Disclaimer: I don't own or make money of the anime show Naruto or its characters…


Favours

It wasn't often that Hinata asked for favours; she thought herself to be bothersome and annoying when she did. Shino knew her too well to think that her approaching him that morning was anything but convenient; he was going to be walking past the village's hospital anyway.

She had walked up to him; cheeks flushed a light pink as she held a small container in her hands, in front of her chest. Her speech was accompanied by her usual stuttering, "Shino-kun, I – I have a mission and haven't been able to visit Neji-niisan yet." She smiled timidly, head tilted down slightly almost as if ashamed, "Would you mind, giving this to him?"

Shino nodded mutely as he took the small object from Hinata.

She smiled gratefully. "Thank you, Shino-kun." She said politely with a small bow, before she hurried off to prepare for her mission.

o0o0o

The hospital smelt like detergent and blood and felt as it always had; like a funeral home, and it reminded Shino of why he never visited the place if given the choice. He was wearing his cstomary jacket, his hands stuffed in his pockets, one gently holding Hinata's gift. Shino was quick in asking where Neji Hyuuga's room was.

Once there he didn't bother taking in the room and its décor; all the hospital's wards and rooms were the same. There wasn't any need to be so vigilant as to study it. He did, however, study the few cards and the vase full of lavender flowers on the Hyuuga's bedside table. Next his attention was brought to the person a sleep in the bed on his side.

The Hyuuga had been cause in a blast of poison gas, surprising considering Neji was careful, precise and usually perfect with everything he did. Neji's fall when he fell unconscious had done the most damage, with his lung punctured and more than a few broken bones forcing the Hyuuga to bed. Lee had said that he'd been a bit… Off as of late, more in his thoughts than into his missions. Shino believed he was brooding over his father's decision and the Hyuuga clan in general.

Shino recognized the even breathing and the calm expression, as he took in the bandages wrapped around the Hyuuga's arm, forehead and torso. He allowed his head to tip forward slightly before returning it to its original position, and then moved to place the small dark container on the dresser next to Neji's other presents.

He then left as silently as he'd come.

o0o0o

Since the Chuunin exams Shino had taken the initiative to help Hinata train, boosting her slowly rising – sometimes very slowly rising – confidence little by little. He was glad to see her completing missions successfully, with Kiba and Kurenai-sensei. He was going on mission s more with his father; to see the kinds of missions the Aburame clan were given, because of their clan's abilities with insects.

Often Hinata's and himself's missions coincided, but there were times when he was left at the village as his team ran around doing some sort of mission. It was those times that Hinata asked favours of him. They were always small tasks that were never tiring and gave his something to do other than read or study insects all day, as he was accustomed to. It was refreshing in a way.

This time he was delivering a small basket of cakes Hinata had bought for her nearly healed cousin. He no longer needed to ask where the Hyuuga's room was situated, after his first visit Shino had been able to remember, and simply nodded to the lady sitting behind a desk, attending to other annoyed and worried family members. This was his fourth time delivering something.

Neji was awake this visit, sitting up against the wide headboard of the bed, staring out the window with pale eyes. They were turned to the door as soon as it was swung open.

Shino silently nodded towards the Hyuuga, baring Hinata's gift in his arms. Neji inclined his head in return and motioned to the table beside of him, "Thank you for delivering them." He stated, "Thank Hinata for me."

The Aburame recognised the order behind Neji's words and nodded. He would have done so anyway, even if the Hyuuga had not said so. He turned to leave.

"Is she on another mission?"

Shino planted his feet on the ground silently, slowly turning his hidden eyes on the Hyuuga, "She is escorting an important dignitary to his home in the Village hidden in the Snow." He explained.

Neji fidgeted with his hands, pulling Hinata's gift to him and giving them a glance over before pulling out a cake and taking a delicate bite out of it. Again, Shino turned to leave, but stopped a step away from the closed door.

"How many times have you been here?" Neji was watching with an inquisitive gaze, softened by the vulnerable look the bandages covering the majority of his body.

Shino was as stoic as usual as he answered, "Four." And left.

o0o0o

His seventh time visiting Neji saw the Hyuuga asleep again. Shino stopped to study Neji's form: Nearly completely healed with far fewer sets of bandages. Hinata had explained that Neji was probably going to suffer from a slightly weaker lung, but he would recover fully in a few short days.

Shino found himself standing beside Neji's bed.

