Title: Arranged Destiny
Author: Me, Silly! x3;
Pairing: NejixTen; NaruxHina
Warning: Um... none. x3;
Chapter 1: Our Daily Lives
Even though it's said that when you're a little baby you don't remember anything or anyone, I remember it clearly; as if it had happened yesterday. I remember the smell of roses around my mother whenever she held me tight when I was two. I remember following my older brother around everywhere. I remember him teaching me martial arts the best he can (I'm actually now more accurate in whatever I do). I remember when both of us had hidden Father's shoes and he didn't find them until a month later. His hugs were warm. So were my mother's. Yeah, I remember a lot for something that happened when I was only two or three. It's surprising, but it's true. I love those memories though. I wouldn't trade them to help out Huan or Fenfang or Ai or Jia or Daiyu. I love all of them and the other girls, but these memories are the best to me, and each year up to my sixteenth birthday, they become harder and harder to remember. Yet, the memory that has cut a deep, painful scar into my brain the most was the very look that's harshness sent chills up my spine that he's stared at me with from my birth as a female Chinese baby to the day they put me in the orphanage.
I was woken up by the cries of a baby. A grimace fell upon my face. It was another baby, no doubt. By now, I was used to hearing something like that. The baby, from what I could tell, was a new addition to our little 'family.' Like all of the other babies that the parents had carelessly abandoned on this doorstep, it was a female. I forced myself up, even if my body screamed for me to sleep (after all, I had been awake for most of the night trying to get everyone else to bed) and made my way to the open window, where the cradle was held.
The small, little baby wept more and more. I embraced her in my arms and whispered reassuring words that she would be okay. I looked into her deep, caramel eyes. She was beautiful. With a smile, I closed the window and muttered, “My name is Tian-tian. Who are you?”
“Uweh?” She tilted her head cutely at me and tried to reach out to grab my face. That only made me giggle. I looked back at the cradle. Normally, when a new girl was admitted into the orphanage, there was literally a sign next to her that showed the name. Found it. Mei. Her name was Mei.
I smiled and nuzzled her in the stomach, which made her giggle. “It's nice to meet you, Mei!” My smile softened. I held her closer and went back to my cot. Making sure that she had a lot of pillow, I scooted beside her and put my rugged blanket over the two of us. “You're safe now, little one. Sister Tian-tian will not let anything happen to you.” Looking down at her, my smile widened as the tufts of brown hair that framed her face covered her rosy cheeks. I pulled the blanket over her as she shivered and lay next to her, cradling the precious thing from all that was cold.
“You're the new heir.”
My face twisted in disgust the second I heard the news. Tearing my attention away from my main focus, I could only stare at my uncle. His face was the same as mine—nothing affected it by the news. He was absolutely serious about this. Slowly, I gathered my things. Perfectly calm, I looked over at Hiashi-sama from the corner of my eye.“What?”
“Shouldn't you be happy?” Hiashi-sama's eyebrows furrowed at me. “This is something you would have wanted, isn't it?”
“My duty was to protect your daughters,” I said without having to think. I shrugged and pressed my hand upon the bandages that kept the cursed seal hidden. “Other than that, are we really family?”
Hiashi-sama noticed my gesture immediately. His demeanor disappeared into something else the minute he realized what I was suggesting. “You're my nephew.”
“I'm your bodyguard,” I corrected. His eyebrows furrowed. He didn't seem to be used to me talking back to him.
“You're family,” He urged on. Hiashi-sama gave me a look of despair. He was persistent about it, no doubt. “You've been worthy of being family since the day you were born.”
“You mean the day my father died?” I said. He winced. Funny. He should have seen that coming by now. Giving him one last look to prove I wasn't interested in a thing he was saying, I left the room before he could retaliate.
This isn't good. This isn't good at all. I rubbed my temples as Neji left and could only sigh. He was the closest among purebred to be called the heir. Any more and we would have to dig deeper. Hinata was better off proving her defensive skills as a medical nin, not the strong leader we needed. I grimaced. I was getting older by the second, wasn't I?
He would have to listen to me whether he liked it or not. Hanabi is still far too young to become the clan leader. His eighteenth birthday would be approaching soon—the proper marrying age for him. Yet did he know I meant business?
I got up from my seat, clumsily taking the papers on my desk with me. They fell off of my lap and away from the drawers in a giant clutter before I grimaced and got to the ground, picking up the papers. A glimpse of brown hair caught my eye in a picture. Moving the papers, the name of the orphanage for this month's charity donation appeared. Along with it was a newspaper loosely interpreted into Japanese.
