Note: Back with another one! This time, I decided to write a fic starring Neji and Hinata, because Neji's a megalomaniacal jerk and Hinata has an anxiety disorder, and I thought it would be fun to lock them in a basement for a night! Hope you enjoy! Thanks, have a nice day.
It was a regular, chilly October Saturday in Konoha village, and all was well within our quaint little ninja village. Naruto was out buying some fabric softener, Sakura was busy perfecting the Sasuke shrine she had created in her closet, Sasuke was flipping through a Linen 'N Things catalogue on his armchair at home, and Kakashi was out as well, purchasing toothpaste and shaving cream from the supermarket.
But wait, our story does not centre on the regular lives of the four main characters of Naruto.
No, our destination is the rather secluded and forbidding looking mansion that belonged to the Hyuuga clan.
It was a relatively normal day within the Hyuuga mansion, and it was particularly quiet since all the servants, cooks, and employees had their weekend holiday. A few random Hyuugas not worth mentioning were wandering the halls.
But among them, the two main characters of this fic were walking the long, maze-like halls to retrieve something each respective Hyuuga needed.
These two were known as Hyuuga Hinata and Hyuuga Neji.
I assume you know their story, yes? The unfairness that exists between the Main house and the Branch house?
If you paid close attention, you'd notice this unfairness simply because of the fact that I mentioned Hinata's name before Neji's.
Oh yes, the injustice of it all.
But anyway, this is where our story begins.
Hinata had her Byakugan activated as she stepped into the hallways, making sure to look both ways as if checking for any speeding cars that might flatten her. In truth, she was doing something similar to checking for such dangers.
But she wasn't checking for cars.
She was scouting for her big bad girl-hitting cousin Neji.
Even though it was highly probable that Neji wouldn't dare show his Branch House branded tush anywhere in this part of the Mansion, Hinata couldn't help but cast paranoid looks around her as she crept down the quiet hallways.
She peered through the walls, sighing in relief when all she saw was her great-aunt shuffling towards her room.
Hinata had been busy in her room, busily crafting a super-special birthday card for her one and only Kyubi vessel, Naruto. She had used construction paper of the most beautiful orange, yellow, and red, and had spent two hours carefully gluing little dry ramen noodles to the card to spell out HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
As she looked through the card, her brow furrowed as she realized that something critical was missing.
What was the most critical ingredient in a kick-ass homemade birthday card?
Hinata had gasped in realization.
The card would never be complete without the aid of sparkles, and she sighed with ecstasy as she pictured him opening the card, the bright vitality and beauty of the sparkles nearly blinding Naruto with their glory.
…but where could they be?
This eventually came to Hinata sneaking through her own house like a cat burglar, trying to make her way to the basement. Yes, only in the Hyuuga clan would the elders place something as innocent and childish as sparkles in the dank, dark, musty BASEMENT.
It was rather pathetic to see a girl of 12 years creeping through her house like an ostracized leper, but she had her reasons.
She shivered as she imagined running into her cousin Neji, the memory of the Chunnin exams making her stomach lurch. Truthfully…they hadn't spoken since the day he nearly killed her.
The basement of the Hyuuga mansion, unfortunately, was located a little into the Branch area of the house, since a room as insignificant and ugly as that shouldn't belong in the Main house.
This explained Hinata's fear, as she rounded the corner and peeked into the hallway that separated the Main house from the Branch house.
I can do this! Hinata thought in determination, swallowing hard as she walked towards the hallway. For the love of N…Na…Naruto!
Just as she was about to cross into forbidden territory, the sudden sound of footsteps made her freeze on the spot. Using Byakugan, she looked up and nearly puked at the sight that was approaching.
Making a strangled sort of sound in her throat, Hinata turned and bolted through the nearest door, closing the door behind her. She ran into a wall from her momentum, falling on her behind as a bunch of coats and jackets buried her.
Who cared? Better sitting in a closet than making eye contact with her spiteful cousin.
Neji was carrying his dirty laundry to…the laundry room, when he heard a thumping noise ahead. He paused as he reached the hallway that separated the Main house from the Branch, and his gaze drifted to the closet there.
Too distracted by the need to glare and stick his tongue out at the Main house hall, he forgot to investigate the thump he heard and continued on his way.
Meanwhile, Hinata breathed a sigh of relief when she saw Neji leave the hall through the closet door, and she waited a few minutes before daring to open the door. She stumbled out, tripping over a bulky coat before she continued on her journey.
She held her breath as she crossed the boundary, eyes widening at her boldness.
But she wasn't too surprised with herself. For the love of Naruto…she'd do anything!
Except talk to him, of course.
Hinata now stood before the basement door, eyebrows rising in surprise when she saw the state of the door. It might as well have been a door to a bank vault. After all, this was where the ENTIRE family's most important scrolls and stuff were housed.
And as it was too troublesome for the Main house to protect the scrolls, the task was assigned to the Branch house.
And unfortunately for the flustered Hinata…she was completely ignorant of the fact that not only did it contain the sacred scrolls…
It contained the laundry room as well.
She pulled the door open by its big metal handle, blinking to see that it was slightly ajar. But she was too pumped with adrenaline to care about this suspicious little oddity. She was so close…she would have her sparkles, damn it!
Hinata slipped through the door, grateful for the dim, bare bulb that swung from the ceiling. Otherwise, she would have fallen headfirst off the stairs that led directly from the door to the basement.
She didn't notice the big vault like door close shut behind her as she descended the stairs, the sound of her wildly beating heart blocking out the sound of the lock gears turning in the door.
A musty sort of smell made her wrinkle her nose, and the faint sound of dripping water could be heard within.
Hinata was shivering, in spite of herself. She had always hated the basement…the fear rising from a death that had occurred down there before she was born.
Damn it, she was a ninja! She didn't need to be afraid!
But then again…ninjutsu didn't work on ghosts…
There was a sudden bang, and Hinata froze on the last step as she raised her eyes to the sight in front of her.
She mouthed wordlessly for a few seconds, blood draining from her face as she saw the most frightening thing she had ever seen in her 12 years on earth.
Neji was closing the lid on the laundry machine, grabbing an empty basket as he turned. Hinata's heart nearly stopped when she saw him, and she was unable to speak as he picked up the basket and turned around.
Neji turned around and froze, so suddenly that it looked like he had suffered an epileptic seizure.
Hinata stood at the foot of the stairs, one hand hanging limply by her side as the other clutched at the railing, her pearl-white eyes as wide as his. They stared at each other; Hinata's face a mask of terror whereas Neji wore a look of blank shock.
Neji's grip tightened on the basket, and he finally spoke, narrowing his eyes.
"What are you doing here?"
Hinata continued to mouth wordlessly for a few seconds, trying not to sway as the urge to faint tickled her incessantly. She made a few incomprehensible sounds as Neji glared at her, then choked out a word.
Neji continued to stare at her, scrutinizing her with those freaky Hyuuga eyes as she cowered under his gaze. One look at her with his Byakugan told him she wasn't lying, and that her current state of mind resembled that of a person about to be gored by a bull.
Hinata withered under his intense stare, and quietly slipped off the last stair, stumbling quickly to the other end of the rather large basement. Hinata occupied herself with looking through a couple of cupboards as she prayed for Neji to leave.
She nearly sighed in relief when he just cast her one more narrow-eyed stare before he proceeded to leave. Hinata let out a whoosh of breath she had been holding as she heard his footsteps ascend the stairs, and she continued her quest for the sparkles.
A small smile worked its way to her face as she imagined what her card would look like after it was finished. The thought of seeing Naruto's happy expression sent shivers down her spine.
She was interrupted from her fantasies by the sudden and numbing feeling of killer intent within the room, and she felt her blood run cold when she heard the sound of footsteps coming DOWN the stairs.
