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Old 11-16-2007, 05:21 PM   #1
GreatMarta
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Default A oneshot about Neji's mother

Neji's mother returns home after a two-month-long mission. Revolves around her relations with her son, her outlook on life and how she deals with her painful past (Hizashi's death). Supposed to be serious and sad.

IT IS NOT ENTIRELY FINISHED, but since I'm almost done I thought I might as well ask people for opinions. It's the most serious story I tried to write so far and I know, that it's either the greatest crap or the greatest masterpiece I could come up with. Come on: decide, which of those two would it be. Pretty please ^_^


Mother’s return by GreatMarta

By the time she reached the gates of Konoha, the sun had already disappeared from the sky. It was a dark, cold night, and there wasn’t even one star to be seen above. Perfect circumstances for an ANBU, who comes home from a two months long mission. A successful mission, that is.

Yumi walked along an empty street, enjoying the briskness she could feel in the air. Now, that she found herself within the borders of her home village, she could allow herself to chill out a little bit. Just a little bit. Even here, even now, somebody might be watching her. The chances of being attacked here, on her own playground practically, were quite small, but even quite a small chance is a chance. Afterall, it is her home village, where she had experienced the worst tragedy of her entire life.

Oh geez, here I go again, she thought to herself. It hasn’t even been 5 minutes since I entered Konoha, and those memories approached me already. It was better last time. Sighs… Get a grip, woman. You’re an ANBU. You can’t allow yourself such weakness, right?

Yumi was an ANBU. A very good one. A professional, devoted to her job and mission. She strictly followed a set of draconic rules, that infiltrated every aspect of her life. As soon as the training program she created for herself became too easy, she complicated it in any way possible. She was able to meditate for hours, and not even a bird dropping poop on her head could distract her. Her colleagues admired her self-discipline, self-control and determination. They said, that Yumi-san was a companion they could rely on and a pleasure to work with. Sometimes, one or another would dare to call her “a hell of a woman”.

But none of them would suspect, that such a strong, tough woman could find herself hopeless against a certain enemy. An enemy, that would always return, no matter how hard she fought him away. This enemy existed within her mind and tormented her with the past she so badly wished to forget.

She walked slowly, taking the longer rout. She should hurry home. But she just kept on walking around. With every step, the memories were getting harder and harder to ignore. Slow down. The slower, the better. Okay, slowly but steadily, go home. Home. Your very own home. Full of your very own belongings. And the heart of darkness, consuming the very core of your being.

She entered the Hyuuga estate and directed her steps towards the part, which was inhabited by the Branch House. Soon, it was the time to face the door of her house.

There she stood, staring at the door-handle. Staring, as if expecting to hear some words of compassion from it. A piece of advise would be nice. Geez, that is sick. Woman, what is wrong with you? What’s the big deal? Now, you will pull the handle, enter the house and go sleep in your bedroom. You are tired from the long journey. You need a rest. If you stay here, you will eventually fall asleep in the standing position. And that would be a shame, right? Alright. Come on, reach the handle…

But no. Suddenly, the handle moved on it’s own. The door swung wide open, and revealed the figure of a young, long-haired boy. His white eyes met hers, green, and forced a gasp out of mouth.

For a few seconds, the woman and the boy remained in eye contact. Both of them needed those few seconds desperately. It was the first time they saw each other in two months. Neither would admit it, but now, that they finally reunited, their hearts pounded like crazy.

Yumi gazed at the boy’s handsome face, amazed of how much he could grow within those two months, and how much he reminded of his father. Every time she saw him, he looked more an more like him. It was amazing to see him grow. So amazing to observe the changes in his look. My, my, what a beautiful boy she had. Dark haired, white eyed, with a balanced figure and an excellent posture. And still, that inner charm and a kind of cuteness. He was perfect. He must be very popular with the girls. She bet he was. He was 13 years old already. Soon, he would start to notice, that the opposite gender may be attractive. Sighs…

“Good evening, mother” the boy first broke the silence. His tone was calm, and didn’t let much emotions show through it. Afterall, the situation wasn’t this unusual. Yumi often took long-time missions and often returned at night. He was used to it.