Hinata had once told them – Kiba and himself – about a time when Neji would protect her and he didn't care about the head family and its branches and how they all mingled with each other. Shino could tell exactly how much Hinata missed that Neji. She had described the Hyuuga as innocent and curious, always asking 'why?' with big eyes and supposedly he'd been a bit pudgy.

Shino took a moment to compare the two of them. This Neji was definitely stronger, more mature and he hadn't heard a question of 'why?' from him besides those he'd asked Hinata during their match. The Hyuuga wasn't at all pudgy; he could assume that clearly as the sterile white sheets hung down from the Hyuuga's curved side. From behind dark glasses his eyes narrowed; Neji did look more innocent while he slept, his eyebrows and mouth relaxed. Or perhaps it was because his hair was fanned out around his head.

After a moment, Shino set the brush Hinata had sent him to deliver on the table beside Neji's bed. Supposedly the Hyuuga had been using his fingers for the past three weeks. Hinata had decided that enough was enough and that she would send the brush, since her cousin was too proud to ask for it. With that thought in mind, Shino's covered eyes were drawn back to Neji's spill of chocolate brown strands.

He allowed himself one touch, allowing his fingers to caress the slightly oily strands, mesmerised, before he realised what he was doing and he mutely left.

o0o0o

This delivery had Shino's stomach filled with moths. Hinata had said that it should be her final one in a long time, considering Neji had recovered and simply needed to train and strengthen his newly healed lung. The Aburame had been suspicious as Hinata had turned as red as a radish and her stuttering increased ten-fold. He once understood why when she'd rushed away.

Now he was standing at the Hyuuga clan's main gate, waiting for his searching kikai bugs to return to him with Neji Hyuuga's whereabouts at that precise moment. They did and he headed towards the large sub-part of the Hyuuga house, a small dojo of sorts.

Shino stepped onto the veranda and watched as Neji performed swipe after graceful swipe, his hair stringy and stuck to his face. It took a few minutes, but Neji slowed his movements to an eventual stop. Reminding Shino of the graceful geisha-like performers he'd seen dancing while on one of his missions with his father.

Neji's star felt as though it went right through him. Shino seemingly effortlessly remained unmoving and uncaring. They were both silent and unmoving, until Neji caught his breath and motioned for Shino to come in.

Neji wiped at his brow, his voice quiet, "Why are you here?"

"A favour." Shino replied flatly.

He wasn't completely surprised by the smirk that graced Neji's features, "Another delivery? You're very reliable Aburame."

Shino didn't react to the Hyuuga's bait and instead stepped forward so there were mere inches between himself and Neji. He noticed he was an inch or so taller than Neji.

Neji looked perplexed and moved to step back, "Aburame, what are you-"

Shino decided that his best course of action would be to get this over and done with. So, before Neji could complete his question, he'd leant down and chastely pressed his lips to the Hyuuga's cheek and simply held them there for a moment. He could task the salty after tang of salt as he pulled away and licked his lips curiously after he was safely hidden behind his collar.

The Aburame was surprised when he noticed a blush, not unlike Hinata's present on Neji's cheek and nose. Shino noted how his hand twitched, as though he was resisting the urge to touch his cheek.

Just like the deliveries before, Shino turned to leave. However, he was stopped by a thin hand on his arm. He turned with a noise of confusion, silenced by the soft lips that landed upon his own cheek as he turned. Shino's shoulder was pressed to the Hyuuga's chest, and the Aburame found that he could feel the erratic heart beat of the Hyuuga as he pulled away.

Neji cleared his throat, "Hinata, would like one back." He said, the blush Shino was starting to feel fond of back full force.

Shino turned completely so that he was facing Neji. "Do you need a sparring partner?" He asked.

Neji nodded and Shino stepped back two steps and readied himself.

o0o0o

A year later Hinata sought Shino out for another favour. Shino's father and Hinata's father were present and they'd simply gawked as he'd taken Neji's hand, now not so foreign to him, and asked Neji Hyuuga to marry him.

Of course, their faces couldn't compare to that of Kiba's when Shino walked in upon him paying Hinata his last month's missions' worth of pay.


Woffy: I couldn't help myself... I've been on a Shino/Neji high for about two weeks now and have only succedded in finding one fanfic with the pairing...

Anyway... Review please? I could do with some feedback... I haven't seen much of the show and have been relying on fanfiction to help me amble along with their personalities and backgrounds...