Bless the Meek
"Meekness then, was not weakness but relying fully upon God's power..."
- Elias Chacour, Blood Brothers
Disclaimer: I don't own any of this except the piece of writing itself.
This is set just before Naruto and Jiraiya returns with Tsunade. The village is in much better shape now.
One stood on the left part of the room. The other stood at the right.
He stood next to me, nearer the one with delightful pride. I sat next to him, nearer the one with dreadful meekness.
It was a little after midday with the sun still high above the sky. It stood away from my touch, my destiny. It was allowed to shine into the Hyuga training room through the crack between the two doors leading outside. It made an awkward mark of golden ray on the wooden floors.
The most unusual thing is that the rays hit Hanabi-sama, but it seems as though the rays are reaching out to Hinata-sama. They want Hinata-sama, not Hanabi-sama. I'll never reach those rays.
The two girls are on a standoff. They stand at an upright position, arms at their sides. Perhaps they don't know where to begin. Hanabi-sama suddenly pulls into the traditional Hyuga-style fighting stance; she is ready. Hinata-sama remains standing.
All of a sudden, she puts both her hands together in a symmetrical, flat position, which looked similar to that of hands put together for a clap, and bowed – a respectful gesture peculiar to the Hyuga clan or to any ninja clan for that manner. Where could she have picked up such a vice of a ninja? I suppose she picked it up on a mission or from one of her teammates.
Only the weak show respect. Then again, someone as pathetic as her needs to show respect to someone superior, I not being an example. I am unable to get the respect.
Soon afterward, Hinata-sama gets into the same position as her sister; they will soon begin.
I turn my head towards my right, towards my uncle.
It is rather awkward to sit next to him like this. It feels wrong in all sorts of ways. And yet, I feel like I should have been here all along. I show as little emotion as I could. I stand up as straight as possible. I even dare to raise my chin a bit. But I know that this feeling in the pit of my stomach will not go away by acting as such.
As much as I hate him, he is still my uncle. Through him, I see the image of my father. I am enraged, but the resemblance is there. How is that that someone who didn't act a thing like my father, look so much like him? How can one be stronger than the other, just by a slight difference in age? One is so mighty, and one is so degraded. One is dead, the other living.
How is this possible?
I answer that question in my head: Fate.
"Begin!" Hiashi-sama cries out in a loud voice.
In that very instant, the two girls rush out. One lunges for the other while the other sidesteps to the wall opposite of us, so I can see her face quite clearly.
Hinata-sama versus Hanabi-sama. At first glance, some certain people would thing it was a joke. Everyone knew that Hanabi-sama was better at fighting than Hinata-sama, right? But then again, Hinata-sama keeps swearing that she changed ever since her fight with me in the Chuunin exam.
I see no difference. People like her can't change; No matter how hard they try. She doesn't understand, nor does she have the bravery for it.
I continue watching the fight and quickly notice how Hinata-sama easily dodges Hanabi's advances. I reflect upon my fight with Naruto during the Chuunin exam. Maybe... she can change after all. I continue watching the fight.
"It's a pity, isn't it?" I hear Hiashi-sama telling me. I continue listening without having my eyes leave the match. "With the way things are, more severe conflicts may occur between the two Hyuga houses than they are presently.
"Both Hinata and Hanabi have strong wills, Neji. I seemed to have never realized that before. Due to unusual circumstances, both have the potential to be the head of the family. The choice on whom should be heir next could mean a turning point for the Hyuga clan. It is unfortunate that you are unable to be a candidate. Then, there would be no question.
He had to remind me of my position and rank. I begin to loosen my body a bit. Of course, the little pride I had wouldn't let him have the last words. "That's why the curse seal exists. As hard as it may be to put the seal on you own spawn, it must be done. Also, there's the matter of marriage. The strength of their husband may come into play as well, seeing as both even marry at all. Of course, the head of the clam must."
"Hanbi and Hinata... Their names fit. Maybe, too well."
I raise my eyebrows in confusion? What did he mean? He goes on.
"Hanabi, the fireworks. Fireworks are extreme bursts of beautiful light that are so fast, their own sound can't catch up. But then again, they go away faster than they come. Hanabi has grown faster than I expected, but will the end result be the same? And Hinata, the sunny. She doesn't have anything bright about her, even her clothes! But still, she illuminates with something unusual. And that something is growing a little more every time."
I say nothing. If he babbles useless things such as this, he can do it to the wall. However, I only listen out of respect.
"Neji, pay close attention to this fight. Because both Hanabi and Hinata have will and strength somewhat, this fight may be even more unexpected than you think. This thought had not occurred to me before. It took much thought.
