will do my best Neji-niisan.”
“Good.” He smiles thinly “If that day comes, where we will have to fight seriously, I look forward to seeing what you’ve come up with.”
The lowly branch member and the outcast closed the distance and…danced.
At least, that wass what it looked like, a deadly dance. Both had incredible speed and agility, their movements looked almost choreographed and yet the Hyuuga entourage looking down at the two knew better. They can see the skill in the branch member, the Hyuuga prodigy, the genius. In a Juuken match there were grown men who could not defeat the young man and the failure of the clan was actually, seriously trading blow for blow with him. Their speed is uncanny, concentration fierce and as Hyuuga Hiashi sits in the stands with his second born he frowns in thought at the two. How had two branch members, regardless if one was a supposed genius, been able to get Hinata, his daughter that had held absolutely no skills in the Juuken as a child, to this point?
She had been holding back on him concerning how fast she had actually become, Neji realized. A smirk emerges when he realizes that she took his advice from a few years back to heart. Openings that she had shown in training were gone; certain movements that had seemed slightly jerky were fluid and graceful. Neither had been able to land a solid blow to the other and he was not, to his pleasure, holding back. He cannot help the sense of pride that moves through him, he had trained her after all.
The two break, jumping back. Quickly he reaches into his pack and throws three shuriken in her direction, just to see what she would do. She could very well use the Kaiten simply to show it off but he had a feeling that she would want to show him her own moves, as he had encouraged her to develop.
She did not disappoint.
It was similar to the Kaiten except for the fact that the shield was created solely through the palms of her hands. “Shugo Hakke Rokujuyon Sho!” was the name of her specialized technique and he couldn’t believe the amount of chakra control she could wield to create something on par with a main house specialty skill. The chakra blades were so thin that instead of the shuriken bouncing off they were sliced into pieces before her feet. A Kaiten with defensive and offensive properties and she had developed it on her own.
His moment of surprise cost him two of his chakra points and he flinched before blocking the remaining blows she had tried to connect. She was amazingly fast, definitely above the speed he and Ko had wanted for her. Not to be outdone, however, he had his own tricks. Her eyes had widened slightly when he struck in a move she had never seen before, blocking several of her chakra points. Jumping back the two stared at one another, panting and smiling. In a moment they would pull out all the stops and he would honestly have to get her into a position to use the Hakke Rokujuyon Sho, there would be nothing staged about this fight.
“Father, what sort of technique was that?” Hanabi asks her father, tilting her head in curiosity. “Is it one you haven’t taught me yet?”
Her father was strangely silent, a grim expression on his face. He looked very upset, something new for the young girl.
“No.” he answers honestly “That is an original technique.” And he was wondering what else those two knew. If she could perform that it meant that she did in fact know the Rokujuyon Sho and he had never taught either child such techniques. Had they learned it…on their own? Had he been wrong to write the girl off and then discard her once the Kazekage had manipulated her for his own gains? He had thought she would merely become the plaything of the demon beast but she was not unskilled, not at all.
She had sneaked a glance up at Gaara and smiled to herself when he looked just as surprised as her father and the all of the other Hyuuga. She looked at her cousin and could see the pride in his eyes. He was enjoying this, she knew. They were getting to a point where they would have to pull out the big cards and Neji was attacking first, throwing weapons in hand.
Making several clones in an effort to briefly confuse, she smiled and began to manipulate her chakra accordingly. This time she would not use her own technique, this time this technique was part of the plan.
“Kaiten!” She began to spin, spreading her chakra to create a powerful shield. The weapons bounced off harmlessly and it was only when she stopped spinning that she realized he had carefully planned the final blow. Right as she faced him she saw the familiar stance and before she could react he struck.
All of the Hyuuga watched, struck speechless as a branch member defeated his enemy using a technique he should not even know much less be able to pull off. And the ‘outcast’ as well, the both of them had perfected the techniques on their own. Hiashi was honestly flabbergasted as his nephew skillfully used the Hakke Rokujuyon Sho and his daughter was thrown back, hitting the ground with a hard thud. She wasn’t getting up from that, the match was over.
“You’ve been holding back on me.” Neji lightly admonished his cousin as she lay on the bed inside the arena’s medical room. “Although you sacrificed a lot of strength for speed, not a bad thing but we should probably work on that a bit.”
