Author's notes:

Just a simple question but did you guys think that Neji was OOC in the last chapter? If you found him OOC I apologize for not keeping him in character, let's just say I have a tendency to make the characters a tad bit OOC but hopefully you guys won't take that as a negative. Anyways, here I am once again with a sad to say late update and once again sorry for that, I went out of town for a while and there was the occasional case of writer's block. So here's my latest chapter and I hope you guys enjoy this, please read and review for me!

Warnings: This is a Neji/Hinata story (Don't like, don't read, don't flame)

Disclaimers: Naruto and its characters do not belong to me…so stop pestering me

Chapter IV: Friend

Neji sighed as he placed a comforting hand on his cousin's shoulder, there he stood silently watching her continue to cry out and occasionally wipe away the tear stains causing her cheeks to go unbelievably red and puffy. "I…I'm sorry…for…for the trouble" Hinata managed to say as she continued her mantra.

Silencing her with a comforting pat on the shoulder Neji brought the dark haired girl closer into his arms, her cheek resting against his chest. Hinata let out a surprised squeak, shyly looking up at her cousin who remained as stoic and statuesque as ever. "Do you want to talk about it?" Neji asked casually, trying his best to remain calm and composed despite the fact he had the urge to blush madly at their closeness.

Hinata continued to sob as she gave a meek shake of the head, indicating to him that she was not ready to talk. Sighing inwardly Neji was quite aware that his cousin had been crying for a reason and that reason happened to be pertaining to a certain someone, a certain blonde haired, loud mouth whose she's been crushing on since their days in Middle School. "This is about Naruto right?"

Hinata gasped a bit before nodding her head shyly, Neji nodded at the progress they were making. "What did the idiot do this time?"

"He…he…he didn't do anything" Hinata answered in between sobs, "Maybe just break my heart"

"Liar"

"Eh?" Hinata blinked, slowly looking up to see Neji smirking down at her

"Didn't I tell you not to lie…you're bad at it" He said as his features softened

Hinata nodded sadly and muttered a soft apology before turning her head away, "It's…it's nothing really"

"Lie number 2" Neji stated

Seeing no easy way out of Neji's interrogation Hinata swallowed hard and readied herself for what would be an embarrassing confession. Confessing to a girl like her blond haired friend perhaps would be way easier since she could relate but the fact that she was confessing her problems to a boy, now that was an entire different story. Not to mention if that boy just happened to be your older cousin, who probably wasn't interested in a silly female dilemma.

"Are you ready to talk?" Neji asked softly as Hinata left his comforting hold

Nodding shyly the dark haired beauty sat in one of the unoccupied desks and began to twiddle with her fingers, "But…but…nii-san…you…you might not be interested"

Running a hand through his hair Neji shrugged his shoulders, "I'll listen to whatever it is that's troubling you"

A small smile graced Hinata's lips as she looked up at him with hopeful eyes, "H-hai"

----------------------------

"Hinata, Hinata! Oh gosh, where could she have gone?" Yamanaka Ino had been running around the school worriedly searching for her friend. Her usual well kept blond locks were now in disarray and her head dampened by sweat.

"Ino?" The blond immediately turned around to face none other than Nara Shikamaru, his usual uncaring look plastered on his face while his hands were shoved in his pockets. "What's going on?"

"Shikamaru…boy, am I glad to see you" Ino said with a relieved sigh as she jogged her way up to him

"Have you been running?" The spiky haired young man asked with a smirk as he brushed a loose strand of hair away from her face, "Che, you're wiped out"

Nodding at his words Ino held onto Shikamaru for support, "I…I…I was looking for…for…" Ino began to speak breathlessly

"For?" Shikamaru raised a brow

"Hinata…she…ran…away…"

"From home?" Shikamaru asked worriedly

Smacking him feebly with her free hand Ino fervently shook her head, "Idiot…she…ran…from…library…"

"Overdue library book eh?" Shikamaru joked lightly, "Che, I guess I'm not the only one who thinks paying for a book is too troublesome"

"Not…the…time for jokes!" Ino spat angrily

"Alright, alright…so you're saying Hinata ran away from you when you guys were at the library?"

Ino nodded, sure her boyfriend was lazy but he was pretty darn good at putting the pieces together, after all he was among the school's top students. "Did you see her?" Ino asked finally regaining a bit of composure, "Did you see her pass by or…or anything!"

