tasogaretaichou: (Represent Hyuuga)
[personal profile] tasogaretaichou
Yup, actually got around to posting up the 4th chapter of ADROS. Hopefully today I'll also get a chance to write the 5th one. Need to sit around and watch more Naruto, to get my muses back. Not for ADROS, but for GWE. GWE (Ghost-White Eyes) was my first Naruto fanfic, and it puttered out at ch. 2 when I hit a snag in regards to transitional writing(which I suck at). It's an OC-insertion, though my hatred of Sueness means my OC is simply another character amidst the masses. ANYWAY, part of the reason why it stalled a bit is b/c it still sticks w/the "normal canon" het. pairings b/c at first, that was all I knew/shipped. Now that my love for the series has grown and developed, it's just a tad harder to write outside of my OTPs. I mean, I love NaruHina, I think it's adorable. But NejiHina is far superior and just makes more sense to me. Same w/SasuSaku. I think it works, but only in a v. small number of instances, and besides SasuNaru is just so adorable, as is SakuLee. It's not that I CAN'T write outside of my normal OTPs, it's just hard to keep my writing from leaning towards them. There's also the issue that while ADROS is a completely planned story, and I already know how it's gonna end, GWE is not. I know how it goes to a certain point, but i haven't figured out the ending yet and I worry that it will start to drag. Either way, I think that if I sit down and re-watch a bunch of the series, it will get my OLD muses back being noisy.

But, enough of that. Here's the 4th ch. of ADROS.

Title: A Darkened Ray of Sunshine (ADROS)
Rating: M eventually, right now it's prolly more in the realm of PGish
Fandom: Naruto
Pairings: NejiHina, with a smattering of other pairings and twists. Afterall, relationships are like anything else, they grow and change.

I'll eventually be X-posting this thing to a few comms, so keep your eyes out for it if you're interested. Oh, and before anyone else bitches, LJ's formatting sucks, and I write long paragraphs. Get over it and quit telling me "use shorter paragraphs". I don't want to. >__<



It was several hours later that the chosen teams left for their respective missions. Neji stood off to one side, long-haired form blending into the shadows with the exception of the stark white armour that proclaimed his status. While most ANBU preferred to remain safely anonymous, it had been such an obvious piece of information that the Hyuuga prodigy would one day join their masked ranks that it seemed pointless to him to bother with the secrecy. Besides, his fighting style paired with the long hair that he kept tied back in a ponytail gave him away. At least, to those eyes of Konoha that knew their shinobi. The white mask rested on the crown of his head, it's painted lines and blank eyes staring heavenward through the leaves of the tree that his back rested against. Paper-white eyes studied the figures of his teammates and friends as they said their goodbyes. It was only his team, along with Naruto and Kiba on their solo missions, who were leaving now. Shikamaru's Niju Shoutai group would leave later, after they had procured more information. But despite that, most of the old group had shown up to see them off. It was…nostalgic, in a way.

"Kind of like old times, isn't it Neji?"

He glanced up to see the smaller figure of his teammate settle against the tree beside him, her hands clasped behind her at the base of her spine. Like him, she had chosen to wear her armour but not her mask, the painted panda's face hanging at her hip with it's crimson ties wound around her waist and tied to keep the porcelain concealment in place. He nodded wordlessly, eyes returning to their study of the group in front of them. Tenten smiled to herself at his behavior. That was Neji, alright. He was never one to show any emotion, be it happiness, sadness, or anger. Always cool and collected in the face of everything life threw at him. But then, that was the REAL mask that the tall Hyuuga showed to the world. But Mikoto Tenten knew better then that. She'd known Hyuuga Neji for a long time, and had trained with him and worked with him for nearly as long. She knew that the face he showed the world was mostly a façade to keep his emotions in check. That didn't mean that the white-eyed man necessarily had a LOT of emotions to share. But he DID feel, that much was certain to the dark-haired kunoichi. If you had asked her exactly what Neji felt, her guess would have been as good as anyone else's. But just because she didn't know his emotions didn't mean that she couldn't read him like a very difficult book. So when he simply grunted a response and turned back to watching, she merely smiled to herself and stood there.

