Summary: It's Neji's birthday and Hinata brings him a late night snack.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. You should know that by now.
This is a Neji/Hina romance. I realize it's incest but it's my favorite couple despite of all that. Don't like, don't read.
BE WARNED: this fic contains some OOC (but honestly, age changes people and I feel like Neji really could start warming up to his family) and really has nothing to do with the plot of the show. At all. (Also, I don't read the manga so my Naruto knowledge extends as far as the series has progressed on television, so don't bother with any, "Well, in the manga, this is how it happened…" because honestly, I don't care.)
Neji sighed to himself, feeling refreshed after the hot shower he had just stepped out of. He had gotten back from a two week mission earlier that day only to run into his teammate Rock Lee, who challenged him to an impromptu spar in the middle of the street. Neji had won, of course, but he found himself having to work harder and harder to do so, and that thought worried him slightly, so he had devoted the rest of the day to training. To put it simply, he was exhausted.
Having already dried his body off, Neji donned a pair of loose sweat pants and a white shirt, then gathered his belongings into a small bag that he slung over his shoulder. Exiting the large bathroom shared by the Branch family, he made his way through the building towards his bedroom, towel-drying his hair as he went. As he turned a corner, he nearly ran into his youngest cousin, Hanabi.
"Oh, excuse me, Hanabi-sama. What are you doing in here?"
The girl stepped back and held up a small box. "Happy birthday, Neji," she said somewhat impassively.
Neji stared at her blankly. "What, did you forget your own birthday?" Hanabi smirked.
"Actually, I did," he admitted. "It's been busy lately, I guess."
"What kind of a ninja are you? You're supposed to notice all the details and remember everything. Why do they even bother to send you on missions? After all, you're obviously completely untrustworthy." Hanabi sighed dramatically at him.
Inwardly, Neji smiled slightly at his cousin's teasing. However, his face remained impassive and he replied, "I suppose I forgot my birthday in order to make room for the more important things."
"Laaaaame," Hanabi drawled, her eyes twinkling slightly. "So are you gonna open this or not?"
Neji set down his bag and took the box from Hanabi. Opening, he saw a set of five kunai. "Thank you," he said, secretly wondering what made his cousin think he could possibly need more kunai.
"I made them for you. Look at them more closely," Hanabi said, tapping the side of her face, near her eye.
Taking the hint, Neji activated his Byakugan and inspected the kunai. His superior vision revealed to him tiny tunnels running through each knife.
"You run chakra through those tunnels and make a line with it, so if you throw the kunai and the enemy dodges, you can tweak the path and hit the person anyway. They'd also be useful for setting traps. It's better than string because it's pretty much impossible to see and can be walked through without being disturbed."
"I see. Thank you very much, Hanabi-sama," Neji said sincerely, his eyes returning to normal.
"You're welcome. Hopefully their superiority will make up for your forgetfulness." With that last jab, Hanabi strode past her cousin and out of sight.
Neji allowed a small smirk to flit across his face before picking up his bag again and walking again towards his room. This time, he made there with no interruptions and set his bag and present in his closet before making his way to his reasonably new, western-style bed. 'Birthday, eh?' he thought to himself. 'That makes me…what, seventeen now? Yeah, that sounds right. I really ought to keep better track of things like this.' Sighing, Neji turned off the light, crawled into bed and sighed again comfortably, prepared for a well-needed good night's rest.
No sooner than he had started to drift off into slumber, Neji heard a soft knock on his door. Mentally sighing in exasperation, Neji clicked his lamp back on, hoisted himself back out of bed, and shuffled to the door. Sliding it open, he found himself standing before his other cousin, Hinata, in her pajamas (which for his ever bashful cousin consisted of a loose-fitting long-sleeved shirt that buttoned all the way up her neck and equally loose-fitting pants).
"Ummm…happy birthday, Neji-nii-san," Hinata said softly, holding out a small, decorated cupcake with a burning candle stuck in it out to him.
"I feel like the only person who's forgotten," Neji said, taking the cupcake from her and blowing the candle out.
"Ummm…" Hinata flushed heavily and lowered her eyes. "Actually…I…I…"
"You forgot too?"
"Erm…yes. I'm sorry, Neji-nii-san! I didn't remember until Hanabi just now mentioned it to me. Please forgive me for not giving you a proper present."
"It's all right, Hinata-sama. I like cupcakes just fine. Would you like to come in?"
"Erm…" Hinata colored again, but followed Neji into his room. He sat down cross-legged on his bed and Hinata followed suit, facing him and wondering why he had invited her in.
Unbeknownst to Hinata, Neji was asking himself the same question. It wasn't really as if he had anything to say to her, and he racked his tired mind desperately for a way to avoid any potential awkwardness. Getting an idea, he tore his cupcake in two and offered half to Hinata.
"Oh, no, I couldn't!" Hinata exclaimed, reddening.
"Just take it," Neji said, practically shoving it into her hands.
"T-thank you," she said quietly, smiling at him.
They ate their cupcake halves in mostly silence, punctuated by Hinata asking timid questions about Neji's mission and he answering her. However, it hadn't been a very big cupcake to begin with and they had both finished eating all too soon. As tired as Neji was, he really did enjoy his cousin's company, and they hardly ever got to see each other anymore, so he was loath to just throw her out. However, she seemed to notice his fatigue and decided to leave him alone.
