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[fic] Second Chance, ch. 2 and 3

Chapters 2 and 3 of "Second Chances", of which the nejiten contest entry, "Never A Child" , was chapter 1




starlight starbright first star i see tonight
i wish i may i wish i might
have the wish i wish tonight


He came to them not as a supplicant, but as a beggar - desperate, starving, necessity riding him like a man rides a horse. He had journeyed long and far to reach this long-forgotten temple of long-forgotten gods, and the sufferings of that journey were scribed onto his face - on cheeks drawn hollow with hunger, on staring pale eyes deep-set into hollows stained dark with exhaustion, in scars criss-crossing the ruins of a handsome countenance. The tatters of what had once been sturdy, shinobi-rated clothing - tailor-crafted for a son of a noble clan - hung off a lean body gone too lean from privation as he staggered and stumbled his way up the echoing, cavernous space, once-white fabric now stained a hundred dirty shades of brown and gray.

He collapsed on the steps up to the massive altar, thin chest heaving for breath even as cracked ribs made breathing painful. He coughed once, harshly, bright red splattering on the dark-silver stone as he spat blood. He paid it as little heed as he paid the rest of his injuries, not even bothering to wipe off his mouth as he painfully crawled up the last of the steps, heaving himself to his feet beside the altar.

He removed a small weapon from where he kept it tucked next his heart. Like the shinobi who wielded it, the dagger had seen better days - a once bright blade was chipped and spotted with rust, its edge gone dull. But it was not for lack of trying - it was one of her weapons, and he would have killed - he had killed - to keep it safe and with him, because it was the last thing of hers he had to hold on to...

He sawed at his hand with the curving tip, gritting his teeth as the the dulled blade opened a ragged wound on the skin of his palm. He held it over grooves carved deep into the altar, watching with bated breath as the bright red of his blood, deliberately spilled, flowed through the precisely-engineered bloodgrooves in intricate patterns. He opened the cut more, swaying as the loss of blood left him light-headed, but not caring as the blood rushes faster, swirling towards the center...

The spiral at the center of the altar pulsed with light as his blood filled it, and he dropped to his knees as a voice which was a thousand voices echoed inside his head.


# What dost thou require of Us? #

He cries out a single name, too overwrought, too tired, too desperate for anything but complete honesty.

# What would ye give in return for her? #

He swears the sun, the moon and the stars; he offers them his life and his soul for them to make into playthings; he begs them to tell him what he needs to do to win her back, and he will do it. He vows it on everything he can think of, binds himself by the strongest oaths he knows - and the tone of his voice and the wild look in his eye is better promise than all his words.

# We accept thy offer, o son of the white-eyed clan. Sacrifice thy lifesblood on this Our Altar, and ye shall have what thou seekest. #

Without a second's pause he cuts open his own throat with a dagger that's reverted to its deadly-sharp edge under the blood it had been coated with, slumping over the altar as his life spills out in crimson gushes onto the stone.

And he smiles as he feels power pulsing around him.

"Come back to me, Ten..." he sighs, and dies.


# He shall have her. But the price he needs must pay is none so easy as a life. Is it, O Brother? #

: no its not :


And so his soul seeks hers once more., and blazes with bright fierce light when he finds her.


AN

Still not quite humor yet, huh? But next chapter is hopefully less dark than the past two have been. The image in my head as I wrote this bit was of the opening scene of 'Shadows of the Colossus', and the soundtrack would be awesome for that too. All Neji lacks is a horse.


*********

hush a bye don't you cry
go to sleep my little baby
when you wake, you shall have
all the pretty little ponies


Hizashi Hyuga beamed down at his wife, their hands joined as she moved them to press gently against the smooth curve of her pregnant belly. Hizashi started as he felt movement underneath his hand. "Is that..."

Moira Hyuuga, Japanese-American like her husband, nodded as she winced slightly. "Yes, that's your kicker of a son," she said, smiling a little at the proud-papa glow in her husband's eyes. "Little hellion, little rascal," she crooned at her unborn child. "Settle down, easy, easy...whatever you're looking for, you can do so less bumpingly."

"Looking for?" Hizashi echoed quizzically, his silvery eyes - the eyes that had first caught Moira's attention - darting to his wife. She shrugged, a little self-deprecatingly. "It's just a - a little thing I came up with. He's a very restless baby. I thought once it was like someone reaching for something, not finding it - and - you know - being squirmy until he found it. The idea stuck," she confessed to her little fancy. "And now when he's all - moving - I think of him being in search-mode..." She winced at a particularly enthusiastic kick.

Hizashi laughed, planted a kiss on top of his wife's auburn hair, and then knelt so he could kiss her belly. "Stop beating your mom up, you bratling," he ordered his unborn offspring with mock-sterness.

The little child growing inside the mother's womb did stop kicking.


When their new neighbors moved next door to them, the Hyugas were pleased to see how much in common they had. Both were sets of young, affluent couples, madly in love with their respective spouses - all four of them being of Asian-American descent - all four intelligent and successful professionals, experts in their chosen fields - and they found themselved admirably and uncannily alike in interests and hobbies. They became firm friends very quickly.

It helped that the Changs were also expecting their first child.


Their lives dovetailed so neatly that somehow it felt only natural that Hizashi and Jian found themselves running into each other as they rushed their screeching wives into their respective cars, or that they proceeded side-by-side all the way from the recklessly fast car-ride down deserted streets to the hospital, to signing in their wives, to pacing the waiting rooms on opposite and equal circuits as they waited for the nurses and doctors to let them in to join their wives.

And that the first person to see the newborns, aside from the proud parents, were the neighbors (and Hiashi Hyuga, Hizashi's twin brother, but that was only because he was called by Jian. Hizashi had left his cellphone).

Tien kuai Chang and Neji Hyuga entered the world at the same day, and this bond between them was only the first of many.


AN

SO! How many guessed it was going to be a modern!AU?

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
sun_myths
Jul. 17th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)
.........AHHHHHH! :D :D :D You totally got me there! I was all wincing and nooo don't ruin Neji's pretty face plz - and then BAM! The angst turns into this awesome modern AU with anxious father!Hizashi and the promise of much wingsover brand humour abounding ahead. I thought you had changed your mind about making this a humorous fic, heh.

Is there any special reason why you chose "Tien kuai"? I tried translating kuai into chinese but I'm very bad at that so pretty much failed. Anyway yes continue continue! :)
wingsover
Jul. 21st, 2008 07:49 am (UTC)
Hahaha, thanks for the nice review, Wildcatt. *glomps* And you know, even when I wanna torture him I don't like to mess with neji's face. It's way too pretty. And I've got limited experience with modern!AUs but I wanted to try my hand at it, so.... heeheh *shrugs sheepishly*

As for the name.... I'm just waiting for someone of Chinese ethnicity to tell me how wrong I got it. *more sheepish* I was playing around with a little name-generator thingy on the Net

http://www.mandarintools.com/chinesename.html

and "Kuai" came up as the last character of the given name, meaing 'rapid, swift'.... I just liked it, so.... there it went!

If all goes well, I hope to post the next chapter later.

(Anonymous)
Sep. 25th, 2008 12:00 am (UTC)
"Kuai" does indeed mean "fast, swift." However, if you want to be exceptionally meticulous, "kuai" is a bit too lay for usage in a name. I, for one, have never heard it used as a name. It would be akin to naming a child Restraint or Discretion rather than Prudence.

Also, much kudos to you as, whether intentionally or unintentionally, these two parts of your story are steeped in Chinese mythological beliefs about fate/destiny/kismet/what have you.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )