Unspoken Rules

Chapter 13


Konoha Shinobi (Unspoken) Rule #21: You think we’re crazy? Have you ever been to Sunagakure? Yeah, we thought so.

Konoha Shinobi (Unspoken) Rule #6: Never take your orders too literally.


Neji had had about enough. Kankurou was snickering while pointedly not looking at him. Gaara looked like he was ready to drown himself in his lunch, which was saying something since this is Gaara we’re talking about. Temari was… well, she looked like someone who just got her cake and ate it too. And why wouldn’t she? After all, she was the one who nearly killed Hyuuga Neji, of all people, by making him choke. On tofu.

Let it be noted that one should never ask if a person’s boyfriend still has the habit of groaning just so in time of orgasm while that person was eating.

“You okay?” Temari asked with an utterly fake concerned look, patting the Hyuuga’s back. Kankurou was laughing outright now.

“Temari,” Gaara called in his usual toneless vocalization. “I would appreciate it if you refrain from discussing Nara Shimakaru’s sexual peculiarities during mealtime. It makes me lose my appetite.”

Kankurou abruptly got quiet and stared at his younger brother. “Seriously?”

“Yes,” answered the young Kazekage demurely. “Seriously.”


Gaara looked at his brother. “It gives me mental images.”

This time it was Temari who almost fell from her chair from laughing so hard. Neji covered his face in frustration. Kankurou wasn’t satisfied though. “What’s that got to do with your appetite? I mean, it’s not like the guy’s not easy on the eyes.”

The redhead glanced on his glass with a disturbed look -- which was visible only to those who knew him since birth -- and everyone followed suit.

“Oh…” Kankurou trailed off as he saw what Gaara had chosen to drink for lunch. “I see.”

Apparently, the fearsome Sabaku no Gaara was drinking… milk.

Temari, if it were even possible, guffawed even louder. Neji groaned. This was too much. After that morning when it was revealed that he had no mission, which was followed by other revelations he’d rather not remember, Temari had somehow decided that it was mandatory for them to trade secrets. About Shikamaru. Or, to be precise, about Shikamaru in bed.

It was maddening. “Does he still (insert involuntary reaction here) when you (insert action here)?” Or “Does he still (insert a form of idiosyncrasy here)?” The cheerful questioning was relentless. Neji had tried everything from ignoring to glaring to outright threatening bodily harm, but nothing fazed the kunoichi. He had tried running to his room and locking himself in, but Temari kept asking questions from outside his door. While giggling.

The fact that she was never a gossipy woman and was probably doing this on purpose just to get on his nerves didn’t even count anymore. Neji had contemplated suicide, but he already swore to go back to Konoha and kill his boyfriend for throwing him into the clutches of the infuriating woman. Seriously, having his seal activated was better than this. Killing Temari wasn’t an option either, since that would also count as suicide. Not to mention mass murder, seeing as the act would bring war between their respective Hidden Villages and kill hundreds of people.

In the end, Neji had decided to just humor her. He answered mainly “yes” and “I think so” with a steady glare that said ‘if only you weren’t who you are, you’d be dead by now’, and the day went by quite peacefully. The positive side was, as it turned out, Temari didn’t really know much. But still, Neji was a very private person, and it just wasn’t worth it.

The young Hyuuga cheered inwardly when Kankurou and Gaara came back from the Kazekage’s office to have lunch. Finally he had gotten himself a break. Or so he had thought. As it was, the tofu he was swallowing had gone in the wrong way when Temari suddenly started her questioning anew. It was uncomfortable -- and not to mention embarrassing -- enough when they were alone, but in front of Kankurou and Gaara? Neji knew the woman was crazy, but not that crazy.

“Temari,” Gaara’s toneless voice brought Neji back to the here and now. “Stop laughing. You too, Kankurou. It’s not funny. It’s disgusting.”

“Gaara, you’re a guy and you’re eighteen.” Kankurou’s shoulders were still shaking from laughter. “You shouldn't act like some innocent virgin girl. It’s creepy, and I don’t mean it like used-to-have-a-monster-sealed-inside-you creepy.”

His younger brother gave him a puzzled look and asked, rather unpretentiously, “You don’t find drinking someone else’s sperm disgusting? Temari, you too?”

Both the Kazekage’s siblings were in tears. From laughing, that is. Neji was contemplating giving a complete set of Icha Icha to Gaara for his next birthday, which would contain both the usual and yaoi editions, to help educate the poor young man. He scratched the idea in fear of giving Gaara more emotional trauma. Maybe he should send Lee in nothing but a giant ribbon instead. God knows both of them need to get laid.

The dysfunctional desert family was still busy being dysfunctional when Neji noticed a small bird tapping the window. Something was tied to one of its leg. It was a messenger bird! He whooped inwardly while rushing to the window to get the bird.

