"Yes, Neji-niisan?" I looked at the tall good-looking young man in the doorway of my room. I gave him a tentative smile. Neji-niisan had brown hair and pearly eyes like mine, except my hair was black.
His eyes crinkled in concern. "You'd better sleep now. We have to get up early in the morning." He ducked upon entering the rather low doorway.
"I will in a moment, nii-san. You know, I'm a little nervous," I told him as he sat down beside me on my bed.
"Why should you be? This is just like any other day-before-the-first-day-of-school." He looked out my window at the stars twinkling brightly against the dark sky.
I sighed. I wished I had more of Neji-niisan's confidence. One of the things I admired in him was his courageousness. He never worried about the future; he stood tall and accepted it. Whereas for me, it's the opposite: I'm timid and fearful. With Neji-niisan's help, I've banished most of the self-doubts that had been eating away at me for a long time, but that doesn't stop me from fretting about the small things sometimes. "You're right. But I'm scared. You know, making new friends and all."
He glanced at me for a moment; the emotion in his eyes was unreadable. "You have me." He returned to gazing out my window.
A warm feeling spread over me, and I couldn't help but smile. Neji-niisan was sweet. He didn't show it much, but I felt it nonetheless. I rested my head on his shoulder. He gave an involuntary start. "Thank you, nii-san. That's really nice of you to say."
His lips twitched, like he was about to smile. I could see it. "You'd better sleep now." He placed a hand on my head briefly, then stood up.
"Good night, nii-san," I said softly.
"Good night," he replied, and slid the door shut.
I sat up and yawned, rubbing my eyes. What time was it? It was still dark out. I picked up my alarm clack, its neon glare hurting my eyes. I put it away and swung my feet on the side of the bed. I put on my slippers and proceeded to the kitchen.
Inside, my fingers fumbled for the switch. The fluorescent lighting flooded the room, and I saw I wasn't alone.
"Neji-niisan," I squeaked in surprise. His hair was still tied, but he was in his sleeping yukata.
"Hinata-chan," he acknowledged with a slight nod, and then he sipped his drink.
"Can't sleep?" I asked, making my way to the cupboard. I made some hot chocolate and sat across him.
"Yes," he said, meeting my eyes. He looked down at my mug. "That smells good."
"Want some?" I asked, holding out my mug to him, even if I knew he disliked sweets.
He shook his head. "I already have tea." He indicated his mug.
I giggled. Neji-niisan and his affinity for tea. One time I tasted it, and it burned my tongue. Neji-niisan chuckled a little and blew on it then let me try again. This time I tasted it and almost spat it out. He told me it was jasmine tea. The name sounded very nice, but the taste was bitter. "How could that bitter tea taste good to you?"
"It doesn't have to taste good. It's healthy."
He smirked. "You and your sweet tooth, Hinata-chan."
I smiled and sipped the hot chocolate. It tasted delicious, and its aroma was tantalizing. Then I sighed. "Do you already know who your adviser is?"
"I believe it's Maito-sensei," he answered. "Lee told me on the phone yesterday."
"Maito-sensei?" I repeated. The name sounded familiar.
"Oh." A wave of understanding struck me. "The one who looks like Lee-kun?"
His lips twitched slightly. "Yes. He was our Gym teacher last year, and now maybe yours."
"I see," I replied, taking a sip. "Tell me more, nii-san."
He shrugged. "What do you want me to tell about him?"
"I don't know. Teaching methods, I guess. Is he a good teacher?" I wrinkled my nose as Neji-niisan suddenly thrust his mug at me.
"Drink, Hinata-chan," he commanded.
"I'd rather not, nii-san," I said hastily, pushing his hand away.
"Drink," he repeated.
"What's gotten into you, nii-san?" I asked, squirming away from his mug.
"Drink it and you can go to sleep," he said.
I stood up and inched away from him to the sink. I put my mug in the sink and turned to face him warily. "Nii-san, you're scaring me." I stepped slowly to the end of the counter. I prepared myself to bolt for my bedroom. But before I could even move my feet, Neji-niisan was already in front of me, blocking my path.
"Oh, so you won't drink? Well, then… I have no choice but to…" He shook his head smiling evilly, and I stared at him fearfully. What was nii-san going to do?
"TICKLE YOU!" he yelled, bringing his hands to my sides and tickling the life out of me.
"Nii… nii-san!" I gasped for breath between laughs. "Ha…Ha… Ha… Don't please, stop, stop… Don't, nii-san… Ha… Ha… Ha ha ha…" I began to splutter and wheeze, laughing uncontrollably.
"Alright, enough," he said, as he let go of me. "Now, sleep already, all right Hinata-chan?"
I clutched at my sides. "You owe me, nii-san!" I mock glared at him.
He pretended to glare at me too. "I'll tuck you in if I have to, Hinata-chan," he said calmly.
"Hai, hai, I'm going to bed now," I said, resigned. "Oyasuminasai."
"Oyasumi," he replied, and closed the kitchen light.
Author's Note: Hi! This is going to be a multi-part fic. Next up, the first day of school! Woohoo! Then we'll meet more characters there and a scaaary Math teacher.
Anyway, there's a tie-in between the title of the fic and the chapter titles. Besides all the sentimental stuff like love and raising children to be decent people, what do you think are the best things in life? My dear readers (and reviewers), I'd like to know your opinion: Do you think Hot Chocolate and Tea are one (or two) of the best things in life? Why or why not? Remember, there's no right or wrong answer! And also, don't forget to review! Watch out for the next chapter too!