Steps Midnight Visit


Ever so light steps were invaded the silence of his chambers. The whole family estate lay like frozen in time during the dark hours of the night. Nothing moved, no words were spoken, everyone was peacefully asleep- everyone but the guards, and two cousins. He was awake because he had a light sleep, and heard her entering his room. However, he did not raise from his bed, or even opened his eyes, and didn't acknowledge her presence in any such way. She didn't know that he was awake, and he felt no need to tell her. She would only be embarrassed, and then she wouldn't come tell him of her progress anymore. She still couldn't find the courage to talk to him while he was conscious. He knew why she was here, why she came here every night, when she thought he was asleep. Knew why she was still up, and working at this hour of the night.

"I tried again tonight, nii-san," her soft voice whispered into his ear as she kneeled beside his bed. "It actually disappeared for a moment. I'm almost there. I just need to correct the last few seals, before… I couldn't find them today, Neji-nii-san. I failed you again."

'You didn't fail me, Hinata,' he protested silently. She had been rigorously working on this technigue for month now, and obviously thought that it was too long. That he would be disappointed in her, if she told him. How she could believe that was beyond him. She was trying to recreate a jutsu of which all records had been destroyed centuries ago, and she wouldn't gain anything from it. This jutsu wouldn't do her any good in battle, or strengthen her in any way. The only thing she would get out of her hard work were more hatred, and adoration.

More hatred from the main house memebers.

And more adoration from the branch house.

Because the jutsu she was trying to recreate would make the powers shift within the Hyuuga clan. No longer would the main house be able to exploit their brothers, sisters, and cousins who were marked with the cursed seal. No longer would the branch house members need to fear to be tortured till madness overtook them for the slightest fail in servility. Hinata would end all that, once her jutsu would be completed. She would take them out of the cage, and set let them go to roam in the skies freely…

"But I'll do it, nii-san. I'll find the way, the right seals. I just need a little more time, so please…" she pleaded with him urgently. "Please, have just a little more patience. I'll make it. I'll fulfill your wish, nii-san. You will be free, Neji-nii-san. I promise. If it's the only thing I can do for you, I promise, I'll find the way."

She grasped his hand lightly, squeezing it, believing he was dead to the world. He wasn't, and warmth spread through his fingers and body at her touch. At her kindness. A kindness that made him stumble inside, that chased away the coldness which reined in the compound of Konoha's oldest, and most noble clan. That kindness that made her so different from all the other Hyuuga, so special because she does not falter in her quest for harmony, though she is looked down upon for it.

And it was that very kindness that was the reason why every member of the branch family adored her with such passion. She was the only member of the Hyuuga's head family who treated them nicely, like they were her equals. Maybe even more than that. She visited the Cursed daily, exchanging friendly chatter with everyone, and they loved her for it. The branch house would never let anything happen to her, and neither would he. Whatever it took, he would protect her with his life, because like she wanted to make his dream come true, he had vowed to himself that he would do everything he could to help her fulfill hers:

To change the Hyuuga, for the better!

"I'll do it!" Hinata whispered in a fierce tone.

She squeezed his hand again, and left as silently as she had come. If it wouldn't be for the warmth lingering on his hand, he wouldn't know that she was there in the first place, or he would just think that it had all been a dream. But it wasn't. He knew that, because for the past two months he had stayed awake, waiting for her to come to him every night after her practice on Hanzou's cursed seal. The branch guard was Hanabi's chosen protector, and a good friend of both sister. When Neji first found out he had wondered why she didn't ask his help, but thinking back on their fight during the chuunin exams it wasn't that surprising. He had apologized, and Hinata had assured him that she held no hard feeling towards him, but her brave smile couldn't cover up the slight fear that was still in her gaze whenever she looked at him. The shy girl was obviously convinced that he still hated her, and again he couldn't help her.

It seemed to be his destiny to always stand in her way in some way or other…

'Not anymore! I will not fail you again, Hinata-sama,' he swore to himself. 'When the time comes, I'll be there.'