A/N: -walks on to the scene casually- HEY GUYS!! You sure are looking lively today! -dodges kunias , shuriken, scalpels, swords, axes, torches on fire , and a kitten- aww I love you guys too! -gets hit in the face with a dodge ball- well any way... im sorry this took so long. If it every takes this long I give you guys permission to shoot me in the head. -hears guns cocking- Heheheh I meant NEXT time...

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto any more than any of you do...


Chapter Four

Once Bitten, Twice Shy


Neji tore around a corner to go back to the house. He wove between people and objects in his way and nearly crashed into the door, unable to stop exactly on time at the speed at which he was running. He slid the door open, took off his shoes and ran to his uncle's room. He rapped his knuckles on the door and waited for a response.

A feminine voice called from inside the room, "Who is it?"

"It's Neji, can I come in?" he said impatiently.

"Neji?!" the voice practically squealed. The door opened so quickly that Neji almost got hit. Neji recognized the girl immediately.

She was a branch family girl named Kayu who was to help clean Hiashi's house every couple of days. She was about a year and a half older than Neji. Kayu had mid-length brown hair and wore a pink head band to cover up her curse seal whenever she took her hiai-ate off. She was about a head shorter than Neji. She was no genius, but she was still smarter than average; although she didn't show it. She constantly tried to seduce him with her looks, even though Neji didn't like her in the least.

Neji tried to hold back a groan. Tried and failed

Great, just what I need. This is so troublesome.

Neji pushed past the girl who was just about to say something. He studied the room for a couple of seconds. It had been a while since he'd been in here.

The midnight blue walls held paintings and shelves. The shelves were almost completely filled by picture frames. Neji studied picture after picture.

This isn't right.

Although he hadn't been in the room in a long time he knew that something was really messed up. The pictures were all different. Instead of Hanabi hugging her sister and holding up the peace sign, there was Hanabi scowling into the camera with her arms crossed.

Instead of Neji scowling into the camera, there was Neji with a brilliant half-smile.

Hinata looked pissed off in almost all of her pictures.

In fact, Hinata and Hanabi looked pissed in all of their pictures except for the ones taken in their childhood. Neji, on the other hand, looked pretty much happy in all of his pictures.

This isn't right at all.

From what Neji could remember, it was supposed to be the other way around. Before, Neji was the one who looked pissed all the time and Hinata and Hanabi were the happy ones. He scanned a picture and picked it up. He looked at another and picked that one up too.

He held the frames side-by-side.

These don't seem to be affected at all...

The picture he held in his right hand had both himself and Hinata grinning into the camera. They were both pretty young in this picture. In the other picture that he held, it was himself, Hinata, and both of their fathers making goofy faces.

He placed the pictures back in their places and moved on to the next. He froze. He snatched the picture off of the shelf and looked over it again and again as if trying to memorize every detail.

In all of the pictures there were just small things that had been changed. Maybe a change in facial expression or positions, but the picture had been taken, it actually did exist. But the picture he held in his hand was a different story.

This picture never existed. There was never a photo like this; it'd never even been taken.

In his hands he held a photo of Hizashi giving Hinata a kiss on the cheek, while holding a baby Hanabi. He must've been staring at the picture for a while because Kayu walked up and placed a hand on the small of his back.

"Is anything wrong, honey?"

Neji shook his head, not to answer the question but to clear his mind. He realized that he had gotten completely off task.

"Are you sure? You look a little pale," Kayu said looking concerned and pulling him closer. "If you want, I could go and fix you some tea."

Neji eased out of her spider-like grip.

"I'm not your 'honey' and no, I would not like any tea," Neji answered, realizing that he had unintentionally answered to 'Honey'.

"Aw, c'mon Mr. Sourpuss! Humor me! You know what I was thinking today?"

She paused to give Neji a chance to answer. After about a minute of him showing no interest in answering the question, she proceeded to answer her own question.