A cold wave of dread engulfed her body as she slowly turned, eyes widening as she saw who the steps belonged to.
Neji came into view, clutching his laundry basket and looking extremely peeved. Hinata started to mouth wordlessly again as he slowly walked towards her, a dangerous glower on his face.
"N…Ne…Neji!" Hinata squeaked as he stopped in front of her, dropping his basket to the ground.
"Were you aware…" he began slowly, his voice dangerously calm. "…that I left the door open before I came down here?"
Hinata's eyes widened as she remembered seeing the vault like door standing slightly ajar, and she choked out her answer.
If Neji's glare could be any more potent, she was sure his eyes would have bored two smoking holes in her head.
"Were you aware…" he said, again in that forced calm. "…that the door has an automatic lock system in it?"
A vein twitched violently in his temple.
"And are you aware…" he said between clenched teeth. "…that there is no one in this part of the mansion, who could possibly unlock the door from outside?"
"I…I…" Hinata gasped as he loomed before her, his calm exterior splintering by the impending fury that he unleashed on her.
"Hinata!" He yelled furiously. "Because of your foolishness, we're stuck down here!"
The Hyuuga heir paled, every ounce of colour draining out of her face. She clutched at the wall for support, Neji's murderous stare making her knees buckle beneath her.
"W-What…?" she whimpered.
"We're. Stuck. Down. Here." Neji said between clenched teeth, hair practically standing on end from the sudden tension in the room.
Hinata just stared at him, her lower lip trembling fearfully until he turned away from her and strode back towards the stairs. Hinata blinked, hesitating at first before she timidly followed him.
When she looked up the stairs, she saw Neji standing before the large, vault like door, knocking furiously on its metal exterior. This incessant knocking continued for a few more minutes, and Hinata wisely kept quiet, not wanting to piss her cousin off anymore than she already had.
"OI!" Neji suddenly shouted, kicking at the door. "SOMEBODY OPEN THE DAMN DOOR!"
His knuckles stung slightly, and he cursed in exasperation when no one came to answer his call. The closest Hyuuga to the basement was Hinata and Neji's great-aunt, but as fate would have it, she was as deaf as an old goat.
No way would Neji waste his hours sitting helplessly in a stupid basement with his weak cousin. He'd show the door! Yeah, the door wouldn't stand a chance against his mad Hyuuga skills.
Hinata watched in shock as Neji's fists started to glow blue from chakra concentration there, and she let out a yelp when Neji started to pummel the door with flying fists.
Neji's furious screams reverberated loudly within the basement, but none of the sound got past the metal door. It didn't even shudder under the punches, the reinforced metal only denting slightly from Neji's chakra fused blows.
Refusing to give up, Neji grabbed onto the railing and started kicking at the door, yelling and hollering obscenities the whole while. If Hinata hadn't known better…she could have sworn that Neji's furious screams sounded slightly hysterical.
In fact…Neji sounded scared.
Beads of sweat dripped over his brow as he paused his assault, breathing heavily and glaring.
Hinata wouldn't understand…he HAD to get out. As in NOW. Like, IMMEDIATELY. Otherwise…
Neji started to sweat profusely, and he turned away from the door gasping as he staggered back down the stairs.
Hinata stared with wide, frightened eyes as Neji stood there a few feet in front of her, slightly hunched and breathing hard, as if he had run a marathon. His eyes were wide, veiny from Byakugan and emanating panic.
Oh God…he thought wildly. I need …I need a…
Hinata gasped when he ran at the cupboards, throwing them open in a frenzy as he started to toss things out behind him.
"N-Neji!" Hinata cried, taking a few tentative steps towards him. "Are…are you all right?"
He ignored her, continuously throwing things from cupboards as he searched desperately for whatever it was he needed. Hinata took a step back when he made a strangled sound of joy and relief in his throat, reaching forward to pull something from the cupboard.
