Sorry it's taken me so long to update. I'm still not quite happy with this chapter. Neji may be a bit OOC, but I couldn't figure out any other way to write what he does and says in this chapter. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this long-awaited chapter. Please review to let me know how I did with this chapter.


Neji could hardly believe his eyes, and resisted the urge to rub at them. He said nothing for a long moment, just stared, looking remorseful. Then, "... Lee?..."

"Neji..." Lee breathed as he stared back. Neji had changed a lot over time. He was a lot taller, and looked far more of the adult he was now than the child he'd been since Lee had last seen him. He now wore the Hyuuga clothes which indicated that he'd been accepted by the main house of the Hyuuga Clan. A pang of sadness lanced through his heart. Neji had grown and changed, and here Lee was, still the same as he was seven years ago. Because he'd died, time had marched on without him. "I've missed you and Tenten..."

Grateful that Kakashi and the others had decided to give him some alone time with Lee, Neji sat in the seiza position in front of him. Lee floated down into the same position. "Lee..." Neji reached out with his hand in the same manner Sakura had, and moved it through Lee's form. He then withdrew his hand. "Lee..." He paused for a second then bowed down; his hands on the floor in front of him, face hidden. "I... I deeply apologize from the bottom of my heart for the hurtful things I said to you that day, seven years ago... Even though I was angry with you, I should never have said those things to someone who was one of my best friends... I'm sorry... Please forgive me..."

Touched by Neji's heartfelt apology, tears streamed down Lee's face. After a moment, he lay his hand on Neji's shoulder. "Neji?... Neji, please look at me."

When Neji rose back up into a sitting position, Lee continued. "Neji? I already have forgiven you... I forgave you while we were working on the mission, I just never got a chance to tell you... I'm sorry that I couldn't let you know before I died..."

Now it was Neji's turn to shed tears. Lee had never been one to hold grudges, or even hold onto anger long. Of course Lee would have forgiven him, long before Neji'd even thought about apologizing, all those years ago. That was just the kind of person Lee was. Lee hadn't changed in all these seven years, but that was a good thing. Neji smiled a small half-smile as he dried his eyes. "I see you haven't changed much."

At Lee's saddened look, Neji continued, "You're still the kind, caring person you always were. I... I hope you didn't think I was too much of a jerk back then. I was pretty mean to you after all."

Lee tilted his head and smiled. "No... you weren't a jerk. That was just how you were back then." Lee paused for a second, then began again. "I may not have changed much, but you certainly have. You look nice in your Hyuuga Clan clothes too. You always have been a genius, I'm glad that they finally recognized your potential."

"Me too." Neji said quietly, folding his hands in his lap. "It would have been nice to see what you were capable of. You had a lot of potential yourself."

"All I did was work hard..." Lee started.

"But I believe that that hard work would have paid off eventually had you lived." Neji said honestly. Then he looked at Lee again, "I would have liked to have seen that."

Tears pricked at Lee's eyes again. That was the kindest thing Neji had ever said to him. "Thank you Neji..." he whispered.

After several long moments, Lee turned his head to gaze outside. Wistfully, he said, "I wish I could get out of here... It's such a beautiful day... And I've been in this dojo for so long... I want out."

Neji followed Lee's gaze. "You can't leave the dojo because you're bound to it. I think that only the person closest to you can release you from your bond."

"I always thought I'd be an angel or something like that when I died." Lee said turning to face Neji again. "I never thought I'd be a ghost, prisoner to a dojo." he said, an edge of bitterness to his voice.

"But a dojo does fit your hardworking persona." Neji told Lee. "Who's to say you wouldn't still be stuck in a dojo even if you'd died elsewhere?"

Lee had never thought about that.

About that time, the others filed in, effectively ending their conversation.

"We have everyone we need now." Naruto said looking at the others. "Now it's just a matter of finding Gai, then convincing him to visit the dojo."

"Which may not be easy." Lee said rising into the air again. "He hasn't been here since I died."

"Gai probably hasn't come here anymore because since this is where you passed on, it's too painful to come here." Neji said sympathetically climbing to his feet again. "But if he knew he could still see you, I know he'd come running."

"I'm sorry for making all of you do all this for me" Lee said apologetically. "If I could only leave..."

"We don't mind helping you, Lee." Sakura smiled at him, putting her hand on his shoulder, feeling that barely there presence. "We're your friends. Friends help each other out."

Lee smiled back. It was good to have friends like these.