For centuries, the Hyuuga clan had prided itself for the immense power of their bloodline limitation jutsu, using their age-old techniques to inflict ruthless pain on other people. That is the reason why it is a bad idea to make enemies out of the members of the Hyuuga family, especially when talking about the genius of the clan who mastered two jutsus reserved for the Main Family only. This genius, distinguished by his long raven hair that even models of the most luxurious shampoos would gnash teeth for, as well as by the cocky smirk that could effortlessly make James Bond look like a sissy , knew the FULL power of and could make FULL use of those blank gray eyes. He could hold a tormenting psychological intimidation with them, or he could taunt and disconcert his foes with their innate condescension. The possibilities are endless, actually. He and his eyes were born to be predators.
But never had I recognized the true power of his eyes until one seemingly ordinary morning, when I passed by his house to walk with him to our training grounds. It was a routine of ours—since my house was near his pad, Sir Gai had decided that we drop by each other's house to make sure none of us will tread the same path Sir Kakashi does and in turn, get lost in the road of life—so it was basically nothing special.
I rung the doorbell, waited, knelt down and checked my sandals, straightened again, tucked a stray strand of hair behind my ears, and then rung the doorbell again. I crossed my arms and waited.
And waited some more.
I felt a vein pop in my head. Irritated, I leaned over and pushed the doorbell repeatedly. I didn't care if I was conducting a one-man noise barrage in his apartment, and that his neighbors could get out of their houses and have me arrested for disturbance of public peace. Today, I might just receive my first plaudit for an A-rank mission, bringing me one step closer to my one goal after I became a Chuunin—being a Jounin. And nothing is going to get in my path to greatness—not even the Hyuuga genius, my teammate for some seven years already-- now seven times hunkier, and seventy times seven times more conceited.
I realized a second later that I was banging on the door already, because I noticed the hinges of his door starting to loosen. His neighbors had also came out of their respective dwelling holes, and were now looking at me in disdain, as if reflecting on how un-ladylike this auburn-headed female ninja was, smashing someone else's door when it wasn't even eight in the morning yet. I threw them an unapologetic glance over my shoulders, and then resumed on my wake-up call.
"Hyuuga Neji, for the love of Kakashi-sensei's dogs, OPEN THIS DAMN DOOR!" I yelled, and I swore I heard the people behind me whisper. I shrugged—I had accepted the fact that the people of Konoha had yet to learn that in this world, there were women whose finest eloquence involves bloody profanity—with me as a fine example.
Minutes had passed, and I had long broken the rope of my patience. Taking out my hairclip, I bent down towards the doorknob and started to use it to tinker with the lock of the knob. It was my first time to try this, but this always works on movies, so I might as well give it a shot. Behind me, the people hovered closer, curious what this cussing loudmouth woman was up to now.
I jingled the pin into the knob some more, and then heard something click. My eyes lit up in excitement. Hey, what do you know! There's still a small amount of truth in movies after all! I pulled the hairpin back, and then felt my face grow dark. It wasn't a lock clicking that I heard—it was my hairpin's edge snapping into two. Great! Now I just jammed the door knob some more!
I felt my cheeks turn warm when I heard the muffled laughter from behind. Determined to save my pride as a female Chuunin, I brought out my ever-reliable-and-do-not-break-their-edges strings. I concentrated my chakra on them, and then aimed them at the hinges. With one mighty pull, I yanked off the door from its frame, startling the people behind me.
I smiled in self-satisfaction. Now they were at awe, that was for sure! If I would be a legendary female ninja like the Fifth Hokage, I might as well start showing the signs of my future legend now to these mere mortals.
But what brought me back down to earth was a random kid's voice from somewhere. "That lady just destroyed Hyuuga-san's door. She could get into trouble for destroying his property, right?"
For the TFTP readers : My vision is fogging—effect of sore eyes-- so I keep on pressing the wrong keys on the keyboard, and our living room has turned into a swimming pool because of the flood brought about by the previous typhoon. Life is just so peachy for syao-chan, thus the delay of TFTP's next chapter. [sigh] Anyway, my mother says the floodwater will subside tomorrow so I could probably continue my sister's typed up chapter in my pc. For the meantime, bear with this oneshot I was able to make in my friend's house. This plot is a cliché, but I hope you enjoy my fluffy and mushy take on this over-abused story line. This is for Refin-san (who emailed me to wish me a good voyage weeks ago—salamat, friend!), TK-san, and all the other NejiTen fans out there.
If you guys have time, then you may want to visit the TFTP's official site (near completion) – it's on my profile page. Ja!