Hinata stared, dumbfounded as he pulled out a package of brown paper bags. And with a speed that rivaled Rock Lee, he tore the bags out from the plastic.
Hinata didn't know what to expect…but it definitely wasn't this…
Neji put the opening of the bag against his mouth, and began to hyperventilate.
He breathed deep, shuddering breaths, eyes wide and slightly unfocused as re-used air was exhaled and inhaled at an alarmingly fast rate. He fell to his knees as his breathing finally slowed, and Hinata stood there, too bewildered to do anything.
Slowly, Neji's hunched shoulders relaxed, and he withdrew the bag from his red face. He stared at the floor for a few seconds, seemingly in shock.
Then he suddenly remembered…Hinata was still there.
He slowly stood, raising his eyes to hers as they both stared at each other.
Hinata wore a look of confusion and fear, and Neji wore a look of shock and humiliation. Hinata was the first to speak.
"N-Neji…" she said in a tone of timid wonderment. "Y-You're…claustrophobic?"
She couldn't even blink when he suddenly appeared in front of her, hand darting out to slap against her mouth. Hinata let out a fearful whimper against his palm as Neji gave her the most horrifying glare she had ever seen.
It was so horrifying that it could have been stamped with the words: "Gaara Approved Glare."
"Don't…" he said, hoarsely. "Don't you ever…say anything…about this…to anyone!"
Hinata nodded frantically, eyes wide as he gave her another glare before stepping back from her again. He still looked afraid, but seemed to have overcome his crippling panic attack.
Up until now, the idea of being stuck in the basement with her crazy, girl-hitting cousin hadn't sunk in, but as Hinata glanced towards the vault-like door up the stairs, her stomach lurched. She slowly backed away from Neji as he started to pace.
He was still nervous. It was quite obvious from the twitch of his eye and his uncurling and curling fingers.
"There's got to be a way out of here…" he muttered to himself, glancing around the basement for windows.
"Um…" Hinata began timidly, flinching when he turned to look at her. "N-No…there isn't."
Neji seemed to pale slightly at this news, and despite Hinata's fear of her cousin, she couldn't help but feel sorry for him as a forlorn and hopeless look overtook his features.
Silently, he dragged his feet toward the other end of the basement, lowering himself to the cold, hard ground.
They sat in silence for an unbearable ten minutes, and Hinata couldn't help but shiver from the cold chill that seemed to linger within the basement. She kept her gaze on the floor, but used her Byakugan to look at Neji.
His arms were crossed over his chest, and he kept his gaze on the ground as well, eyes closed tightly.
"What are you staring at, Hinata?" he suddenly questioned, and she blushed in embarrassment, deactivating her Byakugan.
"S-Sorry, she said quietly.
Her momentary observation of him let her see the goose bumps that decorated his arms, and she wondered faintly if they from the cold, or from his phobia.
Unable to stand the silence any more and feeling more than curious, Hinata finally spoke up.
"C-Can I ask you something?"
Neji didn't reply, but raised his gaze to her, narrowing his eyes again. She immediately knew he knew what she wanted to ask, so she bowed her head in apology.
"S-Sorry…I was just wondering,-"
"It's your father's fault."
Hinata looked up at his abrupt statement, and her eyes widened in surprise.
Neji stared at her, and for a moment Hinata thought that he wasn't going to tell her. But he took a deep breath, fingers intertwined tightly as he spoke.
"I was three…" he began, slowly. "I was playing a game with cousin Ebizo…Hide and Seek..."
Hinata couldn't help but smile inwardly, the idea of NEJI playing Hide and Seek too ludicrous and cute to illicit anything else.
"I decided to hide in a closet…our fathers were in the next room…"
Hinata's smile faded slightly.
Neji talking about both their fathers at once could never be a good thing…
Neji was trembling slightly now, though Hinata was sitting too far away to notice.
"They were bored; apparently…I could hear what they were saying. Your father had the idea of watching a movie to pass the time…he put in a video, and they started watching it," Neji paused, a bead of sweat dripping down his neck.
