After the poll I took in my story, A rose for you, many of you voted on an InoxNeji side paring. Because of this I had to write in and add more InoxNeji moments and the more I wrote the more I started to like this pairing. That inspired me to write this and after thinking it over I decided to make this as a side story to A rose for you. This one shot is for those who wanted to know how they came to be a paring in the first place.
Note: There are a few things you need to know before you read this:
1. First part of story takes place before the Hyuga Clan splits in two and before Neji and Hizashi start having feelings of resentment towards the main branch.
2. Neji is four years old and Ino is three
3. I don't know if chibi Neji is considered OOC or not because keep in mind this is when he is small and we all know he wasn't stoic and mean at this age. He was actually really cute and nice…I mean come on he even called Hinata cute. He was also not bothered by the comment his father made about his duty to protect her.
4. If you don't like this paring then don't read…it is as simple as that. I do not want any flames about you hating this pairing because my little heart couldn't handle that.
5. In tge last part of the story some things might not make sense to those who haven't read my fic, A rose for you, so um yeah…..
Disclaimer: Sadly I don't own Naruto but if I did the story would revolve around Neji because he rox my soks...Ha-ha…jk… but it would be different though.
Ok…enough talking…and now for the story
Sky Blue Flowers
It's a sunny and breezy day in the beautiful and peaceful town of Konoha, and because of this the park seems to be very alluring to young prospective ninjas. Big lushes trees sway to the winds movement and the air is filled with the pleasant sound of birds chirping. Everything seems to be more vibrant and colorful than usual or perhaps the reason is because the long grueling war with the village of the clouds in the Kiminari Kingdom was finally over after seven long years. Everyone seems to be enjoying the peacefulness set upon the village as elders and the Hokage look on at the next generation of ninjas who will one day run Konohagakure. The innocent children who have untainted souls and have not yet witnessed the horrors and hardships of war.
On this particular luminous day all of Konoha's young seemed to be running amuck in the vast park. Some were playing tag, others playing made up ninja games, while the rest played on the swing sets. The kids seemed to be enjoying themselves as a group of them walked into the park along the main trail which led to a huge fountain. This was the center of the whole park and an important monument that had been dedicated to the first hokage. The kids surrounded this monument and from far away you could hear the laughing and enjoyment that they emitted as they headed towards one of the many playgrounds.
Of course it was not all fun and games for one…
Sob Sob…Away from the main path a faint cry could be heard only if one paid close attention. But, due to the loud laughing and shouting of the kids it was hard to hear.
A young girl who seemed to be the age of three years old was crying behind some bushes as she leaned on a giant tree. This blonde little girl has her head buried in her knees as she clutches a brown hand woven basket filled with sky blue flowers. These types of flowers only pertained to Konoha since it derived from a shrub named Plumbago. This shrub was unique because it spread horizontally rather than vertically and when in bloom it was covered with delicate sky-blue flowers. (And no I'm not making this up…there actually is a shrub named Plumbago that produces sky-blue flowers.)
This young potential kunoichi was none other than Ino Yamanaka. She had blonde neck length hair, sky-blue eyes, and a purple heart shaped clip that held the right side of her bangs from falling to her face. Her attire consisted of a white shirt with purple overalls and white tennis shoes.
Meanwhile a certain future Hyuga prodigy was making his way towards his favorite swing set. Neji's father had brought him and his cousin Hinata to the park as a reward for training hard earlier. When they had arrived, however, Hinata didn't seem to want to do anything but pick flowers. Neji on the other hand wanted to play on his favorite silver swing set but he remembered the promise he made to his father. He had to protect Hinata and the abilities of the Hyuga so if that meant picking flowers then he would do so. Hizashi knew how much Neji wanted to play on the swings so he let the young Hyuga go off and play while he took care of the little Hyuga heiress.
