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Hinata's Pretty Monster

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This is the continuation to 'Konoha's Demon Advisor' and 'The Jashinist and the Yamanaka Family'. It's AU, so be prepared for a Hinata that was kind of raised by Kisame, in a way. So, yeah, she'll be different.

Enjoy~

~..~..~

She was scared. So. Very. Scared.

"N-Neji-nii-s-san?"

He didn't answer her. Nobody answered her. The only answer she actually received was the continuous hum and clatter of the constant crowd around her.

She was cold, alone, and very scared.

With lavender eyes as wide as saucers, Hinata tried to find her older cousin among the large crowd that never seemed to end. But the people around her were faceless and uncaring, ignoring her even as she called for her cousin.

Tears brimmed her eyes, threatening to fall at the next hint of pressure applied to her already terrified mind.

Said pressure came in the form of someone bumping into her and causing her to fall onto her hands, scratching them enough to make them bleed.

Her father had said that ninja didn't cry.

She wasn't a ninja, though, so she proceeded to cry her eyes out in complete defiance of everything her father had tried to teach her. She sniffled and sobbed; she was cold, hungry, scared, and now she was even bleeding!

Why did no one care? Why did people just keep walking around her as if she didn't matter? Why did they ignore a child that was clearly in need of assistance?

"Neji-nii-san!"

He didn't come for her.

Hinata closed her eyes, curled up into a ball, and allowed herself to cry and cry and cry.

"Hey, kid, you're making a scene."

"N-Neji-nii-san?" She hiccupped in the hopes of seeing her cousin, but merely found a large figure looming over her. It cast a huge shadow over her, covering up what little sun she had been able to see over the throngs of people that continued to walk by without even sparing her a second glance.

"Where're your parents?"

The voice was gruff and manly. But Hinata couldn't see the stranger's face to confirm if he truly was a man. It was covered by a large brimmed hat with tassles hanging from it. His clothes covered his whole body in a sort of coat that was so dark she wasn't able to make much out of it. The only thing she could properly say about the person was that he was huge, standing over her as if he were a building rather than a person.

She wracked her brain to come up with an answer, but she couldn't think of anything. And so a fresh round of tears started up, sending her into loud sobs that didn't allow her to inform the man that she didn't even know where her parents were; as if having lost her cousin wasn't already enough!

"Shit!" The man sounded surprised and genuinely scared.

Soon enough, Hinata found a large hand patting her head with much more force than was necessary, making her gasp with every pat that forced her head downwards and forced pain to appear in her neck.

"Stop crying, stop crying; why is this village full of idiots that ignore their kids?"

Hinata wasn't sure just what that meant so she chose to pay attention to only the first bit of his petition and did her best to swallow her tears.

Once she had managed to slow her sobs into soft sniffles, she looked up at the large man and murmured, "S-s-s-sorry…"

There was a flash of blue that she was able to see once the shadows formed by the tassels on his hat moved. But there was no way that Hinata was seeing something real- blue wasn't a skin color.

The man moved his head to the side and coughed twice before clearing his throat and murmuring, "Yeah, just… Don't start again."

Hinata nodded and tried her best to finally stop the tears that were falling.

Silence fell over them as the man glanced from left to right in search of something, then he commented, "Alright… No tears…" He whistled for a small moment, then offered her a salute, "Well… See ya kid."

The tears burst from her almost instinctively.

"D-D-Don't le-leave!" She jumped at him before she could even truly think about what she was doing.

With a speed she wasn't even aware she had, the young girl clasped her arms around the large man's broad neck- which she noted to be slightly plushier than her father's or uncle's necks, which was kind of weird. And as he stood up and raised his hands under her arms to pull her away, Hinata tightened her grip and did her best to shake her head.

"I don't wanna be alone!"

"Kid, you're making a scene! Get off! Get off!"

Hinata refused to let him go. He tried to wave her around, spinning her body around as if she was nothing but a rag doll that weighed little less than a pound. But the young heir kept her grip tight and refused to let him go, even with the way her palms screamed at her to release him- they were in pain!

What felt like an eternity later, the man stopped struggling and breathed out heavily.

"What do I have to do to get you off of me?"

"P-Promise." Hinata squeaked out, now gathering herself for a second wave of attack by trying her best to clasp her legs around the man's back.

She was unsuccessful in this endeavor, though, seeing how the man's back was so broad that her legs were only able to tighten around his ribs.

Her father had always told her that she needed to fight for what she wanted. And right now, she didn't want to be left alone. She was willing to fight to keep this stranger here, no matter what. He may have been a stranger, but he was her only hope!

He had to be nice! Out of all the people that had seen her, he'd been the only one to stop and talk to her! He was special; he must have been!

She heard a groan that rumbled through the stranger's body and caused her to shiver- there was something weird about the sound… It didn't sound like her father's usual groan… Somehow, it sounded… Scarier? Maybe… She wasn't sure…

"What do I have to promise?"

"Y-you won't l-leave me!"

The stranger groaned one final time and Hinata felt his solid chin dig into her shoulder as he nodded low... It felt like a pretty big chin...

"Fine, kid. Just… Let me go?"

She didn't let him go. She knew better than to believe an adult when they promised something half-heartedly.

"No."

"What? I already promised!"

"I…" The girl frowned when she tried to find a good enough reason to refuse to let him go, even though he had already promised he wouldn't let her go. "Can see more up here!"

He made a sort of disbelieving noise that sounded a lot like Neji-nii-san's usual scoff, but deeper and longer.

"I'm not a jungle gym." The man grunted, then brought his hands up to Hinata's sides and began to push her to the side. "Move. I can barely see a thing and you can only see my coat."

Hinata followed the hands and soon found herself comfortably sat upon the man's extremely broad shoulders, suddenly faced with a brand new reality- she could see so much from up here! With a genuine gasp of delight, Hinata smiled broadly and leaned to the side to try and make sure that she truly was able to see over the heads of the people walking in the marketplace. The man hissed and moved quickly to compensate for the sudden loss in balance, then flicked her on the knee.

"Don't do that."

Hinata nodded and made sure to keep in mind that she couldn't go around like a crazy person if she didn't want her new friend falling over.

"Do you even know where your family could be?"

Hinata pondered on this question for a moment, shrugged, and pointed forward.

The man began to walk after he looked up at her and saw what it was that she was pointing at. And Hinata couldn't help but giggle in shock and joy at the new world that was stretching out all around her.

This man was tall! Taller even than her father and uncle! She couldn't believe someone like him could exist- but there he was. And she was on his shoulders, enjoying his tallness.

As the man walked, Hinata allowed her hands to grab onto his hat in the hopes to keep her balance. But she hissed at the sudden pang of pain that sprouted from her hands and the man stopped walking.

