After reading the book 'The Buttefly Effect' by James Swallow, I was blown away; therefore like the non-creative person that I am, i decided to recreate it. Enjoy.

In my story, Team Gai is NOT one year older than everyone else. And to Sasuke lovers. He's evil in this story...

Disclaimer: I don't own The Butterfly Effect or your precious Naruto.


Is it really better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?


Prologue-

I grabbed a pen nearby, cleared a space on the messy desk and began writing on the back of an important looking document.

If anyone finds this; then it didn't work out like how I wished it to be.

I chuckled as I realised that I was writing my own epitaph.

Hastily, I opened the patient information cabinet; thumb running through the tombstones till I came across my own name. There.

Hyuuga Neji

I pulled out the files, not caring when I spilled it's neighbours out. I ripped open the folder; I had to do this quickly, the security guards were already trying to ram the door open.

Lucky for me the door was made out of reinforced titanium steel.

I grabbed the scrolls I was searching for, what I had risked everything for. I jammed all my remaining chakra into it, pictures of my younger self began to move and I began to relive…

--

Uno

--

Hyuuga Neji; aged four and a half; entered kindergarten for the first time. There was a flurry of excitement, a new playmate! Boys shouted at him to join them on the playground while the girls looked at him in disgust, he was, after all, a carrier of the infamous boy cooties!

Only a girl that reminded him of a panda smiled at him.

"Panda," he smiled shyly, before running onto the playground to join the boys.

--

"Now I want you to draw one of your dreams," Iruka said, pacing around the room with his hands behind his back.

"I WANNA BECOME THE HOKAGE, BELIEVE IT!" cried out a random in the class.

Neji bit his lip trying to think of what to draw. Across the room, he saw Panda girl draw in a frenzy. Was his dream to become like his father? No, the head clan wouldn't like that too much. Finally with much deliberation he began to draw….

--

"Hiashi-sama, Iruka-sensei request to see you urgently; it's about Neji."

Hiashi frowned, as far as he was concerned Neji was a good student with outstanding grades. "Of course," he answered regally to the servant, "tell him that I shall see him today." The servant bowed before relaying the message.

"Neji is a very good boy, a bit on the quiet side. Though he talks to everyone; he does not seem to have any close friends. This however, does seem to bother him."

"I am not here to hear a dictation of a love letter," Hyuuga Hiashi said dryly, already standing up to leave.

"Please, Hyuuga-sama. Would you please look at this?" Iruka produced a child's drawing. "I asked the class to draw out one of their dreams. I know we are in a ninja world and children often witness these things at an early age. But has Neji seen anything quite like this? The details are quite, explicit. I feel worried about him. The worst thing;" Iruka paused worried; "the worst thing is that Neji has no recollection of drawing this picture."

--

"Neji," Hiashi said gravely that night, entering the small boy's sleeping quarters, "Why did you draw that picture?"

Neji looked away sullenly, "I'm in trouble aren't I?"

"No," his uncle tried to mollify, "I'm just curious."

Neji turned to face his uncle. His frown had no trace of levity; in fact Neji's seriousness in that frown slightly unnerved him. "I didn't draw it."

"Tomorrow," Hiashi said, as he left Neji's room, "we are going somewhere. Do not be late from Ninja Academy."

--

"Okay," the woman smiled gently at the little boy sitting on an examination chair. "I want you to relax, and think of nothing if you can."

The only response from the boy was a curt nod. The woman sighed; were all the Hyuugas so stoic? Was it in the blood or did it breed in their water?

Green chakra lit up the woman's hand. And Neji breathed in deeply.

--

"The results are completely normal," the medic said, scrutinizing the boy through the clear pane. He was currently devouring his lollipop with a serious manner. The frown still remained on his face.

"Then the causes of his lapses of memory?" Hiashi questioned.

"Unknown." the medic replied. "His brain is completely intact and is functioning properly."

"His father was like that too." Hiashi interrupted suddenly. "Once in a while, he would loose memory on what he was doing."

"Are you suggesting it has something to do with genetics?"

"Maybe."

"Neji-kun?" the medic smiled down at Neji.

"Yes?"

"Neji-kun, I want you to keep a diary. A diary writing what you learn, do and feel each day."

