Author's Notes: Ah, here I am again, and this time I bring AU in it's craziest form. This story is a Naruto crossover with the play/movie of "West Side Story". If you've never seen the play or watched the movie, you'll be perfectly fine. If you have, then you know how utterly insane I must be to even attempt this. The entire story has been complete for quite awhile but has only been available to vistors to my Livejournal. Now I've decided to torture you all as well. :)
Premise: Two gangs control a city. One, the Falcons, is headed by Hyuuga Neji. The other, the Lions, is led by Naruto. Dealings between the two are short and usually bloody as they attempt to gain control of more area and drive the other out.
If you know me at all, you'll be able to guess the pairings. NejiTen, SasuSaku, and the barest of NaruHina. I hope this enjoy their foray into fun. I wrote this merely to amuse myself and I hope you find it just as entertaining as I did. Good readings.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, the characters, or any plotpoints belonging to "West Side Story". This is merely for fun.
There was really nothing better than standing on the corner of West and Third at midnight, surveying the wet pavement and dry stars over Konoha like a king overlooking his domain. The city was quiet at that time of night, the hard-working citizens of the day having long retired with the knowledge that they would be up again when the sun rose. They knew nothing of the secret life lived in the shadows of the old buildings downtown, quick knives in the dark and fistfights in the streets.
Hyuuga Neji knew it, had lived and breathed it ever since he had set foot on the cracked sidewalk he had thought would lead him to his fate. He'd been wrong, of course, but that hadn't bothered him. He was a man who made his destiny, even if he paid for it in blood.
Looking out through the hazy summer air, he could quietly appreciate that it had rained only an hour ago and the Lions would be coming out of their caves, roaring with indignation that he had dared to step onto their territory. Neji smirked coldly and leaned back against the brick wall of the old gym, camouflaged by his black button-up shirt and the easy darkness that seeped into everything on this side of town.
He had had a feeling that evening that something would happen, a tightening in his bones that spoke of unease. There was an energy in the air that settled between his shoulders and made his muscles tense in anticipation. Something was going down and it was going to happen here, where the land of Lions and Falcons met.
Where Hyuuga Neji was standing purposefully on the wrong side.
He saw them coming long before they say him, his eyes burning a pearly white in the black. Uzumaki was the first to notice his presence and he growled under his breath in perfect imitation of his gang's namesake.
Neji straightened, his voice perfectly flat. "Uzumaki."
Naruto scowled. "What are you doing here, Neji? I thought you knew better than to start something."
Neji turned his head away slightly, just enough to give Naruto the impression that he wasn't really looking at him. Which he wasn't. Neji never had to actually look at someone in order to see them, a fact that never failed to make Naruto simmer.
"I heard you harassed Hinata this afternoon." He took a step away from the wall. "That's low even for a Lion."
For a moment, there was a flash of surprise in Naruto's blue eyes and he pressed his lips together in a thin line. Then the look was gone, replaced by a reserve Neji took to mean that he had had no idea that any of his group had spoken to Hinata. The Hyuuga noted that information for later. If Uzumaki was losing his grip, perhaps it would not be so hard to defeat him once and for all.
"What do you want, Hyuuga?" Naruto asked, his voice on the edge of grumbling power. "You're on my territory and it's been a long day. I could use a little fun." He grinned then, the old flair coming back into his stance. Neji smirked.
"I want you gone, but I'll settle with a fight."
Behind him, Naruto's gang moved impatiently, restless. One of them, Kiba, flashed a pointed smile. "I thought you didn't like to shed blood, Hyuuga?"
Neji lazily turned his gaze to the other man, looking at him as if he were a child that had spoken out of turn. "I don't usually have to, Inuzuka. I don't fight like a dog."
Kiba snarled soundlessly and the group moved again, like a breathing thing on the verge of erupting into movement. Unconcerned, Neji moved his attention back to Naruto who was watching him with his arms crossed over his chest.
But suddenly a police siren sounded, a wail that had Neji moving back into the shadows, slipping away even as the Lions disbanded, jumping fences in their hurry to escape. Neji looked back only once and caught Naruto's determined gaze.
"Tomorrow night at the city dance, Uzumaki. Don't be late."
After that, he headed deep into his own territory close to the river, a wide expanse of warehouses and small shops, of brick streets and flickering streetlamps. He walked calmly, purposefully, nodding to people who recognized the tattoo on his forehead and lowered their eyes in respect. He ruled this neighborhood. He was their protector from groups such as the Lions, who took what they could get because it was easy, it was the way things had always been. Neji had had to fight for everything he had and his people loved him for it. Distant and cold as he may have seemed, he kept them safe and when twilight fell, that was all that really mattered.
Near midnight, Neji finally entered the bottom floor of his loft, greeting Rock Lee who was on guard there. His long time friend and partner was wide awake and completely focused, not showing the least bit of fatigue though he had been up for twenty-four hours. There had been raids before on Neji's home and anyone on duty there knew better than to so much as yawn in his presence. With Lee, though, there was never any question of ability.