"What's wrong?"

"H-hurts…" She stuck both her arms out on either side of what she believed was the man's head and he soon raised his hands to cover her's.

"Damn kid… How'd you do that?"

"I got pushed…" She mumbled, tears beginning to sprout at the memory of how she had been pushed to the floor without anyone even caring about what happened to her.

A sudden warmth coming over her hands distracted her from her sadness and she looked over her hands to try and see what was happening. She found the man's large, gloved hands covered in what seemed to be a blue glow… And, once those hands were gone, she was able to look at her own, magically healed pair!

"Magic!" She marveled, earning a deep chuckle from the man.

"Medical ninjutsu."

Hinata blinked down at the large hat that covered the man's head, truly amazed with what she had just witnessed, and did her best to hug the hat.

"Thank you!"

She swore that he froze up for a second; that his steps faltered for just a little moment; but he continued to walk in silence as if nothing had happened. And she merely attributed her thinking that he had stopped to her overactive imagination- the very one she couldn't trust because it had tried to make her believe she had seen blue where the man's skin must have been.

~/~

"Kid, I have to leave you alone."

"You promised!" Hinata began to sniffle as soon as the idea of her big savior leaving her again filled her head.

The man sighed heavily, hung his head, and murmured softly, "Yeah, yeah... I promised..."

Hinata prepared herself for yet another struggle with the man, tensing her shoulders and tightening her grip on his body so she could better stave off the renewed attempts to throw her off.

This was all in vain, fortunately enough.

"You won't leave, fine. But that just means you'll have to come with me for a little bit. After I've finished what I have to do, I can help you find your family again." He grunted as he began to walk away from the marketplace they had been scouting for the past few minutes. "But you have to do exactly as I say or I'm leaving you alone."

All of the color left the young girl's face at the very thought and she immediately agreed to doing exactly as the man said, when he said it, as long as it would make him stay with her.

The large man walked with her on his shoulders as if he was completely unbothered by her weight. But this wasn't something she considered to be too odd; her parents were both in agreement that she was rather small for her age and would need to bulk up sooner or later if she wanted to follow in their footsteps of becoming great shinobi.

"How old are you?" The man grunted after a couple of minutes of walking down the crowded Konoha streets in silence.

Hinata looked over the streets she had never gone down- her whole life had been spent mostly inside of the Hyūga compound until today; the only other place she had been was the marketplace, which she visited mostly every Sunday- and marveled at the sight.

There were so many buildings! So many people! So many colors! And, best of all, the people all looked so different from each other!

On that day, Hinata decided that the Hyūga home needed more variety to make it interesting.

"This many!" She raised both her hands to the man's face and stuck out two fingers on each hand.

"Four? Seriously?" He sounded legitimately surprised, "Could have fooled me..."

Hinata wasn't sure how she could have fooled him, especially when she hadn't tried to do such a thing. But she didn't question him and instead focused on her surroundings and enjoyed them as best she could.

At four years old, she still had a small enough attention span that she could forget why it was that she was so sad when presented to such new and marvelous things she had never even thought possible to see within her lifetime.

Slowly but surely, her surroundings went from being bright and vibrant; inhabited by all kinds of different people; to looking somewhat dull and dark. The buildings began to appear broken down and abandoned, the people became surly and hard to come across, and the whole pleasant atmosphere she had been marveling at was chased away by a sudden cold.

"W-why are we here?"

"I've got some business to attend to; I already told you that." He shrugged his shoulders just slightly, making her gasp out and scramble to clutch at him in the fear of falling over.

She felt him flinch beneath her when her fingernails dug into rather cold skin.

"S-sorry..." She whispered apologetically, but only received a nonchalant wave from his right hand.

He continued to walk and they eventually reached a small house with boarded up windows, a door that looked as if it was a gust away from crashing to the ground, and an exterior that looked as if it was ready to crumble at any small noise.

"Alright, here we are." The man breathed out heavily, "I need you to trust me, kid. I'm going to hide you under my coat and you're not going to make a single noise."

As he said this, his arms lifted to grab her from his shoulders. Hinata allowed herself to be picked up by large man and didn't fight him, even as she suddenly found herself suspended in mid-air, supported only by the hands on her waist. She was facing the man, even though she couldn't see his face because of how well hidden it was.

"You're going to hug onto my leg and you won't move. If you can do all of that for me, then I'll take you to your family. Do we have a deal?"

Hinata blinked for a moment, nodded, and was promptly shoved underneath the man's coat so she could clutch at the man's left leg.

More than aware of what might happen if she didn't do as told, Hinata forced her little four year old body to remain as stiff and still as possible as the man began to walk. She clutched onto the man's large calf as he walked and only marginally noticed that he was covered up from head to toe even beneath the coat.

She heard the squeaking of a door opening, then the subtle click when it closed, and finally she could only hear the man's heavy footsteps. She could only see darkness around her and she did not like this at all, but she had not yet been able to master the use of her Byakugan, even after so many training sessions with her father and cousin, and she regretted that a lot right now.

"Huh... Took you long enough, shark breath. Did you get lost on the way here?"

Hinata didn't like this voice. It was male, just like the kind man's, but it was cold. It also sounded extremely pleased, but not in a good way... She wasn't able to say why. But it sounded off. And this was totally not reassuring her that having listened to the man may have been a good idea.

But he had promised. She had to trust him!

"Yeah, let's go with that." Her savior grunted, then demanded, "Do you have that information I asked for or did you ask me to come here to try and ambush me? Again?"

There was a moment of tense silence, then the other man began to chuckle and Hinata had to stop herself from whimpering at how scary this other person sounded.

"That was a one-time thing, Hoshigaki! I got paid after they thought you were dead, though. I even gave you some of the share- what else do I have to do to make you see that I won't ever actually kill you?"

"Your blade was an inch from my heart." The man didn't sound pleasant anymore. His voice took on a growling tone that reminded Hinata a lot of a snarling dog... And she suddenly began to worry that maybe she should not have followed everything he had said... "Information or I leave."

"Alright, old man." Hinata heard the soft steps of what she presumed to be the other person that was with them, and, once they were a bit too close for comfort, she found herself having grab onto her savior tightly because he suddenly took a step back. "What's wrong? I said I wouldn't kill you."

"Put the scroll on the table. I'm sure you understand why it is that I don't really trust anything you say anymore, kid."

"It was a one-time thing!"

"An inch, Zabuza!"

The other man groaned, Hinata heard something clattering on a wooden surface, then, "Fine. Do it your way. Man, mercenary life has done nothing to mellow you out, has it?"

"Pale eyes and dark blue hair; do those characteristics belong to any important clan in Konoha?"

