Pairings: SasuHina, some mildly implied one sided NejiHina. One sided NaruHina and SasuSaku
Rating: T for now
Summary: Set during the 4th Shinobi war. Sasuke encounters the two Hyuuga and Hinata's words make the Uchiha strive to prove her wrong. No matter what it takes. Madara, however, has bigger plans for this unexpected scenario...
Notes: Part 3 of the memory implants. Should hopefully only be two more chapters before we get back to the plot. It'll probably go up to M then.
“Do you want them to hear us or what?” the Uchiha turned to Sakura, frowning. He should have just told her no and gone off on his own.
She looked uncomfortable and disappointed. “But...we’re spying on them.”
‘Them’ being Hinata and Naruto who were in the park. Sasuke was hiding in the bushes nearby with Sakura. He knew he looked stupid and suspicious but he wanted to know the truth. He needed to know if Hinata was finally moving on with someone else.
Not that we were ever together like that...
“Like you don’t want to know what’s going to happen.” He said flatly. She was a girl, of course she wanted to know what was going to happen. The potential gossip was too juicy. Sparing a glance, he could tell that she did, but it seemed that she wanted to spend time with him more. He wanted to roll his eyes. Why did she even like him? She knew absolutely nothing about him; would never be able to relate to him. She was probably like everyone else who just like him because he was a cute face and was difficult to approach. Why girls liked the latter was a true unknown.
Only Hinata truly understood him. She was the only person in the village who genuinely cared.
She remained silent, however, so Sasuke tried to listen in.
“...since the beginning.” Was what he caught from Naruto. The blonde was shifting nervously, scratching the back of his head like the idiot he was. What did she see in that guy anyway? “Even though you’re quiet, dark, and a little strange...”
Both Sakura and Sasuke’s expressions went flat as Hinata blinked and then looked embarrassed.
“What an...” Sakura began.
“Idiot.” The Uchiha finished. Really, who told the girl they liked that they were strange? Real smooth, jackass.
“Uh, well...” Naruto gave Hinata a goofy grin. “I just...well, you’re also really cool! I mean, you kick ass, you’re super nice even if you do hang out with that jerk Sasuke...”
Loser. ‘that jerk’ thought, brow twitching. He’d never forgive Hinata if she dated that guy.
“I’ve really liked you for a long time!” he told Hinata and she blushed, irritating Sasuke even more. Why was she blushing, anyway? “Now that we’re both genin, I wanna ask if you’ll be my girlfriend.” He tilted his head and leaned forward, blinking at her. “So? Will ya?”
“I...” her jaw worked and she looked at a complete loss. “I...”
“Forget this.” Sasuke stood and abruptly turned away. He no longer wished to hear her answer, he had a feeling he knew what it was anyway.
“Sasuke-kun!” Sakura looked torn between staying and watching and following him. “Sasuke-kun, where are you going?”
He didn’t answer her. If she wanted to stay, she was more than welcome to stay. He didn’t have time for their nonsense.
Did their promise mean nothing to her anymore?
Things were strained and awkward with his new teammates. Naruto was an idiot who never shut up – how the hell did he graduate? – and Sakura was too busy fawning over him like an idiot to be competent. She snapped out of it during missions, thankfully, but during training she was all but useless. Never mind whenever he was forced to come along with them for ‘bonding’ or whatever Kakashi wanted to call it.
He had been in a terrible mood since Naruto had asked Hinata to be his girlfriend two days ago. He was being very uncooperative and really didn’t care. Sakura had stayed behind but had never told him what happened and he had never asked. He wasn’t sure what ended up happening as Naruto hadn’t said one way or another. He didn’t look any different, so it was hard to tell if he had been rejected or not. Since he still seemed like such a smiling idiot, Sasuke determined it was because Hinata had probably said yes. He shouldn’t care but he did. A lot.
Hinata had tried calling and coming over but he had ignored her. She had a boyfriend, she could go hang out with him.
So when team seven encountered team eight randomly on the streets, he didn’t even spare Hinata a second glance. He also ignored Sakura’s funny look. It wasn’t until Naruto opened his mouth that he stopped walking.
“Hey! Hinata-chan!” a pause. Sasuke kept his back turned. “Huh? Hey...Hinata-chan! Hey! Where ya going?”
