A/N: Well, it's a belated anniversary present! Yesterday Niyali and I (mostly her, haha) realized that it was our YEAR AND ONE MONTH ANNIVERSARY!! So I was going to post this and tell you all, except I forgot. So I'm posting it on our YEAR AND ONE MONTH AND ONE DAY ANNIVERSARY so I hope it's good enough! Confetti for everyone! ((throws up pile of confetti and pulls string on Exploding Confetti Ballâ„¢!))

Teensy warning for you all-- Niyali likes Neji/Hinata, so I wrote it for her. A little bit. Not a biggie (considering the Hyuuga clan is probably incestual ANYWAY, or at least that's my belief) but if you no like, you'd better no stay. I rated it PG for that, but it's not much, just a fluffy moment or two. ((huggles the Hinata and is beaten back by a rabid Neji)) X.X

Oh, before I forget... I don't own Naruto. Or Anruto, which I accidentally typed just now. Ahaha. And Niyali beta-ed me. Again. Ahaha.

Against my will I stand beside my own reflection
It's haunting
How I can't seem
To find myself again
My walls are closing in

Without a sense of confidence I'm convinced that there's just too much pressure to take

I've felt this way before,
So insecure...

--Crawling, by Linkin Park

Mirrors

Mirror mirror on the wall,
Who's the fairest of them all?

Sometimes I wonder who the fairest is...

Mirror mirror on the wall,
Who's the fairest of them all?

Hinata stands in a deserted hallway of the Hyuuga manor in front of the mirror. Looking at herself, and what does she see?

Dark blue hair.

Why is it blue? All the others Hyuugas are black. Why is she different from them? Why can't she be the same? Why does something so small matter so much?

White eyes.

Why are they white? She doesn't deserve them. Why are they so soft and vulnerable? Why can't she be cold and strong? Why is being similar worse than being the same?

Hyuuga.

Why isn't that true?

She's no more a Hyuuga than her eyes are black.

Hinata doesn't know why she's been allowed to call herself a Hyuuga for so long. Doesn't know why she's been allowed to disgrace that perfect name. That name--that's the part of herself she wants to change most of all.

"Byakugan!" she calls softly, forming the seal.

Mirror mirror on the wall
Who's the fairest of them all?

Sometimes I wonder who the fairest is...

Mirror mirror on the wall,
Who's the fairest of them all?

Hinata stands in a deserted hallway of the Hyuuga manor in front of the mirror. Looking at herself with eyes that see everything, and what does she see?

Herself, looking right back at her.

Sighing, she deactivates her superior vision. Oh the irony, that a simple mirror is the only thing that can stop the Byakugan. There's the blind angle, of course, but it was rare that that would ever be discovered. Reflections are far easier to come across, and much more deadly.

None of the Hyuuga tricks work on a reflection.

Mirrors bend reality.

Mirrors create a world of their own.

Mirror mirror on the wall...

Hinata wishes she lived in that mirror-world.

She presses her palm to the cold glass.

She wishes her reflection was real.

Then there would be a total of one person who knew her for who she really was.

She places her other palm on the glass, watching as her image does the same.

Mirror mirror on the wall...

How she hates herself! She is weak! Weak!

She watches as she and her image press her/their forehead to the glass.

Mirror mirror on the wall...

She is too weak to change herself. Too weak to take control of her own life. Weak enough to believe that she could someday be strong...

Hinata and her reflection slide down the glass, slowly, landing on their trembling knees, hands curling into fists, eyes squeezing shut as tears streak pale faces.

Who's the fairest of them all?

Neji's right. She's a spoiled brat.

A weakling.

A loser.

She should just forfeit before she gets hurt.

But... this isn't a game, is it? Life isn't a game. It's not a fight, either. She can't forfeit.

Not if destiny is real.

Destiny has already finished the game.

Destiny has already won the fight.

Hinata has already lost.

"I only wanted to change myself..."

Mirror mirror on the wall...

"But I'm too weak to manage that."

...who's the fairest of them all?

"I'm the weakest... I don't want to pretend anymore..."

"Get up."

Hinata's head snaps up and around, fingers squeaking gently on the mirror, tears blurring wide white eyes. "N-Neji-niisan..." she whispers, fear making her voice hoarse.

"Stop crying like a loser."

Her eyes wander to the floor as her face heats in shame. "I thought I was a loser."

"Don't be stupid."

Brows furrow in confusion. What does he think he's saying? I'm a loser, I'm weak, and he hates me. He's always felt that way.

"You're not a loser."

Always... felt that way?

"You're not weak."

But he always hated me... right?

And then, as Hinata's mind flipped upside down, Neji reached out to her.

He held out his hand to help her up.

"But..." Why are you acting like this? "But... I'm too weak to change myself. You said I never would be."

"I said things to you... Hinata-sama... that you never deserved to hear from me." He sighed, expelling his pride with one long breath. "You never deserved to hear those things from anyone. You're a strong person."

She just stares at his hand.

"I... why do you think I'm so strong?" she asks, voice shaking. "W-why aren't I weak?"

He is silent.

Sighs again, pride flowing out with his deep breaths. Pride just gets in the way of these things. Apologies, compliments.

Too much damn pride.

Sigh. Feeling cleaner, more human, with each long exhale.

Redemption.

"You've suffered," he starts. "You've struggled under a thousand burdens and never once called for help. You've felt sadness, but never anger. You've cried a hundred tears and made a wish with each, but your prayers have never been answered. And yet... you still haven't broken."

Hinata blinks. A compliment? From Neji? She begins wringing the edge of her sweater nervously, but she looks him in the eye as he continues.

"I've hated you for so long, insulted you, fought you. But you've never hated me back. You've tried harder than I ever will. And you know what?"

She can't answer, or maybe just refuses to.

Neji bends down and takes her hands in his. "You might not have changed yourself, but you've changed me."

Hinata's stomach flops as his warm hand, which before had seemed oh so cold, grasps hers and pulls her to her feet. And as she stands, she knows she is strong enough to stay upright.

As Neji slowly lets go of her hands and steps away, she feels something between her fingers that wasn't there before. And she looks...

Dandelion? He gave me... a flower? For me?

Neji turns and walks away. But she catches a glimpse of his face, and sees...

Is that... a smile?

Mirror mirror on the wall,
Who's the fairest of them all?

Sometimes I wonder who the fairest is...

Who's the fairest of them all?

She still isn't sure.

Who's the fairest of them all?

He knows. But he's not going to tell her.

Who's the fairest of them all?

But today he made me think a little harder, and now...

Mirror mirror on the wall...

Hinata stands in a near-deserted hallway of the Hyuuga manor in front of the mirror. Looking at herself, and what does she see?

Hyuuga Hinata.

...who's the fairest of them all?

Me.