tasogaretaichou: (Rukia Strawberry)
[personal profile] tasogaretaichou
Done for 30_kisses, for my NejiHina claim.

Title: Dreaming Little Bird
Theme: #24 - Good Night
Rating: PG
Character/Pairing: Neji x Hinata
Fandom: Naruto
Disclaimer: Naruto isn’t mine. This fic is.
Summary: Everyone has their guilty little pleasures. It’s just that usually, they don’t involve someone else.



Small feet padded along the polished wooden floors with the barest of whispers, the only other sound the soft dragging of the pale blue flannel blanket that trailed the ground behind her. Too large to adequately keep off of the floor when wound haphazardly around a small form, it’s soft weight left a faint swishing sound as it’s owner passed by doors on her ‘trip’. Ordinarily the sound would have been cause for concern, but not this time.

She’d done this enough times to know better by now.

The hallways were an inky black, thin shafts of glistening moonlight cutting through the window-panes at regular intervals as Hinata made her way silently along the corridor to her destination. The only sound other than the faint ones she herself made was the occasional muffled snores that came from the far side of a door here and there, or the normal ambient sounds that were usually to be found during the wee hours of the night.

This wasn’t her portion of the house, and while that should have made her more cautious, instead it only served to relax her more. Here, she was welcome. Welcomed, ironically enough, by those whom her position gave her dominion over. Welcomed because her own demeanor was such that they respected her, even loved her in some cases. The gentle, timid one who would one day head the clan. And who treated them with the same tender respect and consideration with which she treated everyone.

The one who didn’t treat them like Bunke.

Shivering slightly in the early winter’s cold, Hinata paused in front of the one door at the end of the hall, the one that marked her destination. In appearance, it was like any other door, a thin sliding pane of wood marked by a simple painted wooden rectangle that had been affixed to the laquered doorframe, it’s characters picked out in neat brush-strokes.

Hyuuga Neji.

A portion of her mind remarked wryly that it was a little silly to put one’s last name on the nameplate for your bedroom, especially considering that most everyone else in the sprawling compound shared the same surname. And even if they hadn’t, ‘Neji’ wasn’t a very common name, and he himself was well-known enough to not need the additional clarification. But then, at the same time there was something just intrinsically Neji-like about it that she’d never thought to question his decision.

Taking a deep breath, the dark-haired girl pressed a palm against the edge of the thin panel and carefully slid it aside, biting her lip as the wood caught with the faintest of squeaks. Squeezing her lips tightly together to hold back the sound of her breathing, Hinata froze in place, eyes tightly closed as she counted the long seconds, waiting for the flurry of response she was sure was to come. When her tense count heralded nothing, she hesitantly cracked open one eye, then the other.

He didn’t.... wake up?

It was all the petite kunoichi could do not to sag against the doorframe in relief as she bit her lower lip and carefully stepped inside, sliding the door closed behind her. As the room plunged back into darkness, she turned to face the interior of the room, hands pressed softly against the door’s panel behind her. Everything was shrouded in velvet black as she waited patiently, willing her eyes to adjust to the dimness. When they finally did, she could begin to make out the familiar blanket-shrouded shape of Neji’s larger form where he lay neatly -- Neji was always neat, even when he slept -- on his futon, facing away from her. He was curled up on his side, one arm flung out across the floor, his dark hair a splash of ink across the pillow’s whiteness.

Neji-niisan.....

Careful, moving so slowly, Hinata made her way closer as she pulled the blue blanket around herself to kneel down beside him, watching the slow rise and fall of his chest, the way the muscles in his back and shoulders shifted with the slight motion. She could feel a flush rise in her cheeks as she realized she was, for all intents and purposes, leering at her cousin. Biting back her embarassment -- it wasn’t as though anyone could see -- she turned her head away for a moment. It wouldn’t do to let her thoughts carry her away, no matter how appealing the idea was. Thoughts.... were different than reality.

In her thoughts, she wouldn’t have to do this when he was sleeping, safely ignorant and unaware of the true regard she held for him. She wouldn’t have to sneak around and through her own home like some sort of midnight stalker, just to enjoy the little thrill of being close to him. In her mind.... he enjoyed it too. Enjoyed it, and even welcomed it in all those little fantasies and stories her subconscious would play for her at night. Dreams where there was a warm smile on those stoic features, and tenderness in his often-hard touch as he reached out to stroke her cheek or brush the hair from her brow while his soft, deep voice told her things she knew she’d only ever hear in those dreams.

He didn’t really love her that way.

It was a fact that she understood and accepted, as she had accepted the reality that Naruto didn’t love her -- that Naruto, in fact, only had eyes for one surprising person -- but that didn’t mean she couldn’t dream. And in those dreams, she herself could also be free. Free to love the one she’d accepted wouldn’t return her affection.

Sighing slightly to herself, Hinata shook her head to dislodge the depressing thoughts. There was no sense in dwelling on what couldn’t be, that’s what Neji would have said. That’s what her father, and her friends, and... well, and probably anyone she would have asked would have said. Except for maybe Naruto, but then the blond had never been one for futility in anything he set his mind to.

She allowed her gaze to stray back to Neji’s face, tracing over the planes and lines she’d memorized so long ago, expression darkening when her eyes found the familiar green lines of the juuin on his forehead. It was a cruelty, that one such as him should be forced to live caged. To have his existence be crippled and crushed down by something so stupid as an accident of birth. It was something... she’d long ago vowed to put right, if she only knew how.

Reaching out, albeit hesitantly, the girl brushed a stray strand of chocolate-brown hair from his face, gently tucking it behind his ear before leaning down to brush her lips so very faintly against his marked forehead. A promise, for future days. Gathering the blanket with her again, she stood up, slipping softly to the other side of the futon. Kneeling down, she tugged the blanket around her as she curled up against his back, her forehead resting between his shoulder-blades as softly as she could manage, all the while offering up a silent prayer to whatever gods always kept him asleep when she did this.

He was warm as she curled one arm over his blanket-shrouded form, resisting the urge to do more than simply let her palm rest on top of the blanket, knowing that if she were to give into some unmitigated streak of boldness and actually pull him closer, the magic would be broken. He’d wake, and then she’d be forced to explain whey she was in his room in the dead of night, curled up against him like some back-alley creature with seduction on her mind.

The seconds ticked by, either indeterminably fast, or achingly slow, either one a possibility in moments that seem to both last forever and be gone in a split second. And then, there was her own internal alarm, pulling and tugging at her and reminding her that each second longer was one more chance for things to go wrong. For the spell to be unravelled and the chance lost forever. With a reluctant sigh and a catch of her lower lip between her teeth, Hinata sat up, sparing herself one last longing gaze at Neji’s sleeping face before she whispered, so softly as to be barely audible.

“Good night.... Neji-niisan.”

And then, in a soundless flurry of long hair and blanket, she was gone, slipping back out into the hallway as seamlessly as she’d entered. The feather-faint sound of her feet against the floor softened, eventually fading into the silence of the night. Another long moment passed before a pair of white eyes opened in the dark for just a moment as Neji rolled over to face the door, staring at it in silence.

“Good night.... Hinata-sama.”

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