Though it should be abundantly obvious by now, I don't own Naruto. Ok? Ok.
Neji's Birthday Present
Hyuuga Neji did not generally enjoy his birthday very much. Oh, he liked the concept well enough, make no mistake, and he made sure to remember the birthdays of his friends and team-mates, but birthdays in the Hyuuga Compound tended to be solemn, quiet affairs. Serious, thoughtful gifts were given, serious, thoughtful conversations were had with serious, thoughtful people and, on the whole, not much fun was had.
In his heart of hearts, Neji longed for the kind of birthday his friends had, with a party and laughter and silly (but well-chosen) gifts.
And cake. Can't forget the cake.
Sadly, the likelihood of something like that happening to him was, he knew, up there with the Hokage's pet founding an aerial attack force.
Which was why the note from Hinata, asking him to come to her team's training ground following the 'celebration' at home, intrigued him. He'd heard of the "surprise party" phenomenon from Tenten and thought it a thoroughly captivating idea, but surely Fate wouldn't-
Staring at the shower of confetti, the streamers festooning the trees and the smiling faces of his friends (and the giant cake. Can't forget that), the last of Neji's convictions on the immutability of Fate faded away. Ushered to a comfortable spot near the Cake, Neji woke from his happy daze to behold the wrapped box being presented to him by a grinning Naruto.
Presents! He had Presents! Not history scrolls, not dry political texts, Presents! With colourful wrapping! And ribbons! Neji was almost too gobsmacked to actually open them, but the gentle suggestion from Kurenai-sensei that once he opened them he could have Cake jerked him into action.
A bonsai oak from Naruto (who knew he had such a cultured hobby?). Titanium kunai from Tenten. A lucky cat statue and a "Get out of challenges for a month" card from Gai-sensei and Lee. Two month's worth of free meal vouchers, from Team Ten's favourite restaurant, from Ino and Chouji (apparently he was "too scrawny"). A book of 'magic eye' puzzles from Shikamaru (ha ha, very funny, Nara). Healing creams from Sakura and a very rare jutsu scroll from the Uchiha clan library.
Coming down from present-induced euphoria, the young Hyuuga looked up to see all four members of Team Eight smiling at him.
"Kiba, Shino and I worked together on our gift, Neji-ni", said Hinata, stutter-free and with a hint of mischief. "If you like it, I'm happy to cast it for you once per week", continued Kurenai, flicking through handseals. "Enjoy!"
There was a flash of light and Neji alone in a broad, grassy field. The warm sun shone down from a deep blue sky and a gentle breeze caressed his face, fluttering his hair as it passed. It was certainly pleasant here, he thought, but how was it a-?
Looking down toward his feet, Neji's eyes widened. His hands began to tremble. A blush rose on his face.
It was a kitten.
Not just a kitten, though. It was the smallest, fluffiest, cutest, most adorable black-kitten-with-one-white-paw that ever was, with the big blue eyes, long whiskers and the most captivatingly clumsy movements that could possibly be imagined.
Gently picking up the fuzzy ball of feline cuteness, Neji snuggled it into his face, eyes closed in bliss. Surely there was no way this could possibly get any-
"Mew". "Mew!" "Mew". "Mew?"
Hinata smiled at the blissful look on her cousin's face as the genin and their teachers quietly departed, leaving Neji to bask in his gifts and Cake.
Kiba nudged her with a grin.
"Told you he'd like it".
Ultimately, Neji reflected later, the "Kittenworld Paradise" genjutsu, specially commissioned by Team Eight, was the Greatest. Gift. Ever.
As it says in the previews, the idea for this little one-shot came to be while writing 'Oops!' and refused to leave my head until i'd done something about it. It's not intended to be taken overly seriously, not is it part of 'Oops!' canon (unless it need it to be!). If reading this prompted a chuckle from you, then it has served its purpose.
There'll be another chapter herein soon enough, but don't expect one for my other stories for a while. Real Life is giving me a little trouble over the break. still, more writing time!