"BANZAI!" I yelled as I jumped into the swimming pool. I felt the water hit my body. It felt as though a lot up it shot up my nose. It didn't feel good. I quickly stood up, surfacing. Coughing and sputtering I rubbed at my face.
"Hey! Hey! Hey!" my mother called to me sounding both worried and annoyed. "You know you can't swim! Stop being so reckless!"
"It's okay, mom!" I said, pushing myself out of the water. It was the shallow end, of course. I sat at the edge with my feet in the water. "I can almost swim under water."
"Almost...?" my mom muttered.
"Its okay, Ishikari-san!" Ichiro announced, patting my mom's shoulder. "I'll protect her!"
"Not with those wimpy arms!" I giggled.
"Yeah, we all know who's the strongest in the group," Megumi said, popping her head out of the water; how she heard that... I don't even want to know.
"Yeah, but she's also the dumbest!" Ichiro grumbled.
"Don't be jealous!" I said, sticking my tongue out.
I began to walk over to my mother while Ichiro walked to the swimming pool, grumbling about 'stupid girls and their smart brains.' He could be so immature... just like me! Kyoko couldn't be here for my birthday party because her family was moving. I was sad that I heard she was moving away! I didn't know until after I got out of the hospital which was two months ago! Well anyway, I'm 13 today! Yippie! We're going to celebrate at my favorite restrurant when we're done with swimming! "Mom, look at me! I'm about to jump in the deep end!" I called over to my mom.
"Don't you dare!" she yelled out.
"Relax! I was just joking!" I said. Chuckling a bit, I began to walk over to her, but this tall guy bumped into me when he ran by, knocking me into the water! The last thing I heard before hitting the water was my mom calling out my name. Water rushed into my mouth, so of course I started to panic like crazy! I opened my eyes to see water all around me making me panic more. "No... I can't die like this!" I thought as I felt my body sinking further down; when it comes to water I'm just a lead weight. I suddenly saw a bright white light. "Oh no! I have to move away from the light! I can't die this young!" I thought, trying to swim away though, it seemed like it was pulling me in. The next thing I know, my body feels light, so light even though I still feel myself sinking.
"Forget about us," Kiba said, sitting up a little. "You better worry about yourself, Hinata."
"What do you mean?" Hinata asked.
"Only six left, just you and Chouji, Neji, Lee, and then there are those two from the sound and sand villages," Kiba explained. "Listen to me—be smart! If they put you in with that guy from the sand village... you have to forfeit the match. Same with Neji. Be smart and just walk away. Trust me, he will be merciless. He would destroy you."
"All right, we'll now pick the names for the next match," Hayate said. Everyone stared at the screen that decided the matches.
When the names stopped flashing, it said Hinata Hyuga VS Neji Hyuga. Hinata looked at the screen with a scared expression. "Hinata..." Kurenai thought, watching her student.
"This should be an interesting match indeed," the Hokage thought always watching. Hinata and Neji walked to the center of the room; they faced each other.
"I never thought I would have to face you," Neji said.
"Neither did I... brother," Hinata said.
"What did she call him?" Sakura said.
"Brother...? Those two are brother and sister?" Naruto said looking down at the two.
"They come from Konoha's oldest noble family, the Hyuga Clan," Kakashi explained. "But they aren't siblings."
"Then how are they related?" Sakura asked.
"They're most likely cousins," Kakashi answered. Suddenly, Hinata's head started hurting, she tried to act like it was nothing, but the pain was almost unbearable!
Hinata fell to the ground groaning in pain, clutching her head. Hayate, unsure of what to do, called out to her. "Are you okay?" he asked. The Hyuga stood, clutching her head. Her expression was fixed into a grimace.
"Do I look okay?" she asked. "Where did this headache come from?"
"Hinata...? Since when does she talk like that?" Kurenai thought.
"Okay then, you may start when ready," Hayate said.
