Disclaimer: Ha! Like I own Naruto.

Strength

By Forever3330

When Hanabi slides the door open, it takes all of her control not to move her hands, not to form the few signs that will bring him to his knees. She knows that someday soon her control will break; she has wanted to see him kneel in his own blood for so many years now it is a part of her.

"Neji-san." She doesn't ask what he wants, why he is at the doors to the sparse rooms of her sister.

"Hanabi-sama." His voice is as clipped as hers, and he looks behind her, eyes searching.

She doesn't move, but her hands grip the door frame that much tighter.

Neji's eyes lock on her for the first time, and Hanabi smiles thinly. "May I speak to Hinata-sama?"

"No. You may not." Hanabi eyes her cousin with distaste, her thin form straight and unbending. She lingers on his neck, and her hands twitch. How she wants to strangle him, see his mouth open and close and his eyes dilate...

"Let me speak to Hinata-sama." It is an command, and Hanabi laughs at the absurdity of it. She doesn't bother to be shocked and angry as her father would, because she is not controlled by this boy in any way, has no memories to bind her to him in anything other than hate.

"No. You have no cause to speak with Neesama." Hanabi feels his confusion, his frustration. Her smile grows slightly, and she digs her fingers more deeply into the wood of the doorway, feeling it slowly give way beneath her pressure.

Neji shifts, and Hanabi shifts with him, her right hand sliding down to one of the kunai strapped to her thigh, her face turning impassive. He hesitates. "I wish to apologize to Hinata-sama."

"You wish to apologize to Neesama." Her voice is mocking, almost disbelieving. Hanabi pulls the kunai free of it's holster, and leans against the doorway casually, running her fingers over the blade. "You do not deserve her forgiveness." Hanabi's tone changes abruptly, her manner going cold.

"That is not your decision." Neji stiffens. "And it is not her forgiveness I seek."

The younger Hyuuga raises her eyebrows. "Yes. It is. And you do not deserve it. Leave now. And do not approach my sister ever again, or I will kill you."

He stares at her, and Hanabi realizes that he was not as painfully aware as she was of her hatred. "You cannot tell me what to do."

"Can't I?" Hanabi leaves the doorway, takes a step closer to him, and a step closer, until she is barely an inch away, because he refuses to move, and smiles fiercely. "And how will you stop me, pray tell?" She leaves it unspoken, that she is stronger than he ever was. She knows it is true, just as she knows that Hinata is somehow stronger than them both. "You do not deserve to live, but I allow you to do so because Neesama would not be pleased if I were to engage in unecessary bloodshed. Leave, or I will risk her displeasure."

"So you will kill any Branch member who goes near her?" Neji's expression is of disgust. "You're mad."

"No. I will kill only you." Hanabi runs the kunai lightly down his chest, then smiles abruptly. "You tried to kill Neesama."

"That was years ago." His voice is softer, and she hears the weakness. She knows that he is seeing it even now, and takes pleasure in his pain.

"And I have never forgiven you." Her tone is mild, and she turns away. "You want Neesama, but I will not let you have her. You do not deserve her. You do not deserve her forgiveness. Come again and I will kill you."

Hanabi enters her sister's rooms and closes the door. She does not need to use Byakugan to know that Neji has left.

Hinata looks up, and Hanabi feels a pang in her heart when she sees the troubled expression her sister wears. "Hanabi...t-that wasn't necessary..."

"It was." Hanabi's voice is gentler, and she slides the kunai away before she crosses the room to sit beside her sister at the small tea table. "He will only ever hurt you, even if he does not mean to. You're the Head now, Neesama; I will not let him distract you from your goal."

Hinata looks startled, and Hanabi smiles at her sister, a true smile. "But...you wish to change the Hyuuga?"

"No." Hanabi admits this readily enough, calm as she wraps her arms around her elder sister. "But you do, Neesama, so that is what we shall do."

They don't speak after that, and Hanabi closes her eyes as Hinata sips her tea, her cheeks flushed red.