[One-shot][Inata] Hinata is called upon by the Hyuuga elders to explain her relationship with Ino. If only someone would explain it to her
A/N: At last, an Inata with a happy ending! Third time really is the charm. This ficlet is dedicated to SephirothBeatrix. With any luck on my part, that won't be taken as an insult by the time the fic is done
Curtains shut tightly, no light filtered into the room. In the otherwise quiet of the large estate, Ino and Hinata did their best to keep their noise level to a minimum as they moved in frantic rhythm on Hinata's futon. The walls were ridiculously thin, it seemed to them, but perhaps they were simply working off a bias.
Hinata shuddered violently, biting her pillow to keep from screaming out loud. Bright lights flashed before her eyes and pleasure exploded deep within her, reaching out to touch every nerve of her body. Slowly, not unlike a receding tide, the feeling subsided and exhaustion took its place. Gasping in shallow breaths, Hinata let herself lay flat on the bed as Ino crawled up beside her.
"Did you enjoy that?" Ino asked, and Hinata knew she was smirking at her through the dark of the room.
For her part, Hinata could do nothing but nod and continue trying to catch her breath. Understanding the lack of response, Ino snickered as she readjusted her position to hold Hinata comfortably and fall asleep.
"You're staying then?" Hinata finally managed to speak, although her voice was timid and small.
"Yeah. I don't have anything really important to do," Hinata felt Ino shrug. "I may as well."
Answering with another nod, Hinata wiggled and twisted until she was spooned against Ino's chest, hoping that her disappointment didn't somehow filter through her actions. Just once, she'd like for Ino to answer the question with something akin to sweet talk, or gentle reassurance. Certainly it couldn't hurt to give a response that conveyed the same bare emotion that Ino gave so freely when they were alone outside their bedrooms rather than casual statements of convenience. Still, Hinata had to admit it was better than when the question prompted Ino to remember that, no, she couldn't stay after all.
"Sleep, Hinata," Ino murmured, warm breath tickling Hinata's ear. "I know you're tired."
Finding no reason to argue, Hinata did as she was told.
Sometimes when Ino stayed the night, Hinata would be awoken by a gentle shake on her bare shoulder, lazy whispers that caressed her ear. Sometimes Hinata would pretend to still be asleep just to keep the moment going. When she finally cracked her blurred lavender eyes open and smiled tiredly up at her lover, she would be greeted by a knowing smile and clear blue eyes before Ino dipped in for a quick kiss before they got up for the day.
That didn't happen this time. Instead, it was a harsh, impatient beam of sunlight filtering through her slightly opened curtains that urged Hinata into consciousness. Uncomfortably hot, it stretched across Hinata's face and tried to force her eyes open. Screwing them further shut, Hinata rolled over, clutching her blankets around her as if for protection. It was only the discovery that she was alone in the bed that prompted Hinata to force one eye open, then to lean up to look around. Sure enough, Ino was not in the room.
With a sigh, Hinata sat up and stretched her arms high over her head, the blanket slipping from around her shoulders to pool at her waist. It was the sudden breeze on her upper body that shocked Hinata fully awake. Gaze jumping from the bare expanse of pale flesh to the uncovered window, Hinata turned an unhealthy shade of red, immediately tugging the blanket back up around her body and jumping up to close the curtain.
Hinata's room was simple, Hinata herself not being one for extravagances. She'd never thought much of it, never having other girls' rooms to compare to aside from strict Hyuuga females, until the first time she'd been in Ino's room. Although there was much to distract her from the colorful wall hangings and untidy piles of possessions on Ino's desk and dresser, Hinata was never able to look at her own room again without feeling that it as horribly plain. Bed, cream rug in the middle of a hardwood floor to match cream curtains and bedspread, a small cherry wood dresser and matching bookshelf, not entirely full, made up the focal points of the room. On the dresser were two photos, one of her team and the other of herself, sister, father and Neji, in unassuming frames. A round face clock hung on one wall, appearing pitiful and lonely.