“Neji” she answered, reminding herself how pleasurably his name tasted on her tongue “I thought you have already gone to sleep”

“I stayed at the training ground for a longer time today” he explained “I didn’t feel tired at all. I suppose I suspected, that you would return home today”

“So it seems” she agreed with him, and even allowed herself to smile weakly. The sight of her little boy and the sound of his voice was a surprisingly strong remedy for her arching heart.

“Please, come in” he moved, to let her pass. And she did. She made it inside her house.

To enter the place where she lived, after such a long absence, was like sinking into a deep, muddy water. To find herself surrounded by the objects she knew so well and the scent connected with them, to let the image of them update within her memory, was like exploring a wreckage of a ship she once owned. It was hers. That wooden floor, the hanger-hooks on the wall, the mirror…

She stopped by the mirror, to take a look at her own reflection. She looked horrible. Her brown hair, tied in ponytail, was fat, oily and dirty. Many small scratches, as much as a few wrinkles covered her face. Black circles surrounded her green eyes. The ANBU uniform looked, as if it went through two world wars. Overall: one, great mess.

“You must be hungry after your journey” her son turned to her “I am going to prepare a supper for you. Or would you like to take a bath first?” he offered. Now that’s a young gentleman.

“I guess I’ll start with a bath” she decided “And yes, it would be nice if you could prepare something to eat. I’d greatly appreciate that”

“Then I shall cook rice with crabs” he announced and headed towards the kitchen. She was proud of him. He was so helpful and caring. Boys usually do everything just to avoid having to fulfill their chores, but her son was different. He had a great sense of responsibility. He could organize his daily schedule on his very own, finding time for trainings, missions, chores, learning and everything. Not even a minute would go to waste in Hyuuga Neji’s life. He was a professional. Just like his mother.

“Mother?” he suddenly turned to her.

“Yes, Neji?”

“It is good, that you returned home safely” he said in his usual, plain way. He wasn’t good at showing emotions. But she knew, that what he said, was true and came from the centre of his heart.

“It is good to be home” she nodded.

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Old 11-16-2007, 05:23 PM   #2
GreatMarta
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To her, the home was a place, where the border between peace and horror was thinner than spider web. It was a dreadful trap. It felt like as enemy’s territory, where she was left on the mercy of cruel memories, which were waiting for her with a great deal of pain in store. The pain she could never get over with. It’s been so long. So long, since the tragedy took place. Since her husband sacrificed himself to save the village from war and the secrets of byakugan from falling into the hands of enemy. 9 years. Nine years of widowhood and single motherhood.

It was hard at first. She just couldn’t understand it. He said he would always be there for her. He swore he would. They were both young, they had their planes for the future, they had a small child to raise. They should raise him together. Neji was such a good boy, he deserved to grow up in a complete family. He was only 4 when he lost his father. It shouldn’t be like this. No child should ever loose a parent at such a young age. And no wife should loose her husband, after they barely started a life together.

Yumi knew, he had to. But knowing, that her husband died a hero’s death, preventing many other deaths, wasn’t much of a help. Not so long ago, they would dance at some disco, till the morning light. They would have romantic dinners with candles. They would take long walks in the moonlight, holding hands and talking about their usual duties and everyday business. The memories of those good, happy times were still fresh, still so sharp and real. And to think, that they were gone, forever, that she would never go to sleep and wake up in his arms again… it was too much to bare.

She cried, until she no longer could produce tears. She went to the forest and yelled her pain out, damaging the nearest tree or rock, hitting it, until the physical pain of bleeding hands was strong enough to overcome the mental pain of broken heart. She isolated herself, alienated from other people, even the closest family and friends. She didn’t want them to see her like this. In deep misery. In pain. So much unlike herself. She was so weak, that she could barely find strength to clean, cook or do shopping. She couldn’t even pay much attention to Neji. And he needed her. He needed her so badly. She was everything he had left. And he was her entire world. The world, which she had to take care of alone.

Finally, about time her teammate, and the wife of her husband’s brother gave birth to a second daughter, she was able to come and express her congratulations for the mother and the newly born baby. She had enough of this whole mess. She had a child to raise. She had to be strong. For him. It was the time to take action.

So, she returned to training and taking missions. Soon, she made the decision to join the ANBU and devoted herself to obtaining this goal. The work didn’t leave her any time to think about her loss. Meditations and trainings could kill all the weakness of her body and mind, making her forget, that she used to be close to a man and go to the parties. The old, easy-going, life-loving Yumi was gone for good. All that was left from her, was love for her son.

