Title: No Such Thing
Author: Cheysuli Night
Chapter: 1
Rated: R
Pairing: mentioned ?/Neji; established Gai/Kakashi; eventual Tenten/Ino.
Warning: Yaoi. Yuri. Implied rape. OOC (but there's a reason).
Summary: There's no such thing as a safe place to hide.
A/N: Takes place a few years after the failed mission to retrieve Sasuke.



It had been pouring down rain since early the previous morning and had not let up one bit. Now, on the evening of the second day of the storm, it had rained so much that the streets were flooded and most of the training grounds were underwater. Lightening occasionally lit the dark sky, followed closely by a rumble of thunder. All across the village, people worriedly watched the rain, hoping it would let up soon.

"There you are!"

Well, almost everyone was worriedly watching the storm. Some, on the other hand, ignored it as best they could and took the time to take care of things they had been putting off. Gai smiled brightly as he pulled a book out of an old box. "What you were doing in my box of old leg warmers, I'll never know. But I finally found you!" He exclaimed as he sat in the nearby recliner, opening the book to a blank page and grabbing a pen off the nearby coffee table. "Let's see," he mumbled, frowning slightly as the lights flickered for a few moments. He smiled suddenly and put pen to paper. "Dear Diary, today I decided on a new challenge! Finally I will be able to even the score with my Eternal Rival!"

Gai kept writing, pausing every once in a while when the lights flickered. He glanced worriedly out the window, finally paying attention to the storm that threatened to drown the village. He sighed, wondering when the rain would stop so he could continue with his team's training. //Hmmm, Well, I suppose I could work on water fighting with them,// he mused. //Yes! That way I won't have to wait for the waters to recede once it stops raining!// He smiled and wrote that thought in his diary. He continued in silence, recording the events of the past week. He had misplaced his diary for quite a while and so was far behind in his record keeping.

Another bright flash of lightening lit the sky and thunder shook the house, almost drowning out the sound of someone pounding on the front door.

Gai frowned and put down his book and pen. //Who would be out in this weather?// he wondered as he quickly crossed the room. The pounding grew louder and faster - it was sounding rather desperate, actually - and Gai quickly unlocked the door and threw it open. And stared.

Of all the people he expected to find on his doorstep during one of the worst storms Konoha had had in years, one of his precious students, wearing torn and bloody clothing and looking as if he had been crying, hadn't even crossed his mind.

Lightening flashed and pure white eyes stared nervously through rain-soaked hair before Neji threw himself, shaking and crying, into Gai's arms.


Gai stared at Neji, instinctively tightening his grip on his shaking student as he tried to comprehend what was going on. For Neji to be here, in this state and during a storm... it had to be serious. A cold blast of wind suddenly reminded Gai that they were still standing in his open doorway and he slowly backed into the house, drawing Neji with him.

Neji followed quietly, holding tightly to Gai's shirt, and allowed the older man to guide him into the living room. Gai gently sat Neji down on the nearby couch, carefully pried the boy's hands from his shirt, and raced back to slam and lock the door before quickly returning to the boy. "Neji?"

Neji stared at him and, because of the color of his eyes, Gai was unable to determine if Neji was actually focused on him or just staring blankly. "Neji?" he tried again. "Neji, did something happen?"

Neji blinked, slowly, not even seeming to notice the tears still falling down his face. Gai frowned and studied the boy.

Neji was a complete mess. His clothes, what was left of them, were shredded and barely hanging onto his bruised and bloody body and he seemed to have lost his shoes. His hair was tangled and hung limply in wet clumps about him and his forehead was uncovered, his cursed seal bared for all to see.

Gai had never seen the boy in such a state and he realized his previous question was rather... stupid seeing as something obviously did happen. The correct question was: What happened? He would have asked but he didn't think Neji was capable of answering at the moment.

So instead of questioning the boy, he went to get some towels and some dry clothes. Questions could wait, right now he just needed to get Neji warm.


Getting Neji warm and dry was a lot more difficult than Gai had expected. Neji had been quiet and complacent since he had arrived and Gai had expected much of the same while getting the boy changed.

He really should have known better.

Telling Neji to change into the dry clothing Gai had provided - a sweatshirt that was far too large for the boy but would have to do - had earned Gai nothing more than another blank stare. Since Neji couldn't stay in the clothing he was wearing, Gai had decided to change the boy himself.

