Back to the Wall
Of course Neji notices that Hinata starts and hunches when Kiba throws an arm around the neck of both his teammates, or when Ino touches Hinata's arm to make sure she has her attention. She does it when Hanabi saunters by and leans over her shoulder to admire her sister's calligraphy; her paintbrush drops heavy blots of black ink on the white surface, and Hanabi hastily apologises. She steels herself when she sees it coming, when Kurenai puts a gentle hand on her shoulder, after Hinata has sparred with her team and is stifling quick pants, white lips barely open.
It annoys Neji, who doesn't understand what reason Hinata has for being so nervous, even among people whom she knows would never hurt her.
Next time he walks past her in the corridor, he brushes his hand against the back of her jacket. He is amazed to see her jump three feet away with a gasp, eyes wide and shocked, her back stiff and her legs in a fighting stance – her reaction so disproportionate it surprises even him. He isn't sure what it makes him feel except for that strange yearning stirring he cannot name and which urges him to make her do that again, which is ridiculous, so he merely arches an eyebrow.
Colour rushes to her cheeks and she stutters something Neji doesn't pay particular attention to. It might be because he always ignores her pathetic apologies, but in actuality he feels like his gaze is riveted to her shoulders, and more precisely the way they are twitching. Then she scuttles.
He makes a half-hearted attempt to dismiss the impression by comparing her to a mouse, but it doesn't really work, because Hinata doesn't have the right colouring and her twitches looked like they were born from something more physical than fear.
Neji doesn't understand the twitches, so he resolves to do it again. It bothers him in a way that doesn't have anything to do with how Hinata, he notes, always keeps out of her father's reach or with how she never allows Sakura to massage her neck, no matter how Ino swears that it's the one thing that came out well of Forehead-Girl's medic-nin training.
It's not as if Hinata is afraid of human contact. She's okay when someone bumps her leg at Ichiraku. She doesn't keel over when Hanabi insistently pokes her in the stomach.
And when a drunken civilian had the gall to pinch her ass (causing Neji to stare, his mind overtaken by images of the man being dismembered and emasculated – his nails cutting crescent shapes into the palms of his hands which only started to tingle after he'd shaken off the vividness of the vision) she turned toward him a snowy, stony look which had him stumbling all over himself with grovelling apologies.
There only seems to be a certain zone of her body that is Out Limits.
Neji has had enough time to think since his fight with Naruto to decide he doesn't really like rules, actually. He makes it a note to try again next time they're alone in a corridor, and he goes on with his life. Or rather, he attempts to, as the plan has the habit to come back haunt him, frequently.
When he hastily shuts off his Byakugan because Hinata is blissfully sucking on a lollipop, given by an Ino who is enviously eyeing his cousin, complaining about candy and diets, he knows something is likely very wrong with him.
He doesn't really have the opportunity to do anything about it, though, because she goes on a mission with her team, and then it seems her jerky movements and her wide disbelieving eyes when he brushed her back are all he can think about. It flashes before his eyes at the most inconvenient times, and his teammates are left gobsmacked when one of Tenten's diversionary flings actually hits him on the temple.
The mission doesn't take as long as it should and Neji hears that it was successfully completed.
The price paid is that Hinata was very nearly skewered by several flying kodachi so now she's at the hospital. Neji knows because Hiashi told him at the end of training, after they'd spent an hour going over some problem in Neji's equilibrium that hinders him from keeping up Kaiten longer than a few seconds.
Neji's vaguely queasy and vertigo is threatening at the corner of his eyes when he drops the Byakugan to stare at his uncle with plain mundane vision, both probably resulting from the hour of Kaiten-spinning.
It doesn't occur to him to wonder why Hiashi would let him know about Hinata's state, but he notices the hint of straining around Hiashi's lips and the look in his eyes, which could be wariness or searching. There's a note of not quite warning in his voice when he tells Neji, almost benevolently, that he ought to stay here the rest of the afternoon to train some more.
There's no reason why he'd be told about it, he reflects as he watches Hiashi's back retreating toward the building where his duties as a clan head await him. Suddenly Neji wants to dart past Hiashi, out of the Hyuuga district, until he engulfs into the hospital and demands to see Hinata.
He's mildly taken aback by the intensity (the irrationality) of the impulse, so he reaches down to rewrap more tightly his calf bandages.
When he's done he's decided on what to do. He gets out of the compound, wondering if he's imagining the feeling of Hiashi's Byakugan weighing down on him, and walks without rushing towards the hospital.
By the time he's activating his Byakugan before the door to Hinata's hospital room, his conscience is tugging at him, signalling him that last time she ended up here was because he'd attempted to kill her, after all.
Something harsh and burning flashes through him as he remembers how she looked and felt at that time, and how he had felt when she'd exposed him for what he was – utterly powerless, more helpless and transparent and futile than Hinata had ever been, and this is my life damn it this is my life, how do you dare tell everyone about it, how do you dare be right and blood was glistening out of Hinata's mouth, dripping in rivulets down her chin, her expression firm and stern and – and something had snapped.
When he was dashing to her before they stopped him, Jyuuken wasn't on his mind; he just wanted to hit her. Hit her across the face, send her flying and make her stop talking.
Neji drops the thought in order to concentrate on the scene inside the room.
Hinata is sitting on the bed, in profile; her left foot trails on the ground. She's not wearing a jacket – not wearing anything but some loose hospital pants and lots of bandages and her arms are folded before her chest because, well, she's not wearing anything to cover her breasts. Loosely folded.
Neji's well aware that his cousin has breasts. It's a bit hard to miss when her chest is heaving like it does whenever she's surprised (whenever someone touches her back), but he hadn't expected to see… these… like that…
They're very pale, as white as the rest of her, and very… prominent. More so that other girls her age, he thinks. Rounder. Her hands are barely covering her nipples. In fact, if he squints just so, he can see a nipple peeking from between her forefinger and her middle finger.
Neji shifts, suddenly uncomfortable and trying to imagine how it would feel if he were to run his finger over it.
At Hinata's side is a medic-nin unrolling new bandages and Hinata is very determinedly gazing at some point on the bed and refusing to look up and Neji is transfixed because he knows what is going to take place.
A lot of these bandages cover Hinata's back, a small feverish voice mutters, with breathy delight and a tongue ready to flick against his ear.
A lot of these bandages are wrapped around Hinata, and not only is she going to have to move her arms to let the medic-nin operate, and it's going to be awkward, the voice promises, but the bandages are on her back, and Hinata is hyper-sensitive there, Neji realises, finally able to put words on that which has been intriguing him for so long.
Hinata has been growing out her hair, so it brushes against her shoulders now, but the medic-nin manages to work around it, which is a damn shame in Neji's opinion. The medic-nin's movements are cool and professional, but even that can't take much from the show, because Hinata shivers when hands undo the bandages, and the exposed skin blushes, and everything about her position is screaming that she hates it.
Neji swallows, and finds himself wishing that the medic-nin's hands slip just a little and that they actually touch her.
Her eyes snap shut, she practically flinches when the medic-nin reaches to loosen the bandages in front of her.
Makeherscreammakeherscreamcomeonmakeherscream goes the mantra in Neji's head before he realises what is going through his head. Later he's probably going to wish he hadn't, but right now all he can focus about is how fucking pretty Hinata is when she doesn't have a choice.
It can't be that hard to make her scream; she's heavily injured already.
He doesn't take his eyes away from the sinuous, tempting line of her back, though, because most of all that's what he wants to know how she reacts when she is touched there. If she is this reactive when she just fears she will be, what will it be when she actually is?
Her breathing is short and shallow as the medic-nin rewraps her in new bandages, her back ramrod-straight. A lock of hair, dislodging from behind her ear, falls in front of her face.
Then it's over.
As soon the medic stops arranging the bandages, Neji leaves. He could stay and watch, on the chance that Hinata'll raise her arms to put on the top of her pyjama before the medic opens the door to leave, but the risk isn't worth it, and besides, this isn't what he's hoping for.
The following weeks are very trying, between the dreams and the fantasies and the hard-ons whenever Neji even glimpses at a female back.
Still, he bides his time.
What for exactly he's not sure. He does try to put a rest to this obsession, but his attempts to dispel it are half-hearted at best. After all, he logically if fuzzily thinks in his shower, slumped against the wall, it's not as if he has anything better to fantasize about. That medic's hands could have slipped so easily… Neji only needs to close his eyes to see the hand disappearing between Hinata's naked thighs (artistic license), her back jerking, propped against a stronger body, her breath catching.
He doesn't realise how badly he's fucked until the day Hinata leaves the hospital.
He sees her in the Hyuuga district just as she's about to go meet her team for their usual training, and – he has to hurry to his room with his Byakugan, ah, turned on, to make sure no one can notice the pathetic state he's in before he's had time to get rid of it. He curses in his mind for the whole time it takes him to reach some privacy, but he blames it all on a somewhat unfortunate timing.
