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.
Pausing in her kata she finally turns to him, vision returning to normal. As she had suspected he was scowling, his dark gaze intense. He was not at all the same he had been when she had first met him. This was not a surprise to her, the Uchiha had some sort of taint within him that began from his neck and it felt quite malicious. She wasn’t entirely sure when he had received it but it was definitely powerful and Hinata was not sure she would be able to properly defend herself if he made good on his threat to force her compliance. She forced her face to become neutral, hiding the growing unease within.
“Gaara,” he began, stopping only a few feet away from her “what is he?”
Was he still upset about the failed invasion? During the exams Sasuke had believed that he would defeat Gaara, not knowing that he was more than what he appeared to be. During the redhead’s transformation the Uchiha had been thoroughly beaten and apparently he still wasn’t very happy about it.
There is something else…I think.
When Hinata continued to remain silent his eyebrows twitched once. Black eyes switched to crimson and the Hyuuga was barely able to block his attack as he struck out at her. Byakugan activated she recovered enough to push him back or else risk his chakra points being closed off. He doesn’t immediately go after her again, in fact he seems almost amused.
“I had wanted to fight your cousin,” came the confession “but I hear you’re not that far below him in skill. In the end you’re not faster than me, so tell me what I want to know and you won’t get hurt.”
Instead of responding she shifts into a defensive stance. She had seen the Uchiha during the exams, she wasn’t faster than him but she wasn’t as slow as he seemed to think. After all, he still had yet to see her fight.
There is a moment of silence and then a shrug “Suit yourself.” He ‘disappears’.
Of course, he didn’t actually disappear, he was merely moving faster than her eyes could catch. Unfortunately for him he had to slow down eventually to strike or make a move and she was able to see in an almost three hundred and sixty degree radius. When he ‘appears’ behind her she ducks, twisting her body to strike at his leg when he tries to kick her. He dodges, barely, jumping back and she does not pursue. She doesn’t really want to fight him but she definitely wasn’t going to tell him anything about Gaara.
Once more he sounds amused “So I was right about you after all.” He muses and moves forward again “I wonder what your real personality is like, not that fake shy and meek act you pull.”
Her lips remain closed as she takes the defensive. His blows are strong and he was no weakling when it came to taijutsu. Despite that she holds her ground and tries to figure out what she could do. She can’t beat this boy, he’s too fast and too strong. He was also intelligent and she didn’t think she could match him.
He scores two hard hits on her but not before she locked up a few of his chakra points in the process. He snapped back, cursing lightly, holding his arm.
“What the hell was that?” he demands, taking a step forward.
“It is my clan’s style.” She says softly, struggling to stand “I’ve heard about your Sharingan, you won’t be able to copy my techniques.”
A snort “So you can talk, just not about your boyfriend, huh?” when she didn’t respond he once again began to close the distance between them but then abruptly stops. “You’re not like other girls.”
It wasn’t really what he said but rather how he had said it, as if she was some special breed of human and he still hadn’t quite figured her out yet. There was no anger there, just slight confusion and something else she couldn’t determine.
“Why do you want information on Gaara-kun?” there had to be a reason, was he looking for a weakness? Something to exploit?
The silence is tense “I’ve never fought a guy who wasn’t human and that guy is not human. I want to know what he is.”
There was something else there, she could tell. Hinata could tell that it truly was curiosity and not the desire to harm but there was a bad feeling she couldn’t shake. There was a reason he wanted to know why Gaara was so different and she had a feeling it wasn’t just because he hadn’t defeated him.
“He is human.” She says and it was quite obvious he doesn’t believe her and she really didn’t care. There was something…off about him. “You…you can hurt me if you want but…my loyalty to Gaara-kun is greater than my life.”
One minute he was standing there, the next he had slammed into her and she found her back hitting the training post hard. He had a kunai at her throat and that tainted chakra was trying hard to spread throughout the boy’s body but it seemed stuck. A seal perhaps?