The innocent little prodigy made his way around the park, away from the big fountain, and towards his favorite playground. He followed the trail around the park and past some trees. As he came close to the playground he could hear the laughter and screaming of some kids that seemed to be enjoying a game of tag.
Seeing his favorite swing not occupied, he happily made his way towards it. Since the swing set was enclosed with five inch wooden blocks, he had to lift up the bottom of his robes in order to prevent from tripping when he stepped over them. The wooden blocks also incased the sand that lay under the swing set. It was put there for safety reasons…that is incase someone fell from the swings then they would land on the soft sand.
The innocent chibi Neji wore the custom Hyuga robes. They were a dark grey color; the opening that led to the sash was a creamish color while the sash itself was a white-grayish tone. (Sorry bad at describing. The robe is the one he wore when he first met Hinata.) He had his hair tied back in his usual lose ponytail and rapped around his head was the white adhesive bandage that hid the Juin mark.
As the little Hyuga reached for the chain of the swing he suddenly stopped in midair. He had heard a muffled cry and stayed frozen in an attempt to decipher what the noise was. 'What…what was that?' he thought
There it was again. The noise he had heard; it was faint but it could still be detected.
The young Hyuga turned around in an effort to perceive where the noise was coming from. The muffled cry led him around the swing set and towards a long path that directed towards another playground.
As Neji neared the trail the sobbing became louder and louder until it turned into a loud cry. He now stood directly in front of the path, hesitant to go any further, until he realized the weeping was coming from behind some big green bushes to the left side of the trail. Neji mentally debated whether he should peer behind the rumpled leafy bushes but of course, like any other child, curiosity got the better of him. The small Hyuga grabbed the bushes and shrugged them aside in an effort to see what the cause of his curiosity was. He struggled to push through the unruly shrub until he finally emerged, only to come upon a little girl. A beam of sunlight seemed to fall upon her as she sat there bawling.
Neji seemed entranced by the scene set before him. He quickly was snapped out of it though as another sob was let out. The little Hyuga surveyed the girl before he made his way towards the chibi Ino.
"What's wrong?" asked the innocent Neji with concern in his voice.
Ino, now noticing someone there, looked up only to be met by big lavender colored eyes. A worried Neji was crouching down on his knees to directly face the girl.
The young blonde just sat there shocked. The young Hyuga was just three inches from her face! 'Who is…' the chibi Ino thought.
"What's wrong?" he asked again. Neji surveyed the girl directly in front of him. Her sky blue eyes still emitting tears with strands of blonde hair plastered across her face, but although she was crying her gaze remained locked with his.
'Wow…her eyes are the color of the sky.' The little Hyuga thought as he finally broke from her gaze to look up at the sky.
"Your eyes" Neji spoke "are pretty…just like the sky" he paused "except the sky it happy right now since it's not raining while your eyes are raining."
Ino just looked on, still keeping her eyes on the boy as he looked up at the sky. She analyzed his features: his eyes were different from anything she had ever seen, they were a lavender color, his cheeks were chubby, and he had beautiful long black silky hair.
Chibi Neji looked directly at Ino again. "You know…it don't like when girls cry….especially when they are cute like you" he declared while placing his hand on her cheek. "So why are you crying?" he added as he wiped away the tears with his left hand.
A slight blush rose across her tan cheeks while at the same moment a soft breeze passed, making her hair follow the breeze's soft movement in perfect melancholy. Everything seemed to stop at that instant as she looked on at the smiling Neji in front of her. Her tears had finally ceased. She blushed even harder when her sky blue eyes met with his lavender ones. Ino was entranced by his eyes.
When the wind receded she broke from her entrancement and realized what he had asked her. "I…um" Ino trailed off. She was still surprised and dazed over what had just happened.
Neji finally let go of her cheek and settled himself beside her. He leaned back on the tree waiting for the blonde to continue.