"First I have to figure out where the hell I am," Hinata thought. Eyes darted to and fro. Pale eyes widen in slight horror. "Isn't that…?" She looked down at her hands. They were light in complexion—pale. "Oh what? Not again!" The girl almost threw her hands up in frustration. It had only been two months since the last time this happened! Just who the hell was she now?
My body… Wh-Why ha-have you taken over my bo-body?
"What the—Hinata? Hyuga Hinata."
Y-Yes...?"No flipping way!"Who are yo-you?"My name is Mayu… I'm not sure what's going on, but I'll try to explain at a later time." Lavender eyes focused on the person in front of her. Hyuga Neji—he was staring her down. Also, his lips were moving, but she opted not to pay attention. Judging from the surroundings, Mayu deduced that she was in the chuunin exam as Hinata. And for some reason, Hinata was still here. Actually, she didn't really understand how this whole thing worked in the first place. Surely, thinking about it would give her a headache. "Were you listening?" Neji's voice snapped her out her musings. Mayu blinked, and then averted her eyes. For now, she had to pretend to be Hinata. Once the coast was clear, then she could figure out the important things.
"I-I'm sorry... I w-wasn't l-listening um... brother…" Mayu stuttered out, messing with her coat. She mentally rolled her eyes. Who knew it was so hard to force a speech impediment?
"I was giving you advice." His voice sounded icy. Mayu had to make herself not roll her eyes. She had forgotten how similar Sasuke and Neji were when the Hyuga was first introduced. Instead, her eyes looked towards the ground. She fiddled with the coat again.
"Hinata, listen to me!" Neji's voice rose, making the girl look up at him. "Withdraw now! You know you were never meant to be a ninja." It was getting increasingly hard to pretend to be the meek kunoichi that Hinata was.
"What? Say that to my face you girly man!" Mayu thought, but on the outside she tried to act calm.
M-Mayu-san... please calm down."You're too kind and gentle, you seek harmony," Neji continued. "And avoid conflict, you allow yourself to be easily swayed by others. Admit it! You have no confidence, you feel inferior to everyone else here. It would have been simpler if you just stayed a genin. But to register for the chuunin exams you needed a team of three people. You never even wanted to take part in these exams but Shino and Kiba did. You couldn't bear to let your teammates down... could you?"
"Breathe in… breathe out… Breathe in… breathe out!" Mayu chanted in her mind. However, it did not seem to work. She mentally growled out, and then spoke to her 'alter ego.' "Hinata, do you actually let him say stuff like that to you?"He… There's a re-reason for his words to-towards me."Bro-Brother... y-you h-have absolutely... n-no idea what I w-want," Mayu tried to keep the volume of her voice down. "Y-You h-have n-no right to say t-thing like t-that. I wanted... to be s-stronger. I wanted t-to change. That's w-why I did it. I did it for m-me."
"Hinata, you are the pampered offspring of the Hyuga's main branch," Neji said. "People can't change no matter how hard they try."
"Y-You... say that but-" Mayu began, doing her best to stay in character, but Neji interrupted her.
"They can't run away from their true nature," he said. "A failure will always be a failure."
"I am about to lose it on your cousin, Hinata!"
"Okay, okay! Calm down… I just won't listen anymore. Problem solved!" Mayu thought.
Since you d-don't want to hear him... could you explain w-why you're here?"Well, actually I don't know how I got here!" Mayu thought, frowning. "Last time I was in Sakura's body... I'm surprised she didn't die." Her gaze shifted up to Sakura. Her hair was short and pink, but she was alive. "I guess she came back to her body when I went back to mine."Y-You were in Sakura-san's body?"Yeah, but no one knew... besides Sasuke," Mayu told her. "I wonder if he remembers."T-Then why a-am I s-still here?"Honestly, I don't know... Sakura didn't go into my body when I was in hers so... I just don't know.""Byakugan!" Neji's voice interrupted the thoughts of the two girls. Mayu looked up to see that Neji's eyes had changed!