Smirking, he leaned forward, their noses almost touching “I think at the very least I now know what his weakness is.” There was that arrogance from before, the smug superiority.
Because he had not pinned her hands she, faster than he had believed she could move, snapped her hands up, blocking several chakra points on his arm before he moved away from her, stunned. Understanding that he was not going to leave her alone she began to shift her stance. She could sense his confusion. He really didn’t know about the Juuken and no one had bothered to tell him. That would probably be her saving grace.
“Uchiha-san,” she took a deep mental breath. She was extremely nervous and it was taking a lot for her not to stutter. His presence earlier, the way he had looked at her while the kunai had been at her throat…this person made her very uncomfortable “if you…if you don’t stop I will have to defend myself. You are in range.”
“In range?” that mark on him was winning the battle concerning the seal holding it back “Listen, Hyuuga,” his voice was low “I don’t know how Naruto was able to beat Gaara but I know for a fact that there’s something up with that guy. I want to know what it is.”
He wants to know why Naruto-kun had been able to defeat Gaara-kun while he couldn’t. She determined. There was anger, frustration and something else in his tone. Something darker.
Sasuke made an irritated noise, signaling that he was done with her silence. Before he could strike she moved forward, using all of her speed. It startled him and he had hesitated too long. Her eyes narrowed and she moved to strike.
“Hakke Rokujuyon Sho!” fingers slammed into the first set of chakra points, stunning him. Then four palms…eight…
Right when she hit the eight palms mark she saw, and sensed, Gaara’s presence and immediately she backed off. His gait was smooth and unhurried and while she could not sense anger from him like she usually would, he was also not exactly happy either. Vision returning to normal she saw him closing the distance, arms crossed, his face expressionless. Green eyes flickered over to her briefly before regarding the Uchiha “You are unharmed?”
Pale lavender eyes blinked at his detached voice but then she nodded. “Y-yes…”
Sasuke was not completely immobile but he didn’t look very pleased either. Slowly, he staggered to a standing position, his dark eyes regarding Gaara coldly.
“You underestimated her.” The redhead calmly informed the raven haired boy “Hinata-chan is not my weakness, she is my other half.”
Instead of looking angry at the fact that the Hyuuga had almost gotten the one up on him he actually smirked, the look he gave her was…odd. “Seems like I did.” He agrees “I think I envy you, she’s actually incredibly useful.” ‘Unlike most girls’ was definitely implied.
There was contempt in his tone but it wasn’t directed at her. He did, however, have his gaze focused on her and she felt very uneasy. Ever since they had met his gazes had been a mixture of confused and intrigued, as if she had been some puzzle to solve. Now it seemed that he had solved the puzzle which only left the latter. She wasn’t sure if she liked the fact that he was ‘intrigued’ by her.
“We must return,” Gaara looked at Hinata, finding the conversation to be over with. “We are leaving tomorrow, it’s been confirmed.” He smiled gently at her and she returned it, her previous discomfort gone. It was so, so nice to see him like this. At peace.
Nodding, she moved close to him and he took her hand. She spared Sasuke one last glance but found his face was expressionless, even his eyes were unreadable.
“Hyuuga.” He says and waits until he has her complete attention “Next time I won’t hold back.” It was said low and he sounded very serious.
A small, sad smile emerges on her face and she tries to bites down the feeling of dread his words brought “I understand.”
Framing her face in his hands he finds that when he kisses her now it feels different. It wasn’t bad, quite the opposite, and he wonders if it’s because he does not perceive her as he once did. Is it because there was no fear there? No underlying suspicion that this kiss could be the last? He had trusted Hinata, to an extent, he had realized that. There had never been a complete sense of trust like there was now.
Perhaps it is because I don’t have to hold back any longer.
Even though she had been his reason for existing, his ‘symbol’, he had always kept her at a distance. It had been a very small distance, but there nonetheless. He no longer needs to fear, she was no longer a symbol, there was nothing for him to hide.