Smiling, her pale eyes shined brightly despite her exhausted state “Someone told me once upon a time to not let people know all of what you can do.”
“Really?” he returned her smile. When she reaches out her hand he takes it lightly “This person sounds very intelligent.”
A small nod “He’s the smartest person I know.”
Footsteps sounded and the male Hyuuga stepped away from his cousin, pausing when it was his uncle, Hinata’s father, that stepped in. When Hinata moved to sit up Neji hurried to help her, both of their gazes on the Hyuuga head. His expression was grim and the two could only guess as to what he was thinking.
“Hinata,” he began, “You have shown much improvement from when you were a child who did little but cry.”
Instead of looking offended she smiled warmly at her father “It is thanks to Neji-niisan that I am where I am.” She says it with pride, as if going ‘Yes, this branch member made me what you couldn’t’. It wasn’t something Hiashi could be offended about because it was true, her performance out there today proved that.
Turning to Neji he looked at his nephew with his barely concealed hatred and sighed inwardly. If things had been different, if Hizashi had been born first, would the two of them still be at their current skill level? His twin had always been the more skilled and his son was nothing short of a genius. A genius who had taken the failed heir and turned her into someone the Hyuuga would be proud to show off. Except that they couldn’t, not anymore.
The council would be in an uproar over this and honestly, Hiashi began to wonder about whether or not the current system was working. Obviously, Neji was more than skilled enough to be a main branch member and his daughter…he could not get over his surprise over her growth. She had not merely hidden behind the monster, hoping he would always protect her.
He did something that the two children would have never expected, he bowed, his forehead inches above the ground. The significance of this was not lost on them and they were too stunned to move or even speak for a moment.
“To the both of you,” he said “you deserve an apology.” Standing, he regarded Neji “Especially you, for reasons I don’t need to go over.” With a small sigh he reached into his sleeve, pulling out a scroll “This…is for you. Your father wanted me to give that to you when the time was right, I believe you are old enough to fully understand the message he left for you.” He turned to his daughter “You spent these years training and honing your skills, as a true Hyuuga should. I am proud of you, if for no other reason than the fact that you stopped giving up on yourself. You have shown everyone, not just Hyuuga, that you are more than the demon child’s pet.”
She bristled at that last comment but said nothing. It was true, there weren’t many in the village that had thought she was of any real skill, everyone had believed that she did nothing but hide behind Gaara. Even Kankuro assumed that and they were on the same team.
“My father…” Neji came in after a moment of silence, his eyes locked on the scroll “he wrote this for me?”
“Yes.” His uncle responded.
If Neji had any real reaction to this he did not show it. “I…see. Thank you Hiashi-sama.”
As the older man left Gaara walked in, his own face a blank mask. Rolling the scroll up Neji put it away and excused himself, leaving the couple alone.
Their gazes locked but neither said anything to the other. She was sore and it would take a while before she felt one hundred percent but when she could see no anger in his gaze she flashed him a warm smile.
“Gaara-kun.” She says softly and then he is there beside her, taking her hand in his.
“I do not…enjoy being incorrect,” he began “but watching you today…I am glad you convinced me to allow you your training. You were…” he frowns slightly and turns his head away slightly “beautiful.”
Shades of red that should impossible for any human being to turn emerged on Hinata’s face. He has said many things to her, but calling her beautiful… “T-thank you.” She was at a true loss for words.
“They are making your cousin go again,” he informed her “Against the blonde haired boy.”
Her eyes widened “Already? B-but he just got done…”
“Apparently, there are individuals missing so matches are being moved around.” A strange gleam emerged in his eyes “I am still paired off with the Uchiha, however.” There was something primal underneath the small grin he gave her.
“Has he improved that drastically in a month?” she asked, surprised. “You look excited.”
“I am.” The grin widened and she knew that look. It was the look he showed when encountering ‘prey’, except that he actually seemed as if he were looking forward to it, as if he had finally found that challenge he had been looking for. If he got too excited…
“G-Gaara-kun…” she whispered it but his eyes snapped to her anyway. There was a brief flash of annoyance before he realized who he was looking at. “You will be careful, won’t you? There’s t-the plan and…”
Tilting his head he kissed her lightly, his face back to normal “I will come to see you after the fight.” He promised, his fingers lightly brushing over the kanji tattoo on her hand “Try to rest. I love you Hinata-chan.”
