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Yes, you DID read that right. I have finally -- after nearly 2 years -- gotten back around to working on this lovely thing, a fact that I am glad for. Hopefully I'll be able to hammer out another chapter or two over the next month, though I also want to work on SoS, as well as Paper Hearts, both of which has been sadly neglected while I work on Genesis and other projects. Either way, enjoy.

A Darkened Ray of Sunshine

Summary: Hinata, wrestling with both her feelings for Neji and the harsh treatment she continues to receive from her family, finally decides that she can no longer bear her life as it is. Leaving Konoha, she finds herself flung into a world that is far different from the sheltered life that she once knew. And when an offer of dreams fulfilled comes from a most unexpected source, she grabs onto the chance offered to her. But what will happen when the very thing that she’s been running from comes in search of her? Will she return to Konoha, and the life that she left behind, or will she stride forward on her own onto a new path?

Rating: R/M for language and situations as well as violence.
Pairings: NejiHina, ChouHina, other random Oto-pairings (hey, Orochimaru can sleep with whoever he wants and who’s gonna tell him he can’t?)
Disclaimer: I don’t own Naruto, but I’d sell my soul to Kishimoto-sensei if it would get him to make NejiHina canon.

She'd waited until sundown, but even that had, ironically enough, not seemed long enough to that portion of herself that was still resisting, still fighting against the path on which her feet trod, the spectral line that led her inexorably away from the world she'd always known and into one filled with the unknown and shaky depths of what would – hopefully – become her future. It was proving difficult, though she'd expected that it would be, to completely let go and relinquish the stranglehold that fear and familiarity had bred within her, the tight grip that she still clung to. Konoha... was her home. It was the place she'd been born, the place she'd grown up in. The place... she still wished to call home. But that option had been closed to her now, closed by her own determination and resolve, and closed – on a different level, a different scale – by the events that had threatened to sweep her up with them, to drag her along into their multicoloured veil towards a destiny that she wasn't prepared to accept.

She could see it now, the images painted onto her mind with the clarity and brilliance of the stained glass windows in a church her mother had taken her to so long ago she could scarcely remember. In fact, the only things that she did remember of the trip had been her mother's long-haired, smiling figure... and the windows. Faceted in shades and hues that no rainbow had ever dared to assume, the glittering edges limned in black and casting sparkling patterns of colour across the floor, the walls, even her own small form as she'd spun and danced amidst the showers of coloured light, her usual shyness somehow forgotten in the face of such childish wonder.

That had been a day that even her father couldn't spoil, though he'd certainly scoffed slightly at the idea that such a simple thing as coloured glass could mystify his daughter, and he'd remained stoically unmoved even when Hanako had gently reminded him that they had all been children once, and that childhood in and of itself was a time for wonder and magic. Her mother had been pregnant then, her stomach starting to swell with the bulge of child that had been her sister, Hanabi. They'd been happy then...

Why couldn't things have just stayed like that?

She chided herself for the thoughts even as they filtered their way into her mind, shaking her head slightly before running hands through indigo hair with a sigh. Of course they couldn't have stayed that way. Things changed, it was simply the way of things, whether they changed for the better or for the worse. Just as Konohagakure had changed for her, the comfortable home she had once known shifting in slight ways over the course of the years from a sheltering, nurturing place among her friends and family to what she could only consider a cage, clipping her wings and holding her down. A place where one could not be a failure, not when one belonged to a family such as hers.

Stop that. Didn't you decide that you weren't going to let your life be decided by that? Didn't you make up your mind that you would prove it to them? Prove that they were wrong?

Firming her resolve within her mind, the former heiress of the Hyuuga clan nodded to herself, standing up off of Saya's small bed and swinging the black duffel onto her shoulder again. Fingers went without volition to the nape of her neck, slim digits automatically curling, grasping for the familiar fall of dark hair only to clutch at the ragged ends of her shorn hair. That was right... she kept forgetting that part. That she'd cut it all off, leaving the silken strands glistening in an indigo pool on the tatami of her darkened room, a silent offering to the past that she was leaving behind, as well as a tacit reminder of her other resolve. That she would forget him, forget what he meant to her and what she'd wanted for them. Her hair had been the link, silly though she'd thought it was at times, that held them together, the small grain of idealism that had enabled her to try and picture what it would have been like to comb fingers through his long chocolate strands. But she had given that up, had left it behind the way she'd left her hair. Lowering her hands, the white-eyed shinobi carefully fingered her hitai-ate before nodding to herself and heading towards the door, only to take a startled step back as it swung open, the small figure of Saya standing there, staggering slightly beneath the weight of the battered wooden chest in her thin arms, her veridian eyes staring accusingly up at Hinata.