"I would like to remind you of what you just did." Neji's eyes remained shut as he turned to my direction, as if guided by an invisible presence detector. I winced inwardly—this was one of those times I hated his all-too-powerful Hyuuga senses. Even if bedridden and eyes saddled with morning sand, he still spelled authority in caps lock.
"You just destroyed my door," he continued calmly. "It's the one and only door my pad has. It is made of durable wood that can stand fire, and it costs more than three Class-B missions pay. What do you think would my landlord do if he sees what you did?"
I sat down on the kitchen counter and played with the loose strands of my hair. "It's not only you who suffered property damages here, Hyuuga Neji," I decided to reason out. "My hairpin broke. Now my hair is all over my place, irritating my eyes, but I'm not complaining. Accidents happen."
"You accidentally wrenched the door off its frame because your strings accidentally got filled with chakra, acted on their own, and wreaked havoc. Do I get your line of reasoning right?" he asked.
I winced some more. He had a really nice way of making people feel disgraceful. And stupid. "It's your fault," I decided to point out, determined not to carry the burden of the blame all by myself. "You didn't open the door at once! I'm going to be late for my awarding ceremony!"
"You should have left without me," he replied, shrugging.
"HAH! If I were a snob like you, I would have done that! But no, I am kind and compassionate towards my fellow men. I had to check on you, because you might get lost in the road of life," I said sarcastically.
"I hope your kindness and compassion extended towards my door." His own derision equaled mine.
"Quit it with the door already! And besides, it was a good thing I did, because if I didn't, I wouldn't have learned about your sore eyes." I felt my voice soften. "You aren't taking care of yourself. You know that when it's the rainy season, it's easy to catch diseases like that."
"Heh. I'm fine. Measly viruses cannot stop me."
"You can't even open your eyes," I pointed out wryly. I got down from the counter and headed for his kitchen. I returned a minute later, carrying a basin and a washcloth.
"I can still use my Byakugan," he said, but we both know that the extent of the power would be considerably minimized.
"OK, use it and sense what I am about to do," I instructed.
"You are going to stop being a bother and get out of my pad already," he said, although he himself knew there was no hope for that.
I laughed at him, as if saying, "You wish!". It was an entirely new experience for me, seeing the Hyuuga Neji constrained to what he was now—a bedridden man in a sleeping robe whose swollen eyes were glued shut by Mr. Sandman's residues, helpless in shooing away a pest of a teammate. For all that he was, in my eyes, he was still fatally attractive. Even genetics loved him. How can I then, a mere twenty-year-old child of Eve and smaller than the science of heredity, turn my head away from him?
I placed the basin down on his bedside table and immersed the cloth in it, then started to rub his eyes with the fabric.
"What the hell—" He was about to complain, but I was quick to press on his puffed-up eyelids. This made him cry the rest of his protest in pain.
"Hyuuga Neji, if you must know, conjunctivitis is a highly contagious disease, but here I am risking contamination by trying to make you feel better. Is that the best form of gratitude that you can offer?" I demanded.
"I never asked for help," he said in exasperation.
"Typical words for a snob like you to say, but that won't push me away, I'm afraid." I had long wanted to feel this smug, this superior, and this powerful over this arrogant piece of handsome flesh and blood. I dipped the cloth again into the water, and then continued rubbing his eyes.
"You're going to be late for your awarding ceremony," he hissed.
"Don't try to sound cute, Neji. I won't leave you—I'm still late for it even if I do go now." I smiled inwardly. Priorities. Awhile ago, it seemed that the awarding ceremony was the most important thing in my life today. But now I wouldn't trade this moment for anything else in the world—it was way too precious and rare, being able to get this close to the person I secretly admire the most, and not having to explain myself for that.
"You're enjoying this." His tone was accusing, making me blush. There was some element of truth to that, of course, but I wasn't about to admit to him that I was liking every minute of being close to him.
"You didn't give any retort," he suddenly said. "Strange."
"Yeah," I said lamely. I was more interested in memorizing the devilishly striking features of his face: the finely sculptured nose that matched perfectly with his square jaw, the salient contrast of his fair complexion with the eternal midnight frozen in his plentiful hair tousled carelessly all over his face, and the thin lips that had formed hundreds of mocking lines towards everyone who dared to cross his path as far as I could remember.
"You stopped rubbing my eyes," he continued.
"Yeah," I said again. Now I wish I could scrutinize his eyes this way, but then I knew it was virtually impossible. The only reason I had the freedom to gaze at him liberally this way was because he couldn't see me.