The other person hissed, "Fine, ignore me why don't you?" and then made a small noise of affirmation. "Ghost-like skin and kind of white eyes? Yeah, Hyūga. Pretty big name- you didn't know about them?"

"I'm still suffering from that mild memory loss you caused."

"You really need to learn how to let things go, Hoshigaki." There was a sound of a tongue being clicked against the roof of someone's mouth, then the man started up again, "They're a rather important clan. Kind of stuck-up and tend to be boring pricks, but they're menaces on the battlefield. Why are you asking about them? Have a new contract?"

She felt the man's leg shift just slightly as he most probably thought of an answer, "Found a new one, yeah, but I'm wondering if I should take it. Can you tell me where they live so I can stake it out?"

"Of course I can. But, if you do take the contract, I want half."

"Fifteen percent."

"Thirty percent."

The man growled, "One percent and I won't get revenge for almost having killed me."

The other man hissed, "Fine, fifteen... Anyway- you can find their compound to the east. It's near the edge of the forest, far enough from the rest of the Village to not have their 'secrets' in peril or something. About 6 klicks off from the main path around that area."

"Alright. I'll check it out..." A couple of seconds passed and nothing happened. Then Hinata heard the man growl, "You can go now."

About ten seconds afterwards, she found the man's cloak being opened and heard him say, "It's safe. We're alone."

Hinata stepped away from him and looked around to find that the inside of the place he had entered was just as broken down as the rest of the area around her. Everything seemed to be completely grey, even the wood, for some reason. And the place reeked and continued to scare her.

"You're a Hyūga?"

She nodded at the man and his shoulders dropped suddenly as he released a huge exhale.

"Well, at least I know where you live now..."

Hinata nodded awkwardly because she didn't understand just what the other person had said about where her clan lived. Then her stomach growled and she raised her hand to it with a big pout.

"Can... Can we get f-food?"

She heard him sigh again.

Then he asked her to go into his cloak again as he went to buy food for them.

~/~

She was able to finally get out of hiding once the man had entered a large forested area where no one could see them. She wasn't sure just why he wanted her to remain hidden, but she didn't question it either. The fish he bought was the most delicious thing she had ever tasted in her life and she was extremely grateful he had bought her food.

"Just what's your name, kid? And how did you end up lost?"

Hinata made sure to swallow the food she had been eating before she answered, for she knew her father would not be pleased if she spoke with her mouth full. "Hinata. I-I was with Neji-nii-san when we got l-lost... Then I lost h-him..." Tears began to swell in her eyes once again from the memory of the scariest moments in her life, then she smiled at him, "Then you s-saved me!"

He remained quiet for a moment, but soon patted her head. "You're a weird kid."

She took that as a compliment. He wouldn't have been patting her head if it was an insult!

"W-what's your name?"

For some reason, he didn't answer immediately. But Hinata did not mind and took the opportunity to continue eating. "You can call me Nanashi, kid."

"Na-na-shi." Hinata tried the name out and found herself smiling even brighter, "Nanashi!"

The man let out a small chuckle and shook his head before he stood up from the stump he had claimed as a chair. Then he offered her his hand and she took it, only to find herself pulled up from her seat on the ground.

"Let's go. It's late."

Hinata nodded and began to follow Nanashi with her left hand in his, all the while she continued to munch on her delicious treat.

When they had finally finished walking and were near her home, close enough that Hinata was able to see the long buildings that made up the common quarters at the very front, Nanashi breathed out heavily and patted her on the head again.

"Well, it's been fun, kid."

Everything went dark before she could ask him just why he had said such a weird thing.

~/~

When she next woke up, it was to be greeted by her room's decorations and a worried Neji-nii-san looking over her.

"You're awake, Lady Hinata! I am so sorry for having lost you!"

Hinata didn't care about what other apology he might have tried to say. Instead, the girl jumped at her cousin with a large smile on her lips. "Neji-nii-san! It was so fun! I-I met Nanashi and saw s-so much! And-and-and-and-"

"Lady Hinata, please calm down!"

She couldn't. She told her cousin everything she could remember about Nanashi. By the time her parents came into her room to check up on her, she was asking her cousin if he had been able to see the tall man that had become her savior.

"There was no one with you, Hinata." Her father told her with a tight frown as he held onto her shoulders, "You were knocked out and alone on our compound's entrance when your uncle found you."

Hinata frowned at that, "N-No... Nanashi-"

"That is not a name, Hinata." Her mother suddenly scolded, "There was no one with you... Such a wild imagination."

Hinata pursed her lips at that but decided to keep her mouth shut.

Nanashi... He had been real.

He must have had a reason to have broken his promise.

~/~

Hinata came to see Nanashi again about two years after they had first met. She had learned how to use her Byakugan about a year ago and was currently enrolled in the ninja Academy so she could become a ninja, just like her clan had always wanted for her.

She literally ran into him and fell onto her butt, an event that initiated their second meeting with little grace.

"Watch where you're going, dumb kid."

Hinata blinked as tears threatened to fall because of the harsh words, then chanced a look up at the scary man that had growled at her. Any trace of tears vanished as soon as she was able to see the very outfit Nanashi had worn the first time she had met him.

"N-Nanashi!"

"What?" He sounded dumbfounded and surprised, but Hinata did not stop to question as to why. Instead she jumped up from the ground and hugged him around his legs, seeing how she was still too short to even reach his waist.

"Y-You're back! H-How a-are you?"

Nanashi tilted his covered head enough to look down at her, then made a small noise of acknowledgement. "Oh, it's you... Hinata, right?"

The girl nodded with a bright smile, "Hi!"

He chuckled softly and patted her head with too much force yet again, causing her shoulders to meet her ears as her chin met her chest. But she did not mind the force at all- it was just Nanashi, right?

"You're a weird kid."

"Mm-mm." She shook her head quickly, "I-I'm normal..."

The covered man stopped patting her head and looked around, then asked her, "What're you doing out here? Are you lost again?"

"Yup!"

She had gotten lost on her way to the Academy, but she didn't mind. It would be her first day of classes and she wasn't excited to go at all. Even though Neji-nii-san had tried to tell her that everything would be fine, she knew that nothing would go right today. Not when it dealt with the Academy... She wasn't big or strong and she was actually pretty small... She knew the kids would make fun of her as soon as they saw her.

The man sighed and sounded kind of tired, then he offered her his gloved hand, "Come on, I still remember the way back to your clan."

"No!" Hinata took a step back, "I-I'm supposed t-to go to the A-Academy..."

The man remained quiet for a few seconds and, even though she couldn't see his eyes, Hinata swore that he was just staring at her. Then he shrugged and offered her his hand once again, "Then I'll take you to the Academy."

Hinata's frown deepened and she took yet another step back.

