Title: Broken Rules
Pairing: Neji/Hinata PLEASE NOTE THE PAIRING. IF THE THOUGHT OF THESE TWO TOGETHER OFFENDS YOU IN ANY WAY, PLEASE STOP READING.
Summary: No one chooses who to love, and fate can be crueler to some than others. Takes place a year after the current manga timeline.
He remembered the first time.
Hot skin and tentative kisses. Too eager hands and swishing cloth. Tree bark beneath his knuckles as he held her head in place. The silk of her thighs as her legs wrapped around his waist. Soft, hitching moans as he pushed into her; gently at first, then harder and faster as they both lost control. Salty tears teasing his lips as he kissed her one last time. That had been the first time.
He never meant for there to be a second.
There had been though. A second, and a third, and so many others that he couldn't keep track anymore. Each time he said it would be the last, and she would nod her head in agreement. Each time he would be so sure they would stop. Then days later, once barely two hours later, they would be together, her face buried in his shoulder, him biting his lip to keep from shouting as he pounded into her.
Neji turned his head and leaned up on his elbows to stare at the girl next to him. Hinata was sleeping soundly, curled up on her side. It never failed to amaze him how much like a child she looked as she slept, one hand curled under her head, the other almost touching her nose. The thin blanket that covered them rode low on her hip, revealing the curve of her breast. Outside fireworks lit up the sky as the New Years festival continued in full swing. He could hear people shouting, the crackle of smaller fireworks, and felt an emptiness claw at his chest. They should be down with everyone else celebrating the New Year, not using henge to sneak away and have a quick fuck.
Hinata flinched as a loud firework went off closer to their room, and without thinking Neji reached up and closed the window. Hinata sighed and scooted until her back touched his chest, then settled back into sleep. Taking one last look outside, Neji curved around her, wrapping an arm around her waist. They could afford another hour together before they had to leave.
"So, Neji. Who was she?"
The silver eyed boy looked up. He and his team were taking a small break during their training. Now that Lee was able to move around freely again he insisted on training longer and harder than ever, something that Gai agreed with wholeheartedly. It was almost mid-afternoon, and they had been playing a modified game of tag with the jounin all morning. At the moment Lee was smiling at him, a smile that spoke of a shared secret. It was the kind of smile that drove the other boy insane. "Who?"
Lee looked around before leaning in and whispering. "The girl you took to your room last night. Kiba said he saw you and some girl break away from the celebrations and head toward your place."
"Yeah, Neji," Tenten chimed in, smirking as she balanced a throwing star on her finger. "Who'd of thought you'd get lucky?"
A sick, falling feeling went through Neji, but he kept anything from showing on his face. "I showed a young woman where the best hotel was for what she was willing to pay, Lee."
Rock Lee leaned back. "And that happened to be in your building?"
Almost carelessly, Neji flicked the kunai he was holding towards the target twenty yards away. It hit just left of the center. "And if it was?" he let just the barest hint of anger tinge his voice.
The slight smirk on Tenten's face faded, and she narrowed her eyes. It was a look Neji knew well, the look she wore when tracking a moving target.
"It's fine, Neji. Kiba just wanted to know if I knew anything. He didn't recognize her. I was hurt that you were seeing someone and didn't think to tell your own teammate." The boy looked near tears.
"It's none of your business," Neji answered, striding away from the practice area. He needed to have a small talk with Kiba.
The boy started. Gai was supposed to leave them to train the rest of the afternoon alone after they managed to get his flag, not pop up just when he needed to get away. "Yes, Gai-sensei?" he asked, not turning around. It was an insult to do so, he knew, but at the moment he didn't care. He felt Gai move closer, and was surprised when a hand came down on his shoulder. Their sensei wasn't one to take insults lightly.
"Don't worry about their questions, Neji," Gai said gently. "I'm pleased that you've found someone to help heal your wounded heart."