That was a mistake.

Neji had watched quietly as Gai came towards him, the older man whispering soothing words as he reached out to pull the remains of Neji's shirt off. The boy frowned and tensed when Gai's hand touched his skin and began removing the shirt. Neji shifted and Gai suddenly found himself flying across the room, the center of his chest aching from the sudden blow. He blinked as he stared up at the ceiling, taking a few moments to catch his breath before sitting up and looking back at his student.

Neji merely blinked at him.


It took a few more tries - and a few more trips across the room - before Gai realized what he was doing wrong.

He had been quietly talking to Neji almost constantly while trying to get him changed. But he had been telling Neji that 'It's all right' and 'I won't hurt you' when he should have been telling Neji exactly what he was doing and what his intentions were. Once Neji realized that Gai only wanted to get him into some dry clothes, he allowed Gai to remove what he was currently wearing.

Gai let the shredded remains of Neji's clothing fall to the floor with a wet thump and picked up a towel, carefully wrapping it around the boy and letting it soak up the rainwater. He sighed when Neji blinked up at him. "What happened to you, Neji?"

Neji frowned and looked away, flinching when the towel was removed and Gai helped him into the dry clothes. Gai almost smiled when he saw how Neji seemed to be swimming in the green sweatshirt, but sobered quickly, not able to forget why Neji was wearing over sized clothing.

"Sensei?"

Gai blinked at the quiet, barely there, voice and looked down at the boy who still sat on his couch. Neji blinked up at him again... but this time, he seemed more aware. "Neji?"

Neji frowned. "Sensei?" he asked again, just as quiet, and reached out a hand, grabbing onto the hem of Gai's shirt. "Safe?"

Gai drew in a quick breath and knelt in front of the couch so he was, more or less, face to face with Neji. "Yes, Neji. You're safe here."

Neji stared at him for a few moments before reaching out his other hand and grabbing more of Gai's shirt. Gai watched silently as Neji studied him, reaching out to steady the boy as Neji started shaking.

And just like when he had opened the door earlier, he suddenly found himself holding a shaking and crying Neji. Gai held him close, his arms wrapped loosely around him. "Neji, what's wrong?" he asked, stroking Neji's hair.

Neji blinked up at him and looked as if he was going to answer but suddenly doubled over, coughing harshly.

//Oh, shit,// Gai thought, holding Neji tighter when the coughing stopped in an attempt to soothe his shaking. "Neji, how long were you out in the rain?" he asked, placing his hand on Neji's forehead and mentally cursing at the heat he felt.

Neji just stared blankly off to the side, gasping for breath and ignoring - or no longer aware of - Gai's voice. "Safe," he whispered, clutching tightly to Gai's shirt. "Safe... have to... get safe..."

Gai frowned in concern at Neji's rambling and held him tighter, gently pulling him off the couch and into his lap. "You're safe, Neji," he said, causing Neji to stare blankly up at him. "I promise you're safe here."

Neji blinked and looked over at the window. "It's raining." He seemed surprised. "Why?"

This statement worried Gai even more. Neji had been out in that storm; he should know it was raining. And he asked 'Why?' as if he thought Gai had had something to do with it. Gai had no idea how to respond to that question. Fortunately... or unfortunately, he didn't need to. Neji started coughing again.


The rest of the night continued in a similar fashion. Neji would experience brief moments of coherency before he drifted away again. Gai worried that there was something he wasn't seeing; Neji's fever was bad but it shouldn't be causing delirium just yet.

Gai thought on this for a few moments as he watched Neji curl up on the bed - Gai had brought him to the guest room as soon as his coughing fit stopped - before flashing back to what he had seen when he had first opened the front door.

Blood. Neji standing there wearing torn and bloody clothing.

Gai stood quickly and leaned over Neji, searching for any sign of injury. The boy's face was flushed with fever but some of the redness seemed to be coming from several scrapes and there was a long cut on his cheek. //Fuck, how could I have missed that?// There were also bruises, the most notable that Gai could see was a large - hand shaped - one wrapped around Neji's throat.

Gai sucked in a breath when he saw that and he narrowed his eyes. //Who hurt him?!//

Neji stared curiously at his teacher, seemingly confused as to whether or not the sound had actually come from the man. "Mad?"

