Summary: Hinata manages to go Konoha's festival for the first time with Neji as her date.
Disclaimer: There are many disclaimers I could write but I think just saying that I don't own Naruto should be enough. I mean, I hope so...
AN: Hello you lovely readers! This fic is dedicated to the wonderful Melethryn who has requested a Neji/Hina date story. And so I deliver! There isn't anything heavy in this, if you are looking for that I implore you to read either Forbidden or The Perfect Gentleman.
Hinata looked outside her window.
Unfortunately it had a perfect view of the town.
She sighed longingly and wished for the millionth time that it showed a docile and lazy crowd just going about their way, but it didn't. She saw many of the villagers eagerly going around from store to store, women getting last minute adjustments to their kimonos and men making the last dash to stores for a bouquet for their date. She saw tents already erected and shopfronts overflowing with goods, stalls filled with games and some men getting the fireworks ready for the end of the night.
It was time for the festival.
And she wasn't going.
Her choices were severely limited and most already had dates and the others were intimidated about asked her father, who had to approve of who she took. This led to Hinata staring out her widow wishing for the scenery to be dramatically altered.
Catching herself sighing rather loudly, Hinata straightened her back and silently chastised herself for being so immature. As the Hyuuga heiress she should not be seen moping around the house, wishing for what could not be.
Resigning herself to her fate she turned her back on the window, half in defiance, and went back to her knitting. She was going to make herself a scarf to wear in the coming winter. A scarf was all she could really knit anyway.
Resuming in her task she was surprised when she sensed a familiar person outside her door. Before they could knock she was sliding the door open to them, eager to distract herself further.
"Yes N-Neji onii-san?" She said sweetly, smiling at her older cousin.
He was staring at the wall to her left, looking a bit out of sorts and was fidgeting with his kunai. This was quite different to how Neji usually behaved and so Hinata concluded that something was obviously wrong.
Not even realising she was doing it, Hinata started to mentally list what she had done wrong but couldn't come up with anything that would make him so agitated.
She moved out of the way of the door and made a gesture with her hand, "P-please Neji, w-won't you c-come in?" she asked, giving him a wide berth when he nodded and stepped into her room.
She closed the door and waited for him to say something.
Neji started to pace the length of her room, stopping to say something but then thinking better of it and returning to pace. Hinata was worried, something had to be horribly wrong.
"I-is ev-everyone ok?" she asked, trying to get a hint.
"Everyone is fine, that's not why I'm here," he said, stopping in his pacing and sitting down with a sigh, "I, ah, I have a favour to ask of you Hinata-sama."
This was unexpected. A favour? Neji never asked for anything from her, this must be important.
She sat opposite him and waited for him to continue.
Nodding at her silence, he placed his hands in his lap and tried to come up with the words that he needed to say, needed to ask.
"Do you remember," he started, "Raiki?"
Raiki? Of course she remembered him. He was very precious to her and Neji.
"Y-yes," she replied, uncertain of where this was going.
"I, um, I need you to hide him for me from my teammates," he paused, looking at the ground spreading his hands, "they're coming over tomorrow and I don't want them finding him."
This was the favour? She was almost offended when she realised exactly what Neji was asking of her. No one was to know about Raiki.
Which meant that she was the only one who knew.
Neji had confided in her.
She was suddenly immensely happy, even if Raiki was only a teddy bear.
"Hai," she said nodding her head, "I will be g-glad to d-do that for y-you, onii-san."
"Thank you Hinata-sama," he replied bowing his head, "I'll give you anything, this means a lot to me."
"Well Neji onii-san," she started, trying to get out the words before she her heart caught up with her brain and caused her to faint, "c-could you be my d-date to the fes-festival?"
There. She'd said it. He had said 'anything'.
His head shot up and looked into her eyes very seriously.
"You know I can't do that Hinata-sama," he said, his face stern and patronising, "what would your father say to you taking a branch member to the festival? As your date no less?"
She shook her head, "you s-said a-anything N-Neji onii-san," she looked down to the ground and then looked back up at him beaming, "we c-can just s-say that you a-are my b-bodyguard for the n-night."
His face took on a resigned look and she almost jumped up and down with joy, "so be it," he said, "but you take full responsibility if anything goes wrong."
She nodded her head quickly, she'd take anything if it meant she could go to the festival.
