To Fly Again Chapter 2
Chapter 2 The Calm Before the Storm
Neji awoke early in the morning as he usually did when he went out to train with his team. However, this morning would be different, as he chose to meditate inside one of the silent rooms that the Hyuuga clan had made specifically for such practices, instead of the usual training grounds where he and the rest of his team usually assembled.The room itself was rather wide and spacious compared to the other rooms so that many other Hyuugas could meditate as well; after all, it was one of the main components in training with the gentle fist style.
He took up a lotus position on the ground and relaxed his body as much as possible without causing his mind to doze off into a deep slumber. It was rather difficult when not listening to the antics of Gai-sensei and Lee and the ‘thunking’ sound of various kunai and shuriken that Tenten would embed into a target mere inches from his head. Nevertheless, he was able to enter a tranquil state of body and mind within a minute or so, feeling the chakra within the coils of his chakra network and how it flowed throughout his body at a consistent pace. He felt out each individual tenketsu within his body and mentally forced his chakra to slowly emanate from said points, creating a small barrier around him not unlike what he had done in his fight with the Sound-nin, Kidomaru.
This advanced chakra manipulation technique enhanced his already impressive sensory capabilities to a greater extent by allowing him to “feel” anything that came within the chakra-barrier and to manipulate it to a certain extent with the released chakra. While this technique was very chakra consuming if used extensively, Neji had figured a way to use it without expending so much chakra by completely halting the discharge of any chakra that wasn’t within the radius of his blind spot.
It was a method that he himself had created in order to further reduce the amount of chakra that he would be wasting if he ever needed to use such a technique again. He sincerely hoped that he would never have to use it, but he knew from his fight with Kidomaru that he could never be too careful about protecting the doujutsu’s one weakness. His dependence on it could potentially be his downfall if anyone ever found out about it.
Through the comforting silence, he heard someone walking into the room after some time had passed and activated his byakugan to examine who the intruder was. He found it to be none other than the clan head, Hiashi Hyuuga, who watched on in curiosity as Neji slowly diminished the release of chakra until it was flowing freely again within his chakra network, deactivated his byakugan, and stood up to greet him.
“Good morning, Neji”, he addressed firmly
“Greetings, Hiashi-sama”, Neji bowed in return, keeping his head bowed slightly in respect to his elder.
Hiashi cleared his throat before continuing, “I have heard that Hinata is nearly finished recovering from her injuries and will be discharged from the hospital sometime today. While I would like to continue her training myself, I have several important meetings to attend today with the other clan heads in the Council. I would like for you to temporarily take over her recovery training as her mentor in my stead once she is released, so that she will be able to resume her normal exercises afterwards. Do you understand?”
Neji nodded slightly, “Hai, Hiashi-sama, I will personally supervise Hinata’s recovery training in your place so that she may continue with her usual, daily training.”
“Very well, then. I will return sometime later in the evening to check up on her progress,” Hiashi replied approvingly.
“As you wish Hiashi-sama”, Neji bowed once more as the clan head left him to his own devices. He was relieved to know that Hinata would finally be released today, and decided to head to the training grounds to meet his team members before going out to see her.
He met the team where they usually trained in the morning, though their sensei, Gai was nowhere to be seen. He was probably challenging team seven’s sensei, a.k.a. Gai’s self-proclaimed eternal rival, Kakashi, to another one of their ridiculous competitions. Lee and Tenten, on the other hand, seemed to be conversing rather loudly about something that he considered rather trivial.
“YOSH! TENTEN! Your YOUTHFULLNESS will EXPLODE if you considered training with these new weights that Gai-sensei designed for us!” Lee shouted quite exuberantly, holding up a pair of weights that were very similar to the ones underneath his leg warmers while simultaneously holding out a thumbs-up in his trademark “nice-guy” pose.
Tenten chose to closed her eyes and calmly stated her opinion on the matter, “What purpose would there be in training with these weights if,the majority if the time, I’m going to be using my weapons to fight from a distance?”
