Author's Note: This is just a random one-shot. I'm still planning on continuing my other story, Serendipity, but I just wanted to write this one. Inspired by my preparation for a job interview. Hahaha. Enjoy this one!
The Question Game
The young man cringed at the girl's baffled expression upon opening the door to his stoic handsome face. The green illuminating eyes that stared at him were wide and surprised, and he could just read her mind swarming of a billion questions as to why he was standing at her doorstep that very moment.
"I have a question for you." Came his flat reply.
Damn all the fates to hell! This was the most degrading thing he had ever done…even more so than his loss against the fox boy in the chuunin exams seven years prior.
The pink-haired kunoichi looked at him blankly.
Since when did the Hyuuga ever ask her questions?
And since when did he find it urgent enough to ask personally, at the door of her home?
At that particular moment, he felt like the stupidest man alive. The fates had not smiled upon him that day and he cursed his current existence.
It was ordinary when the day had begun, and the Hyuuga definitely had not seen this coming. The daily ritual of his bushy-browed teammate challenging him to a duel had happened on cue, as any other day. The Hyuuga had anticipated victory, out of habit and years of this battle-demanding, and if this were any other normal day, he would have been correct.
The fates had turned on him, however, the minute the taijutsu master confidently made an unusual bet on top of his normal daily challenge.
"If I win, you do my bidding for one month."
Fine, he had thought. Not like the Hyuuga could have any chance of losing anyway. What could have possibly made this battle any different than before? What could have possibly motivated Lee enough to think he could win today of all days?
Surprise had struck Neji like a thunderbolt when he found himself in shameful defeat at the feet of his victorious teammate. His pride and dignity were crushed that morning, along with the bone in his wrist.
"The hard worker finally defeats the genius." Lee had beamed with a twinkle in his eye. "Now, you do my bidding."
Damn everything to hell! This was his first loss against the hyperactive bowl-head. What a blow to the ego…
Yet, as shameful as that had gotten, it was only prone to grow worse.
For one month, Neji was doomed to bombard a certain pink-haired kunoichi with information-gathering questions on behalf of his blushing timid teammate who was too shy to ask her himself.
Neji had groaned knowing that he wouldn't be able to back out of this idiotic idea. Admitting defeat was terrible, but going back on his word was just not his character.
Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn…
"Haruno Sakura…" Lee had chimed as a pink hue brushed his cheeks. "The love of my life. Please find out as much as you can about her for me. One question a day. In one month, I will be transformed into the man that suits her interests. She will be irresistible to my infallible charms."
Konoha's beast had struck a pose in the ridiculously tight green jumpsuit, a mirror image of his sensei, Gai.
The strategy was utter stupidity and Neji knew that the girl would not be so easily enchanted by Lee's attempts to win her affection. Besides, Neji barely spoke a damn word to the girl, nor had he planned to. She was useless to him, and Neji disregarded anything useless to him. It would be awfully suspicious if he began talking to her for no particular reason.
But nevertheless, he had to do it. There were only so many bribes Lee could use on him and the fact that he had lost for the first time. Oh the humility… oh the shame…
That figures. The only thing capable of motivating Lee hard enough to win a battle (other than Gai's over-energetic pep talks) was the will to impress the pink-haired kunoichi of team seven. Damn the girl! And damn Lee's DESPERATION!
With much resentment towards his energetic teammate, Neji had surrendered to Lee's foolhardy operation to woo the girl of his dreams. For one month, Neji would be chained as an interviewer with the medic pupil of the Fifth Hokage…
Oh, how he hated his life.
"Alright." Sakura responded, breaking Neji from his roaming thoughts. She slid the door further open. "But come inside. It's cold."
Neji rolled his eyes.
He had wanted to make this as quick and painless as possible, but somehow he knew that with the girl's nurse instinct for good hospitality, it would virtually be impossible.
"This will only be quick." He said sharply when his eyes took notice of her moving for food and drink preparation.
She paused and then shifted into the living room where the couches sat.
When they took their seats, he began.
"Whatever I say goes nowhere. Got it, kunoichi?" he growled.
"And I'll have you know, this question is not from my interest."
Her eyes were still wide.