After the seventh such occurrence in seven times Neji sees Hinata, he admits to himself he's got a problem.
The problem, he thinks distractedly, is Hinata.
(Today he's seen her when she spun around to avoid Hanabi who was throwing herself at her from behind, trying to tackle her older sister into a fierce hug without being noticed. Neji had distinctly felt his synapses exploding – at what had almost happened.)
He's not going to do anything worthwhile while she's on his mind, which is also a problem. Neji rather likes having her on his mind.
He especially likes it when, like today, he's training with Hiashi-sama and Hiashi-sama has to stop because he's head of the clan and has other duties. Neji doesn't know what those are and he doesn't care. Hiashi's going away, Neji still hasn't figured out the trick to stay stable throughout Kaiten, and it's something he has to unlearn because he taught himself. Neji hates feeling like he's proving the Main House right by making mistakes.
If he were to hit Hinata, she'd whimper. She'd whimper if his hand was to brush her back.
Maybe the image distracts him just a bit too much for him to continue training. He's not going to achieve anything with that playing out in his head. So he leaves the Hyuuga training ground.
He meets her in the corridor. They're alone.
She smiles at him faintly, tilting her head to the side. A lock of shoulder-length hair falls in front of her face.
Hinata doesn't even have the time to gasp before Neji slams her against the wall, twisting her arm so that she has her back to him, her cheek colliding with the unforgiving surface. She gives a strange little sound, and Neji twists her arm just a little more.
"N-Neji-niisa-an!" It's not a whimper, more of a pained – well – moan.
She can't activate the curse seal on his forehead when he has her trapped this way, and usually Hinata would be the last person in the Main House who he'd think liable to do such a thing (it's laughable, really) but given the situation, she just might if he gave her the chance. He won't pretend that the idea is off-putting.
And she's not about to cry for help. Hinata never asks for help.
There's still the Byakugan, but Neji's willing to take the risk somebody might be watching in.
Slowly, Neji pushes her hair out of the way, and he sets on working to untie the hitai-ate. Hinata, who's kept immobile until that moment, starts to moves but he presses his weight against her and she stills.
"Niisan?" she tries. Her voice is already a whisper.
The hitai-ate falls to the ground with a clink.
Neji leans forward. Hinata's body is exuding tension, but she's not fighting. Neji could block her tenketsu, but he doesn't have the slightest intention of doing so. If she felt like struggling, she would, even if they both know that he could overpower and disable her before she'd even landed her first strike. That Hinata lets him is permission enough.
Her hips shift, rubbing against him. She doesn't go stiff when she feels him, so Neji assumes she's okay with their position or she's waiting for him to relax to lash at him.
He fleetingly considers the possibility that she's ever done anything like this. Not with a boyfriend, Hinata loves Naruto. She's kunoichi. She'd be young for her team leader to push such tactics forward, but – the white neck is bowed in an enticing arc – some people like the victim type.
Just because he can, he twists her arm – her mouth opens in a wordless cry as her body turns to accommodate the strain on her wrist. Her breath is shorter, he notices as he swiftly unzips the jacket with his other hand and he resists the temptation to just reach under it. Hinata licks her lips.
Her eyes are very wide. Neji has no idea if it's in confusion or betrayal or something he can't even guess at. He wonders if she's going to ask questions.
"Shhh," he finds himself murmuring. "It'll be okay."
But he doesn't move to press his advantage, maybe because he didn't expect her to go this far without some sort of protest. Maybe because his reassurance was aimed at himself at least as much as it was at her.
Finally she says, "Neji-niisan, please go on…"
Neji's body starts moving on its own, instinctively obeying what he perceives as an order – there's nothing pleading in that soft tone – but he somehow catches himself. A dry, derisive chuckle escapes from his lips.
He imagines hitting her. For now he wrenches her arm sharp enough that her breathing catches and starts again with an ill-assured rhythm, as he roughly pulls the jacket down, uncovering bandages around her back. Her shoulders minutely stiffen. Neji swallows at the line in the middle of her back, quickly cut off and hidden under the bandages, but he can imagine it well enough running all the way down.
Bracing on the wall, he bends and blows the softest breeze against her neck.
Hinata's knees buckle and her head very nearly lolls back. The hitch in her breath is a marvellous thing, but Neji knows they can do better. There's no one in the corridor.
He takes his time to slide his hand under the open jacket, enjoying how Hinata tenses under the touch, how she almost squirms to avoid it and yet how she arches under his strokes, granting him easier access. This time he gives a small lick between her shoulder bones as he fingers her nipple.