Neji, Lee, and Gai sat under a tree near a small pond that was near the western gate of Konoha; they were waiting for TenTen to arrive. She had called them all and told them to meet her there; she had something to tell them all. That was two hours ago.
Lee looked over to the village and saw TenTen walking towards them with someone behind her. "I see her, Gai-Sensei!"
Gai and Neji looked over where Lee was looking and saw TenTen and the other person coming as well.
Neji stood up and dusted his pants off. "About time."
Gai stood up without saying anything.
TenTen approached the group, smiling apologetically. "Sorry, I had to go talk to Lady Hokage first."
Lee stood up. "It is not a problem TenTen."
Gai nodded. "Okay. Who's your guest?"
TenTen moved aside so the girl behind her could be standing beside her. "This is Misaki Kurana, she's a friend of my family's. She's a year younger than us all but has the exact same level of power and potential as us."
"And what does that have to do with us?" Neji asked.
"Well," TenTen scratched the back of her head and smiled, "she's taking my place on the team."
This took all three of the boys off guard; their mouths hung open with shock.
Misaki bowed politely, her long black hair falling around her shoulders. "Pleased to meet you."
Lee looked into Misaki's bright green eyes when she straightened up again, he saw the power behind her eyes, but was uncertain about this. "But TenTen, why?"
"I need some time to train on my own and I can only do that by going to another village for awhile." TenTen said. "I can't stay on the team and you guys need three people. Misaki's squad was recently killed by enemy Shinobi, so it's a perfect fit."
"You don't understand, you just can't do this without consulting us first." Neji said, crossing his arms over his chest.
"I have to agree." Gai said calmly. "Besides, we could help you to get to your full potential TenTen."
"Gai-Sensei, Neji…please understand that I need this time away from the village." TenTen said with pleading eyes. "Lady Hokage has already approved of this, Misaki is part of your team and I'm not."
Misaki walked towards Lee and held out a gloved hand. "I may not be TenTen, but I'll do my best." The bottom of the long sleeve from Misaki's light blue blouse hung low as though it were a ribbon.
Lee took Misaki's hand and shook it. "As long as you try your best." He said with his normal smile.
Misaki held her hand out to Neji, who ignored her and continued talking to TenTen.
Gai walked up to Misaki and held out his hand. "Forgive Neji, he's not used to change."
Misaki shook Gai's hand and nodded. "I understand. You're the Sensei…right?"
"So you're Gai-Sensei…?"
"The one and only!" He said with a wink and smile.
Misaki smiled and turned back to Lee. "And if he's Neji, then that means you're Rock Lee."
"Yes, but please call me Lee." Lee smiled.
TenTen and Neji walked over to the others.
TenTen hugged her friends. "Well, maybe I'll see you guys again, maybe not. Have a good life though." She walked off towards her home near the center of the village.
Neji looked at Misaki and noticed that she didn't have a headband on. "Do you have a headband?"
Misaki looked at Neji like he was psychotic. "Yeah, it's on my leg." She put out her leg to show that she had on a red Leaf headband around on her upper left leg, and also that she was wearing black gaucho pants. "And my shuriken holster's on my right leg."
Neji crossed his arms and huffed in fury.
Gai sighed; he knew that Misaki was going to be a handful if she started pissing off Neji already.
Lee chuckled a little; he liked Misaki already.
Gai turned towards the pond and pointed to it. "Lets test you Misaki."
Misaki looked at the pond confusingly. "What's the pond have to do with this?"
Gai smiled at Misaki's confused state. "You will fight Lee with all of your heart on the water."
"Yes, Gai-Sensei, I shall!" Lee said enthusiastically.
Misaki's shoulders slumped at Lee's enthusiasm; she really didn't want to fight right now. "Do I have to fight?"
Now Neji chuckled, he was going to be entertained with this.
Gai nodded. "You do. It's a test to see how long you can last. If you can last more than ten minutes against Lee, or if you can make him drop into the water, you win and we will accept you."
Misaki sighed and rolled up the sleeves of her blouse, tying them with the end of the ribbon-like sleeve to the neckline of her blouse. She had long thin arms; a pale white scar ran from the shoulder of her right arm to her elbow.
Lee eyed her scar with interest, he wanted to know where Misaki had obtained such a scar but didn't ask.
Fortunately, he didn't have to, Misaki answered his unasked question. "The scar is from a fight with Shinobi from the Sound Village. They slaughtered my team, I barely escaped with my life… I'm lucky that I was just scarred."
"Who was your Sensei?" Neji asked, sitting down and leaning against the tree again.
"My Sensei was Hayate Gekko, he was killed by a Sand Shinobi during the Chunnin Exams." Misaki said walking out onto the water. "My team and I had thought that the Sound Shinobi had killed him and we went to the Sound Village to avenge him. My teammates lost their lives trying to help me fight the Sound Shinobi." She stopped walking and looked back at the three boys. "I escaped as they died!"
Lee, Gai, and Neji stared at Misaki, who was now glassy eyed, with a mixture of fascination and sympathy. This girl, who seemed so happy on the outside, had a war raging inside of her because her friends sacrificed themselves for her sake. And she blamed herself.
Lee walked slowly onto the water to where she was standing and put a friendly hand on her shoulder. "It is not your fault, they did what they thought was right."
Misaki smiled at Lee softly and jumped back far enough to where she was out of his kicking range. "You specialize in Taijutsu, I just have to avoid your punches and kicks."
Lee sighed and assumed a battle stance. "You will never win."
Misaki stood with her left foot behind her far enough where her right leg was bending so that her knee was over her foot. Her right hand ready to pull out a kunai knife from her shuriken holster, her left hand hung limply at her side. This was her favorite battle stance, the way she had her feet and legs positioned allowed free movement to any side that the enemy could be on. It also allowed her to quickly jump into the sky if needed.