"What? You don't want to go?"

"N-N-No..." She whispered, more than aware that ever voicing such a thing near her parents would get her into trouble.

Her fear, she found out, was unfounded.

"Yeah, I hated going to school too." He murmured offhandedly, then offered her his hand yet again. "Well, I can't leave you wandering around all alone. So I guess you're coming with me again."

Hinata stared at the gloved appendage for a couple of seconds, then raised her own left hand with trepidation. The man's large hand enveloped around her's and hid it completely, then he began to walk and she followed afterwards.

They went through much of Konoha before they reached their destination.

Hinata immediately noticed the betrayal.

"N-No!"

Nanashi actually began to laugh as she struggled to escape, his grip on her hand tightening just a bit when she actually began to tug her hand out.

"Oh, come on, kid. The Academy isn't that bad."

Hinata could see throngs of children cheering and screaming as they walked to the front entrance and she was even able to see a group of large men crowding around two small kids and no! This would not be fun!

"P-Please! N-No!"

She slammed her free hand against the large man's own to try and get him to let her escape, but he didn't even flinch. As a desperate measure, she even placed her feet against the man's leg to push against him as she pulled on her arms, but her efforts were wasted- Nanashi was too strong.

"You really don't want to go, huh?"

"Mm-mm."

First day of classes were not something she ever wanted to go through. Especially not alone. But the stupid tradition said that all members of the clan had to successfully reach the Academy and go back to the clan compound without any aid if they truly wanted to be shinobi. And she just needed to follow traditions, for some stupid reason.

Nanashi breathed out and gripped her hand tighter for a second, then released it, causing Hinata to stumble back and fall onto the ground once again. "I'm not going to force you to go; I don't really care if you do or don't. But I think you should give the Academy a try. Maybe you'll like it."

Before she could explain to him just why she didn't want to go- First day and she knew nobody and her family had left her to come here alone because traditions were stupid- the man had disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Hinata blinked in stupefaction at the sudden disappearance, then sighed and hung her head.

Her parents would get mad if she didn't go to the Academy on her first day.

With heavy disappointment weighing on her shoulders, Hinata trudged into the daunting establishment.

~/~

"Your eyes are really creepy."

"I bet you're actually a monster, right?"

"You Byakugan monster!"

Hinata was crying and she couldn't stop. The bullies around her were laughing at her pain and she had never wanted to disappear and never exist before, but apparently there was a first time for everything, just like she'd heard her uncle saying once.

She was on the cold ground and her knees and hands were scraped because she had been pushed to the floor by the mean boys and girls that now surrounded her.

She had no idea what she had done to incite their anger, but she regretted what she had or had not done. Maybe if she had been more careful, she wouldn't be on the ground right now, being ridiculed for her eyes.

Laughter and ridicule rained over her as she remained curled up in a ball and sobbed. But, just when she felt someone grab her hair to make fun of the dark color, all laughter suddenly ceased.

"What's so bad about being a monster?"

That voice... Could it be?

Hinata chanced a look at her surroundings and was met with the best thing to have happened to her since the day in the Academy began. "Nanashi!"

The large man was standing right in front of her, his back turned to her, while the children that had been making fun of her stared at him with pure and unadulterated fear in their eyes. The boy with the brown hair that had started the whole bullying session by pushing her onto the floor looked as pale as a ghost and Hinata could understand why, seeing how he his hand was currently being clutched by Nanashi's large one.

"Monsters aren't human, right?" Nanashi continued, keeping his focus strictly on the bullies. "That just means that they don't have to follow the rules normal people have to. Normal rules like not committing murder or tearing a child limb from limb for being a rude little annoyance that needs to learn his place." Then Nanashi pulled the boy near him, "Or rules like not eating naughty children... I bet you'd taste delicious!"

The resounding scream that left all of the children's mouths was loud enough to cause a teacher to run up to them to check and see what had happened. When Iruka-sensei appeared, it was to see Hinata sitting on the ground with tear stained cheeks and a large smile on her lips, all the while the children that had been around her were crying and screaming about monsters that were going to eat them.

~/~

Hinata skipped back home with a large smile on her lips and a piece of paper clutched tightly in her hands. She hummed as she followed the path back to the Hyūga compound.

"Hinata, you can't use your Byakugan to hurt your companions. Most of them aren't clan kids and they haven't learned how to fight yet. It's unfair for you to fight them, alright? And no genjutsu, either... Just how do you know how to conjure up illusions, anyway?"

She didn't know. But Iruka-sensei didn't believe her when she tried to explain to him that it had been Nanashi to aid her with the bullies; she hadn't been able to save herself.

"What're you looking so smug about?"

Hinata gasped softly when Nanashi suddenly appeared beside her, then smiled broadly and hugged his leg yet again. "Th-thank you!"

He waved her off and pushed her away from him, then looked her over. Hinata continued to smile at him, extremely happy with how her day had gone. The first day of school had been pretty bad, yeah, but at least the kids wouldn't bother her anymore! They all thought that she had a monster familiar protecting her and if they messed with her, they would get eaten.

"You're hurt."

Hinata blinked at that and glanced down at her knees. Right... She had forgotten about that.

Without asking for permission or giving a warning, Nanashi walked up to her and covered her knees with both of his hands. Just like two years ago, his hands became warm as they began to glow and soon Hinata's knees were as good as new. Then he repeated the same process with her hands and Hinata was freed from any kind of pain caused by the minor cuts.

"Th-thank you," She stuttered out again, "Y-you're really n-nice."

"Hn." He grunted, "You're not going to let anyone bully you again, are you? I won't always be around to scare people off."

"D-Don't worry." Hinata smiled to assure him, "I c-can just threaten w-with e-eating bullies, r-right?"

Nanashi laughed and patted her head, "Exactly, kid."

~/~

From that day on, Hinata wasn't known only as Hinata Hyūga. Her classmates came up with various names to truly portray the fear they had felt when Nanashi had threatened them with their lives.

The Monster's Summoner, Death's Eyes, and Byakugan Monster became her favorites. There were others which weren't too awe inspiring, like Lamb that Hides the Lion, and others that were stupid, like a plain old Monster. But she took much pride in the names that she was given.

Nobody messed with her after Nanashi stepped in to help her. And because of this, Hinata was able to see that her classmates were more afraid of her than she was of them. Because of this, she was slowly able to lose the crippling shyness that had threatened to consume her in her youngest years... She never completely shed of it, though, seeing how it was an integral part of who she was. But she did not allow it to control her as it once had.

~/~

Sometimes it was very hard to make sense of the different things the adults around her told her. It was actually extremely hard to create a cohesive conclusion of what her parents said was right and what Nanashi told her was the true right.