She wasn’t able to spend much time with Neji, but she made sure to use that little time well. She taught him to work hard and organize his time. She taught him meditation and made sure fellow Hyuuga men teach him the gentle fist. And Neji learned well. He was a prodigy. A man loved by Hyuuga talent more than anyone else, like his father used to say. The notes he showed his mother were always the best in the class. All the teachers praised him. It wasn’t a surprise, that he became the number one rookie of the year. Back then, she was proud of him. But she was also afraid. The possibility of him carrying out serious missions, of him getting hurt, or even… no. It was silly to worry like that. He was just a genin. Nobody would send a genin on a dangerous mission, right? She had no reasons to worry. At least for now.

In the bathroom, she started with washing her hair, using three different shampoos. Washing away all the blood and dirt is not so easy. But she can’t let her son believe, that he has the scruffiest mother in the whole village. After the hair, it was time to wash the entire body. Dear Lord, she’s almost forgotten, how good it feels to bath in warm water. So neat and cozy… a real relief after those freezing lakes and rivers. Not to mention a good quality shower gel. Priceless.

Having removed the dirt, sweat and nasty stench, Yumi cut her nails short and turned the hair-dryer on. While drying her hair, she let her sight land on a mirror again. Now she looked much better. Quite nice. In fact, she found herself pretty. But as soon as any positive thought concerning the state of her naked body went thought her mind, she called her entire mental force to prevent it from going any further. She might be slim. She might be pretty. She might even be beautiful. But who cares? This body had experienced the miracle and magic of a good man’s touch. But it was so long ago. Yumi knew it would be the best for her to forget. But a part of her just wouldn’t allow it. She sometimes caught herself on thinking, how sweet his kisses tasted, or how exciting it was to feel his breath on her skin. And to let her hand wander all over his muscular chest and stomach. His stomach was always so warm, a real, natural radiator.

Yumi reached out for a bathrobe, solely promising to herself, that she would hit her head with a frying pan, if she has such dirty thoughts again.

Before she tied the bathrobe, one last detail caught her attention. A scar, that ran across her stomach. Yumi touched the scar gently and smiled. It was an important reminder. No, she didn’t earn it in a battle. Well, you might consider it a battle. A battle for her child’s life.

She was in the final moth of pregnancy. But the new life inside her didn’t seem to realize, that the time to get out came. It was over a week past the presumed delivery date, when the doctor decided to give her medicine, meant to force the labour pains to begin. The medicine worked. She went into labour. But the child wouldn’t leave her womb. She put all power she could into pushing, but it wasn’t enough. She was scared to death. She knew, that deliveries usually don’t go as easy as shown in movies, but she didn’t expect, that her own delivery could last this long. And that it could hurt so bloody much. At least, her husband was there for her. He held her hand and assured, that she can do it, that she’ll soon be holding a beautiful baby. Their baby. So she kept on trying. It felt like eternity, before the doctor decided to perform a caesarian operation. Yumi could remember being mad at that man, for not doing it an hour or two earlier. But as soon as she heard the cry of her baby, she forgot the anger. Her husband cut the umbilical cord, and while doing it, he cried in joy. He then placed the newly born Neji on her chest. They told her, she had a boy. A big boy. And so pretty. Almost as pretty as if he was a girl. But it surely was a boy. His father made sure of it, pinching his testicles: doodly doodly doo.

Yumi slapped his hand for that.

“Stop playing with his balls” she hissed at him “You have your own”

“I’m just so happy to have a son” he replied, happy beyond reason “He is so wonderful. It’s all thanks to you, Yumi-chan” with that, he kissed her.

Yeah. That was one of the most joyful moments in her life. The day her son came to world. She will never forget it. Even far beyond the borders of the Fire Country, the scar on her stomach will always remind her of Neji. It will remind her, that there is somebody waiting for her. That she has something to go back to. A reason to survive and go on. The fruit of her love. Her most precious Neji.

When she went out from the bathroom, the smell of the food he was preparing reached her nose. My, a home-cooked, decent meal. That Neji, he is so kind towards her. And he even cooks well. She could recall first teaching him to cook. He was 6 years old. He once saw her making scrambled eggs and asked, if she could explain to him, how to do that. Naturally, she did. And he quickly got the point.