Gai winced when he heard that. "No, I'm not mad at you, Neji," he reassured... tried to reassure. He wasn't used to having to offer Neji any kind of reassurance. "Neji," he began, kneeling next to the bed and looking his student in the eye. "Can you tell me where you're hurt?"

Neji blinked and seemed to be looking off to the side, though it was rather hard to tell. "Why can't I see the rain?" he asked quietly, once again ignoring Gai's question.

Gai sighed and gestured towards the window. "You can't see it because I have the curtains down. Do you want to watch the rain?" he asked, standing and moving to the window. Neji nodded. "Now," he said, having raised the curtains and returned to kneel by the bed, "Can you tell me where you're hurt?"

"No."

Gai blinked. "No?"

Neji looked at him. "Said not to."

Gai frowned and leaned forward. "Who said not to?"

Neji closed his eyes and turned away from the older man. "He said not to tell."

Gai tensed, fighting back impatience. "Neji, who is He?"

Neji looked back at him for a few moments before returning his attention to the window. "Can I go outside? I like the rain."

Gai suddenly felt the urge to bang his head against the wall in frustration. Deciding that questioning Neji would get them no where, the older man quickly changed tactics. "Neji..." he began hesitantly, "May I... may I see where you're hurt?"

Neji didn't answer for a long while and Gai thought he had drifted away again, but Neji eventually turned to him. "Ok."

Gai sighed in relief and, slowly so he wouldn't startle Neji, reach for him. Just like he had - eventually - done while getting Neji changed, he spoke softly to Neji, telling him everything he was doing. He frowned when his hand came away bloody from his examination of Neji's head - that explained his frequent incoherency.

Neji watched silently as Gai continued his examination, flinching when Gai detected some bruised - or cracked - ribs. Gai hesitated when he came to the hem of the sweatshirt. Neji's legs were bloody so he had to check to make sure it wasn't too serious, but... "Neji, I'm just going to..." He placed shaking fingers on the sweatshirt, looking up to see how Neji would react.

Neji frowned and when Gai began pushing the sweatshirt up, Neji shifted...

And once again Gai found himself flying across the room.


Neji didn't know where he was. Well, he had some idea. //Sensei... have to get... Sensei... sensei sensei sensei... safe...// But he couldn't be sure if the visions of Gai kneeling worriedly next to him and soothing him were real or if he was still... //Lost... so so so lost where why are you doing this...//

Occasionally, the image of Gai would shift into the image of //Bad man... bad bad bad man... hurt...// And then Neji would feel it all again, the cold and the rain and the hands //Let go let go let go...// and he'd make the hands stop touching him... though for some reason that worked better now than it did before... //Hurts hurts so bad make it stop make it stop make it stop...//

Then Gai would be there again, telling him that he was safe and that he wouldn't be hurt anymore. But his words kept fading out, being drowned by another voice...

... you are a ninja... strongest bloodlines... Honestly, who do you think will believe you...

...who do you think will believe you...

//No no no no...//

"Neji?"

Neji blinked and Gai came into focus, staring worriedly down at him. "Sensei..."

Gai frown nervously. "Neji, I... I need to see how bad you're hurt so I'm... check... I'll... quick..."

Neji frowned as Gai's voice faded out. "Quick?"

Gai nodded and he seemed to morph into a different, laughing man. Hard and fast... best way... wouldn't you agree, Neji... And suddenly it was Gai again, offering reassurance. "I'll be as quick and gentle as I can, Neji. I promise."

Neji watched him, struggling to stay focused, to make Gai stay. He didn't want the bad man coming back... Gai was watching him and Neji remembered he had been asked a question. "Ok."


Gai took a steadying breath and once again attempted to raise the sweatshirt, this time not only telling Neji what he was doing, but also telling him other things in an attempt to keep his mind off of what was happening.

Gai was more successful this time.

He had to excuse himself to the other room after he finished checking Neji's injuries. He was angry... no, he was furious at what he found and didn't want to frighten Neji with his anger. //Raped!// he mentally roared, furiously pacing his living room. //I will kill the bastard that hurt him! I'll... I'll skin him alive! Strangle him with his own intestines! Rip him apart piece by piece by bloody piece!//

Neji had been raped. Some... some bastard had raped Gai's precious student.