She quickly covered her mouth to stop the scream that threatened to come out. "God! Hinata, your bloodline is scary as hell!" Mayu thought, looking away from his eyes. "My heart can't take this!" She looked down, and then stared at Neji. However, he was still giving off his cold hard stare. "Oh man, he's still staring! I know you're adorable and all Hinata, but dang!"Y-You think I'm a-adorable?
"Of course! And so do a lot of other people!" Mayu thought. "My friend Ichiro is one of your biggest fans!"T-Thank you... Mayu-san."THAT DOES IT!" Naruto's voice reached Mayu's/Hinata's ears making her look up. "WHO GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO TELL HER WHAT SHE CAN AND CAN'T BE? GO ON, HINATA! SHOW THIS GUY HE'S WRONG!"
N-Naruto-kun...!"He's right, Hinata!" Mayu told her. "You're going to fight him. I wanted to teach him a lesson of my own but... I want you to get him!"B-But how... do I?"Uh... hold on... let me just try something..."
"All right! It worked!" now it was Mayu's voice in Hinata's mind.
"How d-did you m-m-manage t-that?"
I just pictured myself in my own body."HINATA! You're just gonna stand there and take that!" Naruto yelled. "Do something! You're driving me crazy!"
Well, Hinata?"You're both right," Hinata thought, bowing her head slightly. "Both of you... thank you!" Her gentle eyes suddenly looked determined. She almost glared at her cousin.
"If you don't forfeit the match... you know what will happen."
"I won't runaway!" Hinata thought, making various hand signs. "...Never again... No more hiding!" She stopped making hand signs. "Byakugan!" she shouted; her eyes changed too. She got into her fighting stance. "Defend yourself... my brother!"
Yeah Hinata! Show him what real girl power is all about!Neji also got into his fighting stance and activated his Byakugan. "Very well, then!" he said. Then at the same time they raced towards each other! Burst of Chakra emitted from their hands each time an attempt of causing injury was made. Hinata saw an opening and went for it.
"Now!" She launched her palm forward, barely striking Neji's side. The older Hyuga frowned, and then stepped back. Hinata stepped forward in response. For a moment or two, the two cousins merely stared at one another.
Hinata! You're doing great, but I want to try something! Ehehehe…!Slowly, the Hyuga heir backed away. "O-Okay, what do you suggest?" she thought.
Just think of yourself as a spirit!"Are you sure?" Hinata thought, but followed he instructions none the less.
"Ha! It worked!" Mayu thought.
What are you planning?"You'll see. teehee!" Her mental grin seemed evil, causing Hinata to shudder.
"HINATA! YOU SHOW HIM!" Naruto yelled.
"Her stance!" Lee thought, watching Hinata intensively. "Her stance has changed a little!" Hinata continued to back up, and then suddenly she charged at Neji!
"What is she thinking?" Neji thought. "I can easily counter her attack if she keeps charging like that." "Okay, force the Chakra into your feet!"
"Okay, force the Chakra into your feet!"Mayu thought, still running. She remembered the chakra control exercises. This was going to help her immensely. Had she not learned while in Sakura's body, she would have been in a world of pain. Once she was close enough, Neji had lashed out, only his attack didn't hit. Hinata was gone from in front of him.
"I see..." Kakashi thought. "She forced more than enough of Chakra to her feet to jump up and behind him.""Never let your opponent get behind you," Mayu whispered, and then grinned. "Hidden Leaf Ancient Taijutsu Supreme Technique!" Her pointed hand sign collided with Neji's rump! "A thousand years of pain!" Screaming, Neji shot into the air, grabbing his behind! He crashed into the ground, groaning loudly. Snickers filled the building. Mayu had tried to be serious, but the snickers only made her fall in a fit of giggles. She held her aching sides because she was laughing so hard. "No! I change what I said before... it is way more funny when it's done to someone like Neji!" She tried to calm herself down. The girl stood up, covering her mouth in an attempt to stop the laughter. "I'm gonna do that Sasuke! Hehehehehe!" After picturing doing the same to Sasuke, she had another fit of laughter.