“Tenten—Orphaned or the Foster Mother?
Tenten, age of seventeen, is confirmed to be the eldest of all the orphans. She is at the rightful age for an adult, yet refuses to leave.” Refuses to leave?
“She has said herself that she could leave any time she wanted, yet only goes as far as getting a poor education and a paying job that will last.
'Whatever money I make, I make it so that I can hear the laughter of the kids. Not only are they orphans, but they are mostly females who suffer the same fate as I do because our parents wanted to carry on the family name,' Tenten explains, 'the only difference is, when I was their age, they didn't have someone who tried to cheer them up when they found out they wouldn't see their parents again.'
The young woman Tenten fended off using nothing but the staff of a broom the rough burglars who tried to steal the head of the orphanage's priceless jewel. When the children awoke, she spent the whole night lulling them to sleep. It's only a wonder which lucky suitor will be her husband!”
There were pictures of her to the side of the article. One showed one of her dead serious as she messed with her broom and a burglar. She wasn't sweeping, though—she was using it as if it were a bow staff. A makeshift, and judging by the way she held it, she knew her stances. Her face was broad and serious, being that demeanor of a warrior—even better, a nin. In another picture, she was holding one of the babies, most likely one at the orphanage.
Bold, yet sympathetic.
Gentle, yet fierce.
Serious, yet graceful.
It's only a wonder which lucky suitor will be her husband. Who else? My nephew, of course.
I woke up that morning noticing that Mei was gone from my grasp. The twelve-year-olds must have taken her under their care while I was catching up on my sleep. Looking up, I noticed that all the other beds were made before rolling out of mine. A grimace fell upon my face. The girls let me sleep in again while they did their chores. Sighing, I could only give a smile before taking out my spit rag and toothbrush from the special chest under my bed as I made my way outside.
Even at this hour, the bathroom would have had a line I'd be waiting in the back of. I rolled my eyes. Even if I was considered the “second mother” of the place, it didn't mean that I would abuse any special privileges. I yawned before going to the laundry room for my T-shirt and a pair of jeans. After making sure that everyone was gone, I quickened my pace to the back door that led us through the hedges and trees.
I had been here since I was six years old. At first, I hadn't known what I'd be doing around here, but the older girls took care of me the same way I take care of them now. When I was nine, I had gotten fed up with the long lines and the fact there were too many of us. Following one of the older girls, I found out that there was a lake where we could bathe farther off from the orphanage. Sure, it was probably stupid to come over here in broad daylight, but because of the crying babies, I've never been able to tear away from them over night.
Smiling as I finally reached the place, I stripped down to nothing, taking my hair out of the buns they were in. Equipped with my toothbrush, I splashed into the water, letting the liquid run across my body as I bathed off.
Uncivilized? Of course not. Inhuman? Of course not. Barbarian? Barely. To be honest, the thought of my parents have been running through my mind since I was a little kid. I hadn't realized that the majority of us here were girls until I turned ten. When I did though, it just made me wonder: what would happen if I were a guy? I know, it sounds weird. I've seen newspaper articles about how much a freak I am already. I'd settle down, but these girls need me.
I dove up for air and used the grassy ground for support. My hair pressed against my wet face as I thought about it more. I was seventeen now, almost eighteen. Daiyu was the second oldest at fourteen, taking care of the other kids like I did. The head said that I was able to leave whenever I wanted, even if she didn't really want me to. I was almost an adult, too. Did it matter?
I pinched my nose and dove back into the water.
I pouted as I stretched my arm to reach for the pepper in the cabinet. I'm too short! It was early morning and none of the cooks were up yet; just the way I liked it. Quickly, I dragged a chair over and clutched the pepper. A smile came onto my face as the spicy scent filled my nose. Before I knew it though, I was hobbling; struggling to keep my balance. With one squeak, I found myself landing in a pair of broad arms. Hesitantly, I opened my eyes and were met with my cousin's. A blush crept along my face. How embarrassing... “N-Neji-niisama...”
He looked at me strangely.
Quickly, I added, “I-I heard the news.”
“Oh.” He let me back down on the ground a little rougher than I wanted and shrugged me off if I wasn't there. He was preparing his own lunch.
I bit my lip. Did I say something wrong? I scurried over and gently put my hand on his shoulder. “You'd make a great leader, Neji-niisama...”
“No,” I shook my head and frowned. I agreed with father one hundred percent! “I-It's just Hinata, Neji-niisama.”