"Ladies sit straight and speak softly. If you want to be a strong kunoichi, you must learn how to control yourself." ~Her mother after she had caught her and Hanabi playing at ninja while screaming and squawking- neither girl had taken the game seriously... They had also destroyed their finest clothes in the process of playing said unimportant game.

"If you want to be taken seriously, you have to make everyone around you believe you're stronger than you actually are. Act like a jerk and no one will mess with you. Be loud, not quiet. Don't stutter or hesitate- those both show weakness." ~Nanashi when he found her struggling after school to come up with a comeback to that Naruto jerk that had told her she would never be as strong as him; she might as well sit still and look pretty while he did all the work.

"You cannot use too much force against a sparring partner; you are only the Academy, after all." ~Her uncle after he received her and Neji-nii-san from a day in school where she got a warning for almost having broken a kid's arm during a spar. He wasn't disappointed, but he had wanted her to pick and choose her battles.

"If you have to, cut off his pinkie toe. It isn't a necessary appendage and it'll let everyone know you mean business. The kid can learn to live without a pinkie; trust me, I know." ~Nanashi the Wise after she explained to him just why she had tried to break said kid's arm in a spar- after he had told her that he would break her arm if he was given the chance.

"Biting is not an appropriate resource in a fight. What in the world has gotten into you, child?" ~Her father during a meeting with Iruka-sensei after she had bitten a girl's arm during lunch when she had tried to take her doll away from her to show it to her friends... In retrospect, the girl was trying to be nice. But she should have asked for permission before grabbing something that was not her's.

"As long as you think there's nothing else to do, bite. And do it hard. Preferably to the nose or ears, seeing how that's cartilage and not bone." ~Nanashi, the Sage of Strategy, once he found out about the biting incident.

Nanashi spent a lot of time in Konoha after her first day of school and Hinata appreciated this a lot. Because he was around, he was able to teach her many different things she was sure she never would have learned if he had not been around. Like the pinkie toe trick- if someone was bothering you and you didn't want to cause crippling permanent bodily harm, then you should cut off their pinkie toe. And the biting trick, too.

Nanashi taught her lots of tricks, now that she thought about it. Most of them were not received too well by her family.

Through the years, Hinata tried her best to toughen up. She knew that her father was proud of this because, with every day that passed, she acted more and more like a competent person that deserved the title of clan heiress. But he was also kind of tired of receiving complaints from the Academy because she had threatened someone's pinkie toe again.

Nanashi congratulated her every time she came to him with a warning, though, so she knew she was doing something right.

Her parents weren't as happy with the warnings, but they had deemed them to be better than failing grades, so they accepted the odd way their daughter chose to be.

~/~

One day, Hinata almost drowned.

She had been playing in the pond within her home while Neji-nii-san received his daily lessons from her father and uncle, all the while her mother tried to teach Hanabi something Hinata didn't care for. She was supposed to have been stretching and preparing herself for her own training time, just like Neji-nii-san... But she had found the water much more interesting, so she had forgotten all about what she was supposed to have done.

The pond was rather large, big enough to fit a couple of people easily if they wished to swim deeply. Her father and mother had told her many times to not go into it without adult supervision, but she had been taking swimming lessons, so she was sure she could handle the water by herself.

The first thing she had done was place a toe inside of the water to see if the temperature was good.

After she was sure it was, the young girl had smiled broadly, taken off her jacket and shoes so she could swim without too much trouble, and promptly jumped into the deepest part of the water without a single care in the world.

At first, everything had been great!

Hinata had opened her eyes and found a whole new world she never had seen before and she took it all in with great joy. The inside of the pond was as beautiful as its outside look, with fascinating plants and interesting fishes coming up to greet her.

Hinata giggled as one small koi fish stared at her before it swam off, then she waved her arms to try and move after it.

She stayed in place.

The joy left as soon as she figured out that her throat was staring to hurt and she couldn't move at all.

Frantically , the girl began to throw her arms and legs out to try and simulate what she had been taught was swimming. But nothing happened, she only continued to go deeper and deeper into the water!

The pressure on her throat was immense and her eyes burned so much she was sure she was supposed to be crying... But she was underwater and she was starting to slowly only be able to see darkness.

Since when had the water been so dark, anyway?

She kicked and she punched and she tried her best to move, but all she could do was move her head up and stare at the bright light that was getting farther and farther away from her the more time she spent under water.

Suddenly, a loud SPLASH broke through the echoing silence. Hinata saw a dark figure moving towards her at what seemed to be the speed of light and, soon, there was a strong arm around her and she was being pulled into a sturdy chest.

By the time she broke through the surface, all Hinata could properly say was that, maybe, having gone for a swim hadn't been a good idea...

She was thrown carelessly onto the ground and immediately she went about coughing up water she hadn't even noticed she had swallowed. She coughed and coughed and coughed and how had she swallowed so much water?

Amidst her hacking, coughing, and deep breaths, she heard one single growl.

"Next thing I teach you will be how to breathe underwater. You are not a smart kid."

Even with how much her throat burned and how little fun she had experienced underwater, Hinata couldn't help but smile softly.

Nanashi was great.

~/~

Hinata was not a typical girl from her clan. She loved the water, smirking as if she were about to pounce on prey, and scaring people her age with tales of her great monster. Everything she wanted to do now revolved around water and no one could truly understand why a Hyūga would ever be so focused on water and swimming. Aside from water related jutsu- instead of the usual taijutsu fighting style her clan relied on-, she also was also extremely intrigued with medical ninjutsu.

Everyone around her was baffled when she was able to conjure up a small sphere of water from the water bottle she had tipped over. She had just smiled toothily and rejoiced in the awe and terror she had invoked from her classmates. And, then, when she had told Nanashi all about it, he had patted her on the head and congratulated her on being able to use water transformation for such a stupid thing, maybe it was about time he taught her how to do actually useful stuff with it.

She had only been seven years old and, even though they were confused by the water, her parents were proud their daughter showed such promise in chakra control.

~/~

When she was eight years old, Hinata found herself the would-be-victim of a kidnapping.

At the same time, she found herself being the reason why a male ninja from a country she did not recognize would never be able to go outside of the house without a mask on if he wanted to look like a slightly normal person.

"My nose! My nose!"

As the men struggled to compose themselves after Hinata had bitten clean through someone's nose, the girl took the chance to kick out of the man's hold and try to escape. She jumped onto the ground below and tried to run away from them, all the while she hoped they would be too busy getting over the fact that one of them was now nose-less to notice her escape.

Her hopes were in vain.

"Get her! We can't let her escape!"

"My nose!" The one poor soul sobbed and Hinata began to feel kind of bad for having done that... Had she gone too far?

Oh well, she had done as Nanashi had told her she should have done in cases of extreme danger.

