Disclaimer: I, evidently, do not own any of these characters, their world: we all thank Kishimoto for his work that amuses, distracts and inspire us.
Friends, family, love. What can it all represent to people? There are as many ways to love as there are hearts. And two hearts can pass by each other and leave a small spark.
Blood. Corpses. Red eyes. Sasuke woke up tired and restless. Again, that same nightmare. "Okaa-san, otou-san", he still heard his childish voice echo in despair.
His bloodline activated, he stared at the ceiling of that same house. Damn it. He wouldn't be able to sleep even though his whole body was aching for rest.
He got up and decided to walk around the village. At least this late at night no fangirl would be up to annoy him.
Whenever he was in his clan's district, it felt like the moon was blood-shot and staring at him; defying him to activate his sharingan eyes. The empty streets were too quiet, too somber, shadows hiding even beneath the darkness. Jumping onto the rooftops, he quickly left that place that was both his nightmares and his home.
Konoha at this time of the night was quiet. Some drunk people were leaving the bars, the waiters and barkeepers swiftly dealing with their departure as they were wont to do, restaurants finally closing shop. From his elevated position, he simply observed the scenery, nothing really catching his attention, naught helping him forget. He did a quick turn and headed towards the village extremities; maybe nature could divert his attention.
While approaching the edge of the forest surrounding the village of the Leaf, his sharp senses distinguished some activity coming from a training ground not far. Who could be training this late at night? Someone he knew? Could Naruto be that rarin' to try to surpass him? He smirked at that last though. His blond-haired teammate still had long ways to go to actually reach his level; although he'd been having some quite interesting progress lately. Not that he was ready to admit it to that dobe. Nevertheless, Naruto usually slept like a log at night, which was actually needed for him to be that energetic during the day.
Curious, he decided to go take a look, applying Kakashi's lessons on how to best conceal his presence. Having no more houses, he now moved between trees as silently and swiftly as possible, avoiding the ruffle of leaves and moving according to the wind's blows. The training ground was dimly lit by several candles. Two training dummies lay on each side of a tree. Around the tree, a futon was tied to soften the blows and noise.
Sasuke managed to distinguish a small figure hitting with their palms open the futon. What an unusual fighting style.
"Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" The girl stopped her movements and was panting, her palms now resting on her knees. She soon dropped to the ground and lay against the tree, looking completely exhausted.
She had short dark hair, with two bangs framing her pale face. Her pallor shone in the darkness, and as he approached he managed to distinguish remarkable lavender featureless eyes. A Hyuuga. He realized she had her bandana hanging around her neck, which meant she was probably a genin like himself. He had a vague idea of who she was, but couldn't remember her name. Nonetheless, he just stood there and watched her.
After what felt quite long pause, she finally stood up and started gathering her things. He could see she had actually been crying. Pathetic. He decided to sleep on that tree: he didn't feel like going home.
After not much investigation, he discovered her name was Hinata Hyuuga, and that she was in team 8 with the loud Kiba and discreet Shino. She was extremely docile, shy and for some reason he couldn't even fathom, completely in love with his own stupid teammate Naruto. She would watch him every chance she could get and become red as a tomato if he ever approached the people around her. Of course, he rarely talked directly to her since she didn't spoke at all, or just murmured "N-n-Naruto-kun" before almost fainting. And the idiot blonde had absolutely no idea.
He remembered why she at least had small trace in his memory:
Days after the incident… When he returned to school, he had no food. Everybody was opening their bentous. Even Naruto that day had gotten one from Iruka-sensei. He just stood apart and looked without seeing. He remembered noticing someone approaching him. She fidgeted her fingers with a small lavender package in her arms. She glanced so quickly at him, and dropped the package in his lap and left. He opened, it was a small bentou, and inside it were tomatoes. He felt the tears come to his eyes, and ate in silence the now salty food.
Each night that he couldn't sleep, or had his nightmares again, he went to those training grounds again. He ended up finding them peaceful. Hinata didn't come very often, or at least not on the same nights as him. And when she did came, she always ended the same way as the first night. She cried, frustrated and went home after cleaning every trace of her spending time there. She is not even progressing. Why is she even still trying? Hmpf, so pathetic. Even worse than Naruto, and she's supposed to represent her clan. She hasn't even sensed me, but then, I'm also that good.
Weeks later, Kakashi proposed they try the Chuunin exam. So he started training, and was then too exhausted and managed most of the time to sleep all night in his own bed. He had no idea if her team was going to try and he couldn't care less. He already had his own idiot to care about.