Not that he didn’t worry about her when she was not by his side, he did. He also still disliked her around other men although he was making a conscious effort to stop doing that. It was becoming easier the more he meditated and forced himself to control his emotions. Gaara had been in the area when he had felt Hinata’s chakra spike and had not been pleased with what he had seen. It had taken a lot of self discipline he didn’t quite have yet not to kill that boy. What had the Uchiha wanted with Hinata? The fact that he had caught her actually attacking the boy seriously had meant that the male had threatened or provoked her and she had been forced. Hinata was not a violent person, she preferred peaceful resolutions. He did not ask her and she did not say even though he was worried. The look in her eyes after they had left…it had made him want to force her compliance so that he could protect her from whatever it was she felt threatened by. He knew the path he wanted to take but it didn’t mean he was going to completely change overnight.
The redhead has yet to tell everyone what he plans to do. He has been deliberating on it for a while now and has decided to tell them when they return home. As for his relationship with Hinata, it was good yet complicated. He loved her, they were ‘together’ in a dating sense even though legally they were already married. While he has been forcing himself to clamp down on his emotions and keep the demon separate from him he finds that it was still difficult to control his desire to be with her intimately. It bothers him, quite a bit, because they’re both too young yet he cannot get the images and feelings out of his head.
Does this mean we will have to start separating ourselves?
Hinata will not like it, for as long as they’ve been together, practically their entire lives, they have been inseparable. Before coming to Konoha he had rarely even let her out of his sight and the two had a very close relationship physically. Not only would Hinata not like it, he would not enjoy it either. Although he had never slept there had not been a night where he had not been by her side in their bed. He honestly couldn’t imagine returning and them having to live in separate rooms, he couldn’t imagine not being by her side, it felt too painful. However, he also remembers that day in the hotel when he had reacted strangely while they had kissed. She had looked so uncomfortable and he had felt a myriad of emotions.
I will simply have to take control over these emotions so Hinata and I can remain together.
They part from their kiss and he pulls her close, savoring her presence. She has been so much happier lately, he can see the difference. His love’s eyes shine more, she smiles more and the way she looks at him…it was a look he had been seeing less and less the more he had allowed the demon to influence him. It wasn’t just happiness, she was happy for him and that meant more to him than he would ever be able to convey verbally.
Your entire life you’ve dedicated yourself so that I could be happy, so that you could stand beside me. Hinata, I will make these years up to you, I swear it.
Tensing, he senses a presence outside their door and the two turn as Temari comes in, a grim expression on her face.
“The Hokage is asking us to come back to Konoha, there’s an emergency.” The chunnin tells them and she looks quite unhappy about it “Apparently, Uchiha Sasuke has defected and is heading to the sannin Orochimaru. They sent a team out and since Neji had been staying behind to tie up loose ends with his new status he was sent out along with the initial team. They want us to provide backup.”
“D-defected?” Hinata’s pale eyes are wide with surprise “W-what about his family…?”
“His brother has been missing for a few years now and his parents were killed around the same time the brother disappeared. It’s assumed that he was the murderer. “
Gaara digested this information and stood, reaching for his gourd “Why is Uchiha seeking out Orochimaru?”
Temari shook her head “Your guess is as good as mine. They seem to know but no one has said anything. We have to leave immediately; we’re a half a day’s distance behind them as it is. I’ll lead us there and then we’ll split off accordingly depending on what we find.”
“We are ready.” The redhead turns his gaze to the Hyuuga “Hinata-chan, you and I will fight together unless it is absolutely essential to separate.”
Her response is a small nod, her pale eyes bright with emotion. He could see that she was thinking something but he decided not to press it. If she wanted him to know, she would tell him.
“We’re dealing with Orochimaru’s top four,” Temari continued and both he and Hinata blinked in surprise. “They’re with the Uchiha so fighting them will be unavoidable.” The blonde scowled “Personally, I think the snake had planned this from the beginning.”