Hinata looked around and sighed again, suddenly feeling as plain as her room. If she put any thought to the matter, she would know that the notion was ridiculous. Hinata had yet to mature into any stunning beauty like Ino or Kurenai, but she was pretty in her own right. Ino had told her that many times as they lay out on a hill near the training fields to watch the stars, Ino half-sitting and Hinata reclining between Ino's legs as Ino held her tightly.
A sharp knock at the door brought Hinata back to reality, making way for her flush to return full force as she realized that she was still covered only by the thin blanket. Frantically pulling it tighter around herself and rushing to her dresser, Hinata cleared her throat in hopes that her voice would not come out in an embarrassed croak.
"Who's there?" Hinata called, quieter than she meant to. It must have been loud enough, though, because Hanabi answered a moment later.
"I came to make sure that you were up," the younger Hyuuga girl said. "It's already a quarter to eleven. Father says that just because you've no missions or training planned is no excuse for staying in bed all day."
"I'm getting dressed right now," assured Hinata as she dug out clean clothes. This time there was an uneasy hesitation before Hanabi replied.
"Shouldn't you shower or something first?" Hanabi questioned, causing Hinata's voice to catch in her throat and her fingers to go slack, the clothes she had pulled from the dresser falling to the floor. "And while you're at it, get your sheets to the wash before the load gets started."
Knowing full well that her sister couldn't see, Hinata, red as a cherry, nodded her compliance. It seemed as though she were doing that a lot lately and Hinata wondered for a brief moment if there was some sort of conspiracy going on behind her back. The thought was cleared away with a shake of Hinata's head, and she gathered the clothing she'd dropped before closing the drawer she'd left open. Now that the matter had her attention, she really did need a shower. With a blush just a little less fierce than its predecessors, Hinata wondered if anyone aside from her sister, whose room was only a wall away, knew why.
Deciding that she surely would have been confronted by now if that were the case, Hinata stood strait and made haste to the small bathroom that conjoined to her bedroom. If she didn't get the blankets to the wash in time, she'd have to wait for the next load. The idea of someone being able to walk by the laundry basket and notice the suspicious stain that plagued the bedspread was not a particularly appealing one.
It was roughly a half hour later that saw Hinata showered, dressed and groomed. The incriminating bedspread had made it on time to wash with the first load and Hinata was free to spend her day as she saw fit. Glancing at the clock on her wall, she saw that she had about three hours until Neji would be by for their daily sparring session. With that unplanned time all to herself, Hinata decided to make the most of it and treat herself to an early lunch out.
Grabbing a coat from her closet in spite of the obviously sunny day and her wallet from her top dresser drawer, Hinata made her way casually out her door and into the hall. Looking around on instinct, she headed down the hall towards the front door. Enticed by the idea of food, her stomach was already grumbling quietly, begging pitifully. A faint blush dusting her cheeks, it occurred to Hinata that she was always hungry the morning after a visit from Ino.
"Are you going out?"
Pausing upon being addressed, Hinata turned to the source of the masculine voice. She was surprised to find Neji behind her, not having expected him. Eyes widening impossibly, Hinata's mind raced as she tried to determine why he was there. The only solution she could think of was that she had mixed up the time for their sparring session, but she was sure that it was to be held the same time as always.
"Hinata-sama?" Neji frowned, clearly concerned over Hinata's sudden look of panic. Snapping out of her surprise, Hinata smiled uncertainly at her older cousin.
"Neji-nii-san, I didn't expect you so soon," she explained. Then, brow furrowed, she went on, "Um... d-did I?"
Quirking one eyebrow at his cousin's odd behavior, Neji allowed the corner of his lips to twitch in hat was almost an amused grin. Instead, he made to reassure her.
"No, Hinata-sama, you didn't. I'm here to see Hanabi-sama."
"Oh," sighed Hinata in relief, her smile finally growing warm and sincere. "I was afraid I may have mistaken the time of our session."
"No, it remains to the usual schedule," Neji answered. He then asked once again, "Are you going out?"
"Yes, for lunch," Hinata said. "Would you like me to get you anything?"
