Authors note: No characters belong to me, neither do I make money with this story. It contains one sided, Hinanaru, two-sided Narusaku is mentioned and one or two-sided Nejihina...


It was the first real winter's day and snow covered everything like a white pall.
Still untouched, the white beauty of the landscape was of some indescribably delicate but vulnerable beauty. There wouldn't be many people who would actually recognize it since the footsteps of the first person to walk across the landscape would destroy it and ruin that picture of purity.

Hinata had made up her mind. She left the Hyuuga compound, not wanting to look back, nor hesitating, sure of what to do. In fact, this was the first time Hinata was sure of what to do.
She would die. Die just like Juliet, the famous heroine from an even more famous tragedy.
Well, it wasn'texactly the same. There was no Romeo in her life, only a boy she was desperately in love with. A boy she couldn't have because he already had a girlfriend.

Hinata wasn't the strong kind, like that girl, nor was she as beautiful or as intelligent. She wasn't even a true Ninja; not born with a natural talent for ninjutsu, not as skilled as she should have been, not having reached her limits (much less exceeded them) as the rest of the Rookie Nine had. The young Hyuuga heiress was only a handicap to everyone, failing in every mission and taking her teammates down with her.
Being the last obstacle between her family and a new, stronger leader wasn't her intention for life either. There was no doubt Hanabi would do a much better job as future family heir. So would Neji, if he ever got the chance.

The young kunoichi wondered for a short time if her family would appreciate her death. Her father had always favored Hanabi, giving Hinata no doubt that she would be a welcome replacement as Hyuuga heir. Even her cousin, who was her most immediate family member next to her father and sister, would probably prefer her dead. He surely wouldn't want a weak head, especially since he himself was the Hyuuga prodigy. If Hanabi didn't have children, his would be welcomed into the Main Branch. Neji would be much closer to the main house, after her death. Besides, his obligation to train her was restricting the improvement of his own skills. He wasn't able to achieve as many new jutsus like he should have.

No matter who Hinata thought of, she was in their way. Her death was best for the family.

What about her team? She would definitely miss them and, Hinata had no doubt either, that they would miss her, too. However, she would be replaced and surely, the replacement would fit into her team and would make fewer mistakes than her. She was a mistake herself, after all. With someone better on their team, Kiba and Shino's improvement would be so much faster, better…

So it was best for her team, too.

As for the rest of the Rookie Nine, Hinata had never gotten really close to any of them, all due to her shy nature. Not one of them would ever miss her since they never really noticed her. Even Naruto wouldn't…
She didn't really want to finish this thought.

A tear dropped down her cheek as she entered the dark forest. Naruto… after the name came into her mind she couldn't get rid of it any more. Like a storm and blew away all her other thoughts. Hinata knew Naruto would gain anything he wanted, everything he had ever dreamed about and in fulfilling his dreams he destroyed hers of getting close to him, because he wanted Sakuranot a useless Hyuuga heiress.

Now that he finally had Sakura as his girlfriend, he would soon bring Sasuke back to Konoha and, eventually, become the greatest Hokage ever. For his devoted admirer there was no question about his future, his fate, to be the greatest hero Konoha had ever celebrated…
…but he would never recognize her love. .

More tears rolled down Hinata's cheeks. In the past, she had always tried not to cry, but this time it was so early in the morning that the village was still asleep, leaving no one around to see her weakness.

Though having already decided to die, she was a bit scared as she walked through the forest. Somehow, she hadn't wanted to die in the compound, probably because of what her family would think of her whenever they were near the place chosen for her death. And she wanted them to forget her and live themselves an easier, happier life, not haunted by the ghost of a young woman who killed herself in disheartening love.

Ironically, the young ninja found her in literal darkness. Though she wanted to commit suicide, the darkness spread throughout the wood made her shiver.
It had always made her feel somehow persecuted whenever she had an occasion to be in a forest, especially a dark one. To keep herself calm, Hinata tried hard to think about something else.

There was a battle of dominance between the dark color of wood and the pale snow. Hinata knew that the black and brown of the wood would always win against the lucid light of the snow because, when spring came, the white powder would vanish and leave the battlefield to the wills of the forest, allowing it to become darker and darker.

The Hyuuga always compared themselves to trees, complete with branches and roots, but Hinata was no sapling, she was more like the snow, which would soon disappear. Just like melting snow.

The only sounds accompanying her thoughts were the drops of water falling to the ground. It seemed, as if they were teardrops and the tree branches themselves cried, though it was merely more than the barely risen sun melting the top tiers of the snow.