Growling, Gai thew himself onto the couch and glared off into space. Catching sight of an open book on the nearby coffee table, Gai blinked.

Dear diary, today I...

Gai grabbed the book and flung it across the room, suddenly angry at himself for being so cheerful in that book. He couldn't believe he had been sitting here happily writing while Neji had been suffering at the hands of a monster.

"Sensei?"

Gai sighed and looked towards the hall leading to the bedroom, frowning when he saw Neji leaning against the wall. "Neji, you shouldn't be walking around," he said, standing and crossing the room to stand at Neji's side.

Neji blinked up at him. "I need to go home," he whispered, staring towards the front door. "It's cold."

Gai shook his head and wrapped his arm around Neji's shoulders, leading him back to bed. "You need to stay here for a while, ok?" he said, wincing as Neji stumbled against him. "I'll get you some more blankets if you're cold." //And some medicine. I need to get some medicine down him or he'll catch pneumonia, if he doesn't have it already,// he thought as he lowered Neji on the bed and helped him get settled. //And I need to treat his... injuries.//

"Can I sleep now?"

Gai shook his head, wrapping the blanket around Neji. "No, I'm sorry, Neji. But you have a concussion... I think. It's hard to tell with your eyes. You need to stay awake."

Neji frowned, clinging to the blanket. "Ok."

Neji sat quietly and calmly, staring up towards one corner of the ceiling. Gai watched him, mentally cataloging the medical supplies he had. //I have plenty of bandages and that antibacterial stuff. Good,// he thought, reaching out a hand to check Neji's fever. It was higher, Gai realized with trepidation. The only medicine he had for fevers would make Neji drowsy and Gai doubted it would be safe to give him.

A gentle tug on his sleeve drew him from his thoughts and focused on Neji, who was now staring somewhere off to the left. "Tell me a story?"

Gai blinked.


Getting Neji's injuries treated was almost as traumatic as checking them in the first place. But at least this time Neji didn't send him flying across the room; Neji had been sufficiently distracted by the tale of 'How I Met My Eternal Rival'. He had even asked questions, though his questions often had nothing to do with the story - at least, not in any way that Gai could see. Still, he had done his best to answer them.

Gai finished tying off the last bandage - around Neji's wrist, which he suspected might be fractured or at least sprained - and leaned wearily on the bed, resisting the urge to run and scrub Neji's blood off his hands.

"The rain stopped."

Gai tiredly looked over at the window when Neji said that, surprised to find that the storm had finally passed. It was still cloudy and dark though and Gai had to look at the alarm clock on the nightstand to see if it was still night.

It wasn't. It was five in the morning. Usually he'd be getting up now for his early pre-training exercise. He'd be stretching and jogging and doing push-ups... not sitting here in exhaustion, staring at his battered student.

"Can I fly now?"

Gai frowned at the question and looked at Neji, who was still staring out the window. "What?" he asked hesitantly, wondering if he had heard right and if he needed to lock - or block - the window.

Neji raised his hand towards the window. "Fly like the birds in your story. No pain," he whispered, his hand drawing invisible lines in the air. "Safe."

Gai hadn't mentioned any birds that he could remember and he sat there blinking in confusion before realizing he should answer Neji's question before the boy tried to climb out the window. "No, Neji. You need to stay here."

Neji let his hand fall back to the bed. "Ok."


"Gai-sensei! Gai-sensei!"

Gai jerked awake at the loud voice and winced at his aching back. He had fallen asleep where he was, kneeling next to the bed; he'd be sore all day. He looked over at Neji, knowing that the voice wasn't his but too tired to identify it.

"Loud," Neji answered his unspoken question, sitting up and looking towards the bedroom door. "Lee."

Gai groaned and pushed himself off the floor, his back cracking painfully. "Stay here, Neji," he said as he walked to the door.

Neji nodded. "Ok."

Gai sighed and with a last glance back at Neji to make sure he wouldn't follow, Gai left the room, closing the door behind him. //Why is Lee here?// he wondered as he walked down the hall, trying to remember if he had planned to give the boy some pre-training training. He didn't think he had, but then his mind was rather fuzzy at the moment.

"Gai-sensei!"

Gai winced. Neji was right; Lee was loud. "I'm here, Lee," he yawned, entering the living room and staring at his green-clad student.

