As usual, I borrowed from the 100 Secrets theme of the now defunct Himitsu Desu! Naruhina Fanworks Drive last September 2005. These little ficlets I post with themes are taken from that. Maybe someday I'll compile them and dedicate them to the many people I met on the forum. When I have the time, of course. I just thought you guys may want to know :D

(5. Neji)

Overprotective

"She's off-limits." Hyuuga Neji said coolly.

"Huh? What are you talking about?" Uzumaki Naruto asked, clueless as usual. A faint blush colored his cheeks though and he couldn't help but glance at the object of their conversation.

Hyuuga Hinata was happily chatting with her friends on the corner of the Jounin's meeting room. A splash of sunlight fell on her seat and she seemed to grow even more radiant in it's loving light. Her hair was fashionably long and it looked as dark as night. Her fair cheeks glowed with life. She was so beautiful to look at...

"I said she's off-limits."

"We're talkative today," Naruto said cheerfully at the usually cool and silent Hyuuga genius. The dark-haired young man raised an elegant eyebrow and did not respond to the jibe. He looked long and hard into the blond's blue eyes to see if he could find anything that could potentially harm his cousin. There was none. "Hey, easy on the stares... You're scaring me..."

Neji gave a little cough and stepped back. "My cousin, Hinata-sama, is off-limits." he informed the blond formally.

Naruto blinked. What did he do to elicit such a violent reaction from Neji? "Um, excuse me, Neji but I don't know what you're talking about."

He had to run to catch up with the Jounin who turned abruptly and left the room. They ended up on the nearest vacant room. Neji closed the door behind them before facing him squarely. Naruto stood up a little straighter and lifted his chin proudly. He could smell a battle coming on. And he would meet it on his feet and walk away victorious.

"I've seen you look at her. I'm certainly not blind to notice your stolen glances." Neji almost growled at him. "She's off-limits."

"So I've been looking at her. It's a free country. And your cousin is very pretty to look at." Naruto smirked "Why is she off-limits? You have a crush on her too?"

Neji looked scandalized. First-cousin marriages were uncommon inside of the clan but best avoided as it is a cause of inbreeding. "She's the next heiress for the Hyuuga clan. Her mind must only be focused on her path and her glory. She musn't be distracted." He said coldly.

"Hinata-chan is too pretty to be unnoticed for long. You've got to have better reasons to keep the men away from seeing her." Naruto grinned innocently.

"I've been watching over her for too long. She is my cousin and I wish to know if all the men will have clean intentions on approaching her." Neji looked away. Naruto suddenly had the vision of Hinata wearing a fancy dress on a tower with Neji-dragon flying around. He had to fight back a smile. "Even from you, Naruto. I know you're a good person with a big heart and to whom I owe a great deal. I'm not sure why I'm confiding these to you."

"You need someone to know." he said simply. "Frankly, you're being too overprotective of your cousin. She's almost eighteen and of legal age if I'm right about your customs. She could make her own choices. And she's a skilled fighter. I'm sure she could throw off any unworthy guys out of the window."

Neji stared at Naruto again. His cool gaze contained none of the animosity before. "She's still off-limits."

Naruto's jaw dropped open. "Hey! I admit that I like your cousin! If I had to shout it out on the world, I would! I would fight down every suitor she ever got to win her heart! I LOVE HER!"

"So?"

"Doesn't that give me a little bit of chance?" Naruto asked.

Neji shook his head. A corner of his mouth was twitching. Everything was going according to plan. "What did you say again?"

"I love Hyuuga Hinata with all of my heart and soul and everything in between! I'm willing to risk my life for her... I love her smile, her giggles, her hair! I love everything about her! I just can't summon enough courage to just go right up to her and say it so. I will fight for that right! You hear me, Neji? I won on that chuunin match! I'll win again against you, this time for your cousin's heart and your approval! You'd give me that with a grin before this day ends! I will fight against your overprotectiveness!" Naruto said passionately. Neji wondered inwardly if he's been listening to too much of Gai and Lee's speeches about Youthful Love's Determination to Win the Heart of the Maiden. And where did that burning fire background come from?

"You've convinced me." That was all that Neji said as he left the room.

Naruto sat down shakily. He'd just delivered the most passionate speech about his ladylove.

"Naruto-kun?" a small voice asked from the doorway. He jumped.

"Hinata-chan!" he said, clearly surprised.

She walked in and looked at him smilingly. He couldn't help but notice the graceful way she walked. Her smile was blinding. "Did you mean everything you said?"

He nodded slowly. Of course even though he put up a brave front, he was still scared of rejection.

"I'm glad. Neji-niisama told me to come in here and tell you that we can go out for a date already next Tuesday, when I get back. But he didn't need to do that. I was going to ask you anyway." Hinata was blushing- a very cute sight, he might add- and looking apprehensive. It must've taken all of her courage to say it.

"I did it then?" he said, dazed. She nodded with a smile. "I'll make sure you have a nice time when we go out! Ramen! Yes. That's it!"

Hinata smiled and said, "now that you've passed Neji-niisan, you have to convince my entire family."

"WHAT?!" he blurted out. She grinned cheekily.

"Just kidding," she said and he let out his breath on a slow exhale. Hinata was almost as scary as her cousin.

oOoOoOo

Neji was standing outside of the room with his trademark smirk plastered all over his face. He only acted overprotective under Hinata's orders to motivate Naruto into action. He was glad that the fragile flower he took care of so carefully would now be passed on to safe hands.

But Naruto only had to make one wrong move and he'd gladly do his greatest offensive attack on him. His cousin's orders of course.

oOoOoOo

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