When she thought she was far enough into the forest, she held a kunai up to her chest. There was nothing left chaining her to her life, nothing to hold her to the mortal realm. It would be simple to stab herself in the heart, just like Juliet had…just like Naruto had.

It was odd imagining how her red blood would drip on the white snow and stain it with a totally new color to the forest. It would surely look beautiful.

Hinata hesitated for another second, comforted that, in just a blink of time, all the pain that had caused her to suffer, would end. Everything would be finally over.

Taking a deep breath, she straightened her arms in preparation for the strike…

Something hit her hard on the back and sent her flying towards a tree. The air was pressed out of her lungs as she thudded against the tree trunk and slid down the bark. "An ambush," was all she could think as she fell helpless in the snow.

Her face was fully covered in icy white and the cold water made her eyes burn. She struggled to get up, wanted to defend herself though the first strike of her enemy proved immediately that he was stronger than her.

Hinata turned around to see her attacker, only to be hit in the face and slammed down to the earth before she could catch a glimpse of him.

The world in front of her swirled white and brown, sickening her and forcing her to close her eyes. She had no weapon, unaware of where she had dropped her kunai. Her kekkei-genkai wouldn't help her, either, as long as her eyesight was impaired by the whorls of color.

Panic went through her body; the attacker was so much stronger than she and would, most likely, kill her any second. But wasn't that what she wanted? To die?

Her spine and her head ached like hell, but Hinata knew it would soon be over. Her enemy grabbed and shook her, slamming her into the forest floor over and over. She whimpered, but he had no pity for her.
He shouted something, but she couldn't understand what he was saying, or simply didn't want to.

Finally, Hinata managed to open her eyes; A pair of lavender irises stared into her own.

Neji…so he was finally getting what he wanted. He would kill her and avenge everything the main family had done to him. Now he had time, nobody watching over him to prevent him from doing too much damage. It was alright…Hinata would accept death from him.

"I forgive you, Neji," she whispered.

"Have you gone totally MAD?" he shouted at her. "FORGIVE ME FOR WHAT?"

She opened her eyes and looked at him. "Killing me," she replied.

There was a pause before he slapped her again. Why had he done that? He had ambushed her, attacked her and, now that he could simply kill her, he insisted on torturing her?
Still, she would forgive him.

Hinata didn't move anymore, willing to accept everything, but Neji wouldn't move, either. The only thing she could hear was his outraged breathing.

He cooled down a bit before saying, "I saw you."

In bewilderment the young woman looked up into his eyes.
"…saw you leaving the compound. Something about you seemed to be odd, so I followed you…" he stopped speaking and looked at her.

Now she realized that he seemed not to have any killing intentions, but was furious about her suicide attempt and enraged by her accusation.
"AND THEN YOU TRIED TO PUSH A KUNAI INTO YOUR CHEST!" Neji demanded, shouting again. "What were you trying to accomplish? SUICIDE?"
It was no real question. Hinata was fully aware Neji already knew the answer.

The girl turned her head away, unable to look into his eyes. What should she tell him? The truth? It was all totally weird.

"Why?" there was some pleading in his query.

She couldn't ignore this question of his. "My family…my team…they would all be better off without me."

He took her by the shoulders and slammed her to the ground again. "WHO'D be better off without you? Your team? If your life was on the line, who do you think would sacrifice himself first in order to save you? Kiba or Shino?"

Hinata didn't answer. She didn't know which would leap to save her first, but both would surely hasten to her defense. That was how her team -- her friends -- were.

"Do you value your friends so little that you'd just destroy something that's more precious to them than their own lives?"

She didn't answer. No, there was no way she could

"As for the family, who do you think you are, telling me we're better off without you? To Hanabi, you're like a mother. Do you really think that she'd be better off without you? Your father risked his life when you were young to protect you from kidnappers. My father GAVE his life to preserve all of us because of that incident and you dare to say that our family is better off without you? After my father died because your life was saved? Is that the way, you honor his sacrifice?"

There was something in her throat preventing her from saying anything. She couldn't argue about that incident with him. Sorrow and guilt made her heart seem to burden her heart with extra weight.

"So what else? What's the next selfish reason?" Neji asked.

Hinata couldn't look into his eyes.
"Is it Naruto?"
The maiden could feel herself flushing. He knew?

He forced her to look into his eyes. "Is it him? Did you try to do it just because he's with another girl?"
Hinata tried to avoid Neji's glare, but it was somehow impossible to close her eyes.

