Song: Throw your arms around me.

Chapter one: Denial

"I will come for you at night-time... "

It was late. Or early, depending on how you looked at it. It was a dark summer night, three in the morning and everyone seemed to be asleep. Neji got up from his bed and drew a deep sigh. He couldn't sleep, and it was all Hinatas fault.

He used his byakugan to check one more time if there was anybody awake in the house, but everybody was sleeping. He smiled joylessly to himself and started to walk towards Hinatas room. He just wanted to look at her. Just once, he told himself. He wouldn't stay. What if she'd wake up? Now that would be weird... and awkward.

He opened the door to her room and quietly stepped inside. He just looked at her. She was so beautiful in the silver moonlight that fell in through her window. Her pale face moved in her sleep, and her lips softly whispered something, but he couldn't hear what. Then he left for his room again, and fell asleep on his futon. Dreams of Hinata haunted his sleep.

The following morning Neji was quiet, that is, more than usual. Nobody really noticed. Hinata hurried to meet her team. Her father just sat reading the newspaper before he left for his office. Neji had a cup of tea, but he couldn't seem to get any food down. He just stared at it before he left to meet his team for training. He was late, but didn't really reflect on it. It wasn't like it was a habit. Though it might become one i he didn't straighten himself. He shook his head. This was not happening.

He arrived at the training grounds forty minutes late. They were quiet, looking at him with surprised faces. Gai cleared his throat.

"Oi Neji, I would like an excuse for this before we start our training." He looked serious, and slightly worried. He knew, just like the rest of them, that Neji never was late. He took too much pride in always being first there, quietly of course. Like he always needed to be best, he always needed to be first. This just simply was not like him.

"I... I don't know... I must have walked slower than I thought... Gomen, Gai Sensei." They just kept staring at him. He felt so stupid. It was the lamest excuse ever... But it was the only reason he could think of. Gai just looked at him.

"Neji, how are you? Do you feel alright?" He looked worried. Neji shrugged.

"Nah, I'm fine. Can't we just start training?" He looked up to study the blue sky...

"Eh, sure. You train with me today. Tenten, you and Lee start. Neji and I will study your moves and try to help you improve them later... Start warming up, you have half an hour from now." Tenten and Lee nodded and started stretching. Neji went to sit down with Gai on the other side of the training grounds. He cleared his throat a couple of times, not quite knowing how to start.

"Um, Neji, so... what had you walking so slowly in the morning?" Neji shrugged.

"Well, nothing really, I just got lost in my thoughts that's all..." Gai looked at him with a face full of concern.

"Well, if you ever feel the need to share those thoughts with anyone, you know where I am. I can't have one of my students ...unfocused." He finished, looking at Neji carefully.

"I understand Sensei." He looked away at lee and Tenten who were taking their positions, waiting for their Sensei's command. Gai stood up.

"Let the match begin!"

After practise, Neji decided to go down to The Yōkai, one of his favourite bars in Konoha. It was rather small and quiet; a place one went when one needed to be alone. He sat down at the bar and ordered a double scotch. It burned his insides, slowly making him relax. He sighed and had another go at his drink. Hinata wouldn't leave his mind, no matter how hard he tried. When had she gotten there in the first place? He couldn't remember. It must have crept up on him slowly, slowly corrupting his mind. He shivered. She was his cousin, people would never understand. She wouldn't understand. He needed another drink.

He paid the bartender five hours later and left, walking home. Slowly.

He got home a quarter past midnight. As he entered the house quietly, he switched the light in the ceiling on. Though, instead of filling the room with light, everything went darker. How drunk am I? He thought to himself. Then he heard a sigh behind him and all of a sudden the light was on. My eyes must be messing with me...

"Hyuuga Neji, what do you mean by coming home this late?!" It was Hinatas father.

"Hmmm...??" Neji couldn't think of an answer that would satisfy the man, now in front of him. "I believe I'm drunk. I don't know."Hinata came into the kitchen, looking tiered. When she saw Neji lean on the wall next to him in an attempt to keep standing straight, she stopped in surprise. He was drunk?

"F-father, N-Neji, w-w-what's g-going on?" Her father looked at Neji, then at his daughter with hopeless eyes.

"He's drunk Hinata. On a bloody Tuesday. That's what's going on." Her eyes went wide in surprise. Again.

"N-N-Neji, wh-what's... gone i-into you?" Her face was twisted in concern.

"I'm fine, nothing's gone into me. You know Hinata, your eyes are..." He stopped himself. I will SO NOT say that, no matter how drunk I am. Hinata froze, her face going blood red. Her father dropped his chin.