Shikamaru shook his head, "I was outside the entire time…did you check the girl's bathroom, she could be there"

Ino nodded her head, "I've checked every bathroom…she's not there"

"Well, maybe the cafeteria or outside"

Ino shook her head in disagreement, "She was in tears Shikamaru…she was running and crying…"

"And why was that?"

Glaring daggers at her supposed genius of a boyfriend Ino groaned, "Idiot, how the heck am I supposed to know?"

Shikamaru playfully shrugged, "You're a girl and don't girls have some telepathic connections?"

Ino rolled her eyes as she playfully nudged him in the ribs, "Idiot, sure we're both girls but…but what she did was totally out of the blue…I mean first we were just talking and then Sakura-"

"Wait…Sakura as in…Haruno Sakura?" Shikamaru asked with furrowed brows

Ino rolled her eyes, "Yes, Sakura as in Haruno Sakura, who else could it be you dummy!"

"Well…what happened?"

Ino sighed, "Well all was fine, I mean me and Sakura had our usual spat, Hinata remained quiet and then the three of us just drifted into silence, and we were catching up in some study time"

"Hm, you and study time…I find that hard to believe" Shikamaru said with a smirk

"Laugh all you want but on today's test you better cough up the answers" Ino retorted with a wide grin

Shikamaru sighed and ran a hand through the back of his head, "How troublesome. Why do I have a feeling I'm being used?"

Ino could only roll her eyes as a playful smile graced her lips, "Because you are-anyways back to the story, Hinata…she just sat there and then suddenly bolted up and started running and I could have sworn I saw tears!"

"Maybe it was something you said" Shikamaru drawled

"It couldn't be…we were all sitting quietly and don't you dare say you find that hard to believe"

"Che, the answer is obviously staring you at the face Ino"

The bubbly blond blinked, "Huh?"

Running a hand through his hair Shikamaru sighed coolly, "Haruno Sakura"

Ino once again blinked with utter confusion in her eyes, "What about Sakura?"

"Its obvious Ino, Hinata ran away crying because she was in the presence of Haruno Sakura…aka, the very same girl that took her chances of Naruto ever acknowledging her, the very same girl Naruto asked to the dance"

Ino gasped at the sudden realization behind the truth of his words, "Oh my gosh Shikamaru, you're right about that!"

"Che"

"But…but…but Sakura…did…did she actually say yes to that idiot?" Ino asked completely shocked

Shikamaru shrugged, "Who knows, the idiot's still gathering up the courage to ask her. Some guys are even making bets whether she'll punch the lights out of him or actually agree"

Ino smiled warily, "How could I have not seen this before!"

With a worried look on her face Ino sighed sadly, "Hinata…she was upset of Sakura…"

Noting his girlfriend's worried expression Shikamaru laid a comforting hand on her shoulder, "Ino, if I know Hinata she's probably somewhere safe…so don't worry too much or else you'll get worry lines"

Ino looked up and smiled, "Heh, you're afraid of me getting worry lines?"

Shikamaru shrugged, "It'd be troublesome to walk around in public with my grandmother"

The blond bombshell gaped and punched his arm lightly, "Hey, how do you think I feel when I have to stand next to a pineapple?"

"At least a pineapple doesn't have worry lines"

"Shika-kun!"

-------------------------

Neji sat in one of the desks across from Hinata, he noted his wristwatch and saw that they had a few more minutes before lunch was over and classes would once again commence. "I….I…I know it's stupid but…I…I actually thought that N-naruto-kun would…would ask me to the…the dance"

He looked up at his cousin and nodded at her every word, "Hinata-sama" he managed to say in a soft whisper

Hinata smiled warily, "Its…it's…its stupid ne, Neji-niisan? I mean…who was…who was I kidding…N-naruto-kun…he'd…he'd never see me more as a friend"

"Then he's blind then" Neji suddenly said earning him a blink of surprise from Hinata and oddly himself, "Did I…did I just say that?" Neji began to wonder, clearly surprised at his own words.

"W-what…what do you mean?" Hinata asked shyly

Neji remained silent for a while, "That-that baka is blind for not seeing…what an amazing person you really are"

Neji looked away quickly, "There I go again"

Hinata felt her cheeks heating up as a blush slowly made its way from her neck to her face, "D-do…do…you…do you mean that Neji-niisan?" Hinata asked softly not looking into her cousin's eyes. "Maybe…maybe he's just saying that…to…to make me feel better" Hinata thought sadly, "Niisan…he's just…being nice"

"Do I really mean that?" Neji thought to himself, "Well, Hinata-sama is a nice person, shy but friendly, gentle and caring… and that idiot Uzumaki has never seen those traits before. Instead he's been blindly chasing after Haruno who in turn chases after that Uchiha."

