AN: I wouldn't say I have any spoilers in here really. If anything, it would be how the characters outfits are explained because they are in their Time Jump outfits (Neji, Tenten, Lee, and Sakura). And I have Neji's curse (the marking on his forehead) have a complete different meaning than it shows he's part of the Hyuuga clan and was born to protect the upper house and family.

Another note, let's say the chuunin exam and Mission: Obtain Sasuke and Bring Him Back to Konoha happened but Neji is still skeptical of Naruto's words about how he says Neji is a destiny control freak and doesn't know how to make a path for himself. Well if you've see the anime or read the manga, you'll know what I mean. Just that now, everyone is around eighteen and nineteen years old.

And I've updated the story. There were a lot of typo errors and I've finally gotten the time to fix them. Happy reading.

Break Free

Destiny controls everything. A person cannot break out of the cycle of fate. This is what he believed. Everyone is a caged bird in a simple thing called life.

"Is it possible to change?"

"No, it is not possible. No one can break from it is never-ending cycle."

"But if someone were to change you…"

"Stop bringing up the same conversation we have at least five times a week, Lee."

This was the usual uneventful conversation between Hyuuga Neji and Rock Lee in the training forest. Lee could not understand his teammate's way of thinking. Lee believed with time, Neji would break out this ridiculous cycle and come to his senses. Apparently Uzumaki Naruto's talk on how destiny does not control someone, but a person can control it, never got through to him, although sometimes it seems as if it did. Why did Neji have to be so hypocritical?

"You told me I wasn't able to become great ninja only using taijutsu. Actually, you just laughed and doubted me. But five years later, I've become the taijutsu specialist I've aspired to be. I am that great ninja I spoke of years before. What do you say to that? You told me I couldn't because 'fate controlled me' and I wouldn't be able to achieve my dream." Lee was doing anything in his power to prove his destiny control freak teammate wrong.

"Maybe you were fate's reject…" Neji retorted. He never liked dealing with Lee.

"Neji! How could you say something like that to my dear student?"

The usual perky, but intelligent, Maito Gai overheard Neji's words. Gai was returning from another punishment he placed on himself after facing off with Kakashi. He challenged him to another game of Jan Ken, and lost for the two hundred and seventy-seventh time with paper versus scissors. Gai happened to pick scissors during their match.

Gai took a glance at Lee. He was still wearing his green jumpsuit with his chuunin vest. Not having the time to cut his hair, Lee's hair was starting to grow out into the style he had in his younger days. Lee had practiced to improve his taijutsu everyday. When he failed to meet his expectations, his punishments at the beginning was not as harsh as Gai losing to Kakashi. The more he failed, the more intense the punishment became. Gai would worry about his student constantly, but Lee would tell him not to worry and that his training was for the best. As he improved, Lee rarely had to punish himself for not meeting his expectations. Rock Lee became everything he wanted to be at the age nineteen. What would give Neji the impression Lee never worked hard to get where he was?

"Neji, apologize to my young wonderful student!" Not only was Gai demanding, but always beside himself when it came to Lee.

"Gai-sensei. Please do not stand up for me. Also please do not worry about Neji-san. He'll understand the errors of his ways, one day. That person will come along and change him." Lee walked away from the scene while Gai looked in awe.

"Lee! I am so proud of you!" Gai shouted excitedly while frolicking off leaving Neji alone.

"I do not believe all of this." Neji muttered to himself while dusting off his long robe.

'Maybe I was a little harsh of Lee. He'll get over it. He has grown stronger over the years. Maybe someone like him is able to break away from fate, but someone like me is bound to this curse…'

Tenten walked around Konoha with her head down. There was something in the back of her mind she could not leave alone. The situation was bothering her so much; she could not concentrate on her training. Every time she would try to execute her Twin Rising Dragon Soushouryuu technique, while in the air throwing her weapons, her foot would get caught and wrapped around one of the scrolls. This resulted in her falling to the ground, trying to place her weight on a portion of her body to attempt to break her fall.

'Maybe going over to the hot springs will help me to relax and forget about this problem. Well for a while anyway.'

She changed her direction and walked towards the hot springs.

Tenten made her way inside the changing station. Once she removed her clothes and place them in the light brown bamboo basket, she walked over to the shower and bathing area. Tenten lowered her brown hair from the two buns that sat on top of her head. Her hair fell slowly and placed itself on her shoulders. She ran her hands through her hair a couple of times before grabbing the shampoo to wash her it. Slowly massaging her scalp, she sighed to herself. Once again, her mind traced itself back to the problem.

'He'll never notice my feelings for him. He just sees me as an object to train with.'

