A/N: Classics always inspire me. I read nine chapters of an Agatha Christie and bam! A story idea was born!
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
It was raining, the sky shrouded with ominous clouds and the wind fit to rattle the very marrow in a person's bones. Traffic collected on the streets as rush hour reached its peak. Neji moved along at a hurried gait, shifting from one half of the sidewalk to the other, his attempt at avoiding puddles proving vain. The umbrella in his hand threatened to slip from his fingers at any second, the unruly gusts a problem in their own entity.
It was Monday, dreadful, dreadful Monday. Work had been grueling, the long hours stretching on and on, until the existence time seemed to be hanging by the skin of its last thread. The Hyuuga chided himself for being so intolerable and impatient. Surely his employers expected more out of him. It wasn't in his right to be so terribly stingy and picky. But then again, if someone were forced to work under the same persons as he, surely they would be spared from the demands of good moral ethics.
The wind tugged at his umbrella again, his muffler nearly strangling him as the ends were pulled every which way. Another gust nipped at his heels and nudged at the back of his knees until his legs nearly gave way to its force. Neji muttered underneath his breath, the fingers around the handles of his briefcase tightening with every step taken. He should not have walked to his office today. But in the morning, eyelids drooping from sleep (or lack thereof) and the coffee machine brewing too slowly, he had decided some type of physical exercise would surely elate his mood.
Pushing sour thoughts aside, the Hyuuga carried on. Boutiques were closing along the road while bars became more crowded as pedestrians rushed to escape the onslaught of rain. Somewhere across the street, he heard shouts of two employees as they drew out the store awning. (One was shouting about the now spoiled produce displayed outside the market, the other was telling his colleague to shut up lest their boss heard.) The weather had caught everyone by surprise. The residents of Chicago, hearts hopeful that spring had come at last, marveled at the warm weather they awoke to at dawn. However, trapped in their fancy, fleeting notions, they had forgotten one thing: they lived in Chicago, a city where rotten politicians were as common as unreliable meteorologists. Oh yes, Neji was not the only one disappointed by the change of events.
The Hyuuga sniffed, hands too occupied to snatch the handkerchief in his pocket and swipe his congested nose. The first thing to be done upon arriving home, he decided, was rid himself of his sopping clothes and take a hot, steamy bath. His level of stress was enough to kill (or at least deplete his sanity to zero).
However, his fantasizing was cut short (much to his dismay) and reality made itself known in the form of a raindrop directly to his eye and a soft whimper. He stopped abruptly, eyes sweeping about him as he searched for the source of the noise. He knew he would never make such a noise over a raindrop, so clearly, it had generated from something else. He had first thought it might have been a stray pet caught in the sudden storm, but after hearing it again, he concluded it sounded more human, feminine.
He squinted through the downpour, barely able to make out a petite silhouette crouching on the ground a little ways ahead of him. He jogged towards the figure, nearly slipping in the very puddles he swore to avoid.
She didn't seem hurt, save for a few scrapes and cuts from falling upon the wet pavement. She was hastily grabbing her things, shoving papers and little knickknacks into her bag with long, deft fingers. Neji squatted beside her, grabbing the few objects that remained and placing them in her stilled hands. When the Hyuuga looked up to meet her eyes, though, he was thoroughly startled. Staring at him were two perfect, almond orbs the color of sweet chocolate. She blinked innocently, in slight awe he may have described, had he been composed of too much pride. But she did look rather curious, the Hyuuga had to admit (an expression that was frighteningly adorable). "Thank you," she whispered, taking her things from his palm. He nodded and rose from the ground, brushing his pants. Neji offered her his hand, his fingers curving gently around hers as he pulled her up.
She was a rather peculiar thing; not so much lanky, but tall, yet still unstable on her feet. She gave him a sheepish smile and scratched the back of her head in embarrassment. "Thanks again," she repeated, her voice returning to its regular volume. "I forgot my umbrella," she explained.
"You're welcome. It was no problem," he responded, replacing his traditional grunt with actual words. The woman smiled, and turned to take her leave. But Neji, to his own surprise, reached out and caught her by the shoulder. " Wait! Where do you live?" he inquired, not even aware of his intentions until the question was voiced.
The brunette female wore the same curious expression again. She considered him carefully for a moment before answering, "I live a few blocks from here. In a large condo building –"
"On Michigan Ave?" Neji ventured.
Her visage was blank, but soon a grin blossomed on her lips," Yeah," she confirmed rather breathlessly, adding a nod of her head for good measure. "You live there too?"
"Indeed. It's against my upbringing to leave a woman such as yourself out in the rain without adequate protection. For God's sake! You aren't even wearing a proper jacket!" he exclaimed, taking in her attire for the first time. "So would you like to join me on my walk home?" he asked.
The female let out a giggle, "You needn't be so formal. Just call me Tenten," she told him, but nevertheless linked her arm with his and stepped under his umbrella. "Shall we?"
Neji looked down with, a twinkle of amusement in his eye. He smirked, "We shall."
A/N: Aww, so fluffy! I hope you enjoyed it! Thank you for reading and please review!