A/N: Though it's a bit short, here's the last chapter ^^ Finally, it's completed! I hope that everyone enjoyed it!
Fairytale Perception: Here's the update ^^
Imperial Dragon: Of course Neji will save Hinata. He's Prince Charming xD
Awesomeness02: I think Neji and Hinata look so much cuter together. Tenten has to tell the elders or no one will ever find out. But it's good that she leaked out the secret. This way, Neji will finally know xP
midnight blue08: Yeah, I think Hinata is the perfect partner for Neji. Tenten is like a spy for the elders :/
in your dreams as well: Enjoy the final chapter :]
KusajishiFuktaicho: Neji's really smart. Hahas :P
chichi's1fan: Thank you for your support! X]
ChocStraw: Yeah, Neji heard the conversation between Hizashi and Hiashi. That's why he could deduce that Hidaka is a female. Well, I didn't really describe what happened to the doctor but the elders got their answer about Hidaka's gender from her ._.
The night was dark and starless. The half moon gave a dim, diffused light. Most life in the forest had gone into hiding. Occasional owl hoots and the eerie sounds of cicadas pierced through the silence of the air, sending endless chills down Hinata's spine. She screamed for help, realizing dimly that the pain in her arms was from fighting the ropes that held her. She was bound tightly to a tree and it appeared that there was no one else in the vicinity. After tying her up, the masked man left her. He didn't seem like the mastermind of her kidnap. There must be someone else who ordered him to do it.
"There, there. Who do we have here? Isn't it Hidaka?" The voice was dull and flat, shorn of all emotions.
The back of Hinata's throat went dry. To speak seemed impossible.
It was the elders.
There was a primitive panic hammering in Hinata's brain, her face turned white and her heart pounded in fear. Fear of what they would do to her. Fear of how they would deal with her. They couldn't have known, could they?
"How could a lowly branch house member like you dare to deceive us?" One elder bellowed in anger.
"Your gender." Another elder clarified the issue.
Hinata's eyes were suddenly wide with fresh fear and extra panic. Her mind simply could not cope with this horror; her thoughts were running wildly in panic, like mice trying to escape a cage.
"Don't lie." In an instant, one elder had his arm across Hinata's throat, blocking her air as she kicked her legs in vain.
"Stop it!" Another elder commanded and the arm against Hinata's throat released pressure and air rushed into her lungs. "We should take our time to torture her for deceiving us."
A scream of pain went up from Hinata's throat. The noise was thin and shrill and it fell off weakly at the end but there was no mistaking it. It was a scream. It was followed by dead silence and then suddenly, peal after peal of piercing shrieks.
All of Neji's thoughts had narrowed down to one single action. The same thought that pounded in his brain right now – to find his female protector. He had revealed his presence to Hizashi, Hiashi and Hanabi after Hanabi reported the distressing news. All of them blinked in shock and were astonished that he was outside the room the entire time. Hanabi entered the room from another entrance so she didn't know that Neji was there too.
Worried for her sister, Hanabi sobbed, bit her lip and let the salt tears flowed. On the other hand, Hizashi, Hiashi and Neji were discussing how they could save Hidaka.
"I'll gather the clan members and dispatch them for this rescue mission. But Hiashi, do you have any idea who it might be?" Hizashi logically asked.
Without thinking, Hiashi blurted out the only people that came to his mind. "The elders."
"What? How can it be? They wouldn't do it," Hizashi denied Hiashi's accusation, firmly believing in the basic goodness of mankind.
"Do you remember Hajime? The elders killed his family. I heard their discussion that day. They intended to murder the female branch house member that was born. When my wife gave birth to Hinata, I panicked. I don't know whether it's our luck or Hajime's misfortune but Hajime's wife gave birth to a daughter too. Then, they were killed. It's our punishment. Our fate. Now, it's our turn to pay for it." Hiashi broke down after confessing everything that he had been hiding for so many years.
"Okay, I'll go check on the elders." Neji swiftly informed them and doubled his pace out of the room, not waiting for his father's approval. His face was a mask of rage with anger boiling within him.
"Matte!" Hizashi attempted to stop his son but he was already out of sight.
Neji's steps were light and brisk as he followed one elder who was behaving suspiciously outside the Hyuga house. The elder turned his head a few times left and right to ensure that no one was following him before he took a few steps towards Konoha. Thinking on his feet, Neji planted a shuriken on the nearby wall, not caring if it damaged the architectural structure and pointed the shuriken in the direction that the elder was heading. Father and the other clan members should get the hint. Neji then returned to his espionage task.
Hinata was gasping for life. Immense pain ripped through her muscles and joints and she gritted her teeth further, not wanting to give up hope. Then – a gust crossed her face, bristled the hairs on her skin, and there he was standing – she could not make him out – a shape before her eyes – Hush! She heard his voice: "I'll rescue you. Don't worry."
"Neji-sama." Hinata felt some of the heady joy spilled over into tears. Her throat ached but these were sweet tears, not the salt tears of pain from before, and she was smiling at her savior.
Neji was aware of the blood that matted Hidaka's hair and the cuts and gashes on his – no, her – arms and legs that showed crimson red. He hastened to untie the ropes that were binding his protector but before he could even undo one loop, Neji heard leaves crackled behind him.
Neji swiveled his head around to face the elders. There were ten of them. He shot a single, narrow look at the elders. It was a look of warning, warning them not to hurt Hidaka. Or else, he'll do worse… Much worst than they could ever imagine… He loathed the elders with an intensity of emotion that he had never felt for anyone else in his life. He wanted to hurt them, to make them pay for what they did to his protector.