"No, thank you, Hinata-sama," said Neji, a frown forming on his lips and his forehead starting to crinkle in thought. "Are you sure you should be going now? I believe Hiashi-sama had something to discuss with you this morning."
"Father is?" Hinata blinked. "Nobody told me... I'll find him now, just in case. Thank you for letting me know, Neji-nii-san."
With a quick bow, Hinata took a turn towards her father's study. Perhaps someone had been meant to give her a message and had missed her leaving her room. In any event, it was a bad idea to keep her father waiting, no matter how much closer they had grown over the years.
"Father?" Hinata called somewhat timidly as she knocked carefully on the door. "Neji-nii-san said that you might need something?"
"Yes, come in, Hinata," her father answered in a business-like manner, putting Hinata on edge- an edge she nearly fell over when she opened the door to find three of the elder Hyuuga standing in the room and peering at her coldly.
"Father?" Hinata all but squeaked, easily intimidated even after so many years of working to get over her innate fear of confrontation.
"Come in, Hinata," Hiashi repeated from behind his desk, "and close the door."
Hinata did as she was told, subconsciously curling into herself. She hadn't become Chuunin for nothing, but being faced down by these four old men was somehow infinitely more bone-chilling than any of the most dangerous missions.
"There is no need to be afraid, child," one of the elders, a man no taller than Hinata herself, said almost snidely, regarding Hinata down the end of his nose. "You aren't in any sort of trouble."
Hinata stood a bit taller at hearing this, glancing to her father for confirmation. Hiashi gave a slight nod, which made Hinata feel a bit better. Not much, but a bit. Shifting her weight lightly from one foot to another, she looked expectantly to the impromptu gathering of her elders, unsure of the situation but eager to please them however she could.
"You've been asked here," the elder who had spoken before began, "to bring an uncertain matter into light." Hinata nodded, prepared to help in whatever way was necessary of her, and he went on, "Whether or not you know, we are aware of your activities with a young woman by the name of Yamanaka Ino."
At hearing this, Hinata felt her breath stop and her heart skipped a beat. She shot a frantic glance to her father, who regarded her passively. Not knowing if this should be taken as reassuring or not, Hinata gulped quietly and nodded to show her understanding. Again the idea of conspiracy crossed her mind, but Hinata pushed it away as nonsense as another of the men gathered in her father's study, just a little taller than the first, spoke up.
"We have allowed your behavior to go on because we felt it came of little consequence and because you were sufficiently discrete," he said it almost as if he were complimenting her, something Hinata didn't know what to make of. "However, observation has led us to question the situation as a whole."
Hinata nodded to that show she followed, a lie if there ever was one. What could she have done recently to attract their inquisition? Or perhaps they had just recently begun to try to put together the puzzle that Hinata knew was missing key pieces.
"To be certain that everyone has the facts of the situation strait," he continued, "please give us your own brief account of how this... relationship began."
"W-well," Hinata fairly whispered. She paused to clear her throat and took a deep, steadying breath before continuing in a just slightly more audible tone, "I was sent on a mission with Ino's team due to lack of medics. I was part of a group that had been selected to receive basic medical training, you see, because medics are hard to train."
The elders looked neither surprised nor impressed, and Hinata realized with a cringe that of course they would already know that much. Trying to smooth over this slip-up, Hinata continued, "Well, on the mission, Ino was needed to act as a... d-distraction. Sh-she had to distract a man while the rest of the team gathered the information we'd gone for. It was the first time she had to, um, go for that long. Uh... well..."
Seeing his daughter foundering, Hiashi spoke up from behind his solid oak desk in an attempt to help her along, "The mission required that she have sex with this man?"
Flinching at how easily he said it, Hinata nodded for the umpteenth time.
"And this was her first? She'd been a virgin prior?" Hiashi prompted.
"Er, well, no," Hinata admitted. "She'd been with one other man on her own will. B-but this was the first mission that... and, the man she had to be with, he, um..."
It was Hiashi who nodded this time, letting Hinata off her hook and back into the shallow water she'd started off in. Like true fishermen, the elders were ready with stronger bait.
