Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto manga/anime/characters/settings etc

Chapter Eleven

Letting Go

To be honest she just didn't want to stand there. Thoughts of Naruto kept her down and the idea of keeping it that way was nauseating. She thought maybe, that's why she felt so uncomfortable when Neji appeared. It had to be the reason. She figured, she might as well make the best out of the situation. So she asked him to walk with her.

She recognized him as a distraction. She had been so invested in him that she never really thought of anything else. In a bizarre way, she felt comforted knowing this.

She realized: Neji made her feel better. Selfishly she likened him to an alternative.

He didn't have to look at her to know she was uncomfortable.

Dismissing the urge to stare he continued walking forward, eyes kept ahead. They strayed silently from camp and he wished dearly that he didn't have the sickening sense of repugnance lying dormant in his gut. As much as he enjoyed the idea of taking a quaint stroll with Hinata, the actual execution of it was near frightening. For what reason did she ask him? It was a thought he mulled over in his head. Like many other occasions, things that were supposed to be quite pleasurable seemed unnecessary and impossibly bothersome.

A total pessimist.

"I'm- I'm happy we're living together." Hinata exhaled loudly, her voice getting shaky suddenly.

Neji's heart almost stopped.

Halting his next step, he turned to look at her.

"At first," she began, "I did not know how to react to father's demands." Her eyes aligning with his, "I just want you to know that – " she smiled, not able to complete her statement.

Nervous, Neji felt his hands begin to move. He wouldn't admit to them shaking, but the feeling was foreign. The weight of anxiety propelled him to speak words of a lie, "It is… an obligation." He sounded truthful in a way. He thought it wrong of her to be happy – happy about their living situation.

She shouldn't be happy to be with him.

His deep voice felt like weights on her shoulders. Hinata's smile faltered, "R-Right" she looked away, and abruptly began to head back.

Though, she had to stop.

She thought for a moment. "I thought we were making progress." She said eagerly. Turning around she came to face him again.

He said nothing.

Hinata looked down, and found his hands bundled in tight fists, a foot anchoring him down as if he wanted so desperately to run away. She knew something was wrong, but she was sick of trying to figure it out on her own. She truly believed there was something going on in his head that he wasn't telling her. He was defiant, and reluctant in so many ways. "Why are you pushing me away?"

The overwhelming feeling of rejection was still biting at him. He didn't want her to know. He could not let her know. She would use it against him.

"Why are you pushing me away?" She asked again. He knew she was settled on this. She wanted an answer.

"You'll use it against me." He thought abruptly, not a second to spare. He knew she wouldn't be able to understand, let alone, reciprocate. It was wrong.

She bravely took a step closer. Her eyes pleading and her mind begging, "I know you are not too fond of m-me. I can tell by looking at you." She paused, "I really believed we were getting along."

She was beginning to think otherwise, "Did I do something to you?"

He felt his breath become shallow. He watched as she stepped back and folded her arms, as if she were cold. "I know it's no consolation, but I'll tell father I would like to return to the compound."

She began walking back and Neji began feeling disgusted. Why on earth would she approach him? He couldn't think properly, he was beginning to feel sick and all he wanted to do was stop her from leaving.

Hinata suddenly felt herself being stopped. A firm grip on her shoulder and his stoic face directed towards her.

"You don't have to do that." He said almost weakly.

Hinata couldn't believe it.

With both of his hands placed firmly on her shoulders she knew she wouldn't be able to move. "I…" With his strength she was planted firmly in her spot.

Softly, almost like he wasn't doing it at all. He brushed the length of her neck with his thumb, and traced the faint frame of her collarbone.

He felt so much better.

Hinata's arms unhooked and fell loosely to her sides. She was not expecting that.

She couldn't sleep at all.

The only thing she thought about was what happened on the path.

He had…confessed.

She mulled the situation over, not having a complete reaction to the whole thing.

Although she didn't seem like that type of person, it was obvious his confession would only benefit her. In a way, his feelings would represent a type of defeat, and possibly cause him an immense humiliation. She felt feeble and inexperienced, and the idea of Neji being with her seemed unfitting.

She was just starting to feel acknowledged. The thought of anything beyond that was implausible. It didn't make any sense. And how would she respond?

Hinata hadn't thought of him in that way. He was her cousin, how could she? She had never been close to him, and for the longest time she thought she never would.

For a moment, she entertained the thought, the idea.

Was she even worthy?

I wrote this a long time ago, so I was surprised to re-read the part where Neji basically confesses.

I hope you guys continue reading. I'm going to try and update more. Tell me if you liked this chapter, please review.