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Gentle, and low

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During her years as Hinata's sensei, Kurenai is continually frustrated by her student's apparent inability to speak up for herself.

When Kurenai meets Hyuuga Hiashi, she understands why his elder daughter is so soft-spoken; it's a wonder the girl isn't more damaged after growing up in such a clan. But she can't understand why Hinata's manner doesn't change even when her circumstances do. Long after Hinata's begun to grow into her own strength, long after she's been reconciled with her bastard of a father and her jerk of a cousin, Hinata's voice remains gentle and low, as subtle as her beauty. Her words become less uncertain, and she certainly stammers less, but she never seems to learn how to shout.

How can someone who admires Uzumaki Naruto of all people not know how to shout?

After the war with Akatsuki, Team 8 is disbanded, and its members go their separate ways, to new teams and new responsibilities. Time passes, and Kurenai sees less and less of Hinata. Kurenai hasn't spoken with her former student in nearly a year when she returns from a mission in the Wave Country and learns that Hiashi is dead.

The next day, Kurenai visits the Hyuuga compound to pay her respects to the new clan head. The servants who greet her at the doors lead her to a large audience chamber, where she finds Hinata surrounded by a circle of branch family attendants. Among them is Neji; that's a rare sight, since ANBU business usually keeps him far from Konoha. Kurenai wonders if he's requested a leave of absence to see to his clan's affairs.

Hinata herself has been dressed up like a doll; instead of her old jackets and mesh, she's wearing a priceless kimono, and lacquered ornaments gleam in her coiled and knotted hair. There's the faintest hint of a smile on her lips, one that Kurenai remembers well; it's the way Hinata used to smile when Naruto caused another ruckus, or when Kiba or Shino did something uncharacteristically sweet.

Dozens of blank white eyes stare at Kurenai as she kneels on a cushion opposite Hinata and says what she came to say.

Hinata listens attentively, then thanks her former sensei in the soft, nearly inaudible voice that she's had since she was a girl.

Around the room, heads turn and tilt as Hinata's attendants try to catch what she's just said.

When the head of the Hyuuga speaks, everyone listens.