Neji-niisama looked down at me. He closed his eyes, rubbed his temples, and sighed. I bit my lip and closed my eyes, awaiting whatever was going to happen. When I opened my eyes again, he had me in an embrace and was stroking my hair. “You're the heiress, Hinata-sama. Our only heiress.”
“B-But...,” I stammered. I looked back at him, eyebrows furrowed. “You're stronger than I am.”
“We all have our strengths and weaknesses,” Neji-niisama bent over to me. He was begging me out of anything. “Your strength is what will lead our family. Whether it be to doom or to victory, it all depends on what you make happen.”
“No!” I retaliated. I shook my head and frowned at him. “You... you can't run away from destiny, Niisama. You can't!”
He put his hand under my chin and shook his head. “It's not my destiny.”
I pulled my wet hair out of the towel it was in and made my way to the dining room where all the other girls were. As I entered, Su, Jia, and Fang ran up to me, each holding an infant. “Big sister! Big sister! Huan is crying!”
Bending over, I held one of the 2-year-olds in my hands and smiled at her. “Good morning to you too.” Huan cried louder, complaining that one of the other girls had hit her. I kissed the marking on her face and held her tightly, murmuring that she'd be okay. Slowly, she stopped crying in sniffles and wrestled out of my hands. I gave her back to Su and turned my attention to Jia. She was holding a bottle in her hands and pouted.
“Fang keeps telling me that the milk is too hot for Mei!” She handed me the bottle.
I tapped the formula on my wrist and wrinkled my nose. “Let it cool down a little bit more until you give it to her, okay?” Jia's pout disappeared and she nodded her head responsibly. Before the three of them could leave again, I grabbed Fang by the shoulder and arched my eyebrow. “Speaking of the new baby, where is she?”
“With Daiyu,” she informed. She nodded her head in confirmation and pointed her hand to the other end of the room.
I looked over and gave a thank you. Then, I made my way over to that part with Daiyu. Daiyu honestly made me think exactly of myself: stubborn, hardheaded, and persistent. Tapping her on the shoulder, I smiled. “Mind if I hold her?”
Daiyu shook her head and gave Mei to me. The minute she did, Mei burst into a fit of giggles, trying her best to reach out for a hug. I grinned and kissed her on the forehead. Looking back up, I saw the other teen giving me an admirable smile. “You're really great with kids, Sister.”
“Thank you,” I returned the smile and sat down next to her, giving Mei back. Daiyu stroke the tufts of hair that poked out of Mei's hood while I stared at her. She and I had known each other for quite some time now, and it was great. My smile faded into wonder as she hummed a tune to Mei. “...Daiyu.”
She looked at me and suddenly became startled. “Yes?”
“If I left... would you take care of the kids for me?”
“You can't leave!” Unfortunately, all the girls apparently heard me when I said that. I turned my head in surprise as they started to embrace me possessively. “You're the best sister I've ever had!”
My eyebrows furrowed as I looked over to them. I smiled apologetically and hugged them back. “I'm sorry for scaring you. It's just a thought.”
“Don't go!” the murmurs were sent across the crowd now. Here I heard they wanted me to stay and there I heard they wanted me here. They looked like they were on the verge of crying.
Guilt churned in the pit of my stomach. I held the girls close and mollified as comfortingly as possible. “I won't leave you.”
Daiyu looked over at me, giving me the saddest look I've ever seen on her face. “Promise?”
I looked back at the girls surrounding me. All of them were sad, weren't they? I nodded my head without a second thought. “Promise.”
Ooh! Sakura-chan is wearing something different today! She looks so, so gorgeous! My eyes traveled to the curves of her body and I couldn't help but grin. She was definitely a hottie. Ino was with her and it looks like they were arguing again. Frowning, I still couldn't get it. The two had gotten into this huge fight at our school tournament when we were in middle school, and even now they're fighting. I mean, they sorta laid off, but at the same time... you get what I mean?
GAH! I turned my head and looked down. “Hinata!” I smiled at her cheerfully and rubbed the back of my head. The girl honestly did sneak up on me. One look of her face and I immediately frowned. She looked worried. In a low voice, I muttered to her, “Is Neji picking on you again?”
She looked at me, bewildered. Immediately, she shook her head and pressed her hand on her lips. She got all red like she always did and whispered, “That's not it.”
“Are you sure?” I flashed her a concerned look immediately. Even if he's better now, I think I'd know him well enough to see whether or not she'd turn on him. Hinata nodded her head. Her eyes slowly went down to my hand, as if urging for it to be in hers. I arched my eyebrow and held her hand close. She fidgeted and looked up at me. I stared straight into her petite face and she turned red again. I smiled cheerfully. “You can tell me.”
