'Uncle Neji, Uncle Neji!'
'Look what I can do!'
The most hated words in Neji's vocabulary had been spoken by his nephew, "uncle Neji, look what I can do." This can only lead to trouble, Neji thought as he went outside to oblige the small voice that was calling for him. Hinata and Naruto had gone out of town for a mission, and had politely asked their friends if someone could baby-sit. Sasuke and Sakura had declined smiling saying that they weren't allowed any pets. Ino was on a mission somewhere, and without her Shikamaru couldn't handle the kid. TenTen, before she got her last minute mission, accepted. He had firmly resolved not to do any baby-sitting for any of his nieces or nephews when they came. Too bad that resolve doesn't work around his wife. 'Oh come on,' she had pleaded, 'they're your family. And family always helps out family in need.' He couldn't argue with her, so he had grudgingly agreed. Then a mission had come, and left Neji alone with his 5 yr. old nephew, Nariaki. (equal clarity)
At first Neji had some difficulty finding the boy. Until he heard giggling coming from above him and he looked up. He hadn't really expected to find Nariaki. He really hadn't expected to find the boy on the roof. On the edge of the roof.
This is bad. Hinata's gonna kill me if he gets hurt. 'Nariaki!' he called out, keeping the panic from creeping into his voice. 'Get down here right now!' and immediately regretted the choice of words he had used. For the boy had shrugged, said 'OK' and jumped. Not just jumped, dive bombed. Laughing. Watching as his uncle became frantic. Wanting to surprise the man, Nariaki changed his course. Meanwhile, Neji looks all around where Nariaki should have landed. Saying to himself, 'I am the WORST baby-sitter in the world. I have my nephew for one day, and I kill him. I watch him for one hour, and he already gets hurt.' Then another thought came into his head 'How did Nariaki get on the roof?' Not finding the boy, he starts looking for how to get on the roof by a 5 yr. old's standards. Deeply engrossed in his searching, Neji never notices his nephew creeping up on him until…
'Nariki! You startled me.' Neji quickly gave the boy a once over. Not a scratch. After thinking some, makes sense. Naruto IS his father. Then he asked the question that was bothering him. 'How did you get on the roof? I don't see a ladder, there are no overhanging branches, so how did you do it?'
'Oh that? That was easy! I just gathered chakra at my feet, jump, and' the boy had been showing his uncle while he explained. When he said "jump" he had jumped and landed nimbly on the roof. Jumping off, he lightly landed. 'How do you not get hurt?' 'Not sure. Mom's still deciding on whether or not she's glad that I don't get hurt.' I can see where she's coming from. On the one hand, he doesn't get hurt. On the other, he does more dangerous stunts that others would never think of doing, and she's not sure which would be better. To have a child that doesn't get hurt as often but performs dangerous stunts, or one that gets hurt often but isn't into as dangerous things. 'How come you didn't land over there?' 'Oh that? I can control where I go, where I land, and how soft I land.' This child is a wonder. He has his father's energy, but he has his mother's reasoning abilities which he used to make sure his wild schemes will turn out, and no one gets hurt.
'Why don't we go inside for a bit?'
'Awww, but there's nothing to do inside.' Nariaki whined.
'It's lunch time. Why don't I fix you some' Neji thought to what he could use to bribe the boy. 'ramen?'
The boy perked up. 'Ramen? Really? I LOVE RAMEN!' The boy began pulling his uncle into the house. 'Come on! Let's MOVE!' Neji allowed himself to be pulled and chuckled to himself. 'He really is, his father's child.
Later that night,
'How are you?' Naruto asked his son, while his wife talked with her cousin.
'Thanks for looking after him so well. He had fun.'
'Once I got him inside and off the roof it was fine. Oops.' Neji saw the look on Hinata's face.
'Didn't you read the note?'
Hinata turned and glared at Naruto. 'You didn't give him the note?'
'Yes I did.' Naruto was a little indignant. 'I folded it up, put it in my pocket, and oops.' Naruto had put his hand in his pocket and came out with the note in his hand. He hung his head in shame. 'Sorry'
Looking at Neji, Hinata explained. 'We give every new baby-sitter a note explaining about Nariaki. We have found it makes their lives easier, and less frantic. Sorry about the trouble caused by this. It won't happen again, right Naruto? He nodded and handed Neji the note. It was a list of things to expect from Nariaki, and of does and don'ts. And on there was "15) Don't let Nariaki outside without you there. He will find a way onto the roof and jump off. He will not be hurt, but it is extremely dangerous and we are discouraging such reckless behavior."
They talked for a bit longer until Naruto noticed Nariaki trying to hid a yawn, and motioned to the others. Hinata saw this and, chuckling, took the sleeping child into her arms. They said goodnight, and left to tuck their son into bed.
Neji was still chuckling to himself about his day when TenTen came back. 'So, how was your day with Nariaki?' she asked. Neji wouldn't lie to her and said what came to mind when he thought back to what he had been through. 'It was…an adventure.' He told her all that had happened that day. 'That boy is so much like his father. Boundless energy, near invulnerability, and an obsession with ramen.' 'But you forgot how much like is mother he is.' thinking Neji replied 'You're right. It's just his father's side is more boisterous and demands more attention, so you almost forget about her half.'
Thinking about all that her poor husband had to deal with alone, TenTen wondered if now would be a good time to tell her secret.