Title: Things that could have happened had Hizashi been the older son

Author: Runespoor
Rating: T
Summary: follow-up of the previous drabble, which is an alternate version of its previous drabble.

8. chuunin exam – take 3 – alternate version cont'd

As he was tidying the remains of their camp, Neji didn't pay attention to his teammates. It wasn't that he was ignoring them, precisely; he was just focusing on his thought process.

"My team needs a Sky scroll. What is yours?"

Retrospectively, Neji wasn't sure what had come over him, to begin by stating the nature of his team's scroll. It had been a split-second impulse; one he wasn't sure what his father would think about should he know about it.

(The thought completely failed to cross Neji's mind that the only person from whom Hizashi would be likely to hear about this incident was him.)

He hadn't missed Hinata's uneasiness either; a part of him was insisting it was shame. She'd spoken after her initial answer as well, and it had sounded like an apology.

(He didn't imagine it may have been a promise.)

But that didn't matter. What mattered was that they still had to find a Sky scroll, since Hinata's team was also in the possession of an Earth scroll.

(Unless she'd lied, Neji acknowledged in the darkest, deepest part of his mind, the part that worked so deep so well-hidden that was as if he didn't even know what was going on there, the part that held all the unHyuuga-heir thoughts and feelings Neji would have honestly sworn he didn't have.

Unless she'd lied.

He hoped she had.)