To his credit, Neji was paying attention to his surroundings. He watched as the third member of his team stood off to the side, talking to his fiancé. Lee's expressive face beheld a tenderness that was reserved only for Sakura as he gently tucked a strand of pale pink hair behind one of her ears and kissed her hand before pressing a gentle kiss to her lips. Sakura blushed slightly and glanced at the ground for a moment before leaning forward to rest her forehead against Lee's chest. The two of them lurched forward, Sakura letting out a startled bleat as her fiance was quite suddenly accosted by 3 children who tackled his legs. The black-haired Jounin laughed and let go of his fiancé to ruffle the dark hair of one of them. Neji's eyes narrowed as he studied the boy. Long dark hair tied back in a ponytail, white eyes fixed on his sensei, spidery veins radiating from the corners of those same eyes. Hyuuga Hashimaru. A cousin, born to Bunke parents. The Hyuuga ANBU felt his mouth set into a hard line as he watched the child flit around Lee with his teammates. It was ironic, in a way, that the very same young man who had spent most of his childhood at odds with Neji was now nurturing and guiding a child from the same clan as his rival.

But that's not why Lee is Hashimaru's sensei…

Neji mused to himself, the lines of his face hardening slightly as he thought back over the circumstances that had brought the child to Lee. Hashimaru was much like Neji, a boy who inherited a startling level of the Hyuuga talents. Indeed, it had even been said by some that he might one day surpass his cousin. But then tragedy had struck in the form of illness, and the five-year old's fever had soared to such high levels that his brain had sustained damage. Sakura had been called in to treat the child in time to save life, but too late to prevent the fever from stealing away Hashimaru's sight and leaving the boy locked in a world of blackness. From then on, the young Hyuuga had lived a frail life with his chakra dedicated to the constant use of his Byakugan in order to view his world and thereby lead some semblance of a normal life. When Hashimaru passed the preliminary exams and entered the academy, it was Neji who had stared down the disbelieving looks that the elders shot towards the boy.
I can't say that I ever expected you to make it this far. It wasn't your fate to be a shinobi. And yet, you seem determined to overcome your odds. Much like him.

Much like her…his mind whispered to him, though he pushed the thought aside as he watched Hashimaru talking animatedly to Lee. In a way, it was reminiscent of the way that the taijutsu master had always idolized his own sensei. And Neji, though he would never admit it, was happy to see someone treating the boy not as an invalid, but as a normal child. And while it had been Neji who saw to it that his young cousin was allowed to study, it had been Lee who gave the boy his next chance. Though the Hyuuga elders had mellowed and acquiesced to the fact that Hashimaru, like all Hyuuga, should at least get the cursory schooling that the academy provided, they rose against the idea of his graduation and placement on a genin team. A child who was forced to devote nearly all of his chakra into merely making his eyes function, and who was thereby unable to learn or utilize any of the techniques that his clan was known for had neither business nor reason to become a shinobi. But there had been one person who refused to write the disabled child off as such; Rock Lee, the self-proclaimed "genius of hard work". Though he'd never detailed the circumstances to Neji, the green-suited Jounin had somehow come across his future protégé as the young Hyuuga worked to train himself. And something in the desperation and determination suffusing the boy's visage had struck a chord in Rock Lee. Perhaps it was because he saw himself in Hashimaru, or perhaps it was because he saw the child as a chance to prove to the entirety of the Hyuuga clan that destiny could be changed and that even one who had the odds stacked against him could prove his worth.

Whichever reasoning it was, Neji didn't know. What he did know was that after the graduation ceremonies, it was Lee who appeared unannounced on the doorstep to the Hyuuga manor requesting audience with Hiashi. And it was Lee who finally talked the Hyuuga head into allowing the blind boy a chance to prove himself. Therefore, when the Genin teams were announced, it was such that of those genin assigned to Rock Lee, the name of Hyuuga Hashimaru rested beside those of Shiori Mikan and Unakira Daichi. And despite all that he wanted to feel, all the chiding words about fate and destiny and it's inability to be changed, Hyuuga Neji found himself unable to keep from watching and hoping as his teammate and rival had trained and guided and supported his young cousin. And he wasn't disappointed. The thick-browed Jounin taught the Hyuuga boy much more besides simple fighting moves. And so it had been that Hashimaru not only learned to fight, but also learned to truly see. He learned to rely on his ears and his nerves. To increase and focus his chakra so that by emitting a constant yet slight flow of it from all tenketsu, he could sense motion as it came towards him. To block out all other sound so that his sensitive ears could pick up something so faint as an enemy nin's heartbeat. To strengthen himself overall so that while he still couldn't see without his Byakugan, he no longer was dependent on it for every move that he made. And the result was that, along with his teammates, Hyuuga Hashimaru was scheduled to take the Chuunin exams in the upcoming fall.

