Ah, LJ requests. You make me write the craziest things. A friend asked for a NejiHina-ish story using the keyword "PMS," and here it is. Note, Hinata is going to seem very out of character. That's the point. I never posted the story here, but I wrote a drabble earlier at LJ in which I mentioned that Hinata turns into a raving lunatic on her period, and my friend wanted to see it in action. XD I hope everyone enjoys!
Though he knew it was silly, and more beneath him than he would ever admit, Neji opened his bedroom door just enough to press one eye to the gap and peer out.
He released the breath he'd been holding—he wouldn't admit to that, either—and winced when he tried open the door the rest of the way and it got stuck. He had to jiggle it to make it move.
A few minutes later, he was outside his room, and he glared at the door.
"What's your problem? I thought I fixed you last week—"
He shut his mouth. Of all the ridiculous things…
Hyuuga Neji did not converse with doors. He absolutely did not.
Nor did he skulk around his own home like a second-rate sneak thief. He had nothing to hide from.
Subconsciously, his hand went up to touch the lump on his forehead, directly above his left eyebrow. It was tender, and it ached sharply, even though his fingertips barely brushed it.
So Hinata had thrown a book at him the other day simply for looking at her. What did that matter? So she had sat, stony-faced, at dinner and directed scathing remarks at anyone who bothered to ask her how her day went, or if she might want to take the rest of the week off from training—and any human contact—since she was particularly excitable during this time every month.
"Excitable?" she'd screeched, while Hanabi passed her father the rice. "Is that what you call it?" She rounded on Neji, who happened to be sitting beside her despite his better judgment. She jabbed her finger against his chest. "How do you think you'd like it if you had cramps and a headache and you had to walk around all day with something shoved between your legs to make sure you don't bleed everywhere, huh?" Neji was whiter than a sheet by that point, but she wasn't finished. "None of my clothes fit. I'm fat, and I'm ugly, and I hate how you can sit there and say I'm "excitable" like that's an excuse." For a frightening moment, she looked like she was either going to punch him or cry on him—he couldn't decide which was worse—but she pushed away from the table instead. "Men," she snarled, "are insensitive bastards."
And that was the end of that. She didn't leave her room for the remainder of the night, and Neji hadn't seen her this morning. He told himself the reason for that was simply because she slept a lot when she was…menstruating…and not because he was deliberately avoiding her. He also told himself that peering out of tiny cracks in the doorjamb—he disregarded his scolding of the door itself—was perfectly reasonable. He wouldn't want to smack into someone if he walked right out without checking first.
Not that he'd ever smacked into someone like that before.
He shook his head. No use standing here overanalyzing things. He promised his team he'd meet them at Lee's old training grounds to go over some maneuvers, and he'd be late if he dallied any longer.
Turning, he shut the door—it stuck again—and headed toward the main wing of the Hyuuga compound. He wanted to stop by the kitchen and grab an apple, because he hadn't eaten breakfast yet. Which, of course, had nothing to do with Hinata.
Neji picked up his pace a little, as a precaution. Hinata's room was at the end of this hall, and he'd rather not stroll leisurely past it.
He was in the middle of contemplating a light jog when Hinata emerged, her hair disheveled, her eyes puffy and swollen, like she'd been crying. He froze mid-step, trying not to panic. Or perhaps it was more accurate to say he was trying to blend into the scenery. His nose itched. He didn't dare rub it.
Hinata's chin dropped onto her chest and she sniffled a bit, but showed no signs that she'd noticed him.
Neji's nose really itched, so much that his eyes started watering. He scrunched his face up in an attempt to relieve it, but that made the itch worse.
After he sneezed twice, his cousin lifted her head and blinked. There went his chance to run.
"Neji." Her voice had a slight rasp to it. "I am ugly, aren't I?"
He blanched. The Question. She asked The Question.
Nobody ever taught him how to answer The Question. His uncle was usually too busy drinking tea or sparring with Hanabi to discuss such things; Gai and Lee were as clueless about women as about fashion; and Naruto…
He didn't trust Naruto. Not when Sakura beat on him as often as she did.
He should've said, "No, you are not ugly, Hinata. You're beautiful." Even if her hair looked like a haystack and her eyes were bloodshot.
But his mouth was obviously in no mood to cooperate.
She stared at him for at least a minute while the lump on his forehead throbbed, as if reminding him that he was on thin ice already.
He felt a trickle of sweat slide down the back of his neck. The polished wooden floorboards beneath his bare soles were uncomfortably slick, because his feet were sweating, too. His empty stomach clenched.
Stupid, he silently rebuked himself. Get a grip. You're older and stronger than she is. Why are you behaving like a coward?
He valued his life, that's why.
Abruptly, Hinata let out a piercing wail and flung herself at him, sobbing all over the front of his shirt.
"I h-hate this…I h-hate you…I h-hate everything…"
Her arms locked around his waist in a death grip, and she was practically howling now.
Neji thought he might faint.
"There, there," he said, patting the top of her head awkwardly. "There, there."
Gradually, her weeping subsided to the point that she merely hiccupped every few seconds, and then the hiccupping, too, came to a halt.
Her arms remained where they were, however.
"I'm hungry," she told him, wiping her eyes on a patch of his shirt that she hadn't soaked. "I want pickles, but Cook says we don't have any. We should." Her voice raised an octave. "How hard is it to keep a jar of pickles in the fridge? It's not like they take up a lot of room—"
"I'll buy some for you," Neji offered hurriedly. He wasn't sure what he'd do if she continued holding him the way she was. Her nearness had already begun to affect him. He'd be babbling nonsense soon, at this rate.
Brief replies were safest.
Hinata beamed at him.
"Bread and butter, okay? I don't like the dill ones."
Neither of them moved. Hinata's smile wavered.
"Aren't you going?"
Neji cleared his throat, his eyes fixed straight ahead, at a painting of a landscape mounted on the far wall.
The pressure about his middle eased as she let go, taking a few steps back to give him room. And had he been anyone other than Hyuuga Neji, he would've wilted in relief.
When he hazarded a glance at Hinata, her hands had moved to her hair, flattening it self-consciously.
Her eyes were redder and puffier than before.
"You aren't ugly," Neji blurted, and took off down the hall before she could respond, his cheeks flaming.
Neji had to buy five additional jars of pickles, because Hinata inhaled the first jar. He also received another lump, on the cheek this time, when Hinata chucked a bottle of hairspray at him for accidentally walking in on her in the bathroom.
Once Hinata returned to normal, she apologized with her face buried in her hands and couldn't bring herself to look at him or speak to him for a week.
Hyuuga Neji had learned his lesson.
Whenever that time of the month rolled around, he made certain the fridge was stocked with bread and butter pickles and showed particular interest in his team's training schedule.