Hinata hid her yawn behind her hand. After all the ruckus going on the last week or so she could really use a full night’s sleep. Still, there were matters to attend to, and though not the med-nin on call for her sister, Hinata still checked in on Hanabi to make sure there were no complications yet.
Right now she didn’t need to be worrying about any of that, though. Her father’s summons was not entirely unexpected. Whether it was for Hanabi’s condition or the now uncertain position of clan heir she couldn’t be sure. She stopped outside Hiashi’s study and took a moment to calm her face before knocking.
"Come in." Hiashi's voice rang out before the young woman had even finished touching her knuckles to the wood. As the shogi slid to the clan head's stern gaze drilled into his eldest daughter as the veins around his eyes smoothed again. "Sit." It was an obvious order, emphasized by the curt nod of the sharp chin towards the cushion resting in front of the low desk. The usual tranquil order with which scrolls and brushes were usually on the gleaming lacquered tabletop, arranged like a zen garden was lost under the sheer number of reports and requests it was virtually buried under.
Hinata nodded and knelt in front of her father. It was not a comforting place to be under any circumstances, less so considering what would surely be discussed here. Hinata was rarely called to Hiashi’s office. Still, there was something to be said about keep face in front of her father, and since he called her Hinata would wait for Hiashi to speak. Her own feelings were kept carefully hidden.
Pulling out a scroll from somewhere on the bottom of the pile with a sure grip Hiashi held it out to her. "This will be your new schedule. I expect you to be on time for each of your lessons." The scroll was thicker than his wrist, tied shut with a simple white ribbon.
Hinata took the scroll and opened the beginning of it. Though her expression remained neutral she couldn’t help but feel the shock inside. This was nearly triple her normal training, and in addition, a number of the listed sessions were with Hiashi himself. She unrolled it further, almost wondering when he expected her to sleep, but more concerned with something else. “Father, there is no time for my medical studies with this schedule.”
"These lessons are of greater importance. Once you have reached a satisfactory level you can go back to playing with your plants." Folding his hands in his lap Hiashi studied the impact his words had on his daughter, she might be naive enough to believe she had a choice but her training had already begun.
Playing with my plants? He thinks so little of me, even with what I’m good at. Hinata swallowed the anger building beneath her facade. She had taken more insults and dismissals from her father than she cared to remember, but to have him call all the work she had done in the last few years ‘playing.’ I wonder if he’d be so cynical if he were on the receiving end of what I do with those plants.
She kept her voice calm. The words spoken evenly so not to seem forced or rushed. “Father, I have not spent years merely ‘playing with plants.’ To say so is an insult to every med-nin who taught me. And how is removing what I am best at from my schedule doing me good?”
"This clan needs a leader, preferably one that is NOT going to kill herself with something she is supposedly good at." The stinging rebuke was delivered without Hiashi raising his voice or even twitching a muscle in his face, completely in control of everything happening in this room and outside it.
The only noticeable reaction was a slight narrowing of her eyes, not quite a glare, but growing. This wasn’t new to her. She had to defend her decisions and her life to a man who only cared because his prized child was no longer an option. “Indeed. Though I doubt there would be such concerns this time, since with this schedule I would not be left alone for so long a time as would be dangerous.” Her mistake she admitted, but what of his?
"That is quite enough." He had too much still left to do as that he could freely waste time soothing her ego. "You will follow the schedule, your instructors will report back to me on how you progress." He declared, finality reverberating in his voice.
She closed her eyes and bowed, hiding the anger and frustration simmering in her gaze. “We both know this conversation would never be happening if Hanabi were still am option.” She stood, rolling the scroll back up as she turned to the door. “But I will not be Hanabi. Perhaps you should learn about me one day.”
"Your training begins tomorrow." It was all Hiashi replied, hands already breaking open the seal on a new scroll, pale eyes turned away from his once again heir.
“As you wish, Father.” Hinata walked out, silently closing the door behind her. He could order her to go to these lessons, but he couldn’t stop her from her medical studies all together. She wasn’t going to let him.