When he looks over at Hinata he sees that she definitely agrees but there is something else there, as if she knew something. Once again she said nothing and he didn’t press her for answers, there wasn’t any time to anyway. The group of four headed out at top speed back towards Konoha and Gaara briefly wondered if Naruto…
He’s definitely with them, he mused Naruto and Uchiha seem to have some sort of bond. But why go to Orochimaru?
Tsunade wasn’t a spring chicken anymore but she was no weakling either, not by a long shot. So when she felt the presence of someone in her office the first thing that came to mind was, How the hell did he manage to get into my office without me sensing him?
It was late, very late, and the word on Uchiha hadn’t been good. Naruto had been unable to bring his friend back and now Sasuke was in Orochimaru’s hands. This did not make her happy.
Apparently, she was not the only one.
“Why are you here, Uchiha Itachi?” she asked the shadows “I know it’s you, kid, there’s not an Uchiha alive that holds that much power.”
“Forgive the intrusion.” The voice was low, unemotional. Slowly, Tsunade watched as the former heir to the Uchiha clan moved into the light. What she saw surprised him.
He was pale, deathly so, and it was obvious that he was exerting a lot of self control in keeping his posture straight. His Sharingan was activated but didn’t look as if he held any hostile intentions. Despite the obvious pain he seemed to be under Itachi’s expression remained impassive.
“You’ve been gone for a few years now.” The buxom blonde leaned back in her chair “There’s still rumors going about that you were the one who killed your parents.”
Itachi did not reply for a moment “What do you believe, Hokage-sama?”
“I support the rumors saying that it was the other families and they slapped it on you. Well, they’re not even rumors, we have evidence that it wasn’t you, but that’s top secret. That doesn’t explain why you’ve been gone so long and why you’re here. You’re technically a missing nin.”
He did not even blink at her, his expression remained impassive “Although you are new to your position, I am sure you know why I left and what I’ve been doing.”
She had to hand it to him, despite the fact that he was barely holding it together he didn’t seem to be in any rush concerning their conversation “I’ve heard that you all believe you were set up by Madara; are you sure it’s him and not some imposter? By all rights he should be long dead, he’s old enough to be my grandfather.”
“There have been some doubts but yes, he is truly Uchiha Madara. I have spent these past few years gaining information, there are quite a few things you need to be made aware of. I am here for two reasons. One, I heard Sasuke went to Orochimaru, is this true?”
He was well informed for a man who had been gone for years “I got the final confirmation by messenger hawk today, the team I had sent out failed to retrieve him. It’s safe to say he’s probably with that snake now. Do you know why he did it? I have my guesses but…”
“After the exile many Uchiha have been…unhappy about the fact that Madara had so openly betrayed them and Sasuke is one of those individuals. He disgraced our name and shattered our clan all for the sake of revenge for being shunned all those years ago. My little brother has more than likely gone to Orochimaru for power.” There was a small pause “I am sure he would not have done so if I had been around to train him. Many rumors claim that I was killed.”
The Hokage began to pour herself a cup of sake “You couldn’t have taken him, Itachi. Everyone knows that. Are you going to bring him back yourself?”
“No.” he does not react to her stunned expression “Not yet, anyway. At the moment I would be unable to train him, there are too many things going on he is not aware of. If I can’t train him, he will not remain in Konoha at this point, I am sure of that. According to the rumors Orochimaru will have to wait a few years if he wishes to take my brother’s body, I will strike then.”
That was good and bad as far as Tsunade was concerned. It was good that Itachi would pull Orochimaru from Sasuke’s clutches, it was a bad thing that he wouldn’t do it for another few years. Who knew the influence the snake would have on the boy?
“Alright then,” she downed her cup and began to pour another one “What’s the other reason?”
This time he smiled slightly. It made his rather stoic features boyish “You are a medical nin, I am sure you have guessed.”
