This is my first fic. Hope you enjoy.

It is about Neji and Hinata and how the Hyuuga Clan controls their lives. Before flames, let me say that cousin X cousin relationship is NOT considered prohibited in most countries, by biology and by law! (and I know what I'm saying 'cause I'm a law student!). If you don't like, don't read!

Chapter I – Duties and Rules

It was a beautiful afternoon, the sun was high and bright, everything seemed to shine its true colors trough the white eyes of Hyuuga Hinata. It was the perfect day and it would be the perfect night because today would be the Spring Festival in Konoha!

Her only thoughts were to choose the most perfect kimono amongst those she had, to think in the most amazing hairstyle of all, and to memorize all the words she would say to her long loved boy: Uzumaki Naruto.

Yes, she decided that this night, during the festival, she would declare her love – no stuttering, no poking fingers, no fear, only bravery and courage – because he liked those traits.

"Naruto-kun, I've watched you for a long time, I know how alone you were, I know how you feel, and how strong you are! You are my inspiration, my strength, the person I admire most in the world, and I love most—I love you very much!" – That was the speech, basically, with some changes or adding some intonation in some words. She kept repeating it to herself all day and afertnoon so when the time comes, she would only say it!

Naruto! Naruto! Naruto! Naruto! – She was giggling and spinning near the inner garden of the Hyuuga Compound! And was during her daydream that her cousin and now protector, Neji, had found her:

"Hinata-sama, your father wish to speak with booth of us, please follow me."

The cousins walked to the Reunion Room. Neji slipped the doors and allowed Hinata to enter first. In the room were present all the members of the Council, Hyuuga Hiashi, and Hyuuga Hanabi.

Hinata and Neji sat in the only empty seats, right across the Hiashi.

"Hinata, my elder daughter, I've seem your improvement during these years. You've done well." – spoke the leader, her father.

Hinata's breath slowed down with his words of acknowledgement. And then, he started again:

"Even though you have become strong, it's not sufficient to be the Hyuuga's Leader. I still have my doubts if you are ready to command this clan, the oldest and most powerful of Konoha."

"F- Fa- Father, I-I-I will try my best! I'll learn m-m-more, fa-fa-faster, and prepare myself to be a w-w-w-wise leader for the Hyuuga! I promise!" – Said Hinata in a clear but not secure voice. In his mind, Neji was just imagining how a girl who spins in gardens singing Konoha's prankster master's name would be a wise leader…

Hiashi seemed to read the young man's thoughts and raised a hand to stop his daughter:

"You are very determined, and I appreciate this trait of yours. But you are also very naïve and innocent. It's clear how Konoha is in danger nowadays. Akatsuki, Sound Village and Orochimaru are lurking in our neighborhood. Menace is everywhere and you, daughter, is currently unable to spot this dangers due to your peaceful nature."

Hinata opened her mouth to speak, but her father just continued:

"I have no doubt that in the future you will be a good leader to the clan, but I need to be sure. As a leader I must be sure that The Hyuuga will remain safe, strong and protected. If something happen, and I fall, my successor must continue my work."

"F-Father, nothing is going to happen with you! Y-You a-are one of the most powerful shinobis in the village!" – Hinata said.

"A leader must think in all possibilities, including its own death! Thus, in order to remain safe the Hyuuga legacy, I want you to marry Neji".

"WHAT?" – The two cousins spoke at the same time! Hinata was shocked, her face pale (if it could be paler), and Neji was open mouthed but, being stoic as he were, recovered from the shock faster.

"Hiashi-sama, I can't see how my union with Hinata-sama would protect the Clan's legacy. I'm her protector, being my duty assure the safety of the Heiress and the clan. This has nothing to do with marriage." – Neji tried to argument.

"You have just shown why I choose you to be her husband. Neji, you carry not only the thickest Hyuuga blood within yourself, but also shows the majorities of traits that our clan praises: strength, wisdom, courage, intelligence, and a warrior spirit."

"Even so, my lord, being the heiress guardian allow me to use all these traits in her favor! Marriage is not needed!" – Neji was sounding a little desperate.