“Mommy” he said “You don’t need to make breakfast for me now, that I can make it on my own” and to prove his words, he got up early the next morning and prepared scrambled eggs for himself and his mother on his very own. Such a good son he was.

“Exquisite timing, mother” Neji said, noticing his parent coming into the kitchen “The supper is almost ready’

“Do you need help?” she asked. She had to admit, that seeing him bustling around with an apron on made her heart feel lighter.

“No. I am almost done” he denied, taking the cover of the pot of. A cloud of steam flew up, filling the air with even greater dose of smell “There. The rice is cooked” decided Neji and took the pot of the cooker with a help of gloves. He then spread the rice onto two plates and sprinkled it with a crab souse, that was getting fried on a pan. The meal was ready.

The boy and his mother moved to the dinning room, to eat. When they sat down, Yumi noticed a photo frame standing on a table. It contained a photo of her, holding her shirt up, revealing a rounded belly, and her husband standing behind her, with his hands on her belly. Both of them were laughing and looking extremely happy.

“It is sad to eat alone. That is why I put it here” Neji explained, seeing that her reaction to the sight of the photo expressed discomfort and anxiety “I will remove it, if it disturbs you”

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Old 11-16-2007, 05:25 PM   #3
GreatMarta
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“No, leave it here” Yumi ordered “It is the most positive, that you think about me and your father. He would appreciate it” with that, she looked at the photo again “It was 7th month” she explained “Back then, I could feel you kicking. You didn’t move that much, but you always kicked, when your father was close. And he ascertained, that you recognize him already” she smiled at the memory “And when you were born, he wanted to do everything around you, and he even changed your diapers. He only couldn’t succeed in putting you to sleep, cause anytime he took you in his arms, you would become excited and start moving with more enthusiasm than usual. Apparently, you saw him as a playing partner, and me as a regular parent. The two of you have always been particularly close” she said and sighed. Hizashi was a great father. But he didn’t even live long enough to see his son enter the Academy.

“So it was” Neji lowered his head. Poor child. He was just 4 when his father died. Almost too young to remember. The clearest memories he could associate with Hizashi must’ve been the ones of his death.

“Let’s eat” Yumi suggested, knowing better than anyone, how dangerous it was to give the wounds of the past any chance to open and bleed freely.

They were eating in silence. One would think, that family members, who haven’t seen each other in quite while, would be eager to tell each other about everything, even the most silly things that happened, during the time they were separated. But the truth was, that Yumi never knew, what to talk about with her son. She had her life, and he had his. Although she loved him more than anything in the world, she sometimes wondered, if love itself was enough. Cause her actions were not at all a prove of her love. When her husband died, she let her own pain blind her too much to help Neji deal with his. That must’ve deepened his misery. And then, she committed herself to work. She had to work, to forget, to fill the emptiness Hizashi left. She feared the times, when there was nothing for her to do. That would be the chance for her grief to strike again. Come to think of it, she didn’t devote much time, nor attention to Neji. And the majority of the time they spend together would be the time for training, or anything connected with education. They didn’t go to park to feed ducks or enjoyed leisure activities. They worked and that was it.

Yumi sometimes wondered, if Neji hated her for that. She was his mother, she was supposed to be there for him, to surround him with love. And she practically wasted his childhood. As if it wasn’t wasted enough the way it was. He had no chance of remaining a normal boy. He was forced to maturate early and learn to take care of himself. He has always been eager to learn. But it wasn’t his own choice. His mother’s actions taught him, that he has no other choice, but to adjust to the situation and become independent. He needn’t have to bear so much responsibility, if she cared for him more. If she wasn’t so crazy about her missions. But she couldn’t help it. She was too weak. Too weak to put his good before her own. Too weak to lead a normal life.

Now, she had a fine, responsible boy. No longer a little boy, a teenager. He was 13 years old. Yumi watched him grow, and feared. Feared, that one day, he might tell her: “Mom, you fucked my life up. I hate you”. She feared, the day he would speak to her with such words would come. But she had no courage to prevent it from happen. To spend less time at work and more with him. To ask him for forgiveness. To tell him, how much she regrets being a bad mother and how she loves him more than her own life. It was too late. Far too late to do anything. Her son was independent. He was perfectly fine on his own. He didn’t need her at all.