"I…um" Ino bit her lip. She didn't want to cry in front of the boy again. "Some…" she tried again. "Some mean girls picked on me. They called me ugly, pulled my hair, and shoved me to the floor." Ino looked down at the right knee. Droplets of blood had leaked though her pants. She gasped.
"What's the matter?" the future prodigy questioned.
She rolled up her pants and a scrape could be seen with a bit of smeared blood across it. "I have a scrape on my knee. I must have gotten it when the girls pushed me to the ground."
"But how could you get a scraped knee on grass?" the Hyuga asked as he looked down to touch the soft grass.
"When they had picked on me I was resting near the fountain. The path there is cement so that's what caused it." Ino replied as she anxiously looked at her knee.
Neji noticed this and spoke up. "They're just jealous" He then inspected her knee.
"Huh? What do you mean?" the young Yamanaka asked.
"I have something for your scrape." Neji reached into the top half of his robe and pulled out a bugs bunny band-aide "The reason they called you ugly is because they're envious of you. You're not ugly…you're cute" he stated as he peeled the wrapper off the band-aid. "I hope you like bugs bunny." he added as he placed the band-aide on her knee.
'He…he thinks I'm cute?' the little girl thought.
Neji looked up at her and smiled.
'Why is he so nice even though he doesn't even know me?' the blonde pondered.
Neji just looked on in curiosity as to what she was thinking.
Ino noticed him staring and quickly broke from her thoughts. A tint of red formed on her cheeks. "Um…thank you for the band-aid."
"You're welcome." Neji replied as the smile never left his face. He looked at her for a moment as if he was gathering his thoughts. "Do you know why they yanked you hair?"
"No" Ino replied.
"Do you want to know?" he questioned
"Uh hum" she responded with eagerness in her voice.
"Because you hair looks so soft and shiny" he revealed as he pointed to her blonde hair.
"Really?" Ino asked as she grabbed some of her hair to inspect. It was true that Ino had beautiful hair but she herself had never realized it. It was probably because her mother would was her hair with special shampoo made of only the finest flowers.
"Yeah your hair is pretty" informed chibi Neji "but I think it's too short. I prefer girls with longer hair" he added as he leaned back on the tree with a smirk plastered across his face. It was true that the Hyuga family preferred longer hair…I mean just look at him. The only one who had their hair short was Hinata but that was for training reasons.
Ino broke from staring at her hair upon hearing the last part of the comment. She averted her eyes to the grass. 'So…he only likes girls with long hair.'
Neji was staring at the sky again. It just seemed to interest him a lot today for some reason. "Is that all they did to you?"
Neji's question interrupted Ino from her thoughts.
"No." spoke Ino sadly. "They called some of their friends."
"Friends?" The young Neji inquired
"Some boys they knew" she answered "the boys snatched the basket from me, emptied the flowers on the ground, and stomped on them."
Neji looked down at the basket filled with flowers. He hadn't noticed it before but it was filled with torn and trampled flowers.
"And worst of all…" Ino bit her lip. Her eyes began to water.
Neji sensed her uneasiness and turned towards the future kunoichi.
Ino gulped and proceeded. "The boys stole my doll…that doll was a present from my grandma." Tears began rolling down her tan cheeks. "My nana gave it to me before she died…she said it meant a lot to her and that I should take good care of it" cried Ino.
The little Hyuga looked at the crying girl. His eyes were filled with pity and rage at the same time.
"Where are they?" he suddenly spoke.
"I…I don't know…when they left the boys headed off that way," she said as she pointed to the left near some bushes.
Neji stood up and glared in that direction for a moment before he uttered, "Stay here." And with that ran off in the direction to where she had pointed.
Neji ran as fast as his legs could carry him. He really hated to see girls cry and he could clearly tell the doll meant a lot to her. 'How could they just gang up on an innocent girl like that?!' he angrily thought.
Ino just sat there. In the same position she was when Neji had left 10 minutes ago. She kept replaying today's events over and over in her head but the thing that stuck the most was the doll. It was really special to Ino and she just couldn't imagine herself without it. She buried he face into her knees again.