“You weren't gonna say goodbye?”

The child's sullen, slightly hurt look cut at her, and Hinata bit her lower lip in mollified shame. What had she been thinking, this girl had helped her. Had taken care of her, perhaps even put herself at great risk from Neji's ANBU team... and all out of the most simple reasoning of a child's good nature. Opening her mouth to say something, the dark-haired Chuunin brushed a strand of night-blue hair from her eyes as she struggled to frame an adequate apology for the situation at hand.

“Saya-chan, I.....”

Before the Konoha kunoichi could finish her request for forgiveness, her companion simply shrugged, stepping around her house-guest with the easy grace of a child on a mission, teetering slightly beneath the obvious weight of the burnished crate.

“It's ok, I understand why you were gonna leave without sayin' anything. But it's still kinda mean though, ya know...”

All she could do in the current situation was to swallow her pride and embarrassment at being given a lecture by a 7-year old and nod slightly in the face of the child's scolding tone. Turning, she made to follow the girl, her eyebrows drawing together in concern as the child struggled with the case. Surely it was too heavy of a trunk for such a little girl to be carrying all on her own, and Hinata couldn't fathom what could be so important as to justify the amount of trouble it must have taken to move the chest. Watching, she drew back her offered hand as Saya dropped the heavy box with a resounding thump onto the tatami before plopping down in front of it, crossing skinny legs and rummaging into her pockets with one hand while the other scraped itself across her forehead, brushing aside overgrown brown bangs in a gesture of clear relief. Apparently finding what she'd been looking for, the girl let out a satisfied chirp of acknowledgment, brandishing a rather old looking key in one clenched fist, the greenish hue of the tarnished brass coating the finer points of ornamentation on the little piece of metal as it swung slightly on a short, equally-tarnished chain. Clasping her hands at the small of her back, Hinata cocked her head to one side, watching as Saya bent over and worked to shove the business end of the key into what must have been a very old lock, as it took the green-eyed imp a few minutes of creative wiggling and pushing, brushing bangs from her eyes with her lower lip caught between her teeth in concentration before there was a muffled click and the old key turned.

“Got it! Come and see!”

Hinata supressed a mental sigh as she obeyed the little girl's rather insistent demand, closing the short distance and settling down into an easy seiza on the dusty mats. Despite what Saya had stated about understanding the situation, she was beginning to wonder if the little girl really did appreciate the shinobi's need to be on the move as soon as she could. Neji's team may have been nearly a day behind, but while she waited and rested, they would close that distance with the rapid speed of an overflowing river, and then all of her planning and her resolve would be for naught. But... she'd already offended her host once by attempting to sneak out on her own, so the least she could do was humor the girl for a moment. Again brushing her hair out of her face, she wondered for a quick moment how Sakura put up with hair that was neither short enough to be entirely of no consequence, or long enough to tie back in an effective manner when needed. The thought of the blush-haired medical-nin brought the other girls' face easily to mind, her mental synapses painting a clear picture of the girl who, though she'd always been too shy to really admit to it, she'd always considered a friend. As her mind's eye traced over the image with a degree of fondness, reminding herself that it was likely she'd never see her friends in Konoha again, her attention caught on the red-cloth of the hitai-ate tied into Sakura's carnation-hued locks. Now that was an idea....

Reaching into her bag, she rummaged blindly for something to use as a tie, questing fingers finally coming into contact with a roll of linen bandaging. Pulling the small cylinder out of her duffel, white eyes studied the wound cloth for a moment, considering. She only had the one bandage, another shortcoming in what she was now realizing was a woefully poorly prepared flight, and she might need it. But it was an extra-long roll, and if she used her training and was careful, then she could likely make it last. Not to mention, there were always the bandages around her lower legs. Nodding to herself, the midnight-haired girl carefully stowed the roll of bandage back into her pouch where it would be within easy reach, before pulling one knee up to her chest and hooking fingers into the edge of one of the strips of bandage around her calf. With a tug in the right place, it loosened, and she unwound a long enough strip before slicing it cleanly with her kunai. Reaffixing the end of the bandage, she studied her leg for a moment with a nod before tilting her head back and tying the strip she'd cut around her forehead, pushing it back to hold her hair out of her face.

“Done now?”