"Why?"

"Well," the nurse said slowly, deliberating whether to tell him the truth. She decided not to; he was only seven. "When you grow up and become powerful and successful; little kids would want to know how to be like you. They can learn by reading your diary."

"Okay," the young Hyuuga replied, his eyes unbelieving.

Neji back at home took out a black pen and a notebook he found while rummaging through his cupboard.

Dear diary, he wrote. Today I got in trouble for a picture I didn't draw.

--

"Ohhhh mamammaa!! Neji's got a girlfriend, Neji's got a girl friend!" Hanabi sang out loud as she ran around the house, chased by her cousin.

"She's not my girlfriend," Neji calmly explained to the dancing Hanabi for the 1000th time.

"Neji's in loooovvveee!" she chanted, ignoring Neji.

Neji sighed. What was love anyway? The comfort of a mother's awaiting arms? The acceptance of your peers in ninja academy, or was it what Hanabi was raving about? The mushy kissy holding hands stuff? Neji shivered, he definitely did not love Tenten in THAT way. Plus, even though Tenten made friends with more boys than girls, she still had cooties.

Ah, our oh so mature seven year old.

Hiashi's eyebrows lifted slightly when he heard of the news. "I understand. Do not prepare Neji's share of dinner then." before he dismissed Neji's nanny with a wave, he added, "make sure he doesn't stay TOO late at that girl's place. It is not proper for an unmarried Hyuuga."

--

Today, I will go to Tenten's house for dinner, and I shall mete her father. I wonder what a reel father is like….

As soon as Neji touched the doorbell Tenten came running down; her face flushed.

"We've been expecting you!" she chimed.

"Tenten, is your friend finally here?" a deep voice shouted from inside the house. "If it's him, then hurry up and get the spaghetti from the oven!"

Tenten grinned, "We're having spaghetti for dinner tonight," she licked her lips in anticipation. "My favourite!"

Neji awkward took off his shoes. "Hurry up!" Tenten pulled him by the arm. "I'm hungry!"

Neji considered removing her arm, but then it felt nice there. Perhaps it's a syndrome of the cooties, he thought to himself.

--

"It's ready, it's ready." Tenten chimed as she balanced three plates of spaghetti on her small arms.

"Let me help," Neji offered remembering his manners.

"Nope, I'll be. Oh-"

There was a loud crash when a plate of spaghetti fell to the ground.

Her father came in with a look for fury in his eyes.

All went black.

--

"What happened?" Neji said dreamily.

He heard a girl sniffing. Not just any girl, Tenten.

He scanned his surroundings; Tenten leaned against the wall, sniffing with a tear stricken face. All the spaghetti plates were on the floor, dirtied without hope of eating. Tenten's father's face was ashen.

"Out, get out!" Tenten's father screamed. "Quit acting like the victim and get out of my house! I don't want to see your face again!"

Neji looked down; his hands were gripping a table knife with the tip pointing to Tenten. Neji dropped the knife in surprise and left the house without another word.

That night, he went hungry without dinner.


"I'm not afraid of you." Neji hissed.

"Nor am I." Uchiha Sasuke smirked.

The two boys circled each other like sharks, waiting for the chance to attack.

"Fight, fight, fight." the children in the background cheered. The girls and a few loyal boy supporters stood on Sasuke side. The remaining boys and Tenten, the only girl, stood on Neji's side.

The two tackled each other.

Neji blacked out.

When he awoke he saw Sasuke smirking though his lip was bleeding. Iruka frowned sternly at the two boys. "In my office. Now." he half-barked.

Neji went rigid in surprise.

Today; for the first time in my life, I was told off by Iruka-sensei. It was the stupid Uchiha's fault. I got all the blame, cause 'Sasuke was going through a rough time'. Though it's supposed to be a secret; everyone knows what happened. Sasuke and his big brother, Itachi are the only Uchihas left. Apparently Itachi murdered his whole clan. I expect Sasuke to feel sorry for himself. He doesn't know how lucky he is. To at least have felt what a mother's warm hug was like and to train with your father. Better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.

I hate today. Even though today's my ninth birthday; the only one who congratulated me was Tenten.