She raised a genius. But she was the one, who needed him, and not the other way round. She needed to know, that somebody loves her, despite her being such a cowardly, hopeless bitch. If she didn’t have him, she wouldn’t be in two minds about killing herself.

“So, mother” Neji broke the silence “How was your mission?”

“There is nothing much to talk about” Yumi replied, chasing away the feeling of guilt “A great deal of gathering information, infiltrating the enemy’s territory, two months of observations just to spot the best circumstances to take the target down. That’s how it goes. In order to write a 1-page-long article, you need to read 100 pages of information. In order to succeed during a mission, you must devote any time necessary to gain as much information as possible. Preparations are the key to victory. You must remember that” she told him. Oh great, she thought, I’m giving him a lecture again. Why can’t we simply have a normal chat? Why can’t I be relaxed around him? Why can’t I be normal? He is my son, for God’s sake. What kind of an example do I set for him? I suck. I suck so much.

“Shouldn’t a ninja be ready to take a mission, even if he knows nothing about his enemies, their abilities, weapons, or anything at all?” Neji asked. He didn’t seem to be fully convinced by what his mother said, but more likely he wasn’t happy about the tone she used.

“Of course, he should” Yumi agreed “But if you have the possibility to gather information, then do it. Our job is risky and we have to be ready to take the risk. But any ninja would admit, that any chance of making the risk smaller is worth taking. We are living beings and we naturally take any opportunity to keep ourselves alive. Like all other animals”

“I understand. I promise to always gather information, if there is a possibility”

“Good boy” his mother praised him “And how are your missions going?” she added, just to keep the talk on.

“There is nothing much to talk about” he replied, with just as much enthusiasm as she had for his question “Same boring D-rank missions, from time to time C-rank missions. For most of time, we train. Gai-sensei says we are all improving”

“That’s great. I’m happy for you”

Before saying another word, the boy silenced and closed his eyes, as if he was thinking about something very important. Yumi guessed, that he wants to tell her something, she might not be pleased about.

“Gai-sensei said, that we are going to take part in the chunin exams this year” he finally said and watched carefully, as his mother’s expression changed.

Yumi froze, not sure if she got it right. Chunin exam? This year? What on Earth? Is this Gai guy crazy?! To let 13-year-old kids participate in such a dangerous event?! They’ve been ninjas for a year only! They don’t have enough experience! But Neji is a genius… No! It’s still too early for him! He can’t do it, not yet! Not her precious baby… but he is an independent, young man already. He can decide for himself. No! He’s still a child! A child? He has more sense in his pinky than most adults have in their heads. He is a prodigy. But he… no. You have no right to judge him. You drop by once in a while. You don’t know him. Face it: you don’t know him and thus have no right to decide for him.

“Well…” she took the attempt to somehow react to her son’s statement “Isn’t it too early for you?” she asked, with a slight bit of hope. Hope, that he will wait a little longer, before entering the reality of serious missions, which may cost him his life.

“No” he denied firmly “I am ready to do it. So are Lee and Tenten. We want to take the challenge and see, how much are we capable of. I have surpassed the level of an ordinary genin. There is nothing more for me to achieve with such a low rank. The chunin exam is a chance for me to develop and become a better ninja. And I must take this chance” he announced, keeping a deadly serious expression. There was so much determination in his voice. Such a certainty of his opinions being true. Yumi understood, that he has already made the decision and was not going to change it. There was nothing she could say or do to stop him. She was hopeless. She knew she was. Her son was going to become a chunin. Naturally, she expected this to happen, but not this early. He was a child. A brilliant child. She never worried about him fulfilling D-rank missions or even C-rank ones, because she was sure they were easy for him, the Hyuuga prodigy. But now, she was worried. And she was feeling guilty. Her son was growing up so fast, and she didn’t seem to be able to follow his development carefully enough. She missed out so many things. Too many to catch up. Her only child, the only person she held dear, grew to become self-sufficient. And distant. If she only knew, how to make it up for him for having to lead such a traumatic life.

“Well” she answered “I suppose you have a better idea of your skills than I do. If you think you’re ready, then I will be holding my thumbs for you” and that’s it. That’s the best you can do. Make him see, that you support him. If he’d believe it.

“Thank you, mother” he bowed his head slightly “I will make sure to give you reasons to be proud of me”

(That's still not the end! I will add the rest some time later!)

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