A/N: Okay, so here's another itty bitty story for you guys. I know it's Neji and Hanabi, but it is not incest. There is no romance what so ever.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
The sky was gray. The wind howled as it shook the Hyuuga household and pounded against its doors and windows. The trees were naked, as their red stained leaves lay near their roots. The world outside, as far as Neji could see, was devoid of life.
The young male shook his head and refocused his attention on buttoning his shirt. Today was Hiashi's funeral. Neji had grown quite fond of his uncle, and was greatly disturbed when the messenger came to him in the dead of night last Tuesday, to alert him of his death.
Amsterdam was war-torn as Nazis marched the streets in search of Jews. Hiashi was a good man with a soft heart. He had kept Jewish families hidden under the floorboards of his home for months, providing to all their needs.
Unfortunately, the soldiers of socialism were ruthless. The day suspicion broke out that Hiashi was hiding Jews; the Germans were knocking down his door and ripping apart his home.
They had found the families, of course, in a matter of minutes. Hiashi begged to spare their lives, but his plea was in vain. The Nazis forced Hanabi and Hinata (Hiashi's daughters) to watch as one by one, as the Jews and their father were killed.
Neji sighed as he tried not to think about the horrific event. He turned to grab his blazer from his bed, when he saw Hanabi standing in the doorway. She was leaning against the threshold, a distant look in her eyes as she gazed out the window behind him.
"Hanabi?" the male called softly. His voice snapped the nine year-old from her trance and she straightened her dress, looking at him from underneath her eyelashes shyly.
"Cousin Neji, can you help fix my hair?" she asked, holding out two hair ties and a comb. Neji cracked a small smile. He tapped the tip of her nose with his finger and said: "Of course."
The Hyuuga fashioned the girl's hair into two braided pigtails. His mother was in charge of putting on religious plays at St. Joan of Ark Church. He'd learned how to braid when they were short of hands backstage and some girls needed their hair done for their roles as angels.
"There we go," he said, adjusting the ribbons one last time, before allowing his cousin to stand. She gave him a small gracious smile.
"Neji! Get the girls and come downstairs! We must be leaving!" his mother called.
Neji bent down and adjusted the stiff black dress adorning Hanabi's small frame. It was a hand-me-down from Hinata, that much was obvious. The white lace collar had a small brown stain where it touched the right shoulder and the buttons on the sleeves were missing.
"Are you ready?" he asked as he helped her put on her coat and shoes. Hanabi nodded, fingering the eulogy in her pocket.
Hinata was waiting at the foot of the stairs for them. "Auntie is waiting outside. Let's go," she said quietly, taking hold of her sister's hand.
The carriage ride was silent. The autumn air was crisp and cool. It nipped every inch of exposed skin and caused quite a bit of shivering and illness.
When the church steeple finally came into view, Neji was as good as frozen. He helped his cousins and mother out of the carriage and sent a word of thanks the driver's way.
The mass proceeded in the usual manner. The family mourned, the friends comforted, the alter servers served, and the priest rambled off into oblivion.
Neji's mother, who had settled herself in the pew in front of the children, looked back at Hanabi and nodded.
The girl stood and went up to front of the church to speak. Her eyes searched through the crowd until she met Neji's. He gave her a look of encouragement and so she began:
"You all know why we're-we're here today: to c-cel-celebrate my fa-father's d-d-death. My f-father was a brave, kind-kind hearted man who r-risked his-his life for o-others. " Here she stopped and wiped her nose on the back of her hand. She took a deep breath and continued:
"He-he wa-was always loving a-and respectful t-towards his-his family and-and fr-friends." Again she paused, inhaling deeply a few times to calm down.
"I-I l-love him for al-always taking go-good care of me. Like-like when-when I was sick and he-he let me throw-throw up in-in his hands. Or-or the time when-when I was-was scared and-and he stayed up all-all ni-night and read me fun-funny stories." She wiped her nose once more and sniffed.
"He al-always gave=gave me-me what-whatever I needed. He-he always gave-gave me-me fo-food and-and toys-toys and-and clo-clothing. And he-he never yelled at-at me and was-was always smart and-and help-helped me with my-my problems." She looked heavenward as tears streamed down her cheeks, "I-I love-love you dad-daddy."
And that was when she decided she had had enough. She bounded down the alter steps and raced towards the pews.
Neji slowly stood up and stepped into the aisle. He knelt down and opened his arms. Hanabi collided with him with such force, that he nearly toppled over. She snorted and sobbed and gasped for air. She clutched at his blazer and buried her face in his shoulder.
"I didn't want him to die! It was hor-horrible! They-they just-jus killed him!" she cried.
"Hush, Hanabi. It's alright," Neji soothed.
"It's not alright! He-he Neji I don't want anyone to die! I don't want you or-or Hinata-or auntie-or-or uncle to die! I'm scared! You won't die will you?"
"Of course not. I won't die," her cousin assured her.
"Promise?" she squeaked, holding out her pinky.
"Promise," Neji said as he linker her finger with his and hugged her again.
"I'm s-sorry. I tried-tried my-my best not-not to-to cry. I-"
"You did a wonderful job, Hanabi." Neji held her in his lap for the remainder of the mass.
He held her hand firmly as they ventured out to the cemetery for the burial.
As the casket was lowered into the earth, Hanabi hugged Neji's leg and tried to turn her head the other way.
"Hanabi, if you don't look, you'll regret it," Neji told her. His cousin shook her head, refusing to open her eyes.
"Hanabi," Hinata said sternly.
"Open your eyes." The nine year-old bit her lip, defeated. She watched as her father's remains were covered in six feet of dirt.
She was afraid to approach the grave and had to be literally dragged towards it to place the bouquet of flowers: yellow lilies, Hiashi's favorite.
The group of relatives agreed to meet at Neji's home for refreshments and lunch.
"Neji, go find Hanabi and tell her to come eat," Hinata urged, her eyes filled with concern.
The Hyuuga did as his cousin wished and found said girl on the porch. He sat on the step next to her and took her hand.
"You did a wonderful job," he repeated. Hanabi shrugged.
"You should eat," Neji told her.
"I'm not hungry."
"Are you upset?"
"Then what's wrong?"
"I didn't want him to die."
The wind echoed her words. The leaves, fallen at the feet of the trees, danced about in the breeze. The clouds parted and the sun cast a heavenly light over the land. Birds chirped and sang their tunes.
Neji inhaled deeply and pulled his cousin into a hug.
"Hanabi, death is an occasion, rise to it."
A/N: Thanks so much for reading! Please review!