Lee’s eyes lit up with excitement at this comment, “Tenten, you could use these YOUTHFUL weights on your arms to increase your already incredibly throwing speed and force of impact!”
“But it could ruin my accuracy if I’m not able to use my arm as freely as before! Besides, why would I need to improve upon those areas? They’re my strongest points!” Tenten shot back.
If possible, Lee’s eyes literally started spouting flames, “If that is the case, Tenten, then you should wear them on your legs like me and train with me and Gai-sensei to hone your close-range taijutsu skills!”
At this, Tenten contorted her face in aversion, “There is NO way that I am going to train with you two lunatics with your insane training methods! Also, I believe that sparring with you and Neji all the time would have improved my taijutsu skills to be considered at least slightly better than average. Don’t you think so too Neji?”
Neji sighed silently at Tenten’s attempt to include him the conversation. She probably thought that an answer from him would silence the youth-obsessed individualabout the topic-though in some cases she was usually right. He decided to simply reply with his usual response to matters such as this, “Hn.”
“See even Neji agrees with me.” Tenten stated matter-of-factly, “Now could we please drop the subject? We should start helping to rebuild the village again sometime soon. We wouldn’t want to let Tsunade-sama down by slacking off when the village needs us the most.” Tenten gave a determined look and confidently placed her over-sized scroll on her back to begin the trek back to the Konohagakure.
Lee quickly bounced up in attention and gave his trademark nice-guy pose. “YOSH! Tenten is right! We need to head back and lend the village our YOUTHFULNESS!!”
“Ugh, you don’t have to put it like that, you know,” Tenten said glumly, slouching at Lee’s comment, her sudden burst ofconfidence and determination quickly vacating her morose body.
As they walked onwards, Neji decided to tell her about the recent news, “This might bring some wind back into your sails again. I’ve been recently informed that Hinata will be discharged from the hospital sometime this afternoon.”
Tenten turned Neji and smiled, her whole demeanor changing completely after hearing the good news, “Really? Wow, that’s great Neji! I’d have to say that she recovered pretty quickly after a few weeks. I would have expected her to be there few at least a month or so. In any case, who told you the news?”
“Actually, it was my uncle Hiashi who informed me,” Neji said with a small smile on his face, “He apparently wants me to supervise her recovery training so that she can resume her regular training again as soon as possible, though I’m confident that she would be completely finished by the end of today. She is a very good kunoichi after all.”
“That must be quite an honor for him to have asked that of you,” Tenten said, walking along again in high spirits.
Neji replied confidently “I must say that it was. Hiashi-sama has never given me a task of this importance before. My ties with the main branch are definitely much stronger now than it has ever been in the past. Anyways, I was wondering if you would accompany me to see Hinata like you did yesterday. I plan on leaving earlier today so that we can see her once she is released.”
“Sounds like a good idea to me. I’m down with it,” Tenten said in a casual manner.
The team continued onwards, though Lee was determined to turn the journey into the village a training session as usual, “Neji! Tenten! Let us put our youthful bodies on the line by making thi-”
“NO” they both responded simultaneously.
This didn’t discourage their jovial teammate as he crouched on the ground anyways in preparation, “Alright then, I shall make it into the village in 3 minutes flat, or I will do 500 laps around Konoha…on my hands! Ready….GOOOOOOOO!!!” Lee rushed on ahead at his usual alarming speed, leaving a large trail of dust in his wake.
Though they both figured he would make the trip in time at that rate, Lee always managed to do something that would make him do even more of his ridiculous training regimes-maybe even reward himself for making it on time by doing his training anyways.
Neji and Tenten continued on at their own casual pace, enjoying the comfortable silence of their own company until they reached the center of the bustling village, where they put their talents, once again, to good use.
Several hours had passed by, and Neji and Tenten had decided to head out in the direction of the hospital. It was around noon at this time of day with the sun already high in the sky.
The hospital was still busy as usual inside with medic-nins assisting the sick and wounded. Despite the amount of nurses present, however, Shizune was nowhere to be found. Neji activated his byakugan and searched the building for her, but found no trace of her in the inside.
