Hinata Hyuuga pulled off her gloves tossing them into the trash bin at the end of the counter. She had finally done it. It had taken years, tears and chakra but she had done it. She had made a medical advancement that could push both the Hyuuga name and Konoha in the records all over the Elemental Nations. Her greatest advancement had finally come. She made a healing cream that worked for both ninja and civilians alike.
She knew it wouldn't be enough though, not for The Hyuuga. That's what she referred to them as, The Hyuuga. They weren't her family. Her mother sure but she was dead. Dead these last fifteen years bringing her sister Hanabi into the world.
Hanabi was the good sister, the perfect heir. She was everything The Hyuuga could want in an heiress strong, loyal, cold, deadly and beautiful. She had mastered the family fighting style Jyuuken long before Hinata did. Since Hanabi was five she had beaten her then eight year old sister and hasn't stopped. When she talked people listened. When she walked into a room people took notice. Hanabi's only downfall according to The Hyuuga was that she was the second born. The one they wanted to inherit wouldn't, unless Hinata herself died or got disowned completely by bringing more shame to the family name. As it was her last name was from her mother and not her father. She barely had her title of heiress and only suspect she had it until Hanabi was older and made Jounin.
The only other person in The Hyuuga that cared for her was her cousin Neji but that had taken years. Neji also would have been the perfect Hyuuga heir. He was strong, a real Jyuuken prodigy. His stare could make a rooms temperature drop ten degrees. He had an air of confidence that bordered on arrogance, something Hinata herself had never achieved.
At first Neji hated her guts for something that wasn't her fault and the result was his father's death. While Neji felt the anger at losing his father and becoming a servant to the main family, Hinata felt the blood on her hands.
She was kidnapped at four by rogue Cloud-nin in the middle of the night. They had stopped the attack but the result was Cloud calling for her father's blood. As head of the family he didn't do it, instead his twin brother, Neji's father, took his place. Sure she knew that at four she wouldn't have been able to protect herself but that's when it all started.
That was the exact moment that Hinata knew she was a disgrace to her family. Her mother had passed away the following year causing the normally shy girl to become even more withdrawn. They had started to train her harder in Jyuuken, hoping to make an ideal heiress for the clan. Instead three months later she gets kidnapped and her uncle killed. She kept feeling that if she had practiced harder or been more aware of her surroundings than maybe her uncle would still be alive. Fourteen years later the guilt was still there.
The other point of contention to her family was the fact that at eighteen she was still a Chounin. While a Chounin is nothing to scoff at to most people it is when you are the daughter of Jounins and surpassed by everyone else. Hanabi was already at fourteen and getting ready to take her Jounin exams. Neji went straight to ANBU an elite group of ninjas that protected Konoha.
Instead of going for her Jounin though Hinata had other ambitions. She was becoming a healer. After the success of training Sakura and Shizune, Tsunade the Hokage of the village began training both Ino Yamanaka and Hinata. The only reason she wasn't disowned yet was because getting trained personally by the Hokage was a great honor to any clan even if she wasn't first pick. Two days ago she had graduated healing school and had gotten certified as a doctor. The Hyuuga were already pressuring her to take her Jounin Exams. They didn't understand her need to wait, or her reluctance at moving on.
The reason was Naruto Uzumaki the man she's been in love with since she was six and began at the academy. The normally shy girl took one look at the confident blonde and fell hard. Since then it's been twelve years and he still hasn't noticed she existed yet or at least the way she wanted him to.
Naruto had been training with the legendary Sannin Jiraiya for the past four years and hasn't been able to take the Chounin Exams. He was the only one left and Hinata didn't want to move on without him, whether he noticed her or not. She was just happy he remembered her name finally instead of calling her 'weird girl' all the time. He even knew Neji's name before hers and they were in the same class together for years.
Scooping her salve into tiny jars, Hinata began the lengthy cleanup process of every job. The room she was in was used for old storage supplies. To her right was a desk with filing cabinet. To the left was a couch that she was sure had belonged to her grandmother as a child. Dust littered the area except for Hinata's work area which she kept miraculously clean. She didn't want anything contaminating her studying.
Packing everything away and making sure nothing was left behind Hinata left the room to head back to the house.
"Hinata Hyuuga" a ninja called out dropping onto the ground next to her, his ANBU uniform pristine with his white wolf mask hiding his face. "The Hokage would like to see you right away."
"Do you know what it's about Neji?" Hinata asked her cousin. Even in uniform Hinata could tell who he was. She could feel his chakra signature as plain as day even with it being suppressed by the uniform. As she can tell by the sudden tension in the ANBU's shoulders she knew she guessed his identity properly.
It was something that Root had come up with before Danzo died accidently. If you counting getting beheaded for harvesting other ninja eyes in hopes to achieve their doujutsu accidently. But still it was a rather neat surprise. The uniform is designed and infused in such a way that it suppresses the wearers' chakra to almost nothing and what's left of that is than distorted into something unrecognizable.
"I believe it is for a mission Hinata but of what kind I do not know" Neji answered before watching Hinata sigh. "I do not believe this one is for a sake run, though and is actually for a mission."
"Thanks Neji, I will head right over there. Father is expecting me in an hour can you please tell him that the Hokage has requested my presence?" Hinata softly asked. Even being the heiress of the family she preferred to use kindness as opposed to her position.
"I have to let him know I'm going on a mission anyways. I will tell him." Neji took off his mask and tied it to his waist. He had delivered the message; he was officially off duty now. He did have some paperwork to do but that would be done soon. No instead he had to talk to Hiashi Hyuuga about getting an apartment off of the compound grounds. He had an issue with council members coming into his room to try to find him mission notes which were not only illegal but unethical. That didn't stop them from trying to find it though.
Hinata slowly made her way up the stairs leading to the Hokage's office nodding in greeting to many of the passing people. The third part of the Chounin Exams were later tonight and as a result a lot of foreign dignities arriving.
"SAKURA-CHAN" Hinata stumbled in her walking as she seen a slight orange blur known as Naruto rush past her. "It's time for ramen debriefing."
Naruto had been back in town for only a few days with the Chounin Exams under way and Hinata has only seen him like twice and both times he was asking Sakura for a date and not really see her. Yeah she didn't want to infringe on that time. He had yet to say a word to her either since he's been back, but hey it wasn't like she was keeping track or anything.
She did the only thing she could of in this situation, continued on to the Hokage Office. Coming to the large imposing door to the Hokage office Hinata knocked swiftly. Pulling her shoulders back and raising her head she walked in the door ready to face whatever mission her village needed her for.
"Good Hinata you're here. I have a mission for you." Tsunade, the Fifth Hokage told the dark haired shinobi. Tsunade was over fifty-five years old already but to look at her you would think she was only in her late twenties. Her wheat colored hair pulled back into two low pony tails and her trademark chakra diamond on her forehead.
"You wanted to see me Tsunade-sama" Hinata spoke softly as she always did around people she was nervous or had a lot of respect for. It didn't matter that the woman before her had trained her for a couple of years in getting her doctorate, or even that she was the closest thing Hinata had to a mom when the woman can kill you with the flick of her finger by her own strength she had a lot of respect for.
"Yes Hinata sit down" Tsunade directed Hinata to the chair closest to her desk. A stiff wooden chair designed for people to feel uncomfortable in. The tactic had worked many times in the past on visiting dignitaries wanting to negotiate or correcting wayward shinobi. It always seemed that only the Interrogation Squad could make chairs this uncomfortable.
"I have a mission for you Hinata" Tsunade opened her desk drawer and pulled out a sealed scroll. "As you are aware upon finishing your medi-nin training you have to do a healing mission outside of the village."
The mission idea was something that Tsunade had come up with and it was absolutely brilliant. Medi-nins got sent to other villages or around the surrounding areas to learn native healing and to build up a report with the surrounding areas. The thought was that if Konoha was willing to go and help you out with your medical issues people were more likely to go to Konoha for ALL of their medical issues. It was a brilliant idea, and one that has benefitted Konoha repeatedly.
"This mission will last longer and be more dangerous than any other job I will send out. But I have complete faith that you can do it." Tsunade leaned back in her chair resting peacefully as if giving Hinata this mission was a break for her normal work.
"What will I be doing?" Hinata straightened her spine and made sure she was sitting on the edge of the chair. Her knees together with her ankles demurely crossed under the chair. These chairs may have been highly uncomfortable but she was a Lady and used to being uncomfortable. She mastered the art at a young age and it worked well in her shinobi arts.
"This is a two part mission. You will be going to the village of Musicnik over by the Sound Village. The mayor there is someone I knew in my travels and he had expressed an interest in having a doctor they could go to without being experimented on by Orochimaru. While there you will be spying on the Sound Village using your Byukugan letting us know what is going on. The other part is you will be learning about curse seals and how to correct and alter one if needed." Tsunade raised an amused eyebrow at Hinata's seating. She remembered those lessen even though she hasn't used them in years.
"How long will this mission run for?" Hinata wanted to know, although she knew she was going to do it anyways. The fact that the people were being experimented on by Orochimaru didn't set well with her at all.
"That's the kicker. You will be gone at least two years but no longer than ten. We have been hearing different things through the grapevine that gives us cause for concern. Because we don't want him to be aware of out spying you will be have to wear the contacts to hide your eyes." Tsunade sat back watching Hinata's eyes slowly widen. She knew it was a long time but she was confident the young heiress could do it. Especially if the information she got was true.
"T-ten years Hokage-sama, that long?" Hinata couldn't keep the amazement out of her voice. Hinata sat back into her chair feeling defeated, her training forgotten in stress. It wasn't the nature or even the lack of want of the mission itself. It was the timing. Naruto had just come back and now she was going to leave for up to ten years. Fighting back the urge to cry at the unfairness of it all, Hinata centered herself reminding herself she was a shinobi first and foremost and the fact that Naruto was catching up eating ramen with Sakura meant nothing to her.
'Its tradition' Hinata thought to herself knowing for a fact that it was after all they were teammates. 'What about those poor people though. Orochimaru isn't a kind person and Nii-san has been keeping me slightly updated on the news. If spying with keep Naruto safe, then that is what I will do.'
Hinata resolved herself with her decision. Slowly she got back into her 'Lady Pose' as she called it. It wouldn't do to look uncouth in front of the Hokage. "I will do it." Softly she had spoken knowing that the Hokage could hear her.
"I'm glad" Tsunade said equally softly before opening a drawer next to her, pulling out a box and putting it on her desk. "There are some things you should know about. You will have a contact person that will keep you updated and pass messages when available. Your contact hasn't been in Konoha for years so it might come as a shock as their identity."
"Is it someone I know?" Hinata pondered thinking of all the people she could possibly know that haven't been in Konoha for years. The people she did know she wasn't sure that's whom the Hokage was referring to.
"Yes it is someone you know" Tsunade answered before leaning back in her chair and giving Hinata a cold glare. "Tell me Hinata Uchiha when were you going to tell me that Itachi had adopted you into the clan?"
"I don't know what you are talking about" Hinata pasted a look of confusion on her face. She strived to keep the look of horror off her face. When you were in 'Lady Pose' you did not break form no matter what? She was sincerely hoping that Tsunade was trying to throw her off but she didn't doubt that she knew the truth. "I haven't been adopted into any clan."
Tsunade braced her fingers on her desk pulling herself up causing her to look down at the Chounin before her. Tsunade watched Hinata waiting for her to screw up and let slip what she knew. When nothing happened besides Hinata's face showing her intimidation did Tsunade finally move around the desk and sit on it directly in front of the kunoichi.
'Damn she's good' Tsunade thought 'Itachi wasn't kidding when he mentioned is 'little sister'.
"Hinata, Itachi is your contact person. I've known for years that Itachi has kept in contact with you and even has been helping you improve your fighting skills these last few years." Tsunade reached behind her grabbing the box and handing it to the young girl. "This is for you."
Hinata placed the box in her lap after checking for the most obvious signs of tampering. Finding nothing even with the silent use of her Byukugan Hinata opened the box. Inside was a white face mask in the shape of a mouse on top of an ANBU uniform.
"What do you mean by this Hokage-sama" Hinata pulled the white mask out of the box taking in its delicate features. She wanted to smile; Itachi had always called her his Little Mouse but that was breaking the pose.
Sighing Tsunade smiled down at the young girl. "It's obvious that you have just been promoted to ANBU Hinata."
"B-but I haven't even reached Jounin yet" Hinata widened her eyes as far as they could go looking as innocent as possible.
"Hinata for the last five years that I know of you have been supplying Itachi, his partner Kisame and even the Kazekage himself with ointments that you have personally made. You've sent them out secretly and if it wasn't for Itachi telling me himself about this trade I still wouldn't have known. That shows stealth on a level previously unseen.
You have also been gradually fighting everyone you can and learning different styles to make your own. Most of these fights you have been losing on purpose before gradually winning showing an improvement when I know there was no reason for you not to have won all of them. I can understand all that but I still don't know why you failed the first Chounin Exams at thirteen."
"It wasn't so much about failing it's that I didn't have a choice." Hinata slowly rubbed her fingers up and down the mask wanting to cry. Tsunade knew and her own brother had sold her out. The chink in her pose was falling. "At thirteen I only knew two fighting styles. The first is the Gentle Fist of the Hyuuga, a style that doesn't work for me at all. For some reason my body has rejected most of the movements finding them to choppy. The other style is taught only to the Uchiha. A style that is recognizable to everyone. Another issue I still have is every single time I see Naruto I freeze up and stutter. I get embarrassed and flustered something I have yet to overcome. Fighting in front of the boy I have loved since I was six, using a style that felt wrong to me it's no wonder I couldn't compete."
"Why the secrecy" Tsunade watched the sad smile on Hinata's face as she caressed the mask lovingly.
"What would happen to me if Konoha found out that Itachi had adopted me into the family two years before his family massacre? The Uchiha or even the Hyuuga would have killed me or married me off. After Itachi's deflection I would have been questioned and brought up for treason."
"I'm sure Sarutobi would have protected you" Tsunade started to say.
"You mean like how he protected Naruto, whom got kicked out of the orphanage at five. Besides Iruka-sensei he hasn't had a good teacher at the academy. He never stopped the villagers from trying to hurt the Yondames legacy from the life of pain that he had." The tears started to softly fall from Hinatas face. "He never saved Aniki even though he KNEW that he didn't kill the Uchihas. Itachi was on a mission in snow when he supposedly killed his clan. Sasuke was never protected, instead left alone in a bloody compound where his family was killed with no one to talk to. It's no wonder he started seeing ghosts everywhere. Then he never stopped my uncle from being killed. As the Hokage he could have negotiated with Cloud and secured my uncles life. Instead he let him die. So I'm sorry but I don't think that the Third Hokage would have protected me. He would have tried in his own way but it wouldn't have worked."
"I see" Tsunade said and really she did. Even she could see that Hinata had a point and should have done one of his most important jobs, protecting the children. In Hinata's eyes he failed at protecting those that mattered most to her, but as a shinobi she would follow his orders no matter what they were.
"I am glad that you are taking this mission Hinata. I wasn't sure where I was going to send you and almost sent Neji instead as he was considered the prodigy of the Hyuuga. It wasn't until Itachi talked me into you and your hidden role in the death of Danzo. I will also be willing to make a trade with you. You prove yourself to me. Itachi said you have something in common with Naruto, your love of pranks. Prank me and I will approve your medical inventions for sale. The money will go solely to you but you will be able to sell it to the shinobi nations with the backing of Konoha."
Hinata's brow scrunched in concentration, looking as she was lost in thought. Tsunade couldn't stop the smirk from forming on her face. She wondered what Hinata would do. Hinata's face scrunched some more giving her more of a mouse like look that instantly reminded Tsunade of Hinata's new mask.
'Surprise me' Tsunade thought before beginning to wonder if Itachi was exaggerating the kunoichis skill. Reaching her hand back into her open drawer she pulled out her sake bottle. Pouring a little into the saucer in front of her she tilted back swallowing it swiftly only to spit it back out.
'Water' Tsunade took another drink right from the bottle finding her sake completely replaced with water.
Hearing a soft giggling Tsunade turned to Hinata watching her hide her glee. Tsunade then realized she had been had.
"Alright you brat where if my sake?"
Hinata smiled coyly before pointing above Tsunade's head.
Looking above her Tsunade watched as a ball of the auburn colored liquor floating above her head. Slowly the ball began rotation as if just a bubble instead of being filled with her expensive alcohol. She watched the ball in fascination when she felt it. The slight ping of chakra aimed at the ball. Tsunade only had time to close her eyes before the floating alcohol landed right on top of her.
Hinata tried to hold it in she really did. It was just seeing her mother figure covered in sake made her laugh. Doubling over Hinata grabbed her sides as tears of mirth fell from her face.
She wasn't in trouble.
Tsunade made a fist until she heard the peel of laughter come from the normally shy kunoichis mouth. Hinata was laughing without restraint. The musical sound brought a small smile to Tsunade's face. Adopted or not Hinata was still the shy, sweet girl she always had been. Training and death hasn't changed that and Tsunade was glad.
"You do realize that I will get you back for this don't you" Tsunade tried to hide the snickers from escaping her mouth as Hinata's horrified expression.
"I'm sorry, Tsunade-sensei" Hinata was quick to apologize even though her Hokage asked her of this.
"It's nothing Hinata, now I need you to sign these papers then bare your right arm." Tsunade grabbed some papers from a locked drawer placing them on the table.
Hinata swiftly read and filled out the appropriate ANBU forms signing her name as Hinata Uchiha. When she took the Hyuuga name from her mother she wasn't completely main branch anymore even though she was considered the heiress. By taking her mother's maiden name she was legally able to sign her papers with the Uchiha name as it was of higher standing then a branch families Hyuuga name. Since Tsunade now knew about the adoption signing with her true name meant nothing.
The last page though had her stumped. It was a blank Marriage certificate. "What is the certificate for?"
"That was required from Itachi. As he is the Clan Head of the Uchiha family only he can approve a marriage for you. By signing that and leaving a drop of blood it will officially activate tomorrow when you leave on your mission. The scrolls in the Hyuuga compound will be ineffective. Your former father will no longer be able to marry you off while you are gone. This way Itachi, as Clan Head, can keep you from marrying someone unsuitable." Tsunade was surprised when Itachi brought out that condition but couldn't stop from finding it brilliant.
Shaking her head at the antics of her aniki Hinata quickly signed her name in the required spot watching the scroll roll up and disappear in a puff of smoke. She knew that summoning. Itachi now had the certificate in his possession.
Pulling off her jacket Hinata braced herself for the tattoo that she knew would Tsunade would place on her body. The tattoo was another ingenious thing Hinata and Itachi had found in Danzos notes. It had taken a couple of months but it worked in their favor. The ANBU tattoo was nothing special except only two people could place it on you. The first was the Hokage, and the second no one knows. New recruits are given a time and a place to show up for the tattoo. When they leave the marking is on their arm with no knowledge of how it got there.
The new tattoo though hid itself when not on a mission. The tattoo went dormant as it was. If you died the tattoo acted as an instant summoning bringing you to ANBU headquarters making it impossible for enemies to learn Konoha secrets from your dead body.
The pain was sharper than expected but Hinata could only marvel as the mark disappeared into her skin.
Signing things quickly Tsunade began sealing papers into the 'Hokage Only' file that only she could access. Peering up from her paperwork Tsunade gave an evil smirk before filling out some more paperwork which she bound into a blood sealed scroll. That she handed to Hinata.
"These are you mission papers. You can't open them until tomorrow and over ten miles away from Konoha. Now Hinata go pack and enjoy your last day in Konoha. Grab everything you need for you mission and your start up business. You are dismissed" Tsunade sat back at her desk grabbing a sheet of paper from her inbox to fill out.
Hinata stood up from her seat, pulling her jacket on. Reaching into her leg pouch she produced a blank scroll and begun she seal her uniform and mission papers in. With a small bow to her leader she headed out the door.
"Hinata" Tsunade called out causing the girl in question to stop at the door. "Since it is you last night, why don't you confess to that son of mine? Kami knows you would be a much better match for him than Sakura would be."
Hinata smiled softly but replied "that may be and I plan on confessing, but no matter if I was a better catch or not we both know Sakura is the one he wants."
Tsunade couldn't stop the snort from releasing even if she wanted to. "That son of mine doesn't know what he wants. He thinks he wants Sakura but that's because he never had any other options. I think you would be pleasantly surprised if you confessed. Kami knows I love that boy but he is very dense in the matters of the heart."
"I will think about it Hokage-sama" Hinata said before turning back to the door.
"Do it Hinata, and that's an order. I would hate to think that an Uchiha would walk away from what they want. What would Itachi say if he could see you now?" Tsunade couldn't stop the evil smirk from forming on her face.
Hinata stiffened instantly at the thought of her aniki being ashamed of her. "I will do it, Hokage-sama, but promise me that you won't release where my mission is to Naruto under any circumstances until I am back in the village. I couldn't bear to see him after his rejection."
"I promise. Good day Hinata" Tsunade called out declaring the mission before going back to her greatest arch-rival, paperwork. She heard the door softly close as Hinata left and wanted to smile. "I think Naruto would love to date you Hinata. He just doesn't know it yet, but you are perfect for him."
Hinata looked around her empty room trying to find if she left anything behind.
"I heard you were leaving on a mission Hinata" Hiashi sternly said before walking into the bare room. "We both know the only reason the Hokage is sending you on a two year mission is and to some backwater town is because even she doesn't want you to bring shame to the village any longer. Why she took you as an apprentice I shall never know, but you will either complete this mission perfectly or do not come home at all. Is that understood?"
"Yes O- Hyuuga-sama" Hinata lowered her head and eyes to the floor in deferment. Since her partial disownment she couldn't call the Clan Head father anymore. Not that he was really a father to her anyways. No lately he's been too busy screwing Rin a member of the branch family and a really unpleasant person to be around.
"Good. Do not fail or it's the seal for you. Are we clear?"
"Hai, Hyuuga-sama" Hinata replied demurely. It was ingrained into her system. Subservice to her father and shyness towards Naruto. No matter what she tried she couldn't stop either reaction. It was a part of her just like her loving Naruto.
"Good now leave. I don't want to see you until your mission is over." Haishi turned on his heel and left his shaking daughter in her room.
Tightening her fist Hinata centered herself. Steeling her resolve, Hinata checked her room one more time with cold eyes, looking to find something out of place.
'Who the hell does he think he is?' Hinata fumed leaving the house silently. She was Hinata Uchiha and she did not need the approval of a man who was never a father to her. No she was from a stronger clan. She was a newly made ANBU and THAT MAN didn't have a clue. He would eventually, but for now she had a party to get to and Naruto to find.
She had a confession to make.