Large hands grabbed onto her shoulders and arms, pulling her back to the group of men she had tried to escape from. She yelled, kicked, and slammed her teeth together whenever one of their fingers got too close.

"Let me go! Let me go!"

"I thought she was supposed to be docile!" One of the men screamed out as he had to move quickly if he didn't want Hinata's teeth to slam over his hand. "The file was wrong!"

"This payment better be worth it." Another growled and Hinata shouted out again.

Why weren't her clansmen reacting to her struggling?

Chancing a chance to look around her, Hinata noticed that she wasn't near her clan compound. Somehow, she was in the forest around her home. But she was too far to be heard.

This was bad. Really bad.

"Oh, trust me, you won't live to see that payment."

Hinata's struggling ceased as soon as she heard that man's wonderful voice.

"Nanashi!"

He stepped out from the shadows in front of her with his broad shoulders tensed and his back seemingly uncomfortably straight.

Hinata immediately knew that there was something off with his stance. But she wasn't truly able to pinpoint just what it was before he was gone from her sight and the men around her began to drop like flies.

It all happened within a few seconds. But, by the time everything was done, the forest was completely devoid of the men that had tried to kidnap her and Nanashi was breathing heavily, shoulders hunched forward in a stance Hinata had never seen him use before. The only actual evidence of a kidnapping attempt having taken place was the bloodied stump of nose that she had bitten off of one of the men that was laying on the ground.

"Nanashi? Are you okay?" Hinata questioned as she walked towards him.

The closer she got, the clearer his heavy breathing became. His breathing was fast, heavy, and completely unnatural.

"Of course I am, kid..." He sucked in a sharp breath of air that did not sound alright, then groaned loudly. "Just... Just a bit injured..."

He collapsed before Hinata could tell him he sounded more than 'just a bit injured'.

~/~

Hinata had found no other choice but to run for help once Nanashi fainted. She first grabbed her cousin in the hopes that he would be able to help her heal Nanashi without having to call on the adults in their lives because she just knew that if they found out about him, something would go wrong.

Besides, Nanashi was a fun secret to have. No one had believed her when she had tried to tell him it was real so she had come to love having him to herself.

"Lady Hinata... We need to find a medic."

Hinata frowned at her cousin's words, looked down at the injured man laid out below them, and sighed. "O-okay... But... Let's get him to my room first."

"Are you aware of just how large this man is?"

Hinata glared at her cousin and grabbed onto Nanashi's large right arm, beginning to pull at it even without her cousin's help. Eventually, after a couple of seconds of seeing her struggle with the large body, Neji-nii-san grabbed onto his other arm and they managed to pull him all the way back to the compound and into her room. They took the long way around to not be seen and this was successful because Hinata's room was actually the closest to the back of their compound.

Once Nanashi was inside her room, Hinata opened up his coat to inspect the damage.

As soon as her eyes fell on the large gash that ran from his chest all the way to his hip, with smeared blood painting the rest of his body in a sick manner, Hinata knew that this truly was an injury that was beyond her measly skills in the medical ninjutsu arts.

Luckily for Nanashi, her father burst into her room just as Neji-nii-san turned around to call for help.

Unluckily for Nanashi, he did not seem to be interested in saving her savior.

"Hinata! Neji! Step away from that menace!"

Neji-nii-san jumped away and ran to her father, but Hinata shook her head and jumped towards Nanashi's head to pluck off his hat. He'd need water and oxygen and she was sure his mouth and nose were obstructed by the tassels that always covered his face up.

Blue skin.

Hinata couldn't help but gasp in shock.

She had been right all those years ago! She had seen blue skin all those years ago when she had first met Nanashi!

Nanashi's face was handsome, although not in the conventional sense. He had gill-like marks below his eyes and the structure of his face was sharper than a normal human's. But Hinata didn't consider those things bad. If anything, she felt that they were only right on Nanashi. Although... Was his blue skin supposed to look this pale?

He did have a handful of cuts and scrapes on him, though, and Hinata guessed that she may as well start there.

"He saved me, father!" Hinata informed him, "He's saved me many times! N-Now help o-or leave!"

She didn't stutter often. But she still sometimes lost her control over her formation of words and fell back into her bad habits.

"That is a shark."

Her father didn't move at first. It was Neji-nii-san that breathed out in marveled surprise.

Hinata huffed at their inaction and began to try her best to remove Nanashi's garments so they wouldn't cause any problem when she finally got around to healing him.

Lack of information be damned, she was going to help Nanashi!

Just as she prepared her hands with glowing chakra- in a similar fashion to Nanashi had healed her plenty of times before-, her father stepped forward and pushed her to the side.

"Neji, go find your mother and uncle. We will deal with this."

Neji-nii-san nodded and took off running, leaving Hinata alone with her father. She stared at him with wariness clear in her eyes, unsure if she should believe that he was suddenly going to help even though he had called Nanashi a menace only a couple of minutes ago.

"Once we have dealt with his injuries, you are to explain everything, young lady."

Hinata didn't see anything wrong with that, so she nodded at her father and placed her hand over Nanashi's cheek.

"I'll heal you up, Nanashi. Just like you healed me."

~/~

Her parents found it extremely hard to believe that she had known Nanashi for four whole years and nobody had ever seen them walking around together. Especially considering all of the training and lessons he had offered her, which had made them work out in the open, where anyone that passed them by would have been able to see the Hyūga heiress with a man that was most certainly not from her clan.

Hinata merely attributed that to the fact that she usually always rode on Nanashi's leg, covered up by his coat, to be able to evade sight. Her small frame was useful for some things and Nanashi the Sage of Strategy had always made her understand there was something good in what seemed to be a flaw- like her tiny height.

None of them seemed too pleased with the fact that Hinata had befriended such a large man without them ever even having noticed, but she guessed that they were merely feeling guilty over not having listened to her so many years ago when she had first told them about her savior.

Still, they did not hurt Nanashi. Her mother and uncle did their best to help him heal from the horrible injuries he had sustained- apparently, he had even been poisoned; whoever had attacked him had wanted him dead. All the while, her father asked her as many questions as possible about who Nanashi was and what his intentions with her were.

Quite frankly, she couldn't understand just why it was that they were so freaked out about his existence. She had told them about the large man that was Nanashi-savior a couple of times before, when she had still thought they may have believed her. Besides, it wasn't as if he was going to hurt her or any of them. He had saved her from kidnappers, after all!

~/~

When Nanashi next woke up, he immediately tried to move away from Hinata's hands.

"What are you doing, kid? Where's my hat?"

His eyes were pretty. They were white, like her's!

"Stop it! I'm trying to help!" She struggled to stay on the bed, suddenly remembering just how strong Nanashi could be even if he was trying to get away from her and not an actual danger. "This cream helps!"