Lee beamed at him. "You were late for training so I came to get you," he exclaimed, bouncing a little in impatience. Gai felt tired - and old - just watching him. Lee frowned, taking in his teacher's rumpled appearance. "Are you all right, Gai-sensei?"

//No, I'm not all right. You're teammate is sick and injured and is in my bed.// He didn't say that aloud. "Lee," he finally said, realizing something. "Can you run to the hospital and bring a doctor?"

Lee paled. "Gai-sensei! You're sick?! Hurt?!" he yelled in distress, frantically pulling at his hair as his gaze swept over the older man. "Aaahhh, you've got blood on you!"

Gai blinked and looked down at his hands. They were indeed still covered in blood. //Neji's blood.// "Lee, it's not mine," he reassured his student, who looked as if he was about to try to carry Gai to the hospital. He took a deep steadying breath. "It's Neji's."

Lee stumbled a bit at that and stared at Gai in shock. "Neji's?" he asked, looking around for his teammate.

Gai sighed. "Lee? Doctor?" he reminded, paling when he heard the sound of shattered glass coming from the other room. "Shit!"

Lee stared blankly as Gai swore and raced out of the room. He stood there, torn between going to get a doctor - with little to no information on how Neji was hurt - or follow his teacher for more information and to appease his own curiosity.

After a moment of indecision, he followed.


Neji watched as Gai left the room in search of the loud voice. //Loud loud loud Lee so loud...//

Stop screaming... you little... shut up!

Neji flinched at the imagined voice, clinging tightly to the blanket. //Shut up shut up loud bad... bad bad...// He rocked back and forth, repeating that over and over in his mind. //Bad bad bad shut up...//

I said shut up!

Neji jerked, the voice echoing in his head, and he fell off the bed, he and his blankets landing with a muffled thump. //Shut up shut up no don't hurts hurts so bad...// Neji whimpered, grabbing at his hair in a feeble attempt to banish phantom pain. //Hurts hurts stop it sorry so so sorry...//

The bedroom faded from view, replaced by a nearly flooded clearing, the water flowing over his broken form. He shivered. //Cold so cold I like the rain I used to like the rain...// Neji shook his head and the bedroom returned.

Neji blinked, the room clearer than it had been, and he stumbled to his feet. He dropped the blankets and looked around curiously, wondering where he was. //Safe... feels safe...// he thought, wandering over to a nearby window. "Rain stopped," he whispered, gently touching the glass. "No more rain."

Neji stared out into the darkness, his attention drifting as he listened to the loud voices coming from the other room. He tapped the glass. "Fly free, little bird. Fly free." A flash of white caught his attention and he shifted his focus, now watching his reflection.

... little Branch member... worthless...

Neji frowned at the reflection of his cursed seal and looked lower, now staring his reflection in the eye. //White...// Suddenly the eyes staring back weren't his own. Neji frowned.

The next thing he knew, sharp stabbing pain was racing up and down his arm.


When Gai tore down the hall, he expected to find the guest room empty. Neji had wanted to fly and when Gai had heard that crash... //Oh god, please let him still be in the room,// he thought frantically, oblivious to Lee trailing close behind him.

Neji was still there. He was standing by the shattered window, staring in shock at his bleeding arm, but he was still there. "Neji!" Gai raced across the room, stopping just short of running into Neji, and immediately focused on the boy's arm.

Neji blinked up at him and held out his arm, allowing Gai to see all the glass embedded in his flesh. "Your window's broken," he mumbled, his gaze drifting towards the ceiling. "The eyes are gone now." He smiled softly. "Bye bye."

Gai sighed and reached out for Neji's good arm, taking a gentle grip on it. "Sit down, Neji. I need to get that glass out," he said, frowning when it became apparent the boy was going to sit down right where he was and he suddenly jerked Neji away from the broken glass that covered the floor. "Not there!"

Neji stumbled against Gai, losing his balance as his legs gave out on him. Gai winced as Neji started coughing and, carefully, picked him up and carried him over to the bed. "I'm sorry, Neji," he apologized as he helped Neji get settled, keeping an arm wrapped around him until his coughing fit ceased. "But you shouldn't sit on the floor." //Especially when it's covered in glass.// Once Neji could breathe without coughing, Gai released him and pulled the nearby first-aid kit closer and started searching for something to get the glass out.