She wished he was always like this, gentle and kind. He was only this way towards her and only when they were alone. The girl wanted to tell him not to fight, not to go out there because there was a deep feeling of dread settled in her stomach. Something was going to go wrong, she knew it.
Her feeling came to pass when Uchiha Sasuke thrust his new jutsu, the Chidori, into Gaara’s sand dome, triggering a series of events in which Suna and Oto struck and Gaara completely lost it, fully transforming into the demon Shukaku.
In an effort to slow Uchiha down, Hinata had stayed behind while Kankuro and Temari carried their injured brother away when they had initially fled from the arena. She had been of little use due to her battle with Neji although the look Sasuke gave her as he had left had been contemplative. Temari also tried to stop him to no avail, it had only delayed the inevitable.
So many things happened at once and Hinata didn’t remember all of it nor had she been there for all of it. There was one that had stuck out in her mind.
Completely exhausted, blue eyes look up at the figure standing between himself and Gaara who was in the same position as he. Confusion emerges as he recognizes the person. She was also injured and worn from battling yet she stands, arms spread, knees barely keeping themselves from knocking, a look of determination in her weary, tear-filled eyes.
“Hinata-chan?” the blonde asks, unsure if he’s looking at the image in front of him right or not.
“No more.” She says firmly and both boys could tell it was directed at both of them. “Please…Gaara-kun is my…he’s...someone very precious to me.” Her pale eyes are pleading and Naruto looks up at her before glancing at Gaara past her legs. There is a strange gleam in the redhead’s eyes that she cannot see and Naruto glances back up at her, giving her a warm smile. When he realizes the fight is over he passes out and she allows a few tears to shed before turning back to the one person who means the most to her. His gaze is thoughtful and sad, it was something she has never seen before and for a moment she feels panic rise within her.
“Gaara-kun?” she asks and he closes his eyes briefly, turning his head so that he is looking up at the sky.
“Hinata,” he says weakly and she tries – and fails – not to cry because she has never seen him this thoroughly defeated before, she had never known it possible. “Hinata…I was…I was wrong.”
She doesn’t understand but before he could respond Kankuro and Temari finally arrived and the three of them left with Gaara. He further stunned everyone when he actually apologized to his siblings. For what they had no clue, but the one thing they did know was that he was acting very, very strangely.
“We are to wait here in protective custody until Konoha decides what they’d like to do with us,” Baki informed his group “Their Hokage was killed by Orochimaru and our Kazekage was killed by him as well…we were betrayed.”
Hinata wasn’t surprised, when she had first met that man he had been so frightening but also shady, as if he were in on some huge joke that no one was privy to. Also, she found herself uncaring of the fact that Gaara’s father was dead and she is not sure if that was a good thing or not. She should care; a life was a life, right? Yet…she had hated him, probably because Gaara had hated him.
“How long is this going to take?” Temari asked and Baki shook his head.
“They’re waiting to appoint a new Hokage. Once that happens we’ll know. Many dignitaries from Suna have been pushing for a truce between us and Konoha, so we might end up becoming their allies, if they don’t try and kill us for war crimes.”
She tuned them out after that, her gaze shifting over towards the boy lying on the bed in one of the rooms in the hospital. His eyes were currently closed and she had no idea if he was actually sleeping or pretending. She felt awful, all of her training and she had been unable to truly protect him when he had actually needed her. Maybe she really was pathetic.
“Hinata.” Temari’s voice cut through her thoughts and she looked up at the older woman “Today, you shocked the hell out of everyone out there.” There was a brief smile “But then again, you’re Suna born and bred, we should have expected the girlfriend of one of the strongest shinobi in our village to be strong as well.”
“Yeah,” Kankuro put his hands in his pockets “you’ve been holding back on everyone.”
Holding back? She supposed. On missions Gaara had refused to allow her to do anything, so she hadn’t. No one besides Gaara had watched her train, no one had cared. One had only to look to see how she had progressed and even then she had indeed held back a bit for Gaara. She had wanted to surprise him, to show him that she was worthy of standing by his side.
“Kankuro, Temari,” their little brother came in, his bright green gaze on them “Could you…give us a moment?”
Still unused to this kinder, polite Gaara the two siblings gave him nervous affirmatives before leaving the room.
Slowly, he sat up although it looked painful. She could tell that he did not desire help so she did not move, her nerves a bundled mess. There was something very different about her childhood friend and it was scaring her.
