Sorry! Sorry Sorry! I apologize for taking so long to update. I really don't know what happened but I'm SORRY! Ok, now that that's over...Yay! Only a day on the site and I have three reviews so that's good (at least for me it is). Okay so right now I'm getting some pretty good feedback. Okay so here's the second chapter and I hope you like it.

Chapter Two: Rabbit Mask

I woke up not remembering exactly when I had gone to sleep. I supposed I must have cried myself to sleep and I contemplated whether I wanted to actually get up or wallow in my misery for just a while longer. That was an extremely difficult decision for me and I was starting to lean toward the pity party when I heard a knock on my door.

"Come in," I said. My voice was hoarse from crying and was barely above a whisper but some how they must have heard me because they came in. It was my sister, Hanabi.

"Father says he wants to see you," she said and after giving me a fierce glare, she left without another word. I didn't remember us being mad at each other but I couldn't bring myself to care much right now.

My father wanted to see me. Now that I thought about it my father had never been a patient man. Calm, cool, and collected, yes. But never patient. I probably already had an appointment with the Hokage. When I was planning this whole 'not going to let it happen' thing I had thought, at the time, my father would wait. My father, however, never spoke to me unless it was important and right now this was of the utmost importance to him. So then, what exactly was I going to do? Say I wasn't going to go? That would not end well and my rebellion would be over before it even began. Not going was not an option.

I rolled over on my bed again. I'd been doing that a lot but I just couldn't seem to say still. I looked at my room and realized that it was extremely under decorated and had almost no color. In that sense I supposed I was like all other Hyuuga. I had the basics: a chest of drawers, a dresser with a vanity, and a bed of course and a night stand next to it, but I didn't really have much else. I had a few figurines that were on the dresser and a couple of teddy bears that Kiba had been determined to win me at a festival, but that was it. Maybe while I was on this whole 'rebellion' thing I would redecorate and add some other colors besides white and crème.

I continued to look around my room trying to find other things that would signify that I had some sort of personality when I saw it. On the wall directly in front of me placed in the middle was the answer to all my problems. It could all be just that simple. Then again, maybe not. Nothing was ever simple when it came to me.

Tsunade had offered everyone in the Rookie Nine an opportunity to become Anbu. They wouldn't immediately be thrown into an S class mission with a 'Good luck' and a pat on the back. First they would train, hardcore, for six months and after that they would replace an old Anbu member who felt that they had had enough and just wanted to settle down.

They had offered me the chance to become Anbu three months ago as well and I had declined. They had given me a rabbit Anbu mask, which now hung on my wall, along with the words "In case you change you're mind" as the reasoning. I was now glad that the offer was still open. I would be three months behind and would have to catch up with the others, but it would be worth it. My father would be furious, ashamed of me and would possibly disown me, but I could not simply drop out of Anbu. It didn't work like that. He would have no choice but to let me continue with the training. It would give me an opportunity to prove myself as a ninja. Right now, that's all I could ask for.

After showering, brushing my teeth, washing my face, getting dressed and completing all of my other small morning rituals, I finally left the comfort of my room to go talk to my father. The compound was big enough that getting anywhere in the house took anywhere from five to twenty minutes. The walk from my room to my father's office took exactly twelve minutes. I'd timed myself once. Make a right after leaving my room walk down two hallways, right, right, left, right, left, left, left, right, go down another 3 hallways and with a final right I found myself in front of my fathers office. That twelve minute walk had not been nearly enough to prepare me for this talk. I raised my hand to knock on the door but hesitated, like I always did, and finally knocked softly.

"Enter," he said. I slid the door open and walked inside.

My father's office was rather modern compared to the rest of our traditional Japanese style mansion. There was a large oak desk that had stacks and piles of papers and scrolls atop of it. The desk itself took up a good portion of the back of the room. Despite the contemporary feel the office had it was just like the rest of the compound: big and intimidating but still bland and without color. To my left there was a couch and a large family portrait including me, my father, Hanabi and my mother. That was the only picture of my mother in the entire compound. My father wouldn't even let me have a picture of her. I finally turned my attention to my father. I bowed and sat in the chair in front of my father's large desk.