Hinata turned even darker. She fainted.
“H-Hey!” I stammered. I held her closer. “H-Hinata!”
I looked over to Hinata-sama from the corner of my eye. Rolling my eyes, I sighed. He'd never get it through his thick head about how much she adored him, would he? I grabbed my books and stuffed them into my locker before getting to my classroom. The minute I got there, Uchiha greeted me.
He looked at me with a knowing smirk. “Hey.”
I arched my eyebrow. Why the hell would he talk to me of all people? Grimacing, I backed away and wrinkled my nose. “If you're here for a date....”
Uchiha blinked and turned red immediately. He glared at me and shoved his hands into his pockets. “I'm not gay.”
I shoved past him. “Whatever.” He grabbed me by the sleeve, which was irritating me more than ever. I scowled at him and narrowed my eyes. “Let go of me.”
“Not yet,” he mumbled. Uchiha gave me a wicked grin and arched his eyebrow. “So, I hear you're the new heir.”
“Like hell I am,” I slapped his arm away and got into my classroom. No use, considering we had the same class together this hour. He let out a sigh and rolled my eyes. “What do you want?”
Uchiha shrugged his shoulders and looked at me seriously. “I'm only going to tell you that being an heir means business. Tons of business.”
“I'm not the heir,” I snapped back. “I never was.”
“That's what I said after I found out that Aniki betrayed the company.” Uchiha wrinkled his nose and gestured his hand to Haruno on the other side of the room. “Now she and I are to be married when school lets out.”
“What? Asking for Naruto's hand in marriage too subtle?” I quipped back. He smacked my shoulder, getting tired of all the jokes.
Uchiha scowled at me before getting off and into his own seat. “Watch your back.”
“With you?” I quipped one last time. A smirk played across my face. “Of course I will.”
After murmuring last of my goodbyes to the girls, I had grabbed my knapsack, ready to go to work.
Hm... Hinata seems really out of it today.
Oh my.... oh my oh my! I tried my best to focus on what was in front of me instead his beautiful... blond... locks... and gorgeous... tan... skin.... oh...
Eh? She fainted again. Hinata? HINATA!
Gah... class is so boring... Ino won't stop slapping my desk to tell me to wake up!
Damn Shikamaru! Does he want to miss out on this lesson? Hm, hey! Hinata fainted again!
Oh no... I rolled my eyes. Looks like Hinata's gotten an overdose of Naruto again. I tossed a note over to Shino and looked into my desk. Grinning, I fed Akamaru a cracker.
...his dog ate his homework.
Mmmm! Potato chips!
Hah. We're going to destroy the Hyuga company if it's the last thing we do.
“Kakashi-sensei!” I stood up and raised my hand. Why wouldn't anyone else see that Hinata fainted again? I smiled and cradled Hinata in my hands. “She fainted again. May I take her to the infirmary?”
Kakashi-sensei looked over to me and smiled. “That's a very nice tho—”
Ow! Neji-kun shoved me out of the way!
“That's a very nice offer,” I mumbled to Haruno, “but that's my job.” I held Hinata close in my arms and looked over to Kakashi-sensei. “Please excuse us.”
He flapped his hand cheerfully. “Yes yes, of course. You two don't do anything... naughty now...”
I gave him a glare before exiting the classroom. Hinata-sama still in my arms, I turned the corner to reach the infirmary and looked at her flushed body. With a sigh, I closed my eyes. “You honestly need to tell him soon. Any more of these fainting spells and he'll suspect that you're sick.”
Hinata-sama opened her eyes dizzily. She turned beet red and clasped her hands over her mouth with a squeak. “Wh-who says I like him?”
I gave her a small smile before placing her in the cot. “Of course you do. Stay here until you feel better.”
She stared at me before reluctantly smiling back. Sitting up, she gave me a concerned look. “Niisama?”
Shit. I thought she'd forget about “sama” by now. I narrowed my eyes at her, the smile long-gone. “Yes?”
“You'd make a great leader,” she persisted. She put her hand over mine and squeezed it comfortingly. “You should take the offer while it's still here.”
“The same goes for you,” I retaliated. I pulled my hand away and folded my arms, giving her a scowl. “You're the heiress, Hinata-sama. I don't think of you differently.”
Hinata-sama stared at me hopelessly before looking down on the ground, fingering the cloth on the cot. She looked back up to me, trying her best to persevere. “But I think of you differently. Don't you get it, Neji-niisama? It's a sign for things to get better for you!”
