A quiet peaceful night in the Hidden Leaf Village, until a shadowed figure rushes by. This is Neji, a young man with pale violet eyes and long blackish-brown hair that was held back on the end. He was a mission alone tonight. His team mates, Rock Lee and Tenten would've joined him but they were exhausted from their training so he decided to take on the task alone. Might Guy was glad enough that Neji still had enough fight left in him. Tonight's mission was a thief in one of the stores and it was said to be a female.

"I'm going in," said Neji to no one in particular, "I must fight with honor."

Inside a small shop full of the rarest gems and stones, a figure jumps down from the top of the roof and climbed inside through the window. This figure remains in the shadows before stepping out… it was a female alright but not in anyway a human, besides walking and acting like one. It's an echidna, with pink eyes, a black suit, a black helmet and brown fur with tan rings on her dreadlocks. She smiled gleefully at the collection of treasures, rubbing her hands together.

"Alright, Shade. Now we're talking the big stuff." She giggled, revealing her own name to us readers. But just as she was reaching for a bright white gem necklace… a hand had grabbed her wrist tightly and it revealed to be Neji.

"And just who are you?" asked the female Echidna. She only wanted him out of the way soon so that she could get busy.

"My identity is none of your business." With that, Neji pulled her to the ground and Shade landed with a hard thud.

"Well," She got up slowly, "If these gems mean something, maybe it is my business." She made a quick move past him, but Neji (forming vein lines around his eyes) was able to stop Shade, tripping to the ground and he ran past, snatching her bag of stolen treasures.

"Next time, never mess with a ninja!" Neji had just about reached the doorway…

Shade suddenly appeared in front, "We'll see about that, messing with a lady!"

Unable to stop himself from surprise of how she got there so fast, Neji fell backwards dropping the bag. He groaned, that really hurt. Purple eyes going back to normal, he snarled at the female bandit standing above him with a smirk. How dare she laugh at him at this rate? It was not to be done.

"What, I demand, was that for?" He rubbed his head. He must've hit it really hard.

"You're the one who was running into me. You must like being close to a lady, don't you?" Shade smirked, but then…oddly, a thought crossed her mind as she stared at Neji. Long black hair… violet gaze… 'Oh my god, he's… he's so hot! And cute!'

"Humph. That's just not true!" Neji protested, trying to sit up, "You're the one who appeared out of nowhere." He then had a thought as well, not minding that Shade was trying to help him to stand up, something had caught his attention… the way she was staring at him, 'Why… why must she stare with… those… beautiful eyes?'

As soon as she took his hand however, he quickly flipped her over so that he was sitting on her to keep from moving, but she didn't seem to care.

"Now to get to the main business." He crossed his arms with a smug look, "First off, I am Neji and you are? Second, you're the one trying to get close to me, like most women do. You must be a little sneak."

She copied his expression, "Mine's Shade the Echidna, few of the last of my kind. And I apologize but it's so hard not to resist when your handsome looks got my attention."

A sudden blush spread on his face, "My… my handsome looks?"

"Yes, indeed. But…that's only because you remind me of an old friend but he took interest in another. He also had the same thing you have…"

"That is…?" Neji had forgotten his mission completely. The only thing on his mind was the beauty of this young echidna woman.

"The eyes… of a pure lavender color, like the… the rise of a setting sun, where there's violet, scarlet and golden mixed together…" She saw him still staring, "And you…?"

"All I can see…" He began to lean closer against his own will, "Is a sacred field of the brightest reddish roses… the sign of a tree's blossoms falling from the sky…"

"You're good…" Even she started leaning closer. They were almost near each other…

'I think… that I…'

'I think I just found…'

Lips of a human and an animal met together silently…

'I'm in love… Neji…'

'I'm in love… Shade…'

This continued until they pulled apart, eyes glistening but then something struck Neji and he stood up, "I don't believe it…"

"What is it?" asked Shade.

"I was supposed to find the thief and take her to Might Guy, and you know it's you…" He then thought, "Unless…"

"Unless what?" She shivered at the thought of being sent to prison.

He returned a rare warm smile, "I'd say to him that she got away… and I found someone who is willing to live at home with me?"

She gasped, "Y-You mean…?"


Shade then ran to him, "Oh Neji!" She hugged him tightly. He comforted her as they shared another gaze… lips met slowly again…