Lee ran at Misaki with his weighed down speed and prepared to punch her. As he was about to connect the punch with her face, Misaki leaned back on her left foot and spun around to Lee's backside. She grabbed the back of Lee's skin-tight outfit threw him over her head and back over to where Neji sat. Lee managed to catch a limb from a cherry blossom tree that sat directly over the pond and flipped back onto the water, facing Misaki, before hitting Neji.
"Not bad, for a start." Lee said cockily as he thought of his next approach. A simple attack will not work on this girl, I must think of another way to defeat her.
Misaki sighed. "What a drag… I was hoping you guys would welcome me with no problem. This is a waste of time."
She's just like that Shikamaru kid! Neji thought while staring at the fight blankly.
Misaki stood straight up with her legs together, her heels touching but her toes pointed outward; she held a kunai knife in her left hand far above her head and put her right hand on top of her left wrist. This was her stance that would assure her victory…in a normal battle, against someone other than Lee.
Lee ran at Misaki again, but this time ran around her and drew a kunai knife, aiming for the small of her back. If he hit there, she would be unable to move for a few hours. Misaki moved at the last possible second, black gloves that she had taken off as she jumped into the air fell to the water and floated there.
Misaki quickly did hand signs, with the kunai knife still in her hand, for a secret jutsu of her clan. Her clan's Keke-Genki: "Water Control!"
All of the water in the pond quickly moved like the sea as it's new master decided how to control it. Lee had to use nearly all of his concentration to stay on his feet on the shifting water.
Misaki threw the kunai knife into the water and formed a hand sign for another part of the Keke-Genki. "Water Weapons Barrage!"
Thousands of kunai knives made of water jolted from the water and started closing in on Lee.
This is…unbelievable. Lee thought as the water kunai came flying towards him.
Gai and Neji jumped in between Lee and the water kunai just as they were about to kill him and destroyed them all. Misaki landed on the shore and picked up her wet gloves, putting them back on.
Gai walked up to Misaki with Neji and Lee not too far behind. "That was impressive. I didn't say you had to kill him though."
"Sorry, I get excited during a fight." Misaki said casually, as if she'd heard someone say that before.
Neji walked up to Misaki and stopped directly in front of her. "I know you tried to hide it, but the Byakugan sees everything." Neji saw Misaki wince a little as he said that, he saw something he wasn't supposed to. "What's tattooed on your hands?"
Misaki sighed and took off one glove. There was an intricately designed tattoo on her hand. In the middle of a sea of characters on her palm was a large character: the character "Aku" (Evil).
The writing on her hand fascinated the three, even Neji hadn't seen anything like this with the Hyuuga's clan's Keke-Genki.
"What is it?" Lee asked, not really sure what to make of it.
"It's the seal of my clan." Misaki said, putting her glove back on. "The middle character represents what we are to become in the future of our lives. I'm 'Aku', so I will ultimately become evil like the Sound Shinobi."
"I don't believe destiny and fate is something you should believe in." Neji said as he crossed his arms over his chest again as he remembered his fight with Naruto. "Nothing is preordained."
Misaki nodded. "Yes, that's what I believe as well. I knew that once I went to go avenge my Sensei and, ever since, I swore to defeat evil…I will never stay true to this!"
Lee smiled a little, he seemed happy that Misaki didn't want to become evil.
"Which means…I will die by evil's hand." Misaki said more calm than she should have.
Gai, Lee, and Neji all gasped.
Gai, shocked, said, "But y-you just said –"
"It's happened to everyone in my clan who goes against their predetermined role in life!" Misaki yelled. "In my clan, we have a life set for us from the moment we take our first breath…it's tattooed into our skin when we turn five so that we never forget. If you go against it, then you will die by your own fate. Evil will cause my death."
Lee glanced at the ground and then looked back up into Misaki's eyes, which held a wanting-of-freedom in them. Misaki…
"Bull shit!" Neji said loudly.
Gai, Misaki, and Lee looked at Neji as soon as the words left his mouth.
"What?!" Misaki yelled at Neji. "How dare you! Don't call my clan's way of life 'bull shit'!"
"You just contradicted yourself. How can you believe in something but don't believe in something?" Neji asked as-a-matter-of-factly.
"I don't believe in this, but it's what happens!" Misaki yelled, pissed off at Neji.
"Listen you two, you can't fight or it could jeopardize the team." Gai said, trying to calm down Misaki.
"Gai-Sensei is right." Lee agreed. "Misaki, Neji, just calm down and do not fight. What happens happens, that is just how it is."
Misaki looked at Lee, then Gai, then back at Neji. "Lee's right, that's my clan. That's the way of the Kurana clan!"
Lee gave Misaki a hug from behind, a comforting friend hug. Misaki let Lee hug her; she didn't make any kind of movement to make him stop. She was actually kind of glad that someone wanted to comfort her instead of taking pity on her and telling her lies.
After a moment, Lee let her go and Misaki turned around to face him. She smiled slightly, knowing that she, at least, had Lee's friendship.
Neji sighed. "I didn't realize what you were saying was out of reality. I thought you were talking about destiny and fate and preordained shit that would never happen."
Misaki faced Neji again. "It's okay. I get worse."
Gai put his hand on her shoulder. "Welcome to the team."
Misaki smiled up at Gai and looked around at her new teammates. Her gaze lingered on Lee a bit longer than she thought but didn't know why.
Misaki is now part of Team Gai and has their friendship, trust, and loyalty. But what if she wants more from one of them and doesn't even know it herself?