As he was pulled into his teacher's embrace Neji could feel the vein in his forehead begin to pulse. Why was it his fate to be stuck with two overly emotional shinobi? He didn't need to look up to know that tears were streaming down the other man's face. "Thank you, Gai-sensei," he said, trying to free himself from his teacher's grasp. "But you've made a mistake, there's-"
"Say no more," the older man interrupted, pushing his student to arm's length. "I'll deal with Lee and Tenten. You must take these things at your own pace."
Hyuga Neji stared, dumbfounded, as Gai walked back to his two teammates, shouting orders for them to continue with their training. That's it, that was the last time, he thought as he headed back to Konoha. They had almost been caught. What if Kiba had been close enough to smell that the person with him had been Hinata? Death was the least of the things he had to worry about if they were ever found out.
"So, Hinata. How's Neji?"
Hinata kept her head down as she searched for flowers for her sister. "Why do you ask, Ino-san?"
The blond girl lowered her voice. "I mean, you've been training with him for a few months now. News is that he's found someone. Know anything?"
Hinata shook her head, a blush stealing across her pale cheeks. "Neji-nisan's said nothing to me. Who told you?"
Ino looked shocked. "Kiba didn't tell you? He saw Neji and some girl going into Neji's place last night, sneaking away during the festival." She sighed and fingered a hyacinth bloom. "Too bad. Neji's kinda cute." She frowned, remembering the one time she tried to use her sexiness on the older boy. Him telling her to get lost still stung.
"I'll ask him, Ino-san" Hinata said, picking up a pot. "I think Hanabi will like these."
"Sweet peas?" Ino shook her head. "Why don't you give her a bouquet? She wont want to look after those after a week, and they'll be dead inside two."
The dark haired girl blushed. "They remind me of her, kind of."
"Well, it's the thought that counts, right? I'll just ring them up…"
Hinata stopped listening as she followed Ino to the cash register. Someone had seen them yesterday. She would have to tell him about it, if he didn't already know. Kiba could be a bigger gossip than Ino if he thought something was worth gossiping about. Even if no one recognized her - and she was sure Kiba hadn't, else he would have been at her door at first light - it was becoming too dangerous for them. People would be looking at Neji now, trying to figure out who had caught his attention.
"Neji-san," she said to herself, hands clenched around the potted plant.
Her walk back to the Hyuga compound was a blur. When Neji found out, they would have to stop. He would insist on it. She was grateful for it. They had tried so many times to stop themselves, but it never worked. They swore on it, promised each other, even avoided each other, but sooner or later one of them would break.
The fact that it wasn't always her was a point of pride.
Before she knew it Hinata was sitting on her futon, her sister's gift still clutched in her hands. She set it on the window sill, sure that Hanabi wouldn't notice it. Hinata's room was in the back of the main family house , away from the noise and bustle, a fact for which she was grateful. The quiet was soothing, the small stream that flowed through the Hyuga gardens the only real sound other than the calls of birds. Sighing, Hinata laid down and remembered how everything had started.
Hiashi's expression didn't change. "You heard me, Hinata. Neji has shown mastery of the Hyuga techniques, a mastery that you lack. As such, you will train with him until you are where you should be."
Hinata flinched away from the harshness of her father's words. "Hai, to-san."
She was behind in her learning, far behind. She had tried to teach herself, watching her father and cousins as they trained, practicing in the late hours of the night, but that hadn't helped her very much. Without someone to explain what she was doing, everything felt…wrong. She would hesitate when she should press ahead, aim for one area when she should go after another.
"You are to start immediately. I expect improvement from her, Neji. I will accept nothing else."
"As you wish, Hiashi-sama," Neji answered, bowing deeply before his uncle before turning away.
Hinata gave one last glance at her father, eyes skipping to her sister sitting calmly in a corner. Hyuga Hiashi had long since given up on training his eldest daughter. For the barest instant she felt a flash of white hot rage for them both, slapping it down the moment she recognized it for what it was. How could she feel that way about her father and sister? Hanabi was everything he wanted in an heir with the exception of her sex. She was strong where Hinata was weak, bold where she was timid. It was no surprise that he wanted to spend his time with the more promising of them.