What a shame, because the most arresting part in Hyuuga Neji's lethally gorgeous face was his orbs – magnificent and stunning in their gray monotone, carrying the shades and hues of the neutral color with much flair. They symbolized insurmountable might, invincibility, and endless heights.
Since I was young, I had watched him often in his battles. Not all were won, but in his rare moments of defeat, his eyes remained proud and unyielding. It would confuse me at times—was he really human, this ruthless and hard and cold Hyuuga Neji? He seemed so untouchable, so beyond reach. It was frightening, but it was the same elusiveness that excited me too about him, I guess. He was a dream, a fantasy…a phantom of the feelings I suppress in the name of my ambition to become like Tsunade-sama.
He was a ghost, and it was safe to crush on him surreptitiously. He wouldn't know—never would, basing on the extent of my knowledge on men's general obliviousness to essential things in life save for sex. It would protect me from things only people like Hinata or Haruno Sakura would usually worry about—fear of rejection, or fear of losing that dear person.
And my pride and dignity would still be intact.
"You are staring at me," he said quietly. "Hard."
"Yeah." His eyes, though crimsonly bloated, remained as majestic and beautiful as I observed before, but they were far more hypnotizing up close. Also, I discovered that they weren't really as cruelly unbreakable as I thought—in fact, as I gaze at my fascinated reflection on his eyes, I swear I could see them twinkling in amusement—
I blinked once, and then twice. My heart sank when I realized that I was staring back at his Hyuuga eyes like an idiot for several minutes already. I had no idea how long, but the expression on his usually staid face told me that it was long enough to qualify for his entertainment. To my dismay, my cheeks turned even warmer. I shakily turned my back on him and focused all my attention towards squeezing any possible life out of the washcloth. Ignoring the threads threatening to break in my grasp, I inwardly cursed myself for letting myself get carried away by my stupidity. Damn, and in front of Hyuuga Neji, of all people!
All my earlier fears had resurfaced, making me panic. What would happen next once I turn around to meet his gaze? I couldn't be strangling this washcloth for all eternity!
I bit my lower lip as I anticipated the various scenarios: his vintage sardonic smile, his carefully crafted insults, or maybe he would even go as far as tell me how disgusted he was with me!
I looked at him, startled to hear my name from his mouth. I thought he had forgotten the name I gave him back when Gai-sensei were introducing us to each other as genins.
"You seem to be so fixated with my eyes," he began. "Your reason escapes me, as so every one of your so-called rationales do…"
I felt my mouth drop open in chagrin. Sick or not, Hyuuga Neji was still the master of verbal abuse, hands down.
"…but I decided to indulge you." With the strength definitely not coming from a supposedly ill man such as him, he pulled me towards him.
"N-Neji—" I dared not look up; I was afraid of what he would say next.
"Now look at my eyes…I'm giving you a chance."
"Ahaha…I-it's not what you think…"
"Of course it's not what I think. It's what I know." He laughed huskily, sending excited shivers up and down my spine. The next thing I felt was his hand gently cupping my chin up. I gulped. Here goes nothing….
I mustered all my guts and looked up at him squarely.
"Now tell me what is it about my eyes that made you gape like an idiot awhile ago…" he instructed.
My blood was pounding in my ears now. Was I ready to surrender to my feelings now?
"Well?" he prompted.
I cleared my throat, and then spoke up. "They're so red… and a sharingan appearance of Byakugan suits you…"
His eyes looked surprised, disappointed, and then annoyed. All of a sudden, he pulled me up roughly and claimed my mouth hungrily, shattering every line of defense in my body. Yes, earth-shattering, that was the word. For one sweet, fiery moment in his arms, I forgot the circumstances. I forgot who he was and who I was too. It was only the fire, the urgency, and the passion that mattered then.
Our mouths parted slowly, longingly, and agonizingly. I opened my eyes slowly and looked at his own orbs, and nearly gasped.
For the first time in my life, I saw his eyes smiling. There was no mockery in them, only laughter.
My heart nearly melted. His eyes were most powerful when they smile like so. It was capable of erasing my humiliation, my doubts, and my fears. They promised that everything would be alright from now on. Not quite like before, but it was fine with me. After knowing what it was like to be in the arms of Hyuuga Neji, I would rather risk my fears than go back to what it was like before I barged into his room this morning.
It wasn't safe and sure, but it was worth it. Definitely.
The next day, I was made aware of the power of his eyes again. When I woke up, my eyes were sticking together, and were feeling scratchy at the same time.
So take it from me: no matter how desirable and Hyuuga Neji-like the guy may be, do not kiss him when he's sick with conjunctivitis.