Nanashi stopped thrashing suddenly and Hinata sighed when she was able to complete the process of applying the healing salve onto his bruised and battered left cheek.

"Kid... Where am I?"

"My room."

He remained quiet for a moment. Then, "Why is there a larger male version of you glaring at me?"

Hinata looked over to her room's entrance and pouted, "You can go, uncle!"

Uncle Hizashi grunted at her, crossed his arms over his chest, and shook his head, "You heard your father, Hinata. He wanted me to be here in case your guest tried anything."

Hinata frowned and looked over at Nanashi. The man looked up at her with confusion clear in his pale eyes and she tried to reassure him with a soft smile. "You're alright, Nanashi. You were injured when you saved me from those mean ninja, so I brought you were so you could get healed."

"Here being your clan's compound?"

Huh... Pointy teeth... Cool!

"Mm-hmm."

Nanashi groaned loudly and closed his pretty eyes.

"You're more trouble than you're worth, kid."

Hinata hummed and scooped up a new amount of the healing salve so she could begin to rub it on the smaller cuts all around his shoulders and arms. "You too, Nanashi. But I still love you!"


"That is Kisame Hoshigaki. He was a missing-nin turned mercenary with a dozen bounties on his head. Kiri wanted him back and was once willing to go to war just so they could get his sword back."

Hiashi frowned at the information brought to him by his trusted friend. Then he raised his hand to his face and pressed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.

"My child unwittingly invited a murdering traitor into my home..."

Tsume cleared her throat and Hiashi dared one look at her... One that made him regret having done so. "She apparently invited a ghost in, too. Kisame Hoshigaki is supposed to be dead... Well, that or she is now able to raise the dead."

Fate must have been playing a cruel joke on him.

"Do you wish to trade children now, Tsume? Hinata seems more and more like an Inuzuka with every passing day."

He didn't have to look at his old teammate to know that she was smirking with wolfish glee.

"Remember, Hiashi, my kid invited that Yugakure psychopath and his Yamanaka sidekick to lunch a couple of weeks back. What would you rather deal with?"

"Between a psychopath that has been rehabilitated by Inoichi or a psychopath still on the loose? Is that truly a question that needs answering, Inuzuka?"

Tsume let out a raspy chuckle at his dismay, then walked up to him and patted him on the shoulder.

"Hey, this Kisame guy hasn't really done anything to hurt Konoha... Outside from during the War, of course, but if we still held onto those grudges, we'd still be at war with everyone." She told him with amusement, but soon her voice sobered and, when Hiashi chanced a look at her, had a serious frown on her lips. "He saved your first child from getting kidnapped, even though he was injured himself. That's gotta count for something, Hyūga."

He frowned at that, "And what if that was his plan all along? What if he staged the kidnapping just to come in and save her so he could play this very game?"

Tsume glared at him, a deadpan that let him know she considered him a true idiot. "Nobody, no matter how detached or depraved, could care for a kid like he's supposedly cared for Hinata and be capable of mutilating an ally's corpse like he did with those Kiri ninja. It's not possible..." She looked away at that and crossed her arms over her chest, "She was four when you first heard her talk about Nanashi?"

"Yes."

Tsume breathed out, "Well, that's the answer to all of your questions that pertain to your daughter acting more like an Inuzuka than a Hyūga... But, really, the answer is that she acts more like a Hoshigaki than a Hyūga."

~/~

Kisame Hoshigaki. The Monster of the Mist. A man that had apparently died at least twice before, yet was somehow still alive and within his home.

Nanashi. Hinata's Pretty Monster. A man that had stepped in, mortally wounded as he was, to stop those disgusting Kiri ninja from kidnapping his clan's heir.

Hiashi was not sure just how he should deal with the situation presented.

Hinata clearly loved this behemoth of a man. And he undoubtedly had some kind of care for her and respect for her clan; he had not tried to kidnap her for selfish reasons and, even though it might have been mistaken for some odd kind of grooming, he had never intended for Hinata to adopt his mannerisms. He had even done his best to hide them; she was just a bit more insane than the rest of her clan had expected.

On more than one occasion, the swordsman had asked for Hiashi to just let him go and he'd never return to Konoha. The first time he had offered the idea, actually, the leader of the Hyūga had almost taken him up on the plan. But Hinata had, somehow, listened in on their conversation and had promised to go on a pinkie toe cutting rampage if they made her Nanashi leave.

Because of the young girl's refusal to let Nanashi go, Kisame found himself stuck in the Hyūga compound for two whole weeks under strict surveillance while he healed. After those two weeks were up, Hiashi decided it was time he went to someone who's word meant more than his but would not try and capitalize on Kisame's injuries, like his clan elders would have done.

When the Fourth Hokage first saw Kisame, covered up as he was, the blonde buffoon smiled broadly and welcomed him to Konoha with a heartfelt greeting.

As soon as Minato moved to shake his hand, a door to the side of the office was open with a resounding crash and out stepped a man Hiashi had seen around the village most of his life, dressed as innocuously as he had dressed every other day Hiashi had seen him.

"Step back, Minato."

Hiashi had never heard the man speak. But his voice fit him, dark, growling, and with enough threat hidden within that even he might have thought to take a step back if the order had been directed at him.

Minato didn't hesitate. He walked behind his desk and sat down, although he still had a stupid smile playing on his lips as he continued to look at the masked man.

Hiashi quirked an eyebrow at this but remained silent.

The man looked Kisame over for a moment, then grunted, "Off with the disguise."

Slowly and carefully- seeing how he was still recovering from a life threatening blow dealt right to his chest-, Kisame did as he was told. He took off the ridiculous hat that covered up all of his face and dropped it on the floor. A couple of seconds later, his large coat joined it and he was left standing in his simple shirt, pants, and sandals. The blue skin and terrifying features he hid with the disguise were now on full display.

"Kisame Hoshigaki. The Monster of the Mist. One of the legendary Swordsmen of the Mist..." The masked man crossed his arms over his chest and tilted his chin upwards quickly, "Where's the sword?"

"Locked up with the pale eyes."

Even though he wished to scold the brute for using such a term for the hundredth time, Hiashi chose to ignore it and merely nodded when Minato and the masked man looked at him for confirmation.

"He has not seen it in over two weeks now."

Both men nodded, then the masked man asked, "Just what are you doing here, Hoshigaki? There's plenty of towns out there to terrorize. And, even though there are quite some bounties in Konoha, they're not worth getting captured by our ninja."

Kisame shrugged softly and mumbled out an incomprehensible mumble that made the masked ninja's oddly colored eyes narrow in further distrust.