“What is it?” Gaara asked to change the subject. He didn’t find being laughed at -- and not knowing why -- enjoyable.

“A messenger bird?” Kankurou joined in once Neji put the bird on the table. “It doesn’t look like any of the ones from Konoha.”

“Hn,” grunted the younger brother in agreement. “I’ve never seen one like it before.”

“Careful then,” Temari chimed in. “Could be a trap of some kind.”

Neji never knew Konoha to ever use this kind of bird either, so he gave it a once over. He noticed a miniscule symbol dangling from the thread that tied the equally miniscule rolled up piece of paper to the bird’s leg and recognized it immediately. “It’s a Nara messenger bird.”

Everyone took a closer look and saw what Neji was talking about. Kankurou got curious. “A clan has its own messenger birds? What for?”

“The Nara isn’t a noble clan. They don’t live in a compound- or even in the same area, for that matter. They use messenger birds to call on each other when necessary,” answered the Hyuuga absentmindedly while trying to get the paper without jostling the tired bird.

“It’s so small for a messenger bird,” Gaara commented.

Temari frowned in thought while gently petting the bird. “Well, if it’s only for clan use then the birds aren’t supposed to ever fly out of Konoha. This little guy must have never flown so far before, the poor thing.”

“Why is Konoha using a Nara messenger bird instead of one of their usual ones?” Gaara asked, obviously picking up that something was off.

Temari was still thinking up a plausible lie when Neji answered, “They’re not. The message is from Shikamaru.”

Kankurou snickered again. “Aaaw, is wittle Shikamawu wowwied about wittle Neji?”

“Shut up, Kankurou.” Temari smacked him upside the head. Teasing the Hyuuga was her prerogative. Exclusively.

“Ow! Hey!”

Gaara just looked at Neji while his siblings entered a smacking war. “So?”

Neji put the message on the table in front of Temari -- who was still busy smacking hands with Kankurou -- and stood up. “I’m to return to Konoha immediately. Thank you for the hospitality your family had showered me during my time here, Kazekage-sama. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must prepare for my journey home.”

Said Kazekage just nodded and Neji went to his room. He waited until his guest was out of sight before picking up the message and frowned.

“Temari?” he called.

“Huh?” The kunoichi stopped slapping and Kankurou, hearing his brother’s voice, realized that a truce was imminent. Gaara gave Temari the message and her eyes widened as she read it.

Neji: Go home.
Troublesome Woman: Now we’re even.

“I take it that this ‘Troublesome Woman’ is you?”

“Um, yes.”

“What does Shikamaru mean by being even? I didn’t know you owe him anything.”

“Uh, well…”

“Hn.” Gaara crossed his arms and looked at his older sister intently. “Explain.”

Temari fidgeted while Kankurou made himself comfortable on his chair with a smirk. This was bound to be embarrassing and he wouldn't miss it for the world.


“Neji-niisan! You’re back!” Hinata exclaimed as she saw her cousin entered the Hyuuga compound.

“Hinata-sama,” Neji greeted back.

“How did your mission go?”

Neji stared hard at her. Didn't she know that there wasn’t any mission? He thought she knew more about what was going on than he did. He answered hesitantly, “It… went well. Thank you.”

“Oh, good,” Hinata beamed as they walked together further inside. “I’ll leave you to rest now. Otousama and all the elders must have already been informed of your arrival, so it won't be long until you're called for another hearing.”

Another hearing. Right. He had almost forgotten about that. After all, with Shikamaru saying he could go home, he figured he wasn’t going home to die. In the three days he had spent on the road from Suna, all he could think about was what Shikamaru had done while he was hiding in another country. He tried to guess, the whole three days, but came up with nothing.

Neji was already rattled by the fact that Shikamaru had made him run without even telling him, but he had let it slide. First of all, it was his own fault he never let Shikamaru talk to him about their impending problem. Second of all, Neji knew that Shikamaru just didn't want him dead. He could understand the reasoning. However, the last message from Shikamaru had really riled him.

Go home. Two words. Nothing more. If he wasn’t with the Kazekage and his siblings at the time, he would’ve verbalized all the profanities running through his mind. Loudly.

Before he found out that the mission was fake and that Shikamaru was behind it, everything was so much simpler. It wasn't better in any way, but at least he knew he was going to die by seal activation once he got home. Now he didn’t know anything at all, and that was not something a ninja could be comfortable with. Neji didn’t know if it was because Shikamaru found writing an explanation too troublesome, or because he was still in a huff after what had happened. Either way, the young Hyuuga had no idea what his lover was planning and/or doing during his time away, much less how it would effect the situation. His situation. Shikamaru had no right to keep him in the dark like that.