Looking up at her he managed to move his legs so that they hung over the bed, his arms keeping him propped up. “Hinata,” he began “I’m…I’m sorry.”
Confused, the brunette shook her head “I’m the one who should be sorry Gaara-kun.” She admitted “I wasn’t able to protect you –“
The look in his eyes cut her off. What was…what was going on with him?
“Naruto,” he began, his gaze shifting from her “had been right. I have been treating you like an object instead of a person, instead of the one I love.” She tried to speak again but once again his gaze stopped any protests “You were the reason for my existence, but I didn’t see you as a person, not as I should have. You tried to make bonds with others and I held you back. You became a symbol to me, the physical manifestation of the reason why I should live. And…” he looked away once more “for many years I have brought you unhappiness.”
“What?” what was he talking about? He wasn’t making any sense “Gaara-kun,” she began “being with you makes me happy, I don’t need anything or anyone else.”
“But you do.” He said it sharply and she flinched “That is who you are, Hinata. It’s not in your nature to only love one person, it’s just not you. I’ve known this, I’ve always known this and it frightened me, it made me cruel to you.” He reached out for her hand, pulling her closer, his gaze on the red tattoo he had given her so many years ago. “How many bruises have I given you because of my anger and jealousy? I locked you in a cage and hurt you whenever you even so much as touched the bars.”
Shaking her head, she wiped at her face with her other hand “I…I don’t understand, a-are you saying that you don’t…that I’m not…”
“I love you.” He said firmly, looking up at her “I have not been good to you, but I love you, I’ve loved you since the day we made the vow to be together. You deserve to bond with your family and people you care for and I should open myself to others as well, to those who care for me.”
She snatched her hand from him as if he had burned her. Hinata didn’t quite understand everything but it sounded as if he was telling her that their vow to each other, it was wrong.
Wrong? Their vow, their bond…was wrong?
“I want to change myself,” he continued, his gaze pleading “I want…” he smiled slightly “my precious person to feel as if she is precious to me. True happiness comes from bonds, from caring for others, not just oneself or using someone as a symbol. I want to start over, this life of mine. I understand it a little better now, I –“
“You want me to love others?” she was so confused “You want…to love others?” but what of their vow? They had sworn to only…it was supposed to be just them…always. Slowly, she began to back away from him, confusion and pain in her pale eyes. “S-so you…you don’t need m-me anymore? I…I’m not good enough?”
His eyes widened in shock and for a moment he was speechless. His best friend began to back away from him, as if she were about to leave.
If she leaves, she will not return.
“Hinata –“ he began but she shook her head and turned. “Hinata!” he cried out this time, almost toppling to the floor as he forced himself out of his bed. Slowly, with shaky legs he stood, his arm on the bed keeping him up. She couldn’t leave…she couldn’t “Hinata please.” She was still moving away from him and he tried to move forward even though his body was refusing his request. With his free hand he reached for her but she backed away again “Hinata!” it was another plea “Please I cannot…I can’t do this without you!”
Pushing himself off the bed his head hung slightly as he tried to take a few steps forward “Don’t leave…don’t leave me. Without you…” his legs gave out but she was there, her arms wrapping around him. His own arms came around her and he hugged her as tightly as his weakened body would allow “Together, Hinata. No matter what, no matter who comes into our lives, you will always be the most important person to me. I can’t change, I can’t do this without you. Please…” weakly, he buried his face in her neck “We’re not breaking our vow,” he reassured “we’re just…expanding it. I still feel as if we belong together, but we cannot keep…I cannot keep forcing you to shun everything and everyone. True strength comes from all sorts of bonds…I never understood it…but you did, even unconsciously. Your cousin and Ko, you bonded with them, did you not? Yet you still love me, right?”
She nodded, burying her face in his neck, trying to hide her tears. “I will always love you.”
“Those people you’ve bonded with, I’m…what I’m saying is that it’s okay. To have those bonds. To care about others and to need others. It’s okay to be close to people besides me.”
Pulling back she blinked when he raised a shaky hand, wiping away a tear “Because you are you, you innately know how to form those bonds…I would like…to also know how to do that and I cannot do it without you, Hinata.”
She slowly began to understand what he was saying, although she wasn’t sure what caused this sudden and abrupt change. He wanted her to stay by his side but he no longer wanted to keep her to himself. He wanted her to feel free to make friends and bond with her family and through her he hoped to learn how to form those bonds himself. In the end, however, it was still the two of them, they still loved each other and no matter what they would always be the most important to the other.
