A shadow was cast on to her sleeping form and Hanabi jolted awake in the near silence, two kunai already hurling towards the figure in the window before her Byakugan was even blazing. Neji caught both easily and hopped down from the ledge. "Come on, we're going," he said quietly. He didn't dare say more because she would know in a second if he was lying and he wasn't sure if she would go if he told the truth.

She could tell he wouldn't answer "where," so instead she ask "why?"

"For your safety," he replied evenly. She sat up and was slid her legs over the edge of bed, and tried to put on shoes without jostling the splint. Neji rolled his eyes and picked her up, putting one arm under her back the other under her knee holding her splint in place. He easily lept from the window to the neighboring roof and then quickly headed south to the forest.

"Impatient aren't we?" Hanabi asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Of course I am. You're slow." He deadpanned with annoyance. She couldn't help allow the slightest curve of her lips as she stifled a silent smirk, "you're the one who didn't crack your own speed record last year," she retorted. A scowl clouded his face for half a second before a reply came to him and the smirk set in "I'm also not the one who tripped Kurenai's trap and came second in my age group two years ago." Hanabi's cheeks flushed at the memory of what was possibly the most embarrassing moment in the life of any doujutsu user ever—it had been the most basic illusion and that's why she hadn't been looking for it. She simmered scarlet at the memory and threw a clumsy swat at him that he still managed to dodge carrying her. Hanabi looked away for the rest of the journey devising terrible ways to embarrass him in front of his teammates. She could feel Neji's triumphant condescending smirk through the whole way.

They came to a stopping in front of a lake.

"We're here," he said, putting her down carefully. She only had to look at the area once with her Byakugan still on to know there was pretty much nothing significant about the lake. "Thank goodness—I feel so much safer here," she replied sarcastically.

"You'll see," he said stepping on to the water. A cool breeze was moving tiny ripples of waves across it. Neji walked with such perfect control he didn't even disturb them. Hanabi stood and followed him. When they got to the center Neji stopped and turned to her. He looked at her very calmly and said "I want you to activate the cursed seal on me."

Hanabi's eyes narrowed. "No," she said with deadly firmness and she aimed a chakra loaded punch at his face because he was being stupid and crazy and he was supposed to be Neji. He was faster and he caught her wrist just before her fist his his face, but not fast enough to avoid a searing wisp of blue flame.

Still he held it there let it sear him, not bothering to shut the chakra channel in the wrist he was holding."Trust me," he said evenly, "this will free me." She looked at him hard and the chakra in her fist lowly burned away. He was serious.

He explained now without being asked. "Only the main house is taught those hand seals. Why?"

"A branch member is not allowed to have power over another," she replied.

"Right. And what kind of power do you think those hand seals have?" he asked.

A silence hung between them for a moment as he waited for the realization to hit her.

"You think if the seal is performed by a branch house member on another branch member releases them," she said. He nodded slowly. "Fine," Hanabi said. This was going a lot more smoothly than Neji thought-until she said, "I'll teach it to you and you test it on me first."