Fortune Befriends the Bold

"Naaarruuuttttooo!" screamed Sakura as she chases him down the hall.

Neji could only shake his head in annoyance to such noisy commotions during school hours. He wondered if the school would be alright in her care after he leaves this place. Classes were changing from second to third period. Next would be lunch. He wondered if TenTen had made anything edible today. Lately she had been experimenting in simple lunchbox preparations. Luckily Lee's parents owned a restaurant so he always had a back up.

His cousin Hinata used to make lunches for Hanabi and him but ever since the whole Naruto fiasco started, she had been slacking in that department. But it wasn't until it was finally clear on the day it snowed here recently that he realized who was the responsible party involved. What looked like thousands of snowflakes falling from the sky were actually small notes of a certain someone she had been enamored with only recently. Before the snow incident, he could have sworn that her crush was Naruto. The annoying guy's face was plastered everywhere in her room and all their conversation eventually ended with him. Since the turn of events, he has been slowly adjusting to the new notion.

Neji never thought that she knew her current boyfriend's existence before this. The news became a shock to him. Also the news that Sasuke was withdrawing from Konoha High was another story all together.

He urged an alliance between the parents of Shikamaru, Chouji, and Ino to be the new benefactors to the Kendo club. They each owned a famous traditional and long standing business operation that worked synonymously between the three. He had brought this up before with their parents but this time he was persistent. He had Chairman Jiraiya and the senior advisor as back up and a positive presentation that shows the advantages in being their sponsor. He made sure to add that their union could increase sales amongst the female population with Sasuke as the captain of the club. He convinced them to sign the papers overnight and had it published in the news the next day. But it was too late to reach Sasuke's attention, the Kendo club captain continued with his withdrawal the next day. Neji could have killed the idiot for not watching the news on the one day that he was supposed to.

Neji also met up with Orochimaru a couple of nights ago, discussing the dissolution of their partnership. Seeing that the Orochimaru Group was using underhanded tactics to obtain one of his students was foul in every sense. He wished them well in the coming years with their new sponsorship and apologized that their contract had ended on unpleasant terms.

Ever since Naruto bought a stubborn and disagreeable friend to the Kendo club, Neji knew that Sasuke was different. In a short period of time he polished his skills and learned the art faster than anyone Neji had ever trained. The kid executed every attack with precise blows and swift foot motions that were impressive. He lacked fear and sometimes he was arrogant in knowing that he was the better contender to win. Neji also believed that if he stepped down as captain it would give Sasuke an opportunity to learn what he was lacking. Neji just never realized that all it took was a girl and not just any girl; his cousin.

If he knew that he was carrying the trump card all along, all his sacrifices were in vain.

He had college exams coming up soon and he needed to finally go on a date with his girlfriend. They had been going out for awhile now in secret but he never showed her properly how much she was important in his life. He was so busy taking care of the student body, his family, and studying that he neglected his other responsibilities. Since witnessing the snowy white show of love, he finally had the nerve to kiss his girlfriend when everyone else was crowded around the windows watching the whole winter scenery. They had been having problems as a couple but that moment will always be a memorable moment in his life.

As he walks to his next class, he spots Sasuke waiting outside the ladies bathroom. They nodded at each other as he walks past his friend. He was more at ease knowing that Hinata was in capable hands compared to the loud blond running down the halls. But he finally found a punishment worth giving Naruto to make up for the hot pot incident and deceiving Hinata's heart. Starting today, Naruto was to bring Hanabi home after club activities in Neji's stead. Knowing that Hanabi was a clever girl, she could easily drive him mad with time.

Hinata's crush for Naruto had sprung since elementary school. He was the class clown and she was the shy wallflower. Naruto had the kind of personality that she was drawn to because she lacked all those characters. He suddenly realized that Hinata has grown up in many ways but to him she will always be the timid cousin with bad taste in men but that perception has changed.

He remembered how long ago she asked to bring home a particular stranded black cat home and her father rejected her instantly. The cat was left at the gates of the nearby park in a box and she would come and feed him every day. It wasn't until one day a bunch of little brats took the cat from its box and somehow placed him on a high three branch that she couldn't reach. She cried at the trunk until a dark haired boy climbed the tree and fetched the cat. He was cut from the clawing and she was too happy in the cat's recovery that she forgot to thank him or ask for a name. When she came home with a cat snuck in her sweater, she told Neji all about the cat's misfortune.

Seeing that her father didn't allow her to have pets, Neji went out of his way to find an owner. He plastered posters around town and soon enough his senior in middle school came to claim it. His senior was a well known artist but Neji never cared for status, he was just happy to get rid of a problem. Soon Hinata started hanging out the park late and Neji had to retrieve her every evening one summer. She explained that she made a gift for her cat-saver and wanted to give it to him. But Hinata or Neji never came across a dark haired boy with cat scratches all over his face. That was probably the only time that Neji could recall Hinata being rebellious or persistent about.

Which may explain her recent actions, he had observed on the evening before the snow presentation. Naruto brought her home and both were deep in thought and throwing ideas back and forth about how to secure Sasuke at Konoha High. Naruto explained that Sasuke was acting strange since he spoke to whomever in the limo and Naruto knew then that foul play was amidst. Hinata tried to come up with a plan that would tie him down at the school but wasn't very confident with some of her suggestions.

Neji quickly approached Naruto and asked, "So what is this weakness you speak of?"

Naruto only smiled and pointed at his cousin and quickly Neji apprehended Hinata to spill the beans. She told both men and an eavesdropping sister outside the living room about her relationship with Sasuke Uchiha. She spoke about the skirt and the tie incidents which Neji completely without thinking had crushed the remote control in his hands at the moment to smithereens. He couldn't believe the nerve of the Uchiha trying to touch his cousin in such a shameless manner. He finally calmed down again and asked that she continued. As she openly confessed about her stay at the retreat, he was thinking deep down inside about why there should not have been a tie earlier in the duel between them but a win/loss scenario with him being the victor.

But after hearing the entire events of interactions between them, he was a bit sympathetic and was already on the phone with the chairman and the Kendo club's senior advisor. Neji soon left and had Naruto watch both his cousins so that he could handle his business. That day was a long day for him and Neji could have sworn that his junior was becoming more of a pain in the ass than anything else.

Whatever Hinata and Naruto schemed up had to be the final act in persuading Sasuke to stay. What Neji couldn't believe how daring and bold her presentation was. She had definitely come a long way. Maybe she just needed a jerk to yank her out of her cocoon.

The End