With a half-startled yelp, she glanced back up to see Saya studying her with an expression comprised of a mixture of annoyance and expectation. As the child cocked her head to one side, Hinata could feel the heat rise in her cheeks. Scolded again, and by someone ten years her junior. Clearing her throat, she managed a wan, apologetic smile.

“S...sorry, Saya. I couldn't see with my hair in my face like that.”

To her credit, the girl seemed to accept that as a reasonable excuse, and instead nodded her head back towards the trunk as she placed both small hands on either side of the latch and gave the lid a hard push, gritting her teeth as long-unused latches announced their protests in loud squeals and creaks before the lid slowly lifted. Unsure what her role in this was, Hinata simply sat and waited, pale eyes studying the trunk. It was a large trunk, nearly as large as Saya herself, which made the fact that the little girl had been able to carry it all the more amazing, but what struck her more than the size of the wooden crate was it's obvious age. Sides, lid, bottom, all were fashioned out of wood stained in a shade of cherry she had never seen before, accented here and there by traces of what looked to have once been lacquer, gathered mostly in small cracks and imperfections on the wood's surface. Two thick leather straps wrapped across the top of the lid, stretching down to form a base for the heavy brass latches holding the lid closed. That same antiqued brass was picked out in accents on corners and edges, her sharp eyes picking out faint, small engravings here and there of a design she wasn't familiar with, save one. In the center of the lid, picked out in finely-worked brass, was the familiar hourglass sigil of Sunagakure. Putting two and two together, she raised her gaze to Saya's.

“This... was your grandfather's trunk.”

With a nod, the girl finished pushing the lid open, settling back on her haunches with a heavy sigh.

“Yeah. He always kept it at the end of his bed, and sometimes he'd show me what was in it. But.... I always felt like it made him a little sad. But he wouldn't throw it away.”

Reaching into the trunk, she started rummaging around, tossing things aside and burrowing through folded clothes and papers. Hinata inched slightly closer, curiosity momentarily overcoming her mind's internal argument that now was not the time to be playing 'remember when', and that she should be leaving as soon as she could. Craning her neck to peer around the lid, she jumped in startled surprise as Saya's small arm shoved something under her nose. Taking the flat square from the girl's hand, she turned it over, realizing with a start that it was a photograph, a very old photograph at that. The colours in the shot were yellowed with age in spite of the protective glass set into the simple carved wooden frame, the image depicted that of two men and a woman. All three were smiling jovially, wearing what she recognized as a modified version of the flak jackets current Sunagakure shinobi wore, hitai-ate proudly displayed on their foreheads. The sandy-haired man on the left had his arm around the brunette woman's shoulders, while the darker-haired man was laughing, a scroll tucked beneath one arm, green eyes bright with mirth and good humour. Studying the photo, she noted the marked resemblance to Saya in the shape and shade of his eyes. Glancing up, she pointed to the man.

“This is your grandfather... isn't it?”

Nodding the girl sat back again, taking the picture from Hinata and cradling it in her lap, small fingertips brushing over the dusty glass.

“Yeah... that's him and that's Koharu and Raisha. They were all on a team before the war.”

Hinata caught the slight emphasis on 'before', and paused a moment before querying further. It was likely that Saya didn't even know much about her grandfather's past, or that it was a painful subject. Watching as the child set the photo aside and continued rummaging, the Hyuuga set her teeth against her lower lip for a moment before reaching out and picking up the snapshot again, holding it in her lap as Saya tossed things aside.

“Saya-chan... what do you mean before the war?”

There was a long pause, as though the child were considering her answer, or perhaps considering how to phrase her answer or even whether said answer was something she wished to share, before the rummaging resumed itself.

“They died. In the war. Grandpa said they were a team together, from when they were little. They were friends, and they fought together. Koharu and Raisha even got married and had a baby. But.. then they all died. Except Grandpa.”

Shifting slightly, Hinata bit her lip as her eyes once again flittered over the happy, smiling faces in the image. They looked so content, so... peaceful that it was hard to believe their lives had been snuffed out so. And even an innocent child... Setting the photo down and swallowing back the sudden lump in her throat, she glanced around at the things Saya had tossed aside, in search of something to distract her from facing the reality of the world she lived in, the world that Saya wanted to live in. The world of a shinobi wasn't one of glory and praise and laud. It was a world of death. A world of blood and pain and loss, where the few fragile moments of beauty and peace that you could find were snatched from the jaws of the beast both figuratively and literally in some instances. A world where a life could be created and snuffed out in the same instant, for no reason that any living creature could understand. She'd never seen it happen, not on the grand scale of the great shinobi wars, where hundreds were lost and the pained cries of the survivors could be heard throughout the village. Not when entire towns erupted into flames and became nothing more than blasted, ruined skeletons of themselves in the wake of destruction. She herself had never seen war in all it's true ugliness and horror. But she'd seen death. She'd seen the attempted destruction of Konoha at the hands of Otogakure and Sunagakure, though the latter had been deceived and manipulated. And though their mission had ultimately failed, there had still be casualties. Still been heartbreak.