From then on; Sasuke and Neji avoided each other like the plague and there had been no more friction until…

Today is the worst day of my 11 years of life! I got teamed up with Uchiha Sasuke for our last assessment! If we fail this task then we won't be able to take the final genin exam! I feel like throwing up and drowning.

The only positive is that Tenten is on the same team.

--

Hyuuga Neji and Uchiha Sasuke eyed each other down. It was a hard task as they were identical in height.

"I will be leader." they said in unison.

Tenten backed away, though Lee stepped forward. He was a hard worker, but was always teased because he could not use chakra. He was the pacifier.

"How about this. One of you will lead in the start journey and the other will lead for the end journey."

Tenten nodded in agreement. "That sounds fair," she turned to Neji. "Don't you think?"

Neji's hands were tied.

"And if we don't comply?" Sasuke questioned.

"Then WE will be the team leaders." Lee said looking at Tenten.

"Yeah. We'll be the team leaders."

"Fine." Neji said.

"Hn."

"I'll flip a coin. Heads and Neji will get first pick, tails and Sasuke will get first pick."

The coin landed on heads.

"I want to lead first." Neji said without hesitation. If that arrogant Uchiha led the way, then they would be killed within minutes!

"Fine with me." smirked the Uchiha.

--

The contest was simple, two teams of four would race to the top of the mountain and grab a marker. If you were first, you will receive the scroll. If you were second, your task is to steal it. The team to come back to the academy with the scroll will be allowed to take the genin exam. The other team will have to take an extra year of academy before retrying.

Of course without any effort, Neji's team were in the lead, that was the difference when you had the Uchiha and the Hyuuga in your team. With Neji leading the start journey; they grabbed their marker and the flag and began heading back to the academy before the other team was half way up the mountain.

It was Sasuke's turn to lead.

When they reached the academy gates, Sasuke suddenly stopped.

"Why are we stopping?" Neji said suspicious.

"Are you questioning the leader?" Sasuke snapped. "We are going to set up a trap with explosive tags."

"But why?" Tenten said, not seeing his motives.

Sasuke gave a half-sadistic grin, "I want to see things blown up."

"No," Neji refused, Tenten and Lee were too sheltered, they had no idea what Sasuke meant.

"Don't defy the leader," Sasuke jeered mockingly.

Lee clapped Neji on his shoulder. "Listen to him. You had your turn of being leader."

Lee had thought Neji was refusing over pride. "Guys, no. You don't know how twisted his mind is…"

"Neji, enough. Now help me with these wires." Tenten said looking away.

Neji could not do anything but comply. Tenten's eyes were dead as though she was in a trance.

"If this was a real mission and Sasuke was the team leader than we would have no choice but to comply." she said softly.

Neji stepped back in surprise.

She knows.

But how could Tenten know, she was not subjected to violence. Unless…

That was when it clicked all into place. The bruises on her arms, the sad look on her eyes…

"You guys done yet?" Lee asked. "Sasuke wants us to do a butterfly trap."

"A butterfly trap?" Tenten asked in disbelief, "we don't have enough time and explosives tags! And how are we going to take it down? Even jonins have problems navigating through it."

The butterfly trap was one of the most complex trap formations. The trap was made to look like it was a simple one line trap and when the intruders walked in and tripped over the hidden wires, the whole trap would cocoon them and detonate… Needless to say, the trap was not dismantable.

"Time," Sasuke paused for effect, "we have. I know a stock of explosive tags that we can use."

Neji's gut tightened. "Isn't that cheating?"

"No," Sasuke smirked. "The rules never stated on how and with what we could use to take the teams out."

Sasuke pointed at Tenten and Lee. "You two stay here to construct the wires while Neji and I will bring the supply."

Sasuke walked to the back of the academy. There, he pulled out a sheet on the ground that revealed a box.

"You planned to use this," Neji said accusingly.

Sasuke shrugged. "I knew we had to do a retrieval assessment soon. So I prepared for it since the end of last semester."

"You stole from the resource room."

"I wouldn't call it stealing; after all, we are using it in school time." Sasuke dusted his hands, "now shut up and help me carry the box."

Within an hour the trap was finished. Neji had to admit; the trap was grand. It was the one of the best he had ever made. A few minutes later; he could feel the chakra of their opponents.

