Fate, Chaos and Plans
Prologue - Three Seconds
"Ours is the only reality of consequence."
— Teal'c, Stargate SG-1
Neji was not happy.
This was a colossal understatement.
After returning from yet another pitifully easy C-rank mission with his teammates, Lee had decided that he would launch into yet another tirade about training and his aspirations to beat him, his 'eternal rival'. God, he hated that title. Did he not understand? Was the extent of his ability really that difficult to grasp? Lee would never defeat him, regardless of how much effort he put into his training. That was his fate.
He glanced at his sensei, the man whom Lee had attempted to emulate down to his horrific fashion sense. Neji's eyes pleaded in some doomed attempt to request him to silence his student. Of course the man instead cried horrible man-tears while clenching his fist, yelling about the power of youth. Because that helped.
At the very least they seemed to have forgotten about him in whatever it was they were doing. Not that he wanted to know. Ever. He would have to ask Tenten to kill him if he ever started acting like tha-
Neji's head snapped around to look at Lee. When their team first formed, he'd tried to ignore this behavior, hoping he would eventually tire of the farce. Instead he would just yell louder about something regarding 'hip' or 'modern' attitudes with Gai sensei usually chiming in. While he had not the slightest clue what they were talking about, he would rather not prolong the torture that passed for conversation with them.
"What now?!" Neji snapped, making his best 'I'm not in the mood for your crap right now' face.
He pointed a finger at him before launching into his rant. The same rant that he'd listened to him spouting for the best part of a year.
Every… Single… Day.
He'd kept his calm though.
To display emotion, especially something as volatile as anger, was not proper for a ninja. Admittedly, he had to force it around Lee, he was no Aburame, he did have his limits. In retrospect Neji would look upon bottling up his emotions as a bad decision.
"You shall see the product of my effort!"
"A genius of hard work shall prevail against a natural genius!"
Lee assumed some kind of mock battle pose in an attempt to impress his team, earning him some odd looks from the Konia gatekeepers before continuing.
"And with my advanced Taijutsu I will surpass those who looked down upon me!"
Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!
"Even you Neji!"
And that was it. No one was doing anything good about this. Hell, Gai was actively encouraging it. Tenten? Please. She was just sighing as if this kind of behaviour was amusingly quirky. Well, no more.
In another world perhaps, Neji would have kept his temper long enough to realise that once he became a Chūnin, which was bound to happen after the upcoming exams, he could ditch this failure and work with whomever he please. Or alone even. Yes, some solitude and quiet would suit him perfectly while he completed his missions. Hell, if Tenten could actually settle on specialising on one weapon long enough to master its practice rather than going from one to the next like some child with and attention deficit disorder on a sugar high then he might even let her tag along. All he had to do was stomach this for a little while longer.
But not in this world. He'd had enough of this. It was time to put someone in their place.
That was all it took to change Neji's life.
In one second the gap between the two had been closed, Neji's chakra infused hands already at Lee's left arm.
The next second involved the actual use of the physical force as well as the chakra his hand, doing as much damage as he could.
Which… in retrospect… was a lot.
Then came the third and final second, which, despite having activated his Byakugan, was barely perceived by Neji as a large green blur that was probably Gai-sensei, moved at him.
Then there was darkness.
Ugh… where... what?
Neji slowly open his eyes, his senses felt distorted. He was… in hospital? But why? His team had completed their mission successfully, easily even. They were already at the village gates when…
"Oh yes, my ex-student"
Gai-sensei was there. Obviously irritated to no end at his favourite student had been…
Wait, did he just say-
Neji moved his head around to address his visitor. The expression on his face removing the need speak.
"You did not mishear me Neji. My anger, blinding as it may be at your behaviour is not the reason for this. Though it might have been if you had not made the decision for me."
"YOU WILL NOT SPEAK RIGHT NOW. YOU WILL LISTEN AND YOU WILL DO AS YOU ARE INSTRUCTED". Gai's voice reverbed through the hospital wing.
Neji froze in absolute fear as the man regained his original composure adn began to speak. "Lee is currently being seen to by the medical staff after you broke his arm..." That didn't sound too bad. Okay, it was bad. But not dismissal bad. "…however it will take longer for the chakra coil you nearly obliterated to regenerate"
It was now that bad.
"Do you know why your attack did not remove Lee from his career a ninja completely?" Gai asked, almost in a whisper, his mouth sporadically twitching upwards in an unnatural grin as if there was some kind of sickening humor to be gained from the whole affair that he was just dying to share. Neji gave the slightest shake of his head to show that he didn't. "Of course not," Gai said shaking his head. He looked away for a moment before turning back and continuing.