He stood up, not liking awkward silences and made a show to leave but she caught his sleeve and pulled lightly, "what is it Hinata-sama?" he asked, face wearied, "Raiki, do you have him?" she replied.
Neji took her hand from his sleeve, "I will bring him to you tomorrow morning," he slid open the door and stepped outside, "if there isn't anything else, I have to go and prepare for tonight." She shook her head, "Fine, then I will be by your room when the festival is starting."
Bowing to her he walked down the hallway to his side of the house, she watched from her door till he had disappeared from view before she went into her room.
She was finally going to the festival. She was incredibly excited and started to make arrangements, calling in her servants and telling them what was to be done.
Tonight would be a night she would never forget.
Finally she was ready, she had been preparing for more than three hours for this momentous occasion. First, approval had to be prepared; she was not going to give her father any reason to be disappointed in her. This did not take as long as she thought and was slightly anxious at how easy it had been. She had her bath next, scrubbing her body clean and making sure that she smelt nice but not overly so. It had been drummed into her from childhood that she was never to overdo anything in her dress or appearance. An heiress was never to look gaudy. The day she wore a pink sparkly headband was the day she was kicked out of home and turned to being a geisha.
Receiving help from her servants, she was dressed in her newest kimono. A deep blue colour with a few, small, white vines creeping in at the bottom and top. With her obi wrapped and her minimal amount of makeup refreshed on her face, she was quite lovely. Her hair was piled up on her head with a few strands hanging down to frame her face. The servants took a step back and marvelled at their work. She really was quite graceful, 'the image of a ruler of Hyuuga', they told her. But she didn't want to look that refined; she only wanted to look nice for her first festival. They quickly told she was fine as she was and left her before Neji came.
She sat for a few minutes, quietly pondering if he would even come when she heard a knock on her door. She didn't even sense him but she explained it away as nerves as she gracefully rose and slid open the door.
She was struck dumb by him. He was not dressed in anything as startling as her but he was still quite handsome. His long hair had been washed and brushed out, his yukata was a cream colour and he wore it with such sure purpose that she almost felt a little bit below him. But before she could think too little of herself he stopped her with a few words.
"You look beautiful Hinata," he said, his words leaving his mouth before he could think. She saw it on his face as he stiffened when he realised what he had said, "-Sama, Hinata-sama, I'm sorry, that was inappropriate."
Hinata placed a hand on his shoulder, "Th-thank you Neji." She carefully dropped his suffix as he had hers and caught a little smile on his face before he pulled out from under her touch and made way for her to exit her room.
"We should be on our way," he said, "the festival has started already."
"Hai," she said moving with him out of their house and walking sedately down the path to the festival.
It was better than she had expected.
Different hues of light coloured the sky, the earth and, it seemed, the very air as she walked alongside Neji, taking in the sights of the festival. She tried not to stop at every booth but it was hard as she hadn't ever been before and everything was so alive and alight.
Pausing for the fifth time, eyes looking at another brightly coloured booth, Neji realised that she was stopping herself for him. Sighing and thinking that it was best to make this time as good as it could be for both of them, he placed a hand of her back, guiding her to the booth that she was staring at. Surprised, Hinata looked at Neji, seeing him nod she bit back a goofy smile and tried her hand at the ball tossing game. As they were ninja and could, quite easily win, it was a rule that ninja did not receive prizes but could buy them for a smaller amount than normal. Easily winning the ball toss, Hinata turned to try her hand at something else, but caught herself before she went too far. Glancing up at Neji she tried to gauge his reaction to her playing different games but he didn't seem to mind.
Getting carefree and happier by the minute, Hinata played several different games before she thought that she had had enough. Neji had refused to play any game but saw her face light up and couldn't help but feel happy that he was the one that had made it possible. She really was pretty tonight and it did her good to go out to places like these. Maybe he should take her out to more things.
Looking at her, he saw her glance at the toy rack. Knowing her taste, he quickly made some excuse to leave her for the moment and went over to the stall without her knowledge. Choosing a medium sized, white plush toy of a dragon, Neji quickly made his way back to where he had left her.
But she wasn't there.
She had disappeared and he wasn't sure where. Looking all around he finally saw her kimono before it was swallowed by the crowd. He walked briskly towards it, hoping not to appear too interested in what she was doing when he saw that she was accompanied by three other men.