"You wanted to see me, father?" I said in my small, quiet but now steady voice. My father had forced my stutter out of me. He'd told everyone in the house that they were not to respond to anything I said unless my voice was without a stutter. He hadn't even told me of his intentions. In the beginning I'd had simply thought they had all decided to hate me simultaneously. In the back of my mind I had been waiting for it to finally happen. It took me three months to figure out what was actually going on and that was because Neji had taken pity on me and told me. I had only been fifteen at the time.

"Yes," he responded, "You have a meeting with the Hokage today. About what you already know of, and I expect you to make quick work of this so we can be done with it. Is that understood?"

"Yes, father."

"Good, you may go now, she will be expecting you soon." he paused for a moment, "I must say, I expected a bit more of a rebuttal from you, but I am grateful that you are taking this so responsibly. This is the first step of many that shall make you the leader of our clan one day."

He didn't smile but his face lost its hardness and softened a little. I, however, did smile and said, "Thank you, father."

I stood up, bowed, walked out of the room and turned the corner. I stopped and leaned against the wall with a shudder. I was so confused. My father had given me the most praise since when I had stopped stuttering. His complement had been "You finally stopped stuttering" and a nod of his head. But just the fact that he had acknowledged my lack of a stutter was a complement in itself. But this time he had actually called me responsible. He told me that I would be the future leader of the clan. He was always making offhand comments about how much better an heiress Hanabi would be were she allowed. Did I really want to make him regret saying those things to me? Was being a shinobi really worth it?

I laughed at myself.

Of course it would be worth it. The praise, if you could call it that, would only last until I messed up again. If the praise would end after I disgraced the family name, which I would, then I might as well do it thoroughly. I wondered to myself when I had become such a pessimist.

I picked myself up off the ground and headed for the exit of the compound before anyone could see me. He'd said that I had an appointment with the Hokage and that I knew what I had to say during the meeting. What he said had been true. I knew exactly what I would talk to the Hokage about; it just wasn't what my father expected.

I was just coming up to the door of the Hokage's office. My trip here had been a pleasant one. I'd said hello to all the shop keepers of the shops I frequented the most. I'd been told that my new kimono had come in. I'd even given several little girls a piece of candy and seen how bright their faces lit up when I did. Yes, all in all a very good walk. It had given me time to find reasons to not do exactly what my father wanted. I'd needed the reassurance to convince myself; to calm myself.

I paused at the door and pulled the Anbu mask out of my jacket. 'Such a simple mask' I thought as I traced my fingers across the red lines that decorated the mask. The mask was made of some hard material, wood most likely, in the shape of a rabbit with lines of red paint that decorated each side symmetrically. No other colors, no other significant features. It reminded her eerily of herself. It was such a simple mask, but it would change my life. Or at least I hoped it would. I needed t to. I looked up from the mask to the door, took a deep breath, summoned all the courage I had (which wasn't much) and knocked softly on the door.

Almost immediately after I knocked I heard a steady "Come in" from Tsunade. It was very far and in between when the Hokage was sober but her steady voice signified that this was one of those rare moments. I slid the door open and walked in.

Tsunade sat at her desk. The desk held papers, scrolls, a glass of sake, ink, a brush to write with and several other things that I couldn't identify. Despite all the clutter, papers, sake and other items that dominated her desk Tsunade still managed to look beautiful and intimidating.

I hadn't too much thought about how I would go about telling Tsunade my request. I had arrived at the tower before I had the chance to think that part through. Unfortunately, it wasn't until I stood directly in front of Tsunade that I realized this. I had absolutely no idea how I was going to go about asking her.

Tsunade stared at me expectantly and waited. We started at each other for a good thirty more seconds before I told Tsunade exactly what I wanted in the most un-Hinata way.

"I want to join Anbu", I said.

There wasn't a stutter, a quiver, or even a pause when I'd said it. My voice wasn't overtly loud, but I suddenly realized that that was the loudest I'd ever spoken. Tsunade only grinned at me.

"I was wondering when your request would come and I must say it came later than I expected. You're very far behind the rest of the group. Can I assume that that won't be an issue?" she inquired.

"Yes, Tsunade-sama"

Tsunade chuckled. "I'd thought not".

The grin never left Tsunade's face.