"Both of the girls' personalities are different. And yet, their names fit. Each compliments the other, and they are their own person. Hanabi is a bit of a strong child a bit too cold for comfort. I may have not raised her the way she should be, because she is too much of a warrior too quick. Hinata has the potential, the gift, and the feminine intensity of and for strength, but she doesn't use it. Or, she doesn't know how to reach it. She was neglected too long for me to help unlock these secrets.
"I find it weird, that both my daughters are strangers to me. I know nothing about them as a person, only as a fighter. Neji, I hope that you had a much better relationship with your father than I do with my daughters "
Now, Hiashi-sama says nothing. He watches the battle instead. He looks away as though he had just revealed some deep dark secret hidden away from the prying eyes of the public. And somehow, I feel less tense. It feels like Hiashi-sama is just a man like any other person.
Hanabi-sama swiftly dodges several attacks made by Hinata-sama. The recently sent, high attacks were dodged as Hanabi-sama flung herself to the ground and sidestepped behind Hinata-sama. Before Hinata-sama could understand what was going on, Hanabi-sama connects a hit with both of her palms onto Hinata-sama's back torso.
Hinata-sama loses her balance and falls, immobile. Hanabi-sama must have attacked Hinata's coronary tenketsu through her back, a great technique, especially at someone this age. But when fighting against anyone but Hinata-sama, Hanabi's-two palmed attack would have been considered terrible form in Jyuuken.
However, it is acceptable against her sibling, seeing how easily Hanabi-sama usually defeats her sister. But just then, while thinking those exact thoughts, Hinata-sama slowly stood up with the same expression when she was fighting me at the Chuunin exams. Now, things will begin to get really exciting.
I can't help but feel a little disturbed at the repetition of this fight. It is a freestyle fight. They can use weapons, other styles, and even dirty tricks to win. The only thing that isn't allowed is asking for help. Both girls, by now, have activated their Byakugan; it wasn't activated in the beginning.
However, it disturbs me. I just notice it. Both girls are nothing special. They way they fought was plain and predictable. Is this the peak of the Main House's descendant's power? How pathetic! The Hyuga clan is doomed if they don't begin exploring more power of the Hyuga.
Then, things begin to change. Hinata-sama, then, retracts her hand and begins moving it in an unusual way like a dance. What jutsu is she trying to do? It is only for a second, but Hanabi-sama notices it instantly. Taking it as an opening instead of a trap, which it most likely was, she pulls out a kunai knife in her back pocket and slashes Hinata-sama's other hand, the one that didn't move at all. Hinata-sama jumps back as a few drops of ruby beads fell from her cut hand. It was only a minor cut. There is no poison on it either.
Then, Hanabi-sama thrusts herself forward towards Hinata-sama while the elder sibling still occupies her other hand with the barely existing cut. Hanabi-sama's advances seem so easy to counter. It angers me that Hinata-sama isn't even close to ready to counter Hanabi-sama's attack with any of the fighting knowledge she owns.
Something amazing happens as Hanabi-sama attempts her gentle blow. Hinata-sama takes a step backward and makes a full-turn flip over Hanabi-sama. Now, she is a few feet away from her younger sibling, and her back is faced toward her. A high kick towards her younger sibling, while her back was still towards her, connects. I swear that I have seen those moves somewhere else.
Soon afterward, Hanabi-sama keeps aggressively attacking Hinata-sama after recovering from the kick in the back of her head. As I see Hinata-sama keeping a certain distance from her sister, I reminisce. Trying to keep a certain distance... acrobatic flips... It looked like the way Tenten fought.
"Neji, what do you think about when you hear the word 'meek?'" Hiashi says.
Hinata-sama. If there was anyone in the world that was meek, it was she.
"Hinata-sama." I said.
"It's because she's meek that I haven't banished her from the clan, yet."
I raise my eyes suspiciously. I don't understand such words from Hiashi-sama. Why is he saying things that made absolutely no sense? Why is he sharing it with me? Hasn't he proven it enough that I am under him? It was only that one moment when he confessed what really happened to my father, and I believed that everything would stay the same. The only thing that should change should be me.
"Hinata, the timid, meek, and weak Hyuga clan heir. She doesn't exceed in intelligence or skill, and her physical self is below average. And to the average eye, she is nothing special in looks. Most people believe that her younger sister, Hanabi, exceeds her in everything, but she is the heir and not Hanabi.
"But a legend from the West has given me some kind of hope. It is said in some ancient text that the meek will inherit the world. For the sake of the Hyuga clan, I hope it is true.