"Your relations began soon after this incident, did they?" asked the first elder who'd spoken. When Hinata nodded again, he asked, "And what prompted it?"
"It's sort of an old tradition, I guess is the right word, for kunoichi to... to help one another over, um, difficult situations such as the one on the mission," Hinata explained, growing redder all the time, well aware of the sweat that dripped down her face. "Ino didn't want Sakura-san- Sakura-san is a close friend of hers- to know what had happened. Since she doesn't really have any other close female friends or relatives and because I was there and already knew what happened, she... asked me."
The four men nodded and Hinata felt relief. Maybe this meant she was free to go. Her hopes were dashed when the third elder, the tallest but also the least graceful in his show of age, kept on the interrogation.
"Past that initial point, how did your relationship progress?"
"I... I don't know that relationship is the proper term for it," Hinata admitted, hoping to whatever deity that might listen that no one else had heard the disappointment laced through her tone where she'd meant assurance.
"A relationship, Hinata," Hiashi said, "is relation between two people. You and this girl Ino have had relations, unless you deny it, and have them."
"Y-yes," Hinata admitted, "of course. Well, after that, we just sort of... sort of..."
"Let us make this easier," cut in the second elder. "Your initial act was prompted by the concept of comfort towards a fellow kunoichi. What prompted your actions after that?"
"Ino," Hinata responded without hesitation, feeling that she must have said the wrong thing if the looks she received were any indication.
"The girl continued to come after you for sex?" Hiashi asked.
"Oh, no!" Hinata blurted, suddenly far too hot. "It wasn't just sex. After our first time, we just went out."
"Went out? Explain," frowned the tallest of the elders.
"We... went out," said Hinata lamely, not knowing what else she was expected to say. "Lunches, dinners, walks... outings."
In actual fact, it was Ino who tended to call them "outings," although Hinata secretly thought of them as dates. These outings were the most confusing aspect of the enigma that was Hinata's relationship with Ino. Hinata could understand Ino coming to her for sex; she might not allow it past a point when the comforting aspect became void, but she would understand it. Hinata could also understand if Ino intended to treat everything as though it never happened, as she seemed to do when they met up on the street or somewhere public. But then the two mixed, and these outings came into it, and Hinata had no idea what to think.
Their first time, Ino had been angry and crying, appalled that she would have to go to someone for such a thing. Whispering soothing words, kissing and caressing Ino gently, Hinata had felt an odd sense of power and responsibility. She was in control and it as her job to transform this confused heap of a woman back into the proud creature she had once been. It had worked, too, and never before had Hinata experienced such a swell of pride.
Then there was the first "outing." Though the events leading up to it were a blur, something about Ino wanting to know her better after what had happened between them, Hinata could remember every aspect of their lunch date in full detail. Ino had smiled and laughed and looked at Hinata in a way that made Hinata feel uncomfortable and pampered all at once. It was three months of these outings- a lunch date here, a walk there, night after night of gazing up at the stars as Ino told Hinata how beautiful her dark and pale skin hair were- before the two of them were in bed again. This time, it was Hinata's bed instead of Ino's, and there were no tears. There were also no kisses and no sweet nothings, only feral growls and frantic movement and husky whispers of obscene things that would make Hinata blush even out of context. Ino had left shortly after, saying that she had somewhere to be early the next morning. She'd given Hinata a quick kiss on the forehead, and then she was gone.
The next time they saw each other, the following afternoon, had been as Hinata passed the shop where Ino sat having coffee with Sakura. Ino had waved and offered a casual hello, and Hinata had known without being told that she was to act accordingly. Ino hid nothing, emotion bared for anyone to notice if they chose, but also made no move to announce it. Then Ino turned back to her conversation with Sakura, and Hinata went on her way, and whatever it was that had been bared was set aside.
