Breaking The Shackle, a Shikako/Neji fic (2016-11-13)

aka, Shikako and Neji’s Revolutionary Crusade of Fuinjutsu and Great Justice

She’ll admit it wasn’t a particularly noble beginning–certainly not on her end–it wasn’t outrage at injustice, or empathy for the oppressed.

It wasn’t even the opposite: scheming to overthrow the largest and most powerful clan in Konoha, or gain the allegiance of over a hundred people with a blood limit.

It was just curiosity… and not a small amount of ego. Riding the high of her own ability.

Because if she could outmaneuver Danzo, could best Orochimaru in sealing, could survive battle against a literal goddess–

(could defy death over and over again)

–what were the Hyuuga clan’s laws to her?

TenTen is a fuinjutsu master in her own right, though with a different specialty and style.

She’s been friends and teammates with Neji for so many years, as close to family as she’s ever known–she has nearly as much a stake in his freedom as he himself does.

But she is an orphan without a last name; the Byakugan has great worth to Konoha.

Neji has long since changed his view on fate.

Or, at least, his relationship to it.

He still thinks fate exists, but who is he to say what it might be? Who is he to say who will fail and who will succeed?

Lee has long since surpassed the predictions a younger, brattier Neji had once made for him. So, too, has his cousin grown into her potential despite his pessimistic bullying.

He has watched, time and time again, as his friends and his village have defied the odds–rejected what should have been their fated ends–and lived despite everything against them.

But perhaps that is fate. Perhaps fate is kinder than he thought. Beneath his forehead protector is a curse, but perhaps fate will be kind to him this once.

But if its not–if fate is not kind–then he will do as he has been taught and fight against it with all he has.

Sai has a scar on his tongue, a remnant of the seal of secrecy that all ROOT members once had.

Given the placement and size, it’s not noticeable at all–more importantly, it doesn’t hinder his ability to speak.

Sai has a scar on his tongue, a remnant of Shikako’s attempts to remove the ROOT seal of secrecy.

Shikako has many secrets, some of which she shares and some of which she will keep beyond her last breath.

One of them is simply this: she did nothing to save Neji’s life.

Oh, she never put him in harms way, always had his back in battle–she treated him the way she treated all of her friends and allies.

She would’ve died for him, if such a thing had been necessary, but she never went out of her way to save his life. Never warned him of his future, never even hinted at the possibility.

She did nothing.

And yet, somehow, he still lives.

She doesn’t know if this is some kind of apology that only she’ll understand, belated and inexplicable as it may be. Doesn’t know if this is out of guilt or some sense of debt…

But she thinks: late though it may be, she should do something.

Lee remembers the first time he actively noticed Shikako–surrounded by carnage and flames, the bodies of her enemies lying at her feet.

It’s the kind of first impression that lingers, on which every interaction after that is influenced by.

No matter how approachable and helpful she is after that, Lee will always remember that at Shikako’s core is ruthlessness and efficiency.

It’s not as if Neji thinks Hinata will renege on her vow to change the Hyuuga clan–she is not that cruel, not like he used to be–nor does he think Hanabi, if she is to be head instead, will do the same.

But he thinks Hiashi-oji-sama must have once thought the same for his twin, for his twin’s son, and yet Neji still bears the brand.

He knows that the Main Family is more than just his uncle and his two cousins. The Hyuuga Clan is expansive, numbering in the hundreds.

While the Main Family is a small percentage of that, it is still a few dozen. A few dozen who can inflict pain or death on the Branch Family at whim.

The Hyuuga Clan Elders won’t let their elitism be taken away so easily.

Promises are nice, but actions are better.

Kakashi figured that if ever one of his students and Gai’s students got together it would be the end of the world. He was only a few months off, really.

Hm, is it too early to joke about that?

The aged scrolls Hanabi passed along to them have been much appreciated, necessary for Shikako’s endless notes working out different permutations and removal methods. But there is a time for theory and there is a time to put said theory into practice.

Neji removes his forehead protector, hands trembling minutely. Shikako takes a moment to marvel at how green the seal is, before berating herself.

She looks away, to give him the chance to compose himself, and when she looks back it’s to a Neji with closed eyes, sitting with resigned patience.

One way or another, this will end his world as he knows it.

Closed eyes doesn’t mean vulnerability for a Hyuuga, not truly, but she can appreciate the gesture for what it is.

Absolution. Faith. Trust.


A/N: For @cadalie who wanted that revolutionary Shikako/Neji vs Hyuuga Clan fic and got… this.

I tried to make it less feels based, but lets be honest here, isn’t that my wheelhouse?

Unsure if this is Shikako/Neji proper or more pre-Shikako/Neji…

Also, unimaginative title is unimaginative.

Post Word Count: 907, Running Word Count: 4874

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