"Hinata!" With a grimace on his face, Neji finally stood. He was both embarrassed and in pain. "Why… Why did you do that?" Oh, there was some anger in there, too. But Mayu only shook her head. She had stopped laughing, but the grin would not leave her face.
"Simple really," she answered. "Your reaction was well worth it!" She then obnoxiously laughed out again. Clearly, this was making Neji pissed off. He began to charge at her again. "Oh no! Ru-Run away!" Still giggling, Mayu took off, hands in the air. The spectators watched this happen, looking back and forth. Many sweated nervously at the antics of the two Hyuga.
"Does Hinata seem… a little off to you?" Sakura murmured. Naruto narrowed his eyes, but did not answer. He was sure he hadn't talked to Hinata in the past. But there was something strangely familiar about her actions right now. His blue eyes glanced over at Sakura, and then back to the kunoichi who continuously evaded Neji.
"I can't put my finger on it…" he thought, frowning.You're so fast, Mayu-san!"Yeah, I'm using your speed combined with mine to get away from him." By this time, she had stopped giggling. However, she still was running away from Neji. He was still angry about it. Talk about holding a grudge! Yes, but when will I be able to fight him again?"So, you're that anxious, huh?" Mayu thought. She smirked and headed for the wall. Using her chakra, she ran up the wall and then pushed herself away, flipping over Hyuga Neji. She performed several back flips to put more distance in between them. Satisfied with the distance, she stood up straight, arms outstretched in a mock Hyuga stance. "Fine, I'll do what I wanted to do now." Mayu charged at Neji again. This time, she relied only on her own speed. "This is gonna hurt!" Smirking, Neji thrust his palm forward, striking her chest.
"He got her?" Naruto exclaimed.
"So this is the full extent... of the main branch's strength?" Neji said as Mayu coughed up blood in her hands. This couldn't be healthy… She squeezed her eyes shut. But it was necessary. She looked up, forcing herself to grin. As expected, Neji's eyes widen in surprise. He was stunned that she could make that expression in her current state. Mayu backed up a little and, with a swipe of her arm, threw her blood into his eyes! Neji grunted in pain as he tried wiping the blood from his eyes, but it was already in. Mayu took this time to gather most of her Chakra at her feet. Like a bullet, she shot into the air.
"Hinata let herself get attacked on purpose...?" Kakashi thought, watching the girl as she started to descend. He noticed the hands signs for the Clone Jutsu right away. "Why that jutsu?"Suddenly, a cloud a smoke appeared right next to Hinata. When it disappeared it revealed a clone of the Hyuga. However, what gasped many to gasp in surprise was the clone's color design. True, the clone looked exactly like Hinata. However, its Byakugan eyes were blue. It's hair was darker than Hinata's—black. And the skin—that was even odder. Instead of the creamy shade of pale, the clone's skin was darker—a medium shade of brown.
"Blue eyes… dark skin…! I know this… Ishikari?" The Hokage watched, stunned, as the two descended.
"Hinata! Grab my hands!" Mayu said. Hinata nodded and did what she was told. The two started spinning like a wheel. The two were getting closer to the ground. "Hinata's secret technique!" Mayu started. She swung with Hinata one last time so that she could hit Neji with the heel of her foot. But Neji moved back slightly and she missed. She wasn't done yet, though. The two girls quickly attacked him, using the Gentle Fist as offensive. Neji almost dodged them but it was hit a couple times. Both girls brought their hand back—Hinata, her right and Mayu, her left. The two attacked his chest area, pushing Neji back. He soared, and then crashed into the wall behind him. "Double Trouble Combo!" This time, the two spoke in unison. Hinata covered her mouth and blushed.
"YEAH! Hinata, that was so cool~!" Naruto shouted, making the timid girl's blush increase.
"Tell him you got that idea from watching him," Mayu whispered.
"Um... I got that from watching you, Naruto-kun!" Hinata said.
"Haha! She got that from me!" Naruto said. "You hear that Sakura-chan? I'm already inspiring others!" He blinked several times before focusing on Hinata's clone. "But what's with her clone?" he thought in confusion. "It looks perfectly normal except for the color. I thought Hinata could do the jutsu perfectly."