"Thank you so much for sharing with me," Hinata said softly, smiling at him, preparing to stand up.
"Of course, Hinata-sama," Neji replied. "Thank you for bringing me the cupcake. It was delicious. Did you make it yourself?"
"Um…no," she said, reddening a bit. "I saw them in the kitchen and stole one…but I decorated it myself."
Neji grinned inwardly, but merely said, "You did a wonderful job."
"Thank you," she murmured, averting her eyes. She still had trouble accepting compliments, especially from her normally stoic cousin.
As she turned to leave, Neji halted her. "Hinata-sama, wait." Turning back, she looked at him questioningly. "You have some frosting on your lips."
"Oh!" she gasped, slightly flustered. Since she was in her pajamas, she didn't have her handkerchief with her, and she had been brought up far too properly to lick her lips or wipe them with her hands (despite her teammate Kiba's influence). Unsure of what to do, she glanced around her cousin's room, hoping he had a box of tissues nearby or something to that effect, but was unrewarded.
Inwardly, Neji laughed a bit at his cousin's "plight". She really flustered far too easily at when she was in Konoha (he suspected it was because she felt like she was always being watched by her father). "Just leave it," he said to her. "After all, they say it makes your lips taste sweeter."
"Who's 'they'?" Hinata asked slightly absentmindedly, still trying to figure out what to do.
"Is that all?"
"Isn't that all that matters?" he asked, smirking at her. He was rewarded when she flushed heavily and looked away again. Oh, how he loved embarrassing his sweet cousin!
"W-well, I s-suppose," she stuttered. "S-so is it true, about the lips?"
As soon as she said it, she realized it was the wrong thing to say. Her face felt like it was on fire, and Neji was eying her with a mixture of incredulity and extreme amusement.
"I don't know," he answered, managing to keep his voice level. "Maybe we should check."
Hinata's eyes widened slightly at the implication, but before she could do anything Neji had risen from the bed (when had he gotten so fast?), put his hand on the back of her head, and pressed his mouth to hers.
In retrospect, it wasn't really a true kiss, since his lips weren't really touching hers. His mouth was parted while hers remained closed, so his lips rested on the skin around her mouth while his tongue gently licked her lips, cleansing them of the frosting. Once he was satisfied her lips were "clean," Neji released his cousin and stepped away, regarding her silently.
Hinata, for her part, was so utterly shocked and embarrassed that she even forgot to blush. Her face instead paled drastically and her eyes remained widened. Gulping slightly, she parted her lips to speak, but found herself mostly unable to do so.
"I…I…I…" Hinata gaped at Neji some more and then did the only thing she could think of: she fled.
Neji groaned. 'I am so stupid,' he thought to himself, closing his bedroom door. 'What was I thinking? I shouldn't be allowed to talk or interact with either of my cousins when I'm this tired...all that happens is that I say or do insanely dumb things. I'll be lucky if she ever talks to me again. I mean, remember how long it took her to get over the whole "hand holding" episode at the fair last year? She'll probably avoid me for three months now, and I know she'll never trust me again to be alone with her. Damn...I need some sleep. Right. Sleep. Figure this out later.'
Neji turned out his lights once again and crawled into bed, still mentally berating himself. As he began once again to drift off into sleep, he once again heard a knock at his door. Clicking on his lights (yet again), he stumbled out of bed yet again and went to answer the door.
'Does it never end?!' his inner mind practically screamed. Preparing a string of abrasive curses for whoever disturbed him this time, Neji wrenched open the door. All his words died in his throat when he saw Hinata standing there timidly, staring at the floor, wearing a decidedly different outfit than before. Sure, a small tight, white tank top and thin pink sweat pants weren't exactly revealing by most standards, but on Hinata it was practically scandalous.
A tense silence ensued, finally broken by Neji. "Hi-hinata-sama?" he stuttered, wanting to smack himself for sounding so stupid.
Hinata jumped slightly but raised her eyes to his and began to speak. "W-well, Neji-nii-san…it occurred to me that, um…that our little…little…'experiment'" –her flush here was absolutely delicious to Neji, even through his nervousness- "didn't really mean anything because um…w-well…because…" Neji arched an eyebrow at her and she reddened even more, averted her eyes, and finished her sentence very quickly. "Because you didn't know what my lips tasted like in the first place!"
It was Neji's turn to gape at his cousin. 'Did she just…no way…she…how…did she really just say that?'
Seeing that her cousin was completely speechless, Hinata brushed past him into the room and sat on his bed. Neji had hardly moved from his spot and was still gaping out into the empty hallway.
"Also," Hinata started, slightly nervously. She gathered her courage and began again. "Also, I though maybe we could, um…expand the experiment a bit, so to speak."
Turning his head to look over his shoulder, he gaped at the container of frosting Hinata was holding up in the air. Looking back out into the hallway, he felt a wide, bordering on insane grin overtake his features (which deep down even shocked himself, because he was certain he had never stretched his lips so far). Softly he shut and locked his bedroom door, quickly reconsidering how tired he was.