"How pathetic… You spoiled brat of a main house member. Do you think that's a good reason? You wanted to do it, just because Naruto's love is not handed to you on a silver platter?"

She shook her head. What did he know? "Nii-san you don't know what it feels like…"

"What? What don't I know? How it feels to be in love with someone who doesn't recognize it? Who rejects you every time you try to get closer to this person? Knowing that they're in love with someone else? How it is to always watch the person you adore without them realizing your feelings? Unable to tell them how you feel? You really know nothing about me. But what did I expect anyways…

There is no reason, why a main house heiress like you should care about the feelings of some branch house members as me."

There was an aching in his expression as he got up and turned his back to her. "I know quite well how you feel; I've felt it myself for several years already. But that's no reason to commit suicide."
She had never heard him speak with so much sorrow in his voice.
Hinata made it up to her knees again, thinking about Nejis words. He had been desperately in love, too? With whom? With whom did he spend his time? Tenten? Tenten didn't seem to be affected by anyone. But…

"Oh my god", Hinata said. "You're in love with Lee! … I'm so sorry for you…"

Neji turned around and stared at her. At first, he looked puzzled, then astonished, then, finally, outraged. His chin dropped up and down several times as if he wanted to say something, but couldn't. It took him some time to catch his breath again.

"Hinata-sama," he began, apparently trying not to expose how angry he was. "I thought you'd just be a bit addled today, but you seem to be completely brain dead! Lee and I…" he couldn't seem to finish his sentence, shivering instead. One could only assume what he was imagining…

Hinata looked at him. So it wasn't Lee? Who could it be then?

He bent down to her again and got near. He was definitely mad at her.

Hinata closed her eyes in prediction of more shouting. He was so close, she could even feel the warmth of his breath. Hinata was sure he would yell at her like never before, but instead she felt something pressing against her mouth. Her eyes snapped open as she realized that he was actually…

As he pulled away, Neji looked straight into her eyes. "Never do something stupid like that again," he said to her. "Life is never simple, but, after every winter where our love seems to disappear, there comes springtime. There will undoubtedly be another chance for that love, probably even a new one, but rejecting life means that spring won't ever come again. There won't be any more chances to prove yourself, to try your best. Rejecting life is like giving up." There was a pause. "And giving up isn't the Hyuuga-style."
He looked at her as if he wanted to see some reaction of hers, but Hinata was still completely stunned. There was a slight gleam of hope in Neji's eyes, but when she didn't reply it blew away by the unimaginable despair, which had always surrounded him. Though Hinata could see more now, there was also thoroughly concealed sadness glooming up no one else would ever see.
He finally seemed unable to bear the silence any longer and vanished, just as Jonin always did when they had no intention of leaving tracks behind. Though, Hinata knew, he was still around her.

All he had left were his footprints in the snow. But even after he was gone, she couldn't turn her eyes away from where he had been.

She didn't know what she should think, still couldn't believe what just had happened. Had this really been her cousin? Had he really KISSED her? She couldn't believe it.

She saw her kunai on the ground just between the place Neji had stood and she had knelt. As she picked it up, she looked at it.

In one thing, he had been right;her time hadn't come to leave this world and the people who loved her enough to give their lives in exchange for hers. And, besides, committing suicide would definitely be a capitulation and that wasn't Hyuuga-style at all.
She got up to her feet again, pushed the kunai into her belt and went home, always aware that she was being watched, but no longer frightened.

The snow she walked upon on her way back to the Hyuuga compound had already been touched by the footprints of two persons. The maiden-like beauty of it was already gone, but it didn't matter. Winter with snowfall was just a short period in the year and soon it would be gone and make room for green grass, endless flowers, bees, birds and butterflies. The kind of beauty it would inherit then would be much less vulnerable and last longer than the fragile flakes of snow of colder months.

About the future…
Hinata would probably try to fight Sakura, or she would probably try to love Neji, but one thing was for sure: her cousin had granted her a new life. No matter which she decided upon, there was no way she would fall back into such a depression and she would never try to back off from life or any other challenge that came with it again, just like the person she had always adored.

Though the winter had just begun, it was the beginning of a new springtime in her heart; an entirely new life had just begun.

Hinata wasn't Juliet after all.


Mainly this fic is for some contest of "Date Me" on deviantart.

Since it is not really my first ficcie, but the first English one I wrote (my mother tongue is German) I would appreciate comments.
Because of the langual handicap I had from time to time, I also want to give some special thanks to Megami, who read this fic through for several times and helped me to fix the worst mistakes.

Thanx for Reading :D

Flammendo