Neji struggled to stand. "This can't be right! Her clone's attacks were real! I felt every single one of them," he thought, and then coughed up the things that were in his stomach.
"No way! Hinata actually made Neji-" Lee started.
"-Throw up! Way to go Hinata!" Naruto finished.
"Hinata... have you've been holding out this entire time?" Kurenai thought. "And that clone...""And I'm out!" Mayu said, giving a victory sign and then disappeared in puff of smoke.
"Thank you, Mayu-san," Hinata thought.
No problem! Now it's your turn to show your stuff!"I was going to wait to use this, but Hinata has proved to be stronger than I expected her to be," Neji thought. "I have to finish this quickly." He finally got back to his feet and back into his fighting stance.
"Neji... I'll say this once more... Defend yourself!" Hinata almost exclaimed. The two cousins dashed at each other again, preparing for the clash. They collided in a flurry of palm strikes. Minutes passed by, and yet neither looked ready to stop. "I can do this...!" Hinata thought. Her eyes darted all over Neji's body, trying to find some kind of opening... However, Neji wasn't a genius for nothing. He had effectively hidden any openings as soon as she found them. Finally, there was one that he didn't cover. She had one chance to get it. "There!" Unfortunately, her switch from defensive to offensive caused an opening in her guard. Neji saw the opening and went for it. Silence fell upon the two as their stood, frozen. They only stared at one another. Finally, a reaction to their strikes happened. The two Hyuga gagged and coughed up blood.
"They both got each other at the same time!" Naruto exclaimed. Neji glared, feeling his blood slide down his chin. Hinata shouldn't have been able to do that! Then again, she shouldn't have been able to do a lot of the things she did in this match. He actually felt a bit tired from fighting her. Hinata panted out as she stared back at her cousin.
"Not yet!" she thought. The heir shoved Neji's arm away, and then she attacked again. But this time Neji caught her hand and poked her in the arm she was attacking with. The kunoichi's eyes widen. Her panting increased. Her frantic expression was the polar opposite of Neji's calm one. He knew he had one—both of them knew. Neji pulled back Hinata's sleeve and revealed her arm, which had red marks on it. The kunoichi grimaced. "Y-You... mean... this whole time?"
"That's right… I can detect the Tenketsu," Neji confirmed.
"Wh-What's he saying?" Naruto asked.
"Along the keirakukei that we spoke of earlier, there are 361 Chakra points... no larger than the prick of a pin," Kakashi began to explain. "These nodes are called Tenketsu... and in theory, if you can hit them accurately... you can halt the flow of the enemy's Chakra, of enhance it, controlling it in any way you wish. But while we're on the topic, let me add... these tenketsu... They're undetectable, even to my Sharingan eye. And regardless of having the sight, to be able to do it in the heat of battle—perceive so accurately and..."
Suddenly, Neji pushed Hinata back and she landed a couple feet away. "Hinata... though I must say that you put up a fight... this is the unalterable difference in strength..." he began. "This is the distinction that separates the elite from the failure. Withdraw!"
"I... n-never go back..." Hinata, although feeling her body weakening, struggled to stand back up. "On my word..."
"Hinata..." Naruto thought.
"Because... that's my nindo—my ninja way, too!" Hinata finished. She fully stood, determined look back in her eyes. Her gaze shifted up, settling on the blond shinobi. He reared his head back, amazed.
"Whoa! Hinata..." Naruto murmured. "Man, she's got guts!"
"She's a lot like you," Lee remarked.
"Yeah... I've noticed that she's always watching you, Naruto..." Sakura said.
"What?" Naruto said dumbfounded. "Hinata…" Hinata reactivated her Byakugan.
"Bring it on..." Neji said, doing the same. However, before she could do anything else, Hinata hacked up more blood. She held her stomach as the blood hit the floor.
Hinata, can you go on?"Yes... I will not give in," she answered.
"Hang in there, Hinata!" Naruto shouted.