Sitting on his bed on a cloudless cold night, Sasuke pondered. So many things had happened during the Chuunin exam. The mark Orochimaru had left him sometimes burned his skin, or tingled at him tempting him to try and use its power. He had many more nights where he couldn't sleep. This particular was horribly long and he couldn't even manage to close his eyes. Once more, he decided to go there. He didn't know what he actually hoped, but he didn't know what else to do.
Even before arriving near the location, he sensed someone was already there. Upon arrival on his usual tree, he noticed the girl stop and look around. She's finally getting better, she finally noticed me.
"W-who's there?" She murmured.
He decided to step down and show himself.
"S-Sasuke-san…" She hesitated, very surprised. She was about to say something else, when he simply took a fighting stance: both feet apart, right leg slightly upfront, his right hand with the palm open, the other closed in a fist beside his waist. Her eyes opened wide in astonishment. It was the Hyuuga taijutsu stance! He had probably managed to copy it from watching Neji and Naruto's fight, since she remembered he was in the medical bay when she fought. It wasn't good to have someone outside the clan know their techniques, but without the Byakugan, it was just a taijutsu much less effective.
Sasuke didn't see her fight, but he had heard what had happened against her cousin from Naruto. He got intrigued by the determination she seemingly showed during that fight. Maybe she wasn't that useless, after all, Naruto had just managed to surpass his own expectations and was acquiring a threatening strength. He was bored, and watching wouldn't satisfy him. Why not participate? A sparring partner would surely benefit her. He stood there, waiting for her reaction.
Hinata wondered. Sasuke-san, the genius, the last of the most powerful clan, was standing there ready to spar with her using her own clan's techniques. Could she actually bear the weigh of fighting such a strong ninja? Did she even deserve this chance? Was he mocking her? She shook her head strongly. Whatever his reasons are, this a good chance to train. Naruto-kun wouldn't back down from any opportunity. Activating her bloodline, she copied his stance and lunged forward.
She was clumsy, but she had gotten better. Looking from the scars on her hands, she had been training much harder than before, and possibly more often. He could easily dodge all her attacks and strike back with his own. Nonetheless he did very little damage since he was using the Hyuuga gentle fist without the chakra strike. He was barely breaking a sweat when she was already panting from exhaustion. He smirked and raised an eyebrow as his asking her if she was already done. With a look he had never seen or imagined her having before, she glared back and aimed for his neck. Not bad. Nowhere near good, but this might start becoming a good pastime.
He eventually started coming every night and also did she, as the futon could clearly bear witness: so many marks across it showed that she had grown in strength and had shed blood more than once due to persistence. The center of the training dummies had started to become noticeable holes which proved her accuracy with shurikens and kurenais had also improved. Sasuke no longer imitated her style, but started using his own taijutsu, afterall, she was more prone to fight people outside her clan. She had gotten better, nowhere near him, but sometimes she actually managed to scare him a little bit by almost touching him. They never shared a single word. He arrived in the middle of her training and started sparring. When they decided to end, she just bowed in thanks of his participation and left. He never bulged before she was far gone.
Tonight, he had pinned her down again with ease, her left arm being forcefully restricted on her back and her face on the ground. Usually they ended there and he left his guard down a bit, admiring her figure. He hadn't really payed attention, but outside this place, she always wore a huge coat which covered most of her body. Now she was wearing only her black ninja outfit which was now glued to all of her slender body. They were only in their thirteen years, in budding adolescence and their bodies were starting to mature. She had nice curves, and when she would be older… His thoughts were interrupted by her sudden movement. With a weirdly flexible movement of her right arm, she managed to push away his own and free herself back to her feet. She grabbed that same arm and he watched her relocate. Hm, she went as far as dislocation to free herself. Not bad. He smirked, and this time, he launched at her.
She was getting faster at parrying, so he could finally start raising his speed bit by bit. The Hyuuga girl probably didn't realize it, but she was finally starting to have good bases in close combat. Nonetheless, she fatigated very fast. After avoiding her palm full of chakra, he jumped back and opened a space between them. She kept her stance, but Hinata was panting, and drops of sweat were rolling down her face.
Sasuke blinked twice… he almost thought she looked beautiful under the moonlight.
"Why do you train so hard?"
"Why do you train so hard?" He repeated, despite not progressing much.
"I-I need to get stronger. T-to be a g-good shinobi. I p-promised I would do my best."She looked hesitant at first. "I won't go back on my word, that's my ninja way." She didn't stutter, and a determined look shone on her eyes.
"Hmpf. Sounds like something Naruto would say." He noticed she blushed a bit.
"A-ano, why do you come here so often, if I may ask S-sasuke-san."
"I can't sleep, and you are the only interesting thing going on at this hour."
She looked taken aback, not sure if it was a compliment, the opposite or just a fact.
He sat down. He leaned back and rested his weight on his shoulders and looked at the moon.
"Why do you like Naruto?" He bluntly asked. The girl turned full crimson.
"E-eh? I-I…" She played with her fingers.
"Everybody knows, except him. Don't worry, I'm not the one who's gonna tell him."
"W-well… he's had it so hard since he was a baby b-but he never stopped smiling and f-fighting. And he's just so funny and full of life." She giggled, the sound a sweet melody. "But m-maybe that's just the reason I started paying attention to him. W-when I started loving him… I'm not sure, love is just a feeling that comes and…" She trailed off, and but her hands on her cheeks, feeling how hot they were. "S-sorry! I spoke too much! And she hid her face in her knees."
"I didn't even know you could utter so many words at once." He teased her. She looked up, trying to understand his meaning.
"S-sorry"she murmured. He laughed out loud, when he saw her apologetic face; and laughed even more when she looked a bit annoyed at his reaction. He opened a wide smirk and stood up.
"Let's go, again. And drop the san."
Kso, kso, kso! So much had happened lately. Sasuke had encountered his brother and lost disgracefully. Not a single thing he could do; he was so far away from being strong enough to avenge his clan! And even after all his progress, after what Kakashi had taught him. Not even against Naruto he had managed to establish his superiority. That dobe had maybe even surpassed him after their fight in the hospital roof! He had received a scolding from Kakashi for almost using the Chidori in their fight "Friends over power". I need power. And nothing else for now.
Irritated, he was wandering around town. His feet took him to a familiar place. She was dancing gracefully in the middle of the battle grounds. He didn't think and rushed at once towards her. Instead of the calm and smirking Sasuke, he was full of rage. Hinata was surprised, but quickly reacted to the attack. He was forceful, not taking it easy on her at all. She finally realized how much he must have been holding back, not taking her on seriously. Activating her Byakugan, she noticed scarlet eyes staring back at hers. He was dead serious, and she was ready to take him dead on.
It took every inch of her ability to just keep evading his attacks. She parried his kick on the side, and then stepped back to avoid his punch. He had acquired a remarkable speed upon copying Lee's taijutsu and at present was slowly increasing during this fight to reach it. Luckily, she didn't need hand signs to activate her kekkei genkai nor her techniques, since he obviously wouldn't give her time to perform them. However, she was being pushed into only defense and was unable to even think about counterattacking. He was being too forward: this was a real fight. He wasn't yet coming with all his strength at her, but she could feel some killing intent.
Suddenly he used his trademark fire jutsu and when she just barely escaped the flame marks, he appeared above her and used his Lion combo. Hinata did not manage to escape it in time and just barely blocked it to reduce the damage. Upon hitting the ground, she was severely wounded and started coughing blood. Sasuke now stood upon her, hate and rage still all over his red eyes, as if he couldn't even see her, as if his mind was fighting a demon and taking it out on her body. She tried to move and strike him, but she was too slow and he pinned both her arms above her head. His strike had been so rough her black t-shirt was ripped exposing her.
"S-Sasuke-kun… a-are you all right?" She asked between painful coughs.
The Uchiha blinked, as if waking up from a vision. He was about to start the signs for a Chidori. That sweet voice… Damn, what was I doing? He looked down at the half-undressed girl under him, blood dripping from her face, and his knee still in her stomach. Her face was distorted in agony. She asked if I was alright?
He immediately released her, and she started rubbing her wrists, now red with marks of his hands. When she tried to stand up, she had to hold her ribs from the seeping pain starting to grown on her sides. He looked at her state and felt a bit bad. He turned his back at her. Still leaning on the ground, she admired his figure from behind. He started taking off his shirt. Hinata could understand why his physique was so appealing to the other kunoichis, his back was strong and muscular even though they were just kids and his ebony black hair had a wild cut that fitted his image. When she realized what she had been thinking, and that the man in front of her was torso-naked, she started to blush uncontrollably.
"Wh-wha…?" He threw his t-shirt at her, and that's when she realized the state of her own clothes. The tattered t-shirt was now revealing the beginning of her training bra and exposing almost her whole stomach. Before passing out from embarrassment, and possibly from the strain of the fight; she thought she saw him murmur something before heading away. Gomenasai.
