All eyes had immediately fallen upon her as soon as she returned the Hokage's question with a question of her own, the Uchiha's, Fugaku's, felt especially heavy.
Well, that was highly inappropriate and downright embarrassing.
She hadn't meant to verbalize her innermost desire.
The palpable and oppressive silence was, unexpectedly, soon destroyed by Nara's abrupt snort. "By all means, go ahead, Uchiha-kun. If I may, Hokage-same, I believe that everyone would not be opposed to granting that simple request."
The Hokage huffs, but the corners of his lips were curled in apparent amusement. He gestures a 'go-ahead' and Shizuka didn't need to be told twice. With skilled fingers, she pretends to retrieve a cigarette stick from a hidden pocket in her right sleeve rather than the seal on her arm.
After the first deep whiff, some tension lifted from her shoulders. She decides that this would be a good time as any to answer the Hokage's previous question.
"I admit that I am rather apologetic that my actions have brought harm to Hyuuga Hikari-san. However, I refuse to become a scapegoat. I did not, in any way or form, intentionally shatter her femur in two - or had it been three? I wasn't paying attention - different places. It was all for self-defense."
Though Shizuka wanted to venomously deny all accusations against her person because clearly, she wasn't the one who broke that Hyuuga genin's femur, she could only endure and hold it in. Damn Shinkichi, always causing trouble. She shouldn't be the one standing in on some kind of unofficial trial on his behalf!
Having no other choice but to carry this black pot, she throws a not-so-discreet irritated look at the damn Hyuuga clan head before returning her gaze to the Hokage, her voice monotonous as she defended, "I believe that it is within my rights to defend myself against all form of assault, Hokage-sama. If Hyuuga-sama still holds me accountable for my justifiable actions, then I'd have to wonder if he has an animosity against me, be it personally or... perfunctory."
Shizuka's eyes flicker to the KMPF officer, then to Hyuuga, back to her clan head, before resuming eye contact with the Hokage. Her gaze had held meaning behind them. It was a gaze that said; 'you fucking Hyuuga scum! You got a feud with the Uchiha clan?! Gonna stir shit up just because you hate us?! Like hell will my clan head take this lying down!... or will you let him, Uchiha-sama?'
There. All done.
Her words and non-verbal actions communicated nothing too antagonizing, but still informative, casually pointing out that Shiki wasn't guilty of any misconduct that Hyuuga Haruto was accusing them of whilst simultaneously tossing the metaphorical hot potato at the Uchiha clan head to deal with.
Very suave of her, if she does say so herself! Shinkichi better bloody become her slave for a day. He owes her that much, at least, damn it.
"Impudent!" The Hyuuga suddenly barked, the vein on his temple bulging from anger. "Is this how you act in front of your superiors?! To build internal discord and denying your wrongdoing, against my daughter no less?! You should be stripped of your rank and be shipped to T&I for an evaluation of your mental capabilities as well as your loyalty!"
All calm left her in the face of this Hyuuga's unreasonable personality. This old man, who was supposedly the Hyuuga-genin's father, was trying to exile Shiki from Konoha and/or ship him into a loony bin! The nerve! Shizuka's protective instincts flared up in challenge as she snarls, all teeth on display as if she was this close to ripping his throat out.
Just as she brought a leg up to take a step forward, her lips parting with a cuss on the tip of her tongue, a broad-shouldered back slid smoothly in front of her, causing her to abort mid-action by biting the inside of her cheek and returning her foot to the ground, lest she knocks them both forward. Uchiha Fugaku stood back-straight and confident, his posture unbending and his aura domineering. He may be the youngest clan head in the room, but only a foolish person would take his age as a means to belittle him.
Shizuka couldn't help but feel safe from where she stood behind him. This was the first time a superior had stood up for her, and despite her faulty social personality and dislike of humans, she felt touched by his grace.
"With all due respect, Hyuuga-sama, while I agree that a mental evaluation could benefit my clansman, I disapprove of the two other suggestions. Uchiha Shiki is a devoted Konoha-nin. By no means should we reward his loyalty with a trip to T & I. My clansman is no criminal. Furthermore, stripping a capable jounin of his rank while we are in the midst of war is unwise. Hokage-sama would never permit it."
... Give her back her delicate feelings of being touched, damn it! What benefit could an evaluation of her mental health bring?! All three of the Shi-family were crazy in the head. Crazy, oi!
Her face puckered unsightly as she inwardly scolded her clan head for spouting shit.
"Just because we are in dire need of numbers does not mean we must sacrifice our morality to maintain it!" Hyuuga Haruto refuted, arms crossed and eyes narrowed menacingly.
"No morality need be sacrificed, Hyuuga-sama," Fugaku returned cooly without a beat. "Allow us to hear the full story. It is the least we could do before jumping to conclusions. This might have all been a giant misunderstanding."
"Misunderstanding?" Hyuuga Haruto sneered. "Your clansman attacked my daughter! He admitted to breaking her bone in three different places not even five minutes ago! That is a fact!"