"After I saw you fight, I honestly believed that it was all my fault. Hizashi should have been the heir, not me."
I say nothing. Instead, I close him off and continue to watch the fight. I didn't want to comment on what he said.
Hanabi-sama pants heavily as she slowly retreates to the other side of the room. Then, the most unusual thing occurred. It seemed as though both siblings have anticipated this moment. As soon as they noticed the considerable amount of distance between themselves, the two potential Hyuga heirs concentrated their chakra in unison. Now, both Main house members had their Byakugans activated again. The real battle shall soon start.
Hanabi-sama moved forward first; Hinata-sama moved almost immediately after. I suddenly feel another, more intense presence of chakra near. I turn my head towards Hiashi-sama who nods toward my glance, his own Byakugan activated. I understand and activate my own birthright eyes. If what both Hiashi-sama and myself predict is correct, the only way to clearly see the rest of the fight is with the Hyuga signature eyes.
Hinata and Hanabi attack each other aggressively. Their struggling resultes into a temporary truce in which each girl's right palm pushed against her sister's other right palm while the left defended They stood with that stance, limbs trembling from the pressure. Finally, both females backed away. It was decided; the girls were now equals. Their strained breathing pattern was as noticeable as ever. They both improved greatly. They advanced to the point to which they were now equals.
To the average vision, the last attack the girls executed was overall pathetic. The two girls merely made their palms come together get into contact with each other. It was similar to what my peers would consider a "high-five." But what anyone else couldn't see was a war. See, Hanabi-sama was born with quite an abundant amount of chakra for her age, the most likely reason Hinata-sama was defeated by her. Hinata-sama on the other hand, being smarter and more experienced by age, had the best control of all Main House family members efficiency-wise. Hanabi-sama fought with much waste chakra emulating her palm, most likely causing burns for her. Hinata-sama, on the other hand, had near-complete control and used just as much chakra as needed. However, she had a hard time fighting off Hanabi-sama's extremity of chakra, so she had to use her weight and physical strength to go against it. Not getting anywhere fighting that way, they pulled back.
Hanabi-sama's breath was much shorter than her sister's. She wasted too much chakra earlier on in the fight. She now pulls up her heavy head and smirks; a plan must be forming in her head. Shockingly, she folds up the pants of her training outfit, exposing everything below her knee. Hanabi-sama concentrated on her chakra as Hinata-sama positions herself in a defensive Jyuuken stance.
Hanabi-sama rushes forward and began fiercely attacking her sister with her palms. Then, Hiashi-sama and I are startled. Hanabi-sama began kicking at her sister, nearly succeeding in nicking a tenketsu. Hinata-sama could only dodge. I can't believe the sight. Did Hanabi-sama really have enough chakra to do this? She kicks Hinata-sama in her injured arm. That arm is useless now. No, hold on, No, it's still useful. It was close, but Hanabi-sama didn't transfer enough chakra into her feet to do damage to a tenketsu. However, it still was painful, seeing how Hinata-sama fell to her knees after a second kick in the torso. What a disgrace! Those kicks were so easy to dodge.
Hanabi-sama stands above Hinata-sama, an evil smirk on her face. Arrogantly, she slowly lifts her elbow connected to an arm connected to a fist. She is planning to finish this with a barbaric punch, rather than the graceful, Gentle Fist style tap. Hinata-sama, then, instantly gets into a crouching position, a more dangerous position for Hanabi-sama than Hinata-sama's previous one.
Hinata lunges forward, like a cat rushing toward like a mouse. It was almost animal-like. She flips halfway, and Hanabi-sama pushed off her feet. Hinata-sama rushes off toward a predestined spot, crouches to the ground, looking like she's picking something up. I am very thankful for my Byakugan now.I can see Hinata-sama is beginning to show a tiny bit more potential as a shinobi by acting out what a shinobi must always be: prepared.
Hiashi-sama seemed to be enchanted by his daughters' performance. He never really knew what they could do. He is very easy to read. Most likely, he's pondering whether this is a sign for a revolution of the Hyuga clan. Perhaps he will begin to allow changes for the good of the future. It is as several people told me before. "People change." The same must go to clans and traditions as well.
Hinata-sama turns around slowly as Hanabi-sama scrambles up. Hinata-sama then reveals what she picked up; a nearly invisible string hanged from somewhere above is carried with her stabbed hand. Had it not been for the Byakugan, I would have easily missed it. However, even with the Byakugan, Hanabi-sama misses it.
