What would happen if Neji's seal was activated for too long?

Hiashi's eyes widened. Instinctively, he bolted up and grabbed the arm of his father, gripping it tightly and sending him a nonverbal message telling him to stop. The Hyuuga elder complied and blinked, the anger slowly leaving his clouded gray eyes. He took a step back, looking at what he had done. Before him, Neji lay on the ground, drenched in his own sweat, his body twitching madly. Hinata was at his side calling to him and Hanabi was by her side, clinging to her older sister's arm, fearful and panic-stricken. The seal, which had once flashed an angry deep green, now returned to its soft light green, but the effects were still present and not showing any signs of lessening. It was as if the curse seal was still activated. Neji's body still burned and his mind had gone crazy. His eyes were wide and filled with too many emotions to name. His soaked head was being placed in Hinata's lap as the girl told her younger sister to go get Tsunade. The young girl complied immediately, running quickly out of the Hyuuga Compound and heading straight for the Hokage's tower. Hinata raised her gaze to meet the Hyuuga elder's.

"What were you thinking?" she uttered dangerously, her voice a mix of raw rage and worry. Her eyes flashed more threateningly than ever before and her body quivered with anger, her chakra inadvertently flaring. The elder looked taken aback. He turned to Hiashi, expecting him to help, but only found eyes as angry as Hinata's resting upon him. He turned away and looked angrily at the brunette Hyuuga quivering violently in Hinata's lap. He opened his mouth to say something but found he couldn't.

"Get out," the elder Hyuuga heard Hiashi speak menacingly. He turned to look at his son with wide eyes.


"Get out," Hiashi repeated. "I will not tolerate your presence until I know that my nephew will be alright." The elderly Hyuuga looked shocked, but complied immediately, leaving the room quickly, not wishing to incur the wrath of Hiashi and Hinata any further while on his own. Perhaps he would gather the other Hyuuga elders when things calmed down a bit.

Hiashi knelt down beside his nephew and laid a hand against the boy's forehead, withdrawing it almost immediately, as though burned. Neji's skin was hot. Scalding. Almost beyond possibility. His eyes widened. He quickly took up the young Hyuuga in his arms and told Hinata to stand.

"We cannot wait for the Hokage," he said seriously. "We need to take him to her now." Hinata nodded and the two of them bolted from the Compound, Hiashi moving faster than he had in a long time.

They arrived at the Hokage's tower in a matter of seconds, to run into a very worried and alarmed Tsunade followed by a crying Hanabi. The blonde Sannin looked down at Neji still twitching in Hiashi's arms and her eyes widened. Quickly, she signaled for Hiashi to follow her and she hurried back into the tower. The head Hyuuga followed quickly and Hinata hesitated, until Hiashi signaled for her and Hanabi to follow. The siblings complied, their hearts beating rapidly and their minds blank, the only thought running through them being one of worry and fear for their cousin.

Hinata stood to the side with Hanabi, clutching her sister's hand as the two watched Tsunade examine their cousin. Quickly, she looked up at them.

"Get Shizune," she ordered. Hinata nodded and hurried out of the room, looking for the ebon haired assistant of the Hokage. She was found with Nara Shikamaru, giving the deer boy his instructions for a mission. Hinata winced slightly. She couldn't well tell Shizune what was going on without the Nara hearing as well, and once he knew what was going on he would want to see Neji immediately. They were, after all, lovers.

Casting the thought aside, Hinata hurried up to Shizune.

"Tsunade-sama needs you now!" she squeaked, her voice scared. "It's Nii-san! His curse seal was activated for too long!" Shizune's eyes widened and Shikamaru froze. The latter took a step towards her and she looked to him.

"You should come too Shikamaru-san," she said. "I think you deserve to see this." The Nara's eyes widened and he paled. Beside him, Shizune quickly grabbed Hinata's hand and bolted towards the room where Tsunade would perform important medical procedures. Shikamaru was right at their heels, his breathing inaudible and unusually short.

They arrived to the room where Hiashi, Hanabi, Tsunade and Neji were all flocked and Shikamaru's eyes quickly sought out the brunette Hyuuga. He tensed when he saw Neji's quivering frame. He looked to Hiashi and saw the regret in the man's face and ultimately deduced that it was not Neji's uncle who did this to him. It must have been one of the elders. Shizune hurried to Tsunade's side and the blonde shinobi's attention was drawn to the Nara, standing tersely to the side of the room, his eyes on Neji, his skin ghosted with a small glistening layer of sweat, his hands clenched into tight fists by his side.

"Shikamaru-san, please stay calm," she said, her voice a forced calm itself. "I promise you, Neji-san will be fine." Shikamaru could barely move and only managed a small throaty noise to acknowledge that he'd heard her. Tsunade looked worriedly at him for a few moments before she turned her attention back to the quivering Hyuuga boy lying before her.

The treatment lasted for hours, and soon Hiashi, Hinata, Hanabi and Shikamaru were asked to leave, so Shizune and Tsunade could concentrate fully on the task itself. They all complied and left, albeit reluctantly, and Hiashi and Hanabi immediately headed for the Hyuuga Compound, while Hinata hung back with Shikamaru. She looked nervously at him.