Fear, anger, anxiety, frustration; all those pent-up emotions broiled inside him for almost three days while he was alone on the road. By the time he reached Konoha, he was so tired of everything he decided to do just what Shikamaru’s sorry excuse of a message told him. He went home.

Neji didn’t know what would happen, whether or not he would survive, so he didn’t try to find Shikamaru first since he knew it would only end badly. If he died, their last memory of each other would be a good one. If he lived, he’d make sure to give his lover a piece of his mind. Followed by make-up sex. And more. Yeah, definitely more, Neji thought as he stepped in to the shower. Now he should just relax and wait for his second -- and hopefully last, whatever the outcome may be -- trial.

It didn’t take long before Neji was summoned to the compound's assembly hall. He didn’t even get the chance to fall asleep after he lay down in his room. He walked calmly through the long corridors of the Hyuuga compound, still in the simple white male kimono all Hyuugas wear when relaxing, flanked by two of his distant cousins. In the assembly, the atmosphere was eerily silent and foreboding, but Neji didn’t care. He stepped in with his head held high, leaving his two cousins outside without even sparing them a glance. He took his place in front of his clan leader, heir and elders before bowing respectively, eyes locked straight forward.

“Hyuuga Neji,” Hiashi began after Neji was done with curtsying. “Since everyone present already knows the situation, I will go directly to the heart of the matter.”

Neji, like everyone else, waited quietly for the clan leader to continue. “As you may recall, your first hearing was interrupted by an urgent mission. It was during that interruption that a forgotten fact was brought to my attention.”

Although he was more than puzzled, Neji didn’t react. Hiashi went on, “You, young Hyuuga Neji, are currently the only member of our clan who is a Jounin. That, of course, makes you the only jounin-ranked Byakugan user Konoha could offer. Moreover, you have gained quite a reputation. Many of our village’s clientele request your personal involvement when ordering a mission.”

The clan leader took a deep breath. “As such, the situation is bigger than a mere clan matter. By torturing you to the point of death, our clan will rob Konoha of its most valuable asset. That goes against our clan’s prime directive. So it was with that consideration that I assembled the clan elders and my heir to discuss your situation while you were absent. After much deliberation, we have all agreed on a solution.”

Hiashi cleared his throat before continuing. “This is not common knowledge even among our clan members, but there was a time when banishment was an option. Of course, to preserve the containment of our bloodline limit, the rebelling clan member would not be disowned without being sealed first.”

Neji didn’t know whether or not Shikamaru had a part in this, but at the word “banishment”, he was caught in wonder. This was impossible. It couldn’t be that easy. His prediction came true when the word “seal” came to him. He could practically feel his blood turn to ice. For the first time in years, fear flashed in the eyes of Hyuuga Neji. And his uncle caught it.

“True to its cause, this seal will not influence your performance as a shinobi.” Hiashi tried to calm his nephew. Wasn’t Shikamaru supposed to tell him about this before sending him home? “Neither your Byakugan or any of your acquired skills will be affected. The seal will only deter you from spreading our bloodline limit outside the clan.”

Neji barely registered his uncle’s words. Although he appeared undisturbed, in his mind he was four again and his uncle was ushering him into an empty room with letters on the floor. He didn’t know what was happening to him when, after he followed his uncle’s instruction to sit quietly in the middle, he was in so much pain he actually cried like a girl. It hurt. It hurt and it hurt- Neji- and he was screaming and begging and pleading- Neji- for his uncle to help him and make the hurt stop but- “Neji!”

Hiashi’s roar brought Neji back to the present and the young Hyuuga snapped his attention to his uncle in reflex. He realized then that he had spaced out and missed the last thing his uncle was saying.

“Forgive me, Ojiisama. I was… somewhere else,” Neji finished lamely. What else was he supposed to say? That he was trapped in a memory where his dear uncle forced a seal on his unknowing, four-year-old self?

“Yes, I can see that.” Hiashi frowned visibly. He was getting worried, but there was no way he could postpone this now. “As I was saying, you are to take back the words you have spoken in your first hearing and perform your duty to carry on the Hyuuga blood line. Should you refuse to do so, you will be banished forever from this clan.”

The clan leader stopped to make sure Neji was listening before he continued. “A seal will be placed on you to ensure containment of our blood limit. You will then be escorted to the back door of this compound where you will step out and never return. You will no longer have any connection to the Hyuuga clan. However, you are not to change your surname to avoid questions from unauthorized parties. Do you have any questions?”

“No,” answered the young man tersely. He didn’t want to hear anymore.

“So what is your decision?”

Neji didn’t even need to think. He would never take back his own words and marry his cousin to have children. That would mean going against everything he believed in and, more importantly, leaving Shikamaru. He would rather die. He couldn’t care less about being disowned. It was actually beneficial since he would no longer have to give twenty-five percent of his salary to the clan. Another seal? Hmph. He had been sealed his whole life, having another one wouldn’t make any difference. He wasn’t a child anymore and this time he knew what was going on. He could handle it.