Hinata was walking funny that night. She still felt pain from the beating she received from Sasuke the night before. She had seen his combo when he fought Yoroi in the Chuunin exam, and thankfully it was due to that fact that she had been able to block a good deal of the damage. Since she didn't want to get in trouble with her clan, even though her father usually did not care what she did, she hid her injuries. Neji, who had been really apologetic since the Chuunin exam, was surprised to see her turn down his offer to train that day and looked concerned.
Despite being in no shape to do so, she had decided to go to the training grounds again to see if Sasuke-kun would show up.
It had been an amazing opportunity to spar with him the last few weeks. She still didn't know why he did so, since she didn't perform as a formidable enemy to even make him sweat. But she felt she had progressed a bit and was very thankful to him. Maybe last night he was just pissed at how useless she was.
Hinata looked down and started playing with her fingers, feeling stupid. She must have disappointed him too. She needed to apologize for making him waste his time. He probably wasn't even going to show up again anyway, but she was still going to try.
Looking for his chakra signature, she tried to concentrate. She was now quite familiar with it. Hinata managed to pinpoint an idea of a direction and used her Byakugan to find him. She noticed four chakra signatures and Sasuke's confronting at the other side of the city. The four people with Sasuke... their chakra made her shiver. They were strong. Unfortunately, the way she was hurt, she wouldn't get there quickly, but she tried to move as fast as she could.
The Sound 4 had finally convinced the Uchiha that he needed Orochimaru to grow in power. Since, if he stayed, he might go overboard trying to reach new heights… as he did yesterday. He felt bad for what he did to the poor kunoichi, and Kakashi's words tingled a bit in his mind. Sasuke felt something for his teammates, and he did feel that if his life wasn't so messed up, he and Naruto could actually have been normal best friends. But he could't let that kind of think cloud his judgement. He couldn't let it slow his path of vengeance.
Sasuke perceived flocks of pink hair in front of him.
"It's the middle of night, what are you doing here?" He asked, annoyed, avoiding her eyes.
"This is the only path out of the village." Sakura murmured.
"You should go to bed." He said as he walked past her.
"Why Sasuke-kun?" Tears started streaming down her face. "Why don't ever share anything with me? Why is it always silence with you…?"
"Why should I ever have to tell you anything?" He cut her, briskly. "Just keep your nose out of my business, it's none of your concern."
"It's a new beginning now. I need to follow my path. I'm not like you and Naruto."
The other four signatures had disappeared from her radar, but she was still trying to approach Sasuke's and someone she recognized as Sakura. She hesitated. Maybe she shouldn't bother them. But seeing how agitated their flows were, she decided she at least had to see if they were okay.
When she arrived, she saw Sasuke knock out Sakura, while saying thank you. As Sakura fell to the ground, he noticed Hinata's presence immediately. He glared at her.
"What do you want?"
"I-I just wanted to see if everything was okay, I felt a disturbance." She stuttered from his murdering intent. His eyes softened while looking at her hold where he had hit her the day before. She had strained herself even when she was in no position to actually help. Is she an idiot or just that naïve? Is S-sakura …?
"Take her. And don't think of getting in my way too." Hinata caught a glimpse of flickering red eyes. She hesitated… Sakura must have tried to stop him from doing whatever he was going to do.
"D-demo Sasuke-kun, are you okay?"
Again with that question. What did she want to know? No, he wasn't okay.
"I'm sorry for yesterday. Thank you for… all these nights. It was fun." He murmured and Hinata barely heard him. She saw him look at her with hesitation, with some kind of longing. Before she could say anything else, he threw Sakura's unconscious body at her and disappeared into the night.
Hinata lay there, feeling useless.
Hinata had then left Sakura in good care. The next day, she went to visit Naruto in the hospital. She had heard he fought against Sasuke and almost died. He was awake looking at the ceiling from his bed. His face was a painting: his emotions clearly displayed. She could see he had cried, and he was not his grinning fool usual self. So much sadness…
The Hyuuga couldn't get herself to enter the room, and just slid down quietly on the floor, feeling guilty she didn't even try to stop the best friend of the man she loved from hurting him. Sakura herself had almost the same inscrutable sadness when she woke up. And all Hinata could do was cry to share the pain of team 7.
End of Prologue
This is the author. This is my first fanfic in English, so please be nice about weird phrasing or grammatical errors. I'm welcome to any critics, opinions, questions and will try to answer if there are any.
Please do leave a review since it always makes our work feel appreciated. And hope you'll stay for the rest.
As for the story: there will be at first a lot of ellipses. I'll try to follow more or less what happened in the manga and insert my scenes there until the end of the Fourth war. My updates will be more or less once every two weeks depending on support :)
Lastly: it is rated M for a reason. You've been warned.
Hope you enjoy!