“Excuse me Neji-san, I believe you’re looking for Hinata-san?” came a voice from several meters in front of him. There, holding a small package, was the pink-haired kunoichi, Sakura, from team seven, who gave them a wide smile before walking towards them.
“Well, you probably don’t even need to look for her with your byakugan activated, right? I’m guessing that you’ve already found her somewhere around this place,” she said, looking around the room as if she was looking for Hinata herself.
Neji smirked slightly at her light-hearted comment, “Hai, you are correct Sakura-san, I have already found Hinata-sama, though she wasn’t the one I was actually looking for.”
“Oh? And who might that be?” Sakura inquired further.
“Shizune-san, of course,” was Neji’s answer. “I just wanted to know if there were any conditions that I needed to know about Hinata-sama before they released her.”
Sakura smiled a bit, “Actually, Shizune told me inform you of anything else pertaining to Hinata’s conditions. So far there aren’t any that we know of, but she has instructed me to give this medicine to her.”
She handed the box to Neji, who gazed at it with his byakugan. It contained several vials filled with a bluish-green liquid.
“It’s an anti-inflammatory that will help ease any pain that may occur from the injured area. She will need to drink half a bottle twice a day; once in the morning and once in the evening. If she wants to, she can mix it with some herbal tea to drown out the taste, so long as she drinks it all down. You can start her doses this evening and continue until all of the vials are empty. If there are any questions or concerns or if there are any emerging symptoms from taking the medicine, then you can let either me or Shizune-san know about it,” Sakura instructed them with practiced ease.
Neji bowed in return, deactivating his byakugan while he did so, “Arigato, Sakura-san. I’ll be sure to give it to her as well as remind her to take it when she needs to.By the way, why isn’t Shizune-san present today? She is usually here all of the time.”
Sakura paused for a moment to think, “I believe that there have been some recent developments concerning Tsunade-sama’s condition, and her presence was requested. I’m here temporarily to fill her position while she’s gone.”
Tenten’s eyes widened in shock, “You mean that she’s gonna wake up sometime soon?” Her face was brimming with anticipation and hopefulness.
“Well, were not actually sure when she’ll wake up, but, if I do remember correctly, she was beginning to respond to some the doctor’s stimulation techniques, so it’s possible that she might wake up sometime within about a week or so,” Sakura answered confidently.
Tenten was literally glowing with happiness and relief upon learning that her idol was still alive and would possibly make a full recovery. The village would probably brighten a bit as well once they heard about the update in her condition; after all, they, nor were the rest of the shinobi exactly thrilled to learn that the Council was already considering Danzo Shimura for the Hokage position.
Neji spoke again to Sakura, “We shall be take our leave now Sakura-san. I wish you well on your duties.”
“Alright then, I’ll see ya guys later,” came the more informal response from Sakura.
Both parties then went their separate ways. Neji and Tenten found Hinata in the same room, waiting for them to pick her up
“I hope we weren’t too late in our arrival Hinata-sama,” Neji said to her in.
“It’s ok, I’m ready to go home now”, Hinata insisted. That being said, they left the hospital.On the way back to the Hyuuga compound, Neji explained to Hinata about the medicine and about his given task to supervise her recovery training. She nodded in understanding, having nothing left to say in exchange. The group continued the rest of the trip in relative quiet, though both Naruto’s and Lee’s lively shouting still filled the air with a cacophony of “YOUTH!” and “Believe it!”
Shizune glanced at Tsunade one last time before heading out that evening. Her pet pig, TonTon, was lying next to her in while she slept, distraughtover her master’s unconsciousness. Deep down she hoped that Tsunade’s condition would continue to improve to the point of awakening, though even in this stage, some patients could stay like this for the rest of their lives. Though, it couldn’t hurt to be a bit optimistic about the situation, could it?
Meanwhile, a certain person was keeping a close watch from a safe distance where he couldn’t be detected by enemy sensors. His target was inside the medical tents and had been in there for some time. There were too many guards around for him to simply walk in and ambush her, though even a direct confrontation alone would still be dangerous. She was still a capable fighter, even if she was simply a medical-nin.He decided that the best way to do this would be a simple hit-and-run tactic. It was a rather crude plan and on-the-spot, but he couldn’t risk being captured by the enemy, and time was running short for him. It was either now or never.