“Man...” Kiba made a noise. “That girl’s been moping around for two days now. It’s getting annoying. I thought she was supposed to be a badass since she was Hyuuga and all.”
“She’s the heir. Stupid.” Shino muttered, crossing his arms and looking away. He spoke up again before Kiba could start shouting. “But she has been different all of a sudden.” He inclined his head towards Naruto “Could it have something to do with whatever you had wanted to talk to her about?”
“Huh?” Naruto blinked. “How’d you know about that?” the question got him a cracked skull courtesy of Sakura.
“Dummy! You only shouted it in front of everyone!”
“Oh yeah! Heh.” Both Kiba and Sakura shook their heads. Hopeless. “Yeah but...” he looked confused. “I asked her out and all but she refused. Said that she had someone who was really precious to her and stuff. But she wanted to be buddies so that was cool!”
“She already has a boyfriend?” Sakura sounded surprised.
“Uh...no but...” Naruto scratched his cheek. “It was kind of like...she had just realized it or something? I dunno, just that she liked someone else. I think she said she was gonna tell him since I had the courage to tell her or...uh something. I don’t really remember.”
Frowning, Sakura turned to Sasuke who had been very quiet. “Sasuke-kun? Weren’t you and Hinata-chan....?” she blinked and everyone turned, surprised.
The Uchiha had vanished.
I’m such an idiot! Sasuke thought as he ran through the forests, trying to track down his longtime friend. Of course she didn’t like Naruto, why would she like Naruto?
Why had he thought that Hinata would stop caring about him? If anything, it probably looked as if he had stopped caring about her. He couldn’t even believe it, Naruto’s confession had made her want to confess to him.
Hinata felt the same way he did. When it happened he had no idea, but her feelings were no longer platonic. He should have seen it coming but he had been too into his own grief to realize it. She had probably even been really obvious about it too.
Was it too late now?
It didn’t take him long to pick up her trail, she wasn’t trying to run from anyone in particular. She stopped in a small clearing inside the forest. He made sure not to hide his presence; he knew she wouldn’t run away. Hinata didn’t run from anything or anyone. Not anymore.
She was leaning against a tree, panting. When she heard him approach, her posture stiffened and she hastily wiped at her face. Guilt rode him hard; he had made her cry. Maybe he really was a jerk. He stopped as she faced him. What could he say? He could apologize, he supposed. Tell her the truth, that he felt the same way and that for a while there he had forgotten his promise due to fear. Fear of her leaving him. Of changing her mind. Of him truly being alone.
“I heard you turned down Naruto.” Was what finally came out of his mouth. Her eyes widened slightly and then she turned away, nodding.
“I...d-didn’t know you c-cared.”
He deserved that. “Yeah.” He looked away, feeling awkward. “Well...I do.”
Silence. Very awkward silence. She wasn’t throwing him a bone and he had no idea of what to do or say to make things better. Apologizing for being wrong had been easier when he had been five.
He tried again. “So...why were you trying to call me? You didn’t leave any messages.”
“That’s b-because you were home.” She waited until she had his attention. “I looked.”
“Oh.” Stupid Byakugan and its stupid ability to see through stupid walls...
This was going nowhere fast. What could he do?
“Sasuke, I’m...” she looked down, playing with the sleeves of her jacket. “I’ll talk to otousan about canceling the engagement.”
The Uchiha was floored. “What? Why?”
Hinata looked at him as if he were daft, but there was definite sadness in her eyes. “Because you don’t...you don’t need me. Or w-want me.”
“That’s not it.” His heart was beating fast as he began to close the distance between them. “It’s not like that.” He stopped a few feet away from her and she looked up at him with confusion and pain. With a small sigh, he forced himself to keep her gaze. “These past few years...it’s been hard to focus. I think maybe I kind of got a little...scared. I pushed you away because...”
“Because you thought I would leave you too?” when he stared at her in shock she smiled wryly. “Sasu-kun we’ve known each other since we were three. I had a feeling that was it but that’s...not what hurt. Well, it did hurt but I understood. I had figured as long as I stayed around and was there when you needed me you would understand. B-but I guess I should have tried harder.”
“I thought you liked Naruto.” He finally confessed. “And it made me mad.” I thought he was replacing me.