“I will not take back my own words,” he answered proudly. “And I refuse to carry on the Hyuuga blood line.”

“Very well,” his uncle responded with a nod. “We will now proceed with sealing you.”

“Hinata, if you please,” Hiashi signaled his heir, who quickly stood up and went to the far side of the large room, before addressing the clan elders. “Gracious Elders, you have my utmost gratitude for being here in this time of need. Now, if you will excuse us, I am going to perform my duty to seal this young man and send him away.”

The elders stood up and left the room without a word. Neji wondered briefly why they were all so quiet this time around. Maybe it was because they had already reached a decision about what to do with him, or some other reason. He couldn’t care less, he thought as light suddenly came from the far side of the assembly hall. Neji looked at that direction and gritted his teeth after seeing what was there. They’ve prepared everything. Hundreds of kanji were beautifully written on the floor, lines reaching out from a circle in the center, making it looked like a child’s drawing of a sun.

“You may leave now,” Hiashi’s order to Hinata made Neji turned his attention again. He looked at his uncle while his cousin went out of the room quietly.

“So,” Hiashi sighed.

Neji smiled to reassure his uncle that he was fine. “So.”

“This is it then,” the clan leader said while returning the smile with a resigned one. “Are you ready?”


They both approached the circle and Neji sat in the middle. Hiashi crouched in front of him and pushed his shoulder lightly. “No, Neji. You need to lie down.”

Neji gave his uncle a puzzled look, but he complied anyway. Hiashi nodded absentmindedly and took his place by the end of the longest line of Kanji. He stood far away, facing the top of his nephew’s head. Neji couldn't see him at all now.

After a few moments of strained silence, Neji could feel chakra being molded in a massive yet gentle, precise way. In the background he could slightly hear Hiashi’s murmured chanting. Neji waited for the pain to come, for the letters to travel under his skin and give him that unique sensation; something akin to tearing laced with stabbing cold within the muscle, accompanied by searing, continuous piercing under the skin.

That pain was familiar to him. He knew that the most painful part would be when the letters reached whichever part of his body that was intended and formed the seal. Maybe because that was where those chakra-infused characters would forcefully link with whichever organs or chakra paths inside him, maybe because the letters would still be traveling all over his body when it happened so the pain was double, or maybe it was both, Neji didn’t really know. He didn’t really care either.

He could feel it now: the excruciating, steady pain. It slipped under his skin from his fingertips and the tips of his toes before speeding through him. As it turned out, it wasn’t as bad as fourteen years ago. It was about as painful as having your fingernails pulled out. Slowly. But he was a seasoned, jounin-ranked shinobi now. He had enhanced pain threshold. He was trained to deal with pain. So Neji didn’t scream. He just put his training to good use, trying to regulate his breathing to avoid shock while waiting for the worst to come.

Where were they heading? Neji wondered as the lines that had entered from his fingertips bypassed his chest and midsection. They reached his groin the same time the ones that entered from his toes did. They pooled there, the pain intensifying… oh, no. Oh, God no!

Neji was nowhere near ready for this. He felt like his scrotum was slowly, painstakingly etched with burning coal. What was being done to him? What function could a seal be having there? The pain was beginning to get unbearable as Neji’s mind rambled. He replayed his uncle’s explanation from before and it echoed in his head in rhythm with the pain.

“…deter you from spreading our bloodline limit outside the clan.”

“…to ensure containment of our bloodline limit.”

Castrated. He was being castrated. The seal would prevent him from having sex ever again. Neji wished he hadn’t spaced out then. If he was paying attention, he would’ve asked his uncle to kill him instead. He was a man. Losing his life was something he had never feared. Losing his manhood, on the other hand… No. He would rather Shikamaru saw him dead than saw him… No. No way in hell.

What was he thinking? He should’ve seen this coming the moment his uncle mentioned the word ‘banishment’ and ‘seal’. Of course his clan would ensure his inability to procreate before disowning him. After all, they couldn’t risk the spreading of Byakugan. It was already hard enough to guard as it is. His father’s death was proof of that.

The procedure was reaching its peak and so was the pain. The unexpected feeling, coupled with the mental blow that came with the realization on his predicament, crumbled Neji’s defenses to bits and pieces. The pain became unthinkable. Literally. Along with everything else.

Neji couldn’t think anymore. All his brain could register was pain. He didn’t even realize he was screaming so loud, his uncle actually cringed. He didn't remember how long the process actually took place. He didn’t even remember when it ended, when his uncle was finally done and the seal was in place. He didn’t remember how he had lost consciousness soon after.


Chapter 12 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Shikamaru/Neji ~~~~~~~~ Chapter 14



This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to www.yola.com and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola