|Walking on Water
Author: d00mfuzzball PM
Walking on Water, it wasn't exactly a difficult thing, Neji and TenTen had both mastered the skill years before as genin, Lee though never quite got the hang of it, but that doesn't stop him from trying. NejiLee friendshipnessRated: Fiction K - English - Friendship - Neji H. & Lee R. - Words: 1,384 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 27 - Follows: 2 - Published: 07-21-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3670981
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It's not a difficult task by any stretch, one of the first things most new genin learn from their teachers. One of the skills Neji and TenTen had both mastered easily nearly three years before.
Walking on water.
At the age of fifteen, and already a jounin the subtle shift and modulation of chakra came to the Hyuuga like air to his lungs. Thoughtless. Effortless. Truly, he had managed it with less than a day of training, just more proof of his own inherent superiority to his teammates. TenTen got it eventually too, and he suspected that it came to her now with the same ease. Lee of course, never got the hang of it.
It wasn't that the boy didn't have chakra, because everyone did, or that his was just to week as Neji knew many people mistakenly believed. He was brimming with it, Neji knew, Neji could see it, it was his job to be able to see it. Lee could move it around, to arms and legs and hands and feet, to run faster, hit harder, he could force open Gates, but once the chakra left his body, the idiot couldn't do a thing with it. Hence, no jutsu. No walking up trees, no hanging from the ceiling, no illusions, no summons.
No walking on water.
So on the late summer night that found the genius wandering familiar leaf strewn paths in the moonlight, Neji did not immediately comprehend the implication of the objects he found abandoned by the shore of the villages lake. A pair of Konoha issue sandles, chuunin style, new, and placed carefully under them, weights, weights decorated again and again with the kanji for 'guts'. There was one person only that these could belong too, and the very fact that the weights were here in the grass and not strapped to that persons legs was highly…unusual. Stranger still, that person was not to be seen anywhere along the grassy stretch of shore, nor in the forest, not even out on the pier letting his toes graze the water. It was puzzling. It was only when he sent an exasperated glance over the lake itself that he saw any sign of another person, and he froze.
Another person. On the water. He knew that silhouette, he knew that stance, he knew that shade of green very well. So that's where the owner of these things had gotten off too.
Lee was standing on water.
Well that was certainly…different.
Neji would have thought that Lee would have learned not to bother with such skills anymore. Then again, his hot headed teammate had never been good at recognizing things that were simply beyond him. But if it was, in fact, so far beyond him, what was he doing out in the middle of the lake right now?
Fine blue wires and waves pulsing through the body like cold veins, downward, collecting easily in the soles of his bare feet. Slow and steady. Uneasy wisps of chakra shivering of water tension, then dispersing faster than it should. But it kept him up, barely. Neji watched Lee. The boy somehow, impossibly, kept himself up. Eyes closed and jaw tight in concentration, breathing steady and controlled. The still and quiet and sleepy August heat stretching and twisting beyond normal interpretation of time, the moons silver light rippling lazily on the lakes surface. Lee stood barefoot at the center of it all, and eventually his muscles started to shake, and his hair grow damp with the effort. If he was aware of Nejis presence he did nothing to acknowledge it.
Neji saw them before he heard them. A gang of kids, three girls, two boys, maybe twelve years old crashing and laughing towards them. Excited and rebellious and rejoicing in the energy of broken curfews and each others being. Loud, distracting, disruptive. The group tumbled and swaggered out of the trees and onto the grass, onto the pier, apparently completely oblivious to the presence of anyone else. Neji felt his mouth curl involuntarily in distaste for the interruption. He ignored them.
One of the girls shrieked. Lees head jerked up and his feet went down. And for just a little under a second Neji knew that he was done, and he would fall, but he didn't, he caught himself ankle deep, and shakily stepped back onto the surface. But his focus had been broken, focus he had undoubtedly spent an hour or more cultivating before Neji had even arrived, and his control had weakened, and his body no longer wanted to stay above the surface. It was a battle simply to keep his balance. A few minutes later and he'd almost got it back, almost steady, before two pre-teen bodies hurled themselves playfully off the pier, splashing enormously and sending waves lazing across the water. It was just a little movement, just a break in surface tension, but it was dooming, and Neji watched his teammate plunge beneath the dark water, and bob back up sputtering and exhausted.
Neji figured that there was no more to see that night, and he left then. And the next day he said nothing to Lee about it, and Lee said nothing to him. But when the stars came out he found himself by the lake again, seated in the grass by Lees belongings, and keeping watch. There were no interruptions this time. Lee lasted longer, but in the end, about three in the morning, he still ended up soaked, and again Neji left before his presence could be noticed.
And so it went, for a week, maybe a little more. It was too hot to sleep much, so Neji hid by the lake, and he watched, and Lees chakra slowly got more steady and Neji found it comfortable and easy to let himself be pulled in to the languid, intense flow of his teammates energy. It would always end with Lees precarious footing giving way, and Neji slipping back into the trees.
Until one night he didn't.
One night, Lee hesitantly lifted a foot, and took a step, and didn't fall. He took another, ad he didn't fall.
And then he took a third step and he did.
And he was just a dark head bobbing at the center of the lake, treading water, and trying to catch his breath.
He spun around as well as anyone could spin while treading water and came face to face with Nejis sandals. Then up, to his rivals white cold gaze.
"Neji-kun! H-Hi. What are you doing here?"
"I should ask you the same."
Lee blushed lightly, embarrassed and attempted to scratch behind his head, out of habit, this only made him sink, and have to come up sputtering again.
"I was just training."
"You shouldn't exhaust yourself. You'll never be able to do it, not well enough to be useful anyway."
Lee looked like he was about to say something, probably something naïve and inspired about youth and determination, but he forgot it when Neji leant down and extended a hand. "Come on." Lee took it and let himself be pulled up, not really sure what to be expecting. Then he felt something solid beneath his feet, and when Neji let him go, he didn't fall. He looked questioningly to the taller boy. Neji was holding him up, Neji had used his own chakra to support him. "You should focus your effort on other things, there's other things you're good at. Besides, you're never going to need to be able to do this on your own."
It amused Neji, to watch Lee whenever he had to interpret something he'd been told in an indirect way, he could almost literally see the words turning over in his teammates mind. Then comprehension dawned and Lee smiled on of his famous smiles, and literally threw a happy friendly hug at him, and Neji let him, because that was Lees way and really he didn't mind so much anymore.
They walked back across the lake, to the place where the taijutsu masters weights and shoes were stashed. Lee walking on water, and Neji holding him up.