"Neji."

The Hyuuga prodigy was startled out of his musings by a soft female voice that begged his attention. Glancing up, blanched irises settled themselves on the figure of Yuuhi Kurenai. No, he corrected himself. Sarutobi Kurenai. The crimson-eyed Jounin stood a few feet in front of him, brilliant irises fixed on his own, painted lips pursed in a look of deep thought. Her husband stood slightly behind her, thin trail of smoke wafting up from the cigarette that rested perpetually between his lips, their young daughter balanced in one arm. Neji wondered cynically if the man even put the cancer stick down to eat. Straightening up, he gave a barely noticeable nod. Kurenai frowned slightly before brushing a few stray strands of black hair from her face. She’d never liked the elder Hyuuga much, especially given the way that he often treated the student she liked to think of as a surrogate daughter or little sister. But he was perhaps the only one that could find the girl. Not to mention, Hinata thought very highly of him. Though she could only suspect, based on small words and gestures, the raven-haired Jounin would have been willing to venture a guess that the shy Hyuuga’s feelings for her stoic cousin went a good deal deeper then most people realized. But then, it wasn’t Kurenai’s place to interfere. She cleared her throat, glancing at Asuma as if she needed his support.

“I know you aren’t taking this mission out of anything other then familial loyalty and orders from Tsunade-sama, so you don’t have to pretend that you want to be here. But…”

She paused, as if collecting her thoughts.

“Hinata is precious to me. I see her as my own daughter, in a way. And so, I’m asking you to please bring her back to us. Where she’s safe. I ask it as a favor, even though I realize that you owe me nothing.”

He stared at her, expression betraying nothing in regards to his emotions. Behind her, the little girl kicked in her father’s arms, and Asuma set her on the floor. She promptly clung to her mother’s legs, dark brown eyes studying Neji intently. Tenten smiled and crouched down, rummaging in her pocket for a wrapped piece of hard candy. She held it out to the child, who took it with one chubby hand. The little girl glanced back up at the Hyuuga’s intense stare and retreated back behind her mother. Frowning at her teammate, the younger kunoichi straightened up and shook her head.

“You scared her, Neji.”

Squatting back down, she cocked her head at the girl, handing her the white mask that hung by her waist.

“Kanna-chan, don’t be afraid of Neji-Grump. He’s just grouchy. Here, you can wear my mask until we have to leave, ok? Kurenai-san…”
She stood up, brown eyes meeting the vermilion-hued ones that stared worriedly at her.

“I promise that we’ll do all we can to bring her back. Right, Neji?”

Her silent teammate frowned at the moniker of “grump”, but nodded slightly. Kurenai smiled at Tenten, nodding in assent. Even if she didn’t necessarily believe that the Hyuuga cared much for the wellbeing of his younger cousin, she knew she could trust in one thing. Hyuuga Neji never failed a mission once he’d taken it. Taking Kanna by the hand, she turned to leave.

“Neji, Tenten…thank you.”

He watched the two Jounin and their child make their way back down the pathway and into the safety and security of Konohagakure. Turning to his shorter teammate, Neji nodded once to her before his hand slid up to grasp the smooth white shape of his mask, pulling the painted ceramic down to cover his face. Stepping forward and pushing off of the tree, the ANBU captain paused long enough to gain the attention of the final member of his team. Sai glanced up from where he had been sketching something on a small notepad and gave a barely noticeable nod before pulling his mask down as well and standing up. The small pad and pencil vanished seamlessly into the fabric of his uniform as he adjusted the sword that hung across his back. Wordlessly, the ever-smiling shinobi moved to stand by his new team, ignoring the overly friendly greeting that he received from Lee. With a simple nod from the Hyuuga, they were gone in a flash of white ceramic and concealing black cloaks.

X

Her small face concealed by the folds of the tan-coloured cloak she’d hastily purchased at the first village she came to, Hinata tucked herself deeper into the hollow trunk, senses whirring as she suppressed chakra and silenced motion and sound. They’d be following, she knew that much. Sheltered though her life may have been, the Hyuuga heiress had no illusions as to her current state. Fugitive, if you really looked at it, having left in the dead of night from the sanctity and sanctuary of her family’s home. On the run, not from those who would wish her dead, but those who would wish the small bird returned to it’s gilded cage of order and delineated roles in which to walk and live. Oh, they would pursue her. Not only that, but the dark-haired girl was rather certain that the one heading that very same patrol would be none other then her cousin, Neji.