Just a question of sanity.
"Is she upstairs?" he asked, keeping his voice pitched low. Lee came to his side.
"Yes. Hinata was here for awhile as well but Shino walked her home." Lee's hand clenched into a fist. "If I find out who dimmed her innocent flower of youth I'll-"
Neji made for the stairs before another one of Lee's passionate speeches could get underway. "Get some sleep, Lee. And find something nice to wear. You're going to a dance tomorrow."
Neji only had time to hear Lee's incredulous "What?" before he stepped into his bedroom and closed the door, slipping out of his shoes as he crossed the carpet, his shirt unbuttoned before he even reached the bed. Leaning over the rumbled sheets, he put a hand on the slope of his girlfriend's waist and wasn't surprised to feel her turn over at the touch, her eyes blinking sleepily in the dark.
"Neji." Her hand fumbled for the open edge of his shirt and tugged, pulling him into bed and almost on top of her. She laughed throatily, still full of dreams, as he kissed the hollow of her throat. "Where have you been? You know I hate to go to bed alone." Her fingers tangled in his long hair as he bent to kiss her properly.
"Out," he answered once he could breathe. He collapsed onto his back, head against the pillows, and allowed her to press herself against him, one of her legs hooking over his. She brushed her lips over his jaw and laid her head against his shoulder, giving him a chance to take in the scent of her vanilla shampoo. He loved the way Tenten smelled. Like vanilla and earth and sunlight.
Every muscle in his body immediately relaxed and he closed his eyes, one arm wrapping around her shoulders as her fingers traced the planes of his chest soothingly.
She began speaking after a moment, her voice low and drowsily muffled. "Hinata came over for dinner. It was Kabuto that spoke to her, the creepy bastard. I thought he had been kicked out of the Lions for good?"
"Not for good," Neji answered absently, "Just for now. Even Uzumaki doesn't like him, but getting rid of him might be more trouble than it's worth."
"Mmmm. Well, Hinata's fine. She's preoccupied with helping Sakura settle in anyway. She doesn't have time to think of anything else."
Neji moved his head slightly. "Sakura's working at the dress shop?"
"What else could I do with her?" Tenten's nose crinkled in that way she had when she was worried. "She has no idea of how to live here, Neji." Her voice dropped. "She's too…"
"There's going to be a meeting tomorrow night at the city dance," Neji said smoothly. "Tell Sakura she is to be there as well. She'll learn quickly."
Tenten's head lifted a little and her dark brown eyes found his. "A dance?" Her lips pursed and he could tell she was coming fully awake. "You mean a war council. Neji—"
He cut her off by kissing her, rolling them over until his weight pressed her down against the mattress. She made a sound in her throat but didn't object when his hand slipped under her shirt.
"Just bring her," he whispered against her lips and she nodded breathlessly, her hand against his cheek.
"As you wish."
"Sasuke…" Naruto whined, hands in his pockets as he followed the other man across the yard. "Hyuuga's serious this time and," his voice dropped to a mutter, "you know I've never been good with words, you bastard."
"No," Sasuke said flatly, for the tenth time. He set the box he was carrying down near the stairs of the store, not bothering to turn and receive the glare Uzumaki was sending his way.
Naruto had arrived early that morning at Kakashi's General Store, the place Sasuke had worked at for almost a year in an attempt to avoid another knife in the ribs. The loud-mouthed leader of the Lions had been deceptively cheerful but it soon became clear he was worried about a coming confrontation with the Falcons and their deadly leader, Hyuuga Neji.
Naruto arriving at dawn with a too-wide smile and an offer to help stack inventory could mean only one thing: he had come to recruit Sasuke for the war council.
Sasuke's answer had been very clear.
"Beat it, Naruto."
"I don't lead the Lions anymore. I haven't for over a year." Leaning over the box, he pulled a switchblade from his pocket and cut the tape. "The Hyuuga's your problem."
Naruto growled. "Grown too weak to face him, huh, Uchiha?"
Sasuke finally turned, black eyes flashing as Naruto stared at him defiantly, waiting. It had always been this way between them, more friends than enemies, more rivals than friends. When Sasuke had left the Lions, Naruto had been the obvious choice to take his place and the others followed him almost religiously, but Naruto was never one for subtlety.
And Hyuuga Neji was so subtle, Naruto could say one wrong thing and find he had missed the entire council and Neji was now ruling his territory.
Sasuke snorted and crossed his arms, eyeing his old friend disdainfully.
"You're going to get yourself killed if I'm not there," he said after a moment. Naruto's face crinkled into a hard grin. "Where are you meeting him?"
"The city dance, it's neutral territory. I knew you'd do it, Sasuke!" He pumped a fist in the air. "With the two of us there, that damn Hyuuga won't know what-"
"Quiet, idiot. You're hurting my head with your nonsense."
Grumbling under his breath, Naruto bent and lifted another box, apparently making good on his promise to help with the store for awhile. Sasuke watched him disappear down to the cellar before turning his back on the store and walking a little ways from the brick building. The sun fell on his neck and arms, warming him as he tilted his head back, watching the sky.