"Naruto...!" Hinata thought. She could not help the smile that fell into place.The Hyuga heir was suddenly struck, causing her head to spring back. She fell, but she just got back up again. Once more, the kunoichi spit out blood, but she refused to give up.
Hinata..."Yes..." Hinata nodded. "Naruto-kun... I've been watching you for such a long time..." Hinata thought. "But now, at last, you're watching me!"Neji suddenly struck her heart area. Hinata froze and then fell forward. "Don't you know when to quit?" he asked once she made the impact with the floor. "You are a failure and will remain that way." Without remorse, he began to walk away.
"That was Neji's masterstroke. It targets the heart," Gai said. "It's a pity, but that girl can no longer move."
"Seeing as the match cannot go on, I-" Hayate began. He stopped short because he was interrupted.
"No! Don't stop it!" Naruto yelled. He didn't care that Sakura had begun to yell at him. All he wanted was for Hinata to stand. She had to get back up. "Don't underestimate her!" It surprised everyone when the kunoichi actually stood. Her body shook she was still standing.
"Why are you getting up?" Neji asked. His eyebrow twitched. "If you push tpo hard, you really will die..."
"It's because of the person I admired for so long... is watching me," Hinata answered in thought. "I won't look un-cool in front of him!" She gasped, clutched her arm."Th-This isn't over yet!" Hinata said.
"You're not fooling anyone... I can see that it's taking all of your strength just to stand," Neji stated. "You were burdened from birth with the destiny of the Hyuga clan's main branch... You've hated and punished yourself for your own weakness... But you can't fight your nature... or change our fate. But you need not suffer any more. Be at peace!"
"But you're wrong, brother," Hinata said, shaking her head. "I can see it now... it's you who are torn and suffering—caught between the destinies of the main branch and the side branch of our clan!" Suddenly, Neji activated his Byakugan and started charging at Hinata.
"Neji...! The match is already over!" Hayate said, but the angry Hyuga ignored the proctor.
"THE HELL IT IS!" Hinata yelled, shocking everyone as she, too, charged towards Neji. Not expecting this, the Hyuga halted. Hinata, however, kept going. "SHAZAAM!" she yelled, punching her opponent. The force behind the impact caused Neji to slide back, holding his nose.
"Hinata...!" Kurenai thought. "Just when I was about to stop him... she pulls this?" "Hinata is a lot more than I expected..."
"Hinata is a lot more than I expected..."Kakashi thought. "She kinda reminds me of Sakura back when we were fighting Zabuza..."M-Mayu-san! W-Why?"I thought you could use a break so I took over... now rest!" Mayu thought. "While I'm in control, your body seems good. I will fight Neji for all the things that he said about you!"You don't have to..."Believe me when I say I want to! He's been working my nerves ever since I got here! Don't tell me not to do this, Hinata!" Mayu thought. With her hands clenched at her sides, she gave Neji a heated stare. "On your feet! This is round two!"
"How can she still move let alone attack?" Neji thought. He took his hands away from his face. Blood covered his palms. Damn—did she break his nose? How had she strong enough to do that? "And her eyes... the look is different... almost blood lust...?" Mayu unzipped the jacket she was wearing and threw it to the side.
"I am sick and tired of hearing your voice, Neji!" Mayu shouted, pointing a finger. She scoffed and shook her head. "You are so bitter, and I'm getting tired of your fate is answer! Insulting people just because they might be slightly weaker? You have only succeeded in making me angry."
"Hinata, stop putting on this act! You and I both know that your injuries are serious. I think it would be best if you give-"
"You're out of time, Neji!" Mayu said. She smirked, lowering her arm. "I've had all my life to run and hid…" She bowed her head slightly, smirk ever present on her face. "Now that I have a chance, I'm going to step up." She lifted her head. "And you're the one that's going to back down. Remember this moment, Neji. Because this is the moment that you made Hyuga Hinata snap and break. So step up and get ready to face the floor!" Her foot shifted back as her fingers curled in front of her. "Let's do this!"