Okay, boring stuff out of the way first. I'm Starlight, and this is my first fic for the Naruto section. I've been quite the fan of Neji/Hinata for quite some time now, although it isn't my OTP. Considering I like both characters a lot (in Part I, anyway. Shippuden!Neji just had the awesome "RAWR I HATE YOU YOU KILLED MY FATHER" factor sucked out of him) and I was watching old episodes on my old DVD and I felt like...writing this. So, er, try to enjoy the next 1000 words of torture! XD
I own nothing.
He'd always had something to say to her.
When she was three and he was four, she meant the world to him: she was his little cousin, his charge, his best friend, the one he would tell all his secrets to. The two of them would babble and talk for hours on end about things young children usually talk about. He'd taught her how to do cartwheels, he'd taught her how to whistle, he'd tell her everything.
"Do it like this," he'd tell her. She would follow obediently, and he would say "Good job," and he'd be happy because she was happy.
When she was about to turn four and he about to turn five, the incident happened. His father died because of her! Bitterness for the spoiled little girl he began to see her as began to grow inside him, consuming him, further fueling his animosity towards the main family: his so-called 'relatives,' his family who killed his father and stuck him with a seal that would decide the rest of his fate.
"Go away," he'd tell her. "I don't want to play with you anymore." And she'd follow like the pitiful, timid animal she was, and he'd be happy because she was sad.
When she was five and he was six, her sister was born. She'd been delighted with the new addition to the family, and he'd resented it. Another person to hate. She and her sister had gotten along well until it was revealed that she was naturally more adept than her when it came to fighting.
"See," he'd tell her. "You're naturally weak. Even your two-year-old sister is on the same level as you are." Of course he'd been exaggerating, but she would follow anyway because she was scared. And he'd be happy because she was weak.
When she was twelve and he was thirteen, they became ninjas. They'd both participated in the Chuunin Exams, and he knew it was because he wanted to and she had to. When they were matched up for the preliminaries, he handled it with a cocky, confident smirk.
"You're a failure," he'd tell her. "You're weak. You're not cut out to be a ninja, and you know it. You're a dropout, a failure, and you will always be one. Now forfeit the match, or else you know what will happen to you."
But she didn't follow, and this shocked him. She'd seen through him, she'd seen through that arrogant façade he put up, she'd seen, not with her Byakugan, but with her kind, gentle eyes, how he really felt: helpless, angry, and weak, and he'd be angry because she knew.
But he'd almost killed her.
He couldn't believe it, and it was because of that match that he'd begun to change.
When she was seventeen and he was eighteen, she and that fox boy announced they were together. He'd never seen her happier. Once, that would have made him frown in disgust. Now, it made him smile in contentment, despite the pangs of bitterness inside him threatening to grow again.
"Congratulations," he'd tell her. "I wish the two of you the best." She'd smiled happily at him and hugged him, and he couldn't help but feel some of his blood rush to his face, but he'd be happy just because she was happy.
When she was nineteen and he was twenty, she was diagnosed with cancer. Tsunade and Sakura's diagnosis that she only had less than a year to live pierced him through the heart like a thousand kunai. Nevertheless he'd kept faith.
"You will fight this," he'd tell her. "I swear, you will get better." And she'd smiled at him like a summer day and told him what a supportive cousin he was. And he'd be happy despite everything, because she was trying to be happy.
When she was twenty and he was twenty-one, her condition worsened. Sakura, Kiba, Hanabi, and Naruto hovered over her constantly, and Ino and Shikamaru and everyone else visited her in between and it was Tsunade that finally let him have some alone time with her.
"I can't fight it anymore, nii-san," she'd told him weakly. "Sakura-chan told me…I have… three months at most…"
And he'd cried then, cried harder than he'd ever had, cried for all the times he'd been mean and unsupportive towards her, cried for all the times he'd hated her, and he'd hugged her, hugged her hard, and told her nothing would be the same without her. And she'd smiled at him, and told him that she wanted him to lead the Hyuga after her death, not Hanabi, because she knew he could do it; that he was the best cousin one could ever wish for.
"Thank you, Hinata-sama," he murmured quietly. "Everyone else will miss you."
When he left the room his sorrowful pearl eyes told everyone what he really wanted to say.
He didn't say anything at her funeral. He didn't say anything when he saw her casket being lowered into the ground and the rain started beating down on their backs. Around him Naruto and Lee were bawling their eyes out, and Sakura and Ino were crying into each other's shoulders, and Choji was sneezing into a handkerchief, and Kiba was making a pathetic attempt at hiding his tears and Tenten was sobbing alongside Hanabi. But he wasn't crying.
Because he felt like it was his own funeral, and he couldn't cry in that case.
He was the last to leave. It was then that he cried before he turned and walked away.
"I love you," he murmured to the wind.
There was nothing left to say.
DON'T KILL MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE... TT^TT
The thing I like most about NejiHina is that it would be so damn interesting when it's played out. Neji would be all "RAWR I HATE YOU YOU KILLED MAH DAD" and Hinata would be all "BUT I DON'T HATE YOU." and everyone else would be all "WUT YOU TWO ARE TOGETHER?" Haha.
This was written under 40 minutes and is unbeta-ed. The ending was totally different that what I had imagined, but most of my stories tend to end up that way. So please review! Constructive criticism is welcome.