“O-oh.” She shook her head and looked down. “Well, I do like Naruto-kun but...” she looked at him, taking in how he was carefully keeping his emotions hidden. “Naruto-kun is nice but he’s in love with Haruno-san. I’m sure he likes me but I just...” biting her lip, she began poking her fingers together. “I d-don’t feel that way b-because I um...I l-love someone else.”
She let out a small gasp when he closed the distance, taking her hand in his. Her skin was soft and smooth, funny how that had never really mattered to him until now. Heat moved to his cheeks but he kept his gaze on hers. Her breath hitched and lips parted.
“Do you...think that person loves you back?” he asked, his voice low.
“I...” face red, she almost took a step back when he moved so close all he had to do was tilt his head to kiss her. Their hearts were pounding and they were both nervous, but this was a moment that they now realized would have happened sooner or later. “I don’t know. I w-was starting to think maybe not...th-that maybe there wasn’t any room left for me there.”
Closing his eyes, he leaned forward, pressing his forehead against hers. He decided to stop the charade. “We made a promise. I wasn’t keeping it. I won’t do it again. We’re not on the same team but that doesn’t matter.” He squeezed her hand. “We’ll avenge our family together. You’re...the only one, Hinata. You...always have been and always will be. So don’t cancel the engagement. I won’t doubt you again.”
Pulling back, the two looked at each other for a long moment before they leaned forward again. His hands settled on her shoulders and he felt small hands slide up his chest. This was it, the cross from friendship to something more. It felt right; he found that he wanted this. Hinata was all he had left and she loved him. He wished he could tell her how much that meant to him.
The kiss was awkward. They had closed their eyes too soon and bumped noses. Embarrassed, when she pulled back he surged forward, pressing their lips together. He could practically feel the heat coming from her face and he was sure he probably felt the same to her. It was kind of nice. Her lips were soft and the desire to hold her like that forever was strong.
They kissed a few more times experimentally, trying to find the proper method. His arms wrapped around her slender frame as he tilted his head, finding that angle much better. Eventually they pulled away, eyes hooded, slightly breathless.
“Sasu-kun...” she breathed.
Then she punched him in the jaw. He fell back flat on his behind, eyes wide as he rubbed his face. She looked apologetic.
“I’m sorry I just...p-please don’t do that again. You were a jerk and...it hurt. A lot.”
Sasuke started laughing, although it kind of hurt to do so. At least she only punched him. Hinata didn’t get angry often but when she did...
“It’s you and me always, Hina-chan. I promise.” The childhood nickname he had given her was now becoming more of an endearment, something to say only when they were alone. Thankfully, she didn’t seem to mind. Smiling, she helped him up and he pulled her close. She sniffled and nodded.
“It...it better be Sasu-kun...” she looked back up at him, the smile still present. “Because I won’t forgive you next time.”
He shook his head. “There won’t be a next time. We have to live in the past, right now, that’s to be our way of life.” He bent down and kissed her again. But we’ll be our future.
When Sasuke saw Itachi again, Hinata had not been there. When the two brothers met again, Sasuke had been so positive that with the Chidori, he had finally found the edge he needed to defeat him. He had been wrong. Painfully wrong.
Not enough hatred...
Had he grown soft? He had grown complacent, he knew that. He had gotten cocky because he had been used to being better than everyone else. Everything came to him naturally and easily. The only one who had truly been a challenge to him up until the chunnin exams had been Hinata and Neji. Everyone else had been garbage, including his teammates.
Then he had met Rock Lee. Then he had met Gaara. Then Gaara had wiped the floor with him. Then Naruto suddenly woke up and was stronger than him. Much stronger. With Itachi popping up and tossing him aside as if he had been garbage, it had been too much.
As he sat on the tree branch thinking, his hand moved to the throbbing along his neck. The cursed seal of heaven. The terrible sannin Orochimaru had given it to him and one other, he said. A ‘spare’. He had asked Kakashi about the spare but had been told nothing, only that they had somehow survived. Apparently, the odds were only one in ten. That person also had a seal placed on theirs, but that was all Sasuke had been told.
He wasn’t getting stronger in this village. The jounin could say whatever he wanted, but Itachi had reminded him of his true goal. Itachi had shown him that he had gotten derailed from his path by his teammates and his sensei. He and Hinata had been chosen to kill Itachi. He was to be the hand that dealt the blow, Hinata was to be his support and his future. His clan’s future.
He hadn’t heard much from or about her, and hadn’t thought about it until now. Itachi was one thing but Orochimaru...he couldn’t subject her to that. If he left, he would have to leave her behind. She would continue training, he knew, and when he came back she would be stronger. Hinata was always the stronger one, it seemed, always his anchor. Perhaps that was why Itachi had chosen her. Even when he faltered, she didn’t. She remained loyal to him and their promise. She would thrive where he was lacking. He needed more.
She’d be safer here. She would understand...eventually.
It didn’t take him long after encountering the sound four to make his decision. Orochimaru would give him power and he’d do it faster than Konoha ever could. He wasn’t going to give the snake his body, he wasn’t stupid. If he became strong enough to defeat Itachi, he knew he wouldn’t have to worry about that snake. He would gain his power, come back for Hinata, kill Itachi and then they would kill Orochimaru. After that, they would come back to Konoha and rebuild the clan.
He had known it would be a long and hard road. Now that road was in front of him. He’d be considered a missing nin, a criminal, but he was sure if he returned after killing the traitor and Orochimaru they would pardon him. His future was here, once he finally handled his past.
Sasuke took one last look around his apartment and spotted something glittering in the dark. Walking over, he picked up the silver chain. Scowling, he put it in his pocket and turned to leave.
I’m sorry, Hinata.
“It fucking took you long enough.” The foul mouthed Tayuya muttered dryly as she crossed her arms, scowling. “We’ve been waiting.”
“Sorry.” Sasuke said, nto sounding sorry at all. “Got caught up in something.” That ‘something’ being Sakura. He should have known her stalker-ish tendencies would have led her to figure out what he was doing. Not that he didn’t care for her, she was a good friend. She had started out extremely annoying and had grown a lot. If she kept at it, she would become a strong kunoichi and he looked forward to that when he returned. But he didn’t love her. Not the way she wanted.
His heart had always belonged to another. A girl with white eyes and dark hair. She probably wouldn’t forgive him for this one; not without a lot of groveling. Hinata was sensitive, his departure would hurt her more than anything. They had been through so much.
“Well, at least someone knows how to be on time.” Sakon said, rolling his eyes. “Isn’t that right, hime-cut?”
Dark eyes widened at the pun because he knew what the other male was talking about. But it was impossible...
“My name is Hyuuga Hinata.” Hinata emerged from between the four that had been circling the two barrels. Her gaze was impassive as she shifted her back pack. “Please...don’t call me that.”
A shrug of the shoulders. “I like hime-cut better. You look like a princess with that hair and stuff.”
Dropping his bag, Sasuke stormed over to Hinata and grabbed her arm. “Excuse us.”
“Hey!” Tayuya reached out. “Where are you two going? We don’t have time for this shit!”
“Make time!” Sasuke snapped. “Ten minutes!” he dragged her further into the forest. Once out of what he hoped was earshot, he stopped. Crimson eyes bore into white. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Why...?” he stopped, stunned as she pulled down her collar to expose her throat. “What...?”
“I’m...the spare.” She said, frowning slightly. “I don’t know how he knew b-but...he knew about Itachi-niisan and our promise. He knew who I was. I think he did this because he wanted to make sure you’d come. I knew you would probably leave me behind, I’ve heard the stories about the legendary sannin and I know you –“
This time, he caught the fist that had aimed for his jaw. He just didn’t catch the second one. Staggering back, he glared at her. “Would you stop doing that?!”
“You promised!” her voice didn’t raise terribly much, but it was enough to surprise the Uchiha. She wiped at her face, not wanting him to see her tears. “You keep breaking your promise. If they hadn’t come for me, you would have left without a word!”
“Hinata this isn’t the same –“
“I’m not weak!” she shouted and he stood there, speechless. Pearl eyes were glittering with angry tears. “We’re supposed to be...to be equals but you keep pushing me aside when things get difficult. What have I been working all these years for?”
He finally found his voice. “I was going to come back for you. We’re still going after Itachi together.” She shook her head.
“The moment you step your foot back into Konoha you won’t be able to leave again. You weren’t going to come back and you know it!”