“I will…never leave your side.” She promised and his hands tightened their hold on the fabric of her jacket. His breath was warm on her neck as he breathed out his sigh of relief.
She felt his hands, shaky still, frame her face as he looked at her. Something warm filled her heart as she looked at him because she knew now what she was seeing. She knew that he had finally shrugged off the demon and had fully embraced the kinder, loving side of himself. This was the side of him that she had wished she could see always and now, thanks to the blonde haired boy Uzumaki Naruto, it had been made possible. She owed him more than her thanks.
When he kissed her she felt the happiest she had ever felt in her entire life. He pulled away from her and smiled gently.
“From now on,” he told her “we will fight together. No longer will I push you to the side. You are my other half and it is time I started treating you like it.”
Slowly she helped him back into bed but when she tried to move away he pulled on her arm, signaling that he wanted her with him. So she crawled up on the bed beside him and fell asleep in his arms.
Konoha’s training grounds were a bit different from Suna’s, but she liked the atmosphere, all the green and the trees. The air was also very different, almost as if it were…moist. She couldn’t describe it any better than that, while Suna’s air was dry and thin Konoha’s air was heavier and moist. Perhaps because of the trees?
They ended up grabbing another legendary sannin, the woman known as Tsunade, to be their next hokage. Hinata has not met her but Naruto told her that she has a bad temper and that she was really in her fifties despite her looks. Of course, Hinata hadn’t believed him but he had insisted until she had eventually agreed.
A small smile curved her lips as she practiced, wanting to keep her skills up. Naruto had quickly become a good friend to her; he was cheerful, kind, although a little slow concerning things. They hung around each other often and he had introduced her to some dish called ramen that she had liked. It hadn’t been spicy like Suna food but it had still been rather good. He had introduced her to his pink haired teammate but she hadn’t seemed very happy about Hinata’s presence so she had eventually excused herself.
She had visited Rock Lee only once and that had been while he had been asleep. The Hyuuga had spoken to his teacher, Maito Gai briefly and he had mentioned that she was very ‘Youthful’ or something like that. He had actually been the reason she had left so quickly, the jounin had scared her with his personality. After that she sent Lee a get well card and left it at that.
When Tsunade had taken the mantle of Hokage she had struck an alliance with Suna and so now they were free to move around the village once more. The Hyuuga entourage and the majority of Suna shinobi had already left although Neji had stayed behind. Apparently, only two people had been promoted to chunnin and that had been her cousin and a strategy genius by the name of Nara Shikamaru. It would be a few more days before they would return home and she was actually looking forward to it. Neji was talking about a new training regime he wanted to work on with her, Temari and Kankuro were actually beginning to open up and become closer to her, and Gaara…
He had been very contemplative for the past few weeks, deep in thought. When not busy he trained with her and it was a completely different experience for her to actually train with him.
“From now on, we fight together.”
His fight with Naruto had given him some sort of inner peace to which she was genuinely happy about. She has always wanted him to be happy, he’s been all she’s known for a very long time. There seemed to be other things that he was seriously contemplating and one of the changes she has noticed with Gaara was that he was becoming very…quiet. He had never really been a talkative person but now he seemed even more so, to the point where even they do not speak so much. It doesn’t really bother her, she was also a quiet individual and the silence was peaceful, it was simply that his abrupt changes were taking her a while to adjust to. He was still affectionate, however, and his treatment of her has been…really good. For the first time in a long while she actually believes him when he tells her that he loves her and trusts her. She has absolutely no idea what Uzumaki Naruto said to him but she was eternally grateful for it.
Since her Byakugan was activated she was more than aware of Uchiha Sasuke’s presence when he started walking towards her. He was coming from behind and she cannot see his facial expressions but she has the feeling that something was wrong. When he speaks to her he is standing a few yards away.
“You can see me right?” his voice sounded different. Where before he had seemed rather calm, albeit arrogant, now he seemed angry and frustrated.
Instead of turning to him she continues her kata “Yes.”
There was a shift in his chakra and she could sense hostility just underneath the surface of his calm façade.
“I have some questions for you,” he continues walking towards her “and since your bodyguard isn’t around to protect you, you’re going to answer them, even if I have to use force.”