"N-Niisan is right! B-Besides, if he help me, I can l-l-learn and develop these traits myself, father! Please!" – Hinata was surely sounding desperate!

"No. Being your protector does not allow him to take some decisions and actions that only a husband could make. As your protector he can only watch over you, it's his duty. Being your husband, he can protect the whole clan under your orders. And that's what I want, his powers to the clan and to you."

"F-F-Father! Neji-niisan can be m-m-my right hand, without be my h-h-husband! It is not necessary! Really!"

"Enough! It is decided. From this meeting on you are officially engaged. Your marriage is to be held in two weeks." – Hiashi said.

"F-F-father, reconsider, please!" – Hinata begged.

"Hiashi-sama, I can train Hinata-sama. I'll make a good fighter of her. It won't be necessary such arrangements."- Neji spoke, more like begging.

"No. Decision is made. Your weeding is in two weeks."

"Please! Reconsider!" – Hinata was already up, hands towards her father. She was desperate, not only with the situation itself, but to not cry in front of the Council and her father.

Oh Heavens, it was so difficult, she felt like her world was crumbling, she needed a hole to hide inside. No! Not hide! It was exactly because this that they were putting her and Neji-niisan had to get married! Neji… she looked to her cousin. His hands were clenched into fists, his knuckles were white, his shoulders were tense, and his glare was…murderous.

"Hiashi-sama, give us these two weeks and we will train, Hinata-sama will surely be stronger in two weeks!" – It would be his last bet, Neji wasn't going to surrender that easily!

"Two weeks… look, youngsters, you must understand my …"

"You are being too soft, Hiashi." – spoke an old man who was sitting to the right of the Hyuuga Head. His name was Hyuuga Hideo, father of Hiashi and Hizashi, Grandfather for Neji, Hinata and Hanabi. The former Hyuuga Head.

"Father, they must understand the reasons behind this"

"No. The girl is your elder daughter, the boy is your nephew and Branch House member, whose opinion is not needed, and you are the Hyuuga Leader. YOU DON'T HAVE TO EXPLAIN YOUSERLF." – said the old man.

Neji looked to his grandfather: an exact copy of Hiashi, but white haired and wrinkled. He hated that man, more than the other Main House members because he was the one who threw his younger twin son to the Branch house, the one who marked his child with the cursed seal. What father would have the courage to do such a thing with a child! Hiashi had done it to him, but he was his uncle. Well, it was also sick, but a father mark its child is much worse!

Hinata felt the aura emanating from her cousin. This was getting dangerous. But before she could put her hand on his to calm him down..

"That's enough! I will not be a pawn to the Main House. NOBODY IS GOING TO TELL ME HOW I SHOULD LIVE MY LIFE!" – Neji screamed. Farewell good senses…

"Neji-niisan, please, don't"

"No. No. No. I won't accept this! I'm not like you Hinata!"

"ADDRESS HER PROPERLY, BRANCH HOUSE!"- Shouted Gramps Hideo.

Neji glared towards his grandfather, killing intent emanated from him!

"Neji, please. Calm yourself. You must remember how your father died to the survival of the clan." – Hiashi spoke calmly.

"Father has died to be FREE. He saw an opportunity and took it! Father would never accept such orders without a fight! He had his pride! He was a warrior, a shinobi! I'M A SHINOBI TOO, AND I WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS! The Life is mine to do whatever I want!"- Neji remained half sited, glaring his uncle and grandfather.

"Neji…"

But Hiashi's words were interrupted by his nephew's screams. Neji was lying on the floor, hands on his forehead as his seal was activated. Hinata saw her grandfather hands performing the seals of the Caged Bird.

"STOP. Please, grandfather, stop! Don't hurt Neji!"

"Silence, fool girl. He must learn his place in this clan. Your father is very fond of him and treated him like he was part of the Main House. During these years, he misunderstood his position."

"Father. Neji is young, he must comprehend the reasons of my decision. Stop the cursed jutsu." – Hiashi told.

Hideo did not stop. Neji was still glaring at him, fighting spirit was on his eyes.

"See, Hiashi. The boy does not accept the situation. Branch House members cannot discuss a decision made by the Main House. He can't go against his destiny."