Neji sighed before giving a nod, "Hinata-sama, it is pointless to cry over a baka who never saw that you are a person with a good heart…"

Hinata blinked in surprise, "Niisan…"

Casually standing up from where he sat Neji approached his cousin, comfortingly placing a hand on her shoulder "And everything I said…"

"N-niisan?"

"I meant it" Neji finished softly

Hinata gasped as she looked up only to be met by a pair of eyes so similar to hers, the dark haired beauty smiled warmly and nodded. "Niisan…t-thank…thank you"

"I'll be here to listen Hinata-sama"

Hinata smiled appreciatively, "Eh, Neji-niisan…I'm sorry…if…if I took up…your lunch period"

"I wasn't doing anything important" He muttered seriously, "It was not a problem"

"O-oh…well…well I better…better go"

Neji nodded curtly, "Lunch will be over soon in a couple of minutes, it'd be best if you went back to class before you get caught in the hallway traffic"

Hinata smiled warmly, "H-hai"

Slowly getting up from her seat, the dark haired beauty suddenly found her foot caught in the desk, immediately loosing her balance Hinata let out a surprised gasp as strong hands supported her by the shoulders. Through it all Hinata had shut her eyes, bracing for the impact but instead she found herself opening her eyes only to be greeted by Neji's worried ones. "Are you alright?" He asked concernedly, still having his hold on her shoulders.

Hinata felt the warm sensation of yet another upcoming blush slowly rising, "Um…um…sorry niisan…I…I guess…I…I wasn't paying attention"

Neji sighed, "Hinata-sama, you should really be more careful"

"I…I know…and…I'm sorry"

"No need to apologize…just be careful"

---------------------------

"Lee, are you seeing this?"

"But my beloved…should…should we really be spying on Neji like this?"

"We are not spying, let's just tell him that we just happened to walk by and then…the rest was history"

Both Lee and Tenten were currently hunched down in the classroom entrance, the two had just returned from lunch when they both noted that Neji was no longer alone, instead he had someone in there with him and not just any somebody, it was his adorable younger cousin in there with him.

"He's such a gentleman, catching her before she fell" Tenten gushed before turning to her boyfriend with a deathly gaze, "Why couldn't you be more like him?"

Lee inched away nervously, "But my love…I thought…I thought you loved me? Were our morning exercises not enough? Were our merry jogs or the occasional run to school not good enough? Was the marathon I did out of love not pleasing enough for you?"

Tenten rolled her eyes, "Forget I even asked"

"But my beloved…if you want me to change, then…then I have no choice… I shall change for you!"

"Lee just zip it" Tenten said with an exasperated sigh

"But my love…" Lee continued to whine, "Just say the word and I shall change"

"Shut it" Tenten said through gritted teeth

"Just say anything my love"

"Shut up"

"For you my love, I will do-"

"LEE SHUT UP OR ELSE THEY'LL-"

"They'll what?" Tenten paled as she looked up, the door was wide open and there stood before them was none other than Hyuuga Neji, Hinata right behind him.

"I think you were being too loud, sunshine" Lee whispered as he got up from the floor, dusting himself off.

Tenten clenched her fists, "Of course…all my fault…what was I thinking?" Tenten said sarcastically as she followed suit.

"What may I ask were you two doing?" Neji demanded coldly

Both Lee and Tenten looked at one another before bursting into fits of sheepish laughter, "Eh…eh…you see…well…funny story….very funny story" Lee began with a sheepish grin, "Eh…should I tell it dear or should you"

Tenten resisted the urge to knock his lights out, "Heh, I think…I think you should tell it dear" she said through gritted teeth.

Neji remained as calm as always, "Well…I'm waiting…"

Tenten gulped, "Uh…Lee and I…well…you see, Lee and I…um…we just got back from lunch and…and…"

BRIIIIIIINNNNNGGGG!!!!