He never noticed as a pale and shaking Lee quietly left the room.


Your window's broken.

//Oh god...//

The eyes are gone now. Bye bye.

//He sounded so...// Lee shook his head, pausing momentarily on someone's roof and glancing around in the predawn light. With all the rain, the streets were flooded and roof hopping was the quickest way to get anywhere, as evidenced by the few early risers traveling across the village. It had been how Lee had gotten to Gai's home so quickly after realizing his teacher was late for... training...

Bye bye.

Training didn't seem so appealing now. Not when Neji was so... so...

The eyes are gone now.

... sick. Lee sighed and glanced back the way he had come. He had never seen Neji look so... fragile before. Neji was a genius. He was a ninja. He was not fragile. But... he was...

Lee took a deep breathe and looked away, running as fast as was safe to the hospital.


Gai winced as he gently pried that last piece of glass - that he could see - from Neji's arm. "What happened, Neji?" he asked as he set aside the tweezers and reached for the wash cloth and bowl of water he had used to clean his other injuries. When the blood was mostly washed away, he sat the washcloth aside and picked up a jar of ointment. //I really need to stock up soon. I thought I had more supplies than this,// he thought as he carefully smoothed the cream onto Neji's shredded arm.

Neji frowned as he watched Gai work, seemingly oblivious to the pain he must be in. "The eyes changed," he mumbled, reaching out with his good hand to catch a drop of watery blood that fell from his arm. "I made them go away. Your window broke."

That answer caused some worry but he left it alone, not feeling up to dealing with hallucinations on top of everything else. "Well, you need to be more careful," Gai said as he began bandaging the arm. "You're lucky you weren't hurt worse." Gai flinched as suddenly Neji yanked his arm away and he looked up to find the boy staring at him in what seemed to be confusion.

Neji cocked his head, holding his injured arm close. "Lucky..." he repeated thoughtfully.

What a lucky boy... I chose you...

Neji frowned and moved away from Gai, turning away from the older man and staring at the remains of the window. "Don't..."

Gai watched worriedly for a moment, giving him his space, before he inched closer and placed his hand on Neji's shoulder in an attempt to comfort. "Neji, I-"

"Gai-sensei! Gai-sensei! I brought the doctor!"

Gai sighed in profound relief as Lee and another man burst into the room.


Neji watched curiously as Gai spoke quickly to an older man dressed in white. //White... bad color...// However, he couldn't focus enough to understand what they were saying and they soon lost his interest. He turned to find a boy in green standing nervously next to the bed, wringing his hands as he looked from Neji to the older men and back again. "Lee..." He smiled. "Loud Lee. Safe."

Lee didn't seem to have heard him.

Neji flinched, blinking in muted surprise when he suddenly found a man he didn't know kneeling on the floor in front of him. //Bad color...// The man smiled and held out his hands, palms up. "Neji, it'll... all right... look... calm for me..."

Neji frowned, tensing and trying to back away when the strange man that he didn't know moved his hands closer.


"Doctor Ikeda, I'm so sorry about this."

"It's all right. I should have expected that." The doctor rubbed his newly bruised chest, glancing worriedly at Neji who was now idly playing with his hair. It was as if the boy had not just thrown his doctor across the room. "If we had known the nature of his injuries, the hospital would have sent a woman doctor. We were just told of the coughing and incoherency."

Gai sighed and followed his gaze, watching as Lee caught Neji's attention. "Lee couldn't have told you; he didn't know." He shook his head, reaching up to massage his temples in an attempt to ward of a headache. "I was just so anxious for him to get a doctor that I didn't tell him why."

Ikeda frowned as he smoothed out his uniform and inched closer to the bed now that Neji was distracted. "Let's try again, shall we. Just have the other boy keep him occupied."


Lee had been surprised when Neji sent the doctor flying across the room. //I knew he hated doctors, but...// Lee blinked when he felt Neji tugging on his arm, pulling him down to sit on the bed. "Neji?" he asked, looking at the other boy.

"Lee..." Neji frowned, clutching tightly to Lee's arm and staring nervously at the doctor. "White's a bad color," he mumbled, sliding closer to Lee. "Hurts."

Lee cocked his head, frowning in worry when he felt Neji trembling. "The doctor hurt you?" he asked carefully; he hadn't seen the doctor do anything harmful but...