At that moment she heard leaves rustling. She looked up to see the little Hyuga coming towards her with a smile plastered across his face.
Ino looked at what he was carrying and it was her doll! Her eyes quickly lit up and her tears ceased. She ran up to him, kissed him on the cheek, and embraced him in a big hug.
A slight blush rose across the future prodigy's face. He wasn't really expecting a kiss and a hug but he had to admit that it felt nice.
"Thank you so much!" Ino happily stated as tears of joy rolled down her cheeks. She quickly wiped them away and let go of Neji. She had just realized what she had done. She had kissed and hugged him! Not only that but she forgot that it was rude to hug or touch someone in any manner that has not acknowledged you the ok to do that. She rapidly bowed to show proper appreciation however she couldn't help but blush as red as a tomato.
Neji didn't notice this since he was still a little embarrassed not to mention his face was still a little flushed.
After about what seemed like a century, although it was only a minute, Neji spoke up. "Um…here's your doll."
Ino looked up to see Neji handing it to her.
She grabbed it and once again thanked him. "Thank you; you don't know how much this means to me." She said as she hugged the doll. "I hope you didn't go through too much trouble though."
"It was no problem. They were actually pretty weak. I guess all the training I have been doing really paid off." The young Hyuga smiled.
Neji had basically beaten up the boys. There were a few bumps, bruises, and a broken nose…for the other boys that is. Neji, being the little gentleman that he is, didn't want to go into the details for he might frighten the girl.
"You must be really strong," said a smiling Ino.
"I want to be as strong as my dad! I want to learn everything I can and become the strongest shinobi in the whole village." Neji exclaimed with enthusiasm in his voice.
Ino giggled. "I'm sure that you'll be the best!"
"Thanks" Neji responded as the smile he had on grew wider. He made his way towards the tree and sat down next to the basket of flowers.
Ino turned around to face him. "But…is that all you plan to do? Just fight?" inquired the young Ino.
"Well…" Neji placed a finger on his chubby cheeks to ponder the question. "That's not all I want to do." The young Hyuga grabbed the basket and surveyed the damaged flowers. "I want to have a family eventually and a dog."
"Really?" Ino made her way towards Neji and sat beside him. "Is there someone that you want to marry?" she asked with a hint of pink on her cheeks.
"I don't know. I haven't really thought about it," responded Neji as he dug through the flowers. "What about you?"
"Um…well yeah I would like to get married someday too," the shy chibi Ino stated.
"Hey I know!" the chibi Neji suddenly blurted. "I have an idea! Since we both want to get married why don't we just marry each other," the young Hyuga excitedly suggested.
"Me? Your wife?" Ino blushed at the thought.
"Sure" the Hyuga responded. He finally found what he was looking for in the basket. "I would protect you with my life!" he added confidently.
'He would protect me with his life?' thought the young Ino. She had always imagined having a big wedding someday. Her imagination was filled with a white wedding dress, big cake, and a horse drawn carriage.
"Here." Neji broke Ino from her thoughts. Neji was putting the sky blue flower on the left side of her hair. "This was the only one that wasn't trampled," he stated. When he had finished placing it in her hair he surveyed her. "It matches your eyes."
Before she could say anything else he spoke again. "Why do you have all these flowers?"
"Oh my family owns a flower shop. I wanted to help my mother make a flower arrangement for a wedding. The bride had requested these sky blue flowers so I came to get some." Ino looked at the basket filled with trampled flowers. She would have to pick some more.
"Hey since your family owns a flower shop you can arrange the flowers for our wedding." Neji stated as he gave her a small wink.
A hint of pink rose on her cheeks so she quickly looked down on the floor to avoid him from seeing it.
"NEJI!!! Where are you!! We have to leave!" Hizashi's voice rang through the air. He was looking for his son so they could leave already.