Shaking her head slightly, as if to clear it, the runaway shinobi glanced around, alabaster irises catching something familiar. With a slight frown, Hinata reached out, tugging on the corner of paper that stuck out from under several books and journals, wiggling the sheaf of parchment enough to eventually free a stack of papers bound together at one side in a crude notebook fashion. Drawing it over into her lap, she traced fingertips over what had caught her attention; the familiar character of a flash-bomb seal.

What's this?

Flipping absently through the pages, she frowned, pausing to take a closer look, eyes widening as she turned another page. In an abstract way she assumed it only made sense that such things existed, but to actually be seeing it was something entirely different. Glancing up, she paused in her perusal of what she could now only consider a manual.

“Saya-chan... this is....”

Looking up from the trunk, green eyes went from Hinata's face to the sheaf of papers. With a simple nod, Saya sat back on her heels again, folding hands in her lap.

“Yeah. That's Grandpa's work. From when he was a ninja.”

In half-stunned awe, Hinata let her attention drift back to the papers in her lap, eyes tracing over the notes and diagrams, the patterns and carefully drafted descriptions and illustrations. She'd never before seen the mechanics of jutsu tags before, though every shinobi knew that there was a method to making them, a method that had to always be adhered to unless one wished to find oneself potentially blasted across the landscape. Exploding tags were the most dangerous ones, the seals and procedures used to essentially compress a high-level katon jutsu into a piece of paper and combine it with a precise triggering mechanism beyond the knowledge or understanding of most shinobi. For that reason, the methods behind making such things were kept strictly confidential, with individual villages jealously guarding such secrets. That Saya's grandfather had been in possession of this would only mean...

“He used to make those things. The seals. When he was in Suna. And the village put him in charge of making the old ones better too. But....”

Saya paused, sighing slightly as she hugged a cracked plaster mask to her chest.

“Grandpa loved it. He used to tell me he loved it because his work helped make things safer. Helped make it so the bombs didn't go off by accident anymore when they got too hot. Or that the flash ones only lasted for a little bit, so they didn't hurt people's eyes for good anymore. He always said it was like he was helping protect everyone in the village. He'd even made one that could hide people or things. But.... then the war happened. And they wanted him to make a better one. One that made bigger explosions. So he did, but... it wasn't finished right. And they made him use it anyway, and it blew up too soon. That's... that's how Koharu and Raisha died. And... the baby. The explosion started a fire, and lit all the other bombs on fire.”

Hinata listened in silent horror to the story, her mind all too easily painting the picture of the tragic past that must have driven Saya's grandfather to flee his village and persue the life of a missing-nin. It was hard to imagine the guilt the man must have felt, the shame at having his two best friends and their innocent child killed as a result of his work, the work he had been forced to use for the ugliness of war. Staring back down at the notes, she let her eyes flicker from the stark clarity of the reports and back to the smiling faces in the picture. It wasn't fair, not fair at all, and it hardly mattered that she couldn't deny that war never was fair and that innocents all too-often suffered. Swallowing, she glanced at the girl, noting the slight shake in Saya's small shoulders. She could already imagine how things must have gone from there, without the need for clarification from the child. Regardless of the situation, if the man had truly possessed such talented skills, Sunagakure would have been unwilling to simply let him fade into obscurity and retire, especially during a time of war.

“He... wanted to stop. Right? But... they wouldn't let him.”

It was more statement than question, but nonetheless, thin shoulders shifted slightly in affirmation as Saya nodded, lowering the mask to the floor again as she continued.

“They wanted him to make more bombs for them. And... they wanted the new one he'd made, the one that hid things. They thought that if they had that... then they'd be invincible, because they could send their ninjas on mission and no one would be able to see them until it was too late. But... Grandpa didn't want them to have it. He said he'd made it to protect the ninja of the village, not to help kill other people. But they didn't listen, and they made him use it anyway. So one night... he ran away. He took all the notes he had about it, and ran away and came here.”

