Author: Afalstein PM
Neji never expected to get on with the Kumo nins in their division, but there's one particular yellow-eyed kunoichi who seems hell-bent on making trouble. Neji/Karui, takes place in the Fourth Ninja WarRated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Neji H. & Karui - Chapters: 9 - Words: 15,310 - Reviews: 72 - Favs: 24 - Follows: 23 - Updated: 09-21-12 - Published: 03-06-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7902820
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Neji could handle overwhelming numbers. After all, he'd fought Uzumaki Naruto, who was practically a one-man mob. So in one regard, he had no problem dealing with the sheer amount of Zetsu clones that were attacking him from every conceivable angle.
On the other hand, he did have a problem with them having done it for the last two hours or so. Neji had a pretty good stamina level—you had to, when you were in Maito Gai's team—but it was not really his strong point, and the Gentle Fist style tended to exhaust your chakra, especially if you had to keep doing Kaiten spins all over the place.
He saw the Zetsu coming for him. It was just hard to distinguish it from the thirty or so other Zetsus coming for him. A spin could have taken them all out, but they weren't all as close together as that, and if he moved quickly he could conserve chakra.
In fact, under normal circumstances Neji would have been completely right, but on this occasion fatigue had made him just a fraction slower, and so he'd only finished blasting out the heart of the twenty-ninth Zetsu when another reared up behind him and literally split apart, swallowing him like a giant fleshy venus fly-trap.
Neji had maybe half-a-second to realize what the white stuff closing around him was. His hands flew up. "Jukenpo Ichigekishin!"
There was a rushing sensation as chakra fired out of every point on his body, blasting the hapless Zetsu apart in a great pale gooey explosion. Neji caught himself before he completely fell over and stumbled upright, skin still tingling from the maneuver. He felt strangely exhausted… more than he should from that technique. It must have drained part of my chakra. He realized.
There was no time to pursue that thought. Already another crowd of Zetsus was rushing at him. Neji's hand slipped into his pouch and popped a soldier pill into his mouth, even as his other hand was busily breaking apart the first two or three Zetsus. In a way, this battle was an interesting exercise, he mused. The enemy wasn't terribly threatening, there were just so MANY of them. It was like smashing your way through a crowd of battle puppets.
Now his other hand was back in motion, but his reserves still felt dangerously low. Soldier pills took a few moments to really get working. He really doubted he could get a full-blown Kaiten going at this point. Using as little chakra as possible, he weaved his way through the assault, dodging blows and jabs, contenting himself with the occasional well-placed strike, waiting for the pill to kick in.
He whipped left to avoid the strike coming in from the rear. Blocked the arm that jabbed at him from the left. Six Zetsu were charging him on the front, there were three right behind him. Neji whirled around, dodging right to avoid the earlier six, and dispatched the rear three in a flurry of kunai. Now there were six on his left, four on his right, seven directly in front. The nearest chakra signature was fourteen yards behind him, but they looked pretty busy, and he was doing pretty well… for now.
The seven in front charged. Neji dodged right, making for a hole between the second and third Zetsu. They tried to close it, but he jabbed out, pulsing chakra through his arm and exploding the one on the left. His foot wobbled a little on a loose stone, however, and he practically fell over into its remains, easy prey for the Zetsu looming on his right. It gaped wide…
…and disappeared in a spray of white. Neji blinked at the smirking red-haired girl before him. "Lose your touch, whitey?" She called, wiping bits of white from her dark skin.
Neji would have liked to make a smart reply, but he was simply too tired. Instead, he opted to draw two kunai and send them whistling into the Zetsu charging behind him. It wasn't strictly necessary, but it made him feel better.
The girl didn't see. She'd hardly had time to snap off the one-liner, already she was cutting a swathe around them. Though an impressive swordswoman, she didn't seem to have any jutsus at her command.
Neji groaned as he stood up. He could feel the soldier pill working, but it was far, far smaller than he had expected. Momentarily he debated taking another, but decided against it. Even soldier pills had their limits, and he needed to pace himself. No more spins. He told himself. You can't afford it.
The zetsus were on him again. He dove left and came up jabbing, poking fingers into every piece of white in sight. The way they exploded at his touch WAS rather gratifying, but it'd gotten old about three hours ago. And the sticky residue they left behind had gotten old long before then. Neji felt just mildly ill.
He had a little space now, and he used it to leap clear. A few zetsus jumped up after him, but they were far enough away to dispatch with kunais. Needed to conserve those too… he was running low.
Out of nowhere, a zetsu clone slammed into him, knocking his leap off balance and sending him to the ground, hard. He managed to turn it into a half-roll, but his ribs ached from where he'd struck the ground, and he could already see the clone charging at him, followed by a score or so more…
The first ten zetsus disappeared in a blaze of blue. Hinata's lithe form leapt before him, jabbing away at the column. Clearly, she was suffering no chakra depletion. Neji scrambled to his feet and dispatched a party approaching her from the rear.
"Are you all right, Neji-niisan?" He heard her ask.
"Yes, sorry." He muttered, feeling his cousin's back up against his own. "I should be…"
"Forget about it." Her voice was curiously clear, decisive; her back stood strangely straight. "This isn't about the Houses. Just two comrades protecting each other."
Neji grunted, barely suppressing the smile that rose to his lips. A zetsu charged at him and he sliced the creature apart with a few well-placed chakra blows.
Out of the corner of his eye, he caught the flash of red hair. Karui, stooped low over a Zetsu corpse, was giving the two of them a very strange look.
She looked almost… sad.
A/N: THERE! Got that pesky fight scene out of the way. I'm getting better at fights, but they're still very complex and difficult to write, and you can blame this one for how long it's taken me to update this fic (that and a few other projects/stories I got sidetracked on)
So I'm one of the few people who actually LOVES most of the new changes that FF has been going through. The new fixed width is a little wierd, but I'm adapting fast and it has the added bonus of making your story appear exactly as how it did on your computer. And the new popularity way of sorting has saved me a LOT of time. I was worried about the lack of alphabetization, but then they changed it so that you CAN search alphabetically if you want. Rock on!
But most of all, the image manager. I LOVE being able to add cover's to my stories. The one for this particular story was done by FoxxyJones of DevART. And I'm working on finding suitable pictures for my other stories too. SO much fun.
I don't particularly care about the MA controversy, as I try not to read MA fics and never plan to write one. I can name maybe a handful of M-rated stories that I've enjoyed.
ANYWAY. Rant over. The next chapter will come along much quicker, now that the fight scene is out of the way.