A/n: I have decided to stick to childhood love for this pairing of NejixHina. It is too cute!


Holding Hands

Neji looked around. The sky was clear, birds were still singing and no one was watching. He lifted the small cookie tin he'd been holding to his heart. The lid came off easily; maybe it was because of the "air-holes" in it.
"It is okay, you can go back home now. You are better," Neji cooed to the object inside the tin.
In return he got a chirp. The small bird flapped its wings and looked skyward; into the clear never-ending blueness.

"What are you doing, Neji-nii-san?" Hinata stepped off of the veranda and walked over to her cousin.
Neji froze still and put the lid back on the tin, hoping the bird wouldn't hold ill feelings.
"I-I was just…" Neji stuttered. He'd never had to explain himself to a small girl, who was younger than him. But he did know she could report it to her daddy, who could punish him with a single hand sign.
"What do you have there, nii-san?" the Hyuuga heir looked at the small tin in the boys arms. He was nursing it. Maybe it was secret box, to keep secret things in?
Neji decided it better to tell the truth than to lie.

"Do you like baby birds, Hinata-sama?"
Hinata considered the question. Sure she loved birds; their colourful feathers and sweet songs that woke her from her deep slumber each morning.
"Yep!" Hinata nodded after a few seconds of thought. Neji sighed, and re-opened the tin lid to a birds screeching.
"How cute! Did you find him, Neji-nii-san?" Hinata crooned. She looked at the bird, which looked back.
"He had broken his wing, so I kept him to take care of him. He's all better now though, so I was going to let him go," Neji blushed. He didn't know why, but the incredulous way Hinata-sama was looking at the bird, it gave him a funny feeling. Neji walked back over to the veranda and sat on the edge. Hinata cocked her head to the side and then ran (very slowly) to the edge, where she too sat down.

Neji was busy taking the bird into his own hands when Hinata spoke again.
"Will he come back so we can see him again when he leaves, nii-san?"
Neji liked the younger child's logic, but thought better of it. The bird probably wouldn't, but it was good to have hoped it would.
"I'm sure he will," Neji smiled, cheerily. Hinata blushed, and then smiled back.
Neji looked at the small bird. Its blue wings were a heavenly shade, and its white stomach was ticklish.
"Neji-nii-san?" Hinata asked, disturbing Neji's thoughts.
"Yes, Hinata-sama?"
"May I… I mean… Could I let the bird free?" Neji smiled at his cousins stuttering, which he had done a few minutes earlier.
"Sure, Hinata-sama," Neji poured the little bird into Hinata's hands. The bird fidgeted for a few seconds, and then it calmed. Hinata's smile returned.

"Hinata-sama, how about we go to that clearing over there and let it go?" Neji suggested. Hinata nodded and grinned.
The clearing that Neji had pointed out was across the road, which, today of all days was very busy. Hinata had a sudden change of heart.
"Maybe we should get an adult to go with us?" Hinata's face showed her fear.
Neji didn't want to let an adult know that he even had been nursing a bird.
"How about you hold me hand while we cross, Hinata-sama? Like the adults do!" Neji offered his small hand.
Hinata thought the offer through. Usually, when he father and she went across roads he would hold her hand to make sure she didn't get lost or trampled.
"I guess if I hold Neji-nii-san's hand it will be alright," Hinata took her cousins hand and they set off through the street.

-

"Where could they be?" Hiashi asked his brother, who had been waiting for their return.
"I am not sure, but as long as they are together they are fine," Hizashi pointed out. Hiashi couldn't argue. They would have to be in the grounds somewhere… Anywhere…

-

Hinata sat on her knees, looking at the sunset with the small bird in her hands. They had spent a good hour walking down the street, just looking at things. Then they remembered they would have to go and release the bird, so they'd left the busy market place and run off into the clearing.
"It is time, Hinata-sama," Neji said softly as the bird twittered. Hinata raised her hands above her head and then…
The bird took off without a second glance.
"He will come back one day, right Neji-nii-san?" Hinata asked, hopefully.
"Yes, he will, Hinata-sama," Neji reassured the girl.
Hinata turned her head back to the descending sun that was crawling away into the hills.
"We should be getting back soon, shouldn't we?" Hinata asked. Neji was panic-stricken, but then he remembered.

"As long as you stay with Hinata when she wanders off, you'll both be fine,"

"We can go when the sun sets fully, Hinata-sama," Neji smiled as he lay on his back on the grass. Hinata, who was sitting up still, looked at her cousin in awe. He was so carefree sometimes.
"Alright, nii-san," Hinata spoke quietly as she lay down beside her protector.
A soft wind blew through the clearing, and Hinata shivered. She rolled over and snuggled into Neji's sighed. He was blushing, but she never noticed. He instinctively reached for her hand, which he found and held it, as they watched the stars come alive.


A/n: I've been looking at too many fanarts… The bird idea came from them. But the holding hands, that was my idea, because all little children seem to hold hands, and then they turn seven and all members of the opposite sex have "cooties". Oh well. In this fic Neji was five, making Hinata four, so yeah. Review, and request a challenge fic you'd like me to write, I love writing 'em!