Using as much caution and stealth as possible, he melded away into the trees, reappearing from the ground near the entrance a few seconds later. As far as he could tell, none of the ninja inside had been alerted by his presence, which meant he was doing well so far. He heard footsteps approaching his direction and prepared himself for what he had to do. He quietly waited beside the entrance, his back pressed against the canvas wall to further conceal his presence. The tent flap opened and he reached for the kunoichi’s mouth…
Shizune was just opening the flap of the tent when a hand came out of nowhere and clasped against her mouth, effectively stifling the scream that was ready to rip from her throat and cutting off her air supply. Another hand gripped her wrist and twisted it behind her back in one quick motion. She was pulled from away from the tent opening; her legs and torso were already bound in place by some sort of claw-like snare that was coming from behind her. She tried hitting the assailant with her free hand, but the hand that had been pinning her own against her back had been placed on her mouth and the other hand had caught it as well, leaving her other hand pinned between their bodies. Both of her hands were imprisoned, but everything in her body was screaming for her to keep fighting.
She suddenly felt her chakra being drained from her body, and that her strength was fading quickly. Her struggles gradually began to slow, her vision starting to blur and her thoughts became less focused. She was panicking by then and redoubled her efforts to escape-she didn’t want to die right here in front of Tsunade when help was only a few seconds away! She did the only thing that came to her mind and prayed that the sensors inside the tent were still doing their job. She gathered every ounce of chakra remaining in her body and spiked it as high as she could make it go without passing out from exhaustion. Apparently the assailant had felt it as well, and thought it would be appropriate at that time to retreat back into the forest, leaving Shizune to fall abruptly to the ground.
Moments later, several ANBU Black Ops had arrived on the scene, weapons at the ready. Two were helping Shizune regain her balance while the rest began searching the forest in the immediate area.
“Are you alright ma’am?” asked a male ANBU who wore the mask of a primate.
She could hardly talk through her rapid gasps for air-the struggle was quite intense and she was tired from the physical strain and having her chakra drained, “I…I think so….”
“Did you see what the attacker looked like at all? Any description or distinctive characteristics you can think of at all would be of great use to us right now,” the same ANBU inquired.
Shizune though back to the fight, in the evening light she could make out that the hands that grabbed her were rather pale and clammy, which was unusual, of course. Any regular shinobi would keep their cool during most situations, especially when they had the upper hand in a fight.
“His body was… pale in color. I couldn’t… see anything else….besides that.” She gasped, still trying to catch her breath.
“Alright then, I’ll have someone take a look at you and-”
“No… that won’t be necessary,” Shizune cut him off, nearly finished catching her breath, “Just focus on… finding the person responsible. I’ll head back to notify the other shinobi of what happened.”
“With all due respect ma’am, you’re in no condition to be doing anything right now,” explained the other, female ANBU who wore a Neko mask.
“I’m fine now! With your squad patrolling the area, I won’t even need an escort back!” she exclaimed rather loudly.
Though Primate was about to restrain her, Neko held up a hand in response. “Alright then, we’ll let you go for now, though if we locate and capture the perpetrator, we will need your assistance in confirming his identity.”
Shizune nodded in agreement, “Hai, fair enough, then.” She hurriedly leapt up into the trees withouthesitation to warn the other shinobi of the urgent matter.
Little did they know that the aforementionedperpetrator was long gone; not even a trace was left behind that could be used totrack his whereabouts. The plan was going smoothly for now. The next phase would be a cake walk in comparison to that last skirmish. He sported an awfully wide smile on his usually passive face. This was his favorite part, and he was going to have plenty of fun doing it.
AN: Well, here is the next chapter for you guys! Please Leave a comment below as to what you though of it!
From now on, I will be updating on the weekends, so next week you will get to see what happens next! If I feel like I've made enough progress, then I'll post the next chapter, but only if you guys leave enough comments below!:D