Sasuke smiled in anticipation.

Neji crouched behind Tenten, covering her ears to deaden the imminent noise from the blast.

Neji's heart pounded in anticipation as he watched his four adversary laugh at the trap they set up.

"Idiots, did they really think we would fall into this simple one line-"

Suddenly Neji's vision went black, when he came to; the forest was in flames. Tear were pouring down Tenten's face.

"Someone get a medic nin!" Lee shouted.

But they all knew it was no use. No one could have survived that trap.

"Quick," Sasuke screamed, "destroy the evidence of us every making a butterfly trap!"

Neji remained motionless. Sasuke muttered something along the lines of 'coward' under his breath and form his hands into seals.

Tiger.

"Katon!" Sasuke heaved and blew out a hot orange ball of death which incinerated everything it came contact to. The very air seem to burn and shrivel up.

Iruka ran to them as Sasuke finished his technique. If he knew that the team had caused this; his face didn't show it.

Sasuke scrunched his eyes as though he was about to cry, "We set up a one line trap with an extra end wire for fun, but I didn't know," he choked.

Iruka enveloped him in a hug. "It's alright." he soothed.

Sasuke smirked back at his teammates.

--

The academy students looked at Neji coldly. They all thought Neji was for the blame for it. He was, after all the leader of the team. Therefore it was him who told his teammates to set up a trap. Only his teammates knew that Sasuke was the leader in the return trip. Only they knew that Sasuke had commanded them to make that trap. And only they knew that Sasuke had intended to kill his oppositions.

--

Hyuuga Hiashi was not having this; he would not let anything stain the Hyuuga name. When he asked his nephew about the incident; he had dared to keep his tight-lipped silence! Hiashi sighed, wondering where he had gone wrong. He knew that he had not paid as much attention on his nephew as he should have but then he had HIS children to take care of. The Hyuuga looked at the blue sky.

"Hizashi; what would you have done?"

--

Neji knew what uncle was about to say when he accompanied him for dinner. It was rare for the head to sit with the branch family unless something important was going to be announced.

As Hiashi cleared his throat Neji brace himself.

"Neji, you are going to move to Suna. This is to strengthen the alliance between our two villages. You are to leave dawn next morning, understand?"

"Yes, Hiashi-sama." Neji said looking away. If he moved away from Konoha; would he ever see Tenten again?

There was nothing much to pack. When he stuffed all his belongings in his duffel bag, then he remembered his diaries. Sighing, he took it out from his secret hiding space and began to write…

I, Hyuuga Neji, am hereby exiled from Konoha and the Hyuuga clan. They have arranged to send me to Suna for 'alliance purposes' only. Obviously I am sent there because I am 'a negative influence to society'. I wonder if I shall ever see Tenten again…

--

Neji awoke before dawn. If only he had time to say goodbye to Tenten! Neji bit his lip till it bled. An idea began forming in his head…

With an impulse he took out his journal and ripped at page from it. Space was precious; and though he had a million words he wanted to put down he needed only three. However he was too proud to put them down.

'I'll tell her next time I see her."

Neji scribbled down his message, doubling checking and proof reading for mistakes.

Tenten, I'm sorry I had to leave without saying goodbye. Let's become powerful and successful so that we will be able to choose who we want on our teams. Then even the sea and the stars will be unable to keep us apart. But if you can't become powerful; I promise I'll come back to you.

Neji.

He scrunched the piece of paper up into a ball and held it tightly in his fist until he came to Tenten's house. He lobbed it on her window sill, hoping that Tenten would be able to find it.

Goodbye Tenten.

--

Neji was in a robotic trance when he arrived in Suna. Within the blink of an eye he was promoted to genin. Neji worked hard, and almost obsessively until he heard what he was hoping for. He was going to be in the chunin exam one year earlier.

He became a chunin.

Within a year he was promoted a jonin.

His first mission from the Kazekage was to bring back the renewal of the peace treaty from Konoha.

Neji's heart thumped so loudly; he was sure that everyone in the room had heard it.

He was to set off at dawn.

That night in his diary he wrote.

It's been almost three years since I've left Konoha; and during this time I have succeed in my own-sided promise with Tenten. I have become powerful and successful enough to choose who ever I want in my team. Tomorrow morning, before the sun is aroused from its slumber; I'll go back.

--

Neji headed towards the familiar shape of his hometown, the gates were always open; a sign that conveyed everyone was welcome.

Neji paused for a moment to take a deep breath and walked into the town square.

--

"Neji! Is that you?" A petite figure called from the crowd, Neji looked around, and there was a young adolescence with twin panda buns.

"Gosh it's been so long, how have you been."

Neji shrugged, "Fine, I'm jonin now, and am currently on an A ranked mission."

"That's great."

"How's you and your dad?" Neji said carefully wondering if it was wise to ask.

A tick developed under her left eye. "We're fine, we don't' live together anymore cause I couldn't put up with it anymore."

"You what?" Neji exploded.

"I just decided I wanted to live alone. I had to quit ninja school and work part-time to fund my living expenses, but I'm happier now." Tenten said in a tired voice.

"Wow!" Neji said, unable to say anything more. He was surprised beyond imagination, Tenten not a ninja? What happened to her dream of being Konoha's weapon mistress?

"So why didn't you move to Mist with your mother? She'd take you right?"

Tenten shook her head remorsefully, "No, we're only family by blood now. She left when I was five and she has her own family there, and it wouldn't be right to intrude. She said I should have followed her when we were kids…. But whatever."

"I'm so sorry Tenten…."

Tenten's eyes hardened. "Why are you here?" Tenten's tone was almost soft.

"I'm here to retrieve the treaty renewal for the Kazekage."

"Oh," Tenten half-angrily said, turning away. "I thought… No nevermind."

"Tenten! Did you get my note?"

Tenten threw an accusing finger at Neji, "you never came to see me! I actually believed you when you said you would come back for me. Don't tell me everything is going to get better now, cause it's not! Nothing ever gets better!" Tenten pushed passed Neji.

"Tenten," Neji shouted out feebly.

Tenten walked away ignoring Neji.

--

The Hokage gave Neji the scroll. And he set off back to Suna.

Before leaving, he looked into Tenten's house once more. A large tree nearby casted a shadow over Tenten's room. Though Tenten didn't live there anymore, Neji felt a bad aura.

Without looking back; Neji sped as quickly as the wind to Suna.

Three days after he arrived back at Suna, he heard the news. He received a scroll that could replay a scene when you pushed chakra into it.

Lee's face was in front of it. Neji took a step back astounded.

"Bastard!" Lee screamed. "She was crying to me for an hour, you broke her heart once and that wasn't enough?!" Lee made a noise that Neji could not differentiate between a sob and a growl. "She killed herself dammit! She's dead! And I hope you are too!"

Neji's world stopped. It was as if there; time had stopped.

As the last of the scene played out, a piece of paper was on top of the scroll.

The paper had been scrunched and was now yellow with age.

He read the parchment.

Tenten, I'm sorry I had to leave without saying goodbye. Let's become powerful and successful so that we will be able to choose who we want on our teams. Then even the sea and the stars will be unable to keep us apart. But if you can't become powerful; I promise I'll come back to you.

Neji.

It was the note Neji had given to Tenten years ago.

Neji turned over the side.

To Neji

You left without saying goodbye again. And this time I think you did it on purpose. I couldn't be powerful so I thought you would come and get me. I believed that you would rescue me from this hell. I guess you didn't.

Tenten

Neji stood like a statue, replaying his last conversation with Tenten in his head, there were so many things he had wanted to say to her; why didn't he even say one!

And what about the vow he made before he left Konoha all those years ago? He was going to tell her something important. Twice he had failed to do so. Now it was too late…

Neji ran to Konoha without the approval of the Kazekage.

--

There was a memorial service, in the graveyard where Tenten was to be buried, most of the village was there. Most of the girls were puffy-eyed and the males were glaring down at the ground trying to fight back the tears. Neji kept his distance, watching the ceremony from afar. Only a small child noticed a man with a Suna hitai observing the memorial service.

When everyone disbanded, only then did Neji dare walk to her grave. There he took out the crinkled piece of paper. He smoothed it out and folded it for times into a square and left it on top of the tombstone.

I'll come back for you.

TBC


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