Chapter 1 – Cell Mates
Lying on a cold, damp floor was the first thing his body felt as he returned from the realm of darkness. The last thing he remembered was being on a mission with the rest of his team, but was ambushed. During the fight, he was separated from the rest of his team. Unfortunately for him, he had no idea he was being led into a trap as he fought with one person that was until… until something slammed against the back of his head, forcing his knees to buckle and his body to crash into the ground, losing consciousness. What happened after that was a complete mystery for him. But one thing he knew for sure and he didn't need to open his eyes to know it was he was now being held prisoner.
"I see you're finally awake," a voice said.
He wasn't alone. Wherever he was, someone else was in the room. Although with his thoughts were still scrambled and trying to get a grip on what happened, he could not tell if the voice was male or female.
Struggling, he moved his fingers, digging his nails into the dirt floor. The chill of the ground was beginning to seep into his clothing, chilling his body. He went to open his mouth but found his throat to be dry. From hearing the voice from somewhere in the room, he slowly opened his eyes. Several times he blinked, trying to bring focus back into his eyes but all he could see was darkness and something metal ahead of him, which appeared to be rounded and bars like.
"You're not seeing illusions, I'm afraid," the voice said again. This time the sound of the voice was more noticeable. "We are trapped in a darkened cell. What you are seeing is bars and there's barely enough light to really focus too much."
Giving a few more blinks, he was able to make out the voice was correct. Realizing this, he stopped trying to focus so hard. He then went to move his feet only to find a hindrance. Slowly, he moved his head towards his feet, trying to focus on what was preventing his legs from moving freely.
"Your ankles are shackled, preventing usage of chakra. You have enough to sustain your life, but not enough to manage a jutsu."
Seeing again the voice was correct, he groaned, laying his head back down for the moment. Hearing shuffling of feet, his eyes soon focused on a foot as it suddenly came into view. Looking up, he was completely taken by surprise at what he could see. There before him was a young woman, probably no older than himself. He could barely make out her silver like hair but that wasn't really attracted his attention. It was her eyes. Her eyes were the same as his. White pupilless eyes.
She kneeled down, resting a hand around his arm. "Here let me help you," she said kindly. She was surprised when the door to her cell opened, dropping an unconscious man on the floor. She couldn't stop her eyes from rolling, dreading what was about to come for her new cellmate. For a few moments she remained stationed where she was. When she saw he woke, she decided to tell him what he wanted to know before he was to ask.
Too weak to argue the matter, he allowed himself to be pulled up to his feet. Whatever was shackled around his ankles, made a sound as he moved his legs to try and help stand better. He could feel her other arm loop around his waist. Wincing in pain as her hand touched a sore spot, which probably was bruised, he continued to work on getting to his feet. She moved her other arm from his, to drape around her neck as he finally was up on his feet, but barely.
With a little difficulty, she carefully walked him over to where she was sitting which was on the only bed in the cell. She couldn't believe their captors now put him in her cell after all this time of her being in one on her own. Up until recently they left her alone, only using her when they wanted to use her power. But she feared for the young man now in her presence.
She had never met her captors nor ever heard them speak unless it was through some sort of voice amplifier, which made the voice not even sound human. But she could tell her captors were not into women as she had been left well enough alone. They'd give her three meals a day with water to help sustain her life. But any man she had heard become captive, often never was around very long. There were a few guys she shared a cell with but like all the other male prisoners, they were quick to disappear.
She looked up to his eyes, gasping seeing, in dim light that was given from the light outside their cell, he had the same eyes as her. "Are you a Hyuga?" she asked suddenly.
Giving a slight cough, he nodded. "I am…" he rasp. "I'm…Neji…"
Sitting him down on the bed, she reached over to her cup of water she was given. "Here, drink this. It will help with your throat." She brought the cup to his dry lips, which he slightly opened allowing the liquid to slowly slide into his mouth and down his throat. Already he could feel the water was soothing his throat.
Taking the cup back, she looked at him carefully. "My name is Kelina Hyuga."
Neji lightly coughed again. "How is that possible?" he asked, voice less raspy. "Hyugas live in the Konoha village."
"So my father had told me," she replied. "From the story I heard sometime ago, by order of the Third Hokage, a group of citizens were asked to take a trip. A landslide lost those citizens and father said he figured the Shinobi thought we all perished but we didn't. We made it and created a settlement. I was only an infant at the time. A couple years ago, I decided to leave the settlement to find my birth home and to finally tell everyone we were not killed, we are still alive and well."
Neji leaned his head back. He remembered something about his uncle saying a member of the Hyuga clan who was working in the ANBU Black Ops had left the village to travel with a small group of people from the village. The mission was stated classified and were never heard from again.
"Thank you," he said quietly, changing the subject. "How long have I been in here?"
"You were only dropped in here several minutes ago," she answered.
The two suddenly heard a door creek open. Kelina groaned. "Here comes the food… at least it's what they call it. It looks like glop." She gave another groan as the footsteps came closer only to stop in front of their cell. "Just sit here and rest and whatever you don't show you're awake. I have a bad feeling."