Tsunade sighed. So there was something terribly wrong with him. That was not good, if anyone could stop Madara, it was Itachi. “Based on your slight shaking, blurred focus and light sweating, you’ve either been poisoned or you have some sort of illness.”
The smile thinned “It is the latter…I believe. I was hoping that with you…”
Tsunade stood and began to walk towards him “I’ll have a room set up for you; this will be top secret so only a few people will be made aware of the situation. If it’s an illness and we can cure it, we will.” She gave him a sardonic smile “You’re the last person that needs to die right now, Itachi.”
Everything was a strange learning experience for him now. Where before everything had been simple – do whatever the hell you felt like doing up to and including killing lots of people – now he was on a path that was forcing him to become more social and affectionate. The latter wasn’t something he was unfamiliar with, he had always been affectionate to his other half. It was the other half of it, becoming social and accepting the bonds that Hinata already had, bonds she had developed whether she had known it or not. The one bond, the strongest bond that he had known Hinata to have had been with her cousin. She loved him and that love had caused Gaara to become easily jealous and controlling as the years had gone on. He had hated the fact that she looked at anyone with any sort of fondness, he had been afraid that if she had she’d eventually leave him.
Yet…she remained. He thought solemnly. Hinata had stayed with a boy who had not given her even an inkling of what she had given him in terms of love and trust. He had so many sins to atone for, but he wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to atone for his horrible treatment of her for all these years. It was times like this when he wondered if perhaps he should push her away. He loved her, more than anything imaginable, and he didn’t feel as if he could change properly without her but…wasn’t it time to stop thinking about himself and his feelings?
Even now as he stood in Neji’s room at the hospital, looking at Hinata’s sleeping form by the boy’s bed, taking in their interlaced fingers, guilt rode him. He felt guilty because all he wanted to do right now was rip her away from her cousin, to demand her tell him why she was holding Neji’s hand, why her head was resting right next to his. Growing up he had always been afraid that the male would have done something to hurt his Hinata, the boy had been so hateful towards her in the beginning. In the end, the one who had truly hurt her had been him, not Neji.
They would look good together.
White eyes opened, eyes that held just a hint of silver, eyes that missed nothing. His Byakugan activated immediately before he closed his eyes briefly, chakra filled veins surrounding them fading. Slowly, he turned his head to Gaara, his expression unreadable. The newly made chunnin had been seriously injured by Orochimaru’s elite four and would have died if not for Tsunade’s quick thinking and rallying up forces. He had defeated the creature – and one could only call that thing a creature – almost at the cost of his life.
“I heard the rumors that you had changed,” Neji’s voice was low so as not to awaken Hinata. The two males regarded each other silently for a moment and Gaara knew the Juuken master didn’t miss the way his jade eyes flickered to their joined hands as the other male squeezed her hand gently.
He is going to test me. Of course, Gaara had anticipated this, it wasn’t as if he hadn’t made everyone around him fear and hate him. It would take a long time before anyone fully believed that he was serious about changing himself. He didn’t like the fact that it was this Hyuuga testing him because Neji was neither blind nor stupid. More than likely he’d know the feelings the redhead was trying so desperately to hide and keep under control.
“She loves me.” Comes the voice and neither boy backs down from the other’s gaze. “Perhaps, had she been given the choice, she could have been in love with me. Her feelings are not completely platonic, although she does not realize nor will she admit it to herself.”
“I know.” He had known it for years.
Neji let the silence continue for a moment “There was more than one reason why Hiashi-sama was angry at the trick your father pulled on the two of you, can you guess why?” when silence greeted him in answer he continued “Hinata-sama, although the three of us did not know it at the time, was slated to marry me.”
That did get a reaction out of the demon carrier. Green eyes widened in surprise “Marriage?” was all he could say.