"Neji." He said after collecting himself. "You should get to bed now. We shall talk about this tomorrow."

Hinata still couldn't move. Neji walked past her, and as he did, he whispered something so that only she could hear:

"...very beautiful" He'd said it anyways. Shit!

Hinata fell to her knees before and fainted before the rest of her body hit the floor. By then, Neji was already in his room, cursing himself.

He awoke the next day with a splitting headache. He checked his alarm-clock. 06.04. Well, he wasn't known for oversleeping. Ever.

He walked down to the kitchen and drank a glass of water. He had to at least try to get rid of a bit of this hangover before training. Though a part of it would probably stay with him for a greater part of the day. He drank another glass and cursed himself quietly. Where was his self-control? Where was his dignity? Come to think of it... Where were most of his clothes? He was only in his boxers. What the hell...

He opened the door to go back to his room, but stopped dead. Hinata was in front of him. Her face turned red, then she simply turned around and buried her face in her hands. Shit.

"I-I'm s-s-s-sorry... I-I-I-I-..." Her voice died out. His face went warm, blushing in embarrassment.

"I'm-I'm so sorry. I..." Oh Kami, I've scarred her for life..."Hinata, I... I'm going to go change... I'm sorry..."

He went back to his room. The headache was double, and he suspected that no glasses of water could make it better.

Hinata went into the kitchen and put the tea-kettle on. What's up with him... He's not acting like himself... Walking around the house like that... Saying what he did yesterday... Her thoughts were broken by her father entering the room. He looked tiered and accepted the teacup she reached him gratefully. He even smiled at her, which surprised her more than anything that had just happened.

"You know Hinata." He said, rubbing the dust out of his eyes. "You make tea the exact same way your mother always did." She froze, not believing her ears. Her dad never mentioned her mother, or spared Hinata any kind words either for that matter. He just kept on smiling. "It warms me all the way out in my fingertips. It's an art in itself."

She woke up and poured a cup for herself before she sat down. Her heart was beating with a force she didn't know that it had. She didn't blush, just sat there drinking her tea quietly. Neji entered the room and poured a cup for himself in silence. After the first sip his head cleared and he shivered. "This is really good tea Hina-chan."He heard himself say. She just looked at him, smiling.

"Thank you Neji." And for some very strange reason, her father smiled as well. He couldn't even recall the last time that had happened. This is going to be one interesting day, he thought.

"How do you feel Neji?" The older man asked him, searching his eyes in a strange way that made him slightly uncomfortable. His voice was merely a whisper when he answered.

"I'm fine, Hiashi-San." Hinata and Hiashi just stared at him, then resumed drinking their tea. Ten minutes later, Hiashi left, leaving Hinata and Neji alone. The silence was very uncomfortable. Then, all of a sudden, Hinata started to giggle. Hinata giggled?

"Un, Hinata-chan, what's so funny?" She started to laugh. He still didn't get it. She breathed heavily and stopped, though she kept her smile.

"Um, Neji-niisan, y- your boxers had pink hearts on them.." She started to uncontrollably giggle again. He blushed. They're my favourite pair... he looked away before he answered.

"What, what'd you expect?" This got her to stop. But instead of getting embarrassed, she just smiled at him, seemingly unbothered by the question.

"Well.." She said, searching her mind. "I guess regular black ones, or white. And cotton, not silky ones. You never seemed like a silky kind of person..." Now she blushed and looked away. "Um, I-I think... I should get g-going or I'll be late..." And back with the stutter was the same old shy, blushing Hinata. He looked away as well, his blush still there.

"I guess I should get going to... I was already late once this week..." Crap, she didn't need to know that! She looked at him. He'd been late? But she didn't ask why. She wasn't sure she wanted the answer just yet. Yet? What was she thinking?

"R-right, I might see you l-later then..." Was all she answered. He nodded before he left, unable to look back, afraid of what his eyes might or might not say.

"Neji, you're late again!"Gai shouted in surprise as he saw Neji walk down the hill towards the field they'd decided to meet up at yesterday.He couldn't believe it. Two days in a row. Neji was confused with himself. It simply wasn't like him.

"I- I'm sorry Sensei.. I swear, I left in time I..." His team-members just stared at him, the same thought going through their heads. What was up with Neji? He also saw Sakura, Kakashi, Sasuke and Naruto looking strangely at him. "What?!" It was all he could say, unable to comprehend what was going on.

"Well, it's just that..." Naruto started. "You're even later than Kakashi... and I was under the impression that you always were on time..." He stopped. The others nodded. "You're over an hour late Neji..."