"Well, I was thinking that I should come up with a nickname for you! How about that? I was thinking about Nejiji? I know it's longer than your original name but it's also cuter than your regular name don't you th-"

"Where's Hiashi-sama?" he interrupted.

Kayu stopped to think. "Hm. I believe he went on a mission..."

"How the hell is he on a mission?! He was just here last night, dammit!"

Neji wasn't cursing at Kayu. It was more like he was cursing at Hiashi for not being there.

Kayu recoiled at his sudden angry tone.

"He left this morning. Hokage-sama said that she had some important mission for him to carry out, or something along those lines."

Neji was about to talk when something in Kayu's expression stopped him. She actually seemed worried for him when he got angry. There was also a hint of guilt and fear because she was the on who angered him.

Worry, guilt, fear all at the same time. This seemed familiar.

Neji distracted himself from his thoughts

"When will he be back?" Neji asked through gritted teeth. He put his hands into his pockets where they clenched into fists.

Kayu looked down. "I'm not sure... I think maybe sometime in the middle of next week..." She looked up to see that Neji was looking more pissed than ever.

"At most!" she added quickly. "He could come back sooner, I mean..."

Neji's expression hadn't changed in the least.

I don't have that kind of time. I need to know why he gave her the seal and took mine away.

Neji ran a hand through his hair. This was quickly becoming a habit he did when he got angry or irritated.

"The one time I really need to talk to him and he's nowhere to be fucking seen! Dammit!" Neji was talking to himself more than anything else. He looked up to see that Kayu had backed away one or two steps. He soon realized why.

He had unconsciously activated the Byakugan out of anger.

He deactivated the Byakugan and Kayu seemed a bit calmer. Neji could see that it hurt her to see him angry and she really was worried about him.

Geeze, she's so sensitive. I get angry and she gets all cowardly and concerned. She's so fragile! Almost like . . .

Neji shook the thought and proceeded to leave the room. He needed to have a talk with Hinata.

"Thank you," he said tersely, walking past the girl. He stopped in the doorway and tilted his head toward Kayu so that the rest of his body was still facing forward.

"Oh and Kayu, I'm sorry...for scaring you like that."

All she did was nod in response.

"If you want, you could fix me some tea. I'm parched." Neji wasn't actually thirsty but whatever it took for her to stop looking at him with those worried eyes, he would do it.

It reminded him too much of her. The old her.

Neji's plan worked and her face instantly went from worried to carefree, as it was before.

"Alright Nejiji! I'll be happy to fix you some! But what type do you want?"

"Herbal" Neji dead panned. He was already beginning to regret his decision. "And my name is Neji."

But Kayu wasn't listening. "Alright Nejiji, Herbal it is!" she said joyfully and scampered out of the room humming a jaunty tune.

Neji followed her into the kitchen. "You wouldn't happen to know where Hinata is by chance would you?"

"Well, the last time I saw her she was stomping up the stairs into her room. I think she might be a wee bit upset. I don't think you should bother her." Kayu answered, preparing the cups.

"Ok, I'm going to have a little chat with Hinata. Prepare her some tea too." Neji said, beginning to walk away.

Kayu pouted. "But I thought it was just going to be us two, Nejiji! We have to include Hinata?"

Neji turned around. "Hinata and I will need some privacy so I'm afraid that only we will be drinking tea together." he said rather curtly.

"You know you shouldn't use such ugly language," Kayu said , obviously changing the subject and trying to keep Neji in the room with her.

"Ugly language?" Neji said, once again humoring her.

"Oh Nejiji, you know what I'm talking about. Plus, ugly language reflects ugly people," Kayu had taken several steps closer to Neji. "And I'm sure that you don't want to be categorized as," she reached up and ran a finger along Neji's jaw line. "Ugly."

Neji grabbed her hand before she could reach his chin.

" I believe you should check on the tea, Kayu."

Kayu tried to keep her face in check letting only a small scowl surface.

"Fine, I'll check on the damn tea." she huffed.

"You shouldn't use such ugly language," Neji called behind him with a smirk. "They reflect such ugly people."

