Author's Notes: This is the first fanfiction I ever wrote. The idea popped into my head (the night before an exam, conveniently enough =/ ) and wouldn't leave me alone so I wrote it to get it out of my head. I wasn't happy with the ending but I went back and changed that later. But yeah, mainly inspired by Chapters 437 and 441/episodes 166 and 169 Shippuden. Hope you enjoy =)
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters nor the plots of past events that are referenced in this story. I have only created the scene which is taking place after their training session... =S
Neji and Hinata sat on the edge of the training ground they had been using all afternoon, sipping on some special tea that Hinata had prepared before they had left the Hyuuga compound. Much of Konoha had been destroyed in the attack by Pain but fortunately their favourite training ground near the outskirts of the village had remained unharmed.
Hinata exhaled a long slow breath and Neji glanced at his cousin. The question had been troubling him since he had found her on that day- that day that would forever be remembered in the village's history.
"Why did you do it?" It escaped his mouth before he could suppress it but he managed to maintain a neutral expression as she turned to him, confusion plain on her face.
"Do what, Neji-niisan?" she asked, wondering if he was referring to an error she had made during their afternoon of training.
"So naive," he thought and he sighed slightly before trying again. "Why did you challenge Pain... alone?"
"Ah," she breathed and she turned back towards the cup she still cradled, looking into it as though it held all the answers. "It sounds like something huge when you say it like that but... to save the one you love, it is nothing. I know you would do the same Neji-niisan. For Tenten-san."
At this, Neji's eyebrows shot up. Hinata looked to him again when he didn't respond and probed, "You would, wouldn't you?"
Neji quickly regained his composure. "I would, Hinata-sama. For you."
Hinata's eyes widened ever so slightly but then she smiled, casting her eyes down and shaking her head. "No Neji-niisan, I don't mean it like that. Not out of duty, or obligation. Out of love."
"Yes Hinata-sama. I would do it for you." Neji kept his eyes intently on her face, waiting for realization to dawn on her and he watched it happen in the form of her infamous blush creeping across her face.
"Neji-niisan, I-," she began but he silenced her by placing his finger over her lips. Then he slid his hand over to the side of her face, cupping her cheek. A light smile curved his lips as her face heated up more.
"Hinata-sama, I have watched you grow into a beautiful," he kissed her cheek and the flush darkened, "strong," he kissed her forehead where the curse seal would have been had she been in the branch family, "...!" His next word was drowned out by her planting her lips exactly where his next kiss was supposed to go...
The kiss was soft, intimate and Neji wished that it would never end. But eventually, Hinata pulled away.
"I'm sorry Neji, I- I shouldn't have, I-," Neji shushed her for the second time that day, this time by pressing his lips gently to hers for just a second. He had liked the way she said his name with no honorific...
"No Hinata-sama, don't apologise. I'm glad you did," and seeing Neji smile as he said those words almost made Hinata change her mind. But she shook her head and forced herself to be rational and honest with both herself and him.
"No," she insisted, "I- Naruto, it's..."
"Shh," his hot breath tickled her ear. "It's alright," he murmured, his nose tracing her jaw line. "It's alright," he repeated into the hollow of her neck.
As Neji pressed more kisses there, Hinata arched her back, her head falling backwards. Thoughts and feelings that she had repressed somewhere in her mind over the years came to the forefront. Neji replaced Naruto in some of the moments she had imagined they would share.
Did this mean that she did not love Naruto then? No, she did. It was just that she cared a great deal for Neji too. In fact, she loved him as well. Maybe not as much as she loved Naruto but one day, she could, she probably would and that thought made her smile.
"Neji," she murmured and he pulled back to look at her as she tilted her head forward, opening her eyes. Their eyes mirrored each other's in both appearance and in the emotions that they conveyed, just like on the day they had first met. "Hinata," Neji breathed, surprised by the intensity of the emotions lingering in her eyes. Another blush crept up her face. She had liked the way he said her name with no honorific. She gently laid a hand on his chest leaning toward him for another kiss, assuming by his response that they were done with training for the night.