He had no interest in the war council. Truth be told, he had no interest in Hyuuga Neji, either. He would go because without him, Naruto would only get into trouble and Sasuke didn't want the Lions getting a bad reputation. He had started that gang, after all. He sure as hell didn't want Naruto fucking it up. But even that couldn't make him care about the eventual outcome of all this feuding.
Instead, all he wanted was to understand why he felt that his bones were splitting, every nerve wound tight, his senses so alert he thought he could count the blades of grass underneath his feet. Every morning for the last week he had woken with the feeling that something was going to happen, a pressure like that of a storm on the horizon. There was something electric in the air and breathing it had made him restless.
Something was going to happen, he knew it, he just wished he knew what.
Sasuke brought his gaze down from the bright sky and shrugged the feeling away. Nothing really mattered. For years he had wanted to get away from this town and it's territorial boundaries. The meaningless skirmishes over time had made him cynical that there could ever be a place where he did not have to fight for everything. Kakashi, of course, had had a different point of view and it had been with his urging that Sasuke had stayed. Trying to fit himself into conventional society, though, was becoming more of a chore than something he wanted for himself. He still felt trapped behind chain-link fences.
"Who knows," he murmured to himself, "maybe that feeling will never go away."
"Hey, I said I would help! Not do it all myself!" Naruto cried indignantly from the staircase. Sasuke turned on his heel and made for the store.
"I'm coming, moron. I'm coming."
Sakura eyed the material in Hinata's hands with no small amount of trepidation, her face reflecting her reluctance.
"Does it have to be white? I'm going to feel like a child."
Hinata paused in her sewing to tilt her head, her gray eyes analyzing the delicate fabric with the same focused look her cousin sometimes got. The dress was beautiful really, thin and airy, perfect for a summer evening dancing. Sakura only wished it didn't scream "pure as the driven snow" so easily. Hinata, though, seemed not to see anything amiss.
"I think it's going to look very beautiful on you," she said with a small smile, her soft voice almost a whisper. Hinata never spoke loudly, a trait that often made Sakura constantly feel like she was shouting at the younger girl even when speaking normally. "And Neji did say it should be white." Hinata's fingers brushed over the collar. "Lee is going to be there, after all."
Sakura struggled to keep her face smooth. "If Neji says so, I suppose it must be white, but surely Lee will not care what color I wear. I know your cousin thinks I should marry him, but Lee and I have always been…friends…"
"Sometimes friends make the best husbands."
Sakura eyed Hinata askance. "You don't have someone in mind for your husband, do you?"
Hinata blushed and, for a moment, her voice revealed it's childhood stutter. "I..I don't think I will e..ever marry. N..Neji says no one is suitable."
"Neji says a lot of things," a melodious voice said, "but you learn not to listen to at least half."
Hinata stood quickly, blinking owlishly as Tenten walked into the room, a cheerful smile on her face. Sakura hurriedly followed her example, skittish as always in the presence of the Hyuuga's girlfriend, the only woman who had ever argued with the leader of the Falcons and won. Tenten was a very kind person, and very reasonable, but she held a sort of latent power that reminded Sakura constantly of the woman's position. Tenten was the right hand of the Hyuuga and no matter how much she may have seemed just an ordinary girl, Tenten was just as fierce as Neji when it came to protecting herself and others.
"Ah, I see you two are hard at work," Tenten said, her eyes on Sakura's dress. "Neji told you it had to be white, hmmm?"
Sakura blushed, somehow feeling that her earlier complaints were suddenly childish. "It's alright."
In Tenten's presence, Hinata relaxed enough to smile timidly. "Sakura wishes the neck were a little lower."
An amused smile curved Tenten's lips and Sakura felt the blush creep all the way to her hairline until she was sure she was as red as one of the tomatoes she had grown in the countryside. "I…well…"
Tenten laughed, startling them, and took the dress from Hinata, holding it up to see it better. "It is a bit restrictive, isn't it? I don't think lowering it another inch would hurt." Sakura grinned and even Hinata giggled softly. "Just don't tell Neji I said it was alright. He has this notion that you're still the innocent farm girl and I told him you'd be dressed as the epitome of propriety."
Sakura clasped her hands together. "This will be my first public event in the City." Her green eyes sparkled. "I wonder what it will be like? I'm sure everything is going to be so exciting!"
Something flickered in Tenten's dark eyes briefly and then was gone before Sakura could put a name to it. The older woman smiled but it was distant. "Yes, it should be exciting. Just make sure to stay with Lee, he'll take care of you." She handed the dress back to Hinata. "I'll see you both there so keep out of trouble till then!"
"Yes, Tenten," Hinata agreed meekly. Sakura waved in farewell and as soon as the door was closed, twirled in place whimsically.
"Tonight is going to be special, Hinata. I know it." Her fingers reached towards the ceiling. "Just wait and see. Everything is going to change." She closed her eyes, smiling.
End Act I.