She let the girl finish, somehow sensing that it was cathartic, a release of long-built-up frustrations and pain that should never have been carried by one so young. This child had seen the shell of a once-noble shinobi, one whose ideals had been such that he'd defied his village for them, that he'd deserted and turned against his former comrades in an attempt to preserve what he held dear; the very lives of those same comrades, and the lives of people he hadn't even met and likely would never meet. It was... admirable, and for a moment Hinata couldn't help but wonder how many other such cases there were in the world. How many other so-called 'nuke-nin' were really good people who had simply not followed the status-quo. Quietly, she gently reached over and placed the sheaf of notes and the photo in Saya's lap, sitting back and taking a deep breath for a moment.

“Saya-chan... I think he sounds like he was a wonderful man. He just wanted to make everyone's lives better, and he cared so much. Not just about the shinobi in his own village, but even about people who considered him their enemy. That's... a good thing.”

For a moment, she thought the child would cry, her small form trembling slightly, little fists clenched in her lap and head hung, but after a moment, Saya raised her head, a smile that would have put Naruto's to shame gracing her young features as she beamed up at Hinata. The Konoha shinobi felt herself relax slightly, the tension leaving her frame as she studied the girl's features, seeing nothing of the pain or sorrow that she'd expected to see mirrored in those wide green eyes.

She's so strong... so much stronger than even I am....

The thought came almost unbidden, but it's weight still carried the same sense of humility and almost shame when she compared what she considered to be her abject failings to the simple strength of this mere child who had weathered such knowledge all on her own. It made her almost ashamed of her own weakness when she considered her situation beside Saya's. The little girl was all alone, fending for herself in the wilderness, left with the memory of a grandfather who had defied a nation and been condemned for it. Doubtless, she'd had to deal with the old man's guilt and bitterness over his situation as she grew up, constantly having her dreams put aside by a man who, good-intentions aside, had no desire to see his grandchild step into the world from whence he'd fled.

I should be ashamed....

Her own problems seemed so minescule compared to that, and the fact that the girl still managed to smile that way in spite of them... reminded her of another who'd overcome insurmountable odds. Smiling slightly, the pearl-eyed Hyuuga could easily picture a second smiling face, this one topped by blond hair and set with sparkling blue eyes carrying the same mirth. Another who had smiled through the hardship.

“Here! This is for you!”

Hinata found herself startled out of her reverie of self-depreciation as Saya shoved a wrapped parcel into her arms. Fumbling slightly, Hinata glanced down at the cloth-wrapped bundle in confusion for a moment before setting the tan-coloured suede down in her lap and tentatively unwrapping a corner. Her curious exploration revealed a half-dozen kunai, each of them with a slightly modified shape she didn't recognize, tied into a bundle. The blades rested on top of a neat stack of tags, bound with a red band, and several small boxes marked as smoke bombs, shuriken, and medical supplies. Her eyes flickered up to Saya, a look of surprise and shock on her face. This was... it had to be precious to the girl, one of the few things she had left from her grandfather, and beyond that... she found it hard to imagine that a child who wanted to be a shinobi one day would so willingly give up such a thing to a complete stranger.

“Saya-chan... this is....”

“It was Grandpa's. It'll help you. See? Those are the ones that hide things.”

One small finger pointed at another sheaf of tags, these bound with a blue band. Carefully pulling one free from the stack, Hinata studied it carefully. She'd never seen one like it, not with this particular patterning and seal-work. Even allowing for changes that naturally occurred with time and age, the make-up of the seal was still alien to her. Would it... really conceal her presence? The way a genjutsu would? Lowering the tag back to her lap, she folded hands across Saya's gift. She couldn't take this, not when the child had so little left of her grandfather.

“Saya-chan, I... I can't take this... It's...”

“He'd want you to have it.”

She broke off at Saya's statement, staring at the girl, then back down at the parcel in her lap. Whether that was true or not, she had no way of knowing. Perhaps it would have been the truth, as the man had obviously not wanted his grandchild to have this, to follow along on his path. When considering that, it only seemed logical that had he been given the chance, the man would have perhaps chosen to gift the remnants of his past to someone who could make use of them. Careful of the tags and the sharp edges of the double-bladed kunai, Hinata gingerly wrapped the pale khaki cloth back around the entire bundle before gently placing the entire parcel into the top of her pack.

“Thank you, Saya-chan...”