"Cousin Ebizo was taking too long, so I decided to come out. But the door was stuck…yet that didn't frighten me. I called for someone, but no one came…I was in there for an hour…and that's when it happened…"
Hinata leaned forward slightly, eyes wide. "W-What happened?"
"That movie they were watching…they put the volume up high…I could hear everything, since the TV was directly opposite the wall I was sitting against. They…they were watching…"
Neji swallowed hard.
"W-What? Neji?" Hinata asked apprehensively, looking slightly concerned as Neji shivered.
He raised his eyes to hers, and spoke in a hollow voice.
"They were watching The Exorcist."
"I heard everything," he whispered, shivering as he brought his knees up in front of him, wrapping his arms around them. "It was as if those horrible inhuman noises were being screamed right in my ears…I was in there for two hours before cousin Ebizo found me…"
Hinata just stared at him, too shocked and pitying to say anything. She was twelve and she was STILL too scared to watch that movie…but Neji had endured it when he was only THREE, by himself, in a dark closet…
On high volume!
"I…I had no idea…" Hinata said softly.
Neji said nothing, and Hinata felt a little bad for bringing up such a sensitive subject. Most of us wouldn't have given two craps about Neji if he had attempted to kill us two months ago, but Hinata was a very empathetic and forgiving girl.
"I'm…I'm scared too," Hinata admitted softly, lowering her eyes. "Ever since our grandfather died down here…I don't like to come down here either."
"Why?" Neji questioned, a hint of familiar scorn in his voice. "He's dead. What's there to be frightened of?"
Hinata just shrugged weakly in response, and they both fell silent.
They both looked up when the dim lights flickered momentarily, and Hinata could practically hear Neji's heartbeat double halfway across the room.
He was more frightened than he was letting on.
They flickered again, and despite Neji's recollections of tips from his Self-Help books, panic swept him and he leapt to his feet, pacing rapidly as he counted under his breath, trying to calm his wildly beating heart.
"Neji, it's okay…calm down…" Hinata said, getting to her feet as her cousin started to emit small, terrified whining sounds as the lights flickered.
Hinata quickly strode towards the many cupboards against the walls, and she quickly extracted another paper bag. Walking hesitantly up to her pacing cousin, Hinata timidly offered him the paper bag.
Neji stopped and faced her, taking the bag from her hands and shoving the opening against his mouth again.
A cold draft swept through the cracks in the wall, and Hinata and Neji stared, wide-eyed, as the bulbs that hung from the ceiling started to sway seemingly on their own accord.
Hinata dug her nails into her palm, backing up against the wall and next to her hyperventilating cousin.
"I think you made grandfather mad…" Hinata squeaked to Neji.
Neji seemed to have gotten a hold of himself and gave her a look of utter disbelief. "Hinata…you're really childish. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."
Five seconds after he said this, the draft subsided and the lights stopped flickering, much to their relief.
Hinata suddenly felt extremely awkward, as she realized that she and Neji were talking again, after he had nearly annihilated her at the Chunnin exam. But talking about Neji's phobia and her dead grandfather weren't the conversations she was hoping for.
Shivering again at the chill within the room, Hinata walked towards some boxes and browsed through them.
She found some old, moth-eaten blankets and comforters, and pulled them out in a flurry of old mothballs and dust. Coughing, Hinata yanked them free from the tangle of sheets and offered two of them to Neji.
He took them begrudgingly, trying not to think too much about how Hinata had given him the better two out the four.
She took her own blankets, giving him an uncertain glance before she moved back to the other end of the room. She coughed into her palm, trying to avoid her cousin's stare. The feeling of blood against her fingers made her grimace, but she ignored it.
Neji, despite being the cold, girl-hitting bastard that he was, couldn't help but acknowledge that nearly non-existent twinge of guilt in his heart, as he spotted a drop of Hinata's blood on the ground.