Neji closed his eyes. "Hurts," he mumbled, raising his hand to touch at his still bared seal.

Lee drew in a sharp breath when he realized what Neji was trying to say. //His seal.."Neji?" he asked, hesitantly wrapping his arm around Neji's shoulders in an attempt to comfort his friend. Neji tensed and Lee held his breath, expecting to soon be sent flying like the doctor.

Neji stared at him, frowning for a few moments. "Lee... safe..." He turned to watch the doctor and Gai, allowing Lee's arm to stay where it was.


It had started raining again. Not nearly as hard as the night before - this was only a light drizzle - but enough to make it clear that the people of Konoha had more storms to look forward to. This worried the majority of the villagers... but the people gathered in Maito Gai's apartment couldn't care less about the weather.

Neji was sleeping now, curled up on his side and covered in blankets. The doctor had said it was safe as long as someone woke him up every hour - it was only a mild concussion. What had concerned Ikeda was the fact that neither it, nor the fever, was enough to cause his mental state.

The doctor shook his head in confusion, glancing at the shaking young man sitting next to his patient. Lee had his eyes shut tight and his hands wringing together. //Poor boy,// the doctor mused, wiping his hands on a towel Gai had provided him. //He didn't need to see all that.//

Lee had done an excellent job of distracting Neji. His voiced was strained as he had rambled on about this and that but Neji hadn't seemed to notice, watching in fascination as Lee acted out certain scenes. Ikeda noticed that Neji had seemed a bit confused at Lee's actions and suspected the boy hadn't really understood what his friend was doing.

Ikeda sighed and adjusted his jacket - he had put the dark colored thing back on when Lee explained about what Neji had called a 'bad color'. It had made things easier. Not much as he was still a man Neji didn't know, but enough that he wasn't sent across the room.

The doctor frowned suddenly as he realized something and turned to Gai, who had pulled up a chair next to the bed and was now worriedly watching his students. "Maito-san?"

Gai blinked and cocked his head, not looking away from Neji and Lee but showing he was listening.

"You said Neji threw you across the room, as well?" He waited a moment as Gai nodded. "Did he use any Chakra?"

Gai frowned and finally looked towards the doctor. "No, he didn't. I didn't think anything of it; I just assumed he was too out of it."

Ikeda shook his head, concerned. "I've seen patients, in their delirium, nearly destroy their hospital rooms trying to fight off imaginary assailants. Their bodies know instinctively what to do; they don't need to be coherent." The doctor cocked his head, now watching Neji. The boy remained asleep, unaware of the attention. "I can't tell for certain as it's not my area of expertise," the doctor answered slowly, gathering his thoughts. "But I suspect his Chakra is imbalanced. It would explain his incoherency; Chakra preforms similar functions as the chemicals in the brain. If an imbalance in either occurs it will cause an altered mental state." He frowned. "Of course, it could be a chemical imbalance and not a Chakra imbalance, but since he's not using any attacks that require Chakra..."

Gai frowned, thinking over the doctor's explanation. "You said you weren't certain. Is there a way you can be certain?"

"We have a Hyuuga on staff, he could-"

"No!"

Ikeda and Gai looked over at Lee, who was now glaring at them. "Lee?"

Lee was shaking and just barely refrained from putting himself between Neji and the doctor. The doctor wasn't the enemy but he could easily become one if he did what Lee was afraid he would do. "You can't tell the Hyuuga!" he exclaimed, struggling to keep his voice down so he wouldn't disturb Neji. "You can't!"

Ikeda frowned. "With the Byakugan, he could easily tell if Neji's Chakra is imbalanced," he said, looking over at Gai for help.

Gai looked confused, wondering why Lee didn't want Neji's family to know about the attack. "Lee, they need to know. And they can help."

Lee shook his head, glaring harder. "Do you want know what Neji said?" he growled. Gai had never seen the boy so angry. "When he told me white was a bad color..."

Ikeda and Gai shared a confused look but shook their heads. Neither knew.

Lee looked almost on the verge of tears. "He said... he said... 'hurts'. Then he touched his cursed seal." Lee stared helplessly at his teacher, begging him to understand. "If... if his seal hurts that means... that means that someone in his family hurt him!"

TBC...