Kayu rolled her eyes as he left the room.


Neji walked up the stairs at a snail's pace. He was in no hurry whatsoever. On the way up the stairs Neji thought of what he could say to Hinata to find out how this "situation" had happened. He reached her door without even realizing it. There was a low mummer behind the door and a quiet laugh. He began to reach for the door handle and quickly scolded himself in his mind.

You remember what happened last time, right? Haven't you seen enough of Hinata?

Neji nodded his head as if he were answering his own question as his face went from pale to crimson at the thought of seeing his cousin naked again. The conversation on the other side of the door continued and there was more laughter, louder this time.

He heaved a heavy sigh and knocked on the door timidly. The low hum of voices stopped instantly.

"You may enter." a bold voice called from inside the room.

"You don't say who can enter or not. This is my room. I'm in charge."

There was a small pause.

"Now, you may enter."

More giggles. "You know, it wouldn't have made a difference either way. One way or another, their going to co-" She broke off mid-sentence.

The second Neji walked through the door Hanabi and Hinata's pleasant expressions instantly disappeared behind a cold mask.

Neji looked between the two sisters, trying to figure out what he did wrong. Not surprisingly, he didn't come up with any answers.

"Do you think that you could excuse the two of us please, Hanabi? I really need to speak with Hinata."

Hanabi remained sitting, not moving an inch. "Whatever you're going to say to her can be said in front of me." she said stubbornly. "It can't be that important."

Does she honestly think Hinata needs a witness? What would I do to her?

"Actually, I do believe Kayu needs help downstairs. She asked me if I could ask one of you to help her out. She said she'd really appreciate it." Neji said, going to his backup lie had Hanabi gotten obstinate.

Hanabi eyed Neji suspiciously and looked over to Hinata as if to say, "I could stay if you want." Hinata touched her shoulder gently and Hanabi understood that she could leave. The youngest Hyuga stood and walked toward the still opened door, all while glaring at Neji. She stole one last glance at Hinata and disappeared behind the corner, closing the door behind her.

Both of the Hyugas waited in silence for the other to start the conversation.

Hinata sighed loudly. "So. . . did you actually want something, or did you just come here to see my pretty face?" she said, sarcasm bold.

"Well..." Neji started, obviously trying to figure out how to order his words.

"Oh God! Don't tell me it's the latter!" Hinata said with evident mock terror. "Tsk Tsk Neji, that's so. . . forward of you. Well since you came all the way in here I guess you could look for a quick second." She turned her head. "This is my best side."

Neji waited until she was done with her taunting before he said anything, reminding himself of his silent promise to himself.

I will not flip out and lose it. I will control my anger.

"I would like some information on how you got the cursed seal."

Hinata laughed bitterly. "I think you know how it happened and how I got it"

Neji shook his head. "No, I mean why did he put it on you? What'd you do wrong?"

Hinata sneered at Neji. "The only thing I did wrong was be born in the Branch Family. Any other reasons why, you'd have to ask your father, not me."

Now Neji was confused "My father is dead." Neji said he said in monotone

"Maybe to you, but he's still very much alive to everyone else."

"That's. . . impossible. He. . .died."

"Well I'm sorry to say that Hiashi-sama is alive and well. I'm truly sorry."

"You know damn well that Hiashi is not my father. He's yours."

Hinata rolled her eyes. "Yeah, he's my father and your brother." she spat out the word brother like a bad name.

Neji refrained from thinking of all of the times Hinata had called her nii-san. "Okay fine, if he's my father, what happened to your father."

Hinata's jaw tightened. "I believe you already know the story." she said, glowering at Neji.

This is going nowhere fast.

After a long pause Neji sighed and said, "Why do you hold me in contempt."

Hinata answered the question quickly. "Well then, aren't we modest. I do not hold just you in contempt. I hold the entire main branch in contempt. There is nothing special about you that I hold you particularly in contempt."

"Why is that." Neji said, in a calm voice as if he we're just discussing the weather.

"Your stupid Main Branch killed my father!" she hissed.

Neji stared wide eyed at Hinata as if she had just grown an extra set of arms.

"T-t-that's impossible. How?"

Hinata's angry eyes drifted toward the floor

"...I believe there was a... disagreement...with another village...cloud, I think...I was still very young but..." Her angry eyes rose back up to meet Neji's."I was old enough to know that it was the main branch to blame for his death."

Neji's face was completely expressionless. How long ago had it been when he believed the same thing?

"That's not true...it never happened like that..." Neji said, almost inaudibly

"Really? Then please tell me what the hell happened because I would love to know about all the things that I'm just so wrong about because you are always right. Hyuga Neji is always right!"

Neji waited impatiently for her to finish her sermon.

"Okay, fine. I will tell you how it happened. He chose to die that night."

"So you're saying that my father was fucking suicidal!?" Hinata practically yelled

"No, he wasn't suicidal. He...he was protecting the Main Branch. He was doing what was best for the clan."

Hinata let out a bitter laugh. "Either way, it always comes back to you Main Branch fuckers, huh? Even if I did believe you, it's still the Main Branch's fault."

Neji started to get irritated. "Would you get a grip and think rationally? Do you think that Hiashi would actually kill his own brother? His twin brother?"

"No, I won't get a grip. You have no idea how I feel!"

This time it was Neji's turn to laugh. "You have no idea."

"Oh Yeah," Hinata said sarcastically. "Because your father is running around doing missions and having a jolly good time while mine is buried six fucking feet under! You can totally relate!" she said, her voice shaking with anger.

Just then there was a knock at the door.

"Do you think someone could open the door for me? This tray is kind of heavy," Kayu's voice called from the other side.

Hinata started to stand but Neji was already up before her. He opened the door and let Kayu in.

"Thanks Neji." she said.

She shot a glance over to Hinata and narrowed her eyes. "Hinata" she greeted none too politely.

Hinata nodded once. "Kayu," she said stiffly.

Kayu began to pour the tea, aware of the uncomfortable silence. When she finished she put the cups on platters.

"You know what, I don't really have a taste for tea. You can take my place Kayu, and by all means, do what ever you want in here, go wild." she said rising form her bed. She made her way over to the door. She turned back to look at Neji and Kayu. "Just please don't get my bed...messy."

On that note she left the room.

Neji could've sworn that he saw her wipe away a tear as she left the room.

"Aww, that was nice of Hinata, don't you think?"

Neji made no effort to reply. Inside his head he was fuming.

How dare she just walk out like that! She doesn't even try to get it does she!? Her blatant disregard for others and their time is just upright disrespectful.

A voice from the back of his head interrupted his thinking.

What a fool I must've been... before...

"-about that Neji?"

Neji snapped back into reality. "What?"

"I said ' we should go out together tonight. Just the two of us. What do you think about that, Neji?'"

"... I'm sorry but I don't think so." Neji took a sip of tea and grimaced.

It was much too sweet.

Kayu pouted then brightened up. "Well... how about we make the most of out time... here? She did say go wild." Kayu said, blushing.

The corners of Neji's mouth twitched. "I'm sorry but I'm going to have to take a rain check on that..."

Kayu now looked even more disappointed. Neji stood and excused himself from the room.

He chuckled at Kayu's offer.

Even in this fucked up world, all she wants to do is get into my pants.


A/N: so... how was it...? this was my longest chapter so far, prolly cuz I was trying to overcompensate for the months of no updates. Heheheh -sweatdrop-

well any way, it was fun making Kayu, cuz I made her the exact kind of female character that I hate, the kind that flirt shamelessly without a care about how the other person feels... and im sorry about that lame ass nick name too...

FUNFACT: did you know that I have one of these in every chapter except the first one?

THE REAL FUNFACT: the original date of this was sposed to come out on Jan 5 . . . A.K.A. muh Birthday! So I command thee to wish me a happy belated 14th birthday!

Review . . . and all that jazz.