yawns and stretches Can I please go to sleep now? What? No? Not before I finish this? ... no? Fine! I'll do it! But I better get cheesecake for this! huffs Sorry about the lateness. I hated the original ending! It was so cheesy it hurt. Crap, I tried, but its not ending here people. Going another chap. Having trouble ending this, so accepting some ideas here.
IF THERE ARE ANY ARTISTIC READERS OUT THERE THE AUTHOR IS WONDERING IF PERHAPS SOMEBODY COULD DRAW HER A PICTURE OF HYUUGA YUUHI. SHE HAS FALLEN MADLY IN LOVE WITH THE POOR, ABUSED BRANCH HOUSE MEMBER!
Hinata skidded to a stop in front of the door, nearly slamming into one of the guards.
"Let me in."
"This is a council meeting Hinata-sama. We cannot let you pass."
"This is important!" Hinata struggled to keep the tears from her eyes.
"However, Hinata-sama..." Yuuhi leaned close and whispered. "There are no rules to prevent you from accidentally hearing what goes on as you lean against the door..."
She smiled. "You are the branch-house member in charge of protecting Hanabi-chan, aren't you?"
He returned the smile and stepped to the side, allowing her to press an ear up against the door. The other guard fidgeted nervously. "Ignore it." He nodded and pretended not to see the main house girl.
"...cannot accept the fact that I love her and there is nothing it can do."
Her breath caught in her throat. Did he just say...? Oh Kami-sama... "Neji-kun... please, be careful!"
"Remember Neji-san, you have called this down on yourself."
"No..." she whispered. "No, please!"
A solitary, guttural scream ripped through the house.
"NO!" Hinata flung herself at the door, only to be pulled back by the branch house guard.
"Hinata-sama! You cannot go in there!"
Her head whipped around to face him, her Byakugan activated. He didn't have time to make a sound before he was thrown backwards by a powerful blow to his stomach. His head slammed against the floor, and a trickle of blood worming down from his hairline.
Hinata's hand stung badly, used to the 'Gentle Fist' technique. But she ignored it, now directing her fury at Yuuhi.
Yuuhi put his hands up in a signal of surrender and moved away from the door. "Go right ahead..."
She tore past him into the room.
"What is the meaning of this?"
Neji crouched in the middle of the room, clutching his head. Wordlessly his lips moved, but only animal-like cries came out. His eyes were glazed and unfocused. He didn't notice her there beside him, tears streaming down her face. "Neji... Neji-kun..." He didn't respond, pain blocking out everything else. His hiate-ate lay forgotten on the floor, the cage seal glowing red. She looked up at the council, pleading. "Please, stop this!"
"You are not allowed to enter a council meeting unless you are summoned! Remove yourself."
She found the source, the Head council-man who controlled the seal. Rage she had never known built inside of her, pounding in her head. Energy surged through her. And she did the one thing no Hyuuga had done for forty years. Hyuuga Hinata attacked the council head.
Council members stared in shock as she activated her Byakugan and raced towards him, her grandfather. He dodged her easily, but she twisted at the last moment, and a swarm of senbon flew towards him. He was forced to release the hand sign to deflect the needles.
Neji's cry died as the pain dissipated. Furious, the council-man formed another seal, creating a wind force to slam painfully into Hinata, bashing her against, and then through the far wall. She pushed herself to her feet, as the edge of his hand smashed into the side of her neck. She gasped, blood filling her throat. Hinata cringed and braced herself for a second blow.
The council-man paused and glared at Hiashi, who was standing in his way. Suddenly there was a rush of air. The council-man leapt back, but could not miss being scraped by the blow. Neji's fist landed in the floor, shredding the tatami mats and the wood floor beneath.
"How... dare you..." His chest heaved with exertion. "How dare you... lay a hand on your superior!"
"Enough!" Kaede clapped her hands loudly. "Elder Tohzu, you were out of place. The child was incapacitated, the second blow was unnecessary. You have proven to this council that mere children are enough to stir your temper. I seriously recommend adjourning this assembly until you are able to retain your composure. You preach at me about decorum, yet you conduct yourself in a manner that brings disgrace to this council. The boy had every right to accuse our system of being archaic if we allow romance between teenagers to cause our leaders to slaughter our heirs." She turned to Hiashi. "See to your daughter."