Unable to finish her sentence the school bell rang loudly as students poured out into the hall, Tenten and Lee sighed in relief. "That was a close one" Lee whispered

Tenten glared angrily at him, "You're dead to me"

The bowl cut haired young man's eyes widened, "Aw, my love don't say that-you don't mean that"

Neji rolled his eyes as he stepped aside for his "friends" to enter the classroom, slightly turning around he noted the amused smile gracing Hinata's features. "Niisan…Lee-san and Tenten-san are…are very…"

"Idiotic?" Neji finished coolly, "Stupid, moronic, insane, and weird? My list can go on"

Hinata stifled a giggle with her hand, "No…no…they're very….amusing"

Neji scoffed, "Yeah…amusing"

"I…I bet…when…y-you're around them…y-you're never…never bored" Hinata continued, "I…I…I wish Shikamaru-kun and Ino-chan could be like them"

"Hn, the last thing I'd want on this earth is two replicas of those fools"

"Neji-niisan…now…now that was mean to say" Hinata said with a disapproving look

Neji shrugged, "It's the right thing to say- Hinata-sama, you better get to class"

Hinata nodded as she began walking towards her classroom, Neji still standing by the doorway watched her as she go.

"Neji-niisan" Hinata called out as she turned around to face him

"Hm?" Neji looked up and was surprised to feel a sudden weight crash into him, there wrapping her arms in his middle was Hinata, her cheek resting on his chest. The older Hyuuga would be lying if ever he said he was not shocked or surprised, slowly returning the embrace Neji placed his hand on Hinata's back. A small ghost of a smile forming in his lips

"Neji-niisan…for listening to…to me today" Hinata whispered, "Thank you"

Neji nodded and patted her back comfortingly, "You're welcome…Hinata-sama"

Slowly releasing from their embrace Hinata smiled at Neji shyly before running back towards her classroom.

"That was so cute!" Tenten gushed with Lee right beside her nodding approvingly, "Neji-niisan…thank you" Tenten said mocking Hinata's voice, "Aw, that was the cutest thing ever!"

"My love did you like that scene? Then from now on I shall do the same for you"

Tenten rolled her eyes, "Never mind Lee…it was cute when they did it…I'm pretty sure it'd be awkward if you did it"

Lee dropped his shoulders, "Oh"

Rolling her eyes playfully Tenten slung an arm around his shoulder, "Cheer up Lee, if it makes you feel better…your…our morning exercises are enough for me"

The bowl cut haired young man smiled widely, "Really my love, do you really mean that?"

Tenten nodded, "Yeah…I mean it"

The trio began making their way inside their classroom, waiting for the arrival of their teacher. "So Neji, what was that about?" Lee asked as he took his seat, right beside Neji.

"What was what about?" The Hyuuga prodigy asked

"Heh, the whole hug thing and the thank you of course!" Tenten chimed in, taking her seat behind Lee.

"I bet you did something nice for her" Lee said as a matter of fact

"What did you do Neji?" Tenten asked

Neji turned away from his friends, secretly allowing a ghost of a smile grace his lips. "I was being a friend" he whispered to himself, "The friend she needed when she cries"

---------------------------

Hinata entered the classroom and noted that half of the class was already present; carefully walking towards her seat she was immediately stopped by Ino who flung herself in her arms. "Where have you been young lady? I've been worried sick!" Ino said as she began to shake Hinata roughly, "I could have had a heart attack because of you"

Hinata giggled at her friend's overdramatic reaction, "I'm…I'm sorry Ino-chan…I…I didn't mean to make you worry"

"Damn right you should be sorry! I was about to call the police!" Ino stated proudly, "Don't ever run like that again you dummy!"

Hinata smiled warily, "I…I…I didn't mean to make you worry"

Ino relaxed a bit, this time her chipper façade had been replaced by a very serious expression. "Hinata-san…you are alright right?"

Hinata nodded, "I…I…I just had to clear my thoughts"

Ino sighed inwardly, "Do you want to talk about it?"

Hinata looking up at her friend's pool of cerulean blue eyes the dark haired beauty shook her head, "There's no need Ino-chan…I've already cleared my thoughts"

Ino looked on worriedly as Hinata took her seat, slowly forming a smile, "I've already talked enough…with a friend who's there for me when I cried"

End of Chapter

AN: I titled this chapter friend well because I was listening to I'll be your friend by Coco Lee while typing this and well, it just got me in the mood! Anyways, I hope you guys liked this chapter, once again sorry for the late update I went out of town, California to be exact and when I got back I didn't get rid of my writer's block...I got rid of it like yesterday...wow I wrote this chapter last night at 12midnight and ended it now...wow...I have no life...lol...anywyas I liked this chapter and I'm not just saying that because I'm the author...lol...so please be nice to me and review!!! see all of you guys next chapter!!!