One: Moving In
I had no desire to move to Massachusetts and leave my home in New Jersey. True, it wasn’t a radical move as my mother had done to Oregon, on the other side of the cost, but it was still a new town with new people. . . and my family.
I hated my family.
They always treated my mother and I as second rate citizens because my father had died on the streets of New York on a business trip. The reports said it was gang-related. My father had worked for the family business, which was making a lot of money off of selling a rather expensive item. Apparently, my father was trying to move some of the product to the distribution center, and ran into a group of people, who then shot him twelve times in the chest. They took the items in his brief case and took off. They never found out who they were.
The rest of the family saw this as a weakness of the family. Every one of the Hyuuga children are taught how to fight, and the adults who work for the family business are required to wear a bulletproof vest out. My father had neither fought the gang, nor had worn the required protective metal. After I turned four, my mother moved us to New Jersey and worked to raise me herself. She didn’t want me to grow up with all the animosity that the family held for us. However, she couldn’t protect me forever. I felt this hatred twice a year: during the New Year, and the summer festival. It was then that I was required to go to Boston and spend a few days with the family. Then, Hinata and Hanabi would try to spend time with me, though it was forbidden by the adults. Hanabi eventually complied with the elders’ wishes, but Hinata continued to speak with me.
All these years later, they’ve become frightened of me. Even Hinata has a hard time looking me in the eye these days. I’ve become the genus that they were afraid I’d become. Finances and business negotiations have become exceedingly simply tasks for me, even though I’m only 18. The family had given me a few small assignments, which they figured would give an intern a bit of trouble. However, I was pleased to find that these “difficult” tasks were little more than busy work for me. I know that they’re afraid that I’ll soon take over the business and possibly run it into the ground to spite the family.
As appealing as the idea is, I couldn’t do that to my posterity.
“Neji, just remember that they hardly know you.” my mother said to me as she saw me off on the plane to Boston. I had gone to visit her in Salem for a few days before going to Boston. I felt I had to for some reason. I had missed her over the last few years while she worked herself to the bone. It showed too. Her hair was prematurely graying, and her skin was slightly wrinkling and always sagging beneath her eyes from lack of sleep. Yet, she always wore a smile, which had created crow’s feet by her eyes. She had gotten more gray hairs since I had seen her last, though it seemed that she was getting more sleep these days. The dark circles weren’t clearly visible anymore. Yet, even with all her imperfections and aging, she was still a beautiful woman. I absently wondered if she hadn’t been put through all the stress of raising a son, working, and being pestered by the family how she would have looked at her age.
“I will, Mother.” I said as she hugged me. “You don’t have to worry about me.”
“I suppose I don’t, but you’re still my son. I’m obligated to worry.” she said, smiling. I would miss that smile most of all while I worked with the family. “Say hello to Hinata for me, will you? She sent me a card and some money last week for. . . well.” I nodded. Last week was my parent’s anniversary, or would have been if my father had survived. I’m sure Hinata sent it with sympathy for my mother, and was sorry for anything that her the Hyuugas had ever done to her. She was always that way, and for that, Hinata was the only one I did not damn of my relatives.
“I will.” I promised. My mother nodded, holding back tears which I knew would pour out once I was gone. “Good bye, Mother.” With that, I picked up my bags and proceeded to check them in and grab my ticket. I turned back once, seeing my mother still standing there: prim, proper, and silently crying. I don’t even know if she knew she was crying. She *was* a Hyuuga after all.
Hiashi and Hinata came to pick me up at the airport, both visibly wearing their bullet proof vests. I never understood completely why my family absolutely *had* to wear the armor. Unless they were involved with the yakuza or something, I didn’t find it necessary for them to protect themselves so. Well, considering I didn’t actually know what the family business *was*, I wouldn’t entirely doubt it if someone told me that the Hyuuga clan was involved in some sort of crime ring.
“Neji.” Hiashi greeted me. Hinata blushed and waved hello. I bowed to both of them, out of sheer respect for tradition. Otherwise, I would have never allowed myself to show that sort of humility to them.
“The family house is ready, I assume?” I asked him, a little more direct than I probably should have. Then again, I was always too direct for his taste.
“Yes it is.” he said, formally. I knew, however, that he wanted to spit out those words. I had specifically asked for the old family house, since that had been abandoned a while ago for a new mansion a few miles away. I refused to stay with the rest of the family. It wasn’t as if the rest of my relatives had a problem with that, since they hated me more than they had my father, but it required that they spend some time cleaning up the old house and restocking it with the necessary food and cleaning supplies, as well as make sure the plumbing and electrical units weren’t going to explode while I lived there. Even they weren’t stupid enough to pull something like that. “Come.”
While I sat next to Hiashi in the front, Hinata sat in the back of the car; being second rate only because she was female. The Hyuuga clan were so wrapped up in their image and traditions that even the heir to the entire family was subject to being ruled by a male-dominant household. When she married, her husband would really be the one who gained the family fortune. She would fade into the background while her husband raked in the benefits of being a Hyuuga. I suppose she knew this from the time she was young, and she felt in the same position as I was. I suppose to a certain extent she was. . . but our problems were not equal.
“Neji-niisama.” Hinata whispered, being frightened to talk to me. “May I come visit you some times?” I sat there in the front seat, wondering why she would purposely go against the clan and see me in a regular basis.
“Yes, you may.” I did not turn back to look at her, but I know she smiled a little. I had not spoken with her since the summer festival, and then it had not been long. I supposed being alone for long stretches of time couldn’t be too healthy, and Hinata wasn’t bad company. Inside, I almost was excited that she might come and visit. I quickly erased those thoughts from my head, feeling a bit strange thinking that I might actually *care* for someone in the family.
“Here are your keys.” Hiashi said as he parked in front of the old, Japanese style house with a matching landscape and gate. “To the house, the gate, the shed, and the car you requested.” I looked at the ring, finding a fifth key on it. I knew that the key probably led to nothing. The Hyuugas were also very superstitious. The number four was a number to avoid, one of the kanji readings is the same word as death. I took the keys, not thinking more of it. “The food was supplied yesterday.”
“Thank you.” I said, getting out of the car and grabbing my things. Hinata slipped into the front seat before Hiashi drove away in his sleek, black Jaguar. I watched it as it turned away, and saw Hinata looking out toward me. When she caught my eyes, she blushed heavily and turned away. I supposed that she was ashamed that she cared so much. Speaking of which. . .
I nearly slapped myself, forgetting that my mother requested that I thank Hinata for the card and money she sent. Then again, Hinata probably didn’t notify Hiashi or any of the others of what she had done. It was probably best that I didn’t blow it for her. I would thank her when she visited me next.
A/N: Please review! ^__^ I’ll update sooner if I get more than two or three reviews!!
Chapter notes: Disclaimer is in the Summary. So there.
A/N: To let you know, this is actually a personal fear of mine manifesting itself. You see, about 10 years ago there was a horrible plane crash in the city that I live in. The plane landed about a half a mile from where I live now. Many nights when the planes are redirected to go over our houses, I hear air traffic flying through and I'm scared that a crash might happen again. If I was ever killed, who would finish my stories? Would people start to send messeges wondering where I had gone? Who out there who read my stuff would know that I had died?
I don't know why, but leaving things unfinished in that situation kind of scares me.
Anyway, I'm setting this in the present-day with solely the Hyuuga clan because I kind of wanted to use Neji somehow, and I didn't want another one-shot like I've been doing recently. So, here it is!