Shizuka ducks her head, feeling rather sheepish when Fugaku looked at her with a deadpan from over his shoulder. He raises a brow as if to tell her how stupid she had been, his gaze unwavering before he resumes eye contact with the Hyuuga head. She pouts. It wasn't as if she did anything wrong. Sure, Shinkichi had broken the genin's bone, but it was purely on self-defense! She could at least give the Hyuuga some face and admit to that... Though the next time she ends up in this kind of situation, she wouldn't be polite to her frenemies! Hmph!
"Whether he admits it or not, it had been for self-defense purposes."
"Bah! Self-defense? I don't trust a word he says!"
"You believed the word of him attacking your daughter, yet you do not trust his reason for it? Hyuuga-sama, I implore you to cease your biases."
Killing Intent crashed heavily down upon the shoulders of the people in the office. Although technically directed at the Uchiha clan head, everyone could feel it. Hyuuga Haruto was glaring murderously at the two Uchiha, the veins on the right side of his neck bulging with suppressed rage.
Idly, Shizuka wonders if the Hyuuga has issues with his blood pressure. It couldn't be healthy to have such protuberant veins. After all, an elevated jugular vein distention (JVT) was one of the signs for right-sided heart failure and other debilitating illnesses. Not that she cares enough to tell him to get that checked out. She'd rather he die faster to rid the world of arrogant arseholes.
"Enough!" At the Hokage's frosty order, Hyuuga sheathed his murderous attitude and replaced it with a façade of nonchalance. The eldest in the office waves a hand and an ANBU appeared instantaneously. "Retrieve genins Hyuuga Hikari and Uchiha Kazuo."
"Yes, sir!" The ANBU saluted and left in a swirl of leaves.
"Now we wait."
And wait they did.
Unfortunately for Shizuka, Fugaku decides to take this window of opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with her. He gestures with his chin for her to follow him to a corner and they reluctantly turned their backs to the rest of the shinobi in the office, knowing that the others could read their lips. So bothersome.
"Tell me everything - and leave nothing out," Uchiha Fugaku, the head of the Uchiha, demanded. His tone carried a no-nonsense vibe that made her want to cower.
Ah, he was so intimidating hey! She hated being in the driver's seat. She'd rather Shiki (or if push comes to shove, Shinkichi) have this conversation with Fugaku. And they were too close, within breathing distance, in fact. It was giving her semi-hives.
"... You haven't heard?" She murmurs her question tentatively whilst simultaneously trying to scoot further away. She got a glare for her behavior and a harsh tug to keep her still. Hence, she could only swallow the discomfort she feels at their proximity and whispers the story. "I and two others were sent on an impromptu mission to retrieve-"
"I know. Tell me what happened perioperatively," Fugaku said, looking far too exasperated than wholly necessary.
"... Upon locating the targets, I noticed that Hyuuga Hikari was unconscious. Her team leader and teammate were both injured so it was up to me to carry her. Whilst on the move, she regained awareness, but not enough. I'd reckon she'd assumed I was an enemy and proceeded to try and knee me in the throat. The nerve of some people, tsk. If it were me, I would have activated my dōjutsu to assess the situation first! Argh, so bothersome. This is why they're nothing more than cannon fodder. Anyway. I retalia- uh, I mean, I reacted upon instinct and redirected the blow. Unfortunately, I wasn't controlling my strength and I kinda accidentally fractured her femur. The only reason I know the bone had broken in three different places is only because I heard it! It wasn't intentional!"
Fugaku heaved a sizeable sigh.
"Alright. I believe you. For now, try not to aggravate Hyuuga-sama too much. Do I make myself clear?"
And just in time.
The two genins entered not a second later. The Uchiha boy perked up at the sight of his clan head but shrunk into his jounin-sensei's side when he spotted her. Tsk. Way to show clan unity, brat. The Hyuuga girl, on the other hand, regally ignored her to walk to her father. Despite how odd she looks trying to appear graceful whilst walking on crutches.
The Hokage puts his hands on the table and spoke, "Shall we begin?"
Nobody answered, but it was undoubtedly a 'yes'.
As soon as Shizuka left the Hokage tower, she tiredly slumps onto the nearest bench and throws an arm over her eyes.
That trial(?) had gone... alright, to put it mildly.
The majority had, ultimately, after many hours, agreed that Shiki wasn't guilty of any crimes (thank fucking Jashin for that). At the time of the announcement, the look on both the Hyuugas' faces had been absolutely priceless. She even made sure to record it with the Sharingan for Shiki and Shinkichi to laugh at during dour times.
However, with the arrival of good news, there would be bad ones to balance it out.
The Hokage had temporarily pulled Shiki out of the active-duty roster until he was cleared by a Yamanaka. Meaning, a mental evaluation was a requirement to be put back onto the jounin roster. Shiki's appointment was in a week. Shizuka just hopes that the issue in their body would be fixed before then. She couldn't handle any more stressful situations. She was an introvert who hates social interactions, damn it.
With a huff, she pushes herself off of the bench and grudgingly lumbers her way back to the apartment. Better to take her pity party somewhere private. Better yet, she could smoke on the balcony whilst cloud watching! That would no doubt improve her mood.
Having planned for her entire evening, she almost cried when she saw Pretty-boy leaning contentedly against her apartment's door. Before she could escape unnoticed, the blonde turned to give her a megawatt smile. Fuck. So much for a quiet and relaxing evening.