Neji-kun… I’m sorry, but I can’t let you find me. You…wouldn’t understand, even if I tried to explain.

And she was right, of course. Running away, hiding and shying away from pain and hardship and difficulties. None of those were a part of the ANBU captain. He was made of strength and determination and perseverance. Things that his shy cousin lacked. Things that though she understood them, always seemed to be beyond her reaching fingers that brushed ever so tremulously against the whispers of courage and strength but never managed to grasp them for herself.

She’d traveled all night, on foot through the forest, moving as though demons of hell themselves had propelled her. Silence, night, and secrecy were her only allies and they were allies she could ill afford to lose. Hinata knew perfectly well that her chances of outmatching her cousin, should he find her, were laughably pathetic. Really, there was no use in even entertaining the idea. So she had to be faster then him. Faster then them. And they were ANBU. Elite, trained, far stronger then she was and could ever truly hope to be. Shaking her head, the petite girl brushed the nervous thoughts from her mind. There wasn’t time for that. Turning her thoughts back inward, she mentally calmed her mind before placing one ear against the inside of the hollow trunk. Though it would have been easier to simply use the traits that her own bloodline granted her, Hinata knew that using the doujutsu at this moment would be tantamount to suicide.

If I use Byakugan…they’ll be able to sense the chakra. That would give away my location as easily as a map. So I just…have to keep moving. Keep the distance, until they stop. Afterall, even ANBU have to stop and rest at some point, don’t they?

For all that she didn’t know the answer to that question, Hinata hoped that she was right. Because regardless of whether those who trailed her heels had to stop and rest, the petite Chuunin knew that she would have to stop and rest. As she pulled herself out of the tree trunk and darted off through the low-hanging branches, the dark-haired heiress mentally thanked her sensei for insisting that she go through with the medical training she had taken.

I guess you were right, Kurenai-sensei. It wasn’t for nothing after all.

It had seemed pointless at first. After all, she was a failure. Weak, unable to properly defend herself, and living constantly in the shadow of her prestigious clan. Not to mention that there were already others far more talented then herself. But the crimson-eyed Jounin had been insistent that her kunoichi charge not allow her latent talents to waste away in silence. And it was true that the learning would come in handy. A medical ninja, unlike other shinobi, had the capacity for longer treks, harder traveling, simply by virtue of their ability to use their chakra to bolster their own stamina. Which, at this point, meant that as long as she could keep up the pace, she would be able to last longer then they could. And right now, Hinata felt that was her only real hope of evading their capture. Not outrun them, but outlast them. Preserve the status quo and keep her distance until their energy faltered. Then she would have to use her skills and take the opportunity that presented itself in order to broaden the span of ground between herself and the ANBU platoon.
It would prove to be a hope that panned out. She didn’t know how long it had been, or how far she had run, but eventually she began to feel the ebb of the faint chakra signatures that trailed far behind her. And even though it could have simply meant that they had caught on to the fact that she knew they were there and chosen to mask their chakra even further, Hinata didn’t allow herself the doubts. Doubts weren’t for now, there simply wasn’t time. Dropping to the ground, the slight girl leaned against the nearest tree, one hand braced against the rough and uneven bark as she panted, drawing in breath in deep gasps. Shaking slightly with her muscle’s protests at the overuse, she closed her eyes and concentrated, willing the chakra to wrap around the muscles in her legs and soothe away the tension and pain. There would be time for healing later, now she only needed to bolster the reserves. Directing the energy inward, she focused it on her heart and lungs, willing them to relax, to allow the healing flow to suffuse them. It would only take a few moments, but then she’d have at least another few hours before she would be forced to rest. Enough time to put another several miles between herself and the others, she hoped. Pushing herself away from the tree, she swayed on her feet for barely a moment before she was off again through the trees.

God, that took me an inordinate amount of time to finish, and it’s still shorter then what I wanted. Anyway, ADROS 4 is done, and the next part should be significantly less awkward for me to find a way to easily word and deal with so hopefully it won’t be as long in coming. Hope everyone enjoyed this latest chunk. Hina’s got it a bit hard atm, b/c there’s really no way she can handle Neji on his own, much less Neji, Tenten, Lee, AND Sai all at once. That being said, her only option is to keep running and hope they don’t catch up. Which, logically, they would do if she didn’t have the bonus of being able to use her medical knowledge to bolster her stamina beyond the normal limits.

Oh, and on another note, finally got the pics from the most recent photo-shoot up, so here's some Timeskip Shikamaru for you~

Mendokuse...
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