Did she know them? Or did they need her for something? He thought to himself, maybe I should just leave, she can take care of herself.
Turning around he started walking slowly back, holding the dragon to his side before he sighed heavily, stopping in his tracks and turned back around. He had lost sight of her but he wasn't too concerned, he'd just make sure she was ok and then go. No point worrying all night over something trivial.
Making his way back to where she had gone, Neji searched the throng of people for her kimono. Not being able to see her he jumped up onto one of the more solid stalls to see if he could see her from a higher vantage point. Hinata was being pulled, quite quickly, into an alley.
How original, he thought sarcastically, rolling his eyes as he made his way to them.
Walking to the alley he heard voices speaking hurriedly, "But Hinata-san, we just wanted to talk to you away from the crowd," said one of the men, leering at her.
"I-I know wh-what you s-said, but-" Hinata tried to talk to them but she was cut off by a rough looking man.
"We not good enough for you?" he asked, his expression getting uglier by the minute, "All my buddy wanted," his voice getting louder as he pointed to one of the other men, "was for you to be his date tonight but I guess us lowly villagers aint good enough for the Hyuuga heiress." He started to advance on her, making her move against the wall.
Neji wondered why she didn't get into her fighting stance and defend herself but realised her problem. The kimono she was wearing was hampering her movements. She would have to tear her kimono to be able to move freely and she wasn't about to do that in a hurry. He started to get angry, why couldn't they leave her alone?
Don't they know she's my date?
Neji didn't have time to question that thought as he heard what they said next.
"How about you give us three a quick kiss here on the lips as way of an apology, then we'll let you go on your way." It wasn't a question, the three men kept advancing on Hinata, whose mouth was opening and closing, trying to come up with any words that would get her out of the situation.
She was surprised when a body came hurtling from the sky, crashing into all three of the men, making them fall to the ground. Springing up, her saviour had his back to her but she recognised him, it was her cousin. He had his hands in his fighting stance and took a step towards the group.
"Don't you even think about touching her," he snarled, all reason gone from him, "if you even think it you'll be dead before you know it."
Hinata placed her hand to her chest, amazed by her cousin's care for her.
The three men took in his threat, realising he was out of their league andquickly made their way out of the alley, and out of the festival to wallow in their broken pride.
Neji, sensing that they were gone, turned back to Hinata, his face furious.
"What the hell did you think you were doing?" He yelled, his hands waving in the air, "What if I hadn't of come? What would you have done?"
He put his hand to his hair, sighing out, instantly regretting his outburst, "I'm sorry," he said, his voice more controlled, "it's just, seeing you with those men, my mind went wild. I'm sorry."
Not knowing what else to say Hinata went over to Neji and hugged him quickly, taking him off guard, "th-thank you Neji, th-they s-said they wanted s-some help with something. I d-didn't think t-to question them."
She inwardly cursed herself, she had been so naive and now she wasn't sure how to make it better. Maybe they should just go home.
"Look," said Neji, looking at the wall to his side, "the festival is almost over and that means the fireworks should be going off any minute. Let's stay for them and then we can go home."
Hinata beamed up at him and he couldn't help but give her a smile of his own.
Turning to his side he motioned for her to go ahead of him. She walked out first and Neji, straightening his yukata, made his way out after her.
As they walked through the crowd, Hinata couldn't help but notice that Neji was walking closer to her, even touching her sometimes. She felt a little thrill of excitement at this but didn't know what to make of it. Shaking it off for the moment, she followed Neji to a hill that was populated with people, mostly couples. They took a seat on the grass and soon found themselves staring at the sky as it combusted into fantastic colours.
Hinata couldn't help but grin widely. She had always watched these fireworks from her room but tonight, for the first time, with Neji sitting next to her she was watching them at the festival and she felt a little spoilt. With the fireworks igniting above them, the episode in the alley was forgotten about and they were just two people among many.
After the fireworks Hinata looked to Neji and saw him curse at himself. Worried Hinata put her hand on his shoulder, "are you all right Neji?" she asked.
He looked to her and nodded, "I'm fine, I just forgot something," he stood up, "will you wait here Hinata? I'll only be a moment."
"Yes," she replied, "I'll be fine, I'll wait for you."