"I-I'm sure Neji-nii-san will be alright," she ventured bravely, though she was speaking to herself just as much as she was speaking to the Nara. Shikamaru looked at her and nodded, his face relaxed once again, but his eyes showing all the fear he felt. He muttered something to himself, and Hinata caught the words, "won't" and "lose." Somehow, from that she was able to figure out what he said.

"Don't worry, Shika-san," she said quietly, placing a hand on his shoulder. "You won't lose him." Shikamaru jerked and looked at her, his eyes a mix of hope and fear. He offered his usual slightly tilted smirk and said softly, "Arigato, Hinata-san. I hope you're right."

They waited a few more restless hours before Shizune emerged from the tower with a smile on her face.

"Hyuuga Neji is out of danger!" she announced proudly. Shikamaru's breath hitched in his throat, as his mind drifted back three years ago, to the time he, Chouji, Neji, Kiba and Naruto had tried to prevent Sasuke from crossing the border and bring him back to Konoha. Neji had been mortally wounded then, and Shizune had spoken the exact same words now that she did then. It made the Nara think. How many more times was Neji going to be hurt like this? How many more times would he, Shikamaru, fail to be there for him? The question alone made Shikamaru shudder, but the possible answers made the Nara quiver in fear and guilt. He should've been there! Neji was going to tell his family about his relationship with Shikamaru. That was probably why the seal was activated. But he hadn't even been there! When it directly had to do with him. What kind of person would do that to the one they love?

Shikamaru's mind was a jumbled mess and only one thought remained clear, and it was more of a command; go see if Neji was alright. Without a glance back, the Nara bolted into the Hokage's tower and up to the room he had been asked to leave, hours prior. Tsunade was just leaving and held out a hand to stop the charging deer boy. She looked at him comfortingly.

"It's alright, Nara," she said softly. "He's fine." With that, she walked past him to alert Hiashi, Hanabi and Hinata. Shikamaru rushed into the room and found Neji, sitting on the bed he had been laying on when in his critical state. His clothes were still drenched with his sweat, but his eyes were open and alert, just like Shikamaru remembered and loved seeing them. Breathing a sigh of relief, the Nara hurried over to Neji and put his arms around the Hyuuga in a desperate embrace.

"You scared the shit out of me for a second there," he muttered. "Troublesome Hyuuga." Neji laughed against him and brought his arms up around his lover.

"How long was it?" he asked. Shikamaru pulled away and shrugged.

"Hours," he replied. "Hiashi-san and Hinata-san were really worried about you." Neji looked at him and expectantly and Shikamaru smirked and added, "I was too." Neji smiled and nodded.

"I'm sorry to have worried you," he said. "I only remember telling Hiashi-sama and one of the elders about my relationship with you and then I remember someone activating the seal, and then everything went dark." His brow furrowed with anticipation and he looked nervously at Shikamaru.

"It wasn't Hiashi-sama, was it?" he asked unsurely. Shikamaru shook his head.

"No," he replied. "He was the one who brought you here, and he looked angry as hell. Hinata and Hanabi were there too." Neji sighed, relieved. Shikamaru only watched. He knew that Neji was trying to strengthen the bond between himself and his uncle. He could tell that Neji was relieved and flattered that his uncle cared enough about him to stop the activating of his seal and had sought out the Hokage to treat his nephew specially.

Smiling to himself, Shikamaru leaned in and placed a kiss on Neji's curse seal, quietly damning Hyuuga policy and condemning the rules by which that clan lived that had hurt Neji so much. He had always expressed to Neji how much he disliked the brunette prodigy's position in the clan and had brainstormed with Naruto different ways to abolish the Branch house. That proved how much the Nara detested the whole arrangement. So much so that he was willing to exchange strategies with someone as, no offense to him, dumb as Naruto.

Neji looked seriously ahead, his mind straying.

"I need to know what Hiashi-sama has to say about this," he said, thinking aloud. Shikamaru looked at him.

"Fine, but I'm going to be there when you do," he said. Neji looked at him and shook his head.

"No, you won't be allowed into the Hyuuga Compound," he said. "Not after what I told the elder." The Nara shrugged.

"Then I'll sneak in," he said simply. "I'm not going to risk anything like this happening to you again. And, as it directly involves me, I think that's another reason that would justify my being there." Neji was amazed how bored and lazy Shikamaru's tone was as he said all this. It always surprised him how easily the Nara could express things as important as promises and love. He blinked and stood up indignantly.

"But what if they—" He was cut off by Shikamaru's lips as they closed over his own. Neji blinked and let his eyes gently flutter closed as the Nara kissed him. After a moment, the deer boy pulled away. His deep black eyes looked directly into the Hyuuga's deep white ones. No words were exchanged, Neji only nodded in silent agreement. He did want his lover to be with him when he received Hiashi's approval. Or disapproval. Neji shuddered to think of that possibility. But even if Hiashi disapproved and Neji was forbidden to have that kind of relationship with Shikamaru, he would still manage to make it work. Even if it made the elders hell bent on punishing him to no end, the love was still worth it.

As Shikamaru softly but passionately kissed Neji again, the Hyuuga smiled. It was absolutely worth it.

Another plot bunny. #528. ShikaNeji is a really good pair for these. I have fun writing them.

Tell me what you think!! I love the combination of angst/fluff. Tell me how it worked out via REVIEWS!!