The string Hinata-sama holds was the reason of the bow and the awkward hands position. While she lifted her hands in the bow, she must have released the string upward and propelled it over the support beam, parallel to the ground with her chakra. Then, she moved her hand-that-would-be-stabbed in an awkward motion; she entwined the string with her fingers and the creases of her hand. When she was aiding her bleeding arm, she was actually puling it, so a part of it would lie on the ground. She must have planned, waited for the perfect opportunity.
Had she truly planned this? It seemed too risky. There was no way she could have analyzed Hanabi-sama's movements enough to predict the outcome and catch her with a simple makeshift trap using string that Hanabi-sama missed even with her Byakugan. No matter how unskilled Hanabi-sama is, to skillfully make a trap from past analyzations of Hanabi-sama's fights is only within the skill range of two of the rookie Genin I observed in the Chunnin Exam. A memory flashed in my mind of a certain teammate in Hinata's team with sunglasses and a high-collard shirt. It seems as though Tenten isn't the only person Hinata-sama has learned from.
Actually, Hinata-sama seemed to have learned from many people. Tenten taught her a few basic taijutsu attacks without weapons. And, of course, everyone on Rookie Team 10 must have helped her. They always seemed to pull their own weight. That string trap had to be taught by her Jounnin leader, Kurenai, who had acted as a second mother to her. It wasn't fair. Why did Hinata-sama have to have two mothers, while I was lacking a father? That pouncing roll looked animal-like. Kiba must have taught her that one. I could think of no one else who possibly could. And lastly, the heir of the Aburume clan taught Hinata-sama to analyze an opponent. He taught her well. I have to admit, Hinata-sama. You've grown, learned, and changed drastically. Had you fought me as you are now, in the Chunnin Exams, I might have actually needed to put in a considerable amount of effort. Hinata-sama, I'm impressed.
Hanabi-sama, holding her kunai knife more skillfully than before, dashes at her opponent with pure rage empowering her body. But before she could even get close to her sister, she falls for the trap. Hanabi, falling for a simple rope trick, found herself hanging a few feet from the ceiling. Hanabi-sama, realizing the danger and waste of chakra, deactivated her Byakugan. It was useless to activate the Byakugan if you don't know how to use it. In that circumstance, it was no more than a waste of power. Then again, anything she did now wouldn't matter until she frees herself.
She has the kunai knife in her hand. She bends and begins to pull herself up. She is about to cut herself free, when Hinata-sama snatches the kunai knife away. Hanabi-sama seems to try and attack her. Pathetically, Hanabi-sama fails at her attempt swinging toward her opponent. Unfortunately for her, the attempt isn't effective and Hinata-sama attacks her in the air with another kick. Now, the younger is consumed in pain to struggle. Then, another astonishing even occurs. Hanabi-sama is now fallen on the ground; Hinata-sama had sliced off the string.
I expect that Hinata-sama will now strike a finishing blow on the cursed child who caused her so much humiliation and suffering from her father. I can understand the scars on her soul, for I have held mine since I was four. The same passion I had once for Hinata-sama is now passed down from her to Hanabi-sama. I expect that Hiashi-sama will end this soon. I turn my attention towards him, but he makes no hint that he will interfere with this battle any time soon. He is wickeder than I thought. Now, Hinata-sama will strike the blow that had once been mine. Strength doesn't come cheap. All innocent kindness is gone from Hinata-sama, as she will soon push Hanabi-sama into death's path, ending her reign as the weakest of the Hyuga clan.
But that hit never came, despite my thoughts and beliefs. Instead, she bends down to pick up her fallen sister from the ground. Like a mother, she carries Hanabi-sama to another side of the room. She then lays Hanabi-sama in an upright position as though she was siiting down to rest. Both are breathing very heavily now. They look towards each other with different expressions. Hinata-sama carries a subtle smile on her lips while Hanabi-sama paints her eyes with intensity and shadows her face with shame.
"You've fought well, Hanabi. I'm proud of you."
Hanabi-sama, at first, stared at Hinata-sama in shock. I suspected that Hanabi-sama would be her cold, nothingness self and yell at her sister. I even expect Hanabi-sama to try and hit her elder sister again, seeing how Hiashi-sama never really announced the end of the fight. Hanabi-sama smiles. It wasn't the usual, creepy smile that I would see if Hiashi-sama complimented on her strength. This smile is pure with innocence and decorated with niceties of pride and honor. It seems as though she changed as well.
Then, Hanabi-sama shuts her eyes and begins to rest. It isn't shocking. She strained herself using so much chakra. There is no need to talk of conclusion. It was obvious who won the battle. Hinata-sama, then, turns towards us and peers at her father's face. At this point, both our Byakugan are deactivated, canceling them as Hinata-sama chatted with her sister, a silent staring contest initiates between Hinata-sama and her father. Hinata-sama retreats quickly by suddenly switching her glance to a crack on the floor. She looks just like typical, shy Hinata-sama. But to my glassy pupils, Hinata-sama was fighting a second battle. And depending on the outcome of the battle of her psyche, she may have to fight one more round before the day ends.
Hinata-sama now lifts her head slightly higher. Facing towards the three of us, she begins walking. Her stride was in confidence. Her head still faced the earth, but it was higher than usual. And her pace, it had a distinct rhythm with no sign of stopping. She kept going towards us in that fashion until she came halfway. She stopped.
Her head she pulled upwards. So slow and suspenseful, I am tempted to leave. I willnot let myself give in, though. Especially since Hiashi-sama stood there, ready to receive anything Hinata-sama is about to give him. Whatever message she wanted to send him never came. Her head was tilted upward so much; she was gazing at the roof. Her expression, it was the expression she had when she stood up from the floor while fighting me.
Her expression stayed the same as her body sank to the floor. Her confidence shone brightly throughout her face, along with the illuminating strands of golden sunlight that sneaked into the room. Hanabi-sama now rests at the side in the cold shade, resting. Both girls had transverse completely opposite from their primary positions. Hinata-sama now lies triumphantly on the ground, proving a point while exhausted from fatigue and possibly blood loss. She was also entrancing with a smile of humble content. Both will soon be checked by a doctor and will soon be well in health.
"Hiashi-sama," I said with pride and confidence. "I think I understand now. It's so clear to me.
"I should have noticed it when Hinata-sama performed her bow. I should have noticed it when Hanabi-sama's sloppy attacks with the kunai grew better than they had been in previous fights. I should have noticed it when Hinata-sama executed those flips and kicks. I should have noticed it when Hanabi-sama attacked a tenketsu with her feet.
"I am fit to master the Hyuga's fighting style beyond the heirs of the Main House. These two amazing girls are fit to evolve it. They can, without perfect mastery, change the Hyuga style to beyond what it is today through knowledge of other styles. They can do what I cannot. I have yet to explore other jutsus outside the cage of the Hyuga clan. Maybe, in that way, the Main House is stronger.
"Maybe it was best that you, Hiashi-sama, was placed in the Main House while my father was not. It was the Main House's duty to keep the bloodline strong, but it may be that it is also to make it stronger than to make it stronger than it was before."
Hiashi-sama looked at me, a little shocked. Than, he undid his tense body and began to relax even more. It seems that he lost some kind of pressure put on him, because he looks nine years younger and maybe more, to an age before my father died willingly for the sake of the Hyuga.
I am amazed that someone liked Hinata-sama has won, however. She isn't like any of the other strong people I know.
Naruto, the strongest genin I have fought, is outgoing and loud. My teammates, Tenten and Lee, are nothing compared to me, but strong in their own right. They were optimistic and cheerful. Shikamaru, who wasn't strong physically in jutsu, but by wits, is dull and introverted. Chouji is strong and he's friendly and sweet.
But Hinata-sama was neither of these; she was meek. Her reserved demeanor replaced Naruto's outgoing loudness. Her feminine obedience intensified Tenten's rowdy attitude. Her determination was nothing against Lee pushing against all limits. Her mentality was too unclear, compared to Shikamaru, that is. Her smile isn't even close to Chouji's welcoming grin! She is nothing but meek. Although, is it possible for the meek to be strong?
And then, I realize it. The meek can be strong, because we are all meek somewhat. We all have our times when we feel inferior. I doubt anyone can truly deny feeling helpless, weak, useless, or inferior. Even Hiashi-sama needs to show his soft side as well.
I look over to Hinata-sama, covered with sunlight. The bright Hinata...
I look over to Hanabi-sama, covered in darkness while glowing. The illuminating Hanabi...
And so, I vowed the greatest vow I ever wished to make to the main house.
I, Hyuga Neji, vow to protect the Hyuga clan and the Main House, pushing all feelings aside. I vow, with the help of my cousins, to change the Hyuga, to make it stronger and better, as a family and not a clan. Father, this is how I shall triumph against destiny.
Author's Note: I don't know if anyone noticed this, but this is the revised version. Originally, I wanted a quote about meekness at the top, but I couldn't find one until now. Also, I've noticed highly noticeable grammar and spelling errors here, so I changed them. I put shame on you reviewers for not telling me. Just kidding, but thanks for the reviews there were also some errors about when this takes place. I fixed most of those mistakes as well. Now, it's as perfect as I can make it so far, please enjoy this version of the story.