"My .. destiny…is made only by me….nobody else….Destiny is not.. foreordained…"

Neji said, struggling to remain head up.

"Imprudent Child! Hiashi only takes you light because you are his brother's only child and because you are the most powerful Hyuuga these days. Nevertheless, you are Branch House scum!" – said one member of the council.

"My skills … I ..learned … with self effort….they belong to me… like my body…soul…and will!" – Neji was still resisting, eve though his breath was heavy, his vision blurring.

Hideo saw his grandson force. He was using the cursed jutsu for five minutes now, and the boy was still resisting, half sit and looking at him! The boy surely had power, such shinobi would be the pride of the Hyuuga clan, pride of the Main House. If only his father was the first born, Neji would be the heir not the weak Hinata. But, having a Branch House member with that power was dangerous, Neji should be held by any means available.

Then, the elder Hyuuga raised the force of his jutsu. His grandson fell on his knees.

Neji could feel the blood flowing out of his nose, ears and the seal. His head was in an amazing pain, like the veins in the back of his neck were all exploding, like his brain was too big for his skull. It was terrible, he had felt the cursed jutsu power before, but nothing like this. He clenched his jaws to not scream, but remained firmly looking at his grandfather.

Hinata saw his pain, she felt so powerless and the only thing her mind was thinking was beg:

"F-F-Father! Help Neji! Grandfather, please stop!"

"Father, cease your attack. I'm afraid Neji has already understood. It's no use get his help by painful methods!"

"I'll not cease my attack. See how he is glaring at me? He would kill me if he had the opportunity! He tried this in the past with Hinata, hasn't he?"

"I forgave him! Grandfather, he was confused and enraged! And your kind of behavior justifies his actions in the past and his hate towards the Main House!" – Hinata said in a surprisingly clear voice, no stuttering!

"Say you will act as told, boy. And I shall stop your pain." – Hideo said

"no….my life belongs….to me…." – Neji said lower, but audible. More pain struck his head, and he longer could contain his scream.

Hinata was desperate and seeing her cousin, the man she knew due to his force, stoicism, and strength cry like a baby, humiliated before all the Main House. The most powerful Hyuuga crying.

And, like in slow motion, she realized her surroundings: her father was arguing with her gramps, which was still applying the curse on Neji. Her cousin was lying on the floor, blood running form his nose, ears and forehead, his hands holding his head and that long hair in such mess. Her sister stood up when the attack started (Hanabi never saw the cursed seal be used that way), her body was completely leaned in the opposite wall, and fear was on her face, tears in her white eyes. All council members looking that pitiful scenery with blank faces. Nobody would do anything.

Then, from nowhere came a boldness she never knew, and she stood up, ran to her grandfather and slapped his hands, breaking the seal.

The minute after, she realized her act just when her father knocked her face, throwing her on the wall, few inches away from her sister.

"Neechan…."

"Hinata, such behavior is unacceptable! You have just hit your Grandfather and an elder member of the council! This will not go unpunished!" – her father was mad at her!

Neji, was looking at her, half awake, blood soaking his face, hair and shirt. He tried to sit just to receive another wave of cursed jutsu.

That was too much, Hinata crawled in the floor, hugged her cousin and started crying.

"Please, stop…. Stop"

"What is your decision?" – asked her father. His face seemed sad somehow.

"We… We…' – she started

"don't…. don't…. it's our life…." – Neji could barely say, his voice was completely inaudible.

"We accept. Please, stop this torture, we accept." – She said, among tears

"What have you done……?" – Neji sighted

"Sorry, please, don't hate me".

All the elder rose, her sister had long left the room to thrown out in the garden, and her father, the last to leave, looked at the pitiful figure of the two, still hugging each other and said:

"See, my daughter, my nephew, why I want your marriage. You were wise, Hinata, knew the right thing to be done, but withdrawn fearing the difficulties. Neji knew the risks and betted his life, he stood by his point of view until the end. You will be the wisdom, he will be force. I need you two in the leadership of this clan."

Hinata only looked while her father left the room. Again, her weakness was the reason for suffering. Her cousin suffering.

Neji had just passed out, after Hiashi's last words.