For the first time Gaara was truly seeing Neji. Not the cool but polite individual that he had portrayed all these years but the harder, colder, and slightly more arrogant side; the side he had feared to show Gaara lest he be killed. He wouldn’t be the first person to do this, but he would probably be one of the few where learning the truth of their personality would affect Gaara personally. “It is not uncommon for a branch member to marry into the main family,” the Hyuuga carefully explained “although normally the marked spouse would still hold no real sway, influence, or be of any significance to the clan as a whole. It was determined early on that I was intelligent and had the potential to become strong within the clan. Hinata-sama, as you are aware, was considered weak at the time. It had not been made official but the clan had planned to have us marry. She would lead the clan, I would be its strength, that had been the goal.” A small, sardonic smirk emerged “We both know how that plan had failed.”
The redhead didn’t want to dance around the real issue so he got to the point of Neji telling him this information “Do you still wish to marry her? Are you trying to tell me your feelings for her run deeper than teacher and student?”
“And if they do?”
It took a lot to not rise to the bait. Shukaku – no longer did he call the demon ‘mother’ – was infuriated, or rather, he wanted to be infuriated so that Gaara would shift back to who he was. The demon was not fond of the changes going on within his host, not one bit. “It would be Hinata’s decision.” He was proud of how his voice had stayed calm “It would not be difficult to get a divorce, the argument that we were tricked as children would be more than enough for the council.”
Slowly, without jarring Hinata, Neji sat up straighter “That is what you say but that is not what you feel. I awakened because I sensed an angry presence. I opened my eyes and there you were.”
He wouldn’t be so cocky if he was dead. The thought emerges and he disregards it; that was Shukaku trying to influence him, those were not his true thoughts. “It doesn’t matter what I feel, what matters is Hinata being happy.”
Neji didn’t quite believe him and the expression on his face showed as much. “Although I had disliked the fact that my life would have been decided for me at the time, it is not the case now. You did not truly love her, not the way you should have.”
“I know.” It pained him to admit it but the boy was right. He did love Hinata but growing up his love had been twisted and possessive. It still was, he was just trying hard not to show it, was trying to overcome it. “Say whatever you wish Hyuuga, I will not harm you, or anyone else who does not threaten me or what is important to me.”
“Physically or emotionally?” came the counter and Gaara resisted the urge to sigh. He should have known Neji would be his biggest obstacle and yet, if he did convince the other male it would help considerably.
“Twist my words if you wish, you are intelligent enough to know of what I speak.”
The corners of his mouth twitch upward, probably the most emotion he had ever seen Neji display around him. Then just like that his expression becomes hard and unyielding “If you truly wish to start over from scratch, to become someone of good morals and ethics, you will divorce my cousin. Remove the shackles and allow her to have a choice. All she has known is you, all she has been able to love is you. She will resist, no one enjoys change, but to keep her as you have all these years would only limit her. If you two truly love each other, you will continue to stay together and everything will work out for in the end. She deserves to see and experience the world and people while not being forced to hide behind your back.”
He could not help the ire that emerged “Is this her guardian speaking or the man who wants a chance to have her fall in love with him?”
“Both.” Neji said without hesitation and the uninjured male is in fact startled by the easy admission “You have been the closest to her, but you have not seen her, not as I have. The exams gave you a hint of what you have been blind to, but that was not all of what she had been forced to keep from you. While it is cute and amusing that you’re honestly trying to become some sort of saint or whatever, you do not deserve my cousin, you never have, and if you truly wish to have my support you will free her.”
Their gazes remain locked but neither speaks for a very long time. Neji was testing him, truly testing him, and it wouldn’t end when he left the room. The Hyuuga was forcing him to hold a normal relationship with Hinata. Real couples were not as obsessively close as he had been with her, real ‘boyfriends and girlfriends’ their age didn’t sleep together in the same bed. He would have to make an effort, Gaara would have to control his fears of her being harmed, of someone taking her away from him. Of Neji taking her away from him.
“So be it.” Was his final response and then he left the room.