An introspective look at how Naruto influences Neji through Neji's eyes.
It is not a revelation that is unfamiliar with; in fact, Neji might go so far as to say it is the most common sort of lesson in his life as a shinobi. He has heard numerous people exclaim that Naruto was the most unpredictable person in Konoha more times than he cared to count. He had seen proof of this with his own eyes as well. That Naruto could confound and flabbergast him shouldn't bee as much of a "revelation." The maelstrom of energy was Kakashi's Maverick- words from Kakashi's own mouth. Neji had wondered why in the world the jounin was calling Naruto his Maverick before backtracking his own thoughts and wondering why he was getting worked up over such an irrational thing.
This- this more than anything else is what troubles and humbles Neji the most. Anger and jealousy were no strangers to the Branch House member but this protectiveness, this tender admiration of Team Seven's maverick -not just Kakashi's- was something entirely new. It was different than the protective feelings for Hinata-sama, though in such a subtle way that the lines between them would blur and melt into each other if he thought about it too much.
The knowledge that anyone could rip through his defenses, gut out his inner feelings, and virtually turn everything he had ever thought he'd known upside down without even needing to be there should have frightened Neji senseless-and it did. Somehow, he was glad for it and welcomed it with a warm embrace. Because even if it was not Naruto's intention, Neji took these encounters, these feelings, and turned them into a lesson that should be carried all through his life and never forgotten. It was a lesson which told him that no one was immune to human emotion and that it was okay to succumb to the fight against them.
It was a lesson that helped him come to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, his aspirations toward being a genius had stopped being about the praise and smiles a long time ago. Now, it was simply for himself, for Naruto, and all those blurred feelings he hoped to clarify one day. He felt that it was only then, when clairty came to him, that he could truly be called a genius.