She stood, leaving Neji who did as she suggested. She had been in this prison for awhile and knew what to expect. Though the two were practically strangers, he had to trust her in her judgement. When pressed in captive situations, one just had to go with the flow.
"Awake is he?" a gravel voice called out from a person dressed in nothing but a black cloak, hiding their face. Something was covering the person's face in what looked to be like a mask.
"No," Kelina answered. "I was just trying to make him comfortable for when he does awake."
What Kelina could only suspect as a snort, she took one more step forward, looking at the tray in the person's gloved hands.
Seeing the prisoner was looking down, the person in black then pushed a tray of two bowls and two containers of water. Taking the tray, Kelina stepped back. No more words were spoken as the figure turned and walked away, steps getting distant before a door creek opened and then closed again and the area was casted back into silence.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Kelina turned, walking back over to the bed, resting the food down on the ground. "That was close."
Neji lifted his head, still quite weak, looking at her. "Mind telling me what is going on?" he asked quietly.
"We are the only prisoners. I've been here a couple years. Every few weeks they pull me out of here and try to study my eyes. I think they are trying to figure the secrets behind my Byakugan. There have been men here, but they have never stayed too long and never seen again."
This brought his attention. "Why would men disappear?"
"I don't know. I have my guesses. I've never been harmed physically nor sexually and I'm sure your smart enough to know female prisoners is not usually a good thing."
He nodded, fully understanding the hidden meaning behind her words. Often enough when women were prisoners they were used as sexual favors. But in Kelina's case, she's been well left alone, which meant whoever was holding them prisoner was not after sexual fun with women. But now what was with the male prisoners disappearing?
"We have to find someway to warn the village," Neji replied.
"There's no way out of here, I've tried. And these shackles prevent us from using the Byakugan," she said, taking a seat beside him once again.
He winced again when taking a deep breath. He clutched his side, leaning forward. "It would seem I have a bruised rib. If I were in the village, one of my friends would be able to heal me easily. She's a good medical ninja."
"Here, let me take a look," Kelina offered.
He looked at her with a stern look; almost as if he was saying don't get any closer. Signing, she knew he would be a bit on the defensive side. Who wouldn't? He was just taken captive after being knocked unconscious.
"Neji, you have no reason to trust me, but I'm sorry to say, you have to trust me. If you are to survive this, you…"
"I've been in worse situations before," he tossed out.
"Situations where you don't know your captors and never do?" She crossed her arms. "Believe it or not, but you need me. I don't know you, but I fear for your safety the last man I shared a cell with, he was taken out within a few days of being here. He was later returned shaking like a leaf only to be taken out a few days later and never was heard from again."
Neji's eyes widened. "Are you serious?"
"Yes and when he came back he didn't even want to be near me, babbling on about I'm just a horny bitch. Neji something is going on upstairs and I don't like it. Why would I be left alone other than on the days they want to run more tests on my eyes and each time I'm knocked unconscious but is returned back sometime later with no physical markings or pain. Other than my clothes being dirty, they are perfectly fine."
He sighed. From what he could see of her clothing, she did seem to have a good decent amount of clothing on. "Alright," he finally said with another sigh. "But I'm watching you."
"If I were in your position I would do the same," she said as she kneeled on the ground. With careful hands, she reached for the hem of his shirt. She felt him flinch at her touch, but didn't stop her. Remaining quiet, the shirt lifted up, allowing her to inspect the injury on his ribs. It was a bit difficult to see in the dim light, but it was going to have to do.
As predicted, there was a bit of discolor around his ribs, indicating he did bruise them. Satisfied that's all it was, she lowered his shirt down. Looking to his arms, there were no signs of injury. However, his pant legs were a bit torn, probably from when they shackled his legs.
Getting up, she stepped over to their food, picking up a bowl, handing it to him. "It's gross," she replied finally. "But it's food at least."
He nodded his thanks, taking the bowl. As there was nothing to use to eat the slop with, Neji watched Kelina out of the corner of his eye to see how she was eating it. He observed as her fingers dipped into the glop before giving a sour face, closing her eyes tightly bringing her fingers to her mouth.
Immediately her reaction was completely of disgust as she swallowed. "Ack! God! This is so gross!"
Seeing as there was no other choice, he followed her direction, doing the same as she did with the food. He shivered at the god-awful taste, but said nothing. When he was younger, he would make a face at distaste of the food, but he wasn't a child anymore. He was 17, a Jonin. And Jonins were taught to hold self restraint and it was for that reason in why he was now the first Jonin from his graduation class and even from the graduation class Naruto was from.
As time ticked on, Neji continued to rest on the bed as Kelina paced back and forth. After the two had eaten, they fell into an awkward silence. Once in awhile Kelina would sneak a glance to Neji. Each time was the same though, head leaned back, eyes closed. Finally stopping, she turned her gaze away from the young man to the bars of their cell.