“Yes I was!” but the words were hollow because deep down he knew she was right. He would have found a reason not to return, an excuse. Probably the same valid one she had just brought up. He didn’t want to lose her, which meant keeping her away from danger. But she was a shinobi, be it from Orochimaru, Itachi, or whoever, there was always a chance of her dying tomorrow. That was what it meant to do what they did. What would he do if he returned and she was dead from some random mission?
Raking a hand through his hair, he let out a frustrated sound. She was right, she was always right, but still.
“I don’t want to lose you.” There. He said it.
Hinata closed her eyes briefly. “I don’t want to lose you either.”
A sigh. “I’m sorry.” She was here now, dragged into the hell he had willingly walked into. Yet, she had willingly walked into it as well, hadn’t she? She could have stayed in the village. “You’re...you have more to lose if you leave, Hinata. Your title, your clan, your family everything.”
“I don’t care about that.” She let out a shaky sigh. “That night Itachi-niisan killed everyone I lost my mother...twice. Your family, your clan loved me. They welcomed me like I was their own and you’ve always been...my most important person. If I stay and you go, I truly do lose everything.”
He let out a shuddering breath. “Alright. In any case, there’s no turning back now. We’re playing for keeps.” Closing the distance, he pulled out the silver chain. Unclasping it, he hooked it around her neck.
Slender fingers ghosted over the beautiful silver band with the very small heart shaped diamond within. She gasped and her eyes widened. “Sasuke...”
“That was my mother’s.” he turned his back to her to head over to the others. “When this is all over, I want you to put that on your finger...as we say our vows.”
Not the most elegant way of asking a girl to marry you, but it was his way of making their engagement official and not just some words on a contract. He had planned on giving it to her when he returned, but there was no reason to put it off now. There was no turning back, no more pushing her away. They belonged together and he wasn’t going to accept anything less. It was his final promise and she more than deserved it.
“We have to hurry, they’ll be sending a recovery team soon.”
He took two steps before she grabbed his hand and turned him around. The kiss was quick but no less emotional.
“I love you.”
She was given a warm smile. “Me too.” And there was the final confession from him.
“Hinata-chan, don’t do this!”
“I’m sorry, Naruto-kun, but Sasuke and I have to do this.”
“You and Sasuke?” the blonde pointed at the Uchiha “Why are you dragging her into this? It’s not her fight! How could you?”
Laughing, Sasuke shook his head, spreading his arms out wide. “You don’t get it, do you? She’s always been a part of this! It’s always been our fight!”
Hinata moved to leave and Naruto shot forward. “I won’t let you and Sasuke walk down this path!”
He slammed into something solid. Sasuke. Black tomoe spun inside crimson eyes. They narrowed dangerously.
“I already told you, she’s not the one you’re fighting. Hinata. Go ahead. I’ll handle this.”
Her hand flew to the ring underneath her shirt and she nodded. “I’m sorry, Naruto-kun. Please take care of yourself.”
“Don’t!” Naruto struggled but Sasuke wasn’t letting him budge. “Don’t do this! Hinata-chan!”
“Are you crying for him?”
Sasuke watched as she tore her gaze from the sky and looked at him blandly. It had been a rhetorical question really, for besides the rain, her eyes were dry.
“No.” she closed her eyes briefly. “But if I was crying...it would be for you.” She smiled sadly at his slightly surprised look. “He became your best friend. I...was happy for you.” She looked at the lack of blood on his hands. “Did you...?”
“No. I didn’t kill him.” Walking over, he put his arms around her. “I’ll find another way to get eyes like Itachi’s. I refuse to do it...because it’s what he wants. We’ll find our own path to kill aniki.” His fingers brushed along her seal. She refused to use it, so the one Kakashi placed on her was still active. That was fine. She would find a way to become stronger without it, he had faith in that. If she did decide to use it, then that was perfectly fine as well.
Letting her go, he grabbed his pack that she had been carrying and they took each other’s hands. Hinata took in his marked headband, almost smiling wryly at the significance. She stopped, let go of his hand and pulled out her kunai. Removing her headband from her neck, she sliced her own mark across the Konoha symbol and placed it in her bag.
He watched her impassively and without another word, he took her hand again as they willingly walked towards the snake’s lair together.