Hiashi cleared his throat to grab his attention, "If I may; Kisame has apparently been teaching my daughter for around four years now. From what Hinata told me, he comes every so often to meet with a friend of his, then he takes her to various places to learn new skills. He was injured when last he came here; which is the reason why we found out about him. Injured as he was, he saved my daughter from getting kidnapped by Kiri ninja that snuck into our territory."

He wanted nothing more than to rid his clan of the Hoshigaki menace that had been kept tightly under wraps within his home. The only members of his clan that knew about the man were those closest to him; not even his elders were aware of the Kiri-nin hidden within their own home. Luckily for them, using the Byakugan within the compound unless it was for training was seen as something uncouth, so they had not had to worry about Kisame being found. Even with this, this was a burden he did not want.

But he also knew that there was a rather high chance of Hinata trying to start a riot if she found out he had not done everything within his power to keep her dangerous friend safe... That girl still did not even know in just how much danger she was in every single time she was near the man... She only saw him as a great friend.

The oddly colored man grunted at the information, then looked over at Minato. The blonde Hokage had one of the dumbest smiles Hiashi had ever seen on anyone's face and he immediately had an idea as to what it was Minato would say.

"We could use this, Kuzu." Minato smiled at the man, making him growl out a barely heard, "That's not my name, brat."

Kisame coughed awkwardly and cut in, "Use what?"

"Your attachment to Hinata, of course." Minato, the bumbling fool, seemed to have learned nothing about subtlety in his time as Hokage. "This is kind of like the Hidan situation, but it evolved without us doing anything."

"This is nothing like the Hidan situation, Minato." The man Minato had called Kuzu growled out, "Hidan was emotionally unstable, foul mouthed, and an inch away from ending up buried in the ground."

"I'm not talking about that! I'm talking about his attachment to Ino." Minato pouted slightly as he looked at Kuzu, then smiled at him and motioned at Kisame. "He clearly likes the girl enough to protect her. Most of our worries are already over with just that."

"He is still a dangerous swordsman with access to one of the deadliest weapons ever created."

Hiashi shifted from one foot over to the other and chanced a glance at Kisame. The younger male was as pale as he had been for a while now, seeing how he was still recovering from his life threatening injuries. But there was a hint of worry and ill that were clearly not coming from his injury... Was Kisame worried about what would happen to him? Now that the Hokage was spouting off about the Yamanaka's charity case?

"Well, you know what I'm going to say." Minato finally huffed out, then looked Hiashi directly in the eyes before Kuzu could stop him. "Hiashi, Kisame Hoshigaki is officially under the watchful gaze of you and the most trusted members of your clan. Your mission is to rehabilitate and teach him the ways of the Will of Fire. Once he is back in fighting condition, he will become a ninja for our village."

A heavy silence hung over them for a couple of seconds as Hiashi internalized the decision.

Then he heard Kisame clear his throat and ask, "Did I hear right? In... Hmm... You are aware that Kiri would want my head as soon as they find out I'm alive, right?"

"Kiri thinks you're dead?" Kuzu and Minato both questioned, while Hiashi continued to try and reason just what it had been that Minato had said.

Rehabilitate and teach?

"Long story..." Kisame lamented, then admitted, "I faked my death a couple of years ago so that my old partner could cash in on the bounty that was on my head. Well, actually, I've faked my death twice. But Kiri still thinks my second death was the official one."

Minato smiled in that insane manner that made Hiashi wonder just why in the world he was chosen for the title of Hokage instead of the much less childish Orochimaru.

"That's all the better. We won't have to worry about any more fighting with Kiri as long as we keep your death as the official one. This'll be a thousand times easier than Hidan, Kuzu."

The man grunted, shook his head, and turned around to walk back out the door he had come in through. "I'm going to run some numbers... If it's worth having Kiri fight us if they ever find out about this, then he'll stay... If not, we'll send a message to Kiri first thing in the morning."

Once he was gone and the door had slammed behind him, Minato smiled broadly over at Kisame as he raised two thumbs in reassurance. "Don't listen to him- he'll never show it, but he already likes you. Welcome to Konohagakure, Kisame."


She was weightless.

Air bubbles escaped from her mouth as her body began to slow down and stiffen up, the water all around her beginning to envelop her in its harsh, crushing, cold embrace.

Was this the end?

Pale eyes wide, Hinata pondered about the existence she had lived, everything she had done, the people she had hurt, loved, and scared... Had it all been worth it? Or had it all been for no-

"Stop messing around and finish packing, guppy."

Nanashi's large hand wrapped around her jacket and pulled her up and away from her beautiful underwater tomb, leaving her heavy and soaking as he kept her suspended in the air with just one hand.

"I was busy." Hinata pouted as she crossed her arms, content to remain suspended in the air over the ocean she was supposed to have been cleaning up their supplies beside.

Kisame's pale eyes glared at her for a full five seconds before he released her and she was sent crashing into the water again.

As soon as she had gotten over the sudden rush of bubbles that had almost flown into her nose, Hinata jumped up and bared her teeth at the man. But his back was turned to her, so it was a fruitless endeavor to threaten him with just her looks. He walked over the water without turning to look at her again, leaving her floating in the middle of the ocean with a frown on her lips.

"We're supposed to be training. Stop playing around and come back to the camp."

The genin-prospect frowned and clambered out of the water, all the while working her chakra to push the water that clung to her away so she could begin to dry up. Her large hoodie was too heavy to bother with, so she pulled it off and wrapped it around her waist (counter productive, she knew, but she wasn't about to leave it on the sand) and began to follow after Kisame.

Water walking had been second nature to her for a while now. It was so easy she could do it with her eyes closed.

"I already know everything we're supposed to be out here for." The girl murmured, "My father already knew that this would be more of a vacation when he gave you permission to bring me here."

Kisame shook his head as he sat down on a large rock after he had crossed over the still cool sand and wordlessly offered her a plate of cooked fish.

Ooh! Breakfast!

Hinata smiled and immediately took hold of it so she could savagely eat it.

He chuckled after a few seconds had passed, shook his head yet again, and finally said, "Fine. If you know everything, do you think you're ready to meet my shark summons?"

As soon as she heard the suggestion, Hinata froze.

"Yes!"

Finally! She'd get to meet his summons!

"What have I told you time and time again? These are not cute and cuddly creatures! They will devour you if you don't show that you're stronger than them! These are fierce beasts that will not hesitate to tear you limb from limb if they consider you weak. Either you show them you're the best or they will cut your life short."

Hinata smiled at Kisame, took a bite from her fish, and questioned, "Just like you, right, Nanashi?"

..~..~..

And I have finished! I hope you all like this extremely long one-shot. It was written throughout a pretty long period of time. So I hope my effort was worth it!

Please review!