Moving over to the shower, Tenten rinsed her hair of the suds and closed her eyes. Maybe having feelings for Neji was a bad idea.

Tenten moved over to the bathing area to wash her body from the cuts, dirt, falls, and spills she had taken all day from training. Her body ached. She knew she would feel sore in the morning. While washing her right arm, she noticed a large blue and purple bruise starting to form. The color formed from the middle of her upper arm to the back of her shoulder.

"Damn it," she cursed to herself, remembering the second time her foot got caught on one of the scrolls and she landed on her arm and shoulder.

Once she finished bathing, Tenten wrapped a white towel around her body and exited the showering area. She carefully opened the sliding wooden door and placed herself into the hot steaming water.

"I really needed this. Neji probably shouldn't occupy my thoughts anymore," Tenten whispered to herself.


The soft, shy, and slightly above a whisper voice belonged to Hinata. She had overheard Tenten muttering something to herself about her cousin and became a little curious.

"Oh… Hinata-san. Sorry if I bothered you," Tenten quickly apologized.

"It's okay… really. I just overheard you say something about Neji-iisan. Did something happen between you two?"

"That's the problem, nothing has happened between us."

"Huh? What do you mean?" Hinata asked, slightly confused.

"Oh, sorry, I shouldn't burden you with my problems," Tenten said looking away from Hinata. She played with the water in front of her to send small ripples outward.

"If you want to tell me, you can. Maybe it'll help you somehow? I might not be of much help but I can try…" Hinata protested.

"If it is okay with you, I guess it wouldn't hurt to share…"

'I don't mind."

"Well… Neji… I know we're just teammates, but that's all he sees me as. I know I am there for him, physically, you know, for training and such… but I just want to be close to him. I've dropped so many hints to him and he doesn't get it. I try to be close to him, but I am too afraid he is going to push me away."

"So, you like Neji-iisan?" Hinata questioned. She looked at Tenten. She still played with the water in front of her, but with her head lowered and watching the small waves she would make with her hands. But Hinata understood where Tenten was coming from. Her situation was almost like how she felt bout Naruto, except for the training part.

"I want to say that… but I feel as if I'm in love him with. I am not sure. I might feel I am in the same situation as you and Naruto."

"Wh…what… Na… Na… Naruto-kun…. I… don't love… him… … I think...? I'm too scared to get near him… But, I do have a strong feeling for him…"

"See? That's the feeling I feel for Neji. But he'll never know."

"I shouldn't be the one to talk, but why don't you tell him?

"Tell him? That's a joke! If I did, he would probably tell Gai-sensei to exchange me for another team member because he 'wouldn't be able to work under these conditions'. You're funny Hinata." At least Hinata had gotten to her smile, although it wasn't her intention and was sort of hurt by Tenten's reaction.

"Um… I was being serious…"

"Oh… oh! I'm sorry Hinata, but it's just that, I don't think Neji would accept my feelings or me. But I want to set that caged bird free. Help him break free from the chains of destiny and fate."

"I understand. Even I am unsure why Neji-iisan speaks that way. He thinks the curse he hides under his forehead protector will always be there, but actually, that is what holds him back… those thoughts…"

Neji lay on his left side within his pure white sheets. His hair was softly placed on his pillow. As he stared out the window at the white moon and glowing stars, he began to think about the conversation he and Lee held earlier in the day. For some reason, Neji had a feeling the conversation with Lee today was different from all the rest. Usually, he would not think about such things, but it tugged and toyed with him in the back of his mind.

"'That person will come along and change him' he says," Neji spoke softly to himself.

His teenage mind wandered. Although he was nineteen and he was slowly leaving his teenage years, his mind attempted to create an image of 'that' person. Neji thought about all the girls he had encounter within and outside of Konoha.

"Sakura… she is best matched with Sasuke, even though Sasuke won't admit to it. And besides, even though he's gone, Sakura will always wait for him. Even though I don't approve of it, Hinata and Naruto belong together. There's Ino, but she's just too annoying. Temari is best suited for Shikamaru. Anko and Kurenai-sensei have a substantial amount of years over me, so they wouldn't be considered. Tsunade is the same boat as them… and the thought of older women scare me… And a person like Tayuya is long gone from this world along with Kin."

Neji changed his position from his side to his back. He stared up at the ceiling, still thinking about "that" person, which for the benefit for him, would be a girl.

"There is no one left." He came to his final conclusion while closing his eyes, waiting for sleep to take over.

"Aren't you forgetting someone?" His conscience interrogated.

"No, there is no one left," Neji whispered. His eyelids were feeling heavy and no longer could keep his eyes open.