It's not really ALL my fault…he thought with a grimace as he sat back down with his blankets. If she'd given up, then I wouldn't have beaten her so badly…
Hinata drew the blankets around herself, rubbing the goose bumps on her arms. The temperature seemed to have dropped by ten degrees in less than ten minutes, and the extremely awkward silence was not making her anymore comfortable.
A crack in the wall above her head let another draft of cold air seep through, and Hinata stiffened when she felt the cold gust blow some strands of hair into her face. The house groaned and creaked, and her eyes widened when she felt a prickly sensation on the side of her face.
Her body went numb when she turned, expecting to see a spider. But there was nothing…just the shadows playing on her face.
Hinata gulped, breaking out in a cold sweat. She looked towards Neji, who had his head bowed towards the ground and was tapping his foot impatiently.
Her lips parted, and it took a few seconds for her to muster the courage to request permission for what she wanted to do.
"N-Neji brother…" she said shakily, voice weak with fear. "C-Can I s-sit with you…?"
Neji raised his head, looking at her with surprise and suspicion. He narrowed his eyes at first, but relented when he saw how terrified she was. There was no point in having a hysterical Hinata on his hands, so why not?
Hinata smiled slightly in gratitude as he nodded, once, and she shakily got to her feet, dragging the blankets behind her like a cape as she crossed the basement. The lights flickered again, and she quickly made it to the other side, sitting a few feet away from her cousin.
"Thank you," she said softly, feeling relieved by his presence.
Hinata raised her eyes again when the lights flickered, and she jumped when the sound of thunder suddenly boomed above the house. Soon enough, a few drops of rain water started leaking through the cracks in the ceiling, and fell with a steady drip in front of Neji's feet.
Growling in annoyance, he pushed an empty bucket in front of it, imagining how it would probably be impossible for his family to hear him scream and holler now.
A particularly loud crash of thunder made them both jump, though Neji was quick to recover and glare at the ceiling and curse fate.
Hinata shivered in fear at the sound of thunder, and Neji couldn't help but give her a scornful glare.
"There's nothing to be afraid of," he said contemptuously. "It's just a storm."
"It's not the storm I'm afraid of…" Hinata whispered, burying herself up to her nose in blankets.
Neji snorted, leaning back against the wall. There was absolutely nothing to be afraid of…just as long as the lights didn't go out…
Unfortunately for Neji, fate is a fickle thing, and it was quick to be a kick in the ass when thunder boomed again, and the lights flickered wildly.
Both Hyuugas raised their eyes to the flickering light, and Neji felt the world fall away beneath him when the bulbs all gave out at once, plunging them into absolute darkness.
Absolute darkness…like the darkness of that closet ten years ago…
Hinata blinked rapidly, trying to let her eyes adjust to the darkness, when she suddenly heard the telltale sounds of an oncoming panic attack from Neji. He was gasping for air, emitting those small, terrified whining sounds as cold drafts of air washed over them.
Hinata was scared, but no where near as scared as her poor, petrified cousin.
He pushed himself against the wall, his wide, white eyes darting around him as his heart thudded deafeningly within his ears. His knuckles were turning white from gripping the blanket so tightly, and he was barely aware of Hinata's voice telling him to calm down.
"Neji, relax. The lights will come back on!" Hinata said anxiously as she heard her cousin gulp.
He wouldn't listen…he was back in the closet again, listening to those horrible, frightening sounds from that cursed movie. A crack on the wall behind his head delivered the finishing move.
Wind creaked through the crack, directly next to Neji's head, emitting a dry, whispery groan nearly identical to Linda Blair's demonic growls into his ears.
Hinata suddenly found that she couldn't breathe, and she looked down in shock to see Neji latched onto her, squeezing the life out of her with his grip. She could have sworn she heard her ribs crack when Neji tightened his arms around her, burying his face into the bundle of blankets as he let out a dry sob.
"Hinata!" He wailed. "Save me!"