Neji's fury was so strong that Hinata could feel and taste it as well as hear it and she knew it was giving him impossible strength. She had never seen such menace so barely held in check. Is this really Neji-sama?
Within a second, Neji was surrounded. The elders closed in on him with threatening expressions.
"We won't hurt you, Neji, if you don't interfere with our business. Besides, it's just a low-born branch house member. We can find a replacement even on such short notice."
"Don't you dare!"
Hinata saw a flicker of movement and a fierce engagement between the heir and the elders broke out. They had been trading blows with such violence and accuracy that it had been like a beautiful, lethal dance. But it had been an equal, or almost equal, match.
Neji used the Eight Trigrams Empty Palm, a more focused version of the Eight Trigrams Palms Heavenly Spin because he knew that all the elders were expert users of the Gentle Fist. He had a higher chance of winning if he utilized this technique.
Neji precisely pinpointed one elder's vital points with the Byakugan and released a high-speed palm thrust. A "vacuum shell" compressed using the Gentle Fist was formed and Neji violently pushed the elder away. Therefore, one elder was defeated. He continued to expel chakra from his palm to attack the elders that were out of his physical reach. However, due to the fact that this technique had a specific target rather than a general area, Neji's chakra was depleting rapidly. He only managed to injure three elders, including the first one, before weariness descended upon him.
In the end, Neji rolled over and over on the ground in a blur of motion after receiving a blow from one elder.
A little strength came back to Hinata, like a candle flaring in the wind while she gazed worriedly at Neji in desperation. Gritting her teeth, she exerted pressure against the ropes. Her hand was bent at an excruciating angle but she continued to press. She felt the burn of the ropes slipping aside. Yanking her cramped arms out of the last loops of ropes, she rushed towards the limp form.
"Daijoubu?" Hinata's voice cracked as she gently shook Neji's shoulders, afraid that even a small amount of pressure would break him. For the first time, Neji was fragile. Pain gripped her heart; her tears flowed like a flood.
Neji's vision focused to find himself face to face with his protector. Hidaka's creamy skin, which had always made him think of swans or alabaster, flushed faintly pink over the cheekbones as tears of silver rolled down her cheeks. How could he not realize that Hidaka was a female? It was so clear on her face, in her expressions, in her gestures.
"I'm fine." Neji promised though he coughed up bloodstained fluid.
"Hidaka, let's collaborate," Neji suggested and noticing the bewildered look on Hidaka's face, he added, "The Eight Trigrams Empty Wall Palm."
"B-But can you—"
"I'm fit to do it." Neji stubbornly cut off her protests. He was prepared to attack again, despite the bleeding wounds in his head and his shoulder where muscle and tendon laid exposed and shining.
Reluctantly, Hinata placed Neji's arm around her shoulder and supported him. The two then kept in a ready posture. They attacked alongside each other, sending a wave of chakra from their palms with great force at the elders. The force of the blow knocked them onto the ground and trees. They heard their heads cracked against the trunks.
Triumph erupted from Hinata in a primal shout. "Neji-sama, we did it! We—" Hinata felt the body beside her went limp as it slumped to the ground. "N-Neji-sama!" Her heart just as it thought it could escape pain's terrible grasp, cried out once more. Hinata let the tears flow freely now; they fell like showers of healing rain, dampening Neji's bloodied face.
"Gomenasai for not coming to save you sooner," Neji apologized between coughs. "Daisuki desu. Hinata."
Hinata felt the wild leap of her own heart when Neji disclosed his feelings for her. Why? Is it too late? Hinata plucked up her courage as her hands cupped Neji's chin. This was their last chance. It was now or never. She met his eyes directly and stared deep into the depths of his eyes as if answering him through this silent communion. Daisuki desu, Neji-kun.
Hinata leaned down until she could feel Neji's ragged breath on her lips. She kissed the corner of his bottom lip in the most innocent way, afraid to injure him further, but the sensation burned through his body nonetheless. It was as if his dream was being fulfilled.
Their lips connected. It was a serious kind of kiss – intense, slow but building. Neji returned her soft kiss with equal softness. He could not look away, he could not speak, but tears of sorrow coursed down his cheeks – and she too wept, so that each kiss was graced with salty sweetness mingled in one taste.
Hinata moaned into the kiss while Neji let out a small cry of pleasure. Pleasure and desire raced between them, connecting them, drawing them closer. All the feelings they harbored for each other over the years came pouring out in a cascade. Their love was like a surging sea that had no shore. They trembled with pleasure, with love and with longing. They were connected, a part of each other. Their hearts beat to the same rhythm. Nothing else existed but them.
They were both breathing quickly now, together, in rhythm.
The world lay drowned in sparkling light as morning approached. Hinata was cheerfully greeted by the jaunty chirpings of birds. Under her feet, the grass was fresh; beautiful shadows of branches flickered upon it and speckled it; hedgerows were luxuriant; everything was at peace. Flowers of a myriad of colors were in full bloom. Her laugh was honey and her smile could bring a hundred thousand blossoms news of spring.
The corners of her mouth quirked up in a grin.
Shuriken: One of the more basic weapons. They are sharpened, four-pronged metal stars, useful for throwing. Although small, they can be used to distract, or, if accurate enough, can be deadly. They have an open circle in the center, used for grabbing with a finger, to avoid cutting oneself, or to put thread through. The circle is also a benefit in aerodynamics, as it ensures more accurate trajectories.
Daisuki desu: I love you
Read and review please! I know the ending is ambiguous but yeah… ._.