That evening, things were back to the way they had been. Ino and Hinata snuggled together for warmth as they lay side-by-side on the practice field and watched for shooting stars. Hinata didn't ask about what had happened earlier, didn't have the nerve to. Similarly, Ino offered up no explanation, perhaps believing that one would be unnecessary. And so the circle went on, the occasional change in pattern here or there, and whatever it was they had became more and more shaded in Hinata's eyes: Something sacred, something somatic, something to be forgotten, something to hide? Hinata didn't know by which label to call it, and was admittedly afraid to find out.
But she somehow doubted the impatient elders before her would settle for such an answer. They hadn't called for her so she could shove her personal riddles onto them. They had called her so she could clear the matter up. Knowing this made Hinata's stomach drop. How could she clear up for them something that wasn't clear to her?
"In your own words, Hinata," Hiashi said, "please tell us how you describe your relationship with this Ino as it is now. Physical, emotional..."
"You see," Hinata said quietly, "the thing is that I-"
Her sentence was cut off rudely when the door of Hiashi's study flew open behind Hinata, making her jump. Swerving to see what had happened, Hinata was stunned to find a fuming Ino standing in the doorway, regarding the Hyuuga men with a look more fierce than any of theirs. When Ino's gaze passed over Hinata, Hinata felt as though there was ice running through her veins in place of blood and her mouth went dry. Taken by surprise, none of the room's occupants reacted for a moment.
"Ino!" Neji came up behind Ino, looking very annoyed and effectively breaking the spell. Looking apologetically to his uncle, Neji explained, "She said she was here to see Hinata-sama. I told her that she couldn't at the moment, but-"
"Never mind, Neji," Hiashi held up one hand to stop Neij as he rose from his seat and walked around his desk. "It's just as well that Yamanaka-san is here."
His words and movement caught Ino's attention, and Hinata found herself very grateful. The darkened blue eyes had passed over her a time too many for her taste. With Ino's attention in hand, Hiashi went on.
"Yamanaka-san, as I'm assuming you may know to some degree," said Hiashi, glancing somewhat harshly at Neji over Ino's head for just a moment, "you are a major part of this discussion. More specifically, your relationship with my daughter has been called to be brought into the light. As Hinata seems confused on how the matter is best addressed, perhaps you could enlighten us."
Although there was a fleeting instant in which she looked something akin to hurt, Ino wasted no time in doing just that. Before Hinata could blink, Ino was beside her, one arm around Hinata's waist as the other came up so she could possessively cup Hinata's chin. There was no time for Hinata to be stunned or confused, as Ino's lips were suddenly upon hers, and Ino's tongue was brazenly drawn across Hinata's bottom lip. It was unlike any kiss they had shared before.
When they were together on their outings, laying or sitting with each other as Ino whispered and mumbled about how beautiful Hinata was, how special Hinata was, their kisses were very chaste. An occasional soft brush of lips on lips, or lips on neck or ear or jaw line was as far as they got; an arm hooked innocently around a slender waist, or a hand gripped gently by another or a casual hug that could almost be between mere friends and nothing more.
When they slept together, it was usually by grace of Ino suddenly appearing at her bedside, the window hastily shut and curtains drawn behind her, and Hinata being given a quick shake as the question of whether or not she were awake was whispered huskily in the dark. Hinata never failed to respond that of course she was, and then it was begun; all raw physical reaction, no kissing, nothing remotely chaste about it.
This kiss, in front of five stunned Hyuuga men, was a cross between the raw passion and the gentle emotion. Everything that was supposed to be there was; attraction, love, reassurance, question. With the pleasure came a wave of guilt, as Hinata was suddenly ashamed that she had ever been unaware of what this was, of what this kiss told her it was.
Too soon, the kiss was over, and Hinata stared hazily into Ino's eyes, which had softened just a little. Then that blue fire was back, and Ino was no longer looking at her, but at the four eldest Hyuuga, all of whom stared in slack-jawed shock, a reaction Hinata didn't doubt that Neji was mimicking behind her. One arm still wrapped protectively around Hinata's waist, Ino presented the would-be council with a question of her own in a tone of voice that was nothing short of blatantly insolent.
"Clear enough for you?"
Still dazed, Hinata could only smile and nod as though she'd been asked directly.
Praise appreciated, concrit treasured, flames raspberried