"Yes Elder-dono." Gingerly, Hiashi gathered her into his arms. "Neji-san, thank you."
Neji nodded slightly, unable to speak.
"Yuuhi-san." Yuuhi appeared immediately. "Take Neji-san to his home, and summon a medic to tend to him."
"The council is dismissed until sunset. Somebody bring me lunch!"
As carefully as he could, Yuuhi eased Neji onto his bed. "Who'd have thought I'd be the one hauling your butt home? Isn't it usually the other way around?"
"... you're usually drunk..."
Yuuhi sniggered. "Watch it little one, I'm still older than you."
"Yeah, you'll be fine."
Susuka rushed to boil some water and pull out all the pain relieving herbs she had.
"Don't worry little one, I'll find out if she's okay."
"I'll kill him... for touching her..."
"I know. Susuka-san," Yuuhi bowed to Neji's mother, "a medic will be here shortly. There is no lasting damage to him."
"Thank you Yuuhi-kun."
"Neji, try to stay out of trouble please?"
"..." Neji glared up at the ceiling, unable to turn his head. "Like hell..."
"Oh yeah, you're gonna be just fine."
"Please, please PLEEEEASE give me good news! Neji-kun asked me to check on her and if she's badly injured hell's gonna break loose here!"
"You think that's bad?" Hanabi stood with her hands on her hips. "Right now I'm hiding from Tenten-chan! If she finds out what happened here then we'll have ten chuunin and Kurenai-san and possibly Gai-san attacking this place! Kiba, Shino, Sakura, Naruto, Lee... it'd be bloodshed I tell you. BLOODSHED!"
"What do we do?"
"What else? Lie like the world is gonna blow!"
"So we haven't heard anything?" Hanabi shook her head.
"And I can't let them take her to the hospital. I had to have Shizune-san escorted here. I cannot let this get out!"
Yuuhi nodded gravely.
"Hyuuga-san?" They both jumped up as the door slid open and Shizune stepped out. "She'll be fine. No solid food for a few days. And no extreme temperatures for at least a month. Make sure all her meals are lukewarm. I'm not sure how much is permanent, it is possible that very hot or very cold food will cause pain for a very long while. Keep talking to a minimum, and bed-rest would be good."
"Thank you thank you thank you! You have no idea how many lives you just saved!" Shizune bowed.
"She has asked for you... and for Neji-san."
"Alright, Yuuhi, please accompany Shizune-san to my father."
"...wonderful... this is just wonderful. I am so dead!" Hanabi raced to the window to catch sight of her stubborn sister disappearing. "Oh come on Hinata-chan! Can't you make my life easy just for once?" Footsteps sounded in the hall outside the room. Hanabi began to panic. Father! If her father found Hinata gone...
Hiashi slid open the door and quietly sat next to the bed. "Hinata? Are you awake?" There was no answer. "Hinata, I'm sorry... for everything. I know how much he means to you. But that was a very reckless act you tried today. As my heir, I'm going to have to punish you for that. But as my daughter... you have a lot of spirit. I'm beginning to think Neji may have been good for you." He pulled back the blanket covering her face. 'Hinata' pretended to be sleeping, hoping he'd go. But karma would have none of that.
"Kai!" The henge no jutsu dispelled, revealing Hanabi in her sister's bed.
"Father... I can explain..."
"Somehow I'm sure you can. She's at Neji's?"
"...yes..." Hiashi rose to leave. "Oh please don't split them up! Hinata-chan's really happy when she's with him! Please Father!"
"I'm not going to split them up. But apparently the council wants their every movement supervised."
"Here." Hanabi dragged him to the window. "If you sit right here and tilt your head that way, see that light? That's Neji-kun's window. You can use the binoculars if you want, but using the byakugan gives you a much better view."
"... I do not want to know how you know all this..."
Neji tensed when someone slipped silently into his room. Soon he felt her cool fingers against his face.