"My dad's looking for me." Neji stood up. "I guess I have to go."
"Wait!" Ino blurted out. "You…you didn't even tell me your name."
"Sorry, I thought I did," Neji bashfully laughed as he scratched the back of his head. "My name is Neji Hyuga," he stated as a smile formed on his face. "And you? I don't even know the name of my future wife."
"Uh…my name is Ino Yamanka."
"Bye Ino-chan." He leaned down and gave an unsuspecting chibi Yamanaka a kiss on the cheek.
Neji couldn't help but smile when he saw Ino's face turn scarlet red.
He then turned around and walked off in the direction of the bushes he had come from in the beginning. Before he went through the shrub he turned around and spoke one last time. "You need be more confident Ino. Don't let those bullies pick on you, stand up for yourself." He turned around to face the bushes and lifted his hand in the air to signal a goodbye. "Oh and if anyone else picks on you just come to me and I'll protect you. You are my wife after all." And with that he was gone.
Ino was still sitting on the grass trying to process everything that had just happened.
"Bye Neji-kun," she whispered into the air.
12 years later…
At fifteen years old Ino Yamanaka was the prettiest kunoichi in the village. Many boys had asked her out but she had refused each of them. Its not that she didn't think they were cute but rather she was waiting for a certain someone. People thought she still had a crush on Sasuke Uchiha but they were completely wrong. She was way over him…she grew out of that silly crush when she was 13. She was now more interested in getting her best friend Hinata and Sasuke together after she figured out that the Uchiha had a thing for the lavender eyed kunoichi. Ino would always try to make them "accidentally" bump into each other.
Ino was in the park since she needed some sky blue flowers for an arrangement she was working on. As she made her way to the fountain she had to go through a path that led to a playground. This path seemed vaguely familiar.
As she stood directly in front of the path it hit her. 'This path…it can't be…it's….'
She hadn't been there in a long time. That place would always remind her of a certain Hyuga prodigy.
She grabbed up some courage and made her way through the bush. Ino's eyes widened at what she came across.
It was none other than Neji Hyuga. He was leaning on the big tree with his arms crossed on his chest and his eyes closed. It was as though he was thinking really hard about something.
She debated whether she should interrupt him or not.
Neji was too engulfed within his thoughts to notice the blonde kunoichi standing there.
Ino, now more confident than when she was little, decided to speak up. "You know, I hate when boys cry, especially when they are as cute as you."
Neji broke from his thoughts and his eyes remained closed. 'That…that voice.'
He tilted his head up, opened his eyes, and looked up at they sky. Neji smirked and stated, "I'm not crying."
"I know you're not but I just thought it was appropriate to say considering the circumstance," she stated as she made her way towards him. "I see that your hair is still long." Ino sat down next to him and leaned on the tree. "I prefer guys with shorter hair," she added.
Neji couldn't help but smirk at the comment as his gaze remained on the sky. 'It seems that she grew out her hair,' thought the Hyuga.
Ino placed that basket beside her. "What's wrong? You seem to be thinking really hard about something."
"I was just thinking about Hinata-sama. Yesterday she was disowned and kicked out of the Hyuga manor."
"What?!" Ino yelled with disbelief. "What are you talking about?! When did this happen?!" She now turned her head to directly look at him. Her eyes were filled with worry. Well I mean come on, how couldn't they be, she is Hinata's best friend. "When I talked to her on the phone yesterday she seemed fine."
"The incident happened late last night so no body knows. Hinata-sama is staying with Tsunade-sama for the moment." Neji now was looking at the ground. "She has no where to go."
Ino looked at him in disbelief. 'The Hyuga clan is so ughhhh…!' thought Ino. Anger was starting to rise within her. "Yes she does!" Ino suddenly blurted out.
Neji surprised by her outburst turned to look at her.
"She does have somewhere to go. She can stay with me and my parents. We have an extra bedroom."
"But you parents."
