a/n: I'm posting both the prologue and chapter one together since the prologue's so short. I hope you'll like it!

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

Over The Waves

Prologue: At the beginning

Her shoulders slumped, dark bangs floating around her too-pale features. Slender fingers unclenched from tight fists; another sure sign that Tenten had reached the absolute end of what she could endure. Neji watched grimly, the Byakugan dulling the prisms of light that shone through the cages of water surrounding him, and his teammates, in its deadly embrace.

Oxygen was becoming an issue.

From the corner of his eye, he could see Lee watching the fight between Gai-sensei and the unknown missing-nin with rapt admiration. He couldn't see the colors – his kekkei genkai rendered the world dull and lifeless – but he could see the chakra. Gai had released an impressive amount of chakra from underwater, their enemy appearing quite taken aback by the feat, and Neji turned his full attention back to the problem facing the three of them; Gai was perfectly capable of handling himself. Frantically, his eyes searched for a weakness; any weakness.

The clones holding them captive were distracted; he couldn't wait for a better opening. Didn't dare wait; with Tenten about to suffocate he had to strike fast and hard and he had to strike now. His eyes narrowed in concentration, sweeping over and over the barrier of water in front of him. Just shy of the missing-nin's hand the chakra appeared thinner. The thinner the chakra layered throughout the water the easier it would be to break through…

Now's my chance!

One long-fingered hand drew back, level with his shoulder, the other rising in front of him as Neji assumed his battle stance, attention fixed unwaveringly on the chakra in front of him.

Hakke Rokujuuyonshou!

His focus was absolute; the water sparkled in the desert sun as the bubble-prison exploded but Neji was already moving. The moment he was free, he whirled into motion; fingers poised for the sixty-four strikes necessary to dispel the clones holding him and Lee captive. Team Gai worked together well; it had always been thus and Neji was not surprised when Lee's cry of 'Konoha Senpuu' drowned out the clones' noises of surprise. A green blur passed over his head and, confident that Lee would handle the remaining enemy clone, Neji immediately turned his attention back to Tenten.

The powerful roundhouse kick connected and Lee landed lightly on the water as the clone disappeared and the water-prison surrounding Tenten exploded; a myriad tiny rainbows surrounding her stumbling form.

Neji moved without realizing it. Before Tenten could fall he was in place, catching hold of her tumbling form and holding her steady before she could hit the water.

"Are you alright, Tenten?"

For some reason, some unfathomable reason, he couldn't draw his eyes away from her, could focus on nothing but the way she felt; trembling in his arms as she gasped for breath. He waited for her eyes to regain their focus, reluctant to let go until he was sure she was fine.

"Thank you, Neji."