Author's Note:

I was unsure what would be the best way to handle this chapter. I still feel it is awfully short in comparison to what I expect the future chapters to be. I seriously considered saving it to tack on to the beginning of another chapter, but for the sake of the story's flow, I decided that would be a mistake. I'm not particularly proud of this chapter (as there is nothing of significance really takes place), but it was an important addition in advancing what little plot there is to where I need it to be. So...enjoy!

Story: Earmuffs

Characters: Neji, Lee, Tenten, Gai, Hinata, Hanabi, Shino

Warnings: Neji-torture, crack pairings (you've been warned!)

Chapter 2: Changing of Hands


If one thing was certain, he had to get rid of these things. And soon.

He had managed to get home relatively unscathed, ignoring a close shave with the Inuzuka and his mutt. And the near run-in with Chouji who had been accompanied by Ino (oh dear gods, how he hoped she hadn't seen anything…the whole of Konoha would be talking about his latest accessory soon if she had).

Not to mention the heart racing moment when his uncle greeted him as he blustered through the Hyuuga complex, sliding his door closed with unnecessary force.

All was well now, however. He was locked up, safe and sound in his quarters. Short of breath, seething with embarrassment, and perhaps on the brink of a panic attack…but in complete privacy nonetheless.

He happened to glance in the small mirror on the wall as he ripped the wretched pink poufs off his head. The sight was enough to make him nauseous. He should really just burn them.

His steady stream of ingenious plans to send those repugnant pink demons to the fiery depths of hell was broken by the irritated thumping on his chamber door.


Inhaling what he hoped was a calming breath, he slid open the door. "Hanabi-sama, can't it wait? I'm a bit busy at the moment."

She quirked a brow and eyed him quizzically. He could see the cogs turning in her brain…and that, beyond anything else worried him most. Neji knew he was behaving quite out of character, but he was unsure how clear that was to his cousin… And what it would mean for him if it was…

"Father is asking for you. He didn't sound too pleased either." She paused as her keen eyes caught sight of his poorly hidden winter wear, "What in the world are those?"

He blatantly chose to ignore that last remark… Great. Hiashi-sama was probably incensed at his lack of proper address. Not exactly what he needed or wanted to be dealing with at the moment.

"Here, take these." Shouldering past his cousin, he began to make his way down the hall.

"Earmuffs? What am I supposed to do with them?" she called after him as he hurried down the hall.

"I don't know, wear them maybe?"

"But they're pink," she began to follow.

"Yes I know. You're a girl. You should like pink."

"You don't know me very well, Nii-san," she replied derisively. He could hear the reprimand on the edge of her voice—but he could deal with that later. "Why did you have pink earmuffs anyway?" After a brief pause, "Is there something you're not telling m—"

Panic warred with anger as the primary emotion coursing his brain as he whipped around and poked a finger in her face, "Finish that sentence and you will regret it." He hoped the dark look he gave her was enough to end that particular line of thought for good.

He would later regret not taking heed of the skeptical expression on his clever cousin's face.

But more than that, he would regret entrusting her with the single item which had caused his otherwise normal day to turn desperately upside-down.



"Yes, Nee-chan?"

"Here. You can have these."

Hinata rarely received anything of even the most remote worth from her younger sister. So to say she was surprised at being handed a large pink ball of fluff from Hanabi would be an understatement.


"For when you go out on your walks in the cold. You know. To stay warm? I don't want them."

"Why not, they're lovely!" she eyed her younger sister with modest surprise.


Pink certainly didn't bother Hinata.

"You can thank our cousin for them. I don't think I want to know where…or why…he got them."

"N-Neji-nii-san had pink earmuffs?"

The only reply she received was a shrug as Hanabi excused herself.