"No alley talk ok?" he joked, smiling at her small frown.
"Go," she said, slapping his arm.
Nodding, he set off. Hinata sat by herself for a few moments enjoying the fact that they were getting along so well when Ino and Kiba came up the hill to her. Kiba caught sight of her and bounded the rest of the way up, sitting next to her.
"Hi Hinata-chan! What are you doing here?"
"M-My f-father allowed me to c-come," she managed to say, trying not to give too much away, Neji wouldn't want people to know that he was with her.
"That's cool," said Kiba, "So what did you have to do get his approval, resurrect the Fourth?"
Hinata laughed softly and played with the ends of her kimono, worrying about Neji.
"Oh Hinata-chan!" squeaked Ino, suddenly realising why the Hyuuga was so agitated, "Are you here on a date?"
Kiab looked at Ino, "Don't be stupid, if Hinata was on a date, we'd all know about it." He turned to Hinata, "right Hinata-chan?"
Hinata didn't reply and instead blushed a deep shade of red.
Kiba, straightened, "You're on a date?!" he practically screamed, "with who?"
Neji came up next to Hinata and held out his hand to her and lifting her to her feet, his face daring either of the shinobi to say anything.
Hinata looked up at him, shocked, why would he say that? She thought, I thought we agreed that he would say he was my bodyguard?
Confused but elated Hinata turned to see her friend's shocked faces.
She could have laughed but was afraid that any untoward action on her part would make her faint so she settled for a small smile with her head down.
Ino gasped suddenly and Hinata lifted her head to see Neji with a toy dragon in his hands, "I bought this for you but dropped it in the alley," he said, a light blush settling on his face, "I thought you'd like it."
Hinata took the plush, white dragon and held it to her chest, "Th-thank you Neji," she replied as she looked at the toy.
She looked up at her friends and realised a little too late what the implications would be to what had occurred tonight. Coupled with the fact that they had no clue what had happened in the alley so were making conclusions on their own, they were also addressing each other differently. She had dropped off the suffix to his name and he was hardly saying her name at all. But Hinata decided to forget about it, tonight was her night and she wasn't going to let anything wreck it, least of all her own thoughts.
Kiba was still on the ground, staring up at Hinata, when Ino came and dragged him away, saying their farewells as they went.
Waving goodbye, Hinata watched as the two disappeared around the corner.
"You k-know, it's g-going to be all a-around t-town tomorrow," she said, eyes down, "i-it's not too late to t-tell them."
She felt his hand on her shoulder and looked up at him, "tell them what?" he asked, his eyes searching hers, "We went to the festival together," he shrugged, "that's the truth."
"B-but they will s-say th-things," she said quietly, embarrassed about the predicament she had placed him in.
"Does it worry you?" he asked
"So let them talk," he said.
He started walking down the hill and stopped at the bottom. Turning back to face her he called up to her, "Coming?"
Hinata clutched her dragon to her chest and nodded, "H-Hai," she said, walking down to him.
They looked at each other for a moment, smiled and started walking home.
"Th-thank you Neji," she said, walking beside him, incredibly happy about this night.
"You have to stop saying that Hinata," he said smiling at her, "You've said 'thank you' so many times I've lost count."
She cast her eyes to the ground, "But I-I mean it," she said softly.
"Well, maybe think of other ways to say it," he said, his face stern but a trace of humour lay underneath, "because if you keep on saying it I'm going to get annoyed."
Continuing n, she thought of the some other words that would best describe how she was feeling tonight and came to a realisation.
Every time she said 'thank you' it was a replacement for the real words that she would never say.
She sighed and hung back to walk behind him, mouthing the words to his back and then catching up to him to walk at his side. She'd never be able to say those words but it felt good to have said them, or rather mouthed them, out loud.
She felt the words engulf her and him and knew that she wouldn't be the same. They had such a nice ring to them, she thought, holding her white dragon, patting its fur thinking of them.
I love you.
AN: Fanfiction is my procrastination! I should be doing uni work but here I am, entertaining myself.
I hope you liked it. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep writing this story, maybe make it a multi-chapter or something. Up to you!
Reviews are always nice, but if you seriously flame the pairing alone, like in my last story, it just makes me annoyed and a bit confused. If you don't like the pairing, don't read it...I should probably put this at the top but meh, what are you gonna do?