"I can't take this anymore!" she screamed.
The scream caught Neji's attention as he lifted his head, eyes now on her. He was now curious to the sudden outburst. He watched as she suddenly picked up one of the bowls from dinner, throwing it. It sailed through the air, smashing against the wall on the opposite side.
"What the hell do they want from us!" Tears brimmed her eyes as she crumpled to the floor. "For two stinking years I've been trapped in here!"
His eyes widened. She had been trapped here for two years? He had no idea. She only had said she'd been a prisoner for a while now. That meant she was taken captive shortly after she left her family settlement, wherever that was.
"Why is this happening to me!" Neji blinked as she keeled over, banging her fists on the ground. "I can't stand this! Why did I ever leave home!?"
Carefully getting up, he slowly walked over to her. Kneeling down, resting a hand on her shoulder, he gave her a thoughtful look. "Am I the first ninja who has ever been trapped here since you've arrived?"
Her tears ceased as she looked up at him. She gave a numbly nod. "Yes, but it's hopeless to get out of here, I have tried to break these shackles that bind my chakra."
"Where you're not a trained ninja, you may not know other ways around things," he stated.
Her brows furrowed, not liking his choice of words. "I'll have you know I was trained by the best ninjas in my settlement."
"And who might they be?" he asked.
"ANBU," she replied. "When my people left the village, five ANBU had accompanied them. One of them was my mother."
Neji gave a look of surprise. "You were taught by ANBU?" If she was trained by ANBU, then she had to be good. ANBU were the best of the best.
She nodded. "Why didn't I listen to my father?"
Feeling sorry for her, he sighed. "We'll find a way out of here. You may have skills as a ninja though you never went to the academy; you were taught how to be a shinobi. However, you probably haven't had much training outside your settlement. I do have training outside the village as we are given missions to help hone in our skills and learn how to deal with certain situations."
Looking at him for a few moments, he was new and was a trained ninja. He was right on one thing; he was better trained than she was. She remembered her teachers telling her normally shinobi went through a school for six years. "I suppose a fresh set of eyes doesn't hurt," she finally agreed. "I've been here for two years and found nothing. Of course I'm not as experienced as you since I've been a prisoner since shortly after leaving my village."
He glanced around. "I know for a fact my friends will come looking for me and you can bet Naruto will be hyper as always, trying to come to my aide?"
"A loudmouth knucklehead," he answered. "And knowing him, if he were here, he'd be yelling, telling you not to give up and he would be damn sure to find a way out and he wouldn't care if he couldn't use his chakra, he'd find another way."
"Wow," she blinked. "Sounds like some kid."
"More than you know." He then sighed again, fighting back another wince from his ribs. "Naruto will spew out saying helping others is his 'ninja way'. He wants to one day become Hokage.
"From what I've been told being Hokage is quite a challenge. The Hokage governs the entire ninja village."
"Yes. Our current Hokage is a woman. The first female Hokage, making her the fifth Hokage." His eyes closed or a moment. "Perhaps we should get some rest."
"There's only one bed though," she said.
"What did your other cell mates do?" he asked.
"One of us would sleep on the cold floor."
"With the dampness in the ground, neither one of us would last too long on the floor. We may have to take our chances with the bed."
"But…" she gasped.
"As you said," he defended. "We need to trust each other as much as neither one of us want to. We'll figure a way out of here."
He stood, walking over to the bed. He saw there was a blanket, which would cover the two of them. She got up from the floor and slowly walked over to him, watching to see what he was going to do. To her surprise, he sat on the bed, scooting over to the far side, against the wall.
"Can't believe this is happening," she breathed as she sat on the bed, nervous.
"I don't like it any better," he said. "But there's nothing else we can do and judging from the temperature of this dungeon, I would presume we're in for a cold night. And body heat will help the both of us."
She gave a nod while a shiver went up her spine at the mention of colder temperatures. Last night she was freezing and couldn't get warm. This time she would have something to keep her warm, another body. Carefully lying down as the two were going to have to also share pillows, her body shivered again. This time it was because of his movement. He draped the blanket as best as he could around the both of them without irritating his ribs.
"Good night, Kelina," Neji replied.
Her breath hitched in her throat, hearing his voice so close to her. "Good night, Neji," she replied back, surprised her voice didn't crack due to her nerves.
Trying to give her as much space as possible, but needing to be close for warmth, he laid his head on the same pillow, working out several schemes in his head. He wished Shikamaru were there and then he would have figured a plan. The young man was a strategist but from being around the lazy Chunin, he did learn a few tricks. Before the two could get out, he had to first figure out who was holding them prisoner without getting too close. He did not like Kelina's statement about what happens to men.
Closing his eyes, he allowed himself to finally fall prey to the darkness that had been plaguing his mind since eating that god-awful food. The stuff tasted horrible. He had no idea how long he could deal with something like that. Poor Kelina. She had been dealing with it for two years now. Well he was going to get her and himself out and that was a promise. Naruto would kick his ass if he didn't try to get out and save the girl.