"I-I'm s-so s-sorry Neji-k-kun. I'm s-so sorry." Her tears soaked his sleeve as she clutched onto his arm. "I didn't m-mean it. I-I didn't mean t-to get you in t-trouble."
"It's not your fault Hinata-chan. Really. Naruto says I have the ability to infuriate anyone in less that five words. This was because I refused to listen."
"Y-you wouldn't have had t-to go in th-there if it wasn't f-for me."
She buried her face in his side and wept even harder. Painfully he pushed himself up into a sitting position. "Come." Obediently she crawled in next to him and curled up, fingers twisting in the fabric of his shirt. "It's okay. We're going to be alright. We can handle this."
"N-no. It's a-all wrong. I-I don't w-want you t-to be my s-secret any m-more. I-I want..." She hiccuped. "I d-don't know w-what I want! I j-just don't w-want you to g-get hurt."
She winced when he brushed against her neck.
"What did the medic say?"
"R-rest. I should b-be fine."
"Shh. I don't think you're supposed to do a lot of talking." Hinata nodded and sniffed. She pulled back, and suddenly noticed the large wet spot covering his whole sleeve and most of the side of his shirt.
"Oh!" She made as if to try to rub it out when Neji caught her hands. "I'm sorry!"
"You are ... unexplainable."
"Neji-kun? Did you mean it?"
"Mean what?" He looked at her curiously.
"Um... when you said... you loved me... in front of the elders..."
"... exactly how much did you hear?"
"Just that." Seconds dragged on into minutes, and Hinata decided that he wouldn't answer. "It's okay you know, because... because I love you."
"...that's good." More silence. "Me too."
Kaede wasn't used to fuming. She had a rather cheerful disposition, if she did say so herself, and all she needed at her age was more wrinkles. If only that dim-witted old man had not been so damned jumpy, perhaps she would have been able to convince the remaining council members of the benefits of this relationship. As it stood now, half the council was clamoring for Hanabi to be named head. Kaede shuddered in horror. Letting that girl lead the Hyuuga would spell doom for this and every other bloodline, as could be easily seen from Neji's first chuunin exam, when Hanabi proclaimed THAT medic betrayed the village just to avoid paying her.
Kaede was convinced that Tohzu had done this on purpose, to try to show Hinata as being incapable. She sighed and sank into her seat.
"You're a matchmaking old fool."
"And you are a pompous... no, I suppose I can't effectively describe you in polite company."
Tohzu sneered. "Just like you isn't it Kaede, undermine my authority and disgrace yourself."
"You attacked a fifteen year old child. I don't know what wool you've pulled over your eyes, but Hyuuga Neji 's anger is not to be taken lightly."
"Your wisdom astounds me."
"I'm serious. We cannot afford another clan war."
"Which is why we need to put him in his place now!"
"And wait and let it ferment? You leave him to simmer and when he does strike it will be disaster. I am not psychic, but these eyes see more than yours ever will."
"And your solution? Coddle him? Let him think he is equal?"
"No, marry him off to Hinata and have her keep him in check. Simple if you ask me. You heard him, she has him completely controlled. Hand him to her, and there is no more Branch House threat."
"Hmph, hypocrite. You're talking about him like livestock, and you point fingers at me."
Kaede's fingers drummed idly on the table. "You put words in my mouth. I said no such thing. I'm simply pointing out the benefits."
"My method is guaranteed to be much more effective."
"Of course Tohzu-kun. It will work perfectly. And he'll grow old and turn out to be exactly like a bitter old man who was once in love with my sister. A bitter old man I know very well. Is that why you're just a bastard about this Toh-kun? Because Hinata looks exactly like Shiori and you don't think anyone is good enough for her? Is this your way of rebelling against Shiori's marriage all those years ago? By keeping Hinata in a bubble you somehow feel that you're still protecting Shiori? Or are you taking out your fury on her because you feel Shiori rejected you all these years ago?"
"You forget your place woman." He rose. "Besides, I can guarantee that the moment it is no longer convenient, she will discard him like garbage and move on. All you women born into the main house are exactly alike."
"No. Hinata is a different breed altogether."