Getting to her feet, she glanced out the window towards the falling sun. She'd waited as long as she could, and within a few moments it would be dusk. Turning back towards Saya, she gave the small girl a warm smile, shouldering her bag and resting a hand on the door's latch. The simple 'thank you' really didn't seem in some ways to be enough of an expression of gratitude for what the girl had done for her, in ways that couldn't be seen. Certainly Saya had fed her, sheltered her... but the girl had done more than that. She'd given Hinata back something she'd momentarily misplaced; her resolve, and her dedication to what she'd once decided would be her path in life.

I won't forget you... or your strength.

Turning, she pushed the door open, only to be stopped by Saya's words.

“Don't go north.”

Glancing back over her shoulder, the Hyuuga heiress raised an eyebrow in confusion, as the girl pushed herself up from her place in front of the trunk, scratching her head as she did.

“That's where you're goin', right? North? So... don't go that way. Go another way, so they get mixed up. Like... go sideways for a bit and THEN north, if that's where you want to go.”

The logic was so simple that she mentally scolded herself for not having thought of it beforehand. While her original destination had been north, that had only been because it was simple, straightforward. An easy trek, and one that led to familiar paths and roads, places she knew she could traverse, and towns where she knew she could find supplies. It had never occurred to her that anyone else, especially her intelligent cousin, would consider the same thing, and plan for such an outcome. In face, it was entirely possible that were she to continue her current path, she would simply find him waiting for her in the first outpost she came to. Chewing thoughtfully on her lip for a moment, the young woman considered her options. East was a relatively simple path, easy to traverse and not all too out of the way of anything major. Backtracking over her own tracks would have been the most intelligent thing to do, allowing her to simply reverse her own chakra signature and then branch off in a different direction at some point, thus leaving two equal and distinct trails for anyone who was tracking to follow, thus decreasing the chance of pursuit by half. The west track was the hardest, the terrain more treacherous than any she'd been on before. And...it was the path that they were least likely to suspect her of taking.

Hinata allowed herself an almost sarcastic inner laugh at the thought of what Neji or any of the others would have said if someone suggested she'd taken the hardest route from Konoha. As she had no illusions when it came to her father's regard for her, neither did she try and delude herself into thinking that her cousin considered her what he would define as a 'capable shinobi'. It had always bothered her, the way that those around her, even her friends, belittled her in their thoughts, always underestimating and compensating for her, whether it was out of a smug sense of superiority, like Neji... or a misguided sense of friendship, as was the case with Kiba. But regardless of the reason, she could use those assumptions to her advantage now. Nodding to Saya, she carefully closed the door behind her and headed out into the darkening twilight, footsteps carrying her west. Towards the border.

OMG, yes it IS ADROS 6. I must say that I honestly apologize for the length of time it has taken me to start writing on this again. I love Naruto, I always have, but there was a period of time there where the series itself had me very disappointed. As a result, I threw myself far more into my other favourite series, Bleach. And this little project was set on the sidelines as my muses refused to cooperate. But, as you can see, here they are, working again. And so I again work on this project.
For any interested parties, I wanted to expand on the idea of Saya's grandfather simply because I wanted to expand on the idea of the chakra-proof safehouse. It's not like anything that we've seen in canon, and I am a rather firm believer in the idea that if you introduce something new like that INTO a canon, than you should introduce it's origins as well, so that it doesn't simply become a brand-new plothole. As it is, the exploding tags and other such things have always somewhat fascinated me because of their very nature. While we all understand the mechanics of bombs – and any who don't can simply Google 'bomb' and find all the information they need (which is frightening, if you think about it) – it's never truly been explained how you can make such a precise sort of bomb with seals and ink. My own take on them is that they are essentially complex, high-level katon jutsu that have basically been worked into a piece of paper the same way any sort of scroll (think Kakurou's summoning scrolls, etc.) would be. Hence they would include seals for the jutsu itself, seals for the SEALING of said jutsu, and seals for the triggering mechanism and it's control. All in all, that seems like a lot of work to go into a little piece of paper that's gonna blow up. So in that line of reasoning, there must likely be specific shinobi in a village whose sole purpose is the creation and development of these things. I mean, who initially said “hey, let's make a bomb into a piece of paper”. Either way, it just makes sense to me. So I chose to make Saya's grandpa one of these shinobi. Really tragic, in a way, as he saw his research and his work as a way to make the things SAFER, because I'm sure that the earlier ones were probably buggy and prone to explode if exposed to too much heat or something like that. And just as tragic is the fact that no village is going to want to watch that sort of information walk away. ESPECIALLY not when there's a war going on.
So now Hinata is off again, hopefully leading Neji off of her trail. We'll see how it goes in the next chapter. XD


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