Why the heck is he here then?
"And nothing but the truth is acceptable."
Sakura half smiled.
"Are you gonna ask me already? You said it was going to be quick."
The girl was highly amused. She had never seen the Hyuuga so…openly hesitant. Heck, she barely even SAW the Hyuuga at all. What brought him here? To her recollection, the man was usually straightforward, blunt, and he certainly did not beat around the bush. What was this question he was so flustered about? Perhaps he was asking her out?
…Then again, THAT wouldn't happen in a billion years.
Neji closed his eyes, unable to bear the humiliating state he was pushed into.
"What…is your favorite color?"
His eyes flew open at her sudden burst of laughter that tickled the tense air.
"THAT'S what you wanted to ask?"
My God, he looked as if the world was about to end.
Neji's fist clenched in exploding irritation. Lee was going to pay his LIFE for this!
"I said it wasn't of MY interest!"
"You're asking for someone else then?"
A slight nervous pause.
"That's none of your concern."
More serene laughter echoed in her empty house. Neji never raised his voice unless a nerve was struck. She had discovered this during the chuunin exams when he blasted at Naruto.
"I can't imagine you wanting to know my favorite color. So who's REALLY asking?" she beamed and he inwardly cursed her intelligence. If he didn't know any better, he'd think she was flattered.
"Again, kunoichi. It's none of your business.."
There was no need to bring up the story of his bet loss. THAT would be utter DISGRACE.
"Ah, so there is someone. I wonder who it is…"
Neji grew weary at his own impatience.
"Just answer the question, woman."
Sakura smiled and placed a finger on her lips innocently.
"My favorite color… let's see…"
Oh, how she liked to torture him.
"Faster, woman. How difficult can it be?"
"Geez, you're so indecisive."
A moment of silence drifted as she pondered to the beat of his tapping foot.
"What's yours?" came her reply after thinking.
"That's not a color." He said matter-of-factly.
"I know, baka. It was a question. What is your favorite color?"
Despite his annoyance, he was a little taken back. He'd never considered a favorite. Heck, he even thought that he was part of the 70 of the male population who were color blind. Colors had no significance to him. She had no significance to him. And her question was out of point, CLEARLY wasting his time.
"I don't have one." He said dryly. Stop coasting off the subject.
"Come on, I'm sure everyone has a favorite color."
"Well, not me. Now hurry up with your answer so I can leave."
"You look like a purple-loving guy." She teased, surprised at her own comfort around the stoic man. The Hyuuga winced. Purple reminded him of Ino and Ino reminded him of how much he hated the female population. Purple was definitely NOT a favorite.
She put up her fingers as if holding a camera and squinted a bit.
"Pink. Definitely pink."
Her idea of humor sickened him.
"I'm leaving." He said, getting up, and she immediately grabbed his arm in protest.
"Ok, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I was only kidding." She smiled and suddenly realized how lulling his eyes were, even when they were irritated. What caused her to reach out and grab him? Even the girl had no idea.
Neji stopped in his tracks and moved his eyes to her hands clasping onto the sleeve of his shirt. No one had the guts to touch him like that. Not even Ten Ten, who had been on his team for so long. Actually, now that he thought of it, no other girl had the guts to joke around with him so casually as she did. When Lee said she was a kind-hearted friendly spirit, he wasn't lying.
"A color, woman. ANY color." He spoke roughly, ALMOST as if he were pleading.
Again, she gave another warm-hearted smile as the sparkle in her eyes brightened.
"White." She stated. "White is purity. Purity is simplicity. Simplicity is beauty. I like white. "
There. Painless. Lee would be highly delighted, and now he could leave.
Walking to the door, Neji caught glimpse of a flash of a green jumpsuit sprint out of the window's view. So the bowl-head had been eavesdropping… Typical.
"You make a very good messenger, Neji." Sakura grinned upon his retreating figure. "Tell your friend that I am curious about his identity."
Neji said nothing and turned his back on her so he could not see her facial expression.
In a low tone, he growled a response to her question.
"I like white too."
He then disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Thus began their month's journey of unexpected discovery.
Author's Note: Ok, so this is going to be a multi-chapter one-shot after all. Hope you don't mind!