"His underdeveloped chakra coils."
Neji's eyes widened. A detestable feeling spread through him as the information clicked into place.
"You remember don't you?" Gai continued. "The ones that you referred to when you told him why he would always be a failure? They're what saved him. The stunted amount of chakra flowing through them as well as their smaller size dramatically lessened the damage inflicted upon him"
The irony was spectacular. What had made him an instant failure as a ninja in Neji's eyes was now the reason he remained as one.
"I'd like you to Know this Neji. If Lee does not make a full and total recovery, despite your clan, I will make sure your career as a ninja is over". His words felt as if they were laced with ice. Rather appropriate as Neji forced himself to suppress a shiver. He knew he would come through on the threat.
"W-Will he?" Neji stuttered. He didn't usually stutter but his fear had seemingly managed to writhe its way into his speech. "Make a recovery I mean?" God, he was starting to sound like Hinata.
"They say his chances are good. 80%, I am led to believe"
He sighed with relief at the odds, realizing too late that that was incredibly foolish.
"and IF he recovers" Gai continued "then you will still not be a ninja." Neji's eyes flared at this before Gai finished "not with me you won't be".
What was that supposed to mean?
"You have assaulted and grievously injured a teammate, a Konohagakure ninja" he said, his voice almost void of emotion now, as if reading out his crimes before a jury moments before enforcing judgement. "and you did it while still technically on a mission".
Now for the sentence.
"You will be sent back to the academy to take supplementary classes in the areas which I have noted you are lacking both physically and psychologically. You will do this until the next set of Genin graduate. Providing that you pass, which you probably will, you will be placed on a new team taking up the position of rookie of the year by default"
"Will this not anger the current rookie of the year?" He wasn't really sure why he'd voiced the thought. He didn't particularly care. It just seemed somehow... relevant.
"I believe I said I did not wish to be interrupted". There was far less anger in his voice this time. He just seemed… sad. "However, to answer your question" he sighed before taking a deep breath. "No it will not, as they will be taking your old position on my team. However, it will make things difficult. I hear Iruka had already been making some plans for the teams based on their predicted grades and I'll have to train a fresh Genin up to the level of my other two students. This will probably be detrimental to them and I may even have to consider holding them back again before submitting them for the Chūnin exams". He paused before continuing. "But that is outside of my control now".
Guilt was whirling inside Neji now. The part of him that identified itself as 'logic', declared that he didn't care about Lee, as his career as a ninja was doomed from the start. He may have even been doing him a favour, though for some reason that argument didn't really sit well with him. On the other hand, he had no such excuse regarding Tenten. She was an entirely competent ninja and didn't deserve to feel the consequences of his actions. Whatever it was about Lee's situation that stung him, Tenten's made him feel physically ill.
"Outside of necessity we will no longer be speaking to each other." You will report to Iruka at the academy after you are discharged, which will most likely be in a few hours. He will be filling you in on any information I have may neglected to tell you. He strode towards the door, opening it, allowing a nurse into the room to check on him before turning one last time.
[NOTE: FOR THOSE RE-READING AND THINKING THAT THE STORY SEEMS A LITTLE DIFFERENT, THIS IS AN UPDATED VERSION WITH (HOPEFULLY) BETTER GRAMMAR]
A/N : and that's it for the first chapter of this fanfic. This shows the divergence point within the story. Honestly, considering Neji's relationship with Lee before Naruto's beat down therapy I'm surprised that this kind of issue wasn't talked about in the original manga/anime. This will star Naruto as the main character and I'm sorry if it seems a bit misleading, but this is the nail that I'm taking from the story (god I love TV Tropes).
A few answers to questions I expect:
Yes, there will be romance. No there will not be OOC Yaoi (I'm trying to keep everyone in character and none of the main characters are gay as far as I know). Which pairings? Not telling for two reasons. One – spoilers, reading the story and finding out is part of the fun. Two - I haven't quite decided yet (though I do have some in mind). On a side note, there will be NO harems or multiple romantic partners in any way for any of the characters (unless I wanted to make a character look like a cheating scumbag); in my humble opinion it totally breaks suspension of disbelief. Please note, I said romantic partners. not physical. Our favourite pervy sage is still going to be a hilarious Casanova.
This is not a Lemon fic. Those of you do not know this is, probably weren't looking for one. (If you want to know search TV Tropes for it)
Age rating is probably T for violence and swearing. May have to up it to an M at some point for blood/gore if needed.
Please review as input is appreciated. Criticism should please be constructive as I can't really fix a problem if all I get is 'you suck'. Of course if you wish to sing my praises from the rooftops then don't hold back on my account. Don't worry, I can take it.