"Hinata-sama, we have much to do."
The girl jumped and spun around, but not before seeing the tightening of her father's eyes at her reaction to Neji's voice. Weak, his eyes seemed to say.
She followed Neji out of the dojo, and was surprised when they left the compound all together.
"Do not ask questions, Hinata-sama. You will see when we arrive."
Without warning Neji leapt into a tree, leaving her behind. As quickly as she could Hinata followed. By the time they stopped she was winded. It had taken her a full minute to catch up.
"First position: Beckoning Hands!"
The order was shouted almost before she came to a full stop. Without thought she entered the first stance, stumbling slightly as her foot caught a rock.
The following hours were the hardest Hinata had known. Neji was relentless, moving her from stance to stance, mixing their order. Halfway through a kata he would shout a change. If she stumbled he would pull her up by her shirt and shove her back into position. He was every bit as harsh as her father. Finally she stumbled and fell, heart hammering.
"Get up, Hinata-sama."
She struggled to her knees, arms shaking, muscles strained. Two sandals appeared in front of her.
"You are weak."
No, no I'm not! The words died in her throat.
"You wanted to prove to me that people could change, yet after half a year you have not improved." The sandals moved out of her vision. "How many hours have you spent practicing, to have nothing but this to show for it?" He moved to her side. "If I were to kick you now, you'd be unable to defend yourself."
The blow when it came was light, but it was enough to send her crashing back to her stomach. Hot tears filled her eyes. Her father had done much the same thing, put her through the same torture, before declaring her a failure.
"Are you going to give up now?" The sandals were back in front of her.
She didn't answer.
"Hiashi-sama wants you to give up, so he can truly wash his hands of you," the boy continued, almost conversationally. "Hanabi is improving greatly, almost beyond his expectations. Her byakugan is more advanced than yours. She is already learning the Divination Wheel. "
The tears spilled down Hinata's cheek's, dripping into the grass. He was cruel, she'd always known that. Neji delighted in hurting her, in finding ways to give her pain. He had since they were little.
A hand fisted in her short hair, pulling her head up. Neji was squatting in front of her, his face expressionless. "If you don't get up now, you prove them right. You prove that you are nothing, that you are weak, unable to head the Hyuga family. You prove that Kurenai-sama was wrong to help you, and Naruto was wrong to believe in you. You prove that you don't believe in yourself. Get up now, or don't get up at all."
He released her like he was dropping a soiled rag and walked away. Hinata stared at the ground beneath her. Each of his words cut into her like a sword. Anger began to fill her. Naruto wasn't wrong to believe in her, neither was Kurenai-sensei. She wasn't weak, wasn't useless, and how dare he say otherwise. Nothing gave him the right to speak to her, to anyone, that way.
Slowly, Hinata rose to her knees and began climbing to her feet. Once there she entered Eighth Position, left hand extended in front of her, her right arm bent at the elbow, hand hovering near her heart. Blooming Jasmine, a stance for killing despite it's name. I am not weak.
Neji watched her without moving. Slowly but deliberately she picked up where she left off, forcing her legs to stop trembling. She would prove them wrong. Naruto-kun saw something in her, believed in her, and she would not let him down.
The words, spoken so close to her, made her stumble. Hands caught and steadied her. "Ne-neji-nisan?" she asked. Her cousin was looking at her in a way she'd never seen before. He looked almost…pleased.
They returned to the Hyuga compound to find Hiashi waiting for them. With a bow Hinata walked past her father, hearing the terse "well" he said to Neji before she was out of earshot.
That was how they continued for nearly three weeks. Neji would take her from the Hyuga compound, sometimes in the dead of night, and drill her for hours without rest. He pushed her until she was at her limit, then demand more. He never lost patience like her father would, never scoffed at her when she fell and ask how he had spawned such a weak child.
And she improved. A little at first. She would be more sure-footed, better able to keep up with Kiba and Shino. She was faster when they sparred, more aware of herself. Her control over the byakugan improved in leaps and bounds.
That was how it started.