“I never said it sucked...”
“Niisama!” She looked back at me with a pleading look. Her eyebrows furrowed and she looked like she was about to cry. “I don't get to chose either way though... if you're the heir, then you're the heir.”
I looked back at her, staring intensely in her eyes and trying to daunt her. Finally, I could do nothing but sigh and said, “I'll make a deal with you.”
Looking back at me in surprise, she repeated, “Deal?”
“The day you confess to Naruto is the day that I'll accept the title of heir.” She wouldn't accept the deal, I knew that. She had no backbone for it, even if she admired him so much. She looked at me, bewildered. I made it seem like I didn't already know my advantage in this plan and arched an eyebrow. “Well?”
My ears perked up. I looked at her in utter surprise and sputtered, “Wh-What?”
“Deal,” she repeated. Hinata-sama gave me a determined look and held her hand out for me to shake. “The day that I confess to him is the day that you become heir. There's no backing out of this, Niisama.”
“...heh.” I shook her hand in agreement.
The day went by quickly and all of my students at the dojo were completely obedient. Other than the fact that some had battered me more than I should have been, they were fine. I was just limping home... painfully. The minute I made my way through the forest and to the entrance of the orphanage, I had to stop.
There was a shiny limousine sitting in front of the place. The mistress was out in her night gown and there was a man with her with really long hair. I looked over carefully. She seemed very troubled. I dropped everything in my hands, slowly sneaking and placed my hand on the top of the car. The two were talking in a different language... Japanese, maybe? Whatever it was, the mistress seemed horrified of what he was saying. When she shook her head, he only repeated those creepy words.
Finally, I couldn't take it anymore.
“HAH!” I cocked my head. The minute I did, I regretted it because a windshield wiper came slashing down on me. I quickly got into a defensive stance, deflecting the thing before she could do any harm. I looked over and looked very surprise. Was this Tenten?
She was broader than any of the other girls and she was much tougher looking. Immediately, she jabbed the windshield wiper towards me once more. I dodged it and she glared at me. “Leave her alone!” she shouted at me in Chinese.
I dodged another attack and jabbed the pressure point behind her neck. The wiper fell to the ground and she collapsed in my arms. Looking back over to the head of the orphanage, I gave an apologetic smile to her astonished face. “I want to adopt her, Miss.”
She looked at me, frowning. “But...”
“The policy of the orphanage is that I'm able to adopt any child that I wanted,” I reminded her. I looked at the battered orphanage and the little girls who were peering at me from inside with pure horror. I looked back at the head and smiled. “I'm willing to pay one-hundred thousand dollars.”
Ugh... where am I...? I looked around groggily and my eyes widened. This was not the orphanage. Where I was, the floors were polished wood and there were decorations everywhere of these silver-eyed people. Pictures among pictures among pictures!
I looked around horridly. The door slid open instantly and I was met face-to-face with another woman. She said something, but I didn't understand her. Was that Japanese again? No! Where am I?!
She came toward me with this cloth in her hands and started unbuttoning my top. What?! No! No, no, NO!
The day was finally over. The second it was, Hinata-sama and I had walked out of the school and gotten into our limo, ready to leave. This day was probably the most tiresome among any that I've ever faced before, but there was good news too. The ratio of me being heir to Hinata-sama confessing to Naruto was low. I wouldn't be the heir soon, and that was that.
Looking over to Hinata-sama from the corner of my eye, I could see she was as exhausted as I was. I frowned. She had been redder than usual during school today. Did she really think that she'd be able to confess soon? She... couldn't possibly...
As we stopped in front of the gates to our mansion, I opened the door for Hinata-sama. Yet, the minute I got out, we were the least of anyone's worry.
Hinata and I cocked our heads to the gate. There was a girl running from the Hyugas. She... was beautiful. I stared at her in complete awe as she ran towards us, keeping that heavy kimono on as if it were nothing. She could run in that?
She stared straight at us, her brown eyes giving us a fierce look. Before we knew it, she leaped over us and onto the car. I heard the driver mumble something about the windshield wipers before looking back at her.
“N-Neji-niisama...” Hinata-sama mumbled to me.
I nodded my head and got onto the car as well. She glared at me fiercely, shouting something in...Chinese? She jabbed her fist at me. Dodging, I clutched her hand. She sneered, yelling more at me in Chinese before kicking me. She kneed me right in the stomach before I could expect it, causing me to fall right to the ground.
I winced as my back hit the concrete, then struggled to get up. By the time I looked to where she was, she was gone.