"They wouldn't mind. They've known Hinata-chan for a long time and they know how cruel the Hyugas are towards her."
Neji felt his worries lift off his shoulders. Now that Hinata had somewhere to go he wouldn't have to worry about her well being.
"After I drop these off with my mother I'll go to Tsunade-sama and tell her about my idea."
The Hyuga prodigy directed his attention to the basket of flowers. 'They're just like the ones from that day.'
Ino smiled when she noticed Neji was staring at the flowers. "What a weird coincidence huh."
"This spot….brings back a lot of memories," Ino remarked.
This time around Ino was the one that was doing all the talking while Neji didn't seem to speak much.
"That was the last time I actually talked to you." Ino began fidgeting with the basket. "When I saw you at the chunin exams…you were different. Your eyes had changed; it was as though you were a completely different person."
When Ino had seen Neji at the exams she had felt happier, that is until she looked into his eyes. They conveyed loneliness and anger. His personality had completely seemed to change as well. The smile he had when she met him was gone and replaced by a cold scow. When she had seen him fight Hinata ruthlessly she was shocked and realized that the Neji she had once met was gone. That's why whenever she saw him she never bothered to strike up a conversation and talk to him. This is also why she never went to Hinata's house, for the fear of seeing him again.
Neji remained silent. He knew he was in the wrong back then. It was a good thing he realized it before he did anything drastic. Thankfully Hinata had forgiven him; everyone who he had treated badly had forgiven him. That is all except one.
He turned to look at Ino. She was still fidgeting with the basket.
"Ino-san…I'm sorry," he muttered.
Ino immediately stopped fidgeting with the basket. Her eyes widened upon what she had just heard but she quickly composed herself when she turned to look at him. Her surprise replaced with a smile.
"It's ok," she stated as tears started to form in her eyes. Ino was remembering the time when she had first met him. The way he beat up the boys who took her doll and when he said he would protect her with his life.
Neji leaned in and wiped away the tears that were streaming down her cheeks.
"Don't cry…you know how I feel about that," he added as he let go of her face. "What would people think if they saw my wife crying?" Neji looked up at the sky once more as a smirk appeared on his face.
'Wife? He still…' the blonde kunoichi thought. She felt butterflies in her stomach.
"You thought I had forgotten about our encounter huh".
As Neji turned to face her again he was met by Ino's lips.
She had surprised him with a soft gentle kiss. Neji felt the heat run to his face.
When they parted Ino could see the blush across Neji's face. "You look cute when you blush," she said teasingly. She then got up, grabbed her basket, and started to walk off in the direction of the bush. "My mom must be waiting for the flowers so I should be leaving now," she informed him with her back to him.
She then turned around and stated, "And don't worry about Hinata-chan, I'll go talk to Tsunade-sama right now as well." She gave him a thumbs up. "I'll see you later Neji," she added as she gave him a small wink.
And with that she walked through the bush and was gone.
The blush on Neji's face had finally receded and replaced with a genuine smile. 'She's grown more beautiful and more confident.' He turned his gaze to the sky once more.
After their second encounter, Ino and Neji continued to meet at this spot. Day after day they would meet around 4p.m. and just talk. Ino would listen to Neji describe his missions while Neji would listen to Ino as she taught him everything she knew about flowers.
They continued to meet until everyone found out that they were an item. After that they decided to go public with their relationship. People finally understood why she had refused the boys that had admitted to liking her. It's because she had been waiting for that certain someone…named Neji Hyuga.
PLEASE!! REVIEW!! No flames please. If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say it. If you find that you absolutely have to then pm me. Anyways I hope you liked it! Thank you to those who requested this…you inspired me to write this in the first place. (you know who you are.) Also, after I finished this I started to think about continuing this and making this into an actual fic. I guess it depends if anyone wants to see it continued. Well for now I'll just leave it as a one shot. Oh and sorry for any spelling and gramatical errors--I suck at that.